2016 from injury to injury

So post marathon phase was interesting. I spent some time resting and resetting, and of course looking forward to my next marathon or should I say torture date. It just so happens to be May 28 2017. You see before I even signed up for Hamilton’s Marathon I had this bright idea to “up my race” after getting an email from the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend people.  They said hey if you move up to the next distance for next year, we will charge you this years rate. Geee OK.   You see Ottawa was my first Half Marathon in 2015. That was to date my best year and I think its because of the training I was doing for that firs half.

2016 started out with injury carried over from the fall so I had decided to run the 5k and the 10k in Ottawa but didn’t think I had the time to get back up to the half distance.  Well about two weeks out from the race I decided I could do it! I sighed up as a charity running (again since I never sign up for these things on time).  That put me in for three races within about 15 hours. I started with the 5k at 4 pm. the 10k 6:30pm and then the half the following morning at 7:30am.  Sounds nuts doesn’t it, but I really did have a good time, despite the sweltering 41 degrees Celsius heat with full sun.   I had completed a few other runs through out the year as well, and missed a half marathon due to a bad chest cold.  Anyway after my marathon in November I took a break…perhaps to long of one really.  But I was back on the injury list again, so it was for the better.

The day after my marathon I had a pain in my right foot. I was smart about it and tried not to do too much. I did make it out for two 5k runs eventually, but found the pain was just not going away.  This brings me to today Dec 3o 2016. My year starting and ending with injury, training spotty at best but yet major accomplishments made. I am happy but not happy about it all.  I want to see something different for 2017. I want to do more, be more accomplish more in terms of my times and perhaps some physical changes too (aka I may have taken the eat what you want after a marathon a little to far). I will see a podiatrist on Jan 2 to discuss my foot, and the possibility I have been dealing with a stress fracture. That is my self diagnosis and have been treating it as such, which is not a bad thing. But I don’t know enough about that area of the foot so perhaps its a tendon or ligament. What I do know is that its been 8 full weeks since I ran the marathon, and it still hurts, although it is significantly better than when it started.

I am feeling a little sad that I can not participate in the New Years Day Resolution Run which the Running Room puts on all over Canada. I had signed up hoping to start the year off on a good foot….little did I know I would have a bad foot…. Since I will not see the DR until the next day  I have decided that to do the run would not be in my best interest.  It is my hope that this will clear soon and I will be well on my way to training for my next big race! Good bye 2016 year of accomplishment, and WELCOME 2017 year of success!



A Marathoner

So last I wrote I had decided to try my hand at running a marathon. I expected it to be hard…really hard. I was pleasantly surprise that it wasn’t as hard as I anticipated. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t easy, it just didn’t take the toll I was expecting. I also did not get the emotional rush I thought I would get.  Its funny really I found I was a little angry through much of the race. It was lack of moral support from spectators that I found as such a let down. Let me take you back…..

In the weeks leading up to my BIG RACE I found myself having difficulty getting out to train.  Where all good intentions lead not all will follow.  I fell ill with a bad cold which in usual form was in my lungs, then my shift work and kids schedule got in the way, and my drive to push through the adversity did not show up.  I chose to be complacent really. I thought ‘You know I got out there, I did a 30km run and it wasn’t so bad’… Generally speaking my Marathon training consisted of a weekly long run and not much else. I did get up to 36km before the race so I felt I could do it, in that I had some idea of what it would feel like at that high distance mark. My long runs varied with some feeling great then the next one horrible. My race day would be a matter of fate really.

