Wednesday
Nov292017

InnSaei Running and the Brisbane Track Ultra 

I have started my own YouTube channel. It is called InnSaei Running. InnSaei is an Icelandic word that means intuition...but it is more than simply that. it has three distinct elements:

1. The Sea Within; this is our feelings, our inner understandings and our emotions. Connecting with nature is a great way to connect with the sea within.

2. To See Within; this is to know ourselves and to accept and understand ourselves. This is harder because we need to honestly assess ourselves and not blame ourselves or others.

3. To See From the Inside Out; this is our strong inner compass. This allows us to navigate the world with clarity and decisiveness.

To me, InnSaei is what running is about…it’s why we run and the inner clarity is what we get from running. It is a symbiotic relationship. It explains to me why I love running so much. 

Here is the first video I have made!

Brisbane Track Ultra

Tuesday
Nov142017

Full video

Here is the full interview I did with Mel. Enjoy!

Tuesday
Oct172017

Melbourne Marathon October 2017

The last time I attempted Melbourne Marathon was in 2007. I had run 2.58 at Gold Coast in July and represented Australia in Switzerland in the Long Distance Mountain Running World Championships in September. I was pretty tired and probably shouldn’t have lined up to race. I was exhausted and running slow (or so I thought, now I would probably think it was fast!!!!) and pulled out at 15ks. That was my last attempt at a road marathon.\

The start of the race

Fast forward to 2017 (has 10 years really passed????) and I’m lining up again. No nerves this time, because I’m not going for a time! It’s a bit of a weird feeling. I’m quite far up the back self-corralled into a group according to time. The race starts and I have to walk to the start line!! So different to starting up near the front like I used to!

I needed the toilet before the race started, but figured it was probably just nerves (not that I was nervous…I think I just didn’t want to wait in the port-a-loo queue!!). However, as I ran I realized I actually did need the toilet!! So much so, that just running through the water stations made it worse! I made an executive decision and ran off the course to a block of toilets….and unfortunately so did everyone else!! 15 minutes, later I was running back to join the race. When I had exited the course I was just behind the 4 hour pacers (yes, I was planning a cruisey training run!!), but when I rejoined the race I was behind the 4.20 pacers!! As much as I didn’t really care about my time, I wanted to go sub-4, so I put the foot down and worked my way back through the crowds, a meandering journey as I dodged and weaved my way through the crowds. In fact, at the end of the race I ended up with nearly 1.5 extra kilometres from my toilet detour and subsequent run through the crowds. It took me nearly an hour to get back to where I had been before my toilet break!!

One thing I noticed weaving through the crowds was that there were many cases of inadequate personal hygiene!! How hard is it to spray on some deodorant?? Or to wash running clothes before re-wearing?? Honestly, sometimes I had to hold my breath! I mean, I understand people sweat, but this was ridiculous!! Rant over…

The Melbourne Marathon finishes on the MCG; it was great as the sun was shining and my friend Nikki had just passed me (damn, pipped at the post!) and I was trying to catch her. It was nice to have a finish hug and share stories and laughs. Running is such a fun, social sport, I’m so glad I am putting myself out there again. It’s like a circle; as I feel better mentally I put myself out there more, which makes me feel better, which makes me want to join in with life again, which makes me feel better…and so on…I’m sure you get the picture!!!

I hope you had a great weekend of running and racing yourself!


Saturday
Oct142017

The Brisbane Track Ultra 2017

I had put in many long, lonely training runs on Knox track and the surrounding suburbs over the last few months. The weather I had trained in had been typical for Melbourne; ranging from rain, wind, snow, and hail to sunny days. The week of the race I had been running in 5 degrees Celsius and less. So, it was with fear I saw that the race day weather prediction was for 35 degrees!!!

Anyway, as I have well learnt (and I’m sure many of you have too!!) there are somethings we just can’t control, and the weather is one of them! I would just have to adapt. I bought some super-strength sunscreen and ensured I had lots of electrolytes. What more can you do??

I had been reducing my caffeine for two weeks prior to the race, and was completely caffeine-free for the last 3 days before the race. For this reason, I spent a bit of time the day before napping, and went to bed super-early the night before. The good thing about 24 hour track races is that they start a bit later so you can have a proper breakfast. The hotel my crew and I were staying at provided breakfast, so I had eggs, toast and cereal. I don’t like to race feeling hungry, nor do I like to race feeling overly full, so it’s a fine line to tread.

We were kindly given a lift to the track by one of the Brisbane Track Runners, which was greatly appreciated. We had to take all our luggage as well as my race supplies, as there was no point leaving our stuff at the hotel! There was not going to be any sleep this night!

I had done my long training runs at the track with 12 minutes running, 3 minutes brisk walking. This is how you run these long races. You don’t have the luxury of terrain to break up which muscles you use, so this helps with that. It also provides rest. It would be very difficult to run for 24 hours on a flat track with no rest at all.

I started the race doing 12/3’s. After about 12 hours, this degenerated to 10/5s. Towards the end, as the suffering really began, it went to 7/3, then 6/4, then 3/2…then finally to run 200/walk 200. I was truly suffering by this stage!! The heat had really taken its toll from the day before and the new day was heating up a lot too.

My crew had been great; providing me with food and drinks all day and night. I was pretty good with eating for the first 6 hours or so, but after that it became a struggle, as always. I mainly sucked on lollies and drank watered-down Gatorade to keep me going. Even so, it was way more than I normally consume in such a long race. My stomach always goes south!!

