Friday, September 30, 2011

Maybe. Just Maybe.

I woke up Thursday morning and my brain had made a decision for me during the night.

I woke up Thursday morning and it told me clearly and with no hesitation - you are not running the marathon.

Stop agonizing about it - stop thinking about it - give it up and move on.  Heal thyself and try again in the spring.

I spent the day getting used to the idea.  Thinking about how hard it was going to be to tell people.  Tearing up during computer training at work.

It was rather pathetic actually.

I went to see Geoff as planned after work.  I told him about the latest attempt at a 10k which bombed and became a 6k.  I told him where the pain was and how things were feeling.

And he said that was great!  He said it sounded like my original soft tissue problem seemed to be almost gone and that the pain I was having sounded like my shins acting up.

Bloody hell!?!

He taped my shin for a long run and told me to give'er on Saturday.  Run around your neighbourhood for as long as you can without blowing up.  Ten, fifteen, twenty kilometres.  Whatever works.

Next week I have exactly zero treatments booked with Geoff.

Not out of the woods yet but I'm glad I didn't take my training schedule off my chalkboard in the kitchen.

There might still be some life left in this runner girl.

Cross your fingers everyone.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Live What's Given

When the world says "give up",  hope says "try one more time"

I'm getting pretty good at picking myself up, dusting myself off and re-jigging my plans.

I hoped to run 10k last night.

I ran 6k instead.  Things were tight and sore.  I pushed a bit beyond the 5k from Monday but listened to my body telling me not to push any further.

I am no longer running 35k this weekend.  I have set my sights on 25k next weekend but am prepared to give that up too if I need to.

I'm holding on to Niagara Falls as tightly as I can but I'm starting to feel it slip through my fingers.  Not because I'm being pessimistic.  Not because I'm giving up.  Just because I'm being realistic, listening to my body.  It's telling me that it's going to keep trying but not making any promises.

I'm not angry or upset about it.  My body and I are a team.  We've been through hell together and I don't ever chastise it when it doesn't do what I want it to.  I just ask what I can do to help.

After my run I headed upstairs to shower and was thinking about all the options re race day.  Run, don't run, downgrade to a half, stay home and wallow, ride the route on my bike and carry Scully's water bottle, cheer on my friends who are facing their own demons, stalk my running friends with my camera to capture their big day...

Suddenly, while weighing the options, that little hopeful voice that had been sitting back listening piped up.  Well, if you're not ready for Niagara Falls, perhaps there's another marathon a few weeks later that you could be ready for...?


It's an amazing thing.

Who knows if I can run any sort of race this fall.  Part of me is devastated at the thought.  Part of me really doesn't care.  I ran the distance, I survived the training and I am stronger better and faster than I was in June.  That alone should be enough.  

Some days it is enough.

Other days, it isn't.

This injury will heal itself eventually and there will be other races to be run.

Hope is a funny thing.  Some people have tons of it.  I'm one of those people.  Always look on the bright side is my kinda song.  I see the positive in everything and live life accordingly.

I know lots of people who have a lot of trouble with hope.  With seeing the silver lining rather than the clouds.  With picking themselves up when they fall.

I don't understand them any more than they understand me.  I've been thrown plenty of curve balls in my life - divorce, car accident, diabetes - I've never done anything other than face them head on.  I don't know how to curl up and hope it goes away.

I live what's given.

No matter what happens on the 23rd of October - I'll be able to say I did my best.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mixed Messages

In the past twenty-four hours, here are the messages I have received.

'You're put in the distance, the marathon won't be a problem'

'You're healing well, I don't think you'll have any problem with the marathon'

'If you're still having trouble next week, perhaps you should think about running the half instead of the full'

'You don't have to run 20 miles before the marathon - you'll be fine'

'There is still a month before the race, that's tons of time to heal'

'Don't push it - if you can't do it, you can't do it.  There will be other races'

'See you at the start line - just fix your calf - hurry!'

'uh oh'

Last week I clung to the positive messages and ignored the negative ones.

Last weekend, I fell prey to the negative ones and began to doubt my chances of running Niagara.

This week, I'm listening to everyone and dismissing them all.  Who the hell knows if I'm going to make it to the start line?


Who knows if I'm going to make it the the finish line?


Two weeks ago I was pretty damn sure of myself and my abilities. I had just finished a fabulous 30k that knocked 24 minutes off my Around the Bay time. I felt strong and fit and unbeatable. I would have bet money on my crossing the finish line in under five hours.

Now, I wouldn't bet 5$ either way.  Because no one can know what the next day is going to hold.  Never mind the next week.  Or the next four.

This past week has been a huge lesson.  In patience.  In humility.  In learning how to adjust my plans to incorporate today's reality.

Which may change again tomorrow.

I may run Niagara in under 5 hours.

I may run Niagara and hobble across the finish line.

I may not even get to the start line.

Worrying about it won't change the outcome.

I have some stretching and icing to do.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cautiously Optimistic

I tried to run on Saturday morning.  My secret goal was 10k but the goal I spoke out loud was 7.5k.  

I figured I had run 4.5k last Wednesday and my ankle didn't hurt too badly.  Since Wednesday I had had one more treatment with Geoff and spent two days stretching and icing so I thought 8k was a definite possibility.  

I slept in until 6:30am (wow!), tossed on my running clothes, stretched my calves like crazy and headed out the door.  The plan - run around my 1.5k block over and over until I hit 7.5k.  Ten minutes per loop means 50 minutes.  If I felt good, I'd do an extra loop (9k) or even two (10.5).  

First few minutes, my ankle felt stiff and sore.  The next few minutes, it felt even more stiff and more sore.  I hobbled the last few minutes to get back to my house.  I stopped, stretched again like crazy and started the second loop.  It was worse.  

I made it around for a grand total of 20 minutes of running (3k).  No point in pushing when the message was loud and clear.  



I hopped up the stairs into the house, spent an hour stretching, triggerpointing, downward dogging and icing.  I stood up after the routine was over and felt....nothing.  Pain gone.

That made no sense whatsoever considering how painful it had been earlier.  I tested it a bit by spending a good part of the day walking around - the market, the library, my kitchen.  It felt pretty good the whole time.  After dinner, I repeated the stretching/icing routine and still nothing.  

Sunday morning's bike ride only continued the feel good trend and, because I hadn't run for 3+ hours the day before, I had tons of energy.  The pace felt leisurely when it normally feels deadly and I never lost the group once - well except when I tried to drink on the move and dropped my water bottle.  No one else noticed as I stopped, turned around, picked up the bottle and then rode 35km/hour to catch up.  Couldn't have done that after a long run.  I would have trailed behind until they stopped and waited for me to catch up. 

