Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Right here, right now (Fatboy Slim)

So its the end of another year.

2008 has been and is almost gone; 2009 is just around the corner.

So have you made your new year's resolutions?

Normally I don't buy into the whole new year's resolutions thing given the propensity for people to make rash new year's resolutions and then fail to see them through.

However this time I've decided to set some goals. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

After a not so great 2008 I'm planning on having a really fine 2009!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Are you gonna go my way (Lenny Kravitz)

This morning I met up with two fruits and softshoeshuffle for a run taking in Black Mountain, gunbarrel and Dairy Farmers hill, among others. I was on time but I had forgotten my drink bottles and carrier. Fortunately both guys had brought extra drinks. This was my first 'real', hilly off-road run since the 'back' incident 3 weeks ago so I wasn't sure how I'd fare. However, last week I managed a total of 45km for the week, 16km of this was on flat cycle paths, and then I graduated to off-road trails. However not all is peachy just yet - I have developed a sore left achilles and left groin muscle, both of which apparently relate back to my 'back' incident.

Our run started with a run up Black Mountain (which I walked) and then backtracking down the path we had just come up. I was running downhill very carefully because downhill running puts more strain on my back at the moment so the guys ran away from me. No problem, I knew where they were going....or so I thought. I got to the bottom and no-one was there. Funny I could've sworn I didn't pass them on the way down, so where were they? Seems like I was too engrossed in listening to my music and watching my footing to take any notice of where they were going and I missed a turn-off. Luckily two fruits had come back for me, envisaging I had either done a CJ or my back had given way. Then we made our way back to where he had left softshoeshuffle, only to find he wasn't there. Oh dear, this run was going really well!

We eventually regrouped and started off again, along familiar territory (for me) in Black Mt nature park and then it was time to head across to Stromlo. Without thinking I was heading for the shortest way across, which in this case was a road (part of Glenloch Interchange). Not a good idea! Instead we followed the cycle path underpass - a much safer route.

The rest of the run had its highs and lows for me but this had more to do with my lack of running for the past 3 weeks rather than any pain or niggles. The weather also was starting to change - we started in warm sunny weather but a large black cloud was looming and the wind was picking up some strength.

Finally Black Mt peninsula came into sight - oh what a reassuring sight to see my car! I ran close to 24km this morning - some of it easy, some of it hard but as always, with great company. I know I wouldn't do half of what we did if it wasn't for the moral support and the 'just being there' that I get from running with these guys. So a big thanks and hugs to two fruits and softshoeshuffle.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

And a good time was had by all......

Last night it was the final dinner for the year for the Speedygeese group. The dinner was at Phnom Penh restaurant in Belconnen. Despite the fact that I don't think I have turned up to even one session this year at Parliament House, I would like to think I am part of the speedygeese group in spirit so attended the dinner. It was a great night - great company, lots of laughs (could be the drugs!), and great food. So thanks Geoff for organising the dinner - I'm sure everyone had an enjoyable night. I know I did.

Now if only I could run off all this extra food I am consuming at this time of the year!!!!!

Update on injury - I'm actually not feeling too bad this morning. The back was taped yesterday so that helps. Will go for a walk after work - I have been given permission by my physio.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Never assume anything!

Last Tuesday I injured myself and it wasn't through running - so no I didn't do a CJ (I saw your comment Ewen!).

It had to with a frozen computer, a desk and power cords underneath the desk. That is, my work computer froze during log-on, the on/off switch wouldn't work, hitting it definitely didn't work so this meant I had to crawl under my desk to pull the power plugs out of the power board (or whatever it's called), as we don't have power switches up on the desk. I gave the cord a yank, hit my head on the underneath part of my desk and thought that was it.....until I went to stand up..........and couldn't. My lower back went into painful spasms and I had to get back on the floor until it settled down.

Since then I have been to the doctor, the physio (three times), and for acupuncture (twice). I'm on muscle relaxant medication plus anti-inflammatories. The back went into spasms again Sunday night but since the acupuncture it has settled down so now I'm feeling almost human and not likely to snap anyone's head off or burst into tears. I have another lot of acupuncture Thursday afternoon - I have to admit I've been impressed with the results so far.

Then we fly to the Gold Coast Friday afternoon for son #3's graduation from Griffith University which is on Saturday afternoon. Then we fly home Sunday.

I miss my running.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A sad day

This afternoon I heard the saddest news: Dual Commonwealth Games marathon gold medallist Kerryn McCann has died from cancer at the age of 41.

Kerryn McCann was aged 38 when she provided one of the dramatic highlights of Melbourne's 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Exchanging the lead several times with Kenyan Hellen Cherono Koskei as they approached the MCG, Kerryn hit the front and entered the stadium to a massive roar from the crowd.

As the pair battled the final stretch around the stadium, Kerryn lost the lead before summoning an inspiring home straight burst to eclipse Koskei and snatch victory by two seconds.

She described it as 'probably the greatest victory I've ever had, or the greatest race I've ever run'.

An inspirational woman, athlete and mother.

Its a long way to the top......

but it had nothing to do with rock'n'roll! Saturday's run was the hardest, toughest run since.....since... since the last time I walked/ran Mt Tennent.

I really only saw Mick and Nick before we started and then only in passing, usually when I was walking up as they were running down Mt Tennent, and they were looking relatively fresh in comparison. Steve, softshoeshuffle, JK and I ran together in parts or met up at the summit once or twice.

The first ascent from the Visitors Centre is rocky, steep and not for the faint-hearted (Strewth, you'd hate it!). I rolled my ankle not far from the start but fortunately it wasn't serious and for a while I didn't say anything because I didn't want to jinx myself. The only times I really noticed anything was when I stopped running or during the final descent back down to the Visitors centre, when the ankle was aching a bit. (Today - Monday - it's fine).

We passed a group of bushwalkers on the way up to the top for the first time, then some of the same group on the descent to Bushfold Flats, and then again on the final descent. Otherwise it was just us crazy runners. As mentioned I walked a good part of the uphills and even that was really hard work. But I'm stubborn and I was determined to get to the top for the second time even if it took all day. That, and the fact I had run out of water and there was a water tank at the top!

However, it felt so good to finally finish back at the cars - five hours (4hr 30min running time), 30.5km and 2,323 calories later! Not only because it had been a tough gruelling run but because I had completed it - despite a lot of walking. The run may not have been fast, it was definitely not pretty but I did it.....and I have DOMS to prove it!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Rest day

No running, no gymming; instead a well earned rest day to recuperate and recover.

Today I came aross this quote:

It comes from a book called Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins. The character named Amanda is listening to an FBI agent go on about courage, trying to get her to give up her husband's location. She responds with:

"Courage? You risked your life, but what else have you ever risked? Have you ever risked disapproval? Have you ever risked a belief? There's nothing particularly courageous in risking one's life. So you lose it. You go to your hero's heaven and everything is milk and honey til the end of time, right? You get your reward and suffer no earthly consequences. That's not courage. Real courage is risking something you have to keep on living with. Real courage is risking something that might force you to rethink your thoughts, and suffer change, and stretch consciousness. Real courage is risking one's cliches."


Hope everyone had a good day.


Tomorrow: 16km off-road run in my new, you-beaut off-road shoes, before breakfast.

Gym at lunchtime.

End of year assessment in client screening and assessment in the evening - and then classes are finished for the year. Yay!!!!

Monday, December 01, 2008

From Innabaayna to Tuggeranong

Groundhog day.

Alarm went off at 7am - turned it off, dozed off.

Woke up - blinked, blinked again, rubbed eyes - 8am.

From bed to Innabaayna (site of last Vets run for the year, out on Majura Rd) - in 45-50min including coffee on the run.

I was in Group 33 as I'm still paying the price for a really good run back in February 2006 and as happened last month, all the back runners passed me before the turnaround, or just after. It was beginning to look like I would come in last because I'm sure everyone passed me and I hadn't passed anyone. The legs felt heavy to start with and any hill brought me to a shuffle but I was gradually getting into my stride - it just takes time. I kept Steve in sight but really all I was trying to do was run at a comfortable pace.

