Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Finding My Strong and Staying Focused.

With my pyjamas on and a latte in hand, I am finally taking the time to write an update. The kids have gone to their grandparents for a sleepover and the house is quiet. No hockey. No swimming. A free evening. Nothing. A rare occasion. So here goes...
After discovering I broke the second metatarsal in my foot by simply stepping on a rock in mid August while training for the October 18, 2015 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM), I diligently plugged away at a fairly intense cross training routine, covering 2.5-3.0h/day using the pool, bike, elliptical and treadmill (walking). In addition, I maintained my usual strength training and preventative maintenance routine, and was pleased to keep a consistent body weight in the low 120's and resting heart rate in the high 30's.  Initially I was hoping to still race STWM but with each passing day I came closer to the reality that it would not happen. This was a big disappointment but I eventually got over it and looked forward to again being part of the broadcast team with Michael Doyle and Tim Hutchings. The next plan was to race the Nov 22 Philadelphia Marathon.  I told my good running friends, Dan Way and Darren Lee, who planned to run it and looked forward to a fun weekend. So after 4 weeks with no running and then being given the green light to resume, I logged 2 easy weeks, gradually transitioning from soft to hard surfaces. I then successfully completed a track workout of 800 m repeats, faster than goal marathon race pace, which is always my target after any significant time off. This bumped my fitness confidence to a comfortable level, allowing me to continue with the build. I was so pleased to personally discover that all the cross-training worked! The calendar didn't allow enough time for my usual build but Rick and I believed that with my cross training and quality kilometres, I could run a decent race. I didn't need to run a fall marathon but didn't want to have such a gap between my April 2015 qualifying race in Rotterdam and the August 2016 Olympic Games. However, I did have doubt, which can't happen when you are training for any 42.2 km race. Later in the afternoon after my 800 m repeats, I had some discomfort in my foot. It wasn't the same pain from the metatarsal fracture but still enough for me to know it was time to throw in the towel and call it a season. Risking more damage to the foot, even if soft tissue, was not worth it when I already had my standard. I took the advice I frequently give to my kids by placing my need ahead of my want and told Rick that Philly was a no go. It was actually a big relief.  I was off running for nearly a week before my return to the fracture clinic so fortunately by the time I got there the discomfort, which I only felt when toeing off, was nearly gone. I took one more week off then began walk/jogging again on soft surfaces.
I have now completely nearly 5 weeks of easy running with absolutely no issues with the foot.
I did a tempo workout earlier this week and today was my first track workout. Again I was pleased to run repeats faster than marathon pace. Certainly not speedy when you look at the numbers but with each pregnancy and injury, this has always been the system that works for me. I am not afraid to take the time to slowly get faster. And it doesn't bother me to humbly race the shorter distances, even if far from my personal best times, if it means I am healthy and progressing. I believe I have gained even more strength this time, particularly due to the biking and weight lifting. I logged my longest time ever of 2 hours on the bike, which was actually quite enjoyable because I watched Derek Drouin jump to gold at the world championships. And nearly all of my weights have increased by at least 10 lbs. I am more muscly than lean but know my body will get to where it needs to be.

Now to talk a bit more about what I really went through between August and October. Breaking my foot was a more difficult trial than breaking my leg last year. Really. By far. At the time, my husband was travelling a lot for work and the kids were on summer vacation, leaving me to single parent more than I desired. All while not being able to run. Not a good combination. It was really tough. I felt miserable but knew it was another incredible opportunity to mature and grow in my faith, again believing better things were yet to come. My sister was integral in encouraging me, and the two major speaking engagements I had allowed me to be honest and real about my struggles. I spoke about blessings - God's favour and protection. But more about trials - painful circumstances allowed by God to transform our conduct and character. I shared that I was blessed with so much and loved God, my husband, children and running but that no one is exempt from the trials and hardships of life. Without running I had the physical energy to handle the dishes, laundry, groceries, cooking, and cleaning but was really struggling with the emotional and mental demands of parenting three kids who naturally fought, whined, and got bored as soon as we returned home from our summer cabin. I put my thoughts together and wrote:
I will choose joy.
I will run again.
I will be thankful.
I will do all I can to heal and stay fit.
God's plan is better than mine.
I continued to speak these truths to myself, knowing that this trial would soon pass, again being better for it.
It is too early to feel like I am on the other side of it and quite honestly, between now and Rio I will likely be hypersensitive to any sort of discomfort or odd feeling. But covering myself with bubble wrap isn't an option so I move on with cautious optimism. The next 9 months will likely be the most significant in my entire athletic career. My dad used to say, "Krista, you can't do everything" and I am applying that truth more now than ever. I have already started to say no more than yes in order to keep my plate balanced. Years ago when I contemplated the notion to run in the Olympics, I knew my best chance would be in 2016, particularly because all the kids would be in school full time. It seemed so far away but that time is now.
The goal is to prove my fitness in the spring/summer, all the while being prepared to better my marathon time, should the need arise. It sure would be fun to compete at the world half marathon championships as Canada is sending a team but we won't be taking risks in this build to go after secondary goals.

Doing 400 m repeats wearing shorts & a tank top on Nov. 19 at 15C. Beautiful.  

Spending more time in the gym than outside.

Pool running in low 60's builds character. Again.

Back at the gym. Again. First one there.

So proud of the big sweat puddle after my longest bike ride ever of 2 hours. Got to watch Derek Drouin jump to gold at worlds during this ride.

Have always loved eating healthy. No two salads are ever the same. This one: kale, quinoa, beans, various vegetables, chicken.

Leah always there, assisting me with my preventative maintenance routine.  In this picture, she is giving medicine to my broken metatarsal. Sweetie.

Was a pleasure to introduce iRun's Ben Kaplan as speaker at this year's Kenyan Kids Foundation Harvest Half pasta fundraising dinner.

Plugging my Garmin in again after a 4 week rest. Worth taking a picture cause I was so excited to run again.

Feeling somewhat like a heptathlete with various shoes (for the pool, bike, elliptical and treadmill). 

Seth in pre-comp swimming.

Micah in Minor Atom AAA hockey.
Leah in ice kittens hockey.

Speaking about my trials. 

Still loving this road, next to our campground, even if only walking.

Coaching x country running again this year was a super experience. Micah and Seth on the start line with their best friend, Jacob (on right).

Would still rather race than broadcast but it's the next best thing.

Spiffy new Saucony Rides on a warm November day in shorts and a t.

Checking out the gym before leaving for Jonathan's work gala dinner.