May 22, 2010

Go, Juli, Go!

My sister Juli is running the Fargo Marathon today. This is her first marathon. She has a goal of finishing under 4:20. Here we are after a 20-miler a few weeks ago.

Please send good thoughts/vibes/prayers her way!

Good luck, Juli!

May 19, 2010

Random Wednesday

I picked up some new shorts yesterday and this Nike Dri-Fit top:

There was some debate among the store associates if it was a cupcake or muffin. I'd like to think it's a cupcake but a muffin does make more sense (as in "muffin top").

It's kinda cute, kinda random, and it was on sale. Plus, it's hard to take yourself too seriously with a legged pastry on your chest.

May 17, 2010

Weekend Recap

Last Thursday I went to watch the USA 1 Mile Road Championship hosted by the Medtronic TC 1 Mile. The race is run through downtown Minneapolis and they had some pretty awful weather. It was cold and was raining off and on and they were also running directly into the wind. Far from perfect conditions. You can see how cold it was by how the spectators are dressed. (Full disclosure: I may or may not have been sipping cocktails while all of this was going on. It's how we stay warm in MN.)

By the time the Elites started to run, we had moved inside to grab something to eat. I took this shot of Christin Wurth somewhere after the half-way point.

She had a pretty decent lead on the rest of the pack so I'd assumed she'd won. Wrong-o. Here's the video of the race if you're a total running nerd like me, but what essentially happened was Christin didn't run a tangent on the one and only curve near the finish and her competitor's caught up. She ended up placing third.

The weather warmed up considerably on Friday- one of the first nice days in almost 3 weeks- and I went for a run with my brother around Lake of the Isles. I hadn't run since my amazing but painful 1/2 almost a week before. My hip/butt started to hurt almost immediately but I finished the loop. I have again relegated myself to biking, stretching and icing. Ugh.

We didn't push the pace at all and took some time to snap a couple shots.

Lovely Minneapolis in the background

Andrew mid-stride

Off to the gym... Happy running!

May 12, 2010

New Prague Half Marathon Race Recap

You've probably guessed from the title of this post that I went ahead and ran the Half. No, I wasn't feeling much better and wasn't even entirely sure that I would be able to make it through the whole thing. But I did. Here's how it all went down.

I never sleep well the night before races. I think it's a mix of nerves and paranoia that I'll somehow sleep through my two alarms so I was awake long before my planned 5:30 wakeup. I immediately started my pre-race ritual of making coffee and having a small breakfast (an English muffin with pb), took a hot shower, and spent some time on the foam roller.

Getting dressed proved to be a challenge as well. The weather report said the temperature at 8am would be 38 degrees with a wind out of the north at 16mph. Yikes! I had been planning on running in shorts and a long sleeve but decided to whip on my tights at the last minute. I am SO glad I did!

I went to the race by myself since it was miserably cold and the course wasn't very conducive to spectators anyway. I parked a few blocks away and did a slow jog to the start area. There were a lot of people milling about so I put on my race number, found the bathrooms to take my last-minute nervous poop, stripped off my sweats, checked my bag, and found my way to the starting line. The MN Pacers were there and I saw the groups for 1:50 and 1:45. I really wanted to run with the 1:45 group and go for a PR but since I wasn't feeling that great and the weather conditions were sub-par, I settled in near the 1:50 group.

Soon enough we were running. The guy leading our pace team was all about talking to the group (e.g. "When I say mile, you say one! Mile! etc, etc). I knew about a mile and a half into it that there was no way I could listen to this the whole time and set my eyes on the next pace group in the distance.

Mile 1: 8:16
Mile 2: 8:14

As I began to pull away, Pacer Guy of course had to comment on it. "It's still early and some of you are starting to pull away! We have a lot of race left!" That only pushed me on. Already my hip was starting to hurt and I began to worry how I would get through the next 11 miles. Should I slow down and stick with Pacer Guy? Should I quit now?

I had a conversation with a friend of mine the night before who said "There are always a million reasons not to do something." Right now there were a million reasons for me to stop and I knew it. I also knew it was decision time: I resolved right then and there to not worry about the next mile and just concentrate on the one I was on. Don't think, just run became my mantra and whenever I started to worry about what was coming, I repeated this to myself.

