There’s the point in each race, at the starting corrals where you think “what did I sign up for”
There’s the point in each race just after the gun goes off where you think “what am I doing”
There’s the point in each race near the half way mark where you think “I can do this”
There’s a point in each race near the end where you think “are we there yet?”
There’s the point in each race where you turn that last corner and think “I can see the finish, make it strong”
Then there’s the point in the race where you realise you’re not just going to get a PB, you’re going to smash the last one.
That’s the point when you realise that the hard work was worth it, the strength workouts, the consistency in your training. It’s all down to this last two hundred metres.
You smile and keep pushing along, not rushing, following your new ‘no-pressure’ plan. You cross the line with a grin a mile wide and fist pump yourself, knowing you did it. Knowing it was quick even though there were points where your legs felt like lead. Where you thought your lungs would pop.
When you pushed through the stitch from gulping too much water.
When you pushed up that last hill on tired legs, willing yourself to not stop and walk. Where you round that corner and saw the finish line ahead.
Kept the pace even and steady.
Smiled the whole way, not having that ugly ‘I’m about to poop I’m working so hard’ look captured for eternity by the photographers.
Crossed the line and hugged your husband and kid, giddy with the knowledge of a fast run. Medal around your neck you get the obligitory picture and head back to your hotel.
You then struggle out of sweaty clothes for a shower, snooze several times in the car on the way home, then get that need to #eatallthefood. All the sweet food.
I had such an amazing time on this run, there was a quiet confidence about my pace, and how I felt. I was striding out well, I was running so comfortably and strong. I didn’t feel too tired at any particular point. There are definite tired points in any race, but my training is working out the way I want – giving me more in the tank once I’m finished, and helping me feel stronger for the duration of the race. The next 3 months are going to be full of hard work before my next race. I am hoping for good things. I want to get stronger and more consistent.
I have only ever bought the complete package of my race photos once, and that was for my only to date interstate run at GCAM. I’ve done it again though. All the pictures were so good. No ugly faces, a little bit of struggle picture, a wry smile as I head to the finish line, that big grin as I’ve crossed the line. I like them all.
Keep chasing that PB, it’s worth all the hard work.
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.
It’s been a week month, and I’m still on a high from this race. We didn’t make it to the top and it rained the whole way. It was bloody hard work and I was soaked to the bone. I didn’t care, I had a blast and in many ways it was my best race to date. Definitely one of the most enjoyable.
All the usual suspects for a race were lined up – I had done the training, I had a rough plan in place, I was organised for pre and post race and not even the rain was going to dampen my spirits for this one.
I had initially thought of this race as a one-off, a ‘conquer the mountain’ and be done with it. Well that went out the window with the crazy weather conditions and I just have to come back next year to give it another shot. Which in itself is not a bad thing.
I was disappointed that we were told the course was altered but along with every other race I’ve done it gave me a chance to learn something. With this one… I found out just how steep an incline the mountain really is. It is hard work. I know where I need to improve my hill workouts for the future. I know how much I need to dig deep and push through the pain. I know that this time next year I will conquer the mountain!
Why would all of this make it my best race of the year? Because I switched off all notions of a PB, of timing and pace, and just did it. As usual my photos don’t show it, but I enjoyed every minute of it, up and back. I just ran. It was really getting back to running. I had my volume down on the phone so wasn’t hearing anything.
As it turns out I did make a PB and was slightly (10mins) ahead of my halfway time plan. When I heard the time as I approached the turn around I knew then that I could have made it to the top. The way back down the hill was certainly a lot easier. I didn’t push for speed, I just moved along, knowing I would finish easily within the time frame. I could have gone harder, I was enjoying it as it was.
As I said it rained all the way up and back, and it wasn’t until I replaced my beanie after towelling my hair that I realised how cold I was, and my head. I took off and found a shopping centre with event public toilets – you don’t think how small the cubicles are til you want to get changed, and dry off at the same time. To say it was awkward is an understatement, especially as everything was tight and sticking to me. I spent the rest of the afternoon in 3 layers done up past my chin, compression sleeves and a beanie. The cold was that bad.
