Friday, January 27, 2012

Marathon dream

Is it just a dream, or can I really pull this off?
Part of me seriously and quietly thinks there is no way I will actually run the full marathon on the 1st of July at the Gold Coast this year.
I managed the half marathon last year, but that's only half the distance! (dah).

But I have put it 'out there', I shook hands with my friend Nic a long time ago and have also made a deal with other Twitter friends (i.e. Nikki Chapman) that we will all do the full this year.

But these girls are so much fitter and lighter than me! Nic was able to easily run a 10k a few weeks ago with minimal training (she did lean and strong last year and did amazingly well). And well Nikki just runs! Big distances and quickly...(with a Tiffany necklace to boot).

I tried to do Lean and Strong Rd 3 last year also, but seriously fell off the wagon with work stresses (I ended up resigning with the encouragement of my friends and family). I then had 4 weeks of complete rest over the Christmas period. Like COMPLETE rest. My husband thinks I've forgotten how to cook actually.
And I barely ran at all.

But I joined a new gym just before Christmas and I have really enjoyed doing the classes. I love Pump and I am starting to feel a bit stronger at last. Also RPM which really kills but I can feel it strengthening my quads. I'm a bit scared of developing the hip flexor pain and ITB knee pain I got after the half and I think being generally stronger will help. So I will try to keep these both up each week - I don't want to 'just run' like I did last year (well I did do boxing once a week, but not real strength work)

The other thing is my weight - I have put on a solid 3 kilos over the past couple few months and it just wants to sit there, right around my middle like a big fat spare tyre. I can feel it when I run and it's gross - so hopefully I can start to lose that soon too, which in turn will help me run a bit faster!

I've been doing lots of reading about going sugar free etc., and the Paleo diet and obviously need to start counting my calories again 12wbt style. I made an appointment with one of the trainers at my new gym and he has very kindly put together a marathon training program for me, using all my best times etc. and he was very pleased when I said I want to lose 5 kilos! But he also said "you can do this"....(of course he is 20 years younger than me and full of confidence!)

The plan includes 5 runs per week, of mixed distances and speeds. I know that I managed the half last year purely because I followed the plan (mostly), so that does give me a little more confidence.
I officially start my 22 week 'program' on Monday! I did manage 5 ks on the treadmill yesterday reasonably easily, so I do have a bit of a base to start on. I've been donwloading running books onto my iPad Kindle app too, to try and get some inspiration and encouragement. As you can see I have a newish toy - but the newest bit is the foot pod (thanks I know I will end up doing quite a few runs on the treadmill because of this Queensland weather (flooding or sauna - haha Mish Bridges just asked if she should train outdoors in Brisbane on Twitter and there was a resounding 'NO') and this amazing little thing is so accurate! I want to record and journal all my running weeks and now even my treadmill runs will count.

These are my new 'lightweight' runners which I will probably only use for short runs or on the tready til I get used to them. I've still got my heavier and cushiony plodders for the long runs..........

So there you have it. No excuses and it all starts in earnest in 2 days!
Thanks for supporting me :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Changes, changes, changes

Surely I'm too old for all of this! I should be 'working to live, not living to work' which is certainly what I am doing ATM.
I'm sure it's all for a good cause and will be well worth it in the long run, but right now I am just  treading water.
I was so touched today when I got some notifications from my long lost Twitter pals. There I was in my consult room in our new clinic and my iPhone kept buzzing away (as it does on silent). So nice to be jolted back to my 'other' reality.
Doing what I am doing is pioneering for nurses and I feel very privileged in many ways.
But it is also isolating and all consuming. I have always just gone to work, done my job and returned home again (which meant 'clocking on' to the mother role though of course). I had a 'life' on my days off and didn't think about work at all.
Now I seem to be either consulting with patients (which is what I love) or attending meetings and dealing with all the management stuff which is all very new to me - a huge learning curve. On my days off I am constantly checking my work emails and doing the rosters...

I made the decision to do the Lean and Strong program this round. I was worn out form all the running I'd been doing, everything was aching all the time. So I thought getting stronger would help. I do love the weights program, but I just can't keep up with it! Missing one or 2 sessions a week was OK, but more than that just isn't good enough.
I started quite well, but it meant getting up at 4am before an early shift and being ultra organised with my clothes for work etc. I know, I know - everyone else does this too...My hours are long and the nutrition plan has gone out the window. I rarely cook during the week - lucky my family can fend for themselves pretty well.

When I was 'just' running it seemed much easier - just get out of bed and go, then come home again and get ready for work. All over in 1/2 an hour or so and longer sessions on the weekend.
The weights sessions are getting longer and longer and harder and harder and I just haven't been able to keep up. More excuses.
I was also burning so many calories while running and I was able to keep the weight off even with my constant snacking - I could literally burn food off. Now I have put on 2 kilos (like overnight as soon as I stopped running) and it is all around my belly and going nowhere fast - and now there are only a few weeks to go until the party.

