Thursday, November 29, 2007

Plantar Fasciitus

I have one more day until the marathon and I think I have everything packed and ready to go. There is a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I'm forgetting something...probably just pre-race anxiety and don't I know all about that! :)

Temps are predicted to be a high of 68 and a low of 54 with cloudy skies, an improvement from the rain that was in the forecast last week. Perfect running weather I think, planning to wear shorts. Now, do I pin my number on my tank top or on my shorts....the age old question.

Yes, I have plantar fasciitus in my right heel. It entered my life on November 16 when I had excruciating pain getting out of bed and then had to limp when I first started running. Since then, I've taken extra rest days, shortened my last two long runs to short ones and even biked one day. I've been stretching and got in for some physical therapy on Tuesday.

There is a fabulous physical therapist in Little Rock who helped me with IT band problems over the summer. He did some therapy on my foot and then taped me up. Surprisingly that has helped more than I expected. Pain was far less on my last run before the marathon, Wednesday, and it actually went away by mile 2. Tomorrow I go back to the PT for a final taping before race day.

I'm as ready as I can be, kind of worried about pace and finish time, not sure what to aim for exactly. Also slightly worried about my foot of course. Will it hurt? Will it be fine and then become excruciating at some point during the 26 miles? A lot can happen in the animal known as marathon, it's such a long distance that everything just hangs in an unknown balance. Will it be smooth sailing that ends up in a storm? Will it be a rocky start with a successful summit? Will it be IDEAL where everything feels effortless? Will it be a gut-wrenching soul-searching painful experience culminating in tears of relief to cross the finish line? I think I have experienced all of those in past marathons!

Bottom line is I love to run and I love the marathon. Saturday will be another day in my memory and another day to be thankful that I'm able to run at all. A good friend reminded me of a great verse for the marathon in Isaiah 40:31, "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; They shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint." Another favorite marathon verse for me is Phil. 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheth me." He is the source of the ability, and the strength, and the joy in running.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

20 Mile Birthday Run

Met some friends today and ran my last 20 miler before Memphis. It was a beautiful morning once it got light outside after our 5:30 AM start. Temperatures were in the 50's and the sun was shining. I love fall running, the trees were gorgeous and it felt great to be outside enjoying the day. Nevermind that the course was absolutely the HILLIEST route I have run in all my weeks of marathon training, we all need a challenge, right? It was an awesome day, I can't think of a better way to start my birthday--- a 20 mile run with friends, beautiful fall scenery and great weather. And now, at long last, the TAPER....

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Reason to Run: Scones

What better reason to run then homemade blueberry scones? And we're not talking about scones from Starbucks or your local coffee shop.

This morning our usual group of 5 runners plus two newbies met at our usual Starbucks on Kavanaugh to run at 5:30 AM. As we made our first few steps into the cold air, Alan counted us and announced that he had scones for everyone at the end of the run. Not just regular scones, scones made from scratch in some new fancy way that definitely made them better.

So, I was tired and decided when I got up this morning to only run 4 or 5 miles. Our quicker than usual pace reinforced the decision. I had even decided to forego the scones and stick with my plan to cut a couple miles. Well, the more I ran the better I felt and somewhere around 3 and a half to 4 miles I changed my mind and decided I was running 6 after all. Running for scones became my mantra, and it was worth every calorie. We all know runners love to eat and I'll run for scones any day! (or for my usual oatmeal or Kashi Go Lean cereal for that matter....but those scones were definitely delicious...) Thanks for the awesome treats!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Running with a Kenyan

Seriously!!! I actually ran with a true Kenyan tonight, it made my day! It was totally unexpected and really fun. I felt like I met a celebrity!

I went to the high school track after work tonight to run some mile repeats knowing I would be tired from the race this weekend, but needing the training. When I got there, a man and a woman were already running while their three children played. As soon as I got on the track, they were very friendly and started talking and introduced themselves as Jef and Clarice. He offered to run a couple repeats with me after I warmed up and I said I knew I couldn't run his pace. I had already seen him running extremely fast and after I asked about his work out, he told me he was running 800's at a 2:20 pace. Wow! But he said he would help me hit my goal pace.

