Tag Archives: half marathon

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! Maybe I’m a little late, but I feel like this is an appropriate greeting. A lot has changed for me since my last post – both my physical self and my perspective.

 

I’m continuing to work on my back issues since the September car accident. I have added medical massage to the chiropractic and I think I am continuing to improve. While Dr. Steve works at keeping me aligned, the massage is getting at some muscle points that still have not eased up; as she says, “hard as rocks”. I have added a stand up desk at my job and also purchased a stand up table for home. It took a while for my legs to get used to standing so much, but I definitely think it is better. I finished off a few races to the end of the year (I will review them separately), but otherwise really took it easy as far as running is concerned.

 

As the holidays approached, I was feeling overwhelmed with the traveling for races and holiday preparations. Then our beloved dog Samwise died unexpectedly over Thanksgiving weekend, and everything just felt “off”.

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After Christmas, I still wasn’t feeling myself. That’s when I sat down to re-think what I could do to feel better, do better. I wanted to be excited about the future, not just plan it and do it. I decided to get running again, but take it easy. No worries about speed, just get it done. I signed up for the 2,016 miles in 2016 challenge. I am on a three person team for running miles, but I personally am trying to achieve 2,016 all-purpose miles. I signed up for 1,000 running miles in 2016 challenge. I signed up for some virtual runs to benefit some good charities. I signed up for some trail runs – including a marathon that is said to be one of the toughest in the northeast. I signed up for the Pittsburgh Marathon and some other local races. I started a marathon training plan, and I’m trying to stick to it.
What am I not doing? I’m not going crazy scheduling races in states to complete the 50 state challenge. I’m really enjoying the 100 Half Marathon Club – I could do 100 half marathons in my home state and complete the challenge. No travel worries and much less expensive. The club has a gazillion discounts not only for races but for running products, the dues are not high, and the club organizers are wonderful. There is no competition with other clubs. I highly recommend anyone who runs half marathons to join this club – just say I referred you!
Life is changing in other ways too. There is a high likelihood my husband will be retiring. My own job is winding down as well. We want to move. I will have to start over with a new job (in my 50’s!). I want to get some health and fitness certifications.
So this is my NEW year. Reevaluating myself and my goals at 52. Trying to stay happy and healthy for another 52.
Happy New Year indeed.

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I tried to run August, but August ran me!

August was a tough month. Like most, we suffered from unrelenting heat and humidity that made every day living, not to mention running and exercise, pretty much unbearable.  I tried to keep up with my training but some days it was just hard to breathe, the air was so hot and humid!

There were a few bright moments, starting with the Drake Well Half Marathon in Titusville Pennsylvania.  This would be state number 9 for me in my quest for a half marathon in each of the 50 states, plus D.C. The Drake Well Half is a small race at a beautiful park at the Drake Well Museum. It was a very hot day but luckily the latter part of the race was on a paved, shaded path which was heaven! For much of the path it seemed like I was running by myself but for the chipmunks and deer that ran across my path, and whatever other critters were lurking nearby.  Since my headphones were not working, I was very aware of the many sounds coming from the woods!  I ended up 2nd in my age group (thank you small races), and I was glad I chose this for my Pennsylvania race.

one lane bridge leading to the Drake Well Museum

one lane bridge leading to the Drake Well Museum

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seen on my run

seen on my run

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The following Friday evening after work I ran a 7.7k along the Buffalo waterfront called the Soaker to raise awareness of the importance of hydration.  We were squirted by hoses and fire trucks all along the route, and it felt good!  My husband, still recovering from surgery, was a real trouper and came along to be my cheering section.

I'm a little soaked from the Soaker!

I’m a little soaked from the Soaker!

The best of course was traveling to New York City to visit my daughter and see Jorge Posada Day at Yankee Stadium.  My favorite Yankee! Unfortunately it was so hot that we just could not stay for the entire game. My daughter was sunburned after the 2nd inning!

Hip Hip Jorge!

