Sunday, February 24, 2013

Progress, Plans, and a Penalty Shot

Things are really starting to come along quite nicely. My broken ribs and hip/pelvis are handling the transition back to running quite well. I continue to have some pain in the ribcage, particularly when lying down and getting up, and can still only do breaststroke. The left hip is still a tiny bit swollen. But that's it. I'm experiencing a bit of fatigue on the inside of the right leg, which makes sense because it was the left hip and the right inside leg that was so weak. It always feels fine after a good night's sleep! Sherri said my pelvis was a bit more misaligned but that's not surprising since I am running more now, and wasn't able to do much of my core/pelvis exercises due to the recent pain in the ribcage. I will see her more than weekly if necessary.
Overall, I feel great. My body seems physically stronger each day, especially my core, glutes and legs. I am very pleased. I have consumed lots of my chocolate Emend and have made great use of my Saucony recovery gear for the ribs and legs! I think that when one begins a new training season, strength is a very important first step. And I am there. The speed comes later. And I can wait.
Since I spent Dec and Jan mostly cross-training, I'm still in the habit of totaling cardio minutes per week. Last week I did 11 hours of pool running, biking, elliptical and running. My mileage was 30 km at about 5:00 min/km with my longest run at 8 km. This week I did 12 hours of cardio, my mileage was 50 km at about 4:22/km with my longest run at 13 km. Slowly and steadily, I am getting there. Continuing to be patient and consistent is key.

Rick and I have set my tentative racing plan, which is very exciting. Details have yet to be confirmed but we are looking at:

Mar 24 Around the Bay 30 km, Hamilton.
This is going to be a training run. I won't wear racing flats and will dress warm and run with no set goal time!

Apr 6 Harry's Spring Run Off 8 km, Toronto.
Apr 28 Canadian Half Marathon Championships, Montreal.
May 25 Tamarack Ottawa 10 km, Ottawa.
June 23 Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon, Vancouver.
Aug 10 IAAF World Championships Marathon, Moscow.

My body is starting to get back to where it was last summer when I was training for STWM; I am ready for bed by 10 pm, I'm excited about the next morning's workout, and I want to eat even better than ever. For the most part from May-Aug, Rick and I will keep to my usual training routine, implementing a bit more mileage (160-170 km/wk) and faster workouts. I have been splitting my training on the weekends, which I've enjoyed so I may stick to that. It's easy to do an hour on the bike at home in the morning before activities such as hockey or church, then finish with the pool, elliptical and run later in the afternoon without having to be gone for so long. I have yet to figure out exactly how I'll train when the boys are out of school in mid-June. They are a bit too old for the childcare at the gym so I may continue splitting my training, including running doubles, in June and July. As for what I call "Phase One" of my diet, avoiding any sort of sweet or fatty treat has been no big deal. When others are eating ice cream, cookies, or anything like that, I am not tempted, usually get myself a big cup of tea, and the time passes. Moment on the lips, lifetime on the hips! I didn't think I would start my, "Phase Two" until May but I seemed to be ready now. I'm a 36 year old mom of three running the marathon at the world championships in August, so why not give it my all. When I race Aug 10, it will be the longest post-baby time period of 29 months since having kids. My previous was 22 months. I do not want to look back at this time in my life and have any regrets. There's so much you can't control with running but for the things I can change to make myself faster, stronger, and healthier, I certainly will.
I get many questions about what I eat as a mom, elite marathoner and dietitian. I will write about my "Phase Two" this week.
We enjoyed ourselves as a family at our oldest son's hockey tournament this past weekend. Between the hotel and pool, laser tag, hockey arena, and restaurants, it was a great time. Enjoy this video of Micah. He drew a penalty shot because he was tripped on a breakaway. Penalty shots don't happen very often. He didn't score but it was very exciting and it's something he'll likely always remember!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Pain will not Prevail

