Sunday, October 26, 2014

I need to blog

Let's begin by stating the obvious - I need to blog. It's been well over 2 months (close to 3). I have been looking to get writing again, but it's been tough. My list of excuses began with getting down to crunch time in planning the wedding and every moment of spare time was needed. Then injury hit and I was in need of time off so running wasn't happening. Then the wedding happened (yay, I'm a married woman now!!!). Once I began running again, it took a while for a running event to come up to write about, although I had several other topics I could write about. I started to feel overwhelmed by all I needed to say, I decided to not say anything at all.....

But I'm back now and I'm not going to attempt to do the race reports that I used to do here, at least not today. I'll simply commit to getting back to that rhythm for future racing seasons. Perhaps as 2014 comes to a close and I reflect on this year, I'll have more time to write more. For now, I'll simply update you on what I've been up to.

I absolutely should have written again in August. After running the Squamish Days 10K, there was only one race left in the Lower Mainland Road Race Series. This was the Richmond Oval 10K in mid-August. I wasn't running but was monitoring the results to see how others in my age category would impact my ranking. I was thrilled to learn that the two girls I was looking out for were not running that race, so I ended up winning my category for the race series and a brand new Timex watch. I am very pleased with this outcome. There are many runners out there far more capable than me that could have won this award. This is what I tend to focus on as I work hard to get faster and faster and I go back and forth between being inspired by and discouraged by this fact. I forget that despite this fact, there have been races where I've come in the top 10% or better, and when I am doing my worst, I'm still in about the top 25%. Somehow I forget that I'm well above average - in fact, if I may dare say, I'm pretty darn good at this sport. My results in these races were good enough to earn me points in 5 races, that means finishing in the top 20 in my age category.  When I think of where I started when getting healthy and becoming a runner, I have a lot to be proud of. How could I forget that it took a lot of hard work and dedication to get where I am and to have achieved what I did this year in running. This race series win marked that achievement in a meaningful way for me. Wearing the watch has been a great reminder of all I've achieved. I need to stop getting frustrated when I plateau in progress and remember what I have achieved. I have many years of running yet ahead of me to continue that trend. So I was sad that I had to miss the awards ceremony, but luckily I had friends there that could collect my prize for me.

Yup, it says "1st place"!
A great reminder, every time I look at the time.

August continued and as I was in a period of "active rest" rather than "training mode" leading up to the wedding, so I allowed myself to say "yes" when invited to work out with others and do new things. Unfortunately, this lead to a pretty brutal injury. It could have been so much more worse, but it was pretty bad anyway. I felt a part of my calf muscle (soleus) literally pop while doing this workout and the pain was excruciating. I was hobbling and had limited mobility for a few days, I couldn't even drive my car. There was a hole torn in my calf that I could feel, but thankfully I didn't do anything worse like hurt my Achilles. After 3 weeks completely off and lots of physio, I was ready to come back again. It was a frustrating time, but if I could pick the timing of an injury, it might as well be when I was not really training and was otherwise busy with the excitement of the wedding. I didn't have time to be upset about being injured, and I had plenty of awesome going on in my life that I couldn't be upset about anything if I tried. Life is good. The wedding took my mind off the injury and the lack of physical activity. I was getting married and was on top of the world (I'm still here and the view is great). I was also confident as I did physio that dancing at the wedding would not be hindered. In fact, I like to believe that the hours and hours of dancing at my wedding strengthened my calf and enabled me to come back to running strong. 

But coming back to running wasn't easy. It was a long frustrating road that involved run-walking and gradually adding minutes to my run time. My first run was me running 2 minutes, walking 1 and repeating this 5 times. Yes, I was on my feet 15 minutes before I was exhausted. 15 minutes is my usual warmup time, NOT my workout time. I was only running on flat surfaces, never 2 consecutive days, but I was regularly adding 1 minute of run time to each interval and increasing the number of intervals and after a few weeks of this, I was able to run without stopping again. And in each of my training runs, I wore my new Timex watch to time my intervals. It served as a great reminder that I was a capable, winning runner, coming back and would soon return to kicking butt again.

I was registered for the Eastside 10K race in mid-September but this was too much too soon for me so I opted to stay home. I was quite upset by this as I looked forward to this race, and I wasn't even in good enough shape to even consider race-walking it. But the Energizer Night Race was coming up in late September and I knew there were going to be a lot of people from the Running Room I know doing it so I was sure to have a good time. There was a 5km option and I thought trying this race for completion sake only would be a great boost to my motivation. It would be a chance to just be back in the community again - a run all about fun and glowing in the dark with friends and not about time at all.

At the Brooks "Run Happy" booth before the race.

I was up to running 12 minutes at a time by this time so I challenged myself to taking it up to 15 minutes for this race. I'd allow myself one minute of walking after hitting 15 min running, and then run the rest of the way to the finish line. I know this one wasn't about time but my strategy enabled a strong finish in 29:41 and 90th place overall (out of 415) and 10th in my age category (out of 82). Not too shabby. It was a confidence boost when I wasn't really looking for one. The race was extremely fun and the after party at the Stanley Park Pavilion was amazing!

Next up was the 8km Road Race part of the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon. This would be my 4th year in a row participating in this event, but the first time running the 8km event. Previously I'd done the half, the marathon, and then the half again. With the injury recovery situation, my goal was simply to finish without having to walk and only when we approached the race did I imagine a completion time goal. As I continued to add minutes to my continuous running time, this goal was very realistic and some speed work that went OK gave me the confidence to boldly set a time goal.  I wanted to break 45minutes and run without stopping. It was a great day and a wonderful weekend away in Victoria with my husband and our family for Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law, Michele, and our friend, Joe, ran as well so we hung out before and after the race. They both did well too and our post-race brunch and then turkey dinner were welcome treats!

Feeling crazy after the race and pre-pancakes!
The race, as always, was flawlessly planned - a definite favourite among the big races in BC. We had a beautiful sunny day and lots of great on course support. I achieved my goal, squeaking in under 45 at 44:51 so I was pleased. I'm far from where I was before injury, but doing quite well for someone coming back. I'll get there soon and I'm encouraged.

And where does that leave me? To today's race, the inaugural Rock N Roll race in Vancouver. But I'm going to stop writing here so I'm forced to write another blog entry again soon. So stay tuned!!!

Thanks for being patient with me :)

-- Z