Sunday, August 30, 2015

Letting Go

Sometimes the hardest decisions, are also the easiest ones.  It's a strange place to be when you can so clearly see both sides.

I had been holding out hope that I'd still be able to run the Victoria Marathon, or at least the half.  I would get to 3K on my treadmill and somehow think it was doable.  But the reality is, I'm scared to run after my kids, I'm afraid to run outside, and sometimes taking that first step after a walk break on the treadmill feels alot like "oh sh*t, what might happen?"

I had had two successful runs this past week with no pain.  I started incorporating a knee brace, and with that on, ran a 5K and then two days later a 7K.  But yesterday, I did my run walk, and had pain at 6.5, then again at 7.5.  I made it 8K before I shut the treadmill off.  I tried picking up my phone to cancel our hotel, but just couldn't do it.  Not because I was overly upset, it was just something too big for me to do.  So I had my hubby do it.  I sat and stretched while he cancelled our flights and our room.  I just needed to have that weight off of my shoulders.  These crazy distances looming there that I thought somehow I could acheive.

And with that lifted, I have nothing else on the calendar other than Winterstart in Banff, which is a 5 miler.  Easy enough that I can walk, and I'm there with a girlfriend, so will have company along the route.

I have learned alot this past Summer, and credit alot of it to my knee injury, but also to watching Ironman Whistler.  I was humbled by the marathoners, who after a swim, and bike, AND in grueling conditions, made that marathon look "easy".  When you attend a marathon on it's own, there is carnage everywhere near the end.  Not at the Ironman.  And I clearly saw that there is a better way to train.  I took a swim class in August through our city, swimming twice a week working on stroke improvement.  And I got onto my bike and started cycling at least once a week.  I've incorporated yin yoga, and just recently some pilates to focus on my core.  On top of all that I'm doing my physio exercises and icing my knee.  Truth to be told, I'm more active now than when I was just logging long distances.

With Vic off the table, I'll be cancelling my physio appointments, and taking time to just BE.  I'll be doing all I wrote above, and running no more than 5K's.  I might even take the next few weeks off.  It's also two days from my 36th birthday, so I've been reflecting on what some of my yearly goals will be.  With rehabilitation in mind, here how I hope to approach things:

1.  Take time off running until I no longer hear a click in my knee going up stairs.
2.  Get to the point that without thinking, I freely chase after my kids (right now, I'm scared to run after them at all).
3.  Once those two are hit, back on the treadmill and see how the knee is fairing.
4.  Get back outside and running on the road.
5.  Get stronger and faster at swimming.  I've taken out a Y membership so I can swim twice a week while my littlest is at preschool.  I am right now doing 1K in 1 hr.  I'd like to see that get faster, and I'd like to improve my endurance on my front crawl.
6.  Try out a cycling class.  Tricky due to timing, but I'd like to find a way to give it a go.
7.  Try a triathlon in the Spring.  I've looked at the Strathmore Diva Run or the Vulcan Tin Man.  I don't have a road bike so need a nice introduction, with a run no longer than 5K as I don't know where my knee will be at.
8.  Maybe, maybe, thinking a year away to next Fall, maybe a half will be possible.  Maybe not.  Not clinging too tightly to that as a goal.  Maybe a distant wish.  Time will tell.

I've had some say (and even myself) that my family has had a really crappy year.  It is true that it could be looked at that way.  But there is a positive lining to everything, and I have learned alot about myself, my family, my friends, and I truly feel blessed to see the world the way I see it now.

School starts back up here on Tuesday, and hopefully I'll be in this space more often!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Runner Down

The past two months were filled with year end school activities, a family trip to Vancouver Island, spending our days wondering when the next thunderstorm would hit, and catching some rays when the days brightened.  I also managed to run the Millarville Half Marathon, the Stampede Half Marathon, and the 5 Peaks Glenbow run.

Those first two halfs, and my training in between, I was on FIRE.  My times were coming down, I felt strong, and fast.  I recall thinking that it was too good to be true.  Maybe those words/thoughts shouldn't be uttered, because about 3 weeks ago, I went down fast.

