Monday, January 31, 2011

Vaseline, frozen eyelashes, oh, and ONEDERLAND BABY!!!

Yesterday, I had another run. This is one of those runs that might classify me as certifiably crazy. With windchill, the temperature out there was -31c (-24f), otherwise known as really bloody cold!

We did 18 km (11.2mi), the longest distance I've done so far. When I arrived in the parking lot, Jen and I were both getting ready - changing shoes, taking off my warm car coat... She held up a little tube of vaseline. That's right, when it's this cold, you risk frostbite with any exposed skin. So, I lubed up the part of my face that wasn't covered - which was just a small area around my eyes. Perhaps I should wear ski goggles next time?

Surprisingly, it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. Early on, I thought I might even be overdressed, but when we hit a more exposed section with stronger wind, I wasn't regretting any of those layers. We did two 8km (5mi) loops with an extra 2km (1.2mi) thrown in at the end. Upon finishing I had little globules of ice on my eyelashes.

Definitely some extreme conditions, and I'd be quite happy for spring to come and stay.

In other (BIG) news, I weighed in today at 199.6 pounds this morning. That's ONE hundred ninety nine point six. There is no longer a two at the beginning of that number, and there never will be again. That gives me a weekly loss of 1.4 and a total loss of 44.2. To be honest, I would have loved to see more, but 1.4 is quite respectable at this point in my journey, and it leaves me no room to slack on my nutrition if I want to stay under 200 this week.

Home stretch baby! Before I know it, I'll be at a completely healthy weight.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sometimes slower is harder

This morning I did an early morning run. Getting out there reminds me that I've missed those 5am runs. There's something so peaceful about running at that time. The air seems fresher and smells nice. It also gets my day off to a great start. As nice as it is anyways, I can't wait until the days get longer and I actually get to see the sunrise while I run.

Having said that, it wasn't all roses this morning. We've had some beautiful weather here lately. Above freezing temperatures that have made for great park trips and have broken the stir crazy phase the last cold snap put us into. It is still cold enough to freeze overnight though.

This combination made for some nasty sidewalks for my early morning run. The snow melted enough yesterday to make lots of little puddles and wet patches on the sidewalks. Then, it froze.

This meant a constant run/walk combination. It did keep me on my toes, but I felt like every time I was starting to get into a rhythm, it was broken by stopping for ice. I have grown to love running, but I still have to convince myself to keep going for the first couple minutes. After that, I generally get into a rhythm and just do it. Today, the rhythm never happened and I had to convince myself over and over.

In the end, I did 6km of my planned 8km. Cutting it short ended up being mostly an issue of running out of time though, so I feel okay about it. For some odd reason, I can't finish a run as quickly when I keep having to walk.

I'm happy I finished the run, but I'm hoping the sidewalks will be nicer to me in the future.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Do you ever find yourself living in the future, rather then the now?

I've realized something about myself. I spend too much time thinking about the future, dreaming about the future, worrying about the future...

I realized when I looked back on my last post. Rather then celebrating the 1.6 pounds I lost last week (which is pretty darn good!), I celebrated the fact that I'll be breaking into the 100s next week.

I buy more clothes that will fit me in the future then will fit me now.

Recently, I started worrying about whether I will make the swim cut off when I do an Ironman. An Ironman I am planning to do in 2014. THREE years from now.

I have this vision of the person I want to become, the person I want to be. My vision includes the physical, and what I am physically capable with. I also picture myself brimming with confidence when I get there.

Is the person I am ever going to match the person in my head?

There's nothing wrong with having goals and aspirations. In fact, I think when you stop having any type of goal, you stagnate. I want to always have something I am working towards and trying to accomplish.

For that very reason, the future me is never going to match the current me. And, that's okay. It's time to accept that. There's no reason I can't be happy with where I am right now. I've lost over 40 pounds and I'm looking good. The former non-swimming, non runner can swim 1500 metres non-stop and ran 16.1km (10mi) this past Sunday.

It doesn't change the fact that I have goals I'm working towards. But, the current Deb is pretty great too.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Weigh in

Just a quick post today!

