Posted in blogging, exercise, fitness, Life, Physical fitness, Sport, Writing

THE PHYSICAL BATTLE OF TRAINING- THROUGH MY EYES

THE PHYSICAL BATTLE OF TRAINING- THROUGH MY EYES

Featured Image- Tom Gersekowski

Late this afternoon, I went for a run as part of my training for the 70.3 in June. You know, I probably wouldn’t have done it, if I didn’t have to. It was humid, and hot, and I was tired for the simple reason that I am always tired. I am becoming quite bored with this excuse, but a valid one it is.

As I was pounding the pavement, I found myself watching the people on the esplanade. Little kids kicking balls with their folks, people walking their dogs, and others simply lying on the grass taking in the serenity. A little mirror in my head brought attention to the fact that for a second or two, I was wishing I was one of them. One of those people who appeared to be completely happy to sit still, and smile as the world happened around them.

I could feel the sweat dripping from my arms and legs and running down my face. My breathing was controlled, and my pace was steady, but my mind was wandering. It was jumping into the lagoon pool with all the tourists, it was walking along the sand with my puppy-who was sitting at home so desperate to go with me- it was reading a book on the grass under a sleepy palm tree and it was parked with my mouth permanently perched over the bubbler, hydrating me with the best tasting water in the world. I wanted to be there. I wanted to be far away from the heat and the thirst and the sore feet and the tweaking knee and the Garmin.

Oh the Garmin.

Having a Garmin watch is like having a spy attached to your wrist. Those little numbers on its screen have a habit of telling you when you are too slow. I can hear them shouting at me like a school teacher.

“You are not trying hard enough today. You may as well go and lie on the grass and watch the pelicans in the mudflats”

But my feet keep moving…like they always have. I often wonder why I don’t just give up and turn the dial down a few notches.

Perhaps it’s because last weekend I ran 9km in 41 minutes, and I smiled when my Garmin delivered the good news. Perhaps its because when I swim, I no longer have back ache like I used to. Perhaps it is because after a training session I can stack the Cadbury drinking chocolate into a cup and fill it with cold milk and devour its contents without worrying about the consequences…

Or perhaps it’s actually because I like it.

Despite the moans and groans, I must actually like it. I like conquering the discomfort in order to be a little better than I was yesterday, even if I’ll never be as good as some. Even if I can’t compete with those around me. Even if sometimes I want to throw in the towel because no matter what I do, I am slower than those I admire.

The thought of giving up on finding the ‘best of me’, makes me feel as if I am on a downhill slope, as if the best of me has been and gone. So I must pound the pavement. Because the truth is, I never want to let go of growth.

The best of who I am lies in tomorrow’s challenges, because that is how it is for me. And as long as my heart desires new experiences, there will forever be a reason to put one foot in front of the other.

I might be 43, but life ‘aint over yet baby.

Posted in blogging, exercise, fitness, My training Diary, Sport, Writing

Training for a Half Ironman-Give Up or Get Real

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Ironman Cairns-June 2016

Give up or Get Real

Training for a Half Ironman

CHAPTER 2

Both of these options come with benefits, and BOTH are considered regularly. If I was to withdraw from the Ironman event in June, it would by no means be a train smash. I mean so what? Nobody would care, it’d give me more rest, it’d enable me to have more time and I probably wouldn’t feel so smashed. Sounds like a viable, realistic plan to me.

On the flip side, persevering with training-although challenging, is catapulting me into new territory- and I like that. In fact, I don’t just like that, I need that. I’m 44 this year, and I’m fitter than I have ever been, and that is like blue skies and sunshine to me. It’s like medicine to my otherwise doubting self. Like sweets with strawberries and cream and sugar and all of those horrid things to my sometimes troubled mind which obsesses with  aging and disease and loss.

To give up would be to continue with the routine. Not so bad I guess, but predictable. Getting up close and personal with the me I have known for 40 years is getting a little stale. I want to know the me that hasn’t been tested to this level. I want to see what else is inside of me. I want to grow and learn and endure and build resilience and make memories and tell a story untold and undiscovered. I want to go somewhere I have not been before. I want to veer off the track and get lost in the bush and navigate my way out.

