So…How is my foot doing now???

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So, I’m sure I’ll get a lot of freaky foot fetish people finding this post, but I don’t care.  Having a few of my post surgery photos available for those who are going to be having the same procedure as me will be helpful, and I want to also let everyone know my progress now that I am 49 days post surgery.

Cliff Notes

Procedures-Bunionectomy (fix bunion on outside of foot), Cheilectomy (removal of bone spur), Arthritis of the big toe cleanout (called Hallux Rigidus…yeah, I’m only 31)….all on the right foot, big toe area.

Date of Procedure-Friday, June 10th, 2016 at Cardston Medical Clinic, performed by Dr. Williams of Chinook Foot & Ankle Clinic

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“Before” X-Ray from May 2016.  Look at that nasty toe!

My original post about post surgery experience is here.  I had meant to do recaps on how I was doing each week, but yeah…summer happened.  What have I been doing?  Well, I am really, really tan from laying on our rooftop patio.  I also got a whole math course worked through for the fall, made answer keys for the Mathematics SL IB World Exam, crocheted three pairs of slippers, and generally went crazy.  I kept occupied.  But I needed exercise.  On June 27th, I was given permission to go in the water for deep water jogging while at my two-week post op.  I had never been so excited to be in a pool (note:  I hate swimming.  I am more of a pool, margarita and tan kind of girl).  I went to our local YMCA and got a one-month membership at just below $60.  I used it, I think, 28/30 days!  I started with deep water jogging, which felt weird as I could not really move my toes at all.  I was nervous to flutter kick.  I didn’t want my foot to bust open and then have the lifeguards close the pool because blood was everywhere.

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After 2nd post op on June 27th.  Bandages of, steri-strips remain.  Foot sewn together.

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Later on the 27th, I had lost all but one steri-strip.  This is when I realized I didn’t want to bust my foot open

I also went lap swimming approximately 3 times.  That ended fast because I suck at swimming.  I even went and bought a good pair of goggles.  My best friend Ali, the swim coach, approved them, as she didn’t want me buying “cheap swimming lesson goggles.”  My preferred swimming stroke?  Lets call it “breast-paddle” or “doggy-stroke”.  I combine doggy paddle and breaststroke to create this beautiful form.  Gross.

I wasn’t going to be seeing my doctor again until July 21st, so I carefully kept walking in my medical shoe, making sure not to put pressure on the ball of my foot.  I iced a lot, and I was very careful.  About 3.5 weeks after surgery, all while still wearing the shoe, I had the need to sweat.  Walking more than around my yard was painstakingly slow, but I figured I would try an elliptical at the YMCA.  I kept the shoe on my right foot, with my Altra on my left, and got myself positioned on the elliptical.  Since you keep you feet flat and don’t have to go on the balls of your feet while using this machine, it provided another option in addition to water jogging.

As my healing progressed, I did more elliptical and less water jogging.  I would do the water jogging 2-3 times a week and would time it so I could stay in the pool an extra 45 minutes after the morning class and just water jog in the deep end by myself (a waterfit class was occurring in the shallow end).  My scab was gone, everything seemed to be healing fine, and my tattoo was lined up damn well!

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July 18th, laying on the patio with the beagle.  Probably with a beer.

My 6 week post op was on July 21st.  Doctor said everything looked good, however, I needed to be doing some physio with my toes, as since I had been SO careful to not bend them or put pressure on them, I was not able to bend them on my own.  I was also a little nauseated when I saw the x-ray, as the screws look like they could have been taken from my husbands shop.  But, I am told they won’t set off metal detectors.  And, look how good that toe looks!  Straight!  No bump!  Bright white arthritis gone!

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I’m officially screwed….hahaha

What have I done since then?  I have been to two physio appointments (I already had a physiotherapist from the months before) and he worked on my toes real good.  I’m doing exercises to bend them, and still icing as needed.  My YMCA membership expired yesterday, so I asked my physiotherapist if I could run today.  He knows how I am, and he told me to give it a shot.  My podiatrist also told me that when I did start running, I just would need to listen to my body.  So, I went to the lake and did 5 km!  I ran them very cautiously, with lots of walk breaks in mile 1, one walk break in mile 2 and then no walk breaks in mile 3.  My average pace: 10:52 a mile.  A far cry from my 7:13 a mile I ran back at a local 5km in May which was a few weeks after Boston.  But, I know there isn’t any racing for me in the near future.  I am not planning on ‘racing’ for the rest of 2016.  Just training and getting myself back to comfortable longer runs.  My goal race is the WDW Marathon Weekend, where I will be doing the Goofy Challenge (half marathon on Saturday, full marathon with my best friend on Sunday) and I am going to run them just for fun.  No time goal, no personal bests.  Just FUN!  My training for this race weekend begins officially on August 29th.

I was going to take a photo now of my foot before posting this, but I have been doing quite a bit today and had a sock on, so it’s really funky looking.  It feels great though!  Are my results and recovery normal for this type of surgery?  I am not really sure.  I know people who have had only the bunionectomy done and have had much more of a difficult time recovering.  My bunion was not completely horrible, but we decided to go ahead as I was being opened up anyway.  I was extra careful post surgery to not do too much and get infected…until I knew the scar had healed and wouldn’t bust open.  And while I told myself to wait until August 1st to try running, I knew being reasonable out there today would be alright.  I am looking forward to fully recovering and getting back to racing speed.

If you or anyone you know has questions about my procedures and recovery, please feel free to leave a comment or email me.

Surgery Recap #1

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Hi everyone.

