Making the Marathon

Winner!

Finally I am an ex-marathon runner!

The Result

On the 19th February in Okinawa, I finally reached my goal after running for 4 hours and 49 minutes on a beautiful sunny 19º C day.

Marathon Details

Phew! I’m in!

I didn’t realise how nervous I was going to be.  I was really worried that I wasn’t going to be able to finish after banging on about this attempt to anyone who would listen since I’d decided to do this back in July of 2016.  I was especially concerned that I wouldn’t finish, not because I was unprepared for it physically, but because I’d overlooked some key step in the organisation and would therefore look like a total twat.  For example, I wasn’t even sure I had successfully entered the race I’d been telling everyone I was running until just a few days before I left for Okinawa when my race package finally arrived in the mail.

Taxi ride in

A nervous taxi ride in but we made it in plenty of time as planned.

The morning of the race, I noticed loads of people (well, two couples) leave the hotel at about 6 am for the race.  I’d organised the taxi for 7:30 am thinking this was going to get me there in plenty of time.  Why were they leaving so early?  What did they know that I didn’t?  This made me worry.

Another concern was the weather.  It was 10 ºC warmer in Okinawa than what I had been training in for the last few months in Yokohama.  My support crew (Okinawa) had canvassed my chief running advisor and he had told her to make sure I drank three bottles of water the day before.  It’s a good thing I’m a bit of a camel because I stored all that liquid up nicely and in the end, I was well hydrated for the race but I wasn’t sure how I was going to cope with the extra sweat and salt loss.

Lastly, I woke up that morning to discover that my period had started.  How’s that for timing!  I only had one super soaker tampon with me, I got another from my support crew (Okinawa) but I was worried with all the bouncing up and down, that might not be enough.  I took two paracetamol with a codeine kicker before the race to combat the oncoming period pain and carried another two with me to take around the 10 km mark when my sciatica typically started to flare up in training.  This was not a good sign and all added up to increase my anxiety.

Support Crew Package

Package carried by my support crew (Okinawa). Everything I could possibly need at the finish line!

In the end, it turned out I needn’t have worried so much.  I was able to finish the race which was the goal I told everyone and I did it in under 5 hours which was my real goal that I kept private.  Not only did I finish under my real goal time, but I did so without vomiting from heat exhaustion or needing to change my pants at the end of the race.  That is success!  And just to prove it, my boss handed me my clean, unused, safety pants, framed, and in front of the staff, as a momento of my achievement on my return to work!

Memorable milestones in training

As the training runs got longer and longer, I started getting more and more bored of running around Yokohama.  This is when I started to run to somewhere.

First milestone was running to Kamakura!  This involved running up a big hill with no room for pedestrians.  I got honked at a bit, but the traffic was moving so slowly, I was never in danger.  And it meant that the run finished with a long down hill to help with  my time!

I ran to Shibuya and I did this by following the directions from Google maps without question.  This did take me across the Yokohama Bay Bridge which has no pedestrian access but that was the way Google told me to go and who am I to argue!  The policeman who stopped me on the other side of the bridge wasn’t happy with me but by that time I was already across and what a view I got!

For my final long training run, I went the opposite direction.  I caught the train to the end of the Keikyu line and then ran back home!

Pitfalls along the way

Fujiyoshida half marathon

It would have been less painful to walk home from Mt Fuji!

It wasn’t all smiles and smooth sailing though.  After completing my first half-marathon since Miura in 2014, I developed a very uncomfortable case of sciatica.  The car trip back from the race was agony.  Sitting down for longer than 10 minutes became a problem but I did my usual trick of assuming the problem would go away by itself.  Five months later, I went to Tokyo Physio in desperation.  Sciatica was diagnosed and the great team there gave me exercises and stretches and a torturous weekly massage that got me on the road to recovery.

For a while I had difficulty making it past the 25 km mark.  On my first attempt to do 30 km I failed miserably.  I was already tired by the time I had run 24 km but it then started pelting down with rain.  By 26 km, I was drenched to the skin and my iPhone had drowned.  At the 26.5 km mark, I gave up completely and began walking.  I even considered not finishing and just heading for the train but I knew my chief running advisor was waiting for me at the finish line with all my  money.

