Let The Tapering Begin!

Well this is unfamiliar territory for me! Two weeks of tapering… what’s that? Let’s just say my legs aren’t complaining!

In the last two weeks I’ve managed to get through the toughest running sessions of my training so far – a 34km run (longest distance to date wohoo!) and a 21km the following weekend. I’m not going to lie but the 34km run wasn’t easy – it was humid, my legs were tired, my feet hurt, and my mind was playing tricks on me. But like any other run, you find a way to get through it, regardless how bad your legs & feet are screaming!

Aside from the aching and tired legs, the most important thing is that my body recovered and pulled up… ok! The week following my 34km was tough – my legs weren’t feeling all that fresh so I took it easy and took a day off before the Saturday 21km. ¬†It’s amazing how much a recovery day can help – lesson learnt!

The 21km last weekend was probably one of my most favourite runs so far – it was a stunning Perth morning, the winds were calm and the weather was just perfect (I’ve asked the weather gods for the exact same weather come Rottnest!) My running group and I started at Mends St, and then ran past the Swan Brewery, UWA, through Dalkeith, then back past Nedlands and back along the water to Mends St. We were lucky enough to witness some dolphins swimming in the Swan River along side us as well – the perks of living in Perth ūüôā As usual our run was then finished off with a well deserved coffee at one of the local cafes and that made it official ¬†– no more¬†long runs!

I’m a week into my two weeks of tapering, in other words “taking it easy”. Flat running and a few less km’s… And a few extra carbs, hence¬†I’m not¬†complaining! ūüėČ

Can’t believe my first marathon is just next weekend! The nerves have definitely kicked in but they’re also mixed in with enormous amounts of excitement… However, there’s still some work to be done from now until then, and my main priority is making sure the legs are fully recovered, fresh, and ready to go come Sunday week.

Thanks to my AMAZING¬†running group for their generous donations!! I can’t wait to celebrate with them all once I cross that finish line! There’s still time to donate so please if you have some spare time please check out my page below:

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/exquc/sh/c4d7Wc

Until next weekend!

“A single run can take you many places” – Unknown

Only Four Weeks To Go…

Three months since my last blog!

I know it’s been a while since my last running update but to be honest I’ve tried not to jinx myself.

When I had to pull out of the Perth marathon back in June I was absolutely devastated and for a while I didn’t even know if I was able to continue running.¬†But luck was on my side, my injury healed, and I was slowly able to put my running shoes back on.

To recap on my last blog, once I was back up and running I reset my goals and my new marathon was to be Rottnest on Sunday, October 25th. I had every intention of running two half marathons beforehand – the Perth Half and the City to Surf Half, however sometimes life pulls us in different directions and I ended up being overseas for both events so my training had to be adjusted. To cut a long story short I really picked up my training about two months ago and “knock on wood” everything has gone to plan – Of course there’s been the occasional niggle here and there, but nothing to stop me from running. I’ve had to make a few adjustments to my training, to prevent any further injuries, but the positive sign is that I’ve been able to get through my long runs and there’s only two more weeks of training before the tapering starts, wohoo!

I must say jumping back on the horse hasn’t been easy – winter, travel, jetlag, work, heat, running solo, niggles, humidity, unfamiliar locations etc, has made it all the more challenging. But the thing that has kept me motivated has been my commitment to my cause and my running group friends.¬†As the saying goes “time flies” and believe it or not things have just got real – my first marathon is only FOUR weeks away!!

The Perth weather is warming up and it won’t be long until that last Sunday in October arrives. I feel that it’s time to get the word out again and my reasons for running the Rottnest Marathon. If you can spare a moment please click on the link below and see what it‚Äôs all about. I’ll be sure to keep you updated weekly right up until the Rottnest Marathon starts!

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/exquc/sh/c4d7Wc

¬†“If you want to win something, run 100 meters… If you want to experience something, run a marathon” – Emil Zatopek

I’m Back!

Well it’s been 20 days since my last blog and I’m excited to say that I have some good news to share!

The foot is on the mend and the goals have been reset!

To recap on my last blog – scans had shown that I had¬†a cyst and worn cartilage in my navicular bone. I was shown these scans and saw¬†it all for myself, however it wasn’t in the area of where my pain was,¬†so my physio and I both agreed it was worth getting a second opinion (the physio thinks the cyst has been there for years from my playing days).

