Monthly Archives: January 2014

Culmination

Sunday is the culmination of months and miles of wogging and fledgling running training. Sunday is the end result of a random post partum desire to be able to run a 5K.

My first half marathon.

Saturday, I board the plane for hopefully smooth travel to New Orleans. Carmen booked a hotel in the perfect location. We’ll have time to settle in and to play gently around the French Quarter. Then the race is early Sunday morning. When we’re limping around afterwards, we’ll watch the Broncos in the Super Bowl. Then we get most of Monday to explore again before hopping on different planes and heading home.

I’m nervous and excited, equal measures. Carmen hatched this plan maybe a year ago. It has been a long time coming. We have both been striving hard towards it. I’m almost ready to do it just to get it over with, just to see if I can.

But there are those seeds of doubt. All the foot issues, all the sickness, and the fact that it’s 13 fucking miles.

It just needs to happen. No more waiting. No more training. No more preparing. No more worrying.

Let’s do this.

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Frosty’s Frozen 10 Mile

Race #20, my first 10 miler.

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I did not feel well at all when we took to the start line of Frosty’s Frozen 10 Mile. Nausea had my stomach in a heavy ball and my head wavering, but Trisha and I were here. We were going to do it.

Prior to the race, Trisha and I had agreed upon our intentions to stay together. We were both in weakened conditions, and 10 miles is a long distance alone and without music. We noted the exceptions of if one of us dropped pace completely or stopped.

We started off up the Platte riverwalk. It was not the most beautiful riverwalk I’ve even trodden. It snaked through city and industrial, and the Platte was shallow and thin. It still made me nostalgic for my Chattanooga riverwalk days, and it was still better than city running.

The first mile blew past. The second lengthened out slower. I heard Trisha’s breathing louder and louder beside me. Then, in a hacking cough, I lost her. From behind me, she shouted for me to keep going. I was flirting with my pace, inching in on my float. I didn’t want to break my stride, but I also didn’t want to leave her behind or run 8 miles solo.

Conveniently, the route provided a nice little roundabout. I simply jogged around and around until Trisha met up with me again.

The pack of runners completely left us before the second mile was out. Once they were out of sight, it no longer felt like a race; it felt like we were just going for a run on some riverwalk. I’m happy in the middle of the pack; I’m fine at the end. I did not enjoy being completely left behind. I realize that a 10 miler is going to bring out more legit and hardcore runners, and I also realize just how slow my pace is, but such a disparity was just disheartening.

I reminded myself that I was running my run and just focused on going.

We plodded along. The riverwalk was pretty much flat and pretty much straight, with the occasional bridge crossing to spice it up. The winter day was a balmy 50 degrees, and I felt the heat difference, sweating hard and early.

Frozen, my ass.

I became aware of my injured foot somewhere in the second mile. It started as a flat ache on the bottom of my foot, below in the sore tendons. It didn’t hurt much, but it was an alarmingly early appearance. Part of me started to worry, but I was already here and already running.

Trisha slipped behind me slowly as I found my own pace seductive. I lost her in another couple rounds of lung rattlers. She insisted I just continue on, but I told her no. I jogged on until I found another roundabout then twirled around until she caught up. I told her I would be willing to go on after the half, but we were doing the first half together.

As we crossed into the fourth mile, the leaders began passing us on their return. Other racers nearby, even so far ahead, made it feel like a race again. A flood of encouragement came from the other side, almost always at a key time. I ignored the part of me that took it as patronizing and just enjoyed the community of it.

At the halfway turn around, I felt great. I was floating; I felt fresh, energized, happy. I felt like I could keep running forever.

Then I turned around.

Suddenly, it just got much harder. I was panting and sweating and dragging. By mile 7, I had utterly hit a wall. My foot was nothing but a pad of pain. My body just ached from my toes to my back.

The sun blazed directly over me, straight into my face. The sun, my relentless nemesis. I crossed under an underpass, in the shade, with a breeze, and felt a second of sheer joy. Then I realized it was the heat, that extra layer weighing me down at this distance.

The last three miles were a long and slow constant battle. My pace did not drop exceptionally, but my perspective dragged. My head was no longer wandering in distracting thoughts; it was inventorying my every discomfort. It was whining and trying to talk me out of it. I spent the last three miles convincing myself I was not going to stop, and I was not going to walk.

I told myself I had to take the same number of steps to get back either way; they might as well be marginally faster.

