Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Half Marathon, Miami Beach - October 25, 2014

I spent the entire month of September slacking off in the running department. I told myself that it was to help recover from the nasty feet injuries that I had been dealing with for almost the entire past year, but that's not true. I kind of talked myself into thinking that I couldn't find the time to go out for a run with my hectic new schedule of teaching in the evenings, but that's not true either. I could have gotten up in the morning to run if I had really wanted to. I forced myself to go to the gym to try to keep up my cardio, but in the end, I realize that it was more of just going through the motions, rather than pushing myself. The fact, plain and simple is that I was feeling pretty l-a-z-y during the month of September, and I just didn't wanna.

But then, just as I was emerging from my lazy-funk, I suddenly lost my voice. Normally laryngitis wouldn't be a big deal, but it developed into something more. 3 days later, not only did I no longer have a voice, but I was starting to audibly wheeze from somewhere in my throat. Throat wheezing is nowhere near as scary as bronchial wheezing so I dismissed the symptoms as just some fluke allergy issue.
getting ready

But the next day, I developed a cough. A deep dry cough that was as unproductive as congress is frequently proving to be. I sounded like a child with whooping cough, and I couldn't catch my breath. I rushed to the emergency room, where it was discovered (after a few consecutive albuterol nebulizer treatments) that I was in fact having a horrible acute asthma attack. It took me almost a week and a half to recover and feel that I could breath sufficiently without the help of pharmaceuticals.


When this past weekend rolled around, and it was time for the Halloween half marathon in Miami Beach, I knew that I would really have to focus and hold it together just to finish upright, but I also didn't want to take a DNS (did not start) on this race.

with Brina and Seth, my running and travel buds
In some respects, I feel like I really surprised myself, yet in other ways I really felt like I let myself down. For example, I am surprised that I got out there and finished in a decent time considering that I had a fluke respiratory issue in the 2 weeks leading up to the race... and on the other hand, I feel like I let myself down by only being able to run my intervals for the first 6.5 miles and then choosing to walk the rest. In some ways I was surprised that I could make it 6.5 miles doing my intervals in the first place, and then I felt let down that my pace was horrendously slow.

I love having a Garmin to be able to really keep myself in check and ensure that I am staying on pace, but it can be a double edged sword... something that I realized at this race.

My friends Vikki and Richard were completing their first halfs
While its great to keep yourself on track for pace, there is such thing as being too clock and pace obsessed.  I wouldn't say that its a debilitating obsession or anything, but it is definitely something I am concerned about. Whereas earlier in my running half marathons journey I might have been less concerned with the pace if I was having an off day, at the Halloween race, it was clear that not making my interval times (for legitimate reasons like coughing up small children from my injured lungs), was just another reason to get down on myself and start with the negative self-talk.

Gone seem to be the days where I just focused on the running and the journey of it all, rather than the finish.

For this reason, in this post, I wont be including my finish time or my place like I normally would. I'll just say that I finished faster than my first half marathon, but not by much. And that time's not bad considering how under-trained I was... something I am not so proud of.

What I can say about the course is that it was a million times better than the course for the same race as last year. The race started at Jungle Island where the parking was a nightmare. I needed the rest room before the race, and because we had difficulty parking and had to walk to the port-o-lets, we actually arrived back at the start line after the gun had already gone off. The course took us up and over the Macarthur Causeway for approximately 4 miles and into South Miami beach where we ran through South Point Park. From there we traveled approximately 4 miles along Ocean Drive to  Lummus Park and along the boardwalk to a turnaround point where we then looped back to the finish. While It was considerably a better course than last year's with no "hardpacked sand" to run along, we spent the majority of the race running on bricks and concrete. Again, I loved being on the boardwalk but the boards get incredibly slick from the humidity and dew, and I am afraid to fall on my face.

Because most of the race is off of pavement, the jury is still out as to whether I will run this race again next year. But they do have awesome finishers medals, and it is an opportunity to dress up for Halloween and run a race.

What do you think of my lady bug costume?

