I did my first running race since high school last Sunday. I was super nervous and it definitely affected my performance, but it was still a fun day and a great experience, despite the pain.
I caught a ride to the race with my running buddies Skye, Nikki, and Tori. I think being around them helped me from getting too nervous, even though I woke up with an upset tummy (and took an Imodium just in case, which made me feel worse). Pre-race was super easy. All I had to do was walk up and give them my name, they gave me my number and I pinned it to my shirt. After putting our stuff down, Nikki and I went for a bit of a warm up jog towards the start line. My tummy started to feel worse and worse the whole time I was there.
I lined up at the back of the pack at the start line since I figured I’d be one of the slower ones. I was having a mental tug-of-war about whether I should stay there and race or go find a washroom, while thinking that running races might not be the best activity for someone with IBS made worse by nervousness. I managed to convince myself to stay. The gun went off, or whatever signaled the start (which I can’t remember at all), and I instantly felt worse. I started my watch and it took at least a minute for me to get to the starting line from my position. I need to learn the art of pressing the button right when I cross the line at the start and finish.
Within 100 meters, I considered turning around because of my nervous tummy. This thought process continued for pretty much the whole race. Alternating with that was thoughts about the people around me, most of whom were alternating walking and running, which drove me crazy. I’m still a pretty slow runner, but I can run faster when I take breaks in between. It was frustrating passing people when they were walking and then having them pass me when they ran. It kind of made me want to walk too, but I didn’t. I tried to go for a 7:30/km pace like Coach Steve told me to, but it ended up being about 7:15 even though I felt terrible.
Just a bit after my first kilometer, I saw the first guys coming back (in the out and back course), about to start their final kilometer. Kind of crazy to see them going so fast. The fastest guy finished in 14:32.
Steve said to try to go faster after 2km if I felt like I could and I didn’t really feel like I could, so I didn’t. He said to think if I could go faster after 3km if I couldn’t after 2, and I still didn’t feel like I could, but somehow managed to pick my pace up to 6:55 without realizing it. My last km ended up being the fastest, even though I still didn’t feel like I went any faster. I passed my friends as I was getting towards the finish line and Nikki was standing near it yelling at me to sprint. I just had nothing left at all for sprinting. Once I crossed the finish, I felt so nauseous. I was walking and looking down and I think I heard someone talking to me telling me I did a good job and was really consistent, but I had no idea who it was.
Once I got to the end of the line, I remembered to stop my watch and met up with the girls to walk back to the arena for the awards. I had no idea what my exact time was because of my poor button-pressing skills, but about 20 minutes after the race, I got an e-mail from Steve with my time as the subject line and “You are awesome!!” as the body. My time was 35:30. Steve and I had set a goal of under 37:30 and my pipe dream was 35, so 35:30 was pretty good for a race where I felt terrible the entire time.
As for my next race, I was planning to do a 10K at the end of April, but still hadn’t signed up for it. I’ve decided that I’m going to wait until June or July or so to try a 10K race. I want to work on my diet and nerves and see if I can get my digestive issues under control, so I don’t have to spend 10km in total misery and can actually focus on racing. Steve wants me to set a goal for the near future though, so we decided I’d do a race against myself at Elk Lake (10km) at the end of April. The goal time is currently 80 minutes, but I think I can improve that in the coming weeks.
Before the race, I’d been running easy 4km or 5km distances at about 8:00/km. In the past week, I’ve done two 30 minute easy runs at 7:37/km and 7:33/km. I guess racing makes you faster. Or at least it makes me feel like I can be faster, thus letting me run faster. I’m pretty excited to see how the next few weeks will go.
I guess I’ve been slacking on updating this, since a lot has happened since my last update. I’ve done some things that scared me in the past, and now they’re starting to become normal. I haven’t really lost any weight in the past month, but it’s started to not matter so much to me.
On Friday, February 8th, Gwen and I set out to hike the Cascade Trail at Gowlland Tod. You may recall this hike was extremely difficult for me a couple of years ago. I had to stop every couple of minutes to catch my breath and kept trying to convince my friends to leave me there overnight because I never thought I’d make it to the top. I set a goal in October to be able to hike the trail by February 4th. Due to weather conditions and scheduling, we didn’t manage to try until the 8th, but it ended up being a lovely day. Gwen is in pretty good shape and had been doing the Insanity exercise videos for a couple of weeks, but she found it challenging too. We ended up hiking all the way up the steep part without stopping (aside from a second or two to adjust some clothing). We were both huffing and puffing, but we just kept going. It took us about 13 minutes to reach the end of the steep part (tons of stairs, and not stairs meant for short people like me), which was about 110m climbing over half a kilometre. There were a couple of points during that time that I thought I wouldn’t make it, but we did. I was pretty excited.
The next day, my run club decided to meet at Elk Lake instead of the usual road running route, so we could do 10K. Up until this point, the most I’d done was about 7.2km (with a little 5 min. or so break in the middle to meet the group). Steve told me to try to do 8km and that’s it, unless I felt like I could do more. Nikki ran slowly with me, because she’s awesome and sweet, and we ended up finishing the whole 10K in about 83 minutes. Not fast, of course, but I still did it. I drank so much amazing-tasting fountain water after and the best cupcakes ever made by Kathryn for Nikki’s birthday. I haven’t run quite so far again, but I’ve been regularly doing more than 7km without feeling like I’m going to die.
