My own personal pain journal

So, things are going but also going sideways, haywire, etc. My work is nuts (I am directly involved in public information), and also we are seeing a lot of things shake down, as part of the pandemic.

It’s so stressful- for all. I am not a frontline worker, but I see the effects of this day by day. I am writing a list of fun things I want to do when this blows over/winds down (go travel, go out for a team breakfast! Run! Do a race!), but in the meantime, I vacillate between extreme self-pity,  fear and paranoia, to ‘it’s all okay’. UGH.

IMG_0995

Welcome darkness, my old friend… I REALLY don’t want to do this again. But I might. I guess when you’re going through hell, keep going. 

I also have a recurring stress fracture, so I can’t even run right now. Man, when it rains, it freaking pours eh? I guess the timing is (good? I disbelieve that word even as I write it) now that I can’t race anyways.

Just…Fuck me.

I did have a nice weekend though, believe it or not! I had a riding lesson on Saturday and Oats was great! He was my little superstar~ I rode on Sunday and let too much angst out, and I know I shouldn’t have. I am easily triggered right now, and I want to make it up to Oaty! He is being the best boy he knows how.

It was also like, gale-force windy this weekend, ALLLLLLL weekend. It finally lessened up on Sunday, so I rode and then my husband and I hiked up Mt. Finlayson. There I learned I am a huge chicken, and I was afraid of the steep, rocky bluff ascent. Yikes!

I refused to go back down that way (jesus, no.) in part because I was afraid of it, and also it was smoking busy! I didn’t feel comfortable hiking with so many people swarming around.

We went the long way down, got a bit turned around (thanks to the signs closing the one pathway that actually links back to the parking lot…sheesh), and then we made it home. And we shared a hotdog! Yum! 🙂

I then drank wine, sat in the sun with a blanket – yes it was still chilly- but the sun had some strength that day.

So where does that leave us? Uncertain. Out of my control- even my body is out of my control. My mind? Yeah, that’s gone too. I don’t know anymore. But I can ride, so I will do that now and just …Keep on.

To quote Charles Dickens:

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”

VIRA Cedar 12k Race Recap!

To start off with, I don’t think my time or effort was bad during this race, it just felt… tough. And I fully accept responsibility for that, as I had kind of run a lot in the two weeks prior and didn’t exercise the discipline I needed for rest days (an ongoing struggle for me). I like running and working out! So…That’s what I did. And my legs were definitely a bit flat. Sometimes I can rally and really give it, or not. And this was more of a ‘not’…

84623794_10156636139781087_2946896440401592320_o

You can see the strain in my neck. Photo courtesy of Lois D’Ell. 

The course changed last year for the better! Gone are the two mega hills and the slow, demoralizing trudge through the elementary school field to the finish. Was this a fast race for me? Nope, not really. It was quite cold out, and this year I am really having to manage severe asthma, particularly during cold weather where it flares up badly. I can manage it, but it’s not really optimal.

85053352_10156636166756087_8555336809364586496_o

At the start. Photo courtesy of Lois D’Ell. 

At least I don’t feel like I am going to die!

I can actually see the strain it puts on my chest, neck and lungs in the photos, compared with my racing at Cobble Hill. I am straining as hard as I can through a tight chest, compared with smooth, flowing runs. Interesting! Just something to note.

Everyone started very fast for this race, I started ok-fast for me, but I knew I could NOT rally like the other runners. They started fast, and held it. I sure didn’t. I know my abilities right now and they aren’t there.

i-wGnQxnz-X2

Levitating! I like these pix a bit better, though I had QUITE the unibrow in them (shadows). Photo courtesy of Bastion Run Club. 

I held on for a bit, and kind of just didn’t bother looking at my watch. There is a GPS dead zone, so I knew it would be off anyways.

I kind of struggled with the rolling hills on the way out, and on the way back, perfected my patented ‘pick them off one by one’ move. Note I didn’t really step up my pace, it was just easier on the way back and I could hold it better.

i-xcBKpd2-X2

And across to the finish! Photo courtesy of Bastion Run Club. 