I ran a 16K run in Victoria, hoping for 25 but my legs were so tired.  I checked Strava and saw that my kilometers were close to 500 on the shoe.  Holy cripes!  And I did a foolish thing.  Maybe.  I left those shoes there, and came home and the NEXT day, ran the Stampede Half Marathon.  That race was great despite the early start and time change.  I love the course around the Reservoir, the race shirt never disappoints, and this year I had the pleasure of my brother and SIL also running the course.

Dudes, then things crumbled.  That following week, I texted my hubby at 9K and asked for a pick up.  9K.  I don't think I've ever done that.  I trudged through and made it to 17.  From then on, I would near 4K and my knee would feel like it was being cut.  I've never experienced a running injury like it, and I've had a few.  I tore my achilles before Boston and was in an air cast, and I'm no stranger to IT injuries.  But knee.  Never the knee.  And here I was, 4K and I could not run.

A friend referred me to a great physio close to home, who told me it was Runners Knee as well as Quadricep Tendonitis.  I have been receiving acupuncture and some torturous ultrasound as well as wearing Kinesiology tape 24/7.  I saw Chiro last week who told me that my knee is showing the symptoms, but she thinks it is due to tight hip flexors and that my SI was locked.

I am doing EVERYTHING I can to try and beat this.

Yoga - almost daily now since my brother sent me some Yin Yoga tapes.
Icing twice daily
Rolling as allowed
And running as far as I can before pain.

I made it 10K on the treadmill this past weekend and had to stop to put my kids to bed.  Coming down the stairs was NOT good.  I made it 1K more and decided I needed to be smart and stop.

I was doing SO well maintaining a half marathon base after Vancouver, and this is honestly killing me.  I run not for fitness, but because it gives me time just for me.  To get my mind cleared as I pound the pavement.  To process and deal with things I need time to think through.  Space to take in the air and beauty around me.  I just do not get that same release in a 25 minute run.

I'm sad dudes and am close to having to make some hard decisions about an upcoming 5Peaks race this coming weekend, but more so, my Fall marathon.  I should be running kilometers around the 25K mark and I can't manage 11 comfortably.  My physio said that physiologically a half is the same as a full.  But to me I know it's not for my body.  I don't know what to do.  My heart knows where it is leaning though, I'm just holding back.

Last night my hubby and I were out for our anniversary date and at one point he gently said "do you know you've been talking about endurance sports for over an hour".  Cripes.  I need an outlet.  Maybe laying it all out here will help.  And I'm starting swim lessons Tuesday and getting better acquainted with my bike.

But wow do I miss my running shoes.

Have you ever had an injury that's taken you out for awhile?  How did you cope physically and emotionally?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Taking Risks

I feel lucky to know through the online world, and in my family, atheltes who push themselves, and take risks.  It's really shown me this year that I can push myself as well and take risks of my own.

Taking risks to me feels alot what I'm sure I'd feel if I was standing up at the top of a very high diving board.  It's SCARY.  Can I do it?  Should I do it? And the "what if I fail?"  (I've come to realize I'm a bit of a Type A).  But if we don't push ourselves, do we really know our limits?

I can easily say that each of my Marathons from Boston onwards, have been risks for me.  And it makes sense to me that a marathon feels risky.  There are SO many factors that go into play in a marathon - the distance, the weather, nutrition, your body.  But what about those smaller risks?

Pre-kids, I would venture out on trail runs with a fellow running partner.  Rick was amazing.  Knew the mountains and Nosehill like the back of his hand.  All I had to do was follow along.  Time has passed, and when my littlest started an unparented program a few weeks ago, just a short ways from NoseHill, I thought "can I run this solo and NOT get lost?" (I get lost alot folks).  For the first two weeks of her program, I knit in a coffee shop, then I thought "what is there to lose?"  Nothing really.  Just getting lost - ha!  But I did it.  I went three weeks ago and followed the trails. Meandering here and there wherever my desire led me. And it was FUN.  And last week, I added on an extra 2 kilometers, and you know what?  At the last K I actually knew where I was!  Today, it was pouring rain, and I woke up to see it was National Running Day.  I thought about skipping it, but then I knew if I did that I'd be looking at the treadmill later on.  So I dropped my kids off, and headed out in the rain.  It was BEAUTIFUL.  The park was quiet, the trails were muddy, it was so green and lush, and I didn't realize how wet I was until I STOPPED running.  Each week I'm getting braver on the trails.

