Wednesday, March 23, 2016

11 days 'til the Fools

Well, we're almost there! The BMO Sunshine Coast April Fools Run is only 11 days away. I suppose I'm about as ready as one can be now. Nothing I can do now will change that anyway, except for rest. Rest is the best. Yayyyyyy, rest! I will still be running, but nothing far or crazy.

My last two weeks since my last post have been eventful. Like I mentioned, I felt really good after my 18km run at that time, and was looking forward to a recovery weekend for the St. Patty's 5K on March 12th -- a fun run at Stanley Park I was planning to run with my sister-in-law, Michele. But of course, something had to happen....the day before the St. Patty's my hip went out on me. It wasn't terrible, relative to when I've injured it bad, but it was a familiar first sign of trouble. I wasn't even doing anything stupid - I was simply sorting out my green attire to find the best costume for the event, felt a little pop, and couldn't stand straight....uh oh! How silly that I can run 18km and not feel any discomfort, but I can't leaf through a drawer to find green socks. I guess I bent somewhat awkwardly at some point - I don't know. What I do know is perhaps I didn't stretch as well as I should have after some of my workouts that week leading up to the incident. It feels fine at the time, but these little adhesions that seem negligible can add up to a world of pain if I don't work them out daily. I should have known better.

I called my chiropractor and thankfully, he was able to fit me in for a last minute appointment that same day. He knows me well and agreed that I was out but not the worst he's seen of me. He advised me that running the next day was not out of the question, if I make sure to go slow, warm up adequately, and spend time foam rolling, especially my silly, always-tight, glute meds. It's always good to have health providers who don't tell you you can't do what you love, but who know you're going to do it anyway. Find one who is also active and passionate about their own sport so they understand your drive and stubbornness. They know it's best to simply advise how you can do your sport safely. This way when they actually do say "don't do it", you know you have to heed their advice. But for this particular event, not running was not an option.

So I followed the advise closely....kinda. I spent much of the evening foam rolling and working out the kinks. The plan was to get to the race start nice and early so there'd be time for an adequate warm-up. I even brought my stick so I could work out any kinks that built up from the drive over. But let's just say we were delayed leaving home, delayed getting there, and then we didn't get to the park as early as we needed to avoid the pre-race road closures that were in effect. Long story short, we had to find somewhere to park downtown and run to the race. After some circling around to find a spot downtown, we ended up parking about a mile from the start line, and the race was starting any second. So the "warmup" that was intended to be easy and gradual ended up being full-on running immediately after we got out of the car. It did not feel good at first at all because I was very stiff from the drive, but thankfully, I loosened up eventually.

When we got to the startline, we were certainly adequately warmed up and I had little sign of hip discomfort (or I managed to ignore it). The race had started about 5 or 6 minutes ago, but they hadn't removed the timing plate - just the banners etc. The race organizers were a bit surprised to see us, but I just smiled, waved and yelled out to them,  "Hey, better late than never, right!" Luckily, we were able to join the event, and we didn't have to deal with crowds at all, because we were far away behind the whole crowd! We missed seeing the expanse of green costumes waiting to go, missed the fancy lead car etc. We didn't even get a chance to take a selfie before the race! But we made sure to take one on our first walk break.

Everything worked out OK in the end as we had all kinds of space to run. After a few minutes we caught up to the back of the pack and passed through. We spent the whole event passing people, so that was a great opportunity to see costumes and cheer people on; we got right in with the crowd so you'd never guess we were late. When we ran, it was at a decent pace. But we chose to walk up some of the uphill sections. Even though my hip felt good, I didn't want to push my luck. Even if I had the luck of the Irish on my side, the event was just about fun and it would be silly to do anything that could cause further injury so close to my big event. In the end, it added up to a finish time of about 34.5 minutes, which isn't too shabby considering how much we walked. But of course our gun time was quite a bit more. :) Our arrival to the finish line was right on time to be in the middle of the party. We certainly enjoyed all the festivities at the Stanley Park Pavilion. Pretty sure this event will be an annual tradition for us sisters!

