Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Flying Pig and Swine

So the big day (pig day?) is 4 days away and I sit here half hoping for a catastrophe to at least postpone the race. I'd settle for the CDC grounding all planes over the recent swine flu epidemic, but it doesn't look like I'll get my wish.

It's not that I'm not ready. In spite of my injuries, I'm ready. And truthfully if the race were postponed, I wouldn't be anymore ready. It's just that at this point, I know that I won't beat 4 hours, not even by a couple of seconds. But I still won't be able to relax and enjoy the race. Because it's a marathon, not a half, not a 5K, 10K, etc, it's the big one (yeah, there's bigger, but you won't catch me at them!). It took 4 months to train for this and it takes time to recover afterwards. So there's no picking another one the next weekend and trying it again. This is it. Sunday is it.

So I'll start the day exhausted and with butterflies. Probably have to choke down my breakfast bars because nothing sits well with butterflies and stress walk to the starting line. Push my way as close as I can to the front of my corral and get annoyed at all the people pushing around me. Impatiently wait through the National Anthem and then through all the other corrals starting and finally start the race. Then the butterflies become a pit in my stomach and it takes real effort not to hyperventilate. And no matter how much slower than my goal I get with each passing marker, I won't relax and just enjoy it.

But Sunday is it. And I'm really looking forward to Monday.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Last Run for Pig

So I ran my last run this weekend for training for the marathon. I plotted a tough course, I think I was still dreaming of hills. I forgot to drink some tea before the run. I'd been testing the effect of caffeine on my run. The good news is that I did prove that caffeine was not the source of my side stitches. So yay! The bad news is it sort of proved that caffeine doesn't have as much effect on my performance.

The problem with walking instead of running during the week is that I'm out of practice for preparing for a run. It's funny how fast that happens! I started my run an hour later deciding to take advantage of the shorter distance and sleep in. It was not a good decision. It was a very hot weekend. Unfortunately I didn't plan enough water stops and ran the last 4 without a water stop. It was tough, but I only walked a couple of times and it was more out of boredom than necessity. My foot injury seems to have taken a back seat to a serious knot in my calf on the opposite leg. The post run massage seemed to help it, but I see many ice baths in my future.

So the plan for the week is to continue walking instead of running and at some point form a good plan for the race. I still haven't looked up the weather. I'm a bit nervouse about that!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dreaming of Hills

I walked about 3 miles last night instead of speed training. It was less boring because another injured friend walked with me. But it's getting old. I miss running! I find myself craving a tough run. I start imagining a route with all the hills that I hate. I can see the hill infront of me so clearly and remember the feeling of glutes and calves engaging as I start the ascent. The feeling of my shoe gripping the asphalt and pushing it behind me. This has to be what it's like to quit crack.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Southpark Racefest and Other NonEvents

Sooo, it was a LONG COLD winter. I hate those. There were very few relief days and a lot more snow this year. And I'm tired. Very tired. I've been training for the Flying Pig Marathon for a...long time and it's in two weeks. And I'm injured. It started after my first weekday 10 miler. But not right after. I was getting out of my car and I thought maybe I twisted my right knee and that's why it hurt. It wasn't too bad. I began icing it. About two or three weeks later it seemed to move to my left foot. Odd. I've now surmised that the issue is an old soleus muscle injury which is causing tightness and pain the the Achilles and arch. But I'm still going to run the marathon! I'm just walking the weekday runs and running on Saturdays.

Today's run was the Southpark Racefest Half Marathon. I've never run the half before, always the 10K. This year it fit nicely into my schedule to run the half. It was a great feeling going into the race knowing that no matter what time I did, I'd get a course PR. At the start, my left foot felt tender. But it always feels that way until it loosens up. It was about a mile and a half into the race before it loosened up. The start of this race is tough. Not course-wise, just the number of people in the small lane. There's roughly 2,500 people who run the races combined. So if you want a good time, there's a lot of darting around other runners. I didn't care about my time because of my injury. But I still had to dart around a lot of walkers and other runners just to maintain a steady pace. It's not that I didn't seed well, it's that others didn't.

The course is tough. When I got out to Providence road for miles 3-6 I was getting into a good gait. Then I felt a sudden pang in my right calf. The street is seriously bevelled. Bevelled is pretty on a table top but an ugly surface for running. By the time I hit mile six, it was a pretty serious pain. But the pain that stopped me was the side cramp on my right side. Y-ouch! Haven't had one of those in a while. I walked trying to stretch it and started back running when the pain subsided. But of course it started again immediately. I spent the next two miles running until I couldn't stand it and then walking. Luckily I ran into Shashi and he recommended I push my stomach out when I breath and force the muscle into a stretch. It worked! It was sore after that, but using the technique I was able to keep it from stopping me again. Then I could focus on my aching calf. Lucky me.

Shashi and I ran the last 5 miles together and it was great having him for company. Before the race I had run into my friend Jody who was running the race wearing an ipod which would be her first race to music. I told her that I had thought of doing that, but then decided since I'd paid a fee to run around people that I would just try and talk to people along the way. I had totally forgotten how stupid the conversations at races in Charlotte are! When you do large races outside of Charlotte, you get a melting pot of people who've had so many different experiences. You hear about other great races, other great cities, other great countries and amazing feats of strength and endurance. Here's some of the stupid things I overheard today:

girl1: ...so I told him to bring his own flower. He said 'oh I'm bringing (*muffled*)'
girl2: aw!
girl1: I know! How amazing is it going to be that she shows up at the airport and he's there holding flowers....

me thinking: kill me now.

guy1: ...so many girls got elbowed in the boob at Cooper. I was like sorry, sorry,
guy2: (inaudible) dude (*snicker*)
guy1: I know! I can't help it.

me thinking: kill me, kill me now

girl3: ...and I know I'm a control freak, but maybe he can help me with that.
girl4: well, I drink every day in Vegas.
girl3: yeah, but he passed out on the couch
girl4: oh, that's different.
girl3: yeah, so I'm hoping he can help me work through this.
girl4: (*inaudible*)
girl3: I know and we fight about it all the time.

me thinking: wtf? kill me, kill me, kill me now.

From now on noise cancelling headphone and ipod for all long Charlotte races and thank God for Shashi. He had interesting races to talk about and experiences and a gps watch that told us our pace each mile. What more could you want?!

So the race is over. A course PR of 2:03. Hopefully next year, I'm not injured.

As for the condo saga, I called a guy about a painting estimate for the den and he came by and looked at it. Haven't heard from him since. Is that bad?