Sunday, September 26, 2010

No good deed goes unpunished...

My reward for quitting smoking (it's been ten whole days now!)was to contract possibly the nastiest flu I've had in a decade...not happy! After my long(est ever!)run on Sunday I pulled up and started to cough....and haven't stopped for a week. Fatigue, fever, sinusitis, aches and pains, even an attack of shingles. Sadly I never realise that I'm run down and stressed out until AFTER my body melts down and it's too late to do anything about it.
I took most of the week off work...usually my job is quite stress free but at the moment there are some staffing issues that are quite worrying, and now I owe a whole bunch of sick leave, more depressing still...
I'm trying to regain my health by hitting myself with foods and supplements that I know make my body sing. Echinacea, barleygrass, Olive leaf's scary to think about how quickly i got sick, and just how ill i got. I'm still producing copious amounts of boogers and coughing up quite a lot of phlegm, which means it's not entirely safe to run yet.
Buttttttt, i did go for just the tiniest run this morning. More to allay my fears than anything else, I was frightened that I'd never be able to run again (cos fitness wears off in a week, i was sure). I ran a one minute cadence test (160 steps per minute, I'm planning to work up to 180) then coughed my hole out! But a kilometre later I was feeling so good I ran a half kilometre just to test the waters. I almost cried with elation, it felt so damn right to be running again, stretching my legs out and slurping down cool morning air. I cough feel the goo in my chest but my breathing still wasn't as bad as when i smoked, so i count that as a victory. I wasn't supposed to be running really, i had the wrong shoes on and everything but i just didn't really give a crap. I'm planning to carefully run some short intervals this week while I continue to heal, and start building back up next week.
I think i really needed this, in a weird way. My motivation was flagging and i was focussing heavily on times and goals and weight and on not being where i wanted to be, when i should have just been rejoicing in the freedom and joy of being able to run at all.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The best laid plans

Well, nothing has gone quite to plan this week....after a disappointing time on Sunday I was ready to redouble my efforts and train even harder, I was all set to quit smoking, eat less and drop some weight, and generally kick the world's ass. I was a day off the cigs and feeling kind of fantastic.
As so often happens, the entire world seemed to fold in ( not pointing fingers, but this did happen on sneaky fucker of a day). Fiancee announced that, despite the security offered by his (much higher paying than mine) job, that he wanted to pack it in, questioned my loyalty, questioned himself, and I was so shocked by the whole thing I ran screaming back to my lil smoky friends. I got my period. I lost sleep. This morning I gave up on a run for the first time ever-I felt nauseous, my legs were like lead and I had to face facts that I was utterly exhausted.
I'm kinda unsurprised. I am dieting hard and exerting a huge amount of discipline over myself. I am holding life by the balls, and pushing things hard enough that I sometimes go to bed completely wired. On weekends I tend to eat a little more and sleep for twelve-hour stretches.
But I never wonder why, because I know that nothing will stop me acheiving my goals. I picture what I want and I chase it as I run, as I work, as I rest. I've never been so doggedly determined, so single-minded. I usually lack focus, and I am really 'into' things....for a day or a month. But I've been chasing my dream down for six months now, making slow progress all the time, but I see all progress as positive. My whole mind is wrapped in positivity and self-control.
Having said that, today I decided that sometimes, you have to know when you're whipped. Try as I might, I can't do everything I want to, all at once. I decided that maybe it's time for an easy week, it's quite some time since I've had one, and there've been two races in the last month, so definitely time for a chill. Tomorrow (re-quit day, hopefully!) will be a nice long walk with the dog to clear my mind before work. Saturday we are heading to the park, which I had already planned....but instead of the big run I'd planned, we are going to have a fun run/walk and frolic. And maybe a hill climb, cause that's how I roll.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Smoking and running... not belong in the same sentence.
I smoked for fifteen years, heavily, around fifteen to twenty a day. I quit a year ago, and while I felt proud of my achievement, I also felt depressed, and fat. I lost my ability to control what I ate and gained almost nine kilos. I had low energy, ate compulsively and was out of my mind with panic over the weight I'd gained. Finally after over four months an impulsive moment and a glass of wine ended it all. It took over six months to get the weight off....and it was during those months that I started to run.
I've now been running for six months, and I knew I'd need to stop smoking again, when being the question. When I could run a five? A ten? I'd actually smoke a cigarette at 4:50am BEFORE heading out for a run.
This morning after puffing and choking my way through a slow five k, I knew it was time to choose. Smoking or running. Slavery or freedom. The challenge of the new, or the same old same old.
So I sat down and smoked that last cigarette, and I choked on it. My lungs are too healthy after a run to cope with self-induced smoke inhalation. I choked on it and wondered why I think I need this, why I think I enjoy it?
I will not gain weight. In fact I will lose weight, because I will run further and faster than ever before. I will feed my body nourishing food to help it recover from years of being poisoned.
One packet of tobacco, which lasted me between four to six days, costs over $35.00. So, every packet could be a pair of Injinji preformance socks. Two week's worth is a new pair of running tights, entry to a series, or a new dress to fit my running-honed booty. A month's worth of tobacco is a new pair of training shoes.
I will be in control of my body. I will turn it into a machine that delights and amazes me. I will not be a slave to tobacco. Starting now.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Today, we run.

