Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sticks and Stones may break my bones, and a Year of Halfs might too!

With 9 races down and 5 to go I think it's time to touch on the dark and painful side of our journey. Although running has impacted our lives in more positive ways than we can count... It's not all sunshine and rainbows!

Before Oakville Nutrience Half, Race #9, I was having some pulling on the inside of my knee. After an evaluation this turned out to be pulling caused my excessive IT band tightness, and was putting me at risk of tearing my meniscus. I was told to be cautious, rest, ice, tape, and foam roll as much as humanly possible.

After a week of this routine I had made exceptional progress but expected this to cause me some grief during the next race. Although the pain was minimal during the Oakville race, the pulling came on strong around 12km. I was concerned about the possibility of tearing my meniscus, and took some time out of the race to have Melissa try to loosen up the IT band (with her elbow...Ouch!). We still finished in good spirits with a time of 2:22.

I saw my miracle worker today, Dr. Sapna Sriram, a Chiropractor at Emkiro Clinic in Toronto. Today she did some extensive acupuncture in my hip, IT band, and knee; then followed that up with some Active Release Therapy and a stripping of my IT. It was far from pleasant but with some Advil, Ice, and continuous foam rolling I should be back on track. 

Over the past 8 months Dr. Sapna has effectively been able to minimize the wear and tear caused by our continuous racing with a combination of Acupuncture, ART, Chiropractics, and strengthening exercises. She has also managed to alleviate some chronic ankle and hip pain that I have struggled with for years... She must be an angel! If you live in Toronto and struggle with a chronic injury she's definitely the best around.


The moral of this story is that injuries are inevitable UNLESS you take the time to balance your training schedule with running, strength training, stretching, and recovery. It also doesn't hurt to have a superstar on your team like Dr. Sapna. Take care of your body you only have one!

Until next time :)

- Kaitlin 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Back on Track

Typically, Kaitlin and I write these posts together, adding insight and experiences that the other may not have thought about. Since we're experiencing this "Year of Halfs" together, we figured that we would blog about it together.

Today, I am writing this blog by myself. Not because I'm rebelling, or because Kaitlin and I aren't getting along. Simply because I am.

The past few months have been very difficult for me. As Kaitlin and I completed our 7th Half for 2014, we began a two month "downtime" to give our bodies a bit of a break, and allow us to focus on the preparations for Kaitlins wedding.

At first I though that taking a break was going to be "just what I needed"......I was wrong.

Although I continued to run a few times a week, there was no longer a focus. No longer a goal in sight for me to be excited about. I continued to stay active by teaching Zumba a few times a week, but quickly started to notice that my body was changing. I was bummed out that my fitness levels were deteriorating, but not motivated enough to do anything about it. I'm sure many of you can relate to the downward spiral that can happen when you're feeling like this. My eating habits slowly changed, introducing foods that were once forbidden and occasionally "cheating" on my gluten-free diet . My mood started to change. I felt GROSS.

My wakeup call was the Canadian Evening Half. The same distance that Kaitlin and I had already ran seven times this year, was EXCRUCIATING. My hamstring felt like it was on the verge of tearing. My body felt so tired and heavy. The worst part was that I knew, 100%, that how I was feeling was entirely my fault.How could it get this bad, this quickly?

Following this run, Kaitlin and I spent some time creating a training plan for the second half of our "Year of Halfs". I spent a lot of time looking at the habits I had formed and devising a plan to get back to the way things were a few short months ago. I had to change my frame of mind.

Finally, a few weeks into my re-focused training; I am staring to feel normal again. My energy levels are back, my focus has increased (not only on training, but also life in general). I am putting the appropriate food into my body, to allow me to train and teach and live my life.

This blog post is for anyone who is feeling like I was a few short weeks ago. Forget about all of the bad choices that you made yesterday. Find something to work towards, devise a plan, and do it. Ask for help if you need it. It doesn't have to be fitness based, it can be kicking a bad habit, performing better in school, being a better wife or husband.

And then inspire others to do the same!

Until next time.....

Thursday, August 28, 2014

4 Months - 6 more Half's

After a few months off, instead of feeling well rested and ready to embark on the second half of this adventure; we're finding ourselves under-trained and a bit nervous for the upcoming Canadian Evening Half. It seems crazy to think, after already running 7 Half Marathon's so far in 2014, that we could be feeling under-trained......but it's true!

This race will be one of the hardest races for us this year. Not only is it the hottest temperature that we will race in, it is also at night (which Melissa despises) AND to top it all off, it is a series of 4 out and back loops. As experienced in the Hypothermic and Winterman races earlier this year, out and back loops are torturous!

Regardless of how we're feeling, tomorrow night, at 7:00pm, we are going to lace up those running shoes, put our best foot forward, and finish race #8 of 2014.

Wish us luck ;)

Kaitlin & Melissa

Friday, August 22, 2014

A 50 Yard Finish for Race #7

We're back!

After a couple of months away to focus on Kaitlin's wedding (Aug. 2, 2014), we wanted to give a quick recap of race number seven before we jump into our last six races of the year.

