Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Runner not Running

It's probably time for an update on where I'm at. A lot has happened since I posted last.  Not a lot of running though. It's been nearly four weeks since my last run. 

Six days after the half marathon I started experiencing pain both on the outside of my hip, and on the inside (let's all it the groin crease). The pains were not constant but certain movements would set off either side, with sudden stabbing pains that often times had me either pause in my movement, gasp, or even yell. After a long weekend out of town, hobbling around like an old lady and popping pain relief like nobody's business, I made an appointment to see my sports medicine specialist (the same one I'd been seeing for my numb foot). 

Upon examination, he performed a hip quadrant test on both sides and we were both surprised by my reaction when he twisted my left hip inwards (I nearly leapt off the table!). I was sent off for an X-Ray to see if there was anything visible there causing the pain. 

A couple of days later, I was met with the words 'cam deformity' (this is basically a spur or lump on the ball of the ball-and-socket hip joint.  It can mean that there can be inpingement or pinching if it can't move freely) and 'arthritis'. The radiographer reported on both of these but the specialist wasn't convinced they were significant on the films. The next thing to worry about though was any damage to the hip joint cartilage wise. So I was referred for an MRI. 

I was pretty freaked out at this point. I mean, I love running. I never expected to be deformed!! I guess it's always been this way? Why hasn't it been a problem until now? Let alone the actual MRI procedure. I've only ever seen this in movies. It looked a bit claustrophobic and scary. 

Less than a week later I was lying on a gurney being slowly inserted into a tunnel. I'm really thankful how quickly I got an appointment. I'm thankful for a great specialist and a great healthcare system!

The MRI was very noisy, even with earmuffs on. I entertained myself by listening to the noises as a rhythm or even as words. I spent time praying for or thinking of others. It was a great trick because had I been focusing on myself, the anxiety would have taken hold. 

Half an hour passed quickly, check out my tired but happy face afterward. We had the rest of the weekend child free (thanks mum and dad!) which was totally awesome, we really needed it. 

My MRI was at 7am on a Saturday.  There's no filter that can disguise tired eyes and messy hair!

The following week I was met with "the good news is, there's no arthritis and no labral tears present" (yay!!) "but there's bruising on your bone". 

It's somewhat puzzling as this is usually an impact injury (like a bruise to the skin) but I simply cannot think of any injury that may have caused this. 

So, obviously running is out for a bit, while it heals. I've no idea how long this will take. I'm allowed to exercise with pain as my guide, which is good. Thankfully I'm not required to be on crutches or anything as there's no way you could do that as a mum of three!

I've joined up with one of the local gyms. Great timing as they had a no admin fee and 2 week free special running the day I popped in.  I've so far tried out the stationary bike (no good, so sore the next day), cross trainer and treadmill for walking. There's yoga and boxing classes that I'll try out too, for something different. And of course I'll swim once or twice a week as well. 

I'm getting better at being kind to myself, letting a lot of fitness go, resting when I'm in pain, trying not to worry about the future. The exercise aspect for me is mostly to give me an outlet for my stress and anxiety now. It's true for me at least - physical activity really helps with mental health. 

I should have more of an idea next week when I see my physio as to how long things may take to heal. In my head I'm thinking months, because is I'd rather be over prepared for a long layoff. So I'm thinking of a quiet winter fitness wise, focusing on healing and strength. 

In the meantime, I'm seeing the positives of being a gym bunny. No worries about the weather with winter on our doorstep. No worries about running in the dark. Cool classes and different equipment to try out. And an opportunity to use all the weights equipment too!  (I had a program made for me by a Personal Trainer this week. Yeouch is all I can say on Day 3!).  Last but not least, it's an excuse to wear these cool pink tights I bought when indulging in a little retail therapy!

Because everyone knows if you don't 'gram it, it didn't happen!  (haha)

So, watch this space.  I'll update it with news and progress as time goes on.  Hopefully I'll be back to running by the time Spring hits!

Sunday, 17 April 2016

My fastest 5km!

As part of the running course I am doing, we took part in a 5km time trial at the athletics track.

We had less than a week's notice, and it was going to be 2 days after I had run the Great Forest half marathon, so I went into it not really expecting too much.  

My PB over 5km was from last year, 26:13. The fastest I had recorded a 5km this year was 27:30 (as part of an interval run, not a straight out time trial). I thought I was capable of somewhere between these two times. 

You can imagine my surprise and excitement to see under 26 minutes! 25:32 to be precise! (Note the app recorded 5.18km, so the average pace looks far more complimentary sub 5:00min/km! 

Our group was split into two - with one person running and the other person recording the number of laps run (12.5). I wanted to record it on my phone so I could look at my splits later, so I went ahead and tracked it in runtastic. (Lucky I did! My partner tried to tell me I still had two laps when I was finished!!)

