Inadvertent Trail Run

Saturday just past the plans for our respective days went somewhat pear shaped and my Parkrun 5k turned into an awesome trail run. Hubby had a more stressful change yet still managed to get a motorbike ride in.

So what actually happened?

It started like any other Saturday really. I was at our eldest’s ready to Tourist Parkrun while hubby was taking mr 15 to Maydena for a skills lesson and some runs on the MTB downhill track.
We had spoken earlier and I was doing a warm up jog when the phone rang again and a voice told me there was a problem. The ute (with two bikes on board) had simply died on the side of the highway, he had been thinking (and swearing no doubt) and there was only one way to fix it straight up.
I take mr 15 to Maydena and he waits for the tow truck and sorts out the vehicle.
Parkrun can wait, so I rang my appointment for later and cancelled, filled the car with petrol and headed north to be the rescue car.
We were going to be late but if I could make up some time I was going to do it.
I pushed it the whole way and we got there as on time as we could – hubby had rung and sorted out the costs and timing.
I got mr 15 under way on the bike and I settled in by the fire pit to have my first, and most delicious, coffee of the day.

It’s time to run and time to explore.

I finish my coffee and pump one of the guys for info on where I can go running, aside from up and down the highway.
I head off and find the road easily enough, an undulating gravel road that winds for a few kilometres before coming to a stop and the rain-forest path with cave entrance signage awaits me.
As I head up here, ducking under logs and minding my step on the greasy path, I am in wonder of the amazing scenery we have and how it changes so dramatically in a matter of metres really…step off the road and there are new things to be found.
I am creeped out by the cave entrance and head back towards the road. I am 8-9 kms in so decide to see if I can get to 15. I’m feeling like a challenge. The rail track heads east and I figure it crosses the highway at numerous points, I’ll follow for say 3 km and then head back along the road to where I started.

You know what they say about ‘All good plans…’

Turns out the train track winds further inland and for longer before it crosses the highway. I do a run walk along the tracks, some parts are not runnable and slippery – this is trail running after all. While I don’t want to rush I did have a basic time restriction. About 2 hours, so am constantly checking my watch to gauge where I am at. I’m around 11 kms so am conscious of the need to head back. I also have to go to the toilet. And not a wee.
I notice a track and head off the rail lines. Google is my friend and I see that I am pretty close. If I follow this road I will get back to where I am going. By the looks of it, it’s a track in the bush as compared to a gravel road or train lines.

Note to self: I need to bring wet wipes in my shorts pockets next time.

Lucky for me the tracks heads up hill towards the highway and I am at the main road. Bitumen. Easy to run back to my destination.
I google again and notice I have less than 3 kms to go. Woohoo. So happy. I head off and as I get to the car realise I just have to even the distance so keep going for another couple of hundred metres.

And that is how I accidently ran a 15km trail run.
And got back right on time.

Hubby finished sorting out the mess, did a few chores, then went ‘&*#* it’ and surprises us both by taking Mr 20’s motorbike and coming to see us.

The joy on Mr 15’s face was a wonderful thing to see.

As a side note, I am feeling so very lucky and grateful. The strength workouts I am doing are really helping my running. While my hammy still hurts, the DOMS, and general soreness the next day was next to nothing. Like it used to be when I would eat that distance for breakfast.

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City 2 Casino 11k (7k)

It was all going well until it wasn’t.
Sometimes it works.
Sometimes it all falls in a heap.
And sometimes it gets all muddled up.
Which is what happened for my last race.
I was all over the training, and then I was over the training.
Life and general busyness got in the way and my training fell somewhat by the wayside.
The plan was written up, the first two weeks went well and then I just got sick of it. I spose it got to feeling too much like hard work. My aim for any race these days is to have fun and finish the distance.
Now I know I can do a 10K distance, I’m not overly fussed about getting too much faster – because I am having fun at this speed – I want to just run.

