You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2007.

Realising that your evening run is going pretty well and spending the rest of it composing a blog post about your new training PB for your 5K course (it contained the phrase “my 5K loop is my bitch”). Then arriving home, loading the info up to Sportstracks only to realise that in fact, you missed a training PB by a good 40sec (sure missed celebrating that training PB).

Dammit.

You know the great thing about being on a training program? If you approach it the way that I have, you can potentially stay on the same program forever!! Hub’s 40th birthday (happy birthday, sneaky reader!!) and a weekend away put paid to the rest of the week running-wise, so like a bad kid at school, am repeating last week’s program (again) – so far I have done 6 weeks worth of week one and two of this program.

Don’t worry, still doing fine. Still enjoying myself. And that greek banquet was well worth the break from a measly couple of runs.

So now that I know that I am not going to keel over from too much exercise, I have been able to enjoy my increasing running without that thought in the back of my mind that I could get in trouble with my doctor.

Actually, my doctor’s office contacted me the other day to reschedule an appointment because the leave that she was going to take was cancelled. I was all “That’s fantastic!! I’ve never been able to get in to see her this quickly” etc then felt really bad because I was celebrating that her leave was cancelled. Oh well, it was kind of amazing to have a choice of appointments.

Anyway, the training program (pdf) that I am doing at the moment includes “aerobic intervals”, defined as:

You push the pace. But just a little. Find a tempo that feels somewhere between comfortable and “Hey, I’m workin’ a little here.” Don’t run this too hard.

This definition just tickles me silly. It’s so delightfully vague, but I know exactly what it means. Anyway, I started the program from the start again after the GTR recovery, so last night I had my “quality” session of 3K warm up, 5-7 x 1:00min AI, 3K cool down. Part of me dreads these sessions and part of me really looks forward to them. The part that looks forward to them does so because at the end of it, I feel like an absolute hero. Last night I managed 7 repeats of the AI and ended up with 8K in total for the evening.

The funny thing is that it is like being back on the Couch 2 5K program. I am suddenly keeping an eye on nudge counting down the time I have left until I can drop back to a jog. The difference is that instead of alternating running and walking, I am now alternating faster running and slower running. And every time as I increase my effort and number of intervals, I find that my training PBs keep dropping off the side of the screen. That kind of tickles me silly as well.

The switch to the new training program has been great – April and May (even though May has not finished yet) are my best two running months distance-wise since I started the PROJECT ™. And in switching, I appear to have passed another milestone without even noticing it. Apart from the taper, the shortest run on that program is 5-7K easy. Which means that I have graduated running loops again.

You see, when I first started the C25K, I had a 2K loop that I used for most of my running. For ease of notation in my log, I called it my “local block”. As I finished the C25K, I created a new notation for my “long local block” – just once around my main local block, a total distance of about 3.2K. It was a long local block because it never occurred to me that I would ever be running a course which was much longer than that one.

Over time I graduated to a 4K block, and then to a 5K block. I haven’t become much faster – my average pace is often in the same range as when I started – but my average distance is increasing. The only time I have used my “long local block” in the past 4 months was for a gentle hit out when I was trying to test out an injury. In the last two – three months, my 4K block (the one that takes me straight past the local mosque and makes me feel self-conscious for flashing my legs) has been largely neglected. And now, since the start of this program, my normal local loop has changed again. The 5K block which takes me past the souvlaki van has largely been abandoned in favour of the 7K block which takes me past Leo Russells Shoe Store (Mmmm, shoes).

It might have taken a bloody long time, but since starting the C25K in April last year, I am now running more than 5K on most of my outings. And that – if you must know – tickles me the silliest of all.

So finally got around to being run on the treadmill for someone else’s petty amusement. My competitive streak came to the fore and once again, I really wanted to do well. The first lot of testing was all okay and I could actually see the screen. I figured I really ought to have googled more so that I could do an Em and diagnose myself from the screens. Just looked like pulsating alien people to me.

They set me going on the treadmill and told me all I would be doing was a powerwalk. The treadmill got faster and steeper every three minutes, and the aim was to take me to my theoretical maximum heart rate. By the time I got there it felt like I was going just about straight up hill.

Then it was the coordination check. I wasn’t actually getting graded on this bit, but it seemed like a big ask. I had to get off the treadmill, conquer the wobbly legs transition to solid ground, scoot over to the table and lie in position on my side so that they could get the ultrasound readings within 1 minute of me finishing, and all while at or around maximum heart rate. I was so proud – I didn’t fall over or anything.

