Saturday, November 12, 2011

Track Love, Angry Hip, Free Shoes

Somebody pleaaasse tell me it's ok to start tapering 4 weeks before a marathon?

Because my hip demanded that I take this week off.  3 weeks left until CIM.

I had an amazing start to the week after the Jets half, attending a track workout at Piedmont High School with the Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders on Tuesday evening at the invite of Merilee.   I wore a sports bra to work and busted out of there just after 6:00 p.m. in order to intrude on the track warm-ups at 6:45 p.m.  

I can't even begin to tell you how moved I was being there on that track.  I haven't stepped foot on a track since I was 18 years old (ok, I casually jogged around the UCLA track a couple times, but not for a real "workout").

16 or 17.  This track was made of dust, not that great rubber stuff.

The field inside the track was flooded with about 40 high-school soccer girls.  I stared at them as I circled the track, nostalgically remembering my soccer years, and thinking, "were we really that beautiful??"  Those girls looked so beautiful.  Running through drills, throwing their body at the soccer ball, socks falling down around their shinguards....gave me chills, I tell you.  But it also pushed me to run as I was bubbling over with their energy that was contagious in the air.

I very, very rarely run in the evening, but I was happy to find it felt so nice!  I caught my groove in a sub-7:00 pace for about 4 miles, jogging slowly for 200 meters twice.  The energy out there was just fantastic.  So much cooler than staring at the farting (literally) adults on the treadmills at my gym.  Goodness my gym always smells like a fart.  WHO is doing this!?

Track.  So it went great.  Merillee, you are a deeeelight.  However, my hip was giving me gentle warning signs that it was not happy.  Warmed up as my hip was at the end of the day, it wasn't warning me so loud that I thought it was worth stopping.

But Wednesday morning, it was over.  Stiff as a board (not light as a feather).

If you recall, as my legions of loyal readers should (joke), I get an injury scare before every every every marathon.  Every.

Nope, I know what you're thinking, you're wrong.  It's not because I increase my mileage -- I don't.  Virtually nothing changes between my "training for a marathon" phase and my "running because I like to run" phase.  This time, I have done more speed running than in the past, and sure, we can blame my hip on that.  But I will blame the RoseRunner Marathon Curse.

If I can run in three weeks, or if I can't, all will be fine.  There are 8732498234 other marathons in my lifetime that I can run.  knock on wood.

Ok lets seriously move on to the coolest thing ever.


Ignore the fact that running-photo-stills create cellulite where none exists, and look behind the Gentleman!  I love that this was captured so much.  The good old support crew and personal photographer, still and smooth on the sidelines.

This is near the finish line, and if you're interested in the Gentleman's view:

I spy the photographer! Behind the finish line

A couple other professional race photos.

I think this is right before the halfway point turnaround.  At this point, I had NO idea Christina was right behind me.  She went on to win 1st place woman 2 minutes ahead of me.  Maybe it's because she doesn't bite her lips when she runs like me....and doesn't wear headphones with wires 25 inches too long.

Right out of the start

Sexy.  No, I will not post a larger version of this.

Now the other coolest thing ever.

ANOTHER NEW FREE PAIR OF RUNNING SHOES!!  That makes 4 pairs this year....all from half marathons.  I'm definitely in the black in terms of recouping all my race entry fees :)

The most wonderful bearer of good news, Jen Maravillas, placed 3rd woman at the Run with the Jets Half, and left a comment telling me she bravely saturated in her sweat after the race long enough for the award ceremony....and learned that the top 3 women got free shoes.  Congrats to you Jen! Let's go get some shoes! 

I followed up and the prize is a pair of Mizunos -- a brand I have never tried before, but I am looking forward to it.  One of these days I will try and be a little more selfless and hold a shoe-giveaway on the blog. 

Any advice for a tender hip flexor?  

Anyone else belong to a gym that always smells like a hot fart? 

Which do you prefer: the track, or a treadmill?


  1. At least this time it isn't a pair of useless weird Sketchers! Mizunos are pretty good - they are less cushioin-y (at least to me) - but they are solid shoes.

    I think I'd prefer the track if I could get to one easily. None of the open ones are lighted, so I would have to go early morning. Need to motivate to try it because speedwork on the treadmill feels kind of like cheating.

    OK, gotta go change and leave (Mission Inn Half this morning - that's why I'm up so damn early).

  2. I had this mental image of you just wearing a sports bra (no top) to work, which is just hilarious. And doing strides down the hallway.

    Foolish question, but do you foam roll? Maybe that could help with the hip? And I think there's no magic # for taper; it's not like if you go 4 weeks instead of 3 that you'll forget how to run!

    My gym is made of awesome. It's women only but not Curves women only, if you get what I mean? I am surrounded by some really strong women and it's inspiring. Plus my trainer there has challenged me so much!

