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.

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Favourite run vs favourite medal

What makes a race your favourite?
The crowd support? Your perfect weather conditions? Having a good mindset the whole way through? Getting a PB?
Each race has its own story which almost makes them all memorable – for different reasons. Sometimes it can be hard to make a choice and if i tried to do this last year it would have been hard. Not so much this year.  There is a definite winner for each for this year.

Favourite race this 6 months: It has to be my last one. Launceston 10 – pb, great atmosphere, well organised, not too crowded at any point from start to finish, I ran it strong and comfortably, my mind was good to me (not crazy negative talk)

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Nearly there.

Does your favourite race come with your favourite medal?
Unfortunately mine doesn’t. I’m going to pick 2 medals – 1 virtual race and 1 actual race.
My virtual races are usually done over a week or more and are what I would consider a training run for any other purpose. Actual races, are…well, actual races with lots of people which changes everything when you normally run on your own.

Favourite medal this 6 months:
Virtual – Run like the Wind. My windmill for organ donors, turning obstacles into opportunities.  This medal has become the key feature for my next tattoo, I love the shape, and design. Simple but detailed. More on that another day.

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Actual – Cadbury. It’s my third medal of the  four Cadbury runs and while different from the last two years is just perfect – purple with a map of Tassie.

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Post run smiles with my bling and bag of chocolate

 

What is your favourite medal and race?
What is it that makes them a favourite?

Keep training, running and being active, Jennifer

 

 

Do you walk when you run..?

A quick question. It is asked all the time for various validation purposes.
If you walk during a running race does the distance still count?
If you want to complete a certain distance then you have to run the whole thing?
I’m not doing a marathon until I can run the whole distance.

Yes, No and if that’s what rows your boat.

Does it really matter if you take a short walk break?
Does it make you any less of a runner?

NO and NO

I put these questions out there after a conversation I had the other day with some other runners and also reading about those who worry about whether they are real runners or not.
If you are out there running, slow or fast, then you are a runner.
If you want to take a short breather then go for it. It’s your body, you know how it feels and performs.

Kudos to you if you can run a distance without stopping – no matter how long or short it is. That’s called dedication and major stamina. I certainly don’t think any less of you of you walk sometimes, or can’t do a half or full marathon without the odd walk break.
Hell, my last flat half I walked each of the water stations and still got myself a decent pb. And don’t try telling me I am not a runner.

As for the comment about not wanting to do a marathon until you can run the whole distance – well, that’s entirely up to you. I find it’s putting too much of an expectation on yourself, and feeling the need to push too far. This is for the layman runner – the elites, well they run marathons in their sleep. I only mention about the expectations because you never know what can happen on race day. All your training might go super well and on the day it falls apart. You are then majorly disappointed in yourself instead of saying ‘I did it! I ran a marathon!’
I ran a marathon, even though the last 5kms were more of a walk-shuffle, I still did it. I never expected to run the whole way, I followed my body. I never once thought ‘I have to run the whole way’.

My thoughts on it. If you run then you are a runner.
Fast or slow, you are a runner.
5k or 100k, you are a runner.
Take walk beaks occasionally, you are a runner.

So, run or walk and have fun, as you are all lapping everyone on the couch.

Jennifer

My Journey – the first 2 years…

In the two years I’ve been running ‘seriously’ – as in training and running events, not just running for the love of it – I’ve had one hell of a fun time.

There have been amazing highs and heart breaking lows.
I’ve had fantastic races and great times.
I’ve had bad runs, horridly slow runs and runs that felt like I was wading through quick sand.
There have been jumping for joy and feeling strong as an ox runs.
There were injuries that broke my soul, and jerked me backwards.
Many a finish with mile wide smiles and one that was an ambulance ride with my first DNF.
My first year was full of learning – testing all the races, running whatever and whenever I could. Burnt myself out.
My second year was frought with injury and near misses – Lessons on strength and how to look after my body.
Time to look at my third year…take all those lessons, all those races and make it bigger and better. Make it the best I can achieve. Be the best version of me.
All my races are #earnednotgiven.
Through hard work and determination comes success and results.
What they will be determined…faster, stronger, longer.

 

If you’d told me five or six years ago I would be on this road and wishing it never stop, I would have laughed you out of the room. Ridiculous.  This was a dream I had long given up on achieving, so when I started again it was purely for fun and exercise. Now the dream is well and truly alive and kicking.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of those 18 amazing races.

