Thursday, February 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Dumbo Double Dare - Half Marathon

Link to Part 1 of the trip

Set your time machines for: September 1, 2013

Supplies! (Not sure why there are two pairs of earbuds in this photo...)

My goal for this race was a PR. Some background on this very elusive PR: After three-and-a-half years of running/walking/racing, my half marathon PR (2:40) was still from my very first race. My knee pain was always my limiting factor. My leg muscles weren't ever overly tired, my breathing was okay, but at some distance between 6 and 10 miles my knee pain would get too severe to run through. In 2012, I went through several months of physical therapy for stability, piriformis issues, and IT band-related knee pain. No noticeable results for my fall race that year or in my marathon training. I followed up with a sports med doctor. I honestly just wanted advice to be able to get through the marathon. After an MRI, she recommended surgery to clean up the meniscus tears and remove the hardware (aka screws) that were still in there from my knee surgery as a teen. But on the plus side, she said there was no reason to stop running. It might hurt, but I wasn't doing any damage. So January 2013, I completed my first full marathon and then had knee surgery. That was followed by 7 months of physical therapy and building up my running again to get me to the starting line of the Disneyland Half Marathon.

I had a lot of factors that would seem to be at odds with achieving a PR: high temperatures, record humidity, extreme lack of sleep, and completing a 10k the day before. But I had put in the training and had a solid plan to try for the PR. I studied the course map to memorize where the turns were so that I could "run the tangents" and attempt to take the shortest route possible, minimizing any extra tenths of a mile. I also knew that after mile 4, we were done with the parks. I planned to stop for a few photos in that beginning part of the race, but just motor through the rest. 

Here's one of my favorites (with no editing or filters!):
A beautiful morning in California Adventure

Woody on a Woody 

Serious sun at Angels Stadium 

Up until miles 7, 8, and maybe even 9, I was feeling really good. I had no trouble keeping up my Run 1/Walk 1 minute intervals. Then the heat started getting to me. I was surviving the run sections, but the walk sections were slower than my usual. My head started getting chills from being so sweaty - it was a weird sensation. I was continually checking in with my mind and body to make sure I wasn't feeling crappy enough to be at risk for heat stroke or over-exertion or anything. 

Favorite sign of the day

In the last 2 miles, I also made a friend. A petite young woman in a Snow White costume asked what paces I was doing and if she could tag along with me. We ended up finishing together. :)

I got my PR! I finished in 2:36.  

Inaugural Dumbo Double Dare complete!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Try a New Thingy: Episode 2

It's another week and another new cross training experience. Yesterday I took a class at my Y called BodyPump.  I didn't know much about the class other than that it was strength training with barbells, and suitable for all levels of fitness. I had noticed it was on the schedule a number of times per week, and I had previously walked by the class on my way to the indoor track. I was interested to add more rigorous and organized strength work to my running training. I already do some light strength training, but not quite enough minutes or times per week for my current running goals. And I hate lunges so much, a group class was the only way I'd be doing those!

I was a little nervous about what weights to pick. I eyed what items other class members had grabbed and walked over to the weight rack. I couldn't tell what weights would be right for me, so I watched the woman next to me pick hers. She looked pretty strong so I rounded my picks down from hers. Good thing, she turned out to be the instructor!

The class was challenging, but not overwhelming for a first-timer. Today, my quads are a little sore and my upper body is really sore. There are tiny muscles in my armpits that I didn't know I had!

I really liked the musicality of the class; the movements were timed to switch with changes in the music. I got the feeling that the playlists are kind of standard for these classes, which makes me wonder if it will be the same music next time I go? 

Another positive is getting an intense workout without getting intensely sweaty. It's a great lunch break exercise option since I can go back to work without a full shower.

The only negative was that the focus seemed more skewed towards upper body. I'm happy to strengthen everything, but legs had a much shorter set than everything else. It could be this instructor, this day, or just my perception, though. I'm definitely interested in giving it another try. Maybe making it a regular workout once or twice a week. Looking forward to getting even stronger! 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Way Back

I was an athlete from a very early age...

Although I think this was the only time I played racquetball!