My first attempt at running to Kamakura was also a total failure.  I got lost, my sciatica caused me to give up around Ofuna station but worst of all, I had a bit of an accident in my pants.  It was after this that I started to take the paracetamol with the codeine kicker before a long run.  It was dual action as both an analgesic and (thanks to the codeine) a bottom blocker!

My second attempt to run to Kamakura was ultimately successful however it did start to rain about half way into the run.  It was just a light drizzle so I thought it would be ok.  Typically, I hadn’t bothered to check the weather before leaving my home, and as it turned out the rain set in and once again, I was drenched to the skin by the end of the run.  This time however, I ducked into a convenience store and got a plastic bag for my iPhone (which ultimately saved me another ¥30 000+ repair) and I was extremely lucky that I have good friends in Kamakura who were willing to come to my rescue with a clean, dry tracksuit for the trip home.

Post Marathon Goal

People keep asking me now what my next goal is.  It is simple.  I need to shift my marathon muffin top.

I think I’m the only person to actually gain weight whilst training for a marathon.  Despite clocking up 60+ km a week running, I managed to gain 5 kg since last July.  I’m living proof that you can easily overeat your exercise.  My mindset at the time was that I could eat anything I wanted.  I stopped my 2 day a week fasting routine and you had to be bloody quick to beat me to the free cake in the staff room.

Now I’m back on my 5-2 fasting routine, I’ve cut the alcohol right down again, I’m allowing other people to eat the snacks in the staff room (although last week I was spotted licking the crumbs off the table) and I’m still trying to run three times a week to keep up my fitness.

Lessons Learnt

  1.  Surround yourself with supporting people who have a sense of humour!

  1. Always use sunscreen!

Credits

Finally I have a lot of people to thank who helped me along the way.  I really couldn’t have done this without you!  In no particular order they are:

Chief running advisor

Simon Lorimer

Running advisors

Jim Roberts
Ed O’Loughlin

Support team (Okinawa)

Leah Edwards

Support team (The rest of the world)

Elaine Yandeau
All my colleagues @ YIS
Amanda Roberts
Mum
And everyone who commented and encouraged me on the FaceBook, the RunKeeper, this blog or talked to me in person.  You know who you are!

Health and Fitness Support

Don Mackay @ Tokyo Physio
Reneé @ Falcon Anytime Fitness

Time to Get Serious

I have registered for my first (possibly also last) marathon.  It will take place in Okinawa on the 19th of February next year.  I’m super excited and super terrified all at the same time.  I had hoped to get into the Tokyo marathon to be my first 42 km race but unfortunately, my number did not come up in the lottery.  My second choice was Osaka and again, I failed to win that lottery too.

So I found the Okinawa Marathon which must be a lot less popular because there was no lottery involved!  I registered for the race at home and the very next day, applied for my personal day from work for Monday 20th February as I’m pretty sure, I’m not going to be able to stand up.

30 km

Reminded of my denial for Tokyo!

Yesterday I had my first big test.  A 30 km training race in Tokyo.  Jim (one of my marathon trainers) tells me that 30 km is the half way mark of a marathon!  My 30 km was a mixture of success and defeat.  Success because I managed to run further than ever before.  I ran for the best part of 25 km with just a bit of walking at the aid stops to eat my gels.  I felt better than I had during a long run for a month!  At the 22 km mark, I really thought I was going to make it the whole way.  I had a smile on my face almost the whole way.  At the 23 km mark, I started to feel the beginning of some cramping in my legs which slowed me down but was still manageable.  I still thought I was going all the way.

Defeat because at 24 km it started to bucket down.  I hoped it would be just a brief shower and then I could dry off but it kept on raining.  By 25 km I was soaked through and my iPhone had given up the ghost.  Here I started to alternate walking with running.  By 27 km I was wet, cold and miserable.  The smile had gone.  I gave up.  I was worried that Simon might be waiting for me in the rain at the finishing line but not worried enough to compel me to keep running.  So I walked the last 3 km.  Sorry Simon!  I had toyed with the idea of running the last 1 km but after trying a few steps, I realised that I would be faster if I kept walking!

Defeat because once reaching the finishing line (where Simon was indeed waiting for me), I had to collect my bag in the mud which contained nothing to help me.  No towel, no change of clothes or shoes.  Luckily I got a race shirt that I was able to change into but I was still soaked from the waist down.

30 km

I’m so glad he waited for me!

