Road2Hope Marathon Training #4 Plus an Embarrassing Admission

Might as well start with the embarrassing admission part… check out the pick below:

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Yep, managed to fall again this week.  I purposely stayed on a very smooth gravel trail that I have run more times than I can count.  I had already completed 5k with the kids, let them go play at the nearby park and then continued on my way in the hopes of completing another 5k before the heat became overwhelming.  Not even 2k into the run my toe managed to hit the one and only rock sticking out of the ground.  This time there was just blood, no fingers sticking out at odd angles or broken bones.  Mostly I am thankful that my kids were no longer with me as my use of profanity was nothing short of epic.  At least this fall was convenient, I was close to a city rec centre and a very nice lifeguard patched me up.  Let’s just say my run the next day took place entirely on roads.

Here is last week’s training:

Monday:

  • 6k

Tuesday:

  • 7.5k in a lovely early morning rain.  The rain didn’t start until the last half of the run and it wasn’t heavy enough for me to worry about doing any damage to my cast.  I hadn’t factored in, however, just how difficult it would be to get my rather wet sports bra off.  About halfway through the process I realized there was a risk I wasn’t going to get out of that thing until evening when my husband came home.  In the end, I admit it, I had to wrap up in a towel and get help from my 10 year old.  I’m pretty sure he is young enough that I didn’t psychologically harm him for life.
  • core exercises, though planks are out for the time being.

Wednesday: off

Thursday:

  • 15k LSR.  I was amazed at how pleasant this run was.  I actually enjoyed every minute and I am pretty sure I could have continued for a few more kms quite comfortably.  I picked a favourite route with long gentle hills and actually felt my best on the inclines.  Wouldn’t it be nice if more runs were like this?
  • core exercises

Friday:

  • core exercises

Saturday:

  • 7k hilly route.  These weekend short runs are really increasing my strength.  There is barely a flat area anywhere near our cabin, so an easy flat route is not an option.  Since I am no longer able to jump in the lake after a run, I instead did core exercises on the dock.

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Sunday:

  • 5k, hills again, including one steep one that I avoided the day before.  I’m pretty sure my running pace up this hill is no faster than my walking pace.  The picture below shows the beginning of the hill, which I promise is steeper than it looks here.

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Thoughts:

My first week of 40 kms since May.  But it is 40 kms with a difference.  In May I was going through the motions, now I am enjoying the process again.  Sure it would be nice to be going a little farther and a little faster right now.  Hey, when wouldn’t it be?  But right now the running just feels right, if that makes any sense.  Last week between Sunday and Thursday I ran 40 km and was not the least bit sore.  I was keen to run again in the days following.  I am even getting up early to run, something I usually only do on race days.  I know not everything we do can be fun all the time, but when it happens I am certainly going to hold on to the moments.

A Happy Day

What a good day!

I had a perfect long run, 15 km on a gorgeous summer morning.  By 12k when the sun was a little hot, I headed into the woods (on a very smooth trail!) to finish up the run.  Does it get better than this?

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I followed the run up with a trip to the hand doctor.  I did shower first but you wouldn’t have known based on the smell of the temporary cast.  When the cast was pulled off I was politely asked if I wished to wash my arm.  Running and casts are not a good mix.

Bad news, no waterproof cast.  Good news, I should only have to wear it for 3 more weeks, followed by a splint.  That is less time than the ER doctor predicted so I am thrilled!  Of course this doctor asked me to ease off on the training for 3 weeks, I assured him that wasn’t necessary.  He looked like he wanted to argue and then thought better of it.  My theory is if I managed to put in 40 km with the temporary cast, there really isn’t any reason to stop now!

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Road2Hope Marathon Training Week 3

There was certainly nothing ordinary about last week.

Monday:

  • 5k run, high heat and humidity
  • 45 minutes deep water pool running

Tuesday:

  • 5.5 k trail running with the boys, high heat and humidity
  • orienteering 5.5k – think of this as fartleks with a map

Wednesday: off

Thursday:

  • 1 cycle of “Standard Core Routine”
  • 15 minutes rowing – my husband pulled out this old machine and I had an instant outdoor gym with awesome views:

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Friday:

  • 3.5k trail run, half of planned run thanks to me falling, heading to the hospital, getting a cast, blah, blah, blah.  For all the gory details check out the previous two posts. 

