Sunday, November 25, 2007

Yes, I Am

Phase II - The Week
11/19/07 - 11/25/07
Week Total: 32.4

Ladies and Gentlemen, Yes, I Am. I made it, I did it, I ran it. I Am a Marathoner.

The first gift from heavens above was NO RAIN and a sunny day. Cold though: 37F / 2.7C.

I was there, calm (!) and on time, with only 4 non-continuous hours of sleep, and 3 layers of clothes (upper and lower), 2 pair of gloves and 2 ear-bands. Accompanied my son's girl friend, Shelly, to the start line for the half (45 min before the marathon). Then went to Memorial Stadium to walk to keep myself warm. At 8:05 am the Star Spangled Banner sang by a beautiful voice. We started at 8:15.

First miles were ok,
going through a very familiar shopping area, downtown Seattle. Then my beloved Mariners and SeaHawks Stadiums. At mile 4.5 we entered in the floating bridge (see both pictures below), it was awesome, Lake Washington was gorgeous. Fast runners were already coming back (they were between mile 7 and 8), hi5 to a guy with a funny Zorro mask.

Turned around in Mercer Island and in mile 8 (end of the bridge) my legs felt heavy. I think was the cold temperature. I was keeping a pace barely under 13 min/mile. My heart rate monitor broke or didn't work at all, so I could not rely in my HR to keep a steady pace. Then, in front of me the next 13 miles that I know by heart as I have run them so many times. I felt very confident. By mile 11, hi5 to Zorro again who was coming back.

By mile 13.1, Seward Park, (little promontory on my aerial picture above) I registered 2:53 so I still was in my training pace.

Around mile 17 I've slowed down to around 14 min/mile, but I was ok. Then at mile 20.5 came Galer where the elevation went from 50 ft to 200 ft in less than half a block, but I knew it well, I've done before. I ran it, as I ran Madison, a slight upward slope of half a mile. At mile 21 I took my disposable super thick sweatshirt and 3rd layer of pants off. I knew I was going to make it when I saw the clock showing 4hr 50min. I was really happy.

Downhill by the Arboretum and then another upward slope: Interlaken. Entered in a park that I've never run before and seemed endless. I didn't see anybody and I was wondering if I was in the Marathon route (I knew I was).

Mile 23: the crowd cheering with very loud music. I was in good shape. I put everything I had, well, almost everything. I wanted a triumphant finish.

Mile 24: I re-encountered a guy (Ezell) for 4th time and told him "Hey, look who is here... we are going to make it". He said: "Yes, I am celebrating already". "Me too, let's go, let's finish good", I answered, and he said "you go ahead, I'll catch up with you". I told him, "you will".

Mile 25: I was telling to myself: I made it... I made it... I thought of Ryan Hall's last mile in his wonderful Olympic Trials. Then Broad St.: a hill. I ran uphill, a cop told me, "look at you, running up hill".

Mile 26: Grabbed my phone and called my beautiful daughter: "Your Sprint services do not include International Calls". Then called my adorable husband, he answered: "Congratulations", I told him "I'm not done yet, but I will be in a couple of minutes".

And then, the most marvelous 0.2 miles. I sprinted them like if I was going to beat a world record, getting into Memorial Stadium at about 7.5 min/mile. The lady at the microphone said: "Here comes Lizzie and in very good shape". The cameramen were certainly impressed. I was running with all I had and I with a big smile and raising my arms, I crossed the finish line. Got my beautiful medal with these words from an organizer: "What a way to make the finish line."

I had my triumphant finish.
My time was 5:54:37 (13:33 min/mile).

Thanks God for being alive, thanks Alejandra for bringing me back to running, thanks hubby for your constant support.

I love you All.

PS: Ezell did not catch up with me!

And I found out that Zorro made the news in a Seattle's paper!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

For My Daughter

Phase II - Regressive Count - Week Two
11/13/07 - 11/19/07
Week Total: 21.1

This week's blog had conflicting titles until I read "For my mom" written by my beautiful daughter Alejandra.

I will always immensely thank her for bringing me back to running. Our plan of running a marathon together being 7,440 miles apart was a beautiful plan and we enjoyed it. Some sad circumstances occurred two months ago that prevented Ale of continuing with her training, but even though she is not running, she is still running with me, because she is in my heart, in my thoughts, and in every fiber of my body every mile I go.

Alejandra, you don't have
to wait for that phone call once I cross the finish line on November 25th because
I will cross the line with you on the phone. I love you, daughter of mine. Thanks for being who you are.

Last Week of Training and Bye Bye DC.

This was my last week of training and it was pretty good. It happened to be in DC, where I said bye bye but only for 2007, as I expect to come back for the first part of next year.

I did my best 8 miles on Thursday in the treadmill (my work hours in DC don't give me room for running during daylight with my
Iwo Jima guys). My 10 miles on Saturday, back in Seattle were really good. The conditions were perfect: Under constant rain. After mile 0.2 my shoes were absolutely soaked, so I was. I did part of the marathon route from Interlaken to Lake Washington Blvd 5 miles and back. I got some of the hilly part of the marathon and went slow all the time as did not want to risk anything. My knees DIDN'T and DON'T HURT AT ALL. I believe several things have helped: 1) I got rid of the superfeet. 2) I bought 54" shoelaces and I can play with the "tightness" by the insteps. The pain in this part of the feet has disappeared. 3) I have been in glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM for 2 months now. So because one of these reasons, or the combo, my knees and feet are painless!!!!!