So, summer 2016 is not going to be one filled with race recaps and training runs.  It’s going to be filled with recuperating and slowly getting back into hopefully doing a 5km by end of August.  On June 10th, I had surgery on my right foot.  It’s been five days since then, and I wanted to write a quick post on how things are going, and what I have ahead.

Friday-Surgery

Up at 5 am, out of the house at 5:30 am.  But wait, don’t you live three blocks from Chinook Regional Hospital Andrea?  Why do you have to leave so early for a 6:30 arrival?  Oh yeah, all podiatry surgeries apparently happen in Cardston. (My husband at 5:15 am-“What bumfuck town do we have to drive to again?”)  I had never been to the Cardston Hospital, and when we arrived it was sort of entertaining, as the lot was the size of an elementary school parking lot, yet completely empty.  We went through the main entrance…only people in the check-in area other than the bored security guard.  Got sent upstairs to check in to my room.  It was silent up there.  Kind of eerie.  Within that hour, I had a nurse come in to start an IV, which took two painful pokes.  He said my skin was tough and didn’t want to take the needle…reminded the nurse of the Hutterite farmers….yeah, he said that.  My tan, leathery skin was just pointed out.  About an hour and a half in the room was all I needed, and they whisked me away to get ready for surgery.  Dr. Williams and the anesthesiologist met me in the hall to go through exactly what he would be doing.  First, I straight up said I wanted general, not spinal.  I did not want to be awake during this.  Then, Dr.  Williams looked at my foot, talked about where the incision would be, that they would shave down the bone spur, etc, etc (a cheilectomy is the official term)….and then he questioned why we weren’t doing anything about my bunion today.  Well, why aren’t we?  I am getting put under, so do it all now.  He disappeared to reassess the x-ray, came back, and had me sign off on that they would also fix my bunion.  It would be through the same incision, but there would be some cutting and moving of the bone to straighten it out, a few tiny screws in the side, and voila!  I was soon brought in to the surgery room, where I breathed into an oxygen mask a few times, saw them put a brace around my foot, and then I was out.


When I woke up, everything that went on in Cardston was blurry.  Dan said the doctor came and talked to him about what they exactly did, and that they ended up doing even more than they initially planned.  Bone spur was shaved, bunion was fixed, but he was surprised at how much arthritis was actually in my foot.  And, they found a piece of bone (about the size of half a tic tac) just floating around in my foot.  So they dug that out, put it in a jar, and gave it to me as a souvenir.  Once I drank some water, ate some food and was able to use the washroom, we were headed back home.

The rest of the day was spent taking my pain meds on time (I was prescribed Tramadol and Ketorolac), watching all the tv I had dvr’d and napping.  I wasn’t really feeling much pain, but I didn’t sleep more than 2 hours at a time.  This happened throughout the night, as I did want to take all my pills every 4 or 6 hours as prescribed.

Saturday-Day 2

I was awake and moving by 7:30 am, and I felt amazingly well.  Of course, this would nose dive later in the day.  I hobbled around in my medical boot, ate some breakfast, changed clothes.  I even did my hair and went outside to look at the work Dan had done so far in preparing the roof top patio.  Since I was going to need some “supervision” the next couple days, Dan was going to stay at home and work on our rooftop patio.  If I needed him, I could just call his cell phone and he would be there.

I made the mistake of thinking I was a hero and that I could hobble around in the yard and fill the bird feeders.  I also decided to go chat it up with “old man Dwayne” next door, and then I even cut some dill from our herb garden and brought it to our neighbor Darcee.  I felt like a million bucks!  Then, I went in the house and laid on the couch, took of the shoe, and saw some blood on my big toe area.  SHIT.  It was at this time that on cue my doctor called to see how I was doing.  He said that I was probably still feeling the effects of the hospital drugs, which is why I felt like I could move around just fine, but I needed to relax.  And I sent him a photo of the blood on the bandage, and he said it was fine…just if it got worse I would need to go in.


That was enough to force myself to plop in front of the TV again.  I made it through almost both seasons of Netflix’s “Grace & Frankie” and as I was getting ready for my HGTV, TLC, FOOD rotation, my foot was ON FIRE.  Like, felt like it was on hot coals.  This pain was there for a solid 24 hours, even though I took my meds on schedule.  I also had so much stomach pain at 1:30 am I thought I was going to die in the bathroom.

Sunday-Day 3

Up at 6:30 am, and waited impatiently for 7:30 am to be able to take my pills, and wake up Dan.  He needed to go to the pharmacy STAT for something to help my stomach and make me normal again.  Also, huge shout out to my friend Maureen, who I have texted at odd hours of the night while in pain, and she’s been responding and listening to my TMI messages.  She is a new mom and she said my sleep schedule is much like her 7 week old sons, so it works out!


I managed a bath, somehow, at around 8 am.  I am so grateful we have a tub that allows my right foot to dangle over the side.  I felt a little more human after the bath.  I laid around all Sunday, felt a little better by dinner, and made myself eat a normal meal.  Friday and Saturday I had lived on ichiban for my dinner.  Tonight, Dan made some local farmer sausage, rice and asparagus on the grill.  It felt good to have real food in my tummy.  My foot started to not feel as painful, and I was able to sleep a little better at night.  By this night, I had gotten used to sleeping with the medical shoe on and rested on top of two pillows.  I slept almost 7 hours straight.

