Friday, April 30, 2010

What a day.

If I could rate my day today and how I performed I would give myself an A+. I felt so on top of the world and wish now that everyday could be like today. Today I set myself the goal of running a route that I had only ever previously walk/run. It is 7km in length and one side feels a bit like cross country running and the other side is just road. So all in all I got a pretty decent workout. What made it even better was that I ran my 7km in 37.15 minutes and it didn't feel that hard at all and most important, nothing hurt.

Susan and I started off at a relatively decent pace and I do believe I kept it the whole way. The one thing I always find that take a bit of time to adjust to the increased workload are my lungs. They tend to burn for about the first 2km but after that they are ok and I just seem to breathe easier. I always carry my Ventolin inhaler with me just in case and have had to use it a couple of times as my exercise induced asthma likes to rear it's ugly head every now and then. It's a childhood thing that I have just learned to live with but never ignore.

As the run continued I just felt stronger and stronger to the point where I finished off in a full sprint. I could not believe how strong my legs felt at the end and I was happy to just go "full hog". And to top it all off when I finished running I was breathless for about 30 seconds and that's it. I recovered so quickly even I was impressed with myself. Susan just kept giving me compliments about how far I had come, gees it feels nice hearing it from a friend - especially one who is gifted in the running department.

I cannot begin to tell you how happy I feel. This walking on cloud 9 business is awesome and as a friend so eloquently put "if we could bottle it and take a swig every now and then" I think I would be the happiest woman on earth. But I am a firm believer that it is the hard times we go through that make these good times so worth remembering and hanging onto.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Post run report

Ok, this is cool. My feet don't feel any worse for having run on then. For this I am extremely greatful. I ran my 4km in 22min 54 seconds and I have recovered relatively quickly post run. I did feel tired and hot during the run but I think I was running at a faster pace because I knew it was only 4km and I wanted to push myself a bit faster. And I never thought I would say this but I do believe I like the longer runs "Oh, shock horror". I like it because I can take it a bit slower and it takes me almost the first 2km to warm up and then once I am in a rhythm I just stick to it.

Today is Day 3 of taking my nutritionals and I look forward to taking my morning and night time doses. I also look forward to the devine pre/post exercise rub. Apart from smelling devine I can feel the relief, it's cooling action just soothes the area that feels inflammed. Not only do I use it as a definate before and after any activity, I rub it in before bed. Having read alot during my years of nursing I have realised that your body does alot of it's repair work whilst our body is asleep. So why not set it up properly by giving it a good base to work from.

Today has been a good test run and I am pleased with the outcome. Things are looking up.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Riding the hills again.

Today was session two of the hills. Oh boy, memories came flooding back very quickly from last weeks attempt. There was an almost instantaneous rise of lactic acid in my quads to which I quickly told them to "toughen up". Believe me I wanted to stop on more than one occasion but I refused. My stubborness comes in handy sometimes and when it is in full swing I let it have it's way. Susan joined me today and I am safe to say that she was possibly cursing me on two of those hills. But despite this she still soldiered up those hills way faster than I did. All I could see was her behind disappearing over the crest of the hills. When I finally caught up all I could say was " OMG, don't talk to me yet, I can hardly breathe". Susan looked as refreshed as ever - I wish.

I always think that it is amazing how when you know a specific track and it's intensity, your mind goes into this little "game play" mode and you start to almost question your ability. Annoying really. But I did it and that's all that matters. I just kept thinking to myself, this is going to make me stronger and I will benefit from this immensely. I can already feel my quads starting to bulk up and I like it. Having stronger legs will make my run leg feel easier "I hope". Likewise continuing to run will make my legs stronger for the bike - it's a win/win situation really.

During this session I got to test out my new speedometer on my bike. Quite exciting really. This nifty little gadget tells me my average speed, maximum speed, distance travelled, time spent pedalling, revolutions. So on this session I travelled 21.4km in 1hr 14min with an average speed of 17kph and a maximum speed of 41.5kph - obviously that is cruising it down hill. I think at one point my slowest time going up hill was 9kph. You could have walked faster for sure, however the aim was to cycle up and not put my foot on the ground once.

As for how I am feeling physically, well, I must admit I do feel a little less fatigued and my feet don't feel quite as tender. Not sure if it's because I haven't run since Sunday or because I have started my nutritionals or both. I am tending to lean towards the nutritionals, but I am going for a run this morning so I will see how I pull up. It won't be a lengthy run, just 4km but this will be enough to see if things are starting to settle down. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Aches and pains BE GONE.

