Thursday, 8 October 2009

Fast run Tuesday, tough run today

On Tuesday, I ran with Krissi. Now, I really should have known better. I'm the dill who told Krissi that I ran faster with Fontessa on Thursday than I did with Krissi the previous Tuesday. Only 7 seconds per minute faster, but it was definitely faster.

Who in their right mind tells their personal trainer that they can run faster? Who in their right mind inadvertently implies to their personal trainer that said PT could perhaps be pushing them a little harder? Who in their right mind would make such a blunder?

Nobody, that's who. Which means that I must not have been in my right mind when I mentioned in passing in an email to Krissi how pleased I was with my faster pace on Thursday.

On Tuesday we headed out for a run. I kept up fine for the warm up. I kept up fine for the first few km's. I started to develop a sneaking suspicion that we might be going a bit quickly when I glanced at my Garmin to see how long we'd been running and Krissi told me not to worry about the pace. I hadn't even thought about the pace at that stage. Krissi then told me that she was determined that we were going to break the 8 mins/km barrier. She didn't care by how much but we were going under. I thought, I only have to find 4 seconds per km to achieve that. I can do that.

I worked hard not to ease down too much, especially on the hills. I wasn't sure that I'd last the whole way. Fortunately, when we got to the big long hill on the way up to the top of the dam, Krissi pointed out that it was all down hill back to her place. If I'd had any breath I probably would have pointed out that there were still some hills on the way back, but as (a) the big long hill was definitely the worst of the remaining ones and (b) I was incapable of talking and puffing at the same time, I just gritted my teeth and kept on running. It did give me some heart though, which was much needed at that stage.

When we got back to Krissi's we'd run 7.75 km in an hour. My Garmin had our pace at 7:47 mins/km while Krissi's said 7:51 and slightly less distance. I'm sticking with mine as it sounds so much better.

The real bonus was that I had the runner's high well into the afternoon. :-)

This morning was a different story. It was much colder. I got to the lake 20 mins earlier than Lola and Fontessa, because of dropping Graham's son at work at stupid o'clock. Fortunately, I'd thought it through and decided that the smart thing to do would be to run the lake clockwise, meeting them coming in the other direction.

It seemed like a good idea until I got started. Actually, the first km wasn't too bad. I ran it at 7:42 mins/km then eased up, mainly because I got down to the lakeside where the wind was freezing. My legs felt like they were twice as heavy as usual, I was cold and I was miserable. I got slower and slower, thinking "why didn't sitting in the car waiting for 20 mins sound like a good idea yesterday?" At one stage I was feeling so bad that I dropped to a walk - the first time in ages. I only allowed myself a maximum of a minute walking, then shuffled off again.

I was doing the maths in my head - I thought I'd meet the others after about 30 mins. I was determined to be across the bridge and on the other side of the lake by then. I was hoping to have run at least 4 km by the time I met them. From somewhere I managed to rustle up some momentum. The breeze wasn't so bad crossing the bridge and then I had it behind me. I jogged along, hoping to see the girls at every turn. Finally I recognised them running towards me. They looked fantastic. I glanced at my Garmin and I was past the 4 km mark. Even better.

I turned around and headed back with them. They'd been struggling with the cold too, but they were running at a faster pace than me. I tried to keep up, then finally accepted that I was going to be behind them. I ran along, back into the breeze again, half hoping that the traffic would hold them up when we crossed the road and half hoping that they would go off and leave me to my misery.

Fortunately, the traffic held them up. Catching them up gave me a new lease of life and I managed to run along with them the rest of the way. Fontessa likes to run in front, so I tucked in beside Lola. We weren't chatting much, until we made it over the bridge and back to the flat. The breeze seemed to die. We all felt warmer and I started to enjoy the run.

Funnily enough, the day before I'd been talking to a workmate about how the bad runs made you appreciate the good runs even more and there I was, having a bad run the very next day. When I was struggling at the start of the run I took comfort in remembering the conversation, knowing that my run was something I'd be pleased about later, even if I was suffering now.

When we finished we compared times and distances. The girls had done a great job, running 6 km at approx 7:45 mins/km. Their extra pace meant that I ended up running 8.33 km at approx 8:00 mins/km. A good result for everyone.

I didn't have quite the runner's high of Tuesday but I did have a feel good buzz all day. You've got to love that.

Complete aside: Andrew, you asked about the Urban Polaris. It's a bike ride around Canberra in December. You ride around in pairs with a map for 7 hours, collecting points. It sounds like a fun way to learn a few new things about Canberra.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Three runs this week

This week I managed to meet my goal of running three times in a week. I haven't managed to do that since the half marathon back in May.

On Tuesday I ran with Krissi, 7.85 km in just over an hour (8:10 mins/km). We took the warm up a little faster than usual, on purpose, as I'm trying to work on my lactic acid threshhold. I was struggling with feeling sick but managed to survive. I was relieved when we were able to ease back though. It was a lovely day in Canberra, which made the run even more enjoyable.

On Thursday, Fontessa and I ran bridge to bridge, 6.18 km is just under 50 mins (8:03 mins/km). Fontessa runs faster than me. My plan was to encourage her to go on ahead and come back for me at regular intervals, while I aimed to stay reasonably close to her. After a couple of kms I was ready to ease right back. Fortunately, I looked at my Garmin and realised that I'd probably already eased back. I stuck with it and found that I was able to stay in touch. At the end I suggested that we take it home quickly, which was a great idea, up until the point where I lost some of my breakfast on the pedestrian bridge. I felt terrible, particularly as there would be more foot traffic there than usual because Floriade is on. It was also the first time in ages that no rain was forecast! Oh well, as Fontessa said, "Food for the ants!".

On Friday I had a mini run, doing my warmup on the treadmill before my PT session. It was only 15 mins, 5 of which were walking. Krissi was pushing me to go a little faster than usual. Only a couple of decimal points but it seemed a lot more.

I was supposed to meet Krissi and Fiona for their warmup on Saturday morning. It rained overnight (good for the pedestrian bridge at least) and was still raining half an hour after I got up. Not heavily but I was running on Sunday as well, so I gave it a miss. Later that day Fiona called to ask if she could come along with Lola and me as she'd not been well that morning. As Fiona is training for the Melb marathon she didn't want to miss this weekend's scheduled run. Her plan was to run with us around East basin then do a loop of Central basin.

On Sunday I didn't even notice the weather when I woke up. I was focussed on losing my hour's sleep. I am one of the "hate the start of daylight saving with a passion" brigade. It seems to take me a week to settle into the change.

On my way out the door it occurred to me that I didn't know how to drive to our meeting place at the Hospice. I've run there and cycled there, but never tried to drive there. I'm glad I realised it before I was on my way. Graham kindly gave me directions and I made it there on time.

