Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My New Boyfriend

He's a prick. He's controlling. He's borderline abusive even. And worse yet, he makes me a slower runner. His name...Compartment Syndrome. This past fall I started having issues while running. Issues that didn't even make sense...mileage and pace that had always been fine turned into a nightmare.
I first noticed it while I was on the treadmill (which isn't one of my favorite places to be anyway). The pain started in the front of my lower legs, similar to shin splints but more towards the outside of each leg. It came on after about a quarter mile. In my head I thought I could just run through it so I continued on, wincing with every step. But then through the blare of my ipod I heard a thumping...now, if you've run with me before, you know I'm not one with a heavy footfall. I turned my music off and sure enough...it was my goddamn feet making that awful noise. But no matter what my brain told my feet to do, I couldn't control them, couldn't run lightly.
So now I'm about a half mile into this shit and realize there's no way I can keep going. I hobbled off the treadmill, my calves and shins swollen to the point that the skin covering them was shiny. The muscles themselves were so tight that just touching them hurt so bad that I thought they would snap. I made my way into the sauna just hoping that sitting there long enough would make the pain dissipate. After 15 minutes I was able to walk normally.
I chalked it up to just a bad day. Then for the next four runs it happened again and again. Those times I stubbornly pushed through, running a full 6 or 7 miles before calling it quits. Long story short (sorry, I've already gone on long enough) I went to the doctor, he diagnosed Compartment Syndrome in both legs (which led to the drop foot), told me not to run for a while, and told me surgery was the likeliest possibility if the rest didn't make it go away.
So I stopped running. And I stopped caring. And I started eating. The holidays were anything but joyful (for a myriad of reasons unfortunately) so I packed on some winter weight and hibernated for a good amount of time (those who know me well know the hiding I went into).
But I'm not good with wallowing. Nor am I good with being at a standstill. So after two and half months I ventured back onto the treadmill. Quarter mile and all's well. Half a mile and I'm still feeling fine. The gods are smiling down on me for once. Excited and impatient I end my run after a short 3 miles and get to making my plan of attack for my slow comeback and even slower return to distance running. I'm a sucker for the Cleveland Marathon. Most people hate that marathon, I personally love it. Its elevated and crushed me at different times and all I wanted was to train for it.
I've learned some things through getting back to this...when it comes to my times I've finally come to terms with the fact that I doubt I'll ever run what my old pace was. Every time I try to push it and run how I used to, my boyfriend speaks up, quite loudly actually. He wrangles me down and makes me submit to what I can only describe as a very lung friendly pace.
Adapting is hard...in every sense. But it filters out the fake. Only the things that are real rise to the top and its with great appreciation that I still feel capable to grab those things. No I'm not a fast runner anymore, but I'm still a marathoner.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

BT50K

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Me and my pity party

I've been sick and just not quite right for weeks. My workouts have sucked and I'm praying that I can still somehow pull off this 50k in three weeks. I keep searching for inspiration, motivation...and all I keep finding is my bed. I don't care whether its emotional shit or physical shit that keeps zapping my energy...all I know is that I kinda suck ass right now. I want this video to magically fix me-because the message sounds so familiar at this point. My excuses now have excuses. Who fuckin' knows...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cleveland Marathon Stats

I'll post pictures and a race report later but here are the numbers:

Official time: 3:54:22

Overall Placing: 656 out of 2228
Gender Placing: 110 out of 733
Age Placing: 23 out of 95

I beat my last marathon time by 12 minutes. I didn't qualify but there's always next time, right?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Checking In

I don't really have anything to say but wanted the few who cared to know I'm not dead laying in a ditch somewhere. I'm still running, still training, still trying to stay injury free.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Winter BT50K Race Report

It's hard to believe that only three months ago the doctor gave me the go ahead to start running again after that pesky stress fracture injury and I'm now typing up my race report for my second ultramarathon. Proud? Why yes, yes I am. But more importantly I'm thankful. Although the training for this seemed to find me in the worst possible weather conditions (blizzards, downpours, possible mudslides and flooding water crossings) and my "get up and go" factor seemed to get kidnapped somewhere along the line with my diet give-a-dam, I still felt quite prepared and excited for this race and eternally grateful that I was back out there doing what I love.

