I still can’t believe that in 4 weeks tomorrow I’ll be starting my journey east to run the most iconic road race in existence. The dream to run Boston started so long ago…almost 7 years! At the time, it felt too far-fetched to ever actually happen. Having finished that first marathon, BMO Vancouver, in 4:40:50 (6:40/km), I’d need to take 66 minutes off my time to even qualify for Boston with a 3:35 (5:05/km), and depending on the year, more than that to actually get into the race! Maybe one day…
Here we are, March 2023, and the 127th Boston Marathon is in 32 days and I am fkn running it! It doesn’t feel like that long ago that my husband and I did our Oregon Coast trip, sandwiched around the Eugene Marathon where I got the BQ. This is crazy.
Sometimes I re-read different sports psychology and other motivational non-fiction books I’ve collected over the years, and there are so many notes written here and there on the page margins that say shit like, “BQ!!!” and “get the fucking jacket” and “do it to represent Rupert Runners.” It’s fun looking back and knowing I kept at it and made the dream a reality!
This training cycle has been different than any other in a few ways. First, I’ve enjoyed the work more than ever before. The ego-checking that was required after the hysterectomy last summer has allowed me to absolutely savour very-easy running, and in contrast, the hard work has felt so great. Secondly, I have never done more strength and stability training in my life, and I feel STRONG. Combine these things with my amazing coach Jim’s attention to detail and course specificity, and my excitement for this long-term goal, and it’s been unreal.
Since the weather is a total gamble in spring in New England (check out this article I found about the weather history of Boston Marathons), my specific pacing plan will be finalized the day or two before the race. I do however have an overall goal, regardless of conditions – manage myself all the way up until and through the Newton hills so I can feel (relatively) good in the last 8k and soak up every last drop of my first Boston experience.
The hay is almost all in the barn. A few more big sessions, a taper, and a cross-continental journey coming up. Stay tuned wooooooooo
First and foremost, let’s get something straight – the term “race” can be intimidating for someone who isn’t super competitive, experienced or confident in the activity at hand. BUT, what many newer runners aren’t aware of is that “race day” is totally synonymous with “a fun, organized running event with high energy and community atmosphere.” So, going forward, let’s just call it an EVENT 🙂
This year, the first Sunday in April is the Prince Rupert 1/2 Marathon, two-person 1/2 Marathon Relay, and 8K Road Race hosted by Rupert Runners. Find everything you need to know by clicking the link and following us on Instagram and Facebook. All routes are out-and-back, meaning the finish line is the same place as the starting line, which is at the Lester Centre. The reason this post is focusing on the 8K distance in particular is because the Learn to Run Clinic, hosted annually by Rupert Runners, is uaually in full swing now since mid-February. (Note: Unfortunately, we are not hosting this clinic in 2023 due to lack of volunteers.) Eight kilometres may be a very realistic distance for new runners to tackle, come April. It could mean running, doing run/walk intervals, or even signing up with the intention to walk and just testing out a few short jogs along the way. That’s right, WALKERS ARE WELCOME! Come one, come all. Also, lots of other runners are coming out of their winter hibernation and 8k is a sweet distance if you aren’t down to run a quarter or half marathon at this point in the year.
Once you’re all signed up, you can relax until the Saturday before the event, go to the package pick-up location (place and time TBA) and pick up your bib (participant number), your shoe-tag (our new timing gizmo) and souvenir shirt (if you register before March 8th!). We only offer Sunday package pickup for out-of-town participants, so make sure to visit us Saturday, and details will be provided to you as a registered participant.
Sunday Runday Overview!
The 8K begins at 9:20am this year, after the 9am half marathon and relay start. Sometime prior to event day you’ll decide what you want to wear on the day, taking weather conditions into consideration. Also, plan to leave something in your vehicle/a friend’s vehicle/inside the Lester Centre for after you finish because you will likely get very cold once you’re cooled down and sweaty. You may also want to bring your own water bottle or other beverage/snacks, even though there are always some light goodies provided.
Common question: Do I wear the race shirt in the run?
Answer: a general running rule is never try anything new on the day of an event. Clothing, food, shoes, etc. But in the end, it’s totally up to you!
