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Well I am getting pretty excited about the run this Sunday. I am going to be stressed out of my brain due to the monkeys at Connex who aren’t scheduling extra early trains to allow me to get there on time, but I think I have sorted out a work around. I know that I will get there stressed though.

Okay, here are my main thoughts about strategy/plan for the day:

  • This is the first time I will complete this distance and my preparation has not been as good as I would have liked (particularly long runs), so I am not going to sweat on a particular time or result. Main aims for the day are to have fun and enjoy the experience.
  • Do the good hydration thing on Saturday. No alceehol and lots of water all day.
  • Spend some time on Saturday doing some gentle stretching, esp shins, hamstrings etc which typically start out a bit stiff
  • Priority number one is hydration. I am going to be out there a lot longer than many people and it is no use maintaining a brisk pace only to crash from dehydration afterwards. Therefore I plan to stop at each drink station and walk through, so that I make sure I get at least one full cup of water every station.
  • Drink stations are around every 3K so all I have to worry about is doing a collection of 3K runs with say a 60sec walking rest in between. I can so do that.
  • Enjoy the day, have fun and be nice to people, even if I don’t feel like it.

I am actually really beginning to get excited so I am trying to keep a lid on it so that I won’t jinx it and turn it into an anti-climax. So tell me it will be crap so that I will feel less excited.

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Was a bit nervous getting out for a run again after over a week off my feet. Would the bastard hip announce itself after 313 metres again? I actually loaded up nudge’s stats for that run into Sportstracks, by the way. Dammit, that 313 metres is going to count towards my yearly kilometerage. I also worried that I would feel dreadfully unfit. I am already down about having a week off running two weeks before R4TK.

I needn’t have worried. It was just the sort of run I needed. Hub and I drove down the foreshore and he went off on a walk planning to do about an hour, and I started off on my run aiming for about 5K. I thought I would turn and meet him on the way back to the car and walk the rest of the way back with him as a warm down. But I felt fantastic. Pretty comfortable, no niggles, and yet nudge was telling me I was powering along at better than race pace. I didn’t maintain that pace as I didn’t want to push too hard and slowed down to training pace as soon as I began to feel tired later in the run. But more on that later.

I got to where I had planned to turn and just felt like keeping on going. Besides I could see the Dromana pier ahead and wondered what picture nudge would draw of a run out there (to compare with the picture of my run on the Rosebud pier in the header of this blog).

McCrae Foreshore

So now you know.

Once I turned around I was just coasting and having a great time. I didn’t find Hub on the way back and hoped he had turned around as I had been gone significantly longer than I had told him. Sure enough I found him back at the car and had only been waiting about 20 sec.

I got home and even the fact that some evil genius had hidden my staminade powder couldn’t get me down. I just loaded the info from nudge into Sportstracks and wasn’t surprised to see that I got another sportstracks compliment when it guessed I had been racing. And why not. My time at the 5K mark was about 40sec outside my 5K race PB. My time at the 8K mark was only 13 sec outside my 8K race PB at Spring into Shape 2 last year.

So I was really happy with today. I don’t have time now to do another decent long run before next week, but I plan to do an easy 10K tomorrow and then a couple of shorter runs during the week.

Well didn’t get to run on Monday which was a pain because bastard hip still a bit niggly. At the moment I feel like everything is falling apart on this runner’s body. Yesterday out of the blue my heel started killing me (but has now stopped), this morning on the way to work my knee started acting up, and my toes have been achy painy all week. It is coming up to TOM which normally means an increase in muscle soreness but this time around it seems to be joints and bendy bits.

Hope that is all it is, restricting myself to low impact exercise is pretty annoying. I am determined to baby myself so that I am not injured for R4TK, even if I am severely underdone. Even managing niggles, the bike seems to be pretty low impact so have been doing some decent 60min plus bike rides if only so that I know that I am comfortable exercising that long (always a concern for us unfit ones). I have just found out that Hub will be away for the R4TK which means that I will be a bachelorette and well up for some “relaxation” after what I predict will be a fun day but not much of a exhilerating run.

