Sunday, November 2, 2014

Road2Hope Half Marathon Race Report

So I didn't have the best training going into this.  Everything was going great until about a month before the race, other than a few missed tempo runs :whistles:

Then I wore 3" heels to work, after a summer of wearing 2" heels, and my ankle/posterior tibial tendon went NUTS again.  So I couldn't run.  Thanks Neb - tear some ligaments in my ankle, give me arthritis and osteophytes, and leave me with a weird tendon!  Great!  As an aside, the sports medicine doctor is sending me for a MRI.

Anyways, I finally got in one last long run (20k) which went terribly I guess.  My tendon was slightly tender, my left hip got pissed off, and my heart rate was jacked.  I revised the plan from PB to just over 2 hours, with an atheist prayer for sub-2 just for respectability.

Finally, some personal upheavals left me too upset to run, followed by our rabbit Eco getting cancer (invasive subcutaneous squamous-cell carcinoma as per the biopsy) and having surgery - all very quickly.  Good news is Eco should be fine.  So, I didn't run for 8 days prior to the race, and my last run had been shorter than planned.

Nothing like a good taper, right?

Add to that diet fatigue has set in so I've been holding around the same weight for a while (overweight on our scale, not overweight on the doctor's scale, but still, fat for a runner).

Saturday before the race we drove out to Hamilton in the snow to pick up our race kits...uh oh.  Brrr.  Then we went and ran some errands, went over to Joe's for lunch to celebrate him doing the Atacama Desert Stage Race, went home, took the dogs for a walk, then over to Mom's to celebrate Jaene, my SIL's, birthday.

So beer and wine was consumed.  Plus a shocking amount of food...seriously.  And it was a busy day, a bit later night then we would've liked given that we decided to get up at 4:45 am to make sure we got to the finish and found parking and got on a bus to go to the start (Road2Hope is a point-to-point course).  Also we forgot to get fuel for the car so had to do that on the way home from Mom's.

So we were all set for a great race!  Hahahahahaha

Everything went smoothly race morning though after taking the dogs out in the morning I opted for a warmer top (I tend to get hot easily while running).

Had a banana for breakfast, perfect for a half-marathon.

Waited around at the start, tried to coax a reluctant BM (after all I ate yesterday?  I know you're in there!).  Finally had to pee again but the line ups for the indoor washrooms and port-a-potties were long so I decided to just hold it (sigh).

We lined up just in front of the 2:15 pace bunny, not because that's what we wanted to run, but because that's where we could sandwich ourselves in without getting stuck at the back.

And the race started!

Everything felt SO much better than it did in the last long run.  Pace slightly faster and felt more comfortable.  I began to entertain that sub-2 might in fact be possible.

We hit Red Hill Parkway and enjoyed the downhill running after the flat.  Toby mentioned he had some bother-y leg stuff, but said we were fine at our pace.  (Toby kindly offered to pace me).

Off of the Parkway we went onto a gravel path, with rollers - which were fine, we train hills, but since I'd read that the race was all downhill and I was like 'WHAT IS THIS????!!!?'  Heh.  We passed a lot of people in this section who had gone out too hard.

Finally down to the flat out and back, which was brutal - I really had to pee, and was running hard, which in ladies is not always a good combination (maybe guys too, I dunno, but I was a little leaky).  Toby's IT band was really bothering him, so he said that if he had to slow down just to go, but he kept it up.  A few k out we walked for about 20 metres, which was probably dumb, as the 2 hr pace bunny paced us (we'd past him ages ago).  Started running again and I was like 'I'll be damned if that fucking pace bunny finishes ahead of me!'

We caught and passed the bunny.  I lost track of where Toby was at this point, as I was hammering along trying not to die.  Finally rounded the final corner and saw the finish - was going all out (which for fat pathetic me is a 4:21min/k) at 97% of max heart rate - ouch.  Hit the first mat and my legs just went out from the effort - I hit the deck.  I was like 'oh shit!  Which of the two mats is the final timing mat?' and stumbled up and over to the other mat, stopped my Garmin and was like shit shit shit shit shit.  Quickly grabbed by 2 volunteers who I told I was fine, and they said 'No, you have to go to the medical tent'.  But I knew I'd gone sub-2, so go me!

