Sunday, June 8, 2014

Michelob Ultra 13.1 Chicago Half Marathon RR

Why: Hubby is doing one half marathon a month to get higher on the Half Fanatics level and I don't have a marathon until July, so why not?

How:  We had tons of fun and even though hubby was dealing with a groin issue after Mile 10, he finished his third fastest half marathon (out of six) and did pretty well.

We had tons of fun.  I FEd with as many people as I could (sorry, Runny_Babbit, Jerry, you are going to be on my next trip to Chicago, fo shizzle - if that's how it's said).

So, here is the RR, in pics:

I arrived in Chicago at 11:30am while hubby was coming twelve hours later due to work.  LRB, who was in town for business, picked me up at the airport and after many years of friendship, we met in person.  Here is him on our way to meet Mary for lunch (marymay611):

We met Mary at my hotel, checked in and went to the Navy Pier for lunch:

Fooled around town for a bit:

And later said our goodbyes.   I met my coach and RobinCD for coffee (forgot to take a picture), went back to the hotel, had dinner, and napped because hubby's flight was delayed .  We only had 4 hours of sleep before the race.

We took the 5:30am shuttle to the start, met my coach (NACN from the RWOL forums) who was pacing the 1:45 group:

Got ready to start and took some "selfies":

I love that hat!

The temps were great.  June and it was in the low 60s.  Sunny on the way back but very nice.  We made good time until hubby's groin started feeling sore so we slowed down to prevent anything bad (he has suffered from this since he was a teenager so whenever his bouts get too bad, we slow down).

Around Mile 12.5, we saw Dave Mari (who we see on every race and I'm surprised that he always remembers me and my name):

We finished enough for his third fastest half marathon.  We enjoyed the free beer (well, what can you do, it's beer):

And enjoyed Chicago until it was time to leave.  I love this picture because it shows why we really do this.  Meeting people, having fun, what more can we ask for?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Surfer's Path Marathon RR

I waited a long time to write the RR because I have been waiting for the official pictures, WHICH ARE STILL MISSING!  So, bear with me.

This weekend, I ran the Surfer's Path Marathon as my first post-surgery marathon.  Hubby did the Capitola Half Marathon, which was the same race notwithstanding the different name.

This race takes place in Santa Cruz, California, along the city of Santa Cruz and the Village of Capitola and passes through what is known as the Surfer's Path.  It is where Jay Moriarity is from, the surfer whose life is shown on the big screen in the movie Chasing Mavericks.

Initially, I signed up for the half marathon together with my husband, assuming I would not be ready to run a marathon by May.  My husband asked me three times: are you sure you don't want to sign up for the marathon?  And I said, no, I won't be ready.  Fast forward to a month and a half ago after a 16 miler, when I thought, hey, I think I am ready.  Slow, but ready!  So, I accidentally emailed the RD and asked whether they could switch me to the full and he stupidly did. 

My training has been somewhere between regular training and recovery from surgery.  As you know, I had a hysterectomy on Valentine's Day (so romantic) and it went well.  It resolved some issues I have been dealing for the last 7 years and the only thing I can say about it now is WHY DID I WAIT THIS LONG?  Technically, activity could be resumed by Week 2, but the surgeon wanted me to do no running for 4 weeks because of the amount of running I do.  So, of course, I biked during the second week and by Week 3 I was running.  The surgeon was happy with my recovery (as am I).

Week 1 back to running, I ran 7.50 miles.  Week 2, 22.  Then 33, 44, and back in the 50s.  As "training" for this race, I did three weeks in the 50s, one in the 60s, one 14 miler, one 16 miler, and one 18 miler.  They all felt slow but great.  I wouldn't call this training but it went great than anything I have done since Chicago.  So, I knew I could finish it.  Tentatively, I planned on running it at the same paces I ran my 16 and 18 miler, with a goal of 5 hours.  I felt it was doable.

Then, I lost my voice.  I have been having issues with my asthma medication leaving my vocal chords damaged.  I sorta need my voice for work.  A lot.  So, I consulted with the doctor and asked for new meds.  She gave me Advair and Dulera to try.  I started with Advair two weeks before the marathon.  MISTAKE.

The weekend prior to the race, I ran a 5K in Coconut Grove and saw RobinCD (who was down here for business) and a RWOL forumite from the marathoner forums.  I was planning on doing some speedwork during the 5K yet, when the time came, I could barely breathe and ran one of the worst 5Ks in my entire racing career.  That night, I ran 10 with my husband and he noticed that I was wheezing.  Yeap, the breathing was low.  The Advair was not enough.  Yet, it was too late to change it so close to the race so I endure it and the breathing got better.  Or so I thought.