Now I am worried I'll be going to the party feeling like an under-achiever, not in the shape I so wanted to be in. But - it will be great just to see everyone again :)
I think I am just going to have to start running again?? Perhaps just do the weights sessions when I can in between and one day when I have time launch back into the L & S program again. I did buy that bloody Garmin after all which just doesn't get used with the weights sessions where hardly any calories are burnt (difficult for the brain to process when that was such an incentive).

The other big thing that has just happened is that we sold our house. Not exactly jumping with glee with the price we got, but so be it. So now we have to find somewhere else to live, and all the stress that goes with that...

So my friends, thank you for listening to my grumbles and most of all thinking of me. I hope some normality returns at some stage

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The End Of the Journey?

So now it's my turn to record the culmination of 20 weeks of training for the GC 1/2 marathon.
To say I have learnt a lot along the way would be an understatement and as with most things, the more I learn, the more I realise I DON"T know about running.

Even so, I do feel like I can call myself a runner now- I think completing a 'half' qualifies that and I am no longer an impostor runner. Still a fairly new runner at less than a year in the game, but I AM A RUNNER.

That day at the Gold Coast was honestly one of the best days of my life. Not in a 'giving birth amazing' kind of way, but it was such a nerve-wracking and quite emotionally high experience. In fact I think I was on a high for most of the race and felt like I was running a dream (now I just sound weird).

I learnt a lot in the last few weeks of training, especially in the long runs I did with Maddi and Dan. The first thing was that I sucked on hills and Maddi surging up ahead of me freaked me out just a bit. So I did include some more hill work leading up to it. I learnt that I am a steady runner, but not much else. I tried to improve on that too with a bit more 'speed' work.

I learnt that it is really important to run with someone else even just a couple of times before a big run. Maddi and I worked well together and quickly learnt each other's strengths and weaknesses. We decided to run together because of that on the day and it worked.

In the first half of the 1/2 we were mostly telling each other to slow down because we had a game plan to stick to! It's hard not to resist ducking in front of people all the time... It was so cool to be able to chat together (another big win - talking and running at the same time) and talk about the friends we have made along the 12wbt journey. We saw the back of Jess Rush (thanks to her Uniform shirt) at one stage but she quickly left us behind! and we yelled out to Nix who was on the turn back, but I think that was when Katie had caught her and tapped her on the shoulder so they didn't hear us. Oh well, we were going to catch up after the race!

We were lucky to have our men supporting us along the way too - a great idea of Dan's to take bikes and keep ahead of us along the way. They rode with us for a while in the last few ks which was pretty cool. Perhaps that was why I enjoyed this run so much? The other runs I have done have been very much alone and it's just not the same.

Then we did go a bit quiet - a couple of times Maddi looked so stressed I thought she was crying (squeezing your butt cheeks will do that to you apparently) and I had to ask if she was OK, but she was not going to give up.

My longest training runs which were 16, 19 and 20k were really tough, literally just able to put one foot after the other in the last few ks. So when the number 17k sign appeared it was a such a surprise to feel so great still, then 18 was ticked off and only 3 to go! ('shut up' said Maddi) But the last three went easily too and to run INTO the crowd of supporters was so cool - there was Kirsty and Co waving madly at us over the fence.

We did a little ducking and weaving right at the end (the running field just never seemed to thin out much over the whole run) and Maddi and I grabbed for each other to run over the line together. So emotional - the relief and culmination of all that training.

Happy Finisher!

Our marathoner Keren x
What a feeling!

It was so cool to be able to get together as a group afterwards and cheer in our marathoners and share a sausage sanga (thanks Kirsty!), jelly beans and red frogs.  All those medals together!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A week and a bit to go!

Well this is it really! I am on the last page of the Intermediate Half Marathon training plan. I did my last BIG run on Sunday before the big run at the Gold Coast in 10 days.

I am strangely calm because I know I can't do any more. There's only 6 more runs to go - a mix of short sprint sessions (LOL - I can't sprint to save myself) and a few longer 'comfortable' runs. It is so dark these mornings getting up at 5 and just a bit chilly, but yesterday was Winter Solstice so its only longer days from here on in!

I know now that I will be able to finish (I did 20.5ks on Sunday) and hopefully around 2:15 all going well. Unfortunately the main thing I am worried about is my guts-ache afterwards! I was OK this weekend (maybe the Endura I forced down afterwards) but the weekend before when I ran with Maddi and Dan again, was the absolute worst I'd ever been. I couldn't enjoy our brunch together afterwards and was literally on and off the toilet for hours afterwards and in excruciating pain. So unfair...I really want to enjoy our celebrations together so I'll be hoeing into the Imodium as soon as we cross that line.

After my run this time I also did something I've been intending to do for a few weeks to help with the leg pain and sat in the cold pool a la Hoffy a while back. A teeth chattering experience to say the least! Who knows if it helped or the Panadol I had to help me sleep that night.

I have done something I may just regret too - I have registered for the Jetty to Jetty 1/2 marathon which is 2 weeks after the GC. It SHOULD be OK because it is the same track that I have been doing my long training runs on.  But then.......I have registered for the Brisbane 1/2 marathon which is only 3 weeks after that one! OMG what have I done?

COMMIT - that's what I've done! I don't want to lose all this running fitness that I've gradually built up and I am quietly terrified of putting my weight back on.
The latest Runners World mag has a great plan for breaking the 2:00 1/2, so that is the goal I have set for Brisbane. 7 weeks.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The journey continues

It's now only 4 weeks to the Gold Coast half marathon. My training has gone well by sticking (mostly) to the plan and I have been very fortunate by not sustaining any injuries - that's one club I do NOT want to join. Sorry to all those who have been struggling, it must be tough.

I should be doing runs of some description 3 days a week, but I tend to do 3 solid runs plus a boxing session once a week to really kick butt (or the bag) - love it. My weights sessions have really fallen by the wayside, so I will try and get back into them again this week.

Today was a huge achievement for me, running for 2 whole hours. Lefty drove me over to Redcliffe and I ran along the beach the whole way. SO much nicer than trudging around the streets at home, with a nice gentle breeze to keep me cool. Speaking of keeping cool I have decided it was definitely dehydration/mega sweats that was causing my terrible tummy cramps post long runs. I still get a bit painy but certainly not in a debilitating way. I have also started using gels with the long runs which is interesting in itself (swallowing thick sticky glug while trying to breath and force it down with some water, while trying to breath!)

Lefty had his books to read in the car and he kept driving down and parking in sections long the way which was quite funny. Poor Lefty wishes he could be running with me but his knees are shot from all the running and footy playing he did in his 20s. It's just so weird that its me running now, at such an age.

2 weeks ago I ran in a similar place with Maddi and her ironman Dan. That was really cool - Dan was very supportive, encouraging and informative. It's great to learn from real athletes (better late than never!). Maddi really fired that day with a big surge at the end (AND she had bleeding toes), whereas I fell flat at the end and got all uptight and anxious, struggling to put one foot in front of the other....the thought of running for another 5ks to make it 21 just seemed all too much. I hadn't felt all tight in the throat and chest like that for a long time and it freaked me out a bit, like a big step backwards.

I'm just so relieved that I truly believe I can do this now and I may even finish under 2:15! I am going to register with a pacer when I pick up my pack in a few weeks, which I hope is a good thing to do?

Kirsty has made up some great singlets for all the 12wbt/Twitterers who are running in the GC 1/2 and full mara which is really cool. I can't wait to see everyone - and there are a few I haven't had the chance to meet in real life yet! 

Oh - and there was that wonderful weekend in Melbourne! 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Journey to the Half Marathon

I think this is what Round 1, 2011 has become for me... it's no longer about losing the kilos and sticking religiously to the nutrition plan. That may be unfortunate seeing as I have paid $200 to do this round, but sticking to my 1/2 mara plan has become more important. And that's OK.
I have managed to lose another 3 kilos since December and I know that my body shape has changed even more - that shows that I can do this now. I use Twitter more than the actual 12wbt website for support and really only log on to update my stats and to print off all the plans, for which I am grateful. I have printed off all the Lean and Strong plans so that I can use them when I am ready.

Happy Easter by the way! Bunny has survived so far, but my egg didn't last the day. I didn't feel too bad about that because I ran 15ks this morning (1,500 calories)

There are 10 weeks to the GC 1/2 mara and my training has been going well. The only 'injury' I've had so far is a blister to the arch of my foot from my new shoes (had the middle laces too tight) all resolved now with some great blister bandaid thingies. I am so pleased that I really do feel like a runner now and my legs feel strong. I can push on and my thighs/femurs don't feel like they are going to burst through my hips! I'm sure I'm not a pretty runner and my form is probably odd looking, but it's working for me. There are a few of us on Twitter who are at similar stages in our running and it's so great to spur each other on from different states.