I finished 80th (of 94 participants) in about 34.28min, an average of around 5min/km pace. Not too shabby after Saturday's run.

Then yesterday evening I went with some work colleagues to see Joe Camilieri (sp?) and the Black Sorrows who were playing at the Tuggeranong Festival, down by the lake. It was a great night followed by fireworks. However the coffee I had at 8.45pm (late by my standards) meant I had a very sub-standard night's sleep.

This morning I was at the gym doing a weights session followed by 30min cardio intervals on the bike. My legs are still feeling a little sluggish but not too bad.

The 4WD in running shoes

On Saturday Steve, softshoeshuffle, JK and I met up at the Cotter for our weekly long run. We had arranged to meet at 7.15pm at the t-junction of Cotter Rd and Urriara Rd to make a decision about where to run based on the weather, just in case it was like last Saturday all over again. The plan was to get up early (about 5.30-ish), have breakfast and then head off to meet them at the designated time. Instead it panned out like this - alarm goes off at 5.30am, turn it off, lie there thinking about getting up, doze off, wake again at…what's that…surely not….6.40am, launch myself out of bed, mad dash to cupboard to find necessary running gear, sprint to the kitchen to make the absolutely essential coffee, whip up a blend of banana, milk and protein powder (breakfast), frantically grab miscellaneous items needed for running such as Garmin, ipod, cap, sunnies, shoes etc, etc, and I was out the door. Somehow I managed to make it to the meeting point on time (ok, maybe I was a couple of minutes late).

I hate runs that start with an uphill - this was one of them. And it kept going up courtesy of Mt McDonald - my calves were hating it with a passion. Lovely view at the top once the calf cramps eased off. I was also wearing my new you beaut 4WD in running shoes - the Salomon XT Wings.



"Looking for more speed and power? Try Salomon’s new top of the line all terrain running shoe, the XT WINGS. With solid foot support and excellent grip, this lightweight and versatile shoe allows easy running on a wide variety of terrain, from flat sandy fire trails to steep rocky singletrack. The new Agile Chassis System (ACS) provides a perfect balance of cushioning, stability and responsiveness. Quick-drying breathable mesh provides ventilation for the entire foot, while the soles of your feet remain fresh and odour-free thanks to a special anti-microbial treatment. Salomon’s innovative Quicklace™ system ensures the shoes deliver a snug fit with just one pull."

These shoes are amazing - rocky rough trails - no problem. Downhills - no problem. I am morphing into the Downhill Demon - a big turnaround from the previous Downhill Dunce that I was. Don't get me wrong, I still have a lot more work to do on my downhill running but these shoes have given me the confidence, so look out knees! Now, if only Salomon could develop a shoe that helps make uphill running easier!! (or getting out of bed in the morning a lot easier!)

So in summary there were hills, downhills, lots of talking and laughing (especially about Zits - a comic strip in the Canberra Times), lots of swearing under breath (from me as I was struggling up hills), music (when the going gets tough, the music goes on), muscles going lactic, a snake, standing in cool water, sunshine then cool breezes, and a coffee man who didn't hang around to take our orders (bah humbug).

I think we ran about 31km in around 3hr 10min (running time). Next week: Mt Tennent. Enough said…….

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Winter in November

The plan was to run the Cotter. With great trepidation I drove out to the Cotter, the weather matching my mood - it was grey, cold and miserable. However by the time the guys (Two Fruits and softshoeshuffle) showed up and we unanimously agreed to run around Lake Burley Griffin instead, I was feeling much more confident of making the distance.

Not long after we arrived at Black Mountain peninsular several more cars showed up containing some very familiar faces: Roger, Maria, Peter, Helen, and Charlie. Time for a quick chat and then we (me, two fruits and softshoeshuffle) were off around West basin. The weather wasn't too bad - not exactly shorts and singlet weather (i was wearing several layers) but there were patches of blue sky and sunshine.

However can't say the same for the last 8km we ran once the others left for coffee (sob!). It was bitterly cold, windy and I'm positive there was a touch of sleet. It was miserable but I wanted to get in 25km for the day so there was nothing for it but to tough it out. Also by this stage my legs were feeling it - they were very tired. However it was with great satisfaction when we completed the 25km. I was going to treat myself to an Italian hot chocolate at Belconnen markets (its not dissimilar to a cup of melted chocolate rather than the insipid hot cocoa-type chocolate you usually get) but they don't sell it anymore (double sob!).

Today I feel fine - no soreness or tightness in the legs. I attribute that to the wonderful epsom salts bath I had last night - it was bliss.

The weather is still the same - wet, cool and miserable but its doing the garden a lot of good. Our strawberries are going crazy and they are so delicious - they may be small but so sweet. Just great with dark chocolate - for the antioxidants of course!!!!

Tomorrow the plan is to go to the gym before breakfast/work for a weight session (back and biceps) plus a 30min hard cardio session on the exercise bike.
Tomorrow night I will be assessed on instruction in resistance exercises for the abs/back and arms, plus on one piece of cardio equipment(bike, crosstrainer, stepper or dreadmill). I've been studying today and using son #2 as a guinea pig!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Stop the treadmill, I want to get off!

I have been busy busy busy. Trying to fit in going to the gym for weights sessions and a cardio session, plus slowly building up my running, as well as turning up to work and trying to get through my inbox. Oh and family…yes….remembering to at least sight them once a day for more than a passing glance! It has been very hectic this week. I can't believe one long weekend (last weekend), having half of today and all of tomorrow off, and going to Melbourne would generate this much activity….but it has. I'll be so glad to get on that plane tomorrow (it is Qantas so keep fingers crossed) and just sit there for an hour or so and tune out.

The original plan for going to Melbourne, many months ago now, was to run the marathon. Then this was revised to the half marathon. This was changed to the 10km. Now I'm going to a Gluten-free expo which happens to be on this weekend, at the Exhibition Centre. These days little things like this can get me very excited! So no Ewen, no running for me this weekend.

Thanks SpeedyG for your thought - I am definitely feeling much better now and my running kinda resembles running these days.

iliketoast / Tesso - chocolate, on the whole, is gluten-free. How cool is that!!! (ok there are things I can't eat chocolate-wise but there is still enough for me to occasionally indulge in) And Tesso, you commented previously about Gym Maintenance 101 - or more precisely asked what it was. As part of my Cert 3 Fitness course, we have to look at the equipment in the gym and the types of things that can go wrong, break down, loosen, etc and how to repair them (or at least the basic uncomplicated stuff). Very underwhelming but I'm sure its very useful information. My usual response however when things break down is to delegate!

Monday, October 06, 2008

An entree

I finally feel like I am well on my way to full recovery. This morning I ran a 6km interval session and I felt great during and after the run. Lately each run has been really hard work, the pace has been oh so slow, and I've been so relieved to finish - I really wasn't enjoying it. But I persevered because I missed the feeling of freedom when running and I knew it must still be there somewhere. And today I tasted it again - an entree so to speak! Admittedly it was only 6km and the pace would not be considered fast by many people but for me oh boy, it felt so good. Woo hoo!

And fortunately I managed to fit my run in during the morning because then the showers came and it got very soggy and very cool outside.

Then this afternoon I did a lower body and arms weights session. Can't you see my halo sparkling?!

Plus this weekend I also managed to complete and lodge 4 tax returns and complete my Cert 3 Fitness assignment - a maintenance log and schedule for 2 types of pin loaded weight machines, a cardiovascular machine and free weights (now that was exciting - NOT!). And the reason for all of this activity?

We are having a long weekend next weekend in Melbourne - can't wait!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Not all rice crackers are created equal

This I learned the hard day last night/this morning. Last night while at class (doing the ever-exciting Gym Maintenance 101) I had some rice crackers. The person who was offering assured me they were fine to eat and silly me, I also assumed they would be fine. Not so!

A night of sweats, bloating and headaches and a morning of severe stomach pains and other symptoms - all this from a couple of suspect rice crackers.

Then I received a very apologetic call from one very upset friend. She thought she had packed the gluten-free rice crackers for class but had mistakenly packed the other ones instead - ones containing gluten.

