First 5K of the Year

This past Saturday, I ran a 5K as part of the LA Marathon weekend event with Team Parkinson.

I have been volunteering with this group for the last 8 weeks. And what a wonderful and inspiring experience it has been for me.

This group has been put together by the USC Department of Neurology with Team Parkinson, The California Community Foundation and InCourage Physical Therapy. Steve Mackel, SoleRunning.com/Trithiscoaching.com, is their coach.

We have met every Thursday at the Rose Bowl to walk or run as well as to provide this wonderful companionship leading up to the 5K. After our walk, Sarah Ingersoll provides this wonderful lunch for everyone that consists of a lentil-type of soup, bread, water, coffee, and yummy chocolate cookies.

These ladies and gentlemen are at different stages of this debilitating disease. But not once do you hear them feel sorry for themselves. Instead they share information with each other as well as encourage each other to go one step further.

This video from 2013 captures the true essence of this amazing group.

I can’t wait to be a part of this amazing group next year.

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Happy Birthday, Mom and Dad

Just last month, I was reminded how fortunate I have been to be born to these two people. My parents, though 13 years apart in age, celebrated their birthdays a day apart, March 4th and 5th.

dad2 (468x362) - Copy

1932 England, my dad is in the back. His parents are on the left and right. The ladies are his cousins.

My dad was British by birth and migrated to the United States in steerage. My dad’s parents and brother also migrated though they came at different times. They all become American citizens and settled in Rochester, NY.

My mom was born in the Philippines. Her dad was an American, an Army soldier, from Philadelphia and her mom was Filipino. Her whole family survived living through the WWII under

My mom circa late 1930s

My mom circa late 1930s

the Japanese occupation in the Philippines except for her father who died in a Japanese concentration camp.

My parents met and married right after WWII in the Philippines when my dad came to the islands with the War Damage Committee before he returned to the Army/Air Force.

For the first 17 1/2 years of my life, I was raised in 5 different countries around the world before I lived here in the United States. Yes, I had been to the States several times during my upbringing but never for a period of longer than 60 days.

My world revolved around different countries, customs, and sights. I never once felt that I was deprived even though we had no television, no radio to listen to, and our closest friends or my family moved after a year. It was our way of life. And to be truthful, I didn’t have a say in whether I liked it or not. But I did like it.

Besides living in 5 different countries, when we did have to return to the States, we would normally circle the world visiting family in the Philippines, friends who had moved to a new country or because my parents wanted to see a sight in a country along the way.

As I reflect about those memories, I know how fortunate I was to see the world without cells phones distracting me, hotels surrounding and pushing up against some of the worlds’ greatest sights, and when the world was, maybe, just a bit calmer.

Though I have lots of memories, my three most memorable ones:

  • Going to St. Catherine’s monastery in the middle of the Sinai Peninsula with my mom, my sister, and this other lady and her kids. There was no actual road but our driver knew the way through the desert. This monastery sits right at the bottom of the mountain where Moses got his 10 Commandments. At that time, you were allowed to stay in the monastery with the monks. We had to bring our own food, our own flashlights, and sleep in a dormitory style room. It was and still is definitely the most spiritual place I had ever been to even though I was a young girl of 11 or 12. And if there is only one place I could go back to, this would be the place.
  • Riding horses around the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx before going through the date palms and looking for a fallen palm so I could jump it with my horse. I did this every Saturday or Sunday if my dad played golf near the Pyramids.
  • Fishing that short time with my dad in Kashmir. The water was icy cold and the view was breathtaking. Oh, and I also caught the only fish that day even though my dad had been out there for hours.

And yes, there are other places just as memorable, like the Taj Mahal which we visited numerous times, the Grand Palace in Bangkok where my mother would do her Temple Rubbings while my sister and I ran around the palace grounds in the 1960s, and taking a freighter from Penang to Genoa for 45 days. There were only 10 passengers and we were a family of 5.

Today, my mother would have been 93 years old and, tomorrow, my dad would have been 107.

Happy Birthday, Mom and Dad. I still miss you both each day. And thank you for the wonderful upbringing you gave me.