I keep up with running several times a week and incorporating several stretch or gym sessions as well, and feel reasonably confident heading into Sunday’s run.
Then it happened.
Sunday morning started like any other race day, a few nerves, several trips to the loo and then settling in to the inevitable of what would happen.
We got to town and I randomly checked my phone only to have a message pop up from a friend.
Our race was cancelled.
A burst water main had exploded all over the highway where we were to be running.
……What was this… A bad dream, a sick joke…
I quickly got onto Facebook and… No, the same news was all over my feed.
11k cancelled and we are to do the 7k instead.
Holy Moses.
I wasn’t prepared for 7km.
Now you might think that being a shorter race meant it would be easier and all that. But I find it’s a whole ‘nother mind set. Seven is a squidge past 5 so I am more likely to run it faster. Ten is a long run and I work on the first 2-3k to get into a rhythm and settle into pace.  Now I had to push it quick and with an uphill start.
I told my friends – when questioned on my thoughts of time – I don’t really train this distance so I’d try around the 6min pace mark and go from there. Just play it by ear.

This was a tough one for me, I think I let the mental get a hold of my head and it put me off. Well, I put me off really.  I decided to ‘run to feel’ which worked for most of the way. I still pushed harder than I would on a ‘run to feel’ and I’m glad I did. I felt really good after finishing and was so proud of my consistent pace. I suppose it helps that I enjoy the 10k and it’s a comfortable distance. You need to train but not too much, and it’s over relatively quickly.

All in all it’s a good result and it now means I can wait another year or two before I do the 7 for real. While properly training for it.

Keep the training going, be strong.  Jen

2km to go. Getting tired.

Oh my, the last 50m is in sight, time to smile and actually look like I’m enjoying this.. I did, really.

Run the Bridge, Feb 18

The usual pre race nerves set in a few days before hand. The weather, my bib, clothes, food and hydration, getting there on time.

My training had gone well and I was feeling good, ready to start and finish the race – enjoying it all the way.

We arrived at the start with plenty of time and I did some stretches and chatted with hubby before he had to leave – making sure he got to the finish line in time.

I headed to my usual mid pack starting position and loosely jiggled on my toes.
The 4 minutes between the elites and us starting were painfully long.
The start of this race is always tough because the route turns the first km into a bottleneck where you have to jump and weave to not be tripped or trip anyone else.

I decided right on the start that I would not check my watch at each km notification, I would listen to my body and go with the flow. The km markers were pretty spot on as my watch buzzed almost exactly at each one.

I slowed for a drink at the first station then paced myself up the first hill. It’s a sharp incline that is worse than the main event (the height of the bridge), and I didn’t want to walk too much. A short couple of walks and I was at the top and getting into cruise mode again.

Coming up towards the bridge and there was a huge crowd – 5k walkers and runners and cheer squads – the place was pumping. People cheered us as we passed them making our way up to the crest. Just past the top and the next race started. They surged past us, sprinting down the bridge. It was most off-putting, after settling into a rhythm and then having it all go out of whack – I lost the runner I was following and felt a bit lost and slow in all the speedsters around me.

It was at the 7km mark that I saw the 60 min pacer and knew I was reasonably on target – I will admit, I had checked my watch one around the 5k mark.  Losing them while I grabbed another drink was no great drama and I continued on my way. I was  happy knowing I may or may not make the sub 60.

The next two kms were tough, the end is so close yet so far away. The last km is though a mass of support and cheers, and really keeps you going.  Five hundred meters away from the crown to mini incline and turnaround and then it’s the race to the finish.  Most of the time anyway. As I headed back down to the corner and finishing, I gave myself a talking to. “Slow down, don’t rush it, smile, relax, finish strong, finish smiling”. I loosened my shoulders and off I went. Smiling the whole way down the chute, no weird sprint and angst face, just smiling and feeling good.

There is 1 good picture – the other 2 I have my eyes shut. Go figure, I don’t even know where the photographer is and I still have my eyes shut.

Crossing the line I save my tomtom, only to discover is says 9.98kms – but the time, 57.57 is all I’m worried about. Woohoo, pb time, for both the distance and race.

The official time was 57.54. I’m very happy and rest a few days before getting back into training for the next race. I think it shows what the plan can do, I was consistent and adding in the strength and interval workouts really helped.


Back to it. Happy training and finish strong.

