Tag Archives: healthy-living

A walk with Mum (and a vent)

I’m fortunate to have a supportive and active Mum. We enjoy spending time together walking and cycling. We go camping and traveling together, and sometimes do other outdoor activities like kayaking. Mum is currently working on getting her motorbike licence and wants to take up running for fitness to prepare for a dogsledding trip in the US next year so hopefully we will soon also be able to do those things together (the motorcycling and running … I’m unlikely to be able to do any dogsledding here in the subtropics).

This morning Mum and I went walking together in the bush near my home. We completed the 5km single track loop that I was running before I was injured. I enjoyed the walk and the company. It was good to have a chance to talk with Mum. To hear what she’s been up to and to tell her about my frustrations at being injured for so long.

See, I’m starting to struggle with the frustration of being unable to run and cycle. On Monday it will be three months since the City to Surf Marathon in Perth and I’ve really not been able to run since then. At first it was okay because I could still swim and cycle. But for the past four weeks I’ve not even been able to do that due to the SIJ injury. And it’s starting to get to me. I can’t get rid of the energy that builds up inside me. I can’t release the tension that builds after a day in the office. I feel like screaming because I can’t release the energy through running. And it’s becoming difficult to keep the old depression and anxiety away. It’s becoming more challenging to resist the compulsive behaviours I was replacing with healthy behaviours like running and cycling.

Sure, I can walk and I enjoy walking. But it’s not an activity that provides the same release of energy. It is nice cross-training and preparation for running but it doesn’t provide the sensation of wind blowing through what little hair I have left on my head or of sweat dripping from my brow. I am hopeful that I’m only 2-3 weeks away from running again and I’m trying to keep my eye on the prize. But some days are just plain darn tough! Sometimes I get tired of working at staying positive and pretending everything’s okay when really it’s not.

I’m feeling a little sore this morning and know this is adding to my frustration. I know I will feel better later in the week when I don’t have to sit in my office chair all day because that will be easier on my back. But today I’m feeling frustrated and anxious about how I will get through this next few weeks of relative inactivity. All I know is that I’m going to be celebrating when the physio gives me a program that lets me start running again.

I know this period of healing will be worth it because I am developing positive habits like stretching, trigger pointing and pilates exercises. I know I will be a better runner for it. I know I am young and that this season of healing will benefit me for decades to come. So I am trying to focus on those positives to get me through the frustration.

Total: 5km trail walk

Morning walk

JC Trotter Memorial Park

JC Trotter Memorial Park

I met with K from running club this morning for a walk at JC Trotter Memorial Park. K has injured her achilles so is also unable to run.

I played tour guide to K, who hadn’t explored these trails before. We had a lovely time getting to know each other (it was our first time meeting). The 4.5km walk was probably a bit too fast for my SIJ because I felt it afterwards but I don’t think I did too much harm (or at least nothing the physio wasn’t able to fix this morning).



Walking trails in White's Hill Reserve

Walking trails in White’s Hill Reserve

I had an hour to kill between my walk and physio appointment so I rode my motorbike down to White’s Hill Reserve where I went for an easy 1.5km walk. I’ve never been to White’s Hill Reserve despite it being only about 30km from my home. I’m glad I went there this morning because it’s lovely. The reserve is hillier than JC Trotter Park so it will be a good place to add to my trail running regime once I’m back into it.

I found a geocache while there and still have about half a dozen left to find so will be back. I focused on technique while I was walking at White’s Hill. That might sound strange, given I was ‘only’ walking but I think that my walking technique will feed my running technique. My focus today was on short gentle steps, rather than on extending my stride (which is what I unintentionally did while walking with K).

Total: 6km walk and 2 geocaches found.

2,000km cycled this year!

Image courtesy of Bigjom / Freedigitalphotos.net

There was a time when I didn’t think I’d even pass the 1,000km mark in my cycling mileage this year but this morning I passed the 2,000km mark.

My cycling has definitely evolved this year. Back in January I was cycling to train for triathlons. I was focused on the Kingscliff Olympic distance triathlon with its 40km cycle leg. Through February and March I started focusing more on speed and increasing my distance so that I could complete the 40km cycle leg at the Byron Bay Olympic distance triathlon in May. While I did get faster and fitter on the bike, it was hard work.