I have noticed over the last few weeks a few of the old aches and pain begin to creep back into my life. There are two things that I could more than likely contribute to the resurfacing of my plantar fasciitis and sacroiliitis.

. Cold weather. I remember when I was younger and hearing the old folk say "I know when it's going to rain" or "this cold weather is playing havoc with my bones" and thinking to myself "What a load of hogwash". Now that I am older myself - ok nowhere near their age, but having an ailment of my musculoskeletal system, I can so sympathise with them. It is such a deep rooted pain that can leave me fatigued by it's unrelenting fashion. 2). Nutritionals. Even though I feel I have my diet under control I am more than sure that I have not been getting the adequate amounts needed to maintain my body at it's best. I have run out of my vitamin supplements, and believe me I can feel it.

My nutritionals have been a godsend for me. When I am on them I feel like a totally different person both physically and mentally. I guess the relief of my physical ailments has a direct impact on my mental clarity and as such allows me to become totally focused without having to take into account the constraints that chronic pain can play on my life. I had run out of my nutritionals some months ago and have felt the slight yet ever constant downhill slide again into fatigue and pain. So, needless to say my new batch has arrived in time, thanks to a very dear friend - Katharine. I know for me these work and I have faith in how they make me feel. So as of tonight, I get started back on my nutritional journey.

I can now look forward to my training regime with total confidence and not the fear of the ever looming shadow of chronic back pain returning. I like having control of my life, not something having control of me and I refuse to bow down and let it have its way again. I have learnt to much and gone through twice as much over this last year to simply forget. It's my life and I will live it to the best of my ability.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

No sleep equals heavy legs.

Today is my usual 8km Sunday. But last night at a friend's birthday party I was talking to another friend and her husband about not being able to figure out the exact location of the parking lot for the M7 bike track. She said her husband was doing the ride the following morning and if I wanted to join him. I agreed and was looking forward to a good bike ride at 0700hrs. So I headed to bed at midnight with the clear notion of re-opening my eyes in 5 hrs time.

So this morning I woke up at 0500hrs to the sound of rain, damn. I was not happy. If I had long riding pants and protective upper garments I more than likely would have gone, but the closest I have to long pants are my tracksuit pants and the closest I have to a waterproof jacket is my husbands tennis jacket. Cant do. So a reluctant text message was sent at 0530 hrs. "Sorry Nichole for the early text".

So now what? Well, I laid on the couch and tried to sleep again - didn't happen. By the time everyone got up at 0830 I felt like I had already been awake for half a day and I was beat. My eyes were stinging bad and I had a bit of a headache, courtesy of the two beers I had consumed the night before at the party. I made breakfast for all and decided to have a shower to freshen up for my run. I know, silly to have a shower before, but I needed badly to wake up and get focused. The rain had stopped and now the sun was on full show. Eeck, hot and humid was on order for my run.

So off I set for my usual 8km run and I felt it today. My lungs hurt, my legs felt tired and heavy and my mind was just not in it. Today was just not happening. I just couldn't seem to get motivated and it was bugging me like crazy. As I started on the home stretch my body decided enough was enough - I couldn't make the last 600m, I had to finish the run at my driveway. 7.4km in 43minutes. Not bad actually. I think I may have even beaten last weeks run time if I did the whole 8km. Oh well, I won't know till next weeks 8km run.

I was disappointed about not totally finishing, but these things happen and I can't beat myself up. I need to learn from this experience and realise that if I go out the night before and indulge in some liquor that I can't expect a stellar performance. That being said I have to give myself credit for getting out there when I felt under the weather.

Job done, bring on next week.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I'm happy.

Jean shopping is what I did today. Not a historic event for most people, but for me a momentous occasion. The last time I had bought myself a pair of jeans was about six months ago and they were when I was still not at my goal weight. And then when I no longer fitted those because they got big I started wearing my old pair which are about 5 years old. Needless to say when I fitted into those in December last year I was very happy because they were the pair I really liked and I thought I looked good in. Now, even those are too big. I have "saggy butt syndrome" in them and decided today was the day to revamp my denim wardrobe.

