Posted in blogging, fitness, Writing

Triathlon

 

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The Triathlon I did on the weekend…

Every step of the run felt like sandpaper slowly scraping the skin off my toes. I thought seriously about stopping, taking my shoes off and wiping away the grains that were responsible, but wasn’t keen on losing time, and then there was the risk of losing all motivation to continue…

I competed in an Olympic distance triathlon today (1.5km/40km/10km) ‘Twas a bit of a rash decision to say the least, no training for 7 weeks post the Cairns 70.3 Swim and Cycle legs (1.9km/90km), but I was interested to see just how much fitness I had lost in this time, and of course I was adding in a run.

The shower was hot. Nice, but the sting inside my blistered, nicely sandpapered toes was something comparable to childbirth-That may be a slight over exaggeration, but I think you get the point. My sun tinged shoulders and face screamed the moment the drops of water cascaded across their surface-and then I exhaled.

It was a spectacular Far North Winters day. Sun, blue skies despite some patchy rain, and warmth that was conducive to casual dress-but it was the water temperature that was worrying me. I despise swimming in cold water. Makes me feel like I’m in Antarctica imitating a seal or something-I am NOT a seal. Or a penguin for that matter, but the water was ok…in fact it was the least of my problems.

“Mum. Let’s go for a cycle” Xavier piped

Now let me just say, he never says that.

It’s like ripping out his appendix with no anaesthetic to get him to ride, but today, he chooses to ask when I am a shattered woman.

“Are you serious Xav?”

“Hmm. No not really, but can you take me to the Esplanade because I need to catch some pokemon’s.

It is very windy on the Nade today. Windy August I call it, so I’m hiding in a nice little sheltered spot, writing this, whilst the ‘lighty’-translation for non Zimbabweans-young child-runs around with a small square object in his hands, dodging all the other Pokemon hunters, trying to avoid collisions with trees and dangerous moving objects, pressing random buttons and apparently catching little teddy bear things that give him points and the uttermost satisfaction with life-I’ll never understand how this game has become globally viral with millions of people across cultures, nationalities, and races, transfixed. It makes international political warfare a total joke-just give them Pokemon.

…whoever knew the secret to happiness was that simple-well kids of course, that’s who…and dogs, who do similar things with tennis balls-run after them and don a smile so big you’d swear their tongue was going to fall out.

The swim was lovely, a few waves, a bit of nausea, but I hadn’t lost that much, and I was grateful. The cycle was another story.

Me and my $500 buck second hand Aluminium bicycle had arguments with the headwind, although having said this, I thought I was fairing quite well, considering. I did notice that there were less and less cyclists on the course and I began to feel suspicious that I wasn’t as fast as I thought I was.

I approached the last turnaround and the marshall lady person, was standing in the middle of the road…

“Are you in the race?”

I was flabbergasted.

“Yes?” I yelled

“Oh. Well then are you in a team love?”

“No?” I yelled again.

What is with this lady? I mean it wasn’t as if I was the only competitor left on the course. There was one man, he didn’t quite fit on his seat properly, but he was there, and there was a bloke having a little rest while he replied his tyre, then there was the lady. Plenty of people left, I thought. I have no idea who she was, as I couldn’t see her face. It was covered. With her hair. Her visibility must have been appalling.

It’s a massive reality check when all one wants to do is go home, lick ones wounds, feel sorry for oneself for a while, beg for sympathy, shower and curl up in bed, but instead, the ball of life keeps rolling and one ends up enduring gale force winds, in the sun, buying cinnamon donuts and milkshakes for the love of a little Pokemon hunter and his happiness.

I only have one word for the run leg;

Sandpaper.

No, I can think of a few more- I am not a one word person, except when I’m extremely tired (sometimes not even then) or extremely grumpy;

Snail pace, hot (Cairns residents are lying when they tell you it’s winter. We never have winter, just less of a summer), strangely satisfying-in a kind of painful sadistic kind of way, and complete.

Yes. I completed it, which is what I was aiming to do.

The time is largely irrelevant to me, but humans generally don’t understand words…what they want is numbers.

Final time?

2:43 Hours.

Thank goodness it wasn’t over 3, and thank goodness I trusted myself enough to enter, regardless of my fitness status quo; for the experience, the camaraderie, the fresh ocean air, and the sympathy I am hoping to receive for the blisters…they really are quite big…huge, no they’re huge.

Thanks to all my friends who supported me.

XN

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

The benefits of canning your obsession with exercise

 

tired-runner-cartoon

 

‘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 Daily muse, Humour, Physical fitness, Stories, Writing

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

tired-runner-cartoon

 

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