Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Race this weekend!

I'm so excited. It's Emilie's Run 5K this weekend! This is my favourite race of the year. It's a flat, out and back course, it has chip timing with per km splits, and a small, but very competitive, field. The atmosphere at this race is different.... maybe it's because it's women of all ages, maybe it's the inspiration of running alongside some of the region's top female runners. Either way, I highly recommend this race.

It looks like it's going to rain this year and I'm actually happy about it. We've had nice weather the last two years, so it'll be a good change. And recently my allergies have made breathing during hard workouts very difficult. I have an inhaler and I take OTC antihistamines, but this year's been particularly bad. I know that I'm not 100% when I feel like this. I've been doing some speed intervals, too, and it looks like it's helping... now if only my lungs will cooperate.

I've gotten clearance to run 3x a week, with no runs above 5K. I can add frequency, so that makes me happy, as I'd been planning to do that after the half anyway. So this week and next I'm at 3x a week, then I'm going to up it to 4x. Slow and steady!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Running in the news

Interesting article today in the National Post about running the marathon.

The will to run: Going from the couch to a marathon in a year.

The story kind of rambles, but is the message of going from completely sedentary to the marathon really a good one? What do you think?

Heck, I've been running for 3 years (minus injury time, of course) and completing a marathon is still only a dream for me. The thought of going from couch potato all the way to 42.2K in 12 months is crazy to me. Just the half was a tough for me mentally. I remember being out on one of my 18K long runs in the rain and thinking to myself: If I were marathon training, I'd be running this twice. Yuck.

I drew some inspiration from the article by this tidbit of info from one of the competitive coaches:
Richard Lee is a distance coach in Vancouver who works with Dylan Wykes, a top athlete expected to give (Reid) Coolsaet a run for his money at October’s Scotiabank Marathon in Toronto. He thinks amateur runners don’t push themselves hard enough.

“People who don’t do anything can do a marathon; it just comes down to will power,” says Lee, who coached his first runner in 1984, training his wife all the way to the Olympic Games. “You’re not born with talent, it’s a learned process. You just need to be prepared, follow a plan and develop a steel-trapped mind for achieving your goals.”

This is certainly something I need to remember. I'm a Kenyan in my head, as most of us recreational runners are, but I know I am faster than my recent times have shown. I've got a decent PR in the 10K and 5K that I haven't improved on in over 18 months. While I've had setbacks, I know I can become even faster if I'm willing to put in the time and effort.

Monday, June 13, 2011

ChiRunning Clinic

Yesterday I attended a 4-hour ChiRunning Clinic with a local instructor, Eric Collard.

I've been reading the ChiRunning book by Danny Dreyer, but I've had a tough time with the practical stuff in Chapter 4. I'm a visual learner, so the descriptions in the book really weren't doing it for me. Pelvic tilt whaaat? Maybe it didn't help that I was reading this before bed, but it was still tough to absorb. Then, during my assessment with my new physiotherapist, she said she really liked ChiRunning based on her own experience and qualifications in the field. So when I saw that Eric was holding a half-day clinic, I signed up.

We spent a lot of time working on posture, engaging the core muscles and running/walking back and forth. Lots of learning how to really work on your lean and not using your legs to power through a run. It was a lot to take in in only 4 hours, but it was worth it.

I realized that I'm fairly stiff through the hips and ankles. That probably explains why I always get holes in the vents of my shoes, right above the big toe!

After the clinic, I went for a run and tried to use what I'd learned earlier in the afternoon. That run was a lot more fun, that's for sure. There's a lot to think about, but overall, I think it will help me. The method encourages me to engage my core and to listen to my body, instead of trying to power through a distance. Because I think that's what I've been doing and my back suffers the consequences.

The clinic left me thinking about my goals for the rest of the year... but that's for another blog post.

Monday, June 6, 2011

PT Update

I met with my new physiotherapist on Monday, Kathy. She's very experienced and thorough. I was really impressed with my assessment appointment. I was contorted into all kinds of great pretzel-like positions, twisted, turned, lifted and bent. We also had a nice chat about footstrike, shoes, ChiRunning and more.

The interesting news is that my foot hasn't hurt at all since the half marathon. A little bit the day after, but really, it's nothing compared to two weeks ago. My lower back was quite sore, though, which should give you an idea of where I'm going with this....

Her conclusion is that my upper back (thoracic spine) and gluteus medius are not doing their jobs. Honestly, my glute is non-existent and that's not good when it comes to running long distances. Their underperformance means that my lower back does all the work and bears all the weight. And when I ask too much of it by running long distances, it freaks out, compressing the nerves, making my feet hurt.

So the new approach is to address this over the long term. We want to work on opening up my upper back and strengthening my glute. I think this is a good idea, given that the pain has subsided and my back is no longer in freakout mode.

I ran a short run on Sunday morning on her advice, but I had quite a few cobwebs in my legs and it was ridiculously humid, so it was only 3K. But no pain or tightness in the foot. Tonight I'm going to play an ultimate frisbee game (my first since late 2009) with Husband's team and then PT in the morning. Hopefully she'll give me the all clear to resume running regularly again.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pics from the HM

I'm still trying to figure out where to go from here in terms of my running plan and goals. So, I figured while I do that, here's some pics from the race on Sunday! There weren't many good ones, but I managed to find a couple.

At about 13-14K in. It'd been raining for about 20 minutes at this point. This has to be one of my best running pics ever. I'm tempted to order it!The finish line! This was the first time I was truly excited, elated and proud to finish a race. I've never done the hands over the head celebration before either. Man, I was pumped up. I still smile just thinking about it.

And here I am after finishing, posing proudly with my medal. That space blanket was a saviour after running in the rain for over an hour.


I understand Blogger has some issues with the comment box these days. Apparently it's related to custom templates. I've done the workaround listed here, so I hope they work now. Let me know if it does!