Oh well - live and learn. But I will be more careful next time someone offers me a snack.

Mullet Monday

This entry is not about running.

After all you really don't want to hear that "I ran 5km, it was hard; or geez I struggled in that 8km I ran on the weekend". Boring.......

At the moment my running is just not that interesting (if it ever was). My goal hasn't changed - I am still aiming for SFT in 2009, though at the moment it feels like I am at the bottom of one of those huuuuge hills wondering how on earth I am going to make it up to the top!!!!

So there won't be too many running entries until things get a bit more interesting than the slow 5km - 8km along the cycle path.

However I did go to the gym Monday lunchtime. Now this is a time of the day that I don't usually go to the gym but I was too tired that morning to get out of bed to do anything that looked remotely more active than eating breakfast, showering etc!! So I made a promise to myself that I would go to the gym at lunchtime. Now this is usually a hollow promise - one where mentally I go "yeah, yeah - until it gets to lunchtime and then there will be a brief to do, someone to ring, a meeting to go to, or more importantly a coffee date". But I kept my promise and found myself in my gym gear in a busy gym at lunchtime.

What struck me first was the number of young guys were there - they must be from the nearby college. The next thing that struck me - I didn't know mullets were back in style! Boys, boys, boys - the mullet style is not stylish, trendy or god forbid, sexy. What on earth has possessed you to adopt this ridiculous style? Apologies to anyone reading who is a fan of mullet hairstyles but for me it conjures up scary memories of Billy Ray Cyrus *shudder* The mullet is up there with those 'orrible little rats tails that some guys have - you know the ones - they have either shaved their heads or its very very short but they persist with either a little fringe or a rats tail or both. *double shudder*.

So there you go. Now you know one of my pet hates!

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Road to Six Foot Track 2009……

This morning I started running. Or more specifically, I started the Couch to 5km program – a program I have actually used with work colleagues and my son, all of whom were non-runners. However at my current level of fitness and dodgy health status, I thought it was probably an appropriate starting point for me too!

The session this morning started with a 5min brisk walk warm up, followed by 8 x 1min jog (90sec walk). I began really well, I thought. It was like, wow, I haven’t forgotten how to run, I’m not huffing and puffing, this is good. By the 5th 1min jog, it was more like gosh, how many more of these blasted intervals do I have left, it’s a bit harder than I thought, where’s my puffer?! But in all honesty it did feel good to be back outdoors and doing something that vaguely resembles physical exercise. After 6 weeks of doing bugger all, this felt great…..after I had got my breath back and my heart rate had dropped from alarming levels.

In five months I will be running Six Foot track. Today was the just the beginning of that journey!

Monday, September 01, 2008

The light at the end of the tunnel

It has only taken me all of the month of August but I think I am finally recovering from a bout of pneumonia, which was further compounded by sinusitis and complicated by a recent diagnosis of Coeliac disease. So I think I’ll just forget the month of August and move on….

Today is the first day of Spring and Mother Nature has certainly laid the weather on – gorgeous sunny blue sky, no clouds (that I can see while gazing out my window at work, taking a break from the squillions of emails that have accumulated since I’ve been away).

I haven’t run for over a month now. I went for a walk to the local shops on Saturday and suffered with DOMS on Sunday – sad, isn’t it! So I’ll focus on doing some more walking this week and maybe try slow jogging next week, fingers crossed. But at least I am up, out of bed, back at work, and feeling halfway normal – can’t wait until I feel 100% healthy again!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Temporary break in transmission

CJ would like to apologise for the temporary break in transmission - normal programming will resume as soon as possible.

I am currently laid low with pneumonia and have recently been diagnosed with Silly Yaks disease. This has put a real dampener on things - no breakfast with Strewth and Mr B yesterday, no going out to dinner tonight with friends, and no Sydney this weekend.......*sob*

Good luck (and more importantly have fun) to everyone doing the City to Surf this weekend - I am very jealous. I will be thinking of you.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bush Capital 25km

I had decided about a week or so ago that I would enter the Bush Capital 25km event that was held last Saturday morning. I have run the event on 2 previous occasions, the last time being back in 2006.

So it was I fronted up in freezing conditions Saturday morning for the 9am start not feeling particularly enthused about running through the Mt Ainslie and Majura nature parks when I had lost feeling in most of my fingers and my legs were turning a chilly shade of purple. The first kilometre of this course is particularly challenging, especially as I like to ease into hills at the best of times. Its not that the start is particularly steep but just that the path gradually rises upwards. My legs had gone lactic and I still had 24km to go!

For most of the run there was a discussion (argument?) going on between my mind and my body (generally my legs) which went something like this:

Body (legs): Are we there yet? This is too hard – lets stop and walk a bit

Mind: don’t be so wimpy; just take it slowly. You’re not worried about times so enjoy it.

15mins later
Body (legs again): Are we there yet? This hill is too hard – we’ll have to walk.

Mind agrees: I walk the first of many hills

About a km before the turn for the 16km runners
Mind: you know you do have the option of doing the 16km course instead of the 25km one. The pain could be over with a whole lot earlier.
(The faster 16km runners had overtaken me at this point)

Body decides to show a streak of stubborness and refuses to wimp out. A quick drink at the drink station and then we pass the point of no return - on to Majura nature park. Body then regrets streak of stubborness. Mind has switched off and is focused on the music instead - anything to blot out the tiredness and the constant 'are we there yet?' from body. After all body was given the chance to do the 16km and knocked it back, so suffer!

By now feeling and colour have returned to fingers. Long sleeved top is off and tied around the waist. Concentrate on footing - the last thing I want is to do a CJ out on the course (there were a couple of people who weren't so lucky and were sporting bloodied knees and arms). Occasionally pass a walker - feel really good about this. Ok, so they might only be walking but hey I'm happy to pass anyone at this stage, though there was a time heading up a hill when I couldn't catch the walker, and I was running. Sad, I know. Started seeing runners returning after reaching the turn around - some look way too comfortable and relaxed. Others more closely resemble how I feel. Say hi to Mango as he goes past (he's one of those infuriatingly relaxed runners).

On the return trip I focus on the runner in front of me and try not to let the gap between us get any bigger. Pass some more walkers plus the occasional runner. Mind and body have finally made a pact to work together to get me over the finish line - then I think both will be rebel and refuse to do anything else for the rest of the day. I start to appreciate nature and accompanying chorus of cockatoos - not the most musical bird song but quintessentially Australian. Finally the finish line comes into view and then its over - that's my long run for the day done and dusted - mind and body very happy. Then I spent almost as long trying to unpin my number and hand it to one of the officials - there was no hand/eye coordination happening. Stand around for some chit chat, make arrangements to meet Jen and others later in the day (Jen went on to do an awesome 10km time on a tough course) and then I headed off home for a) coffee, b) shower and c) a doze on the couch before meeting up with Strewth, Rochelle, Aki and Jen at Tilleys for a very pleasant couple of hours (and to hear about the up and coming Jen's Big Adventure).

Later heard that Kelley did 3hr 41min in the marathon and was the second female. To quote Strewth, "awesome!"

Thursday, July 17, 2008

ps

...and it was a lovely 5 days away (despite the weather) with Strewth and Mr B!!!!

The Cold Coast

Just a quick note as I'm about to head home but thought I should post something about the Cold Coast marathon (and no, its no typo!). The weather was abysmal and I even purchased a thermal top at the Expo, as well as a snazzy pair of "skins-type" running knicks, black and pink short sleeved and long sleeved tops...... Then at Harbourtown I bought the cutest pink running top with 'Chocolate without the Guilt' on the front (hmmmm).

Met up with Roger, Ewen and LL for dinner on Friday evening at Tooleys - had a really delicious risotto. Then we went back to LL's amazing apartment - one very swish, stylish apartment.

We had lunch and coffees with Katy and Ewen on Saturday - when the weather was at its worst (rain, wind, and cold). It was great to catch up with Katy (soon to be an aussie - oi, oi, oi!) but never managed to catch up with Mark - a cryin' shame.

