Sunday, February 17, 2013

Another Cold One - Week 7 (February 10 - February 17, 2013)

Locomotive 5K (Kennesaw, GA) - February 17, 2103

After a week of "milder" weather in Atlanta, there of course had to be a cold snap over the weekend!  I woke up at 5:45 this morning to be out the door for this week's race.  I knew when I woke up that it was going to be a VERY cold one!  However, I had an exciting alert on my phone when I woke up...

That is right! 1 week until my dreams of running through the castle come true!  If anything can make waking up at 5:45 happy, this is it!

Today's race was the Locomotive Half Marathon and 5K.  Typically, I would be all over running the half marathon, but with Princess next week (eeeek) I wanted to rest my legs.  As I pulled into the race parking lot, I figured I would check out the weather situation before checking in.  

That is right, COLD yet again!  I was even more thrilled when the race director informed us that the wind chill was 14!!!  I am glad I bundled up this morning.

Since there were 2 races, they did 2 separate start times (7:30 for the half marathon and 8:00 for the 5K).  

The overall race was great, there was a well marked start line, on-time start, great post race food, etc.  The course is one that I have a lot of experience with - it is the same course as Resolution Run and other races I have done.  

My foot actually felt "alright" for most if the race.  It wasn't until around mile 2 that I started to feel the pain - probably because it was frozen!!!!  Knowing I have a 5K and a half marathon next week, I didn't feel comfortable pushing it yet.

This race as part of a local running series and they always have a great post race party.  Today was no different (despite the bitter cold).  Awaiting runners were vendors such as Domino's Pizza, Zaxby's, Sweet Tomatoes, Muscle Milk, etc.  The funniest part of the race had to be the frozen cups of water at water stations and the finish line - I told you it was cold!

Race Pros:
GREAT post race party
On time and well marked start

Race Cons:
No Swag Bag - just given a shirt

Overall Race Rating: A

Question of the week:  With all of this cold weather, how do you handle the cold on your runs?

***I am already going to apologize for crazy amounts of pictures and posts while I am Disney next week***

Time to Run,

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Back2Back- Week 6 (February 3 - February 9, 2013)

MARDI GRAS 5K (Marietta, GA) - FEBRUARY 9, 2013

Last year I took part in my first Mardi Gras 5K in Marietta.  The race is hosted by Junior League of Cobb-Marietta and proceeds go towards their projects in the community.  The race last year really stuck out in my mind because it started to snow!  That is right, part way through the course we were welcomed by snow.  I love running races in downtown Marietta because The Square is so beautiful and the neighborhoods surrounding The Square are wonderful.  

Mom once again joined me for a 5K - I think I have her hooked!  For the first time in a while, my dad even joined in on the 5K fun! 

The parking and check-in situation were wonderful (we were there very early).  I am not too fond of races that give you your swag before the race since it is hard for those parking far away, using public transportation, etc.  

Once again it was cold!  I know it is February and cold is to be expected, but I feel like Georgia has only been getting these beautiful 60 degree days during the week.  Racing every Saturday when it is below 40 makes me really start to look forward to Disney more and more (if that is possible).

It seems to be a trend that races aren't clearly marking the start line.  Of the past 6 races I have done this year, only 2 have had a clear start line.  Despite confusion as to where to line up, the race started on time.  

My one gripe about the actual race beyond the start line confusion was the number of people with strollers and dogs at the front of the pack.  When 800 runners are bottlenecked to begin with, dogs on long leads and non-jogging strollers cause a lot more bottlenecks/tripping hazards.  Most races ask that runners with dogs or strollers line up towards the back for safety reasons.  Nothing was ever mentioned during pre-race announcements about this.

The doctor said I could run - NOT RACE.  There is a huge difference between the two.  I had to keep telling myself that - you can run, not race.  I went into the race knowing I had to slow my pace.  I am going to admit, I did hurt during the race but I finished (slow).  

Post-race was nice.  They had banana bread pudding as well as typical bananas, Cliff Bars, etc.  There was also a vendor set up with gluten-free muffins.  A lot of runners express interest in gluten-free options, so it was nice to see that.

Race Pros:
Beautiful course
Good mid-sized race (about 800)
On-time start
Post race food options

Race Cons:
Not a clear start line
Swag handed out pre-race

Overal Race Rating: A

Okay, so when the doctor said it was ok to run - I don't think he meant to go run back to backs...

