Monday, January 7, 2013

Quadzilla - Day One

December 29, 2012
Quadzilla - Four marathons/Four Days,

Day one of Quadzilla was Loop the Lake Marathon. We started in front of The Balanced Athlete in Renton and followed this route: Loop The Lake Marathon Course.

Race start: 9:00 a.m.  I left my house at 7:25 and was parking by 8:30 a.m.  I have never been this close to Boeing which is crazy considering I've lived in this area my entire life! I found the parking garage easily enough and made my way to the store, packed with runners ready to tackle either a half or full marathon.  The half-marathoners would be running the same loop but would have a partner and each one would run the first or second half of the course.

Accidental photo that looks kinda cool
Mary Hanna and I had a chance to catch up while waiting for the bathroom. After a short briefing about the course, we squeezed out of the doors and were let loose along the streets of Renton. Our goal was to follow the flour markings and hopefully we would end up across the Lake Washington, Mercer Island, Bellevue and back down to Renton.

My camel pack was filled with water, Gu, salt tablets, and my iphone, set up with a playlist. I had forgotten my headphones so I had music playing, hopefully not too loud, and also used the Nike Run app to track my miles and also wore my new Garmin 310XT.  I set out without any big goals other than to finish and with any luck, in 4 hours or less.  This was the first of four marathons so that wasn’t my top priority.  

I apologize to everyone around me who had to listen to "Dirty Little Secret" or any of the other songs that may be annoying. I downloaded a playlist from Rock My Run (This one) and This one which I like better.  FREE.  I have been getting free credits from this website since I ran the Rock and Roll marathon. Pretty sweet deal!

We followed flour markers as we made our way around Lake Washington. I ran mostly on sidewalks but there was a bike lane for much of it and opted to stay in it as much as possible. Cement sidewalks are much less forgiving on your body.  I found myself running alone for most of the race, either behind or in front of others, not have the joy of sharing miles together with friends.  

Running across Lake Washington
I passed a group of runners at one of the aid stations that I had been trailing for miles.  I had plenty of water and nutrition to keep me going with stopping other than to grab a Gu.  The sky was overcast but dry, a mini-miracle in Washington State during winter.  My knit cap stayed glued to my head even though I was warm enough.  I have Gumby hair; it tends to stay in the shape of whatever is placed on it.

Everything was feeling good for the run. Easy, comfortable and my concern over having not run over 11 miles at a time since the Seattle Marathon was abated.  Finally we arrived at Seward Park and after circumnavigating it, I passed a big group of runners at another aid station.  I had no racing intentions other than to finish in 4 hours, hardly a winning time for a marathon. 

I noticed the sidewalk along Lake Washington cantered toward the water and also had numerous tree roots poking through the pavement. I ran close to the road as much as possible but had an ongoing stream of bikes and runners to contend with. The bridge was a welcome sight and I found the flour markings and proceeded up a hill, hesitant as I climbed a lot of stairs, not knowing if I followed the right path. Thankfully I did and crossed the very noisy bridge with constant streams of traffic.

Finally across the bridge, I followed the bike path and found myself unsure at times if I missed a flour marking but would be greeted with one just when my doubts were escalating. Not long after crossing the bridge, the top of my right foot started hurting unexpectedly. It was a pain that started small, like a bruise that was getting irritated by constant pressure. I thought about stopping to relace my shoes but they didn't feel tight. This was around mile 18.

Over the next 6 miles, I was intentionally changing the way I was running to take the pressure off my foot. This was a sure sign but I rolled right through it because I have this:

I shifted my weight to alleviate the bruised feeling and would get more relief occasionally but overall, the pain would not go away.  It wasn't excruciating but annoying. And then, I felt more pain when going uphill. And then I started wishing the finish line would hurry up and get there. My body felt fine and all I started thinking about was my foot. My foot, the world revolved around my foot. I caught up to some runners ahead of me during the ignorance phase of the pain. I was on pace for 4 hours and was sure I could get there just in time. Until.

Until is like the cliffhanger of all stories. It does not always end well. 

As mile 24 approached, I was consumed with foot thoughts. Where does it hurt, what bones, tendons, muscles are there? Did I wear the right shoes? Should I stop and look at it? A "snap" brought me out of my thoughts and back to reality. I can't say if I heard it, felt it or both. I knew it wasn't good but needed to keep moving, going completely flat-footed and shuffled along the trail. I came out of the trail and couldn't figure out where to go. A few runners passed me and I followed them toward the finish. Almost to the finish, cringing and anxious to be done, I saw my reflection in a store window and thought my stride looked off-kilter but not bad to the untrained eye. I was hiding my pain quite well.

The Balanced Athlete finally appeared and I checked myself in at the store. I recorded my time as 4:04:18 but see on my Garmin it was really 4:01:07. I would easily have made my goal without a hurting foot. Nancy Szoke and Sharon Hendricks both greeted me in the store, a blessing to me to have such wonderful friends. 

I made a quick exit and after settling myself into my car, I called home and told Jeff I was going to Urgent Care. He and my daughter met me there, a 40 minute drive from the finish. I carefully made my way to the desk, checked in, and was escorted within minutes to a room. St. Anthony's Emergency Room was so efficient and caring. Well, except when the nurse said, "Wow, that is a big foot," when asking my shoe size to be fitted for a wrap-around shoe to wear home. Yes, thank you. All the bigger to stomp your little foot.

Dr. McCrum - this name makes me laugh - gave me the news that my 2nd metatarsal on my right foot had an oblique fracture and anther one that went horizontally through the bone. I asked to see the xray and the oblique fracture looks like peeling bark. The other break "luckily" is aligned and will heal easier than if it had separated.  Dr. McCrum was a collegiate runner and shared his empathy for my plight. He recognized the look in my eyes and warned me to take time to heal. I was so thankful to have a doctor understand that not running is akin to not breathing. He suggested aquajogging to help keep endurance but suggested waiting until the pain had lessened.  The sentence: 6-8 weeks without running.  Overuse, plain and simple. Ironic considering the past month my miles have been reduced easily by a third.

Quadzilla will have to wait for another time. Now, I am concentrating on upper body, core, any leg exercises I can do without standing, and nutrition.

Have you been injured? Did you cross-train during your down time?

Just found out I can't run for 6-8 weeks
Guess which foot is injured?
My life now
Jeff's only happy I won't ask him to run with me for a couple months
Brooks Pure Flow and a not so pretty shoe on my BIG foot.

What, am I going to do nothing for 6-8 weeks?
Kitty is loving my lap