Saturday, April 21, 2012

Nearly Killed by Hill

So this recap of the Hollywood Half Marathon is so late, but better late than not at all.

I want to say first and foremost that I still have not recovered 100% from the run even though it was two weeks ago. I mean I'm not hobbling around like an old man anymore, but I'm not exactly running again. It feels at this point that there might be some permanent knee and foot issues, but I'm hoping those go away eventually. Please.

So! To the race recap.

The night before I assembled my costume. I cut my name out of felt and safety pinned it to my moisture wicking shirt. This was necessary because the bibs for this race didn't have our names on them. And then trying to recreate my "chasing the bone" idea from the Disneyland Half, I made a paper carrot and used a rod from a $1 whisk to hang from the bill of my cap. It was Easter and was completely fitting.

So yes, I was chasing a carrot. And that joke is even funnier if you know the meaning of my last name.

But anyway, I got ready for the race at 3AM. My coworker Robin picked me up at 4:45 and we got to the starting line super early. She asked me how I felt and I told her I felt fine; felt good about running. Then she told me that, as a veteran runner, she used to get nervous about the what ifs; namely what if I have to poop during the race. And suddenly I was nervous about pooping!

I got all quiet. Butterflies in my stomach waiting to be shit out. I was fucking scared.

At this race, I'm guessing since it was the inaugural, they didn't place us in corrals. They had starting points based on your pace and you just jumped into one. We decided to start out in the 12:00/mile group.

The horn blew and after waiting a long time, we were off! We trotted through City Walk and down a big hill and across the 101 freeway. Then passed the eventual finish line and down to Hollywood Blvd. Early on I let the downhill gravity propel me forward whereas Robin fought it to maintain her pace, so she beckoned me to take off without her. So I went.

I blew passed a lot of people. And as I passed I could hear everyone having a good laugh at the carrot. They would yell out "I LOVE THE CARROT!" and "GET THAT CARROT!" It really helped motivate me.

We ran right passed my condo and I was hoping a neighbor would come down to cheer me on, but I guess it was too early.

Not even halfway through the run, the water stations ran out of cups. So we would have to cup our hands to receive water. Rookie mistake for an organized race. At one point the volunteers had bailed and left water jugs scattered on the street for us to pick up and hydrate.

Around mile 6 I started to fade. My strategy became run for 20 feet--walk till my legs don't hurt anymore. But knowing the streets and having checkpoints helped me along in a big way. This was my neighborhood! I would say "next up is the Umami I love" or "here comes the gay bar I like."

The turn around point came around mile 8 and that's when the tortoise left the hare in the dust. Robin, still maintaining her pace, tapped me on the shoulder as she passed by. I had burned out.

Miles 9 and 10 are a blur. I don't really know how I got passed them. But as I rounded the corner at Hollywood/Highland to go back up Cahuenga, a dude carried a sign that said "KILL THE HILL."

Ohhh, did he mean that that lovely downhill beginning that worked so well for me was now going to be the fucking bane of my existence????

Sure enough, miles 11 and 12 and 12.5 were ALL UP HILL. And everyone was defeated by it. It was like The Walking Dead up that hill. There was a point where Katy Perry's Hot n Cold came on and I was like "alright Katy. Let's get up this hill!" and I would start to jog upward, but I soon realized that it was too painful to jog and I wasn't going any faster than my walking speed.

So I just walked the entire thing. It NEVER ENDED. But eventually the hill finally rounded off and a tall handsome buff half naked man wearing his finisher medal was there to cheer us on before the finish.

He said clapping "Only half a mile left guys! And it's all downhill! You got the crowd behind you! You can do it!"

I would have jumped his bones right then and there, but I had a race to finish. Plus my knees were so bad at this point I most likely could not literally jump.

And so, I said to myself, "if that smokin hottie wants me to run, then for hot man's sake I'm going to run!"

I started back up but immediately my left quad seized up. This had happened before during the Disneyland Half, so I decided to run through it. But then my calf seize up and suddenly my left leg was frozen. Then starting at the left ankle, a numbness quickly shot through my leg and I panicked. This feeling was new. I stopped for a second and stretched a bit.

Back on the road and suddenly my right leg seizes up this time. This reduced me to a sad hobble. But by then I had reached the beginning of the finish line crowd.


Let's DO THIS! I thought. And ignoring all the pain and focusing solely on the approaching finish line, I sprinted to the end, weaving through the fatties that finished with me. With a fist pump I stuck a fork in my second half marathon.

Half marathons are just the right challenge for me. It's difficult but still doable and I really have to push myself but it's so rewarding in the end. The medal is fantastic! Well worth the death of my knee.

I'm anxious to heal completely so I can race again! Hoping to do a 10K at the end of the month but we'll see how my knee feels.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Marathon of Marathons

Tis the year of running for me. This all happened during a complete lapse in sanity no doubt. After completing the Disneyland Half Marathon in 2011, I was a little unsure of signing up for another one. On one hand the pain of it completely sucked. But on the other hand I completed it! And I didn't really train for it, so it wasn't so bad.

But it was an accomplishment that I was done with. Checked off my list. So what compelled me to sign up again?

My damn family! :)

We are doing a Kwan Family Cardio event! Several of us cousins are signed up and ready to run on September 2.

But that wasn't enough for me it seems. I went on ahead and signed up to run the inaugural Hollywood Half Marathon. And that's this Saturday!! I'm a little anxious because I'm running it all by myself. Hoping that some of my friends show up on the sidelines to cheer me on. I was thinking of making a banner to hang from my living room that says "GO RICKY, GO!" seeing as the course runs by my condo twice!

And if that isn't wicked enough, Eric invited me along to Florida to run the Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror 13K. It's a night run that includes a private after party at Disney Studios. I love the ride so much this sounds like so much fun! So I guess I'm going to Walt Disney World again in September.

That's right. Two Disney runs, coast to coast, in one month. Crazy!!!

Here we go..