This week, I tipped the scale at 201.0, for a weekly loss of 1.6 and a total loss of 43.8. Considering I really only gave it a half week of effort, that's pretty good. This is the final week that my weight will begin with the number "2" ever again. Ever. Again.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What am I afraid of?

It seems like my weight has been stuck again. It also seems like I write one of these posts every few months, then I get on track to lose another dozen or so pounds before getting stuck again. These aren't plateaus, not in my mind. I won't consider it a plateau unless I'm doing everything right and not losing anyways.

Every time, I look at what I'm doing and what I need to change. It's almost always the same thing. Eat clean, track my food, control portion sizes. Not rocket science. I have no problem keeping up my activity, but I have always maintained that I do that for health, not weight loss. Running makes me hungry, after all. If I don't remember to keep my nutrition in check, I am quite capable of eating every single calorie that I burn.

This time, I'm asking the question: what am I afraid of? Why do I keep stalling?

It's something I've given a lot of thought to, and I've realized that there is a part of me that is afraid to finish this journey. The thing is, the end could actually be pretty close if I apply myself. When I started, I needed to lose over 60 pounds to be healthy. That was huge. Now, I just need to lose a bit more then 20. 3 more pounds down, and I break out of the 200s - for the final time. 23 and I will be at a healthy weight. I expect I'll lose more after that to achieve my ideal weight for running, but my primary goal is to be healthy, and then I'll reevaluate.

In many ways, this journey has changed me, and defined me over the last year. So, what happens when it's done? Well, intellectually, it's simple: I continue the journey I've started in other areas of my life, primarily triathlons. I intend to do a full ironman eventually, so this isn't a short journey either.

Emotionally though, I think I am afraid to reach a point where I don't need to lose weight. I have almost always needed to lose weight. Even when I've lost it in the past, I really never stayed there for long. Losing weight isn't the hard part. It's keeping it off.

So, how to deal with that fear? First off, I'm acknowledging it. In some ways, I don't feel ready to reach my goal weight. Yet, I don't think I'll ever feel ready. Next I'm going to do it anyways.

I remember the first time I swam through the deep end of the pool. The idea terrified me. I made the choice to go forward and do it anyways. Now, I head to that same pool and swim laps without a second thought.

Today, I am making the choice to go forward and finish my weight loss journey. Within the next couple weeks, I'll be breaking through that 200 pound mark. By the summer time, perhaps even spring, the scale will be showing a healthy weight.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Beautiful weather!

So after a painful cold snap and weeks in the deep freeze, we are now enjoying beautiful weather! Still cold enough to require coats and hats, but no need to hibernate.

It's amazing what the weather can do to your mood. I felt myself getting grumpier as the cold days dragged on. Now, the weather forecast is calling for a high of 5c (41f) and I couldn't be happier. I have plans to meet some friends at a play place this morning, but we'll be playing outside in the warm weather and sunshine this afternoon.

In other news, it seems like that blister on my leg is already starting to heal. Unfortunately, it got popped yesterday. (I could see that coming. With a two year old and a three year old, one of them is going to charge at me...) Having said that, it's looking better. No problem wearing my running tights, and I'm optimistic I'll be back in the pool before the weekend's over.

I'm even considering doing a run today while pushing the kids in the chariot. I wish I could pull my bike out, but the roads are still covered in snow (which is turning to slush), so that won't happen for a while yet. Maybe we'll pull the kids' bikes out over the weekend though! The sidewalks should be pretty much ride-able.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Way to derail me

I've got a little thing that's a huge annoyance

Yesterday I saw a dermatologist about a growth on my leg. Turns out it's just a wart. (Yeah, I know, it's not that lovely, but at least it's not cancer.) Then without any consultation, she grabs her bottle of liquid nitrogen and sprays it down.

Then she tells me how to take care of it... oh, and stay out of the pool until it's basically healed. Um, hold up! Stay out of the pool? On the week I intended to spend many sessions working on my technique? On the week when I feel like things are actually clicking and I need to solidify that? Just a casual "stay out of the pool"?

