Results Not Typical

Heather

Way back when we started training I had a bad run one day and an even worse run the next because of my right knee.  This nagging knee injury has been with me since I ran my first half marathon.  Basically any distance over 10km would aggravate my knee, wearing a brace would get me to 25km and beyond that I was running with pain.  So after this particularly bad weekend Dan said enough and made me go see the doctor.  I should explain that I am a medical professional so I do not like going to the doctors because inevitably they find something wrong with you.  And of course an injury that occurs while taking part in a certain activity is easily fixed by not doing said activity.  I was afraid she’d say stop running, but to my surprise my doctor was cool about it.  She did not want me to stop running either (I think she just meant marathons, her facial expression changed slightly when I explained what the DeathRace was).  Anyway I walked away from her office with requisitions for x-ray, ultrasound, bone scan and MRI (impressively thorough) and a referral for physiotherapy.  The first 3 tests I had done within days (it helps to work in diagnostic imaging clinic) and they showed not a lot, mainly just degenerative bone changes which is a little disconcerting since I’m not really at the degenerating age.  So on to the physio.

I went to an awesome place called the urban athlete, they are geared to keep everyday people competing like we are elites.  Laura was my physiotherapist she was very thorough, but was getting a little frustrated that it was not immediately clear her why I was having pain. In fact it was good to know that I have a good gait and bend in all the correct directions.  Finally Laura started to do some physical manipulations with me lying down.  My knee joint was being pushed, pulled and bent in all different directions, she assured me this wouldn’t hurt, it didn’t, I just couldn’t watch.  By the end of the session Laura was no closer to the cause of my pain. She suggested some exercises to help with some muscle weakness she noticed and said to come back in a week.  However, I was not just to return, I was run 15km to get there with no knee brace. Her guess was that I was losing my form when tired and doing something funny with my leg, which lead to knee pain.  The following week as I got ready to run to Laura’s office I started to think about my runs after her visit, I had worn my brace for everyone of them but I had no pain at all, including running a faster than I should have around the bay. Hmm, off I went brace free and let me tell you it was lovely, it was actually warm that day so I was rocking some shorts and it felt so nice not having my knee cocooned, and as I finished up my run I was elated to find I had no pain, not even a twinge.  When I got the office I was tossed on the treadmill and told to just keep running at my normal pace and not pay any attention to what was going on around me.  This was a little difficult because there was a screen in front of me showing me running on the treadmill.  It was a little distracting.  Laura was zooming in and out and moving the location of the camera. I was finally told I could stop.  This is what happened next.

Laura: How far have you run now?

Me: 20km.

Laura: How’s your knee?

Me: Fine, actually great.

Laura: Your form is fine even when tired.  I don’t have a clue what’s wrong with your knee.

Me: I don’t care.  I think you fixed it when you were yanking on it last week.

Laura: Well good. Come back if it starts to bother you again and we can keep working on it, otherwise I’d say there is nothing more I can do.

Me: Thanks!

That was 6 weeks ago, since then I’ve been running +80km a week and guess what? No pain!!!  To think if I’d just sucked it up years ago and went to see a doctor I could’ve been running pain and brace free.  But I’m not going to see one about this thing on my foot, I draw the line where needles may be involved….

Advertisements

The “big” winner.

Dan

Heather wasn’t wrong when she said I had a couple of issues on our first trail race. Started off ok, feeling good but not long into the run I started to feel off. A quick inventory of things out of the norm led initially to me blaming the sun, after all it’s not like I have had much chance to run in the sun this year. Sweat was pouring out of me and I couldn’t seem to take on any fluids, maybe sunstroke? But then came the burp and then it was a palm full of puke. Incidentally projectile vomit is also a running first for me, before the race was done it was also a running second and by the third time it was pretty passé really. To add to the fun my bowls started to growling in some very very worrying ways thankfully these issues didn’t fully manifest themselves until we were driving back from the race, but that is another story and not one I think even I want to share!!  Oddly despite all of this I loved the race, and I actually felt good about being able to mentally tough it out.

#1 Clydesdale

Next day got off to a rocky start but eventually got my backside outside to run Heather to the start of her 10km race. After dropping her off at the start I hightailed it to the finish line. A couple of issues, I somehow had to cover 11km to get to the finish line of a 10km race, not a big problem I had a bit of a head start, what I didn’t have was a watch, in my infinite wisdom I decided to use parking meters to time my run. Turns out that there are a lot less parking meters than I expected on my route, I started to panic that I was going to miss the gang cross the finish line. I even contemplated using my emergency TTC token, a quick glance up the street revealed no streetcars in the immediate future. I only had one option turn on the taps and haul ass, as I approached the finish line and saw the race clock I realized that parking meters were not the best pacing aids I had covered the distance way ahead of my normal pace. Then came the stressful bit (I maintain the view that the role of cheerleader is way more stressful than actually running the race) trying to spot the guys crossing the finish line and snapping a few shots of them. I failed miserably there were literally thousands of people crossing the finish line and I wasn’t able to spot any of them. I did eventually find everyone after they got their medals. They looked great and had obviously had a really good run, and there was certainly a twinge of jealousy when I saw them all wearing their medals. I guess I don’t make a good wallflower.

