Tag Archives: 35 day challenge

Day 37…?

2 Jul

The big race has been and gone already. Thanks for travelling the distance with me. Here is how it all went down:

  • 7:00pm (day 34): carbo loading…leftovers
  • 9:30pm: should be in bed…not
  • 11:00pm: finally get to bed and set alarm for 5:45am
  • 11:05pm: lie awake thinking about the race. Suddenly realize I haven’t shaved my legs. Reset alarm for 5:30am
  • 5:01-5:27am (day 35) check clock repeatedly while willing my body back to sleep
  • 5:30am: alarm goes off. I spring out of bed ready for action…not
  • 6:30am: should be leaving…not
  • 7:30am: should be at starting line with rest of the stroller group…not (stuck in traffic trying to feed porridge to a screaming baby. At least my husband is driving)

    Our stroller group decided to unite with matching pink shirts instead of strollers just for the day. I was there in spirit only at this point

  • 7:45am: get dropped off and rush straight to the starting line, I’m not even the last one there!
  • 8:00am: race begins, all else fades away

    Not exactly off to a flying start with this crowd

  • 8:05am: feeling surprisingly good
  • 8:07am: not so good anymore
  • 8:22ish am: Pass 4Km marker, STILL 1.7 to go! Notice 40K marker (for marathon runners), reality check, better pick up the pace
  • 8:30:55am: cross finish line but no time to celebrate…where’s the bathroom?

    I look like I’m going for a casual stroll but this was actually my sprint finish!

As I’m sure many of you can relate, ideal race preparation is rarely the reality. I am very proud to say that, despite the less-than-perfect preceding 13 hours, I did it! I was aiming for 33 minutes and I did it in 30:55, two minutes less than my goal time! Maybe it was because I didn’t have time to overthink it. Maybe it was the momentum and excitement of the race. Maybe it was a fluke. Just maybe though, even though the day didn’t exactly go to plan, the 34 days of discipline I had already put in paid their dues and came through for me in the end.

My biggest supporter

People think running is a solitary sport but the team atmosphere at the Gold Coast Marathon was tangible. Groups of people in matching shirts supporting a cause, strangers cheering each other on, fellow racers stopping for a fallen contestant; we’d all been part of something, together.

People think running is a boring sport but the air around the event was literally charged with energy and enthusiasm. During the race I jogged alongside colourful characters like Santa and a smurf and there was live music at numerous stations. We’d all enjoyed something, together.

People think running is purely about beating the clock or scales but what I saw was motivated people from all walks of life proving a point. Mums like me proving they are more than their job description, cancer survivors proving their bodies’ ability to heal, families proving they are doing life together. We’d all achieved something, together.

As I took it all in, I realized that instead of being exhausted, I was energized and instead of being glad it was over, I was hungry for more. So now, instead of resting on my laurels, I’m embracing this healthy way of life and looking for my next challenge. Any ideas?

Back to a new kind of reality

Day 30: Eyes on the Prize

25 Jun

Only yesterday I was reminiscing and feeling pretty proud of myself. I’ve come a long way in thirty days. Recently a frazzled, fledgling mum, this challenge has helped me feel so much more confident and in control (relatively). I’ve worked hard to be disciplined and I’ve set up solid measures of accountability to make sure I keep at it. I’ve been consistent with my runs to the point that I can run 5.7 Km without stopping and I would go as far as to say that I’m feeling pretty fit these days. I have to admit that, although running is not my first (or even second) exercise love, I am really enjoying the training. I started thinking that maybe this is good enough; do I really need to run in a race…do I really have anything left to prove?

I’ve always thought there was a lot of wisdom in the idea that life is more about the journey than the destination. After all, it is along the journey that we face adventures, experience trials and develop character. But, as I tried to justify this notion in my slightly overactive mind, cracks started to appear. The whole point of a journey is not to wander around in circles it is to travel towards somewhere in particular, to have an end target. For me, in this challenge, it is the 5.7Km race in the Gold Coast Marathon.

I woke up this morning, reinvigorated, eyes on the prize. I’m going to race. Not just to finish, but to finish in a way that displays the heart of this challenge – with discipline, accountability and just a touch of good old-fashioned competitive spirit. Wish me luck!

