Thursday, December 11, 2014

Training, injuires, and success

It's 2013 (not really but let's pretend for the sack of this blog), a new year and new goals. I wasn't happy with my time for the C2C, but I showed myself that I could do the distance. I decided to sign up for my first half marathon in May. I started to get a little more consistent with my running, and kept myself accountable and put in my weekly long runs on Sunday. In February I came up with an injury, IT band. I wasn't running enough distance during the week for my 20k long runs, and threw my left knee alignment all out of whack. After 10 days of taking it easy I had a few physio appointments which made a world of difference, I was able to strengthen up my knees and the pain was gone, I cut back the distance of my long runs to roughly 15-18k, as I caught on that I wasn't putting in enough work during the week. In April I ran a 5k race for the first time in a long time, and wasn't sure how to pace myself. I was doing a 3:20 pace for the first km and freaked myself out, so I slowed down to 3:40, which is slower than I wanted (was looking to do 3:30). I finished on 17:34 which was 20 seconds faster than my personal best in recent times, so I was happy. My training and rehab were going well and I felt that I would be able to tackle the Bluenose half in Halifax at the end of May.
I didn't push myself too hard over the next number of weeks, and really did well with my taper. My family and I (wife and 2 year old son) travelled to Halifax early, so I could get a couple of runs in to finalize my taper, and more importantly get a visit in with family. I did a short run (roughly 6km) the Wednesday before the race to get my pacing down, and took it easy after that. I felt I didn't need a shake out run, as we planned a couple of park visits/hikes so I would use those for getting my legs loose. Morning of the race, I awoke at 5 am to have a quick breakfast of a bagel with cream cheese and water, then jumped back into bed for another 90 minutes. My brother in law then drove me down town to the start line, where I dropped off my bag, and completed my warm up. I had my whole race planned out; I was to take my first gel 30 minutes before the start (successful) and then around the 10 km mark I would take my second gel (unsuccessful). I ended up not taking it till around the 13-14 km, since there was no water station where I needed it (bad planning on my part). I paced myself just under the pace I was aiming for up till the 16 km mark, where I was hoping to pick it up for the final stretch, however as I passed the 16 km marker my shoelace came undone. I was livid, I quickly tied it and got back to running, but this killed my pacing. I dropped from 3:47-3:52 per km right to 4:00/km for the next 4 km. As I finished the long slow (and low incline) up Younge Ave, I kicked when my watch registered that I had just completed my 20th km. I covered the final 1.1 km of the race at 3:33/km pace to finish eighth overall in a time of 1:20:42 in my first half marathon. I was proud, and happy with how everything went; though my goal was to break 80 minutes, considering it was my first half marathon, I was happy.
When I decided to start this blog, I thought I would catch myself up on my running through these first few posts, and that I would be able to cover a year a post, but it's hard to condense a year of running/racing into a single readable post without glossing over too much detail. This post has taken longer than I thought it would, so I'm cutting this one short, and will try and churn them out shorter and quicker.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A slow learner, but a fast(ish) runner

I've been thinking about doing this for a while now; starting a blog that is. I attempted to do it several years ago just to talk about sports in general, but I wasn't committed. I think it's time to give it another try where I spend the majority of my day running, working, and spending time with my two children, I've finally learned to be a good albeit not great time manager. Again, I'm a slow learner, but I'm getting there.
I've always loved running, spending a lot of time running all over soccer and baseball fields for most of my early years. Once I entered junior high school, I was introduced to cross country, my first real organized running; up to this point it was just something I did because I liked it. I took to it right away, and spent most of the next 5 years doing little less sport wise, except for basketball. My senior year, the school's team was being led by myself and another runner (who I was determined to edge out as the #1 runner). I started training for my senior year not long after I finished grade 11, and again I spent a lot of my summer running. I came into the year in the best shape I felt I could be, and doing a regional race placed right behind our best runner. This built my confidence, and showed me I could to it. Provincials were set, and I continued pushing myself to get better, and this is the point where the wheel became loose (not off yet, but close).
I ended up injuring myself two weeks before the race, and my doctor suggested no running for 3-4 weeks. I strained a couple of my intercostal muscles, and the only way to help them heal, considering you use them during breathing is no strenuous exercise or deep breathing; basically no running. I was 17, I was dejected, but stubborn. I told myself that I would take 1 week off, and ease back into a couple of light runs, because I'm 17 so I'd probably heal quicker than the doctor thought. I did just that and felt fine during my shakeout run the day before the race. I got off to a slow and tentative start but worked my way through the pack, and was in striking distance of 4th, 5th, and 6th with about 1.5km to go (5km race) when the wheel came completely off. I strained the muscles again, and was barely able to jog my way in, and finished somewhere around 24th. I was completely defeated, I had trained so hard for this to get derailed by an injury, and my stubbornness quit on me. Really I quit on myself, and only ran for exercise for the next 8 years or so.
I was living in Ottawa, and my friends introduced me to Ultimate Frisbee, a sport I quickly fell in love with. Having a background in running, soccer, and basketball I took to it right away. I started running regularly again to get back my endurance, and this is when I remembered how much I loved running, though I wasn't running everyday, just more often then before. Once I moved to Halifax I signed up for my first race in almost 10 years. I had run one race when I was in University, but that was completed just on ability, and wasn't very fast. I ran this same race in Halifax three years in a row, and got faster every year. After the third year where I ran the 10k in 38:53 I felt the competitive fire starting to catch again, but it was still only flickering. It wasn't long after this that my wife and I moved back to St. John's, and I signed up for the biggest race here in NL, the Tely 10. I began training, or what I felt was training, in truth I really just added in a long run to my easy runs, and wasn't doing any workouts. I completed my first 10 mile race in 63 minutes basically with minimal training, and paced on feel. I added some more distance to my weekly mileage and ran the 4th leg of a marathon relay in September (10.6k at 3:38 pace), and then I signed up for the Cape to Cabot in October. During the C2C I learned another lesson; nutrition, and how it can make a huge difference in your performance. I ran well until 15k then I bonked, I jogged the final 5k and was happy to finish in 1:27.
This brings us to the fall of 2012, and I'll cover 2013-2014 in my next post as I don't want these dragging on too long.

Thanks for stopping by.