Hip Hip Jorge!

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Also that weekend I got in 2 fabulous runs in lower Manhattan.  If I could only train in New York!

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Run with a view

Run with a view

the inspiring Statue of Liberty

the inspiring Statue of Liberty

I love NYC

I love NYC

In my run around the South Street Seaport, I came across this yoga party!

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My first virtual run of the month was a 5k to benefit an organization I learned of in one of my Facebook running groups. I really enjoy virtual runs, it’s like training with a purpose.

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The month closed out with two more races; one road and one virtual.  The road race was a 10k to benefit the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.  I was on a team with some of my in-laws, as my late father-in-law had been a patient at Roswell. I also ran in memory of my own sister.  The event was good except for the race itself; two loops on newly paved (i.e. smelly) roads with no scenery whatsoever.  It is fun to run as part of a team, though.

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The virtual race was organized by Gone For a Run, the 7 mile Sole Sisters race.  I ran this the day after the 10k, and decided to use it for speed training.  I ran 1 minute slow, 1 minute fast intervals, and the miles went by very quickly.  My sisters from Virginia and Oklahoma also ran this virtual, so we kind of ran it together.

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So that’s my month in review.  I’m very glad the weather is changing.  I have a ton of fall races and now know that I really need a more structured schedule to stay healthy and run well.  Stay tuned for a more disciplined me!

The Waiting Game

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This quote is so true, yet so annoying at the same time.  Who wants to wait?  In my “real” life, I can tolerate waiting in traffic, waiting in line for my morning coffee, waiting on hold to speak to a real person … these are all things I have done so many times that I am immune to being aggravated.  Recently my husband had surgery, and we waited for three hours before he was taken to surgery; I waited for three hours before I heard how the surgery went; we waited, and waited, and waited, when we called the nurse’s desk and asked for assistance.  This kind of waiting really tests my patience, probably due to stress and fatigue and worry.

In my “running” life, I just can’t get used to the wait in corrals for the race to start.  I have learned that pre-gun, I am supposed to do “dynamic”, not “static” stretches.  Usually in the corral I’m shoulder-to-shoulder with the next person, so there is no room to be jumping around “dynamically”.  If I warm up before being herded into the corral, by the time the race starts I’m ice cold.

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A perfect example (but not the only example) of this is runDisney (insert any runDisney race name here).  Don’t get me wrong, I love Disney, have run two events, and hope to do many more.  It’s not Disney’s fault that a gazillion people sign up for their races.

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Let me put it this way – I basically couldn’t see the start line from my WDW Marathon corral.  And there were plenty of people behind me too.  We were up at 3 a.m. to catch the shuttle to the race start, where we sat around, shivered, and waited to line up in the corrals, where we waited for a half gazillion people to start before us.  For the Wine and Dine, a night race, I sat on the ground for hours before moving to the corrals (when it started pouring rain), where I waited again for the speedier Mouseketeers to start before me. Disney staggers the corral start times to avoid congestion, but that just means more waiting! And don’t even ask me about the lines of people waiting to take pictures with the characters during the races 🙂 !

Honestly, I know this is a good system and it’s what I signed up (and paid mightily) for.  But that doesn’t mean I have to like it!  I also know that to avoid this, I should run in smaller races, and I do try to look for smaller races.  But let’s face it, the fanfare and bling can really sway a girl!

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Moral of the story – Get over it, be patient, enjoy the journey because you never know if you will be lucky enough to experience it again.

Feet, don’t fail me now!

I guess you could say I’m “all in” when it comes to trying to run 50 half marathons in 50 states.  My original goal was to run 50 races (any length) in 50 states, but then I found the 50 States Half Marathon Club and the Half Fanatics, and I changed my goal!  Unfortunately, that means I am going to have to re-run a couple states but hey, that just means more vacations!

