Iron Man food for thought

Yesterday I went on one of my last long runs before my 2nd half marathon (Geelong Half Marathon on 15 April). It was 3 x 6 km with 3 minute walk breaks. All up, it was just over 19 km. Long and arduous!

Anyway, it was the end of the day, I was tired, and the other ‘obstacle’ or distraction, really, was the Asia-Pacific Ironman Championship being held on my preferred running route!!!


^^^ I got the wrong Iron Man ^^^

I made some adjustments to my route, and kept just part of my run (a 3 km stretch) along the Iron Man route (the opposite side of the road – my husband did suggest I try to ‘blend in’ and get free Gatorade. ).

Anyway, for the first time ever, I decided to run this distance without music. Strangely, after half an hour, I sort of enjoyed being able to hear and moderate my breathing!!! Usually my breathing freaks me out.

I lapped the Iron Man stretch 3 times, and as I did so I clapped and cheered the competitors. Amazingly, most of them could smile and give me a thumbs up back!!!

While this was a very big training run for me, somehow watching these women and men do this MAMMOTH effort made it easier for me.

Not only were they on the final leg of a MARATHON (with around 17 km left), but they had just cycled 180 km and had swum 3.8 km over the bay!

I would love to try this ONE DAY.

ONE VERY DISTANT DAY.

Right now, I can float in the bath. My cycling skills are equally impressive.

I am going to Italy

Well, I knew my mindless trawling of Facebook would get me somewhere someday. And last night, I happened upon one of Shauna‘s posts where she mentioned The Julia Jones Running Festival in Bologna, Italy.

Anyways, I asked her what’s it all about, then? Shauna explained a bunch of Up and Running Online runners are going to spend a few days there, and, since I like to jump on any old bandwagon, I said “HEY, ME TOO!”

Now, I am booked to spend six days in Italy!

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Thrillingly, I get to meet the fine and esteemed lady who has been coaching me from afar this past 10 months. I mean, seriously, JULIA HAS HER OWN FESTIVAL! And, just as excitingly, a whole swag of lovely motivated running women I briefly got acquainted with at the end of last year on the forums!

YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

Oh, and there’s something about going to Italy in there too. I am trying to wrangle a brief 24-hour stop-over in Paris to do some things that a lady must do in Paris.

Meaning buy a new dress.
Or maybe some shoes.
Or maybe some shoes and a dress …
and a handbag.

YEEEEEEE HEEEEEEEEEE.

Of running note, today I ran a kilometre in 4 minutes and 37 seconds (at the end of a 1 hour run). I thought it was quite impressive. I am going to time myself again in a week’s time and see how fast I can go. I probably could’ve tried a bit harder, but, you know, I wanted to keep my lungs in my chest.

‘appy (not-so) new year

This morning I launched my morning run at 6.30 am thinking I’d beat the 35 degree heat. I probably should’ve headed out an hour earlier, but even then I don’t think I could’ve missed the HUMIDITY which has descended on Melbourne like some kinda invisible SWARM.

82 per cent!!!

It felt like I was in the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, with condensation on my eyeballs.

I broke up the Niagara of sweat by shouting STEAMY, EH? at everyone I passed.

The run was ditched at 40 minutes (it was supposed to be 90), so I will attempt to go out again tonight an hour and a half before last light.

Good day for dewy complexions, bad day for hair (and running).

I don’t think I’ll be entering any tropical fun runs any time soon.

In other news: this year I have been following a lot of the nutrition espoused by Teresa Cutter, the Healthy Chef. You must try the tabouli, I eat it most days! I strongly recommend the 80/20 Diet book on account of it being WHOLLY DELICIOUS.

Just keep walking

Three other ladies and I have formed a team and entered the Oxfam Trailwalker. The trailwalker is a 100-kilometre walk against poverty being held in Melbourne on the 20-22 April. With precisely four months to train, this morning I went for my first official training walk. And by ‘official’ I mean I simply went for a walk and said to myself “YOU ARE OFFICIALLY IN TRAINING, GIRLFRIEND!’

