Saturday, December 29, 2012

My recent running highlights

My first holiday race - Rudolph Ramble 8km
It was cold and it was wet. I got there way to early.
This was only a small race but I don't think it was the best organised event I've participated in.
However, I had fun! There's something about running while wearing red foam antlers that just adds something to a race. Plus, it was my best 8km time (although my first 8km race) at 51 minutes. While I don't love standing around in the cold I definitely love running in it. This time is particularly good for me as I did a 7 mile run the day before.

My first Chicago snow (took you long enough, Chicago). I was super excited on Thursday when it started, so wandered around in it for a couple of hours. Not my best idea as I ended up super cold and slightly damp by the end of it.
I did 5 miles on Friday for my first snow run and followed up with 9 miles today.

Looking south on the Lakefront Path, somewhere around Millennium Park
Turns out running on snow is kinda difficult. My glutes are feeling the extra work they had to do this morning! But I love it!! I love winter. I love Chicago. And I love snow.

I also love running. 2013 is going to be an awesome running year - I am scheming big running plans for it right now.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A streak update

As I mentioned when I first decided to streak, one of my goals was to develop a running habit. My running history is littered with "rest" days.

Nine days into the streak, I was feeling good and actually wasn't having the internal debates about running. Every day was a run day. Some run days were one mile on the treadmill but they were still a run. I even tried a four mile run on the treadmill. I made it to the end but it wasn't pretty.

Day 1 - 4 miles
Day 2 - 4 miles
Day 3 - 6 (fast) miles
Day 4 - 2 miles
Day 5 - 1 mile
Day 6 - 4 (boring) miles
Day 7 - 3 miles
Day 8 - 1 mile
Day 9 - 4 miles

Day 10 (Saturday): I did five miles with my F^3 Half training group (at a much more reasonable pace than the week prior).

Saturday evening I had my office's Holiday Party. Naturally, I got frocked up - LBD and mile high patent heels. It was a great night which started with a few raspberry sangrias and continued with several cranberry vodkas.

Cranberry vodka - very tasty!

Sufficient to say, my coordination left a little much to be desired by the time my feet hurt too much to stay out any longer.

I think you can guess where this is going.

The combination of heels, too many pink/red drinks and a very steep flight of stairs resulted in an embarrassing slip on my way home. Luckily, all I did was skip two steps on the way down as I was holding onto the railing the whole time. But those two steps did a number on my ankle and leg.

Sunday through today have been run free.

I am disappointed to not be running. But I am OK (in theory) with not running due to injury (yes, silly self-inflicted injury, but injury never the less) rather than due to "I can't be bothered".

The good news is I was completely pain free today, including after a three mile walk, so tomorrow morning I will be back out there streaking.

Anyone else sidelined themselves with foolish behaviour? Please tell me I'm not the only one!

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Day 4 of the running streak is done!

After weeks of not hitting four runs a week targets, I have now run four days in a row!!

This post is likely to contain an excessive amount of exclamation marks!!!

Thursday (Thanksgiving) - four miles
Friday - four miles
Saturday - six miles
Sunday (today) - two miles

Friday was a pretty standard, uneventful run. Much more comfortable than the four miles I did on Thursday. The weather had done a turnaround from Thursday and was about 15 degrees colder - and just about perfect running weather in my book.

Lakefront Path, looking South toward Oak Street Beach

I snuck in a little bit of shopping in the afternoon, despite the horrendous crowds, to get a dress to wear to a work Christmas function next weekend. I got something much shorter than I would normally go because I love my runner's legs and am proud to display them now (hopefully everyone will ignore all the bruises I have from my bike - I am so uncoordinated!!).
Saturday was my long run for the week which I did with my CARA running group. After the bike ride to join the group my legs and feet were pretty much numb. A pair of windproof running tights is definitely on the list. As is some form of foot protection. The first two miles were completely on auto-pilot because everything from the waist down felt completely disconnected from me. I still really like running with a group - I'm not very chatty but I enjoy listening to everyone else. We knocked out the six at 10:40 pace (not ideal given we're supposed to be the 11:00 pace group!) and I must confess I was tired by the time I got home. It was the first cold run I have done since moving here. I was starving when done too. I treated myself to eggs and vege hash for breakfast at a local cafe after what felt like the best hot shower ever.
Sunday was a slow two miles. Technically today is a cross-training day on the plan, so I kept the mileage low and pace reasonably glacial.

Tomorrow will be the first "big" challenge in the streak. After a glorious four day weekend, I will have to go back to work :(

I'm planning on sneaking in one mile on the treadmill in my building's gym before work. I only want to do one mile tomorrow as I'm worried about hurting myself if I go any further. The treadmill will help keep me to one mile because I detest treadmill running.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I'm going to streak

Despite my history with consistent running (specifically, consistent running and I don't have a history), I'm going to try the Runner's World Running Streak.


I am hoping that the goal of only having to hit one mile a day won't overwhelm me. I can run one mile if I'm not feeling great. I can run one mile on the treadmill without passing out from boredom. I can fit a one mile run into any day.

They say (whoever "they" are) that if you do something 21 times, it becomes a habit. And if I can get into a running habit then I'll be much better set up for doing the running that I want to do. I would love 2013 to be the running year.

