Thank You!

I just wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who encouraged me, asked me how I was going, and donated to World Vision as I trained for and ran the Run Melbourne 10K over the weekend.

So far I have raised $415 with your generous support. Thank you.

Fitness Friday #5

This week has been more encouraging. I am steadily following the 10K program, and while I’m still a way off the actual 10K, I feel that my running is improving. One of my main struggles is speed. I seem to just run very slowly, without a lot of variation in pace. The program I am doing at the moment though, and my concerted mental effort, have seen me running a little faster. Well, at least I feel like I am anyway!

So far this week I have done 2 of my 3 scheduled runs.

Tuesday: 5 x(6 mins run/1 mins walk) Total time = 35 mins. I went about 5.4K in this time, which considering some of that time is walking, means that I am definitely running faster than before.

Friday: 7 x (4 mins run/1 mins walk) Total time = 35 mins. I got changed and ready to go so that as soon as Paul got home from study I could leave. This worked well, as thunderclouds were looming so I knew my time would be short. I managed to fit the run in before the steady downpour that still continues. I feel like my form is good too. When I know the route I am doing, and have done it a couple of times I run holding my head much higher. Running on paths rather than trails helps with this too. I felt good tonight, but I am working hard.

I have a run tomorrow to look forward to – a 50 minute run (well, run/walk). I hope that the rain can hold off, or at least ease for long enough. I think I might head to a park or running track, rather than just run the streets around home.

My exciting news (well, exciting for me!) is that tonight I spent some birthday money and bought an iPhone armband, and new headphones and am currently in the middle of syncing music to my phone. I am excited to try running with music again.

Do you prefer to run with music or without?

 

Fitness Friday #3 & #4

I have to catch up on some Fitness Friday blogs, as life has conspired against me getting them done in the last few weeks. So here goes.

FITNESS FRIDAY #3

Week 1 of my 10 week training program saw me enthusiastic and motivated…yet unwell. My first run went really well, but this is what the week looked like:

Monday – 5 x (5mins jog/2mins walk) Total time = 35 minutes. Killed it. Ran faster, because I want to run faster. Felt good.

Wednesday 7 x (4mins jog/1min walk) Total time = 35 minutes. In bed all day. Well, as much as one can be whilst looking after a baby and a toddler. No exercise done.

Friday 3 x (10mins jog/5mins walk) Total time = 45 minutes. Still recovering from 2 days in bed/on the couch, and nowhere near ready to do this. Although I feel better than the other couple of days, it’s not simply a case of the sniffles. It’s the achey head feeling that makes a run near impossible.

Possible catch up runs over the weekend – This was a good thought. I was on a Women’s Church Retreat, and had thought I might enjoy a run beside the beach. But then Pippa got sick, and instead of it being a relaxing weekend, I was up at night with a screaming baby, with no husband to help. She also decided to mostly not sleep unless she was in my arms for the weekend. Thus no running occurred.

Feelings – I was so discouraged to not be able to get into my running routine as I had been hoping to. But I kept reminding myself that it shouldn’t make me give up on everything. And so I looked forward to week 2 with optimism, if not a little apprehensively.

FITNESS FRIDAY #4

I was feeling mostly physically better, although both the girls and Paul have the dreaded cold now, which does impact my ability to get out of the house. Still hopeful.

Monday – 5 x (6mins jog/2mins walk) Total time 40 minutes. Good run. Happy that I could get out, and felt fine.

Wednesday – 7 x (4mins jog/1 min walk) Total time 35 minutes. I run for the first time in the dark. I’m not keen on doing this, as I don’t feel very safe, but it was dusk when I began, and I tried to stick to well lit paths. But I felt great!! I went about 5K, and considering there was 7 or so minutes of just walking in there, I was glad my pace seems to be improving. I felt fine when I got home, like I could have kept going. Great buzz.

