Saturday, June 30, 2012

And the Race is On! (Mayor's Marathon Part 2)

They're off!

I was pretty excited about this race because not only was there not an early start for the slow runners, but the regular start time wasn’t until nine! We could ‘sleep in’. Except our group always is the first to the start line. So we were delivered to the starting area an hour and a half before race start.

I could have taken a nap! Which is usually a good thing for a narcoleptic. However, I had been feeling pretty good. I had read that natural sunlight helps narcoleptics stay alert and feeling good. Since there is basically 24 hours of sunlight this time of year in Alaska, I wondered if my narcolepsy would do better up there. It did! I didn’t have to take any meds since the second day of our trip. Yeah!!

So we had time to take some pre-race pictures with my team mate Lori (aka Crab Girl). 

Our other teammate was already on the full course. Her name is Barbara. She’s around my age and doing full marathons. Yep. She’s a bad ass.
Me, Bad Ass Barbara, Lori, Crab Girl

So I’m waiting for the starting gun and I notice there are no timing mats. What’s the deal? I have to start way in the back because of my pace. So it’ll take me a couple minutes to get across the start line after the gun goes off. If there aren’t timing mats to detect when my timing chip crosses the mat, my finishing time will be in “gun time”. I hate gun time.

So we took off…without timing mats.
Waving 'bye' to Kris. I'd see him later on the course.

The route was fun. First through neighborhoods where I met an Alaskan runner. I asked her how they trained through the winter. She told me that they just go out and run in boots. Holy cow! Are you kidding me? I wouldn’t run in weather less than 45 degrees. She trains in sub-zero weather. Damn.

Out of the neighborhood, we turned onto Northern Lights Blvd and headed to Earthquake Park. At the park a nice lady was holding this sign just for me! 

Heading out of the park I caught sight of this beautifully bright blue top. It belonged to a buxom blonde. I noticed she was doing run/walk intervals like I do. So I made her my ‘pacer’.  I made three goals for the race: 1) catch up to her 2) pass her 3) stay ahead of her. 

The race was on. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Just real quick. I haven't had time to post about the race yet. Kris and I spent all day on a little boat on the Alaskan ocean. We saw SO MUCH wildlife! Pictures to come soon. (I hope. It all depends on how fast Kris can get them processed and ready to post).

A funny thing happened on the boat. I mentioned having narcolepsy (it actually fit into the conversation) to the deck hand who promptly replied, "Funny, I have Insomnia." So we started talking about how the 20+ hours of daily sunlight effected our sleep disorders. Both of us report doing better in Alaska. I haven't taken any meds since the second day we arrived and have needed less naps!! Sweet!

He said we should move here but I don't know that I could take the winters! Their summers are like California's winters except with more rain and colder temps! No thanks! But I've loved the visit.

We spent the WHOLE day on the boat and even while I'm typing this back at the condo, my hubby and I can still feel the boat swaying and rising up and down. I'm not looking forward to going to bed tonight. It's no fair having bed spins when you hadn't even been drinking!

And here is proof I finished the Half Marathon:

Monday, June 25, 2012

I'm Back! (Mayor's Marathon Part 1)

Sorry for the hiatus especially during race weekend. Our team was put up in the Hilton which doesn't have free internet. I'd pay for it but it was ridiculously priced. Besides, I had very little time to be in the room anyway.

So now, the team has left and we've moved to a condo for the remainder of our vacation. We're still super busy trying to see the sights in the few days we have. But this is good news for you as this will keep my posts short. I know I sometimes have pretty long posts. What can I say? I write like I talk.

So let me give you a brief update on the race and I'll post more details and pictures in additional posts.

First, it was super easy to switch to the half course at the expo. I was worried there wouldn't be any spots for me and I'd have to suffer through the full course and tear my body up or suffer a DNF (Did not finish). Either way, there was going to be suffering going on if I couldn't switch.

But the super-friendly helpers switched me over right away with no fuss. That part was easy. However, the second I turned away from the table, tears immediately rose up in my eyes. I was so sad! I've never had to give up a race I trained for. I've done two other marathons and it went the way it was suposed to: train your heart out, race your heart out, take a break to recover, then repeat cycle.

It didn't work out that way this season and I was so disappointed. My injuries were no where near healed enough for the full. So I knew I was making the right decision. But it was still really hard. I also wondered how much it was going to hurt doing the half course as the last training run we did was only eight miles and pain was setting in at mile six. Bummer.

My husband seeing my tears, put his arm around me, squeezed and gave me a pep talk, reassuring me I was doing the right thing.

So during this race I was thrilled that the pain didn't start setting in until about mile 10 and it wasn't too bad. WOOT! The down side is that it appears I didn't do enough cardio cross-training as I was trying to recoup my injuries because I could barely run! I'd start running and I'd run out of breath way too soon. I'd slow down but I couldn't run slow enough and still keep my breath. So I walk almost all of it.

I HATE walking. It's so boring! And it takes forever! But if I'm on a course, I will finish it. Period. So walk I did. And when I came in, Kris said I looked a lot better than most of the racers coming off the half course.

That still didn't make me question my decision to switch to the half. There's no way I could have gone another 13.1 miles. Besides, I wanted to end with my legs still attached to my body so I could enjoy the rest of my vacation. And I did. Mission accomplished.

