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Monday, March 26, 2012

Week 7 - My First 10K

So, I know I did 8 miles last week, and this is only 6.2, but it was still exciting to get out and experience an actual race.  There were no pace groups this week, but a couple of other people from my team were planning a 12 mile an hour (mph) pace with 3 minute intervals.  I was hoping to do 4, but figured I would stick with 3 and socialize a bit.   We started off a little fast, with the first mile at just over 10 mph.   The next two miles were about 11 mph.  At that point, I knew I was going too fast, and would not be able to maintain that speed.  That is significantly faster than what I run when I am left to my own devices (13 mph) and faster than my Saturday morning pace group (12.5).   However, I wasn’t the only one, the small group I was a part of began to slow and at the slower pace 12mph pace, mile 4 went by pretty easily.  One member of the group was not feeling great, so we took a five minute walk break to see if that helped.   The five minute walk break was a bit tough for me to come back from.  Once my body has a chance to cool off that much, it has decided its done.   But, I shocked it back into action with a pretty significant uphill climb.   I was able to run the first two hills, but definitely had to walk the third.   At the end of the hills, I broke away from my group.  I needed to run just a little bit further at a time (and, well, it was downhill and flat from that point on).   So, I ran the last mile or so into the finish line, taking only one twenty second or so break (yep, you guessed it, another hill).  I ultimately finished the race, at a 12.4 mph pace and I could have easily kept going.

As you may remember from my earlier posts, speed has not been a concern of mine during training.  I haven’t worked on increasing my speed, either during the week or on the weekend.  Instead, I have focused solely on adding mileage and endurance.    But, what became clear to me during this run, is that I might actually be underestimating my own ability.  This is not to say that I am going to set a goal time for finishing the marathon.   For the marathon itself, a finish is still a finish.   But, for my practice runs during the week, I think it is time to push myself a little bit harder, and a little bit faster.

At the end of the race, the expo was set up with lots of energy food purveyors and coconut water distributers.  There were also bounce houses shaped like obstacle courses and corporate sponsors of every shape and form.   One of these corporate sponsors brought along the Lorax (this was by the way, the most exciting part of the day for Oliver).   Seeing the Lorax, I myself was reminded of a quote from the Once-ler.  Talking about a seed, he said:  It's not about what it is. It's about what it can become.  

I don't know yet what I will become as a result of this experience, but I think it is worthwhile, for me to push myself, to see what I can become.

The Great Race of Agoura - 10 K photos

This was taken almost immediately after I crossed the finish line at the Agoura 10K.   Maybe not my best look.

But Oliver didn't seem to think I looked so bad!   Or, at least he was willing to be held despite Mommy's appearance.

But I think he was even more excited to get to see the Lorax!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Week 6 - Rain, Rain, Go Away

Saturday morning at 6:15 a.m. I woke up, brushed my teeth, got dressed, ate one piece of whole grain toast with peanut butter and banana, and had one cup of coffee.  Then, I opened the door.   It was raining.   I knew it was raining before I opened the door, but, up until that moment, I had been in deep denial.   As I walked out the door, I said to Justin (who was barely conscious) “I don’t think I can do this today.”  

I got in my car and started driving toward my Saturday meeting spot.  It seemed as if every mile it rained just a little bit harder.  After I arrived I stood huddled with the group under a shelter while announcements were read.   Normally, I enjoy the announcements.  Not Saturday.  The longer I stood, the greater my anxiety about the run grew and the colder I became.  I wasn’t even wet yet.   Twenty minutes later we were running into a monsoon.  

Individuals training for the half marathon would be doing seven miles.   I, and others training for the full marathon, would be doing eight.   The first mile went by with much joking and frivolity.  The second mile, I realized that at some point, I might cry.   By the third mile, I was convinced that there was no way I could make it past five.   The only reason I thought I could even go five is because I was, at that point about two miles away from my car.   Other people in the group tried to remain optimistic.   I left optimism at the start line.  I was cold.   It was only mile three and my shins hurt.   My shins never hurt.  

Mile four and five went by as I ran through puddle after puddle, my shoes filling with water, squishing with every step.   Mile six and seven, I felt even colder as we began our run by the lake.   The rain was no longer falling down, it was going side ways.   It actually stung my face.  By the eighth mile the group had dwindled, the half marathoners were gone.  It was me, my pace group leader, and the team coach.  My hip was starting to hurt, my toes were numb.  But, I kept going.  About half way through the eight, my mentor came running up.  She was just checking to make sure everyone was doing okay.   With the three of them, I made it to the end of the eighth mile.  Without them, I would not have made it.   Without the team, I wouldn’t have even shown up.  