I heard the announcer saying they were shutting part of the race when I fell, which I didn't understand, because I just fell and got back up - not that big of a deal - but as it turns out, a man in back of me had a heart attack.  When Toby got there, they'd shut the course and were doing chest compressions - an ambulance took him away.  Eventually they let the runners around the barriers, but Toby said some woman who was going for sub-2 cried because she wasn't going to get it.  Yeah, some guy is basically dead and you're crying about your fucking time?  PRIORITIES.  Jebus.

They took me to the med tent and I was all upset and kept saying 'I have to find my husband' but because of the effort I was slightly woozy.  They grabbed some gauze and put it on me, grabbed a blanket, told me I had to take my jacket off (but I don't have anything underneath!  It's a shirt/jacket).  They got me a weird-fabric jacket that all finishers got but I missed (though I made sure I got my medal on the way to the tent, I don't know why, I stick all my medals in drawers).

Anyways, so I was bleeding from the chin quite a bit, which I didn't realize.  They said the wound needed cleaning and stitches, but that they couldn't do that there.  It took them forever to put on the butterfly bandages, gauze and tape - which wouldn't stick because I was sweating - and then I had to sit there.  Eventually I convinced one of the nice nurses to go look for Toby, but in the thousands of people, she couldn't find him (I told her he was also wearing a Sydenham Fall Trail Run buff...represent Spafford Health and Adventure).  She offered to send him a text, after agreeing I could go on my own, so I said I would meet him at the car.

There are multiple parking lots, so I got lost, but found another lady who was lost, and we walked together, running into Toby who was also looking for the car (where his phone was) who was pissed I hadn't waited for him.  I was like ' chin is covered in gauze goof, I was in medical'.  We all walked and found the right parking lot together, the lady had done Run for the Toad and recommended it, she lives in Brantford so I told her she should check out Sulphur Springs.

I didn't bring my wallet, so we went home, changed shirts, and then went to the hospital.

The sad thing:  I tore a hole in the knee of my new tights :(

Got seen, the doctor was impressed at the depth of the wound, cleaned, stitches (appears to be 5 well-spaced stitches - I wasn't expecting them to be so far apart).

Now we are home having beer.  Yum!

In final round up - we each took two gels, no water, so had gels at water stations and were somewhat stuck for WHEN we took them then - 5k and 14k.

Final chip time:  1:58:27.  My PB is a 1:58:05.  Sigh.  Maybe if I hadn't done the short walk, maybe the second timing mat at the finish is THE mat - but it's fine.  I went sub-2 on meh training while chubby, so I'm happy.  I gave it my all and left nothing on the course.  I can't complain.  Next up is Chilly and I will be thinner and have more base and fucking DEMOLISH my PB!

Road2Hope is a great race, even though I was embarrassing at the end and fell like a loser.  I guess that's what running at near max feels like.

I'd do it again, but we were lucky with the weather - I'd hate to do this race in early November if it were raining.  But we lucked out with a sunny day, if cold at the start.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Seaton Trail Race Volunteer Report

So, the fastpacking - the 'no long term damage' one?

Yeah.  Two weeks off.  I let the IT band calm down and two days later the medial side of my ankle swelled up - probable deltoid irritation from where I damaged it in November tearing the ligaments on the lateral side.


I stayed off it as much as possible, only doing strength workouts - sure, this is AWESOME for the Sulphur 50 miler (now two weeks away) but I was also supposed to run the Seaton Soaker today - the Seaton Trail Race.

So I was trying to make it so that a)it wasn't swollen; and b)I could take a step without pain.

The swelling is pretty well gone but walking is STILL painful, though much improved.  The lateral side of my ankle is now painful, I think everything has gotten stiff though why my lateral side should get painful over a week into the medial pain is beyond me.  Fuck my ankle.

Anyways, I decided that running Seaton would be a bad idea.  And god knows, I'm ALL about #illadvised, but I'm trying to stay healthy for Haliburton and that means staying healthy for Sulphur.  So.

