Sunday, May 27, 2007

One more down, who knows how many more to go...

Actually, this week hasn't been all bad (though it's had its moments!!)...


- passing my first two assessments for the course I'm doing (training as a duty solicitor, representing alleged offenders at their first court appearances)
- driving out to a new piece of coast (out the other side of Wainui) with P and watching the sunset
- spending quality time with P on Saturday night, just relaxing and planning our future
- a good trainer ride on Monday- somehow my average cadence and speed have snuck up behind my back!
- a solid(ish) swim to remind me how much I love going back and forth and back and forth up and down that pool
- setting out for my LT run on Friday morning (after a sh*tter of a night on Thursday) and finishing 10k in 49:13!
-finishing a hilly 8-miler at easy pace, calculating my time and finding out I'd averaged 8:22s!
- possibly scoring a trip to Oz for work (sahweet!)
- devouring Jodi Piccoult books borrowed from my friend
- the weather.. warm, still and cloudfree. If this is global warming, pass the CO2!) (yeah- I'm SOOOO kidding- I'm working on my reducing my footprint)

I'll skip the lowlights- they're a bit same 'ol, same ol!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The plan: am I sticking to it and does it work?

I never got round to posting "The Plan", even after building it up to be something far more exciting than it is! Basically, the point of the plan was to try to get back on track in a flexible, easy to handle way. I didn't want to jump straight from pigging out to counting calories and protein grams!

I am also on a reasonably tight budget, as we save my entire salary and both live off P's, and one thing there is not much room for is "want" clothes. Clothes I need we can get- it just means we save less, but clothes I want are another story. Plus, at the moment I am feeling heavy and generally gross, so I'm not in a happy shopping place!

So, like good dieters all over the world, I have come up with a reward-based plan. If I meet my daily goals (one coffee max, bed by 10:30, up for pre-work workout etc...), I get $1, and P matches it. For each of my weekly goals (max 600 calories of sweet treats, 3 key runs, yoga/strength/swimming/cycling etc...) I get another buck. It's not much money each week, but it's a useful tool. (P's also doing a challenge- earning/paying off a new bike jacket by getting out there 15 times over winter.)

Am I sticking to it? I did pretty badly in the first week, and last week was a write off. I keep on ending up at Saturday morning with 2 swims and a bike remaining and no easy way to fit them in (yes, it should be easy, but my motivator tool is broken, so I am finding it hard to make time.. ). Sticking to three bought coffees a week has led to some challenges, and my sugar was a mess when Mum was here. I just can't stop when there's a bar of Cadbury Fruit and Nut to be nibbled at! Work interferes with the bedtime one, and it snowballs from there (missing morning workouts, eating badly...) Ah well, onwards and upwards!

Does it work? I don't know yet- I've been too useless! I am toying with reintroducing calorie counting. Cutting down sugar is awesome, but I do want to lose weight, and portion control has been as much of a problem recently as the sugar. I might give it another week, but I think maybe calorie counting is just the thing for me.

Training: Is going OK. FIRST is hard Hard HARD! I am making the speedwork goals OK, though I hit my 400m goal much better than my 800 and 1600m goals. ST pace (7:35) was ok for some intervals (of 2m each) last week, but was impossible for my 4m this week, which featured some nasty headwind (I averaged 7:45, which is closer to my MT pace). LT pace is 8:05. P and I did an LT run after work last week- I've actually forgotten the time, but I know it was well over LT pace (maybe 8:35?). I'm hoping I get a bit closer with the tempo runs over the next few weeks before my weeny taper- I'm not doing the whole programme, so I know I will not be able to see complete results, but a sub-49 really shouldn't be too much to ask for!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Back of the pack!

Today I ran a XC relay for my club. I ran with the women's B team (or, as we call ourselves Women's social A!), the rest of whom are usually slower than me. My goal for my lap (2.5mi) was to be the fastest runner for my team and to get under 20:00.

It was a beautiful day today- actually warm!!! Lovely. The race was about an hour away, and it was a really nice undulating grassy course. I ran last, and since our team was made up of slower runners, there was no-one else on the course!

The back-of-pack was a new one for me- it's not like I'm a frontrunner, but I'm very much a midpack runner. When I started, people were clogging the starting area- as if the race was already over. When I got to the first marshall he said "You can do it- just relax.." I felt like smacking him- I know he was trying to be supportive, but it came out as so patronising- I wasn't last because of me! When I got round to where the marshalls had been for the second time (figure 8 course), they were gone.

Running hard with no-one in front or chasing was weird as well- I was glad for my speedwork recently, but it was hard to race without that race atmosphere going on. At one point I saw a guy in front of me, so I pushed forward to pass him. I kept my lead through the hills, but he pipped me with a few hundred metres to go. I gained a bit back, but he got through the finish just before me.

