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theunexpectedtriathlete

I never saw that coming!

STREAKING!!

Run-streaking, that is. Sorry for getting your hopes up (or, perhaps, terrifying you). I have been trying to complete a 30 day running streak. For many, 30 days of running every day isn’t very long so this personal challenge may seem somewhat insignificant, but for me 30 days, every day, is tough. I’m a teacher – a dance educator, actually- so I am fairly active throughout the day. It’s a real effort some days when my body is tired an aching from tormenting my students to come home and train. So I decided to force myself, to give myself a reason to get off my lazy butt that would much rather sit on the couch drinking wine and cuddling my dogs.

So, here I am, at the half way point. Working my way on the downhill side and here’s where things are at.

Let’s start with the basics:

The “Commandments”

  • Thou shalt run every day
  • Thou shalt run a minimum of 15 minutes every day
    • I figured 10 minutes was just too damned short, I mean even 15 is pretty short but when you’ve already danced for 3 hours in the day, a 15 minute run takes a heck of a lot of effort. I needed a “bailout” point that still made me work at least a little and also didn’t incur the wrath of my athletic therapist who is constantly scolding me for pushing too hard.
  • That shalt not worry about distances/speeds throughout the process
    • This is proving next to impossible, despite my best efforts. The Gazelle gets a daily text with me complaining that my Garmin foot pod is suddenly registering a slower (this is what I tell myself anyway)
  • Thou shalt award thyself with a trip to Thermea at the end of the 30 days.
    • This is the only thing keeping me from saying “Screw it!” and laying on the couch with wine and puppies.

The “Why”

  • I got instantly lazy after the redemption 10k. The couch won the battle for nearly 2 weeks before I even bothered to lift a foot
  • I needed a challenge that wasn’t about beating a time, distance, The Gazelle or trying to keep up with her husband
  • I want my pants to fit despite my incredible love of fried food and chocolate, plus we have an upcoming vacation that requires bathing suits
  • I need to learn to listen to my body and let it just be OK to be a little slower/shorter/less awesome on my run
  • Why not?

 

Here are my thoughts so far:

Let’s start with the “bad” and just get that out of the way.

  • My legs hurt. They are tired. My right hamstring hates me.
  • It’s really hard to WANT to run every day, especially when I haven’t slept well or work makes me want to eat my body weight in poutine.
  • Laundry. Oh…so very much laundry
  • I WANT TO GO FASTER EVERY RUN AND I JUST BLOODY CAN’T
  • I totally bail at 3km (about 15 minutes) more often than I should.

 

The Good so far:

  • My pants fit even with the influx of leftover Halloween candy and the daily dose of “breakfast chocolate”
  • I actually want wine LESS – I even turned it down one evening. I know this makes me sound like an alcoholic but a glass of wine is often part of our dinner/evening routine and with running, I want water more than anything.
  • I’m choosing better foods the longer this goes on. This isn’t an intentional thing and also has to do with the giant box of tomatoes, 12 pumpkins, mountain of carrots, full bag of fresh garlic, etc that we were given. There’s a lot of clean eating in my house and I’m feeling pretty good
    • **except for the one day were I pretty much wanted to eat everything and anything. I probably would have eaten you if you were nearby. I was RUNGRY in ways I’d never been rungry!**
  • I am learning to back off when things are sore or tired. That’s a big challenge for me. It makes me feel less bad about the early bail outs because I justify it as “I’m learning not to push until I injure myself”
  • My dog, Maddy, runs right after me. She loves the treadmill so her short little Puggle legs get a workout after I’m done. It’s a little extra bonding time for just me and her while her two puppy-siblings watch.
    • this is less cute/fun when she tries to jump on while I’ve got the treadmill going at a speed of 7.2)
  • My body responds really well to running and there are noticeable (to me) changes in just 15 days. I feel more comfortable, confident and strong that I did before. I’m excited to take a mid-way point photo tomorrow morning and to take an end of the running streak photo in 2 weeks.