Oh well, this year is all about getting startlingly large PBs for a lot of distances so that I can break them next year by a lot and pretend I am tigerboy.

After a soak in the hot tub and some deep heat as well as a bit of a massage from Hub (Celeste, he offered this without my even suggesting it – must have wanted to stop my whingeing), woke up this morning and bastard hip feels a lot better. Still a bit sore as the day has worn on but desperately resisting the urge to declare myself cured and go out to run up and down hills.

Aiming for a long gentle walk with the puppies this afternoon followed by more stretching and another hot tub soak. More a knot than inflammation so using heat instead of cold for treatment and seems to be helping so far. If I pull up okay tomorrow probably an hour or so on the exercise bike tomorrow with no running until at least Monday. I am hardly the model of self control and I am totally pissed off because I had my runs for the weekend all planned out in my head and I actually had time to do them all. Bastard hip.

Thanks for all the good wishes. Man, I was grumpy last night. We stopped at coles on the way back home and I noticed that they had some GUs and other gels, so picked up a range to try out for runs over 90mins. When Hub saw the price they scanned in at, he commented “They’d want to be good”. And the check out chick said “I’ll say!! You’d want to be running a marathon.” She’s lucky that my patented flesh disintegrating death stare doesn’t actually have a physical effect on people (yet).

Was really looking forward to my run tonight, despite my long held conviction that I don’t exercise on Friday nights. It was great though. Went down the foreshore and walked for a warm up with one of the dogs while Hub took the other one for a walk in the other direction. As soon as nudge found himself, was ready to start a nice easy short jog.

Was great.

For about 200m until something in my fricken hip decided to alert me to its presence. OWOWOWOWOWOW. Didn’t feel like I had torn anything or had any strange movements that might have caused injury. So I had a bit of a test to see whether it felt like it would loosen up. Nup. Tried to do a gentle hip stretch and could barely cross my leg in front of the other one. Bugger.

Still feels like a cramp or twinge rather than anything serious, but that might be wishful thinking. Have been hobbling around being a major grump. We are at the weekender and Hub just asked “What do you want to do tomorrow” and I was like “go for a RUN!!!” I think he is appreciating how much I am a nicer person when I am able to get my exercise.

Bastard hip. I wanted to do Coolangatta Gold training tomorrow as well. Buggity bugger.

So the plan tonight was to do an easy 5K – nice, comfortable pace etc. Of course I notice the first couple of km splits from nudge and realise that I am on target for a training PB for the course. Legs okay? Check. Breathing okay? Check. HR okay? What does that feel like anyway?

With that brief assessment of my condition, I was off. I didn’t sprint or anything, but I was desperately trying to get under 40min, which I missed out on by a ridiculous 5 seconds for a course nudge measured as 5.09Km. But in missing that particular milestone, I smashed my previous training PB for the course by 45secs. That rocks.

Well I didn’t end up doing the Coburg Harriers run. I was at a conference all day yesterday and didn’t get home till late, so I elected to sleep as long as I could, ended up getting out at about 10am for the run after a quick charge of Nudge.

Sporttracks complimented me again by guessing that this was hills instead of a long run. Can’t imagine why.

long-run-preston-merri-creek-trail-11-03-2007-elevation-distance.jpg

You will notice that my long run out and back course starts with a long downhill and therefore ends with a steady climb over about 2km. Running that on tired legs whenever I return from my long runs is quite the tall order. But I figure what doesn’t kill me etc etc.

So today I did finally manage to make 12km. I felt pretty ordinary in the first half and began to worry that I wouldn’t manage to keep up my steam, but in the second half my legs felt a bit looser and I felt much more comfortable. The splits show a negative split (just) but on the way out Nudge was beginning to squeak that his battery was low so didn’t take any drink breaks and didn’t need to stop for stretching (Nudge auto-pauses when I stop so if these breaks had been taken into account, my way out would have been significantly longer).

