Friday, September 30, 2011

oww...again

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...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

...set...

OK, getting all ready for my big race on Sunday!

First up, did 4.04km (7.53km/min) run today. Felt good, with slightly stiff calves - could have kept going at the end, but I don't want to overdo it this week.


Next on the "to do" list - iPod playlist! I know some people don't agree with music during races, but I've only really run to music - it inspires me and peps me up when the going gets tough. I don't want to mess with this trying to run 9km!  So gimme a beat:

  • Firework - Glee cast version (get all psyched up)
  • Take Five - Dave Brubeck (gets me into a nice rhythm - I don't want to go out too fast, this will calm me down)
  • Whistle If You Need Me - Kelsey James (great piano piece which I hope I get to listen to crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge)
  • Alive and Brilliant - Deborah Conway (fantastic Aussie singer in 5/4 time)
  • Never - Moving Pictures (just visualising Kevin Bacon from Footloose will pep me up!)
  • Full Moon - The Black Ghosts (Twilight...ahhh)
  • Supermassive Blackhole - Muse (ditto)
  • The Rhythm of the Heat - Peter Gabriel (remix by Engelpost)
  • Climb Ev'ry Mountain - Junior Vasquez mix (that's about as techno-funky as I get)
  • Rock This Party - Bob Sinclair (everybody dance now...)
  • Let's Get It Started - Black Eyed Peas (and the beat keeps running, running...)
  • Don't Stop Believin' - more Glee cast!
  • Hang On - Smashmouth ('cause I figure I might need to at that point!)
  • Whip It - Devo (best rhythm for running!)
  • Maniac - Michael Sembello (cause she's running like she's never run before)
  • Let's Get Loud - J Lo (cheers me up no end - it's all I can do not to sing aloud)
  • All Fired Up - Pat Benetar (I believe there comes a time...)
  • Playing to Win - Little River Band (more Aussie genius)
  • Holding Out For a Hero - Bonnie Tyler (just love it)
  • Unwritten - Natasha Bedingfield (reaching...for that finishing line in the distance)
  • I Run For Life - Melissa Etheridge (the anthem to finish!!)
If I can maintain 8min/km for the whole thing, that should take me up to the finish nicely!  What do you think? They are my personal favourites - what's your "must have" song on race day?


Get ready....

So, I decided after last week's run that I would "upgrade" my entry at the Sydney Running Festival from the 4km Family Fun Run (/walk) to the "proper run" - the 9km Bridge Run. Eeek! But I figure if I'm going to drive 3 hours to Sydney and run, then bugger it - I'm going to really run! And I'm running in memory of Sophie, my friend's 12 year old daughter, who died earlier this year from a brain tumour. Every day I'm out there running, I'm glad I'm able to. You can help by donating at my page:  http://bsrf2011.gofundraise.com.au/page/McCarthyI

My calves were sore after my one hour triumph last week. But I did some "intervals" on Tuesday anyway - 3 min running "fast" and 2 min recovery. Felt pretty good! But my calves were pretty sore after that. So, on Thursday I just ran for half an hour - 3.82km in 32 min (8:23min/km av pace). Not fast, not long, but still out there. And I saw wildlife:

It's a heron...

On Sunday, I was torn between seeing if I could run close to 9km (or at least make 8km) and taking it a bit easier seeing how I've increased my mileage the last two weeks and I should be "tapering" (LOL - can't believe I'm using those words in a sentence about me!!) and taking it easy.

Well, I've decided I'm hopeless at setting my pace (even with Runkeeper telling me every km what it is) because I obviously went out fast (7:15 min/km for the first two km). But I had nothing left in the tank after about 5.5km. It was a bit warmer, sun was out, my mouth was a desert and to be really honest, I was feeling a little dizzy. So I maxed out at 6.6km, 52 min (7:53 min/km). I need to learn to take it slow on low runs, or they aren't going to be very long!!

Been reading Run Like a Mother - fabulous writing, wonderful tips and great for keeping me up late at night as I read "just another chapter".

Less than a week until race day!!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The one hour runner!!!

What happened to winter?? I think it missed the NSW South Coast!! It's September and therefore Spring. For most of winter the temps when I ran were 10-14 degrees (Celcius). It's only going to get warmer. Uggh. I'm only going to get redder and sweatier. I'll have to lose a ton of weight and the muffin top so I can wear those little crop tops - I'm already in a singlet!

I heard a great quote the other day: "That's not sweat, it's liquid awesome!"
Liquid awesome!
So after Monday's "long" run, I did cycling on the stationary bike on Wednesday plus some strengthening exercises, 30 minutes of running intervals on Thursday, swam laps on Friday and then today (Sunday) I got up early (for me) and did my first ever long run of 1 hour - all running, no walking! Not super fast at 8:14 min/km, but I covered 7.32km!!! So proud of me!

I have two weeks until the Sydney Running Festival. I am entered in the 4km Family Fun Run event, but am considering upgrading to the 9km Bridge Run. Both go over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and end up at the Opera House. But obviously the 9km one is longer...I should be able to do it (before the cutoff time of 1hr 30min). Mmm....

Loving Melissa Etheridge "I Run for Life" for inspiration: