Sunday, September 8, 2013

Summer Races Recap

Working full time has put a damper on my blogging so in an effort to play catch up, here is ONE blog with all the races I haven't reported on this summer.

Taylor Mountain Marathon: 6/29/13

It was hot. It was hilly. That's the summation! My coworker decided to run this as his FIRST marathon. I can say for certain he learned A LOT of lessons about trail racing the hard way. He did go on to finish an hour after me and you can rest assured I never gloated about it in the office (ahem). Sadly there was no finisher's medal.  I had been warned about the difficulty of the course and the possibility of very muddy, buggy conditions. We were fortunate that neither were an issue. I self-supported with a camel back and loved the race despite the difficulty. This was an out and back course for the marathon and I was just running it to finish, not race, after the prior weekend's double marathon adventure.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel - July 14, 2013

Bright and early, Lori and I left the Albertson's parking lot and carpooled to North Bend, the finish line of the marathon. Time passed quickly (except when coffee finally hit us and we needed a bathroom). It seems people don't pee between Federal Way and North Bend due to the lack of restroom opportunities. There was plenty of time for us to catch a 6:45 bus to the start.

The skies were clear with sunshine forecast all day. I had my gators on and opted to try out my Moving Comfort shorts and sports bra. I loved them! They are a Brooks owned company and have super cute clothing.

Bill can always sneak a hug from me!
This is by far one of my favorite races. The time of year is perfect, it has an elevation loss and the scenery is spectacular!  The first 2 miles run through the pitch-black Hyak Tunnel. I used a headlamp and flashlight with great success. There were patches of water through the old train tunnel but the terrain is easy running. A volunteer took my extra gear as I exited the tunnel and runners were greeted with a beautiful day for running.

My pace felt good, comfortably hard, and my goal was to keep my rhythm as long as possible.  I ran this last year in 3:21 and although I knew I wasn't in that kind of racing shape, I felt confident I could bring my time down from earlier marathons in the year.

I finished strong with 3:29 and more confidence in my future races.  You MUST do this race!

Northwest Passage Ragnar Relay 2013

12 runners, 2 vans, 2 drivers, 197 miles to the finish line!  Pain Now, Beer Later’s team captain, Jeff, had a last minute opening in his Ragnar Relay team and since this was filled with friends, the coercion to run was overwhelming and welcomed. Suddenly I found myself squished into a vehicle with runners amidst bags of running essentials and non-essentials (are angel food cake, raw cookie dough, or tequila (consumed AFTER the run, of course!) essentials in running?).
Friday, 7:00 a.m., van 1 started their legs while van 2 drove to Bellingham High School to wait for Marie, runner #6, to pass the wrist bracelet. Technology allowed us instant results as each runner posted times, quotes, pictures and musings to Facebook.
Each runner has 3 “legs” during the relay varying in distance and elevation. After all the runners in the van complete a leg, we get to rest (ha!) while the other van does the next 6 legs. Repeat. Repeat again.

Do you remember slumber parties? That’s about as close to how it feels running Ragnar except you can add in cow bells, chafing, sweating like a pig (do they really sweat?), and not having to check in with your parents.  We danced, broke out in old-school hip hop montages, told bad jokes and ate whatever we could reach. We made fun of each other, yelled for each other, accidentally touched each other because how can you not in a squishy van. Strangers became instant friends through a relay of silliness, costumes, twinkly lights, FOOD, running, more food, running some more…did I mention food?  Oh yeah, pain (another HILL??) and beer at the finish!  29.5 hours never went by so fast. I had all that fun AND our team raised money for a great charity through 

Seafair Torchlight 8k

My good friend, Sharon, and I caught the ferry to Seattle and hoofed it to Seattle Center for a night of running the Seafair Torchlight Parade route. The weather was warm, the crowd was buzzing, and we had plenty of time to enjoy our time in Seattle before and after the run. The route follows the parade route and runners get the boost of energy from countless spectators.  Sharon and I had a super fun time and at just under 5 miles, my $15 entry fee was well worth it.

Riding the ferry home and being silly like we do :)

Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon 8/3/13

I love this race! We start at the airport in Gig Harbor, cross the Narrows Bridge and make our way to downtown Tacoma's Tollefson Center.  The last 2 miles are super fast!  I wanted to finish under 1:40 and barely made it but I got it!  I am slowly getting some speed back in these legs.

