Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Finding a Healthy Balance between Competition

It has been 8 weeks since running my 2:29:38 marathon in Rotterdam, which gave me the standard for the 2016 Olympic Games. And I think I can finally say I have recovered. Normally it wouldn't take nearly this long to recover from a marathon. After all, it was my eleventh marathon so I guess I should know. Physically, recovery wasn't too bad. I had a minor pull in my right hip, which hindered my training for the national 10 km championship in Ottawa so it ended up being just a fun season finale. But emotionally, I needed much more time to recover. As more time passed and the further removed I became from my Rotterdam performance, the more I respected and realized its significance. I was incredibly grateful and needed time to fully appreciate everything that happened. Making the Olympic standard on my first attempt, just 11.5 months after fracturing my femur, while being fully mentally prepared for three attempts, was something I would not take lightly. I wanted and I needed to smell the roses - figuratively, and literally - the ones from my coach, husband and children. The time was well-deserved and necessary, to let it soak in. And I certainly was not going to jump into too much training or racing, too soon, for no reason. 
I have clearly proven that I am the type of athlete who does well, starting from scratch. From nothing. After three babies and a broken leg, I knew what my body and mind needed. After racing the 10 km national championships, while waiting to provide my sample for doping control with Linsday Carson, she suggested that we do a cool down together. On any other occasion, I would have taken her up on the offer. But I was done. Done. Done. So I politely declined her offer. Instead, I enjoyed a quiet walk alone back to the hotel, had some dinner with speedsters, Lanni Marchant and Natasha Wodak, enjoyed a hot shower, got into my pyjamas, and savoured a scrumptious chocolate bar while visiting with my roommate, Catrin Jones, who would be running the marathon the next morning. I too was going to have an early start because I was again going to take part in the marathon broadcast. 
In the downtime after Ottawa, life was busy at home. The day after my return, Jonathan left for a week of work. Then I left for Calgary, the day after his return. Talk about two ships passing in the night! I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend in Calgary, providing the national half marathon broadcast for at the Calgary Marathon, and spending time with our 7 yr old son who went with me, and Jonathan's family, which included a gorgeous afternoon in Banff. 
In the last 8 weeks I have averaged a mere 60 km/k of running and 10 h/wk of training (running, pool, bike) with the usual weight-training and preventative maintenance routine. I had some sort of speaking engagement or media commitment every day since my return from Calgary and attempted to keep up with the usual housework and busyness that comes with 1 dog and 3 active kids. Of course, I have certainly included a wide variety of sweets back into my diet, something I enjoy after every marathon. From warm chocolate brownies with vanilla ice cream to carrot cake and pecan squares from Sweets bakery, I have almost had my fill. Not sure I will get one of my Aunt's butter tarts this time but I will, no doubt, end with another peanut buster parfait, before commencing another marathon build. After reading about my Rotterdam recovery, it should come as no surprise that I have decided to forego running for Canada at the Pan Am Games (July in Toronto) and World Championships (Beijing in August). Deciding not to compete for my country was certainly difficult. But attempting to train and compete so soon would risk injury and jeopardize competing my best at the 2016 Olympic Games. Most marathoners run two quality marathons per year and I am definitely one of them. So, I continue to recover and enjoy my off-season while slowly building my mileage and balancing my other areas of life before getting back at it again.  


Ben Kaplan. What a man! He works the expo for iRun all weekend, on his feet, AND runs the marathon! Great to be part of the iRun team with you! 

It was so fun to see a marathon finish from a new perspective.  Post-race interviews were a blast.  I must say, I certainly saw a fair share of vomiting that morning!

Amazing marathon debut of 2:33 for fellow dietitian and friend, Rachel Hannah.

Ottawa 10 km, National Championships. Photo credit: Rob Brouillette.

Stunning views in Alberta. Beautiful Banff. Beautiful boy. Life is good. Smelling the roses is wonderful.

So glad we spent the afternoon in Banff, after the race and before our flight home.

We had a few challenges with the broadcast but had fun and got the job done! Click here for the entire broadcast.
A little selfie fun with our Calgary hats before flying home.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

And that's a wrap...

