Friday, August 17, 2007

playing catch up

So this training/blabbing blog kind of started without any backstory. So here's the back story. I never ran, biked or swam competitively until this year. Actually, that's not true. I was on the swim team for 2 years in high school, but we never won a meet (ever) and anyone could be on "varsity". I remember there were at least 2 girls who didn't know how to swim. on varsity. literallly not even 25yds. So, I would definitely not say I was a swimmer. I have no idea what my "events" were (relays ring a bell) and I hadn't swum a lap in 10 yrs until this past April. Ahywho..
This year, I decided on January 1, 2007 that I was going to run a marathon as my New Year's resolution. I was in decent shape from running 5 or so miles a few times a week and doing strength and spinning at the gym. But I was a jogger. I was not a runner. I had never run on a track. ever. I had never run for more than 1 hour.
Well, I joined the San Diego Track Club Marathon Training Program. The first "long run" on January 7 was my first time running with a group. It was also my longest run EVER (and it was only 7 or 8miles). My "strategy" was to try to hang with the "fast" group and just get dropped if I couldn't hang (funny...this has actually been my strategy ever since as well). Well, I hung, and I faked it and had fun. In the 3rd week of the program, the group ran a 10K to get "baseline" information to plug in to use for tempo runs and track workouts. In my very first race, I just decided to follow a guy (Go GARY!) that I thought was fast. He had run a bunch of marathons (9 in 6 months once!) so I figured I was in good hands. Well, Gary led me to a 40:27 10k (6:32/mi pace)...I was still so oblivious at this point that at the finish line, I was telling people that I was so confused becuase at mile 3, I was under 20 minutes and I swear my second half was faster than my first...I was soon told that a 10K is 6 point TWO miles, not 6 even...Well, even through my naivete, I managed 3rd in my AG in a race of 900 and decided I thought I might want to become a "runner"...Over the next few months, I had a blast, hit the roads (& unfortunately a lot of concrete, ugh), and put my all into training for the marathon...see me happy smiley..

I never missed a track practice, found ways to get in long runs even on vacations (thanks TNT in NYC!) and became whatever the good word is for obsessed. I remember my favorite run- the 2 hr. marathon pace run. For me, knowing little, this just meant "see what pace you can hold comfortably for 2 hours". Turns out I could hold a 7 min flat pace and run 18 miles in two hours. After this, the goal became to slow the pace to 7:15 and run a marathon around 3:10. I KNEW I could do this. The training felt easy and fun. At the end of March, the SDTC asked me to join their women's open team. I considered this a huge deal since I hadn't run many races yet, and I was super excited to be joining the team. As life would have it though, the injury crept in. For weeks, I thought I had some sort of hip flexor or ITBand strain. I was foam rolling, I was stretching, I made new best friends with my ART guy Dan Selstad ....I saw the Sports MD....and he put me on CRUTCHES!!!! The poor medical assistant who had to show me how to use crutches will probably never forget the sobbing runner girl that was devastated that things had gotten serious. To me, crutches were the code red, the big stop sign. Until that moment, i honestly believed that I would 100% run the marathon. Then came bone scans, MRIs, orthopedists, more MRIs, bone la la la la...and I found out that the marathon was definintely out of the question, along with walking and weight bearing for at least 12 weeks (turned into 16)...i had a femoral stress fracture on the lower side of the femoral neck (not a good place, nor apparently easy to accomplish)..
okay, this is getting too long. But, I was allowed to swim and water jog. I swear I could have won the water jogging olympics. I'd go to the pool, turn on my ipod (i got this neat little otter box waterproofy number) and cruise the pool- I made up "tempo runs" and intervals: 400s on the track became 50meter sprints at the pool. It looked really cool.
I also struggled through a bunch of aimless laps doing freestyle. I got bored. And I did spinning classes. I was allowed to spin with "no resistance"...hmmm...maybe this is how I ended up extending my stay on crutches...I wasn't always perfect in following the rules, but I did realize that my mental health was important and this helped me stay sane..worth it, I think. So I was swimming, fake biking, and weightless running. and you know what comes next. I needed a goal, some kind of purpose. I joined the San Diego Triathlon Club and just showed up one day in late June for a swim at La Jolla Cove. I was freaked out and knew nobody, but none of my current friends were into any type of this stuff, so I just went alone..I'll finish this post later, but that was the beginning pretty much, and I think a few people still know me as "the new girl on crutches" but that one is thankfully on its way out.. So to finish up, I didn't run the marathon...but I will.