Apparently April and Amy over at Twenty Six Point Two thought I was cool enough to name me their weekly pace setter. No one tell them the truth or they may take it down. In the meantime, check it out if you're interested in learning more about me than you probably wanted to know...
And you know? Half-marathons are sort of old hat by now. So in my brain, I'm thinking "No problem!"
But yeah, today is the first day I could walk downstairs.
That was a blast yesterday when I had to be out doing field work at the lake.
This race report will be short. Here are Lauren, Joe, and me at the beginning (note I am charging Joe's mom to give her my long sleeve shirt ).
The race started nice.
Some lady on crutches tried to cross the street through the pack of runners and right in front of Lauren and me. We both managed to dodge her, but hello?!
But as expected, at about Mile 5.5 I started to hit a wall. When I hit the halfway point, I was very aware that a PR was nowhere in the picture, so I just chilled out and enjoyed the run. That lasted until about Mile 10. Then, it was all about survival. Joe actually yoyoed with me a few times, but I was so oblivious to everything but how tired my quads were that I didn't even notice.
I came in at 2:28, which, besides the fiasco in Toronto in 2006 where I was crying from how much my calf hurt but for some reason couldn't just take a DNF, is my slowest time ever. And Toronto was 2:30. Three months ago, I came in at 2:13. Ah, how far I have fallen!
But the good news? I don't actually really care. I had a fun weekend, even if I did miss my flight home and have to pay $150 to get on the next one. Stupid traffic! Seriously. Pennslyvania you are so on my shitlist right now with your incredibly stupid road construction. I'm sending you the bill!
Last year, I signed up for the Las Vegas Half Marathon with MC200 teammate Lauren and her husband Kyle. At the time, my sister, who is also friends with Kyle and Lauren, decided that it was uncool that as runners, we get to travel to fun places for races and she doesn't. So with that, she decided she would try to run. Having never run a day in her life, around X-Mas, she started trying to run. Her original goal was the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in April, but after having the flu for most of February, she missed it, and when I pointed out that Philly was Sept 21st, she immediately signed up, because Sept 22, 2008 was her 30th birthday, and she so wanted to be able to say, "I ran a half marathon before I was 30." (Note that this was an arbitrary goal that was set after discovering the race would be a day before her b-day)
Anyway, this weekend, Kyle, Lauren, Danielle, my sister, my parents, and I all converged on Philadelphia for the Philly Distance Run. Friday night, we all got into town and crashed. Saturday, we did the tourist thing, walking around the city, even having dinner at the Hard Rock to be extra touristy.
Sunday morning was the race. It was about 60 at start time. The entire race was really a beautiful course, I very much enjoyed it. However, the first mile, starting at the museum-where-Rocky-ran-up-the-stairs (the Art Museum) and running down Ben Franklin Pkwy straight at the giant fountain in Logan Square with City Hall directly behind the fountain, was amazing. It was really just a stunning start to a race, perhaps the best of any race I've ever run.
I started running with Lauren and Danielle, while Sherri and Kyle were paced a little slower than us so were a few corrals back. Lauren, Danielle, and I ran the first mile and a half together before I ended up picking my pace up a bit and heading out on my own. However, we did manage to be together for a few excellent sightings, including Elvis (in our starting corral), a guy wearing a tutu, a princess hat, and no shirt, which appeared to be a lost bet with the two girls who were dressed like him but without embarrassing writing on their backs ("Flight from Florida, $200, race registration, $75, John in a tutu, priceless"), and, perhaps my favorite because I am a giant dork, as we passed the first mile marker, we found a really huge guy (probably over 300 lbs) running incredibly slowly in front of us. As we passed him, I saw his bib said he should have been in corral 16, but he was at least in corral 8, since we started in 11 and it took us a mile to catch him. Anyway, this was my favorite sighting because we saw as we passed he was wearing a Microsoft Vista shirt, and I turned to Lauren and said, "There's a joke in there somewhere about Vista running really slowly, but I won't make it because Kyle isn't here with us." (Note, Kyle is also a computer geek) She groaned at me, as I've so often come to find people do.
The first half the race, I was having a great run. My pace was steady, I was running PR time without really trying, and my (other) knee, which has been bothering me for about a week and a half (pretty much since the first one stopped hurting), was feeling good. I walked through the water stop at 6.8 mi to get a drink to put my Gel down, and my knee just totally freaked out. I tried to stretch and/or walk it off, but it hurt a lot. I decided if I DNF'd in Philly, though, I was most definitely going to be psychologically unable to do Chicago in 3 weeks, so I kept walking, and about 15 minutes later, the pain more or less subsided. I managed to run the next almost 3 miles, when I walked through a water stop, and, lo and behold, my knee just went to hell again. This time it hurt even worse. At this point, Lauren caught up with me, and tried to walk with me for a bit, but I was unable to take more than 3 steps without stopping. After a few minutes of that, I assured Lauren that with just 3 miles left, I would cross the finish line one way or another, and told her to go run her race. I tried to keep moving, and after another 15 or 20 minutes, the pain again subsided enough to the point where I was able to do a run-5-walk-1 minute thing to get to the end.
