Tag Archives: Regina

Tori Tour De Victoria Finish

Are injuries inevitable?

Here we are again, back on the elliptical trainer. Possible meniscus tear; I’ve been “rehabbing” for weeks now. This is a new injury; I don’t usually have problems with my knees, but there it is.

It started in August. My triathlon season was over prematurely when my stepfather died suddenly and I flew to be with my mother, right before my last scheduled race of the season: the Self-Transcendance.

Not wanting my season to be over, and needing to burn off stress, I ran while I was in Saskatchewan: country roads, small town streets, and the amazing Devonian Pathway system in Regina, my old stomping grounds. I thought I could salvage my race season by signing up for the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Half Marathon in October.

Devonian Pathway in Wascana park.

Wascana Park near University of Regina

I was 12k into a gorgeous 15k run around Wascana Park when my knee suddenly started to hurt so much I hobbled 3k back to my car. I stayed off running for a couple of weeks, then tried unsuccessfuly to ease back in. I’ve been struggling with it ever since. That’s three months now!

I did an internet search of “Are triathlon injuries inevitable?” and got 13,800,000 hits. Make that running injuries and it’s 8,720,00 hits.

I take it the answer is yes.

For most people, injury is at some point inevitable. We go out too hard too fast, we pile on mileage instead of building up slowly, we ignore warning signs, we don’t cross-train and build up some core strength, we don’t stretch enough. I’m guilty on all counts.

Tori Tour De Victoria Finish

Finishing the Tour de Victoria 100k ride. The only time the sun came out that day.

In the midst of all this I hurt my back too. Anyone familiar with body mechanics could see these two were probably related. I was still trying to get in some running miles with a sore knee, and it was altering the way I ran, and my lower back paid for it. I managed to bike up Hurricane Ridge near Port Angeles, Washington with some friends in late August/early September; a gorgeous day, but I was in agony by the time I made it to the top. I completed the 100K event of the Ryder Hesjedal Tour de Victoria in September, in the pouring rain and wind, relatively pain-free under the care of my physiotherapist.

Since then I’ve been hard at work strengthening around my knee and core, and waiting to heal. However, I tried going hard swimming (because I couldn’t bike or run) and quickly added on mileage in the pool – then I strained my shoulder.

Injuries are only inevitable when you keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

Matt, my physiotherapist, shook his head at me when I reported the shoulder injury. This is what made me really buckle down and start listening to him:

“You masters athletes and weekend warriors,” he said. “You think you can go hard all year round, and this is what happens. You know elite athletes take a few weeks completely off – do *nothing* – after their season ends, don’t you?”

Since then I’ve been a good girl, doing as I’m told, backing off completely. I’ve been granted some sanity-saving bike rides as I recover. I’ve learned some lessons:

Tori jumping on the Kinsol Trestle GIF

Jumping for joy because Life!

Yes, injuries are inevitable, when you try to be a superhero or keep up with the fitter, younger people on your team, or have something to prove. When you really tune in to your own body and only gradually push your limits, reaching only just beyond your grasp at any one time, they don’t have to be inevitable. Training, especially for endurance sports, is a cumulative, long-term enterprise. You can’t cram for it, you have to put in consistent effort.

And with that, I’m off to the pool to do my exercises and swim a modest 800 metres or so. Soon I’ll be back to my old, joyous self.

Photo credits:

Wascana Park by Tori Klassen available for sharing under CC-BY-SA license.

Tour de Victoria and “jumping” gif by Patrick Fisher, used with permission.

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How to get over a DNF heartbreak: part I

I came off the Queen City Marathon course at the 15k mark with injury to my left upper calf: the “popper” muscle I call it (popliteus).

I had been for a run last Monday when I developed a tight calf muscle. I wrote about it earlier. I was hoping for the best but knew I might not be able to cross the finish line yesterday.

I was fine until 14.5 k. The pain was a dull roar, a tightness, and I was about 10 sec/km off my pace, which was OK by me. After 50 minutes on the course I was just getting warmed up and starting to enjoy the run. I had re-adjusted my goal and I just wanted to finish in 5 hours or less.

Then, on Assiniboine Avenue right next to the cemetery and across from an Apostolic church, I felt a sharp pain that drew me up into a limp and slowed my pace by about 30 sec/km. Another 500 m and I knew, with 25k to go, I wouldn’t even finish within 5 hours and this could only turn into a miserable death march.

