Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September 30, 2008 - back to reality

well, that weekend trip was tons of fun. the runs were great and i accomplished what i needed most: find a way to enjoy running again, find a way to feel a sense of accomplishment and happiness, have a visit with family, and take a break to clear my mind and refocus my attention on some major prioritizing and decisions for my life ahead over the next few months.

i only had 2 hours of sleep last night, so i was not really in any condition to run or swim. i ran 1k to get myself to work on time for an early meeting and the legs felt fine.

i am dreading the official Oct 1 weight in tomorrow morning. i know i have gained at least 5 pounds this month, even though i ran 4 marathons (3 official ones) in the past 15 days.

October will feature the unique 20k run known as Cape to Cabot www.capetocabot.com , a run that has captured quite a bit of attention in eastern Canada, and an event that will actually be filmed by CTV for a documentary. i'd love to place in the top 3 and get myself some tv coverage, but i'm thinking a top ten score would be more realistic. i'd like to run this very challenging course in under 90 minutes, which based on last year's stats, would get me in the top 10.

i'm also going to focus more on nutrition this month as well as long distance running and swimming. i need to get more of this weight off that i have gained due to hormones.

should be an interesting month ahead.


September 29, 2008 - 2 days, 2 countries, 2 marathons!

Well, I really felt that I needed a break from the hard challenging reality of my turbulent life. This year has been the toughest by far and I have found myself feeling upset and frustrated on a regular basis. Running was the only escape I really had all year, but over the summer, I found even running was leading me into further feelings of frustration as I found my strength, speed, and endurance declining as I got further into the hormone treatments. After a disappointing run on Sept 14 at the Newfoundland Marathon, I considered quitting the sport until after my transition to female was complete, but part of me did not want to go out a negative note.

So I decided to refocus on a tough but achievable goal: 2 marathons in 2 days in 2 countries. Time was the one thing I couldn’t control, but I knew that I had built up incredible fitness and was able to handle consecutive long runs.

It was also going to be a chance to visit family back home who I hadn’t seen in a few months. As my transition progresses, it is critical for the people closest to me to see me on a regular basis so they can get used to seeing the changes.

Thursday night found me frantically organizing and packing things as this was literally a last-minute trip. I finally got to bed at 1 am and managed to get 3 hours of sleep before having to get up to go to the airport. The flight to Toronto was smooth and I picked up a rental car and drive down to the Toronto expo to get my kit. This was my 6th trip back to Toronto, my home for 24 years, since moving to Nfld in June 2007. It feels really strange to be a tourist in what I considered to be my home town.

Anyway, back into the car and into the mad Toronto traffic and down the highway for the 6 hour drive to Ohio. The drive was smooth and I arrived at the Akron expo at 7 pm. (it felt really strange picking up 2 separate race kits in one day!). Finally found my hotel and settled in for a well deserved sleep.

I woke up at 4 am, as I usually do on marathon days, and tried to get myself fired up for the run. This was going to be the first time I ran an official marathon where I was not going to go all out. I knew that I wanted to run 2 marathons in 2 days and post the best possible times for both runs, so it really had to be a balancing act.

I was still feeling the affects of the long travel day before and I felt very tired and sluggish before the run even started. Just 7 days removed from a challenging 42k run to the beach with a 17 pound backpack, my knees were still in rough shape.

But I wanted to see for real what I really had in the tank. Part of me really hoped that this would be the greatest day in my running life and that I would somehow find the strength, speed, and energy to run a 3.15 and get that elusive BQ. So I started out at 3.15 pace just to see how I would feel.

After 3k, I realized that there was no chance I could keep that pace up, so I slowed down to about a 3.35 pace and maintained it for the first half. The sun came out and the heat started to get to me. I felt exhausted throughout the run this far but managed to keep a pace that I felt I could handle for the duration of the day, and still not overexert the knees so that I would be able to go again tomorrow.

At the 19k mark, I started feeling some dizzy spells, something that happens on occasion due to the hormones.. And that slowed me down to a near walk for a few minutes. But I got over it and managed to soldier on. I crossed the half way mark at 1.49.00; the worst first half marathon I had run all year. But I had this smile on my face, as I knew deep down, it really didn’t matter. I knew that I was in rough shape and that I would have to slow it down further in the second half, but I also knew that I had what it took to finish.

As I hit the 30k mark, I began to remember the run 2 weeks ago and how I totally hit the wall and really had to struggle thru the last quarter. So I slowed things down a little more and allowed the 3.40 pace bunny group to overtake me (there were about 50 of them!)

By the time I hit 35k, I settled into a comfortable pace and found myself in cruise control. I knew that I was going to finish the run and I knew I would be way ahead of 4 hours. (I honestly thought that I would have to run these at about 4.15 a piece in order to finish them both, so breaking 4 hours became a really nice bonus).

