Monday, September 26, 2011

Off on the Wrong Foot!

So here's one perk of being home... I've got access to my own personal radiologist! (aka my pops)


Yes, there will be a marathon race report coming... Good news - I finished! Bad news - I have had an issue with my left foot since the race and it seems to be getting worse each day.

Thankfully, I didn't feel anything during the marathon. It was definitely sore later that day when I was walking around but I'm used to be a limpy person on marathon day.

The following day, it still felt off so I limped around walking with more pressure on my right foot. It was more of a dull pain in the bottom of my left foot on the front of my heel by my arch. I could get around OK but by the end of the day, I started feeling some shooting pains and I began to get really worried.

To be safe, my dad brought me to his work that evening to have some X-rays done. He didn't see any signs of anything (stress fractures, heel spurs, etc) - thank goodness! He did tell me that it could show up later, so if it doesn't improve by next week, I should have X-rays taken again.

Anyway, since then, I've just been laying low. But the pain is definitely getting worse - I couldn't walk at all this morning without sharp pains and the pain seems to have spread throughout my arch area. Painkillers definitely help but I'm worried it won't go away on its own.

I'm trying not to freak out but...

1 week to the San Jose Rock n Roll Half Marathon
3 weeks to the Nike Women's Half Marathon
6 weeks to the NYC MARATHON!!!

And clearly, the last item is the one I'm most concerned about.

But I'm trying not to get ahead of myself here. Maybe it's nothing! I'm just not used to feeling any kind of pain from running.

If you've ever experienced anything similar or have any suggestions, please let me know!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Expo Time at the Akron Marathon

Greetings from Ohio! Just thought I'd post some pics from today's expo...

See the blue line on the floor... there's one throughout the entire marathon course. (Learned that from Roadbunner.) Look - they're already training us to follow the blue line... this one led us to our fancy schmancy Brooks running jackets (and conveniently past each and every single exhibitor booth).

Got my pic taken at their "Social Media Lounge"... it's posted on their Facebook fan page.

Some of the official race merchandise... kinda clever, but that typo just makes you look like a dummy.

Normally I try to stay away from races with ~infamous hills but I guess it's too late for that now.

Hey, it's me and Hal Higdon! I kind of treated him like Mickey Mouse... got my pic with him and then scampered away. :P Hey Hal, if you see this, thanks for your very helpful training plans and tips that got me through my first half and full marathons!

On the way out of Akron... already spotting the blue lines of the marathon course!!! (Don't worry, I was stopped at a red light.)

Well, I'm going to try to catch some zzzzzz's and hopefully not sleep past my 4AM wake up call!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

And now the anxiety begins...

I ran my 20 miler this past weekend! It went well... ran around Golden Gate Park with some jaunts along the Great Highway and into the Panhandle. It took me three hours and forty-two minutes with an average 11:08 pace.
20 miles done!!! Enjoying my post-run chocolate milk.
Afterward, I met up with the Sunday Runday crew for brunch at Q for some mac & cheesy plus a mimosa. Which, sadly, I was not able to enjoy until much later (and for the mimosa, not at all). There must be some distance threshold where you completely lose your appetite because I'm pretty sure I could have chowed all that down after a half marathon. But after 20 miles? Bleh.

It tasted just as good five hours later.
Sunday Runday crew with new friends Sarah and Renee!
It is now three weeks until the Akron Marathon. With my peak run behind me, I've finally allowed myself to start thinking about my race goals and expectations. My main goal with the marathon had always been to finish sub-5 which I finally was able to do with the 2009 CIM Marathon. And that was with really sporadic training.

To hit sub-5, I would need an 11:26 pace or better.  To get a PR, I'd have to beat 4:55, 11:15 pace. My 14 to 20 mi long runs had an average pace ranging from 10:50 to 11:10 so I seem to be in good shape. Plus this year is the first time since 2007 that I've followed a real training plan for a marathon so surely I should be able to hit sub-5 and maybe even beat my previous time, right???

Well, I don't know... and I'm not trying to be a Pessimistic Peggy or anything, I'm just trying to be honest about what I should expect.

Last night, I started reading Akron race reports, reviewing the course map, and checking out the elevation charts. Oh, the elevation charts! The thing is that I knew my two upcoming marathons were hilly. That's one of the reasons I liked Akron was because I knew it would be a good preparation for NYC. But I'm not gonna lie - I would also love to get a new PR and normally people pick fast and flat courses for PRs, right??? Every race report I've read about Akron included the word "challenging". Not that I couldn't PR on a "challenging" course, it's just not an ideal scenario.

So let's check out some elevation charts, shall we?

CIM (Ran in December 2009 in 4:54:49, 11:15 pace for a PR)
The funny thing is that this elevation chart makes it look all downhill and super easy, right? But it didn't seem that way at all when I was actually running it.  It just felt like a lot of rolling hills. The other big thing that CIM had going for it that year was that it was FREEZING! I mean, literally, it was around 32 degrees that day. And if anything is going to motivate me to keep running, it's the fear of freezing to death if I slowed down at all.

Akron Marathon (Running on September 24th)
That's a pretty big difference, right? What kind of crazy person signs up for a full marathon whose challenging uphill climbs start at mile 17??? Did I mention that I thought my legs were going to fall off at mile 17 of my 20 mi long run on Sunday? Egads. At least there are a lot of downhills as well so I can try to compensate for my uphill pace there. (But that one at mile 11 looks potentially painful if it's anything like Nike.) I've tried to add some hills in my long runs by running across the Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Mason, and Golden Gate Park but I'm not sure if they were enough since the elevation climbs on those routes were never more than 200ft. Oh boy...

I will be harassing Roadbunner to give me the honest scoop on this course since she's the one that sold me on this race. (But in all fairness, the race is located less than an hour from my family so I'm sure I would have run it anyway. Maybe.  She did push it pretty hard - if you read her race report, you'd think she was on the Akron Marathon payroll.)

NYC Marathon (Running on November 6th)

Not as bad as Akron so at least the harder one is out of the way first. I think I will be on an adrenaline rush for this race with being surrounded by 45,000 other runners, the spectator support, and just the fact that I will be running through one of my all time favorite cities.

Nike Women's Marathon (Ran in October 2007 in 5:33:58, 12:44 pace)
I just added this in for comparison's sake since I consider this to be the most challenging full marathon course I've run. It looks like the Akron climbs are a lot more gradual than these so at least I know it won't be worse than this course. (Thank goodness!!! As Roadbunner always says, "Friends don't let friends run the Nike Full.")

Anyway, feel free to chime in with your thoughts. Meanwhile, I'll still be here staring at elevation charts and weather forecasts.
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