The finish was ok, and my time was ok. It was like, ‘eh’ alright, rather than my really jubilant and triumphant race at Cobble Hill. You truly can’t win them all! My time was ok, 53:19 though I felt it was a lot of effort again for an ‘ok’ time. That is just what I am dealing with this year. Last year my time was 52:49? and felt better too. Good for 4th in my AG and 10th woman finisher.

As always, the food was good- lots of chips! Yummy! The volunteers were excellent despite managing a lot of traffic on a busy, extremely busy main road and parking lots. Keeping us safe 🙂

 

Cobble Hill 10k Race Recap!

So this is exciting- we had a new start/finish line this year! Previously we had to jog about 700m to the start/finish, from the staging area. Not a big deal but also kind of a pain in the ass, haha.

82825197_10158052618030859_2766543067061157888_o

Heading to the finish! Photo courtesy of Joseph Camilleri.

Apparently this would also make the course flatter/faster?! Would it?? Time would tell for me 🙂

I was fresh off of feeling super irritated about my efforts at the Harriers 8k. It just…sucked. I did get proactive about it, and sought treatment for my asthma (now I am the proud owner of two inhalers- 1 rescue inhaler to use before/after racing, and 1 daily inhaler for maintenance), plus this race I made sure to take an extra half dose of my daily allergy medication just in case (wow, I sound super high maintenance these days…). So I was all set!

I also did not have great expectations. Lately my legs have felt super flat, dead, achy left knee, bad lungs/breathing…Yeah, you got the idea.

I was talking with my friend’s husband about the Harriers race and he too had a tough race- though he is VERY fast. So, it wasn’t just me riding the struggle-bus. That made me feel slightly better.

83674929_10158052747710859_1018264062150049792_o

A few of the winners- I am the shortest by a head, again. HAh!

The morning of the 10k dawned nice and warm, and what’s that? SUn? It was crazy warm for us! I was regretting wearing my long-sleeved run shirt. Now, I never regret dressing warmly, ha. It was just a gorgeous weekend! We warmed up, I took my inhaler, and we were off to the start! It was a very congested start- only half the road, so everyone was crammed to the left. I left 5 seconds on the table with that start, yikes.

We were off, and I was kind of struggling. It felt hard, definitely not easy, my legs felt tired immediately and heavy, and my breathing- despite my multiple efforts- wanted to seize. But you know what? I felt like, oh ok well this is how it is going to be then…A repeat of the 8k…And I just grimly kept running.

And it kept kind of sucking, up until about 5k. Something just CLICKED! In my body!

I felt solidified, I felt energized, I was doing it, by god!!  I gathered together my energy, and I started really running, and I mean it. I was actively racing! I honestly haven’t felt that kind of ‘try’ in my body for over a year. It was really exciting 🙂

84494528_10156595960421087_1182810727480557568_o

This photo is courtesy of Lois D’Ell. 

And I ran, and I ran. I was finally doing it!

I was running a race, rather than being run off my feet by it. I quite literally found my stride. It felt so good, I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I felt to be running a race that I felt like I could actually run, rather than struggling or suffering.

I wrapped up and my time was fine- I got the same time last year and was mad, but this year, I have been trying to manage so many other health issues that to be quite honest, it made me happy! Am I back?? Maybe too soon to tell, but I felt good about it.

Chip time was 43:32, gate time was 43:37, good for 5th in my AG and 14th woman. YEah!!  A lovely day with some AMAZING food- pretzels from True Grain!!

Kismet Kill

Ugh, so on Friday I wrote about getting stuck in a big traffic jam due to accidents on the highway? Well, apparently last week was Groundhog Day, because the EXACT SAME THING happened on Friday also. Just as I was walking home, to get dressed and go to the stables for my riding lessons. Thankfully my friend got caught in it, and immediately called me to tell me to cancel my ride and not bother heading out- it was THAT bad.

67754596_720783861683615_5350773400996413440_n

You are never so good that you don’t need to practice. 

