It’s too bad running isn’t a social sport…

“It’s too bad running isn’t a social sport.” — Mike Zensius

Yes, it was but a mere two months ago when I made the bold declaration that I would be retiring from the marathon arena. And it was also two months ago when my friends all scoffed and laughed in my face, telling me I was full of crock.

Well… it turns out they were right. Because guess what? I will be running marathon #6 on Sunday.

I’ve asked myself multiple times over the past 3 years since I started running marathons, “Why?” Certainly, the cause that I raise money for year after year has grown close to my heart, and it continues to be the fuel that drives me to return to Team In Training year after year. But why run a marathon as opposed to, say… a half marathon, which is a huge accomplishment in itself, and doesn’t require the grueling, soul-sucking training that I seem to be unable to resist volunteering myself for?

I think tonight, I got my answer. Because it’s social. Because it’s brought friendships into my life that I never could have predicted, and now can’t imagine being without. My friend Mike, of course, was being facetious when he made the above statement. But nothing could be further from the truth. Running–and running marathons, in particular–is my lifeblood because it’s the lifeblood of so many of my friendships. And so, I may as well give up this futile attempt at retiring from the game.

Who could possibly want to walk away from a game this fun and this fulfilling?

Unofficial send-off dinner for CIM

Unofficial send-off dinner for CIM

Advertisements

Coming away unscathed

First post-injury (or should I say post-injuries?) race today: a 10K, which was a manageable enough distance for me and manage my nerves. Mind you, I was still pretty traumatized by my experience in the last race I ran–you know, the one where I broke an ankle and tore a fair number of ligaments. Needless to say, I didn’t want another repeat of that.

I didn’t really know what to expect today. I was pretty much resigned to the fact that I would be unlikely to beat my PR of 1:02:50, but I was ok with that; I was more concerned with whether I’d have the stamina to run the entire way, since it’s been only about 6 weeks since I was given the all clear to start running again and getting back into my full workouts. I’d managed to keep up my cardio, but I haven’t been training at anywhere near the levels I usually train in, so I wasn’t sure whether I could just approach this the way I’ve approached 10Ks in the past.

I was pleasantly surprised, though, to discover that yes, I did still have the stamina to run the entire way. This was the longest distance yet that I’ve run since recovering from my injuries, and I survived :). Not only did I survive, but I got a pretty decent time as well (1:11:36), and I got a medal, which is not usually the case with most 10Ks.

Most of all, I was able to keep pace with most of my friends and had a great time out there–and I did it all without getting injured again. It was exactly the boost to my confidence that I needed! It was nice to remember that I can go out there and run a race and not come away injured. I know this intellectually, of course, but it’s one thing to know it and quite another to have it reinforced for you. Today was all about the reinforcement :).

 

10K bling

A medal for a 10K? Where do I sign up?

Are we ready to do this thing?

This Saturday (May 30) is the big day: Summer season kick-off for Team In Training! It seems like yesterday that we had the wrap-up party for Summer 2008, and yet here were are again, getting ready to do it all over again.

Today was the last unofficial buddy run before the “official” ones start. It turned out to be a pretty special one, as we had old friends friends return–including an alum who just re-upped, a current coach who’s been under the weather (I swear he didn’t get his cold from me), a former coach, and a mentor who’s made her triumphant return from injury (welcome back, Janine!).

It was a great reminder of why I keep coming back to TNT every summer, and why I’m so happy to be back with my peeps once again :).

Want to join us too? There’s plenty of room on the team! We’ve got an information meeting at 9AM this Saturday at the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara. Come check it out! If you won’t be able to attend, give our out-of-this-world team manager a shout at simone.sarracino@lls.org and she will hook you up.

GO TEAM!

Who’s afraid of a little rain?


Before running the Napa Valley Marathon yesterday, I had only three simple wishes:

(1) That I not get injured
(2) That I finish in 6 hours or less, so I could get a medal
(3) That it not rain

Well, two out of three ain’t bad, right?

Alas, it did rain yesterday–and it was a veritable downpour at times, as a matter of fact–but did that ruin the marathon for us? Hell, no! Marathon # 2 was a nice surprise, as a matter of fact, because not only did I (1) not get injured and (2) finish in less than 6 hours, I BEAT MY LAST MARATHON TIME BY 33 MINUTES!!! That’s 5:48:48, to be exact :).