Because of work, we couldn't fly out until Saturday morning.  Arrived in San Francisco at 9:30am and drove to Santa Cruz, did the expo and sightsee.  Found a nice Italian restaurant within 1/2 mile from the hotel and walked there and back and had a nice dinner.  We went to bed at 11am PST.  Up at 6am and ready to go.

Some pics:

Me and hubby before the race:

Met athenaofamerica, from the RWOL Marathoners forum, who smoked her race with a big PR:

And off we went.  I started first and my husband stayed behind to fix his shin brace.  The race was not flat but not super hilly and I did good time.  During the first half turnaround, my husband passed me (da fuck?)  That pace was too fast for him but he looked to be having a good race.  Don't worry, ladies, I chicked him at the big hill and he remained 1/2 mile away throughout the rest of his race.

I passed by the finish line in 2:28ish so still around the time I wanted.  I knew hubby was going to run a sub-2:30 and at least a 5-10 minute PR because I saw him approaching the finish while I continued on to the North and the other half.  By then, the temps had gone from mid 50s to the 60s and by the end it was in the 70s.  Nice weather when it's been in the 90s in the Miami, but sunny!  I got a nice tan from it.

After the half marathon point, we ran North towards the Surfer's Path.  We ran by the sea, which was very nice.  I saw a lot of surfer's in the water waiting for waves (this reminds me of the time I lived in Honolulu).  And then, Mile 18 came in.  The "path" was a dirt path.  Dirt = Dust.  I am allergic to dust.  It was very windy.  The girl in front of me kept raising the dirt up and the wind kept hitting me with in the face.  I started choking.  This went on and on from Miles 18 to Mile 22, making me slow down a lot since I could not breathe.  I went from 11mm to 13-14mm but at least I never got an asthma or anaphylactic attack, woot!  Yet, my lungs were tired.

At mile 22 we ran back to the finish line (at the beach) and as soon as the dust left, my lungs started recovering and by Mile 23 I was passing people like there was no tomorrow.  I actually went back to the 11mm I was running during the first 18 miles.  I passed the last hill and I saw some dude taking my picture.  It was my husband.  I tried to tell him to find my albuterol before I finished but I realized I had no voice.  Here is me.  I look annoyed, LOL.

I finished in 5:16, 16 minutes slower than I wanted.  But considering I was choking for a good chunk of the race, I think the time was alright.  I also trained for only 7 weeks and did little to no speedwork so the time reflects my current ability post surgery and a point to work on.

Oh, here is the husband basking in his new PR:

Apparently, he has found the art of the selfie.

And here is me at the finish.  Windy?  I think not!

Now I am taking some days off to get my lungs back to 100% (which for me is 60% breathing capacity) before I start training for San Francisco.  I am back on the old asthma med and have already increased breathing by 5%.   Good!

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

RnR Country Music Half Marathon

Coming back from my Valentine's Day surgery has been great, much to my surprise.  By Week 4 I was running the PR Marathon with hubby, by Week 7, I had done 16 miles of a LR.  Overall, the comeback has been great and I am back at 50-60mpw range without pain (which was the point of the whole surgery, yo).

Therefore, when my husband embarked into this madness that I don't know where he got it from , of doing a HM per month to earn more moons on the Half Fanatics, I thought it would be a great change for me to have fun and build my base until my first post-surgery marathon in July (San Francisco).

Then, I accidentally contacted the RD of my May HM and asked to be switched to the full, so I have a marathon in three weeks. 

Going back to this race, I decided to run it with hubby and even put my goal time as 2:30 to be in the same corral as him.  OK, every say awwwww.  Being that this race is on Saturday, da fuck?, we had to fly out of Miami on Thursday and be ready to race on Saturday.  We shall not be doing Saturday races after June, trust me.  It just wrecks our schedules too much.

Anyway, I woke up in Nashville at 6am and went out to run.  We stayed in the West End area and I asked the concierge for a nice route to run (thinking I would just go up and down the hill for 6-7 miles if there was not).  The guy told me Centennial Park was across the street.  Hmmm, I have heard that name before, I wonder what's in it.  So, off I went to Centennial park and during my first mile I notice this wonderful building that looked just like the only place we had a must see during our trip, the Parthenon.  Hmmm, it was the Parthenon.  I am so smart!   I ran the one mile loop at that park for 6 miles in nice weather (cold for me) 60s and no humidity whatsoever.  I went back to the hotel, got ready and we went out for breakfast and then the expo.