Half Marathon 28 complete!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Porter's Half Marathon - August 30, 2014

I just returned to South Florida from a whirlwind trip to visit my dear friend Sarah in Utah, where we shared the experience of the Porter's Half Marathon together. She wrote an update of the weekend trip which can be found by clicking this link, but I wanted to share my experiences too. I chose to not carry a camera at the race, so I am borrowing some of her photos to illustrate.

I know Sarah through school. We are both working on our doctoral degrees in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, and we have both been navigating the dissertation stage together at the same pace. She has ultimately been one of my closest confidants through the dissertation journey, and because we both recently turned in our respective completed first drafts for review, this was a much needed celebratory trip. I flew out to Utah on Thursday, which gave me a bit of time to both acclimate to the dryness and the altitude, but it also allowed us to go out and explore the Salt Lake area of Utah. Off the bat, I was a little concerned about the altitude and how it would affect me, and I was hyper aware that when doing stairs in her home, I was getting significantly winded.

Sarah had gotten a PR one week prior at a race, and was still a bit sore by the time Saturday morning rolled around so her goal was just to finish the race and qualify for Half Fanatics. That goal worked well with my own goals too. Having just come off an injury, my goal was to simply finish the race upright so that I might rebuild some confidence that was lost over the past year. We arrived at packed pickup early on Saturday morning with plenty of time to spare. The process went smoothly, we got our bibs and shirts, we used the facilities, then we waited for the buses. Sarah recently had joined a group called #Run3rd which was created by Actor Sean Ashton following the idea that you run first for yourself, second for your family and then 3rd you run for those who can't or for those who need uplifting. She had some gorgeous patches sewn for us because we were running 3rd for peace, so we also put those on our backs.

The course was an A to B course, with the start line at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon at approximately 5393 feet above sea level... approximately 844 feet higher in elevation than the start line. My ears were popping like crazy during the drive to the start line, and when we got out of the bus, I was shocked by how mountainous it was. I grew up in the mountains of NH, but this was entirely a different beast. I guess I've never stood in a canyon looking up at the mountains looming above me. It was quite the experience.

The field of participants was really small, and when the race started, I realized that although we were averaging just over 13 minutes per mile, the pack was pulling away from us at a quick clip. We had been told that we had 4 hours to complete the race, so we knew that we weren't in trouble time wise or anything, but it was disconcerting that we quickly found that we were on our own along the roads with a single motorcycle cop giving us a personal escort. Sarah and I were both sore as we began the race, but I was impressed by how well my feet were holding up. I had some standard soreness in my fascia, but no signs of the dreaded foot pains from my injuries of the past year. We were also maintaining a pace that is faster than average for me, and my confidence soared.

The deer was right on the other side of the fence
At mile 4ish, we approached an aid station and the boys that were working it were intently looking off into a field as we approached. I wondered what they were looking at, but I was focused on opening a pack of gu. When I looked up again, there was a young white tailed deer about 2 feet away from me. The boys then pointed out a young male deer that was a little further off. The sun was shining just so, and I would have to say that this experience itself made the whole race worthwhile to me.

At mile 6 I realized I was having some significant trouble breathing. It felt like every time I went to take a breath, I had a 40 lb 2 year old jumping on my chest. I couldn't get a full breath, and forget about talking anymore. I told Sarah that I needed to walk for a little while. I was never able to recover the breathing, and although we tried to run a few more intervals, we gave up. Its strange. I had a lot of concerns about doing this race and being able to complete it within the allotted time, but my concerns always revolved around my feet and my injuries. I never imagined that the altitude would cause me to be so short of breath and be my downfall. I told Sarah she could go along without me, but she was still feeling a lot of aches and pains from her PR race the week prior, so she chose to stay with me.

seriously?
We had a great time. The scenery was gorgeous the houses were grand, and the backyard decorations had us giggling. We passed a ranch that had a random zebra and some emus, we passed a home with a large sculpture of a dinosaur skeleton, and to celebrate the strict liquor laws in Utah, we had shots of Jack at mile 10. Those shots really picked us up and gave us the sugar we needed to keep going and dulled the aches and pains that we had developed on the course. The aid stations at the last 4 miles or so were already semi packed up and were left unmanned, so these shots really came in handy to boost morale.

