Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Motivational running

First off, in case anyone wants to read more of my Dalai Lama-like words of wisdom, you can follow me on Twitter (see side panel). Between e-mail, Facebook, my blog and Twitter I seem to have accumulated a fair number of distractions in my life. I figure that deep down I don't really want to graduate, since that might dampen my general bitterness and cynicism, which in turn would have quite a negative effect on the humour in my blog. Then I'd lose my blog friends, and then my life would pretty much suck. So pile on the distractions!

I haven't blogged since the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, which was an incredibly exciting weekend. I have to give a shout-out to Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis for their truly inspiring runs. It was thrilling to watch Reid go for the standard so aggressively and run so well given the windy, cold conditions - AND pull off a great race after taking the world's fastest bathroom break! I obviously have a thing or two to learn from him (and Paula Radcliffe) about how to excel at the 'stop-and-go'...is this something I need to train for? I'm sure the city of Toronto would support this. Maybe I should just ask Rob Ford himself: "You wouldn't mind if I ran marathons around the city AND shat all over the streets, would you?" (I am SURE he would appreciate the humor in my comments, given how well he reacted when the actors on This Hour has 22 Minutes tried to play a joke on him. Wow!)

Anyway, although Reid was quite impressive in this feat there were other moments of heroism. With the cameras on him for most of the race, the country missed out on Gillis' extremely gutsy run. Thankfully they did catch his last 300m which were undoubtedly the most exciting steps of the entire race. Seeing him check his watch and realize he had seconds to make it to the line under the Olympic qualifying time almost gave me a heart attack. I have never seen anyone sprint so hard at the end of a marathon. The pained, exasperated expression on his face said it all; he ran those last 100m with everything he had - legs, head, and heart. He flew across that line with 0.7s to spare. Now THAT is inspiration.

Another hero was Fauja Singh, a 100-year-old man who crossed the line in 8:25. It is disappointing that he won't be recognized by The Guiness Book of World Records for oldest man to run a marathon since he doesn't have a birth certificate. I would think there must be a way to genetically determine his age, but perhaps it wouldn't be accurate to the exact year. Nevertheless, perhaps if they could prove he was born within a year or two of 1911, he could get the record? What a shame!

I have to mention Leslie Sexton's exceptional run, besting her time in the half-marathon by two minutes in 1:16:33. When I saw her at Acura in July I asked her what time she'd be aiming for at Scotia. '1:16' she said simply. 'Oh yeah?' I responded with a smirk, 'Any reason for that particular number???' 'Obviously, because I have to beat your time!' she responded. I have to give her props for going out and doing just that on a slower course and on a slower day. Leslie, you can go wayyyyy faster than 1:16 and there are lots of PBs to come for you! Awesome.

Speaking of fast half-marathons (and people not being awarded official records!), congrats to Dayna Pidhoresky for running the fastest half marathon by a female Canadian. EVER. 1:11:46. It's unfortunate that it won't count as a National record because of the 57% displacement between the start and the finish (the limit is 50%) but I have no doubt she can do it again. Even more impressive, she ran that seven days after demolishing the field in Detroit in 1:14! Wow.

A bunch of the Angels raced at Scotia as well - congrats to Kathryn who was 2nd in the 5k (18:33) and to Sasha Gollish, Katie S, Mama K, Jebs, Kap 'N K and V-Cash who ran very well in the half marathon. My Montreal sista Miss Ali-Khan ran an awesome 1:19:44 for a 6min PB in her 2nd half-marathon ever. Not bad for an 800m superstar!