The expo was great.  Very organized, got out of my bib pickup in 5 minutes and went shopping.  I got 9 headbands on my trip and my husband miraculously did not come out with Hokas.  After lunch, we went to see the Parthenon right across the street from our hotel.   Some pics:

After resting a bit, we went out to dinner at a nice local Italian restaurant.  It was delicious.  Everything about Nashville was great.  We had no complaints.  We bought the shuttle tickets at the expo, so we were set for race day and went to bed at 11pm.

I woke up before 5am and got ready, woke up husband and he got ready.  The shuttle left from the Marriott, a 0.10 walk from out hotel, by 5:30am.  We barely made it.  Why did I marry someone who is always late, even made me late for our own wedding? 

We were at the start by 5:45am, hit the potties and met the Half Fanatics for a group picture.  Maniacs were nowhere to be found so I got my picture taken with my Fanatics and we headed to our corral.  Pics from the corral (it was still 47F):

We ditched the gloves and arm warmers just before the start and we started at around 7:32am, which I think was too late for the weather that came on after 8am.

The race is hilly.  Not as hilly as I thought (think San Francisco and Puerto Rico), but hilly nonetheless, so my job was to keep hubby going without going out too fast.  Unfortunately, we both had to hit the potties at mile 2 and spent 3 minutes there which cost him a PR but he was not looking for a PR and he was OK with that.  We had lots of uphills, some downhills but not enough of them, going back to Vanderbilt University and back into downtown, whereby we ran close to the Capitol, split with the marathoners at Mile 11ish and headed back to finish.  Hubby struggled during the last mile, especially since it was all uphill but still he came in 3 minutes off his PR.  That he will PR on his next race, I have no doubt.  But I will be busy trying to run a marathon while he is done in half the time. 

So, on to our next trip in 3 weeks!  Thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Road To Recovery Continues

This week has been great.  First, I had my six week post-surgery appointment and the doctor cleared me up for everything else, weights, kickboxing, LIFE.  I am back to where I was pre-surgery, all healed and not only that, pain free.  This week was a special week of sorts, not only because I was cleared but it was the first week of higher mileage since January.  I would dare to say, for the whole 2014.

I did run one 50mpw in 2014, in January, the week of the Disney Marathon but I never felt the way I feel today after running 44 miles this week.  I am running slower than pre-surgery, yes, but I don't have that mechanical impediment nor my abs hurt after 1 hour of running.

My next marathon is 17 weeks away.  2014 might not be a year for PRs and I understand and can live with that.  But it WILL be a year of no pain, easy runs, and enjoyment.  Something that has been lacking from my life since October.

Bring it on!

Monday, March 24, 2014

2014 Puerto Rico Half Marathon

Yesterday, I paced hubby at the 2014 Puerto Rico Half Marathon. If you remember, I ran the inaugural marathon last year and had a blast, even though the heat index was 100F and the dewpoint was 80F.  Since they moved the race to March this year, I registered myself for the marathon and hubby for the half and we hoped for better weather.

Then, I chose my surgery date and I had to let at least three races and lost the registrations on those.  Having said that, now that I went through the surgery, I wonder why didn't I just do it in January and fuck all the races I didn't want to lose my registration on.  But, you live, you learn.

I initially requested to defer the race and we expected not to go at all.  My husband had been dealing with shin splints since his last half marathon in December and there was no way I could run a marathon five weeks post surgery.  But, since I started running earlier than expected and running has been going great, well, really, it's been fucking great, hubby said: let's go visit the family, and recommended I asked whether I could do the half marathon.  This conversation happened last weekend.  So, with only a 7 miler post surgery, I asked and they said yes.  And off we went!

We flew Friday night and JetBlue was delayed, so we arrived in San Juan at 2am on Saturday morning.  Went to bed at 3am and woke up at 8am.  Awesome sleep, not.  We had breakfast at our favorite typical Puerto Rican bakery and headed to the expo.  They switched me to the half marathon, gave me everything I needed, and I went shopping at the expo.  It's a very small expo but they always have great visors and headbands, which I use 24/7.  After the expo, we drove around Old San Juan and drove the new race route, which was harder than last year.  One positive, though: for the first time in probably forever, Puerto Rico's weather was milder than Miami, so we were only getting a high of 88F and a dewpoint of 70F with a start in 75F and a dewpoint of 75F.  Much better than last year and better than what Miami has been getting so we felt we didn't have much to worry.

