Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pre-race Update

I gotta say, I'm mad at my foot.  I coddled it.  I tried really ugly shoe things and braces and taping it in ways that made it hard to walk.  I didn't run for awhile.  Yet still, the foot isn't quite where I was hoping by now.  It's not bad at all, but I'm still limping a bit.  I did a very short run for the first time yesterday, and it seemed to be okay for awhile before I started to get some really sharp pain, so I stopped.  Doctor Dad checked it out when I went home last weekend, and thinks I pulled a ligament in my foot (which he found when I practically kicked him because it hurt!).  The great news is it should recover fine and it's not at all serious.  But in the short term, I gotta go easy on it.

So here's the plan.  I'll still be heading to Nashville on Friday no matter what for Rock N Roll Country Music (Half) Marathon.  I've got a great trip planned - why would I want to miss that?  I'm planning to complete the half marathon - maybe jogging, maybe walking, who knows.  I checked it out, and the course time limit is four hours, so unless it REALLY starts hurting I should be able to at least limp my way to the finish.  And if somehow I can't finish, so be it.  There's plenty more months to complete my twelve races. I will be there excited that the Challenge has encouraged me to see a city I've always wanted to visit.  And if we're lucky, we'll get to share the story of what we're doing and spread some hope to a few people who just might need it.

I've also realized maybe I should take some of my races easier.  I have twelve races, right?  So maybe some are jogs, while some are still races.  My body needs time to heal and recover.  The whole point of this is to be doing good things for my mom, not hurt myself.  It will not be easy to not give it anything less than 100%, but I will learn.  It's just another (awesome!) challenge.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Stomping through the Dismal Swamp

 It was a gutsy move.  But as they say, no guts no glory - and for me, no regrets.  After my finish time at National, I was so curious to see if I could repeat it.  So as I found a place to start at the Dismal Swamp Stomp, I noticed a guy holding a 1:45:00 pace group sign.  This essentially means he would plan to run the race at exactly 8 min/miles and help guide runners to a 1:45 finish.  This was a pretty optimistic goal, but I decided to start with that group and see what happened.
Me near the start (I'm in the pink shorts)
I was doing great in the beginning!  I even got a little bit ahead of them for awhile.  I'm not quite sure how that happened, but by the time I noticed I had lost them I was already far enough ahead to just stay where I was.  But then I just hit a wall, something that I think most runners will say has happened to them at least once in a race.  I'm not sure exactly what caused it, but it was getting a bit windy, it was warmer than any other race I've run so far (which isn't saying a lot), and very humid.  Those horrible storms with tornadoes were starting to roll in, and even though we beat them, it was still a little bit intimidating for fear the rain would start.
That's the clock time.  My official time was 1:48:31, which is very exciting! 
By the time I made it to the finish, I was pretty rough - to the extent that I attracted the attention of the medical team and struggled to stand.  Ouch.  I told them I was fine and eventually got a little laugh out of them when I was asked how I felt and responded with "like I just ran a half marathon."  And my parents were there to greet me at the end!  I had these tshirts made and the three of us all wore them (though i raced in an Under Armour wicking shirt).  It's so cool to get to see my mom enjoying the challenge and seeing how much we care about her. 
Some of you are probably saying that this challenge isn't about time, and you're right.  Because for you, it's not.  I'd hope the people reading this blog will be just as excited to help cure psoriatic arthritis if I run a 6 minute mile or a 12 minute mile.  But for me, it's a way to prove that I'm trying and all these efforts are worth it.  As the April to June race schedule gets crazy, I'll probably decide to take them easier.  But this was very fun to push myself.  Don't you all know by now that I like a good challenge?
The only slightly bad news: about an hour after the race, I went to put weight on my right foot and felt horrible pain.  After hobbling around for a few days, I decided to be safe and went to an urgent care center to get an X-ray.  The good news is my foot looks perfectly fine and I should be good to run Nashville on April 30.  They did give me this lovely shoe to help keep my foot flat and let it recover.  I'm taking some time off from running right now, but I usually do that anyway after a race so it's not a big deal.  Then I'll be back better than ever!
I hadn't been home since December, so it was great to spend a weekend in Virginia Beach.  My parents and I had so much fun, and I ate all my favorite foods, which I'm ashamed to admit includes Bojangles.  Really though, how can you not love it?  I love DC, but I'll always have a huge love for my hometown and cherish the weekends I get to visit.
There will be more posts to follow specifically about this, but wow.  My friends are great.  We have raised almost a thousand dollars already, which will match to two thousand dollars!  Please keep spreading the word and following us on Twitter and Facebook.  My next race is April 30 in Nashville, so if you happen to be running it or have advice let me know.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Announcing the 11,12,13 Challenge: National Psoriasis Foundation!

This might be the best blog post yet, so get ready!  National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is officially our charity!  The irony of posting this is that..nobody is reading it.  Even though I've been posting about my races, this blog hasn't been release publicly yet (except for a few people very involved in the Challenge, and as a way to tell the charity what we're doing here and get them on board!).  So yes, I've been writing to myself.  It was just that we didn't have the charity set up, and I didn't want people seeing the blog until everything was ready to go.

But now we're ready!  NPF is a wonderful charity and couldn't be more supportive our goals.  They have agreed to spread the word through their various social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook, write about us in their newsletter, and help us find the best ways to be involved in the community - among many other opportunities.  I have been working closely with Linda and Jeremy, and let me tell you, they are two great people!  I'm sure you'll be reading more about them in the future, but for now let me just welcome them to the 11, 12, 13 Challenge team and say how excited I am to work with them. 

Some of the opportunities I will be involved in include joining them for the DC Walk to Cure Psoriasis in September 2011.  This involves a 1K (.62 miles) and 5K (3.1 miles) walk, so this is a great way to get involved even if you aren't a runner.

I will also be joining them in their "Climb the Hill for a Cure" day where I will spend two days working with other volunteers for NPF and learning the best ways to help support psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.  On the third day, we will go to meet with members of Congress to tell our stories and advocate for psoriasis. 
Pretty awesome, right?  I had no idea when I started this challenge the places it would take me, and now I only wish there was more time in the day so that I could do all of this (while still keeping my job, of course). 

And with my enthusiasm, there's also nerves.  Not because I'm running 12 half marathons - right now, that seems like the easy part.  For me, I have such a huge opportunity to make a difference, but that also puts a lot of pressure on me.  You all know by now that my dad will match the first $13,100 worth of donations - but just how does one go about getting those $13,100 of donations, while running 12 half marathons, and working, and trying to have a life? 

The answer - I need your support!  So I'd appreciate it if everyone could help spread the word so that we can take a big punch at psoriatic arthritis.  It can be as simple as sharing the blog link on your Facebook page or emailing it to friends.  Or maybe you own a business, or have a friend or parent that does and would want to be one of our sponsors (which of course means good exposure for them too!)  Or for the more ambitious people, running a race and joining the team.  We are always looking for others to join our adventure and take on whatever may be their challenge.  Maybe it's walking your first 5k or maybe it's running a marathon, so find your own challenge and join me!