Sunday, October 29, 2006

Marathon Pics

Here are a few pics as promised.

Nike Marathon billboard on Union Square, right on the starting line.

Me (I'm the short one) and Sis near the start in front of the porta-potty oasis!

Almost to the finish!!!! We're gonna make it!!

I can't believe its been a week already since the marathon. I going to go on a little hike today and then start my post-marathon week 1 training (ala Hal on Tuesday).

Some things I learned from the Marathon:
  • Space Blankets are the bomb--even ones that you snatch from the garbage.
  • Bring your own source of water. We're glad we did. Those water stops didn't come soon enough!
  • Be prepared to have temporary "Alzheimers" after the race. Thank god my daughter had her brain! I just couldn't think straight.
  • Enjoy the crowds, but more importantly, support and talk to your fellow runners--I wish I had done this more during the race.
  • Don't sit down too soon after the race. Walk around a bit. I had to walk about a 1/4 mile to the bus shuttle and then a couple of blocks to the hotel. It helped me keep loose.
  • Do prop up those legs that evening and when you go to bed. I was very uncomfortable in my bed until I got my legs elevated.
Until next time speed racers!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Marathon Race Tome -- Part II -- WE FINISH!!!

After a few minutes Sis emerges from the bathroom and pronounces that she is feeling a bit better. She asked me what the new plan is. At this point we have 10 minutes in the bank, so I tell her that we need to at the very least we can't lose any minutes, and maybe should try to gain a few minutes until mile 20. She agrees and we head off.

Sis is still lagging behind and whenever I decide to slow down to let her catch up, I see her picking up her pace. I ask her if my pace is okay and she reminded me again that she will speak up if it's not.

The crowds were pretty light in Golden Gate Park. We did have a couple of groups kids lined up wanting to do some high-fives so that was a little pick me up.

Finally around mile 17, we were back on the Great Hwy and on the water. The fog lifted enough so we could see the crashing waves and the surfers out there doing their thing. Mile 17 & 18 went
okay, Sis kept up with me and I slowed my pace to around a 15 - 16 minute mile—which was fine by me at that point. Sis slowed down even further at the beginning of mile 19. I stopped and stretched a bit right near an aid station. She told me was getting dizzy and light headed again. I suggested that she go to the aid station and get her blood pressure checked and make sure all was well. At this point, we had already seen 2 ambulances pick up injured runners and I didn't want her to push it. She thought about it for a few seconds, but refused to get checked out. She didn't want to be pulled from the race involuntarily.

So she took another pottie break. A couple of minutes later, we're back to running.

At mile 20, we had about 10 minutes in the bank. I was getting pretty stiff and my knee was really affecting my gait. I was going so slow that it wasn't really hurting me, as long as I moved a certain way. That was fine by me...even if it meant not really bending my knee and sort of swinging my leg around instead of straight ahead. At this point, I couldn't go slower, Sis told me she was fine with me going ahead of her and then meeting up at the mile markers. I would have a few seconds (minutes sometimes) to stretch while she caught up.

From the Great hwy, we turned off and had to run around Lake Merced. Lake Merced is one freaking big lake; I couldn't see the path around it. This was the most difficult part of the run, it was pretty boring being without sis and there was a lot a traffic on the other side of the road. I didn't find it very scenic...but maybe I just couldn't see the beauty in much of anything at that point.

Around mile 21, a group of girls catched up to me and ask me if I have seen the girl with the striped socks. “uh...I haven't looked at anyone's socks in ages” I reply. They explain to me that they are the very same group of girls that overheard my challenge about beating the girl with the striped leg-warmers. Those TNT girls looked all the same to me at that point. I told them that I did pass her, but then found out she was only a half-marathoner.

The next 2 miles went about the same way. Sis lagging behind, and me stopping and stretching so she could catch up. I couldn't do the math anymore to figure out the banked minutes—it was more like me thinking, 4 miles to go and hour and a 20 minutes to do it.

After Eons I finally see the marker for mile 23...3 miles left--Even we can do that in our sorry states. I start yelling, to now one in particular—even Sis is not in shouting distance.


Needless to say, I got a few strange stares.

