Wednesday, November 25, 2009

*Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle ........

The weather is heating up again - currently 33 degrees at 3pm.

You can tell I'm stuck at home - three posts in 3 days!!!

I have just completed my second 10 minute session on my bike, having completed the first 10 minutes this morning. Also, started an upper body circuit session using body weight or medicine ball - managed one circuit this morning. It was a little cumbersome at times moving from one exercise to the next but I managed it without any discomfort.

Watched Masterchef last night - it was hilarious! It was the return and revenge of the croquembouche. You had to feel for poor Alex Lloyd as he tried to construct a croquembouche but it was still bloody funny! His 'creation' that he presented to the judges was priceless but hey, he gave it a go. To stuff up so badly on national TV - for some people their ego just wouldn't allow them to even try something so far out of their comfort zone or to continue when they knew things were going so badly (and there a couple of times when Alex almost walked out). So good on him for trying - I don't think I'd like to recreate the croquembouche. At least not with everyone watching!

Tonight is the final. Who will be Australia's first Celebrity Masterchef - the model (Rachel), the swimmer (Eamon) or the musician (Kirk)? My money is on Rachel but then I've never been very good at picking winners.



*Lyrics from "Bicycle Race" - a single by the rock band Queen. It was released on their 1978 album Jazz and written by Queen's frontman Freddie Mercury. The song is unusual for a Queen single in that it shows off the band's humorous side. Among other comic moments it has a middle eight which features bicycle bells. Fans would often replicate this at Queen concerts with their own such bells.

To release this song Queen staged a bicycle race with 65 naked women. The video was originally banned and subsequently re-edited with added special effects to censor the offensive imagery.

It was released as a Double-A side with the song "Fat Bottomed Girls". A crudely retouched photograph of a naked cyclist from the bicycle race was used for the single cover (now sporting a bikini bottom) (Wikipedia).


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

*Down, up pedals, down, up, down.....

Yes, another day sitting on my bike pedalling away for 10 minutes but I swear the RPMs were a little faster! Then I faithfully did the other exercises as explained to me by the physio at the hospital. Its probably the first time that I have had the time and the patience to do as I'm told, when it comes to physio-prescribed exercises (tho' don't tell Craig!).

I had a surprise visit from Roy this morning, which was nice. I got to see his medals from the Olympic Dream 10km race which was on in Melbourne last Sunday. This year it was the Kerryn McCann medal.

Aside from that, I've not been up to much - there's been no further cruising of the Mall on crutches and that dress! (well, not since Sunday anyway but that was with my partner in crime). I've been eating healthily - lots of protein and omega 3s, drinking lots of water, and.......no chocolate. I think I'm paying for my chocolate (over) indulgence from last week! And playing with my iPhone - its the best little multifunctional toy er...um....phone..that I've had and I love it!

Uh oh, time to go, my favourite show is on - Masterchef! And they have to make Croquembouche (I have no idea how to spell it). Burnt fingers coming up for sure.

And ihatetoast - Team Edward, Team Jacob..meh...give me George Clooney any day!!!



*From the lyrics of the "The Pushbike Song" - a popular Australian song originally recorded by The Mixtures, a Melbourne band that formed in 1965. Written by brothers Idris and Evan Jones, "The Pushbike Song" was released in 1970 and reached the top-spot for two weeks in the Australian charts in March 1971. It also proved popular in the UK, reaching the number two spot on 16 January (beaten by George Harrison's My Sweet Lord), and number 31 in Canada. (Wikipedia)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Baby steps

It's been a week today since the arthroscopic procedure in my left hip where the surgeon did a labral repair. I'm moving ok and only require crutches for longer distances such as shopping at the Mall. And even then I'm hoping to give crutches the boot - bloody uncomfortable things they are. About the only benefit is the attention you get as you try to manoeuvre around the shops, as Strewth can attest to!

Anyway this morning I sat and pedalled slowly on my (stationary) bike for 10 mins. Zero resistance I might add but hey it's progress! I have to confess my bike looks very neglected - dusty, cobwebby and just plain unloved. It's been longer than I care to admit since I've ridden my bike. So I plan to build on my cycling and eventually also get mobile, as in cycling on cycle paths.

Tomorrow week I have an appointment with the surgeon in Melbourne. This is 'crunch time' - when he shows me evidence of damage and his prognosis. He did comment last week that maybe I should pursue a new fitness career......as a cyclist. Was he joking? I'll find out next week.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The deed is done

As I write this I am sitting back in bed watching Ellen on TV. Daytime tv has a lot to answer for. I now know about twi-hards and that Bella and Edward are the new 'hot' names and that New Moon is sending million of females world wide into a frenzy........apparently.

I had the arthroscopy Monday afternoon and was allowed home Tuesday afternoon armed with my 'really useful' crutches. Rehab has included quantities of dark choc and Magnum icecreams. Along with panadol, feldene and endone......

I have some pain and swelling but hopefully this will get better over the following days. Once the pain and swelling have gone then I can ditch the crutches.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sunday snippets

I have been looking for crutches for the pending arthroscopy (8 sleeps and counting) and so went to the chemist at the Mall on Saturday to enquire about hiring a pair.

"We don't hire crutches - we sell them" replied the bright young assistant when I enquired.

"Why on earth would I want to buy crutches?" I asked, bemused.

The look she gave me suggested I must've suddenly grown two heads. "They're useful items to own" was her response. "...and anyway," she continued, "after about 6 weeks its cheaper to buy them than hire them".

I could've said that I hadn't planned on using them for 6 weeks but I realised it was futile to continue the conversation so I left, pondering the usefulness of crutches. To think I have managed 48 years without a pair of crutches - what have I missed?!

Today we went to another chemist, in Florey, where I could hire crutches for as long or as little as I wanted, at minimal cost. So now these 'useful' items are propped up against the bedroom wall for the trip to Melbourne next weekend.

Useful things to do with crutches

#1: Stool made from bike parts and crutches

Take a few metal crutches, a couple of bicycle wheels and inner tubes, and a few bolts along with some insulation and a piece of plywood and you have the makings for a stool. An adjustable height stool. (Acknowledgments to Ryan McFarland - http://www.zieak.com/)
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Do real men eat tofu?

In our house, certain people (of the male species) turn up their nose at tofu - they consider it the domain of tree loving, sandal wearing, hippy types who listen to Enya and whale music whereas they (apparently 'real men') eat meat - the beefier the better. So should I tell Mr CJ that the dessert he enjoyed last night was Tofu Chocolate Mousse? Nah, what he doesn't know won't hurt him!
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Synch or sing.........

A fan who has tickets to Britney's Sydney concert prefers the lip synching: "I'd probably be disappointed if she was singing because I know she doesn't have a great voice," she said. "So, I'd rather that she didn't sing." Come again?

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Me, Myself and i (phone)

Yesterday I bought myself an iPhone. As you know, I love technology and this is my latest toy! And what a toy it is! I've set up my calendar, downloaded music and videos, organised photos, searched applications for anything remotely useful, kept tabs on my email, compiled a shopping list from recipes I've chosen, logged my daily food intake and exercise and sent text messages. You know the one thing I haven't done? I haven't made or received a phone call yet!!!

Had an appointment with my sports doc yesterday after having an ultrasound scan the week before on my right hamstring. I now have to have an x-ray of the area as the pain has flared up despite the cortisone injection. The weakness and pain has greatly increased. Best case scenario: I have a fracture of the ischial turberosity. However, if the xray does not show a fracture sports doc is recommending an MRI. Worse case scenario: the tendinopathy is so bad that surgical repair is recommended. The scan images are inconclusive - she can't tell if there is a fracture or if its thickening and inflammation of the tendon (which has increased since the last scan).

Briefly the surgery involves: first cutting the lower edge of the gluteus maximus (buttock) muscle. This allowed the surgeon to get down to the level of the hamstring tendon attachment to the ischial tuberosity. The portion of the hamstring muscle referred to as the semimembranosus tendon is then cut about three to four centimeters away from its insertion point on the tuberosity. This procedure is called a tenotomy.

The cut tendon and muscle are allowed to retract (pull back) away from the tuberosity. Then the surgeon reattaches the tendon with sutures (stitches) to another part of the hamstring muscle (to the biceps femoris tendon). This is a way to shield the affected tendon from ongoing mechanical stress. The goal is to give the semimembranosus a chance to heal by protecting it from overuse.

Sounds like fun. Ok, so fingers crossed its a fracture. I will be running again by January.

