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 :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Turtle news

Soo, rest day today, but lots of things have been happening here in turtleland.
Last week I put in my first week of good training since the half marathon, even though I was unwell in the middle of the week. The upshot of this, aside from feeling good, strong and fit, is that all of a sudden, I am getting faster! I am currently running 7:30-8:00ks rather than 8:30ks which are more the norm for me, so I'm pretty stoked! I think it's actually the racing that is making me faster, or that perhaps cracking times I thought impossible has given me the mental strength to push harder. Either way, it's something that I'm very much capitalising on and worker harder on.
I've signed up for my next race, and boy is it a goodie! I had no plans to do any mroe racing this year, instead wanting to work on speed and base building, but when I heard about this race I had to sign up.
Melbourne is getting it's very own version of Sydney's C2S! It's to be run on November 13th, and it's a 14k race from the CBD to St Kilda. I feel that it really synchronises with the kind of training I am doing just now, and is a good, fun goal.
Mmm, what else....Saunconys are going well so far, though I did get one pair rather muddy playing trail runner on Sunday :P
Also bought myself a lovely new pair of capris (fancy Nike ones, ooh la la) in a size Medium, eekkk! I would have test driven them this morning, had I managed to get out of bed, but hopefully tomorrow will be the day. I'm going to try and go to bed early so I can get a good night's sleep and knock out a 7k tempo run :)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

August Challenge

I don't usually set myself challenges each month, or if I did they were very wishy-washy ones, like, 'run more' or 'run faster' or 'eat less'. Meh.
But this month I hit on the bright idea of setting myself a daily goal for the entire month, and it's a goodie!
Sooo, I'm going to burn 500 calories through exercise a day, every day, for the month of August. 500 calories works out to about eight kilometres on my feet.
To make it workable, I need to burn the bulk of those calories during my morning workout, then maybe an extra kilometre before work, and a brisk walk at lunchtime. If I have not walked far enough by the time I arrive home from work, I'll try to make up the balance on the exercise bike, or carry the unburnt over to the next day.

Unburnt calories can only be carried over one day, ie, if on Tuesday I only burnt 400 cals, I can burn 600 on Wednesday, but cannot make up for them on Thursday. This is to stop me getting confused about totals for the day, or cheating too much.
Walks/runs and calories are to be measured with my runmeter GPS, I know it's not totally accurate, but I also know that 500 calories is more than it normally tells me I've burnt, so it's a start!
The exception to the rule-the days before/after long run days. I tend to burn stupid amounts of calories on a long run, so will instead try to burn 250 calories on those days. I only go on long runs every two to three weeks, so I'm hoping that this won't make a big difference.

Day 1-8.93ks burning 518 cals.
Day 2-8.42ks burning 621 cals.
Day 3-8.76ks burning 550 cals.
Day 4-7.92ks burning 532 cals.
Day 5-7.38ks burning 509 cals.
Day 6-4.84ks burning 278 cals.
Day 7-Day off...unwell :(
Day 8-8.86ks burning 554 cals.
Day 9-7.08ks burning 507 cals.
Day 10-0 cals..sick again! :(
Day 11-9.81ks burning 681 cals...but I am doubting the GPS on this one.
Day 12-5.56ks burning 357 cals.
Day 13-Nada.
Day 14-10.10ks burning 755 cals.
Day 15-9.01ks burning 520 cals.
Day 16-Nada again.
Day 17-7.08ks burning 479 cals.
Day 18-9.86ks burning 556 cals.
Day 19-2.43ks burning 150 cals.
Day 20-3.27ks burning 180 cals.
Day 21-Nada.
Day 22-7.27ks burning 449 cals. So close!
Day 23-7.60ks burning 528 cals.
Day 24-8.37ks burning 484 cals.
Day 25-7.38ks burning 517 cals.
Day 26-5.83ks burning 426 cals.
Day 27-2.40ks burning 126 cals.
Day 28-12.29ks burning 850 cals.
Day 29-6.21ks burning 336 cals.
Day 30-8.32ks burning 617 cals.
Day 31-Nada.

Sri Chinmoy 10k

On Sunday morning I was up bright and early for an event that was organised through work- a nice Sunday race organised through the rather cool Sri Chinmoy Marathon team.
I'd been thinking about attending one of their events for awhile, as they cost far less than big races, are renowned for the friendly atmosphere, not to mention the famous post-race pancake breakfast!
It was a bright, cold morning, and I arrived early feeling pleased to be out and running on such a pretty day. I met up with some pals from work, dropped my bag off, re-pinned my number three times until it was straight enough (this was the first race I've attended where the timing chip was on the bib instead of the shoe) before hopping into the world's longest port-a-potty line.
This was my longest run since the HM, and I had still been easing back into my training. While I certainly raced this run, I didn't race hard. I felt sluggish and slow, and I want to get back to training so I didn't want to be sore. The course was a five k loop completed twice and had some challenging hilly sections.
I came in at 1:14:34, which is a nice time over that distance for me.
Sadly when thinking about pancakes, which rank among my top ten favourite things in the universe, I had forgotten that I don't really feel like eating after a run. I still had one though!
Overall it was a nice lead in to some more serious miles, and it broke the ice towards long runs post-HM. Very pleased :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Vale, Kayanos :(

So there's good news and bad news.
The good news, is that I headed out this morning and ran four k's pain free, which makes me feel pretty damn amazing.

The bad news is that my beloved Kayanos have, at six months and five hundred kilometres, given up the ghost. While I don't believe they caused my calf problem, I think that their worn outedness may have contributed. I knew they were on their last legs, which is why I bought two new pairs of shoes, but I can't help feeling a little sad that they've become worn out.

I guess the other good news is that now I get to devote myself to road testing two new pairs of shoes! I have a pair of Saucony Hurricane 12's that I've now run in twice for a total of about eight k's, and a pair of Saucony ProGrid Guide 4's, as yet unused. Having two pairs of shoes is very luxurious for me, and I'm really hoping the Sauconys work out because I can have two pairs for less than the price of one pair of Asics, and I can't really afford $250+ every six months.

I'll likely run through a lot of pairs of shoes as I run down the road of life. Here's to the new!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I finally went out to test drive those legs....and they're not great :/
I headed out this morning, tirrredddd...but determined to put in a few kilometres just to see how it would go. I knew I had a few sore areas but to be honest I expected it to all be okay, but it wasn't.
My right calf/ankle started to feel sore after a few hundred metres, and while I was able to continue for about three k's, it became progressively more sore. That was this morning, and it has continued to be sore, to the point of being very uncomfortable, all day.
I think I have strained the muscles around my achilles and in the back of my calf. Descending stairs, rotating on the right foot, and moving my foot from side to side are unpleasant :(
Soooo, more walkies for me. And some anti-inflammatories to minimise the damage I did this morning, maybe some compression socks too. I did some reading and 7-10 days is about the timeline for healing a mild claf strain, so I'll just have to wait and see. Am sort of kicking myself for going running this morning, instead of heading out on Sunday. Maybe it would have been better.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


So I've taken almost this whole week off from running, as I recover from my half.
The soreness was worst on Monday and Tuesday, and is gradually getting better each day, with only the odd tweaky weird pain.
There were a lot of things I could have done immediately following the race to ease discomfort, but didn't. I could have stretched more, taken an ice bath, had a massage, etc etc. But I'd just had a triumphant experience, and I really, really hate ice baths! Plus I knew I'd be taking a few days or most of the week off, so I figured I'd worry about that later!
It's Thursday now, and the last of the pain is almost gone. My hips or knees occasionally feel clunky, but overall muscle soreness has gone, so tomorrow I am going out for a very short, gentle run to test drive my legs.
I can hardly wait!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Run Melbourne Half Marathon race report

I don't quite know where to start in talking about this race. It was, quite simply, perfect. Perfect conditions. Perfect people. Perfect result.