When you experience intense pain, you remember. And when you think about those times, you know how they compare to each other. After fracturing my two ribs, I now have a new personal pain ranking!
1. Childbirth x 3. Every labour and delivery has been different. My first was 52 hrs from when my water broke to when he was born. Because I ended up having to have an epidural (it was that or a c-section), I didn't experience the same labour pain as I did later with my others. But there is something to be said about 52 hrs! Labour for my second child was similar to my first where I was in labour but not dilating. I remember feeling like a wild animal caged in the corner while we waited hours for the anesthesiologist to come, only to have an epidural attempted twice, which did not work thoroughly (trust me, you know it's not working when you've had one work properly before!). From the time my water broke to when he was born, it was 14 hrs. Then, labour for my third was again different. I was induced with the gel this time (overdue 10 days, like my second) because my water had not yet broken. The gel was extremely effective but in a somewhat artificial way because your entire body isn't necessarily in synch. I was only in active labour for about 4 hrs with her, going from 2 to 9 cm from Brantford to Hamilton (30 min drive)! Dilation varies but I think it averages 1 cm/hr. You do the math. Ok, enough about this topic!
2. Fracturing Two Ribs. Yep, it's got the #2 spot. Sneezing, laying down, rolling over, bending over, getting up from laying down, and breathing was pretty nasty for about 10 days. The good news is that the worst part is over now. I have to take extra caution around the kids and with the ice outside because bumping the area would be nasty. We decided that it'd be best to put the skates away until next season because of this. It was a difficult decision and I will certainly return to it but I have to let myself heal and falling again would really set me back.
3. Wisdom Teeth Extraction. I had a dental abscess and dry socket when I had my four wisdom teeth extracted in my early 20's. I could not reach my surgeon and was beside myself, not knowing what was happening. I remember rocking in my chair in pain, back and forth, watching the clock to take my next pain pill.
4. Fascial Scraping. Having plantar fasciitis over the years, I've had a few people do the fascial scraping (aka Graston) on the bottom of my feet/lower leg.

I must say that having kids has been a welcome distraction to most of this (although the reason for the #1 pain!). I used to take my second son with me while I had the fascial scraping done. He'd hold my hand and I'd read books to him during the treatment. It helped take my mind off things. As for the fractured ribs, life goes on. It's painful but I have to get things done around the house; I can't sit and feel sorry for myself, waiting to get better. It will come.

I had a pretty decent week. Like I said before, this injury hasn't set me too far off the original plan. I've only lost one training day and have toughed it out. I still can't swim front crawl but can do some breaststroke. And I can do the elliptical, holding the handles with my hands now. I continue pool running, biking and running with minimal pain. I did about 11 hrs of cardio and my RHR is 32. Tomorrow's 8 km run will be my longest yet! I'm going to stay on the treadmill for another two weeks to be safe. Then I'll gradually get outside, starting with the trails then the road. Running Around the Bay is still the plan but it will be more of a training run. I'd love to complete it with a solid effort.
God is good. All the time!

I've been wearing this thing around since my back has been pretty sore due to compensation. Of course, heat and ice are in the mix. I had a much better physio session with Patricia this week because we were able to do much more than last. In only 10 days, it's much easier to get those pelvic/glute muscles engaged again because the pain is less. Sherri worked on my diaphragm as this is often an area of concern with rib injuries. Breathing exercises are now part of the daily routine!

I've been wearing my compression gear, which has helped keep the ribcage secure. Thanks, Saucony!

I'm wanting more of my post work-out Stacey B mixture of pureed plain greek yogurt, kale, frozen blueberries, protein powder and a bit of pumpkin seed butter. It's our favourite lunch for Leah and I!

And this is how it ended before I started my phase one (Feb-May) of no-treats-for-six-months. Phase two (May-Aug) will be even tighter. More about that later but it will likely involve a change in my grain products consumption.

This has been a great crock pot week. With hockey practices and other things going on, this is the way to go! We enjoyed some pork tenderloin and chicken this week and I cooked some Red River cereal in it overnight. I'll try doing steel cut oats this week.

So glad I contributed to the awareness of this. There were 96, 266, 266 tweets, Facebook shares, texts and long distance calls, which totaled $4, 813,313.30 additional dollars Bell donated to mental health programs. Mental health issues are often difficult to understand. My mom suffered most of her life from mental illness. When she was diagnosed with leukemia, it was much easier for people to understand.  