I want to overcome the urge to fall back into my yesterday, and repaint the same old picture on the same old canvas. I want to fill the empty spaces in my future with fresh colours and new appreciations for what I am capable of as a 44 year old woman, who is no longer able to lean on the crutch of youth to get through life.

So getting real, is the plan for the next few months. Giving up, will have to wait.

Last week was my first full training week. 7 sessions. Three swim, two cycle and two run. This will have to do. There are simply not enough hours in the day for me to improve upon this, and THAT my friends, is that. With a pretty demanding working week, two teenage boys, a household that grows dishes and washing like the grass grows in far north queensland, and a few hobbies I throw myself into, I am ecstatic that I am able to achieve this at all…but it is hard.

I have found that finding the time isn’t the issue.

I have a workable training schedule that doesn’t interfere too much with my daily routine (except on weekends when the long cycles cut into the clock)-

– the issue is the flipping f word-fatigue.

As it is, I am practically falling asleep writing this, and I hate to admit it, but my manager had to wake me up at work last week when to my complete surprise and embarrassment, I was asleep bolt upright in front of the computer mid-morning. She touched me on the shoulder and I jumped, adding a  Slur of words and a confused disposition. After this, the thought of giving up smashed its way into my mind like a bull in a china shop. Surely, I can’t continue this way.

But getting real involves pushing personal boundaries in order to realise ones limitations. What I learned that day, was that I needed to re-evaluate my training schedule, my sleep, my diet and my weekly routine in order to make my training requirements sustainable.  Perhaps I needed a rest. Perhaps my body, clearly not used to this intensity of training, was simply in an adjustment phase. Perhaps I didn’t need to change anything at all, and it would come right with patience.

So far this week, training hasn’t really gone to plan. Through necessity, I’ve pulled back on the intensity in order to curb the fatigue. My swim this morning was more of a float and a leisurely stroll up the verticle black line than a decent training session. But I turned up, and I did the distance. I missed a run session this afternoon in favour of sleep, and this weekends cycling is in doubt as the family head south for a weekend swim meet in support of our eldest sons quest to prepare for Age Nationals in April.

My excuse, is that it’s so wet outside I wouldn’t be cycling anyway!

Am I giving up?

Nope, I’m pacing myself-or at least that’s the story in my head.

One thing is for sure, the journey so far has been unpredictable, inconsistent and rocky. I have questioned my motives and my ability many, many times. But it’s new, and it’s interesting, and difficult and frustrating and exhausting and exhilarating…and it’s my choice. It’s my choice to live outside the line for a few months, to learn about discipline and dedication and hard work.

I do not know how this story will end, but I’m living it with my eyes wide open baby, and that’s what it’s all about.

Posted in blogging, exercise, fitness, Life, Physical fitness, Sport, Writing

Training for a 70.3 Ironman event-It’s not how I thought it would be.

 

 

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Featured Image-My brother in-law David Martin enduring his cycle from Cairo to Capetown.

There are four months to go until race day-Cairns 70.3 Ironman, 2017

Triathlon is something I just fell into accidentally about 16 years ago. Several staff within the intensive care unit in the Royal Melbourne Hospital all pledged to enter a ‘Just Tri-it Series’ over the Victorian summer.

Back then at 27, I was riding a mountain bike and racing  300m/10km/2.5km distances. This was challenging for me, as I’d never done anything like it before. I’d spent my formative years playing Basketball and Netball and competing predominantly in school sports such as athletics and cross country events-a direct result of living on a farm in central Victoria and being unable to physically get to anything else.

Over the years, I have entered various triathlon events, mainly sprints, a standard, many, many, fun runs, the 2010 and 2013 Great Pyramid Race, and I began competition swimming  for a couple of seasons in the Australian Masters Swimming Comp when we moved up to Cairns to live.

In 2016, I did the swim and the cycle in a 70.3 team, and I have completed the 1.9 km swim in a team for 6 consecutive years in Cairns. However this year I bit the bullet and entered the whole 70.3 event, together with my husband.

It’s interesting because a triathlon of this distance has never really been a goal of mine. In fact, I haven’t really ever had any sporting goals, despite my active involvement and consistent training in one form or another. I usually just go for a run, or a swim, or climb a big hill at pace to alleviate the nervous energy I have always had. My preference is by far training over racing. Why? Good question. Racing gives me a degree of anxiety, when training is simply a lifestyle that suits me.

