Anchorage Marathon: 1 day ’til race day!

I’m finally starting to get excited about this race.

I’ve accepted the fact that I may not be as fast as I want to be. I’ve accepted the fact that my IT band may start hurting a few miles into the race.

The other day I was talking with my coworker-friend about whether or not I should even race with my Garmin. I felt that timing myself and seeing my (potentially very slow) splits would make me more stressed out during the race and not be beneficial towards having a fun and good time.

“But what if you wake up Saturday and your knee is magically better?” she said.

I’m not sure my knee will be any better tomorrow than it is right now.

But, as I have experienced in many past races, anything can happen on race day.

“You’re going to have so much adrenaline on race day, you won’t even notice your knee!” Bryce told me last night.

I hope so.

But, regardless of knee pain, this race is for you, Natalie.

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Anchorage Marathon Goals

I’ve been putting off making a list of race goals.

My #1 goal for all of my past full marathons has always been: To PR.

The past two races, it was more specific: To break 4 hours.

Now, with an IT band issue, I have a different mindset.

Anchorage Marathon Goals:

  • Finish the race.
  • Run my own race.
  • Enjoy the course.
  • Stay positive.

These are all easier said than done – especially when you are accustomed to pushing yourself and full-out racing.

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At Saturday’s last long run, one of my Team In Training teammates reminded me to enjoy the scenery during the Anchorage Marathon. He had done this race a few years ago.

“It’s beautiful. Enjoy the race!” he said.

Oh, I will.

4 days ’til race day!

 

Road to Anchorage: 1 week ’til race day!

Feeling as good as I can be, considering my IT band “issue” and all. Here’s what last week of “training” looked like.

Just one short week until the big race!

Monday

PT day: 0 miles – Got my knee massaged out. Did my strengthen exercises. Iced. You know, the usual.

Tuesday

Rest day: 0 miles – Went to see “Paint Your Wagon” at the 5th Avenue Theater with my family.

Wednesday

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One of the bday cards I received!

Birthday run: 3 miles – Short and easy loop around Green Lake. Followed by sushi.

Thursday

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PT day: 0 miles – My physical therapist showed me how I should tape my knee. I went home and ordered tape in purple so that I can match my Team In Training singlet! (May as well make my injury look styling, right?)

Friday

Rest day: 0 miles – Went to a surprise dinner for my friend Sarah for completing L1 (Law school, Year 1). Fun and yummy vegetarian food was consumed.

Saturday

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Long run: 6 miles – Last long run of the training cycle! I opted to do 6 miles while most of my fellow full marathon teammates did the full 8. I just don’t want to take any chances with my bum knee. It didn’t ache too much but it wasn’t completely strong as well. We didn’t have rain though and had an awesome view of the Seattle skyline from West Seattle.

Sunday

Spin day: 0 running miles – I was convinced to go to my first spin class ever! (I know, you’re not supposed to do anything new right before a race, but … cycling can’t make my knee any worse!) It was fun, but was definitely challenging at times. Half the time I wasn’t sure if I was even doing what we needed to do!

Takeaways: Just trying to mentally prepare for the race at this point. My knee situation is what it is.

Recommitting to the Anchorage Marathon

It’s crazy to think I had actually been having real thoughts in the past several days to not do the Anchorage Marathon. I had been considering to switch to the half marathon.

I’ve talked out my thoughts with many people. In true decision-making fashion, I created a pro/con list. I discussed my options with my training partner, Joanna.

The week out from a marathon, I am usually excited and am (nervously) looking forward to race day.

This time it’s been different. I almost want to fast forward and skip the whole thing all together. I want to be back to my normal, fully functioning strong body self– running IT band/knee pain free!

I don’t want to go into the race fearing that my IT band will prevent me from having a good race. (And, I don’t mean good race in terms of PR’ing. I mean, not suffering through it).

A half marathon would be physically easier on my body. I wouldn’t be so sore that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the rest of my time in Alaska. There would be less risk for causing more harm to my injury

But, I am stubborn.

I have too much self pride.

I’ve been telling my friends and family and coworkers that I am racing the Anchorage Marathon since January. Since then, everyone has been supporting me with words of encouragement and donations to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This race, I would be running with Team In Training, supporting blood cancer research and patients. I would be doing this all in memory and honor of my dear friend Natalie. I would be doing the full marathon.

I have always been a woman of her word.

If I hadn’t signed up to do this race with Team In Training, or if Joanna wasn’t running it too, I would probably have switched to the half. I know I most likely won’t be running the entire race with Joanna. But, I know I will be mentally happy having completed the full marathon, than I would be physically happy completing the half marathon.

So, no more harping about the injury. No more “poor me’s” … I’m going to do what I do when I don’t know what to do. I am going to run.

And, with everyone’s love, support and encouragement, I know I will get to that finish line in one piece.

 

Road to Anchorage: 2 weeks ’til race day!

There has been no significant improvement with my IT band, but the pain is also not worse. So, I guess we can call this week a wash?

Monday

Rest day: 0 miles – Took advantage of the nice sunny holiday and went to meet the new clouded leopard cubs at the Point Defiance Zoo. There’s nothing better than baby animals to make you feel better about a running injury, right?

Tuesday

PT and short run: 3 miles – Went to PT at 7 in the morning. Met up with the Team in the afternoon and did a loop of Green Lake. IT band pain was off and on present. Joanna was nice and stayed back with me. At this point, I am taking all of my runs slow to preserve what’s left of my weak left knee!

