So it’s been a month post-flood and I’m happy to report that life is generally back to normal. I am still without a parking garage or camping supplies, and the lobby of my apartment is a mess and I won’t have a parkade until maaaaybe September but I am home now and running is getting back to normal so I’m happy.
It’s amazing what stress can do to the body and how it can affect my running performance. For the past month, pretty much EVERYTHING hurt when I ran, and I had no mental capacity to handle that. Luckily however, I have been gradually getting back on pace and into a marathon training routine again. I am able to push myself again instead of struggling.
I could bore you with the specifics of my marathon training the last couple weeks, but since I’m in catch-up mode in everything with my life, I’ll keep it to a couple major things and get all run-nerdy on you next week.
Two weeks ago my Dad, his lady and I went to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to visit my grandparents, aunts and uncles. My aunt is a part of Epilepsy Saskatoon, an organization to raise awareness and funds for Epilepsy. The weekend I was in town they held their second annual E-Race Fun Run so I decided to participate in the 10k, and Mimi (dad’s gf) ran the 5k. I came in second! I was close to coming in to first, but I started getting lower abdominal cramps about 3k which slowed me down and allowed the girl behind me to close the gap. She passed me around 6-6.5km and while I chased her for a while, I lost steam (had a hard tempo run the day before, didn’t have a ton to steam to begin with) and wasn’t at any risk for anyone to steal my second, so I just finished the race and was happy about that. My time was around 56 minutes, but I’m pretty sure the race was over 10k (according to mine and several other people’s garmins). Oh well. It was fun and for a good cause.
The rest of my weekend was spent having quality time with family, and of course, eating.
This past weekend I ran my first ever trail race! It was one of the 5 Peaks Race Series in Sundre, Alberta. I have been telling myself that I’d like to try trail racing for a while, so when I received a complimentary race entry for any of the 5 Peaks races through work, I jumped at the chance. And it kicked my ass.
The previous night I packed up a picnic for Dan and I to enjoy after the race, and at 6:30am Saturday morning I poured him into the car where he slept the entire drive and through the race (poor guy worked until 4am but still came out with me).
I arrived in Sundre at 8am and registered for the Sport course (6.6km/~4 miles) race. I got my race number and swag, which was literally some Kick-Ass coffee (which is also kick ass by description) and a handheld water bottle sleeve.
I had a snack and a little nap in the car (the race didn’t start until 10am), and jogged up and down the dirt road a bit to get used to the Saucony Exodus that I had borrowed from my mom (a no-no to some, but we have very similar feet and I don’t own anything heftier than Adios). I felt they were pretty heavy for me, definitely compared to the racing flats that I normally wear, but I was thankful for the grippies and protection they had.
The first bit (~500m?) of the course was a grassy path leading behind a hill that we would then run up. The hill was gradual and easily runable. After the hill leveled out, we had a quick downhill on a single track path (I think where the dotted line is on the map) which was a bit scary. Lots of people took this opportunity to pass, and there was a steep downhill on the right side and I wasn’t able to make room for those passing me, or even to pass those I was stuck behind. So I waited it out, and once we got back onto a wider path I picked it up and was able to pass some people.
My garmin beeped at 1 mile, and it was around 9:30-9:40ish. I was happy with this, considering most of that first mile was a hill and I wasn’t pushing hard. The second mile was quite hilly, and lots of people started walking on the hills. It was a hot and sunny morning, and being in the trees made it quite humid. I felt the heat and the hills catching up to me and my stomach and lower abdomen started to ache. Then the dreaded cramping began. I tried my same method as the Saskatoon 10k of slowing my pace and hoping they’d just go away, but no. No such luck. I didn’t double over in pain like previously, but I had to walk for at least 10 minutes. Either mile 2 or 3 was completed in 13:xx/miles (can’t remember which one, don’t have my garmin with me and it doesn’t really matter anyway).
On the plus side of my big walk, once the cramps subsided and I was able to run again, I had enough energy to run up the remainder of the hills, and seriously power down the downhills. Flying through the woods and mud puddles felt great. It was freeing. I had no music, I was connected to my surroundings, and before I knew it, I was at the final bend before the small descent towards the path to the finish.
As I was cruising down the last hill, I felt something hit my foot from above. I felt the pocket on my leg where my phone was hanging out (as it has for many runs without incident), and felt nothing. FUCK. I turned around and jogged a bit up the hill to see if I could find it, and when I had no luck, another runner told me that it would be retrieved after the course was swept. Whatever. After that happened, I wanted off that course and just wanted to cry (which made for a pretty awesome finish line sprint, to the point that the announcer even pointed it out). I had hoped Dan had woken up from his car nap, but no luck.
Feeling extremely defeated, I approached the announcer and told him about my phone, and was informed that it was already picked up. So that was good. Dan was back at the car, waking up, and comforted me. We hung out after the race and had some coffee and snacks, and I started feeling better about the whole situation. My final time was 40:43 (5/6 in my age group), which really isn’t bad for going into a run with zero expectations and walking for a good portion of it. I generally enjoyed the run, it was a nice change to road running.
After the race Dan and I found a spot by the river for a picnic. Dan went swimming in his underwear and I took pictures. It was a beautiful sunny day, I tried something new and caught the bug for trail racing. Sunday morning, I woke up and signed up for the 5Peaks race in September in Canmore.
This week my Mom and I are leaving for our yearly weekend of hiking. We’re doing one big day of hiking the Burgess Shale (which I’m very excited about) and maybe an easy hike the other day. I’m thinking I’ll try out a trail run around Emerald Lake on the easy day, so this week I’m going to get a pair of my very own trail shoes. I’m leaning towards the Saucony Kinvara TR, but I’m going to try a couple others tonight as well.
Do you run in trail shoes? Which ones? Done any good hikes lately?