Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Look Back

What to say about 2014? Well, to be honest I have mixed feelings about the year. It was full of ups and downs. It started off with a bang, then a crash and burn in the middle before finishing off with me picking myself up off the floor. How exactly did it all play out you ask? Here, let me break it down for you. 

January 2014

BC 8km Champ
- Booya! A great start to the season including running a huge personal best in the 8km (27:13) at the Harrier's Pioneer 8km in Victoria. This race played host to the BC 8km Championships where I won my first BC title since I was probably 14 years old. It came as a surprise and I rolled with it. 

- January also played a roll in my very first indoor track race where I went down to Seattle with Sabrina and Mark Wilkie for a 5000m. Boy was that an eye opener. After a less than ideal race where I felt like I was going to pass out, I swore off indoor meets (still undecided if I will return). 

February 2014

Nanaimo Athletic Awards
- Finalist for Nanimo's Individual Female Athlete of the year. Won the award for 2012 but was not lucky enough to take home the win in 2013. Congrats to badminton player Melissa Liew for her win!

- Team Canada trip to Tobago for NACAC XC. My first National Team and it was an eye opening experience. While my race didn't exactly play out how I had hoped, I had a great time, met some incredible people, gained some experience and definitely left me motivated for the future. 

March 2014


 - I teamed up with Asics Canada officially in March! A great company with kick ass shoes and apparel not to mention stellar teammates (Lanni Marchant, Natasha Wodak, Rachel Cliff, Jessica O'Connell). *I have some work to do in order to keep up with those women! Thank you to Michael, Anne and Yves for believing in me and for everything that you have done for me thus far!  

- Another PB and another race win, this time at the Bazan Bay 5km where I ran 16:35. I followed this up 6 days later with a 16:52 at the (hillier) St.Patricks Day 5km placing 4th in a talented field. Two back to back races, resulted in a nagging hamstring which kept me out of the Modo 8km 8 days later. 

Auntie Erin
- I also became an Auntie in March to 2 beautiful little girls (Karys and Ashlyn). Coming from little to no baby experience, I won't lie, it was scary to be around them at first; however, I like to think I have slowly overcome this issue! They are growing up into beautiful children!  

April 2014

- Technically at the end March I headed off to Flagstaff Arizona for my 3rd stint at altitude, this time staying with Jonny and Amy. I tend to call Flagstaff my 2nd home. I love that place. 7000ft and athletes everywhere! 

- Mid Flagstaff I headed to Toronto for the Yonge St 10km. A spiffy (yes I said spiffy) downhill 10km PB in 33:28 and 3rd female behind blazing Rachel Hannah and Krista DuChene
- Back to Flag where I hit some killer workouts before ending my trip and heading to Montreal for the Canadian Half Marathon Championships. After 2 less than successful years in Montreal I finally got lucky pulling off a huge PB in 1:15:01 finishing 2nd (after Krista unfortunately became injured). I still remember yelling out "Sorry Krista" as I ran passed. 

- April is also when the year started to take a "bad" turn. April 1st is when I found out via Facebook (while in Flagstaff) that my entire work (minus a few people) received their pink slips to be officially terminated on September 25th. April 1st = April Fool's but this was no April Fool's joke it was a cruel twist of life.

May 2014

Ottawa 10km
- May brought on some pain in my lower left leg as I pushed through with some wonderful laser therapy courtesy Abe Avender at Island Optimal Health and Performance. Even though Abe was out of town, he arranged the treatment for me. I was able to get to the Ottawa 10km with the issue improving; however, the race was not to be. It was a good effort but I felt as though I had no power in my legs. In fact, I ran slower than I did the year before (35:38 vs 35:21) and nowhere near what I was capable of. Immediately after the race I noticed pain in my pelvis but put it off due to feeling as though my SI joint was out of whack. 

Partnership with Sundog Eyewear! 
- That was exciting. A twist of fate on the plane ride home sat me next to Oliver Mende from Sundog Eyewear who was able to hook me up with some pretty sweet sunglasses. Sunglasses are pretty the next important thing after shoes and clothes when it comes to running. I need my sunglasses all the time, except when it is raining or dark. Thanks Oliver and Gary for your support!

First hospital Visit
- A few days after Ottawa led to me in tears in Abe's office after literally breaking mid way through a run and hobbling 4km home. This resulted in my first hospital visit in ages and also resulted in the most pain I had experienced in a long time.

Near Partnership that Fell Through
- Nearly had a new partnership this month, but it appeared to fall through once I became injured. Some more bad luck on my side! 

