Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Week...whatever update

Ok, I have forgotten what week number this is, probably 11 or 12, but as I will explain later, it's not really that important now.
On Monday I did some weights, as it was a non-running day:
30 situps
30 pressups
2 x 15 tricep extn - standing
2 x 15 tricep extn on floor
2 x 15 bent over dumbbell fly
3 x 15 dumbbell flys on back
4 x 10 dumbbell curl using all the weights I had...

On Tuesday I went back to my Physio, Jackie, and she said that the swelling in the muscle along my left shin was a whole lot less but that the bottom of my hamstring was a bit tight, so we did a bit of work on that. I also brought in my Avia and Mizuno runners for her to examine. The wear on both are quite good (as in normal and not rolling) and both feet seem to be wearing equally. She did say that the Avia's are a bit more flexible around the midfoot, which should be better. No big difference otherwise.
After that I waited until the heat had died down a little (27 all day!) and went for a run. I forgot my HR monitor, but it gave me less reasons to check the Garmin. I got to about 2k and started getting pain in the same place again, so I backed off the pace but kept running. I decided to keep it short and did just 7.5k in about 44mins. I did find that running uphill was a lot less painful than on the flat, so from time to time I would run almost on my toes and it helped.
Today, Wednesday, is a non-running day, but I have a couple of meetings up to about 6:30pm, so I might go for a walk or maybe a swim if I can find the local pool and its times!
Oh yea, almost forgot...the reason I don't think numbering the week is important now is that I have officially pulled out of the Auckland Marathon. I have notified the event organizers, canceled my hotel and flights. Yes I would still like to do it, but with the shin pain I haven't been able to get my training in and long runs are out of the question. Also I'll be relocating with work possibly before the race, so better to back out now and get used to the idea than have to back out a week before!
My goal of completing a marathon still stands, I always said I wanted to do one before the end of 2011, so that isn't changing, just the location is. I'm not sure where or when I will do it, but it will be next year.
The only two events I have in my sights for the remainder of the year are the WWFOR in about a week and a half marathon in December. Looking forward to both!

Take it easy,

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Injury update and Sydney's Coastal Classic

Just to update you, I went to the physio on Friday after work and told her everything that had been going on. She asked a lot of questions and said that the muscle that runs along my shin is a bit inflamed, but it may be caused by a build up of lactic acid that my system hasn't got rid of properly. We when discussed my runners (as I have two pairs on the go). I said that after resting for a week, I did the HM last week with no shin pain (in my Avias) and then I did the 6.5k on Tuesday - no pain, and the 5k on Friday  - in the Mizunos but with pain.
Could it be that the Mizunos are the source of my shin pain? As I didn't have the runners with me she didn't want to say for definite, but I have another appointment with her on Tuesday and she asked me to bring both pairs along to compare them.
When I said that I was hoping to do a LR on Sunday (just two days after treatment) she said I should be fine, as long as I rest and ice and use my anti-inflammatory gel. Also, I'm going to use the Avias, just to test.

Sydney's Coastal Classic 29k Trail Run:
So I had originally tried to enter this race, but it was booked out way in advance, so I put my name down as a volunteer instead.(link to their site here)
The race didn't start until 08:00 this morning, but as we had to get the registration area and start area ready beforehand, we had to be onsite for a briefing at 06:30. This meant my alarm was set for 04:30...
I got to the registration and booked in and got my free tech t-shirt - yea! I was immediately shown how to register runners and hand out race packs (not very technical!). Pic below is the first runners arriving to register.

After a while I was drafted into assembling the starting area and after that was done I was moved onto driving out to the first aid station to get it setup.
We had local groups volunteering to man the aid stations, which was great. At the first one, it was on a beach, so we put out the tables filled 2 & 5 gallon water drums and mixed up Powerade. At each aid station we had the following: water, powerade, bananas, watermelon, museli bars, GU gels, jelly snakes and crisps. There was also a board showing how far the runners had gone, how far to the next aid station and how far to the finish. Medics were stationed with each aid station too.
When the first aid station was complete, we left the local volunteers there and went onto the second (of three). This one was situated in a park, so there was a bit more shelter. It was a very warm sunny day with highs of 23 degrees C. Once the aid station was setup, I started checking the trail markings approaching it and made some additions and adjustments to make it easier to find. I stayed on at this aid station to assist. This pic is of the second aid station awaiting the runners.
And this pic is of our aid station in full flow with the first of the runners...
It took about 3 hours from the first to the last runner to go through. We then had 3 "sweepers" running at the back helping tired or injured runners, picking up any litter and removing the trail markings we had put down.
There weren't many injuries, a few rolled ankles and blisters. We did have one guy drop out due to hip pain, but we weren't sure what heppened there, not caused by a fall anyway.
Next pic is of the finish line...
The first runner made the finish in 2:32, which is tremendous for a 29k trail run! Three hours later some runners were still coming in...
This pic is of a guy that ran the trail in "homemade" sandals! Very "Barefoot Ted" of him :-)
All in all it was a great day and the first of hopefully an annual race. All the runners really enjoyed it as did the volunteers!
Time for me to patch up a blister and prepare for my LR in the morning, I need sleep!!


