Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

We had a great time trick-or-treating tonight. Good weather & good fun. Here are some pictures.

a bit better

I'm feeling a little better. The fatigue from the cold is easing up, though after staying up late last night to attend the symphony w/my mom, I'm still tired enough to nap now.

I did manage 1 hour on the stationary bike this morning. I still hate the stupid thing, but it does have one advantage in that I can read while I do it. I read the current issue of Runner's World & thoroughly enjoyed it. I have Scientific American magazine and a Michael Connelly thriller on deck for the next week or so. You can't read while you swim or racewalk (well, maybe on the treadmill, but I haven't been able to do it effectively). Still... would rather be racewalking. It was 36 and clear this morning; really nice RW weather. On the bright side: 2 weeks down, 6 to go.

After my workout, I showered, fed the kids, got everyone dressed, and then headed to work for a little over an hour (with Michelle in tow...doable, but interesting & challenging), and then went to Kid-to-Kid to try & find some boots for the kids. No dice. Guess it's Payless buy-one-get-one-half-off for us this year.

Fed everyone lunch and now it's time to nap.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

still sick but still here...

I'm still sick. No, not H1N1, just a nasty cold (no fever; fatigue, congestion, sore throat). The fatigue is horrible. I have managed to do the bike 3 days this week (M, Tu, & Th) despite it all, and it actually makes me feel a bit better. But I'm incredibly sleepy all the time, congested, and exhausted.

I'm working 3 full days this week as well, which is tough under the circumstances. I have switched to alternating 2 days one week and 3 the next, with my mom watching the kids every other Friday instead of paying for day care 4 hrs each Friday. I think that will work really well in the long run, but it's hard this week with this rotten cold.


In other news, I have decided not to coach TNT for the spring. I had totally planned on it, but at the last minute I just decided it was too much. I've been on overdrive for too long, and I need some rest. I do feel a little guilty, because I really love doing it, and it's for such a good cause. But they have another marathon coach who was already planning on co-coaching w/me, so he can just go it alone; he's a really good coach and will be fine on his own. As much as I love LLS and TNT, and feel like I'm helping my dad when I do it, I just needed to have some more time with my family and more time to myself. I feel like it was the right decision, though it was hard to say no.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

professional race pics - Portland

Many of you may have seen these on FB. But here they are, in case you didn't. These are by far the best race pics I've seen. Very high quality - more pixels than the other commercial photographers, and better shots too. Well worth the $ to download all of them.


Well, this is not going to be a week for the record books. I missed 3 workouts (Tues - planned rest; Thursday - lack of sleep/sick kids/weird work hours; Sunday - sick myself). I ate a lot; Ghirardelli chocolate from San Francisco, seafood buffet at Zermatt on Friday, and other miscellany. But the lesson from this is that one bad week doesn't ruin everything. I will get back in the swing of things because it honestly feels crappy to be eating badly and not exercising much.

And yes, today, I feel sick. I slept until 7:45 am. I cannot remember the last time I slept that late. It just doesn't happen unless I'm sick. I did manage (after wasting enormous amounts of time on FB this morning) to drag my sorry butt over to work to fix my fish at 48 hr. Had to take the kids along, because we kept them out of church due to their fevers yesterday. Normally I'd have taken them to church because they seem fine this morning, but with the H1N1 thing I'm just being more cautious to avoid infecting anyone else.

The kids enjoyed looking at the zebrafish embryos and also seeing the fish in the larger fish room. Calvin was quite taken with the 72 hr embryos; you can see the heart pumping blood through the fish, and he said, "Mommy look at the blood vessels!".

Anyway, I'm not feeling great. No fever, but extreme fatigue and a sore throat. Perhaps the kids have just had a cold, not H1N1, and they gave it to me? I don't know, but whatever it is sucks. Normally I'd work out with just fatigue and sore throat, but this fatigue is pretty severe, and honestly, the stationary bike is not so fun under the best of circumstances, so an excuse to rest is not hard to find. I miss racewalking. 1 week down, 7 to go...

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Yeah, I think maybe Calvin has the flu. Bummer. I took the kids to get immunized on Wednesday, and Wednesday night Calvin spiked a fever (102). I figured it was the typical reaction to the vaccine; he got the live attenuated virus (Flu Mist), which I believe tends to provoke more reactions. Anyway, the next day we kept him out of day care, and he still had a fever. Friday, he seemed much better; no fever all day, so we went out to dinner. After dinner, he spiked another fever (>101). I gave him ibuprofen and this morning he seemed fine. I had to go to work for an hour and checked his temperature when I got home; it was 101.5. Ugh. Gave him some acetaminophen, and he did seem better. He's also had a dry cough, and today a new symptom: diarrhea, oh, and stuffy nose. 4 days of fever plus the other symptoms makes me pretty sure it's not just a vaccine reaction. Drat. Time and $ wasted on getting him the vaccine.

Both kids are napping now. Michelle has been fine so far. Maybe she won't get it? Dubious, but we could get lucky. So far, Loren and I are feeling fine too.

time off

It's odd to have time off from racewalking. I'm still trying to adjust to it, though I have actually been taking time off since the Portland Marathon 10/4, with the notable exception of 2 "workouts": 1) TNT workout on 10/11, and 2) Nike Women's Marathon on 10/18. Other than that, I have been doing bike, elliptical, and weights.