I peeled off my top two layers, and climbed into my car and drove home.  I was soaked straight through and trembling as I reached the door.   Justin and Oliver, were there waiting for me, with a towel (to make sure I didn’t get mud on the floor).  I quickly explained that I had to get in a hot shower, - now.  I gave Oliver a quick kiss and dashed for the bathroom door.   Even after I emerged from the shower I wasn’t warm.   I went though my day as usual, going out for lunch, grocery shopping, and a trip to Toys R Us, but I was still cold.  I was chilled to the core.  

It was only much later that night as Justin, Oliver, Luci (my chi-weenie) and I snuggled up on the sofa, I finally felt warm again. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Week 5 - Recommitment

When I signed up for Team in Training in January, I was told that on March 13, I would have the opportunity to change my mind about the marathon.   I could change my mind if I felt that I just couldn’t handle the training, or if I didn’t think I was going to be able to meet my fund raising minimum.   Or, if I just decided that a half marathon was enough, I could do that instead.  Whatever the reason, I could turn back.    But, I didn’t and I’m not going to.

Yesterday, I completed all of the paperwork and submitted it.  I am in for the long haul.  To date, I have already met my fundraising minimum ($2200, thank you very much, by the way) and run a total (over 5 wks) of twenty four miles during my Saturday morning practices.  And, I am only one quarter of the way to the race date.   I have more fundraising and more running yet to do.    I set a personal fundraising goal of $3000, and a goal of finishing the full marathon.    

I recommitted.   I think that is a funny word for this experience.   To recommit is nothing more than to commit to something a second time.  But, the word itself makes me think of married couples renewing their vows in a recommitment ceremony.  As someone who hasn’t gotten married a first time, (not for lack of commitment), I have never quite understood the need to do it twice.  For me, form doesn’t matter (as anyone who has watched me run can tell you).   From the moment I made the decision to raise money for a cure and to run this marathon, I have never thought “I can’t finish this.”   I know that organizations require paperwork and releases of liability and so on (I’m a lawyer after all), so I filled out the paperwork in the beginning, and I filled out the “recommitment” paperwork.   But, I know that my dedication to this cause and this race didn’t need affirmation.  

Then again, I’ve got to run eight miles (up from six) Saturday morning, so maybe it is a good thing they asked for the recommitment this week!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Week 4 - The one about the traffic jam

I live in Los Angeles.  Traffic and traffic jams are a way of life.  All those who live here understand that painful experience of sitting in traffic.  Rush hour can change a 20 minute travel time into an hour.   An accident on the 405 can derail a day at the beach.  It is something we here in LA live with day in and day out. 
On Saturday morning, I went to my early more training run, - six miles of blood, sweat & tears.  Okay, not true.  It was six miles, it was tough, but I got through it.  No blood.  No tears.  Just sweat.  I cooled down and stretched a little before climbing into my car for what should be a 12-15 minute drive home.   Then, as I pulled on to the 101 freeway, -- there it was, a parking lot of cars.  I sat, and waited, and waited and waited.   I made a few calls and answered some emails on my blackberry (that’s right, it’s illegal, but I did it anyway).  I waited for over 40 minutes to go…1.3 miles.   That is longer than it takes me to run 1.3 miles!  Traffic cleared and shortly thereafter I arrived home to a wonderful afternoon with Justin & Oliver. 
By yesterday my memories of the traffic jam had faded.   After all, this is LA, and these things are a way of life.   Then, I received the weekly email from my coach.  She quoted a sign she had seen recently that said:  “You are not stuck in traffic. You are traffic.”  She used this to illustrate a message about perspective and how we are all a part of something larger.   It was a useful and timely message, but it made me rethink my time in my traffic jam.  I have a slightly different take-away in light of my current endeavor. 
I was feeling a little stuck before I started training for this marathon.  I wasn’t exercising regularly, I wasn’t eating properly, stress from my job was really getting to me.  But just by starting to train I feel like my wheels are turning, and I am moving forward.   We are each responsible, in our own way, every time we get stuck, whether it is because we chose to drive a particular road, or whether it is because we ourselves stopped.   That means that we are also responsible for changing our direction.