Monday, September 14, 2015

Race Report! The Maritime Race Weekend Half Marathon

Saturday morning I was up before my alarm went off. I was ready to gett'r done at the Maritime Race Weekend. I had trained, not as much as I had wanted to or planned to, but I felt ready enough to run the half marathon with my brother Josh. We got ready but in our nervousness/rush we both forgot to eat anything before we lined up at the start. Ugh. I had run for 2.5 hours on nothing before but I knew this race would last slightly longer than that given that I was wearing an extra 3lbs. of brace on one leg. We lined up as we both realized this little fact, but by then t was too late to really do anything about it. And then we were off, running through a narrow chute of people dressed as pirates (the race theme) to Shore road, which winds along the coast for 2.5kms. We ran the whole 2.5kms without issue, although I started faster than I expected. The we turned onto the Caldwell road hill, a steep 20 degree incline that humbles most people to a walk. We trudged up that to the Ocean view manor loop where we began running again, hit our first water station, then continued on to Cow Bay Road. The volunteers were full of energy and smiles as they cheered and directed us along the way. We hit a good pace going down to Cow Bay, passing a few people and enjoying the reduction in runner traffic. Then we started up Dyke Road where we were actually stopped by a very frazzled RCMP officer who asked if we were the last people. We knew there were a lot of people behind us so we told her no as we stated walking (we're in a race here!), there were plenty more coming. She seemed very shocked by this and asked us the same question two more times before a volunteer came over and tried to explain the situation to her. It seemed like she was told to go control some traffic without being let in on the race part of the job lol. We continued on our way up a long slow hill until we finally reached the turn at 10km. There we found the "temptation station" which had skittles, resiens and cold coffee. I grabbed some skittles since I desperately needed a sugar boost at that point. A few hundred feet down the road we hit the steepest hill, one where you seriously question the thinking behind the road designers to put a road at such a steep incline. Yeah, that steep. We power walked it and then jogged the downhill. We plodded on, the easy pace a few kilometers back now becoming more of a struggle. Still though, our time and pace was better than I expected and I secretly hoped we would make the finish in 3 hours. My knee had other plans. We rounded a corner, heading back to the finish line when saw the 15km sign. My knee saw it too and decided right there and then to give me a shot of stabbing pain straight through the center of my knee. I stopped to walk. After a minute it passed and we continued on, although by then my quad muscles were now cranky and cramping up periodically. My brother was super kind and wasn't bothered (at least not verbally or visibly) by us stopping to walk every few minutes after that point. By the time we got to the 18km mark it felt like tiny nails were suddenly banging around inside my knee and we were both starving. We talked about food, I joked that I could stop in at the corner store and get a bag of chips, but we continued on. I was going to finish this thing, and I was going to finish it running even if I had to drag my leg to the finish (something that was becoming a possibility at this point). We walked for a few seconds just before the final turn then started to run. We passed two walkers and just kept going. It was 100% mental for me at this point. My leg was throbbing, my knee stabbing, the opposite thigh was stinging from some serious Velcro chafing, and I was fighting every step to put it out of my mind and focus on the finish. The cheers from the crowd at the finish helped lift me up as we made our way closer and closer to the finish chute. Once we were in the chute I knew it was mere seconds before we finished so I kept my resolve and continued on running. My brother was cheering as we neared the line. All I could say was "Thank God." as we crossed my brother giving me a sideways hug as the photographer snapped pictures. I did it. Its been years since a 21km felt that hard or took that long to finish (3:17 is our official time) but it was one of my most rewarding races. Not because I hit a new PB or distance, but because I finished it giving it all I had and I had family there to support me every step of the way.

