yaninasmarathon

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Archive for the tag “marathon”

Trying Not To Grump

It’s one of those autumn days when the weather changes about 52 times in an hour – sun, grey, rain, sun, grey, rain etc etc. I don’t do well with the grey bit, so the whole day I have been feeling happy, feeling grey, feeling happy, feeling grey, until I nearly drove myself silly! So I decided to do something positive, I cleared out my old financial/tax records prior to seven years ago. Doing this made me feel quite light, whether it was the activity of sorting through stuff and physically tearing papers to shreds, or just the fact that I was getting rid of things. Throwing out stuff always makes me feel lighter.

I did go for my training run this morning, 11km with 6km at marathon pace. The sun was out for most of my run and it made me feel energised, as doing some physical activity, especially in the sun, always does. But I find that for whatever reason, the feeling is not very long lived if the day is grey, and I soon find myself feeling grey and grumping about the place. Perhaps it’s because I am originally from Africa where it is warmer and sunnier for more of the year. I can remember having these feelings during winter over there, but that grey part of winter was never very long.

I guess in the cavemen times, people naturally slowed down and did less in the colder months, and these days we are expected to carry on regardless. Perhaps that’s why the medical world has coined all these new ailments, like SAD. Perhaps we are not SAD but just in tune with the seasons and having an inner conflict with what is expected of us in this modern world. It leaves me wondering if I should slow down in the colder seasons, rest more and let my body rejuvenate for the spring. But that would mean no long races during winter or spring as I wouldn’t be able to put in the training needed to accomplish those goals. This year I have committed to the GC Marathon in July, so I shall soldier on, but perhaps next year, just perhaps, I may schedule my running training a little differently.

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Learning To Breathe

It has been an eventful week, both running and just as a family. Not in a negative way though. My youngest daughter has been home from Uni for two weeks (we dropped her off back in Auckland yesterday) and my husband had a further check up with his specialist about his hip. It was great having my daughter home, and her cat was extremely happy as the two cats we have don’t really get on, so when she’s not here the other one mopes a bit. My husband is happy too, as he is now able to drive again, which makes me happy as I don’t have to a) take him everywhere and b) have him going on about my driving…..

In amongst all of this going on, I have been learning a new breathing technique which I read about in a recent issue of Runner’s World magazine. Basically it meant that I had to unlearn my previous breathing pattern of inhale for 2, out for three, 2:2 as I got faster, and 3:3 for easy runs, and start breathing in for 3 and out for 2, or 2:1, or the hardest (and I still can’t get this) 2:1:1:1. Anyway, this is too complicated to explain it all so you can read about it here. Needless to say, I have definitely noticed a difference, although it is very east to fall into my old pattern as I get tired. Which I certainly did yesterday.

My training for the GC Marathon has been going well to a point. I say this because I realised last week that I have been running really slowly. So I ramped it up on my 11km midweek run last week and it felt really good. Then I looked at my training schedule and realised slow was what I was supposed to have been doing, up until this week, as I was working on strength and not speed until now. Speed starts tomorrow! I find it quite amazing that I subconsciously felt it was time to go faster, even if I preempted it by a week. Maybe there’s something to be said in waiting a little longer, and I can be impatient, but then listening to your body is something I have been going on about for a while. And this leads me back to getting tired yesterday.

My long run was for 26km and seeing as we were away I decided to run from Colville to Cor0mandel.

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That’s a picture of the cafe and general store. The cafe is fantastic, called The Green Snapper, and if you’re ever up there you must pop in. We went up to the bach for the weekend on the way to take my daughter back to Auckland. I logged my run on MapMyRun and you can see it here. It takes in three enormous hills that climb forever (well it felt like it to me!) and so I listened to my energy levels and walked when I needed to. It rained a bit on the way, nothing too bad, which was lucky as the prediction was for wild weather! I have decided that it is my last hilly long run now, as the strength phase of my training is done, and now I am going more for endurance and speed. The GC is a flat race and there’s nothing like the principle of specificity. Train flat for a flat race, and I plan to get in under 4:30 this time! Anyway, to get back to the breathing….I have found that done properly, this new technique has definitely helped me to feel more comfortable and dare I say it….faster. Watch this space!

