Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I am a BOMB: Philadelphia Part 2

I had told E-speed and A-train that I should have had a shirt to race in that said -- "I am a bomb and I am about to go off!!" in case things went bad on the course.  Truer words were never spoken.

We ran along the art museum never turning right to make a 180 turn around a construction barrel like we did in 08.  I was kind of bummed as it meant less time with the screaming and cheering crowds.  I soldiered onward though.  The parkway was the same as it had always been windy and flat.  I started looking for the leaders on the left hoping to get a boost of energy as I headed out.  Somewhere around 15.5 I saw the leader coming back.  The time was about 2:08.  He would go on to finish in 2:18 (I think).  He had a fairly large lead on 2nd place when I saw him that would actually be cut down to only seconds at the line (Quite impressive).

After 16, I could feel my calves getting tight and my left foot started aching a lot.  I ignored it and just kept running.  I saw e-speed coming back somewhere at this point.  In my opinion she looked like she was fighting to keep going.  I hoped that was a good sign she was still on pace for that sub-3.  I yelled something at her to try and boost her up a little. She waved and kept running hard.  I had a feeling she was having a good day, even if she was a wee bit tired.  Turns out after repeating "I'M A BOSS!!" for a large part of the race she did indeed run a sub-3, going 2:51:59. 

We made a right hand turn and ran across a bridge and down a hill (this was new on the course).  I did not like it at all and when we made the turn to come back up, my left foot and ankle were screaming bloody murder at me.  "Great!! Just F*cking Great!!"  I still had over an hour of running and my foot decided to take a sh*T on me now -- Damn!!!  I kept running hoping the pain wouldn't get any worse.  I crossed the 30k mats and knew I had a small chance of PRing if I could hold the pace and throw myself at the finish line. 

When I started this race, I crossed the starting line with every intention of trying for a PR in the marathon and even if I didn't get it I was still gonna run as hard as I could.  I sincerely believe if you want to win big, you have to go big sometimes.  I hadn't killed myself at work and run at all hours of the night and day just to finish another marathon, I was gonna go kamikazee all over this one. 

The pain in my left foot continued to grow as I ran through Manyuck.  The roaring of the fans helped diminish the roaring in my foot a little and then I saw the beer stand I had passed up a few years ago.  I don't know what got into me but I grabbed a cup of Yuengling and downed it.  Some guy next to me yelled at his buddy "Look at this crazy fucking girl, drinking beer!!"  I turned to him and said, "Look buddy, I am in a lot of pain right now and it ain't gonna get any better.  I might as well try and numb the pain at this point!"  He laughed as I pulled away (yeah I was moving faster than him). 

I finally hit the turnaround, after what seemed like a lifetime and I still wasn't at the 20 mile marker.  Mile 20 was still up ahead a little.  This too was different from '08.  I was saddened that the course wasn't the same.  The magic of '08 just wasn't there.  It was almost like an entirely new marathon course today.

I struggled back through Manyuck.  I ended up running with a guy who was pacing a girl.  He was awesome.  He kept pep talking her and she kept running.  He even inspired a few runners-gone-walker to start running again with us.  I even got a few guys to run with me, telling them nothing would help this pain right now, except a morphine PCA,  and definitely not walking. 