Plus, since it's turned into this big blister, I'm not sure I'll be able to wear my running tights, because of the pressure it will put on it. So, likely that also means, no outdoor running.

Arg! It's just a frickin' wart. If I'd been given a moment for consultation, I could have chosen to do this at another time, or even just wait for it to go away on it's own. Whatever happened to informed consent? I can't help thinking that (for me) the cure is worse then the "disease".

Now, despite my title, it won't totally derail me, though it has totally frustrated me.

When I first started running, I gave myself a nasty overuse injury to my knee. It forced me to stop running for about a month. That month, I conquered my fear of deep water, and started seriously swimming.

Now, I can't swim, and my running may be limited. The third option? My bike. Biking may well be my weakest sport right now, due to my inexperience. Considering that the bike portion is almost half of the triathlon (in terms of time), it would be good to change that. Sadly, it's not outdoor biking season, but I can still log some serious hours on the trainer.

Frustration only does me so much good, and rather then console myself with a bowl of ice cream, I'll burn some of that frustration off with a lot of pedaling.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Long run and gel failure

Yesterday I did my long run. Usually, my long run happens on the weekend, but this weekend it was really cold. I can suck it up for shorter runs, but I find it harder to regulate my temperature once I'm going further. Since we were supposed to be getting some warmer weather, I delayed my run for a couple days.

It was fabulous. It was around -13c (9f). Much warmer then what I've been running in lately, and with the right clothes it was perfect running weather. I did most of the run along the river and got dazzled with snow and sunshine.

On my last long run of 14km (8.7mi), I was starting to feel low on energy. Yesterday was 15km (9.3mi). I've realized that it's time to start refueling during my runs, since they're getting close to 2 hours long. There's a couple options out there, but it seems that everyone is using gels, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Last week, I stopped by a running store and got a handful of gels. I've been asking friends lately about their favourites, but I thought my best bet was to try a variety of flavours and brands to find out what I like best.

The one I took along on yesterday's run was the clif shot, vanilla flavour.

It was my very first one. I was a gel virgin up until this point, and I have to say the first time wasn't so good for me. I practically gagged on it. It was so thick. Like the consistency of partially dried up corn syrup. I actually had to chew it a bit to get it to a consistency that I could swallow. Now admittedly, it was a bit cold, but not frozen cold or anything. BLAH!!! I won't be trying anymore of that brand. The taste was okay, I guess. I couldn't get past the consistency, so I didn't really care.

Do you have a favourite gel brand/flavour?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blog roll and name change? Give me your opinion.

First of all, I just wanted to mention that I have finally added a blog roll! Thank you to all of you that have had me on yours for so long, and my apologies that I am only now reciprocating. If you'd like to be added to my blog roll, shoot me a message and let me know. It's a work in progress, and I certainly have more to add.

The next big change that is coming to my blog is a name change. I don't feel like my blog is a weight loss blog anymore. It has definitely moved into the realm of running/tri blogs. I no longer feel like my name reflects my content. I realize name changes can be confusing, but I feel like it's called for.

So, just to let the cat out of the bag, the name I'm considering is "Deb Tris". Yeah, not that original maybe, but I like it, and I feel like it's a good transition from "Deb Shrinks". My question for you is, do you see it pronounced as rhyming with "buys" or rhyming with "kiss"?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Swimming awesomeness

I am currently entering what I think will be one of the most productive time periods in regards to my swimming abilities. Tonight was the second class of the triathlon swim program.

Now, first of all, I feel like a total newbie. And, compared to a lot of the people there, I am. In many ways, I feel like I'm starting from the beginning. For months now, I've been swimming endless laps. The one thing that has done for me is give me the endurance to work on whatever I need to now.

And, boy, do I have a lot to work on.

I thought I was rolling my body, somewhat at least. Not really. Angie told me that I was swimming flat. My kick is not my strong point. (I knew that. I am not a big fan of kicking and usually avoid kick sets). She told me it was very tight and jerky, and I should try to envision myself kicking more like a graceful dolphin. (I think that's the wording she used.) Then I was over-rolling. Then, my over-rolling was causing me to do weird things with my arms and send them way off to the sides...

