Orange County 5K 2015

A couple of weeks ago I ran the Orange County 5K. It was my reluctant backup plan after deciding to forgo the OC half marathon because my abbreviated training plan after my knee injury hadn’t really prepared me for it. Actually, by the time race day rolled around I probably could have handled 13.1 miles, but it was better than I didn’t try. (This was a huge benefit one week later when I ran the Tinkerbell 10K and half marathon, but that’s a story for another post.) One of my co-workers ran the half marathon wearing my bib so at least my registration didn’t go to waste. May 3rd was perfect running weather – cool, cloudy, and calm. May Gray has been kind to us so far this month. (Another thing I’ll write about in a later post.) This was in stark contrast to last year when we were at the tail end of an unseasonably hot week. Actually, the 2014 Orange County 5K was my first 5K, and only my second race ever. I’d like to say I was faster this year, but that wouldn’t be true. After my injury back in January I was just happy to be running without any pain! I was slow, but fairly steady, and I crossed the finish line with a smile in my face. Maybe it was just a 5K, but I was still proud. My running regimen was finally back on track!

P.S. My co-worker finished the OC half marathon in less than two hours! Crazy!

Getting back in the swing of things

Spring has been nuts so far. My initial foray back into running post-injury went well, but I wasn’t very consistent. However, a few weeks ago I started running regularly again and for a while it was going well. I ran four miles, three days a week and my knee didn’t hurt at all. It was fantastic. But then I started increasing my mileage. About three weeks ago I ran six miles in my attempt to start getting ready for my next half marathon. It wasn’t a great run because it was a bit warm and the Powerade Zero I brought with my made me nauseous. During my walking breaks I stretched a bit to keep my knee healthy, and when I thought I had succeeded. But the next day I was really disappointed that it was hurting. I went to spinning that Monday night, which helped a little, but my knee still didn’t feel quite right. So I took a week off from running. I also went to the chiropractor which helped a little, but not nearly as much as I was hoping. Unfortunately the best therapy for my particular problem is rest, which is frustrating with so many races coming up I May. So I made a difficult decision. After weighing all of my options, I decided to forgo the Orange County half marathon on May 3rd. Mostly because I won’t be anywhere near prepared to run 13.1 miles that day, but also because I don’t want to risk getting injured before the Tinkerbell races at Disneyland the next weekend. Fortuitously, one of my co-workers wants to take my OC half marathon bib so it won’t go to waste. As a consolation prize I decided to do the OC 5K instead since I still want to get a medal that weekend. I’m still worried about not being ready for the Tinkerbell 10K and half marathon on May 9th and 10th, but at least skipping the OC half marathon will give me a better chance of being uninjured. I paid a lot of money for the Disney races and I am going to get my medals! The good news is that my run last night was the best I’ve had since I got hurt in January. Everything clicked. Granted, I ran really slowly (even for me), but at least I wasn’t exhausted and gasping for air the whole time. Hopefully this trend continues. Fingers crossed!

Rewards and incentives

I’ve had a weird and somewhat disappointing Saturday, but I’ll write about that tomorrow. It’s late and I’d like to spend more time on that subject that than I have tonight. However, I would like to share a little something before I go to bed. Last week I wrote about my internal struggle regarding the Avengers Half Marathon Weekend in November. I spent a couple of days debating it, and in the end I made a deal with myself. I would register for the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge (10K + half marathon), but then I had to get serious about training again. Afterwards I realized it was like giving a child a treat before they earned it. Oops. I didn’t say it was a good deal! (Not that running 19.3 miles is exactly a treat, but I sure do enjoy the medals at the end!) Fortunately I did get my rear back in gear as far as exercise goes this week. I ran last Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and went to a spinning class on Monday evening as well. It felt really good to be active again. Difficult, since I’m still out of shape after my injury, but good. And the best news is that I was lucky enough to sign up for the Avengers Infinity Gauntlet Challenge on Tuesday during Disneyland annual pass holder early registration. Once again the process was a bit of a disaster, but I was fortunate enough to get a spot two weeks before open registration. According to my deal with myself, this means I have to stick to my training schedule during the summer and fall. (It also means I need to make a training schedule for the summer and fall, but I’ll worry about that after my races in May.) This dedication should help me with my New Year’s resolution #3 to wear a bikini in Hawaii in June too. I’m going to Maui in less than three months. Yikes! I got myself another treat, of sorts, to help me with all of this. New running shoes! I bought the new incarnation of my Nike Zoom Structures to see if they work as well as for me the old ones. So far the results are promising, but I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve put more miles on them. Hopefully they will be properly broken in by my next race. I’ve got a lot of work to do!

