It’s been a month since my last blog and boy, has my life been different!!
I got the results of my MRI scan through. I didn’t thoroughly understand what the outcome was but I did understand what I was told to do. NO RUNNING!! (and giving up on this years goal)
You can imagine how my heart sank when I heard this. I was then presented with a bundle of paperwork describing in detail what I COULD do. It went like this:
For the next month focus on aqua-jogging! No running or walking for exercise. Let pain be your guide. If you do anything that hurts, don't do it!
After a month of staying off your feet you can return to running IF you can’t walk for 45 minutes pain free, followed by a day off, then do the same on the third day. If that goes well, you can begin to run ONE MINUTE at a time. Increasing the duration by one minute every four days.
'But what about my long, therapeutic, mountainous, trail runs that I love! What about the fresh air and feeling the elements against my face!' This is what I was saying deep down but instead I just nodded and accepted my fate. Until I got into the car at least, when the flood gates opened!
So, for the past month I’ve been the model student and done everything I was advised.
I began aqua-jogging, and at first I just didn't get it. I couldn't get my heart-rate to go up and struggled to do more than 20 minutes as it felt like 20 hours! Imagine the comparison... running on beautiful trails over mountains and jogging in a pool locked in a room that still looks like exactly the same pool no matter how long you flap around for! I know where I'd rather be.
After a few sessions I discovered that you just need to really increase your cadence. I began treading water at about 120-140 rpm. This kept my heart rate up, and then I added in intervals, increasing my cadence more and exaggerating all movements, bingo, a great workout! Still the most I could cope with was 45 minutes but at least I was getting some kind of training to my poor neglected running muscles.
Another positive to draw from this whole experience is that I've begun swimming again. I find swimming pretty boring too but way more satisfying than aqua-jogging. After three weeks of swimming by myself and struggling to maintain motivation, I bit the bullet and joined a group. I swam with a triathlon club in my teens and figured this was the best type of group for me as they generally stick to the one stroke that I can do. So now, four weeks post diagnosis, I'm swimming with Queenstown Tri-Squad and making massive improvements in the water.
Nobody wants to be told to stop doing what they love. Especially when you have such big goals based around that activity. But perhaps these things happen for a reason. Obstacles are put in our paths so we learn and grow. It would be very easy to sit on my backside and moan about the fact I can't live out my passion but that would create nothing but a downwards spiral of negativity. On reflection, this last month has been great and I'll tell you why.
With all of that in mind, I am a very lucky person. And today I feel especially lucky as I am about to go out for my first walk in a month. It will only be short but it will be outside and in the fresh air.
"The best way to show my gratitude is to accept everything, even my problems, with joy.'
Driving the last few kilometres before arriving at the race start, the nausea began.
The last race I went to, my boyfriend drove and I was passenger. I get travel sick, and blamed the winding, country roads for my nausea. On Saturday April 1st, I was designated driver on the way to Mavora Lakes for 'Lap the Lake'.
Clearly this is not related to driving!
As with all the races I've recently taken part in, which is not many, the setting was spectacular . The first half of each lap followed a gravel road meandering down the centre of a wide, sweeping valley between lush, green mountains. After about 5km it turned right onto a foot path, passed a 'halfway' checkpoint and crossed the first swing bridge to the other side of the lake. From there, the trail became thin, undulating and pretty technical. The majority of the second half is inside the forest and pops out a couple of times into fields of waist-high grass. At the very end of the lap you cross another swing bridge before entering the main check point/start/finish area ready to go again!
One of many to come fundraising events in a school dress!!!
Big Easy????? What the #@%&!!!!!!!!!
Big, yes. Easy, no!!
If you are looking for a real adventure marathon in New Zealand, then this is the race for you to enter. It has everything... punishing uphills, even more punishing downhills (20kms!), beautiful views as far as the eye can see, fantastic marshals, a gorgeous river run to finish, tonnes of brilliant spot prizes, and best of all, free beer as soon as you finish!
I really enjoyed this marathon. There was about a 13km section where there was no enjoyment, but for the rest of it, and definitely after, it was nothing less than amazing.
Sometimes I find it hard to describe in words how incredible something is. There are only so many words to describe something beautiful, and I'm not good with words at the best of times. So, I have put together this small video which I think sums up the whole event pretty well. I hope you enjoy it and feel free to ask any questions or write any comments below.
For more information about the marathon, check out their website.
And if 42.2km is not enough for you, well, they do a 100km race too!!!
After not running in any races for many years due to my nerves, I decided recently that I needed to overcome my fear so I could compete again. Taking on a mental challenge can often be harder than a physical one but sometimes with more rewards afterwards.
I did some research and picked out a few key points to help me. Below are three short videos to show the main tips that I used to overcome my nerves before the Queenstown marathon. When race day came round I felt confident and calm. Take a look...
Tip one -
Familiarise yourself with the route and area.
Advertised as 'Flat out beautiful' they aren't lying! Well, about the beauty anyway! The multiple times when I was struggling throughout the marathon, I would look around and be in awe of the beautiful environment. Those magnificent mountains, winding rivers and shimmering lakes can distract from the most exhausted legs.
Before the day of the marathon came round I already felt very confident that this was going to be a great event. Each participant has access to a personalised copy of the route map with target times at various locations during the marathon (above pic). You can also get a wrist band with your expected times at certain distances which you collect from the very well constructed athlete 'check in' the day before. All of the organisation seemed really smooth so at least all my worries and anxiety were only based on my own actions.
I don't know about you but the thought of running more than 6km is pretty painful to me!
So, increasing the distance of my weekly runs, to train for a long event, is pretty daunting until I apply this process that has worked for me a number of times.