Monday, May 31, 2010

dealing with disappointment and adjusting goals

I've been kind of quiet about the running lately...why? Well, I've had a bit of a setback. About a month ago, I started to feel some nastiness in my ankle and calf. There was some swelling, some pain, some tightness, and a distinct feeling of lack of power in that leg. I iced, I stretched, I did everything I thought of doing and then finally called the sports medical clinic and got myself in to see a doctor. The verdict was achilles tendon issues and an angry peroneus muscle.

After originally thinking that I'd have to wait a week and a half to see a physiotherapist, I found a great one who could see me within a few days and she is great. She has been in the medical tent in Kona, she's an athlete herself, and she's been great in helping things go well for me. The first thing she didn't say was stop running. Instead it was "cut your mileage pretty much in half, stop running if you get to the point where your gait changes." (When I asked the doctor if I could keep running, she said "usually I defer to the physiotherapist...he or she can let you know if running is undoing all the work you do there) I liked that. Obviously I trust that she would say "NO RUNNING" if it was necessary. But since it wasn't necessary in this case, it has been nice not to have to sit on my butt and wait until I heal.

But that "cut your mileage in half" thing has made my training a little odd. Especially because it was right at the point of my longest few runs. It has been an exercise in patience and self-control. It is hard to look at my training schedule and see the runs I'm not doing. It is hard to look back and see some great training runs that were putting me on track to run a good race. It is easy to start to feel really disappointed and crappy about it.

So, instead I try to look at the runs that I am doing and I try to be grateful for them. When I first went to see the doctor and then to the physiotherapist, I went thinking there was a possibility that I would be watching the race from the sidelines and so far, all things look good for me to be right there on the start line. And that is great news.

I think getting to the finish line will be just as interesting a journey as getting to the start line. I'll go in feeling under trained and feeling less confident than I would have hoped. But if the day is a good one and I can get my head together, who knows, maybe I'll surprise myself.

So- if you have any positive mantras, songs that get you running or things that help you get through tough runs- pass them along. Covered bridges, here I come :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

i'll be back soon- and a trip to allium

I do have a post that has been brewing in my head...but until then, since my last post was about food, here's another...and well, it isn't a long post, just one to say that I had a delicious meal.
No pictures, just the delicious satisfaction of a great meal with some great friends.

Thank you Allium for a great meal!
We decided to skip the appetizers and save room for dessert (great choice. not that I don't think the starters would be good, but the desserts were delightful). The "hint of maple" salmon, that was apparently caught by a line and hook, was delicious. I almost didn't order it because it came with hollandaise sauce...but they made me a believer in GOOD hollandaise and I'm really glad I ordered it. The salmon was great, the vegetable "stack" of onion, kale, tomato, and asparagus was delicious, and the crispy potato? Yum. I went with their wine pairing- a "buttery chardonnay" and it really did pair well. Also good- Jordan's meal of chicken, duck, and cheesy mashed potatoes (with bacon-pan sauce).  Roasted birds and cheesy mash? Bacon? How can you go wrong?

There were four of us, so we tried four desserts. Of note were the "Sailor's Balls" that came with the banana split. Before we ordered, we asked about said balls and were told that they were actually chocolate rum balls. You pair the balls with the banana split and we reverted back to our 13 year old maturity levels...the plate really was a good sight. The sailor's balls though? Delish. I believe the words "when I am dying, please bring me some sailor's balls" were uttered by someone at the table.

I know this is random and all over the place, but it really was a great meal! (and of course, some great company)

Next post, a little something about running, goals, dealing with a change in plans, and why I've been a little quiet about it all...

Until then, if you are in Ottawa (for Race Weekend maybe?) I highly recommend a trip to Allium.

Monday, May 17, 2010

bipolar eater?