Anyway the verdict from the earnest cardiologist is that my heart does all the things it is supposed to do and the cute little blollop in the beat is nothing to worry about. Then the technician ripped the electrodes off the top of a few little spots where my bra strap had chafed yesterday. OUCH. Which means no run for me tonight.

You know the coolest thing about this whole process is how much every doctor or technician I have seen keeps talking about how fit I am and how great it is that I do so much exercise – man you can run 15K!! My GP was ridiculously impressed as well. Kind of makes me wonder what kind of barely alive people they see if I become the poster child for fit people.

I *so* do not feel like going for a run this morning. Gah, need more sleep. MoOooooOOOre SlEEeeeeEEEP.

Shut up. Stop whingeing. It is only going to be 11K.

Don wanna. Ow, you feel that? My knees are hurting. Ouch OUCH. Maybe I have ITB problems. I really shouldn’t mess around with my ITB. I should probably just go home.

You do not have ITB problems. Don’t be pathetic, you have been running for all of 500 metres. And it has all been downhill so far.

Grumble mumble bumble. That’s IT. I am sick of this. Look, a nice wooden thing to sit down on just before the trail starts. I might stop there for a bit. [sits down and stares into space for a couple of minutes]

I can’t believe you are stopping when you haven’t even got onto the trail yet. For crying out loud, Nudge says we have been only going for 1.7K so far. [watches super fit young chaps sprinting around the corner] Oh, pants.

We should go back. I am not enjoying this. Everything hurts.

We can’t go back. That would make our “long run” only 3.4K. You can’t have a long run which is shorter than every other run you do during the week. And anyway, what about Em and Jo who can’t run at all. Imagine if they could see you now. For shame.

[hangs head in shame]

[gets up and starts running again]

But maybe we could just go for a short run instead of a long run? We could turn around at 3K or something.

We have to go at least 8K today. As it is all this moping around means that the furthest we can go is 10K otherwise we won’t be back in time. Anyway, going 8K just means that we have to go another 2K or so before the turn around.

Oooh, a toilet. I really need to go. I’ll just stop and go to the toilet and maybe get a drink of water. And stretch a bit. And enjoy the view for a while. Then I can start again.

Okay, you’ve had your flippin toilet break. Keep going. If you go another 2.5K then you can turn around and that will make it 10K.

My quads are hurting now. Not that *you* care. I could have torn muscles. I could have a flesh eating virus and you’d be all “keep going, run 10K” Pah.

Look, we have just passed the turn around point for a 6K run. This is easy, two to go.

Gah. Need to stop.

What’s wrong, need to stretch?

No, just need to stand by the side of the path glaring at the creek and thinking up creative swear words.

Get moving again. 1.5K to go.

1K to go.

500m to go.

200 to go.

150 to go.

75 to go.

20 to go.

Can I just turn around here?

You can’t be serious. Run another 20 metres until nudge beeps. [beep].

Ahh, now I can stop. Just to celebrate that I don’t have to run further away from home any more.

Get moving. Did you notice that you almost beat your training milestone for that 5K again? The times that you were actually moving, that is.

Hey, you know what? This is kind of fun. It’s much easier going back this way.

Yeah, this is a blast, the time is just flying by. That’s 2K already.

Wheeeeeeeeee.

Hey, there’s the toilets again, you can try out that gel that you wanted to test.


How do I get it open? My hands are all sweaty.

Don’t use your teeth.

What are you, my mother? Ugh, that is disgusting. It’s not like it tastes bad, but it is slimy and viscous and… actually, you know what it is like?

I know. And it’s even the right colour.

Eeeeew.

Certainly an odd association for the middle of a run. Let’s go.

Look, a downhill – Wheeeeeeeeeee.

Swing by that tap, my hands are still sticky.

Eeeeeew.

Hey look, we’re back at the start of the trail already. Yay.

OMG did I just run that pace on the 7th K of a long run?

Looks like it. Here’s the hill. Let’s go for the negative split.

Yay, running up the hill. Ouch. Don’t like this as much.

Keep going, just 500m to go, we are on track.

Run, Forrest, Run!!

Ooh, that lady is talking to us, can you hear what she is saying?

Um, she’s got an accent, I can’t quite understand her. Just smile.

You know what, we shouldn’t have smiled. That lady is crackers.

Run away! Run away! Race you to the milkbar.

We did it!! Negative spliteroony!

And now I don’t have to run any more today!!

