Sunday, April 28, 2013

Inaugural Nike Women's Half Marathon in DC

I'm going to start this blog with a key lesson learned: there is no correlation between race performance and race organization/management.

I was seriously impressed with the organization of the inaugural Nike Women's Half Marathon in DC this morning. Everything went as smoothly as you could possibly imagine. Most inaugural races have noticeable hiccups, especially larger ones. But after years of experience with the San Francisco race, Nike has it down and gets an A+ for race management and organization. Well-established races that have been put on in DC for years (Army Ten Miler, Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, Marine Corps Marathon) cannot compete with how well executed both the expo and the race were.

I have to admit I was skeptical. Having an expo on the Georgetown waterfront where there is very limited parking and no metro seemed like a bad idea. They didn't even have a real web site. Just a Facebook page. Their corral system seemed awkward in that 3/8 of the corrals were reserved for runners faster than a 7:30 pace. But every step of the way, I was pleasantly surprised. This was probably the best organized race I have ever run. And I've run over 75 races. If only stellar organization made for stellar performances! Even though Nike made it very easy for runners to run well, my body was not up to the task.

By contrast, I think of the Love Rox half marathon that I ran in February. Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong-- Nobody was directing the leaders on where to run, the course was mis-measured, a defunct timing system failed to time many runners, a narrow course for half marathoners to pass 10K runners presented a safety hazard, there were six large staircases to run up and down, and the list goes on and on. Oh yeah, and it was 37 degrees with wet snow. And yet, I killed it! Despite all of that- I ran a 1:43:xx for a course that was actually 13.5 miles.

When comparing the two races, I can instantly see that my performance is not related to how well the race is organized. We all want to run well-managed races, no question. But if I race doesn't have its act together, I doesn't mean that I can't. And vice versa!

The Expotique
Nike calls their Expo an "Expotique" in that it is tailored to women. You can get your hair and makeup done,
The course route is highlighted over a map of the city
and the theme is all about celebrating the strength and power of women. I got there right when it opened at 8:00am on Saturday to avoid crowds. I parked easily, waited in a short line, got my number and headed for the expotique. The energy there was contagious. Not only was it a unique expo in terms of the vendors and what was offered, but all the staff were so extremely welcoming and all the runners were so excited. I kept hearing choruses of "woo" everywhere and everyone was so extremely hyped up about this race. It was a really unique vibe that I hadn't experienced at any other expo.

At first, I didn't understand what the big deal was about an all-women's race. I didn't get why so many women had their heart set on running this. Was the Tiffany necklace really that much of a motivator? But now I do see. And I actually can't really articulate why specifically- just the feeling that I had when walking around the expotique and interacting with everyone there. I'm sure the expo was jam-packed later in the day and my good experience was partially because there wasn't a crowd. But the fact that they had 3 full days of packet pickup (as opposed to 1.5 for other large races) definitely helped.

In the photo above, they had a guy standing there whose only job for the day was to take your photo. Many expos have "photo ops" but this was the first time I saw someone staffed to actually take the photos. I went to the expo alone and I was lucky to get my picture in front of this cool backdrop.

Closeup of my name on the We Run DC wall.
One of the coolest things about the expo was the wall with everyone's names on it. It covered an entire city block. I was surprised at how excited I was to see my name on this wall. I guess it's because it makes you really feel like you are part of something special. Nike celebrates YOU. They make everyone feel special because they build up their event so much.

It's a good thing I liked this expo so much, because I had the pleasure of going there twice yesterday. After the expo, the plan was to go grocery shopping. I drove 20 miles outside of the city, parked at the store, and decided to check my Nike bag. This would have been smart to do before leaving the city. But I guess I just wasn't stressed or worried about not having everything. I noticed my corral bracelet was missing. This is the paper bracelet that you need to wear on your wrist to get into your assigned corral. Without it, you start with the 14:00 and slower group. I searched every corner of that bag but the little slip of paper was nowhere to be found. I definitely saw the person grab a bracelet, but it must have slipped out of her hands and never made its way into the bag.

So, I drove 20 miles back into the city, paid $10 to park for 15 minutes to get another corral bracelet. I was glad I had it, but definitely annoyed at the extra driving and parking fees. Thankfully, the goodie bag was a true goodie bag, so I had a Luna bar and other small snacks to hold me over until I got back to the grocery store.