There is an awards ceremony post-race for overall and age group winners, plus door prizes, so stick around! Once your body cools down you’ll want your hoodie or jacket, maybe some sweats and my personal favourite, a toque! When you’ve decided what top you’d like to run in, you’ll pin your bib onto the FRONT of your body. The bib goes on the front because as you are finishing the course, the volunteers in charge of timing need to be able to see it clearly. Four safety pins will be provided to you. Your orange timing tag will go on your shoe – the laces feed through the holes and it sits flat on the top of your foot. Do not put your timing tag anywhere else – not in a pocket, a sock, etc. It must sit flat on the top of your laces or it won’t work.
Other things to pay attention to on Sunday morning include staying hydrated and eating breakfast a few hours before hand. Bland is good! A few ideas are oatmeal or peanut butter and banana toast. You can use the bathroom before, washrooms are available inside the Lester Centre as well as the Civic Centre.
Since the 1/2 marathon and relay start first, this is a great opportunity to get down to the Lester Centre nice and early to give yourself time to take in the energy of the event, cheer as these runners take off, chat with friends, and warm up. If the parking lot at the Lester Centre is congested, there is a ton of parking down below at the Civic Centre and ball fields.
Please, don’t think that warming up for an event means you are being “super hardcore” and trying to win or break records or something. Warming up is necessary to prevent injury, feel ready, and so that you don’t give your body a rude awakening sending it from resting to a higher heart-rate in just a few seconds! Try a short, easy jog down Wantage Road or even just in the parking lot, then twirl the ankles, try some leg swings front to back and side to side while hanging on to something for support, grape-vine, high knees, butt kicks, whatever gets you warmed up, and then some stretching is okay after your muscles are no longer cold.
When start time approaches, 8K participants gather in the little undercover drop-off area in front of the Lester Center entrance. This is the same place the half marathoners started, so if you are there early you can see how it goes, but it’s nothing fancy or complicated whatsoever. You’ll see orange cones and volunteers in vests, and at least one person shouting (probably me, LOL). Once you begin, you’ll run out onto the highway keeping on the right side of the road, and staying on that side after turning around the cone at the half-way point, which is just a little further than the turn off to the Industrial Site and will have a water table and volunteers. There is no crossing of the highway. WOOO. If you think you’re getting nervous, try converting that to excited!
Finally, when you arrive back at the finish line, you’ll run right across the big, bright blue timing mats into a coned-off funnel, and a sweet little volunteer will take back your shoe-tag. They’re $50 if we don’t get them back and registration for any further event will not be available if it is not returned. Thanks in advance!
Think of this course as SIX parts. Six manageable nuggets to focus on one at a time.
1/6: Lester Centre to BC Hydro Yard (up)
try not to fly out of the starting area! It’s not a sprint 🙂
this is a time to see how you feel, settle in, find your breath
yes, it starts on an uphill, so all the more reason to start conservatively
[Phuong Nguyen Photo]
2/6: BC Hydro to the Frederick St. junction (down)
downhill, yeah! A reward for your initial climb!
if you’re feeling out of breath from that first incline, this is a great place to let your heart rate and breathing stabilize. Relax and enjoy the gentle descent.
enjoying the downhill! [Phuong Nguyen Photo]
3/6: Frederick St. to the half-way turnaround! (up)
slow and steady, maintain your effort level, not necessarily your pace
shorten your stride slightly and use your arms to work your way up this hill
lean into the hill but don’t hunch – it squishes your lungs
there is a water station at the half-way point if you need it! 🙂 This is located just a little past the Industrial Site turn-off
4/6: Half-way mark back to Frederick St. (down)
run back down that glorious hill you just tackled!!
look around, take it in. We live in a beautiful place, this is fun and you rock!
stay in control of your body on the downhill by engaging your core and leaning forward a little (leaning back creates a braking motion and is counter-productive)
5/6: Frederick St. to BC Hydro (up)
This is a sneaky hill, but not too steep. Stay focused and you’ll be rewarded soon!
Tell yourself it’s the last uphill!
Once you get to the BC Hydro yard, which is now on your left, it’s all downhill to the finish.
