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 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

Posted in Inspiration, My training Diary, Stories

Bittersweet

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💎

I can taste the bitter but not the sweet as the alarm clock shouts at me to get up.

You have to be joking.

It’s 0515 again.

The question of WHY pops into the forefront of my mind.

It’s too early for questions, but my brain is determined to slam me into checkmate. The stubborn me however, fights back and refuses to relent.

I still have some moves up my sleeve.

Something inside me, I don’t know what, always has to have the last say. Sometimes I wish that SOMETHING would keep quiet, and allow me to relax, but that annoying little voice is sacrosanct.

It’s because of IT, that I get up and walk out the door, swimming kit in hand.

Eyes straining and stuck together, the drive to the pool is slow.

The stars are still awake and the crescent moon beams it’s grin, seemingly quite happy to be greeting me at this hour.

🌛✨

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.

‘Why’ pops into view again, and my inner voice quickly squashes it with the tunes on the radio; 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 over the cold, rocky gravel my tactile feet once cosy and relaxed from slumber, now crisped and energised as they juggle the rough, cold, earth below.

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, a bit of a whinge, a little song and dance, a few laps, and I quickly adjust, it feels neutral on my skin now.

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

The blue water, and the seemingly infinite black line.

My body is heavy.

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

Pushing outside 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- negativity, 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.

💙Heart Story-N.A.Martin

Posted in My training Diary, Story

ONE OF THOSE MOMENTS WE LIVE FOR

Flynn focusing on the task
Flynn focusing on the task

It was one of those days today, when nerves upset my stomach.

Flynn has been training extremely hard the last few months, putting in the km’s in the pool to attempt to make a Queensland State Championships Qualifying time.

He’s close, but he hasn’t made it yet. The qualifying times are rough. Some of the toughest in the world, with Queensland possessing arguably the largest selection of elite swimmers globally.

It’s mentally challenging to overcome the disappointment of falling short when you’ve put in the time, which is why I was so nervous for him.

Today, he was presented with an opportunity. The first A qualifying long course meet of the season.

The race? -100 m Breaststroke

He was going to try. His coach warmed him up and concocted a race plan.

In order to give himself a chance at all, he was going to have to swim a 2 second PB for 50 metres. However this was a 100 metre race.

A PB for 50, and then keep going almost as fast in the second lap.

Flynn has never done this.

My stomach was rumbling, my hands shaking, but he looked calm. Good, or maybe not???

I looked over at Michael as he walked up to the blocks on the whistle. He nodded his head.

He needed a time of 1:26 to make it. He’s swum a 1:28 before, but that was in a short course pool which is technically faster, as there are more turns, which can give you an advantage.

‘Don’t worry Flynny, whatever happens, you have more than given it your best shot’- I thought.

He was focused. I was having a heart attack.

The gun went…he was off.

Good start…come on Flynn, come on.

He approached the 50 m Mark.. He needed to swim it in 40 seconds, I checked my watch…39.02, he’s on target. Oh my goodness I can’t stand it.

Go Flynn, Go.

His coach began to whistle every time his head came up to help with timing. If he slowed down at all, he wasn’t going to make it. He needed to do a solid swim back, and finish the last 15 metres fast. Was he fast enough? His glide looked good, but those last few strokes can make or break.

GO FLYNNNNNN

He touched.

Did he? Didn’t he?

I peered at the official time.

He needed a 1:26:00

A flipping 1:26 FLAT

THE OFFICIAL TIME?

1:21:26

Posted in Inspiration, My training Diary, Stories

Bittersweet

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BITTERSWEET

💎

I can taste the bitter but not the sweet as the alarm clock shouts at me to get up.

You have to be joking.

It’s 0515 again.

The question of ‘why’ pops into the forefront of my mind.

It’s too early for questions, but my brain is determined to slam me into checkmate. The stubborn me however, fights back and refuses to relent.

I still have some moves up my sleeve.

Something inside me, I don’t know what, always has to have the last say. Sometimes I wish that ‘something’ would keep quiet, and allow me to relax, but that annoying little voice is sacrosanct.

It’s because of IT, that I get up and walk out the door, swimming kit in hand.

Eyes straining and stuck together, the drive to the pool is slow.

The stars are still awake and the crescent moon beams it’s grin, seemingly quite happy to be greeting me at this hour.

🌛✨

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.

‘Why’ pops into view again, and my inner voice quickly squashes it with the tunes on the radio; 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 over the cold, rocky gravel my tactile feet once cosy and relaxed from slumber, now crisped and energised as they juggle the rough, cold, earth below.

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, a bit of a whinge, a little song and dance, a few laps, and I quickly adjust, it feels neutral on my skin now.

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

My body is heavy.

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

Pushing outside 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- negativity, 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.

💙Heart Story-N.A.Martin

MORE POSTS HERE

Posted in My training Diary

Chimes at 0515 Hours

 

‘This is what it takes to win the fitness battle. I fight to give up, but my desire for achievement is stronger. It’s purely a mental game when I am physically behind the 8 ball…’

 

AUTHOR- N.A.Martin

 

I set the alarm for 0515.

I dared not think about it.

That’s the only way I can get through.

If I thought about how dark and cold it was going to be at that ungodly hour, I probably wouldn’t go.

If I thought about the alarm pulling me away from a lovely deep dreamy sleep, expecting me to desert the warmth and comfort of my favourite place (my bed), in favour of taking my clothes off and standing in my Toggs in the middle of winter, only to jump into an outdoor swimming pool and do sprint sets until I almost threw up, I probably wouldn’t go.

So I switch my brain off and set the alarm.

When it beeps at 5 bells in the morning, I get up, and I walk out the door. I start the car engine, wind down the windows and wipe my mirrors with my hand. It’s cold.

I head down my street concentrating extra hard-the visibility is poor, my eyes are still glued semi-closed.

There are ‘little long legs’s everywhere, with chicks.

Little long legs? Bush Curlew’s.

They sit in the middle of the road and lift their wings and scowl amd hiss and carry on doing their best King of the Jungle impersonation.

They see me as a threat.

Huh! If only they knew what I was about to put myself through!

My mind continues to question me.

“Why? Why are you doing this? It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s early. It’s just so WRONG!”

The psychological warfare is ON.

I grump around and drag my feet as I prepare to jump into the water. The fresh air chills me to the bone. You stupid individual, I tell myself. Who in their right mind would abandon a warm bed for this?

Swim, swim, swim, swim. Day breaks. The sun is up-you’re a bit slow sun-my mind scolds.  

The sky is a million shades of pink, one or two stars remain, and the moon lies plum in the sky, in a perfect crescent. Heaven cradles the earth, and everything is ok again- Daylight  lifts me out of the black hole.

This is what it takes to win the fitness battle.  I fight to give up, but my desire for achievement is stronger. It’s purely a mental game when I am physically behind the 8 ball

-and so I try to override my mind, and go through the motions in a completely unglamorous manner. There is nothing heroic about it. There’s whinging, there’s moodiness, there’s uncertainty

-but I set my alarm for 0515, and I get up.

My painful journey back to fitness has begun.