To cut a long story short the sports doctor told me I actually had tenosynovitis – inflammation in the tendon sheath. It was exactly where my pain was and he too agreed that the cyst and worn cartilage was from years of pounding on the tennis courts. Phewww I thought!! But, what did this mean? Well with some rest (which I had already done) and with some strong ant-inflammatory’s, I could slowly get back into my running shoes (as long as I had no pain of course)! So within a few weeks I went from being told I couldn’t run long distances – to I could¬†slowly get back into training.¬†Talk about being on an emotional roller coaster!

Anyways, no time to dwell on the past… In the last two weeks the alarm has been going off at 5am,¬†I’ve been back running with my group, and most importantly I’ve been running with no pain (success!).

The Perth marathon was last Sunday and I spent the whole morning down the foreshore cheering on my running buddies. It was the most amazing morning and such perfect conditions for a marathon. I must admit there was a part of me that found it hard not running the event, but seeing everyone run and being on the sidelines cheering made me even more motivated to get back into training and to reset my goals!

So what’s next? Well with a little influence from a so-called running buddy I have decided to run my first marathon at Rottnest – Sunday, October 25th. I plan to also run two half marathons prior to that in August – the Perth half and the City to Surf, which will give me a good lead up into the marathon. The Rottnest marathon won’t be a flat course – I’ve heard it has some stellar hills, so the City to Surf half will be perfect training as it has some super hills as well! Time to start building those legs, and calves!

I’m so excited to be back out running, and with a little bit more time to train, it allows my legs and feet to get used the load and build strength. I want to thank everyone for their support, especially to my running group buddies, and now it’s time to jump back on the horse and get training again.

With my fundraising on hold I’m excited to say that it’s back up and running,¬†so if you can spare a moment please click on the link below and see what it’s all about.

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/exquc/sh/c4d7Wc

I look forward to keeping you updated on my training and the countdown is back…¬†18 weeks and counting!

“It’s suppose to be hard… the hard is what makes it great” – Unknown¬†

This Wasn’t Part of the Plan

For the past four weeks I’ve tried everything I can to get myself back out running and prepared¬†for the Perth Marathon – rest, ice, anti-inflammatory’s, physio, more rest, heel cups, foot inserts, change of running technique, more physio,¬†calf raises, running on grass…etc etc etc… repeat x 10!

But it’s been¬†in the last two weeks where reality has kicked in. The pain in my left foot unfortunately hasn’t improved and time is no longer my friend. In the past four weeks I haven’t been able to run more than 5km without¬†pain – any more than that and the pain significantly increases to the point where I have to stop running.

I’m the type of the person that when I set my mind on something I have to give it my all, and I knew the longer this setback, the reality of running well (let alone running the Perth Marathon at all) was unlikely…

With time running out and no improvement in my foot¬†my physio and I decided that it was time to get some scans… ¬†(And here I was thinking that my days of scans and rehab were over! Never say never!) I had an MRI and a CT scan last week and even though I’m waiting for the CT results this is my understanding of what the MRI said (please note I am NO medical expert):

** I have a small cyst in my navicular bone due to worn down cartilage. Because of the worn down cartilage the synovial fluid around the joint leaks into my bone during impact – thus the formation of the cyst. The MRI showed a cyst and quite a lot of fluid around the area indicating a possible hairline fracture. Hence the CT scan was needed to determine this as well as the size of the cyst**

Again, let me repeat and say I am NO medical expert so the above may or may not have made sense to you. I’m still trying to get my head around it all and it’s hard to know whether the cyst is the actual cause of the pain. Hopefully the CT scan can shed some extra light on the situation.

As frustrating and as heartbreaking as this has been, I’ve made the decision, along with the team, to pull out of the Perth Marathon and put it on hold until I have complete clarity as to the cause of¬†the pain in my foot.¬†I’ve barely been able to complete a 10km run for three weeks, without major pain, so realistically I’m not sure how I’d be able to complete 42km… I’ll have all my results by the end of this week and no doubt I’ll sit down with my physio and together we’ll nut out a plan to move forward.

I can’t really explain how gutted and disappointed I am to have had to pull out of the Perth Marathon with only two weeks until the event. I was so excited to get out there and run for two causes that I’m very passionate about and to have to put it on hold has been really hard to swallow.

Guaranteed that I’ll be doing everything I can to get back out there and when I do cross that finish line it will be sweeter than ever. I have a¬†commitment to the Court Talk and Murlpirrmarra team and to all the people that have donated to these two brilliant organisations.¬†I promise to keep you updated with my progress and once I better understand the diagnosis of my foot I will ensure to set a new marathon goal.

