Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Triathlon training.

A few days ago, I woke up well before the sun, while my children and husband slumbered under their warm sheets and blankets dreaming of another day ahead, I was on my way to a triathlon club training session.

The night before I was all packed up, everything laid out ready to go, the car packed and sorted, I was a mixture of nerves, excitement and disbelief that I had signed myself up to attend.  Ever since the miscarriage last month my training has been off, I have been unmotivated and unable to face my goals as I constantly run them up against where I would have been in my pregnancy and no one wins at that game.  Something had to be done, I know I need time to grieve but I also needed to feel good about training for something again, and have confidence in myself.  To give myself a kickstart I have signed up for a triathlon club in my area, due to schedules I am only able to attend once a fortnight so I was intrigued to see if it would be worth going.

The short answer is yes!  It was hard work but it taught me so many aspects of both triathlon and running that I wasn't aware of, it was great to get out in a group, even if I was amongst the slowest and the coffee after was worth it.  I have a long way to go if I want to feel good about my performance at the end of the year, but I am hopeful that I am on my way.

Next up, marathon school!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Getting back to it.

This last weekend we finally started to recover from a fortnight of (possibly exaggerated) black plague.  The sleep factor has been low, the grumpy factor high and the training non existent, my sole purpose was to get us all back to health and recover well.  In saying that, I did run 8 km for the Mothers Day Classic, I was feeling a bit better and the boys were so pumped to "run" in a proper race with me that I didn't feel as though I could let them down.  It was a nice run, I felt good and was happy with 46:43 as my time.

It was great to run with Mum and has become a tradition for over ten years now, broken only by overseas placements and pregnancies, a great reminder of how life constantly changes over the years and the achievements we have both made in living an active life.

Now that we are finally better it has been back to training, I have another half marathon in August and I am aiming to get my time in under 2 hours, and of course my ultimate goal of competing in an Olympic distance triathlon in November.  I have lined up a few new items in my training this time around and I have to say it has been a challenge and I have questioned exactly what I am doing.  I am still enjoying park run on Saturday and even managed to come first in my category last week which was thrilling!

(Don't you love the sass coming from Otto!)

But Sunday I headed out for a ride with a cycling club, admittedly I thought we were only going to do 30-40km of a route I have cycled a few times, ensuring I would be back home around 8 so imagine my surprise when all of a sudden we are heading towards Wynum and they have put me in the fast pace group.  It was approx 50-60km round trip and by the middle I was feeling exhausted, I had overdressed so was pretty hot, sick of stopping at lights and going up hills, it was all I could do to hold it together until we got back to our cars.  I questioned my sanity many times on that ride, exactly what did I think I was doing?  I have barely ridden in my life time, never with a proper bike and never within the capacity that I have challenged myself to lately, I was constantly at the back of the group and felt like I was holding the fast people up, and I hate being at the back.

Roll on Monday and I turn up at swim squad only to be told we are doing 30 100 meter repeats, it is enough to destroy a persons will to live, or at the minimum swim!  I am still determined to go without fins and make sure that I can learn to swim better without them so with sore legs from the day before I dive in and get started.  Now that I have taken my fins off I am pretty much the slowest in the squad and swimming 3kms certainly gives you plenty of time to think, again, about how you are the back of the pack, struggling to improve and keep balance in life.  I questioned myself yet again, have I set unrealistic goals?  Am I still having fun?  Should I just go back to running a few times a week and call it a day?

No, of course not, I set myself some goals, I know how good it is when you reach them and all this hard work is worth it, both mentally and physically.  The hard work I put in now is payed back tenfold later at the finish line, or when life throws me more curve balls (but please no more just yet), I can tell myself and my children that hard work is worth it, it pays off, the cheap medal means more than just a token, it is a culmination of the hard work, sweat, tears and self doubt that has been overcome to continue driving towards a goal and seek personal improvement.

We all have to start somewhere, and the bottom of the pack is just as good as anywhere.