That's it! All the races I've done but haven't share with you. There are so many details I've left out but just know I have been LOVING this year getting back to the roads and trails, but most importantly, spending time with my running friends and feeling heathy.

Cle Elum Ridge 50k is up next in 2 weeks (it was cancelled last year due to fires).  

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Why I run

I run because I can. I run because I'm good at it.  I run because I'm bad at it. I run because I want to. I run because I love it. I run because I find a part of me in the run that is hidden without it.

My orthopedic doctor who treated me after my stress fracture following a 3500 mile year encouraged me to cross-train and stay healthy so I could get back to what I loved. He's a runner, too.

My dermatologist asks me what races I've done and praises me for staying so active. 

My OB/GYN also asks me what my training and racing is like and always says she is amazed and proud of what I'm accomplishing in a day filled with women struggling to regulate their hormones, weight, and preventable diseases. She noted that my hormones have likely evened out after making running a consistent part of my routine after I had struggled with up and down emotions after my children were born.

My physician loves that I run. He has encouraged me to continue to be active and pursue my dreams.

My DENTIST asks my my races and believes that physical health correlates to dental health.

My daughters' orthodontist always asks me about races and brags to anyone in the office about my latest adventure.

My physical therapist who helped me recover from a perroneal tendon issue noted to the office and all patients in hearing distance that I was a marathoner and he was so impressed with my leg and core strength. He was anxious to help me get back to running. 

In my daughter's science class, the teacher asked me to participate in an experiment measuring lung capacity after all the kids had done so. She noted that I was an endurance athlete and that my lung capacity should be greater. Most kids could remove about half of the water out of a gallon of water through some tubing (one long breath). I removed it all and could continue if there had been more water.

I had to take a lie detector test for an interview in a high security clearance job. I was asked if I was on medication to keep my heart rate so low. I am not. 

I've had 2 injuries in my lifetime running history since 1991. Perhaps some are more prone to injury and I'm fortunate to be built for the sport.  I've never ignored doctors'advice. I know there are doctors who don't encourage running. They don't know me. ALL my doctors encourage me to run because they know me, my body, my results.  

Running has given me confidence not just in races but it has transcended into the rest of my life. It has changed my body. It has given me an incredible amount of forever friends. It has given me countless memories and adventures. I have traveled places you cannot get by vehicle and most people wouldn't be willing to walk so far. 

Running isn't for everyone.  Running IS for me.  Of course there are dangers and chances I take when I run. What kind of life would I have if I only did SAFE things? Why live a life limiting yourself and ignoring that little voice in your head whispering another adventure only to ignore it? I know someday I won't be able to run. Today is not that day.

Run free. Run without limits. Run Happy (and don't let ANYONE steal that happiness!)


Saturday, August 31, 2013

12 Hour Transcendence Ultra Run 8/11/13

This race snuck up on me and when I checked the calendar in June, it occurred to me 12 hours could require some specific training. So what did I do? I ran my 4-6 weekday mile runs, ran some marathons and some shorter races and hoped for the best. My daughter's soccer schedule included a tournament in Oregon the same weekend as the 12 hour. That presented a challenge. My husband's work schedule was hit and miss on the weekends so we couldn't make any definite plans until the last minute. We were down a car after it was totaled in an accident. Thankfully Jeff is okay after that scary incident.

Jessica, her best friend and I left for Oregon Friday night for the tournament. I wouldn't be home until after the race so I had to have everything packed Thursday night for the Sunday race which felt much harder than it sounds. I couldn't find both my gaiters for my shoes and that was the only item I needed but didn't have.

Jessica had a game on Friday and 2 games on Saturday. After her second game, I left her with her best friend and her family and drove a few hours back to Olympia. I was so lucky to have Andy Fritz offer his spare room for me to stay in the night before the race. I was either going to have to park somewhere to sleep, leave at 2 am from Oregon, or get a hotel room. None of those were appealing to me.

I had a little snack on my drive and as I arrived in Olympia, I was greeted with a rainbow!  I felt like that was a sign for me to just trust that everything would be okay.
Carb loading
Chasing a porta-potty. Is there a hidden meaning here?

