Sunday, July 26, 2009

Foot Fetish

Since I last left off I've been doing the doctor circuit. Following numerous recommendations from my running teammates I went to see Dr. Larry Lembo, the GOD of runners and all athletic related injuries. I have to mention his name because he is THE ONE. The one who has identified what is going on and what to do about it. Apparently in addition to my plantar fasciitis I have tightness in the posterior tibial tendon.
He has been doing an amazing massaging technique called A.R.T. or Active response technique. It hurt like hell the first time but as time progresses the pain is bearable. It's like a deep tissue massage but in an area that is as tight as a rubber band. Things are going along well and I was able increase my distance into the double digits. Ok 10 miles, but that's double digits!!

Then I go and trip over the stupid vacuum cleaner that I neglected to put away. It was a stupid accident that sent me to the emergency room. I walk in and they ask what's wrong I say "my toe is broken." Young doc fresh outta med school comes in and says, "I don't think it's broken but we'll take and x-ray." Now I know if it's broken there's nothing that can be done but I NEED confirmation to be sure. So the young doctor, did I mention kinda cute but not in a Dr. McDreamy way, comes back and says, "It's fractured." "No shit Sherlock" I say. I tell him I'm training for my sixth marathon. He tapes it up and tells me no running for two weeks. I cry, he leaves. Stupid young doctor has no bedside manner. I'll spare you more foot photos. Let's just say it was big, blue, purple & painful!
So here it is 5 days after the accident. I've been crosstraining like nobody's business. I can bike and crank out some mean miles on the eliptical. Confession time. This morning I taped up the toe, put on heavy socks, tied the sneaks on tight and went for a 4 mile run. It felt soooo good. I'm thinking it's intervention time! Tomorrow I'm back on the eliptical for an hour. I realized I absolutely need the endorphin high on a daily basis. I can't survive without it. Lazy is NOT in my vocabulary. Maybe my sister in law is right, maybe I am ADD.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bitch mode

Yes I've been MIA. I had no idea it has been this long! I've joined my running club's race team right after the New Jersey marathon. I even placed first in my age group at the last 8k a few wks ago. Then (cue mystery movie music) my foot started giving me hell. Yeah HELL! It was just a bit achy then a little pain, achy, pain, achy, SEVERE pain. With two weeks left before I start training for the Marine Corps Marathon I called my doctor in a panic. I insisted on an x-ray because I was sure it was a stress fracture, without a doubt. X-ray showed nothing. The internet is a cruel, cruel world. I started researching a myriad of ailments that it could be. I finally got in to see a podiatrist who said it was simply bursitis with plantar fasciitis and achilles tendonitis. What the hell? Could I possibly get another ailment ending in "itis?"

P.S. Two cortisone injections later, twice weekly physical therapist visits, kinesio taping, prescription anti-inflammatories, lots of tears, some alchohol and it's not healing as fast as I want it to. Currently I have pressed pause on my training plan. I'm going to rest the foot. NO RUNNING for the whole week then re-access my game plan. I can sell my bib if I need to. There are many people who desperately want to run MCM. So needless to say I'm not a very happy girl lately. I realized I NEED to run. It's my addiction. It's my high. It's my crack/cocaine, cheesecake, vodka, and even therapist. At least I can walk right? Here's a parting shot of my foot taped up w/ kinesio tape which I swear helps immensely!! Pray for my family right now..

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The photos I shelled out a fortune for.

Here's a photo collage of how it all went down at the marathon.

As you can see early on I'm looking (and feeling) strong. A few raindrops. It's all good!

Then it starts to rain, hard. Legs are starting to get heavy at this point. Look at the stress in the shoulders and arms! Here I am in the final stretch to the finish.
The "Living on a prayer" shot. No I'm not smiling. My face was frozen that way for the last two miles.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Statistics-the big picture

I love to look at the overall picture after the race. I'll admit I still occasionally press rewind in my head but the way I see it it's good for future races. Here's the breakdown of my stats in this marathon.

Chip Time 3:56:20
Gun Time 3:57:02
Pace 9:01
Place 599/1726
Gender Place 144/692
Age Group Place F35-39: 27/121

This always makes me feel better!

Next up- The first 5k I ever ran revisited. All I asked for on Mother's day was to be able to run this race. I ran it in 2004 and finished in 27:18. I'm looking to shave 5 whole minutes off this sucker.

ETA 5/10 - Finished 5k in 23:41. Third place age group!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Soggy day at the Jersey Shore

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.- Theodore Roosevelt

Yesterday I ran the New Jersey Marathon in Long Branch. I had three goals for myself. To finish in 3:48, to finish in 3:50 and finally to have a respectable finish. Since I was babying my back & hip last week to finish was my main goal.

I woke up feeling GREAT! So great I didn't think I needed to massage my back & hip from the dreaded sciatica issues I had last week but I did because I knew I should. Ritually I go outside before I get dressed to feel the weather. It was overcast & drizzly. No major rain. I became friendly with a three guys in the lobby and we decided to share a cab to the start. The baggage claim & some bathrooms are inside a hotel on the boardwalk. It was nice to stay warm while eating, stretching, & prepping. Oddly I had no anxiety before the start like I normally do. Today was going to be a true test and I was prepared.

After nervously seaching for my 3:50 pacer I found him. The guy, Tom, was 6'3, hard to miss! I informed Tom that I planned to stay with him the whole time. How many times has he heard that? I waited with the group anxious to start. The race was supposed to start at 7:30 am. At that time it was still just light drizzle and 51 degrees. Perfect conditions. For whatever reasons we didn't actually start until 7:55.