5 Km x 3 – PB 28.38
10km x 6 – PB 59.14
21.1 km x 5 – PB 2.16.58
42.2 x 1 – PB 5.08.38
DNF – 1 25.4/42.2 kms

Most enjoyable race – Ross half 2017
Hardest race – Ross Marathon 2016
Easiest race – Crank-E 5km 2017
Most punishing race – Point to Pinnacle 2017
Best all-rounder – City to Casino
The race to crack – Cadbury Marathon
Toughest race ‘personally’ – GCAM 2017
Distance I’d like to better my PB in – Marathon

I have one more race to end the year – I started this year on New Years Day and I finish it on New Years Eve with the same race. Not sure if I’ll get a pb, but it will be fun as hubby is running it with me this time. edit: no pb (3mins off my earlier time and hubster beat me which I am so happy about!)

I’ve learnt from the last two years and am looking forward to the new year and what amazing experiences it brings with it.

Going forward this evening, my word for the new year is Stronger.

Half training, motivation

I had a short break (like a couple of days) upon returning from the Gold Coast and then jumped straight back into training, this time for Ross.  I’m now wondering, with my motivation waning, whether I should have taken a longer break. I have moments where I run simply because I have to, not because I want to. I make excuses, I slack off. I’m not running because I really can’t be bothered.  When I’m in the mood I go crazy, I can run, do my gym and eat well without missing a beat.  This as been hit and miss for a few weeks now.  I’ve got three weeks til Ross and while I know I can do the distance without too much issue,  I have moments of thinking I’m not prepared enough.  Then there’s the fuelling issue – do I take my hydration belt, my new jetpack backpack or do I go with nothing but my watch. The option to do a long run with no hydration is very tempting. The feeling of freedom, lightweight, nothing bogging me down so to speak. But then I know I like to have a drink whenever I feel like it. On the other hand I know the course from last year and where the drink stations are. Including the one at the start/finish there are 3, plenty over the course of 10kms.

How do I work my training after this race  Do I follow my own plan after this, or give it two weeks between race and plan commencement?  Right now, I’m thinking my own plan. Work on the strength and aim to do 2 or 3 runs per week. A long run on the weekend and the others where I fit them in. I know when I was being more consistent with my strength the runs were easier, and I felt better when doing them. Ah the  problems. First world ones at that.  I am grateful that I can run, despite my few injuries this year, I am still going, still moving forward.

I realise as I write/fumble my way through this, why I am feeling this way. There are stresses at work, and I’m doing 10 hour days for the next however long, which at times will feel twice that, my husband is going through some stuff, and I’m tired.  I need that one sleep in a week (preferably not on my long run day), to stop doing too much,  working on being the best wife and mother I can, and the best employee I can be. I don’t like to be doing nothing, or letting everyone do things for me not when I know I can do them myself.

So after that little bit of nonsense, I think I will take a longer break after this next race before I start my planning for Point to Pinnacle. It doesn’t mean I won’t run, jus  that I won’t have a plan to run to, just strength and run, nothing more, nothing less.

Train as you feel it, don’t push it, your body will know what to do.

jennifer

Goals for the new year

I started this post late last year and since then things have changed quite a bit….

I responded to a Facebook post a few weeks ago about what were we going to do in 2017 to top what we had done this year. I thought a bit about this as there are several answers one can give – go all out and want to achieve massive races we’ve not even thought about or be happy with what we’ve done and aim to enjoy the experiences.

Some of you may think that I chose option one, after all my very first race was 21kms with no experience what so ever. No, I chose instead the one that resonates with me. I have achieved so much this year and I’m incredibly proud of that. If you had told me in mid 2014 that by the end of 2016 I would have run over 1000 kms which included a marathon I would have laughed at you. Now, I say?

My response to the question was there was nothing to top. I was going to run the races I wanted to, work on PB’s in the ones I’ve done before (if it’s not to be, respect the reasoning why I didn’t) and enjoy the experiences as I went along.

I have two marathons booked in for this year and my plan is the same as before 1)Finish.
2)Finish still standing.
3)Finish under 5hrs (which would be a new PB).

