Running Vancouver – Episode 3

Truth be told, I’ve been nervous about this episode {Jeff can confirm that!} — and even more so in the last 48 hours. The focus of this week’s episode is personal challenges.

I’ve been very lucky since making the decision to learn to run. I’ve had minimal injuries — battled an adductor strain last year and a few issues over the last few months, but honestly nothing that major. I haven’t had shin splints, a stress fracture or knee problems. I haven’t had anything that’s put me on bed rest and no one has told me I can never run again.

Missed a race? Sure. Legs been massive sore? Yep. Fallen on my face? Definitely. At the end of the day, that’s part of the journey. With good comes bad. There’s no sunshine without rain.

“If one could run without getting tired I don’t think one would want to do anything else.” – C.S. Lewis

When Jeff and I chatted about this episode, I knew we needed to talk about Scoliosis. As much as it’s not a large part of my day to day, it’s a huge part of who I am. Running has forced me to become a lot more body aware. My spine was fairly well behaved as I progressed from 0 to 10k, but lots has changed as I’ve moved from 10k to 22+k.

My body took a beating at the Carlsbad Half Marathon {not even mileage built up} and I lost a lot of the momentum I had from last year. I went from running 20k comfortably to being unable to run a minute without pain. Over the last 6 weeks I’ve learned that the pain has been entirely due to lack of strength. My rotation affects every step I take and running adds to the muscle imbalances throughout my body. My shoulders and arms sway differently. My hips are uneven. Each leg strikes the ground with a different amount of force.

Running Vancouver: Episode 3Last year I just ran. Ran and ran and ran. The goal was always farther and faster. Quad action all the time. This year is different. I’ve learned about slow runs — whoa, slow runs. I’ve been working on efficient 5k’s — and nothing longer! I’ve learned the importance of core strength, glute strength and ankle strength {thank you Gastown Phyiso & Pilates}. I’ve learned that I  have to listen to my body and go with the flow.

Some days will be good, some days will be bad. You can’t win them all. All that advice I give everyone else and never take to heart. :)

I’m not nervous about completing the BMO Half Marathon — I’m worried about my time {seems silly saying that out loud}. I told myself I would complete a sub 2:00 half marathon this year and for whatever reason then told myself it should take place on May 5th {perhaps because I’m a competitive beast}. It’s early in the year to take 12 mins off my PB and {insert transparency here} I don’t feel my legs are where I need them to be to hit the goal. My legs have been making progress and my core & glutes are finally working – thanks to Msquared {the duo, Mark & Melina} at Gastown Physio & Pilates. I’m getting stronger every week… I can feel it and it’s exciting. Is 3 weeks away too soon for that sub-2:00? Maybe, maybe not. We’ll know for sure on race day. :)

With the addition of personal challenges to this web video series, my fear was that Scoliosis would now be my crutch. I always talk about Scoliosis publicly — but rarely talk about how Scoliosis and running intercept. I felt like I just gave the world my ‘out’ if I don’t hit my time goal. Crazy talk I know — but someone out there must get where I’m coming from. Picking up what I’m putting down?

I’ve never been treated as the ‘patient’ and I don’t feel like now is the time to start. Scoliosis has made me a smarter runner. It speaks up {usually through pain and discomfort!} when I’m not taking care of me. It has made me so appreciative of breath and on so many runs, it’s given me the motivation to battle it out. In the long-term, I know that all the “extra work” that I do every week {physio, pilates, massage, acupuncture, etc} will make me a stronger runner. People tend to look at alternative therapies as a pain in the ass — they are 100% my normal, my every day and my forever,  and for that I feel grateful.

Forgot about farther and faster — I need to stay centred on physical & mental strength.

We all have our challenges — the key is not let them define us.

Learn more about Sean, Karl and my journey:

‘Running Vancouver’ is a 6-part web video series following 3 local runners journey to the BMO Marathon & Half Marathon. Episodes air every Monday morning on Check out Episode 1 to meet the runners and Episode 2 to learn about our training.

PS – Major gratitude and run love to my practitioners: Mark, Melina and Chris. Spending time with you is the highlight of my week. Thank you for the constant support, laughter and for occasionally talking me off my crazy train. 3 weeks till race day.