June and Race Recap Pride and Remembrance 5km

Lots has been going on here in the last month! It’s all been great stuff but just busy busy with no real down time to just hang out. My daughter graduated from Elementary school where she has spent the last 8 yrs. It was hard to say goodbye to a place where so many of your formative time is spent. Not to mention the school is small, with just 305 students. This means everyone knows everyone from students to teachers to helpers. It’s been her place of comfort as well as mine for her. I’ve spent many hours and days on various committees and volunteer gigs that I won’t know what to do with all this “free” time during my regular working day! 😃. I’ve also had great memories of all the staff and parents I have worked with and formed friendships with.

 

My valedictorian


Jada was also nominated as Valedictorian for her class. This was a hugely emotional moment for me when she was voted as well as when she spoke. She had been seeing the school Social Worker for the last few years and has never had an easy time socially up until this year or the back half of last year. So to be nominated by her peers was HUGE! I’m so proud of the girl she is and has become. (Sniff sniff)

June also had a lot of end of year parties for school and extra curriculars plus the odd trampoline meet and family celebrations. So to say by the end of the month I was exhausted is an understatement . Jada left for sleep away camp with a massive cold. Another exhausted member of the family. She’ll be okay though in a few days I hope.

  
This last weekend I raced in the Pride and Remebrance 5km. This race is during Pride Week in Toronto. It’s a race I’ve always wanted to do but always had some triathlon to train for or recover from so it never fit into the plan. This year there are no such swim/bike/run races so I was free to do it. It was a blast. It’s a low key, no frills race that has one goal of being a time for the LGBTQ community to raise funds and to run as a community as well as anyone else of any gender, race, age and sexual orientation. It basically kicks off Pride weekend. There are no medals, no volunteers pretty much, no mile markers. There was some good food and pastries from Dufflets! I did my 3km warm up and my legs didn’t feel sprightly even though my week of workouts was low because of all the grad festivities in the evenings. Once the gun went off I managed to hold a pretty good pace until the last couple km when you have to loop around again and try to weave through the second wave. Oh and then there was the massive head wind for the final 400m stretch or so. Thankfully the rain held off though. At one point a girl asked me if I was running 4:20’s and I said I have no clue Cuz I’m not looking at my watch. I’m still trying to run by feel. In the end I finished in 21:30 (4:15/km). Again far off my PB but over 2 mins faster than March and 40+ seconds faster than a month ago. The best part was I didn’t feel the same fatigue and weakness set in my left leg that I have in past.

 

The other great thing is my whole mental state before a race is better and calmer. Pre stress fracture I would get really stressed and worried. Now I am in it for the fun and happy to be out there! However I still don’t smile in race photos! One day……….

Toronto Women’s Run Recap 

This past Sunday was the 7th Toronto Women’s 5km and Half Marathon in Sunnybrook Park. As I stated in my last post my friend Cory Freedman is the founder and race director of the series. There are 3 races of various distances in May, August and October. My husband and daughter have also volunteered through the years and my daughter and I have run the 5km’s both together and sometimes separately. This race we decided to run separately. In her words after this last race she said “I run better when I have no one to whine to”. At least the sentiments were shared! 

  
As part of the Mizuno Ambassador team, I proudly sported my new spring/summer gear and got to hang out a bit with fellow ambassadors. Because I had two different volunteer gigs for the morning my visits were short! Part of the race environment is support of your fellow women during the race. A great newish tradition is to have Mizuno Run Birds on course. These Birds are Mizuno Ambassadods sprinkled along the course route to cheer, encourage, run alongside and support their fellow runners. I was not an official run bird but did join in after my jobs were completed. What an awesome experience. Running and walking alongside women who needed and appreciated the company and encouragement was so rewarding. One woman in particular was a 61 year old from India. She was in Toronto for 6 months for the birth of her grandchild. When I asked her if this was her first half marathon she said “no it’s my 18th and I’m 61!” We were all so impressed by her. She said she was slow and one of my fellow ambassadors said ” but you are out doing something not everyone would do and you have done more today than most people who may still be in bed!”. How true. The look on this woman’s face when she saw her son and spotted the finish banner was amazing. I had so much fun going back along the last km or so of the course to help others in. I hope to do this again at the coming races! 

 

My fellow ambassadors


 

Our rainbow of Mizuno shoes!

