convicts & wenches, 25k trail

I was under prepared.
I had a basic plan.
A vague hope for finish times.
Get out there..have fun..finish.

I did it.
I finished and fell into hubby’s arms, sobbing tears of both exhaustion and the joy of it being over.
The last few kms were of utter pain and ‘where is the end?’ coupled with an inner joy of having done it. The tears threatened to flow. I stopped and walked, then jogged and repeat…anything to keep moving and not keel over completely. My legs felt like lead, like the end of my marathon where I didn’t think they would take me another metre. My husbands words ran through my mind..’remember that tattoo on your ankle..mind over matter’ That thought would carry me the last 5 kms where I was so tired I nearly fell several times through exhaustion.

This race started like all the others. Getting there early for bib pick up, photos, and more than one loo stop. Catching up with other running friends eased my nerves, and I was relaxed, even though my arms were heavy from the day before’s activities.

Some of the RMA ladies before we started. 25 & 12 km runners.


This race is cut into 4 sections – 3kms beach, 6kms trail, 10kms beach then replay the 6km trail.
Getting onto the trail was a bottle neck with the 12k’ers but it soon spread out and we moved easily along the route. It felt like it would never end, but that was before I saw The Beach.
The Very. Long. Beach.
Scrambling over rocks was almost the easy part.
You know when you’re driving a flat road and the horizon kept moving, never seeming to get any closer. That’s how it felt. With both a head and side wind, wet feet and the roaring waves to our right, I began to wonder if I was in some sort of weird recurring dream. I ran walked this section to preserve my energy, trying not to feel too deflated, yet still amazingly happy that here I was, actually doing this bucket list run!
Onto the road for 200m to the shelter where they ticked you off the list (making sure everyone was accounted for). I oggled the chips and bananas, scruffed a handful of lollies and headed back out. Tried sending hubby a video to say I was on the return, but it didn’t work so he got weird selfies instead.
I was slightly quicker along the beach with a tailwind, although somewhere around the 16-17k mark my ITB decided to play up. Dammit. And I was going so well too.
My plan was to run as much as I could and walk where I needed. I couldn’t help it, so had to work by its rules.
Over the rocks, grabbed more lollies from the stand and headed up the hill at 19kms. I had to walk as my hammy wasn’t letting up either.
Sent the last message to say I was heading bush again and would see him soon.
Checking my watch it was 2h:30 and I was hoping for the last 6k in around 40 mins, even in my head knowing how fast I would have to be to do that.

I was the only one on the trail for the most part during my return, with very few people around, meaning I almost took a wrong turn on several occasions.
The last 3 kms were the hardest with me nearly coming a cropper after tripping on my own feet. I had visions of the next person along finding a body sprawled face down on the ground. It wasn’t a pretty thought.
I pushed through and counted down the last km.
I can see the beach.
I can see the flags.
I’m at the flags…
Hitting the board and seeing that finish line.
Fist pumped the air as I came to the end and then saw hubby and mr 15 waiting.
Nearly missed my medal.


I was under prepared.
I’m not as fit as I thought I was.
I am also not as un-fit as I thought I was.

For my very first trail run I am absolutely stoked with my achievement.
They say to add half again on your regular distance time when doing trails, so to have finished my first in the time I did, makes me even happier.

This is also the first race where I am happy with all my photos.
Official time: 25kms – 3.25.35.
I Owned Today.

Bling and tank top.
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Ross, 5k, 14/4/19

Nothing says awesome run by actually being prepared. Funny that.
I had put in the work, done my training and worked on my strength routine.
On the day, the nerves were still there, (as they should be) and it all came together nicely.
I did my usual and went out too fast, yet by the 3k mark I was feeling ok and knew i could do a sub 30 if I pushed along and simply did it. No thinking, no over thinking, just run and walk at the drink station that was…just…down..there.
At 4k my hammy was starting to ache a little, but I gave it ‘what for’ and kept going, knowing at that point I was good for a sub 30.
I know I slowed down, my downfall in going out too fast, but I also knew I had some leeway.

