Sunday, July 31, 2011

Woman Down.

I thought I'd write a quick post as I'm sitting here at home waiting for my bath to fill up.  Not an ice bath, as those only come after long runs, and that was certainly not what I had today!

I was so excited to run my scheduled 11 (possibly 12) miles today after having 8 full days off while resting my injured foot.  It was still a bit sore, but a lot better than it was earlier in the week, so I figured I'd give it a go.  I mapped out my route, clipped on my new ipod shuffle (no more gigantic ipod touch on my arm!!), and set out for my run.  I made it all of 1.5 miles before I had to turn back.  Even half a mile into it I knew it wasn't going to go well.  I could tell I was overcompensating, landing more on the outside of my foot in order to try and protect the inside.  I had to walk some before I even finished the first mile.  At that point I still imagined I would make it through the whole run...even if it meant I had to walk most of the way.

About a half mile further, I heard that little voice (mom??) say "Don't do it.  You could get even more hurt and be out for good."  I turned around and started to walk back.  Then I heard another voice (mine) say "You're fine.  Just push through.  Go really slow and walk whenever needed, but don't give up."  I turned around again to try to continue.  I made it 25 feet before the first voice won out and my fear of serious injury became stronger than my will to finish what I started.

I limped the entire walk back to my car, and there were definitely a few times I felt my eyes start to tear up.  Not only did it really hurt, it really scared me to wonder what this means for my training.  I'm OK with skipping some mid-week, shorter runs when needed, especially for injury, but the once-a-week long runs are a whole different story.  Early on in training I know there is still plenty of time to jump back in and pick up where you left off, but as race day gets closer and our training plan calls for mileage my feet have never traveled (a mere 2 weeks from now), I get a little freaked out.  I've got a lot of googling to do tonight to figure out how to kick this healing process into high gear!

In the meantime, I'm trying to come up with some optimistic thoughts about tonight's disaster of a "run":
1) I didn't use my GU gel, which means I don't have to worry about picking up another one before my next run.
2) I didn't get sunburned, which I'm sure I would have after 2 hours under the clear 80-degree sky.
3) My running shoes will last me 10.5 miles longer than they otherwise would have.
4) My new songs on my ipod will still be new.
5) I can now probably get away without washing my hair tomorrow, which in my book, is pretty much the best news ever.

I'm starting to see the light...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Last Week's Conversation with Mom

Me: "Did you read our blog?"
Mom: "Yes.  I don't like you being a runner."
Me: "Mom!  I'm not a "real" runner.  I'm just going to do this one race so I can say I did."
Mom: "That's what you said after the last one!"
Me: "I know, but this is a marathon.  It doesn't get bigger than this."
Mom: "It's just like a cigarette.  PUT IT DOWN!"

Don't get me wrong.  It's not that my mom wants to put a damper on my excitement or crush my once-subconscious life goal.  She is just being an over-protective mom.  Which isn't always a bad thing.  For example, because of her, I don't really know what she means by the above comment, since I've never smoked a cigarette in my life.  But, as my closest high school friends know full well, sometimes she can take it a bit far.  Like the time I came home from mini golf 5 minutes past my curfew and she asked me if I was dealing drugs.  I'm hoping that this is one of those "over-the-top" cases where she is trying to keep me from getting hurt, but doesn't really need to.

I'm doubting this just a little bit though, as I sit here icing my left foot.  I'm not sure if it's a sprain, strain, tendonitis, or what, but I do know it doesn't feel good and I haven't been able to run in a week.  I went to urgent care last Sunday to see what they thought and the only insight the doctor could offer me was this: "Don't run the marathon.  26.2 miles...that's not normal."  Somewhere my mom is reading this and smiling.

I'm hoping to be able to run my scheduled 11 miles tomorrow.  I'm going to see how it feels in the morning and go from there.  My main goal during this training is to stay free of any serious injuries, so I am determined to listen to my body (and my mom) and take as much time off as needed.  Even with a good chunk of missed miles, I still have plenty of time to be fully trained and ready to race on October 9th...but only if I continue to be careful and attentive.  I guess this is just another lesson in the potential benefits of being over-protective.  My safe and happy childhood, detention-free education*, and completely tobacco-free lungs... all much thanks to Mom...remind me you can [almost] never be too careful.

This week's conversation with Mom, after I asked if I could write about her asking if I was a drug dealer:
"That would not be good.  You can tell them that I said running is for horses and criminals."  LOL!  I love you , Mom!!

*Minus the one time I put glue in my music teacher's hair.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Reunited and it feels so good!

