Friday, November 21, 2014

Silver Strand 5 Minutes Faster

I PR'd at Silver Strand.  Runner's lingo for setting a personal record. Which is great.  2 minutes faster than my last half marathon.  And 5 minutes faster than when I did the same half marathon 2 years ago. So by mile I ran the race at a 10:10 pace and 2 years ago at a 10:35 pace. It seems like such a small difference; 25 seconds per mile faster.  But man is that hard.  I ran as hard as I could the whole race.  I spent a lot of time looking down at my watch checking my pace.  And at the end I felt a bit nauseated.  All for 5 minutes.  Have I mentioned that this running thing is hard?  Not that I am complaining.  I had a good time.  And I actually ran close to 16 miles this race as my coach had me run for 20 minutes before the race and then 20 minutes after.  Though I was so wasted by the end of the race that I only ran about 13 minutes after the race.  Really I hobbled for 13 minutes after the race.
The starting line n Coronado

Before each race they have the National Anthem

One amazing thing about this race compared to other half marathons I have done is that 2 days later I ran 5 miles, the next day 4 miles and the next day 7 miles.  All with no issues or pain or soreness. (well almost- my right big toe still hurts a bit).  It is exciting to see improvement and to develop strength and endurance I never knew I had. That is probably what this is all about.  I like pursuing a goal.  Right now it is a physical goal.  And I love having a coach take away the mystery of the process and just lay it out for me.  It was the same with pursuing a medical degree.  Just do this and do that and you will get there.  (with just a bit of work, of course).
I run with my hands open like that. It looks funny.

Here are some interesting statistics from Runner's World in 2012.  I like the first statistic the best. If I actually accomplish this thing, and that is still an unknown, it will be pretty cool to be in that 0.5% group.

Marathon Statistics
Percent of the U.S. population that has run a marathon0.5 %
Record time for the fastest marathon ever run2:03.59 hours
Total number of U.S. marathons held annually570
Total number of people who finished a marathon in 2011551,811
Average amount of people who finished an individual marathon in 2011171
Total percent of people who finished in a top 10 marathon in U.S. and Canada37%
Total percent of decrease in marathon runners in 201145%
Total number of marathons ran on May 1st, 201124
Total number of marathons ran on October 16th, 201123
Total fee the for the New York City marathon$255
Average cost to run a marathon$67
Number of marathons that cost over $100 to enter41
Average number of sneakers a marathon runner goes through during training2
Average number of calories a woman burns during a marathon2,880
Number of miles in a marathon26.2 miles
Average amount of time per mile for the fastest marathon ran5:10 minutes
Average number of miles ran per week during marathon training40 miles

Tomorrow I will be doing a training run called Yasso's 800s. First I will do a 20 minute warm up and then I will do 8 rounds of 800 meters at a 9:04 pace (ouch, that is fast for me!) In between each 800 meters (2 laps around the track) I will jog or even walk 800 meters as, per my coach, I need to be fully rested between each fast round.  Then at the end I'll run another 20 minutes of a warm down.  I'm looking forward to doing it.
The guy behind me with the pack on played his music out loud and it bugged me but I ran ahead of him.

Then we are off to the desert for a few days for a little vacation.  I'll be running out there too, of course.  Hopefully I can find a safe place to run.  I need to run 100 minutes on Sunday and 70 minutes on Tuesday.  I get freaked out in the desert when I get too far away from camp.  But I am sure I'll figure something out.
Greeted by my favorite fan right before the Finish Line

Thanksgiving is almost here and I am super excited. It is going to be a different celebration this year.  More on that to come.

what is the average time it takes to run a marathon?, how many people run a marathon each year?, how many people finish a marathon each year?, what is the most expensive marathon fee?, what is the average marathon fee?, how many miles does a marathon runner travel during training?, how many miles are in a marathon? what percent of the population has run a marathon

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Still running...

