Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Year That Was 2016

I realize back in October I promised a blog about the Canadian Marathon Standards. To be honest I procrastinated on it (bad habit) as I gathered my thoughts and then on November 21st, I did sit down and write ¾ of the blog. At this moment in time, which I hope to elaborate on in the future, I am going to hold off on finishing and posting that blog. So I apologize to those that want to read it.

I will say that hearing the standards of 2:29:50 (A standard) and 2:31:30 (B standard) only 4 days before the Toronto Waterfront Marathon (and National Championship) was a bit disheartening and extremely crushing. Since World’s was 2:35 in 2015, I (along with others I am sure) was expecting something a long those lines. I had to run Toronto to my fitness and my fitness said 2:35, not 2:31 or faster so I did not alter my race plans. Ultimately the conditions (humidity) were not favourable for a fast race anyways and no female hit the A or B Standard.

But enough about that. After the marathon, I took 3 days off before getting back into training. I guess the one benefit of dropping out at like 28.5k was that I didn’t need much of a recovery. I took 3 days off as the break was still needed, both mentally because of the DNF and physically because even though I didn’t finish the actual marathon, I did do all the training leading up to it. Even the training takes a toll on the body.

When I got back into workouts, my body felt awesome. I was flying out there. Partially because of the recent altitude stint I am sure. I am sad I didn’t pick another race to do but it was likely smarter not to. As I get older I realize I need to be smarter and I am learning. In fact, after a stint of “flying”, I started back with some strength and suddenly, I was dragging my legs around North Nanaimo. Runs felt blah. Mentally it was hard. Even though I may be considered “elite” here in Canada, that doesn’t mean I am super human. I have days where I simply just don’t want to run. I generally do because I know I must if I want to achieve my goals, but some mornings I am literally dragging myself out the door. I think I even came home a few times and said “I hate running right now.” I knew it would pass though. It always does. 

I am also getting smarter with those little niggles. A couple times a few little niggles have acted up and once they have been around a few days I have adjusted training and even taken some unscheduled time off. I am learning….. slowly (and after a few injuries). Over Christmas I had a scheduled day off and then I was scheduled for my long run Christmas morning only to wake up with a wicked head cold. That resulted in a few days off and I must be honest, I felt guilty as heck. I know a few days training won’t make THAT much of a difference, but still, I hate to miss scheduled training. I don’t deny being stubborn.

Speaking of Christmas, it’s now 2017. Happy New Year! I just want to take a quick moment to recap my year and thank a few people. I am very grateful for my running as 2016 included my first DNF's (Calgary and Toronto), 2 PB's (Houston and Rotterdam) plus races that took me to Houston, Rotterdam, Calgary, Kelowna, Toronto and 2 training camps in Flagstaff Arizona. I love to travel so the ability to go away to races kills 2 birds with 1 stone right?


2016 started off well. In January, I ran to a new PB at the Houston Half Marathon (1:14:45) despite having GI Issues.  In February, I had a lovely run along the seawall in the cold pouring rain courtesy the Vancouver First Half. I spent March in Flagstaff getting in some solid training before heading to Rotterdam in April. There I ran my best time of 2:37:48 after getting stuck with nasty blisters at 15k.

Then things kind of went downhill. In May, I DNF’d for the first time at the Calgary Half Marathon after tearing my hamstring. June was spent cross training like a mad woman before getting back into training in July. July and August was spent catching up it seemed. September, I ran the Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon before heading off to Flagstaff again. There I snagged a nice toe infection that resulted in my DNF in October at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Being a bunny rabbit for the elementary schools

Now all that just covers my running life, it doesn’t even touch the fun personal life stuff. Let’s start in April which resulted in 6 months notice of my 2nd layoff/firing (in 2 years) from work at a senior’s facility. May saw the end of my 12-year relationship which brought on a summer and fall of stress trying to get things dealt with. Frick even this winter as I am still trying to get stuff dealt with but such is life. The end of September brought on the end of my employment and the start of the hunt for a new career (after 2 firings from my employer of 8 years, I might be done with health care).

Let’s just say 2016 was an interesting one and needless to say I was itching for 2017. It HAS to be better than last year right? We are one month in so far and it’s going okay. A bit of a rough start running wise (next blog) but personal life wise things are going well. I find myself in a new relationship with someone who has already attended almost every race I have done since meeting him last Summer.

I wouldn’t have got through last year without the support of a few people and businesses. Quick thank you’s. Let’s go local first.

Island Optimal, specifically Abe Avender. Abe is a HUGE support with regards to my running. I see him weekly for treatments so that he can keep my body in tip top shape. He never rushes our appointments and always picks me up motivationally when I need it. He’s been a huge part of my recovery process since 2009 I believe.

Knappett Industries. These guys provided some much needed funding this past year in which I was able to attend a 3 week training camp in Flagstaff leading into the Toronto Marathon. Without their support, things would have been a lot more stressful. I hope to make them proud in 2017.

Yvonne Visser and Chantel Went (RMT’s). I have been seeing Yvonne for a few years and she is one of the best RMT’s around. So good that she’s always booked ahead of time so recently after some hamstring tightness I made an emergency appointment with Chantel Went and I will have to say that Chantel’s skills are amazing as well. Nanaimo, if you need a massage, book with these 2 ladies and you won’t be disappointed.

Sundog Eyewear. You guys keep me looking stylish as I run. I cannot live without sunglasses so the endless supply is exactly what I need.

Pacific Sport. I just finished my first year with them and am grateful for their program so that I can use the gym and pool. This came in HUGE this past summer when I was injured with my hamstring tear. 2 hours a day spent on the elliptical nearly, I definitely got good use out of that card!

Asics Canada. I have just completed 3 years with these guys now (I think). They kept me in style with their new clothing lines each Spring and Fall, not to mention the shoes that kept my feet happy over all the miles I run each year. Thank you for that. I hope you’ll continue this journey with me.

Stoked Oats. I joined up with them this past year. Their oats are to die for! Simply amazing. It’s my go to breakfast before my races and as recovery food post workouts. If you have not yet tried Stoked Oats, what are you waiting for? Trust me, they are worth the extra money as they are good quality over the instant oats available for cheap.

Nuun Hydration. I think I am beginning my 3rd year with them. I simply cannot live without Nuun. Plain water is boring. Without Nuun I would be dehydrated as can be. I simply live the #nuunlife. Thanks for keeping my water tasting amazing!

I think that does it for businesses, so on the personal side, thank you to my coach Matt Clout for working with me since late 2008. I say this every year, it’s been a while ride but we aren’t done yet. Toyko 2020 right Matt? Thanks to you for your guidance and support and to Sarah for allowing me to take up part of your time, especially when you are up in the middle of the night following my races (Rotterdam).

To my family, mom, step dad, dad, step mom, sister, brother in law, extended sisters/brother, nieces, aunts, cousins etc., thank you for your thoughts during my races and for following along. I know my running causes me to be selfish at times causing me to miss out on occasions or visits and I apologize for that. Please know that I love and care for you all.

To Jason and his family, things may not have worked out, but I know I had support from most of you with regards to my races. Thanks for looking after things while I was away trying to make my running related dreams come true.

To my friends and former coworkers, you guys are always amazing. Whether text, social media or in person, I appreciate you all taking time to comment on my posts or send me messages. You guys always check in on me and always seem know how to pick up this athlete when she’s down.

Lastly, to my newest family, Warren and his girls, you guys didn’t come into my life until the later part of the year, but your support so far has been unwavering. What the future holds is anyone’s guess, but I look forward to the adventure .

Bring on 2017

PS. If I have missed you, I am sorry. I always miss someone!