I knew exactly what I wanted "Levi 501's". Did I get those "NO". I came out with a pair similar but better. They sat where they are supposed to sit. Just below my navel, cant stand the "Harry high pants", are straight leg, sit nicely around my toosh and are a nice normal denim colour - not faded or too dark. All round I think my choice was awesome. What made it even better was that when I walked into Just Jeans I was expecting to walk out in a size 12, but this was not the case. I am in a Size 10. I can't believe it. I haven't been a size 10 since my early 20's. I wanted to do a jig I was that happy, but thought I had better refrain from making a fool of myself, so I "moonwalked" in my head.

I am now 65kg's in a 179cm frame. Time to stop losing weight and start maintaining it. I think I may have to start upping my caloric intake as my exercise regime increases. I don't want to lose anymore weight and run the risk of getting ill and fatigued. If I can't figure out a way to maintain my dietary intake I may just seek the guidance of a dietician whose main focus is on sports people.

Anyway, today was a great day.

Craig Alexander talks Ironman Australia

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hill session

Today was an absolute doozie. I had no idea that the area I was going to was basically all hills. But now that I have done it I am so glad. What a total rush.

I went with a dear friend Sharon, both of us not knowing anything about what we were about to do. The only basic information we had was that there were 2 loops. One was 4km in length and the other was 4.8km in length and there were some hills. But when I heard the word "hills", I had just imagined that they were going to be little baby mole hills. One's that a two year old could ride around on on their tricylce. Boy, was I wrong.

Sharon and I both decided to take Loop one to the right. Not for any reason - just because. So as we took off we were faced with our first hill almost instantly. Down went the gears and off came our backsides from the saddle. All I kept thinking was "I don't want to stop". The next thing that came to mind was "OUCH OUCH OUCH". But I kept on pedalling straight up that hill regardless and within minutes made it to the top. Thank God was all I could say and I hoped that was the worst of it. Ha! NOT

The remainder of loop one saw another big hill. Big because it never seemed to end. Just as I thought it was coming to an end I was faced with another incline and another. I couldn't drop my gears any lower and I was already up out of my saddle, so I started to zig zag my way up. This definately made it easier but I was not liking the burn on my calves and quads. Nevermind, had to make it to the top. I hate quitting so that was not an option.

Loop two, made loop one look like a piece of cake. Loop two had me facing a sign which clearly indicated a steep ascent ahead. Boy was I scared. I just had to grin and bear this hill. Out came the zig zagging method again, but this time it just took so long and it felt like I wasn't going anywhere. I decided not to look too far ahead and just try to focus on a couple of metres ahead of me. Looking to where I had to cycle to was too disheartening. Before I knew it I made it to the top. Yay for me and Sharon. We did it. But was this it? Not on your life. Time to do it all again.

Second time around was absolute murder. My legs felt like jelly from the first time around and I was expecting myself to get up those hills again. What was I thinking? Obviously I don't know my own strength and determination. The same rules applied second time around. Get up those mountains and don't get off the bike. DONE. The ramifications of an hours worth of hills could be seen when I got back to the car. My legs were bright red due to the increased circulation and I felt as though I was standing in a tub of jelly. My legs quivered everytime I took a step. What a great day.

A beautifully sunny day. I got to spend it with a good friend. and I did my first ever hill session. JOB DONE. I am one happy little vegemite.

Back in the swing.

It had been ages since I last got in the water and to tell you the truth - it felt so good. The weather was absolutely delicious yesterday. Sunny, warm, no breeze and not a cloud in the sky, what a glorious Autumn day. How could I not take full advantage of what life had to offer. Being in the water yesterday reinforced the idea of wanting to complete the Half Ironman in May next year.

I feel so at ease in the water. Nothing hurts apart from the usual strains that you feel when working your arms hard. My joints feel supported and as such I am able to give a little more. But yesterday was more like an introductory swim to get back into it again. My swim session went as follows:
  • 500m Freestyle warm up
  • 10 x 50m kick 5 x freestyle, 5 x backstroke
  • 5 x 100m Freestyle with paddles at 75%
  • 500m cool down breastroke

Using the paddles always hurts as it makes you focus on your stroke whilst making you pull more through the stroke. But despite the pain, I like the feeling as you glide through the water faster. And with that said - 2000m was completed. Only half of what I was doing a short time ago but still good enough. Now it's just a matter of increasing the distance and my stamina. I know this will happen, I have more than enough faith in my swimming ability.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Popov Swimming - Techniques, Drill

I searched through Youtube and have found a 2 minute session on stroke technique, the S-stroke under the body I think has been sidelined now, but I still use it, it was how I was trained to swim as a youngster and when something works - why change it I say.

My Idol and a hottie.