For what seemed like a minor incident (all persons were fine, car went off the road into a ditch), traffic was at a totally-jammed up standstill until around 7pm. SEVEN?! Ugh.  No way. Not after literally getting stuck for 2 hours the exact day before…And I knew my trainer was not going to wait around another hour ++ for me to get there, get tacked up, warm up Oats and then ride. Nobody has time for that!

So I texted and cancelled, steaming mad at this happening for two freaking days in a row…And sat around home and watched TV. Which is fine, but like… What GIVES? Last week it was the bad weather/snowstorms, this past week it was major traffic jams two days in a row. Cut me some slack, world!

Plus I took my parents out for a lovely good bye lunch on Thursday, had a nice time, and then get this emotionally-hostage taking email from my dad, on Monday of course. Seems that if you give him too much time to think, he writes these insane 15 paragraph emails about how he wishes the lunch didn’t feel so sterile, that I treat them like strangers (no shit!!!), and that it felt like a going away lunch you have with coworkers. Jesus god, give me strength.

Anyways, rant over. I am resolutely NOT buying into this drama-rama that they alwayyyys pull with me.

They absolutely exhaust me.

Anyways, I didn’t ride on Saturday because Oaty’s leasor had a make up lesson and boy did that feel weird! I was all out of sorts and anxious because of the lesson I cancelled on Fri due to the traffic jam, and no riding until Sunday? But I miss him!! Instead I cleaned the deck, and took Gidget to play with sticks on the beach, where we saw a ton of cop cars…There was a wolf in James Bay!! In the afternoon where I was! Crazy eh?

I then finally got to ride my dear Oats on Sunday after my race and we did our ‘homework’ rides (jump xpoles until the cows come home..) and he was a superstar!! I noticed I am becoming too ‘rigid’ with my arms, so I wanted to make sure I made time to practice my homework again. You can never work on it too much, I think. Plus the weather was fabulous this weekend- lucky us!!

Prairie Inn Harriers 8k Race Recap: When the problem is you

Yeah it sounds like a grim title, and it isn’t really that terrible BUT I raced on Sunday (ha before the snow really started flying!) and I wasn’t pleased with my body, my results. The race itself was fine, the volunteers are excellent and I even had pizza and cupcakes after! YEah! But during the race, I had a hell of a time trying to breathe. It felt like someone was squeezing my lungs. My throat was on fire from straining to suck in air. I was red-lining the entire race, at a pace that shouldn’t be a problem or issue for me. It was also quite windy, and we faced a real headwind and cold blowing air for a bit of the race. Fun times!

81890630_10158010295075859_4474664668920545280_o

I got passed by everybody at the finish. Wow that was humbling! 

I was just totally fried. And after the race, my damaged lungs were like, filling with fluid or something? I coughed and coughed and coughed all afternoon/night, horrible racking sounds with a deep chest rattle. I honest to god sounded like a 90 year old person with COPD or something. It was extremely unsettling and really alarmed me. In a moment of desperation I dug out my old inhaler and used it, and was finally able to breathe normally before bed.

Now, this struggle with asthmatic breathing isn’t new to me- in 2016, almost all of my races were shitty and I had some really scary incidents where I thought I was going to pass out because I couldn’t breathe- at all. Finish lines, etc. When I was running the track series, I would cough ALL night.

82345229_10158010297540859_3543096291166781440_o

I’m a fairly experienced long-distance runner with lungs that are apparently ‘superhuman’ when they were tested two years ago, so really WTF is going on? I had my lung capacity tested, stress-tested (off the charts..), and heart checked with an echocardiogram. All perfect. I ended up getting an inhaler, and regular allergy meds (I have a terrible, year-round allergic cough), and also iron pills for my extremely low iron. That seemed to fix it?

Even now, my throat feels scorched from the efforts on Sunday- and it’s Wednesday. And I still have a sort of cough.

The race was very disappointing, primarily because it felt like my body betrayed me. I tried as hard as I could, and I felt like death, for a minute slower than last year. Ironically, I ran that race with a nasty chest cold, and when I finished I coughed so hard I pulled a muscle in my ribs. ??????

It’s annoying to try so hard and get nowhere. I feel like I am going back in time, to 2016. People tell me that I need to be kinder to myself, to my body. I feel like I can’t sometimes- I want to push, to punish, to try harder, force myself, challenge myself, make myself do it.