Simon and I were both starving but because of my inability to prepare for the conditions, I had to insist that we choose a restaurant for lunch that had vinyl seats.  Luckily they are more common than not in Japan!  I also had to borrow his towel for the train ride lest I leave an unfortunate sign of my wet pants on the cushioned seat.

Getting Serious

Most of the reason for my failure though has been due to a lack of motivation and an overall slackness on my part.  I’ve counted 16 weeks back from the race which means I need to start getting really serious from the last week of October onwards.  This week I will run a bit for recovery, next week I’m on the grade 7 expedition which will mean little opportunity to run but then, it is going to be all out for 16 weeks.

I will…

  1. Stick as best as I can to my training plan.  It will be my priority.  Above work (where possible) and social life.
  2. Back to no drinking.  This has crept back into my lifestyle but it will be out again come the end of Oktoberfest … I mean October.  I did six months last year so 16 weeks will be a piece of cake.
  3. Stick to a healthy diet.  Basically this means avoiding the staff room at break time.  This will also help with #1 as I will need to work through breaks if I’m going to devote my after school time to training.
  4. Get to the gym a minimum of twice a week.  I’ve found it really hard to do this now that work has started but with the 20 minute workouts I got from Renee during the summer, there really isn’t any excuse.

A Call Out

I’m going to need someone to come with me to Okinawa.  I’m a bit worried about finishing the marathon without having someone there at the end to pour me into a taxi to get back to the hotel.  I’m not sure I’ll have enough where-with-all about me to even remember that I am staying at a hotel.  All the job entails is following my dot on the RunKeeper and turning up at the finish line about 5 hours after I start.  I can’t guarantee that I’ll have dry pants so you’ll probably have to bring a towel.  But that’s about it.  Let me know if you’re interested!

 

21 km Done and Dusted

I’ve had a week to recover and I finally have enough energy to sit down and bash out the story of last weekend and a really fun run!  Here are the highlights!

Road trip!

Fujiyoshida half marathon

Shotgun!

Simon drove me and Ange in his zippy, Japanese-sized car.  It was great to be able to go somewhere with the convenience of a car for a change and I was able to bags the front seat too!

As chief navigator, I relied on google maps to get us up and back.  We questioned google’s advice on the way up and got stuck in a traffic jam so on the way back we decided to just do whatever she said.  There was one point where Simon was still a bit suspicious of the instructions though.  Google told us to continue straight ahead into what appeared to be someone’s gravel driveway.  It did in fact turn out to be a bit of a driveway but google was right and it did connect us to an actual road again and back on the expressway.  And we got to wave at residents as they came out to see who was coming along their alleyway.  We didn’t question google again!

Winter in summer

IMG_1919Since returning to Japan at the beginning of August, I had found running to be quite challenging in the heat and I was worried about doing a half marathon in the summer.  It was hot and humid when we left Yokohama but by the time we got up the mountain, it was raining heavily and absolutely freezing.  Despite all of us being seasoned travellers, none of us had had the forethought to pack anything but short sleeves.  During our visits to the caves and other tourist spots, I kept my eyes peeled for a jumper shop but no luck.

The upside of this though was that the race day on Sunday was also cool with just a light mist of rain – perfect for running up a big hill!

Carb loading

On the rainy Saturday, we had to find indoor activities to amuse us and Mami booked us in for a cooking lesson for lunch.  So all six of us landed at what turned out to be someone’s house to cook ‘hoto’ noodles.  The noodle is made from just flour and water and I volunteered to do the mixing.  Our finished noodles did not look that pretty but they sure tasted great!

Fujiyoshida half marathon

Fujiyoshida half marathon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fujiyoshida half marathonFujiyoshida half marathon

 

Fujiyoshida half marathon
For dessert we decided to stop by an ice-cream stand despite the fact we were all freezing!  There were a lot of flavours to choose from and some were quite unfamiliar to my Australian experience.  Here are some of the flavours that were unusual to me:Fujiyoshida half marathon

  • cheese and biscuit
  • sweet potato (purple)
  • sweet potato (orange)
  • soba (buckwheat noodle)
  • wasabi
  • macha (green tea)
  • black sesame
  • azuki (red beans)

I settled on giving the wasabi a go but when I tried to order it, everyone around me including the ice-cream lady herself, gasped with shock!  Quite a lively commotion ensued with everyone getting involved in trying to dissuade me.  The ice-cream lady said it would be too hot for me and flatly refused to sell it to me!  I finally convinced everyone that I could handle it but the ice-cream lady felt that she couldn’t charge me full price for what she clearly thought was an insane choice of flavour and gave me a ¥50 discount!