Monday-Day 4

My foot was feeling tons better than over then weekend, but my gut still didn’t feel the greatest.  I kept myself pretty productive today, without pushing my self physically.  I even did some school work outside in the sun.  This is what I pictured this recovery to be like–laying in the sun, getting a tan, sipping a drink, and working on math.  Yeah, instead its me in sweats, drugged up and bloated, with wind and sawdust blowing in my face, working on math.  I’ve also spent a lot of time trying to crochet slippers. I have redone the ones I started about 6 times now, and those are going to get sent to my mom.  I am then making some for Maureen and my best friend Ali.  Watch out, pretty soon I’ll have a one-person sweat shop happening in our basement.


My friend Jaclyn came over after golf league and brought Dan and I donairs for dinner.  Yum!  My stomach immediately hated myself for eating it, but it was worth it.  Since my pain had been down on my foot, I stretched the time between my pain meds to be longer.  I took my last set of pain meds at 7:30 pm, even though I didn’t go to sleep until 1:30 am.  I wanted to be pain med free on Tuesday.

Tuesday-Day 5

Well.  I slept until 10:30 am!  I woke up groggy, pain in my back (probably from the sofa) but my foot felt pretty good.  What have I done so far today?  Really, not much.  I called Dan, who was working on the deck in the rain, and he brought me down my regular medication, coffee, ichiban, water, etc.  After that smorgasbord, I took a nap.  Yeah, I’ve been really productive.  I didn’t finally change clothes until around 5:30 pm, and I am now writing this.  I pleaded for Dan to bring his laptop up from the shop and plug it in at the kitchen table so I could type this there.  I needed to be out of the basement.

Since I have now slept a gazillion hours, I will probably be up until 2 am doing who knows what.  I am currently awaiting my friend Bob to come back with Snoopy,, who he graciously took to the dog park with his dog Yasso.  Snoopy has been such a good little doctor the past few days!  And I appreciate my friends helping get him some exercise while I am laid up and while Dan is working.  During that time, I will also convince my husband to go to the liquor store and buy me wine.  I am off my pain meds, so I need a drink.


The days ahead

I need to keep this bandage on until Thursday, when I have my first follow up appointment.  The doctor will take the dressing of, allowing me time to freak out at my gross foot and examine how well they stitched my tattoo back together, and then bandage it back up until June 27th.  On the 27th, they take out the stitches, and I am hopefully given the go-ahead to be able to get in the water and start taking deep-water jogging classes.  During the time between these appointments, I will be doing much of the same as I have been doing since Friday-a whole lot of nothing.  I have to wear the medical shoe for at least 6 weeks, a lot longer than it would have been if I hadn’t gotten the bunion done.  I am not sure what that means in terms of walking, daily exercise, daily errands, etc.

So stay tuned for gross photos of my foot after the initial bandage is off!

 

 

May Happenings…FOUR recaps and then some!

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Wow, I have been slacking on blog posts!  May has been SO busy with not only races, but teaching, coaching, and life!  If I tried to do an individual recap for each for the four events I did in May, I wouldn’t get them done until September, so I am going to briefly touch on what I’ve been doing ‘running-wise’ lately, and also whats next…

MONTANA SPARTAN BEAST

On Saturday, May 7th, I participated in my 4th Montana Spartan Race weekend.  This time, instead of doing it with my husband, I was able to do it with my best friend Ali.  She flew in from California on the Friday night and would be participating in both the Beast on Saturday and the Sprint on Sunday.  The Sunday Sprint would be her first Trifecta of the year, and she is going for an incredible 5 Trifectas by the time 2016 is complete!

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Before the Sunday Sprint

I knew what the expect with the course; Ali had an idea from what I’ve told her or what she read online.  But I think it’s safe to say it was tougher than she could even had imagined!  The terrain is very challenging, and you are basically doing hills for 14 miles.  The barbed wire crawl at the end is also brutal, as I would say it’s a solid 200 metres long.  We stuck together the whole race and were very happy to be finished!  It is a gorgeous course with a great atmosphere post race.  I was happy to just be doing the Beast, as come Sunday being a spectator was right up my alley.  Sunday was a bit of a let-down, as it seemed that Spartan Race was more interested in their Elite Heat and the NBC video crews than the paying customers.  After the elite heat started over 30 minutes late, they started the open heats really quick, one after another.  This caused for back ups at obstacles and just hoards of people in the way.  I saw this first-hand by being a spectator.  I do enjoy Spartan Races, but I think I will be taking a break from them for some time.

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Who doesn’t love a good fire jump!?

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Happy to be finished…and even happier to have those fries!

LAKEVIEW SCHOOL SUPERHERO 5KM

This event was a late addition for me.  As a Wednesday night race put on by a local school, this event had a different purpose and would draw a different crowd.  The school was fundraising to build a new playground, and ScotiaBank had agreed to match their fundraising amounts!  Around 450 kids and adults registered for either the 2km or 5km run.  I think it would be safe to say it was a huge success!

The event was geared more towards the children, and that makes perfect sense as it was put on by an elementary school.  The 2km race went first at 6:00, and then at around 6:30 they started the 5km.  The loop for the 5km runners was down the green strip we run on with Marathon Club, around park of Henderson Lake and back, with the last 400 metres or so on the grass at the school.  Running on the grass was the hardest part for me personally!  I was able to huff and puff my way in to a first place female finish with a time of 22:16.  If they did this event again next year I would definitely participate, as it supports a local school…and I am a teacher!

