Friday, August 15, 2008

Now that's what I'm talking about!

It's been a good week, the first week in a while I've truly felt I've put the effort in. It's been the kind of week that I feel I can treat as a base, something I can now start to build on. I feel like I'm back ...

It started of course with that wonderful ride around the Bays on Cleo on Sunday. Being mostly flat and not that long it was a fairly easy ride and I felt good afterwards.

I would have gotten up for a weights session on Monday morning, but I had a conference to attend and there wasn't enough time to work out beforehand and still be there in time for registration. I ended up spending the whole day trapped in an overheated internal room in the Duxton with no idea of the weather conditions outside. To my credit, I managed to successfully negotiate the buffet lunch. I filled my plate with salad and, having assessed the various hot dishes, selected a small helping of vegetarian lasagne. It was the lesser of the available evils. Afterwards I piled up a small plate from the fruit platter while other conference delegates swallowed down a particularly delicious looking fruit crumble and a chocolate tart. I knew that, as good as they tasted going down, I would feel nasty afterwards, and I stayed away!

It was only as I was walking away that I noticed the soup sitting off to one side of the buffet. Given the choice I would have had the pile of salad and a bowl of soup. Foiled! However I didn't feel over-full (as has been the case in the past post-Duxton buffet). I did have a couple of mints from the bowl on the table in front of me as the afternoon went on, but I stuck to fruit for both morning and afternoon tea. No cake or biscuits for me! The Duxton always has a bowl of fruit in their conference rooms, together with a selection of fruit cordials and iced water. It's one of the few things about their conference facilities that I really appreciate.

After the conference the other delegates were being treated to free wine. I badly wanted a glass and I was tired. I started whinging about not being able to decide whether to run or not. My workmate Elaine ran out of patience. It was heads I run, tails I drink. The coin fell heads-up and I dutifully trudged off to the gym.

I'm glad I did despite being convinced I would have a bad run. Instead, confronted with a pack of speedy runners, I took the lead early on, got all Mad Dog on myself, and worked to stay there. We ran a very fast, undulating route from Taranaki Street up Adelaide to the BP, left and through to Newtown, through Newtown and back to Taranaki Street via Buckle. For the first time I really felt myself powering up the hills. At first I was simply trying to hold my place against other, stronger hill runners. After the first hill though I realised I was flying upwards without dying. I almost felt like I was experimenting as I continued to push the hills. I was having a huge amount of fun.

Afterwards, coming back down Adelaide Rd towards the Basin it was starting to hurt, but in a good way. As I turned up Buckle I knew the others were no more than 100 metres behind me. I jaywalked all the way back down Taranaki Street to try to maintain my lead. I think they'd gained on me by the time I got back to Extreme, but I put on a last minute sprint just to make sure I finished first. Yes, I'm competitive. Type A all the way ...

I was up early on Tuesday morning to do Dee's RPM class and boast about my new bike. My legs were a little sore from the night before. My calves had cramped up the second I'd stopped running and they were still a bit tight. I spun my legs out a bit and when they warmed up I was able to power my way through the class again. I could have done without Behind the Cow as a track 7 though. That hurt! I could also have done without Dee advising us that she'd managed to find the Irish Jig again. Ouch ...

I managed to fit in Mike's 11.10 Balance class. My back was feeling pretty tight and I knew I'd probably put it under a bit of stress up all those hills. My hips were complaining a bit too. I tried not to let it all get to me and elected to head home straight after work for an early night.

Wednesday morning I was back into it, getting up early in the morning and heading to the Terrace gym for an upper body workout. I rocked three sets of 10 horizontal body pull-ups then accidentally fitted in a few more one-legged pushups then were scheduled. I managed a third full set of 15 reps of swiss ball chest press, whereas last week I suffered muscle failure half-way through the final set. I felt strong and pleased with my workout.

By Wednesday night I was feeling a little fatigued but totally pumped. I was on a roll. It was a beautiful evening and I wanted to be out there running in it. I started out from the Terrace gym, running up Bowen then down Tinakori, then turning up Wadestown Rd. I managed to beat a cyclist to the top. I didn't feel fantastically fast but I was steady and didn't feel like I was going to have to stop. Once I got to the hairdresser's I turned around and ran carefully back down again. I wish I could have taken photos of all of the blossom that is out on Wadestown Rd at the moment. Perhaps it really is nearly spring!

