Monday, March 26, 2012

The Stryda

Well just 3 weeks left of work and I am outta there. I quit!! Stress levels are at an all time high and basically I'm miserable. So I force myself to pull on my running gear and throw the collar on the dog and drag our asses out the front door. Still doing my 4min run/1min walk intervals so that I ensure I am keeping good form, I head down the road. As I cross the main street and head for the path that follows the water course, I spot my boss driving by. I affectionately call him boss. Boss with a small 'b'. He is such a nice guy. It's the dude above him that is the total wanker! Anyway, it reminded me of work. As I offered a halfhearted wave I set the timer on my Garmin Forerunner to do the interval 9 times.

I broke into a slow lope and my dog came to life and dutifully fell into step alongside me. I cruised down the road onto the bike track that led us to the ponds and pretty soon the 1st 4min interval chimed off. I slowed to a walk and chatted with my four footed buddy. He looked up at me with that typical dog look of......"Whooooaa we are out for a walk I love you soooo much I am having soooooo much fun woof!"

My running buddy - Australian Shepherd (Stryda)

The Garmin chirped to life and again we broke into an easy stride. I watched water foul poking amongst the reeds looking for dinner, saw flying critters set off small whirlpools on the still water of the pond as they touched down and heard frogs coming to life in the late afternoon cooling light. My mind seemed to still for the first time in weeks (maybe even months) and I became lost in the movement of my gait and the soft panting of my silent friend.

Even the 1 minute intervals didn't interrupt the space we were in. I nodded and smiled at locals out for their late afternoon walks, dodged stealthily around those walking their canines with limited fuss. My little buddy is so sensible and such a friendly companion, he happily ignored the interruptions seeming to prefer running with me than stopping for a sniff and a play.

We continued as the sun cooled and the street lights came on. A soft breeze picked up and soon I found myself at the turn around point and homeward bound. The last of the chirps from my wrist sounded the end of my run and for the first time I realised that I was having the best run I have had in years. I felt like I could have run forever, the pace was free and easy, slow at first but by the end of the run I had stretched out to a relaxed lope that I felt like I could have maintained forever.

Ha, go figure! I think sometimes being able to flick a switch and turn off the noise in your head would be a great invention.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Week 12 in Review

12 weeks on the program with my new coach.....

What a crap week..... Good in that I quit my job; a job that has caused me stress and anxiety now for 6 years, but bad because when I'm stressed training goes out the window. And it did!

I had a rest planned for Monday morning and then a gym session in the arvo. I got the gym work done though half hearted as the noise in my head was going off the rictor. That night it continued to roll around and so I couldn't sleep. I don't sleep when I am stressed. I wish stress manifested itself in lack of eating, but no I eat to stay happy. I am an emotional eater. I just don't sleep and then I can't train and then I don't sleep cause I haven't worked out and so the cycle continues.

Tuesday I gave my notice and that was the rest of the week goodbye. I ran with my husband on Saturday arvo. 20 minutes straight up and the i.t.b held which was good news. I had to stop for a drink break and ended up walking home due to runners gut. I wonder if there are any ideas out there in runners land about this issue. I used to take Metamucil I think I'll try it again.

Anyway, stay positive, the i.t.b was good. Sunday (today) rode with hubby and girlfriend. She is new to cycling and so she has peddles rather than cleats. We cruised at about 24kms average and by the end we covered 38kms. Whoa! Well under cooked.

Now here's the issue. race day is 3 weeks today. Am I ready? no. Am I anywhere where I wanted to be leading into this race? nope. It's the Dextro Worldchamp race and I am going in so under prepared. It will be a race of hang-on and try not to come home injured.

I lied to Coach. Confession. I told him I got the work done. He worries about me. I know that's his job and I know he might alter my program to give me a break or something. But I really don't want to. I just want to pretend like everything is ok and normal and rolling on as usual. I want the program to be normal and I want to work hard and tick all of the boxes this week.

So here is the program so I remain accountable to you all.

Monday am 30km bike    pm Gym/strength/stretch
Tuesday am Run              pm 3km swim
Weds am Bike on trainer pm Gym strength/stretch
Thurs am run                   pm 3km swim
Friday am 3km Swim      pm Rest and Quality time with the Polys
Saturday am 60km Bike brick 30min run  pm Open water swim river
Sunday am Run               pm Rest and stretchhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

The beautiful Minnamurra River where we swim each weekend

There it is. I got to say the swim Thursday pm and Friday am is going to be the hardest to get done for me. It will be a mental battle for sure.