Today it was a weights session in the Play Pen - my name for the area of the gym which has the big boys toys - the heavy duty weights machines. Its where I usually get a workout just setting up my machine because I generally have to remove several 20kg plates before putting on my 5kg plates! There were not too many in the play pen today so I managed to get my session done pretty quickly before moving on to doing abs/core exercises and then finishing with 20mins cardio on my fave machine - the crosstrainer! I am so looking forward to the day I can run outdoors in the changing scenery.

What is that?

Sarcopenia

This is the loss of muscle mass and strength that occurs with aging. People who remain inactive tend to lose about 0.5% of muscle mass every year and the muscle mass that is being lost is being replaced by fat cells in the body.

Men and women attain their highest strength levels between 20 and 40 years of age.

Around 45 years of age muscle mass begins to decline by around 15% every year and by the time a person is 70-80 years old, muscle loss increases to around 30%. This reduces strength so activities such as taking walks, climbing stairs and other normal routine chores become difficult and are then avoided, which further increases weakness. This increases risks of falls and the chance of injury.

Loss of muscle mass occurs more in physically inactive people than in active people. Sarcopenia can also be due to reduced hormone levels as we age, and in women, the fall in oestrogen levels after menopause also contribute to sarcopenia. Poor nutrition is also a contributing factor.

Less muscle mass means a slower metabolism which means unless there is a reduced caloric intake, there will be weight gain, generally known as the 'middle age spread'.

"If you don't use it, you lose it".


Weight training forces your body to build muscle. This muscle building process does not happen while you are lifting weights, it occurs for hours after your workout is over. Lifting weights actually breaks down muscle fibers, which react by getting stronger during the time after your workout is over when you are resting. It takes energy to rebuild these muscles. Calories, lots and lots of calories. Not only that, but the more lean muscle mass you posses the more calories are needed just to maintain that muscle. And we’re not talking about getting huge massive muscles. When you weight train you can adjust the amount of weight you use and sculpt your body anyway you see fit. Just firming up your overall musculature will tone and shape your body while at the same time making it possible to keep the weight off. It’s a win-win situation for anyone who is serious about losing weight and then keeping it off.

Weight training is the best way to boost your metabolism to its fat burning heights. Not only does it strengthen your body it burns calories while you are sleeping, turning your metabolism into a fat wasting machine.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Your time starts now…….

(with apologies to Masterchef)

Gary: The workout today is a tough one, designed to challenge you to your core, to push your boundaries, test your endurance and fire up those muscles until they burn. Do you think you are up to the challenge?
Matt giving 'that' stare' down his nose: You will be up against the clock and you will have 20mins to complete the workout. Are you ready for this?
George, punching a fist into an open hand: we're looking for passion and energy and fire in the belly. Serve that up to us and we'll be very happy.

(CJ to camera: the workout today is a challenging one - its on the crosstrainer, aka the elliptical trainer. The workout includes a 2 min warm up and then I have to increase resistance to L8, go hard for 2 mins and then increase resistance again to L12 for one minute. I have to do this 6 times. So yeah I'm a little apprehensive, given I've done weights workouts on consecutive days and Xena caned me in yesterday's session).

Gary: your time starts…….now! (doing chopping action with hands)

The legs are a little slow to start - they're feeling heavy and sore from the weights session yesterday, and this is only the warm up. Pump up the music, I'm going to need it. Watch the people below in the pool to take my mind of the awfulness of how I'm feeling. Ok, warm up finished - up the resistance and go hell for leather…………what's with the air con, or rather the lack of it?………..is it time yet? (glance at monitor - still have 45 seconds to go on first interval)…….ok, up the resistance to 12……….now it feels like striding through mud…..or glue……..back to L8…...funny, its not feeling so bad at this level now…..

(Camera pans to clock: 15 minutes to go)

Gary and George wander over for a chat: so tell us what you're doing.

Well, I've completed one interval session and starting my second. As you know, I have 6 interval sessions to complete in 20 minutes.

Gary and George, look at each other with a raised eyebrow: So you don't think you have bitten off more than you can handle? You'll want to make sure your technique doesn't falter or your pace slow down. Good luck!

(CJ to camera, looking a little hot and sweaty now with a rosy glow starting to emerge: both Gary and George wandered over to see how I was going. It was something I didn't need at that point - I was trying to stay focused on the job. I think I'll be able to finish the session in the time frame but I'm hoping my pace won't drop off or that I'll tire too much. We'll see…..That clock is really distracting)

More than halfway through the session now - feeling pretty good. The pace has picked up and the legs are feeling strong. Its hot but that's to be expected, given the resistance and intensity. The music is rocking, that always helps. Must remember to drink. Grab the towel, mop up the sweat pouring down my face.

(Camera pans to clock - 3 mins to go)

Gary, looking up at the clock: Okay, watch the pace - you have three minutes to go, chop chop! (he always states the bloody obvious).

Now I'm definitely feeling hot under the collar - will the legs maintain the pace?, is it possible to put in more effort?, will I be able to finish it the way I started? (well actually better, I hope. I do recall a slow start)

George: 1 minute to go - you should be thinking about finishing up

Last minute at L12 - resistance seems to have got harder but pushing through the pain barrier. But I think I can do this - I just need to hold it together a little longer.

Matt: Time's up! Step away from the machine. Your workout has finished.

And the verdict?

I'm Queen of Cardio! (punch air with fist) Another session completed…..and obviously I have way too much to think about while doing my workout on the crosstrainer!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Ouch!


This morning was my weekly session with the PT who shall be known as Xena (as in Warrior Princess, because she can kick arse and holds world records in her weight grade for powerlifting). I made the mistake of mentioning that I was in the gym yesterday doing a weights session. Uh oh, bad mistake given the look I was getting ie the death glare. Seems I had broken one of her cardinal rules, "Thou shalt not do a weights session the day before her session". Ouch! No amount of justifying on my part (eg that it was a holiday so I would have time to do the session without being rushed, etc) was going to change her mind on this and by the end of the session I was going to regret even mentioning yesterday's session.

First off, deadlifts. Easy, I thought, as I squatted down, grabbed the bar, chest out, head up and….oh my god, where are my thighs? My quads, glutes and hammies were in revolt after yesterday's session of squats, lunges and one legged leg presses. And it didn't get any better. And there was no sympathy to be had from PT Xena. Though, thankfully she decided against any further leg work and focused instead on upper body sets. I sweated, grunted and gritted (not painting a pretty picture I know) my way through supersets of chest presses, shoulder presses, lat pulldowns, an exercise involving lifting, extending and lowering a weight plate, pec deck flys, trips pushdowns and biceps curls. And last but not least, decline reverse crunches and incline crunches with a weight plate. By the end I had problems even clutching my drink bottle - I had dead arms. Hey, at least I know I am alive!

Did you know?

Now, depending on who you talk to, or what you read, late night eating either leads to weight gain, has no effect on our weight or is dependent on the types of food you eat eg no carbs after 6pm, having a protein and carb snack will promote sleep, calories from chocolate bars after 8pm don't count if you're standing in the pantry (alright, I made that one up) etc. Following is an interesting item about meal timing and weight gain in the November issue of GI news, the Official Glycaemic Index newsletter published by GI News, Human Nutrition Unit, University of Sydney.

Meal timing and weight gain
A new study published in 'Obesity' (in mice) suggests that it’s not just how much you eat, but when you eat it, that influences weight gain. ‘How or why a person gains weight is very complicated, but it clearly is not just calories in and calories out,’ said Prof Fred Turek, director of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology at Northwestern University. ‘We think some factors are under circadian control. Better timing of meals … could be a critical element in slowing the ever-increasing incidence of obesity.’

To test whether ‘when you eat’ can affect body weight, the researchers studied two groups of mice and found simply modifying their feeding time alone greatly affected their body weight. Over the six-week study period, the group of mice that ate as much as they liked of a high-fat diet during their normal sleeping hours (our day time) gained significantly more weight than the mice eating the same type and amount of food during their naturally wakeful hours (our night time) although both groups of mice had actually consumed about the same amount of calories and performed the same amount of exercise over the six weeks.

Of course human studies are needed to determine if timing of food intake influences our body weight, but this study suggests that late-night eating may be worse, in terms of weight gain, than eating during normal waking hours says Fred Turek.

GI Group says: This study, while only in mice, may also have implications for shift workers.

CJ says: If you don't want overweight mice, don't feed them late at night!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Shocking...

...has won the 2009 Emirates Melbourne Cup. You know, the race that stops the nation? My money, if I'd placed a bet, was on Alcopop so its probably a good thing I didn't place a bet! Got a text from son #3 to say that he was at the Melbourne Cup - that there were lots of people, the weather was kind of ok, and that no, he hadn't placed a bet. Being in the ACT, we have the day off - its Family and Community Day. This means we can gather together as a family, around the TV, at a club, ACTTAB or at one of many functions to watch the race on the big screen. Nothing like quality family time!!!! However, this year is the last year that we will be having a day off for the Melbourne Cup. Next year apparently the public holiday is being moved to Monday 27 September. In a way I don't mind that we won't be holidaying next Melbourne Cup day because its more fun to joining in the festivities at work - participating in the office sweeps, watching the 'fashions on the field', sharing a slap up afternoon tea (or very late lunch) and then watching the Cup with work colleagues.