The finish was actually into a baseball stadium full of fans, so I thought that was quite exciting. As I hit 40k, I realized that I was on pace to break 3.50, and according to my watch, I did! These folks used a different type of chip system and I am not convinced that it worked. I crossed with a gun time of 3.50.08, and I was a good 12-15 seconds behind the start when the gun went off, so I quite certain that I had broken it. My watch showed 3.49.56. But the official chip time ended up being 3.50.05. Oh well, I suppose it really doesn’t matter.

I felt exhausted and sore for about 2 minutes, but after a brief rest at the finish line, I started walking towards the food tent, and right there I knew that I would definitely be able to go tomorrow (my biggest fear was that I would somehow get myself too hurt and not be able to recover for the next one).

My approximate quarter splits minute times were as follows: 51, 58, 57, 64. Overall, I was very pleased with my day. To break 4 hours on a day after an excruciating travel day, and after 2 weeks of the worst possible marathon prep, and to finish with the feeling that I would be able to recover, was a great feeling. Also worthy of note, this was only the second marathon of the year that I was able to complete it without needing a bathroom break. This was also the most consistent race of the year, having run a back half only 12 minutes slower than the front.

Akron was an interesting place to run. The course was fairly flat with a couple of small hills towards the end. Part of the course was run on a trail thru a park, which was very nice.

The expo was great, and the kit was awesome. Really nice race shirt, and a free pair of shoes to all finishers! And the medal was really nice too.

Anyway, I wasn’t done for the day. I actually ran back to my car and quickly changed in the parking lot and proceeded to drive back to Canada. I arrived in the Toronto area around 7 pm and munched down a pizza and then crashed almost right away in a hotel in Mississauga.

I had a much better sleep than in Akron and woke up as usual around 4 am. I munched down a little breakfast and got myself downtown.

One of the real challenges during the 19 hour intermission was to try to refuel, and rehydrate. It was also not fun being stuck in a car for 6 hours right after a run. It would have been nice to walk around more and stretch and stay loose. Oh well, I had a little warm up jog down town and got myself into the chute for the start in Toronto. I was physically and emotionally exhausted but actually felt better than I did in Akron. The left knee was noticeable more sore than yesterday though.

3.50 was a nice time to start with and I knew that it would be considered a great feat if I could better that time on day two, so I immediately went into the run with that being my #1 goal. But as always, part of me wanted to test myself to see if there was any chance that I could make this the greatest run of my life. So I ran the first k at 3.15 pace just to see how it would feel, and it felt awful.. Lol I slowed down to 3.40 pace and refocused on trying to run a 3.49.

At 5k, I had to pull a Paula Radcliffe and found a nice little hiding spot and started to do my business. Then another runner had the same idea and joined me behind the same pole.. Lol that was quite interesting..

Anyway, that little break was just what I needed and after a very sluggish start, was able to pick the pace up again. From 5k - 10k, I ran consistently about 500m behind the 3.30 pace team, with the goal of keeping them in site. Amazingly, I started feeling stronger as the race went on. I ran a very consistent race from 10-21k and continued to keep the 3.30 pacers in site.

I crossed the half way mark at 1.47, 2 minutes faster than yesterday. But the big difference was that I felt great! I immediately thought about how great it would be to run a negative split, or an even split. So I carried on at exactly the same pace and continued to do well.

As many other runners faded, I carried on. By 28k, I was still moving nicely along at about a 3.34 pace. Then my stomach and bowels were starting to grumble and I realized I needed to find a porta pottie! There was one at the 30k mark, so off I went for another bathroom break, this one lasting a total of 3 minutes. It was frustrating, but it was necessary, and when I got back out on the road, I was able to shake it off and carry on as if nothing had happened.

I crossed the 31.5k mark and realized that without the bathroom break, the third quarter only took 1.5 minutes longer than the first and second half did (I ran almost perfect equal splits in the first half).

As I hit the 34k mark I was consistently flying past most other runners who had slowed down. At one point, a gentleman recognized me from last year’s Toronto marathon and we chatted a bit. one of the camera guys was out there on the course so we made a funny pose. It’s always nice when others recognize me and wish me luck. He seemed really blown away when I told him I had run Akron the previous day.

Anyway, on I went. I was really feeling good. I was starting to realize that I had a chance to break 3.40, which would have been awesome. To run 10 minutes faster a day after a marathon would have really been huge for me. Heck, back at 5k, I was convinced that I would need 5 hours to finish today!

I kept playing it safe assuming that the wall was going to hit. I could hardly believe that after 1.75 marathons, I was still feeling better than I had all weekend. The wall never really came, although I did slow down a little bit as I hit the 39k mark. It was at this point when I realized that I was probably not going to break 3.40, so I just focused on staying injury free and cruising along..

As I hit 40.5k, the 3.40 pace team over took me.. And interestingly enough, this really aggravated me! Motivation comes from strange things, and this was enough to give me a second wind, and I fired it up and picked up the pace drastically and caught back up to them and over took them. I really shouldn’t have cared about what other runners were doing, but I guess part of me felt really embarrassed that to this point in my life, I have never been able to run a marathon with even splits, and here these folks were looking great, running very casual as if they were just starting.