The good part is, I am getting good solid feedback on all my strengths and flaws. I'm learning drills that will help me get that body position right. I'm learning the purpose for all the drills. I'm a nerd that way, but if I understand why I'm doing something, I do it much better.

I need to practice a lot.

I think I am actually swimming slower now, since I am really focusing on technique. Having said that, for the last 4 months, I've seen hardly any improvement in my speed, so obviously I needed a different approach. I think I'm finally getting it.

Thank goodness I mustered up the guts to sign up for this swim program for triathletes. It will help me get closer to earning the right to call myself one.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mental toughness is not...

...abandoning my long run because it is just too cold.

(In my defense, I am rescheduling it for a warmer day.)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mental toughness is...

...carrying through with running 22 circles at the track despite the fact you've forgotten your ipod.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Weigh in and going sugar free again

So my weight is once again stable. This week, it was at 202.6, which is exactly where I was 2 weeks ago. It always seems to be the same story with me when the weight loss stops. Either my portion sizes have grown, or I've fallen too far from eating clean.

So, this weeks goal is to sugar detox. For me, that means no refined sugar or carbohydrates. Proper portion sizes of whole grain carbohydrates. Extremely limited amounts of natural sugars like honey and maple syrup and only as ingredients in something else. Plenty of fruits and vegetables.

I feel my best when I eat like this. I have more energy and I'm less grumpy. My body functions better and I lose most of the sluggishness I sometimes feel.

Triathlon season is fast approaching and among other things, that means putting on a wetsuit. I'd actually like to drop most of the remaining pounds before I even have to book the wetsuit rental, so that I don't change my weight too much prior to wearing it for the races.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Swimming again

I haven't talked about swimming in a long time. When I first started floundering in the water, it was a regular feature in my blog. When I first set the goal of doing a triathlon, it was without knowing how to swim. Since then, I've taken 2 sets of adult swim classes. I also continue to swim 3 times a week which has brought me from being a scared non-swimmer to one capable of swimming 1500 metres non-stop... very slowly.

I finally got up the courage to join a program that is exactly what I need. A swim program for triathletes. Now, you may not have noticed, but I have never referred to myself as a triathlete. I intend to be one at some point, but I don't feel qualified to claim the title until I have completed at least one triathlon.

Monday was the first class, and I got as much out of it as I did from the entire session the last time I took adult lessons. It's run by a local triathlon coach, and she is good and knows her stuff. (She's actually the same tri coach that was lapping Jen and I at the track on Sunday.) Since it's geared for triathlons, the focus is entirely on front crawl. While it was interesting learning other strokes, for me, it felt like a huge waste of time to spend so much of my previous classes on them. Most of Monday's class was spent doing drills that worked on body position and body roll.

I am thrilled to be taking a class from somebody that really knows technique and understands how it fits within the whole of a triathlon. In the last class I took, I asked a question about something and was told to "just do whatever is more comfortable". Sometimes, the right technique isn't the most comfortable because it is unfamiliar, so I'm excited to learn from somebody that can teach me what I need to know.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Rats in a maze

Yesterday was the day of my long run. On the plan was 14km (8.7mi). On the weather forecast was cold temperatures; with windchill it was supposed to be -30c (-22f). I emailed my running buddy Jen, and asked her if she was running and whether I should HTFU. Much to my relief, she wasn't up for running 14k outside either.

Then it was a question of how and when to do it. I'm now at a point where simply skipping a workout isn't an option. I have to figure out where else to fit it in. After some deliberation, we decided to run at the track. 4.5 laps of the track equals 1 km, so to do 14km, we would have to do 63 laps. SIXTY-THREE.

Running at the track isn't terribly inspiring. Going around and around in circles makes me feel like I'm a rat trapped in somebody's science experiment. I do run there, because it makes sense and there are times when it just doesn't work well to go outside. But, it's mind numbing and the most I'd done there before was about 6 km. Thank goodness I had company.

Jen and her husband Garry made the drive out to meet me. (The track in my town is less expensive and less busy.) According to Garry, we were "too slow" to run with though, so we just saw him when he lapped us.

