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.

Everything Hurts.

In that good way though.

I ran my first 10K race yesterday.  I loved every minute of it.  More than the 5K, I have to admit.  Much, much more.  This race was in my city and the weather was perfect, albeit a bit on the humid side, but after the winter we had I am NOT going to complain.

My neighbor offered me a ride early so I took it and spent two hours alone, watching the crowds build and taking in all the sights. It was glorious, really, to be alone with my thoughts as I watched other runners preparing for their race.  At atmosphere was friendly and cordial. Everyone had smiles on their faces.

As my start time loomed, I felt the familiar grumblings of nerves in my stomach but I was also just happy to be running again.  I had taken the previous three days off to rest my legs and it was the smartest move I made.  As I crossed the start line and started running, I could tell within a few minutes that my legs were happy and this was going to be a great run.  I kept to a comfortable pace and at the first kilometer marker I decided to keep running and made a split-second decision to alter my plain.  Normally I would have run intervals of 1 km running to 100 m walking but my legs felt strong, so I pushed myself and took walk breaks every 2 km.

1-3km.  There was a beautiful cool breeze and as I found my pace, I just took everything in and watched others ahead of me.  I had to weave a bit as I passed slower runners and a few walkers.

3-7km.  I was starting to get hot.  The breeze died and the air was thick.  At the 4 km water station I saw a fire hydrant had been turned on and other runners were going through it.  YES!  I ran over to it and cooled down instantly. It was a glorious feeling.  I got some water, drank some of my own Gatorade from my belt and kept going.

7-10km.  Starting to get a bit tired.  I kept my walk intervals consistent every 2 km and knew that if I kept it up I would finish strong.  As I approached the 9km marker I honestly started looking for the finish shoot but it was out of my line of sight.  My legs were tired but I knew I had a little more in them to push on and I went through the finish line with my arms up high and felt stronger than ever.  What a great feeling!!!

I found my family and got big hugs and kisses and we walked over to the medal area.  I frantically searched for my chip time and was thrilled.  I really couldn’t have asked for a better day.

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I woke up today with very sore quads and calves.  Sore in that way you know you went out and gave it your all.  I will take a few days off to rest and consider what’s next.  15k? 21.1?  It all seems more possible now.

Changing Course

My regular readers will notice that the photo at the top has changed. I decided that I wanted to shift the focus of my little corner of the blogging world to incorporate all aspects of my life. I am a doctor and a wife and mother but running, as well as fitness, has become a big part of my life and I want to be able to share that here.  I felt that I was starting to write more about the running and wasn’t sure it fit in so I decided to fix that.  So for now I am still the Urban Dr. Mom (but there’s much more to me than meets the eye).

The weather has finally started to look more like spring so I dusted off the bike and rode into work today. I have missed riding my bike – it’s a great way of getting some cross-training done. My route is quite scenic and avoids cars and traffic.  It has two big hills – one at the end near the office and one at the other end near home. I rode them both today but my legs were fighting me every step of the way. Still, after not riding for almost 6 months I’m a little surprised I made it!   I guess all that running is paying off!

The Agony of Accomplishment

I hurt today.

I knew it would hurt to get out of bed the moment I stretched out my legs.

My left knee at the fibula where the IT band inserts.

Both calf muscles and the Achilles’ tendons.

The right lateral thigh along the entire length of the IT band.

My deep, deep core muscles.

They were all mad at me for what I put them through yesterday.

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After a self-imposed rest of 3 days due to inclement weather and a broken furnace, I set out for a long run. I’ve been increasing my distance by 1 km every 2 weeks, so this week had me facing 13 km. With all the snow that fell I knew that only the major streets’ sidewalks would be clear enough to run on so I headed out and ran to the office. I tried to take it easy as this was supposed to be a LSD but after each kilometer clicked by it became clear that I was running at my 5km pace. (I can hardly believe I can even say that!). I reached the office and kept going for another 1.5 km. By the time I had to turn back I was getting pretty tired. I briefly considered hopping on transit but remembered I didn’t bring my wallet or any loose change. I allowed myself a few extra 100 meter walk breaks and thank goodness for traffic lights. I was able to catch my breath and stretch out the legs.

I made it home and felt like collapsing. My legs were jello and I was dripping in sweat. I drank a lot of water and made a cheese omelet even before I got all my gear off. I was starving. I stretched afterwards but obviously not enough considering how my legs felt this morning. A few hours later the dreaded migraine came on with a vengeance; a sign that I will need a water belt and gels for my next long run. I think I am going to wait another week before increasing my distance again. My legs definitely need a break. For the next few weeks I will stick to 5-10 km and work on getting my 5 km pace even faster.

