Monday, May 30, 2011

Ottawa Half-Marathon race report!

"Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did."
Newt Gingrich

The weekend was great! The race was TOUGH!

I have very few pictures and none during the race, so I do hope that there are a few good race photos. Even if I had amazing photos to show you, blogger is not letting me upload any. I am getting seriously annoyed with blogger these days and have started to consider switching to wordpress. Anyways, that's another post.

The expo was fun and spending the weekend with my brother and Super SIL was a blast. We laughed non-stop! If you were reading my blog last December, you know that my brother had to fight the flesh-eating bacteria and almost lost his leg. Well, yesterday, 5 months after getting out of the hospital, he ran the half-marathon in 2h5m and I am so very proud of him. I'm also proud of my Super SIL and Uber H (my husband for those who started reading my blog recently) who ran the marathon. You guys all rock! 

The conditions were pretty awful...100% humidity and starting about an hour into the race, constant downpour. These are worst-case scenario running conditions for an asthmatic.

One good thing is that I was able to officially switch to the half-marathon because my SIL's  friend couldn't run (not so good for her), and so I was able to get switched and take her place. This was perfect as I didn't have to worry about stopping half way through the marathon, plus I got to start at 9am instead of 7am. Oh and I got a medal.

As I said, conditions were awful, but the first hour went really well (despite the humidity). I could see the 2:15 pace bunnies right around me until about km 14ish. At this point there was ANOTHER pretty solid hill and I ended up walking when it wasn't time for a walk break (lungs were working hard) and that's when I lost them. After that, I had ups and downs. There were a lot of inclines and hills and it was a pretty tough course (all those I spoke to made the same comment).

For two thirds of the race, I was thinking, "If I can keep this pace, I could get 2:15!" 
At Km 14, thoughts were, "Okay Anne, it's okay not to finish in 2:15, just do this and try not to end up hitting a wall." I was soaking wet, freezing and getting a headache, so I gave myself some slack and just did my best. Then, there was 2K left and I just wanted to run it in without stopping. But, at 500 meters I just couldn't keep going, I really tried to talk myself into continuing, "One foot in front of the other Anne, left right left right...come on just keep going, you can do this...oh screw it, what's a few more second." I walked for 100 meters and then I saw the finish line and picked it up again and ran it in!

Chip time: 2h20m24s
Category place: 206/438

My thoughts, "Not so bad" :)

To be honest, this is the first race where I was wondering why I do this to myself. There came a point where I wasn't enjoying the experience so much...and I did think, "There is no way I can do twice this distance." However, when I was done, I was super proud of myself. Injury, asthma, humidity, rain, they didn't stop me...I did it! The best part, is that I have no major lingering pain...just the usual :)

What's next you ask...this time, I am making no specific plan. I do want to run either the Montreal Marathon or Half-Marathon, but I will decide later. I just want to run for more than two months without an injury. That's my goal. I will take a few days off and then start training with the marathon in mind, but we'll see. It would be nice to run a faster half too. 

One cool thing was getting to meet a few DailyMile friends. Claire was on the course, cheering us on with a sign and balloons and the others, we met for lunch and a beer after the race...runners are great!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ottawa - The Plan!

"A good plan is like a road map: It shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there."
H. Stanley Judd

My mind is solidly made up. I am doing the HALF-marathon this Sunday in Ottawa and I can't wait! I'm excited because I feel good. I ran 14.3K on Tuesday and then 6.6K yesterday and it went really well. I feel ready, but I'm not aiming for a specific time. I want to just enjoy this race and do my best.

After this race, I will take a very short break and then I will just keep on running and enjoying the nice weather. Then, I will increase the long runs and take it slowly and if all goes well, I will register for a marathon in the fall. But, I'm not rushing to start a program and get myself all stressed about being reading for a certain date. So, I'll only register for the marathon a few weeks before and I'm confident that it'll all workout. I just want to feel good while running!

Have a great end of the week and weekend everyone!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Always remember...

" Do not spoil what you have, by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for."

Never forget what it felt like when you could not run, or what it feels like right now if you can not run. I am having a great training week and I am really excited and proud of myself. However, getting out there and running still requires a light kick in the butt. Although, I just have to remind myself how it felt when I couldn't run. Then, I quickly change gears, feel the gratitude and get myself ready.