 

I will save my “would I recommend this” decision until I’m done because there are still 2 weeks to go but so far, I’m really proud of this process and my ability to stick to it. Only 15 runs left to go until I head to the wonderful relaxation of Thermea.

WISH ME LUCK!

 

 

 

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The final two (races of the year)

In theory I have now completed all my races for the year. I say  “in theory” because we all know that I am competitive as hell and am likely to find myself challenged by someone to take part in some unplanned race.  Currently, I am done for the year. So here are the “reports” from the final two.

RMRaces: 10k

I was so excited for this race that I can’t even describe it. It was the very first time the organizers of the Riding Mountain Triathlon were organizing a half marathon/10k run and I couldn’t wait to take part. What could be better than taking part in the inaugural event happening in my favorite place on earth!?! Originally, I had planned to take part in the half marathon with the goal of a personal best, but for the first time ever, realizing that I was seriously under-trained and far too exhausted from starting back to work doing this teaching thing, I made the smart/right choice and registered for the 10k.

Race morning was brutal. It was misty/rainy and cold- an all around “yucky” day  but that’s good, right? I hate running when I am too hot and a cool day means that overheating isn’t a problem! It just means I have to run faster to stay warm.

As the race started I found myself happily giggling and pacing myself towards the front of the pack. The race was “headphone free” so I was stuck listening to the sounds of my own suffering and I tried to distract myself by looking at all the fall colors dancing around the town-site and through the campground. It worked wonders until I hit the first bigger hill at which point the admiration of oranges and golden browns was replaced by subtle cursing under my breath about how much this Prairie Girl hates hills.

I worried about maintaining my pace without music to distract me so I found someone who was running at the pace I wanted to go, positioned myself behind her and just kept muttering “don’t lose sight…don’t lose sight…don’t lose…crap… oh, there she is… don’t lose sight.” Eventually this stopped being effective and I needed some other form of distraction from my labored breath, cold toes and intense desire to hop down one of the side streets and just head back to the comfort of the cabin. So I started counting to ten. First from one and then in reverse…one to ten, ten to one. Repeat. We approached the spot where I believed us to be heading down to the lakefront but there was no indication that the course dropped down. There was no sign and no human there either.  A water table was ahead with volunteers so I did as the other runners did and aimed for that. Grabbed my water, followed the runners and kept on trucking…I mean running.

Something seemed off. I had studied the map. I knew where we were supposed to turn but why had there been no sign or volunteer? In my gut I knew some thing wasn’t right but instead of being smart and trusting that intuition I started to wonder if there had been a course change due to weather, or maybe I had misread the map? And then it all became clear. A group of panicked runners turned around and started yelling “We are on the wrong path!! This is the half marathon’s path!!”

Ugh. Damn.

Around we turn, head back, all of us muttering and grumbling. Nearly 20 runners head back to the water table unhappily telling the volunteers that we could have been directed properly. Suddenly some girl jumps out of the van where she had clearly been keeping warm and directs us frantically while yelling “there’s a sign at the bottom of the hill!!” OH GOOD!! The sign is at the BOTTOM of the hill…where it’s not visible. Well, that’s helpful. At this point, I am cold. I am grumpy. I am on the lakefront path being blown backwards by the strong wind that is cutting through my gear and I am seriously contemplating just heading up the stairs that lead towards the cottage and the warm fireplace within. But, my aunts are both standing out in the cold, waiting for me to run by. I’m now way behind my planned schedule for the race but there’s not much to be done but finish it. I change my mental game from setting a 10k PB to just finishing. I sulk to myself about the loss of my awesome place in the race, keep running and smile for the camera as I go past my aunt.

At the finish line, my very cold husband and shivering dogs are wondering why the heck I’ve taken so long. I run hard to the finish, get my medal and then sigh in frustration.

I’ve gone a very cold extra 2km.

