Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Road Trip To Big Sky Country + Learning to Snowboard!

My husband and I just got back from spending the last week with my cousins in Montana. A few weeks ago we decided to drive up for the week around Valentine's Day. This was my first time here in the winter and it was spectacular. After a 21 hour drive from CA through NV, UT, and ID, we made it to MT and everything was covered in snow. It was beautiful.

My hubby and I wanted to learn to snowboard, so while my cousins hit the slopes, Sean and I took a couple lessons. We both picked it up pretty quickly and decided to take our newly acquired skills beyond the bunny slope and to one of the main slopes. We did "S" turns all the way down! I have to say, the only time I fell was when I stopped and stood still, then I plopped on my butt. But going down the slope felt so great and we immediately fell in love with the sport.

My cousins were so impressed by our ability to snowboard that the next say they decided to take us down the back bowl (the more advanced slope from the summit down the back side of the mountain). As we were going up the chair lift, everything became more white and you couldn't even see the green of the trees. They were so thickly covered in snow, and I learned they are called "snow ghosts." This slope was intense but we had the best time. It was also one of the most picturesque things I've ever seen in my life. We did a few runs down the back bowl then grabbed lunch at the summit. After lunch, the snow was falling so hard that there was a complete whiteout.  We couldn't see 5 feet in front of us! Luckily my cousin was wearing neon orange ski pants so she led me down the slope. It was gnarly. The powder was so nice to board in though; it felt like you we're floating in the clouds or on marshmallows, it was so soft.

After 6 glorious days of snowboarding, relaxing, and enjoying the snow, we made the long drive home. It was such a memorable trip and we had the best time on the mountain.

I've posted a bunch of pictures so sit back and enjoy!
Getting ready for our 21 hour drive!
After an awesome and memorable drive through CA, NV, UT, ID, we made it to Montana!
Day 1 of snowboarding!
Our awesome instructor, Aaron teaching me the C turn from heel edge to toe edge
Like a pro ;)
Learning to snowboard with my awesome husband
Like a pro ;)
Isn't my hubby hot?!
My awesome cousins and my sexy hubby
Day 1 was a success!

Going for a training run in the snow (LA Marathon)

My running path complete with my new running buddies
Bambi was always in our front yard :)
View of our backyard and the lake from our room
Playing in the snow
It's a one-street kind of town :)
Snowball Blaster!!
Bambi again in our front yard
Love the colorful bindings.  Can you guess which ones I'm going to buy?
Grabbing a beer with my hubs, cousins, and Aunt at the local pub
Love my cousin!
Round 2 of snowboarding-this time Sean and I were going with my cousins who ARE talented boarders

It was snowing!
I love this man!!!
On the lift to the back bowl (advanced slope on the back side of the mountain)
Yea, my husband is a badass
Basically we were going down a cliff...it was awesome and all fresh powder!
Me with "Snow Ghosts"
The view was breathtakingly beautiful
Let the white-out begin
A much deserved beer/Irish coffee after a long day of awesome snowboarding!
We did it!  We learned how to snowboard and were pretty good!
Valentine's Day Dinner
Valentine's Day Dinner
Valentine's Day Dinner
We had the most memorable trip!  My hubs and I will most likely buy our own boards/binding/gear since we fell in love with the sport!  Thank you to my Aunt and cousins for everything!!  We love you guys!!

Bonus:  I got to check off numbers 14 and 22 off my 30 Before 30 list!  (#22 still counts...I said cross country drive and we did XC South to North and back again ;) )

Fauja Singh, The Runner

My brother shared this story with me today, and it was so inspiring I had to share it on my blog.  Enjoy and be inspired.

