Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Begin Rant

Face update:

Begin rant.

I am so sore today.  I was sore yesterday, but don't they say day two is always worse?   (Who is they anyway and why are they so smart?)  I'm in pain from my head to my toes.  I'm complaining, so if you don't want to hear about it please come back again another day.  You've been warned.

  • Face hurts including eye, nose, and chin.  Killing you?  I thought so.  
  • Teeth still hurt/are overly sensitive.  I.DON'T.EVEN.WANT.TO.TALK.ABOUT.IT
  • Left shoulder pain.  My previously broken shoulder always has a dull ache but it flares up when I run longer distances.   It should be noted that this was caused by another one of my brilliant, clumsy moments.  
  • Right shoulder pain due to getting a tetanus shot.  Man that hurts!  Better than walking around unable to move my jaw and unable to talk I suppose.  Hush George. 
  • Right arm bruised and scraped.
  • Left hand mangled all over my knuckles, further encouraging those around me to think I was in a bar room brawl instead of slipping on a banana (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). 
  • Hammies:  OMG why are you so tight?  I can't even bend over and touch my toes. 
  • Quads:  Sore.  Going to the bathroom has proven to be painful.  Why aren't I a guy?  Standing and peeing is so much easier.  
  • Calves/Achilles:  So, so, so, sore.  Like, I tried to shave my legs and the razor touching them made me flinch. 
  • Shins:  see calves
  • Lower back:  I finally figured out what made my back hurt and that was the 100 pushup challenge.  You see when you have a very fat belly weak core your lower back compensates.   I've taken a three week break from the challenge and my back still isn't better.  WHATEVER! 
  • Toes:  7/10 of my toes are deformed thanks to running.  Do you know that your toenails grow at a snail's pace?  Yeah well I do.  My feet shouldn't be seen by the free world.  
Well that should do it.  Everything inside me knows I need to get out there and move my legs to make them feel better.  I'd love to go for an elliptical session or go on a long walk, but I have a sick kiddo at home.  Jack has had a fever for the past 36 or so hours.  I hope it just resolves itself and does so quickly.  Blah! 

End Rant. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

I'm a Runner X

First, in case anyone is wondering, here is the update on my face.  Yeah it feels good.

Welcome to the 10th installment of the I'm a Runner Series.  Haven't read the others?  Find them all below. 

I'm a Runner 

Susan Tirch, Living in REAL reality37 Texas

I used to think running 5 miles was a long run.  After marathon training 5 miles became short runs and I'd find myself saying things like "just 15 miles".  Funny how everything is relative.  If I really sit and think about it, I realize 5 miles is damn far!  That's 26,400 feet or about that many strides if you consider my stride length.  HA!

A year ago I was having a cortisone shot injected into my shoulder.  Not to be outdid, I was sure to wreck my face yesterday so I could have another picture of myself in a hospital gown.

Psychologically, I do my best runs whenever the temperature is just right (50s) and the sun is shining.  It's hard to be "mad" about a run when the weather is just so.

Last sumer, I thought I would die from heat exhausting.  Training for a fall marathon through the heat of the Texas summer was not a smart idea and one I don't want to have to do again.  However, unless I move (not likely), I'll be training for NYC marathon, either this year or next, in the same dreaded weather conditions.

My daughter Ella (age 6) has been inspired by my running and has already run her first 5K.  She'll complete here second this upcoming weekend when our family runs The Color Run.

When I run, I just want to be comfortable.  There is absolutely nothing worse than a wardrobe malfunction while running.  So I've got to make sure "the girls" are locked and loaded and there is no room for chaffing.... ANYWHERE!

I have my phone with me on every run as it doubles as my iPod and I need it in case of emergency.  I'm guessing if I fell over dead and wasn't wearing my road ID my mom would be the first one they'd call.  Everyone has "mom" in their phone right?

The best part of running my first marathon was the sense of accomplishment.  There is nothing like your first.  You go in not knowing if you can do it, and come out realizing you can do it... and ANYTHING else you ever dream of doing.