What's that? The marathon? You want to hear about the marathon? You don't really but if you insist - it was very ordinary but then my running has been very ordinary lately (like the last 8 months). However there is a very good (medical) reason for the decline, and hopefully things may pick up shortly.

I had a revelation while chasing the green balloons (the 3.30hr pacer) - a) I wasn't going to catch him, b) for the past few months I haven't been enjoying my running because I've been too focused on trying to run PBs and getting nowhere fast and running was becoming a chore, and c) this was going to change as of now (probably about the 10km mark of the marathon!). So I settled into some sort of rhythm and just enjoyed the journey rather than beating myself up for not meeting a particular 'time'.

And that's how I'm going to run from now on - no PBs in time, no beating myself up for not meeting some arbitrary time, and enjoying the journey. If I do run a good time then that will be a bonus - but its not the sole focus of my running.

Next event - Bush Capital 25km. Bring it on!!!!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Minus one degree but who’s counting

Went for a run this morning resembling the Michelin woman, I had that many layers on. It was cold, clear and frosty and a very chilly minus one degree. My face was frozen into a Joker-like grimace. The only thing that kept me going was the thought that tomorrow I’ll be on the Gold Coast, tomorrow I’ll be on the Gold Coast…..

I had a quick look at the weather forecast for the Gold Coast, for the weekend, and they are forecasting showers and a maximum of 21 degrees (the minimum temperatures are our maximums!) Looking out the window just now it looks like a lovely day – blue skies, no wind……until you actually go outside and the cold air hits you.

Good luck to those who are running anywhere on the weekend. The next time you’ll hear from me will be after the marathon…..some time…..

Monday, June 30, 2008

But wait there’s more……

This coming Sunday I’m running in the Gold Coast marathon. I’ve trained as best as I can, with Pat’s guidance and encouragement, even though my goal times and actual times are getting further and further apart! I’m relatively injury-free. I’m looking forward to a break up on the Gold Coast with 2 of my bestest friends, and hopefully we’ll have some warm weather. Shopping doesn’t look too bad either.

So what’s next on the agenda? I’ve decided to do something completely different and *drum roll* will be part of a 4 person team doing the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker in late August (Hawkesbury to Sydney). I met with two of the team members for coffee today and agreed to help them out after one of their original members had to pull out for personal reasons. It sounds like a big adventure and I like the fact that its done as a team – we start together and finish together. So I have a few long walks to do once the marathon is over, including one that will start at 7am and finish at 7pm, and another weekend where we will do a 40km walk both days. There will also be a couple of night walks of a couple of hours to look forward to, so we can get used to walking in the bush with headlamps.

But first things first, this Sunday – I am focused, I am pumped, I am so ready………for a great weekend on the GC!!!!! Oh, and there’s that little run I have to do while I’m there!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It's been a while.........


Told you I had some work to do before the Half ironman triathlon in December!!!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mission accomplished and Go Charlie Go!!!!!!!

I know this entry is a little late but since the marathon I’ve been flat out trying to finish an assignment, and submit it, and work to a deadline on a presentation at work

As you may, or may not be aware, the lead up to Canberra marathon was plagued by injury, illness and infection. Not to mention, the odd binge or two on chocolate due to the all of the problems I was experiencing (I had to get my endorphins somehow and I certainly wasn’t getting them from running).

Anyhoo marathon day dawned black, wet and there was lightning – hardly an auspicious start.

Actually you’ve read everyone else’s reports and seen the photos so let me just say that I ran the marathon comfortably, 10mins slower than last year and the injury held out (tho there were a couple of times I was pretty worried). My official time: 3hr 37.41min, 7th woman in my age group, and 395th of 1,041 competitors.

The best thing about the day though was that Charlie ran a huuuuge PB by about 11 mins and we managed to run together or close to each other for pretty much most of it. So a big well done to Charlie – you did well!!!!

So now it’s on to training for Gold Coast marathon. I do have a goal time in mind but will keep it quiet for now, won’t we Tesso!!!!!

And I’m planning on doing the Canberra Half Ironman triathlon in December this year (I must be stark raving mad) so I’m going to gradually add in swimming and cycling sessions. At least I’ve given myself plenty of time.

ps A big thankyou to that amazing cheersquad duo - Katy and Mark. Anyone that can make me laugh when everything is hurting has to be doing a great job! Thanks guys!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Warning - Black cloud hovering

The marathon is 13 days away and right now the physio has ordered no running for 5 days. You're kidding right? I've started my taper, its true, but this is ridiculous.....a sudden taper you might say. This has only been issue #546 that I have had training for this marathon. It seems I run okay for a couple of weeks and then *pfffft* something happens - I get sick (a few times now), I fall (and I don't even have to be out running for this to happen), work/study/home/life gets in the way......

So what's the problem this time? Well it seems that I have aggravated something (muscular or neural we're not quite sure but probably a bit of both) in my glute that is having an effect on my hamstrings and generating some swelling on the medial/posterior side of my left leg. When some strength tests were tried on my left leg I couldn't do them - there is no strength there, no matter how hard I tried to exert some pressure. How did this happen? Thinking back, I did slip down a rocky slope after the Skyfire fireworks a couple of weeks ago, and landed very heavily on a rock, on my left glute. Its been since then that the problem has developed, especially while running while away at the coast over Easter.

So I'm cranky, tired, miserable, eating to compensate for not running and basically indulging in self sabotage. I see the physio again on Wednesday after having run that morning. Fingers crossed there is some improvement. At the moment I am weaning myself off chocolate (who am I kidding - I've gone cold turkey) and eating apples instead. Not quite the same really. But I don't want to waddle to the marathon start either!

Waaaaaaaaaaah!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I'm still here....

I noticed Ewen's comment on Two Fruits blog - something about CJ's blog biting the dust. Ewen, never mention CJ and 'biting the dust' in the same sentence please! That's just asking for trouble.

I have been running - 32km at the Cotter on Saturday (with two Fruits) - for a flat run it was rather hilly!!!!!!! Still, there was no walking and joy, oh joy, there was a mobile coffee stand at the finish. I thought I was seeing things - had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming! It would have been perfect if they also sold Magnum icecreams! Anyway a great run and great company.

This morning I did a 20km run before work. It went something like this: Up at 4.30am for my first breakfast of toast, banana and honey. Out the door at 5.30am for a run around the 'burbs under the street lights because it was dark. About 6.15am stopped off at home for something to drink. Then headed offroad up behind Hawker and then ran parts of the Pinnacle nature park. Home again about 7.40am for my second breakfast - omelette made with 1 egg and 3 egg whites. Shower and then off to work by 9.30am.

Off to Hyams Beach over easter - it can't come soon enough!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I didn’t recognise you with your clothes on!

Now that’s a statement guaranteed to get some looks in a busy shopping centre! And this was the comment I got from Katie (one of the speedy geese) as I was on my way back to work after lunch today! There were a few sideways glances our way after this announcement!

But that’s probably the most exciting thing that has happened to me today.

I ran a 12km fartlek session this morning, mentally reciting the names and positions of the skull bones as I was doing this. Then it was a quick revision of anatomical and movement terminology.

No classes tonight but I will be attempting my first legal principles assignment.

Today's fantale tally: 6
Yesterday: no fantales but 5 sherbies
Tuesday: 9 fantales

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Breathe deeply…slowly…….reeeelllllaaaaaxxxx

Aaaargh! I’m drowning in assignments and homework – don’t these lecturers realise I have a life? That I must run 100km for the week and go to work for at least 8 hours a day? And then somewhere in there communicate with the family…in person…face to face. And sleep….and eat….and do all those other things ‘normal’ people do.

Calm down, breeeaaathe……

I ran a total of 100km for the week, last week. It was my heavy week. This week is an easy week thank goodness. So I am remembering how to have an intelligible, let alone intelligent, conversation, not fall asleep at the table, and not have that glazed, dazed look at work – doesn’t inspire much confidence apparently!

