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A week is a long time…

10 Nov

A week ago and I was yet to experience the spectacle that is NY marathon. We arrived in New York on Wednesday 30 October after what seemed an interminably long flight from Sydney, stopping briefly at LAX.

Amid the colour and clamour that is NY we still had to focus on the task at hand: a 42.2km event that was happening on Sunday 3 November. It was brought home to us when we visited the expo and picked up our numbers and competitors bag. Some of us shopped a little more than others! Then there was the Friday morning training run in Central Park – again for some of us but not others, namely me. However Keren very kindly offered to keep me company (and ensure I got back to the hotel without getting lost!). The big bonus of the early morning start was that we could take photos of the John Lennon Imagine memorial with absolutely no crowds, we were the only ones there.

On Saturday we walked the finish line of the marathon to get some idea of what to expect at the end Unfortunately we missed the Travelling Fit meet & greet at the Empire Hotel because our navigator went missing. Not once, but twice.

Our pre-marathon preparation probably wasn’t ideal but who’s not going to sightsee when in NY?! We managed to fit in Statue of Liberty, Wall St, 9/11 memorial, Times Square and a host of other places before the marathon

Saturday night. Normally I’d have a home cooked meal – pasta or grilled salmon with sweet potato. But we weren’t home but instead relying on restaurant food. We did manage to get grilled salmon which came with quinoa tabbouleh. I also had dessert – dark chocolate gateau with raspberry sorbet. Simply delicious and not as heavy as expected.

I didn’t sleep a wink Saturday night – not a wink. I saw the digital clock change back from daylight savings to regular time at 2am. I heard countless sirens, lots of outside noise, garbage trucks in the early hours. No sleep. Naturally at 3.55am I was ready for sleep, 5min before the alarm was due to go off at 4am. Naturally.

5.30am and we joined the growing congregation of bleary eyed runners downstairs, all clutching breakfast bags, waiting for the buses to collect us. We had to be on Staten Is by 7am before the road was closed.

It was the coldest morning since April. It was freezing cold, not helped by a very brisk cutting wind. We had to go through security before being allowed into the start area – 3 start villages: orange, green and blue (my village). Now a 4hr wait before my start.

Finally, 10.55am was close. At 10.15am it was off to find the correct corral before they locked them off. Then more waiting. I had decided that I would try to jog/walk as much of the course that I could do, then walk the rest. So it was that I discarded my long sleeved top which left me in a running singlet and leggings, plus gloves. No worries. I’ll warm up from the jogging.

And initially I did. I managed to slowly jog the first 5km to the first aid station, then walked a minute. Now aid stations would be roughly every 1.6km (1 mile) so the plan was to jog to each one and then walk about a minute. Well that was the plan and for the first 20km it worked out that way. I also ditched my gloves along the way because I had warmed up sufficiently. Remember, I didn’t start until 11am. By the 20th kilometre I was ready to stick to just walking – the effects of the cortisone were no longer evident. Up until this point I had enjoyed the atmosphere and the changing street scenes. The one that is most vivid for me was running through the Hasidic Jewish area of Brooklyn, not only for their distinctive dress and hair, but also because they completely ignored the event and just went about their daily lives.

Now comes the part I hadn’t thought through.

Because I was only walking, from the 20km onwards, I cooled down very quickly. There was a very cold breeze blowing. There was some brief glimpses of sunshine but most of the time we seemed to be in shade. And crossing the bridges it was extremely cold. I was also feeling sore and lack of sleep was starting to take its toll. And after having managed some running, walking suddenly seemed to take forever. The hours passed by ever so slowly. The sun was rapidly disappearing. And still I was walking. I couldn’t feel my feet or my fingers because of the cold. I recall walking into Central Park. But there was still a way to go. I recall a male spectator exhorting us to start running as we only had a mile to go. I wish. If I could’ve run I would’ve gladly done so. But now I was beyond caring. I just wanted to get warm.