WOODYS RV WORLD RED DEER HALF MARATHON

This is an event I have done many times before.  Red Deer is where my in-laws life, and the event always falls on the Victoria Day/May Long Weekend, so it’s super convenient!  For my 5th running of the half marathon, I would be joined by my husband and my sister-in-law.  Thing is, it turned out I was the only one who really had been ‘training.’  Now, let me be clear—Erika, my sister-in-law, works out and stays active doing things other than running.  She just joked saying that she had a running ‘rest week’ that lasted 7 weeks!  And my husband….well, he hadn’t run since the BAA 5km…and before that he ran while in Hawaii in January…so he initiated his 5 day training plan leading up to the race.  I didn’t have high hopes for him.  He just wanted to finish.

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Pre-race clothing consisted of rain poncho garbage bags…which Dan wore all race!

Come race day, I didn’t have high hopes for myself.  I had cramps that felt like Satan was inside my body and it was raining.  HARD.  I started out feeling OK, but by mile 4 I knew I just needed to trod it out and not care about my time.  My time was a 1:46.35.  I was freezing, wet, irritable and just happy to be done.  I thought I would have enough time to get back to the car, get clean clothes, and see my husband finish.  Well, of course he outdid himself.  He finished his first half marathon in a time of 1:52.37.  Seriously….it took me until 2013 to hit under 1:54, and he just goes out there and does that.  Whatever!  He was on Cloud 9 the rest of the weekend…that is, until Monday morning after I let Snoopy out to the bathroom at 5:45 AM and he got sprayed by a skunk.  What a memorable Victoria Day 2016 it was!

 

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Half Marathon Finishers!

CALGARY MARATHON WEEKEND-50KM ULTRA

 

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Expo fun!

My last event of May 2016 happened to be the Calgary Marathon Weekend.  I often do an event in Calgary, having done the half marathon in 2013, the full marathon in 2009 and 2014, and the 50km Ultra in 2015.  This year, I opted to register for the 50km, as I wanted to see if I could better my time from the prior year, which was 4 hours 40 minutes and 34 seconds.

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Other than my races in between Boston Marathon and race day, I hadn’t put on any crazy mileage in preparation.  I really was going out there and seeing what I was made of.  The race start of 7 am is great, because it ALWAYS it warm this weekend, and the sun was out in full force early.  There was at least a nice breeze throughout the morning to help break the heat.  I started running with the plan of holding a 8:00 minute/mile pace for as long as I could, knowing I would probably have to slow down some.  I was able to keep my mind going on tons of different things during the race, because during the week before I asked for family and friends to let me know if they wanted me to ‘run for them’ at any point.  I had a list in my back skirt pocket that had the names of those who wanted me to run for them and the segments I would think about them.  I took this idea from my friend Dennene, who I met at this very race last year!

I was holding my own until around mile 22, when I realized I wouldn’t be able to hit the marathon timing mat (42.2 km) at a 3:30.00 (8 minute pace).  I decided to take a little break, use the washroom, and hydrate even more.  I knew I was just going to try my best to finish still with a better time than the year before.  I trucked along a bit more and my right foot started to really hurt (where my bone spur and arthritis is).  I ended up compensating for this pain by almost running on the outside of my right foot for the last 7 miles or so; it hurt too much to have my whole foot hit the ground.

My friend Saskia was helping out with her triathlon group at the 40 km mark, and she saw me as I went by.  She joined me and got me to the marathon mat, which I hit at 3:41.02.  What’s even funnier is that this is now my third fastest marathon time, with Vancouver being the fastest and Boston being next!  I was quite a bit ahead of my pace from last year, so I knew I just needed to muster through any pain and get the last 7.8 km or so completed!  I kept a positive attitude, smiled and had fun, and by doing this, I even had some extra energy stored during the final stretch to really push myself.  My final time—4:23.10!  I beat my time from last year by just over 17 minutes!  YES!

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Thumbs up!

I was very happy with my time for this race, and even happier to find out I placed in the 50km at 20/122 runners overall.  For my gender, I was 6/42 and in the 30-34 female I was 2/9.  I earned a 1st place age group award, however, because much like last year the overall female winner was in my age group, thus removing her from age category awards.

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Bling and trophy acquired!

This race was not a ‘goal race’ by any means, but it was important.  This marks my “last hurrah” before my cheilectomy surgery, which is happening on June 10th.  My bone spur will be shaved off my right foot, along with my arthritis being cleaned out.  Stitches will be put in, and I will be put resting and elevating my foot most of the summer.  I will probably have 8 weeks off of any sort of running, and then when I do start running again I will be taking it VERY EASY.  The arthritis will most likely come back over the years, but hopefully the bone spur stays away.  I will have lots to write about in regards to this surgery, and that will be what my summer posts are devoted to, so stay tuned.

And with that, my Winter/Spring/beginning of Summer 2016 races are complete!  Up next-surgery.  After that—get back into running so I can complete the 2017 Goofy Challenge in Walt Disney World!  Can’t stop me now!

 

Boston Marathon 2016-The Run

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I’ve participated in track & field since middle school (1998-1999), ran varsity track during high school (2000-2003), started running half marathons at college in 2004, full marathons since 2005.  When I moved to Canada in 2008, I ran my worst full marathon that spring 2009.  I stopped running full marathons for a few years and focused on half marathons.  I changed my training.  I registered for more races.  I went crazy and signed up for the Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge to run in memory of my dad.  And, my times started getting faster.  However, I was unsuccessful at qualifying for Boston–I tried twice in 2014.  I trained during winter and spring of 2015, and qualified for Boston that May.  Now I made it to the 2016 Boston Marathon.  To say a lot had gone in to being here is an understatement.   A huge understatement. Making it to this race is definitely the biggest achievement in my ‘running career’ but it also will rank up there as one of the biggest moments of my life.