On Sunday I ran the monthly vets’ event at North Curtin – a 6km course that includes a hill at the start before a lovely downhill stretch followed by a flattish bit on a cycle path. This month I started in group 35 (down from group 36) and watched as the others in my group took off leaving me in their wake. Not to worry – I had already run 7km that morning, before breakfast, so I had no grand plans of setting any land speed records. However I did manage to pick up some speed and managed to say hi to Mr B, Strewth, Charmaine and Geoff B as I passed them (not necessarily in that order). It was a good run and by the time I had crossed the finish line 27.57min later I had completed my 100km for the week! Yay!

Sat through the riveting subject of Contracts last night in the Risk Analysis, OH&S and Legal Principles class – it was about as exciting as my previous classes on negligence and duty of care. Thank goodness the lecturer has a sense of humour. Fortunately there are only 4 more classes left for this unit. Unfortunately there are also 2 assignments and one is due in 3 weeks time. On Wednesday nights we have anatomy and physiology – far more interesting. Though I have to say I can’t recall from my nursing days (way back in the dim dark past) there being so many bloody bones to remember! I’m trying not to confuse my sesamoid with the flat, the long with the short, the tibia from the fibula, the femur from the humerus….you get the picture! Not forgetting the medullary canal, diaphysis, epiphyses, etc, etc. And this unit also involves weekly worksheets, an exam and a presentation including a class handout.

Breeeaaathe……reeeelaaaaax………

And did I mention the dancing fantales? No, maybe not, let’s not even go there……..

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Gym…..race…..hilly run…..feeling wasted…….

It’s been a busy couple of days exercise-wise. Yesterday morning I fronted up at the gym for the first of my twice-weekly weights session. I think it will be time to tweak my program soon – I’ve been doing this one for a while. I had to rush through the session as I had an early meeting down in Tuggeranong (my gym is in Woden) – I hate early meetings. But then on the other hand at least then its out of the way.

After work it was time to head off for the second race in the cross country Summer series – this one was a 5km at Weston Park. The weather was very different to last week – not as hot, it was overcast with a breeze blowing, though it felt very warm while running. All the usual suspects were there and I got to catch up with Kelley. It was lovely to catch up. The course was definitely cross country – all on grass, which can be hard and tiring if you’re not used to it. I would have preferred not to have gone out too fast…again. Next week I plan on negative splitting and finishing the race strongly, not just barely holding on. The other thing is that I have to get up for a medium long run the next morning so I really don’t want to go hard the night before.

This morning I ran 16km up hill and down dale. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t feel as tired as expected. The run itself was uneventful though I did see a lot more people out running this morning. It was also quite foggy.

The rest of the day I felt wasted – the gym/run sessions of the last couple of days had finally caught up with me and my brain has turned to mush. My bed is looking really good right about now………

Monday, February 04, 2008

Dreary day – dreary mood

Rain is good, don’t get me wrong but I do like the blue sunny skies. There is no sign of sunny blue skies today – it’s grey, cloudy, and drizzly. Perfect weather to be home reading a good book (I’m currently reading The Power of One – Bryce Courtney), not sitting in a cold office, in front of a computer.

Running-wise, I ran 20km on Saturday. It was thoroughly enjoyable as it was my easy week and after having run 34km the week before, the 20km seemed like a jog in the park(!). Then it was off for a much-needed massage in the afternoon – pleasure and pain, what can I say?! I finished the day with pizza at Zeffirelli’s with a group of very dear friends.

Sunday warranted a sleep-in, which I had, and then I ran a very gentle 6km before breakfast. In the afternoon I met up with Strewth, Rachelle and Ewen for coffee at Tilley’s. It was a great afternoon – I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This morning it was drizzly as I ran my 11km with 2 x 7min at tempo pace (10km pace). The run back home seemed to take forever as my legs felt slow and heavy. And I’ve felt like that ever since – slow and heavy, foggy headed (Mondayitis symptoms I’m sure).

Friday, February 01, 2008

Back to school

Just in case I thought working full-time and marathon training wasn’t enough, I’ve enrolled in Certificate 3 Fitness at CIT. I’ll be studying part-time, with evening classes twice a week. I’ll go straight from work to class on those nights.

For the first semester I will be doing ‘Risk Analysis, OH&S and Legal Principles’ for 9 weeks, then ‘Provide nutrition advice to clients in accordance with recommended guidelines’ for 9 weeks, on Monday evenings, and (wait, there’s more……..)
and I’ll be doing the following units for 18 weeks on Wednesday evenings:
*Apply basic exercise science to exercise instruction
*Provide advice to clients on the application of basic anatomy and physiology to fitness programs

*Implement strategies for dealing with medical conditions in a sport setting
*Develop and apply an awareness of specific populations to exercise delivery

Whew! I’m looking forward to it – new challenges for a new year. Just remind me of my initial enthusiasm and excitement when its halfway through the semester, my motivation levels have plummeted and I’m asking myself why I’m doing this!

And thanks for the lovely comments on my Ironman experience – I have great memories of the day, and, you know, after reading my account there’s that little niggling thought again……!!!!!!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Last instalment - 42.2km run

........Finally I reappeared, much to the relief of Team Cathy, and started off on my 42.2km run. My plan for the marathon was to run between drink stations, these were about 2km apart, then walk for a minute having something to eat and drink. The first drink station was probably about 200m down the road from the transition area but I stopped nevertheless to have a drink and walk for a minute. I had people encouraging me to run, telling me it wasn't that bad, obviously thinking I had given up before I'd really started!

I ran this course last November in the Half Ironman, and had a very bad experience - I had trained through a Canberra winter so really hadn't done any training in warm, let alone hot, weather and the weather was hot on the day. Also the course is quite hilly and I just couldn't run the hills initially - it probably took me about 10km before I felt like I could really run decently at all. This had been at the back of my mind during all my run training since and I felt that I was better prepared this time - most of my running had been done in the heat of the day and I had run hills ad nauseum, so let me at 'em! The only thing I wasn't sure about was how I'd go running 42.2km after cycling for 180km - I was about to find out!

It was still very warm late in the afternoon so I was still drinking but I was starting to feel bloated and crampy in the belly - not a good sign. What to do? I didn't know whether I should stop drinking sports drink and just stick to water, considering I still had a long way to go and I didn't want to run out of energy and hit the wall. I had a couple of jellybeans at the next drink station but by now I was over sweet food in a big way. I concentrated on watching other competitors and looked forward to seeing Team Cathy again when I completed the 5km Tuncurry loop before heading out on the 16km loop through Forster suburbs. I also got to see the lead woman heading toward the finish as I was heading out on my first 21km loop. Another diversion was to read the chalk messages on the footpaths and road from supporters and yes, I found plenty done by creative members of Team Cathy.

The hills weren't presenting a problem at all and I managed to pass quite a few people this way. Supporters and residents were well spread out on the run course so there weren't many times when you weren't cheered on or alone. I started to drink flat coke and eat vegemite sandwiches and this worked for me. I was feeling great and smiling and laughing which prompted remarks like "you're obviously not running hard enough" or "you're looking far too relaxed - this is supposed to hurt!" I was running along minding my own business when I heard that horn - I knew that sound and it could only mean that Team Cathy were around somewhere. And they were - across the road hanging out the car windows - yelling and hooting for all they were worth!

Coming through to run the second lap I was given an orange scrunchie to wear on my arm indicating that I had already completed one lap - now I was feeling like I was getting somewhere. However, during the 5km Tuncurry loop I was starting to feel really tired and it was taking all my effort to keep running between drink stations. Don't tell me this was it - I was going to hit the wall - I still had 21km to do - not good. I saw Rae Wells up ahead - she was supporting her husband who was also doing the Ironman. I had been seeing Rae on and off throughout the day, on the bike and run. I told her I wanted to stop, I was so tired. "You're not tired - you're feeling great. Come on you can do it - think positively." Yeah right. However I continued on and within a couple of kilometres I was feeling fine and smiling as I came up to pass Team Cathy again, before heading out for my last 16km.

