The Cat in the Hat

Two pronged blog post. 1. We are heading off for the first snow trip of the season shortly – oh the anticipation! 2. I want to talk briefly about pacing and how much it can impact on a run (completely unrelated to the post title, I realise. But seriously, how could I resist after the photo I got of our cat?!).

Now the admin is out of the way, lets get to business.

1. SNOOOWWWW!!

Well, there is apparently SOME snow in any case, covering PART of a SMALL mountain…but hey, snow is snow right? We have the chance to crash on a couch at the snow in the next week and we would be crazy to pass it up…except for the fact that it is school holidays (therefore, the slopes will be PACKED) and VERY early season. So more people on less snow. Blerk, not ideal. But we are going to make the absolute best of it. I intend to work on my technique (avoiding people packed onto the snow will be good practice) and might even try and put my worst foot forward, i.e. instead of boarding goofy (right foot down the slope) I will try a bit of au natural (left foot down the mountain).

We may be a wee bit excited, all the snow gear is laid out ready on the bed many days in advance. I think I have a budding snowboarder on our hands, what do you think kitten? Keen for the snow?

Cat in my hat (OK, helmet) and our boards ready to go

Cat in my hat (OK, helmet) and our boards ready to go

2. Pacing

I ran with a yet undiscovered pacing champion for whom I now personally believe that pacing is his (very mild) superpower. My husband and I went for a run together last night and I smashed my 10 km time  – 10 km in 1 hour and 3 minutes, BOOM baby! And even better, it is EXACTLY on-pace for my goal City2Surf time. This was no accident, I told hubby I wanted to do C2S in 90 minutes, which is approximately a pace of 6 min 30 s per km. So using his phone running app which has a very short averaging period he kept track of our speed and kept me running at the required speed the whole time! Up hills we lost speed so he determined what speed we would need on the downhill and we picked it up. I think it was the first run I have done where I didn’t use the downhill parts as a breather but actually pushed it and ran my guts out the whole time. Keeping on pace was extremely motivating with hubby saying, ‘OK we have 1 minute 20 second to run 300 m and stay on pace, so just keep going like this and we’ll be on target’ and ‘we need to race down this hill to make up for the slower pace’ or ‘smack on, good speed hon’. Last time I ran with him was kind of horrible, he told me I ran so slow it physically hurt him, but this time I kept up and it was only a little bit slower than he would have run it. Now THAT is frickin progress!

We did three circuits of our neighbourhood ( including two hills and two flatish sections which was a good combination) and by the third one I was feeling it. I tried to pin-point exactly what was hurting for future work but couldn’t. Possibly my core, my shoulders were starting to droop and breathing was a little difficult towards the end, especially after the last hill climb. I have HUGE blisters on the bottom of both my big toes by the end but otherwise felt pretty good. I didn’t even really feel it today so I have gotten a pretty big boost for City2Surf, I might ACTUALLY be able to do this!!

Some AOB (Any Other Business, not on the agenda my apologies), yoga has been going well but I have not managed to do it regularly enough for my liking. I had wanted to do it every night after the gym or a run but it just doesn’t work that way. When I get home from the gym, its time to cook dinner, or eat dinner that hubby has just cooked or sit with him and chat (yep, pretty much blaming it on hubby). I can’t relax and do a nice yoga session that way. So instead I am planning on doing it in the morning after my walk. I will soon have more time in the mornings so should be able to squeez in a 30 minute walk and 20 minute yoga session. I don’t think Melvs will mind the reduced walkies time, I run him so much I actually wonder if it’s a bit hard on his paws or if it might not be detrimental to him later in his life in terms of doggy arthritis etc. I know, he’s meant to be a working dog (Australian Cattle Dogs were bred for running all day long) but I want him to be around as long as we can have him! I don’t want to run him into the ground.

Also, I have decided that either late this year or in next years season I am going to do a half marathon. No biggie, just running 21km – as you do 😉

Left to my own devices

This weekend I had zero plans. No brunches, dinners or social catch-ups of any kind and my husband was mainly on shift. So what did I do with such an open slate? Well, I read my book (luxury), caught up on Game of Thrones, and, you guessed it, worked out! I got a PB in parkrun on Saturday morning (5 km in 30 minutes and 25 seconds). Melvin even got paparazzied, such a poser and obviously interested in the photographer, lol.

parkrun (Newy)

parkrun (Newy)

I also did a weights session, bush walk and 9 km run on Sunday. So far I have ticked off all my City2Surf training runs except for a tempo run I missed on account of forgetting my socks when I turned up at the gym! Was really annoyed with myself, I had everything else, just no socks. I thought I might do a work out when I got home but hubby was determined to go to the pub for dinner. Sigh, the things I have to do…So I will squeeze in an extra session this week. My midweek runs need to get longer now in line with my training program so that will be interesting.

Since all that working out only took up a few hours I also had time to cook up a few storms including my favourite healthy pasta (it contains brussel sprouts! how can you go wrong with that awesomeness?) and a roast dinner. Melvin was pretty interested in that as well…

You realise we would all be better off if you gave that lab to me...

You realise we would all be better off if you gave that lamb to me…

Another market visit was also in order and while I tried to avoid the delicious treats they sell there, and focus on nutritious veggies, I did come home with a couple of fresh bagels and homemade strawberry jam. Holy cow, what is a bagel? How do they make them and what is the secret to their deliciousness??? And further, why are they not sold anywhere else? I may need to go to the markets every single weekend just to get bagels from the bagel lady and slather them with jam and cream cheese and – no no, be strong…

Goal Round-Up

Weekly goals

70 minutes of exercise a day

They say it takes a month to form a habit and this one is sticking around! I have made this goal in 5/6 weeks and it has definitely made me less likely to sleep though my morning walk, knowing that even that moderate exercise counts towards my total.