I kicked off the streak with 4 miles this morning. Lovely day. Bad run. First two miles were plagued with a stitch (why?! why?! I wasn't even running fast) and a very tight left leg from hip to heel. Second two miles were significantly better and made me glad that I persisted through the first two, even though they were still pretty lacklustre.

How could I pass this up?
Post run, I had a date with the foam roller and the tennis ball (ow! ow! ow!). It think I need to add stretching to my streak too.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

You win some, you lose some

Today marks the end of the second week of my official 12 week training to the F^3 Half.

I signed up to train with CARA as I was apprehensive about running through my first Chicago winter. With two group long runs on the books, I am happy about this decision (even though it hasn't really got cold yet). It's been a bit of a shift to run with others but when you're living in city where you don't really know anyone, I think it's the way to go. I joined the 11:00 pace group which is working out great.

Other than my long runs, the rest of my training has been a little hit and miss. The plan has us running four times a week - as I've previously reported, hitting these targets has been an issue for me.

I have high hopes of achieving the target this week as there are no "events" planned over the next seven days. I have the best of intentions but this sort of reflects what actually happens when I go out:

I am envious of those who can drink and run. I like beer. I like running. Beer and running do not like each other when I am involved. You win some, you lose some.

In addition to running, I have also entered the world of cycling. My new training group starts their runs about 6 miles from where I live. Given my lack of car, my options for getting there are public transit, cab or bike. Waiting around for the bus after a run is not really what I want to do. As it turns out, I do not have great biking legs. I especially don't have great biking legs after a run. Sore legs beats cold legs any day though.

Until next time...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Not quite there

I had plans for this week. Not particularly ambitious plans and yet I didn't follow through.

Here's the stats of what I did do:
Tuesday - 4 miles: This was one of those runs. From start to finish I felt sluggish. Every step felt 10 times more difficult than normal. It was a run where I had to pull out nearly every motivational trick I have in my admittedly slim arsenal.
  • I broke the run into mini-milestones - I'll run to that light; I'll run to that water fountain; I'll run to that road sign.
  • I focussed on my form - Head up; Shoulders down; Hands relaxed. I pretended I was back in Melbourne in my running group and Jodie was taking us through our paces (I miss those guys!).
  • I repeated running mantras
  • I really listened to the lyrics of songs on my iPod (usually it's just "white noise" in the background) so I was focussing on the songs and not on the running.
Ultimately, it was all worth it. I know every run won't be easy and you need the "difficult" ones to help you improve. And looking at the end result, I finished in 44:03 which equates to 6:50/km (yes, I'm mixing my measurement systems) which is a decent pace for me. That pace should feel hard when I'm coming back from a two to three month layoff.

Sunday - 6 miles: This was not a solid run but overall I'm pretty happy with it. I headed south on the Lake path today which I think is a good plan for going forward as I did most of the first half of my run into the wind and then had it at my back on the return leg. Much easier than the alternative! I also tried my first run in a long sleeve top. In retrospect, it was too much and short sleeves would have been fine, but you live and learn, right? The downside of the run is a cranky knee that is currently seeing some ice. Fingers crossed it's just temporary.

And that's it for the week - can you see what's missing? Run number three. I was planning on going out on Thursday but just never did it. It was cold and wet and I just slacked off. Yet more personal running lessons learned this week -
1) don't let yourself get overly cold during the day because it sends you into hibernation mode - all I could think of on the way home was a hot high carb meal. I scoffed a bowl of pasta quick smart but that put an end to running for the day.
2) there are no rules about when you can run. In my head, there's first thing in the morning or there's right after work. In reality, there are many more opportunities.

This week I hope to get in four runs - a couple of shorter sessions to start introducing some speed work plus my usual longer (because it's all relative) runs. Hopefully I can utilise some of my learnings from this week and hit all four.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Approaching normal

Because I am nothing if not consistent, it's been quite some time since I checked in here. I don't know exactly how long as I'm implementing the time honoured approach of denial.

What exactly has prompted this return to my much neglected blog?

I Ran Three Times this week! Three Times!!

I realise this is not Big News for the majority of the world but after the time off for the move, the heat, and the stupid Sore Foot, I am so super excited about it. I'm getting back to normal again.

AND, in other news, I entered the F^3 Lake Half Marathon in January next year. Having a race to train for gave me a major kick in the pants for working out too.

So, what did I do?

Tuesday - estimated 3 miles. My Garmin died after about 1.5 miles. I remember it was dead by the time I turned around to come home so I'm calling it 3 in total.

Friday - 4 miles. It was a little (ok, very) chilly out. I haven't run in those sorts of temps since my Canberra days. I used a headband to cover my ears and threw on a pair of gloves but otherwise I stuck to my t-shirt and knee length capris. This was OK but I am going to go shopping for a long sleeve top later today.

Sunday - 5 miles. I'll be honest - I didn't want to do this run today. I talked myself into it by reminding myself I had decided to try a Salted Caramel Mocha today and that meant I needed to bank some Activity Points. Plus there's the whole race thing in three months. Anyway, to make sure I didn't chicken out, I caught a bus 5 miles north and then ran home. This was a genius move. I'm pretty confident I would have done my planned 5 miles in an out-and-back but why not make it easier to succeed? Now that it's over, I feel good but it was definitely a hard slog. I must remember it's always like this when I start over again.

