Thursday, March 29, 2012

plantar fasci-what??

I don't know if I've mentioned it in my blog yet, but I will be moving to Seattle this summer. Hans and I have been traveling back and forth between Seattle and Mobile for the last two years so this is going to be a terrific thing for us, but... I kind of love living on the Gulf Coast. Last night, I walked from my apartment to a yoga class downtown. My friend Trish and I yoga-ed it out and strolled over to one of my favorite places for dinner, The Royal Scam. We sat outside in beautiful 70 degree weather and I had sweet tea and an amazing bowl of crab and corn bisque. It was a perfect Wednesday night! Okay yes, I KNOW there is going to be PLENTY of yoga and seafood in Seattle, but gosh I finally started to lay down some roots in Mobile and it's time to start all over again. *sigh*... okay I'm done whining.

It's been about 4 weeks since I ran my first ever marathon in New Orleans and I have to say, not much has happened since then! I was itching to run the day after my 26.2, but I felt some tenderness and discomfort around the arch and heel of my left foot. I was limping pretty badly for the first few days and then it went away, but I could feel that my arch was still really stiff. It would flare up again if I wore flip flops or walked around barefoot so I did the nuttiest thing...

Currently, the least attractive shoes in my closet.

Chaco sandals, people! Holy smokes am I a believer. These guys are sooooo comfortable- I'm embarrassed for how much fun I made of my friends who wore them. And they really seem to help whatever weirdness is going on in my left foot (my google research seems to suggest that it is plantar fasciitis- HELP!!!). 

I ran a bit last week, with my long run being 5 miles on Saturday. I may run again this Saturday, but I'm going to be taking it easy until this funk goes away. Even spin class aggravates it. That sucks! The silver lining is that I've gone to yoga three times in the last week and I'm remembering how much I love it. :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

marathon- complete!

I got a text on Saturday afternoon that I would not need to work on the response this weekend so I immediately threw some stuff in a bag and headed for New Orleans! 2.5hrs later, my buddy Matt met me at the expo and helped me find my bib # and packet. Funny story- when I signed up for the marathon, I must have forgotten that I was signing up for a marathon because I listed my anticipated finish time as 1:59:00... I was hoping I'd end up in the 1st corral, but they stuck me in #17. Just as well.

That night, we went out to an Italian place in Metairie, LA for dinner and I had a GREAT fettucini alfredo and fried chicken dish (gotta love the South). It was a nice opportunity to catch up with some friends and relax before the big run. At dinner, Chrisy informed me that two of our friends had gotten t-shirts made in memory of Thomas for our group of buddies to wear at the Rock 'n' Roll. Matt and I picked up our shirts (which were actually tank tops) and I thought it would be great motivation for me to wear during my marathon debut.

I didn't sleep much. Jimmy had scored us a room at the Ritz Carlton on Canal (there was a massive leak at the hotel he had actually booked) but I was so nervous and anxious (and sad) that I may not have slept at all...  a rough start! At 6:30 we left our hotel and walked to the start at Poydras and Camp St. I was worried at first that I wouldn't be able to navigate us there but there were TONS of people to follow!!! It was amazing. Even more amazing than the size of the crowd was that I ran into my favorite spin instructor amidst the chaos! It was nice to see a friendly face because, of course, I had already gotten lost and separated from my group. I felt nervous about not having pooped yet (I used to get the same way before rugby games) so I got in one of the incredibly long porta-potty lines and waited it out. The gun fired and there were still probably a dozen people ahead of me in line. You can imagine what it looked like when I finally made it to the throne. Why the fuck couldn't I have pooped at the Ritz Carlton?! Anyway, after that horrific ordeal, I hopped into one of the corrals and actually ran into ANOTHER person that I knew. Kay was shooting for a 4:30 finish and I told her I'd hang on for as long as I could. I stuck with her for maybe 2 miles. Haha.

Okay I could give you the turn-by-turn but I'm already bored with that idea.

