Around the Bay (again)


Sunday was the 118th running of the Around the Bay 30km road race in Hamilton.  This was our second time around the bay and once again it was a great day.

Wake up Dan, we're about to run a race!

We were blessed with fabulous running conditions for March 25, warm 10 degrees (Celsius) overcast in the morning and sunshine all afternoon.  We hemmed and hawed about carrying water with us but we have gotten better with running long(er) distances without water that we figured we’d risk just using the aid stations.  We definitely seeded ourselves better this year, last year we were still walking around the block to the start line when the race started, this time it only took about 2 and a half minutes to cross the start line!

Waiting to start.

I had told Dan that if he wanted to push himself to go ahead, I didn’t really have a race strategy as I had only run about 13km over the preceding 3 weeks (sadly I’ve spent a lot of time on the bike).  Dan decided to stay with me for a bit and see how he felt, so off we plodded at our comfortable pace, which was probably not the smartest pace for the runner with the recovering foot injury.

This man ran the whole race as a helicopter.

Anyhow by the 2km marker I had a horrible stomach ache, I don’t know why but it certainly distracted me from any pain in my foot, it also distracted me from how quickly the first 10km went by, suddenly we were headed down to the lake, I decided to eat some shot blocks, they seemed to settle my stomach and I could enjoy my favorite bit of the run along Beach Blvd.  Many of the home are “eclectic” and so are their owners.  We passed people who had pulled (I hope) their couches on the front lawn, to cheer for us while sipping Caesar’s and beers (race starts at 9:30am).  There was a bacon station, which of course being slow, was wiped clean as we went by but the fryers were still out cheering.  Then we have to cross the scary Canada Swing Bridge, it’s scary because it’s grated, and last year we saw a woman who had tripped and face planted being attended to.  I’m also curious to know how barefoot runners or runners in Vibram’s make it across that thing without completely shredding their feet or catching their foot in the large holes.

Then we were headed up North Shore Blvd, to the hilly last 10km.  I was quite thankful for the hills, I find running on the flat kills my legs I need a bit of variety, judging by the people we were passing I may be the only one who feels that way.  I felt there was a lot more “carnage” this year than last, we saw 3 ambulances along route and people were fading fast on the hills (which are really just pleasant rollers, other than the last one).  Dan thought this was because we were ahead of our time, I guess all this stuff was cleaned up by the time we passed last year.  We carried on past another cemetery (I don’t know if we run by the same one 3 times or if we are getting a bonus cemetery tour of Hamilton) and high-fived the dwarf, then it was down Spring Gardens Road (yeah) and then up Valley Inn Rd (meh, I really don’t think this hill is that bad, it just sucks that it’s so close to the end).  As we ran past the two grim reapers I was starting to hurt.  I had decided to wear a pair of shoes that I had never run more than 12km in, by 13km I could feel my toes banging into the toe box, and the sun had come out and I was parched.  Having run this race last year carrying our own water and this year without, if it’s going to be warm I would recommend carrying your own because the water stations are very oddly spaced, or completely ravaged and never seem to be there when you need one!

The final 2.5km are downhill (barely) along York Blvd, leading you to Copps Coliseum where you run down a loading ramp and onto the (covered) ice surface.  I couldn’t wait to get there.  It felt like it took us forever to get there, if Dan hadn’t been with me I probably would’ve walked the rest of the way.  But he was with me and he pushed me to carry on and so as we plunged into the darkness and around a corner nearing the screeching hum of the timing mat, he yelled at me to “Go! Go! Go!” I had no idea why (apparently it takes my eyes longer to adjust in dim light), but then I could finally make out the numbers on the clock…we had done it in 2:55, and that was the official time, our chip time were 2:52:26!

It’s not a fabulous time to many people, but to me it was awesome, it’s 18 minutes faster than last year, when I had actually trained properly!  And truth be told my foot held up really well, a little swelling and discomfort, but nothing some ice couldn’t help, the worst of it is my big toenail on my left foot is now black, but that is nothing new, and I’m well aware of how it happened.

We even had a cheerleader that we didn’t even know we had!  My cousin, Melissa, who lives in Hamilton came down to cheer us on, and even though she didn’t see us, she had fun.  And somehow we got lunch out of the deal!

All in all, Around the Bay was a success, which is more than I had hoped for.