Oh and just for fun here’s a shot of me as I ran by a storefront window. I’m pretty sure this was around 9 km. I’m surprised I’m not completely hunched forward!

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A Great Start

I mentioned previously that I joined another blogger in a 1000km running challenge. We are going to try to run 1000km in 2015. Breaking that down means that I would have to average about 80km per month.  That seemed a lot to me, especially with the on and off injuries I had in 2013.

Well let me say that January has been a fantastic month for running.  I have incorporated weighted quad sets (20 lbs) on the off days and have noticed a huge difference in the strength of my legs.  The knee doesn’t ache anymore and the shin splints are gone.  My speed has improved as well.

The first half of January saw me running a series of 5km runs (from work to home).  One of my goals this year was to run 5km in 30 minutes. I haven’t quite gotten there yet but the last few 5km runs I have broken my own personal best record twice, in the same week!

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I’ve only done two long slow distance runs this month.  The first was the 11.1 km a few weeks ago.  Yesterday was the second.  My online running group suggested that I try to incorporate one LSD per week to help me reach my goal of the sub-30 minute 5km. I didn’t tell them this but one of my other goals for the year is to run a half-marathon distance.  Again, I’m not signing up for any races so there isn’t really a time constraint, other than I have 11 months to reach this distance.

So while the kids and I were visiting my in-laws, I took advantage of the extra childcare and set out on a long run in a city that isn’t all that familiar to me.  I mapped out a 10km route but got a bit distracted by the scenery (million dollar homes along the waterfront).  It was really cold and my cheeks were frozen by the half-way point.  I wanted to quit several times.  I needed a few extra walk breaks, not for my legs, but for my breathing and thank goodness for traffic lights.  The ability to catch my breath made it easier to keep going.  It was a very mentally challenging experience and one I am proud of accomplishing.

photo(32)That final run of January took me very close to 80 km.  Didn’t quite make it but that’s okay.  I’m just happy I can run pain-free again.

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Deep thoughts.

Why must a 3-year-old take 10 minutes to brush his teeth? Why does he have to drink water from the exact same cup with precisely 3 cubes (because that’s how old is)?

Why do you have to ask your 6-year-old repeatedly to do a simple task? Why must she insist on doing it in her own sweet time? Is it because she knows it infuriates her mother and it’s her only source of power?

Why do I have to read the same bedtime story every.single.night for weeks on end? I can practically recite Herbert the Timid Dragon by heart. “Take that, you varmint!” “What’s a varmint?”

When and why does the obedient, smiling toddler become the infuriating and disobedient child? Is it to drive parents to drink? I’m starting to think so.

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One Quarter!

I ran a quarter marathon yesterday. Actually, it was a little bit further than that. 11.11 km.

!!!!!!!!!!!!

All of my runs this month so fat have been 5 km.  My legs have been feeling really strong and the nagging knee ache during a run seems to have disappeared.  Even the ache and burn in my shins is settling down. I have no idea why. It’s not like I’m suddenly doing all this other cross training! I stretch after each run, do some basic core abdominal work and finish off with a 1 minute plank. Yet over the past week or so my legs seem to be liking the runs. I can’t tell you how nice it is to go for a run and not immediately feel something start aching and keep aching for the entire run.

When I started out on the run yesterday I headed out to do the 7.5km route I had done back in December. The weather was a balmy 3C. I decided that this was going to a longer run so I tried to keep my pace comfortable. I ran for 1km then walked for 100m. At the 3km mark I decided to keep going along a new route that I thought would make the run end up more around 8km.

Then something happened around 6km I started to zone out and felt like I was on auto-pilot. I remember thinking that this must be what the long distance marathoner experiences on their runs only for them it starts at 30km! Haha!

Suddenly doing 10km seemed a no-brainer so I kept going and at 8km I considered adding an extra loop. Next thing I knew I hit 10km and was at least a kilometer from home. On this final walk break I really felt my legs fighting me; it felt like I had heavy lead pipes for legs but I told myself I could do it and by the time I reached my driveway and stopped my Nike+ app, I had completed 11.11km.  I was pretty impressed with my splits as well.

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This morning my legs were a bit sore but there wasn’t any pain and that is even more encouraging.  I feel like I’m still on that runner’s high and even flirted with the idea of going out for a very short 2-3 km recovery run tonight.

Damn, I love running.

Road to A Thousand.

This weekend I had back to back 5 km runs.  It wasn’t planned at all.  I ran yesterday in -11ºC (-22ºC windchill) and had zero knee pain.  This after a particularly weird week where I had one day of excruciating anterior knee pain so bad I could barely walk which disappeared the very next day.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve had any run in the past month or two where my knee didn’t bother me.  In any event, the knee felt great yesterday and I considered a short run today as the weather warmed up to a balmy -3ºC (-7ºC windchill).  As I got going, I realized the knee was feeling pretty darn good, so I aimed for 5 km and accomplished my goal.