Friday – 3 x (11mins jog/5mins walk) Total time 48 minutes. So different to previous run. I am not feeling good again, as the cold has paid me another visit, though not such a severe one this time. I head out late in the afternoon, and manage to get about 20 minutes through the program until I feel sick in my stomach and very dizzy in the head. So I have to walk all the way back. And I am worried because Paul is unwell with the girls both awake at home, but what can I do? So I finish feeling discouraged again.

Feelings – I am so inconsistent! A great run (by my standards) leaves me feeling great, and a bad one, well, just the opposite. But I guess that all I can do is my best, and stick with the plan.

Overall – I’m wondering about the smartness of my desire to do the 10K in 60minutes or less. If I was just thinking about running 10K I think I would feel less pressure. I’m not too bad at the long and (very) slow. Speed is not my friend. But it’s not bad to aim for something, is it? I just don’t want to disappoint myself. But maybe I won’t? See how conflicted I am? Well, I have made the commitment, so maybe I will just stick at it and see how it goes. I am hopeful that I will surprise myself rather than disappoint myself.

On another note, I’m looking forward to spending a little bit of birthday money (from January!) my parents gave me the other day. I’m looking at getting a running case to strap my iPhone to my arm, some headphones and maybe, if I have some leftover, an iTunes voucher. I think music might help me find a good pace. Any recommendations on iPhone cases? Is that even what they are called?

I’m into another week now, and am planning on running tomorrow. I feel like there is always a reason not to run (ie: I have to get up a few times during the night as Pippa is teething, and Paul is still not well, and, well, everything). But I guess there is always still a reason that I should run (ie: health, example, post-run endorphins, mental health, energy). I hope that the latter wins out!

Fitness Friday #2

This week was my last week of a relaxed exercise program (read: no program), as I will begin my 10 week running program next week. So this week’s exercise consisted of:

2 x 4/5K runs – moderate intensity

1 x 3K walk with the double pram – with somewhat flat tyres…which increased the required energy significantly!

1 x 2 hour Horse Ride 🙂

I would have liked to have done at least 1 more run this week, but didn’t really have motivation for serious running efforts when I am beginning my countdown program next week.

I am worried about being able to pull off the training required to run my 10K in under 60 minutes. I don’t know if I can stay motivated, or even just run quickly enough. And then I got my Runners World magazine today, and it had a lot of different articles about the mental side of running (as opposed to the physical side). It was great to read some ideas, suggestions and tactics for how to combat getting over mental hurdles that can hold you back physically as well. It was a great reminder to me that running can be much more connected to mental barriers than physical ones.

When I started running I used to think, “I could never run a 5K” because I ‘wasn’t a runner’, because I was unfit, and because that was something that other amazing people who were somehow blessed with a supernatural ability to run did. I now know that I too can run 5K, but somehow that similar mental barrier is there for a 10K!

I love the motto, or mantra, “More effort, more reward” and I often repeat it to myself in my training. Those times were I am physically really feeling it, remembering that I am getting one step closer to my goal can be just what gets me through. But the mantra applies to my mental strength as well. If I can practice on building mental stamina during training, as it too requires effort and practice, then hopefully that will also pay off on race day.

And when I think too, that I am running for an even bigger purpose – to raise $700 for World Vision, that helps things to stay in perspective too. That if my time isn’t great, and if 10K is difficult the whole way, than at least some good will come out of it anyway. It’s not just about me this time! And that is a very good thing to remember.

 

Fitness Friday

This is the first of a hopefully weekly type of post I will write on Fridays, simply for alliterations sake – I know my creativity knows no bounds – about my current fitness happenings.

And so I present to you my most exciting and wonderful news: I have entered into the Run Melbourne 10K race on July 21, 2013!

Well, it’s a little exciting, somewhat wonderful, and considerably scary! But I have paid my dues, signed on the dotted line and officially registered now. There is no going back. Oh dear!

How Will I Do It?