I volunteered!

It was lots of fun.  I helped unload food at the school in the morning, then headed to the Forestream aid station and made some PB&J sandwiches and cut some fruit.  Met Merle and his son Will, and a bunch of other lovely volunteers.  Leeanne had asked if I could help direct runners where the course takes a sharp turn off the road back onto trail, so this actually meant I was away from the aid station for most of the day - out of sight of it actually - but I had come prepared with a camp chair and it was a beautiful sunny day.

Once the first runners started coming through, I headed to my spot, and directed and cheered.  There were a few people who wouldn't have noticed the turn, and one guy I had to chase after despite repeating 'to your right' so it was probably a good thing I was there.

Once most of the runners had come back through on their way to the start/finish or turnaround for the 50k, I headed back to the aid station and stayed there until the 50kers came back, and then I went back to my spot.  Everyone knew the turn by then, but I got to cheer people on and of course trail runners are lovely, so it was fun.

And sun-shiney.

I also managed NOT to get burnt, so there Toby, I don't ALWAYS get burnt!  60 SPF, I probably blocked all that good vitamin D...

So that's where things stand.  A fun day, and I am planning on trying a run on the rail trail tomorrow, but geez.  Crossing fingers for Sulphur!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Frontenac Fastpack...sort of

So for my third and fourth trail runs since being cleared to run trails following the torn ligaments, I decided to go fastpacking in Frontenac!  32k, 22k.  Sure, that might be a bad idea, to a NORMAL person, but what could go wrong?

I'd run 40k on the Sulphur Springs course in Dundas Valley Conservation Area the week before, and my IT band got angry - this is my STRONG glute side, though the side of injured ankle.  Anyways, I rehabbed it, and it seemed to be okay.

Perhaps though, running with a backpack was not the wisest idea.

Baseweight: 11 lbs.  Hey, a girl who gets cold easily needs her -7C sleeping quilt, down pants, down jacket, and rain pants and jacket given that it was calling for rain.  Add a hat, gloves, Kobo (I was soloing!  Need something to do in camp), camera, saw, and, for the making of many hot meals, the Jetboil (fuck the alcohol stove) - it was a 'light' trip.  Hahahaha.  With food and water, 14.8 lbs.  I carried heavy running snacks, rather than powder, not sure I'd do that again but I thought I could practice solid eating.

Drove up to the park Saturday morning, got there as it opened.  So many of the sites were already taken!  I couldn't stay where I'd planned.  Oh well.

Got onto the trails and into the southern section of the of the trails were good, parts muddy:

But hey, spring trail running is supposed to be muddy, am I right?

I was using poles for this, which is new for me.  I hiked a bit with them this winter, after tearing the ligaments in my ankle, but this is the first time I'd used them without gloves and oww blisters.  My delicate skinned hands.  Oh well.

But, I ran up hills without realizing I was doing it - I was just bopping along, going slow, but not giving a shit about time, just enjoying being out there, the scenery, and focusing on having a great day.

It was overcast, but the rain held off and I was just in total peace, alone on the trails.  I have been practicing positive self-talk and while I think in the past I would have been going 'You're slow!  You suck!' all I could think was 'What a beautiful day!  I'm really enjoying this!'

My IT band popped up again, and shortly afterwards I noticed my ankle fatiguing - the two were related, I've no doubt.  I decided to keep going, and reassess.  I started to walk, to try to help the IT band - practice power hiking!  Man I suck at power hiking!  Maybe it was just the IT band :)

I didn't decide to pull the plug on the trip til 3k from the car - I could've headed north towards my campsite (I'd done a big loop of the southern half of the park), but my IT band was becoming more and more inflammed and I have Sulphur coming up, and I want to be healthy for it so that it is good practice for Haliburton, and we're in Algonquin next weekend to do my last long run before Sulphur, so, eyes on the prize.  It sucked, but was the right decision - I don't feel bad about it, I have so much to look forward to.

