Saturday, November 24, 2012

Quarry Turkey Half Marathon

Running has been ****-tastic lately. Insert whatever word you'd like there. I apologize to everyone who has been patient with my grumpy endorphin-less self. 

I had full intentions of running the 10k Silicon Valley Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning but after getting injured a few weeks ago and unintelligently racing the St. Louis Half Marathon, the left hip/butt pain left me with sub-par running or no running at all. I managed 3-4 miles at a time, with pain.

Fortunately when I got home for Thanksgiving break, the pain magically disappeared. Boom. Bay Area magic? I'll take it. But two days before Thanksgiving I ran 5 miles at a 9:30 min/mile pace, and it was hard. HARD. Heavy breathing, gasping for air. You name it, I felt it. Nope, no 10k race for me.

By some miracle, I was able to run 10 miles at around a 8:30 pace on Thanksgiving morning. That translated into a Friday morning last minute signup for the Quarry Turkey Half Marathon on Saturday. Casual. Trust me to do an impromptu race. I was desperately needing some motivation and confidence. 

Friday night. I ate my way through Thanksgiving #2. What? Who says we can only indulge once a year? Feed me, I'm a runner. This may not have been the best idea, but I wasn't meticulously planning my race strategy like I usually do. I woke up nice and full and ready to run.

Race day. Ran 13.1 miles, what's new? 1:45:xx. 2nd AG. 

Meh. Pretty much the same time as my first half-marathon a year ago.

That and I was less than a minute slower than the 1st female in my division.

But enough about me. I'm just grumpy (I'll get over it.) 

Today is about you. 'Tis the season to be thankful. And I am. Today marked my 10th race in the past year (or my 10th road race ever) so I just wanted to thank everyone who has ever supported my running. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

St. Louis Half Marathon Recap

I made it! I survived! Somehow I managed to run the St. Louis Half Marathon, even finishing in a decent time.

On Wednesday, four days before the race, my left hip started to act out. It was really tight and I couldn't quite pin point the pain. Some steps were fine, but other times I could barely manage to put force on the leg without feeling like I was going to crumble to the floor. At that point running the half seemed impossible.

I took Thursday, Friday, and Saturday completely off. No running. All I did was rest, eat, and stretch. I didn't even go get my bib, claiming that I wasn't going to run on Sunday; my friend ended up getting it for me, knowing that I'm stubborn as hell and probably would run it.

Fast forward to Saturday night. I tried "running" a few strides to see how it would feel. I took a total of 5 steps before crying out in pain. The odds did not look good. I decided then that I wasn't going to run. I spent the rest of the night doing some reading and eating cookies. No pre-race carbo load, no nothing.

I set my alarm for 5:30 so I could go to the race with my friend Jeff (who PR'd again, running a 1:32!) and cheer him on. I didn't lay any of my clothing out like I usually do. The next morning, I threw on some comfortable running clothing, grabbed my garmin, bib, and ipod, and headed out the door without eating breakfast as I wasn't planning on running. No pre-race rituals of coffee, oatmeal with peanut butter, and bathroom breaks.

At the start, there were physical therapists who were giving free consultations to runners in pain. I went up to them, described my pain, and they did some horribly painful stretches/massages on me and told me I was cleared to run. WHAT? I couldn't believe the doctor's words. It hurt to walk minutes before and now i can run? What kind of miracle worker, fairy godfather, genie in a bottle are you??

Well, I took a few strides 5 minutes before the start and lo and behold: MINIMAL PAIN! I wasn't compensating my form at all so I thought to myself, "I'll just take it easy and DNF after 2-3 miles."

2-3 miles turned into 5, then 8. At that point my hip started hurting a little, but I told myself to stay in the game and targeted a girl to follow for the rest of the race. At mile 10, my pace slowed significantly and my form started to compensate. But I was too far in to quit. I finished, awkwardly hobbling across the finish line in 1:46 and didn't positive split too badly!!

Some say I'm courageous for finishing. I think I'm a foolish, stubborn runner who likes pushing my limits a little to far for comfort. 

Thankfully its 3 days after the race and I have been feeling very minimal pain/soreness in my left hip. It's slowly going away due to the amount of foam rolling, compression, and stretching I have been doing. I'm pretty sure that the pain would be gone if I had waited to run for a few more days. I've been cross training on the bike and the elliptical and will probably do so for the rest of the week. I want a full recovery soon so I can start training for a marathon in 2013!

As for the course, it's an out and back loop with tons of rolling hills. It passes Downtown Clayton, Washington University, and loops around Forest Park. Course support was friendly but sparse. I would definitely run the half again because its convenient and local. It's a small, challenging, and and well-run race with not much to see on the course.

Friday, November 2, 2012


Injuries are a runner's worst nightmare. Not only does it mean taking time off from something you love and look forward to doing every day, but it also means losing some fitness that you've accumulated. For me, it also means having to avoid the temptation to just "try it out" and run.

I've never been injured, despite logging continuous heavy mileage weeks. However, a few days ago, something felt wrong in my left hip. I couldn't quite explain the pain and wasn't sure if I just landed awkwardly and tweaked something or if the injury is something more serious.

After taking three days off, I can firmly say that it feels better. Does it feel good enough to race on this Sunday? I'm not quite sure. I'd rather take the DNS than put my long-term ability to run at risk. Missing a week of running is fine; missing months because I was stupid enough to race on an injury is not.

I think I'm going to decide whether or not to run on Sunday morning. For now, "RICE," cookies, and essay writing (to focus my mind on something else) is getting me through this hardship.

Oh yeah, I definitely forgot to mention. I impulsively signed up for the St. Louis Half Marathon last week. It would be a shame to miss because it goes right through campus. :(