Rainbow over Olympia
 Andy had a room bedazzled with running medals and had a banana and Gatorade waiting for me. I had some yummy cobbler Jody, Andy's wife, had made and spent some time prepping for the race. I filled 12 bottles with Perpetuem (one 12 ounce bottle per hour) which Andy just sat looking bewildered as he imagined drinking that much fluid. He was going to try Carb Pro which I don't think he enjoyed as much as he hoped. I used Perpetuem last year with great success. I then proceeded to get 12 sandwich bags and put in one pill each of Salt Stick, Anti-Fatigue caps, and Race Caps Supreme.  I had 2 separate race day outfits in ziploc bags and 2 pairs of extra shoes.  I kept Aleve, Tums, Excederin, Benadryl and a small first aid kit in a small cooler along with some Honeystinger Waffles, a bag of grapes, jerkey, trail mix and a bag of salt and pepper chips. The bigger cooler was filled with ice and my 12 bottles.  During 12 hours, you just never know what may befall you or what cravings may hit.

An ironman triathlete, Suzy Degazon, had helped me last year in my nutritional and supplement planning and I am so indebted to her for providing valuable information on how to not keel over during a 12 hour race.  Planning ahead by separating the supplements into separate baggies as well as the 12 bottles simplifies my race day so that I don't have to think too much other than knowing I need to be done with one bottle and one bag each hour. If you've never done an endurance event, you'll have to trust me that there are moments where you cannot think clearly, even if you are not dehydrated or lacking nutrition. It's what I call the "Race Day Idiot Syndrome." I've accepted the fact that there are many races where I can only do simple math and every mile is a 10 minute pace so I can guess my finish time.

Woke at 4:30 a.m., loaded up the SUV with my luggage and 2 coolers and followed Andy to Marathon Park in Olympia, Washington.  Did you know that this park hosted the FIRST trials for the Women's Olympic Marathon in 1984?  Read about it here: Marathon Park, Olympia.

I unloaded my coolers under a tree next to the running path and drove my vehicle to the street side parking.  I discovered last year that having my gear next to the path kept me lollygagging at the aid station. I didn't bring a chair. Or a tent. Or any other amenities which would make it tempting to sit down and relax. The bathrooms weren't unlocked until a few minutes before the race and I barely made it back to the start line before we were sent on our way. With 12 hours, I wasn't OVERLY concerned about missing the start by a few minutes.

The day was long and honestly I cannot remember the order of memorable moments. So in no particular order, here's what I recall:

I set out to keep my miles ideally under a 10 minute pace for as long as possible to build up a safety net for later in the day.  Most of my non-running friends or those who haven't ventured into distance races may be thinking, "Wow, 10 minutes miles. What a slacker." It's okay. I can take it. The cumulative effect of running is something to be experienced rather than explained adequately. Just know that yes, I can run faster; however, that would mean the later miles/hours would be that much more difficult.

Last year I set the course record at 67ish miles and my goal was to beat that, even having a sky-high goal of 70 miles. Sharing that goal seemed foolish so I muttered it to my husband and shyly mentioned the possibility to my friend, Sharon.  Some concerns about my goal were: (a) lack of decent mileage, lack of confidence because of (a), and (b) my right calf had been cramping since Friday despite (a) and not running at all Friday or Saturday.  My first steps were nerve-wracking as I waitied for a sudden charlie-horse but luckily my legs were especially kind to me. People passed me from the start and seemed to be running faster than my plan. I knew from last year that the sun rises and sets on peoples dreams and not to get caught up in the early excitement.

I hadn't eaten anything yet but had no worries since food was a mere 1.53 miles away.  The course looped around Capital Lake which had a paved sidewalk for about half of the loop with a runnable dirt section next to it just dirt the other half. Oh, how I missed my Dirty Girl gaiters! I stopped so many times to get itty bitty rocks out of my shoes.Dirty Girl Gaiters are found here and worth every cent if you run trails.