Monday morning dawned and I pulled on my running clothes.  I needed to try another run before seeing Geoff on Tuesday.  This time, I ran 5k and it felt ok the whole time.  Not fabulous but ok. My ankle felt fatigued at the end but not overly sore.  I did the post-run routine and things were surprisingly loose and pain-free.  They stayed that way most of the day until about 5pm when I started feeling sore and tight again.  

My plan - which changes by the moment so don't hold me to it - is to see Geoff Tuesday afternoon and try for 10k on Wednesday.  If that feels ok, I'm going to try a long run on Friday.  Doug and I are busy on Saturday so a long run won't work that day.  I don't want to wait until Sunday because the recovery bike rides are so critical these days.  So fingers crossed for Friday.  If not, then I kiss the 35k run goodbye during this marathon training.  It's getting too close to race day now to push it any further than this weekend.   

Oh, and on a high fashion note, I placed an order at Land's End.  Not a dress mind you but a dressy winter coat - a rich red, double breasted peacoat.  And, for the driveway shovelling winter days - a pair of bright purple winter boots.  Fun! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

High Fashion

The new Lands End fall catalogue arrived in the mail.  I did one online order last year and now magazines arrive on my doorstep every few months.  I'm not much of a shopper but I do like looking at their beautiful (and yet oh so functional) clothes.

This particular magazine had a few pages of dresses - several of which were very nice.  Simple.  Elegant. Flattering.  I have two weddings this fall and am already starting to worry about what the heck I'm going to wear.  I spend 90% of my time in jeans and runners so dress up clothes and I don't really know how to talk to each other.  They intimidate me and, as much as I'd like to have a bit more variety in my wardrobe, I tend to shy away and stick to what I know.

Back to the dresses.  I liked the look of them and actually started contemplating the colour options.   Suddenly I thought "but where would you put your pump?".

Form fitting dresses and insulin pumps do not go well together.  Dresses in general are a problem because there is no waist band to clip the pump to.  If I wear a flowy skirt, I can use a leg band that goes around my thigh and tuck the pump in there.  That wouldn't work with a tight skirt though.  It would look pretty ridiculous to see the outline of the pump on my thigh - kinda like I'm wearing a holster.

The thought that I couldn't wear a dress that, until moments ago, I didn't even know existed made me sad.

The odd time that I do dress up, my pump is always a bit of a nuisance.  It looks fine (or at least I don't notice it) when I wear jeans.  But dress pants lose their dressy edge when there is an insulin pump clipped to them.  Blouses and form-fitting tops don't flow nicely, they all bulge out at my waist line where the pump sits.

Most of the time I have a pretty good relationship with my pump.  I haven't named it nor do I refer to it as he or she.  It is what it is - a piece of technology that keeps me alive.  In many ways, it has made my life much easier than the needles ever did.  It keeps track of how much insulin is left in my system - no needle did that.  It lets me make minute adjustments when I'm running and cycling.  I have less stuff to carry with me and it's a lot more discreet in many ways than the needle was.

When it comes to clothes though - the pump has its drawbacks.  When I run, my pump is normally clipped to my running belt.  I never realized how well that worked until this summer when I started wearing lighter shorts than I had ever worn before.  The first time I ran intervals, I took off my running belt, clipped my pump to the waistband of my shorts and began my first sprint.  Within seconds I knew this was not going to work.  My pump bounced up and down like a crazed bunny and ended up migrating from my right side, around the front and to my left side during the first 800m run.  I wore my running belt for the rest of the intervals.

Doug and I took a runners yoga class last winter.  It was my first yoga class on the pump.  I clipped my pump to my pants the way I normally would and, within a few minutes, realized having it on my side wouldn't work. It got in the way every time we bent to that side during a pose.  I then had a brilliant thought. I clipped it to the back of my yoga top - out of the way.  Right on cue - as soon as I had it in position - we were told to lie on our backs.  Sigh.  No matter where I put it, it was in the way.  I learned to just keep shifting it around based on what the next pose was but it would have been nice not to have to keep readjusting.

I'm thinking about marathon day and what to do.  Doug has offered to carry my supplies so I won't have to wear my running belt.  Without my belt though, my pump has nothing rigid to clip to.  Bouncing around on my shorts would drive me batty.  If I'm wearing my Runners' Edge vest, I can put it in the back pocket but it bounces around causing my vest to twist around my waist.  My summer tank top was tight enough that tucking the pump in the back pocket worked well - but I'm thinking that it will be a little too cool for that in October.  It looks like I may be wearing my running belt anyway, just to have a place for my pump.

All this to say that I was looking at the new Lands End catalogue and they have some lovely fall clothes...

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Here and Now

It's fall marathon season. 

I'm not just talking about running.  

I'm talking about life. 

Fall is the busiest time for me.  Running-wise.  Work-wise.  Family-wise.  Health-wise.  I feel like I am running marathons in all parts of my life.  All I keep doing is saying things like: 
  • one more report and things will calm down
  • one more meeting to get through 
  • one more training session to lead
  • one more 3+ hour run
  • one more medical appointment
  • one more birthday
I feel like all I've been doing lately is counting down.  


Counting down feels like I'm wishing time away.  Time, in my opinion, is one of the most precious things we have and I never wish it away.  Even when something exciting is coming up - a trip, a race, a party - I savour the anticipation rather than count down the days.  

I'm one of those 'every day might be your last' kinda gals.  Not that I think about death a lot - I just try hard to appreciate the here and now.  There is no point in worrying about five years from now since you might not be here anyway. 

So I'm putting a stop to my counting down the days, projects, kilometres or whatever other arbitrary variable that has me focused on the future rather than the present.  I'm digging in my heals, putting on the brakes and slowing life down a bit. 

I spent the evening cooking in a quiet kitchen, reading on the couch and sipping wine.  Life slowed to a crawl and it was lovely. 

As for my running news, here is an update on my strained calf muscle for those who are interested:
  • Geoff is happy with my progress 
  • He taped my calf to help speed up the healing process and reduce the bruising he caused on Tuesday. Good thing because my leg was looking pretty nasty. 
  •  I will not be running 35k on Saturday.  As soon as that was out in the air, I felt a huge relief.  Pressure's off.  I will focus on resting, healing, doing some short runs and planning for the big one next weekend. 
  • I have to ice, heat, stretch ad nauseum and try a few easy runs before I see him next Tuesday
Without a four hour run looming, my Saturday suddenly seems very free.  Perhaps I'll go for a bike ride?  Explore the market? Take some pictures? 

