The plan

I love the plan.

This is my second time using the plan.

The plan works for me.

I feel more in control when using the plan.

I don’t feel guilty on rest days when using the plan.

The plan gives me more freedom.

The plan works.

Trust the plan.

Trust the training.

You will finish and the plan will have paid off.

I love the plan.

I hate the plan.

 

Run to your plan and stay strong.

 

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Off to the physio I go…

After my last post and the resulting abysmal runs I went off to the physio to see what she could help me with.

Not only did I get really good information and help, with instructions on exercises to do, I felt embarrassed by and ashamed of my lack of form. This appeared to be my the main problem – lack of form.

She poked and prodded, I bent, twisted and showed her my squats. Did wall sits, and quad stretches. While we talked and discussed these movements, I got a lovely massage that eased my leg.

I went home with a list of exercises and strength movements to work on, and feeling positive after getting permission to run again.  The catch…don’t wait til my knee is killing me to stop, but when I feel a niggle, I should stop and do a few stretches. Reset it so the speak.

There is something in this that puts me at ease. I could do this myself. Say stop and rest, stop and stretch, but I’m stubborn and could not bring myself to actually do it. The flip side of this, having someone who is helping to fix me, who then give me permission makes it all ok. I don’t quite know how or what, but I am more comfortable about doing it.

The rest of the week passed in a blur of half-hearted exercises as I felt worn out physically for some reason (and not an excuse, work was ridiculous and very day).

I’ve made myself a pact today that I need to keep up my normal strength exercises, concentrating on the ones she gave me, skipping one she doesn’t recommend. Loads of stretching, and also foam rolling – she said she can’t see why I shouldn’t. Yippee, I am feeling really good  from doing this on each leg.

And running. Every second day. Doing a version of the Jeff Galloway run/walk method.  I really need to get my strength back up, and right now the only way to do this is to do what she says and practice.

Run strong my friends, Jennifer

Out with the old…

I had read about this thing but having not done a lot of running before never experienced it for myself. The retirement of old running shoes. Generally around 800-1000km mark you are meant to swap over your shoes for maximum comfort and running…what’s the word…you know, gait, style, stride..so you don’t injure yourself.

Two months ago I went and put a couple of pairs on layby knowing that I would be ready by the time I paid for them. More ASICS, my favourite brand. And the shop I buy them from know their stuff – they watch you walk to gauge your hair, they find out what surface you run on, how often you run…all the important hugs to make sure you get just the right shoe. And I try on about 6 pairs before making my final decision.

This morning I laced up the first pair and off I went. Of course I had forgotten what new shoes are like after 11 months and 895kms and that was my down fall.

At 5kms my toes were numb. Loosen and re-lace shoes. At 10kms it was worse. Remove feet from shoes, adjust and re-lace. By 13kms I was having trouble moving, my shoes felt like there were lumps in them, I couldn’t feel my feet properly and was struggling to run in any semblance of a straight line.

My distance was also way off track. What I thought was 20kms was more like 30 so I had to re think my route. Accepting I would have to do another hill climb I trudged along the road to the intersection. And stopped. And made a phone call.

It was 8kms up over the hill and I just knew I would not make it. By this time, 15.5kms I couldn’t feel my feet at all and knew it would be dangerous to keep going.

I was disappointed at having to do this, falling 2kms short of today’s training plan. Happy that I had gone that far and felt pretty good.

I do remember all of his happening with the last pair I bought. I was only doing 5kms at a time back then, so didn’t think anything of it.  I’ll have to remember this for next time. Let the shoe gently wear in and soften up, don’t push it.

The lesson has been learnt and I know the first run with the other pair is a simple 5k.

The beautiful road I was on.

New shoes and compression sleeves. Thank you and good bye old shoes.

After I got home. Feeling better though feet are still aching.


Today’s long run, hoping for 20 but oh well.
Happy running, P2P recap soon.

From zero to Ultra

If someone had said to me three years ago I would be considering running an ultra I would have laughed at them. Not only because I had no idea what an ultra actually was but because I wasn’t even running. Nothing. Maybe walking occasionally but running, no way.

