Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The Boot

Renee is going to have a field day with this.

I'm sure I can hear her laughing all the way from town, shouting "Karma!!!" from the top of her lungs as she does a hip hop routine she choreographed in my honor.

How did I get to this point? Come, sit a while and let me tell you my tale.

About a week ago, I noticed a slight pain near the top of my foot after a long day of standing while at work. I brushed it off as a side effect of the work day.

The rest of the week went the same - foot pain in the evening after being on my feet all day. Still nothing to be alarmed by, or so I thought. I kept up the running because my foot felt much better when I was wearing my amazing Saucony's.

Enter the weekend. The pain started showing up earlier in the day and by Monday morning, it was there from the minute I woke up. I had visions of what was coming. Stress fracture. The boot. No running. Renee giggling.

But maybe, just maybe, I was over reacting.

I managed to get in to see my Doctor that day. "Looks like a stress fracture."


My GP is also a runner so he is quite familiar with the entire process. He told me I would have to take a break from running for a while.

I had mixed emotions at this news. On one hand, I was planning on taking a break anyway since my vacation time is just around the corner. On the other hand, my vacation is just around the corner and I don't want to be propped up at the bar watching Todd dance like a lawnmower instead of being out on the dance floor myself. However, now I don't have to pack any running gear. But I may have to wear a boot in the hot tub.

Since I'd had the pain for a couple of weeks, the Doc figured I might benefit from an x-ray. Apparently stress fractures only show up on an x-ray once they begin to heal. He also mentioned that a bone density test might be in order. Fun times.

I had some time to think as I sat in the waiting room. A stress fracture. Me. How is that even possible?? Don't you have to run hard and often to end up with one of those? I drink tea and walk half the time.

And what will this mean for my half marathon training? Just how long will it take to fully heal? I have to be able to train. I already bought a thirteen one t-shirt from Road ID.

I decided to ask the internet. According to most (somewhat reputable) sites it can take anywhere from six to eight weeks to fully heal. That will take me to the end of the year. That still leaves me plenty of time to train, but I'll be starting from scratch, learning to run all over again. I wonder if there are any training programs that involve sitting down for two months?

The staff at x-ray were very efficient and I was in and out of the hospital in less than an hour, almost without my pants. The technician who took my scans commented on how much she liked them and told me she tried to by the same pair last week but didn't have any luck. I think she was considering asking me to change into a hospital gown.

It will take a week or more to get the results of the x-ray. I was feeling in limbo about what I should do in the meantime. My foot was aching and I just wanted it to be fixed. Sugar suggested I get a boot and start wearing it now to get a jump start on the healing process. I think Renee has been texting him.

I went online to the ultimate source of running knowledge, the PRC Facebook group. Finding a boot was proving difficult until the Awesome Ed Long offered me the use of his, delivery included.

Now I'm clomping around the house like a bowl legged member of the walking dead, but at least my foot isn't hurting. I'll miss the group run tonight and every night for the next few weeks. That makes me sad but I know it has to be done. I have to take care of myself so I can get back to walking/running and drinking tea with my peeps.

My blogs may be fewer and farther between, but I'll still be here. I somehow have the feeling that not running won't make any difference when it comes to my running adventures.  ;)

Monday, 12 October 2015

10 Kilometers and a Nap

Ah, Thanksgiving. A time to think about all the blessing in your life, the people you hold dear, the food you are going to eat with reckless abandon and for runners, the possibility of getting a personal best at the Turkey Tea 10 km Road Race. Or in my case, the possibility of staying in a warm truck and driving to finish line.

The thought did cross my mind as we waited at the start line. I could get back in my vehicle and drive to Tim Horton's for a hot beverage. I could easily convince Renee to come with me. We could finish our nap.

There was just one thing that prevented me from hopping in the truck and driving away like Mario Andretti in the Batmobile. The person sitting in the back of my vehicle, staring at the start line, looking like she's about to toss her cookies is Paula.

Paula is fairly new to PRC. I knew she would fit right in when she posted after one week of running with us: "Saturdays are my favourite..... And it has nothing to do with the raisin tea bun at coffee matters either". Friend request sent.

The Turkey Tea was Paula's second 10 km race. On her first 10 km race she ran 10 and 1's but this time she was determined to run the whole distance without any walk breaks. She was obviously nervous and there was no way I could leave her to run alone. Puking on the side of the road is bad enough. Doing it without any support is unbearable.

