2017 in Review

 

20170630_161248It is hard to know how to review 2017.  In January I was very clear about my yearly goals .. I wanted to increase my speed and set some very specific distance/time goals.  At the time I was training for the Ottawa Marathon (May) and  planned to Recover all summer before working on getting faster at shorter distances.

Oh , how naïve I was .. to think that I could do it all.  And  the plan might have worked.. if only I had stuck to it.  In February everything changed.  On a whim I signed up for  a 50k Trail Run scheduled for September.  With a marathon and ultra trail run looming over me, speed goals went out the window.   Suddenly my focus became about how FAR I could go, instead of how FAST I could go.

Our winter was predictably icy / cold / slushy so I did a lot of my workouts on the treadmill.  In February I ran my third Hypothermic Half Marathon.   In April I did my third Lorneville Loop 13k road race.  This is a hilly route and I was pleased to cut 25 seconds off my previous best time.

As I toed the Start Line at the Ottawa Marathon I felt strong and confident.  That strength and confidence disappeared a few hours later as I struggled with the consequences of  training in cold weather for a hot weather marathon. I learned this lesson  firsthand at the 27km mark.   Ooof… what a lesson!  I crawled / staggered the remaining 15k and somehow made it to the Finish Line but it wasn’t a pretty finish. Ottawa Marathon – Ready or Not

After the marathon, my immediate thoughts turned to building  on that distance to prepare for the Ultra  but my body said NO WAY.  Post marathon fatigue, food poisoning and a sprained toe were some of the obstacles that I faced.    When I tried to push through it, my body decided to curtail all my efforts by breaking out in Shingles.  There was no way that I could argue with that. June was my lowest mileage month of the year with 113 km.

Training for the Ultra began in earnest in July.. except that Life happened.   Who has time to train in the summer..?  I discovered a lovely technical trail near my house so I was pleased to be able train there often but my longest run in July was only 18 km, monthly distance was a mere 177 km.

Training for the Ultra began in earnest in August… except that Life happened again.  Gosh, I thought training in winter was hard!  Training in summer is very challenging.  I did manage several quality runs, including 18 kms a couple of times ,  monthly total was 217 kms.  Eeeep.. That Ultra is looming large now..

Early in September I finally  managed to run 25km, and planned to run a similar distance a couple of days later … but my PT forbade it.  Hip flexors and adductors were paying the price for sudden increased distance on technical trails and PT recommended short flat runs for several days.  Short flat runs.?? But I have a 50k trail run in a couple of weeks. !

Highlight of September was the Fundy Circuit Trail Run .  You can read about it here.  Race Review / Fundy Circuit Ultra Trail

I had a full 2  weeks to recover from the 50k before doing the 5 Peaks Round the Cape 24k Trail Run in October.  Race Review – 5 Peaks Round the Cape

That concluded my race season and I spent the remainder of October Recovering. In November and December I ran strictly for pleasure,  running only as far and as fast as I wanted to.

2017 was an incredible journey for me.  The biggest discovery for me was that I learned how therapeutic trail running can be. It is not about time or speed, but simply about feeling in sync with your body and soul. Of course I ran every day  because that is what I do.  Total mileage for 2017 was 2222 km. I have some crazy goals for 2018.  Stay tuned.

 

 

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Streaking in 2017

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On November 29, 2017 I completed the third year of my Run Streak.  By now it has become a habit so it’s not much of a big deal for me.  When people express amazement at my accomplishment I just shrug and say, “Meh, it’s no big deal, running is just something that I do every day.” And it really is!

There were some highlights and some lowlights in 2017 and I will share them with you here.

I am fortunate to belong to a wonderful run group who support this silly runstreak, and a few of the members have taken ownership of some milestones and planned fun group runs to celebrate.  January 14 was one of the coldest days of the winter to date.  Despite the frigid temperatures, several group members showed up at the local Casino to celebrate Day #777 with me. Check it out here.777 Consecutive Days of Running

Day #888 was thankfully much warmer. Again several group members celebrated by meeting at a local Pool hall on May 5 to run, and then shoot a couple of games of pool and other shenanigans. Read more here. Eight Eight Eight

DBAJ48cXkAAkLjM.jpgSadly I was out of town for Day #911 so I was on my own, but I made sure my route took me past a couple of fire stations. Okay, I actually stopped at a fire station and asked a firefighter if I could get a photo with him. Of course he was happy to oblige.  Big shout out to all emergency personnel out there. Thank you for keeping us safe.

I think it is very cool that my milestones keep falling on the weekends.  Day #1000 was on a Friday and again my amazing run group planned a fun run which you can read about here. The Day I Earned My Comma

2017 was not without it’s challenges.  Here in eastern NB we have cold, ice, slush, rain, heat, humidity, wind, freezing rain, windchill, etc.  Thankfully we don’t have all those weather conditions in the same month!  Each of those weather conditions present their own challenges and it is necessary to plan ahead.  In 2017 I ran in temperatures ranging from -35c to +35c.  I prefer the -35!