My aim this year is to go forth and enjoy the next part of my journey. Train hard and learn from each session, gain something from each race and above all enjoy it all.
Each race, each training session, no matter how hard or bad we think it is gives us something to learn, gives us new strength. The things I have learnt about myself this year cannot be topped.
The support I have is the best any runner could have. Unwavering and wholehearted. I appreciate every moment, every hug and kiss, every message of it

While most of this remains the same, the big difference is adding in the unknown quantity…injury recovery time.
After having to pull out of my first marathon with my ITB and started dealing with the subsequent recovery period, my priorities have been focused elsewhere. I must recover, and work hard to do so. I have been consistent and will have to be diligent with this for the rest of my running life. I do not want this to happen again. It is driving me nuts having to take it easy and not be able to just get out there and run.
I have a race tomorrow that I had to downgrade to  5k from the 10. Even if had been able to manage the full 10, I knew I wouldn’t be getting a pb on this one (my aim had I been uninjured) so this is, while disappointing, doable as my now current running distance. When I say it hurts, it’s an emotional hurt. I’m not running past the point where it gets that sharp pain, which is around the 4-5k mark. It’s been so long since 5k was my total it feels laughable if it weren’t so serious. It’s all about baby steps, and being careful.

My second marathon I have planned has now been registered for and flights booked. I checked that when I arrive the day before should I feel I cannot do the full I am able to downgrade for the half. This was important, as I would much rather say I had to downgrade and then finish a half than be foolish and attempt the full only to finish it with another DNF. More on this at a later date.

Until then, stay active and train carefully, Jen.

Post workout recovery – what I choose to do.

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If there’s one thing I’ve learnt through long runs and marathon training, it’s how I like to recover after a long run. Short runs, like a five or ten k requires a slightly vastly different routine than that of a 20+ km run. Not having the time to do my usual recovery session recently, I realised what I like to do and how my body works.

A short run requires light stretching, a protein shake and I’m good to go. Nothing more than that.

A long run works the body and mind in a deeper, harder way, so need a more intense variety of recovery.

I like to take my time and let my body cool down, relax. Then refuel and refreshen.  From a long run it takes up to 2 hours before I eat properly and at least another hour after that before I have the energy to do more than be a couch potato. I let my body relax, and I have learnt to make sure I do it properly.

I know what I am like if I don’t recover properly, headaches prevail and general grumpiness. Not nice for anyone in the direct vicinity. Myself either. I dislike how it feels. I may not always like the pain on a long run but I do love the feeling I have after.

My routine goes something like this.

Finish my run. Spend ten minutes chilling, walking and letting my body relax. Let the shakes in my legs calm down.  Make a protein shake. Stretch and drink. Eat a banana. Chill out a bit more. Drink water. Shower. And somewhere around 1 1/2 – 2 hours post run I am ready to eat properly.

This was really put to the test when I did my 25km run. What I thought would be an ‘easy’ run was a lot harder than I thought, and my post run routine was stretched to its limits. I passed, but not without more aches and pain than I wanted.

The week after when I had my 30km I also had another little helper. Proper fuel in my camelbak. Water is great and definitely required but on long runs you need to do more than just hydrate. Replacing the salts you lose are important and help the body to keep moving. Tailwind is my new best friend. While I didn’t drink all 2 litres of it, I was so much better off afterwards. Less tired, more energy, and no headaches.  I will be using this on my marathon and any time I do more than 15kms. If it works I’m going to use it.

I had to explain my recovery routine to my husband prior to my 30k. I’d said that I would be up and out the door at 5am, allowing four hours to do the run. He then said, but that’s only mid morning. And so I explained what I do and the time frame it takes up. He seemed to understand then why I was happy to get up that early on my day off. I will be up that early if it means I have more time to do other things later. (Even if that day it was veg out on the couch and watch a movie or two and eat all the food I could stuff in my mouth).

My recovery session after my marathon this weekend may be slightly different again, but hopefully as much the same as usual. It’s a 2 1/2-3 hour drive from home and I have my family with me as my support crew (plus its Father’s Day here), and it’s a race which means meeting up with friends (more like running acquaintances) and being around the general atmosphere of race day. Then the drive home. At least I won’t have to drive at all.

recovery is important no matter what distance you run, or how hard you do it. Fuel, hydration, rest and stretching.

Now I must head off and make up my list of what I need to take with me, I can’t be forgetting the important things. Especially not with a 3am get up on the day.

Happy running and safe recovery.

Jennifer