Wednesday, April 29, 2009

2 weeks and change until Ogden

I am really starting to stress about the Ogden marathon. The course is a great one to BQ. It starts high up with gentle downhill until the half way point then flat until 15 where there is a nasty uphill - that's ok since I can take some Gu and plenty of fluids before I go up the hill. Once you cross over the bottom end of the reservoir the downhill starts all over again for several miles and it is very tranquil to run through the canyon with the spring river and waterfalls on your right as you descend. I don't like the last few miles along the park trail. It is uneven and since that is where I usually hurt, it is an unpleasant experience especially the last mile in which you run into town through a bunch of traffic lights. I have done this race several times, with the following times:

2000 3:49:39

2003 3:39:36

2005 3:42:45

2006 3:50:24

2008 3:53:04

I am pretty certain that I can break 3:45 assuming that it is not too hot the last 6 miles. I am confident that I can hit 3:40 as well but that last 10 minutes is the big concern. I wish that Bill could pace me but the race was full before he attempted to sign up. This race has become much more popular and far more organized that it was at the beginning of the decade.

So why am I stressing ? Because this is a realistic chance for me to BQ - I need a 3:30, and have done a lot of trails and hills the last few weeks. My legs feel strong and I can hold sub 8's during the first half of this race without too much problem. The big concern is the hill at 15 and my hydration levels . I have my endurolytes ready for miles 10 and 15. I have my Asics Gel Cumulus 8's that have seen one marathon and one half marathon this season. I will carry two GU's - I have found I do not need as many since I started taking endurolytes.

I am also going to eat some canned peaches before the race - very high in potassium and should work ok if I take an immodium with them. My friend in Woods Cross swears by them before a marathon.

If I don't BQ there are other races this season but I don't want to wait until the end of July or September or October to qualify. I want to run those races without a lot of pressure. This is my year. This is my year to work hard and achieve my goals. I can do it. My core is stronger than last year. I have more miles under my belt than last year at this point in the season.

And I will not fail. That barrier is there to be broken. BELIEVE !!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Well worth the wait...

I was looking forward to my solo trail run this morning. However, the rain set those plans aside temporarily. I had slept well for the first time in several weeks and was eager to put in some solid miles. The run would have to wait until the rain stopped.
At mid morning I took my 12 year old daughter, Brianna with me to see my multiple amputee patient, Sarah ( not her real name). Brianna is planning on becoming a physician so this would be a great experience for her. When we arrived, the nurse Toni had just arrived to change the dressing on Sarah's right foot. All the toes had been amputated as well as some of the tarsal bones and a skin flap was not doing well so more debridement would be needed next week. Changing the dressing was to take over an hour and a half including removal and replacement of the wound-vac and I was pleased to don sterile gloves to assist Toni with changing the dressings. Sarah was tired from yesterday's therapy session and wanted to go a little lighter today. We did 3 X 10 reps of resisted abduction, adduction, hamstring curls and full arc quads as well as abdominal curls and back extensions in the wheelchair then moved on to supine straight leg raises, crunches and obliques followed by prone thoracic extension and hip extension for gluteals. Sarah worked hard and is quickly regaining strength to prepare her for the long road ahead and future prosthetic limb training. It is an honor to work with a girl who is so full of gratitude merely to be alive, and works as hard as any patient that I have ever had in therapy.

The rain persisted through the afternoon, preventing any work at the rental house that we own. I had planned to dig a post hole, sink a sonotube, mix the concrete and put a new 4 X 4 fence post in but that will have to wait until next week.

Towards 4:30 pm the rain subsisted so I changed into my running gear and headed up to the high trail East of Cedar Hills. The trail was soft as first, but after two miles became quite muddy. I found my shoes becoming heavier as the mud adhered to the soles and subsequently flew off in big chunks as I ran through an area of more gravel. In places I was sliding so badly that I had to walk for 20 yards or so.
I took the trail south to the Grove Creek trailhead, used the bathroom there and dropped down a very steep 1 mile section to the canal and turned North. The rain, which had abated earlier, began in earnest. I looked at my Garmin. I had covered 6 miles and had planned on 4 more. I was nowhere near home and the rain was starting to descend harder. My 10 mile easy run turned into a 6 mile easy run followed by a tempo run to get home before I was soaked. The next mile was covered in 7:18, the next one 7:36 and I quickly tired. I figured I could drop down from the canal to the canyon road and be home faster though losing some planned miles. When I descended the hill to my home I found that I had covered 8.46 miles and was cold and wet .
A quick hot shower was followed by a plate of chicken , wild rice, broccoli and spaghetti squash while I watched my DVR of the recent Ford Ironman 70.3 triathlon World Championships held in Clearwater Beach, Florida.
It has been a good week. I have worked hard at my regular job and had some great patients. I rested from last weeks marathon and began my training for the next one. As always I appreciate the support of family and friends. I am more motivated than ever to update my blog regularly.
The wild run was well worth the wait today !