The weather forecast was promising...colder temps and light snow is preferable to the soul and foot sucking mud that we had the last couple of runs. The only problem is that all those muddy footprint dents in the ground froze into torturous little stalagmites which is not so easy on the feet or the joints, it turns out.

George and I got to Boston Store around 6:15 am where I got my bib (which by the way, no offense to the fantastic race director and coordinators but come on, electronic timing in the bibs that prevented us from keeping them kinda stunk...I keep every one of those from all races; they belong on my wall not reset and plastered to the front of another runner in another race somewhere down the road). The store was buzzing with people and the few of my running friends who hadn't met George before got to...I think Don and also my trainer, Sean, had way too much fun asking him how the hell he lived with me. Very funny guys, very funny.

Before you knew it, the whistle was blown and we were off on our way through 3 loops of Brandywine and 2 loops of Pine Lane. Just like in the summer 50k Red, Debi and I stuck together for the majority of the way. I saw Don at the very early 2.5 mile marker and I could see the expectant look in his eye like I should be picking it up and running with him but like I've said before, I wasn't planning on shootin' my wad early, so to speak, so I told him to go ahead. He ran a fantastic race and I'm so happy for him that he felt good and strong the whole way...after two DNF's on this course he deserved to make this thing his bitch and that he did-way to go Don!

Red and I were perfectly matched in the race. We stayed together the entire time and I think we both felt great until about mile 18 where it just became more labored. I think we kept our complaining to a minimum. Red's back was hurting her and my joints seemed to be screaming in protest to the prolonged exposure to the cold. The weather felt like it seeped in to my ankles, knees and hips and put a death grip on them. Regardless of the discomfort though, having Red with me helped tremendously...suffering in silence up the hills (well except for our train-like sounding breaths) was a truly bonding experience. I fell only once but kudos to Sean, my arms must be pretty strong because I caught myself before my ass even had a chance to touch the ground.

George was fantastic as usual...he met us at both stops at Pine Lane then of course every time we ran through Boston. I never thought anyone would ever be able to rival that 100% secure feeling I have with my parents...that feeling that I always know they'll be there for me when I need it, but he does. He's always there no matter what and I love him beyond words for that. It was at mile 22 that I hugged him and he felt so warm and the car was so god damn close that I whispered to him to please just put me out of my misery and take me home. I'm so glad he knows me well enough to push me along and refuse my attempts at "sweet talk".

I won't lie, the loops all kinda blurred into each other. I felt strong but pretty tired by the last couple of them. I was so glad to have Red there, we connected without talking and it kinda reminded me that she was unknowingly the draw to this running group about a year ago. She and I are very similar in some ways and refreshingly different in others. All I know is that doing a 50K without her just wouldn't seem right now. I hope we can continue this Buckeye Trail tradition for years to come.

That last stretch of Towpath couldn't have ended any sooner than it did. I surprised even myself by picking up the pace in the last mile or so. All I could think of at that point was the hamburger that I had so passionately talked about earlier that morning before we even started the race. That's seeming to be part of my new regime that George just recently renamed "The Maria Triathlon". My three events? Run a whole lotta miles, then Kobayashi a burger (if that joke isn't funny to you then look up competitive eating) and then do some baking (I went home after the race and my burger and proceeded to again stand and get a cheesecake made for the next day).

