Monday, December 31, 2012

Cheers to 2012

I don't have the patience to write a full recap of my 2012 running because I'm lazy. But I do have the patience to share a few numbers and many photos from this year. Despite many ups and down in terms of running and in life, 2012 was jam-packed year for my sport -- lots of races, lots of traveling, lots of new experiences, and the best part of running: lots of friends. I'm ready to bid 2012 farewell and welcome 2013. A brand new year with even more to experience and new goals to go after.

In 2012...

I ran 5 full marathons.

One in Hawaii.

One in Utah.

One in Washington.
  Rock 'n' Roll Seattle

One in my adopted hometown.

And another in California. 

I learned to love trail running & even did a few trail races.

I had my first real running "injury" that kept me out of the sport for 7 loooong weeks, and is still threatening to keep me out for longer.

See that pectineus muscle? It's being a little bitch.

Regardless, I still ran 1,850 miles this year, which is more than I ran last year (and I didn't take two months off last year!).

I ran with many, many good friends in very beautiful places... and often.
And I was accepted into my first ultramarathon via a lottery system. Injury-pending, I'll be running my first 50k in, gulp, a couple months.

So here's to 2012 & cheers to 2013. May you have a safe & fun New Year!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Race Recap: California International Marathon

Way too much has already been written for me to chime in on the disastrous conditions of the California International Marathon this year. Too many pictures have been posted of the downed trees, flooded streets, pouring rain, and whipping winds. Too many DNFs happened, too many goals were altered, too many old injuries flared up. And despite the harsh conditions of this year's race, a lot of great things happened, too. 

Groups of people banned together to beat the wind and shelter one another from the rain. Spirits remained high, hands of fellow runners were shaken, hugs and jokes were shared, beer flowed, pizza and pasta was served. A few magical PRs erupted (I'm looking at you, Renee!). A sense of accomplishment shone across every person's face at that finish line -- from the people finishing in just over 2 hours to those finishing after 6. We had all just been through something truly epic.

CIM 2012 happened. I got my goal. I crossed the finish line. It was my worst race time-wise, but it was one of my most meaningful mentally.

Courtney and I started off 2012 running an impromptu marathon in Hawaii, crossing the finish line full well realizing we were capable of accomplishing something most "normal" people would consider crazy. Over the course of the year, we've gone through a lot -- with jobs, travels, boys, cats, apartments, each other. We ended the year crossing another finish line together in something even fellow marathoners consider crazy. 

Courtney makes Hefty bags cute. Me? No.

We were both undertrained, I was injured, and the weather didn't want us to be out there. We questioned our own sanity, but we never gave up.

Everything hurt so unbelievably bad that I wasn't able to focus on my gimpy hip. Instead my water-logged feet, tight IT bands, sore quads, achy ankles, slouched shoulders, and hunched-over back pain acted as a good distraction.

And yet every time a glimpse of pain or suffering got so bad that the idea of quitting seemed like the better option, I switched my mind back to Chachi. I reflected on my best little buddy, the great years we had together, how peacefully he passed away in my arms, how much I love him, and how terribly I miss him. A number of times I teared up (and I realized how hard it is to cry and run at the same time!) and Courtney was there to tell me that Chachi loved me, too. We hardly spoke a word to each other during this race, and yet when we did, she had the right thing to say. While I was struggling, Courtney never once complained. She just stayed by me with a smile.

We ran to mile 6 -- a distance PR for me during my recent "WTF is up with my hip" streak. Then we ran to mile 12 & I was so out of it I thought we were at mile 9. I knew I could make it to the halfway mark, and I knew I had banked enough time to walk the rest of the race if need be. We ran mile 14 -- "Chachi's mile", the age of my cat when he died -- then ran to mile 15. I then started taking walk breaks at every mile marker, and Courtney never once urged me to push beyond my comfort, but instead just kept telling me I could finish.  

I did.
I had a truly great time running with a friend who's been here for me all year. I'm so happy and proud of how we did. I am ending my year feeling good about my running life despite this unknown injury. I can't wait to rest, recover, figure out a long-term solution to my hip, heal, get stronger, and set new goals.

(Hopefully this goes without saying, but I also want to thank my friends who were out there spectating in the storm & for all my Internet people who asked to track me online & sent me some "you can finish" vibes. I thought about you all during the race, too!)

I ran CIM with Chachi's picture pinned to my side. And even though we were sopping wet, his picture barely absorbed any water. I thought about him lots -- and still think about him lots -- and that race was for him. 

My 10th marathon. Chachi In Memory. 2012.

Official finish time: 4:42:03
1: 10:16
2: 9:58
3: 9:42
4: 9:25
5: 9:32
6: 9:34
7:  9:36
8: 9:38
9: 9:46
10: 9:33
11: 9:39
12: 9:34
13: 9:33
14: 11:47
15: 10:28
16: 12:08
17: 10:04
18: 12:52
19: 10:00
20: 13:02
21: 12:56
22: 13:19
23: 12:23
24: 11:50
25: 10:11
26: 11:21
.44: 3:59 (8:58 pace)