Sunday, October 28, 2007

On My Own Red Carpet

Phase II - Regressive Count - Week Five
10/22/07 - 10/28/07
Week Total: 18.1

The highlight of my week and really of this month has been running under the beautiful colors of Autumn. Yesterday it was extremely pleasant to see the red leaves all over the sidewalks. I ran on my own red carpet.

The week suffered a shortage of mileage. A couple of reasons or excuses:

Sunrise time in Washington DC was 7:20am, sunset at 6:15pm. Because the long hours at work, and because I do not run outside in the dark I needed to do the runs at the gym. But the gym at the Hyatt Crystal City is extremely hot, probably because the fancy track lighting system above the treadmills where you feel under interrogation. The air conditioning is poor and there are no fans to mitigate the heat. My 3 miles on Tuesday at 4:30 am were miserable hot having very hard time, so I didn't want to deal with miserable 5 miles on Thursday.

2) I couldn't rest my knees properly after the 20-miler of last Saturday. Our project conference room in DC, where I was for more than a week, has a conference table that does not permit "leg extension". So having my knees bended for 10 hours-a-day killed me. On Thursday morning I got up as usual at 4:20 am to run my 5 miles of the day. Prepared my cup of coffee, felt my knees dancing and loose, thought of the hot gym and
and went back to bed.

I ran yesterday back in Washington State my planned 15-miler. I pushed it but did not get too much improvement. It was really cold, 41F/4C, but perfectly sunny. I tried my new Breath Thermo shirt and it worked nice, however, when running on shady areas I was cold. I felt better when I completed my 20 miles last week than after this 15-miler. Some of the reasons could be the knees' pain, cold temperatures, and not running enough this week, compared with rested knees, perfect weather in DC (62 and sunny) plus the excitement of discovering a route. These last three are priceless.

Today Sunday I have virtually followed my blogger-friend Chris, bib # 24639 throughout the whole Marine Corps Marathon. It was so excited to see her mile after mile running through a city that has become my third home. At this very minute she just finished the race. She did 5:06:24, 4 minutes better than her target time of 5:10:00. I felt so happy for her, and took that as an incentive for me.

Congratulations Chris. I had goosebumps just thinking on finishing a marathon at Iwo Jima, My Heroes, My Guys.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Now, I Know I Am Ready

Phase II - Regressive Count - Week Six
10/15/07 - 10/21/07
Week Total: 31

The plan for this week was Tue: 3mi, Thu: 8mi, and Sat: 20mi. As I had to fly from Seattle to DC on Thu it was not smart (at least to me) to run 8 miles after flying for 6 hours and "losing" 3 hours of my day. So, I moved my 8 miles to Tue and the 3 to Thursday. But Tuesday was a black and cold day in Seattle (what's new) and by the time I left work I was going to finish by dark. Not wanting to risk that (safe first) and a little bit tired of running under these weather conditions, I decided to run in the gym on the treadmill. I am sure there are people that do that, but for me was a challenge.

Surprise: The workout was awesome. I have to agree that running on the treadmill is more challenging that on the streets, and I reduced 40 seconds my pace. I felt really happy with the results and I believe is the best run I've done in my training.

And then, Saturday arrived. 20 miles to go. I had butterflies in my stomach during the whole week just thinking in the city (DC) I know but not completely, the heat, the humidity, and, so forth. I confess I was scared. I checked multiple routes, and saw many that go by highways, or places I had no clue.... After several hours, on Wednesday night, I drew my route (80% in known areas) and I prayed for the best.

The weather forecast was favorable. The 88 degrees of Thursday were not going to be available on Saturday. 62F early in the morning to 72 at noon was the promise.

At 7:15 am., sunrise time on Saturday October 19, I was in the lobby of the Hyatt Crystal City waiting for the shuttle to the Metro. At Arlington National Cemetery station I called my adorable husband and told him: "Wish me luck, I will text message you every 90 min or so....". Clicked my chron, and started.

The day was perfect. Blue skies, nice breeze and a delicious temperature of 62. Humidity was supposed to drop as the morning advanced.

I went to Fort Myer, Rosslyn, Francis Scott Key Bridge, M street in Georgetown, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Dupont Circle, Massachussets, Columbus Circle, Capitol Hill, Constitution, North Carolina, C Street, 22nd., RFK Stadium, Independence, Maine, Tidal Basin, Ohio, National Mall towards the Capitol, turned around in Pennsylvania, M Street, Key Bridge, Rosslyn, Fort Myer, Arlington Cemetery.

4 hrs 27 minutes. I thought of anything and everything. I felt wonderful in that loneliness state of mind that is achieved when we are just there, and just running. I saw myself crossing the 26.2 mile line in Seattle on Nov 25. I accomplished something. At least, my max distance before the marathon. Now, I know I am ready.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

True and Self-Evident

Phase II - Regressive Count - Week Seven
10/08/07 - 10/14/07
Week Total: 23.1

The long run this week was a 15-miler. Shorter and 1 min/mile faster than last week. The difference with last week was that I did only about 3 walk breaks this time when last week I did it every 5 minutes.

With any long distance I run, I feel "destroyed". It doesn't matter if they are 13, 15, or 18 miles. But I see that I persevere and I do what I have to do. I found the comments received last week to be true and self-evident:

1) We just get out there and finish - Jeff

We are under 1% of the country that can do that - Lora

We get extra mental toughness that we will somehow carry on to some other aspect of our lives and makes us a better person - Shirley

Thank y'all.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Getting back on my feet

Phase II - Regressive Count - Week Eight
10/01/07 - 10/07/07
Week Total: 26.0

I ran an 18-miler yesterday. It was cold, windy, and rainy. It was tough, hard. My knees and insteps hurt. It was slow. I was soaked. My mood was ok, much better than last week. Feelings are getting back to normal. I am getting back on my feet.

No much to write about other than counting the days not for the Marathon, but to visit and be with my daughter in Thailand. 59 days.

Alejandra, I love you.