Sunday, May 30, 2010

River run.

Today was supposed to be a long bike ride, however the meteorologist last night stated that the rain which had been bestowed upon was not going to relent over the weekend. So, I sent my brother in law a text message cancelling our bike ride for the second Sunday in a row. However, when I woke up this morning I woke up to blue skies and not a single cloud anywhere. What are the weather forecasters trying to do to me? It was too late to try and re-organise the bike ride as we like to set off early, so I was left with only one thing to do. RUN.

The river run was looking set to be the destination of choice and I was excited to try out my knee. I have been diligent with my stretching and strengthening and was hoping that it would be working wonders on an open road run. On the treadmill it felt fine but that is a nice flat surface, uneven surfaces would highlight any issues. And it did.

I noticed that when the road or surface inclined to the left and my left side was on it I started to get a bit of knee pain, nothing major but I felt it. I noticed that I would roll my foot during striking the pavement more to the outer part of my foot causing my leg to bow at the knee. Even when I focused on foot strike and leg positioning my knee still felt a bit odd, however as soon as the road even up I felt fine - no knee pain.

At the 4km mark my lower leg started to go a bit numb again. I was inclined to stop and stretch my calf but it doesn't seem to help so I just slowed down and continued on my merry way. The remainder of the run was uneventful - the numbness didn't go away but it didn't get worse either, that's a bonus. I tried to finish strong as I always do and tried to up the momentum at every telegraph pole till I got to my car. When I finally reached my car I think I was running at a 4:30kpm pace. Boy, was I glad to see my baby Jeep Patriot.

Now that's it night and reviewing how my body feels, I can safely say that my legs hurt - muscular wise that is. I have lost that conditioning in my lower limbs of running every second day due to my knee. I need to ask the physio if I can get back into running on a regular basis without fear of doing further damage.

So I ran my 7km in 39min and felt happy with that. It's 3 minutes slower than my usual pace but I need to look after that knee. There is plenty of time to get back to my 36 minutes and better. I am not at all concerned.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Free yourself" has touched down in Aus.

When my husband walked in after work with a brown parcel under his arm I must admit I became extremely excited. Was this the parcel I had been waiting for from fellow blogger Patrick Mahoney? It sure was - I have never recieved a parcel from the States before, let alone a shirt which I recieved for free. How cool is that!!!!! I especially love what the logo on the shirt stands for. I guess you can interpret it in many different ways, whichever way suits you.
For me it symbolises allowing yourself to just be you. Letting go of old habits, renewing and resurfacing old dreams and allowing them to flourish. I could not let the opportunity go by without wearing the shirt and knowing that whom ever read those words would somehow get from it whatever it was that they needed. And I must admit Patrick, as I walked around I was getting alot of eyes staring at those two words. VERY COOL.

As a bit of a Welcome to Australia gesture I wore it everywhere I went today. Mum, Taillah and I decided to go to the shops for some retail therapy:
And a bit of morning tea with a well deserved coffee:
When we got home Mum and I decided to cook it a beautiful meal:
Not sure who enjoyed it more:
My mum has got to be the most incredible cook and we always enjoy
eating the feasts that mum lays before us, what do you think?
So all in all "Free Yourself" had an eventful day. It was spoilt rotten with food, enjoyed a spot of shopping and got to spend time with it's new family. I am very excited to have my shirt and look forward to wearing it on alot of occasions. Thankyou so much Patrick. I really appreciate it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Another gold medal performance.

Today was designated as a swim day with Sharon, Susan, myself and Tracy. What another great swim was to be had by all - these woman are on FIRE. That is the only way I can describe their performances in the pool. Susan swam a whopping 1.5k with a sore neck and all, Sharon replicated her stellar performance from last week and swam 1.5k with a new and improved session, and Tracy swam a magnificent 1.3k. All of this from someone who just prior to jumping in the water looked at my session for her and was like "Hey, you added 100m more". My session was 500m for her and she pumped out an extra 800m. My friends are made of steel - they so totally rock.

I think it's amazing how we question our ability before taking on a new venture. I know I do everytime I increase a session or set a new goal. It's like an inbuilt protective mechanism to maybe not allow you to get to carried away for fear of failure. Maybe that little bit of self doubt makes you push and strive harder for that which you once thought was impossible. Maybe that little bit of self doubt makes you get a bit narky and annoyed with yourself so you go all out to prove yourself wrong. Whatever it is, it seems to work. Once you do it once - there is no need to doubt yourself on that goal ever again - YOU HAVE DONE IT. No-one, absolutely no-one can take that from you, all that is left is to keep doing it until you feel ready to go bigger. To have total faith in your abilities leaves the world wide open for anything your heart desires. Today was a perfect example of woman seeking to obtain just that - and they kicked butt.

Today Tracy my gold medal performance is for you:
You rocked it. Your motivation to keep chipping away in the pool was inspiring.

On a side note I thought I would add my session to the post for those who like to see:
  • 500m Fr/s Warm up.
  • 10 x 100m Medley
  • 10 x 50m kick with flippers Fr/s up, Bk/s down
  • 5 x 200m F/s, first 25m sighting end of pool.
  • 100m Br/s cool down.
I felt very strong in the pool. Nothing hurt apart from my butt from the squats I did in the gym yesterday. What a great day.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lovely weather - for ducks.

Rain, rain and more rain is all I can see from every point of the horizon. Thick, dark clouds filled with loads of water and the promise of more to come, and no getting out for a run or ride in the open air. Nevermind, first things first - PHYSIO Day 3 and then to think about what I should do. What can I say, physio still hurts but on a good note, Lisa can feel some movement (Good movement) on the outer part of my knee. This means the knot I have is weakening and the muscles are finally giving way. Thats not to say it has come easily, God only knows I have the bruises to show as my badge of bravery, but there is light at the end of the tunnel now, albeit its the size of a grain of rice, but it's light.