After our drive, we met my inlaws for lunch at one of the typical restaurants in Old San Juan.  We had a blast.  After our goodbyes, we headed to the pool for some relaxation and later met my dad for dinner at our favorite pizza place.  We went to bed at 10am and woke up at 3:30am for the race, as the last shuttle left the parking area at 4:30am.  We barely made it with the traffic (even though we were 2 miles away--this is typical Puerto Rican traffic).

The race started late due to an activity at the Convention Center which was still ongoing (Puerto Rico does know how to party) and they couldn't close the road until those people had left the Center.  Start time was 5am, we started at 5:21am.  Not bad except the Blondie was coming out soon and we wanted to be well ahead of the Blondie by the time it became a race in the surface of the sun.  We were not successful, ha.

If it was hilly last year, it was harder now.  The route starts at El Escambron and run on a slight uphill towards Old San Juan.  We pass the Capitol which is gorgeous at night:

We go up one of the worst hills in Old San Juan (they measure it at more than 18% but this picture does not do it justice), the uphill near the Fort San Cristobal, pictured here (not my pictures).  Of course, being Mile 2 of the race, we walked this:

Then, we head to El Morro and La Puerta de San Juan (also not my pictures):

But before we headed towards El Morro, we turned left and headed towards La Puerta de San Juan.  Sad that all this was in the dark.  Although Old San Juan is also gorgeous at night, running during the day would have been great as well.

We ran on the path circling the old wall protecting San Juan from pirates and other dangers and entered back into Old San Juan to head back towards downtown San Juan:

After we headed towards Downtown San Juan, also hilly but manageable, we started remembering places we used to go out, study, work, etc.  When we reached the Calle San Diego, where our hotel was, we went on a huge downhill and I lost my husband.  He smoked me there (I was more conservative going down the huge hill).  We met at the water station and headed towards Isla Verde and Condado to return to Old San Juan for the last stretch.

This is the Convention Center at night, we ran by it during the day, but still gorgeous (my picture):

After Condado, which is one of the main tourist hotel areas in San Juan, we crossed the Puente Dos Hermanos and headed back to the Capitol area and Old San Juan. The bridge looks better today but this is the only picture I was able to find and it's probably 20 years old since there are only a bunch of hotels there instead of 100.

 We crossed the bridge at around Mile 10 and started the uphill towards the back of the Capitol, when we hear the police coming in.  The marathon winners were coming to pass us.  The three elite males looked like they were going out for a nice stroll (this is an official event pictureSmile

This is them crossing the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge (it's close to 3 miles long) which is part of the marathon course but not of the half.

We applauded them and they soon disappeared from our view.  The last two miles are uphill (gradual 4%) to a downhill towards the Sixto Escobar Park where the finish line was located.  We headed there, got our names mentioned as we headed towards the finish and finished.

Here is us post race (I am wearing one of the event visors):

Hubby was afraid his shins would act up because he has been suffering from shin splints on and off for the last two months but he did the race without issue.  Me?  I didn't even feel a thing.  I have noticed that since removing what needed to be removed, I have not had issues with my leg mechanics at my husband's pace.  I should know more when I start racing at my pace.

We had a blast.  I don't think I'll do this marathon often.  After all, we saw the marathoners pass us by the hotel when it was already 90F and super sunny and humid and instead of jealousy I felt glad I was not doing it.  I will run this race every year with hubby and keep it as a family visit, with me doing the marathon when I feel I need my fix of a marathon that will make me miss Miami weather.

Today was my last surgery follow up.  I have been cleared for everything and basically my recovery has ended.  The doctor is not surprised I ran a half marathon yesterday since, as he puts it, this surgery's recovery is speedy.

I am glad to be back!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

After the Break: Rebuilding

Hello!  Long time no speak.  I've gone through so much since I last posted.  Surgery, recovery, back to running.  I have been meaning to write a quick post as to my whereabouts but I keep running out of time, so here it is (finally).

Surgery was on Valentine's Day.  I had planned that date mainly because I wanted to finish three marathons before I had surgery.  It just never turned out the way I wanted to.  I did the Disney World Marathon with hardly any pain, but lots of breaks and walks, but then I got sick just before the Clearwater Marathon and it was a miracle I even finished the Half Marathon walking mostly the last four miles.  Then, I planned on doing the ING Miami Marathon (now called Lifetime Miami Marathon) and everything was so hard I quit at Mile 8.  By the time surgery week came, I couldn't even run.  I felt like I had gained 50lbs in this short period of time and running was so hard, it was no longer fun.  So, I didn't.  Instead, I used the bike as much as I could.