- Had an interview for my own job. This actually happened the day before I became officially injured. 

June 2014

- June was full of not knowing what my injury was. It was full of trials and failures. Incorrect diagnosis via physio's. Cross training failures. You name it. Not much happened in June but frustration not knowing what was going on.

Asics Photoshoot

 - A fun time in June was the Asics Photoshoot with David McColm and the Asics Canada team. I didn't know it at the time but I was running on my stress fracture to get those photos. Oops. 

Still in La La Land
- No word yet on the job front. Still technically unemployed after September 25th. 

July 2014

- Finally my MRI on July 9th to confirm my injury was a stress fracture to my inferior pubic ramus (left). Nice to have answers but the diagnosis left me sad. 

Dr. Goodall
- Got in to see the local sports doctor who initially made me cry telling me I needed another 6-8 weeks no running only to change his mind a week later allowing pool running and elliptical.

- The day I got my approval to start my run/walk was the day I ended up spending the entire day in Emergency for a hernia I popped at work the night before. D'oh. This bad luck keeps going. 

Still no word
- Still no idea whether I would get my job back in September. Talk about stressful. 

Auntie Update
- They are still growing


Running Again
- I was allowed to walk/run. While I was grateful to start again, the 10 weeks I had off with no exercise was very evident. Wasn't allowed to work or lift anything for like 3 weeks post August 1st surgery, but I was permitted to run/walk. Comebacks are HARD!

Shuswap Lake
- A nice get away to Shuswap for my first time. Beautiful lake and hilly hilly roads to run on (at least in the area I was without access to a car)

Got my job Back
- I think it was August sometime when I finally heard I would be rehired into my same position but with less. 


Fired and Rehired (Officially)
- September 25th I lost 6 years of my work life. Back to square 1. Grateful for a job, but heartbroken about the loss. 

Still building
- Comeback is still hard but getting easier. Walk breaks disappeared and workouts began. 5 weeks back into my comeback I ran a local race as a tempo and was surprised that it wasn't absolutely terrible.

Nanaimo T&F Club
- Started back coaching with the track club again after a less than ideal spring where I was unavailable due to racing/training and eventually injury. 


- Turned 33. Can I stop now? 

- Still running, still building, slowly getting easier.


Gave Up on XC
- Was striving to run the National XC race at the end of November, but wasn't where I wanted to be training wise in order to give it a real go. It was a hard day to sit back and watch, but definitely the best choice for me. 

Auntie Update


BC Road Runner Finalist
- Nominated for BC Road Runner of the year against Asics Teammate Rachel Cliff and new BC/Canadian Natasha LaBeaud. These girls are smoking fast so I kinda predicted I would not be the ultimate winner. Huge congrats to Rachel for taking the award. Definitely a honor to be nominated along side these two. 

Strength Begins
- Begun working with Greg Howe out of Island Optimal Health and Performance. Excited to have him take my running to the next level along with my own coach Matt Clout. 

Hitting my stride
- I am back! Workouts are kicking butt and I am getting to where I want to be. 

- BIG things are coming in 2015, running wise and in just life in general. Happy New Year everyone! Stay tuned!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Taking Care of the Little Things

 "Strength training is a supplement to a runner's roadwork because it strengthens muscles and joints, which can improve race times and decrease injury risk." - Runner's World

It is well known that strength training plays a huge role when it comes to developing and improving as an athlete. Over the years I have done a little bit of strength stuff here and there, mind you random at home type stuff, but never had a proper gym session to follow. I believe that this has been a weakness of mine and quite possibly played a role in my most recent injury. While it is important to run a lot in order to improve, it is the little things on the side that help keep you healthy which in turn allows you to keep improving. 

In saying that I am pleased to announce that I have teamed up with Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Greg Howe and the Island Optimal Health and Performance Center. Greg is highly talented, well trained and the highest certified strength specialist at the center. With an athletic background as a former VIU Volleyball player, he understands the demands of training and the mindset of an athlete. I believe that this new partnership will bring me closer to achieving the goals I have set forth for myself in the upcoming years and trust me, they are big! I look forward to continuing to work with Greg and seeing first hand how he can help me with these goals. After only a few weeks I can already feel improvements (no lies). 

To my Nanaimo friends, if you need a trainer, I highly suggest Greg. Feel free to contact me if you would like more info. On a side note, a huge thank you to Abe (owner), Greg and Curtis (manager) for this setting this up.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Post Pelvic Stress Fracture

I suppose it has been a few months since I last posted about my first stress fracture which occurred in the inferior pubic ramus. Let me tell you, this injury is a bitch to heal. Stress fractures in the foot or leg etc you can wear a boot and go about regular activities for the most part. When you fracture your pelvis, you can't cast that. You can't really stabilize it in order to allow it to heal. You simply have to wait it out and hope that it heals on it's own eventually. They do heal with time, but just not as easily as an injury that you can stabilize. 