I crossed back into the parkway around 22 and there was loud music and cheering fans, pumping up the walking dead, that was most of us.  I was so done with this race.  I tried to push the pace and kept telling myself 30 minutes of hard running and then you could trot in.  I fought my way to mile 23 and then the pain in my left foot became excruciating.  I felt sharp pains shooting up the heel of my foot into my lower leg.  I wanted to walk so bad, but I couldn't fathom the idea fo finishing over 4 hours and  I refused to DNF.  I could feel the panic rising.  I started putting a lot of weight on my right foot and trying to just tip toe with my left.  I was really pissed at this poin in the race that my foot hurt so freakin' bad and for not being able to run faster.  I even started crying a little.  The miles dragged on for what seemed like forever.  I figured I was moving about 10 mins/mile through that last 4.2 miles.  I kept telling myself to quit and give up, that I wasn't gonna make it, that I wasn't strong enough, but I kept going.  I was so mad and pissed off.  I refused to walk.  I wasn't gonna give up, but dammit did it hurt.  I finally made it to the art museum, hobbling along for the last few miles and glad it was over, but it wasn't.  The finish didn't have us turn right and pop out in front of the stairs.  We had to run back to the start, which was now the finish, a few hundred feet farther.  I would end up with 26.5 on Adam's Timex.  As I crossed the finish, I threw up my arm.  It wasn't lost on me that although I had blown up and destroyed my left foot I completed my 6th marathon.  It sucked and hurt so bad (I think I had mentioned that already, but just in case).  Some people asked if I needed medical attention or at least to sit down, but I declined and limped through the shoot.  A-train found me a few minutes later and hugged me while I cried for a minute.  The shooting pain continued every time my heel touched down and it throbbed as I leaned against him, no weight on it.  It was over.  I had tried and failed in 3:46:18.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Occupy Philadelphia: Part I

Race morning was warm.  I had thought there may be a small chance I would run in shorts and a tee with arm warmers, but as we made our way to the start I realized that might still be too warm. 

A-train, E-speed and I left the hotel as late as possible, at about 6:20 am not wanting to be stuck waiting in line for a P.O.P. or wasting nervous energy bouncing around.  The walk/jog was about 1.5 miles.  We had no issues getting to the start.  E-speed bailed on us to hit the elite tent and get herself ready for a sub-3 race and I to my dismay, realized the other 2 bathroom breaks I had already taken this morning wouldn't be enough.  Like 2 years ago, I stood in line for the bathroom.  I was in the 3rd corral and I really, really, really didn't want to start behind the 5-5:30 pacer again. 

I had put my i-pod on (full blast) as we left the hotel, hoping to drown everything out, to center myself.  I kept imagining how awful this was gonna feel and then telling myself it would be way worse than what I was now imagining and most importantly, I would have no choice but to keep going, NO MATTER WHAT. 

I decided at the last minute to strip my shirt and run in a sports bra only.  It felt extremely warm and the last thing I wanted was to be hot and suffering.  I gave A-train all my gear and before jumping into the corral (literally, I had to climb over the white fence) he gave me a hug and told me he loved me.

The wheelchairs went off first and then they let the gold/elite (e-speed's corral) and the maroon wave (the little guy was in that wave) start next.  I was bummed.  I didn't hear the Rocky theme song one time at the start.  I started in the next wave about 3:30 behind them to "Lose Yourself" by Eminem.  I flew down Benjamin Franklin Parkway like I was weightless.  I saw A-train on the left about .25 miles cheering as I ran by.  The first mile clipped off in the low 8:20s, I think.  There were a few bottle neck spots that slowed me down, but I didn't care.  I planned to just go with it.  I saw the Tanchon's pass by me right before mile 3 looking strong, almost like their own little pace group.  I was already warm and sweating.  I grabbed water at the first aid station without any difficulty (not like last time). 

I saw the guy in the pink tutu running in front of me along with two people in sandals and thought they were absolutely freakin' crazy!!  My left foot had been bugging me for over a year and a half now and there was no way I would have tolerated sandals.  It was it's usual tight achy self this morning when I had woken up, no worse than normal so I knew I could race on it. 

I rolled through mile 5 at 40:50 knowing I was slightly ahead of 3:35 pace.  I was just going for a small PR today, even if only 1 second.  I didn't slow or adjust my effort though because I knew the course would slow me down between 6-11.  I also only averaged 31 mpw training for this marathon and figured I wasn't going to have a great shot at my PR if I didn't bank some time early on. 

As we flew down the Chestnut Street, the miles continued to go by effortlessly.  I remembered this was where I had told A-train a few years ago I was gonna BQ that day.  I looked around a little bit too much hoping to spot him and around 6-7 miles there he was snapping my pic.  I smiled and waved.  I hit the 10K split at 50:31 (I was 51:31 in 2008).