Exercise-wise, I went to RPM class last night after work. It was hot, sweaty and hard work and I was really glad when the hour was up. I was lacking a lot of strength in my dodgy hip which meant the resistance I was using was really pathetic, but it was still hard work. We have brand spanking new spin bikes - they're so cool. Each bike has a monitor that shows RPM, watts, time, distance and gear used. I think its also shows calories burned but as this is not calibrated to the user's weight and height but is based on averages - someone who weighs about 65 - 70kg, it's not relevant to me. Besides I know I'm burning up the calories!

This morning I hit the weights - umpteen squats and lunges and one legged leg press that leave the legs like jelly - wobbly. Leg exercises I can do as tolerated so it really varies from week to week what I can do. Next came supersets of assisted pull ups, incline chest press and dips. Man this is hard work and with no air conditioning to speak of, it was hot, hot, hot too. I backed up with supersets of lat pulldowns, barbell curls and chest press using a weighted bar. I had to change the pull-down attachment on the lat pulldown machine which had me almost swinging in the air trying to change the damn thing - they are not designed for height challenged people. Fortunately some guy came to my rescue and did it for me before I did something really embarassing, like fall off the seat. Now that's a thought - so far I haven't done a CJ at the gym! (touch wood)

Finally I finished off with some core exercises (yes Craig, I am doing them) and then 20 mins of intervals on the cross trainer. By the time I left the complex I looked like I'd been swimming!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Backwards and forwards but not on one wheel

This morning I was at the gym and on the cross trainer, as I am wont to do 6am on a Friday morning. Well, ever since I've been told advised not to run. I have a personal trainer who I see once a week and she has devised a cardio and weights program for me to do the other days that I don't see her. This morning was cardio morning - hence the reference to the cross trainer. Except this morning I was going to do something different - 2 minutes moving backwards and then 1minute going forwards but with increased resistance. Oh the potential for embarassment….. Switching from going backwards to forwards and then backwards again for 20 minutes was almost too much to bear for a brain and body that was still waking up. I had to intentionally think about what I was doing because at soon as I let my mind wander, my legs wanted to what legs normally do - propel me forward. And when you have a machine moving backwards with legs wanting to go forwards…..as I said, the potential for embarassment is high!

And the reference to one wheel? Dashing across to the shops this morning to buy some fruit for morning tea (natch) there was a guy waiting at the traffic lights in the regulation public service outfit of suit and tie and sitting on a unicycle. He was cycling backwards and forwards to maintain momentum while waiting for the lights to change. And I thought I had it hard on the crosstrainer this morning - going backwards and forwards.

And why am I not running, you may be wondering? Well more than likely not but I will tell you anyway. I have torn the cartilage in my left hip and am waiting to undergo a hip arthroscopy in Melbourne, in just over a fortnight's time. I have also got tendonitis of the right hamstring attachment to the ischial tuberosity and had my second shot of cortisone into the area after an ultrasound scan the other day. This relates to the hip injury as I have been over-compensating on my right side. The scan however also shows that I might also have a small fracture. I'm falling to pieces!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mission accomplished

Its been a week since Canberra marathon. A week where I have done zilch running (or exercise of any form), eaten lots of chocolate and have been advised to not run for at least a month. Now in the past if I had been told to not run for a period of time there would have been much brow furrowing, mental calculations, and pouting because it meant throwing out all my carefully thought out training plans. This time I just acquiesced, smiled, and totally agreed with my osteopath, who had uttered those words. Because for too long now I have been running with injuries, entering events with injuries and gradually those injuries have been getting worse. Enough is enough. I must pull out my goggles, cap and bathers - time to hit the pool.

Canberra marathon #8 (can you believe it, only 2 to go then Griffin status Strewth!) went better than I thought it would - meaning there was no walking involved. During the marathon there were very good patches when I felt like I could actually run a good time and then there were very bad patches when everything (and I mean everything) hurt. During those times I just concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other and moving forwards! I also focused on trying to catch and pass the person in front of me - that worked as well and it took my mind of the pain. Then there was always Katie's get-ups to look forward to - that girl has one colourful imagination!

Finally the finish line and I finished just behind Tesso - yay! I had to sprint (marathon version of sprint) to the finish line in order to get in under 3hr 40min - that hurt!

So that's Canberra Marathon #8 done and dusted.

It was great to catch up with the Qld crowd afterwards at Rydges - Clairie, Tesso, Katie and Mark. We really should do this more often guys!

Well done to everyone who did Canberra marathon - running 42.2km is an achievement irrespective of time.


(photo courtesy of John Kennedy)
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"Having a dream is what keeps you alive. Overcoming the challenges make life worth living.

-"Mary Tyler Moore

Monday, April 06, 2009

The agony & the ecstasy

Actually I recall the agony during my osteo appointment but not the ecstasy - unless you count when she stopped the ITB massage.

I presented at the osteopathy clinic this afternoon for my appointment, feeling slightly worse for wear after yesterday's run. My lower back was sore, as was my left hip and hamstring. The ITB is ok as long as I don't run. After relating my tale of woe (ie yesterday's run) the osteopath focused on my ITB and lower back, and so the agony began. I'm not quite sure what was more painful - deep massage into the belly of the ITB, massaging right along the edge of ITB or the elbow into the ITB, or for the fact that it lasted for about 40 minutes. It was one jelly leg when I did eventually stand up! I return for another ITB massage on Thursday and for another one next Thursday - something to look forward to - not!

Then its in the lap of the gods. Che sera, sera.
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"What you focus on expands."
- Buddha

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Uh oh..........

I diligently went around changing all the clocks back an hour last night before going to bed so I would be getting up at the right time this morning for my long run. I didn't realise the number of clocks/watches we have in the house!

Anyway I was up bright and early this morning for my planned 26km run, down to Lake Burley Griffin (close to Regatta Point) and then back home. There were lots of runners out this morning, plus a few cyclists. Its a pleasant run along the cycle path to the lake. I spent a lot of time mentally planning a mini group exercise session that I have to present to class on Tuesday, so the time went quickly. Before I knew it I was at the turn around point. So far the running was going to plan and apart from some tightness around the left hip/glute, I was cruising along at 5.30min/km pace.

Then.....uh oh..... something happened at the 20km mark - my left ITB was getting sorer by the minute. It then got so bad that I was half jogging, half walking/hobbling for the next 2km. Jeez, I'd forgotten how painful an irritated ITB can be. It was then I realised there was no way I was going to be able to finish the run (I still had 4km to go to get home) so I gave in (after a lot mental arguing back and forth with myself) and called Mr CJ to come and get me. Damn, if its not one thing its another. Admittedly during the latter stages of SFT my left ITB was beginning to hurt, especially during the downhill runs so I guess it should come as no surprise that its reappeared, with a vengeance.

Methinks that once Canberra marathon #8 is done and dusted, I might have a break from marathons and focus on shorter distances for a while.

Lucky I have another appointment tomorrow with the osteopath though I'm really not sure she can do miracles. Fingers crossed.....

I trialled the cardio session I will be presenting in class on one of my sons this afternoon - its a circuit style cardio session. It certainly got his heart rate up!!! hehehe!!!!! The session incorporates body weight exercises such as pushups, squats, mountain climbers, butt kickbacks and ab crunches interspersed with shuttle runs (the number increasing with each additional exercise) and star jumps. Lets see what the class thinks on Tuesday evening! I'm now trying to select appropriate music for the session (only 10mins) - the playlist so far looks like this: Counting the Beat (The Swingers)- BPM 154, You spin me round (Dead or Alive)- BPM 140-156, Here it goes again (Ok Go) - BPM 146 and Chelsea Dagger (Fratellis)- BPM 154. I need to choose and its so hard - I can't decide.

BPM = beats per minute, and for a high intensity workout, the BPM should be 140 and higher.
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"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
- From A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Dem bones, dem bones, dem bones........

.....The leg bone's connected to the knee bone,
The knee bone's connected to the thigh bone,
The thigh bone's connected to the back bone........

Last Monday I made an appointment to see an osteopath. She was recommended by my massage therapist, and as I trust her judgement, I decided to give it a go. I had no idea what an osteopath was, or what they did, but I was about to find out! The reason she suggested seeing an osteopath is that I have been having ongoing problems with my left hip, glute and hamstring which was exacerbated when I hurt my back late last year.