I'm planning to get in 14 miles next week - two 4 milers and then 6 miles for my long run on the weekend. I'm excited!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Getting back on track


Short and slow run tonight - worked well as I could ease back post the horrid foot pain I've been having  plus it tied into Week 20 of my half marathon training plan which called for 20 minutes.

I ended up doing 2 miles because I like round numbers on my distance.

To make it 2 miles, I did a couple of laps of the local running track. This was a pleasant experience as the running track is so much more forgiving under-foot than the concrete path I had been on before that.

I am super stoked on tonight's run - there wasn't much to it but I'm moving back in the right direction.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

We will soon return to your regularly scheduled programming

I've been quiet, I know.

Trust me, it's been for your benefit as I've been struck down with the dreaded six letter word.


I intend to get out in the Adrenalines later this week though, so stay tuned.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

No pressure

It's Thursday night and I'm scanning Facebook to see what everyone is up to, when I see a photo in a post that triggers some kind of recognition in my brain. Why is that so familiar? Oh wait, I think it reminds me of the photo I took at the Gold Coast to taunt everyone in Melbourne with lovely sunny Queensland weather.

Hang on, that IS the photo I took to taunt everyone in Melbourne with lovely sunny Queensland weather. GC Marathon has "featured" my race recap.

I am now humiliated by lack of running - I can only try and offer the excuse that having to take a work trips overseas to a mine site and then move internationally is very time consuming and makes it difficult to schedule properly.

I am now also feeling a reasonable amount of pressure to run more - and write about it. Chicago Half is off the table (I can not run 21.1km in three weeks' time) but my current training plan is for the Chicago Monster Dash in October and that's definitely do-able. Not expecting to break any records on this one though.

The training is going reasonably well. As usual, the summer weather is wreaking havoc on my body and making running very uncomfortable. The running is faster than this time in the program for GCHM, a fact that I am very excited about. I never expect to be a front of the pack runner but I really do enjoy getting just that little bit faster.

My long run today was north on the Lakeside Running Path, a messy place to be this weekend due to the Air and Water Show that's on. There were people all over the place and parts of the path were closed because of the event. I can hear the planes doing acrobatics outside my apartment right now.

Flying in formation

An example of the craziness on the Lakeshore at the moment.
Everyone is just staring up at the sky.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hello Chicago

In truth, I have been in Chicago for nearly three weeks now but today was my first running day. I am clearly the most non-committed runner.

The move to Chicago has been slightly more stressful than I had anticipated but and my lack of running did nothing to improve that situation. But the past is the past, so I'm not going to focus on that. Onwards and upwards only here.

Today's run was nothing to get excited about and in many books would probably not even be classified as a run. Given it's been over a month since my last run, I took the slowly, slowly approach and used a walk/run method. It's also hot and humid (my two least favourite weather descriptions) which is another reason for me to ease back into it. I am now very happily fatigued and raring for the next run to put on the books.

I miss The Tan but can't complain when part of what can be my new course encompasses this...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Gold Coast Half Marathon - Race recap

Firstly - I know it's been AGES since I last posted. There are a million excuses but I'll save them for another day.

Secondly - this is a long post - making up for lost time perhaps?

Onto the race (and the lead up)...

My last long run before this race was not my finest. I was aiming for 12km and managed only 10km. Of those 10km, I walked about a quarter and the rest of them were slow. As much as this left me worried, I remembered that my long run the week before (18km) had gone really well, this run was in warmer temps and I had been unwell the night before. Remembering these things didn't quite dispel all my concerns but there wasn't much I could do to change it. I've become so pragmatic in my old age.

I snuck in a 5km on Thursday morning, once I was at the Coast to help acclimatise myself. While all around me everyone was complaining of the cold weather, the difference between Victoria and Queensland was very obvious to me. Much, much warmer. And on that particular run, it was very wet.

I had a couple of pretty easy days off after that and then it was GCHM eve.

It's easy to relax when the weather is like this

To avoid any stomach disagreements, I just cooked pasta in my unit. Then I headed out to watch the fireworks display that was part of the festival going on over the weekend. I love fireworks but didn't have the patience to watch all of the three shows that were being put on. I stuck out the first and then headed back for an early night. There may have been a small detour for an ice cream on the way.

Like the granny I am, I was in bed by 9.00pm with all my stuff laid out ready for the next morning. Unsurprisingly, I did not sleep well and when the alarm went off at 3.20am I was not excited to be getting up.

Because I was paranoid about getting to the start line late, I was at the bus stop to catch the shuttle bus by 4.15. The process went pretty smoothly (although sharing the bus stop with all the people heading home after a big night was interesting) and I was at the GC Marathon “village” by 4.45. Unfortunately, that then left me with a fair amount of time to kill and not a lot of entertainment to kill it with. I paced and wandered and paced and worked myself into a panic with knee pain and socks that kept slipping into my shoe (stupid socks, I had worn them plenty of times before without this problem). Eventually, after three shoe re-ties it was time to check my stuff (oh my, so cold without my hoodie) and head for the start line. I figured there was nothing to be done about the socks or the knee and that I'd deal with any implications as they arose.

Start of the race
(Photo care of GCMarathon Facebook page)

With my estimated finish time of 2:30:00, I was in wave D at the start (a long way back from the actual start line) and had figured on not starting the race until 6.15 to 6.30. I'm pretty happy that I actually made it by 6.11, although it was a trek to get there.

