Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Let's get it started...

Since my last post (let's see - almost a month ago) I've walked a grand total of .....zero kilometres.

Mmm. Oh sure I've actually walked from the couch to the fridge and done a bit of Christmas shopping, and even a couple of very slow, casual bushwalks. But nothing that actually raised a sweat or could be considered in any way, shape or form getting back into running.

Motivation is such a funny thing. And I'm just putting it out there because I know that many people have the same experience as me. Get all enthusiastic, get running (or zumba-ing or whatever), then something happens (injury, holiday, Christmas, all of the above) and motivation goes out the door. And the kilos pile on. Mine are scary. Are you ready?

77.3 kg

Not pretty. Neither is the body...

I put these up to be accountable to myself. If the blog disappears without warning, you will know that things aren't going well! But as the title of the blog says, it is time to put one foot in front of the other, even if it is just walking. I managed a walk today, with a couple of "wogs".

So that is the starting point. I could definitely feel major tightness in my hips. So I was good - walked, rolled (foam roller) and stretched. If I can manage this for a few times a week for a couple of weeks I might be good to go on a C25K program.

Wish me luck!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

I'm baaaccckkk!!

Well, kinda, sorta!

So this morning I got up early(ish) for my....walk. It is now 8 weeks since I saw the physio and I should be able to run, but you know, I can still feel that tight hip flexor/glute, so I did some reading . This is what I came up with:

  1. Start walking. Apart from walking on our holiday, I haven't been out and about. Did you know that when walking, your body absorbs 2 times your body weight? It is a great stepping stone to get the body ready for the more intensive running. It's how I started running. My physio was adamant that it takes the body a long time to get used to the stresses of running - the muscular-skeletal system, that is, not the cardio-vascular (that is much more adaptable). Some websites recommend building up to 10-15 miles (16-24km) of pain free walking before attempting any running. So I'm approaching my walking the same as my running - three walks a during the week and a long walk (or bushwalk) on the weekend.
  2. Re-introduce running by alternating running and walking - most websites suggest run one minute, walk three. I might even re-do Couch to 5K! I reckon it will feel weird just running! And goodness knows I've probably lost most of my aerobic fitness that I built up. But it's OK, I know it can come back. I'll have to make sure there is no pain in my hip when I run - otherwise I'm not sufficiently healed to run again.
  3. One website recommended running at 25-50% of your pre-injury pace. Considering I was running at about 8 min/km that means 16-20 min/km. I can walk faster than that - can you imagine what it would look like trying to run that slow? Is it actually possible to run that slow? I'll just take it real easy - concentrate on form and not worry about pace.
  4. Don't increase distance, frequency, intensity or pace of running at the same time. My physio said the injury was a classic case of "too much, too soon". So, first I'll just concentrate on building up to 5km. And then slowly (ever so slowly, with walk breaks if needs be) increase the distance. Pace will come (one day, maybe).
  5. Use the foam roller after every run and then stretch. Strengthening exercises on the off days. 
  6. Try to do some yoga or pilates once a week. I went to a yoga class last week and really, really enjoyed it. The instructor also does pilates and massage. I'm going to go get a really good massage too. My body will thank me later (after the pain subsides).
I am just enjoying getting out in the fresh air again. So is my dog. 

I'm "only" walking, but it's a step in the right direction!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


So, I'm back from my cruise around New Zealand.

I know all of you (all two of you who actually read this blog) are waiting desperately to find out how my exercise plans worked out during those two weeks at sea.

Well, I can report that I went to gym (which was really very well equipped) exactly zero times and walked around the Promenade Deck probably about 3 times. But we did lots of walking on our shore days - really, I did!

So with that lack of exercise, combined with a buffet breakfast every morning and four-course meal every night, how much weight did I put on??? Zero kilograms! WTF?? But yep, my weight is exactly the same as when we left. Go figure.

Here are some scenic shots for your viewing pleasure (if you want more or lots more details of the trip, head on over to my other blog):

Cocktails and a stunning Sydney Harbour - life's good!

Bye bye Sydney!

Cheers! How many calories in champagne?

My knees got plenty of sun

Token shot of the promenade deck.
People do actually run around it.
I know - I saw them!

More calories! Yummy!

