My Next “Big Event”

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Hello and happy 2017 everyone!  I have recently returned from the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, where I completed the Goofy Challenge*…there’s an asterisk there because in the history books, this will be the race weekend that had the half marathon cancelled.  I will be doing a complete write-up on the weekend, but I wanted ot let everyone know some of the basics:

The WDW half, which was scheduled to be held on Saturday, January 7th, was cancelled the night before due to a threatening storm coming through the area.  Thunder and lightning occurred all throughout the evening and into the morning, and this would have cause the race to be cancelled either while we were in the corrals waiting to start, or after we started.  It would have been a disaster!  So, many runners did their own “unofficial” WDW half later that day when the storm system cleared.  I completed the 13.1 miles with two friends.  We wanted to complete the distance, so that we could wear our Challenge medals with pride the next day.  On Sunday, January 8th, the marathon went on without a hitch.  I was able to run with my best friend Ali, as she completed her very first full marathon.  It was an amazing weekend!

I alluded in my last post that I would be talking about what was in store for 2017…well, as you can see by my updated “countdown” on the side….I am pregnant!  I am due late July, and while I was in Disney I hit the 12 week mark.  Today I am 13 weeks, and will be heading to Calgary to get my combined First Trimester Screening test done.  My husband and I are very excited, anxious, nervous, scared, elated, etc.  We have always wanted to have a kid, but I was always the one who had concrete running goals I wanted to achieve first….qualify for Boston, go to Boston…then get foot surgery due to all my running…Really, I think waiting longer was also in my husband’s mind too, but I always was the one with the “bucket list” of things I wanted to achieve before we started a family.

WDW Marathon Weekend!

WDW Marathon Weekend!

I know runners who read this page wouldn’t think anything negative about it, but the general public I know will say “Wait…so you ran a half marathon and a full marathon while 12 weeks pregnant?  Is that safe?”  The long and short of it is, YES.  I had been in talks with my family doctor (who runs a sports medicine clinic) since this past summer and he was well aware of my Goofy Challenge goals.  When I got referred to my OB-GYN, the first thing I let her know was that I was flying out to Orlando in January to do a 39.3 mile challenge.  She said “Great!”  Everyone is different—obviously, if you were doing your first full marathon and just started running, there may be some hesitation.  This was not my first rodeo.  I also was not going for any time goal of say, a Boston qualification.  I had to change some of my fueling during the race (as in increase my food intake) and watch my heart rate.  I know my body, even when I have a baby growing in it, and I could recognize if there was any impending issues.  And now, I can say I completed a half and full marathon while 12 weeks pregnant!  Should I maybe have gotten an additional medal for each since really I ran for two?!?!?!

Goofy Challenge Finisher!

Goofy Challenge Finisher!

So what’s the plan now going into 2017?  Well, I am registering for a few local races, with the farthest distance being a 10km.  I am planning on running 3-4 days a week, as long as I am allowed to during this pregnancy.  I will begin Runners Soul Marathon Club next weekend, where I will run with the half marathon distance runners on Saturdays.  My times will not be important, I am just doing this to stay fit and active.  Once I get to a 10 mile training run distance, I may have to cut it short or I may have to walk a bit.  And that’s fine.

So that’s my news.  My next big event.  The training will be a little different than what I’ve grown accustomed, but I’m ready to take it on!

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My “Announcement” shirt…wore the tank during my “unofficial” WDW Half


2016 in Review

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I like doing my ‘recap’ on the year of running events at the end of each calendar year.  Just a little summary of what my main take-a-ways are from the events I participated in.  I know I wrote a recap for each after they originally occurred, and I have all the stats and details on how I did on my Race Results 2016 link, but now that it has been a couple months since some of these events occurred I thought it would be fun to see what I think of when I reflect on what I did this year!

The Hypothermic Half Marathon was my first event of 2016.  I really have nothing to say about this event, other than I know I signed up for it to include it as part of a training run.  I really just remember being done and at brunch with Zita, Aimee and others, and us just talking about how unimpressed we were with the event.  I had a good time hanging out with them, I got a training run in, and I will not be running this event in 2017.

