Monday, June 25, 2012

The Toe

I am in the third week now of having a painful, swollen left pinkie toe after stubbing it on June 3.  While I usually shy away from seeing doctors, the pain was so bad that I was sure it was broken so I went to an urgent care center two weeks ago.  They X-rayed it and said it was not broken.  They buddy taped it to the one next to it.  

Here I am three weeks after stubbing it, trying to run on it because who rests for over three weeks for a hurting toe?  I got some advice today from a doctor friend of mine to rest it until it is not painful to move.  I don't think I am going to totally rest it, but I will continue to buddy tape it and hope the swelling will go down soon.

Look at these pictures of my feet if you dare!!

left pinkie toe swollen

comparison to the right foot---
and an ugly big black toenail's new toenail growing in (see the deep ridge in it?)


swelling evident from this angle

And there you have it.  I have ugly feet!

Friday, June 22, 2012

A&M 5K Volunteering

The annual A&M road 10K changed to a hilly road/trail 5K course this year.  It was held on Saturday, June 9, 2012.  Since I was still not able to run, I volunteered with my family.  I like volunteering at this race and actually have not run it myself in several years.  We were assigned to the aid station right after Mile 2.  We enjoyed handing out the waters and cheering for our friends.  

I was so proud to see my good friend, Julia, come in first overall female!  She won another 5K the following week, putting her at four overall wins at 5Ks for the year!  Cheering for her really distracted me from how awful I felt.  Even walking was painful, and I couldn't even begin to imagine running.  But feeling happy for my friend really helped me forgot about those troubles for the day!

Our aid station with other volunteers

Julia has a big lead in the women's race.

Rick splashes the kids with water after the race!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Minneapolis Marathon Prerace Day 2 and Race Day

Saturday, June 2, 2012

On Saturday, June 2, my family went to the Mall of America.  We are not really mall people, but the amusement park inside the mall really caught our attention.  We decided to get the kids all-day bracelets for unlimited rides that day.  It's a good thing--they rode rides for almost 5 hours straight!  They had the best time, and we liked it since "chaperones" ride free with kids who are 42 inches or under on most rides.  Our daughter was just barely 42 inches!  Perfect!

Mall of America
We ate lunch in between all of the riding, which was Panda Express fried rice for me.  For under $4, I got this whole container. Nice carbo-loading, and very cheap!

Fried rice 
 We got a family picture before leaving the mall.

The rest of the day was spent going to the expo (pretty small), grabbing dinner (macaroni and cheese at a pasta restaurant), and preparing to leave the kids overnight with my cousin and my sister at my cousin's apartment.  Though it seems like a great deal (leaving the kids the night before the race--great!!!), it was very hard for me to do.  I became a paranoid mom, asking my cousin Lucy all kinds of questions like "Does your door have a deadbolt?" and I even cried once.  It's hard leaving my kids!!  But I completely trusted Lucy and Laurie to watch them overnight and while we ran.  Plus, it made the most sense to do things that way.  

Downtown Minneapolis

The map 

Mac and cheese

Lucy, Laurie, and the kids having a "sleepover"
Around 9:00 p.m., Rick and I finally pulled ourselves away from the kids and begun getting ready for the marathon.  Here are my clothes laid out.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The hotel had a nice sign to encourage us the morning of the race.  The race started at 6:30 a.m., and it was no trouble for us to get to a lot to park our car and then walk to the start line.

Hotel sign
All marathons have things go wrong that we don't foresee or can't control.  This race had several for me.    

1. Bathroom Issues
Right before the race started, I was waiting in line for a porta potty, but I decided at the last minute that I would not make it to the bathroom before the race started (the line was moving too slowly since it had half marathoners in it, and their race started later than ours.  They were not in a hurry.).  So I got out of line and peed behind a truck, though I really needed to do more than just pee (sorry for TMI)!  Once the race started, the feeling did not go away, and I stopped in Mile 4 at a porta potty.  I remember being annoyed since I was one of the top women at that point.

2. Calf Problems  
My right calf had seemed tight all week, like it was on the verge of cramping on me.  I felt odd when I pushed down on it.  It bothered me enough to make me contemplate running the Cotton Row 10K last Monday.  It bothered me enough for me to take 3 complete days off from running before the race in an attempt to "fix" it.  It bothered me before the race, but I didn't know how it would feel as I warmed up in the marathon.  Unfortunately, it bothered me in the race.  It felt tight, and I had trouble bearing weight on it.  It affected my gait and my confidence.  

