Friday, September 25, 2015

Now what?

It’s been 2 weeks since I ran the Maritime Race Weekend Half-Marathon. What have I done since then?….. almost nothing! A friend came over last Friday so that we could run together. It didn’t go well. My hip hurt, my foot hurt and I was out of breath almost before we started. We lasted 2 km, with some walking in there, before we threw in the towel and went for a 40 minute walk instead. The walk was great and really helped to stretch things out.

And that is my problem. I haven’t been stretching things out. I haven’t even been walking, let alone running. Sure, I have some pretty great reasons excuses that have kept me pretty sedentary. Hilary is going through daily radiation and weekly chemo appointments. We are at the hospital anywhere from 1 to 6 hours each day. My work has been great and lets me be flexible with my time so that I can drive her and stay with her for the appointments, but it means that I’m logging into work at 6:30 most mornings and sometimes I’m still online till bedtime. We also have the back to school and homework routine that we are trying to get used to. Mostly, I’m just too tired to even consider heading outside. If I have 30 minutes that I could use, I’d rather be sitting on the couch or surfing the web for some mindless down time. And I wouldn’t change any of it right now. My priority is my family. Yes, I need to take care of me, and I do, just not by running.

And yet in less than 10 days I’m signed up to run not one, but TWO 5k races. One Saturday and one Sunday. They are 2 of my favorite 5ks – the CIBC Run for the Cure and the NS Lung Run out at the airport. I have no expectations of setting any PBs for these races. Heck, if I run more then I walk I’ll be happy.

We have no plans this weekend. No appointments, no specific times that we have to be somewhere, no work and the weather is perfect. So I WILL get out this weekend and run. I will do my best to stretch things out and limber up so that I don’t end up injured next weekend.

After that? I have a virtual run on Halloween and then no other running plans. I’m going to have my gallbladder removed at the beginning of November on top of everything else. It’s a simply day surgery procedure with a pretty quick recovery time, but I’m not sure when/how I’ll get back to running once that is done. There is also the possibility of going back to TaeKwon-Do at some point. For now, I’m not making any concrete plans, but just taking life one day at a time.

And when I think I can’t do it, I’m going to look at this picture of me from the marathon and remind myself that I CAN do it.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Maritime Race Weekend - Half Marathon

18 weeks
118 days
56 training sessions
321.5 km
55 hours

That is what it took to get me ready to run my first half marathon. Many bloggers are able to recap their race kilometer by kilometer.  For me, it's not quite all a blur, but there is no way that I can remember what happened at km 2 vs. km 12.  

What I do remember is that the locals from Eastern Passage were amazing.  Nearly 3000 people over took them for 2 days and all they did is offer their support.  With cheering, impromptu water stops and and amazing signs.

I also remember the hills.  OMG the hills.  Hilary and I had gone out and driven the course the week before, but the perspective of a hill is much different when you approach it on foot after having already run for 2 hours, then it is when you drive up it in a car.  One water station was strategically placed half way up a hill and had bunches of kids who ran down to meet me and "helped" me up the hill.  And yes, having a 4 year old run circles around me really did help.

The weather turned out to be perfect.  During the night we had a huge rain storm, and they had been calling for rain all day Saturday.  The rain finished up by 6:00 AM, but the day stayed cloudy and overcast with some fog along the coast.  It was cool, with a great breeze coming off the water.  Perfect conditions, especially after the past few weeks of heat and humidity.

What I remember most is finishing.  As I came around the corner and into the village, the very first person I saw was Hilary.  And with less then 500 feet to go, I burst out crying. Ugly, sobbing, bone wracking crying.  Except that I still had to keep running.  Luckily the end of the course snaked through the village and I had a few seconds to pull myself together before I rounded the final bend and was met with the crowds at the finish line.  I wasn't actually "together" but I was able to breath enough to keep going.  The next thing I knew, with 100 feet left to go and barely any strength left, a running friend came out of the crowd and ran with me to the finish line, shouting and cheering the whole way.  Add to that the race announcer telling everyone that this was my first half and seeing Hilary in front of me..... well, the ugly crying was back pretty quick. I was barely able to hold it together long enough for my friend Mickie (Cap'n Shin Splints) to give me my medal.

After getting my medals (yes two - one for finishing on Saturday, and one because I completed the "Tartan-Twosome" which is running the 5k Friday night and then running again on Saturday), I got to ring the Captain's Bell.  Which of of course brought on more crying.

My goal had been a) to finish and b) to try and finish in under 4 hours.  And I was able to.  My final time was 03:47:00, which is a pace of 10:49/km.

I am a half-marathoner!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

My first running award

A lot of races offer running awards.  They might be for the fastest male/female finisher, top 3 overall, or the fastest in each age category.

I run for me, not to be first or the fastest.  I have no expectation of ever being first and winning any type of award.  In fact, my experience is that I'm more likely to come in last.

