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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Week 12 Murphy's Law or Irony: You be the Judge

Murphy's law:   Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Irony:  an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.

On Saturday, our team met at Griffith Park for our sixteen mile run.   Now, fourteen had gone really well, twelve had sucked, so sixteen was anyone's guess.  But, the last time we ran at Griffith Park, I felt awesome afterwards.    Griffith Park is shady, it is closer to my home than where we usually run, and I know the area really well.   I like running at Griffith Park. 

I arrived on Saturday ready to run, and feeling confident.   Sixteen was totally doable (in my  head).  I set off on my run.  I knew it was going to be warm, so I wore short sleeves.  I never wear short sleeves.  I felt pretty good.  But, it was hot.  Not like, African Safari hot, but definitely hotter than usual - and we were in Griffith Park, not in the valley!   I realized immediately that I needed more water than usual.  I also started drinking a sports drink.   I also didn't hesitate to take some nutrition.   But, by mile twelve, I was definitely dragging.   By fifteen I was walking.  But, I got through sixteen, one way or another.  

The rest of the weekend was awesome.   After coming home and showering, we headed off to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and enjoyed our time at the children's stage.  Then we hit up a party (for a five year old, way  more sophisticated than our usual 2-3 year old parties).   Sunday morning we visited the zoo with some friends and their daughter (much to my son's delight).    By Sunday night I was so tired…..

Then Monday came.   As some of you may have noticed, this blog post did not go up on Tuesday per the usual.   Monday came, and I billed 10 hours, Tuesday came and I billed 10.5 hours, Wednesday came and I billed 11.5 hours.   In two and a half weeks, I go to trial.   That's right, every day for the next three weeks is going to look exactly like the last three days.   Oh, and I still have other clients who will require my attention.

When I began preparing for this journey, work was a little bit light.   Now, I can't see the light of day.   This weekend, I only have to run 10 miles (who knew that sentence would ever leave my mouth!)   But, the following weekend is 18, then 20, and two weeks after that 26.2.  At this particular moment, as I put aside my files to type this blog, I do not know how I am going to find the time to run,  at all.     

Monday, April 16, 2012

Week 11 - The Ice Bath

On Saturday I ran 14 miles.  It was exhausting.   Then, I came home and took an ice bath.   I have been trying to think of something profound to say about my experience this past weekend, - what a huge accomplishment 14 miles was, how I persevered, to come back after a miserable run the week before, -- but instead, I keep coming back to the ice bath.  

For weeks I have heard from my pace group leader about how great ice baths are for recovery.  She assured me that once we reached a certain amount of mileage, I would go home, jump in the ice bath, and feel awesome all afternoon - as if I hadn't run at all.   I talked to a variety of people on this topic most of whom sang the virtues of the ice bath.   Every now and then, there would be a naysayer, someone who admitted that they just couldn't do it.  But, those folks were few and far between.   So, I assumed that at some point I would try the ice bath.  

I knew going into my run on Saturday, that I would be biking on Sunday, it was CicLaVia.   CicLaVia is a yearly event in Los Angeles.  Ten miles of city streets are closed down for the enjoyment of cyclists.   There are a few roller bladers and pedestrians out too, but the bikes get to rule the streets for the day.   When we ride, I pull Oliver along behind me in a bright yellow trailer.  The trailer itself weighs about 20 pounds.  Add on top of that Oliver's 33 pound frame and all of our stuff (snacks, water, sweatshirts, diapers, wipes, three different types of sunscreen) and it's a heavy load to pull.   But, Justin rides a vintage (read:  ancient) Schwinn that he refuses to part with, so my bike is the only one that can pull the trailer.   Anyway, I knew we were going to ride, and I didn't want to take any chances that I would be in pain, - so I decided it was time for the ice bath. 

After I got home from my run, Justin ran down to the 7-11 to buy ice and chocolate milk (it's a great recovery drink!).   When he got home he filled the bath up with cold water.  I pulled on a sweatshirt and Oliver's owl hat and made myself a large cup of steaming hot tea.    I started to get in the water and knew it was going to be trouble from the moment I dipped my big toe.  Justin egged me on.   Finally, as I sat down in the water, Justin dumped a bag of ice over the top of me, -- scratching my leg I might add.   I screamed.   I screamed like baby, - a baby being put in an ice bath.   I found it excruciatingly painful.    Justin, on the other hand, was gleeful.   

Oliver came into check on me.  He understood this bath was different and asked me why I was taking a cold bath.   I explained to him, that the cold bath was like a boo boo buddy.   Mommy, I explained, had an owie and needed the ice.    He seemed to get  it and thoughtfully said "Mommy has a big owie."     