Well, I warmed up for a mile and ran my first repeat at a slow 7:13, but knew I was tired from racing. He came along during my recovery lap and we started talking. That's when I found out he was from Kenya! Of course I was "star struck" ---ha!!! He quickly added, "a slow Kenyan." Yeah right, there is no such thing! Anyway, from there he ran my next repeat with me and it really helped me. We ran a 6:41 pace for that mile as I gasped for life on his heels! He told me to stay on his heels and was very encouraging the whole time, he would point backwards at his heels if he could tell I wasn't quite there. That makes me laugh, but it really worked! The last lap he had me lead the way which also helped. And he would say "now pick your knees up and pump your arms" when I was getting tired. It was like having my own personal trainer for running and what a difference it made! After recovery, we ran another one at 6:50 pace, he slowed it down for me! Of course they were both simply cool down miles for him, I'm sure.

After Clarice and Jef and their children headed home, I recovered from that fast mile and tried another to see if I had anything left. Nope! It was a slow 7:26! But what a great work out for speed and one that I will always remember! I ran with a KENYAN!!!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Wynne Half Marathon

This is going to be more details about running a race than anyone ever wanted to read. So here is a look inside my head about running and my race experience yesterday. I'm not offended if it is not your thing and you'd rather skim or skip the enitre entry. I'm writing just for fun anyway! Who knows, maybe this blog will turn into a running blog for me after all...

Yesterday was the Mid-South Marathon and Half Marathon in Wynne, Arkansas. I am in the middle of training for the Memphis Marathon in December and signed up for the Wynne Half as part of my training. Running a half marathon now during training can help me see where I am as far as pace for a December marathon. I love this race, I have run it several times before- the full marathon in 2001 and the half in 2003, 2004 and 2005. It is a small-town marathon with an out and back course through quiet country roads and the community really supports it to make it a success. (lots of volunteers at aid stations, etc.)

The weather was perfect yesterday, mid-40's at the start and mid-60's at the finish. It was a sunny, beautiful, clear day with very little wind. My goal was to run an 8 minute pace or better for the entire run since I'm coming off of a 20 mile training run, 18 mile training run and a 5K so I knew I could not really push any more than my recovery time would allow. I started out quicker than my goal pace but kept it up because I felt fine throughout the race. I started slowing from the beginning 7:22, 7:30 and 7:40 mile split times I was hitting in the early miles to 7:47 and 7:57 but knew I was still on track for my original 8 minute goal. At miles 9 and 10 I slowed all the way to 8:19 and 8:10 and had been the third place woman up until that point. I knew I could get passed at any moment by another female runner and still had hopes of catching the woman ahead of me. At that point I decided I would shoot for 8 minute miles and really focus on that pace goal to get to the end so I wouldn't get any slower. WELL!!!! There I was sipping water and walking a few steps through the aid station and this female in purple shorts trotted right past me! In my mind I was like "AAAGGH, it's happening!" So of course I started running as she sailed up the hill ahead of me! It was classic! I pushed it to try to catch her and pass her up and closed the gap considerably. She helped me really push the pace and mile 13 was a 7:36 mile for me but as I sprinted behind her on the track finish, she crossed the finish line 9 seconds ahead of me. I finished in 1:43:06 which was slightly under my 8 minute goal pace so it was a great run! I got fourth woman overall for which there is no trophy, but first place in my age group. I have placed second in this race in two previous years but yesterday wasn't my trophy day. :) I had fun talking to the women who beat me after the race, it was really great to laugh together and chat it up about our race experience. I got beat by a 40 year old, a 46 year old and a 53 year old!!!! GO WOMEN and I hope I can beat everyone like they can when I'm in my 40's and 50's!