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! 

Pre race thoughts and jitters

Tomorrow is my first race back post stress fracture. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous as I had mentioned in my last post. Yesterday I had a mild bit of anxiety and was ready to bail on it. Why? I’m healthy now. Nothing really hurts and nothing is broken. Why do I think Sunday would change this? Because I was pretty much traumatized at the Sporting Life 10km last year when without any pre race signs of injury ( other than utter exhaustion and a feeling that something wasn’t right with me leading up?..I now know those are signs! ), I sustained a stress fracture in the 7th km of the race. That’s my last memory of racing. Followed by 17 weeks of rehab, soul searching and getting healthy).  So I sent out two emails yesterday, one to my coach ( new coach in the last four months or so) and one to my sports psychologist. Both had excellent advice. 

In Sept of 2013 I posted my best 5km time in 19:34. My track workouts hit sub 4:00 Km’s and all went great in that race. I’ve wanted to go sub 20 for a long time and this blew away my expectations. A few days ago I ran a test workout and 4:20’s were challenging. It still blows my mind how much fitness I lost but wisdom I gained in the last 10 months . So tomorrow is not about PB’s . It’s about testing my mind and my body to run the first few Km’s steady but comfortable and increase the pace in the last km or two if all feels good and my mind is ok with it. I’ve never run a race like that! Especially a 5km I go hard and hang on. My coach wants to me run without my watch so pace is not an issue and body feel is. I told him I want the data but I promise to turn it upside down or just not look at it. I can do that…..😃👍..

My sports psychologist who has helped me in the past and more so through  my latest set back suggested I write down some non time related goals for tomorrow. What better place to do that than here: 

1. Run relaxed and with good form . 

2. Don’t worry about my time. It doesn’t matter. 

3. Be confident that the new healthier , smarter me can handle the task ahead and will come out just fine. 

4. Enjoy the moment. It’s not about winning , setting a PB or any of that. I can do this for the love of the sport and to welcome myself back into the racing scene. 

Ok that’s it. I’ve done it and now it’s time to put all that positive energy into tomorrow. Yes it’s just a 5km but to run a fast strong 5km you’ve got to pretty much put it on the line from the start and give it 85-90% of your effort. Not an easy task. However , I just promised NOT to do that and to test my body and my mind and engage it in ways I was unable to even 6 months ago. I’ve just been building speed back since January so I need to not worry about what those around me are gunning for and stay within my own boundaries and limits. 

I’ll save the real efforts for much later in the season when I know my fitness and my confidence in my body are there. 

To all those racing the 5km or the 30km I wish you the best of luck in whatever your goals may be. 

See you at the finish line. I may be the one crying ….not for pain or anything like that, but for beating down my own demons.  

   

Conquering my Mental Demons

So a week from today I will do my first race post stress fracture. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I am more frightened than excited. Some of you know I sustained this injury during a race. Last Mothers Day, I celebrated by crossing the Sporting Life 10km finish line broken. I have taken this last almost a year to learn a lot about myself. I changed my attitude towards training, nutrition, and what I think is most important to me. I continuously evaluate why I’m training, doing it for the love of being active vs. the “need” to complete each workout and feed some obsession. My eating habits have changed and I am happy with the additional weight I gained since that day in May. 

Why am I afraid to race ? I don’t know. I still get scared to do intervals when I run. My sports psychologist acknowledged the trauma that injury did to my psyche and told me “that was then and this is now”. As much as that is not such a profound statement it is true to my situation. I am a different person in so many ways. I also don’t really care how fast I go. Yes,  I do think I will always have a competitive streak in me and want to do my best, but I was putting a lot of stress on myself and my impression of who I was on my abilities to race. 

My times in my 40’s got faster and I started placing top 3 in my category more than I didn’t. I think I became identified by that person and that is part of what fueled my unhealthy obsession with training. If I don’t get back to that sub 20 mins 5km time I won’t be upset. It will take a lot of hard training to get there again and given what I went through and how it has affected me mentally I’m not sure I need to be that fast again. 

My new coach sent me this the other day and it also hit home. 