Moonlight Run 10km in March.  Always my first ‘race’ of the year.  I always get nervous for it too!  This was an exciting year as I got to wear my “Run Red Deer” shirt from the Woody’s RV Marathon, as I won “Runner of the Month” and was going to promote the Red Deer event at our local event!  I also was able to finally win some prize money at the Moonlight Run!  I always love this event not only because of how many people come out from the city to participate, but because of all the volunteers who are from Winston Churchill High School (where I teach).

Run the Trailbreaker Half Marathon back in Waukesha, Wisconsin, was a race to remember….as it was almost a blizzard the morning of the race!  In early April!  Weather was AWFUL but it made it fun for running.  Again, I used this race as a training run for Boston, and it was helpful to have the race while I was home visiting family for Easter.  Otherwise, I would have not wanted to go outside and run in that weather!

10 Mile Road Race was great this year, as I ran my personal best time for the event.  I also was excited to win some prize money that would be taken to Boston!  What I remember most from this day is that I locked my keys in my car 10 minutes before race start!  When I finished the race, I borrowed Dennene’s phone to call AMA.  They came and unlocked my car in time for the 10 mile awards!


BOSTON MARATHON….well, if this list wasn’t in chronological order and in an order where the best event of the year was talked about last….this would be it.  I still can’t even wrap my head completely around this experience.  Really, it wasn’t about just race day.  It was about the years I have spent running full and half marathons….the times I failed to qualify….all the training it took to qualify….the waiting to race day….It was a process!  My husband and I had a fantastic time in the city, touring it via public transit and my foot.  We saw a baseball game, went on a brewery tour, ate awesome seafood, drank a lot of beer, and even ran the B.A.A. 5 km together.  The trip will go down as one of my most memorable trips (in general).  My proudest running accomplishment was qualifying for Boston…being able to run in Boston was the reward.


I did only one Spartan Race this year, and it was the Montana Spartan Beast.  This was the first year I did not do the Montana race weekend with my husband Dan.  But, I got to do it with my best friend Ali!  She flew in from Redondo Beach, California, to deal with this crazy 14 mile course.  She has continued to stand by her statement that this was the toughest Spartan Race she has ever done…even a harder course than the World Championship Course in Tahoe!

A local Lethbridge 51 elementary school put on a little 2km/5km event in May.  The Lakeview Superhero 5km was a great event that the school did as a fundraiser for their new playground.  Lots of kids were out there doing the 2km.  It honestly was a bigger turnout than I expected!  Having a local elementary school do an event like this helps get the kids interested in running at a young age, and that’s awesome!

I’ve done the Woody’s RV World Red Deer Half Marathon before.  This was my 5th time running in it.  But it was definitely the nastiest weather I have had to deal with at it!  My husband also ran it (hadn’t trained at all) and of course….he did just fine.  I still beat him, but my time was not that impressive.  I was most impressed with him running while wearing a garbage bag as a poncho the whole time!  The downpour was ridiculous!

I had sworn I wasn’t going to do this race again….and then I  registered for it…again.  The Calgary Marathon Weekend 50km Ultra was being held for the 3rd time, in conjunction with marathon weekend.  I figured that since I had done Boston at end of April, and this was at end of May, my legs would still be primed for it.  I also wanted to prove to myself that I could run it faster than I did the year before, as the heat was pretty nasty the first time I did it.  It was again a tough race, but I felt more confident during it this time around.  I cut off a bunch of time from my first year  I ran it, and even walked away with 1st place in the female 30-34 category!  I now have two trophies in my race bling collection, and they are both from the Calgary 50km Ultras!  This race was also monumental as it was my little ‘farewell’ from running for a bit, as I would be going under the knife two weeks later for my foot surgery.  Figured my foot was already messed up, nothing that a 50km road race couldn’t do to make it any worse!


Lethbridge Police Services Run is an event I’ve been enjoying every year.  This year, I wouldn’t be participating in the half marathon, as my foot was not ready post-surgery.  I did join our cross country runners as they ran in the 5km.  It was a great event to be a part of, and I really enjoyed being able to see the kids out there.  It was also my 32nd birthday, so that marked for a fun way to spend it!