Once I started running, all of my worries disappeared. My knee didn't hurt and my socks stayed put. I went out at a pace that was very comfortable and didn't worry about anyone passing me or who I was passing. I think the wave I was in, which was an estimated finish of between 2:15:00 and 3:00:00, worked out really well, despite the long way between where we lined up and where the race actually started. The usual push, shove and dodge that plagues the beginning of a race weren't a problem this time.

At around 7km in (one third down!) I spotted the race leaders on their way back to the finish. I clapped for the first few – they were flying – but then resumed my head down, run my own race, approach. These first 7km were nice and comfortable, not a walk in the park but not killing myself either.

My overall plan for the race was to not look at my watch and to just go with what felt comfortable for the first half and then look at pushing myself more for the last 10km. I stuck with that plan...mostly. I was pretty sure my pace was pretty good and a quick look at my watch in kilometre 9 showed that I was on track for a 10km PB. I just couldn't let that go, so pushed myself to hit it. I was disappointed that there wasn't a 10km timing mat but my watch time showed a 1:07:xx time which is by best to date! Hooray me!!

I felt that push in the next kilometre but knew I was due for a gel soon, so just let myself fall back into a comfortable pace. I took my gel at around the 11km mark and started counting down the finish. I was still passing people at this time so figured I couldn't have slowed down too much. The next few kilometres were uneventful. It was warming up by this stage and I could feel the sun beating down on me more and more. This was the part I was afraid of – I do not like the heat at all. The combination of heat and pausing for gel and water gave my body a chance to start staging a protest. My stomach was not a happy camper and I kept thinking I should stop at one of the loos on the way. But I really didn't want to stop running, so figured that until it got so bad I had to start walking (and I had a few long runs like that), then I wasn't going to have a “preventative” break.

At 14km I was well and truly into my end of race countdown, estimating the amount of running time I had left, based on 7:00min/km and reminding myself that a 7km run is nothing in the scheme of things (I always find it better to not think of what I've already covered).

And then at 17km I started flagging. My left leg had started to hurt, I was getting tired and just a bit too hot. I had to stop and try to stretch out my left hip during kilometre 18 and thankfully, this helped me out. After this pause I also took the time to look at my watch.

Oh! My! Goodness!

I had set my watch to track my progress against my goal pace to achieve my 2:30:00 goal finish time. According to good ol' Garmy, I was nearly 7 minutes up on this.

Insert minor panic attack here.

So, with 3km to go, I channelled all of my “fast finish” training runs. Unfortunately, my legs were fried and after about 500m post-stretch my left leg pain returned with a vengeance. My brain was saying go, my legs were saying no. There was nothing for it but to try and push through. I am not embarrassed to say there was some self encouragement going on in these kilometres. And this was out loud talking to myself going on here. Looking at my splits for these kilometres, you wouldn't know I was pushing myself.

I am happy to say I had nothing left in the tank at the end of the race. I attempted a sprint (fail!) but I managed a finish time of 2:23:12.

Seven minutes faster than my goal time.

11 minutes faster than my last half.

There were a few tears after the finish line – I was soooo proud of myself. For the pace I managed throughout the race (average pace of 6:47/km left me astounded); for the training I put in this time (oh, imagine what I could do if I actually really followed my training plan?!); for not letting the voice in my head during those painful last kilometres stop me.

So, would I rate the Gold Coast Half Marathon – definitely.

Will I be back – yes – it may not be until 2015 but I'll get there.

Next stop – Chicago Half Marathon (assuming I make it through what sounds like a very hot summer of training).

Monday, April 9, 2012

Long weekend love

Four day weekend! Happy times!

I was counting down the days until this mini-break and I have loved, loved, loved every minute of it.

I kicked off the weekend with a run along the Maribyrnong. According to the Training Plan I was supposed to do 2 x 2km repeats plus 10 minute warm up and cool down runs. Unfortunately, the shin splints were not yet feeling good so it became 10 minute walk warm up and cool down with 2 x 1.5km repeats instead. The walking wasn't my good focused walking either, as I was assisting with looking after my dad's new children...

These aren't my dad's actual dogs but you get the idea...
I'm not sure I got what I was supposed to out of that run but it was good to get out and walking with the boys always makes me happy.

I backed that run up with lots of DVD watching. I'm calling it part of my recovery because I'm sure sitting and lying on the couch is recommended shin splints treatment.

Because my legs still weren't feeling great, I decided to postpone my long run from Sunday to Monday - one of the many long weekend benefits. And then I didn't quite manage to get up this morning with the alarm to do said run before a scheduled breakfast date. But there was no way I wasn't getting the run in. So, today, I achieved a new first:

Midday long run

I let breakfast digest and left home at about 12.30pm. I had planned on running the Tan in the morning because it's lit and despite the fact that it was now the middle of the day, I continued with that plan. I eased in to the run, as I started pretty close to the bottom of the dreaded Anderson Street hill, and my first km was pretty slow. After that, km number 2 was sub-7:00 min (so excited! this now becoming the norm!) and then, it started raining. I've commented before that I don't mind running in the rain, and I stand by that assertion. Unfortunately, 10 seconds later it started hailing. I'm willing to put on record that I do not like running in a hail storm. It was only little hail but it stung and it was cold. Just as I made it to the end of my first lap of the Tan, the storm ended. I was very tempted to just pack it up and go home but figured I was already wet and unlikely to get any wetter so persevered.

