Sunday, March 29, 2009

ING Georgia half-marathon

I continued to slowly improve from Lyme disease this week. By the 10th day on antibiotics I felt almost normal. I was still weak, but no longer felt like I needed to sleep all day nor did I have any mental challenges. In the middle of this week, my very first college roomate wrote to me to say that she made a donation in my name to the charity that I had planned to run for in the ING Georgia half-marathon. She said that a friend of hers (Kara) has Cystic Fibrosis and to please keep her in my thoughts as I ran the race. The next morning my daughter asked me if I still intended to run the race. I told her about the email and said that even if I'm not strong enough to run the entire race, I know I can at least walk the entire distance and since quite a few people have made donations in my name, the least I can do is to try. I made that firm decision on Thursday morning.

Friday was my birthday and was also the night of the charity pre-race dinner. This first picture includes Katelyn (a neighbor who is also running), Katelyn's mother, me, and Susan (a remarkable woman that lives in my neighborhood, has Cystic Fibrosis, and recruited us to run for Team 65ROSES.)

My sister came down on Saturday and we went to the race expo together. She bought me a cool running-related t-shirt, that I picked out, for my birthday. THANKS Laura! After the expo we went out to an early dinner (pasta and salmon) and then went back home and pulled out our clothes for the next day. We got up early, go dressed, picked up Katelyn and then drove to MARTA. I felt good at the start of the race. I stayed with my sister for about a quarter of a mile then let her speed off. My goal was to go slow and finish. I was so excited to see and high-five my buddy Bryan who had volunteered as a course marshall for Team 65ROSES! He always makes me smile!!! Then I was thrilled to see Susan, Leah, Carol, Lauren, etc. at the first hydration station that was manned by Team 65ROSES. I felt good for the first 5 miles and then my left knee started having sharp pains again. I had hoped that the forced running break would have cured it, but I guess not. I ended up walking the last half of the race because of my knee pains rather than my illness. At a few points I considered stopping and asking for a ride back to the finish line, but thoughts of Kara and Susan kept me going. I was doing this for a greater cause. I finally finished in 3 hours and 19 minutes. This is by far my slowest half-marathon ever, but my goal from a few days ago was to simply finish, even if I had to walk the entire route. At least I was able to jog the first half; and I finished 13.1 miles!

Days run this week: 1
Miles run/walk this week: 13.1
Highlight of the week: Completed the ING Georgia half-marathon
Goal for next week: Rest

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lyme disease

This week has been HELL! I've never felt this bad in my entire life! I went to the doctor on Monday with an expanding bulls-eye rash on my right thigh (where the tick was attached), another rash on my left thigh, fever, chills, aches, mental lethargy, etc. All signs pointed to Lyme disease. The good news is that it was caught early and most early detection of the disease are cured with a course of antibiotics. So I started antibiotics on Monday. Since it's not contagious I thought I would go into work on Monday after my doctor's appointment. But just the walk from the parking lot to my office (100 yards), totally exhausted me. I explained my situation to my supervisor and left the office. I got worse before I got better. On Wednesday I thought I was going to die. I haven't been able to think clearly all week, but this morning it took me a good 10 minutes to mentally process how to make cheese toast! SCARY! Then the insane headaches with matching neck pain began. I feared I would die of meningitis (meningitis is common with this infection.) I panicked but then regained composure after a friend came over and helped me to find a sense of peace. Thankfully, I started feeling better the next day and have felt a little better each day since. By the end of the week the bulls eye rash was over 5-inches in diameter. I'm still totally week, exhausted, and have difficulty processing things mentally, but hope they will resolve as the antibiotics continue their course. So to sum it up, no running for me this week...

Days run this week: 0
Miles run this week: 0
Highlight of the week: Thought I was going to die, but then started feeling better
Goal for next week: Feel better

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Week 7 of 9-week half-marathin training plan (B)

Monday: Knee still hurts so walked 1 mile with my daughter and our dogs. This morning, while at work, noticed itchy spot on my right thigh. I saw a tiny spot in the center and assumed it was a tiny scab from scratching it through my pants.

