Finish What You Start

It doesn’t matter what place you finish, what matters is that you finish what you start.

This was my motto as I went into CIM on Sunday.  I knew that I hadn’t trained properly and I knew that it had all the potential to be a very ugly race.  But I also knew that I signed up for this marathon.  Two weeks before the race, I committed myself fully to running it regardless of what kind of training I had done – which was minimal.  But if there’s anything that I know about myself, it is that I know that I am tenacious and resilient, and I knew that come hell or high water, I would finish.

The morning of the marathon started off great for me.  I had carb loaded and hydrated for three days prior, and I had been banking as much sleep as I possibly could.  I got my gear ready on Friday.  On Saturday, I rested as much as possible and made a few last minute runs to pick up things that I needed – like my customary coffee and bagel cause Starbucks doesn’t open as early as I need them to on Sundays.

I got up early, dressed and sent a text to my friend, Judy, who was running with me to make sure she was on her way.  I didn’t hear from her.  Uh oh.  I called her … no answer.  Crap.  What the hell?!  Our goal was to leave by 0400 and it’s dangerously close.  Then it’s 0400 … and I get a frantic call.  She just woke up!  Are you kidding me?!  Wow.  I’m panicking and Chris says, let’s just go get her.  She’s 25 min away in the OPPOSITE direction.  I’m going nuts.  But Chris says that there’s not much we can do … we need to just start where we are and chill.  Okay.  We get her, and we’re an hour late from when we initially wanted to leave.  I send a text to my friends, Shiloh and Khrys, who are waiting to take us to the start and they tell us to relax and chill – No worries.  However, all the while Chris is driving I’m thinking we’re soooo late, and why is he driving sooooo slow!!! But we get there in one piece, and our friends are not at all wigged out that we’re 30 minutes late.

Judy & I at the start!
Chris, Shiloh, Khrystyne, & I as we wait to board the bus to the start!
Beautiful Khrys!

I love Khrystyne and Shiloh.  We met at Khrystyne’s house where she graciously let me use her toaster to toast my bagel, and then her restroom to change out of my sweats.  We then followed them to the point where we could get as close to the start as possible … where we were then bussed to the start which was awesome. We didn’t have to wait long once we got to the start, and there were plenty of porta potties so that there were no lines.  I got a text from Mac, but I couldn’t locate her.  It would be Judy and I once we got separated from Shiloh and Khyrstyne.  (Shi and Khrys were running the relay.  Shi wanted to run a half so she ran the first leg with Khrys and her second leg.  Khrys was leg one.)

No one believed that I ate this burger & drank this Pepsi & I ate Snickers throughout the run!
Judy & I at the Half.

We ran an uneventful first half.  It was FREEZING at the start with temps in the 30s.  Judy and I just ran together, and we warmed up pretty quickly.  It was a nice run thru the streets of Folsom.  We were looking forward to getting to the halfway point where Chris would have my requested hamburger and Pepsi waiting for us.  Let me tell you that I got a lot of flack for that.  A lot of naysayers and non-believers did not believe that I could eat that and keep running.  Let me tell you … I know my body.  I know that I always eat before I workout.  I knew that I could handle this, and I knew that I needed to eat.  I was hungry … so I ate.  Two burps later, I was good to go.  After a much needed break, Judy and I took off again.

Mile 14 … my feet start twinging.  I can feel them.  I stop to stretch them.  I tell Judy that if she needs to go, or to run faster to please not wait for me.  She tells me that she’s having a hard time keeping up with me.  What?!  So we run.  At this point, we’re running and we “feel” someone running beside us.  We look up to see Mac and Mel.  I say, Hi and I’m happy to see them.  But they’re faster than us so they run off.

Judy and I continue to run together.  We encourage each other, remind each other to take water at the stops, and to just keep moving.  We count down the miles.  At one point I tell Judy that once, just once, I’d love to just be a spectator.  To just stand on the sidelines and just cheer people on.  I love the people who spectate and cheer on the runners.  I love the volunteers.  I thank them as we pass each water station.

It gets harder for us from mile 19 on.  We work on light post to light post.  We keep moving forward.  We never get discouraged because we know that we’ll both finish.  Just one foot in front of the other … keep moving forward.  Look ahead, don’t look back.