Micah came home with his "stories" book from school the other day. Most were about how much he loves hockey. But he also had a few other cute entries, including this one, "My mom is fast. She almost made it to the Olympics. She is the fastest in our family. And once she was the fastest in Canada (2010)". Love that boy!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Another Obstacle - Finding Strength to Persevere

So, I had a bit of an accident this week. After 20+ years of hockey, I'd never broken a bone or had a major injury. But this streak came to an abrupt end on Tuesday.
I've been on the ice a lot this season with the kids, helping with hockey practices, taking them to public skates, and joining them with their school. I've enjoyed volunteering my time, helping kids establish the fundamentals of skating and Leah's loved the opportunity to get on her skates too. Also, it's been a good way to get the glute and hip areas a bit stronger.
So, on Tuesday I was at the school skate with the grade 1-3's. With my skates on, I was holding Leah who had her skates and helmet on, chatting with another mom who is in Canada with her family until June when they return to the mission field. Ironically, we were talking about training at altitude. She lived in an area where many travel to hike the hilly mountains. I can't remember much more about the conversation because all of a sudden I had my feet knocked out from underneath me. I didn't know what was happening and heard myself scream while in mid-air. Leah and I fell to the ground. Hard. And I got the wind knocked out of me. Playing hockey, I'd experienced this before but this time it was much worse. I'd never hit the ground so hard nor unexpectedly with child in arms. I fell directly on one of Leah's skates. My first natural reaction was to see if Leah was ok. Many ran to my rescue and insisted that I not pick her up. I could hardly get up myself, was having a hard time catching my breath, and had major pain in my ribcage. I had been hit by a speedster, not watching his path. These things happen.
I was pretty shook up and emotional, especially because it was Micah's 7th birthday and afterward he kept skating past, looking to see if I was ok. I knew he was concerned.One of my desires as a runner was to always keep active as a mom with my kids. Seeing him hurting for me was really emotional.
That day and the next weren't terribly bad. I had already worked out Tuesday morning and continued with my usual training routine Wednesday but modified it a bit. I couldn't swim laps but could pool run, use the elliptical, bike and run on the treadmill at a moderate effort. Wednesday evening while at work, I chatted with my running friend, Dr. Henry who said the real pain was yet to come as part of the healing. I broke a rib a year and a half ago but it wasn't nearly this bad. Thursday morning I headed to the gym at 5:30 am and was really hurting. I only biked and pool ran. Upon returning home, the pain really started. That evening I had a physio appointment and Sherri confirmed that 2 ribs were indeed fractured. A few more tears were shed, hearing her say what I already knew. Patricia did a modified version of our session and they assured me I would maintain what I'd been working on with my pelvis and next week would be much better.
A few of the hardest things have been laying down, getting up, and sleeping. Like the later stages of pregnancy, getting comfortable has been difficult. I've been using my body pillow. To add insult to injury, I also got a cold and discovered that you can't sneeze without taking a full breath. Even blowing my nose has been difficult. Thankfully it hasn't been in my chest. Coughing would be difficult.
On Friday morning, I again woke up with a lot of pain. I so wanted to work out but knew my body was saying no. It ended up being a snow day so the boys were home from school, and the babysitting at the gym was cancelled. So, I listened, stayed home, and made a larger than usual pot of coffee. I enjoyed the family day and later a night out with some girlfriends, hearing Kevin Leman speak at the Full Circle, Lead with Love, Crossroad's Women's Conference in Burlington. I knew Dr. Leman would be entertaining so was glad I wrapped my ribcage with a tensor bandage before I left!
Today I am feeling much better. I was able to take my first full breath to sneeze, although it hurt terribly! I can stretch my arm up without pain and think the worst is over. Fortunately this injury won't set us back too far from the plan since we've been very conservative with my return to running. Sherri and Patricia will keep an eye on things at my weekly appointments.

I sat down to email Rick an update and I thought I would end by sharing it ...

Hi Rick,
Just thought I'd send you an update.I enjoyed my day off yesterday and did a lot of thinking. Life is full of ups and downs and I know I will get through this trial. Right now the Christian radio station has a program on about finding strength to persevere. It is based on professional athletes and they have some interesting guest speakers with great stories. How fitting.
The broken ribs is another trial to go through but we will overcome. Perhaps my hip needed just a bit more time to ease into the running so it may be a blessing in the end.
We just had our pancake and waffle breakfast, I have coffee and my Bible in hand, and the kids are playing nicely. Blessed.
I'm going to enjoy this last day of relaxation and eating anything because tomorrow is the big day. My plan was to go back to my no sweets or unhealthy food like I did before Toronto (for 3 months). Tomorrow is six months to the day I will run in Moscow so I am ready to get back on track again. I just had my last waffle and will end the day with one last treat. 
I rode the bike this morning for 40 minutes and plan to do my 2 x 10 minute running sessions this afternoon on the treadmill. Perhaps a wintery walk later too for fresh air and reflection.  I will continue to be very careful and use pain as my guide. 
In summary...
I. Am. Ready. 
Day one is Feb 10 And that is tomorrow!
I am quite excited to see the training plan you have developed for me.