The three of us headed off clockwise, which had us running through the wetlands before we got to Kingston. Lola and I had discussed that during the week. Neither of us was confident of the path going the other way so we decided to stick with what we knew. It was a lovely run. The first 4 km were part of the route my first Mother's Day Classic had taken. I remembered it as much more of a struggle on race day. Mind you, I weighed a lot less and ran faster back then.

Running through the wetlands was enjoyable, although I didn't really try to spot any birdlife. I was too busy watching my footing on the pathway, which was covered in puddles every so often. We made it to suburbia, which was a little dull, then back to the lake again. Fiona decided to do a figure 8 which meant that she ran back across King Edward Ave bridge with us. We turned back towards the car while she headed on around central basin.

I was tempted to go with her, but I'd told Graham I would be back early enough to go to the Hall Markets. As it happened, we decided not to go because of the weather. I'm glad I didn't go with her though, as I found myself struggling along back to the car. I realised that it was the longest run I'd done in months. Lola and I were out there for 1 hr 20 mins, running 9.5 km at an average pace of 8:27 mins/km. We were both pretty happy with that.

All up, I ended up running 23.5 km this week. It doesn't sound like much compared to a lot of people, but I'm proud of myself. If I can keep this up over summer, I'll have a great fitness base for next year's half marathon.

Next week, Lola and I are planning to run bridge to bridge on Thursday and then do a run out at Mt Ainslie on Saturday morning. The weather forecast for Tuesday is good, so Krissi and I will probably run then as well. My friend, Alex, is going to walk up Mt Ainslie with me on Wednesday evenings during daylight saving, which is part of my training for my goal of being able to run up it in March.

All I have to do now is get the eating part right and I'll be on track to lose my last 20 kilos. More of that on "The Last Twenty".

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Lots of fun running

Woohoo! I am enjoying my running so much at the moment.

I was trying to work out why the other day. I'm not running any faster, I'm only getting out a couple of days a week, I'm running well within my comfort zone, I nearly always run with someone else so I don't think it's the social aspect. Then I ran somewhere unexpectedly. I wanted to get there quickly. I don't remember why. What I do remember is that I realised that it was easy. I was running. I wasn't out of breath. I felt like I could keep going for ages. I was comfortable in what I was wearing. Suddenly it clicked. It's the 15 min warm up I've been doing for my PT sessions on the treadmill at Krissi's new gym.

Such a small thing but it's made an enormous difference. It's not even as though I'm running for the whole 15 mins. I walk for the first 4 at 6 km/h, then I run for a while at 7.5 km/h then Krissi ups it to 7.8 km/h until I stop. When Krissi first moved locations I dreaded that treadmill session. It seemed as though 15 mins was forever. Now, it's familiar territory. We don't always do it but I know I can do it easily.

How has this transferred out to my runs? Well, the first 10 mins of every run was the hardest for me. That's when my mind was saying "Kathy, what are you thinking? Why are you doing this to yourself?" Now, I head off on my run, and I'm straight into "this is fun" mode. How cool is that?

I've been meeting Kelly, who is doing "The Last Twenty" challenge with me, on Thursday mornings at 7 am. We've been doing a fairly easy run around Central Basin, Lake Burley Griffin. I emailed a few people to let them know that we were running, and now I'm meeting up with Lola, Fontessa, Sally, Kelly and whoever else wants to come along for a run. It's been great fun and some of us are meeting up to run longer on the weekends. It has taken us a few weeks to get any sort of routine going, but we're there now, so I think this will take us through the next few months at least.

My last twenty challenge is keeping me motivated, as running is a great way to burn calories. I've also set a few running goals, such as running Ben Donohoe in November. On top of that, Fontessa asked me if I would run City to Surf with her next year. I decided I'll give it a go. Sally has a hilly run that she's going to show us, to help us prepare for Heartbreak Hill. It sounds like we're going to have a lot of fun as a group. :-)

I've also got us organised to manage the different fitness levels and running goals of the group. It took some thinking, but we're going to try a combination of things. For instance, on longer runs, some people might ride their bikes while others might meet us for part of the run.

Thinking about that made me realise that today's run with Sally wasn't going to be long enough for me. At PT on Friday, I told Krissi that I had been thinking about running another half hour on top of the run with Sally. Now, telling Krissi you're thinking about exercising is the same as committing to it. Next thing you know, she'd organised for me to run the warm up with her and Fiona before meeting Sally. They are training for the half-mara at the Melbourne Marathon. I ran with them for 15 mins, then headed back to the ferry terminal to meet Sally. She ran out to meet me, so I was only running on my own for about 10 mins. It was easy to organise, I had fun running with three friends, I got my longer run, and I'm feeling terrific now.

I've been thinking about cycling to work now that the weather is not so cold but I haven't had any real motivation to get started. Krissi came to the rescue again. Fiona and I are teaming up to do the Urban Polaris in December. If I'm going to be on my bike all day I'd better get some practice in between now and then!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

What a lovely day for a run

Kelly and I met up to run bridge to bridge this morning. For those of you who aren't familiar with Canberra, this is a run around the central basin of Lake Burley Griffin. You cross two bridges, which is where it gets its name. You're kind of running through postcard country the whole time you're doing it. Lots of people are out sightseeing or just walking around the lake.

Kel wanted to meet up at 10 am, which is way later than I usually run. I figured it would be good practice for next Sunday's Canberra Times fun run though, as that starts at 9:45 am, so I donned a hat, lathered up with sunscreen and enjoyed heading out without long sleeves for the first time in ages.

I wasn't sure what sort of run it would be. Kel hasn't run for ages, so I was quite prepared to take it slowly, and to cut the run down to half an hour if that was all that Kel wanted to do. We had a chat about what she wanted to achieve before we headed out. I told her that I wanted her to want to come back and run with me again, not to push herself so hard that she dreaded the thought of going for a run. Kel aimed for running B2B without stopping. It's about 5 kms. Kel runs a bit faster than me, although she doesn't think she does, so I was pretty sure that if I ran it at a steady pace, she would be quite comfortable.

We headed off with Kel talking nineteen to the dozen. That's pretty normal for Kel and it let me know that she was coping well with the pace. After a while she got quieter, so I knew to ease up a little. I took over the chat. We were talking about our "The Last Twenty" challenge. I got all excited about an idea we had and started running faster, then I realised and eased back again. Poor Kel!

We made it the whole way around, which is an absolute credit to Kelly. It took us 41 minutes, which we were both happy with. It was cool enough not to cook us, and sunny enough to make everything look fantastic. We didn't get tripped up by any dogs, kids or prams. We enjoyed it so much that we're going to meet up on Thursday at 7 am to do it all over again.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Running memories

I was updating my "The Last Twenty" blog today, and ended up doing a bit of a running retrospective. I've been running for over three years now. I'm really excited by that. I still feel like a complete newbie compared to so many people. It's good to look back and realise that I'm not.

