5 years have passed

It was 5 years ago today that I showed up early in the morning to a small non descript building in Brisbane. Down by the river, in a suburb full of rich residents & lots of up & coming restaurants. But that building and the people who worked there were the ones who changed my life.

5 years ago today I looked like this

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O how much has changed since then. Look at me now:

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Although I can’t say that I am 100% happy with the way I am today, I can say that I am happy the way I am overall. My life has changed a lot since that morning. I remember doing a 2km time trial to see my fitness level. A 2km walk took almost 30 minutes.  Now I can run 5km in less than that. A 2km run on average takes me 10-11 minutes!

I have many people to thank and they all know who they are and I have said it many times before. But this time of year truly makes me thankful for everything people have done for me in my life.

Rolling down the highway

For my birthday week I wanted to go for a ride on my bike before breakfast out. Originally we had planned to ride around Alki on West Seattle for something totally different and then head to IHOP afterwards for my free breakfast (yes I’m cheap & I had never been before so it seemed a good idea). However when the voucher for IHOP came in, it had to be for a specific location. That was going to be a problem as the two of them were ages apart… Woops!

To fix that Heidi & I decided to try out riding on the I90 trail. The I90 runs from downtown Seattle and runs the entire length of the USA. The I90 trail runs from Bellevue (well Factoria) across Lake Washington to Seattle. Along the way it crosses a couple of bridges, an Island & then best of all, across a floating bridge then through a tunnel. How awesome is that! The full trail is 10 miles, one way… Maybe not! So we decide to go for just part of it from Mercer Island’s trail head across the floating bridge and then through the tunnel & back again.

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The ride went well for me now that my bike is fixed (after my embarrassing ride on the Interurban) and I flew across that bridge. Even though I was freaking out for part of it when on the floating bridge, thinking I was going to fall into the lake or get hit by a car, I still loved it. Heidi on the other hand didn’t have as good of a time.

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Heidi’s bike had a bad day. It looks like somehow her back tire got buckled & it was making her slower than she wanted. I gave her half a tunnel head start on the way back and managed to beat her out (although it was by maybe an inch). The weather though & the scenery made it enjoyable none the less.

I want to go back & try the whole trail now, probably bus back though to make it easier on the return. Either way it was a great way to start the day… And how did it end?

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Hiking Time!

On Sunday Heidi took me for my first Hike in the PNW. Something that she really enjoys to do, and something I rarely do but can and will do (or more like should do), hiking is something we talked about, but never got around to doing until now. Wanting to avoid the crowds, since it’s July and it’s blue outside, we headed to a trail that was recommended to us by Heidi’s dad. Otter Falls was the destination but the guide book didn’t tell us of the fact that we were not looking for the “Otter Falls” trail but the “Snoqualmie Lake” trail.

Either way, we had a good time, but rather than bore you with details of “We Walked through trees without too much of a problem” (ok we did get lost a bit at the start) here are the pictures instead:

From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014

Clumsy Mal

How is it that after running for over 3 years now and not falling over at all, after endless kilometres that I wake up this morning and when I am about 3/4 way through my run (about 1.5km from home) I stack it? I am a clumsy person, I am covered in scars and burns and cuts and abrasions, but till now, I had not stacked it at all. I managed to this morning fall flat on my face but I got up within 1 second and kept going as though everything was fine (dripping blood down my leg though). I tripped on a small piece of pavement that I ran over last week without a problem, so what the hell is wrong with me!

When I was training for Kokoda, I fell over countless times while trekking up and down Mt Cootha. There was not a session that went by where I was not flat on my ass at least once, and it was as though the training was not complete till I had stacked it somehow. Many a time on Kokoda itself I was expecting to go head first down a mountain. I think one of my problems is my lack of balance, I can’t even stand up straight without almost falling over sometimes, so how can I expect to be able to run without a problem?

I don’t know how badly this fall this morning is going to effect my running (my knee is currently strapped up to ensure that the chunk missing doesn’t go all over my jeans today at work) but hopefully I can keep going. Guess who is going to be doing weights in the gym tonight…

THIS GUY!!!!!