Finally I crossed the finish line. There was no punching the air, high fives or big smiles – just tears starting to slowly run down my cheeks. Why? I don’t know – I was just so tired, sore, hungry and so bloody cold. I couldn’t function let alone think straight. I recall a medal being hung around my neck, saying no to photos, having a foil sheet wrapped around me, a plastic recovery bag shoved into my hands. And then more walking to get to Family Reunion, where I had planned to meet Mr B at the letter Q. To get there felt like walking another marathon. At some point I acquired a hooded orange poncho. What a picture. A slowly moving mass of bodies, dressed in orange hooded ponchos, heads bowed. As someone next to me said, we felt as though we should be chanting.

Finally the letter Q and shortly the very welcome sight of Mr B, who had to deal with an over-tired, over-emotional, frozen, hungry competitor who couldn’t stop bawling. And then another walk – back to the hotel. Followed by a hot bath (bliss – the best bath ever), food (chocolate mousse really does make everything better) and bed.

And let me just make this very clear – I was not upset about my time. In fact it was a lot better than I had predicted because of the jogging. I did the event in 5hr 54min, a far cry from my original estimate of 7hr.

It was a hard event because of the cold, lack of sleep and hunger. And I was sore. And I should’ve worn more warm clothes. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

That was my NY marathon experience.

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A week tomorrow…

22 Oct

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A week tomorrow…

That’s when I leave for New York and the start of my big adventure.

A week to get everything organised, case packed, and anything else that needs to be done before I leave.

Wow. Suddenly its all going so quickly. Before I know it I’ll be checking in at the airport.

Yesterday my Travelling Fit New York marathon singlet arrived in mail, along with all the other relevant information we need.

It’s all starting to feel very real and not just some future intangible thing.

In the meantime its business as usual on the exercise-front. It was back to the gym yesterday morning for a 45 minute xtrainer interval session. This morning it was a weights session that focussed on the lower body. I think I’m going to regret it tomorrow when I get back on the xtrainer!

And on Thursday I have the scheduled ultrasound scan. Followed by a 34km walk on Saturday.

A week tomorrow… 🙂

The never ending hip saga

19 Oct

journey
Its two weeks out from NY marathon and still I am having investigations to determine the source of the hip pain. Last Friday it was the arthrogram. Next week it’s another ultrasound scan though on a positive note it will be done by Wes Cormick, the best in the business. Normally it takes 6 weeks to get in to see him but I’m a special case 🙂 He’s seeing me next Thursday after a phone call from my doctor.

And why am I having another ultrasound scan? It appears that there is something going on with the labrum, the connective tissue around the rim of the hip socket. It looks like it’s peeling away rather than torn. There are other things showing on the MRI film so that’s why I’m having further ultrasound scans. If something is there Wes will find it. And hopefully I’ll get injections where it’s needed.

The good news is that there is nothing wrong with my hip joint. Something positive!

So stay tuned….

Meanwhile I did another long walk this morning. I started at 6am as I had a 30km walk to do and I estimated that it would take me about 5 hours. This would mean I would finish at 11am. So again I was up with the birds, having porridge at some absurdly early hour and then heading off just before 6am. It was chilly so I wore gloves to keep my hands warm. Sort of worked but they still got very cold and refused to cooperate a bit later when I needed to make a toilet stop. Honestly it takes me forever just to unclip the iPod and get my fuel belt off, let alone anything else.

It was very smoky from the NSW bushfires. The morning sky had a distinct pinkish hue and initially the sun was a glowing red ball.

I actually didn’t count down the kilometres as I walked this morning. It was a case of suck it up and walk. I had a job to do and I wasn’t getting distracted by thoughts of “are we there yet?”

I saw Ruth at about the 14km mark so we had a quick chat before we both went out separate ways again. At the halfway point I had a nut bar. I made a point of bringing something to eat on this walk. Up until now I haven’t bothered but I thought I should at least practice eating something as I will need to do this for 42km. I also a had 2 small bottles of coconut water in my fuel belt – makes a nice change from water or sports drink.

Eventually I did warm up so I had a quick pit stop to take off the long sleeved top and tie around my waist, and put my gloves in the fuel belt pocket. Then I was away again, intent on getting home.

My hip was sore from the 2km mark this morning so wasn’t the best pain-wise. More anti-inflammatories when I got home.