I took a deep breath, and I signed up for this.

It's "only" 12.5K.  But the elevation changes, and the hills scare me.  Can I do this?  Yes (I'll just keep repeating this).  The worst that will happen is it will be a lovely hike.  I'm doing it.  Taking a risk.  Testing my limits.  I have two 5 Peaks Enduro runs coming in the Summer so this is a good prep.  Getting off the road and trying something new.

Where are you taking risks right now?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Exciting Knitting Announcement!

This blog has lately been filled with a lot of running.  Fairly enough since training for a marathon is an almost full time consuming passion.  HOWEVER, I do still find some time to fit in some stitches.

When my youngest daughter potty trained, I quickly changed her diaper basket into a knitting basket, and it sits nicely at the end of our couch.  One project started, another one joined it, (and another), and quickly it was near overflowing.  I've been working hard to empty the basket (mostly because I really want to cast on a pair of socks).

My eldest daughter turned 8 a week ago, and I ordered some special yarn from the US to make her a ballet shrug.  More often than not she would be cold at ballet class during the winter so this seemed like a great solution.  The pattern search however was not.  Knitting patterns are not cheap, and lately pattern price seems to have taken another leap.  Some costing anywhere from $6-$10.  I don't mind spending the money if I know I will use the pattern more than once, but likely for a kids pattern like a shrug, I won't.  A little daunted, I set about altering this adult pattern.  One I have knit for myself.  Calculations set, I cast on, and.... it worked!  It fits her like a charm, and I even had enough yarn to make the arms full length and with thumb holes (because who doesn't love thumb holes?)

One down in the basket.

Next in the basket was a capelet for my Mom.  I started this project for her 60th birthday.... two years ago.  Gosh wow seriously.  I was having knitting guilt everytime I passed out a finished project and it wasn't hers.  That included Christmas gifts, birthday gifts.  It was becoming a knitterly heavy burden.  Ballet shrug done, I picked that capelet back up, and cast it off this past weekend. It's beautiful, but I am glad to not see another p5tog for a while (that means purling 5 stitches together.  A feat that my needles are not very fond of).

Finally (and here comes the annoucement), is my icelandic sweater.  I finished up the arms this past weekend and have joined the arms to the body, so only have the yoke to go.  I'm excited to be entering it into the Western Showcase.  Every year at the Calgary Stampede,there is an art showcase tucked away in the corner of one of the buildings, wonderfully placed by the wine pavillion.  There are paintings, quilts, cakes, and oh yes, knitting and crochet.  Two (?) years ago I entered in two of my knits.  I loved seeing them on display and even won a ribbon.  The icelandic sweater is pretty unique in that the yarn is actually from iceland, as is the pattern, and I made a number of alterations on it to have a proper fit.  When I realized a couple of weeks ago I could have it completed to submit, I became determined to get it done.  I checked the brochure this morning and I have about a month left to get er done.

Once the sweater is complete, I will have a cowl left in my basket, and then SOCKS.  That should correspond nicely to the start of summer, where knitting socks is a wonderful light project.

What do you have in your basket right now?

Monday, May 11, 2015

BMO Vancouver Marathon Race Review

I've been home for a week now since running the BMO Marathon, and have already laced back up my shoes twice to run!
I was in the 4th corral.  They did a countdown for each corral to start.  I had batman in mine!
Vancouver was more than expected.  Both in scenery, and also on the course.  It was a TOUGH run.  I've been trying to think about what made the course so difficult - the rolling hills? The major climb at the 8K mark, or perhaps the heat?  A friend texted me an article where an elite runner was being interviewed and he described the course as "rough".  Two other BMO finishers I saw in Calgary on Saturday said that they run it every year but saw more "carnage" this year.  

My favorite section of the course
Putting the difficulty aside, I cut a whopping 21 minutes off my Calgary finish time from not quite a year ago.  I finished in 4:27 laying out EVERYTHING I had on the course.  Physically, mentally, and emotionally.  It is the first time I hit a mental wall at only 19K and cried after crossing the finish line.  When I hit the mental wall, my calf was starting to seize up, and I could feel my hip flexor tensing.  Thankfully it came and went over the course and wasn't persistent.  Initially I was going to run without my phone but I was glad I did.  It came in very handy at 21K to start texting my girlfriend and my hubby to get some much needed mental support.  At 39K I was pretty sure the seawall would never end.  I was running without headphones (probably not a repeat at another 42K event), so I turned on the tunes on my phone.  I figured it would either also help the rest of the runners around me, or encourage them to run faster ha ha.  We rocked it out to Pat Benatars "Hit it with your best shot" to help get us to the end.