Being a Streaker means that I have to run the day after big events.  In the days after the Ottawa marathon I went for a long walk, with a 2k run sandwiched in the middle. I was really worried about the day after the Fundy Circuit 50k, but again I went for a long walk with a short run in the middle.  Active Recovery is a thing and really aids the recovery process.

On October 12 I inadvertently started  a Streak within a Steak.  While checking my October stats I realized that I had run at least 5k every day since Oct 12.  Naturally I decided to see if I could run 5k every day in November.  Then I decided to challenge myself by running 5k every day for 100 days. It was just my luck that a Deep Freeze descended on us mid December and lingered until the New Year and beyond. January 19 will be Day 100 of 5k Every Day and I will reevaluate at that time.

There were some serious threats to the Streak.  A sprained toe in June was painful to walk on, but strangely it didn’t hurt (much) to run on it.  I swear I almost died of food poisoning once but still managed to drag my sorry ass around the block.  Colonoscopy prep is never fun, but with careful planning you can get the run done. The biggest challenge that I faced in 2017 was running with Shingles.  I was very fatigued, and air movement was painfully cold.  If my run streak was not so firmly established, it would have ended then.

My PT endorses my run streak. With her help,  I successfully ran through injured hip flexor, soleus, hip adductors, and deep core stability muscles.  I am very blessed to be able to run every day without serious injury.

I know this streak will end someday and hopefully on my terms. But today is not that day, so for now I streak on.

 

Things I learned in 2017

  • It is okay to modify completely change your goals.

 

  • Waterproof sunscreen is mandatory while running marathons in hot weather, especially if you haven’t seen the sun for weeks. DA_d13aW0AAymO7

 

  • I run faster at midnight.  (note to self: check local race listings for Midnight 5k. Or create one.)

 

 

  • 13 Laps around my street is  5k. dec29

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • There is nothing more tranquil than Nature’s Surround Sound.20170828_124107

 

  • I have overcome my fear of being eaten by animals on the trails.  Sort of.

 

  • When running becomes a pain in the ass, it is time to find a good PT.

 

  • Massage Therapy is great for getting rid of that pain in the ass, and other tight muscles.

 

  • Massage therapists expect that you will be naked under that sheet.. even if you have just met.

 

  • Pilates is a good investment of time.

 

  •  Sex toys are disposable. Who knew..?  17499286_10154262554012461_7183271835563190544_n

 

  • This is not a new revelation, but I have a great Run Club.  Riverview Running Idiots Rock!  17800244_10154420441541024_8941869714555508828_n

 

 

  • I still hate windy days. wind

 

  • Trail Running is Fun
  • Trail Running is Hard
  • Trail Running is Awesome

 

  • Volunteering at local races is a great experience.

 

  • Protein bars with chia seeds is not a good fuel choice while running an Ultra. Those suckers swell in your mouth and taste like vomit.

 

  • Using the word Fuck like a comma really is a thing.

 

  • DFL ( Dead Fucking Last ) is something to be proud of. 22007711_10210499062455559_7344499634051432495_n

 

  • Mill Brook hill in Cape Chignecto is a bastard to climb.

DLkdYi6UQAAJiGs

 

  • There are no strangers in the running community. Some of my biggest supporters are people that I meet during a race.

 

  • If you don’t get to the Start Line on time, they will start without you

 

  • You really have to bust your ass if everyone else has a 2 minute head start.

 

  • Squirrels get pissed off when invaded by runners during a race.

 

  • Squirrels can have a very accurate aim while throwing pinecones.

 

  • Snot rockets may be socially acceptable outdoors, but frowned upon at the gym.

 

  • Active Recovery is better than Inactive Recovery.

 

  • When binge eating after a marathon, avoid tainted seafood. #pukeallthefood

 

  • I am stronger ( more stubborn?) than I thought I was.

 

  • Running is cheaper than therapy, and just as effective.

 

 

Resolution Run

My sister and I started the year off on the right foot and then the left foot. Right, left, repeat to cover a total distance of 5k for the annual Resolution run in Moncton.  It’s a great way to start a new year.

26234089_10155018192667461_1677888170_nOur temperatures have been extremely cold for the last week or two, but I have been running outdoors everyday so I have acclimatized.  Sort of.  My sister had never run in such cold temperatures and she considered not participating but I managed to persuade her not to be a wimp. I also offered some advise re. layering and using petroleum jelly on exposed skin.