I could go in detail about every moment of this day….from waking up, to loading the busses down in Boston Common, driving to Hopkinton, athletes village, walking to the corrals, realizing I should have worn sunscreen, running a bit ambitious for the first 7 miles, then deciding to just slow down and enjoy it….to realizing there really are people AT EVER MILE on the course…not just every mile, but every moment!…to then deciding to start giving high-fives to every little kid I could, dumping water over my  head every water station due to the heat, and giving high-fives to drunk college kids at Boston College…to finding my husband, mom and her friend at mile 24 in Brookline and stopping for a kiss, hug and a hello….and then finishing the 120th Boston Marathon.

Was this my fastest marathon to date?  No, but my 3:35.01 happens to be my second fastest.  Was I mad about my time?  Hell no.  I just had ran my dream race, and had a damn good time during it.  Will I come back to Boston to run again?  Hopefully in the future I am able to qualify and do it again.  Was it everything I hoped it would be and more?  I can’t even begin to describe that…..

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Boston Marathon 2016-Post 3 of 4

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Sunday of the Boston Marathon weekend brought more fun and sun for my husband and I.  While other marathoners were probably taking it easy today (maybe I should have?) we wanted to seize the moment and do any other touring we hadn’t done yet.  We started the day off by catching transit and heading to the North End (Little Italy).  Once down here, our plan was to join on the Freedom Trail and do as much of the loop as we could.  We finally found Paul Revere’s house, and then later the Paul Revere statue!  We opted to pay for the entry into the Paul Revere house, and it was worth the small donation.  Seeing the inside of the house was incredible—all the old fireplaces, the brick, the solid wood…it was a real treat!  We weren’t allowed to take any photos inside, so there are just exterior pictures.

We also walked by the first Roman Catholic Church in New England.  It was neat to see the intricate interior of the church, but of course Dan and I both wondered what bad things had gone on behind those doors over the years.  Note—on my flight home from Boston I watched “Spotlight.”  Had wanted to see it sooner, but seeing that I was flying home from Boston I figured I needed to watch it then.

On a more positive note, we continued our trek on the Freedom Trail to a cemetery, over the river, and on to the U.S.S. Constitution.  Touring the ship was awesome—it was free to tour, and you could go below deck.  By the time we finished this, my feet were getting pretty tired.  We used our transit pass to take the water taxi back to the downtown core.  It offered great views, albeit a bit windy!

We wanted something healthy to fill our tummies, so we hopped on transit again and headed to Chinatown.  Found a great little spot for some Pho…yum!  Then, Dan and I headed to the finish line, as I had a group photo with my Facebook “Boston Squeakers” at 3:30.  The commotion at the finish line today was CRAZY compared to how it was on Friday.  You could feel the energy!  Dan left at this time, as he was going to spend the evening exploring Harvard and find a pub to watch basketball.  I was going to make my way BACK to the City Hall area so I could attend the Pasta Party.  I headed down to the party with Mike from our Facebook group, and on our way we met a lady named Julie, who was from Edmonton.  We paired up with her, and in talking during dinner I found out she knew some of the same people I knew down in Lethbridge!  Small world!

The pasta party was what you would expect—mass pasta and salad, beverages, and a lot of people.  But, it was well organized, the weather was gorgeous (outdoor seating) and the food was above average for being ‘free.’  There was also free Sam Adams beer!  I had one, as my body can stomach a beer pre-race.  I didn’t stay too long as I did want to get back to the hotel at a decent time.  I think I was showered and in bed by 9:15 pm that night.  I did have a big event going on the next day to get rested for…..

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Boston Marathon, Part 2 of 4-Saturday

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I wrote my first post on my Boston Marathon experience here, and now I am moving on to the events that occurred on Saturday (Day 2)

Day 2 started early…earlier than we needed it to be actually!  I had signed Dan and I up for the B.A.A. 5 km event that morning.  The B.A.A. 5km is the first event of the year for the B.A.A. Distance Medley (5km, 10km, and half marathon).  If you register for the medley (which I heard from a local sold out in 20 minutes) you get a special medal upon completion.  Since we aren’t local, we just chose to sign up for the 5 km, which filled up in 24 hours!

We had to take transit to Boston Common that morning, and since there would be 10,000 runners in the event, I really had no clue how busy it would be.  Turns out we left a bit earlier than we needed to, and I didn’t really think ahead in terms of preparing us weather wise.  My one gripe is that international runners had to pick up their race packages morning of.  This is hwy I had us leave so early, since I wasn’t sure what it would be like.  It was seamless and easy, however, if we had been able to have our stuff mailed to us ahead (like those in the US had) it would have been one less thing to worry about.

That being said, I should have thought about a drop bag.  We just showed up to the race ready to go, and it was a little cold.  Dan even had to borrow my throw-away shirt I had brought for Marathon morning to wear and race in.  I wish we had worn sweats and layers prior to the 5 km, and then gear checked them, but I didn’t even think of that.  Since we didn’t have our race package when we left the hotel the thought didn’t cross my mind.  Instead, we just found a spot in the sun and blocked from the wind and waited it out.

5km shade

We did end up getting a bag to check, however, as we were allowed to pick up our race shirts before running the event.  I liked being able to do this, as the shirts were unisex sizing, and I wanted to make sure to get an extra small.  The shirts are a nice Adidas short-sleeve tech shirt.  They had the price tags attached still ($35).