I lined up with about ten others, and we all took off. There's a few really speedy runners so I watched them speed ahead.  I checked my phone after the first lap and saw I'd run a 4:40 lap - tried to slow it down a bit so I'd have something left at the end!

Half way through I wondered if I was going to make it - boredom was beginning to set in, but I knew i would be annoyed with myself if I gave up, so I just kept pushing. 

As you can see from the splits, I positive split like a champ 😂 but not too drastically. Not sure about that pace of the last 0.2km, suspect that was a GPS thing as the last section of every run I do always over reads :-)

It's quite nice running on the track. It's a great surface with a lot of grip. And it's all level, so no worries about tripping on anything (apart from the inside rail!) or watching for cars. Plus, it makes for a super cute ring map:

I lapped a few people once or twice. I got lapped by a couple of people, once or twice. Everyone gave it their all out there, which was awesome. Such a varied group of individuals, with different abilities, but everyone was so supportive and encouraging of each other. Loved it.  

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Half Marathon #2

Well, another day, another half marathon done.  Below is my race recap for yesterday's Great Forest Events half marathon, April 9 2016.


I caught a ride down with Sonia and her husband.  I hadn't been there before and I liked the idea of having someone to drive me home after a tiring run.  We arrived with 90 minutes to spare, so it was a nice relaxing time at registration, wandering around, and a few toilet breaks.

Just before 9am we were walked out to the start area.  Time for a quick selfie before it all began!  Then I headed back about 20-30 metres in the pack: a) because I didn't want to get caught up with the faster runners and b) I didn't want to get stressed out trying to keep up with Sonia (as it happened, I didn't see her the whole race!).


I started off with a grin, and quickly settled into the work. The first 10km felt great, and I was running well.  I knew it was probably a bit too fast, but my legs felt so good that I kind of went with it.

I ran without my camelbak, but I'd studied the course map and knew that the water stations were approximately 3km apart.  So I had a bliss ball around the 8km mark then grabbed a quick drink at the next aid station to wash it down.

At the 10km marker I checked my phone and I'd passed it in about 58:30.  I was feeling quite good at this point. On track for a PB!

Sadly, somewhere around the 11-12km mark, my mood started to decline and I started focusing too much on how far there was to go.  I really wanted to give up and walk, but I knew that I would be annoyed at myself if I did. So I kept plodding along.  

However in kilometre 17 of the race I gave in and had a walk break.  We'd run in some exposed areas and the sun was getting to me.  It was around this point that the conditions under foot changed back to gravel - a little slippery and a few larger rocks to avoid. Not long - about 20 seconds. Long enough to get on top of my breathing, then start running again.  I had three more of these between 17-20km, the last one was the longest at about a minute of walking. Then I knew I had to run the last kilometre and a bit to the finish.  I raced up the last rise and down towards the finishing chute - I could see Sonia waving and hear her cheering (thanks Sonia! It was awesome!) and finally I was done.  

Crossing the finish line.  Bit blurry, but the joy on my face is pretty clear.

Hubby and my youngest son travelled down to see me finish.  They were there in time but sadly he missed me! He was looking for a bright pink top (because that's what I often wear on training).  Still, when I finally tracked him down (tricky with no cell reception on site!) I gave him a big hug.

Official finishing time was 2:10:10.  So, between my A and B goals of 2:05 and 2:15 respectively (the C goal was to finish).  So I have to be happy with that, though I can't help but feel I could have done better on the day!  Still, I will chalk that up to experience - I now have 2 half marathons under my belt.

I've copied and pasted my kilometre splits below.  It's quite clear that the first 10km were much faster than the second 'half'.  Average of 5:48 for 10km which is not too far off my PB (from last year) for that distance.  So, definitely faster than I should have been going!

The major lesson I will take from this race is to really try to ease into the first half, and not get caught up in prospective finishing times too early in the race.

For the next half marathon I'm also going to 
a) run with my camelbak. I think frequent small sips is less taxing than grabbing a water cup and trying to drink it in a hurry (and feeling compelled to drink half a cup when I wouldn't normally.. just because it's there!
b) just run with my music.  I got really grossed out by hearing other people breathing behind me, LOL.  Also there were some bags with annoying knocking or jingling sounds.  (Clearly I was not in a great mood yesterday!)

Still, with all that, I ran a half marathon yesterday.  I am extremely proud of myself and the best thing is, I want to do it again!

Sonia and I showing off our race bling
Smiling and happy after a coffee, some bacon, and a chocolate milk..

Tuesday, 5 April 2016


A bit run-nerd, but here's my flat runner photo.. What I'll be wearing for the half this weekend. 

Forecast is for 19-20 deg (though it won't be this warm when we start running at 9am). Conditions should be perfect. 