Friday, May 9, 2014

When nothing goes to plan.

So this week started off well, Hugo and I went to the pool, I got a nice recovery swim and we were settling into our week, I had researched some different running routes to change our routine and couldn't wait to give them a try.  That all came to a grinding halt when Hugo woke hourly, sometimes twice an hour on Monday night, finishing with a temperature over 40 degrees for hours that I couldn't get down no matter what.  Off to the doctor with my sick little bunny who had a horrible case of tonsillitis, his poor throat looked so sore, and he looked even worse.

Thankfully I knew with the antibiotics he would soon start feeling better.  Obviously I put all training on hold, there was no point stressing his body out sitting in a cold pram and I was feeling pretty exhausted as well, there was always the end of the week and our life comes first.

By midday Wednesday there was a big improvement, I was having trouble getting him to rest and keep quiet, so after picking Otto up from Kindy I decided we would head out for a bike ride with our new bikes seat for Hugo.  At least Hugo would get some fresh air and we could leave the house without him over exerting himself.

 We had a great time, Hugo giggled the whole way and Otto felt like such a big boy riding beside me, exactly what we all needed after such an exhausting few days, it is always hard to see your children sick and miserable and be unable to do much to make them feel better, that there is so much relief when they get back to their normal troublesome selves!

I was so hopeful that the worst was done, so imagine my surprise when I again spent the whole night awake with Hugo for what appeared to be no reason, no temperature, he was warm enough without overheating, he wasn't hungry or thirsty.  The next morning it all became clear in the light of day.  The poor little boy's mouth was covered in cold sore's, his immune system so depleted that they couldn't fight them.

Just to be sure it wasn't a drug allergy we headed back to the doctor, only to be told it was as I suspected and there isn't much we can do.  Thankfully now the swelling has gone down but a big red angry rash extending underneath his chin is in place until they finally go away, Hugo has been through so much this week, and other than looking like he has come off second best he is in good spirits and finally sleeping again, I haven't done any form of training and that is fine with me, the Mothers Day Classic is on tomorrow and hopefully my little ones will be well enough to attend, if not they will stay at home and continue to recover with Han.

I did manage to source some great homemade fudge from a fete this morning and a new book for Otto, so all is not lost, but we are hoping that our turn for some good news isn't too far away.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What a weekend!

Saturday dawned nice and early for us thanks to my two little alarm clocks and I hurried to get us out the door for park run.  I had forgotten how much longer it will take to get them dressed and out the door now that the cooler weather has kicked in, and didn't that happen quickly!  Anyone who lives in Brisbane is currently wondering whatever happened to Autumn?  We were hot last week and freezing this week, I noticed with irony this evening as I was folding the kids clean laundry that there was an equal mix of tracksuit pants and shorts in there, but I digress.
Saturday was cold, so cold, and then add the wind factor being close to the river and the pram ended up feeling like a parachute to push ahead of me through the head wind,  I was exhausted by the time we were finished, and it was by far my worst time on that course.  I still managed to come 6th in my Category so I assume everyone struggled with it.  It did mean that I could let go of the pram and trust it wouldn't move very far which made for a fun photo.  The wind on Saturday held nothing however to the wind on Sunday!

I was pumped for Sunday, my first big ride on the bike with 2000 other people doing various distances and elevations.  I opted for the 50 km ride and I have never been more grateful for thinking small.  I haven't spent much time on the bike lately so was a bit concerned about my fitness, but that turned out to be the least of my concerns after checking the weather and discovering that the low was 6 degrees with wind gusts of 20-30 km.  I started riding in the summer and have absolutely no winter gear so I was panicking slightly about what on earth I was going to wear that would keep me warm, the short answer is nothing, as I found out.  I managed to source some extra layers and purchased a fleece vest for my birthday which was my savior, but even that wasn't enough, it was brutal.  In the end this ride wasn't about enjoyment but endurance, the wind sliced through every layer, almost blew me off the bike countless times and I lost track of the hills I climbed, by the last one I was cranky, so cranky I am pretty sure anyone near me would have heard me swearing the whole way up and not in a particularly lady like fashion.  I was bored, wind swept, freezing cold and hungry, by the time that finish line loomed ahead of me the best I could manage for the photographer was a grimace, I looked happier half way through my half marathon then I did at the end of this easy ride.