Downhill running was proving to be a challenge as my right ITB was starting to flare up. I had had problems with my ITB early on in training - cycling aggravated it and for a few weeks I couldn't run or cycle far without it hurting. However, at this point in the Ironman nothing was going to stop me from finishing and it was only the downhills that were a little difficult. I was passing so many people now who were walking. I had to pin a glowstick to my top as night began to fall. Soon I was running in the dark and this was also proving to be interesting - I almost tripped over at the 32km mark. Coming to the final turnaround, which meant I only had 8km to go, I almost bumped into two Team Cathy supporters - Ruth and Helen. I don't know who got the biggest shock - them or me!!!

Now I was heading home - I felt as though I was flying up the hills. I could definitely feel my ITB now but with 2km to go it didn't matter - I knew I was going to make it. I was going to finish and I felt great. Spectators were congratulating me and calling me an Ironman even though I hadn't finished yet. Up that last hill and ahead I could see lights and people, lots of people. I could also hear them counting down to 13 hours but the time wasn't important.

Briefly, for about half a second, I thought I was going to cry but excitement took over. I high fived someone I recognised from Canberra. Team Cathy spotted me and I jumped up and down excitedly when I saw them, before high fiving kids lining the sides of the finish chute. I felt a million dollars and my smile was getting bigger and bigger - I had done it. I had made possible what I once thought was impossible - it was a little bit of magic. The announcer, American Mike Reilly, the voice of Ironman, was calling me across the finish line (I was told this after - I was so excited that I missed hearing it!) and then I was finished. After 13hours, 2minutes and 10 seconds of swimming, cycling and running I could finally stop. I am an Ironman!!!!

THE END

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Part 3: 180.2km cycle

The bike course is two laps of 90.1km of flat to undulating road, varying from satisfactory to poor condition. It was also starting to warm up. Other cyclists whizzed past but I kept telling myself to take it easy, there was a long way to go - 180.2km, in fact. My plan for the bike was to maintain a steady pace and check my bike computer every hour to make sure I was on target. Eating and drinking was going to be important as I was probably going to be on my bike for at least 7 hours and then would have to get off and run a marathon. So I ate sandwiches, bananas, gels, fruit bars, fruit sticks - some I had with me, some I collected as I rode through aid stations. I exchanged a bidon at every station as well, these were 10km apart, alternating between water and sports drink.

Coming back into Forster at the end of my first lap was amazing. Supporters and onlookers had lined the street and were yelling, blowing whistles and making as much noise as possible. Sure enough when I came to the turnaround point I could hear the tell-tale horn and the shrieks and see the bright yellow t-shirts - Team Cathy was pretty excited!

Back out of town for the next 90.1km and it could be very easy to feel overwhelmed about the distance still to cover and the hours still to go but strangely enough I felt fine. I had some minor discomfort, mainly with a niggly backache, and saddle soreness but otherwise I was feeling fine and starting to pass people - some of those who had passed me earlier. It was beginning to get a lot warmer and drinking was even more important. The hills were still out there and some felt a little steeper than the first time around but the downhills still felt pretty good! Also, as I was heading out for my second lap the lead male competitor, Chris McCormack, was heading into town at the end of his cycle! In fact, I think as I was heading out on the run, he was finishing but I digress..............

6 hours and 51 minutes later and I had finished the cycle and was changing into my run gear. I took a little longer with this transition, about 12 minutes, but why rush? I had about 7 hours before the final cut-off so I stretched, had a drink, ate some potato crisps, went to the toilet.

to be continued..........

Hot, hot, hot

Today's calendar entry: "Dermatologists have found that applying chocolate topically renews and moisturises the skin."

It was hot yesterday afternoon, running in the 5km at Stromlo. The facility is great but it lacks shade at the moment. The grass track is excellent to run on, and there are undulations as it meanders around for 2.5km. This meant we were running 2 laps. I ran a warm up lap with Ewen and Jeni to familiarise myself with the course and even then I was feeling hot. Finally it was time to start and I promised myself that I would run the first lap comfortably – no silly business!

The first lap wasn’t too bad – chatted a while with Chris P, Kerrie B flew past, Susan Hobson and Sarah Fien were just ahead. The second lap was hard and getting harder – it seemed hillier the second time around. And hot – when there was no breeze, the sun was just beating down. I have never been so happy to finish. Water tasted wonderful! The shade was beautiful! I came in 60th overall, in a field of 105; my time was 23.14min. Happy!

This morning I ran 12km, my usual route behind Hawker. I was tired and it all seemed much hillier than I remembered it. It was warm for 6am – about 19*c. I also took water with me which I don’t usually do for the shorter morning runs but I was still feeling a little dehydrated from yesterday’s run.

I also had a win this morning – a pair of pants that I haven’t been able to fit into properly since last summer, now fit me. Yay! There is something to be said for marathon training!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The things you see.......

.....when you go for a long run! I wish I had a camera! I was probably about 16km into my long run (almost halfway) when I came across an ironing board, set up, with clothes hanging off it. To put it in context, I saw this ironing board just as I left the O’Connor entrance to Black Mountain nature park so I was still in the bush. I had to look twice just to be sure I wasn’t hallucinating! I’m assuming it has been set up by some person who has been collecting lost clothing items from the nature park and this was quite a novel way of displaying them in hope that their owners would reclaim them.

Anyway back to the long run – last Saturday morning. It was basically the same as the long run the week before only a little longer. I ran a total of 34km from home to Black Mt Nature Park and back again. Probably the only thing I did differently was to run the (signposted) Little Black Mt circuit which added on a couple of kms. It was also a lot warmer with sunny blue skies. However I did notice that a few weeks ago I would’ve struggled with this one, especially over the latter stages, whereas on Saturday, while I felt tired, certainly ran it a lot better. So I am improving - 34km in 3hr 27min.

The hard thing was backing up with a 6km race the following morning. It was the monthly Veteran’s run handicap, at Campbell Park. I felt tired and sluggish initially and it was really only from the turnaround point that I felt that I could make it home in a respectable time, and not die on the way! Again, it was sunny and hot. I started in group 36 (still!) and finished 92nd in a field of 116 – so not last thankfully (though for a while I thought that was to be the case!). My time was 28.52min.

Monday was a rest day and this morning I was up bright and early (ok, well maybe just early!) and off to the gym, the first time for 5 weeks. So it was light weights and high reps so I can run this afternoon in the 5km race at Stromlo Forest Park, part of the Cross Country Summer series. Thing is, it’s meant to be 34*c today and it probably won’t have cooled down a lot by 6pm. And there’s no shade on the grass track. It’s going to be hot.

Part 2 - 3.8km swim

My plan for the Ironman was not to race it, the distances are just too huge for me to even contemplate racing, but to make the cut-offs and do it comfortably, if that's possible. There's a 2 hour cut-off for the swim, 10 hour cut-off from the start of the swim for the bike and an overall cut-off of 15 and 1/2 hours for the finish. I thought I could probably finish in 14 to 14 and 1/2 hours.

Back to Sunday, April 4 2004, transition area at Forster Keys - the start of my first Ironman triathlon. My husband Steve had found my goggles - in the boot of our car. They had fallen out when I had pulled my wetsuit out of my gear bag. Crisis over I could now concentrate on the 3.8km swim ahead of me - in the lake in front of me - with 1500 other competitors. I had seen video footage of the swim start and for a very average swimmer it doesn't inspire confidence, particularly when one is not wearing a wetsuit. While during the cycle and run everyone supports each other, in the swim it is usually everyone for themselves. My plan, if you could call it one (survival was probably a more apt description) was to stay out of everyone's way and if that meant swimming way out on the fringes adding an extra kilometre, then so be it. There were five large groups of coloured caps in the lake - you had to give an estimated swim time on the entry form and at the time I thought 1 hour 20 minutes sounded quite reasonable..........in a wetsuit.