As the weather cooled into April and May I switched my attention to my mountain bike as I trained for the Adventure Race Australia. I had a few fun times and gained a lot of new off-road skills. At first, mountain biking was a bit scary because gravel is more slippery than the road but I got the hang of it by the time Adventure Race Australia came around. Then I kept mountain biking in the lead up to the Tre-X Off-Road Duathlon in July.

In July I made the switch from triathlon / duathlon to trail running. I did a few long rides as endurance training for trail running but almost immediately switched all my training to running. I had a few running successes with the 50km Flinders Tour trail run in July and the Perth City to Surf Marathon in August before injuring myself in early September.

Since September I’ve been clocking up the miles on my bikes. I’ve also done my first ever bicycle mechanical maintenance by replacing the chain and cassette on my road bike. I recently joined Audax Australia, a long distance cycling club with which I hope to complete some endurance cycling events. I have also started cycle commuting again after a few years absence.

I now am falling back in love with cycling in the same way I fell back in love with running in July. It’s becoming a way of life again like it used to be. A happy way of life.

Ironically, it was completing the 50km trail run and marathon in July and August that gave me the confidence to teach myself basic bicycle maintenance. And it’s the ability to maintain and repair my bicycle that is giving me the confidence to tackle long rides and to fully embrace cycling as a form of transport.

It’s going to take me a while to get back to running long mileage again. Hopefully that gives me time to find a way to balance my desire to participate in both sports in a way that allows me to stay injury free.

Total cycle today: 12.9km to work + cycle home.

Nutrition blog

I’ve found my training blog useful at keeping me honest and focused on my training. Now that I’m finding a training rhythm, I want to take the next step in my quest for health and fitness: to eat right.

My diet has been slowly improving the past six weeks but I still have a way to go because I have whole weeks where I fall off the bandwagon and just eat whatever is at hand.

I have started a food blog in which I can track what I eat and recipes I like. If you’re interested in food, you can find the new blog at: Tranventure Food. I only started the blog this morning so it’s still a work in progress.

A solid gym session

Image coutesy of idea go / Freedigitalphotos.net

I never thought I’d like going to the gym to do weights but I have to say I am enjoying it. I feel strong when I pump iron. I don’t lift big weights because I don’t want to get huge but the weights I lift are a suitable size for me right now.

I am not a big fan of stationary aerobic equipment but I am learning that they can be beneficial. For example, I’m sure my road cycling will improve through my use of the stationary bike. The stationary bike encourages me to spin. There are no obstacles, hills or corners to negotiate so I can teach my legs to keep up a higher than usual cadence without complaining. I’ve always been the type of cyclist who pushes big gears and breaks bottom brackets. Perhaps a few months watching the cadence metre on the stationary bike will encourage me to become a cyclist who is able to spin efficiently all day long instead of being the guy who keeps having to stand on the pedals up every little hill and then rest my legs on the way down.

The rowing machine also has good purpose for me. I can use it as an alternative to cycling and swimming to recruit more muscles to the aerobic exercise. It’s not all that exciting sliding back and forward on the spot but I do get a kick out of watching the measurements on the display. There’s an instant gratification to being able to see that I’m rowing at 43 strokes per minute or passing each 500m mark. Also, rowing is a sport I just don’t have the equipment to do out in the real world. Not only do I not have a boat, but even if I did it would quite difficult to get it to the water on my motorbike. I can feel my back and thigh muscles toning as I use them to row.

And, of course, there’s always the guilty pleasure of checking myself out in the mirrors as I lift weights in the free weights room. 😉

Today I started with 10 minutes on the triathlon-style stationary bike, riding at 110-115 RPM and covering 5.4km. I followed this with 10 minutes on the rowing machine, stroking at 43 strokes/minute and covering 2,180m.