Before The Race
I only slept two hours the night before the race Maybe even a little less. I simply wasn't tired. I tried every technique in the book to fall asleep but it wasn't happening. I didn't think it would really affect my race because I had gotten six hours the previous night. But, the night before that and the night before that were both 5 hours or less. I think Tuesday night was only 4 hours. I had proven that I could run well on little sleep and I knew that stressing about it would only make things worse. So I honestly went into the race expecting there to be very little impact.

I think my inability to sleep the night before the race had something to do with my excitement. That expo got me pumped up and I was just raring to go. But Tuesday-Friday nights, the lack of sleep was driven by other things. On Wednesday night, the wind was extremely noisy and impossible for me to sleep through. Also, there were other major things on my mind that I won't expand on here, but that were certainly making my mind go a million miles a minute.

The week before Cherry Blossom, I felt so extremely drained and was sleeping 9 hours a night. I came to the start line feeling lethargic and not peppy. And I surprisingly ran well. This week, I had very little sleep but was extremely energized- probably all anxious energy and adrenaline. I felt great at the start line.

My sleep was from about 1:00-3:00am last night, so by the time I was supposed to be up, I was already out of the bed and deciding on my outfit.

Greg and I got to the race at 6:00, which was an hour before the start time. I wondered how many porta-potties there would be for an all-women's race, since women tend to take longer then men. It was porta-potty city. There were no lines. I had my choice of like 50 porta potties to go into. All of them empty. I've never seen a race with so many porta potties relative to the number of runners. It was awesome! I ran into my friend Linda and we did a short warmup. The warmup didn't feel good. We were going very slowly-- probably a 10:30 pace-- and yet it felt strained. I dismissed it because my warmups often don't feel good.

I handed Greg my jacket, got into my corral, and shortly after there was a huge surprise. They brought Shalane Flanagan and Joan Benoit Samuelson on stage!!! They were both wearing shirts with "B's" on them in honor of Boston. There was a moment of silence for the Boston bombing victims and then the national anthem started.

The weather was quite nice for late April. Sunny and mid 50's at the start. When I registered, I considered the possibility that the weather could be in the 70's, but we lucked out.

My plan for this race was to go out at around 7:45-7:50 and then speed up after the first 3 miles. I was targeting a 1:40. I knew I was a bit out of shape for not having run much since Cherry Blossom, but I figured a 1:40 was realistic since I wouldn't be facing the wind that I had in Cherry Blossom.

Miles 1-4
In all my years of racing in DC, I have never gotten to run through the tunnel that goes underneath the national mall. It was so cool! I had been looking at the map and wondering how they were going to get us across the mall, but then I realized we were going underground! These first miles were uneventful. I didn't feel 100%, but I know from experience that it can take me 5-6 miles to start to feel good in a half marathon. I saw my coach during mile 4, which was a real pick-me up.

Mile 1: 7:52
Mile 2: 7:43
Mile 3: 7:59
Mile 4: 7:43

Miles 5-9
By the time I hit mile 5, I knew this wasn't going to be a PR day for me, and I was okay with that. I was
10K mark, Photo by Kim Platt
starting to feel really crappy and tired and I wasn't even going very fast. I figured I would be lucky to just hold on to that pace for the rest of the race. I reminded myself that my primary goal was to put forth my best effort-- whatever the pace. I asked myself if this was my best effort or if I was going soft, and it truly was my best.

I saw Greg at mile 6 at the top of a hill, and that was energizing. Then it was onto Haines point- a very flat area that can be windy because it's near the water. I noticed a helicopter circling the area. I thought it was probably there for security and I realized that races would now be beefing up security post-Boston.

I slowed down quite a bit. I didn't judge and I didn't get upset. I accepted it and continued to push and put forth as much effort as I had in me. There were a bunch of inspirational signs throughout this part of the course and they helped to keep me focused and strong.

Mile 5: 7:55
Mile 6: 8:07
Mile 7: 8:22
Mile 8: 8:34
Mile 9: 8:52

Miles 10-13
At mile 10, I started looking for Greg but I didn't see him. I did see my coach, who was cheering for another
Mile 10, with my teammate Esther, Photo by Kim Platt
teammate. I called out his name, but he didn't see me because I was on the other side of the course and he was probably focused on the other teammate. I later learned that Greg was here too and they both missed seeing me. I actually thought that Greg thought he missed me after not seeing me around the 1:40 pace group and he had moved on without realizing I was still coming.