Wednesday

Aqua jog: 20 min – I couldn’t handle not running on “National Running Day”so I hopped in my apartment’s tiny pool and aqua jogged, did some leg kicks along the wall and swam (a tiny bit, because like I said, the pool isn’t big enough for actually lap swimming).

Thursday

Short run: 3.4 miles – I was able to make it to Thursday Night Flight Club at the Oiselle Store and ran around Ravenna and the U-District with some of my favorite people. It was really nice to run with volee teammates, Brenda and Marilyn! In fact, my IT band didn’t bother me too much since I was having so much fun!

Friday

Rest day: 0 miles – Nothing of significance. Bryce and I had a nice quick sunset walk along Richmond Beach after watching the U.S. lose to Colombia in Copa America pool play. (Or, if you had asked Bryce, we watched Colombia beat the U.S. – He has dual fandom.)

Saturday

“Long run”: 7 miles – Our training schedule called for 9 miles today but I took it easy and stuck to 7 since I did 9 last week. Again, Joanna was a pal and went at a slower pace with me. Although, I was surprised that a few times we clocked in right under 9 minute pace, which felt no different to my knee than when we went 9:15/9:20 pace. I guess that’s a good thing? Our Team ran along Lake Washington Boulevard with an out and back to Seward Park. It was beautiful sunny weather!

Sunday

Rest day: 0 miles – Woke up at 4 a.m. for a work event and was on my feet until nearly noon! Took a nap in the afternoon.

Takeaways: I am happy to report that I have been doing my PT exercises at least twice a day every day. Hopefully I can strengthen my glutes and hips in time before this race. I’m staying as (overly) optimistic as I can.

But, what about your marathon?

The Anchorage Marathon is two weeks away.

My IT band injury isn’t being horrible but at the same time, it hasn’t significantly improved in the last week.

This past week whenever I came across someone new to tell my injury story to (a friend, coworker, etc.,) everyone’s reaction has been the same: But, what about your marathon?

Today at PT, I asked my physical therapist if it would be OK if I raced Anchorage and pushed myself. I think I already knew the response before she said it.

“Oh, no. This won’t be a PR race for you.”

It’s so hard to come to terms with the fact that I won’t be able to fully race this race that I have spent so much time and energy training for over the last four months.

Not only that, but I feel like I am letting my training partner, Joanna, down.

On race day, will I just let her go off and run after that sub-4 hour time that we both have been striving to achieve? Do I attempt to stay with her as long as possible only to have a horrible race because I am in too much pain to enjoy the scenery?

I guess I still have two weeks to decide.

At least I am not fully sidelined from running.

I’ve been doing my PT exercises diligently, icing and resting a lot. I’ve been running very minimally and when I do, I have been going at a very slow pace so as not to aggravate my IT band/knee.

I’m grasping on to that last bit of hope that just maybe I will have no significant pain on race day and the stars and sun and moon will align — I will cross the finish line with Joanna with a big smile and a new PR.

I know that’s a lot to hope for.

But, I can still dream.

 

Road to Anchorage: Less than 3 weeks ’til race day!

I’ve been negligent in timely blogging mainly because this is a running blog and I haven’t been running much in the last week.

But Kristin, you’re training for a marathon, aren’t you?

Yes, I’m still scheduled to run the Anchorage Marathon on June 18 but I had a little blip in my training plan.

I had sudden left IT band pain that arose strong early last week. So … this is what the past week of training looked like …

Monday

Rest day: 0 miles – My IT band pain began the night prior to this day but on this day, I awoke with very bad pain. I couldn’t bend my left knee at all without severe pain! I’m not exaggerating when I say I was walking around my office with a limp. I iced a lot and scheduled an appointment with a physical therapist. (Thank goodness my insurance doesn’t require a doctor’s referral for PT!)

Tuesday

Rest day: 0 miles – The pain has subsided. I can walk normally. More icing.

Wednesday

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PT day: 0 miles – Saw the same physical therapist I saw three years ago when I had IT band pain on the right side. Her words upon seeing me: It’s good to see you! I mean, it’s not good to see you! The verdict? I need to work on strengthening my glutes and hips. (I see lots of clam shells, bridges, and resistance-band crab walking in my present and future). Bryce cheered me up by taking me to eat one of my favorite comfort foods: Korean tofu soup.

Thursday

Easy run: 4 miles – I ran with Joanna around our neighborhood at a slow pace. The knee/IT band was off and on achy. (FYI: My physical therapist says I do not have to quit running). Did my PT exercises.

Friday

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Rest day: 0 miles – While I would have liked to run today, I took it easy. Did my PT exercises. Saw the Mariners lose at baseball …

Saturday

Rest / gloomy day: 0 miles – I had planned to go with Joanna to our Team run and just “run as much as I could” with hopes of doing around 10 miles. (Before I got injured, Joanna and I had planned this day to be our 22 miler). No running happened because I woke up with pain in my upper abdomen / sternum. It hurt to move, especially turning my body side to side. I tried to do my PT exercises but my “stomach condition” made it too difficult. I pretty much spent the entire day watching Netflix, reading, napping and feeling sorry for myself. I may have cried once or twice since I had no idea what was causing my abdomen pain. (Dr. Google told me it could be anything from stress or cancer!)

Sunday

Long run: 9 miles – I woke up with the abdomen pain mostly gone but lingering a bit. I decided that since my IT band felt more or less fine, I would give my long run a go. I was able to get nine rainy very slow miles in. They were more mentally challenging than physically challenging. By the end, my IT band felt pretty tender (which is why I stopped at nine and didn’t do 10). Feeling way more optimistic and positive than I did the day before!

Takeaways: Training doesn’t always go as planned. But, all I can do is listen to my body and stay positive.