Tuesday, September 29, 2009

rest day

Today I took a rest day. I feel so sluggish when I don't work out. I kind of hate the taper because of that. I say "kind of" because I like not having to do really long brutal interval or tempo workouts. And I like knowing that the hard work is done. This time, I feel a little unsatisfied because I missed out on some of the hard training due to my injury. Oh well... if I am not fit enough, there is nothing I can do about it now. I need to rest, because I've been battling a low-grade sore throat & swollen lymph nodes for 3-4 days. I'm hoping if I keep getting enough sleep (which I have been for 4 nights or so now!) that I will kick it before the race.

Tomorrow: I plan to do a little racewalking (outdoor or treadmill (supposed to rain)) and then weight training, with light weights, taking it easy.

Monday, September 28, 2009

marathon week begins

This doesn't seem as important as it did 60 minutes ago, before I found out about my friend's cancer. Maybe that's a good thing. I was getting a bit obsessive.

6 days until the marathon. I racewalked 3.9 miles this morning at about a 10:15 pace. I felt really great. I had planned to go to weight training, but last night I went to bed later than I should have, and so I decided to skip class and sleep as late as I could, which turned out to be about 6:45 am (to my surprise - usually I can't sleep that late). I'm focusing on getting enough sleep this week so I will be as ready as I can be for the race.

When I awoke, I threw on my RW clothes and got out the door. Perfect weather this morning - about 53 (around 11-12C?) and sunny and calm. It was a gorgeous morning, and my dog Copper and I really enjoyed our walk around Liberty Park. I was focused on my form and on making sure I am as efficient as possible. Hopefully I can keep that in mind during the race so that there is no wasted effort. It all goes into pushing forward.

I think I'm ready for the race. Just a few more short easy workouts to concentrate on my form, and race day will be here!


I'm feeling very numb right now. A friend called to ask me a question about her digital photos (I have been helping her organize them, print them, back them up, etc) and while on the phone said "Isn't it horrible about [our mutual friend] D?". I said "huh"? Turns out that my friend D just found out (~2-3 weeks ago) that she has stage IV cancer in her stomach and intestines. I was floored. She is so healthy and so strong, and has worked to take good care of herself. How could this be? I'm devastated by the news. After I collect myself a bit I am going to call her. I have no idea what to say, but I guess no one really does when something like this happens.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

overdid it

Photo: some of the TNT people during their 20-miler.

Oops. I overdid it today. I think I'll be fine, but it wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done. The TNT people were doing 20 miles, since the Nike Women's Marathon is in 3 weeks. My marathon, the Portland Marathon, is this coming Sunday, Oct 4th. Normally I'd do maybe 8-12 miles the weekend before a marathon. I intended to do about 12 today, maybe 14 if I got carried away. Well, I did 15.7. And I ran for a few miles (OK, maybe 4 miles?), causing my IT bands (particularly the left one) to act up a bit. Brilliant, huh? Fortunately, I think the IT bands will be totally fine as long as I rest a day or 2 and NO more running this week. I thought I was over that injury, but every now and then it reminds me that I'm not.

The good news is that 1) I'm not really that tired because I walked slowly for maybe 3-4 miles of the 15.7, and 2) my foot feels totally fine. The real test will be how it is tomorrow.

My orthotics are great. I really like them. But there is one problem: they are just a little bit thicker than my normal shoe inserts (I use the purple Down-unders, available in most running stores) and so my left foot in particular is rubbing on my shoe, and I was on the edge of getting a blister after 15.7 miles. That is just no good. I think I am going to have to do the marathon without them and hope for the best with my foot. That's what many have recommended anyway... and after the race I can work on finding a solution to the problem. Between another visit to my orthotist and a visit to the running store I may be able to figure something out. I'm not eager to switch shoes, as I love my Asics Cypress shoes, but I might have to. However, I am NOT going to do that a week before my race. I'll just go for it and hope that the foot does all right.

Nothing is simple, right? This year has just been too complicated, and having all these last-minute things with my foot is irritating. However, I know I brought it on myself by racing on a hurt foot, so it's just the way it is. At least it will all be over in 8 days.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Improvement; mental game

The foot is getting better :). Not sure if it is the orthotics, continuing improvement from the cortisone shot, or fewer miles from the taper, but it is definitely better. It is still not 100%, but it's only a little achy after a very intense day today.

I did 6.5 miles this morning in 1:07:41 for 10:24/mile on a quite hilly route. Pretty darn good. The foot only hurt a little bit - lots better than on Saturday coaching the Top of Utah marathon. I think I'll try a couple miles tomorrow as a warm-up for weight training. Saturday the TNT workout is 20 miles; I won't do that many but will probably do 12 or so, and now I'm not at all concerned about it :).

After my workout it was off to work, where I was on my feet a good deal of the day. My foot was a little tired when I got home, but doesn't feel swollen or painful. Happy me! After cooking dinner I did get to relax for a while.