According to the Australian Osteopathic website "Osteopathy is a "whole body" system of manual therapy, based on unique biomechanical principles, which uses a wide range of techniques to treat musculo-skeletal problems and other functional disorders of the body." Treatments can include massage and stretching; articulation techniques, in which joints are mobilised by being passively taken through their range of motion; muscle energy techniques, in which contracted muscles are released by alternately being stretched and made to work against resistance; counterstrain techniques, which achieve release of restriction by placing the affected joint or muscle in a position of comfort, while applying a "Counter" stretch to the antagonists of the tight muscles; functional techniques, which involve gentle mobilisation of joints in a way which "probes" barriers to normal movement until a way is found through the restriction; and, manipulation, which may be used where it is appropriate and safe to do so, though it is not the mainstay of most Osteopathic treatments. Osteopathic manipulations are carried out using minimum force levels in order to maximise safety and minimise patient discomfort.

I think pretty much all the above techniques were used. At one stage I did ask whether I would be taller by the end of the session, given the amount of stretching that was happening. There was one particularly uncomfortable period where she was manipulating the deep rotational hip muscles - they are so incredibly tight. Whether this will help, only time will tell. If I can comfortably get through 42.2km in a fortnight's time I'll be happy.

Running this week has been limited for several reasons - a sub-5min/km pace run (9km) and an easy 5.30min/km pace run (10km). Tomorrow I plan on running 26km. Fingers crossed everything holds together!
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"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live."
- J. K. Rowling


Sunday, March 22, 2009

CM minus 28

8 days ago I ran/walked SFT.
7 days ago I was feeling tired, sore and sorry for myself.
Today I went for my first run post-SFT.

It was nothing startling - 13km, average of 5.30min/km pace. There is some tightness in my hamstrings which I will have to work on. I have a massage booked for the end of the week. In the meantime its stretching, stretching, stretching.

However the fact that I could run today when a week ago my quads were sore and getting sorer and I was feeling physically and emotionally tired just proves to me how resilient how our bodies can be - no matter the challenge or the work we put them through, if they are looked after properly, we bounce back fairly quickly (admittedly age means that it does take a little longer than when I was younger). I'm not out to prove how great an athlete I am / might be / could be, or to be aspire to be the best in my age group - I just want to challenge myself, enjoy the experiences and recover to do it all again another day.

I've entered Canberra marathon.
Now here's to a week of slowly building up my running again.
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"What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?"
- Dr. Robert Schuller

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Never say never

CM minus 33

Amazing what a difference a few days can make. I do vividly recall saying to myself several times on Saturday that I would never do SFT again....never. Three days later and I've reconsidered that decision. Why? I hate being beaten and this year SFT beat me - badly. Its not about the time but how I felt - this year I felt 100 times worse than when I did it 2 years ago, and I don't like that. So its back to the drawing board and I'll try again next year.

Today I returned to work. I wasn't off to a great start - first of all sleeping in, missing the bus and then being late to a meeting. I also grabbed a coffee on the way to work which is a habit I have got out of this year, for the better. Now my first (and sometimes only) coffee is at lunchtime.....usually. Today was an exception and I won't make it a habit.

Hydration is ok - I'm drinking plenty of water and also supplemented by several cups of green tea.

Healthy meals - also on track. Though tomorrow I think there is an afternoon tea at work; you know, cakes, biscuits, chips, dips. Hopefully its mostly food I can't eat! I will be taking my own snack just in case.

Exercise - as well as walking to and from bus stops and incidental walking at work and to the Canberra Centre at lunchtime, I also went for an hours walk after work. Not quite a spring in my step yet but a vast improvement on yesterday. No running yet - quads are still sore.

Energy levels - still tired. Wagged class tonight - just the thought of sitting in class was enough to make me tired!

I have been reading over my recovery from SFT 2 years ago - that time there was no running the first week, three runs the following week and then I came down with a lurgy the following week. Lets see if I can avoid the lurgy this time! Tiredness was also an issue that time and it took me a couple of weeks to regain my energy levels.
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"If all you see in the road ahead are obstacles,
you are on a path to hardship.
If however you view them as opportunities,
you are on the highway to success."
- Gary Gentilini

Monday, March 16, 2009

CM minus 34

First, thank you everyone for your comments - they are all gratefully accepted. And, well done to all the others who did SFT - twofruits (11 and still going), Ewen, softshoeshuffle, John, Roger, Carol (who never ceases to amaze me), Cathy, Mick, Nick and Elle.

Day 2 recovery is coming along slowly.

speedygeoff, you will be pleased to know, I am walking. I went for an hour walk this afternoon - let me just say that every little incline and decline was felt! Going down the steps at home (I can't avoid them) requires patience and concentration. Sitting down and getting up - now there's a challenge.

Hydration - today, I have made sure I am drinking lots of water though this means more trips to the loo, more sitting down, getting up....you get the picture.

Stretching - hah! Whoever recommended flexibility post-marathon has a warped sense of humor. I can barely reach my toes at the moment let alone try a quad stretch. The best I can do for now is something called 'legs up the wall' - a yoga pose known as Viparita Karani. The benefits of this pose:
Relieves tired or cramped legs and feet
Gently stretches the hamstrings, front torso, and the back of the neck
Relieves mild backache
Calms the mind

Diet - No more pizza and chocolate. Today it was back to healthy eating and a focus on carbohydrates (to rebuild glycogen stores) and protein (repair muscle). Still dodgy digestive system but it is getting better.

Obviously some people take longer to recover than others - I'm one of those people. However, no stress - the main thing at this stage is to recover, relax and rebuild.

34 days to go.
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"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." - Thomas Edison

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Six Foot Track marathon

5hr 38.30min; 422nd overall; 33rd in age group

All those months of training came down to, in my case, 5hr 38.30min of the hardest running I have ever done. We arrived in Katoomba Friday afternoon to be met with overcast skies and drizzle, which soon turned into brief heavy showers. The Blues Festival was also on this weekend so there was a mixture of athletes and music lovers out on the streets and in the cafes. Once I had collected my race number and timing chip we returned to our motel for dinner and an early night.

Saturday morning came around all too soon and I was being dropped off at the park'n'ride location to catch a bus to the start at the Explorers Tree. Once there I managed to catch up with Mick, Nick, Elle, twofruits, Ewen, John, Roger and softshoeshuffle. Wave 2 soon got underway - we were off, down down down Nellies Glen, which was very muddy and slippery. Runners soon bunched up as we picked our way down very carefully - no-one wanted to sprain an ankle, or worse, so early into the run.

The path soon opened up and became a very pleasant run along fire trails. It is always easy to go too hard in this section down to Cox's River, of course, paying for it later on. So knowing this, why didn't I take it easier? In 2007 I took about 1hr 55min to reach Cox's River, yesterday it was 1hr 36.41min. Hmmmm. I crossed the river with John - runners were directed 'wet' (go through the river) and 'dry' (over the boulders). I was directed to the river, but it was only the first of several water crossings - the others to follow were only creeks but enough to soak my already soaked shoes again. At this stage twofruits was just ahead of me - that should've been a warning light that maybe I had gone just a bit too fast.

The less said about Mini Mini Saddle and Pluviometer the better, I think. Lets just say that I ran out of steam somewhere around here - going up one of the many hills. Even though my walking has improved, it seems that everyone can still outwalk me, and I can't blame it on my short legs. There were other people my height powering up those hills. Now it was a case of walk a lot, jog a little, walk even more, jog even less.

The Black Range should be a piece of cake after the Pluviometer, a respite from the hills. But my legs refused to play the game and I spent a lot of time also walking this and its not even hilly (compared to what we've just done). And then I did a CJ - hardly surprising as I was hardly lifting my feet and the trail is scattered with rocks and stones. It certainly caught the attention of those in front of me - they all turned to come to my aid but I gamely jumped up announcing I'm fine. To all appearances I did look fine - the only visual damage was split skin at the base of my little finger. My knees and elbows escaped unscathed but I was shook up and it took me a while to get back into any sort of rhythm again. I swore that this would be the last time I would ever do SFT again.

The last couple of kilometres downhill to the finish is murder on the quads. Some runners go flying down, others are taking it step by painful step. One runner went a cropper onto a rocky section - others went to his aid and I think he hobbled the remainder of the course, cursing as he went. Finally I was on the concrete path heading down to the finish - a lizard darted across my path momentarily startling me. Then it was down the steps, around the corner and through the finish - oh lordy there was no better sight! And Jen, sorry I couldn't chat for long but I was well and truly spent. All I wanted to do was lie down! But we will definitely catch up for coffee next month - I'm looking forward to it!