Saturday:

  • lots of sleep and Advil

Sunday:

  • 6k (that was really 6.9k) MEC trail race and a 5.3k road run

IMG_4335 ReducedThoughts:

Well, what can I say?  I am incredibly thankful that my injuries have not left me unable to run.  I can barely tie my shoes or get my running bra off, but I can run!  I am also pleased that I managed to complete my mileage for the week.  I am not sure I will be able to return to the deep water running class, which I was considering a major part of my race training.  I will be begging for a waterproof cast when I go see the specialist on Thursday.  With my current cast I definitely can’t use the rowing machine, which is a little disappointing as I quite enjoyed the workout.  Planks are currently out as well.  But I have to keep coming back to the fact that I can run and marathon training will continue, maybe just not quite the way I planned.  There will definitely have to be some flexibility required on my part for the next several weeks.

 

Broken Bones, Trail Running and MEC Race Recap

I’ll be keeping this post short because quite honestly typing with only my left hand is tedious at best, frustrating at worst.  At least I have a valid excuse for typos.

When I took a trail running clinic it was noted that the risk of traumatic injury increased, but the risk of chronic overuse injuries decreased.  I am now walking proof of that statement.  I have noticed fewer of my regular aches since I started adding trail running into my training.  Of course I am also now sporting a cast, black eye, fat lip and glued together chin.  I also now have my all-time favourite running picture, even though I am not actually running:

Finger

Couldn’t resist showing this photo again!  The emails and comments I have had about this photo have been hilarious.  There must be a million worse things you can do to the human body, and yet a dislocated finger is almost guaranteed to make stomachs turn.  In case you want another:

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Sorry for the lack of focus – a left handed photo in a moving car is tougher than you might think.

One friend wanted to know if this would affect my new found love of trail running.  Definitely not!  I really do love the trails and couldn’t wait to get out there again.  That was why this morning we headed out bright and early in already soaring temperatures to run MEC race #5 in the Gatineau hills.  The boys and I took to the trails of Camp Fortune, a local ski hill which of course means some hill work.  I wanted so badly to run but also knew a fall could cause even more damage to the broken bone in my hand, despite the support of a cast.  I decided to compromise: do the 6k race instead of the 15k and then add a road run where I would hopefully be less likely to fall.

Short version, I had a great time going very easy on the trails and by the time I crossed the finish line my Garmin showed that the 6k race was actually 6.9 km.  The worst part was that in the almost 40 degree humidex I couldn’t be fully sprayed by the lovely volunteer with a hose – my cast can get sweaty but not wet.  I then did some stretching, had a drink, changed my trail shoes to road shoes and headed out again for almost 5 and a half kms.  I was never fast but I was so damn happy to be running!  How lucky am I that my complete wipeout did not result in injuries that would prevent me from running?  My only regret is that I probably limit my “trail” running to fairly even surfaces right now.  My guess is that the hand surgeon I have an appointment with this week would lose his mind if he saw me running down narrow, rocky trails today.  I can tell you though that there will be more trail races in my future.  I will particularly be looking forward to more of the “no frills” MEC races.  I am getting past the point of needing more medals and t-shirts, so these local, $15 races are perfect.

That’s it, no more typing.  Instead, a few pics:

Before picture

Before picture

After - do we look a little hot?

After – do we look a little hot?

Out of the woods and heading to the finish line.

Out of the woods and heading to the finish line.

And finally, my morning at the Almonte Hospital “Spa”:

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Guest Blog – The Other Half of the Average Runner

I’m writing this guest blog for reasons that some of you may already know, and for the others it will become clear.  Something Kristi will completely agree with is that I’m not the most sociable of people.  I can be, but, it might not be too far from the truth to say that my second choice of lifestyle (in comparison to my current, and by far, first choice) would be to live in a cave in the woods and ride into town once a month (on my ATV – I’m not a Luddite) to get supplies and then disappear again.  SO, perhaps I’m not the most objective person on this topic but I will propose the argument that running should not be a social sport.  Sure you can meet a few people before or after a run or race, have a beer or two (and let’s not forget the great brownies at the end of each Mad Trapper event), but during the actual run you should be focussing on what you are doing.  Running should not be a social event!