I must admit, I am a self confessed lover of the male swimmers physique. Especially that of Alexander Popov. Whats not to love - the ab's, perfectly defined and everyone accounted for. The wide shoulder's, the tiny waist, the way he stands with an almost concaved stance. Everything just leaves me in total awe. His prowess in the water is something to be totally inspired by. His technique through every individual stroke in Freestyle is in my opinion flawless.

I remember going to the Australian Institute of Sport some 16 years ago before I had my children and I went with my husband Stephen. We went for a tour through the swim centre and guess who just happened to be training "Alexander the great". Well all I can say is that I needed my husband to help me close my mouth. I think my jaw had hit the floor and stayed there for about 10 minutes. Poor Stephen was saying "Can we go yet?" and I was like "Oh no just another minute please". So after some 30 minutes I think I had had my fix of staring and decided to refocus my attention on my sweet hubby. Luckily I have a patient hubby and he was happy to let me indulge for just a little bit.

In my eyes the guy is a legend, and I think his swim style has got to be the best.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sign up or shut up.

Entries open May 1st and I must admit, everytime I say the words "Half Ironman", my stomach does a back flip. The 70.3 Ironman is held a year to the day of Registration Opening Day and I am already jumping WAY ahead of myself and thinking about the day. Probably not a bad idea as visualizing race day has been shown to enhance performance. I found this article and thought you might like : "Visualization for Sports Performance". I will definately add this to my repertoire of things to do in the year to come.

So as I sit here typing I have started to make mental notes of all the things I will need to help me with my training and the more I think the more I realise I actually need a notebook and pen. My mind will not accomodate such an expanding list. It's scary actually, it ranges from Tri Bars, better runners, wetsuit, bike trainer, warmer bike clothes, warmer running clothes etc etc etc. What is a girl to do? I have an idea - beg, borrow and plead. That always works.

Nevermind, Rome wasn't built in a day!!!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Owning it.

I woke up this morning somewhat ready for my 8km run. I was somewhat ready because my last week was a fairly uneventful week in the exercise department, my last run was especially uneventful. So I had this last experience firmly etched in my brain and I did not want this run to be a repeat, so off I set at 0630. I set off with the mindset that I was not to look at my watch once, not until I finished my 8km's.

Air was cool, actually it was cold and all I kept thinking was "hurry up sun and shine your rays on me, Im freezing". There was not a single car on the road and all I could here was the dull pounding of my joggers on the road under the blaring of my Ipod. I took a different path this time and decided to attack the hill. It is about a kilometre and a half of a fairly decent incline - enough that it got my heart pounding hard and my paced dropped off quite a bit. So much so that if I got any slower I think I may have been walking - but I wasn't. Today was to be another no nonsense/no walk day. Once I got to the top of the hill I was amazed at how good I felt. I didn't feel tired, my pace picked back up to it's pre-hill pace and I continued on.

I no longer felt cold, actually I felt boiling. I was sweating quite alot and it was dripping off my nose - GROSS. I now was looking for shade just to cool off a bit. But no such luck, most of my way home was in the sun. This just made me want to get home even quicker, my mouth was dry and all I wanted was a nice glass of cool water. But I resisted the temptation to go quicker once again. I did not want to fade in the last stretch and I wanted to finish feeling good once again. I must admit I felt like this whole run was slower than the previous Sundays pace - and even though I wasn't happy to be going slower I was just happy to be running it.

With the last 600m in sight I decided to up the pace and try to lengthen my stride again as I had the previous Sunday in the hope that my run time wouldn't be to poor. But guess what?

I finished it in 48min 56 secs. Almost 4 minutes faster than last Sunday. I was so happy and astounded at how good I felt for having done it at a faster pace. I have learnt that although running is physically quite a demanding discipline, it is by far more a mentally challenging discipline for me. I have to talk to myself quite alot while I am running - not outloud of course, but quietly - every so often just between you and me though, some words do slip out. Thank goodness no one is looking. If I can continue to talk my way through every hard challenge ahead I am more than 100% confident that I will have this running thing home and hosed.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Slump Day.

Yesterday afternoon I had a slump day. ARGH, I had always heard people talk about these but I had never really had one since I started exercising. The last three weeks have seen me step out of my routine quite a bit due to my injured calf and quad muscles from my bushwalk, to my mother fracturing some ribs and then my children going on school holidays. I think the inconsistency in my training habits has made me feel tired and frumpy. I also think the change in the weather has had an impact on me emotionally. I don't like the cold and I am starting to feel it in my spine again. But even with this said I have been trying to stay focused on my running atleast.