So when the whistle blew to mark the start of the race, I was there, knowing that I was only 10 kilometers away from tea and cinnamon buns.

The first few kilometers went by in relative silence. There were comments on how much hills suck and how we were so cold we couldn't feel our fingers. By the half way point things had improved. The sun was up and we were starting to feel too warm. Gloves came off. We waved like the Queen as we ran through intersections full of cars who had stopped to let us pass. Renee was doing jet├ęs.

I think it was near the 7 km mark when I mentioned that the distance left was roughly the same as a run around Neil's Pond in Paradise. Paula, who had been concentrating fiercely on finishing her run, finally realized how awesome she is and stated "I can do this!"

As each kilometer passed, Renee equated the remaining distance to landmarks along our usual running route. Then the bright orange pylons that indicated which direction we had to go to get cake came in to sight. The PRC cheerleaders were on the corner, drinking coffee.

We started together and crossed the finish line together. Renee and Paula both had a personal best and I had a great run with my running buddies. Paula sent me a very sweet message later that day thanking me for all the help and encouragement I had given her on the run. It made me glad that I didn't leave her alone at the start line.

Our finish line picture is now NL Running's Facebook cover photo. That means we are awesome. I love the look on Paula's face - she's looking up at the clock and fist bumping the air with happiness. I also love that Renee looks like she's about to go back and finish our nap.

We celebrated with tea and various treats provided by NWRC (New World Running Club) and all three of us won a prize. It was a great way to end the racing season and a wonderful reminder of how much better racing is when you don't do it alone. It's just one more thing to be thankful for.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Dread Pirate Roberts

We all have that one movie that sits firmly at the top of our favorites list. You've seen it a hundred times. You can quote 90% of the script by heart. You force your friends and kids to watch it. You own the VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray, not to mention the t-shirt, mug and board game. 

For me, this movie is The Princess Bride so it was an obvious choice to use The Dread Pirate Roberts as my pirate name when I registered for the pirate-themed 2016 Maritime Race Weekend half marathon.

Yes, you read that correctly. I, the ten-is-the-most-I'll-ever-race-yes-I'm-serious-no-I-won't-change-my-mind reluctant racer, have registered for a half marathon.

I really never thought that I would ever want to run a half marathon. EVER. I mean who in their right mind wants to run 21.1 kms? That means running for two and a half hours! Why would I ever consider doing that?

Yet, here I am, registered.

I guess it's because things have improved for me on the running scene this past year. No, I haven't gotten any faster. No, it hasn't gotten any easier. But I made a few changes that made running more enjoyable which means the longer distances are no longer something only to be observed from the side lines. 

Plus there are about 40 PRCers going and there's a huge party afterwards that I don't want to miss. 

According to the race website, maritimeraceweekend.com, there is a massive Pirate Jamboree post race which includes music, food and libations. Everyone will be dressed like a pirate. That's exactly how I want to celebrate my first half marathon. 

It's also two days before International Talk Like A Pirate Day (September 19, 2016) so fingers crossed the pirate attitude will carry over to Sunday's flight home.

The race was the primary topic of conversation at the Thursday evening run. Sporting our new Biped running shirts, it took me all of five seconds to convince Renee that she was going to do the half as well. We discussed what our training plan should be and both agreed that following the typical training plans just wouldn't work for us. Running five days a week? Not happening. Fartleks? Umm, no. Tempo runs? Very funny.

We decided on a plan that has mostly 5 K runs with a long run every second weekend, with the scatter 8 K thrown in for good measure. There are more rest days than run days. The most important part of the plan would be having tea post run. And maybe a doughnut. Or McDonald's.

I know this probably isn't the best way to train for a half marathon but it's what will work for me. If I have to run five days a week, do tempo runs, hill training, fartleks, cross training and strength training all while still trying to have some sort of a normal home life, I'll quit before the first week is out. 

The goal is to cross the finish line. I won't be at my peak physically and I won't be breaking any records. At the end of the day I will have a half marathon PB and the time it takes doesn't matter. The course is open for 6 hours and I'm sure I can make it across the finish line before the last ambulance does. That is if I don't get sidetracked by eating the candy and relaxing in the Adirondack chairs that are available along the route.

I just have to figure out how to carry all the Rice Krispie cookies I'll need for that distance. But there's plenty of time for that. 

In the mean time, I think I'll watch a movie. In case you're wondering, The Princess Bride is On Demand. Inconceivable!