26 days and counting

untitledThe wandering mind of an injured runner…

Watching with envy as my friends tackle their runs, whether slugging it out on the treadmill or trudging through the ice and snow.

Thinking back on all those runs either missed or cut short because I was tired, sore, busy, etc. … vowing to never take a run for granted again!

Remembering times when I felt on top of the world, worrying that I will never feel the endorphin rush of an amazing run once again.

Scratching one race after the other off my calendar and wondering when I will get to toe the line again.

Fantasizing of a day beyond this injury… but consumed by the fear that it (or another) will return.

Driving along my usual running routes and wanting nothing more than to pound the pavement again.

As I mentioned briefly in my last update, sadly I find myself on the injured list again. What the eff! After years of years of barely missing a run here or there due to running injuries or issues, I’ve been handed a big ol’ slice of humble pie over the last few months. This time it seems to be a case of patellorfemoral pain syndrome, aka runner’s knee. We suspect weak/imbalanced quad and hip muscles are to blame in conjunction with all of the uneven surfaces I had been running on. I’ve been off almost 4 weeks now (with the exception of a 10-minute failure of a test run last Monday) and I’m really hoping to be on the other side of this sooner rather than later.

photo 3I’ve been getting as many treatments as possible, icing and doing my rehap/strengthening exercises like it’s my job: weighted straight leg lifts; adductor and abductor side leg lifts; clam leg raises; single- and double-legged bridge. I’ve also been keeping busy, and hopefully fit, by returning to the pool (swimming 2000m 3x per week) and doing as much Body Pump and Spinning as I can. I think I’ve been at the gym more in the last month than all of 2013.

photo 2Needless to say, I am beyond disappointed and frustrated that I pretty much have to kiss my spring racing plans goodbye. At this point, I will just be happy to be running again by then. Doing my best to fix myself up and stay positive in the mean time.

Last two weeks of activity… not bad for no running. Let’s see if I can top it this week.

Untitled2UntitledUntil next time… hopefully with better news.

Long Overdue Update

Happy (belated) New Year! 2013 had its share of ups and downs, but ended on a very positive note when my brand new nephew (first baby in the family!) arrived just in time for Christmas.

Wolf Levon was the best gift ever and made the holidays extra special. He is the light of our lives!

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photo 2Wolf was born just days before the ice storm, which left most of my family without power for several days. We were fortunate and had plenty of warmth to share, so the entire gang moved in. I didn’t mind one bit!

IMG_6639Of course we all had quite a bit of cabin fever after being cooped up during the miserable weather. Thankfully we were able to get some fun runs in with friends, even when the conditions were less than favourable. I logged my coldest run possibly ever with a wind chill of -38C (-36.4F). Ski masks saved the day!

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We also added a new, unexpected, member to the family over the holidays. We had to take Miles in for the ol’ snip-snip and he made a friend while at the clinic. Meet Marlowe:

IMG_6572She is a ~4-year-old mixed breed rescue who was fostered by our vet and has been looking for a forever home. How could we turn her down when her name fits so well? ;) We actually declined at first but couldn’t stop thinking about her, and ended up going back to see her again. Then, once Miles had fully recovered from his operation, we brought her home for a “trial.” Needless to say, she’s been with us ever since.

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Just think of all the shenanigans these two can get into together!

Marlowe has had a rough history and was very nervous and skittish at first. She definitely needs a bit of extra TLC, but she warmed up very quickly and has made herself perfectly comfortable in her new home. Most importantly, she and Miles are the best of friends.

IMG_6612And yes, she will definitely be joining the running pack this spring!

IMG_6688Speaking of which, in less happy news, I am unfortunately on the injury bench again. I will save that for another post – and I’ll try not to wait another month to update!

Annual Christmas RUNch

Yesterday we enjoyed one of my favourite holiday traditions — my running group’s 5th Annual Santa RUNch!

1454956_10153649900735454_572075177_nWe all get dressed up in festive costumes and go for a run around town jingling all the way. We had a snow storm overnight Saturday so we were in for quite a mess Sunday morning, but that didn’t stop us from a big turn-out and a great time as always.