I finished in 20:35- a bit disappointing, but apart from the A-team girls, I was one of the faster runners from our club. The course was changed from last year, and most people were a bit slower. Still- I should have been at least a minute faster! Even for my first XC event in two years!

Monday, May 14, 2007

...thanks :-)

Thanks everyone for your virtual support yesterday. I'm feeling a bit better today- still teetering somewhat on the balance beam, but I'm still standing! Work's not going to stop being busy any time soon, but it feels sort of under control, for now. Plus, on Sunday I booked our vacation to Oz, and today my leave was approved, so I have something to look forward to. Bring on September!

Also, today I started my FIRST programme for the 10k. Did 5x800. Goal pace was 3:23, and I did 3:24, 3:23, 3:18, 3:25 and 3:30. I'll take that- though man it hurt today! I'm home early enough to get myself ready for the gym tomorrow. Bring back biceps!!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

This was not what I planned

The first week semi-on plan has been a disaster in so many ways. Work was horrible- and although a lot of great things happened, the whole week has been completely poisoned by the first few days, and by the remnants of a project that just keeps coming to haunt me. There is nothing like being reminded of a disaster over and over and over again. I am not a big crier- over my first two years in my job, I cried twice (and once was when I had food poisoning and had to work with a very difficult person for 15 hours without food or sleep). Over the last two weeks, I have increased my total cries to five.

I feel like everyone is looking at me- the ones who are my age look at me with pity, with relief it's not them, and with a sneaky pride or schadenfreude. My disasters allow them to rest back and hold onto some quiet superiority. They've never been tested, so they don't know if they'd be doing any better, but they can still think "Poor Kate- she's having a tough time with x/y/z. I'm glad I'm not in her shoes. But maybe it's just something about her- maybe the problem is her."

My superiors look at me with concern. Burning out newbies is not in their best interests. But their concern is almost worse for someone like me than their ire would be. Being ripped to shreds would make me defensive, and I'd know I was strong. Concern- well that just proves that I Cannot Hack the Pace. If you can't stand the pace, get off the f*ckin' treadmill.

My Plan has not entirely been a disaster. But it certainly hasn't been great, or even the best I could do. Running has been my haven. There's always time for a run, and my time on my feet has been my 3-4 hours a week of happiness. I can ignore the sick feeling in my stomach I get when I think about everything else. Music prevents me from using my run time to reflect- I think about hills, and songs and pace. About my gait and about races to come. But at the end of the day, it's not really enough. The high I get during the run wears off immediately afterwards.

I hope next week is better.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

What have I been up to?

In short- not a heck of a lot. It's hard to believe that only a week ago I was hobbling around the day after my first bigdeal race in years. Crazy!

I've had a fairly busy week, which has allowed (/forced) me to be reasonably relaxed post marathon.
Monday I sat on my bike and spun my legs around for the first 30 minutes of Desperate Housewives.
Tuesday I ran, somewhat painfully, for 20-30 minutes before work.
Wednesday I discovered a great new trick- running home [link]! With my new backpack it was easy-peasy (well, apart from the 1.5 miles of straight uphill- you climb 1300 feet over the 2.5 mile journey), and it doesn't take any longer than catching the bus. Not the most exciting workout, but it means my evening no longer becomes a complete write-off the minute I work past 8.

Thursday I went to a friend's goodbye drinks (at this rate there will be no-one left to come to our goodbye party if/when we leave!), then ran towards home along the flat until P came to pick me up (3-3.5 miles?)

Friday: don't think I did anything much!
Saturday: ran 6.5 miles from work with some big mother hills. In fact, I covered as much uphill today as I did in the whole of the Rotorua marathon. It felt like more. Went to the gym with P after work. Did a 1k time trial (couldn't face a mile) at about 6:35 pace (yuck)- felt good, loved running fast, but wasn't in tip top form. Some unenthusiastic weights, then some silly ab work with P. Saturday night is so funny at the gym!

Sunday: short swim (1500 yards) this morning. Wedding show with my friends (I'm a bridesmaid next March) and now work. Should do some!

All I have wanted to do this week was run. My feet just itch all the time and I can't wait to find that feeling you get when you dig into a tough climb. I'm loving it! I don't feel fast, but I feel strong. My legs keep leading me up hills, then looking for more. I am aching to get into 10k training next week, but am loving this unplanned period as well. The non-plan for next week is lots of yoga (I have a DVD for a week…), some more fun running, and try to get back into the pool a bit more!

Coming soon.. You've seen the goals, now for the GRAND PLAN. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Lessons learned, the aftermath, and where to from here....?

