Tag Archives: Sick

Race Recap-Grizzly Ultra Run Relay



On Sunday, October 14th, I participated in my first ever relay trail race, the Canmore Grizzly Ultra Marathon. I actually had never intended on running in this race, until one day in September I received a message on Facebook from a Dopey Training Crew member who lives in Calgary. Saskia and I had talked online after realizing we both lived in Alberta and had joined the same Dopey Challenge training group. We even met up at the Edmonton Half Marathon in August. So when all of her relay members for the Grizzly Ultra started bailing on her, she got desperate and asked a random girl (me) who lived in Lethbridge, loved to run, and who she sorta knew.

I said Yeah! and she signed me up. After some discussion, we decided I would run the first leg of the 50km relay, which was a 14 km portion. This leg was described as a “fast, non-technical leg for runner’s with lots of endurance.” The difficulty was 3 out of 5 claws. (Get it….claws….like grizzly claws….yeah).

I went to Calgary the night before, as Saskia let me stay over for the night. I almost didn’t want to come, however, as Friday night I slept for a solid 12 hours because I had started coming down with a cold. And Saturday, even though I had a race the following day, I was suppose to do 7 miles easy. I just couldn’t. I took a 3 hour nap instead. I was feeling in rough shape. All that sleeping and then trying to go to bed early in preparation for a 5 am wake up call didn’t add up well for a great pre-race nights’ sleep. I think I woke up every hour.


We headed to Canmore at 6 am Sunday. We had all sorts of camping gear packed, as we needed to set up a base camp area outside the Nordic center for when we were done/waiting for our legs to start. Trish, our leg 5 runner, drove out with us to the Nordic center. This would be her first race….ever! I didn’t find that out till later during probably Adele’s leg 3, but it was very cool to know we had a total race newbie. Adele and Greg, the leg 2 and leg 3 runners, were meeting us there. Saskia would be doing leg 4.

I have to say, once we got to Canmore, I got a little nervous. The only other previous trail race I have done was my Coulee Cactus Crawl. I was very thankful to be the first leg, as it meant my pre-race prep would be the same, and I wouldn’t be sitting around for hours after the official start for my turn. I had studied the diagrams of elevation for my leg of the course, and I had a positive attitude about being able to handle the terrain. When the 9 am start came, I was set…off I went with all the other Leg 1 runners and soloists!

The other nice thing about being the first leg of the relay was having people surrounding you during the whole 14km. It started to spread out more by around 6 km in, but I always had people directly in front or around me. This helped with my pacing and also pushed me. The leg I ran was a wide double-track course and only occasionally did the terrain become rocky and rough. There was only one hill that slowed me down quite a bit, but then we hit a turn around and going back down it was awesome!

Since there are no mile markers on the trail, I kept referring to my GPS to get a better idea of how much more I had to run. Being in the woods made it interesting, as you had no real idea to where you were in relation to the finish line….there was no way to see through the trees! I could sense, though, when we were getting on the home stretch, as we ran back on pieces of the beginning of the race. I could hear commotion and announcements through the trees, and soon we hit the paved main road….I was almost done!

I pushed my way through to the finish in a time of 1:13:20! I was pleasantly surprised with my time, and I definitely think that Erin telling me I could get the 14 km done in under 1:20 really pushed me. It was a little chaotic finding Greg in the relay exchange area, as I had to stop quickly and was a little disoriented. Soon he had our timing chip and was off, and I got my finisher’s medal!


The rest of huge day was spent going from inside to outside and trying to stay warm as we waited for all our runners to run their legs. I felt fantastic during the run, but the hours that followed led to an extremely runny nose and an overall feeling of garbage. I tried to keep my mind off of the fact I was starting to feel petty sick by watching for our runners coming back and also keeping an eye out for Erin as she came through for each leg.


In the end, our team finished with a time of 6:13:24. It was awesome. Seeing all our runners come in at the end of their legs and then our next runners head out to start their leg, but it was especially cool to see Trish finish for us, since it was her first race ever! This race was organized very well and the scenery was next to none….beautiful! I would definitely recommend this race for runners looking for a change of pace an a challenge! We are all already talking about doing it again next year, and now we all wouldn’t be strangers!



The Moral of the Story is…Don’t Attempt a 12-Mile Run When Hopped Up on Cold Medication!


So, interestingly enough, my Sunday post for today ties into my last post. But it is a 180 in a sense, since this post shows how much of an idiot I can be. Since taking that “unplanned day off“, I ended becoming more sick. On Friday morning of our SWATCA Teacher’s Convention, I woke up feeling like a bus had run over my body after running a full marathon. My head was pounding, my sinuses were clogged. My throat burned when I coughed. I was just feeling oh-so-lovely. I half-ass got ready for convention, and made my way to the University of Lethbridge at 7:30 am. If this had been a regular school day, I would have strongly considered calling in sick-and I don’t call in sick. I went to the chairperson’s breakfast (I was chairing a secondary mathematics assessment session at 10:30) and forced down some tea and watermelon. I apologize to anyone I came in contact with that day because I either a) looked like death b) ignored looking at you c) ignored talking to you, or d) all of the above.

As soon as I dropped off the evaluations for my session, I drove straight to Shoppers Drug Mart and did a rare thing for me-bought some OTC medicine. I wanted to cure this thing fast. After talking to one of the techs, I decided to go big or go home. I bought a box of Tylenol Complete-Cold, Cough & Flu PLUS mucus relief! The bullet points on the package were made for me–nasal congestion, dry cough, headache, sore throat pain, aches, pains & chills…this would save me.

