Canada, eh? There. That’s where my legs took me. Canada. Ok, so maybe not so much my legs as the opportunity for employment but still. Canada. Vancouver, B.C. to be exact. I am extremely thankful that I get to stay in the Pacific Northwest. I honestly do not think there is a more gorgeous place to live and let’s just say the ability to run in the mountains always in view is an added bonus. I moved to Vancouver on Halloween 2010. I spent the first couple weekends back and forth from Seattle gathering the rest of what I had left from the unemployed chapter of my life. I had signed up for the Seattle 2010 marathon in hopes of finally beating my Seattle 2008 time. Because of the moving, settling, and icy sidewalks, my running suffered a lot. Since Le Grizz, my longest run was a slow 12 miler through the snow mid-November; about 2 weeks before the marathon. It was a great way to close out the 2.5 years I spent living in Seattle, running my city. For the race, I took my time not worrying about my pace, just reflecting on the absolutely incredible times Seattle gave me, and hoping that Vancouver would be a place to take me in as Seattle had. I ended up finishing the marathon in 3:45. Not bad considering I was fighting off a cough and fever; I stopped to walk at about mile 22 because my whole body would not stop shaking. I somehow regained control of my body and powered through the last few miles, finishing with my best time yet!
The lottery for WS100 came and went and I began to start looking for other opportunities for running a 100-miler in 2011.
Running in Canada has been quite the experience. I often wonder if it is just tunnel-visioned drivers or if no one is used to looking for runners approaching a crosswalk. I have lost count of how many times I have almost been hit, while wearing this:
Oh, Canada. One night I was almost hit by a car too ambitious in turning right on red, only to be immediately dodging a car turning left from the perpendicular road which had somehow missed the event. I almost decided to stop running that night. And maybe I should have. Another night, I was happily running down a hill when all of a sudden this couple walks out in the middle of the sidewalk and stops. I guess my heavy footsteps trying to slow me down quickly approaching was enough to alert them there was not enough room for the 3 of us. Since it was a choice between a tree and a bush for me, both of which I’ve yet to gain the powers to run through (but I’m working on it), I was under the assumption they would step aside. I was wrong. As I tried to avoid slamming in to both of them I landed hard on my right foot to try to come to a complete stop. I was able to finish my run but could barely walk later that night. My knee was killing me. I considered hopping on my left foot. I have learned to run through pain, but this felt different.
I took time off. My knee still hurt. I took more time off. I knew I needed to get back out for a long run to see if I would even be able to sign up for a 100 miler. I set out for a moderate 13 miler. About 7 miles in, I was as far away as I could be from my apartment and could not run because the pain was too intense. I had to walk home and immediately signed up for a physiotherapy appointment. The first opening was a week and a half away. So I did what any sensible person would do; see how far I could run again. This time I chose trails, and lasted 15 miles. As a side note, I had not intended to run this long, I got lost in the trail matrix. From physiotherapy I learned that I had a strained IT band in my right leg which was causing my knee to hurt. He felt I would be back running strong very soon.
So I did the exercises and stuck to shorter runs for a few weeks. I am happy to say that I am now back in full force! I had my sights on the Cascade Crest, but I needed to get in first. The signup was quickly approaching and I was told that it filled up in about 2 days last year, so I set an alarm to remind me to set an alarm to wake up early for signing up.