Anyway, I am pretty sure that this is my longest run ever. Young runner deege ran 10KM fun runs but she only ever did 6K or so in training. I am pretty sure she never actually ran further than 10Km. So got one up on her now, the skinny bint. All up I was on my feet for just over 100min, which is not far off my upper limit goal for the long runs of 120mins.

Feeling for the first time confident that I can complete R4TK. I just have to do what I did today and then add another 3.2K. 3.2K is nothing, so I am pretty sure I have the mind games to shame me into it.

Aren’t you lucky? Two posts in one day. Just a couple of unconnected things.

Planned on an easy 4K tonight but as soon as I started felt really awful so cut it to the 3.5K loop. Haven’t done that in ages. Nudge had run out of batteries so put on the polar for the first time since August 2006. Had a romantic notion that I would do a nice easy run and find my heart rate at a much improved level. Instead, the HRM just confirmed the crapness of the run, with an elevated rate the whole time despite the tortuously slow pace. Ho hum.

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Got my R4TK pack the other day, including my lurid green shirt. Passed the initial test that it actually fits okay (phew). I modeled it for Hub whose response was “Do you have to wear it for the race?” I pointed out that the race day is actually the only day that I won’t look like a dickhead. Later that night, I offered to wear my sexy new shirt to bed. He said “well, sometimes I wake up at night and can’t find you in the bed, so that would help”. Heh. Wore my new shirt for the first time tonight and will try to get a few more runs in it before the race day.

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The next in an interminable series of “weird ways to tell that The Project (TM) is having an effect”. My thighs have dimples. This is a new development. I have been a little perplexed about why all of a sudden I have dimples in my thighs. Aren’t they for cheeks? So tonight I conducted a series of rigorous experiments and determined that the dimples are a result of the more developed muscles in my thighs. I still have fat thighs, but whereas the fat bit used to be between my hip and my knee, it now seems to be between my hip and my dimple (a couple of inches above the knee. If I clench my thigh muscle, everything above the dimple still jiggles, but below doesn’t. It’s a stupid thing to be impressed by, but I am anyway.

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I mentioned in the last post that I am a sucker for Big Fat Freaking Loser, but I can’t believe that people volunteer to go on this show. Do they not have friends and family? And assuming that they do, why aren’t they stopping these people from being humiliated about their weight and fitness on television? I mean, I have the Project and all, but I still prefer to skirt around the issue when talking with people I know. I changed at work for the run on Wednesday and when my super fit boss asked what I was doing, I was too embarrassed to admit that I was going for a run, so I told him I was going to court to argue an urgent injunction. It was funny but I am a loser. But there is no way that I would go on a show like Big Fat Loser.

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Still working towards solving the clothing challenge. Seems like I have a heap of clothes at the moment that I just can’t quite fit into. I went shopping today for work clothes and saw this cute argyle vest only available in size 16 but didn’t quite fit. So bought it for the rewards drawer. I feel like I have a thousand things in the reward drawer which will be suitable with relatively little change. But still not happening. Maybe the argyle vest will prove the motivating factor (it is pretty cute).

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I am beginning to feel like hills could be my thing. A couple of times recently when I have pushed myself up hills on organised runs, I realised that I can run down most other people at about the same pace. People pass me on the flat, but if I run the hills, I keep up with them or even pass them. This might be because I am competing with people who run when they feel like it and give up when it is hard. I am slow, but I do have a fair bit of determination and bloody-mindedness. So hills are hard for me, but I think that they might be harder for the slackarse skinny people that run as slow as I do. So I think I might do more hills work in future. Worst case scenario it improves my fitness generally. Best case scenario it improves my running generally. So on the weeks that I can’t do coolangatta gold training, I think I will introduce some hill repeats. Is it sick that I think hill repeats sound like fun?