5hr 38.30min - 12 mins slower than 2 years ago, but 100 times more painful. Possibly going too hard to Cox's River was to blame. This is not the event to stuff up - because it can be a long and painful day.
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Still, that was yesterday - this is today. It is 35 days to Canberra marathon, though the last thing on my mind is running. I am stiff, sore (where I landed when I tripped), tired and queasy. I feel hungover - its not a pleasant feeling. I have tomorrow off and i am looking forward to sleeping in. The next 5 weeks will be trial and error - I have no idea how to continue training for the next marathon when I have just completed a very challenging one.

According to February 2009 Runners World: 1 day to 1 week post-marathon (beginning today) - don't run; rest or go pool-running; work on flexibility in the morning and evening; eat healthy meals; continue to hydrate.

Comment: Couldn't run if my life depended on it - walking down steps is a challenge, particularly after sitting for a while,as we have done travelling back from Katoomba.

Flexibility - I'm too sore and stiff to stretch.

DOMS has settled in - DOMS may be the result of muscle tissue breakdown. Muscle biopsies taken from marathon runners after competition or training, have highlighted considerable cell damage in these athletes’ muscles. Although the actual pathophysiology of DOMS is debateable, most researchers agree that it results from strenuous eccentric muscle action such as downhill running, resulting in microscopic tearing of the muscle fibers.

Eat healthy meals - today its pizza and chocolate; tomorrow its a return to healthy meals.

Lack of Energy - a general lack of energy in the week following marathon is perfectly usual. Try to eat meals comprising 50-60 per cent carbohydrates to replenish your glycogen reserves, and foods rich in protein to assist your body in repairing muscle and tissue. Indulge any cravings you might have - these could be your body's way of telling you what it needs (pizza and chocolate?).

Scientific research also indicates that many marathon runners lose around 3mg of iron (about the amount in a serving of beef stew) per day for up to five days after the marathon, so eat foods rich in iron - including meat, spinach, beans, peaches, parsley and peas - during your post-marathon week. To promote iron absorption, drink orange juice or consume other rich sources of vitamin C with your meals.

Weight Gain - some runners complain of weight gain immediately after a marathon. This is most likely due to water retention as your muscles repair and rebuild. Don't be tempted to start (or resume) any weight-loss regime during this time - your body requires a full complement of nutrients to recover from the stress of the race. Of course, if you are still gaining weight after your first recovery week, you might want to consider adjusting your calorie intake to suit your new activity levels.

Hydration - I have to admit that I've not done very well with hydration - I don't feel thirsty and so I'm not drinking. Note to self - drink more water.
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"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed" - Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Why I don't like tapering

Tapering - "a term used in endurance sports and basically means to reduce an athlete's training load before a major race. Personal experience and scientific research have both come to the conclusion that a period of enforced rest before racing significantly increases the athlete's level of fitness and boosts his/her performance by an average of 3%."

"Tapering allows the body to replenish its enzyme, glycogen and hormone reserves and repair its muscle tissues so it can toe the starting line fully recovered and in optimum shape."

Ok, so I understand why we need to taper but it doesn't make it any easier. As I mentioned in a previous post, the first day or so of a taper is a novelty - no more early starts to clock up 20km before work, but then the fingers start tapping, the feet become restless, the fidgeting starts.

This is the time when aches and pains, real and imagined, make their presence felt. When you walk into things and trip over things........

This is the time when everyone around you is either getting a cold/flu, or are in the throes of aforementioned cold/flu and refuse to stay at home but instead come to work sniffling, sneezing and generally breathing their germs your way, and when every bus you catch to work and home again is a mobile breeding ground for any number of contagious diseases.

This is the time when you are running less but seeming to be eating more, carbs especially, so consequently feeling blah and bloated.

This is the time when your mind starts playing games and you start to worry whether you have done enough training (forgetting all those weeks of 100+kms and challenging long runs), whether you have run enough hills (again conveniently forgetting runs such as Mt Tennent, Mt Ainslie three times, Mt Rob Roy, etc, etc), whether you should have done more strength training in the gym, more core work, more cross training, or more racing..........

This is the time you start having dreams where you miss the start, take a wrong turn, forget your shoes, have an unbelievably awful race, have an unbelievably amazing race, show up for the wrong event..........

4 sleeps to go!
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"The most self-destructive thought that any person can have is thinking that he or she is not in total control of his or her life. That's when, 'Why me?' becomes a theme song."
- Roger Dawson

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Those lazy hazy days of....autumn

This morning I had plans of watching some of the Weston Creek half marathon - instead I slept in. By the time I woke up and had my first green tea for the day, the run was almost over. So instead I met up afterwards with Strewth, Ewen, Carol, Bruce, Rochelle, and Lulu and Steve (who were down from Sydney) at Tilleys - first for coffee, and then for lunch. In fact, by the time we left , 4 hours had passed but it was a perfect day for just sitting around with friends, watching the world go by.

Yesterday I ran my last long run before SFT - 16km, close to home. Tapering is a funny thing - I like that I don't have to get up ultra-early during the week to get 20k in before work, but on the other hand, as the running distances/times decrease, sometimes the anxiety factor increases. Have I done enough? Am I losing fitness? What if.....? It becomes psychological rather than physical at this stage in the training - rest, recover, and focus on the event ahead.

And if you know of anyone who is looking to improve their fitness but are not sure how to go about it - I can offer a fitness assessment, personalised fitness program plus support and instruction over several gym visits to go through the program. Its part of my gym instruction assessment for Certificate 3 in Fitness, which I need to complete by July. I need clients!
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"So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable."
- Christopher Reeve

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Its all about me

There is bad pain and then there is sweet pain, and sweet pain is what I experienced this morning when I went for my massage. This was my birthday treat to myself and I was well overdue for the poking, prodding and kneading that my amazing massage therapist inflicts upon me. But it is so so worth it.

Prior to this I met strewth for an early morning coffee and an orange almond cake treat - what the heck, it is my birthday after all.

Then after the massage it was a quick drive home, change and then drive into Civic for a lovely lunch at As Nature Intended cafe with strewth and Mr B, who also surprised me with some lovely presents - gosh I love birthdays. I particularly loved my card which was titled "Bring coffee and no one gets hurt!" :-) (the KokoBlack choccies were very much appreciated as well!). And I'm in the process of making Greek yoghurt thanks to the new yoghurt maker I've received. We sat outside in the sunshine - only Mr B had to go back to work.

Tonight Mr CJ and I will be going out to dinner to a local restaurant, Rocksalt which has deservedly won many awards - it always has great service and amazing food, and best of all they highlight the gluten-free options on their menu.

Tomorrow it is back to work and deadlines but for today at least, its been all about me! Love it!
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"We're so busy watching out for what's just ahead of us that we don't take time to enjoy where we are."
- Calvin & Hobbes

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A shocker

Yesterday's long run was a shocker - what more can I say. I woke up Saturday morning feeling a little blah but put it down to the early hour (4.30am). Wasn't feeling the greatest by the time I drove out out the Cotter to meet the others. I hate the start of this run - uphill. I was struggling but again put it down to not having warmed up yet. I told myself that once I got on to the flat I'd improve so it was just a case of toughing it out until then. But instead things went from bad to worse - thumping headache, stomach cramps and an incredible tiredness that just saps the energy from the legs (makes me feel very uncoordinated). All tell-tale signs of gluten ingestion (for me - everyone is different in their reaction).

So I had to cut my run short - toughing it out wasn't going to help today. Twofruits ran with me to Vanities and then I ran very slowly back to the start, to my car.

Note to self - don't be so blase about takeaway food. I have a feeling where I may have accidentally had some gluten - a takeaway salad bar. The week prior to SFT I am going to have to be ultra-careful with eating.

In total, I ran 24km...........very slowly.

Total kms for the week: 75km
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Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities no doubt have crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.
This day is all that is good and fair.
It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on yesterdays.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, February 27, 2009

My week

In no specific order......
Sleep.
Gym.
Run.
Eat.
Work.
Class.
RPM.
Gym.
More running.
Work.
Circuit plus intervals.
Eat.
Sleep.
Tired.........................................

One more run for the week tomorrow - the long run.

Then I can sleep in on Sunday - yay!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oh what a feeling!

Its been a hectic, crazy week (seems to be the norm lately) but the running is coming along nicely *touch wood*.

Total for the week: 93.2km

Today (Sunday): vets run at North Curtin

I went forward a group from last month so started in Group 32 this morning, though I nearly messed up and left in group 31 - ooops. Fortunately I realised at the last minute, after racing across to check the board - yep, definitely group 32. A couple of speedy women are in my start group but that wasn't my concern this morning. My goal was to work hard up the hill and then ease off for the downhill and flat section - I didn't want to finish too high up in the results. However I also had to make sure two fruits didn't pass me - not that I'm competitive, I just don't like being passed!

