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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

upcoming races

Here are the races I am signed up for in the next few months. If you care to join, the more the merrier!

March 22nd New York Colon Cancer Challenge 15K

March 14th NYRR 8000 meters

April 11th Scotland Run 10K

April 5th DC Cherry Blossom 10 Miler (sold out)

April 26th More Magazine Half-Marathon

July 26th NYC Triathlon (sold out)

Great news from Dr. Klion!

Yesterday I limped over to Dr.Klion, a sports/orthopedic doctor that Anthony sent me to. I was apprehensive about the diagnosis, especially in regards to my need to exercise. When I entered the little room, I saw that Dr. K had all sorts of pictures of himself finishing Iron Mans and Marathons. I was duly impressed and knew that an athlete like him would never tell a fellow athlete not to work out unless things were truly terrible.

After having me move my foot in circles, do heel raises and squats, he told me that it was looking good and that I could absolutely resume working out, but maybe wait a couple more weeks for a run, letting pain be my guide. Of course, as stubborn as I am (Ox & Taurus), I'll probably be pretty lax with admitting I have pain.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Saturday run

On Saturday, I ran 6 miles with Team Joe. Took about 50 mins. A skim latte was waiting at the end.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Number Nine

On June 25, 2007 I sat down and wrote a list of 25 things I wanted to accomplish before I died. One of them was to complete a marathon. On January 18, 2009 I achieved this goal in front of family and friends in my hometown of Houston, Texas.

Gabby asked me to blog about this phenomenal experience a couple of weeks ago, but I'm just now getting around to it, probably because I have been sleeping every chance I get. My excuse: I'm still recovering. In fact, it takes a month to completely heal from a marathon. But let me backtrack to a time my 22 year old self did not feel trapped in the body of a 70 year old.

The morning of January 18th I woke up at 4:45am; the latest possible time I could wake up to get out of the house by 5am. I had been anxious about the race the entire week before and hadn't gotten a good night's rest. But with excitement pumping through my veins, it really didn't matter as I hopped out of bed like it was noon, my usual time of waking up during the break.

I performed my morning ritual and headed down to make my breakfast of champions. I prefer to eat 90 minutes before races, so it had to be a portable breakfast of champions. I mashed a banana with Jif Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter, my fave, and grabbed my G2 and Vanilla Crisp PowerBar.

When Kristine, a fellow Team Joe runner who I had coerced into running the Houston Marathon with me out of promises of steak and line dance - neither of which happened as she had to head back to NYC after the race because of a meeting - and I arrived at GRB, we joined a mob of runners. I always like to watch runners' pre-race rituals as I generally find them to be quite absurd. Then you see people just sitting there with stunned looks on their faces probably thinking, "What the hell did I just get myself into?"

My runners-watching in addition to the long line to the restroom combined for mistake number two: not stretching prior to running a marathon. I did not want to stretch too early and at the start there really wasn't space to accommodate my stretching. Additionally, I was wasting precious energy searching the area for the 3:30 pace leader.

What was mistake number one you ask. It was drinking too much G2. Essentially I looked like one of those malnourished Biafran children as my stomach stretched to it's fullest capacity, appearing to burst any minute.

However, with this being my first marathon, I feel it is good to analyze my mistakes so as to make improvements and cut my time for future marathons.

So Kristine and I finally found our pace leaders, Peter, and some other dude who's name I cannot remember for life of me. Ten minutes to the start and the anxiety builds, but slightly dissipates as I overhear the conversation between two ladies in their '30s behind us.

One lady turns to the other and says, "All I want to do is make it to the beer truck at mile 22 before they are out of beer! Every year I try so hard, but never make it! This is going to be the year I make it to the beer truck." Okay, first of all I would imagine anyone who is somewhat serious about this race is not consuming beer prior to the end of the race so the beer truck must be there a long time before running out. Second, there is a post race celebration with a plethora of beer. Third, why would anyone be so fixated on imbibing crappy American beer?? To each his own.

At 7am the canon fires and the 37th annual Houston Marathon is underway. Yes, you read correctly, a canon. Mind you this is Texas; everything is more extravagant than it needs to be which I love!

So the first couple of miles were spent weaving around slow people who have a false sense of their capabilities or no consideration for others. Then there was the added task of trying to keep an eye on the pace leaders.

The first few miles were ran at a consistent 8 min mile pace. At mile 7, I thought the pace was too slow and sped up with Kristine, leaving our pace group. This is mistake number three. At one point our splits were down to 7:20.

The energy from the crowd was wonderful! There were people dressed as Elvis, clog dancers, bands, etc. Then there were the spectators cheering everyone on. But the best part was seeing my friends and family.

My mom doesn't understand my love of running, but will support me to no end. In fact, she thinks that I am crazy for running the miles I do. There's no denying that you need to be somewhat crazy in order to run a marathon as well as a bit masochistic. Anyways, she had these signs the said, "Run, Kryssie, Run" in neon orange against a navy background in which my family and friends held at every four miles. I tend to get into my own zone when I run, so she wanted something that would allow me to notice them. I couldn't even stare at the sign for too long as my eyes started to hurt because the color was so bright! Having your own group of supporters is also good way to get gel shots as my sports bra could only hold so many.