I'm still being cautious and trying not to overdo it, but I'm getting out there regularly.
Tuesday - 5K non-stop
Wednesday - 10K 10/1 ratio
Thursday - 5K 10/1 ratio
TODAY: I did my first ever mini-brick! I went for a 10.7K bike ride and then a 3K run. I actually found the first K of the run quite tough...but I got stronger and stronger and I did it!
Who knows what the weekend will bring, but I do plan on getting a longish run in.
First brick in the books!

So, next weekend, on Sunday May 29th, is the Ottawa Marathon, which I am registered for. The plan is to run half the distance. I can't officially do the half-marathon, because it is sold out, but I'm quite sure I can just stop after the half-distance timing (I think that there is a point where marathoners go one way and half-marathoners the I'd go the other.) That's the plan. BUT, there's this teeny tiny little voice way in the back of my brain that is telling me that if I'm feeling okay, maybe I can continue even if I have to walk much of the second half. I'm trying to shush that voice up, because I definitely do not want to risk another injury...I'm pretty sure I don't want this to be how I complete my first marathon...almost certain really. Makes sense right? I'm just happy I feel strong enough to run the half! I'll probably stick to the plan...

BIG CONGRATS TO MARLENE AND HER HUBBY WHO BOTH ROCKED THEIR MARATHON GOALS AND BQ'D! Totally deserved, they definitely trained very hard for this, it was no gift.

Cheers everyone!

Monday, May 9, 2011

New shoes!!

"Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions." 
Oliver Wendell Holmes

Now, here's a visual of what has led to a wonderful discovery.

My Saucony's are 2 inches high on the side and this was exactly the point of my infury ;)
(that was a typo, but I just had to leave it - New word: Infury = Infuriating Injury)!

So I took my older Saucony's and cut the hard contour off.
Success...the infuriating injury improved quickly!

When I saw that it was working, I decided to go shop for new shoes.

I LOVE my Mizuno Wave Ronin 3!
The heel is thicker than on the Saucony, which I thought might be a problem. I'm definitely a mid foot runner, and I didn't think I needed a thicker heel, but I decided to go with how I felt when I ran in them. They are super lightweight, flexible and mega-comfortable.

Unless you've just come off your own "infury" you probably can't fully grasp how excited I am to be running pain-free. Although my runs are short these days (5 X 2 minutes of running interspersed with 1 minute of walking today), they are strong and I feel great! I am one lucky woman!

Asthma update: As you may have noticed from my sidebar, I had to take prednisone last week (for 8 days). Today is day 3 without prednisone and I really hope to beat my record of 143 days off. I'm actually quite thrilled at how long I can now go without taking this loaded, I'm okay with the short stint on it.

Happy running everyone!

Friday, May 6, 2011

"Running on Empty" by Marshall Ulrich - an interview with the author and a giveaway!

"Strength. Resilience. Discipline. Follow-through. Responsibility. Honesty. Perhaps most intently, independence and self-reliance. Both native to and cultivated in me, these things grew even more important in my life after Jean's death."
Marshall Ulrich

TLC Tours has given me the wonderful opportunity of reading, reviewing, as well as conversing with the author of "Running on Empty." I love reading and I love running, so reading about running was the perfect combination for me.

After only the first chapter, I became less afraid - not as daring as Marshall Ulrich, but wanting to push some limits.

Here are the questions I asked Marshall (I hope it's okay if I use your first name - I can't help but feel like I know you after reading your book), as well as a few comments he responded to.

Anne: I'd love to tell you what the take home message was for me, but first, I'd like to know what you hoped that message would be as you were writing about your journey?

Marshall: I wanted this “running book” to transcend the typical book that is out there. So many talk entirely about themselves with little message to be derived. Just a few things I hoped to accomplish with this book are:

To tell the story of “us” as Americans, what we went through to make this nation great as I like to say “honor the past and look to the future”

Give the reader a story about how difficult life can be at times, but facing forward and putting one foot in front of the other is the key to overcoming obstacles. Don’t let anyone or anything get in your way of what you KNOW to be the right thing to do.

Acknowledge those around us who are closest to us, don’t shut them out, they are a huge part of or maybe even mostly responsible for our success. And connect with them, as they are suffering too at our hands (when we do shut them out).

Others can show us how to learn to love again, let them.

And lastly and least; The story of the run which shows how to overcome adversity (even if by our own hand). A story of suffering, which I believe there is a purpose for, it helps us pay attention to the little, finer things in life. And I wanted to give the reader a glimpse into the mind of an extreme athlete; what does it take to do what I do, what/how do I think (it’s likely not much different than all of us, just a different gig ;-) ). Hey, we’re all in this thing called life together (let’s make the most of it while we are here).

