Tuesday, August 20, 2013

No Transcendence Ultra 2013

I was really excited about running the Transcendence Ultra again - the 12-hour race in Olympia, WA, where I ran and walked 38 miles last year.  I haven't been serious about signing up for many races, though I have participated out at Kamiak and the occasional beer mile.  But the 12-hour race really interested me.  Yes, I felt super sick after my performance in 2012, and no, I haven't learned much about fueling (and not swelling up) while running in heat, but I really wanted to see if I had one more lap in me this year.  So, in spite of my normal approach to running, I actually started to train a few months ago.  I started walking to Moscow to toughen up my feet, and I tried to do one long walk/run and one medium-to-long run mid-week.  I downloaded books by Mindy Kaling and David Sedaris, put on my Brooks Launch, and set out with the hope that a little bit of training would not only help me get 39.5 miles this year but also finish the race without throwing up in the car on the way home.
Beautiful Palouse view during "training"

But then Life happened and got in the way.  While accompanying Scott to Schweitzer Mountain for one of his races, I fell on a step similar to the one pictured here, and broke my ankle.

It was bad.  I fell down onto the step and cried out, as my ankle immediately started to swell.  I honestly cannot say that I have ever felt that kind of intense and prolonged physical pain.  My body broke out into a clothes-drenching sweat, and my vision went black and blurry.  I was nauseous and couldn't seem to put my words into complete sentences.  I was helpless and hurt, and people crowded around me.  Scott saw that this was no typical "Annie-fell-and-stubbed-her-toe" kind-of injury and ran for help.  He and two men from the first aid station picked me up off the stairs and carried me into the lodge's first aid center, which consisted of little more than a vinyl-covered bed.  They placed me on the bed, gave me water and a trash can in case of illness, and put a cool cloth on my neck and forehead. 

I could barely think; all I wanted in the world was something for the pain.  The pain didn't subside like they said it would, and instead of giving me morphine or Vicodin, they asked me questions for their accident forms.  Even though they were nice and somewhat helpful, I was annoyed and wanted to get off the mountain and go somewhere - anywhere - that had something to dull the pain.  Scott drove me to an immediate care clinic in Sandpoint, where I got x-rays, a half-cast, and (finally) a prescription for some pain meds.

One month and three days later, I am still on crutches and in a boot with a torn deltoid ligament and a fractured fibula.  I missed the Transcendence Ultra, which still bums me out, but I'm doing my best to think positively and not feel sorry for myself.  (And about 85% of the time, I am successful.)

I have an appointment with my doctor tomorrow afternoon, and hopefully he'll give me some good news. I'd love to be walking and driving again soon, even though there are little joys like this that have acted as my silver lining...

Monday, May 6, 2013

Bloomsday 2013

Yesterday I participated in Bloomsday for the fourth consecutive year.  As always, it was a good event that I would recommend to runners, joggers, and walkers alike.

This year, I kind of felt like an old pro, so I didn't take pictures or make mental notes of things that I would write in my running blog about the experience.  Instead, I just went out there and tried my best to run when I could and walk when I felt like it.  As a result, I ran for probably half or 2/3 of the 12K, and I walked the rest.  (I definitely walked up Doomsday Hill, which took just under 6:30 alone. What a beast!)

The music by the 30 or so bands along the course was fun; the backs of people's shirts were entertaining; and the general feel of the racers was very positive.  The weather was simply wonderful at 68 degrees, and the heat was cut by sprinklers, misters, and cool treats along the course.  (I accepted a "pink-flavored" Otter Pop that was handed to me by a cute little girl from an obviously friendly church organization along the route. Yum!)

My final time was 1:46:18.  (To give you some perspective, my all-time best was 1:24:25 when I actually ran the whole thing.)  This year's average pace was 14:14, placing me 244th out of 506 31-year-old females and 20,809th place out of all 47,165 finishers.

After the race, I met up with some fellow "Beer Chasers" from my local running group, and they had all finished in about half my time.  I was happy for them (and also glad that my friends Drew and Mandy were still out walking the course).  Even though I don't train for races anymore, I was glad to know that in a race of nearly 50,000, I didn't come in last! :) 

The turnout by Beer Chasers and friends was great, and the cream ale at No-Li Brewery (and the river view on its deck) were impressive.  Today, I am a little sunburned but happy to have been a "bloomie," and when I get home from work, I am going to sit out on my own deck and drink another pint of cream ale.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Seaport River Run 2013

This weekend I participated in the Seaport River Run.  This was my third time running the race, and it was a good experience.