Admittedly, it was more of a STROLL, as I took the time to marvel at the surroundings I’m usually RUNNING past with steely focus.

For half of it, I was walking on sand, rocks, and in one Goonies-esque moment, taking a giant flying leap over fast-moving water streaming out of a storm drain. Now I will add long-jumper and aerialist to my credits.

In one hour, I covered 5.5 km, and bid GOOD MORNING to at least 20 other walkers, canines, and a few glassy-eyed runners. Usually, I smile/grimace and puff something like URGH!

When I got home at 7am, I grabbed some cash from my bleary-eyed husband and did another 16-minute round walk to the cafe to nab a couple of coffees (for us) and loaf of bread (for the children).

WALKING. IT IS SOMEWHAT ENERGIZING. I look forward to doing more of it.

Piece of cake


My amazing rainbow-striped birthday cake, as made by my dear friend Jo. This photo was taken two days after the half marathon.

So, with the glorious half marathon behind me, I’ve found that I truly have been doing things by halves. And by that I mean my running has become HALF ARSED. Yes, I had a few weeks off to recuperate, then I started training again.

Disappointingly, I haven’t been training very well, viz:

Running slowly.

Running a bit reluctantly.

Sleeping in and missing my runs.

Giving up the ghost.

And, it seems, living in the former glory of the Legend that I used to be six weeks ago!

However, after much whining and retrospection (but mostly whining), today I’ve decided to STEP UP and give things my absolute best again. True, I have lost my motivation, significantly, but the only way to get motivation to perpetuate it to START DOING STUFF. I have been taking it easy for long enough.

I mean, HOLY SHIT YOU MOFOS, I’ve got a marathon to train for!

Today, I felt as high as a kite in a sky filled with awesomeness after my run, so possibly I’ve lassoed some of those good vibes BACK.

This is what I did:

30 minute run
6 x 100 metre strides
10 minute run
2 x 1 km run at 5’10”, recovery 2 minutes in between.

Pace, for me, is an issue. I don’t know how to keep it! So, while I wasn’t trying to be a hero or anything, those last two kilometres were run at 5 minutes and then 5 minutes and 3 seconds.

And, while keeping that pace, it sounded like a set of bagpipes had grown legs, donned some Lululemon athletic gear, and wheezed its way around the well-kept lawns of my suburb.

Also, today I had a personal training session, where the theme of the day seemed to be shoulders.

In other news!

With just six days till Christmas, I’ve decided to start counting calories* to shed the 1 to 1.5 kilos that seem to have latched onto my not-trying-so-hard frame over the past six weeks. I do not expect to shed this weight BEFORE Christmas, but right now is a good time to tackle it before I go on some wild pudding-based bender.

Today I ate very well, and not one cookie/cheese cracker/bag of chips crept into my BIG HUNGRY GOB.

Till tomorrow! There and then, I will write about WALKING (which I will be doing on days I do not run. Gotta keep on keeping on!)

* No danger, fearmongers and worrywarts! This Ebeneezer Scrooge will not be pulling out the pocket calorie counter on Christmas Day itself. Surely it will be languishing under a yuletide pile of crab claws, candy-cane wrappers and shortbread crumbs.

Sunday 30 October, 2011: Portland 3 Bays Half Marathon. GOAL!

October 30 was the six-month anniversary of my first training run with Up and Running Online. Coincidentally, it was also the day I completed the Portland 3 Bays Half Marathon in 2 hours and 7 minutes!

My first entry on Streak of Genius, back on April 30, said:

With today’s training, I had pretty much achieved my usual running distance with Julia’s prescribed 15-minute warm up … eeeee! … and I still had the rest of the training program to complete!  How much longer did I still have to slog away? 40 minutes or so?

So, in bang on six months, I went from experiencing an all-out MIND WARP at going on a 40-minute run, to putting on my (virtual) Energizer bunny ears and slogging out a half marathon in two hours and 7 minutes without:

Stopping!