Milford Sound

Akaroa Harbour
Rotorua geothermal area

Thermal swimming pool on board (hubby and the kids)

I did do some physical activity -
sea kayaking on the Bay of Islands

All that kayaking makes you thirsty!

Another deck I didn't walk around much

Home again (well, close anyway)
Anyway I am home again. We all have nasty head colds picked up on the last few days on board. I haven't been sick for over a year, so it seems to have hit me hard. But once I'm over it, I will pick up on the stretching and strengthening and will start walking the dog again. And then, maybe, I'll be able to start small bits of running again!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Winner! and Walker

I won something!! No, it wasn't a Shut Up and Run t-shirt or visor, it was a copy of My Run DVD from the lovely Candice at I Have Run who is also nursing a hip injury - although admittedly, she nursed hers through a freaking MARATHON!. Anyway, I'm pretty chuffed about that - the movie is about Terry Hitchcock who ran 75 freaking marathons in 75 days!!!!

Doesn't look like that will be me anytime soon. Back to the physio - hip is still healing. She has given me a massage and my butt has the bruises to prove it - and thankfully I will not be sharing pics (I do have my limits), I have (kinda, sorta) been doing my stretches and now I have hip abductor strengthening exercises too.

In the meantime, I admit I have not much enthusiasm for exercise. I did manage some laps at the local pool:

That's my son, not me -
but that's the lane I swam in (nice warm water)
And a nice long Saturday morning walk with the puppy:


Not too shabby, hey?
I have 4 days (count 'em - f-o-u-r!!) until I hop on a really big boat over that ocean and head to New Zealand. I might actually use the gym this cruise and I will definitely do a few circuits of the promenade deck (walking, not running). Can't wait to post some nice pics for you!!! (because you have to have things to look forward too).

Lastly, a bit of shout out and recognition (yanno, because soooo many people read this blog!).  I am really chuffed that in some small way I have inspired my e-buddy Jane to take up running - she is doing brilliantly! She is up to two lots of 14 minutes and will be running 30 minutes without stopping before you know it. All that in the dark and cold too! What an inspiration :-)

Monday, October 17, 2011

On ya bike!

Dutifully not running. Stretching and foam rolling. Exercise biking (30 minutes - 17.46km - 606 calories).

Note the sweat towel - no facecloth for me!
 No - I bring out the  big guns!
But it's not the same (insert whining sound here....)!!!

What would you rather look at? Sausage legs...

Can you see the drops of sweat on the bike?
 Or the ocean!

Yep. Me too. Never mind...won't be long!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hip, hip hooray...not

It's official. I'm injured.

I went to the physio on Monday as the pain in my hip flexors was not really getting any better. And sure enough, I have torn hip flexor muscles. Recommendations? Stretching (every day - so a bit more to do there), exercise bike/swimming when pain dies down (which will be soon, apparently), visit to the podiatrist to make sure I'm wearing the right shoes/orthotics as I pronate (who knew?), no running for....six to eight weeks.

WTF??? That long? Sigh. It's an "overuse" injury, which I find quite hysterical, given my mileage barely makes it to 15km a week!

In a strange twist of fate, my free Runner's World free running socks and training diary were waiting for me in the letterbox when I got home from the physio - just to tease me.

I am undeterred!! I have 3 weeks until I go on holidays (cruise to New Zealand). OK, so I won't be running around the Promenade Deck like I imagined, but dang it - I'll be in the gym on the exercise bike. Will my foam roller fit in my bag? Two weeks of cruising (and biking and swimming), then only 1-3 weeks after that I should be able to run. If I actually do keep my fitness up, maybe I won't have to start all the way back at Week 1 of Couch to 5K!!

Anyway, the physio did some ultrasound treatment and massaged my butt so hard I have the bruises to prove it! I have been using the aforementioned foam roller everyday and doing the stretches from the Hip Flexor Solutions book.  Today I got on the exercise bike - 5 minutes warm-up, 20 minutes of UNSW's 8/12 second intervals, 5 minutes cool-down - a total of 30 minutes, 17.75km, 607 calories. Not bad and I'm just as sweaty and unimpressed looking as when I run:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day In The Life

So, this is a blatant attempt to win a Shut Up and Run visor (the t-shirts on offer would never fit me!). And maybe, just maybe, pick up a few extra visitors to my blog!