Hello ocean! 
So what brought down my time by 21 minutes?

Calgary:  Sometimes I only got in 2 runs a week
Vancouver: I ran a minimum of 3 times a week, usually 4 times a week

Calgary: All my runs were at the same pace
Vancouver: I incorporated both speed and hill training

Calgary: Some runs only saw 3.5K as a distance
Vancouver: My runs were a minimum of 5K

Calgary: No mid week long run
Vancouver: I had a mid week long run of at least 10K that I did steady, no walk breaks

Big difference heh?  This past January when I laced up my shoes to train for Van, it was the first time I actually trained for a race since 2006.  Training shows results!!!

I really went into Van wanting to see a 4:20, given my long run pace would have brought me in to that.  But race day played some different elements.  I was reading back through old posts, and saw in 2014 I wanted to run a 4:30 marathon again.  It gave me perspective (as well as LOTS of perspective graciously and lovingly given from friends and family).  A week post I'm owning my 4:27 and am looking at my training and thinking on what I can do to tick furthur minutes and seconds off.

My parents are awesome cheerleaders.  I saw them 4 times on the course!  This was marathon #6 they've cheered for me at!
Realistically I know I can't add any more runs or distance to my week, as I need to strike a balance with my family.  But what I can add in is on days I had previously taken off, add in a day of core or yoga.  Both would be good for me and might be fun for my kids to do with me.  My next Marathon is this coming fall and will also involve some rolling hills.  I'll be adding more hill repeats into rotation!

So true.
Thanks Vancouver.  It was a fun, hard, heart opening challenge.  I came away from it wanting to try it again, just to see if I can conquer some of the mental walls I faced.  One year I'll be back (and hopefully sooner than another 11 year jag!)


A great marathon finishes at a Starbucks ;)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

It Takes A Village

I'm knee deep getting read to head to Vancouver for the Marathon this weekend.  All I can think of is this is a bit like nesting before you have a baby (I realize that is a crazy comparison).  I started packing yesterday, which led to purging two garbage bags of clothes out of my closet.  I briefly tried moving our bed to a different side of the room and finally decided it was both too heavy, and probably something I shouldn't attempt with a few days to go before a race.  But I've cleared out clutter, and this morning I found myself with ten minutes before needing to leave for the school bus cleaning out the coffee shelf in our pantry.

And if I'm like any other Mom out there leaving her kids for a weekend, I have a list of things I want to do before I go.  Like clean the bathrooms, vacuum the floors, stock the fridge full (check!), and to add to that list, party prep for my soon to be 8 year old.  Hard to believe my eldest turns eight this coming Tuesday.

My race plan is to treat it like a long run until 30K and if I have still have more to give to push it from that point onwards.  My long run pace should see me in at a time of 4:20.  My first marathon time in 2003 was 4:18.  If I have some to give it would be cool to see or even break that number.  A come back post kids to a pre kid number.  All nerves over here!  If you would like my bib number for tracking purposes please leave me a comment below with your e-mail and I'll send it off to you :)

I was thinking this morning that it has been since January of 2009 since I flew solo anywhere, and that was with a girlfriend so that probably doesn't count, which brings it back to 2006 and pregnant with my eldest.  Woah.  I'm pretty excited about a solo flight - even if it is just for an hour!  But despite the nerves, the packing, the hub bub, there was (note the past tense) a sense of loss.  Because when I ran Goofy back in 2009 I came home and told my hubby that I wouldn't race a marathon again without them at the finish line.  I missed having them there THAT much.

And as I approach race day, I've been feeling that sense of loss.  My brothers, their significant others, and my parents WILL be in Vancouver.  But my other cheering squad, the people that have given up HOURS of their time with me, won't be at that finish line.  For a Mom to train for a race of 42.2K requires a whole village behind her offering support.  My hubby getting up early so I can head out early, and watching the kids.  My three littles who at this point in training, beg me to run on the treadmill instead of going outside.  And my middle has caught on, and if I head out the door for a run he will ask me if I'm going to the plane.  And it's not just my family.  Friends too.  Friends who have met me for coffee after almost every long run, run me in, had coffee with me, and driven me home.  Friends who have texted, and friends who have dropped off perfect and amazing last minute run gifts.

