Archive for August, 2012

River Run Classic

Sunday August 12 was to be my third and final half marathon for 2012.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I had some issues in the week leading up to the River Run Classic. After much soul-searching and wavering back and forth, I decided it was likely in my best interest to withdraw from the half marathon and run in the 5K instead.

Race loot. No half marathon=no medal. ūüė¶

I was (and still am) unable to sleep lying down – when I lay down my lumbar spine and sacroiliac joints seize up instantly and I can’t get up again. If I try, the surrounding muscles spasm very painfully. My husband got sick of practicing his rolling techniques from First Aid so I’ve been sleeping in my recliner in the living room.¬† Doses of Robax Platinum and trips to my chiropractor keep me functioning during the day.

Saturday was package pick-up. I was feeling better than I had all week, but still not quite good enough. When I arrived at the pick-up I talked to the race director (who I had emailed the day before as well) and she helped me change events. My friend Morgan was running the 5K as well, and we were excited to find that the promised 25% off at¬†lululemon coupon that was on the back of our race bibs wasn’t just for one item, it was for your entire purchase! Neither of us had our kids along, so we promptly went to lulu and spent a while trying on and selecting several items each.

The River Run featured a new start/finish point this year. River Landing is a newly developed area of the river bank featuring a waterfront promenade, ice cream shop, spray park, and fine arts centre. It’s a very picturesque area of the city, and it’s nice to see it being supported. My first half marathon had passed through here as well.

The national anthem was played (take note, Vancouver!), and Morgan gave me a sympathetic glance as I sadly watched the 108 half marathoners begin at 8:00, then the 157 10K runners¬†at 8:10. We lined up with the other 5K runners and I discovered I knew 4 other runners as well, more friends who have started running this year! Morgan has been running for just two months, but is already completely addicted. In fact, I think it’s safe to say she was addicted after only one or two runs! Both former high school sprinters, we have very similar mindsets about running, and it’s been great to have a good friend to talk running with lately. This was her second 5K, and she was hoping to break the 30 minute mark. I had suggested that I could run with her and help her pace. At the start line we looked at each other and knew our plans had¬†changed. We both knew we were too selfish to run together, and we agreed to meet at the finish line, no waiting for each other. Like I said, we have a similar mindset and we’re good running partners for that reason!

When the gun sounded, Morgan took off ahead of me. I’ve¬†gotten in¬†trouble¬†by going out too fast in previous races and ended up burnt out too far before the finish line, so¬†I’m really working on my patience in the first kilometer.¬† I also wanted to go out easy and test my back and hip to see what they were going to allow me to do that day. I hadn’t run in a week due to my fall injury, so I really didn’t know what to expect.¬† I didn’t even know if I’d be able to finish.

We headed into a steady incline almost immediately as we crossed the Broadway Bridge spanning the South Saskatchewan River. We ran past Brainsport (everyone’s favorite running store, and a huge supporter of runners and running events in Saskatoon), around the block, and back across the river. I loved 5K races last year and the summer before, and this race reminded me why. My watch beeped at the 2km mark and I realized I only had 3K left to go! The whole race¬†flew by! I caught Morgan at about the 2K mark and tried to get her to come with me, but she waved me on. She’s had persistant knee pain this summer and wasn’t sure how much she could safely push it that early in the race. My back was feeling good but not great, so I continued on without her.

The whole course was so scenic, it really helped distract me from the burning fire in my hip and lower back. It was frustrating to know that I am capable of running at a faster pace than I was, and that pain was the only thing holding me back. I crossed the finish line in 26:32, 1:08 slower than my personal best. I was pleasantly surprised actually, I had started the race unsure if I’d even make it through the first kilometer, so to finish strongly was a huge bonus! I ended up fourth of ten in my age group and 24th of 84 overall in the 5K.

I headed back along the sidelines to watch for Morgan. Either she was very focused or her iPod was blasting, because I cheered loudly for her and she didn’t even give me a glance! Lol. She finished in 28:02, smashing her goal of 30 mins! My other friends finished a few minutes later, and their husbands had been right behind me the whole time – I had no idea! (And yes, we forgot to take pictures afterwards! Boo.)

Overall, it was¬†a great race. I learned that it’s okay sometimes to change¬†my goal based on a change in circumstance beyond¬†my control. ¬†I also learned that I’m capable of more than I thought, and was reminded that running is truely a psychological game. I struggle with the voice in my head frequently. She tells me to stop and take a break and it’s hard for me not to give in. Sunday I was able to toss her in the river and silence her for good. She’s fiesty though, so she likely swam to shore to haunt me another day. Bring it on.

Gotta run.

Did you race this weekend? How did it go? Have you ever had to give up a goal race because of an injury?

(Follow me on Twitter! @RunMommyRun3)

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Ass Meets Ground

Monday evening. I’d been dying to get on my young horse, Lux. And I mean DYING! She oozes potential and I’m so excited to get started training her! All her ground work was done, she was ready to go. The next step was to simply step on.

I asked my husband (the non-horse guy) to help by holding her lead shank while I got on. We went through all the basics: she might jump around a bit, just move with her and put gentle but firm pressure on her lead rope, don’t yank, speak softly and soothingly. She’d been an angel thus far in her training, and I really didn’t expect any antics.