6/6: Ya buddy. Back to the Lester Centre! DOWNHILL TO THE FINISH!!!
if you are feeling good, give yourself permission to go a little faster now
smile and be proud of yourself!
half marathon finisher killin’ it [Phuong Nguyen Photo]
Cross the finish line, which is exactly where you started, and keep moving so you don’t get in the way of any participants who might be coming in behind you. After a volunteer retrieves the timing-tag from your shoe, make your way to some water and a snack, usually in the lobby. Giving your body calories and hydration after working hard is very important!
Take some pics! Document your accomplishment! Do some stretching, cheer in some more participants, and get those warm clothes on you packed for after you finished kicking ass. That’s right, YOU KICK ASS!
Jamie’s 8 Reasons to participate in the Rupert 8K
Because you are stronger than you think
Take part in a community event
Get some exercise
There are some awesome door prizes! (local, too!)
Get out of your comfort zone, it’s good for us all! Do something different!
If you have any questions that this post isn’t answering, contact me and I’ll find answers for you. Hope to see you there! If you know anyone who may benefit from reading this, please share! Lastly, we ALWAYS need volunteers, and it is possible to both take part in the run AND volunteer, so please consider helping out so we can keep these great community events! Anyone who solely wants to volunteer is very welcome to and can sign-up here!
cross your fingers for weather like 2016! [Phuong Nguyen Photo]
Since I’m running CIM for the second time in just ten days, I came and revisited this recap I wrote in 2017 when I first ran it. That was my 6th marathon, and coming up next weekend CIM 2022 will be my 14th! I think I might write a pre-race post sometime in the next few days, but for now it was fun reading this post from five years ago!
Five years ago…
In 2016, after I ran my first marathon and guzzled the runner Kool-Aid, I took note of this hashtag that I continuously saw on Instagram: #runCIM. What is that?? It didn’t take me long to learn that it was a very popular, fast, net-elevation loss marathon in Sacramento, California which claims the be the “fastest course in the West.” It seemed a LOT of people thought very highly of this CIM, and lots of people went there with hopes of a PR or BQ, so I added it to my very long list of marathons I want to run some day. Then, I discovered my coach was running CIM 2016. So were other people on my Instagram feed. I WANTED TO RUN CIM TOO! So I registered for 2017!
Fast forward two more great marathon experiences (Victoria and Disney), two other disappointing ones (Calgary and R’n’R Seattle) and a great sixteen-week buildup, and it was time to head to Sacramento!!
I arrived around 10am on Friday morning after a very early alarm in Vancouver and two flights, connecting in Seattle, to get me there. This was of course after my initial travel from home in northern BC to Vancouver on Thursday. The joys of living in the middle of nowhere 🙂 My new airport friend Nancy and I split a cab to downtown and it was about thirty bucks USD between the two of us. I had good luck right off the bat – there happened to be a room available for me at 10:30am when I got to the Holiday Inn Sacramento Downtown! Check-in was 3pm and I went there just intending to drop off my bag, get lunch and then hit the race expo at noon, but I ended up with a way better situation which was shower, nap, Starbucks, expo, lunch.
The location of the Holiday Inn (one of the host hotels) worked out really well for me. It was about a mile from the Convention Centre where the Expo was held which made for a nice walk to stretch out my plane legs.
Also, bus pickup “B” (runners are encouraged to take the free busses to the start of the race) was like fifty metres around the corner at 3rd & L Street, but more about that later.
The CIM Expo was sweet! The giant C I M letters immediately after entering was a cool photo op, as well as the race course map and the giant poster with each of the thousands of runners names on it. (Mine and Karmen’s names fit in the same photo!)
Bib pick-up was by last name and it was quick and easy. We were also given a nice reusable CIM bag, CIM ankle socks, a runner’s belt thingy, and a buff-style headband. All of the swag is legit. I like all of it aside from the belt thingy, it’s just a little fanny-pack’ish for my liking but I’m sure some people would find it useful.
Around the first corner, going with the flow of the sea of people, were a bunch of tables for the relay runners, so I continued past to the race shirt table and was given my shirt. IT’S GREAT. If you know me, you know I loathe 99% of race shirts. Always too short or flared out at the bottom, or with a choking neckline. But this shirt! A long sleeve half (maybe quarter?) zip, navy blue top that wasn’t short or flared out at the bottom! Finally. I even wore it on the trip home.