Lisa my physio is really cool. She is always asking me if I am okay while she is massaging my leg - I wonder if all my sweating, grimacing and weird giggles of pain are a sign of my distress....mmmm I wonder. Maybe it's the beads of sweat on my upper lip and my cold clammy hands - either way Lisa keeps rubbing and when it gets too much to bear she stops. After all the rubbing I get a heat pack to place on the area she has worked on the most, today it was my lower leg. Ahhhhh bliss.
So while I was sitting there contemplating about what I should do today, I decided to reactivate my gym membership. With all this rain about I need to still get a run in. It's not that I mind riding my indoor trainer but I could see myself getting a bit bored and wanting something else. And after reading one of my fellow bloggers posts about weight training "To gym or not to gym" and saying that I stay clear due to having had some bad experiences, I decided today was as good a day as any to just get back in there and take the bull by the horns. Thankyou Patrick.

So I went home and got dressed : What do you think? Do I look the part?
Anyway, when I got to the gym I must admit I was very nervous. I made a B line straight for the treadmill that was set up in the darkest corner of the gym and I hopped on. I caught the eye of a trainer and asked if they could assist me in getting the thing up and running. She gladly obliged and we got to talking about things. Anyway, she took an interest in my goals and said that when I finished on the treadmill (3km later), to go get her and she would show me some exercises to strengthen my legs using the Bosu Ball. Oh my lord, that semi-circular rubber thing is hard going.

Talk about looking unco-ordinated, a newborn giraffe has more co-ordination. She had me doing squats, and squat jumps and this exercise which I have no idea what its called but you are swapping feet from side to side keeping your centre of gravity low. She then moved me to a bench and I had to jump onto the bench with both feet leaving the floor at the same time. Sounds easy but its amazing how easily you lose co-ordination and faith in yourself. Took me about 4 jumps before I mastered it and then she had me doing 360 degree lunges with a 7kg dumb bell in each hand. What a day I have had today - I am stuffed. I LOVE IT.

I will definately be back next week, the next two days are booked with swimming and training a friend. Bring on winter strength training - I am ready.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bit the bullet - surprisingly, I felt good.

After feeling dodgy yesterday and waking up to a "stiff as a board" neck this morning,rainy skies and children with head colds I decided I had two choices. The first was to sit around and mope and feel sorry for myself or get on my trainer like I said I would, and just DO IT. So I just did it - got the kids all sorted out, did my regular stretching and strengthening, tidied up the house as I wanted no distractions and set myself the task of riding the trainer for an hour. The stretching I did previously made my legs feel wonderfully ready to start spinning. Usually they feel a bit tight and fatigued after only 10 minutes of pedalling, but this morning they felt great.
ItalicThis inturn had a wonderful "Pay it forward" effect on the rest of my body. The more I pedalled the more invigorated I felt. The hour flew by without really realising it, even the kids were like "What the? Have you finished already?". Maybe the monotonous hum of the trainer as I plodded along made them fall asleep. I can't blame them really for getting bored. I, on the other hand, got alot out of today.

Realisation: I got it together today when it was so much easier to give in. This has made me feel extremely empowered and I trust me even more than I did before. I know my thoughts will never let me down, so when push comes to shove in the days ahead that will be harder than I can even imagine - I know I will be STRONG and push through anything.

I remember when I was younger and a competitive swimmer I thrived on the coach pushing me and making me try harder than most of the other kids my age in the squad. I moved up from the junior squad to senior squad in less than a year and I think it was because I had a bit of grunt in me. You would never have thought so, I was the smallest and skinniest but I was all for making my coach happy and I loved the feeling of being good and accomplishing something others thought I couldn't. Looks can be deceiving.

Now I know that I can achieve anything I set my mind too, even when I don't feel all that great. Now I know I am strong and everyday I am getting stronger - especially when I am faced with days like today. I should bite the bullet more often - it's amazing what you will learn

Monday, May 24, 2010

Where is the love.

All day today I have been totally flat. Not quite sure what is happening in my brain but it is giving me the proverbial "You know whats". I am tired and just feel beat physically and emotionally. I don't have my usual zing and I would like it back - NOW. I have a funny feeling the weather has something to do with it. The cold and I have never seen eye to eye and it always seems to be a battle of the wills during the colder months. For the first time in ages I have wanted to just crawl into a nice little ball dressed in the daggiest tracksuit and socks and close my eyes and sleep. It is quite unlike me and it has me wondering how I will cope when winter really sets in. How will I stay motivated to train when the mornings are FREEZIN, the days are cold and drizzly and the nights come to soon?

Maybe I should be signing up for regular Fun Runs! Signing up for monthly ones are possibly the way to go. So far I have signed up for the MS 8km Fun Run on the 6th June, and my first ever Sprint Triathlon on October 31st. But that leaves an awful lot of months inbetween to fit stuff in. There is another run in September called the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival and there are different races - 9km, Half Marathon & Marathon. Not sure which one out of the 9km and Half Marathon. Do I aim high or managaeable?

Hopefully today is just one of those days. Both my boys have head colds and maybe I am coming down with it too. All day today I had trouble staying warm and my hands have been stinging - much like when your hands are cold and you put them under hot water. My lower back has also been aching too. Time to up the vitamins throughout the household I think.

