Saturday, June 23, 2007

My New Bracelet

My ED Patient ID braceletA hot Saturday night date with a doctor? Sure. A Saturday night trip to the Emergency Room to see the Doctor? Not so much.

X-rays confirm that I'm fine. Annoyed by the whole bother, but otherwise I'm fine.

Oh, and I walked 9 miles this morning.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Workout Interactive

I'm in the post marathon funk. Everyone warned me that it would happen, but still - bleh.

To increase the funkiness of my mood, the TNT coaches aren't letting us train very hard. I understand that this is for my own good. I understand that this is to prevent injury. On the other hand, going at such a low intensity and short distance chaps my hide. My friend Don runs a marathon every three weeks. I think I can handle a five mile walk. A good intense workout would make me feel much happier.

The other thing is that I like to go out to breakfast after training. If I only walk a few miles then I haven't earned the heaping pile of pancakes. Really, you know it's all about the pancakes.

So here is where we get interactive. Help me pick a new cross-training workout. I already do some lighter weight training. Pilates and yoga are good, but I'd like something a bit more metabolically zippy. Learning to golf is still a possibility, and that seems to be a lot of walking around anyway. Kickboxing, treadmill, gym based stuff are all yucky to me. Is anyone doing anything fun to work out? Any suggestions for something fun, possibly communal? Suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Starting One, Completing Another

Last Saturday, I started training for the Nike Women's 26.2. This is a whole new Team In Training experience - new coaches, new teammates, new training system. When I got to the training session, I found out that I was supposed to take some time off after the marathon. They said that the rule of thumb is 1 day/mile for endurance events. Who knew? Truth be told, I only went to training because we go out to breakfast after training and I really wanted some pancakes.

On Sunday we had our celebration for our TNT marathon and half marathon finishers. That was the final wrap up of the Spring TNT season. It was a great party, but it was sad to think that some of those people won't be part of the next training session. I'll miss seeing them every Saturday. Of course, it's hard to keep raising money so I suppose lots of people can't participate more than once or twice.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Race, Part Two - The Worst of Times

I had been sick the week before the marathon. Then two days before the race I ate something that didn't agree with my system. Since I wasn't feeling strong, I'd dialed back my expectations with regard to marathon pace. My goal was simply to make it to the finish. At the half marathon point, we were a lot faster than I expected.

As we were walking the marathon course, the TNT coaches for teams from across the country were shouting encouragement to everyone. Our favorite coach was the one with the microphone and amplifier, "Relax your shoulders, unclench your toes, take small steps." He must have moved around the course quite a bit, because we ran into him several times. As we reached D'Anza Cove in Mission Bay Park (mile 15-ish?), a coach from some organization shouted out that we should eat before we got hungry.

Eating sounded like a good idea to me, and I pulled one of my beloved BE Protein bars. These are the most delicious protein bars in the world. The white stuff is moldUnfortunately, the folks at BE have had a little problem in their manufacturing facility and the bars sometimes have mold on them. (BTW, BE has acknowledged and corrected the problem.) Anyway, I had swallowed one big bite of the BE bar and was chewing the second bite. It tasted a bit funny and I really looked at the bar. The bottom bar had spots of white, fuzzy mold.

Let's tally the marathon nausea equation. Sick the week before the marathon + Some spoiled food on Friday + A mouthful of mold at mile 15 = Complete Stomach Revolt. If you're thinking that my tummy wouldn't easily accept food or water for the rest of the marathon, then you're right. I tried to eat and drink, but my tummy wasn't cooperative. Because I didn't drink or eat enough, I started to get dehydrated. After awhile I got cramps in my legs and generally felt like dooty. Linda was incredibly sweet and managed to get me to down a packet of salt and rest for a few minutes. I'm not sure I remember anything from miles 18-22 - except is was hot, blisters tortured my left foot, and I wanted to vomit.

Around mile 22, we ran into Carol who had walked alone from the half marathon point where some of our teammates stopped. I have no idea how Carol made it nearly 10 miles alone. It was so good to see her. From that point onward she and I walked and whined toward the finish line.

The marathon ends at the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot. Once you're on the Marine Corps property you still have another mile or so to go. It's a winding trail so every 10 seconds we'd look a something and say, "Is that it? Is that the finish line? " Also, there's an announcer who calls out finishers. He'd announce the name, hometown, and age (if it was interesting - like a 72 year old). I turned to Carol and told her that if that announcer called out my name, age or weight, then I would pull together the energy to beat him to smithereens.

With the finish line in sight we saw Gretchen on the sideline. She had finished the marathon an hour earlier. Before we crossed the finish we stopped to chat with her. After a few minutes Gretchen said, "Oh, I'm sorry. This is screwing up your finish time." Trust me Gretchen - our time was screwed long before that little conversation stop.

Finally, Carol and I ambled across the finish. We were halfway out of the finishers area before someone told us we'd completely missed getting our finishers medals. Whoops.

