Monday, October 19, 2015

How to run 21km on 2 hours sleep

Team Reid all smiles after our run!

You know the feeling when you wake up in the morning after a heavy night on the gas, your brain isn't working, it feels to early and every simple task like pouring a coffee seems like the greatest mission since Armstrong (not the Lance one) stepped on the moon.

Well substitute booze, and add in 4 wake up calls on the hour every hour from 11pm the alarm being a small human that has no understanding that Mum & Dad really want to run well the next day day and we're starting to find comparable situations, throw a cat hair ball in the mix and the pressure levels go up a notch.

I know when I go to bed that sleep this week is at a minimum and all I really want is to hopefully get some shut eye at the back end of the morning, say between 3-5:30am; I know at around 12-1am Z-Girl is going to grumble, as mentioned previously her brace and boogers are not helping her sleep well, how long the grumble goes on for is based on how much I want her sleeping in our bed or if I attempt to re-settle her. I played the up and down settling game for too long, giving up and taking her to bed. But wow did that alarm hurt 1.5 hrs later when it rang. The cat meowed, as he likes to be fed instantly and is under the impression I keep his food under my pillow! the baby stirred, she was lying on my chest and the wife groaned and rolled the opposite way.

Walking down stairs to prep the bags, start the kettle and put Z-Girl on her play mat was met with a squelching feeling under my feet, I jumped back hit the lights to find a turd shaped item in the lounge room.

"Has the cat poo'd in the lounge? Are we serious, Z-Girl don't attempt to play with that"

I kneel down to sniff it, yes I now sniff things before I touch them I think it's a parent thing. I look around I notice nobody else is going to mop this thing up. Lucky or unlucky I work out its a fur ball and that the cat always produces these in pairs so where the hell is the second one? Oh its in kitchen.

Good start to the morning, and the kettle hasn't even started boiling.

We are both pretty blessed with good parents/baby sitters, and my Mum making the 30 minute early morning journey with a slowly recovering broken leg to get to ours at 6:15am was a super help to make sure we could both attempt to complete this half marathon. I know she loves supporting these events by being track-side or pool side in my swimming days, but a infant and a broken leg would have made for uncomfortable viewing, maybe next year Mum.

Out the door on time had the hallmarks of potentially being the biggest achievement for the day, the Metro Train system in it's wisdom was working on the tracks the day 30,000 runners were going to descend on Melbourne so getting in the car and heading to chase a carpark was my first minor stress. In fact I enjoyed the drive, I relaxed a little, ate a banana talked to the wife on our own, without having to sing 'ABC' to keep Z-Girl from jumping out of her car seat. The MCG Carpark was not as full as I thought and we got a spot easily, the wife was gesturing the need to get some pre-race jitters out aka find the toilets.

A quick call to my training partner and friend Ivan found that he had already got rid of his pre-race jitters, and was closer to the start line than us. After making our way down and powdering our noses we got in the line to get things started, a little national anthem sing song shaking of the legs and I suddenly remembered I never did a warm up? Eek oh well nothing like the first 5km to settle your stride. I kissed the wife and wished her luck as the gun sounded and I tailed Ivan as we weaved our way around the pack, I was looking for the 1:50 pace group, my goal was to run with them and hopefully leave them with 5km to go but the rush of people meant I couldn't spot the group and it was just too busy!

In fact it was so busy I lost Ivan and then just settled into my own pace, having to jump off the road and onto the footpath along most of St Kilda Road as I didn't want to slow down to much early on, I checked down at my watch and picked up I was on 4:57km/min and was starting to feel a rhythm, in my head I was worried I had planned to run between 5:15-5:30km/min and started to think I might blow up, but I just started to feel comfortable and my stride was short and quick reducing the bashing my feet with an internal thought of running with light feet I kept this pace going as we reached Albert Park.

Albert Park was the bit I liked the most, it's a nice place to run, the city on one side the lake on the other, the weather was just right and runners had started to thin out as we jogged in the middle of the Grand Prix Track, still I was thinking do I back off and get my pace to 5:10km/min but my body just seemed to ignore my thoughts and kept up the 4:56km/min it had dropped to (I was getting faster as we reached the 10km mark)

My nutrition plan was use all the drink spots on course, I only missed 2 of them and that was due to location of myself and too difficult to get across safely and the other one was on a uphill and I didn't want to slow down. I had a small bottle of mixed Tailwind calorie drink, a Endura Gel and my favorite Cliff Shot Blocs. The shot blocs are in a long packet reaching in after feeling the need at 10km to boost myself up I ripped the packet on the move shoved two in my mouth and thought 2 more when I get to St Kilda Rd would will carry me home, and then I proceeded to drop the remaining on the ground, looking back like a long lost lover at a train station I knew they were never coming back and hoped my gel would be the difference maker at the end.