And as I prepped my #flatrunner photo to post on this blog, I realized I'm heading to Van solo, but not without my home support.  They are the button on my bib holder, the lend of Wonder Woman socks, and the bling on my shoes.  This marathon already feels pretty magical and I haven't even taken my first step yet.

So as I finish up all my bathroom scrubbing, last 5K running, and backpack stuffing, I know come race day I'll be able to hear the cheers all the way from Calgary.

Thanks crew.  I couldn't be doing this without you all <3

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Know Yourself (Running Edition)

Yesterday was my "short" long run, with an aim of 23K.  The distance caught me off guard, in that I got a little too non chalant.  23 is a BIG break from 36 and I truly thought it would be a non issue.  I came out of my run yesterday feeling disappointed.  Mostly for not doing all the things I KNOW I need to do to be successful.  Here's my personal list of things I know about myself running wise (and otherwise in some cases):

1.  I'm a morning person.  Now don't get me wrong, I would love the occasional sleep in from getting up with the kids, but especially for running, get me up, have some oatmeal, and get on those shoes.  I am NOT an afternoon runner.  I always flop.  It's a food issue.  I don't know how to properly fuel myself for an ENTIRE morning, and THEN run a longer distance.  Even with all my snacks I pack, I was hungry yesterday, and hungry really early on.  I needed to have done my run early in the day.

2.  Gels.  Last year preparing for Calgary, I was super hungry as my distances got higher.  I tried bananas (no no, plus there is no way to carry a banana for 4 hours without it becoming a truly gross mess).  This year I have experimented with a few different gels (Pocket Fuel, my old favorite Cliff Gels, and now using Stinger).  Pocket Fuel was really thick (but good), but it led me to carrying nuts on my run.  Snacking on nuts is so great.  It keeps me fueled, but adds a nice crunch in comparison to my gels.  As for the gels, I have learned I need to take one about every 8K.  If I space them out too much I crash hard.  My body just needs that boost on a more consistant basis.  Yesterday I took ONE.  At 11K.  I was doing well on my run until 18K and I crashed hard.  Not necessarily physically (some yes), but definitely emotionally.  I was just so so done.  I really should have had two gels for that distance.

3.  Pace.  I had a hard time slowing myself down yesterday.  I should be doing a long run pace of 6:30min/k (which I have struggled with all year always landing around 6:10), but yesterday at 2K I saw my watch said 5:38.  Gulp.  Wow.  I tried to scale it back but was really unsuccessful.  By 18K I was at a 6:50 and taking frequent walk breaks.  You can visibily see on Strava where my body just gave up.

The good I am taking from this yesterday, is it was a run that clearly showed I can't just pass any of those things up.  I have to pay attention to them on a long run of ANY distance.

Do you have things you know are critical to making a run successful?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Final Weeks and the Mind Game

This past weekend I ran my longest run to date, but 2K short of what I will hit next weekend.  34 then 36.  It is now only 26 days until the Vancouver Marathon.  The realization of that last week gave me heart palpitations and set me into a pre race panic that only reaches a certain level when 42 kilometers are involved.  It's a feeling of fear, anticipation, excited and OMG I signed up for this??

A few kilometers into my 34K run.  Frosty this weekend but beautiful and quiet pathways.
Back in December I was having issues with my foot going numb after only 5K.  I have been running in Asics for over 10 years, and all of a sudden they weren't working.  Not the kayano, not the cumulus, not even their trail.  This crazy buy a shoe, try a shoe, return a shoe cycle began.  I was also having a glute issue on the opposite side that first surfaced at about kilometer 34 of the Calgary Marathon last June.  After some consultation with running friends and family I went to a chiropractor.  That was last month.  I started seeing her weekly, and the foot issues have resolved, I FINALLY have a shoe that works (I won't say love yet), and the glute issue has so far been laid to rest.  Really, all that is left is to focus on the distance - and overcoming the mental obstacles of what a marathon presents.

