Well, after what feels like forever (more than a year) especially after losing steam a few times I am nearing the end of my fifty post challenge. I haven't said much about what I've been doing since the triathlon in June. So before I look forward I will give a (hopefully) brief summary. I have some hopes to add some photos soon.
A week after the triathlon I had a 3km race in Canmore. I was happy to place third overall and it was probably one of my best runs of the year. A week later I had a 10km race. I spent the weeks after the tri doing some moderate workouts (plus the 3km race). I felt primed and ready to run a great 10km - ideally sub 50 minutes. Also trying to follow a half marathon plan I chose an ambitious 4km warm up. Well, being a bit tired off the line and soaring temperatures I crashed at km 5 and ended up not being able to keep my heart out of my throat. 53 some minutes later I was deflated and defeated. Not the race I was imagining. But there's a sunny side to the story - Coach M ran her first race ever! It was mostly a carry between my mom and I - then Dad (hubs) at the end. I think the hubs and I were far more excited than she was - between the heat and time of day she was just ready to nap.
Originally I had ambitious plans to PB my half marathon scheduled in August. Things quickly shifted after my pitiful 10km and picking up coaching two clinics three times a week. My runs became theirs and landscaping dominated the rest of my time. I do have a wicked back and arms though to show for shoveling/wheelbarrowing 30 cubic yards of dirt. With no runs further than 10km since early July I knew there would be no PB. In Edmonton I met up with two friends who were running 'naked'. Watchless, garminless, and with similar goals in mind we had a great time running together for 15km. From there we surged and fell back at different points. At kilometer 17 I was in agony and wanted to be done but somehow I willed myself through the last 4km to finish in a respectable 1:58. Chris was a minute or so ahead and Molly just a few seconds behind. Despite the last 4km hurting a lot it was one of my best runs this year. Running without referencing my wrist every 27 steps was freeing. A flat and uneventful course meant we could chat a bit and catch up on each other's lives - kids, weddings, spouses. I finished hot and happy and knowing that I just don't really like the half marathon distance.
Back from Edmonton I was determined to get on my bike a bit before the duathlon mid-September. I think I got out once on vacation in Kelowna. Vacation was great - a 5km trail run near our resort, the ride, and a gruelling 18km race. Yes, I'm that dumb one who thought running an 18km race from the top of a mountain then back up a hill into a vineyard would be the best thing to do before driving home 10 hours the next day. Peak to Beak was a great way to see Kelowna - and I would consider training for this race again. Despite the challenging course I loved this race; the friendliness of both the runners and organizers, a well organized race, and wine as finisher prizes made for a great morning to run.
Duathlon on the brain I still didn't get any more rides in or great focused runs. Knowing that my training wasn't really up to par to 'race' I went out again garminless and hoped at the least for a result similar to the year before even though the course was different. For the past for years I had either volunteered or raced the event and I will have to say that this year was my favorite course by far. I hope this one sticks around for a few years. I had a lot of fun on the course - found a 'buddy' to pace for the run - lost him on the bike - but then caught up with him again on the second run. I had great transitions and finished a respectable 12th O/A female.
With two last races in the season I decided I couldn't continue to ignore a plaguing injury since July. My right hip flexor and right SI joint were now excruciating and I couldn't sleep. Some IMS at physio calmed things down enough to have a PB run at Ambulance Chasers 5km and a decent run at Ekiden to help our store team secure a third place win in our category. About the only thing that got me moving at Ambulance Chasers was the dream of a new running jacket. Yes, I bribed myself into running fast. I inwardly chanted 'polka dots, polka dots' as I struggled through the race in no shape at all. It has been a frustrating second half of the year - injured, little motivation, time and efforts being devoted elsewhere - it was good to get the PB - and the jacket!
I think I will do the Twitter Road Race on November 3rd. It might be my last sanity saving 10km run before I embark on a 15 day cruise with the in-laws. Plus it will be in San Diego - which could make for some fun getting lost no idea where I am running. I'm hoping for some yoga on the boat, playing in the pool with Coach M, some snorkelling excursions, and some sleep - which has been eluding me for many many reasons.