The race

Finally we made it to the race venue and we were all excited and ready to go!

Fujiyoshida half marathon

Next we did a warm-up with all the other participants.

Fujiyoshida half marathon

And about two and a half hours later we were all finished with just enough energy to do one big jump.

Fujiyoshida half marathon

I was really happy with my time considering I did a 500+ m climb over the course of the race!  Here is a snapshot of my results both official (right) and unofficial (left)!

Screen Shot 2016-09-03 at 3.28.32 PMScreen Shot 2016-09-03 at 3.47.16 PM

 

Thank you

A BIG thank you to our support crew of one – Angela!  She had many duties over the weekend including covering my back in bandaids so that my sports bra didn’t rub all my skin off and being my modesty curtain when I was trying on a top at one of the race stalls.  You’re the best Ange!  She was also the official photographer for the weekend and took most of the shots I’ve used in this post.

Finally it was time for a well earned drink – not the grass we were drinking in this photo below though – and to head back to Yokohama.  Simon’s small Japanese car proved to be a prison of pain for me after about half an hour into the trip but we pushed on to get home as quickly as possible so I could finally stretch my legs out again.

Next challenge – 30km run in October!

Fujiyoshida half marathon

Running is Harder in Japan

Today is my fasting day and I’ve just returned from the gym where I did an upper body and core workout designed by my fabulous personal trainer Renee at Falcon Anytime Fitness.  It was a great workout but when combined with the fatigue I’m still experiencing from yesterday’s long run, I’m finding it difficult to keep my arms in position to type.  Lifting up my water bottle is a challenge.

That aside, this post is about yesterday’s long run.  It was my first 10+ km run now that I’m back in summer weather.  In Lake Clifton, I knocked off a couple of 21 km runs and did them in a good time and fairly comfortably.  Yesterday’s run was quite different.

I had put three energy gels into the freezer after my last run and the unpleasant ‘hot salty banana juice’ experience of midway through the previous training session.  I had a bunch of podcasts lined up on my phone to listen to and I was really looking forward to going out and hitting the pavement for a couple of hours of running.

Due to the heat, I’ve been running in the evenings.  As I planned to run 22 kms, I knew it would take me a couple of hours so I didn’t want to wait too long but I also wanted to watch the West Coast Eagles game as I suspected it might be the last one we would win this season.  The game was planned to finish about 6pm so I was going to be out the door by then and back by 8:30pm which wasn’t too late.  In the end, I didn’t leave until after 6:30pm as mum rang to discuss the game.  She expressed her concern about me running at night but clearly wasn’t anxious enough to get off the phone so I could get going and get back at a reasonable hour!

The run started off great.  It was still light when I started so I ran down to the park behind Sankeien Gardens then back up Honmoku dori.  At about the 7km mark, I took the first of my energy gels and it was still cool and almost pleasant to taste.  It gave me a boost and I ran up Hospital Hill to the bluff.  By now it was dark but there were a lot of people out and about enjoying the warm summer evening so I was never in trouble.

By this time I was very sweaty and I could feel that my brand new sports bra that hadn’t caused me any problems whilst running in the winter climate the week before, was starting to slide around a bit.  Still it wasn’t hurting me and I kept going.

After about 10km I need to take a pit stop.  I don’t think this was because of the gel but merely because I hadn’t gone earlier in the day.  Luckily I was running by the Red Brick Warehouse and the quite excellent public facilities that are located there.  I used the disabled toilet because although I wasn’t that tired yet, I was still grateful for something to hang on to on the way down.

At the 14 km mark, I was ready to take my next energy gel and I was starting to look forward to a good long sit down.  Although starting to feel pretty tired, I was still confident that I would complete the run.  My RunKeeper app reminded me to begin running at a faster pace for the next 6 kms but I decided to ignore it.  My aim for this run was just to finish and I was already feeling it despite running slower than in previous weeks.

With just a handful of kilometres to go, I took my last energy gel at Yamashita Park.   A few minutes later, I really started to struggle as the stomach cramps began.  These were the type of cramps I was familiar with from my time in Ghana where I had leant the hard way never to trust a fart.  Despite my best efforts though, fart I did but mercifully that is all I did!