I know that because I never seem to blog here that it seems as though I've stopped running. That's not the case. I ran 8 km with Krissi this morning, enjoying every minute of it. I've signed up for the 10 km Canberra Times fun run on 13th September. I'm doing that because of Fontessa, the girl who helped get me home in the half marathon. Krissi told me that Fontessa was going to run it, and was thinking of asking me to join her, so I jumped in ahead, signed up, and gave her a call. Then I thought, "oh my goodness, 10 km, can I do it?" After a minor panic I realised "of course I can" but I'm making sure that I get out there a little more than I have been lately. I've got a 5 km run organised for Sunday and I'll try to get my backside out there on Thursday morning this week too.

You've got to love the added incentive that signing up for an event gives you.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Launching "The Last Twenty"

It's been quiet here on the "I Can Run Too" front. That doesn't mean that there hasn't been plenty going on. Instead, I've been busy doing other stuff.

However, I'm here to ask you all for help. I've really been struggling to lose weight. I've managed to regain 18 kilos of the 43 I originally lost and I want to turn that around.

To that end, I've come up with a plan, that's all explained on my new blog - The Last Twenty. I hope you'll read the plan and come to my aid.

Thanks in advance. Your help is much appreciated.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Half Marathon Report

The most important part of this post is "Yay! I did it!"

On Sunday, 17 May 2009, I managed to finish the 40th Canberra Half Marathon, with a gun time of 3:01:20. Considering my pre-race goals were to (a) finish it and (b) get there in approx 3 hours I'm pretty happy with that result. Mind you, it took me a while to realised that I'd achieved my goals. Even after all the training I managed to crash and burn at the 15 km mark. The last six kms were simply horrendous at the time. Funnily enough, when I look back on it, they're the six kms that make me proud because I got through them.

Lots of great things happened on my journey to that finish line. Realising that I could run the distance after I made it around West Basin the first time was a wonderful moment. Knowing that TB was cooking me pasta on Friday and Saturday night to help me fuel up for the race made me grateful again for having such a wonderful partner. He remembered that we'd gone to a pasta night the year before, when Jess and Nicole ran the half marathon, and decided to make sure that I had plenty of carbohydrates before I ran. I made some new running friends too, which is always a bonus.

On the morning of the race I was keen to get there. TB offered to drop me at Lennox Gardens, but I assured him that I'd be able to find parking without any trouble. I told him I'd be home around one and headed off in his ute, after checking that he didn't need it. Driving to a half marathon in a V8 is quite motivational. All that power under the bonnet!

Parking wasn't as easy as I expected. There were people and cars everywhere. I found a park and was on my way out through a gate when somebody warned me that they were locking the gate shortly. Thank goodness I was still there and could move the car. I relocated myself to the other side of Commonwealth Avenue and walked a bit further than I'd planned. I was on my way to meet the other five (Krissi, Lola, Julie, Amy and Laura) when I passed the queue to the toilets. I reconsidered, joined the queue, and finally got myself to the meeting point with a few minutes to spare. Krissi had been starting to panic that I'd decided to pull out. I have to admit, when I saw the crowd the thought did cross my mind. "What am I doing?" I thought. "Why don't I just run 21.1 km another day when there's nobody around?"

Lola, Julie and I were running together. This is us before the race. Don't we look fresh and happy?

The other three were planning to run much faster than us. While they moved off into the crowd of runners waiting for the start we found ourselves a position at the back of the field. I think we enjoyed the start much more than they did because we had a lot more room to move. It was hard to hold back when the crowd of over 800 runners headed off into the distance, but we managed to run the first section quite sensibly. Here's us at the start. Lola is leading the way.

We were running a bit ahead of schedule but we were soon left well behind everyone else. There were a few people just in front of us and a couple of ladies who were walk/running who kept passing us briefly and then catching us up. A race medic on a bike came to check out how we were going at about the 3 km mark. He encouraged us to keep a steady pace and told us he'd check up on us again about half way.

At the 5 km mark we were still ahead of schedule. We expected to run about 8:30 mins/km over the race but we were averaging at about 7:45 mins/km at that stage. We were averaging around 8 mins/km at the 10 km mark which surprised all three of us. After the half way point I started to fall behind but I was still feeling good at the 12 km mark where I was pleasantly surprised to see TB waiting for me. I really hadn't expected him to be there so it was a huge morale boost. He jogged along beside me in his jeans for a short while, then headed off home to hang out some washing, with the promise that he'd be there to meet me at 12 pm, which is when I expected to cross the line. At that stage I had started to have visions of being there 10 minutes earlier.

I was starting to feel the run but I was still confident of managing to run the whole way around. I stopped for a badly needed toilet break, which took me 90 seconds, and then headed off again. Fontessa, a new running friend I met through Krissi, had offered to run part of the way with me. I met her at about the 14.5 km mark. I was struggling up that hill, which wasn't all that big a hill, so I was delighted to see her. Then I don't know what happened. I saw the 15 km marker and I broke. I just couldn't run past it. I dropped to a walk. I managed to get myself running again, but only for a short distance.

Mentally I was a mess. I didn't say much to Fontessa about it, because I didn't want to ruin her day, but I was in the depths of despair. For some reason I decided that I wasn't going to be able to run another step. I worked out that it would take me an hour to walk 6 km to the finish at my fast walking pace. Then my maths brain went to mush and I decided that I wouldn't be able to finish in anything under 3.5 hours. In fact, I was sure it was going to take me 4 hours. I just wanted to curl up into a ball and cry. In fact, if Fontessa hadn't been there, I think I would have.

I came up with all sorts of solutions. Maybe I could call TB and he could pick me up. Maybe I could suggest to Fontessa that we run back to her car and drive around to the finish line. Maybe I could ask one of the officials to give me a ride back with them when they packed up. In the meantime, Fontessa was coming up with all sorts of encouraging suggestions. Perhaps setting a goal ahead to run to would help. "I don't think so," I would reply in what I thought of as a sad pathetic voice, suitable for a loser who couldn't run any further than 15 km. She'd jog along beside me as I walked. I'd try to run again, thinking darker and more desperate thoughts. I felt guilty because I was ruining Fontessa's run. I felt guilty because I was going to be late to the finish line. I felt guilty because I was letting everyone down by failing to run the whole way. I felt guilty because those walk/run ladies were now out of sight somewhere ahead of me.

I realised that I was last as there was an official riding a bike just behind me. I'd been so sure that I was going to finish ahead of the walk/run ladies.

Then a light dawned. I used to be one of those walk/run ladies. I used to push myself through walk/run intervals. Maybe I could do it again. After all, my goal was to finish the half marathon. I'd vowed I'd get across the line even if I had to walk the last few kms.

I started running for a minute and then walking for a minute. Fontessa kept encouraging me and trying to distract me with general chatter. Somewhere I changed from running a minute at a time to running to a tree or a signpost. I told Fontessa that her goal idea was working for me and she started setting the goals for me, a little further than I would have set them, but I dug deep and headed for her goals. After a couple of kms of this I tried to run a bit further than the goal each time. I made it past the point where we used to meet to start our long runs and I came to a halt again. "I can't run any more," I said. "I'll walk from here."