That’s not the answer, but it has been my answer- and it worked in the past. Races are really all relative though, so who knows?! Athletic performance is always a bit of a crapshoot, haha.

So my next steps? Get a new, not two-year-old expired inhaler. And then we will see!

Take a bite out of me

Back to the grind, part 2. This felt like a strange week- work Monday and Tuesday, run a night time race (the Run through Time fun run on NYE at UVic), ride during the day Wednesday, and then back to work Thur/Fri??? My mind is confused, ha. I am not sure I would do the Run through Time again…It was fun, but the rain sucked, and I’m not really into the ‘fun runs’ per se…I was lapping people and that was annoying to me.

81584983_10101203351981006_7949000968924823552_o

Oats says, take time this year to smell or eat the flowers! 

I did have my regular jump lesson on Thursday, and we were under winter storm conditions all day leading to Fri/the weekend, so I did feel kind of anxious and apprehensive about how bad the storm was going to be during my lesson! (again!). I didn’t even have to worry though- it was misting rain the whole time but on the whole not too windy or anything. Phew!

We worked on a fun exercise too- poles in a gymnastic, and then a middle jump, and then a few jumps on an angle. Everything was really low- so low that Oats got really lazy and decided he could just trot them, or maybe knock them down? UGH! Have you tried, Oats?? Ha. I wanted to focus on not pinching with my knees. Easier said than done…

81224121_10101203352010946_551551827477266432_o.jpg

I always look like a 12-year-old on Oats

I can now feel *when* I am pinching, but I am not consistent in NOT doing it. Oh well?!

It was fun though! We finished by jumping a small oxer like 10 times, ha. It got boring! Oats jumped it perfectly each time. I know why my trainer made me do it over and over…I get anxious with oxers. Very anxious. Even if they are really tiny! hahah. Well rest assured that the one got ‘old hat’ very soon for us. Oats wanted to start trotting instead, wondering ‘why’ we had to keep doing this…

yawn!

Sometimes the boring jumps are fun too!

Welcome to 2020. This is your year, right?

So we are on the eve of the new year and wondering if 2020 will really be better? I guess when I get grouchy and tally up the never ending list of injuries, sicknesses and complaints I have about 2019, then I’m SURE 2020 will be better. But…none of it was permanent (not really), and so what am I complaining about?

47972567081_790539ea0b_o

Riding a HIGH! 

Well, I wish my running had executed better- I had a fabulous race season last year, culminating in winning my age group (I NEVER take this for granted- it’s a tough crowd for sure, and I am 100% an amateur slouching jogger). I was riding a high when I won my first race – the very small MEC Royal Roads Half Marathon in May 2019. It felt fantastic!

And then, I guess when you go up high, you fall even further. I distinctly remember bragging to a friend about how I ‘never need to take rest days’ when we had both signed up for a marathon training group. This was it! I was going to race a marathon in the fall, the Okanagan Sunrype Marathon, and qualify for Boston!

……..

Until I immediately got injured for oh, the rest of the summer. It started with a weird twinging in my shins, inside just above my ankle bones. When it started hurting, I started wondering WTF it was but I didn’t really have to wonder for long- that same week I tripped over an unmarked hose going across a sidewalk that the construction crews were using, and face-planted quite dramatically into a curb. I slid for about a foot on my stomach, and wound up splitting my lip, gravel in my teeth, and a few scrapes and a banged up left shoulder (for the fourth time…my freaking shoulder.)

IMG_0950

It definitely hurt- a lot! But my stress fractures were getting even worse, so for once I was glad that I looked so terrible on the outside. It matched what I felt on the inside.

IMG_0949

Those wounds healed amazingly fast, which was funny because my shin splits and stress fractures sure didn’t. Oats was also lame the same week that I face-planted and developed shin splints, and we had to scratch out of the biggest show of the year for us. A cursed week (the week after my birthday). This also spearheaded a few months where I lost confidence in myself, my horse and my own body.