My first marathon got rough, around mile 15.  Well I guess it had been rough miles 1 to 15 as it was VERY hilly and I started cursing under my breath that if there was one more hill, I was going to cause the race officials bodily harm.  Luckily mile 16 brought no more hills and I was able to finish without having to hurt anyone.

During marathon training I feel like I was given one of the most special gifts of my lifetime and that was a bond with my friend Bianca that can never be broken or taken away.  It's hard to describe, but when you log that many miles together, talking the whole way, a special bond is formed.

After my first marathon I felt incredibly sick and wound up having the stomach flu.  Needless to say, that was NOT fun, like at all!

If I say to myself, "I don't feel like running today,"  I'll remind myself how it feel when I'm unable to run or think or those who would love to but can't.  I also only except VALID excuses from myself for not working out.  Just not feeling like it isn't good enough.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

3M Race Recap: CBF (Crashed but Finished)

This was an absolutely epic race that ended both good and bad.   All I can say is, ONLY ME!!!  Here's the story starting with last night.

Before I went to bed I was incredibly nervous.  I kept envisioning the race and my stomach would "turn over".  I was REALLY unsure of myself.  I know that might sound ridiculous to some of you, but here's where I'm coming from.  I hadn't run over 8 miles since New Years Day.  I hadn't run basically at all for 2 weeks.  Now mind you, I have been working out doing strength training and other cardio classes, as well as the elliptical, but none of that REALLY prepares you for running.  Let's face it, 13.1 miles is a long way no matter what, and I was scared.  I knew I would make it, but I was scared I'd disappoint myself.  With all that on my mind, I was afraid I would not be able to sleep.  So I took a heavy dose of Benadryl and went to bed by 10:30.  I don't recall a single thing until my alarm went off at 5:00 am (allowing for 2 snooze sessions).  I slept like a baby, and for that I was incredibly thankful.  

Julie and Mike (Julie's husband) picked me up bright and early at 5:55 am.  Mike was kind enough to drop us at the start line.  Since this isn't an out and back or looped course you had to be shuttled from the finish line back to the start.  Getting dropped off was really nice, as we didn't have to worry about getting back to our car!  

We arrived at the start line by 20 after 6 for a 6:45 start, which was a perfect amount of time for a porta potty run, and then lining up.  

I also had a little time to mourn the loss of my favorite throw away sweatshirt, which has survived two other races.  I tried to ditch it two other times, but when I got back it was right there waiting for me.  I knew that would NOT be the case this time as the finish line wasn't even near the start.  Bye bye Walmart sweatshirt, you've been good to me.

I lined up in the last available coral, which just so happened to be the 2:10 coral (my goal time, I hoped to finish between 2:10 and 2:14).  Let me just say, it's ridiculous that they are lining up people who are running a 9:55 average with ALL the other runners.    There are a LOT of people that run slower than a 2:10 half marathon and, in my humble opinion, there should have been more corals.  Rant over.

Anyway, I was still fumbling around with my headphones and my Garmin as the start of the race began.  I was taken off guard, but had no choice but to get in race mode real quick.  My plan was to go out hard and hold it as long as possible.  As soon as I stepped on the start mat, I started my Garmin and took off.

I was running a GREAT pace (for me) and feeling pretty good.  In fact, at the start of the race I passed the 2:10 pace group who had obviously crossed the start mat before me.  My goal was to keep them behind me the whole time and hopefully finish just under 2:10.  It was a dream, and one I just knew would't be a reality, but as long as they were behind me I was going to be happy.

At just about mile two my breathing got a bit out of control.  I couldn't believe at mile two, I was already having troubles.  Just then I glanced up and right in my line of vision were two friends of mine running the race as part of their 20 mile training run for the Austin Marathon in February.  They were less than 20 yards ahead, so I snuck up behind them and threw my arms around them to say hello.  Everyone say hi to the Honey Badgers (aka I don't give a sh*t/bada$$ runners), Jennifer and Shannon.