It was all going so well, then I had a bit of an incident on Molesworth Street. I was approaching a sidestreet on the right-hand side of the road and I saw that there was a car approaching. There was a pedestrian crossing across the side-street so I had right-of-way but I slowed in case the driver failed to stop for me. He stopped before the crossing and I assumed he had seen me and kept running.

Molesworth Street is a one-way road and the traffic was flowing towards me. This meant that the driver had to look to his right to make sure the way was clear for him to pull out. I have no idea what he was thinking, and perhaps he had never seen me at all (but if so, why did he stop so far back from the intersection?), but as I ran in front of him I heard a scream. I turned to see the car heading for me at speed and the female front passenger with her hands in the air. I swore, rather loudly and the driver slammed on his breaks. I looked at the driver, who was making apologetic gestures and mouthing that he was sorry. I screamed out "You stoppped!", which was a bit of an incoherent comment in retrospect. Filled with adrenalin I turned and kept running. I broke all speed records on my way back to the gym!

The ironic thing is that a couple of days earlier my medic alert bracelet had broken. I'd slipped it into my bag thinking "I must get this fixed before I get on my bike again". I had also been pondering the likelihood of getting hit by a car now that I had a great new bike. So of course I nearly get hit by a car out running!

I was feeling a bit tired and stiff that evening but still full of energy. I decided to go for it the next day. I had a great night's sleep and woke early on Thursday morning for a Duck-bashing-without-the-Duck session. I spent a half hour on an exersize bike on what I now consider a fairly easy level but which only a few months ago was incredibly difficult. Feeling suitably warmed up I progressed to a lower body workout - leg press, walking lunges, squats, leg extensions, side-steps, box jumps, swissball abductor press and hamstring curls. All the while a new trainer was taking a young female client through a fun-looking circuit that was clearly kicking her butt. I could see how his session was targeted to be both cardiovascularly challenging and to develop her balance and agility. I saw myself of a couple of years ago in her wobbly progress. I envied her! I decided I needed to design a circuit of my own to kick my own butt. Hmm ... must do that.

By now my legs were definitely letting me know they existed but I was still feeling pretty good. Against all predictions the weather outside was stunning all day - once again still, warm and sunny. After getting stuck inside all day in meetings and at my computer I decided to throw in an extra run after work. I decided I would do an easy flat run around the Bays for a while. I didn't want to be out there for too long but I was keen to make the most of an opportunity to up my weekly mileage.

As soon as I left the gym I knew something had changed. It was freezing! I had on a pair of short shorts and the long-sleeved polyprop I was wearing might not have existed for all the good it was doing. I watched all of my exposed skin turn an angry pink. For the first time this year I wanted gloves.

Around Frank Kitts I was hit by a frigid and strong Northerly. As I reached Te Papa it started to rain then, a few seconds later, it began to hail. I started swearing internally. I wasn't dressed for the conditions and my only goal for this run had been to do it for the fun of it. This wasn't fun! I'm ashamed to say I ran as far as Freyberg then turned around and ran straight back to the gym. I wouldn't have even been out there for half an hour. Pathetic!

Today was my scheduled day off and I elected to do 1.10 Balance with Mike. The class was ridiculously full thanks to a Balance promotion that is running at the moment. I ended up crammed in one corner at the very front of the class with another woman trying to find a bit of space next to me. The poor thing - it was her first class and she just couldn't see what was going on at all. She kept looking behind her to see what I was doing.

On the positive side I totally rocked the Balance poses on my right ankle. The glute strengthening seems to be working (it is probably the reason for the speedy hill runs of late as well). I also took the hip openers further than I normally would. I felt I had a much better class than I'd had on Tuesday, despite the week's workouts. My physio appointment later today even went well. I am making progress! I may be able to get through the Gearshifters training without breaking myself after all ...

The weather forecast this weekend is not looking promising. My plan for tomorrow is either a ride (obviously my first preference) or two RPM classes, but I may be faced with gale Northwesterlies and cold rain. I will have to get up at around 7am and make a call as to whether it's likely to be a ride-worthy day or not. If not then I will have to call the gym and book the two classes, hoping they are not already booked out.

On Sunday I'm supposed to be making my delayed debut at Belmont Park. After wimping out a fortnight ago there's no way I can wimp out again and ever expect to be invited back. I'm only aiming for the 10km loop until I have a feeling for how I handle the trails.

I want the rest of the week to be like this week, but with longer runs. I have a short window in which to extend the distances I'm running before Taupo training sucks me in and pins me to Cleo. It's going to be a fun few months!

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Samantha said...
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