Monday, August 24, 2015

10 Humid Kilometers

I'm going to say that this year Mother Nature decided to cram all possible summer weather-types into one month. Seriously. Last week's race had scorching temperatures and a blazing sun. This week my 10k consisted of an overcast sky but 100% humidity making the 10k feel longer than it probably should have...but at least I had my daughter's pool to jump into afterwards! The 10k run itself went better than I expected. My legs felt okay, I will fess up and admit I had to take a few pain-related walk breaks, but overall I squeezed out a few really solid kilometers, even with Mr. Peanut in tow. So last Thursday was one of my last torture visits to the Chiropractor, Dr. Helson. He's off competing at an Ironman (I'm so not worthy), and honestly there's only so much deep tissue message can do. Some of the healing has to happen in the knee. He noted I've got a loser-then-normal MCL, which is why my inner knee has been paining me a lot lately (that combined with the torn cartilage). He worked on it but honestly it was like someone lit a match and threw it in my knee, it burned so bad. I was the closest I've been to tears at that session. Even the laser-which just sits on the surface-caused me to give a few yips of pain. So, of course, being a child of the Internet era, I Dr. Googled it. And there's not a hell of a lot that can be done that I'm not already doing (which is actually shocking, I half expected Dementia to be among the symptoms lol). I just wonder if I'll be in this much pain forever??? And finally, I've got that half marathon coming up in, oh, 2 weeks! Yikes! I know I'll finish it, and I think since I don't have a time goal I've been not too stressed about making the distance. I know I can do it (well I know the OLD me could do it), so I figure at the worst I'll just grin and bear any pain. Thankfully the pain only creeps in badly after a run.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Race Review! The Navy 10k

Well, the first race that gave me a good case of heat stroke didn't disappoint with the steamy 27 degrees Celsius temps yesterday! Lol. Thankfully this time I learned my lesson and hydrated often, spilled water over my head at every water station and ran in the shade of trees when possible. Overall it was a fun, exciting race and I was SO happy to have my husband right beside me the whole way. The morning started off great. We arrived in plenty of time, milled around saying hello to fellow runners and grabbing a quick banana and nervous bladder-porta-potty run before the race start. Richard and I decided to head to the back of the group since I had no plans at an all-time 10k PB and was simply hoping to finish without needing a pair of crutches. The route was the reverse of what it had been for 29 years, so this apparently caused some confusion for the leaders (as I learned afterwards), but for the mid to back of the packers I think it was nice to switch it up and see which way was more difficult. Personally I think the reverse way was much more difficult, but that's debatable. We started off in front of the Stadacona military base, running a few hundred meters before heading up a short but hilly street then turning right onto a well shaded side street before turning again, then again onto Agricola street, where we would run for the next 2k. Agricola took us up a long climb then flattened out and dipped downwards again. Then it was more side-street zig-zagging before heading straight down Gottingen street to the end of the first lap. By the end of the first 5k Richard was feeling pretty good and was keeping a strong pace. I wanted to die I was so hot and every limb felt heavy. But the cheer of the crowds as we passed by, including a very cheerful motorcycle gang, gave me the pep I needed to keep going. I focused on my pace and back up the side-streets we went. By the 6k mark Richard was having a hard time with his legs and a blister that was forming on one of his big toes. He pushed through it though. As for me, my knee would sting whenever we went downhill, but otherwise everything held up very well, which I give credit to my Chiropractor for! As Richard and I came up to the 7k mark we started looking behind us and suddenly there was no one. Now, I knew we had passed other 10k runners and walkers earlier and that we had held it together well enough that I didn't see them all pass us, so we started to wonder..did everyone else drop out? Were we the last ones on the course?! It was HOT but it wasn't as hot as it had been in previous years....Then a police officer drove up beside us on his motorcycle. "Hey guys, he said, have you seen anyone else on the course?" he asked, kind of embarrassed. "No, we both said, are we the end, the last ones?" "Well, there was this other lady but I can't find her now so yeah you are probably it. Thanks!" he said as he drove off. "Frig." we both said. Then I spotted a couple walking ahead of us, who were just far enough ahead they were probably out of earshot for our exchange with the officer. "I don't want to finish last." Richard said. I agreed, neither of us wanted that, so we started running again, keeping the pace we'd had the whole race but which felt a lot harder now. We passed the couple then eyed four more runners ahead. We kept going, and going for another 2k before the heat and a hill got Richard and we had to walk. It wasn't too long before I saw the couple we had passed though, now running! I started running again, agreeing to walk again when we got to the next water station. It was there that Richard saw the other couple and it was enough to give him a push to run it out to the finish. We came within 30 seconds of the person ahead of us, but simply not finishing last was good enough for us. As we stood cheering the couple behind us into the finish line the announcers said the couple was, in fact, the last people on the course. Whew! We had done it. We finished the 10k in one piece, felt satisfied with the time and managed to not come in dead last. Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

First Race of 2015!