I cruised around and discovered that I didn’t have to go to Fleet Feet Sports to find the Goodr Sunglasses I’d been wanting because they were selling them at the expo! The Flamingos on a Booze Cruise are finally mine!
I visited the Oiselle booth and then checked out the event merchandise which was pretty awesome, but not so fantastic that I had to further break my shopping freeze. After a lay down at the hotel, I suited up for four easy kilometers around my area and over the Tower Bridge.
Bedtime was seriously like 6:30pm and I’m so glad I went in bed at that time because I somehow managed to sleep pretty solid for almost ten hours!! Friday is sleep night, and sleep night was a success.
Saturday morning was the CIM Shakeout Run!! It was nice having the ten minute jog to the convention centre to wake up a little, and it really did wake me up because it was cold that morning! Around 4°C I believe. Perfect for running once warmed up, in my opinion. In the lobby where everyone met, I met Steph (@runstrongrun), Amy (@runaissancewoman) and Vanessa (@vancesa) and we chatted for a while before it was run time.
The route was simply loops around Capitol park, each lap being about a mile, and runners could do as many loops as they wanted! There was a big group pic outside and I got to say hello to Elyse (@milestomedals) and have a hug.
I linked up with Amy and we got to know each other on the jog and she told me this would be her first marathon. Solid crew at this shake-out!
I went back into the expo after the jog, chatted at the Oiselle booth and browsed around for a second time.
The afternoon consisted of candy from Andy’s Candy, PIZZA at Pizza Rock with my friends Karmen and Adam who were both running the marathon as well, and then more naps, pad Thai from Lotus Thai, and early to bed for some classic “fake sleeping” that I specialize in on all race eves. LOL.
My alarm was set for 3:45am, but since I wasn’t sleeping anyway I got up just before 3:30. This gave me more than enough time to make my oatmeal with hot water from the Keurig, eat my rice from the Thai restaurant, get my race kit together and layer up with throwaway clothes.
My check bag I had packed the day before. I left the lobby at 4:40 and was in the lineup for the school busses by like 4:43. The bus situation was so easy and organized, but I was also there a good fifteen minutes before the 5am scheduled departure to Folsom. My new bus friend Eric and I chatted on the whole ride to the start area, which took about 45 minutes if I remember correctly. He was running his first marathon and had bought a brand new BMW the day before but got his dad to drive it home. His finish celebration would be driving his new car home!
Once arriving at the start line, runners are allowed to stay on the busses to keep warm, or get back on any time. I ditched my check-bag right away (fast and easy), went pee in one of what looked like thousands of PortoPotties, and then got back on a random bus for a bit because it was pretty cold. At 6:30 I went to the corner by 7-11 for the #WeRunSocial meetup and by the time we were done visiting and taking a group photo it was time for me to go find the 3:52 pace group!
But I had to go pee again!! By now the porto lines were LONG and slow. Since I’m Canadian and don’t give a F, I peed behind a bush with a bunch of men (LOLOLOL) and then jumped into the starting area with the 3:52 pacers, Clark and Carolyn. There’s no way I’d have been able to use one of the toilets in time before the gun so good thing I’m a free spirit.
Go time!!! It was chilly and I kept my long sleeve shirt on for the first few kilometers before I ditched it. It was such a beautiful morning though! The first part of the race is in a fairly rural area and people were having fires in their front yards, holding signs and ringing cowbells. It’s also pretty downhill for the first mile which was really nice for a warm up. It was a bit congested and I tucked in tight behind Clark and Carolyn and rode their rhythm as I warmed up and enjoyed the “holy F I’m running a marathon today” energy. Our pacers were amazing and so great about reminding us to fuel and hydrate often and early. I started on my first Nakd bar around 6km, and hit the first water station with no spilling, even though I had my Nathan handheld. My plan was to drink from all stations that were easy to get at plus from my own bottle whenever I felt like it, eat my bars and also take the Cliff shots from the four fuel stations since I have lots of experience with that brand. I needed to get plain water from the stations since I had Nuun in my handheld. I am really glad that I had it because some of the hydration stations were SO crowded!