Rikki Bogue looped with me for quite some time and that was a highlight of my day. She's an amazing runner and I've been wanting to run with her forever!  I had pinned my number on my shorts and had to yell off the number for a number of loops as I passed the check in table. Each loop, I would either grab a bottle of Perpetuem, drop one off, grab supplements, grapes or a Honeystinger Waffle. I tried not to waste too much time and only sat down to either take rocks out of my shoes or use the bathroom. I never sat to rest all day.  I honestly don't know if I would get up again if I did.

With this short of a loop course and so many hours, it's difficult to keep track of standings. I just kept moving and didn't attempt to figure out if I was doing well relatively speaking or falling behind the average. Everyone seemed to be doing great and moving along at a nice clip. Steve Walters looked like he was on a mission and I just let him fly by me. Joe's wife was running and he had set up a table and offered runners help and a friendly smile and encouraging words. I really looked forward to his cheery presence each lap.

My stomach was doing really well this year but when pizza was offered, I had no interest.  The sun was up but after last year's heat, I had no complaints. I stuck to my nutrition plan like clockwork, not taking time to clean up my discarded bottles or baggies but kept moving along.  At the marathon distance, I stopped to change into my Brooks Glycerins, ran one loop in them and promptly changed into my second pair of Brooks Launch shoes. I love my Glycerins but they felt so heavy!  I got my ipod as it was getting lonely as runners separated. There were a couple hours when I didn't see any of my friends and I began to wonder if people quit. They didn't.

40 miles! I had been running with a new friend and we took a picture of my accomplishment.  I asked Joe if I did my math correctly: "If I run a 4:45 marathon, I will finish 67 miles..." to which he replied, "Yeah, right. A 4:45 marathon. Well, yes, that's right."  Later, Joe looked stunned as he was running with me and said, "Oh, you were serious about the 4:45?!"
40 Miles!
Jeff and my friend, Beverly, arrived around this time and they joined me for some laps to help pass the time. I was getting tired but didn't have any cramping or discouragement. I remember an hour or so when I had to tell Bev that she could just keep talking but I didn't feel like answering. Sounds rude but I know she understood. During that hour, it just felt like too much effort to talk.  50 miles and I stopped for a quick picture.

50 miles!
Ice cream! Rikki sponsored my run with a lime Popsicle and it was magical!  As I waited for it, I noticed how many people were at the aid station sitting, eating, having FUN. I had to get out of there before I got sucked in.  Must keep moving.  I remember playing Bust-A-Move on loop for a few miles. Also Ton Loc and Robin Thicke. Whatever it takes!

I finished 100k (62 miles!) and felt great. Well, great for having run 62 miles.  I wasn't told my standing in the race and I didn't ask. Just keep moving, just keep moving (in Dora's sing-songy voice). I figured out I had time for four more loops if I kept plodding along.

I got some cheers before my last lap and heard a rumor that I was in first. I really wasn't sure and the main thing that I was focusing on was I had just finished my distance from last year and still had time for another loop! I made up my mind that this was it after doing some simple math. I smiled the last lap and just before the finish, Andy Fritz cheered me on from the bridge. Just another straightaway and I was finished!  Cheers and some people telling me to go do one more lap! I told them, "YOU go do another lap!".  I had 14 minutes left and MAYBE I could have done it but my last lap was so happy, I didn't want to ruin that feeling.

I was on the runner's high and danced a little to some music before realizing that I was thirsty. Oh, and tired. Um, and a little sore. Hmmm.  It occurred to me that I could sit down. So I did. Here's the funny thing about endurance events; you can keep moving for a long time but when you stop, your muscles lose their fluidity and suddenly, movement is thwarted in every direction.

I felt the need to lie down and needed a bit of help standing. Last year I was nauseous and cramping. I felt relatively great in comparison.  I DID win first place overall for women and 4th overall.  This is the furthest distance I have run to date.  My moving average pace was 9:41 per mile and my average pace overall was 10:15 per mile. My elapsed time on the course was 11:45:56 while my actual MOVING time was 11:06:26. So I spent about 40 minutes stopped for one reason or another. Add the extra 14 minutes at the end that I had remaining and that leaving nearly an hour of semi-wasted time (getting nutrition and rocks out of shoes is not wasted time).

That's it!  My 12 hour which was more like an 11 hour, my second year running it, my second year winning it. Dare I consider a 100 miler?  

