Done and Done – No. 2 Completed

The Toronto Marathon did not disappoint!!  What an incredible experience.  Compared to last year’s adventure (read about it here), this race was everything I had hoped for. My goals for 2014 did not include having 2 stress fractures (same time, same foot), wearing a boot for 8 weeks, no running for 12 weeks and therefore not sure if running a second marathon was going to be possible.

If I was to run another one, I hoped to run again in Toronto to see if, with training and the right gear, I could do better.  When I was invited to join the STWM Digital Champions I jumped in and fully committed to doing my best.  This incredible opportunity gave me the extra motivation I needed to train hard and believe for a good race.  My boot came off mid-May (official training started mid June). I did not have a solid base because of the injury and tried to ease back into running.  My injury caused me to miss  Around The Bay, Ottawa Race Weekend and Calgary Marathon.  The boot came off in time to run Calgary, but with no training for the full, I ran the 5K just to experience it.  I even dressed up in an 80’s running costume, something I never do as it’s way out of my comfort zone. But I thought, so what?! Participate, have fun and let loose. 🙂  What a beautiful way to see the city! I’m hoping to still experience the Calgary Marathon in 2015 – but we’ll see.

So after an adventure filled summer of training runs and races, the day finally arrived for the marathon but so did feelings of doubt and anxiety.  I fell on a trail run just 2 weeks before the marathon which caused a slight injury in my groin.  I couldn’t run for a solid week because of the pain it caused.  I got out for a shake out run a few days before and felt okay but not solid.

Toronto Start 2014My goals the morning of the race were to enjoy it, take more in, and be more aware of the people and my surroundings.  My time goal obviously was to beat last year’s time.  I didn’t know if I could get under 4hr. 45min., as I didn’t feel I was trained up enough.  My, “I’m going to cry, can’t believe I did it goal,” was under 4:30 but I honestly had no expectations of that going in.  The mental battle of self-doubt was strong and I wasn’t even sure I could complete the second half.  I even gave myself permission that if I was in pain at 19K, near the split, I’d make the decision to end the race early and come in for the half-marathon instead.

I had hoped to meet up with the other DCs before the race, but got lost and ended up missing them.  I coincidently bumped in to a few of them near the start corals, said a quick hello, grabbed a quick photo and then we were off to line up.

StartCorals

Christine, myself and Susan

Once in the corals with over 25,000+ other people Susan from my running club – who I had no plans to meet up with – happened to find me!  This, I believe, was no coincidence!  We ended up running the first half together, pacing really well!  I ran my first ever continuous 1/2 marathon and pb’d it.  I had loosely planned on walking at water stations but because I really wasn’t sure how much pain I’d be in due to the injury I was open to do 10/1s or whatever I had to do to get it done.  I hadn’t expected to feel so good. My biggest concerns during the first half was if I was overdoing it, was my pace too fast, should I pull back?  What if I tank for the 2nd half?  BUT Susan and I talked most of the time and I didn’t feel like I was pushing too hard. Even when I suggested we pull back a bit, within moments we were back running the same pace, feeling good.

For the 2nd half I decided maybe I should switch to 10/1s to be safe–still concerned that maybe I’d tank after the 32K mark, knowing what was ahead still.  I had seen Laura (also from my running club) earlier and she was focused, had a plan and was doing her 10/1s.  I saw her ahead of me and kept her in my sight.  When she walked, I walked, when she ran, I ran. I did this for awhile (I hadn’t set up my app for 10/1’s so this was just logical to me).

At around the 30K mark I was feeling a lot of pain in my right foot.  My foot pronates inward and I had been transitioning into newer shoes trying to solve my issues. Add the groin injury on the same side and I think I was overcompensating a bit.  I had to push through quite a bit of pain the last 3-4K.  BUT I still felt overall pretty good.  I was smiling at the camera whenever I saw it, I was enjoying the cheering stations and the people along the route and I even took time to pull alongside fellow DC – JP, aka Batman, to introduce myself in person as we had only been connecting online up to this point. JP is doing amazing things to raise awareness and support for Sick Kids Toronto (you can see more here: Batman Runs For Sick Kids Toronto).

There was a moment when a 4:30 was in my reach, but at around 39K I realized I was going to miss that so I allowed myself to ease up a bit as my foot was killing me.  BUT, not too much as I could still come under 4:35.  As we rounded the corner entering the final 500m run to the finish line I was hurting a lot!  I was considering walking it in when I saw two guys ahead of me, and something in me decided I was not coming in behind them.  So I pushed a little bit harder picking up speed for the final 300m passing them both and coming in strong!

When I kicked it up and passed them, the announcer called my name and Christine (pictured above) who had ran the half marathon started yelling my name from up above me somehow….and then it was over.  It was amazing and I knew immediately I would do this race again!

TO Finish 2014

Official Time 4:33:52

Acknowledging the Wins!

Do you set goals?  Are you always looking ahead at what is coming up or do you take time to reflect on where you have come from?

How often do we take the time to just enjoy the moment or take in the day of a particular event or race.

I always have another goal or race coming up.  It’s how I get up the next day and keep going.  There is not a finish in sight for me but just moments and events to check off one at a time.