Out With The Old

Yesterday I clocked 500km on my old shoes. I use a programme called logrun for tracking my training distance etc., and it came up in red on the log, bang on 500km. Fantastic timing as I had another pair on hold at the running store which I was collecting yesterday as well. I have bought a pair of Saucony Cortanas which have a 4mm drop, much like my trail shoes. They are so comfortable as they are much wider at the forefoot than the Hurricanes. And they are very bright, people shall see me coming.

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I had wanted to take them for their inaugural run today, but it is raining and I don’t like getting my new shoes wet and dirty. So I am wearing them around the house until it clears up enough to take them out.

It has been rather wet here this week. After months of nothing we are having a few downpours which the dairy farmers are loving. I, on the other hand, am not loving it, even though it is good for the garden and the land, it is playing havoc with my running schedule this week. My week has been a bit all over the place due to two graduations we have had to go to. One, my daughters, was on Wednesday in Auckland and the other, my step daughters, in Hamilton on Thursday. So two days of driving and much sitting. I had hoped to get a run in before we left, on the Tuesday, but it absolutely pelted down all day, and there was no way I was going out for a run. So later in the day I settled for a Tabata workout instead. At least I got some cardio that day!

Thursday morning I managed to get in my first run since Sunday and I am having to play catch-up to get my mileage in for this week. I am going to fall short though, not by much, but I always feel bad when I do. In the big scheme of things, it is all good. My training for the Gold Coast marathon is going well and I am enjoying the long Sunday runs.

It has stopped raining….perhaps I shall head out now….

Locked and Loaded!

Well it is definitely happening! The accommodation is booked, the flights are booked and the entry fee is paid! Gold Coast Marathon here we come! I even have a new pair of running shoes set aside to pay for as soon as I can. Training has started and tomorrow is my longest run since the Colville race. I am heading out for 14km in the morning and have already done 2 10km runs this week plus 2 shorter ones. So my weekly mileage is ramping up rather quickly.

In my last post I was worried whether I would be ready, worried too which training schedule to follow. My solution was to sleep on it, which always helps, and the conclusion was there in the morning when I woke up. The more traditional programme has space in it to be a bit flexible as the easy run days can be used as rest or cross training days should I wish. So I will be running more in the beginning while the kilometers are lower and as they ramp up I am going to bring some cross training into the mix, plus extra rest days if I need them. Also I am going to continue strength training twice a week and may follow a schedule set out in IronFit (which I just treated myself to).

Maybe I can end up looking like her too!

How Plans Change

So I need a little feedback here…it’s not often I ask for help, so this is a biggie for me.

In light of my hubby’s injuries he will not be running with me as planned on The Gold Coast in July. We have our accommodation booked so we are going anyway, and I had my training schedule all sorted for the half marathon. Then the other day while running I had a light bulb moment and thought I may as well do the marathon as he isn’t running and we are going all the way there and what an experience it will be.

Now the dilemma hits! I have to start tomorrow with my training. I will only have 15 weeks to train for it and my mileage has to ramp up hugely and immediately. I know I was training for the Colville Connection and so my base is still there, so that doesn’t worry me too much. What I am having a dilemma about is what training programme to follow. I have one I got from Runner’s World magazine which has me running 5 times a week, and then there is the First to the Finish programme which has me running 3 days a week with 2 days of cross training added. So now I have to decide by tomorrow which one I am doing, as tomorrow is running day.

This also means my weight loss month is out of the window! I am not one who can change direction quickly when I have planned something so this is in itself quite a challenge. While I ponder which programme to follow, maybe someone out there may have some advice for me to help me come to a decision before I do my head in!

Time To Slim Down

It’s been a week since the Colville Connection, and I have had this last week “off”. I put this in inverted commas because I haven’t done nothing exercise wise, just had a cruisier week with lots of walking, a few jogs and some strength training. I have found it quite enjoyable actually, and I think it is really important to have a week like this after an event, just to recharge the batteries, take off some of the physical and mental stress of training for an event.

My next event is the Gold Coast Half Marathon at the beginning of July. We have booked our accommodation already and online entries open on Monday. Then we need to book flights, so keeping an eye out for specials all the time. But before all of this is a month of trimming down.

