Sunday, November 25, 2012

San Antonio Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon

On the 9th of November, I jumped on a plane and flew to Texas! My sister-in-law was pregnant with my first nephew and I was so excited to be an aunt that I wanted to be there for the birth. To celebrate, I decided to run the San Antonio Rock’n’Roll Half marathon, which just happened to be held the same weekend that I was visiting. Unfortunately, God’s timing was not my own and little Samuel David decided to wait a week before making an appearance, but I ran with him on my mind anyway.

San Antonio was my first out of state race and I was a little nervous about how the travel would affect me. We flew in late Friday, hit the expo Saturday and the race was Sunday. The expo was awesome! There were so many vendors and free samples. I had gone to the expo hungry (I’d missed lunch trying to get through the traffic to get to the expo) and I left feeling stuffed from all the different things I had tried. I don’t even want to think about how many calories I had eaten!

Yay! Another race!
No, thank you!
As has become my routine, I got a cheapie hotel near the start and walked in the morning. Unfortunately, since I had waited till the last minute, this hotel was a good mile and a quarter away, so I woke up extra early race morning. The start was a little bit of an interesting setup. They had their wall of port-a-potties next to where we lined up for the corrals, so the lines invaded a lot of the corral space. This was a pain when the race started and we were all trying to squeeze by everyone waiting in line. Not a big issue, but a little bit of a pain.

Even though this race was bigger than LA, which I had just run two weeks before, the first few miles seemed to run a lot smoother. I didn’t feel like I was dodging walkers till the mini marathon ended. They must have organized their corrals differently than LA had.

The first few miles of the race weaved through the downtown area. I’m not familiar with the town at all, so I didn’t have many landmarks to guide me. I kept an eye out for the sky tower, which I could see at many different points throughout the race. I also enjoyed when we crossed over the river walk and I got to glance down at the canals. For the first time I took some video. I hope to someday do some video race reports and this was a good practice run.

I got to do the River Walk the next day!
Around mile 3 we ran by the Alamo. This was a highlight to me and one of the major reasons I had been excited about this race. I even stopped to take a few pictures, which ended up messing up Daddio’s timing for a picture he was trying to take of me. This is also the point where the mini marathon ended. It was fun to run by the shouts of excitement at their finish line.

Running by the Alamo! How cool is that?!?
There were several churches we ran by and the preachers and a lot of their members came out in their Sunday best to cheer us on. That was one of the coolest things I have seen in a race. At one church, a priest in his robes came out and with a loud booming voice called out to us as we ran by. I really enjoyed experiencing that kind of support. In fact, there was a ton of local support, from the numerous volunteers, to the communities that came out to cheer for us and give us goodies.

Texas pride
In one neighborhood, they had setup what at first I thought was an aid station, but instead of water they had beer. I almost got trampled when people realized what they were giving out. In another area, I received a beaded necklace, which I wore to the finish line. A lot of people came out with bowls of pretzels, oranges and candy. I really felt the community support.

Around mile seven or eight, I suddenly realized that we had come around and we were right by my hotel. My mom had stayed at the room and I was keeping an eye out for her just incase Daddio had given her an estimate for when I would be coming by. Sure enough, just as we were about to cross an overpass, I see her walking from the hotel parking lot. I called out to her, but she was totally oblivious. A guy next to me tried to whistle at her, but we got nothing. I was just about to let it go and tease her about it later, but at the last minute, I decided to run back and give her a quick hug. It was totally worth the extra minute or so that it took.

Since I was coming off of the LA half and I’m still terribly out of shape, I faced this race without a pace set in my mind. LA had been a little hard on me. I finished the race feeling a little rough and I didn’t want that happening this time, so I just took it easy. About three miles from the finish, I could tell I was just about on pace for a finish time extremely close to LA’s time, so that became my goal.

I was on track, feeling strong but tired. Ironically, this race ended up being much warmer than LA, but my body was handling it better. Maybe all the calories I had consumed the day before were helping to fuel me, I’m not sure what made the difference. A quarter of a mile from the finish, I was getting excited, maybe I could even beat my LA time, but it would be close. I was flying high and enjoying every second when I heard a spectator yell “You can do it! Don’t let the hill beat you!” I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about till we came around the corner. Sure enough, there was a lovely steep hill just down the street from the finish. Right then and there, I knew my LA time was all but lost.

I ate the hill as best I could on my tired legs and I found some sprint left in them to make it down the street and to the finish at a pretty decent clip. I ended up with a chip time of two hours and twenty eight minutes, missing my LA time by a minute! Stinking hill!

Coming up on the finish
The finish area was crazy busy. I got my medal, my wet towel, a bottle of water, Gatorade, chocolate milk, banana, and marathon bars and then I came to the picture area. With my hands full of food and drink, I decided to give it a pass. After swimming through the runners, I got to swim through the spectators. Daddio called to have me meet them under the big blowup PF Chang and I couldn’t even see that from the runners exit. I started to wander towards the spectator’s side of the finish line and finally spotted it. So many people!