I am so proud of what I have achieved this year, this was my best race for many reasons. Bring on next year – 2 marathons, numerous 10ks and I’ll have to find at least one half in there somewhere.
If someone had said to me three years ago I would be considering running an ultra I would have laughed at them. Not only because I had no idea what an ultra actually was but because I wasn’t even running. Nothing. Maybe walking occasionally but running, no way.
Fast forward to today and it is a high possibility that I will do this.* After starting the year with this race on my long list (and solo at that), I had come to the conclusion that it wasn’t something I had in me. During all my training sessions, especially for my marathon, the realisation hit me that the extra distance was not something I wanted to do. I’m sure I am capable of it, it was more of an acceptance of ones limitations and desires. Some people don’t ever go past ten kilometres and there is nothing wrong with that. I’m happy with marathon distance as my big one.
So why am I thinking of doing this race now?
I’m still a little surprised at what I have completed over the last 18 months, I have gone from barely running five kms to being able to run a marathon! I am so happy with how much I am enjoying running and where it’s taken me. This year so far I have run and finished 7 races with 2 to go.
I am also incredibly proud of myself and what I have achieved. I have changed so much since I first began, learning a hell of a lot about myself and I can’t wait to keep going and see where I can fly to.
I have learnt something from every race I have entered.
I have learnt to what extent I can push my body, how far it will go til it breaks down, or not.
I have learnt about the mental struggle that occurs when you run insane distances, in one hit, and over the course of a week.
I have learnt about the challenges that pop up when you think you can’t do it anymore and some how you just go out and do it, realising it wasn’t that hard after all.
I have learnt about the challenges you push through when your head tells you to stop, when everything hurts and you want to curl up in a ball. When the recovery is all out of whack and you feel like you’re dying.
I have learnt from that, how your body reacts to the torture you put it through.
I have learnt about how freaking awesome my body is, and how it works. From the good, the bad and the downright ugly – toilet stops and bodily function, black toenails, aches in places you never knew you had – to the best bits – feeling fit, healthy and able to conquer anything that is put in your path.
I have learnt that the pain is all worth it in the end when you feel like a million dollars.
I have learnt about the change in mind-set, from comparing yourself to everyone else, to comparing how you were yesterday instead.
I have learnt about the obsession with times and whether they are worthy or not, changing it instead to finish lines not finish times.
I have learnt about accomplishment of training and starting the race to the joy and feeling of pride when you cross the finish line – no matter what position you are in.
I have learnt about getting out there and that starting something is the first and the most important step to take, hard as it may be sometimes.
So now, if anyone mentions the idea of running a certain race I can laugh at them. And it comes from a place at says ‘I can do it, even if I won’t register. I can do it ’cause I’ve done it before. I can do because I love to run, I love to compete – even if it’s just against myself’
* Hubby and are looking at competing together in our own team of two.
The challenge has been set. If we don’t take it up there is no shame in that. If we do, then we will blitz it.
Either way, it’s our decision and no one can judge us for it.
It’s four and a half weeks til my next big race. The worlds toughest half marathon. And I can believe it. 21kms of incline. To a total height of over 1270 meters above sea level. That’s pretty high. And a lot of hard work. Lots of hill to climb. Like a mountains worth, literally.
My training has been slightly hit and miss as it should have been all about strength and hills. I haven’t done as much strength training as I’d hoped I would, yet my hills are moving along quite nicely. Both of these workouts are definitely not my strength so it’s been a double whammy on the challenge. The challenge of getting to the top. The challenge of training hills (my knees hate me most of the time with any kind of incline) and strength (while I know I should do it I make excuses to not go there).