Pushing through the last couple hundred metres there was a choke at the finish but I came through smiling and happy.
My hammy had given up and was feeling good. Thank god for that.

At the finish, photo taken courtesy of a lovely lady I met before hand, who finished shortly after me.

I did all the post run things – stretch, drink, eat, selfie and then took a picture of all my medals.
Once I was done with that I went back to cheer on some friends doing the half marathon.
I paced one friend to a pb – she was on track, I was just there to help her keep going and not lose sight so close to the end, cause if you’re going to, that’s where it happens.
I ran the last 2 kms then let her take the finish.
I did the same with the friend who drove me there, pushing her to jog more than she walked on the last km.
Hollered and whooped at the others still finishing, it was hot by the time I started at 10.30 and without the usual Ross wind, it was a scorcher, and the extra oomph near the finish is always appreciated.

Happy day had by all, and so proud I could get out there and do it again – ate all the food on the way home.
I’ve been working hard to get my fitness back, I love running and Ross was just enough to show me how good it is for me.
I’ve another post to write about this subject, on something I did a few days before hand. Which makes my sub 30 at Ross even better.

a measurement of fitness

For the first time in around 8 weeks I went our for a run last night.
Oh. My.God.
It wasn’t just hard, it hurt.
Yeah it was warm, but not excessively so to cause a problem, yet I struggled like it was 40C. I felt like a fat slug trying to run through quick sand. It wasn’t that I wanted to go fast, I just wanted to go out. I honestly didn’t think it would be so hard.
I had to push through the mental pain, the inner struggle at how much I had lost. The idea that I had lost so much fitness hurt, that I was back at the beginning.
I struggled to get to 3.5kms, pulling the pin at that point and I learnt right then, that I have so much further to go.

When it gets hard I just have to tell myself I’ve done harder.

I’ve run a marathon.

I’ve done P2P on the hottest day.

I. Can. Do. This.


Even when I first started running it wasn’t this hard.
It was hard when my knee played up.
It was hard when my ITB played up.
It is hard now my hammy is healing.
My cycling is keeping me feeling fit, yet last night I felt the un-fittest I have ever.


I have put on over 7kg, and am struggling with the added weight gain and the difficulty in shifting it.
I am struggling with the feeling that I am starting from scratch again..
What I am happy with though is that I know how to move forward. I know what exercises I have to. I know what to do with my diet.
I am positive that I can get this back on track. I know I can make this work for me in a way I am happy with.
I don’t have to be skinny, the fastest, the strongest…I just have to be the best I can be at any given time, embrace the strength my body has, what I have achieved already. Knowing it is nothing short of amazing.
I. Can. Do. This.

In just over a week I have a 5k race. Once upon a time, and even as late as October last year, my goal was to get a pb, finish strong and have fun. Now, my goal is simply to finish, no matter my time, even if I have to walk part of it. Which I will be. I’m not going to be cocky, I’m being honest with myself. I have to be if I am going to get stronger, and get back to running properly.
I have done 3 of the four race distances* at this location and be buggered if I am not going to finish this one.


Onwards and upwards.
To be stronger than I was yesterday.
To keep fit and healthy.


*while I started the marathon, I didn’t finish it due to injury. I did receive a medal with iTab insert stating what happened. So I have all medals so far.

onwards we adventure

The year that was.
Time to reflect.
Think about the future.
Discuss what we want to do.

Yeah, these are all things we do at the end of one year as the clock ticks over to midnight and 365 days are sitting there in front of us. Just waiting to be filled with our good intention.
And there are always lots of them.
Even for me, when I say I don’t want to make those kinds of plans, think those good intentions. We all fall into the trap in some way. It’s time to get moving and do better things for ourselves.