A lot of my run was a blur, that’s just the way it is. I was just focusing on staying calm, relaxed and present, and trusting the pacers to get me to at least half-way before I would likely break off on my own. I truly believe I saved SO MUCH valuable energy by running with them because I didn’t look at my watch once until probably 25km, and I didn’t have to obsess about my pace on the hills. Speaking of hills…
This race is a net-downhill, and yes there are lots of glorious stretches of mild downhill, but there are also a lot of rollers and tons of flat. It made for excellent variety and using all different muscles, and it also provided the opportunity to take an inventory of running form and breathing because each hill was always followed by a mild downhill to recover. I LOVE THIS COURSE SO MUCH!!!!!!
The section through Old Fair Oaks Village around kilometers 15 and 16 was a nice boost, it felt like I was at Oktoberfest or something, lots of bands and spectators and such a cute little area! The turns through that section of the race obviously weren’t helpful for GPS distance, but it kept it interesting and was a nice distraction since the majority of the course runs in long straight stretches. I honestly don’t even really remember much between that village and getting to the half-way timing mat. I know I took note of some really pretty trees, and talked a little with a woman from San Diego who was running with the same pack. The last short, steeper hill that I recall was just before half-way.
I remember I felt really good, like so good it was almost scary, up until like 32-34km and even after that it never got bad, just regular marathon feeling. Even so, I felt the pace group was a good idea to stick with for a while beyond the half marathon mat. There was a stretch somewhere between half-way and “the Wall” where we ran up a long but very gradual hill that seemed to last for a really long time. But, each time there was a hill that had me starting to feel fatigued or less in control, a gradual downslope would follow and give me time to regroup and lower my heart rate. I felt strong running through “the Wall”, (there was actually a wall display, I’m not just using quotes annoyingly) which I swear was further along than the 20 mile marker but maybe I just can’t recall properly. There was a big cowbell crew at one spot that I initially thought was Oiselle and something hit me and I got all choked up ahaha. Crying while running a marathon is awesome. I took note of passing the 30k marker since Clark was making fun of me for being Canadian and running in metric, and soon after that is where I started to run without being latched on to the pace group. I looked straight forward and kept steady. Kane had told me to think of him during kilometer 32, and I did, and continued to remind myself that it was now time to just simply run 10k. I also knew that aside from some bridge around 35km, the remainder of the course would be very flat.
Divide and conquer. Get to the bridge. Laugh at the bridge. Run on pancake-flat to the State Capitol! I passed many people on that last tiny bridge-hill (which doesn’t feel tiny when you’ve been running for 3 hours..) and then I said my inspiring runner friends’ names, my husband’s name, coach, and told myself “I can run 5km. I can run forward. Running is faster than walking. Moving forward will get me there sooner than if I stop.” My feet were on fucking FIRE and I was ready to be finished.
The actual Oiselle cowbell station was so loud and awesome and I choked up again running through them around mile 23. Amazing. Once turning onto J street (my hotel was at 3rd & J) after that bridge, the street numbers start to countdown all the way into downtown, from 57th street. I knew there was another left-right move onto L street, where then there were 20ish blocks to run until the sharp left on 8th, and left again onto Capitol Mall (the finish stretch) towards the Capitol building! RUN TO 8TH STREET JAMIE. Later-fun. Later-fun. Later-fun.
There was a drum line, and tons of spectators, the energy was awesome! I picked out a guy in a bright yellow shirt and rode his pace for a bit, then did the same with another runner. FINALLY I was at 8th street!! I was running right where Amy and I had run and chatted during the shakeout run the day before! Almost there!! Hung the sharp left, kept pushing, and just as I was making the final left turn into the chute, I heard “JAMIE!!!!!” and I saw Karmen and Adam shouting for me! F*CK YES!!!
I put forth my best effort to kick to the finish, which was NOT my fastest ever, but that’s good because it means I was finishing on empty, the last piece of the plan!
I crossed the finish and got my medal, which is massive and beautiful!! I was in a happy daze and put on the cloth jacket that was given out to each runner and got a stranger to take my pic in front of the State Capitol. I felt like I was on drugs I was so woozy and weak but so so so happy!!! I achieved my “B” goal of 3:51:xx for a twenty minute improvement on my previous 4:11 personal best!!!
