This weekend I ran my 3rd half marathon race. Grossly undertrained, I might add. My longest run had been 17k a few weeks prior and I would be lucky if I got one training run in during the week. I considered switching my bib to the 10k but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Finished another half just sounds better, right?!
I had no time goal other than to finish but if I’m honest with myself I knew I wanted to finish under 3 hours and certainly under 2:50. By some miracle or more likely sheer force of stubborn will, I crossed the finish line in 2:46:58. A minute slower than my previous effort last October and almost 10 minutes slower than my debut race in 2015.
About 10km into the race the outer aspect of my left knee started talking to me.
ITB. I haven’t experience ITB pain in several years. Uh oh. Not a good sign. A sign of undertraining in my opinion and poor post run stretch and foam roller etiquette.
But really, should I have expected anything different?
Oh and I probably needed new running shoes 6 months ago.
Now, on a training run I would pause my Garmin and stretch out my hip flexors but there was no way I was stopping on course. I knew that if I stopped moving to stretch I may not get started again. So, I just took extra walk breaks after 15 km or so. Before that I was sticking pretty well to my 1 km run and 100 meter walk intervals. After 15 km it was more like run 400 m, walk 200 m and repeat.
Looking around me, though, I saw other runners struggling too. I asked if they were okay. One runner had his hamstring seize up. For another it was her ankle. Others were just walking. Eventually I found the power walker I had been chasing unconsciously for most of the race and passed her. Yes! Not gonna lie. That was pretty awesome. All told when I crossed the finish line and before they gave me my medal, I burst into emotional, cathartic tears.
It’s that time of year for resolutions, those things you decide you want to change or improve about yourself over the coming year.
1. Run more and farther.
I ran a good amount in 2017, about 750 km (give or take) over the year. I had a few minor over-use injuries which isn’t new to me. I ran a half marathon and had a 10km PB (personal best) race. I joined a running team (more about that in a future post) and met a lot of extraordinary people, many of whom are survivors in one way or another and who run to stay mentally strong. They are an incredibly inclusive group of people from all walks of life who all love to run. I feel lucky to have found them.
2. Yell less at my kids.
Being a parent is hard. Being a parent who doesn’t raise her voice is exhausting. I found myself in a cycle of yelling and saw its impact on my kids, my eldest in particular. Over the past 6 weeks both my husband and I have made a huge effort to lower our voices and I know with myself in particular, not yelling is hard to do. After asking my child to do something 3 times and not having it done, the only recourse I had, it seemed, was to raise my voice. It got their attention, but in a negative way. When I started hearing how they related to each other I realized they were emulating my behavior. We sat down with all the kids one day and acknowledged the tension in the house and told them that their mommy and daddy were going to do better. We asked them for help and it seems to be working. Oh, I still find myself yelling – I’m not a saint – but it is less than it was before. I’m a work in progress.
Last weekend, I ran a little race in my hometown along with 25,000 other people. I ran this one before, back in 2015. It was a half-marathon.
My training cycle took a huge nosedive in August when I ran too much while on vacation at the cottage. When I returned to running in the city, my legs were very mad at me. The nagging shin splints returned and I had to take a big break. I ran only once a week for the last month before the race. I was petrified that I wouldn’t be able to finish, let alone finish it standing up.
The longest training run was 16 km and I did that 3 weeks before the big day. My friend who is a triathlete told me that it was better to be 10% under-trained than 1% overt-rained. She ended up being right.
Race day arrived and I was a nervous wreck. I arrive on course early to support a new friend of mine as he completed his 5th (of 6) marathons of the weekend (that story is for another post). See, I joined this running team last spring, supporting someone who raises money and awareness for childhood survivors of sexual abuse and trauma. Through this team I have met a group of remarkable people all who like to run. Most of them run a hell of a lot faster than me, but they are an inspiring group of people and I am lucky to have found them.
I ran with one of these new friends for my half marathon. He was running the marathon and didn’t want to go out too fast, so I asked him if he wanted to run my pace with me and he did. We had a fantastic time. It was so nice to run with someone and be distracted from the fact I was trying to run 21.1 km.
In the end, I ran a good race and I felt great. Sure, my hips started getting tight at 9 km and the balls of my feet starting aching around 17 km. All of that was expected. Nothing actually hurt too badly, so I knew I could finish it.
I ran it for me – to challenge my mind, body and spirit. I didn’t beat my previous time but I knew I wouldn’t.
I was almost in tears when I finished. I just wanted to cross the finish line standing up and I did.
I ran for my dad. He has prostate cancer, and the previous week we got word that his radiation treatment worked and he was cancer free. I raised $500 for Prostate Cancer Canada prior to the race.