Maybe I let my guard down. Maybe I trusted her too much. Maybe it’s just been 13 years since I started a horse. Whatever it was, I got my left foot in the stirrup, stood up and she lost it.

Rule #1: Don’t let a green (untrained) horse know they can get rid of you by bucking. If they know it’s possible to unload you, they have some key knowledge to use in the future. I was still only half on, but held on for a couple hops before I couldn’t anymore. I hit the ground HARD with my left hip and lower back. My husband, bless his heart, was still talking soothingly to her and trying to settle her down. Then he realized I was lying on the ground and his calmness vanished. “ARE YOU OKAY???!!!!”

I was, I just needed a minute. I had fallen hard. I’d thought a grassy area would be good for this experiment, but I fell right where the snow plow had scraped some gravel onto the grass last winter. My back and left elbow were scraped up and my left hip was already starting to give me grief.

Rule #2: GET BACK ON. If a horse somehow learns that they can get rid of you, they need to know that’s not what we want, and it isn’t something to do on a regular basis. I limped over to Lux and we had a conversation about this very topic. Of course I know she didn’t know what I was saying, but she knew my tone of voice. It said I wasn’t mad, I wasn’t going to hurt her, and she could trust me. Then I put my foot in the stirrup and stood up again. She didn’t move. I stepped down and patted her. Then I got right on. She moved over a step when she suddenly saw my right foot appear in her other eye, but then stood perfectly. I patted her, got off, and put her away. My objective for the evening had been to simply get on, and I’d accomplished that.

As I limped back to the house and got the kids ready for bed, one thought kept running through my head. I have a half marathon in six days! I don’t have time to be this hurt! Calm down, it’ll be better tomorrow. You’ve been riding for 25 years, you’ve been thrown before, it’s always fine.

But it’s not. Today is Wednesday. It took me half an hour to get out of bed this morning. Getting in and out of my vehicle is excruciating. My hip has a sharp, shooting, burning pain when I move just wrong. I can barely walk. I definitely can’t run.

I saw my chiropractor this morning. He frowned a lot and told me to see him again in a week. If its not better by then he wants me to have x-rays to rule out a lumbar vertebra fracture. I mentioned that I was registered for the River Run Classic half marathon on Sunday… He frowned again and said it would be “highly unlikely” that I’d be able to run.

I’m upset. The River Run was my first 5K when I started running in 2010. It’s a fun event, but it attracts more serious runners, so you get a chance to run with some great athletes. I still cling to hope that this will improve and I’ll be able to make it. I know the chance of it is slim, but I’ve never committed to anything before and then not followed through. ūüė¶

Right now I’m sitting in a walk-in clinic waiting to see a doctor and get x-rayed. My family insisted I go get checked properly, and I finally gave in. My Mom fell off a ladder when I was 13 and compressed two lumbar vertebrae. She was in a back brace and on bed rest for several months, but made a full recovery. Because of this, we’re all a bit more worried about back injuries, so here I am. I really don’t think anything is broken, I feel like I’d know somehow. I’ve never broken a bone before, so maybe it’s silly of me to think that. I’ve got another hour or so to sit and wait and wonder I guess!

Gotta run. Ah, shit!

Virtual Races

In 2012 I’ve discovered the world of virtual races.¬† My summer races are quite spaced out, so this gives me the perfect opportunity (and excuse!) to run a bit faster in training and still feel like it’s counting for something.

A week from today is my next half marathon.¬† Last night my training schedule called for a 5K run at half marathon race pace.¬† For me, this is about 5:30-5:35 mins per kilometre.¬† I have a really hard time sticking to this pace when the run is so short, so I compromised and set out at 10K race pace. At my halfway turn-around point I suddenly remembered seeing¬† a tweet about the Summer Twitter Road Race. I was pretty sure it was August 4 so of course thought “if I pick up the pace for the second half of this run I could register for the race when I get home and submit my time right away and turn this into a race!”

Doug Cassaro¬†blogs about running and also organizes the Twitter Road Race four times per year.¬† This is a free virtual race that anyone can register for, then submit your time online. It’s kind of fun to think of all the other people around the world who are also out running¬†a 5K race – alone but not.

The concept of the Anywhere 5K is simple: why wait for a race? Create your own solo race any time, any where, then tweet your results with the hash tag #anywhere5K. They have a few dates per year when their followers try to run a 5K and submit their times online for bragging rights. I was the first female in the April Showers Anywhere 5K race this spring!

I had a fantastic run last night, it was a good pace and I felt fantastic. My 5K race pace hovers around 5:03, and I’d love to get it under 5:00 so I can clock a sub-25 minute 5K. Last night I ran my 5K with a pace of 5:16 to finish in 26:22. This was good enough to claim first in my age group (F20-29) in the Summer¬†#TwitterRoadRace, third female overall, and 14th overall finisher. 63 people finished this virtual race, including 39 women¬†– wow! Women are becoming a huge force in the running world! Way to go, ladies!

Are you itching to toe a start line? Why not sign up for one of these virtual races! Share your results here or tweet me at @RunMommyRun3!

Gotta run!