I’m almost enjoying the hills. I can feel it’s making my usual runs stronger and faster. The hills while challenging, are good for me, for my mental strength as well as my physical. Thinking that no matter what happens on race day, this training can only be good for me.
On my run this evening I ‘officially’ passed 700kms for the year. I think I have done nearly 800 as I started the challenge a good few weeks after the start date. So my run was hard initially, what felt like an actual vertical climb before levelling out and heading back down hill, I got to thinking about the race. And how I was going to tackle it time wise. Normally wouldn’t be too worried about a time but this one has a strict cut off period to allow for as little traffic disruption as possible (and is capped at 3000 people combined for the walk and run). And in my very basic math head I began working out how fast I would need to go to finish within the time. And it’s not too bad.
What I figured out. Time frame minus say 20 minutes. Times by 60. Divide by 4. This would give me an idea of how long to allow for each five km plus plenty of time to finish that last kilometre, and rest up/stretch before catching the bus back to the start line. Number crunching done, it works out like this.
3.40 total time. Minus twenty minutes. Times 60. Time is now 200 minutes. Divide by 4 = 50 minutes per 5km + time up my sleeve for the last and final dash to the finish line.
Now as I usually do my 5k in roughly 30 mins I’m working on an extra twenty making this more than doable. And in my head that works. It doesn’t mean I’m going to slack off and run slower. It’s only going to make me want to work harder so I’m stronger and more capable of doing it. And doing it stronger.
This is one race where the adage of “Finish lines not finish times” is all I’m thinking about. I just want to make it to the top. Because with such an iconic race (founded in 1995) participating – and reaching the Pinnacle! – is so much a part of the end result.
A preview of some of the hills I’ve been working on lately.
I’ve written before about what goes into training for a marathon or any race. A lot of hard work, determination and commitment. Early morning starts, long runs, new diet and learning how to fuel during your runs. Gaining new kind of mental strength. Sticking to your guns. And lots of running. Like, lots and lots of running.
It was back in January sometime I think when I first decided to do this marathon. Back then it seemed like a pipe dream, it was so far away. Then came June and July with one last race before I knuckled down and got serious about my marathon training. I followed a plan which was great. It made me accountable and made sure I was getting the right amount of miles in (even though we are metric, it doesn’t sound quite right saying getting the kilometres in, so miles it is). Doing the job I needed to do. I used to run all the time, when I could, with no real idea of training plans, but this time I resisted the urge and gave the control over to someone else, well, my phone, but you get the drift. And I feel it worked. One thing I could have done differently was do more strength training, but hindsight is a wonderful thing, so we learn and move forward.
The week of the race was nerve-wracking for me, people at work were sick and I was worried I’d come down with something. I was also really tired and had no real energy to speak of. I wanted to run, but didn’t want to wear my self out. I was making out lists in my head of what I needed to take with me, cover all bases and circumstances. We were driving nearly 3 hours away so there was no time to say ‘can you pop home and grab something’ midway through the race.
The night before I was fairly relaxed, almost too much so, or so I felt at the time. Chilled out with a movie and pizza as per usual. The plan is not to eat differently so I didn’t, only to say that I didn’t eat as much.
My only worry about the race itself, was if I needed to poop somewhere along the route. I usually have had to on my long runs so was nervous about that rearing its ugly head. Pee, well, I’d deal with wet pants if I had to. I had packed my bag and had food items in the fridge ready to go. My bag had a full change of clothes, cream for my feet, ugg boots, lollies and Father’s Day presents for my husband (great day to have a race and make it all about me).
Race day arrives…
Considering what usually happens before a race I got a decent 5 hours sleep before a 3am alarm got us all up and about. I had taken advantage of several extra good sleeps during the week to make sure I was properly rested as well as getting in the extra hydration.