Here are a few examples of why running should not be a social occasion:

If you go out for a training run with others, someone will get hurt, either emotionally or training wise.  Someone in the group will need to either hold the group up or run too fast for their own training plan.  Someone else will need to slow down and lose out on all the planned training benefit.  Either way, you are messing up your own training plan or another person’s plan.  Second example:  Assuming you are training to race, races are not sociable events and, besides,  they always say “train as you race”.  You are not going to spend a bunch of time during the race chatting away with other runners (unless you are our younger son – Luke).  If you can chat away then you are not running hard enough anyway.  Consider how you make someone feel if you run with them for a bit, talking about whatever you talk about, and then they pull away and beat you across the line.  I have lots of practical experience racing with Luke and the only time he stops talking is the last 100m when he suddenly sprints ahead and beats me.  If you’re the person pulling away, think about how cruel that is to the poor person who just spent 10 minutes telling you about their bunion problems.  The last example of why running should not be a social event  (a practical example) I’ll get to shortly.

A short detour then it will all come together.  Bravery!  I have told my boys many times that being brave is not the same as ‘not being afraid’.  In my time (especially considering what I did for a large portion of my career), I have had many opportunities to be afraid, and, generally I was also able to be brave.  On the other hand, I have often told the boys about that grey area between bravery and foolishness.  This line I’m sure I have crossed on way too many occasions.  Why do I bring up bravery?  One of the many reasons I was attracted to Kristi when we met and became “Horse Friends” was that she bravely stretched her riding experiences well out of her comfort zone, often with me being at least partly the perpetrator of whatever the new challenge was.   I’m not sure I have ever told her this so don’t say anything to her (keep in mind that we were only friends through this period as she was foolishly dating someone else – but that’s another story).  I’ve always considered her far braver than she gave herself credit.  I would certainly say that is changing now (the credit part, not getting less brave).  You just need to read her recent post about being in her 40’s  Life in my Forties.

Now to bring these two threads together.  Kristi is slowly going over to the dark side of running; trails, off-trail races, snowshoeing, orienteering etc (and Rod, I meant what I said a while back that if she starts talking about Ultras, I’m coming after you).  Yesterday, she called me at my office and started with the question “did you get my text and picture I sent?”  I had not and the disappointment in her voice was clear.  She then went on to casually add  “Oh, by the way, I’m in the hospital with a dislocated finger, broken hand, glued up chin and the odd scrape or two – the picture is great”.  What happened you ask?  While trail running with some friends (who I thank very much for taking care of her and getting her to the hospital) she turned around to talk and tripped over something.  What did I say earlier on?  “Running should not be a social event”.   What about the ‘Bravery’ aspect?  Kristi is planning to still do the MEC trail race she and the boys are signed up for tomorrow (I’m resting a knee currently).  Her main concern is that she wanted to do the 15km one, but ended up registered for the 6km only.  Her other concerns all revolve around things like “can I still do my water running with a cast on” or “if I only do 6km on Sunday, can you wait while I do an extra 4 km just to keep my mileage up”.  Actually now that I write this part (and having a lot of experience spending a disproportionate number of months in my life in various casts), perhaps the message here fits more into the ‘grey area between bravery and foolishness’ than ‘bravery vs being afraid’!  Whichever – I love you!

-Michael

Couple of photos – sorry about the ohhhh ughhh factor.

Finger

 

XRay

Marathon Monday: Road2Hope Marathon Training Week 2

Two weeks done and feeling good so far.  I know, I am nowhere near the tough stuff yet but I am pleased that I am enjoying my running and making some improvements.  I started really focusing on form, in part because I finally used my SoleFit gait and footwear analysis gift certificate that I bid on way back at a MadTrapper snowshoe race.  There are definitely things I do right (no heel striking, consistent 180 cadence, no overstriding) but I also walked away with some things to work on.  I am very tight in my hips, which has been the cause of my piriformis and occasional sciatica pain.  I am also quite stiff in my ankles. I don’t quite complete my stride, bringing my foot up and forward a little early.  My feet fall to the centre of my body rather than landing under my hips.  My left heel doesn’t touch the ground at all and my left foot turns out rather than pointing forward.  It was quite fascinating to watch myself on the computer screen doing things I had no idea I did!  All of my runs since Thursday have been about concentrating on these areas that need work.

I was also given stretches to do, which I believe are already making a difference.  In particular, the bridge stretch and lunges seem to be loosening up my hips.  As for shoes, my Salomon trail shoes and my Nike Lunar Tempos are fine.  My Asic Nimbus, as I thought, are more shoe than I need.  While I have a footfall that would work fine with a very minimalist drop, my tight ankles and calves mean I am not ready yet to go below a 6mm drop, but I definitely don’t need more than 8.  I was given a list of shoes to try, including the Mizuno Hitogami.  I have yet to find them in my size but I did try a size down and it is quite possible that they could be a good shoe for me.  They have a little more cushioning than my Nikes but have the same light feel.  My challenge for the marathon is going to be to find the perfect shoes for me – lightweight but enough cushioning to help me through 42 km.