I used my garmin to keep track of the laps. No way would I be able to keep count in my head! The first 15 laps weren't too rough. It makes such a difference to have somebody to run with. We took a quick bathroom break after 15 - at least there's some benefit to running inside: the availability of facilities. Then it was back to the grindstone.

Around 30, we took another quick break. I was feeling like there was something poking me in the arch of one foot. I didn't find it, but after taking my shoe off, the poking feeling went away, so that was good.

Towards the middle of our workout, we saw one of the top triathlon coaches in Western Canada show up. That made me feel a bit better about being at the track. If she wasn't tough enough to run outside, it didn't make us look so bad. For a while she was lapping us almost every lap, but hey, if you're going to be lapped by somebody, why not her?

After a while, we were both starting to feel the effects of the track. This track has sharper corners then many, so enough running on it, and it does start to get hard on your knees and ankles. We stopped a couple times to stretch out the aches and then kept going. Every half hour, the traffic flow switches direction.

Finally, we were coming into the home stretch, and we were both feeling it. This was the longest run either of us have done to date, so both our energy levels and muscles were being worked. In some ways, running on a track can be easier, but in others, it's more of a challenge. I also concluded that any runs this distance or longer would need more refueling. Truthfully, it probably would have helped a lot to have an energy drink or do a gel.

After lap 55, things were hurting, but we both knew we were nearing completion. After lap 60 though, it started feeling easy again. There's a high to knowing you're almost there. When we were at 62 3/4, Jen suggested we gun it. I took off with way more energy then I realized I had left, and we were done.

And Garry? Well, he might be faster then us, but he's not tougher. ;) He stopped about 6 laps short of 63 because he couldn't take it anymore...

Would I do it again? Quite possibly. Unfortunately, it's a reality of living in this climate. There are times when running outside is truly impractical. Having said that, I can't say I enjoy running at the track, and a long run like that, going in circles, is difficult both physically and mentally. It's a good lesson in why we run outside when we can. Despite frigid temperatures this week, I'm planning on sucking it up and doing most of my running outside.

I don't need to be a rat anymore often then necessary.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Crazy things you start thinking about when the roads are covered with snow...

How on earth am I going to ride my bike down hills? It's going to go FAST, right? Yeah, I have brakes, but how am I going to keep it under control?

Does anyone else see how crazy it is to ride a little metal frame, at the speed cars go down hills, with the only protection being a helmet?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. My leg is feeling totally normal.

I had been getting a bit concerned about the shin pain I was having, but as of today, it's not bothering me at all. And that's considering I ran on it yesterday. It may not have ever been something to worry about. Perhaps in a few years I'll develop a better sense for which aches and pains are worrisome.

2. The resolution jacket is starting to grow on me.

I've even changed my profile picture to the one of me wearing it. It's really comfortable and I've enjoyed wearing it for my runs. The thing I didn't expect was that I'd start liking the colour! The day I picked up my race package, my mother commented that the colour suited me. At first, I thought she was crazy, but I think she may actually be right.

3. I'm not making New Year's resolutions.

I'll probably talk about resolutions and goals further in another post, but for now I may as well mention that I won't be making them this year. That's not to say that I have no goals right now. I do. Very concrete ones that I'm working towards. I just don't feel the need to set new ones simply because a new calendar year has begun.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Nice Easy Run

Easy. Run.

A year ago, if you had told me that I would use both those words in the same sentence, I would have laughed at you.

I've been having a bit of shin pain the last couple days. I think it's likely from Friday's race where I ran harder then I ever had before. It may also be a sign that I need new running shoes. Might be a sign of something bigger, though I'm optimistic it's not. Could be a combination of the above.

Regardless, it's a sign that right now is not the time to push it. I need to take it easy in hopes that it stays mild and doesn't get worse. Yesterday, I did a swim instead of a run. Today I wanted to run, but I knew I had to go easy and be careful.

I planned a 6 km (3.7mi) run that took me close to my house at multiple points. It left me the option of cutting the run short anytime I needed to and not have to walk too far to get home. I warmed up with more of a walk then usual. (Who am I kidding? Lately, it's been so cold, I don't warm up at all. Let's just say I actually warmed up...)

