I love running!

I love running!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Time for a break

Today is a beautiful fall day and it felt like the perfect time to sit down and write about running. Normally on a day like today I would be out running but I'm not as I am on a running break. This break came a few weeks earlier than I had anticipated, however, I am trying to embrace the rest and let my body and mind recover from a huge year of training and competing. Originally my break was scheduled for after October 18th, when I was hoping to be competing at the Canadian Marathon Championships in Toronto at STWM. That goal has now been put to the side.

When I came back from Pan Ams in July, my coach Richard Lee and I sat down to determine my fall goals. Knowing I had already run 3 marathons, Houston, Eugene and Pan Ams we knew aiming for a 4th was a gamble, however, I had managed to stay healthy throughout the training, and with Pan Ams not having a marathon build training cycle prior, due to the short notice, I had really only completed two marathon training cycles. We recognized it was a gamble as to whether I would remain healthy building to Toronto and were cognizant that I may have to pull out if my body or mind led me to. Richard developed a training plan for me that included 2 lead up races, the Eastside 10k in Vancouver, followed by the San Jose half marathon in California.

With it being summer I also had a couple of trips planned. In August, I had the opportunity to go to Bird Camp. This is a camp put on by my sponsor Oiselle and was held in Leavenworth Washington at the beautiful Sleeping Lady Resort. Prior to camp I had only met my team mates via social media, so I  was really excited to meet them in person. What an incredible experience. Oiselle is a company that truly practices what it preaches. Oiselle's love of running, along with their belief in pure sport, and their creation of communities and relationships made me even more proud to be a part of their team. I met some amazing women and had some incredible experiences that included running, hiking, eating, river floating, meditation, yoga and core work.

Following camp, I headed with my family to Naramata in the Okanagon. This is a usually one of my favourite trips as it is a beautiful lake getaway. The running involves lots of hills and it is typically hot but it is a great strength builder during a marathon build. Unfortunately, this year the forest fires from Washington were enclosing the area in a smoke filled haze. The air quality wasn't great and it made running not so much fun. It caused my asthma to flare up which made running more difficult but I was able to continue running.

Upon returning to Vancouver, my running workouts were going okay. I didn't feel as fresh as I had hoped to and I was experiencing a bit of a foot niggle with my left foot. It was strange as the bottom of my foot began to feel bruised. The pain wasn't anywhere specific and it tended to come and go and move around. I had a callous buildup on the ball of my foot, and some swelling on the top of my foot, but again this came and went and with treatment would often dissipate. I consulted with my sports med Dr Bovard and with my physio Marilou Lamy and we determined that I could continue to train as long as the pain didn't increase. 

My first race, the Eastside 10k was on September 19th. It was a very wet rainy day making the roads a bit slick. I warmed up for the race with a group of running friends and did not feel fresh, although I often feel this way in the warm up. I also was aware of my foot as it was hurting a bit. I didn't feel the pain was greater than usual and believed I would be fine to race. I put on my flats, the gun went off and I started to run. I knew from the start something was off. My left side just wasn't turning over probably and I had limited power from my left foot. I wasn't able to turnover any faster and it was frustrating. I didn't feel any pain in my foot, however, I was aware I wasn't planting my foot properly. I finished the race pain free but nowhere near as fast as I knew I was capable of. Starting on my cool down my foot started to really hurt. I realized I was limping and this scared me.

Fortunately I had a pre-booked appointment with my sports med doc for the Tuesday following the race. When I saw him and explained what had happened he decided we needed to do some testing to see what was going on. He sent me for an X-ray and a bone scan. He also told me I needed to stop running as he suspected a stress reaction or fracture. The X-ray came back clear and the bone scan showed a hot spot. I am still waiting on final results from the bone scan as they had a CT component that should be able to pinpoint whether there is a fracture or not.

After meeting with Dr. Bovard, prior to the tests,  I talked with Richard again and we decided it was time to call it a season. There is  no point in trying to recoup quickly from this. We both know it is better for me to get healthy and strong again for the spring season. So where does that leave me now?I know I am not running until I am pain free. I will start cross training next week, but until then I am having two full weeks off to recover from the year. It has been quite a while since I had a long break and I am managing it quite well at the moment. I always find it hard when it is a beautiful running day and I wish I was out there doing what I love to do, but I know I need to be smart, patient and remain positive if I want to come back and compete.

I am also embracing running by cheering on my friends who still are running. So many of my amazing running friends will be competing in marathons over the next few weeks and I can't wait to see how all their hard work pays off. I will continue to enjoy the journey as I get healthy and strong.

A huge thank you again to my coach Richard Lee, whose guidance and support are exactly what I need. Also to my sponsor Oiselle, who not only make the most kick ass running gear, but who are an example of the power of a running community that speaks up for what it believes in. Thanks to Nuun who keep me hydrated by making such yummy flavours (especially watermelon and grape). Thanks to Sports Uber and Zensah Compression who make sure whenever my calves get tight or I am flying somewhere that I am compressed and supported. Also thanks to Fast and Female, for whom I am an ambassador. They work hard to help motivate girls to stay in sport. check them out!!

                                                 Enjoying the view after a hike at Bird Camp

                                                  A beautiful long run with Oiselle team mates

                                                   Some of the Oiselle crew post long run

With Leanna Keto, a fellow Canadian Oiselle team mate and Kristin Metcalfe the best team leader!

                                           post long tempo run in the smoky Naramata haze

                                          A Naramata sunset our last night, after the smoke cleared

                                             The start of the Eastside 10k in Vancouver
                                                photo cred: Dave Burroughs

                                                  Racing the raindrops in the Eastside 10k
                                                     photo cred : Dave Burroughs