Monday, 15 December 2014

Racing Weight - An interesting 3 months

This isnt a blog to help you lose weight, or provide advice about weight loss. Just a post about what I have been doing.

Forgive me if this ends up sounding like an infomercial where I am trying to sell you 5 minute abs. This is not meant to be a blog about weight loss, but a running blog with some family stuff thrown in.

However one of the big changes I have made since Melbourne Marathon was to get to my racing weight.

So the background on my weight really is a long story. I wont go on about it too much, but I initially started running to lose weight. In January 2009 I commenced running to lose the weight I had gained after Joel was born. I was hovering around 82-83kg.

Once Jason and I started running, and training for our first marathon, the weight fell off and I ran Gold Coast (some 6 months later) at 77kg. I liked that weight, running was balancing out the food I was eating. After I tore my OP in September of 2009 and had 12 weeks off, my weight was back up to 81kg, I then worked hard, ran my 1/2 PB at 76.5kg in 2010 and my marathon time was 4.17 at Melbourne 2010.

I had a break over xmas, and in April 2011 ran Canberra Marathon injured, 4.39. I was 79kg. I then ramped up and had a good solid 18 months, and in 2012 ran a year of Personal Bests. 3.45 marathon, 43.55 10km, 19.48 5km. I raced my Marathon PB at 73kg. Again the weight snuck back on, and in 2013 I spent a lot of the time in the gym building power and putting on muscle for the 200m/400m. At the start of 2014 I was back at 78kg.

I raced all year at 77-78kg and as I sat on the plan coming home from Melbourne I knew I needed to lean up to really have a big dig at some personal bests in 2015.

Having read  Matt Fitzgeralds "Racing Weight" in 2012, I re-read it and made a commitment to find my racing weight, my ideal weight where I am seeing the full benefits of the training volume and effort.

So here I am about 12 weeks in. I have been watching with interest Brenden's weight loss by following a High Fat Low Carb diet, but I didnt go that way. Essentially I wanted to find a structure to my life/meals that would allow me to slowly lose the weight and re-build healthier eating habits. Habits that didnt impact negatively on our family meal time etc.

So what have I been doing?  I have been using the website and application called MyFitnessPal to track my calories, it is linked to my Garmin Connect. I have stopped drinking my calories, namely Iced Coffee drinks and have increased my lean protein to keep myself feeling full. Have dropped the chocolate/ice cream for dessert (swapped with a Greek yogurt) and stopped eating the kids chips in the cupboard.

Other than that I havent been too drastic. I have slowly increased my running to the point where I have run 70km+ for 7 weeks in a row, that all contributes to the numbers on the scales. Probably the hardest times are when I travel for work. Eating out is always an issue, had a couple of rough weeks whilst away.

So starting weight was 77.3kg on the 14th of October. I have slowly got myself to 71.7kg last week. Goal race weight at this stage is 69kg. I am basing that off a couple of different calculators. The first one from the Racing Weight website. The second one is off my known lean body mass estimate from using a Tanita scale to calculate muscle mass and body fat. The third one, is I can still grab a handful of fat on my love handles & I dont look like Jarrod Leto from Dallas Buyers Club!

I also am not sure how much improvement it will make to my marathon time next year. Trying to calculate that will be difficult as I will be lighter and have significantly more running volume under my belt. What I know for sure is that I expect big things of myself in 2015, and by laying down sensible base miles now, staying injury free by working in the gym and leaning up to racing weight I am giving myself every opportunity to do that.

Speaking of goals - all I want from 2015 is to PB at those 4 key race distances. 5,10, 21 and Marathon. I am choosing only to race at races that are flat cool and fast, so will be avoiding racing courses, and locations that I know dont suit me. What this means is probably also squeezing in all of my racing between April and October. Gives me a shot - on my calender at 2 marathons, 2 half marathons, 2 10kms and a few 5km.

If I get time next week I'll throw up my race plans for 2015, I have pretty much locked them in. I dont race a 10km until April - so its all about that base at the moment!