I finished the race, and sulked for a few minutes because I was frustrated I didn't run as well as I had hoped. I made my way back to the finish line and got to see my sister cross the finish line for her first big race (> 10k). At that point, I realized that the time didn't much matter. I managed to finish 13 miles, hurt a bit, but I had a great weekend with my sister, parents, and friends, so who cares about the time.
After the race,we went back to the hotel and everyone slept except for me, as I was feeling fine, just bored. I read for a bit, watched some tv, then got a craving for something-or-another, so I went for a Slurpee and Beef Jerky at 7-11. I texted Lauren about my trip, and she immediately decided she required Beef Jerky, so she and D went to 7-11. I'm a trend-setter. :) Sunday late afternoon, we all went to Maggiano's, which if you have never been (there are a bunch around the country), is amazing Italian food, where we gorged ourselves until we could eat no more. We went back to the hotel, watched some tv, played some games, and then a few hours later, gorged ourselves again on leftovers. It was disgustingly awesome.
Monday morning, the highlight was definitely going back to the Art Museum to run the steps and take pictures with the Rocky Statue (all while wearing our medals of course). After that, we all headed our separate ways, with Sherri, Kyle, Lauren, and I coming back to DC. Kyle and Lauren had a late flight, so we all went to see Burn After Reading before dropping them at the airport, and then Sherri and I headed out to her birthday dinner with her DC friends.
The one thing I noticed about Philly, compared to DC, is that the humidity was so low that there was an extreme temperature difference between being in the direct sun and being in the shade. It felt like there was at least a 10 degree difference. I'm not used to that, living in DC for the last few years.
Overall, it was an excellent weekend. I am still a bit concerned about my knee with Chicago being so close, but I think at this point, I am going to bag any run longer than 5 miles to try to give it a chance to heal up, just doing short runs and bike rides to try to maintain fitness. I may not be in perfect shape for it, but I just hope to be able to run in Chicago. I'll definitely start the race, and with any luck, maybe I'll cross the finish line. It's out of my hands at this point.
I'm leaving in about an hour to head up to Philly for the Philadelphia Distance Run. My sister's 30th birthday is Monday, and she (somewhat arbitrarily) decided that she wanted to run a half marathon before she turned "old," so here we are. D, MC200 teammate (and jerk who convinced me to sign up for the Chicago Marathon) Lauren and her husband Kyle are all flying in to (hopefully) run with us, as well as my folks coming down to hang out for the weekend. Should be a fun weekend. There is already some hysterical stuff going down, so the race report next week should be awesome.
At this point, marathon training has basically sucked all the pleasure out of running for me. While I used to run 4 or 5 days a week because I really enjoyed it, now the 3 runs (and one or two bike rides) I do feel like homework. I run because I have to, not because I want to. There are constant nagging injuries to worry about, the fear that missing some runs will mean i won't be where I need to be in 4 weeks, etc etc etc. Running used to be my outlet, so when life got stressful, I could run and I'd feel better. Now it mostly just compounds my feeling of crappiness.
I just want this marathon to be over so I can get back to enjoying running again.
My dad's birthday was yesterday (yeah, sort of a crappy day to have a birthday, no?)
So I called home and I was chatting with my mom who told me that she and her boyfriend my sister and her boyfriend were thinking of moving in April. (No, my mom is not currently living at home with my dad and a boyfriend on the side).
To New Zealand.
Seriously, my parents have got to be wondering how they raised two kids who independently came up with this idea. And not because they were horrible parents and we're trying to get as far away as possible from them.
So the good news is that even if I don't get this fellowship, I'm totally going for a nice long visit...
And is it weird that I just dreamed the other night that Jess and Sky (yes my sister is dating a boy with a total hippie name) were getting married in Argentina? I know Argentina and NZ are totally different, but still - I never dream about my sister.
In running news, I have run into this weird situation where I have zero money while I am waiting for a $1000 travel reimbursement to come in and so I can't get my new contacts. Which wouldn't be a problem if I hadn't tossed my last right contact. I have an astigmatism so I can't just put in a left contact. And my glasses? They aren't really meant for running. Practicality was not in mind when I was at the hands of the fabulously gay Israeli man in Toronto. Running with them is not pleasant as they slip off my nose. And I am totally blind so I can't run without.