A bit slow in getting the report up. Blogging has otherwise been light because I haven’t been running as much while busy and indulging my obsession with Big Fat Loser. But I did manage to have myself a run on Wednesday night. Here is the report that I wrote on the forum:

Well I was totally in the wrong headspace for this one. This racing on weekdays thing is a bit of an adjustment, but with work lately this series was all about actually getting me out the door to do a decent run mid-week. And I certainly wouldn’t have run 8km last night but for this series.

Now to the report. The theme for this race seemed to be “deege’s slow fart challenge”. There was good and bad about this. Actually my first time running the tan (ooh er a tan virgin) so one of the great things about being a slow fart is that everyone passes you, meaning that even going around the correct way, you still get to perv at a fair selection of finely toned bodies. Wimped Anderson Street on the first loop figuring it would be just as quick to power walk (it wasn’t).

TB lapped me 500m from the end of the first lap, and shortly afterwards kathrynoh and her friend Simon came past. They sure have improved their speed lately (rumour has it they stopped for coffee).

By the time I was halfway through the second loop I noticed one of the marshalls encouraging me by name, my first hint that I was probably last with enough space in front of me for bored race organisers to look up my number.

Was determined to run all the way up Anderson Street the second time and managed it – even passed someone (who admittedly was walking, taking a leisurely drink and talking on a mobile phone – okay not in the race, then.)

By about the 6km mark, volunteers were packing up witches hats before I got to them. TB once again took pity on me not being able to make the collegial environment of the ESRG runs and joined me for the last couple of k which was much appreciated. By the time we got to the government house extra loop, they had packed up the course and we had to ask where the turning point was (good thing TB was there – my version of that question would have been considerably less intelligible).

The thrilling finale was crossing the line to the apparent amusement of a group of feckless volunteers lounging around apparently at a loss as to why I would be crossing the line at this point. I was waving my little tag for someone to put on a stick and one young man said with a look of profound confusion on his face “Were you in the run?” Ouch.

Despite the overtures of the slow fart orchestra, thoroughly pleased to be out there and should contribute to another strong kilometrage week for me in the lead up to R4TK. Good to see a few Ausrunners out as well.

The above sounds very sorry for myself, but I decided long ago that IIWII so there is no use feeling sorry for myself for being the slowest one in the race because the only thing that is going to fix that is continuing on. I do look back on my decision almost a year ago to say “bugger this, I won’t wait until I am fit to start running, I am starting now” and am quite pleased. If I had waited until I could perform at a decent level, I would still be waiting and would have missed a whole year of huffing and puffing around enjoying my runs.

I was amazed at what a thoroughfare the Tan is in the evenings. It is not really convenient for me to go running at the Tan after work for logistical reasons, but I wondered whether once in a while mid week I might shuffle off there or the yarra or whatever so that I could feel part of the community of runners (who strangely enough don’t seem to populate the suburban streets of an ordinary suburb in the northern suburbs of melbourne).

This Sunday I am determined to get my long run up to 12km, and in doing so I thought I might enter the Coburg Harriers King/Queen of the North. They seem like a good club and the fun runs are lovely from my one experience of them. While it might seem funny to pay for the privilege of doing my long run along the Merri Creek Trail where I would otherwise be doing my long run anyway, it is really nice to support a community organisation like this. Racing for me at the moment is the thing that keeps me interested in running longer distances and prompts me to get out the door to get some wear on the sneakers. I have a whole bunch of races coming up that I am excited about, even though I know that I am going to finish at the straggly end of the pack.

The thing that makes me laugh about my Sunset Series experience is that when I was a runner in my early twenties, I would have been horrified and mortally embarrassed and in fact, I was. Naturally my expectations are different now, but I don’t think young runner deege ever really appreciated the privilege and joy it is simply to be able to do this regularly. Sometimes I want to just shake her, the silly bint.

Just wanted to mention that kathryn has written an article in the latest women’s health and fitness magazine in which you might even find some of my own thoughts about fitness goals rather than scale obsession.