I love you both,

Your youngestBetsy in Kinomo June 1953 Japan (2) (427x640)

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February 2014

My running seems to have improved over the last two months and especially into February. I have seen my pace drop by at least one minute on my long runs which is huge. I have also run over 165 miles in the last two months.

I continue to train with Steve Mackel, SoCalRunning.com. Under his coaching, my pace has continue to improve as well as my overall endurance. I am now able to run 5 miles without stopping. This is a change in the way I have run in the past. In the past, I was doing a 9 minute run/1 minute walk. In ChiRunning, it is about sensing your body, knowing when your form is getting sloppy and to walk when you need to and then to start running again just prior to when you start to feel guilty.

Another change in my running is I now run all the time with a metronome and no tunes. It allows me to be more consistent with my pace. I must say, I get some strange looks as I beep down the street and keep count…1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4 or when I  can say, “Yes, I can, yes, I can, yes, I can” as I climb some steep hill.

I’m still in training for the Big Sur Marathon Relay. My goal is to conquer this hill near our house as part of my training. It is about 1 1/2 miles from our home before it starts to go straight up. I want to be able to walk up it without huffing and puffing halfway up. And though it is only about 1/2 mile climb, it has an elevation of 500 feet. Good training for my leg of this relay run.

I must admit some days are better than others as are some weeks. My body tends to get tired and achy, probably from not recovering well, so just the thought of getting up and running on some mornings can be hard to overcome. Though I try to overcome most of this, sometimes I just allow my body to recover by going to bed very early, sleeping in and having a very lazy day.

Besides running, one of the things I have been doing each week for the last 6 weeks is walking with a group of people who have Parkinson’s. I started this for two reasons but mainly in support of my girlfriend, Donna Canterna. Her oldest brother has just found out he has Parkinson and I wanted to do something to support her and her family even if it is from afar.

This Team Parkinson’s meets each week for about 8 weeks leading up to the LA Marathon and 5K. I am totally in awe of these men and women who walk and are mostly training to walk/run the 5K on March 5th with a few running the full marathon. Their spirits and will to overcome this disease along with their family members and caregivers are something to be upheld. I will be running this 5K and will be at the finish line cheering them all in. Or if one of these inspiring people needs assistance, I will be more than happy to walk with them in this 5K to give them what little inspiration I can to get them to the finish line.

I did get sidelined for a week from running with a slight health issue. I woke up with a severe case of indigestion this past Sunday night. Having a case of indigestion isn’t something new to my body except that this was downright painful and lasted longer than normal, about 4+ hours, and the pain was in my back and up my neck. So after being up most of the night, I went to the ER.

My main concern was “heart attack?” You would have laughed at the thoughts and conversation I was having with myself in the middle of the night.  ”I’m to healthy to have a heart attack”, “I just ran 10 miles the day before so there is no way I can be”, “This is nothing. It’s all in your head.”,  and “Breathe, relax, it will go away.” All great self-talking points in the middle of the night.

Thankfully, I wasn’t having a heart attack. Instead after several tests, I have been blessed with a couple of gall stones. Unfortunately, I had another attack a couple of days later which had me up several hours during the night until the pain pill kicked in. There is a doctor’s appointment in my future so I can figure out how to avoid these midnight adventures.

Though these attacks made me lose a week of training, I wanted time to allow the morphine and pain medication to get out of my body and to be sure my body was fine. But even with that time off, I feel that I am still on track to achieve the 1000 miles this year.

 

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January 2014

Last year was a crazy, stressful year for me. So with that in the rear view mirror, 2014 can only be a super great year.

But I did manage to cross several items off my list last year. I have also deleted and added some new ones to my list as I tend to do each year.

Running seems to be the center in my life. I have found it to be a super stress reducer as well as a great way to clear my mind and to just think.

My goal of running 800 miles last year was achieved. I did 802 miles so I  thought I would challenge myself to do 1000 miles this year.

I did manage to run 5 half marathons and do Ragnar last year along with a train ride from Seattle to Los Angeles. This year, I don’t plan on doing that many halfs and no Ragnar though I enjoyed that whole experience immensely.