I have quite the mental game going on for the marathon prep. On the one hand, I am pretty nervous about the race, especially given that my training has not been able to be what I've wanted the past few weeks. I'm prone to self-doubt and worried about how I will handle the competition. I'm worried that I'm not as sharp as I should be.

However, I do know I've done the best I can given my injury. I think I've done a good job of continuing to train without exacerbating it. It hasn't been easy to figure out how much I should do, but I feel like I've managed it as well as I can given the circumstances.

I have been trying to be as positive as possible. Instead of dwelling on the doubts, I am trying to think about how hard I've worked, how fast I can be, etc. I have been working to visualize the course and think through the race, devising the best strategy I can for a fast finish.

But I'm still nervous... only 10 days to go!

a few more vacation photos

Finally got the photos from the water park uploaded. Here they are. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

foot update, etc.

My foot is feeling better today. I was on it a lot --- racewalked for 3.7 miles or so around Sugar House Park (fun!), and after teaching a couple piano lessons I took the kids to the zoo to see the baby elephant. We ate lunch while sitting and watching the elephants, and then I was on my feet a lot watching the kids at the playground at the zoo, and finally we returned home for nap time. I did get to sit for a little while so I could work on the TNT route for Saturday (they are doing 20 miles!), but then was up again making dinner. After dinner I did the dishes and then worked on canning pears & plums. Whew. Busy day, and on the foot quite a bit. I wore my new orthotics for most of the day today (2 hr Monday, 4 hr yesterday, 6 hr today) and my foot did well in them. I'm kind of surprised that it's not bothering me more, but really, it feels pretty decent.

The rest of me is pretty tired, however. I need to get more rest! Will focus on this for the next week if possible - more sleep is important at this point. Tonight is a bit of a lost cause, as I have to get up early to RW a bunch before work, and I'm up late already. But tomorrow I can plan ahead a little better (hopefully not wishful thinking) and get to bed earlier. Hope springs eternal!

Zermatt resort

 We enjoyed a wonderful dinner & overnight stay at Zermatt resort in Midway. Our friends Sarah & Bryan traded with us for 24 kid-free hours - we watched their kids for 24 hr, and then they watched ours for 24 hr. It was wonderful...I highly recommend the 24 kid-free hours, AND Zermatt resort. The Italian buffet was delicious, with a dessert spread that was to die for. We are members of the Pinnacle Club there, which gives us 50% off on 2-person dinners all year long :). Plus we got a free night's hotel stay, a buy one get one free night's hotel stay, and various other discounts & coupons, including some carousel rides for the kids. A great deal, and one we plan to enjoy all year long. This Friday we plan to hit the seafood buffet; the kids are free (under age 6), and we will only have to pay for one of our meals, so all 4 of us can eat for $30 plus tax & tip. Not bad!
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Monday, September 21, 2009

Top of Utah pics; orthotics

TOU pics are here.


Got my new orthotics today. I am to wear them only 1-2 hr today (did that) and then increase 2 hr each day until I'm wearing them all day. No racewalking in them for 1 week, though, but then I'm allowed to do that and the orthotist said he thought I'd adjust quickly and be able to do the marathon in them. Friends who racewalk have said otherwise, so now I'm conflicted. I plan to follow his directions and then use my best judgment. Right now they feel weird but in a good way. He put a metatarsal pad in them and built the arch up a bit to take some pressure off the affected area. It does seem to help with the achy sort of pain I've been having.

I'm up too late so no more now. Off to bed. Hoping for 5-6 miles in the morning.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Top of Utah

Intended this to be a quick post - it's late, and I'm tired after a busy weekend. But it got long. Oh well. Have barely had time to check my e-mail let alone blog or download any photos. Tomorrow I will download some pictures and get them on here.

Friday pm Sue and I drove the 90 miles or so to Logan for the Top of Utah (TOU) marathon. We were coaching Amber, Abbra, and Mark. Amber & Abbra were first time marathoners; Mark was on his 4th or 5th marathon but hoping for a 3:30 or less to qualify for the Boston Marathon and a 3:15 or less for a new PR. He is a very talented runner! He's also had several family members with blood cancer so he was motivated and excited to raise the $ for TNT.

We checked in our hotel (a nice Holiday Inn Express on the north end of town) and then went to packet pickup and got our bibs, shirts, etc., including a pearl necklace from Overstock.com. Nice race schwag! The expo was small but decent; they had some $5 technical shirts, pants, and sports bras in sale bins. I thought about getting some but decided I probably had enough gear :).

After that we went to our inspiration diner at Le Nonne, a fabulous little Italian restaurant downtown. We ate on the patio, as the weather was perfect for it. Great food, too! At the end of our dinner, Ian & his dad came to talk to us. Ian is a leukemia survivor, and I think he's about 8 years old. Always good to hear a reminder of why we are doing this.

The race in brief - this is getting longer and I need some rest - Sue took everyone to the start but I waited at mile 14. Wanted to split it up because of my foot and the Portland marathon in 2 weeks. I ran hard with Mark for about 0.3-0.4 miles at mile 14; he was doing probably 6:30/mile when I was with him. Amazing. I couldn't keep up for long and was worried about hurting my foot with the running, and besides, he looked great so I left him. He said he was doing well and was optimistic for his BQ.