Fast forward to today and it is a high possibility that I will do this.* After starting the year with this race on my long list (and solo at that), I had come to the conclusion that it wasn’t something I had in me. During all my training sessions, especially for my marathon,  the realisation hit me that the extra distance was not something I wanted to do. I’m sure I am capable of it, it was more of an acceptance of ones limitations and desires. Some people don’t ever go past ten kilometres and there is nothing wrong with that. I’m happy with marathon distance as my big one.

So why am I thinking of doing this race now?
I’m still a little surprised at what I have completed over the last 18 months, I have gone from barely running five kms to being able to run a marathon! I am so happy with how much I am enjoying running and where it’s taken me. This year so far I have run and finished 7 races with 2 to go.
I am also incredibly proud of myself and what I have achieved. I have changed so much since I first began, learning a hell of a lot about myself and I can’t wait to keep going and see where I can fly to.

I have learnt something from every race I have entered.
I have learnt to what extent I can push my body, how far it will go til it breaks down, or not.
I have learnt about the mental struggle that occurs when you run insane distances, in one hit, and over the course of a week.
I have learnt about the challenges that pop up when you think you can’t do it anymore and some how you just go out and do it, realising it wasn’t that hard after all.
I have learnt about the challenges you push through when your head tells you to stop, when everything hurts and you want to curl up in a ball. When the recovery is all out of whack and you feel like you’re dying.
I have learnt from that, how your body reacts to the torture you put it through.
I have learnt about how freaking awesome my body is, and how it works. From the good, the bad and the downright ugly – toilet stops and bodily function, black toenails, aches in places you never knew you had – to the best bits – feeling fit, healthy and able to conquer anything that is put in your path.
I have learnt that the pain is all worth it in the end when you feel like a million dollars.
I have learnt about the change in mind-set, from comparing yourself to everyone else, to comparing how you were yesterday instead.
I have learnt about the obsession with times and whether they are worthy or not, changing it instead to finish lines not finish times.
I have learnt about accomplishment of training and starting the race to the joy and feeling of pride when you cross the finish line – no matter what position you are in.
I have learnt about getting out there and that starting something is the first and the most important step to take, hard as it may be sometimes.

So now, if anyone mentions the idea of running a certain race I can laugh at them. And it comes from a place at says ‘I can do it, even if I won’t register. I can do it ’cause I’ve done it before. I can do because I love to run, I love to compete – even if it’s just against myself’

* Hubby and are looking at competing together in our own team of two.
The challenge has been set. If we don’t take it up there is no shame in that. If we do, then we will blitz it.
Either way, it’s our decision and no one can judge us for it.
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Post workout recovery – what I choose to do.

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If there’s one thing I’ve learnt through long runs and marathon training, it’s how I like to recover after a long run. Short runs, like a five or ten k requires a slightly vastly different routine than that of a 20+ km run. Not having the time to do my usual recovery session recently, I realised what I like to do and how my body works.

A short run requires light stretching, a protein shake and I’m good to go. Nothing more than that.

A long run works the body and mind in a deeper, harder way, so need a more intense variety of recovery.

I like to take my time and let my body cool down, relax. Then refuel and refreshen.  From a long run it takes up to 2 hours before I eat properly and at least another hour after that before I have the energy to do more than be a couch potato. I let my body relax, and I have learnt to make sure I do it properly.

I know what I am like if I don’t recover properly, headaches prevail and general grumpiness. Not nice for anyone in the direct vicinity. Myself either. I dislike how it feels. I may not always like the pain on a long run but I do love the feeling I have after.

My routine goes something like this.

Finish my run. Spend ten minutes chilling, walking and letting my body relax. Let the shakes in my legs calm down.  Make a protein shake. Stretch and drink. Eat a banana. Chill out a bit more. Drink water. Shower. And somewhere around 1 1/2 – 2 hours post run I am ready to eat properly.

This was really put to the test when I did my 25km run. What I thought would be an ‘easy’ run was a lot harder than I thought, and my post run routine was stretched to its limits. I passed, but not without more aches and pain than I wanted.