The surgery went well (I did have some issues post-anesthesia that I hope never have to repeat).  Too well.  They took care of 90% of my issue; the other 10% is still to be taken care of via medication (hormones) or lack thereof.  Hoping that is not the case, but I'll deal with it when the time comes.  My dad came over to take care of me, as the doctor expected me not to drive, move, or walk much in the first seven days, so my dad was here to help.  It was nice to have him around but after Sunday, I was basically back to normal.

Here is me in the hospital:

Science and technological advances are an amazing thing.  This type of surgery used to take 6-12 weeks to recover and even then women couldn't run as far as 12 weeks out.  Shudder.  The first thing I asked for as soon as I was wheeled into my room was the iPad, as advanced registration for the Space Coast Marathon started while I was under the knife.  I was so out of it, my husband had to register myself because I kept pressing the wrong button on the iPad and crying when I had to start over.  Ha.  But registration was done and after that, I rested at the hospital overnight and felt great.

By Tuesday of Week 2 (10 days post surgery), the doctor gave me the go ahead to bike and walk.  At the time, I felt great, except the psoas major was pretty beaten up during the surgery and I still get some muscle issues today concerning it.  But, I still cannot press the area and my massage therapist cannot work on it so we're doing the best we can.

My first bike ride was of an hour.  Slower than normal but it felt nice to be out there.  I still took the full two weeks off work, mainly because I was tired and needed naps during the day, but by Friday of the second week (14 days post surgery), I was ready.  I still could not run for two more weeks (!!) but I was already walking with some running intervals as allowed by my doctor.  A follow call from my doctor at the end of Week 3 (21 days post surgery) indicated I was ready to start running and running I did.  The going has been slow but the miles keep getting stacked one atop the other.  Nothing hurts, and I no longer have that extra weight that kept me back.  And as another positive thing, no more migraines (so far!).  Woot.

The first week I only ran 4 miles.  I just finished my first full week of running (Week 4, 28 days post surgery) and although I planned on doing 15 miles, I finished 22, felt great, and even biked twice during the week.  Overall, I am back!

I go to the doctor next Monday (6 weeks post surgery) and I am expecting to be released to do weights and kickboxing.  I cannot weight to lift heavy weights again and work on my core, which although way smaller than it was before the surgery, it still needs A LOT of work, thanks to the fibroids.

I already have my first comeback marathon and training starts Monday (not at my usual mileage, mind you).  Unless I signed up for an earlier one.  You know me....

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Wait is Over: On Surgery and Taking an Extended Break for Recovery

The week has arrived.  I have surgery on Friday and, at the doctor's recommendation, I won't be able to run for four weeks.  It is not running related but it has been affecting my ability to run ever since my failed attempt at a PR at the Chicago Marathon.  I've run several marathons since then but all in pain and slow.  It is time.  I am ready.

After Disney, I attempted the Clearwater Marathon, only to wake up that morning with a severe chest congestion (later turned into severe asthma) and some fever.  I still started but talked to the RD and he let me switch to the half marathon instead.  I wasn't even able to complete that in any sort of running fashion but I got the medal and moved on.  It did not help that one of my kitties had died that week after an illness and it did not help that I was sick of work and life at the time.  I don't think I had ever been that meh about a race before.  Nothing to do with the event; it was just a bad week for me.

So, after my husband decided not to run the RnR New Orleans (our next event) due to his shin splints, I turned my sight to the ING Miami Marathon (excuse me, a week prior to the race it was called the LifeTime Miami Marathon).  I wasn't ecstatic about it but I wanted one more marathon before surgery.  The day turned into a hot and humid mess, a very disorganized race, and after my issue started bugging my running mechanics and I felt like I was running at a higher effort than I should have due to the extra work in moving my legs, I quit at Mile 8.  I just stopped, grabbed a cab, and got into my car and left.  Not sorry I did not finish; from what I heard, at least 1500 people did not get medals, they ran out of water at some water stations, and when the rain came, they said volunteers left the stations too.  Not the best Miami event I have run and apparently, I did not miss much.

I have barely run in the last 2 months.  The runs are either painful or awkward due to my changed mechanics.  We bought bikes and I have been able to do some exercise, but that is also going to be on hold for 4 weeks as well.  I'll run some this week (unless I decide to bike instead because it gives me no pain whatsoever), but on Friday, I'll be taking care of something that has pained me (literally) for seven years.  And once I get that taken care of, the sky will be the limit.  Gone are those painful steps throughout marathons, and the nausea and migraines, and the extreme weight changes.  Bring on the normal runner.  I heard those exist but I have never been one.

And to celebrate that fact, I have registered for two races that are not marathons.  Wait, what?