I completed 3 sets of 8 repetitions in the weights room:

Exercise Weight
Incline dumbbell bench press 12.5km / dumbbell
Leg curl 45kg
Seated row 35kg
Bent arm pull-over 7.5kg + barbell
Chin up 6 + 4 + 3
Dumbbell bicep curls 10kg / dumbbell
Back ext Body weight
Decline crunch Body weight

I completed my workout with a 5 minute cool-down on the reclining stationary bike, riding at just 90RPM and covering just 2.1km. I usually try to do 10 minutes after my weights workout but I didn’t have time today because I was getting a lift to work.

Total: Weights +

  • 10 mins stationary bike @ 110-115RPM covering equivalent of 5.4km
  • 10 mins rowing machine @ 43 s/m covering equivalent of 2,180m
  • 5 mins reclining stationary bike @ 90RPM covering equivalent of 2.1km.

CT scan results: Good news

I just got my CT scan results. The radiologist found no indication of stress fractures in either shin or my left foot. This is excellent news because it means I can now work towards recovery without having to wait for bones to heal.

Having said that, I am still taking a break from running so that my legs can heal properly. There is definitely a problem with my legs and feet that needs to be repaired. A rest from running and physiotherapy are probably going to give me the best chance of recovery.

At this stage, I am totally taking a break from running and hiking until early December. Then, if I am pain free, I will follow the first 3-4 weeks of a post-stress fracture training program I found online and then blending that into a 9-week Couch-to-5km program. I once read that the biggest risk in running is listening to your aerobic ability because muscles and ligaments take longer to get strong than our hearts and lungs do.

So the Couch-to-5km will probably be a sensible move. I then found a really good 19 week kilometre build-up program that can take me from running about 20km a week to 40-50km a week. I don’t like programs but I like being injured even less. I hope I can discipline myself enough to spend the next 6-9 months building strength and endurance, not only aerobically but also in my legs.

I’m ready to be pain free and am ready to be a consistent runner not someone who relies almost solely on luck, pig-headedness and a sprinkling of natural ability.

Bike and gym

Image coutesy of digitalart / Freedigitalphotos.net

I felt a little bit like the character in this image when I rode my bicycle down to the YMCA this morning. Sure, I was riding a road bicycle, have olive skin and dark hair, and it was drizzling but other than that, this could be a self portrait. I didn’t bother getting dressed up in my cycling kit, preferring to just wear board shorts and t-shirt for the 10.2km ride to the gym.

For the most part, the ride felt good. My legs definitely aren’t used to the pedaling motion anymore after not cycling for a few months while I’ve been focusing on my running. So I felt like I was getting a workout. My left foot did complain a few times but it felt good when I focused on maintaining a consistent spinning motion, rather than jerking my feet around with poor technique. I certainly preferred being out on my bicycle to sitting on the stationary bike.

My gym set was solid today. I’m still working out what weights work best for me so stuck with the same size dumbbell for the dumbbell exercises. I don’t want to jump up too quickly so just went 1kg heavier than last week when I did almost the same series of exercise. Over the coming weeks I will naturally find the correct weights for me for each exercise. I figure I keep increasing them together and some muscle groups will tell me ‘stop’
while others will allow me to continue increasing until they reach their optimum point.

Exercise Weight
Leg extension 25kg
Scissor leg lift Body weight
Dumbbell overhead press 8kg / dumbbell
Push up Body weight
Plank Unable to complete due to foot pain
Dumbbell shrug 8kg / dumbbell
One arm dumbbell row 8kg / dumbbell
Leg curl 35kg
Lat pull down 30kg + 32.5kg
Tricep extension 30kg
Crunches Body weight

I’m feeling good at the gym. I feel like I’m doing the right thing for my body (regardless of whether I am injured or fit).

After my workout I cycled back home. I rode slowly because I don’t want to overdo anything on my shins or foot, and because I want to remember the joy of cycling.

Total: 20.4km bike and weights

‘Bayside Runners and Swimmers’

Image courtesy of vorakorn / Freedigitalphotos.net

I’m part of the Brisbane Bayside Runners and Walkers. It’s a social running and walking group here in the Redlands area of Brisbane. I started running with the group in August 2011 and love being part of the family atmosphere.

