Last week after my less than stellar performance in Portland, I was seriously doubting whether I had the where with all to run yet another half marathon in 4 weeks. Those mental demons came calling in huge way (especially along I95 at midnight in CT with a screaming hip): I’ve got an old body, and pounding on it doesn’t make it any younger. I’m never, ever going to win a race, so what’s the point. Really? And what is it exactly I’m trying to prove?
All week, I tried brushing them aside. I continued along my typical training (3-4 days, 3-4 miles each time), even throwing some hills into the mix, but meh. But the mojo just wasn’t there.
And then Friday night came. And with it, the Olympic opening ceremonies. I confess—I LOVE the Olympics. I love what they stand for, and I love watching ALL the events (except beach volleyball and the ribbon gymnastics—don’t quite get that one). I love that athletes work their hearts out for their one shot, and most go home disappointed empty-handed. I scratched out ‘disappointed’ because really, are they disappointed? Maybe, if the medal podium was in sight and they flubbed up, yep, I’d say disappointed, but I’m betting most go in aiming for a personal best, and they know that even that personal best is unlikely to get them a medal. But they show up anyways. For the honor of representing their country, for the challenge of competing against the best in the world in their sport, and maybe even for the fun of it.
I’ll never win any medals with my running, but I do enjoy the challenge, and I still find running lots of fun. So keeping that in mind, I was determined to not skip my Sunday’s long run (10 miles), and I decided that instead of going it alone, I’d get out there with the Sunday group at my local Fleet Feet. I’ve always found this group to be slightly intimidating—Fleet Feet does plenty of 3 mile runs—but this group runs 6-10+ miles and most are training for one event or another. They are experienced and fast. I showed up anyways. And found myself running in tandem with two other men and one other woman. The three of them needed 14 for their run, so after 8, I split off to head back to the store (two miles to go) while they went off for another 6 (!). I finished strong at 10.67 miles in 1h54. That was all I needed.
I’ll be in Providence, all laced up and ready to go in a speed-appropriate coral and with a great game plan that will see me through successfully to the end of the race.
The Olympics is inspiring in more ways than one. Several winter games ago, the Yarn Harlot held what she called the Knit Olympics, in which knitters picked a project to start and complete within the timeframe of the games. I LOVE challenges like this, and since I spend too much time in front of the TV anyways during the games, it was a great way to get a sweater out of it. The Knit Olympics were a one-time deal, but I still challenge myself to the same thing every two years—knit a sweater within the two weeks. For London, Bedford is my project. And after one day of viewing, here’s where I am:
This is a scary project for me because I’m not sure I have enough yarn. And I don’t have a back-up. This was hand-spun yarn I bought in Vermont last fall at the Vermont Sheep & Wool. I have 5 skeins, and I’m hoping there are at least 300 yards per skein, which should give me enough. Even if it’s 250, i’ll be ok. maybe.
So, if the stars are aligned (and the weather cools down), I’ll be driving to Providence on August 19, run my race well, and wrap myself up in Bedford for the drive home. And that sounds just about perfect to me…
That’s how yesterday’s Old Port Half Marathon felt. One huge wall.
The race started off fine—I went out a little too quickly, and since there weren’t any corals, I think I lined up too close to the front. Watching people take off in front of me made me go faster than I wanted to. But my foot felt fine, and the temps were still cool enough, and I kept going.
The course took us through Portland’s Eastern Promenade, onto a bit of 295, into Falmouth (at least I think it’s Falmouth) through some neighborhoods and then into the Maine Audobon preserve where we looped back out to the main road and headed back towards Portland. We hit the Back Cove around mile 6.5/7. The Back Cove is HUGE, and honestly, it was a bit depressing to see how large the circumference is.
And then I hit it—the wall. By this time the temps had picked up (and there wasn’t much shade on the course), and my right hip and hamstring started giving me trouble. I started walking through the water stations. And the pain increased, and I started walking more. And more. And more.