Two more laps (including eight sub-7:00 min kms!) and a couple more showers later, I headed home. Feeling very smug - I'm sooo hard core, I ran in a hail storm (everyone else disappeared quick smart). Also feeling very cold and very wet. I was super happy to make it home to a nice hot shower.

Now, it's 5:00pm and I'm trying to work out if it's too early to go to bed...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shoulda known better

I went for my first official Gold Coast Half Marathon training run yesterday. I smashed out 6 x 500m repeats at a pace that actually started with a 5 (oh my goodness!).

It was a great run and I felt good the whole way through. I also got ridiculously sweaty. Hello Melbourne, it's the middle of autumn.

Then I went out again tonight - easy 50 minute run was on the cards. Ended up with a painful walk heavy run for 44 minutes. Oh shin splints, how I have not missed you.

I am now sitting on the couch with ice packs strapped to both legs.


To improve my night, I've entered a give away over on Fit Body Fifty. I suggest you take a look...but don't enter because that will reduce my chances of winning! :)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Run for the Kids

Hooray! Run for the Kids is done.

I was very happy with my time - 1:43:xx which means I was sub 7:15 minute/km average pace. Unfortunately, my legs are feeling every one of those 14.38km!

The run felt so much better than last time. I felt good the whole way through, with the exception of coming out of the tunnel (so hot!) but once I'd managed to cool myself down (relative to the about to pass out feeling post-tunnel) I was back on track. The Bolte Bridge include and Collins Street were no tougher than I expected and I kept going the whole way. Again, this is a significant improvement on 2010.

I was left questioning whether I would want to do the run again, a couple of kilometres short of the finish, and then about 200m from the finish a saw a woman just in front of me, carrying a photo of a sick little one in the hospital. I nearly started crying at this point! And decided I would definitely be back next year because not only do I get to do the run but money goes to Royal Children's Hospital, and that's worth it.

Now, don't ask me how I'm going to manage 21.1km at the Gold Coast in 13 weeks. The prospect of another 7km is making my legs even more tired that they currently are!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Feeling the running love

Only three more days until Run for the Kids.

This run is now "just another training run" as I have decided to the Gold Coast Half Marathon in 13 weeks. Which is not to say I won't give Run for the Kids a bit of a racing effort but I'm not going to thrash myself doing it.

I'm feeling pretty good at the moment. My shin splits are troubling me a bit but I can manage that if I keep the stretching and foam rolling up.

I was feeling the running love before run group tonight (last one until Run Melbourne training starts - I think I'll do that one and add a couple of Monday nights to make up for the weeks I won't do because Gold Coast is two weeks earlier) but new it was for real after I downloaded my Garmin stats.

So, you have to use your imagination a little bit, but that totally looks like a heart - right? I love running and running loves me!

Even more exciting is the Citylink sitting under the heart there - that's the Domain tunnel that I will be running through on Sunday!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Smashed it!

I had an awesome time trial tonight!

I took two and a half minutes off my last time. I knew I was going "fast" and that freaked me out about half way through, so I walked for a bit and then got back into it.

Nothing else to add - I'm so stoked at the improvement and hope that I translate that into massive improvements for Run for the Kids.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

What I learned today

Tonight I ran in the Victoria University River Run.

Here's a bridge I ran over.
I love the Maribyrnong River. It's very pretty.

I did this run last year. Last year the course was 8km and I was massively unfit and under-trained. This year the course was 10km and I am feeling much fitter and much more confident in my training. Having said that, I struggled. Here's what I learned from the experience:

I do not like running in the afternoon/evening/night. My tummy doesn't like running. It gets angry when I put things in it (such as water) and then run. Unfortunately, common sense says water is important when running in the heat. Plus, I am a morning person, which means a 5.50pm start for a run is at least 12 hours too late.

I do not like running up hills. This was not really a new discovery for me. The stupid and ridiculous hill in the second kilometer was a surprise, however. I know I have some ridiculous hills ahead of me in Run for the Kids, so I used this as training for that. But running up hills that I didn't know were coming make me mad.

I ran way too fast in the first kilometer. This was one I wasn't expecting. I was 30 seconds faster than I would have planned (had I really planned this race) for that kilometer. Maybe that was good given I virtually started going backwards by kilometer number two but is not ideal in the scheme of finishing faster than you start.

I pay too much attention to what's going on in my head. I spent 90% of this run with negative thoughts in my head. "My stomach is unsettled." "My legs are tired." "It's too hot." "I can't run up this hill." "My knee hurts." "Blah, blah, blah, blah."

Is it any wonder that I struggled?

My running training is paying off. I got to the last 100m of the race (give or take) and my pace really picked up. I got the the last 50m and I sprinted to the finish line. A real sprint (I'm pretty sure the Australian Olympic selection panel currently trying to find out who I am). I could never have run like that before I started with my running group. Unfortunately, that sprint also tells me that I could have pushed myself sooooo much more for the rest of the race.

I'm not all that good at using races as training runs. I had planned on running this as part of my 13km training run. I didn't run the remaining 3kms I needed to make the 13. I didn't run the race like a training run. I am thinking of heading out tomorrow morning for about 4 to 5kms to make up for it but will see how I feel in the morning.