Then I went back & waited for Sue, Amber & Abbra. Saw them about an hour later and racewalked Amber & Abbra in to the finish. It was slow going; Sue had carefully started them slowly (2:30 half marathon) to help them save something for the end as they hadn't done enough of the long training miles, but even so, it was hard for them. Miles 19-26 were particularly hard with lots of walking, etc. I did my best to keep them going, and it worked OK, since they finished the race. Amber got a bit ahead of us, so Sue took her into the finish from mile 24, and I took Abbra all the way to 26.2. I racewalked most of it but at the finish Abbra sprinted hard and I did have to run hard to stay with her the last tenth. It was impressive!

Oh, about mile 19 or 20 I called Sue and she put Mark on the phone - he finished in 3:14:40, getting a new PR and his BQ! He was 67th finisher out of about 2400 runners, and 6th in his age group. Awesome!

Amber & Abbra finished in about 5:30 and 5:40 respectively. They were justifiably proud of gritting it out to the finish. It was Amber's 26th b-day that day, and she did her 26.2 :)!

With the back & forth I did with Mark and also at mile 16ish (I chatted with a walker from Cedar City, Chris, and walked with her a while before going back for Amber & Abbra, who were behind her), my total miles were about 13.5. My foot ached the whole time, pretty much, but it wasn't too awful. The pain was pretty subdued. I did put on a lidocaine patch but it would NOT stay put and ended up by my toes. I guess I won't be able to use them for the race, sadly :(. But at least the pain wasn't too bad, and it's only been a achy today, not painful.

It was a very scenic race, and one that might be fun to racewalk someday. It has a 6 hour time limit, so not good for slower walkers, but fine for racewalking. I'd recommend it highly. The aid stations & volunteers were great. There were not a lot of spectators (small town marathon) but the ones who were out there were enthusiastic.

Stay tuned for a post about the rest of the weekend - relaxed a lot w/Loren and it was great! Will also post some photos of the race, etc... but not until tomorrow. I am way too tired and up too late!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Foot update

My foot is not the best. It's much better than before the cortisone shot, but it's not good either. If I am on it too much during the day, it feels achy and warm and a bit swollen. If I stay off it and ice it, it feels good (hmmm, imagine that!). However, staying off it entirely is just not possible, between my two preschoolers, my job in a molecular biology lab, and my Team in Training coaching. I'm babying it as much as possible, but it's still not enough.

Yesterday I biked to my weight training class and then did a good hard set of weights. It was great to be there, and the foot did all right. My foot was even happier after resting a good deal of the day and icing it several times.

Today was not as good. I decided to RW 2 miles and see how it went, since I had not RW since Monday. It felt OK, but not great. It was not painful, but achy and a bit unhappy. I put a lidocaine patch on it before going to work, and that was AWESOME. It took an hour or two to kick in, but then there was no pain for much of the day. When it wore off, though, it was achy and unhappy again :(. Bummer. Still, good to know that those patches can keep the pain at bay for critical stuff like the marathon on 10/4!

I am icing it now and am going to REST tomorrow... no weight training, no biking, no nothing. I do have to work, but thankfully, it's mostly just some time on the confocal microscope, so not much on my feet. Then Sue and I are driving to Logan for the marathon on Saturday. I am not bringing my computer, and then Loren and I have some fun plans for Saturday night, so it might be Sunday before I get back to the blog again.

More PTC stuff

Our course record is now on the PTC website :)

Also, they have a newsletter that mentions the Six Pistols and our record-breaking efforts in a blurb about the Portland to Coast results.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

cranky foot

Yesterday my foot did not hurt at all after the 22-miler. It was perhaps a little achy, but not a problem (deceptively so, as it turned out).

This morning I decided to forego racewalking just to be safe. I did 40 minutes on the elliptical instead, which does not require bending my foot at the toe. It was a good workout, and I actually like it a lot more than swimming. I can listen to my iPod, and also watch the TV at the gym.

I'm glad I did not racewalk this morning. After working all day and standing and walking a lot at work (I was doing in situ hybridizations and making a bunch of solutions), my foot was very cranky. I have now spent most of the evening lying down with ice on it, and it's feeling better. I think I need to stay off of it until Saturday, given that it's irritated again. This time it is really not too painful, but it is pretty achy and I know it's not happy with me. Thankfully, work on Thursday & Friday will be more sitting-intensive (I have a bunch of time booked on the confocal microscope), so that will help.

Saturday I am coaching 3 team members for the Top of Utah marathon; I had planned to do maybe 12-14 miles. Hopefully that will still be in the cards. I want to be a good coach, but I also have my own race to think about. Sue will be there to help me with the race, thankfully (or I'd be doing much more than 12-14!), but still... it could get up there in miles.

Tomorrow I have some weight training in mind - but nothing involving the foot! I am thinking I will bike to class, as I doubt that will bother my foot as long as I'm careful about how I pedal.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Yup, I did it :). And my foot was OK :) :) :).