I was poised to win my age category and instead, finish 4th. I find it somewhat amusing in the end. Plus, it was one of the prettiest medals ever.

WFPS 10K

I MADE IT THIS YEAR!!! YESSSSSSSSSS!!!

Win #1 was the fact that I made it to the start line. No hospitalization for me this year. **place happy dance here** Honestly, the memories from last year caused me so much anxiety through the week leading up to the race that I could barely breathe. I actually ended up being prescribed an inhaler because it was so bad.  I actually was wondering if I’d even be able to run courtesy of the breathing difficulties but come race morning, I’m up and bouncing out of bed and happily headed to the bag check.

The nerves, however, didn’t stop and I think I must have used the bathroom about 6 times when I got to the race site, including a frantic last second port-a-potty trip with just a few minutes before the start of the race.  Stupid nervous bladder combined with a little extra coffee and hydration.

Time to go!!!!

The gun fires and we are off. One foot in front of the other. I’d lost my friends when I’d stopped at the port-a-potty so I was on my own. I kept an eye out for them as I danced and dodged my way through the throng of runners.  I waved to my friend Jeff as I ran by and happily continued sneaking through those in my way. The Gazelle was in sight so I ran past her – but not without a smack on the ass as I passed. I had a good pace going and I had set my watch to yell at me if I went out too fast at the start or got too lazy and slow. I given that my watch was tucked away under my gloves, I really had no idea what my pace was but I was passing people, so I was happy.  As I discovered in a previous post- it really is about ego. My ego just happens to be fed by leaving people in my dust.

Sometimes it’s important to remember why we run and more than once throughout the year, when things have been difficult I have reminded myself that I run because I can.  In this race it was true more than ever. I was running because I could. I was so happy to be at the event. For a year I had both anticipated and dreaded this race and for days leading up to the event, flashbacks and memories of hospital stays, the inability to walk, the emotional drain of being often confused and anxious flooded back. Every moment contained a slight fear that this illness would return and it haunted me nonstop. But, here I was. I was running strong and I was running happy. There was a special joy in the event and 8km passed before I knew it. At about 8.1km I realized that I was tired and the fight began over pushing forward or taking a little walk break. My watch buzzed my slowing pace.

In the distance, I could see a runner who resembled the Gazelle’s husband. He and I run a similar pace and he had a lofty 48 minute goal for the race. Could it be that I wasn’t that far behind??? My excitement level increased and I started to pick up my pace again. It turned out it wasn’t the runner I thought it was but that belief gave me an extra push to run to the finish with a smile on my face. Even when my leg got caught in the rope of the start line inflatable which had fallen on to the course and I lost a few seconds shaking it off and cursing slightly (or colorfully, depending on who you ask), I was still ready to cross that finish line with the same gleeful passion I had started with.

I finished this race in the top 8% of the 1030 men and women who ran the 10k and knocked 2 minutes off my time. There was a small flood of emotion crossing the finish line. It was an accomplishment but better yet it was redemption. As one of my co-runners on a Facebook forum said: I kicked life in the face.

On a side note – that was a hell of a fast course. With a pace of 5:04/km I was still 6th in my age category according to chip time. Who are these women who can run a 10k in under 44 minutes??? My short little bulldog legs just don’t move that fast! They must be freaks. The Gazelle tried to convince me that I qualified as one of the freaks but I don’t think I’ve earned that title yet. Maybe next year.

 

Season’s Endings

It’s been quite a season and with two 10k runs left it’s not quite over. However, triathlon season has ended and what an adventure it has been. I have been waiting to do my post-season reflection until my aunt sent me my favorite photo so now it’s time.

