10.75 miles this morning in some light rain – just to prove to myself I still could

I got up this morning mentally trying to find a way out of running.

This kind of sucked because I had made a conscious and clear choice to not run last night so that I could force myself to do a longer outdoor run this morning.

Weather radar showed rain coming so maybe I should just do a shorter run on the treadmill instead of a longer run outside? But if I looked honestly at the radar I could tell that the rain was mostly going to miss us anyway.

I eventually got myself out the door (with a bottle of water this time!) and was getting rained on before I got to the end of the street. Just a light rain though so I wasn’t able to convince myself to stop.

I then continued on from there at an easy pace and got to about 1.25 miles in – at this point I could make a right turn and do my standard 4.45 mile loops around the neighborhood or I could continue out on an out and back stretch that would mean I would need to do at least 8 miles.

If I did the standard loop there was a good chance that I would convince myself to stop after one lap and not hit my goal of getting a double digit mile run in again finally. (I haven’t done one since the Spruce Woods 50k in May.)

In the end I was able to force myself to go on the out and back knowing that I would get at least 8 miles and depending on how I was doing around 7 miles in I could make an adjustment and get closer to 11 miles.

I kept my pace fairly slow and steady and really didn’t need any walk breaks until 7 miles or so – that was a nice surprise.

Thankfully around the 7 mile point I was able to convince myself to not take the short way home and stop at 8 miles and continued on a path that would take me to the double digit mile zone.

Still getting off and on rain at this point and at around the 10 mile point it was coming down pretty good. Since I was now over 10 miles, I decided that I had accomplished my goal and headed home.

In the end I got in 10.75 miles in around the 2 hour point. Definitely not fast compared to what I have done in the past but the real victory was that I got out there and did the miles. 

I have to keep reminding myself though that just because I could do it better before it doesn’t mean I can now. I can get back there but I need to rebuild and that means not comparing myself to past me except as motivation and not as a way to get frustrated and stop.

I have a bit of a mantra…”Run your own race!” basically meaning run to your own abilities and training and the victory is not in beating the other runners but in doing your best. The issue with this now is that the other runner in this case is me…but me from a few years back. I can’t just discourage myself with “I used to be able to do this” but instead build myself up with “I will be able to do that again!” and take the steps necessary to get there from where I am now.

My hope is now that I have broken that 10 mile point again that I have pushed through whatever mental barrier I have been fighting with doing the longer runs. I think the next few longer runs will still take a lot of coaxing to get going but now that I have set a precedent it should be easier.

Now I have to follow my rebuilding plan to get stronger for a decent fall race or 2 and build a base for more dedicated training for Dopey Challenge in January!

Slow and hot run – air was thick like soup!

I woke up this morning, looked outside and saw that it had rained overnight and hoped it meant it would be cool and a longer run could be done.

…then I checked the actual temperature…yeah the rain did nothing for the heat. 23C (73.4F) feeling like 30C (86F) at 9 am? Ouch.

So instead of running the dogs like I had hoped, I walked them for 0.85 miles and even with an easy walk I could tell the heat was already taking them down. 

After getting them home, I grabbed a bottle of water, put my shoes back on and went out for my run with the idea to either do 2 miles or 4.5 depending on how the heat felt. I realized about a 1/4 mile in that I put down the water bottle when I put my shoes on and didn’t pick it back up. I took stock of the heat and decided on a short 2 miles just to be safe. I am not in the shape I used to be in and going to hard and far in the heat when I am not used to it is asking for trouble.

After the run I got straight in the pool to cool my body temperatures down before having a shower.

I am now assessing my plans for the rest of the day that included lots of outdoor work – I think that work gets pushed to tomorrow at this point! One of the items I needed to do was to move the hot water tank I replaced on Friday to the recycle depot at the dump – that does not sound (or smell probably) like a pleasant experience today.

I had also thought about taking the dogs to the off leash dog park today with the kids but I am thinking that isn’t wise either.

Looks like a swimming day!

Time to wake up!!

Ok – time to wake up and get going again.

A combination of stress, anxiety, injury and just plain laziness has taken me down.

I have been on a slow decline running wise and a slow incline weight wise since the Dopey Challenge in January 2015.