Cross training with the family in Austria

Kelly keeps bugging me on why I haven't written on my blog and how annoying it is when people start a blog and then don't keep it up so here I am once again.  And though they have nothing to do with my running or what I am writing about below I put in a bunch of Europe photos since I haven't been taking very many running pics lately and besides Europe is the best!
Beautiful Salzburgerland

So much has happened since my last post many moons ago.  Let's see... how many injuries from running can I discuss in tedious detail.  Hip, ouch that one hurt, sharp and also dull.  Visits to the primary care doc and to the physical therapist and lots of focused exercises on my butt and the hip is surprisingly and happily much better.  And the plantar's fasciitis, again, involved the primary care doctor and the podiatrist and lots of exercises and stretching and also has almost completely disappeared.  And now my big toe hurts but I am pretty sure that will get better too.
I loved running in the morning in the streets of Paris
Mummies at the British Museum

It probably seem ridiculous to non runners.  Why do this when one injury seems to pop up just as another resolves?  Oh, and then all the mornings of waking up at 4:30 or 5:00 to get a 6 mile run in the dark before work starts.  How is that fun?  And then there are the aches and all the time spent rolling my muscles and taking epsom salt baths or even better taking ice baths.
Somebody photo bombed my selfie at the Louvre!

All of this just to run 26.2 miles.  Twenty six point two long miles.

Taking a break on a long bike ride

Nutella on a waffle as a bribe to visit Westminster Abbey

The best thing I have done though was to get a coach.  I, honestly, think I would have quit this quest by now if it wasn't for her help.  She has guided me through the aches and pains.  And every day she has a training run set out for me in detail.  Last week I ran a total of 49.3 miles.  I never thought I would run that much.  And we are just starting to up the ante as we get closer to the big day.  The Carlsbad Marathon, January 18, 2015.  Five days after I turn 50.
At The Lion King, which was AWESOME!

As seen on my run in Vienna

But first a lot more miles in the dark, on the track, on the trails and around the neighborhood.  And I will also be doing a couple of half marathons (Silver Strand this weekend) before Carlsbad.  I just pray not too many more injuries come up before then.  I hope my 49 year 10 month old body can make it as the miles pile up.
I love these boys!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Day # ONE

Enjoying ice cream at a shop in Portland (they had vegan options!)

Okay now we are back in real time. Since my last post I went on a very nice vacation and have been slowing increasing my runs to 3-6 miles each.  I had some great runs in Portland, Crater Lake, Mendocino and around San Diego too.  But the main news is that today is a big day for me. 

It is day #1 of my official training for the Carlsbad Marathon in 26 weeks.  Yeah, I am starting early.  But this gives me extra time to start slowly, back off if needed (due to the plantar fasciitis or whatever), space for our 3 week trip to Europe and time to build back up to where I was last January after my last half marathon.
Biking in Portland

I have hired a coach.  Her name is Megan Lund Lizotte.  She has a lot of experience with coaching and running and winning races.  I found her through the Competitor magazine.  She had me fill out an extensive evaluation of my running and health history.  She reviewed it and now has given me the start of a plan.  I am going to have her guidance through this whole thing.  However, I hired her for just one month to start to see how my feet behave.  (and whether I can do what she asks).  The first week has me doing this:  Monday run 40-45 minutes, Tuesday ride bike 60 minutes, Wednesday run 35 minutes, Thursday off, Friday run 60 mins (20 mins at threshold pace), Saturday ride 70-75 minutes and Sunday run 60 minutes.  Okay and that is just the first week which is easy as there are no strides, hill work, intervals etc.  She will give me 2 weeks of workouts at a time.  She sent me a very long email describing each workout and how to perform it.  My first reaction after reading the email was Oh My God what have I gotten myself into.  What was I thinking getting a coach?  Was I thinking she was going to suggest what I have already been doing?  (3, maybe 4 runs of varying length each week).  Um, yeah I kind of was thinking that.  And this is the easy, start anew, week.  
Spending the night at the Fire Lookout in Oregon
See Aiden by the falls we hiked to in Oregon near the Fire lookout.

After my initial freak out,  I decided I want to give this my best effort.  I will just take each day and figure out how I can do what is expected that one day.  I won't worry too much about the rest of the week or month.  After all, as Kelly said to me this morning, I could just do the marathon in 2 days, crawling through the finish, cramping in my legs, diarrhea, passing out etc.  But no, I want to do this thing the right way!  
In Mendocino we biked...

We canoed...

and I ran!