Then I ran. I made a conscious decision not to look at my garmin much. I just let my legs find their happy, easy pace. It wasn't especially hard work. I never felt like I needed to stop and walk. (I did walk a couple hills up and down just to keep things easy on my leg.) I didn't have my ipod. I just experienced the run, looked at the river and listened to my breath.

My shin gave me no trouble. In fact, it didn't hurt at all, and it felt no worse after finishing the run. What struck me about this run was how easy it was.

When I originally started running, I ran as slow as I could go and still call it running. Even doing that, it was a challenge to run those early intervals - 60 seconds, 90 seconds, 3 minutes seemed huge! Now, I can just run. Not as slow as I can go, but at an easy pace that my body feels comfortable with. I won't break any time records, but I feel like I could keep going indefinitely.

Sometimes, things happen for a reason. When I injured my knee many months ago, it forced me to spend more time in the pool, which got me past my fear of deep water. This time, slowing down and taking it easy is reminding me of how far I have come and the value of what I have now.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Calgary Resolution Run - Race review

So yesterday was my second 5k and my first attempt at breaking the 30 minute mark. I know it's in all your minds, and the question is: did I do it? Well... kind of.

(Warning, this is a long post, so if you just want results, skip to the last couple paragraphs.)

I spent the day yesterday obsessing about my run. The race was at 6:00 pm and I've decided that I will need a very good reason to do another evening race. I get race day nerves and I do better when I can wake up early, eat a solid breakfast and then get ready to go. Instead I had to obsess about what I ate all day long and try to find ways to occupy myself. My husband will attest to the fact that I'm pretty useless when I get into stressed out, anxious mode.

Anyways, the day moved on despite me and before long we were packing the kids up and driving into the city. Spud was very excited about the race and Sweetpea was excited about the horn and tambourine she got to play with. The race took place downtown Calgary, at a location with an indoor playground, which was ideal for us. We arrived nice and early and let the kids play.

Before the race, I met up with Jen and some of the other people we've been running with on Sundays. We were also supposed to connect with Nicole and Jarrett, but they ran into traffic trouble and parking issues. I was lucky enough to see them after the race to say hello.

Before long, it was time to line up for the race. I headed out to the start line, a red blow up arch that is the same one running room used for the "run without borders" that I did. I knew I wanted to get a good start, so I tried to line up near the start while leaving room in front of me for the truly fast runners to get in.

Oops! Turns out that the start and finish line weren't the same for this race! I certainly wasn't the only one that didn't know this as everyone was directed around the corner to a different starting point. I managed to squeak forward a bit, but I was now one third to halfway back. My family was also no where to be seen. We had agreed that I would start off on one side so that my kids could see me running off, but there was no way to communicate the change to them in time.

Somebody said a bunch of incomprehensible stuff into a loud speaker and then blew the horn. This race wasn't officially timed, so I knew I'd be timing myself. Everyone shuffled forward and as I crossed the start line, I started my garmin and I tried to start running.

Try is the key word. The shuffle just continued and it seemed that most people had no intention of doing anything other then shuffle. Why were these people near the front?!

I was hoping to hold a pace of about 5:45/km, which would give me my sub-30 time, while maintaining a bit of a buffer.

At one point, a spot seemed to open in front of me, but just as I tried to pick up some speed, I found myself blocked by a three legged runner. Seriously. Remember those games on sports day in school where two of you tied a leg to each other? Okay. I can accept that you want to have fun, but if you're going to do that, stay at the back!

Then I almost tripped over a little dog as it darted off to the side of it's owner. Wrong place for your dog, lady. Seems like a good way to get a 1o pound dog trampled.

The first couple minutes was spent zig-zagging and trying to get around walkers that were walking 3 people wide and then there was someone that stopped randomly to stretch. It was completely blowing my time and I knew I was going to have to make it up somehow to meet my time goal.

Finally I ended up in a group of people that were at least running. I was kind of stuck in that group for a bit, and even though we were running, I knew I still wasn't going fast enough. Sure enough, when I checked my garmin, I was at a 6:30/km pace.