Hanging out with Andy Fritz - well, just long enough to take a picture!
What's more surprising? My distance or that my Garmin didn't die?

Steve Walters and I celebrating our first place finishes

Get up? You want me to get up?

Moving Time:11:06:26
Elapsed Time:11:46:37
Avg Pace:10:15 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:9:41 min/mi
Best Pace:7:29 min/mi

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bellevue Ghost Marathon 6/23/13

Woke up a little tired from the little jog I took the day before. I wasn't hurting especially but just fatigued. There were a handful of people signed up for this run and I somehow made it to the start on time. I had my camelback filled, tank and shorts on, cap and sunglasses prepped. I had studied the map the night before and even wrote out left/right at each turn. It would have helped if I had brought it with me. Thankfully the race director, Arthur Martineau, had copies of the directions for everyone.

No fanfare, timing mats and a finishing remark from Arthur that "the race started 2 minutes ago" set up off on our 26.2 mile journey.  Here's our huge group of runners. I'm standing behind my beautiful, leggy friend, Betsy.

My goal was 4:30 or faster. Or just finish. I would REALLY know until I had a few miles under my belt to see how my body was feeling.  We set out on a beautiful, quiet morning in Bellevue.  A guy took off in front and I started putzing along, staying in front of most of the group without trying. The general consensus this morning was, what's the hurry? 

David Pierson was quickly at my side, a fellow marathon maniac, a surprise since I didn't see him at the start. He was a little late and hurried to catch up with us.  He also ran Seattle Rock and Roll the day before and finished about the same time as I did but we didn' see each other. I met David during my Winter Triple, discovered he is deaf, and have blundered my way through conversations while David remains ever-patient with me. My daughter is minoring in ASL in college and keeps telling me to study!

David had the same plan, sort of, in that he wanted to run a 4 hour and I told him I would run a 5 hour and he told me I couldn't slow down and we'd run a 4 hour. Yeesh, these are the kinds of friends I have! We worked well as a team not getting lost and keeping each other on track taking in nutrition and liquid.

The course was rolling and we hit this very long section of downhill that killed my quads. We thought it would never end. I told David we must be running to H-E-L-L.  And what goes down, must come up or something equally original.  Haha.  Surprisingly we never had a huge uphill that seemed to be the equivalent of the downhill.  Thank the Lord!

David started tiring around mile 16 and after walking some more uphill and not being able to convince him I didn't mind sticking with him, I powered on my own off the main roads and onto a nice bike trail.  The time passed so much more quickly with David by my side.  My pace significantly slowed and I expected to see David and many others pass me but it didn't happen. I wasn't the only tired runner out there.  I wasn't feeling hurt but just fatigued.  Finishing seemed like a great idea. 

There were numerous times I had to stop and look around at street signs and/or ask people where I was to be sure I hadn't missed a turn.  There were a few times I was positive I had taken a wrong turn but somehow I was on the right path. I kept my pace slow and steady and made my way up the last final uphill to the finish line. Less than .2 to go and I stood waiting at another intersection for the light to change. What a difference between a big city marathon and low-key marathon.  I love both for different reasons.

The finish line arrived and I was one happy girl to be done. 26.79 on my Garmin. Got some water, found myself in second place and penguine-walked to my vehicle for the drive home. First I had to GPS a fast food place because I NEEDED french fries. 

My next race, Taylor Mountan Marathon, was in 6 days and I would not run leading up to it because my body was struggling to recover.  It was a good move.

Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon 6/22/13

This is my 5th year running this race. For those of us who have run all of the Seattle races,we were given special bibs and we had our name on a banner at the expo.  Our bibs allowed us to start in the corral of our choosing.

Jeff will one again be running the half marathon (his 5th year, too) even though he tells me he's never doing it again EVERY time. He once again signed up for next year at the expo.

Literally as we were still on our driveway about to leave for the expo on Friday afternoon, I received a call from my step-mom with devastating news. My step-brother's daughter, Jordyn, died from a drug overdose at noon. She was 19, just a few months older than my older daughter. My heart was heavy all weekend as I thought about the circumstances and the pain my family was experiencing.

Jordyn with her brother

Jordyn was a beautiful girl, loving and left behind many friends and family.