But I guess if it works for this dude: it can work for me...
So I am not quite sure what my odds are on the whole New Zealand thing. So I gotta be thinking about other future possibilities. So now I have proposal number two to work on. On a completely different subject. This one would be in Seattle. It's not New Zealand, but it still has mountains and ocean, so that's alright in my book.
But mostly the reason I mention it here? (Well, besides the fact that I know you are all dying to know my future plans). The research would be centered on Lake Coeur d'Alene.
Do you want to know why the research is focused here?
Only because one of the largest Superfund sites in the US drains into it.
I hope all you crazy Ironmen like swimming in diluted mining tailings!
I'm pretty sure that didn't go in the brochure...
Hmm, maybe I can write my proposal on the annual resuspension of heavy metal laden sediments by triathletes...
I was helping a friend who is attempting to get back into running find some short races this fall, and I came across one that I am totally signing up for: Run! Geek! Run! It's an 8k, and I'm totally going to run it because I want a shirt that says, "Run! Geek! Run!"
I sent the link for the race to my friend (who also happens to be the P.I. of the R&D project I work on at my day job, so perhaps even a bigger nerd than I am), and his response was, "Dude, those guys on that page there don't look like geeks at all. They look like they could be the reason the geeks are running." So we decided a better tag line for the race website would be, "Run geek, run, because these motherf**kers are coming for you!"
I just looked and apparently August 23rd was the last time I wrote anything.
Just livin' up to the slacker image I try to exude.
So I am just going to bullet point the past two+ weeks:
* Kori and I bailed on the GAAR because our kayaker apparently found some other girls to menage-a-trois with. We secretly hate her now and kinda wanted to find an even better kayaker and kick her ass.
* I just got back from CA. Five days in Lake Tahoe, two in San Jose. I ran twice in Tahoe. Both times I was gasping for air. I ran about 2 miles. Did I mention I have a half-marathon coming up in two weeks?
* Submitted my proposal for New Zealand today. So everyone should send "Fund me!" vibes toward NSF in DC. Then you can come visit me in my apartment by the ocean where I'll be shacking up with a boy with a cute accent.
* I am stressing out because the cold weather we are having means my lake is being penetrated convectively. Every night! Can you believe it? The slut.
Having been friends with Danielle for about 5 years now, I sometimes worry that I'm not hardcore enough to roll with her, and I'll end up being ditched or otherwise left in the dust as she moves on to more awesome friends. So, in an effort to up my hardcoreness quotient, I decided to do my 18 miler this morning and then go to work afterwards. I got up at 5 a.m., and did 18 miles in 3:10, then came home, showered, shaved, and went straight to work. I very much enjoyed fielding "Why are you late today?" questions all day, so I could respond, "Yeah, sorry, I had to run 18 miles this morning." I'm a rock star.
I was worried about my knee, but just wanted to do as much as I could. Around an hour in, my calves started tightening up really badly. I should note here that I am a toe runner, for anyone who's not seen me run before. My background is 30 years of soccer, only getting into running about 5 or 6 years ago, and only getting into distance (10 mi or greater) in the last two years. The toe running had never been an issue before, other than the soles of my shoes wearing out in funny places.
So anywho, with my calves hurting, I decided on a whim to try a heel strike stride. It immediately alleviated the pain in my calves, which was good. It was kind of awkward because I've never run this way for any long amount of time, so I sort of kept switching back and forth between my regular stride and the heel strike one. In the middle of one of my regular stride stretches, my knee started twinging a little. But I found that the heel strike stopped that, too.
At the end of my run, I had no knee pain and no real tightness in my calves. I'm really happy about this. It'll take some practice to get comfortable with the new stride, but if it'll solve my issues, it's a small price to pay I guess.
When I got to work, I emailed Lauren (from MC200, who talked me into joining her for this marathon) to let her know how it went. I commented that the cafeteria at work wouldn't open for a while, I was hungry enough that I was considering killing one of the people who sit near me and eating them, and there was one in particular who is kind of...squishy...and is probably good eats. The title of this post is Lauren's response.
I know I've been MIA for a while. I've been quietly freaking out about the upcoming marathon. My IT band has been acting up pretty good lately. Well, I should say, the tendinitis that flares up when my IT band is causing me problems is causing me trouble. I have yet to run over 16 miles. Last weekend I was attempting to run an 18 miler, and had to stop after 13 because my knee was hurting too much. I'm a little bit worried at this point. The race is so close now. I'll just continue to slowly freak out as the days tick by...