I have to say I didn't really sightsee much during this race. I just focused on Tom, my pacer, in the orange shirt. I mainly tucked behind him most of the time. I felt great going into mile 9 when the hip started to get sore. I tried to focus on smaller strides because this seems to help. This was a really flat course with two tiny inlines at mile 9 & 18. This was also a double loop course. The first half merges with the half marathon finishers. We continued on the course for the second loop. I was kinda wishing I looked around more so I could recall markers but it didn't matter at this point. It started to rain a bit harder by now. I stayed with Tom up to mile 18. I grabbed an orange wedge as I passed the aid stations and sucked on it. For some reason I felt a bit lightheaded. Worried I held back a bit. Tom was still about 20 feet ahead of me while I tried to access my fuzziness. It was at this point that I started to think "am I hitting the wall?" I've never hit the wall before! I soon guesstimated that I did not hit the wall. It was pouring torrential rains at this point and my clothes were drenched. Being soaked led to cold. My hands & fingers were numb. My legs heavy. I couldn't even feel my fingers to reach into my pockets for shot blocks. I decided I didn't need them if I couldn't get them. I also felt a blister on the ball of my foot at this time so I was trying not to apply too much pressure on it as I ran. Going into mile 20 I did the math in my head and knew a BQ was still within reach if I pressed on. Unfortunately my legs were so heavy they weren't moving as fast as I wanted them too. I started falling behind my pace group. I could now see Tom about 200-300 feet ahead. I just wanted to keep him within sight no matter what. My time at mile 23 was 3:23:47. Fuzzily I did the math and figured I needed to run sub 9's for the next 3.2 miles to qualify. It was pouring, I was drenched, my limbs were frozen. I decided at that point to haul butt to mile 24 then readjust my game plan from there. I hit mile 24 at almost 3:33. I knew I didn't have it in me anymore and just wanted to quit. I could attempt to haul my butt to the finish and barely qualify by 2-3 minutes but I decided to enjoy the last few miles. I ran hard but did not look at my watch anymore. I turned off my Ipod and enjoyed the cheering crowds & cowbells. My name was on my bib and for the first time I was happy to hear people cheering for me. One man yelled, "You're a sub 4 marathoner Fran!!" I just smiled at him. Years ago all I wanted was a sub 4 marathon. Here I was on my way to my second sub 4.

I crossed the finish line at 3:56:19 according to my watch. (Official results-3:56:20.) When I crossed the finish line and stopped my knees buckled. Someone caught me. Thank God! A young man held me up as they rushed a wheelchair over to me. I screamed, "No, I don't need that, I just need a few minutes here!" I just kept repeating, "give me a minute, give me a minute." After about two minutes I stood up straight and started to walk. The same guy who held me up walked with me a few feet. I knew I was fine and told him so. I don't know if I thanked him and that bothers me still. Thank you angel at the finish line! They gave out medals & hats at the finish. No heat sheets because it's not environmentally safe. I hurried over to the food tent. I wasn't hungry but knew I should eat/drink something. There were serving hot food but it was gone. I was told to wait for it. I was so cold and wet I just wanted to go back to baggage claim and change into my dry clothes.

Even when I finally changed I was shivering uncontrollably. I went to purchase a cup of coffee to try to warm up. The cashier commented on how I was shivering and didn't let me pay for it the coffee. I called a cab to take me back to the hotel. I waited 40 minutes for the cab, shivering the whole time. The hotel I stayed at had a 4pm check out just for marathoners. When I got back to my room I took the longest HOT shower ever. It was spiritually & physically cleansing.
After that I got a good look at the blister on my foot. If you saw the movie "Run Fatboy Run" you saw the part where the guy got a huge blister on his foot. Mine was almost as big! I now have three black toes too.

After all the tears I've straightened up and realized how well I did despite my injury and the weather. It is my best marathon time to date. I was mainly upset because I felt like I needed to prove to my family that hard work pays off. It does eventually. Going back out there and trying again is a more valuable lesson.

When I came home everyone greeted me with great big hugs & kisses. That's quite the reward if you ask me.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Aspire 10k- Short & sweet

Saturday morning was cold, windy & drizzly. Yeah perfect running weather huh? This was a hilly one. Thank goodness I've been running hills even though Jersey is gonna be flat. My darling 15yr old son came along to take pictures of runners for my running club. He was positioned at the top of mile five. The kid was out there over an hour and took 600 pictures! It was cold, his fingers were frozen and he was shivering but he stayed there and took phenomonal pictures. He did a great job. That's my kid, determined!
I set a goal of 49 minutes and felt I needed to redeem myself from the 15k debacle a few weeks ago. I started out way to fast when I hit mile one at 7:20. Second mile at at 7:29 and third at 7:23. I knew I needed to slow down to avoid disaster. Yet I couldn't figure out why I was so fast. As hard as it is I tried to slow down. Problem was I started setting my sights on people to pass. I passed about 20 people heading into mile 5. For some reason the hills were my friend this day. Odd how that happens. I hauled b-u-t-t up every hill. No rest for the weary. Mile 5 was my slowest but seeing my son at the top of the hill made it worth it. After I hammed it up for him I headed down to the finish. Finish time- 48:21. That, my friend, is a PR!
It was also the validation I needed at this time. Hard work freakin' pays off! Whatdya know? 20 miler on Easter Sunday then we're bringing it on home!

Monday, March 30, 2009

It ain't over til....

....this chick runs Jersey!!

Week #13 done! My old body let me run 52.4 miles last week. Two more weeks and I start winding down. It's sort of depressing to think about it. 18 weeks of hard work, commitment, sweat & tears and it all comes down to one moment. The one defining moment. The make or break moment. Ah, I'm not getting emotional so soon. Shake it off!!

50 miles this week with a 10k thrown in on Saturday. Bring it!!