The destination is pretty important too

On reading this back, it sounds like a good theory for a race but maybe even more so for life…hmmm

Day 25: Stinkin’ .7

20 Jun

I have been haunted by the desire to blog every night for the past week but I just haven’t been able to get to it before incoherency seeps in and sleep is the only option. Life has been getting in the way of my blogging! There is a certain irony in my dilemma because it needs to happen for me to have something to blog about…it would just be a lot more convenient if it happened between 9 and 5!

So anyway I’m back, and despite plenty of opportunity, I haven’t used my online absence as an excuse to become undisciplined on the running front. The weather has been pretty un-cooperative recently but I’m still steadily moving towards my goal of running the 5.7 Km in the Gold Coast Marathon in less than 2 weeks.

One thing I’ve taken up to spite the weather is cross training. Hill sprints, skipping and circuit training have now found a home in my weekly routine. My stroller group coach claims that runners can never do enough squats or lunges so I’ve been adding a fair few of those in as well.

I also came to the reluctant realisation that my standard run-for-time style of training was not really preparing me for this race. ‘Map My Run’ now has me sorted and I have a couple of routes planned out that are exactly 5.7 Km. Yesterday I tested it out and I can tell you that the last .7km was a killer – both physically and mentally! It doesn’t sound like a lot but I’ve decided it is like marketing something at $5.99 instead of $6. We all fall for that deceptive five in front. The extra squats had my legs protesting from the very beginning and gazing wistfully as I continued past my old turn-around point did nothing to keep my head in the game. I am realising how much mental preparation goes in to this running business. On the positive, I guess I am glad that I am facing this now rather than on race day. Maybe if I throw in a few 6K runs I’ll go back to falling for the five in front again.

Day 13: Variables Investigated

7 Jun

So in my last blog I was pondering the deep, world-changing topic of running variables that affected my increasing speed. Well, I have done some research and the verdict is in…there are too many variables to determine a cause and effect relationship. On the plus side, one of the consistent explanations was that I’m getting fitter, I’ll take that! Not wanting my findings to go to waste, I have shared some of them below. Check it out:

Joey and I heading out for a late afternoon jog

Variable 1: Running with a stroller vs running without

Pros for running with a stroller:

  • Burns more calories
  • Run is perceived to be smoother.
  • You can still run even when you are home alone with your baby.
  • Gives you an upper-body workout through the resistance of pushing the stroller.
  • You have a place to carry your water, cell phone and store your sweatshirt when it gets too hot.

Cons:

  • It is heavy, especially going up hills, and gets even heavier as your baby grows.
  • Slows down your running time by 10-30 seconds per kilometer
  • You have a child with you so any number of things could slow you down from a dropped toy, to boredom, to the desperate need for a drink or snack right NOW
  • It is annoying and zaps the awesome ‘free’ feeling running gives you.

Advice for running with a stroller:

  • Push with one hand at a time and switch every 500m or so. Also, if you have adjustable handles, make them so your arm can be at a right angle when you are pushing.
  • Give yourself time to get used to it. You may feel awkward for a while but it will become normal soon
  • If you have a lockable wheel put it in lock mode for a safer and smoother ride
  • Give your baby time to get used to it. They love routine and will come to love or at least tolerate the ride. Probably best to not go when your baby is due to eat. I have found that late afternoon works for us at the moment because bub is tired and I either get a bonus nap or he is content to watch the world go by.

Variable 2: Running with music vs listening to the world go by

Pros to running with music:

  • Helps get you in a rhythm
  • A good distraction from listening to your breathing and the negative self-talk or over-thinking…or is that just me?
  • It can be inspiring and motivating and help get you in your running space

Cons:

  • If you have your music too loud you may be a safety hazard – running out in front of traffic, taking up the whole sidewalk…I’m being a bit facetious because I am a granny when it come to listening to music through headphones but I have heard that these problems exist. On a more serious note you do need to be aware of your surroundings, especially in  quieter areas
  • You may get out of touch with your breathing and footfall so you aren’t familiar with your symptoms when you are tiring – good to krace for a race.
  • I don’t know about you but running is a great time to clear your head of the clutter, listen to the rhythmic (if not laboured) breathing and footfall and let your mind wander.

