Sunday, 18 December 2016

Gaining and losing weight

Yet another stale dated post from the past year. It may be time for me to jump start this blog thing again. A 2016 year in review may be in order, since I did not post up for 2016 at all. From March of 2016, here is a few thougths from earlier this year as I was hitting my stride again after recovering from a torn hamstring waterski accident. 

March 2016:

This winter while dealing with my torn/ obliterated/ pulled pork hamstring injury recovery from back in August, I resigned myself to canning the running comeback, and to just let December be what it was meant to be for 2015.

Not being able to exercise at all made me really grumpy. So instead of being grumpy, I started a craft beer collection. The collection started small, but eventually it got to be really, really good. All single bottles from BC craft breweries. I had so many bottles that I was able to make an advent calendar out of it.

My wife reminded me that I actually had two advent calendars: Craft Crossing by Parallel 49 and Central City. Some hits, some misses, and some classics.

Two advent beer calendars.

No running.

No exercise.

Fried food.

Christmas food.

Needless to say, I gained some weight. I ballooned to 200lbs. It was fantastic--I was warm all the time, I slept fairly well, I had plenty of energy and I was not tired. Strava vacation was in full effect.

Then January hit. The News Year's resolution into full swing, I had to get back on the horse and start running again. I was happy to put 2015 behind me. A good year, a big year, but in terms of yogging, hard to come to terms with. Being laid up for an extended period of time sucked, but was also a blessing too. I was able to take a break, let my body heal--not just from the leg injury, but I managed to get a rest from the prolonged training and cummulative fatigue that I had taken for granted. I was used to being tired all the time as a runner. I could eat and burn off all the calories that I ate; laid up, I was no longer burning anything.

The beer was amazing. But like all good things, too much is many times a bad thing. Cold turkey--no beer.

From January 3rd, running again was hard. I was 20lbs over my pre injury weight. I punched up to 200lbs--never before had I hit this weight before.

Burning off the masses of portliness was an effort that did not take that long. Over a few weeks, I dropped down 3 pounds, then 7, 10, 13, and finally 17 pounds. Two months after starting to run again, 17 pounds had melted away. I had lost an entire road bike from my mid section.

I began noticing things about myself as well. It was easy to hit faster paces; my heart rate came down considerably for the same efforts after a few weeks of running the same routes; I did not feel the need to have a brew at the end of a day, on the weekend, or otherwise. In fact, sometimes the beer just did not taste good at all. I was thinner, leaner looking, and often, cold.

I had to layer up in different long sleeves and sweaters just to stay warm in late January and February. And, it is not even cold here in the lower mainland of BC.

Another thing I have noticed is that coming back from and extended break, I have been able to hit faster paces, maintain faster tempos, and handle volume loads like before, as if I was not injured at all. Running now feels great. Hundreds of dollars of PT, chiro, and massage have helped to pay off in getting me back on track.

Which brings me March. Looking ahead, I've committed to the Vancouver Marathon--something that I would not have dreamed of doing at the start of February. The Sun Run is coming up, and that too is on the list.

I was on the fence about completing the First Half Half Marathon on Valentine's day, but I did, and ran a 1:24--one minute off of my PB.

As the year goes on, I am stoked about my renewed health, and the race season ahead.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Sandcastle 10k 2015: New Course, again!

Another stale post: 

From June, 2015. Saving these posts and not sharing them is kinda like hoarding. At the time I was busy with my M.Ed and the thought of taking the time to organize photos, edit and craft a post was not high on the priority list. I look to the blog as a bit of therapy--to hash out thoughts and feelings, put them into words and record them to read for another day. The problem with the blog is that it is being usurped by social media like Instagram and Facebook which make it very easy to share to as many people quickly. That, and for the fact that I have no sweet clue who my readership is--it seems like since I don't know if it being recieved or read rather than just clicked on, my motivation wanes. It appears that there are many from Russia, China, Germany, and the United States when I check the analytics. Thanks for reading from afar. 

But the purpose of this was not to get people to read it. It was to have a bit of fun, to preserve some of these exploits for my kids, and to be able to look back on what I have done, and where I have come from.