Friday, September 24, 2010

Time for a second opinion...

I've been in recovery mode this week, so after the light 6.5k run on Tuesday I took two rest days. Today (Friday) I got up at 06:00 for a run. Initially it was going to be about 8k, but I was dragging my ass a bit too much before I left the house, so I only had time for 30mins, so it had to be a 5k.
I decided to try the Garmin Virtual Training Partner, that's built into the 305. I set the training for 5k for 30mins and set off. The VP was ahead of me at the start, but of course he was at run pace from the moment I started the timer, whereas I was warming up. After a couple of minutes I caught up and last I saw he was 3-4 mins behind :-)
Going out I felt fine, but after about 3k my left shin started to hurt again. It wasn't as bad as it was a couple of weeks ago, but not good. I slowed a little and finished the 5k in 27mins or so and walked home.
After I got to work I rang around and managed to make an appointment with a local physio for after work tonight. Having tried rest, ice etc and having the same issue return I think the best thing is to get the opinion of a Physio. I'm pretty sure I know she'll tell me to not run and rest etc, and will probably tell me to do the stretches I've already been doing (Google is my friend :-)), but no harm. I have a pretty good idea what the issue is, but no point in me treating something if I'm wrong. I don't want to do any long term damage too.
My worst fear is having to miss a few weeks training and not being able to go in for the Auckland marathon...

Time will tell...


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Week 11 update

After the half on Sunday, I didn't do any exercise on Monday. So I did a recovery run of 6.5k on Tuesday. I took it easy and kept my HR down. Legs were a bit tight, but no more than I would expect.
Today I have come down with a cold that has been threatening me on and off for weeks, I wasn't planning on running again until Friday, so I'm hoping to have the cold gone by then.
I still managed a quick weights session at home after work:
30 situps
30 pressups
2 x 15 tricep extn - standing
2 x 15 tricep extn on floor
2 x 15 bent over dumbbell fly
2 x 15 dumbbell flys on back
2 x 15 dumbbell curl using all the weights I had...
I was just looking back over my running logs on DailyMile, and last month was my highest mileage to date, with 165km. Not sure if September will equal that, probably not due to tapering and recovering, but time will tell!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sydney Half Marathon

On Saturday evening, I was feeling pretty tired by 19:30, so I decided to go to bed and read, hoping to get some sleep. I got a text message from my cousin a few minutes later wishing me well in the race and only then did my nerves kick in! I tried to sleep but only got an hour or two here and there. I was awake when the alarm went off at 04:00 (aka dark o'clock!)...
I got myself ready and got the train direct to the start line (about 300m away anyway). There was free public transport for runners all day :-)
I was an hour early for the start, but I don't like rushing these things! I was hoping to run with one of the 110min pacers, but all the pacers bunched up at the start of our group, so I didn't get to them. A high point, was overtaking the 110min pacers at 4.5k though. I kept going.
At the 10k mark (sub-60min-ish) I did some maths and figured I needed to push the pace, so I did and kept it up.
At the 16k mark I thought I "only" had to do a sub-30min 5k to get in under 120mins, so I pushed the pace again.
With 2k to go I really wanted to walk, just for a minute, but I knew I was really close to the time I wanted, so I kept running. I was really feeling it for every step and knew that if I stopped running I wouldn't start again. For the last 1k I was willing the line closer and was watching the seconds slipping away and then I made it! Just after I finished I got a text message to say that my official time was 1:57:48

Not only had I achieved my sub-2hr goal, I also beat my cousin Salena :-)
My legs were complaining a lot and I daren't sit down, so I headed home after seeing the first person for the marathon finish in 2:24 (pic of the marathon winner below).