I desperately need to stretch, roll and strengthen. My legs are rapidly getting worse. I need to make the time to do my exercises and get my stretches in.

And there you go. Lots of learnings from tonight. I'd like to have learnt my time but, unfortunately, I neglected to stop my watch at the finish line. Results are out tomorrow so we'll see how I went then.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Why routine is good

Monday's running experiment was a fail. The track was pretty in places but far too hilly (including a section of stairs) and too many cyclists coming around blind corners very fast. I didn't enjoy myself and spent most of the time fearing for my safety.

Run group Wednesday night was good - we did lactate stackers and I felt really good about my form in the high intensity sections. My legs felt the running though, likely because I've been terrible with keeping up my foam rolling. I am much happier having two pairs of shoes in rotation though. I don't have any scientific data to back it up but it makes the running so much better.

Hello my pretties!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

And exhale...

OK, so it's been forever since I checked in. This is predominantly because of a reoccurring theme in my life at the moment, where I never stop working. Hooray for the Labour Day holiday today!!! It's given me a chance to catch my breath.

Things got pretty bad a couple of weeks ago, to the point where I was physically ill from the stress of it all plus had an anxiety attack in the middle of run group. Turns out when you add adrenaline to your system by "sprinting" (relative term), on top of the adrenaline you've already got running around in your system from stress, it gets a bit too much. It really took me by surprise and is not an experience I'd like have again.

But that's the past and I'm not going to dwell.

The running is going great. I haven't done as much as I would like but I'm getting my long runs in and maintaining a reasonable pace. I ran into a friend (we were headed opposite directions) during my long run yesterday - it took both of us a couple of strides to click that we knew each other. He turned around and ran three kms with me until I had to turn around and head back. I'd forgotten how great it is to run with someone - those kms together were the easiest of my 11km total. Thankfully though, my pace didn't change after we went our separate ways.

Next weekend I've got the River Run which I plan to use as my long run. I'm doing the 10km and then I'll add two or three on top of that. I did this run last year, although it was only 8km then. It's not my favourite time, with a 5:50pm start but I need to challenge myself to run outside my comfort zone.

To celebrate today's holiday, I'm thinking of trying a new route for this afternoon's run and heading north/north-west on the Capital City Trail. Fingers crossed I don't get lost!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

My week in running

I have had a massive week with work – I know you don’t care about the details but to give some context, I had two days where I spent five hours in the car just getting to and from where my clients were and still had to put in an eight hour work day. This has resulted in Not Enough Exercise.

Here’s what I did do:

I made it to my running group on Wednesday night where we did the tan time trial. Not my best time but certainly not bad for a summer run (for me). I’m looking forward to seeing how much I can improve over the next eight weeks or so.

The Tan (source)

I also managed my long run home work today. I knocked out 7kms in 51 minutes or so – this was adopting a run one song, walk one song for most of the time and non-stop running for kilometres three and five. The reason for the walk one/run one method? – my lack of stretching and strengthening has resulted in a cranky knee and twingey calf.

Here’s what I didn’t do:

Monday night homework (naughty girl) as this was one of my big driving days, so that’s down on the “to do” list for next week.

Either of the two RPM classes I wanted to.

Next Week
Thankfully, there’s a forecast of lovely cool weather for the week – hooray!, so I’m thinking this might be a good week for running.

12 Goals for 2012 - January Round Up

Back at the beginning of the year, full of optimism, I created 12 goals for 2012. Here’s how I’m going so far (I admit, I have stolen this recap idea from Diet Girl).

January goal: 100 days challenge – to move every day for at least 30 minutes

January progress: I managed to move 15 days out of 31 days in January (~50%).

January assessment: I’m disappointed that I didn’t keep the momentum from the beginning of the month going once I returned back to work. Acknowledging that it is just an excuse, my trip to PNG threw me and then the pressures of 31 December reporting have taken a toll since my return.

January learnings: I’m going to have to plan better, get up earlier and exercise at times I’m not comfortable with if I want to make better progress on this goal.

February goal: This month is stretch and strengthen month. It’s now 4 February and I’ve not gone so well on this but there’s still time!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The day I did a two hour RPM class

And now desperately want to sleep. It's 3.00pm, so not really a sleeping time.

This could be me...if I were a know what I mean though

"How was the class?", I hear you ask.

It was massively sweaty. I was massively sweaty. The guy next to me was massively, massively sweaty. I'm talking HUGE puddle on the floor sweaty. Puddle so big it was running under my bike and onto the girl on the other side. Sorry, that's fairly gross, but I gotta report the facts.

The first part of the class was just a standard sort of RPM class - warm up, hills, intervals, racing, etc. After the first hour we moved onto a hard track, recovery track, repeat mode. I'm here to tell you that recovery tracks are still ridiculously hard and even more so the more you do. I will admit to not using as much resistance as I possibly could have throughout the class but I was focussed on making it to the end and worried I might burn out if I went too hard, too early.

Turns out it was a good call because I nearly died. I would have been just a little dead, however, dead none the less.

I made it to the end though (a few people pulled out early - is it wrong to thing I'm so much better than them?). I was so happy (and so tired) when it finished I did nearly have a little cry. Weird, right? I am a cryer though, so probably not so much. Crying is my body's way of expressing emotion. I channelled my crying into clapping, which we all did.