After Nike, I have decided to forego elliptical for a month. Gulp. That's the cardio machine I find most tolerable, even fun. But it's weight bearing, and though my doc said it was OK, I just have a feeling about it. That sounds superstitious. Let me clarify: when I do it, I notice my foot. My foot doesn't hurt, ache or anything like that. It's just that I notice that it's a bit warm, tingly, something. And I don't want to notice anything. So, I'm going to avoid the elliptical for a month of my two months off.

That leaves biking (too cold in the morning right now! I'm a biking wimp!), stationary biking (boring, and hard work, but at least I can read while I do it), or swimming (boring, but doesn't feel as hard as biking). If any of you have other suggestions, I'm open to them. Oh, and of course my weight training (but no calf raises for me!).

Yesterday I actually did the stationary bike for an hour. I admit that I watched the clock for the whole time; however, the fact that I could read while doing it made it ever-so-much-more-tolerable. This morning I was shorter on time so I biked for 40 min. I could swim, but right now only the outdoor pool is open due to repairs to the indoor pool, and I'd rather swim inside in this weather. I know, when the water is warm it really doesn't matter, but it's just a mental thing. The indoor pool is slated to open on Monday, but even then, I'm not sure I want to swim. It takes longer to get ready, it's just as boring as the bike, and I can't read or listen to music while I do it. I suppose I'll probably do some swimming when I get bored enough with the bike, though.

I don't want to sound too negative. Actually, I feel lucky that I can still work out and that I'm healthy and maintaining my weight. And I do feel better after riding the bike than if I didn't do anything at all. It sure is making me appreciate racewalking that much more. 1 week down, 7 to go :).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nike Women's Marathon - October 18, 2009

I coached Nike on Sunday, and it was a great experience. The weather was perfect for running/racewalking/walking. I'm not sure of the exact temperatures, but it FELT like mid 50s to low 60s, and it was overcast/foggy to start. The fog lifted and the sun did come out for a bit, but then it was overcast again at the finish. I wore my Race Ready compression shorts (spandex! ;)!)
From Nike_Women's_Marathon
packed full of Swedish fish, Gu, jelly belly sports beans, body glide, a camera, my phone, a list of my participants, and my hotel key. I did get a photo of the shorts --- I felt like a pack mule with all that stuff in there! I also wore a long sleeve shirt over my TNT short sleeve shirt, because I knew I'd be going slowly at the start. I wish I'd had my gloves too. I thought it was warm enough to do without them, but my hands were cold for the first several hours, even when racewalking. They did eventually warm up, and it was warmer than last year, thankfully, so it wasn't too bad.

From Nike_Women's_Marathon
I started w/the early start (5:30 am) walkers; I had 4. I got lucky enough to spot John "The Penguin" Bingham at the entrance to the early start corral, and snagged a photo op :). I enjoyed the relative calm of the early start, with only a few hundred people instead of 20,000.

Soon we were off, and I walked slowly for 2.5 miles with the group. My first 2 early starters did plan to run a bit, so they began to run after a few miles, and I racewalked them up the big hill in the Presidio at mile 6.5-8. Then I went back to help my other 2 walkers up the hill. Even though I had a COACH bib, people kept telling me I was going the wrong way. That always happens, and it always amuses me :). I walked them up the hill for quite a while, all the way to about mile 9ish. About that time I knew I needed to go back for my runners who had started at 7 am.

I walked back down to mile 8, and after 5-10 minutes I saw my first runner, Stephanie. I ran with her (she does 8:30-9 min miles to start, then slows down, and she was going pretty fast up the hill) up to about mile 9 or 9.5, and told her I'd see her later (she's a full marathoner). Then I went back down the hill and soon after met Wendy, who was having knee pain (arthritis) and said "DON'T RUN WITH ME! I NEED TO CONCENTRATE!". She is usually really nice so I knew she must be hurting, but she didn't want any help, so I wished her good luck and let her go.

From Nike_Women's_Marathon
A few minutes later I saw Cara, and knew that the next runners would be quite a ways behind her, so I went with her for about 4 miles or so. I ran up the hill with her and then racewalked down at mile 10, where we ran into my friend and fellow coach Glen. My left foot started to hurt at this point - more than in Portland, probably due to the hills and the running. Oh well. Not much to be done about it, so I kept going. At mile 11 in the park, I left Cara to take a shortcut, since I'd already done about 16 miles. She was looking good so I told her I'd meet her at mile 12.

I saw Wendy again and she still wanted to run alone, so I wished her well. I was hoping to see Stephanie again at this point (it was also mile 15 or so in the full marathon) but somehow missed her. So I waited for Cara and then racewalked with her for a bit, until she was about 0.3 miles from the finish. I congratulated her and then went back to try & see my full marathoners. I missed seeing Stephanie & Julie in the crowds here, but kept looking and saw Sue with her sister Nancy (Sue was doing the 1/2 with her, and then would help me with the full marathoners). I went with them for a bit, but then wanted to find Laurie, my last 1/2 marathoner. Soon she came into view and I racewalked her in to the finish.

From Nike_Women's_Marathon
I kept going back & forth on the stretch from mile 15-16.5 on the full marathon course a bunch of times, looking for people. I saw my early start walkers again, and also saw almost all of my slower runners. One of my runners had bad IT band trouble and had to switch to the 1/2 instead of the full; I saw her at just the right time, though, as she was in tears of pain and frustration. We stretched out a bit and she was able to walk some, and I talked to her about her options. It felt good to be able to help her, and to know exactly how it feels to have that sort of pain. I'm actually grateful for that injury now, because of the insight and sympathy I can have for someone else experiencing it.