This year's Sandcastle 10k road race in White Rock saw yet another change to the course, keeping it entirely within White Rock, rather than the fast downhill point to point that started in Surrey at Crescent Elementary school and snaked down to the beach.

For the last 9 months, I have been running a route in White Rock on Monday evenings in the sun, rain, wind, dark, and light. All conditions have been braved on my training runs. I knew this new course like the back of my hand--no surprises here at all. Having said that, the course is a brute--serious climbs that lead to the highest point on the course at Johnson Road, after running up the Hump, Stayte, and Thrift.

Knowing that there was 152 meters of climbing over the 10k, I had hoped to race for just under 40 minutes knowing how those climbs would really take it out of a runner. But like all things race related, when the pedal hits the metal, stupidity and speed can take over, and that survival instinct of "take it easy" gets shut off in my brain.

I warmed up on the Promenade, not even able to run much faster than a 4:50 min/km. I thought my race may have been over before it began due to the fact that felt slow. Lining up I met Chris Barth's girlfriend Tracey, and we chatted and caught up about all thinks running. I took my place and examined the competition. 11 year old boys: check. 3 fast looking women: check. 1 short Kenyan male: check. Follow him, as long as you can.

That following of the race lead was over in the first 400 meters as he took off like a shot. I ran in second place, well beyond my abilities, and was caught up by Tyler Ginther, Jen Moroz, and Lisa Brooking. We ran the Hump and made it to East Beach in short order. Tyler pulled away, followed by the two ladies. The gap had formed, and I was pulling up the rear. Soon enough, Larry Lorette and Stephen Ptuka caught me. Stephen took off, and Larry, and I battled up Thrift. I managed to gap Larry, and pick up Jen just ahead. She was doing a run/walk up the hill, and we played a bit of leapfrog all the way up.

Cresting Johnson Road, it was a fast downhill on the other side of Thrift. I could see Stephen ahead by about 20 seconds. I tried to close the gap, but to no avail. Jen and I ran shoulder to shoulder along North Bluff Road until she put a dig in on me. I could not close it back, and knew that Larry was hot on my heels.

At 8 kms, I was ready to throw in the towel. But that is negative self talk trying to bring me down, and I stayed strong, knowing the downhill was right around the corner. 1.5 kms to the finish, all downhill along Marine Drive. I could make up some time here by lengthening my stride and running with reckless abandon.

I could not hear Larry behind me, but I dared to not look over my shoulder. Running scared, I pushed as hard as I could to the finish, closing out with a sprint to the line.

38:28. Mission accomplished.

On this tough course, I could not be happier. I have not been running hard lately, no tempo or long runs, no track sessions. Just plain old running. I still have my fitness from a couple of months ago, and heading into summer, I am excited to keep running and get ready for Victoria come July and August, much stronger for the work from the first half of the year.

Some more summer races to come, this is just the beginning of keeping myself sharp, balancing my bike and run, and finishing up my M.Ed at SFU.

6th overall
2nd in grouping 20-39
1st in age category 35-39

A good day for a run, swim in the ocean, a cash prize for placing, and a draw prize to boot!

Thanks to RD Tina and the Semiahmoo Sun Runners for putting on a great event on a beautiful June day!

I heart running!!

Tearing a hamstring, adjusting, and regrouping

This bad boy was written but not published from late August....

Stale blogs. Inactivity. Recovery. Getting back on the horse. Falling off. This autumn has been characterised by some serious lows. I figure it is time to get back to sharing some of the trials of my recovery from a torn hammy. Bear with me as I post some things from this year that I wrote, but never followed through on.  

Two weeks ago today, Sunday August 16th, I went out of a morning water ski on Lake Osoyoos. A flat calm, golden morning on the lake--absolute perfection. After a couple of turns behind the boat, I hit some awkward wake from another boat--the waves were heading away from me directionally at 11 o'clock. I hit the first two sets fine, but my right ski tip dipped, propelling my right leg around my body, forcing me to do the splits in the water. I went down.

I knew immediately that I had torn my hamstring. The pain was searing--like a molten brand knifing deep into my left leg. I was still strapped into the skis and had to bring my leg up in spite of the pain to release my left foot.

At that moment, my mind raced. In a split second, I thought of a gazillion things:

What would my wife say on shore as we motored in?