  

Now on to my race. This time around as compared to March at ATB I didn’t have any fears of a stress fracture. I still feel like I’m holding back a gear but I definitely worked harder this go around. I started out a bit quick I think as my pace dropped significantly through the last 2 km. My left leg is still considerably weaker than my right and as a result my leg starts to tire and drag a bit. As much as I’m trying to strengthen a few times a week with yoga and gym work I think I need to up this at home too. I tried hard to pick up my pace towards the end but just had nothing left in my legs or lungs maybe? I didn’t once glance at my watch as I wanted to run by feel again. I finished in 22:11, which is almost exactly a minute faster than March so I was pretty pleased at that and pleased that again I was able to race and not hurt myself. I think with each race I will gain that confidence back. It was fun to see my daughter on the out and back and high five each other. I had asked her if she wanted me to double back after and do the rest with her and she said nope. So I waited about 50 m from the finish and watched her sprint in. A friend of hers from school and her mom also ran their first TO Women’s run and really enjoyed it. The best thing too about the race is the great Awake chocolate at the end! Oh and the free photo downloads from Zoom Photo! 

  

 

Jada sprinting to the line!

 My second job of the morning is giving out awards. For the first time in this race when I’ve raced and not run with my daughter I didn’t give myself an award. I was 4th in my category. A couple fast girls have aged up! And I’ve slowed down but it seemed less stressful to podium in some ways. It was the first time in a few years I didn’t receive an award and it actually felt good!!! I’ve come so far mentally it still blows me away:) 

I’m really looking forwards to the next TO Women’s Run in August. There is a 10km and a 5km and I’ll race the 5km again then hopefully do some run bird duties! It was very rewarding and a fun way to give back other than my usual volunteer gigs. 

My daughter and I took some fun photos too. She is more into photo bombing than smiling it seems lately:) 

   
 

A Whole Different Mindset for Race #2

Tomorrow is the Toronto Women’s 5km and half marathon in Sunnybrook Park. My good friend Cory Freedman is the founder and race director and by very nature of that scenario we have been going as a family to volunteer and run for its 7 year inception. Sometimes I have run with my daughter, now almost 12, and sometimes I have run solo. I have never done the half distance here but always the 5, 8 or 10 as offered at various times of the season. 

Last year I was on crutches while I volunteered and watched friends and my daughter run the races. This year I again get to run. I won’t be running with my daughter (the last time we did one together in the fall we both realized it wasn’t fun for either of us!….. She tends to whine for 4 of the 5 km! We have enjoyed many of these events together in the past but she doesn’t like to practice run (I won’t call it training at her age), so she really does best when she goes solo. I have told her over and over that she doesn’t have to feel like she has to do it but she still claims to enjoy it! Maybe one day we will do it again together but for this one I’ll head back after I’m done and help her make it in! 

  
I’m really looking forwards to this race and the best part is I’m feeling a lot more confident in what my body can do than I was at Around the Bay 5km at the end of March. I don’t feel anxious like I did then. I don’t feel like I want to drop out like I did then.  I don’t plan to fire on all cylinders this weekend, as I’m still not quite there mentally to push to that extent. I know my body is way stronger, healthier and smart this go around but I’ll leave the all out efforts for later this season, if I choose to go there again. 

I’m excited for the beatutiful weather that is forecasted and to hang out and run with all my fellow Mizuno Ambassador peeps! 

  
And to see my daughter hopefully smiling as she crosses the line proud of herself and having participated in something that not all pre tween girls wake up at 5:30 am to do on a sunny May Sunday! 

A very different Mothers Day 

This morning I woke at 4:40 a.m to volunteer at the Sporting Life 10km finish line. A huge spring season opener boasting 27 000 runners. It’s a sure PB with it being mostly net downhill. Last year I laced up feeling a bit off in my body and stressed in my mind and body. The result was two stress fractures in my hip and pelvis at about 7 km. I finished the race in not so far off my fastest time but….. It was the start of a journey over the past year that I was actually thankful for. 

The past few years I had worked my body into a fatigued and depleted state. Getting faster, leaner and seeing race results pushed me beyond what my body could handle. The result was last years 10km race. Broken and unable to weightbear I needed to find ways to deal with my new reality. I won’t go into all the details as I did chronicle it in the posts following. However, it taught me a lot. That old adage , everything happens for a reason could not have been more true.

Today, this time around I feel healthy, strong, calm in my mind, and focused on what is most important in my life. My husband, daughter and my health. I learned to love myself for who I am, and what I can do. It took a year of my lowest low to get to what I feel is close to my highest high. 

 

Feeling strong and healthy

  

My husband and daughter on a trip to Ottawa


 Sometimes us Type A personalities can be a detriment to our health and well being as much as they are right for our achievements. I am still learning to be nice to me, not expect perfection, and live my life doing what makes me happy and fulfilled. 