Correctly adorned with out medals, Carol went to find her husband and I headed over to the TNT check-in tent. Once I cooled off in the tent, I was hungry, really hungry - I grabbed a PB&J sandwich, a banana and some cookies. TNT had kiddie pools filled with ice water to soak our tired feet - putting my feet in that pool was the greatest thing ever. Ah, the joy of having your feet frozen and numb.

All that makes it sound as thought it was a bad experience. It wasn't. It wasn't as easy as I'd hoped, but I wouldn't trade it.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Race, Part One - The Best of Times

Linda and I met at my house at 5 a.m. Getting to the race, dropping off our post race bags and getting into the right starting carrel was a bit harried. We snuck into our carrel in the nick of time to hear the National Anthem. Unfortunately, we couldn't find Gretchen, Debbie or Carol, but we did get started.
Pre-Race Trash Bag Fashion
The TNT coaches instructed us to bring a trash bag to wear against the morning chill. As you can see from the photo, I went with the more form fitting tall kitchen trash bag, instead of the sloppy, oversized lawn and leaf bag. Also, I'd fashioned my trash bag with a vee neck, because vee necks are slimming.

The start of the race is one giant blob of people ambling slowly toward the starting line. Finally you pass onto the course and the mob breaks up into groups of people walking and running a decent pace. Like most extraverts, I love crowds. I spent the entire first half of the race people watching. About a quarter of the people in the event had on purple TNT race jerseys. There were teams from other charities too. There was a pretty good sized group from the American Heart Association. There was also at least one woman running for a childhood tumors organization. Her coach was a barefoot runner and she had a prosthetic leg. On the back of her jersey she'd written Isaiah 40:31. If you're inclined to that kind of thing, then you can look that up. It's a pretty apt verse for someone attempting a marathon.

Whenever I took a break from studying the other participants, I was waving at people who were watching from the course route. It was sort of like being in a very fast moving parade. This is where being part of TNT is fabulous. Along the course, there were people with Go TNT signs, kids with "I kicked cancer's butt" tee shirts, and several people with "Thanks from a survivor signs." I'm not sure where it was on the course, but there was a series of "In memory of" signs too. The runners probably completely missed these details.

The entire first half of the marathon was awesome. We loved the bands, the park, walking through Hillcrest and the Gaslamp Quarter. Somewhere around mile 11, I decided to walk and brush my hair. The velcro in my hat was pulling on my hair and it was bugging me. I actually felt so good, that my hair was my big worry.

I was thinking to myself. "This marathon stuff is easy!" You know that couldn't last.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Marathon Weekend: Pre-Race Stuff

Backtracking a bit. Here are several pre-race things that will always be memorable to me.

Picking up the button with my uncles photo - This marathon thing started as a way to raise money for blood cancers. My uncle was such an athletic man, I know that it would have tickled him to be in a marathon. The photo is one where he's smiling broadly and obviously happy and healthy. Just seeing that button made me teary.

Getting my race number and timing chip - At that point it's the real deal. I've done a few 5ks and a bike race. Once you've got the number, the event goes from idea to actual.

Running 8 million errands the day before the race - I spent Saturday scrambling to find my favorite nutrition bars, getting my name on my jersey, etc. Note to self: next time rest before the race. Don't be such a perfectionist-dumbass.
Pre-Race Prep - Race Bag
Putting together my gear - Preparation is my skill/obsession. I laid out my outfit, race pack and after race bag. I took photos of my gear, mostly so I'd have a list for the next marathon. (Click on the photo and go to flickr to see the entire list.) The funny thing is that all that stuff fit very precisely into my carry belt. Years ago, I decided that I will only travel with 1 carry-on bag. My packing skills are unbeatable.

Entering the pre-race TNT pasta party - About 150 TNT volunteers lined the hallway all with noisemakers and costumes. As the participants entered, it was to a deafening cacophony of cheers and enthusiasm. It was so overwhelming, that it sort of scared me and I ducked off to the side. Finally, one of the mentors pushed me to go through the tunnel of cheering volunteers because that was the only way to the dinner.

Listening to the TNT party speakers - The cancer survivor and family stories were inspirational as always. The keynote speaker was John "the Penguin" Bingham; having him there was awesome. I've read Bingham's monthly column in Runners World since he started writing it. Even when I was completely unhealthy, I enjoyed his take on running. Over the years, he's made marathons accessible to tons of slow runners and walkers or penguins. He's known for saying, “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” That's true of most things, starting is the hardest part.

Next time, I'll post about the actual marathon.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


It wasn't pretty and it certainly wasn't fast. But I finished - ahead of the sag wagon and not in an ambulance.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

More Later, But This for Now

Linda will be here to get me in 5 hours, so I should be asleep.

There's plenty of stuff to tell you about - picking up my race number, getting a button with my uncle's photo, going the pre-marathon pasta dinner.

But for now, I'll tell you this. 17000 participants will start the race. Nearly 4000 of those participants are members of Team in Training. Those 4000 runners and walkers raised 12.5 to cure blood cancers.

12.5 Million.