The course had been billed as a mostly downhill with "a few rollers to keep us honest," but honestly, I felt that the course was more rollers than anything, and the 844 foot decline was only noticeable when we were approaching the finish line and could see the start line off in the distance well above our heads.

Start just over my left shoulder in mtns
As we approached the finish line, a runner we had met earlier on the course who had done the 10K and who had "doubled back" earlier told us that they were breaking down the finish line and that they knew we were coming. She encouraged us to finish strong, which certainly we did, but it was a little disheartening that we had been told that we had 4 hours on the course and we were at  approximately 3:20 and they were already breaking down the finish line. By the time we got there, the timing mats were already packed away, though the remaining volunteers made a nice finish line for us by loosely lining the course to make an impromptu chute and holding up flags for us to run through to signify our finish.

All said and done, it was a great day with a great friend. In retrospect, I wish that I had been a little more prepared for the altitude and perhaps that could have been accomplished by flying in an extra day or 2 early. I might recommend this race to people who enjoy small races and who really enjoy scenery, but if you are looking for a fast flat, this is not for you.

Half 27 completed. 12th State completed.

Unofficial Finish time: 3:32:13

Not bad for untrained and coming off an injury.







Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cleared for takeoff!

In the the last post about my foot, we weren't certain of what the prognosis was. I had an MRI done and there was some evidence of swelling in the bones again, but no clear breakage. The doctor had a mixed prognosis. He wanted to have me remain in the boot until the swelling went down, but he also recognized that staying in the boot for much longer was potentially going to come with its own problems. I was already having the heel swelling return to the other foot, I was already limping around from the boot on the left, but couldn't put much pressure on the right either. I was starting to have some soreness in my knees and hips too. We felt that I was either damned if I do, damned if I don't.

In the end, he decided it was actually better to keep my right foot from re-injury, and to come out of the boot altogether. I had another round of cortisone shots in the right foot, to stave off any new injury, but as much as he wanted to keep the left immobilized, it was time to move on.

I was restricted from doing things like Zumba and running long distances, but slowly I started adding some longer distance walks back in.

Last night I did my first run post-injury at the WOBCC Run Club, and I surprised myself. the first 2 miles were about 45 seconds per mile faster than my pre-injury pace last summer. I took a beating on my lower back from the running surface (concrete sidewalks which are not my friends), and sat down around 2 miles to stretch. the last 3/4 of a mile was a bit slower, but all in all I ended the night at about 30 seconds faster per mile than pre-injury pace from last summer.

I was beat, but I did it.

Tomorrow, I'm off to Utah to visit a friend and do my first half marathon back after my injury. I know my body well enough that my goal isn't going to be to run the whole thing, but rather my goal is to just finish it within the time limit. I recognize that I am untrained right now, and that I will more than likely have to walk half the race, but I'm ok with that. I just want to finish and have a good time in a place I've never been before.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Everyone needs a fat friend? Really?

I don't talk about weight much because for me being healthy is less about a number on a scale and more about how strong and active I can be. But I have something to talk about here, and its kind of hard.

I read recently that the best way to develop an active and fit lifestyle is to surround yourself with like-minded people. I most certainly have done that over the past couple of years and I have found a great group of friends who are super supportive of my endeavors and encourage me to always be a better version of myself. Most of my friends are really active, but there is one specific group of girlfriends whom I have been spending a lot of time with lately. We've been enjoying all the wonderful things about South Florida in the summer... the training runs (where lately I just go to support because my body is acting like it is made of glass), the social events, the concerts in the local venues, the laughs, and some serious heart to heart talks.

