Tag Archives: Rest

Aah rest

Aah. Rest. So lovely. I’m having a week or two off training to recover. It means my blogging and blog reading might be sporadic for the rest of this month. Time to concentrate on work and university, both of which I have neglected the past 31 days (I’ve even set up a Leech Blocker on my work computer so I can’t access Facebook, Twitter or WordPress from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday).

I have also run out of space on my free blog so need to set up a paid blog here on WordPress. I’m not quite sure how that will affect my URL or subscribers but will post more once I sort it out.

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Pilates and stretching

My partner finished late shifts last night so after burning the candle at both ends for a week, I treated myself to a bit of a lie in this morning and a day off training. All I’m doing today are my pilates and stretching exercise. What bliss. Well, pilates is tough for me but still, I can do it in the relative cool of my house in front of the television with my partner for company.

I’m looking forward to trail running tomorrow night.

Making lemonade from lemons

Serious food for thought

When I started running again last year, I knew the risks. I also stuck my head in the sand about the extent of my existing leg injuries: shin splints and ITB in my left leg, sharp pains in the arch of my right foot and a spot on my back that no one could touch. I’ve battled through this far (15 months) with my head buried in those tiny grains you find on the beach.

When I decided on the 12-in-12 Challenge my first stop was the physiotherapist. I knew that I couldn’t get through it without getting some attention on my legs.

What I didn’t expect was for my shin and ITB injuries to respond so well to treatment. They responded so well that I forgot about them long enough to overdo it in the garden last weekend. The physio strapped the calf this morning to help it rest and recover more quickly. I’m confident it will respond well to the ongoing physiotherapy and my homework.

I remembered to tell the physio about the pain in my foot this morning. It’s the first time I’ve remembered to mention it (I actually marked the painful spot with a pen before I went in this morning). After poking and prodding my foot, the physio told me he suspects a stress fracture. That’s pretty bad news for me. At the end of our session today, the physio also strapped my foot to help it rest. He’s going to have another look at it on Monday to see how it responds to a week of rest. MRIs are expensive here in Australia so he said he’d prefer to wait to see whether I need to shell out for the test.

So here’s my lemons: best case scenario I have a serious soft-tissue injury in my left foot and worst case scenario is that I have a stress fracture. Either way, I’ll be unable to run for 4-12 weeks.

Here’s my lemonade: these are chronic injuries I’ve had for years and I know I’ve found a physio who can help me fix them. Even if my 12-in-12 Challenge is off, I have gained so much confidence in the past two months and know that I have what it takes to run ultra marathons. The injuries are long-standing problems, they haven’t been caused by the ultra running. In fact, if it weren’t for the ultra running I probably wouldn’t have gone to see someone about getting them fixed.

I’m going mountain biking with friends this afternoon. I’m allowed to cycle so long as I take it easy. Tomorrow I will go swimming for the first time in months. I’m still doing Tough Mudder next weekend but will just be doing it for a laugh and will be walking up the hills. It will probably be my final event for the year. That means I have three months to work on endurance by swimming and cycling, strength in the gym and flexibility if I can find an affordable yoga class.

When I can run again I’m probably going to focus on either the Northface 100km trail run in May (solo run) or the Oxfam Trailwalker 100km trail run in June (team event). And this time I’m going to do it right rather than just jumping in. I’m enjoying reading two blogs by runners training for ultras (Run Nature and Run Bike Race) and am inspired by their systematic approaches to increasing mileage and running well, rather than just bumbling through.

I hope the news on Monday is good. But I am preparing for the worst. Either way, I can only grow from the experience.

More Annapurna Circuit dreaming

Image courtesy of TeddyBear[Picnic] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m still resting today because my shin and calf are still sore from Friday and Saturday’s gardening efforts. While ordinarily I would push through, I have a 50km trail run at the Glasshouse 100 on Saturday so can’t risk injury. I think my leg is just trying to remind me of the epic nature of my current 12 marathons / ultra marathons in 12 months challenge.

It’s also my first day back at work after three weeks of holidays. So at least I can stay busy during my rest day.

Today I took the first few steps in my Annapurna Circuit project:

  1. I set up a savings account and automatic transfers so that the money side can take care of itself.
  2. I set a photo taken from the Annapurna Circuit Trek as my computer backdrop at work.
  3. I got a leave pass from my partner to use our joint money and next year’s leave days to pursue my personal dream.

Sure, my next challenge might change. I might never get to walk the Annapurna Circuit. But at least I am moving in the right direction. It’s always better to have a goal and change direction than to drift aimlessly and never end up doing anything. Or at least that’s my experience.

Post marathon stuff

Holiday snap: Fremantle Markets

I thoroughly enjoyed my marathon on Sunday and am still on holidays in Western Australia with my partner. I’ve not been blogging because I’m spending quality time with my partner.

I’m feeling really good after my marathon. Immediately after the race I stood thigh-deep in the icy cold ocean and then I sat in a cold bath when I returned to my hotel. The cold water treatment seems to have helped a lot because I have none of the leg soreness that I had after my first 50km trail run. The next morning after the marathon my body felt great again.

The only exception is my right hamstring. I have a light strain in it so am resting this week to give it a chance to recover. I bought an ice brick so have been using that yesterday and today to try to speed the recovery of the strain. I’m keeping off the hamstring as much as I can but we’re driving around for a few days and I need my right leg to operate the car’s controls, so I can’t totally rest it.

Holiday snap: South Beach, Fremantle

If it weren’t for the hamstring strain I’d be back out running already today, just two days post marathon. But perhaps this is my body’s way of making sure I rest to fully recover from my effort before preparing for my next 12-in-12 Challenge event, which is just 17 days away. I’m not too concerned about the hamstring strain. It’s only light and there’s no swelling. Besides, my physio is a miracle worker so he’ll get me right as rain.