The race itself was not going to be a ‘race’ but a nice shakeout for myself and a fun experience for us as a couple.  We made our way to the front 20% of people in the mass corral…there were A LOT of people!  I tried getting a photo of those behind us.  They seemed to start the race in spurts of groups, so when we did cross the start line it actually did spread out nicely within about half a mile.  At around mile 1.5 we even ran by Dick & Rick Hoyt, the famed father and son of Team Hoyt!  That was awesome!

5km people

We finished in under 30 minutes, and had a lot of fun.  I would definitely consider doing this event again, especially if it was with another person I was travelling with.  The $75 is steep for a 5 km, especially since when I registered for it the Canadian Dollar was at rock bottom.  However, the organization, swag, course and experience make up for it.  Comparing it to a $65 Disney 5 km….this was a better value in my opinion.  The course was less congested, even though there was more people.  The shirt is of higher quality (tech vs. cotton) and the medal was a real medal (at Disney 5km races its a rubber medal).

We made it back to the hotel and then had a full day of touring ahead.  After cleaning up, we headed back on transit but this time all the way down to the Fanueil Hall area.  We went through the Holocaust Memorial, toured through the marketplace, and then ventured to a pub so Dan could watch the Toronto Raptors vs. Indiana Pacers.  I had my 2nd cup of clam chowder for the trip here (delicious!)  We stayed here until halftime of the game, and then ventured down to Fenway Park area so Dan could watch the rest of the game at a pub closer to the ball park.  We had tickets to the 4:05 pm game, so I wanted to make sure we weren’t late!

Dan saw the rest of his game (which they lost) and we got to Fenway on time.  We had awesome seats and the vibe was fantastic.  I unknowingly bought us tickets in an area that was already in the shade, so it was quite cold.  Brr!  It was The Red Sox vs the Blue Jays, so we were cheering on our national team.  They started off strong, even with a Donaldson triple!  But they fizzled later on, making it the second Toronto pro sports team to lose that day.  Sigh!

Instead of going back to the hotel like normal people, we wandered around to see where we could go after the game (It was still ‘early’).  We eventually made it back to Brookline near our hotel and went to a sports bar in Coolidge Corner, where I had my third cup of clam chowder for the trip and my second in that day.  We ended up back to the hotel and in bed still by 10 pm, but man, it was a full day!  Neither of us want to miss a moment while we are here!

clam chowder 2

Boston Marathon 2016-Post 1/4-Friday

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So, my Boston post isn’t going to be one giant mess, I promise.  I have decided to break my own recaps on this amazing trip into four posts-Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  That way I can better highlight each day!

Runners world cover

Cover shot!

Friday was one long day, and actually a continuation of Thursday…we flew out of Calgary at just after midnight, connected through Toronto, and arrive in Boston at around 8:30 am. After figuring out transit pretty well (only one small fail, which then led to a one mile walk to our hotel with our suitcases in tow…this happened to Dan and I in Quebec City too…hm) we unpacked, changed and headed downtown to the Hynes Convention Centre for the expo.  Before entering the expo, I decided we should take the time to walk down Boylston to see the finish line set up, which was getting finishing touches as we made our way to it.

 

As we looped back down Boylston, we came across the Adidas RunBase store.  This store is relatively new, and is the official store of the B.A.A (Boston Athletic Association).  I ended up buying a nice store shirt for $25 and a black/neon pink/teal headband for $16.  They also had some cool signage that explained the meaning of the unicorn logo among other things!

Entering in the convention centre was something else.  You could tell from that very moment that “YES  THESE PEOPLE HAVE ORGANIZED THIS EVENT BEFORE.”  My husband even realized that as we made our way to packet pickup, as there were volunteers and security at every possibly corner directing us.  There was no possible way to get lost.  The pickup process went so fast and so smooth.  I had my bib!  My lucky ticket!  We then made our way back downstairs to the expo floor.  I knew Dan was just going to follow me aimlessly as I walked the aisles looking for nothing in particular.  This is when I eventually got my Runner’s World ‘cover shot’ done.  As you can see, I am wearing my go-to shirt that I wear on expo day to a lot of my races!  I love wearing the Nike “Hustlin’ From Start to Finish‘ shirt!  I think it says everything I need to say!  Before getting this photo done I was able to stop and meet Runner’s Worlds very own Bart Yasso…the man behind the menacing Yasso 800 workouts.  We had a nice chat, and he even spoke highly about the city of Lethbridge, where I live!  He had been there a few years back and had the opportunity to run in our famed Coulees, and raved about it!

bart yasso

Bart Yasso & I

The expo was massive.  It was hard to actually gauge how large it was, as the ceilings were rather low, unlike when I attended Chicago in 2006.  In Chicago, the convention centre ceiling was quite high so you could see how many booths there were and it was a more natural looping through the exhibits.  I was scared I would miss something as we walked through.  I picked up some freebies here and there, and even bought a couple little things.  My big purchases were made prior to arriving, as I had already pre-ordered my Adidas jacket along with some other long sleeve shirts and shorts.  We even managed to find a Samuel Adams booth where we got to sample their 26.2 brew.  I have to say, I really liked it!  I tend to lean toward more of the IPA-style beers, and never expect much from a beer with lower alcohol percentage, but this was a good brew!  I had it lots over the course of the trip!

By this point in the afternoon, the fact I hadn’t really slept on the plane hadn’t settled in yet.  We made our way down to the Fenway Park area where we went to a couple pubs, most notably the famed “Cask & Flagon.”  This is where I had my first cup of Clam Chowder during the trip.  (I ended up having four!)