After completing the Mardi Gras 5K, we drove up to Kennesaw for a quick bite to eat before heading to KSU.  Owls Making Strides 5K was celebrating their 5th running this year.  The race is part of the Play4Kay event with the women's basketball team.  Play4Kay honors the coach from NC State that fought a hard battle with breast cancer a few years ago.  A lot of women's basketball teams host Play4Kay events - Georgia Tech hosted their event Sunday which I attended of course.  Dad sat out this one, so it was just mom and I doing the back to back races.

I did this race last year as well.  I like the course because since it is my college (twice over), I can reflect on my experiences and memories of campus and how my time at KSU made me the person I am today.  It is also nice to see how campus has changed since I graduated in 2006 then again in 2011.

Just like the Mardi Gras 5K, swag was given at check in which meant we had to go back to the car before the race.  Fortunately, I am always early to races, so I had time to go back.  Once again, the start line was not clearly marked.  The most annoying part of the race was the race director speaking directions about the course into a bullhorn that was pointing away from the crowd so no one could hear him.  

The course was alright - same as last year except in the opposite direction so all of uphill segments were now downhills.  Since the course is not a certified 5K, it actually measured longer than 3.1 miles.  It was a 3 loop course with each loop measuring 1.1 miles, so we ran about 3.3 miles total.  

At this point, my foot was quite angry at me.  As much as I thought about quitting or just walking, I couldn't.  This race raises awareness for breast cancer which is a very important cause to me.  I thought about everything that a breast cancer (or any cancer at that) patient goes through and that made my foot pain seem so minute.  Keeping those that have battled or are currently battling cancer, I kept running.  I DID IT!  Slowly again, but I did it!

After getting about 6.5 miles done today, I feel confident that despite my injury I can get Princess done in 2 weeks.  It is the most magical place on earth, so how can I not make it to the finish at Disney!?!  

After the race we were given tickets to the KSU women's basketball game vs. Jacksonville.  Inside the game was a buffet lunch hosted by Copeland's.  We ended up staying until half-time because at that point we were beat since we woke up at 5:15 for the first race.  

Race Pros:
On-time start
Post race buffet (not typical race food)
Post race entertainment

Race Cons:
Not a clear start line
Swag handed out pre-race
3 loop course

Overal Race Rating: B

Question of the Week:
Breast cancer awareness is something important to me as my grandmother (survivor) and Aunt Carol both battled this terrible disease.  What causes do you enjoy running for?

Time to Run,

Injury Update

2 weeks ago during the Polar Bear 5K I got a horrible pain in my left foot around about 1.5-2 miles in.  At first I thought that my running shoes were just wearing down too much - I had about 250 miles on them, so I was due for a new pair soon.  After getting a new pair of Asics, my foot pain was not any better (probably worse).

With the Princess Half Marathon quickly approaching, I figured it was time to throw in the towel and get my foot checked out.  I traveled to Pennsylvania this week for work, so I went through a few more days of pain before I could get in to see the doctor.  On a side note, it was very very cold and snowy in PA (duh, it is February).  Therefore, I was limited to hotel gym running for the week.

I got back home from Pennsylvania late Wednesday night and went to the doctor's office Thursday during lunch.  Due to limited availability of my normal foot doctor, I had to resort to one closer to work.  My mom has seen him before so I felt comfortable going to a different doctor this time.  Dr. Kahn and his staff were wonderful.  Everyone took into consideration my running and training schedule for my half marathons coming up.  

I was a little concerned when Dr. Kahn first started to exam my foot.  He barely touched my site of pain and I about flew off the exam table.  His response was "let me see if those X-rays are done yet."  A few minutes later he came back with the great news that I did not have a fracture!  After further examination, he diagnosed me with metatarsalgia.  Basically, I have severe inflammation of the joint of my big toe/ball of foot.  

After a bit of discussion, we decided to not do an injection because the long term risk outweighed the short term benefit especially with my running.  Therefore, for the next 2 weeks (and possibly after the half), I am in a walking boot for my day to day activity to reduce the stress and pressure on the joint.  I am also on anti-inflammatory for the next month.  The best part is, the doctor actually wants me to do some running over the next two weeks so my foot does not go into shock when I go to run 13.1 miles in 2 weeks.  THAT IS RIGHT - 2 WEEKS UNTIL DISNEY!!!!!