Beth, at SUAR, is offering t-shirts or visor to those who blog about a day in their boring life. I might qualify. Although having said that, today was an unusually busy day.

Now, SUAR is not afraid of bodily functions. So, it appropriate that my day started at 7am, with a "fairy circle" of doggy doo doo left on the carpet by a dog not able to hold it in until I got up and let him out. Sigh.

Just how I love to start my day...
The culprit!
So....what's a girl to do, but ignore that and have a cup of tea. It was an early start this morning, so I continued to ignore the funk downstairs and hopped in the shower - how great do I look at 7:30am??
Check out that thyroid!
That grey hair is why I should have used this:

Note the really cute lululemon hair tie!!!

Instead, I applied pain relief for my still-dodgy hip:

Unfortunately, I have no satisfying bowel movement of my own to report - an unfortunately common occurrence (not helped by not having any breakfast this morning).

I never wear my running shoes during the day, but considering I'm not running much with the dodgy hip, I thought "bugger it".

Then off to my 8am maths tutoring gig. Maths at 8am??? Bloody hell. But like all good wives, I left hubby to deal with the dog poo and get the kids up.

When I'd finished there, it was off to pick up my Mum who lives nearby. I apparently promised to drive her to her cataract appointment  45min away. I homeschool my kids, so I swing by home to pick them up so they are not left home alone all day!

Drop Nanna off at the doctors. Head on down to the "mall" (I use that term loosely!!). The kids are growing  so fast, they need some new clothes. I try on a dress - but it makes me look like a elephant. What a pity I forget to take a pic of that one!

Kids are starving, so we stop at Donut King and get my son a White Chocolate Marble donut and my daughter a Raspberry Slushy - all the additives and sugar you can eat in one easy meal! I avoid artificial colourings and flavourings because I figure we'll eat crap for lunch too and I like to limit my crap intake to once a day - yanno, so one day I won't look like an elephant in a dress.

After we got bargains at Target, Kmart, Payless Shoes, Jay Jay's Jeans and the bookshop, Nanna was finally finished at the doctors, and it was time for a quick lunch at McDonalds. I opted for lowest fat seared sweet chilli wrap, but regretted it - obviously no-one ever orders them because the guys took 15 minutes to cook it! There is a pretty nice lactation room in the mall, but it's been many years since I felt the need to use it.

I tried not to break too many speed limits rushing back home. I love living on the NSW south coast - it's beautiful and did you know all those trees have so much wildlife including kangaroos, possums, owls and wombats in them? Seriously - you should move HERE!!

How nice would it be to run down that road?

Running late now for our next appointment at 2:15pm back in town for my son's optometrist. He is getting contact lenses that you wear at night so you can see in the day - pretty cool! But he didn't enjoy getting poked in the eye - it will be something he has to get used to.

Dropped Nanna back to her place, rushed home in time for my 4pm afternoon maths tutoring! Yay! More maths!

It was 6:30pm by the time I'd finished. Time for wine. 

Given the lack of breakfast and crap lunch, I was happy to make a relatively health dinner of chicken burritos:

Hopefully that corn will get me going!

Spent the evening supporting my son in his attempts to shove bits of plastic into his eyes and then reading to him, because his eyes were watering. With any luck though, he will wake up tomorrow morning being able to see more clearly than he has in months.

"Miss Congeniality" is on telly now. I might watch the end before I hop into bed. Nothing planned for tomorrow - but I will have to get up and get on the exercise bike (in lieu of run) and inflict pain on myself with my foam roller - joy! I have news on the hip front...but you can wait until tomorrow for that, because Sandra Bullock and I have a hot date :-)

The thing with every day stuff, is it just has to be done. Fit in appointments, get dinner on the table, try not to eat crap, squeeze in some exercise. What is the point? Cuddles with my son, watching my daughter draw turtles at the optometrist, sitting on the couch with my hubby at the end of a long day, safe in the knowledge he will clean up dog poo for me. Life's good :-)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Woe is me!

This hip injury/strain/hurt/pain is a doozy!

Yeah right - as if my arms are that cut and my legs that slim!
 But the look on her face is me!
It's been a week since my last run and it feels like forever. While the very worst of the pain is over, it is still very sore and bruised feeling. I'm thinking I will have to get myself to the physio (if they ever answer their phone).