I am only planning a few things.
They are small but simple things.
I want to be more consistent with everything I do.
Be more consistent with my strength exercises.
Be more consistent with my running training.
Learn more with my cycling.
I’m not sure if this means I have to do a roster, or planning calendar. It has to be something to make sure I do my strength. I know it is good for me, but sometimes most times, I feel I would rather be out doing the actual activity. This is where I need to kick my own butt, and say, “..look what happened last year when you disregarded the workouts…do you want to repeat that..?” Well, no I don’t. I started the yer, just like this, saying I have to do something about it, and I did. A bit hit and miss but I did stuff. Then I did my hammy.
I just decided. Right then as I was typing. Go back to basics. Back to where I started with push ups, sit ups and squats. Then add in the rest bit by bit.

I wrote a post a while back about Fit not skinny.
That’s what I want to work on. Sure I do need to lose a few kilos, there’s being healthy and fit and there’s being over weight. No matter by how much.
Since seeing this new physio I have learnt a whole lot more about what I need to do to keep the injury at bay.
My fitness is important so I can keep going for years to come, whether by running or cycling. I have to decide on whether I join the gym and do pilates/yoga amongst other things.
I know what the problem is with my diet and I have to get super strict with it again. I tell people I like to eat and want to enjoy this life. There is a line between enjoying life and being a glutton and going too far.
A version of portion size and low carb is what I am aiming for. Not the low carb I was doing before, but more of a carbs for 1-2 of 3 meals a day.

I look back at what I have just written, and have a little laugh to myself. It is all well and good to write these things, but then think and say, well am I actually going to do them. You know, good intentions and all that. It takes 21 days to make a habit. Can I do that? Well that becomes my choice.
I have only 4 races this year so far, and I’m leaving it at that. Not worrying too much about other ones unless I choose to at the time. Taking this year off almost. At least from real life races. There are always plenty of virtual races to do.

Be the best version of you, and work hard at what you love.
Jen

Bike days..

Until I get more confident on the road I will really only heading out when my husband is with me –  which means weekends only.

Last week we headed out and decided to do my first ever road ride. We picked a quiet road and that was the only quiet thing about it. Few cars. Everything else came at us. Hills. Wind. Rain. Hail. And missing gears or feet not clipping in. 
We got to 8km and halfway up a killer hill before I called out to hubby ‘…STOOOOP…’ I have to stop, I cannot go any further, I have to stop here..’ I’m all dizzy, feeling like I’m going to vomit. I was enjoying it, it was just too much right there. Now, I’m not usually one to pike out that easily or give up, I am, however, at the point where I know my limits and with an injury on the mend I do not want to make it worse.  We headed back – down the uphills, and up the downhills. Neither were quite as bad as they were the first time. Funny that.

The Learning Curve
While we were resting at the halfway point, hubby remarked that cycling must be way different to running, as he can ride all day, yet barely run 5km. I can run and am pretty fit, yet cycling makes me feel so un-fit. It is a completely different set of muscles in your legs that you use. 
I have to learn how to cycle again. Or in the first place. Cycle properly being the words.
My first few rides were all of about 16-17 kms total, which is the most I have ever ridden in my life. I may have had bikes, but 5k was about it when I went out.
Hubby has been riding bikes his whole life and long distance. He also rides motorbikes, so the whole thing is natural to him. I like to have a little more control over my legs and body. A little, I’m learning how to relinquish that.
I am happy to push it and go fast on the straights and small undulating bumps, but hills – both up and down –  and cornering are things I have to practice and master.
Uphill riding. There is the standing up to pedal uphills, while I was happy to do this on my old bikes, the way you hold the handle bars it’s a whole different stance, or maybe that’s just because the gears are better. Either way it’s something I have to learn. 
Braking, or steady downhills. I watched a couple of you-tube clips and one of them said to focus on the front brake more. Now these guys are pretty good riders, so it would make sense they know what they are talking about. However, after hubby saying I should focus on the rear and feather the front brakes –  which works for me, I’m slightly confused.  Initially I was riding the front brakes heavily which as ok, but not ideal.  
Cornering.  I am nervous about this as I’m still not sure what I or the bike am capable of when it comes to rounding corners. Especially downhills and in the wet. I remember I used to fly around corners when I was 12 and 13, but I’m way more cautious now and the whole things scares the bejeezers out of me. How fast is too fast, and how low into a corner can I go?
Stopping. I’m getting better at stopping, or pulling up at lights. Still a little clunky, but overall, a lot smoother than the first time, which is to be expected.
Skills to learn. New actions to get used to. It’s only been a few weeks.

