Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day 18: Whatever Tickles Your Fancy

Ok, so I am continuing my thoughts and stories about running. We are now at the Big Lake Half Marathon at Lake Winnipesaukee New Hampshire and yes, it is the same lake featured in the movie "What About Bob," on a Saturday in 2006. The night before it was POURING rain and the forecast for the race was even more rain. I was talking on the phone with William the night before and he kept telling me to not do the race. I told him that I had already spent MONTHS training for this run so how could I not finish, and I had already paid the registration fee. William then decided to teach me about "sunk costs"- he kept telling me to "cut my losses" and just not do it. The thing is that I KNEW I could do it and I wanted to get it done. I drove a few friends who were also running the race- including my friend Jane who had flown in all the way from Boston- up to the race and it was just dumping buckets the whole time. The photo shows us BEFORE the race and getting soaked- I refuse to show any of my race photos because I just look so miserable. (Oh- and these were our team shirts. We were team SweetFeet (S') and the motto on the side said "And their SOX smelled round the world" and our back theme was "One if by land, 13.1 if by Lake".)

Sadly, we didn't luck out and it poured the WHOLE time. I started out running the race with my friend Amy and Michael but as it was quite hilly, along with the rain, I decided that my only goal was to finish in under 3 hours and I didn't want to slow them down so they should just go on without me. It was such a HORRIBLE experience- I was COMPLETELY soaked and freezing, despite having to occasionally run uphill. I did walk occasionally up several of the steeper hills so that I could save my energy to finish the race. And I actually ended up finishing with my friend Michael who had a horrible time with blisters as he had forgotten his shoes and had to borrow a pair from other people. I finished at 2 hours and 40 minutes, well under my goal. I was able to change into dry clothes and meet my friend Jane as she crossed the finish line. And of course I ate the ice cream even though it was freezing outside :-)

Overall, I am so happy that I didn't quit but saw it through to the end but that experience made me realize that I have ZERO desire to ever run a marathon, let alone another half marathon. I didn't really enjoy the experience while I was doing it- I liked my training runs MUCH better- but I am proud that I was able to accomplish that goal and in the POURING rain nevertheless.

I still continued to run even after the race, usually for 30 minute runs or 5-6 milers at the most, because I did enjoy running shorter distances. It is a great time to think and get exercise, as well as I LOVED running along the Charles River. So so beautiful. I was so excited when I found out that we were moving to the Bay Area and I would be able to run year round (as this was NOT desirable with the bitter cold in Boston). I kept up my shorter runs- I really enjoyed going around Rengstorff Park. However, in February 2008, I started having pains in my knees. I've had shin splints before and it definitely was not that. It would hurt for days, even when I would not run. It eventually was painful in both knees for weeks even after I had stopped running, so I went to the doctor. My doctor did a couple of manipulations of my legs and told me that I had patella femoral syndrome where basically due to the structure of my hips, my knee cap was grinding against the bone resulting in the pain and inflammation. She said that I would need to give up running since it is such high impact on my knees and would need to exercise using lower impact such as walking, elliptical, or swimming. I was not able to exercise for a few months and I also took ibuprofen several times a day and some strength training exercises.

I initially was so bummed when I heard this news because I was FINALLY in the perfect climate to run and now I couldn't (I might be able to but I really don't want to push the issue since there are other ways for me to exercise) AND I have several friends here who are into running as well so I could run with them, but I am now ok with it. We have an elliptical machine at our apartment complex which is great because it is SUPER close, I can work out in the rain, and I can read while working out. Oh, and the pain has completely gone away for 2 years since I stopped running so that makes me happy :-)

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