Bad Saturday

FYI, this post contains discussion of pseudo-personal medical information of a female nature. Nothing graphic, but I wanted to inform everyone upfront in case any male visitors want to stop reading. I completely understand if you either don’t care about such matters or would just rather not read about them. Either way, you’ve been warned!

When I was eighteen I started taking birth control pills because I had debilitating menstrual cramps. Once a month I would wake up in unbelievable pain, and sometimes it was so bad that I vomited. I remember lying on the bathroom floor in a fetal position, crying because I felt so terrible. I could barely function until the cramps subsided. This made going to school on such days really miserable. Sometimes painkillers would help, but only if I took them soon enough. If not, there was nothing I could do but wait out the pain. Then when I was eighteen my mom took me to the doctor to find a solution. After trying a few different options, one particular variety of birth control pills finally got my cramps under control. It was wonderful. Some months I still had mild pains, but they were completely manageable compared to what I used to endure. I ended up taking birth control pills for fifteen years. I only stopped in January 2012 when my ex-husband and I decided to try and have a baby. That’s when I was reminded of how horrible menstrual cramps can be. I usually miss a half day of work every month because I can’t do much of anything when I feel so awful. I dread this day every month.

Yesterday morning I was awakened at 4:30 AM by a twinge in my abdomen. I knew exactly what that meant. I sprang out of bed, ran downstairs to grab my Aleve, and took two tablets as quickly as possible. I was hoping to ward off the worst of the symptoms because I was registered for the Seal Beach 10K at 8 AM. Much to my chagrin, it wasn’t very long before I was in major pain. I stayed in bed with my heating pad, unable to go back to sleep, and prayed that I would feel better in time for the race. Unfortunately luck was not on my side. I only began to feel a little better around 7:45 AM, which was far too late to get ready and make it to the starting line in time. What a disappointment. I can’t believe I had to miss the race in my own hometown! At least the shirt is pretty cool this year. That’s something, right? The rest of my day was basically a wash since the Aleve wore off around noon and my cramps came back with a vengeance. I felt terrible pretty much the whole day. What a way to spend a Saturday. So for anyone out there who thinks women are exaggerating when they talk about period pain, please understand that some of us are truly suffering. And it’s even worse when I miss something I was looking forward to, like a race, because of cramps! Better luck next month.

Run all the races!

This may already be obvious, but I have a confession to make. After discovering Disney races I’ve become slightly obsessed with running as many as possible. Hence the fact that I participated in the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend (not the half marathon, but the 5K and 10K) at Disneyland one week after the Disney World Half Marathon back in January. Oops. It’s really hard for me to see the registration for one of the races approaching and not at least consider signing up. Most of the Disney World events are out since I can’t make it to Orlando that often, but each and every one of the Disneyland races makes me drool. The combinations of running and Disney is irresistible. The shirts and medals are pretty attractive too!

