There’s no such thing as a bad run…

Really…?
What makes up a bad run. Slow speed or pace. Niggly old or new injuries. Mental or emotional worries and stress?
We may certainly use these as a reason for a bad run, but I think it comes down to something a lot more simple. You had a plan or expectation in mind which didn’t meet the end result. So it may have been from being stressed about work or family, or an old injury seems to be coming back but these are also things that others have channelled and gotten themselves further or faster than previous runs.
When we put expectations on ourselves it can be our downfall. Not always, but I’d say it becomes a factor if it all ‘falls in a heap’.
My 10k plan had me doing a fast run recently and I thought, I don’t want to do my usual route for the distance, I feel like something more scenic and maybe doing a longer distance, not fast but at a good pace.
Talk about fall in a heap. The weather had been warm but wasn’t overly hot, the breeze was good and there was very little traffic. So why did my run not work out how I wanted.
I can say all the things I want, when in reality, I haven’t stretched or gotten as much effective rest as I should have. Those are why my foot twinged, my limbs felt heavy and I just had trouble moving.

I had wanted to run along the coast line, fairly flat and easy. Thinking along the lines of 12-15 instead of 10. Not a problem. Usually.
I just made it to 5k slowly (40 mins) before deciding to head home. Walking if I had to. The only problem is to get home I would have to do a 30km run, call for help or walk up a huge steep hill. Well there was no way I was doing 30k.
The message was sent out and I got 6km over the hill and down the side before a lift arrived.
Was this a bad run? Maybe. It was also me getting out there and doing 10 kms even if it wasn’t fast or terribly easy. So while disappointed I am still happy with my efforts.
There are no bad runs, there are only easy or hard runs. Any run you do is good. It is better than sitting on the couch at home.

Do you believe in bad runs or just runs that don’t quite work the way you hoped..?

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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.

Journey to the pinnacle

Taking on the mountain and succeeding was my goal.
One of my bucket list races.
It all started last year when I did it for the first time. In the pouring rain.  I was hooked, I knew I had going to do it again.
I would register each year until I conquered that 1252mt incline for 21.1kms.
Small problem: I don’t mix very well with hills or heat. Hill training has always been an issue for me. I struggle with activity when it’s too hot. Two of the tougher challenges I face.

My training and running throughout this year was hit and miss meaning I didn’t do as much as I’d liked to have. It wasn’t ideal, but sometimes that’s how life goes.
In the weeks leading up to race day I was conflicted on clothes and hydration, waiting until the last minute to make the final decision.
In 2016 it was all but snowing and we were soaked before we started.  This year, the threat of heat stroke was very real.
It was to be the second hottest day (30C) in the history of the race and this was another factor in my lack of running a good portion of the race.

One of the many things I have learnt a whole through this year’s running is pretty simple – Finish my race and have fun while doing it.
Finishing can mean limping across the line in tears of pain to sprinting the finishing chute with a grin spread wide across my face. But I digress slightly, this post is about the Point to Pinnacle.
Knowing that my training was off and the weather was likely to be pretty hot, my goal was easy – Get to the top and have fun along the way. It is also my last big race for the year and I wanted to make sure it went off with a bang!
I had my race kit set out with everything I’d need for what the day would throw at me.
Sunscreen for the morning before the start. Short arms and legs, calf sleeves to alleviate cramps, a light jacket in case the pinnacle was cool, cream for chaffing, tissue for loo emergencies (hopefully not), lollies and my double barrel hydration pack. This pack is the bomb, it looks a like a little rocket pack and I love it. It was perfect for the race.

Shortly after we started, around the third kilometre mark, I realised I wasn’t going to be running (or shuffling) much of the mountain. My body was heavy and ached, and the heat hit me, even at that early point.  But I was still going to have fun. At 6 kms in I thought I was out for the count. Feeling a little laggy I popped a lolly in and slowly chewed it. The feedback was instant, the sugar rush smacked me square in the head and made me feel nauseous. I had a sudden thought that this was it, I was going to be finishing the race right there. Like hell that was happening. I had come too far to pull out now.  More water and some of my tailwind and I pushed through. No more lollies for me.