While walking to the train, I spotted Jaydub (a DailyMile buddy) on Phillip Street running his marathon and he was a min or so ahead of the 4 hour pacer! I shouted encouragement, but he didn't hear. That was at 10:30, so he still had an hour to go. I hobbled home and collapsed on the bed for a 90min "nana nap". After that, I took a dunk in a bath of cold water, then had a hot shower. Then walked down to the local town and back, just to keep moving.

Unofficial time 1:56, but we went through a tunnel, so my Garmin auto-paused, must turn that off.
I really enjoyed the race and would definitely recommend it, loved every minute. There weren't that many hills and what hills there were, were pretty short.
Here is the pace I was getting, each "lap" is 1km:
1    5:37   
2    5:43   
3    5:07   
4    5:34   
5    4:37    Tunnel
6    5:43   
7    5:21   
8    5:41   
9    5:42   
10    5:46   
11    5:57   
12    5:33   
13    5:29   
14    5:44   
15    5:30   
16    5:54    Hills
17    5:42    Hills
18    5:20   
19    5:32   
20    5:44   
21    5:19   
22    5:11   

 You can see from those figures that I was slowing down around 10k 14k and 16k, but that I put on the pace some more towards the end.
I took an Endurolyte before the race, one at 8k with a gel, one at 16k with a gel and one more after the race. I used my Hydrapouch for the first time on this race and would highly recommend it, I reckon I wouldn't have had a sub-2hr time without it.
Anyway, I am now going to bed, as I am wrecked!

Thanks for all your good wishes and messages.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Countdown to 2nd Half Marathon...

Today is the day before my second half marathon. I haven't been running since last Sunday, which was an epic failure in my running. I've decided to take the whole week off to give my legs a rest and to hopefully prepare myself for the HM tomorrow.
Today I had a lot of energy as I'm pretty excited about the race. So I decided to get some things done. I was up before 07:00, which is normal for me, I don't even need an alarm clock. I tidied up the place, got all the washing done, hoovered, did all the dishes, and then went to see the AD/DC exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum here in Sydney. I have to say, AC/DC are one of my all time favourite bands. I've seen them three times, 1982 and 1990 in Ireland and 2010 in Sydney. Anyway, it was really good, but no-one was allowed to take photos, and they had people going around making sure you didn't, so no pics!
After that, I made a packed lunch and went for a walk in the Lane Cove National Park and ate lunch at a park bench by the Blue Gum River. Pretty special.
Then I got home again and I have now got all my kit laid out for tomorrow:
Avia runners, socks (I went through each running sock I own and checked for signs of wear...), singlet, jacket for after the race, sunnies (shades), protein drink and water, Hydrapouch, protein bar for pre-race, wholegrain bars for post-race and I managed to get some Hammer Nutrition Endurolyte tablets, so I'm taking them too. I got the Endurolytes in the City Bike Depot off Kent Street, who deserve a special mention. I had checked out all Sydney hammer suppliers from the Hammer website, but out of five, these were the first to either have them, or to still stock Hammer products...
I have also charged up my Garmin and have a piece of paper with my "suggested" pace goals on it. There will be 1:50 and 1:40 pacers there. I may stick to the 1:50 pacer at the start and see how I feel. If nothing else, it will keep me from going out too fast.
Ok, so I'm going to watch a DVD, have dinner and (try to) sleep. I have to get a train at about 05:00 in the morning, so I'll be up around 04:00, just to be sure...
Update you tomorrow after the race!
Best of luck to everyone taking part in the Sydney Running Festival tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010


So this week is pretty much a rest week/tapering. My left shin has been sore and after doing a bit of online research it sounds/feels like the start of shin splints. However, after lots of rest, ice and anti-inflammatory gel it has improved and isn't sore today. I'll keep working on it though.
With all the unused energy I have from not running, I decided it was time to get back to my upper body/core work. The last place I lived was walking distance from a RSL club that had it's own 25m pool and gym and it was only $6 per session for members, too easy.
Where I'm living now only has subscription gyms and they are too expensive, especially as I would be in them at most twice a week!
So tonight after work I went out and bought a pair of dumbbells (pic below). I didn't want big weights, just enough to tone me up. The weights have proved quite effective for the workouts I do at home. If I had a bench I would do more, but I'm not getting a weight bench...honestly!