I felt relaxed beforehand, which was odd as I am usually a bundle of nerves, but a good thing nonetheless! I spent the day before drinking plenty of water, mixed with Endura rehydrate to give plenty of magnesium and other goodies to my muscles. I ate my carbs, and my favourite pre race meal (pizzzzzzza, mmmm). I went to bed early, and I slept well. My sleep was full of dreams but even my dreams felt good, positive.
I woke up a little before my alarm went off, which is just as well, as I had managed to set the alarm for PM, not AM. What a nightmare that could have been if I were a heavier sleeper!
I showered, nommed some toast, and dressed in my default running outfit of black tech capris (I've worn those so much I have a tan line where they end)and my oversized MDC '10 tech shirt (which makes me feel a bit skinnier, but in reality probably makes me look fat), Thorlo fatties, and my Kayanos, so basically the outfit I'd done almost all of my long runs in, and I knew it would stand up to the test.
My Oscardog cracked it because he wanted to go running, and I wished I could take him with me, sometimes he is sooo much easier to deal with when he has a few k's in his legs.
I packed up my gear, and my super support team (aka devoted fiance) drove me into town for the 7am start. We parked the car, I used the loo at his work (much nicer than port-a-potties) and then walked down to the start.
I felt excited as soon as I started to see other runners. It was a feeling like fear, but not fear, so it must have been excitement.
As usual the wait in the corrals was interminable, but then it all started to happen, and we were off.
I'd put my phone on airplane mode, which I thought would just stop calls/messages etc coming in, but it also prevented my GPS from working, so I didn't have the usual announcement popping up each kilometre to tell me how I was going. I quickly decided that that was a good thing, and to just 'fly blind' and give it everything I had. Likewise, I ignored and eventually turned off my walk/run interval timer.
I ran more of this race than I have of any race. I took about a third or less of the walk breaks I normally would, and just gunned it as much as I was able.
The first five k's were, as always, poo. When you have to run 20+ k's, the first five are just blerggggghhh.
I was thirsty. I drank at every single water station, slurping down water and air alternately. I nommed my gels at pretty good intervals. And I ran.
People passed me, and I passed people. Sometimes I felt strong, other times I felt like I would be running forever and felt pretty sorry for myself. I ran up a hill growling like an animal. 'Eye of the tiger' came on and I said a swear before sprinting for a full half a k. I admired the elites as they streaked past, their beautiful gazelle like strides, but felt no envy. I was running my race, and they just weren't in it. Through it all I plodded on. I remember trotting down a hill and thinking to myself, 'Heyyy, you're going DOWNHILL. This is where you gain those minutes, this is where you make some ground. Let the hill do it for you, idjit!'
But then I knew that it wasn't much further. Five k's more, four more.....then pelting down a slope towards the finish. A photographer took my picture and I felt my smile growing bigger and bigger, an insane clown smile, to the point that the photographer looked around his camera at me and smiled too.
A hundred metres from the finish there were people everywhere, shouting and excited. I must have been tired because I thought I knew them, I thought they were my friends and that they were shouting "Go Jo! Go Jo!" Of course they were just shouting "GO GO GO", lols. I was searching everywhere for my fiance, and then I spotted him smiling at me, looking proud as he snapped a picture.
My eyes were on the clock as I bolted for the finish, realising I'd finished just on 2:45, and that that time was from the gun, not from my actual start!
So far my recovery is proving slow and challenging, with lots of walking and stretching. It's funny, you run all that way, then take a week off to rest, and all I can think about is running.

The part I can't quite wrap my head around yet is that it all went so, so well. I had a dream. I worked for it. I trained myself like an athlete, and I became one. I set goals, and I surpassed them.

Official time-02:40:00

5km-00:38:59 10km-01:16:40 Half Way-01:20:18 15km-01:54:15 20km-02:32:22

Pace- 7.58min/km

I am so, so pleased with my results. Watch this space, I'm only just getting started.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Half Marathon training by numbers

6 months.
504 Kilometres, taking 73 hours 15 minutes and 51 seconds.
147,589 kilojoules burnt.
1 pair of Asics Kayanos run into oblivion.
300gs of Endura Rehydrate.
12 GU's.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Welcome to Taper Town...

..population, me.
I actually had a pretty easy taper. On Sunday I put in just under 8ks, comfortable and relaxed.
On Tuesday I went out to do 5 or so, and it was the most fun I'd had for awhile. I was 4 ks in and pumping along happily when I became aware of a tweaky pingy owwwwwww in my right hip. I walked the last kilometre home, trying to stay relaxed and just not freak out totally. It's taper pain, it's phantom pain, I will rest it and it will go away.
So I rested it until this morning, walking and stretching but nothing else, then went out for a very short run this morning (just over 3ks) just to see how it felt, and to test out my new shooooesss, but that's another story.
I knew it was there, sure, but it was fine. Not even really painful, just a 'feeling' of something there.
All up, I'm feeling great. I've lost a couple of kilograms during the last few weeks, and feel lighter and faster. I am consumed with knowing I can do this, and it's such a good feeling. I've never had this kind of faith in my own abilities before. My feelings go further than simple "I know I can do this" towards "I want to kill this. I want to leave everything I have out there. I want to go the hardest I have ever gone". It's hard to believe that after six months of work, the whole thing will be over by 10:30 Sunday morning.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

So close I can smell it....or is that my socks?