by Jordan Conn

THE PARTY WOULD BEGIN just as soon as the race ended. And the race would end just after Fauja Singh crossed the line in 3,851st place. By finishing then -- by finishing at all -- Fauja would do what no man before him had ever done. Amid the bundled and cheering crowd in Toronto, underneath a distended but gracious sky, he would complete a marathon. And he would do so at 100 years old.
Was it pain he felt as he approached the end, just footsteps away from redefining the limits of human endurance? No, this wasn't pain. Fauja knew pain. Pain was death -- you see plenty of that when you live 100 years. Pain was bloody limbs and overtaxed joints -- you get too much of that when you insist on completing every race you ever start. This wasn't pain but exhaustion. And Fauja could handle exhaustion, because exhaustion foreshadowed euphoria. When Fauja got tired, it often meant a record would soon fall.
Fauja Singh crosses the finish line in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in Toronto on Oct. 16, 2011.
David Cooper/The Toronto Star/Zuma Press
He'd already broken a few. Fastest to run a marathon (male, over age 90), fastest to run 5,000 meters (male, over age 100), fastest to run 3,000 meters (male, over age 100), and on and on they went. But those records didn't roll off the tongue the way this one would. Oldest person to complete a marathon (male): Fauja Singh. The other feats had earned him recognition from the Masters Federation websites. This one would put him in the Guinness World Records. An official with the company had contacted Fauja's coach, Harmander Singh (no relation) several weeks earlier. Harmander told Fauja that Guinness would send representatives to watch Fauja run in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and as soon as he finished, they would award him the recognition he deserved.
So Fauja ran in Toronto, arms swinging, yellow turban bobbing, chest-length Zeusian beard swaying in the wind. He was joined by other runners with roots in the Indian region of Punjab, their appearance in keeping with the traditions of their Sikh faith. Fauja trotted for the first three miles, until his coach encouraged him to slow to a jog. Speed was fleeting, the enemy of endurance. By mile 6, he'd downshifted to a toddle. After a break for a rubdown and some tea at mile 18, he settled into a walk.
The exhaustion took hold sometime around mile 20, but Harmander kept Fauja upbeat with white lies about the remaining distance. He'd tell Fauja there were four miles left when there were actually six, then two miles left when there were actually three, making Fauja believe he'd covered more ground than he actually had, until finally Fauja saw the only mile-marker he understood: the finish line.
What had been silence between footsteps was now music and cheers. The slog to the finish reminded Fauja of his wedding day, of the joy that awaited at the end of the long aisle. He waved to the crowd as he walked across the line, then lifted his arms and accepted a medal. He'd finished in 8 hours, 25 minutes. There were smiles and handshakes and photos with friends and strangers, then a rambling news conference for Fauja to reflect on his record. 

Click here to read the full story.

Monday, February 25, 2013

My First 20 Miler!!

This past weekend I ran my first 20 mile run!  It was inspiring, and now I have total confidence that I can run a marathon.

My longest run prior to this was 14 miles.  In order to make my 20-miler a little more fun and a little less daunting, I made a game out of it.  I broke it up into four rounds of five miles.  Round 1 included miles 1-5, Round 2 included miles 6-10, Round 3 included miles 11-15, and Round 4 included miles 16-20.

The first 9 miles flew by.  I was averaging a 13:00 min/mile and feeling great!  Then around mile 10, my ankle/foot injury started to flare up and my knee started to ache.  At mile 12, I slowed to a running shuffle to help alleviate the pressure I put on my right leg.  Then I hit mile 16 and thought, “this is the home stretch!”  I had really slowed down by this time.  Then at mile 17 I got a call from my Dad and he was so stoked for me!  He cheered me on gave me words of encouragement and support.  He’s the best!  That gave me a total boost and despite my pain becoming more prominent, I pushed through.  Finally I was on my last mile.  By this time I was running really slow, averaging a 15:20 mile (When my right foot hit the ground, a jolt of pain shot up from my foot/ankle to my knee, so I had to shuffle.  Like I said, I was doing a running shuffle; but I never walked!).

I finished with a total time of 5 hours and 29 seconds (5:00:29).  I felt amazing!  My energy was up, my spirits were high, and finishing those 20 miles gave me the reassurance that I can and will finish the LA marathon.  A major part of finishing with ample energy was my nutrition plan.  My coach was awesome and provided on-course support.  I carried my gels with me in my iFitness belt, and my coach was there in his SUV to provide Accelerade and water when we needed it.  During my 20 miler, I took a total of 4 gels and drank some sips of Accelerade about 4 times.  For me, miles 12-17 were probably the most challenging.  During those miles is when my injuries really flared up, and it was also the period where I was achieving a new “longest run”.  At the end I was sore…my right foot/ankle hurt to walk, and my right knee hurt to bend…but I knew I had an ice bath waiting for me at home, and nothing could taint my spirits and happiness of this accomplishment.  Now I know what it’s like to be out there running for that long, and I’m ready for LA on March 17th.

When I got home, my hubby had the ice in the bath ready for me.  I was so excited!  Ice baths are painfully cold when you first get in them, but I swear by them.  They help reduce inflammation and every time I've taken one my soreness the next day was minimal.  So I shivered my way in, and it was great.  On top of prepping my ice bath for me, my hubby surprised me with a massage appointment that afternoon!  He reserved me a deep tissue at our favorite place and I nearly hopped out of my ice bath with excitement.  He is the best, most supportive and loving husband in the world!  Thank you my love!  Let me tell you, that massage was the greatest one I've ever had.  She worked on my legs/glutes, and between the ice bath and massage, I was barely sore on Sunday!

Today marks 20 days until the LA Marathon, my very first marathon, and my Marathon for Mom.  I am running for the AA&MDS International Foundation, the foundation for the disease that my Mommy passed away from last March.  She was my hero, my inspiration, and my best friend.  I am running this in her memory to raise awareness and funds for MDS.  If you would like to contribute, please click the link here.  Thank you so much with all my heart.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Peroneal Tendonitis

Happy Friday!!!