Shortly after, I heard my name being called by another runner. It was Alexandra, who I had met last fall at the MCM 10K. She's faster than me and I assumed she must be struggling as well. She said her legs were spent and that she was so glad I was there with her. I ran with her for a mile and it was great, but eventually I just had to let her go ahead. I was relegated to the survival shuffle. It took all the mental strength I had not to walk or stop. I just had nothing left in me and running two more miles seemed impossible. So many people were passing me, but I just focused on moving forward, one step at a time. Finally I saw the finish up ahead.

Mile 10: 8:26
Mile 11: Unknown because it was under a tunnel. Probably 9:15.
Mile 12: 9:33
Mile 13: 9:19
Last 0.2: (7:55 pace)

After the Race
I just wanted to collapse post finish line but I forced myself to keep walking. I got my Tiffany Necklace and my Nike finisher's shirt. Greg found me pretty quickly and walked with me over to my coach and my teammates. Both Greg and my coach had been worried about me, but I explained I was just having a really painful race after having slept just two hours the night before. My teammates confirmed that lack of sleep can really kill a race, so I was glad to have an immediate explanation for the crash and burn.

I started to see black spots and everything just felt really bad. I had over exerted myself and my body was not happy. Greg and I walked back to the metro, where I once again saw the spots. Ultimately I was okay and just very glad to be done with the race.

Official finish time 1:50:18-- about 10 minutes slower than goal time.

Before I do my final takeaways, I have to emphasize once again how well managed this race was, especially
Tiffany Necklace
for an inaugural event with so many runners. There was great signage along the course for mile markers, water stops, timing mats, inspirational quotes, etc. The start and finish areas were well well marked and nothing seemed to be overly crowded. It was nice to have Facebook updating my wall as I ran-- but without my actual splits so nobody knew I was bonking. The celebration was simply doing the race, and that's one of the main reasons I was there. For the experience. This race is about so much more than the Tiffany necklace, although the necklace is really quite nice!

Key Takeaways
I definitely got out of this race what I wanted most- the experience of running the first Nike Women's half in DC. And even though it hurt, it was an amazing experience and I am so glad I was part of it.

  • Sleep matters. If I don't sleep well the week before a race, then my performance will likely suffer. Given that, I don't want to go into sleep-deprived races expecting to do poorly, but I do need to be realistic about what my body can do when it's in such an exhausted state. 
  • I've raced a lot this year: 1 marathon, 3 half marathons, a ten-miler, and a 5K. Every month since January I have raced at least 13.1 miles. I think my body is worn out from the cumulative effects. I probably won't do so many long races so close together again, unless I am doing one of them as a training run.
  • It's possible to enjoy a race when you feel like crap and just want it to be over.
  • Running with teammates/friends helps. I spent about 3 minutes with the teammate I saw at mile 10, and about 1 mile with my other friend who I ran into at mile 11. Those were two high points for me.
  • If possible, I should avoid major life decisions in the week before a race. I bought a new car just one week before my marathon in March, and I think that added to my overall anxious state. Even though I had been planning to buy that specific car for a year, and I got a lower price than I had expected, it still put me on edge a little. 
  • Once I get my body into an anxious state about something, the physical anxiety lasts a lot longer then the time I actually spend thinking about the stressful topic. Even when I am no longer mentally stressing something, it takes my body awhile to "come down" from it's heightened state of awareness.
  • I'm very proud of myself for not quitting and for giving it everything I had. A year ago, I might have run/walked my way to the finish line or stopped pushing as hard once I realized that it wasn't my day. There is great deal of satisfaction and value to be had from giving 100%, no matter what the clock says. It's an important skill to have as a runner.
  • No crying for me! I brushed it off pretty quickly and focused on getting home and resting
  • I have the best husband ever. I woke up him up at 11:00 last night when I couldn't sleep, and again this morning at 4:45 to come with me to the race. And both times, he was happy to be with me. With all the black spots I was seeing post-race, I don't know if I would have made it home safely without him.
Thanks, Nike, for a unique racing experience!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

It's Not About the Running

I started this blog as a way to document my journey of running and races. Within the past two years, it's become more personal, as I am using my running as a way to address and overcome personal issues that have always been part of my mental fabric.

Given the purpose of this blog, I originally wasn't going to post about the Boston tragedy. I'm not trying to use this space to tackle large issues that happen in the world. I'm not trying to be political, preachy, poetic, all-knowing, or anything like that. I'm just trying to talk about running, specifically, my experiences with running. But over this past week I found myself thinking about the incident quite a bit.