Out at 4:30 this morning for 4.5 k's of 'speedwork', even though my version of speedwork translates to about an 8 minute kilometre, lols.
It's now just over a week until the HM, and I'm not really nervous...I'm in a good place, my mind is full of 'I can, I will, I know' kind of thoughts. Sometimes when I'm running I wish I could upload to blogger straight from my brain, sizzle out those crazy, exciting, uplifting thoughts to use later, although really I can look over them anytime I like just by going for another run.
I'm planning to back today's run up with another easy 4 k run tomorrow, and then a nice long walk on Saturday before putting in about 8 or so on Sunday. Next week I'll be tapering, and to stop myself going mental I'm going to head out on Mon-Wed-Fri for easy, 3-4 k runs.
I'm so pleased that the last two weeks of training have come together so well, it's really boosting my confidence. I've been strangely certain of my ability all through my training but I really feel that I can acheive my goals in this race.
I can't hardly wait :D

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The last long run

Yesterday I did my last long run before the Half Marathon in two weeks time. 22 kilometres, which took three hours, nine minutes, and sixteen seconds. Not bad.
I wouldn't say I was excited for this's pretty hard to feel positive about the physical and mental slog associated with that kind of effort. More than anything I felt relieved to know that this was the last time that I'd 'have' to cover this distance for a long time.
Yet somehow I'm convinced that I'll do this again. Even as I was out there, tired, uncomfortable and consumed with thoughts of bacon, I knew I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I was running along, both loving and hating it, and planning where I'd go after the HM to run for fun.
My cousin Aimee, with whom I seem to have many parallels (even though I have not seen her in years and years) ran her first half yesterday. It was the Gold Coast half marathon, which is quite a serious event. It has a three hour cutoff.
She didn't make it. She finished allright, but she finished outside the three hour limit, outside her time goal, and the rules of that race are such that she was disqualified and does not record an official time.
I was gutted for her. Self centred creature that I am, I immediately started googling cutoff times for my own race. I don't think there are any, my race starts at 7am and the latest race (the 5k) starts at 10:30. I think a lot of the time cutoffs are more about being able to keep roads closed than anything else.
I don't think I can run the distance much faster than I have in training, and so my goals are simple. I want to finish in under three hours, and I want a negative split, both of which I've been able to do in training.
Variables are - the course is different terrain to what I've covered, so I may lose some time, but also the course does not have red lights, and my training ground does.
I'm starting in the 3rd wave, and hope to be well back to let all the speedies go. I don't want to add too many unnecessary miles swerving around others.
I want to drink plenty of water, stick with the gels that I know work for me, and mostly just...relax, enjoy it, see it as an experience.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Shufflin' shufflin' yeah...

I've had a rough couple of weeks running wise...I'd be fibbing if I said it was anything so glamorous as being overtrained, I think it was more just an attack of the lazies, a cloud of demotivation. I even skipped my long run last weekend *hangs head in shame*
Soo, this week I've made a concerted effort to get out there, and I'm pleased with how it's gone so far. 6.8 on Tuesday morning, 6.2 today, and I'm hoping for 22-23 on Sunday's long run. I'm particularly pleased at having gained some consistency during a week that has involved some seriously cold weather, so cold that people have been saying things lik "It's cold...even for Melbourne!"
The Run Melbourne HM is....five and a half weeks away, so I'm both on track and not on track. I can do the distance, not with any sort of speed but, well, I'm not that kind of runner anyway.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The longest week

So last week blogger had some pretty serious issues, ending up in 'read only' mode, but it's come back to life now so I can finally put down some, ah, week old thoughts.
After my last long run, I felt a lot more sore than usual but headed out to Tuesday's Run Melbourne training session expecting to do a nice, easy run.
But then I just didn't :/ My everything hurt. I was gasping, shaking, and had crippling pain locking up the front of my ankles and shins. Not the plan. The next day I was even worse, nauseous, lightheaded, nasty headache, and shaking uncontrollably.
I took the rest of the week off, and didn't head out for another run until Saturday, when I did a very easy, experimental 3.something k's.
The whole thing had me scratching my head. If I recovered well from 19 kilometres, why couldn't I recover from 21.1? What had I done differently? My hydration was spot on. True, I'd used a different brand of gel, but could that make such a difference? Was it just the sheer distance?
What didn't I do? I didn't have an ice bath. I didn't roll my legs out. I didn't rub my legs down with deep heat the way I normally would.
The only other thing I can think of is that I went too fast. I treated it as a dry run for raceday, not as just another long run. I pushed really hard in the last few kilometres, and I can only assume I'm paying the price.
So, the plan for this week is for short runs 5-6k Monday/Wednesday/Friday, and then a repeat of the same distance on Sunday. Ordinarily I'd go up by two kilometres, but I'd rather do a repeat of the distance and feel ok. I'm crossing my fingers for fresher legs, and that it'll take a heck of a lot longer than three hours.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

She's going the distance!

Long run day yesterday, and I covered the entire 21.1k. In under 3 hours, which was my raceday goal!! (and the crowd goes wild, yeahhhhhh)
This was the best, most magical long run ever. I hydrated perfectly and took on gels so i am reasonably certain that all the amazing feelings i had were as a result of endorphins and not some sort of dehydration thingy :)
This was one of those runs where I laughed to myself, even whooped with joy, and at times felt such emotion I was close to tears. I was nervous beforehand but as I ran I knew I could make it, and was so proud of myself and excited about what I was doing.
It's hard to compress it all into I'll just say that I'm looking forward to next time the distance goes magic.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Suunto Run Melbourne Training..

..has started for the year, wahoo! I got a lot out of it last year, so going again this year was a given. I had a total blast last night!
Brought my gear into work with me, which is a slight hassle but so long as I am a bit organised isn't too bad. The main negative was that I'd gone out for a quick 4K run in the morning and when I opened my bag at 5:30pm to get changed my sports bra was still slightly damp (altogether now..ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww).
I got changed, dashed out the front and jumped on a tram. I work at one end of the city and training starts at the other (of course) so it takes a good 15 minutes to get down there. I wasn't nervous like last year, rather I was ready and raring to go!
I ran in the beginners group as that's what I did last year and being still quite slow it seemed a good place to start. Running a similar route and distance to last year was a great way to see how far I've come, and I am amazed at how much easier it was for me. Last year I was well down the back of the pack, walked a fair bit, and could never make the 1K around the base of the MCG without stopping. This year I freakin' smashed that! Maintained a 7:46 pace most of the way with very few stops, and was with the front pack for most of that time. I amazed myself as I pretty much only do run-walk-run so had been unsure how I'd go without my walk breaks, but it was fine as the pace was gentle.
At the end I was one of the people the leader tapped as being ready to move into the 5K slow group, so next week that's the plan. Am pretty sure I'll get smashed there but, oh well, I can always drop back if it's too hard!
I'm really pleased with how the whole thing went. Run Melbourne is my favourite event, I love the fact that it's aimed at getting people out and running, I love that the slogan is 'Anyone can'. I'm sure I'll always have a soft spot for it as it was my first running event, and I'm so excited to be running my first half marathon there.
It was also my first time running in the morning and then again in the evening, and I was surprised at how good I felt.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

On the wane

It's been a very patchy couple of weeks, and I'm still feeling less than 100%. My legs are feeling a lot better since the foam roller entered into play but almost everything else is feeling a little worse.
I made it out for the monster long run, coming in at 18.66ks in 2:47:11. It was a mammoth effort and I really felt nervous before heading out for that one, panicky and unsure about myself. But, I made it.
Maybe it was due to the five-day long weekend that my long run was in the middle of, maybe I was just a little too pleased with myself...either way, I didn't make it out for another run until Thursday. Non, non, non awesome. I like to head out Tues/Thurs/Sun, with other days as optional extras. But yeah, motivation, energy and nutrition have all been low and I find myself more than a little unenthused.
I did put in a nice 6K's on that Thursday run, and just shy of 7K's on Sunday, so I think that's a start.
I'm trying to find a happy medium, where running is less of an all-consuming passion and more just something I love, something that I do, because the intensity of that passion tends to wax and wane. When I'm in love, smashing kilometres and loving it, that passion can be a lot easier to sustain. When I'm doing it hard, feeling fat and hopeless, and worried about my abilities, it's obviously a lot harder to feel that love, and my attention seems to divert to other things. So if I can learn to see it as a granted rather than a lofty, endlessly-chased goal, I can hopefully gain some perspective and be able to incorporate it into my life long term.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A foam roller saved my life