The drive to Ross was uneventful with only one pit stop along the way after a 4.30 coffee. I also had a banana. This is not my usual pre race thing, but the time and distance meant it would be OK for digestion and the toilet. We arrived with plenty of time to collect my bib and wander around before the other runners started to appear. I have this thing about being early and making sure I have everything organised. Especially if I have not done it before. For me it’s the one thing I can control (to a certain extent) in a predominately uncontrollable environment.
As it got closer to race start time I got my gear ready – the warm up jacket came off and hydration vest, sunnies and cap on. Made sure my ear buds were turned on, tracking apps and music at the ready. I wasn’t feeling particularly nervous at this point, more excited than anything. This was like a dream me true and I was ready for it. The pre run photo shows this I think. The group was small with less than 100 runners all up for the marathon. And 18 of those were us women.
As the bell went for start I pressed all the right buttons on the phone, started a slow jog towards the incline heading out-of-town and waving at my husband with the camera. It was then getting into my head space and making sure I didn’t head out too fast. One thing I have learnt is that I tend to start quick and then peter out. I wanted to make sure this didn’t happen as with 40+ kms to go it wouldn’t be good.
The route takes you several kms out-of-town down a long semi winding road before back tracking, a sharp right then left turn at the 8km mark and you hit the only hill to start the loop around the back-end of town. The last part takes you down Main Street and rounding the corner to the start/finish line and heading out again. The first time you do the hill, it’s not too bad, but by the third and fourth it has become a mountain and a nemesis. While I certainly felt that way, it wasn’t so much a nemesis for me as an opportunity to take a walk break and catch my breath. Basically a 10.5km loop you repeat four times. Boring as batshit and mentally hard.
I made good time for my first and second laps, with the clock telling me I was right on time. My hydration was spot on, Tailwind is my new best friend and I don’t know how I would have survived if I didn’t invest in a camelbak for long runs. While I had lollies in my vest they had loads of them at each drink station and I took advantage. Just a couple to keep my spirits up, and a drink of water at two of the stations for a different kind of fluid. This worked amazingly well. While the tailwind kept me going, the plain water was perfect for a splash on the face and refreshing the body, and hydration purposes.
By the I was at about 14kms the 10k and half runners had started and I passed the biggest group along one of the windiest stretches of road. As the 42ers were spread out by this time it was good to see more people on the road and I was able to wave at others I knew or knew of from runners groups on Facebook.
I finished my second lap feeling ok, but it was starting to get to me. Another 5k was starting to hit the wall. My feet were killing me and I was exhausted. I pushed though. I wasn’t doing all this way to not finish, to fall in a heap.
Each lap I had done my kids and husband were there to high-five me and that gave me the much-needed boost I needed each time. The third lap was so much harder. The wind had picked up and constantly pushing against it was not just physically hard but mentally draining also. I had done half and had to push through another two times. As another runner said to me after the race, the monotony of the repetition is hard, and harder mentally on newbies. It is also incredibly boring. I just made through third lap and by then our eldest some had turned up and high-fived me, giving me the ‘one lap left mum’. While I know it was in support and much appreciated, I was feeling like he had just said I had to do a whole lot more than just one. I grinned and said thanks and kept going. Feeling slower than a wet week, or a turtle stuck in peanut butter.
This is where the going got real tough. Where I had to dig deep to find that strength to keep moving. The strength to not curl up in a ball on the ground and cry. The strength to not call someone and say ‘come and get me’ There were tears, and moments of feeling sorry for myself, looking behind me and seeing no one. No one in front of me. Coming to the realisation I was last. Seeing the safety vehicles taking away the signage. The drink station ladies leaving in their cars. The sheer loneliness of running shuffling along this long winding road on your own. I found that inner strength. That mental toughness that helped me though my other long runs. I picked myself up and kept going. Even I was last, who cares. My first and main goal was to finish this thing. Cross the line at the end of a marathon. No matter what.
That stretch of road looked a hundred miles longer than it had been before and the return felt a hundred miles longer.
