The One Not Finished

Today I ran the San Jose Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon and pulled out two-thirds of the way through. And I am not really sad about it.

The Back Story

Sun, 9/30 Rest Day: after last weekend's 18-miler, I recovered nicely.

Mon, 10/1 A scheduled 40-minute Swim workout but I overslept - Rest Day #2.

Tues, 10/2 A 1-hour run of a W/U, 10 x 30-sec pick-ups with recovery, then a C/D for a total of 5.75 miles. I had some normal soreness later in the day but had an acupuncture appointment and felt fine afterwards.

Wed, 10/3 An easy 5K run that had zero post-run soreness.

Later that day I met with Trainer Dave and did a TRX workout. There was nothing new or unusual about the circuit that I did. It was a short workout (only 3 sets) of: - Planks - Side Planks - Atomic Push-ups - Low Rows - Squats with Rows - Reverse Fly High Y's

Perhaps the only thing that was out of the norm was that he slightly changed a few angles of the workouts.

By the time the evening rolled around I had major DOMS. We're talking it hurt to walk, sit, laugh and breathe. I have not had that kind of soreness since the first week that I worked out after a 20-year hiatus -- 8 years ago!

That night I slept like crap because my body hurt every time I moved.

Thurs, 10/4 I had a 6-mile run scheduled in the morning with intermittent miles at a tempo pace. I got as far as the end of my block and decided that if I could not walk without waddling I probably shouldn't run. I walked home and decided to try again that evening.

The thing about DOMS is that it just doesn't go away. I felt it in my thighs and abs. I even popped some ibuprofen (something I rarely ever take).

That evening I managed 2 very rough, slow miles. I thought it would loosen up my muscles and that I'd feel better. But I didn't. I tried stretching on my own and wasn't very successful so I signed up for a Friday morning yoga class.

Fri, 10/5 If you haven't noticed, I haven't gone to yoga in a while. In like 4 months. I overdosed on Bikram and stopped going to yoga altogether. I even cancelled my membership at the yoga studio.

But my body was screaming for it so I forced myself to go to a Vinyasa Flow Yoga class at the gym. After a year of having to get to yoga classes at least 30-min early at the yoga studio (a major reason for my yoga burnout), it was refreshing to show up 5-min before the class started and be the first one there. Even more refreshing that there were only about 10 people in the whole class.

The class was great and stretched out the areas that needed to be stretched, BUT I kinda forgot I was on a 4-month hiatus and apparently pushed myself beyond "my edge."

My hamstrings started to bother me and I even had my PT work on some of it during my weekly appointment (that was immediately after the yoga class at the same gym).

That afternoon I worked out with Trainer Dave again. It was much of the same circuit, but not as intense; i.e., less reps, easier angles.

Sat, 10/6

I woke up with a sore throat and some congestion. But that was the least of my concerns because the backs of my legs felt so tight and sore. But I went out for a 2-mile shakeout run and my legs truly did feel better afterwards.

Sun, 10/7

I woke up feeling the best I'd felt since Wednesday morning. My body felt strong, rested and had no soreness. I got ready for the race and ate breakfast in the car on the drive to San Jose.

I was 90-minutes early (a habit inherited from my Dad) so I used the port-a-potty's 3 times (no lines!). I dropped off a bag at Gear Check, and then met up with Katie and her husband.


{This photo makes me laugh so hard - I stuff my chews in my sports bra.}

Shortly thereafter we met up with Jess and Will.


Then it was time to say goodbye. They headed off to their corrals and I went off to mine. As I waited for the race to start I thought about what I wanted out of this race. I planned to run by feel (didn't bring my Garmin) and decided that I wanted to practice being able to stay focused, not let the surroundings break my concentration and listen to signals from body.

The crowd started running well before we even reached the Start Line (a first!) and I felt great from the get-go. This is unusual for me as it usually takes a good 1-2 miles before running feels good. There was some minor bobbing and weaving but nothing too bad for a Rock 'n Roll race.

I fell into a comfortable pace and the first few miles flew by. I kept an eye on the clocks at each mile marker and calculated that I was running a sub 10-min pace, which is very good for me. I cruised along but concentrated on my form -- breathing, the balance of my steps, engaging my glutes, maintaining a neutral spine, keeping my shoulders and hands loose and relaxed, etc. All things I've been working on with my PT.

At Mile 5 I felt something in my hamstring. I frowned but it didn't feel like a big deal so I kept going.

At Mile 6 I checked the clock and saw that I had slowed to about a 10 min/mi pace. By now the hamstring had developed into “a thing.” I thought about dropping out but decided to keep pushing.

At Mile 7 I looked at the clock and saw that I had dropped to a 13 mi/mi pace and had not walked. Not good. I decided to give it one more mile and then go from there.

At Mile 8 I saw that I was back to a 10 min/mi pace and I thought, "I can handle this. I only have 5 more miles to go."

But then my hamstring started stinging and I had to make a judgment call.

It wasn't a difficult one to make. I did not training for this race. I am training for the New York Marathon.

Fundraising adds a different element to a race. I am SO CLOSE to my fundraising goal. I thought about all the people who have made generous donations to support me in my efforts. Finishing this one wasn't worth jeopardizing that one.

The decision was easy. At the next Medical Tent I saw (somewhere between Miles 8 and 9) I pulled over and asked, “Is it a big deal if my hamstring feels like it’s stinging?” The medic looked at me like it was a dumb question and said, “Yes, absolutely.” Having already accumulated a couple of DNF's they definitely get easier to handle, so I said, "I'm out." They took down my bib number, wrapped my leg up in ice and put me on a shuttle and with another runner, and was transported back to the Finish Area.

I met up with my awesome friends who put forth amazing performances today.


Seriously -- they are all continual sources of inspiration.

As for the hamstring, I don't think it's bad. I had a hamstring strain three years ago and this one doesn't feel as bad as that one did. I think it just needs some TLC and I already had a massage scheduled for tomorrow.

I've been treating it with ice and heat and it feels better already. I'm glad this happened now, four weeks before race day vs. one week before.

I don't regret today's outcome. I feel like I was able to work on the things that I wanted to for 8+ miles and for the first time I actually did listen to my body. That in itself made it a successful day for me.