As I hit 41.5k, I realized 3.40 was not going to happen, but I wanted to at least finish ahead of the pace team.. Lol and I did! Overall, I scored a 3.42.26, almost 8 minutes faster than Akron.

my quarter splits were as follows: 53.5, 53.5, 58 (incl 3 min break), 58. a very consistent race.

For the second day in a row, I crossed the finish line with a big smile and with a huge feeling and sense of accomplishment. 2 countries, 2 days, 2 marathons. I did it, and with a much better overall time than I had thought.

As I walked back to my car, I couldn’t help but ask myself whether or not I thought I could run a third one the next day, and I concluded that yes, I probably could. The knees were sore as hell, but no worse than they were in august when I did 10 training marathons in 17 days.

I went back to my hotel and ordered another pizza and kicked back and watched some of the football game before heading out to visit family. The next two days featured some great visits with family and with my Toronto-based psychologist.

I usually don’t care too much about finishers medals, but these two seemed extra special to me. This weekend was about so much more than running. It was about rediscovering my love of the sport, and rediscovering my ability to find short-term happiness in a life that has generally been very miserable and challenging as of late. It was about revisiting and rediscovering the things that matter most in life. It was also a much needed self-lesson in patience and self-discipline. It really helped me to learn to appreciate the positive things in life, rather than dwell on the negatives.

So maybe I will never be able to better my PB of 3.16.59, and maybe I will never get to Boston as long as I am a biological male, but I am able to let that go and focus on other attainable goals that are equally, if not even more, impressive.

Although part of me still doesn’t really want to run ever again as a male, part of me wants to carry on and pick up where I left off with other goals: running the best possible marathon with even splits seems to be a new goal that came out of this. After all running as given me, I’d love to get out there and be a pacer one of these days and help others achieve their goals.

And of course, part of me is already thinking about bettering this result next year, either by running the Tahoe Triple, or redoing the Akron/Toronto double in better and more consistent times.

Well, Monday was a rest day and today only saw me running 1k to get to work on time for a meeting. My flight got in at 4 am so I have felt even more out of it than I did all weekend, but the legs and knees have recovered substantially and I suspect I will be back out there tomorrow doing some sort of long run and/or swim.

Amazingly enough, I managed to gain another 3 pounds over the weekend! Guess I didn’t really need that second pizza.. Lol

Well, that’s 12 official marathons in the books, 62 overall including training runs, but these 2 were probably the most 2 enjoyable ones, and that’s what I will remember most.

Until next time!


Monday, September 29, 2008

September 29, 2008 - found a computer!

wow, i finally found a computer here on my travels. i really need to get one of those black berry things.. lol...

an excellent weekend for me:

09-27-08 akron ohio, 3.50.05 chip time

09-28-08 toronto waterfront 3.42.26 chip time

my expectations were to run both in the 4.00.00 - 4.15.00 range, so i did much better than i expected. i will write up a detailed report when i get home tomorrow..


Thursday, September 25, 2008

September 25, 2008 - gentle tune up

well, i did 8k today in the evening going to and from a social gathering.

i'm feeling pretty good about the weekend ahead. i'm not 100% but don't really need to be. it's amazing that i can essentially drop what i am doing and run 2 marathons out of the blue with essentially no prep or planning other than my "ongoing continuing fitness regime"

looking forward to the runs and looking forward to hopefully "running" into some of my online running friends out there on the course.

likely the last post for a few days..


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

September 24, 2008 - 2 marathons, 2 days, 2 countries!

well, i have officially gotten over my inability to BQ and i have set my sites on a new goal: 2 marathons, 2 days, 2 countries. time won't matter, i just want to finish these runs.. i think this would be a great way to finish off my year (and perhaps my official marathon career as a male).

so it's on:

Akron, Ohio, USA Marathon Saturday;

Toronto Waterfront, Ontario, Canada Marathon Sunday!

this is totally unverified but i speculate that i will become the first Newfoundlander and first Transsexual in world history to accomplish this feat!

i'm banking on my 10 marathon training runs in 17 days in August to act as prep for this. most of those runs were done in segments, as opposed to all at once, so this will actually be the first time in my life that i have run 2 marathons in 2 days where the runs were done without a break.. so it is a new challenge in that sense. it is also my first time running consecutive marathons since starting Estrogen..

this task has given me a renewed interest and positive feeling towards the sport. failing to BQ was becoming very frustrating and it got to the point where i didn't even want to run. (heck, i'm still not sure i will want to run any more official races as a male after this).

i enter this weekend feeling fairly good, although the legs are not 100% given the Nfld marathon on sept 14 and the run to the beach on Sept 20. but there's no pressure here. i know i can cover the distance.. and to know that i don't really have to "beat the clock" will take all the pressure off, and i can relax and enjoy the challenge..