Thanks to my running team for all their support and encouragement – I look forward to those 5am wake up calls again!

“A marathon is like life with its ups and downs, but once you’ve done it, you feel you can do anything.” –¬†Anonymous¬†

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A Small Bump in the Road

I’ve been procrastinating this blog for two weeks now – and to be honest I’ve had a pretty good reason as to why.

This by far has been the toughest two weeks of my training – not because of the km’s I’ve run, but rather from the km’s I haven’t run!

Towards the end of my 30km run two weeks ago I felt a pain gradually build in my left foot – yep my foot…story of my life really! I was at about the 26km mark when the pain first kicked… It was so slight but the longer we ran the more the pain increased. I was only 4km shy of completing my longest run EVER so there was no chance I was stopping then! I managed to push through the pain and complete the run… “yes!” I thought to myself!

As soon as I stopped running the pain completely subsided and my brain thought it was just this little niggle or cramp that would go away… I could walk with no pain so it mustn’t have been anything serious. You know¬†that saying, ignorance is bliss? Yep, that was me!

I went home and did the precautionary ice, anti-inflammatory’s, voltaren, Sunday rest day, and was back ready for my running week Monday morning. What was suppose to be a hills session turned out to be 10 minutes of a warm-up jog and then I was back in my car driving home because that same pain in my foot was unbearable to run with. I have a pretty good tolerance for pain, and with all the injuries I’ve endured over my playing career, I knew something wasn’t right.

During that week I saw the podiatrist and was recommended rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory’s. I was told it was inflammation in my post Tibula tendon and after a few days I was to try another run. I stuck to the plan, took a couple of days off and tried a run later that week. But to no avail my foot was still no good. I decided to take the rest of the week AND weekend off – thanks to a lot of convincing by my experienced running group.

A week of no running =  me being miserable, feeling sluggish, being out of routine, and most of all I missed my running group. Last week I followed up with my podiatrist but something was also telling me to get a second opinion. A runner from my group recommended a physio that she had been seeing for years for the same foot issue, so I thought I to had to get his opinion too!

To cut a long story short the physio told me that I have bruising of the bone and that I need to reduce the impact of my heel when running (that’s where the pain is). So he ordered¬†new foot inserts, a heel cup for more cushioning, as well as some other toe pads to take pressure off my heel. I also had to change from running on hard surfaces to running on grass & the treadmill, and I can only now run on alternate days with cross training in between. It’s probably also worth mentioning that the physio couldn’t believe how weak my calves were for the amount of running I was doing (you learn something new everyday!). So part of my rehab, and I think for the rest of my running days, is to smash out the¬†calf raises and build strength so that other areas of my feet aren’t overcompensating.

With only a short amount of time left until the marathon I have to be very specific with my training and so the physio and I have put together a week by week plan. From now on my training will consist of only 3 runs per week (sad I know) – this includes 2 x short runs (a 5km and a 10km) and a long run on the weekend. If all goes to plan then I will eventually bring back the hard surface running. And ideally I want to get one more 30km under my ¬†belt before the marathon… Fingers crossed!

At the end of last week¬†it’d meant I hadn’t run for 2 weeks – however¬†I was pumping the weights in the gym and cross training, but let’s be honest, it’s not the same as running and getting a good sweat!

Not to worry though – the good news is that I have ¬†back running ūüôā¬†Just this past Saturday I completed a slow 10km on the treadmill which was positive, however challenging at the same time – more about this in my next blog! My calves have definitely not been happy campers. ¬†Since my 10km on Saturday I have struggled to walk down the stairs, it’s quite a funny sight.

With this “little bump in the road” I’ve had to realistically reassess my running for the upcoming Perth Marathon. With only 4 weeks to go I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to reach my target running goal (I had a set time in mind). Rather I now have to get my head around “just finishing” the marathon rather than racing. I’ve been told that for a first marathon this is actually the right mindset to have, however being the competitive individual I am, I can’t help but hide my disappointment. But as i’ve learnt, and have been told, every runner goes through similar setbacks¬†so I’ve told myself to just suck it up and get on with it!

I hope you can now understand my procrastination in writing this blog… It’s not the best nor the most inspiring news I wanted to share. However, for anyone wanting to run a marathon, training for a marathon, or experiencing a similar setback – ¬†just know it’s part of the process and you will get through it!

4 weeks – that’s all there is to go… That means there’s only 4 more weeks to keep those donations coming!

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/exquc/sh/c4d7Wc

I hope to share some more enlightening news with you next week. Until next time, keep running and keep enjoying the journey!

