December 19, 2012

Running Through Slumps

Its the weekbefore Christmas.  I am clamoring to get to the last day before holidays, as the year's demands are noticable.  My short runs have dwindled to 5 ks and my long run is 10 k.  In an attempt to simplify my life, I have given myself slack for the purpose of recapturing my love for this part of my life.  
  Some things have changed this year.  My time is more pressed, I am working over 40 hours a week, going to school and I am spending less time with other people because of all this.  I have stopped wearing my Garmin as well, with more of a need to jsut get out and stop timing myself with pressure to get it done.  I change my running goal mid-run more often too.  Not sure what all these changes mean, but i know that I am sticking to it, and building from here.  
   Since my dismal results at the marathon in October, I think I have seem my limitations and felt some discouragement from this.  i will charge on, but to regain my previous achievments seems daunting.  I know I have gained some weight, not a lot, but this may also factor back in to things.  I could stand to lose 5-7 pound comfortably as well, and my asthma has been noticeably more bothersome in the last year stemming back from being around a dog Christmas 2011! 
Want to say a Merry Christmas to you all, and thanks for stoping by, even though my blogging is less consistent than in past years.
God Bless!

November 16, 2012

A Month To Heal

My Finish lineat the Marathon in October was a triumph of human will. It was the hardest race I ever ran.  It was also my slowest, as predicted.
I literally hobbled for a few weeks after, having run on an emerging injury.  I found it hard to turn over in bed!  Ibuprofen was my best friend, as well as massage to my trigger points while I healed.  Eventually the pain subsided.  My chiropractor told me my hip flexor on my left was very tight, creating my pained buttock.  I mosied everywhere, trying desperately to cover my pain, as many would comment on how weirdly I was running or exclaim (as my mother did) that running was risky and killing me.  I hate showing the pain of running because I love it so much.
I decided as I crossed the line that I was probably going to rest for a month from running so I could recuperate and recharge my running passion.  I continued to stretch my hip flexor.
Well, I did.  I am now just entering back into the running scene, having started at 5 k, 8 k and then 10 k last week.  My delayed muscle soreness has lasted me a lot longer than expected, so I could have probably backed off the mileage, but one month should be alright for not losing too much fitness.  At least this is my stubborn belief.  I know I have gained a bit of weight, so this will need to be addressed, mostly due to snacking and inactivity, and wine :).

