Bike days..

Until I get more confident on the road I will really only heading out when my husband is with me –  which means weekends only.

Last week we headed out and decided to do my first ever road ride. We picked a quiet road and that was the only quiet thing about it. Few cars. Everything else came at us. Hills. Wind. Rain. Hail. And missing gears or feet not clipping in. 
We got to 8km and halfway up a killer hill before I called out to hubby ‘…STOOOOP…’ I have to stop, I cannot go any further, I have to stop here..’ I’m all dizzy, feeling like I’m going to vomit. I was enjoying it, it was just too much right there. Now, I’m not usually one to pike out that easily or give up, I am, however, at the point where I know my limits and with an injury on the mend I do not want to make it worse.  We headed back – down the uphills, and up the downhills. Neither were quite as bad as they were the first time. Funny that.

The Learning Curve
While we were resting at the halfway point, hubby remarked that cycling must be way different to running, as he can ride all day, yet barely run 5km. I can run and am pretty fit, yet cycling makes me feel so un-fit. It is a completely different set of muscles in your legs that you use. 
I have to learn how to cycle again. Or in the first place. Cycle properly being the words.
My first few rides were all of about 16-17 kms total, which is the most I have ever ridden in my life. I may have had bikes, but 5k was about it when I went out.
Hubby has been riding bikes his whole life and long distance. He also rides motorbikes, so the whole thing is natural to him. I like to have a little more control over my legs and body. A little, I’m learning how to relinquish that.
I am happy to push it and go fast on the straights and small undulating bumps, but hills – both up and down –  and cornering are things I have to practice and master.
Uphill riding. There is the standing up to pedal uphills, while I was happy to do this on my old bikes, the way you hold the handle bars it’s a whole different stance, or maybe that’s just because the gears are better. Either way it’s something I have to learn. 
Braking, or steady downhills. I watched a couple of you-tube clips and one of them said to focus on the front brake more. Now these guys are pretty good riders, so it would make sense they know what they are talking about. However, after hubby saying I should focus on the rear and feather the front brakes –  which works for me, I’m slightly confused.  Initially I was riding the front brakes heavily which as ok, but not ideal.  
Cornering.  I am nervous about this as I’m still not sure what I or the bike am capable of when it comes to rounding corners. Especially downhills and in the wet. I remember I used to fly around corners when I was 12 and 13, but I’m way more cautious now and the whole things scares the bejeezers out of me. How fast is too fast, and how low into a corner can I go?
Stopping. I’m getting better at stopping, or pulling up at lights. Still a little clunky, but overall, a lot smoother than the first time, which is to be expected.
Skills to learn. New actions to get used to. It’s only been a few weeks.

I’m doing alright.
Well, at least that’s what hubby says.  He is so proud of how I am doing, I’m getting gradually faster, steadier and more comfortable looking. He says I look really good on the bike and it works.  We had a chat on the return of our last ride and he said ‘..this is the longest ride you’ve done, like ever, in your life..’ and at that point, yes it was. Around the 20km mark. I still felt so good, and was ready to push it. I was a little nervous getting back on the highway (the start and finish of this last ride was mainly bike track with a little main road in the mix) but the cars were pretty polite with only one or two that were close enough to touch. 
We finished the day with 36kms and I feel fantastic! 
I’m not sure why I waited so long to get back onto a bike. Actually I do, I remarked that I was ‘scared of the super skinny tires’, don’t know why now. they’re pretty stable.
I can see this is something that will last me a long time to come. I’ll have to keep my shirts at all sorts of lengths as I’m already getting another weird sports tan. 

Fit not skinny

The ‘Why’
When we start a new fitness or exercise routine what is our aim? To get fit, to lose weight, to look better in a bikini..? 
To look like what ‘society’ says we should. 
Unfortunately for many people this is the why they start something of this vein, when the only reason should be to be happy with themselves. To be fitter, healthier and Happy.  Most of us take a few goes at the new regime to get our priorities sorted, and to be doing it solely for ourselves. 
I’m in the third year of my running and as my regular readers know, the last few months have been soul searching for my Why.  The why am I doing this, Why. 
Today while out on the bike I had this weird epiphany, it’s not that I only just realised it, it was the title of this post. Part of my why is to be fit not skinny. The weight and toning will sort itself out as I get fitter, and keep active. I don’t want to be working out like this to get skinny. I want to be fit and strong. 