The fact that I run doesn't have anything to do with what happened in Boston-- I reacted to the news not as a runner, but as a person. I really see the tragedy as one that could have occurred at any time or any place, although more likely in a crowded area.I think it's wonderful how the running community has bonded together over this incident and has already held events to honor the victims. I've always loved the commitment, dedication and camaraderie among runners. However, I don't think this bombing was an attack on runners or the running community or the marathon as a  sport. I think it was a senseless act of violence that occurred in an area that would be nearly impossible to secure.

Personally, I have always been a bit wary about running in large races in major cities such as the Marine Corps Marathon, The Army Ten Miler and the New York City Marathon. Particularly at the start line when you are packed in like sardines and there is no way out. There's no security around the perimeter. But I don't let that stop me from going and living my life.

When I run Chicago in the fall, I am going to try and stick with Greg. One of the things that perhaps made me the most emotional about last Monday was when I saw photos of loved ones reuniting after not knowing if the other person was safe. I can't even imagine how I would feel if I was separated from Greg in a situation like that and I couldn't get in touch with him.

I don't have too much to say other than that. I received calls, emails and text messages from concerned friends, asking me if I was in Boston and if I was okay. It was a nice reminder that I had a solid network of people who cared about me. At the same time, I was closely watching Facebook and waiting for my friends in Boston to post that they were safe.

In the spirit of moving on, I'll provide an update on my ankle since many readers had commented on that potential injury after my previous post. After the Cherry Blossom 10-miler, I took five days off from running. I used the elliptical on Wednesday, but that was really my only form of conditioning. I spent a lot of time icing the ankle and by Saturday I felt ready to run on it again. Greg and I went out and I had honestly expected my ankle to start hurting after several miles, but miraculously, it was 100% pain free! I was so happy. I ended up running 14 miles without even a hint that my ankle had been giving me trouble. I'm assuming that jamming my car door into my lower leg caused the initial irritation and with rest and ice, the injury healed.

I'm running the Nike Women's half next weekend and given that I have been flirting with injury and over-training for the past four weeks, I'll be very thankful to simply go out there and run it. I'm just going to run to celebrate that I can. As with any race or training run, I will be thankful that I am healthy enough to run and focus on enjoying the experience. To anyone reading this blog who ran the Boston Marathon this year-- congratulations on your accomplishment (whether or not you finished) and I am glad you are safe.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cherry Blossom 10-Miler Race Report

This morning I ran my 4th Cherry Blossom 10-miler. I'm really happy to be able to say that because if you asked me on Friday if I was planning on running this race, I would have said no.

Crappy Runs & Re-paying My Sleep Debt
Lack of sleep is cumulative. I've learned that I can race well if I don't get any sleep the night before a race, or even the sacred "night before the night before". With my most recent marathon, I learned that I can run well averaging less than 5 hours of sleep per night for the entire week leading up to the race. But eventually, it comes back to bite you.

I thought I would recover all my lost sleep in the week following the marathon, but that didn't happen. I took a business trip to Colorado Springs (two time zones behind me) and so I was going to sleep late and further exhausting myself through travel. Running was still going well and I was still feeling really great. The second week after the marathon, I was still feeling good and even incorporated some speed work back into my training. My paces were great and it felt as if I had never run a marathon or lost all that sleep the week before.

But then, last Saturday, I had a run that told me I needed some down time. I went for a 13-miler and while it wasn't horrible, it just didn't feel right. My legs felt heavy, my heart rate was on the higher side. It just felt harder than it should have. I prescribed myself two rest days in a row and was back at it on Tuesday of this week. But I still wasn't ready. I ran 7.5 miles easy, but it was the slowest "easy" run I've had in months. And I felt super exhausted by the end of it. I had actually planned for 8 miles, but cut it short.

I took another rest day and tried again on Thursday. Same scenario. I had to run slower than normal to keep my heart rate down. And 3 miles into it, I felt overly fatigued. I started to worry about over-training syndrome, which I have experienced once before. Friday was the worst. I woke up and felt so tired that I took a partial sick day from work so I could stay home and rest.

Sleep. That's really what my body needed most. This week, I slept about 9 hours a night, and slept straight through the night. Usually, I sleep for about 7 hours and it's rare that I sleep straight through. On top of that, I  took a nap on Friday and a nap yesterday. All that sleep, and I still felt like I needed more sleep. Even when I had mono, I did not sleep this much. With mono, I felt weak and I couldn't move around very quickly. This was different. I didn't feel weak or sick- I just felt exhausted and sleepy.