 

The first event post-surgery that I attempted to “race” was the Bare Bones 9km.  They have had a half marathon in the previous years, but this year it wasn’t an option.  So, I chose the odd 9km distance.  I pushed as hard as I could, and I felt completely beat afterwards, but I was pleased with how I finished and how my foot held up.  It was far off my times I was hitting the year before, but it was a good start and a great sign of things to come post-surgery.

 

The Claus Cause 10km is another local event that I have participated in quite a few times.  It was held in November, and we weren’t having November weather yet.  I wore shorts during this run!  It was still another test for my foot, and my foot did well.  And of course, the gingerbread men ‘medals’ were handed out for top category runners.  My gingerbread man had a bit of a foot issue….coincidence?  I have said in the past and I’ll say it again—I love the events that Runners Soul puts on in town.  It’s such a great ‘get-together’ at any of their events, because there are so many familiar faces!

My last ‘event’ of 2016 was the Santa Shuffle.  Put on by Running Room Canada, this is a small  casual 5km fun run.  I signed up for this for the sole purpose of adding mileage to my daily training run, as  I was right in the thick of things for my Goofy Challenge training by this first week in December.


So that was my 2016.  14 events over the course of 12 months.  And considering I was out of commission for two of the months, I’ll take it.  2016 will always be the year I ran Boston….that’s for sure.  That’s obviously what I’ll think of first.  But, all these other events that surrounded it have a special place too.  All the events I have ran since my first half marathon in 2004 have a special place.  Sure, the medals I receive for finishing a race or placing in a race don’t have much monetary value….but they have value to me.  Every.  Last.  One.

On to 2017!  What will it bring……?!?!?!?!??!?!

 

Claus Cause 10km Recap

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I have participated in the Lethbridge Claus Cause since 2013.  I have done the 10km twice (2013, 2014) and the 5km once (2015).  I opted to register for the 10km this year 1.) because I am training for a full marathon and need distances! And 2.) I needed a challenge.

I don’t normally get anxious or nervous for 10 km events, but this one was causing some grief.  I knew before even setting foot at the starting line, my time would not be what it was back in 2013 and 2014.  Those times were 45:37 & 45:52 (2013 and 2014, respectively).  My most recent 10km times (up to this race) had been 44:10 (Moonlight Run 2016), 43:28 (Disneyland 10km 2015) and 41:30 (my personal best, Rattler Run 2015).  Those events, especially the 2015 ones, were surrounded by training focused on speed work.  It was also before my foot got the best of me.  So I was fully prepared to not run anything close to those.  But I still wanted to run something that was respectful for me.  I decided the night before the race that I would be happy with anywhere from a low 46 minutes to an upper 47 minutes.

The weather was perfect for running on race morning!  Minimal icy spots on the paved course, and a nice brisk winter air.  I was one of the only fools wearing shorts, but I did have layered long sleeve shirts and my tall compression socks, so really there was not much skin being hit with the elements.  I made sure to arrive early enough to allow for a proper warmup.  My husband came to cheer me on (I sort of forced him because of my nerves).  Race began at 9 am, with the 10km and 5km runners heading out together.

For the first loop, all the runners were together.  This allowed us to be near other runners, but you have to be careful….those 5km runners are potentially going at a faster pace than you would for a 10km (I mean, they should be) so I didn’t want to get wrapped up with trying to stay ahead of people near me….they may be doing the 5km!  I was able to check race bibs, as the different colours signified which event you were in.  I was able to determine by mile 1.5 I was the 3rd female in the 10km.  It was around mile 2 and 3 that my mind started playing games with me, and I didn’t know if I could hold pace.  Was I going to fall apart?

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Photo Credit to Shay, who was volunteering on the course!

The 5km runners head to the finish line as the 10km runners do another loop (plus some).  I started to get my groove back, but then also got myself comfortable.  I was a bit behind runner 1 and 2, but I didn’t see runner 4 nearby.  I held my pace and then in the final straightaway pushed in the best I could.  I successfully held my position of 3rd place female the whole race, and also ended up placing 1st in the 30-39 female category.  My splits were: 6:58, 7:50, 7:40, 7:53, 7:53, 7:45 with an average pace of 7:39.  Official chip time of 47:30.

