Harriers Pioneer 8K – First of the Series!

This past Sunday was the first race in the Frontrunners Island Race Series, with the Harriers Pioneer 8k. It was a nice course through Saanichton, starting and ending at the Fairgrounds. Despite warnings of a big hill, I found it fairly flat, a nice course to run. It was smaller than the Goodlife and TC events I’ve run in the past, and a nice chance to connect with some running friends before and after the race.

I set out with a plan, and a goal. I was going to start slow, considering the first 1-2km sort of a warmup, and build speed to end strong. My time goal was to finish under 47minutes, which I thought was definitely do-able, and not too ambitious for my first race in a while. My training hadn’t been a intense or consistent as I’d like either, so I was trying to be realistic.

I started the race feeling really good, not pushing, just finding my rythm. I actually found speed sooner than I thought, with just a little effort. I ended up chasing Kathryn (of Boring run Blog for much of the race. She’d pass me for a while, then I’d pass her, and we ended within seconds of each other – pace buddy! I find it helpful to find someone near my pace, then when I have energy and power I can push to pass them, or if they’re slipping away or I’m flagging, trying to catch up can be that refocus I need. My coach ran with me for a bit near the halfway mark and guided me to pump my arms and pass folks on the hill. I listen to my coach, so I pumped my arms and passed 16 people on the way up the long slow hill, and 10 people on the way down and to the finish.

In the end, I finished in 44:50! WAY better than I expected, a pace of 5:33, pretty much the fastest I’ve ever run, even in training. I’m pleased with that, and looking forward to even better times this year.

pioneer8k2013

This was the only one of the photos from the event that I appeared in, I’m off to the right, in blue long-sleeves, black tights and a black hat. The race is JUST starting, that’s why we all look so slow.

My First Half

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3 months later, I’m finally sitting down to write about my half marathon experience. I wish I hadn’t waited so long, the details are very fuzzy, but better to write something, than nothing at all.

When my coach first suggested I’d run a half someday, I laughed, I may have even told him he was insane. I certainly thought that many times as he worked with me. He’d set out a training plan, I’d read it and think “this man is crazy to think I can do that!” and then I would go ahead and do it. Somehow he could always see past the limits I placed on myself. I grew to trust him more than my own judgement.  This race was another example of that.

I remember feeling some nerves as I got ready for the race, but mostly excitement. I love the feeling in the air of everyone’s anticipation, of being part of something so big. Looking around and seeing the variety of people, all the different bodies, joining the race together, so inspiring. I found two friends at the start, women who impress me with their dedication to push their personal limits, and we wished each other well.

As the race started, all I felt was joy. for 6 or 8 kilometers I was just so darn excited to be there. I almost cried I was so happy, and proud of myself. I was actually DOING this. I was running a HALF MARATHON. It was a perfect day, there were tons of spectators cheering us on, and I could not stop smiling. It was so much fun.

Around the midpoint I started to feel a bit more tired. I’d run a long way and was starting to feel it. Not pain, just the results of a long effort. Thanks to the great coaching and training I’d had, though, I knew I had a lot more in me. I’d run 22km before, so I knew I could do this, and just kept going. At the 14km mark I saw Simon Witfield on a lawn, cheering runners on. It was inspiring to see someone who is such a strong athlete, an accomplished runner, taking notice of our race and cheering us on. I felt like “somebody” at that moment :)

half_runMy coach kept popping up at random places on the route, to offer advice and encouragement. That was fantastic, not just for the regular boosts, but knowing he could be anywhere! When I was tempted to walk, I always had the thought “What if Dominic shows up now and sees me” and it kept me moving. Accountability is a powerful motivator for me.

As I approached the final 5km of the race, Dominic shows up and says “ok, now it’s time to speed up, only 5km to go!” You can guess what I thought when I heard that. (“CRAZY!”) but, I trust my coach, with good reason, and somehow, I did. He cycled along for most of the rest of the race, shouting things to keep me moving. He told me to pick off runners one by one and catch up to them. Then he told me they weren’t runners, now they were victims – take them out! Near the very end of the race, when I am simply willing my legs to keep moving, he issued one final challenge: “See that guy in red up there? He passed you. Are you going to let him do that? No, go get him, pass him, take him out!!” I don’t know how I was still upright, let alone running at that point, and yet, somehow those words let me dig deep. I found something left, deep inside, and I passed the guy in red. My last km of the half marathon, was my fastest. That still blows my mind, that after 20km, I still found speed.

I finished that race and felt like a new person. I’d done it! I was a half-marathoner! My goal was to complete it strong, and enjoy the experience. I accomplished that, AND a good time. 2:11:30 (6:09km pace) is a very respectable first half, I’m very proud of what I did.

