Monthly Archives: July 2013

Dude, you just got chicked!

For about 24 hours leading into yesterday’s 10 km race, I was questioning my sanity, and truthfully, I’m still questioning it. There’s no doubt in my mind I was suffering the ill effects of injury; nasty, painful aches in the pelvic/groin region. I couldn’t bend over, squat down, cross my legs, make any sudden movement, heck, I couldn’t even put my socks on without wincing in pain. So what the hell was I doing racing?

I told myself over and over it was a cycling injury, not a running injury. Dear Physio, who’s been extremely conservative in the past with me running with injury, would never have given the green light if he thought it bad. And then there was my stubborn, and somewhat insane, side refusing to wimp out.

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Insert nervous smile here.

I warmed up for 20 minutes prior with a 5 minute jog, leg drills, and a whole bunch of 1 minute and 30 second speed intervals. I did a last minute re-lace of my shoes, had 3 shot blocks at the start line, kissed my Rings, and was off.

130729bog3
Even Little Ring was questioning the decision.

Right away my mental capacity was struggling, my belly felt hollow, my pelvis felt like it had a whole library’s worth of books stacked on it, and Negative Nelly had invaded my brain space: “Maybe you’re not cut out for racing? Why are you out here? If you just stopped, it would feel better?” But I knew I couldn’t stop. I knew if I stopped, I wouldn’t start again.

I tried to focus in on a line I’d read from Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run the evening prior. Jurek says he shuts his brain off when running ultras, he doesn’t think about anything else other than the moment at hand. I told myself not to worry about the finish, not to worry about total time, not to worry about the other racers around me. I told myself to focus on my run, focus on my pace, focus on my foot turnover.

130728stayStay in the moment.

I wasn’t doing too badly with pace at the outset, but as the out-and-back trail progressively got warmer, my legs got slower. I tried to tell them to shut up, I tried to force my bricks for feet to go faster, I tried to dig deep, but there just wasn’t much there.

With about 4 km to go, I got passed by a dude, who had instantly slowed as soon as he got by me, which kind of annoyed me, I mean, if you’re gonna pass me, pass me already! I figured it wouldn’t take much effort to get by him, so I sped up, but as soon as he saw me next to him, he kicked his pace up a few notches. Yep, he was one of those guys!

I kept him in my sights and gradually reeled him back in, waiting for the perfect moment to pounce. As soon as I saw a white tent up ahead, I thought for sure we were nearing the finish corral, and I dug so deep, I was running faster than speed interval pace, I had that dude eating my dust, all the while giggling inside. Dude, you just got chicked!

No! Wait! Where’s the finish line? No! It should be here! No! I saw the tent! Nooooooooo! I WENT OUT TOO EARLY!!! And despite my legs physically able to keep going at that pace with the short distance left, the stupid side of my brain won the battle. My pace slowed, dude passed. D’oh 😦

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Finishing strong. (Note: the older couple behind me were 5 km walkers who wanted to finish strong with a run down the last 100 metre stretch :D)

JOG FOR THE BOG RACE:

  • 8:50 a.m. BG before: 6.4
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: 3 shot blocks (16 grams) no bolus
  • Time: 56:39
  • Distance: 10 km
  • Average pace: 5:36 min/km
  • Average cadence: 87 spm
  • 10:15 a.m. BG after: 9.0

130729bog1
Water well deserved.

It’s not a personal best this time, but I am proud of my fortitude to push through the pain and finish strong. Mind you, I’m still majorly hobbled today and feel as though my left leg is in serious need of a transplant – OUCH!

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Injury update: IT’S NOT THE GROIN!!!

It’s not the groin! It’s not the groin! It’s not the groin! If I could do a Carleton happy dance right now, that’s exactly what I’d be doing.

