Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Better and Better

I'm not quite sure why, but my running's taken a big leap forward in the last week.

Saturday's long run was awesome. It's usually run with the squad but Coach Chris had chosen a route that's hilly. Hills and I are still not on speaking terms so I opted to go flat. The problem was that I couldn't quite make up my mind where to go. Up through the botanical gardens and to the bridge and back or through Kangaroo Point cliffs till my watch beeped at 6k and back again? I kept changing my mind until I settled on a combo of both - through Kangaroo Point, over the bridge and back through the gardens. Best decision ever!! I hit the top of the bridge when the sun was rising - a golden orb reflected off all the high rises. Gorgeous! My heart rate stayed low and I managed a 15k run feeling like I could have gone way further.

On Sunday I wanted to run but didn't want to push too hard. My solution? A Toby training session. He's going to be a sometime running companion when he's fully grown (he doesn't know this yet - I have to break the news to him gradually) and he needs to learn how to run without tripping me over or pulling me flat on my face. I took him on my 7k route and we walked whenever he found an interesting smell. When I got home I added up all the running sections and found he'd managed 5k out of the 7 - without causing injury to me. He's going to be a great running buddy.

Then yesterday we went to speed session. I'm still doing my 3.7k loop before I join the squad just so I don't push myself too hard. But yesterday might be the last time. I managed 4 X 1k reps all under 5 mins. That's the best I've done since the bottom dropped out in January. But even better than that - I didn't feel sick afterwards and I didn't need a nap before I started work. That's huge! And exciting!!

So how do I explain the big improvement? I think it's a combination of things. I've been committed to eating well - including lots of foods full of anti oxidants or are nutrient-dense. I'm supplementing with a pharmacy of different things and drinking beetroot juice (both good runs were done after a glass of the red stuff Carilyn - the experiment continues) I've been sleeping well (not sure though if the improvement is making me sleep well or sleeping well is causing the improvement - all I know is that when I'm not well I sleep really badly).

 I've also tried to reduce the sources of stress in my life as much as possible. Some things I can't do much about but attitude can help with how I deal with stressful times. I've incorporated some yoga into my schedule and getting out for a walk with Toby at the end of the day is a good defuser. And I've changed my mindset where it comes to my #2 son.

He's struggled with depression for the past couple of years and I thought my role was to support him - and it is, but not the way I was doing it. I've had to accept that he's an adult and I can not control his actions. At 23 I can't be telling him what he can and can't do. We've been back to the doctor and he's had a dosage change on his medication and it seems to be working wonders. It's awesome to hear him singing around the house - something he hasn't done in a long time.

Letting go is incredibly cathartic. I've stopped waking up with panic attacks, wondering where he is whether he's safe. And I can talk myself down now if I do get a little worried.

But I think the the thing that's made the most difference has been my new best friend. He makes me smile every day.

He's a great help in the kitchen.

He's amazing at snuggling.

And he insists that I take time out to play. He's my furry little tonic.


  1. Glad to hear your running is going so well. You sound stronger and stronger each day. Maybe I need to clean up what I put in my body!
    Stress - It is a killer. Good job managing it, and not worrying about what you can't control.

  2. Nice running on your 4 x 1000, and I see no reason for you not to run your 3.7km loop before a session. I would go as far as to say that is why you are starting to run well again. 3.7km isn't going to make you tired, it's going to warm you up. I would like to say you should run it again after the session. If we are on the track we run 5km warmup... You must remember that most of us don't neverly run far enough in our weeks, yes all the top boys (and girls) run 100+ miles a week, and that's for 5-10km races... So if you can add a couple of extra km without running yourself into the ground.

    Now you might say: But Coach I can run the 1000's faster if I haven't run the 3.7km beforehand? To wich I'll answer, what are we training for? A 1500m or a 10km race? It will make you stronger and I bet you will soon be running those 1000's under 4:30...

    good luck

  3. This is so nice to hear! And I think you are so right when you pinpoint letting go of things as a big factor - sometimes just letting go of stressing and worrying about things we can't control is a huge change in our lives. Good for you! And how lucky to have such a wonderful new running buddy!

  4. That's a lovely feeling when your runs are going well. I recently felt tired all the time, and even though it was hard, I decided I should take some days off running. I hated it, but yesterday when I ran again, it went way better! I was lightfooted once more.

    Running with your dog sounds lovely! If I had a dog, I would do that too.

  5. Great running! I can get on a "train of thought", I've learned if I catch it early, I can get off the train & stop the panic feelings. Not so easy when the kids are involved, but great for you leveling yourself. I'm glad your boy is doing better, too! I too love hearing my children sing.

  6. How very cool that Toby is showing potential as a future training partner! And how fantastic that you are having good runs!

    Now on the beet juice--i've been reading about it's miracle powers. I've been putting beets into my smoothies and wondering if that can do the trick, or do you need to drink the juice? And do you add anything to it? Not sure I could swallow it without apple juice or carrot juice added to help the taste!

  7. The Toby sessions sound like the best. I laughed today when I saw someone hauling their dog in a kid wagon behind their bike. I wondered how they got the dog to stay put.

  8. That is awesome Char! I think dogs are amazing and you can see what a positive difference young Toby is making. Quick question though - how much running is safe for our type of dogs. Lucy can easily do 5 k but I slow her down and take a few walk breaks as well!

  9. Not sure about that one Liz. You have to be extra vigilant in hot weather so he'll only be doing shortish runs for a while yet.

  10. I can imagine what you saw last Saturday when you hit the top of the bridge ... running sometimes gives us the opportunity to enjoy spectacular sceneries.

    4 x 1km repeats under 5 min/km is good! Don't lose your motivation!
    I'd like running with your dog :)

  11. He's so sweet!

    Glad your running is going well again! Always good when running starts feeling good and going well again.

  12. So great that your running is going so well again. And it's wonderful to hear that your son is feeling well. Long may both situations continue.

  13. The times we feel good remind us why we are running in the first place, don't they? Wonderful to hear that you had such an enjoyable 15K. My dog runs with me very well with a gentle leader. Otherwise, he would drag me down the street, though I would get the miles done quicker that way, I guess. With the leader, he's a good running partner. I hope Toby can be that for you as well!

  14. Glad that your running is going well.
    Those pictures are wonderful. I want a dog!!!!


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