I think someone told Dr. Kahn what I wanted to hear because I could not have been more happy with what I was told Thursday afternoon!  I was worried that I would have been told no Princess (yea, like I would have listened to that treatment!).

Time to Run,

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Running the Riverrrrrrr- Week 5 (January 28 - February 2, 2013)

Chattahoochee Challenge 10K (Roswell, GA) - February 2, 2013

With the Disney Princess Half Marathon right around the corner (3 weeks!!!), I wanted to get in a "longer" race in preparation.  Back in late December I came across the Chattahoochee Challenge 10K.  I have ran 10Ks and part of a half marathon on this course, so I was pretty familiar with what to expect: fairly flat course with a few moderate hills along the scenic Chattahoochee River.  My 10K PR and Half Marathon PR took place along this course, so I figured it would be a good race for me to do.

After hurting my foot last week, I was a little apprehensive about running today.  My foot pain could be caused by a variety of things: pinched nerve, stress fracture, worn out shoes, etc.  I decided to test out a new pair of shoes to see if that might be the issue.  After hurting my foot/leg in 2011, my foot doctor fitted me for the best shoe for my feet - Asiacs Cumulus.  My shoe guy (Landy @ Athlete's Locker in Cartersville) is pretty amazing.  After talking to Landy last weekend about my foot pain, he custom ordered my new shoes!  The Cumulus 14's just released a new color for spring that the store does not even carry yet, but he was doing an order Monday and got them just for me - THANKS LANDY!

I will learn to complain about 28-37 degree whether on Saturday mornings....let's try 25 degrees!  Thank goodness all pre and post race activities were inside because it was just down right bitter cold!  As I got my bib and began to stretch, I really started to question if running this morning was the right thing to do.  Having the "no excuses" and "don't quit" attitude that I have, I decided to go for it.  If I started hurting I could always just slow up and/or walk if need be.  

For most of the first mile I was in a good bit of pain, but past that point the pain just kept escalating.  By the time I got to mile 4 the pain was getting unbearable.  I was really upset because I knew if my foot weren't hurt that I could have a chance to PR this morning.  It is what it is, my foot is hurt but I finished!  

I have ran plenty of races that have been sub-freezing temperatures, but this was the first race that the cups of water at the aid stations had ICE forming in the bottom!  I am very thankful that the race director and volunteers kept reminding runners to through their cups/water in the grass and not on the road - this could have been a horrible mess if the roads would have gotten wet.  Thank you to all of the runners ahead of me - I greatly appreciate not encountering an ice rink at the water stop.

The shirt had a cool design to it, however it was a cotton short sleeved t-shirt.  I like when races in the winter do long sleeved shirts, but I still enjoy short sleeved since I can wear them year round.  Since the race was hosted by the Chattahoochee Nature Center, it only made sense that the goodie bags were environmentally friendly.  Whole Foods was a sponsor and provided the race with mini sized "green shopping bags."  I love when Whole Foods provides these at races because these bags can be reused and are the perfect size for taking your lunch to work or other miscellaneous items.

I ran today's 10K my slowest time in 1 1/2 years.  It was hard to digest how slow my time was today, but given the fact that I ran injured, I have accepted it.  Minus the injury and the cold, today's race was great....ok, the injury and cold made it pretty miserable for me.  I hope to come out and run this race again next year and see what I can do with 2 good feet.

Since it has been a week and I am still having a lot of pain, I am giving in and making an appointment to go to the foot doctor to get it checked out.  I am very nervous that I am going to be advised to not run the Princess Half, but I have already decided that worst case scenario I will walk it and just enjoy the atmosphere!  I will be out of town for a few days for work, so I won't be able to get in to see the doctor until later this week, but I will let you all what happens.

Race Pros:
Fairly flat course
Smaller race for a 10K (capped at 1,200 runners)
Indoor pre and post race activities
Great volunteers
On-time start
Reusable goodie bag

Race Cons:
Hard to move around post-race area (awards ceremony was right on top of shirt station)
Short sleeve cotton t-shirt

Overal Race Rating: A-

Question of the week:  
What is your running shoe of choice?  Why?

Time to Run,