The highlight of my busy weekend was hands down having my bestie in town!!!  Sarah and her family stopped at our house for a day on their way to Cannon Beach for their annual vacation.  We hung out at home on Friday, devoured a less than ideal pre-long run dinner consisting of multiple slices of pizza and just as many glasses of wine, and got up at 5:00 am (yes, 5:00 am!) on Saturday morning (yes, Saturday morning!) to run our scheduled 8 miles.  It was SO MUCH FUN running together for the first time ever, and it was so crazy to realize the next time we do so will be race day!  Here are some photos from our early morning adventure:

At the start

Pausing to capture the moment at 1.5 miles

Sarah kicking butt on one of our many uphills

Post run.  Notice the sun shines on us exactly the way it does in our hometowns.  Lots for her.  Not so much for me.

Sarah and her hubby, Pat.  He ran a 10 mile course while we did our 8 and still beat us by a fair stretch!
Running with boys: sometimes not so great for the ego.

We ended with Starbucks and were home by 7:30.  As crazy as it sounds coming from an anti-morning person like myself, it is such a cool feeling to know you've already run 8 miles before many people even wake up!  We followed our run by ice baths, which we have committed to doing after each long Saturday run in order to speed recovery.  Never tried it?  Go ahead, they're tons of fun. ;) 

I feel like this weekend was a small taste of what the race will be like (maybe sans pizza and wine the night before).  It got me even more excited for the big day! 

Lots more info to come!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wish List...

...Seriously. One of my runner buddies just got this and I love it!!

 trying to talk Christie into these...
need new shoes like nobodies business...

New road dog. this guy would be perfect because if I get tired I can just hop on and ride him a couple miles...

Getting our entire house packed up today for our annual Cannon Beach trip! We're stopping at Christies for a night, and we'll get to do our long run together on Saturday! It's the first time we get to run together and I'm so excited :) ...although speedy is faster than I am, so I'm going to have to throw a few extra shock bloks into the water belt...
We're running one of C's courses, and apparently there's a Starbucks at the end (she knows what I like!) Totally stoked (yes, stoked) to run in P-town with my girl!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

How we got here...

Sarah's Story

I think this post is supposed to be about why we like to run, but I feel like in order to understand this particular friendship you have to have the cliff notes version of our history...

Christie's family moved to Spokane when we were juniors in High School. We were all immediately friends. It was just sort of instant. I could write books on the crazy things we've done, the stupid things we've done, and the billions of memories we've made. From drinking too much coffee and thinking we were dying, to wearing giraffe and zebra masks when we were old enough to know better, missing flights because we're too busy talking, drinking Zima's with Jolly Ranchers by our apartment pool thinking we were being so naughty...I could go on forever.

But, it's none of those funny/silly/embarrassing moments that make our friendship so special. For me, the first time I realized how blessed I was with Christie's friendship was the first time I truly experienced loss. Too personal to share, but I realized then that not only would she laugh with me through it all, be there beside me to celebrate, but she would also cry with me. Everyone should have at least one friend like that.

Fast forward to 3 kids later... :)

I began running to escape. Not for fitness. But for the cathartic feeling of running away from home.

It started with half a mile (I'm not joking!) and I still remember the first time I ran the entire half mile without stopping. Then it went to a mile, a mile and a half... and I realized the longer I ran the more time I got to myself :) :) :) I've gone back and forth on training for half marathons a few times over the last year. I just get bored with it to tell you the truth. The longest race I've ever run was Bloomsday- 7.4 miles, I think.

So a few weeks ago my overachieving bestie called me and began harassing (Christie, there's really no other word for it!) me about doing a marathon. I said no. No. No. No. She knows how to paint a pretty picture and pretty soon I was sitting in the Costco parking lot with my kids crawling around the car...considering it. She said, "The training's not THAT hard!" And I would say, "I know, but-" "NO! Seriously, it's like you only run 4 days a week, and 3 of the days are low mileage. Like the most you ever go during the week is like 9 miles! And you've run 9 miles before! And the others are like 5 miles and then just your long run on the weekend, so its really only the long run that's hard! And the longest you ever run is 20 miles, so if you subtract 9 from 20, and divide it by 11 it's like you're only running 1 mile!" This is all said in "Super Hyper Christie Speak" where she sounds sort of like an auctioneer and I find myself nodding because her enthusiasm is contagious, and she knows I start to tune her out when she talks math, and all of a sudden.... I'm sort of committed to running 26.2 miles.

But, now I'm excited. Really excited. This is by far going to be one of the craziest things I've ever done. And I know we can do it! I'm so thankful for my crack-head sole sister who drug me into this :) So excited to train, and complain, and finish this with one of the best people I've ever known!

Christie's Story

I can't believe I'm sitting here about to do a write-up on how and why I decided to be crazy and run a marathon.  This is so not me.

