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, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There will always be colour

 There will always be colour

Sometimes it eludes us…but there will always be colour.

Nicole Martin

If someone had’ve mentioned the National Kite Flying Championships were on this weekend, I previously, would’ve dismissed it with a simple nod.

Here we are in Adelaide, on the Eve of the Australian Age swimming Championships, and I’m mesmerised by the sky-a picture perfect blue, splashed with a flood of colour.

My balcony, which wraps around my home for the next while, makes for the perfect viewing point. I have never seen so many Kites, soaring above sun kissed dunes and champagne seas.

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Directly below us is an ice creamery. My youngest son is currently in heaven as he attempts to find the quickest way to drill a hole through the ceiling of our apartment, shove down a pipe and connect it directly to the waffle making machine. That way, he can simply-“Suck it up, continuously”

The drive to the venue this afternoon was pleasant-endless coastline, spectacular pine trees aligning the long, wide, straight roads and blue stone cottages with little round tables and imaginary people drinking tea from a pot, very much the vogue in Adelaide. Churches adorn every corner. Some active, some transformed into residences for the local library/ Doctor/Dentist.

Athletes congregate around Aquatic Centre doors waiting to pounce on the opportunity for last chance training.

The buzz is in the air. The goosebumps have landed.

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For us, this is all new.

Tomorrow, at 11:50 am, our 13 year old will line up on the blocks to race against the strongest age-group swimmers in the country-Our hearts are with him, if not escaping from our chests.

…and then, we will watch the Kites, flying free in the breeze, as life returns to normal-for a wee while.

Happy Easter everyone, keep safe.

XN

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

The Awe Inspiring Michael Phelps

‘It’s what you do in the dark… that puts you in the light’

~Aqua Seven

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Author

Nicole Martin

This video is by far one of the most awe inspiring clips I have seen for a long while.

Why?

Just look at the pain in his face-I can almost feel it.

Look at the dedication, the determination, the grace, the talent, the persistence, the extraordinary athletic ability, the grit.

Michael Phelps-the previously retired World Champion from the USA is currently fighting for a success filled come-back.

Arguably the best all-round swimmer in history, he has inspired and impressed millions around the world with his achievements and his rare talent.

Will he leave behind a legacy?

Absolutely.

His journey is far from over, however his legacy is solidified in the hearts and minds of many young athletes who dare to dream big.

He will continue to inspire for many years, irrespective of the outcome of his current desire to return to greatness.

‘It’s what you do in the dark… that puts you in the light’

~Aqua Seven

Inspired by Word Press Daily Prompt

Legacy

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

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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’

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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, Humour, Physical fitness, Stories, Writing

It’s a God aweful road back to fitness-but it has to be done

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It’s a God aweful road back to fitness-but it has to be done

 

I’ve always been reasonably fit,  however my restless personality means boredom sets in very quickly if I focus on one particular activity for too long.

I have always craved change to feel alive, hence jumping from one activity to another, or having substantial breaks whilst I amuse my brain with something else for a while.

Despite this annoying tendency to lose focus on my training, it has become apparent that this behavioural pattern of on/off interest has become habitual. In other words, I always come back to it.

‘The coming back to it’ part usually occurs because my body begins to feel like a listless, irritable, unfit, weak, blob with no appetite, no energy and no strengh. Little aches and pains tend to creep their way into my wasting body as a result of increasing stiffness.

Simply put,

I just don’t feel as healthy when I am lazy with the training.

Aside from that, there is no better feeling than true fitness.

Eating well, sleeping well and training consistently WILL make you feel better than when you don’t do it.

Guaranteed.

The challenge, is enduring the painful hike back from blob to less of a blob!

It’s hard, but hard means you need to do it.

I have always had quite the love/hate relationship with the fitness grind. Pain represents improvement, improvement means I’m getting fitter, getting fitter,  results in less aches and and pains, better flexibility, more strength, an improved posture, a better appetite for good food and more energy. Happy Days.

So if your body feels like it’s dying, that’s a good sign!  You are actually getting somewhere! (Medical issues aside)

Today I went for a cycle. One of the first in quite a few months. I felt ok, but there were rocks tied to my wheels, I was certain of it.

How one can go from fit to unfit in a few months is astounding.

I glanced at the tyres to see if maybe they were flat…but they weren’t of course.

Perhaps my seat position was incorrect, that can make it harder?

-I don’t think so.

The excuses in my head kept rolling in but the problem, was simply the machine driving the wheels. It’s always the machine… my legs just didn’t have the kilometres in them and suddenly I was asking them to suck up the oxygen faster than my cells could supply it.

Answer?

High intensity interval training to recruit a few more mitochondria.

The air temperature was hot and the humidity high, which made it quite challenging in itself, but I pushed outside of comfort in an attempt to regain what I had lost.

After a cycle in the heat I always collapse into the pool for immediate temerature relief and a float, no questions asked, still in my cycling gear. I just never have the energy to take it off-but in that, lies some serious problems.

Have you ever tried to take off a running bra top when it is wet?

I do it often, but it is becoming increasinly difficult as the years burn the calender.

In pulling the top over ones head, it  always seems to roll onto itself and get stuck. This requires some serious shoulder flexibilty to undo, and some serious shoulder strenght to pull it over ones head. It’s almost routine for me that the top will get stuck between the time when it is all rolled up, with my shoulders in the air, and it positioned just over my head.

This creates quite the predicament as there are only two options here.

  1. Dislocate ones shoulders
  2. Call for help

I’m not a fan of either actually, especially the second option because there are alway boobs hanging out everywhere, arms stuck, shoulders in pain, semi suffocation, and a terrible air of “damsel in distress’ which results in a direful degradation of dignity.

My road to fitness has begun.

Joy 🙂

Heart Story-N.A.Martin