I was just looking through my pictures and decided that the things I love to eat kind of make me laugh. I don't take pictures of my food at restaurants too often, but here are two that I've taken in the last year:

The first picture is "PDC's Melting Pot" In that melting pot is about every variation of pork you can imagine. Pork belly, sausage, loin...all sorts of delicious pork...on a bed of the cheesiest, creamiest mashed potatoes I've ever had. The restaurant (Au Pied du Cochon in Montreal) is known for its meat. The fries are done in duck fat, the staff appeared on a "food porn" segment for Anthony Bourdain, and I'm not sure there's a vegetarian item on the menu.

The second picture is the Jerusalem Bowl from Fresh in Toronto. The bowl is hummus, grilled spinach, tomato, cucumber, parsley, red onion, sunflower sprouts, olive oil, tamari, mixed herbs, lemon, and chili powder on a bed of brown basmati rice. Fresh is a Toronto chain of vegetarian restaurants known for their juices, smoothies, and fresh vegetarian food.

Two completely different meals...and I loved them both. I loved the saltiness of the pork and the cheesiness of the potatoes in the melting pot. I loved the freshness, the creamy hummus, and all the textures in the jerusalem bowl.  Both were delightful meals, but were so completely different that I almost laugh at myself.

Anyone else a strange eater like I am? Do you stick with one "style" or do you you eat a little of everything?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

more pictures from Boston

I really enjoyed the city of Boston. It is a great walking city, in the parts I saw, there is a lot of green space, lots of trees, really nice architecture...and just a nice city to be in. Here are a few more pictures of our trip.
Faneuil Hall
Stairs in Little Italy

Public Garden

Mmmm...lobster roll

The only sunny and warm day we had- the day after the marathon
Flowers in the train station. They reminded me of our wedding :)

Can't decide if he's the tortoise or the hare.

Again, it was a great trip and I would definitely go back to Boston. I know I didn't see all the city had to offer and I know I didn't try nearly enough beer:
Anyone been to a new city lately? What stood out as something you loved?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

boston for spectators

Sorry it has taken so long to do this...but it has been a busy couple of weeks. So I guess we'll start at the beginning.

The drive down to Boston was fairly uneventful except that as we were driving through New Hampshire, there was SNOW...and lots of it! Now, you'd think that living in Ottawa, this wouldn't be a very big deal but we didn't have snow in March (yes, that's right...NO SNOW IN MARCH). Craziness. Anyway, there was so much snow that I felt I needed to take a picture:
It was like winter..
But I digress...we were going to Boston for a reason: the marathon. We arrived on Saturday and after dropping off our car and our stuff at a relative-in-law's place in Brookline, it was off to the expo. And what an expo. If you've ever been to a big marathon expo (say in Ottawa...which has a pretty good expo), take the size of it and put it on steroids (Calgarians-think the entire Round-Up centre worth of stuff). EVERY company that has even thought about making something even remotely related to running is there. All the big shoe companies were there, all the apparel peeps were there (lululemon even had a booth), the nutrition people like GU and Powerbar and Larabar were there, and then all the specialty people like Zensah, Recovery Socks, and Running Skirts. Plus all the big (and small city) marathons were there as well as Boston's local running shops... If you wanted ANYTHING related to running, it was there.

With Adidas being the big sponsor, as soon as you entered the expo, you were faced with this:
All Boston Marathon colours, all the time. Celebration jackets, capri pants, t-shirts, sweat shirts, hats, cups, sandals...everything in the Boston Marathon blue and yellow. Out of control I tell you.

Anyway, the expo was pretty cool, as was checking out the finish line:
The day before the marathon involved checking into our hotel downtown (decently close to where Jordan had to get the bus the next morning) and a little bit of sightseeing. We headed to the Faneuil Market (only in Boston would "Faneuil" rhyme with "Daniel") had some chowdah:
drank some coffee:
And just generally had a relaxing day. Of course we did some carb loading as well. I had to remind myself that I wasn't running a marathon the next day, so I didn't have to eat quite as much as Jordan...but when confronted with a ball of fried risotto with cheese and tomato sauce, there was no point in resisting:

Plus, I DID have 10 miles to run in the morning before the marathon.
After dinner, we decided to do a little more wandering and saw the finish line again:
When you are running across the finish line, the words are upside that your finish line picture says "FINISH" the right side up. Jordan was a little superstitious and would only cross the line the "wrong" way (not the way he'd be running it), but we did get a picture:
I hope the guy to his right ran the marathon.
Marathon morning involved Jordan getting up early to eat and get his stuff together in order to head to the Boston Common to catch the bus. Since I didn't go with him, all I know about his morning is that he caught one of the first buses, thought the bus ride felt pretty darn long, and even managed to catch a bit of a nap in the Athletes Village in Hopkington.