It's been a stank running week for me. I kept feeling like I was *maybe* coming down with something, I'd be a little bit chesty, a little bit sniffly, a little bit nauseous, but it never got worse. I ran five k's on Saturday, and it was horrid. Slow, painful, and I was locking up with shin splints. Instead of feeling energised and accomplished after my run, I felt depressed and hopeless. If I can't run five k's, how am I ever going to run 20? I massaged the legs out, but they stayed tight. Tight like steel cables, and the more I thought about it...they're always a little sore, those lower legs of mine. Even in bed at night, heavy and stiff and tired. Even on a simple walk, tight tight tight.
I took an extra rest day on Sunday, the first Sunday I haven't gone out to run in what feels like forever. I thought maybe I'm overtraining, and that's why I feel tired and achy, and why my legs hurt. After the rest I headed out on Monday morning to do some hillwork, aiming for 6.5 k's. I managed four hill reps and four and a half k's before limping home in pain.
When I have an injured area or a bad run I feel panicky. The thought of not being able to run, or not being able to stay on plan, makes me feel desperate.
Something had to be done. I spent a morning researching treatment (again!) and decided to go out and buy a foam roller. $90 and one lunch break later, I was the proud owner of one very long bright blue foam tubey thing, and had a good idea of how to use it.

The idea behind foam rolling is that it releases the fascia of the muscle, the coating that surrounds the muscle and causes the tight feeling. There's also an idea that the constant work-tear-rebuild cycle of exercise causes scar tissue or knots to build up on the muscle, and that rolling breaks up those knots. Basically it's like giving yourself a deep tissue massage. It's simulataneously a relief and intensely painful.
So I get home, chuck on my jammies, and hit that roller like my life depends on it. Back and forth under the rear of my calves, then kneeling up on it and working out the front of my calves. The relief was almost instant. I could feel the knots, and yep, that hurt like a bastard, but my legs are definitely looser.
After a walk this morning I repeated the process, carefully rolling and then stretching out the muscles, and I could actually stretch properly! It was still painful, but so much better.
Today my legs feel looser, but also sore (bruised?) from the rolling itself. I'm planning on another rest day or two, with morning and night rolling. I need to work in an easy run somewhere, to test drive my legs, and if they're ok I'll head out for this weekend's long run, which is a whopper at 17k's. If it's all too much I'm ok with reducing my run segments and walking most of the distance, it'll take a lot longer but I'm happy to dial it back for a bit if it means I can keep going and reach my goals.
Wish me luck...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


After a patchy week (rain! funeral! the amount of red wine I drank to get through the funeral! more rain!) I headed out into a comfortably warm morning for a nice run.
4:20am was not kind, and initially I felt even more out of it than I normally do at that hour. I always wake up a bit as time goes on, so just tried to shake it off and get out the door. I was wore capri tights, a tech tee and one of my new bondi bands (I have five now!)
My legs have been a bit sore ever since my long run on Sunday, particularly my old slightly dicky left knee, so I went out carefully. I needn't have worried, after a kilometre I'd warmed up and was feeling fine, and after that I felt so good that I actually started to go FAST! I never, ever go fast. I've been doing all this long, slow distance work and never quite believed that LSD makes you fast, but at one stage I was flying up an incline at 5:30 pace and I was totally blown away! I don't think I've ever gone that fast.
I played with faster intervals, and each time I'd think, "I can't hold this pace for a whole minute, erk"....but then I would. And I'd rest a little, and then I'd do another fast interval. I was breathing hard, and had sweat pouring off me, but I was doing it!
Ended up covering just shy of 7Ks in 54 minutes. Not exactly Olympic time trial-breakneck stuff, but fast for me, and exciting. I think I'm going to include some speedwork like this each week or second week, and of course I'm still trying hard to get myself putting in the hillwork (but that's Sunday's problem :D)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The longest long run (yet)

Yesterday I headed out and completed a 15K long run. You'd think that after successfully completing a 10, then a 12.5, that this would be a breeze, but I was nervous and unmotivated to tackle the distance. It was actually the first time on a long run that I even thought about just turning around and packing it in!
Nevertheless, I overcame those negative impulses and went on to finish strong, even running continuously through the last kilometre at a 7:05K pace!
It was a week of many firsts for me, the first time I've topped 30Ks in a week, first 15K distance, and the first run long enough to require me to carry water and fuel.
I wore my new hydration pack, I made a bit of a killing on it at kathmandu and ended up with a 2L hydration pack for the bargain price of $65 all up, including bladder. It's small and quite lightweight, and bothers me far less than I thought it would. I like handhelds and things like that, but with a dog leash in one hand and a handheld in the other life gets complicated fast! I became adept fairly quickly at filling, packing and slurping fluid out of it, and overall I think it'll be a very handy addition to my gear arsenal.

I also carried fuel for the first time, and this was something I'll need to work at. I carried a gel, and a packet of GU chomps.
The gel was a berry flavoured Winners brand gel. Winners is a natural brand that's available in the supermarket. It had some caffeine in it, was thick and reasonably tasty, but I found it difficult to get all the gel out. I also really hate to litter, so I rolled the empty packet up and popped it in my pocket, which led to a sticky mess. I like the taste and convenience of gels but I always seem to end up all sticky and gross from them. I did, however, feel better after taking it at around the 45 minute point.

I probably had too much fuel with me, as later when I moved to the GU chomps I realised the packet was designed to be used over a period of 1.5-2 hours. Still, probably better to have too much than too little. I thought, given that gels are sticky and kinda icky, that I'd really like the chomps. WRONG!
The packet was difficult to open, and I had to wrestle with it for several frustrating minutes. And if the packet fuels two hours, how many chomps do I take, and when? I also didn't like the texture or flavour of them very much, they were sort of icky and chemically tasting. I didn't finish the packet, and I am typically a fiend for anything sugary, so they must have been bad! So, for fuels we go back to the drawing board!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ten k Tuesday

I've really been struggling of late, feeling down and having difficulty just functioning. I had a big disappointment a few weeks back and I don't think I process things like that very well. After a small meltdown at work yesterday I decided to take today to try to get back in touch with myself and encourage some positive thoughts and feelings.
Unfortunately with the day yawning in front of me I didn't quite know what to do with myself. As soon as I wake up the cloud of depression settles comfortably back on top of my head and I just don't know how to escape from underneath it, so I did what I do when I don't know what to do. I laced up my shoes, grabbed Os and headed out for a run.
We did ten K's exactly in an hour and twenty four minutes, which is a new best for me over ten ks, but that's where the good news stops. This run was just hard, from start to finish. My shins were sore (I'm a little tight there lately, need to work on that), my body was heavy, my mind defeated. But I just kept going, because if I did this thing then at least I'd done something useful and could hopefully brace that up against the feelings of failure inside me, or maybe all the nice chemicals running makes would cheer me up. I almost felt like I was punishing myself, pushing myself onwards just to avoid standing still.
I overdressed (again, grr!) in long sleeves and as the sun came out I became too hot. I didn't carry any gels or fluid, because I don't usually need then over that time or distance, but by the time i got back i was gasping for water and my blood sugar was low.
Even now, I'm showered and have some liniment on my leggies and I'm about to have some protein, i feel awful. Sad. There's just no other word for it. It defies logic, as I know that I just have to wait and eventually this cloud will lift and I'll feel better again, but I can't help but think that I can fix it somehow. I struggle with feeling powerless as I think, deep down, that I can fix everything, but all I can do is worry about everything and fix nothing.
This run was pretty off-plan, so I'll be taking it easy this week in preparation for Sunday's 15K run. I may not feel like it now, but I'm sure that getting to my goal and knowing that I trained through these black spots will make it all worthwhile.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Century legs!