The run went to plan - I also managed to pass strewth in the last 50m (apologies strewth!) but I did finish in 28th spot so I will move back a group again next month. After hanging around for announcements, strewth and I headed off for a well earned coffee and GF toast (for me) and date and walnut loaf (for strewth).

Yesterday (Saturday): long run, Mt Majura - 33km

5am comes around way too quickly for my liking. It seems I just get to bed and then that damn alarm goes off. Met up with the others behind the War Memorial at 6.30am before setting off on our run. Just before I started I met Roy coming the other way who said that strewth had had a fall. Not a good start. I headed off to catch up with the others - Carol, two fruits and softshoeshuffle (try saying that in a hurry) - fortunately I saw softshoeshuffle out of the corner of my eye or I would have headed up Mt Ainslie rather than out to Campbell Park!

Met up with strewth and Roy at some point - apart from some skin off her knee and elbow and a few bruises, she wasn't looking too bad, thank goodness. I think from memory the pace picked up not long after this. There was also a path that went up the side of Mt Majura - technical, rocky and it frustrated the hell out of me. The downhill run was great - even though it was on the road. For a lot of the run though I felt like an accident waiting to happen - so many close calls and one time when I did go over on my ankle but managed to right myself without causing too much damage.

*singing along to Sawdust Man - Ben Kweller, as I'm writing this - a great song and my favourite for the week*

In summary, a good run with some quicker running which required me to tough it out to keep up with two fruits (see twofruits blog for the technical details of the run).
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Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever. That surrender, even the smallest act of giving up, stays with me. So when I feel like quitting, I ask myself which would I rather live with?
- Lance Armstrong

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

When Cathy Met Harry

This morning started off like any other morning – get up, get dressed and then out the door for a run behind Hawker and through the Pinnacle nature park. It is darker for a lot longer in the mornings and lately it has also been a lot cooler. I passed several walkers and one guy out with a big, white, fluffy dog bounding along and who fortunately was still on a leash – he looked like he had a lot of love and licks to share!

There were the usual hills and downhills and rocky bits underfoot threatening to trip unsuspecting runners. Note – I have not done a CJ for 2009, so I’m starting to feel very smug with myself. Passed a group of kangaroos grazing, scratching, staring at the mad female runner (that’s the impression I get anyway when I run past them), taking a wide berth past the rather large looking kangaroo grazing near the path I was taking. He, however, just raised his head, had a look and returned to what was obviously far more interesting – eating.

A little loop at the top and back down the side of the nature park before coming to an uphill section I had run earlier. Coming up the hill was the guy walking his boisterous white fluffy dog but this time the big white fluffy dog was not on his leash. The dog saw me and with tail madly wagging, legs and paws going in all directions, tongue hanging out, he bounded up to me and almost knocked me over in his unbridled enthusiasm. Somehow I managed to stand my ground but one of his paws pulled my shuffle ipod off my waistband, which in turn disconnected itself from my earphones and one little silver shuffle ipod went flying through the air. We, the dog and I, watched as the shuffle landed to earth about 2 metres away and then it was on – who would get there first. Me or Chewbacca.

“Harry, stop……Haaarrrryyyyyy!” – this from the owner. So the dog’s name was Harry. “Hhhhhhhaaaaaarrrrryyyyyy”. Futile exercise. Harry was focused on getting my shuffle, and so was I. We both scrambled for the tiny silver item and for a second it looked like the shuffle was going to disappear down Harry’s throat but I somehow managed to get between his mouth, legs, tongue and the shuffle and rescue it. It was dusty and damp from doggy slobber but it still worked. Harry’s owner breathed a sigh of relief and managed to retrieve his overactive, boisterous, rambunctious dog, apologising profusely and possibly wished the ground would swallow him and Harry up. Poor guy! Harry, meanwhile, thought it had been such a great game and that he had made a new friend for the day. Then we parted ways – I headed up the hill and on my way home. Not sure which way Harry and his owner went.
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"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out"
- Robert Collier

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Plan

Finally, the cool change has arrived. I love Summer but enough is enough. The devastating consequences of the Victorian fires has also been a sobering reminder of the harshness of the Australian environment.

Ok, new week, new plan. Let's see how long this one lasts!

Mon:
am - well deserved sleep in until 6am! Tick
pm - Gym - upper body weights session Tick

Tues:

am - 20km run Tick
pm - CIT class Tick

Wed:
am - 12km fartlek run Tick
pm - RPM class tick

Thurs:
am - 19km run tick
pm - Gym - lower body weights session tick

Fri:
am - abs circuit including 5km interval session tick

Sat:
am - long run, 35.13km Tick

Sun:
am - spectating at triathlon Tick
optional - swim Who was I kidding?!

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"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference."
Winston Churchill

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Doing the Stomlo Stomp

Another 4.30am start - two days in a row now and its a struggle. But I was feeling fine after yesterday's run and knew I couldn't wimp out of today's run.......besides I would never hear the end of it if I didn't show up.

There was a good turn out for the Stromlo Stomp - the ACT Veteran's Mountain Running Championships. The selection races for the Australian Cross Country team were also on down at the grass track, so once we had finished our race we could always wander down for a look. After a quick warm up with twofruits and Nick it was time to line up for the start, in our respective age groups, and then we were off, charging up the track that would take us up to the top of Mt Stromlo.

Its always hard starting with a hill,and this was no different. Initially my legs were refusing to cooperate but gradually I began to get into my stride - slow and steady. The path seemed to go on forever; go around one bend and up some more, around another bend and up some more, etc. Finally I was on the road, passing the burnt out shell of the observatory. I hadn't been up here since the 2003 bushfires, but prior to this we used to come up here often for coffee at the cafe after a run.

The loop behind Mt Stromlo caught me unawares and I think it did for a few others as well. There was I thinking that the worst of the hills were over when I encountered a few more unexpected doozies - round the bend and then look up, up, up, before running up, up, up. My strength on the hills (relatively speaking) meant that I could pass a few people who were walking the hills. I may not have been running fast but it was still faster than a walk.

Finally the drink station at the top of Mt Stromlo came into sight - this meant only one thing - it would be all downhill from here on. Fortunately I didn't follow the woman in front of me as apparently she took a wrong turn near the finish and it was another hour before she finally crossed the line.

Anyway, according to the garmin, I ran 10.5km in 59.11min but this doesn't take into account my (quick) stop at the drink station, so I'll wait for the official results. However, I was happy with the way I ran after yesterday's long run.

The very early starts have caught up with me and I had a 2 hr nap this afternoon - probably a bit longer than I would have liked but then again I was tired. Now I'm just waiting for that forecast cool change to happen.

Total kms for the week: 72.3km

Tomorrow:
pm - weights session at the gym
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"It's not what you do once in a while, it's what you do day in and day out that makes the difference."
- Jenny Craig

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Ay caramba!

Another hot day - this is becoming monotonous. I love summer but several weeks of above 3o degree temperatures and the past week being in the high thirties, culminating in 40 degrees today, is really trying my patience. Its hard enough training for a marathon as it is without mother nature throwing a few curveballs.

Today the long run was Mt Rob Roy down Tuggeranong way. For northsiders such as myself this almost necessitates taking a packed lunch as I make the journey waaaay down south. Lack of sleep, lack of coffee and the early start time meant that I could barely string together 2 sentences when I finally did arrive, after everyone else as per usual.

Then we were off, carrying extra water bottles to drop off somewhere on the route, given there would be no taps or other sources of water on the way. We also came across one wily wombat out for a run, who joined us for a while. The front runners had already left us behind, no surprises there. The big surprise for me, though, was that I was actually running the hills quite well today. There were still periods of walking but there also lots of hill running, which impressed me no end. Even later on in the run, when I usually succumb to tiredness, I was still managing to run hills.

All in all it was a good run. The weather, humid early on and then heating up as the morning wore on, didn't seem so bad. I drank about 1.8l during the run, and then another 1.2l by the time I got home. We ran 30km which took me 3hr 30.24min, with an average pace of 6.58min/km.

Tomorrow: Stromlo Stomp, 10.4km

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"Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not on this earth for eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand and melting like a snowflake."
Marie Beynon Ray

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The best laid plans

On Sunday I drew up a plan for the week that went like this:

Mon - am - 20km run
pm - weights session (lower body)

Tues - am - circuit plus intervals
pm - RPM class

Wed - am - 20km run
pm - weights session (lower body)

Thurs - am - fartlek run
pm - swim

Fri - am - circuit plus intervals

Sat - am - long run (Mt Rob Roy)

Sun - am - Stromlo Stomp

Then things went awry or as they say, the best laid plans......