I am now enjoying an afternoon of listening to the Triple J Hottest 100 - it's practically compulsory if you're Australian - soon to be followed by a nanna nap and then some work (boo!). The sensible part of me is saying I need to do a pretty significant foam rolling session too (double boo!).

It's Wednesday and I ran

First run group was tonight and thankfully it was a little cooler today than it has been because I still nearly died. Yes, nearly died. I'm not exaggerating...much.

Tonight's session was intervals plus some technique drills. Reassuringly, I felt ill during the warm up! I pushed through, took walk breaks when I thought I was about to throw up (fabulous side effect of the heat for me) and ended up covering just over 5km for the night.

It's so frustrating that I struggled so much tonight when Sunday's run was longer and faster and nowhere near as hard.

Luckily, to detract from tonight's failure (because that's what it feels like), I have tomorrow's epic RPM session to look forward to.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Too much of a good thing?

Back to the gym today for RPM. Good class with lots of sweating involved - always ideal for a RPM class.

Tomorrow is running group - I can't wait!!

Then, I have signed up for RPM on Thursday too. But this is no ordinary class, it's an Australia Day special that goes for 2 hours. I seriously think it's too much but I'm doing it anyway. I can spend the rest of the day sleeping to recover if required - hooray for holidays!

What do you think? Crazy?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I don't like summer

Controversial, I know.

I don't like being sweaty when I've done nothing to warrant it. Sure, if I work out, sweat is perfect. If I'm doing nothing, sweat is wrong.

But, it's summer, so I really just have to suck it up.

And, on a completely unrelated note: I had lovely Maribyrnong River run this morning - hooray for not being in PNG anymore! I ended up doing a bridge to bridge loop with an end of run hairpin - 6km in total. Without paying any attention to my pace (which was super slow) I managed five very consistent kilometer splits, only 4 seconds difference between them. I'm pretty stoked about that.

I start running group again on Wednesday. The means 10 weeks until my nemesis run "Run for the Kids" is on. I drove the Domain Tunnel and Bolte Bridge section of the run today and reminded myself how long, steep and unshaded it is. Yay?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sad Monday

Headed back to work today after a glorious two week break. Although today was a bit of a cheat as I spent the day flying and not really working. What's more, the internet wasn't working when we arrived so I couldn't even check my emails.

While the day was fairly cruisy, I did have to get up at 3.30 in the morning to catch my first flight.

As predicted, there was no exercise today. This makes me sad. Tomorrow is a new day and I hope will be more successful.

In addition to the lack of sleep and exercise, today is sad Monday as it marks the return of "professional hair". I am not ashamed to admit that over the holiday period, and despite the hot weather, I implemented a no brush/no wash system for my gym sweaty hair. I found that sweat worked as a sort of natural hairspray and assisted in keeping my hair out of my face and in a secure ponytail (please note, secure does not necessarily equal tidy). I feel this may be frowned upon in my professional services office.

I'm also sad that I can no longer go to midday classes and that I've had to create a schedule to fit in my running and gymming once I return to normality.

To avoid this post being a total whinge session, I will finish on a positive note and be happy about the Internet coming back on while we were out getting dinner AND be happy because there were six different vegetables being served at dinner, which is awesome! I love lots of vegetables, especially when two of them are brussell sprouts and yellow squash.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Two for Sunday

100 days challengeDay 8 of the 100 days challenge is completed with a Body Pump class. I swear I'm going to be in some serious pain tomorrow. I really liked today's instructor - she did a lot of position demonstrations to make sure everyone was doing the moves correctly. Plus we did triceps and shoulders (unlike the other classes I've done where it's been either or).

I'm not sure how I'm going to go with exercise tomorrow though. My first flight is at 6.00am and I don't arrive until 5.30pm. I won't have time to fit anything in before the club closes and therefore any chance of food and I'm not sure that it's safe to go out after. I might see about doing a few rounds of the airport in-between flights. 30 minutes of intentional movement is all I need to meet the challenge.

The risks of living room dance parties
I was feeling a bit flat yesterday so I put my living room dance party mix on to pick me up. On the train on my way to the gym this morning I put on my iPod (mostly to distract me from the very drunk guys in the carriage) and the living room dance party mix was still playing. The distraction method worked quite well and two songs in I caught myself mid-dance...still on the train. I'm sure I impressed the non-drunk passengers with my amazing moves.

Lesson learned - the living room dance party mix is for at home only and should not be used in public. I think the very drunk guys probably kept most of the attention off me so it's unlikely that I need to move house due to the humiliation.

Friday, January 6, 2012

And she ran!

The alarm went of at 5.30am. I got up at 8.00am and felt sure it was too late to go out. There's a forecast of 31 degrees today and that's 20 degrees warmer than I like.

Plus, when it's later there's more people and as I feel like a fraud when I run, I don't really like being out with others.

Bet I said yesterday I'd run. And, let's be honest, I've been slack for far too long and the longer I go without running the less likely I am to run (don't ask me why it works that way, it just does).

So, before the doubting voice in my head could take control I threw on some running gear and headed out the door.

I suggest that you ensure that you're sitting down before you read the next bit...ready?

I was fine.

Yes, it was hot and I resemble a cartoon character with how red my face is. Yes, there were lots of other people out. Yes, I struggled a lot and ran exceptionally slow. But nobody pointed and laughed and I didn't die from heatstroke.