After receiving a frantic, Holy crap, I think I need a pelvis transplant email from me this morning, Dear Physio squeezed me in for an appointment this afternoon. He asked me where the pain was, and how exactly I thought it happened. I told him about my long run, and about the half roll of my ankle. He then asked, with a smile on his face, how much time I’d been spending on Holly Goquickly lately.

Turns out my injury was not a running injury, but rather a cycling injury. The injury was also not a groin injury, but rather a messed up, twisted sacrum injury.

(Note: A message from Coach NZ this morning also indicated it could be a cycling related injury… smart girl that one!)

I got a bit of an anatomy lesson in Dear Physio’s office… seriously, I felt like I was in a lecture hall, and he was the instructor pointing out the different parts of the pelvis and explaining their role in the body. It was awesome! (I think he does it to show me just how un-smart Google Doctor can be ;))

130725sacrum

So, from what I was able to gather, the long hours on the bike put massive pressure on my sacrum twisting it all out of shape. The twisted sacrum then proceeded to mess with the muscles (?) around my pelvic joints, and once those were messed up, the muscles didn’t know what the heck their roles were anymore, and essentially they became lazy, useless, painful blobs. To show me just how lazy they were, Dear Physio had me hold my leg up in a specific way and told me to hold it in place while he pushed down on it. I’d love to say I executed that with flying colours, but no, I had no power, nothing. Both legs went down in a heartbeat!

However, a few pokes, prods, painful digging, and other such torturous remedies on my buttocks, back (the twistedness traveled all the way up my back!) and groin area had me and my muscles back in control. Dear Physio did the leg test again and I held those legs up good and strong! I also noticed in the process – and exclaimed rather loudly – that Holy smokes! Look at those thigh muscles – they’re solid!” 😀

I swear to you, INSTANTLY, one side of my pelvis no longer had that tight ache, and while the other side did,  Dear Physio assured me it wouldn’t be long before that ache dissipated as well. He did, however, suggest I not run Friday, just to give it a day or two to recover, but said I should be good to go by Sunday.

Wahoo! Cue the happy dance folks 😀

Bulging flames of fire

Ring-Ring.
Hello?
Hi Dear Physio… it’s Princess… so you know how I’m running again?
Yessss.
Well, I kinda, sorta, totally, uhm, well, you know… I hurt my groin… and, uhm, I really need you to fix it… fast! 😦
AWKWARD!!!

Last Friday’s long run has left me hobbled. I’m pretty sure it happened around the 12 km mark when I felt my ankle half roll on a narrow pathway with hidden dips and had to quickly stabilize my form. I didn’t notice the ache at first, but hours after the run, I felt tightness in my groin area, around the inguinal ligaments, both sides – is that normal??? –  and at first I thought it was just like all the other tight aches I was feeling. But then, as the days passed, a few things niggled at my paranoia. Every time I picked up speed for something, like jogging across the street, or sprinting after Little Ring, I felt pangs of pain in the area. I skipped my run on Monday, but went out this morning, thinking everything would be fine.

It was not.

As soon as I started running, my whole groin area felt as though it were on fire. But with every stride, I thought it was loosening, and I didn’t even think about it the entire time. But after the run… HOLY FREAKING CRUD MONKEY!!! It felt as though someone had injected bulging flames of fire in there.

I tried stretching, icing, and Advilling multiple times a day. But aside from a few minutes of relief, nothing. And you know what sucks? I have a scheduled 10 km race Sunday. Seriously, could the timing get any worse???

130724groin
One of the many icing sessions today… and yes, I did use my pjs for a tourniquet!

I’m still hoping it’s just an acute case of tight muscles, but given the pain really hasn’t eased, I’m beginning to doubt that, which means I’ll be playing my Friday run and Sunday race by ear 😦

TODAY’S RUN

  • 5 a.m. BG before: 10.0
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: granola bar (14g) with bolus
  • Time: 30 minutes (5′ warmup/20′ tempo/5′ cool down
  • Distance: 5.42 km
  • Average tempo pace: 5:18 min/km
  • 6 a.m. BG after: 11.1

Have you ever experienced a groin injury? What did you do?

