Track Love, Angry Hip, Free Shoes

Somebody pleaaasse tell me it's ok to start tapering 4 weeks before a marathon?

Because my hip demanded that I take this week off.  3 weeks left until CIM.

I had an amazing start to the week after the Jets half, attending a track workout at Piedmont High School with the Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders on Tuesday evening at the invite of Merilee.   I wore a sports bra to work and busted out of there just after 6:00 p.m. in order to intrude on the track warm-ups at 6:45 p.m.  

I can't even begin to tell you how moved I was being there on that track.  I haven't stepped foot on a track since I was 18 years old (ok, I casually jogged around the UCLA track a couple times, but not for a real "workout").

16 or 17.  This track was made of dust, not that great rubber stuff.

The field inside the track was flooded with about 40 high-school soccer girls.  I stared at them as I circled the track, nostalgically remembering my soccer years, and thinking, "were we really that beautiful??"  Those girls looked so beautiful.  Running through drills, throwing their body at the soccer ball, socks falling down around their shinguards....gave me chills, I tell you.  But it also pushed me to run as I was bubbling over with their energy that was contagious in the air.

I very, very rarely run in the evening, but I was happy to find it felt so nice!  I caught my groove in a sub-7:00 pace for about 4 miles, jogging slowly for 200 meters twice.  The energy out there was just fantastic.  So much cooler than staring at the farting (literally) adults on the treadmills at my gym.  Goodness my gym always smells like a fart.  WHO is doing this!?

Track.  So it went great.  Merillee, you are a deeeelight.  However, my hip was giving me gentle warning signs that it was not happy.  Warmed up as my hip was at the end of the day, it wasn't warning me so loud that I thought it was worth stopping.

But Wednesday morning, it was over.  Stiff as a board (not light as a feather).

If you recall, as my legions of loyal readers should (joke), I get an injury scare before every every every marathon.  Every.

Nope, I know what you're thinking, you're wrong.  It's not because I increase my mileage -- I don't.  Virtually nothing changes between my "training for a marathon" phase and my "running because I like to run" phase.  This time, I have done more speed running than in the past, and sure, we can blame my hip on that.  But I will blame the RoseRunner Marathon Curse.

If I can run in three weeks, or if I can't, all will be fine.  There are 8732498234 other marathons in my lifetime that I can run.  knock on wood.

Ok lets seriously move on to the coolest thing ever.


Ignore the fact that running-photo-stills create cellulite where none exists, and look behind the Gentleman!  I love that this was captured so much.  The good old support crew and personal photographer, still and smooth on the sidelines.

This is near the finish line, and if you're interested in the Gentleman's view:

I spy the photographer! Behind the finish line

A couple other professional race photos.

I think this is right before the halfway point turnaround.  At this point, I had NO idea Christina was right behind me.  She went on to win 1st place woman 2 minutes ahead of me.  Maybe it's because she doesn't bite her lips when she runs like me....and doesn't wear headphones with wires 25 inches too long.

Right out of the start

Sexy.  No, I will not post a larger version of this.

Now the other coolest thing ever.

ANOTHER NEW FREE PAIR OF RUNNING SHOES!!  That makes 4 pairs this year....all from half marathons.  I'm definitely in the black in terms of recouping all my race entry fees :)

The most wonderful bearer of good news, Jen Maravillas, placed 3rd woman at the Run with the Jets Half, and left a comment telling me she bravely saturated in her sweat after the race long enough for the award ceremony....and learned that the top 3 women got free shoes.  Congrats to you Jen! Let's go get some shoes! 

I followed up and the prize is a pair of Mizunos -- a brand I have never tried before, but I am looking forward to it.  One of these days I will try and be a little more selfless and hold a shoe-giveaway on the blog. 

Any advice for a tender hip flexor?  

Anyone else belong to a gym that always smells like a hot fart? 

Which do you prefer: the track, or a treadmill?