Isaiah 40:31

New King James Version (NKJV)
31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Tour of the new Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre: Krista DuChene, Kevin Sullivan, Rick Mannen, Rick Sullivan, and Sandy Jackson. Kevin came to his hometown, Brantford, to speak at the annual Brantford Sports Banquet. Congratulations to NHL'er Adam Henrique, winner of the Frank Tomlin Award for sportsperson of the year. Honoured to have been a finalist with PGA Tour golfer, David Hearn.
Saucony compression shirt, ice pack, and tensor bandage with two taped broken ribs underneath. Leah frequently brings me my heating pad and ice packs, which is so cute. I guess it's become normal around here!  photo.JPG

Monday, February 4, 2013


James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Currently, Wesley and Tarah Korir are in Kenya while he trains for the Boston Marathon, they spend time with his family, and continue developing the Kenya Kids Foundation. When I read their updates on Facebook and Twitter, I feel a tug at my heart. I've written about my desire to someday go down there as a family; to serve using our gifts, give our kids an amazing experience, and train at altitude. There are a handful of other Canadian marathoners (Rejean, Eric, Reid, Lanni) training in Africa right now and I'd love to be there but it's not my time. But, I can let you know the needs arising. Recently Tarah described their current financial need to help with healthcare, schooling, and clean drinking water. They could also benefit from educational materials. You can read about the specific details here. After recently receiving my winnings from the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and the Canada Running Series 2012 championship, my husband and I were able to give to the Kenya Kids Foundation, and plan to continue doing so. Paul Gains wrote about it an a recent article, here.  

In the meantime, I will continue persevering with the many things I've been blessed with in this amazing country... 
I have a great coach who is leading me wisely to a full recovery. Read this article, here about how "A 'sole' mate keeps a runner on track".
I have a brand new washing machine that got a real workout last week while the kids battled stomach flu!
I go to a great gym that's close by with new extended hours, making it possible to work out before getting the kids ready for school.
I have an amazing, supportive husband with a great job, allowing me to do this marathon thing!
I have three sweet kids who are individual in their own way, and a great joy to raise.
I have great support from my sponsors: Saucony, Eload, Chariot Carriers AND most recently, Essential Physiotherapy & Wellness. 


So, I keep on keeping on.
I continue averaging 9-10 hours/week using the pool, bike, elliptical and treadmill. After this week, I should be back to a fairly regular, daily running routine! Sunday, February 10 will be exactly 6 months to Worlds so the timing is perfect. I've been increasing my running times and it's feeling great.  There is no pain in the hip but the legs certainly aren't as strong as they were a year ago at this time! It's all good though. I remember Mary Davies saying that she was fit, cardiovascular-wise but the legs just didn't have the ground work in them when she attempted the 2012 Ottawa Marathon to try to qualify for the Olympics to represent her country, New Zealand. She too suffered a possible pregnancy-related injury. Hey, our bodies go through a lot, having babies but it makes us stronger marathoners! We all know her amazing outcome a few months after Ottawa, as STWM winner with a new personal best time of 2:28:57!
I think the thing that encourages me the most is that when I run, my heart-rate isn't elevated nearly to the level it is when I bike. Between all my activities, I've averaged between 90-170 BPM. Walking has been the lowest and biking the highest. And my RHR at night is in the low 30's. Here's an article I found that assures me we've done the right thing while recovering.
I hope that I can gradually increase my running mileage to 160 km/wk by May when I start my build to Worlds. Working backwards, we'd aim for 80 km/wk at the end of Feb, 120 km/wk at the end of March, and 160 km/wk at the end of April. This works out to be about +10 km/wk, which should be o.k.  I'm in good hands at Essential Physiotherapy so they'll keep an eye on things. 

It's nearly time for bed since tomorrow is a 5:00 am wake-up to get to the gym and back before getting the kids ready for school. Tomorrow also marks 7 years since completing my first baby marathon in 52 hours. Talk about perseverance!