People consider this type of stress fracture race and I suppose it is less common than stress fractures in your feet or lower legs; however, there have been quite a few well known elite athletes that have had this injury and have recovered from it. It's actually more common than you may think. Thank you Dylan Wykes and Paula Findlay for your helpful tips and suggestions. 

Here I am nearly 7 months after the initial injury. 7 months, is that correct? Wow, time flies when you look back. Funny how it doesn't seem to fly as you are going through it. On December 28th it will have been 7 months since the day I took myself to the hospital. I am something like 18 weeks back running since my initial run/walk start after practically 10 weeks little to no activity. So how are things going you might be wondering? Well, things are progressing each week. 

Comebacks are not easy and I am not going to sugarcoat it and pretend that they are. Easy runs for the longest time have made me feel as though nothing ever happened; however, workouts on the other hand remind me that I had 10 weeks with zero activity this summer. Your body may not "forget" how to run completely, but it does have a somewhat delayed memory when it comes to remembering how fast you used to do it!

Each week I am seeing improvements (big confidence boost to see the fitness jumps each week) and feel close to my former self. It won't be long until I am fully back. I had been attempting to come back to run National XC on November 29th as I somewhat felt I had something to prove. In the end Coach Matt and I decided that it wasn't the smartest decision to race. Actually Coach Matt said that WELL before I finally agreed he was right. I could have raced XC and done decently well; however, why race and risk injury when I didn't feel fully ready to give it a real go. Not going to lie, it was hard to sit out, but I know it was the best decision for me and it will pay off. 

Only 3 weeks are left in 2014. Since the summer I have been counting down until 2015 when I would race again. Now 2015 is going to be here before I know it. Will I be ready? Maybe not in peak shape, but I will be ready to finally give it a go. Have to jump back on the horse at some point right? 

Thanks to my current partners Asics Canada and Sundog Eyewear for their continued support during these unfortunately last 7 months.

Stay tuned for some upcoming news.   

 Back to doing what I absolutely LOVE!


Saturday, September 13, 2014

All aboard!

This summer the train has been packed full of athletes that have been unable to do what they love, which of course is to run. There was Natasha Wodak, Krista DuChene, Reid Coolsaet, more recently Dylan Wykes and myself. Yes there, I admitted it. This summer has truly sucked. I was injured. All aboard the freaking Injury Train.

You might recall me talking about having a less than ideal race in Ottawa back at the end of May. A few weeks after the Montreal Half Marathon, I had some lower leg pain.  While my main Chiro Dr. Abe Avender was out of town, he set me up with some laser treatments at Island Optimal. It didn’t appear to be bone related, but the issue hung around a few weeks. Leading into Ottawa it did start to get better so that was a good sign. I went to Ottawa hopeful that I could run a good one. Instead I was left with flat legs.

Well apparently that was likely due to a stress fracture in my pelvis that came out of nowhere (I cannot recall any warning signs prior to this). I didn’t realize it at the time, though post race I found that I now had some issues when standing on one leg putting my warm ups on. I just figured my SI Joint was locked up again as that is what it felt like to me. I had the following day off and flew home that day. The next 2 days I was able to run without any real issues, though my lower back/SI still felt funny. Getting dressed still bothered me as well. I already had an appointment with Abe set up for the Wednesday afternoon.

Well Wednesday morning I went out for a simple 50 minute run and signs told me within minutes not to run, but me being stubborn I kept going and thought that if it wasn’t better in 5 minutes I would stop. It got better. I kept going. That was until half way when I pretty much broke. I still had 4km to get home. I debated walking, but I had a meeting to get to and not enough time to walk home and make that meeting. I debated hitchhiking, but then who knows how safe that is.

An undercover cop drove by, but I didn’t realize it until it was too late to flag him down. I went by the house of a former high school classmate, but I hadn’t really talked to this person in forever, other than a hello or wave whenever he was outside in his yard. I went by a coworker’s house, but I had no idea if he was home and I figured at that time I was only 2km to home so I may as well keep going. It was a slow hobble home, a quick shower and off to my meeting. I could not focus as it hurt to move, but I made it through the meeting barely.  