 

 My goal for this coming weekend at Around the Bay 5km is to finish the race without a stress fracture. Now really I know the chances of that are slim but that’s how scared I am after last year. I think once I have this first one over with I’ll have the confidence in myself and what I have been doing . As for my time, that will be secondary and I’m not going to be angry or upset with myself if I see a time I haven’t seen for a few years. I have still been slowly building back some fitness and my coach has been great at balancing his goals with my fears. 

From here on in I will think positively , and be confident in my health and mental well being. 

 Here’s to new beginnings and putting old demons to rest. 

Gratitude and Happiness

Well it’s taken a big snowstorm with a few cancellations in my day to finally get me to sit down and write a post. Not that I haven’t been thinking about it for a while! It’s deep into winter today here in Toronto, but I have to say it’s been an easy one so far in terms of snow. I don’t mind the cold, but it’s the inconvenience of the snow for driving, running, getting around that I dislike most about winter. Usually at this time of the year, my SAD sets in and I just need to get out of here. This year I find myself in a different place. I can’t keep myself from actually being thankful for my lay off this past spring due to stress fractures. It opened my eyes to how intense I was in so many ways and how this made me so unhappy. This last 6 months or so I have truly been enjoying life, seeing things I didn’t see before. My relationship with my daughter is thriving as she enters the preteen years. I still smile at shopkeepers, strangers, and have an extra amount of patience for things I never did before. I credit yoga for part of this change in me, and seeing my sports psychologist, and just self healing.
This past week at yoga the instructor ended class with this: It struck a chord with me and asked her for the passage.
Be Thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire. If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something, for it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for difficult times. During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for your mistakes. They teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you are tired and weary because it means you have made a difference.
It’s easy to be thankful for the good things. A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles and they can become your blessings.

I found this to be oh so true. Particularly when I think about what I went through this past spring and summer and how thankful I am that it actually happened. It opened my eyes.

This winter I am finding new ways of helping me enjoy the season. Taking short walks when I have time during my day or going out to walk with my husband at night so we can talk without distractions and phones beeping has been a great way to connect with both the fresh air and each other.
I tried snowshoeing for the first time this past weekend and absolutely loved it!
I’m trying to get out for runs, even if it’s cold or a bit snowy (up to my limit of course:)) but not having any expectations for those runs, other than to get some fresh air.
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my new Dion snowshoes are great.

my new Dion snowshoes are great.

I hope that when the snow melts and the sun and warm temperatures arrive again, I’ll be able to do what I love, continue to explore new things like trail running/races. In addition, I want to continue on my path to health, happiness and growing relationships.

Goals for 2015

Now that 2014 has come and gone I personally would like to forget about it. I started the year ripping off a full thickness layer of skin in Feb leading to 7 weeks off running, 5 weeks off wearing closed shoes of any kind and just a whole lot of frustration and tears. A few months later the stress fractures happened and well I pretty much spent the remainder of the year trying to put my life into perspective . I am so excited to start a new year with a chance to achieve some great things both personally, and athletically . Here are my goals for the year 2015.

Stay as injury free as possible.
Why do I feel like every athlete makes this one of their goals ? I think it should be less of a goal and more of a conscious decision . I think athletes have the control over this but often we refuse to accept that we are less than invincible. I intend to listen to my body, be proactive in rest and recovery when I need it and be okay with it! Keep up with strength work , keep my run distance lower and listen to my new running coach. If I do get injured or require short lay offs I will take them as an opportunity to explore new ways of staying active and new ways of filling that time that fitness currently does . I think I covered a lot of points in that one goal!

Keep up with yoga …..it’s totally helping my mind.
It still sort of blows my mind that I am doing yoga and loving it! I don’t go to yoga for the workout aspect of it although I do feel my muscles burning when I have to hold some of those standing poses. I feel my still weak left hip muscles differently than the right. I have loved the yoga for the calm it has instilled in me . And I never thought that could ever be achieved! I am not a total jelly fish but I find I rush around a lot less. I am calmer with my daughter, my husband and the line up at the grocery store :). I plan to keep the yoga in my plans at least once a week and maybe twice but it does get expensive as I prefer to do it at Moksha. I do an online one as well so I may do that also if time permits.
( BTW this is not me in the photo!)

