Firstly I'm changing the way I'm going to be blogging in the past. I've found over the last year that by not posting anything for weeks at a time makes me not want to post anything more and more. It's like the more I need to write the less I feel like writing. So from now on I might just put down a few lines here and there on anything that comes to mind or the results of a certain workout. No more epic stories that take half an hour to read. I may extend it somewhat for a race but other than that I'll try and do more postings more often. Saying that this will be the last long one because it's been almost a month.
Okay, not to bore you with getting overly detailed here. Basically since UTMB things have gone down the crapper and only now are crawling back through the sludge to the land of the living.
I had set out in September to create a training plan to carry me through to Gibraltar on the 8th of November. As has so often happens after I develop a plan and start following it, I come down with some sort of malady, sickness, or injury. This time it was an injury but having nothing to do with running, at least not in the short term like a fracture or shin splints. After work one day I had this pain in my lower back and the following day I could barely move without getting a sharp jolt of pain all across the waistline. I went to the clinic where I was told I had problems with my SI joint and needed to see physio and massage. Two days later I went to physio where I was told that it wasn't my SI joint and that my hips were looking pretty much aligned but the nerves were aggravated in my lower spine. She gave me a few simple exercises to do and after two days it was still killing me. I had a regular massage scheduled but all Holly's efforts couldn't put a dent in the discomfort. Sitting for more than ten minutes totally stiffened up my lower back. I even tried acupuncture (what I do when I'm totally desperate) thinking it would loosen things up.
Finally I got referred to a sports massage guy, Ken Scheel, in Vancouver and luckily he could see me on short notice. He had a look at my spine and hips and knew right away that something was out of line. He'd look at my back, get me on the table, twist me and bend me, stand me up, have another look, get me on the table, twist me and bend me a different way, and on and on for an hour. I don't know how the physio missed the fact that my right hip was twisted up and forward and my lower back muscles were guarding it but luckily Ken knew what he was doing. As soon as he was done and I left the office I felt about 80%. I could sit in the car without pain but there was still some traces of the pain. Two days later I ran for the first time in nine days for one hour. The next day the pain was back a bit so I went back to see Ken. He said things had regressed a bit so it was more of look, table, twist, look. After that I've been feeling almost 100%, just a bit stiff at times. The third time I've seen him was only for a quick look and to say to come back if things get worse. He figures it's been something that's been building for quite a while and it was something simple that finally caused the hip to go out of alignment. Anyways, with some exercises I've been stretching and strengthening the hips to avoid anything like this in the future.
Okay, that aside I was at least glad to be running after the scare that I wouldn't be able to do the Baker Lake 50k or the Kelowna Marathon or Gibraltar. I guess I should be thankful that I was even able to do Baker Lake but I had such a crappy time there that it overshadowed my gratefulness.
I've been doing most of my runs the last few weeks wanting to finish with negative splits. I thought I could do BL in 4:15 with the out being 2:15 and the back 2:00. Whoa, was I mistaken. Firstly I hadn't even been in the trails for weeks and even though the trail is fairly easy as far as trail races go, I knew I was in trouble at the turnaround. I tried to bump up my speed on the way back but it only furthered me quicker down the path towards bonktown. Long story short I finished in the worst time out of the three I've done that race.
Fast forward a week to the Kelowna Marathon with solid week of training and no real tapering (okay two days) with a goal in mind of three hours. Just a quick run not wanting to feel too stressed and one that wouldn't leave me hobbled for days afterwards.
Having done most of my runs on the Mud Bay dyke the last few weeks I was pretty used to flat. One thing I'm hoping is to build up my 'flat terrain' muscles seeing as there'll be no hills in Gibraltar. I figured Kelowna is pancake flat and this would be a good test. The wind picked up shortly before the race then the rain hit us hard for about 45 minutes. After that it was just overcast with a bit of a breeze to help cool us off from the 17 degree weather. To get under three hours I needed a pace of 6:52 per mile and after starting I pegged my GPS at 6:48s just to account for any bathroom and refuelling stops. The pace felt pretty effortless and I let nothing distract me from keeping the pace. Even at the beginning when most people took off at 6:30s I settled into my own groove and sure enough I reeled most of them in. A first for me in a race of this length is how good I felt all the way through. I was feeling so well in fact that I thought I might try to up the pace 30 seconds per mile in the last five kms. As soon as I saw the 37k marker I turned the hat around backwards and hit the split button on my watch. There was a guy about one hundred feet in front of me and another about the same distance in front of him that I'd been watching for over an hour. As soon as I upped the pace I was catching and passing them. The increase in speed felt effortless and it was like I was still doing 6:48s. I finished in 2:57 feeling like I could do more which is what I wanted. Congrats to Carrie who did the half in 2:03 with not a whole lot of training the last month. Also to my sister, Karen, who was trying to qualify for Boston with a 3:50 but missed it by 6 minutes but still ended up with a PR.
Today my legs feel great and I have a four hour run planned tomorrow and Wednesday. This week and next are the last two big weeks of mileage before the taper to Nov. 8th. Feeling the best I have all year.