Saturday, 8 February 2014

FITS: Season 2

warmest feet in the Vancouver polar outflow tundra

It turns out, I don't seem to always be able to choose my off-season. The last two years, off-season has chosen me. And, this year, it chose me and in particular my left ankle pretty damn hard.

In about a month, I get to take off the Boot of Shame, see where things are at, and start back the slow build towards getting fit enough to get lost somewhere beautiful. It sucks, but on the same page, it's sort of the price of admission of the things I like to do. It's the reaction for a lot of actions I took last fall, and it's all part of things swinging back into balance.

Thank you

The people that have stuck with me along the way have been nothing short of incredible: Ramsey and Allison who constantly checked up on me to make sure I am not doing all the weight-bearing things I want to be doing, my early morning swim partners and soon-to-be swim partners, my co-workers who have mostly not made fun of my boot for at least 10 minutes (and let me take off in the middle of the day for appointments), and my friends who used to run with me and now knit / drink / hang out with me (I still need new hobbies). Even though my weekly mileage is a very horizontal 20km -  I still completely feel like part of the running community.

Really awesome
And, despite not being quite in one piece, I'm part of the FITS trail team for 2014! I am pretty damn stoked. There are lots of faster runners out there, who write with fewer swear words, and are much less likely to get lost. I am so grateful to once again represent a company that doesn't only make damn good socks, but also stands by its athletes.

With the generous support of FITS, here's what happened last year:
- Raced Chuckanut 50k (and got epically lost on a training run)
- did the road racing thing and ended up 10th female overall at Vancouver marathon in 3:03
- Ran R2R2R Grand Canyon
- almost paced Barry in San Diego
- 3rd female (and first place thrower-upper) at the Mt Hood 50 miler
- Came 2nd overall female at Transrockies 6 day run
- had no blisters (even on my 6 day run)
- had warm feet even when running through snow / ice / freezing streams
- wore one pair of socks for 4 of the 6 days on the run and they still smelled pretty good

The 2014 season is currently starting hard in the pool - just this morning I passed a man doing breastroke in the fast lane!! While the only trails I will be running for the next month are from my car to the pool, I'm pretty excited for the rest of the year. I get into daily discussions with my non-ultra friend about why I would rather swim 3000m straight vs a "workout" of 3400m. He thinks doing one thing for a long time is boring and uncomfortable - things which running and audit have both given me a high tolerance for.

I have pretty much convinced (ie. pressured) my buddy into a week-long canoe trip this May,(I now regret all those comments I made about him having "questionable endurance" - Matt, I'm sorry, please don't destroy my shoulders!). The plan is to be back racing by mid-summer, and have one hell of a fall season. Knowing that I have big goals for August, and even bigger goals for December, helps me make peace with wearing my "racing silver" boot and not doing all the stupid things I want to be doing (running, hiking the BCMC, wearing heels, spin class, the ability to run in order to catch the green lights on my walk to work).

Silver lining
Meanwhile, there are some upsides here. (Ramsey has insinuated that being positive will help my foot, so I will do what it takes!) The boot of shame prevents me not only from making poor running choices, but also prevents me from making questionable choices in general. Based on the picture alone, it will serve as a chastity device for the next month. Nothing kills spontaneity faster than having to deflate the air, then undo a zillion velcro straps. Then there is the balance issue - going down stairs in this thing is ridiculous. And this is going down stairs dead sober and heavily caffeinated. So the drinking will be dramatically reduced for a month. As walking is now unpleasant, I will be motivated to stay at work longer (thus earning more money for the eventual physio required). And I will now have time to reply to the ten texts from my triathlete friend telling me to buy a bike already: "Your ovaries won't hurt on a day like today, it's too cold so they'd be frozen!".

I am not actually very creative or well-rounded
The downside is that pretty much all of my writing material is about running. I am trying to think of other things I do that could be seen as EXTREME, but it is difficult.

  • Extreme auditing? That is called busy season at a Big 4 firm. Biggest extreme moment was a toss-up of the full day I spent photocopying, and the time my supervisor ran out of work for me and sent an email out to other supervisors, volunteering me to help out with anything (including car washing and dry-cleaning picking up). 
  • Extreme wine drinking? This I think is called alcoholism. Plus, doing this with the boot would result in an even worse injury.
  • Extreme cooking? Once I made a double-batch of soup.
  • Extreme knitting? Depending on Lucy's tolerance, this is an option.
  • Extreme TV watching? I tried to binge-watch American Horror Story and ended up sleepless and with a crush on a guy that ended up being the serial killer. 
  • Extreme spectating and volunteering? I have a cowbell, plan on chasing down a vuvuzela, and will be the most obnoxious fan cheering on my friends at all of the upcoming races. This is probably the best idea so far.
These are the people. These are their stories.
I will figure out more things to write about. I mean, other people have extreme stories. The time a dog shark allegedly "attacked" my mom and she kicked it, my brother's many rugby concussions, most of Lucy's stories from before she turned 30, pretty much any adventure run Alicia does, the one time Craig did a workout in spandex that didn't match, and any trip home to Newfoundland taken by Katie. 

Until then. I am really truly going to find a goddamn hobby for the next month...unless looking my injury up on google is a hobby, in which case, I am all set.


  1. Alex - if it makes you feel better, yesterday, I was passed by a swimmer in the fast lane, who had her legs strapped together with a thick elastic,and a kickboard stuck between her knees. I was swimming my best, and I got passed, literally by something with their legs tied behind them. Now THAT's sad!

    1. I tell myself everyone who passes me is an Olympian...there are a lot of Olympains.....and we both know you could beat them in a race! (or in organizing VFAC baking!)