I got up just as Jordan left and also had to prep for a run- I had a 10 miler to get in and decided to make the most of it. I ran to the Boston Common, where I got to see thousands of runners waiting for the buses. It looked inSANE. There were runners everywhere...
I ran through the common, through the Boston Gardens (really pretty) and down Commonwealth Avenue...where I ran into the military. Strange.

I just kept running and running and realized that I was running on the actual route of the marathon- just the wrong way. It was early enough that I could tell where the water stations would be on my way out and then saw them setting up the water stations on my way back. 
One of the coolest things I saw on my run was the infamous Citgo sign that marks the 1 mile to go point in the marathon. I've heard so much about it that it was cool to run by, even if I wasn't running in the marathon.
Source (cause I took a picture on my phone, not with my camera)

It was cool to run part of the route, but the point of the day wasn't for ME to get my run in, but for Jordan to run and for me to get my butt to the finish line. So, after getting lost getting back to the hotel, and also getting lost on my way to the marathon route (shoulda taken the T instead of walked), I finally got there. 

I was pretty much on the corner of Hereford and Boylston- which is the last corner of the race. I'm not sure what the exact distance is from that corner to the finish, but from where I was standing it looked like it would have been a rough go. You can SEE the finish line, but it is still far enough away that it might just seem like an eternity. Luckily, there are a TONNE of people cheering you on:
(this is the second place woman trying to catch the leader. had the race been 26.4 miles instead of 26.2, I think she would have)
Getting lost wasn't the end of the world. I still made it in time to see the elite women winners (they start 30 mins before the rest of the race) and then the elite men.  The men's finish was a little unexpected actually- the winner ended up breaking the course record, so he turned the corner a few minutes before I expected him to and it was pretty cool think that I just saw a record breaking Boston finish!

Once the elites finished, the waiting game began. I had been getting texts from Jordan's dad throughout to the race, so I knew that he had been on track for a sub-3 hour finish for most of the race, but the last couple of checks were a little TOO close. It was nerve wracking to watch the minutes tick by and wonder when he'd be turning that corner. 

When I finally saw him, the time on my cell phone said 12:59. The race started at 10:00. I yelled as loud as I could (along with all of the people around can't hang out waiting with the same people for a few hours without making some friends and without cheering for the runners they are there to see...) and really hoped that it had taken him a couple of minutes to get over the start line so that his "net" time would be under 3 hours. I even managed to get a picture of him running for once! Usually I'm so focused on trying to find him and yelling, that I forget about the camera. Now, the picture I got isn't all that GOOD, but at least I got one.

I kept watching for a couple of minutes after he went by (to cheer for the son of the lady standing next to me) and then started the hike over to the meeting area. On my way, I got the last text from Jordan's dad- the one saying that he had finished in 2:59:44. I'm not going to lie- I may have squealed (and perhaps it was at the same time that my sister squealed in the shopping mall when she got that same news).
I met up with him in the meeting area and found a very tired, but very satisfied runner :)

We celebrated with beers and burgers.

Boston- if you qualify, do it. If you have a chance to spectate- do it. I thought it might be a little sad- going to a race that I will likely never have the chance to run. But going with someone who qualified and ended up running a personal best- that is probably just as satisfying an experience.
Oh- and when you walk around Boston the next day? You will see a lot of this:
The "celebration jackets" are everywhere I tell you...everywhere.

(sorry if there are typos...I'll edit another day :)