The week after when I had my 30km I also had another little helper. Proper fuel in my camelbak. Water is great and definitely required but on long runs you need to do more than just hydrate. Replacing the salts you lose are important and help the body to keep moving. Tailwind is my new best friend. While I didn’t drink all 2 litres of it, I was so much better off afterwards. Less tired, more energy, and no headaches.  I will be using this on my marathon and any time I do more than 15kms. If it works I’m going to use it.

I had to explain my recovery routine to my husband prior to my 30k. I’d said that I would be up and out the door at 5am, allowing four hours to do the run. He then said, but that’s only mid morning. And so I explained what I do and the time frame it takes up. He seemed to understand then why I was happy to get up that early on my day off. I will be up that early if it means I have more time to do other things later. (Even if that day it was veg out on the couch and watch a movie or two and eat all the food I could stuff in my mouth).

My recovery session after my marathon this weekend may be slightly different again, but hopefully as much the same as usual. It’s a 2 1/2-3 hour drive from home and I have my family with me as my support crew (plus its Father’s Day here), and it’s a race which means meeting up with friends (more like running acquaintances) and being around the general atmosphere of race day. Then the drive home. At least I won’t have to drive at all.

recovery is important no matter what distance you run, or how hard you do it. Fuel, hydration, rest and stretching.

Now I must head off and make up my list of what I need to take with me, I can’t be forgetting the important things. Especially not with a 3am get up on the day.

Happy running and safe recovery.

Jennifer

 

 

Marathon training back up and running!

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Training for a marathon is hard work. It takes a lot of hard work. Dedication. Commitment. Resilience. I have all of these, just not always and not all at the same time when I probably should have. Like now, when I’m in marathon training mode.  My lack of any decent running over the last few weeks is due to the pain in the butt that is moving house. And working full time.  Not having one iota of energy to even think about running.  This move took everything we had, yet even though I was not running I didn’t get that sludgy feeling I normally do. That feeling of losing fitness and becoming a slug. I have felt pretty good physically through all of that, so when I started again last week with a few treadmill runs I knew I would be alright.

As I have said before I have the Asics running plan to help me keep on track and so far it is doing its job. I tend to run a bit faster than it wants me to, despite feeling at those moments that I couldn’t go slower if I walked. I am doing alright.  I’m figuring the plan has been worked out on flat runs not hills, so on my hill climbs tell it I’m going slower.  I like hills, and I hate hills. Hills are good to help with strength and a different kind of endurance. They also kill my knees.

I wrote up my training plan on a big white board and its in the corner of our lounge/gym where it’s easy to read for everyone. Crossing off each day and updating both my running apps* gives me some satisfaction. It also makes it easy so if anyone wants to plan something they know what I should be doing and when.

*my phone had a bit of a hiccup so has been sent away. What I got as a replacement was a dinosaur so my runs have to be tracked by car for distance before I can run them. So it’s an update of apps and not a ‘stop tracking and save’ motion. This may mean my runs are slightly off for a week or two. I’m not worried, i am still doing it.

My eating plan has been ok, smaller serves and less giving in to temptations. Control is the key.  I’m not sure if my body has changed that much or it’s an illusion, but I do feel leaner. It’s a good feeling.

During the week my runs were pretty good, I was feeling it during and after, even though my mid length run was slower than I wanted. I was a bit worried during that run as it got dark a lot quicker than I was expecting so had to finish in the dark not being totally visible.  Next time, (so this week), it will be reflectors and head lamp. Hopefully with a little running beanie I’ve ordered.  I’ve found that while the head lamp is great (this morning’s run proved that) it doesn’t fit so well over my cap. So I wore my cap backwards so the lamp was in the right place. Felt a bit weird but you know what, I’d rather look silly and be visible than the alternative.

Why would I wear a cap when it’s dark? Well for many reasons. When I started running I found that I really disliked my hair bouncing around (yes, even with short hair) and if I wasn’t wearing my sunnies the glare would hurt my eyes. So a cap became a part of my outfit. Now, I don’t go anywhere without it, if it’s raining, it will also keep the rain at bay somewhat. That and clear glasses. Good for cold/wet/dark so I can still see (cold makes the eyes water like you wouldn’t believe).