On a happier note. My daughter ran a 4km cross country run today, and although she placed 24th, in my eyes she is NUMERO 1. Taillah qualified for this run on a whim. She doesn't like running but when you see her run you just know that if she trained for it she would be a force to be reckoned with. I am very proud of you Taillah - your my GEM.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Try not to laugh

I think I said I would post some photos of the types of stretches and core strengthening activities I have to do, however after reviewing the photos I think I look quite funny. My intentions are good and if you want to see some professional photos I will add a link to them at the end of the post - for comparisons.
The aim with this one is to get yourself into more of an A frame - I would but my fear of falling onto my head or rolling off onto the side is high, so until I feel stronger this is about as high as I get.
I really like this one but it takes alot of concentration. I try to just barely rest my hands on the floor and raise my hips without having my feet wobble from side to side. It's quite hard but i am getting better at it. The aim is to raise my arms up above my head as I raise my hips - I can only do this once or twice.
I find this one hard, shows my weakness in my legs. The leg that is raised stays at 90 degrees and is the one that rolls up and down on the ball. The leg that is on the floor I have to bend up and down with, maintaining correct alignment with the knee over the foot. My hands have to stay on my hips and are a guide to make sure I don't raise one hip more than the other. Doing it in front of a mirror helps.
I think the plank is something you either love or hate - I personally don't mind it. However she wants me now to raise alternate limbs and hold for as long as I can. Very, very hard. I wobble all over the place to do it but as my core strengthens I am sure I will be able to do and maintain it.
Gluteal stretch feels good and hurts all at the same time. Not sure if you can notice in the picture that the outstretched leg is raised slightly off the floor - the aim is to keep in all on the floor, this aides in the stretch.
My hamstrings are so tight, this one hurts. Have to hold this for 30 seconds, toes are pointed directly over the top of my head. I then have to point my toes outwards for 30 seconds and then point them inwards for 30 seconds. This works different parts of the hamstring. Try it it really works.
I tried to take a photo of the Peroneal Neural stretch that my physio has me doing and you couldn't really see what I was doing so I found one off the internet. The aim is to lower and raise your foot so the Peroneal Nerve moves through the muscle sheath. When I do it lying down using a towel to support my foot I can feel it just on the outer lateral aspect of my knee.

All of my stretches and strengthening exercises I have to do 4 times daily. and although I am not great at it I can feel some flexibility in my legs and my stomach hurts, so I guess the core exercises are doing their job. Hope you enjoy. Oh, by the way, here is the link for the Physio Exercises.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Performax Women's Compression Full Length Tight - Sports Compression Clothing

Performax Women's Compression Full Length Tight - Sports Compression Clothing

I have just purchased these off EziSports. Here they are. Totally divine.The material is fantastic. The seams are flatlocked so there wont be any rubbing anywhere whatsoever. I absolutely love the reflective pattern on the calves and the added detail of reflection around the zipper. I got myself a Size 10 even though I am borderline Size 12 due to my height. But I figured the added tightness would help compression wise. I can see I will enjoy these immensely.

Physiotherapy Day 2 - New Drama

I have just come back from the physiotherapist and am a bit battered and bruised yet again. I mentioned to her about this feeling I get every now and then in my left leg and which had happened again on Wednesday (I think that was the day) when I went for my 7km run with Susan. My foot and lower leg kind of go a bit numb and I almost feel as though I sort of lose control - like foot drop. But it doesn't happen all the time - so I was not that concerned. Anyway when I mentioned it to her she kind of looked at me quite seriously and started pressing around the outer lateral aspect of my knee and down the outer shin and I felt like my leg was on fire. With that came the words "I think you have a Peroneal Nerve Impingement". With those words I thought I was going to lose full use of my leg and my eyes started to well up with tears.

Thank goodness she quickly reassured me inbetween continuing to rub the area. So why were my eyes still filling up with tears, oh thats right - the rubbing hurt like CRAZY. The cold sweats broke out again and all I could do was breathe through the pain - much like I did when I was giving birth. I find the pain hard to describe - it's like burning, red raw, pulled muscle kind of feeling when she is rubbing the area. Not nice, but after it is all said and done I feel good.

Anyway, I have another stretch to add to the combo - "Peroneal Neural Stretch" which should help dislodge it and allow it to move freely. I will give my daughter the task to take some photos of the stretches as I am doing them to show you what I have to do. Mainly they are leg stretches but she has added two more core stability ones as well. Should make for some entertainment as they involve using the Swiss Ball.

Saying for today "What doesn't kill me only makes me stronger".

Yesterdays swim session

Forgot to post my session yesterday as I was in awe of Sharon's efforts. Here it is:
  • 500m Freestyle warm up
  • 5 x 200m Fr/s for 100m Bk/s for 100m
  • 10 x 50m kick with flippers 15 sec break
  • 5 x 100m Fr/s catchup with paddles - alternating every 25m
  • 300m Br/s cool down
If anyone has some other ideas to spice up my swim sessions please let me know. Look forward to seeing some variety.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A smile I will never forget.

How awesome is it when you see someone reach their potential. How awesome is it to see someone smile because they feel so proud of themselves.What a blessing it is to share in a moment when that person goes into an activity with a certain expectation and comes out having totally annihalating it to oblivion. Well today was that day. This post is dedicated to my friend Sharon.

Sharon is one of those people you just know from the very first time you meet them that they are going to be in your life for a very long time. She has a heart of gold and genuine interest in you as a person - people like her are very rare.

I am so glad we went swimming together today. Last week I had written up a very brief training session for her. It was brief to the point of only being 300m. The last time we went swimming together was at the beginning of the year so I didn't want to make the session too long. So it consisted of sets of 25m Freestyle and kick with a 30 sec break. WELL, Sharon did the first 25m and said at the 15 sec rest point can I keep going - I said "Of course". And that was it - Sharon was on a roll. The 300m came and went without even a slight look of tiredness physically. She just kept knocking them out one after the other and before I knew it she had reached the 1km mark. The woman is a legend.

As I continued with my planned session of 2.8km Sharon just kept going. She chopped and changed from kicking, to Freestyle, to breastroke back to Freestyle. And as I finished my last lap Sharon was floating around and feeling as proud as punch. She had just done 1.5km. If I could have bottled the pride that was oozing out of her and tried to sell it - we would have made millions - actually it was priceless. That feeling is what makes training all the more worth it, it's what keeps you focused during the harder times. I remember that feeling of your very first major accomplishment - nothing, absolutely nothing can knock you off your perch. What a buzz.