The bling


Test Drive


One week ago I was so optimistic and happy about how good my foot was feeling, so much so that I considered going running.  Unfortunately when I woke up Wednesday morning the pain was back (seriously though, what could possibly aggravate an injury when you’re sleeping?).
So I went into a panic once again, but decided ultimately that it would make much more sense to just go and see my physiotherapist and see what she thinks.  Last visit went really well, since Laura was unable to actually find anything wrong with me and after one visit the pain has never returned.  I started to question why I hadn’t thought to go see her sooner.
Of course by the time I arrived for my appointment my foot was feeling pretty good.  So I tell her what’s wrong, she does all her poking and prodding and tells me…that there is nothing wrong with my foot.  She gets me on the treadmill and…nothing.  Foot feels great, I’m not complaining but I’m beginning to feel silly.  After a little more manipulation, I finally give her the response she’d been looking for by flinching in pain…when she rubbed the junction of my calcaneus and cuboid.  There is really nothing there, no ligament, tendon or muscle insertions.  Some circles may call it cuboid syndrome, where basically the bones jammed up (when I fell in the hole), some people need a procedure called the cuboid whip, but my cuboid seemed to have whipped itself back into place.
So I was sent home with instructions to keep doing what I was doing and don’t run if it hurt, but bike to my heart’s content.  I was assured that some people train for marathons just using the bike when they are injured.  At least I haven’t been able to crash the stationary bike…yet.
So this morning two weeks from the last time I ran, when I had no pain for a full 24 hour period, I went for a run!  A glorious, easy 3km, through a sea of fog (that actually had me stopping at red lights because visibility was terrible and I didn’t really think being hit by a car would help my recovery).  I didn’t care because I was running pain-free.  I iced my foot when I got home and then headed for work, by 2pm my foot was sort of throbbing but I think it’s just because I’ve been limping and it was shocked at getting used properly, but the horrible pain has not returned.
Of course Around the Bay 30km is on Sunday so I have big decision to make, but I’m going to wait until race day and hope for the best.  I fully recognize that race plan A is out the window, but I’d be pretty pumped if I could get a pain-free training run out of the day.

It’s Been A Long Week


One week ago today was the last time I ran.

Last Tuesday:  Beautiful morning, clocking a great 10km, when about 2km from home my right foot just started to hurt.  Not a niggly soreness, or a dull ache, a horrible shooting pain, right under the base of my fibula (lateral malleolus).  I spent the day hobbling and when possible.

Wednesday:  I still couldn’t really weight bear and I went into panic mode.  What if I could never run again? Would I need surgery?  What if they had to amputate? (I’m not a terribly rational person).  Managed to do a one hour weight class at the gym.  There was much icing, ibuprofening and tiger balming.

Thursday: I had calmed down somewhat.  I was concerned about permanent damage and missing Around the Bay.  More resting, massaging, etc.

Friday:  I was still in pain and that just made me grumpy, if you don’t believe me, ask Dan I’m sure he can vouch for me.

Saturday: Things felt better, sort of.  I was able to do some sewing and cross border shopping.  I purchased two pairs of running shoes hoping my foot would get excited and stop hurting so we could test them out.

Sunday:  I walked (still with a limp) to the gym, did one hour of weights and one of yoga/Pilates.  Some of the yoga poses hurt so I stopped.  Spent that night, well I bet you can guess.

Monday:  I managed to pass people walking to work and I didn’t start to hobble until lunch time.  Returned home to rest, ice, compress and elevate (with some tiger balm and ibuprofen thrown on for good measure).

This Tuesday:    I woke up pain-free, but I was very cautious.  Over tiger balmed before heading to work so I spent most of the morning  wondering if I actually was getting a burn on my foot.  After work I managed a 45 min bike ride, pain-free.  The limp is gone.  There is still some tenderness, but I think a bit of ice and tiger balm should clear that up.

So I’ve decided that I most likely will be able to keep the foot, I might even try go for a run.  A short one, and if things are good (fingers crossed), just ease back into things, slowly.  Because I don’t think I could handle another week like the last.

I’m Done Sulking


So, some people may have noticed that we haven’t really blogged since my little rant a while back.  (I say we, but who are we kidding Dan hasn’t blogged in ages, he now considers himself the artistic director of this show.)
Some have you may have just assumed that we were busy or hadn’t been running, I wish I could say we were busy (no more than usual), I’m glad to say we’ve still been running so that leaves…sulking.
Yup, not proud to say it but I’ve been a big sulky baby.  Dan has been busy getting a new job.  He’s registered for his goal race, he has a training schedule, tune-up races planned. He’s even busy studying to become a Canadian.
I have been running, but aimlessly and without passion, cutting runs short because “who cares?”, no strength training because “what’s the point?”, nothing new is happening at my work, the promotion I wanted to apply for has been put on hold, I feel stagnant.  Everyone  has so much going on, weddings being planned, babies being born, new jobs, new houses, and here I am just feeling sorry for myself.  Pathetic really.
Dan finally hit his breaking point with my moping and self loathing and spent hours one night trawling the internet book marking races that could I do, when he presented all these choices to me, I couldn’t be bothered to even look at it.  Finally after a couple of days I glanced at a few of them, scoffing when I discovered he picked 100 mile races.
Me: Why are all these races 100 miles?
Dan: Why not?
Me: I can’t run 100 miles.
Dan: Yes you can.
Me: I’ve never run past 67km.
Dan: So?
Me: Did you take out more life insurance on me?
Dan:  If you don’t choose a flipping race soon I’m going to wish I had.
And with that the race list was whittled down, until there was one.
Yup I’m going to run 100 miles, although upon closer inspection of the race website we discovered the course is actually 106 miles(what’s 6 more when you’ve already done 100)!  Oh, I’m going to do this in Arizona, at elevation , in September, when it will be hot in the day and freezing at night!  Oh and it’s the inaugural running and there are currently only 23 people registered.
My training plan is taking shape, I’ve started taking the stairs whenever possible, and mainly I’m just focused on telling myself that I have not just set myself up for failure because no one likes a sulky Heather.