Mid-Year Run Report

Back in January, I accepted a challenge from a fellow doctor mother runner blogger to run 1000 km in 2015.  I can hardly believe that six months have passed.  It’s been a pretty eventful six months, I have to say.  I never thought I’d ever run a race and I have done three this year already.  I am definitely doing one more (have already signed up) and might sign up for another one.  I guess you could say I caught the racing fever.

Here’s a breakdown of my monthly mileage to date:

January – 77.5 km

February – 49.4 km

March – 73.1 km

April – 81.1 km

May – 87.5 km

June – 68.2 km

…. and the six month grand total is 436.8 km.

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

I feel I have overcome a lot in these past six months – shin splints, SI joint issues, weak glutes, etc.  I’ve done a lot of work on getting stronger by introducing weights and working with my pilates instructor on fine-tuning my strength training.

For the first time I really think I might actually run 1000 km this year.  With my half-marathon training getting underway I am trying to make my weekday runs a little bit longer (5-7 km) than they have been (normally 3-5 km) and aiming for a long run every 7-10 days.  If I can accomplish this without getting hurt then I could very well reach that goal.

Wish me luck!!

Overcoming Yourself.

Boy, is this ever true.  I never believed it until yesterday.

I still can’t quite believe I finished my 15 km race. I have run 15 km twice before; the first was just a 15 km long, slow distance run and the second was during my last long training run of 18 km.

I decided to sign up for this 15 km race right after the 10 km race in May.  Since I finished that race, I started flirting with the idea of earning 4 running medals this year – 5K, 10K, 15K and 21.1K.  Yesterday’s race seemed like the perfect choice.  The race course was along a trail I have run before, it was close to my house and looked like a lot of fun. Challenging, for sure, as it had a few small hills as well.

I got up two hours before the start.  Baby boy was just starting to stir but everyone else was still asleep.  I got a ride with my neighbor who was also running.  It was a beautiful morning, a little cool and overcast with the threat of rain.  Honestly, the conditions were perfect.

The start was tough. Psychologically tough.  There were no corrals.  All the 15k runners started at the same time.  I should have started near the back, but I made my way closer to the front.  I’m not sure why.  Excitement?  Anyway, it was a big mistake.  Runner after runner started passing me.  I tried to move over to the right but it was hard.  They just kept flying by me. By 2km it felt like I was running alone.  I felt suddenly defeated and couldn’t stop thinking I would place last and I really felt like a failure. For a little while I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was out of my league.  But somehow I soldiered on knowing there was no way I was going to DNF (did not finish).Things started to change a few hundred meters after making the turn at 5 km.  I noticed that I wasn’t the last 15k runner and my spirits lifted. As I approached the half way point, my Nike app was telling me that my average pace was improving.  It was around the 8 km point that I realized my hips were starting to ache.  I decided I just had to run through the ache.  It wasn’t pain but they were definitely telling me that they were tired.  I felt this same ache during the last 2 km of my 18 km training run two weeks ago and I’m thankful I did.  I kept telling myself that if I could finish 18 km I couldn’t certainly finish 15 km.

I also started to notice that I passed a few runners who had been ahead of me for most the first half of the race.  Suddenly I realized that I wasn’t going to finish last. Sure, I’d be in the pack of final runners, but I wouldn’t finish last.   I think this is when I got my second wind.

At 10 km I checked my time – my first 15 km run before this race I completed in 1:49:32; during the 18 km training run, I reached 15 km in 1:52:59.  I knew I could finish this run a little faster if I kept up my pace.  I dug real deep and ran full tilt to the finish (even with my scheduled walk breaks!). There were some people who were running in their friends with 150m to go.  They were really motivating and I stole from them to cross the finish line.

I really understand the concept of a “Personal Record” and a “Personal Best” now.   I wasn’t running against anyone but myself and I almost felt like quitting when the little devil on my shoulder told me I was out of my league.  I ignored that voice and persevered.

Yesterday I set my own PR and PB.  And damn if that doesn’t feel good.

Running really is 90% psychological.

Near the End.

She stepped over the threshold of their home, a visitor.  Through the doorway the hospital bed was visible and the hiss of the oxygen tank audible. She heard the patient’s voice speaking in his native tongue, French. His son whispered in her ear that he was talking to family abroad. She stepped into the room and put her bag and coat on a nearby chair.  He waved to her, finished his call and gestured for her to come closer.  She took his hand in both of hers and squeezed.  He thanked her for coming.

The hour passed quickly. She learned that his wife, having been always very demure and quiet in the office, was quite the spitfire at home.  His wife chastised him for wanting an ounce of red wine when he was barely eating any food. Though he was hungry at times, he could only eat a few mouthfuls before the nausea set in, this despite being on the appropriate medication to aid in controlling his nausea.  She explained that slowly his need for food would diminish and that would be okay.  So long as he could enjoy sipping on water, juice, or wine, that would likely be enough.  She learned that he enjoyed doing puzzles.

At one moment, he looked her in the eye and asked if she could help him go.  Tears welled up in his eyes.  Then in the next breath he said he wasn’t ready.  She reassured him that these emotions were normal.  There would come a time when he would become less aware of what was happening and so she reminded him to say the things that needed to be said now while he still had the chance.