Finally I found my last runner, Regan, and she was tight and sore. I suggested that we stop and stretch, and she was quite grateful for the help, because it hadn't occurred to her (you know, your brain just melts out there after a while!). We went from mile 16-18 and then stretched again. About mile 18.5 I saw Stephanie coming back toward us, but Sue had finished and was able to take her to the finish. I racewalked a bit longer with her, and then saw one of my early start walk/runners coming toward the finish, and since Sue was with Stephanie, I needed to go with her. I wished Regan the best and racewalked/walked with Sara for a mile or so until we ran into Sue, who took her to the finish after she finished w/Stephanie.

From Nike_Women's_Marathon
After that, I walked back and forth between miles 23.5 and 25.5 many times. I lost count, really, but at least the views were nice :). I'd take one person in and then go back for the next, cheering the other TNT people on as I went back, and looking out for those who were hurting. I really did love watching all of my participants as they neared the finish, and their courage was admirable in the face of adversity as they gritted out the last few difficult miles. Finishing a marathon is never easy.

Others I saw on the course: Walkin' Tom (a regular TNT participant whose blog I read), my participant Danielle's mom Judy and sister Sondra (with TNT Central California) - I walked with them for a while several times, and my high school friend and fellow TNT coach Glen (coaching the Seattle TNTers). Oh, and Marshall, an ultrawalker whose blog I also read, saw me on the course and introduced himself; he's a TNT coach, too. It was a lot of fun to connect with all these people, however briefly!

By the time I brought in my last runner, I'd logged 29.5 miles. Some of it running (4 miles?), some walking slowly (8-10 miles?) and the rest racewalking. My left foot was sore, but it wasn't anywhere near as bad as after Portland-to-Coast; the worst part was that the top of it was rubbing my shoe and I got a nasty bruise from the pressure. I am going to talk to my orthotist about that and see if he can alter them a bit to help with that - it's from the thickness of the orthotics, but for some reason only bothers my left foot. Other than that, and being a bit tired, I felt pretty good. Oh, almost forgot... my right IT band was pretty sore but it didn't hurt until AFTER I was done. That was weird. The whole rest of Sunday it bothered me a bit, but on Monday it was fine, so no biggie. I figure it was the running on the hills that did it. I will need to keep up with my physical therapy for my hips to keep that monster at bay.

As for recovery, I had some stiffness and a bit of muscle soreness on Monday & Tuesday, but today I'm feeling pretty good. I managed a little on the exercise bike on Monday, just to loosen things up, and that helped. Yesterday I rested, and today I did 40 min on the bike plus some easy weights, which felt terrific.

Now begins my 2 months of rest. I'll miss racewalking a lot, but I know I need to do this so I can race next year. It will be a new challenge to meet, staying active without my favorite sport. However, I think the time will fly by as I take care of other areas of my life that have been a bit neglected. I'm actually relieved that marathon season is over. It was a lot of miles, and a lot of time, and a lot of training, and I need a respite.

More race photos here.

Photos from the rest of my weekend here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

San Francisco, here I come!

Packing for my trip to SF. Leaving tomorrow morning early to fly into Oakland with the team. We'll stay through Monday morning; the race is Sunday morning.

Weather --- patchy fog, low 55, high 66 forecast for race day. Sounds good. I'll have to dress warmly, though, because I'll be with the walkers for a while I'm sure, and I don't want to get too cold at the end of the race. I'll definitely check a gear bag with some warm stuff :).


exercise this morning: 30' stationary bike, 30' elliptical trainer. I discovered that I can READ while I do both of them! I thought reading on the bike might be possible, but figured I'd bounce too much on the elliptical. Not so! I finished a book this morning :) and look forward to much more reading during my enforced break from racewalking.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

different personas

I am inspired by this post. She writes it because she feels she uses her "4 personas" to hide behind; that's not really my personality (I don't think it is anyway), but I do feel that I have such divergent interests that I'm not sure how they all fit together into one person. I wish my interests blended a bit better. The transitions are not so smooth; I'm not sure if that matters, but it's weird.

I like Amy Grant's song "Hats" and I think that's what it's like - trying on so many different hats, and juggling them rapidly. It's not easy.

1. Molecular biologist - I love my work and I do get really absorbed in it. It's a time for me to exercise my brain, feel skilled at something, and have time with other adults who are doing the same. I like the challenges and revel in learning new things. I like making some money for the family, and I like contributing to general scientific knowledge. I like getting paid to work with expensive scientific equipment (i.e. confocal microscopes, etc.).

2. Mommy of preschoolers - this is the area I am weakest in. I'm not patient. I don't allow myself to relax enough with my kids. I get too busy and then don't give my kids enough time or energy. It's not that I am a bad mom, but I'm not sure I'm a good one.

2.5 Wife - I do a lot of stuff for my husband but our time together is stretched thin because of kids/work/obligations. I need to improve here. We do get a decent amount of dates, which helps, but the everyday stuff, the 5 minutes here and there, could be vastly improved upon.

3. Competitive racewalker - this is the one thing I really do just for ME. Yes, my work is for me, but it is also for the family (the money aspect) and for the boss. Racewalking is a space unto myself, and it's wonderful.

4. Coach - I love coaching TNT people. It's meaningful to see their progress and their joy at completing their event. I love that I am doing it for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, because then I feel I am doing something to fight the disease that my dad has.

5. Piano teacher/musician - this area of my life has gotten a bit squished by the other stuff lately. I do still have 4 students and enjoy teaching them, but I don't get to play much myself. I do play some for church, but I miss serious chamber music and/or wind ensembles. Ah well, there is a time for everything, and right now is not the time for the musician stuff I guess.