While I’m on the subject, what else do I have in my outfit range… my pink light as a feather all purpose Asics jacket (in a fluro-ish pink, so my perfect colour and highly visible as well!). It keeps the cold at bay, the rain and the wind. And because it’s so light I don’t get hot while wearing it. It is incredible!

Then there’s the asics high vis vest I bought for the same reason. Night time visibility. Not only its it in that gorgeous green it has pockets galore for all the little things you need plus the back is a pocket to hold a camelbak. Ooops, I may have just picked one up yesterday to use for my longer runs… for anything over 20km my hydration belt just doesn’t cut it.

I tested it out this morning. Very comfortable to run with. Cold on my back a bit, though the weather wouldn’t have helped with that, it didn’t bounce around and was easy to use.
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Cold hands have been an issue, so with any length run if it’s cold enough, my Nike running gloves with padded fingers for smart phone easy access are the bomb. Comfortable as, and my hands didn’t get too hot like I thought they would. I run hot so each of these things could be an issue. With this cold weather I and finding that extra layer is awfully good.

Another lovely find is my asics long sleep top. Thumb holes so it covers the hands a bit, and a fluro high vis section across the upper back. Super comfy and again, not too hot.

Most of my running gear has been Kmart, Big W, Michelle Bridges, Target, you know, the cheaper items and not full on brand names. There are items though that I will spend on and ‘get what I pay for’. Quality and durability.  I do like Asics, big fan here.

Wow, that was a bit of a digression there. From training plans to my outfits. Ah well. Running is the most expensive free sport .

Back to the training. I am loving it, more so when summer kicks in and daylight savings is back.  Longer evenings after work, lighter earlier in the morning. There is that certain freedom in running, and even in training mode I am still enjoying it. Only way to go really. I have to work hard, I have to push through the ‘it’s going to be cold on the weekend’ comments that I hear everyday at work.

My mid week runs are short, 5 and 10k, with the long run on a Sunday. Perfect as Sunday’s were my usual long run day anyway. My long runs up to race week are 10 (handy as I’m doing a 10k fun run on this day, sub 60 is the plan), 21, 25, 30 then 14 the week before race day. My only issue is only getting to the 30k mark and not having tried the full kahuna before the actual day. For my half marathon I ran it at least twice that I can remember so I know that I could actually do it. I spose I should trust myself, my training and the race day high to get me through. I’ve heard it’s a flat course so hopefully will make it ‘easier’. Of course running 42.2 km isn’t easy by anyone’s measure, but hills certainly make it more challenging.

I will keep plugging along, doing the work, stretching and light weight workouts on my rest days. Having a plan has been good for me. I think I said it once before somewhere. Leaving the planning to someone else and doing what I’m told has been good. I’m not feeling guilty because I think I should be running, because I know I will get the run in when I am meant to. Before, I used to be push push push, run run run, all the time, with a ‘gotta go for a run or I’ll lose it all’ mentality. Oh how I’ve grown up, if just a little bit.

C2C – the one that started it all.

This is where it started 12 months ago. Twelve months ago when I was barely running and definitely not in any kind of competitive manner.  I saw the ads in the paper and said “next year I’m going to run that”.  If only I’d known then what I know now. That by the time I ran the City to Casino I would already have a half marathon, two 10km and the Mother’s Day Classic under my belt. And learnt a hell of a lot about myself over that time.  My strength with training and lasting the distances required. Sometimes with ease. Sometimes with aches and pains. And sometimes with disappointment.  Due of course to my own expectations.
My only goal at that time was getting the medal. Which meant finishing under the 2 hour mark. I figured I could that with some ease. What I didn’t realise was that I would be able to blitz even my best time to date in the process. And boy what a feeling it was.

The weeks leading up to race have been pretty wet and yucky. Especially on Sunday race days. Ah well. The craziest of the crazy still come out to run. Because it’s just water after all.  My training was constant and I made it work by doing lots of short but fairly intense treadmill runs
I was well organised as usual.  I’m that kind of person. I need to know I have everything ready. The location, parking, other transport if required, bag drops…everything.  I leave next to nothing to chance. And I’m always early. This does nothing for the nerves, but I deal with it. I get in a panic of I think I may be late.