I had to head out running three mornings in a row to do it, but this morning I clicked over to clock 100 kilometres for the month of March, woohooo! I'm beyond proud of myself, my previous best month was February when I clocked 47.56k's, and I've just totally smooooshed that record :D
Onwards and upwards, says I....Oh, I'm also wondering if maybe I should run the Melbourne Half Marathon in October....just to see if I think it would be a good venue for my first full marathon next year :D

Monday, March 28, 2011

Rocket (wo)man

A cool 7 and a bit this morning, with Oscardog and Elton John for company. My head was tired of podcasts and thumping energetic tunes, so I downloaded a bit of Elton and took him for a run. It was surprisingly great to run to, whether it was a fast track or a ballad....nice.
I did a few faster intervals this morning, at one point Runmeter blurted out that I was doing a 5:20k! Never ever done that! I'm sure it wasn't sustainable, but it feels good to be playing with speed. I try to be careful with going fast, as it's associated with injury, and also because it just makes me feel damn tired, and a lot faster than I would otherwise. I knocked the seven k out in under and hour, which means that it's easily done in the hour or so I have to run in the morning before work.
OMG, just checked my monthly distance, and if i can run another 8.5 between now and Friday, i will have clocked 100ks this month! My previous best ever is less than fifty!! I am so, soo heading out tomorrow and Thursday.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The long long run

Yesterday's long run was another record-breaking effort, at twelve and a half kilometres, wahoo!! I felt crap before heading out and was really suffering a lack of motivation, but felt really really good once I got a few kilometres in. I'm finding lately that I don't really warm up until I'm several kilometres in, and that after seven or eight I feel even better.

Another amazing thing is that even though I'm doing Jeff Galloway's run-walk-run method I'm actually getting faster! My times have increased by a minute per k over the last month, which I find amazing but feel really good about.
I've been feeling a bit tired and stressed lately, maybe even a little depressed. a lot of things are changing in my workplace in ways I do not like, and the changing of the seasons makes me feel slightly sad. I don't love the hot weather but it saddens me to think that my work in an office means I will not see much sun for the next six months. I'm sleeping poorly, lacking motivation to run, craving sugar, low mood, irritable....blah. So I'm concentrating on eating well and reminding myself that this too shall pass.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


It's official! I'm all registered and paid up to run the 2011 Run Melbourne Half Marathon, wahooo! I'm nervous obviously but I feel confident and good about it :)
I also bagged myself a sweet commemorative t-shirt to motivate myself, just as a visual reminder of the goal.

I ran a slow 6.65 yesterday in terrible humidity. By the end of it I was more sweat than woman! I'm working at putting in an easy-ish week this week as my legs are feeling pretty whipped at the moment and I want to be reasonably fresh for this weekend's 12.5k long run. I've put 20k or just over in my legs for the last two weeks in a row, I did want to build to 25 this week by maybe adding in a third run...hmm, if my legs feel good on Friday maybe I still will :) I'm stuck somewhere in between feeling like I'm punishing my legs and being addicted to putting in the kilometres and seeing the data rack up. I'd love to eventually be running 35 or 40 a week, but that might be a ways off. For the time being it's just exciting to be building up as much as I have :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday bloody Sunday

Yesterday I went for the crappest run ever, urgggg. Thank God it only went for five ks! I had numerous gear problems that led to me really struggling through it.
I'd coloured my hair on Friday and it was still leaking dye, so wearing my (white) hat was out. No hat means I need sunscreen, which I sort of hate. No hat + sunscreen equalled stinging sweat that ran into my eyes and burned hideously.
My legs were heavy and tired from a day standing up cooking in the kitchen, so I thought I'd do them a favour and wear my compression socks. WRONG! I was in agony, my calves were stringy feeling and painful. I'm blaming it entirely on the socks, they seems to prevent my muscles working properly and have now been banished to recovery land.
The undies and running skirt that I've run in numerous times before were all of a sudden not happy to stay happily snugged round my butt, preferring to venture up into the canyon that is my buttcrack. Sighhh. This led to uncomfortable running interspersed with undignified moments of rescuing my undies from crack land, the only upside is that Mike says my undies are prolly doing that because I've lost weight.
Rounding out the experience was one overexcited and underbehaving Jack Russell who shall remain nameless (he knows who he is, grr).
All in all I'm exceedingly glad that wasn't a long run. My lower legs remain a bit tired, so rather than aiming for three runs during the week I'm shooting for two six kilometre runs before Sunday's twelve and a half, as I feel I need a little extra rest and I want to stay energised and feeling good.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Catch a tiger by the toe..

I went into work late today so that I could run an errand, which meant I could sneak in a few extra k's, wahoo! Set out just after 6am and put in a leisurely 8ks. It feels so good to be running these longer distances, and I get so excited about it that sometimes when I know I'm heading out to run in the morning I can barely sleep. Distance running is both opening up my world and making it smaller as I expand beyond my regular 4k loop and search out new routes.
I ran down my 'half pipe' and into Keilor this morning. If I'd been wondering where the hills in the West are, I certainly found them! Keilor has hilly roads and smaller hilly streets in abundance so I am sure to get in some great hillwork there. It was great to feel the fatigue in my legs today and really get my blood pumping. I am not much of a one for speedwork, but slowly plodding up hills is a great workout.
I really feel like I have the world on a string just now, like anything is possible. I'm so in love with running, the bug has bitten me worse than ever. I'm so excited about the half marathon I'm planning to run in July, and all the training beforehand and evrything after. I feel so lucky to have found Jeff Galloway and his methods, because I don't think I would have been able to do these distances safely without the techniques, but with them I feel unstoppable. Life is grand.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I'ma rip this shit til my bones collapse