Here’s to a great Mothers Day (even though my daughter is out of town!) and for me a celebration of how far I’ve come over a year. 

5 Peaks Terra Cotta race report 

Hi! Last weekend I ran my first trail race at the 5 Peaks Terra Cotta trail. This is part of my “try new things” mantra. Since my big injury last year ( almost a year ago exactly!) I wanted to stray from my rigid ways and explore other athletic pursuits. I did a bit of trail running before the winter but nothing like this course! Here’s my recap. 

I left pretty early as I didn’t know what parking would be like and that always stresses me :). I arrived at about 8:40 for a 10:30 start. I wasn’t the first one there…..but I was early. Now I know. I got a nice close spot so going back and forth to my car to undress, store extra clothes and snacks, and sit in the car to keep warm as the day started out chilly. I went to register and picked up an awesome Buff Canada head band. I already have a neck and head warmer thing so I chose the headband option. I then went back to my car to keep warm. With about an hour to go before the race I left the car and met up with a few friends that were also doing the race. Then I headed back to the car and then a short warm up on the first part of the course. They warned of big mud but on my warm up I had dry trail with no real technical sections. I thought hmmm, this will not be as hard as I thought. 

 

Sporting the cool Buff headband

 
I stripped down to shorts, t-shirt and arm warmers and of course my gloves as glove weather for me is anything under 13C! My hands get so cold. I seeded myself in the second wave . I had no idea what to expect other than time really doesn’t matter on the trails. I liked that approach. My main goal in this race was not to sprain my ankle. And of course to have fun!! 

The wave went off and the first 500 m was flat terrain with no major technical footing. A guy running next to me complimented me on my quick cadence and just as I was replying that this is actually a slower cadence than I used to run ( I was told my almost 200 steps per minute could be slowed slightly and still be efficient), and then bam we hit the roots and my ankle rolled ! I felt the pain shoot through it but was okay to keep running and after ten minutes I felt nothing. However It was just so much different than a road run obviously and I didn’t expect every step to require so much concentration! I did slow down a bit more through all the roots and rocks and steep downhills with the log like steps so I wouldn’t further injure anything else by taking a missed step. The uphills were challenging but I surprised myself by passing a few people and felt fairly strong going up. As I ran the technical bits in the first 2-3 km I was so pleased to be doing the sport course and not the two loop Enduro course! My effort was high even though I wasn’t running as quickly as I would on the roads. The best part was not looking at a pace on my watch and just focusing on making the footing . They had warned of big muddy patches ….. They were not wrong! On the first one I tried to piddle through and then gave that up and just soldiered through trying hard to hold onto my shoes! 

 

the after effects of the mud on my Wave Hayate trail shoes

  

my heart rate was in a high zone!

 The final km was not as technical and I did glance down once at my watch and saw I was running 4:15/km so I was surprised sort of to still be able to hold effort after the work I did on the trail. I managed to come 3rd in my category having first and second all within a minute of me. I stayed for the awards and some of the draw prizing which is probably one of the best of any races I have done. Cuz really it’s all about the swag! Oh and the finish line food had both peanut butter and almond butter….heaven! 

 

My 3rd place clay medal

 
  
After the race was worried about my ankle but knew it wasn’t too bad as I could trot to my car and back and walk around as if it was normal. It didn’t swell or get colourful . Me being the physio, I grabbed ice right away and then used arnica cream and tablets and ultra sounded and kept icing and KT taped it. The end result was a run two days later with zero pain. It’s been fine all week. Phew! I’ve rolled this ankle many times on flat ground and never that badly but this time it hurt when I did it. Having spent last spring and summer on the shelf with my stress fractures , the last thing I want is another lay off. I want to enjoy nice weather activity after another brutal winter. 

Hopefully I will be able to fit in another 5 Peaks in July at Albion Hills. The others don’t fit with my free weekends . 

It was a fun start to the spring after ATB. Next up is the Toronto Womens 5km on May 24th. I’m feeling confident that I can push it slightly harder than ATB but I think I’ll save one more gear still. I have less fear but it’s not totally gone. I’m looking forwards to this race as last year I was on crutches and really wanted to represent Mizuno in my first year as an ambassador. So this year if all goes well I’ll be able to do just that. My daughter will also run the 5km but not with me. After the last one in October I told her it wasn’t fun hearing her whine the whole time 🙂 and the one time she ran solo she did her best and had the most fun! So I do think it’s mutual!!! 