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Listen more
I want to pay attention to what my husband is saying and not cut him off mid-sentence as often as I have been known to do. He is a chatterbox and I am not, so if the point is not delivered in ten words or less I get antsy. Back to the benefits of yoga…….

Be a great mom
My daughter is entering the preteen years. She’s a super kid and still loves to hang out with me and tells me everything. Even when she sneaks the chocolate as I leave her alone at home for short periods of time she will tell me if I ask her “so how much junk did u steal while I was gone.”:). I need to keep this going so she knows she always has an ear to talk to when things in her life get tough. I want to talk not yell ( although sometimes we all know it ain’t possible ! ….back to those yoga benefits of calm) and just give her the space she needs to develop her sense of independence. Having one child can be harder than it seems as they are your everything. No one else to deflect your hopes, dreams, successes and failures in your children. You are their playmate, sounding board, support and discipliner.

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Try some new races
I have always shied away from anything that was different or varied from my rigid training plan I had set out for me . Ever since my stress fracture experience I have found new ways of enjoying activity. I have run a few easy trails in the city and love it. Getting off the roads, being closer to nature, the peaceful surroundings and challenging terrain . I also love how it makes me slow down and stay alert about both my form and the footing. I’m excited to do some trail races this coming year to see what I’ve been missing all this time. I will race short courses this year and going forwards so my mechanical foot issues will not progress any further . I want to be walking in five years! I also hope to get some of my speed back as long as I can do this with a healthy mindset, and for the enjoyment, without the pressure I put on myself all the time when racing.

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Cut myself some slack
It’s no secret to those who know me well that I am extremely hard on myself. I expect a lot and don’t allow for much in the way of slip ups. I know this can be unhealthy so my big goal for this year that sort of started in the last month or two is to try to allow for something other than perfection and expecting such from those around me too. Yoga ….it’s gonna come in handy here too I think. So is a lot of self talk and journaling .

I hope and feel that 2015 is going to be my best year yet ( except for 2003 when I had my baby😃, and 1992 when I got married, and 1993 when I graduated PT school, and 1999 when I did my first Ironman. ) ok so I’ve had some good years but after last year I just want this one to trump them all! Here’s to a happy healthy and calm 2015.

2014 Recap. 2015 Goals

My 2014 recap will not take very long since in terms of racing season it was done quickly about 7km into the Sporting Life 10km on May 11. I don’t tend to race before the weather turns nice mostly because I don’t enjoy standing in the cold waiting for a race to start so this was my start and end to 2014’s athletic endeavours. I don’t mind running in cold weather but it’s that whole waiting around stuff . I did manage close to a PB at that race though in 40 mins and change. Not without a cost. Prior to Sporting Life my year was really rough with a lot of layoffs . Stupidity ruled the game this year and that’s about all I can say about it . My primary goal was to race Syracuse 70.3 in June and try to qualify for worlds in Mt. Tremblant . I dropped out of training for Syracuse about two weeks before Sporting Life which was 2 months give or take before Syracuse. I didn’t feel ready and I didn’t want to push things. Go figure .
So what did I really accomplish in 2014? A lot actually. Just more in life than in sport.
I learned that I need to respect my body and what it’s saying to me.
I leaned there are so many more important things to be engaged in than training.
I learned how to rest. And enjoy it. This is still a work in progress.
I learned to love yoga and what it did for my mind more than my body.
I learned that I physically have my limits despite mentally wanting more.
I learned to accept this and am still working on this one too.

I have found a new calm in my life but this is something I need to be continually remind myself of. I can’t just adjust a whack of years of being stressed on little things and intensity in my personality in a few short months. I am trying to talk myself down from stressful situations or times when my mind says things that aren’t necessary.

Well I actually think I’m going to end this here . I’m going to take more time to reflect on what I want for 2015 . Since it’s still a few weeks away. I don’t always need to be early for everything:).