This morning was one of my last physio sessions. I've been trying to see my injury in a positive light; Trying to make the most of the rehab and learn. And I am. I'm learning that I need to continue to focus on all those stabilizing muscles no matter what the mileage is. I'm learning that rest does equal recovery. I'm learning that I have a lot to learn about being a better runner - more than 3x400m repeats, or go long and slow, or don't forget to put bodyglide on.
Physio has been kind to me. I love physio. I was discussing with a friend about being able to buy passes for treatment access but not necessarily one-on-one attention. How great would it be if you could drop into a physio clinic and use the hot/cold tubs, or give yourself some ultrasound, maybe hook up the TENS machine. But, as it doesn't work like that I'm happy pay for a painful rub down and some light hearted conversation.
The thing I love the most about physio is that the prescribed excercises are functionally appropriate. I'm doing hamstring work by doing B drills with a resistance band, A drill balances to trigger my glutes to fire - both excellent running specific exericises I can continue to practice and use. Neither are a quick fix but rather a long-term plan to mould me into a better runner. I'm working on having a stable pelvis while running so both sides of my body are used equally - this requires and enormous amount of core strength - both in my abs and my butt. After a 6km trail run on Saturday last and an 11km run on Sunday my left glutes were very tired, a good sign they were being used.
There are hundreds of exercises out there I could do but I have to beg the question - if they're not functional to my sport are worth the effort? Straight leg dead lifts - sure they build strength but doing B drills in a specific motion exactly related to running - very effective. I hope to come out on the other side of this injury a smarter runner who is more educated about her body. And hopefully in turn I will be stronger and faster too.
I've also decided that to make the best use of my time while I'm doing wall fonda's - yes a totally technical butt killing exercise - rest periods shouldn't really be rest at all but rather a time to strengthen some other part of my body other than my butt. Pushups, rows, core work - I'm going to become all around strong. So, this is exactly what cross training as an endurance athlete looks like. Physio has made it habit forming and I hope to ride this wave for the year or more to come. The current plan is to do my exercises 3x/week - I'd ideally get it down to two - but add in some other exercises as my strength increases.
Overall I'm feeling - or my knee/IT- is feeling much better. But that's the catch - feel good and go out too hard. Tonight I did some hill work with the Personal Best group at Strides. I was slow and conservative in my efforts - not wanting to aggravate or undo all the good work I've done. The foam roller and I had a good make out session when I got home and the ice pack is always ready and waiting.
I'm going back to physio in a couple weeks to redo a treadmill video test. Maybe I'll be able to get my hands on the videos and I'll post them to share. I'm confident there will be some improvement. For now, I'm looking forward to the weekend. Doing a great 12km run in Canmore on Saturday and then the Mother's Day 5km walk with my family on Sunday. Happy to still be out there running!
A few weeks ago I wrapped up coaching two clinic thru Strides. The first was a Personal Best
clinic. The group humoured me through some great workouts including running lines in a parking lot and a final game of tag in the field which had us laughing so hard we could barely run. I feel so fortunate to be a part of the transformation because often I find it's myself who is inspired and encouraged by their hard work each and every week.
I really love coaching - why? Because of people like Kevin. Kevin joined my Learn to Run clinic with this goal in mind: run a marathon in 2014 - after completing the swim & bike portion of an Ironman. Insane? But Kevin gave it his all for 12 weeks - dropping weight, gaining speed, and I think mostly having a pretty good time doing it. I would get emails that ended with - I love running! I'd say to the hubs - I feel like a proud mama bird. I hope to see Kevin in the spring when he comes back to do a speed work clinic.
Kevin is super fortunate to be supported by his awsome wife Robyn. Robyn and I ran together last winter when we were both training for Vegas. Having a supportive spouse is a huge deal. The fact that they are both working towards a mutual goal makes the deal that much sweeter. Kevin ran an awsome 5km race at 30:30 - just 31 seconds shy of his sub-30 goal - but I am SUPER proud of him.
Thanks to everyone who inspired me - for inspiring each other - and for keeping it light hearted.