Monday, April 30, 2012

Visualization - Taper week Saviour

Next week is the Vancouver BMO - I was SUPPOSED to be doing the full.... (not bitter at all).  However I am now on the grey boot spectator team - and it looks like we have added another member - our popularity is increasing.  My friend Diane is now sporting one along with June-bug and I.  This is not a group I would encourage others to aspire to join...

So with everyone in full taper mode and finding themselves with spare time on their hands, getting antsy and over thinking all aspects of their race I would advise you to take that excess energy and use to work on visualizing your race day - Start to successful finish.  It is a great way to focus that excess energy.

One of the talks that I get tagged to do for the clinics is the visualization talk.  I started giving the talk 3 years ago when I was leading clinics.  After working with Coach Larry and benefiting immensely from doing visualization with him I decided that I would do it with my clinics.  Now that I not leading anymore I get asked to come in and do the talk for the groups near the end of their clinics just before race day.  I like doing them but I am starting to think a better time to do the talk to create the most benefit may be at the start of the clinic.  I honestly believe this is a skill that the runners should be using from the moment they register for the race/clinic.  Something to think about and maybe mention to the clinic leaders.

So Visualization talk - people think yah, yah she will talk about the value of it and why.  Well yeah I touch on it, I also touch on such things as power words and mantra's and learning be comfortable being uncomfortable among other things.   Power words are important they are words that can motivate you and energize you on the course - mine is Shazam.  Mantras I have are - Pain is temporary, Pride is forever.  Today is your day and I like to hum I Feel Good by James Brown - sometimes I have been known to start singing it out loud. If nothing else it motivates other runners around me to move faster to get away from me when I am singing. 

For the actual talk -  I actually have them mentally run the race right there and then.  I ask them to close their eyes and see themselves race morning standing in their gear at the start line.  Sometimes I will start to play the national anthem - just like it would be on race morning.  I tell them to think of their power word and take a deep breath in and feel the energy start to move in their body.  I have them pass over the start line and here I press my watch so they hear a beep, beep just like they would as they pass over the mats.  I then guide them through the course - km by km - A little faster since it is in our minds.  I talk about weather, spectators, porta potties, how they may be feeling, aid stations, pace, walk breaks and things on the course.  At tough points I have them take deep breaths in and pull energy into their body continuing to move up their limbs - at these times I tell them to say their power word or mantra again.  I talk about 32km and feeling bad and tired and not wanting to do this - about saying their Mantra and power words and using the energy of the crowd and fellow runners to get through it. - I talk about eating gels and the love hate relationship with their pace bunny.

Finally I talk about how they come through the darkness and how near the finish line they will see fences, the crowds, they will hear Stephen King and how for the final push they will pull the last of the energy in - feeling their whole body tingle right to the ends of the hair on their heads -  I usually have picked one person in the group who has told me their goal time and announce their dream time and name with a final beep, beep of my watch as they cross over the finish line timing mats.

After we do this I talk to them about doing this every day going forward to race day.  Just finding a quiet place for 15 minutes and running their race.  I like to think that people find some benefit from this exercise - I guess they do because I keep getting asked to come back and do the talk.

So my advice to you with 5 sleeps left - work on visualizing your success.  See it, Believe it, Live it.

Peace out from the sideline


Monday, April 23, 2012

The Pity Party

sorry I know I should have been posted sooner but well I have been holding my own pity party.

If you recall i was all like - I cut my runs short when it started to hurt and have been working with physio - it is all good.  Well IT WAS NOT GOOD! grrrr 

After the 23km run where I had some pretty bad pain and pulled out at 16km I went for my my next physio and he was like  no running  for a week to let it settle down and get my orthotics looked at.  He then proceeded to go and get a a calendar and show me what exactly he meant by a week - including  with start and finish dates?!?!  Yeesh - ok in his defense the last time he said a week I left the week up to interpretation - I took a week it was just he meant at that moment and I started the week 3 days later so it did not mess with my long runs.  My husband told my old physio who tattled to my new physio so hence the careful explanation of week.  

  Sounds good -no running for 1 week and off I toddle to my podiatrist. He asks what's up - I point to the area of my calf/ankle that has been bothering me and barely get 5 words out before he  says - NO RUNNING - WHAT?!?!?!  I have to finish telling yo.... NO RUNNING - I am ordering an Ultrasound - no running until after that. 

So I am a little shocked and him being the smart guy he is ( pretty sure my physio probably called him ahead of time to give him a refresher on me and the need for explicitly detailed explanations)  saw an opening to get his message to me in no uncertain terms.   He pushes on - You probably have torn your tendon - WHAT.  Okay now you have my attention.

He explains in graphic detail that the pain I have and the nature of how it came up is consistent with a tear and that I need an ultrasound.  Really a tear - okay everyone calm down.  I was like what about my races -
what about those - I have 2 coming up

He actually did an eye roll and because he knows me and has been my physician for 12 years he decides that  I am not listening.  So he outlines it - if I run and I have a small tear I can worsen it to the point that I tear the whole tendon.  Hmmm - the only way to fix that is surgery - don't like the sound of that.  and then Rehab for at least a year possibly longer and probably no running ever again.  OKAY You have my attention.Can I swim and ride still?  Yes your can.  Okay, that is good right?

So I got my appointment time, left his office got in my car and proceeded to cry for a bit. OMG  what the heck - I had been doing physio - I had been doing what they told me - I stopped running when it really hurt.  So I did what any sane rational person would do - I went into denial. I clung to the fact that he said I could ride and swim.  Well then that is what i was going to do - I was going to ride every day and swim every second day until the Ultrasound and then when it came back negative i was going to run and show him!

Well the Ultrasound was done and the next day the call came - 7mm tear in the soleus - okay that is not the tendon and it is only 7mm - so I am good to go.  You can imagine the sigh on his end of the phone.   Nope-  I have to wear a stupid air cast for 4 weeks, no riding for a week,  swimming only with a pull buoy, water running okay,  and then I can get on the trainer and spin in about a week or so. 

So yep since that phone call I have been at the pool pretty much everyday swimming with the pull buoy for an hour followed by 1 hour of water running (he SAID it was okay).  The days that I don't swim I am at physio and acupuncture.  I am determined to be back in 2.5 weeks and have already arranged for a follow-up Ultrasound for then.  Hey perks to working in healthcare. 

So pity party is officially over and I am going to do whatever it takes to get back in the game.  I obviously will not be doing the Vancouver Marathon but I am still hopeful that I can do the Oliver Half Iron in June.

Wish me luck.

Peace out Shaun