A trail race, a training run, and a road race.

Heather

Enjoying the sun pre-race.

Saturday was a beautiful day. A perfect day for a run, in fact a perfect day for a trail run. And that’s just what we did.  We arrived at Albion Hills with no clue what lay ahead of us.  Just how different is trail running from regular road running? Let’s just say we got schooled.  We did a half marathon distance, which consisted of three loops of a trail plus a small spur at the beginning of the race. Dan and I jockeyed for position at the back of the pack as we quickly realised that we were surrounded by very serious runners and did not want to be anyone’s way.  How did we know they were serious? They looked it, almost all of our fellow competitors looked like elite runners, thin but muscular, everyone kitted out in the latest running gear, plus people kept approaching Dan to talk about his shoes. Yes we were surrounded by people who were checking out what everybody had on their feet!  I can’t remember if there was horn or gun that started us, I was too excited.  And we were off, running across the grass, it reminded me of cross-country running at elementary school and I couldn’t stop smiling.  We were right to start at the back and that’s where we stayed for the first loop.  I learnt that Miles (my garmin) doesn’t quite gather accurate info when running through undulating forests, he kept telling me we were going too slow so I kept pushing the pace. Finally I took a closer look at my heart rate and realised no matter what pace Miles was telling me I needed to slow down, Dan was thankful that we backed off and very thankful for the hill trainingI’ve been torturing him with. As we neared the end of the first loop (we could hear the music at the start/finish area) we had settled into a pleasant pace and I still couldn’t stop smiling. That’s of course when something had to go wrong, at the top of the steepest hill (which was littered with jutting rocks) I tripped on a tree root. Looking down the hill at that moment all I could think about were my teeth and how they were going to be shattered and I was going to have to go the dentist and I hate the dentist. My hate for the dentist somehow helped me find my footing and I miraculously stayed upright. The photographer on the hill actually put down his camera to applaud my efforts and even Dan gave a little cheer.  Dan told me later that he feared for my wrists and knobby knees and the fact that I probably would’ve cried hysterically.  With a near miss out of the way we were then shocked by our first split time of 44mins for 8.6km, yup we went out way too fast, but we were content for now bringing up the back of the half marathon group.  On our second loop we discovered that other people had also started out too fast as we actually passed a few runners.

Trail running.

One man had me a little worried when he asked how many more hills, um, the same amount as the first loop.  Dan was having some issues, which required him to keep dumping water on his head, he seemed to be over heating.  It was nice out, but not over heating nice out, then he started burping, I ran along in front of him shaking my head and grateful that we on our own, and after one nasty sounding burp Dan says “oh I just vomited in my hand” What!!! We stop so he can rinse his hand (thankfully we were running with our packs so we had access to lots of water). Me: are you ok? Can you keep running? Dan: yes, I feel better. Ok. Off we went Dan was struggling but I was very proud of him soldiering on. When we finally crossed the finish line Dan sweetly let me “win” for not leaving him on the side of the trail (I had been on pace for a new half marathon PR). I was just so excited to have finished the race with only a tiny scratch on my arm. I loved it, trail running is so much fun and something we desperately need to continue to add to our training. And Dan well, he got a medal.

The winner!

He won the Clydesdale division (men over 200lbs), we felt he had a good chance of placing at the start line seeing as there were only two other men who looked over 200lbs. But who cares he was first and received a first place medal for all his suffering.

Sunday we were up early and had planned to run a 15km run that would have me at the start line of the Sporting Life 10km, but that had to be cut short as Dan was still having some “gut” issues.

Eager runners at the start line.

We still managed to get an uneventful mostly uphill 10km “warm-up” in. I was running the race with my cousin and friend Rochelle and my little sister and her boyfriend were also running (apparently little sisters boyfriend was inspired cheering us on at ATB).  It was a great, easy, mostly downhill run, little sisters boyfriend could not contain his excitement and took off around 3km, us girls stuck together and stayed consistent running a negative split and leading me to a new 10km PR. Actually it was everyone’s PR as it was they’re first 10km race.  And I was especially happy to have stuck with little sister to tie going across the finish line as she always has enough left in the tank to sprint and leave me in the dust, but I didn’t let her get away this time!  Re-match is planned for August a mid-summers night.  Bring it on!

Happy race finishers!