So yesterday I went out in the afternoon for my normal 4km run and I must admit I was SO not impressed with my performance. Everything hurt - my knees, left shin, lower back, lungs and to top it all off I had a stitch from "Whoah to go". What is going on? I spent the majority of this activity walk/running. I felt like I had gone backwards and so had my headspace. I would never normally allow myself to do that but yesterday was just horrible, pitiful, ridiculous. I just felt fatigued, and even this morning as I sit and type I still don't feel energetic. I feel like I am missing my usual MOJO.

I guess even the most elite athletes have these kind of days and it is my bodies way of telling me just to rest, even for a couple of days. But thats all. I don't want the lethargy to start taking over as it can sometimes do. So with this in mind I shall definately have today off as it is my twin's 14th Birthday and possibly tomorrow as well so I am refreshed and renewed for my 8km run on Sunday. That is a must do.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My life summed up quickly.

Often in our lives we meet people in person or meet them via a forum and form friendships without really knowing anything about them. It is sad that in today's society we have become quite good at hiding our true selves or what made us who we are today for fear of being ridiculed or not fitting in with the norm. Today's post is about getting to know me. So I thought I would start from childhood and work my way up to today. I will try to keep it to 20 points or less.

  • Born 11th March, 1974 at Bankstown Hospital. I am a typical Piscean female. Dreamy, creative, trustworthy (at times to the point of stupidity). I love my freedom and hate constraints. I love my privacy (funny that - I am blogging on a world wide forum).
  • I am the youngest of 3 with two older brothers born to Uruguayan parents. To this day my parents play a huge part in my life and I respect what they have to say even though at times I don't always agree with it. Thats probably another Piscean trait - stubborness.
  • I did ballet for 5 years as a child and was really quite good at it. Towards my last year I was approached by the Australian Ballet Academy and told that when I turned 12 I would be eligible to join the academy - I quit at the age of 9 and persued my swimming career.
  • I started swimming at the tender age of 6yrs - if I had fallen into the water then I would have drowned. But I made it State Championships at the age of 7 and came second in the Under 9's for my 50m & 100m Backstroke and Freestyle. My swimming life continued till I was 14.
  • Went to my first concert - Whitney Houston. She was awesome.
  • I went to two Primary Schools and four High Schools. I didn't graduate from High School - I left half way through Year 11 to go overseas. I had always dreamed of being a marine biologist but although I was really good at Biology at school I was useless at Maths and Chemistry. There went my dream and my determination to finish high school.
  • I started smoking - boy what a mistake. But I succumbed to peer pressure. And smoked for the following 9 years close to a packet of 25's a day. I never smoked during my pregnancies or around my children, but I started again shortly after giving birth. I quit after my son Kyle was born.
  • Trying to find a purpose in life I flitted from job to job - I was a Sales Assistant at Sussans Clothing Store and Williams The Shoeman. I worked as a receptionist and this nearly did my head in. Repeating the same sentence everytime I answered the phone was a little more than I could handle. So I quit. Although this was a rough patch in my life it opened a door to a very big part of my life NURSING.
  • My mum had introduced me to nursing at the age of 18 in a nursing home. Boy this was an eye opener - initially I was quite shocked by things I had seen but I then realised that I was responsible for another humans life. What a feeling. I took my responsibility seriously and this became my life for the next 18 years.
  • I started as an Assistant in Nursing, progressed to being an Enrolled Nurse, Endorsed Enrolled Nurse then Registered Nurse. A fantastic journey - one I do not regret ever having undertaken.
  • I met my husband Stephen at the age of 18yrs, he is my oldest brothers friend. When I first met him I was instantly in love but saddened by the fact that he was 11 yrs older than me (Oh, the fickle mind of a teen). Two years later we started dating and we have not looked back since.
  • At the age of 22 I gave birth to our twins Kurtis and Taillah. I was blessed and knew this but my joy was overshadowed by Post Partum Depression. I never knew how low my thoughts would get - and wanting to disappear off the face of the earth was never far from my list of things to do. Luckily I have a supportive husband and family who got me through this period.
  • At the age of 23 I suffered my first bout of back pain. This was the first of many to come.
  • At 25 I gave birth to our 3rd child Kyle. Postpartum depression returned but this time I think it was more manageable.
  • I loved being a parent, so feeling this overwhelming sense of sadness was so incongruent with how I felt towards my family.
  • My next bout of back pain returned and I managed it with non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.
  • Started my university degree and finished with almost "Honours". Got a job as a Paediatric Registered Nurse. A blessing and an honour, but my lifelong dream was short lived. My next bout of back pain was severe and needed medical intervention.
  • I never knew what the next year would bring - but I am glad I overcame it.
  • The rest I guess has been documented in my blog so I won't bore you repeating it all. You just have to read it from the beginning. I hope you have enjoyed this post - I have gained alot from it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Itching to get started

