Been a long time gone: now back to adventure in 2013

Hello my friends, and apologies for my long absence from your lives.

It has been a tumultuous start to the New Year but I am sure it will improve quickly from here.  Here’s what’s been happening – on the 31st of December a dear relative flew in from the UK to visit.  She was ill on arrival but we didn’t know quite how ill.  The next morning, New Years Day, we raced her to the emergency room at our local hospital with symptoms of heart failure and pneumonia.  Thankfully, she has recovered and has come home now, but it was a terribly stressful time for all of us, with worry and illness.  My gratitude to the health workers who saw what was wrong quickly, and made us take immediate action to save her life – well, my gratitude is boundless.  We brought her home on Friday last week, and it has been a long week of recuperation.

Needless to say, with two young children, recuperating at home during school holidays has had its challenges.  The trampoline has got good use but the nerves here are rather frayed.

Which brings me to why I’m writing (quickly) tonight.  I’ve been training and training and training for the Two Bays 28km race, which takes place tomorrow. We begin at scenic Dromana (Arthur’s Seat) and cross all the way over the Mornington Pennisula to the Cape Schanck Lighthouse. Check it out on google maps – it is called the Two Bays Trail.  I have run 28km in training, and have been clocking 50km weeks over the last month.  It’s been hard with some severe hot weather here which saw me diving into the bay half-way through several of my training runs, fully clothed.  Tomorrow is looking cool (20 degrees C maximum) with showers, so I’m not so worried about heat.  The Camelbak is full and packed and in the car.  The gear is lined up to slip into when the alarm clock goes off at 4:20 am.

But my head – well, my head is so full of the illness that has visited us, the cranky and wound-up kids I’ve been struggling with, the cranky and wound-up me – I feel like this race has kind of jumped up out of nowhere.

Tomorrow morning, I will be looking forward to at least 3 hours of trail running nirvana to steady my overstrung nerves, to remind me of how good health feels, and to remind me of what I live for.

Please excuse my long absence from you.  I hope the holidays have treated you well and that your 2013 has started wonderfully.  It feels so very good to dive deep into blogging and remember who I am underneath all of what has been going on in my 2013 so far.

I am a runner, a writer, an inspirer.  I can’t wait for tomorrow to come, so I can remember even more vividly.

Happy New Year and here’s to the 2013 to come….

Training through Illness

In my early twenties, when I didn’t know better, I would routinely turn up to the gym with a sniffle.  I’d take cold medicine first, so that the sniffle wouldn’t impact my workout as much.  Smart, hey?  When I kept training as hard as I could, that sniffle often became an upper respiratory infection that lasted for weeks.  I thought that was what happened to everyone when they caught a cold.

Over the last twenty years, I’ve studied all about training.  I became a qualified fitness instructor and personal trainer in the US and Australia, trained clients in the gym, taught BodyPump.  I learned exactly how to shape, change, enliven and invigorate my body, and my clients.  In the process, I learned about training through illness.  I learned it was dumb.

But still I did it.Image

I could believe the scientists in theory, but this was my body we were talking about.  And I’d worked hard to get where I was.  So, sniffle; train anyway.  That was still what I did.

It wasn’t until I started to notice the difference between what I told clients to do when ill, and what I was doing, that I began to change.

I began to discipline myself not to train at the first sign of illness.  And believe me, for someone who loves the gym and trail as much as I do, it was discipline.  I’d check my face in the mirror every few hours to see if I looked well enough to hit the gym yet, wonder if coughing counted as a real sign of illness.

To drop the belief that I had to keep training at all costs was a leap of faith – a real test of what personal training had taught me.  But I did.  I stopped training when ill, and I watched what happened to my body.  Closely.  The result floored me.  Nothing changed.  Nothing!  Yes, I felt lethargic and slower, but I would have felt that way anyway simply from being sick.  Did I gain weight?  I don’t know.  I’d stopped weighing myself.  Weight was not the factor by which I wanted to judge myself any more.  When I stayed still, sniffles lasted four days, then, like a miracle, would simply go away.  I could hit the gym as hard as I wanted after the sniffles were gone, and train for my next event with gusto.  My resting heart rate stayed the same; ditto for my pace on the treadmill.

Training through illness?  I don’t think so. 

We wouldn’t do it to a racehorse or a greyhound.  We wouldn’t recommend it to our clients or our children.

Why in the world would we do it to ourselves?