We headed out of downtown after that, near Drexel University and the hills began to come.  The first hill was just as I had remembered, long with a slight grade, very similar to heartbreak hill on the Boston course.  Just like before I took the hill extremely easy, being passed by quite a few people I might add.  After I crested the top I was able to run the slight downhill grade easily at 7:50 pace.  I made every effort to keep my feet low to the ground and save my quads as much as possible.  I felt great rolling through the next few miles.  I wasn't really paying much attention to A-train's garmin/timex gadget.  It was acting weird.  I only checked my pace and total time a few times to help keep me in check.  The distance was already over .25 miles (a little discouraging, since I run the tangents).

We entered the zoo/park area and the hellish hill around mile 10 was way worse than I remembered.  It was steep and wound back and forth.  I again took it easy to the top, refusing to work hard.  I even debated walking the hill, but that seemed a little extreme.  I was over 1:22:00 when I passed the 10 mile marker so I had bought back some of that time I had saved in the first couple miles, just like I knew would happen.  Another steep downhill came and I again went slow, losing even more time.  Being aggressive on the downhills a few years ago had really thrashed my quads and I didn't want to go through that again, so I cautiouly completed my descent.

We wound our way back on the cambered road back to the half way point.  People on the bridge above us were cheering and I could feel myself getting a little excited.  I was almost to the half and I felt good.  I had a ray of hope I might survive without pain longer than I thought. 

We came up a little incline by the Art Museum and the fans were everywhere cheering and making noise.  I was on the left waiting to swing to the right and run to the barrel at the halfway point like before, but we just kept running straight.  I saw A-train for the 3rd and last time during the race.  He was still cheering and smiling as he took my picture -- and so was I.  I came through the half in 1:48:25 (I was 1:48:21 in 2008, talk about consistent -- sheesh!!)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Round 12: Let The Infection Begin

I had managed to bully my way through my big girl job and marathon training for 11 weeks before it became impossible and I needed a break (whether I wanted it or not).  It could have been the 20 miler the Friday before.  It could have been the elderly patient who pushed on her trachea to help her cough RIGHT IN MY FACE or maybe I was just due, but whatever the reason, I got sick.  I haven't had a cold like that for a few years.  Monday I was exhausted and by Wednesday it took all I had to not sit down at the nurse's station and pass out.  Thursday my day off I spent in bed all day drinking airborne and sucking on cold ease.  I was pretty certain I was still going to feel awful by Friday, so around 9pm I called staffing and told them I wouldn't be able to come in.  I was cold and achy.  My head felt so stuffed and large I thought perhaps I had become a bobblehead.  My nose was clogged, my throat was sore, -- yay, I wasn't going anywhere. 

Friday I woke up early and felt surprisingly good.  The cold was in my upper respiratory area and my head, so I thought maybe I could just help burn it right out with an easy few miles.  The cold air helped open my sinuses and I could breathe again!!  I came home and stretched, did a short leg workout before hitting the shower.  I drank more airborne and added in some chicken broth and juice.

I had Saturday and Sunday off so I figured I'd be fine by Monday and would return to work albeit in a mask, just to ensure my patient's safety from me and my germs.  However, by Friday night I was worse than ever and I crawled back into bed, miserable.  I started fretting about having to call off on Monday and what about Chicago and my race the following weekend?  Would I even be well enough to go, let alone run?  Worst of all, I had wanted to do another long run before D-day and that would now be impossible.  I was going to be forced to start my taper early.

Saturday and Sunday I spent all my time between bed and the couch, trying to rest and praying I would get better.  Sunday night came and I called staffing for the second time, reporting I was still sick -- DAMN!!

Finally, on Tuesday I felt a sense of normalcy and returned to work (with my mask on, of course).  I still felt a little ragged and run down, but I was hoping the worst had past and I was on the up and up.

Mon: OFF
Tues: OFF
Wed: OFF
Thur: OFF
Fri: 5.0 miles (8:17/mile -- my legs felt awesome with all the time off and cool temps, even with my head stuffed)
Sat: OFF
Sun: OFF

Total: 5.0 miles