HECLA Triathlon

All kinds of crazy and a little bit of “yuck” for this one. Two weeks before the race, participants received an email that stated that there was a change of location which resulted in significant course changes. The most noticeable change was that the swim was a fair distance from the transition zone. 750m from the transition zone. Uphill. On rougher terrain. Well, ok then!!  This was only mildly terrifying to think about. Many people chose to set up a mini-transition at the base of the hill so one didn’t have to try to run nearly a kilometer in a wet suit (can you imagine the awkwardness!?). To be honest, the run to transition wasn’t as bad I had expected. What was most frustrating that was with all the last minute changes, panic over algae in the water and whether or not the swim could happen and the change of location, transition was just a mess of confusion and frantic searching for the “what now?”.

The run portion proved to be a bit of a challenge. I usually love the run but this one felt like absolute death!!  It was hot, it was sticky, it was on the craziest terrain I have run on. They warned us about sections of “loose gravel” but that proved to be in inadequate description. It was small rocks, smooth lovely “skipping rocks” that on a hot summer’s day such as that one, would have been perfect for sliding across the water. However, their smooth nature and the soft sandy ground underneath did nothing helpful for running. It was as though one was running through sludge and at various points I was convinced that, possibly, I was forgoing forward motion in favor of sinking.

Needless to say, this race did not prove effective for myself esteem as I finished towards the bottom of my age category.  The post-race food totally made it worth it though: pasta salad and sandwiches were among the delicious meal provided to the athletes.

 

RMtri (Riding Mountain Triathlon)

Not a week later, 6 days to be exact, my poor, tired legs needed to tackle the course of the Riding Mountain Triathlon where hills reign on the cycling course, the amount of athletes doubles and this girl races without her regular partner in crime.

I love the Riding Mountain Triathlon. I love the location (mainly because I grew up spending summers on that lake) and I just feel good racing there.  Unfortunately, the first half of this race was a bit of an exception for me this year.  The swim felt cludgy and I had a hard time keeping myself focused and my legs cursed at me for the entire bike ride. But the run…oh the run…. how good it felt. I remembered how much I loved to play with the spectators as I ran by and went back to joking about stealing coffee and asking the men who had finished their wave if there was beer at the finish line. I finished that race exhausted but happy. I was 7th in my age group and a good solid middle of the pack over all. It felt fantastic. Until about 2 hours later when I was pretty sure I’d used up all of my energy and would not actually be able to stand up (a quick dip in the lake fixed that.)

Lessons Learned this year….

I am consistent on the bike in a race. Hills, no hills, feeling good or not…. I am consistent. My times from one race to the other for the cycling course were within 1 minute.  This may be an area to focus on.

Swim panic is starting to subside. I am finding techniques to help distract myself from the washing machine effect. From singing “Uptown Funk” in my head to counting to ten forwards and backwards, I am able to stop freaking out a bit in the water, although it still needs some work.

The run really is my favorite part and is likely my strongest leg — this is interesting to me because I love love love love swimming but when it comes to a race, those running legs just get me through (with the exception of this year’s race in Helca where running felt like death but let’s just pretend that didn’t happen.)

Goals for next year….(and perhaps the last 2 running races of the season)

  • get faster (duh)
  • mentally get back in the game.
    • I lost a lot of focus when I got sick. I spent so much time just trying to find, literally, my balance again that I just couldn’t focus on my training as much. My motivation and desire to participate in this crazy sport disappeared for a while.
  • Tune my body back up
    • Stress and illness took a toll on my body. My weight went up, my healthier choices went down and my body showed the effects. It’s time to take the machine back for a tune up
  • Challenge myself more
    • I got myself a fancy new training watch (Garmin 735xt) and I am just loving this thing!! What I don’t love, however, is the reminder that I am not pushing as hard as I could. My last two runs back from the lake have been, what I think of as freakishly fast for me, but only show a “training score” of 3.8. Apparently my watch thinks I have more to give. Part of me thinks that my watch is lying and may actually be out to kill me but the other part of me thinks that maybe that mental aspect is getting the better of me. Am I really capable of more than I think? Is it my  body or mind that quits first??

 

Two running races left this season and it’s time to run this body the way I want to.