By Mile 24 we’re both done.  We’re spent.  I’m starting to hallucinate some, not from exhaustion, but from pain in my foot.  I keep moving, Judy right beside me.  We’re both tired and cold, but we forge on.  We talk, we walk, we run … Through this whole time I am so very thankful to have Judy by my side from the very first step.  At this point, she is my rock and I am hers.  We’re waning though, but for some reason, at this point we get mad.  Not at each other, but just mad that we’re taking so long, that the mileage seems unending … and we say, “Let’s just go.  Let’s get this sh!t done!.”  And we go.  We move not much faster, but we walk a little less.  Mile 25 … Mile 26 and the Capitol Building.  We’re there.  We’re done.  We have finished … The medals get place around our necks.  We can hardly walk.

Soooo happy to be DONE!

It was a LONG, but good run.  We never tired, we were just hurt – my feet and ankles, and her back.  We never bonked or hit that wall.  In retrospect, I should have changed my shoes as planned at the halfway point.  I can’t remember why I didn’t, but I’m sure it’s because my feet feel okay and I think I can make it.  I’m not really sure if changing shoes would have made a difference.  I believe that they still would have hurt just as much.

I’m thankful for my running partner, Judy.  I’m thankful to my hubby, Chris, who drove me there, picked up my friends and taxied them all over the course, brought Judy and I food, then waited for us at the finish.  It was a very long day, but I’m happy that I made it to the finish in one solid piece. (Like that wasn’t gonna happen.)

Fffrrreezzzing!

I spent the rest of the afternoon icing down my feet for about a good solid hour, then wearing my compression stockings with my feet and legs elevated.

The rest of my training week was pretty uneventful.  Hahahaha!  Yes, I did say, “training week.”

Monday:  Rest day.  It was an all out stretch day.  The foam roller was my BFF.  I’m a little sore, but I’m moving pretty well so I don’t complain.  I’m happy that the swelling in my feet have decreased some.  I still walk around with my compression stockings on.  Let me tell you what, my Zensah’s are the bomb dot com.  Those things are awesome.

Tuesday:  I have an appointment with my massage therapist.  Oh. My. God.  What a great session!  90 minutes of much needed DEEP tissue massage.  I love how when I say that she can put more pressure onto me, she says, “Oh yeah, you’re an athlete.  You like pain.”  Yes, I love really DEEP tissue massage.  She really stretched me out then she gave me much needed TLC for my feet.  Yes!!!  Soooooooo Awesome!

Wednesday:  I was going to go to Cardio, but I lolligagged too long and missed the time.  Oh well.  I probably needed to rest another day since I’m also nursing these allergies vs cold that I have.

Me & ERae!

Thursday:  In the morning, I got a good 35 minutes on my the trainer.  I love my spin bike.  My legs were loose, and I worked them out pretty hard.  In the evening, I hit Fleet Feet Stockton’s Brooks Nightlife Run.  It was a very nice, leisurely three mile run with Tony from Fleet Feet, and my friend Erika Rae, and a few other girls.  There was a contest for the best lit individual – I came lit in mini Christmas lights.  Fun!  Tony took all of our pics and put them up on the FF Stockton’s page on FaceBook and the one with the most “likes” at the end of the week wins.  I’m hoping to be the lucky winner!

Oh the elevation from mile 6 to 8 ...

Friday: Another rest day.  Actually, I did a lot of walking.  Chris brought me up to Walnut Creek to the Expo for the Walnut Creek Half Marathon.  It was a nice little expo, and I’m excited to run despite the elevation.  LOL.  While at the expo, I was able to try on some Brooks Pure Flows which is equivalent to the Saucony Kinvaras.  I’m really excited to get me a pair.  When I slipped my feet into them, they cried out, “Please.  Pleeeeease … buy us!”  They were pretty comfy!  I really need to find the “right” pair of shoes for my poor feet.  I really put them thru a lot and they do deserve to be treated right.

Also, while at the expo, I was able to meet The Praying Runner, Jose.  He’s such an inspiration to me.  I first heard of him while I ran the Half Moon Bay International Marathon.  I remember seeing him on the course at HMB complete with rose in hand and cheering him on as we ran past each other.  I initially wondered what the rose was about, but really didn’t give it much thought until I read his story.  Jose had lost his wife earlier this year after a LONG battle with breast cancer.  As she was his biggest fan and supporter, who encouraged him to pray for others as he ran, he dedicates every run to her and runs with rose in hand which he leaves at the finish line.  He then takes his medal and goes to her grave site and leaves it there for her.  I thought it was such a lovely, touching story.  I’m honored to know him.  He accepts prayer requests and several times I have asked him to pray for my father (at Nike, which he ran also), or my daughter (during CIM), and even myself (also during CIM).   It’s ironic that while at HMB, I was compelled to pray for my friends even before I met him or heard his story.  I prayed for my friend KK and her hubby who had just passed away.  If you want to read more about him, click here.