Ever since the final lead up to the Auckland Marathon I have been a little heavier than I thought I ought to be for a runner. Finally in the March issue of Runner’s World magazine this thought was justified when I saw the article about your perfect running weight. According to this article I could be lighter, so Monday I start with their recommended training programme to shed those few kilos I need to make me faster and feel fitter. Combined with a healthy eating plan, I should drop about 500g a week so it will take me about 6 weeks to get to where I need to be. The training programme runs for a month and I plan to slot into the half training schedule after that to prepare for the Gold Coast.

I don’t think this will be easy as I have been quite free with my food choices and portion sizes. I feel there shall be some hungry moments in the days to come, hopefully not long lasting!

Wish me luck!

And Then It Was All Over

So the Colville Connection is done and dusted! What a race that was! I can highly recommend it to everyone as a great day out with fantastic views…even if I didn’t stop long enough to take them in. I really enjoyed the race though, some bits more than others. I discovered I love running the fast downhill single track bits, such an amazing feeling flying down the mountain like that.

The day began quite slowly as my race only started at 9.15am. I am used to earlier races so my timing was a bit out with feeding myself prior to the start. Of course there was also the factor of my hubby and his broken pelvis and hip that had been occupying my mind for 10 days as well…..So he needed a bit of looking after as well.

All in all I think I did really well. I had been aiming for 2:30 and came in at 2:16:51. Not bad for a race run on lack of sleep, bad nutrition and stress I reckon. This race had many steep uphills that went on forever, and they are the bits I find the most tiring. I know this is the area I need to work on for future races, and I guess in retrospect I did not follow my own advice of specificity – hill training for hilly runs. I just didn’t have the energy.

The Colville Connection is a very different event as there are many races you can choose from. Have a look at their website to get an idea. I am definitely doing it next year, and hubby and I will do it together, well at least he’ll do the 72km MTB and I’ll do the 21km run again.

However, that is a long time away, so the next challenge is the Gold Coast Half Marathon in July. Flat, fast and I plan to try to break the 2 hour barrier. I got close last year in Hamilton, 47 seconds over 2 hours, so I know I can do it. And after that, well……Auckland Marathon here we come again!

Where’s My Mojo?

Well, I have had a really busy 10 days or so. We have got to the stage in our lives when the little birds are flying the nest and the last one left on Saturday. Consequently, life in our neck of the woods has been very hectic.

I have been managing on a less energetic basis to complete most of my planned runs, and important thing as the Colville Connection is but a few weeks away. We spent a few days up there earlier on this month and I managed to run a trail that went over a hill and back. This was not the actual race route, but it certainly gave my legs a good go! On my way back up the hill (which became to feel like a mountain) I really struggled and had to walk at a few places. It made me aware that my training has not been as focussed for this race, something I have been struggling with ever since the Auckland Marathon last year.

Yesterday I did my longest run since training for the marathon. It was 2hr 15min and I went quite a hilly way. I have yet to work out how far I ran as this training schedule runs on time and not distance, and I think this may be why I am not training as hard.

During the run my knees were hurting and then I realised that i have not been doing my strength training as regularly. In fact the last time I did any was 10 days ago! So today I knuckled down and made myself do 3 strength circuits (I will probably be sore tomorrow).

We have also been away quite a lot, moving kids, having short breaks, and working around the house getting it ready to sell. All these activities are not conducive to a smooth training schedule, so hopefully next week I can get back on track. I will be home alone, no one else here, and I should be able to focus on my training properly.

Let’s see what happens…..

Thoughts on a marathon journey

I think I have a slight cold…

This is not unusual following a race like a marathon. Apparently your immunity is lowered from excess physical exercise. While moderate exercise has been proven to help your immunity, more prolonged vigorous bouts actually lower it. This is because any exercise places your body under stress, and stress increases your levels of cortisol – not a good thing.

This last week has been interesting, I have felt quite tired and when I finally did go for a (very short) run, it felt like I was lugging around a sack of potatoes. Interestingly, over the weekend which we spent relaxing in Colville, I went for a short bike ride and that felt okay. My running muscles are obviously tired.

Anyway, I thought today I would make a list of the top 10 things that helped me on this marathon journey.

1)      Good support from family and friends – without this I would not have been able to complete the hours of training, and calmed my panicked mind, nor able to physically do the long runs.