My goal for the next few months? I'm going to be racewalking and training less while my foot heals. I want to focus on being a better mommy & wife. So I'm going to do Play-doh with my son for a bit right now :).

what we've been up to

It's been busier than usual at our house. Don't know why, but I'm posting the details of the days so you can get an idea of the insanity. Sorry if it's boring!

Monday was Loren's 40th birthday, and he had the day off from work (Columbus Day) because he's a federal employee. I spent the morning doing the usual stuff: grocery shopping, house cleaning, laundry, and some errands. I also made some kielbasa bean soup in the crock pot for dinner. In the afternoon, during Michelle's nap, I went to get Loren a present. Last minute, I know, but I knew what he wanted and it was easy to get (I got him a wireless grill thermometer). Then I baked him a coconut cake (which was amazing; 2nd time I've made it and just as good as the 1st time) and made cornbread to go with the soup for dinner.

We enjoyed a great birthday meal with my parents and the kids. After dinner I had to rush off to my Weight Watchers meeting (up 2.4 lb; not surprising since I always gain after a big race - and besides, I've been eating a lot of cake!). I received a Lifetime key award for keeping my weight under my goal weight for at least 10 months this year (10/10 so far, and it will be 12/12 soon!). It was a good meeting - we set new goals, got refocused, and I got to tell everyone about my Portland Marathon victory :). Finally, I went to our church women's group meeting; we're discussing a really great book and I loved the meeting even though I was pretty thrashed from the busy day.

Yesterday I worked for 6.5 hrs, and then left to go to my parents' house and help unload the first of 3 containers with their stuff in it. It took us about 1.5 hrs to unload it all, and that was a serious weight training workout. Lots of lifting: boxes, furniture, garden implements, etc.

Today I woke at 5 am to get my parents to the airport by 5:35 am, and then went to work for 2.5 hrs. After work, I taught 2 piano lessons, and then took the kids on some errands. First to the thrift store to get some Halloween costumes for them (Calvin will be a dog; Michelle will be Cinderella), then to the bank to deposit some checks, then to the shoe store to get the kids some socks and shoes, then to Kohl's ($10 discount coupon :)!) to get shoes for myself and a birthday present for Calvin's friend.

I was loathe to buy a pair of shoes, but I had to. My orthotics do not fit in my old model of RW shoes (the shoes rub the top of my L foot when wearing them) and I want to save my new model of RW shoes for RW and not for walking around in. Grrrr. So I got some New Balance 556, which I think actually might work for RW, too. However, I'm just going to use them to wear for everyday use, since the orthotics fit well in them. They feel good so far.

Exercise this week: Monday morning 1 hr on the elliptical (doc said this would be OK for resting my foot since I can do it flat-footed); Tuesday morning 45 min on the elliptical; Today - rest day, because I was taking my parents to the airport instead of hitting the gym (which doesn't open until 5 am) and then I had to go to work from 6-8:30. I might be able to get in something tonight, but not likely. A rest day won't hurt, since I'm going to go to San Francisco this weekend to coach the Nike Women's Marathon. I'll likely do at least 26 miles on Sunday... poor foot. I have been resting it (except for TNT workout last Saturday) and it's feeling OK, but I really need to REST it for a period of weeks on end. Soon, foot, I promise. Very soon. Just gotta get through this weekend.

I need a nap now to make it through the day after getting up earlier than usual. After that we still need to get flu shots, make dinner, and go to Costco. Too much to do, and too little time.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

healing the foot

So, I have been good to my foot this week: exercise has been 1) stationary biking, 2) weight training, 3) elliptical trainer. I e-mailed my doc and she said all that stuff was just fine. She also said to take 2 months off from RW :(. Sad me :( but I plan to do it, after Nike Women's Marathon is over next week (I have to coach it, which will involve a lot of miles most likely). Oh, yeah, I did do 7.4 this morning with the team, but that was the first I'd RW all week, and I needed to be out there with them - it was our last workout together before the race.

I can take off from next Monday (the 19th) through early December, as the team starts Saturday workouts then for spring marathons. Fortunately, I can go VERY easy then because we'll start with 3 miles and build up very gradually; spring is the longest TNT season. I can just do the few miles on Saturdays and do other stuff during the week, and then in mid-December start to add more RW on other days. This is going to be hard - I will miss RW a lot!, but it will be OK.

I will rest well and be really good to my foot. I want to be 100% by March for the 20K in Huntington Beach, CA, which will be my next race if they are still offering the $200 prize for first female Master's (40+). Yes, I'll be 40 about a week before the race, so that's my present to myself :).

non-racewalking stuff

miscellaneous stuff:

Had Calvin's 5th b-day party tonight at the Splash Zone. It was a ton of fun for the kids - they all seemed to be having a great time. I was busy keeping things humming and trying to make sure everything happened smoothly. My feet were quite tired by the end, as I stood most of the time. Heck, forget just my feet being tired. My whole self is tired. Not enough sleep all week and too much excitement.


Got our car back from the shop yesterday. $3563 or something like that for backing into a concrete post :(. Ugh. I hadn't had an accident in 20 years, so I guess it could be worse, and at least we had collision. $1000 deductible though, and now my rates are sure to go up :(. Oh well. The car looks good now. I did lose my mudflap girl reading sticker that Sarah gave me for my b-day last year :( because it was on the rear window that imploded. I think I might have to get another one, along with a 26.2 sticker. I finally talked Loren into letting me put one on the car :).