For our seventh race we traveled to Buffalo, New York to fulfill our NFL dreams (or other peoples dreams!). The 50 Yard Finish started outside the Buffalo Bills Stadium, otherwise known as the Ralph Wilson Stadium, and finished on the 50 Yard Line of the official NFL field... Awesome!

Melissa went into the race feeling strong and eager, but Kaitlin was struggling with some health issues and was feeling nervous about how the race would pan out. Melissa reassured her she would carry her for 5 kilometers...5?!?! Kaitlin convinced her to try 1 kilometer near the end of the race. This goal quickly turned into a hilarious 500 meters of laughter which entertained all of the other racers around us immensely.

Silliness aside, we ran the race together and had the opportunity to have some of the best conversations we've ever had together. Life sometimes throws us some curve balls in our health, relationships, and careers but we have each other and running to help us come out on top!

It brings an important question to light when we look back at these memories. What does running mean to you? Has it changed your life like it has changed ours?

Until next time!

Happy Running :)

- Melissa and Kaitlin

A Fun Run in The Falls

We can't stop thinking about the Niagara Women's Half Marathon! What a blast!!
We will be recommending this race to every friend, sister, mom, colleague, and anyone else who will listen; for a very long time.There were bands, buff boys, a lot of encouragement, and of course....The Falls.

This was definitely a "fun run" for us; with no goal except to stop and take a #selfie at least once per kilometer. We had a lot of fun, and even ran the last kilometer or so in our sock feet. Taking the time to step back from "racing" every half marathon has allowed us to fall in love with running all over again. We would recommend it to anyone.

The only thing that we would change about our day would be Kaitlin's choice of footwear. Although she ran a few of her longer training runs in her new Mizuno's, she hadn't broken them in. This proved to be painful throughout the entire race. Although it might be tempting to wear new shoes/pants/shorts/underwear/shirts etc. on race day; don't do it! Just don't!

Until next time!
Kaitlin & Melissa

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Personal Best at Toronto Goodlife!!

After 2 unsuccessful PB's at Spring Fling, we decided it was time to take a different course of action. With only 3 weeks to recover and prepare for Toronto Goodlife, the focus was on tending to any lingering issues/injuries and working a bit on speed.

Since Kaitlin tends to run faster, and not give in to the mental"ness" of a run when she and Melissa are running together and chatting; Melissa decided to be Kaitlin's Pace Bunny for this run.

The day couldn't have been nicer and the course was amazing. We first expected fast and flat, but it turned out to be a nice combination of uphill/downhill and flat surface. Thanks to Corey Turnbull and Mike Stashin, we have been practicing leaning forward, using shorter strides, and running through uphills; as well as bending our knees a bit more and avoiding heel striking on downhills. At certain points on both up and downhills, we were flying by people, weaving in and out of the crowd. The most amazing thing about our running communities (especially our awesome coaches), are all of the tips and tricks that get passed on and knowledge that is imparted from one runner to the other; that is often used on the course.

So, Kaitlin did it! With a previous PB of 2:15.....Her Toronto Goodlife time was 2:09.16!!! Six minutes off of last years Army Run time, and 11-25 minutes better than our other 4 races this year!

This didn't come without some interesting events en route though. At 8k (and every few km's after that), Melissa became Kaitlin's massage therapist; as her neck and shoulders were very tight (time for a run effortlessly clinic). At 17k Kaitlin threw up after we took our last gel. And throughout the race, not wanting to risk her PB by stopping for the bathroom,   Kaitlin peed her pants numerous times. The situation was certainly not ideal, but she was definitely not embarrased by it. Sometimes you just need to leave it all on the course, AND even though we ran hard, we still managed to fit in a little bit of fun!

Next stop Niagara Women's!!!

K & M

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Well, that didn't go as planned!

This past weekend, we completed our fourth half-marathon of 2014! This was the first time, in 2014, that we split up and raced separately, in seek of a couple of PB's. This race was especially important to us, since it was held in Smiths Falls; spear headed by Corey Turnbull and supported by hundreds of friends and family who were both racing and volunteering. (There are too many to mention, but you know who you are, and we appreciate every one of  you from the bottom of our hearts!!)

The organizing committee had to make a last minute change in location, due to our never ending winter. Typically, the race is held on the Cataraqui Trail, but was moved to Carrol Rd. Our first reaction to this move was pure exhilaration! Neither of us had the opportunity to train on a trail surface prior to the race, so this reduced some of our anxieties. However, when we set out, Sunday morning, and started to experience the Carrol Road hills, I'm certain we were both dreaming of that flat(ish) Cataraqui Trail.

In the end, we trained hard, followed strict nutritional plans (including not drinking alcohol for 5 months!) and gave it everything that we had! We left every ounce we had in us, out on that course. In the end, neither of us hit our goal times; but we’ll be damned if we didn't try our hardest.

There will always be an excuse that you can muster up. It was too cold, too hot, too rainy, too hilly, too early….. We have decided not to take this escape route for the entire year. This is an experience that we are going through. We will celebrate the highs and conquer the lows; together, without excuses! After a few days off, and a few tips from our coaches (running, nutrition, sports therapists, etc.), we have resumed our training; as our next race is only 16 days away. 

In light of the emotional nature of Sunday's run. We're leaving you with this quote.

“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi

Kaitlin & Melissa