I could go on and on, as this is a multilayered book, I think to really understand it needs to be read twice or three times. If you do take the time to re-read the story you will see what I mean. I will :)

A: It's been a little over two years now, and I wonder if, like many of us tend to do, you have found yourself slipping back into old patterns of escape when dealing with frustration?

M: Yes, yes, yes, I am no different, I doubt myself,  that I am doing too little. And I find myself frustrated and wishing I was different, that I could relate to my children better…and my wife. Sometimes I feel totally inadequate, but I try and remind myself that is part of being human and I try and do the best I can with the cards I was dealt. And I fall short, but I pick myself up and carry on trying to do the very best I can.

My way of dealing with things is sometimes to slip into my fantasy world and ignore what is happening around me. I’m trying to pay attention to the detail of others needs and that is what helps keep me grounded. I’m not so much into doing extreme things unless it is meaningful to myself and others can draw from it too. “Doing for others” is of utmost importance in maintaining my mental health. When I forget that and let my ego get in the way (take myself too seriously) then I am lost again.

A: Not once do you mention having problems with your asthma during the transcon, which I found encouraging.

M: I was religious about taking my inhaler as prescribed EVERY day and when I (or my wife in particular) would hear me/myself wheezing, we would nip it in the bud. Mine is an exercise induced asthma and certainly not as pronounced as yours…so I’m lucky. 

A: It made me smile that you speak of the transcon as a single run, pg. 241, "...I know I learned more during this one run than in all the other years of running combined."

M: Yes in the whole scheme of running over 120 races over 125 miles (average) I count the transcon as one… people who exaggerate are one of my pet peeves. I wanted to “walk the walk” before I wrote the book and “talked the talk”. It just took me 30 years to feel like I had done enough to have an inkling of insight on the subject of an extreme athlete. I would like to think that I have more to tell people though and thus “Running on Empty” was written, finally, whew!

A: Finally, I'd like to tell you what the take-home message was for me:

After reading only the first chapter, I could feel myself become mentally stronger. As I read about your journey, I became more and more convinced that the body is much less fragile than we generally assume. Perfect timing as I hope to train for my own "transcon", my first marathon...soon!

M: Yes, the first thing I set out to prove is that we “can do (way more) than we think we can” and recover faster than previously thought.

Second is to diversify and think you can be good or great at many different things.

Third is to keep on doing it (whatever) for as long as you live. You know, keep on keeping on.

A: What I enjoyed most about this book, was the honesty and genuineness of the author. Marshall Ulrich is no Superman, he is human, he was 57 years old, his relationship with his wife was tested and passed with flying colors, his relationship with his children was touched and changed for the better, but he cried and he yelled and he laughed and he hurt and he succeeded! Thank you Marshall, you have made a difference in my own perspective.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Interesting dénoument...and coming soon!

"Life is a series of experiences, each of which makes us bigger, even though it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward."
Henry Ford

At my last PT appointment, I tried to run on the treadmill and although walking caused no pain, the minute I started running I felt sharp jabs at the injury site for every step I took. This is when I mentioned to the PT that my shoe seemed to be hitting where the pain is and he concurred that it seemed to be exactly at the site. We left it at that and I was instructed to walk and bike until I saw him

However, yesterday, I once again noticed that my shoe was rubbing at the injury site and I also noticed that I hardly felt any pain while at home. Note that I am pretty much always barefoot when I'm home. After all this time, I finally put two and two together and took the scissors to my shoe. I cut out the piece that was rubbing into my injury!!

Today, I told the PT and he agreed that, that was a great idea. After fiddling with the ankle, loosening it up for a while, he had me run barefoot on the treadmill and I was fine. The pain was mild and very bearable. WOW! I then put my shoes on, and despite the cut off section, they still managed to poke close to the injury and I ended up feeling pain. Still, this is great news! I am running again :)

Tomorrow, I can do 4 X 1 minute of running (barefoot on the treadmill) and then Thursday, I see the PT again and we'll see. Today, I ran 3 X1 minute successfully. We both figure that I may have been leaning a little more over the right shoe because of the left groin pain, which caused irritation on my 23K run, which lead to this injury. We may finally have found the culprit! I plan on shopping for new shoes...of course I'm sticking with minimalist, because my form is good and natural in those. Apparently, New Balance has a nice low slung minimalist shoe for women I'll be looking into. I'll keep you posted.

ALSO, coming soon...this Friday, May 6th, look for my review of the book "Running on Empty" and my interview with the author, Marshall Ulrich. Plus, the chance to win your own copy.

Have a great week!