Weight vs strength
How does weight have an impact on your strength? To be honest I don’t know, but from what I’ve seen, you don’t have to be skinny to be strong. Some of my customers, and social media friends, go to weights classes and could dead-lift me out the gym. None of them are skinny. Fit and healthy looking, absolutely. 
This doesn’t mean I wont still be wanting to lose that 8k+ I’m carrying, it’s more a matter that it will sort itself out when I get my routine back into action. Despite my best intentions (that have gone awry at times) not being able to run means that there is a rogue kilo or two that has decided to call me home. Knowing I can get out on the bike gives me another outlet, I just have to push myself and not want to eat all the food after a short ride*. My weight will become less of an issue once I am back to 100% active.  It’s about being stronger than I was before and being able to ride or run the hills easier, finish a run with more left in the tank, and generally have it feel more comfortable. Like it was 6-8  months ago.
Weight is only a number right?
*This is something I have to work on. I know when I run 15+kms what I can eat, but riding 15k is such an easy thing to do, the distance to eat ratio is completely different, and i have to make the appropriate changes.

Fit endurance not fit muscly
I know a few people who attend the gym simply to get lean and be muscly and look good. While there is no problem with that, people can do what they like, especially as it doesn’t affect my life.  I however, want to do more with my gym workouts. I want it to supplement my cardio. I want to have that endurance (you never know when you’ll need to outrun someone/thing or zombies..). I want to know I can go a distance, and look good. I don’t mind if I have a few lumpy bits, if I know I am strong then that’s all that matters. Being a lean machine is not as important as being a strong one.

Fit not skinny.
Your ‘why’ is your business. Mine is to be strong and fit, to keep active well into my old age. Not to end up with knee/hip replacements or being injured form doing sports because I am unfit. 
I want to be fit and strong. The skinny will come, or not, with how I workout and what I eat. 
I have to watch my diet, and not watch as in watch it go down my gullet.

This next part of my journey is about the fit not skinny, the diet and workout, the physio and running. The bike.

Runalicious

I’m a shopper. Love my clothes. I’m not a fashion victim – on trend is not important to me.
Because of this infliction my running wardrobe is quite…extensive. I started a  spread sheet so I know what I have. 
I’ve been looking at these two tops for several months now. They are super cool and a little bit fun.
I eventually gave in and got out the credit card. Today they arrived after sitting in customs for way too long.
I’ll need to wear a second top or a crop under the tank top – don’t want to be showing side boob.
The jumper is cozy and oh so comfortable.

Do you have too many running/gym/cycling clothes? 
Is there a top or pants you kept looking at and just had to have…?

New name, new ideas.

The beginning..
As many of you know, I have been a bit all over the place this last few months. Running has hit an all time low after an amazing year. Injury, unsure of where I’m going and what I want to achieve.
I’ve had such an amazing run (pun totally intended) over the last three years and while it doesn’t need to stop I have needed to re-asses the activities I am partaking in.  Genetics plays such an important part of how we do things, and while my running has slowed down several things I know that the things in my jeans genes will inevitably cause me to slow down that particular action.
I have always known (just been too lazy to really do anything about it) that I should be doing more than just running – more stretches, other sports etc – and after everything I have read, those that do several different sports or gym classes are less prone to injury. Yes, this is a very sweeping statement, but they start from some truth somewhere.

 

Cycling
According to my husband I have taken to this cycling thing like a duck to water (my words, his thoughts), he is crazy proud of how well I’m doing, and enjoying it.  I always had a bike growing up, loved riding it, rode it everywhere. Insert the usual story of kids and moving around and I lost fitness, thoughts of doing much of anything and cycling never really came into the equation.
Somewhere in the last ten or so years we picked up another bike for me and I rode it ocassionally, but my knees screamed at me, like seriously hurt, so I just stopped riding. The pain was too much, even a gentle slope was agony.  I used to joke I can run but not ride bikes. My knees hurt.  I then did a session with a PT and she showed me how I should be riding a bike…ahh, it all made sense. I still didn’t get on my bike.
Fast forward a few more years and we are here where I am today. Proud owner of a super cool bike and itching each day to get out and ride.  Like I said to my co-worker who questioned my ‘you always said you hated riding and wouldn’t do it’ notion – when you get a correct fit and the right size bike, it all falls into place. It becomes a dream to ride.  Cycling will also help my legs, which follows through to my running, become stronger. And that can only be a good thing, right?