Holiday snap: Swan Valley

I’ll probably not post a lot until I return back home to Brisbane next week unless I go out running. But don’t fear, I’m still alive. I’m just enjoying my vacation with my partner. We’ve been eating lots of delicious food and finding a few geocaches while we’re out driving.

Holiday snap: Canola fields near Williams

Enjoy your weeks and I will be back blogging either when I am able to run again or when I am back in Brisbane on Monday, whichever comes sooner.

Rest day ramblings

Friday is my rest day. Today is also my first day of holidays. I started my day by catching up on blog reading. I watched this awesome video about the Leadville 100 mile on the Ultra Running blog. For me, the Leadville 100 mile represents a dream that is akin to what Everest is to a climber.

Looking after my body

I admit it, I underestimated the toll the 50km trail run on Sunday was going to take on my body. I thought I’d be back out running after a day or two. And sure, maybe I would have been if I had trained properly and methodically for the event, but we all know that didn’t happen 😉 .

I tried to go running on Wednesday morning but my left ankle was still sore. It was swollen like a puffer fish on Sunday after my run so I iced and strapped it for the night. By Monday morning the swelling had subsided so I knew it wasn’t a bad injury. I know I stood in a big hole at about the 20km mark in the race and that it hurt my ankle when I did.

However, it’s not a soft-tissue injury because I didn’t feel feint afterwards. My body has this crazy response to strains and sprains: I feint. I always have and probably always will. It’s good in a way because it means I can easily distinguish between injury and hurt or fracture. I know there’s no fracture in the ankle because it didn’t hurt when I put ice on it. For me, it always hurts like blazes when I ice a fracture. So the ankle is just sore from over-use (I traveled over 110km in 5 days last week) and probably bruised from stepping in the hole.

So, on Wednesday morning I enjoyed a delightful 3.6km walk around my neighbourhood during which I stopped to smell the wattle flowers. On Thursday morning I again went for a 3.6km walk along the same route. The route includes some nice long up and down hills so I felt like it was a good recovery work out.

On Wednesday evening I got a massage that focused on my legs. That was wonderful and I felt like I had new legs afterwards. I’ll definitely be doing that again after my next race.

This morning I did some gardening. I am preparing my vegetable gardens for summer. I have five or six vegetable beds. I totally rested one bed this winter and it was full of weeds, which I had to pull out this morning. I also failed to mulch the beds I did use this winter so they also had lots of weeds growing between my crops. This morning I pulled out lots of the weeds so that I can top the beds up with extra topsoil tomorrow (the beds are built on clay so I will keep having to add topsoil until they settle). I also got a good upper body workout when I used a hand saw to cut through timber sleepers that I am using as barriers between the beds.

I’ve also put a lot of effort into my nutrition this week. I have been re-reading Born To Run for weeks now (I just pick it up and randomly read a few pages every day or two) and have also been reading a lot of online material about ultra trail running. The thing that keeps coming up is the importance of nutrition. I’ve never been a fan of ‘fake’ food like supplements and gels. But I fell into a bit of a trap of relying on them for my nutrition.

This week I’ve eaten vegetables every morning for breakfast, getting in my full five serves before work. I have been raiding my garden ‘supermarket’ for broccoli, sugar loaf cabbage, leaf amaranth and herbs, and have been supplementing this with some shop-bought carrots, capsicum, mushrooms, sweet potato and onions. I’ve been mixing them with nuts, eggs, quinoa, calamari and tinned tuna for protein. No, I’ve not had this exact mixture every day but that’s what I’ve been selecting from.

I’ve eaten mixed nuts and a piece of fruit for morning tea every day with a few digestive biscuits we happen to have in the office. For lunch I’ve eaten baked beans, lasagne and today I’m having vegetarian burritos. For afternoon tea I’ve had two pieces of fruit and, if hungry, a glass of Sustagen with oat milk. For dinner I’ve eaten vegetables with every meal and have eaten two vegetarian dinners this week.

This increased intake of fruit, nuts and vegetables has left me feeling really strong and healthy. I am sure it’s also helping me recover well. I’ve reduced my intake of sugar and have increased my water intake, starting every day with a glass of tap water and drinking herb tea (from my garden) with breakfast. I don’t know why I let my diet get so out of hand when it really is no effort (or increased cost) to eat well. I even switched from white to brown rice and loved it.

It’s not that I’m switching from omnivore to herbivore. But I do want to eat more vegetables and fruits, rather than meats and sugars. I was a vegetarian for a year back in the mid-2000s and it didn’t work out so well for me. I lost too much weight and was lethargic all the time. However, with hindsight I can see that I wasn’t eating the right things. I wasn’t getting enough mix of food and was relying almost solely on eggs for protein. I ate white rice and white pasta, and really only ate leafy vegetables and beans. This time round in my reduced meat reliance I am even forcing myself to learn to eat capcisum, one of only two vegetables I hate (the other is eggplant and no amount of trying is going to get me to like it).

I’m excited about my 10km run tomorrow morning and 6km run on Sunday afternoon. I have a small program that I’ve downloaded from the internet. It shows me how many kilometres I should be running if I want to safely increase my mileage. I am determined to at least follow it for weekend long runs and to help me from over training (I am sure I ran too much for my body the week I bought my Vibrams and that that’s part of why I’ve struggled this week).

I’m glad I’ve take the full 5 days off because it’s helped me enjoy my 50km achievement and has given me time to refocus, refresh and regather myself for my next adventure 🙂