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Keeping the flame

October 15, 2017

It’s been a while since my last post. I kept putting this one off until I knew how my foot was holding up and what my race plans are. Spoiler alert; foot is still problematic and plans are still up in the air.

Beyond not having a good read on my foot and not knowing if it’s going to crap out on me any day (I just tell myself I’m healthy) and not knowing what races I want to do I figure it’s easy to get tabs on my running through social media. Between Twitter, Instagram and  Strava it’s easy to get a snapshot if I’m back running/racing/travelling.

Here’s a quick recap of my 2017 running timeline: 4 months off, 7 weeks running, 8 weeks off, 7 weeks running. That brings me to today where I’ve just capped off my highest week of the year (152km) and yesterday my first 30km run of 2017.

My fourth metatarsal and toe have been the problem all year. In January I was told I had no blood flow in the metatarsal. In May an MRI showed that blood flow had returned even though there was still some pain. We hoped that running would make it feel better but of course, that was wishful thinking. After another 8 weeks off my foot felt much better when I started back up running in late-August. After 8 runs I had another MRI in September and I was confident the MRI was going to be the green light I was looking for.

The MRI was more of a red light. I was really surprised to hear the MRI showed that some of the swelling and plantar plate were worse. But my foot doesn’t feel too bad running so at this point I’m going to keep on running. There was no mention of fractures, loss of blood flow or flattening of the met head (the main things that would concern me). I’m still going to seek out another opinion and I’m just waiting to hear when my appointment is.

Last weekend I ran the Victoria Half Marathon (great trip and race btw) where I surprised myself by running 67:28. Two months before that I agreed to come out and talk at the expo and pasta dinner and perhaps jog the half marathon. Things came around in the two weeks leading up to Victoria so I decided to run it as a tempo. Every few days my goal would get a little quicker. By race day I wanted to try and run 3:15/km and off the bat I settled into 3:12/km and it felt sustainable. I ended up holding that pace throughout the entire race.

In my last 8 weeks off I really got into road cycling. Marie, Louis and I went to Halifax to visit Marie’s side of the family and when I was there I took her old road bike out for a ride with her dad. By this point I was so sick of the elliptical and pool I decided to take the bike back to Hamilton and use it as my main (turned out the only) cross-training tool.

I’ve been a fan of professional cycling for the past 10 years but I’ve never trained on a road bike before. Right away I just started riding about 100km a day. It was a nice change to be outside and discovering new roads and places I haven’t seen.

Now that I had a road bike I was going to try the climbs around Hamilton and see how I stack up on Strava segments. Turns out riding takes a lot more power than running does as I would do a 4 minute climb and think I did alright only to find myself outside the top 50 on that segment and 1 minute off the leader. Over the weeks I got more used to riding and figured out how to hurt on a climb. At first my heart rate was only in the 140-150’s on climbs (similar as to what I would get on the elliptical during intervals) but then I was more in the 150-160’s (similar to running efforts) and improved a lot on the Strava segments.

Strava definitely gave me some goals to shoot for and push a little harder. Basically I would try to get into the top 10 on any significant climb (longer than 2.5 minutes) within about 30km of my house. Riding with Jeremy Rae opened my eyes to real climbing and seeing him pull away from me helped me dig deeper too.

When I started back up running it didn’t feel as though I had gotten any shape from cycling as my stride didn’t feel comfortable. That probably has to do with sitting on the saddle all the time and never extending my hips on the bike. HR indicated that I had worked hard on the bike and sure enough once I had a couple of weeks of running I felt decently fit for not having run much.

My only race plans in 2017 were to mix it up in the Shanghai marathon for a little bit (I’ll write a blog on that after the Nov 12 race) and help out the Speed River team at Cross Country Nationals in Kingston. After Victoria I felt I was fit enough to help out some guys at STWM so I’ll pace a pack there next weekend. Also, now I feel as though I’m closer to real racing than I thought one month ago.

Ultra marathons have always been on my mind and a few weeks ago I was certain that I was going to start working towards my first ultra in early 2018. Now that 67:28 came quicker than I thought I’d like to keep more options open. I’ll train for 10km XC and see what kind of shape I get in and then decide in what direction I want to go. If I think there is a chance of a marathon performance that will excite me I could see myself training for that. But if I feel I’m going to be off of my best then it might be a good time to experiment with ultras. Of course both options depend on my body holding up.

 

Louis turned 1 two weeks ago and Marie is back at work a few times a week. It’s been a smooth transition for Marie at work and Louis at daycare (9am-12pm most days) and myself finding time to stretch again.

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Marie pulled Louis in the bike chariot and gave me company for a 25km run the other week. Louis is earning his allowance as a waterboy (Maurten and Endurance Tap).

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9 Comments
  1. October 16, 2017 9:21 am

    Keep on fighting! I am basically the last man standing out of our bunch although I wouldn’t call what I do running. Everyone else has moved on to cycling. One guy spent 10k on a bike and rides in Europe on his vacations. 30 years ago during one of many extended injury periods, I did go out a do a couple of back to back 100km plus rides one week-end with the local cycling bunch with my old bike. After the first day, one guy quietly whispered to me “You really need to lose the kickstand.”

  2. October 16, 2017 11:10 am

    Hi Reid, Thanks for the update 🙂 Very good to see you are back to running again. From what you just wrote I’m very confident you’ll be at your best sooner than later (maybe with your foot still bugging you a bit…I mean that 1:07 half is such a good indicator that all the years behind you gives you a BIG advantage and shortens the time needed to get back to full fitness. I don’t know if December is too early but they should have a very strong group for you at CIM this year (USA champs). I’ll be there so I tought about that…Keep up the good work!

    • reidcoolsaet permalink*
      October 16, 2017 3:20 pm

      Bruce Deacon recommended CIM as well. I’ll do some workouts where I can gauge my fitness and see if a Dec marathon is feasible.

      • October 17, 2017 10:52 am

        Sweet. Would be amazing to see you there.There is still a good 5 weeks worth of hard training before taping a little bit. How about a good post marathon beer after 🙂

  3. October 16, 2017 6:11 pm

    Looking forward to seeing you dive into the wonderful world of ultras one day!

  4. October 16, 2017 9:17 pm

    Great to hear from you again Reid. I have also been dealing with injury for the last year, and haven’t ran consistently since about October-November of last year. I am now just trying to get back into triathlon training and this is very encouraging to hear, even when all odds seem stacked against me. It is definitely painful seeing runners around Guelph running around the arboretum enjoying their time, and just wishing I was out there. But just knowing that slowly and steadily I will get back there. And so will you with the top guys in the world again whether in ultra marathon’s or marathons. Best of luck with training hope everything continues to go well.

  5. October 18, 2017 7:27 am

    Happy Birthday to Louis! We are cheering for your Reid, no matter what the event or sport or otherwise!

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