Wednesday: jogged 1 mile warm up and then ran 2 miles of 100 yard repeats at the high school track. Fastest was at 7:00 pace. Knee started hurting at about 2 miles, but pushed through until I hit 3 miles. When I got home, I realized that the itchy spot that I first noticed on Monday was worse, larger, and what I thought was a scab in the middle, had grown. I wondered if the "scab" was a tick... So while I was in the shower, I decided to scrape off the "scab" and it didn't bleed. Then the "scab" started to crawl on my hand and I knew it was a tick. Hopefully the itchy/red patch will get better now that the tick has been removed. I'm pretty sure it attached to me on Saturday at the trail race, but possible on Sunday while doing yard work. Either way, it's been a few days. Just hope it didn't transmit any diseases.

I had planned to run later this week, but on Friday I had less energy than usual and red/itchy patch had grown. On Saturday, I lost total muscle control of my left arm while shopping and tried not to panic. I was extremely tired and had absolutely no energy. I took a long nap that afternoon. Sunday was even worse. I slept most of the day; and when I took my daughter to her swim lesson, I had to lay down on the bleacher, not having the energy to stay upright. Something is seriously wrong with me... I will go to the doctor tomorrow.

Days run this week: 1
Miles run this week: 3.00
Highlight of the week: Did speed work
Goal for next week: Feel better

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Week 6 of 9-week half-marathon training plan (B)

Monday: Snow day! Was supposed to run 10 miles yesterday, but we had a "blizzard" and played in the snow all day instead. We had a great time sledding down a steep hill at Stone Mountain! School closed today so thought I'd do 10 miles on the basement treadmill today while my daughter played with the neighbors in our snowy yard. I started to feel knee twinge and opted to not overdo it, and stopped at 4 miles.

Thursday: I jogged 2.08 miles on the trail at the aquatic center while my daughter was taking swim lessons. My knee started hurting as I got close to 2 miles, so I cut it short.

Saturday: XTERRA Runnin the Rocks 10K Trail Race. My 1st Trail Race! (see 3/7 blog entry for more details.) It was awesome running through the woods, up and down steep terrain, leaping over fallen trees and splashing through streams! It was the slowest I've ever run a 10K (because of the terrain), but definitely the most enjoyable (because of the terrain). When's the next trail race???

Sunday: Stone Mountain 5-mile loop. The outside of my left knee started hurting at mile 2. At mile 4, the pain was too sharp so walked the rest of the loop to the car (mile 4.95). Tried to jog a few times during that walk, but pain was too sharp. Oh well...

Days run this week: 4
Miles run this week: 16.29
Highlight of the week: Trail Race!!!
Goal for next week: Follow half marathon training program (adjust if knee pain persists.)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

XTERRA Runnin the Rocks 10K Trail Race

This morning I was incredibly nervous about my 1st Trail Race! Was it ok that I was wearing regular road running shoes? How important is it to wear trail shoes? Would it be very slippery slopes? Would they provide water at specific locations or would I have to carry my own? Why does everyone look so fit? Where were the people that look like my fitness level? Would I finish last?

I intended to pack all my gear last night before going to bed so I would have every thing I would need and would not be rushed this morning. But... I stayed up late considering registering for a marathon and updating Facebook, etc. Big mistake. I set the alarm clock for 5:30 a.m. I left the house 45 minutes later after packing my gear bag with extra clothes in case I got filthy muddy or soaking wet. I left the house at 6:15 a.m. and picked up an Egg McMuffin on the way. Packet pick-up began at 7 a.m. and I arrived at Georgia International Horse Park, in Conyers, shortly after 7 a.m. I got my goody bag, race number and timing chip and then returned to my warm car. It was 45 degrees. There weren't safety pins in the packet, but luckily I keep 7 attached to my gear bag so I didn't have to go back out in the cold to get some. I pinned my number (178) on my shirt and looked through the goody bag. The race shirt is a red short-sleeve shirt. The goodies included an REI coupon for 15% off, a packet of gu gel, a packet of electrolytes, and a coupon for free sunglasses, amongst other minor things. At about 7:45 a.m. I realized that I had forgotten a very important item: my Garmin watch! How was I going to get through a race without a watch? I always wear it when running! I can't run without a watch! OMG what am I going to do???

The race started at 8:30 a.m. I was glad to hear them announce that there would be water/gatorade stations at miles 2.5 and 4.5. They said the trail was well marked; I certainly hoped so. I was shivering in my Nike fleece zip up jacket/hoodie at the start. But I warmed up after about a mile. I started out slow, and actually stayed slow until the end.

