Sunday, November 13, 2011

From the City, to the Sea

Yesterday I ran the very first City 2 Sea, Melbourne's sister event to Sydney's massively popular City 2 Surf. The 14k course went from the National Gallery, along St Kilda Road, around Albert Park and down into St Kilda. About 13,000 people turned up, which I think is pretty awesome for an event in it's first year.

Between my recent holiday, a bout of shingles in September and a flu in the last week or two, I was not really fit to run this race. I turned up dressed to run, but planning to walk. Until I saw all the other runners, that is, at which point I thought- bugger it. I wanna run!
After an interminable wait in the Green Panadol corral with my pal Matty H, we were finally off. The weather was coolish, overcast but slightly humid. I wore a long sleeved Nike tech shirt, my favourite white 2XU hat (yup, if you can't beat the 2XU twins, join em), and my snazzy new Reebok shorts (which later proved to be a bit of a mistake). It's the first time I've turned up to a race feeling really cute :D
I have the slightly dodgy technique of finding a runner of similar pace to me, or a pace I find comfortable, and drafting off them, so when I eventually found a guy who was running a near perfect 7:30k pace, I stuck with him. In all my time of drafting I've never been busted, or if I have they never said....until yesterday! 7:30 is a moderate to top pace for me, and I was untrained and tiring fast, so eventually slowed down, and my draftee piped up to say, "Nooo, don't stop, you've got a good few k's in you yet!"
And so I didn't. I hung in for as long as I could, but after the first four I had a nasty stitch, and so with a high five I bid my draftee a good race. He was a newbie runner who had never previously run farther than a 5k, but he had a lovely smooth, solid pace and a relaxed stride. I'd love to know how he went, but in a field that size it was pretty hard to spot him later! I just hope he had a good race.

I was pretty happy with my 4k effort, and could have left it there. I'd planned some shorter 3-4k runs this week to ease back in, and that would have been a good effort. I walked the next two or three k's, and was feeling pretty done.

But my heart always breaks as I watch runners pass me....I can't take it. So when a runner passed me slowly and turned to me and smiled, I smiled weakly back and asked if I could pace with her for awhile. She said she was doing 8:30's, and I smiled and said that would be perfect.
The runner's name was Emma. I'd noticed Emma when I was standing in the corrals, because she was an anomaly. A buxom, heavy woman, but her gear was serious. I think I've spent so long feeling like an anomaly that I saw her right away, and knew what she was-the real deal, sheathed in fat, maybe, but burning inside with the need to just do it, to be challenged, to keep going.
I ran with Emma almost all the way to the finish. I had to stop and walk a lot-there's no denying that I was in a world of pain, and a little whingy with it, if I'm honest. She just kept running her own race. Sure, the pace dropped, but she just kept going.
I asked a lot of questions about Emma's three marathons, her training, and just generally shot the breeze. It's the longest time I've ever spent talking with another runner like that in real life. As a solo runner I am a reader of forums, a thinker of thoughts, a listener to podcasts...but I very rarely run with others, because I am too slow, plain and simple, for most.
I don't think I was very good company, being tired, whingy, and having almost completely blocked ears (pollen, you suck!). I didn't quite know how to think or what to say, so I just settled for being interested in what she had to say, and the challenges she'd faced and overcome.
It's true that runners come in all shapes and sizes, and we're all special in our own way, and blah blah blah...but some people are just going to do what they want, and be what they are, and if others don't like it, they just don't give a rat's arse, and that's why Emma is awesome.
I came in at 2:03:37, which I'm pretty pleased with. I'm in a world of pain today with very sore quads and a tweaky right ankle (sore in much the same place as after the HM) but I'm hoping it will ease
today, so that I can go out for a little run tomorrow.
Oh yeah baby, I'm so back :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Holidaze/Sick of work

As a reward for surviving a mind-crunching few months at work, lovely fiance and I finally took a long awaited holiday at the end of November. Four nights in a resort in the lovely Lakes Entrance, which is near to my hometown and family, but far enough away to feel exotic (and put off any unwanted visitors, lol).

I had grand plans to run all over the town, climb the giant hill, and generally be my usual energizer bunny self. While I did go for one run while I was in town, after that something strange happened....

I started to relax.

Perhaps a little too much. I slept a lot, ate a lot, and spent some quality time with my family. I snuggled in bed watching movies with my man, and took a lot of naps. Seriously, I was the queen of the world of sleeping.

When we returned home I did all the usual jobs, shopping and the like, and yes, some short runs (I've now learnt that my legs really do not like extended periods of sitting in the car, it brought on shin pain, ouch!) but again, I pretty much turned into a veggie. We splurged on some new DVD's and spent a few days curled up watching Daria and reliving my teen years. Quality.

