Let’s talk goals! If you’re a runner, you likely have goals. They may be written or just in your head, you may have shared them with those closest to you, your running friends or all of your Facebook or Twitter followers. Goals give us purpose and, when we achieve them, something to celebrate. I LOVE Goals. Like, I’m kind of obsessed with setting goals. I blame this on working for lululemon athletica years ago because goal setting is a huge part of their corporate culture. I’m in no way saying it’s a bad thing to set goals but sometimes we set goals that aren’t authentic (a word I also picked up at lululemon) to who we are. Or maybe it’s not that the goals are inauthentic to who we are but who we are in the moment that we set them. Let’s start with my big goal for 2015: “I run 3 marathons in 3 months to qualify for Marathon Maniacs.” Sounds reasonable for a runner who was about to run half marathon #30 and has run 3 marathons, right? Technically it would be but let’s add in the fact that I barely ran in the months of November and December. In fact, I was in such rough shape (dealing with some crazy stomach issues that I am now attributing to a wheat sensitivity) that I had to take my very first DNF (did not finish) at a half marathon. That race was supposed to be my 30th half marathon and 11th of 2014. So here I am, completely undertrained and more overweight than I would like to be, and I’m trying to train for the first of three marathons which is on May 3 in Cincinnati.
Not far into the new year, I end up at my Physio because I’m having achilles and foot pain. Turns out my calf muscles super tight and that’s creating all the pain. My feet have the beginning of plantar fasciitis too. I was told to stretch, foam roll, roll my feet on a frozen water bottle and do some strengthening exercises. I was also tortured with a suction cup. This cup is placed on your skin and moved all over the area of the tight muscle and creates a sensation of your skin being ripped off of your body. It also leaves some fun bruising in a spotting pattern. I got the pleasure of twice weekly sessions with the suction cup and provided my Physio with lots of cursing in return :D Because he’s not totally mean, I was also instructed to use “the baths” for my feet and legs. These are a hot and a cold tub that you alternate between for a minute each for a total of 10 minutes. They made my legs feel AMAZING. In addition, I cut back my running volume quite a bit.
The physio treatment continued and I ran half marathon #30 on February 8 (yay!). My left leg was a bit of a mess and so was my blood sugar so I had to walk a lot. I ran with my office run club (well, myself and the one poor soul who was willing to join me for a run in -16 with windchill temps) on the Wednesday. I was going to run about 10K or so on the weekend but noticed that my left quad had some pain so took it easy and completed the workouts from my cross training program. The following Wednesday I headed out for a run with the club (there were two others this time, yay!) and I was all set to run 5K. My quad had better ideas. It got together with my knee and together they decided that they put on a show with pain as the star. I ran through it and at one point my leg almost buckled under me. I stopped my Garmin: 2.91kms. Yes, I couldn’t even run 3K. Luckily I had physio that night but I had a pretty bad feeling I knew what the result was going to be. He confirmed that my quad muscle is super tight and that was causing the knee pain. The quad tightness was also confirmed when I used the foam roller and followed it with a fun suction cup session. The resulting bruises were further confirmation that my quad was a mess. Both are actually quite tight but the left it way worse than the right. My left leg is generally the one that causes me issues. There’s your fun fact for today :)
In addition to the treatment, my Physio and I had a chat. I sarcastically said something along the lines of “I’m thinking marathon training probably isn’t the best thing for me right now” and his response was that my thinking was probably right on. Yup, there it was; the one thing I knew but didn’t want to admit. My body was not in shape to be training for a marathon.
Here are the facts: I LOVE to race. I LOVE to set goals. I LOVE to set ridiculous goals that are sometimes unrealistic. Like giving up chocolate in order to follow a strict clean eating program – who does that? Or running 3 marathons in 3 months when I my last marathon was 15 months earlier and I haven’t been running consistently and I’ve been dealing with low blood sugar issues while running and I have a fair amount of weight to lose (about 30lbs or so) in order to be able to train for, let alone run, a marathon safely/injury free. But I set that goal and I believed I could do it. But I can’t. Not this time. My body has given me some pretty clear signs that it’s not ready for the beating it’s going to take while I train for a marathon. And I have listened.
So now what? You all know by now that I must have some new goals I’m working on, right? Of course I do! Right now I’m working on a few things:
To address the extra weight that I’m sick of carrying around, I’m following a clean eating program that involves colour-coded, portion control containers. It’s super simple and super fun. I mean, I eat x number of each coloured container per day. Colour and counting, I can totally do that! I’m also following the daily workouts that go along with the eating plan which include cardio, strength, yoga and pilates.
To address the running thing: I’ve sadly passed up my trip to Cincinnati this year. I really want to run the Flying Pig Marathon and though they have a Half Marathon, it’s not the same. It’s also not a cheap trip and I’d rather spend that money on a trip somewhere warm. Just wait, more on that in a minute.
I’ve switched my race registration for Calgary Marathon to the Half Marathon. This is actually kind of perfect because it will be my 5th year running this half and that’s a personal record for me! It will also give me plenty of time to eat, hydrate and change and then walk/run the 5K with my guy best friend as we did last year. PLUS, I’ll have more time to hang out at the finish line and take advantage of one of the benefits of being on the Board of Directors: socializing with others while cheering on the runners AND watching the 50K winners and many Marathoners cross the finish line. I’m hoping that I don’t get lapped by the Marathon winners this year and can watch them cross, too :D
Currently my next Marathon is scheduled for July 4th in Portland, Oregon: the Foot Traffic Flat Marathon. Yes, 4th of July in the US! It’s been a dream of mine for many, many years. Anyway, I figure that I have plenty of time to train for that marathon but if I have to, I can run the half there instead.
And now, back to the trip to somewhere warm. I know, it’s the most exciting part of this blog post: I’m going to MAUI! No, not just for a vacation (c’mon!) but because I’m going to run Maui Marathon! I got this crazy idea because this is the chosen 2015 destination race for the University of Calgary’s Marathon Training Program. This is the group that I trained with for my very first marathon: Honolulu! Yes they sure do know how to choose races. Of course I’m planning to complete the Full Warrior Challenge which is a 5K, 10K and 1 miler on the Saturday and a Marathon on the Sunday. I figure I’ve got TONS of time to get in shape for this and if I can’t run the marathon for whatever ridiculous reason, there’s a half marathon. Plus I’ll be in Maui so if I can’t run at all then at least I’ll be happy! Here's to new goals :)