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Quite a change from last year’s very green conditions:

photo-8-CopyIt was extra fun this year since everyone was out shoveling their driveways and cheering us on as we trudged through the snow. It’s impossible not to smile as cars toot their horn or roll down their windows to shout “Merry Christmas!” when they pass by. How could you not have fun looking like this?

UntitledMany of us did a 10K loop while others continued on for more. I decided it was best to stop since I was a little worried that the slippery footing would aggravate my IT band (which, thankfully, has been cooperating). Besides, it felt like we had run much farther than that anyway!

Once we had all returned and used up our host’s hot water supply, we indulged in a delicious potluck spread including turkey and all the fixins you could imagine.

photo 4Finally, we all settled around the tree for a hilarious White Elephant gift exchange.

photo 3All in all, a fantastic way to spend a snowy Sunday in December!

An Update + Santa Shuffle Race Report

My lack of posting recently is directly proportional to my lack of running, unfortunately. Almost a month ago, I had to stop abruptly mid-run when I had a sharp pain in my quad/IT area. It caused an immediate limp and I was forced to walk back for the first time I can remember – ever. It seemed to come out of nowhere, but realistically it was probably an issue that had been building over time. I swear, I get all kinds if ‘niggles’ when I scale the running way back, as opposed to during peak training. It’s like my body finally has a chance to breathe and say “whoa!”

Anyway, after several chiro and physio treatments, extensive foam rolling in between and more days off than I’ve taken in five years (gasp!) I think I am finally out of the woods.

And I’m back with a vengeance! Ok not really, more like back with very cautious optimism and a conservative return to running.

I’ve been extremely fortunate in my running career that I’ve almost never been forced to take time off (and when I have, it’s been a result of something un-running-related, like a ski injury, infected toe, etc.) so this has scared me into being extra careful moving forward. I’m just glad it happened now so I could nip it in the bud during the off season and hopefully put it all behind me long before tackling neck year’s big goals.

So although I may not be back with a vengeance, I am back with a quick race report.

Hubs and I (and Miles) did the Santa Shuffle 5K in Whitby on Saturday because I had a friend doing her first ever race (way to go, Sarah!) and a couple of other friends who I don’t get to see very often were running as well. It’s not chip timed since it’s considered a fun run, but it’s not a bad deal for $25 with a little goodie bag and a cute medal.

Saturday turned out to be freezing and windy, but thankfully sunny. Unfortunately the race started about 10 minutes late, so we were all shivering like crazy at the start line. Finally, we were off.

I knew I had to keep it on the easy side since I’m being mindful of the IT band. Miles was running with me too, which I figured would help me keep things in check. I started at a pace that just felt like I was working a bit hard and gradually got faster – paying close attention to make sure my leg wasn’t talking to me. It felt fine – phew. We were running on a mostly flat paved trail through a park and it was actually a great route. I saw that hubs was in 4th place as we crossed paths with the lead runners.

I paid attention as we neared the turn-around and knew I was 3rd female and Miles was the 1st dog. :) Sure it was just a fun run, but it’s fun to place – even unofficially. As we passed all of the other runners on the way back, we got so many awesome comments. Everyone just loved Miles and his jingle bell collar.

I’m very surprised at the pace I was able to maintain fairly comfortably, given the lack of training recently. I guess you could say I was very well rested.

I managed to negative split each kilometre, even though I wasn’t paying attention to it at the time. I could see the 2nd place female ahead in the final straight-away, which gave me enough of a push to chase her down and pass with about 500m to go.

4:59, 4:51, 4:43, 4:37, 4:23
(+17 seconds for the extra 70m as per Garmin)

1464117_10153619799895454_1724273925_nThey announced “2nd female, 1st dog!” as we finished (Sarah ended up collecting my silver medal for me later since we couldn’t stay – I didn’t even expect them to do awards). Hubs ended up finishing in 4th with a time around 20:20 (interestingly he ran a 10K last weekend in 40:40). It was great to see my friends finish as well. All in all, it was a fun morning and a good run.

23:50
4:46/KM (7:40/mi)

IMG_8875Best part is, my leg felt fine with just some tenderness in my quads later on from pounding the pavement much faster than I have been recently. I was able to join my running group for a 14K long(ish) run the next day without any issues since. Hooray!