The girls were hoping to run a 10:30 pace for their LONG training run, but they were ahead of me and I was averaging a 9:39 at that point.  We held a slower steady pace for the next two miles chatting away.  It felt good to see them because my breathing got under control and I enjoyed their company.  However, at mile four Jen decided to use the porta potty at the water station and I went on my way alone.  And that's when it happened.

The 2:10 pacer passed me.  I got literally stopped at the water station behind stupid people that don't know how to grab water and go (or at least move out of the way).  I was there literally stopped surrounded by people.  I was so frustrated and to top it off the 2:10 pacer was now at least 50 yards ahead of me. 

It honestly didn't take me long to catch up to her, but she was always a steady 10 to 20 feet ahead of me and I just couldn't get past her.  The thing is, she was running a 9:15 to 9:30 pace the whole time.   Even though I knew that would result in less than a 2:10 finish, I just couldn't let her get too far ahead of me.  

I spent between miles four and seven on the tail of that 2:10 pacer (as you can see in the above picture, I was literally right behind her).   At mile seven, I think she realized she needed to back off her pace and I easily crept past her.  To me, it seemed too good to be true.  I prayed (literally) that she'd just stay behind me and I'd never see her again.  

Miles seven to twelve are pretty much a blur.  I was just ticking away at the miles trying to keep a great pace.  I will tell you, 3M is a very generous course with lots of flats and lots of downhills.  So I'd be sailing along smoothly on a downhill or flat and would then come upon even the slightest incline and it felt like a mountain.  Funny how that happens.  Anyway, on these said mountains, my pace would increase and my average pace was dropping slightly.  

Every person that passed me from mile seven on gave me a slight heart attack as I'd cringe hoping it wasn't that 2:10 pacer.   I'd actually be surprised, as my pace dropped, that each runner that passed was NOT her.   

By the 11.5 mile or so I pretty much knew I was on pace to do something really good.  My average pace was right around 9:44 and I knew unless something drastically bad happened, I was going to set a Personal Record (PR).   I hadn't even bothered to look up my PR for a half marathon because I HONESTLY didn't think I'd come close to setting a record today.  I knew my record was a 9:53 pace and 2:09:something.  I didn't know what the "something" was so I just had to finish in less than 2:09 to insure victory.  Regardless, I was so happy, because this race was exceeding all my expectations.  

Just past the 12 mile mark I was starting to celebrate in my mind.  That's when I saw him-- The Banana Boy.   There was some guy up ahead standing on the sidewalk dressed up as a banana.  He was cheering loudly, jumping up and down, letting everyone know how great they were doing.  I was saying to myself, "that's right banana boy, I'm 1.1 miles away from a PR."  I'll give him a high five, I thought to myself.  So I stepped two steps toward the curb and stuck my hand out.  As I was inches away, ready to slap the banana boy's hand in victory something tripped me up.  I'm not sure if it was a bump in the pavement or I just tripped over my own two feet, but I tripped and fell.... on my FACE!  

I remember as it was happening I thought, oh good I scraped my knees.  The I thought,  oh crap now that's my face.  Your mind thinks so quickly as those type of things happen.  The banana was right there asking me if I was ok.  As quickly as I went down, I stood right back up.  I didn't even turn my head to look at the banana, I just shouted, "I have to keep going," and I did.  

I felt like everyone who saw it happen was starring at me so I just ran.  I think adrenaline kicked in as I looked down at one point and I was running an 8:00 mile.  A very kind girl came up behind me and handed me a wet Cottenelle wipe.   Blood was dripping all into my eyes and down my face.  I kept looking at those on the sidelines to see their reaction to me to try to gauge how bad it was.  The girl who gave me the wipe said that my face was swelling.  I didn't care, all I cared about was getting to the finish line.  

I texted Geroge that I had fallen, I was bleeding, but still running.  I didn't want him to freak out when he saw me.  Before I knew it, I was making my way down the finishing shoot, toward the capital and to my victory.   (I didn't say I was doing it looking pretty).  

Nicholas actually finished with me for the last 300 yards and I crossed the mat in 2:08:34.  My previous record (I looked it up when I got home) was 2:09:20.  Luckily I didn't waste any time when I fell.

