Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Who Runs Melbourne?

Sunday 27 July.

My first 10km since Australia Day and I was NERVOUS as before hand.  And when I reflect on it now, the nerves completely crushed any pre-event excitement I may have felt.

It was a memorable day.  Melbourne put on one of those winter days that make you fall in love with this city all over again.  18 degrees.  Not a cloud in sight.  Low wind.  Perfect running weather.

So why the nerves?

It's hard to actually nail down your own thoughts and emotions, especially when you're still living them.  But with a few days of reflection, I think it's a total, all-consuming fear of injury.  Which then leads me to think that I still haven't deal fully with the feelings around my knee reco 10 years ago.

Before THAT day I was relatively fit, playing basketball a few times a week and my weight must have been okay-ish according to the size 14 label I wore.  

I can still pull up the exact moment that my ACL ruptured.  It was the first basketball game I'd ever played with my daughter - and as it turned out  - the last.  She had just turned 15 so was 'legal' for a senior team.  I'd waited for this moment for the longest time.  We were pretty seriously into the sport.  I worked in it, coached at elite and domestic level and pretty much everything about my life revolved around one stadium or another.

I remember it being cold on court 3 at Knox, so I'm going to assume it was around this time of year.  It was a social game with my friends.  I was tired, which was pretty much the default for me.  And my head was not in the most positive of places on the domestic front.  I was seriously considering leaving my husband.  If not in the actual planning stage, it was certainly front of mind.  I didn't start the game.  I didn't warm up, but then, no one did.  It was a social game after all.

I subbed in deep into the first half.  Meg was on the bench at this point.  A cross-court pass from the opposition was too good an opportunity not to show off in front of my girl.  I snatched it and took off down the centre of the court at top speed (for me at the time).  And I can remember the thought process - do I lay this up on my right or left side.  Choosing the show off route I decided left.  I had an open court.  No one chased me down because it was a social game.  I'd done this literally hundreds of times.  I'd taught kids as young as four to do a left handed lay-up.  And as my left foot hit the court, my knee, taking the weight of my size 14 frame, buckled underneath me.  I heard a bang, like I'd been shot.  I crashed to the ground.  The pain was excruciating.

At first I had no idea of what I had done.  I lay on the court trying to process it.  Should I get up?  Have I torn a hamstring?  Raelene, get up.  But I couldn't.  My body went into shock.

I remember Meg taking immediate action - as you don when you're 15.  She tried to call her Dad, but he was playing at another stadium at the time.  So the game played out and I waited.  For what I didn't know, but I remember laying on my back on the court-side bench, freezing cold in a bit of a panic.

We went to emergency that night.  They did an MRI, which unsurprisingly revealed a rupture of the ACL, Grade 2 lateral tear and Grade 3 medial tear.  I've always said there's no point doing something unless you do it well!

Due to internal bleeding and bone bruising, surgery was delayed by around 8 weeks.  I couldn't weight bear, but as those who know me will understand, I still went to work on crutches.

Rehab sucked.  My head wasn't in the game.  I felt sorry for myself.  At 36, I was advised to not play again. Really?  Never?  My graft was from the patella.  They don't do it this way anymore, preferring a hamstring graft.  Patella means long-term stability rather than flexibility, and at my 'age' that was a better long-term choice.  Stability also means reduced range of movement, which still troubles me today.  Even after following the 12 month rehab plan; hydrotherapy, walking, strength work to the letter.  I can't even stretch my left quad properly.  And my version of childs pose at pilates is just plain embarrassing.

Still - 10 years later I'm stuck in the what-if's.  

If my mind was on what I was doing - if I was fully present at that game - would this have happened?

Truly I am a fatalist.  Everything does happen for a reason.  But this one gets me.  I can't see a single thing that is better in my life as a result of doing my knee.  I'm still pissed about it.  Pissed at me about it.  Of course, I low that what has gone before me has shaped the me that I now am.  But can't I just have a normal knee?

So this brings me full circle to my fear of injury.

Much of this year has been spent with at least a niggle in either my knee or back or both.  Is running agitating or assisting?  Does each run shorten my bodies functionality?

Each and every time I run, be it 1km or 10km, I feel the fear.  Some days I'm able to move it aside as a passing thought.  Some days I carry it on my shoulders.  You can see it on my face.  Feel it in my emotions.