October 08, 2012

A Harrowing Dehydrated Journey

It went aboutjust about as wrong as a run could go wrong. My hip was sore from my recent speed work and long runs, and I put off  long running for as long as I could in the week changing my plan to a Sunday afternoon rather than the regular.  I have one last long run to squeeze in at 37 k.  
Being the afternoon, I knew t would be warmer.  I was nervous for a couple of reasons.  I went to the chiropractor for an assessment for my hip, he gave me a green light, but I was conscious of it turning into a full blown injury.  Second, it was a hotter day, and I was busy for the morning, so it would have to be after lunch.  I brought gatoraid in my four belt containers.
Right away, I began sweating.  Salty Sweat.  This was something to keep conscious of as losing salt can be bad.  
By km 20, I was running out of my liquids, and about to have a second half of my long run not passing homes.  My lips were feeling dry, a sure sign of dehydration.  I decided to stop and get water from the last house along my path.   Nice lady gave me a bottle of water.  That was gone fairly soon.  My garmin died about this time (km 21 of 37).
This is when I noticed had stopped sweating.  It was dawning on me that I was in trouble.  I took my gel and began thinking about liquids more and more. 
As I thought of the distance left ahead of me and the situation I was in, I concerned myself with where I might find water.  My arms were sweaty again, a good sign that the bottled water was a help.  I was running now along the water channel for the rest of my run.  This channel was a risk to drink from for two reasons: the bank was steep and the water was iffy.
I had to stop running, my legs were finished, nothing left in them to ask and this realization made the run seem so much longer.  This was very different for me as I never stop and walk on long runs.  I tried to pick it up a few times but had to walk every 500 meters or so.  I was realizing how much longer this run would be.
I thought of eating some fo the beautiful apple from the orchards and stopped to see where I may jump over the tall fences.  My mind began obsessing about liquids.  I thought of coke Slurpee constantly for almost 18 k that run.  Finally after I licked the salty sweat  off my arms, I decided to risk it and find a spot to drink from the channel.  I found a spot where campers (pickers who camp near the orchards) wash in.  I stumbled clumsily down, realized how dazed i felt, and drank deeply from the water.  After this, I felt queasy, so I got up and clambered up the bank and kept going. I looked over to where the water I drank came from and realized it was swampy.  Uh oh? 
I tried running a bit and stopped, ran a bit more, and stopped again.  I started thinking about worse case scenario, I would have to go to a nearby orchard house and ask for a ride. I have read enough about dehydration to know I was in trouble, but in my foggy reasoning I thought, "there is only 12 k to go, and I could make it".  
I was frustrated by my limitations, my body was saying no.  I started to HATE running.  I kept thinking "why do I do this to myself?"  My heart sank into dark thoughts of never running again, quitting altogether.  I seriously thought of not doing the marathon.  I was scared and angry, angry at myself and the situation.  Also, I was determined to make it home.  WIth no garmin, I was guesstimating distances, making it seem longer.   I ran/walked slowly home.  This added a good 40 minutes to my normal time in the 37 k.  I was getting desperate to be home, but determined I would keep on going, it would take less time that way.  My body wanted to sit down.  I said no.  I could see the familiar land marks of home stretch, but like a surreal horror movie, the last bit stretched out to the longest 7 k I had ever run. 
I got 2 km out and really began getting emotional.  I knew home and water and coke slurpee were so close.  I found the fountain in the park 1 km away and drank, but knew that it was almost moot, that I was needing to get home.  I jog-walked the last click celebrating and commissurating this the last of my long runs before an event i no longer wanted to do.
I walked through the door and collapsed in an emotional heap, drinking and drinking.  And vomited and vomited.  I felt so awful.  Queasy tired and stupid and exhausted.
It took all of a few days to piece together all that went wrong.  I underestimated that salts I needed, the water I  needed, and the heat of the day (over 30 C). 
I got my coke slurpee.  It was divine.
To be sure, this experience traumatized me.  I was unsure of my limitations for the race psychologically and physically.   I knew I would have no way of re-establish my confidence, only the memory of this experience to haunt me.  Also, not having run that last half fully, my body would most likely not recognize the distance.  
I now knew what it felt like to reach my limits, to push - foolishly Ill add- beyond them.  
I look back and knew I was at least 5 % dehydrated.  10 % brings on dire risks.  I was experiencing mental confusion, led feet, numbness of the hands, lack of sweat.
The race itself later on I dreaded.  That happened yesterday, and survived.   What oes not kill me makes me stronger?  This was not true here.  I was foolish.  I was stubborn.  I was also smart and tactical.  I saw the best in me and the worst in a crisis.  It was a personal battle.  I would not want to ever experience that again and I have learned something about myself.  
I think I would need a road ID bracelet, and for long runs, perhaps a phone, although I dont know how I would carry it.  More to come on the race, but this sets up the story for my next entry.  Sorry for the lenght, but for me this was an important blog to write out.

September 22, 2012

Remaining Injury Free/ Last long run snag

Its been a whileSince I last blogged here, life has gotten a hold of my energy and time, but I wanted to update people here! I am training for the marathon on our Canadian thanksgiving weekend (October 6) in Kelowna BC.
Runs have gotten to a length of 34 km last week, and I have had to squish my training because I got out to a late start in training.  So I have been adding 3 or 4 km each week for the last 3 weeks.  This may now being nipping me in the butt.  Literally.  Today I was due for my 37 km run, my last long run of the training.  all week however, my hip has been tight and a tad, a titch sore.  Stretching, foam rolling and my cruel but effective baseball rolling have all been part of the game.  Now however I sit typing when i was scheduled to go out this perfect Saturday and run my heart out.  But something doesn't feel right.  Experience has taught me not to push this too hard or I will pay.  BIGTIME!  Now I am left with a conundrum.  When to actually do my longest run?When to actually run at all again?  I have also learned that this can be feeling fine but not dealt with properly.  So I will sit and stew about it, frustrated and worried, but determined to figure something out before taper time.  I will roll and stretch and take care of my body, knowing that I will get there somehow, perhaps not the way I wanted but in one piece, hopefully not hobbling, and hopefully with a medal around my neck on the 6th.

