So 2019 ended with me out of action due to a moment of “strong and independent” thinking that resulted in a back injury… drat. For those that are curious, I am dreadful at asking for help. I mean, really dreadful. Therefore, when a heavy, fully laden bookshelf required moving and I was the only person around with only limited time to get it done (because right there and then was of course necessary…not!), without unloading said bookshelf, I tried to move it… the hard way… by pulling it towards me… surely pushing would have been a better option, and in hindsight (such a valuable thing), waiting for assistance would have been a great option… but… if there are two good things to come from this, I have learned to stop being so stubborn and, I value my fitness and that I need to work on myself more.
Anywho… Minimal activity and Christmas indulgence have also led to a number of points; clothes have gotten tighter, fitness has gone downhill, and I seem to have developed a case of asthma… new one for me. This self-diagnosis will be followed up with a professional, but when three mates point out how odd your breathing is and a very real struggle to breath after a run occurs, this has me a little concerned.
Therefore 2020 may not have started off exactly how I planned, but! I am forever enthusiastic and try to see the positive in the situation (possibly slightly annoying with my level of enthusiastic positivity… just ask my friends). My back issue is a minor ongoing concern, and discussions with my Physio and PT (Personal Trainer), have resulted in learning my body is using surrounding supporting muscles instead of the ones I’m supposed to be using at the time (possibly a result from my slightly hypermobile body). Also, feeling like I’m way back at the start fitness wise due to not being able to do much for quiet a few weeks so I’m out of shape, it seems like a perfect time to start from the beginning and build my fitness from the ground up, as it were.
My plans for 2020 as you all know revolve around completing my first marathon – 42 (.2) kilometres at aged 42 (well its my 42nd year) in July 2020. On top of this I’ve also set the hopeful goal of a half Ironman in May in the WA Ironman Capital of Busselton, and an Ultra marathon event in August, of which the distance isn’t set as it’s a “last man standing” format – 6.7km loop completed every hour on the hour until only one runner remains to finish the lap. To reach the ultra distance I need to successfully complete seven laps resulting in 46.9km, though my goal is 8 laps equaling 53.6km. Which means 8 hours of running every hour on the hour of the same loop to achieve this goal… after having completed my marathon two weeks prior… no big deal… it will be like two taper weeks in my training…
Anyhow, back to my new year start.
It was recommended by my Physio that I take up swimming to build muscle while removing the impact, so I have begun the task of trying to take up a sport where breathing is a rhythmic process at timed intervals – you don’t appreciate how easy breathing is when you run until you can’t just breathe whenever you like… The swimming proved to be a cumbersome activity at the start but steadily I’m coming to enjoy this twice a week exercise. I’m still slow (I refer to my running speed as ‘a turtle running though peanut butter’, think my swimming could be a more apt reference for this saying…), but I’m building up distance which is great and I awkwardly ticked off 1.5ks the other day, officially my longest swim ever! May have taken me over 40minutes to complete – Half Ironman may need to be re-evaluated based on the fact I need to swim 1.9km and definitely quicker than 40minutes… but you know what, it wasn’t so bad. Just like when you start out running and getting to the second light pole on the street feels like it’s going to be the end of you, but slowly and steadily you progress to the block, two blocks, and eventually you’re considering 5kms as totally doable.
On top of the regular swimming I have started walking regularly. To start with it was an easy 2 to 2.5km stroll with my old dog, anything further and he’s too sore afterwards, and anything quicker and he starts limping, so a perfect pace and distance to get going. I’ve now started catching up with the amazing group of Urban Runners we have in my community, and while I’m not running, I am getting out and walking faster and further than I have done for a while. And enjoying the social aspect of coffee afterwards with the group (they’re all runners so walking is currently a solo activity). I’ll begin to start what I call ratio running soon, I’m sure it has other names in proper training circles, but to me, this means 1-2 minutes of running, 1-2minutes of walking, repeat, for roughly 30 minutes to slowly building up my stamina and keep the body from getting too fatigued and begin functioning incorrectly.
The final part of my restarting is signing up with a Personal Trainer. While I was based away for work I was seeing a great PT who identified the state of my current muscular weakness. I’m not going to say it’s bad, it’s definitely not great, but now it’s been identified I can work on things. So, I’ve hooked up with a PT in my home town and he’s helping me to establish some basic strength based on conversations with my Physio and the results of my last PT’s assessments.
And the training sucks! But I think that’s the whole idea… I suppose you can’t have your body function incorrectly and utilising the wrong muscle groups for years and expect the rebuilding training program to be enjoyable.
I’ll start to introduce cycling soon as cross training is always useful, and the incidental exercise to get around the place is great for my hip pocket in more than one way…
My PT thinks the marathon and ultra are doable goals as they’re in six and seven months’ time, however the half Ironman may be a stretch being in only three months’ time. I have to admit I do agree with him (I’m a great one for ignoring the professionals and just doing events anyway…one such event… my doctor, physio, chiro and masseur all said don’t do it… I did it anyway… I may have been suffering for close on 6 months following…), I’ve learnt to listen to those I pay a lot of money to. Finally!
So with this in mind, I may, most likely, be postponing my half Ironman ambition to the December event, which besides being the hotter event, does provide me with the longer cut of times should I not be able to manage the three components in a timely manner (why be slow at only one activity when you can be slow at three?!). And by focusing on the running events that I’ve already paid entry for, I can use the triathlon training as cross training for running – I love how awesome that makes me sound to my ears 😊 I know I’m fortunate that my family is grown so I can dedicate training time to myself rather than having to manage little humans as well, but those parents who manage both are truly amazing in my eyes, so the fact that I get to kind of sound like them is something this once sedentary individual is happy with these days.
There you have it, my 2020 may not have started out in the best shape, but gee its going to be one heck of a great year. And while I work on getting myself into the best shape I’ve been for a few years, I get to hang out with amazing supportive friends, one who is going to achieve the most awe-inspiring event ever this year by completing the Delirious W.E.S.T. 200 miler event this February, and I get the privilege of a ‘front row seat’ as her crew chief, can’t wait! If you ever think 5ks is a long way, work out how far 200 miles is. She may not enjoy my enthusiastic positivity come day three of the event…
‘Til next time, keep smiling, keep moving, and keep staying positive, you’re worth every second!