*** Funnily enough, I was wearing my Kokoda shirt this morning during my run. So maybe it was just a Kokoda fall come back to haunt me? ***

It’s Over……

It’s all over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As I type this on my laptop, sitting in the passenger seat of Heidi’s car, I feel a certain sense of accomplishment. I also feel every single piece of muscle in my body screaming at me saying “You’re fucking stupid, if you ever do this again I am going to smack you in the head”. If there was ever going to be a time that Murrphy’s Law was going to make its presence known, this has been it. Ever since that fateful time after my 13km training run, it was all down hill from there.

Friday night was a good night, however the trip north had a false start as we had to go back to my place to pick up some candy that had to go north to Canada (I sure hope those pineapple lumps are tasty Roy!). That should of been the first sign that things were not going to go “as planned”. The weather was fairly rotten up north, the border crossing was as usual, horrible. The border agent just had a bug up his ass and wanted me to say the words “Work Visa” and kept being a douche about it. But the arrival at the hotel and check in was fantastic and by the time we headed out towards the city for dinner we were happy!

Saturday started off fairly ok, I managed to take some photos of a Air Canada Rouge A319 which is what I was searching for (still didnt get my Westjet Q400 but theres still time) but when we were heading down towards breakfast on Broadway, I realised I had forgotten the pineapple lumps…. again. Back to the airport, back to the car, then back to broadway. I am stupid, I know But we had a good lunch with Roy and explored Granville Island and then headed over to the Expo to score some free stuff and pick up my race kit (I now have more power bars than I know what to do with).

Saturday night was meant to be quiet, it was meant to be relaxed. After some carbo loading we were meant to relax in the spa and just have a nice quiet night in…. yeah didnt happen. We waited almost an hour for our take out order to appear *sigh* and by that stage I was tired, hungry, cranky and ready for sleep. I was not a happy chappy. But dinner was pretty good (not really worth the wait though) and I got to have a wagon wheel (or at least the Canadian equivalnet).

Sunday morning was full on pouring down rain. Several times I contemplated sleeping in….. Several times!!! But the ever convincing girlfriend kept me on track and dropped me off to make sure that I got to the race start on time. The race went pretty well and although I didn’t run the whole thing it went better than expected. The rain came down about 90% of the time and it was hard trying to dodge people and giant puddles full of water. When my shoes got full of water, I stopped caring, I just took it as it came. Although I didn’t see Heidi till the final stretch (our timings were off) there was plenty of other people to support me while I was out running. I did like the Tinder support team (around the halfway mark). A few very pretty ladies, some really good pumping music and best of all, a little bit of a a boost to my energy.

I was one of those people that had to make a potty break during the run, which I didn’t want to do at all but it just ended up that way and although it slowed me down, it wasn’t by all that much. The last half of the race was my hardest. My calves were burning, my knees were shot but my injury wasn’t a hassle at all. However the rest of me just didn’t want to give up. I walked a little, ran for a bit, walked some more. I was trying to run for a bit when we hit the hill in Stanley Park near the Rose Garden… yep.. I walked… so kill me :P I did walk about a good kilometer and a half at the end of the race, but I was determined to run the last full kilometer (ended up running about the last 1.25km). I saw Heidi on the final turn, ran off the course to kiss her and kept goinng. Best inspiration ever!

I crossed the line in 2h 35m and I am thoroughly happy with that time. When I had set my goals originally I was expecting to run the full half marathon, start to finish. I was aiming for 2.5 hours for that. When I injured myself I decided to revise that to 3 hours. Even then I figured it would be closer to 3 than anything else. Although I was pacing with the 2.5 hour group for part of the way, I kept up to them but they overtook me after the potty break and I never saw them again after that.

I am proud of myself for not giving up and pushing through the injury to get this done. But I know that Heidi will probably kick me in the head if I say I want to do it again. This race has been the hardest thing I have done since I moved to the USA. It could possibly be the hardest thing I have done ever. The weight loss felt a lot easier than this, Kokoda felt considerably easier, This morning I could have given up so many times and just stopped & walked to the nearest Tim Hortons for a coffee (tempted to as well considering they are on almost ever corner in Downtown Vancouver) but I didn’t, I stuck with it. I know a few people are proud of me for keeping at it, but I know I could have done better.