I am pleased I did it, I learnt that I need more time on the bike, more time doing hills and more winter gear than I first thought!

 Mum managed to climb Mt Cootha and ride 75 km's the route taking her right past my house, I have no idea how she managed to continue on, knowing that I have a coffee machine and hot shower right there, she is made of better stuff then me, I am 90% sure I would have stopped, said to hell with it, and picked the car up later!

The icing on the cake for my red tinged wind burnt face was waking up Monday morning to a glorious winter day, beautiful blue sky, not even the hint of a breeze, absolutely perfect cycling weather, also, to those with access to a heated pool, the perfect active recovery from a hard day on the bike.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Inside play.

So today was meant to be the last of the warm weather, the only catch was that it also included some rain, swimming lessons were on the schedule and desperately needed to be attended after a few slack weeks, so off we went.

The boys had so much fun and were incredibly muddy and sandy by the time I picked them up from kids club and headed to their lessons, a sure sign of a good hour spent playing with other kids!  After some piping hot pea and ham soup we made our way home, only to discover a severe weather warning to be issued for the afternoon.  Cue hysterics from mostly me about what on earth I was going to do with them for the long and solitary hours until bedtime!

Kinetic sand was the answer (I sound like some badly worded advertisement), a few months back a friend of mine who owns Finlee and me kept raving about this new product she had started selling, and normally I love her taste and fall in love with the amazing products she finds, but I was dubious.  I thought surely it was just like Play-doh, or normal sand, I just didn't understand what was so special.  Eventually she brought some along to a play date and let the boys have some fun, only then did I understand how amazing it was to work with, and how the kids responded to the texture.

It has come out a few times since then and each time it is a hit, the boys are really careful with it, and even when they aren't it is so easy to clean up as the sand will stick together.  This afternoon it saved my sanity as both boys played with it for over an hour, making it into so many different imaginative scenarios I was astounded.

I have been reading blogs for long enough to understand that some people are paid to review products and I just wanted to be clear that I wasn't asked to do this nor was I paid in any way to write this, it is my own opinion.

And my verdict is that the product, while not essential for child development, it is a great tool to have as a parent when you need something different to help entertain.

Also, I kind of like playing with it too!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Happy May!

So today is the 1st of May, it deserves mentioning for a few reasons.  The month of April is over, it was the best and absolute worst of months I have experienced in quite a while, I also start a new training regimen for a half marathon in 12 weeks time, it will mark the halfway point in my treatment and I am hoping to bring my time in under 2 hours.

I decided to start the month off right, a 5km run into the city from Toowong with the kids, a picnic breakfast overlooking the river seemed like perfection, especially as the weather is set to cool down into a proper autumn over the weekend.  It was as lovely as I had hoped, both boys were entranced by the tunnels, bridges, cyclists and city cats.  I couldn't stop smiling as I ran, happy to be able to breathe the fresh air and appreciate my ability to get out of the house and run, we had a lovely morning frolicking in the water and sand, chasing birds and heading back to the car by boat on the city cat.  We really do live in a wonderful city.

 Of course as every new training program starts I make certain to also have some nutrition goals, such as no wine or chocolate during the week, plenty of protein and carbs and lots of water.  Then at night I find myself with a glass of wine and chocolate beside me, I am nothing if not consistent!

At least there is always tomorrow night to get it right!!!

Swimming day tomorrow, it has been a good few weeks since I have entered the pool, and the temperature has dropped considerably in that time, wish me luck!