On a little switch back Ivan saw me and gave me nice little helpful shout, the fact I wasn't too far behind him gave me a lot of confidence I was travelling well, he is certainly helps me benchmark my running, my wife even warned me not to try and beat Ivan on the grounds I would explode in a bonking mess. Getting up and out of Albert Park marked a milestone in my mind and I knew it was a pretty much a straight run home, ticking the legs I hit the 16km marker and reached to find my gel, dammit it tasted so good, sinful in fact considering I have cleaned up my diet. The placebo effect is amazing when you're running confidently and take an energy gel, my pace was still bang on 4:57 and I just spotted the 1:50 pace group! Praise be to the running gods, but like the rabbit in Alice and Wonderland I was late for a very important date, and I skipped past them.

I was now speeding up with 5km to go I was putting in a tough shift, my legs were really burning and I was worried I may of jumped to early, the Km Markers weren't coming as quick as I thought and my knee was starting to get painful, my head was playing tricks on me and I had drank all my tailwind, I was running on motivation only. The last drink stop told me I had still 2.8km to go, a splash of water shook me up and I kept trying to increase the load, I wanted to have nothing left when I crossed the line. I have a habit of holding back a little, just a little, pushing enough to do well but not great. Last years triathlon I finished but felt like I had something left, this time I wasn't going to doubt my effort.

Down the turn along the yarra and I spotted the MCG, I'm not a huge Aussie Rules fan but its a stadium that has the ghosts of athletic greats within its walls and if you can't shake a little tail for that then you shouldn't of entered, over the bridge that peaked like Everest and down to the final turns. My legs were becoming dust, and it showed in my time in the last km, it started to drop but clenched teeth go me in the stadium. You can't help but stare at the huge skyward reaching stands and rolling around the outside of the ground the finish line in sight, quick watch check and I was under, I was very much under 1:50, and I was spent.

The clock stopped at 1:42:45 - and my first Half Marathon PB, it would take some beating but I felt good for 90% of that run add in some Ironman 70.3 fatigue and I still feel I can run the final leg in under two hours come Feb 2016. I had done it, achieved a goal, the first goal of the year. Super wife followed in a time fit for Richie Benaud at 2:22 a women that has so much endurance she doesn't even have to train full time, a disrupted new job schedule along with childbirth recovery had her in 20mins slower than her previous at the Great Ocean Road Half, who knows her result if she trained!

You gotta look out and give the thanks when you get the result you wanted and some more, Super Wife is just ACE! I escape early mornings or lace up at 9pm for a run, she pushes me with her faith in me and unresolved nature to support all the crazy ideas, Mum for helping out with Z-Girl on race day, Z-Girl adding a layer of pressure and performance she is my little running partner, Cheeta Recovery for the running compression shorts and the recovery long pants post race, Tailwind Nutrition the science behind the best Endurance runners in the world for helping me out and those running buddies of mine Ivan for always getting more out of me and the group of buddies I have met at Westerfolds Parkrun.

To Taper, Train or Sleep.

Half a Marathon 21km and a bit more around Melbourne, I have not run 20km in fact I haven't even run past 16km, my training schedule and times has meant either I ride long once a week or run long and choose to ride the bike every time. Poor choice? I'm not sure yet. I have worked on Speed and Pace Setting, added some Hill Work to get my strength up and a lot of bike riding means I am confident I can finish. I have set a time of 1hr 50mins as my target, can I do it?

Prep in the lead up hasn't been great, I have read every article on tapering and they talk a lot of slowing pace down, or getting in a long run a week out, maybe adding in some sprint and stretching workout. All these were clearly written by someone without a child or a job or potentially both! Z-Girl is on a crazy week, a new tooth has been spotted along with an attempt by myself and super wife to get her to sleep more we've been letting her cry it out a little at night to change some bad sleeping habits that have come in since the brace was put on her legs.

The poor little thing just wants to hang out with Mum & Dad all the time, and seems to only sleep when laying on my chest as she snores with her booger filled nose. Her snoring is worse than my brothers, and especially loud when its 2 inches from your ear as she lays on you. It's cute, in fact it's like a small human water bottle. The downside, I can't roll over to turn off my alarm and if nature calls in the middle of the night (I drink a LOT of water) then I wake her as soon as I move.

Training has slowed down, I did some longer bike rides earlier in the week at a good but not heavy pace, I sneaked in a little darkrun after 9pm to get my pace right and feel confident; but then from Wednesday life got in the way and my last run Thursday was cancelled. The swimming pool midweek did help to loosen me out, but its my insane need to move that makes tapering difficult I want to go for 70km ride the day before race, not to help taper but to help not jumping up the walls. Breakfast with friends the day before the race helped me forget about any activity, but I did feel like I hadn't stayed fresh enough and from my running buddies it seems everyone has a different technique.