Stay Safe on the Run

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Melbourne Marathon Race Report - 2015

Well somehow I didnt blog about my 11th Marathon. Generally I like to construct what I would like to post in my head over a few runs, then I find it best to sit and knock the whole thing out in one go.

Melbourne was different, it was so emotional for 2 reasons - and its taken me a while to process the feeling and renewed motivation for running.

Without revisiting old ground, I have spent the year forcing myself to run marathons. Looking for my old motivation. I didnt race at any other distance, didnt run a half or a hard 10k. I went from 7 to 11 marathons without being race fit. I just logged enough miles not to die. Always hoping that on one run it would "click" and all of a sudden I would have my mojo back. It never came when I wanted it to.

Looking back over my Garmin data I didnt log too many miles through September, and having the 3 weeks between marathons really didnt give me a chance to recover or get any fitter.

Marathon week arrived and I was looking forward to just a mini holiday, after the stress of the Capricorn Coast Running Festival it was a relief to have the weekend to havea  few beers and unwind.

Then I recieved a call. BOOM. Ben calls from NZ saying he is coming over to run. At first I was hesitant because it was a lot of cash to be spending, but he says he wants to come. SO in an instant our Marathon party grew! I was so excited, it had been over 12 months since Ben returned to Wellington and I missed really missed his friendship, running with him, and hanging out. Maybe part of my running mojo was with Ben, as soon as he announced they were heading back to NZ it sort of just vanished. We had spent all of 2012 running together, training for my first ultras, under Ben's coaching I PB'ed across all distances. It was my biggest running year.

When we touched down in Melbourne it was clear Ben was either pregnant or really serious about hitting the gym, he looked huge like a white kiwi Hulk. I had talked him into running the marathon and not just spectating. He said he hadn't run for months, and it was obvious he was telling the truth.

On the way down in the plane - I said to Brenden he has to have a crack at a 3.30 marathon. He had never been fitter, the weather was perfect and he had to just enjoy this moment as he might not get another chance like it. He was not quite sure as he was training heavily for Noosa triathlon, and wasnt certain he would recover. We hatched a plan, that if he felt a tweek to any pain in his glute (where he had problems) that he would just back the pace off and finish the marathon as a training run.

My original plan was to shave the 9 minutes off my time from Sydney and finish the year with a 4.00 marathon. Ben said he was going to run 5.40s for as long as possible then I could leave him behind. Yeah right. Like I would be leaving him behind! My plan was just to enjoy the day out with my brother.

So we met Greg (who was injured) and met his mate Matt who was running his first marathon, Matt joined Ben and I and we set off to try and run a even split 4.00 marathon. Everything was on track, we held back really early - then eased into 5.25-5.30 pace. We caught the 4.00 pace balloons around 12 or 13km and then got seperated with Matt. We spotted Brenden a couple of times, as he was on the other side of the road. He looked really comfortable, running his own pace.

We ran on, and by 25km I started to get tight. My legs just felt like lead, and my stride length just got shorter and shorter.  It was sort of a relief to get to that point having run solidly knowing could take it easy with some walk breaks and still finish under 4.30, and this is exactly what we did. For the next 17km Ben and I just enjoyed being out, talking, running. Ben even called his wife Mel in the middle of the race! Definately not your typical marathon!

As we neared the end, the moment and emotion started to bubble up within me. I missed Ben. I missed being fit. I wanted more out of myself. I realised finally that I can achieve more with running, I am not done yet, I wanted to get back to feeling like I had in 2012. As we rounded the last corner, there were runners everywhere - 5km, half marathoners, marathoners. The finish line was super crowded, but Ben and I savoured the moment. Crossing together, arms raised.
We run for those who cant.

Within moments we found Brenden and he had run 3.30. I was so pumped for him. A marathon PB in the middle of his triathlon training. Officially he finished with a 3.30.01 - 2 seconds and he would of been sub 3.30! He had run a perfect negative split marathon.