I did the 22 miles (35.4 km) on the mostly flat Jordan River Parkway. The Portland Marathon is pretty flat, and plus I feel well-trained on hills after all the stuff I did for Portland-to-Coast. In addition, my poor foot is much better if I avoid hills, so flat is the thing for now.

I started in the pitch black at 5:30 am so I could be done and home by 10 am. My parents are visiting to do house hunting (side note - they were successful and are submitting an offer today!), so I needed to be back at a reasonable hour. It did get somewhat light by 6:30, so it wasn't too terrible.

My muscles were sore from Friday's weight training and Saturday's 12.75 miles; after doing no weight training or racewalking for 2 weeks, I asked a lot of them. So, I figured I'd be slow today. I was a bit slower than my 20-miler, but not too much. I did the first 10 miles at an average 10:45 pace, and then met Sue for 10 miles with her. We slowed down (because I needed to!) so that by mile 18 my average pace was 10:55/mile.

Of course, I wanted to do the last 4 fast like I've been doing to practice my kick for the marathon. I sped up and finished the last 4 at a 10:16 pace :). The legs were very tired, I was winded (ave HR 160 for that last 4, just below my lactate threshold HR), but I did it.

Total: 22.0 miles, 3:57:56, 10:48/mile, ave HR 148 (77% max). A great workout.

I was considering another 20 next week, because I missed a planned 20-miler last Monday due to my injury. But I'm worried about making it worse, so will probably do just 15 instead, at a faster pace. I have to coach the Top of Utah marathon on Saturday, too, but hoping to only have to do about 15 that day, since Sue is helping me out. So it really makes sense to take it a little easier and start my taper now :).

In other news, I was fitted for custom orthotics today to try and help ease the pressure on the sesamoids in my L foot. They'll have them ready in a week for me :). I'm excited to get them and start the recovery process.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

TNT Saturday

The team had 18 miles this morning. I knew I was not going to do that many... it was hard, but I kept myself to 12.75. I'm tired so this will be a quick post - long busy day, but a good one. Anyway, I did probably 8-9 miles of that at a reasonably decent pace, and the rest more slowly; actually, the slow stuff was harder today! My foot didn't hurt at all while racewalking, but was slightly achy while walking slowly. It mostly ached in the middle of the foot, probably from the almost 2 weeks of not walking much, rather than from my injury. The pain from the injury was more in the ball of the foot.

I walked with the runners to start with, and then for a bit with the walkers. Total was about 7.7 miles at that point. Then I took an hour break in one of the parks along the Jordan River trail while they went farther out; I just didn't want to push my luck with my foot, even though it was feeling good. Then we had 5 miles to come back. I started with some of the moderate paced runners (doing 11-12 min miles) for about a mile, and then I went with one of our faster runners who was doing 10:15-10:30 miles (but she did alternate some walking with the running) for the remaining 4 miles. It was great to be back out there, and my foot is still feeling decent even after that long day. YAY!!!! My doctor is awesome!!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Happy foot :)

Good news - my foot is doing much better today. I walked a lot at work, pain-free :)! Gotta love the cortisone shot. Hopefully that plus the orthotics will cure me and keep me from relapsing.

Even better news - I got to racewalk a little this morning! I went to my weight training class and decided to do some short RW intervals mixed in with my weight sets. I went around the Huntsman Center (right next to HPER, where the class is) and back to class 3x, for 0.37 miles (0.6 km) each loop. I did the loops at an average pace of 10:08, 10:10, and 10:21. My foot felt basically fine, and it was SO GOOD to RW again! I am totally hooked on RW and enjoy it so much. It was so difficult to have a long layoff. Just the short distances I did today were really wonderful and improved my mood a lot.

I'm hoping to be able to do some good miles with the team tomorrow. Don't worry, I'll be careful... but if I'm feeling good, I'm going for it!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cortisone injection

This morning I had a fluoroscopy-guided cortisone injection into the joint in my foot where the sesamoiditis is causing me pain. It was a piece of cake! First the doctor numbed the area w/a lidocaine injection, which stung a little but was no big deal. Then she put another needle in the area to give the injection, which hurt a little but again, not a problem.

Next, she drew off some excess synovial fluid; there was quite a bit in there because of the inflammation. Then she injected a little bit of contrast dye to visualize that she was in the right space. It was visible on the fluoroscope, which is an x-ray in real time (I had requested that I get to watch because I wanted to see the images as she did her work). Pretty cool. Then she injected the cortisone, and you could see the contrast agent displaced as the cortisone went in. I felt a lot of pressure as she injected the cortisone, but no pain. The only pain was from the first lidocaine shot and placement of the needle.

That was it. My foot felt really great afterwards because of the lidocaine, which wore off in a few hours. Still, it feels a bit better than it did before, though the cortisone will take about 48-72 hours to really kick in, they say. I'm hoping for the best :)! Maybe I'll be able to racewalk at the TNT workout on Saturday :) :) :).