So Sharon this is for you:
Cant wait to do it again next week. Remember no less than 1500m - you can do it.

Another day of firsts.

Yesterday I decided to go and do my usual bridge to bridge run with Susan with no huge expectation of what it would hold. Firstly neither Susan or myself set our watches to time this and it was probably a really good idea that we didn't as I totally piked out on this run. Not because I wanted to but because things ached. If it wasn't my butt cheek from a bruise the physio had left it was my knee, if not my knee it was my shin. So, it was back to the run/walk method yesterday for the 7km stretch. If there is one thing I am learning through this journey it is to listen to your body when it is speaking to you. If it's hurting it is pretty much telling you to either analyse whether it is a pain from pushing yourself beyond your limits, or is this a pain that if your push on you could be doing more damage. I figured the latter was possibly closer to the truth.

So upon returning home I did all my physio stretching and strengthening and proceeded to fill up the bath tub with cold water. Off I went to have a shower and then I quickly dried off, dressed the top half and plonked myself into my first ever modified version of an ice bath. This is what happened:
I could not catch my breath, all I did was whimper, squeal and hold the top half of my body so tense that I started to ache in the shoulders. Ok, it was time to relax and enjoy the process - it was afterall doing me good "I think". I only lasted 5 minutes - better than nothing at all. Today will be a different story I will try to last the expected 15 minutes. Depends how blue my lower extremities go. However, in saying that it was absolutely freezing I felt totally invigorated on getting out. Everything from my waist down felt alive and refreshed and I could no longer feel the aches - maybe they were just numb, whatever - it felt good.

The rest of my afternoon was quite normal, I cooked dinner and made Chicken Cacciattore for the family. I was not going to eat dinner at home tonight - my other bestest buddie Kimberley invited me out to Teppenyaki as a belated birthday present. I have never been to Teppenyaki before and I loved it. The whole experience was awesome and best of all I got to spend it with my best friend of 16yrs.
Everything I had heard about Teppenyaki was right, the food, the games the chefs play with you and how enjoyable it it was. I am a total pro at catching the food they flick at you except for the one the call the machine gun. I had omelette flicked at me at lightning speed and all I could do was close my eyes and hope that some went in my plate - guess what? None did, it went all in my lap. Kimberley wore a bowl full of fried rice - I couldn't stop laughing. We looked as though we had regressed to infancy as just under our chairs was a mess of fried rice and omelette. What a great night. Definately have to take my children there soon, they will get a total buzz out of it.
The following photos are just a few of the yummy food, I would have to say the highlight was the yummy chicken. ENJOY:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sweat Fest with the Breakfast Club.

After speaking to the physiotherapist yesterday and there being no mention of my physical activities having to stop, I decided to make today a trainer session ride. The weather was suited to riding inside as it was drizzling on and off and the thought of getting wet was not on my list of favourites. So, once again I set up the chair beside the bike with all my goodies - phones, yes phones (mobile & house), remotes, GU chomps, watch and x2 drink bottles, and off I went. I was determined this time around to sit through the whole movie and what better movie to watch then "The Breakfast Club". I just love Judd Nelson and his bad boy persona, and watching him in this movie brought back so many fond memories of how many times I had watched this movie because of him when I was a young girl.
At about the half way point things began to hurt. Not my legs, but my poor old bottom. I had to shift positions constantly just to get comfortable and all because I didn't wear my proper bike shorts. But, my Tri Suit doesn't have that much padding so I just have to "suck it up" and quit complaining. As one of my friends likes to say "Suck it up Princess". So I did and the remainder of the movie went by quite quickly. I kept a constant tempo with my pedalling and averaged about 25kph. I can't help wonder how much easier this pedalling thing will be when I have my Cannondale. Having cleats and the full use of the entire pedal revolution should make it so much more productive.
So, I thought I would take a post workout photo of my shirt and how much I sweat as proof of my crazy "cycling fest". Lucky my pants are black as they were sopping wet too BLAH. I managed to ride 39km in 1hr 31 mins. This is a first for two reasons :
  • Most I have cycled to date in one sitting.
  • I sat through a whole movie cycling.
I am so very excited and nothing apart from my tush hurt. After finishing I was a good girl and did what the physio told me to do and rub a tennis ball up and down my left ITB for 5 minutes. Ouch is all I can say, considering the area I had to rub is bruised. It is however less bruised than yesterday thanks to my wonderful cream "Alleviate".

I had a great day today and have already done my strengthening and stretching exercises x2. Two more to go for today.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Physiotherapy Day 1.

Turns out my knee complaint is merely the symptom of a much bigger picture. What an eye opener today. I always knew I had to work on my core strength to keep my back healthy, what I didn't realise is that with all the strengthening I do do, I am still very weak in my core and the impact this is having on the rest of my body is starting to become evident.

Upon arriving to meet the physiotherapist she asked to see my films from the ultrasound and then proceeded to ask me to lay down on my back on the table. She started to manipulate, rotate, extend, flex my ankles, knees and hips whilst asking me questions about what my concerns were that brought me to her today, past history, activities etc etc. After doing that she tested my ROM (Range of Motion), flexibility and found that I have extremely flexible knees which hyper extend backwards - not a problem in itself. However every major muscle group in my left leg and to some extent in my right leg is about as a tight as can be. Problem area No 1 Because my core and back muscles are still weak my lower limb muscles have tightened and become contracted almost in a compensatory fashion.
Problem area No 2 I literally have buns of steel. My gluteus maximus is so rock hard and knotted that I have actual pressure spots in several different regions along my left gluteus that made me see stars when she tried to manipulate and massage the area. This has a direct impact on my lower back and the tighter it gets the more my back flares up - my sciatic nerve has been flaring up as well.
Problem area No 3 My quadricep muscles couldn't get any tighter if they tried. Even with all the stretching I am doing they still are tight and this is having a direct impact on my Iliotibial band which is Problem area No 4. As a result of all of this tightness my left patella is being pulled outwards slightly which does not allow for proper tracking of the knee cap causing undue friction - hence the knee pain Problem area No 5.
Then to add some extra oomph to the mix my Gastrocnemius and Popliteus are tight as well Problem area No 6.