Well the start to the challenge has been good. Was going to go to coburg masters last night but an SMS from Hub on the way home meant that a friend who is going through a rough patch was going to stay over featuring a late night and munchies required. So no time for masters, but insisted on fitting in a run. Did an easy 6K followed by some stride outs. Not particularly speedy but I was pretty happy as had done some speed work on Wednesday and I sometimes struggle backing up after a more intense session.

Anyway, two runs of 6K plus in a row is pretty darn good for me and no sign of the soreness I experienced last time I upped the intensity before the GTR. I have already done my 15K minimum for the week with a long run on the weekend still to come. Then I hurried around getting munchies suitable for late night chattage. I have been having big asian soup cravings lately, so popped into one of the local chinese shops that we like and got wonton noodle soup to takeaway for dinner, as I knew Hub would be home soon with our friend (they had been out to dinner with others). I caved and bought myself some spring rolls as well, which doesn’t really fit with the no crap rule. But once I got home I had no inclination to eat the spring rolls, so the others (including the dogs) shared them.

Took a mental health day from work (something I never do) and spent the day in some low key retail therapy. Bought myself some very cool waterproof hiking boots (my previous pair, which I wear when going camping, fell apart last year). Gosh they are HEAVY, but nice and warm so that is good. Going out to dinner with friends, which just might present the opportunity for more asian soup. Yum.

Still have to sort out the weights thing and find a place to properly do them. That is tomorrow’s job.

Okay, so I have joined a 6-8 week challenge with some of the ausrunners.. As many of you know, I used to post my weekly numbers here but I swore off it because it did my head in. Anyway, I am still comfortable with that, and mostly the scales kept moving incrementally in the right direction.

But when I took time of work recently, I didn’t do anything particularly naughty but came back after three and a half weeks to realise that a big chunk of incremental progress was wiped out in one not-so-incremental backwards step. So I have joined the 8 week challenge, which will take me to 11 July. I am monitoring my weight for this challenge on the basis that my weight this morning is zero. My A goal is -6kg over 8 weeks and my B goal is -4.5kg. Both of these would enable me to reach a milestone in the PROJECT.

But the real thing that I am going to monitor over the 8 weeks is my ability to stick to my rules. If at the end I stick to my rules and find that it hasn’t made much of a difference (whether to weight or measurements), then I will need to get me some new rules. If I find that it does, then that just means that my moments of poor progress are from being a lazy butthead.

Rule Number 1 – keep running

Run at least 15km per week. I had a glance over my running log recently and noticed that although my good weeks are increasing and getting better, I still too often have really slack weeks where I only manage one run or something. This is often due to being busy with work etc, but I am never so busy that I can’t run 15K. And there have been too many weeks when I haven’t managed this. If injured, I need to do three times this distance on the bike.

Rule Number 2 – be strong

Do at least two strength sessions per week. I really notice a difference in my progress from when I was going to the gym and doing weights sessions regularly. I have weights. I have time. I will have a better body for men.

Rule Number 3 – Don’t eat crap

I think dietgirl said one time that at some stage you find you have dealt with most of the really crappy bad habits and the changes in diet have to focus on smaller and smaller adjustments. I haven’t really conquered this one yet. Most of the time I am good and then I blow it. Who orders a salad sandwich on wholemeal without butter plus a mineral water for lunch and then orders two fried dim sims on the side? Loser. Anyway, this is eight weeks of a concerted effort to cut out the crap.

Rule Number 4 – Eat breakfast

I like breakfast. It just cuts into my sleep. But for eight weeks, it is breakfast every day, even if it is just some toast or a piece of fruit when I get to work.

Anyway so that is the plan. Weigh ins are on Wednesdays. We’ll just see whether I can hold together good behaviour for 8 weeks.

Well yesterday for the first time in a while I didn’t do my scheduled run simply because I couldn’t be bothered. No injury issues, no competing demands for my time, just plain old preferred to sit on the couch for a couple of hours. In some ways this was a healthy choice as hadn’t had any downtime for a week or so. But with the kind of life I lead this also means that I hadn’t managed to do more than a couple of low intensity runs for the week. So I think it is fair to say that sufficient time has been allowed for recovery from the great train race and that it is now bloody well time to get off my butt.

So this week will be back on the HM training program – probably starting from week one again after the break of a couple of weeks. Time to start to get the kms back up there, but after the shin soreness debacle after my headlong rush into hill repeats, only one session of increased intensity per week (which for this week will hopefully be masters program at coburg). Onwards and upwards sports fans.

