Thursday, May 15, 2014

Traveling to a Marathon?

The EMF Edinburgh Marathon is fast approaching and about to head out for another adventure of a lifetime with my man, the Cordovas, and Helen. I read a lot of blogs and Runner's World articles about what to bring, what to do, etc. when it comes to traveling for your marathon. I read so many that I won't be able to quote everything, because I don't remember everything.

First up...packing. 
  1. My marathon is in Scotland and the weather can be cold and windy and rainy, but it can also be pleasant. The important thing about UK weather is to layer (thanks babe). So, I have brought three different scenario outfits (with an option for another long sleeve layer not pictured) depending on the type of weather.
This is for Houston warm type weather
This is most likely what I'm wearing, but I may wear the shorts in previous picture instead of capris (yes, those are capris)and lose the jacket. The cat is not included.
This is for OMG! It's fraking snowing in May? AHHHHHH! Also known as my ninja super suit.
  • I'm wearing my shoes and bringing most of what's in the second picture and my Garmin watch on board with me just in case the airline loses my luggage.
  • I packed other running clothes, too, because I plan to do some light running before the marathon.
  • I'm also bringing my other pair of shoes just in case something happens to my primary shoes. Although, this is still up for debate and I have some time to remove from my suitcase, because that is heavy.
  • Thankfully, JL is bringing the foam roller, but I'm packing my exercises.
  • Bandaids are packed for expected blisters, as well as all of my nutrition stuff like gels, chews, etc.
Other Advice I learned:
  • Do NOT be a typical tourist the day before your marathon. I read in Runner's World and I believe Runner Beans' blog about how you will exert so much energy walking around and checking out the sites. I learned that walking around for the Great Urban Race on a Saturday made me sore the next day for my long run. Therefore, we are going to Edinburgh two days earlier, which is my birthday to do all the touristy stuff like drinking scotch, visiting castles, and participating in the coolest thing ever, falconry.
  • Find a meeting area that's not just in the designated meeting area. I read a lot from people that it took forever to get to the meeting area and it was so crowded making it almost an hour before they saw their family. So, we will have Plan A, B, C, and D as the designated pub.
  • Check out the route beforehand and see good places for Jim to set up camp. I'm lucky that my baby is a giant and it will be easy to spot him. However, he may get a balloon to hold or a bright shirt (to his dismay). Also, check out the pub as the final meeting place. They have one online listed, but that's probably going to be crowded.
  • Make reservations for dinner the night before. You don't want to be searching around for a place to eat late at night with all the other people.
  • Have a high carb pasta for lunch and medium carb for dinner.
  • Chill out on Saturday; maybe go watch a movie and relax. Whatever we do, it won't be too much walking around.
  • Bring a sweater to throw away in case it is super cold waiting for our marathon to start.
  • Print up all of the information, including bus tickets for both marathoners and spectators.
What would you add to this list?

I'm super excited, but anxious. Wish me luck! 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Gait Analysis Completed

A couple of months ago, I read an article in Runner's World about this writer going to New York for a running assessment (see summary article here). A team of people put this writer at different stations, evaluated her, and then gave her a report and rehab exercises. I got curious. She even mentioned about how she had done a Gait Analysis previously, but it wasn't as detailed as what they did in New York.

What the hell was a Gait Analysis? According to Active's website, a Gait Analysis uses a map to reveal the programming of everything happening within your body—from kinesthetic awareness and habit to individual levels of mobility, stability, flexibility, and functional strength. The analysis of all these different elements taken together is what creates a complete picture of a person's gait.

Hmmm...I'm having a great deal of back issues and feet issues. I wondered if this is why I am having these issues. Could my running form be the mysterious answer to my problems with pain. I decided to get myself analyzed while I run. So, I started researching where to go for a running clinic like the writer. I looked at New York and California. And then, I found all sorts of testing at Memorial Hermann Ironman Sports Medicine Institute in Houston right down the street from my work. For $75, I could get the Gait Analysis and other things analyzed if I wanted. If this didn't work, then I would look into trying the more expensive running clinic in New York.

