Monday, October 22, 2007

It's finally here!

I'm leaving on vacation! I'll be back in Nov.!

My half marathon in Nov. is looking highly doubtful? Remember my pain at 12 miles of my half marathon last weekend? Well, it's still haunting me. I have an honest to goodness pain-in-the-ASS ITBS. Like, not just soreness of the knees. Like painful enough to stop you on your tracks...and I don't use the word "pain" very lightly.

I was able to shuffle along last Thursday with 4.6 miles. For Saturday's long run, I made it to 5ish miles before I got the pain. I don't know how many times I had to stop and stretched it out. Around 5ish to 6ish I would run a little then walk, then repeat. By 6ish I couldn't run a step and had to walk the remaining ~2.5 miles home. It was the longest walk of my life! Luckily, it didn't hurt at all when I walk.

I'm really bummed. But, I'll keep my hopes open. I'll take it easy, stretch, do a bunch of leg exercises, etc. Last week, my regular physiotherapist was on vacation so I couldn't even get advice.

For now I'll focus on enjoying my vacation. :)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

AC 1/2 Marathon Race Report

I know y'all been waiting for this!

Anyways, yes I just ran my second half marathon in Atlantic City today. I'm going to apologize right off the bat, since I know this is going to be novel-length.

I decided to do this race as a training run. I'm going on a long vacation starting next week, so running opportunities may be limited. I wanted to get a 13.1 quality miles before I leave since I'm planning on running the Philadelphia Half Marathon a week after I come back in November.

I had a lot of doubts coming into this race. First of all, I had a hard time finding my motivation after PDR a month ago. For the past couple of weeks, I only managed 2 10-milers as my longest runs. Then Friday morning, I woke up feeling crappy, like I was coming down with something. I hoped that it was only due to the change of the weather, but I didn't take any chances and loaded up on Airborne. LOL.

I felt better today, thankfully. It was still dark when we drove 45 minutes to Atlantic City. I think I got a good 10 minutes nap in the car. We got there an hour and a half before the start of the race. No lines at all when I picked up my race packet, shirt, & chip.

Nothing much happening after that as we waited for the start. I hung out inside the Showboat Casino, stretched, people watched, munched on jelly beans, etc. Even got in 2 bathroom breaks. I headed out about 15 minutes before the start. The weather at that time was sunny and cool. I was actually shivering at the start line.

The course started out on the Boardwalk, which was really flat. The view of the ocean was beautiful! The first half of the race felt like I was facing headwind, which felt really great since I was already getting hot around the first mile.

Around mile 4, we veered right onto a bridge and into the roads. I took my first gel at around mile 5, then continued running until we hit mile 6.5 and headed back. I was counting on the tailwind after the halfway point since we were heading back the same way. But nothing! I was getting really hot at this point. When we ran back to the boardwalk, the sun was shining directly at shade whatsoever! After a while I wanted any kind of wind just to cool me off!

At around mile 8, I started running behind this woman. I would run right behind her then she would speed up. We did this for some time. Then she would break up in song, like really loud! And even flail her arm around! I don't even know if she's part of the race because when I got next to her, she didn't have a bib #. I'm guessing she's local and just went out for a nice run on the boardwalk.

I was doing really well until mile 12. That's when my right knee started getting sore. I decided to walk for a bit, then a woman tapped me in the back and said "Come on, let's go!" I thanked her and took off.

Around mile 12.5, I got a really sharp pain on the side of right knee, in which case I definitely had to walk. People started passing me, but I didn't care since it was hurting pretty bad. I made the Trump Taj Mahal overpass as my marker to start running, which I did even though my knee was protesting. I kept telling myself "Just get it done!". I saw the finish line ahead and it felt so far away! Saw my mom cheering me on as I (sort of) sprinted to the finish.

My clock finish time was 2:11:36(?) - a personal best!!!! I beat my previous half marathon time by 3 minutes!

Throughout the race, I kept looking at my Garmin because it kept telling me I was averaging around ~9 min/mile. I've never done that! It felt like I was running at a relaxed pace. Must be the ocean air.