I rounded the turn point and walked to the drinks table and took one with me. Fished about for a lolly out of my pocket and kept the run shuffle going. And then I saw them. Three more women. All walking. And here I was thinking they were on their last lap the last time I had seen them. For a brief moment I felt some joy, I was not going to be last. It felt a little mean, but in all honestly, I think anyone would feel some joy at realising that.
Seeing those women put a little more bounce in my step and got my stubborn side revved up. I may not be last but I certainly wasn’t going to walk it either. The final time I hit the hill I pushed a fast walk, as fast as I could anyway and rang the bell at the top like no tomorrow. If anyone was listening then they were going to know someone was there. One last drink station and then the last 1500 meters.
Looking ahead I saw someone walking around a corner and as I got closer saw it was my husband. I had never been so happy to see him as I was right then, the tears started and I had to pull back, telling him he shouldn’t have. I’m glad he did as I may not have actually sped up, but I felt lighter and more eager than ever to finish it. He kept me going. He then gave me the news that I wasn’t going to make the cut off time when they opened the roads again. Which also meant I wasn’t going to make my second goal. A sub 5 hours. I had 4 minutes to do a mile and even in my revved up state it wasn’t going to happen. Pessimistic? no, just realistic.
Rounding the last corner and heading down Main Street our youngest was there and started the jog with us. I felt so proud to have them there with me. Along the route several other runners who had finished the full waved and gave thumbs up, calling out ‘well done’ and ‘good job’, an acknowledgment of what we had all done and that I was still doing mine. As we reached the street end the finish chute was in sight my two elder boys were there and I said ‘come one..’ As they followed me in as I found a teeny bit of speed and pushed for the finish line. I was so proud and tired and utterly exhausted but still heard the lady say ‘look a that smile’ as I came towards them.
Time and position out of the 18 women. Total position was 51/55 marathon participants.
Time to eat all the food.
The best homemade burger I’ve had yet.
Still feeling good at the 10k mark 👍
Flat me ready to go
Lunch box ready to pack, and water bottle for my camelbak.
Love my asics. Shoes, vest, bag, shirts even. Packed and ready to go.
Time for recover
Crossing the line I stand long enough to hand in my timing chip and receive my medal. Oh medal, how I love thee… And then collapse on the grass . This didn’t last long, and hubby gave me hand to get up, believe me I was not able to do it on my own. Gingerly I walked back to the car with my boys, amid them making jokes about tripping me over and the fact I wouldn’t be able to get back up. I laughed at them and was mock angry saying I’d soon chase them down. Nothing was a nicer sight than my post run jacket and chocolate shake. A vague attempt at calf stretches and then chilling out before we started the trip back home. Finishing at 1pm it was nearly 2 by the time we left. I nibbled on my banana and peanut butter sandwiches, drinking a diluted bottle of tailwind water.
An hour from home we stopped for snacks, and I was surprised that #eatallthefood hadn’t kicked in yet. My feet by this time were slowly killing me in my sneakers so I asked for my ugg boots. Ah the bliss of soft woolly feet. I wasn’t at all surprised by the looks I got but I was so far from caring it didn’t bother me – Ugg boots, stripy calf sleeves, shorts and hooded jacket. I tell you, I owned it.
Getting home and out of sweaty gear never felt as good as it did that day. A long hot shower fixed me and we walked (I hobbled) down the road to find pizza for dinner. That was not to be, so toasted sandwiches, ice cream and a movie instead before early to bed for all. While I slept well that night, it was each time I woke to roll over I had to grip the bed to help me, and the covers felt like ton weights on my body. I slept in, feeling like a brick trying to move when I got up the next day. Then it hit me. While I ached and my legs were sore, I simply could not walk. My heels had decided to kick in and were in excruciating pain. Even my toes complained. I somehow managed a coffee and some water, before the head spins, fainting feeling and vomit in the throat pushed me back to bed for another hour.
