Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Tale of Two Legs

How can 1 body feel like 2 different people....what I mean is my right leg has disassociated with my left leg and I'm in a tizzy trying to mend the fences (or the space between).  I have been keeping detailed exercise logs (which is new to me) and there is still no rhyme or reason as to the source of all my angst.  My piriformis likes to rear its ugly head these days without warning me.  I can be going along fine and then WHAMMO!  out of nowhere I succumb to limping with electrical currents coursing down my leg. The currents all ball together in my heel making me feel like there is a stone lodged under my skin.  I can be running, sitting, stretching or doing just about anything when it hits.  Sometimes I tune into what's going on when I'm running trying to find that magic moment when the zingers start.  This is a sneaky syndrome!

Let's recap since I ran Diva half marathon.  I took 3 days off to rest and recover because my leg was a little twingy (is that a word?) on the way home from North Myrtle.  When I say I took 3 days off of running, that does not imply that I was simply sitting on the couch eating bon-bons and watching tv.  No.  I took a break from running and taught 4 Les Mills BodyPump classes, 1 Silver Sneakers Cardio class, 1 Yoga class, and 1 Pilates class.  Yes.  I took it easy. :)

I ran 6 miles with Catherine (affectionately Cac) on half trail, half crushed gravel at 7:34 avg mile.  Felt great.  Did 10 sets of stadium steps that night at our youngest son's Lacrosse game during half time to stay warm.  Felt great.  I actually LOVE doing stairs & hills.  I am not so keen on flat, where you can see for miles and miles knowing you have to get there at some point.  Ran a recovery run with Christie (one of my Sole Sisters) for 4 miles and ended the week with an 11 miler on the greenway at a 7:58 avg. mile.  I limped a little Saturday afternoon so I decided that from now on I will just not sit down (except to type blogs!) unless I'm watching a movie.  I think people would be afraid if I stood up in a movie theater and just stood there the whole time.  Besides, people think runners are pretty weird interesting anyway.  That ended a nice, sweet week with a little aggravation, but not much.

On Monday I ventured to the track.  I love the track.  I think I have finally figured out why I love the track so much (I'm 47 now, so I'll let you do the math).  I don't mind that "out of breath" feeling on the oval.  Wanna know why?  Even if I have to stop, bend over and try not to throw up, I'm right there. I'm not a million miles from home/car.  Okay, a million is an exaggeration, but you get my point.  Somehow my brain has decided that it is okay to work yourself to death on the track, but not okay out on the open road.  Maybe I need to find a treadmill race and I'd be 'all over it'?  I might have something trend sweeping the country......treadmill races!  That would be pretty boring, but it might just happen.  Back to the track:  1 mile warm-up, 12 quarters, 1 mile cool-down.  I picked a ridiculously humid day.  I was all by myself.  Fun times, although I think I usually run a little faster if there are people around/with me.  Anyway, I was just excited to get them done: 

Warm-up mile:  8:10
First 4 laps (30 seconds rest in between each lap)  mile 1:  6:27 (conservative so that I could assess the sneaky piriformis)...took a minute break after 4 th.
Second 4 laps (30 seconds in between each lap)  mile 2:  5:49 (opened up even more and felt pretty good.....took a minute 10 seconds break after 8th
Third 4 laps (35 seconds in between each lap)  mile 3:  5:43 (hung on and gutted it out, sweat flying)
Cool Down mile: 8:00

I am grateful I was only doing 12 400M because the skies opened up just as I was walking to my car.  Some rain would have felt good but the torrential downpour would have been messy.  I feel like my speed is coming back and I feel like I'm ready to be in the 5:20's again in the mile.  My left leg is ready for it, my right one still has not committed.  Ran great on Tuesday and Wednesday and did a recovery run on Thursday. 

Friday I did zero. nada.  It felt great.  It was a fabulous day because we got to spend it with Danielle (our daughter) at her graduation from UNCW (Wilmington).  She graduated from the Teaching Education Department and we are very, very proud of her.  She is currently job if you know of any elementary schools hiring, send me a note!

I will get back to running now so I can end this blogpost with one last personal story.  Pretty uneventful week after returning from the coast.  Then I decided to run a local 8k on the greenway (the same greenway that houses the majority of my long runs).  Everything started out so well.  Saw lots of friends and learned a few things about racing locally.  First and foremost:  an 8k is equivalent to 4.96 miles.  After conferring with several friends afterwards, the race was 5.34 miles.  But, it was for a good cause, so all is right with the world unless you were dealing with an angry piriformis.  Here are my splits:
Mile 1   6:39 - about 3/4 mile into the race, my piriformis said hello and I was in pain trying to push that right leg alongside the left.  I pulled back in my comfort zone and proceeded to smile and wave because I knew it was not a day for opening up. I had so many zingers I actually jumped 3x.
Mile 2   6:54- great chatting along the course because it was 2 out and backs.
Mile 3   7:01- trying not lament that my half marathon splits are faster than what was happening
Mile 4  7:11- excuses here. I thought they forgot to put the turn around people out there because I knew we were going well beyond where we were supposed to go because I know every quarter mile marker on the greenway.  I kept slowing down until I finally saw the leaders coming towards me because I kept thinking they were lost.
Mile 5 6:57- least I picked up the pace because there was a nice steady uphill during that mile. 
.34  mile 1:28- 36:12 Official Time (2nd Female overall)

Evidently I didn't look all rosy coming up the hill to the finish

                        I wore one of my favorite Lululemon tops with some comfy Adidas shorts

I have taken some time off of running this week to cool down my leg a little.  I taught 3 yoga/pilates classes this week which has helped.  For my next race, I'm going to KT tape my piriformis even if it is feeling great.  I will not trust that right leg for a while.  I will continue to stretch, ice and roll (SIR) and be glad that the pressure of having a bad race is now over.  I will not let this define me.  I know I have lots left to do in the running world.  I'm looking at my track meet schedule and looking at my entries into 2 - 24 hour ultra races this year.  Hinson Lake in September and Crooked Road in November.  I'm ready !!