 

THUD!!

You know what that sound is? It’s me hitting the wall. And not the cool “Game of Thrones” wall where the Watch is on duty and I might get to chase after Jon Snow, but the one that hurts a lot more: the training wall.

THUD.

Theeeeere it is. The moment where any sort of productive training stops, everything feels like death and you are definitely regressing not PROgressing.

THUD.

I hit it face first this time. I actually didn’t see it coming which makes it all the more frustrating. But there it is…

THUD.

The lack of progress, the backwards slide, the wrenching frustration that comes with just  not being able to feel GOOD about any of the training sessions.

Mine hit right after the half marathon a month ago. That race was fan-fricken-tastic. I mean, yeah, the IT band hurt and, yeah, I hobbled through the last two kilometers while seriously considering just sitting down and asking someone to drag me, but I finished in my goal time so that makes it fan-fricken-tastic. And then it all fell apart.

I have fallen spectacularly from grace. THUD!! From 13.1 in under 2 hours to not being able to get through 5k without stopping repeatedly to die a little.  Now, I am accustomed to the first few runs after I move to the lake sucking. I am a prairie girl who runs on the flat flat flat and then I end up in the Canadian Shield trying to make my body heave itself up steep hills, or the long, drawn-out hill that I affectionately call “the hill from hell” because, while it doesn’t seem so steep, it just keeps going forever…and ever…and ever…

This year, however, my body seems to be refusing to adjust. Even when I went to my other family cottage in Riding Mountain National Park, which has less challenging hills, my body just says “nope!” Most years, after a week or so of hauling my sorry ass up the hills (and believe me, half way up those hills,  it is VERY sorry),  I can get the groove going. This year however, the theme of each run is “THUD…ugh….wall”. Today, I decided to mix it up with some sprints, so with 30 second sprints at 1 min/km faster(minimum) than I usually run, hitting the wall made a little more sense– I mean, sprinting uphill is two horrible things combined– but it wasn’t during the sprints where I started to fall apart, it was the cool down. Go figure.

How much is mental? How much is physical? Is one better than the other? I mean, I’m kind of pulling for the mental because then it’s all in my head, not that I am entirely sure how to fix it. And, if it’s physical, how on earth did I crash and burn so quickly??

Either way… I need a solution and quickly because that “THUD” is really starting to hurt!  Plus, I have two Sprints coming up a week apart and if I don’t get my butt in gear (hahaha) they are  not going to go well!

It’s not about ego. Or is it? 

The Gazelle is training hard and progressing beautifully. Every session is a magical moment of improvement. I’m proud of her. She had a rough season last year and she is the queen of the comeback. 

There’s just one problem…

I suck. 

Now, I don’t mean that literally. I’ve got some solid races under my belt and I’m certainly more than reasonable in my times but I’m just not seeing the improvement that The Gazelle is.  In fact, lately, it seems as though things are moving backwards!! 

Let’s face it: right now, I suck! 

I had an amazing half marathon and finally broke my 2 hour barrier (1:59 still counts as under 2) and riding the high of that kickass race, I dove head first in to triathlon mode. Swim, bike, run, weights, repeat!! I’m a teacher- I have all the time in the world to train and get butt kicking ready so the Gazelle can’t catch me.

I had big plans for runs and biking at the lake– I will use those hills to build my power (those hills are a challenge for this prairie girl at the start of lake season). I will run and bike like I’ve never ran and cycled before!!! I will….stop half way up the hill and die. 

And there is the theme for all of my runs since the half marathon. Run a few minutes and then stop…run…stop…run…whimper…stop. 

There has not been a good run since the half marathon! How is this possible?? I can run a half marathon in under 2 hours but now I can’t get through 5km?!  

The Gazelle is striding her way in to graceful success and this Bulldog seems to be grunting and snorting and dragging stubby legs.