On Sunday I did ride through the streets of LA.    I don't know if the ice bath actually helped or not, or if I would have been able to ride without it.   I do know that after my ride on Sunday, I had an even bigger owie than I did the day before.  This time, however, instead of slipping into an ice cold bath, I decided to slip into a nice glass of wine, - or as I explained to Oliver, a glass of Mommy juice.   He, again, thoughtfully surmised, "Mommy has big juice."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Week 9 - Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Last Sunday, after Saturday's 10 mile run, I noticed that I felt a little achy.  By bedtime, I was running a low grade fever, that kept up throughout Monday and Tuesday.  It was accompanied by a sore throat, head and chest congestion and fatigue.   I felt terrible all week.  Because of this, I did not do any mid-week runs last week.  

By the time Saturday rolled around I was feeling better.   Not great but better, and the last thing I wanted to do was miss my Saturday run too.   I had 12 miles to do.  So, when my alarm went off at 6:15 a.m. I climbed out of bed, into my running shoes and headed out the door.  

I started off the run at my usual 12 mph pace (I know it’s still slow!), but here’s the thing, -- I couldn’t keep up, my chest was throbbing.  I dropped down to a slower pace group (yes, there are slower groups).  That was at about mile 3.5.   The slower pace was better, -- I am not entirely sure how slow I was going, but it was slow, and I made it to about mile 9, and at that point I knew I was in trouble.   I couldn’t catch my breath – and to make matters worse I could feel a blister forming.  So, I told the group I was running with that I didn’t think I would be able to finish 12.   The two girls were supportive, we took a short break at just under 10 miles and decided to just work on short one minute interval runs.   That worked for about another mile, - and then I was just done.   I couldn’t run another mile.   But, I had come eleven miles – it seemed kind of silly to just go home when there was only one more mile to go.   Instead of running it, I walked it.  I got in twelve miles on my legs even if I didn’t run them all. 

That afternoon when I got home, my whole body was sore.   A whole different kind of sore than I had experienced after any of my other runs.  I showered and put on sweat pants (which is what I do after every run; Justin may burn my sweat pants when this is all over) and we decided to walk to lunch about a half mile down hill from where we live.   I was moving super slowly.  We ate, (I was ravenously hungry), and then started back up the hill.    At some point, I actually started limping.   I thought about kicking my two year old out of the stroller and making Justin push me instead.  But, I finally made it home.  Later that afternoon, I made cupcakes and watched a couple of episodes of Dr. Who to help myself recover (that sonic screwdriver fixes everything!)  By evening, I was able to help Oliver color Easter eggs.   By Sunday, I was chasing him around the yard, and by yesterday, I was back to running my usual neighborhood route.  I was a little slower than before I got sick but I got it done.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Week 8 – 10 Miles and a Mathematical equation

It’s only the eighth week and I cracked double digits.   That’s an exciting milestone, - or so they tell me.  I, in response to having completed 10 miles on Saturday morning, nearly had a panic attack when I started to do some calculations.   Granted, this would not be the first time that math has caused anxiety for me, but hear me out. 

In 8 weeks, I have come to run 10 miles.   At first glance it appears I averaged a gain of 1.25 miles a week.  But, that’s not really accurate because we started this whole thing off at 3 miles.   So, I have to subtract 3 from 10, (for those of you who also have difficulty with math, that’s 7), which means my actual rate of mileage accrual was .875 miles per week.  

There are 9 weeks remaining between now and the marathon.   That means adding….16.2 miles!   And, that means adding an average of 1.8 miles every week between now and the marathon.   I hope you are starting to see why panic set in.  Up until now, I was optimistic about this whole experience, after all this is a well–thought out program that I am following that lots of people have followed before me.  But, these are cold hard numbers staring me in the face.   Who can argue with numbers?

Well, later that afternoon as the panic subsided, I was feeling substantially better than I usually do after my morning runs.  I was wide awake, playing with Oliver, grocery shopping and getting things done around the house.   While doing all that I realized that if I had only committed to doing a half marathon, I could probably go out and do it next weekend (don’t get excited my schedule has me doing 12 miles and that’s as far as I am going), but realistically, I probably could do a half.   What would have been the challenge in accomplishing something in 17 weeks, that I now know I could have done in 9? None.   That reconfirmed my belief that choosing to do the full marathon was the right choice.  

A little later still, however, I realized that my higher level energy may not have actually been due to physical gains on my part, but rather, the fact that practice started at 8 on Saturday, not 7.   Damn numbers.