So, at 7am I arrive at the finish line to park and wait for the bus.  Light stretches and taking the obligatory toilet stop I then wander around the empty car park before heading off to the buses. I chat with a lady doing the shorter run as we head off and wish each good luck at her stop.
Arriving at the start line there is another loo stop (I’ve found I’m not the only one who has to have 3 or 4 of these prior to a race) before running into a lady I met at the last two races I did.  Chatting with someone helps to ease the nerves, and ten minutes to start we are herded escorted by police across the highway through the road works to wait.
And then it starts to rain.  Big fat drops to start with. Ugh. It was cold and my toes were starting to go to sleep.
Nine am the gun goes off and by the time I crossed the start line it was full on raining and I was drenched. No point complaining, it was actually quite nice, with the temperature being low enough to make running comfortable.
I turned my phone right down so I could barely hear my running app, just enough to keep an ear on the time. By the time I reached the 3.5 km mark I felt good and had properly settled into a rhythm.  There were plenty of people always around and while I wasn’t listening to anything I wasn’t talking to anyone either.  I am a solo runner for the most part.
We had passed the two main inclines, one short and sharp the other longer and on both I ran a steady if slower pace and kept moving.  I have found that walking can make it harder to start again, so I make sure I keep moving and then it’s easier to pick up the pace on the flat or downhill.
My mistake I felt here, was doing what I do in my training runs and not push my downhills. That would have saved a good minute or two by going faster on the downhill.  Lesson learnt.
As we entered the short underpass to cross the highway the portable dj was there and it brought a big grin to my face. The instant pick me up was just what I needed. Then another sharp incline and back onto the highway.
It was as we ran past the waterfront with more spectators that I felt it. That feeling of insane joy, of accomplishment, of the thrill of running through the streets. Past people in cars, waving and smiling at the pedestrians.  It’s an odd feeling and I’m not sure I wrote exactly how it feels, but I want to do it again.  Being completely honest here it’s not about the looks, I’m an awkward and not the most elegant runner, I just love it all.  The atmosphere, the participation, the competition and the getting out there and doing.  There is something about running the streets, I simply love it.  Even if my photos don’t make it look so. That’s my competitive side coming out in me.

Then I am on the last stretch, the last 2-3 kilometres where we are running directly next to the cars.  I’m concentrating on getting past the walkers and avoiding the witches hats leaving me to completely miss the water station. Dammit, I was ready for another splash of water.  At the time I saw it, I was too close to the end and was certainly not going to turn round.  I pass a few more groups and hear mutters about how the runners have made rubbish and thrown their cups on the road.  I would have done the same 6 months ago. Not so any more.

About one kilometre out I chose to whip a little butt and move it up.   The last small incline was easy, then a light downhill and rounding the corner to the finish line. As I came round the corner the people fell away as I sprinted down the chute and across the finish line.  I caught a glimpse of the time and had that ‘Omg!’ moment. I had done it. Equalled my own 10k time for a full 11.4 km. Which meant I had done another sub 60 10K. I was so incredibly happy, tired, but happy.  And a week later, I still am. There’s something about getting a pb or finishing a race still strong that makes all the work worthwhile. Even the knowing I could have made it closer to the 60 mins doesn’t phase me*

Crossing the finish line was one thing, navigating the crowds to get my water and fruit was another.  Especially as the skies opened up at that moment and I drenched once again.

The grin on my lasted all afternoon and the energy I had was incredible. I was full of it. It was racing through me, giving me that runners high, only this time it lasted so long and I let it roll over me.
The race that started it all. The big one. That surreal feeling of having wanted something for so long and then finally having it in your hands.  Bring it on next year. You never know, I may blitz my time and get a sub 60 for the full 11km.

* One last 10k goal.  To get an official sub 60 min time.  Bring on ‘The Glenorchy Ten’ in July. A flat double loop course.

Finish line action shot

Happy running, Jennifer

May Races

May is turning into a busy running month.
– 1st – Harcourts Signature Round the River 10km
– 8th – Mother’s Day Classic 8km
– 15th – City to Casino 11km

The organisers of the first race have high expectations or are some serious runners. There are two categories. Race and Social. Now because I run a slower than (25 min 5km and) 55 min 10km I have to attend the social run.
That being said, which is totally fine, I would like to bust out a sub 60 min 10km. Just once, to know I can do it.

