Part II- The SF Marathon Race Day Support Crew Edition

Warning: this post will be more pictures than words.. Hopefully the pictures will tell the story.

Race day arrived after two days of expo fun.  Since I wasn’t running, I was asked if I wanted to volunteer at the ambassador/pacer tent. I responded yes without hesitation.  Like I said before, it was the least I could do to give back to something that has given me more than I ever could ever imagine. Honestly, I felt a little sad that I wasn’t toeing the line with everyone else.. The day was for my runner friends and I wanted to celebrate.  It was an early start.  I arrived at the tent around 345 am to help another ambassador and co-captain, Heather. We set up the supplies, cut up some bananas and tracked down some much needed coffee.

The tent was shared with pacers for the race. My twitter buddy Eileen Joy was pacing the 2:30 1st Half so I got to snap a picture with her finally! Mind my closed eyes! Way too early..

Other ambassadors started coming in around 5 am.  Though I wasn’t racing, I could feel the energy, excitment and nerves that everyone was feeling.  Before I knew, it was time to start. Below are photos before everyone made their ways into the corrals.

Prerace picture with: Heather, Corinne and Wes!                                         Photo courtesy of Alisyn

Prerace picture with: Heather, Corinne and Wes!
Photo courtesy of Alisyn

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More prerace pictures w/ Bonnie, Heather, Charles & Stan Photo courtesy of Stan

LA & SF in the house w/ my So. Cal. ambassador buddies Heather & May! Photo courtesy of May

LA & SF in the house w/ my So. Cal. ambassador buddies Heather & May!
Photo courtesy of May

As the race began to start, we cheered on many people as they passed. We called out random people’s names on their bibs. Some people looked confused on how we knew their name and others just smiled. I high-fived anyone who would take it. I also got good luck hugs from Taylor and Bruce as they passed..

After all the waves have gone, a little tiding and organizing the tent.  With the down time, we walked to the finish line. We were able to see the elite runners cross the line. By this time, the sun was shining bright and it looked like it was going to be warmer than expected. After some spectating, we made are way back to the tent. Little by little pacers from the first half came back.  Soon after, ambassadors started to come back. I remember giving sweating hugs and high fives to Erin, Wes and Paulette. One by one they all started coming back. So many running stories shared among everyone. I was also able to see my buddy May come back!

May and I at the finish of her 26.2 race! Congrats girl!! Photo courtesy of May

May and I at the finish of her 26.2 race! Congrats girl!!
Photo courtesy of May

So much awesome going on that it is hard to sum up TSFM experience whether you are racing or volunteering. Either way, I believe the race is a celebration of running and the community. Through this year, I have met people who have shared their running and life stories with me.  I am honored to be a part of their journey. Volunteering and cheering last week was the last piece to mend my heart from not running after my health scare in Napa.  Seeing people give it their best in pursuit of a BQ, PR or running in honor of a loved one was inspiring and brought me to tears as I drove back home.  The memories and friendships I have made will never be forgotten.

All I can say is thank you TSFM and 2014 ambassadors for allowing me to be part of the experience.  See you next year!

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being sidelined

I have to admit being sideline is not fun. I’ve gone through all the emotions. Anger.. Sadness.. Guilt.. Depression of not running. As my running friends get ready for The San Francisco Marathon, I feel a bit sad that I won’t be running the race. I am humbled that friends have asked to write my bib number on their bib as they run the race for me.

The SF Marathon was my “A” race of 2014. It was what I was training for since the beginning of the year. Though I haven’t run many half marathons, SF is the one that I love. My hometown, weather, the views and crowds. I know the course like the back of my hand. I know which part of the course to take it easy (downhill on Lincoln), where to let my legs fly in Golden Gate Park and which of the views I can never get tired of (running on the footbed of the Golden Gate Bridge) Last year, I did not hesitate to sign up for the race two weeks after finishing.

It’s hard to be patient and listen to the doctors. Walking for 30 minutes and water aerobics. Not my thing. I do it just to keep somewhat active. I used to think I wasn’t a runner. But the more time I have had to think these past three weeks, I really am a runner. I use running to see and experience the world around me. Funny but true, I am probably only person in my circle that knows where to use the bathrooms around the Embarcadero, Crissy Field, Fort Mason, Presidio and Golden Gate Park. Yep, that’s what I learned in my two years of running. Joking aside, I miss feeling the wind on face as I run the hilly parts of the Presidio. I miss the sounds, sights and not so great smells of Golden Gate Park and Panhandle. I miss my four mile speed workout that I used to do every other Wednesday around Lake Merced.