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Post race-got my sweatpants on and a water, so I’m good!

Takeaway on my splits….I ran my first mile like I was going to run a sub 43 minute 10km.  I want to get to that point again, really I do!  But that obviously hurt me in the miles after.  What would have been ideal is if I could have hit consistent 7:30 splits, but I can’t go back and change that.  I am happy, however, that I was able to reach my goal of being faster than 48 minutes.  I also was able to have a faster pace per mile at this event than I did back a month prior at the Bare Bones 9km.  A farther distance and a faster pace; I’ll take that!  My foot felt strong during the race, and I didn’t have too much pain afterward.  My cardio (and confidence) is what needs to come back.  And it will in time.  I was definitely feeling the ‘race pains’ then next day, but I couldn’t lay around….I had a 15 mile training run for the Goofy Challenge to do, and honestly….it went better than expected!  Countdown to Goofy is beginning NOW!

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After awards with Bob and his daughter Abby

Reflection Post-Election…

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…But nothing to do with politics!

It’s been a couple weeks since my last post, which was about my last race.  In those weeks since, I have been trying to stay away from Twitter, Facebook and the likes….because it always just gets me in trouble.  I was really good up until the night of the election and then I just ugly cried into my beer.  Then I pounded another beer.  And then I believe I made some Facebook comments angrily…..mature.

I had been avoiding Twitter even more, because I was sick of seeing anything election related leading up to the election.  For about the last month I honestly did not tweet as much as I used to.  I get too aggravated seeing things that upset me at my core, and I can’t deal with my anger well.  So, I just cut Twitter off pretty much.

I know I said this wasn’t a post about politics.  It isn’t.  Trust me.  Because I’m done talking about it.  What I said above was necessary, though, because in my absence of Twitter I didn’t connect with the #runchat community as much.  I am not necessarily a huge contributor to the community, but a lot of the people I follow on Twitter are through Runchat.  Many of these people I have never met.  I joined Twitter initially to help spread the word about this blog.  To connect with other runners.  To read more about running.  To find out more information about RunDisney events.  To commiserate with others when I failed to qualify for Boston.  Twice.  To celebrate with others when I finally did qualify!  To be able to be part of #BQChat, and to spread the joy and recount my trip to the 120th Boston Marathon.  I joined Twitter for running.  Not for politics.  It’s just a shame that it had to overtake my Twitter feed for the past bit that it bothered me so much that I needed to just not open it for some time.

I love talking about running.  About other people and their running experiences.  About my own experiences.  About goals, plans, dreams.  But most of the time, I like to just run alone.  I know a lot of people need a group or a running partner when they go on a long run, but I still yearn for those long runs when I am by myself.  Today, I ran 14 miles in the Lethbridge River Bottom.  It is November 13th.  And it is ridiculously gorgeous out.  I wore shorts and a short-sleeved shirt.  And sunglasses.  I headed out at roughly 10 am.  Down to the river valley I went.  I looped through the paved paths of Indian Battle Park, down past the Helen Schuler Nature Centre, to the Elizabeth Hall Wetlands, back past the Baroness Picnic Shelter, over to Whoop-Up Drive, onto the shale and dirt filled path that takes one right underneath the iconic high-level bridge….I took breaks during this run.  I took some pictures.  I took my time.  I eventually made my way back home and took my shoes off to find new blisters on my left foot.  My right foot, the surgery foot, felt good though.  It is worth noting, though, that during this solo run I never felt alone.  I ran past tons of couples, friends, families….all out enjoying the beautiful November Sunday.  Some people I passed two times.  I ran into other runners, who as we crossed paths we gave the little head nod to acknowledge the other.  I had my mind entwined in all the crazy things I have been thinking about the past while.  And when I returned from my run, while those crazy things weren’t gone….they weren’t driving me absolutely mad.




Tension.  Frustration.  Stress.  Sadness.  Anger.  