(First) Marathon advice from a newbie:

Stick to your pre-long run routine- if you usually drink coffee, go for it; if you don't- don't.
Even if you're nervous, try to get enough food in, but don't stress if it's not the huge amount you think you need- it's amazing what a few days of carbo loading can do
Take some time for yourself if possible (I sat and read while C napped)
Do go for that last potty stop- you probably won't miss the start!
Pre-arrange support locations with your crew- it's easier knowing when to expect them than wondering for k after k when they might show up

Don't get carried away in your first race- you have forever to run strong races and it's so satisfying to know you ran your first one smart (the exception to this rule is H, who ran a half PB during her first marathon and finished 10th overall. She's special- but don't try to copy her, because you probably won't succeed)
Carrying TP and band-aids and not needing them is better than not carrying them and needing them
Calories are your friend- sports beans are good because you can eat them gradually, but dangerous as it's so easy not to finish the packet
Don't forget to drink
Wear sunscreen even if it's raining when you start- the weather may change
Meeting new friends is half the fun of the 'thon
Have fun- the best thing about a marathon is that you CAN have fun for the first half

Stretch, or get a massage, or put on skins*, or have an ice-bath (or all of the above) as soon as you can after the marathon- don't get so caught up in the enormity of the day that you postpone your recovery
Pack a towel- even if you don't usually shower at the race grounds, this may be the one time you want to
Pack your cellphone- an hour of finish line waiting will go so much more quickly if you can call everyone you know to gloat and relive the race in its minutest detail
Pack spare shoes, jandals or slippers
In fact, pack your post-marathon bag the night before, not in a hurry on your way out (I had all of the above on a list, and forgot all of the above when I packed in a rush!)
Make bookings for dinner!

*"Skins" are compression tights- in NZ /Aus they're the biggest brand by far. I've been using them during and/or after hard runs and have found that my leg pain is far less than last season.


After a couple of beers in the pub with the young lawyers contingent, we went out for dinner with C and F. It was pretty disappointing- I just wanted a big juicy steak, but C is a vegetarian, and hearty pub food wasn't high on her list. The compromise place was completely booked out, so we ended up at a completely average Turkish place. I still want that steak dinner I earned! My appetite has been pretty screwy since the race, and I'm feeling incredibly big and bloated. Am craving light, healthy food and looking forward to cleaning up my diet a bit!

P and I then checked out the movies, but nothing was playing, so we went back to the motel to relax in the thermal spa. I went to bed early and read my book! I woke up quite early the next morning and went to the swimming pool next to our room- small, but the perfect temperature for lounging on the steps and reading. Every so often I'd swim a "length" of lazy breaststroke.

I'm still a bit sore (see above) and have a niggling pain in my left foot- I hope it's no big deal, but if it persists I will see someone. Left foot is the one I had trouble with- I blamed it on the transponder at the time, but I may also have been favouring it to avoid hurting my right leg (which was running on the camber). I spun in an easy gear for about 30 minutes last night, then had a stretch. This morning I went for a 20 minute jog, which was fine apart from the sore foot. I'm thinking 2 easy weeks should do it, then the next plan starts.

Where to next:

I'm going to follow the FIRST to finish 10k programme in the hopes of smashing my 10k PB in June. My 10k times have always been out of sync with my 5k and half times. The 10k plan looks HARD, with LONG LT runs, k repeats at 6:48 pace and mile reps at 7:00. But I'll give it a go! I will be quite flexible with it, as I want to get involved in weekend runs with my Scottish peeps again. These could be an extra "easy" run, but I may sometimes have to substitute one for a "long" run. Although club runs are likely to be slower paced, they're often pretty hard as we run off road and hills are ALWAYS part of it! Since the mileage in this plan is lower, I plan to get my swim on again, re-acquaint myself with my bike and re-introduce some weights into my plan. This workout plan, and cleaned up eating, should help me drop my marathon donut over a few months!

The next "A" race after the 10k is the Auckland marathon. So, from Julyish-October I'll go back to FIRST marathon training, but I'll use a time specific plan, not just the first timers' one. The plan at this stage is to break 4:00, and hopefully to run sub-9:00 pace throughout (3:55)- I think this is definitely doable, as I averaged 9:19 across the race, and only slowed to 9:28 in the second half. I took 4 minutes off my time in my second half-M, so should be ok taking 9-10 off the first full. Hopefully I'll be at a better fighting weight by then- at least 10lb lighter than now, and with far more muscle.

From October to February/March, triathlon will be my focus again- maintaining my run fitness, and focussing on sprint and olympic distance races. "Long" runs will probably be 10-12 miles max, until FIRST starts again. I haven't settled on an "A" tri yet- I have heaps of time- but I hope to be solidly sub-3:00 by the end of the season. I am shelving my plans to do a half-iron for now- longer distance tri training is just too time consuming for this lawyer, and I want to meet my marathon goals.

18 weeks before May 3rd 2008, the plan is to start "official" marathon training for the third time round, with the scary goal of BQ (3:40:59). My plans for travel are far from finalised at this stage, but the goal of a BQ in '08 won't change. If I can't do Rotorua, I'll find a race somewhere overseas. Running will be the easiest of the three sports to keep up with while travelling, so I will make a goal of staying in shape.