On Sunday, Lynn came over and we went out to try my new bike (or my friend Stefanie’s old bike, which is a cheap mountain bike with smooth tires for road riding). I’ve been pretty scared of cycling since I fell off the many garage sale bikes my parents bought me in university, which happened about three times when the bikes broke as I rode them before I gave up completely. That’s what happens with a $20 bike, I guess. So, this time, after that first ride, which wasn’t as scary as I thought it’d be, I brought my bike to Performance Bicycles for a tune-up. Dan did an awesome job making my bike even better than new and I love that the shop is right off the Galloping Goose trail, so I don’t have to ride on the street (which I’m still nervous about).
I’ve ridden my bike a few times since then, including an almost hour-long ride with Lynn on the trail today, and I’m quite enjoying it. I’m still nervous riding fast down hills, especially with obstacles like pedestrians, road crossings, and posts (always at the bottom of the hill) in the way. But I’m definitely getting more confident and enjoying it. I’m not the fastest rider and my bike isn’t really meant for riding too fast, but it’s a start. One day I might actually get a road bike.
That’s three things off the to-do list for the year. Next up, my first race since high school. I’m doing the Bazan Bay 5K next Sunday and hoping to beat at least one person under the age of 60. I’m both excited and nervous.
Ooh, twenty weeks of putting some serious effort into getting in shape. And I’m not quite at 20 pounds yet, but with the way my schedule is going this month, I’ll be happy if I don’t gain anything.
There’s definitely been some progress on the fitness front though.
I ran 7k with the run club last Saturday and will do it again this Saturday. Prior to that, my longest run had been a bit under 6k. I was kind of impressed with myself. I did feel pretty exhausted after trying to keep up with Rayna and Nikki for the first 2.5km, but paced myself after. My right arch was killing me for the last 4km, but I managed to live with it by pushing off more on my forefoot and trying to stretch it out as I ran. Rayna suggested it might have helped to relace my shoe, so I’ll try that if it happens again. My calves were hurting at the start of the run, but felt ok once my foot started hurting (or I was just distracted).
I had a really great strength session with Steve tonight. Immediately after, I always feel like he was taking it easy on me and I didn’t work hard enough, even though during the session, my thighs were burning and I was gritting my teeth to get through it. He added a new exercise tonight: do a lunge while holding a 10lb medicine ball, jump and throw the ball at the same time, catch the ball and sink back into the lunge, then walking lunge forward and repeat like 10 times. Kind of a scary thing to do in the dark. When he demonstrated the move for me, I thought there was no way in hell I could do it, but I did. I’m always surprising myself. Anyway, five hours later and my thighs are sore, so I guess I probably worked hard enough.
Back in December, I signed up for the TC10K race in April, but now I can’t do it because I’ll be in Ontario. I’m thinking of doing the Sooke River 10K the previous weekend instead. I really want to get a 10K race done early in the year, and then start considering a half-marathon. And yes, the idea of that last sentence surprised me too when it first came about.
And the things you’ll do.
I’m not making New Year’s Resolutions this year, but I thought I’d make a list of things I’d like to do this year anyway. These are mostly things I haven’t done before because I was too out of shape or not strong enough, and several that I was also afraid to do either way.
Things to Do in 2013
- run a 5K
- run a 10K
- run a half marathon
- learn to swim again
- ride a bike outside for more than ten minutes (and hopefully buy a bike)
- hike up the cascade trail at Gowlland Tod without stopping (where I thought I was going to die before, because I was breathing so hard)
- climb at the climbing gym again (but with less fear and more speed)
- go kayaking
And just so it’s not too intimidating, I’ll probably save these for 2014.
Things to Do in 2014
- run a marathon
- do a triathlon
- go surfing
Sounds fun, right? Anything else I should think about trying? What do you want to try this year?
Onto the new year and (mid-)week 16 of this new lifestyle.
I ran 5K on Saturday! Running 5K before the end of the year was a goal I set in October when I started working with my trainer. I wasn’t sure I could get there after taking about five weeks off due to a sore calf. I ran 4K with the run club, my first time running with them, the previous Saturday and felt like I could do more. So, I went back on Saturday and thanks to the club’s encouragement, I ran 5.13km in 42 minutes. Big thanks to Skye for being patient and running the whole thing with me, and giving me some form tips, and everyone else for waiting for us at the turnaround and running back with me. Skye told me to keep my shoulders down and relaxed and not to let my arms swing across my body, which I didn’t even realize I was doing. When I started focusing on my arms, I felt like I could pick up the pace (and I did, going about 22 seconds per km faster than the 4K the previous week). My shoulders really hurt after the previous week’s run too and they didn’t hurt this time.
I met my trainer, Steve, on Tuesday morning at the park. When I got there, I noticed a group of people doing a boot camp style workout in my usual spot. We ended up having to choose a new spot and I couldn’t help but watch the other group. I think my workout was harder though. I don’t think I’ve come closer to crying while exercising. I did so many squat and medicine-ball toss combos that I was almost ready to quit. But I just can’t quit.
Yesterday, I went for an interval run that Steve set out for me. I ended up going 5.45km in 45 minutes, including four 1-minute walking intervals. My time for the running parts was about 7 seconds faster per km than Saturday, so hopefully I’ll get even faster soon. I felt super exhausted during the last 10 minutes of that workout, I think partly because I did my warm up too fast. I’m finding it hard to hold a steady pace even with my Garmin telling me what it is (or maybe that’s making it worse). Saturday, I have to run by myself because I was silly and made a hair appointment during run club. I’m supposed to run 45 minutes at a steady pace (Steve says 8:30 to 9 minutes per km probably, but I’m thinking 8 to 8:30 is probably better).
Off to do my strength routine at the park with Carolyn today. Then I’ve got my first portrait session of 2013. Hoping to finish the 2012 editing and albums by the end of the month, for sure.