Running & other stuff
So, you think that now I’m cycling I’m not going to run anymore..ahh, not on your life. I still want to run, there is a certain freedom to just getting out there and going for it. Also, I can still indulge my new found enjoyment of trail type runs which I cannot cycle with a fang dangy road bike.
The immediate future is me working on running again (thank you mr Physio) with two races straight up in Jan and Feb of 2019.
My next visit I will be asking the Physio if I can start again as I don’t want to miss my first race (the fourth race of four years for the Cadbury series* – my term there).
After several discussions with hubby I will be taking it easy next year, doing races as I feel like it, if there are spaces available when the time comes and not having it all planned out. Ride my bike, work on general fitness – pilates class and hopefully boxing – and seriously do my strength work. 
Having seen the results from the leg test at the Physio  has made me realise how much can be gained from just one simple exercise.
My big race next year is a 25k trail run in April – one that I definitely want to achieve. 
It will be a big year but we will ride it out together, have a great run…

The name
I love to eat. Simple. After exercise is a good time to do it. After all isn’t what we do these things for. So we can eat All The Food.
I have changed my Instagram gram to reflect this also. 
I run. I ride. I eat. I love a good food shot, I love plating up a sexy meal – and yes food can be incredibly sexy. 
I want to add in the food aspect of my running and riding, more that just food in general. While I do love a good bag of chips, I am pretty healthy otherwise, so this will not become about what you should or shouldn’t eat (we all know the rules), but more about my journey with food and how it works with my body**.

**I have noticed a huge difference already with my non running than to when I am getting out and running consistently.
*Cadbury series – four races over 4 years. 5k 10k, Half and Full marathon. Next year is the final for me in the 5k run. Although I never actually finished the marathon, I got more than half way and they allowed me a medal. 

it’s time to ride…

Buy the bike
I have mentioned briefly in another post somewhere about wanting to start cycling, or maybe I had just been thinking about it…anyhoo.
Well, shit just got real, coz the weekend just past resulted in me gaining a road cycle and the gear to go with it.
Hubby and I did a 15k ride and…omg, how much fun was that. Why have I waited so long to get back on a bike. Sure the seat was weird, and hurt even though I had all the padding. The gears are quite different to anything I have used before and the drop bar..so natural and comfortable. I definitely don’t want a flat bar.  I didn’t push it but I certainly wasn’t taking it slow either. I’m glad I am as fit as I am, for I found it reasonably easy.  The hubster was mightily impressed with my first go, he has cycled on and off for many years so is much more of a natural on the two wheels. 
I am a little wary of the speed, and public roads, so will slowly be getting to that point.  I found pain in places I didn’t know existed the next day, which was interesting. I know cycling different to running, but I figured the muscle groups were similar. Not so much.
He even commented that I have good leg muscles..well, duh. 

Beautiful schmexy bike

Physio time
This was physio week and I have to say I am very happy with the result. I love what this guy does, he knows his stuff.  As a sports person, he knows what I want to do – run – and is doing what he can to get me back out there.
There was good news and not so good news. I’m not going to say bad news, because, while it was not ideal, it certainly wasn’t bad.
I still have a ban on running ~ sad face ~ and a modified version of my original exercise with several more added to it. I can however cycle, with a time (and pain) limit, but this is my cardio and I am going to embrace it like there’s no tomorrow.
My exercises are still on a 3 day rotation, which suits me fine. I’m working out, resting, and making progress.
As part of his initial diagnosis he did a test on my legs and today we did it again. I said I could feel what was happening and the pain was not always there like it used to be, just niggling away, and especially bad on a busy day at work. I wanted that confirmation I was getting better I spose. Well, holy shite, I almost doubled my score, in a good way. It was a massive improvement. Physio man was happy.

The second part of my new exercises.
Love this guy’s drawings, they’re such cute little people.

Cycling
It’s been nearly a week and I have walked past my bike every day, patting it on the seat and stroking the handlebars (yes, I did this, lurve my new bike!) but have not yet had another ride. The main reason being the weather – wet, cold and depressing – if it was wet and warm I could probably tolerate it easier. I am totally hanging out for the weekend to go riding again.
That’s the easy bit, the other is to control my love of active wear fashion.
My running wardrobe is so big now I made up a spreadsheet of what I had so when I buy things I can work it to match more than one pair of pants/top/socks. Yes, I’m that sad. 
I said to hubby “you realise the monster you’ve unleashed here…cycling fashion is soo cool..” he laughed, said yes and agreed. I have purchased my first cycling item and fingers crossed it works. Padded knickers that I can wear under my running shorts. That way I am multi tasking my wardrobe – bonus all round, less spending, coz cycling kits are way more expensive that what I spend on running.
I somehow managed to match everything with each other. Bike, shoes and clothes. And later I noticed my phone cover is the same colour..ugh, how..I have no words for this.
While it may look orange-ish, it is most definitely not. More of a salmon colour. Which I really find, gross, but the technical term, Satin Acid Red…well that’s more like it.