Well I certainly would never have bet back in January that my first race of 2015 would be the Johnny Miles 5k family race in Sydney Mines NS. Nope. I was supposed that have been in PEI, running the Brookvale Ultra trail race this past weekend, but I knew a few months ago the quad and hamstring crushing course would not be possible for me this year. So after a race-less spring when my husband casually mentioned the local 5k race that would be happening the morning after we arrived in Sydney Mines to visit his family I jumped at the chance. I knew this low-key event would not be punishing to my legs and hoped that I could convince my daughter to join me. Thankfully she wanted to do it once she heard her parents were running it! The race was on the hottest day we've had so far this year. To boot, it's held at 10am, when the sun is bright and hot. The three of us casually walked up to the start line (usually one of us is a bucket of nerves!). Then with a "go!" we were off. I should actually say my husband and daughter were off. I kept up with them for, oh, say 100 meters when they left me in the dust. I plodded along, determined not to walk until I reached the bottom of the big hill (1.5km away). The sun was already scorching and I tried to focus not on the other runner's chatter but on my own breathing and trying to relax into the run. I repeated to myself "run your own race, run your own race" until I could feel my legs getting into their normal everyday run groove. Happy with that I looked downhill at my daughter and husband, now at least 500 meters ahead and running strong. Finally I got to the bottom of Fraser Avenue and turned left to start power walking the steep incline. With the heat and my leg in its neoprene brace (HOT!!) I knew trying to shuffle up the hill would waste precious energy. So I power walked that hill until I hit the apex, the started to run again. I saw my mother in law had walked down her street to meet us, but she missed my daughter and husband and had to settle for cheering for me. I caught sight of my husband and daughter shortly after the 3km mark, my daughter now reduced to walking. To her credit, she hadn't run a race in over a year and hasn't been running at all this year. She tried to stay ahead of me, but in the next kilometer she just couldn't get her legs back under her and had to walk most of the remaining 1km distance. I had caught up to her by then so we walked/ran it together as we watched my husband pull away and continue on, running much stronger than I honestly expected. I finished in 45 minutes, pretty much where I thought I would be. My husband finished closer to 38 minutes, which was a good solid time, for not having trained anything close to 5k this year and carrying around a few extra pounds. My daughter, for being the youngest runner in the event, got a special plaque and her picture taken with the winners. All in all it was a great first race. My next race will be in only 2 weeks, where I'll be doubling down and running the Navy 10k with my husband, who now thinks he'll do just fine without training lol.
The original "Johnny Miles"

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Black and Blue...but is it working?!

So my Chiropractor is doing myofascial release, along with message and a wee bit of laser on my knee. It is incredibly painful (the myofascial part) and has left my leg literally black and blue with bruises. Owie. Initially, my leg felt "freed up" and I went for a glorious 7km pain-free run. Then I had another session and the results were less than awesome. Albeit, it is incredibly humid around the city at the moment, so I can't blame my crappy run on just one thing, still. My leg felt like I had DOMS and my ankle decided that it would swell up-yay :-/ Even with that though I squeaked out another 5k run. This Navy 10k is happening, so I'd better be ready (that's what got me out the door yesterday anyhow lol). Dr. Google has mixed feelings about this black and blue thing. I am pretty sure I bruise fairly easily, which I blame on fair skin, but is it normal?! Some forums say yes, it is pretty common, although I don't know if they mean a tiny little bruise or the ones I'm currently sporting that run down my leg from the thigh to the calf? Others say heck no, they're doing it wrong if you bruise, you should go lighter. To that I wonder, is that just a reflection of general society's view now that any therapy should be as pain-free as possible? I disagree and know that sometimes a bit of pain, or yucky tasting medicine, is the best way to go, even if it makes you scream at hilarious octaves. Either way, even with the bruising, my knee feels more mobile and less painful overall (no more stabbing pain all day, every day!) so I'll keep up the Chiropractor routine for a bit longer, I just hope I don't need to wear a swim suit any time soon lol.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Shoe Review! Saucony Hurricane 16s