Mile 3: 7:57
Mile 4: 7:57

The course moved out of New Prague and into the country and its rolling hills. Around mile 4 we turned to head south and the wind was finally at our backs. There were a few gradual climbs but what goes up must come down. I did my best to keep a steady effort on the inclines and use gravity to my advantage on the downhills. The most substantial drop came right after the half-way point and I used it to my full advantage. However, we had also changed direction again and I was being sideswiped by the wind which posed an interesting challenge.

Mile 5: 7:51
Mile 6: 7:45
Mile 7: 7:41

There was some much needed crowd support at Mile 8 and I also ate two Clif Shot Bloks.

Mile 8: 7:50
Mile 9: 7:49

We again turned another corner and this time we were running straight into the wind. My hip pain had sort of leveled off to a constant dull ache and with the wind working against me, I didn't know how I was going to finish at the pace I was keeping. I knew that the next few miles would be mostly mental and that if I could just get to Mile 11, adrenaline would take over and I'd finish. So I started to think about what I always think about when things get hard: Joel. Since he spent so much of his life in a hospital bed, he didn't develop physically like other kids his age. He did learn to crawl and walk but it was much harder for him. I thought about the nights that I spent next to him on a cot in his room, when he would wake up and say "Na, ow. Rub." and point to his legs. ("Na" is what he called me.)

Mile 10: 7:48
Mile 11: 7:42

I ended up catching the 1:45 pace group right around mile 11. I told the pacer that I'd been trying to catch up with them the entire race. "Well keep going!" he told me. So I did.
Mile 12: 7:46

At the 12 mile marker there was a pretty decent downhill that brought us back into the city of New Prague. I wanted to leave everything out there on there on the course. So I ran. Hard. My legs were screaming, my hip felt like it was going to pop out of the socket, but I ran.

Mile 13: 7:06
Last .1: 6:13 (what?!)

And that was it. They cut my chip off my shoe and I chatted with some people I knew at the finish line. And then I tried to walk. It hurt. Bad.

So since Saturday, I have not run a step. I've biked, taken ibuprofen and arnica, iced, foam rolled, rested, compressed and walk around my house in this:

Awkward icing situation
Garmin Results:
Time: 1:42:18
Miles: 13.1
Average pace: 7:49
Official Results: 1:42:15
Officially crushed my previous half marathon time of 1:51:40 that I ran at the OBX half last November.

May 7, 2010

To Run or Not to Run?

You may all remember that I was saying that I wanted to PR in the 1/2 marathon I'm running tomorrow. Now I'm debating whether or not I should even run. Apparently my body has decided to fall apart. No actual limbs have fallen off as of yet but I think I'm moving that direction.

For the past few weeks I've been having some hip/piriformis/IT pain but it's been manageable. Things got bad last Sunday when I had a 17-miler on the schedule. I ran it with my sister Juli, who had 20 (her first 20 before her first marathon). Needless to say, I couldn't let her do the last three on her own. I felt pretty good during the run but things got progressively bad after. (Side note: It wasn't the extra 3 miles that did it. I would've have felt crappy after regardless.) So for the next three days, I RICEd and cross-trained and used my trusty foam roller.

And then yesterday I tried to run. Bad idea jeans.

Through the wonders of the internet I have self-diagnosed myself with hip bursitis, old-man arthritis, wonky piriformis pain, cancer, or Wimpy Runner Syndrome. I'm hoping it turns out to be the first or last.

So I'm still going to pick up my race packet today and drive the course. I'll do some more stretching, foam rolling, anti-inflammatory popping, and icing and see how I feel tomorrow. I was just really looking forward to "racing" so I'll be disappointed if my body decides to not cooperate. Plus I hate not being able to run. It currently is the only constant in my life.

In other news, I have officially committed to Grandma's Marathon. Like registered and everything. So I guess there's that to look forward to if the half doesn't work out. I'll keep you posted.

Happy weekend, happy running!