September 24, 2008 - today's stats

i ran a total of 16k today. i found myself running late this morning so i had an unplanned 1k run to work. then the same thing happened at lunch and i found myself running back to the office again.

after work, it was a run over to the swimming pool, but not to swim this time. this is where i met up with all the others for the run thru the city and downtown to city hall, a 6k jaunt that ended up being chatotic as it was unclear what route was being taken, so people ended up spread out all over the city, but eventually everyone ended up at city hall.

then it was the challenging run back up all the hills to get back home. a nice little work out.

September 24, 2008 - Run For One Planet

Vancouver natives Matt Hill and Stephanie Tait are running across canada and then across the usa to raise awareness of environmental concerns.


they were in Nfld today and myself and several other local Nfld runners met up with them for a jog thru the city.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

September 23, 2008 - annoyed, sort of

well, i swam long and hard today for 60 laps (3k) and suspected i had swam faster than yesterday, but was disappointed when i looked up at the clock and saw it was the same time (62 minutes). guess i am still getting used to the fact that i am slower in everything i do, even if it seems i am working harder..

i also found myself slightly upset and even jealous of all the beautiful young ladies in the pool tonight.. as great as my post-transition look will be, i'll never get to be a teenage girl, and that really sucks..

i was able to channel my frustration in a positive way after the swim though, as i had a better 3k run home than the 3k run before the swim..

i'm 99% certain now that i won't be traveling this weekend to do any official marathons. as much as part of me wants to, the knees are not recovered from the past two weekends, and i know that dropping another $1000 that i don't have would be a bad idea.

we have yet another group of cross-canada runners in town tomorrow to promote awareness for being environmentally friendly, so i will head out and meet with them and run with them for 10k of their journey (they are apparently running 18000k over 2 years, crossing canada and the usa). wish i had time to do that kind of running. i wonder who pays their bills while they are gone all that time?? ..lol


Monday, September 22, 2008

September 22, 2008 - undecided

had a really nice 3k swim today. full of energy in the pool, sandwiched around a couple of light runs.. 6k in total. felt pretty good physically all day.

still trying to decide whether or not to travel this weekend and do some more marathons. running back to back marathons in 2 days is not something that can be done logisically very often, but the opportunity exists for an Ohio-Ontario double header. the last thing i probably need right now is a stressful weekend trip featuring two long plane rides, two 5 hour car rides, 2 trips thru customs, oh - and two marathon runs! but to do this would be an amazing sense of accomplishment. i'd likely become the only newfoundlander to run 2 marathons in 2 days in 2 countries. and after the disappointment i faced last time, i'd hate for that to be my last run of the year. plus with BQ timing out of the picture, this would be a chance to set some new goals that are attainable..

oh well, i suppose i better hurry up and make up my mind soon, as airline ticket prices will be high if i want them at the last minute..


Sunday, September 21, 2008

September 21, 2008 - lethargic run

well, after yesterday, i had a good sleep in. even by noon i was still feeling exhausted and decided not to go to the pool. i elected to have a slow gentle walk to the pond instead. the duckies were glad to see me, as usual.

finally by later afternoon, i decided to take a break from watching NFL and head out for a run. 8 slow k and i was quite tired, so back home i went for a food break and some more football. as evening arrived, i decided to do another 8 k, which included several breaks to relax and catch my breath. so overall, 16k in 1.43.00. not too bad considering my energy levels. knees were still sore from yesterday.

gee, my comp is freaking out again. even though i erased the hard drive a few weeks ago, i don't think it reformatted properly. windows doesn't seem to be working. what a pain.

i accidentally bumped my head quite badly tonight on a cabinet door. bit bruise, i am sure. gonna go ice it again.

hopefully i will swim tomorrow. i missed both weekend swims..


Saturday, September 20, 2008

September, 20, 2008 - exhausting marathon #60

well, it has been 9 weeks since i last ran a 42k with a 20 pound backpack... so i got up today and thought it would be nice to take a run up to the far beach and back, even though it was really a bit too chilly to be at the beach.. so i packed the sack and weight it in at 16 pounds, so i was thinking gee, this will be easy!

the trip up was fine. 20k in just over 2 hrs.. i ended up only staying 2 hours at the beach because it was too darn cold.. (but it was still nice to have one last dip in the ocean!) perhaps i needed more of a break.. i was quite tired after the first half and literally fell asleep on the hard rocky shoreline for a while!

i departed and headed back home in the cool windy breeze.. about 7 k into the second half, i started feeling quite dizzy.. perfect timing though as there was a gas station upcoming, so i had myself a little pit stop and got some sugar and liquids into me. i carried on at a slower pace and felt pretty good, but once i hit the 34k mark, i was noticably exhausted.. i could not even keep a run up. i slowed to a walk on and off for the next couple of k before throwing in the towel and literally walking in the last 4k.

overall, it took nearly 5 hours to complete the "run".. but i did it.. i got home and made myself a nice bubble bath.. i don't think i have ever felt so exhausted in my entire life.. once again, i am finding out just how hard these new hormones are hitting me.. that may have to be the last backpack marathon..

oh well, that's 60 times in the past 590 that i have run 42.2k

now the question remains: when is the next one??