I will happily accept any sort of suggestions as to how to get past this hump because I would much prefer to improve rather than move backwards- which is how every run feels lately: I may actually be travelling backwards instead of forwards. I am in a constant state of running “blech”.

The Gazelle asked me if it would really be so bad if I didn’t have to wait for her at the finish line. I said “yes.” 

It might be a little about ego. 

Riding the Wave: “Failure” and Success

I’ve been quiet for a while!! Work has been busy, life hectic and, I’m not going to lie – training somewhat non-existent.  But!! That’s about to change. Time to get back on the wagon before it gets so far away that I can’t catch it.

I’ve got three races under my belt so far this season. Two half-marathons and one Sprint Triathlon and they’ve been met with mixed success. I’m having to learn how to work with this new, slightly broken, body. My gait has changed and certain muscles have weakened since by battle with Vestibular Neuritis and its been a “fun” little game trying to get back to full strength.

The good news: Failure is becoming motivating. The motto of “embrace the suck” is pretty much the name of the game but at this point it causes as much laughter at myself as it does frustration.

Here’s how things have gone so far….

 

Race #1:  The “HELP ME!!!” Half Marathon really called the Winnipeg Police Service Half-Marathon

It’s a nice day in May. A little windy but not too shabby. Which is impressive for Winnipeg where you never really can predict what the weather will do in this crazy Canadian city.

I’m running with a friend from work.  He’s faster than me but not enough for me to worry about it. I should be able to pace him fairly well. I tell him that I am not going to miss my goal of under 2 hours by 26 seconds again because that would just suck.   We’re off and running at a steady 5:21/km . I’m feeling good and we are joking a bit about how work is going to hurt the next day.

And then it hits. The attack of the IT Band. Barely 10 km  in and I can feel the pain creeping up in to my knee. I mentally tell my body to piss off because I do not have time for this and there is a long damned way to go.  I let my running buddy run ahead so I don’t screw up his time and I push as best I can.

I walk.

I grunt in frustration.

I text my best friend who is out with an injury and she tells me to “EMBRACE THE SUCK!!”

I walk. I run. I cry. Damn does it hurt.  About mile 11, a woman runs along side me as I am dragging myself up a small incline. She puts her hand on my back and tells me I’m ok. And I cry some more out of pure frustration.  Just after mile 12 I see a guy sitting on the ground with the medics around him and I tell myself “THAT WILL NOT BE ME”. At mile 13 the end is in sight but I can no longer bend my knee at all. I’m barely jogging and even that .1 seems insurmountable.  A man runs along side me, put his hand on my arm and pulls me along with him. He keeps pulling me until I tell him that “I’ve got it. I’m good.” Runners are truly amazing and supportive people.

I crossed the finish line at 2 hours 5 minutes… well, I DID say I didn’t want to miss the 2 hour mark by 26 seconds.

I embraced the suck.

IMG_7189[1]
My very supportive colleague waited for me at the finish. Notice my awkward stance as I can no longer use the right leg 
Race #2:  The Triathlon that Hates Me really called the Triple Threat Triathlon in Birds Hill Park.

So, one rarely expects their first tri of the year to be fantabulous but this race seems to be out to get me. Last year I dubbed it “the race from hell” because everything that could possibly go wrong, went wrong and this year wasn’t leaps and bounds better.

The disorientation from the vestibular neuritis kicked me in the butt in the swim and I had to stop more than once to try to reorient myself. It was a crummy swim.  My sense of panic was high because of the disorientation and I just couldn’t seem to get myself back under control.

Now, my goal is always to beat my best friend, Sandra. She is fantastic and about as competitive as me. In theory, her long legs should allow her to kick my butt. Our athletic therapist has said that she is like a gazelle and I’m like a bulldog (woof?). And, while I’d much prefer to be compared to the long, lean, graceful gazelle (especially considering I’m a dancer), the bulldog seems about right some days (although I hope I’m not as short and stumpy as that implies) .