Regardless, I will be present during the SF Marathon weekend to give back to running all that it has given me. I will be at expo on Friday and Saturday at the information booth. I will be at the finish line and Ambassador tent cheering and celebrating with everyone. I am sure there will be tears, hugs and fist bumps all around.

Zooma, Why I Heart the Running Community and My Health

Zooma was a great race. I was doing good and feeling the course until mile 10 when I experienced leg cramps. Knowing myself, I should have worn the compression socks on the longest run of training but I forgot to pack them. Alas, I wore the socks that Zooma gave away to all the participants. The course was beautiful. Sun and lots of wonderful views of the Napa Valley. This race took me three hours to finish.  It wasn’t my best time and I didn’t care.  It was a training race before the real race. I’ll have a full recap soon.

The real story of Zooma was I landed in the hospital on Saturday night.  I was feeling chest pain like I never felt before. Like one of my nephews was sitting on my chest and wouldn’t get up kind of pressure. It would come and go in the afternoon after the race when we were touring Napa. Though after dinner but when I was lying down, it wouldn’t go away. So my friends who are saints and my guardian angels, drove me to Queen of The Valley Hospital.  Within five minutes of checking into the ER, I was called in by the nurse and hooked up to an EKG machine and blood pressure cuff.  My blood pressure was extremely high and the EKG had a little abnormal reading.  The nurse took my blood and administered blood pressure medication. For the life of me i couldn’t remember the meds I took.  Results of blood test showed I had an elevated level of troponin. This caused concern along w my high blood pressure to the doctor and I was admitted to the hospital.  I stayed in the ER for about five hours monitoring my BP, heart rate and testing my blood. My blood pressure wouldn’t go down after a couple of doses of IV meds.

I was taken up to a room around 4 am.  I have never been hospitalized.  The nurse I had was gruff and didn’t really listen to me. She kept on asking what meds I took for my asthma and i kept telling her, I do not have asthma. She didn’t explain what the meds she was administering in my IV, even though I asked.    I knew I was in for the long haul.  Nurse kept asking me why would I run a race and how come my blood pressure was too high.. The bed side manner wasn’t really there.  No offense to the nurses I know, but this lady was rough.  Around five thirty, I was moved to another room to be on a constant drip of high blood medication and BP / heart monitor checks every 15-30 minutes.  My BP was slowly going down . The attending physician made his rounds around 9:30 am and explained my situation.  I needed my BP to go down and see the cardiologist.  The cardiologist was very kind . He took time to get my health history and facts. He told me that it was good that I was in the hospital and told

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What The SF Marathon Means to Me

The San Francisco Marathon is thirty-two days away.  The race holds a special place in my heart.  It was my first half marathon.  Some say, you never really forget your first race. I look back on my first SF Marathon with great pride . It was the race that made me believe that I was a runner.  Most importantly,  it was where I celebrated life and my health.  Even during the challenging parts of the race,  I never felt so alive and happy to be running through the streets of my hometown.

It can be a little dramatic to think that a race can change a person’s life, but I have to say that it does. Running opened the doors to many possibilities.  I am not the same person that I was last year. My outlook on life is brighter. I feel like the cup is half full instead of empty. I still have some challenging days, but I take it all in stride.  I have come so far and don’t see myself stopping.

This year, the journey has come full circle. Not only do I get to run the second half but it has been an honor to be a part of the ambassador team.  I don’t have any time goals. Like last year, I will be celebrating at The SF Marathon another year of good health and life.

Happy Running,

Trish

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Training and Some Thoughts

Not sure what to title this.  I just have some deep thoughts to get down.  May not make sense to some but will try.

The thing about training, is that you learn a lot about yourself during your time on the road or trails.  Heck, you are out there for so long that you begin to start thinking deep thoughts about your journey. Case in point, this training cycle for The SF Marathon has been a bit different. Some of my long runs have not been with my group due to starting at the crack of dawn so I can attend family functions on the weekends. I do miss my group but being by myself on the road has lead me to think about life.  I never thought that I could run without music for eight or ten miles. Yet, I have and it feels good . Some thoughts I have:  how thankful I am to be able to run, figuring out how to work through a specific project I have been dealing with at my job or dreaming of what I am going to eat after running through the streets.

