Surprise! I’m part of Team Awesome for the Ottawa Marathon!

So I actually knew about this for weeks before the official announcement on November 21st, but I was accepted to be part of Team Awesome for the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend! Team Awesome is the ambassador program for the race. Essentially, our job is to write about our training, get people excited for Ottawa 2020 and interact with other people on social media who are also training for one (or more!) of the races. Very excited to be joining this great group of runners as we all train for what should be an amazing weekend. If you’re thinking about spring races, may I suggest this one? There truly is something for everyone, from a super fun 1.2k kids race to the full marathon, and several challenges where you complete multiple races over two days.

As I talked about in a previous blog post, I decided to do the half marathon. I was a bit torn because I’d love to take a crack at another full marathon, and Ottawa’s course gets rave reviews. But after talking to my physio and having a good heart-to-heart with myself, I realized the smartest move would be to train for a spring half and see how that goes before choosing what race(s) to do in the fall next year.

While I want to just forge ahead with alllll the running, I also want to have a long ‘career’ in this sport. As has really been driven home with this whole knee issue, rehabbing an injury is not a simple, linear path from injured to fully healed… or at least it isn’t at my age! So while my knee is absolutely getting better and better every week, I do still have sore days and little twinges of pain here and there.

In any case, I’m very excited to get training for the half. My official 12-week training plan doesn’t start until March, so right now I’m just focused on getting stronger and slowly increasing my weekly mileage. Since I haven’t been running much since June, I’m very deconditioned and need to work my way back up to running more than one or two days per week.

Another issue is that I am not yet ‘cleared’ to run hills or do speed work because my left leg is still too weak to handle it without seriously risking re-injury. Working hard on that by doing all my rehab exercises and being diligent with easy short runs so I can eventually add that stuff back in! We’re getting there for sure – my squats are getting better and almost 100% pain-free, I can do deadlifts now without too many issues, and I only get the occasional, very temporary little twinge of pain when going up and down the stairs. Huge improvement from a few months ago. And to be realistic, I am missing cartilage under my patella, I have a weakened ACL because it was sprained, and I have infrapatellar bursitis that comes and goes, so the occasional little bit of discomfort or pain is something I’ll just have to get used to. I can get much stronger, improve my biomechanics and live my life almost completely pain-free, but the reality is there is permanent damage in there.

Cross-training!

Starting in the new year, I’m going to slowly work up to a good baseline of 3 days running + 1 or 2 cross-training + strength training. I’m hoping by February to be able to try some speed work or hills in there. The goal is that by the time March rolls around, my body will be ready to tackle a half marathon training plan without issue.

In other news, yesterday I finished up my New York Road Runners Virtual 5k end-of-year series (try saying that three times fast!). The idea behind it was to try to PR at the 5k distance over the course of 3 different virtual races – one in August, one in late October/early November (to coincide with the New York Marathon) and one over US Thanksgiving week. Since they’re virtual races, you run them wherever you want, and just record the run in Strava for it to be counted. If you do all three, they send you a medal! Super fun. Looking forward to getting mine in a few weeks once they mail them out… I’ll be sure to post a photo.

While I didn’t get a true 5k PR with this little series, I did manage to get my best time of the three races in yesterday’s ‘Turkey Trot’, so I’m happy about that! Especially given how deconditioned I really am and the fact that I’m not really ready to run at anywhere near ‘race pace’ right now. Sure, I’ve been walking, biking, and/or weight lifting at least a few times a week, but those don’t have the same cardio effect as running. So I have some work to do, that’s for sure. But I don’t mind, it’s all part of the process.

Unfortunately, I’ve come down with a bit of a cold so I won’t be training much for the next few days while I rest that off! But I should be back to a regular routine soon.