Whatever will I do with all my time...and energy?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

One Day at a Time

As Day 5 of my tibialis posterior sprain adventure dawned things seemed to have settled down nicely.  No calf pain at all and a slight pressure in my ankle is all that was left of the weekend's painfest.

As instructed - I ran for thirty minutes.

I was nervous about how it would go so I ran around my neighbourhood three times.  Meaning if things took a turn for the worse, I would never be more than five minutes from home.

I hobbled through the first few steps but that was probably as much from hesitation as from tightness.  Within a few minutes, things had loosened up and I felt a bit of pressure in my ankle but no pain.  So far so good.

The run was uneventful.  No dramatic collapse on the side of the road.  No screams of pain.  Just a slow easy run around and around and around the block.

Home, stretch, shower, dinner.

I actually felt good enough that I started thinking about Saturday's long run.

Then I stood up from dinner.  The ankle pain was back.  Nowhere near the pain from the weekend but I could tell things were far from healed.


Back on the couch I went.  Ice on my ankle, heat on my calf.

Apparently mild strains take a little more time to heal properly.

We'll see what Geoff says today but I'm guessing that this Saturday's 35k run won't be happening.  I had planned to run 35k four weeks out from race day to give my body time to recover.  Looks like I may be running it three weeks out instead.  A little close for comfort but doable.

When one trains for a marathon, they need to have a plan.  For training.  For race day.  Once they have a plan, they have to be willing to allow life to happen.  Sticking to a plan no matter what can lead to disaster.  Flexibility is key.

I have the option of freaking out because my body won't let me stick to the plan.  Or I could listen to my body and give it the time it needs to heal.

Guess which option I'm going to choose?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Still A Runner

Well, the good news is that they won't have to amputate...

"...yet" (Geoff added with a grin).

I woke up Tuesday with significantly less pain in my ankle after a night of heating and stretching but it was still there.  I had to be on my feet most of Tuesday because I was teaching a class so things were pretty tender by the time I hobbled in to see Geoff.

After describing the pain, moving my ankle in all sorts of directions and answering a barrage of questions - it turns out that I have a mild strain of my tibialis posterior muscle.


Here's hoping I don't ever experience the severe version.

Apparently, a bad step during a run can be enough to cause the strain.  I ran 30k which, according to my best wild ass guess, is around 40,000 steps.  I conceded that I may perhaps have taken a misstep or two during the 3 1/2 hours I was out there.

Anyway, so I have a strained tibialis posterior.  Hearing that prompted me to research this new body part and how it works. Not that it's new.  I'm just more acutely aware of it than I was, say, last week. The tibialis posterior's job is to help stabilize the arch, help the calf muscles push the foot down (during the 'toe off' part of running) and turn the foot inward.  It's the red muscle in the picture below.

The muscle runs down the back of my calf and ends at my ankle.  That would explain the hard tennis ball-like mass of muscles I felt in my upper calf and the pain I felt in my ankle.  I am, according to my ten minutes of post-diagnosis research, a classic sprain case. 

So, Geoff lovingly ripped the hell out of my calf until things loosened up.  I am proud to say that I kept up my end of the conversation without missing a beat and did not shed one tear.  But wow that's a whole different kind of agony. I got off the bed in more pain than when I lay down but I could tell it was a different pain.  The ankle still hurts but the calf is much better. Geoff said that the pain is usually pretty dramatic at the beginning but goes away pretty quickly if treated.  

The bruises started before I left the office.
I spent the night confined to the couch heating my calf and icing my ankle. That would be one of the more unglamourous aspects of running. I tried to spice it up a bit with a glass of wine and homemade date squares.
I am supposed to run 30 minutes tonight and see how it feels.  I see Geoff again on Thursday and, if he gives the ok, my shins will be taped and I will run my 35k run on Saturday as planned.  If not, well, we'll take it one day at a time I guess. 

So the good news is that I don't have to be put down.  

Lose a leg. 

Wear a cast. 

Take up water running.    

Drop out of the marathon.

I just have to heat and stretch.  Heat and stretch.

I can deal with that.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Heat and Stretch

"Heat and stretch" he said.  "Heat and stretch."  

Yessir.  Whatever you say sir.  Just make it go away sir.  

I'm nothing if not obedient.  

Well, to be perfectly honest I'm not really that obedient but I do try to do what I'm told when it comes to keeping my body in running condition.

I have booked two dates with my chiropractor this week and he's been great at responding to my 'help me' texts.  

Something went wrong during Saturday's run and it hasn't righted itself despite naps, stretching, ibuprofen and down time.  I'm not scared yet but I admit that I am a bit worried.  Funny thing is that I'm not even sure what I did.  I purposely avoided Saturday's hilly route and went to the parkway where it's flat. Everything felt fine before and during the run.  Even after was ok.  

I never bounce around after long runs and I am normally stiff and sore for a day or two but I have enough experience with the post run feeling and I know what's normal...

...and what's not.  

This is not normal. 

One calf is so tight that I can hardly walk down stairs.  I heat it and stretch it (as per Geoff's orders).  It loosens up for ten minutes and then contracts again.  My calf and I have been playing this game for 24 hours now and I'm not sure who's winning.  

Best case scenario is that it's an extra tight calf muscle.  Geoff works his magic and fixes things and I take a day or two off running to heal.  I still get my runs in and I look back on these past few days as a bump in the marathon road. 

Worse case - well I'm trying not to think about it but I do have an active imagination which is not easily controlled.  Despite my most positive thinking techniques, the image of me cheering my friends on at Niagara Falls as I stand at the finish line keeps flashing in my head.  I want to run the race dammit - I have worked too hard to be a spectator! 

I'm pretty sure this is going to fall closer to my best case scenario but I am bracing for the worst. Be prepared right? 

It must be hard to be in Geoff's position.  Having to look someone in the eye and say the words - you need to stop running.  You need two weeks off.  You have a stress fracture.  Shin splints.  A broken leg. 

Who the hell runs with a broken leg I don't know but I'm sure people have tried.  

Whatever the message is, telling a runner that they should not (or cannot) run must be hard.  I do not envy him that part of the job. 

I don't think I am going to hear that message at 3:50pm today.  But, just in case, I'm bracing myself.  

In the meantime, I have some heating and stretching to do. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Plan Worked - Sort Of

I pushed my body and it pushed back.

Saturday, Doug and I drove to the Niagara Parkway to run 30k.  We did an out and back route which allowed me to run 15k of the race route.  Enough to give me a good sense of what race day might feel like.