Almost 2 months ago, I got home from spending time with these friends at run club and saw a message on Facebook from another facebook friend (who is somewhat outside of my immediate circle but who I have had good interaction with in the past and who also seems really supportive). She's undergone a significant weight loss transformation and is now a rep for beach body. I truly believe that her message came from the right place, but was just really misguided. out of the blue, she wrote:

I care about you. I want to know if I can help you to lose weight so that we can get you running in good shape?:)

I tried to be ok with it and let it roll off my back, but I must admit that I was really offended. I've maintained my weight loss since my injury last year. Weight has always been an issue with me, and for most women (myself and my social group included) weight is a private thing. We don't talk about what weight we want to lose, we just talk about getting stronger and being better versions of ourselves. And then we do it.

But getting that message was tough. I called in the cavalry, and they all offered their variations of support and I felt better. But inside of me, I still hurt. Shit, I'm getting teary eyed right now. And I haven't even gotten to why I'm writing yet...

The thing is, I know that I'm overweight. I don't need someone to tell me that. I don't talk about my weight much because I have struggled with extended periods of disordered eating, and I don't want to accidentally contribute to a worstening of my own issues, or trigger someone else's issues. In that end, just know that I don't need to be told that I'm overweight out of the blue. Even if you love me, my weight, and what I am doing or not doing to maintain it is not anyone's business but my own.

And I am confident that it is a private affair because my medical workups are fine, indicating that my risk factors have all gone down since I started running 2.5 years ago. The doctor actually says that if I lose weight, that would only benefit me in terms of vanity's sake, medically weight-loss isn't going to affect me much physically and medically.

But the thing is, like many other people, I have a vain streak. I want to be attractive. And so much of our culture says that to be slender is attractive. I don't mean like Renee Zellweger at her normal weight although many people strive for that. Instead, I would love to have a body with weight on it that more resembles that of Renee Zellweger at her +30lbs Bridget Jones weight (ideal on left below, what women seem to strive for on right):


That doesn't mean to say that I think either version of Renee Zellweger is not attractive or less valuable. There is definitely no skinny shaming going on in this post, instead, for my own frame, I would probably prefer the pic on the left.

Again, my vain streak, and my own personal journey with weightloss is very private and personal to me. I wouldn't share it here, and I don't bring it up with my friends ever. They never want to hear me say anything disbarraging about my body. But recently I say this picture from a recent concert where we saw John Legend play: 


And its a great picture, right? I absolutely love this picture of the 6 of us. Except, when I saw the picture, I wasn't thinking that. Instead, the voice of the girl who left me the facebook message was in my head, saying loud and clear:

Well every group of girls needs a fat friend.

I do not talk like that. And I don't make negative comments about my body that way. And I really try to respect my friends and not use the term "fat" ever about myself, but that voice got to me. To clarify, my friend who left the facebook message did NOT say that I'm the fat friend, but this was my internalization of what she said. And it really got to me. And then I realize that the problem is that I am comparing myself to other people, not to myself.

Of course when I am comparing myself to the bodies of these amazing women, I will feel overweight, but they are also much slighter than me in terms of bone structure in the first place. I cannot compare myself to other people, and the only thing that I have to compare myself to IS myself. I'm on this journey for myself, and I recognize that I have my own issues to contend with.

I'm taking this process slowly so that I don't trigger any underlying residuals from my disordered eating in my teens and early 20s. But I'd like to start seeing downward movement. Not because other people want that for me, but because I want that for me.

I read somewhere recently that sometimes people are motivated by the thought of competition, and that if people put their money where their mouths are, they are more likely to reach the goals they set. So I joined Diet Bet. Basically you place a wager (usually between $20-35) to join a specific bet (either a 6 month bet for 10% loss, or a 1 month bet for a 4% loss), and you check in before, occasionally during, and after. If you meet your goal, you get a cut of the pot. I found a challenge that was run by Alex Respess from season 1 of Extreme Makeover Weightloss edition.

I think it should be great motivation to work with him. There are 161 people in the challenge and the entry is $30 for August 11- Sept 07 with a goal of losing 4% of your total body weight in the 28 day period. The pot is already up to $4,830.00. I think it will give me some accountability as I start to get the scale moving again. 




foot part deux

Last I wrote, I talked about the development of an issue in my left foot and what we thought was a sprain to the 4th metatarsel. Believe it or not, I've been compliant, wearing the boot as directed, and also wearing shows on my right foot whenever possible. Have I mentioned before that I absolutely hate wearing shoes in general? so I guess you can see why I am proud to not only be in compliance with the boot, but I've also been really good about cutting down on barefoot time.