My brother, his extremely pregnant wife, my dad and my mom were all there. I felt so blessed to have so much support! Too bad my stubborn nephew didn’t decide to show up!

Heather, my sister-in-law and me after the race

Nice looking bling!
Showing off my fake tattoo
I spent the next few days, sight seeing, baby shopping and hanging out with my family. It was a great race, great trip and a wonderful time of catching up. Now they tell me I have to come back next year and run the marathon which just happens to be scheduled on Samuel’s first birthday!
We took a tour of the Alamo
The day after the race, we did a boat ride on the River Walk

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope that everyone's travels are safe and their time with friends and family is blessed! For those that ran a turkey trot this morning, I hope you all had a wonderful time!

Here in Santa Barbara, a record number of runners showed up this morning for the 4 mile Turkey Trot. It made for a very crowded out and back along a small bike path. Everyone seemed to have a great time. Even a couple costumed runners showed up: turkeys, pilgrims and Indians. Very family friendly with a lot of kids in attendance.

I ran this event with two of my friends. One of them left me in the dust, while the other I left behind. It was a beautiful foggy morning. I managed to set a new four mile PR... kind of. According to everyone's apps, pedometers and my Garmin, the course was almost a full quarter of a mile short. I was holding a solid 9 minute per mile pace and feeling strong, so I'd like to think I wouldn't have had a problem beating my previous PR which came out to about a 9:13 pace. I hate tainted PRs!

Anyway, I'm thankful for friends, family and fun races! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Stress Fracture

Since I posted “Bad Geek Girl” back in September, I have been receiving a lot of questions about my stress fracture, so I have decided to revisit the topic. I’m happy to share my experience, but understand that I’m definitely no doctor and can only relay what I went through.
I have no idea what brought the stress fracture on. I took a month off of running in March after my marathon, due to an IT Band injury. During that time, I started working with a physical therapist. When I came back to running in April, I jumped right in, full steam ahead. I also decided to start running in saucony kinvaras, a much more minimum shoe than I usually wear.

I had a lot of new things going on at the time. I had the physical therapy, which consisted of a lot of strength building exercises I hadn’t done before, I came back to running hard and fast and I was trying to transition into a more minimum shoe, along with a few other changes like shoe insoles and adjustments to my running form. I may have even been favoring my left leg (the side I ended up with the stress fracture on) due to my IT Band injury on my right leg.

In the beginning, it felt like I had strained something in my foot and I didn’t think it was anything to worry about. It wasn’t too painful walking around, but it was too intense to run on. It took me over a week to realize that something more serious was going on. It was determined that I had fractured the fifth metatarsal of my left foot.

The first three weeks after the diagnosis, I was in a boot cast. I wore the short air cam walker fracture boot. It was very comfortable for a walking boot and I was mostly pain free while moving around in it. The boot has an air pump on the front, allowing the wearer to inflate the boot to a comfortable setting. I would recommend this product to anyone with a similar injury.

In the beginning, I was swimming about five days a week as well as riding a stationary bike. My foot would get sore during these exercises, but I didn’t think I was doing any damage. After a month, I was getting anxious to get back to running, but my PT wanted me to give it a few more weeks. At this point I was limping, but boot free. Two weeks later, I had an appendectomy and have to stop exercising for at least two weeks to recover from surgery. My foot made huge improvements during that period of time, so I decided to completely stop exercising till I got the green light from my PT.

Overall, I had to take three months off. My PT deemed it healed two months after the injury, but kept me from running on it another month to make sure it completely healed. When I did come back, it felt a little stiff and sore, but not painful and that feeling disappeared after the first couple of weeks back. My foot is now completely pain free, but I have had to come back slowly and carefully. I’ve also transitioned to doing a lot of my runs on a treadmill, where before I always ran on the street.

If you are experiencing pain in your foot that isn’t going anyway, go to a doctor and have it checked out. Running on a stress fracture will only make it worse!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

October Roundup

October was a crazy month for me. There was only one weekend that I didn’t race this last month, making it one of the most race heavy months that I have ever had. I was so excited to be back out and running, that I think I may have overcommitted myself just a little. It was a lot of fun, but I think it’s time to buckle down and get back to training.

Overall, I ran a total of 62 miles, averaging 15.5 miles per week. My longest nonstop run has now been built up to 4 miles and my longest interval run (not counting my half marathon) was 6 miles. So as you can see, I’m still working on building my base back up. I need to keep reminding myself that I can’t just go out and run ten miles, I have to build back up slowly.

As for the X-Files challenge, I managed to roughly finish six episodes, putting my total mileage for the challenge at 41.96. Maybe I’ll manage to finish season one by the end of the year.

As for November, I have the San Antonio Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon next weekend and I hope to run the local Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. I probably shouldn’t have scheduled two half marathons only two weeks apart, but I’d registered for LA nine months in advance and I was planning a trip to San Antonio for the birth of my nephew when I realized that the half marathon was taking place the same weekend I would be there (almost too hard to pass up). Hopefully I can tone things down and get back to the basics.

I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Halloween and I continue to pray for those affected by hurricane Sandy.