Tag Archive for fort garry rotary club half marathon

Running / ankle update. Achilles tendinitis…

Just wanted to put out a quick update on my running since the WFPS Half Marathon.

I have done a few runs since the race but I am way off schedule at this point. About a day after the WFPS Half my right ankle started to ache pretty bad when I tried to move it and it essentially locked up for a day or so. For a few days after that, if I sat at my desk for any length of time it would lock up again resulting in a fair bit of limping.

I’ve done a few runs since that went fairly well with the ankle feeling ok but with same issues popping up the next day and for a few days after.

And then a couple days ago the ankle was aching a bit more than it had been and I noticed some swelling just above my ankle. It was a pretty decent lump that was visible through my sock!

Looks like it is achilles tendinitis. Yay.

I have been pretty consistent with stretching it since it started aching and doing some strengthening exercises but now I have also started regular icing of the area and have doubled up the stretching at work to make sure it doesn’t stiffen up.

There isn’t much more I can do about it at this point besides take it a bit easy…but of course the Goofy Challenge is coming up so I can’t back off completely. And then on the other hand I want to make sure I don’t cause a permanent issue by taking it too lightly.

With that in mind I have come up with a bit of a plan:

  1. Keep stretching and icing regularly (doing it right now)
  2. Keep doing ankle and calve strengthening exercises
  3. Any run will be proceeded by a warm up – I am getting older and maybe I shouldn’t be starting out at speed. On the treadmill nights that means high incline walks to stretch and warm up. On outdoor days I am going to have to start slow and build up speed.
  4. Ankle will be iced immediately after any run
  5. Monitor, monitor, monitor – if things go south or don’t improve I will need to make other changes quickly to avoid injury

I will follow that over the next couple weeks and see how things go – clock is ticking though as in 10 weeks I will be Orlando for the Goofy Challenge and I need to make some improvements before then.

So what caused the issue though?

For the Fort Garry Rotary half in mid September I ran in an older pair of shoes that I thought were still ok but apparently they weren’t as I had some ankle pain after that race. I didn’t think much about it at the time though.

Then a couple weeks later the Lemming Loop took place and about 6 hours into that race I switched to the same shoes that I had worn during Fort Garry Rotary Half. And I had ankle issues again that definitely ate into the number of miles I could have done. Combine that with not being really ready for the Lemming Loop and that would put extra stress on things.

WFPS was good and I used a completely different pair of shoes but I did push the speed more than I have lately so I put extra stress on the ankle there too.

Long story short – I ran in a bad set of shoes and then compounded it with a very long run and some time in the same set of shoes. And then I pushed fairly hard on the stressed joint.

So now I need to rebuild…again. But if I do it smart I can still do well at the Goofy Challenge!

WFPS Half Marathon 2016 – race report

I’m going to start off with a hats off to the organizer and all the great volunteers at the race!

This was the 5th anniversary of the event and once again it was very well organized and well run!

I especially want to mention the volunteers at around mile 12 – they were putting out a huge amount of energy! Great job to you folks and to all the volunteers! I didn’t see a single volunteer that didn’t happy and encouraging!

And I want to give a shout out to @PrairieJenn (https://twitter.com/PrairieJenn) who was a volunteer marshal on the course. Whoohoo!

I also got to ask who the gentleman was that was running all over with a full on camera and tripod set up taking pictures of the runners and stopping to take selfies with the volunteers. I want to know how many miles he actually ran that day! He was also at Lemming Loop and I have to say his energy was awesome and infectious.

 

So on with my race report and to get it started I have to do a bit of a setup on my weird mental state going into it.

I was feeling very disconnected from the race frankly.

Basically all my mental thoughts on races this fall had gone into the Lemming Loop a few weeks back and since that one is over for the year my thoughts have moved on to the Goofy Challenge in January. The time window for races to use for corral placement for the Goofy Challenge has also ended so I didn’t really have any pressure on this race except trying to maintain my sub 2 hour streak for half marathons. And with the Lemming Loop 2 weeks prior I wasn’t going to hold my breath or expect miracles out of my legs to make that happen.

Top that off with my wife hitting the expo with the kids to pick up the race packets and I didn’t even have that surge of energy to focus the brain and get me excited. I actually forgot a few times during the week that the race was coming up.