I started 2014 off with the Bandit Run down Colorado Blvd in Pasadena. We ran the Rose Bowl Parade route in reverse at an ungodly hour of 4:30am to where the floats where lined up. After wandering around the floats for a bit, we then ran back. The parade route was lined up with people sleeping, just waking up, or just wandering around. It was a great way to start off 2014 even though it was early and an 11 mile run. I will definitely do this run next year, taking pictures and spending more time looking at the floats.

This year, I decided to train more to support my desire to continue to run longer and faster as well as get my body stronger.

So with that goal, I’ve been busy running. Yes, to run longer and faster means I have to run more! I am training with Steve Mackel, SoleRunners, a couple of times each month. Steve is a ChiRunning Coach which is the form of running I have found most suited for my body. My goal is to make sure my form is correct as well as improve my pace.

I’m hoping that with all of this running and getting stronger, I will be strong enough to start training for a marathon, yes 26.2 miles, in 2015. Right now, I’m looking at either the LA Marathon in March or the Marine Corps Marathon in October.

To achieve this goal, I have taken up yoga, a strength training and a spin class. Though I try to do all 3 of these classes each week, I have found I’m lucky if I can get 1 out of 3 in along with running 4-5 times a week. If I can’t get in more than 1 class during the week, I do try to do at least 30 minutes of some type of strength training at home.

I would love to tell everyone that my body loves all of this but it hasn’t quite gotten there yet. Endurance running is hard on anyone’s body especially in the beginning and my body is no exception. But my body is slowly acclimating to this level of activity, my energy level is mostly on the upswing, and best of all, my pace has picked up.

Besides getting myself ready to do a marathon for next year, I’m also training to do several events for this year.

First, I am doing the Big Sur Relay Marathon this April. We will have two teams with 5 ladies on each team. I will be doing leg 3 of the relay for one of the teams. This leg has the best view but also happens to be the hardest leg. It will be 6.9 miles with the first 2 climbing 600 feet up to Hurricane Point. As I take breaks on these 2 miles, I will be sure to take pictures of the views and runners.

Five weeks after Big Sur will be the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Half. This will be another hilly run. So I’m hoping all of this training will pay off. And towards the end of the year, I will be doing the Inaugural Vancouver Rock ‘n’ Roll Half.

My other goal for 2014 is to be more consistent with posting on my blog on a more regular basis. So that means, one post per month as a minimum. I’m hoping to do more.

So with that, I do hope that 2014 so far has been joyful and filled with great passion for you and continues to be so throughout this year.

 

 

 

 

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Eugene Women’s Half Marathon

This past August was the second time I ran the Eugene Women Half Marathon. And it is becoming one of my favorite races.

Cindy and I before the raceBut as Cindy Bingham and I stood in the corral waiting for the race to begin there just didn’t seem to be as many runners as the year before. We heard people talking about the Hood to Coast Relay race and wondered if that might be the reason.

The Eugene Women’s Half Marathon is a fairly flat race, at most a 100 feet elevation climb overall. The course meanders through a park by the Willamette River making it a very pictureous run. And even though it rained during most of this year’s run, it was still gorgeous.Mile 6 Wet

Even as gorgeous as it was, I’m concerned that this race may eventually not be profitable enough to continue. And please note, I don’t have any connection with this half except I like this venue.

So I did a little bit of research on this race to try to figure out why attendance seemed down. This event started in 2010.  Attendance at that time was around 1500 but it was held in September. The following year, the race was also held in September but attendance slipped.

Starting in 2012, the Eugene Women Half was moved from September to August. During this time, the attendance has dropped considerably with this year being half of what it was in 2010.

So with the talk in the corral about the Hood to Coast Relay, we wondered if that race was held the weekend before. And maybe that was the reason why runners stayed away. Instead I found out that the relay race was held on this same weekend-not only for this year but for the previous year.

Now I admit, August is probably a better month for me to do this half than September. But this race is fun to do so I would try to plan to do this again even if it was held in September.

