Monday, September 22, 2008

Another crazy weekend...running no less

What a crazy weekend I planned for myself...

so after the previous crazy weekend, I, once again, considered running the Philadelphia Distance Run - a half marathon, since Brian was already running it, and I was going to be there.

Tuesday, September 16th 2008:
The Tuesday after the relay weekend, I went back to Fleet Feet and returned my sneakers after just 15 days of use, running a total of 45.09 miles in them. The ever growing blister and my black toe or just general discomfort ultimately helped me with this decision. So, I got a new pair. Ingrid, who helped me pick out my sneakers, asked if she could see my wounds for why I was returning the sneakers. She asked how far I was running since these were wounds she says happens during long distances and recommended that I not run and let them heal. Hmm, I wasn't about to say that I was thinking of running a half in 5 days, so I brought up the Boston half which is in October.

Wednesday, September 17th 2008:
My legs finally felt close to normal, so the next morning, I broke in my new sneakers and went for a little run to test my endurance - 11.48 miles. Yup, I felt I had to give it a try to make sure I could run a long distance, or at least longer than 6+ change miles. I could have run longer, but the traffic lights killed my momentum at the end. But I guess it was for the best anyway. That's a lot of running just 4 days before the race - way too much. Now I just had to focus on keeping my muscles loose until Sunday. As before, my biggest problem area are my hamstrings.

Friday, September 19th 2008:
Friday rolls around, and we're off to Philly. Our trip was littered with traffic, and Brian drove the whole way, so he was so thankful when we finally reached his parents' place around 9:30pm. I would have been driving but...I was going to be doing a lot of driving the next day.

I planned to register for the race online, but turns out that I didn't read the fine print closely enough, so the online registration period ended the previous Sunday, September 14th. That meant that I would have to go to the Expo and register in person. Great. So much for any kind of sleeping in on Saturday.

Saturday, September 20th 2008:
8:40am - wake up, shower, pack leftover pasta on ice
9:20pm - say goodbyes to Brian and his parents then leave for expo, lots of traffic through local roads
10:10am - look for parking near convention center, luckily a fellow runner leaves from a 15- minute parking spot, and I put one too many quarters in meter. Registration is a breeze, noticing several other runners register late just like me. I put myself down for a 2:15 finish time, placing me in the 13th corral.
10:50am - after driving around looking for longer-term parking, I decide to drive home and go to mall in NJ instead of the Galleria to buy a shawl since it will be chilly in the evening and I had nothing. Plus had to get an evening bag.
12:15pm - arrive at Riverside Square Mall, change into strapless dress in Saks' ladies lounge, fix hair for wedding, put some makeup on and earrings, then search for cream-colored wrap and bag in several stores (found a relatively cheap scarf in Bloomies and on-sale bag in Ann Taylor), dash through mall back to car, well aware of the condition of my leg muscles, massaging here and there
1:30pm - arrive at home, find Mom, Dad, Tito Erming, Tita Melba sitting in TV room all ready to go
1:40pm - nuke leftover pasta and devour it
1:50pm - change into dress and apply final touches
2:10pm - drive to NY, following Mom, Dad, Tito Erming and Tita Melba
2:50pm - drop Mom, Tito and Tita in front of church, then look for parking with Dad. Park at The New York Palace, where the reception will be. Hop into taxi parked in front of hotel. We both get upset at the driver who seems to be taking a longer route, but then he mentions that the UN is in session - oh, right. Sorry! We both apologize for our outbursts, but the driver says not to worry and that he's used to it, especially driving in New York.
3:05pm - arrive at church, just in time to watch Haidee walk down the aisle

aah. finally time to catch my breath, relax and enjoy Haidee and Michael's wedding

9:00pm - on the dance floor and start saying goodbye to everyone as I head off back to Philly. I didn't tell anyone except Elmer and Hoong-San my real plans to run as I didn't want to spend the night talking about how crazy I am, so they enjoyed my yummy dinner as it arrived just as I was leaving. Definitely had to watch what I ate (so sad!) and missed out during the cocktail hour on some shellfish and other goodies that may not have sat well in my stomach for the next day.
9:05pm - change into my comfy travel clothes and head to the parking garage with Dad, who I tell to go back so he can enjoy his entree while it's still warm.
9:15pm - drive to Philly
11:07pm - park in parking garage across from hotel

SO happy to see Brian and not be driving. He was still awake since he got to bed later than he wanted. Needless to say, we didn't get to sleep as well as we would have liked, even with having our own double bed.

