Sunday, June 18, 2017

Michelin Tire Trot 5k

The local town of Bridgewater, NS is home to a Michelin tire plant.  This year, as part of their week long health and safety community events, they hosted their first ever Michelin Tire Trot 5k race.  As an added bonus, the race was free to sign up for AND you got a great looking finisher's medal.

So a group of us signed up, got up early on a Saturday morning and drove over an hour in the rain to run along the beautiful Centennial trail.

(*not my picture... imagine this in a torrential downpour)

Trying to stay dry before the run.

Other than the rain, it was a great run.  And the rain mostly stayed at a light mist until I hit the 4th kilometer, then the skies opened up and I had water dripping off of my everything.  My knee felt good and I ran more than I walked, so I consider that a win.  I finished with  chip time of 55:51.

I was smart enough to pack dry clothes, so I as able to get changed before we headed out for our post-run brunch.  But not before a picture op with the Michelin Man.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The journey so far

I started this blog 7 years ago as a way to journal and track my weight loss journey.  Recently it's evolved into more of a running blog, but that is because running has become such an important part of my health routine.

Much like my blogging, my weight has ebbed and flowed over the years.  By 2013 I had lost 60 pounds.  I was running 2-3 times a week and doing Tae Kwon Do 2-3 days a week.  On the food side I was counting calories and following the 5:2 Fast diet plan.  I feel that the fasting is what really had me losing weight, but I didn't find it sustainable, especially with all the exercise I was doing.

After 2013 my weight slowly crept back up.  I stopped fasting, I stopped going to Tae Kwon Do and I stopped counting calories.  The only consistent thing that I've kept up is running.  But my running has gotten slower and harder the more weight I've put on.

The plan is to get back on track.  I start training for the Valley Harvest Half Marathon next week through the Running Room.  I'm also going to join a gym so that I can go to their boot camps 2-3 times a week.  I'm tracking my food again.  The only thing I'm not going back to is fasting. While it is an effective tool for weight loss, I find it makes me too tired and I would rather focus on eating healthy and exercising.

Like always, I don't have a specific weight goal or running pace that I'm aiming for.  Healthy, injury free and happy are the best goals to have.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

IWK 5k - DNS

This was my first DNS - Did Not Start. 

My knee bothered me a bit during the Penguin Run yesterday and then got progressively worse on the walk back to the car and throughout the rest of the day. By bedtime I could barely put weight on it to hobble across the floor.  I went from thinking I could walk the 5k today, to thinking of down grading to the 1.5k seniors walk, to just going to support friends and take pictures, to.... hmmm I don't think I can go at all.

This was a un-timed, fun run to raise money for our local children's hospital, so I have no issues with having spent the money on the race entry and then not being able to do the run.  I would have loved to have gone and spent time with friends (there was a group of 21 going from Team Myles) but I knew that resting my knee was more important if I don't want to risk serious long term damage.  I need to get it better soon as I start my training for my next half marathon in just 3 weeks.

So today I am taking it easy, icing my knee, using heat, gently stretching it out and enjoying the day on the couch.  But I'm very proud of everyone else who ran today.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Penguin Run 5k

Another great run with great friends today!

This was my first time running the Penguin Run held out in Enfield NS.  My favorite part of the run was Papa Penguin!  He is the designated last place finisher and toddled along behind the rest of us.

Today was the first day of the year that it was HOT out.  Even with just a tank top on, I was too warm.  I was glad for the water station at the half-point turn around, not so that I could drink it, but so that I could dump it on my head.

The course wasn't too hilly, but had still had a few gentle ups and downs.  Unfortunately my knee did not take kindly to the down hills, even though I had it taped,  I ended up walking a fair bit, but was able to finish strong, with a chip time of 55:06.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Bluenose 10k

This was my second year running in the Bluenose.  Last year I did the 5k and within days had signed up to do the 10k this year.  While I've run longer distances as part of my half-marathon training, this was only the second time that I've run a 10k race.  The Bluenose is a huge event in Halifax, spanning 3 days over the Victoria Day long weekend.  It's the only race that I've participated in that has 3000+ runners at the starting line.

I did not train as well as I would have liked for this race.  I did get out on a couple of long runs beforehand, but having just finished the Fool's Run Half-Marathon the month before, I wasn't really feeling like running.  I was much happier to sit on the couch.

My friend Jody was a mentor for Team Myles this year, a group that helps new runners train for and run their first race.  I had joined them on a few of their training runs and hung out with them before the race started.  Even though I wasn't an official member of their group, they supported and encouraged me along the way.

I ran well at the beginning, going 30 minutes before I needed to walk, which for me is almost unheard of.  The course snaked through Point Pleasant Park and had some pretty rough uphill spots that had me walking (and cursing).  I was able to get back to running once we were out of the park, but I was starting to struggle.  I had no time goal, just my 3 standard race goals - 1) don't die, 2) finish, 3) have fun, so I ran when I could and walked when I needed to.

One of the best and unique things that I liked about the Bluenose is their volunteer runners that they have placed at strategic points along the course.  Their sole purpose is to run a few hundred yards with runners that are struggling, talking to them, encouraging them and getting them through a rough spot.  For me that was around the 7.5km mark.  I had come out of the park and hit another steady uphill section.  The next thing I knew, someone was running beside me with their hand on my shoulder, telling me that I could do this.  I looked over and it was someone I knew from the Bedford Running Room.  John stayed with me for a few minutes and gave me the strength to keep going.

Of course the finish line is at the top of a hill.  Why do they do that?  With the encouragement of the crowd and other participants around me, I gave it everything I had left and crossed the finish line.  One of the Team Myles coaches was there and gave me a big hug and congratulations.  I think that is when my emotions got the better of me and I started to tear up.  I was already out of breath from my final sprint, so adding crying to the mix was not a good thing. I tried to walk it off, but quickly realized that I couldn't actually breath and flagged down a volunteer.  The first aid folks whisked me away in a wheelchair pretty quickly.  My breathing sounded like that of a 2 pack a day smoker having an asthma attack.  They put a pulse-ox monitor on me and my oxygen levels had dipped below 70.  Luckily, the longer I sat taking deep breaths, the better it got and no further medical intervention was needed.  They kept me in the first aid tent till my oxygen levels were over 95 and they had me drinking Gatorade and talking.  They even had finisher's medals in the tent just in case people couldn't make it to the line of volunteers to get theirs.

I was still pretty wheezy as I slowly made my way to the finisher's area where I was to meet up with everyone.  I found Jody first, and while I was trying to tell her what had happened, I teared up again and started losing my breath.   Jody, not knowing what was going on, snapped this picture of me.

I was able to get my breathing under control again, though I struggled the rest of they day with a slight wheeze and cough.

We celebrated everyone's finish with brunch and headed home for a well deserved nap.

I finished the race with a chip time of 1:50:34.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Fool's Run 1/2 Marathon

Some time last year I decided that I wanted to run a spring half-marathon.  I read about the Fool's Run and decided that it was the one for me.  Since it was in BC, it took a lot of planning.  I asked my Mom to go with me as support.  We planned to go out the week before to get used to the time change and so that we could have a vacation together, visiting Victoria and Nanaimo before we arrived in Sechelt to stay with Hilary's parents.

In October, when mom was visiting, the plan changed from her coming out to support me, to her walking the half-marathon!  She figured she walked 5k every day already, so with 5 months to go, she could increase her mileage and be ready to do 21k.

However, neither of us were really able to train as well as we wanted to.  I struggled with a bad knee early on, followed by a frozen shoulder. We both had to deal with the winter weather.  Mom's solution was to take her walking indoors by going to the mall before it opened.  I spent a lot of time at the indoor track - not a fun thing to do.  My longest run at the track was 13k, or 52 laps.

We headed into the race feeling great.  We had 3 goals:  1) Don't die.  2) Finish the course. 3) Have fun.  I have to say, all 3 were a struggle.