Next week I have just a couple of easy 3o minutes and then on Sunday 25th, The Big Miler, 26.2. The weather forecasts temp around 42-43 (not that bad) and scattered showers (what's new).

I will be well rested because the Thanksgiving Holidays, and the only plan I have for the Holidays is going to the Expo
on Friday .

Please, wish me luck. Seattle hills scare me, especially those miserably located between mile 20 and 23, that are the same I did today, but a different story is doing them at mile 8 than at mile 20. My realistic time in a flat course is around 6 hrs, so, I could forecast a little more than that, but
my goal is to finish the marathon. That's it. Just finish it.

51! My life without blinking

I am 51 TODAY! It is my birthday. My life in a nutshell? I am as happy as I could be, I love my husband and my kids. I love my life and I spend every second without blinking, because "a hundred years goes faster than you think".

God, thanks for my life.

My B'day with my son Diego and his girlfriend Shelly, and my favorite dish: Pasta. P
er saecula saeculorum (Forever and ever!!!)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bye Bye California!!!

Phase II - Regressive Count - Week Three
11/05/07 - 11/12/07
Week Total: 23.8

First than anything, THANKS to all my blogger-friends for the wonderful advices I received last week. You all were right. I completed 15 miles yesterday and it was good. Again, things hurt (e.g.: knees, hips, etc.), but finished well. I started slow and kept that pace for 13 miles which was above 13min/mile, but... I ran the last 2 miles at 11:25 min/mile which means "I did have some juice for the end".

6 hours will be my realistic time and I feel very happy that I am able to do it.

I said goodbye to California for the year and probably forever (well, as a semi-resident). My adorable husband is trying to get transfered to Washington State and we have all our fingers and toes crossed, wishing it happens before the year ends. Living apart and seeing each other once a month, when possible, has been hard for us.

California was fun for running. I got my senses spoiled running by the beach. The sea breeze, the sea-salt smell, the sea mist, the sand, the boats in the marinas, everything was a beautiful picture framing my long distance runs. Bye Bye California.

Sunrise in Long Beach

Naples, Rivo Alto Canal

Alamitos Bay Marina

Shoreline Marina - Queen Mary

Sunday, November 4, 2007

What went wrong? Advice anyone?

Phase II - Regressive Count - Week Four
10/29/07 - 11/04/07
Week Total: 21

20 miles were waiting for me on Saturday. I was a little bit scared as my knees, especially the right, seemed to feel loose. In addition, I did not run enough during the week because traveling from Washington State to California. Friday night was not so restful as I woke up every hour to finally get up at 4:30 am PDT to follow the Men Olympics Trials. Great race to watch and witness Ryan Hall, my favorite, breaking the Olympic Trials record. At mile 16, he "incredibly relaxed, dusted the field", and got 14 seconds of advantage. Some miles later he was 29 seconds ahead, for a final 2 minutes 5 seconds difference with the second qualifier. His stride was beautiful and his last mile was encouraging. At 6:45 am, with the excitement of seeing an Olympic Trial record broken, I went to bed to get some sleep for a couple of hours before my long run of the day.

9:00 am, with shoes on, music ready, monitor in place, & fuel belt in waist, I left to the beach to do my 20-miler. Told my hubby to have his cell handy because I didn't know what could happen with my knees.

The route was "Lizzie's Long Beach/Naples by the water" of 14.6 miles and I would repeat 5.4 miles to complete the task of 20. The temperature was perfect, 62F/17C, the sea mist was magical and the breeze was soft.

My first 8-9 miles were just fine. Actually, I pushed a little bit and I ran them faster than normal (not much, but a little bit faster).
By mile 11 I started to feel depleted. By mile 12 I needed to walk for 4 minutes. By half-marathon distance I had a 12:59 min/mile. I was destroyed, my knees hurt and my insteps were worst. The next 3.5 miles were done at 15:26 min/mile. I was dragging my feet. At 16.6 I stopped. My legs could not go any further. I barely could walk and it took me 1 hr 30 minutes to walk 2 miles back home, a walk pace of 45 min/mile. Did I hit the wall?

What went wrong?
  • I had for breakfast the same breakfast I've had since I started the long runs: a cup of coffee and 2 slices of oat & nut bread with butter and jelly.
  • I had my GU every 45 minutes as I usually do.
  • The weather was good and even though got hot (75F/24C) at noon, it was manageable and there was plenty of water along the route.
  • Same good shoes with same insoles (green superfeet, which really bother me but have been worn in every long run).
  • I have run in nine occasions during this training distances greater than 12 miles. Only once I've hit the wall and was in my first long run more than 2 months ago.
  • All the long runs have been hard, things hurt, but I am always ok.
  • My 20-miler in DC, 2 weeks ago was really good. My 15-miler last week was decent.
I am concerned. The marathon is in 3 weeks from today and the taper begins. Will I make it? Am I ready? What happened? What went wrong? Advice anyone?