I wont say I will ever run a Half Marathon again, no matter what others think, it just isn’t me. I will stick to my 5ks and 10ks for a good race event push. Till I have to stop running outright the least I can do is just keep on pushing.. right?

PS if you have some good pain killers, I could do with some right now ;)

Training Complete… Bring it!

Well, this morning was my final training run, and even though my legs, knees, joints and body hates me right now, It was worth it. The last few training runs have been pretty good. I started off with a big full run last saturday. It was my first 10k since the injury and that was going to be a hard task. I hit the trail early for the run so that if things went ok I could go to bootcamp after. I was determined to do at least 10K and try to run as much as I possibly could. I managed to do 7K’s straight non stop and then spent the rest doing 10/1 intervals.

The 10/1’s are working out pretty well for me and the run went off pretty well. Yes it was slow compared to my PB for a 10K but that is to be expected. It has been just two months since my injury and it has been a slow recovery and training process. So that is not all that horrible and my body felt good (especially after a whole other hour of bootcamp straight after the run).

Since that run I have run Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday mornings, all 5k’s each and all not to bad. Monday & Tuesday was 5k’s straight each, non stop. Yesterday was the roughest as I have not been running back to back like that and it has been an effort. But then this morning I did 10/1’s and although my legs hated me immensley, I still did it, I still pushed myself.

From here the full taper program starts. I am going to hit the gym tonight (something I didn’t do all that much of Monday night due to wanting to rest my legs a little, or last night as I had dinner with Heidi) and then the same tomorrow morning. Thursday night begins the full rest period with no gym (might walk home though, still undecided) and then Friday and Saturday are full stops, no gym, no running at all.

Sunday is the big day and I am mighty nervous. I don’t know the outcome yet or how things are going to go, but sure as hell I am going to give it my best and try my hardest. Bring on Sunday morning in Vancouver!

Two Weeks to go

There is less than 2 weeks to go now before the Vancouver Half Marathon and I am pretty sure now that no matter what I think, it won’t happen the way I want.

The longest run I have done in 2 months is 5.6k and I can manage a 5k without to much discomfort, but the thought of 20k straight just isn’t realistic. I’ll be suprised if I can do more than 5k. But I have a plan.

This week I am going to try and keep running as much as I can to strengthen my leg. I don’t know if it will work but I can try right? Saturday morning I am going to try & do a long training run, a smaller version of what I want to do on the day itself.  For the reminder of the week ahead, more runs and then as of next Thursday morning I will make my final run and then nothing till race day, not even gym, to save my legs.

My plan for rave day and for the training run this weekend is pretty much just intervals. Going to start with a 5k run (which I know I can do) then break for a kilometer and then pick up again for another 5k. After that I hope that my legs can handle another 5k run (after a 1k walk break). After that I will just break it up into manageable pieces of whatever I can handle finishing up with a small run to the finish line.

I really don’t know if the whole thing will work, or if It is going to be possible but sure as hell I’m going to try right?

Training Update

Well it has been a month since the injury at the end of February and as I start the last month before the half marathon I have finally come to the conclusion that I doubt i will be able to run the full half marathon. I am barely back running as it is right now.

It has been a long process for the last month as I kept my brain in check without falling apart again. I have been trying not to just give up entirely and keep pushing forward with the running. I had hoped to be running solidly by now but unfortunately 2km at the moment is the longest stretch I have managed (though I am going for 2.5km tomorrow). The running is slow, but it is definitely happening. Slow is better than not at all right?

So I have finally come to the conclusion that although I won’t be able to run the whole way, I am going to try and run as much as possible. I am already $120 in the hole for this half marathon and I am not going to waste that, so if I have to walk some of it, I have to walk, so be it. I am not giving up! I may not be able to run but I am going to give it a crack anyway.