First off I have to say this shoe is the cushiest shoe I've ever had. Period. I've run on sidewalk, road and trail with it and it gives the same consistent ride through all types of terrain. Large trail rocks are no match for them-no footpad bruises! It has a much larger heel to toe offset than I would have normally chosen (8mm) but I wanted a shoe with lots of forefoot cushion since my gait pattern has changed since I started running again and I'm rolling much more to the right on my right foot and literally running on the side of my left foot, gawd, I must look like a hobbling duck. Anyway, back to the shoe. Here are my Pros and Cons: Pros: Cushion: Cushy factor is at a 10. If you've been nervous about taking the maximalist shoe leap and buying a pair of Hokas, this shoe might be nice middle ground for you. I grow about 6 inches with them on, they have a big platform to store all that cushion, but I don't find it bothers me. Ventilation: Even though it looks like a lot of shoe, Saucony covered the top of the shoe with a durable mesh that lets your foot breathe, even in 30 degree (Celsius) weather. Traction: Although not an actual trail shoe, this shoe has decent enough treads that you won't be nervous to run down a dirt trail or cross a stream in them. Responsiveness: Now I'm not bombing down trails and making super fast changes in direction with my messed up knee, but I like to think my usual street to trail route changes enough that I can say that this shoe doesn't try to "control" your foot at all, it goes where you want it to even though its actually billed as a stability shoe. Cons: Weight: The weight is a bit heavier than what I'm used to, coming in at 9.5 ounces, when most other shoes I've run in lately are less than 5 ounces, but really, it didn't take long to adjust to that small difference in weight. Heel Lock feature: Umm, what? My husband has the men's version of this shoe and he loves how it "locks" his ankle in place. Mine, not so much. I have to really tie down my foot tightly to get my ankle to stay put, but it hasn't given me a blister or anything yet, I'm just not buying this "lock" feature they speak of. Toe upper: What the heck is this huge cushiony thing? It seems a bit over-stuffed and I was concerned that the toe upper would irritate me as I ran by slapping against the front of my ankle, but it's been fine actually. I was also worried it would act like a sponge and collect water or sweat (yuck!) as I ran, but it hasn't done that either. All that cushion in that part of the shoe seems a wee bit like overkill in my opinion. So, all in all, this is a decent shoe. It is not my all-time favorite, but right now, as I come back from injury/with injury, it is a comfortable shoe that responds well during a run on any terrain. I give it a 4 out of 5 stars overall.

New Therapy-what the heck

I went to my GP yesterday about my new stabbing pain in my knee. Again, for the millionth time, I love my GP. She is so kind and she's also a runner so she knows my focus is to regain the quality of life I had before I messed up my knee. She checked out my knee and agreed that most of the HA fluid has probably gone straight into the lower left patella bursa, so it really hasn't been helping with my knee issue at all, although the double kneecap look sure is interesting lol. She asked how much I was running and was actually shocked that I'm running through this pain, I told her my surgeon told me to haha. In all honesty though, I would still try to run even if he hadn't told me to continue ;-) So, in the end she disagrees with my surgeon that for the next 5 months or so I should just deal with the pain, so she's sending me to a Chiropractor. I'm up for anything at this stage. It sounds a bit odd, but really, the issue is with bones and cartilage so I guess this makes sense. Whatever. This guy comes highly recommended and he's a triathlete himself, so at least I'll find a kindred spirit. Now hopefully I won't have to wait a month to see him :-/ As for my running plan, I'm continuing on, as best I can with my Breg shortrunner brace, and hope that the stabbing pain doesn't mess up every single run.