Clarksville Half Marathon: The Expo

This weekend was the second annual Clarksville Half Marathon.  While overall it was a good race, it lost a little bit of the mojo from the inaugural event last year.

The web site said there would be no race-day registration or packet pickup, so I left work a couple of hours early Friday to go to the expo.  I drove an hour and a half to Clarksville, went into the hotel that was hosting the expo and noticed immediately how QUIET it was.  I saw a sign pointing me in the direction of the expo and walked into the large meeting hall.  The EMPTY large meeting hall.  Well, empty save for the table with the shirts and the table with the bibs.  I spent all of two minutes getting my stuff and asked the guy at the shirt table, “Where is the expo?”

I received a blank look as my answer.

Me: “Are you serious?  This is it?”

Shirt dude:  “Well, there were supposed to be vendors, but no one is showing up.”

Last year, I remember there being LOTS of booths.  I don’t remember what all there was because I kinda rushed through it.  I had a 7-month-old American Bulldog puppy waiting for me in the car.  I didn’t want her to go all Turner & Hooch on me (“Not the car!!!  Don’t eat the car!!!), so I didn’t waste any time.  I was kinda looking forward to being able to take my time at it this year.  But less than five minutes after arriving in Clarksville I was back on the road home with nothing but a shirt, a bib, a timing chip, and a goodie bag.  At least there was a goodie bag, right?  I didn’t open it until I got home.  Wanna see what was in it?  Feast your eyes upon this bad boy:

And that was it.

This all might have been funny if I hadn’t wasted a buttload of gas (remember I just got that Tahoe???) and three hours of my day.  I was so miffed that I just tossed the crappy little water bottle straight into the plastics recycling bag.

And you know what the icing on the whole cake was?  When we got to the race this morning, guess what was under a tent right next to the starting line portajohns.

Yep.

Packet pickup.

You can’t make this stuff up, people.

(Stay tuned!  Race report forthcoming!

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Size DOES Matter!

Out with the old:

And in with the new (to me):

As much fun as the Corvette has been, it’s time to move on.  On to something bigger, more practical, and more dog friendly.  I love my dogs, but family trips aren’t nearly as much fun when they involve two 50-pound dogs in your lap.

While I will miss the cool factor that comes with driving a ‘vette, I will NOT miss having to buy the high-octane gas, having to inch over speed bumps and out of parking lots to avoid dragging, and being blinded by every oncoming car because you are at eye level with their headlights.

The Tahoe wasn’t my first choice, but it’ll serve its purpose for the time being.  I still want an H3, but I don’t want a car payment.  We bought the Tahoe for something for me to drive until Hubs gets a few things on the ‘vette fixed and gets it sold.  It’s paid for, so that will be cash in-hand.  Then…THEN…I will finally have what I want.  I am 30 years old and have never picked out my own car.  Next time, I have the say-so.  If I decide I want my H3 painted pink with purple polka dots, by golly, that’s what I will have.

So.

Who wants to buy a Corvette?

You know you want to.

A Wonderfully "Wicked" Weekend!

This past weekend me and Mom made a trip to Memphis to make good on my birthday present to her:  We went to see Wicked.

WOW.  Just… WOW.

We got down there a little early, so we walked to Beale St. to get some lunch and ended up at B.B. King’s.  If it hadn’t been for the show starting at 1:30, I could have stayed there all afternoon.  Nothing like a live band singin’ the blues!

We stayed and listened as long as we could, then we had to get up and run in the rain back to the Orpheum.

I just can’t say enough about this production.  I laughed, I cried, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, and I think I stopped breathing a time or two.  (For those of you who’ve seen it–Defying Gravity.)

No photography was allowed during the show (and I had a freaking usher standing right over my right shoulder for the whole thing, so I couldn’t even sneak one in), so I don’t have any pictures to share.  You’ll just have to see it for yourself.  And I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you see it for yourself!

I will never watch the Wizard of Oz the same way again!