Sis catches up to me and we walk a bit together. “We do 3 milers all the time, they're are super easy rest runs...we can do this!” I tell her. She nods “I have to use the bathroom again. Last time. Don't wait up for me. I'll catch up.” She says.So...I go on ahead. About a ½ mile down I spy some empty porta-porties and decide it's a good time to go myself. Near the 24th mile marker, Sis catches up to me. We're back on the Great Hwy and in the final stretch.

I tell Sis that she has to stay on with me if we're going to complete the marathon without course closing on us. She keeps up with me this time. I'm going super slow at this point. We can do 18 minute miles at this point, but we can't afford to go much slower.

At mile 25, Sis perks up a bit and we quicken our pace a little. There were plenty of TNT coaches around to offer encouragement and advice for my IT Band problem. One coach looked at me and told me that I should hit the medical tent after the race. Another one told me that walking backwards helps(?).

Most of the coaches were really cute guys. They would come out to the middle of the course between us and offer us high-fives. As we got closer, they would tell us to count the stop-lights and the 3rd one we saw in the distance is the 26 mile marker.

Oh, Shit...Mel” I tell my Sis. “We're actually going to complete a marathon!”

Stop it” Sis replies “You're gonna make me start crying”

Sis goes on to say, that while she'll happily do another ½ marathon, she's not so sure about another full marathon. “Mile 25 is NOT the time to be discussing another marathon” I tell her....

Even though even at this point I'm already thinking about marathon #2!

Finally we approach mile 26. I don't remember what the time was...I didn't care. We knew we were going to make it. We decide to run to the finish...Sis leads.

We cross the finish line and grab our Tiffany boxes. I forgot to turn off the Garmin or even look at the finishing time. We had no idea how long it took us....we can only estimate to the nearest 15 minutes.

Results came in today on the Nike Site. Official finishing time: 6:52:40!

We'll take it....after all the goal was only to finish!

Part III Post Marathon report and things I learned and PICS coming next!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Marathon Race Tome -- Part I

I awoke ahead of my alarms (yes, 2 were set just in case), about 5:00AM. I laid in bed for a while and tried to wrap my head around the fact that today is the day that I've been training for what seems like forever. At 5:30, I get up, shower, and dress for the day--all the while taking sips of water and eating a plain whole-wheat bagel I bought the night before.

I didn't feel like eating at all but I got about 1/2 of it down. I make coffee for Sis and I. She's in a room down the hall with her husband and 2 kids. I expect her to arrive in my room and finish getting ready at 6:00. Somehow I was put in a room that is actually a suite of some sort--2 beds in 2 rooms which was very nice since I could move around very early without waking up
my daughter who was asleep in the 2nd "room".

At 6:05 sis comes in. We both sip our cups of coffee, and try to down more bits of bagel and some juice. We were both very giggly at this stage. My daughter gets up and gets dressed and just shakes her head and both of us--telling us repeatedly that we are crazy.
She plans to walk us down (2 blocks from the hotel) and take pictures us of at the start.

At 6:30, after triple-checking that we all had everything we could possibly need, we leave our room. We walk to the elevator and when the door opens we're greeted by women that look just like us. All dressed like they are going out for a morning run. My daughter was the only one in street clothes.

Outside the hotel, the street was just packed with women headed towards the start. We got there in about 5 minutes and found a LONG row of porta-poties. Sis that my daughter take a picture of us in front of them--it was like heaven to her. So with 25 minutes
left to the start, we wait in line. Sis somehow picks the longest line, that somehow just takes forever. When all that was done we only had 5 minutes to get to our corral.

The weather was very comfortable. Almost too comfortable for that time of morning in San Francisco. I didn't feel cold at all in my tank and shorts.

My daughter walks us to the intersection barrier and gives us both a hug, and leaves to find a good vantage point to photograph the start. Sis and I push our way to our corral (12 - 14:59 mile) and wait a very short time before we heard the starting gun. The line moved
surprisingly fast. We actually got to the start at 7:06 on the nose. I started my watch when I heard the shot, because we were told that the course closes promptly at 2:00pm and we had to factor in any start delays. We found out later that they did keep the course open
much later than 2:00pm.

The first mile was completely effortless. It didn't feel like we were running at all. I didn't feel it in my breathing, or my legs, or anything, it felt like walking. It was the easiest mile I have ever done--EVER. Actually the first 4 miles were super easy. I was very careful of our pace, slowing
us down when we were going too fast--all in all these first 4 were done at around a 13:30 pace. Perfect for us.