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Training, seriously.

I seem to be very “on again, off again” with running, but not for a lack of wanting to do it! Such is the way it is when you’re trying to sort out nagging injuries.  I spend a month NOT running when the pain increased, but saw no improvement from the rest.    I’ve been seeing a new chiropractor in town, with some unique diagnostic tools. He uncovered some issues that may explain a lot of what’s been going on. So I’m getting treatment, and training, and hoping I’m on the road to recovery.

The half marathon is less than two months away now. I was getting nervous I wouldn’t be up to the challenge, but my coach has confidence in me, and is ramping up my training distances. I’m running over 13k on my longer runs, and a full hour for my “short” runs, and feeling good, so I’m encouraged.

My husband and I very recently separated, so that brings a number of challenges. My schedule is going to be a difficulty sometimes, the weeks when I have the kids especially. But I’ll make it work. With all the added stress, keeping my running constant is a big help to me.

4 months? Really?

I knew it had been a long time, but I didn’t realize I’d been away for 4 months. I’ve had plenty going on and lots to say, but I kept getting stuck. I have this feeling that if I’m going to post to my blog it’s got to be a Good Post. Something interesting, something of substance, or there is no point. And that’s kept me from posting anything. When you feel like it’s going to take a lot of time and effort to do something, it’s a lot easier to put it off, and off, and off……

So I’m here with a short race report, that’s substance at least!

I ran the Times Colontc10kist 10k last month. It’s a great race, if a little busy for my liking, and the weather is usually pretty good for this one. I was under trained for it, so I adjusted my goals accordingly. I had hoped to run it sub-60minutes, and I came close with 1:01:41. I had a 2 minute pee-break that pushed me over. Most importantly, I felt good through the race. I enjoyed it.

I realized afterwards I was too quick to take walk breaks (3 or 4) when I didn’t really need them. I’m out of practice of pushing through that “I could stop now” feeling.  It’s mostly mental, I think, so something that will come with more running, and more confidence. I feel it early in the warmup when I’m running usually, and it’s no problem to ignore it then. Since I’m out of practice running through it, I gave in a few times this race.

Breathing felt good, so my cardio fitness was still pretty good. My legs were a bit heavy, I noticed them dragging a bit (kicking the occasional stone) later in the race. I was not surprised by this as I spend 6 hours driving and 2 hours playing lacrosse the day before. All the sitting to drive had me in major nerve pain for hours yesterday, but I felt almost nothing through the race. Even the typical right glute tightness was minimal – yay! I didn’t feel like collapsing, or like my legs were done, at any point, I just felt progressively more tired.

I didn’t try to pick a “pace bunny” and run with them, as I usually do. Instead I found room to run my own race, letting people pass me or passing them as it felt right. Given my pace was reasonably constant (for me) I’m happy about this. I’ve been worried about my ability to hold pace, and it seemed like that went fairly well given the lack of practice lately. I ended strong as well, finding a bit of a kick for the last 500m.
So looking at all that, I think it was a great race, and very encouraging!

It’s time to train…..

It’s time to get serious again. I like training. I like plans and order, and clear expectations, and training fits that better than just “going for runs”. I also like the things I learn while training, and the improvements I see, so it’s win-win. (I’ll try to remind myself I wrote this, when I’m in the middle of hill repeats or intervals) I also need the accountability. It’s too easy to blow off a run when it’s “just a run”. The excuses are endless, and all good ones. I should spend the time with the kids, the house needs work, my volunteer activities need my attention, I need some sleep, my leg/back hurts, and on and on. But when I’m training, I feel like I have a set of rules to follow, and the excuses get weaker.

I’ve also gained a solid 10lbs in the last 6 months. This is a combination of not running, holiday eating, and stress eating. Running helps me burn off stress, and makes me feel good about myself. Eating crap is a (lousy) coping mechanism I have for stress and feeling low about myself. So I have high hopes for an improved physique, along with improved pace. I’m giving a vegan diet a go right now as well. We feed our kids vegan, but I had been clinging to milk in my coffee, and eggs and dairy as treats when out and about. We’ll see how that goes, it makes junky eating a little harder, that’s for sure.

I’m excited about this. I met with my coach and laid out the plan. He’s calm and confident, and a scientist, so we work well together. I’m all about rules and plans and details, so I need that mindset to do my best. The 10k in April is our first goal, followed by a

HALF MARATHON!!!!

in October. Seriously. I’m still coming to terms with the fact I’m doing this, more than a little scared, but so excited to think about actually doing it.