Oh, and no, I did not work out this morning. Just couldn't stomach the thought of cardio machines or biking or swimming. Sigh...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Not in the mood to work out tomorrow. I could bike, but after yesterday I'm not really in the mood. Could swim, but kind of bored with it. I guess I could see if the elliptical hurts my foot, but if it does, then I am stuck w/stationary bike. I suppose I could do that. Maybe I will...or maybe I will just be a slug and skip it. I ate a lot tonight, too, so I probably should work out. You would think I'd be motivated since I get to do the race, but for some reason I'm just really antsy to racewalk and not at all in the mood to do anything else at the moment.

O happy day!

I went to the doctor with dread and trepidation, sure she was going to tell me it was a stress fracture. When she walked in, she said, "I have some great news for you!". Whew. She told me it was not a stress fracture, and that I had sesamoiditis. Because I really want to do the Portland Marathon, treatment for me will consist of: 1) ice & anti-inflammatories to reduce pain & swelling, as I've been doing, 2) a cortisone injection (slated for tomorrow morning, with a fluoroscope to guide the injection into the correct location) to reduce pain & inflammation, 3) custom orthotics to help redistribute the pressure & allow for healing even through some more training, 4) lidocaine-containing patches to control pain during the long racewalks & the race. Dr. Powell was very happy to have discovered the source of my pain, and quite optimistic that these measures will do the trick - she's had a patient w/sesamoiditis do the Boston Marathon, so hopefully it will work for me, too.

The photos are my MRI, with the affected areas circled. The white areas are the inflamed/injured areas that should look more gray if things were normal. In the first photo you see my sesamoid bones (the small circles), which are bipartite (a normal variant), and they are fairly white-looking. The other photo shows the inflamed tissue nearby.

This has been quite a year: IT band syndrome, piriformis syndrome, and sesamoiditis. Yikes. I still love racewalking though :) and can't wait to get out there again. Dr. Powell said probably 2-3 days after the injection I will be good to go, though she has had patients feel better that very day. We'll see.

exciting news :)

Photos: Calvin & me & my mom; my dad & Loren.

My parents put their home on the market (in San Diego) and got a ton of offers on it in just a few days :). They have selected an offer that looks very solid and they are going to come here this weekend to find a house here. They'll be moving here in just about a month! Yay! I'm very happy that I will get to see them more often, and the kids are super excited, too. We have a very good relationship, and I'm looking forward to spending more time with them. My mom retired last year, and my dad is retiring now (though he may work part-time, remotely). They are looking to play lots of bridge and play with their grandchildren :).

more adventures

As if I haven't had enough excitement lately...

Yesterday, I decided to bike for an hour before my doctor appointment and work. I biked uphill for 5 miles in about 30 minutes, and then turned around to come back. After a mile, I heard a WHOOOOOOOSHHHHH sound and my back tire deflated. Stupid me, I hadn't brought a cell phone with me or anything, and here I was 4 miles from home with a bum foot. I ended up biking home very slowly on the rim; my bike is a crappy bike and the back wheel is already bent from an earlier incident with the kids' bike trailer, so I didn't care too much. However, it took me a long time to get home, so I really had to rush to make it to the doctor on time. I was 8 minutes late, but they took me anyway. Whew.

I love the Orthopedic Center at the Univ of Utah - they are great. So efficient! I was again amazed at how good they are, as they got me x-rayed quickly, and I didn't have to wait to see the doc at all. The x-rays were again negative, but my history - specifically the amount of swelling I had - suggested a stress fracture to my doc. The other possibility is tendinitis. Since I really want to race the Portland Marathon, it is important to distinguish between the two. Tendinitis can be raced on, albeit with pain; the stress fracture cannot (at least not without risking much more severe damage). So, Dr. Powell recommended an MRI to find out what is going on. They have an MRI in the building, in the basement. I was able to get an appt for 5 pm that afternoon, after work.

The MRI went fine; I was even able to participate in a research study to see if wrapping the foot in a special material improves the imaging. All it involved was sitting there for a couple extra scans, so it was no big deal. I even got a CD with my MRI on it to take home :). I looked at it, of course, but I really don't know how to read it. Still, it's really neat to see the photos of my foot. If I can figure out how to get the pics in a usable form from the software, I'll post some later.

This morning I had to work for an hour or so, but since it's not my usual work day I didn't have child care. Thus, I had to go in at 5:30 so I could make it to weight training at 6:30. I was a bit late, but was still able to fit in 20 min hard on the stationary bike and 10 min of abs and then stretching. Something is better than nothing. I'm examining my options for fitness in case I have to lay off RW for longer. Probably will get a monthly membership at a public recreation center so I can swim, stationary bike, and/or elliptical if my foot will tolerate it.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

family vacation photos

more photos here

Beach Boy

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Loren & the kids

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enjoying the sunset

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sunset at hug point

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kicking back at breakfast

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more beach fun

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on the beach - Michelle and Daddy

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Camping - breakfast!