So I have my plan in place. I don't have my head in place at this point. That's why I am awake at 11pm on a Sunday night blogging rather than sleeping like the rest of the household. I stand by my decision to leave. I know the advertisment for my job is in the paper, so I haven't read the paper. I know I need a break from work. I realise I have not had more than a 4 week block of leave off since 2001. And Uni starts May 28. I need to give myself permission to rest, heal, focus and enjoy the things I want to do and let the rest wash over me. So here's to a "Be Kind to Sammi" week and to "Enjoying Ticking the Boxes".

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Can a girl change her stars?

So, after many months of thrashing it around I have decided to leave my job. Yup, I handed my notice in today. Am I shitting myself ? You bettcha. Am I scared? Oh yeah. Am I relieved? I think so. Do I believe I have done the right thing? You better believe it!

Why does this post end up on my blog? Well I wanted this blog to be about my journey to Ironman and I guess this desicion in my life will ultimately have some effect on this journey. Ha, Well, with all of this free time now I should be able to train like a pro-athelete right? lol. Reality is though that I may sit in a corner and rock for 12months and not get off the couch. Another reality is that I may not be able to afford the coaching and although I think I can do it on my own....I really want to keep the expense of a coach. The benefits far out weigh the negs. I don't smoke, drink, party hard.... I don't have gym fees, school fees, HECS fees (yet) so allow me this one indulgence. And when Hubby finishes his I.M this year in May we will cut out his coach and both move onto the one program.

Side note: I just got this massive wave of DeJa Vu as I write this.

Why have I left my job? Glad you asked because it has affected my life so much. Basically my CEO is a bully. Over the past 6 years I have been his whipping boy. Me and a few others and now some changes are a-foot that will turn our organisation on its head and to quote Brody in Jaws "I aint gonna take this abuse much longer." And so I have handed in my 4 weeks resignation after 17 years of loyal service.
  • The unknown....the possibilities!
  • Finances.......strategies!
  • Scared.........supported by 2 amazingly loving people (who both work) There is something to be said about a thrupple relationship. 3 incomes, no kids.....
I have some long service leave and a stack on annual leave. Not how I wanted to use it that's for sure, but the safety net feels good. So this blog (I guess) will be documented and archived for a year or more from now when I look back on this journey and see how this moment right now, this space in time, my desicion at this very moment will change not only my I.M dreams, but my whole life. I have reached the fork in the road, and to quote young William Thatcher in a Knights Tale "Can a man change his stars?"

And.......... here's to me for just having the faith in myself to try!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Look in the Mirror - 10 Steps Backwards

Out in the gym tonight. Bit disappointed in what I see. Like every gym we have a mirror set up.

Our gym is in the garage and we have spent time getting it sorted so that we have a pretty good set up now. Prior to this we used to be members of a gym. Each morning heading dutifully down to join the malay of guys doing their International Chest on Monday routines.... I got pretty strong. I was getting some muscle and definition, even some pecs. I could rock out 50 push ups without too much grief and I could do a decline sit up hugging 10kilos on my chest. I got to know some of the guys and earnt some respect as a lifter rather than just a chick playing with dumbells. Some of the guys helped spot me if I was on my own and helped with diet tips and form technique.

After a while we took up this crazy sport of triathlon and pretty soon with Ironman and the training required, the hours soon were gobbled up with running, swimming and time out on the roads on the bikes. Bit by bit we slipped away from the gym life and so we decided that we would set up the home gym. And little by little I drifted away more from the weights. I know strength, core and stretching are just as important as the rest of the 3 sports, but time in the gym was sacrificed for sleeping, eating and quality time with the family. I do still do my stretching pretty religiously to avoid injuries, but picking up and putting down steel is completely out of the program.

So we bought some TRX bands with a view of using these to strengthen core etc. And so here I find myself a year after Ironman. A year before I do my next Ironman and I'm not happy with the gal who is staring back at me. It's like all of the work a year or more ago has gone and I have gone ackwards in tim. Even though I can knock out a huge triathlon I can't see the muscle for the soft fat and muscle.

BUT!!!!! I have a year and 6 weeks to whip this lil ol bod back into some shape. So while I am disappointed that I have lost a load of fitness, muscle, core, balance and the like. I know I can do this again. I can work hard and if I stay consistent, then I can be the person I want to be, come race day in 2013.

So.....without taking a photo and posting it (as you'll all say "hey Sammi - aint sooo bad"). Let's just say. I got some work to do.

  • Get strong, lean, toned and faster!
  • Stay consistent, eat clean, stay focused and EAT CLEAN!!!!!
  • Find some time weekly to start a strength and core routine and keep it incorporated in the holistic approach to this thing called Ironman.
  • Be realistic, the flabby/loose skin could be age (and no amount of training can beat's just the way it is)
  • Be true to yourself, quit the B.S, and never lie to yourself.
  • And for Crying Out Loud - Give up the SUGAR!!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kicked out of the pool and week in review

Well I am stoked this week that I have ticked all of the boxes on the program again and got all of the work done. Consistency yeah yeah! The knees/ITBs are both fine and feeling good. No burning even after the 60km ride and the 15min run off so again extremely happy. I'm not tired/fatigued and I have been sleeping really well which can be an issue for me, but at the moment all good.

