Thursday, February 28, 2008

Trip to Seattle 18-25th February 2008

The view of the Cascades was spectacular once the morning fog cleared over Bellevue, Washington where my Mom lives. Suffering from jet lag meant I had no trouble fitting in early morning runs before meeting up with family for breakfast, but I really struggled to find places that were relatively flat. The best I found was a loop around Mercer Slough, which was beautiful as the sun just came up. I managed to run 37 miles the week I was there - back on track for the London Marathon! The FFT taping of my arch is really working great. I'm running pain-free and with a bit of icing after runs, I'm keeping the plantar fasciitis at bay.

The first day Mom and I drove down to Camas WA (near Portland, Oregon) so I could finally meet my brother's partner, Stormi. What a genuine, friendly and cool woman. My brother is very lucky to have found her! They have made a warm and happy home with their 5 kids from previous marriages. My sister Linnie and her son were already there, after flying in from LA, and I watched in amazement as the kids demonstrated their prowess at the "Rock Band" video game... amazing. And we watched the video clips from Linnie's Black Belt exam which she passed this year at age 50... truly awesome!

Back to Bellevue where my other sister, Missi, arrived from Idaho - a long 8 hr drive away. We began our marathon shopping expeditions - mostly for shoes, but I got in a visit to REI too. Shoe shopping is serious sister bonding, so we laughed at the stilettos that Linnie only narrowly escaped buying as we made our way through about 10 shoe stores. I escaped with only new Nike Pegasus trainers and loafers, but they were not so lucky....

My brother and Stormi brought Blake back at the end of the week and we had a celebration dinner for my Mom's birthday, then everyone but me headed home. Missi called back from home to say that I'd left my passport in the computer bag I'd given her ! ARG! and FedEx was not open on Sunday!!! So heroically, Missi offered to meet us half way. Mom and I had a lovely drive up through the Cascade mountains and finally got a chance to talk, but poor Missi had to spend a second 8 hr day driving with only her cute little dog for company! Missi, I'm forever in your debt!

I still managed to meet up with Tory (or msteechur on the Pdip board) and we ran 14 lovely flat miles along the Sammamish River park. Tory programmed a run .5mi/ walk .1mi alarm into her garmin which was my first experience with the Galloway run/walk method and it was great! (OK, I admit I do walk sometimes, but just when I'm exhausted.) I really did not feel all that tired after 14 miles - nothing like running a half marathon! I'm going to try a run/walk again! It was great to chat with Tory and ask her questions about the 9 marathons she's run. Many thanks to her noble husband Roy, who did all the driving and ran their dogs while we did our loop.

It was a great week to share with family and I wish I didn't live so far away!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Back on the roads with only 8 weeks to go! Its been a tough week, the most depressing in my training. The sore heel after the Watford half just did not improve and I had to turn back on two runs after a few miles because of the pain. I worried a lot and really felt like a failure. But then Sue Stoker (thank you!) mentioned a technique she had heard about in her physio training - FFT. It was difficult to find someone who knew the techniques in the London area, but finally I found a brilliant physio, Robert Hawkins, in Enfield who could fit me in on Thursday.

Later that day, I ran 4 miles almost pain free, then 6 on Friday, 4 again of Saturday and Billy dropped me off 8 miles from home today, bringing my weekly total up to 30 miles. The taping I can do myself now and although my foot is less flexible, it feels almost like someone is holding my instep. Now I've got the confidence to step soundly as the pain is gone. I was doing this horrible shuffle gait trying to avoid the pain, even just walking up to the train.
Functional Fascial Taping - was developed by an Austrialian physio working with ballet dancers, and he developed this technique for taping to support the foot so that dancers with plantar fasciitis could continue training - and it really works! I'm not even taking ibuprofen anymore.
Tomorrow I fly to Seattle Washington to visit my Mom for a week. Both my sisters are also arriving and we're visiting my brother and his new partner, so I will feel a bit guilty asking them to plan their day's around my running schedule, but hopefully I can take advantage of the jet lag the first few days and get some long runs in before anyone wakes up. I hope to meet up with Tory (msteeshur from the PDIP board) next Sunday for a run before I fly home.
I was so sad today to hear that Petra has had to pull out of the FLM due to an injury - my heart goes out to her! But this would be her 6th, so she knows that she'll run a marathon again, once she gets the problem sorted.

Monday, February 11, 2008

9 Weeks to go...

Still struggling with plantar fasciitis pain after the hills of Watford.

But I managed to find a VERY flat section along the Grand Union Canal near Rickmansworth which is a big improvement on the Chiltern Hills where I usually run. So Sunday's 6 miles felt pretty good. This week my plan is MODERATE AND CONSISTENT - 5 or 6 miles every day avoiding hills. I'll get my 35 miles in this week without a long run.

Looking at new shoes and may upset my brother-in-law and get some Nike shoes when I'm in the states next week. Described as "State of the art cushioning, the Nike Air Zoom Vomero+2 Running Shoe features a breathable mesh upper with an external, anatomically shaped heel counter and dynamic-fit technology to help with bunion problems. A women's specific radiused crash pad provides premium support and cushioning, while a women's fitsole sockliner delivers a supreme fit. A Nike+ sensor pocket located in the arch area holds the sensor for your Apple iPod™ nano tightly". At the 2$/1£ exchange rate, they're not totally outrageously priced......temping

Sunday, February 03, 2008

10 weeks to go and the Watford Half Marathon

OK it was early and cold and Nick got in late the night before, but here we are before setting off for the Watford Half Marathon. Nick felt better once we lined up at the back of the pack and started running. We laughted and ran together for the first half, before he sped off to beat me by 9 minutes overall. His split times must have been impressive! Mine improved too as I tried to try to catch up, but my chip time was 2:09.

The course was much more hilly than I anticipated and I'm ashamed to admit that I did walk three times when the grade was daunting (the three drops in BPM). I also have to admit that I was very happy to see the finish line! I know I've got 10 more weeks and lots of long runs before the FLM, but I just can't get my head around running TWICE as far as today!

My HR was pretty high throughout, and over what I calculate as 85% after 6 miles, then I worked even harder for the last 2 miles (above 90%). I could not have run any faster or farther but did not feel woozy when I crossed the finish... just totally exhausted!

I need to do more long runs now at a very slow pace now so that I can run longer than 13 miles. But I'm happy with the result of this race and feel like my TEAM ELLIS plan is working just fine.

Some trouble with blisters... ugly big ones (look away now if you're squeemish!) I hope with ice and elevation tonight, the swelling will go down. I did run in shoes that I don't usually use, thinking that my goretex trail shoes would be too stiff and hot, and my road shoes were at work. I don't think I'll do that again.
Tomorrow is my first yoga class. I fear that the teacher will not be impressed with her new student, limping in - old and stiff. Oh well.