I found a sunny patch of grass once I (very easily) retrieved my checked-bag, and took my time changing into some warm clothes, chugging water and eating a banana. Karmen and I texted a bit, she’d had a good day and Adam a GREAT day!! We didn’t find each other though, I find after the race I’m too stunned for much. I hung out and chatted with other runners and once more looked at the race merchandise (and refrained) and then walked like a snail along the final stretch of the course along L Street cheering before I hit up Starbucks for a venti white chocolate mocha with extra whipped cream. Then I zombie walked to my hotel in bliss, texting coach Andrew!!!
The California International Marathon is the best marathon experience I’ve had, so far! I’m sure this has at least something to do with the fact that I had a near-perfect day, but aside from that, the logistics and energy of this event plus the fantastic course makes me understand why it has such a great reputation. High fives to the Sacramento Running Association for hosting a bang-on event! The expo was great, the swag impressive, shake-out run super fun, start-line transportation was stress-free, the course was great (I wouldn’t call it scenic, but just great) and the medal is gigantic and beautiful!!!! I would not consider this a downhill course by any means, just FYI.
Before the CIM, there was only one marathon I’ve run so far that I really want to do again, which is the BMO Vancouver Marathon. Now, I have two. I plan to run CIM again in the future and I encourage you to check it out because it lived up to its reputation in my books!!
Wow, it’s November!? Just over 2 weeks ago I was on my paddle board barefoot on the ocean, in short shorts and a t-shirt, and today on my run it was -2 and I wore PANTS.
Such a sharp corner the season took but I like it! Every year at this time I go through a period of “darkness” emotionally/energetically/spiritually, but once I take the time to accept the cold, dark season and some of the moody things that come along with it (or at least for me, anyways) then I can really settle in to the cozy season and feel genuinely happy about it.
I was walking home from the firehall tonight in the dark, zero-degree weather and taking a second to feel really grateful that I’m still sober after all this time. A long-time friend was asking me for some support on the subject today and it was a good personal reminder to check in with my own sober journey. Yesterday was 2500 days booze-free, and this Christmas will be SEVEN years. As I was walking home it was so quiet and there is a perfect first-quarter moon lighting up the dark night, and this maple tree in my neighbour’s yard was rustling in the wind… I’m not sure if I noticed that kind of stuff when I was still partying all the time, I can’t really remember.
On the hysterectomy front, there’s literally nothing to report. I feel like I’m almost, if not right back to, pre-surgical fitness and the only thing I’ve noticed during this marathon training cycle that’s different is the amount of sleep I need. I can nap any time, any place, for any amount of minutes, and I can sleep 10 hours a night if time permits. Maybe I didn’t sleep enough while I was recovering from the procedure, or maybe I’m just getting old. LOL.
CIM is in less than 5 weeks and I’m feeling pretty damn good, though less focused on race day goals. This build has been so fun, and like a science experiment, just observing the reunion with running after the six-week break and what my body went through. I am possibly more excited than ever to actually run the marathon, and it feels like a really low-pressure situation and I love it.
CIM is feeling low-pressure and like a victory lap with respect to the hysterectomy, but also because… my BQ from Eugene is taking me to the 127th Boston Marathon on April 17th, 2023!!!!! It is happening! I started long-term fantasizing about one day running the Boston marathon in May 2016 after my very first marathon – so long ago that I can’t even link to a race recap! LOL. What a journey it has been, and it of course does not end with Boston, but my dream has come true – I’M GOING!
It’s hard to believe that all my visualizing and manifesting and wacky witchcrafting has, or will soon, become reality! Since Eugene I imagined a qualifying cut-off time of <90 seconds (I ran 1:38 under the standard of 3:35:00 for my AG), I visualized travelling to Boston, feeling the celebration jacket on my skin, conquering the Newton hills, turning left on Boylston street, and so much more. I familiarized on Google maps. I bought a yellow crop top. I wrote a packing list on September 17 in my journal, which was three days before I actually found out I was IN! I just knew it.