These things were all released from the simple act of going on a run.

Happiness.  Joy.  Accomplishment.  Satisfaction.  Pride

These things were all gained from the simple act of going on a run.

I know running can’t solve all the worlds’ problems, but I know it helps a lot of us deal with them a little bit better.

 

Go run.  You won’t regret it.

 

Bare Bones 9km 2016

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My first real ‘race’ since my May Calgary 50km….my first race since my June 10th foot surgery….

I know, I know…my previous post was about the Lethbridge Police 5km I did on October 1st.  You may be thinking “well, wasn’t that your first race?”  I need to clarify that the 5km was my first ‘event’ since surgery…today would be my first ‘race’.  I was screwed…..(I have 3 screws in my foot now.  Get it?)

I wanted to push it and see how much my body could handle.

I was also very nervous….Would my foot hold up?  Would I be feeling immediate pain upon leaving the start line?  Would I push myself too hard and tank?  What would my cardio be like?  Would I feel like a shell of my former racing self?


I have never ran a 9km race before.  It’s an odd race distance.  I figured to try and pace at my 10 km pace…which, I knew I couldn’t hold.  My best 10km time was from April 2015, when I ran a 41:30 at the Rattler Run in Medicine Hat.  I was in my top racing form, as I had been aggressively training for the Vancouver Marathon with the goal of qualifying for Boston.  I know it will be a long time until I am back in that shape.  But I didn’t want to be so far off from my more current 10km paces.  I set a goal in my mind of a 7:30 min/mile pace, but I knew that would be crazy to attain…I hadn’t ran a sub 8:00 min/mile since May.  My fastest mile time since surgery was around an 8:14.  Would I go out too fast and just fall apart?

I knew lots of people in the race (there was a 5km and kids 1km events too) and lots of runner friends were there spectating.  It was honestly helpful being in such a familiar location full of familiar faces for my first go at it since surgery.  It made it less scary.

Race start was 9:00 am.  I went out hard for that first mile, and it was a rough mile full of gravel, dirt and the view (and smell) of the water treatment plant.  I ran a 7:11.  Lucky me.  My first thought was “SHIT, I am going too fast.”  When I’m in prime shape, I try for a 7:00-7:15 min/mile in 10km races.  This 7:11 was amazing because I ran about a minute faster than my best mile time since surgery.  But I knew it probably wasn’t possible to hold it for the whole race.

At this point, my friend Glenn came up behind me.  I didn’t even have to turn around to know it was him.  Much like many people say my stride is distinct, so is his.  I could hear him coming.  He has been struggling with injuries for some time, so he was out here today for the same reason I was.  To see what he could do.  He kept me company for mile 2 and 3, which was awesome.  We ran 7:36 and 7:54 splits.  I was nervous I was going to keep slipping, but I knew my mind would help me through.  At this point I was 5km in.  I was over half done.  Glenn went out ahead of me to see what he could do for the latter part of the race, and I kept trucking along.

I made some traction on miles 4 & 5 running 7:49 and 7:49.  During these splits, the 9km caught back up with the 5km runners.  This race is a benefit for the local SPCA (humane society) and it is a dog friendly event.  It was fun heading back to the finish and seeing the families with their dogs running and walking together.  It kept me motivated and moving.  Once I made it back on to the rugged part by the water plant, I just knew I had to keep moving and get this done.  I finished the 9km race (my watch said it was 5.64 miles) in 43:38.  I finished 2nd place female (2/38) and 10th overall (10/57).  I even got to run the last 20 ft into the finish with my main man, Snoopy!


And you know what?  I WAS PROUD!


First, my foot:  it felt GREAT!  I didn’t have any pain in the spot of my surgery.  The only pain I had in my foot was near the tongue of my shoe, as I tied my right shoe too tight.  Whoops!  My cardio wasn’t the best.  I was feeling winded by the 5km.  It took a lot of mental strength to hold pace for the rest of the race.  A few runners passed me in the last 2 miles, but I was able to hold my 2nd place female position, which was awesome.  Cardio it something that will come back over time.  I started week 8 of my Goofy Challenge training plan with this event, and will be adding another day of running to my regime.  I will now be running 4 days a week, plus Zumba! on Mondays.  By the half marathon & marathon in January, I will be back at the level I took for granted!