Ok.  So maybe it sort-of is.  Not the "run a marathon" part.  But the crazy part.  That part is just partially me.

I've never been a runner.  Active off and on at different stages in my life, yes.  Especially if you count all the 5:00 am gym workouts Sarah and I would meet up for in high school (OK, plan to meet up for, since half the time I slept through the alarm.  So sorry, bestie!!).  But a runner?  Definitely not.  I hated the idea, quite honestly.  I mean, why would anyone want to get all sweaty and screw up their knees when they could stretch out on a cute yoga mat or read "In Style" or "Real Simple" while on the elliptical?  I just didn't get it.  "Runners" to me were always a bit of a different breed.  I would see them on the treadmill at the gym or on the sidewalks around my house and assume they had always been runners, and that it must have come easy to them (kind of like "Us Weekly" on the stationary bike came to me).  I wasn't one of them, and I was pretty sure I never would be.

In the Spring of 2010, Sarah started running.  At first, she would tell me she ran an entire mile.  10 minutes straight.  I was mesmerized.  I could NEVER do that, I thought!  Soon she was running 2, 3, 5!!!  Then she signed up to do Bloomsday, which was over 7 miles.  And one day, I got a text from her that read "Guess who just ran 9 miles?"  OMG!  My best friend, whom I had gone through everything with, was becoming one of "them."  She told me it wasn't easy.  She told me she worked her butt off.  I loved hearing about her running achievements.  They always inspired me, and I felt so much pride for her.  But despite her invites to run with her while I was visiting Spokane or sign up for races with her, I was content to let her have this all to herself.

But that didn't last long.  It's hard to have a friendship so inseparable, one with a history beyond measure, and not share a significant part of our current lives.  So, a year later, with her commitment as my inspiration (as well as a bit of jealousy over her hot runner's legs), I decided to do something crazy for my 30th birthday.  In March 2011, I signed up for the Helvetia Half Marathon taking place outside of Portland the morning of my birthday: June 11, 2011.  Armed with Hal Higdon's Novice 12-week Training Program and too much pride to back out, I began to run.

I remember my first training run.  It was 3 miles.  I ran for about 3 1/2 minutes and almost fell over dead.  I walked most of the remainder, cursing my stupid crazy idea.  But it was too late money had been paid and the word had spread.  There was no turning back!  My only goal on my training "runs" was for my feet to go as far as the program told me they should.  I didn't care how much I walked, or how long it took.  As long as my feet traveled the 3, then 4, then eventually 10 miles, I could check it off my list and say I did it.  I'll never forget the first time I ran the entire mile.  Or the first time I ran 3.  Or, just a few weeks later, 7 (!!!).  I'll never forget going out for my 9-mile training run and coming home on the biggest high ever because not only did I run the whole darn thing, I ended up going 11.  11 miles.  I still can't believe I'm saying that.  Remember, this is me, a non-runner.  The woman who almost died at 0.3 miles.  I have to say, it was never easy.  But somehow I made it to the Half Marathon, ran the whole time, beat my announced goal by 6 minutes (and my secret-only-I-know-it goal by 1), and kicked off my 30's with a smile that can only come from achieving your own "impossible."

Even the week of the Half I told people I never wanted to run a full marathon.  Why would anyone do that?!?!?  A couple weeks later, an uninvited thought popped into my head.  "You're already halfway there.  If you ever dreamed of doing it, now's the time."  Apparently my subconscious had visions of crossing a marathon finish line somewhere deep, deep, deeeeeep down inside it, and once a stupid crazy thought like that pops into my head, it's near impossible to kill it.  The October 9, 2011 Portland Marathon was 15 weeks away.  I was already 3 weeks behind in the minimum 18 week training.  I knew only one person in the world could possibly be as crazy as me: the runner who started it all.  See, Sarah?  In reality, this is all YOUR fault.  I'd never have put you in this insane position if you hadn't ran away from home for the first time last spring.  Actually...sounds to me like it's the kids' fault.  Let's blame it on them. :)

So, here we are, 3 weeks into our training and less than 12 weeks to go.  We are on our way to writing another crazy, unforgettable, "only Sarah and Christie..." chapter in our story.  I cannot wait to cross that finish line that October morning (assuming we can make it there before noon) with my best friend by my side.  And I'm just as excited to document the steps we take to get there.  After all, I'm pretty sure I once read a quote on the side binding of "Real Simple" that life is about the journey, not the destination.  Thank you, Elliptical, for giving me the chance to read that.  I'm sorry I've been away so long.  But it seems that somehow, someway, beyond all stretches of the imagination (even mine!), I've become a runner. 

Let the journey begin!