I went for my 4 week follow up yesterday with 2 main issues on my mind:

  1. Although I've been wearing the boot on my LEFT foot, the pain is not any better... AT ALL. thankfully its not worse, but its not better. 
  2. All this time in the boot on my LEFT foot has me once again facing issues of overcompensation (which we believe led to this LEFT foot in the first place), and I am having some pretty significant pain in my RIGHT heel again. As a recap, it was the RIGHT foot that got me into this mess in the first place. 

Unfortunately, it is clear that this cycle is vicious and something has to change. The Dr. Suspects that the first problem is actually due to a 4th metatarsal stress fracture that is hiding between the bones at the joint in the center of my foot. He wants an MRI to see if there is anything he can do... but the prognosis remains somewhat the same either way. 4-6 weeks in a boot religiously. maybe some injections if there is no break.

The problem in my right foot can be alleviated temporarily with cortisone shots... which I had, and holy mother of monkeys was that worse than I remembered. Because the needle goes into the sheath around a tendon and nerves, its enough to make me cringe and see sound vibrations from the needle straight up into my eyes. I don't know if that even makes sense, but think of the movie 127 hours:







So yeah... that sound that he was hearing and color, that's all I can think of when trying to explain what that needle going into my heel feels like.

So anyway, there you have it. We will know more after my MRI monday.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What? Another state?

OK. So here's the thing. I've accepted that I'm injured. And we all know that I'm a little stubborn. I was told to be in the boot for 2 weeks before my follow up, and I admit, I was only half in compliance.

I work a couple of part time jobs, but for the most part not only do I work them from home, but I also have the full time job of finishing my doctoral dissertation (also from home). And I couldn't justify waking up, putting the boot on to walk 10 feet to my office and sitting for a couple of hours, then walking the distance to the fridge and back, then sitting for some more hours... etc. Because short distances didn't hurt. But the evening would eventually roll around and my foot would hurt again. And stupid me, I was unwilling to accept that it wasn't getting better because when I was at home in my house I was not entirely in compliance.

I went for the followup, and he joked that after hearing that, he couldn't understand why I wasn't getting better either. So he ordered another 2 weeks in the boot. I felt like I was getting better until Saturday when I went to a concert and some drunk girl both tripped over my foot, then kicked it out of the way when she couldn't figure out what she had tripped over. And of course, I am seriously hurting now. But I have hope. The followup is just under 2 weeks from now, and I am not taking that dang boot off until then. I should be better exponentially by then.

But here's the thing. I'm going stir crazy. I have found that one of the only ways that I can alleviate stress is through running. Sorry folks, the gym just doesn't cut it. And obviously I can't do zumba right now. So the stress builds... and trust me, right now I have a TON of stress (to be measured in metric F-tons).

I'm in another kind of race these days. I'm in the race to meet deadlines with my dissertation. If I can get my first draft completed by September, I could be defended by the end of the calendar year, which means I could have my ph.d. conferred as early as January or February. I need to meet this timeline so that I don't have to pay more tuition. And I really don't want to pay any more tuition. So there you have it. I'm brain fried and content overloaded. I'm working all day, and up half the night pondering my research questions and the shape that my final document will take. I'm overloaded by the hot political mess that is going on in Israel and Palestine as this tangentially affects the topic of my expertise. I'm needing to reduce stress in meaningful ways.

And of course that brings me back to the foot problem. So I thought about a mini-break to visit my good friend Sarah in Utah. Sarah and I have been working together to keep motivated through our ph.d. journeys, and we are both aiming for the same timeline to finish. Plus we are both peace workers, so we share a lot of the same emotional hardships. Did I mention that she is also a runner? And wouldn't you know it, she will be running her 3rd and qualifying race for half fanatics while I am visiting her. Coincidence? I think not.