3. Lack of Mile Markers 
Mile markers seemed to be sporadically placed in this marathon.  Like, there wasn't a mile marker for Mile 1, but there was for Mile 2.  Then, there wasn't for Mile 5 (trust me, I was looking).  We went 4 miles without seeing a mile marker from Miles 10-13.  This was really hard for me mentally.  I was looking for that segmentation--that way to break up the race.  I didn't have it.  It was also hard to not know my pace per mile.  Of course, I could roughly divide and see once I did hit a mile marker, but the mental work was too much for me with everything else.

The Race
This is the best I can do for my mile splits, since there were not mile markers for every mile.  I can see that the first 7 miles were a good fight, but I remember knowing even then that this was not going to be my day.  I felt like that pace was impossible to maintain.  A pace that could--and has--felt easy to me in the start of marathons felt too fast.  A small injury (my calf) snuck up on me and greatly affected me today (I plan to write about how I think I got the injury in a later post).  I think at Mile 8 I knew there would be no PR today, but then I started just trying to hang on to other goals. 

I think when you try to run a marathon in every state, you are going to have races like this, races where you meet your "C" goal---to finish.  That was the goal I ultimately clung to today.  Then in Mile 23, I decided that walking the last 3 miles was not going to cut it for me today.  It was painful, but I shuffled along to the finish.  The last few miles were very tough.  I did not notice this as much, but Rick complained that the half marathoners joined up with us in those last few miles.  We shared the course, and it did make it very difficult to maneuver.  

Mile 1, 2 14:43
Mile 3 7:13
Mile 4 8:01 (bathroom stop)
Mile 5, 6 15:17
Mile 8 8:00
Mile 9 7:32
Mile 10, 11, 12, 13 33:02
Mile 14 8:51
Mile 15, 16 17:42
Mile 17, 18 19:01
Mile 19 9:32
Mile 20, 21 19:20
Mile 22 10:32
Mile 23 15:44
Mile 24 8:36
Mile 25 9:08
Mile 26 9:29
Mile .2 2:02

3:51:30 official time

A Final Note
If you think you will need a cell phone in a marathon, then carry one!  I am so glad I carried mine in my water bottle holder.  When I could no longer force myself to run in Mile 23, I walked a bit and texted my friends Jane and Julia--"Walking in Mile 22.  Not my day :(" and waited for their encouragement to follow.  Though Laurie was following me with her phone, I went ahead and texted her so she would know that I was okay but finishing slower than expected.  This is not something I would normally do (carry my phone or text in a race), but I anticipated trouble today with my calf, so carrying a phone made sense.

Rick was able to get some pictures off of the marathon Facebook page.

Me, far right, at start of the race

Early on

Also early on (though I already can tell that my gait looks off)

Finish area
In all honesty, I cried with disappointment when I saw Rick (He had gotten a 3:25 and had a good race.).  He knew how badly I wanted to race my best today, to go for a 3:10, and to finish my last marathon before a possible third baby on a high note...and he knew I was not happy with myself.  He understands me so well.  I felt like this was a "last chance" of sorts, though others may argue with me.  I think we should all look at every race as our last chance.  Sure there may be other marathons next season or next year or years from now.  But what if there's not?  Did I give enough today?  If you've read my Chicago post, you know that I love the expression, "One day you will not be able to do this.  Today is not that day."  I really believe in giving each race all you've got.

It's harder to give it your all when your body fails you.  I don't like hobbling in pain to the finish line or having to text people for encouragement during a race.  Given the conditions, I am happy with how I did.  I felt strange when I was done, like I had a lot of fight left in me, but I could not let it out today.  I felt a hunger to try again even though I know that this was the last one for now.  I guess I just felt frustrated.  

The good thing about having a family waiting for you after a marathon is that you are their hero, no matter how you did.  Boy, I loved seeing the kids!  We enjoyed a great post-race lunch at a terrific place called Burger Jones.  It had delicious sweet potato fries and milkshakes and came recommended by my cousin, Lucy.  We ended the trip by repeating the drives we'd made in reverse order (4 hours to WI, then 12 hours home) over this day and the next.

Burger Jones

The whole crew

Post-Race Thoughts
I am glad we both finished State #21.  I am so glad the kids had a great time and that my sister and cousin were so willing to help us out.  I am so thankful that we got our fun family vacation for the summer.  I am happy that I am finally (two weeks later) able to run without too much pain in short 6 mile runs (I did jam a toe after the race, but that is another story.).  I am happy that I am taking a break from high mileage.  I am getting a little lazy, and that's okay.  I am enjoying my summer with my kids.  This marathon will be a good memory for me...but it won't be the one I remember when I'm old and gray.  I did okay; I got it done.  I pushed through an uncomfortable feeling for 26 long miles.  I added it to the list of completed marathons. Mostly, I enjoyed the trip and the company, and, for today, that's enough for me.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Minneapolis Marathon Prerace Trip

Since now nine of our marathon trips have involved our kids, I always like to show what we did as a family on each trip.  If you are a mother or father and you want to combine your marathon trips with family vacations, you can!  I hope my posts will show you how much fun the whole family can have traveling the country for marathons!

