Wednesday, July 28, 2010

San Francisco Marathon -Jose's Race Report Part 1

This race report is going to be in three parts, the race, the food and finally- friends and family! This way I can hopefully cover everything awesome that happened SF Marathon weekend. Since I am easily amused, this means I have to cover a lot of ground!

Part 1 - The Race
Saturday night I changed my goal from doing the 5k to "run as far as I can with my friends and have fun". I told my wife, she gave me her blessing, I threw a Hammer Gel into my waist pack and slept. Sunday morning came quickly. I rubbed my eyes and we hustled out of the hotel room and down to Starbucks to get oatmeal with Team Piccolo. Runners were making their way down the streets to the start finish, I made it a point to tell everyone with a bib "Have a good race!" Most got stoked and returned  well wishes, others didn't. I figured those were Euros or deaf, or both!
The view outside of the Park Hotel

Wave 8 meant we were at the tail end of the last wave going out, as we walked back past runners a woman clapped and gave me a thumbs up "yay! no meat athlete!" in reference to my shirt. I wish I had given her a high five, good vibes! Bart Yasso was at the start cheering on the waves and when he finally got to us we set off down towards the start finish line. I waved at Bart and told him "Congrats on Comrades!" he gave me a shout out over the PA and we were off! Again let me remind you dear reader that prior to this race I have not run further than 3 miles, so as we approached  the awesome Sports Basement cheering section, I did some quick estimating and figured the bridge was around 5-6 miles or so out. I told Richard and Jenny, "I think I can run to the bridge" and they gave me thumbs up. We kept along at a slow pace, talking to runners and discussing hydration strategies, running, friends who didn't make the race, all the things runners talk about.
When we got to the first hill, I walked partway up and enjoyed the beautiful views of the bay. It was so fun to run streets normally jam packed with tourists and have the roads all to ourselves. I felt my knee ache a tiny bit, but it wasn't agonizing. Without sounding like a tough guy, it was a manageable discomfort, not really a pain. As we crested to the toll booth I heard whoops and cheers from other runners and saw  people reach for their cameras and cell phones to take photos. I made it to the bridge!
Richard and Jenny looked at me "You ok?" I nodded "Yep, I think I want to run across this thing" and we did!
The end of the SF 10k, wait, there's no such thing? Ok carry on
Richard and Jenny, Marathon Runners!

The 10k point was such a rush, I had doubled my goal and was still feeling great! Here I was running further than I have in weeks, with perfect weather! I sensed that Jenny and Richard wanted to speed up, and felt my quads (especially on my right leg) ache. At the turn around point Richard left us and Jenny took a restroom break. I stopped to stretch and sat down to eat my gel and think about what just happened. I considered calling a cab, heading back and calling it a day. Jenny and I trotted back onto the bridge and I could tell she wanted to pick up the pace, I hugged her, told her to enjoy her race and she disappeared into the fog.
I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!
I walked for a bit on bridge, taking in the sights and sounds of garmins beeping and cars honking. What was I going to do? At this point I was 8.25 miles out. Could I do the half marathon?! My knee felt good, my legs felt good, but I was out of fuel. I considered bumming a gel from a fellow runner when my foot hit something, an unopened pack of Clif Shoks! I looked around, mouth agape, looked up, smiled a silent "Thank you!" and texted my wife to let her know I was going for it.
Mile 10 - You bet I was happy to see this!

These next miles were tough, but  rewarding. By mile 10 I knew I had it ! It was just 3.1 miles to the finish and I was hanging tough with other half marathon participants.
As the rolling hills made way to the fringes of Golden Gate Park, I saw runners with space blankets and knew I was near the end. I was running slowly now, and though I was sore, looking back I think I slowed more to savor the moment than to quell the ouch factor. One more turn into the park and the chute was there. 2:55 - my slowest half ever and I did it! One month off and I pulled off an impromptu half marathon!
This was such a mind boggler to me on so many levels. I'm so used to having specific goals and knowing beforehand what I'm setting out to do, never in a million years would I have thought that I had it in me to complete 13.1 after my month plus of being away from running.
I ran to the medical tent, got some ice for my knee and got a foil blanket. Then I took the shuttle back to my family (huge wait, whole other story) and didn't stop smiling for the rest of the day and most of this week!
Part 2 coming soon, thanks for reading and big thanks to my wife for being awesome! I love you!

Stoked Dork, not to be confused with stork

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

List Of San Francisco Marathon Race Reports

So since I'm a bit obsessive, I've been scouring for other race reports, and here are some that I've found via twitter, google, bathroom stalls, etc.
This runner is in Sacto (like me!) and put together a race report on her marathon run.
This runner is from LA and is a MUST read, seriously amazing photography!
I met Danica for two seconds at the SFM expo, she's a funny writer and usually isn't so tearful.
I make a surprise appearance in the background of one of the photos on this race report!
I'm straight edge but this guy isn't, and he makes a compelling argument for, well err running sober?

not a blog post but an LOL

and some more that I haven't read yet. If you have more, let me know!
I'll be updating this list so it's a work in progress

Friday, July 23, 2010

Going For It

Going for it is running and running is going for it. Whether we are an average Jose or Jane or an elite athlete, we are going for it. From the lowliest jogger making the transition to "getting in shape" to the ultra running monsters doing Western States and Badwater - we/they are all going for it! Injured runners mourn their days off, and even the process of RICE and healing is going for it. Runners read everything they can on running, books, magazines, twitter feeds, dailymile entries, this quest for knowledge is going for it.

How many times have we heard the excuses "it's too hot" "it's too cold" "it's too dark" "it's too bright" for not running? How many times have we seen fellow non-runners tell us about resolutions, diets, promises to get out there only to have them not follow through.