I had to make up time.

In doing so, I made a huge mistake. I tried to run fast. Much faster then I am capable of sustaining. In reviewing my pacing during that first km, it was totally erratic. The first minute I barely broke a 12:00/km pace. The second minute, my pace bounced up and down between about 8:00/km and 4:30/km. After that, I picked up the speed and still finished that first km in 6:08 - meaning I had run a lot of it at about a 5:00/km pace. Too fast for me.

I knew I had to pace myself better, but I was still hoping to make up time. A bit past the 1 km mark, the course looped around and passed near the start/end point where my family had come to see me. I continued to run at about a 5:30/km pace until I came forward to see my family. I tried to give Spud a high five, but he got excited to see me and came running forward for a hug. Of course Sweetpea needed one too. It cost me about 10 seconds, but that is a 10 seconds I'm willing to give up. I did get in the way of other people though, one of which I knew. Sorry Deon! I hope the rest of the race was good for you!

After that point, I was back on my own and I knew I had to get into a more sustainable pace. My heart rate was way higher then usual and I was suffering. I tried to moderate my pace a bit. I started thinking that if I could hold to a 6:00/km pace, I could make up a bit of time in the last km.

I finished the second km (still dodging people) in exactly 6 minutes. During the third km, I started feeling like I was going to puke. There were a couple spots on the pathway that I could see were icy, and I easily side stepped them. At least the route went along well lit areas. I considered walking, but I reminded myself of a quote I like: "pain is temporary, pride is forever". I finished the third km in 6:10. Too slow.

During the fourth km, I was having trouble breathing and was starting to feel like my body was going to give out on me. I simply couldn't keep going at the pace I had been going. I think I had partially burnt myself out when I tried to make up time at the beginning and then I just couldn't hold to a steady pace.

I started to walk.

The last time I did a 5k, I was completely adverse to walking. It was critically important to me that I didn't walk at all. Because of that, I didn't push myself hard at all for that race. This time, it was important to me that I pushed myself to my limit. It seems I did that, even if I reached my limit faster because of poor choices earlier on.

I walked for about 10 seconds, then started running again. It wasn't enough. My heart rate was still going haywire. It was around 180, when it is usually 150ish for an easy run and 160ish when I push myself. I decided to walk until my heart rate got down to 150.

It took almost a minute of walking and then I started running again. I let myself find my stride without looking at my garmin at first. I settled in at a pace of 6:30 for a little bit. I finished that km in 6:28.

I knew at this point that a sub-30 5k wasn't likely. Once I passed the 4km mark though, I decided to push myself again. Regardless of any time goals, my biggest desire for this race was to finish strong, feeling like I had pushed myself. With only a km left, I figured I could go all out because I didn't have to sustain it long.

The route took us up over a couple bridges through Prince's Island park. As I got closer I started to realize something: the course was short. It had to be. I was close, so close and my garmin was still ticking well under 30 minutes. I realized in that moment that I might still be able to make it past the finish line before it hit that mark.

I turned a corner and I saw the clock by the finishing line. 29:50 (my garmin was lower because I didn't actually start it until I crossed the start line.) I realized that I could cross the finish line before the blinking numbers said 30.

I sprinted full out. My garmin actually claims I hit a pace under 3:00/km in this section (I question whether I was actually quite that fast). I passed the finish line as those numbers said 29:58 and my Garmin said 29:37.

The course was only 4.83 km long. So, the question is:

Does it count?

We're talking about a personal best, so I'm the only one that gets to decide that. I've debated whether to count it or not, despite the short course. Ultimately, there are a couple factors that have made my decision for me: When I ran my 10k race, the course was almost a half a km long. I counted my time (and PB for the 10k distance) as the time I passed the finish line. Doing that in this race won't hurt me to the point that I can't beat it again somewhere else. Between the dodging at the beginning and my poor pacing, I feel certain that I have an even better time in me for a future race. I've decided to count the "gun" time.

So, I finished the race in 29:58, a personal best, and a sub-30 time.