After some scheduling conflicts, I finally made it there to meet Kimberly. We went in to a back area with a treadmill and cameras. I told her my concerns about my back and she brought in another lady to do some tests and give me advice. Then, I got on the treadmill and started the test. When it was done, she asked about my shoes and I told her that I wore Saucony's equivalent to the Asics Nimbus, but I didn't think I was happy about them. I also mentioned that I never had any body issues with my previous wornout pair of Nimbus. She immediately noticed that I overpronate and my current shoes weren't helping me at all. She told me to look at Asics GT 1000 or 2000 and then go back to Nimbus if those didn't work. I did have pretty decent form. However, she identified some problem areas. I point my toes up when I run and angle them outwards. I also need to lean forward when I run and straighten out my back leg when pushing off. These are all things that could be affecting my back.

This is my left leg mid-stance view. Picture by Memorial Hermann Ironman Sports Medicine Institute.
Afterwards, she asked me to show her the foam rolling exercises that I currently do and she greatly improved on one and added more to my repertoire. She also gave me some exercises to strengthen my back and help with stability. After a couple of days, I received a detailed report (which I only gave you the highlights on this post), PowerPoint of all of the exercises, and a video.

Since the analysis, I bought the Asics GT 2000 shoes and absolutely love them.

Aren't they beautiful? And not freaking pink.
My right foot feels like I'm running on clouds in Heaven. I am still having issues with my left foot, but I'm handling that with my Orthopedic doctor who did my bunion surgery. I have had minimal to no back issues since the analysis and especially during my runs. Although, I'm only doing a handful of the exercises everyday. When I get back from my marathon, I'm going to work on incorporating all of them into my daily routine. Right now, I do the hip abduction (30 reps), hip bridge (2 sets of 15reps), clamshell hip abduction (30 reps), and planks (2 sets of 30 seconds) every morning when I wake up.

This is the hip abduction. Picture by Memorial Hermann Ironman Sports Medicine Institute.
I do the foam rolling every time I run and only some of the time when I'm not running.
My absolute favorite (but oh so painful) foam rolling exercise. Picture by Memorial Hermann Ironman Sports Medicine Institute.
I feel like my money was well spent with Kimberly and this Gait Analysis. I highly recommend doing one if you are a training for a marathon.

Have you ever done a Gait Analysis? What did you think?

Speaking of marathon...10 FREAKING DAYS until my first ever marathon. I'm not sure how this is going to go since my training has been less than stellar. But whatever, I'm doing it. Hopefully, they won't sweep me up in the bus of shame, because I didn't make it under 6 hours, 30 minutes.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

2014 Sprint For Life 5k Recap

It's May and you know what time of the year that means for me?! That's right, it's Sprint For Life 5K time where I run to raise money in the fight against ovarian cancer. I do this run every year in honor of my Great Aunt Betty and MaloRee, BranDee, and MegGan's mother who both died from Ovarian Cancer. So, this is the one time of a year where a race actually means something to me (besides of course my first marathon in 2 WEEKS and the first annual Quadraman this year). Check out previous years' post here and here. Also, this race is literally the race that started this blog and training even though I didn't participate. The only differences were that Kate didn't run it with me (BOO!) and freaking MaloRee surprised me that day to run it with me (YAY!). And I also registered for this at the last minute and didn't really do a proper fundraise. Oops.

Super excited I got to run with this beautiful lady who just finished her first half marathon!
Even though this race means something to me and I look forward to it every year, I hate the start time of 7 freaking 30 in the morning. Thankfully, I live close by, but I still have to get up early to take out the dog and get there before they start closing off the streets by my house. I also can never remember to park in the free event parking lot and instead go to the standby pay lot. I so blame Kate for this one.