I finished in 4:50:39, which is a pace of 11:06. I think I feel the right mix of happiness and... I don't know... hopefulness, with that being my first marathon. I'm happy that I was able to finish it and I know there are a handful of things I can do differently next time to improve myself. The first tweak I think I ought to make to my training is incorporating more strength work. My quads and glutes were tired pretty much the entire time, but I never found myself breathing hard. This tells me that it probably was not necessary for me to supplement my cardio work with spin classes as often as I did. I think I would have had a more comfortable marathon if my legs were stronger. The second tweak that I (hope I) will make is incorporating more long runs, even if it means starting my training a few weeks earlier. Having a 20-mile run under my belt was invaluable, but I think my body would have been happier if it was more used to the impact. Exhibit A is my left heel/ankle which I am currently treating with alternating hot/cold packs.

The best part about my run is that I never really found myself hitting a wall. My pace was pretty consistent and manageable and it helped that there were water stations every 1.5-2 miles because I allowed myself to walk for a few seconds at each of them. I expected my mental state to deteriorate at mile 18 or 19, but it never really did. When the miles started to feel longer and longer, I just thought about the tank top I was wearing and how important it was to honor Thomas' memory by finishing well. My pace picked up significantly when I saw all my friends cheering me on in the home stretch. I had taken so long (most of my friends ran the 1/2M and my friend who ran the full with me finished it in 3:20) that I halfway expected them to have already left for the bars. But they were there in their tank tops! I sprinted to the finish and got my medal and snacks and hugged my friends. Side note: I am so lucky to have such great people in my life.

Running my first marathon was a great experience. Here's hoping my second marathon will be even more awesome! Guess what I signed up for today...

October 28, 2012!

I wondered if it was a bad idea for me to sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon this afternoon, as I gingerly hobbled across my living room to retrieve my credit card. I think the timing will be good though. I will have wrapped up my last long bike ride 2 months prior to the MCM, so I should be in good shape and I'll probably be anxious to switch my focus from cycling to running. I think it'll work out well.

Anyway, that was my marathon experience! I was somewhat consistent with my training, dropped off the face of the running planet for most of the month of February, ate awful food, slept very little (taking three classes this semester was SOOOOO stupid), and I still survived it. Great success!

Great motivation.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

CG HH-6535

It's been a really bizarre week. On Tuesday night, a Coast Guard HH-65 went crashed into the Mobile Bay with one of my friends as the co-pilot. I was called in to help manage the search and rescue and salvage operations and it has been a very emotionally-charged few days. Resources from several different agencies flooded the bay to search for the four crewmembers but the only person recovered on the first night was the rescue swimmer who was sadly declared deceased shortly thereafter. When they recovered the fuselage, the three missing crewmembers were not there. Dive teams worked exhaustingly long hours in the murky waters and were finally able to recover two of the bodies on Thursday. Thomas and LCDR Taylor were brought to Sector Mobile late on Thursday night and there was a small crowd of Sector and ATC members there to welcome them. It was one of the saddest experiences of my life, to see my friend and classmate wrapped in an American flag and carried into the ambulance. But I can't imagine not being there for that. 

Life is so fragile and precious... We Coast Guard men and women are such a small community that when something like this happens, we are all deeply affected. One of my best friends worked as a rescue swimmer with Fernando Jorge for years. Another friend of mine was stationed with Andrew Knight when they first came into the service. An award citation that Dale Taylor received as a LT has been circulating through my group of friends this week. If you get a second, please read it and consider the bravery and selflessness that is required of our aviators.   

And of course, Thomas Cameron. I had the great honor of meeting his parents and brother yesterday evening and it was great to hear everyone recount their hilarious and moving stories about Thomas. Sorely missed, he is.

I may have to work on the response tomorrow, so I'm not sure if the marathon is going to happen or not. It seems pretty insignificant to me right now. Honestly, I think I would rather work and be part of the team who gets to recover the final crewmember of HH-6535 (the flight mechanic is still missing) but I guess we'll just wait and see what happens.

My classmates set up a memorial fund for Thomas. If you are interested, please visit 

Your legacies live on in our hearts