I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait. But I am waiting, waiting, waiting - ever so patiently. I want to see what my first training session will be like. Will it be a swim? I know that he knows I am a good swimmer - so with this in mind will he go all out on me or just maintain my stamina? I think he will maintain my stamina in the water till its time to up the anti in Spring/Summer.

What will he make of my first bike ride then? Will I stick to flats and increase distance at first or will he add some hills in there for some fun, mmmmmmmmm - I wonder. As for the run, there are far to many things to improve so I guess the skies the limit in regards to my first session. I watched a video of myself running today and I look like I am doing a fast Olympic walk. I don't really lift my feet too far off the floor and I sway my hips from side to side like a Salsa dancer. I have my parents to thank for my South American genes, the hip wobble is ingrained.

So here I wait and ponder my fate, the anxiety is almost eating me alive. I think I have almost worn out the "check mail" icon on my email. I am almost 100% that I was one of those children who was found under the Christmas tree shaking presents to see what was inside. ARGH, the suspense is killing me.

Patience - tis' such a virtue

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sad, sad news.

On Saturday just gone as I headed out for my bike ride, a pack of 4 cyclists got hit by a truck on the M4 motorway. One of the gentleman got killed instantly and the other 3 got injured terribly. Such a sad time for their families. I was not aware of what had unfolded as I turned onto the motorway and saw police lights flashing in my rear view mirror some distance behind me but when I found out yesterday it made me sick to my stomach. I had passed the truck in question on my left and remember seeing the driver and there was police everywhere. This makes me very scared about road roading now.

Yesterday, as my husband was returning from the shops he said he was watching a cyclist on the other side of the road and out of nowhere a car collided with him and sent him flying off his bike. He quickly stopped the car with a whole heap of other people and ran over to the gentleman who was getting himself to his feet. An ambulance was called, luckily the gentleman was ok. These two incidents not only have me scared but also my husband and mum, who now would not like me road riding. Not because they don't trust me, but because they don't trust others. Fair enough.

So yesterday, Stephen and I drove to the M7 motorway bike track and I think this is where I will have to do my training. I think it is 40km one way and 40km back. Better than nothing, it has hills and stretches of flat road and it is away from the motorway totally. This not only makes me feel safer but my husband and mum as well.

RIP Mr Williams. And to the other cyclists, may your injuries heal. I will pray for you all.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Introductory long run - done and dusted.

I didn't sleep very well last night, all I kept dreaming of was finishing my 8km run. In my head I knew I could do it - but I guess self doubt was sitting on my shoulder and giving me some negative input. I wish it would just BACK OFF. Haven't I proven enough to myself that I am capable of anything. What was it going to take?

Well, when I woke up this morning I made myself a cup of coffee, grabbed a banana out of the fridge and a yoghurt, turned on the computer and jumped on Facebook - as you do at 0600hrs. I jumped on my horoscope - which is a daily ritual and it said . " This could be a very fortunate day for you, in that you could see the fruition of something that you have been working on. You could also have very clear vision or purpose, especially if you take a few moments to look at where you have come from, where you are now and where you will be if you remain on the same course. It's not that you are seeing something about your vision coming to pass, it's about the revelation of how to carry it forward into the future".

Having read this, any negative trace of self doubt flew out my window. I was going to rock this morning. I wasn't going to settle for anything less than running the whole 8km. Walking was not an option. Not at this stage. I had procrastinated enough and today was the day to either "Put up or shut up". I was going to make this 8km happen. I just had to feel comfortable with the fact that it didn't matter about the pace, I just had to last the distance. So I grabbed my Ipod and mobile and placed it in my arm pocket - took two puffs of my Ventolin and set out on my run at 0730hrs.

What a beautiful morning - the air was crisp and there were hardly any cars on the road. It was totally perfect for my run. So in went the ear pieces pounding out some hard core music and off I went. Nice and steady is all I was wanting - nothing fast paced or at "Speedy Gonazalez" pace, I was happy to be like the tortoise - slow and steady wins the race. Atleast for now. I just need to watch out that I don't injure myself.