IMG_0951

I tried and tried to run for oh, the next three months and never could- It felt like someone was grabbing my leg and pulling really hard. I had trouble walking for a bit too.

IMG_0995

Ow, my leg…The success of shockwave was undeniable though! 

At the same time, I had been struggling with some pretty severe abdominal pain and cramping, for oh, 1. 5 years…I finally got it addressed this summer by having my Mirena removed, going back on Seasonale, and felt some blessed relief! I also still have an abdominal ultrasound scheduled in a few weeks, that I had to reschedule because I had the flu when I was supposed to have the appointment…

IMG_0953

The next day- it healed really well! 

IMG_0955

And that takes me to the fall, where I was kind of bummed about dropping out of the marathon but realistically I knew there was NO WAY I could run it. I had started back running for oh…1  or 2 weeks when the marathon started. I ran the 10k and placed third! (really shouldn’t have, but it was not a competitive field, ha), and my husband ran the marathon and did really well! I was so jealous!

72630712_10101168467060666_7306643753169584128_o

I rode Oats in a horse show and it just…eh. We had a few very inconsistent shows, where he felt weird and I felt really angsty.

Our fabulous roll ended abruptly by getting disqualified from our jumper rounds at CDRC for too many refusals. A very harsh contrast to the fun and happy success of the July show there indeed! And a good cap to what had really become a shitty, miserable season.

70883091_721799574986993_4100466510839939072_n

At least we looked cute??

I also ran the MEC Halloween half marathon and finished it, happily. It was extremely humbling, running 10 minutes slower and only being back to running for oh…Three weeks? But I did it.

And then I bumbled along, getting screwed by fate again when I proclaimed loudly at work that I ‘NEVER take a sick day!’ …Yeah you guessed it. I immediately got the flu for three effing weeks. I had to sit around at home on the couch feeling miserable for 5 days. A lot of sick days that week…It took forever to shake that sickness and incredible fatigue and weakness/exhaustion.

IMG_0061 (1)

Finishing my longest run in 4 months! 

And then when I did get to take some time off, blessedly at Christmas, I went for a run and was really enjoying myself, blasting along and tried a little sprint at the end of a solid 20k run- and BOOM! My kneecap instantly had excruciating pain under it.

I limped home and limped around for the next effing week. I kind of knew it was not that serious, but damn it hurt and I still have trouble with stairs (going down in particular) AND now I am terrified of running fast or whatever. Why am I so fragile?

Merry Christmas to me>>???

And a happy New Year??

I feel like my resolution is this: Never make bold proclamations ever again, because this year they clearly bit me in the face. UGH.

MEC Victoria Race 3: Halloween half marathon!

That’s right, fresh off a whole three weeks returning to running from a summer++ off, I ran a 10k and then ran a half marathon the weekend after! What am I, totally crazy?

IMG_0061 (1).jpeg

why am I always alone at the finish? 

Well, yes but that’s half of it. I had already signed up for the MEC half (I normally sign up for all of their race packages, so cheap and well-run, but I won’t anymore because they basically halved the races they offer and cut 2 of my favourite ones, and kept the one I hate and won’t run…soooo nope).

But anyways, I usually like this one because it’s fall, Halloween time and the air is crispy with anticipation! (or frost. Mostly frost). Plus since I traditionally have my summer-to-fall injury, I haven’t been able to run the half marathon in a year or so, and I wanted to this year!

IMG_0056.jpeg

My kind husband came to support me and take pictures, but they were all blurry. Boo! 

I didn’t have great expectations. Hell, I just wanted to run it, see if I could finish, and then try and deal with the aftermath (injuries don’t mess around). I have also been dealing with nagging health issues, so I’m not really at the top of my game this fall.

Anyways, it went quite well! The first loop felt terrible. I was tired, we had Oktoberfest the night before, and just…EH. My stomach was unhappy, my legs felt like they belonged on someone else’s body…It was rough.

Lucky for me, I’m a strong second-loop runner though! I kind of shook off the annoyed and tired thoughts and felt- hey, it’s a gorgeous day! You’re DOING IT! Look at this! A few months ago, this was only in the realm of ‘maybe’..and I’m here!!! I felt great then, happy to be able to physically run again- and a half, with only a few weeks back into running under my belt? WOW!!