I have never actually run 10K before. I know to some people 10K is not particularly far, but when you haven’t done it before, it seems quite a big deal. And I am really hoping to be able to run it in 60 minutes or less, which, considering I haven’t ever run 5K in 30 minutes, may be quite a task. But I am going to do my best to train hard. When I run, actually mostly when I do intervals, my motto is “More effort, more reward”. I tend to repeat it over and over again under my breath when I want to quit or give up. And so I think I might stick to that motto.

I am planning to use this running program: RM2011_10kBeginnerv2-1. It looks good to me for these reasons:

1. Only 3 days a week of required running. With 2 little girls it is hard for me to get enough time to run, and so if I can do more, I will, but most of the times 3 runs a week is a stretch. So this suits me well.

2. It tells me the time needed (usually) for each run. This is helpful when I need to say to Paul, “I will be back in X minutes”.

3. This program is free! 🙂

I think the biggest challenge for me won’t be actually going to distance, but will be improving my time and running it in under 60 minutes. I seriously suck at running fast. So this is the challenge for me. It is not going to be easy! Apparently the only way to get faster is to simply run faster. I need to practice running faster! So that’s going to be fun and easy…

And heading into winter is also not a particularly fun time to be gearing up for running outdoors, but that’s life I guess!

Why Do It?

1. There are a group of people from my church who are going to run the Half Marathon, and I was asked to join them. I would love to do that one day, but right now I just can’t manage the time required to train for longer runs, so decided to instead aim for a shorter distance but a quicker time. A doable challenge – I hope!

2. It’s a good way for me to be motivated to exercise. I sometimes find it quite hard to get out of the door, and because I have only a few opportunities where I can get out (like many people), if I don’t seize the moment than often it passes me right by. And let’s fact it, I am still hoping to get back into pre-baby shape, and exercise helps that!

3. Most importantly though, I am trying to raise $700 for World Vision. World Vision do some amazing work amongst needy and vulnerable communities and people groups. We have a lot more to give than we realise I think, and I hope that I can encourage others to dig deep, give a little, and learn that it really is more blessed to give than receive.

What Can You Do?

1. I am so thankful for the many varied readers of my blog. I have been encouraged of late by some dear friends saying, “I love reading your blog” etc. It warms my heart to think that you can be blessed/encouraged or even just have a laugh or enjoy some cute stories of the girls (Hi Emily A!). But in this case I am also very hopeful that you might consider joining me in supporting World Vision by making a donation, however large or small. You can click on the link here on the blog if you are able. Thank you!

2. Join me! I think it would be great to encourage some others to run the 10K with me. If we all try together we can get fit, raise more money for good causes, and have fun together too!

3. Encouragement is huge. Don’t just encourage me either, although that’s nice – encourage others you know who are working towards goals, be it fitness or otherwise. An enthusiastic word of encouragement can make anything seem possible sometimes. It also helps to keep me accountable. I don’t want you to kindly ask how it is all going and to have to confess that I just haven’t been bothered…that’s not a great feeling.

And So…

I’m looking forward to writing an update each Friday about how the training is going, both physically and mentally, and checking in on the number of runs I have done, how they have gone and what has been difficult. I think I will have a lot to say about what has been difficult!

Are there any topics related to fitness you would like to hear more about? If you are keen to start running for the first time you can take a look at this honest and helpful blog, written by Jean who has gone through the Couch-to-5K program herself. http://jeaninallhonesty.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/couch-to-5k-week-6-take-1.html Or maybe a gentle walk tomorrow in our lovely unpredictable Melbourne weather could do you some good? Either way, let’s get out there and get moving!