2012 Resolution Run

This year I signed up for the Resolution Run hosted by Frontrunners Westshore. I’ll admit the fancy running jacket swag was a big draw, but so was starting off the year right, by running a race. I questioned that decision early on the morning of the first, not so many hours off sleep between me and our partying, I will say. (and the GORGEOUS running jacket I got doesn’t fit! They said sizes ran large, as they were unisex, but my size M is too big – boo!)

I really enjoyed the run. It was a casual affair. A stop clock was set up, and many of us wore our gps watches for timing, but there was no pressure, no real competition. The race was through open (though quiet) streets, and some trails. The director said something about it being hilly, but I didn’t think much of it….until they started. I haven’t run hills much, other than some hill repeats in training, and it’s definitely different. Since I didn’t know what was coming, and none of them were too long, I quiet enjoyed the variety they brought. It kept things interesting and fun.

I ran 5.11km in a little over 32 minutes. Slower than my “race pace” when I’m training, but I haven’t been training in a long while, and there were those hills…….Also I woke up this morning with a BAD cold, so the grumbling in my lungs that I thought was a lack of sleep and fitness in the run, must have been the start of this bug. So I’m pretty happy with my performance on the run, and I enjoyed myself to boot!

Finally Running Again!

It’s been a long time. I didn’t feel like coming to write that I wasn’t running, to complain about my lack of patience, weight gain, or other downers. The last physio referred me to yet another physio in his office he felt might have new ideas for me. I’ve been seeing this guy for a few weeks and he’s trying different things, and seeing improvement. Best of all, he says I can run all I want! I still have pain, but can run through it, so I am. It seems I’ve got some pelvic instability that’s irritating nerves in my back and all down my leg. Not running alone isn’t enough to stop the pain, and running doesn’t make it a ton worse, so I will run.

My treatment consists of daily core exercises, wearing a pelvic stability belt to run and play sports(sexy!) and seeing him every couple of weeks for some manipulation and treatment.

I’ve been running several times a week for a couple weeks now and I’m happy about it. Plans to meet with my coach in January and lay out the training plan have been made. I’ve got big things on the horizon for 2012!

Still not running, and it’s killing me…..

I haven’t been back to post in a LONG time, because I had no running to write about. My last real running was in May, with one travel run in July. Other than that, nothing. I miss it, so much.

I’ve been trying desperately to fix whatever is wrong with my body, but I’m starting to wish I’d never bothered. After many months (because I started trying to heal before I stopped running) of experts, exercises and patience, and I’m no better off. I have as much pain as I did before I started trying to fix myself. Talk about frustrating! First I saw a physio for IMS treatments. I read you should get relief within 6-8 treatments…..I saw her over 20 times before I gave up on that. I tried a chiropractor (who was a runner!) but after a month without improvement, he sent me along to another physio. I’ve been seeing that fellow for over a month now, not running at all on his advice, and still hurting.

I miss my stress release. I miss the metabolism boost. I miss feeling like an athlete. My fitness is dropping, my weight climbing, and I am very, very sad. But I don’t know what to do next.

One for the running “Bucket List”

I was in Denver for a conference this week. A runner who lives at sea level can’t pass up the chance to check off a run at an elevation of a full mile, now can she? So there’s one for the running bucket list – 3 miles run at 1 mile altitude.

It was definitely harder to run where the air is so much thinner, but not as hard as I worried it could be. With trying to sort out my back issues, I haven’t been running much at all. I’ve been worried about my fitness, and wondered if trying this was pushing my luck, but it worked out fine. I ran my usual pace, and the breathing was a bit harder, but it wasn’t bad.

I’m going to try running a bit more often now. My back and leg are a bit better, and running doesn’t seem to make it worse, so I’m going to slowly increase the time I run, and how often. I’m not ready to full on jump back into training, but I’m ready to move more.

I need to run!

Still not really running. My chiro said I could run a bit if I kept it under 20 minutes, and noted how I felt after. I went for a 17 minute run last week…..I was worried about lost fitness because it felt SO hard. Then I checked my Forerunner and saw I was running about 20 seconds/km FASTER than my normal race pace. Oops! I guess I was excited to be running. Took it down a notch and felt great again. I also felt fantastic all day, good physically, and great mentally. I need running!

The next day I was a bit sore, and strangely my inner thighs felt like I’d gone horseback riding. My physiotherapist has been telling me I’m doing some strange kind of gripping through that area when I run and walk, based on what my muscles are doing. I’d never noted evidence of that until this run, so perhaps the body work I’ve been doing has corrected other issues that have been hiding it from me. I noticed tightness in my inner thighs when cycling to work today, too.

I don’t feel much better overall than when I started trying to fix these “issues” which is frustrating. I have a little less lower back pain, and the leg pain seems to be changing a little, but it’s still there. I’m wondering if it’s worth not training after all.

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