“Run when you can, walk when you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.‚ÄĚ ~ Dean Karnazes

Welcome to the 30 Club!

Another week down and a total of 66.34km in my legs – my biggest week so far!

This was by far my¬†toughest running week – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, plus my LONGEST¬†run on Saturday to date… 30km!! (Did I mentioned a 4.20am wake up call on Saturday morning, for a 5am start?)

The one session that got me was Tuesday morning Yasso’s… As mentioned last week its a combination of 800m sprints followed by a 400m recovery (in the same time it takes to complete the 800m, which is almost walking pace). I was averaging my 800m sprints between 3:10-3:26 (for some reason the more yasso’s I ran the faster I got… Maybe it was because I could see light at the end of the tunnel!) and we completed 10x sets that morning. Amazing how quickly 10km can go! I probably didn’t realise how heavy my legs were until my run the next morning, and then they pretty much stayed heavy¬†the whole week. But I guess that’s the whole point – to learn to keep running on tired legs!

My other little victory last week was my 30km run… Funny, I actually started to mentally prepare for this a couple of days prior, almost like I was competing in a tennis tournament… it’s all I could think about! We started at 5am and finished up around 8am (we took a couple of pit-stops for Gu Gels and water) and I’m not going to lie – I found the last few km’s quite challenging. However, whenever you get to that point its all about just getting it done and thanks to my fellow running buddies for pushing me through it. Scary to think I was only a shy 12km of running a marathon! Yikes! Still a long way to go though…

Well here’s what my big running week looked liked:

Monday – 10.26km (Hills)

Tuesday – 10km (10 x Yasso’s)

Wednesday – 7.81km (flat run)

Thursday – Rest

Friday – 8.27km (flat run)

Saturday – 30km

Sunday – Rest/Sleep/Eat/Repeat

Only six weeks to go which means only four more weeks of training before two weeks of tapering…

Thanks to all those that have donated thus far. Please keep them coming! Until next week!

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/exquc/sh/c4d7Wc

“Running is a road to self-awareness and reliance-you can push yourself to extremes and learn the harsh reality of your physical and mental limitations or coast quietly down a solitary path watching the earth spin beneath your feet” – Doris Brown Heritage

A Mixture of Everything

Half a week spent running in Melbourne. Half a week spent running in Perth. Not a bad combination!

Last week was a mixture of everything¬†– a Monday afternoon run (something I’m not used to but this was purely because I finished work at 4am and there was no way I was running a 10km that morning), Tuesday morning Yasso’s (a new running session which will now play a role in my running program each week), a couple of lonely runs, a couple of group runs, and then a few “lighter”¬†but still longer runs at the end of the week just to freshen up for a big running week this week, yikes!

For anyone wondering what Yasso’s are?¬†Yep, that was me until about a week ago – it’s a combination of 800m sprints with 400m recovery. The goal is to complete the 800m within 3:10-3:30mins (or quicker) with a 400m recovery at the same it took you to complete the 800m. By no means is it an easy session, and it really gets the jelly in the legs! (Last week I completed 6x reps and will slowly build on that each week). This means another 5am alarm going off¬†on Tuesday mornings!!

I’m now back into my running routine and¬†loving it. As much as I loved being in Melbourne it’s nice to be back into the swing of things. Saturday morning was a great run with the group – ¬†just a casual 20km followed by coffee and a chit-chat at the local farmers market.

Sometimes a change of scenery is what one needs, but like the saying goes “there’s no place like home”.

Things I won’t miss about being away:

1) Running the Tan – As much as I love running this track with loads of other runners¬†around, I think I slightly overdosed on it.¬†I’ll have to be a little more creative next time!

2) Afternoon Runs – I much prefer running in the mornings

3) Being out of Routine – at the end of the day we are creatures of habit!

Things I’m grateful to be back for:

1) Sleeping in my own bed

2) Back running with my group

3) 27C and 28C weather –¬†it’s winter and we’re still getting this kind of weather in Perth, bonus!

This week will sure be a test with the added Yasso’s and our longest run on Saturday to date (I think we have 28-30km on the cards)… Can’t wait to tally up the km’s at the end of the week!

There’s only 7 weeks to go so please keep those donations coming!

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/exquc/sh/c4d7Wc

“A runner must run with dreams in his heart” – Emil Zatopek

The Tan Track, Melbourne.

The Tan Track, Melbourne.

The Tan Track, 3.8km.

The Tan Track, 3.8km.