When I was growing up I had this suspicion when worried about bad things happening to me or my family. I decided that given that it’s never the things that you worry about that end up going wrong, the best way to avert disaster was to think about everything possible that could go wrong. I would construct outlandish scenarios in my head so that I could tick off that they wouldn’t happen. Okay, now that I have thought about it, my parents aren’t going to plummet to their death in a bizarre elevator mishap. Stuff still went wrong of course, fate just had to become more imaginative.

Of course, it still works. So when I imagined getting a bad mark on my tests, it was with the usual suspects that you might expect from someone that spent the best part of ten years sitting on her butt not paying too much attention to the food being shovelled into her mouth – high cholesterol, anemia, that sort of thing. But no, all of those things were great. Blood tests ace. And it turns out I should have flaunted my pee after all because my doctor said “your urine is perfect”.

However, from someone with virtually zero family history of heart issues, it turns out that all of my squiggly bits on the ECG weren’t where they should be. The blood tests have eliminated most of the things that would otherwise indicate this is a concern, and the fact that I have acquired a recent habit of running long distances suggests that this is just one of the peculiarities about deege which makes me loveable and no cause for concern. HOWEVER, in the unlikely event that it is not just a deege specific selling point much like a fine profile or nice hair, then I may just be in danger of keeling over on the spot. Particularly if I want to, oh, indulge in vigorous exercise or something. My doctor said “I really really think it will all be nothing to worry about it, but I do need to tell you that until we sort this out, if you experience chest pain you should get to a hospital straight away”. Thanks for THAT vote of confidence.

Anyway, in order to prove that the little ticker is actually getting enough blood around the body, I have to go and have a stress test. That’s right, I have to jump on a treadmill and link myself up to a bunch of wires and be pushed beyond my optimal heart rate for exercise. Reassuringly I understand that a real live cardiologist will be in attendance at all times in case I, like, die or something (actually I assume the cardiologist is to prevent me from dying).

I am a little concerned about the test. Not about my heart as I feel like I am the kind of person to have a non-threatening idiosyncratic heart beat. I think that’s kind of jaunty. But I am concerned about having to run on a treadmill. The last time I did this, they sacked me from the test for being too slow. Me and the dreadmill don’t mix much. And with my fierce competitive streak and compulsive need to do well on tests, I am going to be a basket case before I even get there.

What a friggin fanTAStic race. This is without a doubt the best fun run that I have ever done. The course is fantastic. The views are unbelievable. The sound of the train whistle echoing through the mountains and the smell of the smoke from the steam engines adds to the atmosphere. Like no other race I have been in, non-participants come out to support the runners, standing on the side of the road shouting encouragement (by the time I got there, some of the wine bottles were suspiciously empty, leading to some rather elaborate cheering).

It was an exceedingly civilised way to run the race. Stayed over with the FIL the night before. His dog kept me company during the night so I wouldn’t miss my own dogs, and slept soundly in the silence of the hills. Up early and chauffeured to the start. Accidentally left the garmin in the car so was in the dark as to time elapsed. Probably the best way to run the race in the end. Met up with a heap of people at the start including people I hadn’t met before such as beki and blkbox (update – and sparkdriver!).

Without a watch, judged my exertion on the basis of whether my breathing indicated I was about to die. So as long as I was puffing my guts out, I was alright. This meant that for the uphills powerwalking interspersed with some jogs was enough to keep me huffing and puffing. I tried to run all of the flats and downhills, but even powerwalking the ups it took a heap out of me. By about the 8km mark I was cactus – I didn’t feel like I had too much left to give, even on the downhills.

Was diverted off the road with 5km to go and onto the bridle path. So from that point I had no garmin and I had no km markings so no idea where I was. Amused myself by tormenting a guy that was run/walking about the same stage as me because I had found out his name when some of his entourage was barracking for him. In the last 2km I was all “C.mon Tim, you aren’t going to let a chick beat you! There is beer at the end.” Diverted my attention from my own pain for a sec.

My niece and nephew (along with the ausrunners) were cheering me at the end and I got them (niece and nephew) to run over the finish line with me. My ten year old nephew solemnly announced that he would probably do the run next year. Good on him. They asked me what I needed and I (having missed the powerade station) said I needed something with sugar. They said that they had a cinnamon donut for me. Well, I meant something a little more digestible than that, but it’s the thought that counts.

My time in the end was (according to my slip from memory) 111.40 mins. That means an average pace of 8:28 min kms, which I am thrilled at seeing as I walked all that way and my average pace from R4TK was 8:10 min kms.

UPDATE – official time 111:06, position 2834