Sunday, 22 June 2008

From Denali

OK.  I obviously lived through the race... see that fine looking finishers' medal?  I totally overestimated what a difference sea level makes.  I also totally underestimated what hills would be on the course.  And also crazy surfaces.  And rain.  And coldness.  

(okay, this picture is in here twice, and I can't seem to delete it, sorry)
So, my nephew decided to run the half-marathon.  Somehow, even though registration was closed, he was able to register at the expo.  So, it was great fun that he was there running a half marathon with his old aunt.

Before the start of the race, it started pouring rain.  It was quite cold and pouring rain.  Once again, thanks to Team in Training folks for plastic bags that I was able to get from them.  My nephew and I were safely wrapped in plastic, and ready to rock. 

The first mile was cold and dripping wet.  After the first mile, I warmed up, ditched the bag, and started feeling good.  Someone came up behind me and I heard "Mary!"  It was someone from a contingent of racers I met at the Portland airport on a 4 hour layover.  That was fun.

I was keeping a good pace for me, not too fast or slow. I felt good.  At about 6 miles, we turned onto a trail that wasn't even a trail... through the forest.  It was an uneven surface and grassy.  It wasn't even a path!  I thought I had better slow down for safety's sake and I am glad I did.  The woman in front of me fell really hard on her knees.  I stopped to help her.  I really considered what was really important - me considering a PR, or helping someone who had just fallen. I chose helping her.  I probably didn't spend all that long doing it, but I am glad I did.  

It was at about 6 and  a half or 7 miles that I just kind of ran out of energy. I decided to walk for a while.  And then I decided to walk a little bit longer since my walk pace wasn't necessarily slower than my "run" pace.  I decided to just try to enjoy the race.

I don't know where it was, but I heard someone say "Careful, there's a moose!"  A Moose?  Well, give me a camera, and my deepest fears turn into something I pursue.  I just HAD to take a picture of it with my cell phone.  After I took two of them, I realized that my lens cover was closed, so I took a few more.  They aren't worth posting because the moose just looks like a brown spot.  Damn!  It was so cool.  It was at that point that two more of the folks I met at the airport passed by and said Hello.

Maybe I was a tad irritable, maybe not.... maybe this will lose me some readers, maybe not.  But I have to say there were so many purple Team in Training racers and their support people that I began to feel that I had crashed a private party.  There were cheerers along the road who were screaming "go team!!!!!" and when I would go by, it was silence.  Would it kill them to cheer for someone who didn't raise $20,000.?   

At mile 10, I started walking with a woman who was keeping a good 13 to 14 minute pace.  We were talking and really enjoyed each others' company.  I asked if she minded me tagging with her because she was really helping me - and she said I was really helping her, so that was nice.  By that time, I knew I was going to have a PW (personal worst), but I just wanted to enjoy myself.  So, I did.  It was pretty great.

In the last couple of turns, another woman grabbed my hand and pulled me through.  I just kind of lost any energy at all.  

All in all, it was a great experience.  My poor nephew had to wait an hour for his old Aunt to finish, but it was great to have him there at the finish.  A friend of my sister's from New York City was also there and cheered as I finished.  How cool is that!  

I am anxious to start training for my tri in August.  But for now, I am on vacation!  And boy, is it rainy and cold at Denali National Park!!!  Perfect for sleeping!

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Excitement Builds!!!

Here is my race stuff... all layed out.  I decided to go with a blue theme instead of the pink I had purchased.  Probably because it didn't require that I purchase a new jacket.  

It is so hard to pack for a trip where the high temperatures will be maybe 60º when I am sweltering in 80º indoors right now.  

For instance, I bought some water shoes for the fishing trip we are taking.  Well, I won't really want water shoes, I probably really want some water proof boots.  But I have water shoes, so I will wear water shoes.  They are super cool looking.  
And can you guess what my favorite color is?  (who even HAS a green bra? well, I do, actually a couple of them.) And no, the green chacos are not my water shoes.  

So, I have become obsessed with the idea of running all alone on that trail during the half-marathon and encountering a moose.  Probably coming in dead last in my last half-marathon wasn't the confidence building experience I might have thought it was.  Anyway, I have thought about how I was alone through almost all of that race, and thinking about being alone with a mammal larger than a large SUV.  Tonight I had a stroke of genius and checked out the half-marathon times for last year.  Well, I am in luck.  Plenty of people finished in OVER 5 hours.  For a half.  