Around mile 10-11, the walking was more painful than the running, so I slowed to an incredibly lame jog and kept going. There was no way I had driven all the way to Portland Maine to not finish this race. Mile 11 was the only uphill, and I told myself that I could walk the hill, but then I had to run the last mile into the finish.
And i did. At a snail’s pace. Amazingly, I finished at 2:20:07 (although my app indicated 2:16:07), which is a PB for me (not hard to set a PB after only 2 races, though).
This was not as satisfying as I had hoped. But it felt good to finish. And the Shipyard beer at the end was delicious. Better yet, there was a tent with free chiropractic support after the race, and I lined up for some stretching/manipulating. That helped a lot, and the doctor did say that my pelvis was all out of whack. So today I had my first chiropractic adjustment, and already I feel so much better.
I’ve only been running regularly for about a year, and the racing thing for 7 months, so each time out is a learning experience. The take-aways for this one?
1. Head in the game, run my own race (maybe I need blinders so I don’t get distressed when i see so many people pass me)
2. more core strength. While the Mister is diligent about stretching and core exercises, I’ve been more about running (I love the adreneline rush) and I’ve ignored the basics. Today i created a simple 15 minute core strength workout and I’m determined to stick with this 3x week.
3. be serious about the long runs. Since I was coming off my heel injury, I was concerned about not re-injuring my foot. So while I did my long runs, they weren’t as long as they needed to be. All parts of training (speedwork, easy runs, long runs) are important for success (which for me means to finish strong).
I’ve got another half coming up next month—right now I’m on the fence. It could be a chance to redeem myself (in my head). Right now I’m going to take a few days off, and then I’ll see where I stand…
This has become a private joke between a coworker and myself. His goal: to run half marathons in all 50 states before he’s 40. Since I’m beyond 40, I eschewed any sort of goal, but somehow I’ve still gotten all caught up in this running habit.
Does not mean go out for Happy Hour that starts at 11am on the day before a race (as we did in Phoenix).
Since our races are on Sunday, that means we should both be “tapering” now. Honestly, I think I’ve been tapering since my boot came off May 31. Which makes me slightly nervous—having trained for (and then pulled out of) the NJ Half Marathon, I now know what being in good form for a race is all about. And I’m not there. But I’m “tapering” anyways. However, I spoke to my sister last night (she’s running with me), and it appears as though she’s been “tapering” for quite a while as well.
This will be interesting.
I live in a state (NJ) that has a lot NOT going for it—from it’s lack of its own media market (being sandwiched between NY and Phily) to the trainwreck aka The Jersey Shore, my state is often maligned.
The one thing going for NJ, though, is its runners greet each other. This morning I headed out for my 3 mile loop, and every runner and cyclist I passed on the way either nodded, waved, or called out ‘good morning.’ Not the case in Indianapolis. Which I found so strange. The service people there were uber-nice—friendly with advice and good cheer. The runners, though? Different story. Nobody waved or nodded or said ‘good morning.’ NOBODY. Maybe because it was a running trail and these folks were all so expert? Or it’s a city therefore people appreciate their anonimity? I’m not quite sure of the reason, but I’ve got to say, although I’m not a fan of superficial greetings, I do appreciate the early morning comraderie of the wave of the hand, or nod of the head. It’s a bit of a boost at 6am.
So good to be home amongst my peeps!
We’re back from Vacationland, and for me, just in time to re-pack my suitcase for Indianapolis (!). The washing machine’s spinning at full blast, and I’ve got a few minutes to sit back and recollect on my Juneathon effort.
I LOVED JUNEATHON! So much fun. Coming off an injury (boot came off on May 31), I wasn’t sure how much I’d be able to participate with regards to the running, but I figured the Juneathon obligation would keep me motivated and happy with body weight and kettlebell workouts. And it did. Particpating also made me realize that almost every runner experiences some sort of injury that keeps them out of the game for a bit. I am a newer runner, so this first injury felt like a slap in the face. Now I realize that it’s not a deal breaker, and it gives you ample time to sample other activities under the guise of “cross training.” So thanks HennieMavis and others for bringing that truth home for me.