Two runs in a row with no knee pain.  What gives?

Honestly, I have no idea.  All I know is that it feels damn good to go for a run and not feel pain.  Haven’t experienced that in a long, long time.

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I accepted a challenge from another blogger to run 1000 km in 2015.  Consider I only ran 640 km last year, this is a tall, tall order.  I had set a goal for myself of 750 km.  I’ll be happy with that; but a thousand?  Stay tuned!

So Close, I Can Taste It!

So, I’ve written before on my goal of running 10 km.  Remember, this isn’t straight out running, rather, I run intervals.  Last winter when I started running straight, I did too much too soon and got those nasty posterior shin splints.  So, I took it down a (huge) notch and am running 4:1 these days.  For the past month I’ve been running 3 times a week on average and increasing my distance by 500 m every 10 days or so.

This week I ran on Monday (4.77 km) and Wednesday (6 km).  Last night (Friday), I set out for 4-5 km primarily because I felt like I would do my next “long” run sometime this weekend.  Lately, I’ve been finding the first 2-3 km really tough – like I have to stop after 1.5 km to stretch out my legs.  It’s been like this for the past month and I’m still not quite sure why.  My legs feel tight, the anterior shins start burning; but after those first few kilometers, it’s as if the legs finally loosen up.  (Maybe I am destined to run longer distances??)  In any event, last night, I almost felt like quitting around2 km but then I got on the local trail near my house.  The ground was softer than the asphalt and my legs finally felt happy.  As I approached 3.5 km I realized that if I turned back for home I would have a 7 km run under my belt.  Suddenly, my thoughts drifted to 8 … then 8.5 km.  Could I do it?  The weather was perfect, the trail was pretty quiet. I decided to go for it.  On one of the 1 minute walk breaks, I texted husband that I was going longer and was about half-way.  I didn’t want to worry him.  He was prepping our steak salad dinner and putting the older kids to bed.  He had plans to go out to a club but I didn’t think he was leaving until later …

So, on I went.  I ran to the end of the trail before it splits under a major highway.  I made a U-turn and headed back, with the sun behind me.  I ate a few bugs along the way (ewww… gross!!!) and took a few snapshots of my view.  At one point, I saw a kitten on the trail, her owner just ahead of her.  I’ve never seen anyone “walking” their kitten and thought it was pretty hilarious. Never mind that I absolutely adore kittens. Of course, I had to stop to grab a photo but the little thing was not interested in posing, so the shots are blurry (and there’s some weird filter on them too, I think one of my kids was messing with my phone!).

Seeing the kitten gave me a spurt of energy that lasted a few minutes (ha ha!) but I really needed it.  By this point I was about 6 km in and was starting to feel tired.  Thankfully the scenery was beautiful.

 

 

By the time I hit the 1 hour mark, I got a text from the husband.

testApparently, he was supposed to leave at 8:30pm and he was waiting on me to get the steaks on the BBQ.

Oops.

I didn’t care though. I was on such a high at that point because I looked at my phone and saw this:

9km

YES!!!!

Of course, husband’s comment … “Why didn’t you just go the extra kilometer and do the 10?”

Ha!  Indeed.  Why didn’t I?

Because I thought my legs were gonna fall off.

I cannot explain how stoked I was when I got home.  I’m sure the marathoners out there know.  For me, 10 km is like a marathon.

It won’t be long now.

June Running Report

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian followers!!!

I finished off the month of June with a 4.77 km run.  While I was really hoping to punch out 5 km, I set out around 6pm and it was still so freakin’ hot that I just couldn’t do it.  I stopped at one point to grab a drink from a fountain near a park and was devastated to find it bone dry.  The few seconds I stopped, I could feel the heat coming off me and my head started to hurt.  I turned for home and by the time I arrived in my driveway, I looked like I’d just come out of the shower, only I was dripping sweat. I got into the blissful air-conditioned house and drank a half bottle of Gatorade.  Thankfully that seems to have prevented the heat-induced migraine.

Overall, June was a great month of running.  I am feeling pretty good and injury free, thank goodness.  I inched a few hundred meters closer to my 10 km goal and I think if all goes well, I will reach it sometime this month.  July is going to be busy with work as I am covering for my colleagues the first two weeks, then we are off for a week to our annual cottage getaway.   I’m not sure how much running I’ll get while at the cottage, it’s pretty hilly and very buggy, so we shall see how that goes.  I am hoping to keep up my 3-4 runs per week though.

When I look at my mileage for June, it’s astounding to me that I ran about 64 km.  It’s the most I’ve run in a month! I’m quite excited to see how I will do in July.

Stay tuned!!!

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