I get so A.D.D. with my race reports so I gotta stop now (sorry if it's already gone on longer than usual) but let me just name the few things/people that really stuck out in my head:

  • the volunteers...especially Bob Combs, TJ Hawk and Frank (I wish I knew his last name but he was so helpful at the Brandywine station)
  • the other runners-so many of them gave such great encouragement. Jim Harris who I've only met once before was nice enough to remember me and call me out by name each time we crossed paths
  • the people who I trained with-although so many of you are faster than I could ever hope to be you never make me feel less for what my pace is
  • the people who I've ended up meeting through bloggerland-I enjoy sharing this passion with you. Even if I rarely run a single step in your presence, your common interest in running always rings true and inspires me
  • my parents and my sister, Leanne. At every big race I know I can search them out and see their cheering faces...rain or shine they're there
  • The Winking Lizard. Yes, I know I'm a true fat girl when I have to again mention that amazing burger I inhaled after the race (along with a few delicious beverages that made my day complete)
I didn't take my camera with me this time so I don't have as many pics as I did in the summer. George did his best to capture key moments but damn, that boy was standing still for the majority of the time he was out there and his hands were practically frozen, hence his lack of picture taking abilities. But still...here's what I managed to put together. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Taper Temperament

I don't often get to run with Pier but this week of taper running mixed with her early out from work collided and made it possible. There's nothing like being around her...now if I could just get her hooked on 50k's I'd be a happy camper.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cold,cold and more cold!

With the windchill it was about 11 degrees...that is fucking cold, my friends! But nevertheless, I got my 13 miles in. I felt really strong at the end...lets hope I can manage that next week. Don mentioned that he could have gone at that pace all day...all I could think about was a warm bath, a warm bed and big ass hamburger (which I proceeded to inhale right after the run). Next week's the big race...keep your fingers crossed that it all goes well! Good luck to everyone doing it and thanks to those that are volunteering!

I'm out!! :)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ugh

The group met for our last long run before the 50k. I would love to talk more about it but the bottom line is that the majority of this run was just, well, labored. But I slogged through, learning some essentials for the upcoming race...do not follow Don for the first half, a bag of pretzels does wonders, and whimpering to yourself halfway into the run does nothing except for zap more of your energy.

Honestly, as much as I like running with Don and Roger, they were kicking my ass all over that trail yesterday. I'll stick to the plan I used for the summer 50k...start off slow (almost painfully slow) for the first half and then the second half kick it in and run with more of a purpose. All I want is to cross the finish line-I'm ready and willing and I have no doubt I WILL cross it, I'm just not placing any parameters on what time I need to finish in.

After my 23 and a few beers and some wings at The Winking Lizard, I continued home and proceeded to stand on my feet cooking and baking until about one o'clock in the morning in preparation for the baby shower I was throwing for a girlfriend of mine...let me just say this: if you ever find yourself in this situation of taking on way too much in way too short a span of time, I suggest taking my approach...have a continuous flow of vodka so as not to notice just how much pain your legs and ankles and ass and, well, just about every fucking part of you is in. The only unfortunate part is that now (while not under the influence) all of my pieces parts have rebelled and made damn sure I'm aware of exactly how they feel. Which is...Not.Good.

Challenging runs make us who we are as athletes though, right?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Perfect

I woke up feeling as though I wanted to keep sleeping. For as much as I love running, I love sleeping more so dragging my sorry ass outta bed that early in the morning is a feat all by itself. But I did it and got to Boston store with enough time to squeeze into Bob's truck along with Red and mutter a few words in regards to my current state.

There were quite a few different groups that showed up so there were plenty of paces to pick from. I attempted to keep up with E-Speed and her group but that just wasn't possible...I hung in for a while but realized that if I were going to make it the whole way I'd be better off conserving my energy. She and her friends are F-A-S-T! But at least they're not snobby about it (too bad I can't say that for all the runners out there).

The weather and the trail were just about perfect except for a few icy spots...this is the kind of winter running I love! I can only hope for a duplicate of today come race day.

Our resident redheads, Red & Bob, stuck together most of the way and I got a chance to run with Roger, whom I always love running with and Don, who I haven't had the pleasure of running with before. Our pace was really comfortable and we all just kind of fell into place and enjoyed the silence around us. Don't get me wrong, I love the chatting that goes on when E or Red are around but sometimes its also nice to just inhale your surroundings with no other distractions. Certain runs just feel magical and this was one of them. I had only planned on doing 16 miles but after going over the options with Don & Roger I decided to stick it out and go the extra two with them.