Struggling into the shower and dressing before my husband came home, I finally got the munchies. Toast, chips, biscuits. If it wasn’t nailed down I ate it. We took a walk and had coffee. And chips, and cake. At home for dinner, it was enormous hamburgers and cake and ice cream. Another coffee, and more water. Finally I was sated. My body refueled. Note to self here: it’s time to pull back on the food, to get ready for more training and less of eating everything in sight.
A week of stretching and my body feels awesome and strong again. Thank god for having a physical job, it kept my body moving and not seizing up sitting at a desk.
A short (3km?) slow, naked (no music, tracking etc) run yesterday to get me back into it and my heels, toes and backs of my knees really felt it. Overall, feeling great!
And I’m ready to go again. Some people say once they’ve done one that’s it, don’t need to go again, well I think I’ve got the bug and it’s on again. Three days post run and I said I’ll go back to where it all started this year. Cadbury marathon. To do the full. A funny thing with that is before I have even registered for the January run I have tickets booked (thanks cheerleader husband) for GCAM* (my third marathon) in July.
Hands down, my amazing beautiful family aside, it is the best thing I have achieved so far.
Happy running, Jennifer x
*GCAM – Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Queensland.
The title for this post came from an acquaintance on a Facebook running page as the comment to my ‘I’ve done it, I’ve run a marathon’ post I put up. It brought tears to my eyes, and is the perfect title for this.
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.
Training for a marathon is hard work. It takes a lot of hard work. Dedication. Commitment. Resilience. I have all of these, just not always and not all at the same time when I probably should have. Like now, when I’m in marathon training mode. My lack of any decent running over the last few weeks is due to the pain in the butt that is moving house. And working full time. Not having one iota of energy to even think about running. This move took everything we had, yet even though I was not running I didn’t get that sludgy feeling I normally do. That feeling of losing fitness and becoming a slug. I have felt pretty good physically through all of that, so when I started again last week with a few treadmill runs I knew I would be alright.
As I have said before I have the Asics running plan to help me keep on track and so far it is doing its job. I tend to run a bit faster than it wants me to, despite feeling at those moments that I couldn’t go slower if I walked. I am doing alright. I’m figuring the plan has been worked out on flat runs not hills, so on my hill climbs tell it I’m going slower. I like hills, and I hate hills. Hills are good to help with strength and a different kind of endurance. They also kill my knees.
I wrote up my training plan on a big white board and its in the corner of our lounge/gym where it’s easy to read for everyone. Crossing off each day and updating both my running apps* gives me some satisfaction. It also makes it easy so if anyone wants to plan something they know what I should be doing and when.
*my phone had a bit of a hiccup so has been sent away. What I got as a replacement was a dinosaur so my runs have to be tracked by car for distance before I can run them. So it’s an update of apps and not a ‘stop tracking and save’ motion. This may mean my runs are slightly off for a week or two. I’m not worried, i am still doing it.
My eating plan has been ok, smaller serves and less giving in to temptations. Control is the key. I’m not sure if my body has changed that much or it’s an illusion, but I do feel leaner. It’s a good feeling.
During the week my runs were pretty good, I was feeling it during and after, even though my mid length run was slower than I wanted. I was a bit worried during that run as it got dark a lot quicker than I was expecting so had to finish in the dark not being totally visible. Next time, (so this week), it will be reflectors and head lamp. Hopefully with a little running beanie I’ve ordered. I’ve found that while the head lamp is great (this morning’s run proved that) it doesn’t fit so well over my cap. So I wore my cap backwards so the lamp was in the right place. Felt a bit weird but you know what, I’d rather look silly and be visible than the alternative.
Why would I wear a cap when it’s dark? Well for many reasons. When I started running I found that I really disliked my hair bouncing around (yes, even with short hair) and if I wasn’t wearing my sunnies the glare would hurt my eyes. So a cap became a part of my outfit. Now, I don’t go anywhere without it, if it’s raining, it will also keep the rain at bay somewhat. That and clear glasses. Good for cold/wet/dark so I can still see (cold makes the eyes water like you wouldn’t believe).