Fiance had been ill with a flu bug on and off for several weeks, so naturally on my first day back at work the bugs hit me with a vengeance. By the next day I couldn't hold my head up. Back to the couch for me.

While it was a filthy virus, it has turned out to be a good thing. I was so incredibly ill (I could hear my lungs rattling with fluid when I breathed :/) that I made the effort to visit the GP (this took 3 hours. Seriously.). She listened to my chest and pronounced a nasty chest infection, which needed antibiotics, but where things got interesting was when she looked at my face and asked if I am "Always this pale?" I said yes, and blushingly explained that I looked worse because I had no makeup on. She sent me off for a blood test, and I've since found out that I'm anaemic and deficient in Vitamin D. The vitamin D thing is unsurprising, try as I might I simply cannot get a tan from those damn fluoros, but I thought I was eating pretty well and getting enough iron. Evidently not.

I'd been having trouble getting through the day most of the time, and feeling increasingly tired, which I'd blamed on my schedule. It's pretty punishing, I'm up so early each day, and my job can be mind numbingly dull. Add to that runs, cooking and the endless amount of cleaning each week...I have to wonder how many other women are low in Iron and feeling this way.

Running wise, I've had this week off. Sunday is the C2S, and I've been looking forward to running it ever since I heard about it. I'll still be attending, but this year I'll be walking it. I'm trying to focus on the fact that no matter how slow I run next year, it'll be a PB!

Getting sick is never fun, and for a few days there I wished I could move out of my body and just float around for a bit. But, if getting sick means you leave off your bronzer and get some important health news, then maybe getting sick is ok.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Turtle News

On the whole, nothing too exciting is happening here in Turtle Land. All trends are positive-I'm running strong, enjoying yoga, and eating cleaner than I ever have in my life. Basically, I feel pretty super :)
The marathon is on my mind a lot. It's over a year away, but I still think about it all the time. I don't want to get ahead of myself, and so goal number 1 is to simply get to the starting line uninjured and as well trained as I can manage.
The most exciting thing this week has been a sudden drop in weight (actually, not that sudden, I've been watching my intake and munching on fruit and veg like there's no tomorrow) that has brought me closer to my goal weight than I've been in a long time. It may seem like a small thing, but all of a sudden instead of there being 12, or 10 kilograms to lose there's only 9, count em, 9! Something about single digits seems so easy, and I really think I can just keep powering through to my goal of 68kgs.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sri Chinmoy Yarra Boulevard 5k

My second Sri Chinmoy event, and oh boy are they shaping up to be one of my favourites! There's the best informal, relaxed vibe about these inexpensive and friendly events.
Several co-workers and I had planned to meet for this one, but in the end only three of us showed up. I decided to run a 5k because I am still coming back after illness and was actually really excited for the fun of a short race. A 5k can be really good in a relaxed way-there's no need to worry too much about what to eat before or during, I know I'm not going to chafe up, I can go with less comfy gear and have it be no issue.
It was pretty chilly when I arrived (half an hour early, overpunctuality is my curse) so I used the loo, registered, and loitered. Some people had dogs and cute kids for me to admire, so I was more or less kept amused. When I got bored I decided to ditch my jumper, check my bag, and warm up with a couple of slow laps around the oval. I think warming up makes a lot of difference for me over shorter distances.
I eventually found one of my workies, looking bleary eyed and quite annoyed that we were the only ones there at that stage! We cruised over to the start together, selecting back of the pack positions. I had a nice chinwag with a few lovely ladies about Sri Chinmoy's philosophy, half marathon racing, marathons...nice.
In what's becoming quite a pattern for me, I quickly found a couple of guys running just a tiny bit slower than I wanted to, and drafted behind them. They were big, tall guys, cruising comfortably along at a steady clip, and I settled in just behind them happily. I was surprised to learn that while I felt like we were going very slow, we were cruising comfortably at just under 7 minutes a k, and sometimes as fast as 6.5 minutes.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and I can now get to the point where I say this next bit is where I cocked up. Buoyed up by running the first 4ks non stop, I broke away from my draft dudes to fly up a hill. Going up the hill was fine, but as I rounded the top and began heading down I realised I was totally shagged out! To the point where I dry heaved a little, so I walked a little until I recovered myself, then chugged onwards to finish.
After it was all done, I sat on the grass in the sunshine to eat a pancake and a juicy mandarine, while a feeling of well being flooded my body.
My GPS said I'd done 5k in 33.52, with an average pace of 6;45, which I was pretty chuffed with....but my official time over at Sri Chinmoy was 35:06, which is five seconds over my PB, wahhhhhh! I'm not sure which time I believe.....
The only solution is to race another fun little five again soon!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I plan, God laughs