I'm a little behind! But I have much good news to tell after a massive week of running, wahooo! I had a week full of firsts. My first week of topping 20ks for the week, my first long run in a skirt, my first bodyglide experience, but most exciting of all, my first double digit run!
That's right, you heard it here first! I finally smashed myself my very first ten kilometre run. I was a bit worried beforehand but it went really well, and I am really pleased with how well I recovered, too.
It was actually 10.6 kilometres in the end, I'm pretty happy with the route I chose, I went over the train tracks for the first time as I'm rapidly running out of neighbourhood to explore. It was mostly flat but had some interesting stuff to look at, and I was basically just loving life. I'm starting to really enjoy the longer distances, I feel like I don't really warm up now until I'm 4 or 5 ks in.
Anyhoo, for recovery I drank some Endura ( I had a dose the day before, a dose that i slurped before and immediately after, and a third dose for rehydration) I spent ten minutes post-run laying on the floor with my legs inverted (this felt super, super good), I ran cool water over my legs in the shower (also super nice) and rubbed them down with ice gel. I also tried to spend some time upright and moving around post run, which I think helped a bit.
Yesterday and today I had some tightness in the hamstrings, but I really feel like I'm building some new muscle there. I went out this morning and did a slow five k with no real soreness or trouble.
Now, this is a stepdown week but I'm contemplating adding in an extra five k run during the week, as I really feel like 20ks is something I want to do every week. I have a short run of five listed for the weekend, so if I do three other fives during the week then there's my twenty, wahoo! I know that last time I experimented with extra distance during the week it didn't end well, but I feel that now with the intervals and stuff I could do it without any real trouble.

In other news, Bodyglide!!! I bought my first ever tube of this little miracle, and then used it to run ten ks in a skirt! It's a special 'skin lube' that prevents chafing, it comes in a little solid stick like deodorant, and you rub it onto the places where you chafe. I went to town with it on my inner thighs, and had no chafe at all there. Sadly, while I also put it on the inner bit of my arm where my iPhone armband goes, it would appear nothing can defeat the evil armband and I did chafe there to the point where it has actually scabbed a bit, ewwww. But, Bodyglide still rocks.
Phewww, i think I've blogged as much as I can for one day....suffice it to say that I'm going great guns, running my legs off, and so grateful to have found Galloway training to let me do it!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tired and hungry

Yesterday was a rough day! I've been working hard on my diet for three weeks now, and have lost four kilograms, but I have to admit I'm doing it hard!
Usually I feel pretty in control, but after yesterday's 6k run in the morning I was starving all day. I'd eat a little food for my lunch or snacks and it would just barely hold me until it was time to eat again. My tummy hurt and I felt nauseous and out of control. I can feel that even though the scales haven't budged in a week I'm losing mass, because I definitely look and feel smaller. I would have probably sold my soul if Satan had the good sense to pop up with a chicken dinner.
I even had trouble sleeping because I was so hungry. I was also feeling pretty exhausted and generally wrung out after my early start and a super busy day at work.
The Weight Watchers system I use gives you activity points for exercise, based on weight, time spent exercising, and intensity of exercise. I count these points but I don't eat them, as I never have and thought it would slow down my weight loss. But it's taking me quite a long time to lose each kilogram, so I am wondering if I am actually undereating? I've never earnt so many exercise points before, I used to earn one or two a day but I routinely earn three or four at least on days I run. They end up banked until the end of the week when they disappear, and some weeks I have banked 35 or 40. I also don't eat all my points everyday, which could be impacting on my loss. I'm planning to experiment with eating my activity points, initially I'm going to eat them all and see how it impacts on loss, and then if that doesn't work I'll maybe just eat half of them or something. I'm also planning to treat myself to a larger lunch than usual, because I feel so unwell from being continually hungry, although I have to run a couple of errands at lunch so I'll have to make time for that.
This morning I am still hungry and exhausted, but trying to be upbeat and focused about it. I bet Rocky felt tired and got sick of crappy food when he was training to beat Drago (i know he's ficitional, I just don't care). I bet every Olympic athlete had a day where they looked at their bowl of oatmeal/eggs/veggies for the millionth time that month and though, "Crapppp". I bet they were exhausted, I bet they got bored, I bet they wondered why the heck they were doing what they were doing. I bet Dean Karnazes was well sick of marathons. I bet Batman thought, "Piss off Gotham City, solve your own shit" and rolled over for another hour of sleep.
And all I'm trying to do is run one little old half marathon, geez!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hills and Bondi Band goodness

Six kilometres this morning, in very windy, very dark conditions. I always find that in Melbourne as the seasons change it gets very dark all of a sudden, it's never a gradual thing.
I ran my new trail down Green Gully, I'd Google mapped it and it was supposed to be a six point six kilometre return trip, but it turned out to be way less than that. The upshot of that is that I can probably run down the gully and up the other side within plenty of time and without too much distance.
As for the actual hill itself, it turned out to be a totally textbook experience! Short strides, high turnover, feet under body and up we go! I continued to follow my intervals so I wouldn't get too tired and was overall really pleased with how it went. It was a good run overall, considering how tired I was when I went out. Some stiffness through the front of my calves, but I am laying down some new muscle there so I suppose it's to expected, I'll just need to keep stretching and massaging them.
When I got into work I was all excited that my Bondi Band had finally arrived....but only the headband, not my ponyhat, bahh! Still, as you can see above, the headband itself is pretty groovy, so I'm looking forward to testing it out :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

From little runs, big runs grow!

Here we are on Monday (again, I'm sure we had Monday last week), the low point of the Universe, bah!
Yesterday was pseudo-long run day, in that it was the long run day you have when you're not having a long run. I went to the park to do some hill work with Os.
It was certainly educational! The hills I was tackling were dauntingly steep and large, and they kicked my arse quickly and efficiently. The muscles in the front of my calves are a little tight today, and they fatigued very quickly as I was tackling the hills, but I sort of love the slight soreness in my legs. It makes me feel powerful and strong, I love that I'm building muscle strength in my legs.
In light of that I've decided to include some hills at least once a week. I found a big, bad-ass mother fracker hill that I can stretch my run to cover (it makes it a 6.6k loop, but I'd been wanting to stretch my route anyways).
I wore one of my new 2XU running skirts for my little jaunt, and was very pleasantly surprised by how comfortable I felt in it. It's a little longer than my one, and the knicks under it make me feel really secure. I did get a tiny bit of very very mild 'chub rub' on the upper inner thighs, but nothing that left a visible mark or broke the skin at all. I reckon a bit of Bodyglide or such and I'd be set!
Sooo, tomorrow I'm hoping to run my new hill route (Naturally I'll let you know how it goes) and see how it goes in terms of time/pain factor/doability.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

2XU madness

Made it out for a run this morning (just shy of 6k), making this the first Thursday I've managed to get out of bed and stick to the planned schedule, yayyy! It was an interesting run, almost as soon as I got out of bed I could feel that my body had very little 'fuel' in the tank as I hadn't eaten much the day before. I had an easy run planned so decided to use the oppportunity to see what it felt like to run empty, and how I'd feel and perform with low glycogen stores.
there were a few points where I had trouble controlling my legs (they seem to fly out a bit when I'm tired, anyways) but I was able to concentrate and bring it together. The first two ks were a struggle but by the four k mark I felt like I was flying, just fantastic.
I'm experimenting with Endura rehydration blend at present to see if it can help with the soreness I've been experiencing after my long runs. It has added magnesium which is supposed to help cramping, and I'm moving up to distances where I'd need to consider electrolyte replacement anyways, so I bought a couple of sachets to try before committing and spending $30 on a big tub. I had one after my run this morning and to be entirely honest it didn't sit very well initially, which is odd as I've never had issues with any of the previous gels/sports/protein drinks I've tried. I could really taste the salts in it though! I plan to give it another try on Sunday after my run. I'm getting more and more excited about the idea of a fun run in the park with Os, chasing butterflies and running some hills!