Let me tell you, everywhere she rubbed and stretched I broke out in a cold sweat. The pain at times was too much to bear and I had to ask her to stop a few times, if not more. I always knew I was not that flexible but this made me realise how inflexible I had truly become. Quite scary I haven't torn any major muscle due to the inflexibility.

So, where to from here? I am happy that there is nothing seriously wrong with my knee joint. The pain is merely a reflection of poor core stability and tight muscles. So I have a list of basic exercises and stretches that I have to do 4 times a day till I see her again on Friday. I also have to use a tennis ball to rub up and down my ITB after every cycling expedition to stop it from contracting further. On Friday she wants me to take my runners in and she is going to see my posture and running technique whilst I am on the treadmill. I hope she doesn't laugh too hard.

So all in all, although I am bruised from the deep tissue rub I have an extremely positive outlook and know that this can be managed. I am very happy to say the least.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I couldn't help it.

I do believe two posts ago I said I would behave until I saw the physiotherapist on Monday, but that was till I realised how long four days off would be. So I misbehaved in a way that I thought would cause me the least possible damage. I am all for misbehaving in a controlled manner....oh how naughty I can

I rode for 30km with my brother in law. I did the M7 bike track again and did the same 30km loop that I did the last time. I do believe he really enjoyed himself however I think he found it harder because he was riding a mountain bike. Actually I know he found it harder because I gave him the opportunity to ride my bike and I rode his, and to ride a heavy mountain bike for that distance is hard work on the quads. But he did it and we talked and laughed alot of the way which was nice. It sure makes for time to pass quickly. It was actually quite funny to watch us swap bikes. Scott is about 6 foot 5 inches tall and quite a solid frame and he was riding my bike with his knees almost wrapped around his ears. I on the other hand needed a ladder to get on his bike and once I was on, at full extension of my leg only just touched the pedals - absolutely hilarious - we would have made Laurel & Hardy proud.

The way back is always much easier as the majority of it is down hill and the speed you gain is sometimes hair raising - well for me it is. I hit 49 kph on one part and decided to start slowing down as I thought if I got the death wobbles the potential for becoming air bound and doing some serious damage was highly probable. Where as my brother in law enjoys high speed stuff and was head down bottom up and hooned it past "Grandma me".

I had a fantastic morning and look forward to some more good family rides. Oh, before I forget, I tried the GU chomps today. Absolutely delicious. Like eating a gummy bear only bigger. I think these are a go. Need to stock up on all different flavours.

Friday, May 14, 2010

MS 8km Fun Run.

Not liking this Rollercoaster

I always valued the importance of my health, being sick for almost a year makes you yearn for TOTAL health like nothing else. The saying "You don't know what you've got till it's gone" takes on a whole new meaning. I used to wake up just wishing for no pain and if I had a mediocre day, then I was on Cloud 9.

Since then my meaning of health and well being has taken on a totally new concept, and when a health scare smacks me in the face - I wish, no pray, beg and plead for things to be okay. I have too many things to attend to for anything to get in the way. I almost feel cheated of my right to be healthy when an ailment comes knocking. God only knows how hard I have worked over this past year at getting my health back for anything to go wrong. So when my preliminary results came back of a bulging meniscus in my left knee, to say I was a "blubbering idiot" was an understatement. All my dreams of the 70.3 went flashing before my eyes straight down the gurgler. I really need to learn to get my emotions under control. What good is having a total meltdown? The outcome would still be the same. I guess it's easier said than done.

The 24hr wait for the conclusive results was hell. I went from feeling sorry for myself, to having the total "you know whats", to almost a sense of grief, loss. Thank goodness it was only 24hrs, not sure if hubby and the kids would have coped any longer. The conclusive results did not make one single mention of the bulging meniscus - zip, niet, nada - WOOHOO. The only thing they did mention was calcification of the quadricep tendon. No biggie. That wont stop me from getting running in. But I will behave till Monday till I see the physiotherapist.

Since Tuesday I do believe I may have aged 10 years with the worry. I know this because my son Kurtis found my first ever "Grey Hair". Can you believe it, bugger I can't. It is right there on my left temple, so everytime I stare into the mirror there the little critter is. I am almost tempted to rip it out but as my son Kurt so likes to remind me if I do many more will take it's place. So guess what I am doing this weekend - you guessed it - a nice deep mahogany colour should suit me just fine. What do you think?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Laugh/cry. Which is it?

Today was one of those days which had me not knowing whether I was Arthur or Martha. I started the day off going for my 7km run with Susan. It was absolutely freezing even though the sun was shining, the air was so crisp it hurt to breathe in. With every breath I felt tightness in my chest so I thought it necessary to take a couple of puffs of my inhaler - this eased the pulmonary situation quite readily. The usual aches started as I took off running as well - knee pain in both. But much the same as what happens with my lungs, my knee pain dissipated as they heated up.

Susan is great to run with, she keeps perfect pace and rhythm so its easy not having to think. We got over the bridge which is the 4km mark in 22 minutes. Not bad considering I had to ask Susan to slow down the pace for a couple of minutes till I regained my form at about the 2km mark. I was happy with the time so far. I then felt like I had finally warmed up so I increased the pace and it felt right. Susan said I was running about a 5min 30sec per/km and it felt good. With about 300m to go I decided to ramp it up and start running at about a 4min 30 pace and that just nearly killed me. I have no clue how Susan holds that pace for a full run. I was taking strides that just felt so unnaturally long. Nevermind, the point was I held it for about 300m. YAY FOR ME and I finished with a total time of 38min 35 secs for 7km.