Thursday, May 31, 2012
We started our Minneapolis trip with a twelve hour day of driving in the car on Thursday, May 31 from Madison, Alabama to Madison, Wisconsin.  My almost six and almost five year old did great during the car ride.  They are becoming accustomed to long car trips, which is great since that is how we are going to travel as much as possible!  They have been on many long car trips, but neither has ever ridden on an airplane.

Friday, May 31, 2012
This day turned into one of our favorite vacation days ever!  First, we swam in our hotel's indoor pool, which happened to have a large kids' area complete with several water play structures.  I guess this is a more common thing up north since so much of the year it is freezing outside!  Then is was on to Madison's free zoo!  The Henry Vilas Zoo made a perfect stop while we waited for my sister, Laurie, to finish up at work.

After that, it was on to a four hour drive to St. Paul, Minnesota.  I have to laugh at the picture below--my sister, Laurie escaping in her phone as we begin the drive.  Laurie is not a "kid-person," so I am always amazed and impressed by her willingness to watch our kids for us to run marathons.  She, too, is a goal-setter and a dreamer, having just finished her Ph.D in Chemical Engineering over five years of work and sacrifice.  Maybe that is why she is willing to help us with our dream and goal.  We love her, and we love that, thanks to her, we have run Madison, WI (2008), Chicago (2011), and now Minneapolis (2012).

Laurie escapes from the backseat
We ate lunch on the road from a local place that served frozen custard and fried cheese curds, special treats for us.

Yummy lunch!
Then it was on to the Minnesota Children's Museum, one of the best children's museums we've been to yet!  We visit these museums frequently since we have a reciprocal pass.  The children love to visit new places and to play!

Here I am with Laurie and the kids in a karaoke room at the museum!

For dinner, we finished our drive to Minneapolis and met my cousin, Lucy, near her house at this neat pizza restaurant she recommended.  It was good and quick--my requirement since the kids were not willing to wait for a table!

Stay tuned for Saturday's activities...see below for a preview!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Minneapolis Marathon 2012 Brief Update

Vacation Bible School is at church all week!  I am sorry I haven't posted about the marathon.  It was not my best and was a painful 26.2 miles.  It was almost harder for me mentally though--to see my dream just completely vanishing in front of my eyes.  What an experience!  Isn't that the beauty of marathons---some are lifelong dreams, while others are crushing disappointments?  Doesn't that echo life so beautifully?  

I have no doubt that, without the injury, I could have met my goal.  I have the fight in me still.  But for now I am not even running again yet.  Not only is my right calf still tender when I run, but I also stubbed my left pinkie toe on a suitcase at the hotel after the race.  It is purple and swollen.  Yes, I plan to get it checked out!  I am proud to say that I still gritted my teeth and hobbled into VBS to serve bright and early Tuesday morning!  I did not want to let the trip interfere with any more of VBS (we missed Monday since we were driving back that day).  It needs to get my attention and focus for the rest of the week.

Below is a short update.  It's what I sent my running group the day I returned from my trip since many were asking how I'd done.  

Hi All,

Back late last night from our marathon trip.  The trip went really well, and we enjoyed seeing my sister and cousin and also the sights in both Madison, WI and Minneapolis, MN. 

The marathon was rough for me.  I had a tight/sore calf going into it.  I took 3 days of rest before the marathon, hoping that would help.  It did not.  Shortly after the start of the race, I knew my mind would not be enough to carry me to the finish I wanted.  I dropped pace and just tried to hang on and keep from walking as long as possible.  If all marathons were this hard, I would never run another one!!  Around Mile 22, I finally gave in to walking and enjoyed sending a few texts to family and friends for encouragement.  I talked myself into running again and did not stop until the end.  I fought hard for a 3:51.  My calf is painful right now, and I have no doubt that I should not have even attempted this race after feeling this pain and seeing the outcome of the race.  That is the hard part about running a marathon in every state--sometimes you have to run and finish the run even if you don't want to!!  Not sure when I will be running again. :(  For some good news, Rick did great--3:25!  And the kids had fun with "the best babysitters ever"--my sister and cousin!!

Thanks for the well wishes.  I feel bad that I did not live up to expectations of me and others in this race.  The challenge of the marathon is to get all of the factors to come together, and for me, this injury was too much to overcome.  I'll get it next time!!!