I plead my fifth amendment rights as to the logistics of how this happened, but Sarah registered me for the race with her. I admit to no blame in the registration for this race, because registering for a race when I am not sure I will fully be healed wouldn't be very compliant of me, now would it? I think I'll be healed at that point, but even if, I can wear a brace to help alleviate the pressure. It will be fun. And hey, not only do I get to relieve stress by seeing one of my closest friends in a place that I've never been before, but I will also be able to share this amazing opportunity with her.

Porter's Half Marathon, here I come!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Seriously? Injured again?

Seriously, This is not how I envisioned starting out my summer.
now I have a matching set

At this point last year I was in excruciating pain my right foot. I was nursing a horrible injury and refusing to admit there was a problem. I finally brought myself to the doctor some time in August, and wound up in my first round of treatments and boots. The treatments lasted until March of this year.

I was looking forward to having a little recovery time in May and June. And after that recovery period, I felt strong. I kept focusing my attention on the strengthening of my right foot and how the pain seemed to disappear more and more each day.

Which I guess is why when I started to get a little nagging feeling in the center of my left foot, I brushed it off. It didn't hurt too bad. It was just a strange nagging sensation. It didn't hurt when I ran, for the most part, it only hurt when I flexed my foot just so, all in all, I could overlook it.

But then last week I tried to ramp up my mileage. I wound up succeeding in upping my mileage, though I barely made it halfway to my goal mileage before my back started to cause problems.

Which is strange in itself. I didn't even feel much pain in my back. I was just always short of breath when I stood up or I moved the wrong way. I was exhausted all the time and found that laying motionless helped. I actually thought it was asthma at first. Then I realized that the shortness of breath wasn't responding to medication, and it was only happening if I moved certain ways or if I was sitting up for long periods of time.  I have a back problem, and have for a long time. I have a high thresh-hold for pain in my back, I guess it just took me a little while to realize what was going on.

And once I did, I chalked it up to repetitive impact from running on sidewalks (instead of on the paved streets like I prefer). I mean, that's plausible, right? But then I realized that the shortness of breath was only coming when I was trying to stand up straight or put weight on my right foot. Well that didn't make any sense. I thought that maybe my muscles were spasming so much on my lower left side that it was just making it difficult to stand straight.

I NEVER once thought there might be something else going on.

Until I realized that the nagging sensation in my foot had gotten worse. It was throbbing all the time and felt like there was some crepitation seeping in. I couldn't hear anything, but it certainly felt like a whole bunch of crackling.

So I made an appt with the foot dr again. I knew even before the appt was made what the solution was going to be, although I didn't know what the diagnosis was. I thought it might be extensor tendonitis, but there was no swelling whatsoever. Trust me, after over a year of dealing with problems with my left foot, I am highly attuned to swelling, and there was none.

So I go to the appt, do some xrays. Nothing is broken, but he did find evidence of an acute sprain deep inside the center of my left foot. How the heck?

Wearing another boot for at least 2 more weeks was not how I envisioned this summer starting off. The temporary solution is to stay off of it completely until at least the followup and let it heal.

But now I am starting to be filled with the not-good-enoughs. Man, I didn't realize that even writing that last sentence would bring tears to my eyes. But its time that I finally admit it, maybe I'm just not good enough for this running thing. Maybe I'm not strong enough to run, I'm not fit enough, I'm too heavy, I'm too slow, I'm just not enough.

But I love to do it. I don't know where this leaves me.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hey Amy, how did that challenge go?

Last week, I excitedly wrote about a 1 week challenge where I allowed my friends on facebook to like my post and the total number of likes would determine my weekly mileage.

It was foolish, I know. But at the same time, I was excited to have a challenge to really push for, a reason to go out there and push my limits and really do something that would remind me of how far I've come and how strong I have gotten over the past 2 years.

I don't want to say that I wasn't entirely freaked out by the idea of logging 64 miles, but I made a commitment to go out there and give it the old college try. For me that included the senior year, the 4 years of undergraduate, the 2 years of graduate, and the almost 3 years (so far) of ph.d. work. That's a lot of college try. And that's what I wanted to put into this challenge.

