Tuesday, January 17, 2012

False Start

You know that feeling you get when you're super excited for something, like those left overs you put in the fridge the other night from your favorite restaurant, or having plans with a friend you haven't seen in a while? Or maybe, just maybe it's being signed up for a race and prepping to run for a month. Well guess what, someone ate your leftovers, your friend cancelled on you and the race was postponed.....wait what!?

I got the most FRUSTRATING email last week Thursday, and it went something a little like this:
Because of impending weather conditions, the Chicago Police, concerned for the public safety of Polar Dash runners, have deemed the race for this weekend “critically unsafe” and will not allow the race to take place.

Our Team discussed the matter with the Chicago Park District, who graciously agreed to reschedule the event to NEXT SATURDAY, Jan. 21st. "


Well apparently they can, and just did! The only sucky part about it though is that now I can't run in it :( Ok truth be told, when the guy at the marathon expo tried to convince me to sign up for the race in October I looked at him and told him he was crazy! A few months later though my lovely racing partner, Alison Kool, twisted my arm and told me I should run it....because you get a cool fleece! Ha! So a reach for the credit card, one, two three, submit....oh look at that I'm signed up!

A half marathon doesn't seem like much but even still I increased my runs outside, despite the weather having an extreme case of bipolar. It felt good to run long distances, 6...8...10! I love 10 mile runs, that itch comes on and before you know it I'm scratchin' it all the way up to McCormick place :)

About two weeks-ish ago though I went for one of these fabulous runs only to have a significant amount of knee pain about 5 miles out on the run. Now see let me paint this picture for you, 5 miles away from home with a sore knee and it is freezing outside so walking just ain't gonna cut it. What else would I do besides run home on it? Well when I got back to the gym I hit up one of the athletic trainers I know and she took one look at it, told me it was swollen and that I shouldn't run on it. This was then followed by the phrase, "But I know you're going to run on it anyways so ice, wrap and rest it Sam." Ahhh she's knows me too well :)

I finished up the week tapering down to a 5 mile and then a 3 mile with weights and strength exercises and did a little pool action. I even went out and got a knee brace, which actually helped my running a lot. All said and done I felt like I could push through 13.1 miles, just so I could say I did.

Until I got the email. The disheartening part about it all is that now I can't run the race. Next weekend starts my swim lesson program and unfortunately it's not something I can just get out of. So I suppose this is one of those times that disappointment ensues, but what are you going to do?


...Write a nasty email and demand a refund......

Monday, January 2, 2012

"The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare."

Two days into the new year and I can honestly say 2012 is lookin' pretty stellar. After doing research on a Half Iron Man, book marking the page and incessantly checking the page every other day I finally brought myself to sign up. That and the price jumped $25 soon after. Not to mention staring at the page was cool and all, but it gave me a whole heck of a lot more motivation to know I was actually registered. So on Sunday July 17th I will be have 8 and a half hours to do a 1.2-mile swim along North Beach in Lake Michigan, followed by a 56-mile bike course through the countryside of Racine County, wrapping it all up with a flat 13.1-mile run through the Racine Zoo and surrounding Lake Michigan coastline. Sounds exciting right?! (I feel like the general consensus is that I'm crazy....I should probably start tallying how many times I get called crazy from now to July :))

Since I have never done one of these before and am going off of pure ambition and a love for swimming/biking/running I'm probably going to need to learn the ropes a bit. I've been doing some research and have found a few training programs that look good. The problem with these programs that I've had in the past though is that you have to make sure you sign up for the ones that fit you best. When I ran my first half marathon I signed up for one but barely even used it because I didn't like the way it was set up and ended up going off of Hal Higdons training--which is actually free to anyone online. In the mean time, I also plan to take full advantage of the fact that I work at a gym and have come to know quite a few people who do one or all three of these sports. Friendly feedback worked so well for me when I trained for the marathon so I'm gonna run with that again....pun intended hahaha.

Speaking of running, January 1st was the opening date for two more on my list: The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle and The Chicago Marathon. The shuffle was such a greater experience last year because it's set up to be about the first or so 5 miles of the marathon, which I was running 7 months later. I got all excited thinking about how in such a short time frame I would be back at the starting line having prepared for my biggest challenge yet. This year I am looking forward to the same thing, however my goal is to set a PR (Personal Record) in each of the runs I did last year. So for the shamrock I'd like to take off about 5-6 minutes (which is gonna be challenging) to finish around 40 minutes flat, but I do that that 5 minute safety net if need be (last years time 46 minutes).

As for the marathon, I don't think I will have a problem setting a PR since I didn't end up hydrating right this last year and had to hit up the med tent....not this year!!!! Also, to keep the motivation going, I just signed up to run/raise money for the charity PAWS, which is a Chicago's largest no-kill humane society...and also where I got my cats from :) It's safe to say that I was disappointed with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention since they were not interactive with me while I was raising money, nor did they off any benefits for their runners even though they said they would. Buuut that's yesterday's news. I'm still grappling over whether or not to sign up for a training program though, since I will be training for the iron man until July I don't know if putting in extremely long miles is a good idea. Then again by the time I finish the iron man most training sessions will just be hitting up 13-ish miles so it may not interfere all that much. Not to mention, I did all of my marathon training on my own last year but had a really great time when I did the CARA 20 miler because I got to know one of my running partners and the social aspect of it all is enticing. I guess I have some time :)

So the last part of my update is that I am now less than 12 days away from my first winter run. The Polar Dash is on Saturday Jan. 14th and it's not that I don't feel like I could do the mileage but rather that when it comes to cold weather I would classify myself as a stage 5 high risk BABY!!!! But regardless of the weather, even though I have been jinxed by one of my friends for a blizzard to hit the day before, I am looking forward to the experience of doing a winter run....because this will probably be the only one :)

As school and internship are beginning to start up again I am confident that it will be difficult to balance my training and my work but I'm up for the challenge. Because what fun would life be if everything was easy?