There’s no crying in running

A League of Their Own may have been talking baseball, but for me this past week, that movie spoke to my running 5,000 times over. Thank you Jimmy Dugan 😀

130721nocrying

“There’s no crying in [running]!”

But man, oh man, did I want to. Before even starting my run on Friday, I had pre-runner’s trots 😦 And because of the trots, I ended up getting a much later start to the run putting me out there during the top scorcher hours. It felt as though I were running through a thick wall of heat! And for about 30 minutes following my first walk break, I felt as though I was shrivelling up like a slug out there. I couldn’t push my pace, I couldn’t catch my breath, the fuel I had ingested sat like a bloody lump in my belly, and my body was heating up, dripping with salty sweat. And because of the earlier washroom issues, I was not about to waste any of my liquids to cool down my skin.

“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

The focus of Friday’s run was cadence. For 100 minutes I was instructed to keep my cadence up, my stride short and my foot turnover quick. FOR 100 MINUTES!!! That’s one hour and 40 minutes. There would be no slogging, no scuffling, no jogging. It was basically run fast or die… or, at least, that’s how I viewed it! So even when I felt like I was dying out there, my inner voice kept shouting: “GO! GO! GO! DON’T YOU DARE SLOW DOWN! DON’T YOU DARE WIMP OUT! DON’T YOU DARE QUIT ON ME! SHUT UP LEGS! YOU DO WHAT I SAY!”

I didn’t quite make it the full 100 minutes, as I was pressed for time with the late start, and it was either run the full time or get a good stretch in, not both. My body needed the stretch! However, I did do a 5-minute warmup before starting my watch timer, so I was pretty darn close.

FRIDAY’S LONG RUN:

  • 10:30 a.m. BG before: 11.6
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: granola bar 1/2 hour prior (14g) partial bolus
  • Time: 1:31:34
  • Distance: 16.03 km
  • Average pace: 5:43 min/km
  • Fuel: @30 minutes BG: 5.6 Honeystinger gel (blech!) @60 minutes BG: 6.4 1/2 Pocketfuel pack (yum!)
  • 12:45 p.m. BG after: 8.0

“Anything worth doing is worth doing right.”

Later that day, with my body and brain both exhausted, I collapsed on the couch. My shoulders ached, my hips ached, my legs, feet, and groin all ached. We didn’t have enough ice to cure the aches. I groaned. I whimpered. I whined. And my dear, “sweet” (note the sarcasm) Big Ring, looked at me with his best Jimmy Dugan scowl: “You’re the one who wanted to be a faster runner,” he said.

That was NOT the kind of sympathy I was looking for!

130721questioning

And so, I started questioning my goals. Why do I want to be faster? Maybe I could just be a runner? I don’t need to be a fast runner? I could just, you know, jog, or something? Think of all the cute shoes you could wear again, your closet is full of cute shoes, what’s the point in having them if you never wear them? These thoughts? Really? Are you freaking kidding me? Yeah, no, that is NOT going to happen. You are not a jogger, you are a runner. You are not a 9-5er, put in the minutes effortlessly and be done with it, you are a hard runner. You suffer pain. You reap rewards. You do NOT give up!

MSDLEOF EC028

“[Running] is what gets inside you. It’s what lights you up, you can’t deny that.”

And being a faster runner is what I want – pain and all 😀

The road that never ends

Holly Goquickly had her rubbers majorly worked over Saturday.

Big Ring and I hit the American roads once again, this time entering from a different border crossing, with the same goal of reaching the base of Mt. Baker, but with mapped out alternate routes if need be.

130714usa1It may look all peaceful and serene, but looks can be deceiving!

I don’t know what it is about these American towns, but somehow, they’re like the ON button for the radio in my head. And on Saturday, I was singing Lambchops 😀

This is the hill that never ends.
Yes, it goes on and on my friend.
Some people started cycling it not knowing what it was,
And they’ll continue cycling it forever just because…

130714usa2
Reece Hill Road: “Eff me! Will you never end???”