The physical pain is settling down into an annoying buzz, just enough to constantly niggle at me. Just enough to remind me that I should not run on this injury. I know if I do try to continue, it's only going to get worse and possibly keep me out of my Asics for a lot longer than a week. I'll admit to tears - pathetic, I know!

I got myself one of those foam rollers (except mine is white):
66fit Elite Foam Roller - Blue - 15cm x 45cm

and I've found some new and exciting ways to inflict pain on myself:

and I've downloaded an e-book:

And meanwhile, I'm trying not succumb to so much self-pity that I eat potato-chips and chocolate to make myself feel better (because putting the weight back on that I've worked so hard to get off is NOT going to make me feel better).

And then I will look forward to being able to use my exercise bike and swim and then eventually, run. Who know that this couch-potato would miss her exercise so much??

Friday, September 30, 2011


Just when things are looking up, my body lets me down. Again.

My right hip agony from a few months ago has migrated to my left hip. A bit of niggle at first. Able to run, particularly once I've warmed up, the pain virtually disappears into a little whisper. Until after the run, and then it ROARS!

Ice, heat, massage, nurofen. And no running tomorrow. I've done what every good person with an injury does - Googled it, stretched and strengthened and even done the appropriate sheets from the Anatomy Colouring Book to learn about muscles/tendons/ligaments in the hip/glute area. The pain is so bad, I'm contemplating giving my newly acquired health fund policy a good workout at the physio's.

I'm frustrated - I've done everything right. Good shoes. Been slowly increasing the distance. Trying to run with good form (landing on my midfoot, keeping tall, relaxing upper body and calves). And I'm not fast! It's so annoying. It's not like I'm smoking and eating crap. I'm trying (really, really trying) to look after myself, get healthy and fit and live a longer, more energised life. It pisses me off.

The Hip Flexors

But obviously my 42 year old, overweight body has different ideas. I'm finding that running is so intense, that it finds any/all weaknesses you may have in your body. So (grumble, moan, sulk), I'm going to listen to my body. And maybe I'll be a better runner in the process. I can hope.

What's your worst injury and what did you do to overcome it?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What a strange thing running is...

So this morning, I got up early (well, 6:30am is early for me!) to go for my run. Hubby was up too and pulling on the shoes. This has not been a good thing so far - but who am I to say "I want to go by myself"? And so we went.

12 degrees - not too cold, definitely not too hot. I put one earphone in - music in one ear, hubby in the other. I definitely like my music! There were lots of people about - school holidays. How annoying are those people having a big group chat in the middle of the footpath, who see you coming (hot, sweaty, red-faced) and then not move out of the way one iota????? It's bloody hard enough as it is, without having to detour, people!

Anyways, after the first km (which is always tough), I felt good. Music? Cooler weather? Who knows, but I felt excellent. Pushed hubby onto to doing 5km when he wanted to finish at 3.5km. That feeling is why I love running. Maybe the bad, crappy, make-this-pain-end-now runs are there to make the good runs feel good. But damn, it was good to have a good run!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Post-race funk

I have to admit to being in a bit of a running funk since last week's big race. And I guess if you focus on the negatives, last week wasn't so great:

  • I finished 11,071th out of 14,318 starters
  • I finished 1,178th out of 1,632 females aged 40-49
  • I walked in places
  • I look fat and slow in the finishing video (that's me in the purple top, black capris, black hat with iPhone armband in the middle - the tall guy in the striped shirt cuts right in front of me). I look exhausted.

And my runs this week have been less than stellar. My 10 year old daughter came with me (as did my hubby and son) and she runs faster than her mum.

I feel like a fraud. I keep reading post C25K blogs/Facebook pages, and everyone seems to be running half marathons 6 months after finishing. Or at least putting in more km's than me.

My left hip flexors are sore. 

I don't feel like giving up, but I do feel deflated.

But then, I have to look at the bright side:
  • Four months ago I could barely run 1 minute
  • I have lost (if the scales are correct this morning) 7kg so far (just imagine how much faster/further I could run if I lost another 10kg!)
  • I ran in a 9km race which a few weeks ago I didn't think I could (and it was bloody hot)
  • I'm off the couch!