For those of you who aren't on Facebook or Twitter, sorry for the delay in posting this on my blog.
My April 12 Rotterdam Marathon time of 2:29:38 made the Athletics Canada standard (2:29:50) for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil! So excited!
Read about it here in the Toronto Star.
And here in the Brantford Expositor.
Sure is nice to race for fun with no pressure or high expectations ... as you can see! Love the Ottawa Race Weekend. Despite pulling a hip muscle between Rotterdam and Ottawa, I was able to finish the 10 km as my season finale with a smile on my face! Looking forward to some upcoming race broadcasting and speaking engagements during my down time. I am ready for a well-deserved break. Photo credit: Richard A. Whittaker.
And here is a story  and picture from The Independent after running my hometown favourite, The Alvinston to Watford 16 km road race.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

True Grit. One Year Later.

One Year Later

(Click here to read about what happened Apr 27, 2014)
This version has more pictures and less words than the online version found here at . The posts are similar but a bit different Take your pick!
Thanks so much for you tremendous love and support this past year. Krista
1. April 27, 2014. The painful finish with "Eye of the Tiger" playing in the background.  Video here.
2. Alan Brookes carries me to medical care. 
3. All in a day: Race 10:00 am. Ambulance transfer and arrival to hospital 3:00 pm. Xray and CT 9:00 pm. Surgery 12:00 am.
4. Tweeted, "Near complete fracture. Surgery success and hubby here. Thx 4 prayers. Still teary but God is good and I WILL be back! "
5. First workout: extension.

Second workout: crutches. 
6. The hardware. 
7. My amazing husband stayed with me while I was in hospital, thanks to his generous company, Vantage Endoscopy. Even though they specialize in equipment that's a bit different, he still knew enough to but me the "Deluxe" urinal for the long drive home, May 1. True love. 
8.Three sweet kids glad to see mom home again. But they were in great care with Grammy and Grampa when I was away.

9. May 2015. First day back to the gym, 18 days post surgery. Easy does it. Pool and light weights to start...
10...then biking with no resistance...

11. walking, holding the bars...

12. followed by the elliptical at 5 weeks (June 2).

13. May. Family get away to Ottawa Race Weekend. The boys raced and I commentated. Lots of fun.
14. Late May/early June. Down to a cane!
15.  Look mom, no hands. Walking video here at 7 weeks, June 15.

16. July and August. Rehab at the cabin and enjoying simple daily living, especially with my amazing sister.

17. From walk-jog in July to complete running in late August on this beautiful country road.

18. Last sweet indulgence, July 12, nine months before big goal of running the Apr 12 Rotterdam Marathon!

19.  · Aug 27 Tweeted, 
"Steady 10 k in 44:02, four months post femur fracture with just this little scar to show. "

20. Back at home on the treadmill at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre in September. Running video here.

22. First track workout, Oct 23.
23. November. First race back. 8km at goal marathon pace.

24. December. Second race back. 10km at goal marathon pace.

25. March 1. Fourth race back. Half marathon at goal marathon pace.

26. March 7-17. Escaping the Canadian winter to train with Mary Davies in Texas and train/vacation with family in Florida. Logged 170 km/week.

27. Goal setting, August to March. This paper was so key. Did 4 k @ 4:03/km in August and 42.2 k @ 3:32/k in April. Trusting the numbers.

28. April 12, 2015. Pacing our way in the Rotterdam Marathon.
29. Solo effort from 30 km to finish the job.

30. Don't think I've ever felt so good or so happy in the final moments of any of my 11 marathons.

30. Relief.

31. Gratitude. Second fastest time of 2:29:38 and Bronze Medal!

32. Enjoying the sweet treats in the 2 weeks post marathon. So delicious, especially in Europe for the few travel days after the race.

33. And still smelling the roses with my loved ones. 

Deuteronomy 4:9 ...never forget what you have seen the Lord do for you...
Hebrews 11:1 is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen...

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Oh, What a Race in Rotterdam!

Worth a thousand words.

