Saturday, May 26, 2012

Time Dropping - It Should Be A Thing

I was getting a little tired thinking about being injured, so this is me taking a break from blogging about my injury. Although, the fact I'm blogging again this week leads me to believe that I have way too much time on my hands. Guess this is what happens when I can't run.

Runners have a vocabulary that's all their own. There are many posts floating around in e-space on the various jargon used by runners, so I won't bother creating another. But if you're interested to brush up on your running terms, or always wanted to know the meaning of "fartlek", check out some of these online references:

Runner's World, Glossary of Running Terms
Real Buzz Glossary of Running Terms
Run Britain, Running Terminology Defined
Runstreet Glossary

As far as running vocab goes, time dropping is not really a runners' term. But I think it should be. Allow me to expand on this thought.

When I say time dropping, I'm not referring to getting faster. In my mind, it's like name dropping, but instead of bragging about pseudo-celebs or other sort-of important people one might claim to know, it's being a jerk by oversharing your race times. It happens when one runner is comparing him/herself to another runner and the information being provided is largely proffered and often unsolicited.

In short, time dropping is bragging about one's race times, in turn, diminishing the accomplishments of another runner, whether intentional or not.  

Here are some time dropping examples. These all actually happened ...

  • A novice runner blogs about how his running has improved, not by doing speedwork, but by simply increasing his weekly mileage. A reader comments: "I once ran a 51.29 10 miler off of mileage alone." [really? that's great but he didn't ask how fast you ran]
  • A racing event posts on a social media site, asking questions to encourage followers to comment on its page. The question of the day is: "What is your daily running distance?" A reader answers the question, adds a little story, and finishes with: "I squeak out a 3:20-3:30 race and promise myself more consistency and higher mileage next time." [how is this at all relevant to what was originally asked?]
  • A runner walks into a gym and recognizes someone who recently ran the same race he did. They strike up a conversation and he shares: "I've never run a half marathon before. I wasn't sure how I was going to do but then I finished in 1:36." [leaving the other person insanely jealous because his own time was not nearly as fast - and it wasn't his first half]

  • Prior to race day, a race posts information on its website about the pace bunnies and a runner comments: "I beat the 1:45 bunny back in '05." [and we care because ... ?]

Maybe I'm being a little harsh, but I've said it before and I'll say it again: running is an individual sport. When I'm out there, the only person I feel I'm competing with is me. And I'll be honest: I don't give a shit about what time someone else ran, unless I was trying to beat that time myself, or if that person happens to be a friend or running colleague.

I'm not saying I'm perfect. I know I've probably been a time dropper at some point in the last few years. I am aware that runners are a proud species and sometimes want to share their accomplishments with the whole wide world (Exhibit A: a blog about running, perhaps?). But when someone talks about their race times out of context or offers them when unasked, quite frankly, I find it annoying. 

I know there's no getting around it; time dropping will always happen by someone, somewhere. But I can do only what I can. 

Henceforth, a running resolution: from this day forward, I will make a conscious effort to stop time dropping. 'Cuz let's be honest ... it really is a little douche-y. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

On The 60-Day DL

As you know, I recently injured myself during training. I've started to think of myself as being on the DL ... that's disabled list, for you non-baseball fans. I'm no baseball expert but as far as I know, injured players can be placed on the disabled list for either 15 or 60 days. 

In my case, it's unfortunately starting to look like I'll be out for 60 days instead of 15.

I've been religiously doing the exercises I've been given at physio, but my last real run was May 14 - a fateful day, to be sure - which means I've been out 10 days. I tested my leg a few days ago on the treadmill, but my physiotherapist cautioned that if it started to feel any worse than a two out of 10 on the uncomfortable scale, I should cease activity; that didn't give me much to work with. I got off the treadmill after 15 minutes - most of which was spent walking, not running.

I was back at my sports medicine clinic for a check-up today and after a bit of poking and prodding, it's clear that my hamstring is still not happy. With only two weeks and two days to go until Edge to Edge, I can't help but think, I may not be able to run this thing.

The thought of not being able to run the race I trained for all spring is hugely disappointing, but I need to be realistic. I can barely run 15 minutes, let alone 42.2 km. And I certainly don't want to cause any further damage that could ruin any chance I have of running in the next few months.

My physiotherapist happens to be a sports nut himself. He's done a Half Ironman, a cycling tour from Vancouver to San Francisco (he and his friend averaged 100 km a day!) and was training to run the BMO Vancouver Marathon ... when he blew out his back in a snowboarding accident. Did he run the marathon? Hells, no. But - he will be doing Tough Mudder next month and I would bet anything that he'll sign up for the full at BMO again next spring.

So. I think there's a lesson to be learned here and I think it's something like this: "Those who choose to rest today, will race again another day."

More rehab updates to come. And I guess I'm going to have to start thinking (again!) about what races I want to run in order to achieve my Five by 35.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Houston, We Have A Problem

It's been a tough week.

It all started with my long run. After taking, what I felt, was a much needed weekend break from running, I set out after work on Monday to do 29 km. With about 10 km to go, I started feeling some tightness behind my left knee. I kept running, believing this to be no more than just a twinge.

Sadly, I was wrong.