I got home and messaged Abe telling him I was debating going to the ER as I was in so much pain. We decided to go into the appointment and Abe would have a look first. I went to see Abe. I cried. I have since apologized, but it was a mix of emotions. Not only was I in so much pain every time I moved, it was also the realization that I screwed up and that I was injured because I didn’t stop in those first few minutes of the run that morning. I realize now that I was probably already injured prior to that, just made it a bit worse with the run. It was decided that I would go to the ER and I was given instructions on what to ask for.

I hobbled into the ER and the wait wasn’t too bad. I think I spent around 3-4 hours there. I confused the ER doctors. They did an X-Ray, but it didn’t show anything (I was given my results via Abe 30 whole minutes before the ER doctors got back to me). I was instructed to ask for a CT Scan, but the ER doctors wouldn’t do it. “Too young, too close to reproductive organs, we won’t do it.” Eventually I left with them telling me they requested an MRI and they put a rush on it but they didn’t know how long it would be. I hobbled out of the ER. The guy sitting in his truck at the bottom of the stairs would have witnessed a HUGE range of facial expressions as I walked down the stairs to my own truck.

I headed home for the couch and the next 5 days were spent basically on the couch and in bed, other than when I had to visit the doctor to get a doctors note because my work needed it to give me the weekend off. I also hit a physio on the Friday morning and he figured that it likely wasn’t a fracture and was probably muscle but he too was confused. Back home on the couch everything hurt. Every movement was brutal. Standing up, changing position, rolling from side to back and even sneezing were brutal. Oh goodness, sneezing was the worst (of course I had more fun with sneezing when the hernia popped up at the end of July).

After about 5 days I was able to move with more ease and less pain. A week after visiting the ER I went back to work.  Coach and I decided the season was over, rather than holding off 3 more weeks to do the BC 5km Championships. We would do the end of season break now and see what happens. I took the time off. The next 6 weeks were a blur. I had a few attempts at running, pool running and biking, all of which were a total failure. I saw a different physio who diagnosed me as having an nerve issue. That diagnosis changed into a hamstring issue. Strength exercises hurt but I was instructed to work through them so I did.

Finally I got my MRI date of July 9th. I went in for the test and unfortunately had a few issues lying still. I guess my restless body wanted to twitch galore so the tests took a bit longer as they had to re-do a few of them. Why does one twitch even more after you tell yourself to really concentrate on lying still? Right after the MRI, I was told the radiologist wanted to talk to me. I got dressed and walked into his office and I said “it’s a stress fracture isn’t it” to which he replied “yes.” He proceeded to show me the images and explain everything. While I was grateful to have the diagnosis finally, I was heartbroken. This radiologist just crushed my dreams even though deep down I knew it was a stress fracture. I even told my work in those initial days that it felt like I fractured my ass.

There I had it, diagnosis of a stress fracture (which showed some healing) in the left inferior pubic ramus with a stress reaction in the left acetabulum. FML. Goodbye fall.

Needless to say, it was a long long summer. Slowly word got around that I was injured. Some I told, some found out from others. I didn’t intend to hide it from anyone, but I also didn’t want to become the local gossip especially when I had no idea what the injury was in the first place. I dodged questions of training and racing. I quite simply did not want to talk about it. I was upset, I was mad, I was heartbroken. It’s awfully hard to sit on the sidelines and have people complain to you about how unfortunate it was they had to do a workout when they didn’t want to or how it was too hot outside to run. It isn’t until you are injured that you realize how silly these complaints are when there are people who would give anything to run. I apologize to ANY injured runner for when I have complained about a slow race time, bad workout, bad weather or quite simply whenever I complained about ANYTHING running related.

After getting the official diagnosis, I got hooked up with a local Sports Doctor who has been great. Dr.Goodall requested a ton of tests. So to answer anyone’s question as to whether I am too skinny and/or whether or not I get my period, I want you to know that EVERYTHING is fine in that regard. I had thyroid tests, glucose tests, hormone tests, vitamin tests. I can’t even remember them all. The ONLY test I came back low on (and by only 1 point) was Vitamin D other than my usual low normal ferritin and iron.

After seeing Goodall, I was approved for the pool so I went at it whenever I could. I think I was at my sisters for a weekend at one point, but I got in a good 10 days and then popped that darn hernia while at work. So the stress fracture happened around Ottawa which was May 24th and I went to the ER on May 28th. The hernia came on July 30th; more than 2 months later with minimal activity which means neither are related to one another.

Here in September I am now somewhat back into running, with a lot of lost fitness. My fall goals went down the drain months ago so at this point it is onwards to 2015! 

Spending lots of time getting to know the local lifeguards!