Fontessa stopped jogging and started walking with me. We turned a bend and I saw a lovely long flat stretch of bike path beside the lake. I started to run again, telling Fontessa I was going to make it to the official at the foot of the Commonwealth Bridge. She started jogging with me again, encouraging me all the way. On that stretch I decided that I was going to walk up to the highest point on the bridge and then try to run the rest of the way. I managed to get myself going again. Fontessa chatted away, distracting me, and I kept running.

I saw TB sitting on a bench a short distance before the finish line. I was so glad to see him. I just wanted to run over to him, hug him and burst into tears, but I wanted to finish the run more. I knew he'd be disappointed if I stopped so close to the finish line so I said a quick hello and kept going.

On my way to the finish line I saw another running friend, Michael. He was yelling out encouragement. I didn't say anything to him. I had my eyes on that finish line. Fontessa stopped running with me and let me run towards it by myself. As I ran up the grass I could hear my name being called out by other running friends. Even crowd members were yelling "Go Kathy". I could hear the announcer encouraging me. I heard a squeal and then saw Krissi tearing down beside the ropes to scream encouragement at me. On the inside I would have loved to do the whole arms in the air and enjoy the moment thing but I just put my head down and ran to that line. I was never so glad to stop running in my life.

That's me, a moment after I crossed the line. I'm amazed that I don't look like I'm about to collapse. I saw the 3 hours on the clock and I heard people yelling "Three hours, well done!" as I passed them, but it didn't register that I'd made it in the time I'd hoped until about half an hour later.

I found all the girls I'd trained with and congratulated them. I said hi to the running girls who'd come out to the finish to congratulate Lola and I on our first half marathon. I found Fontessa to thank her and TB found me and gave me a huge hug. I did all that in a daze of disappointment. I was trying so hard not to let people know that I was miserable. I was smiling and thanking people for their support and being pleased with their times and all I could feel was an overwhelming sense of failure. I really couldn't leave there fast enough.

I was dropping Fontessa back at her car before heading home. TB had magically managed to park next to me, so we walked over to the cars together. I'm glad I didn't park further away! He offered to drive Fontessa back for me, but I wanted to thank her again for all her encouragement so I took her. It was something Fontessa said, although I don't remember what, that made me realise that I had indeed achieved exactly what I'd set out to achieve. I think maybe that the sugar from the fruit juice they handed me with my participant's medal had kicked in to, and that my brain was finally starting to process information again. I suddenly snapped out of it and realised that I had done it!

It wasn't until much later in the day that I finally asked TB if he thought I'd come last. I was pretty sure I had but I needed to check. He laughed and assured me that I had. I asked him how he knew. There might have been a runner another five minutes behind me. "The fire truck took off when they saw you were ok." I hadn't realised that the firemen had also been keeping an eye on me. Fontessa had remarked that she hoped they were cute but I didn't have enough energy to check them out when we went past them.

The provisional results are out now and I definitely was last. I came 843rd and I'm so proud that I achieved a placing instead of a DNF.

All the training paid off. I was a little sore after the run but I recovered even faster than I did after the last long run before the race. The next morning, when I was driving to work, I decided that I'd run in next year's half marathon. This time I'm going to cross the line in less than 3 hours!

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Training update

I realised a couple of weeks ago that I achieved my running goals. As you will see in the side bar, my current running goals are: 1. Have fun 2. Run without injury 3. Run three times a week, including a long run 4. Run outside at least once a week 5. Run for longer.

Now that I'm training for the Canberra Half Marathon, on 17th May, I've managed to achieve all of these goals. I'm running on Tuesdays with Krissi, my trainer, and Lola, who is sharing Tuesday's PT session with me as we both train for the half mara. On Thursdays I'm running on my own, to work when I'm in Canberra, and in the general vicinity of the hotel when I'm working in Melbourne, and on Saturdays I usually do my long run with Lola and Julie.

When I first started running I would think up my blog entry as I ran. I still do that, but I don't get online often enough to spend time updating my blog lately. At most, I change my facebook status to mark achievements like this morning's run of 17.7 km, and then I read all the blogs that have provided me inspiration over the years.

Seeing that I am online today, I thought I'd try to capture the key changes in my running.

- The first few km are still the hardest, but I am running them with much more confidence in being able to keep going. Most of my "what am I doing? why am I out here when I could be in bed?" conversations happen before I get to the 3 km mark. Nowadays I seem to be able to ignore the voice that says "stop" more easily, although there are occasions when it still wins.

- I've learned that I'm more likely to run when I either (a) have someone to run with or (b) have a purpose to the run like getting to work.

- I'm getting better at ignoring things like the weather. I know I'll warm up after a few km, that I can survive running into a head wind for a while, and that light rain is my friend.

- I don't worry so much about minor problems such as blisters. I tape them and run again. Minor niggles such as stone bruises might hurt but they can be ignored for km at a time.

- I recover really well, particularly after a long run. I've realised that I'm extremely lucky in that regard. To my absolute delight my dodgy knee is holding up well. All that strengthening work I've done with Krissi has paid off.

With regards to other training, I haven't been doing much. I have my regular Friday PT sessions with Krissi. We've been concentrating on leg exercises - squats, lunges, hamstring curls, calf raises, leg raises, etc. For a change of pace yesterday we did boxing. I'd forgotten how much I loved it. I'm feeling it in my back today. I did have quite an amusing moment yesterday; when Krissi complained about how hard I was punching I reminded her that she was the one who'd helped me build up my upper body strength. She laughed and stopped complaining.

My workmates are doing another six week bootcamp and have inspired me to get myself back into the gym. I'm not going to renew my Fernwood membership. The Civic gym worked really well for me when I lived a couple of blocks away but I don't get myself there since I moved away. I thought about it and have decided to see what sort of programs they have at the gym at the bottom of my street. It was closed for a while because of a fire but it's re-opened recently. I was going to stagger down there this afternoon after my post-run hot bath but TB saved me the trip - they open Saturday mornings. I'll have to call in one evening next week.

I'll be sure to find the time to post an entry on the half marathon. Hmm, I wonder - will I need to find myself some new running goals?

Friday, 13 March 2009

Weekly update

Well, it's been a great exercise week, even if I have been recovering from my wonderful holiday in China. We arrived home at 1:30 pm on Monday and I was out running at 7:30 am the next day. It sounded like a good idea at the time, when I organised it with Krissi a few days earlier, but it certainly did not seem sensible when the alarm went off on Tuesday morning. I was really tempted to pike out on my first half marathon training session. Fortunately I thought about (1) how good I'd feel after getting out there and running; (2) how one more hour's sleep wasn't going to make that much difference; and (3) how guilty I'd feel if I missed out on the run. After I finished running I felt great!