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Portland to Coast photos

The photos are here. Here are some of my favorites.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

slow swim

Today I swam in the very nice 50m outdoor pool at Steiner Aquatic Center (photo taken on my cell phone camera right after my swim). It was much nicer than swimming inside; for one, I could see the sun, the sky, and the mountains (a little), and in addition, it was great not to have to turn around every 25 yd. However, it did slow me down - I guess the push off the wall helps me be a lot faster, because my 50m times averaged 1:14. Yeah, slow, but I really don't care. It was a decent workout, with my heart rate around 70% max. I swam for 59:20 and did 2400 meters.

Even though I prefer the outdoor pool, swimming to me is still pretty boring compared with racewalking...though maybe it is comparable to racewalking on a treadmill, which I really do not enjoy too much. Weird that looking at varied scenery makes such a difference to me, but it does, for whatever reason. I'm hoping I can get back to RW soon! Biking is good, swimming is merely tolerable, but RW is what I want to be doing.

My foot is feeling better today. I am not limping too much any more. In fact, after my swim, it felt really good and I didn't feel like I was limping at all. I'm quite eager to hear what the doctor has to say on Tuesday morning.

Six Pistols spreadsheet

For the truly racewalking-inclined, here is the spreadsheet of how each of the team members did on each leg. Pretty impressive work by all.

I know I'm going on about this a bit, but it was a big deal for me :) so bear with me :) and I'll move on soon!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

because you asked

Lani asked me what Swedish Fish are. She lives in Sweden, so I don't blame her for being curious; I found out that they really are originally made in Sweden. I personally have only seen the red ones, but apparently they come in several flavors.

From Wikipedia:
In Sweden, the Swedish Fish candy is marketed under the name "pastellfiskar,"[5] literally "pale colored fishes." The fish in Sweden are generally much paler in color and more translucent (save the black fish). In particular, the yellow fish color is almost cream. The taste also differs slightly, the Swedish version being less sweet but more fruit-flavored, especially the yellow one, which is more tangy. The green fish is not lime flavored; the green candy color in Scandinavia is usually associated with apple or pear flavor. They are slightly thicker, have the text "Malaco" instead of "Swedish" embossed, and stick less to the teeth.[original research?]

"Pastellfiskar" are also sold at Swedish IKEA stores under the name Swedish Fish (and a slightly different bag), but they are still the same Scandinavian "Pastellfiskar" rather than the North American Swedish Fish

cool article

Thanks, Elizabeth, for the tip on this nifty article in the Examiner about the PTC relay. It has the official results.

back to reality...

Reality is ugly right now.

1) My foot is hurt :( and I was unable to exercise all week while on vacation (no access to swimming which was all I could have done w/my foot hurt). Ugh! Have not gone that long w/o exercise since joining WW 4.5 years ago. Not happy.
2) I was on vacation so I ate more than usual.
3) The scale was MOST unkind when I returned. I somehow gained 10 lbs (with just ONE bad week of eating and not exercising!). Yeah, at least 1/2 of that was probably water weight which will come off when I eat and exercise normally again, but still, it was NOT a nice number to see.
4) I miss racewalking.
5) If I can't do Portland Marathon will be out $95 entry fee plus $179 for plane ticket (well, at least the $150 change fee. UGH!).

I am trying to be positive:
1) I can still bike & swim.
2) I biked 1.5 hr today; 17.56 miles - half of that seriously UPHILL - from my house up Emigration Canyon just past Sun & Moon Cafe and then back home. I think it was close to 1400 feet of elevation gain.
3) I ate well today and am back on track.
4) Foot is doing better; am off the crutches though maybe I shouldn't be. I am not even limping that much.
5) Muscles are nice & sore from today's bike ride :). Yes, that is a good and nice thing :).
6) Planning another bike ride or a swim tomorrow. Not sure which, but definitely going to work out. It felt great.
7) Doctor appt on Tuesday (w/my sports med doc) and optimistic that we'll figure something out. Maybe I will be lucky and will be able to do the marathon. If not, well, it was still worth it to do well in Portland-to-Coast.
8) I feel confident that I can get the weight back off and I'm only a little concerned about it; an appropriate amount I think.

Had a busy day today trying to get my house sort of back in order. Also had a Team in Training workout to coach (from my car, sadly...) and some piano lessons to teach. So, I still haven't had time to get to the photos. I know... you want to see them... I will get them up as soon as I can. Have some nice race photos and great vacation ones too. I'm glad I have a 3-day weekend to recover from my vacation!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Portland-to-Coast Relay, August 28-29, 2009

***Sorry no pics yet - bad internet connection and lucky to be able to post text!*** Will post pics on Saturday when I'm home.

Portland-to-Coast Relay, August 28-29, 2009

Wow, what an experience!

Loren and I and the kids met Dee, Holly, Mary, and Mary’s son and his girlfriend at the Old Spaghetti Factory for a pre-race pasta dinner on Thursday night. I got some basic questions answered about the race from these experts (I think between the 3 of them they have done it about 25-30 times!), and after dinner we went to their hotel to decorate our van with inspiring slogans such as “Toenails are for sissies”, “Does this van make our butts look FAST?”, “Is it rude to count road kill out loud” (road kill refers to teams that you pass during the race), and “Put on your big girl panties”. Yeah, it was fun.

