Archive | June, 2012

The weekend, part one

30 Jun

Rest day is over. After what seemed like a very short sleep it was back to the pool this morning for a 1.2km swim. There were two other people in my lane this morning and we just weren’t in sync. Somehow we always seemed to end up at the same end and I would graciously allow them to go before me, mainly because they were slightly faster swimmers and I hate having someone swimming on my toes. One was also doing breaststroke on alternate laps but he was forgiven because he was one of that rare breed – a fast breaststroker. They do exist 🙂

Later in the day, when the weather had deteriorated and it was chilly, with a cold wind and rain threatening, I went for a 10km run. As you do. I ran to the Pinnacle nature park and through part of it until I came to the steep downhill which is followed by the steep uphill. Not today. That would be left for another day.

It was all very mastercheffy in my kitchen today.  The afternoon was spent preparing and constructing a smoked salmon and char-grilled vegetable terrine.  And making poached rhubarb with ginger. I did have plans of making Shira’s feisty fried cumin hummus but unfortunately time got away from me. Maybe next weekend.

Tomorrow is cycling. Will I be cycling out to Federal Highway in the morning or doing a 75 minute windtrainer session? The weather will be the decider tomorrow so stay tuned! 🙂 


Rest day

29 Jun

It was so nice to wake this morning and know that I didn’t have to get out of bed and be somewhere by 6am or that there wasn’t going to be anything more strenuous than a shower before work! Believe me, when you’re training you take pleasure from the smallest of things! I was still feeling some residual tiredness from the week’s efforts so the rest day was definitely needed and appreciated.

This morning I was fortunate to be able to go on an Indigenous cultural excursion to Tidbinbilla, just out of Canberra. The name Tidbinbilla is derived from the Ngunnawal word ‘Jedbinbilla’ – a place where boys were made men.  We walked the Hanging Rock trail to Hanging Rock and  learnt a little about caring for Country. Adrian our guide also showed us the different plants that could be eaten or used for medicinal purposes. We then visited the Sanctuary, sat around a small campfire and listened as the other Indigenous rangers talked about the land, their people and culture. It was a really interesting morning and the ranger guided activities are highly recommended.

Tomorrow the plan is to swim first thing in the morning and then go for a run later in the day. 🙂


28 Jun

The day started well with a weights session. But as the day wore on, the worse I began to feel. Not sick but tired, I think…..I hope. It was as if I had run out of oomph.

So I was seriously in two minds this afternoon as to whether to do the cardio schedule scheduled for after work. I reasoned that it wouldn’t hurt to miss a session after all it had been a hard week and I had done every other session. So I miss a session?  What harm would that do. I’d probably be better off resting instead.

Perfectly good reasons to just go home. Except that I didn’t. I changed into my gym gear at work, drove to the gym and tackled the session, one machine at a time. I wouldn’t go hard but I would do it.

It was a fugly session but I still managed to sweat it out. The rolling intervals were the hardest, especially when the incline increased every minute for 4 minutes, from an incline of 3% to 9% by the end. I seriously didn’t think I would have the energy to do it but I surprised myself. Ok, I was clock watching  those seconds tick over but I hung in there until I could reduce the incline and the speed again.

Tomorrow is a rest day. I need it.

The great news is that I received an email today to say that my place in the 2013 NYC marathon has been confirmed! 16 months and I’m off to New York. I can’t wait! 🙂

“Some pursue happiness – others create it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson




Up before the sun

27 Jun

During winter, my Wednesday runs are usually done under the cover of darkness, from necessity. It’s the only time of day I’m guaranteed of getting a run in. Today I was meeting a very good friend for lunch so there was no possibility of doing a lunchtime run. So at 5.45am after my regular morning heart starter of black coffee I ventured out the door, into the darkness to do a 10km run.