Highlight of the week - was jumping on the last 60kms for Gaz's (6.5hr) ride and as I was fresh and he was pretty shattered I took the lead the whole way round the lake and hit the headwinds pretty hard. Felt comfortable and strong the whole way and we did some efforts and the legs/body responded well.

Lowlight of the week - gotta work harder on getting the diet right. I'd say 80% of the time I am getting it right but I know there is room for improvement. Energy wise though I am feeling good. I just know I can do better.

Mental note to sam - Got to stretch my calves more. Bit tight after the runs this week as I guess I have had a break from running and they didn't like getting back up on the front foot.

So about the pool and getting kicked out.............

Well imagine an 8 lane 50m pool. 5.30am in the morning. The squads are on. Lanes 5 through 8 are taken up by what I call "The Big Guys" You know...the kids that have been swimming since they were born in fact I think some of them have got to have webbed toes and fingers as they just smash through the water at a rate of knots that is well beyond this little black duck. Anyway, lanes 1 through to 3 are taken up with other squads. This squad is open to the average raggy doll anyone from the community can jump in and the cost is $10.

That leaves one little lane left. Lane 4. This one isn't booked and is for the general public to use. Soooo at 5am I am driving to the pool to meet my Coach and the rest of the team for our training session. So there is Alex (Coach and writes the session), Johno, Michael, Ed, Justin, Me and then Megan. Then there is this other guy who comes. He isn't in our group but he is a very strong swimmer and he is training for I.M too. And then there are 2 (larger) ladies in the pool doing freestyle (average swimmers) and then there is one little old lady with flippers and kickboard and she does one lap on her back and then one on her front. OK, so there is one lane and what's that???? 11 people crammed in there and the congestion is mad!!! To top it off the boys are very strong swimmers and it is just like swimming in open water when they go past you. And because the set goes 1km warm up, then drills, then main set, then warm down. It is a smash fest.

So ok, I can understand when the three ladies hop out of the pool and one or all of them have put in a complaint about us. Yep, its a train and it can be intimidating to anyone who is not a confident swimmer.

So anyway, the head of the pool sends Coach (Alex) an email stating that we need to stop! We have been kicked out of the pool. So our 7 athletes are kicked out. AND the dude that is the I.M swimmer doesn't get kicked out. Just because they know Coach they send him and email "Cease and desist order".

Now...ok I can see their point. But hang-on. Why do we have to get out? Why do we miss out and now these old fat biddies get to swim. If we had kickboards would we have got kicked out? When winter comes we will be rolling on but will they? I doubt it!. So their $15 (3x$5) entry fee vs our $35...hmmm It seems unfair. Now we have no place to swim and train and I personally was really getting a lot out of swimming with Coach and the rest of the team. We have explored other days and other pools but nothing seems to suit.

I think the compromise might be to give up the fast lane for the raggy dolls squad and give it to us. After all there is only 3 usually in that lane and here there is 11 of us crammed into one lane. But then the pool would lose the $10 x 3. Maybe they want us to join the raggy doll squad. But we are following our own Coach not some boring lady standing at the end of the pool and falling asleep every 10 minutes. 

I you think we are being horrible to these women?

Or are we the ones being treated unfairly?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Another Tri Bites the Dust

Well, sadly I had to let another triathlon go on the weekend. I'm pretty disappointed.

My Husband (Back to camera) and my Coach (facing the camera) - out on the run

Damn you ITB! But on a positive note it is getting better and I am back to running albeit 4min run/1min walk x 6. But hey! its a start.....again.

The week in review.

Besides missing the triathlon on Sunday (Wollongong Olympic)
1 did manage -

3 x short runs
3 x 3km swims
2 x 1hr wind trainer session
1 x 50km ride

Plus a whole heap of strength, stretching and core work.

A visit to see Coach/physio saw a quick rub down on the ITB and then some time in the gym working the core exercises and some work with the Bands. I'm loving my TRX ands. You can do so much work with them and a lot of it is working your core at the same time.

Diet has been ok. 90% clean and good, the occasional blow out and the usual Friday night cheat meal included 1 small chocolate icecream.

I was hoping for a bigger weight loss but 300gms is better than nothing. I hope it will kick back in and I am hoping for a bigger loss this week as I head into the biggest week I have had in some time. I'll try to keep 98% clean diet this week and hope for a decent loss.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Can't Catch a Thought

Well I got to say team. Its been a hell of a week! The roller coaster ride is on a constant zig zag up and down, highs and lows and now backwards and forwards too.