The registration and packet pickup was a mess. We had to get in line alphabetically and get our bib number and then get into another line that corresponds with that number. If you are like me, you aren't very much awake at 7:30 a.m. and really can't process this whole needing to know your bib number instead of going by your last name. I got up to the front (thankfully, my line was the shortest out of all the lines, but not by much) and forgot my damn number. So, I had to get out of line to get the number and then wait again. They also ran out of shirts in my size, but I didn't care too much about it since I don't wear the shirts ever. When they announced that they were starting in two minutes, I just looked around at the crowd of people still waiting to get their bibs. They did push the start time, but not by much. I hope they don't do it this way next year or figure something out to make it more efficient.

But, it was a beautiful day to run...not too warm, not too cold. Although, I have noticed that for some reason, this run every year always starts with a cold morning, which is not the norm for May in Texas.

Dan, Mal, Sammi, and myself left the line and headed to the start where everyone was already going. We walked at first and then eventually moved to running around the walkers. It took awhile, but we finally got through. Dan and Mal were off and Sammi and I hung back. I was okay taking it easy since I didn't know my physical capability after the Norovirus incident I just got over.

Love going over Brays Bayou. I need to run there more.
On a side note, I did pretty good.

Eventually, I left Sammi and caught up with Dan. We ran and walked and ran and walked. We saw Mal on the other side heading back (she freaking finished it in 28 minutes...awesome!).

Look at that smile!
Then, it was our turn to head back where we saw Sammi. We got towards the end and I told Dan that we are running the rest of the way to the finish line. He agreed. Before I had a chance to look back at him, he was gone sprinting like some weird gazelle trying to do a 5 minute mile. I am not made for that speed and certainly can't keep it up. So, I picked up my pace and ran it in by myself where I saw Mal cheering me on the side line. We then turned around to cheer on Sammi.

I'm here, aren't I?! 

 I didn't get any sleep and I'm up exercising in the morning. Something is not right with the universe.

Cheering on Sammi.

Running in for the win over those other girls.

First time together running this event.

And these are my new shoes, Asics GT 2000. Aren't they so freaking beautiful? Thanks mom for the wonderful b-day present. I have decided that Asics are my shoes and I will never leave them again. I was so stupid in the past. This type of shoe fits my running style better. It's like Heaven on my right foot, but still having issues with the left.
After we finished, we went over to the after race party area. We got some Ovarian Cancer items from the store (first time they have been here, I think), had some food, and took off. I was happy they had the Coconut Water brand that I like.
It was a great morning and a great run. I felt strong and confident enough to run six miles the next day. Since I registered so late for this run, I didn't do a good job fundraising. I did manage to raise $175, which is better than nothing. You can still donate for a month I think. Thank you to everyone who supported the cause and Dan, Mal, and Sammi for running with me.

BranDee also ran 3.1 miles around her house since she could not be in Houston for the actual event. These were her pictures from the run and it couldn't have been more spiritual seeing those rainbows.

Double rainbow!

Next big event will be the EMF Edinburgh Marathon Festival in almost two weeks. OMG! I can't believe it's coming up so soon. EEK! Slightly nervous. Okay, take deep breaths, deep, long breaths. I will be fine. I will be fine. WOOOSAAAAA!

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Walking Dead Escape Recap

On Saturday, April 26, 2014, I participated in the Walking Dead Escape hosted by AMC and The Walking Dead creators. It was my brother's birthday weekend and this is how he wanted to celebrate. I didn't complain. Sara, my brother, and I all got VIP passes, meaning we got to be a survivor and a walker and also got special treatment. My sister in law (SIL) was just a walker, but she still rocked it out with the best of them as a cool ass walker bride.

I was worried about this event, because I literally just got over my own zombie like plague called Norovirus the day before. Sara was suffering from a horrible foot injury. We weren't at our best shape. The website said that it was okay for people with lower than usual physical activity, which we found out later how wrong that was, but I will get to that later.