As we had a few beers and watched Bathurst it really started to kick in, the feeling that it was time to dig in and really have a crack at a 3.30 marathon. If Brenden can do it, there is no reason why I couldnt. I had run all year with him, and know that if I got my endurance back there is no reason I can't smash it.

Ben made his way to the bus station and we said our final goodbyes, promising it wouldnt be too long between our next visits.

As I had a few ciders with Brenden in the airport I felt different, I had been here before, I knew the feeling, MOJO. All of a sudden I wanted to run. I was ready to reapply myself and rip in.

2015 goals start today.

Before I even think about races, I needed 2 things, to get to my racing weight and to build a decent base.

So starting stats 14th October 77.3kg ave weekly kms 50km/week.
On Sunday I weighed in at 72kg and have averaged 70km/week for the last 6 weeks. Feels good to ramp things up, drop the puppy fat and start to feel comfortable running again.

The goal is to get to racing weight, not sure but somewhere around 69-68kg by the end of February then ramp things up for a big crack at Gold Coast and Melbourne Marathons.

I'll start posting weekly updates of training etc just to keep myself accountable.

Run smart


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Sydney Marathon Race Report! Marathon 10!!

I'm sitting in McDonalds in Circular Quay eating a Quarter Pounder 30 minutes after finishing my 10th Marathon. This is the first time ever that I haven't been sick, or had stomach distress after a massive race. I think I may have finally worked out my nutrition. Finally.

I have been so busy with preparing for holidays, work and the Capricorn Coast Running Festival that I didn't do a Marathon Blog Preview. Oh well it doesn't really matter, what matters is the race and how awesome it was.

When I first discussed with Bel about going to Sydney and running the Sydney Marathon as a family trip, she was worried about another long day of waiting for me to finish. I promised I would be done in 4hrs to 4hrs 10min. In my head 4hrs would be if everything goes awesome and 4.10 to allow for the tough course and lack of miles in the legs.

The trip also meant we got to see my NRL team the Manly Sea Eagles play a knock out Semi-Final on the Saturday night, which again isn't ideal, but once in a lifetime experience.

We headed to Sydney via Brisbane on Thursday night, it was Joel's first time on a plane so he was really excited. It was great travelling with the kids, they behaved really well!

Once in Sydney we spent Friday doing the tourist thing, picked up my race pack, headed to Manly on the ferry and did a heap of sightseeing and shopping. The kids had a blast.

Saturday rolled around, and we headed to Bondi for the morning. The weather was starting to cool down a bit - and I hadnt really thought of the marathon too much. At lunch I took the boys to the movies so I could get off my feet for a couple of hours, then I had a huge feed of Indian food! I kept hydrated and feeling really loose. We got back to the room, had some more food and got ready for the footy.

As I said earlier it probably wasnt the smartest idea to go to the footy prior to the marathon BUT there is no way I was going to miss this opportunity to see my team play live in a semi final. We caught the bus to the ground and actually had a nice meal of beef pie for dinner - which wasnt too greasy at all.

My team was beaten in extra time by a field goal, and although we lost it was an epic night out that the boys are still talking about. Nothing beats live sport thats for sure.

When we got home, we put the kids to bed and I decided to sleep in the lounge room on the spare bed. I got a full nights sleep and awoke to overcast skys and light rain, perfect I thought.

I also had a new nutrition plan that I had been thinking about for quite a while, it was to race low. That is, keep water and energy sources limited prior to racing and in the early stages - then use how I felt to feed the machine. So exactly 1hr before the race start, I drank 300ml of flat Coke. That was it, I had nothing else - not a sip of water or anything else. I walked outside into the cold and wet - it was overcast. Perfect I thought. I immediately felt like it was going to be my day, as the sun and heat really sucks the energy out of me.

I caught the train across to the startline, went quickly to the toilet and made my way into the back of the A corral. I was aiming to run with the 4hr balloon and just hang on for as long as possible. I started a little in front of the balloons - and before I knew it we were underway. It was raining by now, enough to make the road feel greasy underfoot and a little uneasy when the mad rush of people reached an sharp corner.