The positive ITB finally seems to have eased. So far this week I have been for a 20 minute run with 30sec run, 30sec walk intervals. How bad is that lol. But at the end of it all the knee seemed to be ok and the burning was no worse. I have also rocked out 2 wind trainer sessions on the bike, both without drama. Ice and rolling are the norm of course and stretching too. I think what I have learnt from all of this angst, is that the injury will pass and sometimes you have to go backwards to move forwards, but overall I think I have learnt that if I stay on top of the stretching and rolling I will prevent this from happening again. I sure am going to try anyway. So my 20minute run will soon creep back up to decent distances and times again soon I am sure.

The lows...... well it's cold and wet and windy and I have huge trouble getting up in the morning on days like this. After work can be an issue to as all I want to do is run home and hope into my pj's and curl up on the lounge and vegetate. I like it better having my gear in the car and travelling to the training session and not home first. I had my swim gear in the car and as the day drew on I knew I wasn't going to battle an unusually cold squally day to go swim in the outdoor pool. Going home meant picking up husband and girlfriend and heading to the indoor pool. A possible option that I would have followed through on if my work day hadn't been such a crap one.

The other was full of emotional eating. Yep the diet flew out the window and as I was smashing through chocolate and 4 small Easter buns I recognised what I was doing and took comfort in the food. I didn't feel guilty about it as I had recognised and was aware of my actions. I didn't attempt to rein it in as I needed to be comforted and food was the only hug I was getting today til I got home. A tough couple of days at work with no positive end in sight and me not being brave enough to make some tough decisions about my future with the company. You see 'Senior Management' are making some changes to identity etc and the changes do not sit comfortably with me. 'We' (middle managers) have been told to get on board or get out. Many other managers are uncomfortable with the actions and intimidation tactics but are not prepared to go any further with it. I understand, they have to pay a mortgage, me too. Anyway, I can make a choice hey! I can put up with it, earn my 9to5 and go home and train and focus on life outside of work like family and triathlon etc or I can leave, take my long service leave and have a break and look for new employment. These are the thoughts that plague me. And while I wanted this blog to be about triathlon and my training, and not small trivial things, obviously other factors are going to contribute, affect and hinder this goal from time to time and if I don't document these aspects then I can't reflect properly later about my journey.

So these are the thoughts I am trying to catch today........and in the meantime I have not trained now and missed 2 sessions. What I have learnt (the hard way) is that you can not buy those missed sessions back no matter how hard you try or how well you juggle. Something will give in the end be it energy, injury/body, recovery/sleep, work or life, something will give and so I say adios to the 2 missed sets today and focus on tomorrow. No rain checks.

Tomorrow is a 20min run with 40sec run/20sec walk. Tomorrow arvo is a massage and then 1 hour on the wind trainer. Let's get er done Sammi hey!!!!

5 weeks 3 days to Dextro Challenge!
62kgs - stay focused!
Get the work done!
Don't miss a session from here on in!
Be proud of yourself, stretch and don't sweat the small stuff!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Part of the Team

Quick text from Coach last night to check in about my ratty ITB issue. When I responded with all good to go he text back with. Swim tomorrow, bike Saturday, maybe a light run Sunday depending on how you pull up. Do you want to join us for swim or do you want me to write you a set?

Huge decision here team! If I get him to write me a set I will more than likely sleep in as it is a nasty night with rain and wind squalls. Gulp! Bite the bullet and commit already will ya Sammi!!!! And so I text back with what time?

5.30am - ok then. Committed. I went to bed early knowing I would be up at 4.50am in time to have breakfast and drive the 30mins to get to the pool. Before that though it was pack 3 bags and prep breakfast, lunch etc ready to go so that I could go to work straight after the swim.

Pitch black, raining and windy. I must be mad or I actually want to do this thing!

Arrive at the pool and the team are there. Dreading the tip toe from change room to poolside and then in. But the water isn't bad and before I know it the warm up is done and we are into the sets. I always thought I was fairly good at working hard by myself. But there is nothing better to give you a push than 4 amazingly fit tall male athletes in front of you creating a whirlpool effect in the lane. (it's not a bad spectator sport this triathlon stuff, amazing bodies, but it is strictly all work here team so get your mind out of the gutter) just sayin' though hey!

By the end of the set I had triumphantly completed the set without being lapped and had actually overtaken one of the boys moving me into 3rd soooo extremely happy there.

The rest of the day is my own (as in no more training just work) with only a physio appointment with Coach a little later.

Very pleased and attitude pumped!