Eugene is a small town. Their main focus and probably main employer is Oregon University. But I find small towns fascinating besides the fact Cindy went to college here. It is fun and interesting as she points out the different college buildings where she went to class and the different dorms she lived at plus we visit and wander around the main Oregon University store.

Cindy and I normally arrive early afternoon the day before. After checking into our hotel, we walk to pick up our bibs. The expo is practically non-existent but that is fine. The support personnel are nice, making sure your timing chip has been scanned into their computer and answering any questions you may have.

Once we have our bibs and tech shirts, we wander over to the Farmer’s Market to people watch and, if we are early enough, enjoy some very delicious ice cream.

We aren’t big partiers. We tend to eat dinner and get to bed early so we are well rested for our run in the morning.

The walk from our hotel to the start line is a mere 3 blocks. And since this is a smaller event, you don’t feel so overwhelmed as you do at a Rock n Roll event.

You also don’t have the crowds along the course that you do at a Rock n Roll though the people who are cheering and volunteering are nice and genuinely kind. And let’s not forget about those gorgeous views.

Williamette River

Williamette River meanders throughout the course

So not being in marketing or event promoter, what would you suggest to Eugene Women Half Marathon’s committee to ensure this event can continue and re-grow their attendance? Maybe move the event back to September?

If you have done this event, what would you say to another runner to pique their interest to do this one? If you haven’t done this half, have you considered it? Would you do it?

Is August a better month for you than September?

And more importantly, have you even heard about this half marathon?

 

 

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Female, trail running alone, and being safe

I have always wanted to run trails but I am not the fearless type to do so by myself. I normally run only during daylight hours, in areas where there are other people around, or with other people. If I do happen to run alone on streets when it is

PAL-101CL Mini Personal Alarm with Clip

PAL-101CL Mini Personal Alarm with Clip

dark, I carry an alarm as well as text my daughter so she knows when I leave and when to expect my finishing text.

But being this way limits when and where I can run. So I decided that I would put my big girl panties on and run the trails at the Schabarum Regional Park. This park has some beautiful scenery of the San Gabriel Valley as well as the San Bernardino Mountains.

The reason I wanted to run this particular trail is to check out their elevation gains. You see, I raised my hand to do the third leg of the Big Sur Marathon Relay Race next year. And though it is over 8 months away, that leg has an elevation gain of 700 feet for the first 2 miles with the rest being rolling hills and a decent descent for a total of 6.8 miles. And yes, I’m nervous and excited about this challenge.

Schabarum Park has several trails that link together that extend from 3 miles to over 11 miles with elevation gains of over 1100 feet. Definitely, a good place to do some training for the Big Sur Marathon Relay Race.

This park is well used everyday within its walking paths but the trails border the park. Some of the times, you can see the park’s path and the people walking. But other times, you are behind a curve in the mountain and no one can see you. Also in reading about this park, there are some alarming looking people who sleep in and around the park and just appear on the trail. So I wasn’t exactly feeling that this park was really “safe” safe.

With a lot of timidness, I decided to brave it. I found my alarm and attached it to my sports bra. The alarm emits a loud noise. At least with the noise if I did run into trouble, someone would hear.

I started out at the bottom of the trail and didn’t see anyone on the trail for about 1/2 mile. Then I started to see some people walking in ones and twos every 1/4 to 1/2 mile. Most were carrying a hiking stick or a golf iron. While I was glad there were people around, I wondered if I should have somehow figured out how to carry a stick or an golf iron with me.

As my wariness waned, I started to enjoy my run, if you could call trying to run up trails enjoyable. That is until I started to seeing these signs!

Rattlesnakes

Rattlesnakes

Mountain Lions

Mountain Lions

 

 

Now I not only I had to be careful not to twist an ankle on the trail or run into an objectionable person, but I had to watch for rattlesnakes on the trail ready to strike at me and mountain lions laying in wait for me in the brownish blonde bush!

