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.

"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.
"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 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.
"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.
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.
"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!
"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!
"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!
"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
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