Sunday, July 18, 2010

Its a long hard road regaining lost fitness

For the past 6 years I have trained solidly for triathlon and for the 10 years before that I trained solidly for Canoe Polo. So back in March I decided on a change in focus. I wanted to just do something to see if I could... so I trained for and ran a 59.8km running race. This took some massive running weeks- up to 145km of running some weeks.

That training and the race itself took a lot out of me, both physically and mentally (this was on top of well over a decade of top level sport). So after the race I had a bit of down time from training and racing, and a bit more, and a bit more. Suddenly I realised 12 weeks had passed- 12 weeks without any real training and a non-structured eating regime. This 12 weeks also coincided with an extremely busy time at work with heaps of catered meetings and late nights. So low and behold... here I am at the most unfit I have been for years.

So two weeks ago I decided that I was over being unfit and a some (undisclosed) kilos heavier than I really want to be. So I started back on the exercise bandwagon... and boy its hard to get the fitness back. I also struggled with running for running's sake, so I entered the City to Surf half marathon for 7 weeks time. Its good to have a goal again (just to finish and have fun) and its good to be back running again.

Jason has said that I seem to sleep much better now that I am training again- which is great news as I had been having some very broken nights of sleep. Which, for those of you that know me, is very odd for me!

So the first proper week back I ran just over 40km.... and it hurt. I was unfit, struggling for breath and my legs felt REALLY weak. The week just been saw a good increase in my mileage, up between 60 to 70 km for the week (I even had Jason out with me for a run on Thursday night). My breathing has eased somewhat while running but my legs are still weak- especially on the hills.

The goal for the coming week is to get to about 85 - 95km of running which I aim to hold for the next couple of weeks while my body re-adjusts to regular exercise again.

Lots will tell you that with a reasonably quick uptake in running comes a risk of injury, but I have been good- the knees, ankles and hips are all feeling ok. BUT... I did have a small mishap. When Jason and I were running I misjudged the distance between me and a pole... I ran into it and gashed my thigh (see below)... I hit it good and proper by the depth of the bruising!
So I'll keep you posted on the progress towards the city to surf and regaining the fitness!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Things I love right now...

After getting an idea from Megan Maloney, a ex workmate from M-co in New Zealand and fellow blogger at M.N.M.s, I have decided to do a "things I love right now" blog post.

So the things I love right now:

1. Colours. I really love the amazing contrast of the winter trees against a winter sky in Perth (blue.... much like summer hehe).

2. Perth Winters:
I love Perth winters, its not a miserable time, there is no horizontal rain or gale force winds (or both at the same time). From a Perth tourism website " ...the mild Perth winter begins at the start of June and finishes at the end of August. It is generally a rainy season, mingled with cool sunny days. There are however occasional storms, characterised by downpours of rain, lightning or thunder".

So here's a Perth winter first hand- We do get cool mornings, Monday was just 0.7 degrees, however I was only wearing a cardigan and a scarf still, no jacket, gloves or hat. It warms up to about 17 - 21 degrees during most days and on the weekend Jason and I were both just in t-shirts and jandals and we enjoyed lunch in the sun and sitting on the beach- by the way there were people swimming still.

The evenings are deliciously cool (compared to the 20's of the summer months) which means that (finally) I can sleep under a duvet- although we still have a window open.

3. Picassa. I love picassa for my blogging. Picassa is an application (its a free download from the web) for organising and editing digital photos. Apparently the name "Picassa" is a blend of the name of Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, the phrase mi casa for "my house" and "pic" for pictures (well according to Wikipedia anyway). I use picassa to create collages for my blog posts. It cuts my blogging time in half, means I can display more pictures and I really like the way it looks.

4. Slow cooker food. I love my slow cooker, coming home after a long day at work to steaming hot, beautiful smelling, deliciously cooked beef and lamb casseroles, Moroccan chicken or pea and ham soup. Its just so easy and so yummy.

A weekend in Perth: 2009 and 2010 in contrast

Its now been 8 months since the World Triathlon Championships and 3 months since my ultra marathon, and since then I haven't been following a structured training programme. I do what I feel like and when I feel like it. Which lately has been very little. However, my body is now craving some hard physical work now and I will start some more regular training/exercising now.

However, it has made me stop and ponder how life has changed since this time last year... This time last year my weekend consisted of:

Saturday 2009:
My day started at 6am with a 5 hour cycle in the Perth Hills at 80% of my power threshold, this ride included 6 * 5km tempo efforts with 5 min recovery. This was immediately followed by a 5km run off the bike at 4.20/km pace. I arrived home about midday-ish and immediately nourished my depleted body- I took a look in my food diary for that day and I had poached eggs, silver beet and tomato salsa on soy and linseed toast.

After just 2 short recovery hours I dragged myself down to the local pool and swum am easy 4km set... all with a band and pull buoy, so a major arm workout. Funnily enough the swim helps the recovery. I wrote in my training diary that I felt better after 2.8km and that I got some tan lines in early July!

While I have no record of what I did on this Saturday evening, I can guarantee that it entailed a DVD, nourishing food, a couch and not much else.

Sunday 2009
Sunday started a little later than Saturday with a 2 hour 15 min bike ride and a 75 min run off the bike. The run included 4 * 2km intervals at 3.55/km and 3 min recovery at 4.40/km. So a shorter session, but generally harder on the body due to it being the end of the week and the running intervals.

After resting my wearied legs in the Swan River for about 10 minutes I can guarantee you that I would have bought a diet coke and the Sunday paper on the way home from training... lunch was 2 minute noodles (baked not fried version) mixed with frozen veggies, a can of lemon pepper salmon, sweet chili and soy sauce.

I would often rest for a couple of hours and then head out to do our weekly grocery shop with Jason.

This year's weekend couldn't have been more different...

Saturday 2010:
My day started at a leisurely 8.15am, the only reason it was that early is that I had a hair appointment. By 9.15am I was sitting in at my hair dressers in East Perth on a massaging chair having my scalp massaged. Following my haircut I visited Farmer Jacks where I picked up some fresh bread, fresh coffee for Jason, a paper and diet coke.

From here I flicked through the paper while waiting for my friend Sandy to pick me up. We were off to a Vintage Sale (see below) and a lunch of bread and dips and refreshing white wine.
After the lunchtime outing Jason and I went and scouted out a car he is considering buying (see below). This was about an hour round trip for us.
After checking the car out, Jason and I stopped in at the claremont shops for some new ink for my printer and a birthday present for the party we were heading to on Saturday night. We got home in time for an afternoon nap for me and a couple of games on the computer for Jason.

On Saturday night we went out for Richard's 33rd Birthday, dinner and drinks at the Oxford Hotel in Leederville (see below). We got home around 11.30pm and stayed up to watch the Tour de France prologue. Finally heading to bed around 1am.
Sunday 2010
Sunday started a little later than Saturday considering the late night. I think that I got up around 9am. My morning started with a quick trip out for some milk (normal for tea and chocolate for Jason), the Sunday paper and I'm sure there was a diet coke in there :-)

The rest of the morning was spent reading the paper for me and pottering on the computer for Jason.

Around midday we headed into Fremantle for lunch- prawn and avocado salad for me and a red beef curry for Jason. We topped this off with a treat (mini apple pie for me and mini chocolate mud cake for Jason) on the beach. It was a stunning day on the beach and we just sat there for around 1/2 and hour.

I watched a movie during the afternoon while working on a creative photo project (which will be revealed in a few weeks time) and Jason played Battlefield with his clan. Finally around 5pm we headed back to Farmer Jacks for some groceries.

So there you have it, two contrasting weekends!!! My how things have changed.