I did 6km (3km out and back), with some walk breaks, mostly on the way back. After uploading my Garmin data I can see why - it's pretty much downhill on the way out and therefore uphill on the way back.

It's nice to see I wasn't just imagining it

I'm booked in for Body Pump tomorrow and then I head to PNG for 12 days. I'm hopeful of keeping moving on the non-travel days. Given the limited amount of room I have in my bag, I'd better make sure I use my running gear!! I'm getting much better at packing but it still takes me a couple of goes to get everything in and the suitcase closed!

Late night living room dance party

That was Thursday.

RPM today. Not quite as exciting but definitely more sweaty.

Days 5 & 6 - done.

Tomorrow is think a run will be on the cards.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Trying new things

The hot spell in Melbourne has finally broken and I can return to my regular routine. After four hot nights in a row I am feeling seriously sleep deprived.

Weather whinging now over.

Today I tried my first pilates reformer class.

This is something I've wanted to do for a while but was always too scared to try. I mean, if you look at that thing, it's certainly got a look of medieval torture instrument to it.

I enjoyed the class and suspect I will feel it tomorrow. I don't think I got all the moves down right (I'm pretty sure that my hip joints are not suposed to make the noises that they did) and I felt how weak I am in a number of areas. Looks like I've got another class to add to the list.

Hooray for day 4 of the 100 days challenge being done too!

Monday, January 2, 2012

12 goals for 2012

Before I get into the goals for 2012, today marked a successful day 3 of the 100 days challenge. I made it to RPM, with only a brief consideration of skipping it. So glad, as always, that I didn't. Great class with a different instructor tonight. She usually takes the Monday night class, so once I get past the crazy busy season at work I might add that class to my gym repertoire.

Now, onto the plans for the year ahead.

I've gone with 12 goals, which semi-equates to one goal per month. Some goals will take longer than one month or won't fit easily into a one a month but I think that makes it more manageable. Plus 12 for 2012 sort of fit (not that I think I'll be going 13 for 2013, etc).

1. Exercise every day for 100 days (100 days challenge)
I've already mentioned this one. Keep moving for at least 30 minutes for 100 days. Three days down, 97 to go!

2. Stretch & Strengthen
This goal is a continuation of something I tried to work on in 2011. To keep running and keep moving injury free, I need to stretch and do my physio exercises. I will start work on this on my return from my work trip later this month.

3. Complete three half marathons
2011 was the year of 10kms. 2012 will be the year of half marathons. First one is scheduled for July - Run Melbourne here I come.

4. Stay connected
With all my moving around the countryside, I've got friends scattered left, right and centre. And I don't keep in touch with them quite as much as I could. I will work on changing this.

5. No waste month
For a single gal who lives alone, I manage to generate a lot of rubbish. So for one month (probably May) I will work towards generating as little waste as possible.

6. Compliment someone and myself every day for a month
June will be my compliment month. This goal is about recognising my strengths and increasing positivity (is that actually a word?) in my world.

7. Nutrition revision
I am the first one to admit, my diet is RUBBISH. This will take a major effort to fix, so to start off I will choose one area to improve each month, starting in March. I'm realistic enough to know that the work hours and travel in January and February won't be conducive to success.

8. Declutter and keep tidy
I have too much stuff and not enough room to store it all. When my home is disorganised, I can't concentrate and have insufficient room to do the things I want to do (for example, goal 2). In 2012 I will ensure I completely tidy once a week and will declutter one "storage area" a month.

9. Climb the 1000 steps
This is an easy one to do. There's a walk in Melbourne called the 1000 steps. The name essentially says what it is. It's a bit of hike from my house but worth the effort. A great work out in beautiful scenery.

10. Superannuation
Because I don't want to have to live on rice and beans when I'm old.
Part one - consolidate super
Part two - any payrise for the year (fingers crossed!) goes directly to superannuation

11. Go to the ballet
I said I wanted to do this I don't know how many times last year. This year, it will happen.

12. Pay out car loan
This goal is likely to be a challenge. I bought a new car last year and borrowed pretty much the full amount. I don't like being in debt for something that doesn't hold its value so I would love to get this paid off.

There you go. It's a lot on my plate and the majority will be a challenge for me. Plus they all need some work to be SMART (and thereby increase they're liklihood of success). But what are goals if they don't push against the status quo?

Chris is...

  • RPMing
  • Body Pumping
  • walking

not running :(

Absolutely loving having leave. The freedom I have with my time has been a welcome break and given me the opportunity to get back into regular movement. Over the past week I've been doing plenty of things but not actually running.

As much as getting in some hot weather running is one of my goals, our current temps have just been too much for me. Thursday is looking good with a minimum of 13, which is a distinct improvement on today's max of 40. Phew.

To keep myself on track for keeping moving, I've registered for a 100 days challenge. This will be a real test when I'm back in Papua New Guinea next week. My goal is to get up around sunrise and do a couple of laps of the residential loop where we stay. It may not be interesting but it's safe.

Yesterday, on another ridiculously hot day, I went to see sand sculptures down on the Bay. They were pretty cool.
The theme is toy based and all of the usual suspects were there. The best part was that when you took a second look you discovered so much more than you saw the first time.

Coming soon, my list of things to do in 2012.