Running is the incarnation of the thought "I should get off the couch" and actually DOING it. Be proud if you count yourself amongst this demographic, most people don't get this far!

I'm at peace now with  my decision to run in the 5k at the San Francisco Marathon this Sunday because that's my way of going for it. I could stay home, but I can't. I will feel better knowing I'm moving forward even though this 5k will NOT be a PR! I'm viewing it as a starting over point, a baseline and a celebration of my  return (albeit painful) to running. I'm going to be there to run a small race, cheer on my friends, bang on my Cowtown 1/2 Marathon Cowbell, eat delicious food, and be a part of everyone going for it.
If you aren't going for it, start today, and if you are tapering, have a great race on Sunday!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Motion is Murder

I used to be a runner, but eventually I stopped. Today I heartily enjoy video games, DVDs, my DVR, siestas, naps, resting, sitting, lounging, chilling and relaxing.

This is why it is so gratifying to read the following headline:

Finally! Some science based affirmation that will take the edge off the guilt as I sit down again to another day of sloth! Twitter, facebook, and more . If I'm lazy and sedentary with one medium, why not be lazy with all?

Now what would really be awesome is a headline like this:
"Sitting down makes you more of an internet sensation than the dude in the Old Spice commercials"
Till then, leave me alone, I'm going to sleep in my office after all, if God had intended for us to run, why'd he give us automobiles?

PS If you didn't get it! This is a tongue in cheek response to this very silly nonsensical post:

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thank You San Francisco Marathon

I'm not sure what I'm doing with the San Francisco Marathon. I won entry, but there's no way I'm running or walking or limping 26.2 miles so I'm writing this is a thank you to the race organizers and hopefully to sort out my options.

What the heck do I do? Start the full and go for the half? Pace friends for a bit? So many unknowns  make me  miss the certainty of training. I enjoy the structure of mileage increases and decreases during the taper. I miss knowing at least a ballpark estimate of miles on a certain weekend, week, etc. Yet here I am with a few weeks to go with a bib and a chip and a bum knee, I'm open to your suggestions!

SF Marathon organizers, thank you for many reasons! With my first marathon, I felt a big disconnect with  the organizers and the race itself. The marathon website was clinical, confusing and at the risk of sounding really cheesy, made me feel a bit alone. I had questions about the race ended up getting answers from fellow runners on Twitter.  Contrast this with the SFM, where the team has been always a tweet, email, or wall post away! Questions are answered quickly, their social media has been updated frequently, and they have been a great conduit between runners. Whoever does their twitter deserves super kudos, I've seen other runners looking for advice have their queries retweeted, and even something as silly as "how's everyone's training going?" has really helped foster a feeling of community.

Marathons are a personal thing, and a group effort. We as individuals toe that start line,  but the race organizers help put it all together as a group effort along with volunteers. The SFM has done a bang up job of fostering a "we're all going for it" feeling among the participants. I hope the race day goes as well as the lead up! Thanks again guys!

Monday, July 5, 2010

So I Ran This Weekend

22 days until the San Francisco Marathon and I did a whole whopping 1.77 miles!
The Mrs. is training for a half, and  I was invited along for a few. I was so excited to do the pre-run ritual the night before of getting my gear ready. I'm very easily amused and ittle things like that get me excited. I woke up and waited for her to return and we set off down the street. How did it feel? Every time my right foot hit, it felt as though a tiny man with a heavy rubber mallet was inside my knee smacking it from the inside out. After a mile or so I told myself  "just wait till you warm up, you'll feel better" and continued to shuffle along - no dice. It did feel awesome to be out again, but it did not feel awesome to wince with every step. It also didn't feel awesome to 'run' so slowly! To put things in perspective, my 5k PR is 27.14 and I did half that distance in 26.47 ! At the least I have a better idea of where I am healing wise, and because I am an optimist, I'm excited that walking is pain free, even if running isn't.  Hope you had a great Independence Day!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Knee Update: "Monster Month"

Monster month for the non-injured runner is usually filled with lots of mileage, lots of eating, lots of excitement and pushing personal limits (I've never run this far before in my life!). For me it's been a lot of eating and sitting around! Here's my update: at the recommendation of my Dr. I got x-rays of my knee. He reviewed the images and let me know that I still have internal swelling but would regain range of motion once the swelling went down. I'm thankful it's not something serious! My routine for weeks has been to take ibuprofen 3x a day, as well as vegan glucosomine MSM 3x a day. I've also been aggressively icing and I think that's helped out, by aggressively I mean several times a day instead of just two or three times a day which is what I was doing the first week or so! I am to the point where I can walk now without too much of a limp, and can play with my kids! This is a huge plus for me and them. I can tire them out so they can sleep well, this helps me and the Mrs. out because then we rest well. Win win all around!

So what does no running for weeks do to you? I was cranky at first, then resigned. I have had minor setbacks (went to the gym once, went to see Iron Maiden, that's a whole nother post!)  I've gained about a 1/2 lb at most ! I don't believe it but the scale doesn't lie. I've also been sitting around eating Soy Ice "Cream" like it's going to disappear from the face of the earth with no ill effects except for maybe some brain freeze. My sleeping patterns have been about the same, though I don't sleep as well. I also wake up and one of my first thoughts is 'darn it, it's still achy' then I think 'oh! but it's LESS achy!' so - glass is half full? I'll say so.

Looking ahead - my short term goal is to run this weekend two miles, if I can do that I will be ecstatic!
The Mrs. is beginning her 1/2 marathon training and she's already left my mileage in the dust, which is a good thing again a win win for everyone.
If you aren't injured and are a runner, get out there today or tomorrow and do a mile for me!