The races here in Hobart are always really well organised, with plenty of volunteers, well stocked water stations and loads of support along the course – and this one didn’t disappoint. There was no pushing for drinks and I took drinks at each one along the way, trying out a Gatorade at the 14km mark, it was way too sweet for my liking so tossed it and grabbed another water.
Two places along the way had water hoses out and they were spraying participants as they passed – ahh bliss. Perfect refreshment for the body.
My hydration pack was set up so I had tailwind on one side and water on the other. That way I could douse myself with water to cool the body, refilling from stations as needed and still have my salty goodness to drink.

I had a fantastic time, smiling one way or another, at others or at the view for most of the run.
Two thirds of the way up I stopped to get a selfie and another runner offered to do it for me. I agreed and we had to laugh as the police on their bikes stopped so they weren’t photo bombing..
This was only the second time I stopped walking.
Power walking was my thing – woman on a mission was definitely what I was up to. The incline never let up. Sometimes it was seriously steep, other times just continuing ever upwards with no end in sight. Rising 1252 metres without any kind of plateaus is a relentless pain.
At 3kms to go I was so ready to stop, you could see the top, hear the voices from above and yet it seemed like it was so far away. The buses were already heading back down to the Casino start point with the early finishers, which made me more determined to get there.
Seeing the finishing line was one of the happiest moments of the race and I pushed forward. Finally I was crossing the line – not even bothering to attempt a jog or run, just grinning like a Cheshire. Tired but accomplished. Hot and sweaty and so so happy. I had made it.
The heat was extreme, the incline just kept on going I had never given up.
I had made it to the Pinnacle.
I may not have run it like I wanted, but by damn I was not going to take a leisurely stroll – I was going to work for it!
The catch phrase for the race is ‘how are you going to feel when you reach the top’ – bloody fantastic.
I’ve done it and I don’t need to do it again. I had a ball and my photos show it – both smiles and determination.
I was not injured or heat stroked.
I could do it again – and try to beat my time. A 3hr P2P run would be good. As would a sub 5hr marathon. And there is time for both of them to be achieved in the future.

The toughest race is ahead….

Yep, it’s that time of the year again. Point to Pinnacle is coming up in just over a week (not 4 days like I thought) and I’m starting to get those nervous feels. The everyday regular nerves that come before something big happens. Nerves that happen in various degrees before a race – the bigger the race (or the first timeI do a particular race) the bigger the nerves.
I’m pretty confident of my chances in making it to the top despite several hazards along the way this year.  I’ve had numerous injuries and my training has been all over the place.  My mojo has come and gone and I’ve had moments of ‘negative Nancy’ being all over me.  The distance is not the issue, it’s the incline that scares me.

Make it to the top!
Training – I am both excited and apprehensive about the coming week and my last few workouts. My incline training has been non-existent for a good month so I know, should we get to go all the way up, my legs are going to kill me the next day. The thought of being able to say ‘I did it!, I conquered the Mountain’ is what will keep me going, that mind over matter. The challenge to push myself to the limits. The weather has been good so the odds of getting to the top are in our favour.
Weather – I am in two minds about this – do I want it to be wet and miserable like last year, or fine and sunny.  Wet and miserable means we will be taking the alternate route and doing 21kms to the Longley Pub, which would be a beautiful run up and over the hill, which would be an awesome and non stressfull finish.
Sunny, of course, means a trip to the top. Which I really want to achieve.
PB? – This of course, will happen if we get to all the way. Should we go up and over and finish at the pub..? then I will trot along like I did last year, and hope for the best. Running in that sort of rain, I am more worried about falling arse over and doing serious injury than making a PB. Like I said to a lady at work today, I don’t care if I come last, so long as I make it to the top before the bus has to pick me up. My goal is simply to finish.

Get to the start line.
Run the race.
Have fun.
Cross the finish line!