A somewhat stressful journey on a road that motorists seemed to think was a high-speed highway had us altering our route and heading towards Silver Lake instead of Mt. Baker. While the new route cut down on mileage, it didn’t cut down on ease.

The road was bumpy as hell with heavy pavement. My butt was growing ever sorer. I was beginning to wonder if I had saddle sores developing – it was that bad!!! My pace was abysmally slow on a road that didn’t appear to be going up. (Although later I learned we were on an incline for quite some time.) And it seemed every time I’d catch up to Big Ring, I’d lose him again in a heartbeat; he’d become but a dot in my peripheral vision, and oftentimes I couldn’t see him at all.

I started to think worst case scenarios. What if one of these vehicles hit me? What if Big Ring got hit? What if his body was lying on the side of the road, and I zoomed by so fast I didn’t see him? (Hey! My Garmin said I maxed out at 100.5 km/h, so really, anything’s possible ;)) What if we were lost? What if we had to knock on someone’s door for directions? What if that someone was Annie Wilkes???

When I finally caught up with Big Ring, my frustration and fears boiled over. I snapped, and then before he could respond, I proceeded to speed off on my bike. And, oh man, my legs were giving her. I was powering up the hills, zooming down them, and pushing hard through the straight stretches too. And when I heard Big Ring easing off on his pedals in my slipstream, that pissed me off even more, and I pushed even harder.

130714usa5
Angry pedaling = super fast cycling chick!

Unfortunately, however, I was only able to be a speed demon for about 10 minutes, after which, one of my earlier fears had me slowing pace.
Me: Do you know where we are?
Big Ring: Welllll, I thought I did, but now, I’m not so sure.
Oh frick! We were 100 per cent lost. In the middle of small-town nowhere. The plot of Misery flashed before my eyes.

130714usa7
Figure 8? Or bow tie?

We flagged down a motorist, who thankfully didn’t murder us, and got proper directions that put us back on quiet country roads towards home.

SATURDAY’S RIDE:

  • 9:30 a.m. BG before: 6.3
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: granola bar (14g) with partial bolus
  • Distance: 80.08 km
  • Average speed: 20.0 km/h
  • Time: 3:59:17
  • Fuel: @11 a.m. BG: 3.2 (1/2 PB and honey sandwich and raisins) @12 p.m. BG: 3.9 (1/2 PB and honey sandwich) @12:30 BG: 8.4 (Turkey sandwich and quinoa salad with bolus) @2 p.m. BG: 6.0 (1/2 Pocketfuel) @3 p.m. BG: 5.9 (1/2 Pocketfuel) 
  • 4:15 p.m. BG after: 4.8

I later learned that Big Ring has lived his life wanting to get lost on the saddle of his bike. Me, I like my detailed routes thank you very much 😀

From the flames of hell

June 29, 2013
Cook’s Country June/July issue
Grilled Chicken Leg Quarters/Grilled Jalapeño and Lime Shrimp Skewers/Grilled Red Potato Skewers

130629BBQ

Cooking for Assholes, you poisonous jerk, calling me a sissy if I put on rubber gloves to chop those jalapeños, you knew, I know you knew, that by saying that, it would be a sufficient enough challenge for me NOT to put those gloves on, and you were right, yep, right as could be. And me, I suffered, ohhhh did I suffer. It didn’t happen instantly, nope, it was about an hour or so later when an itch in my eyes had me rubbing, and suddenly, HOLY FREAKING MOTHER OF GOD!!! BURN!!! MY EYES ARE BURNING!!! MY HANDS ARE BURNING!!! MY MOUTH IS BURNING!!! STOP! STOP! STOP!