Yesterday I had a checkup with my podiatrist regarding my shin splints and the horrible pain I was feeling post Surf City.  I was so worried it had turned into a stress fracture, but the day before my appointment, the pain was subsiding.  So I went in and we took some X-rays, and good news!!!  I do NOT have a stress fracture!!!  Hooray!!!  However, my peroneal tendon which is the tendon that runs on the outside of the ankle just behind the bone called the fibula, is very inflamed.
My Doc said in a perfect world, he’d like me to rest for 3 weeks and let the inflammation go down 100%.  He followed that statement with, “but I know you have LA coming up, so I am going to give you a cortisone shot today, rest for the next couple days, and you should be good to run on Saturday.  In the meantime, ice whenever you can.”

How does the cortisone injection help?
Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication. Cortisone is not a pain relieving medication, it only treats the inflammation. When pain is decreased from cortisone it is because the inflammation is diminished. By injecting the cortisone into a particular area of inflammation, very high concentrations of the medication can be given while keeping potential side-effects to a minimum. Cortisone injections usually 
work within a few days, and the effects can last up to several weeks. (Source)

So he gave me my shot, and I was sore yesterday afternoon, but today I feel much better and I think I’ll be ready to run tomorrow!  I’ve been pretty antsy this week to hit the pavement, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s run!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Surf City 2013 1/2 Marathon Recap!

This past Sunday was the Surf City ½ marathon in Huntington Beach.  I was a little nervous because my doctor had put me in an aircast a couple days prior and warned me that I may have to walk the race.  I was willing to do that in order to save myself from further injury before the LA Marathon.  Well, come race day, I felt great!  I opted not to wear the aircast to run in and instead used a ton of Rocktape.  When we got there, we used the restroom and lined up in our corral just in time for the gun to go off.
She’s Speedy Gonzales, so I wished her good luck and that I would meet her at the finish (she ended up finishing in 2:05!)

I started out nice and easy and found a good comfortable pace to hang at.  Around mile 3 I got really hungry and decided to take my Accel Gel a little early.
Then up the hill and around the neighborhood we went.  Mile 5.  I was feeling great!  I was so happy my injury wasn't hurting {yet}.
Along the course there were bands playing live music and people blasting records.  It kept the participants up beat, which was fun.  Then came the out and back stretch on PCH.  Around mile 6 I got a text from my hubby asking me how I was feeling and if I was running or walking.  I replied with, “Inning!!”, meaning running, but I was, well, running, and couldn't text well.  I also sent him this pic:
The turning point of the out and back was around mile 8 and I took another Accel Gel.  Now I was running into the sun, and it was warm!  My knees were starting to ache a little but nothing too bad.  And still, my shin splints were not flaring up…WIN!  At mile 10 I started to feel sick to my stomach, but knew I had to push through.  I wanted to complete this race strong for Mom, since all this (the training and this run leading up to the LA Marathon) is for her and MDS.

At mile 11 there was a guy playing a Beach Boys record through his speakers, and as I approached, the song “Don’t Worry Baby” came on.  I completely broke down crying.  I was so overcome with emotions of missing Mom.  It was like she was telling me she was with me and I could make it to the finish (cheesy I know, but I felt it).  I kept running, but couldn't stop crying.  Finally I saw mile 13 and picked up my pace.  I passed mile 13 and sprinted 100% to the finish.  As I was running down the chute to the finish line, I heard people shout “Go Maggie!  Woohoo!  Way to go Mags!!”  I saw my hubby, Lisa and her hubby out of the corner of my eye!  I crossed the finish and waved to them.  It took so much energy not to break down again.  I got my medal and water, and as I was walking towards my hubs, I started to cry.  He gave me a giant hug and said “She’d be so proud of you.  I am so proud of you.”  I felt so much better in that moment.
I gave Lisa a congratulatory 2:05 hug, and the four of us and their pup headed to the beer garden.  We weren't going to pass up complimentary beers post race!  We cooled down, stretched, recapped the race together, while sipping a nice cold Michelob Ultra under the hot sun.
It was a good race!  I ran slow, finishing in 2:56 (avg pace of 13:25), but I ran the entire 13.1 miles and despite my injury I felt great!

When we got home, my hubby was so awesome and got me a big bag of ice for an ice bath.  My knees were so unbelievably sore, I was so surprised.  Still, no shin splint pain.  So I iced bath, and got ready to watch the Super Bowl over at my Dad’s (with ice packs on my knees and ankle).  It wasn't until the evening that I stood up and nearly collapsed under my weight.  Hello shin splints!  It hurt in the place it had the past two weeks, but the pain extended towards my ankle, and every time I put weight on my foot, it felt like my bones were crushing.  I felt the same pain yesterday (the day after the race), and today it’s a little better, but not 100%.  I have an appointment on Thursday with my podiatrist and I’m praying that my shin splints have not turned into a stress fracture.  For now, I’m taking a couple days off and icing.

LA is 40 days from today!!