2)      A well planned training schedule – I can’t stress the importance of getting those hours on your legs. Also you need a good running base before attempting such a long run. Your tendons and ligaments take about a year to become strong enough to handle the stresses of such a race. Sure, you can do the distance with less training, but your chances of getting injured are far greater. This becomes even more of an issue as you get older.

3)      Good nutrition and hydration throughout the whole process. During your training, during the race. Practice how you will do this during your training runs so on race day you have it all sorted.

4)      Get enough sleep.

5)      Self motivation and mind control. You need to be able to talk yourself through those last 10K of the race, and you need to be able to get yourself through your training runs. This means getting up early if needed, running in the rain and wind, even when you don’t feel like it.

6)      Good running shoes – a vitally important factor. Get your gait checked by a specialist running shop. And buy two pairs and rotate them.

7)      Get regular massages, they help to iron out any niggly bits before they grow into full blown problems. I also got regular chiropractic adjustments so do something like that as well.

8)      Don’t just run, especially if you are older. I do strength training as well to help with all the running muscles and build balance. Luckily for me, I am a personal trainer so I can set my own program, but I would highly recommend getting someone to draw up a proper program so you target the correct areas.

9)      Towards the end of your training journey, in the final four weeks, supplement your diet with anitoxidants like Vit C. I took 1000mg a day, and still got sick, but the severity was far less and I recovered a lot quicker. While I was ill, I took it three times a day!

10)   When race day comes, remember this is your race and enjoy it. Just do it the way you want, don’t get hung up on time if it is your first race. There are so many interesting things to see while running for such a long time, take time to look around and have fun. The spectators can really give you a boost along the way, and interacting with them helps to take your mind off the task at hand.

I have one final thing to add that I believe is very important. Have your post race plan in place a few weeks before, and plan your next challenge. It doesn’t have to be another marathon. So saying, I have mine and here it is:

http://www.colvilleconnection.co.nz/

And then it was all over….

A marathon is a long distance to run. Similarly writing about it takes a long time and this is why I have broken down the posts into more manageable bites. Here’s what happened after the race.

As I had mentioned, I got really sore feet at the 34K mark. In particular, my left foot was hurting the most. It was easy to ignore it while I was running as I had something I was aiming for….the finish line, but once I crossed that line I started limping. I really could not walk on it properly. After getting my medal , clearing the finish shute and meeting up with Kerry and Geoff, I hobbled off with them to find a much needed mocha  Geoff had parked the car way up the hill, and even though I had changed shoes, there was still no way I was going to make it, so he had to fetch it.

The advice is to do a short walk later in the day just to flush out lactic build up, but there was no way I would be doing that. Interestingly, I wanted to have a walk, whether that was because I couldn’t or because my body/mind wanted to, I don’t know. But there it was, I was feeling somewhat frustrated. Granted, I don’t do sick and injured very well.

That afternoon I experienced a roller coaster of soreness, tiredness, emotions, and hunger. One minute I was hungry, the next minute I wasn’t  One minute I wanted savoury food, the next minute protein, then carbs! One minute I was exhausted and had to lie down, perhaps sleep, next minute I was wide awake again and ready to go! One minute I was all sore, the next it was all better! One minute I felt like crying, and did, the next all happy again!

Every time I stood up it took me a few seconds to get my legs to work properly and to loosen up, and about half way into the afternoon, my knees started to ache a bit. There was nothing too serious though, apart from my sore foot which hurt less if I wore no shoes. It appeared to be strained. That night when I finally got to bed, I really didn’t sleep well as things were a bit achy, and I could not get comfortable.

On waking the next morning I was pleasantly surprised to find I could still walk and had no muscle stiffness. A few sore areas were confined to below knee height, and apart from my foot which was still quite sore, I was doing okay  The funniest thing was Geoff, who did not do the race, had sore knees, hamstrings and calves! How’s that for a support person!

So overall, my body did well, and I can only attribute that to following my training plan, getting in those miles and having a really solid base under it all. It honestly is so important to your overall physical, mental and emotional experience. I do believe that if you don’t prepare well, you will end up with problems during your race. Maybe I am still riding on the post race euphoria wave, but I had such a great day, and came away with a feeling I cannot describe in words. That feeling is still sitting there…accomplishment maybe, but more than that. It’s been 4 days now and it hasn’t gone away.

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