Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Year in Review

Obligatory Year in Review Post coming up. I won't do a whole huge recap, since everyone is no doubt super bored of these year in review posts by now and I'm way too excited about 2014 to spend a whole lot of time mulling over 2013. But, a few words to finish off the year:

2013 started in an odd place. In November of 2012 I sprained my foot, which it turns out is a thing you can do (I lost count of how many times I told people, no, not my ankle, my foot). Something slipped out of place in the cuboid joint something something I don't know. But it hurt a lot and kept me sidelined for a solid 6-7 weeks.

That was a fun December.
 January 1st was one of my first real runs after the injury, so it was a strange way to start the year. Yes, I was running again (exciting!), but every footfall was fraught, waiting to see if the pain was really gone. And I had a daunting task ahead of me, rebuilding my weekly mileage to somehow get ready for 30k Around the Bay at the end of March. But even with a cautious start, it's a year that ended up being pretty damn awesome! In some ways the injury turned out to be a good thing, because not being able to run showed me just how much I really do love it, and when I was able to run again I was far more committed to training.

One of the highlights of the year - heading towards the finish of the Mississauga half marathon, my first sub 2 half. Chip time 1:58 - a 7 minute PR at the time.
2013 is the first year I took my run training really seriously, committed to running 4-5 days a week, and did crazy things like get up at 4:30 in the morning to get in 15k before work. And it's paid off. Instead of rambling on about individual races, I think the best times I ran speak for themselves:

Distance Best 2012 time Best 2013 time Difference
5k 27:45 24:32 -3:13
10k 56:29 51:56 -4:33
Half Marathon 2:04:48 1:51:24 -13:24

How'd that happen? I ran a lot more and a lot more consistently than I ever have before (I ran 1310 km in 2012, and 2278 km in 2013, almost a thousand more). As a relative beginner, running more miles led to big gains. Yes, I did speed work, etc, but I think just running more was what led to the biggest improvements in my times.

Also can I get a big HELL YEAH for the skirt brigade? These ladies motivated me so much, especially through some tough long runs that I would definitely have cut short if I was running solo.

Kilometers run through the year. May was an off month while I recovered from a lingering hip issue and focused on cycling to prepare for the Ride for Heart. In addition to running, through the year I logged 394 km on my bike (damn I wish I'd done an extra 6 at some point!).

I know the gains won't come as quickly or easily now, but I think those numbers lend themselves to some obvious goals for 2014 and beyond (sub 24 minute 5k, sub 50 minute 10k, sub 1:50 half). And there's that small matter of my first marathon, of course.

Setting a new 10k PB in Oakville after running probably my best paced race of the year.
Farewell to an awesome 2013, and bring on 2014!

How far is 2278km? If you start from my city and run straight, you could almost make it to Mexico. Radius around a point tool.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Injury update: The girl who cried wolf

Well now I feel silly - my toe is clearly not broken after all, since I doubt that broken toes feel this much better after only a few days. The girl who cried wolfbroken toes, that's me.

The toe still hurts, and there's a fun blood blister on the bottom (no, I won't inflict a picture on you), but if I tape it up I can run just fine. So HOORAY to not having to change my training plans!

Tip of the day: 1 part rubbing alcohol and 3 parts water in a freezer bag is the perfect ice pack - freezes but stays flexible to mold to whatever body part you need to ice. I have a half a dozen of them in the freezer at any time Just In Case.

Yesterday I did an easy 6k test run without any problems (I can feel the toe, but it doesn't interfere with my gait at all, and it doesn't get any worse with running or swell up afterwards or anything like that). Today, another 6k. Felt great (other than the fact my hamstrings HATE ME right now after the kettlebell workout I did on Saturday). One more day left in 2013 to round out my mileage, and then I'll post my year in review recap, because I'm pretty sure they take your blog away if you don't do some sort of year end post.

One more selfie for the year!

And then, on to marathon training! I think I'll do weekly marathon training updates, since it is my first marathon and I'd like to document the process a bit. At least until I get bored.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Why I am not running

If you were to ask, say, my husband to describe me, somewhere after 'super sexy' and 'awesome' would probably be 'clumsy as hell'. If I can trip over it, knock it down, or bump into it, I probably will.

This feels a little familiar...
 I'm not a particularly graceful person, is what I'm saying. And that clumsiness can make me somewhat accident prone.