My new Running bare tank (from trademe), marmot run skirt, spibelt for my bliss balls, and a cap to keep hair under control (and also because I feel naked without it!). 

Still undecided about the camelbak, I've trained with it so I am used to it, and it will save me having to pull off to water stations, but I do love the idea of getting to run without it! I'll likely decide on the day. 

As it's an off road half marathon, my new shoes will probably get all mucky but I think this will be better than the lesser grip and cushi-ness of my old shoes.. I'll take both with me in the car in case I change my mind though. 

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Progress report, March

Recapping goals for March:

1) Tick off every training run in my plan (3 runs per week) 
2) Continue with strength training twice a week
3) Hit 100km for the month
4) Do another 5km 'proper' time trial

1) 100%! Very pleased about this. 
2) mostly, because we ran a few trails and hills, I skipped a couple of sessions because I figured my legs/glutes didn't need more overloading! 
3) achieved: 113km this month. Biggest monthly total since July 2015. 
4) I didn't do this one. Towards the end of the month I knew my body was getting tired, and I didn't want to overload it with any unnecessary stress before the half marathon. I'll get one in by the end of April. 

Other highlights:

- The Gorge run with Sonia. Loved it. It was by far the hardest run I've ever done, but the most rewarding. 

- completing the most daunting of the interval sessions: 5x 5 min threshold with 1 min recovery. I ran these hard, and walked in between. It was tough, but a good exercise in mental strength. 

- my fastest 20km ever - 1:58:03 (5:54min/km pace). This was the best training run, we headed out with no expectations but to just run for 2 hours and see how far we got. We blitzed it! I'm hoping for some of these vibes for 'race day' 😉

- A unplanned tempo run (I was feeling great so revised the goal for the session), where I ran 8km at an average of 5:32. I've never run this mid distance this fast before!! 

- slogging through our 2 hour very hilly trail run, despite feeling heavy and tired that day. 

I did have a couple of less than amazing runs, but we are going to chalk them up to experience and focus on the good ones instead 👍🏻

Wow! It's been a busy month, looking back! 

Next up, April's goals. 

1) Complete my second half marathon on 9 April. It will also be my first off-road half marathon. I have decided to take the pressure off myself and instead of setting a time goal (I've no idea how much slower I will be anyway) - my goal will be to run happy and strong; do my best, and get to the end feeling like I've given it my all. 

I really like this pic, and the quote; "run with your heart, not your legs". When my legs get tired on race day, I'll think of this image and remember how much I love to run!  

2) Take at least one full week off after the half, to give my body a break. Maybe even two weeks. 

3) Run a 5km time trial by the end of the month. 

Monday, 21 March 2016

It's taper time!

Hooray! I've made it through the peak of the training and now it's time to taper before the race, three weeks away. 

Everything's gone pretty well really. The first few weeks of the 12 week plan were a bit hit and miss due to illness, but I've managed to hit pretty much every training run and goals since.  I've surprised myself with speed I haven't seen before, especially over slightly longer distances.  I've done more hills and trail work than I've ever done, and I'm sure that it has benefited me strength wise.

Up this week: 40 min steady run, 45 min interval session (with 15 min tempo), 15km long run with Sonia (in which we'll run the last 5km at 'race pace').

The following week: 40 min steady, 30 min steady, 10km easy.

Then it's race week, with just a couple of 30 min easy runs and the race on the Saturday morning.

Bring it on!

Saturday, 5 March 2016

The Birthday Challenge

Last year I celebrated my birthday with a running 'first' - first time running the river track from end to end.  I thought I'd continue the tradition this year, with another challenge. This time: The Manawatu Gorge. 

I knew Sonia was keen to do it too; and our birthdays are a month apart, so what better way than to celebrate together!

We set off at 1.45 on a Saturday afternoon (tough time to run, most of my runs are evenings and some mornings, never straight after lunch!

All set to go!

It was a really tough first third. Straight up hill. You can see from the profile!  We ran when we had the energy, and walked when we didn't. Everything in my legs was burning at this stage!
The elevation profile as taken from Runtastic (with a suspected GPS drop out near the end)

If you smile, you can't feel the pain..

Near the top it was much more enjoyable, a bit more level with only slight up and downhills. We both felt like we were flying after enduring the slow uphills!

An obligatory selfie near the top

A welcome break for a photo! 

Heading back down to the road was challenging too, in a different way. Trying to relax and go with the legs, without feeling like I was going to take off or slip over!  I experienced some strange pains in my torso (front and back) that disappeared once we stopped with the worst of the downhill.  Not sure what it was; perhaps it was my downhill posture? Or the jarring effect? Or a combination of both?

Then all of a sudden we were done! Back to the car and off to the cafe to enjoy a coffee.