There have been training runs that have not been ideal. Either my stomach is angry or just feeling crappy.  As much as I want to quit at mile two, I dig deep and just keep going. Call me stubborn, crazy or determined.. Training your mind is essential if not as important when racing.  It will get you through the challenging parts of the race or when you aren’t feeling that you can’t take another step.   It takes a lot of guts to complete a run or any activity when your mind is telling you to quit.  Every time you push through the negative thoughts, you become stronger. Little by little your brain and heart believe that you are tougher than you think you are.  This is what I have been learning about myself this cycle. I am capable of much more even though things are not quite ideal.

Running like life is full of ups and downs.  You have to keep going in order to fully discover your inner strength and what you are capable of. It is then you will discover your greatness.

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Happy Running,
Trish

Three Years of Fitness & SF Marathon Training

The month of April flew by and no matter how hard I tried to sit down and write, I got pulled into something else.

Three Years of Fitness

April 19th is always a special day.   It’s not only my mom’s birthday but three years ago, was my first training session at Crossroads Fitness.  I remember trainer asked me what was my long term goal.  I meekly replied that I wanted to run again. Trainer sessions taught me about pushing my limits and proving myself wrong.  It is like Biggest Loser without the shouting or drama packed in 30 minutes. =) There have been many laughs along with some bad days. Even through my antics, I can always count on trainer to come up with some crazy exercise to keep me on my toes. Hello, same arm and leg kettle bell exercise.  I keep coming back to challenge myself and the occasional ass-kicking.  It is the best way I know how to take care of myself and complement my running regimen.  I am forever thankful to trainer for being with me throughout my journey.

Half Marathon Training Update

As of today, there are 80 days until The SF Marathon. Training has been going well. I have been using the training schedule from SFRRC.  Lately, I have been adding a lot of hill work on my short runs. Even though the second half of the SF Marathon is less hilly than the first half, there are a lot of rolling hills. I want to make sure my legs can handle that.  I am finding that the hill work also can be disguised as speed too.

Long runs have been progressing with 8 – 10 miles on Saturdays. Along with a short 2-3 mile recovery run on Sundays. Still trying to figure out the nutrition and hydration thing. There are some long runs I battle with stomach issues and other times I am just fine.  I think it all has to do with if I eat and hydrate enough during the week.  So I have been a bit type A about my eating.

Below are some pictures during my time on the road:

Bison photo 2 photo 3 photo 4

Happy Running,
Trish

Training and Some Anxiety

So after taking a couple of weeks off in March to nurse my piriformis, hip and back, I am back at the training. This training cycle has been somewhat conservative.  Taking the occasional second rest day and making it a weekly habit to cross train. My first two long runs I battled with stomach issues. I started to wonder if training would be rough this time around. I believe the culprit was that I OD on the morning coffee  Drinking two cups of coffee is not ideal before a run.

Last Saturday’s long run had 8 miles on the schedule.  Let’s just say that I had some anxiety the day before. I questioned whether I was eating enough food and hydrating.  I debated in my head between five and eight miles. I wondered if my body would hold up. I haven’t been this nervous for a long run in ages.  I slept terribly that night. Waking up on and off.  My loud old school alarm clock, jolted me up at 5:20 am.  It was way too early but I was ready to go.  I ate my English Muffin with Almond Butter and half a cup of coffee. Got ready and was out the door.   I was so anxious about the run,  that I almost took the wrong exit off the freeway.

As I gathered with the group in SF, I realized that the eight mile route covered the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. The first two miles were great. My legs felt strong. I was keeping a good pace. The climb up to the Golden Gate Bridge Plaza went well. Usually, I struggle with my breathing going up the hill but kept it slow and steady. This was the turn around point for the five miles. My mind was telling me to turn around but with a gentle nudge from others, I decided to keep on going. I downed some Honey Stinger Energy Chews during this time. As I approached the bridge, I kept an even pace and just enjoyed the views.  It was early enough in the day that there was no need for dodging tourists. The bridge is always beautiful but on a sunny day she shines brighter than ever.  My Garmin noted I was running a faster pace than I have recorded on my long runs in weeks. Score and a boost of confidence!  It was a welcome sight to see my faster friends in the 9:00 pace group as I was reaching the turn around point.  The return trip on the bridge was getting crowded as other groups were doing their long run. My legs started feeling some fatigue and cramping as I got off the bridge, so I slowed down the pace and kept telling myself, one foot after the other. I made my way through Crissy Field and back to the start.  Eight miles boom!

It was a big boost of confidence to get back to the eight miles. My legs, hips and priformis all held up.  My stomach didn’t disappoint. It’s good to push even though your mind tells you it can’t go. How else are you supposed to know how far you can go, if you don’t challenge yourself?  Having anxiety is normal but being able to overcome it is even better.

Happy Running,
Runner Trish