I wasn’t really surprised to see the rattlesnake signs as those snakes do like to warm their bodies on the trails. Rattlers normally don’t attack unless you provoke them as in step on them. Since I was paying attention to where I was stepping, I wasn’t too concerned about the snakes. Please don’t think I wouldn’t have been freaked out if I saw one. They just don’t scare me.

But mountain lions do. They can run so much faster than I could ever dream about especially if they are hungry.  And it was the hungry part that worried me.  This area is both densely populated as well as under-populated. I couldn’t imagine that there would be enough food unless it was someone’s pet to keep a mountain lion full. So they do scare me a lot.

To me, the only reason a mountain lion would be lurking in the bush is that it is definitely looking for a meal. I just didn’t want to be that female that gets plastered all over the news and internet. “An unknown female was attacked and eaten by a mountain lion while running this morning.”

Yes, even with all my fears, I would run it again. It is perfect spot to do some training for that uphill elevation climb come next April. And no, I won’t be carry a hiking stick or golf iron with me. But I will continue to wear my alarm. Hopefully, it will be enough to scare that mountain lion away if it does decides I look like a tasty meal.

 

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Ragnar

“12 Friends, 2 Vans,

2 Days, 1 Night,

200 Mile Relay,

Unforgettable Stories”

That is what Ragnar is all about. And as much as I heard and talked to others about Ragnar, nothing prepared me for the wonderful experience of being a part of a Ragnar Relay Race Team!

To be truthful, I was very hesitant to throw my running shoes into this ring. The thought of being in a van with 5 other people for over 36 hours who I know but wouldn’t call my very best and oldest friends, running 3 legs over that time, showering in gyms with hot, cold, or both hot and cold water, nourishment consisting of what basically could be stored in a cooler shared by 5 others, getting very little sleep and what sleep you can get on a gym floor, and the worry of can I run fast enough to not slow down the team was not something I was sure I would want to do, could do or even like to do.

But now that I have done Ragnar, I wouldn’t trade the memories or the experience for the world.

Van 1

Van 1

We had the best team. Team Pipulsion  was captained by Susan Howard Wade. Susan was the one who organized our team, decided on what number runner we would be based on our preferences, and established the overall mood for our team.

Corey Hooper

Corey Hooper

I was in Van 1 with the best co-captain, Corey Hooper. She set the tone of our van from the very beginning.

Roger running to the top of a hill as we waited with his water bottle.Roger running to the top of a hill as we waited with his water bottle.

Roger running to the top of a hill as we waited with his water bottle.

We were a team in all ways. We filled water bottles, gave out ice cold sponges, held our runner’s water bottle, run after our runners with water bottles, made sure our runner had whatever food they needed on their run, and most important, cheered our runner along as much as we were able to do so on the roads.

But it didn’t stop there. We made sure that runner was taken care of even to the point of having what they needed as they handed off the baton to our next runner.

Aleca in much needed care after her first leg. It was hot and her foot was hurting her.Aleca in much needed care after her first leg. It was hot and her foot was hurting her.

Aleca in much needed care after her first leg. It was hot and her foot was hurting her.

And as we drove from one exchange to another, we laughed, shared our lives, and always made sure our runner was supported. The tiredness, the poor nourishment, the aches and pains all become distant feelings over those 36+ hours.

My very best memory and one I shall always cherish is when I was running my last leg. It was a short one, only 3 miles with a couple of big hills first thing the second morning. It was cold, foggy, and my bones ached. I didn’t need the van’s support during this final leg. I needed to just be within myself. Since they would be driving right to the exchange point, I asked if they saw a Starbucks along the way, could they stop and pick me up a latte? Much to my surprise, as I was about 2 miles into my run, I hear this honk and my name being shouted out. There was Aleca Murphy with her head and hand out the window with my latte in hand. What a great motivator to forgot about the heaviness in my legs, run a bit faster and a super way to end my last leg. Thanks, Van 1! You all are truly awesome!!!!

Our bling!

Our bling!

Of course, we must not forgot about the bling.

Susan, our captain, heading out our medals.

Susan, our captain, heading out our medals.

And yes, I would do another Ragnar in a heartbeat!