My legs understandably were dead tired from yesterday’s workouts. I concentrated on at least picking up my feet otherwise there was a very good chance of tripping over. Not a great start to a day, any day. It was a balmy 4 degrees outside and initially I thought I might have been overdressed given that I was wearing tights, singlet, long-sleeved top, spray jacket, gloves, headband and cap. I did warm up very quickly but after the first couple of kilometres I felt comfortable in all of my gear so there was no need to strip off a layer.

When running in the dark I stick to the main streets which have the large and bright street lights and I run under these so I have a good view of the ground (or the road in this case). I also run facing oncoming traffic so I can step up onto the verge if a car is approaching. There are places where I do have to run on the smaller streets which have less bright lighting and here I have to be ultra careful about my footing. Sometimes I think that maybe I should invest in a decent headlight but never get around to doing this. But I’ve been running early in the morning for so long now that I almost know the streets where I run like the back of my hand.

I don’t usually see too many other people out at that hour of the morning. This morning there was a cyclist who *shock, horror* did not have a headlight on his bike nor was he wearing a helmet or reflective gear. To me, that is just sheer stupidity and he has obviously no concern for his own safety. As for me, my legs improved the longer I ran and was pleasantly surprised to find that I finished the 10km feeling pretty good. It wasn’t a fast run by any means but a good way of getting the tired legs moving after yesterday’s efforts, especially last night’s spin class. It’s also amazing what a good night’s sleep can do.

And I got back home just as the first few rays of sunlight were just making their presence felt on the horizon. This morning I beat the sun home 🙂

Today’s photo: I often walk past the ACTEWAGL building on the corner of Bunda St at lunchtime during the week and have wondered what the strange shapes are that in the foyer of the building. Today my curiosity got the better of me so I did what every self respecting researcher does these days – I googled! The name of the art installation is  ‘The Journey’, and consists of 37 major sculptural forms emerging from the polished concrete floor to become light-filled shapes named “Ossolites”. The artist Robert Foster wanted to convey the sense that the viewer is moving through a forest of tall illuminated forms, with a feeling which is somewhere between ancient spirits and a hint of strange creatures from the future. The Ossolites are programmed to create dramatic sequences of light, colour and movement throughout the installation. ActewAGL Chairman, John Mackay’s brief to Canberra-based artist Robert Foster was “I want to employ a full-time cleaner to have to wipe nose marks off the window every morning.” And no, I didn’t have my nose pressed up against the window 🙂

“Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves – to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterday by our today.” – Stewart B. Johnson


26 Jun

Tuesday. The English name is derived from Old English Tiwesdæg and Middle English Tewesday, meaning “TÄ«w’s Day”, the day of Tiw or Týr, the god of single combat, victory and heroic glory in Norse mythology. Tiw was equated with Mars in the interpretatio romana, and the name of the day is a translation of Latin dies Martis (according to Wikipaedia, so it may or may not be correct!).

Furthermore, according to Wikipaedia, in the Greek world, Tuesday (the day of the week of the Fall of Constantinople) is considered an unlucky day. The same is true in the Spanish-speaking world. For both Greeks and Spanish-speakers, the 13th of the month is considered unlucky if it falls on Tuesday, instead of Friday. In Judaism, on the other hand, Tuesday is considered a particularly lucky day, because in the first chapter of Genesis the paragraph about this day contains the phrase “it was good” twice. In the Thai solar calendar, the day is named for the Pali word for the planet Mars, which also means “Ashes of the Dead”; the color associated with Tuesday is pink. In the folk rhyme Monday’s Child, “Tuesday’s child is full of grace”.

Tuesday is also the first of my weights sessions for the week, followed by a she-devil spin class after work. After catching up with the goss before the doors opened this morning (E had competed in a figure comp on the weekend), it was a quick warm up on the xtrainer before hitting the weights. I love the squat rack. Don’t ask me why but I find a weights session is usually not complete without squats of some description. This morning it was traditional squats using the squat rack plus sumo squats with a weight plate. Another favourite is step ups with weights. My least favourite exercise this morning would have to be…actually, there wasn’t an exercise I didn’t enjoy doing this morning. I usually finish with 5mins of intervals on the xtrainer before doing 3 different ab exercises – 3 sets, 15 reps for each one.