I religiously took my two capsules every six hours. I took a nap with Snoopy (the beagle is truly the best medicine!). I also made my “I am sick, feel sorry for me” dinner-two packs of ramen noodles with only half a packet of the sodium blast. I was going to these CRAZY extremes because I had a goal-to run 12 miles with marathon club Saturday.

I woke up Saturday morning feeling a ton better. My body didn’t ache (but I didn’t take into account the mass amount of drugs in my system causing this revelation). I got up at 6:30. Had some oatmeal. Hydrated. Dressed in appropriate layers. Bid my husband ‘adieu!’ and drove to Runner’s Soul. I could do this.

I had the wise idea to run with the marathon trainers today instead of the half. While I am only doing half marathons this year (my full won’t be until the Goofy Challenge in January 2014) I wanted to get 12 miles in, as my first half of the year is next Saturday-The Hypothermic Half in Lethbridge. . So, I set out with it in my head that I would do a 10-minute mile pace, drink lots of water from my Osprey water backpack, and I’d be good. It’d be that easy.

OK…any of you in Lethbridge or Alberta know how windy it can get down here. Saturday was, excuse my French, fucking ridonkulous. Any direction you turned, the wind was against you. I tried thinking positive, thinking it would get better...but that never happened. Anyway, I ran the first 5 miles pretty solid. I was feeling great. I was on pace, going slower than normal, but sticking with the plan. Honestly, after the first 4, I think I said out loud all theatrical and such “I’m a third way done!” I really had it in my head that running cures the common cold.

Then, I hit Bridge Drive. Please take a second to look at this map, though it doesn’t do justice:

The wind was piling in, the incline was steep, my throat was starting to burn, and my chest was hurting. I kept my head up and lifted my knees, taking smaller steps. But I had to walk. My chest was pounding so much and I started panicking. I didn’t want to quit. I basically power walked straight into the wind for 3/4 of a mile up Bridge Drive. Once I got to the top, I was going to start running again-I didn’t want to quit. So I started a slow jog, but then almost burst into tears. My body was giving up-Tylenol Complete can only do so much.

I smartly had brought my cell phone in my backpack and called my husband. I asked him to pick me up from the westside Tim Hortons. I felt defeated. When he got there to get me, I apologetically said “I’m Sorry” for no reason. What was I sorry for? Making him come get me? Being an idiot? Oh yeah-I was sorry for not listening to him….because before I left this morning, I forgot to add he said “I really don’t think you should be running.”

He’s sitting on the other couch right now as I type this. He told me yesterday he wanted me to title this blog as “Always Listen to Your Husband.” I won’t do that, but I will say that he was right. And I was an idiot to try to do otherwise yesterday. I came home, took a shower, and drugged myself up more. I made my same lovely “feel sorry for me I am sick” dinner, and went to bed by 8:30 pm. Yes, I even feel better today than I did yesterday, but that’s the power of these drugs-it’s hiding the fact I am still sick.
I ran 6 miles yesterday. 6 miles sick. 6 miles I shouldn’t have even run. But, in my mind, I was supposed to run 12 miles. Initially, I was pissed I quit. This is only the second time in the past 9 years I had to stop and call someone to pick me up. . I still need to learn when it is more important to take a day off, and that it isn’t the end of the world. My legs and my body have been conditioned to this type of running over the years, so I will be fine this coming Saturday for my race–as long as I take care of myself first. It’s not like I am going out there trying to win a title or get my personal best. I am going out there to run for my dad–which is why I think I put the pressure on myself to run too soon. But, please note–if I had been able to call my dad to pick me up at the top of Bridge Drive on Saturday, I would have gotten in the car and his first words would have been “You’re a ::insert swear here:: idiot Andrea. You should have just stayed home.” And I would have responded-“You would have tried to do the same ::insert swear word here:: thing!”

In my medicated mind, this picture exemplifies how I wish my drive home from Bridge Drive had been.

In my medicated mind, this picture exemplifies how I wish my drive home from Bridge Drive had been.

Taking an Unplanned Day Off


When I make my training calendars, I stick with them pretty dead-on. Having the calendar to check off as I go really keeps me in line. Having what I am supposed to run on a given day written down makes it official, something I must follow. I was gone in Los Angeles since Saturday, and I even stuck with my vacation modifications. I did a solid 9 mile run the day before leaving, did a 3.3 mile run in the sand from Hermosa Beach to Manhattan Beach and back. I even went on a 2-mile run last night about an hour after getting home. I had an awesome pace going!

But, I sit here now at 3:54 pm on Thursday, Feb 21…I am suppose to run 6 miles. And I am sick.

My throat has had this draining feeling since late Monday night while in California. My ears are achy too. My body isn’t achy or sore-I am not injured. But I am scared to push myself just too far when I don’t feel 100%. Hell, I don’t even feel 70%. But then I feel like I am letting myself down by not going on this run. I know, it’s just one run. Does anyone else ever feel like this, when you are supposed to work out and then you don’t? I know the circumstances are different-it’s not that I am blatantly just avoiding it, or that I am hungover. But I am still sitting here thinking I should bundle up and suck it up.

My first half marathon for the year is one and a half weeks away. I am going to push out 12 miles on Saturday in preparation. Will taking today (and possibly tomorrow) off really hurt me in the end? What does everyone else do when they feel like a pile of junk during training time? It probably is for the best, because maybe I will just end up more sick. And my legs have the mileage already built up by now. Perhaps an unplanned rest day is the cure for the common cold…?