Imagine my surprise as I come in to transition, annoyed with myself for screwing up the swim so badly, and find the Gazelle still getting herself ready for the bike! ALL IS NOT LOST!!! I manage to get out of transition mere seconds behind her and now the race is on!! I hit that bike course like…well…a bulldog. I pulled away from her and used every ounce of my being to make sure she didn’t catch me. One loop done and as I’m heading out for the second I pass her on her way in.  Panic sets in that she’s going to catch me and I hammer down convinced that every athlete coming up behind me is her.

Back in to transition, rack the bike, still don’t see the Gazelle. Start running. Now, I should mention that I have Raynaud’s Disease as well. It’s a lovely little circulatory issue that causes my toes and fingers to go numb. Usually this happens when I’m cold but I’ve noticed lately that hard bike rides or strenuous runs can bring it on as well.  And, it rears it’s ugly little head and for the first kilometer my toes are completely numb. I wiggle them, I shake them, I curse them, all while trying to maintain a reasonable speed. EXCEPT!!! That courtesy of the neuritis, I am under trained.  The under training begins to show and the knee aches slightly but I am quickly distracted from the IT Band issue by the horrible cramping in my left quad… oh crap.  It’s two kilometers in to the 5k run and I’ve cramped up. This is a first for me. It sucks. I don’t recommend it.  I stop, massage, run. Stop, massage, run. Bear down and grunt in pain and aim for that finish line!!

Failure comes in that I was a little slower than the year before when it was the race from hell but…. I still manage to beat the Gazelle.

 

 

Race #3:  The “Singing in the Rain” Half Marathon really called the Manitoba Marathon

It was rainy. It was cold. It was like 15 degrees cooler than it should have been on a June day. It was a nasty start. I was supposed to meet Sandra, who will now forever be called “The Gazelle”, and her husband before the start of our waves. He was going to start in wave 1 and she was seeding herself in to wave 2.  Unfortunately, that never happened. I waited for almost an hour to catch the shuttle to the starting point, had to sprint to drop off my bag and wave 1 was underway before I was anywhere close to settled. I managed to get in to my wave and find a pace bunny with just minutes to spare.  I happily followed the 1:55 pace bunny (who I am convinced was going slightly faster than that pace). I wondered if I would ever find The Gazelle.

At the earlier part of the race, we passed the cemetery where my Dad is buried. It was Father’s Day and I felt the emotion starting to build up. I waved at my Dad as I ran past and asked him to help get me through a race where I probably shouldn’t, according to the athletic therapist, have been running.

I got a fun little game going with another runner in the 1:55 pack. He may not have been playing but I certainly was. I would run past him and settle myself in to a spot, only to have him come racing up and past me, so, I would race up past him and the game continued for quite some time. Somewhere a long the lines, the 1:55 pack moved a little further away and I heard another runner comment that they were definitely faster than the 1:55 pace.  I didn’t care. I had my goal and I was going to, hopefully, get there.

The first 10k flew by, which was a nice surprise, and I was still pain free.  I heard a voice call my name and I turned to see The Gazelle beside me on the course. I had caught up to her and was comfortably moving past. We chatted for a minute about meeting up at the end and I continued at my pace… and then the pain began again. Luckily, when the twinges began it was at about the 15km mark. I did have to pull over and adjust my IT band strap and allowed myself short, less than 1 minute, periods of walking to try to deal with the pain.  I was always trying to be aware of my time. I didn’t want to miss my goal time by 26 seconds…again… the last 2 km were excruciating and I wondered if I had lost my goal time. I hadn’t seen the 2-hour pace bunny pass me but I had been distracted by the pain.  My pace was dropping and I was worried about the time but I kept pushing. I told myself that I would be able to deal with the pain later and just to keep on moving.

As I came around the corner and in to the stadium I made the decision to just give’er! The my watch and the timer indicated that my goal was in sight and I raced for that finish line with every ounce of my being.