GCAM 17 part 2, the race

I get to my corral and, feeling a moment of relief, settle for what feels like half a second to catch my breath. Still feeling a little panicked and out of breath I take off my jacket, and yank on the tutu, all a little too fast to be comfortable.  Tying the jacket to the back of my pack I pull it on, making sure it’s fitting in all the right places.  Some guy sees the bottles and says “no jet packs allowed” I laugh back at him and say “I wish” before he disappears into the crowd.
The announcer has moved the elites off and we patiently wait for room to walk forward. There are so many ahead of me and by now I have calmed down enough to take a good mouthful of drink, shake out my body and gather my thoughts for the race ahead. I get my phone ready for tracking and make sure my sunnies are secure in their pocket before taking a pre race selfie and picture of the pack ahead of me.
We’re moving slowly forward and I’m in the last corral – which is the 2.20 and above time group – so it’s a good 5 mins before a cheer goes up from ahead and we can start a slow jog. We cheer and holler as we go under the arch waving at the crowds along the road.

My plan for this race has changed numerous times and by the time I head through the starting arch it has came back to ‘simply finish and enjoy myself’. I cruise along, not thinking too much about anything except not tripping heels in front and being courteous to those behind me. It takes several kilometres before the crowd starts to thin and I can run with a bit more space to myself. I’m so used to running ‘free’ I was almost claustrophobic with the crowds. Almost but not quite.
While it was not on purpose I was happy that there was no volume on my phone to give me distance and stats, I just wanted to run and enjoy the day. That being said, the first 5k took forever, and I started to lag. I could feel a blister forming on my left foot, some chaffing on the inner thigh and my hydration pack had a kink somewhere near my underarm that just wouldn’t fold flat. After a few goes of trying to sort it out I gave up and figured I’d just take whatever it gave me. It couldn’t get any worse than what I had just gone through.  After two weeks of no activity I was worn out, sluggish with lead legs, and every turn we went round I was hoping to see the 10k turn point.
That point came when I least expected it and I was pleasantly surprised with the time on the board. I can do 10km in around 60-66 mins so when I saw it was around 75, it gave me hope. Add another reason to hold back the tears. After the bad start to my day I had been holding back tears of both disappointment and absolute joy at being there. It was kind of surreal, I had spent so long training for this and looking forward to it, I couldn’t quite believe I was actually there.
I kept cruising, avoiding the toilet lines and moving aside at the drink stations, (I had my own after all), waving and cheering out to the spectators. The crowds certainly kept my spirits up, and with the thought of husband with me I was able to keep those ‘negative nelly’ feelings at bay.
I was starting to wane shortly after the 12km mark with my knee also starting to jiggle. I made the decision to walk where I needed to and not push too much, my goal of finishing being foremost in my head.
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From here on in, I fought back the tears on more than one occasion, and aimed to collect as many high fives as I could. I spotted one camera guy just in time thanks to the girl in front of me doing a wave and ‘V’ with her hand – and my picture shows me looking happy and strong – something I’ve worked hard at achieving.


By the time 19kms came about I was really struggling, taking the race one km at a time, limping a little, walking where needed and still, holding back the tears.
The hardest part, which was also the best was the last full kilometre. So many people, so many cheers and high fives, and finally, turning the corner to see the most fantastic sight….the arch with ‘250m to go’ and the crowd that gathers in the final 100metres…incredible!

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I have never been so happy in a race as I did at that point*. Trying not to limp too much, I’m head down, bum up, legs moving, no energy for any kind of sprint, trying to smile and not cry, crossing the line and subsequently forgetting all about smiling and giving the air high fives.
Seeing my time of 2.36 and I’m over the moon. Not only did I finish, but in a time much quicker than I had expected given my lead legs.

 

To be continued….

*a small lie, finishing my marathon was up there with the happiest I’ve felt in a race.

GCAM 17, part 1, Getting to the precinct.

I’ve done the training and am ready to do one last long run and keep up the strength workouts.  I am ready to go, getting excited and nervous and then I wake up one day a with a sore throat. You know the one. It says I’m going to make your life a misery for a week or more. Well it lived up to its reputation. For nearly two weeks I was full of snot, dizzy heads and no energy to do any kind of exercise. I really wanted to but knew I’d get my arse handed to me if I tried. If not by the cold then by my husband.
The week I was flying out it eased and I was just coughing my lungs out.
My bags were packed by the Wednesday with only last minute things to add Saturday morning. By this time I was feeling and unfit, I know I wasn’t but it’s just the way it goes for runners when you don’t do exercise for a while.
Waking early I had my coffee and small breakfast before we left for the airport.
From Hobart to Brisbane was pretty typical of flights with a short stopover in Sydney where I had a lunch of coffee with chicken avocado whole grain sandwich.
Having pre-paid my train ticket made it easy for the next step. Let my hosts know where I was and they told me which stop to get off at. Then sit back and relax.
After a bolognese dinner I head back to my room. My gear is ready to go, flat me photographed and facebooked/instagrammed. I make my phone call to home and have a shower. The bed is really comfy and I surprisingly a good amount of sleep before the 3.30 alarm goes off.