Well, hot off the heels of my triumphant August challenge and audacious goal setting for September.....I got sick. Real sick. I came down with shingles, ON MY FOOT! Who gets shingles on their foot!? Then as if the horrid life-zapping forces of the viral infection wasn't enough, the largest blister cluster became infected. Really really infected. The GP cut open the fluid and pus filled blisters to drain, and prescribed antibiotics. I had to stay off it. No work, no running, and mostly trapped on the couch. Two days later the pain was worse and my entire leg became painful. Back to the GP. Antibiotics aren't working, the infection is moving up the leg. Stronger antibiotics, more time off work....and they cut my foot open to a depth of half a centimeter, and an area about the size of a fifty cent piece. The second slice did the job, and the infection started to go away but I couldn't really walk properly on my foot at all, and so eventually after it had mostly healed the GP went in one last time to sculpt the wound bed to let me walk better. Soo, two and a half weeks later I have finally finished all my medicine, the bandages are off, and I finally felt well enough to run. I managed four K's this morning, and oh goodness it was like coming home! My legs fatigued really quickly but I'm confident that I'll be back running strongly in a week or two. I guess I am lucky that I was in great shape before I got sick! I've never been unable to run for this long, but am enjoying the feeling of strength returning to my body.
The bad news is that while I was sick I did an unprecedented amount of comfort eating, and have put on 3.3 kilograms! I can really feel it, and actually see it. *Sigh*, two steps forward, one step back.
I've reset my goals for September, and they're quite modest. I want to rein in my calories to 1800 a day, gain control of my sugar intake (the more I have it, the more I want it!) and build back up to 25 K's a week by the end of the month.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

August challenge wrap-up and new goal setting

So, the August challenge is over with, and whoooee, it was a great month! A 500 cal daily burn was a very inspiring challenge for me, and overall while I didn't hit it for all 31 days, I'm pleased with how I went.
There were 6 days where I burned no calories at all! Sick, lazy, meh, whatever.
There were 15 days where I burned over my daily goal. Go me.
And there were 10 days where while I burnt some calories, I didn't make that magic 500.
I still think that 500 calories is an excellent daily goal. One of the things I learnt during the month was that it's really much harder to burn that many calories than I thought, and that I burn a lot fewer calories doing my daily walk than I thought. I got into the habit of short walks during my workday, just a kilometre here or there, and it really made a difference to me. I lost weight, my legs feel stronger, and I enjoyed the discipline involved.
I counted cals burned by both walking and running, and last month I ended up running 86.88ks, and walking 98.65ks. Super, super cool.

Which brings us to goal setting for September!
Last week I ran my very first week where I ran further than 30ks. I've been able to run a 25k week for some time now, and I'm ready to move up to 30 (and eventually, beyond!). So, in September I want to run 30ks at least three weeks out of four, and ideally over 25 in the fourth week.
I also want to see the scale drop from 77.5 to 75.7 :)

Onwards and upwards!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Clayton's marathon training

Clayton's-the drink you have when you're not having a drink-is sort of the perfect analogy for where I'm at with my running at present. I'm studying, preparing, and learning about how to build a base for a race that I am not yet running!
So what is base building, anyway? To my understanding, it's building a strong body and strong legs with a good amount of miles in them that are ready to undertake the challenges of a heavier training program.
I have more reading to do, but I think I've figured out some basic goals to work on while I work towards choosing the right race, with the right plan.
At present, my weeks are topping out at around 25k. I plan to increase this to 30k (slowly, always slowly) by adding extra distance to each run. So for example, last week I ran 7ks on Tuesday, 5.6ks on Thursday, 3ks on Friday, and 10ks on Sunday, for a total of 25 and some change. If I were to slowly increase this to 8ks Tuesday, 6.5ks Thursday, 4-5ks on Friday, and 10-12 ks on Sunday, then I can move gently through from a range of 28.5ks per week up to 31.5, and possibly even expand on that some more.
I've moved into a quite structured basic training model of weekly hillwork, a gentle speed workout, a long run, and an easy run. Sometimes the easy run is short, sometimes it's longer, I tend to swap the speed work and easy from week to week as my schedule allows.
So, for the time being, there's the plan! I figure I'll work at this level for a month or two before instituting another gradual increase. Time to raise a glass of Clayton's and drink to a stronger, faster, fitter me :)