The crowds were great. Lots of TNT cheers "go team", but since we were both in pink (hair and all) we got a lot of "go pink team". So that was a nice boost in these early miles.

We passed by several porta potties but they all had super long lines. Sis doesn't have a strong bladder and we had to get serious about stopping soon. She spied a public restroom at a park about 100 yards away from the course with only a couple of people in line
(or so we thought). So we run off to the bathroom. While Sis is in there, I slather on some biofreeze on my knee. I didn't want to say anything, but that old ITB pain was coming back and wanted to nip it in the bud if possible. I didn't want to say anything outloud--
I didn't want to acknowledge it to anyone.

The bathroom turned out to have a long line INSIDE the bathroom, so all and all the stop cost us 6 minutes. For each mile during the marathon, I would shout out how many miles we had in "The Bank"--these are miles that we could use in the later on if something bad happened and we had to slow down. We used 16 per minute miles (a 6:59 marathon time) as the zero point.
When we started the race, we started 6 minutes in the red, and as our good miles progressed we would soon be in the black. But, with this bathroom trip, we "spent" our minutes and we were back to almost nothing in the bank.

And....the BIG Hill was coming at mile 6 and I had no idea how well we would do against it.

For mile 5 we tried to make up a little time, looking back, it was probably too fast--Sis kept asking me if we were running faster than normal, and for some reason I couldn't get a good read from the Garmin. Turns out mile 5 was fast for us--12:25. But we started
building our bank again.

Then we came to the hill. The hill lasted nearly the entire 6th mile. Lots of runners were walking it. We trailed blazed through the packs of slow walkers, either power walking or running--but it was hard to dodge all the walkers (some walking 6 abreast,
and on the left). Up ahead I spotted a girl that I have seen before who was wearing rainbow legwarmers. "See that Chick" I tell my sis, "I am NOT going to let her beat me in this race!" A group of runners nearby overheard me and shouted "You go, girl! We're with you on that one!".

I retrospec, I should've made sure she was running the full marathon!

With that hill done (around 14 minute mile), we were greeted with a nice long downhill--we just let gravity do its thing and our bodies went along for the ride--that mile was done in 11:39--the fastest mile we EVER done together. We still had a couple of more miles of up and down, that we pretty much handled the same way.

At mile 10, Sis announced that she could tell that my knee was bothering me. "No, it's're seeing things" I tell her, but then whisper to her that I just don't want to acknowledge the pain.

Finally around the 11th mile or so, we hit the Great Hwy...on the Ocean...and the cool fog. We both felt pretty good at this point and were continuing to bank those miles. The goal was to have 20 minutes in the bank by mile 20. A mile or so passes and, we turn into
Golden Gate Park, here where the half marathoners split off from us. And yes..I did pass the chick in the rainbow leg warmers, and then found out she was a half marathoner!

The miles in Golden Gate park started off fine. It was hillier than we thought--or it felt that way. It was very pretty and a nice break from the ocean fog. Around the 14th mile, my sister started to lag behind a bit. I asked her if my pace was too fast and she told me that I should keep setting the pace and that we will just keep catching up. If she needed me to slow down,
she'll speak up.

I should mention here that my sis tried and ate everything during the run (to this point), bananas, luna bars, power shots, you name it. I tried to tell her not to, but she can be very stubborn.

Mile 16 was bad. Sis really slowed down and I stopped and stretched so she could catch up. She said she felt naseauted and a bit dizzy. She decided to stop at the porta-poties to "sit awhile". So sis goes off to the port-a-pottie for some alone time. Meanwhile, I'm lathering on BioFreeze on both knees.

and we still have to run 10 more miles.......and we only have 14 minutes in "the bank".

PART II Coming Soon

Saturday, October 21, 2006

T-Minus 21 Hours and Counting

And we're so Punk Rock! Well, as much as Moms can be...........

We got matching hot pink tops for tomorrow's run. When I saw Sis on Wednesday she jokingly told me that we should dye our hair hot-pink! The more we thought about it (or didn't think) we thought it was a great idea. So, that night, after our 4 miler we both put in big chunky fushia highlights in our hair.

We both regretting not just doing the whole darn head (so I guess we're just partially punk-rock).

The goal here is to get noticed, yelled at, and to feel a bit sassy.

So now, I'm sitting here on the computer...blasting BECK, and trying to finish packing at the same time.