It also turned out that I set a 10-mile PR as well of ~1:37, which was way better than my ~1:41 from the Broad Street Run.

I'm very happy with my time. But, a part of me is disappointed that I didn't get below 2:10, which was within my grasp if it wasn't for this darn knee!

Speaking of knee, it's really hurts! Not swollen though, thank God! I think it's my IT band since it's on outside of my knee. I'm iceing, taking pain killers, and keeping my fingers crossed. I have PT tomorrow, which will hopefully help.

I hung out a bit to watch the winners from the full marathon cross the finish line. The winner for men crossed at around 2:54. Really fast, but not Kenyan standard. This was a really low key race so no elites.

Overall, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this race! It's very low key compared to the Philly races, but very well organized with tons of course support along the way. It was wierd running through the Boardwalk among the regular people, but I think it's part of the charm of this race. There are also lots of CLEAN bathrooms along the course - just walk into one of the casinos! And based on my time, I think there's a better chance of setting PRs on this race compared to Philly. Plus, you get a free voucher for a buffet meal in the Showboat Casino. Of course, I still won't give up Philly.

That's it! Thanks for reading!

Here are some pics!

Before the race, hanging out inside the Showboat Casino:

Still before the race, but outside the casino:

Trying to sprint to the finish line:

After the race, with my medal. Notice I switched my knee brace. That's because I was in pain!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Guys at the gym

So lately, I've been going to my work gym after work for weight lifting and extra cardio. I run in the mornings.

Unfortunately, there's this group of guys that just stink up a storm in the gym! I mean NASTY SMELL! Like beyond B.O. Not to sound racist or anything, but I'm guessing that these guys are the same nationality since they're always speaking to each other in their native tongue, whatever that is. Judging by the smell, I'm guessing it's not just BO but something they eat that permeates out of their pores when they sweat. Really foul!

One time, I was in the shoulder press machine when one of the guys started using the machine next to mine. Since I was in the middle of my sets, I stuck it out, prayed, and tried to hold my breath as much as possible (very hard to do when you're supposed to be working hard). I finally got done and went to another machine farther from the guy when I felt dizzy and had to hold on to the nearest solid thing next to me. It was that bad!

Another time, I had the misfortune of being on one of the elliptical machine and one of the guys decided to hop on the one next to mine. Ugh!

On the other hand, there's a new guy at the gym. From what I can tell, he doesn't smell. And he HAWWWT!!!! Like GQ-model hot with muscles!!! I first noticed him today but I was so involved with my workout that I just looked at him, took note of his hotness, and continued with my business.

Well, my friend was there too and she also noticed him. Apparently, he's just been going for a couple of days and when he first came the whole female population in the gym that time took notice. As a matter of fact, one of the gym bunnies that work there was all a-giggly.

So on one hand, I have stinky guys. And in the opposite is Mr McHotty eye-candy. Hmmm...

So that's the only interesting thing going on with me.

Still planning to run the half marathon this weekend. Since my last half marathon, my long runs have been a 6-miler and two 10-milers. I'm in so much trouble!

Monday, October 01, 2007

I can't win!

Hi loyal readers! Sorry I've been MIA from this blog and from commenting on your blogs. I've been sooooo busy lately! Still running and working out. Also, work has been keeping me busy, especially with my upcoming long vacation.

Anyways, I'm still planning on running the Atlantic City Half Marathon. Hopefully, the weather's nice. The website is really lacking so I have no idea what to expect with this race. They have a map of the course but it only shows water stations on the first half of the course!?! Looks like I'll be carrying my fuel belt during this race, which is going to be a pain in the A$$. Not to mention that gave it poor reviews. I'm just going to have to wing it.

I am having a hard time getting motivated again after my last half marathon. I was able to get 10 miles LSD run on the treadmill last night, so with another long run next weekend, I hope I'll be ready for the AC half in 2 weeks.

I'm still going to PT. ITBS seems to be gone (keeping my fingers crossed), so I'm only dealing with chondromalacia patella. My left knee has improved greatly. Unfortunately, my right knee has caught up. LOL. So now, I'll be wearing matching knee braces. So onwards with more leg strengthening exercises!