Having hired a running coach I am no longer “in control” of my running schedule and have submitted myself entirely to his plans and schedule for me.  Part of my fall race plans included the Army Run.  My coach suggested I run it hard.  Now this can be up for debate with people as I’m training for a fall marathon (just 4 weeks away from the Army Half).  Some choose to run it as such, a training run, slow and steady and others will race it.  The difference when it falls into your training and is not your goal race is that you do not taper for it, you just run it.  Tapering allows your body to recover before the race, and of course you’d take time to recover after as well.  Army Run

After being told to race it, I had a time goal in mind.  To beat last years time.  I was short 18 sec. to accomplishing this and a tad disappointed when I realized how close I came.  When sending in my weekly report to my coach, I reflected on my week in review.  I quickly remembered that it was only 4 short months ago that I was removing a cast that I had on for 3 months!  I had come back from a serious stress fracture (including a secondary minor one).  I built my running back up quickly and most importantly I remained injury free!

So in fact, my race really was a victory for me.  I had been training differently, focusing on building strength and using different muscles for only 3 short weeks. I went into the race after a hard training week, including a long run the day before, and I experienced some special challenges the morning of the race, and yet I still came in ONLY 18sec. short of my time last year.

My disappointment very quickly turned around and I was proud of how I ran.  Proud that I have worked hard at correcting my running technique to run more efficiently and injury free and the Army run wasn’t my goal race. 🙂

Next up is my second marathon in Toronto.  I hope to beat last year’s time, but again I have to celebrate the fact that after an injury I am going to be back running a full marathon and therefore need to be proud of that accomplishment regardless of my time.  Getting a “personal best” is the bonus I hope to experience, however the real win has been the journey of getting to the race.  The countless hours and kilometres that I’ve invested to achieve this goal.

ArmyRun DoneI’ve had an exceptional training season, new friends, new connections, being part of special groups including the opportunity to be a Digital Champion for my goal marathon and being given the incredible opportunity to test out new running gear and become an ambassador for some of the gear I’ve tested out and loved.

So my question to you:  Have you taken a moment to celebrate where you are today?  The personal development or steps that you’ve taken to achieve a goal you have.  Again, it doesn’t have to be running related.  Are you still moving in the direction of the goals you’ve set for yourself?  Are you better today than you were say, even one month ago?  Remember why you are doing what you are doing and celebrate what you have already accomplished.

Keep going. 🙂

When Plans Change

Do you set goals? 

I have to in order to be focussed and disciplined to get workouts in.  I love to run and planning for races helps me stick to a schedule that pushes me past what I might “feel” like doing.

I ran my first marathon in October 2013.  It proved to be a challenging but memorable experience.  I decided the day after that race to run another marathon, Ottawa Race Weekend, kind of as a do over.  It didn’t take me long, but I’ve since realized that there is no need for a do over, but instead it’s a new opportunity to do something great for me!

After signing up for Ottawa’s Marathon, I learned that Calgary was celebrating it’s 50th race weekend and I decided to sign up for it’s marathon as well.  No big deal, right?  Well, it happens to be the week after Ottawa.

I like to push myself and challenge myself to see what I can do, so the training begins.  End of November I starting running with the RR groups half marathon clinic just to keep a decent foundation in my running leading up to the Jan. start of the marathon training.  Ran through the most minus stupid weather throughout the winter months, outside, usually after a snow storm!  Challenge, character building weather, but great fun with great fellow runners.

By mid-February, on yet another snowy long run, my foot was achy…by treating it at home and icing it I continued to run another week or two, until after a 19K run, I realized that something was wrong and I was in too much pain.

Took 3 weeks to get a proper diagnoses, in which a bone scan showed that I had a Calcaneal Stress Fracture (across the body of the heel bone), a minor tibia stress fracture, a bone spur AND minor plantar fasciitis!  I believe this was due to a combination of things, some avoidable, some not.

So suddenly my big marathon back to back plans were in jeopardy!   What now?  Treatment consisted of a boot, for likely 8 weeks up to 12!  I immediately booked the half marathon in Calgary as a back up plan.  Figuring I could at least run the half.  Maybe, possibly run half in both cities instead.

No workouts aloud for the first 4 weeks!  Four weeks later, I’ve been cleared to start swimming and doing some non-impact training, but still in the boot.  Likely not able to even test my foot for another 4 weeks, and even then I need to start with walking!

What about my plans, I can’t run the marathons, that’s a given, but now I can’t possibly do the half marathons without risking injury.  *sigh*

Okay, there are worst things in life, right?  YES!  So how can I experience these great events and continue with my racing goals?  Well, we will volunteer (my daughter and I).  We usually do race kit pick up (we’re kind of pros now LOL).  My daughter and I volunteer for race kit pick up for a number of races every year.  I do it to be involved, she does it for the free shirt, ha!

So we are signed up to volunteer in both cities.  I’m planning on running the 5K (maybe 10k) in Calgary and I’m already preregistered for Calgary Marathon 2015!

I plan to run another shorter distance race in the summer, signed up for the  Army Run (half) in September.  Looking at a 5K/half in Nova Scotia for the fall as well AND then will focus on doing Ottawa and Calgary back to back in 2015 (full marathons).

Plans change, we cannot always control what happens to us or around us.  Life happens, I just love to run and love having goals towards to achieve new levels of training for me.  I love the friends that I’m meeting along the way and the shared experiences that I get to have with others.  I love how my family never questions the insane choices I make, but instead they support me all the time and challenge me if I do anything contrary to the goals and plans I’ve set out for myself.

Do you set goals?  What do you do when your plans change?

I’d love to hear your experiences as well 🙂

Happy RUNNING!