It was AWESOME running through the woods, up and down steep terrain, leaping over fallen trees and splashing through streams! A photographer snapped a photo as I wildly jumped over a fallen tree. I'm definitely going to purchase that one if it turns out great, because that is one of my fondest memories of the day. I felt like a little kid when I jumped over trees and streams! It was the slowest I've ever run a 10K (because of the terrain), but definitely the most enjoyable (because of the terrain)! I didn't have a time-goal in mind because this was my first trail race (and I didn't have my watch to keep me on track). My goal was to simply enjoy the run through the woods and not get injured. I jogged most of the first two miles and then mixed jogging with walking up steep terrain the last half. In the last mile I noticed a women about 300 yards behind me. I was determined to stay ahead of her and picked up my pace. I ran hard the last 0.2 miles to the finish. I wasn't last, but definitely in the back of the pack. I didn't really care, though, because the majority of the competitors all looked to be in much better shape than I am.

I loved running on the hard packed earth and through the woods much better than running on streets! When's the next trail race??? April 25th is the next XTERRA trail race at Chicopee. I remember going mountain bike riding there over a decade ago. If my daughter is going to be with her dad that weekend, I'm definitely signing up for that race. And I don't care if I finish last... I'm not doing it to medal, but totally for the amazing escape to nature!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Chicago marathon?

My daughter spent the afternoon at a friends house. When I went to pick her up, the mom, Tonya, came out and said she's been thinking all day about how she wants to run the Chicago marathon. It's in October. She ran it a few years ago and loved it. She's not allowed to run yet (had knee surgery a month or two ago), but she's dying to get back on the road. I told her that I plan to run a fall marathon but I haven't decided on which one yet. She smiled saying Chicago is flat and fast, and her daughter squealed all excited "can Kyra go too???". The happy feelings were all around, so I said it sounded like a great idea.We had planned to run the Disney Marathon together this past January, but she had to bail because of her torn meniscus, and I decided to drop out because I took too much time off after my first marathon in late October, and couldn't easily come up with a solution of a babysitter for Kyra while I ran a race that I really wasn't prepared for. So, Chicago sounds like fun!

My sister and I had talked a few weeks ago about running a marathon together. She was on the fence about it. We looked at a few that aren't too far of a drive, but didn't decide on anything. They are in November and December. She's not 100% committed to it because of the large amount of time it takes to train for a marathon.

So, my thought is that if Tonya is able to run, I'll set up my training schedule to run Chicago with her on October 11th. And this year, I'll put in a lot more base miles prior to the marathon training start so I won't need so much time to recover. If my sister decides to do one of the marathons we were looking at, Space Coast Marathon (November 29th) or Kiawah Island (December 12th), I would have 6-8 weeks of time to recover and be able to do one of those too. Wow, that sounds insane...

When we left Tonya's house, I took Kyra to her swim lesson at Mountain Park Aquatic Center. After signing her in, I went for a jog around the complex. I've never gone running here but have seen what I thought was a trail. It's slightly over a half-mail asphalt trail loop of rolling hills. I enjoyed it, but got bored with it after four laps. So I only ran 2.08 miles, then grabbed my Runner's World magazine and went inside to watch the end of Kyra's swim lesson.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Week 5 of 9-week training plan (B)

Tuesday: I slogged my way through 4.59 miles by necessity. I started having the same sharp outer knee pain at about 2 miles. It was an out-and-back so I walked off and on to make it back home. Later I did a little google-based research. I think it's the illiotibial band where it connects to my tibia. Some sources say it can be caused by overpronation. I remember one time at Fleet Feet the guy showed me on the video that my left foot slightly overpronates. I'll take a few days off to rest and then use my stability shoes to see if this corrects the problem.

Saturday: 3.5 miles. After doing research, I wondered if ITB pain was caused by running in cushioned rather than stability shoes. I took a few days off and ran today in 903s (stability). Although they lack the cushioning I'd like, I didn't have any knee/ITB pain. Maybe I'll just buy some cushiony insoles and demote the Asics Cumulus to non-running uses...

Days run this week: 2
Miles run this week: 8.09
Goal for next week: Follow week 9 of the Hal Higdon half marathon training program (adjust if knee pain persists.)