WOW WOW WOW. So pumped. I’ve heard about so many runners’ “road to Boston” stories, and I think I’ll summarize my own soon as a way to reflect but also to demonstrate that progress is not linear and each person’s marathon journey is unique. But my message on this right now is: keep going, don’t quit and you can hunt down your goals over time! Never stop believing 😀 😀
Now, it’s time to enjoy fall running in reflective clothing, finish the last couple hard weeks of this build before the taper, and then perform the post-hysterectomy marathon experiment!!! Have a fun Fall!
Hmm, so somehow it’s 8 weeks later and I’m in Prince George again for a follow-up appointment with my surgeon tomorrow! Life goes by so fast, it’s crazy. I have been running since August 19th, which was day 39 of healing. I felt good and went for it, taking it easy on my favourite 5k trail. Since then I’ve done a 75 minute and two 90 minute long run efforts (on top of usual easy running during the week), and I have a 1:45 coming up this Sunday! Things are feeling totally fine, just slightly more challenging than pre-op, which is to be expected, all things considered. I’ve gone back to work a little bit over the last couple weeks, and will be returning full-time next week. Yay, money.
So many exciting things have happened since I had the operation, which is cool because as I’ve said before, I didn’t exactly anticipate this summer to be an “exciting” time! I was selected as one of the first Canadian ambassadors for ATHLETIC BREWING!! Athletic Brewing, in my opinion, is truly the world’s best non-alcoholic beer!! If you want to check it out, my link is HERE and my 20% off code for your first order is JAMIEK20 – I like the Freewave hazy IPA the best, but everything is good, including the All-Out Stout, which I wasn’t sure I would enjoy!
I also got an inflatable SUP from my husband for an anniversary gift, which I LOVE and will be a great core-building tool! We added a (new to us) Peloton bike to the basement sweat cave, which will be priceless during the northern BC fall/winter season, and will help me stay on top of cross-training and the general cycling situation in preparation for IRONMAN CANADA next August! I can’t believe it. I am registered for a 140.6! Next week Boston 2023 registration opens up, and this alone is the most exciting thing I will ever be eligible to do. HOLY SHIT. Fingers and toes are crossed.
Yesterday I did my first official workout back with my coach, which was 20 minute warm-up, 4x3min @ goal marathon pace with 90 second easy rests, 15 minutes warm-down. It was harder than I’d have liked it to feel, but completely manageable. As I told my coach yesterday, I feel patient with my body but also very determined and optimistic! Twelve and a half weeks til CIM!
It’s been a serious confidence booster looking back at all of the activity I did during the first 6 weeks post-op. This is similar to the confidence journal I was using during marathon training! I’ve mentioned that as a runner, to me a week begins on Monday. So, even though I had the surgery on a Tuesday (12th), these weeks still run Monday through Sunday. Here’s the whole summary, and for reference, the yoga sessions included some single-leg strength and stability work.
Week 1: July 11th – July 17th
Swimming (day before operation) – 550m open water
the last run (morning of operation) – 7km
Walking – 20km – longest walk 4.85km
Yoga – 30 minutes – longest session 20 minutes
Week 2: July 18th – July 24th
Walking – 50km (927m gain). A few kilometres were hiking. Longest sesh 10km
(most of that was in Mexico and the heat really increased the intensity! Highly recommend)
Yoga – 1 hour – longest session was 25 minutes
Week 3: July 25th – July 31st
Walking – 58km (1205m gain), 1.6km was a very steep hike – longest walk 12km
Yoga – 68 minutes – longest session 30 minutes
Week 4: August 1st – August 7th – the week the hiking really began!
Walking – 24km (400m gain)
Hiking – 38km (8.5 hours, 2400m gain)
Yoga – 53 min – longest session 20 minutes
Week 5: August 8th – 14th
Walking – 30km (300m gain)
Hiking – 24km (5 hours, 1680m gain)
strength session with light weights: 15 min
Week 6: August 15th – 21st
Walking – 12km
Hiking – 8k (1.5 hours, 240m gain)
Jog-walking & jogging – 35km (4 hours)
SUP – 1 hour
Whoa. That makes me happy!
I’ve been using the Peloton to add more time in the aerobic zone without adding too much running too soon, and I’m pumped that Masters’ swim club starts up again next week! My plan is to swim twice a week, continue with the 5-6 running days/week with my coach, and throw in a spin class and/or strength training on the days that I run workouts or long runs, keeping the hard days hard and easy days EASY.