On the advise of a friend I chose the Hamilton Road 2 Hope Marathon as my first. This course is known for being flat, downhill and fast. Its the top Boston Qualifier on Canadian Soil. Great just what I need to come in within my time goal of anything faster than 05:00:00. LOL pretty specific goal hey. Well I sure gave it a try with all of my lack of training.  The first few km’s were easy as they should be. In the first km I found my shoes were bothering be so I pulled to the side and retied them.  The weather was perfect for a November run, in fact it got quite warm. In my usual fashion, second guessed myself on what to wear the morning of. I went with my capri’s , my compression sleeves and a T shirt. I should have stuck to the plan of shorts and tank top with my compression sleeves and arms sleeves. But I didn’t overheat tooo much. After adjusting my shoes I found there didn’t seem to be a lot of footsteps behind me anymore. But I continued to pass some folks. By about the 4th KM mark I had to use the washroom, so I decided to stop and use the port-a-poty at the next water station to offer one, which was 6km. No problem I moved on but felt very alone. The course was nice it was a rolling country side, no spectators, no fellow runners at my pace. By the time I hit the downhill section I had passed a few more people, thinking I was somewhere in the middle of the pack as I tend to be.

Down the Red Hill Expressway I went…alone. I lost track of the KM’s as there were few markings in this section, and it seemed like forever since I had seen a water station. There was about 9km? of downhill. At maybe the 25th km my right quad started to cramp.  I stopped to stretch it out but found I could not lift my leg or my Hamstring would then cramp…great I have a lot more running to do and I could hardly move my leg. I chatted with a nice lady who helped to hold me up while I stretched then I carried on my way. Kms 30-36 mosly were a blur. I ran a few km with another lady who seemed very nice but I soon left her behind. (later she would pass me and we would continue this). I remember running along seeing other racers passing me going in the opposite direction. I saw the 4hour pace bunny and I thought ‘hey I am doing really well here, I wonder where the turn around is, I can’t be that far behind them…’ WRONG!! I was about 10km behind them for goodness sake.

At the 37km mark I was in a world of hurt. I could hardly lift my feet, my cramping quad had continued and now the other one was cramping too along with my calves. I had to use the washroom…again, I had to stop and stretch only this time for a little longer. I just took a deep breath, decided it is what it is, now just do a full leg stretch of both legs. I did what I needed and carried on despite my body telling me not to. By the time I reached the 39 or 40 km mark (I can’t remember now) I felt like I needed a pick me up. I take fuel on the course, but I needed something more. Luckily there was a station set up with these fruit gummies that I had seen at the expo. They were cut up so I took two or three pieces, chewed them up and BOOM there was the energy I needed. Suddenly I felt normal again, like I was only 20 km in instead of the 40 I was actually at. The stretching had helped the cramps as they seemed to be gone. I felt good but still disappointed. Many runners were walking past as they were all done and leaving. Many citizens were enjoying the section of the park but were not there to cheer on runners. In fact there were little to no spectators along the way which was sooo disheartening.

As I approached the end shoot there were a few spectators cheering me on letting me know it was just around the bend. I entered the shoot and again all was silent. I had picked up my pace although could not sprint out the finish…what would be the point anyway. I felt like my form was good despite how I had felt just a short time ago.  The announcer called my name but it didn’t matter since no one was around. I crossed that finish line expecting to be emotional but really I was thankful it was over. I received my medal, and a warming jacket. There were a couple of volunteers with mylar blankets which I do like after such a distance, but I could not bend down to get one myself so I had to stand there and wait for them to get one for me. As I walked out to the food tent, I was disheartened to find no one around. There were no spectators lining the shoot, most of the food and volunteers gone, tents packed or packing up. A band was playing but no one was there listening. I thought really? I did not have a particularly slow race why is there no one around? I ate my soup and prepared my mind for the 3km walk back to the hotel, when the runner who I had played cat and mouse with offered me a ride. It was her first one too and we finished about the same time so she knew how I felt.

Once I was back in my room and starting my recovery I realized I was not as sore or as tired as I had been after my first half marathon just over a year and a half ago. Had I really come that far that I could run a marathon and feel normal, like just another long run? I realized that that question has two answers. The first one being yes  The second being I guess didn’t give all I had out there. I didn’t leave everything behind on the course like I have at the half marathons. Its funny that at 37km I felt I had given everything possible, but not in the end. My Marathon days are not over. I still want to see a sub 5hrs or better yet sub 4:45hrs.  Let see what May has to offer when I run the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend’ s Marathon.