Friday, September 19, 2008

September 19, 2008 - frustrating day

nothing seemed to go right for me today. work is frustrating, dealing with these new meds is frustrating, society in this city is frustrating.. getting harassed 5 times a day by drivers as i walk down the street is really starting to get old.. it's sad that a few bad apples have to spoil my perception of this entire province..

had a gentle 4.2k run today as well as a nice 2.25k swim, even though i was in a rather upset and aggravating mood..

still don't know what to do with next weekend.. part of me wants to go to the mainland and run Akron and Toronto marathons on back to back days to prove to the world that it can be done (heck, why not become the first newfoundlander in world history to run marathons in consecutive days in different countries?). but part of me knows i can't really afford such a trip... and part of me doesn't want to go thru the frustration of having to record further sub-standard times.. it's not really fair for me to be labelled as a male as i am severely handicapped with these female hormones..

part of me doesn't ever want to participate in a marathon ever again until i am legally and officially recognized as a female... which won't likely happen for at least 3 years, given the strict criteria of the international running community - eligibility to compete as a female won't occur until 2 years after gonadectomy (aka testicle removal).. how is that fair? even up to 729 days after i have had my testicles removed and penis turned into a vagina, i must still compete as a male?!?! i don't think so....

with this in mind, i am gearing up for a long break from officially sanctioned marathons.. i'm still going to write Boston to see if they will let me run on April 2009, and even though i know my time will be extremely slow, i still want the satisfaction of being able to say i ran it as a male.. then hopefully again, many times, later in life, as a female.. but other than that, this will likely be my last marathon until 2011.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

September 18, 2008 - sluggish swim

well, i took the afternoon off and was going to swim from noon - 2 pm but decided to go home for a nap instead.. then i made the 4.5k run down to see my psychiatrist.. And we had a good chat. He’s helped me map out some strategies to deal with various emotional challenges I have been dealing with as of late.

Then I walked around down town and grabbed a copy of the new Metallica CD. Pretty good stuff!
Then it was a long walk back to the north end of the city, a slice of pizza, then a very sluggish swim. I had to slow down and take lots of breaks just to get thru my 2.5k. Oh well, at least I completed it.

After a coffee and donut, I was running back to the pond and around a couple of times, all while wearing a sexy purple dress and carrying my purse, and a bag of bread, which I eventually fed to the duckies. 10k of running in all today, which made up for the sluggish swim.
I have recovered nicely from Sunday’s run and I am starting to start thinking about the next challenge. I’ve now gone 5 days with the triple dosage of estrace and I think the early returns are good. I feel less aggravated and upset as I was before. It’s all good!


September 17, 2008 - Tweaking

yesterday, it was a quad muscle, and today, a groin pull - this time, just 1k into my run to the post office. not sure if i am still too stiff from sunday's run, or if it was the cool weather, but the right leg doesn't seem ready to go.. ended up walking the rest of the way to the mall and back.

i bought a stationary bike last week and have started to put it together. biking is going to be an exciting challenge for me.

probably will swim tomorrow as well as go for a light jog.. will probably stretch the groin, hams, and quads out quite a bit before running.

stretching has been something i haven't done regularly after taking some advise from a local running coach here. this coach felt streching was overrated and could actually lead to more injuries! interesting thoughts for sure..


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

September 16, 2008 - starting over

gee, the blog i just typed didn't go thru.. guess i have to try to remember what i just typed.

on that note, i am starting over, yet again, after yet another marathon that didn't quite end up as i had hoped.

a nice 10k run to the pool and then to the pond this evening. also a 1.6k swim, which went fairly well. still feeling the affects of sunday's run so the work out was ligth and slow today..

my doctor has tripled my estrogen intake so i am hoping that will give me both a mental and physical boost. i think being on testosterone blockers alone for 9 weeks really made me suffer. it is nice to have some new hormones coming in to my system...

so many unknowns in my life, including athletics.. very tough to set goals without really knowing what each day will bring.. oh well, it's going to be one day at a time for a while to see how it goes, and hopefully in a few weeks i'll be able to make some decisions about the next challenges!