After checking out another nearby bar, Jerry Remy’s, we made the trek back to the hotel so I could dump my stash of goodies.  We had an hour left in us, as it was still light out, and after making it back from a little tour of the Brookline neighborhood (where our hotel was located) we hit the sheets pretty early.  Dare I say Dan was snoring by 9:01 PM and I followed closely by 9:30 pm.  An action packed day for sure!  And Saturday had an early alarm coming up, as we would be running in the 8 am B.A.A. 5 km even the next morning in Boston Common!  Rest was needed!  More to come…..!

haul

The swag acquired from the day!

Boston Marathon 2016-Post from Mom

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And here is my mom’s straightforward look at her experience spectating me at Boston Marathon 2016!  My husband will do a post on his, and mine will follow. 

My daughter has asked me to do a guest post about my experience at this year’s Boston Marathon. Let me start by saying that my excitement began when she qualified on May 3, 2015 in Vancouver, BC. As soon as I heard this from her, I immediately called Kathy, my best friend from high school, who lives northwest of Boston, & asked if she’d like a visitor the following April. She’s been asking me to visit for years, but I was holding out waiting for Andrea to get her BQ time. Even though Kathy has lived in Massachusetts since 1978, she’d never experienced the Marathon so she was as excited as I was.

Our Marathon Monday began by catching the commuter train from Lowell, where she lives, to North Station in Boston. This is about a 40 minute trip but the only way to go, especially on this day. Once in Boston, we transferred to the Green Line C train to meet my son-in-law Dan in Brookline, where they were staying, to watch for Andrea as well as her friend Bob Higgins & Dan’s cousin Erin Moore. We arrived about 20 minutes later than planned due to all the people & traffic, but still had plenty of time to go grab something to eat & drink. After that we found a spot at mile 24 & watched & waited. I was being updated on her splits by AT&T & also watching her, Bob & Erin on the BAA app, which by the way was slow in updates but did have a map that tracked them which was a big help. We saw Bob & a bit later Dan spotted Andrea first & I guess recorded her coming up to us. I tried to get a picture, but failed. She stopped to give Dan a kiss & me a hug then continued on her way. She certainly didn’t look like she had already run 24 miles! Dan wanted to hang around to see if he would spot Erin, so Kathy & I decided to head into Boston to meet up with Andrea in the Family Meeting Area.

We should have stayed with Dan. Two trains passed us because they were full before one stopped to let us on. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize this one was not going as far as we needed. It stopped two stations before & we had to get off. The station was jammed with people who had just left the Red Sox game, so Kathy said we should just walk since it was less than a mile. If we could have just gone from point A to point B it would have been fine, but streets were closed & there were so many people it was like salmon swimming upstream. Not sure how long it took us, but Andrea texted me to say that Dan was on his way & she’d let me know when he got there. We were still trying to make our way to the area when Andrea told me to just stay where we were & they’d come to us. Thank goodness for cellphones. We met them outside of the Westin Copley Place hotel, decided to just go in there for something to eat & drink, & all was well with the world.

I’m very proud of my daughter, happy I got to see her run in this race that she worked so hard to qualify for, but will never again venture into Boston either on race day or the days surrounding it. Way too many people everywhere for me to contend with. I plan to go back to visit Kathy & see more sites in & around the area again, but not during Marathon Weekend for sure.

10 Mile Road Race 2016

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My training for Boston Marathon has been winding down, and with about a week and a half to go, I still had a 10-12 mile workout to deal with.  I decided to register for the local 10 Mile Road Race (which I have done two other times, here in 2013 and here in 2014) and push myself to the max.  While some people training for a big race like Boston, or any marathon at that, may not want to push themselves all out in an event less than two weeks prior, I needed this.  I need the competition, the motivation, and the chance to see how my foot held up.  In the end, I am so happy I did!

Weather was close to ideal race morning-a slight chill in the air, but warm enough to wear a singlet and shorts when race time came.  I had warmed up and was set to go when I took off my warm up gear, put it in my car, and then locked the doors…..along with my keys.  CRAP!  Well, that would have to be dealt with after, as my husband was out of town, had the extra key, so my only solution would be to borrow a phone and call AMA (spoiler alert-borrowed the phone and they promptly came and helped!)

I really had no idea how my splits were going to be, I was just going to push until I needed to pull back.  Ideally, my goal was to make sure to beat my time from two years ago; 1:14.49.  I knew I was faster and stronger than two years ago, so I knew I could do it.  I also really wanted to place in top 3 females, so I could earn some prize money to take to Boston.

Race began and I started strong for first three miles.  Very strong, and very concerned.  Was I going too fast?  I was trying to just keep with a group, as it seemed like myself and another woman were the natural ‘break’ before a big gap behind.  I didn’t want to be running solo during this thing.  The course is out and back on Scenic Drive, down to the river bottom, turn around at the bridge, and back.  So it is a very downhill course for the first portion, then a stupid climb back up Lynx to get on Scenic for the last 2.5 miles.  My first four miles (which include the steep downhill into the river bottom) 6:53, 7:03, 6:53, 6:44.

At this point I was 2nd female, with the 1st female quite a bit ahead.  She was ahead of my friend Bob and I knew unless she had a total collapse I probably couldn’t catch her, but second place was my spot to lose.  I had some extra energy sent my way when I passed my colleague and co-coach from Cross country, Don, and two students, who had ridden their bikes to the river bottom to cheer on the runners.  I got to see them again after the turnaround and it helped tons.  My splits in the river bottom were 7:11 and 7:20.