Sunday, September 21st 2008:
Brian's wake up call - 6:00am
I wake up around 6:20am
Leave a little before 7am to meet up with the other JSF members.

One of the members ended up running late, so he didn't make the group photo.

After the "photo shoot", we head over to the bag check-in, and just as I sealed our bag, Brian realizes he still has his JSF shirt on, which he wasn't planning on running in, so struggles to open it and cuts himself. One of the volunteers hands us another bag to put our bag in, apologizes for the trouble and off it goes into the UPS truck. Brian then realized another critical detail. Before leaving the hotel, he was preoccupied with details like getting to the Rocky statue on time that he forgot to put on his Garmin watch - oh no! I told him that if he does go back to get it that his official clock time won't start until he crosses the start line in case the race starts before he gets back. So, off he goes. The hotel is about 0.9 miles from where we were, and it was around 7:25am. That means almost 2 miles of extra work for his legs - doh!! I start doing some stretches and they're already playing "Eye of the Tiger" and other pump up songs. I left those for the end on my shuffle. But once I turned on my shuffle to try to block out my surroundings, the songs aren't in the order I had specifically arranged - aaaaaaaaaah!!!! Not again! For some reason, my shuffle decided to alphabetize the songs. Oh good grief.

After getting in my corral and waiting for a short time, I could hear the cheers ahead, marking the signal that the race began, and just as the wave reached us and were about to cross the start, the announcer said it took just 8 minutes and 30 seconds for our group to reach the start.

Before reaching the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, around 16th street, and more importantly even before I reach my first mile, the first pack of elite runners are already running in the opposite direction towards the art museum. We all cheer them on as they seriously make running look easy, already approaching the 4-mile mark.

I kept to the side and determined after the fact that I spent WAY too much energy jumping up and down the sidewalks trying to avoid those running slower than I was. I almost missed the 5k chip reader jumping down just a few feet before seeing it. I didn't want to wear my watch, or any thing for that matter, on my wrists, thinking it would distract me, but I found myself searching for those mile markers and the time. I never did see the first mile marker, and I guess my legs definitely weren't in prime condition cuz by the time I reached the the fifth mile, I was wishing I was on the other side of the river, where I could see runners heading down the last couple miles. A lot of energy was also expended on zigzag-ing around runners during the water stations, even nudging a runner out of my way - way to lose momentum. Reaching up and changing the music on my shuffle, which was clipped to my hat, every so often wasn't ideal either.

In the meantime, Brian wasn't having his ideal run either. Around mile 7, not only did his ITB start hurting on one leg, but his knee on his other leg started bothering him as well. So after a strong start, with still half of the run left to go, he struggled with the pain for the remainder of the race. Considering the circumstances, I think he did an awesome job.

photo from Brian's mom
look for the blinking below

Race photos by Action Sports

Seeing the porta-potties around the 8-mile mark, I thought about my last run and was thankful I didn't have to use them again, but I also remember my legs being much stronger back then, feeling no fatigue during the entire race. This time I kept thinking, "Where is the mile marker? I haven't run a mile yet?!" and it was even more pronounced after crossing the bridge. Don't remember seeing the 9-mile mark, and I only grabbed a few small sips of water before pouring it on myself. Twice. My legs just started feeling like mush, and between mile 11 and mile 12, my legs gave out and my slow jog turned into a slow walk, which felt really refreshing and disappointing at the same time. So close. Just a mile and a half left.

Well, after walking for a few minutes, I reached an area where more people started lining the streets and cheering, and so walking just didn't seem right. So, I did my best to "run" even though it really pained me to do so.

Oh, and what a torturous ending it was! I didn't look at the course map carefully, thinking it would be the same as the last time...but it wasn't. It was one big tease. Unlike the nice straight away from last time, the last tenth mile involved a curve, so expecting the finish line to be just ahead, I sped up as much as I could only to find out that I had to maintain this pace for what seemed like forever.

It was a sorry sight. I wish I had gotten the footage from the last race instead. Here's the
GoAction video minus their cheesy corporate background music, replaced by a more appropriate tune. You can find us using the above photos as a guide.

You can see it in higher quality by clicking on the YouTube logo on the bottom right.