The best thing - seeing as I work from home mostly - I can do a quick weight session during lunch :-)


Monday, September 13, 2010

Week 10 update and into tapering

If you've read my previous post, you'll know that I had been training pretty hard, so I took a rest due to tired legs. The last run was on Wednesday and I took Thursday and Friday as rest days.
I was due to be working on Saturday and the work dragged on until 19:00. With more work due to start at 20:00 I only had enough time to get dinner before I got back to it. Over Saturday night (while I was asleep) the work I had scheduled failed, so I had to start it off again at 08:00 and monitor it so it wouldn't fail again. I managed to sneak out and pick up my race pack for next week's half marathon here in Sydney (pic below)...

So, when I got a chance I went for a run. I was planning a 10k tempo run, but things quickly went pear shaped. I did my stretching and warm up as usual but the whole time my left leg was in pain. At first I thought it was because I hadn't been running, but it just didn't loosen up. The pain was/is in the muscle beside the shin bone on the front of the leg. I even stopped once to try stretching to see if it would help, but it didn't. Also, I had a total lack of energy, so trying to get a certain pace was not happening at all. If all that wasn't enough, my stomach was not playing along either and just added to the overall feeling of not wanting to be on the run. By the 3k mark I had resigned to the fact that I didn't want to be running and wanted to finish it.
I turned around and couldn't wait to get home again. I stopped about 1k before the house to walk the rest and as I was getting closer I had to stop and nearly emptied the contents of my stomach on the path. After a minute or so I kept walking. I had run just over 6k at an overall slow pace of about 6min/k.
I did my stretching again when I got home, but it took a while to recover.

I am now tapering for my HM next Sunday, so I'll only be doing a couple of short recovery runs, if I can. Although I do want to have just one enjoyable run before the race...


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Week 10 update and heavy legs

So onward and upward we go into Week 10 of training.
Monday was time for Hill Reps, so I did a 10min warm up run and an easy pace, then:
4 x 60sec sprint uphill, turn around and JR back down,
1 min SR and repeat as above.
2 x 80m sprint starting at 80%
4 x 100m sprint getting steadily faster aiming for 100% on last one.
10 min run to cool down.
I was aiming to really push myself on the hills and sprints, partly to help me strengthen my legs and partly to see what my max HR is while working out.
Looking back over my Garmin logs, I have sometimes been going up to 188bpm on sprints/hills. But today I never went over 170bpm. Hopefully that means I'm getting fitter and not getting lazy :-)
Daily total was 6k and a bit.
Tuesday I did a recovery jog and it felt fine. My Garmin battery died at about 1k, so I did the rest by how my breathing felt and never got out of breath. Another 6.1k or so.
Today, I had planned to do a 15k loop Tempo run from my house to Lane Cove NP and back by some hills. I brought my 1 litre hydration pack and (for the first time) my headlamp.
I felt fine and was looking forward to it, by 1k in my legs started feeling heavy, so I eased up on the 5:20/k pace. I've had this feeling before and it's gone away when my legs warmed up. By 3k I had to stop to stretch my quads/calves to ease them out - not a good sign. They didn't improve, so a few hundred metres later I turned back and ran at my recovery pace. I got to a really flat section by 7k and as I wasn't under much exertion my legs didn't feel too bad, but I kept the same pace. Ended up doing a little over 8k.
As much as I hate it, I need a day or two off. Tomorrow is a planned rest day anyway and I may take Friday off too. I'll be working most of Saturday, so I may just get back on Sunday for a 12-15k run then. Hopefully I'll squeeze in some swimming (possibly on Friday).
Not ideal, but if I had continued I would have ended up doing lasting damage and probably ended my thoughts of the HM in 11 days from now. All the work I need to do for the half is already done, the rest of the runs up to then will just be keeping the legs lubed.
This is not a step backwards, I'm moving forward, I keep moving forward

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Week 9 summary and info on my HR training

So week 9 draws to a close. Two weeks left to the HM in Sydney and eight weeks to my first marathon in Auckland.
This week wasn't as full on as last, the main reason being that I succumbed to a head cold this week that had been just the sniffles for a couple of weeks. I had also been having a bit of a dry cough, but only on runs. All that got worse after my Tuesday 6k run and I had to take a couple of days off to recover properly. I did the same recovery run on Friday and did it in 2 mins less. This was due to not having to exert myself as much (head cold gone). I'm going to keep doing the same route for my recovery runs, so I'll easily be able to tell if/when I'm improving and by how much.
On Saturday, my LR was due, so I set out to do a two hour run keeping my HR under 145bpm (more on this later). I did 18.3k in the two hours. Normally I would do more, but my pace was slow to keep the HR down. I ended up enjoying that run more, even though I got dive bombed by a magpie just around the 10k mark. It drew blood where it hit my head but nothing serious.
The pic above is a screen shot of my Garmin output from the LR. You can see where my HR spiked when the bird hit me.
So on Sunday (today) I found I had some free time available and, despite gale force winds, it was really warm and sunny outside. So I did my recovery run again - same route and distance. It was a bit slower than Friday, due to the LR the day before and having some wine last night!

