Tag Archive for WFPS Half Marathon

2016 year end review – kinda rough but getting better!

Time again for a year end recap – and this one is a bit of an odd one to write up. On one hand my total mileage is not really awful and I did manage to get in my longest race event ever, but on the other hand my weight is up, my motivation was down, I had some injuries to deal with, and I had my first ever DNF.

There were definitely challenges this year but also some moments of light – I don’t want to focus on the negative, so I will mention some of the challenges but will try to concentrate more on the positive aspects of the year.

Total miles 1206.5 – down from 1400 in 2015 and 1971 in 2014. Definitely down – my Achilles tendon issue near the end of the year did not help here and without that I suspect I would have beaten my 2015 mileage. An injury is never fun but I did more mileage in the last half of the year than the first half despite the injury, that shows an increase in drive and strength.

2016 started pretty well with the 129 day 485 mile run streak but after the streak was broken the motivation tanked. That being said the streak didn’t work the way I would have liked either – I needed to adapt the streak to training for the specific races I had coming up and I failed to do so.

I then messed up on the Spruce Woods 50k by not hydrating during the race and then the Fargo Marathon by not eating properly the night before. But for both of these races I saw glimmers of strength still inside – if I hadn’t mentally screwed up on the 50k, I could have finished quite well. And for Fargo, I ran well early on in the race and despite g.i. issues and some major heat it still wasn’t my worst race. They both represent some screw ups on my part but I enjoyed them enough to want to do them both again – so that says something.

I had some recovery in the fall but then I had issues with my Achilles tendon that spanked me fairly well and through the last few months of the year. I am still struggling with the tendon now and it will probably define the start of 2017 too.

My longest run of the year (and ever), the 24 hour Lemming Loop, got me 53.3 miles – I believe I could have gotten farther but my ankles rebelled and I couldn’t run nearly as much as I would like on the race. I probably walked about half of the distance due to ankle issues. So while it was my longest event ever it was also disappointing. But man did I ever enjoy the event…starting to think I like messing up on races…

Then, 2 weeks after the 24 hour Lemming Loop, I ran my fastest half marathon in a year and a half at the Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Services Half Marathon. My Achilles was really not pleased after that but it shows some solid recovery capability.

One common thing I found through the year was that I was struggling to feel strong in my legs when I ran. I finally figured out what the issue was and I understand that the issue led directly to the Achilles problems I have been trying to recover from. What was the issue? I have been running in the wrong shoes.

I won’t get too deep into the issue but to keep it simple, I switched from a high heel to toe ratio shoe to a lower one. A lower heel to toe ratio puts extra pressure on the Achilles tendon (it gets stretched a bit more each step) and since I have used a high ratio shoe for years, my tendons weren’t prepared for the extra extension and rebelled. Note to self – changing running form overnight = bad.

But I have now figured that out, gotten shoes that work with my running form and I have seen improvement over the past few months. The tendon is still healing but I am seeing some strength return. I have a lot of rebuilding to do but I am ending the year with hope that I will recover and come back stronger in 2017.

Next week is the 2017 Goofy Challenge and I won’t be running it for speed or to challenge myself – I will be doing it for fun and as a reminder to enjoy the running. And then, I get down to work to seriously rebuild over 2017. I will do another post on what I hope to do over the upcoming year – as a spoiler though, I want to do Dopey Challenge in 2018 for the anniversary year and I will be building to be stronger than I was when I did it in 2015.

So maybe that leads me to my take away for 2016 – I made mistakes, I had motivation issues, I had injuries, and things did not go to plan in any way, shape or form…but I am still running. Even injured, I am still at a spot where others might spend years getting to, and I have to be thankful for what I can do and proud of what I have accomplished.

I will be stronger in 2017.

Happy New Year everyone and keep running!

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!

Couple of runs so this week – total of 12 miles – not pushing too hard. WFPS Half Marathon on Sunday.

Monday – 4 miles on the treadmill taken at an easy, steady pace. Had a very slight tweak from my right ankle but not too bad, Looks like it is getting stronger.

Wednesday – 8 miles on the treadmill. Still ran at a steady pace but a bit faster than I went on Monday. Ran at a pace that would hit a 2 hour half marathon and it was more tiring that I would have liked. So obviously I am not fully recovered from the Lemming Loop yet but no issues with my ankle, so more positive than negative there.

I have two more short runs (Friday and Saturday) before my wife and I do the WFPS Half marathon on Sunday. After that race is done, I will be moving into my training schedule for the Goofy Challenge in January. I think I have my training plan sorted but I will have to do the first week or two and see if I have to adjust it. I should be posting it early next week.