Now to find something for the last Sunday that month. Or maybe I just work on my long run. I would like to finally hit the 25km mark.
This gives me April and the next two weeks to be more organised and get back into the gym for more strength training. My nemesis. I love running, just not the other bits that actually help make me a better runner.

And to finish up a little collage I played around with. This will change as I do more races over the course of the year. I will keep this as it is to remind me of my event beginnings.

RTB 10k and Cadbury Half 2016
RTB 10k and Cadbury Half 2016

Exercise sticks

Day 3 with my funky exercise sticks and all is going well. I don’t want to say it’s been easy, the combinations have been workable, with nothing too strenuous. That being said I will now have several days of hard work ahead of me.

I have found it easy to actually get in and do it. For 4 days this week I’ll be doing 12 hr days then travelling, so I shall ask hubby to get my sticks out each day. Then next week I am travelling interstate for 3 days – not sure whether I’ll get to a gym, a park or anything for a good cardio workout – so will be taking some sticks to do the very minimum.
It’s all about getting in a routine!

For a quick test, I’m going to take a few measurements and see how I fare after the first fortnight.

Exercise that is not running (getting started)

There is one door in my house that is nearly half covered in A4 paper with several body part workouts. Arms, legs, abs, the LBD workout, a full body challenge.. you name it I’ve printed it out and it’s up there ready for me to do something about it.
I know that running (and diet) alone is going to stop the jiggly bits, give me toned legs and arms, fix the belly flab and give me a strength outside of distance I just have trouble getting started. I know that getting started is the hardest part. And it is never as hard as you convince yourself it will be. It’s about looking at the big picture. Seeing the end results. Imagining that feeling of having done it. Knowing that you did it.  You pushed through (I feel psyched up just writing this and ready to leave you hanging so I can go do it..)!

I bought myself a women’s running magazine yesterday. Thinking maybe it will help me push through that barrier I have in my head.  Rather than looking at what was on the cover I picked one that looked pretty, that looked more like my calibre. Not advertising shakes and supplements. No professional looking mumbo jumbo. Just good old information. And inside. Holy wow. So much great stuff. Lots of new workouts (to put on the wall) and some great recipes as well.  There is one I really want to try to will post about it.

It got me thinking – these new mini workouts. How do I go about organising what I do and when. Do I try to make them a daily thing. Or like a friend does and have a leg day, arm day etc. Have the whole body workout I do everyday, so when I’m not able to run I’m not lost or struggling.
Aside from my runs which take from 30mins – these workouts are like 10 min jobs.  I can do them anytime I want.
I found one in the magazine that I would like to fall out of bed and do. The Good Morning Exercise! Not the full 3 sets, just one set to pick me up first thing in the morning. Especially on those day I need to run out the door.  A little kick-start.
On days I run I can then adjust it to having a body part day.
The last two weeks of May will be super busy with definitely no time for a proper run which means I have to get this into a habit. And now! Where to start?

My workouts on the wall as we speak – dancers legs beginner arms, simple Abs workout, 30 day LDB challenge, 21 day arm challenge,  30 day all body workout x 2.  To add to that the Skinny jeans workout (4 weeks), Booty camp and the shoulder shapers.
I need to find that thing to help me push past this mind fuck barrier of getting started. Getting started sucks.

Sometime later after I went off and googled ‘how to set up an exercise routine’ … and was subsequently overwhelmed by the response. There are many ways – which all are dependant on what goals you want to meet – to set up your own routine.
I like pictures so went through the images folder to see if something caught my eye.  The thing with me is that I get bored with doing the same thing all the time. Running wont bore me as there is always times, distance and pace to challenge me. So making each day a set thing will probably piss me off eventually.
What I found though, was a neat concept. Probably done by someone similar to me and/or a million times before. Coloured popsicle sticks with an exercise written on them. For each day, pick one of each colour and do what it says. This way each day I wont know what is coming and am more likely to be willing.
Tomorrow I shall pick up said sticks and start filling them out.
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