It’s now Sunday morning, about 4.15 am, and I’m on the way to the Gold Coast marathon precinct. I had wished my husband a happy birthday and was headed towards my first interstate race. The half marathon, a good middle to long distance run, that I quite like. I was excited!
Within 20 minutes it all turned to shit.

To say my ‘anxiety about being late’ went into overdrive, is an understatement. I’ve always liked being somewhere early, even to the doctors, when I know I’ll be sitting there waiting anyway, so this was going to test me to the limits.
I had been worried about this exact thing happening several weeks before.
I was going to be in a place I don’t know, on my own and driving someone else’s car, to a place I didn’t know. Hmm, recipe for disaster. And disaster it was.
I would love to see the tracking of where I had driven, it would have looked like a crazy cat going nuts. I realised afterwards I had taken either a wrong turn or turned at the wrong place and that set the wheels in motion. Somehow I ended up on the freeway going in completely the wrong direction. This is what happens when it’s dark, and the streets don’t always have signs.  I stopped several times, close to tears, hyperventilating, before taking a breath and looking at the map again.
The result of that – I got lost not once, or twice, but three times, and at 5.30, with only 15 mins to get there I rang my friends to ask for directions.
Luckily for me I was very close and it took me no time at all to get where I was going.
Joining a group of cars I found the right place and scoured the street for an empty park.
Shit shit shit, where is a space, these got to be one here somewhere….I spy one and pull in sharply, grab my gear, jump out and run. Doing a half turn I lock the car and quickly start to follow another runner I see ahead of me.
I catch him up and ask where to go, he points the way and we run on. By this time it is the cut off for gathering in the corral and we are heading down the last kilometre of the race route. The support and running club tents are up and people are out watching, getting reading for us to all run past. I must have looked like a deer in the headlights with a crazy panicked look on my face. I duck and weave those standing around while looking for the sign to corral D.

To be continued…

Hobart 19/2/17

Sunday woke with clouds and crisp air. Drowsily my feet hit the floor and I stumbled around trying to wake up. At the same time I’m trying not to be so awake, the nerves had started already. You know the feeling, you’re awake but trying to be asleep still. It’s a weird way to describe it, but if you know it, you understand.
Taping my leg I dressed, deciding on the tank top as it wasn’t raining. Good choice there, it warmed up considerably later on.
We made good time to the city, arriving with enough time to chill before hubby had to leave due to road closures. The race precinct was initially slow, and still chilly.  After all we were right near the water. Now normally I would have my jacket until the last minute and it would go in the bag drop bus, but seeing as hubby was meeting me at the finish line I gave it to him and had to deal with the resultant goosebumps for an hour. I did plenty of stretches to keep warm, and because now more than ever, it is important to keep my muscles stretched and warm.
Two toilet breaks down and with under 10mins to go we herded around the start line, nervously chatting, taking selfies and finding the pacer we wanted to keep within sight. The chit chat changes dramatically when you are in the starting bay, a whole new level of excitement and nervousness.
I know I have trouble with technology sometimes but this morning really took the cake. I had somehow not saved the last run I did, so on trying to start a new one my watch kept turning off. A bit more practice is needed to get each button down pat without looking at it. The result is I have no record of today’s route.
Once we set off and climbed the short hill to get onto the highway and start the bridge incline. From the trip over the bridge it was a zig zag pace, with 1000 other runners to contend with and the kids who are all over the place. I did go a little fast down the other side but the knee felt good and I passed the 30min pacer. Figuring I could slow down a little I made the small adjustment and grabbed a drink to sip as we passed the station.
The next decline saw me pull up as another runner tapped my shoulder and said my shoelace was undone…bugger. Pulling up on the footpath to re-lace, I tried twice to do it quickly with no success. Slow it down and there it goes. Thirty seconds gone, and I did push a little harder as I headed off again.
We’re now at Davey street, heading around the back of Morrison street, across Constitution dock and into Salamanca. This is the last km and those around me started pulling away, I didn’t have the energy for a full on sprint so I increased my pace just a little.
Through the crowds cheering and calling out – this is an awesome feeling, especially when you see people you know – then around the cone and into the finishers chute.
The time board said 1.28 something so I’m hoping that means I finally got a sub 30. It was to be. Yay! Pulling up over the line and I grab my medal, ‘thank you very much, omg, it’s so heavy…’ and grab my Gatorade, free hat and a slice of watermelon.
And proceed to hunt out hubby. Where is he? One reason to keep my phone on me. I do my stretches while I wait, hoping he arrived back in time to see me finish.
A good ten minutes passes before I turn around and there he is. We just missed seeing each other in the crowd.
Hugs and pictures and can I put my jacket on now, I’m cold and we head off to coffee and breakfast.
The time is 9.30, I feel awesome and ready to get the rest of my day going.