Sometimes it does feel like you run forever.  I was so excited to finally see the downtown core approaching.

Despite we put in so many weeks and miles into training, when the marathon approaches there is still this fear of "can I run this?"  As any race presents, you never know what will happen on race day.  The weather, the terrain, your body.  But other distances are a bit more acheivable.  You could run 10K and walk the next 11 to finish a half.  And I suppose that is true too for the marathon, but gosh the marathon distances breeds a bit of the insane.  The distance isn't for everyone, and I think those who sign up for it don't sign up to walk the last half.  We want to do our very best even if that means walking will be difficult for a week afterwards (and lets not discuss stairs).

So with the panic that set in last week, and a successful (yet tiring) 34K under my belt this past weekend, I feel as ready as really one can feel to get on that plane, get to Van, and get this done.

I have a brother running the full, another brother running the half, and my parents, sister in law, and my brothers girlfriend there to cheer us all on.  No doubt we are all going to rock our distances and race plans.


Look at that!  I'm running the route so much faster than last year!
 As for race plans, I have been running and thinking on it alot, and playing with race calculators.  I have a sensible goal in mind (I think) and if my legs can do it I'll push beyond that if I can.  My first marathon was a 4:12 and I would LOVE to see that again.  But realistically I ran a 4:48 in Calgary last June, and that's a HUGE chunk to take off.  We will see what happens.

Are you prepping for a big race?  How do you feel in the last few weeks before hand?

Monday, March 30, 2015

A month has come and (almost) gone

It's been awhile since I've been in this space.  February was a doozy.  After the loss of Big Red, just two weeks later we saw the passing of my Grandfather.  It was sudden, and left me without the ability to communicate for a time.  The rawness of both losses left me not even knowing what to even say.  Both losses presented such different types of grief.  Spring is starting to show signs of arriving, with the sun being up longer, days being warmer, and slight touches of green grass.  Things are turning new and days once again feel lighter.

Can you belive that there are only 33 days left now until I race the Vancouver Marathon?  I've been putting in longer kilometers this past month, doing a couple 30Km runs as well as a 32.  The next two weeks are the final push where I will log 34 and then 36 before my taper begins.  I'm as ready as really one can be for a full marathon.  The distance as my brother was saying this weekend, is so elusive.  I always told people it is a distance that needs respect.  I'm going into it with a time goal in mind, but a secondary goal of just chipping off even a few minutes off of my Calgary time last June.

In the crafting world, I am still working on my Icelandic sweater, have a birthday gift from two years ago STILL on the needles for my Mom, have recently picked up a cross stitch kit that I bought three years ago, have a cowl on the go knit with the MOST delicious yarn, AND, my eldest will soon be turning 8.  Are you tired reading that list?  Me too - ha!  As I type this I have pink and rainbow speckled yarn sitting beside me, that needs to turn into a ballet shrug by the 5th of May.  No problem right?  Right!

I've been reading your blogs, keeping in touch with friends, and finally feel like I'm not treading water.

For those that follow me on Instagram, thanks for your love and support as I worked through this past month.  You all mean alot to me and my family <3

Friday, February 13, 2015

A week in phone photos

Last Sunday morning I ran the Hypothermic Half Marathon.  I felt really lucky to have my family and one of my closest friends come out to cheer me across the finish line.  Do you notice the comical thing about this photo?  When I put it up to post it made me chuckle.

Pretty sweet medal (the snowflake turns), but that's about the only good thing about this race.  Race review post to come.

The race had a morning and an afternoon run. My brother ran in the afternoon and my kiddos wanted to wait around to cheer him on.  I had so much fun (as did they).  I need more opportunities to be the one cheering.  The little two kept themselves entertained making snow angels :)

Valentines!  My son had two parties this week, my eldest one.  We had a total of 61 cards to make - phew!  I also volunteered to make cookies for the preschool class.  Had the dough going and realized I was out of eggs.  Went to our neighbours house who only had one and I needed to.  Thanks to Google I added the egg and half a banana.  Turned out great with very little banana taste.

Thank you Pinterest!  Last minute Teachers Valentines!

I took on a new project yesterday.  I'm pretty excited about it and hope it works out as well as Pinterest would have me believe - ha ha!

Beautiful sunny day today and the kids had a close up view of a Gorilla at the local zoo.