Advice:

  • Research shows listening to music is most beneficial for low to moderate intensity runs so maybe use it on your easy running days
  • Find music with a beat that is slightly above your stride rate so you are motivated to ‘run to the beat’. It is especially helpful right at the start when you are trying to set your pace and towards the end when you are getting tired.

Check out these great websites for further information:

Day 9: How to knock 30 seconds off your PB PB

3 Jun

PB PB? No, it’s not a typo, it stands for post-baby personal best…and I would love to be able to share the secret, as soon as I figure it out (sorry to be a tease).

On Friday, I went for a run. It was late afternoon, the husband had just returned from 3 days away and I was able to leave the baby at home. I cranked up my ‘old-school motivation’ playlist on the iPod (who doesn’t find MJ’s ‘Beat It’ great to move to) and off I set on my usual route. I usually run for time rather than a particular distance and no one was more surprised than me to find that I had to run an extra 30 seconds when I got back to my starting spot.

I really need to start taking actual photos but you get the idea

I figured it was a fluke but felt pretty chuffed about it none-the-less. Today, I went for another run and this time it was a family affair. I pushed the stroller, hubby got pulled by the dog and then we swapped at the turn-around point. Not only did I keep the new pace, I went slightly faster.

I have no idea what happened but after reading what I have just written, there are a few variables that require further investigation:

a) running with a stroller vs just plain running

b) running with a partner vs running alone

c) listening to my iPod while running vs none.

So my task this week will be to uncover what (if anything) hinders and helps my running. Do you have any tips that help you get in your running groove or variables that affect it?

Day 7: Food Fight Friday – Minestrone

1 Jun

As I’ve delved a bit deeper into the blogging world, I have come across some seriously great blogs. The idea of ‘Food Fight Friday’ was one such find on Run DMT’s blog, and seeing that finding healthy recipes is something I need to keep this challenge on track, I thought I’d jump on the train and share my most worthy meal this week: Hearty Minestrone.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 rashers short-cut bacon, diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic / 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 1/2 sweet potato, diced (usually the recipe calls for normal potato but I didn’t have any, I think this worked even better)
  • frozen peas and corn
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 1 can 4 bean mix (drained)
  • Vegeta used as vegetable stock to make up 1-1.5 litres
  • 1 cup soup mix (you know those dried grains and lentils)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed herbs
  • 1 cup macaroni
  • 1/4 cabbage, finely sliced

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tbs oil in large saucepan, add onions and bacon. Cook till fragrant.
  2. Add garlic, carrot, sweet potato and celery. Cook 2 mins.
  3. Add canned tomatoes, vegeta stock, 4 bean mix and soup mix.
  4. Bring to boil and then simmer on low for 30 mins to 2 hours
  5. Add peas, corn, macaroni and herbs. Cook a further 20 mins or until macaroni is al-dente
  6. Serve with a sprinkling of raw cabbage and crunchy bread (I love toasted turkish bread)

Day 6: Ode to Can

31 May

There is an ad on TV at the moment that stands head and shoulders above the rest. Not because it is Super Bowl worthy but because it appeals to the frontal lobe for a change. Actress Toni Collette simply recites the poem below. Poetry is so under-rated in today’s society unless it is accompanied by a catchy beat and sexy voice. Yet when I look at these words, on the page, in their raw form, I see art. There is so much scope to evoke emotions and images in a personal and individual way. ‘Ode to Can’ definitely helped me stand a little taller and straighter today.

Image

enough said

Ode to Can

There’s a four-lettered word

As offensive as any

It holds back the few

Puts a stop to the many.

You can’t climb that mountain

You can’t cross the sea

You can’t become anything you want to be.

He can’t hit a century

They can’t find a cure.

She can’t think about leaving or searching for more.

Because Can’t is a word with a habit of stopping

The ebb and the flow of ideas

It keeps dropping

itself where we know in our hearts it’s not needed

And saying “don’t go” when we could have succeeded.

But those four little letters

That end with a T

They can change in an instant

When shortened to three.

We can take off the T

We can do it today

We can move forward not back

We can find our own way.

We can build we can run

We can follow the sun

We can push we can pull

We can say I’m someone

Who refuses to believe

That life can’t be better

With the removal of one

Insignificant letter.

T.S. Elliot

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