Weight stuff: I haven't blogged about this in a while, probably because it's been going really well. After Portland-to-Coast I gained like 10 lb but as I suspected it was mostly water weight, and a few weeks later I had lost it and then some. Before the Portland Marathon I got down to 144, pretty much my lowest weight ever; I'd been down to 145 for a while, but never really to 144. I would like to be able to get to 140 and see how it affects my racing speed, but I just can't seem to be that disciplined. It's REALLY hard to get my weight much lower. My body fat was measured at 17% (in the Bod Pod) when I was 145 a couple summers ago, and that's pretty darn lean, so I think it's good enough :).

This week I've relaxed a little but still within maintenance points; I want to have a good weigh-in on Monday :). I expect to have my 10th month this year under my goal weight, and by doing so I will earn another Lifetime key, which I am really excited about! 10/14 is my 3rd anniversary at my goal weight, and Thanksgiving weekend is my 3rd anniversary at Lifetime. Happy me :)!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

detailed Portland Marathon recap

I said earlier that I'd post more race details for those who are interested. If that's not your thing, then just skip this very long post (except for Sara Z., who needs to at least read through the first few paragraphs :)!). Otherwise, read on!

I was staying at the Hilton (the race hotel, something like 3-4 blocks from the start) with my friend Leah. The night before the race, we ate at the pasta buffet at the race hotel. It was pretty good food for $21 and no fuss, which was what we wanted. We were not in the mood to tromp all over the city and/or wait an hour for a table. We were a bit tired (we'd taken a 4 hr van tour of the Columbia Gorge, which was great!) and just wanted to eat and get to bed early. I ate a moderate amount and felt just satisfied, not overly full. Perfect.

After dinner, we just went upstairs to our room and laid out all our race stuff. I'm always surprised at how long it takes to set out my clothes, pin on my bib (in this case BIBS, because racewalkers have to have one on the front and one on the back), and get out all the other stuff you need for the race: nutrition items (gels, Swedish fish, and jelly beans this time), body glide, phone, camera (yes, I do carry a camera (4 oz) when I race!), lip balm, sunscreen, gloves. By now I have set pockets in my Race Ready shorts that I tend to use for various items. The phone goes all the way to the left, the camera to the right, then the gels etc. in the middle pockets. I should have taken a photo of my pockets full of stuff :)!

I called Loren and we chatted about our days. Then I called my parents (who were last-minute packing for their move here from San Diego) to see how things were going. My sister-in-law texted me a good luck message including the words "killer instinct" :) which was to come in handy later. Finally, I got in bed and relaxed a bit by reading the rest of my friend Sara's excellent book. I was only going to read for about 5-10 min (it was 9 pm), but it was good and I didn't want to put it down! It took me about 25 min to finish the book, and it was lights out at 9:25 pm.

We had set the alarm for 5:45 am, because we were going to meet our friend Beth in the hotel lobby at 6:25, and wanted to be sure we had plenty of time. However, both Leah and I woke up around 4:45 am due to a combination of the time zone difference and nerves. I had slept well from 9:25 pm to about 3 am, and after that I woke a few times. I never sleep very well the night before a race, and it seems to be OK, so I didn't worry.

I was surprisingly calm as we got ready. I felt focused and sharp rather than anxiety ridden. When anxious thoughts crept in, I banished them and thought about the "killer instinct" and about how I was determined to WIN.

I had a nice warm fleece that I'd gotten for $1.50 at Thrift Town to wear to the start. Good thing. It was cold (about 45F, 7C) and damp, but calm. I had debated whether to wear long sleeves or short sleeves for the race, because the weather was supposed to be from 45-55F in the morning and partly cloudy. Normally below 50 I wear long sleeves and gloves. I opted for the long sleeve, because my shirt had sleeves that would stay up if I pushed them up, so I figured it would work (this was good; the sleeves were down some and up some during the race, and it was perfect). Of course, for the judged racewalk I had to wear shorts so the judges could see my knees, but I knew my legs would be all right. I did wear gloves - a cheapie pair that I wouldn't mind if I lost one or threw them out. I was glad I had them and wore them on and off until mile 18 or so, at which point I just tucked them in my shorts and left them there.

We walked over to the start and still had about 15 min before the race start at 7 am, so we chatted a bit and then I wanted to line up between the 4:30 and 4:45 pace groups, so I said goodbye to Leah and Beth (who were going to start farther back) and moved into place. I chatted with a few Team in Training participants who were lined up near me, to distract myself and avoid nerves. It was working - my heart rate was only in the upper 80s-low 90s - pretty calm for before a race. I just felt focused determination when I thought about the task ahead.

The gun went off, and we moved forward slowly. My gun time was 6:10 ahead of my watch time at the finish, so it did take a little bit to reach the starting line. But there was little congestion, and right from the start I was able to racewalk pretty close to how fast I wanted to go. There were a couple times I was slowed, but it wasn't too bad; my time was 10:43 at mile 1. My heart rate monitor was going nuts (not sure why - it never does that, and it's matched to my watch so not supposed to interfere w/others) and reading as high as 184, so I just ignored it for the moment and focused on my breathing and how I felt.