I will admit, one of my first thoughts after crossing the finish line was “I ran the Moonlight 10km in March almost faster than this” but then I snapped out of it because I know these are different circumstances.  I was thankful for my husband and my dog Snoopy being there for me at the finish.  I even laughed and didn’t get mad at Dan when I ran over to get Snoopy and run into the finish line with him, but Dan had the leash tied around him all weird, so it took about 10 seconds to get him set. I was thankful for my podiatrist, Dr. Williams, who did a damn good job fixing my messed up foot earlier this year.  I’m also actually most proud of myself for WAITING and following “doctor’s orders” this whole summer.  It drove me nuts not running for almost 60 days.  It was even harder getting back at it and having to retrain my foot how to run.  I wasn’t really sure if my racing days would be back.  Today showed me that the best is yet to come.


 

 

Lethbridge Police 5km

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I haven’t done a race since my Calgary 50km in the end of May.  Foot surgery in June.   I had just started doing slow 1-2 milers in August.  My non-aggressive Walt Disney World Goofy Challenege plan began at the start of the school year.  I am in no shape to be going out and trying to crush my personal bests.  But that doesn’t mean I have to deny myself running in local events.  So this year, I participated in the Lethbridge Police Race weekend for the fourth time.  My previous times were doing the half marathon.  This year, I would celebrate my first race since surgery (and my 32nd birthday) by running the 5km with my cross country athletes.


On Saturday, October 1st, 15 of the WCHS cross country athletes ran in the Lethbridge Police 5km.  This event has been growing every year—there were 207 runners in the 5km, 164 in the 10km, and 119 in the half marathon.  The half marathon started first at 8:00 am, with the 5km and 10km runners following at 8:10.  My plan this race was to sprint ahead of my runners during the beginning, stop and take photos as they passed, then sprint ahead again to get down the major hill before as many as I could and take more photos, and then finish with some of the athletes towards the back.

 

I have to say that my foot felt fine during the whole race and after.  What didn’t was my breathing!  My cardio is still sloppy, and my full out sprints to get to photo vantage points probably didn’t help.  I was able to get a bunch of great photos of the kids (which I need to make sure I share with them) and had fun being out with the community during this local event.

 

My time was a far cry from my personal best.  But this fall and winter isn’t about setting new PB’s….it’s about retraining my foot how to run properly, build back cardio, and stay healthy.  Sure, it was a bit sad to not be running the half marathon like I had in years past, but I honestly enjoyed watching the Churchill kids run, running with them, and watching other friends from the community finish their respective races.  This race does not always fall on my birthday, but I have to say I would be happy if it always did!  I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my 32nd birthday any other way……well, going to The Keg for dinner later that night was a good way to cap off the day!


 

Volunteering at the Lost Soul Ultra

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Copyright LostSoulUltra.com

For all the races I have ran in over the years, I had yet to volunteer at an event.  Until now.  Each September, Lethbridge is home to a well-known ultra marathon event-The Lost Soul UltraMarathon.  This year’s event fell on the weekend of September 9-10th, and offered three different race distances: The 50km, 100km and 100 mile.  The race winds it way through the challenging Lethbridge coulees, taking you way up on ridges that overlook the river valley, and then down along the river bottom.  The course is not just full of basic climbs and descents—it is filled with grueling hills, single track madness and rough terrain.  It is not for the faint at heart!

I signed up earlier this summer for two volunteer shifts.  I would be volunteering at the headquarters, which was located behind Lethbridge Lodge.  This is the starting and finishing point for all events, plus a transition area for different legs of the 100km and 100mile.  I would be working from 4-8 pm on the Friday evening and then a few hours later, the graveyard shift of midnight-4 am.

