Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A race, a crash, and a nap

That about sums up my last couple of weeks.

After running around in winter wonderland for 2 weeks, we made a detour through Victoria to do the Pioneer 8km in Saanich.  This was the last of my 'firsts' - my first 8km!  Having already tackled my first 5km, I was a bit more prepared for a race faster than 10km - which is the shortest distance I had ever done prior to the 5km this past fall.  I'd have to say I now like the 8km more than the 5 or 10km.

Race reports get quite short when the race only takes 30 min!  Well, 30 min and 22 sec to be exact.  Our wonderful running team of 3 (Sue, Steph and I) set out to do our warm up on a cold morning.  A little bit of ice here and there but we all managed to stay upright.

The Pioneer 8km was also the BC 8km Championship - which definitely makes it competitive.  There were some serious singlets & compression socks out there.  At a very comfortable 11am start, the gun went off, and we all went flying down the hill.  The course was a very rural route through fields & homes, with the ever cruel run past the finish line at about 5km.

Besides a chilly start, the race had a great course and this was a (mostly) enjoyable 8km race!  I stayed with the same woman for the last 3km, but could never convince myself to pass her - lessons learned for next time.  Racing takes practice - which is the nice thing about shorter races - you get to practice more.  Having mostly only doing marathons in the past, you learn valuable lessons during racing but you can't practice them for another 4-6 months!  These lessons and feelings stay a little more current and hopefully I can work on them during these shorter races in these series.  In the end, I finished 7th in the race and 6th for the BC Championships - so for my first 8km - I'm pretty happy with that.

In the end, our team was decorated with ribbons, medals and gloves - sweet!  Too bad we didn't win that Dairyland picnic basket - reason to go back and do another Island Series race!

Then it was back to training - my new 'job' - full time (with mandatory non-running projects so I don't go nutso).  I made it a whole 5 days until I managed to crash my bike while cycling downtown.  No broken bones, thank goodness, but I did wonder that as I felt myself catapulting towards the ground.  On a wet day, without doing anything stupid, I just managed to get caught in what I think is an old cable car track - about a 2-3 inch deep vertical line - and automatically knew I was going to bail.  So, taking the low side, not even bothering to brake (to avoid end-o's into the intersection) I just went down to the road and curb.  Road rash - check.  Bumps & bruises - check.  Hit my head - check .  Whiplash - check (although I would find that out on Saturday).  Sucky mcSuckerson - check.  One passerby stopped to ask if I was ok - a better question would have been, "Are you stunned" - to which I could definitely answer yes.

My bike still in one piece, I finished my errand downtown and headed off to the pool, which I had pre-planned into the schedule for the day.  When I got to the pool I sat down for a bit, just to let some of the adrenaline/shock wear off.  I had a couple sore wrists, as they braced my slide for at least a few metres along the pavement (thank you gloves), but I seemed to be able to bear weight on them so thought swimming was ok.  I realize now, that swimming after an accident is probably not a good idea, but it's tough to know not to do things when you're a bit stunned.  However, I really don't see that the swim workout made anything worse, other than the fact I was getting a bit emotional when the swim sets were getting tough (I did not, cry, in my goggles).  Then I hopped back on my crash proof steed and biked home.  I was then promptly banned from running Friday night's session.  And I really didn't fight it.

I did the long run Saturday, and it went ok - I just warned my running mates that I couldn't shoulder check and needed a left-hand man in that department.  18km went by pretty fast and after getting home and eating lunch, I decided to call it a day.  That is when things started to stiffen up and hurt.  My neck, my shoulders, my back - blah.  It was a day of rotating ice packs, and by the evening I gave up and knew I had to buy some Ibuprofen.  So, about 24 hours after crashing, things will hurt.  About 24 hours after that, things weren't so bad, and I managed to eek out an indoor ride and an old man swim that afternoon.  But not the way I wanted to start my first week back - although now, it's done - my first bike crash.  Irony being this is the week I also bought an indoor trainer.  I was, however, commuting, not riding.  So things are looking up.  Some massage appointments, some weird clicks and pops, and a bit babying things along and I'll be fine.  Added bonus, I get to chuck the old helmet and wear my pretty new one :)  Things were much worse after the running fail/fall so I'm not too upset by this episode.  Although I did learn that unless you're bleeding quite a bit (ie my running fail) no one will stop to help you.

Then the naps.  And the sleep.  I hate to be that person who talks about how much they get to sleep, but really, it has been very interesting to see just how much my body will sleep if I will let it.  Now I'm not talking crazy sloth amounts, but I am pretty consistently smashing 10-10.5 hour sleeps with a 45min-1hr nap in between.  I think before when I was working full-time and doing as much training as I could handle, I was sleeping about ~8-8.5 hours most days (which I know is still more than most) and maybe only 7 hrs if I was getting up early to swim.  And I'm not really sleeping in just because it's fun, but I really am interested in how much sleep my body will take if I will let it.  And a 25% sleep increase is quite a lot for someone who already gets a 'recommended' level of sleep.  They say that sleep helps you release human growth hormone, although I do not yet have Hulk-ian pipes to prove this.....yet.

So that is a recap of the last couple of weeks.  I am still trying to settle into a routine.  Believe it or not, it wasn't very easy (or fun) to transition into this new routine.  I love what I'm doing but when your body is used to a certain pace and routine, it goes a little snaky when you flip it all on it's head.  I always had to rush everything and stack everything on top of each other to get all the work and life and training done.  Now it's a bit weird (although I'm getting used to it) to have that time to sit and relax and let my body just rest.  My system was so charged up on adrenaline getting everything done and definitely not sitting down and relaxing into the couch for too long, that I'm sure my system will appreciate the more balanced approach.  Time will tell what that means to my training and racing, but I'm sure for my overall health it's a good thing.

Hope the New Year is being kind to everyone and that you're finding some fun in this winter training somehow (my advice - bike inside).  Spring will be here before you know it - so enjoy the crisp air now!

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