Saturday, November 7, 2009

Getting Caught Up

Hello again. I thought I better get a new blog entry up before people started to think I dropped off the face of the earth. In a way, I did. I was pretty discouraged after Leadville and I quit running for 6 weeks. Started physical therapy on the ITB with some good results. It's been awhile since I haven't run for that long and I needed something to fill the time usually spent running and to take my mind off not being able to run. So I discovered P90X with Tony Horton.

P90X has become more popular among firefighters lately and that's how I discovered it. Seems firefighters are commited either to Cross-Fit or P90X (ultrarunner Catra Corbett is hooked on Cross-fit). For those who don't know, P90X is a 90 day workout system incorporating a lot of old fashioned exercises like pull ups and push ups, free weights, and cardio. It's made up of 12 DVD's, each lasting about 1 hour and you just follow the plan and do the prescribed workout on the right day and at the end of 90 days you'll be "ripped" (according to Tony).

I'm on Week 9 and although I'll never show "before" and "after" pictures (plus I still have 3 weeks to go), I know I'm getting into better shape. The push ups and pull ups have been great since I've always been weak in my upper body. I use pull up assist bands and I've been able to progressively use thinner bands as I've gotten stronger. You just put the band in a clove hitch around the pull up bar and stick your foot or knee into the band and the elastic helps "assist" you.

In addition to the P90X, I've gotten back on my road and mountain bikes to help keep up my fitness since the San Francisco Nike Womens marathon was looming on the horizon. Every year my cousin and I run a marathon together and this was to be our third year. However, she just had a baby in the spring and is dealing with some slight injuries and with my ITB problems we made the prudent decision to run the half marathon instead.

So my build up to the half marathon consisted of 7 weeks of no running, P90X, and bike riding. I finally decided to test myself before the race by running 2 miles the Friday before the race and 1 mile the day before and I was delighted to be pain free.

The hubby had to work all weekend so it was an all girls weekend in SF (plus my cousin's husband who would be on kid duty while we ran. How cool is that?) We had adjoining rooms at the hotel so we could open the door between them and the girls loved running back and forth. We decided to help them burn off some more energy by walking the mile to the expo to pick up our race packets.
Meeting a new friend who also likes books

Luckily, Joey had run the half the year before so she knew the layout of the expo which helped get us through a little quicker. It had been a long day already of plane rides and driving so we decided to head straight back to the hotel. Plus we're not that thrilled with large crowds (it's a Davis thing).

Kids love small spaces

We had an early dinner then got our stuff ready for the next morning. It was such a relief knowing that it would be an easy walk to the start.

Sara helps Mommy get her stuff ready. Note the creative placement of the bottle tops

The next morning Joey and I headed out on our short walk to the start. As we got close we noticed a few people looking up into the dark sky saying "there's money falling from the sky". Yeah, right. But of course we looked up and holy smoke, there WAS money falling from the sky. Dollar bills floated down with the currents and we each caught one. We quickly decided that we are now elite runners since we got paid to race!

Money from the sky

20,000 women await the start
We found our pace group (at least a rough estimate of what we would be running). I enjoyed looking around at all the other runners, reading t-shirts, and wondering about all of their individual stories and what got them there on this beautiful SF morning. Finally the large group started moving and little did I know that eventual marathon winner Caitlin Smith (also incredible ultrarunner) would be almost 3 miles down the road before I even crossed the start line.

Over 17 minutes would pass before I got to the start line

Joey and I fell into an easy pace and soon we were on the Embarcadero. This is what I had been looking forward to the most. I love early morning runs along this route and into Fort Baker and Crissy Field whenever we visit the city. However, this morning the runners would own the roads and it was great. I was enjoying the sights and smells so much that I didn't take any pictures until we were almost to Ft. Baker.

We kept an easy pace, walked when we needed to, and I even e-mailed and texted my husband and mom on my phone to let them know the race had started and all was going well. My initial instinct is always to push myself as hard as I can but I quickly put those desires on hold and told myself that this isn't the race to do that. Today was about spending time with my cousin and enjoy a beautiful run together. But I was pretty happy with how good I felt. We'd hit an uphill and I literally felt like I was bounding up it effortlessly. I guess 6 weeks off running but good strong cross training can really keep the fitness up.

Descending to the Great Highway

After taking advantage of every aid station and its goodies (oranges, Luna Moons, Luna bars, Ghirardelli chocolate; I think we weighed more after the race then before) we found ourselves running the last couple miles through the forest of Golden Gate park. I was happy to turn right when the half marathon made its split because I had started feeling a little tightness in my ITB since mile 8. Nothing serious, just happy not to be running 26 miles.

We crossed the finish line together in 2:38:09. I could hear the announcer saying they were expecting the marathon winner shortly. Caitlin Smith won in 2:48. So she ran twice as far as we did and it only took her 10 minutes longer!!! Wow.

We made our way through the finishers chute, collecting lots of goodies, shirt, food, chocolate milk (yeah, my favorite) and mylar blanket. It was still sunny but the wind was chilly, especially as we cooled off from running.

3 years, 2.5 marathons (San Diego, Big Sur, SF half)

We caught the bus back to the start line and enjoyed the quick walk back to the hotel. Showers, packing, and we finally went our separate ways, already planning next years marathon. After 3 years on the California coast we may make our way to Utah next fall. I think that's the best part of this sport, always planning the next event. Thanks, Joey, for another great run. And thanks Andy for taking such good care of "all" your girls. You're the best.

And now just a final note about what life is like with a 5 year old. This is a conversation I had with Caitlyn just the other day. I was doing my P90X Kenpo workout while the girls were watching me. Since I can't see myself I'm not always positive I'm doing the moves correctly so I asked Caitlyn:

Me: Caitlyn, do I look like the people on tv?

Caitlyn: You look better than them.

Me: (feeling pretty smug)

Caitlyn: Mommy, you sure work out a lot.

Me: Why yes I do.

Caitlyn: Is that so you can get rid of the fat in your belly?

Me: (ego deflates). Yes, honey.


Anonymous said...

Cuz, this was a great weekend. Next year we will complete the full marathon (healthy). The girls had such a great time together. I know the rest of my kids are excited to see you all on Thanksgiving. PJ is getting ready for our 5K.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Great story. Loved all the pictures. Thanks for sharing. So glad you and Joey can run together and have fun. Thanks Andy for taking care of the 3 girls.Good job.
See you all soon. I am HUNGRY for TURKEY.!!! Love, Mom

Anonymous said...


Joyce said...

Stumbled on your blog while looking up the Christmas Day Run and what a surprise. Can't believe how big the girls are and how well you've done with your running. Seems like eons since we all ran Lake Tahoe when Caitlyn was just toddling. We're still running a bit, just finished Run to Feed the Hungry. The times weren't anything to write home about but it felt good to be out there.
Keep up the good work!
Joyce Wells