So all in all a great day of training, and a chance to fool around with gear and practice carrying heavier weights.  Just maybe not a good idea at this point in my rehab.  Really happy with the pack, need to attach the bottles to the front but I was worried they'd swing, however it would make access a lot easier.
And that is the was a day of fastpacking, just not an overnight trip.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Weighty Thoughts

I am a fat runner.

That's right.  Fat.

For a while, last year, after being off Seroquel for a while and on Saphris, I was normal, though as ultrarunners go, monsterous.

Right now?  After tearing the ligaments in my ankle and going delusional, I gained about 20lbs.  Which put me in the 'fat' thing again.

And I'm torn.

Running is easier lighter, and it's free speed.  For that reason, I want to drop weight.

But I hate that there are some runners who will always look at me sideways.  Who will think I'm new to running, when I might have more experience than them.

Maybe that doesn't matter.  Maybe that's my own insecurities.

But I read running blogs, where people talk about butterballs.

Toby has a well-regarded ultrarunner tell him at Sulphur, after meeting me (at the high end of normal, fat for a runner) that what he 'likes about these races is no fat chicks'.  And then, when a bigger woman walks by, says 'Well mostly'.

People always say triathletes are assholes.  That's not true.  Triathletes may be type-A, but they're honest about themselves.  Trail and ultrarunners are the liars who think they're all friendly open granola crunchers...when really they're just as much about type-A douchebaggery as a triathlete.

Sometimes, I say, give me a triathlete any day.  Don't get me wrong, I know lots of great trail runners, but I dislike being an outsider based on my looks.

Even if I lose the weight, to me, I'll always be a fat chick.


...when I finished 7th woman at Haliburton 50k last year, I stood at the finish line and watched runners thinner than me (remember, thin=free speed) finish after me and it felt so good.  I may be fat, but they're lacking something that can't be made up.  At least I can go on a diet.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Worst. Pacer. Ever. Around The Bay 30k

OK, so this should be a short report.  (Ha!  I may have to be succinct at work, but this is my blooooog, I can ramble on as much as I’d like…poor you, reader, poor you.)

Well, as you may or may not know, I tore the ligaments in my ankle in early November.  Started running again, on the DREADMILL, in late December.

My early enthusiasm quickly waned.  I still went and worked out, but man is the dreadmill b-o-r-i-n-g.  However, Hali 100, so.  But!  Then!  Bipolar strikes!  This had been building since December, but by mid-January-mid-February I was a big delusional mess, which does not lend itself to training.  I ran maybe…once a week?  Short.  And not at the gym, because, crazy.

By early March I had run a couple of times, but still wasn’t up to regular running.  2 weeks out, the furthest I’d run since Hali 2013 was 12k, and that was only twice over all those months.  Then I ran a couple of 11ks (plantar popped up) and a 15k (wearing orthotics, which I hadn’t worn in AGES, to help with the plantar – hello horrible blister on my arch, several layers of missing skin).  So, yeah.  I ran 30k the Sunday before Around the Bay – 20k in the morning, 10 at night.  Then rested the world’s worst blister.

So, on that stellar training, I was ready to run.  Heh.

I was going to pace Joe, a running buddy who is pacing me at Hali 100 this year, as he ran from Toronto to Hamilton overnight to get to the race.  This did not go to plan.

We were at the start with K, who was planning to go for sub-3 (and she killed it!), nice to see her, but we weren’t fated to run together.  We saw Rick about 2k in or so, as he was working his way through the crowd.  At 3k, Joe felt the call of nature and decided to duck behind a building.  I was going to stop, but he said to keep going, he’d find me.  We’d been solidly on pace for a 3:15, which was faster than what Joe had been planning to do, but I figured, go with it for as long as it felt good.  

He did not, however, find me.  I ran slow so he could catch up, but nope.  I stopped, and waited for a few minutes, scanning the crowd.  Nope.

So I decided to keep running, alternating strategies of ‘run slow, in case Joe is behind you’ with ‘run normal, what if Joe is ahead’.  This is a surprisingly ineffective way to run.