So after that Susan wanted me to do stride outs. 3x100m stride outs. Which I did, but I think I may have turned them into 3x100m sprints. I felt so strong and nothing hurt apart from some twinges in my left knee. I think I may have impressed Susan. She said I actually run like a sprinter - very upright and strong. And, get this, she said I even looked really good. That means so much coming from a runner. So anyways we finished off our sessions the way we always do - having a yummy coffee - only this time we had some drama with a young lass throwing her guts up over the retaining wall just near us. Susan and I both looked at eachother and went "I wonder if she's pregnant?". No sooner did she throw up she hocked straight into her breakfast again.

After my coffee I had the dreaded ultrasound of my Left knee as yesterday was my right knee. Today I was not so happy leaving as I was yesterday. No comment was made on my right knee and the cyst I thought I had there could not be found. GREAT. Today however the preliminary result on my left knee is a bulging meniscus as well as calcification to some of the tendons. The knee I was not so worried about turns out to be the one I should be worried about. I get the conclusive results tomorrow after 10am. Not sure if I want them now, but I know I need them to get the rehab/recovery ball rolling. Not sure what this means and I will just have to wait to see the GP tomorrow afternoon with the results. Kurtis will also get his backslab off his arm as well. Kill two birds with the one stone.

So I think I made the mention yesterday that I would try to find a sports physiotherapist - well I did find one and I have an appointment on Monday at 9:20am. I look forward to whatever it is they have to say. I need to know what I am doing as stopping exercise is not an option.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Motivation. I'm feeling it.

I am yet to encounter a day, and it's been this way for a while now, where I haven't wanted to do some form of activity. Before one day end's I have plans for the next day. Can't help it, it's the way I roll. I do believe that this will stand me in good sted for what lays ahead. I try to make all my training sessions varied as I find that if I start to repeat myself I get bored. That's also how I roll. Variety is the spice of life. It keeps me interested and wanting to keep going back for more. Repetition is a killer for me.

So today I hit the pools again. Below is my session:

  • 500m Freestyle warm up
  • 10x50m kick with flippers F/s up, Bk/s down
  • Ladder 50, 100, 150, 200, 150, 100, 50
  • 12x25m medley
  • 300m cool down
I changed it up a bit, I love the kick so that stays for me. I really get a good burn. Lactic acid builds very quickly so when I hit the end of the pool I just let my legs hang. No standing on them, just total non-weight bear hang- feels great. Today's session totalled 2400m, not bad. I am feeling strong. The thought of the 70.3 is never far from my mind when I train and it is my sole driving force. I want to be ready, strong, mentally alert and focused.

After the hour spent in the pool I toddled off to have my first Ultrasound of my right knee and then tomorrow I have one of my left knee. Fingers crossed there is nothing, and if there is let it be minor. I will wait for the results and then book in to see a sports physiotherapist. I need to start asking around for a good one in the area.

GU Gel giveaway

Do you like Gels, Chomps or Brews? Personally after my my experience I think I am heading down the path of a Chomp. If you haven't tried any then here is your chance to win a fine selection of GU Energy Gels, Electrolyte Brew, Recovery Brew and Chomps. All you have to do is visit "Midwest Triathlon Life" and follow the instructions. Follow Kovas journey and get in the running to win.

Monday, May 10, 2010

2/3 of a movie - Does it count? Hell yeah.

After 37km, I would say I had an eventful day today. I started off with going for a 7km walk/run with my best friend Susan, her sister Melanie and father David. I was initially going to make this a full 7km run when I got out of bed, but I really enjoy their company and decided to go along with them. And after a yummy coffee (cause we sooooo deserved it) I ventured home with the aim to get a full movie's worth on the bike trainer.

I moved my bike into prime position in front of the TV and loaded up the coffee table with the essentials - remote controls for the TV and DVD player, a large glass of water, my mobile and house phone should someone ring and an electrolyte drink. Extremely important items - oh and a cushion to rest forward on as I don't have Tri bars. I was set, this 90 minutes or so looked like it was easy.....WRONG.

My legs and backside fizzled at the 60 minute mark. I was going hard for a solid hour and I have no idea what my cadence was but I was spinning at a constant rhythm. So I was happy. I would have preferred to have sat through the whole movie but 2/3 was better than nothing at all.

Distance: 30.24km
Time: 1:01:37
Max speed: 42.7kph
Avg speed: 29.3kph

I would say that even though I didn't quite make it to my goal I got 2/3's of the way there. Better than nothing I say .

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mothers Day is the best.

My Mothers Day started early, one day early to be exact. Yesterday Stephen and the kids came home from shopping with the best ever Mothers Day present. I was given a bike trainer. I got so emotional, my prayers had been listened to, or was it that I said my prayers OUTLOUD. Actually I do believe I spoke about this trainer heaps. My family listened - yay, I am truly the luckiest person ever.
Then to make things better, I got two massive bunches of the most beautiful flowers.
I absolutely love flowers and the bunches I got were to die for. They had Gerberas, Birds of Paradise, Chrysanthemums and loads of green foliage. I guess my family loves me :). After such a wonderful Saturday I didn't think it could get any better, but I was wrong.

I woke up this morning knowing full well I was going to my first ever Mothers Day 4km Fun Run with my daughter whom did exceptionally well. I was so proud of her - this was her first ever 4km run and apart from some occasional little pits stops due to fatigued legs - she rocked it. We both crossed the line in 24min 24 secs. What more could I have asked for. I shared real special moments during the run, we held hands running. I haven't had that kind of opportunity for a while - kids are growing up and things like that don't happen much and for me it was the total highlight. If my day had of ended right there I would have been the happiest mother on the face of the earth. But when we came home from our run we were greeted with yummy pancakes which my husband had made for myself and my mother who had come to stay overnight. We all scoffed them right up.

About two hours later I decided to make use of the bike trainer. It looked lonely and I hate seeing things upset, so I got on my bike and rode for an hour.