Dark, COLD, but ready to go!!

Saturday:  Today’s the day of the Inaugural Walnut Creek Half Marathon, and it’s also my last race for 2011.  I’m able to meet up with Mellie Mel in the morning and together we walk to the start line.  It is a very COLD morning in Walnut Creek.  Mel and I shiver for awhile as we wait for the start.  I look for my friend, Layla, who will be the 2:10 pacer.  Shortly after she arrives, it’s gun time and we’re off.

Bad@$$? For a little scratch? LOL!

Mel and I run the first few miles together.  At mile 1.5 we hit the porta potties, since there was a SNAFU at the start and there were only a few.  Oops!  Coming out of the porta potties, I have a little mishap with a bush and it scratches me up pretty good.  I’m okay, but it looks worse than it is because I’m bleeding everywhere.  No way am I stopping though.  I laugh because at one point in the race, someone yells out to me, “Oh. My. God. You’re bleeding, but you’re not stopping.  You are a bad @$$!”  Really?

Miles 1 thru 5, besides my little mishap, are uneventful.  Mile 6 is where we started to climb uphill.  I’m trucking along, encouraging everyone, and I just keep pushing.  I had to shake my head because this is where all of my sled training came in.  I always – ALWAYS – grumble and moan when my trainer straps the 145 pound sled to my back and says, “GO!”  I whine, moan, etc., and he tells me that it’s good for me.  He says that we’re workin’ those power muscles, and I just shake my head in disbelief because that thing sucks soooooo BAD!  Well, running up that hill was nothin’ thanks to my trainer.  I won’t grumble and complain so loudly anymore.  I’ll just mumble under my breath.

Just when you think you’re going to turn around and head back, you don’t.  You keep going UP  higher and HIGHER … Mile 7 … Mile 8 … Mile 8.5 is when we hit the turn around and start to head down.  Yeah!  I let gravity work for me and let it carry me down the hill … err … mountain.  Miles 10-13 were relatively even, but still rough.  My feet had given up on me at mile 5, but I still kept going. I could feel the pounding that they were taking, but I forged ahead.  =)  I got to the finish and couldn’t have been happier.

Double Bling!!!
Mellie Mel & I ... Double Blingers!
Me and my friend, Layla. 2:10 pacer. She's awesome!

Walnut Creek Half Marathon was the the last half marathon for the Nor Cal Half Series.  What does this mean?  It simply means that over the year, I have run a few races that were part of the series and because of this, I qualified to receive a “bonus” medal at the end of this race kind to acknowledge my participation in the series.  It was fun to run and be part of this event.  I enjoyed all of the races and I’m happy that I participated.  The other races that I ran that were part of the series included:  Davis Stampede, Fresno’s California Classic Weekend Half Marathon, Davis Moo-nlight Half, and The Giant’s Half Marathon.

So … That’s my week in a nutshell.  My feet are pretty mad at me right now for running a half marathon six days post full marathon.  I am working hard to find the right orthotics or the right shoes to help my feet survive more than 13.1 miles.  Seriously, they start to cry if I go longer than that distance, but they keep going and never complain when I drown them in an ice bath.  They put up with my antics and for that I am truly thankful to have the feet that I do.

I have had a great week, and an even greater year.  It’s been a very wild ride with all of it’s ups/downs, highs/lows … My year in review is a blog post of it’s own that will be up soon.  So much to write, yet so little time.

Thanks for comin’ with me on this training run that ended with CIM and Walnut Creek.  It’s been a crazy 22 weeks!  To all the nay sayers out there who didn’t think or believe that I could do it … this one’s for you.  Let it be known that I am Row., and I finish what I start!  I ran that marathon, maybe with not such a great time, but I finished that sucker, and went on to run a half six days later.  I may not have run quite as much as an average marathoner does, but I must have run enough to get me through the marathon with crazy beat up, sore feet.  I trained hard in other areas, I built some good muscles, I worked hard, and I had fun.  Life is good.

The training continues on for me.  For me, every day is a training day.  To get thru life, this training is necessary.  I enjoy what I do and I have fun, for the most part, in the process.  I don’t know if I will ever run another full, however, I have said that four other times … I love the distance of the half.  On Monday, the training for life starts again.  I have different goals, different plans for myself.  Come along for the ride, ’cause you know me … it will be a wild one.

My 2012 Racing Schedule is up somewhere on this blog, however it needs to be tweaked and I hope to do that in the next week, as well as get a 2011 recap up.

Life is good.  Continue to train HARD.  Train SMART.  Eat WELL.  And have FUN.  Whatever you’re doing … have FUN.  See you on the flip side!

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