And my post-walk reward was a green smoothie containing coconut water, kiwi fruit, lettuce, baby spinach, fennel, protein powder and chia seeds. Surprisingly sweet and delicious…and green 🙂

In summary:

Distance – 30km

Time – 4hr 53.41min

Pace – 9.45min/km

Other exercise this week:

Monday, Wednesday and Friday – 45 min intervals on the xtrainer

Tuesday and Thursday – weights sessions

And the pressure’s on

12 Oct

Flyer NY marathon

Its official!

Bib number: 56290

Blue Wave #4 / Corral #56

Start time: 10.55am

The bit that has me worried though is the following:

SWEEP BUS and STREET OPENINGS

Sweep buses will follow the marathon route at a 6 1/2-hour marathon pace, roughly 15 minutes per mile, after the 10:55 a.m. start. These buses will transport any entrant who wishes to drop out to the post-finish area.
• After the sweep buses pass by, the city streets will reopen to traffic. Cross-street protection, medical assistance, aid stations, and other services will no longer be available. Runners on the course should move onto the sidewalks. The official end time of the race is 7:25 p.m.

I’m in the 10.55am wave. This means that the sweep bus will not be too far behind me. Nothing like applying the pressure. As it is, I was giving myself 7 hours to do the distance. Now I’ll have to revise and somehow try to do it in 6.30hr.

The other thing that has me worried is that I start an hour before lunch and will finish about 6pm, all going to plan. I’m going to be starving. I have the choice of water, sports drink and powergels, with fruit available from mile 20 onwards. I think I need to pack some bars in my fuel belt. I’ll be looking forward to dinner that night! 🙂

Today’s long walk

I was up early (5am) for a 6am start today – to walk 27km, my longest walk to date. This time I had breakfast before I left home. Last week I didn’t and I was starving by the end. I also wore my fuel belt today with 2 water bottles. I didn’t carry any extra food as I didn’t think I needed it. However I think for the final 2 long walks (30 and 34 km) before the marathon I will carry snacks so I can work out what will provide the best source of energy plus keep the hunger pains away.

My hip felt fine when I started but by the time 11kms had clicked over I was feeling it again…bugger. I saw Ruth near my turnaround point. After a brief chat (we were meeting up for lunch a few hours later) I set off for home. Other than discomfort in the hip area everything else was fine. I was tired by the time I had finished and was glad to stop. Also, the walk home is harder than the walk to Lake Burley Griffin because I walk down to the lake, which means there are hills I have to walk up on the return journey.

Stats:

Distance – 27.2km

Time – 4hr 27.08min

Pace – 9.48min/km

 

A bit of a breeze…

6 Oct

It was a tad windy on my 10km walk this afternoon. Strong gusty winds blew part way through my walk (at the furthest point from home naturally). I was being hit by lots of tiny twigs from surrounding trees though fortunately nothing larger. There were times when I had to brace and lean into the wind to keep going forward. Certainly made for good resistance training.

The left hip/adductor/torn semitendinosis attachment held up well after yesterday’s long walk though some discomfort was starting after about 5km. Nothing some anti-inflammatories can’t fix.

It’s 4 weeks today to NY marathon so I have a lot of walking to do between now and then. Every weekend will see me do a long walk on the Saturday ie next weekend I’ll do 27km; the week after it will be 30km and the week after that, 34km. Then the week after that it will be 42.2km, or 26.2miles. 🙂

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The things you see…

5 Oct

Well I’m officially back into walking training after completing a 23km walk this morning. Yes there is some discomfort but its manageable.

It was an early start as I needed to get the walk done before my scheduled massage later in the morning. So I was up at 5am (on a long weekend no less!) and out the door at 5.45am. 3hr 50min later I was finally back home again, ravenous, thirsty and tired. I’m still surprised how tiring walking can be.

As I was passing the Belconnen Arts Centre down by the lake, I came across a very strange sight. Not something one sees every day. Imagine a huge hot air balloon sporting large breasts and a head that resembles a turtle.

It’s a skywhale!

No? Never heard of it?!

Hindenboob?! Oh never mind, here’s a picture…

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Certainly eye catching, wouldn’t you say? A conversation starter…

This was my first experience of seeing the skywhale up close and personal.