Although I was up in plenty of time, I ended up being late for the run. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. I think it was me who was moving slowly! Krissi and Lola were just about to leave when I arrived. We ran along the bike path towards Lyneham. It's a familiar run, which made it a lot easier for me. I was able to chat away about China as we went. I think people will find that my China trip improves their running speed, as they frantically try to get away from me!

I wasn't too worried about the time, which is just as well. We ran about 5.3 km in just over 45 mins. As we went, Krissi chatted about our half marathon training program. My personal goals for the half are to enjoy the run, to complete the distance and to run as much of the way as I can manage. I'm not too fussed about time. I know I can run 8 min kms fairly consistently, so I'm expecting to get around in under 3 hours. How much under, I don't know or care at the moment. I guess I'll have a better idea after we've done some longer runs.

Lola had arranged to run with her friend, Julie, on Thursday. She kindly invited me along, which solved my "get out of bed and run on your own" problem. I met up with them at Lake Ginnenderra at 7 am. It was weird. I felt like we were running so slowly. In fact, I was wondering if running with the others was such a good idea, as it was a major effort for me to keep back with them. When we finished, I realised we'd covered 6.3 km in 49 mins. We'd actually run a little faster than we'd run on Tuesday. I must have been tired on Tuesday morning!

It was a pleasant chatty run. I've run around the lake a few times, doing the ABS fun run and the Ben Donohoe fun run. It was good to run it again. The last time I did it I really struggled to get around. This time it seemed easy.

I don't remember when I've looked forward to a run so much. Lately it's been a real struggle to get my butt out there, but this morning I was keen to go. I bounded out of bed enthusiastically.

One thing about running with other people, the time just flies. I also find that it's easier to stop and stretch properly as I'm still chatting away at the end.

We're running again on Sunday - 10 km. We're going out and back along the lake. I'm pretty sure the route has been chosen so that we are running up University Hill at the end, when we're tired.

This morning (Friday) was my usual PT session with Krissi. It was good to be back to normal. After 15 mins on the stationary bike (a great way to catch up on all the news) and some stretching we moved on to squats. Normally I do three sets and then move on to something else. Today I did 12 squats (30 kg on the bar), then 12 lunges on the step, then 12 hamstring curls, then repeated the set. I remembered Lola saying that Krissi had caned her legs on Wednesday at her PT session so I figured she was doing it to mine too. After that we did some floor exercises that had my legs crying! My abs got a workout too. Some upper body work and then some side bridges. I suck at those. I have a feeling that Krissi is going to make sure that I don't suck at them soon.

I'm in the middle of decision mode at the moment, working out whether or not I'll play hockey this year. My club isn't fielding a grass team. The advantages for me of playing grass are (1) it's social, so you don't have to train; (2) it's grass so it's slower than turf; and (3) I don't have turf stick skills as I never played on turf back in the old days. If I decide to play turf I'll have to train. Mind you, because I'm going to be running more I'll be the fittest I've ever been for a hockey season. That would be novel. Tomorrow is grading but I have been invited to a friend's wedding ceremony at that time. I'd like to do both. I guess that grading is really only important if you're trying to get into the 1sts. I'm pretty sure that they can grade me within 5 minutes of my showing up at training. My other option is to play with a different team in the grass competition. Decisions, decisions! I'm leaning towards playing turf except for fitting training and playing into my schedule.

One thing for sure, much as I loved my holiday in China, it's good to be home and getting back into my exercise routine!

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Two good exercise sessions

On Friday I did weights with Krissi in the morning and then weights with Allan in the evening. I'm not planning to do that on a regular basis. I just didn't manage to sort out a schedule before my holiday. I thought about cancelling Allan's session, realised that I'd be missing my PT for three weeks and decided to chance the DOMS.

I love the session with Krissi each week. It was pretty much the usual session, a warm up on the bike, squats, hamstring curls, chest presses and abs work. I am squatting a little more weight now, my hamstring curls are getting better (yes, there is always another form improvement available) and my chest presses were fantastic! Yay me. LOL. I worked out that I've been chest pressing 32.5 kg, as the collars weigh 2.5 kg. On Friday morning I managed to do three sets of 12 presses. That's the best I've ever done. Mind you, it was really 11 and a half on the third set, but Krissi told me that she thought I could count it. I was amazed to make 12 the first set let along the second and third.

For abs work, it was crunches, standard, oblique then reverse, followed by a 1 minute bridge. I remember when I couldn't manage to get a single set of 10 crunches done, let alone hold my legs up in the air for 12 crunches. I managed the 1 minute bridge quite well. We're now going to work on my form. It's better than it was but my backside could still come down a bit.

After work I headed off to Elite Physique for my session with Allan. I told him what I'd already done, and he modified my program for me. We started off with shoulder presses. He had me pressing 15 lbs, which is more than I've ever done. I managed the three sets ok. Then he took me off to a machine for more shoulder presses. I was hopeless. There was nothing left. I gathered, although I might be guessing, that we went to the machine to squeeze out as many presses as possible. Because the machine holds your form for you, my arms weren't going to be wobbling all over the place and Allan could work out how much I had left. Mind you, as I said, I could be wrong about the motivation.

We then headed off to do dead lifts. I figured I was up for them. We did the first set with 35 kg on the bar, then we did three sets with 45 kg. I was expecting just two more sets. On the last set, I had to set, then take up the tension and then power up. It was really different to what I'm used to doing.

After that we did leg presses in a machine, then biceps work in a machine, then more walking lunges. It was a good workout.

I'm not sure how much exercise I'll be doing in China. I expect we'll be doing lots of walking. I gather the Wall might be a challenge. Should be fun.

I'm not expecting to get my blog updated over the next three weeks. All the best to you all. Happy running, exercising, and enjoying life in general.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Running and PT

Yesterday was one of those days when I felt like I was back to being the 'old' me, as in the 'I love to exercise' me, not the 'I've been sitting on a couch for the last 10 years me'. I love the way I feel after a good exercise day.

In the morning I went for a run with Krissi. She wasn't feeling too well, so I was doing most of the chatting, to keep her distracted from her upset tummy. I felt like I worked really hard, but I managed the run and the chatter. Mind you, the few times we sped up to catch a pedestrian light, Krissi was still running much faster than me. I think she'd have to be a lot sicker before I had any chance of keeping up!

I had my usual 'feel good all day' feeling after the run. You've got to love endorphins.

In the evening I had PT with Allan. I realised that one of the reasons I'm enjoying this so much is the rapid improvement that you get whenever you do something new. It will be interesting to see if it's as much fun when the gains are smaller. Mind you, I'm determined to enjoy it!