I got half way and I assessed how I felt. Were my legs sore? NO. Where my lungs sore? NO. Was I doubting my ability? HECK NO. I actually felt fantastic. You heard me, FANTASTIC. Something in me said "Go on, go a little faster". But I quickly nabbed that thought in the butt. I feared this may set me up for defeat. I didn't want to tire and then have to walk. I wanted to finish this run feeling proud of what I had accomplished. I wanted to finish feeling like I could do anything if I just set my mind to it. And that is what I did.

As I passed my driveway and headed for my last 300m loop to my father in laws driveway and back I said " If you are going to finish strong - now is your chance to do it". I knew I had heaps in my reserve tank. Now was the time to just let it all out and finish strong. I lengthened my stride and pumped my arms nice and hard - not like Rocky Balboa as he is climbing the stairs but enough to help propel me forward nice and strongly. Even my husband commented about good I looked running. I am so happy. Another step forward, what more can I say "Done and dusted"

Saturday, April 10, 2010

On the road again.

Today I attempted riding on a real road. Not the road that ran alongside the Regatta Centre which is only accessed by patrons of the centre and trucks from the quarry, but a real road - with cars coming from every direction. It was a 10km circuit but not in a complete loop, which meant I had to be road savvy to navigate turns with the traffic. I actually quite enjoyed it and felt at ease with my ability to do this. I guess if your confident but are still cautious of what is around you then accidents are less likely to occur. That's not to say that it could never happen, God only knows there have been alot of cyclists who have been hit by negligent drivers. But I will try with all my might to avoid this happening.

This is an important step for me as I feel that soon my training for the Half Ironman will require long distances, which I can only acquire by riding on the road. It would do my head in if I had to do the 5km loop at the Regatta for more than 30km. So I look forward to the open road and the challenge of riding up some hills. I may not be saying that though when it actually happens. But having something different to look at seems to distract me from the burning in my legs and seems to make the time pass faster.

So with another goal ticked off I am set to attack another one tomorrow, my first long run. Ok, so it's only 8km but this is more than I have ever done. I have to remember that it is not about the pace but rather just doing the distance. So nice and slow I will go and I will not walk once.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My bestie.

What can I say, I am blessed to have Susan as my best friend. Actually she is more like my sister, someone whom I can truly count on in any situation. Susan gives me the strength and clarity to see through any dilemma. I guess she would probably say that I give her the strength and "harden up" kind of attitude. Together I think we compliment our friendship really well.

In training I compliment her in the swimming department and she compliments me in the running arena. We are always saying the same kind of things to eachother like " It's all about taking the training nice and easy" or "You don't want to injure yourself". Without her in my life I think I would be lost. We call eachother almost every day to see what the other is up to for the day. As a friend, Susan is awesome. As a training partner - I couldn't ask for anything better.

Susan only ever has the my best interests at heart. It doesn't matter if I say I want to run a 4km or a Half Ironman , Susan is only ever thinking about how she can better enhance my running performance. That is her strength - a naturally gifted runner. I always compare her to a gazelle, those long legs of hers see her taking one long stride to my one and a half shuffles. She is always reading and photocopying training plans to better help me get to my goal. I love her with all my heart. They always say you are lucky if you can find a best friend in your life - I have been blessed with Susan.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wheels are in motion.

Spoke to my Tri club coach yesterday, I am so excited and can't wait to get started. During our conversations he had brought forward some questions which got me thinking. The first was " Where did I want to do my first HIM? When exactly did I want to attempt this goal?, Good questions, if I was really honest with myself I know that I would not be ready until next year. Why? Well I totally suck at running. I am being a bit harsh. Not totally, but I struggle with it - and thats being honest. I will definately have to train at it.

In terms of where did I want to do it. To me there is not better place than Port Macquarie. Why? Well the time of year for one - next year it will be in May. Not too hot and not too cold. I think the weather will be ideal. Secondly, its close to home. I don't have to travel too far and that means I can have my family and friends there to support me. I couldn't imagine doing the race on my own without their support. They are the reason I am who I am. Everything I have ever said I wanted to do, they have always supported me. Seeing my children's face light up as I finish any of my goals is the reason I do what I do. I want to show them that anything is possible so long as you have the right mental attitude and support network. I truly am blessed.