Training for an event however, seems to add a bit of the old “I have to train” rather than “ok, I feel like I want to train” element that I don’t like. So I have made a decision.

I do not have a Tri coach.

A coach is a massive advantage and is the answer to getting you across the line if you require an external voice to drive you to success. I would definitely benefit from one, however at this stage, I can’t justify the cost. So I am doing it by myself. I have opted for higher intensity and less training hours. This is because there are days, mostly during the working week, I simply don’t feel like going. I have two boys who have there own activities which demand my attention, I have a few hobbies that I love so much they literally keep me breathing, and I work in the hospital as a nurse 4 days a week.

For me, less is more and more is less. Confused?

For me to sustain the training to get me across the line in the 70.3 in four months time, I have to have the freedom of not training when I can’t, for whatever reason that may be. If I need a sleep in, I’ll have it, and I’ll train later that day instead. If I have to miss a session, I won’t panic, I’ll simply train at a higher intensity next time. I realise that to many super triathletes and those in training for Ironman this is rather an unorthodox approach. Surely, to finish one of these gruelling events, it requires unwavering discipline? Indeed, however there is room for a little creativity.

What do I mean?

I mean that everyone is different. Some train their butts off for 12-18 months prior and smash it, and some, train to cross the line. To say they’ve done it. To convince themselves they are still capable of physical greatness. Thousands of athletes push themselves to compete in these endurance events, but you won’t find two people that have had the exact same training experience.

I know, that if I burn out, I won’t even get to the starting line, and I won’t get to hang with all the awesome people in wetsuits, in the dark, wide eyed with excitement and anticipation. Race day is a great, great day. One feels a real sense of achievement even before the gun goes off and a huge sense of camaraderie, when racing next to fellow athletes battling the elements and withstanding the painful demands on their bodies. It’s when the reward for the 50 million flat tyres, the wake up calls before the birds chirp stun you into disbelief, and the terrible sessions that make you curse and question what the hell you are doing is forthcoming.

So for me, my training mantra is very much like this:

Train as efficiently as you can, when you can-because that’s how it works for you.

Be happy with whatever happens-there will always be, many things out of your control.

Enjoy the process- you are so, so lucky to be in a position to grow and to unravel ones strengths and ones weaknesses.

If it happens you are lucky enough at the end of the process to cross the line, smile, and enjoy the connection you now have with those who have trained with you, who have supported you and who are racing alongside you.

I pushed hard this weekend, and I felt the pain of having to meet a target distance as a result of an upcoming working week, but it’s done, and I’ve gained, and at the end of the day, I know, I’ve done the best I can, and that has to be good enough.

We’ll see what happens next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in blogging, exercise, fitness, Inspiration, My wordpress, Physical fitness, Sport, Stories, Writing

Resentful or Driven?-The battle of two minds

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‘This morning, it was all about finding the strength to endure the bitter- in order to taste the sweet.’

 Resentful or Driven?

The battle of two minds

Author

Nicole Martin

💎

The resentful me tastes the bitter but not the sweet when the alarm clock prematurely kicks me out of bed.

It’s 0500 HRS.

‘Come on- swallow it babe, are you a man or a mouse?’

‘A mouse!’

‘Well put your shoes on mouse, grab your towel, and walk out the door’

Today, my driven self is determined to slam it’s weaker opponent into checkmate.
How does it happen this way?
I don’t know- My desire to be ‘better’ has always exceeded my resentment of the task.
 Sometimes I wish this ‘drive’ would relent and allow me to relax, but it’s because of IT, that I get up and walk out the door, swimming kit in hand.
The short journey to training proves challenging-my reaction time clearly sluggish;
“Geez, wake up girl- Somebody slap me”-my mind pleads

Resentful me re-appears after a short recess, when it observes we are not alone but have company of a distinct astrological nature.
Still pinned brilliantly in the night sky, the radiant moon is a terrible reminder that it is in fact-

‘STILL NIGHTTIME’

🌛✨

The chill in the air stings my bare feet, and solidifies the frown on my face. Yikes, an army of goosebumps stand to attention on the surface of my skin, proudly announcing their presence.

My reaction?

My foot deepens it’s relationship with the accelerator.