4 mile run today-check.  Only 180 days, 13 hours, 3 minutes and 43 seconds until the big day.
Back to San Diego and Jr Lifeguard camp. Aiden was so excited to see his friend Mack

Looking up

Note: this post was written about one month ago but my computer went on the fritz so I couldn't post it until now.
Long time no see.  Sorry to ignore you my little blog but you are about running and I haven't done much of that lately.  Damn Plantar's Fasciitis.  It seems like such a little condition and of course in the real picture it is a little thing.  But it sure has thrown a monkey wrench in my running plans.  The last great run I had was the day I wrote my last blog post in the end of April.  I was so excited about how great it felt to run at PQ preserves, my favorite running spot.  But that night or the next day my feet started killing me again.  So off to the podiatrist I went again. He didn't really have that much to offer and I had already pretty much decided that I would take a full 8 weeks off of running to really let my PF heal and then start slowly again.

So that is where I am now.  I only took 6-7 weeks off because I was feeling better in regards to the PF and so depressed without running that I just had to start again.  I am really really trying to not up the running quickly.  I started with .5 mile runs and now have worked up to 2.5 miles.  I think I will stay around 2.5-3 mile runs for a few weeks before going up any further.  I am icing my feet in ice water after each run which is quite uncomfortable but seems to help.  I am also rolling my feet on the contraption Kelly bought me a while back.  And rolling my calves and sleeping with a boot. And I only wear supportive shoes making me miss my cute sandals and heels but you gotta do what you gotta do.   I so hope this will be enough to eventually get me back on track.

I have also found a trainer I am super excited about hiring to help me attain my marathon goal.  She is an accomplished runner but also a mother and trains people of all levels.  I hope she can help me get to the Carlsbad Marathon next January in good shape.  But I also have to be realistic that it may be a longer journey than expected if this PF won't cooperate.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Happy Happy Happy to run with Max

So happy to run outside in beautiful Penasquitos Preserve

I haven't written on my blog in quite a few weeks because I have been a bit depressed around my running.  My plantar fasciitis (pf) got a lot worse.  It was so bad that I wasn't even wanting to walk Aiden to school (2 blocks) because my feet hurt.  And I walked around thinking with every step "my feet hurt".  So, blogging about my journey to the marathon seemed pointless because I wasn't sure if the marathon was ever really going to happen.  Though it is the journey I am writing about.  And injury and backing off on running is part of that journey.

My last race before my pf got too bad. 

When my pain in my feet, especially the right foot, got so bad that it hurt all the time and was limiting my enjoyment in just day to day activities I finally decided to see a doctor.  Which I think is a bit hilarious that as a doctor that very last thing I want to do is go see a doctor.  But anyway my primary care physician (who is awesome) sent me to a podiatrist.  The podiatrist was also very helpful and supportive of my running.  He gave me a cortisone shot into my heel (which hurt like a motherf***) but gave me almost instantaneous relief.  It was tender from the shot but the pf pain felt much better.  I had stopped running for one week prior to my podiatry appointment and I committed myself to not running for another 2 weeks after.  I did go to the gyn frequently and used the elliptical but blogging about my elliptical workouts is not good reading.
I was signed up to do the 15K but did the 5K instead due to my pf

It was fun to do it with my good friends from the hood

On April 15 two weeks after my cortisone shot I started running again.  My podiatrist had said to start slow which I thought would be a mile or two but he said one block!  (of course the blocks in my neighborhood are about 2 miles but I knew what he meant).  So I started slowly and have worked my way back up to 3 or 4 mile runs.  And my foot feels okay.  Not perfect but I think it may be months before it is completely normal.  At least that is what I gather from many conversations and readings I have done on the subject.

The silver lining of the injury has been that I started doing yoga again.  Quite a while back someone at work who is a runner had recommended that I do yoga to help prevent injury in running.  I kept that thought in my brain but only recently found a space in life to let it happen.  The yoga I am currently doing is slow flow warm yoga.  I have tried one class of hot yoga (105 degrees) and I liked it okay but got a heck of a headache that night.  It was the same headache I get if I don't hydrate well after a 10 mile run.  I will probably do it again though because it was great for stretching.  The warm yoga at 90 degrees is also great though and no headache.  I think the hour of stretching is really good for my legs and for the pf too.  And surprise surprise Kelly tried the yoga restorative class and liked it and is going to take the fundamentals class and do yoga too!  Have I mentioned I love my husband?  Because I do.
PQ So beautiful!

