Sometimes you just have to hit snooze

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The astute among you will have noticed that I haven’t been writing as regularly as I normally do, I would love to say there has been a great reason for this but I’d be making stuff up…

It has been a fortnight of ups and downs,  with some pretty awesome training followed by some repeated hitting of the snooze button.  I even got to run in a different city as I was away for most of last week for work in New Plymouth and managed to get a ride and a run in a new city.

Working away from home is a double edged sword really, I always enjoy the solitude but miss Jane and the kids, and having a new city to explore is always fun, but not having anyone to share the discoveries with makes it a somewhat Pyrrhic exercise.   All that aside the New Plymouth coastal path walkway would have to be one of the best in the country and made my morning run and cycle a really magical experience.  It has to be said running along the coast is one of my favourite ways to start the day. Well favourite active ways to start the day, lying in bed with a good book and a decent coffee is still my all time favourite way to start the day.

I have also been logging the k’s on my long runs with an 18k to follow up my easter run of 15k and then an almighty 23k last weekend.  The 23 was probably a bit soon, not so much in distance, but the route I chose was uphill for almost half of the distance, I would have actually been better to have run it in reverse, at least that way the climb would have been short and sharp followed by a long descent.

So all the training has been going quite well – hitting the 23k milestone was pretty awesome, its just over the half marathon distance and only 10k short of the C2C mountain run.  Extrapolating from my run I figure the mountain run should take me somewhere between 4 and 5 hours, so I’m happy with that and I still have 290 odd days to get faster and get some more runs in on similar terrain to the actual run.

What about the downs I hear you ask??  Well the extra distances have definitely been having an effect on my body and I’ve been finding it difficult to motivate myself to get out of bed in the dark to go for my normal training runs.  Now I’m not a morning person, but I actually do enjoy the early morning sessions in the dark.  I don’t even mind the cold and rain as long as I am dressed for it, but I just haven’t been able to get up.  Now I know that this is largely mental and getting up is probably the best thing for it, but sometimes you just have to hit snooze.  Training is a combination of putting the body under stress and rest, and I’ve been pretty good over the past 8 months at putting my body under stress but not always so good at the rest part of the equation.

Being a night owl I have found it difficult at times to convince myself to go to sleep early, even going to bed early hasn’t always helped and I find myself still awake at midnight with a 5am alarm set.  Normally I manage to get up and exercising first thing wakes me up and gives me energy for the day, but nothing can hide the fact that I’m tired and need to get more sleep.  So today I didn’t get up, today I hit snooze and slept in for another hour.  And it was liberating!  I woke up feeling guilty because I didn’t go for the ride I had planned, but I felt better than I have for days, muscles don’t ache, brain isn’t foggy from lack of sleep and I’ve been in a good mood all day.

So the moral of the story, sometimes you do have to snooze, and not beat yourself up about it.  I know that its not the start of a habit, because I do feel a little guilty for not going for my ride but I also know that today it was the right thing to do.  I’m pretty sure I’m not over training though its something that I’ve been on the watch for, especially as I have come from a pretty low base it would be easy to push too hard in my attempts to hone myself into an endurance athlete.

So a mixed week, some really high highs, and some middling lows, but nothing that a sleep-in can’t fix.

 

Monday – Bike 30k

Wednesday – Bike 16k

Thursday – Run 9k

Saturday – Run 18k

Sunday – Ride 23k

Tuesday – Run 4k

Wednesday – Run 9k

Thursday – Ride 20k

Saturday – Run 23k

 

Hello Darkness…

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Last week was two weeks after my operation and I was officially allowed to start exercising again. Taking an enforced two weeks off was harder than I thought it would be, I actually missed going for a run or a ride, something that if you’d told my unfitter self at the beginning of this crusade I would have scoffed at you!

The first week of recovery was pretty much spent taking it really easy and either sleeping or doing things that didn’t require much energy.  That meant that I read a lot, got quite a bit further through Fallout 4 and caught up on a lot of sleep.  During the second week however, as I started to feel better and was able to get around easier without feeling like I had already run 5k with each set of stairs, I started to get the urge to “just go for a quick ride or run.”  I did resist the urge to go, I was under doctors orders and having been through this surgery before I knew that the appearance of feeling better was a bit of an illusion for the first couple of weeks.

Finally the day came when I was able to get back on my bike again, but those two weeks off had changed the experience somewhat.  For a start it was dark, and I don’t mean the sun will be up soon, its starting to get light dark.  I mean holy moly, I can’t see my hand in front of my face dark.  Luckily I had picked up a cheap generic CREE bicycle front light, which makes it like riding with car headlights, plenty of lumens to see and be seen by.

The other change was the drop off in fitness.  It wasn’t a huge drop but it was noticeable, legs ached a bit more than they had, and times were a bit slower.  I’m not really too worried about that, the first ride was intentionally slow and I kept my heart rate about 10 beats lower than I usually do my aerobic training at to ensure that everything is still working as intended.  Riding in the dark was slightly surreal, there are even fewer cars on the road than there have been in the past, but the blinking lights of a cyclist about half a kilometer almost ruined my resolve to have a slow recovery ride as I repeatedly had to kill the urge to catch up.  Luckily the slight reduction in fitness made that choice ultimately easy to make as I would have never been able to maintain the pace necessary to catch the unknown cyclist up.