I admit I am an impatient person.  When I start something, I want to get it done.  Running 50 half marathons in 50 states is not easy to do quickly but, starting at my late age, I worry about finishing the task.  I’m trying to convince myself that finishing will be so much sweeter if I have taken the time to enjoy the journey.  A lot of goal runners enter races in different states on consecutive days, even up to 7!  I give them a lot of credit and I guess that would be a good way to cross off 7 states, but I don’t think I would feel the whole half marathon spirit and would almost feel like I was cheating myself because I surely would not be doing any running in some of those races.

So now I think I have the right mindset, but what about the rest of me?  Can my 50+ body that just started running three years ago withstand all this running?  Honestly, I don’t know.  I certainly hope so, but I’ve already had some injuries and my podiatrist calls my feet “deformed from the trauma of running.”  Yikes!  At least he said to keep going until I can’t.  But I wonder when that will be…

Race Reviews!

Since I’ll be doing some traveling around to complete my 50 states/50 races quest, I thought I would review some of the more well-known races I have participated in.  I previously talked about the Rock ‘n Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon and the Dirty Girl Mud Run.  Since then …

October 2013 – Lucy Town Inaugural Half Marathon, Jamestown, New York

I am all about Lucille Ball, so when I found out about this race not too far from my home, I was all in!  There is not too much to the City of Jamestown, but we arrived the night before so we could go to the expo and explore a little.  When we went to pick up our packets, the expo vendors already had packed up and left!  In our packets, however, were tickets to the two museums all about Lucille Ball and I Love Lucy, which I thoroughly enjoyed!  Included with the race fee was a pasta dinner the night before, which was very nice and quite tasty!  I enjoyed the race itself, it rained a little then the sun came out and there was an incredible rainbow.  The little after party was just enough, and my daughter came in second in her age division (her first half marathon ever) so all in all, it was a nice race.  Since it was the first year, it was a bit small; but I’m sure it will continue to grow. The best part:  the finisher’s medal!

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January, 2014 – Walt Disney World Marathon, Orlando, Florida

I also am all about Disney!  We go at least every other year (in fact, we are going to Disneyland in December!).  So when it came to choose my first (and maybe only) marathon, how could I not choose WDW?  Of course, this race is held in January, which is fine weather in Florida, but my training was going to take place in the dead of winter in Buffalo, New York!  Luckily I learned to dress appropriately for the weather, and actually really loved running in the snow!  (The light, fluffy snow, not the icy snow blowing in your face with 40 mph winds.)  Morgan and I headed down and of course Disney itself was amazing.  But here’s my take on the race:  First of all, you have to get there EARLY and it is pretty cool, so definitely have an old jacket or long sleeve shirt you won’t mind leaving by the side of the road when you warm up (which we did not have).  You are in your corrals a LONG LONG time, so you pretty much rely on the guys at the microphone for entertainment.  I was feeling pretty excited and proud that we were running our first marathon.  At this marathon, though, they have lots of alternatives where you run multiple races and are classified as Dopey, or Goofy, or Dumbo.  I certainly give those people a ton of credit, but this was OUR first marathon, and I wanted some credit for us too!  So when the announcer said who’s running their first marathon, it was very anti-climatic to his asking, but who’s Goofy, or who’s Dumbo?  I felt like running “just” the marathon wasn’t enough.  I know that was my perception, but it still bothered me.  The race itself started off with fireworks, and there were tons of photo ops along the way.  Some of the rides were even open for the runners!  After the race you have a photo taken and then are shuffled into a square area.  I sat on the ground and immediately was told no sitting, go to first aid if you want to sit down!  We just hopped on our shuttle bus and went back to the hotel.  I would definitely run the WDW marathon, but if I knew then what I know now, I would not have chosen it for my FIRST marathon.  It was great to accomplish with my daughter, however!

**Note – if you are in Downtown Disney, I highly recommend you check out the Fork and Dine AMC theatres.  Full restaurant and bar, full wait service, while you sit and watch a movie!

