Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger

Hello and welcome back runners and readers.

Suffering through the Pinetree Classic XC
I would like to start this blog off by admitting to the fact that I am injured.  I have been trying to fool myself into believing that it's not that bad or it's not really injured its just kind of sore.  After three months of start stop attempts at consistent running I will admit that I am not invincible.  I have been diligent with listening to my body and letting up when need be but perhaps not as diligent at physio exercises. For the last while I have been doing calf raises to try and help strengthen my Achilles heel.  After completing the Whistler Spirit Run I was talking to the 2 time champion of the event Chris Winter.  Chris has performed on the national level for some time and has some serious talent.  He recommended that I try calf lowers instead as what I was doing was actually slowing the healing  process with my routine.  I am now working on that to hopefully regain full strength for the Canadian National XC championships At Jerico Beach Park on November 30th  One of the most frustrating things has been the lack of speed I have.  I want to train and push myself, but whenever I do, I'm limping around for two days after.  I am feeling stronger and the improvements are like molasses in January but I'll take any gains right now.

I have been racing a little bit as I enjoy the scene and I know I can push it a bit without total Achilles failure.  This latter portion of my season has been filled with a lot of unknown, failure, dissappointment,  surprise, luck and taking what comes.  A little bit more negative than the more positive attributes which running usually provides.  What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger. I am persistent and too in love with running to ever let go.  Running has made me who I am today and continues to help push me through many of life's other challenges.

This fall has brought some interesting race situations due to this problem.  First big race for a long time was the Down Town East Side 10k. It was a big deal as a lot of Nationally talented runners would be there as well as mostly all of the provincial talent.  I knew I was not fit enough to compete at my regular level but thought at the very least it would be a good training run.  I was given elite status and showed up ready (or not) to run.  I absolutely love the start finish area of this race.  The Canadian Running Series really know how to put on a phenomenal event.  Organization and race hype are what make these events highly attractive and ranked not to mention great venues.  I will keep race reports very brief as there are more which I'd like to include in this blog entry.

DT ES 10K final 100M
I started with a familiar pack.  The pace as expected was quick with a downhill start.  It felt as comfortable as a 3:16 first km could.  I settled in with my usual chase pack.  At 3km my legs turned into cement.  I had no energy or speed in my legs and had to lower my speed just to keep them moving.  I watched in horror as many runners breezed by me.  As the lead female blew by me I knew I was in for a demoralizing race.  At this point, any race plans had gone completely out the window and my plan was just to keep moving at a "tempo" pace.  The course was a very challenging and dynamic course with lots of turns and hills.  As the second woman came by me just after half way I was in a world of pain and misery. "I can't believe I just got "chicked" twice!" I thought.  Not long after I was passed by the third woman.  I was able to catch back up and keep with her pace.  I uttered some encouraging words to her about catching up to the woman in front of her.  Something like "You can catch her."  Soon after that I started to feel really good and I thought,
"Hey, I can catch her too!" This was at 7.5km so only 2.5 km to go.  Beast mode set in and I started reeling back runners. One after another and I was back on the heels of the second woman.  We battled briefly as we crested the second last hill and I was finally able to take her after the descent. One last pack of runners to blow by on the final climb up the Georgia viaduct and it was into the last km for the finish.  Aaron was the last runner to try to come with me and kept me on my toes all the way into the finish.  That last km lasted for a long time and I pushed harder than I had for some time and amazingly my body which was dead up to that point responded.  I am not happy with how the race went overall or with my time, but to have recovered and finished it off in that way made me feel a lot better about it. I can't wait to come back next year in good shape and really race this course to my potential.

The latter portion of the year symbolizes many things for runners.  The two main things which most road and track runners gear up for in the fall is a fall marathon or half marathon and cross country.  I was hoping to be able to race the Victoria Marathon which is the BC Marathon Championships.  Due to the fact I had no depth or speed I decided to remove the fall marathon from my program and try to gain some strength and speed by competing in the Lower Mainland Cross Country Series.   The first race was a brutally fast 4 lap event called the Pinetree Classic. This is an event put on by the Phoenix Running Club and is a prime example of a grass roots locally organized event.  These races remind me very well of competing in high school.  I love running on grass and trails.  My fitness level (or lack thereof) made this race very difficult.  A fun day none the less was had by all.  It was great watching the young children run and to see the future of the sport in development.

$75 for 3rd Open Men at Whistler Spirit Run
I am now starting to recover from my injury after a week of trying those calf drops.  This blog has taken me two weeks to write as I have been very busy moving toward a new career.  Life for me at the moment is very transitional and I am excited for new journeys into a rewarding career in the financial industry.  In order to get there, I must take a sales position at a car dealership to earn some more money via commission.  This way I can clear up all depts and move forward in life.  As much as I have enjoyed working in sporting retail for the last 5 years, I feel the need to move forward and progress my life so that I can gain financial security for my future.  I make only enough to pay my bills at my current income and am not able to get ahead.  Time for new beginnings and new adventures.  I am thankful for the ability to learn new things and for what I have learned so far coming up in this beautiful city.  It is not cheap to live in Vancouver but I will survive. Running will keep me balanced and focused and I hope you will all continue to follow and support me through this journey called life.

Aaron Weidman and I celebrating our 1st and 2nd OA 
I meant to write about the Coho Salmon Run as I did pull off a win there this year, but I am not as focused with writing as I am to find new work and become certified to do that work.  So here is the link to their website and I do recommend this run to anyone who wants a challenging and stunning run through Vancouver.   I'm off to grow and get better! My 8 Minute Ab workout is complete, I will now go and put in a tempo run on the course for the Remembrance day XC race in Stanley Park.

Happy Training and Happy Thanksgiving! Congratulations to all who completed their goals at Victoria Marathon and Chicago Marathon this past weekend.  Enjoy some well deserved rest and we will see you back out there soon.