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Salt Lake City Marathon 2009

This was to be marathon #64 and a pleasant one because I could sleep in my own bed for a few hours and drive only an hour up to the finish. My friend Bill met me at 4:30 at my home in Pleasant Grove and we drove up to the Gateway where we parked my Camry and then took the TRAX up to the Olympic Legacy bridge where the races were to start. I say " races " as 1300 roadbikers were to ride the route an hour before the half marathon and marathon runners. There were about 1100 marathon finishers and 4500 half marathon finishers all lined up together. While Bill and I were sat on a bench waiting patiently, my training partner, Laura, showed up with her husband. He was running the half and she the full. They had just spent the week at Disneyland, which alas, had cold weather just like Utah. In fact we had 10 inches of snow just three days before the race !
I waited too long to take off my warmups, put them in my bag and throw it in the truck to be taken to the finish. As we clambered up the hill I realized that there were at least 4000 runners ahead of me and the start line was nowhere in sight. Yes, it took over three minutes to cross the start line and then having to negotiate through a yakking herd of 11 minute/mile half marathoners was not exactly what I had envisioned.
I duly threaded my way through the crowd trying to at least get past the 1 mile marker in under 9 minutes. No such luck. It didn't help that I had decided to carry a fuel belt with 5 flasks - a total of 30 ounces of liquid around my waist. What on earth was I thinking ? Never again will I run with a fuel belt.
I had taken in 2 Thermotabs and 16 oz gatorade right before the gun went off so I knew that I would be well hydrated for the first few miles which I indeed was. In spite of the weight of the belt I was able to pick up the pace and, after a 5 minute pit stop at mile 10 ( gotta love those esp. when the girl in the porta potty you want to use is totally oblivious to the time she is wasting for both you and her by reading the Runners World in there right in the middle of a race. get out of the portapotty right now please !!!!)
After that I decided to see how many people I could pass per mile while holding an 8 min mile. 13 in the next mile, then 12, all without being overtaken. At 12 1/2 miles we went right past Uncle Steven's house and there he was waiting and saw me before I saw him. That made me feel good. I have at least one fan in the world. Though I think I have one more just outside Denver :).
I passed the half way point in 1:50, so a 3:45-3:50 seemed quite doable as I was not starting to feel tired until about mile 21. This was the point just past my longest training run of the year. That's why you are supposed to do more than 20 in training.. hello.. so you can finish the marathon without walking.
At 23 miles I was trying to hold sub 9 minute miles and realized that sub 3:45 was not only possible but probable. Just then, Bill came around the corner to find me and run in to the finish. He had just completed a 1:25 half marathon for 5th place in his age group. Good job Bill .
So we turned the corner, and there was the 1.3 mile long hill that I had been warned about. Try as I did, I just could not get up that thing without doing the walk/run. I still managed to pass most of the people on the hill. At the top, we had just over a mile to go, and even though I was sore, Bill kept urging me on, told me not to walk and so I complied and came across in a time of 3:43:26. This was 207th overall out of 1100 finishers ( top 20% and 10th in my age group)

We gathered some meager food rations - Devine Racing is not the best at feeding you after one of their races, headed back to the car and drove out of the under ground parking garage. Then the black lady at the kiosk wanted $7 for parking. What ? I just ran your marathon !!!!! " Sorry Sir, we are not associated with the marathon" You have got to be kidding. You didn't charge us last year. And when I called my friend who ran the half, he was not charged for parking this year either. A small price to pay for notching up #64 on the 100 marathon list !

"I'm just thankful to be alive"

I'm a physical therapist. Not just any physical therapist but a home health physical therapist. I see patients in their homes. They have to be homebound so most of them are elderly but that's ok because wisdom = age + experience and I learn as much from my patients as they learn from me.
Today, however was one of those days where I learned so much about life from one of my patients. We'll call her Sarah, but that is not her real name. Sarah is only 34 years old - long flowing red hair and slim like a runner. Several weeks ago, Sarah had her left leg amputated below the knee, and at the same time in a 13 hour surgery had the toes amputated from her right foot. Both are heavily bandaged and Sarah is temporarily in a wheelchair. Prior to this, Sarah had ALL of her fingers and both thumbs amputated. Those wounds have healed now. As I worked with Sarah during her first home health physical therapy evaluation, I was impressed by her zeal for life. She was supposed to have died from the infection that spread through her body. Not once did she complain about anything today. She glowed. She exuded happiness and worked so hard at all the strengthening exercises that we did. Her husband Tony is a rock, very supportive and strong. Today, as always, I really enjoyed being a physical therapist. I love helping patients regain strength, mobility and range of motion. I enjoy the one on one care. I come home tired but satisfied that I have given my all and no less.
How thankful are you to be alive ?
Do you still have 10 toes, 8 fingers and 2 thumbs ? Then don't ever complain again !