Getting to the start is half the battle.  I will be reading over and (loosely) following my plan from last years run (even though I didn’t need it in the end).  My splits for last years run was around the 70 min mark for the turnaround at 10k. That was right on time, about 35 mins per 5km. If I can manage that this year then it gives me 2 hours – another 120 mins to get 11 more kms under my belt. Doable..? I think so.

Train well, be consistent, Enjoy the run.
Jennifer

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

Marathon dreams

Eight months ago I had a dream. One my husband was happy to help me with. And we started right then and there – booking flights to my second marathon.
Today, I write that my marathon dreams are over. At this stage I highly doubt I will do another one. I won’t write it off completely, but right now it’s nowhere on my horizon.
Shortly after my DNF in January while I was in recovery mode I made a decision. Do two more marathons (GCAM and give Cadbury another go) then ‘retire’. Concentrate on halves and 10k runs. Races that are relatively easy to train for and don’t take up all my time and energy. As I’ve written before, training for a marathon takes a hell of a lot of time and effort. By the time you have finished the race you have been on the go for up to six months. Totally exhausted.

I am 3 weeks out from what would be my third marathon start and I have dropped to the half. Last week signalled the end of my marathon dream. It also signalled the start of a whole new chapter. One I will start on the Gold Coast, not in Hobart.

The history of this decision..? Week 7 of marathon training and I roll my ankle during a short run. Somehow I manage a tough but excellent timed 25k 3 days later. The following week I am planning a good 30k and all hell breaks loose. My body and head were fine, it was a beautiful day, the weather was perfect – especially a long run like I had planned. My foot on the other hand had other ideas. From 6k mark it just wanted to shut up shop and disappear. Every step was painful and it felt like my whole foot was a bruise. To touch it hurt like the proverbial. Putting my pride aside I made the call at 13k and finished fifteen of the slowest kilometres I have ever done.
It was at that point I knew I should probably not push the distance. Hubby agreed when he got home from work and it was as easy as that.

My feelings about all this… well I realised the next day how much stress I had put on myself to do it. Which on the day would have resulted in another injury or meant the day before I would change to the half and then be disappointed right when I should be feeling on top of the world. By making that decision now means I can spend 3 weeks preparing my best for 21kms.
I cancelled the app with my marathon training and will make small adjustments to the written version to finish the deal.
The aim is to keep doing the main runs (2 small/med and 1 long) while concentrating on strength and stretching in between days.

All this aside there is one very special reason why I want to finish this race, enjoy the run and have a blast. I want to arrive home on a high, enjoy the trip, cry tears of joy and embrace the atmosphere – it’s my husbands birthday on race day and he will be at home with our boys. If there was ever a non-selfish-most-supportive thing a person could do,this is it. Pay for your wife to travel interstate on her own to do something she loves. Now that is what I call support and honest to goodness deep love.
That is the reason I am happy to do the half not the full, to look after my body so it is healthy and able to love for a long time to come.

Keep training, look after yourself and do what you love, jennifer.

Night running – be organised and be safe

My running backyard is all windy roads with very little curbing or footpath. It’s all mainly coastal country roads or gravel roads on steep hills with no where to go when cars come past. I’ve learnt over the last twelve months how to manoeuvre these roads and be as safe as possible until the last two weeks.

My midweek runs are slow 5k and fast 10.5k. There is one particular route I like to do my 10k on as it’s about 11k by the time I get back home and it’s so easy to run. Hubby drives me to the top of a hill and I run the long way home. Unfortunately this means a windy narrow road for 5kms. At this time of year, I n the growing darkness.

And now to the part of being organised and safe.
This week it was not me.

– I just knew after I had started it would be dark before I finished, yet I didn’t grab my headlamp.
I had moved from gravel road to bitumen main road with more cars (it’s after 5 and people are doing home) and the darkness is creeping in.
– I’ve done more than half my run, with just under 5kms to go. I keep my ears and eyes open for vehicles and move off the road, stopping completely for them as they pass.
– With headlights on I duck my head so as not to be ‘a deer in the headlights’
– At 2kms to go I see a car coming and push ahead to get onto a wider part of the edging.
– They were going faster than I figured and before I could make it, they were upon me, and I was momentarily blinded.
– My right foot slipped out from under me, my left foot falls awkwardly and I’m down on my side, then rolling onto to my stomach, hands in the gravel.
– Scary thoughts go through my head – how far down the bank could I go if i slipped further? Will I be able to walk? Do I have to ring hubby! Why the fuck didn’t they stop? I’m pretty sure the car saw me.