On a personal note, my daughter, Mandi, just got engaged last night to her boyfriend (Jordan) of almost 4 years and we couldn't be happier and prouder of her.  She continues to be a shining light in my life and we are incredibly happy.  I hope she doesn't mind that I posted this photo of her teary eyed but extremely happy!

Hope everyone has a wonderful week.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

DIVAS Half Marathon in North Myrtle Beach

It's already Wednesday, but Sunday's race is still VERY fresh in my mind.  It's another Sole Sister invasion of Myrtle Beach.  We stayed in Myrtle Beach but raced close by in North Myrtle.  This is a picture of us getting ready to depart from my house.  I travelled with half of my Sole Sisters on Saturday morning.  The race was on Sunday morning.  If I didn't have Christie telling me what day we were leaving, what day/time the race was, and what day we were coming home, I'd be lost.  The devil is in the details and she's the detail girl and I'm on the fun committee.
Sole Sisters (from left to right) Christie, Sarah, Christine, Kristen & Cindy                               
My first seeded race in years....I'm Bib #5!
We were DIVAS!

Christine got us to the expo safely and we picked up our packets and our shirts.  We took quite a few photos, but here is a sampling: 

There was a slight issue with the shirts.  Well....I'm thinking it was a major issue.  The shirts looked like they were Child Sizes and not Women's sizes.  The volunteers at the Expo looked a little dumbfounded and really thought they were Women's Sizes.  I beg to differ.  I felt like a rolled sausage. 

When you travel with the Sole Sisters, you are most certainly are guaranteed fun and a good time.  We can find humor in just about everything.  They ground me and help soothe my nerves before a race.   Aside from someone setting off fireworks at 11pm Saturday night, we actually got a good night's sleep.  It was a 7am start.  I made my way to the starting line in the Elite section.  Usually I am situated right BEHIND the elite section.  I was actually feeling pretty good at the starting line and then this happened........ZOLA BUDD!  I am standing next to an Olympic Athlete!  She is only a few months younger than me.  She was in the 1984 Olympics!  She is famous for racing barefoot and more famous for allegedly tripping Mary Decker Slaney in the 3000 meter finals. Notice I wrote, "allegedly".  She is in the White Newton Shirt (#31) wearing SHOES!

All opinions aside, I started shaking with nerves.  Many of the young athletes around us probably had NO idea who she was.  I tried to be as cool as possible and shook her hand and wished her and everyone around me, "Good Luck".  I love talking to other runners around me.  After running over 35 years, I still find runners fascinating.  Then again, my running friends in Greensboro hear me talk all the time on the greenway. 

The race itself went.....well, it went pretty well.  I had only brief arguments with my piriformis and after looking at my splits, I stayed relatively consistent.  It was a warm, humid day.  It was supposed to rain, but luckily it didn't.  Here were my splits for the race:

Mile 1   6:57
Mile 2   6:56
Mile 3   6:56
Mile 4   7:01
Mile 5   6:55
Mile 6   7:03
Mile 7   6:56
Mile 8   7:13
Mile 9   7:00
Mile 10 7:01
Mile 11 7:04
Mile 12 6:52
Mile 13 6:51
Finish Time:  1:31:33

They give you a tiara and a boa near the 13 mile marker.  My tiara dropped and I was certainly not going to stop to retrieve it.  I was so relieved to be done!  There either wasn't a 13 mile marker, or I missed it.  I didn't realize I was so close to finishing when I made that turn.  We were told at the start of the race that the awards was placed on gun time and not chip time, so I didn't kick it in like I would have because I didn't see anyone behind me.  This is probably why I am SMILING.  My Lululemon outfit didn't even look that sweaty.  I can assure you I was sweating a ton. Which brings me back to the finish....there is a young woman who's chip time was 1 second slower than mine.  Yikes!  I guess I was very lucky to get third! Glad I decided against stopping to retrieve my tiara!

Back to my hiccup was during mile 8.  I started to feel the heat.  I was very, very alone from mile 3 on, so I didn't have people to focus on around me.  My piriformis acted up a little, but I could control it by changing my gait.  I felt a little nauseous, but didn't think about it and whammo!  Right after I crossed the finish line I took 2 steps and (how do I put this delicately) heaved a little.  I don't recall ever getting sick after a race and I was completely fine afterwards.  I did, however, profusely apologize to all the spectators lined up to cheer for their loved ones.  Then the partying began. 

One of my Sole Sisters, Sarah, PR'd by over 4 minutes!  We had fun dancing in the streets to DJ Loquacious.  Here are a few more photos from DIVAS....and then I will put away my tiara and boa and start working on gaining speed!

Couldn't quite get the leg thing right!

Sole Sister Rock Stars!

                                       DJ Loquacious just told the crowd I was 47.  Gulp.