By now I’m more waddling than running.  I feel a bit nauseous and any left over energy is being channelled into keeping my butt cheeks clenched.  With my apartment building in sight, my RunKeeper app speaks the two most beautiful words in the English language – ‘workout completed’.

It had just past 9:30 pm.  I was exhausted.  When I g0t home, I took off my running gear to assess the damage.  I have four chafe spots on my chest and two on my back from my sports bra that made showering a very painful exercise.  My feet have begun to look pretty gnarly with old and new blisters, callouses and peeling skin.

Although I’ve run this distance before, this is the longest it has taken me to do so.  In three weeks, I’m running the same distance in a race on a mountain.  If the race was in wintery Lake Clifton, I think I could have a crack at doing it in 120 minutes but running is harder now that I’m back in Japan!

Longest run

The final waddle took its toll on my average pace!

 

The Chaser

Some slightly less terrifying chasers.

There are few things as terrifying as feeling the hot breath of an unknown creature on the back of your calf as you are running at dusk in rural Australia.

As it was, my heart was already pumping pretty hard because I was running a fast interval, but it went up an extra notch due to the sheer terror I was feeling.  With great trepidation, I slowly turned my head to look behind me to find out just what was pursuing me.  Hot on my heels was an enormous sheep, barrelling its way down the hill right behind me.

I calmed down a little bit, but sheep still have an impressive set of gnashers so I kept running as hard as I could.  My training paid off because I was able to outrun the sheep which eventually gave up the pursuit and went back to nibbling grass on the side of the road.  Phew!

In unrelated news, I’m really enjoying working with my personal trainer Renee at Anytime Fitness in Falcon.  She is helping me put together a strength a program that I can carry on with at my local gym back in Japan.  She is also a long distance runner so she knows what needs to be done.  So far we have been working on 30 minute sessions that are a mixture of super sets and intensity workouts to target different muscle groups.  She has given me sets of exercises using just basic gear because the Naka Ward gym doesn’t have a lot of fancy machines but is well stocked on general lifting gear.  By the time I go back to Japan, I should be set!

Running in the Rain with Chafe

Running in the rain for my last run in Japan until August!

Soaked but still smiling!

I am not in great shape!  I have chafing on my left arm where my armband for my iPhone goes.  I alternate using the armband with a bumbag and that has given me stomach chafe.  I’m still using the same sports bras I bought 18 months ago on my last visit to Australia and now that I’ve lost a bunch of weight, they move around a lot whilst I’m running so to top it all off, my chest is covered in bandaids!

It is time to upgrade some gear!  New sports bras, new stick of body glide, new shoes, may be even some new running pants too.  It is a good thing the yen is doing well against the Aussie dollar!

6 x 800m fast with 30 s of walking in between

6 x 800m fast with 30 s of walking in between

Today was my last run in Japan until August.  It has not stopped raining since I got up at 5:30am and the forecast is for rain all day.  So, I ran in the rain!  With the half marathon looming at the end of August, I don’t feel I can miss a single training run.  I did an interval run today and I was happy with my splits as I was aiming to keep the 800m intervals under a 5:30 pace and I did.

My next run will be an easy 5 km run in Perth tomorrow evening.  Hopefully, despite being winter, it won’t be so wet!

67.90 kg

Yesterday I finally reached my weight loss goal that Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 1.10.09 PMI set nearly 12 months earlier.  Today, I confirmed that I had met that target by being able to purchase a pair of shorts in Japan, that looked good, were not the largest size on the rack and when I removed them after trying them on, my knickers didn’t come off with them!

My goal was to weigh less than 68 kg so that my BMI fell into the normal range.  Now, I know that the BMI is a flawed index developed in the 19th century and doesn’t take into account how much muscle you have opposed to fat.   However, I’m not exceptionally tall or short and I’m not an athlete with crazy amounts of muscle so I feel that it can be used for me as a rough approximation of what I can aim for.

Every Wednesday morning my support group meet for our weekly weigh and shame!  Yesterday was our last one for the year.  School is finished so we weighed ourselves at home when we got up (before eating breakfast and after doing a wee) and then met at Starbucks to discuss the results and our goals for the summer holidays.

I weighed 67.90 kg.