I also gained a HUGE amount of respect for all the Juneathoners who put up with their completely craptastic weather—so much so that on my 2nd workout in Maine, I didn’t even bother to hurry home when the skies opened up. I vow to keep my mouth shut about the weather until Janathon—only then may I have something to complain about.
I am also so impressed with everyone’s effort—from jogblog who organizes the entire project, to all the -athoners who are diligent and serious runners (random ultra newbie!), but who also can poke fun at themselves (like linswoo!), and who are all really entertaining and interesting writers (so many I can’t even begin to mention and link…). It’s been a real pleasure to read everyone else’s blog posts. As a result of Juneathon, I now have more running blogs in my reader than knitting blogs.
While I know my NJ friends will be glad to have me stop talking about Juneathon and relating all the great posts, I think I will miss this “festival” a lot. So thanks to all the Juneathoners who made this past month so enjoyable—I can’t wait til January!
Like running. Not that I did so much. My heel was still bothering me, so Thursday I took a 3 mile walk (alone) and a mile-long hike (with my 14 and 8 year old daughters and 5 and almost 3 year old nieces). We met up with a snake, and found some pretty mushrooms. Found out later that the snake was of the poisonous kind (good thing we got really close and poked at it with a stick), but the mushrooms were not (the almost 3 year old licked hers and is still alive).
Friday was another walk—3.5 miles in the opposite direction to the Portland Head Light. It started pouring rain, so the last mile was a run. The rain cleared in time for paddle boarding in Kettle Cove, and we spent nearly 90 minutes tooling around that inlet. I did my best to not fall in. Maine isn’t known for its warm water, but my balance leaves a bit to be desired…
Walking around on the sand, plus my new inserts, must have helped because my heel felt slightly better today, so I went back to the lighthouse. 3.52 miles in 35 minutes. Running in Maine is hilly, so this was a bit of a challenge, but I actually enjoyed the rolling quality to these hills. A good run.
I’ll post some photos later. Can’t quite figure out how to get the photos from the phone to the iPad to the app. And right now I’m having too much non-virtual fun to care…
Yesterday I returned to NJ from Columbus. And that just about wiped me out. Which I find hard to believe since it’s a short 60 minute flight that, while it left early, was still within the realm of reasonable. It could have been the incredibly bouncy approach to Newark airport (why are there always wind gusts up to 40 mph when I’m in a teeny plane?), or that I went straight to work.
Suffice it to say that I postponed any sort of Juneathon activity until 10:45pm, when I did 20 squats, 15 dragon squats and 20 push ups right before bed.
This morning, though, I was up at 6 and out the door for 3 miles. Unfortunately, my heel is still bothering me, which is disappointing. The 9 miles in Columbus coupled with the long trade show days in unsupportive sandals may be the culprit, but I think I need to take a few days off so that it doesn’t get any worse. I do see Dr. Gorgeous (my podiatrist) this afternoon for my custom insoles. I’m uncertain if I should mention it to him, as his typical response is: “stop running.” grrr. And given that we’re heading out for some vacation for the rest of this week means that I will have ample opportunity to postpone any sort of running…
But it’s good to be home—and having accessible frozen peas.
The last day of the yarn show—my collection of TEAny Hats has grown. This is always a fun trade show, and I think my project added some buzz.
Last night was so peaceful. I ate a quiet meal alone in the hotel and got to bed early (10ish). I was not awaken at 3:45 (thank goodness), and woke this morning at 6:30 for my run. I did 3.25 miles (mapped out the night before on Map My Run), but my gps this morning didn’t pick up the satellite, so I don’t know my time. I’m estimating just slightly over 30 minutes. The run took me through a lovely historic neighborhood and a fairly nice park. On the downside, my heel starting aching again. Must be a combination of the 9 miles and the two 8 hour days on my feet. hmmmm. So I picked up a bag of ice at Starbucks and am now sitting in my booth with a frozen foot!