Tag Archives: marathon

Running at Shawnigan Lake Triathlon

This one weird trick will change the way you run

…and you’ll never guess what it is!

Just tear your ACL, get knee surgery, and be forced to teach yourself to run all over again. Easy-peasy!

No really, if there was a blessing in disguise for being off running for a couple of years, it was that I had to learn to run again.

Recovery was slow but steady, but running and triathlon training have been a different kettle of fish.

The fact that I am now regularly running 10k – and have signed up for a fall half marathon, is a miracle of modern medicine. And, to be honest, a testament to my following my physiotherapist’s instructions.

I began by “running” only the straightaways on a track, walking the curves, but it was clear from the very first foray that I would have to run differently.

I would have to run more efficiently, on my forefoot, the way Victoria runner Marilyn Arsenault tried to teach me years ago while I was training for my second or third marathon.

I had signed up for one of her clinics, then got impatient and left the group because I felt re-learning my running gait was interfering with my training. So I remained a heel-striker through my journey into triathlon some years later.

Then the knee injury and the surgery and the recovery.

So there I was, on the track, ready to run for the first time in two and a half years. I started out tentatively and immediately felt pain shoot up through the newly-reconstructed knee.

Discouraged wasn’t nearly a strong enough word. My tears said it all, and Ken could only commiserate.

Then I remembered the two or three Mindful Strides sessions I did manage to get through years ago in Victoria.

Then and there, I switched my running gait to land more on my forefoot, with my bodyweight firmly under me.

Quite frankly, it was the only way I could run without pain. I was astounded that by switching up my gait, there was no pain at all.

I was running again!

I was slow as molasses. It was deliberate and exhausting, but exhilarating. It was a total of about 2 kilometres. But I was running, and it was pain-free.

I’ve been slowly building up fitness ever since. I’ve been incorporating strength training into my routine as well.

I haven’t been working on speed in the last year I’ve been running – just putting in some mileage, getting used to the idea of running and doing triathlons again. I’ve done a few hills now and then (they’re hard to avoid, living in Vancouver).

I’m still slower than I was pre-injury, but I’m hoping that’s because I haven’t deliberately trained for much of anything except completing a couple of 10k events last year.

Training starts in earnest mid-July for the Victoria Half. Then next year? Bring on the 2018 triathlon season!

Photo credit: Connie Walters Dunwoody


A request and a Happy Thanksgiving

I’m awfully lucky, in the hustle of getting ready to move to Vancouver and the bustle of getting ready to run a half marathon and eat a delicious dinner this weekend, that I am healthy, happy and surrounded by people who care about me. I have a lot to be thankful for.

I want to wish you a happy thanksgiving, and I also have a request. Admit it, I don’t do this very often, and I promise I won’t do it again for at least another year 🙂

I also can’t help but think of the bigger picture during holidays like this. Where are we going to go if or when we can’t run anymore? Or cook for ourselves, or dress ourselves, or go for a walk in the park?

Someplace like Mount St Mary’s hospital perhaps.

Maybe you and I will be felled by old age, a terrible accident or disease like cancer. Chances are it will be a process, not an event. Many of us will need long term care at some point.

That care does not come cheap. There are people at Mount St Mary’s now who need some extra help. The Cancer Society needs funds to search for a cure.

This year I vowed running was not going to be all about me. Now here it is, two days away from my next race – the Victoria Marathon (I’m running the half – 21.1 km) and I need to put my mouth where the money is. On this Thanksgiving weekend, please think about giving back to the community, and supporting my efforts to make my running about giving back and paying it forward.Giving Hands

My goals are modest:

Raise $200 for Mount St Mary’s hospital in Victoria. Make your donation online here.

Sell some YYJRuns 2012 calendars (in which I appear, running with wild abandon along a trail at the Royal Roads University grounds) to raise funds for cancer research. You can pre-order yours here.

Please visit one or both of those links today and give what you can. A $15 donation to Mount St Mary’s, and a $15 calendar. I’d be thrilled, but more importantly so many others will be able to live a better life. And for that, we can all be grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving, and much love to you and yours.




How not to recover from a marathon

I’m not running. Yes, it sucks, but I hope it’s only for a couple of weeks.

Lesson learned: do not try to get back into running too soon after a marathon. My first post-marathon run was a slow, easy half hour (about 4 k) while I was on Salt Spring Island six days after the marathon. Chris “tsk tsk’d” as I went out the door of our hotel room.

“I’ll be fine, I’ll take it really easy,” I said.

Chris and Tori on Mt Doug summit

Mount Doug summit!

Then a few days later, after we were back in Victoria, we went trail running at Mount Doug. I even got off course and we had to bushwhack a little bit to get up onto the trail again. It was fun, but my foot hurt after that.

A few days after that, we did the 10k loop around Elk Lake.

After Chris went back to Sackville, I really wanted to get onto the trails so I did Mount Finlayson – twice – and went for a 10k with the Frontrunners gang. I may have gone a bit fast …

All within a month of running a marathon.

I know some people can get back on a schedule like that within weeks. I am clearly not one of those people.

My big toe joint became inflamed again, I have an extremely tight sacroiliac joint, and a hip flexor that nags me every time I wake up. My physiotherapist told me to hold off on running for a while and just stick to biking to keep up my fitness.

Trail below Mt Finlayson in Goldstream Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Trail below Mt Finlayson

That was before the second Mount Finlayson run. I’m stubborn, aren’t I? After that run (which was really pretty, I love Goldstream Park!) I found I could not even sit for very long without my back hurting.

It’s a hard lesson to learn. It’s finally getting really gorgeous and sunny outside and I am stuck inside on the elliptical, the spin bikes, the yoga studio. How frustrating! Oh well, at least I have a balcony on which I can sit and relax with a G&T after my workout.