I did the second mile in 10:28. Sometime during that mile, Katie passed me. She tapped me on my left shoulder as she went by, and we wished each other good luck. She is a true competitor and a person of integrity. I have the highest respect for her racing ability (she'd beaten me twice the previous summer!). I wasn't worried that she passed me, though, because she likes to go out fast, and I knew I couldn't do that and still finish well, so I hung back and followed my race plan. I was thinking to do about 2:20 for the half marathon, and then see if I could do the same or even a minute or 2 faster for the full, for a 4:40 or less if I had a good day. I figured that Katie would slow down later and I would possibly have a chance to catch her then, if I was feeling OK at that point. I knew she would be a tough competitor and wouldn't give any ground, though. So it is with all respect for my friend that I write what I was thinking from that point on; I was doing what I had to mentally to stay tough. A quote from one of my favorite movies, Gone With The Wind, came to mind. Here's the context:

Scarlett: Atlanta!
Mammy: Savannah would be better for ya. You'd just get in trouble in Atlanta.
Scarlett: What trouble are you talking about?
Mammy: You know what trouble I's talkin' 'bout. I's talking 'bout Mr. Ashley Wilkes. He'll be comin' to Atlanta when he gets his leave, and you sittin' there waitin' for him, just like a spider. He belongs to Miss Melanie...
Scarlett: You go pack my things like Mother said.

When Mammy says "Just like a spider" it comes out "Jes' like a SPIDER" and she says spider with such a great tone in her voice. I love it. I felt like I was going to hang back in the race and wait for Katie "Jes' like a spider".

And wait I did --- for 19 long miles.

For miles 1-5 I tried to just hold my pace and relax. There was a good hill from mile 2-3; I did mile 3 in 10:51 and then the mile 4 downhill in 10:13. I think mile 5 was a little downhill, too, because I didn't push very hard and did it in 10:12. Then we settled into a flat area along the waterfront and I did mile 6 in 10:32, and reached 10K in 1:05:17 according to my chip on the website (they seem to have found my splits and have them posted; they are all correct except my finish chip time = my finish gun time, not right). OK, that was about 45 sec fast for the 10K, but I figured that was fine. I didn't want to waste myself, but I didn't want to get too far behind, either.

Entering the industrial section from miles 7-11 I stayed calm, listened to my music, and just focused. There were lots of bands and entertainment, but I was totally in my zone, so didn't pay too much attention to anything else. It was weird - you wonder what you think about for the hours of a marathon, but I basically thought about my pace (staying relaxed & even), my form (staying efficient & legal), my race strategy (not going too hard to start), and my steely determination to win the race. I sometimes thought about my music - the stuff I chose was good for keeping me going. I did enjoy the new sights of a new city, but only peripherally. It was just odd how focused I was. Splits for the next miles were 10:53 (mile 7), 10:21 (mile 8), 10:57 (mile 9), 10:29 (mile 10) and 10:26 (mile 11). I wonder if the mile markers were right, because I was trying to be steady and didn't think I got so much slower in miles 7 & 9 vs. the others.

Miles 7-11 were an out-and-back section, which was helpful. I was scanning the returning runners to try & see Katie and learn how far ahead she was. I finally saw her about mile 8.9 and noted her position; when I got there I calculated she was something like 3 minutes ahead of me. That seemed about right, I figured, because if she slowed later (which I thought she'd have to - she was on pace for a blistering first half - her chip says she did 2:15:30), 3 minutes was not too much to make up. I relaxed a bit and stayed with my plan.

Mile 12 had a long, gradual hill, but was through some interesting residential areas with some good spectators. I did it in 11:05, and then enjoyed the downhill in mile 13, which I got to in 10:20. At the 1/2 marathon, my watch said 2:18:44 (chip 2:18:45 on the website). I was slightly concerned because I was a minute faster than I'd planned, but I felt good, and didn't worry about it much - just stayed in the zone.

Miles 13-16 were along St Helens Rd, which is industrial on the right (rail yards) but pretty forest on the left. I looked at the forest and tried to keep my pace even on this flat part. I didn't feel tired yet, and my foot was feeling fine. [Oh yeah, I DID wear my orthotics --- I discovered that if I wore my largest shoes and put a bandaid on top of my foot that they did not rub much, and the orthotics really did help my foot feel better. I did NOT wear the lidocaine patch as it just slid around too much and bugged me; I figured the adrenaline would do pain relief for me]. Mile 14 was in 10:35, mile 15 in 10:22, and mile 16 in 10:58. Mile 16 was a little slower because there was a little bit of a hill before the big one started at mile 16.5.

Somewhere in here my foot started to ache a bit more, and it was noticeably achy from here until the finish, although it was never really painful and it certainly didn't hinder my race at all. I think the uphill might have bothered it a bit, as the toe push is the most difficult thing with this injury.

Thankfully for my sore foot, the course is really very flat with just 3 hills of note, but the biggest is up to St. John's Bridge at mile 16.5-17. It's not too long, but it is pretty steep. My Garmin pace was reading anywhere from 12-14 min miles heading up that hill. I kept racewalking, just with smaller steps, and enjoyed passing lots of runners who were walking up the hill. One runner commented "you're a STUD!" as I passed :). Mile 17 was 11:39; not bad for that hill.

The views from the bridge were incredible. I have pictures here. Yes, I did whip out my camera but did NOT slow down much at all - I just kept right on going while I shot pictures. Coming off the bridge there is a downhill, but not as long as the uphill, because the course goes along a bluff on the other side of the river. Here I actually talked with a runner for a little bit - the only person I really talked to during the race, as I was very focused. But he asked me something about RWing and I really wanted to promote the sport :). I did mile 18 in 10:22, with the downhill and then slight uphill to the bluff.