I went for a quick walk at lunchtime to get me away from the desk and out into the fresh (very fresh ie cold) air. Today’s photo is of a sculpture that I must admit I had never noticed before. It’s on Bunda Street, near the Fish Shack. It was commissioned in 2010. According to Arts ACT, the sculpture, Life Cycle, employs the basic materials of stone and steel to create a form that is both supple and organic. The double spiral of tightly packed stones is a visual metaphor for a life crammed full of experience. Through his work the sculptor uses elemental materials and abstract geometry to explore spiritual and cosmic concepts. Hmmm, interesting……

Tonight I did the double whammy – a 20min rolling intervals treadmill session followed by a 50 min she-devil spin class. Thought I needed the challenge (hah!). There were moments when the quads were screaming during the class but she wouldn’t let us take a break. There are days when completing the class is definitely an achievement in itself. As a treat, tonight after dinner I had some 85% dark chocolate – it was definitely worth it.

Tomorrow I have a 10km run before work. My legs are going to hate me 🙂

Average is never good enough – she-devil quote

Just another manic Monday

25 Jun

5am. Hit alarm. Have coffee. To the pool for a 6am swim. 20 laps later get out, get changed, go home. Shower, dress, breakfast, drive to work.

Tackle the ever-full in tray, one issue at a time. Minor dent made by lunchtime.

Go to Rebel Sport. Buy cycle top on sale for 50% off, plus another set of swim goggles.

Drive down to Tuggeranong for an afternoon meeting which lasts a couple of hours.

Back to gym for a 40 min intervals session on the bike – 10 x 1min efforts (high resistance, low cadence) with 1 min very easy spin recovery, plus warm up and cool down. Total distance – 15km.

Home. Watch Masterchef while eating dinner. Get gear ready for tomorrow – weights in the morning, and 25min run intervals and a 45min spin class after work.

Write and post today’s entry.

Bed 🙂 Good night!

100th run

24 Jun

This morning was my 100th run with the Vet athletics club. I joined the club waaaay back in 1996 (I think) when I first took up running to counteract all the sitting I was doing in my new job in the public service. Prior to joining I had done a 6 week training program at the AIS to do the Canberra Times 10km fun run. Back then, 10km sounded so far!

Fast forward to today. I decided to ride to the event at Mt Ainslie, do the event and then ride home. In total it was a 30km ride and a 9.2km run. It was also freezing cold. I think I cooled down too much from the ride before starting the run and this caused me many problems. My feet were frozen numb and didn’t thaw until about the last km which meant I really had to concentrate on the course. I was worried I would do another CJ and I didn’t want to do it on my 100th run! Also my legs just wouldn’t play the game – they were cold, heavy and refused to move faster than what felt like a shuffle. Whether it was the ride in, or the run and swim yesterday afternoon, or the cold – who knows. But I have had far better runs than this – this was a shocker. And that last hill – I must ‘fess up……I walked some of it. Oh the shame 😉  I was hoping to grab a coffee after the run but there were no cups. Normally I would bring my own but I only had a small bag which had to hold my runners, t-shirt and bits and bobs so there was no room for a cup as well. So no coffee for me 😦

Anyway it was nice to get my t-shirt though it’s a bit awkward standing there listening to someone going on about your past achievements. And I wasn’t taking off my jacket, long-sleeved top or singlet to don the t-shirt – I was cold, and I still had to ride home.

The ride home was a lot harder than the cruisey ride in. For starters, there was a wind and I was riding into it. Didn’t help there was a hill to climb either. And to top it off, not far from home, as I was riding up Kingsford Smith Drive, a bus who was on a side street waiting to turn right, decided to pull out right in front of me. I could not believe it! How could he not see me! I think he chose not to see me and instead decided to try his luck when he saw a gap in the traffic.