What really happened:

Mon - dietary (gluten) issues meant there was no running, no anything that day.

Tues - Forgot that the Cross Country Summer Series was starting this week so that meant no RPM class, but I will do the 5km at Stromlo Park instead. Will move the RPM class to Wednesday evening and the weights session (upper body) to Thursday evening.

Wed - I did run about 19km but work issues meant that I didn't leave work until late and so I missed the RPM class. Will do RPM class Thursday evening and forget about a weights session this week.

Thurs - Still planning on doing a fartlek session before meeting Strewth and Mr B for breakfast. However forgot that I have an acupuncture appointment after work so that means no RPM class this week - will try again next week. Will do a weights session (mix of upper and lower body) instead. Will move the swim to the weekend.

Fri, Sat and Sun - still to plan.

And next week I have to factor in classes again as its the start of semester at CIT.

The cross country run on Tuesday was okay - the weather had cooled slightly so it wasn't really hot. The course is two loops of a grass track and the layout plays with your mind. The way it loops around makes you think you have almost finished the loop and then you discover that you actually still have quite a bit more of the loop to complete. Not a good way to be on a hot day. I ran the first loop comfortably which meant come the second loop I could increase my speed marginally and pass runners who had gone out too quickly and were now paying the price - there were a few of those. And normally I would be among them. I finished in 63rd place in a time of 23.29min.

This morning's run was about laps again - this time two laps within the Pinnacle nature park. Its a hilly course that meanders around the boundary of the nature park. It was a pleasant run and a good way to start the day.

We were discussing exercise at work this afternoon and a colleague said she was too tired at the end of the day to even think about going to the gym, or running, or even going for a walk. She couldn't understand how I could do these things. She also mentioned how stressed she was feeling at the moment with the amount of work we have and the numerous deadlines we have to meet. I said "precisely". She looked at me as if I had spoken in Martian or my head had spun around several times. I said "that is precisely why I exercise before and/or after work - especially when I am feeling tired or stressed due to work." On those days when work is hectic, the deadlines are looming and everyone expects just that little bit more, I find that going for a run, or swimming, or going to the gym helps to take my mind off work, allows me some breathing space and I always feel refreshed afterwards. Whereas if I don't exercise I find I get more stressed, more tired and finally I get sick. I think she understood what I was saying but I don't think she was totally convinced. In her mind, remaining stressed seemed an easier option.

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Ewen - you wouldn't wanted to have been within earshot the other day when I realised that my CIT classes clash with the summer series events!!!

Strewth - The thing about pride is it always comes before a fall and you know I'm trying to avoid that. And please note - I have got through January without doing a CJ! (the first time in 3 years, I might add).

Softshoeshuffle - thank you. I may not have been appreciative last Saturday but I am glad I did the last 13km though it damn near killed me. Now about this Saturday..........

Clairie - the saying "what doesn't kill me makes me stronger" kept running through my head last Saturday. It didn't kill me so I'm hoping it made me a little stronger! I've just read your entry for Saturday - we share the pain!

Iiketoast - you're right, it is a long way from a few months ago and I should remind myself of this when things get tough. I have improved.

twofruits - I do blame you!!!! But thank you all the same. This Saturday might be a different story.......

luckylegs - its all about the journey rather than the destination isn't it. Sometimes we get so focused on the end result that we miss so much along the way. I'm still learning this.

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"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say
to yourself, "I have lived through this horror. I can take the next
thing that comes along." . . . You must do the thing you think you
cannot do."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The heat is on

The hot weather has been unrelenting this week. Cools down marginally overnight before the mercury heads right back up the thermometer again. However at least I'm not in Melbourne where son #3 is experiencing unbearably high temperatures, power outages, public transport problems and being surrounded by very cranky, very hot and very tired people.

Yesterday I drove out to Cotter for a 7.30am start. Carol, softshoeshuffle and twofruits were already there preparing for a hot day out. The start is uphill (which is not my favourite way of starting a run but after running back up to Pierces settlement later on, I won't complain again) but the weather was still pleasantly warm.

The first loop of 23km was relatively comfortable - helped along by a brief stop at Vanities to cool the feet down. At this stage my mind was made up - this would be the only loop I'd be running today. However once back at the carpark and reconsidering my position, with some help by a certain person, I reluctantly agreed to do the out and back Vanities run. It was now later in the morning and the sun was beating down but i figured I could cope with 12.5-13km before calling it a day.

However the run starts with the grinding uphill climb to Pierces Settlement - it just seems to go on and on and on. I managed to run a lot of it before succumbing to walking. Passed Nick coming the other way and then a little further behind, Mick - they were almost finished. Things went downhill for me when I had to walk uphill at the next creek crossing and it did not improve after that. By the time I reached Vanities I was not in my happy place at all, as twofruits discovered. I was hot, tired, cranky and felt like absolute crap. But after sitting in the water I slowly regained my composure and things didn't seem so bad after all.

The run back (and it was mostly running with only a teensy bit of walking up the top of one hill) was far more pleasant - I think its easier to run back to the carpark. Plus there was a breeze of sorts to make it more bearable, that, and the thought that the end wasn't too far away. I didn't even have a coffee once I finished, even though the coffee man was there.

So in the end we did 36km, the toughest part being the last 13km.

Total kms for the week: 100.9km

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"Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain.
An occasional glance toward the summit keeps the goal in mind,
but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point.
Climb slowly, steadily, enjoying each passing moment;
and the view from the summit will serve as a fitting climax for the journey."
- Harold V. Melchert

Friday, January 30, 2009

This will be a quick post because I'm almost feeling asleep at the laptop and I have an early start tomorrow for the long run.

Yesterday I ran 21km before work. I've been tired all week, what with the hot weather and general blahness that has hit me since the Mt Tennent run. I started the run and almost straightaway thought, nope this isn't working, I'll go 5km, turn around and call it a day. This changed to 6km, then 7km, followed by 8km. Each time I thought I'd just go a little further and then I was at the 10.5km turnaround. It was a slow run but I did it. However the gym session scheduled for after work didn't happen - I thought rest would serve me better.

This morning - similar story. At least I could sleep in until 5.30am but it was a struggle to get out of bed for a medicine ball circuit session interspersed by 2min sprints and finished off with a 5km interval run. Can't say it was my fastest interval session but at least I was consistent - consistently slow!

And so on to tomorrow - the session I've been dreading most of the week given the weather forecast. Its meant to get to 38 degrees tomorrow and the long run is at the Cotter where there is no shade. The run consists of 2 loops of about 21-23km. Its going to be hot, hot, hot.
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Ihatetoast and Ewen - I've been bloody hot the past week with the running I've been doing in the heat. That's my contribution to global warming! ;-)

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"Do the one thing you think you cannot do. If you fail at it, try it again. Do it better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire."

-Oprah Winfrey

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hot, hot, hot


Mt Tennent run, Monday 26 January - a hard slog - going up Mt Tennent


Heading back downhill

Bushfold Flats

Summer has well and truly arrived - it is hot and there doesn't appear to be any respite for quite a few days yet. I went for a 12km 'easy' run along the cycle path this morning and it was hot, and I'm talking 6am.

The reason for the easy run was because I'm still feeling some after effects of the Mt Tennent run - sore quads and residual tiredness. The plan was to do an easy run along the cycle path but for some strange reason at about the 9km mark I decided to step up the pace and do the last 3 kms in sub-5min kms. Now those of you who routinely clock up sub-4min/kms don't scoff - some of us are elated if we can break sub-5min/km, 6min/km or even 7min/km. All the long slow hill running I've been doing has played havoc with my speed to the point that I don't have any speed! Anyway I managed sub-5min/kms for the last 3kms but it was hot, hard and sweaty work and by the time I finished I looked like I'd been running in the tropics.

This afternoon I went for my regular acupuncture appointment for my achilles/calf problem. The massage that precedes the needles is sheer hell but effective. "Is this too hard?" Dr Pain asks as he focuses on a painful knot in my calf. A muffled 'no' from me as I'm clutching the sides of the bench to avoid hitting the ceiling. By the time he inserts half a dozen needles into various parts of my calf I can barely feel a thing. My reward is that I can there lie there for about 40mins doing absolutely nothing - bliss.

This evening I decided to go for a swim, and so did most of northside of Canberra - hardly surprising in this weather. The lane I chose (medium pace) was well populated but so were all the other lanes so there was nothing for it but to jump in and hope to churn out some laps. Apart from a wayward backstroker and another person who was attempting some sort of stroke (very hard to describe but they were making lots of waves), I managed a kilometre without too many hassles.

