Beth Runs!

After sitting on my butt all winter, knitting and watching Craig Ferguson into the wee hours, it's time to get up, get out, and move!!!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Hey Walt Stack 10K, bite me!

This was to be my very last run before losing my uterus the next day and spending several weeks on my butt instead of my feet. I was so excited about it the night before, I could barely sleep. I just knew I was going to wallop my last year's result in this race. I'd have to, right? Then, I'd only been running for a few months. Now, I've got all this experience under my belt, inside my shoes, around my knees and up my shins. How could I not do well?

I could not do well if the temperature suddenly went up to 80 degrees at 9 a.m. and I had no shade or water along the way. That's how I could not do well. That's how I could just keep stopping to walk all during the second half and even be tempted to sit down on a bench and quit. This was actually the closest I've ever come to quitting during a race. And as I tore across the Finish Line after 67 minutes and 54 seconds (a mere 1 minute faster than last year), swearing at Kevin Lee, "That sucked! It sucked! I hated it! Feh!" I felt defeated even though I had finished.

I finished. I kept telling myself that all day long. Who can predict the weather? The same thing happened during the Disney Marathon in Florida. Why did I not feel defeated that day? Probably because I'd never completed a marathon before and had nothing to compare it to. Probably because I'd had no real time expectation going in. And also because I didn't have visions of surgery the next day looming before me. I wanted to go out with a bang, not a whimper. This running thing is constantly teaching me lessons about expectations.

Well, no more running for me for a few weeks. I don't know how many. I hope I can train for the Disney Half Marathon, but what I've learned from the race today is not to have expectations about beating my time from last year's Half Marathon. That was in SF. This will be in LA. And this will be after having holes drilled through my body and parts of me sucked out with a morcellator.

Just be patient, Beth. Take it all as it comes. And don't forget to breathe.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

What you don't see from the back of the pack

Instead of running the DSE Fort Point Promenade 12K on Sunday, I waved a flag and handed out finishers' ribbons. It was my first DSE volunteer day for the year. I didn't actually see the guy in the picture (that's a stock photo that I stole off the web), but you get the idea. It was inspiring, exciting, and a little scary to stand in the path of the runners at the end of the finish line: like stepping in front of a speeding train, if the train were all sweaty and panting and possibly swearing. For most of the finishers, accepting the ribbon was like an after-thought. Some even waved it away. But a few of the guys charged through so ferociously, I feared they'd rip my hand off with it.

Mostly, I felt invisible. I know how it feels to finally cross the finish line and have people handing you things from all directions. While you're running the race, all you can pretty much think about is running the race. Everything else is on hold, especially during a short, intense race. But once you cross the finish line, all the feelings, needs, emotions, aches & pains clamour for attention. Euphoria bumps up against thirst and hunger. Relief crashes into blisters and knee pains that are suddenly ten times worse. You need to pee. You want to laugh and celebrate, but you're panting too hard to get out the words.

Noticing the person who is handing you your ribbon or water or banana is not the biggest priority. Will you even remember what they looked like afterwards?

The next time I race, I'm going to remind myself what it was like to be at the end of that line, and even if I can't manage to speak, I'll pause to look at the person and smile.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

2 down; 8 more DSE runs to go.

Another DSE run today. After being sick this week, I wanted to take it a little bit easier than last time. I ran with Jane, a DSE member who lives near me in Oakland and who, with her husband Don, has been giving me rides to these races in the city.

The weather this morning in Golden Gate Park was chilly and overcast: perfect for running. Jane and I were able to talk for about the first 1/2 mile. At that point, the heavy breathing started and conversation was no longer possible. I was glad to have someone with me to keep me on pace. When I run these races by myself, I get all tangled up in weird thoughts about how I'm not going fast enough and I just want to stop but I don't want to come in last place and everyone else has already finished and drunk all the water and eaten all the brownies and there won't be any left for me, boo hoo hoo.

We were happy to come in under 31 minutes today. 30:43. Place: 116/150. Full results here. And I was especially happy that neither of my legs hurt afterwards, although that could have been due to the 800 milligrams of ibuprofen I look this morning before leaving the house.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

1 down; 9 to go.