5.1K at Hanging Rock

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I began running about 3 months after Heidi was born, so lets say that was about May/June 2011. I decided that I wanted to run a 5K. I had always wanted to run a 5K, but thought that I couldn’t. So I decided to try. Paul was very supportive and each afternoon when our dream baby Heidi had her very predictable nap, I went out for a run. I started with a beginners program, and first reached my goal of running for 20 minutes, and then eventually could run 5K. I still remember those first few months of just simply being able to run a couple of minutes at a time, walking for a while, and then running for another minute or so. The first time I ran for 20 minutes without stopping was such an exciting moment!! I entered into the Melbourne Marathon Festival 5K event. After a bit of a drop in training I still came away with a time of 32:42 for my first ever 5K! At the time I wasn’t actually so happy with my time. I had gone along with a couple of friends, not to run together, but just to be a part of it together. Those friends just happened to be super fit friends, who despite not really training, really had great times and made me feel a little slow and unimpressive. It wasn’t until later that I realised how happy I should have been with that time!

After that run I was somewhat sporadic in my training, mostly due to being pregnant again. From about February 2012 I was sick with morning sickness and stopped running. By the time I had recovered a few months later, my fitness levels were low, as was my motivation. So I didn’t really run again throughout my pregnancy with Pippa. So last year, when Pippa was about 2 months old I decided to start running again. I set myself two goals. The first was to run a 5K by the time of Heidi’s birthday (25th March). I did that, with a time of 35:03. I knew I wasn’t going to run an amazing time, as I had been unwell for a couple of months, despite a fairly good training period before that. I was happy to do 35 minutes off the back of some fairly average training.

My sister was eager to do another run together, so despite not feeling like I had enough time to train properly, I suggested the ‘Run the Rock’ event at Hanging Rock on 27th April (today)! Lucy was keen, and so after checking with Paul, I registered and began to look forward to it. We had visited Hanging Rock a few times on day trips and loved the beautiful picnic areas, so decided to plan a trip together as a family. One of the main reasons I chose this run was the timing. Because I am still breastfeeding Pippa, a 5K at 10:15am on a Saturday was perfect. It meant I could breastfeed Pippa at about 7 when she woke, we could all get ready to go, drive, run, recover and then feed her again. And unlike the majority of runs, being on a Saturday meant we wouldn’t have to miss Church on the Sunday. It was looking perfect!

I only had about 3 weeks of training, and about 3 runs a week. So not too much really, but it was what I could do. And then in the last few days, Heidi started to get really sick. The poor little thing has had a high temperature, and has just been miserable. So at the last minute I had to re-think plans for the run. I really really wanted to go together as a family. Paul’s support and encouragement to me means a lot and is very motivating. But deep down, while in the midst of searching for ways to make it happen all together, I knew that he would have to stay home with Heidi. And thankfully I had a friend (thanks Subashini!) who was very happy to come along with Pippa and I for the morning, so I was able to go ahead with the run.

So this morning, just after 8, Bash, Pippa and I headed up to Hanging Rock. It was exciting to arrive and see lots of cars and people, long lines at the toilets, to hear the energetic and loud music pumping everyone up, and to enjoy a warm-ish Autumn day in a beautiful part of the world. I started to get quite nervous! I hadn’t really felt like that before the other two runs that I had been in, but I was quite conscious of really wanting to run better than the previous 35 minutes. My goal is still to run a sub-30 5K, but I knew that wouldn’t happen without more serious training. I joined in with the pre-race aerobics to warm up a little, and was glad I did, as I worked out a little twinge in my knee before the run, rather than during the first kilometre of the actual run. Warming up is a good idea!

I set out a little to enthusiastically. I didn’t run with a watch, headphones, GPS, phone etc so I didn’t really know how my pace was going. But last time I had started out too slowly in a bid to do negative splits, and this time I over-compensated. I guess this might be something that becomes easier with experience. And there were a few hills, and quite a lot of blustery wind. I struggled between thinking that I really wanted to do a better time, and then reminding myself to have fun and just be happy to be out there. The last kilometre was hard, and I kept saying to myself over and over, under my breath, “Come on Mel, come on!” At one point I said, “I don’t know where the finishing line is!” and someone kindly pointed it out to me in the distance. I needed to see where I was going!

