Monday, November 23, 2009

Holy Heck, I LOVEA Hashing

Ok, so I've been a runner for a a year and a third now and am very interested in all the fun and exciting things there are to do!

I've run 5K's, 10K's, a 20K, Half Marathons, and a Marathon in my time. I've experimented with track workouts, ran on trails, ran in the rain, the snow, and in beautiful weather. Run with a dog sometimes, by myself at times, with a group at times, and with friends as often as possible. And last week, a group of 7 gorgeous women and I ran the Lights at Hartwood Acres (a Christmas light display.) The light's will never look the same from a car....

ANYWAY, at the end, we met the Pittsburgh Hash House Harriers. They had the most interesting names! (I'll leave them out, but they are both dirty and funny!) I knew a little about Hashing and thought about giving it a try but never developed enough gumption to actually go to a Hash. Until we met this group! I decided I had to give it a go!

So today, I became New Boot Brad (the term for a first time Hasher is "New Boot") and spent a few hours chasing the trail left by the Hare. The trail went through a part of Pittsburgh I'd never been to, so it was cool to see this section on foot. As we followed a series of marks of flour left on the sidewalk, we would come to checks and have to go in all directions to pick up the trail again. The Hare would leave "False" trails and you'd have to go back to the check and try a different direction. We came to a Beer Stop about a 1/3rd of the way through, had snacks and beverages, then continued on. Around 2/3rds of the way we hit another Beer Check and repeated. After we were finished, we went back to the Hare's house and ate, drank, and sang dirty songs!

I met a lot of new friends today, and they'll be giving me one of thier fun and adult oriented names soon! I fell in love with the game of Hashing today!

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rough Weekend

Yesterday I was supposed to go to the rail trail, run 10 miles, meet a group of friends, and run 5 more.

I slept in.

I spent a very lazy day procrastinating and planned on running in the late afternoon, then in the evening, then at night on the treadmill (15 miles on the treadmill?) then decided to take the weekend off.

It may sound like a rash decision caused by out and out laziness or lack of motivation, but there was a method to my madness! I've been battling planters fasciitis the past few months and my IT band has been a bit sore. I haven't taken more than 2 days off in a row since December of 2008, and only once did I do 2 days in a row since! I think my procrastination was an answer to my body asking for some healing time.

So no running Friday because it was a scheduled rest day, yesterday, today (I went to watch the Steelers give the Bengals the game,) or tomorrow (cross training.) That's four days without running!

But it'll be worth it I'm sure! My legs feel better today than I can remember and as the cliche goes, "absence makes the heart grow fonder!"

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Podiatrist Visit

I've been having some "arch" issues in my left foot for a few, um, how should I say this without sounding like an idiot.... months now. It started in August after my last speed work session before the Erie Marathon. I thought I pulled a muscle in my foot and the nagging pain led me to take a rest day and end my running streak at 243 days.

I tried taking my Black SuperFeet out of my shoes, tried a less stable shoe with and with out the Black SuperFeet insoles and the problem persisted. I increased my fluid intake (which still isn't where it needs to be,) added some electrolyte drinks, learned stretches from the Internet, and it all led to the same outcome--my arch still hurt.

I read the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, a great read, and tried changing my stride to get to a more mid foot strike. I toyed with my bare feet on the treadmill. I rolled "The Stick" on my calves, a frozen bottle of water under my foot, and stretched with a belt. My arch still hurt.

So, after careful review, and a recommendation from a friend (thanks Jess,) I made an appointment to go to a Podiatrist. I was waiting for the horrible news--you'll never be able to run pain free again (or you need to take some time off--almost as bad!) They took an x-ray, the doctor pushed on a few different places on my foot, and declared Planters Fasciitis. Poo. It wasn't something simple like I hoped, but it wasn't earth shattering either!

Dr. Bosta sent me to the store to buy a pair of GREEN SuperFeet and Neutral shoes.d Great, I got permission from the doctor, actually was TOLD, to go buy running shoes! That's like giving a crack addict $200 and saying go buy whatever will make you happy!

Well, after 35 miles in my new Dyads complete with Green SuperFeet, my arch pain has subsided. My legs are feeling a little less sluggish, and I am happy. Why on earth didn't I go to the Podiatrist earlier? I'm not cured yet, but on my way!

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Spirit of Pittsburgh Half Marathon

It was a great morning to run in the 'Burgh!

I started the day off by sleeping through my alarm. Not a big deal because I always try to give myself plenty of time race morning. The plan was to get up at 4:15, coffee, breakfast, coffee, bathroom, coffee, dress, and coffee out the door (note: I am not a morning person!) BUT, I arose from the warmth of my bed (after sleeping part of the night in my recliner???) at 4:47! Coffee was already made (thank you programmable coffee maker) so I ate a quick breakfast, coffee'd, dressed, coffee'd for the road, dropped the road coffee in the sink and had to leave sans coffee! So far, not the greatest morning!

I wanted to be at the parking garage before the crowds started to show. Even with my stop at the convience store (I really wanted that second cup!) I managed to get there at 6:05. Things are shaping up! I called my friend Robin to check on her status and it turned out we were in different garages! Gathered my stuff and headed to meet her!

After we met I made a trip to the porta-potties and then back to my Jeep--forgot lip balm and I really didn't want cracked lips! We stopped to talk to Christine, Bubba, and Jim (Jim wasn't running) for a bit and off to the Jeep we went!

After the Jeep, it was back to the porta-potties! The lines were HUGE! Robin decided to go to her pace group and I had to wait! One of the race workers came over to tell us that the race will start on time whether we are there or not! She encouraged us to go to the start and use on of the potties on the course! I asked if there was a full chip time from the beginning to the end or just at the end (chip vs. gun time.) She said it was a full chip time, so I said it didn't matter if I was a minute or two late for the start, my time would still be correct. She got a little nasty with me, I asked her if she wanted me to just pee my pants because they had so few porta-potties, and she walked away! A quick trip in, a dash to the start, and I managed to get in with the WRONG pace group for the start!

I wanted to run with the 2:20 pace group, Robin ran with the 2:10 group. I had 2:10 on my mind, so I hopped in line with the 2:10 group. After a half mile or so, I thought the pace was a little quick. Then I saw Robin and wondered if she was okay because she dropped back. All of a sudden I realized I was running in the wrong group! So I did the best thing that I could think of, I ran my own race!

At about 2 miles the 2:20 group caught me? I was really watching my splits and knew I was going faster than their 10:40. At one point, they slowed for a water stop, I hit a down hill and boosted my pace to 9:40something, and they caught me again! I started to think the pacer was just a bit overzealous! He kept running 10:20's and 10:30's! His group started to fade behind him by the 5 mile mark!

THEN IT HIT! Being rushed at the porta-potty at the beginning, I had to use one at the 6 mile mark! 3 minute wait! Oh my, could the be serious? Two porta-potties at three spots on the course with 3,000 runners? This was ridiculous! But what was I going to do?

I managed to regain myself after busting out of the bathroom and running too fast to try to make up for lost time! After I slowed back to my manageable pace, I realized I could still hit close to 2:20--including the break!

The course went up and down, I passed a number of folks, and next thing I know, I'm crossing the 13 mile mark! I picked up the pace and ran in for a 2:20:54 (Garmin time.) I'm very happy with the time because I managed to do that with the break. My PR is 2:20:11. So close, but when nature calls.....

It was a great day, nice running, and a great time to be a runner! But one of my favorite parts of the day was hanging with Robin and Robbie at Caribou Coffee after!

Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward!