Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Week 1 Training - Valley Half

I have officially started training for my next half-marathon, the Valley Harvest Half held Thanksgiving weekend in Wolfville.

This will be my 3rd half marathon, and I decided to take a more structured training approach this time around.  So to help me with that I signed up for a half-marathon training clinic through The Running Room. It is a 15 week program that includes 3 runs a week with the group and 2 runs on your own.  I am trading in most of the runs on my own for cross training at the gym as I know that I need to focus as much on cross training as I do on running if I want to stay injury free.

The first week starts you off nice and easy:

  • Mon - Boot Camp instead of rest day
  • Tues - 3k run
  • Wed - 4k run
  • Thurs - Boot Camp instead of 3k run
  • Fri - Rest day
  • Sat - 3k run
  • Sun - 10k race instead of 7k run

So in total I ran 20k in the first week, the most mileage I've done since April.

Other than the crappy 10k Race on Sunday, I'm feeling great!  My knee isn't bothering me and I'm starting to feel stronger overall from the boot camp exercises.

103 days to go!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

MEC race 3

Hot.  Hilly.  Humid.  Hell.

This was my third 10k race and was almost the race that made me think that running isn't for me.  Now that I'm home, had a shower and continuing to hydrate with ALL the water, I am willing to run again.... just maybe not in the heat.

The best part of this race was FRIENDS.  

I go into every race with 3 goals - 1: Don't die, 2: Finish 3: Have fun.  I did not have fun, I did finish, and once again I felt that I just might die.

The race didn't start till 9:30 and it was already +26°C.  The course was along the beautiful Salt Marsh Trails. However there was no shade and barely any breeze.  But there were HILLS.  All the hills.

I tried my best in the beginning and managed to run/walk the first 5k. At the turn around, I dumped a lot of water on my head in an attempt to cool down.  I drank all the water.  And then I walked.  I walked the last 5ks- Up the hills, Down the hills, In the heat.  So. Much. Heat.

I crossed the finish line with a time of 02:05:34- last again, but I thought to myself "at least I didn't die"

I walked over to my friends who were cheering me on, got some water and BAM! I couldn't breath.  Luckily I was talking to Melissa at that time and she quickly got me to the first aid tent, helped me get my asthma inhaler out of my pouch and told the First Aider's what was going on. I used the puffer, walked slowly around in the shade (with the First Aider following me to make sure I didn't keel over) and eventually my breathing improved.  

I gave Jody the car keys (driving didn't seem like a good idea) and we headed out for brunch.  While my breathing was better, my temperature was still high and I struggled through breakfast, vacillating between nausea and being lightheaded.  Jeanette went to the bathroom with me to make sure I didn't pass out and helped cool me down with we paper towel on my neck.  

This is why friends are the best part of any race.

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.