And I love my dog!  Today was super exciting because I took Max for a 3 mile run and he ran the whole thing strong.  In the past when I have tried to run with him he has quit after a mile or two and has laid down in the shade and I have had to drag him up to get him home.  It was quite a surprise when he did so well today.  I think it was his legs hurting him before and not just his lack of stamina or desire. He had bilateral knee surgeries over the last year and is now completely healed.  So maybe I have a new running partner?!  At least for my shorter runs.  So happy.

Please let my stretching, yoga and slow return to running keep my feet and body happy so I can keep on going.   I really want to do that Marathon.  Maybe next January or maybe after that but someday please.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lesson Learned

Coronado Valentines 10K
I've been on a lot of runs since I wrote last.  No big surprise there.  Running gives me many things.  Not only does it give me good health and a more peaceful mind but it teaches me valuable lessons.  One of those is how to face setbacks and how to persevere and overcome them.  This is a huge lesson for all areas of one's life but is clearly exemplified for me in my running journey.

Our getaway to Coronado, feeling no setbacks here.

For instance,  a few weeks prior to my last half marathon in January I bought new shoes.  They were Mizunas which a person I admire on a running blog wears with good success.  But that isn't why I bought them though it probably played a bit of a role in it.  My previous shoes, Asics, were great in all ways except in long runs I got a blister on two of my toes.  Everything else felt fine with them, my knees, my feet etc.  But blisters kind of suck so I decided to try new shoes.  The guy at Road Runner Sports suggested the Mizunas and they felt good so I gave them a try.  At first I loved them and I think I posted about how excited I was to finally find the "perfect" shoe.  I even went on Amazon and ordered a second pair so I could have them when these wore out.  I ran the 13.1 mile race and felt great in them.  But... a few days after the race I developed plantar fasciitis.  My heals hurt a lot. So I did what we all do now when something is wrong I scoured the internet and read lots of articles about PF.  And I did what they suggested.  I iced my feet, I stretched my calves, I rolled my feet, I backed off a little on running.  And I even bought this ridiculous contraption called a Strassbourg sock.  You wear it to sleep at night and it keeps your foot flexed so the plantar fascia doesn't get tight and hurt when you wake up in the night or morning.  I did all these things and my feet were getting somewhat better.  I also read that the problem might be your shoes.  I went back to my old shoes that gave me blisters on long runs and lo and behold my feet felt much better.  So, I took my new shoes back to Road Runner sports and traded them in for my Asics.  And I bought new socks and inserts to help with the blisters.
Aiden and I in San Francisco

This was a lot of writing to exemplify the power running makes me feel.  It makes me feel strong to overcome a problem.  When I first started running and I had challenges to face I got scared and depressed.  I remember when my knee hurt.  I was so thrown by that and scared it meant I would never run again.  But experience has taught me that if you really want to do something you can do it.  Figure out what the problem is, learn as much as you can about it, do what needs to be done and most of the time things will get better. Granted this example is a small problem and some problems we face are huge but I think this may apply to those also.
Today at Lake Miramar

When I first started running about 3 or 4 years ago I would go to Lake Miramar and run to the 1 mile marker and turn around and run back.  Sometimes if I was tired I would just go to the 1/2 mile marker and run back.  But usually it was the 1 mile marker.  Today I ran around the whole lake and then to the 1 mile marker and back totaling 7 miles.  And it wasn't hard.  It wasn't easy either.  In fact, it is never "easy".  You keep doing it and you get better.  It is almost impossible not to.  And that makes you feel powerful too.

If you get lost, hug a tree!

During my recent runs I have started to listen to podcasts.  If you do anything that gives you the time to listen to the radio check out pod casts.   My favorite is Rich Roll.  He is an ultra runner vegan but he doesn't just talk about that.  He interviews all sorts of interesting people that are doing amazing things with their lives that excite and challenge the listener to grow.  Another excellent podcast is The TED hour on NPR.  They present four 15 minute segments of TED talks that relate to each other in some manner.  The talks are inspiring and moving.  You won't regret tuning in.
I am trying to eat a huge salad for lunch everyday. It feels good!