Time 05:15:01  Place: 730 out of 776 finishers

Some thoughts regarding Hamilton Road 2 Hope Marathon: This race is not a great one for a first time Marathoner. Its a fast race designed for experienced and or fast runners looking to BQ. The downhill section while can aid a fast time is hard on the body if you have not been training on very long downhill sections. If you like being cheered on, this is not the race for you. However that being said. The race was well organized, and being family run I found that the organizers were very friendly. The organizers were out there at the crack of dawn with the runners being shuttled from the finish area to the start area. They had even lost a family member just two days before the race.  I had a question which I emailed  via the race website, and received a response within a few hours. They organized a shuttle from the host hotel which was very helpful. Race location is easy to get to. The expo was small but well laid out. The Runners Den, being the ‘host’ store had a large selection of items with good sale prices. I am unable to comment on post race items, but did like that they served soup it was quite good.  Overall my experience was ok, but I do not expect to run this one again next year.

Time to get moving

So I had stopped writing for a little while. Mostly because I felt as though I ran out of things to say about my running. But over the past year I have run more races and recently decided I would try my hand…or more accurately my feet at running a marathon.  Yes you read that right. I had no ambition to run a marathon until one day I did. I came upon this decision suddenly and couldn’t shake it. I have spent the last few months saying I am going to do it, but find myself here now. Mentally ready to go, registered for not one but TWO marathons yet behind in training.

I have looked at plans, I have talked about plans but yet I have not started a plan. Race day is in about 11 weeks so I really need to get moving on this.  I have been using an app on my phone called Run Keeper and love it. I decided to go with one of the training plans included in the app, and I will make adjustments to the schedule as needed. Shift work and two active kids can put a hold on my training as has been the case from the moment I decided to do it.  As of today I have completed on run at 26.5km but my overall weekly KMs are low. I have committed to starting the training program tomorrow and while it will be a struggle to hit the target pace I will give it a shot.

Pace ya, I decided I would make an attempt to do the program aimed at a sub 3:45 finish. Perhaps if it works out maybe I could see a Boston Qualifying time… I don’t necessarily have a lot of faith in myself for this feat but I decided I would give it a try. I figure it may take a few sessions to get my speed up to what its telling me I should be doing, but its all part of the challenge.

Here’s to an injury free hard work training program!

First Day of Spring

Today is so beautiful out. I love when the sun is shining and setting its warmth on my skin. If I were able to get out for a run today, it would have been a t-shirt day!! To bad its supposed to get cold again for the weekend. Anyway TODAY!! HAPPY!! WONDERFUL!!

So yesterday I set out and ran 10k by my lonesome with my music and my thoughts. I chose a route that was a point to point, from one city to the next. (With a ride home when I finished.) The route was mostly rural but with heavy traffic. In the beginning I was concerned that maybe it wasn’t the best route given the amount of cars and speed, but it wasn’t to bad, the shoulder was a little messy but manageable. At one point while passing a farm with heavy foliage along the side of the road I heard the familiar sound of a bird chirp. I don’t know why kind of bird it was, but its one most often heard in the country during the summer time. It was the most wonderful sound of the morning. Until that point I had never felt close to nature so to speak. But that moment, as winter was passing off to spring I heard the first sound of something wonderful to come.

Today I battle sore knees and stiff aching quads, but some how I feel 100% completely awesome. Is it the sun? yesterday’s run? Yes yes it is. A sunny runners high! 🙂 Hope you are also having a great day. Happy First Day of Spring!!

Runners Knee

So it’s on, I am fully battling Runners Knee. Back in the fall when I first tried to run 10k (I went from 5 to 10 in one day) I found that at 9k I had to fight every step until I was done. But as time has gone on I realized that increasing my distance by 100% in one day isn’t how its done. After a lot of rest due to injury in the fall I found I had less trouble with my knee. Then we started hill training.