As I neared the finishing line I could see that my time was indeed better than 35 minutes! I sped up towards the end, and hoped that I had run it in about 32 minutes. A few steps after the finish line I dry retched a little, and that was a first for me. That was a bit gross. But I quickly recovered, and headed off to find Bash, with Pippa cosily snuggled up with her in my favourite baby carrier, the Ergo. She had slept the whole time and been a little angel for Bash. Go Pippa! Anyway, I digress… I was so pleased to have improved my time, and when I later found out that I had in fact done a 5.1K in 31:47 I was so pleased! I know it’s not a record breaking time, but for me, that’s not bad. And on the day that Pippa turned 6 months old.

Running has made me realise in a very tangible way that if you work hard for something, you can reach the goals that you set out to achieve. It reminds me of the blessing that a healthy body is, and of the importance of getting outdoors for your mental health. It teaches me lessons in perseverance and mental determination. And I haven’t even done many long runs yet! Our bodies are amazing, and it is exciting to see what they are capable of when we work hard.

I am now looking forward to running my first 10K at The Age Run Melbourne festival at the end of July. I am thinking of joining the World Vision team, so if you are interested in partnering with me in that, please let me know. Alternatively, if you would like to join me and do a 10K, let me know that too! More on that to come though…Stay tuned for updates!

The 5K Run

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My sister Lucy just after the run. She looks pretty pleased with herself – as she should!

Pre-Race Jitters

It was a very cold morning out at the Lillydale Lake** on Sunday 17th March, 2013. Yet as I stood there in the midst of other people also in running shorts and T-shirts, my heart was warmed. Lucy, my younger sister, stood beside me shivering too. We had both looked forward to this day for a little while, despite both of us not being as well prepared in our training programs as we might have liked. Having never really run together before we weren’t totally sure how to approach the race. Would we stick together? Perhaps not even run with each other at all? Or (as we decided) should we start together and see how we felt – with no obligation either way. And after we both decided that we didn’t want to talk, we were totally on the same page! It was so lovely to be ready to run, in the outdoors, with my sister, both of us working towards our own goals of health and fitness. The fact we were surrounded by other people there doing the same things was just so encouraging too. And all of that was before we had even started running!

The Actual Running

Out of a desire to run “negative splits” I started out quite slowly. Probably too slowly, but I was very conscious of my lack of fitness, and susceptibility to injury because of my lack of recent training. Lucy and I stayed together for nearly the whole first half. I really struggled to get into a good breathing rhythm, and I wished that I had some earmuffs because I always get sore ears when I run in the cold. (Does that happen to anyone else?) About half way Lucy was having some troubles and needed to get to the bathroom, pronto, so we departed ways. I pressed on, but needed to walk a few times due to a considerably sore right knee. But I pressed on. There were a few people around me who would pass me, slow down, and then I would pass them etc. So I decided to have a small burst of speed and ran a few hundred metres as hard as I could at that point, and didn’t see those people again. Yay! (Isn’t it funny what can motivate you in an actual race, that is really just a race against the clock? I started thinking “I must beat the girl in the purple T-shirt/pink shoes/any coloured anything”…It’s weird how competitiveness comes out randomly sometimes). I am fairly sure I ran negative splits, and I definitely felt better in the second half. I even had enough in me to do a slow sprint at the last few hundred metres, trying to get under 35 minutes. As it was, I ran it in 35:03. I was happy with that. Not an amazing time, but something I can still be proud of. (Although, as I finished my first lap, the winning male runner crossed the finishing line…there’s a lesson in humility!)