The Lost Soul committee put on a nice volunteer BBQ a few weeks before the event on August 29th.  We got to mingle with other volunteers, receive our shirts (I was able to get a long sleeve shirt since I signed up for two shifts) and basic information.  On race day, I reported to headquarters and found Lorelei, our station captain.  The only runners on the course at this time were 100km and 100 mile runners, as their event began at 8 am that Friday.

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Finish area by headquarters

The timing of my first shift ended up being a crazy time at headquarters.  Lots of runners from both distances were coming through transition area.  As a volunteer, we were to help these runners at the aid station.  Whether it was fetching their drop bag (all runners could leave drop bags or boxes with their race number at each aid station) or finding them food or water in the aid tent.  The aid tent was unreal-at my first shift, there was a gentleman manning the grill making bacon.  Lots and lots of bacon!  The runners needed their salt!!!  He later on made burgers for the runners.  There was hot chicken broth, various fruit, sugary candy, chips, coffee, water, pop, and a whole lot more.  Runners had to check in with the timers as their entered the aid station, and could stay as long as they needed.  We then would put their drop bags back and send them off.

I was able to see quite a few runners that I knew during this time as they came through the aid station.  It was great to cheer on friends and people I knew from marathon club.  During my first shift I even got to see the 100km lead runner crush the course record and finish in around 10 hours and 55 minutes!  My friend Bob was helping crew him, so I got to hang out with Bob and his daughter Abby as they waited to see him come in and take the title.

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Shift 1 done!  Also now sporting my Lost Soul buff I received for volunteering

I headed out to dinner with a friend after shift 1, tried to take a nap (but failed) and came back at midnight.  It was a lot quieter at headquarters then, as far as runners go.  The runners have gotten more spread out, and the amount of runners coming in to the aid station at the same time had dispersed.  But that doesn’t mean that headquarters was boring.  There were lights and music, lots of happy volunteers to keep the runners’ morale up, and more food being served.  The later shift was a lot of fun because most of the 100km runners that came through were finishing.  Some of these people were seasoned vets, and some it was their first 100km race.  My friend Aimee came in well under her goal finishing her first 100km race!  She ran the race with her Dad, who is a veteran of these types of events!  I also got to meet a lady also named Andrea, who was also from Wisconsin!  She came all this way to do this race!  I had brought some Sprecher Soda with me to the midnight shift, so I gave her a taste of home by handing her a Puma Kola when she was finished.

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Aid Station at Headquarters between midnight and 4 am

 

Volunteering was an awesome experience, and I wish I had done it sooner.  It felt great to give back to the local Lethbridge running community, as it has already given so much to me.  Honestly, running races in Lethbridge and finding Marathon Club at Runners Soul really has kept me sane as I transitioned from a Wisconsinite to a Canadian.  I have met lifelong friends.  I have been able to reach goals I never thought would be possible. Everyone who runs in races should try to volunteer at a local race to pay it forward.  I am happy I did and I know I will again.

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Lost Soul Ultra is a premier ultra marathon ran in Lethbridge, Alberta, each fall.  Runners from all over North America make it out to western Canada to tackle our beautiful coulees and river valley.  For more information about this prestigious event, go to Lost Soul Ultra

August 2016—All in One Post!

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So, I did around 3,500 miles this month!….

In my car.

I haven’t been active here lately, partly due to my roadtrip!  On July 31st, I packed up my trusty 2009 Pontiac Vibe and hit the road.  Along with the essential clothing, toiletries and podcasts to entertain, I also packed my 9 year old beagle, Snoopy.  Where were we heading?  We were going across the border south east to my hometown of Franklin, Wisconsin.  We had stopovers planned in Longville, Minnesota (my aunt and uncle live there).  Snoopy is an excellent travel companion; I honestly cannot say that enough.  He just curls up and sleeps the whole time, does not fuss, and is excited to arrive to any destination.  So I kept myself occupied by listening to a variety of podcasts and when I really started losing it I would talk to Snoopy.

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All packed and ready to hit the road!