Of course now that I had the green light to start exercising again I decided to ease back into it, so a ride on Wednesday followed by a gentle 6k on Thursday morning.  Running in the dark was really cool, although I tended to stick to the flatter sections of the road and keep off the rough stuff in the light of my headlamp.  I’ve been looking for a high visibility running vest, but the local offerings are a bit thin on the ground so I’ve ordered one off the internet.  I do struggle with running and cycling kit that isn’t highly visible, especially the winter stuff.  Even in the best weather its better to be able to be seen, and with modern coatings I shouldn’t have to look like I’m straight out of the 80’s in flouro.  (now there’s an  image – me in headband, arm bands and leg warmers and lycra all in flouro…  the best thing is that you can’t unsee that image now muhahahaha)

The run was hard, I really struggled to keep going and it wasn’t until I looked bck at my training log that I realised that it was a month since I had last run.  I had forgotten that I had stopped running to give my Achilles some time to heal.  The good news is that I had no Achilles pain at all, the exercises and rest had done their job, unfortunately every running muscle was calling out in pain for the next couple of days.

Friday I went for another ride, another relatively slow one to just turn my legs over and work some of the ache out of them.  The ride was pretty uneventful except for the rain that started the minute I left the house and stopped about 2k from home.  Signs of the months ahead and an indicator in what clothing I’m going to need to get to ensure that I can continue to train through the upcoming winter months.

  • Wednesday – Ride 17k
  • Thursday – Run 6k
  • Friday – Ride 17k

 

 

It’s all a flutter

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I’ve been on this little get fit trip since the 13th of September, just after my 44th birthday.  I had been thinking about doing the Coast to Coast for some time, mainly for an excuse to actually get off my butt and do some exercise but also as its always been a race that I’ve looked at and thought that it would be great to do.  It involves a kayak – that pretty much sold it to me.

The getting fit and losing weight though that was really prompted by my cardiologist who said I needed to lose at least 10kg as there had appears to be a correlation between BMI > 28 and Atrial Fibrillation which is something that I have lived with for the last 12 years.  All has been going really well and I’ve not had an episode of arrhythmia since just before my birthday and I have been slowly but steadily losing weight, heading back into the “normal” zone of BMI and back to the weight that I remember myself being.

Well last week that all came crashing down, and my heart once more had an arrhythmia, worse it was brought on by a combination of forgetting to take my medication before my run and (probably) dehydration…

After the previous week of cycling to give my Achilles a rest and my big walk on the Saturday, I decided that as we had the Monday off that I would do a bike ride then a run, which would be the first time I trained two disciplines in one day, back to back.  I started out a little later than I would have liked, hey it was a lovely long weekend Monday, I felt I deserved a rest.  So heading out for the ride at at 9:30 I put in a reasonable time for my usual 17k loop ride, then got home, changed and drank a good litre of water before heading out for a 10k run.  Halfway through the run I noticed that my heart rate was not behaving like it usually did and when I returned home I realised that it was indeed out of normal sinus rhythm.

I’ve been dealing with this for over a decade, it should probably be scary, but its not, its annoying and I will do anything I can to avoid going to the hospital again… So I did my normal routine of things that will put it back into normal rhythm.  THEY ALL FAILED… Ugh…..

So Tuesday morning I headed to the emergency room where eventually I was rebooted and headed home to get on with living again. Now when I say rebooted, I mean just that.  Like a computer, if you turn the heart off momentarily it will restart itself back in a normal rhythm – this is done under light sedation so I don’t actually see myself jump the way they do on TV, its quick effective and I can then get on with normalcy.

Needless to say I didn’t run/ride on the Tuesday or Wednesday, I did get a good hill day in on the Thursday which kept a really good eye on my HR during my run.  On Saturday though I headed out for another run and just crumpled, the couple of niggles that I’ve been working through seemed to have flared up and I just couldn’t seem to make any headway, every time I’d start to run it just seemed like my body was slamming on the brakes.  I headed back home without really even getting a sweat up.

All in all it was a bit of a rubbish week training wise, the heart thing obviously had more of an effect than I thought – both physically but also mentally, but there is only one thing for it and that’s to get back on the horse that threw me, albeit with a renewed sense of caution.  The rest has actually done my aches and pains well though as they’ve had time to heal themselves.

Training last week:

Monday – Bike 16km, Run 10k

Thursday – Run 6k

 

Shawn

 

A trip to the doctors

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As we enter the festive season, I normally make an appointment with my GP to get a quick physical and ensure that I have the meds necessary to get me through the holiday.  This year was no different, however this year I had a pleasant surprise.

I’ve been getting a checkup each December (and June) since a health scare some time ago so I am relatively in touch with things like my typical blood pressure (at the high end of normal) and this morning after three months of training and getting fit, my BP was 120/80 for the first time in over a decade.  Which is great and kinda annoying, great because it can only be because I have started exercising and annoying because it can only be because I have started exercising.  It’s really annoying to realise that those small changes can have big effects and that you could have instigated them earlier.

Still I am really happy that all the pain (well, not so much) and aches (more of them) over the past 3 months has had a measurable effect on my health and well being.

I hit another milestone (or should that be kaystone) last week, I ran/walked 5k on all my runs in the week!  And I managed to get my average minutes per kilometer under 7mins on two of the runs!  So definite progress and I have started week 5 of the Couch to 5k program which ramps running duration up considerably so I hope to push through the 5.5k barrier soon.

  • Monday – no run as flying back from Australia
  • Wednesday – Run 5.0k
  • Friday – Run 5.0k
  • Sunday – Run 5.0k