Distance: 28.17km
Avg speed: 27.3kph
Max speed: 41.5kph

I also decided to try my first Gel - I am not quite sure I like it. It was a mixture of salty and sweet and it was a bit slimy. Not sure if they are all like this, may have to try the blocks. I guess everyone's taste buds are different and what some find yummy others find BLAH. Not sure if this is something i could get used to. On the pack it said consume with 400mls of water which I did however it still left that funny taste in my mouth. Will have to try something else.

I had the best Mother's Day. Love you Stephen for making every meal for myself and the family today. Love you Kurtis, Taillah and Kyle for making me the proudest mother on the earth.

Friday, May 7, 2010

I love chlorinated H2O

Woke up this morning feeling absolutely freezing and thinking to myself it's still too dark to see what the weather is going to be like - I hope it's warm. However as the sun came up over the horizon I realised that today was going to be another miraculous day. A new day with new opportunities to grasp with both hands and make of it as I wanted.

Firstly the usual routine - wake up the family, make lunches for school and work, help Kurt get dressed as he is a "one armed bandit" for a while and have breakfast. Stephen then took the twins to school (Kurt felt well enough to go) and I took Kyle to a dentist's appointment much to his disgust. Nothing majorly traumatic went down at the dentist and then took Kyle to school late - once again "Not happy Jan". Never mind - I had a date with the pool today.

I really truly could not have been blessed with a better day to get in the pool. Perfect blue skies, slight cool breeze in the air and just right water temperature. If all days could be this wonderful. Whenever I get to the pool I don't have a set session, I kind of make it up as I go. There are many variables to have a set session - mood, weather, family, time. So I just see how I go.

I had all intentions to do a 500m Freestyle warm up, but as I got to the 500m mark I felt too good to stop. So I did another 500m Freestyle. After 1km though my arms did need a break so I let them rest for a couple of minutes, put my flippers on and off I set for 10x50m Freestyle kick with flippers. I set myself a bit of a target though to do them in 40 secs, give myself a 20sec break and take off on the minute. This totally canes my legs, you can hearing me grunting as I get to the end of the pool. It's not a loud grunt like a wild beast, more like "oh dear god - somebody bring the end of the pool to me PLEASE".

After finishing those kicks and realising I had only done 15oom and being a bit of a glutton for punishment I added 5x100m Freestyle at about 75% effort. That was hard. Very hard. I only gave myself 20 secs rest between sets. By the last one I could feel acid rising up my throat. But that had taken me to 2km. My last swim session saw me complete 2.3km - and not being one to go backwards I cooled down with a 300m Breastroke up Backstroke down. Ahhhhh bliss. I would say my date with the pool went swimmingly.

UPDATE: my left knee feels heaps better today. No pain, my nutritionals cream from Neways has been a godsend. I have been applying it religiously before and after activity and before bed as well as icing the affected area and it does not hurt at all. I love this stuff.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Oh Oh!!! What a day.

What a day. Started with waking up and realising that my left knee was and is sore. It was sore from the moment I put pressure on the ground. It's not an intense pain that makes me see stars, but on movement I can feel a soreness on the outer lateral aspect of my patella. It is not sore to the touch, only on movement which I find disturbing. I am not sure if I documented after my 17km bushwalk the same thing happening and after a couple of days rest and some Ibuprofen it settled. So I am hoping that the same will happen this time. I have it bandaged and have iced it as well as taking Nurofen twice today.
So anyway after waking up and realising it was sore I still had things to do today. I have been exercising with a friend to help her get on track. I like walking with her and teaching her things that I have learnt along the way. Today she started on the walk/run program. It was 4 mins walk/1 min run x6. All in all I think she did great - she was a little breathless and she did say she felt like to be sick once but she recovered really well and we finished off doing a 3km walk. No sooner had we finished and just gotten back to the car I get a phone call from the sick bay nurse at my children's school saying my eldest son Kurtis had a mishap. He had collided heads with another pupil and in the process of trying to save himself he jarred his left wrist. So off we went to the GP and then for an Xray.
Good news is the Xray does not show a fracture, however that is not to say there is not an occult fracture of one of the carpal bones. So his arm was placed in a backslab for the next 7-10 days and if the pain does not subside he is to have a CT scan. Fingers crossed it settles. What poor Kurt is not happy about is that fact that the GP has said no physical activities till the backslab is off. This has crushed him as he wanted to do the Mothers Day Fun Run with me this Sunday. I told him if all is okay in a weeks time we can run the 4km around the neighbourhood and I will "Rent a crowd" to cheer us on the way home.....only kidding about the Rent a crowd I will get family to cheer him on. That just made him laugh.

Whilst I was at the GP I thought it wise to have my knee looked and I am having an Ultrasound on both knees next week. Hopefully nothing shows as well. But I have a feeling it might in my Right knee as I think I may have a cyst. What makes me think this? I feel like I have a marble sitting behind my patella when I bend it. It doesn't hurt, its just a nuisance. I have had this for a while and thought I better get it looked at considering I don't want it affecting my training.

My day has only just come to an end and it is now 8:30pm. I have just finished training another friend. She did absolutely fantastic but I fear she may have trouble raising her arms over her head for the next couple of days. Sorry Marisa. What a long day I have had. I am totally knackered, beat. Time to have a shower and head to bed. I wonder what adventures I shall face tomorrow. Hopefully much nicer ones.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

And then some.

The above saying could not more accurately describe how I have viewed my journey to date. At first I didn't think I could feel better, then I didn't think I could get fit, then I thought I could not run and then today I squashed all self doubt once again. Little by little I have inched my way through each goal and kept setting personal goals to reach my next goal. And my next goal was a 10km run. I DID IT. I have a 10km run under my belt and all because I wanted to. And I know I shouldn't have timed myself but I am have become a bit of a numbers freak. I did it in 59min 15 secs. I was so happy to have done it under the hour mark, now it's just a matter of maintaining that time or getting better.