Today was the day I had planned to run the 20 minute interval.
It was looming large and scary in my mind, but I felt incredibly determined. Before I went to bed last night I gave my dog his little pat and cuddle and promised him that we had a date in the morning..."You and me, 20 minutes, I'll see you at 5."
I was awake on and off from about half three onwards, because I wasn't really sleeping, I was waiting for it to be time to run. I finally gave up on sleep at a quarter of five.
I felt so geared up, so totally alive. I strapped on my armband and laced my runners like it was raceday, but there was nobody else, just me and Oscardog and the road. Five in the morning but I felt electric. I felt like I could light fires with my eyes, I was so into it.
And I smashed it. Slow and steady, I did 2.77 k in that 20 minutes, hardly anything really, but for me it was epic. I was Rocky. I was on the podium at the Olympics.
I was finally where I wanted to be.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Couch to 5k

I've been using this program on and off practically since I first discovered it.
Initially I would write down the intervals for the week, then set timers in my phone and run the intervals. But before long I went freestyle as timing the intervals was a colossal pain in my ass, and sort of also I found the progressive length of the intervals daunting. Back then the intervals were two and three minutes!
In hindsight, while it introduced me to the concept of interval training, I'm glad I went my own way while I was still a beginner and ran for fun. Going it alone enabled me to build strength slowly without the constant pressure of an increase in time or speed, and I think if I had been running those longer times when I was not yet ready I may have lost a lot of time to injury.
When I got my iPhone I purchased the Couch to 5k app, because I felt I was physically and mentally ready to tackle the longer intervals, and I wanted to add more structure to my training schedule. I'm currently up to week 5, and have been running five minute intervals. Week five gets a bit hairy in that you're happily running your little five minute intervals and feeling all groovy, then suddenly it jumps to eight, and you're like, ok....i got this.....then it jumps to a TWENTY minute interval!!
I am a little distressed by the idea of running that long, but it's a step that I'm ready to take. My initial goal is just to make the 20, even if I am just barely shuffling along by the end. I figure if it's too much I'll repeat it. Sometimes with a new interval I just barely make it the first time.....but by the third or fourth time I am SMASHING that interval, and that's what I want, not just to make it but to frickin' kill it. Wish me luck.
TO BE CONTINUED...............

Race Stats

I'm thinking that as I have now run two (count 'em!) races that I'd start a post where I can keep track of my stats, woo hoo!

July 18th, 2010, Run Melbourne
I trained as well as I was able to for this race, but in the lead up I had the flu and a lot of trouble with shin splints, so if I'm honest I really wasn't good for the distance. Finish time was 38:39, and I walked over half the course. I felt good when I finished but was overall pretty unimpressed.

August 29th, 2010, Defence Lake Attack
Stupid name aside, this was my best event to date. I hadn't specifically trained for it as work organised it, so viewed it more as a social/training run. It was a much smaller event than Run Melb, and I was able to play with pace and drafting behind other runners. My finish time was 35:01, and i ran the last kilometre so hard that I almost blew chunks on the finish line :)

September 12th, Spring into Shape race 1
Non, non, non awesome :( Race was run over a 4.3k, relatively flat course, familiar turf that I know quite well. Good runs over the last week made me feel pretty good but the reality is that I'm still not where I want to be, even after six long months of training. My goal for the series is to run the 4.3 in under 30, yesterday I ran it in 31:43.
As for what went wrong.....poor hydration, which may or may not have contributed to the nasty crampy pain that shot up the back of my ribcage around the 2k mark. Not sure what that was, whether I pulled a muscle or something....Also issues with the narrow start line and getting stuck in a flood of walkers-slow, fat walkers. Hmm. Still,the aim of running the series is to track my improvement, so I'm thinking I just need to be seriously hitting it and working my butt off!

October 24th, Spring into Shape race 2

November 14th, Spring into Shape race 3
32:12-Not my best time, but a personal best nonetheless.