By this time I was really wondering where Katie was. I kept looking for her going up the bridge hill and over the bridge, thinking I might be able to spot her. But no luck. She was having a good, fast race, I figured, but I still stuck with my plan and didn't speed up too much; I just tried to hold my pace here and figured I'd do fast miles to finish, just like in my long training walks. And then...I saw her! Distinctive RW gait, blue tank top, yup, it was her! I was about 0.1 mile (or less?) behind her at mile 19, but she wasn't going very fast (about 11:00/mile?) so I caught up relatively quickly. I stayed about 20 ft behind her for a couple miles, because I didn't want her to know I was there quite yet. I don't know much about race strategy, so I was feeling a bit nervous at this point and not sure what to do. I didn't want to pass until I could pass convincingly and hold on to the finish, so I decided to wait for a bit. I did mile 19 in 10:46 and mile 20 in 10:48, staying just behind her.

Then our friend Lisa (from our Portland-to-Coast team) showed up between miles 20-21 to RW with Katie to the finish. I had no idea she was coming, and was surprised and hoped she didn't see me. But pretty soon she did see me, because I was close, and she kept getting ahead of Katie and would look back for Katie. When she saw me, she told Katie I was there, and Katie sped up right there, at the mile 21 marker. My mile 21 split was 11:00 (following Katie's pace before she spotted me).

Things got very interesting. Katie did mile 22 in 10:07 and mile 23 in 10:16, and I just stayed right with her. I was working hard, but knew I had a little more to give. Yes, I was tired (who wouldn't be at mile 23?), and my legs hurt, but I had practiced speeding up at the end of my long racewalks, and I was prepared to do it now. I kept wondering when to make my move. There was a nice downhill from mile 22-23, and it got even steeper downhill from mile 23-24. That was when I decided to go for it. I was thinking of what my sister-in-law said about "killer instinct", and since there was only 5K to go, I figured I could hold on to the finish and grit it out. So I passed her, and as I did I said something like, "You are amazing - this is a GREAT race!", meaning it with all my heart. After that, I went as hard as I possibly could for the next mile and did not look back at all. The downhill was followed by a short uphill, which felt like forever at that point. Everything was hurting - legs, obliques, lungs - but I didn't care. All I wanted to do was to win the race. I powered up the hill, hoping that if I went fast enough I could build a lead that would hold to the finish. I got to mile 24 in 10:02, my fastest split of the race.

At mile 24, there was a curve in the road and I dared to glance back. I could see back a few tenths maybe, and I could not see Katie or Lisa. But I was still scared that she would be able to catch me somehow. I didn't have much left in the tank, and pushed as hard as I could for the next 2.2 miles. It was very painful; I have never worked so hard. My ave HR ranged from 168-170 (88.5% max) at the end of the race, with a max of 173, which is less than in a 5K (where I usually see as much as 177 peak), but for the end of a marathon, those are high numbers for me. It's above lactate threshold, so the lactic acid was starting to build up in my muscles. I felt it - a lot - but kept going. I switched to breathing more frequently, and felt the soreness in every muscle. My pace did suffer at this point; the fast three miles from 21 to 24 had taken its toll. I got to mile 25 in 10:43 and mile 26 in 10:51, and the last 0.2 was the slowest of all at 2:26.

There were a ton of spectators in the last 0.5-1 mile, and they were all cheering a lot and saying my name (on my bib). It helped, but I was in such obvious agony that some of them looked as if they were wondering if I was going to make it. I just pushed through it all and was grateful for the support; as I rounded the last curve before the last 0.2 I looked back and did not see Katie. At that point I dared to think that I really might win, and as I crossed the finish line I held my hands over my head in victory. After stopping my watch, I slowed, and my legs almost buckled. They felt like Jell-O. I have never pushed that much in a race - good (and a bit scary) to know that I can push that hard. If it wasn't for how amazing Katie is and how hard she went, I would never in a million years have pushed that hard.

I received my medal & space blanket and waited for her to come. I pulled out my camera to get some photos of her crossing the finish line. After she crossed, we high-fived, hugged, and were both so glad it was over. We congratulated each other and told each other we'd never have gone so fast without the other there. She was very gracious in her congratulations to me, and showed true character in saying, "I'm just glad that if someone had to beat me that it was you". I really admire her sportsmanship and fitness; it would be a pleasure to race her again, because we are so well-matched that the outcome would never be certain, and we'd push each other to be our best. I finished in 4:38:27 (by my watch - I still do not have my official final chip time, which will be really close to that), and Katie in 4:40:45ish (the seconds might not be right on her time) by her watch. These were new PRs for both of us, and it felt great.

We had someone take our picture and then got some food and we hung out sitting on the sidewalk for a while. I guess we must have looked pretty awful, because a volunteer said "Are you guys OK?" and got us some water. The volunteers were SO kind and helpful; one of them offered to tie my space blanket around my shoulders so it would be easier to carry my food.

After we ate something, we got our T-shirts, roses, and tree seedlings (they give all that to each finisher!), and then walked to near where Katie was parked; she was going home to sleep. I found my way back to my hotel, walking slowly and painfully, and took a shower before heading over to the awards ceremony. The chief judge told me she didn't have my results at all, so I told her what my watch said; she said she'd try to find out what was going on w/my timing. She also said that the RW judging sheets wouldn't be complete for a while, so they would just mail all the RW awards.

I was fine w/that and returned to my hotel for an ice bath to soothe my tired legs. I hate ice baths, but they really do help with the inflammation. I made a few phone calls to friends and family to let them know about my new PR & the victory, and then Leah got back from the race. She and Beth had finished in 6:23 and were quite pleased. Pretty soon I had to head to the airport to catch my plane. What a truly amazing experience!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

It's REALLY official now!