Temperature was around -13C with a Real Feel of -25C.  Because we dressed appropriately, it was actually a great day for running. The route was along the riverfront trail in Moncton.  As expected it was snow packed and icy in places so we chose to run slowly and carefully.  We finished in exactly 35 minutes, about 4 minutes slower than our usual pace.

resi=oution.pngA big shout out to the coordinators and volunteers who braved the frigid temperatures to make this event so successful.  A nice hot bowl of chili at the Finish Line was the perfect touch.

Happy New Year everyone.

December Review

December is done.  This is the final day of 2017 and  I will write a recap of the year soon, but for now I will just review the month.

DR2lXV_X4AMyKdJAt the beginning of the month, the trails were clear and (mostly) dry.  By mid-December snow had forced me off the trails and into the streets.  For the last couple of weeks the temperatures have  been extremely cold and the roads are snow packed / slushy /yucky / cruddy, so I have not enjoyed a quality run for awhile.   Last week I  was desperate and did some speedwork on the dreadmill.  It wasn’t horrible. I predict that several of my January miles will be on the treadmill.

This month has been dedicated to building a fitness base, with emphasis on Speed in the new year.  A tight soleus muscle has been giving me grief for a few weeks.  It is showing some improvement from stretching and rolling, but I have scheduled an appointment with my PT on January 2.

Monthly total for December is 192 km.  Run Streak  is still ongoing. As I write this I have completed 1128 consecutive days of running.  I also am doing a little Streak Within A Streak, hoping to run 5k a Day for 100 Days.  Today is Day # 81.

Stay safe and warm everyone. DSUnVVxWsAEgWug.jpg

 

 

November in Review

puddleNovember is probably my least favorite month.  It is drab and dreary and very uninspiring.  Daylight Savings Time kicks my ass every year, and this year was even worse than usual.   For the first 2 weeks of the month I just wanted to hibernate.  It didn’t help that I was battling a lingering cold that just would not quit.  My daily routine was work/run/eat/sleep. ( not necessarily in that order)

Thank goodness I got out of that rut quickly.   I know others that haven’t been able to shake the November doldrums and I consider myself fortunate that I escaped so easily.

snowyIf October was all about Recovery, then November was all about the Base.  My plans for 2018 include the Hypothermic Half Marathon in February and then an Autumn marathon.  ( I have it narrowed down to 2 possibilities.)   Training will begin in earnest in December, but first I wanted to establish a solid foundation upon which to build. I threw in a few speedwork sessions with short intervals just to keep it fun.  One of my many goals ( I have several) is to improve my 5k speed.  In October I established a base line speed of 30:08 in my #search4speed and this month I  ran it in 30:00.  #gettingbettereveryday

Of course I ran every day in November because that is what I do.  I upped the ante this month by running a minimum of 5k every day instead of my usual minimum of 2k. It went surprisingly well.  I am considering extending this streak-within-a-streak to 100 days of 5k’s. .  We’ll see how it goes.   If my body says “no way” I will stop

DPWM--aVAAA20TYA November review wouldn’t be complete without giving a nod to my Streakaversary.  On November 30, 2014 I started a Christmas Advent Run Challenge.  One thing led to another and before I knew it I was committed to running every day in 2015… and beyond.  It is hard to remember what it is like to NOT run every day. .

Mileage for the month was 136.5 miles (219km) , which was one of my highest totals ever.  I feel like I have a nice solid base now, and will start the next phase of Half Marathon Training next week.

Is Christmas season a good time to start training?  I’ll let you know how it goes…

How are you adjusting to the shorter, colder days of November?  Any special plans or goals for December.

 

 

Soaking It All In / November

starkAs a runner I am very aware of how the weather is affected as one season transitions into the next.  Right now we are smack dab in the middle of November and are experiencing dreary weather that is typical of this time of year. October was fantastic….. glorious sunny days that just begged for you to don your shorts and running shoes and get out there to enjoy nature up  close and personal.  But then we had to turn that calendar page….

 

snowyShortly after October became November, we were also required to turn back the clocks one hour.  Daylight Savings Time kicks my ass every year and I just want to snuggle with Blankie and Pillow until April.  But there is that pesky business of a Run Streak to deal so every day I choose to unass the couch and take that  first difficult step out the door.

 

 

shoesMany of my running friends have hung up their running shoes and don’t plan to get them out again until April.  With this chilly gray weather I can understand their motives for Not Running and sometimes I  have a fleeting thought that this would be a really  good idea.   But then I remember that I am not ready to end this run streak yet so off I go.  Mostly I am grateful for the discipline of the Streak that motivates me to get dressed  and get out there every day.  Every. Damned. Day.

puddle.jpgThe weather is going to get worse before it gets better.  That is a guarantee.  We can choose to hate it or we can learn to embrace  to it.  I choose to get out there every day and just soak it all in.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to gather some layers for today’s run.   The weather man tells me that it is -7C.

Hey, at least it’s not raining!

Cheers!