I did really well for the 14 km, maintaining an average pace of 10:50 which was well within my goal time. Then I hit the hills.

That was 4 kms of a constant uphill climb of more then 100 m.  I was done.  I ended up walking the rest of the course. By the time I hit the downhill section at km 18, my legs were toast.  My only thought at that point was to just keep going and finish.

Mom is a speedy little walker and spent the entire race about 400 meters in front of me. She had underestimated just how hard this was going to be and just before the final turn into the park with the finish line, she collapsed onto a railing at the side of the road.  She just couldn't go another step.  I quickly caught up to her, got her to lean on me and we continued on.  We were not giving up goal #2 within sight of the finish line.  We crossed together, hand in hand with a finish time of 04:08:31.

After comfort food, showers and well deserved naps, we celebrated.

Mom has declared that "no thank you, never again" will she do a half-marathon.  Me?  I've already signed up for my next on in the fall.  Crazy, I know!

MEC races 1 and 2

On a whim this year I signed up for the MEC race series. 5 races between January and October, all of varying distances, but for a really great low price. I have already run the first 2.

Race One was on January 29th an went through Point Pleasant park.  This was the first time I had ever run in the park and I was a bit worried about the terrain.  Would it be muddy or icy?  It turned out to be a beautiful day, not too cold and the ground was perfect to run on.

This was a 5k run and I finished with  a chip time of 00:52:32.

Race 2 was on April 30th.  Originally I had signed up to do the 10k.  I figured it was a month after I would have finished the Fool's Run Half-Marathon, so doing 10k should be a piece of cake.  Then I checked out the course!

The course started inside the fort at Citadel hill, went around the outer star, up and down the hill leading to the fort (twice), through the grass moats and back into the fort over cobbled walkways with really short doors.  To do the 10k, you went around twice.  The idea of running up that hill 4 times was enough to get me to knock my registration done to 5k.  

The day was clear, but cold and windy and it was a really tough course.  I knew I would struggle with the hills, but the grass in the moat was wet, making it slippery, cobble stone is not fun to run on and trying to duck through doorways while faster runners are trying to pass you is almost impossible.

I finished with a chip time of 00:55:48, which given the route, I was very pleased with.

Believing (again)

It's been almost 4 months since I've updated here.  In that time I've had 3 races that I've wanted to recap (and will get to today), but I just haven't been able to find the words to do it.  Because starting about 6 months ago, I stopped believing in myself.

I didn't believe that I was  real runner.
I didn't believe that I could finish the races.
I just didn't believe in me.

Slumps are hard to dig yourself out of, but I am coming round.

I have a new half-marathon to train for and a plan to follow.  My health is (nearly) good. The weather is almost enjoyable.

I've decided that since I AM going to believe in myself, no matter what, that I've added the message to my body - permanently  - so that I never forget to believe in myself again.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Resolution Run

Start the year of right. Run a 5k race January 1st.

It sounded like a great idea at the time. Several friends were signing up, so I joined them. It fit well with my current training plan, and since I ring in the New Year based on London time (yes they are 4 hours ahead of me, yes I was in bed by 9:00), I didn’t see any downfall. It even had the most decent start time of 11:00 for the revelers who celebrate in their own time zone.

What I failed to factor in was the weather. Silly me.

I woke up to a torrential downpour with the rain driving sideways. The saving grace was that the temperature was at least on the plus side. But still… it was going to be a very soggy run. After some texting back and forth with Jody while each of us hinted at not going, I finally got my act together and out the door. We waited in the car till the very last second, but even so, I was drenched before I even started.

Once your wet, your wet and there is nothing to do but keep going, so I did. The rain did taper off after a while and I was actually too warm in my jacket. It was a nice run along a beautiful trail, but had the unfortunate layout of ending with a steep uphill incline to the finish. Never my favorite way to end a race.

What matters most is that I started the New Year off on the right foot with 5k on the books.