Monday, September 15, 2008

September 15, 2008 - day off

a day off work and off running. it was all about rest and recovery today, both physical and emotional. couple of doctor appt and several hours relaxing in the sun. might be the last trip to the beach this summer. it was a nice bonus to have such a lovely warm 3 day weekend. after a rainy summer, i felt really cheated, but september has made up for it with three nice weekends in a row.

having an extra day to let it sink in, looking back, i know that i should feel good about my run yesterday morning. to compare myself with pre-hormonal results is just not fair to myself. my estrogen dosage has also just been upped, so that will bring yet further unknown factors into my future runs..

i've had some problems at work lately, mostly due to my negative feelings and attitude, and i will be working with my team of physical-medical and psychiatric professionals to help me better learn to manage and deal with stress and anxiety. the new med dosage should help as i was essentially hormone-deceived all summer, now i'm finally going to be getting a suitable amount of "replacement" hormones.. so even if it won't helpp my running, it should at least put me in a better mood.

i bought a couple of books today to read up on endurance fitness, nutritional eating, and triathalon training.. lots to work on this fall... but for today and perhaps tomorrow, it will be resting to get the muscles back to normal... no more of this overtraining stuff! that didn't seem to prove affective.

more doctor appt tomorrow so hopefully i will have a plan drafted up for going forward both in terms of running, working, and transitioning.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

September 14, 2008 - Disasterous Championship Race

well, the day before an official marathon is always a tense time. just trying to relax and mentally prepare myself for the big day ahead that i have worked so hard for. i had a 30 minute swim at the pool to keep myself loose and then went up to the beach and relaxed in the sun for a few hours. i spent the evening doing some house cleaning and tried to settle down to sleep early.

it was a very restless night. i hardly got any sleep. at 4 am i decided to give up and start my morning routine. i had an upset stomach and assumed it was nerves, but later figured it may in fact be some sort of stomach virus.

anyway, i got myself to the race and sat inside the fitness building in a chair just shaking and trying to get rid of the stomach problem.. by race time, i was feeling a little better and got off to a great start. 1 km into the race, i found myself leading the race with a 4:20k.

suddenly, several marathoners passed by me. i didn't worry and just tried to stick to my game plan. the goal was to run a 90 minute front and that would give me 106 minutes to do the back.

at 10k, i was still running quite strong, clocking in on pace at just under 45 minutes. in an effort to ensure i wasn't going too fast, i carried a 710ml bottle of gatorade with me for the first 15k, which also came in handy given the sparce water stations (only 1 every 5-6k for this run).

the first 15k were relatively flat, featuring a couple of laps around an industrial mall area.. i was at 67 minutes by this point, a few minutes slower than i had planned. it was at this point where i started to suffer. the halfers made their short loop turn and i soldiered on and was caught by one of my long time rivals, Mack, the gentleman who edged me out in June for the Eastern Marathon title, our only other marathon in this province. eager to keep the pace with Mack, i pushed hard to give it all i had.. and it sort of worked for a while, i caught a second wind and Mack and I stormed down the highway (the marathoners have an extra 10 k down the highway and of course, 10k back to the city).

i hit the half mark at 97 minutes, and by this point, i knew it was not going to be easy.. my knees and legs felt fine, but the affects of taking estrogen and testosterone blockers was really starting to show now. the strength and energy levels had been seriously depleted. i decided to slow it down a little in hopes that i could save some strength for the very challenging last 10k.

at the 24k mark, the leaders had already started their journey back to the city and one by one, i got a chance to see who all was ahead of me, and by how much. turned out i was sitting in 7th place, about 10 minutes behind the leader, and he was really looking good..

the highway was full of rolling hills which had been challenging going down but a killer on the way back. slowing me down substantially. one more runner caught up to me and overtook me for 7th. i had slowed down to a pace of about 10 km/h. as i hit the 35k mark, i knew that not only was the race out of reach, but BQ was gone too. looking back and not seeing a soul in site, i decided to keep a gentle pace to keep 8th place. i ran as hard and as fast as my body would allow. the knees still felt great, this was so frustrating.. all last year, the knees forced me to slow down in 2nd halfs of marathons, and now, the knees were fine but the body couldn't keep up.

at 41k, i entered the park and headed down the ramp towards the finish. some of the finishers had already claimed their medals and were walking back to the parking lot. last year's Eastern Marathon winner and today's 3rd place finisher Peter was among them, and he had a sparkle in his eye as he told me that he had yet another PB, just slightly over 3 hrs. not bad for a guy who's gotta be 55!

as i approached the finish line, the disappointment that i had been holding in was about to be unleashed. there was a crowd cheering me on, but i had this stoic cold look on my face. i accepted my medal at the finish line with a very dissappointing finishing time of 3.36.12 (unofficial). although i had the past 30 minutes to sorta let it sink in, it all sorta hit me all over again, and i grabbed bottle of water and fired it against the wall in disgust and let out an angry roar.. then i sat down on a park bench slouched over and cried for a few minutes before making the long walk back to the parking lot.

i went to one of my favourite ponds up in the woods and had a quite sit in the sun and swim before heading back to the park to attend the awards banquet. as poor as my time was, i still placed 8th overall and 3rd in my age catagory - thus landing me an additional bronze medal in addition to the finishers medal. they had a nice BBQ so i had a nice plate of food and chatted with a few of the other runners.