Here is the latest example of my ridiculous dilemma. This morning Run Disney announced that they’re adding a 10K race as well as a challenge (10K + half marathon) to the Avengers Half Marathon Weekend in November. Cue the temptation! I ran the Avengers Half Marathon last year, and besides the gale force winds which made the middle of the race miserable, I enjoyed it. In fact, it’s my fastest half marathon time so far. (Fast for me, but not for anyone else.) For a number of reasons I’d love to sign up for the new Infinity Gauntlet Challenge. My only reservation is that the Wine & Dine Half Marathon is the weekend before at Disney World. I had been planning to do Wine & Dine for a while so signing up for it this week was a no brainer, even without the new Avengers race information. The big question is, should I commit to another big race just a few days after I get home from Orlando? I’m torn! The obvious compromise is just to run the 10K to make sure I don’t injure myself with too much running (I can survive 6.2 miles in just about any circumstances), but part of me is dying to do the challenge! One reason is that I have a chance to be a legacy runner for the Avengers Half Marathon if I participate all of the first five years. It’s not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, but as of now it’s be the only race where that’s even a possibility for me. Annual pass holder registration opens on Tuesday morning so I have until then to make my initial decision. I’ll think about it. If this isn’t a first world problem, I don’t know what is!

Going to Orlando in November!

I’m going to Orlando in November! I’m really looking forward to it, but this trip has already been fraught with difficulties. Two weeks ago early registration for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon at Disney World on November 7th opened for annual pass holders. I was already planning wanted to travel to Orlando for this race in 2015 so I went home from work for an hour that morning so I could sign up. I was logged on everywhere and hitting refresh on all of the websites right at 9 AM, but I couldn’t find the registration link in the usual places. And based on all of the Facebook posts I was reading (in between page refreshes), I wasn’t the only one. Finally I figured out where the link was hiding, typed in all of my information as fast as possible, hit Enter, and crossed my fingers. Unfortunately I was greeted with a message that said something like “capacity limit reached.” Pre-registration was sold out in less than 15 minutes. I had taken time off work for this? Phooey. My only saving grace was that I’d have another chance to sign up during open registration a couple of weeks later. Fast forward to this morning. After working all weekend I had enough hours to take the morning off so I could be sitting on my couch with my laptop, ready to secure my spot in the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, right at 9 AM. Fortunately for me, this time it worked out, but not without another registration debacle. The Run Disney website went down right before 9 AM so no one could get to the registration links (again, based on Facebook posts I read while mildly panicking). Eventually I found a roundabout way to the half marathon link, but then I was put into a virtual queue to wait my turn. The queue initially said 12 minutes, but I think it was more like 15 before I got to actually register. I was so nervous that I’d miss out again! In the end I was one of the lucky ones who got through before the race sold out (less than 45 minutes later). I am extremely grateful, but there has got to be a way to make the registration process easier! After I got my confirmation email for the race, I called and booked a hotel room at the Disney Polynesian Resort, and bought a plane ticket as well. In less than an hour I was almost fully prepared for this trip already! I can’t wait to go back to Orlando!

Hopeful

After not running for almost four weeks, I was so nervous on Saturday at the beginning of the Race on the Base 5K. I’d already transferred from the 10K to the 5K due to my knee problems, but I was worried that even just 3.1 miles was going to be too painful. Fortunately I knew this was going to be a good test of what sort of shape my knee was in because it was such a short distance. I could just walk the remainder of the race if it started to hurt. As concerned as I was about my knee, I was equally concerned about the rest of my body being out of shape after nearly a month of little to no exercise. I knew I my breathing would be labored no matter how slowly I ran, and I knew my muscles would be super sore the next day, but I still needed to try. So how did it go? I felt great! Actually, I was completely thrilled! I definitely got tired a lot sooner than I would have if I’d been running regularly, but my knee didn’t hurt. It was incredible! This gives me hope that it’s healing, even though it’s still not 100% back to normal. And on top of that, the PA I saw at the orthopedist’s office today agrees with that assessment. She didn’t even order an MRI because she’s confident that I’ll make a full recovery with a little physical therapy with my local chiropractor. This is fantastic news because I’m really looking forward to running again. Hopefully my work schedule will calm down soon so I’ll be able to!