The night before the race the plan was for the kids to be dropped to spend the night at my Heather’s mother’s and both my wife and I would run the race. Heather was also looking at using this race as a proof of time race for corral placement for the Princess Half Marathon in February.

…but then late in the afternoon our daughter came down with a fever, not too bad, but warm enough that we didn’t feel comfortable with dropping her on the mother-in-law. So we decided the kids would be staying at home instead that night. When Heather called her mother to let her know we found out that she wasn’t feeling well either. So that meant that she wouldn’t be coming over to watch the kids while we both raced either.

So only one of us could go race…and about an hour later I came down with a bad headache and a bit of nausea. At this point it looks like I am the one sitting out the race, which would be disappointing but as I said above I didn’t have any driving reason that I HAD to do the race so I could deal.

No final decisions were made though and I was feeling better when we went to bed. So we both organized our gear and figured we would sort things out in the morning. Yep, went to bed not know which of us was going to run!

Then a few times through the night we were woken by one of the dogs being sick because he had apparently eaten some plastic. Luckily that sorted itself out and we didn’t have to go to the vet, but it didn’t make for a restful night sleep.

Alarm goes off and we are both feeling well – time to decide who was going to. We had a chat about it and Heather decided that she had a decent enough time recently enough that she didn’t think she would be able to beat that day. So Heather decided to stay home and let me run.

After a shower and getting dressed I asked again to make sure and got the comment “I’ll be jealous, but not jealous enough to get out of bed”. Guess I’m running…but with the expectation that I would probably take it easy and treat the run like a training run. I was also a bit worried about my right ankle that has been acting up for the last month or so – don’t want to damage it and mess up the Goofy Challenge training.

So I quickly fed the dogs and the cat and grabbed my remaining gear and got in the truck to head over to the race. Have got to love a race where you can pull out of your garage and be parked at the venue in 6 minutes!

Very beautiful morning out – a bit cool (near freezing) but it would warm up a bit later – perfect racing conditions really.

I spent some time in the main building near the race venue to stay warm and see if I could get myself psyched up and try to decide how fast I should be going. I also tried stretching my right ankle that had decided to start aching a bit.

I was waffling between trying to run with the 2 hour pace bunny, lining up ahead of the 2 hour bunny and running hard until I implode, or just running easy right from the start and take whatever time came. I had done a sub 2 hour half marathon 4 weeks prior but I also expected my legs to be a bit tired still after the Lemming Loop 2 weeks after that – I truly did not think my legs were going to have what I needed.

For some history – I haven’t raced a half marathon that took me longer than 2 hours since May 2013 and I really didn’t want to break that streak now but if it happened I was willing to accept it.

Now to top all of this off, I hadn’t eaten any breakfast. I had been in such a rush to get stuff sorted out and out the door that it never occurred to me before I left the house. Whoops.

I had done something like that 4 weeks before for the Fort Garry Rotary Half marathon due to some g.i. issues I had been dealing with leading up to that race. For that race I didn’t want anything in my belly maybe causing issues – it worked but I did tank out in that race near the end because of it.

So I really didn’t expect much but decided that I would try to hit 2 hours anyway. In the start corral I lined up near the 2 hour pace bunny who was doing 10 min run / 1 min walk cycles. I figured I would give that a try and see what happens.

…then I saw the 1:55 straight run pace bunny…my brain started going “.you know…maybe line up with him and if you tank later in the race you would still have a shot at sub 2 hours…”

So that is what I did. Or at least that is what I started to do.

Once the race was off and going I found myself drifting a little bit in front of that group. But then the 2 hour 10 min run / 1 min walk group passed me…Now, logically I understand how this would happen in the first 10 minutes as the running pace for this type of split is fairly quick but after that first 1 minute walk cycle was up the 1:55 group would be back in the lead and would extend their lead from there.

Understanding it and accepting it in the race brain are two different things. So I found myself pulling ahead of that group…and feeling pretty good. Definitely felt better than I expected at that point. Ok – lets see how long I can sustain that then.

I believe I had my first stop for water around mile 3? Not sure really – I know I stopped for a cup of water 3 times through the race and that would have been about right for the first one.