A few weeks a go we started to run hills with a 10k total distance. I was starting to notice some strain, and found the Sunday long runs to be a little hard on the knee as well. This last Sunday we completed 16k my farthest distance yet. But my knee despite having my straps on (one above the knee and one below) became so inflamed that I was unable to fully bend my knee. It took about two days to feel better. Now after today’s 10k its feeling pretty sore again. Not as bad as Sunday, but I know that if I don’t rest it now it will be. So tonight its ice on ice off and a realization that some strength work and better stretching are necessary in order for me to reach my goal injury free.

Race Day is coming!

May 24th sounds so far away, so why is it that I am already starting to stress about race day? I am excited, and nervous and I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Like most I start to think I can’t do it, I’m going to fail. But I know that I won’t fail, I will finish 21.1k just fine. The real question is will I finish it in the time I hope too. When I registered I clicked the little box for finishing in 2 hours. At the time I thought that will be tough. Now I am starting to think its going to be easy, and begin to wonder if I can do it in less than that. Something between 01:30:00 and 01:45:00. Of course that could be a big stretch and I know that, but the real question is now much of a stretch is it in reality? I suppose I won’t really know until race day.

When we train on our long runs we do a 10/1 Run/Walk. I find the pace is slower than I would like most of the time, but not by much. Just slow enough that my form is suffering a little. Hence the runners knee that is killing me after each long run. I don’t specifically know what is causing the runners knee, but this past week after our 16K there was enough swelling in my right knee that I couldn’t fully bend it for several hours after. But that being said, in the fall when I made my way up in km’s I found it was hurting like that at 9k, now its at 16k. I just hope that by the time race day gets here it’s not an issue, and or I have figured out a way to keep it from hurting too soon. I need to be able to push through those last km’s with a faster pace!! (Yes I am competitive even it is just against the clock.)

Laurier Loop Sept 28 2014

After sustaining an ankle/foot injury early in September its time to run the Laruier Loop my second 5K race. Its start and end was at the same location as the Waterloo Classic, but the route is different. This time its two loops around and through the park. I arrive on race morning less nervous than the previous time. I am alone but know where to go and what to expect. I arrive early to ensure a good parking spot before they close the roads. How early is too early for a race? Well and hour is good for parking, but that’s about it. So I relax in my car watching participants arrive. Its homecoming weekend in Waterloo so there was lots of school spirit.

About 20 min before the race I make my second or third trip to the ladies room. I head to the in field and start a light stretch. Runners are called to line up, and I find myself alone but not nervous. I lined up somewhere between the font of the line and the middle of the pack. I get my phone app open and ready to start, I get my music set, not too loud not too quiet. When the gun sounded I started off slow, there is no real running when there are this many people pushing off at the same time. Once we leave the stadium I start to break away from the crowd. I maintained a fast pace, perhaps a little faster than anticipated. As we reached the park I charged up the small hill passing several other runners, heading through the water stating. My pace is fast but good. As I head into the second loop I continue to pass other runners. I charge up the hill again, and this time I take some water on my way through. I had not realized how difficult it is to try to drink the water when running that fast. While some of it hit my mouth, most of it poured down my chin but I didn’t slow down. I have a race to win!

Coming out of the park heading in to the last half kilometer I found myself stuck behind a pack of football players. They were walking several men wide, and were difficult to get around. After a quick shoulder check I head a little further out into the road and blow past them. I’m in the home stretch and I feel good. The pace is hard to maintain but I push on. As I round the track and get into the last 100 meters I try to catch up to and pass another runner. Its her and I racing the clock. She hears me coming and speeds up. I tried very hard to catch her but she crossed the line first. I push strong through the finish line, and thankfully its over.

WOW I can’t believe how hard I ran, I was hurting but kept pushing, and it felt great. After a stretch, massage and some food I check the results. I am excited to find I placed 9th in my age category, no wonder there wasn’t much of a line for the massage therapist.

My ankle is sore but not bad, and I’m excited I have a new PR!! 00:29:14 WOW.