My fall marathon in Victoria went poof!

Could I still ride my bike?

What about the Whistler Fondo.

The family is gonna kill me.

I went into shock, immediately. I could not bear weight on the leg, nor even lift it. After being hauled out of the water into the boat by my father and my brother-in-law, I was hauled out of the boat single handedly by my Dad, who went against the plan of how to get my out of the boat discussed by my family, and did it all himself.

Very rarely have I ever experience pain so badly that I felt like I needed to vomit. This was one of those occasions--that vomitous feeling was ever present. After being heaved out of the boat, I made my way with assistance to the shore from the dock, and parked it in a beach chair. It nearly came to the point where I was about to throw up on my sister-in-law as the family formed a half circle around me planning what to do next with me. It was not even 8:30 am yet.

I had not had anything to eat that morning before the ski--I just put on my headband and wore my sunglasses out on the water. Nothing in my stomach to hurl at all. I remember Sean saying to me "Can I take your sunglasses?" to which I responded "Nope. What is the worst that can happen?...Famous last words, Hahaha."

I must have tempted fate with that exchange. Who wears sunglasses and a headband waterskiing? That is just cocky and arrogant. But I did. It cost me my glasses which now reside at the bottom of Lake Osoyoos, and 6-8 weeks of activity. My plans to triple crown this week, run long and ramp up training for the Victoria Marathon, adding speed and track workouts, along with getting ready for the Fondo and Eastside 10k (all events I have registered for) are done.

Humbling, really.

My dad and wife crossed the border from Oroville and drove me to the Oliver Hospital where I was treated by Dr. Peter Entwhistle. The service and care in Oliver was outstanding. They administered me some Tramadol and Fentanyl which helped in short time, took me for x-rays, and before I knew it, I was discharged with what I had originally thought: a torn hamstring. Time, patience, and rest were on the order for the remainder of the family holiday, of which we had 7 more days.

The first two days following the accident were rough: I needed help doing almost everything. Even walking with crutches was difficult. I was relegated to taking tylenol and resting on the deck in a lounger with my leg up for nearly all of the hours of the day. By the following Wednesday, my left leg began to show bruising, and by Friday it was widespread: the whole compartment of my hamstring was filled with blood from the deep tear that was now coming to the surface.

As much as it sucks to have to give up the upcoming events, lost time training--both running and riding, the final two weeks of summer vacation left with not choice but to stay at home rather than finding and exploring new places to experience, I hate to say it but I would still go out and water ski, or do any of the other things that I love to do. In life, there are many risks we take just waking up in the morning, driving our cars, going to work, or trying to relax. Sometimes the unforeseen and unexpected force us to change our course, adjust our plans, give up our goals, and reset. Thinking back, I remember that the morning of the ski accident, I purposely did not go out on my road bike that AM because I knew that I would have plenty of time to ride that week. I had planned for a ride on Monday morning, with the first morning on Sunday my ease in day. It did not work out that way.

Yet, for all of the opportunities I have had this summer to take in the beauty of our province--trail running Singing Pass in Whistler, and Pineview in Kamloops; participating in Day 6 of the BC Bike Race; waterskiing on Kalamalka Lake and the Shuswap, riding Mt. Baker, these are the risks we take. I would not say that I was doing anything risky when the fall happened. tI just as well might be that I could hit the same boat wake 1000 times again and nothing would come of it. I do not regret doing any of those things. The down time has allowed me time to reflect on what is important, and what I can do to minimize the risk to myself and others.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

2015 Boston Marathon: Transformative, embodied experiences are the most memorable.

Man, can I procrastinate. I write a post, ruminate over it, let it marinade for another two weeks. I have come back down from the high of running the Boston Marathon, and I can confirm that there is nothing that I have experienced that parallels the enormity, the immensity, the experience of the Boston Marathon. So allow me to present the thoughts that stemmed from my experience on April 20th, 2015. It was a trip--one of the best I have ever been a part of in my life! 

From April 27th 2015:
The day before the race--Bluebird and beautiful!!!
One week ago, I took on the Boston marathon. Miles of training, hours of running, so much sacrifice, dedication, dreaming, stress, energy, focus....and it all happened!