Friday, February 24, 2017

Austin Marathon or maybe just the Half

Well considering this was me, 9 days before the marathon, I am just happy that I toed the starting line at all this past Sunday at the Austin Marathon.

I still have no clue what is actually wrong with my foot or how exactly I did it.  What I do know is that during mile 5 of a taper week run, suddenly I had excruciating pain in my right foot and I had to stop running.  I actually had a hard time walking home.  Once home I iced, massaged etc and next thing I knew, the pain was so bad that I couldn't even bear a tippy toe on the floor.  I had to crawl just to get to the bathroom.  It was no better at all when I woke up so off to urgent care I went.  X-rays were negative for any tears or fractures so they gave me crutches so at least I could stop crawling around.  After that each day got better.  I still walked with a significant limp for a solid week.  I did a few short runs the few days before the race.  I could feel soreness but was hopeful maybe it wouldn't be too bad during the race. 

Normally, I would be freaking out with an injury so close to race day but this just felt different to me.  I cared but not really all that much.  I've been working really hard this training cycle on improving my speed.  I've spent the better part of two years working mainly on endurance so that I could be successful in completing my super long ultras.  My speed has definitely taken a big hit.  Even before I actually went back to working on my speed, I just felt that the Austin Marathon would be too soon for me to be able to run as fast as I want.  I wanted to run it anyway because we would be there visiting friends and I love running races in different places and it would be nice to see where I'm at but I was not really considering that it would be a PR race.  And as it turns out this training cycle was pretty awful for me.  Everything was a major struggle.  I even had a couple long runs where the second half, I would hardly be able to maintain 10-11 minute paces.  It's like my legs forgot how to run.  Anyway it led me to believe I had no chance in hell of running fast in the race. 
We got up at 3:30 Saturday morning to catch our flight to Austin.  We were in Texas by 11:15.  Our friends picked us up and we headed to the expo.  I forgot to mention that the week before the race, Emir decided he would prefer his long run to be the marathon rather than 20 miles on the TM Friday night after getting home from a week in Colorado.  We got our stuff really quickly and the kids had fun playing some mini golf. 
LOVE these people!!!

We spent the afternoon exploring downtown Austin and drinking a lot of beer at Austin Beerworks & Oscar Blues Brewery.  We haven't seen our friends in at least 3 years and it felt so good to be spending time with them.  Our kids also were having a great time together.  My foot was definitely sore from traveling and walking but I felt like I didn't even care.  I was happy. 

Rocio made me cookies!!! :-)
It was another early wake up for the race Sunday.  We were both really exhausted.  I also checked the weather since they were calling for possible storms.  No storms, just cloudy however 95% humidity, ohhhhh boy.  And as soon as we stepped outside, ummm yeah we were soaked.  It was pretty gross. 

Parking near the race was very easy and FREE!  We did our usual start line rituals and I could already feel my foot when I stepped off a curb.  I was just trying to stay positive that I would be able to tolerate the soreness for 26 miles.  Before I knew it, we started.  I tried to run around 8:30 pace which is slower than my goal pace but it was what we had deemed reasonable for the first few miles since they are mainly uphill.  It was SO hard for me, I started feeling really bad right away so I backed off.  I did manage 8:50 but after that I just slowed way down.  I felt bad for Emir because I know he could have ran way faster but one of the reasons he decided to run was to help me out because we were worried about my foot and if it did feel good he would help pace me.  Anyway, I'm not sure if it was the foot pain, the humidity, the fact I had been popping Ibuprofens like candy for 9 days, the Sudafed I had been taking that week, the lack of sleep or probably just the combination of all of it.  But anyway it was hard to run any speed at all.  I felt like my race was over before it started. 

Emir kept having to stop to wait for me or circle back a bit because my pace was pretty bad.  Probably about 5 miles in he said I should probably just do the half.  Usually I would argue and say that I could finish but I knew he was completely right (arg!).  My foot was getting more sore the further I went and I kept having flash backs to the severe pain which had me crawling around my house.  I definitely did not want that.  Maybe if I still was gutting out close to a PR time despite pain, it would be worth it but not for a slow-for-me time.  So we slugged it out together until around mile 11.  We walked through water stops which helped me ease some of the pain.  We also, even though we had our handhelds with Tailwind, kept running out of water and were so thirsty.  We were just not adjusted to this level of humidity at all.  Emir also was going through gels like candy so I even gave him my remaining ones to take with him. 