Portland Marathon website now has me listed as the winner! YAY!

Just click results and then click Marathon Race Walk in the drop-down at left. My bib is correct as 12002 now.

The finish time is gun time, not chip time, but that's fine (as apparently the awards are based on gun time)... and Katie was 2 min behind me, not 1 sec; though they are right that it was a close and good race :). It's fixed well enough and I'm very pleased they did it so quickly. Oh, and they found some split times for me (click my name to see them). I have no idea where they got them, but at least some of them seem to be right - I had my 1/2 marathon split as 2:18:44 on my watch, and they have 2:18:45! Cool!

Monday, October 05, 2009

everything hurts

I think every muscle in my body hurts, but in a good I-worked-really-hard way. I'm also up too late. I intended to blog some more about the race but I still have a house full of relatives here (which is fun!) so I got too busy today to do it. Maybe tomorrow night? Oh, and my foot? A bit sore today but not too bad. I will take it easy on it this week. NO racewalking until Saturday's TNT workout, and then only for a few miles.


Did 20 min on the stationary bike today, just to loosen things up. Then I spent a long time stretching, and did a few abs w/my weight training class. It felt good to work a few muscles, gently.


Got word late this afternoon that I was NOT DQ'd, and that the reason my race results are not showing is that I had some sort of timing chip malfunction. The very kind e-mail from the chief judge confirmed that I did cross the finish line first for the win, and that I will receive the proper award next month. Yay! It is not the marathon's fault, but rather the timing company. The marathon people have been great & they have promised to fix things.

Hopefully they will remember to fix the results on the website too. I wrote back to thank them for their help and to remind them to take care of the website problem. I'm just VERY relieved that it is now really official :). Yay!!!!! Now I'm going to SLEEP!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Portland marathon - brief version - more to come later, I promise!

Photo: Katie & I at the finish

After my disappointing 4:59:49 at Nike last year, I have been wanting to do another marathon to prove to myself that I could do better. And after losing to Katie by 1 sec in the 5K and 7 seconds in the 10K at the National Master's Championships in Spokane last summer, I thought another race with her would be a lot of fun and an amazing challenge. It was!

I'm tired so here it is in a nutshell:
Good weather (overcast & about 45-55 degrees). Uneventful start. Saw Katie at mile 1.5 (she passed me, and I let her go, not wanting to go faster than I was). My time at the 1/2 marathon was 2:18:44; I'd planned on a 2:20 at the half but felt good so pushed the pace a little so I could try to stay closer to Katie (couldn't see her though). Hill up the bridge wasn't as bad as I thought; yeah, it was hard, but I did fine. The view was amazing up there, too. Was getting worried then finally saw Katie at mile 19. Stayed with her (close, maybe 10-20 feet?) until mile 21; she saw me about then and sped up. I sped up too, and we were together until mile 23 when I finally decided to just lay it all out there and pass her. I did mile 23-24 in something crazy like 10:02 (have to download Garmin data to be sure - will do in the morning) and did not look back until mile 24, and then could not see Katie. Was dying, so tired, but nervous she'd catch me so just hung on for dear life doing probably a 10:43 and 10:50 for miles 24-25 and 25-26, then 2:25(?) on the slight uphill for the 0.2. SO excited to cross the finish and know I'd won!!! Time 4:38:27 on my watch; 4:44:xx gun time (which is how the racewalk results are reported on the website).

I waited for Katie to finish, and she finished in 4:46:xx, just 2 minutes behind me. She was SO gracious and we enjoyed hanging out and getting food, then sitting together and chatting and eating. She won the Master's female RW and I won the Open division. That is, if they ever figure out my results - they are NOT on the website because of an error somewhere. I think maybe my chip malfunctioned. Katie sent me a VERY kind e-mail saying she'd go to bat for me and make sure they got my results up there. WOW. What a friend! We both agreed that we NEVER would have gone so fast at the end if it were not for the other person being there to push us; and we both got new PRs. Awesome

Additional race photos AND video :) here.

Thursday, October 01, 2009


It was COLD this morning. As my friend Ollie says, "spandex season" is here. Time to get out the running tights, the long sleeve shirts, the gloves, fleece ear warmer, etc. A cold front with lots of rain came through and the high was probably in the upper 40s yesterday, and this morning my thermometer said 36F (2C) when I walked out the door. (I'm glad it didn't freeze, because I want my tomatoes to keep going for a few more weeks!).

Actually, with all my gear on, I was plenty warm and it was a perfect morning for a racewalk. It was dry and clear, and very beautiful. The first mile felt a little sluggish, and my foot hurt. It's been hurting more this week, probably because I have not been wearing my new orthotics. I really felt like they were helping a lot. Too bad that they don't fit right in my RW shoes and that I don't have time to figure all that out before the race. I digress.

By the second mile, I was starting to feel much better; my gait eased into a good rhythm, my foot felt better, and I was enjoying my day. I love racewalking so much! I'm going to really miss it when I have to do something else for a bit to allow my foot to heal. I still haven't decided what that something else is going to be or which gym to join (the U Field House or Steiner), but I'll figure it out. I really like the elliptical, but it might be too weight-bearing to allow for full recovery. I think I will e-mail my PT and ask his opinion.

Totals: 3.94 miles (6.32km) in 41:02 for 10:25/mile. Same route as Monday, but a minute slower.