Well, after that wobbly finish, nothing felt right. Even before reaching the finish, I was having white flashes and some kind of tunnel vision, and my legs refused to keep me on a straight path once I crossed the line. One of the volunteers approached me and asked if I was okay, and I flatly said, "No." As we headed to the medical tent, he asked me what I ate before the race, and I told him, "A banana" and he gave me a sports drink, which I gulped down in no time. I think the combination of sunblock and sweat got in my eyes to give me my vision issues or maybe a bit of heat stroke? I had a similar sensation when I was younger on a trip to the Philippines.

In any case, I sat down in the tent, where there were a couple other volunteers but no runners. I was given a bag of ice to put on my head and another bottle of Cytomax to drink. I probably sat down for less than 5 minutes before deciding I felt much better and wanted to meet up with Brian. Another runner was being assisted in as I left. I certainly didn't feel that much better as I made my way to get my medal and pick up some freebies. Of course, I couldn't hold everything I grabbed (water, drinks, fruit cups, cookies, chewy bars) and started dropping things along the way. Even just leaving the finish area was an ordeal with turns here and there.

Then I thought, oh great, we never made plans for where we'd meet after the race. But I figured I'd try the Rocky statue. Luckily enough I did see Brian's dad, then Brian. In my state, I just wanted to drop all or what was left in my hands and sit down. But before sitting, I had to get our bag from the UPS truck. Here I am on my return trip:

The bag of ice is still under my hat.

Didn't realize it at the time until Brian mentioned it, but we parked ourselves right next to one major photo op, and we're probably in tons of photos.

Here's Matt, one of the JSF members finishing:

and our group photo. The man who looks like Santa didn't run the race.

Here are our results:

Bib# Runner Net time/Clock time
5329 Brian 1:52:37 / 1:54:56
9609 Paul 2:07:43 / 2:15:44
7316 Tony 2:13:33 / 2:21:33
13849 Ruby 2:17:37 / 2:26:41
8813 Phil 2:19:07 / 2:27:06
12485 Matt 2:29:58 / 2:37:58

How did we fare compared to 2005?

2008 Net time 1:52:37...Avg pace 8:36...5K 23:57...10K 47:59...10M 1:21:37
2005 Net time 1:43:08...Avg pace 7:52...5K 24:54...10K 48:36...10M 1:18:13

2008 Overall 4133/13277 73.7%...Gender 2967/6524 62.9%...Age group 478/952 65.7%
2005 Overall 1512 / 8601 69.6%...Gender 1214/4646 59.6%...Age group 172 / 578 69.2%

2008 Net time 2:17:37...Avg pace 10:30...5K 30:09...10K 1:00:47...10M 1:40:09
2005 Net time 2:11:31...Avg pace 10:02...5K 29:57...10K 0:59:55...10M 1:40:28

2008 Overall 9737/13277 73.3%...Gender 4253/6753 63.0%...Age group 768/1166 65.9%
2005 Overall 5987/8601 69.6%...Gender 2357/3955 59.6%...Age group 591/854 69.2%

So, we slowly made our way back to the hotel. We were originally going to meet up with the JSF crew again for cheesesteaks, but with my body in an already crap-like condition, I liked the idea of throwing down cheesesteaks back at Brian's parents' place better.

We were able to meet up with Betsy for a little bit who had some free time before heading back home to prepare for a presentation. It was fun seeing her again, just a week after our RTB relay. I told her that she could have totally run this since she maintains a more regular running routine than I and wouldn't have the restlessly sore legs I was experiencing.

Like our sweet ride? heh heh

While Brian rested his legs, Betsy and I walked back to the race area so that I could get our medals engraved. We would have gotten them engraved earlier, but apparently they only took cash.

Back at the hotel, the whirlwind of a mess in our room

My "new" battle wounds: a new blister on my left foot, probably due to my running on the side of the road instead of the center, and a cut on my toe due to my nail. Lovely. My bandages are protecting the wounds from last week, although the black toe nail did bother me again during this race.

Thank goodness for late check-out. We had until 1pm, and I hopped in the shower at 12:45pm. We had a ton of stuff, and it looked like my shoulders were also going to feel sore soon. Driving didn't turn out to be so bad, just the getting in and out did.

We tried to meet up with Cliff at his firehouse, but unfortunately he was out on a job.

When we got back to the house, we had a good soak in the pool before enjoying our delicious cheesesteaks.

What was planned to be a power nap turned into an hour and a half long nap as Brian and his parents watched the Eagles game. When I got up and joined them again, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End was on. We ended up having a nice, long relaxing at the house until around 8pm before heading back to CT.

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