 

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Counting Down to Ragnar PNW

And my nerves are in high gear!

Training for Ragnar is now done. And as always, there is this little voice in my head that keeps asking…”Did you do enough? Did you train hard enough? Did you give it your all?”

Ragnar training is different than training for a half. Though you most likely won’t be doing 13.1 miles in one leg, you will most likely be running that many miles plus over your 3 legs and over 36 hours period with very little sleep, food, and overall rest.

I will be in van 1 running legs 2, 14, and 26. My legs will be 6.8 miles, 3.8 miles and 3.0 miles respectively. And though my legs aren’t that long, there will be hills involved.

My training runs involved lots of steep and rolling hills incorporated into 3 runs over 36 hours done once a week over the last 6 weeks. This was besides my normal training for the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half this past June and my continued training for the Eugene’s Women’s Half in August.

I must admit these 3 training runs over 36 hours stretched my body beyond its limits. The first run was always the easiest as long as I beat the heat and humidity. After that, it was all downhill. Run 2, my legs felt heavy and my body felt the remaining day’s heat and humidity more. Prior to run 3, sleep was never easy. I tossed and turned all night as my legs twitched most of the night. By the time run 3 rolled around, I was seriously questioning my sanity.

This video may explain some of our “insanity” http://youtu.be/EL1hLU_LBvs. (thanks, Kelly Howard for posting this)

And even after seeing this video, I am still beyond ecstatic to be involved with Team Pipulsion’s Ragnar PNW. I am also extremely grateful to be part of this team. I am their slowest runner. But then someone has to be. It just so happens to be me.

Donna Canterna, one of my best friends, sent this to me to help keep me focused:

“We’re all slower than somebody. There’s nothing to be gained from belittling yourself over how fast you can run; banish all thoughts of ‘Oh, I’m so slow, what’s the point?’ People get tapped even in world-class 10Ks on the track. There will always be lots of people faster than you. That fact detracts not a whit from your efforts to get faster and the meaning you can find in that pursuit. Any thoughtful runner who has set performance goals and worked hard to reach them will respect any other runner’s quest to do the same. Your effort, not your pace at that effort, is what really matters.”
-
Scott Douglas, The Little Red Book of Running

And I might add that though running is basically a solitary sport, it is also so much a team sport. There has never been a sport more supportive of each other than runners. In fact, a whole network of runners giving and supporting each other.

We cheer each other on. We support each other even if it means we won’t PR in a race. We share our stories of injuries, what works and doesn’t work for us, and our triumphs with each other freely. Every runner experiences this and more.

And now, I will be able to experience what it is like to be one of twelve runners running 200 miles in a relay race!

 

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Conquered My Nemesis – Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll

998386_10152969612730038_789485909_n The day dawned with clear skies which meant no rain or mist. It was one of those perfect summer days with the temperature settling around 70 degrees. No one could have asked for a better day in Seattle to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll. And I was thrilled to be trying again to conquer this event.

Several days prior to the race, I spent a lot of time imagining my run, feeling the spring in my legs, and seeing myself cross the finish line. I had done this for the Portland Rock ‘n’ Roll so I figured it couldn’t hurt this time.1017607_10152969624220038_844141493_n

As always, we ladies who have trained on and off together over the years met up by the Space Needle. We laughed, hugged, and decided on what corral we would actually start in.

I decided to stay in my assigned corral along with Danielle Rosenow, Erica Hirschman Rintoul, and Selena 1003964_10152969739885038_1142161992_nPalamides MacLennan. The four of us started together but eventually Danielle and I settled into a comfortable pace.

This year was the first year that I run with someone almost the whole distance. Because of my injuries in the past, I had convinced my girlfriends to run on ahead as I didn’t want to be the downer on their run.

Besides running at the same pace, Danielle and I do a 9 minute run/1 minute walk. We managed to keep to this routine the majority of the run which allowed us to eat and drink during the 1 minute walk.