Then back to our hotel for some sleep. I was quite tired and pretty anxious about how my foot would hold up. I definitely did NOT want to be the one to let our team down! We had 2 goals: 1) WIN the women’s open division (any age competitor), and 2) break the course record, set in 2000 by a 12-woman team. We were pretty sure we could win the race, but breaking the record was going to be tough – it was FAST, and we were a 6-woman team.

The next morning I met everyone at their hotel and then we drove to the race start, where we met Katie & Lisa. We signed in and then had an hour to kill, so we hung out & visited with the other teams. I particularly liked the logo of the “Rockbottoms”, one of the other women’s teams. It was awesome to be around a bunch of other fast racewalkers. The time passed quickly and pretty soon we were cheering on Dee as she started for us.

I was 2nd in the rotation, and so I was getting nervous. We cheered on Dee halfway through her relatively short leg (about 4 miles) and then drove to the exchange. I warmed up a little, and my foot was painful but I definitely felt like I could walk through the pain. Katie tied a bandanna with ice around my neck and I was ready to go; it was pretty warm (around 80 and quite humid, with on-and-off sun).

Dee arrived and before long I was off on my first leg (leg 14). I started out a bit fast but settled quickly into a reasonable pace (about 9:30/mile or so). Pretty soon I had my first roadkill, passing one of the Sierra Racewalkers (a very nice woman named Karen); we never saw their team again, so I guess it was a convincing pass. Not long after that my team pulled up and gave me water, dumping a bunch over my head, too. It was really quite hot by then. The leg was advertised as flat, but it had a slight uphill the last few miles (total was about 5.49 or something like that) and I did slow down as I went. Still, I finished about 15 seconds faster than my projected time from the spreadsheet that Holly had set up for us (she and Mary made goals to meet for each leg for us to break the course record), and did 9:43/mile. Not bad for hot weather, I guess, though I was a little disappointed. 5.49 miles is less than a 10K, and my 10K best is about 9:27/mile, so I was slower than I could do under ideal conditions. However, it was hot, and it was a bit uphill, oh, and did I mention the diesel fumes from the passing trucks on highway 30? Yeah, not ideal. My average HR for the leg was 168 (88% max), so I had pushed pretty hard.

My foot got through the 1st leg OK but was a bit sore, so I iced it thoroughly, changed my clothes, and got something to eat. Nutrition is challenging when doing the equivalent of about 4 fast 10K races in less than 24 hours. You have to eat, but you can’t eat anything that might upset your stomach. During the race, I ate peanut butter & jelly (1/2-1 sandwich at a time), pretzels, bananas, Swedish Fish candy, and Fig Newtons. It worked pretty well, mostly… except my stomach did get upset before my 4th leg, but more about that later.

I enjoyed resting and watching the others do their first legs. Our team was fast… our slowest person could still do 11 minute miles with nary a hitch, and 3 of us were easily under 10 minute miles on the flat portions. It was great to cheer the others on, though hard on my foot to keep jumping in and out of the van. The weather got progressively more cloudy through the afternoon, but remained pretty warm. Still, it could have been lots hotter.

Too soon, it was time for me to do my next leg (leg 20), the one I’d worried about in training. It was 5.77 miles long, with 4 of that seriously uphill --- about 800 or 900 feet total. AND about 2 miles of that uphill was on gravel. Ugh! The spreadsheet said I had to average 11:15/mile for 1:04:41 for the leg; I thought I could do faster, and I did . All that hill work paid off. My foot HATED the gravel road because it was so uneven, and I kept slipping, but I pushed through it all and finished in 1:00:23 for 10:30/mile. Average HR was 164 for the leg; still pushing hard. All awesome. 4 minutes toward breaking the course record! The weather was cooler for this leg (though still on the warm side; I had Holly pour water over my head), and the scenery was beautiful. This part of rural Oregon is gorgeous with the evergreen trees, bucolic farms, and quaint homes on the quiet roads.

After the leg, it was ice, ice, and more ice for the sore foot, fresh clothes, and food. At the next few exchanges, we started to catch up with the teams that had started 3-4-5 hours before us, and it was quite entertaining to see the d├ęcor on their vans. The team names were clever, too (“Buns –n- Roses” matched nicely with our “Six Pistols”).

My teammates continued to be quite fast; Mary finished her next leg with at least 2-3 minutes to spare off of the spreadsheet time, and the other teammates finished pretty close to their times. We were building up a nice little cushion for later when we got tired.

I was apprehensive about my 3rd leg (leg 26) because it started late at night (10:20 pm), and that is probably my worst time of day. I am definitely a morning person! But the weather was in my favor. The clouds had given way to mist and/or rain at times, and the weather had cooled off a lot. It was perfect for racewalking. The cool air was invigorating, and in fact, I had trouble pushing my HR high enough for some reason! I was getting tired mentally, I think, and my foot was hurting more. Still, I was supposed to finish the 3rd leg in 59:30, and I gained us 3.5 more minutes, finishing in 55:58 for a 9:42 pace, despite some pretty serious hills (not as much as my 2nd leg, but it was still rated “HARD” in the handbook). Average HR was only 157; I felt bad I hadn’t pushed harder, but it FELT hard, and hey, I was fast, so I didn’t feel TOO bad.