With the running season coming to an end, there are more and more people from the group hitting the pool. This morning I turned up to find three blokes from the group already gliding through the water. It felt good to have someone to say ‘hello’ to before starting my session. To me, the social element of training makes a big difference.

Set Swimming
Warm up 400m alternating freestyle and breaststroke
Drills 100m pull buoy100m catch up

100m pull buoy

100m one-arm freestyle

Main 800m medium pace with fartlek (8 x 25m sprints)
Exercise 400m freestyle kick
Cool down 100m freestyle100m breaststroke

The 800m swim was the farthest I have swum continuously so I was pleased with my effort, especially because I was able to do the 25m sprints throughout the set.

Total: 2.2km swim

It’s fun to play at the YMCA

Image courtesy of chrisroll / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I intended to do a yoga class at my local YMCA today but I misread the class time. It didn’t matter though because I enjoyed the workout I ended up doing.

I started with 10 minutes on the fancy triathlon-inspired stationary bike. I rode fairly hard today, sitting in the 110-115 RPM range for the whole set. The bike computer said I covered the equivalent of 5.25km.

I followed that with 10 minutes on the rowing machine. I haven’t used a rowing machine in years but always like them. I rowed at an average of 40 strokes/minute and covered the equivalent of 1,997m in the 10 minutes. I could cheat and call it an even 2km but I would only be cheating myself.

After my 20 minutes of cardio I had a nice light sweat going. I then did my weights sets. I got most of the workout from the Outdoor Athlete book I’m reading but couldn’t do two exercises. I added back extensions and bicep curls to the program to replace those two exercises. I completed three sets of eight repeats with 90 seconds rest between each. I kept the weights moderately light because it’s the first time I’ve done this routine.

Exercise Weight
Incline dumbbell bench press 10kg / dumbbell
Leg curl 40kg
Seated row 30kg
Bent arm pull-over 7.5kg + barbell
Chin up 5 + 3+ 3
Dumbbell bicep curls 10kg / dumbbell
Back ext Body weight
Decline crunch Body weight

After my weights set I finished my session with 10 minutes on the reclining stationary bike. I rode at an average of 110RPM and the computer said I completed the equivalent of 5.2km.

My foot felt good during the stationary bike sets so perhaps I will try cycling a real bike sometime this weekend to see how it holds up.


  • 10 mins stationary bike
  • 10 mins rowing machine
  • 30 mins weights
  • 10 mins reclining stationary bike.

Back in the pool


Okay, so I took the photo last year before my underwater camera broke, but it’s one of my favourite photos and seemed appropriate.

I hadn’t swum since April or May so had forgotten how beautiful it is to watch the sunrise through the water droplets falling from my arms. There wasn’t barely a thin glowing orange line on the horizon when I slid into the pool at 5:45am. By the time I finished my warm up, it had spread to a broad orange and yellow band that I could look at every time I breathed on the eastern side of the pool. By my main set the big ball of orange came into view over my right shoulder and I enjoyed the sensation of it’s warmth spreading over the water. By the time I got out of the pool just before 7am the sun was high in the sky above the palm trees. Perhaps I should count myself fortunate for being injured or I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy this start to my day.

As for the swimming itself, it went really well. I think it’s one of the longest sessions I’ve done, which shows how much my fitness and mental toughness have improved since I started long distance running. Last May, when I was training for triathlon, I found it physically and mentally tough to swim 1,500m – 2,000m sessions. However, this morning I found the distance and duration of the session comfortable. I actually looked forward to it, rather than counting down the laps.

I completed my first 1,800m by about 6:30am but then my running friends all started turning up to the pool so the remaining 400m took almost 30 minutes because I just had to stop and say hello to everyone as they arrived. That’s the only thing I don’t like about swimming: you can’t hold a conversation with your head underwater (though I did try).

Set Activities
Warm up 400m easy alternating freestyle and breaststroke.
Drills 400m alternating:

  • catch-up
  • one-arm freestyle stroke
  • 5-stroke breathing
Main 2 x 400m freestyle medium pace
Exercises 400m kicking:

  • 100m breaststroke
  • 300m freestyle
Cool down 200m slow freestyle

Total: 2.2km swim