July 23, 2012

Signed Up For A Marathon?

I have committedagain to the regiments of training for a marathon.  This will be the third for me.  It wil be Kelowna's BMO Okanagan Marathon.  This week I pushed my times to see if I could get back to my old ones and am taking a few days to rest my poor butt.  Literally!  Stretching my hip flexors and massaging will keep the injuries that come to me with speeding up away!
Its been a humid summer for running which is a hinderance to speed for me as well, but I am seeing good gains.  My goal was to amp up the mileage to over 40 km per week and keep raising it. 
Have you signed up for a fall marathon?  The serious training starts soon depending on your plan.  One rule I try to stick to is to not increase more than 10% per week in mileage for the long run and over all, as I pay for it in injury, feeling it in my glutes.  Stretching and masaging helps stave off long bouts of recovery.  Happy training everyone!

June 18, 2012

Taking in Life on the Run

My running life had a high point I love to embrace:  where ever I go, I run.  ON a vacation, people would say, why run?  Aren't you on vacation?  But honestly, I have taken in more beauty in my life while running than I ever have.  From shorelines to rolling hills, to cityscapes, and little moments of splendor, its incredible what I have witnessed and have been able to appreciate while running.  Moments with nature are common as I run often along a water channel, I have seen beavers, all types of birds, deer, hawks, eagles, turtles, snakes, and many other wildlife encounters.  If not out there, I would miss all that.  Makes getting out there more of a draw for sure!I feel I need to be able to bring a smallish camera with me that I can take pictures with, but in a way I like that I can capture them in my heart, for me to appreciate privately as a part of my inner life, my self care, as so much of life is "putting it out there" for everyone to see.
This leads me to look at possible vacation spots and trips through the eyes of an athlete.  What will I see when I run?  are there trails?  Expanding your world, your length of runs also helps this as you may find yourself like me, wondering how far I need to go to get to that sweet spot.  Being fit then takes on a new purpose!

June 10, 2012

Running Buddy

It has been a long time since I ran with anyone at all, in fact 9 months is about right with my friend Jeremy.  Jeremy and I have been running for the same amount of time.After a couple of lame attempts to get out for a run together (most of which was me saying lets do it and then bailing!) we went out yesterday for a 12 k.  One observance:  friends like him are rare for a guy, we have family holidays in the summer together, we play on the same worship team, and we are often either really similar or polar opposites.  Mostly opposites though.  What I want to say is this: we went faster than usual on our run, even while talking a lot and enjoying the scenery.  Firends push friends to go further and push themselves.  We have run marathons together and been one another's compadres.  I appreciate my friend, and it was a good run!  One tends to be able to share more while running, for guys it is much easier to talk more in depth when you are parallel, doing the same task, so its a win-win.  Go get yourself a running friend like mine!

April 09, 2012

Mary's Run

My daughter  was baptized yesterday.  We are Christian, and this is a significant step in faith, to do as Jesus commanded and identify with the death and resurrection of our Savior through the water of baptism.  I went on my 12 k yesterday on a sunny morning and as I got into my run, thinking of what I would share with my little girl and our congregation of fellow believers, I thought of that morning that Jesus was risen.  Mary, a beloved woman of Jesus who had gone to her Savior's tomb in grief and a heavy heart was surprised with an empty tomb!  What was meant to be a heavy visit ended up a divine surprise, because the living Jesus, the man she was mourning was not dead anymore!  He was alive!
Mary ran back to town, most likely mind racing, heart pounding, breath heavy and uneven, sobbing, laughing, wild wild wild hearted.  I imagined myself as Mary, thrilled and confounded by this news.  He was the one who cast demons out of her, which she had at one point felt completely helpless to be free from.  He had already saved her!  And this was a delightful encounter!
The run back to town most likely was a blur, but the JOY~~~~~ wow.  As I ran yesterday, I imagined running with such joy, and I became enthralled with Mary's delight, her surprise and the fact that my run on Easter Sunday was my worship, my thanks to God who rescues me, and that all the sorrow and strife of my life is no longer my own.  Jesus died once, for all my sin and sorrow, and I ran in joy!!!  Happy Easter!
“I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” ’ Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her. (John 20: 1-18)