I also have really decided that maybe a half marathon is a bit far for me. I still love my 5ks, I love doing a 10k as my real challenge, so maybe that is as far as I push it? Is a half marathon just that little bit to far for me? I don’t really know and only time can tell but for the immediate future, I will stick to 5k runs!

Tomorrow I run again (after giving today as a break day in between training) and will go for a 2.5km run with a 500m walk and then another 2km run back. That should hopefully do ok enough that on Saturday I can try for a full 5km. If that works and I don’t feel the pain too much, then I can start adding back in the length to the run. Who knows, maybe I can run at least half of the distance in one stretch? Time will tell.

:(

This is not the post I wanted to make while giving updates about my Half Marathon training. Im screwed :( My injury from last year has come back to haunt me and i have strained the same muscle i did in Hong Kong. It’s crap and I have only myself to blame but right now, I am stuck.

I have already paid for the entry fee to the Vancouver Half and now I 100% know I won’t be ready. Right now I don’t know if I should just keep training towards running the half still or training more towards getting myself recovered from the injury. I know that if I try to run the half, things are probably not going to end well (and a big part of me is saying that I should just suck it up and take it like a man) with possible further injury. But then I would be wasting all that money I have already paid for the entry fee.

Unsure what to do about the race right now I need to try and at least get back to running out right. I tried running this morning, was aiming for a good 1km run just to get myself back after a week off of running (not training) but i got about 500m in and the muscle started to fight back. I was able to walk still and it was a bit stiff on the way to work, but it’s not to bad now.

I know I need to work back towards actually being able to run, but at what point do I give up on the half? Should I still stick the half and just do what i can in a Run/Walk mix? Do I just go balls to the wall and go for the run? Should I just give up entirely of this half marathon challenge and stick to 10ks?

Should

Quitting

I went to church this morning (Yes a few people will be shocked by this but stick with me here) with Heidi. It was not the first time it has happened, it probably also will not be the last, and suprisingly I left this morning feeling like someone had been reading my mind. They talked about “Being in a Team” and how we all have someone (aka God) to back us up as we will all be tempted to quit. The person giving the sermon was actually really good and even gave a good example, one that really struck home. He talked about training for a half marathon. Hello!!

The temptation to quit runs through my head quite a lot, it is something I deal with on a daily basis. I look at things like the during the weight loss period (something I have been struggling with still lately) where I had others to support me, guide me, to keep me going and I felt that if i quit, I wasn’t just letting myself down, I was letting others down. To be honest, up until now, I didn’t really feel that way over here. I have felt alone, I have felt that things every day in life (work etc) are mine and mine alone. Though I have friends over here, I had not really realised just how much of an impact they have on your life. It really hit home this morning when I heard about not wanting to give into that temptation to quit, to keep going, to strive and in those times of struggle when we really need help, to look to those around us for help.

Yesterday I was back on Burke Gilman for my 13km training run. It was cold, I was tired and the rain kept away until the last kilometre. All the things that when combined (Worse if it was raining the whole time) create a perfect storm of quitting, or as you hear me refer to it as “copping out”. I could have made excuses, I could have said “I will do it tomorrow” but instead I sucked it up and kept going. The only person I am letting down is myself, but can I live with myself when I want to cop out. I know my friends would have understood me, but would I be happy with myself. Could I look at my friends and family in the same way and feel the same if I told them I had quit? I know that the sermon talked about support from those people, but could I let them down? Could I let myself down?

I ran the 13km in a fairly good time, within what I had expected. I am aiming for 2.5 hours for my Half Marathon time and although that is fairly slow, that’s what I want to do to make sure I don’t walk away with an injury. That little fact kept me going during the run. Yes I had some pain but I had to be smart. The training now and the pain now mean that time after my run won’t be so bad later. I kept pushing myself, every step of the way, during the run. I had to keep telling myself why I was doing it, why I shouldn’t quit. What was my answer?

The look on my friends and families face as I cross that line or I pass them during the race, for them to see that I can do the things I set my mind to, that although I may want to quit. Doing so is not in my interest, because I do it for them as well.