The course, at least that stretch, is lovely.  It's flat which is a major bonus.  The Niagara River runs along one side and huge, beautiful homes line the other side.  The Niagara Falls skyline looms far off in the distance - like a beacon guiding us home.

I decided to pretend it was race day.  Normally, when I stop to check my sugar, eat a snack etc etc - I stop my watch.  I stand still.  I do what I need to do.

Sadly, on race day, they do not stop the clock for chronic diseases.  Seconds tick by and, while I'm not expecting to quality for Boston, I would love to finish in under five hours.  Which means I need to keep moving forward.  So I decided not to stop my watch during the run.  Instead I would walk briskly while checking my sugar and eating my snacks.

Finally, unlike some runners, my race pace is pretty much my normal pace.  I do not pick it up on race day and adrenaline does not push me to run faster.  I am very much a one pace wonder.  I decided to see how hard it would be to run according to my 'race day plan'.  My plan (which may or may not work but it's a guide for me to follow) is to run a pace of roughly 6:30 per kilometre during the race. I don't know if I can sustain that the whole way but I'm hoping to be able to do it for the first four hours.  That should get me to about 36k in four hours meaning that I only need to run 6k in the last hour to meet my goal.  That should (hopefully) allow time for unforeseen problems...

So, based on my plan, I figure every hour I will run approximately 9k (including one hourly stop for diabetes maintenance).

Back to Saturday.  We headed to Niagara Falls just after 7am.  I leaned my head against the window as we drove thinking "I can't believe I have to run for 3 1/2 hours" over and over again.  When you have to run but haven't started yet, it's best not to think too much about what you're about to do.

We parked the car, topped up our water and hopped around trying to warm up.  It was cold!  Then, with a high five and a barely concealed look of mild panic (from me), we started running.  I took it easy and tried to find my groove.  It took about 8k but I found it.  At 9k I checked my watch.  It said 56 minutes.  I slowed to a brisk walk, checked my sugar, ate a date and drank my water.  Exactly 60 minutes.  Perfect!

I kept up the pace and felt pretty good.  By 16k I was getting a little tired but the thought that I could slow to a brisk walk in 2k was enough to keep me moving.  Eighteen kilometres = exactly 2 hours of running.  Crazy!

I decided not to stop at 27k because I only had to do three more and didn't want to lose momentum.  I did peak at my watch though and discovered (with surprise) that I hit 27k in 3 hours. Now, I didn't stop so I would have probably hit it at 3:05:00 if I had but still, pretty good.

Unbelievably it was 3:21:00 on my Garmin when I trotted in to the parking lot.  Done!  My fastest 30k ever and I didn't stop my watch when I walked.

I was exhausted.  I drank my chocolate milk and leaned my head on the window as we drove home thinking "I can't believe I ran for 3 1/2 hours" over and over again.  As soon as it's over, it's almost impossible to imagine that I moved my body that far.

I proved that my race day plan is actually within the realm of reality.  That did wonders for my confidence. But it knocked my socks off.  We came home, stretched, showered and ate lunch.  That was it.  I fell into bed and fell sound asleep for over two hours.  When I woke up I felt pretty good but after walking around for a bit, I discovered that my left ankle was not happy - at all.  My ankle bone hurt - kinda where my shin usually hurts except it felt different.  Putting pressure on it hurt, climbing stairs hurt more.

Uh, oh.

A few ibuprophen, a few stretches and a bike ride on Sunday helped loosen things up.  It's still there but much better.  Hopefully after Monday's day of rest things will be back to normal.  We'll find out soon enough on Tuesday's run.

I pushed my body and it pushed back.

C'mon legs - we only have a few more weeks left until race day.  I promise I will give you a few weeks off after we run 42k.  I won't make you run one step, get up before 6am or do anything you don't feel like doing.  Hold on - we're almost there.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wings of Mercury

My running has taken flight this week.  

Not run away.  

Grown wings.  

I now understand why athletes go to extreme places to train.  High altitudes.  High heat.  High humidity.

I can't speak for high altitude running but I do have plenty of experience with high heat and high humidity running.  It's really hard.  We've had several months of what felt like a never ending heat wave.  To add insult to injury, humidity always seemed to peak on Saturday mornings - right on time for the long runs.  

We have trained in some nasty stuff and my body has been pushed to its limit several times - more from the temperatures than the distances. 

Now the worst of the heat is gone and I feel like I have wings attached to my shoes and a jet pack on my back.  Ah-mazing!  

I'm guessing it's like training in the mountains and then coming down to the valley to race.  There's so much more oxygen down there that the difference must feel pretty awesome.  
That's how it's felt this week.  Last night, my third day of running in a row, I ran 10k in 62 minutes and it felt amazing from start to finish.  I should have been tired.  I should have been wilting by the end.  Instead I practically galloped home. 

During the worst of the heat, I would have paid a lot of money to make it go away.  Now that it's gone away on its own, I must admit I am grudgingly grateful for the conditioning it forced upon me.  

Some people I know avoid summer running.  They hardly do any running in June, July and August and, once the temperatures drop, they're back out again.  Other people avoid running in December, January and February because it's too cold. 

I'll run in anything.  

The brutal days make the beautiful ones glorious.  

It's fall folks!  The very best time of year to run. 


Thursday, September 15, 2011

I Don't Wanna!

I mentioned when I was training for Around the Bay back in March that I love training for races.

I also mentioned (probably more than once) that I am not a big fan of races.

I love seeing how far my mind and my body can go when they work together.  I love looking at a crisp new training schedule and trying to imagine being able to do what I will have to do by the end.  It always seems overwhelming and yet, somehow, I always do it.

Around the Bay - I had to take my body from 13k to 30k in 12 weeks.  I had never run more than 22k before in my life.  It seemed crazy to even think about running 30k.  Yet every week we added 2k and, all of a sudden, I could do it.

I love that part.

I don't love race day.

Niagara Falls - I have to take my body from 16k to 42.2k in 18 weeks.  Before we started I had only run 30 once and it was hard.  Really hard.  I have since learned that anything, when broken down into small enough steps, is manageable.  I have already run 30k twice during this training and will run it twice more (and then some) before race day.  I no longer need the next day off work when I run 21.1k.  Now I can run 3+ hours,  stretch, shower and go to the market.  The next day I can go for a 35k bike ride.  What an amazing machine my body is becoming.

I can honestly say that I have never in my life been as fit as I am today.

My mind has toughened up along with my body because, well, because it had to.  There is no way I can run the distances I have to run without my mind and body both having the strength and stamina.  It's as much a mind game as a physical one.  That too I have learned this summer.