According to the blurb on the Canberra Centenary website:

“The Centenary of Canberra has unveiled its largest commission – a sculpture by internationally renowned artist and former Canberran Patricia Piccinini that is a 34m long, 23m high hot-air balloon called The Skywhale. The Skywhale is at least twice as big as a standard hot-air balloon, weighs half a tonne and used more than 3.5km of fabric. It took 16 people seven months and more than 3.3million stitches to design and make.”

Then not long after seeing the Skywhale in all it’s glory I saw Ruth who was obviously warming up for parkrun. We had a very brief chat before parting ways – Ruth to the parkrun and me continuing on my never-ending walk (well it felt like that).

However eventually I did make it home, and after a rushed breakfast (I was close to inhaling the contents of the fridge I was that hungry) headed off for my much-needed massage.

I’d like to say it was heavenly bliss but I’d be lying! There were quite a few tight knots and spots that needed working out. But I felt so good by the end of it. I have another massage scheduled for 3 weeks time, just before leaving for New York.

Caught up for a coffee with Mr B in the afternoon to discuss New York accommodation and hear all about his recent overseas trip.

And I got to see Lorna Jane in the flesh. She was signing books at her store in the mall. 🙂

Tonight I had an Epsom salts bath. I think it will be an early night. That 23km walk has knocked the stuffing out of me. Who would’ve thought?!

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By hook or by crook

1 Oct

I know I can

This long weekend just gone I managed 2 x 10km walks back to back ie one on Sunday and the other yesterday. I haven’t been able to do that for a few weeks now so that is progress of sorts. So I’m ramping up the walking again over the next few weekends (I’m rapidly running out of weekends I might add). Combined with several sessions a week on the xtrainer plus weekly 2 weights sessions I’m hoping beyond hope that this will be enough to get me through New York marathon barring anything else going wrong (oops, shouldn’t have let that thought out).

I have to say that if it wasn’t for NY marathon and that I’d paid an obscene amount of money for the privilege of doing this event I probably would have thrown in the towel long ago, in fact not long after tearing my hammie attachment back in May. That’s been my usual course of action after an injury that has seen my stop running for any amount of time.

But this time I couldn’t.

NY marathon wasn’t going away and 3 November was going to come around anyway. And how awesome to be taking part in one of the biggest marathons in the world.

Even if I won’t be running.

So it has meant that I have had to train around my injury just to maintain fitness. I had a goal and by hook or by crook I was damn well going to meet it head on. Some people call me stubborn, some people call me mad.

Me? I’m just doing what I love doing – staying fit.

And yes, I am very goal oriented.

Don’t get me wrong. Yes, I love the feeling of being fit.

But really, who loves getting up at 5.30am to go to the gym for a 45 minute xtrainer or weights session?

Not me!

Who loves spending 3 to 4 to 5 hours on a Saturday afternoon doing walking training?

Not me!

Actually let me just clarify that. The thought of getting up early to get to the gym or the thought of spending hours doing walking training doesn’t exactly set my world on fire but once I’m up and out the door I do enjoy it.

And the feeling once I’ve finished, feeling hot, sweaty and tired?

Priceless!

Dear Universe…

5 Sep

It has occurred to me that you and I need to talk. Admittedly you have been sending messages of late that obviously I’m not heeding. However I think you need to be a bit more to the point about what you are trying to tell me instead of sending messages that only serve to frustrate rather than inform me.

So rather than beating around the bush, let’s just cut to the chase here. What exactly are you trying to tell me? In fact, what exactly is your problem? All I’m trying to do is get fit, stay fit and do what I enjoy doing – run. Yet, for some obscure reason that I’m yet to understand you have managed to set obstacles in my way. First the hammy injury back in May, a week out from the half marathon. I guess I should be grateful that you managed to let me run Canberra marathon the month before without any problems. So what was your issue with the half marathon?

And then there was the tendonitis of the hip flexor a couple of months later which meant I couldn’t do any lower body weights at the gym. So not content with bringing my running to a halt, you decided that it would be a great idea to mess with my head and reduce my exercise options even further?