5 serves of vegetables

This one has been hard. Very hard. Although I now regularly include vegetables in my lunch and make sure a large serve is part of dinner I very much doubt I make the 5 serves a day every day. Weekends are especially hard as I am more likely to be out and about at lunch time and grab a sub or just have toast with peanut butter quickly at home. BAD! Need to brainstorm some ideas on how to sneak more veggies in on the weekend.

5-6 glass of liquid

Again this is harder on the weekend. I drink so much more when sitting at my desk and thinking about it rather than racing around. I also drink less tea/coffee on the weekends which is probably a good thing. I need to cut down on my caffeine! But it does reduce my overall liquid in take.

Monthly Goals

Last month I was looking to increase my cycling/riding fitness. I did spin once a week and went on far more rides than previously. But this month that has been eclipsed by my City2Surf training which is my current ‘monthly’ goal (even though it is still 2 months away, I guess I should say ‘short term’ rather than monthly), But that has been going very well and I have followed it almost exactly.

Yearly Goals

No hot chips. It has now been almost 6 months without hot chips! Yes! Too easy…they smell pretty amazing though and actually I have had a few weird dreams about eating hot chips. True story, I had a dream where the whole dream was me eating hot chips from a fish and chip shop. At the end I remembered I wasn’t supposed to be eating them and woke up with a jolt. I feel like that isn’t normal but not sure what to do about it….

THIS WEEKS GOAL:

I haven’t fit in any yoga this week and feel I would really benefit from it at the moment, my muscles feel very tight and I have done more reading about the relationship between core strength and running success lately. I don’t really like to do yoga in a group and the only yoga instruction I have is 90 minutes long which is just too darn long. So I am going to give Yoga podcasting a go. There is a podcast called ’20 minute Yoga’ which I am aiming to do one of EVERY DAY THIS WEEK. Yep, one a day starting after my gym session tomorrow. Should be yoga-riffic 🙂

But for now, I’m buggered after a weekend of me-time and am ready to curl up in front of the heater. Assuming Melvin will allow me some space…

Hot dog

Hot dog

Morning Walks

One of the great things about dogs is how much they love to exercise. I have a cattle dog cross who is three years old and who loves nothing better than to run, sniff and chase things. What’s more, if he doesn’t get in some exercise every day he becomes…shall we say…anxious (psychotic).

Having an amazing companion like Melvin is one of the great joys of my life and we go for a 40 minute to 1 hour long walk every morning before I go to work (on a good week I will walk every day while a bad week would be only 2-3 days). I have been taking photos every now and then when we are out and about and have a collection of photos spanning each season. Where we walk is not particularly inspiring, it’s not along the beach or in the bush, it is just suburbia. But there are moments of beauty worth recording.

Morning Walks and moments of beauty

Morning Walks and moments of beauty

Last year I actually started to think about writing a poem about how much I enjoy our walks, and as a bit of a memento of my boy and this time in our lives together. Now, let me preface this by saying I am not creative and writing poems is not a past time I partake of regularly. But for some reason I just couldn’t stop thinking about it and finally sat down to write it up.

Morning Walks

He wakes in the early morning darkness. Consciousness the result of a silent, unexplained trigger only he can know.

He pads into the room, his paws clicking on cold wooden boards and the chink of his metal tag breaking the muted sounds of gentle breathing.

Expectantly he waits, eyes focused and ears pricked. Unmoving.

Shrill beeping suddenly breaks the expectant silence. After some rustling and mutters pass, stillness again sinks into the room. Unshared tension builds.

A soft, pliant hand hangs carelessly over the side of the bed.

She wakes to the feeling of rasping wetness at her palm, followed quickly by a small snuffling nose and a broad soft forehead.

‘5 more minutes, Melvin.’

A soft piteous whine draws her further from the heavy world of dreams. Unremembered strangers unfurl through her mind before being permanently forgotten as the shadowed room comes into focus.

She leaves the night behind, sliding quietly from the beds’ feathered embrace and careful not to disturb its remaining passenger – who burrows deeper into his lonely contemplations.

Cold clothes and cold shoes dash any remaining thoughts of sleep from her warm body.

As shoe laces are tied, still wet with yesterday mornings dew, he interrupts.

Her hands are diverted from their task. She runs her fingers through his soft fur and closes her eyes while he lays his head on her shoulder. A moment shared, irrevocably stolen from the days chaos.

They break away simultaneously, alerted by the slow passage of time. Together, they step into the first light of the day.

Crisp. Cool. Simmering light sits on the pink and purple horizon. Quiet.

He trots through the wet grass, nose trailing the ground and paint-pot dipped tail held high. She lets thoughts pass through her without allowing the sticky remains of a single idea to cling to her awareness.

His gait is sporadic, as unknown scents distract, while she walks steadily along her carefully mapped route. They criss-cross each other in a well practised ballet of motion.

As they walk through the sleeping neighbourhood, a ripple of indistinguishable greetings and warnings often follow from his caged kindred.

At the park, his muscles bunch and he stretches to his full length while eyes never stray from the small yellow blur. He leaps explosively into the air, with no thought of landing, to snatch his target from the air.

She yawns.

By the time the duo return home, the day has begun in earnest. The peace of the early morning is shattered in the predictability of day.

Lost. But the feeling lingers and will return again.

Before the sun rises on a new day.