I told myself the nausea bobbing under my ribcage didn’t matter unless I actually puked.

I told myself I had to finish 10 today to have any chance in hell at 13.1 in two weeks.

I told myself whatever I had to to keep my legs shuffling at my zombie turtle pace.

When I broke off from the riverwalk and turned away from the sun, I felt human again. I could hear the finish line and felt (slightly) energized. I forced my legs to pump harder, even though longer strides had my foot whimpering louder.

When I turned into the parking lot, they had already deflated the finish line; they were already breaking down the vendor tents. People were holding the flattened arch up for two stragglers in front of me. They had air futilely pumping back into it when I finally crossed under it.

2:05. Since 2 hours was my goal and I had spent some time in the roundabouts, I was perfectly happy with it.

My hip screamed from compensating for my aching foot as I limped back to cheer Trisha across the line.

When I got home and removed my shoe, I discovered a huge, unnaturally red blood blister on my sore foot. I vaguely remembered noticing a blister was forming, but I was far too distracted by my tender tendons.

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NOLA, here I limp!… I mean come.


Wrench

This close to the goal, this close to the race a huge WRENCH has bounced into the works, threatening to derail these years of work.

Saturday, I went for a 13.1 mile run, in preparation for my upcoming first half marathon. I shaved some time off my first attempt, maintained a steady, sluggish pace. It was the run I needed to accomplish to feel ready to fly down to New Orleans.

During the run, I don’t remember anything happening. I vaguely recall pseudo-rolling one ankle, but I don’t remember it hurting then or after or even which ankle it was. I didn’t register any searing foot pain. There was the aching through my entire pelvis like my hips were going to abandon their joints; there was the knotting tension balling up at the base of my spine.

But no food pain.

However, after returning home, as my joints started to settle and my muscles began to cool, an awful twinge blossomed on the side of my foot. A sharp, shooting pain piercing my nerves each time I took a step or put pressure on the side of my foot. It persisted, grew stronger, penetrated me.

Two days of rest passed with no change. I continued to limp around the house. I started to fear it was a stress fracture.

I resorted, of course, to the internet. When I looked up the anatomy of the foot, I instantly knew what hurt. The peroneal tendons. The prognosis didn’t look promising on my smartphone web browser. Rest. Rest. And rest.

I don’t have time for rest.

I wanted to go to a doctor. Unfortunately, with my company mid-transition between carriers, it turned into a cluster fuck that lost my enrollment information and left me with no coverage until they figure it out.

Instead, I turned to my network of running addicts and experts and their connections. Their helpful advice and support calmed my sheer panic. A little. They, at the least, armed me with a multistep plan that still ends with me running my half marathon. And maybe even the 10 miler I’m registered for on Saturday.

I have to be patient, which is not in my nature. And I have to break my running routine, which is also not in my nature. If I don’t run in three days, it affects me mentally, robs me of my precarious little balance. But if I push through, I risk real damage; I risk even less running for longer.

I hate this. After so many years and miles of running, after so much waiting and planning, after the money to register and get there, why now? Why so close? Derailed by a bullshit little injury.

I’m still trying not to panic, trying not to assume that the dream is dead. Calm, self-care, slowly back on track.

We’ll see what happens…


Lapse

Between the holidays, starting to write a new book, a very active and currently Momma-centric todller, being recruited by depression.answers.com, actually running, and other life events, I haven’t had time to write about running.

I neglected to document race #19, the Ugly Sweater Run – Denver.

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It was a fun, albeit freezing, time. It was one of multiple recent runs that I chose not to don my winter gear and regretted it. My ugly sweater was covered in bells, so I sounded like a reindeer wogging beside Michelle and Trisha.

The race committed a cardinal sin, however. The route looped past the very finish line then continued on for at least a half mile. A false summit, as it were. Poorly played, Ugly Sweater Run, poorly played.

Beyond that, I registered for my first half marathon! Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in New Orleans on Super Bowl Sunday. Flight is booked; shirt is ordered–it’s happening.

I”m excited and terrified. I get to run with Carmen; I can check it off my bucket list. But holy shit, it’s 13 miles!

I never fathomed getting here. 5K (3.2 miles) was the goal. Here I come, 13.1! At least it’s at sea level.

I managed to sneak in some good runs over break but not enough. I’m ready to get back into a routine (though there continues to be impediments). I need to hit it HARD for the four weeks I have between me and that start line.