First, let's start with the bad. The event started an hour late (at least). I believe the VIP people should have been in their own area waiting inside the gate, but we were told to wait with everyone else. And I certainly think that they should have checked the tickets to make sure people were in the right groups when they let them inside the gates. I think they just started letting 150 people go at a time to ease the wait, which is why I think this worked against us in the end as walkers. Since my SIL was in the very LONG walker line (as in, when we got done with our survivor challenge, she was still in line waiting 2-3 hours later), we knew why the event started so late. When we got into the first gate, the guy explained the instructions to the group, which we couldn't hear due to talking people around us and the guy not really turning the megaphone our way. And that's about it for the upfront gripes. I will get to my last gripe later in the post.
Sara and I sitting down to wait in the line. Thankfully, I had a place to sit, because I was still weak from sickness.
Now on to everything else. 
On a side note, I will note that I didn't have many pictures, because I read on the website that we couldn't take photos. After seeing a bunch of people take photos, I joined in on the fun at the end of the survivor time.
We got herded into a tent with three zombies chained up, while this soldier lady gave us instructions about our evacuation process. Then, the zombies broke their chains and we were off starting the event. We raced up the ramps of Reliant and around zombies trying not to get touched. My sickness took it's toll and I was glad that they had some space between the groups of zombies so that I could walk. The first stop was a medical tent overrun by zombies. They were everywhere and I got touched. I think I got touched three times total.  
Spectators were lined up watching the mayhem and I felt like we were in the movie The Running Man. It was totally cool. I played up the whole we are actually survivors vs. zombies.

We went down the ramps and to the floor of Reliant where we climbed on the seats of a school bus and jumped on cars to get away from the zombies. This was my favorite part. We periodically would distract a zombie with noise so others could get by, but my brother failed to mention that to Sara and I the first time he did it. So, we followed him. He yelled. It was funny. We ran under cages where I got up too fast and hit my back on the top of the cage...OUCH! We ran up and back down ramps and under more cages. It was total chaos and I loved every minute of it. I just wished I was in better shape.
Sorry for the photos being so blurry, but I was running and snapping away. This was on the last ramp down to finale.
See, you had to juke your away around them.  I was so grateful for being a football fan and knowing how to juke.

After the girl got by him, he turned his attention to me.

She was the coolest one we saw besides the walker with a baby and fetus and hanging out.

She did contortions to get to us survivors.

They had these missing pictures all over and people kept taking them down for keepsake. I didn't understand it either.
We stopped to take a picture of with a charred zombie.
The last set of cages and by far the hardest to get through.
We got to the final survival tent where we were told to sit down and let them check us for zombie bites. Then, the lady shot my brother and we took off running. I seriously had so much fun as a survivor.

That's my brother after being shot. Loser!

We survived! As VIP holders and survivors, we got a copy of The Rise of the Governor, first edition of the Graphic Novel, and a t-shirt.

Sara and I with some caged walkers at the party.
But the awesome thing about the event was creating a character zombie. Sara and I chose to go with marathon runner zombies. We just finished our marathon when we got bit by the person giving us our medals. My brother was an office zombie and of course, SIL was a bride. As VIP people, we went to the head of the line. Poor SIL was still sitting in line when we easily passed her up. There may have been taunting of our VIP passes in front of her, but who really knows.

The best picture of the night!

My SIL as the bad ass bride zombie; she got a lot of people wanting to take her picture.

The happy couple...or the dead couple...whatever.

My full get up.

The best photobomb ever!

After we got all done up, we got our instructions as walkers and went to our stages to get the survivors. I believe that because they just did 150 people at the beginning instead of the time slots, there were more walkers and survivors on the course when we went through as survivors. It was pretty much dead when we went out there. There were hardly any survivors and long gaps between the groups. There were no spectators. So, for my SIL, this was a let down. I told her that it was so not like this when we went through. There was more energy and more people and more everything. After our 90 minutes, we left. Other people started to leave, too.

All in all, I had a blast doing the Walking Dead Escape and seeing all the different characters that came out to play. I felt it was a little pricey, especially for my SIL who paid $95 to spend a lot of time in a line and not get all of the fun like we did. I would probably not do it again, but I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

And I found this gem and I laughed my freaking head off, especially the part about Shane rubbing his head. LMAO!