She forgot about the tea that had been offered and accepted.  He told her to drink it before it got cold.  He asked for water, then said he was tired and wanted to rest.

She said goodbye and squeezed his hand again.  She said she’d like to visit again soon. He said he’d like that.

On Strength.

I know it’s been a while that I’ve written when I can’t remember what my last post was about. There’s been a lot going on, all of it good for the most part.

Daughter got her cast off and is on the mend. Most days I think she forgets about the elbow injury but she has been careful not to test it on the monkey bars (thanks in large part to the Orthopedic surgeon who told her not to go near them for a few weeks).

I’ve been a slammed at work… again.  My colleague had a family emergency quite suddenly and we’ve had to juggle her practice.  Thankfully there was a replacement doctor coming in for some vacation time so that has eased the burden this week.  I often feel I am asked to cover for my colleagues more than they cover for me and it’s been like that for years.  I work more than they do so it makes sense, I guess.  Still, it’s annoying and not likely to change unless I also reduce my hours, which isn’t going to happen anytime soon.  I nod politely and tell them I’ll do what I can but inside I can’t help but feel resentful. I know this is something that can’t continue because it will eat away at me. I just want things to be equal and I fear it’s never going to be.

Running is going well. I signed up for a 15k race and it’s coming up this weekend.  Of course I am nervous about it; I worry I’ll fall flat on my face and not finish even though I ran 18k two weeks ago, my furthest run to date.  The last 2k were very hard and I walked a lot so I know I was pushing myself but I felt I needed to in order to feel more confident about the upcoming race. I’ve been tapering since then and haven’t run more than 5-7 km and taking more rest days.  I ran 87.5 km during the month of May. My total for the year so far is 381 km.  I am not sure I’ll reach my goal of running 1000 km in 2015 but I do know that I will run a half marathon.

I also started strength training at home on the suggestion of my chiropractor and Pilates coach.  I’ve been doing upper and lower body free weights and have noticed a significant difference in my stamina already after just a month.  During my last run a few days ago, I was able to run up a very large hill without any walking.  That’s not something I could have done a month ago.  What an exhilarating feeling!  I have to say it’s also pretty cool seeing the changes in my muscles.  I already had pretty strong arms thanks to carrying toddlers around for the past 6 years almost non-stop.  My main weakness has been in my glutes so I learned how to do dead lifts and started incorporating those a couple of times a week into my routine.  Core strength is incredibly important as well and planking has helped.  My FB running group has a daily elbow plank challenge going on this month and my time has already increased by almost 25 seconds in just a week.  I’ve also been biking to and from work at least once a week as well.  I have a mountain bike, it’s pretty heavy and not terribly efficient so it’s a good workout, especially when I’m riding along the trail and have to climb the hills.

Fortis ego sum.

I am strong.

Of the Heart and Mind.

I had a dream last night which has deeply unsettled me. It was about someone I knew for decades but we had a falling out a few years ago and haven’t spoken since. In this dream we were talking and putting things back together and it felt good. My friend was different. I was different. Our conversation was open, honest, without any egos. In my dream state I felt whole again, not realizing that I had an emptiness to fill.

I woke up early this morning to run with a girlfriend. It was 6:10am and I surprisingly felt quite refreshed and eager to start the day. I could feel the cool morning breeze coming through the window and my world seemed right.

As I searched in the dark for my running clothes, the memories of the dream flooded my consciousness.  Suddenly, reality set in and I remembered that nothing had changed.  In that moment I realized it had all been a dream. None of it was real.

I felt profoundly sad and instantly defeated.

Damn the heart.

Damn the mind.

Sometimes I wish I had done things differently.

The Longest Hour.

Daughter had her fracture clinic follow up this afternoon.  I had called this morning to book the appointment only to be told it was already booked and it was in a few hours.

Say again?  No one from the hospital called us, it’s only been 5 days since she was seen and yesterday was a holiday, so how can she be booked already?

Sigh.  Thank goodness her dad is at home.  I called my mom to see if she could come over to watch the baby and then called daughter’s school advising them that she was being picked up early.  Husband texted me from the clinic that it was busy and he would be late picking up our son from preschool.  I re-arranged my patient bookings so I could pick him up and take him home.

As I was about to leave to get my son, I received this text from husband.

photo(37)I hated that I wasn’t there for my daughter.  I called husband and told him my plan of getting our son, taking him home to my mom and then coming to the hospital. I was going to cancel the rest of my day.  I spoke with my little girl and she was obviously crying, “I don’t want surgery, Mommy.”  I tried to be as calm and upbeat as I could telling her that the doctors weren’t sure yet and we needed to wait to find out what the x-rays showed.  Hubby then took the phone away and said they were going for the x-rays and hung up.

I got home about thirty minutes later and anxiously waited for news.  I kept telling myself that its not a big deal if she needs surgery, after all husband had a similar fracture when he was 12, they would have matching scars!  But the thought of her being put under a general anesthetic and having her skin cut open and her bones screwed back together – ugh, it was awful.

Finally, I got service back on my phone and a flurry of texts came in.

“No surgery.”

“New cast for 2 weeks.”

And then … “Done and coming home.”

I gave her the biggest hug when I saw her and her fancy new cast.

Sigh … kids.