I have lost the majority of the weight in the last 12 months but this has been a process that has spanned a couple of years.  A colleague of mine recently asked me to share the diet plan that I was on but I couldn’t because I’m not really on one.  It has been an incredibly slow process that has required making many small and manageable changes to my lifestyle to find what I can sustain long term and what actually works for me.  In this post, I want to try and summarise what I did in case someone else might find it useful.  The following things worked for me but every one is different so this post comes with no guarantees!

Have a support group

My support group in action!

My support group in action!

My support group started with Kim and Elaine who had begun running together about a year earlier before I joined in with them.  We were already colleagues but we became good friends also as we had a common goal which was to lose weight and improve our over all health and fitness.  Later Leah joined us after Kim left to live in Bangkok.

For me it has been really important to have like-minded people that I can feel free to talk to about everything and who are going through the same ups and downs as me.  We bounced off ideas with each other, shared success stories and setbacks and supported each other.  We meet weekly for our weigh and shame (which isn’t as awful as it sounds) and keep in touch through the week at odd times too.

Set achievable short term goals

My over all goal was to lose more than twelve kilos but that takes a long time and you only see minute progress in relation to that goal especially at the beginning.  In our group we would set short term goals like losing 2 kgs before the October break or running a 10 km race in November.  Sometimes we achieved the goal, sometimes we only got part way but we were always moving forward in the long run.

Accountability

For larger goals, I went as public as I could with what I was trying to do.  When you make it public, you feel more pressure to actually do it and any motivation is better than none!  I recently decided that in order to maintain the changes I’ve made in my life I needed a big goal to work towards and that is to run a marathon.  So I told everyone about it!  Now I get advice from friends of mine who are experienced runners, people ask me about it, I continue to blog about it and post on Facebook about it.  If I don’t actually do it now, I’m going to look a right turkey!  That’s motivation!

Keep making changes

I needed to find what works for me.  There are lot of diets and plans out there all supported by ‘experts’ but really it all boils down to one thing.  If you want to lose weight you have to consume less calories than you burn.  Doing more exercise alone is not that useful because you overeat your exercise very easily.  The important thing is to eat less.  It sounds simple but that is terrifically difficult for me to do.  I love food and I love drinking.  But I have made changes to my lifestyle continually over the past three years to find the right balance that works for me.  And I’m still adjusting and changing things as my circumstances demand it.

I’ve tried lots of things that I couldn’t sustain.  Here are a few:

going vegan, vegetarianism, no alcohol, exercising every day, counting calories…

But every time something didn’t work for me, I just made a small change to try and find a compromise that I could sustain and would help me continue to achieve my health goals.  Here is a summary of what I’m trying right now.

My diet

  • I eat a plant based diet with seafood, eggs and limited dairy added in.
  • I only eat meat if there is no other option or if a friend has made it for me.
  • I don’t deny myself something if I really want it but am aware of portion size and only having one!  (This doesn’t always work!)
  • I’ve substituted milk with soy or almond milk for everything except in my tea.
  • I fast (meaning I consume approximately only 500 calories) two days a week.
  • I drink alcohol one weekend/occasion per month only which I decide on beforehand.

My exercise plan

  • I concentrate on running because it is free and I like it
  • I set myself race goals and follow a training plan that tells me when to run and how far to go on what days of the week – it also allows me to have days off!
  • I don’t exercise on fasting days

These changes are working for me right now but they wouldn’t work for everyone and they won’t work for me forever.  The important thing is to keep trying different things until you do find something you can do for a longer period of time and that works.

Final tips

Don’t expect to lose weight every week.  As long at the overall trend is downward it doesn’t matter if you stay the same or go up some weeks.  Graph the trend.

Use technology to make some of the record keeping easier and to increase contact with your support network.  I use RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal amongst others.

The next challenge

I’ve lost weight plenty of times before.  Sometimes because I was trying to and others because I had amoebic dysentery or malaria.  I’ve never been able to keep it off more than a couple of years so now, I hope to be able to maintain the changes I’ve made and to continue tweaking my plan as necessary, to stay healthy long term.  Following my own advice on accountability, I’ll let you know how it goes!

 

 

 

Getting Faster Despite Stitches and Insects

Two weeks ago, I went out to brunch, ate enough food to choke a small horse and then came home and ran my fastest 5 km ever!  This was despite having a murderous stitch for half of the run.  Yesterday, I had a better preparation before my run and despite inhaling a swarm of midgies with 2 km to go, I managed to run my fastest average pace yet again!