**********************************************************************

June’s cooking challenge came down to the crunch. The month flew by and before I knew it, I had just one day to accomplish my challenge. I frantically scoured the magazines trying to locate the perfect recipe. I didn’t want a recipe that would require a bijillion ingredients we didn’t have, but still I needed a good, strong challenge. After an hour of looking, the decision was made.

With the temperatures rising, it was high time I embrace the flaming beast (also known as the barbecue) no matter how much that sucker freaked the bejesus out of me! And instead of just one recipe, I would tackle three!!! Go big or go home right 😀

The marinades were all fairly straight forward, and not even all that time consuming as has been the case for previous recipes. And aside from the jalapeño torture,* (see note below) I did fairly alright in the preparation stage. It was the barbecue that was the challenge.

Big Ring, who I swear had twitchy hands the entire time I was in front of his barbie, kept telling me that barbecuing isn’t about following a recipe, or being precise in every step, “It’s a feel.” Uhm, hello, Mr. Barbecue, this is ME we’re talking about here, if you want an edible meal, you best be encouraging preciseness!

I didn’t have any flare ups, which apparently is a good thing, but I did burn the hell out of my cute oven mitts, I did sweat buckets in front of that face full of heat, and I did struggle like crazy trying to turn the shrimp and taters on those skewers. Seriously, impossible!

130629bbq4
Nervous smile.

130629bbq3
Three quarters of the food on the grill.

130629bbq2
I eventually gave up trying to turn them.

130629bbq1
Dear Big Ring, I need new oven mitts 😦

Everything I went through to get this meal on the table was 5,000 times worth it! It was by far the hardest challenge to date (my respect for Big Ring and his grilling skills went up ten-fold!) but also the most rewarding. The fresh, lime-infused juiciness of that chicken, and the hot kick of those shrimp, and the creaminess of the potatoes, oh man, my belly was in pure heaven. And I swear, before we’d even finished the meal, Big Ring was already asking me to make it again. Sure, I said, but you’re doing the grilling 😀

(For this post, I am only listing the Grilled Chicken Leg Quarters recipe, but I’ll include the two other recipes in separate posts on the 12 Months of Cooking Challenge page)

Ingredients:
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons grated lime zest plus 2 tablespoons juice
2 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (we didn’t have cayenne, so I used hot paprika instead)
4 (10-ounce) chicken leg quarters
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (1 teaspoon dried oregano can be used instead)

1. Combine garlic, salt, sugar, lime zest, 2 teaspoons oil, cumin, pepper, and cayenne in bowl and mix to form paste. Reserve 2 teaspoons garlic paste for dressing.
2. Position chicken skin side up on cutting board and pat dry with paper towels. Leaving drumsticks and thighs attached, make 4 parallel diagonal slashes in chicken: 1 across drumsticks, 1 across leg joints, and 2 across thighs (each slash should reach bone). Flip chicken over and make 1 more diagonal slash across back of drumsticks. Rub remaining garlic paste all over chicken and into slashes. Refrigerate chicken for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
3. For a gas grill, turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn primary burner to medium and turn other burner(s) to low. (Adjust primary burner as needed to maintain grill temperature of 400 to 425 degrees.)
4. Place chicken on cooler side of grill, skin side up. Cover and cook until underside of chicken is lightly browned, 9-12 minutes. Flip chicken over and cook another 7-10 minutes.
5. Transfer chicken to hotter side of grill, skin side down, and cook covered until skin is well browned, 3-5 minutes. Flip chicken and continue to cook 3 minutes longer. Transfer to platter, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, whisk remaining 1/4 cup oil, lime juice, cilantro, oregano, and reserved garlic paste together in bowl. Spoon half of dressing over chicken and serve, passing remaining dressing separately.

Serves 4.