On another note, I am probably not allowed to go near the 2XU outlet for awhile! After my spree there last week, a friend asked me to pop down and check their prices on compression tights (it's only two blocks from my work) and I found bargains while I was there! A funnel neck lightweight long sleeve top (with thumb holes and a little zipper to loosen the neck if needs be)good for layering. It's the most putrid shade of baby pink, but hey, who cares at 5am? Also, it was $10!
But the next thing made me really (pardon the french) lose my shit! Running skirts!! In my size! For $10!! I bought two :) one black, one navy blue. They also had grey....I may go back and get a grey one after I've tested these two. I'm also contemplating a vest ($70) because then I'll basically have a bunch of layering options, but mostly because the vest had pockets up the wazoo and I'm totally obsessed with pockets, though I am unsure that I'm a vest person. And maybe one more lightweight long sleeve.
Gah, like I said, I think I need to ban myself from 2XU for awhile :)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Legs go boom, or how I learned about long run recovery.

I conked out this morning, about four kilometres into my run, wahhhhhh! The stiffness left over from Sunday's long run made itself known and basically went from stiffness to discomfort to serious discomfort. WWJD? Although in this case, the J stood for Jeff Galloway, and so the answer was to quit while I was ahead (and vertical) and walk home.
Once upon a time this 'failure' would have reduced me to tears, but as this HM experience is all about learning, I chose to see it as an opportunity to learn more about the art and science of running long (and yessss, to me 8k is long, nyahhhhh).
So today I've spent some time reading up on long run recovery, learning about what to do, what not to do, and what I may be doing wrong.
1. Hydration/nutrition
Even though I'm only just reaching the point where I'm out for over an hour, as an early morning runner my fluid levels are not at their peak. To combat this I plan to drink extra water the day before my long run, and pre-mix some sports drink to either take with me or slurp on beforehand, as well as topping off with more sports drink and extra water upon returning home. As my runs get longer I may experiment with gels, not sure I'm ready for that yet though. I think I'm getting a little dehydrated after my runs, and also possibly running out of blood sugar a bit, so I'm hoping some experimentation here will help.

2. Leg love
I also plan to work some serious love for my legs (and extra love for those hard workin' knees) into my post long run routine in the hope of faster recovery. I've read about a few great ideas to try, everything from the super scary ice bath (or it's gentler cousin, the cold water bath), to ice massage, regular massage, extra stretching, and laying down with your legs up vertical against the wall for five minutes to let the blood drain (which is supposed to reduce inflammation).

3. Chill time
While my flopping on the couch post run reaction is normal, it's not that helpful. I need to keep walking around for awhile after my run, and then, rather than curling up on the too-short couch all day, actually head off into bed if needed. If I can get my feet higher than my head, even better!

4. The old faithfuls
Deep heat, anti inflammatories (although I'm unsure that this is wise), epsom salts in the bath, heat pack......

I'm hoping this will be enough to give me some strategies to try, as it's worrying that I am this sore after only 8 kilometres, when I have so many more to go. Who knows, maybe I'll be able to build some pleasant and fun post-run rituals that will persist for years to come.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

14 days in, 138 to go

Ok, so at this point I am two weeks into training for the Run Melbourne Half Marathon in July, which translates to 6 hours, 13 minutes, 6 seconds of running covering 42.63 kilometres. It's a start!
On Sunday I ran eight ks in the rain, which took me an hour and twelve minutes. I'm quite pleased with that, as I expected it to take about an hour and twenty. Course my legs are a bit heavy and tired today, I went for a walk this morning and they were quite stiff, but there are no really sore spots so that's good.
I bagged myself some new gear last week, a fantastic cool weather long sleeve tech shirt and a new shell jacket (I had one but it just didn't fit me at all). I'm pretty pleased with myself for getting in early and being organised for the cooler weather well before the first day of Autumn, yayy! I also ordered myself a cute hat and headband from Bondi Band, I'm kinda bursting for them to be delivered but as I only ordered them yesterday it may take awhile. I'm contemplating purchasing a lighter long sleeve tech as well, and possibly a vest, although I've never been a vest person so I'm unsure how I feel about them. Might have to do some gear reviews soon with all this cool new stuff.
The ticker on start to finish says that there are still 138 days until raceday.Urggggggggg such a long wait!
I'm kinda in a bad mood this week, partly as I have PMT of apocalyptic dimensions but also because my program says this week is an easy week. After last week's eight I'm pumped for a ten, but nope, it's a step back week and only asks for a four. There are lots and lots of step back weeks in this plan, which logically I know are a great idea and they let my legs strengthen and adapt and yadda yadda yadda.....I wanna go for a run!!
So I decided that during the week I'll have my Tuesday easy, make Thursday a gentle speed workout (I'm running intervals so I'll just make every second interval a fast one) and then for my Sunday four k I can head to the park with Oscardog and maybe do some hill repeats (very very gentle hill repeats, really more like strides with a hill in the middle). That way, even though it's a less challenging week I've still inserted some challenging bits, but not so challenging as to defeat the purpose of the easy week.
So, onwards and upwards!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Plodding to Glory

A very early start this morning for another slow five k. It took me 52 minutes to cover that distance today, I was weary of mind and heavy of limb, although to be honest I suspect I am still in recovery from Sunday's long run. It certainly didn't help that I wore new heels yesterday...ending up with sore feet and a slight strain through the front of the foot/ankle. I was looking for new Thorlo fatties though, and Running Fit didn't stock them, so I ended up having to hoof to Myer in shoes that were most certainly not made for walking.
I'm not convinced I'll ever get used to the early starts. It's a barrier that's mostly psychological, but my constant yearning for sleep does not help. If I can manage to maintain my schedule for Thursday's run (thinking of taking a rest day tommorrow, Wednesday) then I may switch my long run to Saturday this week so that I can have a lie-in on Sunday and get some extra rest.
I'm planning to spend some time today devising a nice simple 8 kilometre route. The week after is a step down week so I'm going to hit Brimbank park with Os and do a leisurely 4k among the hills, nice.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What a difference a week makes!

Weigh-in day this morning, and in just a week I've gone from 83.2kgs to 79.8kgs, wahoo! I ran 17.83kms, which I'm also quite happy with. I already feel much more energetic, lighter and happier.
Yesterday was long run day, I surpassed this weeks' target of 6.5km, running 6.86 in total. Next week's goal is 8kms, which I've only run once before, and after that we head into new and uncharted territory (insert spooky wail here).
I don't have much else to say, really....I'm just planning to keep on keepin' on.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

So today was a running day, but I opted for sleep. Fortunately, my plan enables me to pick up that day tomorrow with no real harm done to my schedule.
Yesterday was a rough day. I felt hungry and tired, my limbs were sore, and by the time I got home from work (at almost 7:00pm, erg) I was barely coherent. I've been trying not to eat my exercise points, but I did go at least 1 or 2 points over for the day, as I had two vegemite and cheese sandwiches for dinner. I don't think it will be detrimental though, part of a sustainable program is knowing when to eat a little extra food or take a rest day. Maybe some people would say that makes me a bit of a pussy or whatever but I don't see the point in suffering endlessly.