So now, as I look at the calendar and I see two more long runs before we start to taper, I'm feeling a little sad.  The training is almost over.  The challenge of pushing ourselves a little more every week is almost done.  Soon we will taper.  Soon we will 'only' have to run 25k on Saturday.  Then 16k.  Then 16 again.

Then we race.

I don't wanna!!

I'm not ready yet.  I'm not ready for the pressure of race day.  I'm not ready for 18 weeks of training to be measured in five hours of running.  I'm not ready for everything I've learned and worked so hard for to have to come together into some magical combination that will (hopefully) allow me to push my body beyond the beyond and still be upright and semi-coherent at the end.

I think I have performance anxiety.

I've never been good at things I only get one shot at.  Every piano exam I ever did was a disaster.  Before exam day I could play everything beautifully.  I had memorized every note of every song and then, on exam day, it fell apart.  Every time.  Being the stubborn lass that I am I continued to take exams. They forced me to practice.  I always enjoyed the year spent preparing for the exam and I would hate exam day.

I continue to sign up for races because it keeps me honest.  I love the training but, on the days I don't want to get up, the thought of race day drags me out of bed.  Actually, it scares me out of bed.  In the magically happy world inside my head here's how things should go.  I wake up on October 23rd, have my breakfast, put on my running shoes, head out on the country roads before the sun even rises, run 42.2k and some lady in a volunteer jacket is standing in front of my house with a bottle of water and a finisher's medal.  No fuss.  No spectators.  No distractions.  Just me, my running shoes and the open road.

I don't like races.

Did I mention that?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Standard Deviation

Well, I went for my quarterly diabetes update.  The one where I get the results of my A1C test.

If you want a detailed explanation of what that is, feel free to peruse a blog I wrote back in February about it.

My doctor came in, sat down and said that my A1C was 7.3

"What??  How did that happen??" was my response.

She came back with "Is that higher or lower than you were expecting?"

"Higher!  Last time, I was 6.9".

She laughed and said that I was the only person she works with at the Diabetes Centre who gets upset by a 7.3 or by a change of 0.4 from the previous test.

She explained that it really doesn't take much to go from 6.9 to 7.3.  She also explained that there is a standard deviation that we have to take into consideration.  In other words, when they test A1C and come back with a number - what's the margin of error.  She didn't give me an exact number but I did a quick internet search and a standard deviation of +/- 0.4 seems pretty typical.

It's been almost twenty years since my first year stats class (which I got 51% in by the way) but here's how I understand it.  Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

My last three A1Cs were:


If I include the standard deviation, here's how they look.

6.7 - 7.5
6.4 - 7.3
6.9 - 7.7

So, my 7.3 from today might be a 6.9 and my 6.9 from last time could be closer to a 7.3.

I can see why she laughed when I was annoyed at my results.

Fair enough.

I also asked about my recent problem of my ears plugging up during long runs.  She asked about blood sugar - I said it was high once but then normal the other times.  She asked about allergies - I have the dust/cat/dog allergies but there are no other symptoms other than plugged ears so I don't think that allergies are the cause. I asked about low blood pressure (thanks for the tip Selena).  She didn't seem to think so and said that my blood pressure would most likely be high and not low during a run.

She referred me to an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist.  The appointment is booked for December 15th.

Including the marathon, I have four more runs that should be long enough for my ears to plug.  I'll see if I can find any sort of clue as to the cause. I'll test my sugar, I'll drink my water.  And we'll see if any patterns emerge.

All this figuring out is kinda fun.  I like it because it forces me to be even more in tune with my body, with what I'm doing to it, with what I'm putting into it and with how it's feeling.  I do best when my body and I work closely together.  We have been the best of friends these last few months as we train for a marathon together.

We only get one body.

Best take care of it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Disease Envy

It's all how you look at it really.  




Insert whatever topic you want here.  

On Sunday, ten of us were sitting in Tim Hortons after our bike ride.  Five mini conversations were happening.  I was talking to Carl and we were laughing about my sister and I.  My sister has celiac disease (aka a gluten allergy).  I have Type 1 diabetes.  Both are intimately related to food. She and I talked once about our respective diseases.  She said that she'd much prefer to have celiac because it doesn't have the danger attached to it that diabetes does and all she has to do to stay healthy is avoid gluten.  I told her that I preferred to have Type 1 because I could eat anything I wanted - as long as I counted the carbs.  

Carl's response - well, at least you two are happy with what what you have. Much better than having disease envy. 

True enough Carl, true enough. 

Then Klari asked me how long our run was on Saturday.  She was expecting me to say something crazy like 35k and laughed when I say 'only 10'.  Two months ago, it was never 'only 10'.  Even though I could run 20k, 10k still felt long.  In fact, every run felt long.  My body used to have an annoying habit of not quite being able to run the distance of the day.  If we had to run 20k, I could pull off 18 before I was done.  If we had to run 7k, I could do 5 before I felt exhausted. Not anymore.  These days, distance doesn't even begin to feel like distance until we pass 15k.  And I don't begin to worry about the distance until past 25k.  Amazing what two months of marathon training will do to a person. 

Finally, we talked about swimming.  I'm still thinking that I may give it a try once the bikes are put away for the winter months.  I love being in the water and am quite comfortable bobbing far out in a lake or ocean but I have never swum lengths for fitness.  How far is a length?  Twenty-five metres?  And how many lengths for a decent workout? 


I joined the swim team in high school (on a whim) and signed up for the breast stroke.  We had one practice and then a race.  I don't do well when there are too many things to coordinate (arms, legs, breathing etc).  Halfway across the pool, I lost the rhythm. I popped up from an underwater stroke, held my breath, put my head under water again and inhaled.  Lungsfull of water do not a champion swimmer make.  I choked and sputtered my way to the other side and had to be hauled out of the pool.  I collapsed in a heap on the deck and that pretty much ended my swimming career. 

I was told that learning how to swim for fitness is like learning how to run.  Our bodies already know what they need to do.  The challenge is building up the strength to do it.  I'm quite sure that I will once again be both humbled and pleasantly surprised by what my body can and cannot do.  

  • I'd rather have diabetes than a food allergy. 
  • If you do something long enough it becomes easier.  It really does. 
  • Just because you're not good at something doesn't mean that you can't be.
  • Something that was humiliating 20 years ago is now cause for a good laugh. 
  • I can pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time.  I can also move my arms and legs in the water at the same time. Add another variable - like breathing - into the mix and you'll find me sputtering on the side of the pool. 
I'm ok with that. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Stats

Writing a blog is a fun, thought-provoking, creative outlet for me.