So the good thing about all of these fantastic races is that it gets me pretty motivated. Now all I need is for my body to cooperate with me. So obviously I am dealing with my lingering shin soreness but conducting all kinds of experiments to determine what will actually heal it once and for all. The all-pool approach was decent but I felt that the water resistance and kicking was still using the tibialis muscle too much. Plus I was becoming pretty spongey like SpongeBob. I transitioned to more elliptical, which was fine at first until I hammered out a workout on it with a ridiculous amount of resistance that took the shin back a notch. My short runs haven't seemed to bother it, however...perhaps because it's the only activity where I don't push my limits...so my approach this week is short runs only and minimal cross-training. We'll see how that goes! For now I prefer to talk about other people's running, since mine throws me into the dark depths of depression. On that note, I will go cry in a corner somewhere. Happy running everyone!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

MY LEG!!!!!!!!!!

Well ladies and gents, I used all of my mental power to convince myself that my tibialis injury was simply an excuse for a hardcore pre-marathon taper and that I'd be good to go in a few weeks. Believe it or not, however, the physical reality of tearing a muscle in your shin kind of trumps any kind of positive thinking. Not that I have been Little Miss Sunshine for the past three weeks. In fact, I think I've metamorphosed through every character of Spongebob Squarepants (errr do I admit now that it is one of my favourite shows?). Starting off, of course, slumping around bitterly like Squidward (above), cursing my shin and life in general. After living like the slothful Patrick Star for a few days, however, my shin began to feel a little better and I began to make outrageously naive claims - in true Spongebob form - like 'my tear will heal in three weeks and I'll be able to hammer out 42.2k at Scotia!' These periodic moments of hope were usually usurped by my general Mr. Krab-biness, however, and I'd go back to being irritable and depressed moments later. My co-worker recently admitted to me that he was actually afraid of me (and FOR me) when I didn't exercise. Oh dear. Now that I am back to being OCD-on-exercise Larry the Lobster, I'm feeling much better mentally and physically - and best of all, people are talking to me again! Ha!

So. My stupid shin. Yes, I am convinced it has a brain and is stupid since it refuses to get back to 100% faster than a snail's pace. Not only is it taking its sweet time, it is undecided and waivering at every stage of recovery: one day feeling better, then going back to its pre-existing sore state the next. SO since it is slow and cannot make up its mind I have deemed it STUPID. For those who aren't aware of the diagnosis, it turns out I tore a muscle in my anterior tibialis. Yep, according to my oh-so-sensitive physiotherapist (who is really quite genial) I 'ripped 'er right apart.' Awesome. It is great to know that those stabbing pains during my execution run were really me tearing my muscle in two. Perhaps it is not my shin that is the dumbest part of me...

Speaking of dumb: Patrick Star (pretty much my favourite character. Ever.)

[Looking for Squidward in a crowd of squids]
SpongeBob SquarePants: Are you Squidward?
Squid #1: No.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Are you Squidward?
Squid #2: No.
Patrick: [to a fire hydrant] Are you Squidward?
Patrick: It's okay. Take your time.

Anyway, it's been three weeks and it's almost there, but not quite. I can pretty much do anything without pain except for massage the area of the tear. Once the sore spot is gone I should be good to go. In the meantime, I am living in an underwater sea-world much like Spongebob. I wake up, get wet, leave work, get wet again (that's what she said? Sorry Watson that may have been a reach). The worst part of two-a-day pool workouts isn't even the boredom - it's how cold the water is. Seriously, do they HAVE to make pools that frigid?! I'd rather do a 30k long run in -30 than get in the pool and hammer out a 90min pool run every evening. I emerge completely blue and am sure my dry skin is verging on scales at this point, so I pretty much AM morphing into a fish.


Even though I won't be racing, I look forward to watching the action this weekend at the SWTM. It is going to be an intensely exciting race for Reid, Eric, Dylan and Rob in the full marathon and I also look forward to seeing Sexton and Cliff go after it in the half. Krista DuChene is making a return to form after her fourth child (!) and my Angel sisters Kap 'N K, Katie S and Mama K are going to tear it up for sure. Good luck to all those racing!

Pretty sure this is what I'll look like when I can run again

For those who don't get the 'LEG!!!' joke, it's a recurring line in Spongebob, by some random sea creature called Fred. He basically yells it out at completely random moments...of which there are a lot in this show...