Reflections

One of my goals for the year regarding fitness was to run in a 5K before Heidi turned 2. I would have loved to have run 5K in 30 minutes or less, but because of health and family health issues, my training was not good enough to be able to manage that. In fact, the actual 5K last Sunday was my first run in about 4 weeks. So I planned to take things slowly, easily, and enjoy the run more than trying to get a good time. I am so pleased to have reached my first fitness goal, and have put some smaller steps in place to reach my second fitness goal of running a 10K before Pippa’s birthday in October. I will outline these in more detail in a future post, once I have thought them through a little more. My usual motto when I run is something like, “Train harder, more rewards”. But this time it was, “No injuries. No injuries.” I had to remind myself to take it easy, and not push for something unrealistic. One thing that I will do in future training is have a specific time frame with a specific race planned at the end. I trained for about 7 weeks really well, then had 4 weeks of not great training, and then the run. It wasn’t a great way to do it. But more of that later.

Re-committing to Resolutions

It can be hard to stick to our fitness plans, goals and resolutions from the New Year. Life gets busy again, holidays are a distant memory, and the weather isn’t quite as inviting. Are there things that you do to keep motivated? Or is it always a struggle? What tips and advice do you have on how to keep those goals fresh and meaningful? I would love to hear from you, and hope that we can encourage one another on towards lives of health and fitness.

**The town Lilydale is spelt with only one ‘l’, but the lake has two in it’s name.

Running Doesn’t Always Go According To Plan

Health and fitness are important to me. I want to do what I can to prevent bigger health issues in the future (and now too I guess) and live life to the fullest. I know that I cannot control my health, nor do I want to worship health, but living a healthy and balanced lifestyle is a good thing to strive for. I struggle with eating well and curbing my sweet tooth (teeth!), and exercising when I don’t feel like it, and am by no means perfect. But I work on it. Paul and I work on it together, talking about how we can eat well and exercise. I really want to be an example to my girls. I want them to grow up seeing their parents value exercise and eating well, for health. It’s not about weight, appearance or fitting in. I want to help my girls grow up with a good view of themselves, and even perhaps an enjoyment of fitness and healthy living.

A couple of months after Heidi was born in March, 2011, I decided I wanted to run 5 kilometres. I had never done anything like that before. I thought I wouldn’t be able to. But with the support of Paul, I set out with a very beginners training program and in October that year I ran in the Run Melbourne Festival and ran my first 5K in 32:42. It was such an achievement! I enjoyed running and reaching my goal. When I was pregnant with Pippa I didn’t run at all though. I had terrible morning sickness for about the first 4 months, and then found it too hard to get into again while being pregnant. Well done to any ladies out there who manage to run through pregnancy – perhaps something I can consider in the future? So after Pippa was born I wanted to start running again. I set myself 2 goals for the year in regards to running: To run a 5K by Heidi’s 2nd birthday (25th March) and to run a 10K by Pippa’s 1st birthday (27th October). And so, with Heidi’s birthday on the not-so-distant horizon, I am entered into a 5K this Sunday.

I began training at the end of December, having given my body about 2 months of recovery time after giving birth to Pippa. My training was going well. I had been using RunKeeper, an app which can provide training programs and record your times and distances as you run. I was actually managing to get out about every second day. I was really training with the hope of being able to run a sub-30 5K. For those of you not up with running lingo, all that means is I wanted to run 5 kilometres in under 30 minutes. But sadly, it’s not going to happen this weekend.

For the last month I have had 3 lots of antibiotics for the same severe UTI. It was very nearly a kidney infection. And I am also recovering from a cold. And the girls have been incredibly unsettled in the heat wave that Melbourne has finally seen the back of. And so my training hasn’t happened. I have either not been well myself, or unable to get out of the house because of the girls. My training has been de-railed. I haven’t run in about 3 weeks. I don’t know if my body is recovered enough from the sickness that has doggedly plagued me this past month. I don’t know if I can even walk 5K at the moment. And yet, I will ‘run’ this weekend. I am not going to run with a time in mind.

I will run so I can learn what it feels like to run when my training hasn’t gone well.

I will run slowly so that I don’t injure myself and make things even harder to get out and run.

I will run because my husband supports me and encourages me to do it.

I will run because I have resolved to.

I will run because I can.