I was able to sustain pretty decent speeds up until about mile 5 and then my thighs started to feel like lead but I kept telling myself to keep pushing so that I could build a buffer by the half way point so that if I tanked during the second half I still had a shot to make sub 2 hours. And push I did – at the hour mark I was something like 6.95 miles in or so. This was way better than I expected.

I was able to keep going near the same speeds until the water stop near mile 8. After I had some water there I found that I was defaulting back down around 5 mph – a big drop from the 6.8 or so I was holding down before the water stop.

At this point though I had mentally committed to being under 2 hours by any means necessary so I was able to start pushing again and got my speed back up a bit. Not fully but somewhere I was happy.

I kept at it but eventually the 1:55 pace group caught up with me between mile 9 and 10. Caught me but they weren’t getting away yet even though I could tell I had a good blister going under one of my toes on my right foot.

They did slowly get ahead of me but the rubber band held me to the group pretty good for a mile or so before I had to stop quickly to deal with a pinching/scratching on my right foot that started to hurt all of a sudden. I dealt with that pretty quick but that broke my hold on that pace group and I just concentrated on making sure I kept under 2 hours.

I was fairly confident at this point that sub 2 would happen as I could drop to down to 5.5 mph and still hit it at that point, but no giving up – time to finish well.

As I approached mile 12, I started to wonder if there was something wrong with my headphones as I kept hearing these loud noises. I soon realized though that it was the volunteer squad at the water station around mile 12. They had definitely cranked it up to 11. Impressive!

It was kind of nice too that the last mile had many people cheering all along the route – looked like both volunteers and spectators. That was pretty cool and made that last chunk pretty enjoyable.

And then in the last quarter mile I was feeling pretty good and I started pushing a bit harder – I was quite surprised to see I still had it in the tank. Others had much more in the tank based on the 3 or 4 times I got passed in the last 100 meters or so.

Crossed the line and stopped my watch – under 1:57 (1:56:54 chip time). Was not expecting that at all. It wasn’t a PR (1:46:00 back in 2014) but it is the strongest I have felt in a race in probably a year and a half. If I could get my weight back down 15 pounds I would be flying again!

I got the great 5th anniversary medal and went to check out the food tent. Unfortunately, the line was longer than I really wanted to wait for so I wandered back out to my truck to do the obligatory twitter check in.

Found out at that time that a fellow Winnipeg twitter runner (@PrairieJenn – https://twitter.com/PrairieJenn) had been out on the course as a volunteer marshal. Very cool – these races don’t happen without a huge number of volunteers so I definitely appreciate hearing from folks that have done it. (it may be something I should look at doing next year – give a little back)

 

WFPS Half Marathon 5th Anniversary medal

WFPS Half Marathon 5th Anniversary medal

 

And what were the after effects? A few blisters – the worst on my right foot under one of my middle toes. I had a blister in the same spot during the Lemming Loop and the Fort Garry Rotary Half over the last month. Both of those I blamed on one particular pair of shoes but I didn’t wear them for this race so I’m not 100% sure what the issue was there. Other than I felt great after the run. I might have gotten some running confidence back.

The next day however my right ankle let me know that it wasn’t happy. If I sat for longer than 10 minutes it would lock up. I ended up spending a good chunk of the day limping unfortunately.

Today (Tuesday – 2 days after the race as I am writing this) the ankle still isn’t right – I did do some running around in the yard with the dogs and it seems ok to run but walking isn’t great (but still very improved over yesterday – no permanent damage). At this point I am trying to decide if I run tonight or not. I have 5 miles scheduled but that might be pushing too far on the ankle, I will have to decide once the kids have gone to bed…

Anyway – to wrap this up – my 2016 race season is now over and I am officially training for the 2017 Goofy Challenge in January. I have gotten some confidence back and I am motivated to get moving and put in the work to rebuild.

Let’s get started!

20 treadmill miles last night brings my 5 day total to 47.5 miles – 5 more days off. How far can I get?

Just wanted to get a bit of a recap up for the past 5 days of running along with a bit of a set up.

I took this week off of work to hang with the family for the last week of summer before the kids go back to school and with the weekends, I am off work for 10 days.

As a bit of test of where my readiness is for the 24 Hour Lemming Loop starting on September 30, I figured I would see just how far I could run over the 10 day and still feel healthy and have energy.