At mile 11 we went our separate ways, his to finish the rest of the full and me two more miles to finish the half.  It was pretty uneventful other than a couple more pretty steep climbs.  I finished in probably what is my slowest half time ever but honestly I was so happy to be done, I didn't care one bit. 

I passed the time waiting for Emir by responding to texts from my beloved #brf's who were concerned that my tracking showed I was going so slow and that I had finished the half marathon.  I also chatted with my sister, sent coach an email and then spent the rest of my time in the Oscar Blues beer garden.  Time went pretty fast and before I knew it, Emir was going to be crossing the finish any minute.  I hobbled over and he came through a few minutes later. 
Our new Altra apparel is the bomb!

We went and had some compression treatments on our legs and more beer garden before heading back to our friends' house.

All in all we had a nice morning together from the getting ready to the dragging me along the first half of the course to sharing some post run fun.  It's always nice to run different places so I enjoyed seeing some new sites.  There were a decent number of spectators including ones with beer and margaritas for runners which is always a huge plus in my book.  We both agreed very strongly that even on my best day, this would not have been a PR race for me.  Emir went faster for a few miles after he left me but he said it was very hard to maintain due to the humidity which is so true.  I drank SO much water the rest of the day and night and hardly peed.  The other thing was that we knew this was a hilly course  but it was actually way more climbing than we thought.  I ended up with 700 feet of climbing in the half and he with about 1400 for the full.  I am not good at uphill so even with the downs in between, I'm sure I could not have gone anywhere near the pace I need for a PR.  So while yes obviously it's annoying and disappointing to have injured my foot, it really wasn't that big of a deal compared to if I was hoping this to be my "A" race.  I still got to run a bit with Emir and really the main point of our trip was to visit our friends which we had a wonderful time with them, it was just a nice bonus that there was a race to do so we could get in some miles. 

That night and the following day, I had pretty significant foot pain, not as bad as when I needed crutches but bad enough to bring back my limp.  Even now, 4 days later, I'm still feeling the effects so I know it was truly the right decision.  I usually feel like a slacker or that I'm making excuses if I don't do what I set out to do which honestly doesn't happen very often at all, but in this case I'm very much at peace with my decision.  I'm also very grateful Emir was with me to help me come to the correct conclusion.  Man I hate when he is right!!!  HAHA

So the good news is I don't have any big races coming up for a while so I can take it easy for a bit to let this foot get all the way better.  I know, it was just not enough time to let it get better before the race but I couldn't not try to run because what if it did feel ok enough.  It's one of those things you don't know for sure until you try it out.  My next race is the Dawn to Dusk to Dawn right here in Sharon Hill, PA.  All the races take place on a track, yup a track!  I'm doing the 24 hour race and gunning to get a 100 mile PR.  I'm actually very excited for this race because it's so close to my house that many friends and family can come cheer me on.  I'm thinking I'll get more people than usual to come out since it will be my last race here in PA before we move this summer.  I'm not saying I'll never do one in PA again because obviously we will be back to visit our family but I can definitely play it up ;-)  HA HA


In the meantime while I train for that, I only have the Philly Hot Chocolate which I was going to run the 15K as usual however Niko has really improved his endurance lately being on the summer and then winter swim teams.  He has been swimming 4-5 times a week and then he started hopping on the TM after swim season ended and ran 2 miles pretty well.  So I decided to ask him if he would want to run the HC 5K with me and he was very excited by that so I switched so that we can run his first 5K together.  I'm really looking forward to this, I know we will have a great time.  I may also do this local 50K that's on a flat towpath as a training run for the 24 hour but I haven't signed up yet.  We have been gradually working on packing and purging our house.  It's ALOT of work and it still seems like so much more to go.  Plus Emir has had to go to Boulder a lot for work anymore (big part of why we are moving).  So for now, I just don't want to get too much on my plate.

Well I might not have many race reports to write since duh I don't have many races coming up, but I will probably write a few training progress reports and moving progress reports plus we have a big family trip to Boulder in April to show the kids their new home so lots of mountain pics coming your way!!!