We leave for SF in about an hour.

I squeezed in 8 hours of sleep last night--but it was really hard. I don't have any expectations that I'll sleep well tonight.

I'll be thinking of everyone running Chicago tomorrow! Good luck to all of you.

Talk to you all on the flip-side!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Short Notice---Need a movie recommendation!!

I know this is short notice, and I don't even know how many people will see this, but I want a good movie recommendation to watch tonight to get me PUMPED for the marathon.

I'll watch almost anything!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

5 days and counting

I can't believe it's sooo close. Did an easy 3 miler today--actually, it was my first run since last Wednesday. I ran at a very good pace and felt pretty strong so I'm happy about that.

The Nike Marathon site has a virtual tour of the marathon. I have watched it like 20 times so far. I think I've memorized every DJ and Aid station.

Tomorrow, I'm going up to Sis' for our final 4 miler together before the marathon.

It almost doesn't feel real, ya know?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Almost There

After spending the weekend convalescing and NOT running. I'm happy to report that today I'm feeling much improved.

I think I've beaten this thing down and am no longer worried that it's going to turn into a chest cold, or worse, bronchitis. I'm still going to take it easy today, don't want to rush back to anything too soon. I just plan to do some gentle yoga and maybe a tiny bit of yard work.

In other news, I got my registration card for the Marathon. They listed my bib # as 2234 and age 27! I took that as a extremely good omen. Sis' card had her # as 3358 and aged 49!
The next day we both received an apologetic email from Nike saying that some of the cards mailed out were incorrect (duh). As a result, I got a new bib number (a very boring number) and a corrected age (12 years older).

With 6 days and counting, the marathon still doesn't feel real to me yet. I don't think it will sink in until we're in SF on Saturday.

I hope I'm ready......

Thursday, October 12, 2006



No, I'm not crying, that's the current condition of my nose. My throat feels like I swallowed a bunch of sandpaper, and I'm tired, run-down even.....

And this is 9 days before a marathon.

I'm not one of those folks that normally gets a slight cold. I'm afraid colds are my achilles heal. They almost always turn into a chest cold and then often end up with bronchitis.

But, it can't happen this time.

I'm downing vitamin C's like they're the main course of my supper. I'm drinking lots of fluids. I plan on being in bed by 9:00pm tonight.

It's still early in the game. I felt fine yesterday. Tomorrow will be the deciding day. Will my symptoms subside and maybe even just go away, or do I have a battle on my hands???

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Who would've thought a 12 miler would be.....

so easy???

We had a great run (but lazy run) yesterday. We did trail running so it was a lot of climbing and descending. We weren't very motivated..not after our great 20 miler--I didn't feel like I needed to work very hard at all.

I kinda like this tapering business!

Everytime I visit Nicole's blog my tummy does this crazy flip-flop. She's got the count-down to the Chicago marathon (same day as the Nike's Women) and I'm reminded once again how darn close the thing is.

How am I even going to force down my marathon breakfast that morning is beyond me.

Today, I'm actually motivated to clean my house. I've already cleaned the kitchen, laundry room, and swept the back patio. I love not being sore & tired on Sunday and actually have energy to get stuff done!

Monday, October 02, 2006


Our 20 was great, fantastic, awesome!!!!!!

Sis was still getting over her cold and I felt a little tired from doing the 20 total miles during the week, so we didn't have really great expectations for the run.

We wanted to do our marathon pace (no more than 16 minutes per mile average) including bathroom, stretch breaks, and red light stop signals. That would bring us in at 5 hours 20 minutes. We wanted to see if we're going to actually be able to finish the damn thing on time--before they officially closed the marathon course (hypothetically).

And we blew our own expectations away!

When we reached the 16th mile, the Garmin was at 3 hours 52 minutes. I told sis that we could walk the last 4 miles and still get in under 5 hours.

And walk we did. Not because we really had to....but because we were enjoying it so much!

We came in at 4 hours 59 minutes and 12 seconds!!! Under 15 minute miles my friends, even with walking the last 4!!

We didn't have any pain at all. We were stiff, but we found that as long as we kept moving (running) or walking really, really fast, the stiffness went away. I think the last 4 miles were the most uncomfortable because we were slow....

OMG! We are so ready! We might even be able to do the marathon in 6 1/2 hours (don't want to put a goal here)...but it is possible!!

Now it's taper time.