With only three km to go and into the home stretch, I could barely walk, let alone finish my run. I had to call my husband to come pick me up. It's the first and only time I've ever not completed a long run.

We got home, I hobbled into our apartment ... and I immediately burst into tears.

I've been fortunate to have been mostly injury-free ever since I started running, experiencing only a minor setback last fall with a strain to my right quadricep. Many friends have asked me for advice on injury prevention and my reply has usually gone something like this:

  • Slow down when you need to slow down. Most of us are recreational runners; there's no need to push yourself to the point where you may do more harm than good. That's just stupid.  
  • Pay attention to your body. Pain is the precursor to injury.
  • When in doubt, go to physio.

So I went to physio. And the diagnosis was four key words that all runners hate to hear: "It's an overuse injury."

In my mind, this is the utmost worst thing that can be spoken to anyone who is training for a race and it's because the best and first treatment is rest

Rest means not running. Not running means not making the weekly mileage. Not making the weekly mileage means falling behind. 

It's a tough pill to swallow, but I suppose if this was going to happen to my hamstring it's better that it's happened now, with four weeks to go until Marathon #3, versus right before race day.  In that sense, I suppose I lucked out. 

At least I can rehab, work on my biomechanics (gotta love physio!) and rest up. Rehabilitating properly now means I can reduce my risk of a more serious injury that might keep me from achieving my other running goals. 

That's all I can do for now: take it easy and try to be patient. Admittedly, not my best virtues but hopefully ones I can cultivate while on hiatus.

Did some spring cleaning recently and found 
all this tucked away. Keeping an eye on the prize.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

And Then I Took The Day Off. On A Sunday.

I decided to not run the 29 km I'm supposed to be doing today. 

As I said to my husband this morning, "I'm not making any excuses.  I just don't wanna go."

I've been feeling a kind of post-race comedown ever since my kick ass half marathon last weekend. Even though I got out there this week for a couple of shorter runs, I didn't make it to Crossfit and I've just been a bit tired: tired legs (stupid lactic acid!), tired mind and low energy, overall. 

So instead of forcing myself out there today, I'm taking the day off. I'm going to tidy the house, take a nap (or two), watch TV, play with my bunny rabbits. I'm going to do these things, instead of being out there for four hours, on a Sunday morning, weaving in and out of the crowds of tourists/children/oblivious dog-walkers I would inevitably have to negotiate on such a beautiful day in Vancouver. 

And even though the marathon is in four weeks, I'm going to do this because I need the break

Hurrah for the couch and coffee I never normally see on a Sunday! And Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful moms out there.

Plenty more nice days ahead. I'll run then instead.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

New Course. New Medal. New Personal Best.

It was a great day for the BMO Vancouver Marathon. I had forgotten what an awesome experience running races can be ... especially when you kick some serious butt!

The sun was shining, the crowds were a-plenty and there was so much to be thankful for. Having run the 8 km at this event a few years ago, I knew I could count on a truly well-organized morning with tons of volunteers (volunteers rule! Thank you so much for getting up early to cheer us on!) and plenty of support along the route as well as at the finish line.

Start time for the half marathoners was at 7:00 AM. Organizers had encouraged the use of public transit, so my husband and I decided to catch the train to the start of the course. After some crowd confusion with the ticket purchasing machines at the station, we managed to get on a heavily packed train à la London Underground during rush hour.  

I am pleased to say, that was the only hitch of the day.

I got to the start line on time, ran my tush off and achieved a new personal best! 
  • Official chip time: 2:10:18
  • Pace: 6:11 per km

The finish line.  Crossing these never gets old.

The only unfortunate thing about my new record was that my husband didn't see me the entire race because I was always ahead of his planned viewpoints. Guess we'll have to work on recalculating his spectator route for Edge to Edge in five weeks. (Holy crap! Again!)

Man, oh man. What a way to return to racing.

Proud finisher! Now ... where's my breakfast??

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Holy Crap, I'm Racing Tomorrow!

It dawned on me this morning: I am running a race tomorrow! 

The BMO Vancouver Marathon weekend is here and tomorrow, I'll be running the half marathon.  Obviously, I knew this was coming.  I mean, I signed up for the darn thing.  It just feels like it snuck up on me.  Perhaps it's because I haven't raced in over a year.  Maybe it's because I haven't run a half marathon race since 2010.  

But here we are ... race weekend!

The courses for 2012 are brand new and point-to-point.
Map © BMO Vancouver Marathon and Vancouver International Marathon Society

I have always loved the first few days before a big race.  There's excitement, and a little anxiety.  I'm heading over to the race expo today, where I'll visit all the running kiosks, and maybe even try on some merchandise.  Of course, I'll also be picking up my race package which will include my timing chip.  

Useful for spectators - and super cool! - is being able to see live results via the website.  Hopefully this will help my husband pinpoint where I am along the route.  (I'll be wearing bib #17808, if anyone else wants to "see" me online.) 

I'm not aiming for a super fast time.  My goal is to get an idea of my race pace for the full marathon in June.  This race will be additionally interesting as I've not been feeling so great; I've been fighting off a cold and dealing with some unanticipated stressful issues that have emerged in the last few days.  

But life's not perfect, and neither is racing.  Like everyone else, I'm going to head out there to have fun and just do the best I can.  

Good luck to everyone running tomorrow!