But I came up short. Really, really ridiculously short.

I managed 6.77 miles on day 1 but then had to call it quits due to a severe electrical storm that came through.

On day 2, I broke it up and put in 6.5 miles in the morning. Then in the evening I did another 5.11 miles.

And that's where it all kind of fell apart. About 3 miles into the second workout on day 2, I started having the most horrid back spasms that I have had in about 10 years. These were leaving me barely able to catch my breath, and unable to stand up straight.

I took the next day off, and on day 4, I managed another 7.38 miles. I kept feeling like I was winded and out of breath. I blamed it on the heat and humidity, I soldiered on, but I couldn't keep going. The following day, the spasms were back in full force.

It was the 4th of July and I couldn't get out of bed. I spent the entire 3 day weekend either on the bed or the couch, alternating between barely able to catch my breath, staving off dizzy spells, and melting into a sobbing mess from tweaks here and there in my back.

And before I knew it, the 7 day challenge was done. I spent most of the week in pain and laid up. I managed to get in 25.76 miles, and I should feel proud of that. Unfortunately I'm still trying to convince myself that 25.76 miles in a week is nothing to turn my nose up at. Instead of being proud of what I accomplished, I keep thinking about the 38.24 miles that I didn't manage to log during the week.

It leaves me feeling like a failure.

What is wrong with me?




Monday, June 30, 2014

HTFU* and a one week challenge

What on earth have I gotten myself into?

A couple of my friends posted a challenge to facebook this weekend that basically their facebook friends would get to dictate what their running mileage would be for the week. In essence, they pledged to (in a 7 day time period) run the number of miles equivalent to the number of "likes" that they received to the post.

Thinking that I rarely have people like or comment on my posts, and thinking it would be fun, I bravely accepted the gauntlet that had been thrown down, and posted the following to my wall:

OK, my run buds Jennifer Hatcher and Edna Montoya threw down the gauntlet with their challenges. here's the thing, I need to get off my butt and get caught up to the mileage.

CHALLENGE

For every LIKE I receive to this post, I will do1 mile this week. LIKES on this post end at midnight tonight! (I had a cap on this but Jennifer told me to HTFU.) the week will start tomorrow.

I thought this could be fun. And while I was panicky at first thinking I needed to cap it at 40 miles at absolute max for the week, my friend reminded me that if I capped it at 40, then I might as well have just posted to my wall that I was going to run 40 miles for the week and not leave the option for anyone else to dictate my mileage.

I was scared, but she was right, and I needed to HTFU*. I removed the note about capping out at 40 miles, and bit my nails while watching the likes on my post rise and rise and rise. 

5 hours later, the polls closed, and I wound up with a total of 63 likes, equaling 63 miles to be completed in 7 days. Plus a dear friend informed me that hers would count for 2 likes. I figure, I'm already going to do 63 miles, why not add another?

64/7= 9.14 miles per day.

or I could break it into 2 times per day and get 4.57 miles per time out. and that seems really manageable... less than a year ago I managed 78.6 miles in 6 days, 2 months ago I managed 65.5 miles in 5 days... if I could do that, I can most certainly do this. 

But still, its a daunting task. Ok, enough jabbering, lets get this show on the road.  

This journey of 64 miles begins with one step.

*HTFU is one of my loving mantras, taught to me by my friend Jennifer on my 6 in 6 day fiasco, and it stands for Harden The F*** UP

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Beach Beast - June 14, 2014

I've been dragging my feet on writing this race recap. I really like to find the silver lining in events and give people the benefit of the doubt, but no matter how I cut it, this event was a flop.

Here's the thing, when Beach Beast did their first event out in Tampa last summer, I had some friends who participated in it and absolutely loved it. They were not big into OCRs or Mudruns, they were more Crossfit type of people. They enjoyed the run, they gave the event and the promoter rave reviews, and all was fine and dandy. So we signed up for it last year.