That feeling after your first ride!
Inadvertently completely matched outfit to bike. 
I borrowed the blue top and wore socks to match, which also match part of my shoes, which match my bike. 

Latest virtual run
My last virtual run was one I wasn’t going to do until I saw which city it was for. As a born and bred Hobartian there was no choice, I had to do it. When I saw the medal, I knew exactly what my finishers picture was going to be. One of the busiest intersection in the city, but I think I nailed it. After like a hundred pictures – streetscape, too many cars/people, half a medal, too much finger, medal moved – because I couldn’t actually see the screen on my phone. I think it works though.

The injured break


We take breaks from running for all sorts of reason. We get busy, go on holidays, are sick, the family are sick, work is overloading us, we lose our ‘mojo’ or for most of us, the worst thing that stops us running…is injury. Because this usually means a forced stop, we often have mixed feelings about it. Our mojo, our wanting to run can still be there, yet, we have to not do the thing we love.
It can be a very emotional time. We struggle with our feelings of failure, of the what ifs, the why didn’t I’s. We think about all the things we know we should have done, the exercises that could have prevented it. But what if something happens that is hard to prevent, an injury that may or may not happen. Something that you can’t prepare.

What if we just go about our business with no idea we are doing ourselves harm until it is too late and then sit on said injury for maybe too long before realising it is slightly more serious than tight hamstrings or a sore glute.

Such a thing has sidelined me for at least two weeks. And it hit home hard. I had felt the pinch for a few months but did nothing about it. I finally went off to the physio to see what she could do. Nothing as it turned out. I was not at all impressed with her diagnosis, (even though she kind of got it right), no actual proper term was mentioned, only a pfaff about answer and exercises which I believe were not going to work. I paid, said my thank you’s and off I went.

The next day I asked my brains trust (running group on Fb (of 30,000 women) where there is always more than one person who has had an infliction at some point) for their thoughts.
Several answers came back so off I went to do some research. Now I had an idea of what it was, everything I read made sense. It was like I could have written it if I had a better way with words and knew all the scientific names for things. 
It turns out I had Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy. A real pain in the butt. Literally and figuratively.


A friend had recommended her physio so I rang and booked in to see if I could get some definitive answers.
Well, the man brought tears to my eyes, but in my head I knew it was the right thing.

After a short conversation and a couple of tests I had my answer.  
I knew deep down I would most likely have to cool right back or stop running. 
I knew it would be hard work, after my ITB. 
I didn’t want to accept it. I didn’t want to feel like a failure. I didn’t want to accept that I am not as young as I was. I didn’t want to stop. Simple. And right at the point where I was thinking about the new direction I was heading.
I did know though, this was part of the catalyst for the new direction.
I wasn’t expecting it to hurt like it did.
I could feel the emotions welling up, I could feel the sting of tears. 
I was all good until he said those words – “…no running for two weeks…”
Walking is fine, but if it hurts, then stop.
That was the end of me. 
Where I live is not exactly a flat place so I now have to drive everywhere, even to go for a simple walk. My street is steep, my driveway is steep.
I cried all over him. 
It was horrible.
I paid up, made my next booking and sat in the car.
Sombre. Feeling sorry for myself. Pity party for one.
Sent hubby a message.
Then pulled up my big girl panties and drove home.

I have one exercise to do. That’s it. One. Three sets, three times a day every third day.
I’ve done my first day. It was intense. A half hour for each session. 
I will do my two weeks of exercise. I will get stronger. I will continue to run. I will be stronger on my return. 
It’s not the end of the world. I still have my health, I am still capable of doing so much physically. 


I have one job – one exercise. for two weeks. 

The point of this is that we all have days, weeks, sometimes months, where we cannot run for what ever reasons.
We can throw ourselves pity parties as much as we want. It wont get us anywhere. Just further down in the dumps about whatever the predicament is. Why bother, so long as you are upright, breathing and have relative good health, there is nothing to bitch about. two days ago I wouldn’t have been able to write this, I was still in party mode. Yesterday I concentrated on getting my reps done. Properly.
Today, I have collected my thoughts, and put it all in perspective. I AM healthy. I CAN still do exercise. This is just a BUMP in the road. 
So while we all go through the motions of denial, anger and then sadness when we get injured, we have to pick ourselves up and get back on the horse.  Don’t be scared. Work through the pain. Come back stronger than before.
That’s my plan.