Another problem I encountered was related to the heat. Due to the heat, the runners were getting sprayed with water and provided with sponges. My crew was also pouring water on me. This was great, except it ended up getting in my shoes. Thus I ran for a good 12 hours with wet feet….the results are evident:

 

In saying that, I still think I needed the water. I don’t think I could’ve handled the heat otherwise. And the feet didn’t hurt that much when I was running. I knew there were problems with the toe as it was tingling, but I chose to ignore it, and the feeling went away!! The brain is an amazing thing!!

The last hour was, of course, the most difficult. I just wanted to stop. I was exhausted. The last half an hour or so, my body started leaning to the right and I was listing to the tight. I could not run in a straight line, I was struggling big time.

  


I want to thank my crew; John, Nikki and Leanne. I couldn’t have done it without them. I went into it wanting to get 200kms. The hot weather put paid to that, but that’s ok, it just means I have to try again!!



 

Sunday
Feb192017

Supplements, the pill and the female athlete.

I have been wanting to write this blog for quite some time but wasn’t sure how to approach it.

I have had a lot of stress in my life the last couple of years and I have been blaming that for the downturn in my running. However, there may have been other factors in play…..

In 2015 I went to the doctor to go on the pill because it seemed that I always got my period on the day of a big race, and I was sick of it. He prescribed me a pill that would stop my periods for 4 months at a time, but he recommended taking it all the time and only stopping it once every 6 months. I thought that a period every 6 months sounded fantastic!! It worked as promised, but over the coming months I got more and more tired and got terrible leg pains, specifically in my calves. The pain in my right calf was so bad I would have to constantly stop running to massage it. When I was able to run, it was with a limp. My masseur could feel nothing wrong with the muscle.

I went to Bali in mid-2015, and the leg cramps were particularly bad. I could barely run, it was very frustrating. I also was extremely exhausted all the time.

I returned home and went to the doctors to find out what was causing my fatigue. I thought maybe my cortisol levels were up from the stress I had been under. They checked everything, and my doctor said my cortisol and iron levels, and everything else, were normal. I was stumped. I didn’t know what to do. So, I kept plodding along, with the pain in my calf ruining my runs.

A couple of months later, and I was getting ready to go to Europe to race the CCC and then have a holiday with my daughter. I suddenly had the feeling that I HAD to go off the pill I was on. It was an irresistible urge that I MUST go off them. I still wasn’t sure, because I wanted to have a holiday and race without the stress of getting a period. However, I had to because the feeling was so strong. I went off it about 10 days before we flew out. During this time I researched the side effects of this pill, simply because this feeling made me wonder why my body was sending me this signal. Also, inexplicably the severe calf cramps had stopped.

Unbelievably this is what I found:

As of January 2012, there are approximately 10,000 lawsuits against Bayer by women who have suffered blood clots and by the families of those women who have died whilst taking Yaz or Yasmin. It is considered the most complained-about drug on the Internet, with thousands of women voicing concerns in online forums and support groups over health issues both physical and emotional.

Two studies conducted with funding from Bayer revealed that Yaz and Yasmin held no higher risk of blood clots than other birth control pills. However, last month it was revealed that five other studies undertaken independent of Bayer suggested a 50-to-75 percent increased risk of clots for those taking these birth control pills in comparison to others. 

http://msmagazine.com/blog/2012/02/09/just-how-safe-is-yaz-women-need-to-know/comment-page-1/

Just a couple of the common side effects:

  • ·         pain in the chest, groin, or legs, especially the calves
  • ·         unusual tiredness or weakness

https://www.drugs.com/sfx/yaz-side-effects.html

 

Although all birth control pills carry the risk of blood clots because of fluctuating estrogen levels, the risk of DVT is significantly higher with Yaz users, studies show.

https://www.drugwatch.com/yaz/pulmonary-embolism.php

 

I couldn’t believe it!! I was so glad I went off it before the long flight…long flights can cause DVT without putting drugs into the mix!! Added to that, I know many drugs say there is only a small percentage of people who might get the side effects, but I have been one of those small percentages before. After the birth of my son I went on a drug to dry up my breast milk. There was a negligible risk of seizures. I had a grand mal seizure and was unconscious for over half an hour. Someone has to be that small percentage!

I went and raced in Europe, already feeling much better with more energy, however, I still felt not 100% right. This continued after I got home. Running was so exhausting. I felt like I was running through molasses. My legs felt heavy, and my pace got slower and slower (if that was possible!!).

I went on a running camp with Glenhuntly Athletics Club in December. There was a talk for female athletes. One of the women said that female athletes need to have iron levels of a minimum 30, better to be closer to 50. Hmmm, I thought, better check that out….

When I got home I rang my doctor and got my results from my blood test 5 months earlier. My iron level was 18!!! Normal maybe for inactive people, but not someone who runs as much as me. I have now been on iron tablets since January and I am no longer tired. I have energy! It is the most amazing and wonderful feeling! I enjoy running again! My pace has picked up unbelievably!

This has been a huge learning experience for me. I urge any women out there on the pill to check the side effects, and choose wisely.

Also, if you are tired, get your iron levels checked….sometimes it’s just that simple!

I hope this blog has been informative, please let me know your thoughts.