I take responsibility for not having my headlamp and that being out there was dangerous, even with my light fluro jacket. Doesn’t mean people can’t show small courtesies and slow down, dim their lights or think of others.

I stand up and dust off, testing my foot. It hurts a little but I can still move. Gingerly I move off and manage to run the last few kms til I am able to jog up the street to home. It is ok that evening, with me doing lots of stretching. The next morning – ouch! It was so sore to walk on, so after a shower I decided to wear a compression sock to work (being on my feet all day I figured it would help) which worked a treat.
Today it felt fine but hubby suggested not to go pounding the pavement but rather take a long walk. So long walk it was, 7kms and I stopped and took some pictures, enjoyed my hour long time out.
Tomorrow we are looking at a hike (as warm up says hubby) then I can do my long run.

The lesson here for next time.. take my lamp just in case. I am not getting into that situation again. It was scary. Also make sure you have some kind of easily accessible ID in case something does happen.

Keep training and be safe out there, jennifer

City 2 Casino 2017

It’s race recap time again and while I didn’t pb as I had wanted to I had a great time. I joined hubby on this run – it was his idea after all, and am so very proud of him and how he went.

This is how it went down:
– the day was bright, sunny and warm.
– it was a fast field and I felt terribly slow.
– my knee played up and slowed me down more.
– my foot was so far asleep for half the race I’m surprised I was able to stay upright.
– hubby was right on my rail the whole way – unknown to me until the last second.
– we finished with on 21 seconds between us.
– I was happy and jumpy afterwards – hubby was sweaty, tired sore and I hope very proud of himself.
– post run coffee turned into a delightful egg and bacon brunch
– our race photos show us both looking strong and determined
– I love the bling and it looks great.
– hubby has said this hasn’t made him want to do it again

I will always treasure May 21st and what my husband achieved!

Keep training and do your best, Jennifer

The plan

I love the plan.

This is my second time using the plan.

The plan works for me.

I feel more in control when using the plan.

I don’t feel guilty on rest days when using the plan.

The plan gives me more freedom.

The plan works.

Trust the plan.

Trust the training.

You will finish and the plan will have paid off.

I love the plan.

I hate the plan.

 

Run to your plan and stay strong.

 

Feeling stronger than yesterday

There’s a lot to be said about motivation and lack thereof.  Three days ago I was in a funk and really feeling the down. Today, I feel strong and invincible.  In those few days 1)hubby stated he was doing this years city to casino and 2) I went to the physio.

The city to casino will be good for both of us, myself for GCAM training and hubby to help his fitness goals. He used to run a lot when he worked away and I know he would be good at it if he really wanted to push that bit further.  Competition aside, a 10 (or 11k ) run is a good distance, not too long to get bored or need excessive amounts of training, and not so short at it’s over before you get into a rhythm. I have all faith he will do it, and help me along at the same time. It will be good to get in some distance again.

My visit to the physio went well. She wasn’t too fussed about the lack of workouts, the fact I concentrated on getting my form right when I did them was more important. I got a massage again, and she tweaked a few things, changing one or two exercises to better help my recovery.  I’m not sure what it was, but when I walked out, I felt strong and ready to conquer the world. To lose the phone and wallet and just run. My white board will be changed again to accommodate  the added exercise and my weekly strength workouts from my fitness magazines.  There are so many workouts and routines and I want to try them all, so I’ve decided, one way to keep the body thinking, burning calories and being in top shape, is to use one of these for a week before moving onto another one – most of them are a full body set up. This is my year of strength.

Looking forward to a run tomorrow and on the weekend. It’s time to bring it!

Run strong, be your best version, Jennifer