Now I was thinking one and a half hours might actually be more realistic. My estimated time had me in a yellow cap and we were the last group. As far as I could see ahead of me in the water were people. Relax, I kept telling myself, just treat it as a training swim. Before I knew it we had started and I didn't have time to think about anything but avoiding arms, bodies, legs. There were times when I was swimming along by myself and thinking that it wasn't so bad and then there were other times when it felt as though fifty people were trying to swim over me. Relax, I kept telling myself, take it easy, breathe, find an empty space, avoid that person, breathe.......... There was only the one time when someone either kicked or hit my foot, I'm not sure what happened but oh did it hurt. I had to keep wiggling my toes to reassure myself nothing was broken.

I could hear the helicopter above me, could smell and taste the diesel fumes from jetskis and boats which were nearby, could vaguely hear the announcer on the loudspeaker when I swam past the crowds. The last 400m back into shore was probably the roughest part of the swim as people sensed they were almost finished and pulled out all stops to get there - there were arms flying and legs kicking everywhere. I had done it - I had swum 3.8km without a wetsuit and emerged unscathed from the experience in 1 hour 23 minutes.

Then I was in the tent changing into my cycling gear. A volunteer filled my back pockets with fruit bars, gels, and fruit sticks. I had earlier that morning packed a couple of sandwiches into the bento box on my bike. Shoes on, sunnies on, helmet on and done up and I was out the door heading for my bike.......stop..... have a drink, get my bearings, find my bike. Team Cathy supporters decked out in bright yellow t-shirts and caps ensured that everyone knew I was on my way!

...to be continued!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Motivational Magic

Going through some documents yesterday I came across this one, which I had written not long after completing the Ironman at Forster back in 2004. As I read it I could feel the hairs rising on the back of my neck; it was an amazing achievement. If ever I need a motivational boost then all I need do is read this again. It will be in instalments because it is quite long. Here is the first instalment of an amazing adventure..........

Ironman Australian Triathlon, April 4 2004

It is 5.40am Sunday 4 April 2004 and I am madly searching through my fairly empty gear bag for swimming goggles which are not there, trying not to feel sick. I'm at the 19th Ironman Australian triathlon at Forster-Tuncurry, 35 minutes before the swim start and I can't find my goggles. Not only that but for the first time ever in the history of the Australian Ironman it was going to be a non-wetsuit swim, due to the water temperature. Why, why, did it have to be this year?!

Rewind to Sunday April 6 2003 - Kerry O'Neill and I are in Forster to watch our first Ironman and to support a couple of Kerry's friends from Alice Springs who were doing the event. "You'll be doing it next year," friends warned me when I told them I was going to watch the Ironman, "You won't be able to help yourself!" Don't be silly, I told them - who would be mad enough to swim 3.8km, cycle 180.2km and then run a marathon after that? Certainly not me! The sheer size of the event amazed us, the thousands of supporters, the 1500 or so competitors, the accompanying infrastructure - no other triathlon I've attended comes even close to the size and atmosphere of the Ironman. And then there's the finish - it feels and looks like everyone in Forster is down at the finish shute, cheering people on, whether they come in 1st, 10th, 1230th, or last. In fact it is the only event I know where everyone stays to the very end - its one big party! It was at this point that a little thought started niggling away - some of those people doing this event looked very normal and if they can do it, then well maybe so can I. Uh oh……..that finish has sucked me in - I wanted to do an Ironman!!!!!!

And what a year its been since then - cycling in below zero temperatures during Winter; a very memorable ride to Murrumbateman by myself in sleet and strong winds and being attacked in the face by a vicious magpie on the return trip; all the food that I was able to eat and not put on weight! (the Tim Tam training diet); the half ironman in Forster in November last year - during the run wondering why the hell I was doing this; hearing my name in the rolldown process after the Half Ironman when I was offered a spot at the Ironman; all those laps in the pool, all those kms on that bike seat; those 'lovely' bike/run sessions on a Wednesday (130km cycle followed by a 20km run); those days when I wondered why the hell I was doing this - those thoughts happened more frequently early this year; the bombshell dropped at the briefing the day before the Ironman - no wetsuits allowed, the first time in 19 years; and finally the realisation about 35mins before the race start that my goggles were not in my bag!

To be continued.......

Icky Thump

Today’s calendar entry: “Men, coffee, and chocolate are all better rich - Anon”

Today’s title sort of sounds like my running sometimes – ‘icky’ describing how I feel; ‘thump’ describing my running style. But actually it’s one of my favourite running songs at the moment by the White Stripes. The lyrics are kind of interesting though. Here’s a sample:

“iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeee
Icky thump
Who’da thunk
Sittin drunk on a wagon to Mexico?

Aaah well
What a chump
Well my head got a bump
When I hit it on the radio

Redhead senorita
Looking dead
Came and said
“Need a bed?”
En Espanol

I said
“Gimme a drink of water
I’m gonna ‘sing around the collar’
And I don’t need a microphone.”

Trust me, it sounds better than it reads! And it was songs like this that kept me going yesterday afternoon as I ran 18km, from home down to Lake Ginninderra, around the the peninsula and then back home again. The first 7km of the run didn’t bode well: I was averaging about 5.40min/km, my legs felt leaden, I felt tired, tummy felt blah, and I asked myself why do I do this? Not the running, but the time of day I sometimes choose to run. I am definitely not an afternoon runner – it sucks.

Anyway things improved after 7km and I enjoyed the rest of the run home. And my times had improved – I averaged 5.25min/km for the run so the second half was much, much better.

Thursday
I ran a slow 8km this morning before meeting Strewth and Mr B for breakfast at Red Belly Black CafĂ©. They make the best muesli with natural yoghurt, topped with marinated apricots – it’s delicious.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Bead Diet

Today’s calendar entry: “The biggest mistake one can often make in life, is to be constantly fearing they will make one – E.S.F”

No run this morning. After being woken up by the same way-too-cheerful DJ (I really must change radio stations), I had my coffee and considered my options. Thing was, I wasn’t inspired to run this morning. Maybe the thought of running 18km before breakfast dampened my enthusiasm. Maybe I was tired. Maybe I was just being lazy and the thought of lying in bed for another hour or so had more appeal. So I made a deal with myself. Lie in this morning and then run 18km after work. Easy. Now to live up to my side of the bargain this afternoon.......

Surf the web and sometimes you find the strangest things. I’m not kidding – below is something I found on the ninemsn webpage! And you can even buy the bracelets!

Hottest diet and fitness trends for 2008
What are the hot new trends for 2008? Get fit and fab with the latest and hottest celeb fitness crazes — quick, before your friends find out [!! – my exclamation mark]

Bead diet
What is it? A calorie-counting plan that uses a beaded bracelet to help you diet. Each bead equals 100 calories, so if you want to eat 12,000 calories per day, slide 12 beads onto one string of the bracelet. Then when you eat 100 calories, slide a bead onto the other string.
What can I eat? Anything! As long as you know the calorie content.
How much weight will I lose? It depends, but if you stick to 1300 cals a day, you could lose six kilos in six weeks.
Why is it hot right now? Delta Goodrem is rumoured to be a fan and actress Kate Beckinsale makes her own diet bracelets for friends. Forget those red Kabbalah bracelets, you'll be seeing Hollywood's elite wearing diet beads in 2008.
How can I do it? Buy a bracelet at www.ilovethiscolor.com/dietbracelets or make one. Take a piece of wool long enough to wrap around your wrist twice and then thread enough beads onto one strand of the wool. When you've eaten, just slide the bead to the other strand.”

I mean, the fact that both Delta and Kate are fans of this diet makes it so hot now, and gosh, Kate even makes her own diet bracelets for friends, it must be good, right?! Sheeeesh! Pass the Magnum Minis please.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tuesday thoughts

Today’s calendar entry: “Chocolate is, let’s face it, far more reliable than a man – Miranda Ingram.”

Have you noticed its getting darker in the mornings these days? I’m talking 5.30ish here. It was also considerably cooler this morning – 11*c proclaimed the ultra cheery radio voice – so cheery I felt half inclined to throw my clock radio across the room. Then I had my coffee and the day suddenly seemed rosy! Ok I exaggerate a little – I thought I could at least get up and run 10km followed by 6 x 100m strides on the oval. All this before breakfast too.

Which. Is. What. I. Did.