Nothing says more than this about what was going on inside of my brain than this:

              ”Running is nothing more than a series of arguments
                          between the part of your brain that wants to stop
                                                       and the part that wants to keep going.”
                                                                                                                           1<3 to run

The only difference was Danielle and I were able to verbalize this as both of us wanted to walk longer and longer than our 1 minute.  We kept each other focused on our goals, reminding each other of our own goals, and urging each other on to meet that goal. Danielle’s goal was beat 2:55:00 and mine was under 3:00:00 with no injuries or mishaps.

As I was nearing the finish line at the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll, all that was going through my head was “I did it! I did it! I did it!” I started to get very emotionally (read that as tears gathering and trying to catch my breath). Then I realized that I had better concentrate or I’d be sobbing before I got to the finish line!

Danielle was able to shave off 7 minutes from her last half marathon and came in at 2:48:56. I run this one with a time of 2:48:11. Not a PR but I am well pleased with my time and running without any pains, aches, and more importantly, not injured. 983984_10152970831245038_1371798701_n

I can now say I have conquered the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll!

And no, I haven’t signed up for next year. My heart is set on San Diego Rock ’n’ Roll Half, June 1, 2014!

 

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My Running Nemesis – Seattle Rock n Roll

It’s that time again. The Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon is this Saturday, June 22nd.

Since the first Rock ‘n’ Roll in Seattle five years ago, I have had a love/hate relationship with this particular race. This was my first ever half and not once has this been a terrific race for me.

The first year, the Inaugural, I ran the race without knowing I had a stress fracture on the bottom of my right foot. I finished it in over 3:30. I could barely walk by the time I got done with it. By the following Monday, I was in a boot for over 8 weeks and my running was put on hold.

With that type of experience, you would think I was crazy when I signed up immediately for the following year. But I was sure this was just a blimp in my desire to run a half.

I rehabilitated my foot and was back to running by the end of that year. Training went fairly well except I had an occasional IT Band and shin splints issues.

By the time the second Rock ‘n’ Roll arrived, I felt I was ready. What I didn’t know was my body wasn’t. Halfway through the half, intestinal problems and IT Band issues plagued me. With several stops at the port-a-potties and limping to the finish line, I was able to beat my time from my first half by about 10 minutes but not break the 3 hour mark.

I was extremely disappointed and down. But I signed up right away for the next year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll. Somewhere in my heart, I knew I could conquer this race even though I, again, could barely walk, much less manage the stairs in my house.

Again, I took some time off to get my body healed and was back training by the end of the year. Training went well except I started to have shin splints issues. Frustrated, I went to the sports doctor. He checked my orthotics and my running shoes. He did some adjusting to my orthotics, not once but several times as I kept having shin splint issues.

Three days prior to the Rock ‘n’ Roll half, he told me I had a choice. Run with a very good chance of getting a stress fracture in my tibia or try again next year! I wisely decided not to run. But I did immediately signed up for next year’s race.

When I started training for last year’s half, I added strength training to my mix. My running started out well then the shin splints came back. Frustration set in. I added Laura Houston, a ChiRunning Coach, to my coaching team. She corrected my form which eliminated the shin splints.

For a trial run, I did the Portland Rock ‘n’ Roll Half . For the first time, I felt deep down that I could do this. I ran that in under 3 hours with just minor IT Band issues and no shin splint issues. I was now ready for the Seattle Rock ’n’ Roll Half.

The day of that half, I was definitely pumped to be slowly walking as my assigned corral neared the start line. I was sure I could beat my Portland Half time.

Unfortunately by mile 8, I started to have IT Band issues. Somewhere along the way, all of my ChiRunning training exited my mind. I finished but just over 3 hours. I thought long and hard about signing up for this half again.

But I did. And in fact, just a few days afterwards. Call me crazy!

In between the last year’s Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll half and this one coming up, I trained and ran the Eugene Women’s Half (I PR-ed), Los Angeles Rock ‘n’ Roll (just over 3 hours due to the heat), and Pasadena Rock ‘n’ Roll Half (I PR-ed).

As the days and hours count down to this Seattle Rock ‘n’ Rock, I wonder will I be able to conquer my nemesis? Or will I be signing up right away for next year’s to try again?

 

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