Some quick history:

I struggled a bit through spring 2015 with some health issues and still got some decent miles in but nothing like I did in 2014.

I started 2016 with a run streak that lasted until April before it crapped out due to a work project going late one night, and after that a general level of stress and malaise seeped into my running in general.

I figured I would get pepped up again for training for the 2017 Goofy Challenge…but that didn’t happen. Between stress and an issue with my Achilles, I went into that race in poor shape and carrying more weight than I would like.

After Goofy, I figured I would at least get more motivated to run the Spruce Woods 50k in May…but again no luck. I was able to train some but work stress hammered me hard and I did not train well.

 

That then brings me to now…not much training, even more weight gain (some of it seemed very sudden), very stressed out, feel almost scared a good chunk of the time and motivation in the toilet.

Now, I know that most people will use running as a way to vent the stress…but what do you do when running becomes a source of stress?

I have been worried about how much slower I am getting, how much less endurance I have, how my ankle keeps seeming to get hurt…and on and on…I am a bit of a worrier, in case it wasn’t obvious.

Add this on top of work stress and it feels like constant stress and anxiety. And unfortunately, if I’m not running I will deal with stress with sugar. Which then leads to more weight and the spiral continues.

So how to fix this? Suggestions are welcome but below are my thoughts on some changes I am making to get going again.

I put a bar fridge in my office at work – this gives me a few things:

  1. I will not eat out at lunch as often on work days – saving money and greasy burger calories
  2. Packing lunches will make me more conscious of what I am eating
  3. I am able to do smaller more frequent meals during the day to help the metabolism
  4. I can keep various lower calorie condiments and such at work to add flavour to what I am eating making it more likely that I will continue to want to eat my packed lunches

 

I have switched my breakfast from quick toast to a couple quick scrambled eggs. The extra protein should help me in general but I know I have issues with weight gain due to bread (if I have bagels for breakfast a few days in a row it isn’t unusual for me to gain a few pounds) so reducing bread while eating something that will last longer in my system is a good thing. Way back when I started this blog I lost a lot of weight tied into having a high protein breakfast and I am going to break those habits back out.

Focused races – I was waffling on up to 4 races in September – 2 marathons, a half and a 24 hour ultra. I was thinking about all of these while knowing that I need to get a decent time in for a half or a full marathon by October 3rd for coral placement for the Dopey Challenge in January 2018.

This means I had to consciously drop even thinking about 2 of them (the marathons) – focus on getting ready for the half and leave the ultra on the back burner once I see if I can get running properly again.

Have a plan! I have roughed out a training plan similar to an 18 week plan and I started that this week. If I follow it, I will be near marathon ready come late October / early November. I will then have a few months from there to really focus on the back to back to back to back running I need to do in January for the Dopey Challenge.

Actually stick to the plan! About 5 days in and the average isn’t going great here but I kind of figured it would take time to build up and I am working on getting that mental strength back again.

Blog! Blogging has fully died on me – both here and in a few other places so I am going to have to revive that. That may mean random nonsense and simple reports of how I ran this day or that day but I need to start somewhere.

Vlog? I enjoyed yapping at the camera with my thoughts after the Spruce Woods Ultra 50K race (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97OsS0WJHZE&t=337s) and I think I will try some more of that in the near future. I have recorded a few thing that I still need to edit and see if they are ok but I have some ideas and look forward to seeing how that goes.

 

 

Walk! I am going to start having to walk more – I will still probably run at least one of the dogs (the one that enjoys it) but I will need to walk them longer and more frequently. It will be good for me and for them!

Review what supplements I am taking. I was taking a handful of different things every day – most to do with maybe helping with my mood – but I have cut back and not taken anything for over a week. I will be bringing back in vitamin D soon (especially for days I don’t get out to run in the sun or play around in the pool) and may also bring back in the Omega 3 supplements. Most everything else I will leave on the shelf.

….I’m not 100% sure what else at this point but that is a solid start.

Here we go!

Spruce Woods Ultra-marathon 50k – race report – May 13, 2017

Well – it has been a while since I put up a blog post – mostly because I haven’t really been doing anything particularly exciting or productive on the running side of things.

