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Training for the City2Surf: Building Endurance – Week 3

16 Jun

Heartbreak Hill.  If you’re signing up for the City2Surf and plan to run the course, then you know that you’ll be facing this killer incline.

It will obviously be a breeze for the experienced runners who will effortlessly gallop their way along.  However, for novices – such as myself – it’s an absolute test of endurance.

Starting around the 6km mark of the entire 14 km course the hill itself is only about 1.5 kms in distance.  However, because you encounter it smack bang in the middle of the course, it takes you by surprise.  Whether you’ve prepared yourself for it – or not.

The view half way up "Heartbreak Hill"...not that you get a chance to enjoy it during the actual City2Surf...

The trick is to “save yourself”.  Find a steady pace leading up to it.  Then, once you’re there – attack it.  Hammer and tong.

Unfortunately, with all this rain and wind, along with the time constraints of raising toddler twinlets, I haven’t been able to do as much running as I would’ve liked this past week.

But in the rare occasion that I have, I’ve been focusing on my endurance.  All whilst tackling the beloved Heartbreak Hill.

I’ve decided that I’m too early in my training to worry about my time or how fast I’m running.  Those goals are completely in the back burner.  Instead, I’m making sure that with each run, I’m increasing the distance and making sure I’ve got some left in the tank to make it up the top.

So far, I’ve done 8.8 kilometres.

It damn well wasn’t easy.  I felt the insides of my shoes, rubbing my feet and forming blisters.  Half way up the hill I started getting the painful sensation of pins and needles in my feet and calves.  At times I slowed right down to a “Nanna-Shuffle”.

I just made sure I didn’t stop.

Dare I say, training for the City2Surf has revealed some hidden parallels to life and its challenges.

To take things slow and steady.

To build up that pace  gradually.

To store a little away for any upcoming surprises.

As always, here are the weekly highlights and achievements…

Highlights:

Running last Friday morning and seeing this spectacular view:

At the peak of "Heartbreak Hill"

Achievements:

Although my running has dropped this week, I’ve still managed to lose a kilogram.

Goes to show that it’s true what they say about weight-loss:

“80% diet and 20% excercise…”

See you all next week for some more running and fitness joy 🙂

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Training for the City2Surf: Finding Will Power – Week 2

9 Jun

I’ve made it public last week about my sordid love affair with Salt ‘N Vinegar chips.  In the past, it has gone beyond control.

After spending a long extended stint in Japan (namely, almost a decade), the first thing I did when I arrived back in Australia was crash on my parents couch, watched Foxtel and ate bag after bag…after 175 gm bag of salt and vinegar chips.  Yeah, I know.  Disgusting, right ?

"Salt 'N Vinegar Chips, how do I love thee ??? Let me eat through the ways..."

While living in Tokyo, my folks always sent care packages with an abundant supply of these sodium-rich, mouth watering snacks.  Opening the boxes, the packets had inevitably burst open from the high-altitude air-freighted journey, leaving me with broken chips scattered everywhere.  It didn’t stop me from picking up and savouring each and every tiny little precious crumb.

So, here I am today.  On my running and fitness kick.  I know there shouldn’t be any room for my beloved crispy pals.  But breaking away from them is oh, so, so hard.

Going to Coles for our weekly grocery shopping on Sunday, I managed to achieve the unthinkable.  Walking by the confectionary aisle, I noticed an inviting bright yellow sales tag under my source of addiction:

“2 for $4”

I walked by that aisle three times.  Despite all the pacing, I stayed strong.

I left Coles without those extra snacks.

The drive home was excruciating.

I could only think about how terribly delicious that combination of salt and vinegar always is.  And how I was missing out.

Last week I mentioned how motivation and encouragement comes from others.  It takes friends, peers maybe even family to give you that hearty kick up the butt to get moving.

But when it comes to will power…that is all you.

No one else.  And although that can be a lonely concept, the rewards are again, only for you to reap.

Not buying those chips was a small triumph for me, but it lead me to avoiding bigger regrets.

Instead, I was able to enjoy this week’s highlights and achievements.

Highlights:

No major weight loss this week, but I can feel my body changing.

Wearing my pre-pregnancy jeans, they no longer feel tight.  There is a certain sag in the bum and in the legs.  Although I don’t need to yank them up all the time, when I do need to pull them up, they don’t stop in the same place.  My jeans can actually go a little higher on the tummy.  Amazing.

As for that post-natal rubber tyre stomach ?  It’s still there.  But that stubborn bulge is less prominent.  It’s no longer a tyre.  More like a billowing cushion…

I even got to wear new slinky jeans on date night !

Achievements:

One of the mums from my personal training group suggested we go for a run last Saturday morning.

Jeepers.  I am so not a morning person.  Yet somehow, I agreed.

So, she texted me at 6am.  It was pitch black outside.  I grumbled getting out of bed to put on my running gear.

Then, getting outside I realised just how magical early mornings are.  There was a pink sunrise.  Only cyclists and the milk delivery truck on the road.

We ended up having a great time.

During our run, this mum made a great point, “This is the only time in the day when I can truly say it’s just time for me…”

No screaming tantrums.  No smelly nappy changing.  No unpredictable family or children-related dilemmas.

We’ve arranged to go for another run tomorrow morning.

Tune in next week for more running and fitness adventures 🙂

Training for the City2Surf: Going Beyond The Call Of Duty – Week 1

1 Jun

There’s a mothers exercise training group that I joined almost three months ago.  I’ve spoken about them in previous posts – here and here.

Most of them are hard core.  Super fit.  They are the perfect group of people to get me motivated in losing all these wobbly bits brought on by twinlet birth and an undying love for salt and vinegar chips.

We meet every Tuesday and Thursday mornings – rain, hail or shine.

In all its heavy rain and strong winds, yesterday morning was no exception.

As we arrived for training, standing under the only tree in the park for protection, our trainer started to brief us on the raining trail she had planned for us.

We all looked at each other, looked at the rain and all groaned.

Yet, off we trotted.

As the downpour became heavier, one of the other mums jokingly yelled out to our trainer, “You know, this is totally going beyond the call of duty !!!”

And she was right.  Going beyond what we usually would’ve done and completely step out of our comfort zone.

But then, there is the outcome.

I seriously took up running three months after the boys were born.  It has been a struggle.  I am not a natural runner.  In fact, initially I hated it.

But as it’s typical of my character to live up to a challenge, I’ve tried to stick with it.

To try and conquer the fear.

A little over a year later, there I was:  Jogging in the rain with a bunch of superfit mums.

Despite looking like a drowned rat who had been floating in an open sewerage canal, I was loving every minute of it.  Soaking up the liberating feeling of being outdoors .  Appreciating the rain for all of its natural beauty rather than its usual inconveniences.

So here’s the deal:  I’ve signed up for the famously gruelling 14km City2Surf.

In its lead up (which is Sunday, 14th of August…10 and a half weeks away), every week, I’m going to write a post about my running and fitness.

Where I’m at in getting rid of these post pregnancy love handles.

I’m going to step out of my comfort zone and make sure I see myself at the end of that of that finishing line at Bondi Beach.

In each post, there will be a list of the highlights and achievements from the week.

What better time to start than now ?

Highlights:

  • I’ve lost five kilos in two and a half months
  • Went down a jean size in three weeks
  • My mother-in-law came to visit last week and while I was out of the room, she pulled my husband aside and asked him if there was anything wrong with me as I was “fading away”.

Achievements:

Running a 7km trail in the rain with a bunch of awesome women who are my inspiration.

I’m pumped.  City2Surf 2011.  Bring it on.

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