Still Truckin’

As incredible as the 18 miles went last Saturday, so was the pain that followed.  I did everything I was supposed to do after the run–ice, ibuprofen, stretched, and rolled–but it didn’t keep the pain at bay.  We and some friends went that night to the Bell Witch Cave (a HUGE flop, by the way!!!  Not at all what we expected!) and that involved quite a bit of walking.  I hobbled along, wincing with every step.  By Sunday, after a few rounds of ice and 3200 mg of ibuprofen, I was fine.

As I’d mentioned before, I had an appointment scheduled with the sports doc on Wednesday.  I decided to go to the chiropractor the day before that just to see if he could throw anything else in there.  I love my chiropractor.  He’s a Boston-qualifying runner, and he’s injured everything imaginable, so he knows.  He did say my hips and low back were out of alignment, so he twisted and contorted my body into all sorts of interesting positions.  He also said I had a little bit of a patellar tracking issue and sent me home with a different knee strap.  I had bought this one at Walgreens, but he told me I needed one more like this with the V-groove.  I tried it on a five-miler, and I had to take it off by mile 2.  It made it hurt worse.  I tried it looser, tighter, pulled to the left, pulled to the right.  It just freakin’ hurt, and I NEVER hurt by mile 2.

The sports orthopedist really didn’t have much to say Wednesday.  There are no problems in the joint that he can feel on physical exam.  He said it feels like a good, healthy knee to him.  But he ordered an MRI for November the 1st so he can see what’s going on behind the kneecap where the pain is.

In a nutshell, I’ve been to two doctors, paid two copays, and bought two knee braces, and I know nothing more than I’ve known all along.

But nobody said to stop running, so running I am!  Although those five miles were the only five miles I ran last week until Saturday, when I ran my scheduled 14, but we won’t get into all that… haha

But those 14!  Although it was not a successful run pace-wise, they were the most ENJOYABLE 14 miles I’ve run yet!  Vegas Marathon Buddy was in town for the weekend and we got to run together.  This was the first and last time we will run together before the marathon.  I think we learned a valuable lesson Saturday.  Talking while running takes a LOT of energy.  Come December 5th, we may have to just SHUT UP AND RUN!   lol

I’ve got a half marathon on the agenda for this coming Saturday.  I’m not gonna go completely balls out, but I do want to get a healthy PR out of it.  This is the same course that I ran as my very first HM a year ago, so I’m kinda excited to see what kind of time I end up with.

Back in the Saddle

I stuck to my guns and did NOT lace up and hit the pavement at all this week.  On one hand I felt like a fat, lazy sloth, and on the other hand I kind of enjoyed getting to come home from work, crack open a cold one and do whatever I dang well pleased all evening.  (There was a LOT of Guitar Hero playing going on around here this week.)

My knee hasn’t bothered me all week, but then again it never does except after I run.  I was really hoping that the week off would allow time for it to calm down.  The training plan called for 18 this weekend, but I just really didn’t know how far I’d be able to go having not run all week and not knowing how the knee would hold out.

Between the “taper,” the foam rolling, the stretching, the ibuprofen, the icing, the Domino’s Pacific Veggie on a Brooklyn-style crust for dinner last night, the Clif bar for breakfast, the GU Chomps, and the Cytomax SOMETHING worked!!!

There were a few tears again, but this time they were tears of celebration and praise.  (Yes, I’m a big ol’ sniveling, emotional crybaby.  What about it?)  I pulled off 18 miles this morning in 3:21:16 (an 11:11 pace)!  They weren’t pain free, but it was more of a nagging discomfort than a pain.  I’m sitting here on my couch icing right now, so we’ll see what tonight and tomorow bring.  I’m still gonna keep the appointment with the sports doctor Wednesday just to see if he can offer some advice because obviously something still isn’t right.  But I’m feeling a lot better about things than I have been.  After last week I was really scared this training had just come to a screeching halt.  But I have hope again.  Shoot, I’m EXCITED again.

Seven weeks to go!  I have a medal waiting for me in Vegas with my name on it!