About this time I knew my foot was not good, though. It really HURT to take my shoes off and put them back on. Oh, and I was tired enough that I had done my whole 3rd leg without my shoe insert in my left shoe – when I changed shoes between the 2nd & 3rd legs I’d forgotten to put one of them in. DUH! I just kept icing it and kept hoping it would be OK.

The next few hours were very interesting. I did catnap a couple times for maybe 20-30 min sleep, but things were interesting in the van. Katie accidentally set off the pepper spray she keeps in her bag, causing us to have to clear out the van and air it out, driving with all the windows down for a couple hours (from maybe 2-4 am!). My Nike sweatshirt got pepper spray on it, and I kept getting it on my face & legs until I figured out what was going on. Poor Katie wasn’t sure she’d be able to race again after getting it on her face and eyes; luckily, she had a few hours before she had to race and she was recovered by then.

After that, at one of the exchanges, Mary forgot to put the flashing light we had atop the van back inside. We drove off and it fell off the van. She picked it up (we heard it drop) but it was stuck in the ON position, so we buried it under the passenger seat, and for the rest of the race it was there flashing. We couldn’t take out the batteries because it took a screwdriver, which we didn’t have. Oops. Interesting things happen when you are sleep deprived!

My stomach started acting up about this time. I had taken an Imodium after my 2nd leg (or my first?!? not sure), but it wasn't doing 100% of the job. I visited the port-a-potty one last time before my final leg, and hoped for the best. Turned out that it wasn't a problem. Whew.

I started my final leg (leg 32) at 3:45 am. We were ahead of our spreadsheet schedule by at least 10 minutes. I had to do my last 4.09 miles in 40:13, and I figured I could (though it did have some mild hills). I was pretty tired, but figured I had it in me to finish well. Still, I got out there and was pretty fuzzy-brained. It was hard to push myself, but I kept thinking about the course record and how I didn’t want to let down my teammates. It was definitely the hardest leg, even though it was the shortest and probably the easiest course-wise, but I just didn’t have much oomph left. About 0.5 mile from the end, I slipped on the wet pavement and fell, skinning my right knee and my hands. I got up as fast as I could and kept going, but still, I finished in 40:29, 16 seconds slower than my goal pace. I wasn’t happy with that, or with my ave HR of only 154, but I had done my best under the circumstances. We still had a good cushion of at least 6 minutes (we had a few slow legs just before this).

Well, the cushion didn’t last long. The 4th legs were hard on everyone, and by the time we got to our last few legs, we were very close to the spreadsheet time. The pressure was on for Holly to finish her last leg in her assigned time.

Meanwhile, in the van, my foot was excruciatingly painful. I could barely think about how the others were doing, and had so much trouble getting out to cheer Katie on for her last very difficult leg. Ice finally restored me a little, but it was still so painful as the adrenaline wore off once I had finished my part.

We got to the beach and nervously awaited Holly’s arrival; I was only able to hobble slowly but managed to get out there. We figured that if she could do under 12:20/mile we’d break the record, but with how tired everyone was we didn’t know if she’d be able to do it. Pretty soon we saw her --- and we had 8 minutes to spare! We started chanting “HOLLY HOLLY HOLLY” and she crossed the finish line in 21:45:37, which was a full 7 minutes under the course record. We all screamed our lungs out and joined her for a victory lap on the sand under the finish line. It was such a great moment, and worth all the pain.

Later that night, after the awards ceremony, I did go to the ER and have my foot x-rayed. The pain was so bad in the afternoon that I could hardly sleep (and this after 24 hr of no sleep!) so I figured I had to do it, even though it meant Loren had to watch the kids while I was there. The x-ray was negative, but the doc said it could still easily be a stress fracture, as they do not show on x-ray for 7-10 days. He did say it might just be soft tissue damage. In either case the treatment is the same for now: crutches, ice, vicodin for pain, and anti-inflammatory medication and ace wrap for swelling. After a few days it’s feeling a bit better but I am still staying off of it.

Strangely, I’m not too upset about the injury. It might be the end of my Portland Marathon hopes for 10/4, but y’know what? I had such a great race this last weekend, that I honestly think I will be OK about it if I can’t do the marathon. Disappointed, yes, but OK.

It’s going to be a weight gain kind of week though, with no exercise (I have not gone this long w/o exercise in 4 years!) and lots of good vacation food, but oddly enough, I am not worried about that either. I feel sure I can get it back off again, and really, I’m just so thrilled with our race. A six-woman team WON the race (we were 2nd only to ONE men’s team, but beat all of the other teams in the race) and broke the course record, set in 2000 by a 12-woman team. We were amazing, and I got to be a part of it. That was more than worth everything.