I cried but this time from the incredible emotion that comes from meeting your goal. 1:59:08. That’s under 2 hours and I will happily take it.  I’m sure my Dad was with me as I struggled through the end and it was fitting that I made that goal on Father’s Day.

 

And, now it’s onwards and upwards. Time for a new half marathon goal and to get ready for the Hecla Triathlon….and maybe to let that IT Band heal a little.

 

The Spaces Between Us

I have a race tomorrow. And I also have a friend’s birthday tonight. I will likely go for a little while, making sure I’m in bed early so I can be ready for the first sprint triathlon since I got sick/was hospitalized in October.  Now, I’m 99% sure that I will be fine and even though I’m undertrained, I am aiming for a successful race. But, I am nervous about not being well rested. Exhausting my body can trigger some of the sensations of vertigo. I don’t want that mid race.

 Here’s my struggle. So many of my friends are supportive of my new found love of the race. They have been encouraging and respect the things I have to miss to be successful. I had to miss a wedding last year because the race was just a little too far away and am missing one this year for the same reason. Those friends were understanding and knew that I was there/will be there in spirit. They understand that this is important to me and that I was already committed.

 But, what do we do with the friends who are less understanding? The “closer” friends who make comments like “why don’t you just quit because you have to miss things?” It changes the friendship. It changes the closeness. It changes my enjoyment of the experience when someone who is supposed to support me doesn’t.

I am someone who tries to do three things at once all the time (hence the whole “triathlon” appeal lol) because I don’t want to let anyone down. I try to do it all and often that means not doing things for me– like training.  And, when I can’t do it all, I feel badly.

And tonight, I don’t know if I can do it all but I don’t know if the understanding will be there. 

Maybe more than half crazy

My athletic therapist and I had a visit today. I was in pain. My hips were killing me and my knee started to hurt so much that I tapped out during a run (which I never do). She treated my injuries and we talked about my illness in October. 

Suddenly it all made sense.

My comments to friends about not feeling like I’d fully recovered are accurate. I’m not crazy!! (Well, at least not when it comes to that 😆)

I hurt because my body is fighting to stabilize. I’m burning out because my body is still working harder to balance as I run. It makes sense.

I have a half marathon coming up in two weeks and it’s scary. The finisher’s gift last year for that half marathon was a blanket. That blanket was with me in the hospital. It was a reminder that I am strong, even when I couldn’t stand up on my own. There is an importance to completing this half marathon: a year ago it was the first one I ever ran, my cousin helped start it, and it’s blanket comforted me when I was at my weakest. But, it’s scary to know that my body isn’t 100%. It’s scary to have to change the goals from personal bests to merely finishing. It’s scary to wonder if my body will fail or be strong. The unknown is frightening. 

I feel determined to finish, even if I have to crawl. 

6 months ago, I couldn’t stand on my own. It was months before I could run without tipping over.  In two weeks, I will challenge that same body to run 13.1. 

Undertrained

Wobbly.

Weaker than I’d like. 

But determined, and maybe stubborn enough to get through. 

Seeking advice 

I’m stuck. 

I mean– I’m stuck. For the last few years my world has happily involved running and for the last two triathlon training has reigned.  

I’m finding though- that my motivation is failing. Perhaps it was the serious illness that derailed it– I’ve never been able to get back on track since– perhaps it’s something else. I don’t know.

What I know is this: 

I fell in love with running. Then I fell in love with being a tri-girl. Last year, my half marathon goal was front and centre. My body was a machine. I craved the endorphins of a good run, cycle or swim. 

And now I’m lost. 

My body is not the same. I don’t feel like a “machine”. My mind feels weak.  Vestibular Neuronitis derailed me and I just can’t find the passion. I WANT to do my best, I want to compete and keep bettering my times but I’m struggling to move forward.  My half marathon is approaching and I can’t get one foot in front of the other. 

I would love to hear your suggestions. Perhaps to talk. 

How do I fall in love again ? 

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