To Race or Not To Race?
I was so tired on Friday that I figured the race was definitely out. I knew the entire thing would probably be a struggle, I would be disappointed with my time, and my body would be even further worn down. I wasn't quite sure what was going on with me, but the more I think about it, I just think that I just needed to catch-up on sleep and let my body recover from the months of hard training.

I woke up on Saturday morning and felt a definite improvement from Friday, but still abnormally tired. Greg and I went into the city to pickup our bibs, so I would have the option on Sunday morning of racing or not racing. Greg, who is just coming off of an injury, didn't really care if we ran the race or not. He didn't think he was in great shape and was only doing it because he had registered.

When we got home from packet pickup I felt completely drained. I took a nap and was amazed at quickly I fell asleep. Afterwards, I felt a little better and started to think that I would do the race.

I think I would have regretted it if I didn't at least try. Even if the race didn't go well, at least I would have known that I tried. If I didn't even attempt to run it, I think I would have wondered if I would have been okay and regretted missing one of my favorite races of the year.

It was simply a matter of setting the appropriate expectations. I didn't want to sell myself short and dismiss the idea of a PR.  But at the same time, I knew that I was in this overly-tired and possibly over-trained state. I decided I was just going to go out there and do my best and get satisfaction that I pushed hard and did the best I could given the circumstances.

Everything had gone so smoothly for Greg and me the last time we ran this race, so we knew exactly what our routine would be. We drove to the metro, parked, and were at the race site about an hour ahead of time. We didn't check any bags, but we both had throwaway tops to keep us warm in the 45-degree weather.

Last time we found a set of porta potties that nobody knew about and Greg remembered where they were. Just as expected, there was no line. We couldn't believe that at a race with over 15,000 runners, we could find porta-potties with no lines! And no, I will not reveal in this blog where they are! :-) I probably couldn't explain it even if I wanted to.

We lined up at the front of corral two and met up with some Capital Area Runners teammates. If I had been feeling 100%, I would have planned to stay with them, but instead I told myself to run my own race and not worry about what the others were doing. They said they were going to go out at a pace of 7:40, which sounded good to me, so I figured it would be nice to at least start with them.

The weather was almost as good as last year. Last year, the race was in the upper 40's and completely overcast. No wind. This year it was in the mid 40's and mostly sunny-- but with some wind. Last year, March had been so warm that the Cherry Blossom had already come and gone. This March, it had been so cold that the blossoms were just starting to bloom-- I didn't really notice them very much unfortunately.

Miles 1-3
This race has a downhill start so it's hard to go out slow. The first few miles were pretty uneventful, although
I do remember my feet being so cold/numb that it was weird to run on them for the first two miles. I had a
small bottle water with me that I tossed during mile 3 and I didn't have any more water after that during the race. Greg shot out at a pace way faster than me, which wasn't surprising. Even though he'd been sidelined
Noticing my coach cheering for me.
due to injury, he races extremely well and pushes really, really hard.

Mile 1: 7:35
Mile 2: 7:32
Mile 3: 7:13

Miles 4-6
I tried not to be freaked out by the 7:13. Everything felt good. I was definitely working hard early in the race, but I knew I had a great endurance base that could carry me through. Plus, that mile had a little bit of downhill.

There was an "incident" during mile 5 when there was some metal strip of something on the course and I stepped on it and it dug right into my ankle. I let out a scream and the people around me asked if I was okay. I was okay to keep running, but that definitely hurt. I didn't let it affect my running and I had forgotten about it within a few minutes.

I remember that miles 5-6 always seem to be the hardest in this race. And if I could just get past mile 6, I would be golden. Back in 2009, I gave up mentally at mile 5 and I have always regretted that.

According to my splits, I came through the 5-mile mark at an average 7:32 pace. And then the 10K mark at a 7:33 pace. I was on track to PR. I just needed to stay around 7:30 for the last 4 miles.

Mile 4: 7:26
Mile 5: 7:27
Mile 6: 7:38

Miles 7-8
I knew to expect wind here. The wind was out of the south at about 10-15 mph, and I knew that we would be running into a headwind. Hains Point is almost always windy-- even on non-windy days, so the slightest bit of real wind makes it tough. This part of the course is the same area where my windy 5K was last month, so I was very familiar with how much of a challenge the wind can pose.