*NOTE: The story of the jalapeños: I wasn’t sure how to cut them, so I did what any novice cook would do, I Googled it, and came across http://www.cookingforassholes.com. How perfect, how brilliant, I thought. One hour later, though, I was cursing him. Bastard, and his sissy comment, burned the hell out of my hands for two freaking days!!! And yeah, I am now totally a subscriber to his website 😀

Notes of a long run

When you run for more than 1.5 hours, things happen. Good things. Bad things. Wretched things. Wonderful things. These are a few of the things that happened to me on Friday’s long run.

1. DIABETES RUNNING EXPERIMENT:
Instead of running with my insulin pump latched to my shorts’ waistband, which is annoying as heck feeling as though your shorts are gonna be pulled down at any moment, I decided to try and wear it on my fuel belt. I brought the pump and its tubing up through the top of my shirt and had Big Ring latch it onto the back of the belt between the water bottles. And you know what, I didn’t think about it, didn’t feel it, didn’t get annoyed by it once. Brilliant!

130712pump

2. BURNED BY GEL:
So remember how last week I was singing the praises of Vega’s sport gel? Well folks, it didn’t take long for my tune to drastically change. Just one run; practically a record!

And it’s really quite silly, because when I grabbed that gel out of my drawer and saw it was raspberry flavoured, I knew that I should have just thrown it right back in, or better yet, out. While I love raspberries as an actual fruit – love them! – I do NOT at all like raspberry flavouring for anything! Yogurt, sugar tabs, jam, drinks, gels – I’ve been burned by them all! But the memory of last week’s run, and the happy shock of Vega’s orange zest gel, persuaded me to give the raspberry a go. BIG MISTAKE! Not even a half a second into squeezing and I was gagging. Even now, just thinking about it, has me retching. Blech 😦

3. DIRECTIONALLY CHALLENGED:
It’s no secret I get lost pretty much wherever I go. And so, when Big Ring and I started doing these Friday tag-team run/cycle days in the city, we were both sure I’d be calling him non-stop for additional directions. But I didn’t. One run. Two runs. Three runs. Four. Not once did I get lost. With Big Ring’s explicit directions written on paper AND again on my hand, I was starting to think my mind had transformed into the perfect little GPS.

It was that cockiness that killed me!

With just a few kilometres left to go, I knew I had to make a turn onto NW Marine to head down towards my final destination at Spanish Banks. I was waiting for it. I had my eyes peeled. I passed a few groups of beach dwellers heading in the opposite direction, and thought, hmm, they must have got up real early for those sun rays. The road was a familiar road, I’d ridden it tons of times with Big Ring – coming BACK from the beach! Oh freak. I looked up. I was already on NW Marine. What the??? Turns out I had missed my turn, and had run 10 minutes out of the way. Tack on another kilometre why don’t we!

130712directions

4. THE AFTER EFFECTS:
This run was supposed to be 90 minutes of a 5:30-5:45 min/km pace, with 5 minutes of intense running every 20 minutes and a 1 minute walk break every 25 minutes.  It ended up being closer to 100 minutes, which probably doesn’t sound like much, but tell that to my feet, calves, thighs, and glutes!

The top of my foot was bruised from the heat swelling and laces rubbing. The bottom of my foot had cramping Tourettes. My legs felt as though they’d been used as a punching bag for 10 hours. And my butt, oh my poor, poor butt, it was pained just by sitting!

Hello foam roller my old friend 😀

FRIDAY’S LONG RUN:

  • 9:45 a.m. BG before: 5.3
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: 2T Pocketfuel (12g) no bolus
  • Time: 1:38:07
  • Distance: 17.06 km
  • Average pace: 5:45 min/km
  • Fuel: @45 minutes: BG 4.8 Vega gel (22g)
  •           @75 minutes: BG 5.5 2T Pocketfuel (12g)
  • 12:30 p.m. BG after: 6.2

130712Spanish
And this is what greeted me at the end. Pure beauty!

Ps. I am no longer calling my long runs long, slow distance runs. When I compare my pace from pre-pregnancy to now, and when I’m incorporating tempo speeds into the mix, there is nothing slow about it. I’m just saying!