Before I get started, my Mum's home from hospital and recovering well. Thanks for all the positive thoughts and prayers. We're very happy and relieved to have her home.
On Monday night I went for a run at the gym. I really enjoyed myself. Some days it just seems easier than others. I ran 4 km before cooling down. It took me just over 35 minutes all up. I had my headphones and was watching Channel V. I don't really like running with headphones. I seem to get myself all tangled up and the earpieces don't always want to stay in my ears. The volume never seems to be right with the treadmill screen. It's all seems too hard but I persist. At least juggling the wires and adjusting the volume keeps me occupied.
I've been working on my cadence. I realised that I was running slower because I was taking few steps per minute. Only 10 actual steps less, but that's a fair bit of ground to be losing over a 40 minute run. I'm having trouble getting it back up. I have a theory that it's related to my breathing. It all makes perfect sense to me and it's something to think about while I'm running. My theory is this: I breathe in for two steps and out for for. As a result of Yoga I breathe more deeply, which means it takes me longer to breathe in and out. My feet have slowed down to compensate. My alternative theory is: I put on weight over the course of last year which has slowed me down. I prefer to ignore that one.
Anyway, it's given me something definite to work on. I'd gotten a bit slack with working on various aspects of my form. I'll have to make a conscious effort to read my Chi Running book again.
On Tuesday I had PT with Julia. I made myself do my cardio warmup on the bike. I really don't like the stationary bike but I figured it would be kinder to my knee. Also, I have a philosophy that I should do stuff I don't like occasionally as it makes me appreciate the stuff I do like even more. Oh no, that line of thinking is saying "Kathy, do a cycle class!" I think I need to develop selective deafness.
I was due for a program change so this week we started off on the leg press machine that you don't need to load the weights onto. I did the top third of the action. My knee was fine, although I could feel that it had been working. I don't know if I'm imagining that or if I'm really feeling it. I guess time will tell if it's paranoia. I did two (or three) sets of 15 reps at 50 kg. That's a problem with not blogging on the day - my mind leaks the details. At least Julia wrote it down. After that we did hamstring curls. I am starting to like these. I'd better not mention that to either trainer or they'll get scratched from my program. I did two sets of 15. I then did two sets of 15 reps at 16 kg on the seated row machine. I'll be able to increase the weight on that soon, but it's a while since I've done them so I wanted to get my form checked again.
We moved over to the Smith machine where I did pushups - two sets of 15. It's strange doing them on an angle. It was easier to actually bend my arms though. When I'm trying to do real pushups I hesitate to really bend my arms in case I can't get back up. We alternated the pushups with pullups. Julia had me doing them at an easier angle than I've done these before but I didn't want to encourage her to make it harder. It was still hard work when I got to 12 on the first set and I only made it to 10 on the second set.
We then did some abs work. I was pleased about this as abs work seems to have fallen out of the "Fernwood" program. We did a set of 15 crunches with the fitball. Julia asked me how I felt and I told her they were easy. Me and my big mouth. I was then doing reverse crunches. I only had to do one set of 10 and then it was time to stretch. I really enjoy the stretching.
I normally do Yoga on Tuesdays, but I reorganised my evening because my sister was coming to stay for a couple of nights. She's up here for work. It is great to see her. I see her every time I go to Melbourne, but it's fun for me to have her here. It's also an excuse to go to "Sammy's Kitchen", which is a fabulous Chinese restaurant a few minutes walk from my place.
This morning I had my PT with Krissi. I love this session, although I was feeling a little trepidation as I hadn't spoken to her about my decision to pull out of the tri. I really appreciated that she didn't immediately try to talk me back into it, and I told her so. Well, the flood gates opened. She'd exercised massive self-control to not say anything. It was good to talk to her about it. She gave me a new perspective on the whole thing. I'm not saying that I'll do the triathlon but I'm seriously thinking about getting my backside to the cycling training on Friday - without cleats.
At this morning's session we started off with a warmup on the bike. I may have mentioned (ok, I know I did) that I hate this. I lasted the ten minutes. Krissi cranked up the resistance for the last 90 seconds which was typical PT sadism. I mean that in the nicest way - it's good to have the challenge but I don't have to like it. Then came my favourite part of the session - the stretching. All the stretches are great but there one stretch in particular that I find wonderful, where Krissi leans on the bottom of my foot. I know that's a lousy description, but I'm not going to try to explain how it works. It's enough that my calves love the stretch.
Now this session was only today, but I'm probably going to forget the order / no of reps etc. We started off with hamstring curls. We did three sets of 15. I mentioned that I was really feeling them in my calves and Krissi explained to me where I was going wrong. I don't know why I waited until the end to mention it instead of saying something in the first set. After that we did calf raises, which really burned after the second set. We then did chest presses. I managed 15 reps at 7.5 kg for the first set but I kind of crumbled at 10 reps in the second set. My left arm stopped coping. I have an impressive bruise on my left wrist from falling off my bike last week but I don't know if it was that or if it would have happened anyway. Krissi assisted me through another 5 reps but they were pretty much spaghetti.
After that I did an exercise but I didn't think to find out its name. It was using the wide bar, sitting down, leaning back and pulling the bar down to my chest while keeping my shoulders down. It's probably got some blindingly obvious name. I'll have to ask Krissi next time. Anyway, I did two sets of 12 or 15 reps at some weight or the other. Yep, I was paying close attention. After each set Krissi had me doing the plank for 1 minute. It's good when Krissi is timing me - on my own I give up much sooner.
For abs exercises Krissi had me starting off with situps. My legs were bent and my feet were together. Krissi held my toes down while I started off with my hands on my quads. I was to slide them up my legs as I sat up. At first I was all back and shoulders, but Krissi gave me a tip. Instead of thinking about sitting up with my abs she got me to think about moving my hands smoothly along my legs. That worked really well. Once I managed that she got me to think about rolling back down one vertebrae at a time instead of flopping. I think we did 12 of these the first time and 10 the second time. I was definitely struggling towards the end of the set the second time.
After the situps I was doing crunches, with my legs closer to my backside and my arms straight up in the air holding a 3 kg medicine ball. To do the crunches I was raising the ball. It was a small movement that resulted in quite an effective crunch. I don't remember how many of these we did. After that I did reverse crunches. Krissi had me concentrating on lifting with my abs and not worrying about how far my feet moved. Again, a small movement but effective. I felt absolutely great when I was walking home.
On the bike confidence front, I've applied to join a course run by Pedal Power ACT. It's called "New Horizons for Women - 2008", aims to improve cycling skills, and is run over nine weeks, starting in mid-February. I hear that places go fast, so I'll have to wait to hear if they have room for me.
On the half marathon front, I've just discovered that the ACT Cross Country Club runs a training group aimed at novices. There's an info session on that in mid-February too.