Going to the Trails! And more….

Tomorrow is my first trail race! I’m doing the 5 Peaks Terra Cotta race. It’s going to be a “run” not a race. My first goal is to not sprain my ankle. My second goal is to test out trail running itself. The ups and downs, the terrain. It’s all new for me and I’m looking forward to “getting off the road” as they say. I’ll do a report shortly after. I don’t have the same nerves and fear I had before my first 5km back from injury last month. I think it’s because I have no expectations of what trail racing is like and like anything you race for the first time, each first is a PB! 

  
This week was so exciting for another reason too. My daughter starred as Annie in her school’s production. She was a co-Annie as there are so many kids that love this FREE program, that the director needed to create an almost double cast. She played Annie from the second half on. It was also her last production in elementary school and she’s been doing it every year since they allow in grade 2. Our choir director is 100% volunteer and her kids haven’t attended the school for five years! She is so devoted and the kids benefit so much from her love and devotion to the program. She puts on musicals you would not expect from a school production . I was beaming with pride and a touch of bittersweet sadness as this is her final year. My daughter has worked her butt off to get the role and shone on stage. 

  
That’s it for today. Looking forwards to getting dirty tomorrow on the trails of Terra Cotta! 

Around the Bay 5km race recap 

It’s done. My first post stress fracture race is in the books. I felt much calmer on Sunday than I had been on Fridsy after some encouraging and grounding words from both my coach and sports psychologist. I woke up Sunday ready to put the fear of hurting myself while racing to rest . My goal for the race was to run steady pace, start out slowly and if my mind and body felt okay with it, I could pick it up in the last km or two. 

I went out to the race with my husband who ran the 30km. We found a close enough parking spot, but I panicked that I would be unable to get my car out as people were parking pretty tight. He said not to worry, but no sweat on him because he was getting a ride home from someone else! Thankful for my back up camera I got the car out:). Anyway we walk/jogged to the start as it was so cold! I wore my wintery gear from Mizuno and thought I wouldn’t be overdressed especially having to wait outside for a bit before the race. I was a little too warm in the end, but the race was short enough not to matter too much. 

Chosen winter gear for this spring race!

I got to meet my coach, Timo for the first time in person in the stadium and then Michael and I hit the washrooms one last time ( not the same ones:)). He left to line up for the long course and I did my 10′ warm up. My legs felt fine and I warmed up enough that I wasn’t shivering at the start. I lined up close to the back of the first corral. Far back from where I would normally line up but I didn’t want to get carried away with the quick pace at the start. I heard people around me talking about their times they wanted and most were 21-22 mins so I knew I was in a good spot. I had no time goal. The goal for this race was mental and to test my body again. I did not ONCE glance at my watch. Not even once. I didn’t even have a desire to. I went by feel. Once the first km or so was done I felt more warmed up and that’s when there is a gradual incline for about 400 m. I managed it fine and kept on to the turn around. At that point I picked it up but still not redlining it. I was just assessing how my hip felt even though I hadn’t had any pain since getting back to running in Sept! The odd muscular ache but nothing bony at all. At the 4km point you are heading down that incline that you went up. Since my fracture happened on a mostly downhill race, I have been cautious and nervous on downhills . I started to feel a little ache in my adductor muscle and I got scared. I didn’t increase my pace anymore through the race. Coming into the stadium I saw the clock just flip over to 23 mins. I was ok with it. My last 5 km two yrs ago I ran my PB in 19:34. In fact, I have never raced a 5km as slowly as I did at Around the Bay. That is kind of weird to think but at the same time I basically started to run from scratch and have been very conservative in my build. Maybe one day I’ll get near the 20 mins mark again and maybe I won’t and I’ll be ok with that too. I’m confident that my time will come down through the season and I am looking forwards to re-entering the racing scene. Maybe with different goals than I had in the past but we will see what transpires as the summer draws nearer. The great thing about being older is you can still run slower and get hardware:). I ended up 2nd in my age group and 5th Master female but I didn’t wait around after the race because that wasn’t my goal. I also wanted to get home for my daughter when’s she was finished her program. 

Yesterday and today my legs have felt totally fine. Like I did not do a race, so I know I still had an extra gear I did not use. Normally after a full on 5km race my legs are stiff and tired for a couple of days following so this is encouraging! 

Back at the car with a post race smile!

That’s all for today. Just waiting to wear spring and summer clothing and hopefully get outside for that first outdoor ride too. My climate limits for riding are much more stringent than for running!