Completed my first DSE run of the year on Sunday. Man, it was hard! I've been so tired this week, getting barely enough sleep to stand upright, let alone run 3.1 miles. It's Oscar season, doncha know. The annual movie-cram, trying to see as many nominees before February 25th as possible, at least more than Nancy. (Does it count if I fall asleep several times during a movie if the movie sucked to begin with?)

Tired or not, I still managed to come in under 30 minutes. 29:47. Place: 89/117. Full results here. I'm moving up in the world. My place in the last DSE run (June's Walt Stack 10K) was 140/150.

But the whole run just sucked. I wanted to stop! I wanted to stop so bad that I actually did stop and walk for 30 seconds somewhere around mile 2. I walked just long enough to let a bunch of little children and their grandparents pass me. Yeesh! A couple of DSE guys teased me about my plodding, huffing and puffing pace. I'd have kicked a few if I could have caught up with them.

At least it didn't rain.

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

My First 10K & Yet Another Pair of Shoes

Walt Stack 10K finisher's ribbon Well, I completed my first 10K race. My time: 71 minutes (11:27 minutes/mile) Surprisingly, I don't feel elated. I think it's that even though I ran further and faster than I have to date, I was way, way slower than most of the other runners. I'm trying not to compare myself to them. Trying very hard to focus on my own personal goals. But my competitive spirit does kick in. I'm not used to being worse than most people at anything. In my marathon training book, the authors stress that the important goal for the first time runner is to simply finish with no thought to time.

The run was hard. The weather was warm and there was no shade. The course was mostly flat (except for a hill at the very beginning and very end) and very straight with no twists and turns to break up the distance. I felt like it would never end. My friends who came with me, Katy Johnson from Aunt Ann's and Tuelo from the gym, past me early on (along with most of the other racers), and I was alone. Then, I caught up to a middle-aged man running fairly slowly and kept pace with him for the rest of the race.

Running back during the second half, he talked to me and encouraged me. He said, "If you can run a 10K, you can certainly run a half marathon." I said, "But I haven't run a 10K yet." And he said, "Yes you have! You've already done it!" (There were 2-1/2 miles left to go.) He kept breaking it down for me. "Only about 13 more minutes. You can do anything for 13 minutes." And "Just 100 steps to the top of the hill. By the time you count to 100, we'll be at the top."

I didn't tell him until after the race that for the entire second half I was running with a huge blister on the instep of my right foot. I guess I felt that if I didn't mention the blister, the pain would be less real. Or something like that.

I blame the blister on running in brand new shoes that I bought yesterday. I know you're not supposed to run a race in new shoes. They must be broken in. But the old ones (which are only a couple of months old!) were killing my toes! So this is my 3rd pair of shoes since I started running: New Balance 1122 Motion Control shoes. Size 8-1/2 D. That size was wicked hard to find. You should see these things. They look like Frankenstein shoes... flat on the bottom for major stability. My feet are so deformed!

Now I'm feeling tired and discouraged. I want to keep going. I will keep going! I just ran 6.2 miles in 71 minutes without ever stopping to walk! Come on, Beth! Suck it up! That's an achievement for you! Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow after lots of sleep.

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

2 new runs and something for emergencies...

I just signed up for the Walt Stack 10K on Sunday, June 18. I'm scheduled to run 6 miles that day anyway, so it fits perfectly into my program. I think running with other people will help keep me motivated. This race goes along the SF waterfront from Hyde & Jefferson towards the Golden Gate Bridge and back. It should be nice and cool down there at 9am: good running weather. Anyone want to come and cheer me on?

Here's another event I would like to participate in for my birthday next year: The Disney World Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge January 6-7. The goofy part is that it's a half marathon on Saturday followed by a full marathon on Sunday. Why would anyone want to do something like that? All I know is that I need to keep setting goals for myself to keep going. Anyway, what have I got to lose but my registration fee?

And finally, just in case I take the Goofy Challenge and collapse along the way (or at any other time I am out running) I just ordered the RoadID Shoe ID tag. Yes, this is a happy shopping day for me!

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