I'm lacking rest, I always lack rest. The Super Wife is also throwing her shoes on for this one and getting rest during the week just hasn't come easy. My parenting and functioning employee skills have been put to the test and in truth I've failed. I just am at a loss as to how to get my daughter to sleep after 2am I have tried all things and maybe that's the problem, I keep changing the plan and not sticking to a philosophy but it's been a "trying week" as parent types like to call it, I just call a "shit weeks sleep" I'm happy to admit publicly I'm a down hill skier when it comes to this Dad stuff, I'm good when it's good and useless when it's bad. I fumble and forget the process and with two parents doing two different things it hasn't helped.

Blaming the brace is an easy answer when it comes to Z-Girls sleep issues, but I wouldn't blame the rain on a race day for a poor result so I need to forget looking external and sharpen my focus to the points I can change. We don't like excuses in this family it's a long standing statement from my Grandfather all those years ago as kid, the super wife hasn't trained for 4 weeks in the lead-up to this event, but she isn't thinking of excuses only finishing.

The key to my taper is more likely the key my parenting, eliminate any excuses. Tick the boxes and be confident I know my way to run, take a deep breath and forget what "they do" and focus on what "we do" I haven't been nervous for a race before but having set this up as a marker for the IM70 pace for next year it has some baring on where I am in the scheme of my training. I've surrounded myself with good training partners and Tailwind Nutrition & Cheeta Recovery have set me up product wise  for a positive day in my running shoes.

I guess only the asphalt knows the answer now.

#melbmara #running #runblog #triblog #dadathlon

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Get Busy, or get boring (and sometimes get sick)

It's getting a little crazy around here; and maybe I am the only one, but I'm starting to stress about my training and trying to see my family and it's not really working. Triathletes talk about it being a lifestyle, I think it's more of a circus that has only jugglers and the odd the clown ( that's me!)

Childcare is in full swing for Z-Girl, and like clockwork so came the 'sickness' not sure what it is, a cold, the flu, avian virus but she got it, I got we all got it! The whole house is sniffling, using any source of soft paper to remove boogers from faces and noses. I hate being sick, I make a point of avoiding it all year by eating well and staying fit, but you can't avoid the now aptly named Princess Booger, as she is too cute not to hang out with.

1 week in, 3 weeks later it's still here. It really smashed up my training leading into the final Duathlon of season and in the end I pulled myself from the race. I hate quitting anything, but mentally and physically I was drained and just not in the right head space. Lesson learned, slow down with illness - I kept pushing to find training hours when they just weren't there to be had for an event like this I should have just slowed down things around me, and not taken up extra invites and just rested.

The schedule in the house isn't clear cut, childcare have Princess Booger for 2 days and the occasional casual day (till next year) while Awesome Nan (Mother In-law) takes control the other days, I was worried about Awesome Nan getting burned out as Z-Girl becomes a handful, but I think she loves it more than Z-Girl! With this sort of routine the monthly training plans are out the window, it's down to weekly sit downs with Super Wife and pre-planning my week.

Planning in this way is actually more fun; it means Super Wife and I chat more, which can fade when you're running out the door in different directions and outfits; her's being more corporate, mine being of the Lycra variety. I set up a pretty simple template* of Morning, Noon & Night blocks during the week and just scribble in when works. I stick this up in the garage turn pain cave near my bike trainer so I can read it every time I leave the house.

As the weather heats up I'm keen to get out more, and the early morning rides I suffered in Winter now feel like a gift in the morning sun. Awesome Nan has not only been Awesome, but also pretty supportive of the whole bike, run, swim thing. Which didn't surprise me, but then kind of did. I've said it before I find Triathlon to be the most selfish team sport in the world, it's only you (unless you're in a club) carving out the kilometers, the sprints, the laps but in the end you need the support of your team at home, the wife, the kid and when you need back up support sometimes an Awesome Nan to be on sickness call if Z-Girl can't make childcare, as we head closer and closer to Geelong IM70 I know I will need it more than ever to keep me sane.

Melbourne Half Marathon is the next stop; under 2 hours is the goal. The training has been good to fair; I have lacked any runs over 15km opting for short multiple 5/10km instead. I'm positive I can crack the mark, but feel pressure internally - all the top age groupers in IM70 break 2 hours for the run, and that's after the ride & swim; and I know I will need to add 10 maybe 15 minutes to my time to factor in fatigue potentially.

They say pressure makes diamonds, well with the our schedule of Childcare, Grand-parents, the odd social and busy weeks/ weekends ahead I started to feel like I wanted to slow down; and then I remembered how bored I get when I have nothing on. So the new Reid House Slogan is "Get Busy, or Get Boring" and at least repeating that when I really want to sleep instead of going to a flower farm on a Sunday tends to do the trick to get me out of bed.

* Happy to share my template with anyone who interested, it's nothing whizz bang but does the job