Nicholas and I headed directly to the medical tent.  They cleaned me up a little there and told me I need to go to the hospital for stitches by my eye.  I still had to wait for my girl Julie, so I headed back to where George was waiting.  I was surprisingly in REALLY good spirits.

It wasn't long and Julie rounded that last corner smiling all the way to her new PR. GREAT race Julie, I'm so proud of you and how far you've come.  Julie beat her old person record by 6 minutes!  That's huge!

By the way, how cool is that finish line?  If I hadn't have been so beat up, I would have loved running in seeing the capital in front of me.  Also, how cool are my favorite sweats?  You don't need to answer, I already know!

George dropped me off at the ER and Julie stayed with me and Bianca came up and met us.  It meant a lot to me to have the girls by my side.  It's no fun being alone in an ER (and trust me I KNOW!).   

It turned out because of the placement of my wound, the doctor said he could put in a couple of stitches, but he felt that it would heal equally as well with or without.  Who wants a needle in their face if they don't need it?  NOT ME!

He wanted me to have a CT of my face, but I felt pretty confident I hadn't broken any bones so I decided against that too.

Basically I paid a gazillion dollars to have my wounds cleaned and get a tetanus shot.  I NEVER would have gone to the hospital had the medics not told me I needed stitches.  Oh well, better safe than sorry I suppose.

And there you have it, the story saga of the 3M Half Marathon personal record.   This is certainly a day I will never forget, and for the next several days, I doubt my face will let me.  

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Half Must Go On

Packet picked up:   Check

        Hello SWAG!!!!

Clothes picked out:   Check

Training done:    Wait what?  I was supposed to train for this?  Houston Austin we have a problem.  The show half must go on!

3M Half Marathon tomorrow people!  6:45 am start.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Something Big has Started

It goes without saying that I miss my family and friends in Pittsburgh terribly.  Even though I didn't see my family and friends every day when I did live there, it still feels like a part of me is missing when I'm living 1200 miles away.  That's not the only thing I miss about Pittsburgh.  I miss the snow.  I kid!  Actually, I do miss the occasional snow storm that happens on Friday night starting at 7 pm dropping 2 feet of snow overnight and you spend the weekend with nothing to do be sled ride and build a snowman.  (By the way in this perfect snow storm it is all gone by the Monday morning commute).  

But... there is always I but.  I love living in Austin.  The weather is awesome, there are great places to eat, so many fun things to do, I can sign up for a race EVERY weekend if I wanted, and I've met some incredible friends who, if I'm being honest, are more like family than friends.

So you see?  I feel very torn, because I love my new life in Austin, but I miss my family and friends in Pittsburgh.  I'm able to manage my homesickness (is that a word) by reminding myself of all the great things that are going on in my life in Austin and by looking at George and the kids and seeing how happy they are here. 

However whenever I hear or see about things that are going on in Pittsburgh that I just can't duplicate here, I can't help but feel a little sad.  Today all it took was seeing this little map.  A course map.  The Pittsburgh half marathon course map to be exact. 

I looked through the course (and the full marathon course) and I knew every twist and turn.  I knew every neighborhood and could picture every street on which the participants would run.  Then it happened-- I got sad, and I missed my hometown, and I missed my family, and I missed my friends, and I felt left out of an awesome opportunity.  

Yes, I've run the Pittsburgh half-marathon before, but I was a new runner.  The whole time I was running I was focused on running.  I know that sounds stupid, but I didn't get to run AND enjoy the city.  I was just too focused on this pace and that finishing time and I forgot to take it all in.  (Be quiet you-- I know I set a personal record that day, but that's not the point).  Plus, and this is a biggie, I've never really been able to run a race with my Pittsburgh running buddy Tracey.  Sure we were there together, but she had a shower, ate lunch and took a nap between her finishing time and mine.  You get my drift?  We really didn't run TOGETHER!  

So today I began a plan.  There will be whining, begging pleading, and maybe a even a little sucking up but, "Operation Get Susan Home for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon" has commenced.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012