I will do a bit of a catch up post in a while but I want to get up a race report for the Spruce Woods Ultra-marathon 50k race while everything was still fresh in my brain! But as a bit of a spoiler for that post – my running has really tanked in the past several months and that was a factor weighing on my brain going into the race.

Basically I was not ready to run this race in the manner it deserves, and I thought long and hard about pulling my race registration and signing up as a volunteer instead. But in the end I decided I needed to go out and try and hopefully grab some inspiration from the other runners to get my head straight to get back to training properly.

Before I made this decision, I wanted to make sure that I could actually finish – my biggest concern was not being able to finish and costing the race resources because of my own silliness. That also meant I didn’t want to come in last place – because that would mean I most likely wouldn’t have if I had trained better and again this would have been costing the race resources.

So that was weighing pretty heavily on my mind before the race but I did the 2 hour early morning drive to get out there and sign in and catch the pre-race brief.

The race is put on by Trail Run Manitoba and the race director Dwayne – they always do a fantastic job making a runner’s race and ensuring everyone feels welcome and included and excited to be there. Dwayne’s pre-race briefs are always entertaining.

It came out during the brief that there were several runners who had never done a full marathon there and were there to do the 50k. Ballsy and awesome!

I made sure to put on bug spray to help chase off any ticks that might decide they wanted to make me a snack (especially important with Lyme disease making it into the area)…but I forgot to put on sunscreen. Still paying a bit for that mistake.

So at about 8:30 am the about 100 or so 50k runners were off (100 mile, 100k and 50 mile runners had already been at it for quite some time by this point) with a cut-off of 8 pm we had 11.5 hours to complete the race. I was still pretty concerned I was going to need all of it.

The morning was gorgeous – beautiful blue sky, just slightly cool and some wind, but not too bad.

About 2 miles in we hit the first real trail running type obstacle – a bridge across a creek had been washed out in earlier spring flooding but Park personnel had been able to build a make-shift crossing from a culvert and some larger rocks. We had been warned about it and apparently water levels had been fluctuating so there was a bit of a risk of getting wet. In the end it wasn’t too bad but it took a bit of time to cross as runners backed up to give everyone time to get across safely.

 

Creek crossing

 

The first couple hours of running were great – I felt better running than I had in a long time despite the constantly rolling terrain and some decent hills. In fact I felt really good right up until just near the end of mile 13 when I hit one wicked ass hill. I really don’t know how long a climb it was or how high an elevation change it was but by the end I was tempted to crawl that sucker.

After that, I just couldn’t maintain the same speeds that I was able to before – I could still run but it was a slower run. This meant I lost sight of a small group of folks that I had been running with and had some time to run with just my own mind. Which felt pretty good. I was still good company at that point.

Between miles 15 and 16 there was a pit stop where they had (along with other stuff) quesadillas, tacos and beer shots…if they had salsa I would probably still be there.

At this point, I was still thinking that I had half a shot to get near 7 hours to finish, 8 at the most. Weird, I still had optimism?

After that things got a bit odd – I actually felt better running than walking but the terrain was such that I couldn’t really run – if there had been some more flat ground then I might have been able to settle into an ok run at that point. But this was a hilly trail race and there weren’t many flat parts!

 

scenic view

 

I was definitely making sure to hydrate heavily with both my backpack (with flat coke) and my hand held (with either water or electrolyte drink depending on the pit stop) and was staying pretty coherent but I was definitely feeling things in my legs. One big bonus was that my achilles tendon that has been causing issues since last fall did not give me any grief this race!

The course is one big loop with an out an back section for the 50k and 100k runners to follow which is also extended out further for the 100 milers. The point where the 50k and 100k folks need to turn around is marked clearly but people were getting pretty burnt out at this point and I did see some confusion. I didn’t see anyone make a mistake though – just some second guessing before they caught what needed to be done.

 

Turn around!

 

Part way through the out and back there was an nice example of native Manitoba wildlife in its natural habitat.