So I picked up the tatters of my morale and just ran. Pure, free, able. Running!

It also helped that I stopped getting passed by literally everybody, ha. Slow running is still kind of new to me 😉 And I felt strong going to the finish. Sure my left hip locked up, and my right foot had a sore spot on it…I was going to do it!

And I did! My time is humbling and slow, but I am happy with my efforts. 1:46 and change. Pretty sweeeeeeeet! As always, the volunteers were great, and the aid stations were well-manned and well stocked. I picked up two Clif gels but didn’t end up eating them, as the Nuun electrolytes were good enough.

I myself am good fortune: Okanagan Sunrype race recap!

Ok you guys, I did it- I made my debut back into running! This weekend was one of firsts for both of us- Ian ran his first marathon (debuting with a smoking-fast 3:15!!) and I was able to heal enough to finish a 10k- my first race in months and first successful long-ish run! Yeah!!

73250461_10101168467075636_4899956926185472000_n

A really well organized race. One for the books! 

We were at the Okanagan Sunrype Marathon (marathon weekend offered a 5k on Saturday, a 10k, half and full-marathon on Sunday), and we had the BEST logistics. Our hotel (the Prestige) was across from the City Park where the race, bib pick up and start/finish lines/awards were. How amazing is that?!!!

Unfortunately I was not feeling amazing- last week was literally death by a thousand cuts..

Monday- hideous cramping, bloating, bleeding, nausea that ruined an entire day.

Tuesday- stomach not feeling great due to the day before. My ovaries felt like someone had been punching them with knives… Oats decided he would also run away from me after my ride, and spent quite awhile racing outside the indoor arena in the freaking pitch black…Stupid horse!

Wednesday- getting a cold

Thursday- sick

Friday- off, and cramps, and nausea make a comeback along with crushing fatigue and bleeding, and still sick. YAY? Shoot me.

Saturday- cramps, bloating and bleeding, still sneezing and nose running to beat the band. Feeling kind of defeated the day before the race, but luckily our drive up to Kelowna was uneventful. We had a lovely dinner with Ian’s sister, who lives in Kelowna now and will be there for a few months.

Sunday- race day!!! I had ZERO expectations. Ha, none. From feeling completely miserable due to chronic health problems (ovaries), to being sick with a cold, and having oh, a good 2.5 weeks of actual running led me to severely limit my hopes.

72630712_10101168467060666_7306643753169584128_o.jpg

The gang! 

The race was good though! I struggled my way to the front, as the start chute was quite narrow. Some real fasties there, but it definitely thinned out to the front. I started out strong, and immediately passed a few women who were just slightly out ahead of me. I don’t normally pass people that quickly, so I was surprised. I’m more of a slow-burner…And here I was, in front of people at KM 4. Wha?

I reeled in another woman, and then this other guy and I played piggyback, until he definitely passed me at the finish, ha. I had no kick, and I could definitely tell that I was not that fit…It was exhausting! My sinuses hurt and I had a racking ‘run cough’ at the end. BUT I was very happy with how the race itself went, and pleased with my time- 44:32, which is a humble time but I guess ok for this race- I placed third AG and third overall. Sweet eh?

I had time to zip back to the hotel- excellent location! And grab my dog for the awards ceremony. A nice bronze medal for me 🙂

74661744_10101168467205376_8887408089960022016_n.jpg

Look at him go! 

And then it was time to cheer on Ian as he finished- and he did it!! He is officially a marathoner. A good, solid weekend for the two of us, for very different reasons. We then celebrated with a bottle of champagne in the hotel room with his sister, and went on a small ‘brewery’ crawl to try out the many, many breweries that Kelowna had to offer.

75348943_10101168466945896_1266515568450600960_o.jpg

Time to celebrate! 

The only fly in the ointment…The weather was TERRIBLE after the race, ha. Rainy, cold and there was basically a blizzard driving home the next day. Yikes. DO NOT want to repeat that drive anytime soon…