Shortly after that blog post went up, I got this email:

 Hi Andy
Thanks for joining us at the Natal Day race on Monday. I really enjoyed you Blog post and I think we'll make it a regular practice to recognize the last finisher with an award. I've set aside an Award Mug for you. Will you be at any upcoming races? I'm at many of them myself.
Dave Nevitt
Race Director

That was such an amazing email to get.  The running community is so supportive, no matter what your level of running.  Things like this is what keeps people like me, the slow ones who don't win the races, going back to race after race.

I was able to meet up with Dave today and now I have a new favorite mug that means more to me than any award I could ever win.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

August Running Review

August 2015 
Ran 4 times for 11.5 km. Longest run 3.75 km

August 2014
Ran 13 times for 104 km. Longest run 18.5 km

August Review

August was HOT.  I'm glad I got most of my mileage in, having lost some running time to vacation and weather.  I had 1 race in August, where I came in last and it was okay. I also dealt with heat exhaustion for the first time, so overall August was a pretty interesting month.  I'm very happy that the cooler fall weather is starting.

September  Goals

Run and finish my first half-marathon on September 12th

September plans

My plans for September are pretty simple.  Some short runs over the next 10 days, run the Sunset 5k on September 11th and then run the Sunrise half-Marathon on September 12th.  We'll see how I feel after that!

11 days till the Maritime Race Weekend Half Marathon!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Too Hot

Today I had my first heat related running issue. Because of the lightning I didn't head out till almost 10:00. The humidity was awful. Luckily I passed a splash pad twice that I was able to cool off with. I ran out of water so stopped at a gas station to get more. 

Once home and in the shower I was panting and couldn't stand up so I just sat under the cool spray for 20 minutes. I drank more water while I sat on the couch but ended up throwing it all up. I feel fine now but have no desire to eat anything even though all I've had is a piece of toast before my run.  

I am very much looking forward to cooler weather 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Running on Vacation

With less then 6 weeks to go before my first half marathon, I knew that I couldn't let vacation derail my training. The problem was going to be that my 10 day  vacation was going to include 4 travel days. Planning was key.

I knew that Mom had a built in running path on the farm, leading to the cabin. Each way was just under 1 km, so doing the trip twice would be good for my regular runs.  I got up early the first day I arrived and headed out. I'm used to running on sidewalks so the long, wet grass presented a challenge. Also trying not to trip on fallen apples, twigs and rocks made for a slower run. 

The next day we drove 6 hours to Gatineau to visit family. As luck would have it my Aunt lives right next to a beautiful National Park with beautiful trails.  

I still needed to get in my long run - 16km. Before leaving I had mapped out an easy route of streets I was familiar with.  The only thing I hadn't accounted for was construction and the lack of sidewalks. So I had to borrow Mom's van and map out a new route that I could hopefully remember. 

My first attempt at my long run was cancelled after only 7 minutes because of lightening.  I headed out at 6:15 the next morning in the hopes of beating the heat.
My run lasted 2:30 hours and was only very hot for the last 30 minutes.  The run ended up being just under 15km, but I just didn't have Irvin me to go any further so I walked the last kilometre. 

So training is still on track. And only 25 days to go!! 

Monday, August 3, 2015

10 reasons it's okay to be last

I ran the 6 miler Dartmouth Natal Day Road Race today.  It's a 2 mile course that you loop 3 times and has some nasty hills in it, including the last 200 meters to the finish line, which by that point is your third time going up the stinking thing.

Along with the hills, it was a pretty hot day out, hitting 25° C by the start of the race, with no breeze and very little shade.  I knew that it was going to be a struggle, and I joked about being last, not thinking that I would actually be last.  Not only was I last, I finished 8 minutes after the runner before me, who I hadn't seen since the starting line up.   This race attracts a lot of fast runners, and the winner today finished the 6 miles in a speedy 30 minutes.  I finished in 01:35:08.

I eventually figured out that being last is not the worst thing, even though it sort of felt like it at first.

 Here are 10 reasons that made it okay to be last today.

  1. I got a personalized escort from the route marshal on her bike.
  2. All the people that were lining up for the parade that starts after the race become my personal cheering section.
  3. Getting cooled down by the guy watching the race from his front yard who had his sprinkler out to let runners cool of in a spray of water as they went by.
  4. Having all the water to myself at the last water stop.
  5. Having amazing friends who waited more then 40 minutes after they finished the race to cheer me on at the end.
  6. Having the announcer and time keepers wait for me to finish so that they could encourage me up the last hill and through the finisher's chute.
  7. Having an amazing and supportive spouse who talked me down of the ledge when I burst into tears when I get home.
  8. Even though I took walking breaks, I kept moving and ran more than I walked. 
  9. Finding out when I entered my time and the route into MapMyRun, that I actually ran faster than my last 5 training runs.