    Track vs. treadmill. Oooh - that's a tough one. I'd have to say track for longer runs, treadmill for shorter. Track because I need to pace myself in ways that it's not natural to do on the treadmill. I know that when I run I speed up/slow down frequently(who doesn't?) and on a treadmill you really don't do that that easily. Treadmill for short because that way I can push myself for speedwork.

  3. Sometimes there are funky smells wafting off of the cardio equipment at my gym, but I think it smells like onions and reminds me of the way I would smell when I was in culinary school after dicing a 50 lb. bag of onions. Love the race pics, good to know that the man friend made himself useful and was properly documenting things other then a stick that day.

    I had my return to the track earlier this year, and it brought back lots of nostalgic feelings for me as well. I think it had been 9 years since I stepped on a track to run, and damn it felt good. Hopefully your hip is just teasing you, caus uuugh running a mary with a noncompliant hips is no bueno. I think I need to take your cue and find more races that have shoes for a prize, that makes the race worth it in the end.

  4. My trainer is constantly working on trying to loosen up my hip flexors. I have a fantasy of being able to do a pistol squat one day, and my hip flexors are a big issue.

    His best stretch for them is what he calls a stripper squat. Google is very unhelpful (though not as unhelpful as I would think). It's basically squatting as deep as your can, with the tips of your feet touching a wall, and your arms and hands splayed out on the way. I can't go very far down without threatening to topple of backwards, but my trainer says if I keep at it, it will help my hip flexors. I don't, because I hate stretching, but yeah.

  5. you rocked that half mara!!!
    I get a sore hip when I combine biking and a lot of running...once I back off the biking my hip problem disappears, so i haven't really tried anything to get rid of the pain. I would suggest a lot of stretching and strengthening exercises with a band...we should meet up in San Fran and I can show you some!!! :)
    I hope you've been having a fabulous weekend! xoxo!

  6. Hahaha light as a feather, stiff as a board....I caught that. Love it.

    Glad your other commenters know what to do about your hip, because I sure don't. However, I can tell you that before I ran the Shamrock Marathon last spring I got bronchitis 3-4 weeks before, so my "taper" was me being practically bedridden, and I was fine in the marathon.

    Great photos! You look so hardcore in them!

  7. Can you get in to see a physical therapist? I have had hip flexor issues, and I like the e-stim/ultrasound stuff that they do for that, as well as the massage afterwards (though I sometimes have to concentrate on not laughing because I am ticklish).

    I work out at the Marine Corps Base gym. Chock full o' Marines. It smells worse than a fart.

    I prefer track to treadmill.

  8. Balls, it bums me out to read about the hip flexor. Wonder if you've got some kind of functional leg length discrepancy going on? That's been the cause of my past hip problems. Absolutely worth checking in with a PT or chiropractor if it persists longterm.

    One stretch I do to "reset" my hips is the one where I lie on my back and then bring one knee across the body so that it hits the floor on the other side ( I love to feel the little pops and cracks in my lower back... feels a lot like getting my hips adjusted at the chiropractor. It seems to keep my SI joints in check so that they don't jack up one leg higher than the other, which was the cause of hip pain for me for a long time.

    I guess in your situations I'd self-treat with foam rolling or a tennis ball... any kind of massage to break up the junk in there... paired with shizloads of icing. I'd stay away from stretching it too much if the soreness has reached a point of feeling sharp/slicey.

    Good luck. Hope this doesn't turn into something annoying.

  9. Two things.
    1) I am pretty sure Nike has to sponsor you pretty soon for wearing that shirt and running awesome.
    2) Ok I'm finally jealous. I wear nothing but Mizunos and think they are the best shoes on earth. Son of a bitch (uhhh not you, just my jealousy :) ). But careful switching shoes esp if you're having hip problems!

  10. Your description of the high school soccer girls was beautiful...hope that doesn't sound odd, but it really was. I started imagining my high school soccer days, and how much FUN running was, how freeing it was.

    I prefer the treadmill, but that's no secret. Never belonged to a hot, farty gym, thank goodness. If anything the last gym I belonged to smelled like cleaning liquids all the time, which was equally off putting.

  11. You always look so effortless in all your photos. Seriously, the one from high school? So badass. And I'm commenting backwards but already read about your 22 miler - glad you're feeling alright. Fingers crossed it stays that way!

  12. Hahaha "hot fart". Awesome. Sounds like you had an awesome time at the track workout, but that sucks about your hip!! I'm thinking good thoughts about it...

  13. omg. Loveee that he's in the background. creeplicious romance. ANyways, I ALWAYS get stuck next to someone who farts: in a plane, at the mall, at the gym. :(


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