Crying!

Or keeling over in rigamortis!

I did, however, mutter a lot. Astonishing configurations of the F word.

Lesson learnt: with the right people (Julia) coaching you and a six-month dose of dedication, you can do anything, people, EVEN CRAZY WAY-OUT FREAKY SHIT LIKE RUNNING A HALF MARATHON!

21 kilometres!

And, if, like me, you drag your family on a 5-hour drive from your home to run that half marathon, you can be even more thrilled to the chops at that (highly uncharacteristic) dedication!

So here’s how it went:

The week before the race I was on minimal training because I developed Achilles Tendonitis in my left leg. This made me SAD and DISAPPOINTED.

Never before had I felt such an emotional affinity with professional footy players. True, I could’ve acted out by going to nightclubs and creating some kind of RUCKUS! and SCANDAL! but instead I did three 30-minute slow runs and rode my bicycle for an hour.

Dork.

So, on the morning of the half marathon, I woke up at 6, added 43 songs to a new playlist on my iPod, and ate two bananas and half a gluten-free cereal bar. I applied lipstick, but not mascara, as I wasn’t really going for the ‘Alice Cooper look’ at the end of the race.

Around 8 am, I bid my husband and children adieu, and walked down to the seafront where I boarded a bus with a hundred or so other people. We drove what seemed a very long way past paddocks and windfarms and were dropped off at the base of a VERY LARGE HILL. Our start point was halfway through the full marathon course, and a few marathoners were loping past us to our winsome cheers.

I spoke to a few different people, and we all wished each other good luck. One lady in a visor and pink ‘Run Happy’ shirt mentioned she was a social jogger and wasn’t expecting to run the whole way or something to that effect. I can’t remember what I said, but it was probably something like POWER TO YA, ‘RUN HAPPY’ LADY.

Back to her later

Anyway, the gun went off (I was listening to ‘Icky Thump’ the song I begin every race with, all four of them this year) and we all started shuffling up the hill known as ‘The Shuffler’. After, oh, 40 seconds, my throat began BURNING with the crisp sea air. And I realized the hill was quite steep.

Here’s a graph (we started in the middle of the graph):

After the shuffler, things quite rapidly went downhill, which is a good phrase when you’re talking about running.

Still, around four kilometres in, my knees started to feel the strain of the shuffler followed by running a decline, my throat was sore from the air, and the fact I had another 18 kilometres to run started to mess with my head a bit.

But I haven’t trained properly! I kept whining (in my head, I know the other runners didn’t care.)

That was only one week! I responded. And you did train!

OMG, SHUT UP! I added for good measure.

As the roads were open to traffic, I had to keep my music very low so I could hear vehicles approach (and also pay attention to the marshalls who would point us along the course).

This disrupted the Samone Mobile Disco vibe I like to keep going as I traverse the highways and byways, but I adjusted to listening to music lower than Spinal Tap’s 11 on the dial, and was fine.

Awesomely, local fire fighters and primary school kids were manning the water and Gatorade stations.

I said good morning to everyone I ran past because:

a)   We should respect fire fighters and,

b)   The children are our future, just like Whitney says.

As I ditched my plastic cup, I tried very hard not to whirl it in anyone’s face or all over their Sunday best.

YES, I may have been running for six months, but it doesn’t mean my throwing skills have improved. At all.

So, after much running and a bit of lurching, I reached around 11 kilometres and suddenly felt elated.

I was over halfway there!

I felt like I ran a bit faster then with less lurching and started to enjoy myself for a few kilometres.

At the 14th kilometre, I thought to myself City2Surf DONE!

Only seven kilometres to go!

So half the City2Surf again.

Oh.

That wasn’t the most helpful thought, so I ignored my mathematical magic for a while, and by the 17th kilometre, I remember thinking ONLY FOUR KILOMETRES TO GO!

Easy town!

Less than 25 minutes, surely!