OH. I forgot one more exciting thing. I got my VDot Distance Run Coaching certification while recovering! I plan to make a separate post all about it, but I am very excited to start offering coaching in the 5k to marathon distances in the later fall, in preparation for spring race season!
If you are reading this and have a hysterectomy coming up in your future, please stay optimistic. The time off has proven to be an incredible period of mental rejuvenation, variety in activity, a chance to get some shit done that might not happen otherwise due to busy schedules, and generally an excellent time for learning and self-reflection.
Wow I disappeared for a bit there. When I was approaching this operation, I had a vision of myself moping around at home for 6 weeks, blogging each day for something to do and going stir crazy. It has been such a pleasant surprise, this entire process! The last two weeks my life has felt so normal. The amount of activity I’ve been doing, though not running, has kept my lifestyle what is normally is, and I feel like myself! The time off work and running has been valuable in so many ways and for anyone who might think that summer is a shitty time to be out on surgical recovery, I don’t think it has been shitty in any way!
Last week was a slightly lower volume of hiking and walking as my husband and I were on a wedding trip that had a LOT of driving and many ferries, but I still got in 3 hikes, a ton of walking, a yoga session and a strength session.
On the Saturday (day 33) before the wedding, I did a big hike, almost 14km and it included going up and over the mountain twice that we had hiked the day before, plus lots more and I couldn’t hold back… I did some easy jogging intervals on the flats and non-technical sections of the trail and felt SOOOOOO good!!! I stayed really engaged in the core, ran softly and kept the jogging segments to just a minute or two. Pure fkn joy.
I’ve had a few discussions with other medical professional friends who all have kinda said similar things – the 6 week recovery window is based on the average human. Luckily, I know I’m stronger and fitter than the mean individual and I’m glad to have the body awareness I do. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t gone about breaking all the rules and lifting heavy shit or going for a full-on run, but I’ve paid attention the whole time to how I’ve felt and navigated accordingly. Today, though, I will run my favourite 5k trail! A few days early. Sue me.
At the wedding, dancing felt so good! I didn’t jump too hard or flail too, too crazy, but I basically just threw 99% of caution to the wind and it was so much fun and I felt normal.
This week, I have continued to do some run-jog intervals and I feel amazing. The lungs feel more or less unscathed. The legs feel a tiny bit rusty since they’ve been hiking and speed walking now for just about 6 weeks, but it’s like riding a bike 🙂
I emailed my coach and asked if we could begin a normal marathon build after next week, using the 14 weeks that we will have at that point to get really ready for CIM. Next week I’m going to easy run all week, by feel, and shoot for a 75 minute effort on Sunday for the “long run.” Honestly, I truly feel like I’ve minimized aerobic fitness loss to the best of my ability and I am proud of it. If you are a marathoner freaking out about time off for a hysterectomy, please don’t.
My scars look like this today. The bottom one on my left is generally covered by undies or bathing suit bottoms. The bellybutton one is basically non-existent. The one on my right below the treble clef is soooo minor, and then the most medial one is the most noticeable but…who the fuck cares LOL.
I am PUMPED! I’m going back to work to treat a small handful of patients next week, and will continue with that until I go back full-time on September 12th, which is the week after a follow-up appointment with my surgeon in Prince George.
Today I got to submit my BQ from Eugene for pre-verification on Athletes’ Village (the B.A.A.’s online platform) and it was so exciting! I feel very content with the fact that if I get in, I’LL GO TO FREAKING BOSTON! And if I don’t, then I’ll GO TO FREAKING BOSTON ANOTHER DAY!
Other exciting things are my husband bought me an inflatable SUP for an early anniversary present and I am stoked to test it out this weekend and get my core fired up for running! Also, something I haven’t mentioned before is that I’m currently working on my VDot coaching certification!! By fall I will be accepting a few athletes for spring race training, anything from 5k-marathon distance 😀 😀 😀
Life is good. Tuesday coming up is the official 6-week mark since the LAVH and that went by FAST. I’m going to post a summary of everything I did activity-wise so people can really see how much can be done while healing, if healthy to do so, obviously.