Tomorrow:
A dreaded 4.30am wake-up call for a 5.30am, 20km, off-road run.
Followed by a weights session at the gym after work.
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"The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results."

Anthony Robbins

Monday, January 26, 2009

Up and up and up and up

This morning it was the Mt Tennent Australia Day trail runs. There were several events on offer but I had entered the 20.3km Mt Tennent / Bushfold Flats run. The weather was also starkly different to yesterday morning - blue skies and sunshine early on which meant there would be warm conditions for the event. There were about 19 entrants in the different events but everyone would be tackling the 6.7 km summit ascent with 700m of climb to the top. Then it was back down and for some, back to the start /finish line. For others, including me, it was out to Bushfold Flats and then back to the start / finish line.

The run up to the summit started reasonably well - I was running, albeit slowly, and was determined not to walk. However, my calves begged to differ and eventually I had to walk due to the cramping. From then on it was a mixture of slow running and walking to get to the top of Mt Tennent in 57.55min. While most of the route was in shade there were places where the sun beat down with some intensity. Most of the field was heading back downwards as I neared the summit, with softshoeshuffle just ahead of me - but every time I got close to him he managed to run/walk away from me. Twofruits was well ahead - just over 6 mins faster than me to the top.

The run out to Bushfold Flats should, in theory, be a pleasant run given that we had just made our way to the top of Mt Tennent. The Bushfold Flats course could be described as relatively flat with some undulations yet I always struggle with this stretch - it's uneven underfoot, seems to go on forever and is just a hard slog - fugly running is how I would describe this stretch. There is less shade, and with no breeze to speak of, it was getting very warm. At this point Little Red was playing on my ipod and the song was Coca Cola (#47 on the Triple J Hottest 100):

Opening Lyrics:
My one and only advice
is cold Coca Cola and ice

Main Lyrics:
I know you like it too
My one and only advice is
Coke, Coca Cola and ice


Now I don't normally drink Coca Cola and ice but boy, it was starting to sound really good at this stage in the run!

I passed softshoeshuffle just before the turnaround and then I was finally heading back to the finish line - up a bloody hill! Announcements of results followed with the prizes being a choice between t-shirts, wine and Toblerone chocolate. I'll let you guess what I decided to take home! Anyway everyone gets a prize - its very democratic.

We stopped at Pine Island on the way home to cool off in the water - a great way to finish what was a very challenging event.

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I also listened to Triple J's Hottest 100 on and off today. The top 10 songs were:

#1 - Kings of Leon - Sex on Fire
#2 - MGMT - Electric Feel
#3 - Kings of Leon - Use Somebody
#4 - Empire of the Sun - Walking On A Dream
#5 - MGMT - Kids
#6 - The Presets - Talk Like That
#7 - Pez - The Festival Song(feat. 360 and Hailey Cramer)
#8 - The Presets - This Boy's In Love
#9 - The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name
#10 - Drapht - Jimmy Recard

I have 5 of these on my ipod (1 - 3, 5 - 6)

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Jen: I'm sorry we missed you on Sunday - that was one of the reasons we headed down there after our run. We were hoping we might see you somewhere at the triathlon but then as I said, we were in a coffee queue for quite a while. Next time!

Strewth - it was a great morning. We must do it more often!

Ewen - I had a pretty damn fine coffee this afternoon! How come we never saw you at Mt Tennent this morning?!
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"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more,"
you are a leader"
--John Quincy Adams - 6th U.S President

Sunday, January 25, 2009

10k for the day

The first vets run for the year was at Campbell Park this morning and the weather was nothing what I expected. It was cool (verging on chilly) and overcast - perfect running conditions. Strewth and I managed a 2km warm up before our respective starts. Caught up with a few people and then I was away in group 33. It was only a matter of time before twofruits passed me and not long after the turn around I passed Ewen. I had forgotten about the grinding climb to the turnaround but at least the return run was easier - mostly downhill. Never sighted Strewth on the run - she was just too good for me today. We then managed another 2km cool down afterwards, thus making a total of 10km for the day.

Then we were off to Lake Burley Griffin to hopefully catch up with some people we knew who were competing in the triathlon this morning. Saw Lochie out on the run, which meant, of course, that most people would have finished the event. So we sought out a coffee, of course, and for the next 15-20mins was spent standing in a queue. Caroline, who had competed in the olympic distance triathlon spied us in the queue and came up for a chat, hot chocolate and muffin. Watched the presentations, saw Jodie receive a medal for placing third in her age group, Lochie receive a medal in his age group but unfortunately never saw Caroline receive her medal, due to some recording bungle. Hopefully it will be sorted soon and she receives her medal - she deserves it.

This afternoon I went for a swim - 1km freestyle followed by 500m with a kickboard and fins.

Tomorrow is the Mt Tennent/Bushfold Flats run - 20.3km. It's also the Triple J Hottest 100 countdown. What will be the number one song for 2008?

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"It must be borne in mind that the great tragedy in life is not in
failing to reach all of your goals--it is in having no goals for
which you are reaching.

It is not a calamity if somehow you die with dreams unfulfilled but
it is a calamity not to dream.

It is not a disgrace if you fail to reach the stars, but it is a
disgrace if you have no stars for which you are reaching.

It is not a disaster if you fail to achieve your highest ideals,
but it is a disaster if you have no high ideals for which you are
striving. Not failure, but lower aim is sin."

Benjamin Elijah Mays - Former President Of Morehouse college

Friday, January 23, 2009

Slip Sliding Away

This morning I could've swore I was running in the tropics, rather than Canberra. It was 20 degrees at 5.30am and apparently the humidity was 67%. After the thunderstorm and heavy rain last night and in the early hours of this morning, it was definitely steamy and the ground was muddy, making running at times a risky business. There were a few occasions when I slid along rather than ran and some of the downhills I took very carefully.

The cockatoo tree was very subdued this morning - only about a handful of the usually noisy birds sitting quietly in the tree. However there were plenty of those wascally wabbits around (as Elmer Fudd would say) - they are everywhere.

The run went well, a little slower due to taking care not to slip slide away. Another 21km done for the week, making it a total of 71km. Tomorrow will either be a complete rest day, or if I find that too difficult to do, then I might go to the gym.

Ewen: ok you've got me there - I don't think I'll ever manage 147km in a week.

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"Don't lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality"

Ralph Marston

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Another one done and dusted

After a muggy night I was up at 4.30am to have breakfast before heading out on my 20km run at 5.30am. The things I do to fit my training around work and the weather. I can't run 20km on an empty stomach either - if I want to get the most out of my longer training runs I have to eat beforehand hence the early start.

Its also getting lighter a bit later now. It wasn't quite light when I headed off at 5.30am but the start of my running route is along some roads before I hit the trails behind Hawker. After the storms yesterday afternoon and evening everything was still damp and smelt fresh - all the dust had been washed away. It was soft underfoot and there was a nutmeg/peppery scent in the air as I ran through the bush - not sure what plant/tree was responsible for the smell but it was very pleasant. I passed by the 'cockatoo tree', so named because there are usually at least 20 cockatoos perched, hanging and squawking/screeching from the branches. Its a dead tree with absolutely no foliage whatsoever but is usually festooned with the cockatoos.

My run took me through part of the Pinnacle nature park, across the road and past Mt Painter, through Aranda bushland to the start of the Black Mountain nature park and then retrace my steps home. I never get tired of this run. Today there were the cockatoos, kangaroos who would stop from whatever they were doing and stare until I run past, lots of rabbits dashing around and the usual walkers out with their dogs.

On my return trip, running along behind Hawker again, with about 4km to go, there was a familiar figure ahead - familiar, yes, but I wasn't sure why. I don't usually encounter anyone I know running along here. As I drew closer to pass by, I discovered it was KW out for a run with his dog, Gus. So we ran together for a while, chatting, until I reached Belconnen Way where we parted ways. It certainly made the last few kms pass by quickly and pleasantly.

So another run done and dusted for the week. So far, since Monday I have run 45km with probably another 25km to be done by Friday. And today I paid my entry for Six Foot Track marathon, as well as the Mt Tennent Australia Day trail run. The weather forecast for Monday is meant to be 35*c - I hope that changes before then.

Clairie - there might be mileage and time on the feet but no speed unfortunately! I'm the proverbial tortoise watching the hares go racing past. The sleep-in was definitely worth it!

Ewen - I'm still gobsmacked that I ran that distance for the week - I've never run that far before....ever...over a week.

Friar - sounds like the Zephyr was a reliable car.

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"Big goals get big results. No goals gets no results or somebody else's results."
Mark Victor Hansen