Keep on eating those veggies people.  My new advice I give to my patients is eat so many vegetables you won't have the space for anything else.
Hiking in Muir Woods

Recently I heard the two most important things to give your children are LOVE and EXPERIENCE.  I like that a lot.  What do you think the 2 most important things you give to your children?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Feet and Vegan Blues and Waterfall Bliss

Penasquitos Waterfall
More PQ preserve
I spend a lot of time thinking about running.  In fact, I may think about it almost as much as I actually do it.  I plan my next run.  I plan my next race.  I plot out for weeks in advance what days I will run and what kind of runs I will do on those days.  I spend hours reading about running.  I nurse injuries. I read blogs about running.  If I didn't have running in my life I would have a lot of free time.  Of course, I would then fill it up with something else to obsess about.  Gardening anyone? 

Max, just because he is so darn cute
I also focus a lot of time and effort on veganism and health in general.  I think about everything I eat and really try to live by the mantra, you are what you eat.  I'm not perfect in my diet and I know by my readings that there are a lot of people who eat better than I.  For instance, people who only eat raw fruits and veggies.  In fact, I just ate a handful of pretzels.  I would find it hard to never eat processed food.  I like tortillas!  However, I find it easy to skip the truly crappy food.  McDonalds or Burger King have not seen the light of my eyes in over 20 years.  But then again, a diet Pepsi on a rare occasion can really hit the spot.  And I know it is horrible for you.  But once again I ain't perfect.

Super bowl day was hard for me though.  Not just because it was a horrible game.  Who cares about that anyway?  And yes, the halftime show was good.  It was hard because of the food served.  And it was at my house!  We had a lot of chicken.  Chicken wings.  Not even organic or cage free because I couldn't find any.  And that depressed me.  I hate to complain because really my life is awesome and there are people with such larger problems.  But, it is hard being a vegan.  It is hard being in the minority.  I just wish everyone was a vegan.  The world would be such a better place.  For me, for the animals, for the environment, for every one's health.  Oh well.  I can dream.
Love this thing

Back to running.  So as I mentioned in my last post I am now seriously contemplating and planning on a marathon in the next year.  After such a great experience at the Carlsbad Half Marathon I decided I was ready to go for the full in May.  However, since then a few things have come up.  One,  I poured over the details of different races in May and June and could not come up with one that fit the bill for what I want.  The things important to me are crowd support, no super big hills, no heat, and nice terrain/views.  Second, a few little nagging injuries are coming up making me think I need to stick to my original plan of the full Marathon in 2015 right after I turn 50 (!).  The physical issue I am dealing most with right now is a mild case of plantar fasciitis.  My heels hurt, especially at night.  So, I am doing a number of things to help with this like icing the bottom of my feet (not very fun when the house is already 60 or so degrees), rolling my feet and stretching my calves.  The one thing that would really cure my feet I am not doing and that would be to take a week or two off from running.  But that is too painful.  I have cut back a little on the length of my runs and also have avoided hard surfaces more consistently.  So, with this new foot issue and not finding the ideal race I have decided that I will spend the next 11 1/2 months really getting in the best possible physical shape so hopefully that 26 miles next January at the Carlsbad Full Marathon will be the best it can be for my first marathon experience.
My new medal hanger in my office

There are other things that I want to write about.  I have been thinking about body self image issues and how we are all hurt so much by our negative thoughts.   I have been reading and listening to pod casts about nutrition, specifically the book Eat to Live.  A colleague at work lost 12 pounds in 2 weeks after reading Eat to Live.  He was telling me how great he feels being mostly vegetarian. (He was raised on a farm in middle America so this is a big switch for him).  And I want to answer the question a friend posed to me in a letter, "What does running do for you that you like it so much?"  But this post has gone on long enough so I will save these topics for later.  One last thing though.  A few days ago I went for a run right after it had rained all night.  I ran out on the Penasquitos Preserve trail.  The air was clean and crisp after the rain.  The stream was flowing way more than normal and the "falls" were big for Southern California anyway.  I was one of only a few runners out there.  I felt such bliss to be alive and to have the opportunity to experience these moments.  When I finished the run a woman was getting ready to take her bike out for a ride on the same trail.  She asked how it was and I told her how great it was.  I felt my positive energy flow to her too.  It was sweet, that's all.  Maybe I just answered that question from my friend though of course there is still more to say.