Sunday, January 17, 2010

23 weeks...

Yes, 23 weeks until my first IM. Wow. Every week that goes by makes it more and more real. I look ahead at my training and take a deep breath.

I have a mixed bag of emotions that run from excited to anxious to scared to confident. Some days I get excited and have that feeling I KNOW I can do this. Some days I start thinking about the distance and get a pit in my stomach. I'm sure this will continue for awhile. I'm hoping that by the time I step to the start line it will be a feeling of confidence, but also keeping a very healthy respect for the distance.

I am getting ready to swim bike and run more than I ever have in my life.

This is going to be one hell of journey.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sickness and Injury

Sickness and injuries are an athlete's worst nightmare. I've had my share of both. I started with shin splints as a beginning runner. This is something that plagued me through my entire basketball career. It took a few years to learn how to deal with that. Then I moved onto some serious hip/IT issues that took me out for the entire 2006 season. I remember when I finally gave in to seek treatment. I was up really early that day and running with the PR Racing team for the Relay For Life. I did my six miles on the track and then a bunch of us headed to Mechanic Falls to run the Pottle Hill 10K. After the race I was trying to get in my car and had to physically pick up my left leg to get it in the car. I learned from that episode not to wait so long before calling my PT! That hip/IT issue has become somewhat chronic but I am learning how to deal with it and can see, or better yet feel, the early warning signs.

Let's not forget the winter I fell on the ice and broke my arm. I remember asking the ER doctor if I could still run. He laughed and said if you can stand the pain, sure. I soon learned why he laughed and didn't run for 2 weeks. I'm sure I looked really awkward running with a cast that held my arm at a 90 deg angle. More recently, my spill over the handlebars at the 2009 Mooseman that left me with a broken finger. A broken finger seems minor but let me tell you, any broken bone hurts. Again, I got some crazy looks swimming in the pool with my cast. Talk about fitting the Nemo nickname! And trying to get my wetsuit back off over the cast took 3 people!

Sickness. Yes, I have trained and race through some tough times. I remember getting sick the week before the MidWinter Classic one year. I hadn't slept well for 3 nights and then decided I would race anyway. I actually had a great race, I'm not sure how, but then got even sicker for a week after. Hell, it's worth it right? Then a few years ago I caught what I would like to call the death plague. I had the flu so bad it landed me in the emergency room and I was put on bed rest for a week! About 10 days later I tried to go to spin class and almost passed out on my bike. Okay, so maybe that was a little too soon. 2 weeks after that I decided to race the New Bedford Half. I made it through and then went into a coughing frenzy at the finish line until I started dry heaving. Lovely sight.

And the whole reason for this post is that I got sick last Thursday. I woke up with a scratchy throat and was sneezing all day. Friday morning I woke up with the full blown cold. Sore throat, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and absolutely no energy. It continued all day Saturday and into Sunday. I missed an entire weekend of training! This morning I felt better. I thought I might just be able to hit the pool after work to test how I felt. BUT THEN, I fell down my outside stairs. I live on the second floor so I walk down a flight of stairs everyday. I walk out the door carrying my purse, my lunch bag, a bag of returnables to leave by the dumpster for the homeless man, and my coffee. I'm probably five steps from the end and I have no idea what happened. I think I caught the heel of my boot maybe, but start to fall, I try to catch myself, took a step, rolled my ankle, and then fell forward down the other four stairs onto the landing. Of course the first thing you do when you get up is look around to see if anyone saw this! Then I took inventory ... scraped shin, sore ankle, spilled coffee ... I think I'll survive. However, as the day as progressed my ankle has gotten worse. It is very very sore to walk on, in fact I cannot walk without a limp. It isn't too swollen (yet) but is starting to bruise. All I can think about is how long will this set me back? Not a great way to start the week.

So, sickness and injury ... I have no patience for either!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hangover Classic Race Report

Running the Hangover Classic is becoming a tradition for me. This was my 5th time running. I had to go back and look at my past results when I got home today. The times vary because the weather varies drastically. I've run in 40 deg and rain. I've run in 10 deg with stiff cold winds. I've run with the roads covered in snow. This is what my past 4 races looked like:
2005 - 5K, 3rd place, 20:03
2006 - 10K, 7th place, 41:19
2007 - 5K, 6th place, 21:09
2009 - 5K, 3rd place, 21:52

The other part of this race I like is that you have an opportunity to "take the plunge." Yes, jump in the Atlantic Ocean on Jan 1st ... and all for a mug! The first thing I did when I arrived was walk up to the beach to check out the waves.

It looked good and at a balmy 32 degrees plunging was definitely an option this year.

I went down to register and signed up for the 5K. I'm still nursing a sore and tight left hamstring so didn't think I could make it through the 10K. I did a 2 mile warm-up with Laurie and Linda then went inside to really stretch my hamstrings. I went back to the car, pinned on my number, put on my flats, and changed my shirt. I jogged a little more and then hit the start line.

Now, one of my pet peeves is races that start late. There is a reason we warm-up and it's not to stand forever at the start line. For some reason the race director found it necessary to delay the start to let a few runners get through the port-a-potty line. Seriously? Urgh!!!!

We finally started and I got trapped behind a few slow starters. After we rounded the first corner I made my way through and had room to run. I settled in and felt good. I hit the first mile marker in 6:45. At about the half-way point, we take this little detour around the block before we head back. At the first corner they ran us over some person's yard to avoid a flooded street. The footing was horrible but luckily is was only for a few seconds. I was still feeling really good except my hamstring was starting to get tight. When I hit the two mile mark it was tight enough that I could feel my gait changing slightly to compensate. I crossed the line in 21:02. I had no idea where I was until I turned the last corner and saw the clock. For some reason I never looked at my watch again after the first mile. I ran hard and was happy with that. I was also pleased that my overall pace is about 6:47, which means I never slowed down after the first mile.

I collected my mug for being in the top 25 finishers, walked down the finish shoot, caught my breath, then headed to the beach. Yup, it was time to take the plunge. Off with the shoes and socks, off with the stocking cap, off with the shirt. I trotted toward the water in my tights and sports bra. In order to get the mug, you have to fully submerge yourself. I've learned from the past that you have to be careful of the waves, especially when your legs are tired from racing. I walked out and waited for 2 big waves to roll into me then under I went. I came up and headed back up to collect my second mug!

I jogged back to the car barefoot, not very smart, but I didn't want to get sand in my flats. I grabbed my bag and headed inside to change. I'm always amazed at how much sand accumulates in your hair and bra in the 20 sec you are under water. Amazing! Putting on dry clothes felt wonderful.

My 21:02 gave me an overall 3rd place finish. My 5th hangover classic, my 3rd ocean plunge. It really is a great way to start the year.