I'll give you the highlights of the course in my next post and I'll tell you the significance of this athlete in the bright blue top and why I could only get a shot of her from the back.

Until then, keep moving!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Five and a Half Months of Training Down the Drain

I won’t be running the Mayor’s Marathon in Alaska next week. That’s the bad news. After five and a half months of training, I have three over-use injuries. 

Count ‘em; three
Plantar Facitis 
Patellar Tendonitis
Achilles Tendonitis

On top of that, my ankle I sprained at the beginning of the season is hurting again.  Not cool. 

I’ve spent the last several weeks trying to cut back and recover. But so far, each time I try running again, my body complains loudly. And it’s obvious if I run the marathon I risk not finishing or if I do finish, I think my injuries will be much worse. I do not want to spend the next six months off running to recover from multiple injuries. So after lots of consideration and consternation, I decided it was not wise to run the full marathon. That sucks!

However, our team manager told me I can still switch to the half marathon. Thank God! That means I can still earn a medal without tearing up my body... as much. Theoretically speaking I should be able to finish a half and the recovery period should be much shorter even going in with injuries. That is if I take it easy and not push it during the race. 

That’s hard. You get wrapped up in the excitement and energy of the race. I always find myself trying for a PR (personal record) in a race no matter what I tell myself at the beginning. 

But Alaska will be different. Really it will. My plan is to take in as much of the crowd and sights as I can. The race sight said there is a lot of wildlife to be seen on the route. Like bald eagles and moose. I think the bald eagles will leave me alone and I can probably out-run a moose. (I’ve never seen a moose run). But if I see a grizzly I’m going to have to play dead. I couldn’t out-run one of those! 

So I plan to stop and take a lot of pictures and just make it fun. 

I have never had to step down from a marathon and it sucks to have worked for so long only not to be able to run the race. But I have to think long term. I have to keep the bigger picture in mind. I always say, “The point is not to kill yourself. The point is to live to run another day.” 

Besides, the goal of my running is to raise funds for cancer research. The length of my race doesn’t change that. After race weekend I’ll fill you in on how  much we raised! Thank you all. Please send me good thoughts for a good race for all the runners this Saturday! 

PS. If you’d like to help me fund cancer research you can still make a donation by clicking the “Donate Now” button. Every little bit makes a big difference!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Rock and A Hard Place

I am in between a rock and a hard place. 

After starting this marathon season with injuries, I managed to over-train in the last quarter  of the training cycle. That resulted in me missing the 18 mile training run as well as the 20 mile training run. Not good. So basically the farthest I have ran in training is 16 miles. And not very well. The 16 miler really kicked my butt and that’s when my coaches told me to take a break.  They said I needed time to let my body re-coop and I had trained enough that missing the 20 would not jeopardize my chance of finishing the marathon. 

I totally agree. However, after taking a week off and doing a ten mile run rather than the full 20, I still had trouble keeping on top of the training schedule. Not only did I still feel sore when running. But the week after I took a week off, my narcolepsy decided to flare up. I mean like a huge super-nasty solar-sized flare that knocks out whole power grids on earth. Which makes sense as it totally knocked out my power. 

Yep. I have narcolepsy. I was diagnosed back in September. But I haven’t blogged about it until now for several reasons. First, marathon training takes up a lot of time.   Second, and primarily, I haven’t wrapped my head around it. Very little research has been done in sleep disorders. Especially when compared to the research on well-known/publicized disorders. Not even my sleep doctor or neurologist could tell me that much about it. 

No one’s 100% sure of the cause. However, the theory currently in the lead is that it’s an auto-immune deficiency that causes the body to kill off brain cells near the hypothalamus that regulate sleep. 

Incidentally, studies have shown that a high percentage of narcoleptics are over weight and don’t respond well to dieting. The theory on this is that the area that is damaged contain cells that regulates weight. So “HA HA!” It’s not my fault I’m fat!. Ok, the jury is still out on the fat theory. But still, it’s fun to say that.  

So since the diagnosis, a lot of things are making sense now. In fact, it’s apparent I’ve had narcolepsy since I was a kid. But there is still a TON of things I’m still trying to figure out. The main thing is how to best manage it.

But all that for another time. It’s Sunday evening, I have a ton to do and I’m really really tired. 

Oh. I do have to mention one thing before I end here; In my research into best practices for managing narcolepsy symptoms a specific diet was suggested. That diet?.......VEGETARIAN!

HA! So all you well-meaning(?) friends, family and strangers who have been worried about my vegetarianism can ......... oh, sorry. Fell asleep there. 

Good night! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

True Spirit of a Runner

These two ladies are "opponents" at a state meet. Both are no longer in the 'running' for a medal in this event. When the first lady comes across the second lady who has 'bonked' out and can not pick herself up to make it across the finish, the first lady decides to pick her up and help her finish. Notice how she stops to make sure the second lady gets across the finish line first. As runners we understand what it's like to give it you're all and still have a bad day. We know what it took to even get to the race. We know we all deserve to come across the finish line. And if you can't do it on your own, I'll help you. ...(Unless I still have a chance at placing. In that case you're on your own). :) Technically, according to the rules, both runners should have been disqualified. However, neither ladies were disqualified. Good call judges!:)