Imagine how fast I would be without eating a community of insects during the run!

Imagine how fast I would be without eating a community of insects during the run!

Marathon Preparation Update

I have signed up for a half marathon at the end of August which takes place up around Mt Fuji.  I’ve selected a 16 week training plan from the RunKeeper that will commence in early May.  Once I’ve completed this race, I will start a training plan for the full marathon in preparation for 2017!

The half marathon I’ve signed up for is going to be hot and hilly so I’m just aiming to finish and not really worried about the time.  Luckily I will be able to practice some hills around mum’s place when I’m home in July!

 

10 km Down, 30 To Go!

Just made my goal!

Just made my goal as seen on my RunKeeper!

Yesterday I completed the first step on my long road to running a long run.  The Paracup was a fun race with plenty of people in amusing costumes to distract me from the fact that I was wearing long, winter pants, despite the balmy conditions, and that I had my iphone tucked into my bra because I had misplaced my armband.

My goal was to do it in under an hour and I just managed to sneak it in under the bar at 59 minutes flat.  The best part was that my foot injury seems to be on the mend after a couple of weeks of physio because I was able to walk normally, even after resting for a bit at lunch.

I’m on my way!

 

42 Years 42 Kilometers

I am worried I’m getting old.

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Proof that I’m aging!

Last week I went to the doctors to have my ears syringed, my minimum font size is now up to 10 point and I’ve started to enjoy gardening.  All the signs are there.

So I’ve decided to give myself a challenge that an old person would be mad to attempt to prove that I’m not quite over the hill yet.  I’m going to run the Tokyo marathon in 2017.

Now, this is the plan but there is no guarantee that I will be able to get in as entry is on a lottery.  If I don’t get in, I’ll have to run something else, but I’m going to attempt a marathon some how.

This is going to require a lot of preparation.  For the last couple of years, I’ve been slowly trying to make changes to my lifestyle in order to live longer.  I’ve been pescatarian now for two years and I’ve cut down on dairy except milk in my tea and cheese because a life without cheese is no life at all.

Then in September, I decided to get really serious and stopped drinking.  My goal at the time was to make it until Christmas but I managed to keep on going right through the holiday and into January.  After five months of not drinking, I felt absolutely miserable.  I decided this was not sustainable and decided to tweak my plan a bit.  I now pick one drinking occasion a month.  January was a trip to the robot restaurant in Tokyo, February was a ski weekend in Hakuba and March was the St Patrick’s Day weekend.  This month I have a date to share a bottle of Cloudy Bay with the fabulous Mrs Rossing.

Also in September I decided to start the 5/2 fasting plan.  My friend Kim has been doing this for a couple of years now and when I was visiting with him last summer, I thought he was insane.  Then I saw the Horizon program What’s the Right Diet for You which discussed this plan and I decided to give it a go.  So I now only eat 500 calories on Monday and Tuesday and just try to eat sensibly every other day.  On the sensible days, I don’t deny myself anything but I try to not overeat.  It is so much simpler than counting calories.

Since this time last year, I have lost almost 12 kg.  I’ve just got four more kilos to lose to make my goal marathon weight!

Now I’m concentrating on starting my training plan.  The 2017 Tokyo marathon will happen in March so I have plenty of time to prepare.  I’ve had a foot injury for almost a year that just isn’t going away and a crunchy knee that I decided to see a physio about.  I made an appointment for the first week of the Spring break and I left Tokyo Physio armed with a collection of exercises to do and a tonne of bruises from the sports massage.  It was agony but the physio assured me it was necessary.  I had a session again last week and the massage hurt a lot less this time.  Apparently that’s progress!

Work starts again on Monday and my plan is to run 3 times a week and go to the gym twice a week for the rest of the semester (ten weeks) to try and get back into a regular training pattern.  After that, I’ll reassess and look at working on increasing speed and distance.

So that’s the plan in a nutshell.  Now I need advice especially from anyone who has run a marathon before.  Recommendations for training plans and any other tips and pointers would be appreciated.  I’m going to keep blogging about my progress to try and keep motivated and for accountability and I’m tracking all my training on my RunKeeper too.

My next step is the Paracup 10km race tomorrow.  I want to finish in under an hour and be able to walk on my sore foot later on that afternoon.  If I can run 10 km successfully tomorrow, surely 42 km won’t be a problem in 12 months time!