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  • Writer's pictureLinda Eckert

Warning: Injured Runner

I am the type of person who doesn’t like to admit to injury. What athlete does? Unfortunately, we only get one body in this life and the best thing to do is to listen to it and take care of it properly so that in return, we can run healthy – pun intended – and be able to perform our best. So…Remember a couple months ago when I was so happy to have completed the Encinitas Half Marathon? Well, the day after the race I started to feel an odd pain on my right leg, starting at the outer half of my right buttock, and stretching all the way down to my right foot. I of course thought that maybe I needed more stretching or that it would go away on its own, but sadly, it’s still there today.

Last month after my 50k the pain was so bad and it started to make my lower back hurt as well, so I finally decided to do something about it. Yes, I lived with the pain for over a month – still logging 20 to 30 miles a week, which I’m sure didn’t help. So I made an appointment to get it checked out, I had x-rays done, scheduled some physical therapy, and got some medications, but most importantly, I got a diagnosis. My doctor said he saw “some arthritis” (his words) but that it wasn’t bad. The cause of my pain, however, was something else. Something I was completely unaware of until I was diagnosed with it: lumbar radiculopathy. According to my doctor, the physical therapy, no running for 3 to 4 months, and the anti-inflammatory medications will help me get better. I hope it heals soon because let me tell you, this pain is no joke! It hurts – and it hurts a lot!

So…What am I to do when I’m told not to run and I am already signed up for some races? Well, I walk! My first race was the Mermaid Run Boulder 10k, which I downgraded to a 5k and did with fellow OMG members Will and Jacob. The Mermaid Run Series is a community that focuses on women but welcomes everyone to participate in their events and experience the joy of crossing a finish line! The events help women chase and achieve goals not only in fitness but in life in general and their races are super beginner friendly and extremely well organized! They have runs in Boulder, CO; Spokane, WA; San Diego, East Bay, San Francisco, and their triathlon/duathlon in Capitola, CA.

The other race was the Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon which I have been running since 2012. It’s a great race and it supports the Dark Horse Marines, 3/5 Battalion, but after this year, I have decided I no longer want to run this race. In 2014, they started the legacy challenge: if you ran the race (5k, 10k, or half marathon) since 2014 until this year, you would receive an extra medal commemorating your five year achievement. Every year we received a different Armed Forces medal, starting with the Marine Corps medal in 2014, Navy in 2015, Air Force in 2016, Army in 2017, and National Guard this year. I had run the half marathon every year – in fact, my half marathon personal best is in that course! – but since I’m injured, I decided to walk the 5k. Other OMG members were out there too: Jacob also did the 5k, as did Johey and her son Evan, who is 9 years old, and Sandra crushed the half marathon getting third place AG! Evan and I walked together, as he’s slowly getting into racing. Sandra was also doing the legacy challenge like me, so we both received the Joint Chief of Staff medal! It was totally worth sticking it out for five years in a row to earn this medal, but I can happily walk away now after running this race for seven consecutive years.

Not being able to run is extremely difficult for me because running is my outlet, my time to myself, my way of relaxing. I feel like I need to wear a t-shirt that says “Warning: Injured Runner” because not running is making me cranky and easily irritated as I’m sure some of you can relate. However, I’m going to trust the process and I keep telling myself that this time off running is only for the better and in the end, it will benefit not only my body but my running altogether. As much pain as I’m in, I just want to think positively and keep cheering on my fellow OMG team members on their races and activities, and look forward to when I’ll be joining them again. I’m keeping my head up and my spirits high! And even though I can’t run right now, I know that I will run again one day! Always remember: Life is better when you run!

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  • Writer's pictureLinda Eckert

April was a fun and exciting month, and even though it’s only one day shorter than March, it felt like it went by FAST!

The first week of April, OMG showed up at Ironman Oceanside 70.3, right in our backyard! Many of OMG members were volunteers, captains, and participants. For our very own Ron, it was his first IM 70.3 and he rocked it (top 100 in his division!!!). Ron’s children were at the finish line to medal him – what an amazing surprise!!! I think a lot of us feel confident in doing IM Oceanside 70.3 because we swim, bike, and run around portions of the race course – plus we don’t have to travel for it! - so it’s a great event.

My first race of April came on the second weekend, the Heartbreak Ridge Half Marathon. I have been doing this race since 2008 and I feel like I have a love / hate relationship with it because as much as it hurts while I’m out there running it, I can’t wait to go back and do it again! I ran it four years before I finally made the 3 hour time limit cut off; lucky for me I’ve always been allowed to finish the race since I am so close that they let me keep going. The first time I broke 3 hours was the first year that they changed the race to April – I like to say it was the nice weather that helped me make the time limit, and maybe then it was but this year it was miserable. The heat was excruciating and the sun was unforgiving – not one ounce of shade out there. Yet, I am already looking forward to it next year. My personal best on that course is 2:38 and it still stands; my worst was this year, but I'm not even stressed. Unless I'm injured (2010 is the only year I've missed it because I had a bum knee), I will always go back and do that race. It hurts. Every. Single. Time. Still, every single year I keep going back.

The Heartbreak Ridge race is also a fun one because a lot of OMG members are out there too, suffering through the heat and dust, and getting podium spots. For the 10k course, Nancy got first place AG, and Heather got third place AG – just a few months post knee surgery!!! Sandra ran the half marathon for the first time and she did great! I saw her a few times along the course and it was so elating to see her so happy and cheery, despite the suffering conditions…That race is tough because it chews you up and spits you out. But as only Sandra can, she made it look easy!