If I finished in 3:08 like my last half, I would have come in 23rd of 58 women in my age group.  I would have come in 93/146 35 to 39 year olds.  

Phew!  I will be fine.  There will be lots of slow folks with me, and some even slower than me!  Yippeee!!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Something new to be anxious about...

As I looked through the pictures of the trail the half-marathon is on... I realized there were moose in a lot of the pictures.  

What the hell do I do if I am running along and there is a moose ahead of me?  I will turn tail and run the other way.... I just know it.

My first thought was  - well, there will be lots of people around, keeping the wildlife from the trail... but then I remembered my last half-marathon.  I ran alone for most of it.  Alone, as in I couldn't even SEE anyone else.  

I just hope there are enough people at this race so there will be fat people and old people so I won't be last and running alone.  Or I will be SCARED!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Running Along

I ran a couple of miles on Tuesday.  I felt good.  I don't know why running feels OK if sitting at my desk is excruciating.  And driving my car is slightly worse than that.

Yesterday at lunch I went to physical therapy.  She put me in traction, which really took the pain away for a while. I will have it again next Tuesday.  

Then on Thursday I leave for Alaska.  To say I am excited is the understatement of the century!!!

I looked at the route of the half-marathon today and did a little bit of research.  It looks absolutely beautiful.  Here is a link to some photos of it.

Oh, and with the help of my friend Debbi, I figured out how to get my laps on the garmin software.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

10 Miles

This was my changing room AKA passenger seat of my automobile today.  I started a run at 8:30 in the morning when it was pouring rain and 49 degrees.  I planned it so I would be at my car again at 5 miles - just in case I needed to take off my rain coat and long sleeve shirt.  By the time I had completed 5 miles, it was sunny and warm, and I actually changed my shirt in my car!  A little singlet instead of all that bulkage was just the ticket.  

I am now confident that I can finish a half-marathon in Anchorage on June 21.  I will be in pain, as I am right now, but what the heck is another couple of weeks of pain?  I am so excited about my trip and the race and I am just happy, happy, happy.  I would have loved to have been able to run a whole marathon, but it just may never happen.  I need  to stop minimizing the accomplishment of running 13.1 miles.  

After the run, I went straight to the best running store in the universe - Runners' Roost, Lakewood, Colorado - to talk to them about some shoe issues.  I left there with a new pair of Brooks Trance 7's in a size 9.5  Nine and a Half?  How did this happen?  I have always been an 8.5 or a 9.   Anyway, they fit me perfectly and don't hurt!  I can't believe they were so kind to trade out my shoes.  I didn't have that many miles on the other pair, but they were mainly on a dirt trail, so the shoes were definitely used.  

Here is a question for hopefully at least one of you who has a garmin and a mac.  That software is craptastic.  I cannot get my lap information and I really need it. I just downloaded the latest software this evening thinking I surely had the wrong version, but apparently not.  Could it be that this is the one thing that isn't better on a mac?  If so, it is a heartbreaker.  

Monday, 2 June 2008

Hammer Time

Yesterday I got a call from one of my teammates - calling me from mile 21 of the Rock n' Roll Marathon... for encouragement.  I was on the sofa, sitting on an ice pack.  But man, when she called, something happened to me.  

She has the same type of injury that I do.  She is 51 years old, but thin, unlike me.  Her mother died about 6 months ago.  In other words, she hasn't trained.  She started the race intending to run 3 or 4 miles, but just kept going.  And I watched the live results page online and saw that she finished in 6 and a half hours!  (take THAT, Rory Gilfillan!!)

Well, I figured if she could pull 26.2 miles out of her untrained body, surely I can run 13.1 in Anchorage.  So, that is what I am going to do.

I ran 3 miles this morning.  I bought another ice pack so that I can sit on one at work AND at home!  I have been taking my massive dosages of ibuprofen as prescribed.  I have been stretching religiously.  Taking my muscle relaxers at night.  Working on it...  I think I can do this.  

I just have to.  I can stand another 3 weeks of pain.  What's another three weeks?  Nothing! Ha!  I am so happy!