And what precisely is your message this week, now that I am having problems with my hip and can’t even walk comfortably? If the message is to slow down, well what is your problem with walking? If I slow down much more I’ll be using a Zimmerman frame.

Seriously, don’t you have anything better to do with your time than make my life miserable? Surely the environment or world peace or even god forbid, the election, would be of a higher priority than little ol’ me who is only trying to prepare herself for New York marathon. What exactly have I done to you that you feel the need to do this to me?

So apologies for missing the point of your messages but what exactly are you trying to tell me?

Yours in frustration
A venting, stroppy, totally fed up CJ

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Good morning Thursday!

Stuck

4 Sep

Today I’m stuck.

First of all I was stuck for a blog entry title. If I don’t have a title how do I know what to write about? A heading is like a signpost – it gives me an idea of which direction to go.

But then, what do I write about? Do I write just for the sake of writing? What have I done today, or yesterday, that’s worth writing about?

See? I’m stuck. Stuck for words. Stuck for ideas, inspiration. Stuck.

This morning I did go for my early morning walk with random 30sec jogs thrown in. For the first kilometre I walk. My hammy does not like or appreciate any jogging in the first kilometre. It needs to warm up first. Then for the next couple of kilometres I managed 2 x 30sec jogs with no problems. So then I tried for 3 x 30sec jogs from the third kilometre onwards. This seemed to work well, as long as I stayed on the flat. Any flat parts of the cycle path became an open invitation to break into a very slow, very gentle jog. I have lost a lot of strength in the left leg due the injury so it tires relatively quickly. I could not manage any more than 30 sec jogs at the moment. But at least I can manage to do at least a couple of jogs per kilometre. That must be some sort of progress.

However…and there’s always a ‘however’…or a ‘but’ when things seem to be moving along in a positive way. I have somehow managed to aggravate my hip when I was back home, well after my walk/jog. I’m not sure if I sat awkwardly or got up too quickly but its bloody sore around the hip area (on the same leg as the injured hammy). The only upside I can think of is that I am seeing the specialist this Friday. It looks like he might have a couple of things to treat. At the moment I am walking quite gingerly – bringing my left leg forward is painful. Ok I’m limping. Not good.

So I’m well and truly stuck at the moment. 😦

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Spring has sprung

2 Sep

springToday is the second day of spring. As far as I could see it was a lovely day. I was indoors for most of it, busy at my desk with no view of the outdoors. The view from my window is a grim, grey and very boring brick and cement wall.

Yesterday, the first day of spring, I did a 23km walk. Now I can vouch for the fact that yesterday was a lovely day given that I spent 3.5 hours of it, in the afternoon, walking, walking, walking. Thank goodness I had arranged to meet Ruth for the Lake Ginninderra portion of the walk. Its so nice having company sometimes.

Actually, I didn’t realise how much I get in the zone, so to speak, when I’m doing one of my training walks. A couple of friends were out on their bikes yesterday, saw me from a distance and were calling out to me. But because they were behind me, I had my earphones in, and I was focussed on walking I never heard them. It wasn’t until I felt a bike slow down very close to me did I look up and see who it was!

The walk went ok. It was only the last 4km when Ruth and I went our separate ways, that I was finding it hard. I had slowed down because I was tired and the soreness was starting to settle in. It always feels harder when you’re on your own.

So 3.5hrs later I was home – actually it was probably closer to 4hrs later as we did stop for a cold drink and a sit down near the end. All I felt like doing once I got home was put my feet up and not move again. However, I had to have a shower and get ready as we were going out to dinner that night. At least I had walked up an appetite!

Dinner was with friends, Ruth & Mr B, and the Hares (who I had seen earlier when they out on their bikes!) at the Copa Brazilian Churrasco in Dickson. Due to a booking stuff up at SubUrban/Belluccis, we decided to try this restaurant and it proved to be a great choice. It was a lot of fun trying all the different barbecued meats on offer – from seafood to chicken to lamb to pork and to beef. Not a place for vegetarians! Mr CJ and I had been to a similar restaurant, Carnivore, in Singapore a few years ago.

Today was a rest day. Which is a good thing because I am really tired. I can’t believe walking can take that much out of me. I’m running walking on empty
Running-on-Empty