A bit of a post Lemming Loop status report and look ahead to Goofy Challenge 2017

Just a quick post today to give a bit of a status update on things now that the Lemming Loop is done for another year. Plus today marks 13 weeks until the Walt Disney World Marathon that I will be doing as part of my 6th Goofy Challenge (or 5th plus one Dopey Challenge depending on how you want to do the math) and I wanted to mention some things about my training plans there.

The day after the Lemming Loop (Sunday) was pretty good – unseasonably warm and I spent quite a bit of time with the family in the pool and relaxing. My legs were feeling pretty good except my right ankle.

Monday – back to work and of my small group I was the only one in and I was rushing around fixing issues between meetings. The legs felt great and I was moving very well. The only issues came after I had to sit for a period of time in various meetings. My leg joints would get very stiff. But otherwise I felt really good.

Tuesday / Wednesday – lots of sitting at work and my legs were feeling that for sure. I also started sneezing regularly and had a running nose. Yay! That cold / flu hit pretty hard as I ended up going to bed early, getting about 8 hours sleep, getting up to feed the dogs and then laying down and going back to sleep after I sent an email to my manager letting him and my team know I wasn’t making it in. I then crashed for another 7-8 hours where I was completely oblivious to the world. It took everything to move to the couch from bed and then I still ended up falling asleep on the couch later. Rough.

Thursday – back to work again. I was still feeling wonky but didn’t want to miss any more work. (plus I had called a couple meetings that I didn’t want to have to reschedule). Felt ok through the day but was definitely light headed. After work we had swimming lessons for the kids and by the time that was done and we had supper it was too late to run.

Friday – busy work day but I was feeling ok and made it through. I did a couple easy treadmill miles after supper and felt a bit woozy by the end. I don’t think this was an after effect of the Lemming Loop but instead a bit of the cold/flu still in my system.

Saturday – 11th anniversary! Holy crap! No running today but did mow the lawn – last time for the season by the looks of things!

Sunday – cooler morning near freezing temps (interesting that we were able to swim just the previous Sunday!). After I fed the dogs I took them out for a run. With the cooler temps I figured I would be able to run the hairy buggers a bit longer. Well, after a quarter mile one of them started pulling up and sitting and laying down – he was done already. It is interesting – one of the dogs loves to run but will not play catch and the other is the opposite. So I took them home (total of 0.55 miles round trip) and left the catch player at home and ran with the runner. With the cooler temps he pulled off another 2 miles (which I think is the longest run I have had him out for) and still would give me the occasional tug on the leash to speed up. It was a nice feeling to run with someone/something that was genuinely excited and happy to get out and run! After I dropped him at home and went out for 4.45 miles on my own bringing my daily total to 7 miles. I felt good with no wooziness like I felt on Friday’s run so I think I am generally recovered from the Lemming Loop and the cold/flu. However I did have some aches in my right ankle for the last couple miles. This same ankle hurt during and after the Fort Garry Rotary half marathon a few weeks back and during the Lemming Loop as well. I will have to watch it and potentially use a support for a bit during training to make sure I don’t make it worse!

Coming up – Next Sunday is the Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Services half marathon (WFPS Half Marathon) that both my wife and I are running. Not sure what to expect on that one but I am not counting on being sub 2 hours on that one. I will still shoot for it but I will understand if I don’t make it.

After that I will be dedicating my training to the Goofy Challenge in January and I am current finishing formulating my training plan for the next 13 weeks. It is going to be a bit different than previous plans as I have to move some of the days around a bit to work around the kids’s activities. I will be posting that up once I get it finalized.

Other news for the Goofy Challenge? Well, I have finalized my accommodations finally. I am using Disney Vacation Club points and most of the places I wanted to stay end up selling out at around the 11 month out window. But I did finally get something pretty decent set up after a month or so of trying. I will be spending the first night I am there (Thursday Jan 5th) in one hotel and the remaining nights in another. I was hoping to avoid bouncing hotels but at least I move on a day where I don’t have a race to do so it shouldn’t be bad.

Other thoughts – I have gotten away from writing up a quick blog post for each workout and instead just firing out a quick tweet with the info. I am going to try to get back into blogging each workout instead – the posts will still get tweeted but doing a post about the workouts makes me do a bit of an analysis on each run. This will help me focus more on what I am doing and catch issues faster but will also make me take ownership of each run which should help me become more engaged and dedicated to running again. Plus, I enjoy the writing aspect…and could definitely use the practice.

 

Anyway – this short post got pretty long but look for more posts in the near future.