This was one of those days.

 Good thing my feet and heart came for the ride, coz my head sure as hell didn't!  I'm Raelene and I ran Melbourne.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Where does motivation come from?

This week has been as close to 'perfect' as I've had in this lifestyle change bizzo.

Monday:  rest
Tuesday:  strength
Wednesday:  Pilates, which turned into Body Balance at lunch time followed by a great session on The Tan track after work, followed by a special screening of 'Spirit of the Marathon II'.
Thursday:  gentle walk and stretch
Friday: rest 
Saturday: parkrun volunteer which will be followed by another gentle walk this afternoon.
Sunday:  tomorrow is Run Melbourne - but it'll get a post of its own :)

was spot on, despite many many many temptations and a beautiful work dinner Thursday night where I was the only one to not order entree and dessert.

All week I have trained like an athlete, eaten like an athlete and thought like an athlete.  

And it feels good.

So, where does motivation come from?  Why are some weeks 'easy' and others such a struggle?

For me, it seems to be linked to a goal.  I AM running a half marathon in January, so there are certain things that must be done.  If I delay them, make excuses for them, or don't prioritise them, then either the event won't happen or I won't get the feeling that I'm chasing.  The feeling of being an athlete.  Not that I'm kidding myself into thinking I'm elite.  I'm not.  And that's okay.  But when I'm in an event, albeit in the second half of the field, I feel like an athlete.  And I like it.  A lot.

Can I bottle this feeling and dip into it when I'm in struggle street and the CBF's hit?  No.  But I can (and will) continue to make the best decision possible at every opportunity, leave the excuses for the old me, and continue to towards achieving my goal.

Monday, July 21, 2014

In the raw

One night last week my daughter was over for dinner.  We chatted while I peeled, chopped, shredded until something I did stopped her mid-sentance...I ate a slice of raw zucchini.

It got me thinking.  In summer, one of our favourite meals features grated, raw carrot and zucchini, and it's bloody delicious.  Summer is one thing, but raw food in Winter - not so appealing.  Or is it?

So this weekend we had a roast.  Lamb.  Yum.  And as I was about to put the veggies on to cook, I held back, halved the stash and put mine aside to eat raw.  And it was great.

Today I kept the raw roaring with a delish salad;

and to accompany the usual Monday night stir-fry, instead of rice I swapped in shredded raw cauliflower.  

It was eyebrow-raisingly good, soaked up the ginger sauce beautifully without going soggy and will definitely come out for a repeat performance.  

In fact, it was so good, this weeks personal challenge will be to add in one raw component to each day.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Teched up

After months of contemplation I've finally done it.  I'm now the proud owner of a serious type runners watch - a Garmin Forerunner 220 - in berry flavour - tasty!

Naturally I had to take it for a test-drive around the neighbourhood...

Todays semi-long run had a target pace of 6:15 to 6:45.  Probably could / should have backed off the pace a little.

The combination of Nike+ in my ear and Garmy giving me my real time pace made consistency and control a lot easier.

And the stats. Oh how I love a good set of stats...

The heart rate drop then spike?  Waiting for 5 cars before crossing the road and hitting a hill.

And the pace reduction at 5km?  An attempt to drop back to 6:30 per km, which I managed in my 7th km.

Verdict: I'm in love :)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Its all in the timing

This morning's Berwick Springs parkrun ritual (and how I love parkrun) was focused on consistent pace.  Aiming for somewhere in the range of 5:40 and 6:00 per km, the amazingly amazing Judy powered strongly through all 5 kilometres, which looked a bit like this;

1km    5:47
2km    5:35    11:22
3km    5:43    17:04
4km    5:42    22:46
5km    5:50    28:36

A much more solid and consistent effort than the previous week;

1km    5:41
2km    5:45    11:26
3km    6:02    17:27
4km    6:06    23:34
5km    5:32    29:06

I will add though - last week we ran through heavy rain and hail + managed another 2km in sopping wet clothes, socks, shoes afterwards.

And to throw in a third set of figures, the week before that, at Albert park run sat somewhere between the two for overall time, but the improvement in km consistency is great.