From there on, my body started to feel sore, especially my torso, but mentally I found it a lot easier to count down the kilometres. By the 18th kilometre, I started to feel very tired and ready to keel over in a ditch. I was also a bit disappointed at this point as I calculated there was NO WAY I could finish the race in two hours (a goal I had set myself).

Oh well, next half marathon …

At 19 kilometres to go, we were out of the paddocks and back in the township of Portland and that gave me a bit of verve and vim again. I was surrounded by full marathon runners (in red numbers) coming to the end of their course, and I started to think more about their achievements instead of my own.

So, while my mind was boggling “God, that poor bugger has just run over 40 kilometres no wonder he looks totally knackered!” I somehow found myself near the finish line 2 kilometres later, felt bad at trying to speed past said poor buggers (but did it anyway), and ran down the straight.

I felt relieved, of course, at the sight of that line. But then I saw Tim and the kids waving and shouting at me, and then I felt very, very happy – teeth-baringly so! – and proud of myself, indeed.

Hello, children!

And, as I was thinking how generally awesome I was, super mama and all that, the crowd started cheering, wildly. Reminiscent of the 4 kilometre Mother’s Day Classic when I was upstaged by some cute kid in a tutu, I turned my head and saw the ‘Run Happy’ lady, the social jogger who expected to walk half the thing I SLOGGED OUT LIKE THE BATTLER I AM.

She bounded past me, obviously a local hero and well-seasoned runner. Well, possibly a social jogger, but seemingly more at ease with it than me, anyhow!

Before I could trip her over and offer a lecture on the ills of FALSE MODESTY, I hit the finish line and walked over to the kids and Tim.

Someone handed me a cup of water, but before I could drink it, Jasper started shouting:

“MUMMY! MUMMY I’M THIRSTY! GIMME THE WATER! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!”

And, so I did, because while I might be a pretty rad athletic type these days, I am a benevolent all-giving Madonna figure FIRST and FOREMOST.

Then, when the race was done, I was somewhat disappointed that I didn’t get a medal to commemorate my efforts (though realized that wandering around shouting WHERE’S ME MEDAL! wouldn’t win friends in the town), ate a giant Freddo Frog, stretch and then hopped in the car and drove to Apollo Bay, our next stop on our week-long holiday.

Never have I been SO HUNGRY, and, strangely, our car was packed full of sweets, which I ENGULFED. In fact, I am embarrassed to say how much crap I ate, so I won’t itemize it!

The extreme hunger kept on the following day, and then levelled out to normal proportions.

In all, I am exceedingly pleased that I achieved my goals. I ran a half marathon and, one year and one day from the date I am writing this, I will be completing the New York City Marathon.

At the moment, this feat seems almost as mind bogglingy CRAZY TOWN as running for 40 minutes did six months ago.

However, I know that with another year of coaching, eating consistently well, and continuing with my personal training three days a week, I will feel like quite a different person, physically, in November 2012.

An important addition to my training plan will be yoga, which I kept fobbing off all this year. However, I know this is very necessary if I want to hit that marathon in good form. All things going well and to plan, I will be more than ready for that 42.195-kilometre challenge.

MARK MY WORDS!

Thank you SO MUCH Julia and Shauna, for your awesome coaching, skills and encouragement. I hoped I would reach this goal, and am so thrilled that you helped me there.

And thank you Tim for shuffling around your schedule – by which I mean work – so I could run when it was light outside. Training in the depths of winter was a true team effort, and tough on everyone. And thank you, my kids, for being the tiny little treasures that make me want to show you that you can do anything IN THE WORLD you set your mind on if you keep on trying, and trying, and trying.

YOU ARE THE BEST.

Run 69: Monday 10 October, 2011

With less than 3 weeks to the half marathon, I decided I’d best get a good start to the week and was up early for my run. This week, everything is tightly scheduled!

After yesterday’s effort, I was about as mobile as the Tin Man during an oil embargo, but still did the run (albeit rather slowly and stiffly). This is what I did:

30 minutes run

6 x 100 metres (skipping, knee highs, front kicks).