Saturday Aug 27 – 11 miles and then an extra 1 mile run with both pups

Sunday Aug 28 – started with 1 mile run with our son and both pups. Then I went back out for another 4.45 miles. Followed this up with mowing the lawn in some wicked heat.

Monday Aug 29 – started with 0.9 mile run with our daughter and both pups. Then 9.1 miles on my own. We then did several hours walking around the zoo.

Tuesday Aug 30 – no run but did spend hours cleaning the carpet in my home office / computer room (the cat has decided that she doesn’t like the litter box…at least I caught it early)

Wednesday Aug 31 – finished the month with 20 miles on the treadmill. I threw some speed work in there as I have a half marathon (Fort Garry Rotary Half) in a couple weeks and I haven’t done nearly enough speed work.

So technically at 47.45 miles so far.

Woke up this morning and took the dogs out and my legs feel perfectly fine. So far, so good for my body being able to take some of the punishment of the 24 hour race.

Let’s see how far I get over the next 5 days.

 

I’m back! Some random thoughts my plans for fall races. Including the 24 hour Lemming Loop

Hi! Long time no post!

I am going to start to post more regularly again – I promise!

As a bit of a catch up post I wanted to do a bit of a write up of the races I have signed up to run in the fall and go through what my mental process was for those decisions.

So I haven’t run a race since Fargo Marathon back in May. I normally do the Manitoba Marathon on Father’s day but the timing didn’t work this year due to family commitments. From what I have heard from those that ran this year, it was brutal with the heat and humidity. That is one thing I have found for the Manitoba Marathon – it seems to be either really hot and humid or rainy and cold – never seems to be the best running weather.

Since Fargo my running has been fairly light but I have been slowly rebuilding over the last while and hope to be ready for some decent fall races. That then gives me a head start on my training for my 6th Goofy Challenge in January.

In ages past, I have taken it easy for the summer after the Manitoba Marathon and then started training for the Goofy Challenge in September but I found that I much preferred to try to stay in shape with fall races to make the Goofy Challenge training (and races) easier to handle.

With that in mind I decided to look at the various races that are fairly local in the fall and see what would work for me and my schedule. Some of the races that came up:

  1. Treherne Marathon – September 11th – this one is about an hour drive from home on mostly farm roads with some rolling hills. I haven’t done this race before but I know others who have and enjoyed it.
  2. Fort Garry Rotary Half Marathon – September 18th – I have run this one before a couple times and it is a nice course. It goes through areas of town that other races in Winnipeg don’t go through and it is pretty scenic.
  3. Grand Forks Marathon – September 24th – about an hour and half drive from home. It is an inaugural race which would be interesting. But would require overnighting out of town.
  4. Lemming Loop – Sept 30th / Oct 1st – 24/12/6/3 hour options. I have done the 12 hour race twice, once just missing 50 miles and once going just over 50 miles. Both those times were on a different course than it is going to be on this year. The race used to always be done at Beaudry Park just outside the city but for a couple years it was in a park in the city due to flooding issues at the original venue. But now they are moving back to the original venue that is rougher and longer (loops are about double the length).
  5. Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Services Half marathon (WFPS) – Oct 16th – a good race that I have done several times.

Some thoughts that go through my head when I look at that list:

  1. I need a good proof of time by October 4th to send to runDisney for corral placement for the Goofy Challenge in January. My more recent races have not been particularly quick so I would like a quicker time to submit. And I will need a time from a half or a full for that. Fort Garry Rotary Half would be good…if I’m not too burnt by running a full the week before.
  2. The inaugural Grand Forks Marathon would be cool but it would require a hotel stay…but…if I did it and the Lemming Loop the next week, it would let me qualify for Marathon Maniacs which I missed out on with the blown 50k at Spruce Woods back in the spring.
  3. Treherne Marathon could also be used for Marathon Maniacs with the Grand Forks Marathon and it would probably be a less painful way to get that qualification than doing a marathon one week and an ultra the next…But if Grand Forks is out due to travel and I am looking at Fort Garry Rotary Half for a good race time then I would just be doing Treherne Marathon to add another number to the Marathon tally.
  4. Lemming Loop…ahh the Lemming Loop – I am so drawn by the 24 hour race just to see what a really long ultra would be like in a relatively safe environment where say I couldn’t walk off a cliff in a stupor. The other side of this is that I wouldn’t want to do less than my last 12 hour Lemming Loop and with the more difficult terrain, if I do the 12 hour again that would be a distinct possibility. Maybe I could do the 24 hour and plan for naps? Just do anything to make sure I am over 50 miles? Hmmm….On the other hand I don’t want to do this and blow it like I did the 50k at Sprucewoods Ultra.
  5. WFPS half – I will most likely do this one – it is a bit of a tradition at this point and it is the last race of the season here so it is a good test as I head into the last 2 months of Goofy Challenge training