The early part of the Marathon is often the best, the adrenaline is up, nothing hurts, and your breathing is bang on. Sydney was even more special as we ran across the Harbour Bridge and had a full view of Circular Quay to our left, the Opera House was below - life was good. In that moment, I was just so appreciative that I found running. I have travelled across Australia running and racing, and been able to really appreciate being healthy and physically able to do the things I do. Running across the closed bridge was fantastic - certainly a once off type of experience.

As I mentioned earlier, I was on my new nutrition strategy - which was racing low. I reached the 5km point and filled my 300ml Ultimate Direction handheld. I took a little sip and immediately felt like needing a toilet stop.

As we headed into the gardens, the large fig trees lined the course, I spotted my chance and took off behind the tree to relieve myself - as I wrapped things up - I joined a huge pack of runners - the 4.00hr pace group. It was destiny, so I jumped on the pace bus with the intention of getting dragged along as best I could, this was at the 7km mark and I had my first nutrition 2 Clif Shot Bloks.

Deep down I know that I havent been doing a lot of work, two things I know for certain is my general lack of training volume, and my weight being significantly higher than when I raced in 2012. At the moment I'm hovering around 77.5kg and when I raced in 2012 (when I ran 3.45) I raced at 72.5-73kg. Also in 2012 my average weekly volume was around 80-90km per week (maxed out at 123km) and now it is around 55km-60km per week.

I am aware enough to know that those two limiting factors would play a big part in me staying on the 4hr balloons.

The 4hr group was running much quicker than I expected, generally averaging 5.25 per km, some ks were 5.30 but a lot were grouped in the 5.25s. I thought they would be banking a little bit of time, but they seemed to be going much faster than I expected - or maybe I was just strugglin already!

I hung on, as we pounded a few hills, went through the War Memorial and up a huge long steady climb towards the Sydney Football Stadium. I was already planning the return journey where I was going to crush that part of the race. I was still with the bus, was feeling tight and the undulating course was taking its toll. Eventually by km 19 I slowly dropped off the back of the 4hr pace group. Although not be discouraged, I just kept knocking out the 5.40kms some at 5.50. I was taking 2 Clif Shot Bloks every 7km, and drinking when thirsty. Around 26km I bumped into Simon who was running for the Indigenous Marathon Project doing 8 Marathons in all of the Australian States and Territories. Was had a chat, but clearly he was suffering so I just kept plodding along. Around 27-29km it got really tough. I just struggled up the hill, and walked a little. Just to get my breath back.

Once over the hill though I powered down past 30km, through the War Memorial and back into the City. I felt great with the long downhill and was able to run in the 5.30s comfortably down through this section.

The last 6km was a bit of a surprise, I just suffered, and struggled to run 6.10-6.20 pace, probably due to the hills and lack of training KMs. But that is to be expected I guess. The last 2km was really awesome, I just concentrated on saving enough to finish under 4.10 which was my B goal time.

I came down the finish line, the crowd was so noisy 6-7 deep yelling out and I just sneaked under 4hrs 10 minutes. Marathon 10 was over. I was smashed in the quads but felt really well in the stomach.

I walked through, collected my medal and within 5 minutes Bel and the boys had found me. They had arrived 20 minutes earlier and had a great morning cheering before I finished.

We made our way across the road to Maccas and for the first time ever, I was able to actually stomach a meal immediately after a marathon. Quarter Pounder, Large Chips, Large Frozen Coke.

Nutrition was bang on. I had 2 Clif Shot Bloks at 7km, 14km, 21km, 28km, 35km, and 1 at 40km. Which is 66 calories per 7km (or around 40 minutes) - I only drank water on course and nothing else.

I have recently also run Melbourne Marathon my 11th Marathon - so I'm in the process of putting together that blog also! Insane that I ran 2 so close together!