Here is how the week of July 6-12 looked:

Monday:

  • 7k, 41:25 high humidity but felt good.
  • deep water pool running, 45 minutes

Tuesday: off

Wednesday:

  • 11k, LSD, 6:20 pace including water break.

Thursday:

  • Gait analysis at SoleFit

Friday:

  • 5k, 30 minutes

Saturday:

  • 5k, easy pace with a friend, rolling hills
  • Kayaking, relaxed, 20 or 30 minutes, then out again later working a little harder for about 30 minutes (but once again had to stop to watch the loons and their babies!)

Sunday:

  • 3k progression run, rolling hills
  • “Swimming” 30 minutes in the lake.  Not really swimming but lots of slow kicking, treading water, etc.

Thoughts:

I am still not running quickly but I am reminding myself that I don’t need to be right now.  At this moment my priority is to do whatever I can to avoid injury and that means getting a strong base without pushing too much or too quickly.  One thing I plan on doing differently this training session is really slowing my long runs down.  I still struggle with that idea because I panic that I won’t be able to pick up the pace on race day.  I know the science is there confirming that slow long runs work, I just have to get my head and body to believe it.  Patience is also a factor… sometimes I just want to get those long runs done!  As for any speed work, I will wait a little longer.  I will start adding strides in next week but that will be the extent of my speed work for now.  Hills are happening naturally every time I do a run in cottage country, though soon I will need to find some very long downhills to help prepare for the 5 or 6 kms of decline at the Road2Hope Marathon.  Piece by piece, the training plan is coming together!

 

Salomon S-Lab Sense 4 Ultra SG Shoe Review

S-LAB SENSE 4 ULTRA SG

(shoe photo from www.salomon.com)

Recently I had the chance to try a pair of these trail shoes – I’m not writing the name out again, I’m sure they have the longest name of any shoe I have tried and honestly I can’t keep it straight in my head.  But don’t let the long name deter you from these shoes; if you like trails, if you are happy to go through mud and  your runs tend to make your feet wet, these are shoes you are going to want to put on.  Luckily I don’t have to just trust that these trail shoes will get you through soft ground (that is what the SG stands for), I know from experience even though I don’t own a pair…yet.

Recently my whole family took part in the Mad Trapper Natural Obstacle Off-Trail Race.  You can read about our adventures here.  Suffice it to say, the race required us to go through lots of mud, plenty of water, and climb over rocky outcroppings.  I went to the race prepared, wearing my Salomon Speedcross 3’s.

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I love my Speedcross shoes.  They have been perfect for trails, orienteering, and running in the snow.  I love them so much that I have two pairs; the other pair are the Climate Shield version, which I use most often for snowshoeing.  They fit my feet nicely and are remarkably light for a trail shoe.  My only complaint is I find them just a little too loose at the heel, but not enough to cause problems.

At the Mad Trapper race, Salomon had several demo shoes, including the shoes with the neverending name.  Now by demo. I assumed they meant you could put them on and run around on the grass a bit.  Bonus, I thought, at least we can try on shoes outside rather than in a store.  But Salomon really wanted you to demo these shoes.  If you dropped off your driver’s license, the shoes were yours for the race.  Sold!

I spent an hour and twenty minutes doing all the things you really shouldn’t do when wearing shoes you don’t own.  And here is probably the highest praise I can give a shoe:  I put on the shoes, started the race and promptly forgot about them!  These shoes were so light, fit so nicely (including holding on to my heel perfectly) and gave me such good grip, I just didn’t need to focus on them.  Instead I could think about things like how I was going get through a thigh deep mud pit without face-planting.  When the race was finished I admit I kept the shoes on for as long as possible, and considering they were muddy and soaking wet, that should say something about their comfort level.  My husband also wore a pair for the race and was equally impressed.  We both walked away trying to figure out how we could justify buying new shoes in the very near future.

I have to give a shout out to Salomon for having demo shoes at a race site.  Just that alone makes me want to be a customer.  I’m looking forward to adding some S-Lab Sense 4 Ultra SG’s  into my shoe rotation soon.  Just don’t expect me to remember the name.

Three of the four of us got to try a new pair of Solomon's at the race.

Three of the four of us got to try a new pair of Solomon’s at the race. Luke got to try the Speedcross 3’s and gave them thumbs up.