So as I was going through all of those thoughts and worries and realized that I have a family wedding to go to out of town on September 24th. So doing Grand Forks Marathon would require me to finish very quickly, get cleaned up, drive home (crossing the US/Canada border in the process), get home and grab the family and drive 2 hours to the wedding. And then would change at the wedding probably? Timing would have to be perfect to make that happen and nothing lately says my marathon time would be good enough to give me much breathing room.

Well – Grand Forks is out and with it that means that Marathon Maniacs won’t happen either as the Treherne Marathon and the Lemming Loop are too far apart to meet the requirements. And that means Treherne is probably out too if I want to make sure I have speed in my legs for the Fort Garry Rotary half the next week for race timing.

That leaves Lemming Loop. What to do there? How different is the terrain at the venue versus where I have run it before?

To help answer that question I headed out to the park late one Friday morning and did 3 loops around (about 10.5 miles) to see what it was like and to get familiar with the terrain. And that all worked pretty well besides not putting on enough bug spray the first loop.

So that means I can do Lemming Loop and survive but my speed showed that 50 miles in 12 hours at my current conditioning level might be unlikely. With about 9-10 weeks to train it could happen but it is a risk….OK 24 hours it is and I will plan naps. I will do another post eventually discussing what kind of mileage I will be shooting for but basically 52.4 miles (double marathon) with an extreme stretch goal of 78.6 miles (triple marathon). A miracle will have to happen to get that stretch goal though…but maybe I could hit 100k? Really though I need to make sure to get past 50k to rebuild my ego after Sprucewoods.

Now at the time of this writing I have signed up for the Fort Garry Rotary half with my wife (who is looking for times for corral placement for the Glass Slipper Challenge in February) and the 24 hour Lemming Loop. I will sign up for the WFPS Half marathon as well but I am going to wait until I see how Lemming Loop training damages me.

I might also sign up for the Treherne Marathon and use it as a training run for the Lemming Loop but it would be more efficient to do a long run near home, so we will see on that one.

I am going to cut this post at this point and I should be back with more posts in the next few days on things like my Lemming Loop training and gear plans.

Thanks for reading!

My initial thoughts for 2016 – run streak and a shot at Goofy Challenge 2017?

So I have been thinking for a while about what my goals and plans for 2016 should be. While I did have some great events, overall my running did not go very well in 2015. My mileage and speed are way down and the weight I previously lost is coming too far back – not good things.

I had indicated at the start of last year that I wanted to back off a bit because I felt I was putting too much time into the running and maybe falling down in other areas – family, hobbies, etc.

But the way I backed off wasn’t the way I would have wanted it to happen. There were some legitimate illness and injuries that had an impact but a big part of the issue was a loss of motivation and energy. Running used to be a habit but that fell off – meaning that I used to run out of habit even if I was tired or not motivated and I have lost that.

So that is the first thing I need to fix this year and to do that I am going to run streak.

Now I have tried run streaking before and it did not go well. But I did it differently during that attempt than what I plan to do it this time. When I did it before, I did it including double run days – I would do my normal 5 days a week training plan but would also add in a couple mile morning run every day before work – giving me up to 10 runs in a week. I did not adapt to the change in the sleep cycle well and I maybe lasted 9 or 10 days before I fell apart on a 2 mile run.

So I won’t do it that way this time. Instead I will ramp up to doing the 5 days a week run schedule and will do a single mile on the rest days. I am hoping this will get me to the point where, even if I am tired or unmotivated, I will run no matter what.

How long a streak though? It is a leap year and I love the idea of run streaking the whole 366 days. Granted I also ran Dec 31st so it would be 367 days. That is a bit of a daunting task considering how little I have been running, so I will start with setting the first goal as run streaking January. Once that is achieved I will break it down to run streak each month until the year is done.