Not bad at all, my friends.

The start of the race began benignly enough, as it was sprinkling lightly and there was a manageable chill in the air. I met my teammates at 5:00 (yes, that’s AM) to board the bus that would take us to the start line (did I mention it was 26.2 miles away?), and off we were to our adventure.

And yes, an adventure it was. Despite a brief respite from the rain right at the start, it came back again soon enough, and went on to alternately torture us and tease us by retreating. It was even joined by the howling wind once or twice (or a hundred times). But throughout it all, the spectacular scenery and the fabulous company (thank you, Toni, for running with me!!) kept me positive and motivated. Each mile felt better than its counterpart at the Nike Marathon a few months ago, and the familiar faces along the way lent an INCREDIBLE amount of support and energy.

So thank you to Janine, Dianne, Jason, Margot, Amy C., Tanja, Morgan, Nicole M., Tyler, Katie, Adam, Meghan, Simone, Doug, Tim, Kris, Hao, Mom, Dad, and others whom I may not have seen, but whose presence I surely felt–you made an amazing run even more out of this world!!

The final countdown

Three days till the big day and I’m starting to get just as (if not a little more) antsy/nervous/excited about the M-A-R-A-T-H-O-N as I did before my first one.

Granted, I’m probably making it way bigger than it needs to be. There are so many things wrapped up in this for me:

  • I want to PR (6:23 was ok for my first one, but hell, I’d like to do way better this time around!)
  • I want to finish in less than 6 hours (I want a FINISHER’S medal, thank you very much, not some consolation prize)
  • I want my ankle to not hurt in the last few miles (as it did in the last 3 long runs of the season)
  • I want to stay injury-free (’nuff said, really)
  • I WANT TO PROVE THE NIKE MARATHON WAS NO FLUKE

Probably putting way too much pressure on myself, but then, I have always done that, so I have plenty of practice there ;).

One thing is for sure, though: I am going to do this, ready or not, rain or shine. I’m going to do this for all the honorees who have endured plenty more things than wimpy ol’ me will have to “endure” in a little over 5 hours (oh please let it really be only a little over 5 hours). This one is (and really all of them are) for them.

So cancer, get ready to cry, you sucka.

Of 20-milers, 10K’s, and new shoes

Several weeks behind on updating, so I’ve got lots to catch up on. It’s been a very busy last few weeks in terms of running!

I should start by saying, hooray, I am finally in taper! During the summer season, taper was NOT a fun time for me (I believe the best way I can sum it up is that I was constantly climbing the walls from all the pent-up energy). This season, though… well, let’s just say it’s another story! With the training taking place in a far more condensed time period, it’s been a challenge all the way and I am very much looking forward to taking it easy and resting up till the big day.

Not that I didn’t go into taper without a big bang. The “last hurrah” was quite spectacular: a 20-miler in ridiculously gorgeous Monterey. We’ve been very, very lucky all season in that the rain–plentiful though it has been at times–seems to let up whenever we have a long run on hand. This run was no exception, as the rain from the previous night cleared just in time and we had a mild, sunny day throughout the entire first half of the day. With these kind of views (see pic), it was hard to notice any aches and pains, though there were some. My ankle issue flared up in the very end, though it was not as bad as it was after the Kaiser Half. I did begin to suspect that the real culprit was not a medical issue (as confirmed by the x-ray from the doctor’s), but rather, a form and shoes issue.

Which leads me to my next topic, which is… shoes. For the last four years, I have been super loyal to Asics GT-2140’s (or, as they were called when I first donned them back in the day, GT-2100’s). However, it also occurred to me that in 4 years, I might very well have evolved in my form and maybe these shoes were no longer the right ones for me. Guess what? My suspicion was right. Turns out, I am no longer a “pronator,” as I was when I first started on this running adventure, and the GT-2140’s are “too much shoe.” I was outfitted with the Asics Nimbus, and so far so good.

In fact, I wore the new shoes on my 10K yesterday, where coincidentally I set a new 10K PR 🙂 (not that I’m implying that this is was a direct consequence of the new shoes, but they did feel pretty good!).

So what is next? Enjoying my taper and getting myself mentally ready for the daunting task for marathon #2. It’s especially daunting for me, as I will be forced to run it without my wonderful running buddy, Janine, who got injured this season. I think that will be my biggest mental challenge, but I am determined to do well for the both of us.