Resentment once again obscures clarity but my ‘driven self’ quickly engages, utilising yet another tool in it’s repertoire-the art of  distraction-I twist the black nob of the car radio and am instantly greeted by an old man drowning in intellect and steadfast opinions, babbling on about the economic situation in China in monotone waves-I mean, where do you find these people?

I hobble bare foot over the cold, rocky gravel-my tactile feet once cozy and relaxed from slumber are now uncomfortably awake as they negotiate the edgy footpath.

I pick up the pace in aim of expediting the whole process.

The quicker I’m in, the quicker I’m out.

The water is cool at first- but a good old fashioned whinge, a few laboured laps, and I quickly adjust.

Familiarity strikes as I re-acquaint myself with the black and the blue.

My body is heavy.

My form of a few months ago, all but gone, but I know, discipline will regain it.

Making a home outside the perimeter of comfort, cursing the darkness, resenting the alarm clock, facing the constant urge to give up, and enduring the battle between two very different states of mind- resentment and drive, is all part of the Journey toward achievement.

This morning, it was all about finding the strength to endure the bitter- in order to taste the sweet.

 

Life After Blogs

Word press Daily Prompt

Featured Image

Matyas Dinai Bandi Graepel

Posted in Daily muse, exercise, fitness, My training Diary, Writing

The benefits of canning your obsession with exercise

 

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‘What are the potential benefits of canning your obsession with exercise?-Sustainability

Author-Nicole Martin

 

My training is in full swing again, or perhaps three quarters swing-I’m not sure it’s ever been at maximum effort.

I attribute this ‘slightly under training habit to my antsy personality. If I do something for too long, at huge intensity levels, boredom sets in and my interest wanes-rapidly-so I exercise when I feel like it, and don’t when I don’t.

I can tell you with no uncertainty, this is why I have been able to sustain a reasonable level of fitness and training commitment my entire life- my lazy days balance out the more intense ones.

So what the jolly am I trying to say here?

‘Always exercise to an intensity that is sustainable for YOU’

Now that of course does NOT by any stretch of the imagination mean zero exercise is an option-Of course everyone should be doing something, regularly. Just don’t overdo it with a huge desire to change your life and then burn out 3 weeks later.

Personally, it does help that I enjoy pain, I guess. The thought of suffering through a training session, breathless, hot and sore, somehow drives me further and further into a powerful desire to be insanely fit.

Desire to strengthen myself, to build muscle, to challenge my cardiovascular system with a higher oxygen demand than ever before, to keep pushing as far as I possibly can stand it just to see if it kills me-and it never has by the way-nor will it you (Medical morbidities aside).

So what am I training for and why am I in semi-full swing?

In a few months there’s an Ironman event taking place in this spectacular Barrier Reef city within which I am blessed to reside, and I have registered to compete in the team event for the fifth year running. The previous years have seen me battling it out in the chop as the swimmer.

Thanks to a couple of ‘superior human beings’ -my cyclist and runner, we have managed to place in the top 3 on a few occasions. Standing on the podium was something I absorbed with all of myself, taking a million mental photographs of the moment, in view of retrieving them whenever I succumb to a moment of self-doubt.

Unfortunately, my two weapons have deserted me for a better life, and I have decided to tackle the cycle as well as the swim in this years event.

Mad? Probably, but oh well. It won’t kill me-we hope.

I also have a fabulous new runner who is excited to join me in her first 70.3 Ironman race since it’s inception into Cairns 6 years ago.

All of the above is absolutely the truth, however my drive to train comes from within me and my mind set at the time,  NOT the Ironman specifically. The honest truth is I’m simply training because I’m training, and while I’m enjoying the increased commitment, I’ll keep it up and reap the benefits.

Now let’s see if my right shoulder holds up. I have an issue with my supraspinatus tendon. It’s a bit hagered and overused-the usual thing that happens with age- and occasionally it bashes itself against my poor old acromium bone.

Ice, Ibuprofen, stretches, and slow increases in training intensity will hopefully spare me of further injury-crossing fingers.

Hope you’re all having a great night- I’m going to bed shortly, and may turn on the air-conditioner in our room to escape from the stifling heat North Queensland serves up to us every summer.

Cheers,

NM

 

So you failed did you?

Don’t think about it, just wake up and go