How was your week?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Grief and Loss

I told my husband on Saturday as I cried, that I wasn't sad.  He filled in the blank for me and said "it's just loss".  


Friday afternoon we laid our 11 1/2 year old Golden Retriever to rest.  My husband stayed home with the kids while I made the drive with Big Red to the vet.  As the medicine took hold I had enough time to tell him how much we loved him, and thanked him for being so good with the kids before he slipped away.  The hole that he has left is more than I could have imagined.

The vet told me on Friday that kids can teach us alot about grief.  I wanted to share here how each of my kids are handling the loss of Clifford.

My eldest will be 8 in May and only knows a world with Clifford in it.  Thursday night as we started our goodbyes, and into Friday there were constant tears.  Near sobbing and hard to breathe.  She grieved outwardly and we gave her space to cry as much as she needed to.  By last night she said to me "Mom, I'm not crying anymore.  It's alot easier".  She mentions how it is strange to not see him in the kitchen, or play with him outside, but her grief was hard but quick.  My Mom texted me that you should walk through grief, not around it.  It seems my eldest did this the best.  She walked right through it, allowing herself to fully grieve the loss, and came out the other side.  Missing him but being ok.

My middle has been very quiet with the loss.  No tears have been shed, but he has been quicker to get upset.  He would bring me his favorite stuffed animal to offer me comfort.  I thought maybe, being 5, that it hadn't affected him the same way.  On Saturday he and I were out and about and I was talking with my older brother on the phone.  From the back seat he said "Mom, can you stop talking about Clifford.  Seeing you hurt, makes my heart hurt".  He misses Red, but his struggle was seeing the rest of us so hurt.  I was surprised when people would ask me if we had told the kids.  I, like my eldest, am open with my grief, and we were open with the kids on preparing them to say goodbye, what would happen, and being honest with our emotions afterwards.  But I'm being careful now to guard myself a bit around my middle.

My littlest.  Wow my littlest.  She will be 2.5 this week and she surprised me the most.  She loved feeding Cliff treats, and loved getting down on the floor with him, nose to nose while he ate or drank water.  I think his tongue fascinated her.  When I walked in the door Friday evening she looked at me and said "where's Clifford".  I got down on my knees, told her Clifford was sick and we needed to put him to sleep.  She looked at me and said "I give you big hug.  It's not your fault" and wrapped her little arms around my neck.  She hasn't asked about him since.  A few times when she's seen me upset she will say to me "It's ok, it's ok".  I heard her quietly say last night after she asked me if I missed Cliff "he's not sick anymore".  Wise loving 2 year old.

As for me, the shock of not seeing him is lessening, and the loss comes in waves that sometimes takes me by surprise.  I'm taking my Moms advice and allowing myself to walk through the grief rather than around it.  When the loss suddenly hits like yesterday while sitting in the grocery store parking lot, I allow myself to cry.  
Red was a good friend.  He was always gentle, always loving, always wanting to play.  He is being greatly missed.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A week in phone photos

After my short long run of 14K this past weekend, I met up with a good friend for lunch (er breakfast because the kind cafe was willing to make me french toast).  Such a tasty way to end a run.  And check out that mochachino!
I expected french toast but got so much more.  All that fruit was delicious!
Once home my middle dressed up in all my running clothes (including my compression socks).
Not to be unincluded, my littlest found my new runners and got in on the dress up action.
I started the sleeves to my Icelandic sweater.  I did the cuffs seperately on double pointed needles, then once past the colorwork joined them for two at a time on two circulars.
Our Golden Retriever affectionately called Red (or Clifford, or Cliff, or with his middle name Clifford Rufus).  He requires so much more than a caption.  He hasn't been well and we are preparing to say goodbye.
A swap!  A Rav member sent me a message about a skein I was willing to part with.  She made me these two awesome bags as an exchange.  I've already put my sweater sleeves into one of them!
I retired these shoes this week.  They ran a total of 403K.  Wow!

What's on your phone this past week?