It was pretty much the usual session. I started with dead lifts. A warmup set of half a dozen reps with 10 kg on the bar (35 kg total), then three sets of 12 reps with 20 kg on the bar. It felt really comfortable. I knew what I was doing, I was setting myself up for each lift properly and I didn't need to keep looking down at the bar. Mind you, I was glad we didn't add more weight, as I was struggling to hold the form by the end. My arms were tired and I was finding it hard to concentrate.

After that we did squats to the box. I did the first set without a mirror to watch. It seemed a lot harder, but it made me realise how much I needed to concentrate on how the exercise felt. I was getting up off the box much more easily, particularly when he suggested I concentrate on the bar and lifting through that with my upper body rather than on my legs. It sounded silly but it was much easier when I was doing that. Weird.

More chest presses. I was pleased with how those went. We skipped the lat pulldown and headed off to do walking lunges. Three sets of those holding 10lb weights. The technique is easier. Allan explained some of the science of it to me, which I really enjoyed. I don't care what the muscle is called, but I do like to know what's going on that makes doing it this way feel stable and doing it that way hard work.

I've got that kind of tired but good feeling today. My muscles know they worked. My legs are tired. All I really need now is a nap!

Oh, I went to the doctor today. No drama, just a routine test. Sonia checked my blood pressure while I was there. It was bang on 120/80. You've got to love it.

I picked up our visas today. Woohoo! Only three days to go now.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Weekly update

Another weekly update. It's been so hot in Canberra that I really haven't been outside much this week. On Tuesday I had double PT, Krissi in the morning and Allan in the evening.

I went for a run with Krissi. I had absolutely dreaded it. I was tense before I started. I was telling myself that I wouldn't automatically get a migraine every time I ran, particularly as I now knew to hydrate properly. I also had a protein drink before I went, which was a good idea when I was drinking it but felt like a really bad idea when I continued to taste it. That problem was solved by brushing my teeth again.

Krissi had lots to tell me about her trip to Japan, which was distracting. It was a slow run but at least we were out there. My running form was all over the place, probably because I'd been so tense when I started. I didn't realise for a while - I just thought I'd forgotten how to run. On the return trip I could see my shadow. I looked like an old lady shuffling along. After a conscious effort to relax my upper body I seemed to run a bit better. Of course, the added incentive of needing a toilet break after my protein drink probably helped.

My Garmin knew I wasn't running all that hard. My calorie burn was down to about 2/3 of the usual amount. It seems technology doesn't take mental fatigue into account. Funnily enough, even though I suffered through the run I felt fabulous all day.

It was a hectic day. TB and I were dropping off our visa applications for China and the ute was going in for a service. I dashed home, showered, and then we headed off to the Consulate. Our invitation letter didn't quite cut it, so we weren't able to submit our applications. TB dropped me at work, then headed off to his work. Meetings all day, and then a taxi to the service station. Yep, I got to drive the ute! I don't get the opportunity that often any more. V8's are a lot of fun after driving around in a granny-mobile. I dashed back home to send an email to China, asking for a more formal letter of invitation, then hurried off to the gym. Of course, in the ute it felt as though I cruised over there.

Allan took me through my routine. It was busier at 6 pm on a Tuesday than it is at 5 pm on Fridays. Lots of people in classes, kids waiting to be picked up after martial arts etc. There was a real buzz in the air. We still managed to get whatever equipment we needed. That's an advantage of having your PT with you.

The difference with this session was that Allan was starting to increase the weights I was lifting. He was really happy with my form (I've been well taught) and I'm happy too with the way he describes what he wants me to do. I learned that the bar weight 20 kgs and the collars weigh 5 kgs. I'm squatting with just the bar at the moment. Allan is making squats more difficult for me by lowering the box height rather than by adding weight. With the deadlifts, I was lifting 35 kg, which we increased to 45 kg for the last set. I was really able to feel that I was using my legs with the additional weight on the bar.

We moved to the 'light' gym, where I did chest presses. I warmed up with just the bar, then Allan added small weights. I really struggled with those, so he removed the collars. Much easier. After that some lat pulldowns. They were easy. He increased the weight a couple of times. I think he's realised that I'm stronger than I look.

Walking lunges were next on the agenda. We had to do them in the hallway, which seemed so much longer than the class room. Probably because it was. I was still able to do walking lunges so we concentrated on my form. I hadn't realised just how much I was favouring my left knee, even though it's so much stronger than it was. I can see that this exercise is going to be so good for my overall lifestyle.

I didn't exercise on Wednesday or Thursday. Friday morning was my usual weights session with Krissi. I warmed up on the bike and told her about seeing Allan. She was really cool with it. We did the usual workout. I hadn't done this workout since before Christmas. It was good to get back into it. As ever, I really enjoyed the session.

Next week I have two sessions with both PT's and then I'm off to China. I'm hoping to do lots of walking there and we're planning to use the gyms in those hotels that have them. I'm not so sure about running while I'm there. I did notice that some hotels advertised jogging tracks. Not any of the ones we're staying at, but I did wonder why the hotels felt the need to advertise them. I guess I'll know in a few weeks. :-)

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Weekly update

I made it to the gym three times this week, which I was pleased about. I'm just about back into my normal weekly routine after Christmas and the holiday period. Of course, we head off to China in two weeks, but at least I'll be getting my exercise done for two weeks.

On Tuesday I went to Fernwood and tried to do the weights routine that I'd done with Allan at Elite Physique. I had thought about driving over there, but I was a little intimidated by some of the equipment. I had to modify a few things. For example, Fernwood doesn't have the box gadget that I was squatting down to, and the benches were too high. I'm not complaining - if Fernwood had all that hard core weight lifting stuff I would never have walked in the door in the first place.

I was able to practise a lot of things. With the dead lifts, I used a 25 kg bar. The key difference was that it was a pretty little thing that had small compact weights on the end whereas the other one used large 5 kg weights. Not an issue, although the tip Allan gave me to stand a certain distance and then set my starting position so my shins were leaning on the bar just did not work with the Fernwood bar. Still, I was pracitising, which is what the session was all about.

For the squats I didn't try to do a similar weight on my own. Instead, I grabbed a 7.5 kg bar and practised holding it in the new position I'd been shown. My upper arms were quite tired, but it gradually felt more comfortable. I was particularly glad I'd done that one when I trained with Allan this Friday, as the whole position felt much more natural.

It was funny trying to do the lateral pulldown. We use Nautilus equipment at the Fernwood gym I go to. The lateral pulldown machine is usually set up with two grips. There are a couple of bars, one short one and one longer, that lie on the floor beside the machine. I think I've seen someone use them once before. Anyway, I wanted the longer bar, so I picked it up and then was left wondering how to attach it. I finally worked out something. I don't know if I set it up right but it seemed to work ok. I pulled it all apart and put it back to its usual setting when I finished. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been at all surprised if nobody had used it for a while.

I did the chest presses and overhead presses without any trouble, and I did one set of walking lunges. I figured that we'd only done one set on Friday so one set was enough. I hate walking lunges.