1km    5:59
2km    5:31    11:30
3km    5:38    17:08
4km    5:59    23:06
5km    5:50    28:56

Here's a new PB measure - smallest gap between km pace.

15 vs 26 vs 28.

Goal: single figure variance.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Half as good

In 176 days, I am going to run a half marathon.

There are butterflies in my stomach.

I'm nervous.



What if I get injured?

What if my legs cave in just near the finish line and I can't finish?

What if I run out of energy mid-distance?

What if I don't sleep the night before?

What if I sleep through my alarm and miss the start?

What if I get giant blisters and I can't walk for days?

What if I haven't trained enough before hand?

What if I've overtrained?

What should I eat the night before?

What should I eat for breakfast pre-run?

What should I wear?

What if I come last?

What if I just CAN'T DO IT?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Work and Life and Balance

and Training.

How difficult is it to fit half marathon training into a full-time work schedule with a monster 3 hour commute?

Last week I was all over it.  Daily gym. Calm and centred mindset.  This week - or to be specific, the last 2 days have been on the verge of OOC - my old friend Out Of Control.  I don't like OOC.  I like balance.  It's nice there.

So what's different?

My ridiculous need for validation / praise / perfectionism / professional worth has interfered with promises I'd made to myself.

And it appeared again yesterday.

An urgent work request just as I was about to pick up my bag an exit for Pilates had me majorly pissed.  I spoke up and asked if there was someone else who could do it as I was about to go to gym.  Apparently not, so through gritted teeth I stayed at my desk.  Worked through lunch.  Went straight to an offsite high level meeting. Finished late completely buggered and still seething.

Today I had to leave early to accommodate a husband appointment.  No gym.

Tomorrow I already have two conflicting places to be at lunchtime, and neither of them are gym.  There's no room for this in the plan.  I'm training to run a half marathon.  So this week will have consisted of only two runs; 1 x 3.5km and 1 x 4km.

How and where do I find the time to meet my goal?  Where does the balance come from?

Monday, July 14, 2014


It's a well documented fact that a 'diet' must start on a Monday.  (although I dislike the word diet, it does serve a purpose)

But when your birthday happens to fall on a Monday, and you're in reflection, soul-seeking, searching, unsettled mode, that's got to be a good thing, right?  A supercharged Monday.

Birthday's, in my opinion, are the best time to take a pulse check.  So many people do it at New Years.  Write resolutions, set goals, vow that this will be the year that they....... insert whatever you suck at here.  But you share it with everyone.  Within each circle, it's rare to come across someone who shares your date, so mostly its unique to you.

Last year, as I transitioned from 40+GST to 45, I decided to take a photo each most days to reflect what I was predicting would be an awesome year.  And it was.  Adventures were had. New things were tried. Comfort zones were completely left behind. Awesome year.  Forty six is, so far at least, looking like a contender in the best year ever stakes and we're only a week in.

My six habits; chocolate portion, caffeine cut back, muffin stop, sleep time, water & park run will get another outing this week.  Why?  Well I'm out of creativity to come up with another 6, but I won't tell anyone that.  "I'm bedding down my good habits by focusing on them for another week".  Sounds feasible, yeah?

Here's an idea; 'something old, something new'.  Not a daily challenge, but spread over the week, I'll try something I've never done / tasted / experienced before and will rekindle an old like as well.  This week is already a tick.  Today I made myself a pot of detox tea (that I'm quietly sipping on as I write) which I used to drink religiously before coffee took hold.  And I shared an awesome experience with my bestie - a turkish steam room - at Peninsula Hot Springs, which I have definitely never done before but REALLY enjoyed.

Next week I'd like to try a new recipe.  We've become very set with our weekly food plan, which is great, in that it's easy to shop, prepare and cook.  But we've become very set with our weekly food plan, which is bad because it's easy to shop, prepare and cook.  Routine is good.  Comfort is good.  Ease is good.  Boredom is not so good.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Turning it around

A week ago I was a mix of sad and disgusted at how I felt, what I saw on the scales and how I'd allowed crappy habits to sneak back in.  The challenge I set for myself this week was 6 small things, but they've had a HUGE effect on my outlook.

Every day except Friday, I ticked off my habit changer.  Chocolate and coffee scaled back. Muffins deleted. Sleep happened earlier, and park run went down in the rain AND hail this morning.  I fell half a bottle of water short on Friday.