My second race of the month was a virtual race – which means you can run whenever or wherever you want, as long as you get the distance done within the window of time provided for the race. I belong to the Marine Ultra Runners Club of America (MURCA) and they organized this race as a virtual 50k, so I signed up and started planning when and where I would get it done. Since I run the Lake Miramar 5 mile loop at least once a week, it was easy to come up with the idea of running that loop six times, and adding a mile, to get my 31.07 miles done. In the end, it was a rough 8 hours and 39 minutes (that concrete sure hurts your feet!), but I got it done, and the best part is that I had friends there with me throughout the day, so they helped make the time and miles go by faster!

Now, if you’re looking for something to do whether to help your training or just to get some miles and smiles in, OMG has you covered! Wednesdays we meet at the Carlsbad Rail Trail at 6 pm for a run form workout with Coach Tom. Thursdays we meet at Park 101 at 6 pm for a run or walk at your own pace and distance of your choosing, and if you’re up for it, swimming at Monroe Street Pool at 7:30 pm afterwards. Saturday mornings at 7:50 am we meet at Buccaneer Park in Oceanside for a group bike ride. Sundays at 9 am we meet at Succulent Café in Carlsbad for a group run, short or long, at whatever pace works for you! There is always something going on with OMG and you are bound to find someone to walk, run, swim, or bike with at any and all of our free events so come join us!!!

What do you have in store for this month? Anything exciting? I have a race coming up at the end of the month, and I’m hoping to see some fellow OMG members out there! Whatever it is you’re training for, always remember…Life is better when you run!

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  • Writer's pictureLinda Eckert

For those of us living in Southern California, we are lucky to have great weather almost year round. I came to live here in 2001 compliments of joining the Marine Corps, and while I’m still a Texas girl at heart, I love living in Sunny San Diego – isn’t it the best?! We live where people vacation!!!

The amazing weather makes for plenty of opportunities to get out and run, or bike, or swim, or all! For instance, the first triathlon took place in Mission Bay in 1974 and Rock’n’Roll San Diego was the first Rock’n’Roll event in the series in 1998. If you’re lucky to live here year round like I do, you can race almost every weekend if you so desire…This past month, I did.

My busy racing month of March began with the Encinitas Half Marathon on Sunday, March 4th. Our very own Brandon was one of the lead cyclists, so I was able to snag a free entry for it. The race was very well organized, there were spectators cheering us on throughout the course, plenty of well stocked aid stations, and not to ment

ion the beautiful views! It was a great race plus the finish line snacks and post-race beer were delicious! That same day, the Desert Tri triathlon took place in La Quinta and OMG made its presence known. This was the start of triathlon season and for some of them, their first triathlon ever! They all did outstanding bringing home some cool medals and placing in their age groups. Congratulations!

The next weekend I raced the Coast to Crest trail 5k on Saturday, March 10th. This race is known as Del Mar’s only trail race, taking place at the San Dieguito River Park and it offers a 5k, 10k, and a kids’ 1k options. I liked that the trail is nice and flat for the most part, the race was very well put together, and the weather that morning was hard to beat! The race also offered a finish line lunch with bratwursts, hot dogs, soda, water, and beer for participants and spectators.

On Friday, March 16th, I participated in the St. Patty’s 5k fun run at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. The race takes place on base, it’s an out and back course, and it is in the afternoon. The course is flat, the expo is full of goodies and freebies for everyone, there is also lunch and beer provided afterwards, and a post-race raffle – in which I won the grand prize! This is one of my favorite races because you get to run with the Marines.

The next day, Saturday, March 17th, I ran the St. Patrick’s Day 10k in Mission Bay. I have been doing this race since 2012 and I love it! It offers a 10k (timed) and a 2 and 4 mile (untimed). The 10k starts in Mission Bay and takes you into Fiesta Island, which makes it for a fast and flat race – I have my sub 1-hr 10k from that race a few years ago! Everyone gets pizza and beer at the finish line, something to look forward to after the run! Kathy Loper Events puts this race together and they do an excellent job – which keeps me coming back year after year!

On Sunday, March 18th, the Super Seal Triathlon organized by Ironman took place in Coronado. I did not participate but many of OMG members did and brought home some nice hardware and snagged some podium spots. Y’all are amazing!!!

My last race of the month took place on Sunday, March 25th. The Carlsbad 5000 is another race that I’ve been running since 2012, when it was put on by Competitor. I especially did not want to miss it this year because the race was sold to Rock’n’Roll and recently, Ironman bought out Rock’n’Roll, so I wanted to see if any of the race dynamics would change “under new ownership”. Short answer: yes. While I still very much enjoyed my time out there, the race price went up, the expo was a lot smaller, there wasn’t an option to register for next year’s race (as it has been in previous years), the race schedules were changed, and the 20k participants had almost a two hour wait between their third and fourth 5k. Oh – and there was no post race free pizza slice this year…Bummer! On the plus side, we were offered pretzels, water, electrolytes, and bananas at the finish line, as well as a ticket for the beer garden. Also, this is a local race so I got to see a lot of my fellow OMG peeps and I ran my 5k with Nancy, who helped me achieve a great finishing time (Thank You Nancy!!!). Another thing I like about this race is getting to watch the elites run. This year, the male winner finished in 14:15 and the female winner in 16:04. What a feat!!!

March was a great month for racing and I am happy I was able to participate in so many races. April brings the Ironman Oceanside 70.3 and OMG will be both participating and volunteering at the event. Ron will be tackling his first half Ironman and I can’t wait to hear how he and everyone else does – I know it will be great! I love being a part of OMG and being able to run alongside such awesome and inspiring athletes. Always remember…Life is better when you run!

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