Saturday, August 13, 2011

Retiring my running shoes

I went to a new chiropractor the other week and she was great, I told her all my problem areas; I had a car accident a few months ago that hurt my neck and shoulder and a baseball injury last year that hurt my ankle.  My ankle has never been the same since my injury, I went running for the first time in a few months and the next day it was swollen.  I tried running again two days later but it hurt so I didn't want to push it.  That was the day I went to the chiropractor and got a bit of a lecture on why people shouldn't run, that long term studies show serious wear and tear on the joints.

I ran a marathon once in Maui, it was in September of 2008.  I had never been much of a runner before that, but my son had run the kids marathon earlier that year and I came across Team In Training which is an organization that raises money for leukemia and lymphoma and provides support for you to raise money and train for a marathon.  I was interested so I went to an information session.  At the session, it was explained how it worked, I had to raise at least $5000 to run a marathon in Maui... what a great experience that would be!  They have coaches to help you train for your marathon.  So I checked the box that said "Maui Marathon" and when it asked for the "walk or run" option, I checked "run" and finally it asked "half or full" and I checked, "Full"... go big or go home, I thought to myself... I think I was a little too ambitious, as usual.

So I started training and fundraising right away, the fundraising was like having a part time job.  I collected money, held pub nights with a raffle, 50/50 draw and silent auction, BBQs at the local grocery store, poker nights at my friend's places, etc.  It took a really long time but eventually I made it just to over $5000, it was for a good cause and I thought about my friend I lost to cancer alot, especially when I was training.  Running is not really that much fun.... haha... there is a point that you get to around 10km where you feel like you can conquer the world but it's really hard to get to that 10km... and I was due to run 42km... what was I thinking!?  I just kept telling myself that people with cancer have to suffer alot more than I was when running, so it was worth all the aches, pains and blisters.  As the marathon drew closer, I was getting nervous... I had only been running since mid-May and the marathon was in September... that's only 4 months to train for 42 km.  I just hoped that I could finish it.  I was struggling with my knee, it just wasn't cooperating... I had hoped it would not bother me too much.

September rolled around and I hopped on a plane bound for Maui with my running shoes and team I had been training with for the last four months.  We were excited and I was nervous.  I had never been to Hawaii before so I was pretty excited about that too.  We landed in Hawaii and drove to our hotel, it was beautiful!  We spent the evening preparing ourselves for the next couple days.  We had one full day to ourselves, then marathon day and the next day we came home.  On the day we had to ourselves, I went scuba diving... our hotel had their own equipment and dive instructors.  It was amazing, I love scuba diving and can't wait til I am able to do more of it.  It was a nice relaxing way to spend the afternoon before a full marathon.

In the morning, we were woken up by our coaches and piled onto a bus headed to a town which happened to be 42km away from the hotel, this is where the race started... it ran all along the coast and through a couple little villages before arriving at the finish line by the hotel.  It was dark as we drove out there.  I was nervous but excited too, my goal was to finish the race and that is what I was about to do.

The race started off great, I felt great... I ran with a smile on my face, taking in the beautiful sights of Maui... the first half of the marathon flew by like nothing and it seemed so easy... the second half... not so much, about halfway there was a steady incline up a hill on the coast, it was beautiful, but this is where my knee started to bother me... shit... alot of times I had to stop and walk for the next few kms.  I found a stuffed batman on the side of the road and picked him up, he reminded me of strength.  Strength I needed to dig deep into to finish this race with a really sore knee.  Eventually the hill started going down, running downhill is nicer but when your knee bothers you it makes it worse.  I ended up walking alot of the second half of the marathon.  I was pretty much ready to give up about 3/4 of the way there when my coach showed up on the side of the street cheering me on... he said I was the last one on our team to come by him so he ran with me.  Coach Ray and batman helped me finish the race that day... I crossed the finish line after 6 hours!  I was so proud of myself to have finished the marathon, what an accomplishment.  I cried as I crossed the line, it was one of the best feelings in the world :)

After coming home and having a long rest for my knee, I continued running... I became a mentor for Team In Training and mentored a group of fundraisers for the BMO Half Marathon in Vancouver in May 2009.  It was fun and I ran the half marathon with no problems and finished just after 2 hours.  It was my personal best and it was at this point that I decided that I didn't really like to run and retired my running shoes for the first time.

Fast forward to the summer of 2010, I was running from second base to third base when some idiot in the left field tried to throw me out at third but instead of throwing it to the third baseman, he threw it at me, as hard as he could and it hit my ankle hard enough that it flipped me over in mid air and I landed on my ass.  Someone picked me up and the pain hit me.  I threw my helmet and walked as far away as I could because I could feel the tears ready to flow.  It swelled up pretty good and I thought it was broken, I spent the next day in the ER but they said it was too swollen to tell if it was broken.  I couldn't drive because it was my clutch foot and I could barely walk on it... I missed a week of work and it took alot longer than that to heal completely, in fact it still hasn't healed completely.  During this time, all I wanted to do was run... I longed for the day I could put my sneakers on and run.

In September 2010, I felt pretty good about running so that's what I did... I ran every morning, I had a 5k loop that I ran every morning and every morning I tried to make the time shorter... by November, I had 5k down to 19 minutes, I lost like 20 pounds and felt so strong until my stupid knee started bothering me again.  I had to cut down on the running.  It wasn't until I met with my chiropractor when I really decided it was time to stop altogether.  So, she said I could swim, do yoga and powerwalk... they have all the same benefits as running without the wear and tear... so I hung up my running shoes.  It was a good "run", thanks for the fun!

All my relations :)