So, I'm going to take it easy on myself and my hips - a bit more stationary biking and swimming, hip flexor stretching and strengthening. And keep on putting one foot in front of the other - because on a good day, nothing feels like running does!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Go!! Sydney Running Festival 2011

Race day!!! My first fun run in 16 years!

I committed the cardinal sin of racing - wore a new top (lovely new lululemon ultra-light racer-back tank) and new lululemon running socks (sooo comfy!). Had my iPad all loaded up, drank lots of water the day before (it was forecast to be warm), had pasta for tea (ha ha - carbo loading!) and I was set.

It is always amazing to attend these big events. The public transport rises to the occasion, the organisers had done a fabulous job to deal with such huge numbers - 16,500 people in my 9km Bridge Run alone! 3700 odd marathoners, 8500 half-marathoners and 6000 family fun runners/walker (4km). And yet it didn't feel crowded.
Just some of the crowd gathered in
 Bradfield Park under the Harbour Bridge
Sydney put on a stunning, if unseasonably warm, day for the event. By the time my race started at 9am it was mid 20's (celcius!). The marathoners had started 1.5 hours earlier at 7:25am (got to see the start!), but many were still going long after I'd finished!

The end goal...
The day before, I had picked up my bib, but they couldn't find my bib number! So they printed out a new bib and put me in the "A" seedings! Well, I felt like a complete fraud. I'm NOT a fast runner, more a jogger at the best of times, but the saving grace was it wasn't so crowded up the front and you couldn't see bib numbers as you ran! 

I had Runkeeper all set and ready to record my big run, but as started I mis-pressed buttons and it wasn't going. I didn't bother with it, as I had my music all pumping. And finally, we were away!

Running across the Harbour Bridge was pretty amazing! I was wishing I could stop, take photos and just soak it up. So many people! So many people running fast!! But by halfway across the Bridge, there were plenty of walkers. I can proudly say I kept on running! And kept running all the way along the Cahill Expressway and up Macquarie St (which was uphill all the way and it was getting very hot by then!). I gratefully soaked up water at the first water station (some of which was poured over me!). 

I knew the hardest bit would be the Botanic Gardens and it was. I succumbed to some walking stretches - particularly on the uphill bits. I was VERY grateful for any bits of shade I could find! It was still quite crowded and many people stopping, starting, and a few near collisions. There were also many people succumbed to the heat, being attended to by first aid officers - I seriously didn't want to be one of those! Later that night on the news, I heard one 31 year old guy went into cardiac arrest - they revived him and he is recovering in hospital.

The best part of the run was the return down Macquarie St to the Opera House. Downhill all the way, able to get some speed up and it was so nice to aim to the big blue arch...

After the event - it was much more crowded
when I ran through there!

...except that wasn't the finish line! I still had a few hundred metres to run! I could see the time up ahead - 1 hour, 12 minutes - I really wanted to finish under 1:15. What an amazing feeling to have all those people cheering, the Sydney Opera House looming and "Holding Out for A Hero" playing in my ears! Bonnie Tyler really did help :-)

Just as I finished, the loudspeaker announced the first female finisher of the marathon on the course next to us! What an amazing moment to see that achievement.

I had hot swollen feet (no blisters!), hot swollen hands, sweat dripping off me, my usual beetroot face, but I finished - I didn't leave much in the tank. My timing chip said 1 hour, 10 minutes, 31 seconds! 7:50 min/km pace (even with walk breaks). I'm happy with that. The website says I came 11,007th! I won't be happy with that next year, but considering I could barely run 1 minute four months ago, it is a good achievement. I also raised $370 for children's cancer research in the process.

Unbelievably, I saw a friend from home after the race (there were soooo many people). She had to pull out of the half marathon due to injury and ran the 9km race instead. She had done it at least 5 years previously, and said it was the hardest one she had ever done and there were sections she had never walked before but walked this year. Made me feel much better!

I hung around to get the free Powerade etc and then watched the marathoners come home. Saw the sub-4 hour finishers and I am totally in awe of anyone's ability to run 42km, let alone in those conditions!

All in all, it was hard work, but a fabulous day and I'll be back next year. And I think I'm gonna have sore legs in the next day or two...