 

We made it to my mom’s on August 4th, and we stayed until August 22nd.  During that time, I was able to see all of my family that lives in the area, attend a closing day of Badgerette Pom Pon camp (I worked for Badgerette for 5 summers), watch the State Distinguished Young Woman show with my friend Maureen (I won 2nd alternate back in it’s Junior Miss hey day), go to two travelling beer gardens, see a bunch of my friends back home, eat and drink my way through both Wisconsin State Fair & Zoo Ala Carte, go to my favourite Mexican restaurant 3 times, play in a bag toss tournament, and so much more.

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“Swimming” with Snoopy in Lake Wabedo in Northern Minnesota

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When you are in Longville, MN, you go to the Meat Raffle at the bar….and win!

 

The main reason I drove was so I would be able to bring back the remains of my childhood that was still housed at my moms.  It wasn’t that she was forcing me to take it, but I have been gone since 2008, so I figured it was time.  Yearbooks, photos, games, puzzles, Barbies, Littlest Pet Shop, etc, etc, etc….It is now all back in Alberta.  I also packed up some New Glarus Beer, a ton of Wisconsin cheese, 32 bottles of Sprecher soda, and who knows what else.  Snoopy and I arrived back in Lethbridge on August 24th.  Wow, it felt good to get back!  We both missed his daddy Dan and his brothers Woodstock and Faron.

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That’s for DAMN sure!

 

During that trip, I also started running.  I had done my first 5km run prior to the trip in a numbing time of 33:43.  I had walked and jogged a bunch during it.  That was on July 28th.  Remember, my foot surgery was on June 10th.  I had been given the clear I could start running after my 6 week post op on July 21st.  I did my first humid (SO HUMID AND HOT) Wisconsin run on August 7th.  It was a little 20 minute jaunt that average 9:40 per mile.  Oww.  On August 11th, I went out to try and beat my July 28th 5km time.  I did so handedly, running a 30:02!  So close to that sub 30!  I did a couple other 1-2 mile runs during my time in Wisconsin, but I wanted to try and get under 30 minutes.  On August 16th, I set out to do that.  I ran that 5km in 28:20!  These gains I have made in less than a month since coming back into running are huge.  I was going nuts not running for over 6 weeks, and taking this time to get my newly fixed foot used to running (and running properly) has been great.

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5km well under 30 minutes!

 

Since returning to Lethbridge, I am happy that the humidity is gone.  I have ran on August 25th, 26th and 27th, and the weather has been glorious.  The biggest highlight was yesterday, the 27th.  I went out to run a sole mile with the goal of getting between 8:00-8:15, a pace I was always easily able to obtain on my runs, and my sweet spot for my Boston qualifying pace.  I finished that mile in 8:14!  Guess what world…LAMMERS IS BACK!

And guess what today is?  Today marks the start of WEEK 1 of my GOOFY CHALLENGE training plan.  I have put together a very non-aggressive 19 week training plan with the goal of “comfortable completion” of the 2017 Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge, which is a half marathon on Saturday, January 7th followed by a full marathon on Sunday, January 8th.  The even more special thing about this race is that I will be running my 2nd WDW full marathon alongside my best friend Ali.  It will be her very first full marathon!  I will be there to support her through those dark moments (especially between miles 15-23!!!)  She has run half marathons before, and I have set her up with a training plan to coincides with her Spartan Race and Crossfit schedule.  It will be a weekend to remember!

 

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The original “Pottage Pose” from the marathon portion of the 2014 Dopey Challenge in WDW

 

 

19 weeks is a LONG training plan.  When I ran the Vancouver Marathon in 2015 and Boston in 2016, I had an intense 16 week plan.  This plan does not include speedwork.  It just has two easy runs a week plus a long run on the Saturday.  Then, in late October, I add another mid distance run on Friday, which will help prepare me for the two day challenge that Goofy presents.  I am not going for any speed records at this race; I want to get my body back into running shape so I can begin to push myself again come the new year!

I have updated my 2016 race schedule, as I have a few local events in October and November.  I will be recapping those after they occur, and I will definitely be keeping you posted on how my Goofy training goes.  Until then, I need to get ready for my first day back at work tomorrow….Teachers start this week, with students coming in the day after Labour Day.  For teachers, this is our “New Year”.  Happy New Year to all the teachers, students and parents out there! 

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!