Archive for August, 2014

Ups and Downs

In a recent edition of the Newbie Chronicles column in Runner’s World magazine, Marc Parent listed ways you know you’ve become a “real runner.” My favourite was his description of a little pile of laundry in the corner of his bedroom. A pile of stinky tech fabric laundry, the results of a week’s worth of hard runs, laundry which can’t be washed with cotton and therefore deserves its own little pile. I no longer have that little pile of laundry.

Let’s back up a bit.

About a month ago, I was in a running slump. I had two target 10K races coming up in September, but every training plan I looked at seemed either too easy or too hard. I had no idea where to start and was struggling with how to go about working towards this goal. Then I came across a tweet from a runner raving about her four minute PB, so I tweeted back my congratulations. She credited her coach and said “I should’ve hired him years ago!”

Hmmmmmm. I checked out his website and found that he had an online coaching option for people who didn’t live in his area. A couple of emails back and forth, followed by an extensive survey of my paces, goals, past results, strengths and weaknesses, and I was on my way with my new coach.

Coach Ron signed me up for the Addaero website, which allows him to enter in my prescribed work-outs. Every morning I get an email from Addaero with my run for the day, and I enter in my distances and splits afterwards for Ron to view.

Wow, was I out of shape. I’d spent a month doing very little running, and it showed. The first two weeks kicked my ass, and I considered quitting many times. On week two I was prescribed a speed work run that appeared absolutely impossible. Well, I thought, I’ll try. Then I can say I tried and it was too much. Off I went, ready to pass out on the side of the road. But I didn’t. I did it! The run that had appeared impossible on the computer screen was not only possible, it was fun. I felt more energized and excited about my running than I had all year.

The next few weeks followed much the same. I tackled my hard runs head-on, and nailed my splits. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to run those two 10K’s in September.

As much as I love running, horses and barrel racing are my true passion. If I ever had to choose one or the other, I’d hang up my running shoes without a second thought. On Monday night, I was helping one of my twins with his horse at a barrel racing jackpot. My kids ride my retired gelding, and much as he enjoys his retirement, he does forget sometimes that he’s not a spry young barrel horse anymore and can become a bit of a handful when we’re out at barrel racing jackpots. This is exactly what happened on Monday, and I got in the way. He stepped on my right big toe and pivoted, tearing the nail right out of my toe. This was a nail that was already half black from running, so I think it was a bit looser than a typical nail, and it just let go. Usually when a horse steps on your foot it hurts for a minute then is fine. This was not fine. After limping back to where my friends were warming up their horses I sat down and took my boot off. My sock was soaked in blood. While one friend went to get a first aid kit, another helped the kids with their horse (who had settled down by this point, thankfully), and another helped me peel off my sock and assess the damage. My nail was still attached underneath, but was torn out of my toe around the three outside borders. More help was needed to untack the horses and load them in the trailer so I could take us all home. I could not have made it through that evening without those ladies to help me, and I am so grateful!

I saw my doctor the next morning and she recommended having the nail removed completely. Unfortunately, the doctor who could do that was booked until next Thursday. I emailed Coach Ron and he responded with a “Noooooooo!”

Today is Saturday, and I still have five more days until I can see the nail doc. I can’t wear shoes, and today is the first day I’m able to even wear socks. Whenever I’ve had injuries in the past I’ve always been able to do something to help myself heal – physio, massage, stretch, chiro. With this, there’s nothing I can do but wait. It’s so frustrating, especially since I was doing so well with my running, and my mare was doing so well with her new barrel racing career. I have no idea how long I’ll need to take off, but as of now I’m still walking like a duck. It sucks. I miss riding, I miss running, and I miss my little pile of stinky laundry.