Since the St. Patty's 5K, I've felt pretty good. I continue to foam roll every day and make sure I don't skimp on the stretching, even after short or easy workouts. The little hip incident is just a friendly reminder from my body, asking me not to neglect it, or to act like it's perfect and not in need of daily TLC. 

It did take some of my confidence away when I was tackling my 20km on Monday this week though. This would be my last long run before the half marathon and I was worried I wouldn't fare that well. I thought I would be stiff after and my hips would hate me. I was feeding myself with negative self-talk. Despite the worry and negativity, I put it aside and went out and did it. I even took on a pretty challenging route that would be uphill much of the second half. Fortunately, everything went smoothly! I mean look at me - don't I look happy? Note that this photo was taken at the lowest elevation point on my run, so after I had been running down some hills and hadn't started my ascent back up again...

So I'm as ready as I can be now. I am certain that I will finish strong, although I won't finish within a time even close to previous finish times. I will be lucky if I can finish in 2.5 hours. I don't care though. I'm going to do this, I will have fun and take pride in simply finishing and in being back to running distances again. Speed is relative, and it will come back if I want to try at it again. I am so happy just to be back again and to not be in pain. I had a scare, but so far my goal of an injury-free 2016 is working out well. Touch wood.

In other news, I have lost 7lbs in the last 4 weeks. I alluded to this quietly in my last post, but now that I am seeing results, I am happy to share a bit more. In 2015, due to workplace stress, I couldn't live the healthy lifestyle I am accustomed to. You know me to not be an excuse-maker, but it was hard as heck. I put on about 15lbs rather quickly and was ashamed considering how many think of me as a weight loss success. It was my first weight gained in almost 10 years. Once I switched careers in October 2015, it was easy to make some healthy changes to my life to eat healthier and get active again. I lost a little weight then, but only recently did I start taking it to the next level of actually trying to lose weight. I have a little bit of work to do yet, but I'm almost there and already feeling awesome and almost like myself again. My clothes fit like they should again.

Being lighter will make running easier again eventually (and I'll naturally be a bit faster with less of me to carry around), but in the process right now, actively losing weight is making running a bit harder. I assume it's because I don't have the same level of glycogen stores. Or so I think that's the reason anyway. I am not actively cutting carbs - still keeping my ratio high like I should as a runner, but overall, I am cutting calories, and being selective on the sources of those carbs. I find I bonk a bit earlier in my runs these days than when I normally would when training and simply trying to maintain my weight and eating what is optimal for performance. Once I bonk, my pace slows even more. Oh well, I will be there soon and being naturally faster will be me again. Or so I hope! For now, I just won't look at my watch except to see how far I've gone.

In the next 11 days before the half marathon, I will run, but nothing over 10km. Gym workouts will be all about mobility and easy recovery cardio, rather than anything strenuous or that would cause muscle fatigue. And I'm just going to keep being awesome, focusing on proper nutrition, positive self-talk, and getting plenty of sleep. I have one more hip adjustment scheduled for a few days before the event, and I should be good to go!

Thank you for following my journey

<3 Zahida


  1. I adore those beer glasses for this year! I love love love that 5k event! Thanks for sharing your journey and congrats on feeling a bit lighter again and better in your own skin - i think that's the point of shedding a few extra pounds, feeling better in our own bodies and still able to do all the fun and active things we love and eat some of the tasty treats we equally love :) I can't wait to hear about your Half.

    My foot pain is on and off. I haven't run since my 26k on Saturday (and know its now Wednesday) but my foot is still bugging me on and off so I am torn as to what to do). Thoughts?

    1. Thank you, again, always for your support and encouragement. I agree - weight loss is very much about feeling more confident and being happier. Not the other stuff we think it should be about.

      Rest, ice, keep off of it. Nothing you can do now training-wise. Only thing that will help is recovery. Have you seen anyone about it? Maybe a physio treatment now would speed things along.