March 24, 2012

asthma and running

So I write every spring about my damned asthma.  I believe it is when denial meets the desire to go faster try harder with all the sunshine and great weather.  Since a terrific and lovely party at Christmas where a bitch sat near me and triggered my asthma, I have contemplated getting checked out but denial set in.  That bitch was a dog.
When one has lived with asthma like I have for all their lives, you might say that you learn to live with certain realities.  People maynotice that you are breathing with a wheeze.  You miht be caught somewhere with no inhaler because you werent prepared.  People might not understand what asthma is and think you are dying.  YOU might think "Im dying",but not think anything about it. 

Then came running which even further complicates things.  MY asthma is virutally healed.  VIRTUALLY is the key word.  I still have my allergens.  However, my oxygen intake is so strong, one might never know, so it is now with my lungs, I can live in denial for longer, but woner if its me getting old or is it the now-hidden even better" disease I live with?  Im betting on the disease now.  I took a blow-test (Peak flow meter) and scored better than those who have no asthma (over 600).  Click here for more on peak flow meters.
Signs for me:
I need my inhaler more.  (That might be a DUH!).
Cold air for me causes slight coughing.
Energy levels while running are lower than I want, even when conditinos are ideal.

If you are having a hard time controlling your asthma, a treatment of your inhaler at the ER at your local hospital can dialate your capillaries and get you back on track.  It gives the medication more punch by better dispersing it through a mist.
Cheers!  And happy breathing.

March 19, 2012

work work run

This lastfew months has seen me change work again and again.  I now have more work hours than I have worked in ... well ever!  This creates a different fatigue.  I want to sleep more, but stay up later.  I am studying as well and now in my life it is more important than it ever has been to keep running.  I admit my mileage has been waning.  I am still getting out there, but 30 km per week is getting tough, and I usually like going beyond that.  
With the latest job on the go, I am hoping I can now start looking long term and stop transitioning so often.  This being said, I want to carve off my running in the morning againas the sunshine becomes part of the wee morning hours.
Still not sure if I will do a spring race.  I will not be setting any PR's, that is certain.  I feel slower than I have ever been, to be honest.  Am I declining with age? 

March 07, 2012

rest or run

My scheduleas of late has been bonkers, reading and writing for my masters degree.  Perhaps you relate, but being up until late and trying to fit in a run in the morning becomes problematic.  To rest as you need it to function well or to run to take care of stress and get the blood flowing, that is the dilemma.  I am trying to squeeze in at least 30 km per week to keep fitness levels, and sanity.  The number looms over me, making me dread my running lately.  The joy for me is sucked out from obligation, I respond poorly to obligation, you see.  Ill do it, but you cannot make me like it as much!  That being said, I never regret a run.  What I do realize is that I may get stuck in my agenda, my to do list as I run, trying to figure out my day, my problems.  What I love about running is that it forces me to think about these things and gain back some perspective.  Rest can be good for recovery, for avoiding burnout, but it must not be confused with neglect of taking care of yourself and making up excuses is not doing that! 

February 13, 2012

Black Sox

I ran the other dayfor 10 k.  When I got home, I looked down while undressing, getting into the shower and realized that in my hurried state to get out of the house, I forgot to wear my running socks, rather I ran with my DRESS SOCKS ON!    That was weird.

February 05, 2012

Wild Horses

Went for my 15 k today.2 K in, I saw an unusual site.  On the rural road there were a few ponies and horses wandering on the road, I guess they escaped from whereever their field was.  They would run in front of me on the road, stopping 100 feet ahead and then waiting until I came nearer and then take off again.  Horses are amazing.  This went on for a good kilometer and I envisioned myself as one of the herd.  What it must be like to be powerful and beautiful like that.  Pretty cool.