Jeff and I went about our weekend, faking our way through the experience, keeping emotions tucked away so we could get through the race. The expo was packed and after picking up our special bibs and packets, we tried lots of free samples before heading to our hotel, Travel Lodge. This is a couple blocks from the start line and completely worth the money to be so close for such an early start race.

I packed leftover pasta this time and was so happy not to have to hoof it around Seattle looking for an overpriced restaurant to find some decent carbs.  I need to remember to do this more often. It was so relaxing to sit back, eat our homecooked food while watching a movie. No waiting or tips required.

Lights out around 10:00 and the alarm set for 5:00 a.m.  My earplugs were in and I was able to sleep fairly well once I let my mind stop asking impossible questions about Jordyn. I immediately went downstairs to find some food (the hotel opened it up early for runners) before getting my race gear ready. 

The morning flew by and by 6:40, we left our room for the start. I again missed the Marathon Maniac picture which was at 6:15.  I chose corral 4 and Jeff moved back to 7.  My emotions were welling up and I kept squashing them back. Found Larissa and met a fellow blogger. Just as were were to start, my tears couldn't be stopped and I grabbed Larissa's hand and asked her to pray for our family as my brother's daughter had passed away. I hadn't meant to do that to her just before a race but my heart needed a release and I knew she would understand. Thank you, Larissa, for being my rock on race morning. I couldn't share with anyone else what was going on until all I knew that the news was given to everyone that needed to know first.  I haven't seen Jordyn in years but the pain is still there as I consider my own daughters and the void that would forever exist without them.

My goal was to finish in 3:40 or better. I tried to run the first half smarter than the last race. The weather was close to ideal, a bit on the warm side but I loved it.  I don't have a lot of mile specific memories but here's what I do remember:

The tunnels, while providing shade, also provide a cantered surface, especially the Mercer Island tunnel, which makes running uncomfortable. I couldn't wait to get out of that tunnel!  I also lost reception in the tunnels on my watch. I somehow locked my Garmin and somehow unlocked it a few minutes later; how I did either is a mystery.  I was passed by a guy wearing a Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz costume. I passed him later as I also passed the guy dribbling two basketballs throughout the entire marathon. Imagine listening to bouncing basketballs nonstop and you will know why I made an effort to get by him.

The bands were good and the cheer squads but, in reality, you only hear them for a a minute as you approach and run by them. Most of my race was solo as I wasn't keeping pace with other runners or friends. It was great seeing some Maniacs on the out and backs.  I know I was not feeling great and wished I had more pep in my legs. My half marathon split was about right for a 3:40 finish. 

I tired the second half, took a couple quick walk breaks up some hills and felt faster as I passed half-marathon walkers. Finally I made the last turn onto Mercer and up the dreaded finishing hill.  3:42:19 chip time and as I made my way through the finisher's area, my arms were overloaded with bagels, smoothies, chocolate milk, water and just as I placed my bagel over the top of a water bottle, I found my beloved waiting for me with Pedro Infante.  This guy is so fast and so sweet!  He promised to outrun me to the finish of Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon in July since I was faster than last year. 

I realized I wasn't feeling great and we made our way to the beer garden where I gladly let Jeff have mine.  Sharon, Erik, Brian and Melissa (future Ragnar Relay partners) were all hanging out and soon we made our way back to the hotel where they allowed us a late checkout.  Red Robin was our next stop before heading home and resting up for the next day's run, Bellevue Ghost Marathon.

Yep, already signed up for next year!

  • 291 out of 2361
  • Division:
    9 out of 136
  • Gender:
    57 out of 1032
  • 5 km  24:41
  • 10 km  49:32
  • 10 mi  1:21:32
  • half   1:47:48
  • 18.1  2:30:57
  • 20 mi 2:46:50
Pace: 8:29
Chip time: 3:42:19
Clock time: 3:45:34

Saturday, July 6, 2013

North Olympic Discovery Marathon - 6/2/13

The night before a marathon shouldn't involve waiting for your duck to have x-rays.  It's not right. My life has never been "normal"(and who has a life like that anyway?). Tawney (or Tawny/Tawnie/Tawni depending on which family member you ask) has been limping for a couple of weeks but seemed to be getting better until June 1. We have 2 ducks, Stella and Tawny. We are Accidental Duck Owners, definitely a must-see Hallmark movie title.