Despite hanging out for a nana nap this afternoon I never managed it as I had too much to do to prepare for the week ahead. Meals to prepare, exercise gear to wash, dry, fold and put away, bags to pack for swimming and the gym tomorrow. I am totally knackered and hanging out for bed.

Here’s to another 100 runs! 🙂

Saturday sleep in & other stuff

23 Jun

A sleep in – its something I look forward to all week. The one morning when I don’t have to use an alarm, I can get up in my own time, make breakfast and have coffee while reading the newspaper, all whi9le still in my pj’s.

However, it doesn’t mean that there is no training. Oh no, that gets pushed to the end of the day. Today it was a leisurely 8km in sunny but chilly conditions this afternoon. I did get a few looks from the walkers who were rugged up in thick woolly jumpers and jackets and I was wearing shorts and a singlet! Fortunately I warm up relatively quickly when running….except for my feet. The rest of me can be quite warm, but my feet will be ice blocks or have no feeling…..which makes running rather interesting.

Then a little later I went to the pool for a 1.2km swim session. There were still quite a few people there and there were about 4 in my lane. We seemed to sort ourselves out after the first couple of laps and kept out of each others way after that. Just the way I like it! It was a really good swim – I felt strong and could grab the water today which really helped with speed. I seem to have good or mediocre swim sessions – today it was a good one. Win!

I also had a long overdue massage this morning, which was bliss. And my massage therapist noticed that I am more balanced in the body which is probably due to the cross-training as opposed to just running, which was what I was doing when I last saw her. She also noticed that my quads are feeling stronger which has probably something to do with the cycling. So all’s good.

And even better, my yurbuds arrived today! These earphones have been developed by a marathoner and triathlete and have patented ear-lock technology and are designed to fit your ear. So this means that they should stay put and not fall out while I’m running – a problem I have with my other ones. I tested them this afternoon on my run and they were great. They were really comfortable and you don’t even notice them. And not once did I have to fiddle with them to make sure they stayed put.

I watched the Port Macquarie Ironman on TV this afternoon. I was interested in seeing what the course looks like given that I will be doing the half ironman there at the end of October. Its still a bit too far away to start getting nervous about. But I will need to train for hills on the bike – there seems to be a few of them and one not too far out of transition.

Tomorrow – I will be cycling to Mt Ainslie in the morning for the monthly vets run (my 100th!) and then cycling home afterwards.


22 Jun

I know I shouldn’t be wishing my life away but boy, I’m glad its Friday! The end of a long week and it was a rest day to boot. How can I not be pleased with that! But what a cold bugger of a day it was today. I needed to walk to Bike Shed in Lonsdale St in Braddon at lunchtime and buy some bike booties and cleat covers. Then I had to walk to DJs in the Canberra Centre and get some things. So by the time I got back to work I was frozen. That wind was bitterly cold.

So tomorrow its back into training once again – swimming and maybe a run if I have time. I also have a massage booked in which I am really looking forward to and there is an Ironman event being televised early afternoon which I want to see.

And on Sunday, I do my 100th run with the Vets,which is at Mt Ainslie. I am planning on cycling there, doing the run, and then cycling home. But it does depend on the weather. 🙂

“Waiting to develop courage is just another form of procrastination. The most successful people take action while they’re afraid.” – Author Unknown

A gym day

21 Jun

This morning there was a focus on legs in the weights session – leg press, single leg squats, dynamic lunges, hamstring curls and leg extensions. There were also a few upper body exercises – incline push ups, lat pulldown, triceps kickbacks, lateral raises and bicep curls with barbell.

Then back at the gym this afternoon for my second cardio session for the week. I’m loving the ‘new’ treadmill that I discovered on Tuesday – so much smoother and everything seems to work.

Tomorrow – rest day. Yay! I’ve been really looking forward to this.