Thursday, 30 August 2012

Running On The Brain

Well, it was almost 12mins but that's neither here nor there - doesn't matter in the slightest right now. Tonight was about taking my brain out and reminding it that my body is entirely capable of running if it would just shut the hell up for a bit. So I walked up the hill, turned around and ran back down, exactly a mile, to prove a point to myself. The point was proved in less than two minutes, actually - I wasn't even halfway through the first track on my list before I was smiling and feeling light enough to fly home, and I almost certainly could have pushed on further.

That "I could do more" feeling turns out to be really important to me for the next session, though - I find I manage my expectations better if I stop with a little bit left in the tank each time. If I finish exhausted it's harder to go out again and push further; I guess I get worried that I've hit the "this far and no further" point. Fear is a big issue for me in fitness. One of my major worries is ending up with an injury that means looking after the kids becomes difficult or stops me continuing along my training path. That's not an excuse to take it easy but it does mean I need that little buffer to keep me moving along...or that carrot of "Ok, I did 5km and felt good...can I do 5.5km next time? 7.5km? 10km? Can I go faster?" and so on. It certainly works that way for swimming, anyway. I hate having to deload weights and go down then back up again, although I understand that can be useful. Stepping backwards to retrain in crawl when I was close to hitting the Ironman swimming distance in breaststroke was really hard - but with a creeping rotator cuff soreness it had to be done, and I'm half-way back to where I should be.

This interview with endurance swimmer Jaime Patrick popped up in my Twitter feed whilst I was writing and it's an interesting take...I don't think I'll get to ultra stage for anything but it's the same driver of always having a challenge in front of you. That's why I like the idea of Tri - I get three sets of sports to be challenged with!

Calorie tracking day 4: it's horrible, I hate it. I feel I'm eating normally and I'm well below my target calories, in fact I went over by 12cal today just because I had a scone with jam and cream...not a normal occurrence. Despite eating not much differently to usual I've had a headache for three days and am hungry a lot of the time. I'm sure this is just psychological. Tracking, however, has illustrated that I'm surprisingly down on carbs, usually low on protein and probably shouldn't indulge my love of cheese quite so much...but life without cheese isn't worth living!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012


No Monday run as it was absolutely hurling it down.

Aaah, Tuesday night swim. The night I usually do battle at the local leisure centre to get some clear swimming space (this is why I like open water so much - there's so much of it everyone has room! Unless you're doing those fancy racing turns round the buoys. Which I can sorta do). I was a bit late getting in tonight so didn't bother with the deep lap lanes, I'd only have had to switch pools five minutes later. The staff have very kindly noticed that there are several serious swimmers in the main pool after 9pm and they've been roping off a couple of lanes for us for the last few weeks. That's been very nice and made a huge difference to my times - and my mood! Tonight one of the lifeguards actually came and turfed three lads out of my lane for pissing about at the ends and getting in my way. They shot me the evils for about ten minutes but when it became obvious that I wasn't pissing about and was likely to be there for the whole last hour, they gave up. Muhahaha, etc. So I got a lane all to myself and it was a really good swim. I felt a bit sore in the upper arms for the first half-mile, fine for the second and that damn right shoulder started to play up towards 80 laps. I wish I knew what I was doing wrong and how to fix it. I definitely need a coach to take a look.

Um. Anyway.

I was late getting into the pool tonight because I was in the gym, chatting to one of the guys that works there. Registering for a triathlon.


It's nothing serious! ;-) The leisure centre is running an "indoor triathlon" event in September - the main day unfortunately clashes with Salford 5km but they're happy to arrange other times to do it, so I figure I can get it done towards the end of the month. No time to dither as the deadline for signups is Sunday, so it was sort of a snap decision...I'd never even been in the gym before today. It's a short tri - only half a mile to swim (32 laps, which going off tonight's times I can do in 20mins or thereabouts), 5km to run which should be easier on a treadmill (my outdoor benchmark is about 40mins at the moment), and a 10km stationary bike ride. I have no idea how I'll handle that and to be honest, I don't want to change anything until I get the race out of the way. My bike's ready to go, it just needs the lights on, so hopefully come mid-September I'll be able to have a pootle round and see how much it hurts.

Maybe it seems crazy so soon but I thought it would be a great way to benchmark where I'm at now with each discipline, and have something to look back on and compare next year. Plus it's only £10 to take part. I know I won't be fast and I've no chance of winning a prize, so all the heat is off.

Chap at the gym said there are serious-sounding rumours going around that the town may be putting on a proper triathlon next year. I dunno about that, though. A quick search tells me that in previous years the run has been up to the Tower and I am definitely not in any kind of shape to get up there yet. I've lived here seven years and still never walked up it!

In other news I have now tracked calories on My Fitness Pal for a whole two days - yaaaaaaaawn - and MFP told me off today for not eating enough. I can't wrap my head around it. I'm not snacking, sure, but I haven't really cut out all that much. I think my trouble is that I eat reasonably ok most of the time and then have silly binges. Oh well - we shall see what we shall see and I do think it's worth the experiment, dull as it is.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

A Weekend Out Of The Norm

Most of my summer weekends this year have consisted of a swim at Salford Quays and sometimes a Fartlek-type run up one of the hills where I live, and a Sunday rest day when my dear other half usually goes out for his longer run. This weekend we're visiting my in-law's, though, so it's all been a bit different.

I waved goodbye to my wetsuit rather sadly a few days ago - there's not much of the season left and I'll be going back to working Saturday mornings soon anyway. Yesterday it was overcast but not particularly cold, and the girls and I (K, 6 and D, 2) grabbed our swimsuits, their grandad and dad, and headed down to the beach about 4pm. It's been 20C in the Quays for the last few weeks - so warm I really didn't need a wetsuit and I've been seriously thinking about not bothering with it. My "what the hell, let's do it" attitude surfaced and the kids and I took the plunge - literally - into the North Sea. It was about 16C and amazing - yes, yes, it was cold to start with and the girls decided playing in the sand was much more their sort of thing. But I was pleased with how quickly I acclimatised and swam for about 20mins or so. It was flat calm, gorgeously clean, tide coming in, very peaceful...just me in the water, a few birds screaming overhead, and the girls giggling on the beach. I could get addicted to sea-swimming very quickly if there was anywhere near to home I could go.

Today we took the kids to a waves-and-activities-type pool, which they loved - but lordy, it was warm at 30C. Really quite difficult to swim in after the sea! Didn't get much done in the way of fitness swimming as it was so busy - maybe 400m or so and had a go at some kick drills. Kicking is probably the next thing I should concentrate on to get faster.

Later there was running. A and his dad, both 10km+ runners, headed off along the beach and I lumped my sorry backside along the coast road, aiming to try out a flatter course than home. It was rubbish. I'd gone out with the right attitude but made the mistake of running into the wind, and after 1km or so I got bitten by the Can't Be Arsed Fairy. I quite often get a "runner's high" at about 2km, but today was a "runner's low". I was so bored! Maybe it was the flat, maybe I just took too much of a break (haven't run for a week or so as I've been bogged down studying), maybe it was the wind and rain, but...meh. Did about 2.5km all told and at least half of that was walking. At one point I looked down at my feet and they barely seemed to be moving. I felt like a cartoon pudding. So I'm disappointed, but hopefully I'll be able to attack a run on Monday with a bit more vim once I get back to my hills.

Gotta get my arse in gear - City of Salford 5km is in two weeks. Eeek.