Tawny and Stella
They are in a fully-enclosed pen and we have no idea how she hurt herself. Tawny took a turn for the worse this day and we decided she needed to see the vet. Our ducks are pets, not for eating, thank you. I'm mad at those who suggested we just shoot her and have her for dinner. I'm sure some of you are snickering but seriously, we've hand-raised her and she's a sweetheart. I could never ever ever ever do that.

Hours later, we are told she has a broken femur, a little unusual for a duck, and we are sent home with instructions to keep her enclosed in her small house. We would have to wait until Tuesday to hear from a doctor to see if she could get any further help or if we would have to put her down because her quality of life would be so poor. 

Race morning arrived and I put thoughts on Tawney on hold and tried to focus on the race before me.  Last year, I won the female race after coming in second overall a few times. Here's that race report:  NODM 2012 race report.   I had a great first half but struggled with major muscle cramping later and scraped the win by seconds. Thoughts of winning today were far from my mind as my training and body weren't ready to race hard and I really was just looking for a little improvement over Tacoma City Marathon's 3:49 finish.

Jeff drove Lori, Sharon and myself to the starting line (Sharon was pacing the half marathon) after arriving an hour early. I met up with other Maniacs in the building as we waited but my heart was heavy and I had to leave to get my emotions under control. I didn't think anyone would understand why I was teary over a duck.

I lined up for the 7th year in a row for the start of the North Olympic Discovery Marathon. This was my qualifying race for the Marathon Maniacs in 2006. I had a goal of keeping my pace about 8:00-8:30. For many miles, I was near the 3:35 pacer along with a woman running her first marathon. She had hoped to Boston qualify on her first marathon and I could only tell her that if she did, she would be the exception to most first-time marathoners.

The first 8+ miles are through the streets of Sequim before we get to the Discovery Trail.  The day was warm and many inexperienced runners haven't hydrated properly and begin to slow.  Jeff sightings through town and I feel a boost of confidence with his presence. We finally enter the trail and get some shade.  I was with the 3:35 pacer through the half marathon and said adios to him as I could tell I was fading. I hoped I could not fall too far behind but I knew my legs weren't ready to keep up yet. 

Mile 16 and we begin to get some rolling hills. The trail is beautiful, especially over the wooden bridges. Caterpillars are dropping from trees and litter the trail, dying by the hundreds as runners cannot avoid them. I tried not to think about it as I went on a killing spree to the finish line.

I focused on the mile I was in, tried to keep a decent rhythm, kept my heart rate under control on the hills and remembered how lucky I was to be running.  The last five miles of this course have given me some really fast miles but I knew that wouldn't happen today. And I was okay with it.  The marathoners were finally merging with the slower half marathoners. We finally arrived along the last mile of waterfront running and the marina looked incredibly far away.  I plodded along, tried to pick up my pace but realized my body has one gear.  As I approached the finish line, I saw Jeff on my right and Sharon on my left and that gave me a little extra energy to push harder to the finish line. I crossed just under 3:45, not as big an improvement as I would have liked but I accepted it as a step forward. No age group awards for me today.

I love this race even though there are some friends who don't see the appeal. I enjoy the smaller field, rural roads, beautiful surroundings, excellent volunteers and cool shirts. I don't LOVE the hills but if ya gotta run hills, might as well be on a pretty trail.

**I wrote this a month after the race and I know I've forgotten some important details, funny tidbits that always happen in a marathon, etc. I wanted to share for my animal loving friends that Tawney is doing better after getting some medical attention. She's been steadily improving and Stella won't have to live alone.