I like narrowing in on something small or trivial from my day and giving it a few moments in the spotlight. I like sitting down at my laptop not having a clue what I'm going to write about and letting my thoughts wander.  I proofread and hit the publish button and then I carry on with my day, happy in the knowledge that I've tossed my thoughts out to the world.  

The other part of blogging that's fun is checking out all the stats.  I like seeing where readers are from and how many visit my site every day.  It's actually pretty consistent which is neat.  I get between 50-60 people who visit every weekday and about 25 on weekends.  People seem to have figured out that I take weekends off.  About 70% of readers are from Canada, another 20% from the US and the rest from all over the world.  Ireland is a regular visitor.  So are Russia, France and Germany and the UK.  Very interesting.

Another stat that Blogger lets us see is the search keywords that lead people to our blogs.  Obviously, if someone types in Céline Parent + blog - they find me.  But lots of other random searches lead people to Running on Carbs. Funnily enough, the word "poutine" is the most popular way that people find me.  I wrote one blog about it on Canada Day and it has risen to be one of my top five entries simply because people stumble across it on their poutine internet search.  "Coppertone baby" is another popular one (from my entry on running tan lines) and, believe it or not, so is "Rogue" (from X-Men).

Fifty-one percent of people read my blog on Windows, 39% read it on MacIntosh.  Blackberries and iPhones are next on the list.  It's fascinating stuff for someone like me who enjoys watching patterns develop.

Because I have such a stable number of daily readers, I'm assuming that they are typically the same people every day.  I'm sure some people stumble upon the blog, read an entry or two and move on with their lives.  Others, I would guess, check in pretty regularly.

The reason I say guess is because I don't really know.  I have a few people who comment (hi John!  hi Scully!) but, other than that, I really have no idea who checks in regularly and who passes in the night - never to be seen again...

...until someone says something.  Like yesterday during our bike ride.  A new rider came out (hi Shane!).  Part way through the ride, he asked if I was Céline.  I confirmed that I was.  He said that he reads my blog.  Really?

A few weeks ago, when I had my shins taped for the long run, a few runners asked to see the tape job that they had read about in my blog.  Really?

I forget sometimes, as I'm sitting on the couch sipping coffee and writing about my day, that real people out there are along for the ride.  I forget that people who know me read what I write and then they know more about me than I know about them.  And I forget that people from around the world whom I have never met are checking in.

It's rather strange to think about so I don't think dwell on it too much.  I prefer to just write and post. But reminders like the one I had yesterday help keep me honest.  They remind me that, if people are taking the time to read, I had better take the time to produce something worth reading.

So thank you my friends.  For visiting.  For reading.  For reminding me why I'm doing this.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thank You For The Music

Training for a race is partly to do with conditioning the body and partly to do with trying things to see what works and what doesn't work.  Ideally, you figure out what doesn't work weeks before race day.  What areas need extra body glide, what food make your stomach lurch and what songs drive you batty from the first note.

I started running with music this time last year.  I was running a half marathon and was feeling pretty worn down.  I figured some upbeat tunes might help carry me over the finish line in one piece.  So I borrowed Doug's shuffle, tossed some music on it and ran the race.

It helped.

So I bought myself a blue shuffle.  I had the words "I run for life" engraved on it and I spent a long time picking out songs for my running play list.  I knew I needed songs that would inspire me, that would not get annoying when I heard them for the 30th time and that would not throw me too far off my pace because of their crazy beats or mellow rhythms.

I've been running to the same music all summer because, like food and chaffing, it takes a while to figure things out.

I discovered that Cindy Lauper is really really annoying when I'm running so I canned her pretty quickly. Surprisingly, so is Blue Rodeo.


I found that songs with a slower beat work well - Tiny Dancer, The Gambler, American Pie all keep me moving steadily along.

Corny songs from my childhood make me smile - the theme song from the Greatest American Hero, Eye of the Tiger, It's Not Unusual (Fresh Prince anyone?) or Holiday Road (from Vacation) are favourites.

Songs with a particularly pounding beat help me increase my pace just a bit or, when I'm slowing, help me get back on pace again - This Is War and Boulevard of Broken Dreams work particularly well.

But mostly, my playlist is full of songs that remind me of people.  People who love me.  People I love.  People I miss.  People who, just thinking about them, give me strength and courage when I need it.  It's not about the beat or the singer - it's about the feeling the songs evoke.

Which means that, should anyone borrow my shuffle, they will be greeted by a crazy medley of music that probably makes very little sense to be listening to on race day.

But it works for me.  Some songs bring a tear to my eye every single time they start.  Some, from the first note, make me think "thank god, I needed a boost".  Others make me think of my parents, my grandparents, my sisters, my lover, past loves and good friends.

Because one never runs a marathon alone.

Five hours is a long time to be by myself.  So I bring everyone I care about with me and they whisper words of encouragement in my ear as I run.

Together, we will cross the finish line.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Diabetic Meanderings

Bear with me - my mind is in a wandering mood...

Yesterday, at work, I was chatting with a co-worker.  During our conversation, another co-worker came in to give a message to the person I was talking to.  It was about giving someone their medication.  He said that the person needs to be given insulin.

"Insulin??" asked my co-worker in a horrified voice.

"Ooops" he replied with a laugh.  "Nope, not insulin.  I just looked at Céline and thought 'insulin' because she has diabetes".

Apparently looking at me in mid-sentence can cause random diabetes diagnoses.

His comment did get me thinking though.  Thinking about how happy I am that I am open about diabetes.  It's no secret that I have it because I never hide it.  When I was using needles, I would whip them out wherever I was when I needed to inject insulin.  Standing in line for ice cream, in fancy restaurants, in moving vehicles that I may or may not have been driving down the highway, during Christmas Eve mass when I was feeling high.  Just do it was and still is my motto.

I am who I am and diabetes is a part of who I am.  So there's no point in hiding it.

Speaking of hiding, I've read other people's blogs about trying to hide their insulin pumps.  Until I read them, it never occurred to me to hide mine.  I clipped it on my belt from the very first day and that's where you'll find it.  I've never tucked it in my bra, designed a dress with a hidden pocket or found some other secret place to stash it.  I have, however, used my holster (as I call it) the odd time that I've worn a skirt.  It's a wide band that goes around my thigh and I tuck the pump in there.  It does look like a holster and it's such a novelty that I'm constantly pulling up my skirt to show people.  My pump probably gets more attention on those days than it does when it's on my belt for the whole world to see.