If you recall, last years event was not so great. I was very generous in my race recap from that event but the reality was that all of the obstacles were cramped into the very beginning of the event or the very end of the course, there was no water to be found despite being on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale in early April, the obstacles were falling apart and posed a hazard to many people as they broke down from all the foot traffic, and it was just kind of a hot mess. Trying to find a silver lining, I believed the promoter when he claimed that a number of the problems came from a concert that was about to be set up at the same location which had their equipment delivered ahead of time. I had no reason to not believe them.

That being said, I hadn't planned to run another one of their events. And I wouldn't have, except that husbeast made a charitable donation to an organization late last summer and in return we got two complementary entries to this years Miami Beach Beast Event. I knew not to expect much, but my hopes were a little higher than they should have been because we were reassured that this year's event would be in a better location meaning we would have better support.

And of course, although my hopes weren't all that high, the let down was still immense. After last year's mess up, I would have thought that they had learned some lessons and would right some of their wrongs. But wishful thinking, I guess. Afterall, eventhough last year neither mine nor my husband's timing chips worked, at least this year, we would have the ability to be timed on a course, right?

Wrong. No timing chips this year, essentially making it a 5K fun run (except it wasn't really 5K either, but I'm getting ahead of myself) But that's ok, it could have still been a gorgeous event at the beach, in an absolutely gorgeous location.

Wrong again. The new venue was the Historic Virginia Key Park, which is an absolutely gorgeous location that many runners, bikers, and triathletes adore so I had high hopes for at least that component of the event. Yet the event was held primarily in dirt parking lots and along an area of the bay which had less beach and more seaweed than anyone could ever imagine. For an event that claims to be a "beach run" It would have been nice to be on a beach area for more than maybe a 10th of a mile. This area of coastline was also about a "beach-ish" strip that was probably no more than 5 feet wide and covered with seaweed and other debris, so not much for beach. I have to say that I got far more sand on me while weaving back and forth through a dirt parking lot. Yes, you read that right... But once more for good measure:

Weaving. Back. And. Forth. Through. A. Dirt. Parking. Lot.

Seriously, you have a beautiful park that you could run the course through yet you put flags out on a dirt lot to weave back and forth through to increase the overall distance to a 5K? Well nice try, but the distance wasn't even close to a 5K. But I guess that can be overlooked, because there were obstacles right? Yeah, lets talk about that.

They used a different builder for the obstacles this year than last year, so they were slightly different. I found the obstacles last year to be far more challenging, though a few of them managed to break from the weight of people jumping on them repeatedly. There were less obstacles, and because I am not a huge fan of getting splinters in my butt, I am not about to climb a wall and slide down a large piece of plywood to get to the other side. I guess that could have been easily done by other people, but being the Klutz that I am, I just went around. So that left me with a sand crawl that was less than 15 feet long, a knee-up area which barely required me to pick my feet up off the ground, a large laddered wall that I actually liked but didn't find challenging at all (other than the fact that it was fairly tall and I feared falling), and a couple other obstacles that clearly made a lasting impression because I can't remember them to save my life.

I walked the whole event, which I hadn't planned on doing, but decided was in my best interest after we arrived to find out that there was not only no water anywhere on the course, but no water at the finish line either. Sure they had Celsius as a sponsor and they were out there giving away free energy fizzy drinks, but this is NOT a replacement for water. HELLO, this is JUNE in SOUTH FLORIDA. the temperature was hovering well over 90 degrees, and the humidity was up in the high 80s percentage wise.

SO. NOT. SAFE.

You know what else isn't safe?

Doing a race in the sun and the heat of South Florida without providing water, and NOT having a medical team on site. I'm always super attuned to where medical is at events, that's just the safe practice... and not once did I see a medical tent, an ambulance or any representative from the Miami Dade Fire Rescue.

No excuse.

Not impressed. And wont be making the same mistake again. Promise. NEVER AGAIN.

The promoter Eric F. Peer has not been available for comment through the facebook event for this race. Maybe he's still hanging out with the medical team and the water?

But I did get this great picture with my friends Meredith and Khalimah, so that's a plus, right?