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!

42 Years 42 Kilometers

I am worried I’m getting old.


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!

14 Days to Go

Training is beginning to get in the way of my social life!  Last week I only ran once.  I was away skiing in Niseko for five days and missed my weekly long run and a short run.  I also over indulged a bit whilst I was away so for the first week since the Christmas break, I put on weight.

The ski break actually began with a very shaky start as I discovered on the first day skiing, that my trusty hip flask which I keep in my ski jacket pocket for a quick confidence booster during the chair lift ride, had sprung a leak and needed to be retired.  Luckily, I found a replacement at a store in town and although it has a less-than-classic design, it does have a more generous capacity so it all balances out.  I nearly lost it though when going through security at the airport because I had forgotten that it was in my backpack.  Luckily security was satisfied with me sculling the contents at the check point and didn’t confiscate it!  I’ve never felt more confident on boarding a plane.

Turns out skiing doesn't replace training runs.

Turns out skiing doesn’t replace training runs.

We got back last Tuesday night (another missed run) and I decided that from Wednesday on I would be serious with the training, even to the point of giving up alcohol until the race.  This plan collapsed entirely the very next day when that evening at Sushi Club, the waitress was so shocked with my refusal of my usual hot sake, that she served me a bottle anyway.  Since I had had the one, I didn’t see much point in not having a second, so I did.

When I got home later that evening, I checked my SmartCoach for the run for the next day only to discover that I was supposed to have run that day too.  So on my first day of serious training, I failed in every way possible!

Thursday I ran.  I was unable to complete the run however and had to finish a kilometre short of my goal distance for the day.  The last couple of k’s were really hard and I ended up basically hobbling!  This shocked me a bit because I had been finding the runs challenging but manageable and I had done this distance before.  So again, I refocused and decided to get serious with my training again.

My next run was just 5 km and scheduled for Friday but it snowed all day so I couldn’t run.  I was going to do it yesterday but after falling off my bike when riding to the shops because of all the snow, slush and ice on the roads and footpaths, I decided against it.  Today I finally ran.  I did my weekly long run and although I was quite tired at the end and my feet were soaked because I couldn’t avoid all of the snow melt, I did manage to finish the full 18 kilometres.  I was quite pleased with myself until I checked my SmartCoach and discovered I was supposed to run 19 kilometres.

Still not serious.