The extra food and a lie in (till 5:30am, wahooo) seems to have done the trick, as I'm feeling 100% better today. I don't ordinarily run on a Friday as I'm usually quite tired by then and it's a long day for me with overtime and such but I'm confident that my desire to stick to my plan will get me over the Friday hurdles. Worst case scenario, I'm feeling awful and reward myself with an extra cup of coffee, mmmm.

I was thinking yesterday about the body's set point and the idea that as humans we are designed to lay down extra weight to protect us from famine. We have all these hungry hormones that kick in after fat loss to protect us from dying of starvation, and these are a hurdle to dieters as the more weight we lose the harder it becomes to maintain a calorie/fat intake that will enable us to lose weight and feel okay.
Why then are we obsessed with thinness? We feel good when we are thin, envy others who are thin, and constantly work towards being thin. There are studies (centred around BMI) that suggest that being moderately overweight may actually be allright, but this is more about the idea that muscle mass may place one as technically overweight while otherwise being healthy.
Can we lower our set point? I suspect that for me around the 75kg mark is the most comfortable metabolic point, but if i am able to push beyond there then I certainly will. At 75kg BMI classifies me as 7kg overweight.
Then there is waist measurement. A waist circumference of more than 80cm for caucasian women is indicative of internal fat deposits. So if one's BMI is 26 or 27, yet one's waist meaurement is less than 80cm (and, if one's waist is smaller than their hips) then it's safe to say one is in no immediate danger from any extra fat carried.
Runners quite often have a very low BMI as so much fuel is burnt on long runs. Sadly I suspect I'm in no danger at this point.

I'm planning on running (or to be more accurate, run-walking) my first half marathon this year, hopefully in July at run Melbourne. It's mid-Feb now so that would give me 19-20 weeks to train for it, which ought to be enough. I'm working with Jeff Galloway's "To finish" plan, as I'd much rather have the fun and challenge and just be able to say I did it, than to kill myself trying to set what would be a very mediocre time anyway. I run for joy, and nothing so joyfull as running should be rushed :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

4:30am starts are totally awesome.

Today was my first day of getting up super super early to go for a longer run. I'm running 1:30/walking 3:30 so it's not like the running itself is super strenuous, but it's a little harsh getting up 20 minutes earlier.
Still, at least I wasn't alone! There were a whole bunch of cars around, I even saw another walker. Plus I had my faithful Oscardog :)It's really quite peaceful out there in the mornings, even if I do occasionally feel a little crazy, running around in the dark.
Coming into work my legs felt a little heavy and tired but it was nice to think that even though it was only 7:30 in the morning, I'd already put five k into my legs. Other people are sleeping and I'm out there, putting in some k's. I'm a saint.

Diet wise, I wanted to note for my own records that for week one, I'm eating 20 WW points a day, and while I'm logging my exercise points, for the time being I'm not eating them. Yesterday was day one and I ate 17.5 points and earned 2 bonus points. I felt pretty happy with what I ate, it was all pretty tasty and kept my hungries at easy to manage levels. I made protein pancakes for dinner which was yummy but devastating because I'm almost out of protein powder and I can't really buy any more until I get paid....damn my shoe fetish!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

OMG fat turtle!

So I've had a bit of a lay-off over the last few weeks, a few sporadic runs but nothing of note, nothing plan to speak of. Sporadic running + hedonistic eating + busy schedule has unfortunately equalled = big fat ass. I started the year with ten kilograms to lose....and just like that, I have to lose fifteen. Frag.

There's no time like the present to turn things around, so as of today I'm back following the principles of good old Weight Watchers, and am running long intervals three times a week using the C210k program in my iPhone. I feel a little better already, but then I always feel better when I'm in control.
I've set myself a four week challenge with some basic goals. By the 14th of March, I hope to be back under 80kgs, and comfortably running four minute intervals. Very very doable.

Let the games begin!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How much do you love...

...strides! I am a total plodder but whoooeeee, I sure do love to run fast! I ran some intervals this morning (I've slacked a bit so I'm rebuilding my base) and one of them was the fastest and longest i've run....hmm probably ever. Admittedly it was eminem assisted, but I think it still counts :)
I've been messing around with low-carb eating and I'm only just getting enough energy to start to run again, and really enjoy it.
I'm soooo geared up for a great running year right now :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Heart rate training

First blog of 2011! I'm massively behind, I only wish that i blogged as often as I think about blogging, because if I did then this blog would be EPIC!
I'm not going to do that whole random catching up thing, I'm trying to work more topically and go on fewer whimsical rants this year.
So, today I started experimenting with HR zone training. Santa brought me my very first heart rate monitor (it's a polar RS 300x) and it became quite apparent that while my times mean I am not racing blisteringly fast, my heart sure is. On an average (even a slower than average) run my heart was doing around 165-169 bpm, or even higher! That's around 85% of my maximum heart rate (I haven't had any fancy tests, I'm really just working that back from a few formulas based on age and gender) and 85% is basically, going pretty bloody hard. I don't feel super uncomfortable at that rate, but it puts me squarely in what's called the anaerobic zone, which is a hard effort, and where (depending on who you ask) my body is using stored glycogen or, failing that, lean muscle tissue. I run very early in the morning, so I probably don't have much stored glycogen, and I worked very hard to get my muscle, so I'd rather my body didn't eat it, thank you very much.
So, I want to be working at around 70% of my max, in the aerobic zone, so for me the golden number is 150bpm. I am so far letting myself go five beats either way, so basically am trying to stay within 145-155bpm.
This is slllloooooowwwwwwwwww. Ten minute kilometres slow. Walking to get it down, and super, super gently jogging between walk breaks ( Actually, I need to have a chat about walk breaks, but I'm still in the info gathering stage there, so it's another story). Painfully, crazy slow.
The goal of this type of training is that, eventually, my heart will get bigger and stronger. My body will use fat for fuel at this lower heart range (which is awesome, because this is the year that I'm going to bmi 25, people!) and slowly, gradually, I'll be able to go faster at that same, 145-155bpm rate of effort.
So, go slow now, go fast later.
It all sounds suitably science-y. I will admit to being a little sceptical.
Right now, however, this type of training is perfect for me. Summer is peaking here in Melbourne (currently the humidity is 95% or higher EVERY DAY, having to be super careful with hydration)and it's hot and yucky. I'm having a few persistent niggly pseudo-injuries, and this type of training is an in-built check rein to prevent me going too fast or too hard. I also feel a lot fresher after this type of workout, because I haven't completely flogged myself. I do worry that I'm not working hard enough, but I'm going to just have to get over that.
So, this is the beginning of the experiment, and I'm really looking forward to testing the science behind this theory.