Maybe I am looking way way ahead of myself, but I am feeling pretty good about my running at the moment and think I may just be okay with doing 21.1km. Not right now of course, but I don't think it will be too far in the future either. I like this longer running business. It gives me much the same feeling as when I am swimming - loads of time to think. But this time I think about my breathing, my stride, the pace I am running. Whether or not I am slumping forward or holding my posture correctly. Lots of time to analyse, critique and correct to make it feel easier. I think about how it would feel to actually be running at that pace for well over two hours after having come off a 90km bike ride. Could I hold that pace or will my legs seize up.

I am sure all these questions will be answered as my training intensifies. So far though I am tickled pink with my progress.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I feel strong.

Another beautiful day spent in the pool. Even though it was overcast the temperature of the water was just blissfull to dive into. Diving in when the water is cool is not one of my favourite past times, ask my mum and childhood coach. I was the one found on the side of the pool shivering and crying and making up excuses as to why I should not have to get in the water - "I'm sick, I have a headache, it's too cold, I don't want to", yada yada yada. Totally painful I was as a child. But, now that I am adult even though I still hate it I will do it. Today however was like diving into a tepid bath and as my session began and I swam a mere 200m I was already feeling hot and knew that I would only feel hotter as the session went on. Boy, I feel my complaining coming on again. Gees I'm a whinger. So I will stop complaining now.
My session today went as follows:
  • 500m Freestyle warm up.
  • 10 x 50m kick with flippers - Freestyle up, Backstroke down.
  • 10 x 100m Freestyle catchup - every 25m changing breathing side
  • 300m cool down - Breastroke up, Backstroke back.
Quite an enjoyable session really, another 2.3km to add to my training. Not too hard but I could feel the burn in my shoulders from the catch up. It's amazing, when I am training it gives me time to think about everything that is going on in my life and the things I should be doing at home like vacuuming, mopping, washing clothes and grocery shopping. Not looking forward to it but I must do - so when I got out of the pool I went to the shops bought stuff for dinner that was on the list that Taillah made - Italian stuffed capsicum is on the menu for tonight. I have been blessed with a daughter who loves to cook. Quickly got home and did three loads of washing and vacuumed the floors. Then it was back out the door to pick up the children from school. An action packed productive day. I love it. I can feel that I have more and more energy everyday and I thank my nutritional supplements for that. They give me the energy to get out there and exercise and as I exercise I get stronger - I am a winner either way I look at it.

So tomorrow I look forward to going for a long run as I cannot do it on Sunday. This Sunday is Mothers Day and whilst I should be resting and getting totally spoilt I will be running with my son Kurtis in the Mother's Day 4km Fun Run. Tomorrow I am hoping to do 10km but not sure how this will pan out. I will keep my fingers crossed and just try to stay focused for a run that could take close to an hour. Something new for me and one that I will try to accomplish.

Monday, May 3, 2010

I'm SOOOOOO hungry.

I made myself and the family a yummy tortilla tonight. It was made with potato, onion, eggs, ricotta cheese, fresh parsley and basil and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese on top. And may I say it was exceptionally yummy. Taillah my daughter decided she wanted to add a salad to the mix and made a divine Carrot Salad. A totally vegetarian dinner and it was to die for. I can safely say now I am full, but prior to eating my meal and as I was cooking I was ravenous.

Last night's meal was a feast fit for any carnivore on the planet. A juicy T-bone steak with a green salad. That was absolutely finger licking good. I not only gnawed on the bone I did not leave one bit of meat on that bone. I even think my dogs would have turned up their noses to the naked bone I left behind. I just can't seem to eat enough now, I am always hungry.

I remember back to when I was trying to lose weight and having to re-train my brain to eat smaller portions. All I wanted to do was eat cause my portions were so small they would have only fed a sparrow. Now I am always hungry cause my metabolism has sped up so much I am burning more than I can put in and I even think I can put Fred Flintstone to shame eating the amounts I am beef I am eating. My body is obviously craving protein and I can't seem to feed it enough. I guess it's ok considering everytime I exercise I am burning a tonne of calories. And if I don't fire up the engine with enough fuel then it's just going to burn out. And anyway, I feel in tip top shape doing what I am doing. The scales never show weight gain at the moment if anything they are either sitting pretty even or showing a slight deficit in the weight department.

I seem to be managing ok on my own so far.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

More time spent in the saddle.

I finally rode some of the M7 bike track today and it was a really enjoyable ride.The sun was out and there was a slight chill in the air. Before I started riding I decided I wanted to spend about 90 minutes cycling. I have to start getting used to spending more time on my bike, and today was the day I would start doing just that. So I put my Ipod on, reset my speedometer and off I set for a 90 minute pedal fest.

My journey to my turn around point at the 45 minute mark was challenging. There were some flat parts but mainly it was a series of up hill climbs. Not anything too serious but enough so that you could feel the burn. I have to practice getting out and staying out of the saddle when my legs are burning.I was watching other cyclists just burn it up the hills right past me and they were all leaning right forward and had their backsides right up and out. I tried doing it but my legs just kept giving way and I would have to sit. I guess everything takes practice, and the more you practice the better you get at it. There were times I was even keeping up with some of the younger, stronger cyclists or even making up ground on the hills. So I was pleased.

The way back was absolutely divine. Even though there were a few hills to climb, the majority of it was a nice downhill ride. I love riding my bike fast, what a buzz. So as a result of riding faster on my way back I shaved off 8 minutes and only rode the bike 82 minutes and a total of 29kms. A bit annoying cause I wanted to actually make it to 90 minutes but nevermind. Next time I will just go further, no big problem there. Today was a really enjoyable day and it was great spending it outdoors. I never realised how many people I would see out on the track this morning and they were all nice. Everyone of them said "Good morning" to me. And this seems to be the norm wherever I am. Everyone I see either cycling, running or swimming acknowledges the other person. I guess that's what makes me like exercise even more.

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