I'm thinking a lot about diabetes lately, partly because my endo appointment is next week and I've been writing down every morsel of food I eat and every unit of insulin I take.  I'm also thinking a lot about it as I try to plan for race day.

As marathon day approaches, my diabetes game plan is beginning to take shape.  There are so many things to think about it that I need a few weeks head start to figure it all out.  Some things I've managed to practice during our weekly long runs.  Things like what foods work well during long runs, how much to reduce my basal rate before I run etc.  Other things are a bit of a crapshoot.  Pre-race eating will remain a mystery until race day because our training runs happen at 6 or 7am but the race doesn't start until 10:00am.  My typical routine of eating a bowl of cereal, banana and 1/2 of a grapefruit, putting on my running shoes and heading out the door will not work on race day.  Breakfast will be happening at 6am ish and then it's four hours until the race starts.  And what the hell are we going to do about lunch??

I think about it for a bit and then start feeling mild twinges of panic so I purposefully stop thinking about it.  It's the same mild feeling of panic I feel when I'm thirsty and don't have water. I don't do well when my eating routines change drastically or when food or drink is not within arm's reach.  Two neuroses that develop when your safety and ability to function are so closely linked to food and water.

Thankfully, one thing that I don't have to worry about is having to carry all of my diabetes supplies on race day.  Doug has offered to cycle the race route and carry all of my supplies for me.  What a difference that will make - not having to cart all of my food and emergency carbs on my belt.  Not having to worry about whether I can stuff everything I need into my belt.  And, since I've been doing all of my training runs carrying a heavy water belt, not having to carry it should help me shave, what, an hour or so off my time??

Dream on Céline...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Numbers

I started keeping track of my running in a spreadsheet in April.  I wanted to see how things changed during my training.  How far I ran and how my pace changed (if it changed at all).

Now that August is over, I took a look at the last four months.

In May, I ran 107 kilometres.
In June, I ran 123
In July, 172 and
In August, 181.

My highest weekly average was 55 kilometres and I've done that twice now.

When Doug and I were in Boston in April, I bought two pairs of running shoes at the expo.  I started running with them in the last week of April and I alternate shoes for every run.  So far, I've put 312 kilometres on one pair and 313 on the other.  We're supposed to get new shoes every 500k.  That means I will have exhausted two pairs training for one marathon.

Someone told me that running is a really inexpensive sport.

Whoever said that needs to take a look at my bank statements.

It's not.

Other numbers...

I've lost four pounds in the past four months.  That's huge for me - the girl whose weight never changes.

I've gone through three large body glides since May.  Number four won't last too much longer.

Two boxes of gels and one container of eDisks have been consumed.

I have run for 63 hours (3,778 minutes) since May.

I have run six long runs that are longer than a half marathon.  No medals to prove it though.

I now change my insulin pump every six days rather than every four - that means I'm using a lot less insulin.  This may also explain the weight loss.

My last two A1Cs have been 7.0 and 6.9.

My body's clock has shifted and it now wakes up on its own at 5:00am. I can hardly stay up past 9pm.  My mother no longer calls after 8pm for fear of waking me up.

I have only cried twice during a run since May.  Once was this past Saturday and you would have cried too.

Animals I have seen on early morning runs:
8 deer
1 fox
3 herons
countless horses
1 white dog that followed me for about 5k
1 baby racoon (omigod they're cute!)
0 skunks (yay!)

The lowest my blood sugar has gone during a run (since May) was 6.0.  The highest was 19.5.

I have had 5 massages and 8 chiropractic appointments in four months.

The number of times I have checked the confirmation page for the Niagara marathon to make sure that I really have registered: four (not counting the day I actually registered).

The number of times I have wondered whether I can really run a marathon?  Less than 5.

The number of times I have thought: "I can totally do this"?  I've lost count.

Number of days until race day?  46

I can totally do this.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Plugged Ears and Other Nonsense

The more I run, the more I learn.

About my body.  About my diabetes.  About myself.

Here are some of the things I've learned about my body over the last few Saturday long runs.

My ears plus up when I run for a long time.

It starts after a few hours.  The first 25k are ok and then, suddenly, my ears slowly start plugging up.  It doesn't hurt at all, it just feels like I'm slowly being submerged in water.  By about 28k, they're plugged right up and I have trouble hearing.  Nothing I try (walking, swallowing hard, drinking, deep breathing) seems to help.

I run with one earbud in and yet both ears plug at the same rate.  

Once the run is over, it clears up within about ten minutes.

I've googled it but have found nothing particularly helpful other than I'm not the only person out there who experiences this.

It is annoying and, if I'm almost deaf by 30k, I'm not sure how things will be feeling by 42k.

Anyone else out there dealing with this?

Also, over the last few long runs, I've had trouble breathing when I finish the run.  Things are going fine and then, when I stop running, I find myself gasping for breath.  I breathe slowly and deeply for a few minutes and things seem to settle down but, if I try to talk or stop the slow breathing, the gasping starts over again.  So lately after longs runs I find myself walking around, breathing deeply and drinking water waiting for my breath to slow and my ears to unplug.

Very weird.  Mildly annoying.  And kinda worrisome.

Are the two related?  Not sure but they don't always happen at the same time so perhaps not.

Finally, what the heck is up with all the chaffing?!?  I have taken to slathering on the body glide before every long run.  I mean, really slathering.  Some weeks it works fine.  Others (like the last two), it doesn't.  For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, it's really really painful.  Multiple aloe vera applications and a rather funny duck-like walk are now a regular part of my Saturday afternoons...once I stop hyperventilating and have regained my hearing.


Well, that's my little rant about things I discovered since passing the 25k mark.

Not sure what I'll discover next on my running journey but I'm quite confident that it will be equally painful and embarrassing.  

Monday, September 5, 2011

Running Lessons

Ah Labour Day! 

The temperature even dropped 10 degrees in honour of back to school.  People are walking by the house in their coats and scarves. How nice.  

If only it had done that two days earlier.  Saturday was not cool and crisp.  It was hotter than hell (we checked) and the humidity was beyond ridiculous.  

Saturday morning's 32k run began at 6am and ended at 10.  The four hour journey was a test that I thought I failed.  I realized later that I didn't.  

It started off well.  I left in the dark and was feeling a wee bit nervous about the distance.  I told myself that I could start off running as slowly as I needed to (it always takes me 5-6k to warm up and for my stomach to settle down) but, once I found my groove, I had to keep my pace at 6:30 min/k (no faster) no matter how good I felt. The reason for this is that I want to get better at spreading out my energy over the entire distance of the run - rather than running out of steam about 4k from home.  