Time Out

I’m putting myself in time out.  I’ve been a bad runner.  My body has been telling me, “I need a break,” and I didn’t listen.  Well, I SORTA listened.  I didn’t run my scheduled 5 miles Thursday, but I went ahead with my long run yesterday.

Can we say OUCH??????

I was able to squeeze out 11 (I was only scheduled for 12 anyway) before the pain just got the absolute best of me and I HAD to stop.  It’s not the outer knee/upper shin pain anymore.  I rolled the living crap out of my IT band.  It was super tight.  (Note to self:  Use foam roller as a PREVENTATIVE as it was intended and like you bought it for.)  The rolling seems to have fixed that.

But OMG… the kneecap pain.  The EXCRUCIATING kneecap pain.

I took a butt load of ibuprofen and iced it like crazy last night and it hurt even worse this morning.  I took more ibuprofen and iced again before church, and right now at nearly 6 pm, it is perfectly fine.

But I’m not making the same mistake I made last week.  Last week I was fine by Sunday night so I went ahead with my first two midweek runs.  I’m not doing that this week.

I don’t feel like I am truly INJURED.  If it was a true injury, actual anatomical damage, I don’t think OTC anti-inflammatories and ice would help.  I think something in there has just gotten a little angry.  So I am going to take some time and let my body do what I feel like it’s trying to do anyway:  heal.

I’m taking a week off.  I don’t want to jump back in tomorrow or Tuesday even though I’m pain-free and hit the reset button on any healing that’s taken place so far.

I hate to think of what I’ll lose this week, but I think it’s the smartest thing I can do for my marathon goals.

So I’m going to make the best of this week.  I’m going to work in the yard, clean my neglected house, maybe clean out my clos–  ….

Oh, who am I kidding???  I couldn’t even type that with a straight face!

I just rented the new Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock for five days.

Game on.

Unplanned Rest Day

I mentioned that my knee was sore after my 16 miles Saturday.  A little ibuprofen and by Sunday afternoon it was good as new.

Tuesday afternoon called for 4 miles.  It was cool and I was feeling good, so I decided to kind of push the tempo a bit and see what I could do.  The run was great!  I felt really good while running and set a new 4-mile personal best by quite a bit!  But then later that night that pain came back.  I had talked with a couple of folks and done some research on my own and thought it sounded like runner’s knee.  I bought a knee strap to wear for Wednesday’s 8 miles.  I couldn’t tell it helped whatsoever.  I kept stopping and adjusting it, loosening it, tightening it, raising it, lowering it… I couldn’t find that sweet spot to make it stop hurting.  But the pain still wasn’t bad so I kept going.

I’ve gotta say I didn’t have the postrun pain nearly as bad though.  So maybe the strap did do something.

HOWEVER!

Today, the outside of my knee (the same one) and upper half of my shin REALLY hurt.  Even when I’m just sitting still it’s just a dull pain with occasional stabbing pain.  Needless to say I will not be running the 5 miles that my schedule calls for tonight.  Instead I will be icing and massaging and stretching.

I called today to get an appointment with a sports doctor.  I called a couple of clinics, and the soonest any of their doctors can get me in is the 20th.  Maybe it’ll be better by then and I can cancel.  Or maybe I’ll have blown my leg completely out by then.  Who knows?  In the meantime I’m gonna just try to play it smart.  I’m hoping I’ll at least be able to get my long run in Saturday.  It’s a step-back week, so it’s only 12 miles.

Here’s hoping.

Missed Opportunities

Life is full of opportunity.  Sometimes you don’t recognize it until it’s too late.  Then sometimes you’re just at the right place at the right time when the planets align and prime opportunity presents itself.  When you find yourself in that situation, you grab hold of that opportunity and you OWN it.

My husband totally blew it this weekend.  You just don’t get many opportunities in life like he got Saturday night, and he totally blew it.

We were in PetSmart.  I had to pee, so I went to the restroom while he was standing in line.  When I made it back to the checkout counter, he was giggling like a schoolgirl.  I was all, “What’s so funny?”  Between giggles he was like, “I’ll tell you in a minute.”

