It seems like forever and a day since I ran in San Francisco and had what was such a crappy race in my head that I had hung up my shoes. I remember my frustration and sadness so clearly … I remember the feeling that I performed so poorly that I never wanted to run in San Fran again. In retrospect, I believe that I was having a really bad month all around, and that I had just been over training to the point where I broke! I literally had a running mental breakdown and never wanted to run again. (Read about my 2011 SF Marathon experience here.)
I had to find some way to pick myself up. I got a tattoo. I found a new passion. I tried different activities. Talked to different runners and friends. Slowly, but surely, I found my way back to loving running. I ran, but I had to find a way to run without so much emotional and mental attachment. I had to find a way to run happy. No one could help me, this was something that I had to do alone, by myself, and it had to be unforced because I could not force myself to run. A funny thing happened though … Once I let go, once I said that I didn’t care and that I was hanging up my shoes … it was easy. Yep, it was easy to run because there were no expectations, I could just get out there and put the miles in and be satisfied.
This past weekend, I came full circle with my fiasco of a run. The opportunity arose to run the second half of the San Francisco marathon with the enticement of a second medal as part of the “Half It All” challenge. I knew that I needed to run this, one, to put closure and come to peace with the crazy experience that I had in 2011, and two, to get the bling!
Chris, Grace, and I hit packet pick-up on Friday. It was a nice day in SF, however, as we are not “City People,” we don’t do city traffic well, and it somewhat stresses Chris out to drive. After rounding the area several times, we decided it would be easier for us to stop and just walk a few blocks to the venue. Packet pick-up went fairly smoothly despite the amount of people. We were thankful that we were able to retrieve our bibs and shirts without incident, then we hit the expo which had some great vendors. The highlight of our expo visit was running into Endorphin Dude, Tony!
Sunday came quickly! We started out a little late, leaving our house at about 0530 – 30 min later than we planned on leaving. We got to the city at about 0700 which was fine, however, we didn’t factor in the fact that parking would be ATROCIOUS. The runners of the first half of the marathon were able to snag up all of the parking spots in all of the parking garages! It seriously took us about 45 minutes to find parking. We were fortunate enough to find an open spot, park and make our way down to where the shuttles were taking runners to the Second Half start. We hit the porta-potties, and sauntered our way down to where I saw the shuttles. Guess what?! We were on the very LAST bus – literally the very, very last bus and we were cutting it close as it was already past 0800, and the last start was at 0830! Oi vey! And we did get there with about 5 minutes to spare! No time to use the porta potty again, barely enough time to take a pre race pic, and just enough time to line up and goooooo!
I was really worried about this race because of the fact that it’s in SF, for one, and because my foot has not been 100% since April. I had no ankle support on, just one ankle compression that I had removed while on the shuttle bus. Before long I had to stop, readjust my insoles, and I put the compression sock on the left side because it felt somewhat iffy. The start was fine in that it was downhill, soon afterwards though, we hit the gnarly hills of Golden Gate Park, and again I had to stop and adjust my insoles and shoes. I stopped once more before exiting the park to fix my shoe and use the porta potty at mile 3 or 4 ish! I was good to go after using the porta potty and hit the road running!
I had a really awesome playlist which helped a lot. I had downloaded a few new songs from iTunes and a really cool mix from the website RockMyRun.com called Lose Yourself. It was the perfect mix for my run – great tempo (180 bpm), and it really had some great songs that came on at the right time for me.
Once we got out of the park , we hit Height Street. I love San Francisco. I love the city! It allowed me time to reminisce about spending summers there with my Gramma. Height Street was a nice loooooong downhill. It was a nice change of pace for me as I sent my body flying down the hill like a kid! I got a little flustered as I felt as if I were being misdirected by the police at times. Some people were running down one way, then they would rope off the street and direct us another way. We would eventually meet up again, however, it was just confusing and I felt lost for a minute at times. I loved Height Street … My favorite sign seen was, “Remember those Cliff Bars you ate? They were really Special Brownies! Welcome to Height and Ashbury!” I never laughed sooooo hard during a race. Seeing that made my day!
By the time I knew it, I was at mile 10 still chuggin’ away, just running, taking in the city. We hit China Basin for the last 2 miles where there were people and bands. This whole time, although I was running without incident, my feet and my ankles still were bothering me. I was able to ignore it for most of the run, but, damn, that sh!t still hurt – my left ankle, and my right foot! I’m thankful that I am able to run and push thru the pain, but I have to admit that it still hurt. It sucks that my legs are sooooo STRONG, but my feet and ankles hurt so bad. I love when I hit AT&T Park, home of the SF Giants, because of the fact that I knew that I was close to the finish. I loved running and seeing the Bay Bridge. You can’t know how happy I was to see the finish chute!!! It was fun to meet up with my friend Yasmin and then to meet my Twitter friend, Susan from NY at the finish! They’re really awesome people and it was nice to connect!
My time was irrelevant. My goal was to run strong, run hard, run happy, and to finish strong. I achieved my goals. I truly enjoyed this run! It was much needed for me in order for me to redeem myself and come full circle! Mission accompli! Redemption … PERFECT for my hundreth (100th) post! How’s that for ya?!?
In other news, I have registered for my 2012 Full Marathon. I’m not exactly sure what posessed me, but my finger did hit the “send” button somehow. I’m guessing that deep down inside, I really do want to run another. I have paired up with my buddy Judy and we’re gonna run together.
August will be a true rest month for my feet. I’ve been running every month – two, sometimes three races a month since January. In April I really messed up my ankles running on uneven pavement. Since then it’s really been rough going, but I’ve been trying. My feet and ankles do hurt though. Despite weekly accupuncture visits and monthly Chiropractor visits, and the good advice of my Physical Therapist – I feel great after the visits and treatments, but since I’m not doing any REAL resting, my feet and ankles won’t heal. So … Although it’s killing me to not see anything on my race schedule, I do need to STOP, take a look at the big picture, and put my feet up to rest them completely. This does not mean that I’m going to stop working out. Are you kidding me? I’m spinning, CrossFitting, doing martial arts and boxing. Just no impact on my feet. Zip. Zero. Zilch. I’ve been experimenting with ways on wrapping my feet and ankles for stability and support. I’m still going to weekly accupuncture, and monthly chiropractics. I ice, heat, wrap, massage, use my H-wave, use Salonpas, and keep my feet up. So my feet are pretty pampered feet. =) They’re happy to be resting. They know that come September we’re hitting the pavement hard – we have tons of races to run starting in September! They’re going to be ready.
That’s the gist of my racing and training for now. I’m having fun doing what I do. I’ve been enjoying my summer with my family, but alas school starts again soon. Once school starts up for them I’ll be attempting 2 a day workouts when I can.
Until the next post … Train HARD! Train SMART! Eat WELL! And have FUN! Always have fun. You know that when you’re doing what you love, when you’re truly enjoying what you’re doing, then it doesn’t feel like work.