January 30, 2012

SOWA Half Corked Marathon 2012

Oliver and Osoyooswill be hosting the third annual Halk-Corked Marathon here in he heart of the desert of BC.   This event has sold out within 24 hours of opening, so tickets are hot!  It will meander between 8-12 wineries, sharing the best of fare between wineries and local restaurants.  A pasta meal will also be held that weekend.  Tickets go on sale on February 7th.
Here is the link to the information.  
Its a time to get dressed up, to run a fun and very beautiful terrain amongst the local vineyards and sample Canada's best in wine and hosting.
Here is the link to the ticket sale site with info on packages.

"ANNOUNCEMENT: SOLD OUT IN 3 MIN- We're as surprised as you are!"  For more on this click here.

This is crazy but true.  I have looked at the traffic patterns of my blog and the SOWA Half Corked Marathon has been one of the top viewed blogs, so there is no doubt that it would be popular, but 3 minutes is ALL IT TOOK!!

January 14, 2012

Illusive Goal 4 Minute Km (6:44 min mile)

Like Wile E. CoyoteI have my prey.  My illusive goal is an under 40 minute 10 k.  This requires a sub 4 minute km (6:44 minutes per mile).  Some are able to do it better quicker, easier than others.  Yesterday, I went on a 10 k and attempted a sub 4 minute km.  I DID IT!  Second km in, I booted it.  Exactly 4:00 minute km on my Garmin.  Then, I not only bonked, but my time was slower than my last run at almost 47:00!  Not good.
Now I am much like Wile E Coyote, I am a fool in my own genius way.  I did not eat breakfast for example.  I also HATE speed training, which is a part of the task I must face.  Can I do it for April when our local 10 k race comes to the Wine Capital of Canada?
Could it be that like my father before me, these buttocks have disappeared thus giving me little meat to charge forward in?  Do I need a boost of some sort, like a rocket or Marty McFly's futuristic shoes?  Or do I need to do intervals, hill repeats and fartleks, the BAIN of my existance, without getting injured...
Or will I hear that sound that makes the coyote cringe with self loathing, the sound my brain makes when my friend Jeremy Cook passes me just as we enter the last stretch of the race, hand out grasping for the glory.... MEEP.  MEEP.  How I hate that bird and love him with the same breath.  MEEP MEEP indeed.
Stay tuned...

January 06, 2012

Meh to Winter

Gotta be honestnot diggin the winter running, despite the warmest winter we have seen in ages.  It has more to do with all the transitions I have been experiencing and the schooling Im going through that sucks up all my free time.  I will keep running three times a week i will will will.  Just takes much of my energy and planning to get out there.  I am not even getting up at 530 any more for work.  Maybe thats why.  Anyhow, I have a 15 k with my name on it tomorrow.

January 01, 2012

Eating For Fuel

Resolution: eat healthierHappy new year y'all!If you are just starting a new way of living your life which includes exercise and a change of any sort to alter your body, this short blog might help.  Working towards a goal of healthy living is a bigger challenge than what a "diet" entails.  It is longer term, holistic change. 
I have needed to look at my body as a machine which consumes fuel.  I expend energy requiring fuel!  When exercise is engaged, more fuel is consumed.  When I look at food in this manner, my consumption needs to be proportionate to how I expend.  Calories in, calories out.  Think about it this way: if breathing made you fat, people would try to stop breathing.  THis is not possible.  It may last for a minute or two, but you need to breath, and when you start breathing again, it will be to compenate for the stupid attempt by being "out of breath".  Dieting is the same.  We need to consume fuel.  There is no bad or good in food in this light, just as there is no bad or good Oxygen.
WOrking toward a more efficient and balanced body takes discipline.  Moderating our intake and output wil be a part of this process, but it is long term and gradual.  Start today, start small.  Create an overarching plan that is trackable!  Find joy in the changes, and try to avoid "holding your breath".  Cleanses and fads will come and go, but fitness and healthier living is long term!
Enjoy your new process!