My HR Training:
So, I have been blabbing on about HR training this week and got some questions about it, so an explanation is due.
I got a book at the start of the week (link in Tuesday's post) purely on HR Monitor training. It has a formula to guesstimate your Max HR. Starting with 205bpm, subtract half of your age, this will be your Max HR (until you have time to test it more accurately).
Then, use the following formula...  (Max HR - Resting Rate) x 70% + (Resting Rate).  If female, add 5 to that.
This gives your Recovery Ceiling, which in my case initially worked out to be 143, but I had taken my resting HR at lunch in the office, so when I took it again just after waking one morning my Recovery Ceiling is now 145bpm.
So (according to the author) I should be doing a hard day then an easy day. On the easy day (recovery run) I need to keep my HR at or below my Recovery Ceiling. This also included my weekly LR, as the intensity comes from time on the feet, not exertion.
My next step is to get my Actual Max HR. This is done  either on hill reps or sprints, which I'll be doing next week. It'll give me a much more accurate figure for my recovery runs.
So on my intense runs, I'll be aiming for at least 80-85% of my Max HR during the sprints/hills.
The theory is that on the intense runs, you will be training your anaerobic fitness, but during your recovery runs, you'll be working on your aerobic fitness.
It's interesting to note, that the author claims to have used this approach for running marathons. Specifically, he runs the first 32k or 20miles under his Recovery Ceiling and then for the last 10k/6miles he goes at his 10k pace, or whatever pace he feels like he can finish at.
I may end up adopting this technique for my own marathon, depending on how the next couple of weeks go.

Food for thought...


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Week 9 training update & HR monitor...

Right, I had a head cold on Tuesday evening after my run (well before/during actually, but I had thought it was just sniffles), so I took it easy and didn't run again until after work on Friday.
I did the same route & distance (roughly) as Tuesday, keeping myself as much as possible under 143bpm. I did the same distance in 2mins less! My reasoning says that when I had the cold I had to exert myself more, so my HR would have been a tad higher anyway, which meant I had to run slower or walk to keep it under 143.
Hopefully as the weeks/months go by I'll see my aerobic fitness increase, and I'll be able to run faster but be exerting myself less and still keeping my HR low.
I'm meant to be doing a LR today, but there's a storm overhead at the moment, so I'm chilling out and catching up on emails etc. If it improves, I'll do the run after lunch. Otherwise I'll do it in the morning, forecast for tomorrow is a lot better!
Just yesterday I found a split in one of my NB 1225's between two of the layers on the sole...not good:
They may need to be relegated out of my running apparel and into housework/gardening...sorry to see them fall apart after less than 600k on them. Thought they would last longer...


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Week 9 update - cold again

Well, after I did my ultra-slow run on Tuesday, I was due to do a max out/balls to the wall run on Wednesday to see what my max HR was. Then I was due to do a club run tonight.
By the way I'm phrasing these thoughts you can probably guess that the plan isn't going well. I have had the sniffles for about two weeks, and they aren't going away. After my long run on Saturday - which I thoroughly enjoyed - I rested on Sunday and really felt like I needed more rest, so I took Monday off too.
So after the Tuesday run I just went downhill and my sniffles turned to a very runny nose and sneezes and being generally tired. So Wednesday/Thursday is a no go for running. Oddly enough, the weather has improved, and it's now 22-24 C, with today being the second official day of spring.
I'm still hoping to get my long run in at the weekend, but it's dependent on getting rid of the cold first. I have some family stuff to do on Saturday, so I could do my run early (08:00 or so), or leave it until later in the afternoon. If I am feeling ok to run on Friday (tomorrow) I'll do a 8-10k run then and then run on Sunday. I don't want to do a fast paced run while recovering from the cold, so I'll have to leave that until next week - but that's not a big deal.

The Sydney Half is two weeks away from this coming Sunday and I still feel like I need to put more work in. Also, I'm curious as to what my ideal starting pace is. I know I should save myself for the business end, but I want to give it my all and not feel like it was a walk in the park and that I could have done better.