At 10k I was overcome with guilt – what sort of horrible pacer was I?  Joe was tired, I’m supposed to be keeping him company, and here I am, running along.  So I stopped, for well over 5 minutes, and watched runners go by.  We were on a ramp, so I had a good vantage – still didn’t see Joe.

I did see Helen (Hali race director) run by, wondering what I was doing.  After several minutes, I decided to go, and I booted it along (the 3:30 pace bunny had long since passed me, which was quite irksome).  I passed people back, quickly rather than gradually, getting all pooped out and worrying in the process – what if Joe was still behind me?  What if he was in front, that he’d passed me while I grabbed some water?

Eventually I settled into a slow pace, figuring this was just another training day – I estimated I’d been stopped for 8-10 minutes looking for Joe, and I just wasn’t going to make that up – and this isn’t a goal race, so hey.

Hit North Shore – I was a bit nervous, since my hill training has been zero – there is one hill to/from the waterfront, which is where I’ve been running.  But I was fine on the hills.

Ambled along (wracked with ‘worst.pacer.ever’ guilt) – hit Copps Coliseum, or whatever they’re calling it now – it’s COPPS DAMMIT – finished in 3:23 (sigh), for my worst finish out of 3 ATB’s…but not that much worse than when I ran it with a stress fracture, so that’s something, I guess.

Had to call Toby, found each other and discovered Joe had finished about 10 minutes ahead of me.  So, if I hadn’t stopped to look for him, we probably would’ve found each other, or finished together anyways.

Such is life – it’s a bit of a bummer, because I neither paced nor ran my own race, but it was still a good training day, beautiful weather (who knew you could get sunburnt in March).  And it was fun to run with Joe for at least a bit of the way, I enjoyed the day. 

See?  Short-ish report!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year, Start to 100 Miler Training

For anyone who reads my blog who doesn't know me in real life or on Facebook (which is probably nobody), on November 11th, while running with Neb the over-enthusiastically-pulling trail dawg, I went down while running over some uneven ground at a moment Neb was pulling with all his might.

I'm happy to report my first instinct was to stop my Garmin. 

I had a highly uncomfortable walk off the trails and to a spot where Toby could come pick me up.  We dropped off Neb, and then went to the hospital:

Looks good, right? 

It wasn't broken, but weight bearing was very difficult and painful.  I was scheduled in to see the Fracture Clinic the next morning.  The orthopedic surgeon said that it was too swollen to do a proper exam, but that you don't see swelling like that without a tear.  They sent me home with an Aircast, in addition to the crutches I already had. 

The next day, I booked in to see Andrew, who was great for ultrasound sessions to bring down the swelling and for cool tape jobs:

I saw the orthopedic surgeon two weeks later, and sports medicine doctors.  Partial tears, which means no surgery (yay).  I was still in the Aircast, but off crutches.  I stayed in the air cast another week and then moved to a sports brace - the Aircast shortened my achilles and it was more and more uncomfortable.  Even now, at the start of 2014, after stretching and rehab, my achilles is still sore.  But much improved. 

I rode a wee little bit, but not much. 

On December 24th, I got approved to run inside.  I went for a 5k run on the treadmill - 30:23.  Not setting any speed records but soooo nice.  I joined a gym so that I have a treadmill to run on through the winter, as me and Andrew agree no trails until the snow and ice are gone, and sidewalks are icy right now in any event. 

I haven't run every day, but it's getting better.  I'm icing post-runs, as otherwise the ankle gets a bit stiff.  I do exercises for the ankle every other day. 

Today - January 1st - I started official Haliburton 100 miler training - with an 8k tempo run in 44:04.  It's not fast - treadmill running is easy - but I wasn't running much after Haliburton, and then the ankle.  So I'll get there.  I'm not sure what I'll do for long runs - I may have to do shorter runs followed by bike rides.  We'll see how the ankle holds up.  It felt great today. 

So, frustrating, but this will get better.  I never thought I'd enjoy running on the treadmill, but to run at all again is so delightful I'm coping.  Treadmill running is better than no running at all! 

Now to lose the weight I gained and build back up my run fitness and ankle strength so I can do long runs - I have the fitness to do them slow, just not sure if the ankle is yet there.