Got up……dressed……and ran…..10km in 49.28min. This was followed by 6 x 100m strides and then I was heading home for rolled oats with banana and sugar-free maple syrup. Yummo! I do love early mornings really, its just that getting out the door sometimes is the hardest part.

A comment was made on yesterday’s entry that it looked like I had made a massive jump in distance for my long runs. Not so, not so. I have been following a training program for a little while now, and the week before last my long run was 26km, previously 24km, 20k, etc. This coming Saturday I will run 34km and then for the following week (my easy week) I cut back to 20km. Likewise for my mid-week medium long run. This started at 10km, then 12km, 14km, 16km last week and 18km tomorrow. Next week it will be about 10km I think. Ok, so I suck at 10,000m on the track but out on the trails, on my own, going slowly – anything is achievable!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ups and downs and round and round......

......which basically sums up my long run yesterday morning. It was initially planned for Saturday morning but when I got up, nice and early, it was raining and I had no plans of starting a 30km run in the rain. So I went back to bed and later got up and ran 8km nice and easy….in the rain (my planned Sunday run).

Anyway I was up again nice and early on a Sunday (which is really unforgivable but like I said I didn’t have a choice) and set off running off-road behind the houses in Hawker – the suburb up the hill from ours. The track was slippery but surprisingly I did manage to stay upright though there were a couple of close calls! Then I diverted into the Pinnacle Nature Park for a little bit (to avoid a really steep hill though I still run uphill but its more gradual) before heading out of the park and towards Mt Painter nature park (behind Macquarie). Now here there is a steep hill but I haven’t managed to find a way around it so up I go – baby steps, until I reach the top and head off down the other side. For a little way it’s downhill though I have to watch my step because it is rocky in parts and there is the occasional exposed tree root to trip unsuspecting people.

Then it’s back uphill at the back of Cook briefly again when I cross the cycle path, before heading down another rocky path, back onto the cycle path briefly and then make my way through the gate into Aranda Nature Park. I was so busy concentrating on where I was going I didn’t see the large kangaroo standing in the middle of the trail until I was almost in front of it. I’m not sure who got the biggest fright – him/her or me! Then I noticed the paddock – instead of sheep it was full of kangaroos.

After following the trail a bit I came to the new underpass which took me into Black Mountain Nature Park and for a while the trail remains fairly flat, though again there were puddles and muddy patches. Now it was time to turn right and head upwards, as though I was heading to the top of Black Mt, which I wasn’t, but it still felt steepish. Finally I was at the top of the path and turn left to run downhill before turning right and running up another hill! (There’s a theme here!) I followed the trail around past the electrical sub-station, or whatever it is, and came out onto a road (I was probably near CSIRO). I followed this road for a little bit before turning back into the nature park and followed a very undulating trail, following power lines. Up until now the weather had been muggy, it was overcast and foggy in parts, but now it was starting to drizzle very lightly. I had visions of being drenched for the run home because I was at the farthest point of the run –
15km. However the rain was very very light and then
disappeared.

So, all the downhills and uphills I had run on the way out on this run, now became the uphills and downhills on the way home – challenging at times. However I felt comfortable for the entire distance which is great because my last couple of long runs have been very ordinary to say the least. The weather may have had something to do with it because the other runs have been done when it has been very sunny and hot – not my idea of fun or an enjoyable run. And then the previous week’s long run was affected by consuming some dodgy prawn rice paper rolls for tea the night before.
I had completed just over 30km in 3hrs – very happy with it. And it’s a great run too, mostly off-road. Okay, maybe less hills might make it better........!

Monday, January 14, 2008

dnf.......

Oh dear - first event of 2008 and my first since the Canberra marathon last year and I didn't finish. I had entered the 10,000m at the AIS track last Thursday evening. We had got back from the coast that afternoon, it was hot, and I was in two minds about whether to do it. I'd also had a fall a couple of days before and this would be my first run since then. But I had told Ewen I would do it so I couldn't wimp out!

I started well - snuck in behind Ewen and thought I could manage to stay with him for the distance. Bad move - I should never run someone else's race - it never works for me. Normally I start slowly and gradually get faster the longer I go. This time we set off at a cracking pace which was fine for about 5,000m but then I started feeling 'not quite right'. By 6,000m I was contemplating pulling out but as I'd never pulled out before I didn't really want to start now so talked myself into slowing down and taking it easy. However by 7,000m I knew I couldn't do another 3,000m and so I made the decision to stop...........

First....and hopefully.....the only.......DNF for 2008.

What's with the teddy bears?

Something I had never noticed before on the way down to Bateman's Bay - the number of teddy bears, big and small, including one gorilla and one crazy frog, attached to trees between the outskirts of Queanbeyan and Bungendore. Some looked like they'd been there a while; others looked new. So what's the story with the teddy bears? Does anyone know?

I'm curious!

Ouch!

The coast was great; the fall I had before we left for the coast wasn't great! The first fall for 2008 - on the gravel, skin off the right palm, arm and knee. Lots of blood and gore as I ran home - lots of funny looks as blood splatter was going everywhere! Plus I was covered with dust down the front of my top.

The fall happened on the flat; I'd run up and down hills and over rocky tricky bits and then I fell on a flat stretch of path, on my way home. Mr CJ says I need to learn how to roll but as i retorted, I don't even know I'm going to fall over! It all happens so quickly - one minute I am upright running, the next minute I have face-planted the gravel!

So the right knee is bandaged again - this is becoming a January ritual!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Birdlife





Even though it was my easy week I still had a long run to do on Saturday - though it was 18km as opposed to 28m, and for that I was very grateful. I had decided to start a little later in the morning and that was a bad mistake - even though it was cloudy, when the sun did make an appearance it was very hot. And when I was runni...er...struggling up the hills it was no fun at all.

Even so, the long run out to Black Mt nature park and back is one of my favourite runs - despite the hills and the uphill return trip! There is always a lot of birdlife to distract me while I'm running. We are so lucky - there is such diversity of birdlife here in Australia, and the colors are fantastic. Magpies, cockatoos, galahs, rosellas, blue wrens......
The run itself was uneventful though I had miscalculated the distance and what was meant to be a 16km run turned out to be 18km, which doesn't seem like a lot of difference but when its hot and hilly, well lets just say I was very grateful to finish. And the banana smoothie I had afterwards was just the best!
We're off to Batemen's Bay for a couple of days of R&R this week - hopefully the weather will be nice. Certainly beats going to SE Qld at the moment anyway!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Gifts from Boston


Received a lovely surprise in the mail today - a small box of gifts from Boston, USA. What with Christmas and the holidays I had completely forgotten I had taken part in the International City Swap, hosted by Shelley.

Basically what we do is we swap cities/towns. You put together a package that you think best represents the place where you live, and what you love about it. Or, if you think where you live is ridiculous, you can put in the silliest things you can find. It’s up to your own creativity. Last year there were packages circulating: from Detroit to Alaska, NYC to Rome, Jordan, NY to Turin, Italy, San Jose, CA to Australia, and Atlanta, Georgia to Rome.

I sent a package of Aussie stuff, including a packet of Tim Tams, to Alli in San Francisco and I received a package from Ulli in Boston. My goodies included a Boston 2008 calendar with various points of interest marked, such as where Ulli lives, and the park where she had a really bad date!; a very cute little red lobster fridge magnet (seems like they like their lobster in Boston); A Boston guide book, very necessary for any future trips there (well they do have a marathon!); a Red Sox cap (seems like lobster is not the only thing they are passionate about); a packet of Hershey's Kisses and a "Save the Earth. It's the only planet with chocolate" card. I love surprises!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!!!


We had a quiet new year's eve - watched tv for a bit then headed off to Civic to watch the midnight fireworks from our vantage point near the Acton Ferry terminal. No alcohol, no partying, very quiet.


Today is a rest day from running so I enjoyed my sleep in this morning. In fact, I slept through my first coffee which was kindly brought to me while I was still sleeping. He didn't wake me!


I forgot to mention yesterday that while I was in Woolies I saw hot cross buns for sale - on 31 December! So expect to see easter eggs on the shelves shortly.