Doug went out early to plant water because we were running a route that took us through lovely country roads and had us meeting up with the rest of our running club (and water support) at around 22k.  So water was planted at 9k and 16k to keep our hydration levels up. 

By 9k my pace had settled nicely into its groove and my blood sugar was 7.6 (perfect!  I ate one date, two eDisks and one salt tablet).  At 16k it was 10.1 (a little high but I figured it would start dropping so I had another date).  By that point, it was getting close to 8am and the temperature was rising alarmingly fast.  I upped my water intake and took another salt tablet. At 22k, I found Chris and Erin.  Not having seen either of them in weeks, I happily stopped to chat for a few minutes.  They refilled my bottles with cold water and checked out my shin tape job.  I figured I'd check my sugar again before carrying on.  It was 19.5.  

Damn it! 

I took 0.8 units of insulin - not much but enough, combined with exercise, to help it drop back down.  I guzzled more water and resumed the run.  

I checked again at 26k.  I was 8.0.  Holy bananas!  That's a horrifyingly fast drop.  Part of me wanted to eat something in case I kept dropping.  The other part said no - wait to see what happens first.  

By this point I was feeling really nauseated from the sugar coaster and pretty cooked by the heat.  There were still six kilometres to go and I no longer had the strength to run.  I would run for 5 minutes and then walk.  Run again, then walk.  The runs were getting shorter, the walks were getting longer.  I just couldn't do it.  

Tears of frustration hit at 30k and I walked the entire last two kilometres.  I walked in the house feeling dejected and very much a failure.  

My sugar, upon arrival, was 6.6.  Perfect. 


It took me four hours to cover 32k.  I lost 5 pounds during the run.   I was humbled and seriously beginning to doubt my ability to run a marathon. 

Doug and I went out for dinner with some running friends on Saturday night.  They are seasoned runners - strong and capable.  They run marathons regularly and do it well.  I was dreading having to answer the question: "how was your run this morning?".  Luckily they answered first.  It turned out that they all struggled with their Saturday morning run in the heat.  They all cut their runs short.  One even had to get picked up.  Really?  

On Sunday morning, I chatted with a few people before our bike ride and they all struggled too.  And cut their runs short.  Really??

It wasn't me.  I had an awful run but so did everyone else.  It wasn't that I didn't have what it takes to run the distance.  It was just a brutally hot day and we all got cooked.  

I'm ok with that.  

So here's what I learned during that run: 
  • taping my shins works wonders.  I had no pain, no pressure, no nothing.  Yay! 
  • taping my shins and then running in the sun for several hours makes for really silly looking tan lines. 
  • I can actually sweat so much that I can fill my shoes with sweat. They were squishing as I ran.  That is really gross. 
  • my hair can get so full of sweat that it becomes too heavy to stay in the bun I put it up in. I had to keep stopping to retie it.  That is really gross too...and annoying.  I need to find a better way to tie my hair up so it stays...
  • salt tablets really work and may have saved my run on Saturday.
  • Doug can leave 30 minutes after me, run 32k and get home an hour before me, looking fit and fabulous as usual.  

Friday, September 2, 2011

I've Been MacGyver'ed

So, Saturday is the big 32k.  Only two kilometres more than last week but it's two kilometres farther away from my comfort zone.

Would you listen to me.  I can scarcely believe that I'm calling 30k a 'comfort zone'.

It's also 2 kilometres closer to the finish line so, in that sense, it's good.  I can almost start pretending that I can see the finish line.  Way, way off in the distance...

Anyway, the other issue is that, because I'm not what you would call a speed demon, I'm running for a really long time now.

Thirty-two kilometres means that I'll be running for over 3 1/2 hours.  That's a hell of a lot of pounding on my feet.  And my shins.

They're holding up fairly well but I have a feeling that it's only a matter of time now before they start really screaming at me.  Right now, they're still just humming away in the background.

Last night I went for my regular tune up with Geoff.  I alternate between my massage therapist (Janice) and my chiropractor (Geoff) so I see someone every two weeks or so.  It was Geoff's turn.  He was pretty impressed (as I am) at how well my body is holding up with all the mileage but he too felt that I was close to the edge.

So he taped me.

I've never been taped before.

It's kinda neat.

What he did was he put some tape over the lower part of my shins in such a way that it relieves the pressure on the part that tends to flare up.  The tape is supposed to stay on for a few days and he said that it should take some of the pressure off during my long run on Saturday morning.

When I stood up off the bed when he had finished, the pressure I feel every time I put my foot down was almost gone.  Not sure if that was the result of the treatment or the taping (or both) but I could feel a difference.  We'll see how Saturday goes.  Like I said, I've never been taped before so I'm not sure what to expect but I'm willing to give it a try.  My next appointment with Geoff is two days before my 35k run (the longest in the training) so I may be getting him to do another MacGyver on my shins.

If it works twice - sign me up for race day!  

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September Soul Search

August is over...

...and that feeling that washes over me every September has returned.

It's the feeling of wanting to go back to school.   Aching to go back is more like it actually.

Some of you may cringe at the thought but I adore reading, learning new things, being challenged and new pens.  Not necessarily in that order.  And, truth be told, I'll take pencils over pens any day.  As a child, teenager and twenty-something young adult, the start of school was always my favourite time of year.  Now, as an almost 40 year old adult who has not started a new year of school since (oh dear!) 1997, I still crave it.

Every year.

Just as intensely.

Perhaps it's just change I crave.  A new challenge?  Routine? A new backpack maybe?

Whatever it is, it's a pretty overwhelming feeling and it hits with a wallop every September.

It's hit me again.  And, like clockwork, I've started thinking about things I want to start doing.  Challenges I'd like to face.  Places I'd like to travel to.  Languages I'd like to learn. Scary things I should try.  New foods I should learn how to cook.

I guess I do in September what a lot of people do on December 31st.

The funny thing about this year is that I really don't have time to take on a new challenge.  I'm up to my neck in new challenges at the moment thank you very much.  There are only seven weeks left until marathon day.  When we had ten weeks left, it felt interminable.  Now, at seven, it feels like next week.

There are, however, a few more hurdles to jump before race day. In the month of September, I will have to make my body run 32k and then 35k.  Plus find the energy for all the other runs that seem to fill my week to the spilling point.

Who has time for a new challenge?

So why do I keep thinking about trying my hand at swimming?  And starting a new season of curling?


For a girl who really really enjoys sitting quietly with a glass of wine and a book, I sure don't leave much time for myself to do that.