At this point I had been approaching the 250 feet + elevation climb of Lynx.  I have not been doing enough hill training, and I felt slower up this hill than I have in the past.  I knew I needed to keep pushing and hold my position, so even if I slowed down I didn’t want to walk.  I knew the splits would be much slower, but I wanted to have energy for the last miles on Scenic.  I hit miles 7 and 8 in 8:08 and 8:14.

By the time I made it back on to Scenic it did feel like I was running solo on a training run, albeit A LOT faster.  Big gaps between individuals.  It helped catching up to some of the participants in the 4 mile portion of the event who were walking, as it gave me people to focus on.  The volunteers at the cross walks also helped me keep on moving.  I ran mile 9 in 7:28 and then finished mile 10 in a strong 7:05.  My final time—1:12.59!  I held on to 2nd place female, beat my time from two years ago, and even snuck in to the 1:12s!

route

Route from my Nike Plus watch

After finishing, I felt great.  I was not ready to collapse, and felt like I could have done three more miles.  Which would have been a half marathon.  And then potentially a personal best.  Have I been doubting my speed and ability and not really pushing myself to my full potential?  How fast should I be going at Boston?  My foot isn’t really holding me back, its my mind!

Awards were great, because I truly love being around my running family in Lethbridge!  They presented 4 mile awards first then the 10 mile.  For being 2nd female I was awarded with $150 cash and a hug from the Lethbridge College Kodiak!  Age group awards put me in 1st for 30-39.  By the end of the awards, I had gotten the pictures I wanted, my car unlocked, and my confidence boosted.  Boston, here I come!

 

“Run the Trailbreaker” Recap

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Back in 2013, I “Ran the Trailbreaker” when I was home for Easter.  It was the start of my racing season, with my ultimate goal being completing the Dopey Challenge in January 2014.  I was surprised at that race when I beat my former personal best, running a 1:52.53.  Little did I realize at the time (I am still realizing it now) that this race lit some fire under my feet and I’ve been pushing ever since.

It was great to be back for Easter in Wisconsin this year, and even better that the Trailbreaker fell on the same weekend I would be leaving.  While I knew catching my flight would be tight, I still signed up for the 9:30 am half marathon start.  What was even better was that two of my close friends, Melissa and Gretta, would be running also!  I was able to meet up with them the night before the race, back in our childhood homes, but also got to see them race morning.

The week of Easter was actually pretty nice weather.  However, Wisconsin weather has a mind of its own and it decided that a snow/sleet/hail/rain combo at barely above freezing would be smart.  Thanks a lot!  So, race morning was less than desirable.  I have admitted before I actually like running in the cold…but the rain and wind and then slushy melting snow on the paths is nothing close to fun.

before race

Looking out to my mom’s driveway at 8 am race morning

I really didn’t know what to expect from this race, as I had eaten and drank too many Wisconsin indulgences over the course of me being home.  In my mind, I had a lose goal of breaking 1:40.  (My personal best is a high 1:35, which I ran last year at the Calgary Hypothermic Half).  I ran a mile warm up and realized it would be slippery.  I knew I didn’t want to fall or do anything stupid, which would then ruin my ability to run in Boston, so I thought that maybe just taking it easy and being in the mid 7:30s-7:50s may be best.  Either way, 9:30 hit and I was off.

group pic inside

Staying inside before the last minute of race start with Melissa & Gretta!

hail in eye

Immediately after the National Anthem, we shot this gross selfie.  Note the hail in my left eye.  Gross

The first mile wound us through downtown Waukesha and then we were eventually on some pathways.  The bridges were so slippery!  Almost every picture that was taken catches me looking down on a bridge as I was scared to fall.  It is an out-and-back course, that takes us on to part of the Ice-age trail.  For it being a nasty day out, and a relatively small race, there was still great support from both friends, family and volunteers.  Lots of volunteers were located at any and every confusing intersection or turn.  The first 7 miles there were always a handful of runners around me, either passing, me passing, or us interchanging positions.  I ran respectable times of 7:30, 7:52, 7:51, 7:56, 7:47, 7:48 and 7:50.

By this time the turnaround was near…or maybe I had hit it.  Either way, I knew I was third female, but 4 and 5 weren’t far behind.  The way back was going to be much easier, in theory, as the sun was starting to try and come out and the wind would be with us.  I started realizing I had gas left in the tank and I may as well push and get this thing done.  I did have a plane at 3:00 pm to catch after all!

cold AF

Yes, I run in pink socks as much as possible!  My feet were soaked here.

I started pushing, and slowly my splits started getting near to where my goal half marathon splits are.  I held on to 3rd female, and even passed a few males in the process.  I ran miles 8-13 in 7:24, 7:29, 7:31, 7:19, 7:23, and 7:37!  This was the reverse of my disaster back in September at the Lethbridge Police Half, where I went out very fast and had a near meltdown in the river bottom!  And the best part of this was that I ran a 1:39.37!  3rd female out of 98, 2nd in my age group out of 17, and overall I was 11th out of 168!  

I didn’t have much time to rest, as I really did have to get on the messy roads and drive the 35 minutes back to my mom’s house.  My whole body was shaking, and some weird muscles in my leg that I didn’t know existed kept twitching.  Either way, I was beyond pleased.  I hit my goal time, I ran negative splits, I was able to see my good friends, my ailing foot held up fine, and I was able to run in my home state of Wisconsin.  A fine way to end the Easter Holiday! 

race swag