That should make take care of getting back in the habit of running all the time, but how do I get myself back into running long distances? I did pull off 50+ miles in the 12 Hour Lemming Loop back in early October but that was more about experience and shear pig-headedness than about any sort of conditioning really. As I think about it, about the only thing that has made me truly commit to training has been the Goofy Challenge and the Dopey Challenge. So I am going to lay it out there that I am going to train to do the Goofy Challenge in January 2017. I don’t know yet if I can make that work financially but I am going to mentally commit to it – I have done 5 and want to do a 6th. That means everything I do through 2016 is going to be as part of a training plan for January 2017. Usually a marathon training plan comes in around 18 weeks but I am giving myself 50+ weeks so I will need to have several milestone races / runs along the way that will break the period down into more manageable chunks.

I don’t have that fully worked out yet but I have a few races running through my mind:

  1. Hypothermic Half marathon on Feb 21st – this one probably won’t work as we are vacation until the 20th and I don’t know if I would be able to hit package pickup or not. I will be investigating further.
  2. WPS Half marathon on May 1st – this race is where I hold my half PR (1:46:00 – 2014) but was about 10 minutes slower in 2015 due to illness. I will be looking for redemption on this race – maybe not a PR but back to sub 1:50 would be the goal) This means lots of speed work through March and April.
  3. Spruce Woods Ultra marathon event – the weekend after the WPS Half marathon – they trail marathon, 50k, 50 mile, 100k and 100 mile options all with decently generous time limits – so maybe, just maybe I might do something that will scare the hell out me here…
  4. Fargo Marathon – May 21st – just a bit of a drive away from Winnipeg but it is a flat course and the weather seems to average better than the Manitoba Marathon a month later which is a positive for someone coming off of several months of winter running. This one gives me a better shot at getting back to the low 4 hour range, possibly even PR or finally breaking below 4 hours.
  5. Manitoba Marathon – June 19 – If I have been training well and consistently at this point then hammering out a new full marathon PR would be the goal (currently 4:09:44 in 2014) – my marathon PR is for this race but my history with the weather on this one is not great (I have a tendency to get spanked by the heat or drenched).
  6. Treherne Marathon – Sept 11 – I haven’t done this one before and it is only a bit of a drive from home. It is done mostly on back country unpaved roads and I have, up to this point, ruled out doing this race because I keep getting an image of it raining and making the roads a mess. But this one may help me stay motivated through the summer.
  7. Fort Garry Rotary Half Marathon – not sure the date yet but is usually a couple weeks after Treherne Marathon. This can be a good race to show off summer conditioning as we head into the fall.
  8. Lemming Loop – Sept 30 / Oct 1 – I have done the 12 hour event 2 years in a row and I am thinking of doing the unthinkable and moving up to the 24 hour event.
  9. WFPS Half Marathon – October 16 – only a couple weeks after the 12 or 24 hour Lemming Loop and I could be exhausted for this race. But I have done this one several years in a row and it is a tradition at this point.
  10. Wine and Dine Half Marathon – my wife and I thought about doing this one for our 10th anniversary last year but it didn’t work out. So maybe this year as a couple’s trip?

So I don’t know what I will do for sure but those are the races I am currently pondering.

One other major motivation idea I am looking at is tracking my yearly mileage as the miles I would need to get to Disney World from my house. Google Maps lists this as 1928.75 miles – I did 1971 in 2014 so it is possible. I will call this personal mission the “Run to the Goofy Challenge”. The bonus with this challenge is that if I start seeing myself getting close to that number later in the year it might drive me to go further – maybe beat the 1971 to have my highest mileage year ever or maybe even beat 2000 or 2016 miles?

To ensure I hit any of these milestones I will definitely need to tackle the sleep and weight issues I have been having but I have done it before and can do it again.

Basically I will need to break things down into more manageable chunks with sub goals to achieve and celebrate along the way. I’m not exactly sure what that looks like yet but I know I will have the ramp the mileage up slowly as I try to rebuild – so January won’t be 200 miles but maybe closer to the 130-150 range, but by the end of the year I should be hitting 200 mile months at least a few times.

A slow, strong, steady progression is key here.

Lots of work to do – but I will make sure to blog about it more frequently to help keep me honest and motivated.

Cheers to strong 2016!