He giggled through the rest of the transaction.

As we made our way back to the car he told me why, and I was so disappointed in him.

When he swiped his debit card and went to enter his PIN, the cashier, referring to their new touch-screen credit card machine, said, “It’s real sensitive.  You don’t have to pound it.”

And my husband did NOT say, “That’s what she said.”

***SIGH***

I thought I knew him better than that.

Sweet Sixteen

Yesterday’s long run of 16 miles went as well as I could have possibly hoped.  It was a CHILLY 40 degrees when I left the house, and I actually broke out the long-sleeved tech gear!  I’ve been waiting to do that since like March.  Such a welcome relief from the summer!

I took off from the house at about 7:15.  I planned to do the 16 in a series of four different four-mile out-and-backs.  Before I left, I staged myself a little oasis on my front porch:  A towel, a cooler of Cytomax, a couple of GUs, Body Glide…you know.  The essentials.

I did the first four miles and was back at my driveway but still felt great and didn’t feel like I needed a drink or anything, so I ran right by my driveway and on to the next four.  At the end of that four, again, I still felt really good and didn’t want to stop, but I knew I’d probably have to before I could complete another four, so I changed it up a bit.  I ran a road that loops back behind some corn fields behind our house for another two miles and made my first pit stop at 10 miles (only the second time I’ve ever been able to run 10 miles with no walk breaks!).

I spent approximately 4 minutes at my house drinking, GUing, peeing, and stretching and took back off.  It is SO HARD for me to get moving again once I’ve stopped!  But I kept plugging along.  I did have to stop by the house once more to get a drink again.  By that time the sun was out in full force and I was working up a good sweat because, remember, I’m in long sleeves.

I finished the 16 miles with a total time of 3:00:50, an average 11:18 pace.  Not breaking any land speed records, but I’ll take it!

Splits:

Mile 1 – 10:26
Mile 2 – 10:36
Mile 3 – 10:35
Mile 4 – 10:45
Mile 5 – 10:43
Mile 6 – 10:38
Mile 7 – 10:59
Mile 8 – 11:06
Mile 9 – 11:00
Mile 10 – 10:59
Mile 11 – 14:49  <—This is where I stopped off at the house.  I never stop my watch for breaks.
Mile 12 – 11:12
Mile 13 – 11:49
Mile 14 – 12:04  <—A walk/drink break of about 1-1/2 minutes was split between miles 13 and 14.
Mile 15 – 11:46
Mile 16 – 11:19

A few thoughts about the run!

Mint Chocolate GU – YUM!

Cytomax – Does not taste good after a Mint Chocolate GU.  You know how orange juice tastes after brushing your teeth?  Yeah.  It’s something like that.

CEP compression socks – I wore these while running this week.  They did help keep my legs warm, and my calves feel awesome today.  But they rubbed hot spots on both pinkie toes.  Not full-blown blisters, but I’m afraid they would have been if I had run many more miles in them.  I think I’ll put some Body Glide on my toes and try them again for my 18-miler.

Ice bath – BRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!  But I really do think it helped, as my muscles are not sore today!  At all!

Knee – While running I noticed a few times that I had a twinge of pain in my right knee kind of right beside/behind the medial patella.  It came and went.  Uphill, downhill, flat, it didn’t matter.  Nothing exacerbated it any more than anything else.  It wasn’t severe, just annoying.  And it really didn’t bother me much last night.  Now this morning, it’s pretty sore. I’ve taken ibuprofen and iced it, but there is definite point tenderness to it.  It almost feels like I’ve hit it on something, but I know I haven’t.  It’s not bruised, red, warm, or swollen.  It doesn’t hurt when I’m just sitting still.  It does hurt with walking.  When I stand on my right leg I can squat and rise without pain, but nonweightbearing knee bends are painful.  I can also elicit the pain just by pressing on the medial border of the kneecap.  It’s weird.  Thoughts?