 

flamingo trail marker

 

I was definitely getting wobbly going down hills by about the 26 mile mark and almost took a tumble a couple times just before the last full pit stop at around mile 27 and change. At that pit stop I made sure to drink a bunch extra since there was over 5 miles to go yet (you’ll notice that adds up to more than 31 miles that are in a 50k – yay trail math!) and there would only be a small un-manned water stop before the end from there.

I made sure to refill my handheld and checked to see how full my backpack seemed – it still seemed pretty heavy so I didn’t get anything added to it.

That was a mistake – about a mile later I went to take a drink from it and all I got was air. Crap.

It had gotten quite warm and had been very sunny for most of the race (yay sunburn!) so dehydration was a concern – especially for a guy my size. Plus it was dehydration that had caused me a DNF at this race last year – I got pretty nervous about this point.

All I could do was walk at this point so that meant what I had in my handheld was going to have to last quite a bit of time – so I started rationing and watching to see if I ever stopped sweating.

I talked a bit with some others out there at that point and they were asking how much longer? By my math at this point based on what the folks at the last rest stop had told me was that we had 3 miles to go yet. When I mentioned that I got the reply “What are they trying to do? Kill us?”. All I could do is was agree that I thought that was the plan.

Finally I got to the same creek crossing again from earlier in the morning – what seemed so easy hours before was now pretty damned serious – I don’t know how the 100 milers managed to cross that thing 6 times. In my first 3 steps to try to cross I almost fell in twice. At this point I just said screw it and moved fast and hoped momentum would get me across. Surprisingly it did!

Just after that was the unmanned water stop! Whoohoo – I only had a couple ounces of water left…and almost all the water was gone…crap – I got just enough to top up my 8 ounce hand held and started the final trudge.

At this point my mood got pretty dark – I was past the 50k mark, almost out of water and had stopped sweating with almost 2 miles to go. Well, it was an adventure.

What really got me was that I knew I was close but I couldn’t see the finish to drive me on – the rolling hills hid everything from view until the last half mile or so.

In the end I crossed the line in under 9 hours, got my great wooden medal (woodle as the Trail Run Manitoba folks call it) and headed out to the truck to try to get cleaned up, look for ticks and get some liquids. I didn’t stop at the finish line tent as I wasn’t sure what would happen if I stopped.

I got to the truck, popped the tail gate down, sat and grabbed a sandwich out of my cooler and took a bite…and had to spit it out immediately otherwise I was going to be sick. And if I got sick, I wasn’t sure I could maintain control of the rest of my bodily functions.

I ended up having to lay down in a ball on the tail gate and once I felt like that was helping I moved some stuff over and pulled myself into the bed of the truck under the tonneau cover out of the wind and stretched out and sipped on some coke and water.

After about 20 minutes or so I was feeling a lot better so I pulled myself out of the bed of the truck and started the slow process of having a parking lot shower and getting changed. It took quite some time as I had to keep sitting down and taking a break.

But by the time I was fully dressed in normal clothes, I was feeling pretty good. I wandered over to use the facilities and had a look at the post race barbecue but my stomach wasn’t settle enough to have any of the smokies they were grilling up. Looked great though!

So instead I walked back out to the truck, moved my cooler into the passenger seat and headed towards home. I had my first sandwich done before I hit a main highway. After that I concentrated on hydrating some more.

I also had a chat with myself about the race on my phone that I have loaded up to youtube – have a look if you are interested in what might come out of my mouth.

 

 

After about 45 minutes on the road I came up on a road side drive in restaurant and figured I would treat myself to an easy to digest ice cream. As soon as I saw their menu though I was suddenly starving so I got a burger instead – the burger was good but at the time it was the best thing ever!

Then the drive home in time to see the kids off to bed.

Definitely an adventure!

So some thoughts…

Many, many, many thanks to all the volunteers out there – Dwayne indicated there were over a hundred out – just amazing! You guys were great and really helped me to get through this thing.

Thanks to Dwayne and the Trail Run Manitoba team – another great event. So well organized and inclusive of runners from so many levels. Fantastic event!

Running hills sucks when you aren’t in the proper shape – which I am not. I am at a point now though that I need to retrain to properly do half and full marathons in general. That is going to have to be my focus and if I can get that back then maybe in a few years I can look at Spruce Woods as a runner again.