It was really heartbreaking – I have never, ever DNF’d before and it feels like crap. But I made the right decision- I had to stop running or risk a really crippling injury. There’s “fatigue” pain you can run through and then there’s sharp, localized pain that is bad news. Smart runners know the difference. I want to be a healthy runner and I want to run the 8k in Victoria in a month’s time.

So how do you get over a DNF heartbreak? I dunno – you tell me.

I’m still in Saskatchewan for a few days – the bright light of my day is when I visit with my friends, my son, my daughter and her baby. Otherwise I’m still glum, missing my finisher’s medal, feeling incredibly fit and raring to go; except for that damn “popper” muscle in my left leg.

Part II of this series is the post where I get over my DNF heartbreak, then report back on my findings. I’m open to ideas – can any runner out there who has bounced back from a DNF please tell me how you did it?

PS: race course volunteers are saints. Especially Patty and her daughter Becky, who gave me water, a place to sit and cry for a while, and a ride to the 25k mark where my son and his dad were waiting for me with extra water, motivational signs written in Greek (um – my son is a Classics major…) and a flask of Irish whiskey.

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Queen City Marathon: how to help a runner

Queen City Marathon day is one week away – September 12! I have done all the training (including a couple of long runs when I was in Regina over the summer) and I’ve been tapering for two weeks already.

I’m excited to finally be running the full 42.2 km marathon in my *hometown. It will be great to see friends and family on the course to cheer me on – but I have a need for some extra race support. I’m hoping I gather a crew for that day:

1.     Gear/layer shedding.

  • It’s always chilly at the start of the race and I bundle up. At the start line and at the 3 – 4 km mark it would be great to have someone on hand to whom I can hand off my extra layers. Running gear gets expensive and I don’t want to lose it!
  • Likewise – if the weather turns bad – it would be nice to have someone at the 25k mark or so to hand me a dry, warm layer if needed.

2.    Water bottles/gels.

I carry my own water usually, that way I can carry my own electrolyte concoction, plus I can avoid the bottlenecks at the aid stations (I haven’t mastered the art of drinking enough liquid out of those paper cups.) I have four bottle holders on my fuel belt plus a spare set of four. If I can trade empties for full ones with someone at about the 20 km point, have them refilled, and then pick them up again at the 35 km point, that would be ever so wonderful. (Neil Balkwill Centre – 2420 Elphinstone Street is Kilometer 20 and 35 I believe.)

3. Finish Line!

  • Chocolate Milk 500 ml — I think my daughter Pocketbuddha has offered, but she will have Oliver with her, so perhaps some help for the mama of a 1-year old is in order? (PS I CANNOT EXPRESS HOW STOKED I AM THAT MY SON, MY DAUGHTER AND MY GRANDSON WILL BE AT THE FINISH LINE CHEERING ME ON!)
  • Red Breast 12-year old Irish Whisky in a flask. My son Aidan has this one taken care of I think – it has become somewhat of a tradition for me to swill some whisky after Halfs and Full Marathons, thanks to my Victoria drinking buddy Tim (@Howlabit on Twitter). By the way – if anyone has any 15-yo Red Breast – talk to me. I’m sure we can work something out 🙂
  • A warm blanket – those plastic ones they hand out to all racers are OK – but they just don’t do the trick.

4. Après-Finish

I’m getting a really big meal that day, thanks to Margaret Levett who is going to stuff me full of jug-jug, rice ‘n peas, and other Caribbean and British delicacies (including the sorrel. Mmmm the sorrel!).

Of course if people just want to come out and cheer, make me a sign that says “Go Tori” or just yell and scream when I run by, I’m up for that too. It will be a huge help. Did I mention running a marathon is freaking hard? Every little bit of encouragement helps — except don’t say “you’re almost there” until I’ve hit the 39 km mark.

The race web site (http://runqcm.com/marathon/course/maps_narratives_startfinish) has a handy “Spectator Zone” guide for spectators and includes information on the best spots from which to watch (that are easier to get to given the traffic restrictions that day).

*Swift Current, SK is technically my hometown, but I lived in Regina for most of my adult life: 18 years.

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