I have emailed my coach with what my schedule is at the moment and he will either a) totally dismiss what I have been doing and make up a whole brand new one or b) add to what I am doing and just make it longer and better. Whatever he sets up for me I am totally looking forward to it and can't wait to get started. In the meantime I have started my own running plan by doing 3-4km every 2 days. More than what I have ever done. So here's to increasing the miles and moving forward to my goal.

Bring on the HIM training.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil."
James Allen

Monday, April 5, 2010

Day 1.

Today was deemed Day 1 for two reasons. Firstly, I had had a week off due to injured calfs and quads from the bushwalk, so this was an introductory run to see how they felt. And secondly, I am now viewing this first run back as the beginning of my quest for Half Ironman status.

How did I feel?
Well, I now realise how quickly one loses stamina, strength and flexibility. My right gluteus maximus was quite tight at the beginning of the run and it was hindering the full extension of my stride - not the best stride to start off with but it was now even shorter. Looking back over this last week, I have had trouble sleeping at night due to a sore back again and I think its all because I haven't been exercising and stretching as much as I normally would. So glad I can get back into it, couldn't handle going backwards again with my back. Not that I would let it happen.

My lungs started to burn again, not sure if it was due to being out of action for a week, the fact that I am slightly congested due to hayfever or the fact that the air is getting slightly cooler. Maybe a combination of all three, whatever it was I was trying to suck in the air. I couldn't really hold a conversation with my friend Susan, so she kindly did the talking whilst I nodded every now and then. I love running with her, she makes me feel like I can do anything. Susan gives me little bouts of encouraging words when she can see I am starting to feel it. I know she will help me reach my goal - I can definately count on her in every aspect of my life. I am truly blessed.

At about 2.5km my left shin started to feel a bit niggly so I stopped and gave my calf muscles a stretch and then walked for about 500m. Susan gave me some wise words, maybe because my calf muscles had been injured they were not supporting my shins hence the pain. Time to get back into stretching and strengthening them again. I hate the pain of shin splints and don't particularly want to suffer with them again. So I will pay extra attention to this in my training program.

I finished off fairly ok, nothing great - ran the 4km in 24.04. Don't know why I timed it, I guess I wanted to have some idea of where I stood. I guess it's ok, just need to not get caught up in times at this point. Need to focus on distance and just getting out on a regular basis to make running feel normal. I want it to feel normal, at this point it still feels foreign.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Inactive body leads to crazy thoughts.

I have always been told how important it is to rest and recover. I am glad I finally listened and have done just that for almost the last week. My legs are feeling stronger and stronger every day and they don't ache like they did about 5 days ago. I was in absolute agony, burning, searing agony from my calf muscles up to my quadriceps. If I was sitting down for too long I had REAL trouble trying to stand. But going from the standing to sitting position was damn near impossible. Lucky I have a basin right in front of my toilet that I could hang on to and gently lower myself onto the porcelain bowl. I could only compare myself to a giraffe trying to lower itself precariously to pick up some shoots of grass off the ground far far below. It was a painstakingly slow endeavour, but once there "Oh the joy".

So during my recovery week I had the chance to go and put my first payment on my bike. I was so excited, the joy I am sure was oozing out of every pore. All I can do is smile whenever I walk in this shop because I know that one day - in the not too distant future - I will walk out with my Cannondale CAAD9 5. I have been fitted to this bike and I feel like I can move mountains on it. With commitment and perseverance I am aiming to do so much better at my next Triathlon.

So it was somewhere inbetween walking in the shop and putting my first payment that conversations arose of the Port Macquarie Ironman that had only just happened the weekend before. I was commenting about how amazing those people are and what an awesome accomplishment it would be to have that title attached to your name. I remember saying how hard I thought it would be to do it and my friendly bike guy said "Why don't you try the Half Ironman?". And that was all it took - the seed was now planted. I have given myself a whole year to train for this, God only knows I will need this. But if others can do it, why can't I? I have accomplished everything I have set my sights on and I know this will be no different. Sure there will come days that will test me to the the very core of my being, but what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger - I believe. I have faith in my strength, ability and determination to move forward to my goal. Day by day, step by step, accomplishment after accomplishment. Full steam ahead.

Your hard work will be rewarded.

"The path to a dream is paved with sacrifices and lined with determination. And though it has many stumbling blocks along the way, and may go in more than one direction, it is travelled by belief and courage and conquered with a willingness to face challenges and take chances" Barbara Cage