I expect to still do Lemming Loop again this fall…because it doesn’t have hills…

Seriously – I have essentially done three 50 milers and I think this 50k was the hardest race I have ever done.

At least it looks like I did no serious damage, a few blisters and some sun burn. I will take it!

2017 Goofy Challenge trip / race report – Day 5 – checkout, 2 parks and flight home

I was up relatively early today for my last day at Disney World (I had wanted to sleep in but that didn’t happen) before catching a flight in the evening back home to wintry Winnipeg. The temperatures in Disney World were already starting to recover from the cold Sunday marathon and that made it extra hard to want to go home to the -30C (-22F) and colder with the wind chill temperatures.

After a quick room scour to make sure I hadn’t missed anything, I did the wander down to Bell Services to hold my bags until Magical Express would pick me up just after 4pm.

I decided to have a quick breakfast at the Artist’s Palette at Saratoga Springs next which was very good and then I took a bus to Animal Kingdom. Animal Kingdom was the one park that I had not yet ridden a ride at on this trip and I wanted to rectify that. The My Disney Experience app was saying the wait times were pretty good there too so I might be able to do a bunch of stuff.

When I got there, there were large groups of people streaming into the park – I suspected that the light wait times were going to change quickly. So I did a fast walk over to Expedition Everest and was through the single rider line in under 5 minutes. Mission accomplished! At least one ride at each of the 4 parks!

I then did a bit of a wander around the park with the intention of trying Kilimanjaro Safari ride next but once I got over there the sign said there was a 45 minute wait but people were line up outside the line que area so I suspected it was actually a much longer wait than that. Sure enough a couple minutes later the wait time updated to 75 minutes…ok, Magic Kingdom wait times look better.  So off to Magic Kingdom I go. It hadn’t been my intention to do anything besides a quick run through Animal Kingdom but I ended up with way more free time than I expected.

It is nice that Disney has busses that run directly between the parks – it is a pain to go through security each time though so I might have to look at the new express service they have introduced when I am down with the family. It looks like (for a fee) you will get on a bus at a special location within the park and then get dropped at a special location at the next park and you don’t have to go through security again. Sounds interesting!

By the time I get to Magic Kingdom that park is getting busy too! Wait times have spiked all over but I took the opportunity to ride People Mover again and then wander all over the park just absorbing the feel of everything. I didn’t end up doing any more rides before I took the bus back over to Saratoga Springs.

I had a bit of time before my Magical Express bus came so I took the opportunity to rearrange some stuff in my bags before we were off to the airport. This included making sure I had my warmest jacket available in an easy to grab spot for as soon as I was off the plane!

It was nice that our bus only had the one hotel stop – sometimes Magical Express stops at multiple resorts to pick up people going back to the airport so it was quicker to not to have to do that.

Strangely the bus only stopped at one of the airport terminals – normally they will hit both and you get off on whichever side you need to get to your airline but this time the driver didn’t do that. Not sure if this was a policy change or the bus driver decision. Either way it meant a hike across the airport for me with all my bags. Not a big deal but it was a surprise.

After checking in with the airline and dropping my checked bag it was off to the long security line – it surprisingly didn’t take too long to get through but it certainly looked like chaos at first.

Through security – the quick monorail ride out to my terminal and had a sit, did some reading and had a light snack before getting on the plane about 30 minutes late for the 4hr plus flight home. There were some concerns there as there was significant snow fall occurring back home and it could have meant even more delays. But the flight was uneventful besides the short delay though which is always good.

Then through Canadian customs, pick up my bag and do the trek through the near -40C temperatures to my truck (which started easily and quickly warmed up, luckily). Then a 20 minute ride home through the fresh 3-4 inches of snow that had fallen in the past couple hours.

But I made it home safe and sound around 1 am. Finally got to bed around 2:30 so I could get 4 hours of sleep before getting up for work in the morning! Whoohoo!

It was nice the next morning that the kids got up to see me off to work as I hadn’t seen them since I tucked them in Wednesday night.

And that ended another Goofy Challenge / Disney World Marathon weekend trip…besides all the typing!

 

Hope you enjoyed following along!