I’m doing alright.
Well, at least that’s what hubby says.  He is so proud of how I am doing, I’m getting gradually faster, steadier and more comfortable looking. He says I look really good on the bike and it works.  We had a chat on the return of our last ride and he said ‘..this is the longest ride you’ve done, like ever, in your life..’ and at that point, yes it was. Around the 20km mark. I still felt so good, and was ready to push it. I was a little nervous getting back on the highway (the start and finish of this last ride was mainly bike track with a little main road in the mix) but the cars were pretty polite with only one or two that were close enough to touch. 
We finished the day with 36kms and I feel fantastic! 
I’m not sure why I waited so long to get back onto a bike. Actually I do, I remarked that I was ‘scared of the super skinny tires’, don’t know why now. they’re pretty stable.
I can see this is something that will last me a long time to come. I’ll have to keep my shirts at all sorts of lengths as I’m already getting another weird sports tan. 

Fit not skinny

The ‘Why’
When we start a new fitness or exercise routine what is our aim? To get fit, to lose weight, to look better in a bikini..? 
To look like what ‘society’ says we should. 
Unfortunately for many people this is the why they start something of this vein, when the only reason should be to be happy with themselves. To be fitter, healthier and Happy.  Most of us take a few goes at the new regime to get our priorities sorted, and to be doing it solely for ourselves. 
I’m in the third year of my running and as my regular readers know, the last few months have been soul searching for my Why.  The why am I doing this, Why. 
Today while out on the bike I had this weird epiphany, it’s not that I only just realised it, it was the title of this post. Part of my why is to be fit not skinny. The weight and toning will sort itself out as I get fitter, and keep active. I don’t want to be working out like this to get skinny. I want to be fit and strong. 

Weight vs strength
How does weight have an impact on your strength? To be honest I don’t know, but from what I’ve seen, you don’t have to be skinny to be strong. Some of my customers, and social media friends, go to weights classes and could dead-lift me out the gym. None of them are skinny. Fit and healthy looking, absolutely. 
This doesn’t mean I wont still be wanting to lose that 8k+ I’m carrying, it’s more a matter that it will sort itself out when I get my routine back into action. Despite my best intentions (that have gone awry at times) not being able to run means that there is a rogue kilo or two that has decided to call me home. Knowing I can get out on the bike gives me another outlet, I just have to push myself and not want to eat all the food after a short ride*. My weight will become less of an issue once I am back to 100% active.  It’s about being stronger than I was before and being able to ride or run the hills easier, finish a run with more left in the tank, and generally have it feel more comfortable. Like it was 6-8  months ago.
Weight is only a number right?
*This is something I have to work on. I know when I run 15+kms what I can eat, but riding 15k is such an easy thing to do, the distance to eat ratio is completely different, and i have to make the appropriate changes.

Fit endurance not fit muscly
I know a few people who attend the gym simply to get lean and be muscly and look good. While there is no problem with that, people can do what they like, especially as it doesn’t affect my life.  I however, want to do more with my gym workouts. I want it to supplement my cardio. I want to have that endurance (you never know when you’ll need to outrun someone/thing or zombies..). I want to know I can go a distance, and look good. I don’t mind if I have a few lumpy bits, if I know I am strong then that’s all that matters. Being a lean machine is not as important as being a strong one.

Fit not skinny.
Your ‘why’ is your business. Mine is to be strong and fit, to keep active well into my old age. Not to end up with knee/hip replacements or being injured form doing sports because I am unfit. 
I want to be fit and strong. The skinny will come, or not, with how I workout and what I eat. 
I have to watch my diet, and not watch as in watch it go down my gullet.

This next part of my journey is about the fit not skinny, the diet and workout, the physio and running. The bike.