afterwards, it was off to the beach for the rest of the day where i literally fell asleep for a while. then drove back into the city and walked around and swam in yet another pond, where i saw a live bunny rabbit and several ducks. i really like seeing the wild animals here.

well, i guess today was a wake up call. things just won't likely be the same ever again. i'm going to have to work 1000 times harder than ever before if i ever expect to set another PB.

with such a poor result, i'm leaning towards not coming to toronto for the waterfront. i had felt that if it was a close call, that i would give it another try, but now, there's really "nothing to play for." i'm going to give Boston a call and see if i can beg my way in with my 3.16.59 that i ran in July. that's only 60 seconds over their cut off, and i've heard they can be generous at times.

if boston says no, then this may be the last marathon i run in a long time, perhaps even the last that i run as a biological male. i found myself asking whether or not i wanted to run them "just for fun" with poor times, and the answer i came up with was "probably not". i am a competitor and i have tons of pride, and i won't want to go out there again (other than Boston 2009, if allowed to compete) until i get myself in much better shape to the point where i can handle and overcome the disadvantages of these meds and still have chances to improve my times. i'm also going to have to get into better shape before running more of these. i expended moreenergy than ever before and my body took a clear pounding.

oh well, a disappointing run, but still nice to have completed my 10th official career marathon.

so now it's back to some hard training. time to drop the 5 pounds that keeps coming back every time i lose it, and time to talk to my doctors to see if there's anything we can do about the challenges of losing endurance.

the Newfoundland and Labrador Athletic Association road running series concludes with a very challenging hilly 20k in October, so that will likely be my next formal race. i will also be turning my attention to the bike and the pool..


Friday, September 12, 2008

September 12, 2008 - does a walk count??

well, no running or swimming today.. just a 2 hour walk in the evening. it's been quite a stressful week at work and i didn't get a very good sleep last night. i have not been in a very good mood lately. i've been easily aggravated and quick to become confrontational at work. presenting myself as a woman has been great for me, and finally reaching the point where at least some people in the world are accepting me as a woman is also great, but i am quickly learning the sad truths of the double standards that still exist in this world. women have less power than men and they can't get away with the same tactics in a professional environment. i am going to have to learn an entirely new approach to business communication, and pay special attention to conflict resolution strategies.. not really sure what any of this has to do with running, but i you know, emotional state can play a major factor in one's ability to perform physical tasks. i'm hoping to take a relaxing day at the beach tomorrow and try to clear my mind and get totally focused on sunday's run. the 3 week taper has gone very much as planned. i am fit but well rested. the legs and knees feel great. the energy levels seem to be hit and miss but i am definitely feeling confident about sunday's run.. sunday morning weather report is great. looking at 12-15 degrees and sunny. perfect conditions for a run.


September 11, 2008 - solid prep day

just a quick update today. 9k of light running and 2.5k of swimming. got my race kit for sunday too!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 10, 2008 - revitalized

wow, today started out with a run to the laser clinic. my 6th time getting my face zapped about 100 times. definitley not fun. i still felt sluggish and struggled to get the run in.

but after the laser session, the run to work was much better. that brought me up to 9k on the morning. after work, it was a run home then to the pond, and then the rain storm hit. i ran over to the pool and swam an excellent 3.25k in 62 minutes. then ran home. wow, 18k on the day plus the swim.

i found myself in a rather angry mood all day due to some situations at work that have been frustrating me for a while, but i was able to channel that frustration into an excellent series of runs and swim. i suppose that is a good thing.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

September 9, 2008 - sluggish

well, i managed to head out for a nice gentle 10k run last night, including 4 laps around the infamous kent's pond. i took an intermission to swim in the pond and feed the duckies some bread crumbs. i felt great yesterday.

today was a very sluggish day. the run over to the pool didn't go very well. i seemed to be out of breath after 2k. the swim didn't go much better. i struggled to do 45 laps (2.25k) in 55 minutes, more than 10 minutes more than that distance would normally take. oh well, that just seems to be the way it goes. good days and bad days. let's hope sunday is one of the good days. i think part of it is emotional exhaustion from a couple of stressful days at work.

i'll probably do some speed drills tomorrow (likely three 1.5k sprints with 5-10 minute breaks in between); then perhaps give the pool another try.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

September 7, 2008 - Swimathon

gee, i didn't log in yesterday - that's gotta be a first! i spent 7 hours in the sunny weather up at the beach yesterday, and had several swims in the ocean. had a car for the weekend so didn't have to run the 40k. also took in the MUN Men's volleyball game, which was fun. they had a 50-50 draw and i came within 1 number of winning. what can you do?

today, i opted for an extra few hours of sleep instead of running in Harbour Grace. i went back to the beach for a short visit, even though it was cloudy and drizzly. then i hit the pool and did 3 agressive k of swimming in 55 minutes. then did 10k running in intervals, then jumped in the pond to cool off.

spent most of the afternoon inside watching the opening week of NFL action and the US Open tennis finals..

going to have to focus on rest over the next 6 days, but will likely get in a few swims.. don't want to gain any more weight for race day.. this tapering thing is tough as i continue to want to eat all the time, but aren't burning as many calories..