I wanted to go for a run during the week but it was just so hot. Not as hot as Melbourne or Adelaide, but still hot. Instead I went to the gym and did cardio. I did 20 mins on the treadmill and 10 mins on the bike. I was dripping sweat by the time I finished and the gym was airconditioned! I had intended to run for the whole half hour, but I caught sight of my face before I started. I was bright red, just from the drive to the gym and walking a couple of blocks. I decided discretion was probably the better part of valour in this case. I did a walk 1 min, run 1 min, to make sure I was able to drink while I was on the treadmill. I really haven't mastered the art of running and drinking at the same time. I managed to do a 6 km/hr, 7.5 km/hr pattern, with a few 9 km/hr minutes thrown in. Not many, but a few.

On Friday it was my PT session with Allan. I arrived in a rush. The gym is 20 mins from work, which really means 25 mins door to door. The car I'm driving doesn't have airconditioning, so I was pretty hot by the time I got there. We skipped the warm up and went straight into the 'heavy' gym. Squatting onto the box was the order of the day. I was lifting the bar without any weights added, so it was 20 kg. The box seemed a long way down.

(Late edit: This post has been sitting in draft for the past week. It's not that I've not been online. I've just been busy.)

Since it's been so long, I'll add a summary and skip to the part of the session that I was most excited about.

After the squats, more deadlifts. With and without shoes on for both squats and deadlifts, which was interesting. It's easier without shoes. Chest presses and something called a mid-row. A chat about nutrition. The exciting bit was that I finally got walking lunges. I've been doing them for nearly three years at the gym, at bootcamp etc, and it's been a struggle every time. Allan mentioned centre of gravity, I put it together with something Billy said which helped me do hip flexor stretches better, and all of a sudden I was "walking and lunging" instead of stepping, lunging, stepping, lunging. I was so excited that I came home to show TB, but I'd cooled down by then and couldn't make myself do them. He was rather amused but kindly took my word for it that I knew how to do them.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Out for a run

I made it out the door this morning for a run. I nearly piked. I'd managed to get up, but TB was up before I was dressed. I hadn't told him I was going. It was so tempting to put my clothes back in the closet and pretend that I'd never even thought about running. Even after I was dressed I procrastinated. I had half a cup of coffee with TB, who realised that if he'd stayed in bed five minutes longer I'd have been gone. I assured him that it's not his fault that I'm suffering major running avoidance.

Eventually I headed outside. Someone was out running at the top of the street, which was encouraging. It had rained heavily overnight, so everything was shiny and new. I love the way the streets look so clean after a decent rain. I jogged off down the road, telling myself that I'd only planned a short run. I've planned to do my longer run on Monday morning instead of Tuesday, as Monday is a holiday.

I just wasn't enjoying it. My breathing was fine but my legs were heavy. I guess that was partly yesterday's gym session. It was a horrible run. I walked nearly half the way, but at least I stayed out there for half an hour and burned 300 calories. I've been feeling good all day, so the run paid off in a big way. I managed to make myself run up a hill on the way home too, although I did walk after I'd run past the top and down the other side. I'm trying not to do the automatic "stop-at-the-top" thing that Krissi is trying to cure me of.

Now all I have to do is get out there again. I can do that! I will do that.

Oh, I bought some Thorlo socks with a gift voucher my Mum got me and I wore them for the first time today. I didn't bother strapping my "blister" area, and my feet were in much better shape than usual when I got home. Money well spent. I must remember to tell Mum!

And, I am so sore this afternoon. I even took some BCAA's, which I haven't done for ages. Ouch. Ouch and ouch. I am hurting in muscles I didn't know I had. I'm going to complain bitterly to TB but I'm really pleased to have proof positive that yesterday's workout was a hard one. Fortunately TB knows that and doesn't actually listen to me when I whinge about sore muscles.

Friday, 23 January 2009


I haven't been blogging lately, mainly because my blog keeps me accountable for the healthy decisions I make around food and exercise. Lately I haven't wanted to be accountable.

Today was the beginning of the new accountable me, so expect to hear from me a little more often. What's different about today? I started a new exercise regime with Alan, a new personal trainer.

There's a whole story here. Alan works with Billy, the guy who ran the bootcamp I did at work. During bootcamp, Billy quietly mentioned to me one day that he'd had great results with one of his clients who wanted to lose weight. They'd achieved their goal through doing weights, not through doing massive amounts of cardio.

I didn't do anything about it at the time, but the conversation has stayed in my mind for months. Finally I decided to do something about it. I figured that I was saving PT money while Krissi was away in Japan, so I could afford to get a few sessions over at Billy's gym. I went over to see him and Alan a couple of weeks ago. What they said really resonated with me and I decided to give it a go. I wanted to start straight away, as I was concerned that I wouldn't exercise while Krissi was away, but it's taken a few weeks to get going. Anyway, to cut a long story short, today was the first PT session with Alan.

I was right - I haven't done much exercise while Krissi has been away. I got to the gym a couple of times, but I haven't made it out for a run for the past two weeks and I haven't been to the gym for over a week. I've had all sorts of seemingly legitimate reasons - visitors, work trips to Melbourne, general busy-ness - but I've known that I needed a kick up the butt.

Alan asked me to write down what I was eating and how I was feeling. I managed it for a couple of days. I didn't like what I was seeing so I stopped. Today, I realised that I was supposed to be bringing him a week's worth of food diary. I plugged the last five days into Calorie King. Amazingly, my food habits weren't at all bad - definitely maintenance level eating. My exercise habits were non-existent. If I'd been exercising I would have been losing weight. Doh!

It was a good wake up call. I realised that by avoiding writing my blog and my food diary I was making it harder for me to achieve my health goals. This week I've been going to bed earlier too, and I've felt much better for it. I think I need to pay some attention to my mantra: "I'm a fit and active person who makes healthy lifestyle choices."

Today's been a good food day and I was at the gym for a PT session. All I have to do is keep making healthy choices, one day at a time.

The PT session was really interesting. I've been having all sorts of guilt feelings about doing weight sessions with someone else, particularly when I love working with Krissi so much. I have two reasons for going to somebody else though. The main one is the weight loss idea that Billy put in my head. Much as I love working with her, Krissi is this gorgeous slim woman who has never had a weight problem in her life. I just don't think that she would be able to relate to me on the weight issues, even though I know that she's able to work with me whether I'm fat or thin. The second one is my knee. Krissi knows that I'm paranoid about it, and it's bound to affect her when she's training with me. I realised that I was working harder on squats with Billy, simply because he didn't know about my knee. I figured that I'd see what sort of difference it made working with someone who wasn't so aware of my history. I don't know if it will make any difference, but it will be interesting to see if it does.