Rhetorical question, but why did I wait so long to do strength exercises? Oh my god, it has helped so much in just a month. Not only do I feel stronger, but I feel faster (without trying) and fitter.
My knee was awesome. It niggled a little but no sharp pains, and it wasn’t stopping me from getting this done.

I know now I can register for the next 10k, a semi road-semi trail run than I did last year. Another time to beat. Or at the very least, simply finish.

Running with only a watch, with no phone… I love it. Theres a certain sense of freedom not having anything else on me. No music, no phone to worry about (the odd message or call from those who forget what I’m doing) which is cool, as I’ve been enjoying my runs without music. Another sense of freedom, leave it all behind, listen to nature, your footsteps, breathing…. I digress, oops. It’s an awesome feeling.
This is going to be a good year I can feel it.

My time was  awesome, with a mere 15 seconds between gun time and chip time.

Run strong and do your best, Jennifer.

From strength to strength

I’ve  always known I should do more strength training and this weekend just gone reinforced that fact. I’ll go into detail on the weekends shenanigans in another post, but first let me talk about my strength training or lack thereof.
Knowing you should do something and actually doing it are two completely different things. I’m sure there are things in all our lives where this rears its head occasionally. If it’s more often than that then you probably should do something about it. Like figure out how you are going to fit it in and make it a habit.
I’ve resisted doing extra training on top of my running because of where I work, 45+ hours and a reasonable amount of lifting is involved, and squats, or squat type movements anyway, and because I can be incredibly lazy. Can’t be bothered. It’s too hard. All excuses, not reasons why I can’t do it.  And then came my latest big race. My second marathon. It was not good (another post about this, remember). I was reminded of what I had said I would do, and realised what happened would not have, or may not have been so harsh if I had been dong more.

This years goal was to get more definition in my limbs, strengthen my core, and get my glutes working. All this will help my running, making me stronger, more fluid.
Now I know what I am like when starting a new regime (aside from running), I tend to go gung-ho, flat-out, bull at a gate…you get the drift….wearing myself out after only a few days.  Now this is not the any to do it, if you’re going to make anything a habit, to keep doing it without even thinking, it takes approximately two weeks. And that is exactly what I want to happen. For it to become such a part of my day that I spend 20 mins like I would get changed, make a drink. Second nature.

My regime is going to be easy and not really taxing, in that I won’t be doing an hour workout each day.  The benefit in this, while not exerting myself, means I will feel comfortable, I am more likely to keep it going and over time the body will change.  I will do a pretty similar routine for two weeks, and then when I’m used to that and my body says ‘oh, I know what we’re doing here’ I’ll change it. Either add something in or do something completely different.

My routine will have certain aspects to them. The bits I want to work on. Now I know that just working on those areas will not make it all toned and lean on its own, (ie: to tone the tummy, you have to do more than just crunches) so by making it part of a whole I am tricking the body as such. My goal areas to start with are butt and thighs (good for running and strengthening the knees), core/ab work and my triceps. Not a fan of my tuckshop arms, and my biceps have more definition, so a little evening up with be nice.

I’ve done three days and am feeling ok about it, only time will tell.

Keep moving, keep motivated and have a great day.