Before I had looked at the wind forecast, I had been expecting the race to get easier at this point. Last year it got easier here because it's completely flat and straight with no turns or anything. But instead of getting relief, things just got tougher.

I pushed really hard through the wind and every moment was a battle. I kept looking ahead to see where the turnaround was but I couldn't see it.

Mile 7: 7:51
Mile 8: 7:47

Miles 9-10
Now that I had a tailwind, I thought I would be back down in the 7:20's again. But no such luck. I had exerted so much effort battling the wind on the way out, that I just didn't have much left to give. I knew that a
Just before the finish
PR was at stake and if I could just stay at around 7:30 I would probably get it. I also knew I was hovering around 1:15/1:16 and really wanted to get under 1:16. I was highly motivated, but also highly exhausted. I was giving everything I had and I acknowledged that I was. There was absolutely no way I could have gone any faster during this part of the race.

The last mile had a hill right before the finish. It was long. In actuality it was probably about 0.2 miles but it seemed very long and I remembered this hill from having run the race previously. I pushed and pushed and pushed, until finally there was a slight downhill to the finish. After I crossed I felt like death and once again confirmed that I gave 100% on that course.

Mile 9: 7:39
Mile 10: 7:36
Last 0.07: (6:00 pace)

I found Greg (1:13:25) and some other teammates. I couldn't even talk for like three minutes after finishing. I was so winded. My lungs hurt. I was very glad I had raced, and very glad it was over!

My final time was 1:16:10, which is 18 seconds slower than my PR. So close!!! However, it was a lot
windier this year than it was when I ran my PR, so I am pretty confident that I would have PRed if it hadn't been windy.

My sports psychologist likes to look at PRs in context and would probably argue that this is my best 10-mile performance because of how well I did in spite of the wind. It probably cost me 20 seconds in both mile 7 & 8 (40 seconds) and then left me too exhausted to get back down to my initial pace for the remaining two miles. So while I can't claim an official PR, It feels like a PR to me and I'm very proud of how I raced this one.

Prior to this week's sleep-fest, I was targeting a 1:14:xx for this race, so somewhere around a 7:25 pace. In training, I had recently run a 6-mile tempo at a 7:26 pace and definitely felt like I could have kept that going for 4 more miles. I don't think I have lost fitness since then, but I was very worn out going into the race and I also had the wind to contend with. My official average pace of 7:37 is something I think I could do in a half marathon.

All in all, I am glad I went to the race this morning. I was pleasantly surprised at how I performed, given how tired I had been all week, and I have a lot of great takeaways:

  • I got to run one of my favorite local races
  • It was nice to see so many teammates-- both on the course and as spectators cheering
  • I got to practice being mentally tough and pushing through windy conditions
  • I got to practice being mentally tough by hanging on at the end, when I felt completely spent
  • I enjoyed the scenic course
  • It felt great to be running strong, after three consecutive "crappy" runs in a row
  • My official time wasn't a PR, but I think I ran stronger today than when I got my PR
  • If I don't qualify for the Boston Marathon when I run Chicago this fall, I will get to run Cherry Blossom again next year! What a great consolation prize!
Now for some RunPix!

I was the 103rd women, ages 30-34. There were 2189 in my age group behind me, 4% ahead.

I was the 387th women. There were 9897 women behind me, 4% ahead
I was ahead of 81% of the male runners.

What Next
Unfortunately, I think I aggravated a nagging ankle issue during this race. I have a pain about two inches above the outside of my left ankle. It only hurts when I run and isn't tender to the touch. Does anyone know what this is? It didn't affect my race, but when I was done, I really started to notice it in the finish line chute.

I'm not sure if this is a coincidence, but two weeks ago, I accidentally jammed the edge of my car door into my leg-- about 4 inches above the outside ankle. And now the area that's painful is somewhere between the gash mark on leg and the ankle bone. I'm not sure if the two are related, but it's not like I changed my gait or have been doing high-mileage training. I started to feel the pain when running about 9 days after the car door incident. 

This coming week, I plan to use the elliptical only and keep off the ankle. If it doesn't get better by the end of the week, I will see my sports chiropractor. I'm also traveling to San Francisco tomorrow so I won't be able to keep up this 9-hours-of-sleep per night thing. I will use this week to recover from any over-training and from a potential ankle injury and try to get back at it next weekend.  Nike Women's Half marathon is next on the schedule-- I want to make it to the start line healthy and ready to go!