Today we started off with a warm up on the treadmill. Alan didn't have me going very fast. We started at 4km/h and then he moved me up to 5km/h. He went off for a few minutes so I cranked it up to 6 km/h. He was back sooner than I expected and led me off to the "heavy" weights room. There were a few interesting contraptions, including a tool that held the bar off the floor while the weights were added. I guess I'll be learning how to load the bar that way.

We started off with dead lifts. I've always struggled with the form on these, but Alan explained it really simply. After the intro, and checking that I could do them (do 1, do 3) I did three sets of 10, with 10 kgs on the 20 kg bar originally. He added some more weight for the last two sets but I forgot to ask how much.

After that, we moved on to squats with the bar. He unloaded it completely and grabbed a "box". It was a small square bench. When I squatted, I was sitting on the bench and then standing up again. He was taking my technique back to basics, but with an added level of difficulty. I was to squat back on the box as far as I could go. If I'd just been asked to squat down to the box I would have gone to the edge of it. Having to go back as far as possible meant that I was using my hips and glutes much more. I found myself "collapsing" onto the box. (TB told me when I got home that I "collapse" onto the couch too, so this is not a new thing.)

To keep control while lowering myself to the box I had to push my knees and feet out. I was imagining a sumo squat when he said this, but I had to keep them facing straight ahead while pushing them out sideways. I'd never have been able to do this without the mirror. I didn't get the squats completely right, but I did start to gain a lot of control while I was doing them.

We then headed off to the "not so heavy" weights room. This has the weights machines in it too. Lateral pulldowns were the way to go. I was able to do these really well, but Alan still managed to find me some form improvements. I told him that Krissi does that too. There's always something to work on. He assured me that it would still happen to me after I'd been lifting weights for ten years.

Chest presses were next, using dumbbells. When I do this on my own at the gym I stick to 8 kg, with 9 kg being the most I've lifted. Alan was cautious with the weights. I warmed up with 4 kg weights, which seemed ridiculously easy. It gave him a chance to check my form though. I moved on to 7.5 kg weights, then did another set with differently shaped 4 kg weights, then finished with 9.5 kg weights. He told me that he was finding it a different first session with a client, as my form was already good. I explained that I'd been going to the gym for four years, but that I'd really developed confidence with weights in the last twelve months with Krissi. I didn't actually have to tell him that I was loving the session, because I was smiling away.

Overhead presses with a bar came next. It's a long time since I did any overhead presses. In fact, I haven't done too many of these. I think he was glad to have something that he really needed to work on my technique. We finished up with walking lunges. Again, I learned something new. I think it was a smart move, trying out another trainer.

My short term goal is to work really hard for three weeks, on my diet and on my weights program, and see if I start to shift some weight. If it works well, and I decide to continue with Alan, my plan is to focus on the cardio work with Krissi, particularly as we're going to train for the Canberra half marathon, and do weights work with Alan. I have to work out just how much PT I can afford! I can manage two sessions a week, but I might be able to justify three sessions for a quarter to get my weight back under control. I'll just have to give something else up.

I have to get my butt out there and run too. I have a plan for that, but I'm not quite ready to be accountable with my running. Blush!

By the way, I've been reading all the usual blogs and a few new ones, but I've been keeping a low profile as part of my "ostrich-head-in-the-sand" approach to not blogging. I've been really impressed with all your achievements though. Well done.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Weights session

I made it to the gym on Friday. I didn't mention going to the gym to anybody, in case I piked out. Instead, I packed some gym gear into a bag and took it with me when I went shopping. Even I didn't know if I'd make it there. In fact, I didn't know if the gym would even be open.

Because I haven't been going to the gym much lately it feels quite different walking in. I don't know the staff any more. I had to try to remember where in my purse I store my membership card. Fortunately, once I'd made it into the change room I felt back at home again.

I'd decided that this would be a weights session with a 15 minute running warmup. It's a long time since I ran on the treadmill. It's not as much fun as running outside. It didn't take long before I remembered why I didn't like these treadmills. They have the tv screens. If the tv is off, as mine was, you can see yourself running. Now, that's not such a bad thing, but seeing my bouncing chest reminds me that it is bouncing which makes me think about discomfort. If the tv is on, you have to wear earphones to listen. I'm klutzy enough to be pulling the earphones out as I run.

I had the pace a little faster than I usually run, and swapped between running and walking. At the end I cranked up the pace to start the cool down at a higher speed and surprised myself by managing a fast minute. I thought about continuing to run on the treadmill but remembered that I'd planned a weights session.

One thing I find amusing about Fernwood is how few women use the weights. When I arrived there were lots of people in class and a few people using the cardio equipment. There was one person in the weights room. It took me half an hour to do my workout. During that time a few people came in, did a couple of exercises, and left again. Nobody was there for more than 10 minutes. The only time the room ever seems to be busy is when the trainers have clients or there's a small class in there.

Because I haven't done any weights for a couple of weeks I went through my workout using smaller weights and I only did two sets. I was wondering if I'd been a little too conservative during the session as I was handling the exercises with ease. I was a little sore later in the day so it was probably a good decision.

Just for my own record, I did two sets of 12 fitball squats with 5 kg weights, 12 chest presses with 7 kg, 12 arm raises with 5 kg, 15 hip adductors and abductors with 30 kg and 15 seated rows with 23 kg. I made sure to spend some time stretching, particularly my hip flexors, as my right knee (not my 'bad' knee) started reminding me it exists the last time I ran.

While I was at the gym it occurred to me that I hadn't blogged my last run with Krissi. I found that particularly amusing, as it was a pretty hard core run for me as we'd run in the rain. Anyway, it will be a while before I forget it, so I'll skip adding the details here.

As for my 2009 plans on the eating / exercise / weight loss front, I have decided that I'll work on getting one thing right each week. This week, I want to get my gym habit back. I've picked up the class timetable. I might even do a cycle class. My goal for the week is to get to the gym three times. The following week I'll try to add in another good habit, etc etc. That feels achievable.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year

A new year - time to reflect on the past and think about all the exciting things that are going to happen in the future. 2008 was good to me and I'm looking forward to 2009.

There are a few challenges ahead this year. I have to stop being so comfortable with myself and work on maintaining my weight loss. Unfortunately, I have to once more lose all too many of those hard fought kilos I lost a couple of years ago to be back in maintenance mode. While I'm running again, I want to get myself out there more often. I've targetted the Canberra Half Marathon as a goal to give myself something to work towards. Other exercise goals include being fit enough to play hockey on turf next season. On the work front, I have to decide what I want my next job to be. My contract is coming to an end in May. It would be all too easy to renew, but I feel ready for a new challenge professionally.

Over Christmas I've been taking it easy on the exercise front. It's time to get back into a regular routine. I just have to decide what that's going to be. :-)

I'm really looking forward to our trip to China. TB and I head overseas on 15th February. Later in the year, TB turns 50 and my baby sister turns 40. Two major events to celebrate on top of all the usual family occasions. It looks like 2009 is going to be a lot of fun.