Thursday, 25 February 2010

Taking my own advice!

A few years ago a friend of mine who had a significant amount of weight to lose came to me asking for advice on how to lose a large amount of weight. I had recently lost 20kg in about four months through extremely healthy eating and exercise and she was just looking for a bit of inspiration/motivation.

This conversation came back to me last night as I looked at myself in the mirror in some horror, noticing some of my problem areas are really becoming more of a problem than they have been for about four years. Yikes. I seriously was on the verge of a panic attack. Negative thoughts about how I was going to end up back where I started - overweight and miserable - and have to start all over again.

After taking a series of deep breaths I decided freaking out was not going to help matters AT ALL, and what I needed was to take steps to get back on track. Step one was to jump on the scale to see the damage. It's really NOT that bad, but the problem is all the weight is sitting on my stomach and thighs - my problem areas - and that's where I always look. It's about 3kg that I want/need to lose, nothing too drastic I guess but on my short frame it makes a big difference.

My second step was to think about the advice I gave my friend. Basically, it was not to think too much about losing X amount of weight, rather it was breaking it all down into days. Each day - when I was on my first mission - I would barely permit myself to think about where I would be in a month or at the end of the month, I only thought about getting through the day - eating healthily, eating clean, going for a run/to the gym etc. For me, this worked because I didn't freak out about how HARD the weeks and months might be, I just thought about each day.

I apply a similar approach to running. Right now, I don't think I could run a half-marathon. Or, if I could, I would struggle badly and suffer even more badly the next day. However, if I focus on doing my weekly track sessions, one long run a week (increasing by 10 percent each week) plus a tempo run, a cardio session, weights session (times two) each week, I can handle it much more easily and don't freak out. Further, I break the week down - Monday is (at the moment) a 5km tempo run with some biiiig hills, Tuesday is Pump, Wednesday is my track running session, Thursday is cardio plus Pump, Friday is my rest day, Saturday is my long run plus weights and Sunday is a cardio recovery session plus a swim. Plus I try to do a core workout every second morning - just for 15 minutes or so - plus stretching my ITBs and hamstrings every day.

This is what's manageable. I just need to calm down and turn things around.

So, there you go, I'm taking my own advice. Any other advice/suggestions greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Endings and new beginnings

I did my fifth and last official ocean swim for the season on Sunday, rounding it off with the 2km race at the Cole Classic. The weather was dreadful, raining and windy. The swell at Manly Beach, where the race was supposed to be held, was huge. So dangerous that the beach was actually closed, and the race was moved to the much more protected Shelley Beach. Which was all good with me!

I had arrived early for the 1km race because some of the less confident swimmers in our group were hoping for people to swim along with them. The weather kept a few of them away, however, so I didn't have to! I was secretly relieved as I was feeling a bit run down and tired, so I'm not sure I would've been especially helpful to them!

It was an absolutely massive day though, something like 4,300 people had registered for the race, but on the day I think there were less than 4,000 finishers as people opted to stay inside rather than brave the rain. My wave - the women 30-39 - was huuuge. It wasn't a tough course, mainly because the water was relatively calm for most of the race, but there were SEVEN cans/buoys to locate and swim around. Gah! It was ridiculous, constantly looking up and trying to see where I was swimming next. Thankfully I don't I swam TOO far off course, although a good extra hundred metres or two.

The finish, however, was the highlight. I tried out a technique I'd read about on a triathlon website, somewhere, about what to do to prevent the jelly legs feeling after a swim. Basically, you kick REALLY hard to get the blood flowing back into your legs, and breathe more frequently, taking in lots of extra oxygen. It worked! No jelly legs for me. I felt like I powered up the beach, feeling great. And the cheers from the CanToo crowd were fantastic! It felt amazing to be part of such a great organisation raising $$ for cancer research. We've recently hit the $4m mark, how awesome is that!

I cheered on my friends and training buddies, feeling somewhat bittersweet about it all. It was like "yay, we've finished" and "damn, we've finished" because there is no more swim program. Boo hoo. We had a BBQ at Manly Wharf afterwards and I think we were all feeling very emotional, such a relief for it to be over but we were sad that we weren't going to see each other as much. I'll admit, that I went home, had a shower and sat on the couch in my PJs for the afternoon. Something I rarely do! Made the somewhat catastrophic mistake of watching some Disney-esque family movie with Tom Selleck (helloooo) in it, with a very happy ending ... baah, cue waterworks. Managed to pull myself together though. Damn hormones.

So, that was the ending. I am still feeling sad about the swim finishing, despite the fact that in about four hours the run program starts! With the CanToo crew again, I am addicted! It's quite obvious, ha ha. A lot of my former running and swimming buddies will be joining me and I am looking forward to really challenging myself. I mean, every half marathon program is a challenge but I really think I can have a good running year if I can stay healthy and injury-free. My goal is to run four half-marathons this year, and at least one in under 1hr 55mins. My closest was 1hr 57mins and I nearly killed myself in the process. Well, no, not true. I actually was running on target until the 13km mark when I was hit by a terrible case of ... self loathing I think you could call it. I caught a glimpse of myself in a shop window and a range of horrible and negative thoughts flooded my brain.

I would also like to lose a good 5kg I think. I was analysing myself this morning and I think 5kg will put me where I'd like to be. It's healthy eating 101 here. No junk, just wholegrains for breakfast, fruit, salad etc and all homemade stuff. Slight slip up this morning with vegemite toast on turkish bread ... and just had a low-fat smoothie which I probably didn't really need.

Also going to start doing at least two spin classes a week plus three Bikram classes. Both in the mornings to free up the evenings for running and Pump. Let's see how we go!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The Big Swim

On Sunday, 31st of January, I completed the 2.7km Palm to Whale Beach swim that I have been training for since November 2009. The conditions were pretty good, all things considered, but it was still one of the hardest things I've ever done.

The swell was pretty big, with two to three metre waves ... which if you're just bobbing around, is great. But when you're swimming out and around a headland it's exhausting. Like being on a rollercoaster and you have to work extra hard going up and over the waves. Nothing, however, compares to when you actually get to the headland. It was like being in a washing machine, smashed by the waves on the left side of your body, and then the water was all churned up from the backwash of the waves hitting the headland.

It took me just under an hour, which is what I was aiming for, so I was happy in that regard. I was lucky because I didn't get sea sick which some of my teammates did. Urgh. Cannot imagine anything worse.

Anyway, I have one last race on Sunday which is 2km and not nearly as tough as it's in a sheltered beach rather than swimming out into the open water. I am looking forward to it, but I am quite relieved that swim season is about to end and running will start. I have really bulked up around the shoulders and chest! None of my tops fit ... well, a lot of them don't, and I feel like a man. I am going to keep swimming, but will keep it more around 1km a session rather than 3km or so. Really just more as recovery than fitness.

In general, everything has bulked up! More muscular legs and back. My core is stronger, but everything seems bigger! The scales haven't really moved though, so not sure if I've lost fat and put on muscle or if I'm just imagining things.

No rest for the wicket, however, as I've signed up to do my Bronze Medallion with the Newport SLSC. Should be a huge challenge, because clearly I don't like setting myself huge challenges (ha ha). On top of two sessions for that a week, I am also starting training for my first half-marathon for 2010 next week. I am really looking foward to that too ... going for 1hr55min again. Got so close last year!

I've been reading up on boosting your metabolism, naturally. Still very confuzzled by it all. Think I might try seeing a new nutritionist. But then, I figure I should be able to work it out all by myself.