What injuries have you had that have put a stop to your training. How long were you out of action for?

Days turn into weeks turn into…

…Months and before you know it, the year has ended, your goals have changed, and your mind set is in a whole new place.
I had big plans for this year. Some I have kicked, some have changed and one or two have fallen off the wagon.
I’m a little lost at the moment hence my lack of race recap posts. Add to that, my last race there were no finishing photos of me. Or any out on the course. Out of 500 odd pictures, and wearing my most fluro gear there was not one of me. (Yes I’m still a little pissy about this, thankfully hubby is there when I cross the line xx).  I need to shake things up a bit and really get my body into gear again.
My last two races have been average, with both leaving me feeling icky, physically. Mentally, not so bad, as I have the understanding of why they ran the way they did.
I started, I wasn’t injured during, and I finished both with a sub 60 time so still happy with that I can manage it.

The first run was an interesting course, quite pretty really but with a nasty throat issue that made breathing hard, meant I was struggling to get a nice rhythm going.
The second was long and boring. It was hot and the heat was coming off the highway in waves, I was under-prepared fitness and training wise, I didn’t have my pocket drink bottle, and I have this nigggle in my glute/hamstring that drives me crazy when I run.

My goals for this year was to have fun, start and finish my races and get a decent race pb for the 10k distance. I have done that, with two runs left for the year. One is the toughest race and the other an easy downhill run. Literally.

Another goal was to work on my strength and diet.
Well, I worked on them, just not always in the right direction. I went through LCHF (fantastic but too strict for me, I like a little bit more leniency for simply enjoying life… and food).  Deciding that I did indeed some decent carbs in my diet I ended up way off the scale, not just falling, but crashing spectacularly off the wagon.
Meal prep days/evening has to start again. Sundays are not always good and the fridge is gettting low by then. Grocery day meal prep is a much better option.

My strength has gone all over, a month here, a month there and more days that I’m happy with where I do nothing.  My visit to the Physio today confirmed what I thought. My strength is shot. I was hoping that was all it was, but you never know til you ask.  More exercises to do, and concentrate on all the others as well.  I was honest and said I hd been less than consistant with the previous things she’d given me, or anything else for that matter.

While running is what I love totally and find it ‘easy’, it’s the other aspects I have to really push myself to keep up with.
I have always wanted to try boxing for fitness even though I am not a fan of the sport. I have done Pilates before, loved it! and have realised that something like yoga will be extremely good for me.ay be something for me down the track.
I have joined the local Sports Centre on a one month trial to see how I fair with classes.  I have never been one to do classes, always feeling that self consciousness, everyone is watching me. I know that no one is watching or judging (and really, who cares if they are), and as a woman in my mid forties I really shouldn’t be worries about what others think. If I did, then I wouldn’t run, but classes are a whole different thing, don’t ask me why, they just are. So I have to just bite the bullet and get in there amongst it and give it my best shot.

         I’m working on myself, for myself, by myself.

 

For my running, the less is more approach is something I’d like to do, especially if I can get in two classes a week.  The basis of less is more is running 3 times a week (short, tempo/fast and long) with two cross training type classes inbetween. Two days off.

My goals for next have changed now. I really need to get back to running basics. I have registered for 3 (5k, 10k x 2(?)) runs already, including a 25k trail run and at the moment will leave it at that. I have decided to take it easy on the races. Sign up if I feel like it at the time, rather than like this year and have it all booked up early.
I am quite liking the virtual races where I can support charities but run the distance at my pace over the course of a month, rather than training for one day.

If you haven’t already guessed, I’m at a cross roads. A loss of direction.
Some days I feel like I am running for other people, which I don’t need to do.
I’m trying to impress someone..who, I have no idea.
Like I’m running because I feel that I should. I need to find my ‘why’ again.
I need to go out there and run when I feel it, and get back to me.
I feel like I am burnt out.
These injuries aren’t going to fix themselves, and I need to get serious about other activities to keep me in a better physical shape.
So here I am at the end.
I will be working on the physical and mental me, a better body, a new lease on life.  Revamping my fitness.

 

 

Earned not Given – My marathon finishers picture.

———————————–

A reminder that I can do anything I put my mind to.