Really, none of it was hard.  None of it required a great degree of willpower or thought.  I'd already set my rules for the week.  It was just a matter of keeping my own promises to myself.  Of being true to my word.  Of respecting my body enough to deliver.

Not surprisingly, today's run was sensational.  Although it was incredibly cold and wet, there was no second guessing.  No thoughts of staying in bed.  And the path rose to meet me.  My lungs and legs felt at ease.  I was calm, centred and fully in the moment.  Especially as the rain pelted down.

Being in control and turning crappy habits around feels good.  Really good.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How are we tracking?

It's early days, but so far so good.

I was going to make the stars gold, but thats probably going a bit far.

portion caffeine snackage sleep water run invest







It hasn't been difficult at all to cut my dark chocolate down by half.  The two squares still give the taste without the guilt. This one is completely under control.

This HAS been difficult.  REALLY difficult.

I've noticed two very different effects.
My morning, 10am coffee always came with food of some sort.  Without the coffee, I'm not looking for the nibble.
The 3 - 3.30pm coffee is being missed.  Without that pick-me-up, my eyes are heavy and concentration is low.  And today (Wednesday) I've been STARVING.  But this could be a case of...

I subbed in an orange for my muffin.  It's probably only 20% of the calories, and coming off a simple mug of pumpkin soup for lunch, my belly was growling - audibly.  Although I feel good to be reigning these crappy habits in, the tiredness and lack of energy is a challenge.

Just to add to the self-imposed structure/pressure, to coincide with the diet cleanse, I've also kicked off on a half marathon training program from 'Womens Running Australia' magazine.

Monday:  Rest Day
Tuesday: Treadmill intervals (2 mins @ 11.2kph, 1 min rest x 5 repeats)
Wednesday: Pilates - which I LoVeD - it's a post in itself.

Tomorrow is 2 mins @ 10km race pace, 1 min recovery jog x 10 repeats, which will be coming straight on the back of a strength PT session.  I really want this.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

45 - over and blown out

 is the last day of my 45th year.

 I gingerly tiptoed onto the scales.

 the measurement in front of my eyes has confirmed why my energy levels are low, why I'm feeling less confident in my clothes, why the Saturday ritual of park run seems harder than it did a few months ago.

I weigh 71.4kg

Oh there's reasons.  And excuses.  Mostly excuses.  All excuses.

Job, blah blah
Time, blah blah
Life, blah blah

In 600g more grams, my BMI will take me from the healthy range to OVERWEIGHT.

I knew it was coming.  Last week I joined a gym near work.  Isn't that always the immediate response?  Exercise more.  Push more.  Punish more.

This was never about just being 'thin' for me.  Health was the key motivator. And having it questioned was finally the catalyst. Funnily (or not so funny really), I've been having back problems again.  The warning signs are there that I'm making choices unsupportive of my health.

So for the next week - just one week - I'm going to choose differently:

Monday : portions.
Those 2 squares of 70% cocoa dark chocolate that snuck up to being 4, will go back to 2.
Tuesday : caffeine.
Reduce to 2 coffees per day rather than, oh, 5, sometimes more.  1 instant when I get to work & 1 lovingly husband-made Nespresso after dinner (with my 2 squares!).
Wednesday: snackage.
Farewell afternoon snuck muffin & hello carrot and celery sticks.  If I don't want them then I'm clearly not hungry, am I?
Thursday : sleep.
Be in bed, ready to sleep by no later than 10pm for 8 hours of delicious slumber.
Friday : water.
My fav drink bottle holds 700ml (I just measured). I will drink 3 today, 1 by 11am, 1 by 3pm, 1 by 8pm.
Saturday : run.
Park run is not negotiable - do you hear that pillow?  You won't win!
Sunday : invest.
Coffee x 2 @ $3.50 x 4 days = $28. Add muffins x 3 @ $3.50 = a total 'saved' this week of $38.50 which will be transferred into an RDF (Raelene Development Fund).

Monday to Friday will compound, so that by Saturday morning, all of those unhealthy habits will be on their way to the archives.

portion caffeine snackage sleep water run invest







I'll track and measure here each day and share the little victories (and challenges) along the way.