Archive for May, 2015

dialing it back

I’m a horribly delinquent blogger but I figured it was time to post an update about where I am at these days with running.

First let’s take a look back. Two years ago, this very Sunday, I was running my first half marathon. I felt better than I had in my life and was so proud of doing something I once thought was impossible. 2013 was a great year for me from a fitness and running perspective until Fall when, unbeknownst to me, my heart health was affecting my performance. Then my left foot connected with the 5lb dumbbell and I broke two of my toes. The events that followed made 2014, as you’ve likely read, a total write-off for as far as running events were concerned. Last year was one of the toughest years for me both physically and mentally. I had delayed grieving for my Mom who passed away in 2013 and that, coupled with the heart issues, had rocked me to my core. My immunity also took a hit with bronchial problems that verged on pneumonia for most of the summer. I’m sure stress had quite a bit to do with that.

I pushed forward, like I always do. I changed my plans but not my goals and decided to strive for a half marathon in June 2015. I had the all-clear from the cardiologist so it was all good. Finally. I forged ahead. The plan was to run at the Toronto Yonge Street 10K (TYS10K) in April as part of my training for the Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon in early June. Even though I knew better, I put off running and spent more time at the gym on the bike and lifting. I eventually started running again but my base wasn’t all that strong and I was only running one or two times a week. I had figured that all those hill sessions on the bike would have helped more than they did. The fact is, to be a strong runner one needs to run and I knew that but I kept putting it off. Finally, in March, I started to pour on the steam and got up to 8.5K a few weeks before TYS10K. It was tough and I was struggling on the longer runs but it still felt doable. Then… whammo!! I got the flu. I could barely walk let alone run a 10K race. It knocked me on my ass. So I bailed on race day.

Being public about returning to running made me feel as if I were letting everyone down when those plans went awry. I thought that maybe I should quit sharing my journey and almost retreated to my old ways of beating myself up over it. Notice that I said “almost”. I posted on my personal Facebook timeline about having to put aside running TYS10K. It was an easy way to let everyone know and what I didn’t expect was the support that followed. My friends are a supportive lot and certainly made me feel better about the decision. The messages from runners and non-runners alike, were amazing. One of those messages was from my friend Sarah. We’ve known each other since we were little kids. She is a breast cancer survivor who handled her journey with such grace and she gently reminded me that running isn’t about the races but it is about the transformation I’ve been working on. She spoke about how this has already saved my life and reminded me that the vulnerable moments can be an inspiration to others too. Knowing that I have such a wonderful circle of support has come into play with what you are going to read next.

For weeks my cough was nasty especially upon exertion and last week I decided to go see the doctor. The diagnosis… bronchitis. Seriously?! Again?! Frustration doesn’t even sum it up! That said, I had suspected as much and during this illness have taken some time to evaluate where I am at and what I need to do to get where I want to be. I took a break from twitter and poured myself into other projects. The break helped me to gain some perspective. I sat down with Bryan and chatted about what to do. What came from that is that I really need to take a big step back and begin again.

I’m fairly certain that I will be bowing out of the half marathon on June 7th, but I will still go out to cheer my friends on. My heart says to just throw caution to the wind and run but the fact remains that I’m not physically ready to run 21.1K with runs under 10K still being a struggle. I haven’t had a strong running base since 2013 and I should have built that up more over the winter. Had I done that, then illness right now wouldn’t have been as big of a setback, but I didn’t and it is what it is. There are only 34 days until the event it is time to be honest with myself. I have a lingering cough that worsens dramatically upon exertion. I have to be realistic and put off running a half marathon for now.

The bottom line is that sometimes reality sucks! I’ve lost endurance and it happened much more quickly than I expected but it stands to reason considering what a rough time I’ve had health-wise since I kicked that stupid dumbbell and broke my toes. My weight is up a bit too which adds to the difficulty when running. My sleep patterns have been erratic and I’ve been horrible about hydration. I’ve also been a little too lax when it comes to keeping an eye on my blood sugar and there have been significant gaps in that regard. Looking at the bigger picture, these are mere hiccups and nothing I can’t get past but I do need to get back on track. This means listening to my body and being proactive rather than reactive.

So here is the plan…

I have taken Jeff Galloway’s 10K Schedule and stretched it out over 16 weeks. The idea is to start this week, if the cough subsides enough. I like Jeff’s plan, and I looked at a lot of different ones, because the weekday runs are based on time rather than distance and there is a longer run on the weekends. This takes into account our plans to camp, hike, and cycle and allows for a great deal of cross training because running isn’t the only thing I like to do. It also helps me balance motherhood, career, and fitness. Galloway uses 3 runs per week so that’s perfect although there might be the odd week where I run 4 times. I’m going to plan for a 10K event in September—I’m leaning towards the Toronto Zoo Run with Bryan and the kids. I’ll will only consider a half marathon once I know my 5 and 10K base is solid and strong. Perhaps that will be a late October event such as the Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon or perhaps I’ll wait until Spring 2016 or maybe I’ll just stick to smaller distances. Time will tell.

At this point I think dialing it back is the best course of action. I’m hoping it will reduce some of the pressure I’ve been feeling and help me feel the joyful side of running again.

Happy running!


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