What a race! I am so absolutely thrilled with my performance today.
Throughout this season, Coach Rick and I focused on marathon pace for all of my races leading up to my first attempt at the Olympic Standard. I ran that pace in November in the RememberRun 8 km and worked my way up to that pace for the March 1st Chilly Half. In the last month of training, I then gained a lot of fitness, including spending nearly 3 weeks in Texas/Florida. I wasn't very vocal with this marathon, rather just wanted to somewhat quietly do the work and take a shot at it.
Heading to Rotterdam via Amsterdam, I had great travel with no major jet lag issues, an amazing roommate from Paraguay, and no pressure going into the race. The weather looked decent with good temps and some wind. 
Heading into the race,I knew Miranda Boonstra, from the Netherlands wanted to hit her Olympic standard (it was already announced, unlike our standard as Athletics Canada is waiting for the IAAF to announce it first) of 2:28:00. She had two pacers and the four of us stuck together, on pace until 30 km. Unfortunately she started to suffer from bad leg cramps and I was forced to go ahead on my own. At that point, the headwind was nasty and I had to make a decision: 1. aim to continue on my own at that pace, to break 2:28:00, also the Canadian record, and possibly suffer, risking my chance at the CDN Olympic standard or 2. play it safe, stay strong and consistent, adjusting my effort based on the wind and guarantee myself the standard. With the wind and solo running for the remaining 12 km, I chose the safer option. It was the right choice.
Although it wasn't a PB (which is 2:28:32 from 2013), it was the best race I ever ran, mentally. I was very calm and relaxed. Every time I felt a physical struggle, I just kept the rhythm and waited for it to pass. And it did. It was the first marathon where I felt, "Wow, only x km to go!" as opposed to "Ugh, there's still x km to go!". The crowds were great, especially when I ran with their local, Miranda.
When I crossed the line and knew I had the (2012) Olympic standard and was informed I was third woman, well first I vomited, then came the happy tears and smiles. 
I ended up taking 2 hrs in doping control to give the required 90 mL sample but had my phone and the company of a few other runners around me, one being Miranda. It was so nice to get to know her.  In 2012 when I ran Rotterdam, I was 2 minutes slower than our standard. She was 8 seconds slower in the same race. Today I have our standard and again, she does not have her standard. Marathoning is incredibly tough. Having a perfect race at this level is rare. Very rare. I certainly look up to her, at age 42, continuing to commit and work incredibly hard at something in hopes to succeed with no guarantee. 
When asked at dinner with the Speed River group, by coach Dave Scott-Thomas what was next for racing, I replied with a smile, "You know, that is a question I am pleased to have no answer!". 
I am going to do some travelling in Europe for a few days as a mini vacation, where I can eat anything and enjoy the wonderful surroundings, returning home to Brantford on Thursday. It will be great to see the kids and Jonathan, who has been juggling his busy job and their schedules and care since I left.    

Eload fuel, every time! In each of the 8 bottles I had Eload Fly (carbohydrates) and Eload Endurance (carbohydrates and electrolytes) with one gel taped to the side. I practise in my training runs to know what works best for my GI. Then when it comes to racing, you have to listen to your body to know how much to take in. When I ran the 2013 STWM, I was drinking most of the fluid and gobbling the gels. But today, I took in about half of the fluids and gels, particularly in the beginning when I wasn't quite ready and in the end, when I had a few urges to vomit, which fortunately didn't happen until I crossed the line! Sorry to those around me! 

Great support from Saucony. Fancy race kit too.

So impressed with this Belgian guy's breakfast, race morning. 10 pieces of toast. Yes, I counted. 

My fabulous roommate, Carmen Martinez. Way to go on setting another marathon record of 2:35 for Paraguay today!

Great pacer, Stefan from Belgium. AND a father of FIVE!

Saucony Netherlands and Saucony Canada. Congrats, Gert-Jan Wasskink on your National bronze medal today.

Great pacing group with Miranda Boonstra and the two pacers. 

Solid finish, getting the job done. Photo: David Hiddleston.
Honoured to run with, and get to know Miranda Boonstra while in doping control together. 

Well, that was a first. Blood on the race number, which was on my back. Good 'ol chafing.

Beautiful flowers and trophy. Elegant vase.

Enjoying my first treat of peanut m&m's, after the race with Carmen.

A huge thank you and hug to every single one of these people (and many more): 

#TeamDuChene: Jonathan, Micah, Seth, Leah
Coach Rick & Josie Mannen
Sherri, Paul, Patricia - Essential Physiotherapy and Wellness
Naomi, David, Ashley - Therapeutic Massage Counsel 
Sue - stretching and breathing exercises and an active mom I look up to
Maureen, Jeanetta - childcare at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre
Celine, Jonathan’s parents, Uncle Glen & Aunt Joyce - helping care for the kids
James, Clayton - super great running friends
Eload - sports nutrition
Saucony - apparel and footwear
Liberte - yogurt
Chariot - running stroller