Twitter has brought me some great support from REAL runners who are more than happy to pass on their knowledge and experience. Thank you Bry, Kirsty, Keren and Cathy :). I am happy to say that I no longer get that awful panicky feeling in my throat when I am tiring. I can just ease back a bit and steady myself and push on. I have enjoyed reading Paula Radcliffe's new book 'How to Run'

and she says that it's better to concentrate on good form when you are struggling, rather than trying to distract yourself which is what I used to do (look at the trees etc.) I tried that today and it did seem to help. Then I have those great moments of realisation that I have got to the next road without even realising it (like when you are driving and think 'how did I get here?'). Is that what they call the zone? Maybe I am reaching that in my own little way... Running certainly isn't a natural thing for me yet - I still wake up early and nervous, like I used to when I first started playing golf actually?. Once I'm out the door I'm fine though and soon know whether it's going to be a good run or not. I find the interval runs the hardest by far! But I get it now - I understand that the hard runs have to be done to be able to perform well in the longer runs. It's working!!
With all my friends before the 10k Twilight Run, in the official singlet

I have now done 2 x 10k fun runs and the last one in March was no fun at all. Other than doing it alone again, it was in the afternoon on a very humid day by the river and I struggled the whole way through. Dumb. I should have blasted through it but there were some hilly bits that just knocked me flat. Finished in 62 minutes. I did get my very first medal though! (everyone wins a prize). That evening I was struck down with REALLY bad tummy cramps and visited the loo many times thinking I had gastro. The cramps are JUST like gastro pains. But it settled down overnight. Last night I read in Paula's book that runners lose a lot of blood (and iron) in their gut due to it being a high impact sport. Eek - a tearing action maybe?
Hot, sweaty and 'radiant' after the run - with my medal and fruit? (I couldn't eat it anyway)

I've discovered now that the cramps happen when I really push myself like that, or after runs longer than 10 ks. The first time I ran 13 ks was an absolute disaster - I completely didn't think about taking water and I got totally dehydrated and crampy. (I've since bought a running belt). Today I ran 15 ks and tried to drink Powerade throughout but it still happened - I was OK until I ate my light breaky and then had to race to the loo! The cramps settled down after a couple of hours this time so maybe it will gradually improve - I just hope there's a loo nearby after the 1/2 mara!! Personally I think it is something to do with fluid shift in the gut when I sweat a lot (I literally drip sweat and my clothes and visor/hat are saturated - I constantly mop away with a sweat band!).

Each night I check my running plan and get my Runkeeper app organised ready to press go. I love having this goal and I'm sure it's what keeps me going. I will have to set a new goal after the 1/2 so that I have something next to work towards. There are some great plans in Paula's book such as training for a faster 1/2 or faster 10k. I am at risk right now of neglecting my other exercise needs such as strength work so I'll have to pull my finger out there. I didn't even get the last fitness test done, slacko. Unfortunately my golf is on hold until after July....

Today during my run I remembered that it's only a couple of weeks until I meet my Twitter buddies in Melbourne - I got all goose bumpy!

My girls Chloe and Georgie at the top of Mt. Ngungun a few weeks ago

Monday, February 21, 2011

Finally it's Kick Off !

Well finally it has all started again! I do feel much more in control this time and it's like I 'get it' now. It took me at least until halfway through the last round to REALLY excercise 6 days a week (like not just take the dogs for a walk and think that counted) and to REALLY stop snacking between meals.

I am pleased with how I have kept up my exercise routine since the end of the last round. I think I've developed a phobia about my running - that if I don't keep it up consistently then I will lose it altogether and have to start from scratch again? I want to keep running for as long as I can, however long that may be? I suddenly seem to have realized that I am well and truly 'middle aged' - my next big milestone will be to turn 50 in 2014. How long can you keep running after menopause hits? Time will tell...

I am still very much a beginner runner, having started only in September last year. Thankfully I have been blessed with no injuries so far. I've got good knees and ankles (guess they haven't been used enough through their lifetime yet!). I didn't play netball and golf is pretty easy on the joints.

Even though I am still a relative newbie I've been stressing over my last few runs which have felt so HARD. I just can't seem to pick up speed without feeling like a learner runner again gasping for breath. Mind you (as #CrouchingKiwiHiddenDragon did point out), I have actually added an extra run this week for the Gold Coast 1/2 mara training AND I am probably not eating well enough the night beforehand? It has been so hot and humid lately too - I can't wait to do a 'cool' morning run again to see if that makes a difference or not. From now on I will be running 4 days per week of mixed tempos and also adding in the Lean and Fit program. I am going to be so fit!! That bit is exciting, but it is also making me lose sleep at night. I wake up during the night to work out which route I'll be taking in a few hours time, remembering if my clothes and HRM are all ready to go and that my alarm clock is set according to the distance I need to run before work. Hopefully it will all become second nature as I transition from beginner distance runner to just a runner.

Unfortunately I have let myself down on the nutrition side of things over the past few weeks. Not actually eating too much (I have maintained my weight loss) but just eating whatever I feel like, whenever I want. Bread, chocolate, chips, dips, just constant grazing on food that's not terribly nutritious. My excuse has been that I know I will be knuckling down completely as of now. I have to set a good example to my 2 daughters who are also doing this round. I will stick to my mission and achieve my new goals. I won't be able to slip into old habtis though once this round ends. This is it for me. Then I will be flying solo like a few others are this round.