Tuesday, June 28, 2011

BELIEVE! 13.1 miles in 2 hours 15 minutes 51 seconds

Our spectator and supportive husbands Harley and Pedro and Merrie and I at their home Saturday evening where we celebrated our accomplishments with a bbq :)

Merrie and I wearing our NF Endurance jerseys and our "Rock and Roll Bling" finishers medals - Merrie finished the full marathon in 4 hours 5 minutes; her first in MANY years

Writing I wore on my legs during the event:
"40 days AFTER brain surgery"
"Still Strong"
"Never Give Up" - our NF2 motto
"4 Shantelle" - my run dedicated to my friend Shantelle struggling with NF2 currently

Miracles never cease to exist! By the grace of God with only 1 week of real training which means running, and exactly 40 days following brain surgery, I ran an entire half marathon on Saturday in the Seattle Rock and Roll event. Not only did I run 13.1 miles but I did it only 10 minutes and 10 seconds slower than my time for the same course last year when I had at least 10 weeks of prior training. It is truely a miracle no doubt!

When I say to you that I was really unprepared for this event, I am not kidding!!! In January I was thinking about doing this event but slacked off on starting the training. If you follow the 10 week marathon rookie site, I had leeway to start training the second to last week of April at the LATEST. However, I like to throw in 2-4 extra weeks in the training to account for any possible downtime I might have to take off to heal injuries. That would have brought the start of my training to exactly right after the Big Climb skyscraper race I do every year which I now lead a big team in. The event was on March 20th so earlier in the year I was focusing on team recruitment and a different type of training for the racing up the tower which is more of a sprint type of stamina rather than endurance.

During the first week of March I was hit with the bomb that my tumor/s operated on in 2009 grew back in less than a year and a half. Utterly shocked and in disbelief, I tried to put it out of my head to focus on the upcoming big climb to which our team had outstanding success both in fundraising for the LLS and athletic acheievement. After the event was over, I had to put off training and try to figure out what the heck I was going to do.

In the past, it has taken me YEARS to decide on a surgery. I am like the student in class wanting to be the very last person to walk up and give my speech. I want every last second possible to prepare. I tend to be the same way in my approach to surgeries. Yet, I was getting the impression across the board that it would not be a good idea to wait too long this time. Not wanting to wait until AFTER the marathon and miss my hike season in recovery, I made a first ever ballsy decision to get the surgery in May. That meant the marathon would definitely be out of the question. I made this decision sometime in April but to tell you the truth what really pushed me is that I did not want to miss out on my hiking. LOL Otherwise I would have tried to put it off for longer. ;-) I was a little bit disappointed that I would not be running to represent the NF Endurance charity team but I also had the option to run for the team in another state in the fall. Hiking however is a small window and with NF2, you never know how long the luxury of taking in this pasttime joy is going to last.

So I ruled the marahon out and did not train. I just maintained running 2-3 times a week for 3 to 4 miles at a time to keep in shape for the upcoming surgery and also to hopefully bounce back fast so I could get back to hiking as soon as possible after the surgry.

You must always thnk positive before a surgery but in truth it is pretty much out of your hands. One can get in the best physical shape and get the mind and spirit in the right place but at a certain point it is totally out of our hands. Not being 100% certain of the outcome, I did not register and the event was sold out after I made it through the surgery.

However, I did really want to make it back home by the marathon so that I could be here for my trainer who was running the full in honor of me and to support the team. So although my leg really hurt still from the surgery, I walked everyday to move my recovery along. A fellow patient once gave me the advice that as soon as you get out of that hospital bed you get moving! You walk and then you walk some more.

By the time I came home, I contemplated that first week if I could walk the half marathon (I did walk the Seattle November half marathon 39 days after my 2nd surgery so it seemed only natural that I should find a way to do this one). By the end of the week I decided to take a little run to see how it felt. Surprisingly, I ran 2 trail miles in 20 minutes and walked the 2 miles back! Excitedly, I shared my desire to walk/run the half marathon while hiking with my trainer the following day. Sadly though, I did not think I would be able to get registered at such a late date. But alas, as always Merrie has all the answers and had a solution for me. Thank you Pedro for passing off your spot to me! :)

So I decided on June 11th that I was going to walk the half marathon and maybe run possibly 4-6 miles of it. Ok....I fantasized about being able to run maybe even 8 miles. At the time, I thought I would have 3 weeks of training but was not yet aware of how soon the date was arriving. Monday I threw myself into training by going for a 6.5 mile run. Realizing now that I grossly miscaculated and only had 1 real week left to train (the last week is a rest week), I concluded I was going to have to do my longest run the following day!!!! My leg was hurting and I was not even sure I would be able to run 6 again! Amazingly I pushed out 8 in 1 hour 20 minutes on a paved trail! Woohoo! Friday although painful, I managed to run another 4.5 on the trails in the watershed preserve. After that running was OVER until event day. I tried running about 20 feet Sunday afternoon and winced in pain from the tightened inflamed tendon behind my knee of the leg that has bothered me since surgery.

Seriously, I started having reservations from the day throughout the rest of the week if I would even be able to finish WALKING the event. The wee hours of Thursday night/Friday morning did not boost my confidence either as the tendon behind the knee started spasming in pain jolting me from my sleep. Friday evening at the team pasta dinner, the captain announced to all in attendance that I was planning to RUN the entire half marathon! Embarassingly I thought. "Oh No! I don't even know if I will be able to walk the whole thing to finish!". Yet after she said that, I think I made it up in my mind that I was going to do the best I could and if that meant I could run the whole thing, then so be it! Also, I wanted to do my very best and finish to show my friends Shantelle and Paul that they can survive and get better if they really put their minds to it like I did for this race.

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