I must walk past this wall in our house 30 times a day, if not more. Without incident. Until Christmas Eve, when I swear to god it just jumped right out in front of me, and BAM. I whacked my right foot into the wall. Really hard.

I could tell right away it wasn't one of those ouch I stubbed my toe but it'll be better in a few minutes sorts of deals. The pain was really intense and I couldn't put weight on my foot. By Christmas morning my fourth toe had swelled up to about twice its usual size, and the pain on trying to bear weight was bad. I'm pretty sure it's broken, although I admit I haven't yet been to any doctor other than Dr. Google, who tells me that if it is broken there isn't really anything to do other than tape it to the companion toes and RICE. Which I'm doing anyway.

The only shoes I can wear without cursing right now. SEXY.

So, not much else to say, except obviously I won't be running for a bit. It's improved pretty significantly already (I can walk almost normally again if I'm cautious and careful), and I'm hopeful that if I can keep myself from whacking it against something else and setting the whole process back, it won't be too terrible a recovery. Somehow, I'm really not freaking out much over it.  Last year I sprained my foot and it was 6 weeks before I could run, and although at the time I just about went insane, once I started running again getting back up to full strength wasn't that bad a process. So I know a few weeks off isn't the end of the world.

I'm still keeping an eye on that wall, though. Just in case it decides to jump out in front of me again.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Running in the snow

1. Look outside, see all the snow. Check weather network and see the windchill. Decide to run on the treadmill.

2. Remember you don't own a treadmill.

3. Throw a hissy fit. Quit running.

This gif raises so many questions.

4. Un-quit running and start getting out the layers. Lots of layers.

So many clothes.

5. Add another layer.

Ninja runner. BRING IT ON, WINTER.
 6. Step out the door, think, oh, this isn't so bad. Kind of pretty, too.

7. Start running. Through half a foot of delightfully light fluffy snow. Every km feels about 30% harder than usual. Look at pace on watch and laugh hysterically.

8. Develop frozen eyelashes.

HARDCORE. Also, really freaking weird feeling. Couldn't see properly for half the run. Photo swiped from Patty.

9. Turn around, realize that without the headwind, you are REALLY OVERDRESSED. Dressing for winter running is a delicate balancing act you have not yet mastered.

A little overdressed.
 10. Finish run. Feel sense of smug self satisfaction about beating winter. Until next time!

The next day. MORE SNOW!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Running along - mid December update

Since we're definitely now into winter weather, I organized our hall closet in a pointless attempt to get the family shoe and boot situation under control (holy shit why do we have so many shoes????). In the process, I also sorted out all my running stuff. I moved the summer specific gear to another container and got all the winter gear nicely laid out and ready to go:

Lots of dollar store gloves, far more headbands than anyone really needs, assorted Buffs, and safety equipment. Bring it on, winter!

Patty and I went for a terrific run on a new route that was one of the best feeling runs I've done in ages. Amazing how energizing running somewhere new can be. And I finally got to try running up the massive hill near my house, and it wasn't all that bad. Running down at the end of the run = WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

There were also sheep, a massive quarry, and way too much road kill.

That run took us past the Bruce Trail entrance that's 2k from my house. I've always meant to explore that trail, and somehow just never got around to it. Now is the perfect time for trail exploring - no snow, but the ground is frozen so no mud, and with no leaves on the trees it's much harder to get lost.

Well, I don't look quite as much like a serial killer in this selfie, anyway.
It was wonderful. The quiet of the woods, the challenge of the uphills, the fun of the downhills. This trail running thing isn't half bad.

Gotta love climbing ladders over barbed wire fences in the woods!

Plus the trail is so close to home. Can't wait to do some longer runs in there.

Then it got ridiculously, stupidly cold. Thank goodness I'd sorted out the running stuff and located my warmest headgear before that happened. I kept on running at 5 am, because that's what I do now, apparently.
Feels like -21? Even the Weather Network is like, you are dumb.
I know I dared winter to bring it on up there, but I didn't mean we had to go mega cold right this second! Gives us some transition time, sheesh.

So, just running along right now, starting to gradually build my mileage back up for January when my training plan starts. If the weather cooperates I'm hoping to do a lot of trail running over the Christmas break, but the snow in the forecast may have other ideas about that!