Friday, September 5, 2008

September 5, 2008 - decisions

well, with a nice weather report, i decided to grab a car for the weekend so i could get myself around for some site-seeing. don't think i want to do any long runs up to the beach during my serious taper period. but i might head over to Harbour Grace on Sunday morning to run the 10k race there. all depends on the knee, which still gave me minor concerns as i did a gentle 3.5k run this afternoon.

other big news was the purchase of a stationary bike, which will help prepare me for my next major project: preparing for an Ironman race in 2009 - the most grueling one day endurance test of them all. this race features 3.8k swim, 180k bike, and 42.2k run. looking forward to tackling this!

no official swim today, although i did swim almost completely across the pond and back - a 5 minute swim!


Thursday, September 4, 2008

September 4, 2008 - not happy

geeze, my day just doesn't seem complete unless i post something on here. guess i am looking for at least one thing that is consistent in a life that is very turbulant and inconsistent.

quite the miserable day for me. life is very frustrating. running and swimming usually act as an escape for me but not today. went for brief swim in the pond today after work, and then a light 8k jog tonight. just a very frustrating day. my left knee is still not 100%, and i don't think that hill climb yesterday or my speed work helped.

oh well, i hope tomorrow will be better

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

September 3, 2008 - speed work

well the arm was back to normal today, but i actually didn't hit the pool. i decided to enjoy some time outdoors relaxing in what was probably the nicest summer day of the year! 26 degrees, very few clouds. i had a nice 20 minute uphill run to the top of pippy park and went for a swim in Left Pond and worked on my tan. then it was a run back down the hill and over to the other ponds, where i did some speed work. 13k in total.

a friend of mine recently completed the Kentucky Ironman, and this has inspired me to think seriously about this. i've always stated that i want to be one of (of not the one and only one) to run the Boston Marathon as a male, then later in life as a female, but now i'm thinking i want to do the Ironman in each case too! i will likely have Sex Reassignment Surgery anywhere from 18-30 months from now, so i better get myself in shape to take that on!

down to just 10.5 days til the big marathon. the knees swelled up a little with the speed work, but i suppose that is to be expected. i was doing 100m sprints and literally hit an all time high pace. i speculate i was going close to 30 km/h.

well, it will probably be a pool day tomorrow for a 90 minute swim. maybe some light running too.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

September 2, 2008 -recovery day

well, the right arm was extremely sore all last night and all morning. that swim really pushed those muscles to the limit. but it was feeling better by evening so i strolled over and had a gentle 1.5k swim. i purposely did not do any running. i am going to be very limiting with runs over the next 12 days in prep for the marathon.

i find myself struggling to taper. i am not used to resting. long runs and swims have become part of my regular routine and i find myself uncomfortable with not being able to do them.

assuming all goes well on Sept 14, i may take up another ironman streak challenge.. 42.2k was a bit much but i'm thinking something like 20 consecutive half marathons would be a good prep for the next major challenge, my 20k Cape To Cabot run on Oct 17.

i'm also anxious to take my swimming up another level. that 10k swim was a wake up call as to just how much i have improved in that sport in just 11 short months.. i'm thinking an even longer swim may be in my future, if i can find enough consecutive pool hours!


Monday, September 1, 2008

September 1, 2008 - Marathon Swim!

well, i feel like a better woman having gone thru an amazing August of running. Today, i turned my attention to swimming, with my 1st ever attempt at a 10k swim. with the weather report poor (surprise, surprise), i decided not to go out of town today. with the stat holiday, i meant that the pools were open for extra sessions, so this was my chance to have more than 2 hours of pool time.

i started out with a 5k swim in exactly 100 minutes, which was my plan. i swam at a steady pace, thinking about the endurance challenge ahead. i swam well for the first 4k, then started to fade.

as the swim session was winding down, i was going to have to get out, get dressed, and head next door to the smaller pool to finish, where they had another adult lane swim session booked. i grabbed a quick sandwich and drink and headed over.

the break actually ate up 28 minutes. but it was a break i needed. i was back in the pool totally revitalized, and i flew through the remainin 5k as if it was a warm up! i finished even stronger than i started. 92 minutes was all it took. i got out of the pool in shock and amazement. 10k swam in 3 hr 12 minutes (not including the break).

i wasn't even tired. i was still fired up and ready to carry on with my day, which turned out to be a lovely afternoon in the fog, as i ran 13k, visiting a couple of my favourite spots in the city in the progress (ponds, amazingly enough)!

my right arm is quite sore now, obviously, from a muscle strain or pull (hopefully not torn).

not bad for a rest day.. lol

knees still a little tender, perhaps from the swim (even though i swim with practically no leg movement).

well, i wanted to do many swims this week, but the sore arm may keep me out of the pool for a few days.. will update again tomorrow