I ran for my classmate, colleague and friend who was murdered last year by her husband. I wear the purple armband that I wore at her funeral. I will wear it for every race until her murderer is convicted. My friend was a runner. She always supported my running on social media. I ran for her because she can’t run anymore.
Two months ago, I started tracking what I ate with My Fitness Pal. My husband and I had both gained weight, or more accurately, were not losing weight, and he wanted to start eating better and exercising more to see if it would help his chronic kidney disease. So together we decided to put an end to our big dinners and wine during the week. We started eating more protein and veggies at dinner and minimized the carbs – ie. no pasta, no bread – and less deep fried foods. We also stopped having dessert every night – no more Halloween chocolate, no cookies after dinner, etc. Wine is only on Friday and Saturday night now.
After a few weeks husband started noticing a difference and with me tracking my calories and trying to adjust my macros, I started seeing subtle differences in the way my clothes fit. He is running more during the week when the kids are at school and I am back on track with my running as well.
Now, I won’t lie, the nasty stomach flu I had over New Years’ certainly did help with the weight loss but surprisingly, the weight is staying off and well, I am pretty excited about that.
Since starting the healthy eating plan and tracking my diet, I have now lost 10 lbs. I can’t remember the last time I was this weight – well, yes actually, it was before I got pregnant with my 3rd child. My clothes fit better and I feel better. We both do.
He says I don’t need to track my food intake anymore, but I can’t deny that it has become a habit for me now and the scientist in me is enjoying the process. I can’t wait to see how the next few months shape up!
Let’s just say 2015 hasn’t been the greatest year for running.
I missed most of the winter running due to family issues. My dad got sick and life got busy. And I got lazy, let’s be perfectly honest. After the 1/2 marathon, one year ago today actually, I felt like I was in the best shape of my life. But that race really tired me out and physically my body needed a break even if my mind wouldn’t listen. I got shin splints again and benched myself over Christmas. With my dad’s illness, it was hard to get motivated to run and when you don’t run regularly, the -17C temperatures certainly don’t invite you out. So, I sat on my couch. I cross-stitched and ate what I wanted and gained back a few pounds.
Finally, I got some motivation and started running again in February or March, at this point it’s all a blur. It was literally like starting from scratch. Suddenly I was slow again and dealing with stupid aches and pains. I had stopped the weight training as well and everything seemed harder.
Race-wise, I made the decision earlier in the year not to repeat any race I had done in 2015. I planned all new races. I did the Ride for Heart 5K, the Waterfront 10K, the Womens’ 10K, the Beaches Jazz Run 5k and the Toronto 10-miler (16K). None of these races were personal bests, or personal records for that matter. I just went out and had fun. My training has sucked on and off all year. Shin splints, groin aches, work-life, you name it there was a reason why I didn’t run regularly.
My weight has creeped up a bit this last month or so as I had to bench myself, yet again, due to wickedly painful posterior shin splints. It’s such a constant battle. I took two weeks off before my last race, the Scotiabank 5k. My shins felt okay and since I had started cross training on the stationary bike, I hadn’t lost any ground on my fitness. Looking at the race photos, the weight gain is super obvious to me and it really bugs me. No one else would probably notice it but we are our own worst critics.
I decided today, on this 1 year anniversary of my first 1/2 marathon, that I will run that race again next year. Come hell or high water. I am going to do my utmost to keep up with cross-training and weights. Wish me luck!
I’ve been in a running slump. I’ve mentioned it before. I’ve only been running about once a week. I don’t know if I’m lacking motivation or what, but I just haven’t been enjoying the little bit of running I’ve been doing. That’s probably because it’s so few and far between and my muscles and joints are saying, “Woah there, honey. What are you doing to us?”
So after saying all week that I was going to go for a run today, or tomorrow, I finally made it happen. It wasn’t pretty and it was slow but I did it.
I wore a specific race T-shirt to remind my legs that they have gone the distance and they still can.
I just hope the next time I run isn’t another week from now.
October was a pretty spectacular running month for me. After a summer plagued with injury I was able to make a comeback and completed my first half marathon. It wasn’t fast but I crossed the finish line at 2:37:17 which was three minutes faster than my goal time of 2:40.
Currently I have no plans for my next race. For someone who swore she’d never enter a race, the fact that I have nothing planned honestly feels strange. Never thought I’d ever say that.
My running goals now are to change my long runs to 10:1 intervals – 10 minutes of running then 1 minute of walking. I would also really like to phase out the walking altogether on my regular runs. I’m also going to start running hill repeats once a week provided no new injuries arise. In the past, hills have always led to some sort of injury so I will keep on eye on that. I have a weight goal as well which is totally silly, but there you have it. It’s the last on my list so it’s not terribly important but I have a number in my head and I would like to reach it. It is likely an unrealistic goal given that I am also doing some weight training and not really being very strict with my diet. One has to live, right?
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.