Friday, January 30, 2015

Marathon Training 2015

I've been procrastinating from writing this post.  Maybe somewhere not so deep down I feel like if I actually put out there that I'm training that I'll have to actually admit I'm knee deep in this thing.  It has been 9 years since I trained for anything.  And I can't say I really trained for my marathon back then either.  I pulled my achilles tendon 5 months before the race, spent a month in an aircast, and was happy just to get there and finish.  I had hired a personal trainer to get me to Boston and I remember him saying to me that he could train me to get even faster.  I knew though that wasn't where I wanted to go, and I had been wanting and waiting to have kids for a few years already at that point.  I hung those racing and training shoes up, and now here I am, 9 years later, and ready to lace them back on (with some trepidation).

In the past nine years, I did run two marathons.  Goofy when my eldest was just over 18 months, and then this past year I ran Calgary.  But both of those races I jogged (can you jog a marathon?).  I found a pretty easy cruising pace, and I cruised (don't get me wrong, I cruised with pain).  But I got through those marathons running minimum runs per week (with Goofy I only ran the back to back long runs!!).  My third baby is now 2.5, and when my eldest brother suggested our family all run the Vancouver Marathon together, I felt the push to start taking my running more seriously again.

My eldest with my Goofy medals
I drafted up a plan.  It includes 4 runs per week.  One long run, a tempo run, a recovery run, and a hill or speed session.  It looked scary on paper, and it feels scarier trying to actually get it done.  In particular a mid week tempo run is proving really challenging.  It is "easy" to get in a 5K, hill, or speed workout done on the treadmill with my 2 and 5 year old around, but I can't do longer than that with them left to their own devices.  That means I need to find time to do a 10K tempo run at night.  Hmmm.  There are a few things I've learned about myself.  I don't do anything well past 7:30 at night.  Trying to do a tempo run at 8 pm has not been working.  This week I moved it to a Tuesday night which worked much better as I was able to get out at 6:30, but that puts my tempo and long run VERY close together.  Not wise when the kilometers start to increase.  Semantics.  I'll figure it out.  Like getting back onto a bike after years away.  I know how to run but figuring out all these little bits is challenging me.

I have no idea what my tempo pace is.

Or my long run pace.

Or what a steady run is.

I do know what an acheivable marathon time though is.  So I'm working from there and each week trying to figure out the other stuff.

I'm going into week 4, and each week feels a bit easier than the one previous.  My kids are adjusting too, especially after the Stride Run Streak, knowing I spend quite a bit of time lacing up my running shoes.  My son said to me the other night "When I grow up, I want to be a runner".

I'm glad that such a big part of who I was, is becoming a big part of who I am again, and that it is having a positive reflection on my kids.

13 weeks to Vancouver!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Knitting an Icelandic Sweater

This past July/August, my parents went on a trip to Iceland to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary (wow!) as well as my Dad's Retirement (yes!).  We always miss them alot when they travel.  I look forward to their trips with dread.  My parents not only help alot with my kids, but I talk to them (or text) them, sometimes multiple times a day.  When they are away, I really notice the silence.

As I write this they are currently off again visiting a warm weather destination.  The silence is filled with comfort this time as I've cast on an Icelandic sweater kit they brought me home as a birthday gift from their trip last Summer.

The yarn itself is Icelandic, Lettlopi, comparable a bit to Cascade 220.  The original kit colours had the main colour as black which my Mom switched out to an awesome yellow/lime green (pictured on the left).  She switched out a couple other colours for me as well.

The sweater is knit from the bottom up, and has been an interesting project in sweater shaping and sizing.  I cast on for the womans small size, decreased to just above a childs 8-10, then back up again to somewhere between that and a 10-12.  My arms are crazy long, so in order to acheive the right length I think I have to knit the men's large.  Ha ha.  Other than the bottom which had some colourwork it has been round and round stockinette.  I think it's all the math calculation which has me working on this so fiercely.  I keep wondering "will this actually fit?" and have tried it on twice just to be sure.

I'm currently sitting at 37cm and have to get to 42 in the body before I switch to the arms.  This sweater saves the best for last.  All that awesome colorwork is waiting for me.  Must knit faster!

Out of some stockinette boredom today I skeined 4 of the darker balls to give them a pre-wash.  I also added some conditioner into the mix to see how much it would soften up the yarn.  Amazingly the yarn hardly lost any dye at all, but I'm still glad I checked.  It would be alot of work to knit this all up then have the dark colours bleed.

I'll keep posting progress photos as I go along!