The Houston Marathon prides itself on being "flat, fast, and friendly." I was greatly looking forward to this being a flat course, and it was for the most part. However, they somehow managed to put every imaginable "hill" in the city in the race! My favorite was mile 14 and getting to run over this overpass of sorts.

Everything was fine and dandy until I hit the wall at mile 22 and never recovered. It felt as though someone took a knife, stabbed me in my upper thighs, and dragged the blade down through layers of flesh and muscle until one reached the knees. It was also at this point that the ibuprofen must have worn off, and I enjoyed the added pain from a ankle sprain I incurred a couple of weeks ago that didn't fully heal in time. (Note the masochism :-) )

I persevered and ran the remaining 4.2 miles at a much slower pace. People kept telling me I was almost there, but my legs were telling me otherwise. At 3:32:10, I crossed the finish line and completed #9 on my list of 25 things to do before I died and lived to tell about it :-)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Disaster at Mission Gorge

Ugh. Friends, sometimes you just have a feeling that things will not turn out well. At that moment, you really need to listen to your instincts and turn back. Turn back. In the indelible words of Cher, I say, "If I could turn back time.."... If only.

Let me paint the scene for you...It was turning out to be a beautiful day yesterday at 7a.m. Bird Rock Coffee had opened at 6:30am, and so I was in the car, 16 ounces of Ethiopian Sidamo and bran muffin in hand, heading towards Mission Gorge Park. There was a mist over the hills that was steadily being burned off to reveal rolling hills of desert scrub and cacti. 

The race website had told me to arrive at 1 Junipero Serra Drive for the start of the race, but when I arrived with my chauffeur (Dad), there was only one person around, who told us she had no idea where there was a race, but that many other souls had been equally lost. We almost called it a day then and would have gone home, but thought we'd try one more park entrance. We drove to the next one, where a man on a mountain bike directed us to yet another entrance a few miles down the road. 

With only minutes to spare we found our destination(wish we hadn't). When I got to the info booth, they told me they had postponed the race by half an hour because so many people had been lost. The main freeway to the location had also been shut down for a few days, but the race org had not written it on the website.

A lot more grumbling was going on from the port-a-potty line up of 100+ people, and - get this - 3 Port-a-Potties! Three! Almost an hour later, having used the bathroom as the gun was going off (at least there was tp), I headed into the unknown of the "challenging" trail race of 15K, or 9.3 miles.

The first 2 miles were an eye-opener for me. Rocky, dusty, hills that went almost straight up. I tried to jog through the pain, the burning lungs, my athletic ego growing thinner and thinner. I had to walk mile 2, which was straight uphill and slippery with dirt...and I was not alone. The huffing and puffing sounded pornographic, but there was nothing sexy about it. Getting to the top, there were some magnificent views of the rolling hills, and I had my telephone camera at the ready. 

We had a few tenths of a mile down hill, rocky, with no purchase for one's treads, and then straight up once again. At mile four, which felt like a half-Marathon already, there was an aid station with Gatorade and Gu's. For the first time in my history, I actually stopped to drink and suck(the Gu), before beginning again. When I saw the next part looming, I actually thought about turning around. However, back was as far as forward, and as treacherous. 

Next was the dreaded river bed run. Dry, slippery, rocks big and small. And just as I was thinking about my upcoming blog, "...and I just want all of you to know that YOU got me into this. I only ran this race for you, my readers(2 or 3 of you), just at that exact moment, twist, turn and pop went my left ankle. Then there was that moment when I said to myself "Shiiiiiiit!!!!". I promptly sat down, hyperventilated just a little, let the waves of queasiness run through me, and knew the race was over for me. It would be the first race I never finished.

Many nice people stopped to ask me if I needed help (yes, I did), and ran ahead to get some aid. Luckily I had my phone, so I spent a few minutes photographing my surroundings (treacherous) and texting friends. Misery likes company.

A few minutes later, along comes a Search and Rescue guy with an ATV(all terrain vehicle). I actually don't want to explain that ride, because it was so scary, but I did get a photo with it afterwards.

ATV guy took me to the next aid station where a volunteer EMS worker, Rob Sills, iced and wrapped my ankle. There was another woman athlete, Deborah, who had crashed at the same spot as I had, and had hit her knees, grazed her arm, and was generally in some kind of shock. We waited for the last runner to come in and then waited as they packed up the aid station, all in all, about an hour. 

Then, there was a rocky ride down the mountain with 4 of us crammed in the back for about 20 minutes. 

When I saw the finisher medals everyone else was wearing, I was sorely disappointed, as I love my finishers medals, but luckily my Dad had picked one up for me. We renamed it Survivor's Medal.

A couple hours later, and an ER visit with the nicest nurses and doctors ever, I went home to lick my wounds and have a stiff drink. 

I think I may be looking at 4-6 weeks of swimming (the dreaded exercise) and physical therapy. As long as I am ready for the 10 mile Cherry Blossom race in April, and the Brooklyn half Marathon in May.