This fall I celebrated 15 years since completing my first marathon, a 3:28 at the Niagara Falls International Marathon. Who would have known where it might take me?
I am so grateful that, since elementary school, I invested in both sport and academics. Each led to rewarding, enjoyable, and challenging careers that allowed me to earn an income and raise a family with my husband while he pursued his career.
For the last several years I have referred athletes, seeking the services of a Registered Dietitian, elsewhere because I was simply too busy with three young children and training full-time. Secondly, I strongly believed that I was not going to practise in such a way that they should eat they way I did just because that is how I ate, despite those many requests. So with some of the free time I had, not training for a fall marathon, I travelled to Montreal to complete the 4 day Dietitians of Canada Intensive Sports Nutrition Course. Trent Stellingwerff, Physiology Lead at Canadian Sport Institute – Pacific would be presenting alongside many other notable experts in the sports nutrition field. Not only is Trent part of the Speed River Track & Field Club and the lead for many national Integrated Support Teams but someone I have known since we competed together as high school athletes in Lambton County. Oh, and his wife is a two-time Olympian so he really knows his stuff. Trent presented the first session, which had me quite concerned as he whizzed through a review of university biochem with several youngsters nodding their heads, just having learned it a few years ago. I thought it might be a very long four days ahead. Thankfully the content broadened and I knew I was in the right place for the right reason, to expand my knowledge for my own Private Practice and to more formally learn that which I had been implementing for all these years.
In recent weeks I have also continued to grow my Public Speaking services, delivering messages at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon expo, the Ontario Investment Office, and various local community groups and organizations.
In early November I donated my 2015 Rotterdam Marathon medal, where I ran a 2:29 to get my standard for the 2016 Olympics, to the Medals4Mettle organization. When I was asked to give it to a family with a toddler going through chemotherapy, I knew right away that it was the perfect medal for them as I had earned it 11.5 months after fracturing my femur. I wanted to encourage them that someday they too would look back on their hardship as a distant memory. On the topic of cancer, in mid-November I took the opportunity to advocate for some preventative measures after undergoing a colonoscopy due to my family history. While possibly too much information for some, I wanted to help create a normalcy around a procedure somewhat deemed a hushed subject much like mammograms many years ago. Colon. Breast. Cervix. Prostate. We’ve all got one or more of these parts and should do what we can to prevent these types of cancers. A good friend of mine who works in cancer prevention gave me a tagline to use: Don’t Die of Embarrassment. Truth. Fortunately, like I had been told, the prep was certainly the worst part of the entire experience but I won’t get into those details. Because of my husband’s previous line of work in the area, I went to one of the best gastroenterologists where I was treated with incredible care. I came home with a clear report, good for another 5 years. One more thing completed from my off-season to-do list!
Finally, on to the running. Coach DST has me building a strong base with a consistent volume of 110-130 km/week and some quality work of 25-30 minutes in two workouts/week. I’m easily and consistently completing weekly 30 km long runs and continue to take full advantage of this wonderful fall on the beautiful trails. With the plan to run a spring marathon, I knew I’d have to start racing at some point. I didn’t feel the urge or necessity as I am quite confident in the progress of my training and know I have plenty of time to get fit but in looking at the calendar I knew that my options were limited and I preferred sooner than later. While it required some juggling with my husband and kids’ schedules, the Tannenbaum 10 km would be a perfect start to get back to racing after a 6 month absence. When deciding to do this race, less than two weeks ago, I knew I was strong and healthy but certainly not fast. Honestly, my goal was a solid effort, aiming to break 40 minutes. Then at the end of last week, I figured that sub 38:00 was possible. Finally when I got to the start line, I simply gave myself a range of staying in the 3:30’s/km. The race drew a fairly significant amount of men who were also within this range so I had several to keep my eye on. While I think I could have run a bit faster if one of those ahead of me were female, I surprised myself by running 36:08 for the win, a new masters course record, and just 11 seconds slower than my time from 2015. Not a bad ending to 2017 at all!
As I continue to establish a more balanced approach while I keep growing and learning in my professional careers, I also enjoy an immense satisfaction in reflecting upon my accomplishments. Now that I am competing as a master and have done the Olympic thing, there’s a tremendous amount of pleasure in simply running for fun yet also striving to be better. I’ve got nothing to lose. And who knows where it might take me?
Photograph by Bob Baldwin for the Tannenbaum 10K