WDW Marathon

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April, 2014 – Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon

I always have wanted to see the Oklahoma City Memorial, and since my sister lives there, this was the perfect race for myself and my two sisters (Sole Sisters) to run together.  This would be my oldest sister, Laura’s first race ever, so we decided to do the relay. Deciding who would run which leg was probably the hardest part, but since we wanted Laura to experience the feeling of crossing the finish line, and Robin is the best morning person, we decided Robin would do 1 and 2, I would do 3 and 4, and Laura would do 5.  Oklahoma City has some crazy weather; it was pretty rainy and cool, and the race ended up being delayed for about two hours because of lightning on the race route.  We all just sat around in various parking garages, and it was about to be canceled when we finally got the all clear.  By the time my first leg came around, it was sunny and downright hot!  The wind was crazy and instead of enjoying the sights, most of the time I had my head down trying not to go backwards!  We ended up coming in second in the Master’s Division (maybe because there were only two teams in that division), but we got a really nice trophy!  I enjoyed this race and really was awestruck by the beautiful memorial.  Oklahoma City is a nice size and has lots of restaurants and things to do.  We had a great time all in all.

This greeted us at the airport.

This greeted us at the airport.

I love the medal.

I love the medal.

Yes, we were hungry.

Yes, we were hungry.

Everyone should see the Memorial.

Everyone should see the Memorial.

He said I could run, so I did.

Thankfully my x-ray results showed that the stress fractures had not advanced to full fractures, so my doctor said he would let me try putting on my sneakers and running “some.”  Mind you, he wasn’t really clear on how far “some” was, so I thought it was open to interpretation.  I had been wearing the CAM boot about 7, 8 weeks, and when the injury happened I was only a few weeks into the half marathon training, so I knew I was going to be a bit behind.  I had been following the training anyway, but instead of running I was doing the recommended distances on the elliptical at the gym.  As it happens, the distance scheduled for the day after I got the okay to run was a 12-miler (the half marathon is only a week out).  Saturday morning was beautiful, so I gingerly laced up my Brooks (my bursitis in the foot still is acting up .. the injection provided relief for one stinking day) and headed to a long path I had not run before.  Well, I did the 12 miles, run/walking.  I know my fear of stepping on the foot really impaired my running, and I’m sure I probably looked like a waddling duck.  I ran on the grass some of the time for cushioning, but I did it.  It hurt, but not as bad as I thought it would.  I was really, really slow, but at least I wasn’t too bad on my breathing, which was a big fear.

Fast forward to the next morning (rest day) … WHAT is that pain in my legs … that part where your legs connect to your body.  That part on Barbie dolls where you can pull off the legs.  It felt like I had never moved them before!  Next day, 3+ miles and that pain is still there!  I’m pretty sure I now know that using an elliptical is no substitute for running.  Going to have to do some mighty stretching and foam rolling to try to work this out.

I leave Friday for my sister’s house in Virginia, and then Sunday is the half marathon in Virginia Beach.  Although my time will probably be about 45 minutes slower than originally planned, just finishing (upright) will be an accomplishment.  And celebrating with my sister is the best victory.

10 days, 3 x-rays, 1 cortisone shot, 0 children

Today I followed up with my doctor for the stress fractures. Still in my CAM boot (it’s been about 7 weeks now) and still having pain.  After I reminded him that my first half marathon was in TEN days, he thought the pain might be from the bursitis and not the fractures, as they should be healing.  SHOULD BE?!?  I have been so good in wearing that boot (even to bed!) and not doing any running or even walking without the boot.  We don’t have the results from the x-rays but hopefully they will show some healing.  In the meantime, he gave me a cortisone shot right between the toes (OUCH).  If the x-ray looks good, he said I could try light running in a few days (should be much less pain), and I will be able to run/walk in the marathon.  I’ll take it!

In other news, both my girls have flown the coop – Ashley has moved to Seoul, South Korea to start her teaching job, and Morgan has moved to her apartment in New York City for her sophomore year at college.  Running is empty nest therapy!

WHAT A SUMMER!Image