Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My First Half that Wasn't

I’ve taken a while to write about my first half marathon experience. This is why:

I was ready. I had trained diligently for 16 weeks. Short runs, tempo runs, strength training, Pilates and of course, long runs. I went so far to say my training was ‘uneventful’. It all just fell into place.

As it got closer to race day I was increasingly nervous about injury and illness. With 6 days until race day I started to get a tight knot in my neck. That sent me into reserved panic as I tried all my tricks to help work it out (later to find out my tricks were making things worse).
With 5 days until race day I got out of bed to heat up a heating pad for some temporary relief of my neck. And then it happened.

I fainted. I woke up in the kitchen with my head bleeding and not knowing what the hell happened. Panic, pain, paramedics in my kitchen, blood on my pjs... all ended with a trip to the hospital and this:

 Two gashes right on my forehead needing seven stitches.  

I was in pain and feeling pretty sorry for myself. I told every medical professional in the hospital that I was running a half marathon in 5 days and they needed to fix me up and get me ready. I don’t think I realized the extent of the damage at that point. I just wanted the whole thing over with. They sent me home, with some great pain killers and said ‘good luck on your race!’

The rest of race week went like this:

Thursday: went for massage (to work out sore neck that caused this catastrophe in the first place) and went to get my hair cut. I considered bangs to hide the damage but was talked out of it (phew!). By day’s end my face was starting to swell and I was getting a black eye.

Friday: iced my face and neck and actually rested. I reconsidered the situation and decided not to race at all. I would cheer on my friend Kim. We went to packet pick up and it was a little disheartening. I had stitches in my face and was telling everyone that I was not racing. I even gave up on meeting Katherine Switzer because I felt I was giving up and embarrassed by my injury.

Saturday: woke up feeling great! Went for a long walk. On said long walk I decided that I should at least walk the race (there was a walking division). For sure I could walk.

Saturday night: Why walk when I can run? at least some of it.

Sunday (Race day): I decided to start the race with Kim and see where it takes me. I promised to assess myself honestly and slow down when I needed to. I’ve never started a race without a solid plan.

I was incredibly emotional at the start and began the race blurry-eyed from tears. So much had happened in just a few short days. I was on a roller coaster of emotions.

The Race:

I ran with Kim until I felt I needed to slow down. I let her go ahead while I made friends on the course. I was encouraged by the sheer number of women, all shapes and sizes, running this race. It was inspiring. I jogged, walked/ran and walked.


  I ran the last km to the finish. I had to run across the finish line. 

I finished!

In the end I didn’t have any more swelling in my face, but my knees hurt like crazy. I iced everything the rest of the day and didn’t move much otherwise.

Final Thoughts
On one hand I’m glad I did the race. I needed to do it to feel like myself again. I know it might sound strange that running/walking a half marathon would help me heal, but it did.

On the other hand I’m upset at myself for pushing so far. I just couldn’t let it go and probably delayed my physical recovery that much more.

Now I am trying to turn this whole ordeal into a positive. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and this is what I have learned:

     1)  It’s just a race. It’s supposed to be fun. I will remind myself to not get so worked up over race day again because you never know what can happen.
           2 ) It could’ve been so much worse. I could’ve hit my teeth or eye or had a cracked skull. I'm thankful it wasn't that bad.
     3) Stay down! I've never fainted before so I didn't know the feeling. I remember sitting on the floor. I likely tried to get up and tripped and fell into the counter, a barstool and the floor…hard. Next time, I'll remind my unconscious self to just stay down.
    4)  Everyone is dealing with their own shit. No one on the course cared about my stitches because they were dealing with their own hurdles. Some were much, much bigger than mine.

      So all things considered I had a pretty good first half marathon race. I have a vendetta on this race, so I plan to do it again next year. In fact, they have sweet deal on. If you sign up before June 30th of this year, the race is only $66!  How could I not do it again?

Apparently, I had fun too!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Finding Time

I have recently found extra time just laying around in my week, not doing anything. Seriously.

When people talk about fitting in exercise there is often the question of time. I have learned that if you really enjoy something and it is important to you, you will make time for it.

I am fortunate to work in an office that takes 45 mins lunches throughout most of the year. In the summer we get 1 hour lunches, but that's another story.

I have started training for this half marathon and committed myself to running a minimum of 3 times/ week. I know that doesn't sound like much, but with full time work and family commitments, it's what I can balance.
Even those three runs are hard to schedule as one of my goals for this race was to not take any time away from family while training. This means that I had to start getting up reeaallly early in the morning or get it done realllly late at night.

Neither of these options are in my best interest. I'm not likely to get up early when it's still dark and there is fresh snow on the ground. It also wasn't the safest idea for me to go at night. What is a busy mom, working full time to do? Run at lunch!

I don't know why it took me almost two years of working in this job to realize that I could be using my lunch breaks to 'Runch'. I guess it took me to actually commit to a training schedule, which I haven't done in two years. Hmmm, funny how that works.

So my 'runch' time has become a hectic, but joyful moment of the work week. Here is my breakdown of events.

Night before: pack running clothes, shower gear and lunch I can eat at my desk

Half hour before lunch: plan my route while eating a small snack

Lunch break begins: get out of office attire and into running clothes (this process takes about 5-8 mins that I hope will decrease as the weather gets nicer and I won't need as many layers )

Get outside and run! I work in a downtown area with heavy foot traffic. The runs have mostly been stop and go, so I usually try to pick up the pace and turn them to intervals. I've been able to get between 3-5k.

Post run: race to washroom to clean up and get back into running attire. (I'm fortunate that my office has a shower in the washroom, I'll have to explain my 1 min. shower another time)

Back at desk: eat my  packed lunch while finishing my afternoon work

End of day: relax and enjoy time with family knowing that my workout is done for the day!

It's a little hectic and takes extra planning the night before and even the day of. I have to work around meetings or other commitments that may happen over lunch hour. But I've realized that my runches will save my training plan.

Where have you found the time to train or do anything else you may enjoy? Was it hiding under the couch?