It's been a while since I've been running, but I decided to sign up for the 10K anyway.  After all, it was the same price for the 2.9-mile or 10K option, so I figured, "Why not?"

There were around 1000 people at Swallows Park, so it was busy and high-energy at the start of the race.  Fast people were stretching and warming up, dogs were pulling at their leashes, and the rest of us were getting our iPods ready and enjoying the sun and fresh air.  Scott gave me a good luck kiss, made his way to the "fast people section" in the front of the pack, and before I knew it, the race started.

I ran the first mile in about 12 minutes, and the second in about 12:30.  I did the math in my head and figured I would run about a 1:15:00 10K if everything went as planned.  My 1:08:58 PR (set in 2011) seemed rightfully out of reach for a woman who hadn't run a full mile in multiple months.

The run was okay, but I have to say that around Mile 4, I remembered why it is that I don't run much anymore.  I wasn't enjoying myself, and I looked forward to the race being over.  (It is funny how mindset works.  If I had allowed myself to just walk and enjoy the sunshine, I wouldn't have been miserable.  But I am stubborn.  I had the 1:15:00 goal in my head, and I was determined to get close to that goal, even though I had nothing but the first couple of miles to base it on.   And since I had no watch or Garmin, I pushed myself to my limit.)

I crossed the finish line at about 1:20:00, averaging at about a 12:50 mile. (My exact time is unknown since the race isn't chip timed, and it takes a minute or so to even cross the starting line.)  I wasn't thrilled with my time (which I realize is ridiculous since I did not train or have a goal going into the race), but I crossed the finish line smiling; Scott and some fellow Beer Chasers were cheering for me and calling my name.  It felt good to be supported...and done!

After the race, I was reminded why I did run regularly for as long as I did.  I felt really good.  My body felt tired and happy; my beer tasted especially good after running 6.2 miles; and everyone around me seemed pleased that I had come out to share in the experience of the race.  I was glad to have been there.

My relationship to running is funny like that.

This weekend I have Bloomsday (and I do NOT plan to try for a PR or unrealistic goal), and I am still signed up for the 12-hour endurance run this summer.  Those are my only races on the calendar for now.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pullman Winter Ultras and MLK Walk

I haven't been running much lately, but I have been a participant in a couple of running and walking events in my community.

First, I walked one lap in Pullman Winter Ultra Series on December 15, 2012.  The lap was a 12.5k, and I finished in 1:57:00, earning me the honor of being last place for yet another race.  During the walk, I emailed my brother in Afghanistan (smart phones are truly amazing), took pictures of the funny tracks (Yak Trax, doggy feet, Ben's Vibram FiveFingers, and lots of running shoes on fresh snow), and enjoyed some alone time in the fresh air.  I was one of 36 participants in a race that I used to direct/organize with Scott.

Second, I walked the same loop on January 12, 2013.  My plans in December were to do a 25K in January, but after spending Christmas Break with a bunch of sick friends and family members, I decided to walk my 12.5k in January and try not to die from a coughing fit. I barely succeeded and, yes, came in last with a time of 2:12:00.  The course was icy, and the air was far below freezing.  Despite my finish time, I still regard myself as a badass for even going out there.

Third, I participated in a 1-1.5 mile walk on MLK Jr. Day.  It was a pleasant event and a nice reminder of why we have the day off work.  I was overdressed and sweaty, but for once, I didn't come in last! :)  Perhaps that's the key: treat a "walk" like a race, and beat everyone else's time because they aren't even timing themselves... ;)

I have no plans for future races, and I have cut way back on running in the past few months.  I've realized that I was running primarily for someone other than myself, and no matter how hard I tried (even over these past three years), that wasn't bringing me - or the other person - satisfaction.  Now, I participate in events like these to be social and active, and I keep reminding myself to do things for me.  (Going to a movie for someone else or perhaps taking dance lessons for someone else might be okay, but adopting a lifetime sport that requires a daily commitment is simply unsustainable, I've learned.)

You'll see me on my blog from time to time, sharing pictures and experiences from events and travels, but I will be posting less frequently than I once did.  I hope that doesn't disappoint you (all 3 readers...) too much. 

Goodbye for now.