1 8:02.4 1.00 8:02
2 8:16.4 1.00 8:16
3 7:52.4 1.00 7:52
4 7:45.0 1.00 7:45
5 8:01.4 1.00 8:01
6 8:08.0 1.00 8:08
7 8:09.8 1.00 8:10
8 8:24.0 1.00 8:24
9 8:07.6 1.00 8:08
10 8:34.1 1.00 8:34
11 7:58.9 1.00 7:59
12 7:57.6 1.00 7:58
13 8:17.7 1.00 8:18
14 8:48.9 1.00 8:49
15 7:58.5 1.00 7:58
16 8:22.3 1.00 8:22
17 9:05.2 1.00 9:05
18 9:05.3 1.00 9:05
19 8:37.0 1.00 8:37
20 9:14.4 1.00 9:14
21 10:26.9 1.00 10:27
22 8:32.2 1.00 8:32
23 8:40.2 1.00 8:40
24 8:47.1 1.00 8:47
25 8:58.5 1.00 8:59
26 8:35.3 1.00 8:35
27 4:05.1 0.54 7:36

Summary     3:44:51.8    26.54 miles  8:28 average

Saturday, June 1, 2013

THE Rest Week - 5/18-5/23

Post Tacoma City Marathon report - June 1, 2013

Life can turn on a dime. One day you're healthy, and then you're injured . Then 3 months later, you're healthy and run a marathon too soon, run another one too soon again and then suddenly, you're injured again. Thankfully this time, it's a short-lived bout with knee pain.

The week following the marathon, I ran short and easy-paced runs but noticed right away a bruised feeling under my left patella aka kneecap. It hurt every step but not enough in the beginning to make me stop. I then noticed a few days later that it hurt when kneeling as I was on the floor folding laundry. Don't get sidetracked on the minor issue of how little I actually complete the last step in doing the laundry. Kneeling nearly brought tears to my eyes. Of course I kept poking and prodding the pain in an effort to solidify the fact that it did hurt.

May 17th, 12 days after TCM, I finally called it quits for my daily run, something I should have done a week earlier. The pain was getting worse and my running thoughts consisted of words such as: Ow! No! Ow! Shoot! No! Umph! Owie!  and other words not suitable for this blog or my thoughts. I knew I MUST take some time off or face yet another long layoff from running. My streak had been blown for the year anyway.

Reluctantly, I stashed my running shoes away from the front door and decided to not run for 5-7 days before trying it out again on a short run. Walking didn't hurt at all.

The week of not running was filled with some new adventures for me. I have been job hunting for a VERY LONG ARDUOUS time (1 1/2+ years)with disappointment after disappointment that I will not elaborate here. Just know it was a time-consuming and frustrating journey. My homeschooling days have ended and suddenly I am able to work full-time again. My last full-time job was in 1993! For most of my job-hunting time, I was still my younger daughter's driver and this kept my available hours to work more limited which kept me from getting hired. Retail stores of any kind want you to be available 24/7  or they won't even call you in for an interview. It's nuts.

I received a call from a local hardware store for a customer service position (previously interviewed the summer before and didn't get hired as well as 5-7 other applications for different positions over the past year). It was a weekday only position, 20 hours a week. Sweet! I could still race on the weekends! Interviewed, waited, hired in 2 days!  The same day I was hired, I received a phone call from an attorney's office I applied to calling me in for an interview. Seriously?

I interviewed with someone the next day, felt like I blew the interview and decided to just be happy I had a job with the hardware store.  The hardware store had to do a background check on me so it would be a week before I actually started. I received an email asking me to come in the next day for a group interview at the office. I was really surprised but so thankful and nervous. Back to the office and was happy with my group interview experience. I didn't place any hope in it after so many disappointments over the past year. Another email arrived that night asking me to come in one last time. I was floored. Would it be a skills test? Another interview? I arrived at the office with uncertainty. I left with a full-time job as a legal receptionist. What a crazy week! I started work the next day, a Thursday, and my no-running week began the following Saturday.

On the 5th day, after pushing and prodding under my kneecap without pain, I met Sharon for a slow 4 miler. I ran with trepidation for a few steps and quickly realized I didn't feel any pain! Inside, my thoughts turned to the chorus of this song:

Until mile 4. I felt an ache in the same place. Sigh. Cue new music.

I laced up the next day anticipating more of the same and very happily my knee pain was magically gone and hasn't returned since May 26th!  That brings us to today, the day before the North Olympic Discovery Marathon. My longest run since TCM was 10.7 miles.  I'm disappointed that I won't be able to race NODM but elated that I can run. Period. Here's last year's NODM race report: North Olympic Discovery Marathon 2012

Now to figure out how to fit in all my training while working full-time.

Until next time, RUN HAPPY!