While I’m on the subject, what else do I have in my outfit range… my pink light as a feather all purpose Asics jacket (in a fluro-ish pink, so my perfect colour and highly visible as well!). It keeps the cold at bay, the rain and the wind. And because it’s so light I don’t get hot while wearing it. It is incredible!
Then there’s the asics high vis vest I bought for the same reason. Night time visibility. Not only its it in that gorgeous green it has pockets galore for all the little things you need plus the back is a pocket to hold a camelbak. Ooops, I may have just picked one up yesterday to use for my longer runs… for anything over 20km my hydration belt just doesn’t cut it.
I tested it out this morning. Very comfortable to run with. Cold on my back a bit, though the weather wouldn’t have helped with that, it didn’t bounce around and was easy to use.
Cold hands have been an issue, so with any length run if it’s cold enough, my Nike running gloves with padded fingers for smart phone easy access are the bomb. Comfortable as, and my hands didn’t get too hot like I thought they would. I run hot so each of these things could be an issue. With this cold weather I and finding that extra layer is awfully good.
Another lovely find is my asics long sleep top. Thumb holes so it covers the hands a bit, and a fluro high vis section across the upper back. Super comfy and again, not too hot.
Most of my running gear has been Kmart, Big W, Michelle Bridges, Target, you know, the cheaper items and not full on brand names. There are items though that I will spend on and ‘get what I pay for’. Quality and durability. I do like Asics, big fan here.
Wow, that was a bit of a digression there. From training plans to my outfits. Ah well. Running is the most expensive free sport .
Back to the training. I am loving it, more so when summer kicks in and daylight savings is back. Longer evenings after work, lighter earlier in the morning. There is that certain freedom in running, and even in training mode I am still enjoying it. Only way to go really. I have to work hard, I have to push through the ‘it’s going to be cold on the weekend’ comments that I hear everyday at work.
My mid week runs are short, 5 and 10k, with the long run on a Sunday. Perfect as Sunday’s were my usual long run day anyway. My long runs up to race week are 10 (handy as I’m doing a 10k fun run on this day, sub 60 is the plan), 21, 25, 30 then 14 the week before race day. My only issue is only getting to the 30k mark and not having tried the full kahuna before the actual day. For my half marathon I ran it at least twice that I can remember so I know that I could actually do it. I spose I should trust myself, my training and the race day high to get me through. I’ve heard it’s a flat course so hopefully will make it ‘easier’. Of course running 42.2 km isn’t easy by anyone’s measure, but hills certainly make it more challenging.
I will keep plugging along, doing the work, stretching and light weight workouts on my rest days. Having a plan has been good for me. I think I said it once before somewhere. Leaving the planning to someone else and doing what I’m told has been good. I’m not feeling guilty because I think I should be running, because I know I will get the run in when I am meant to. Before, I used to be push push push, run run run, all the time, with a ‘gotta go for a run or I’ll lose it all’ mentality. Oh how I’ve grown up, if just a little bit.
After a four-week hiatus due to my own silly expectations and burning myself out with races I am back into it. And while it was nice to let my body rest, I also felt the sludge creeping back in which made me feel worse about not running. So I bit the bullet and did it. Jumped on the tready for a quick 3km warm up and in that 20 mins I was invigorated to keep it going.
I then race registrations.
And paid for it.
There is no backing out now.
I am officially registered for the Ross marathon.
4+ hours running.
Off to the store I go and find the Asics training app to help keep me motivated and in the zone to get my speed, and distance just right.
I’ve done three 7km runs so far with a supposed 12 day break then straight into a 10K. Really. I don’t think so. My plan is to fill those rest days with targeted strength training and other short/med/long runs, while keeping enough rest days as just that. Rest days.
There are about 12 weeks til race day so I will be working pretty hard, especially as over the next 3 weeks I am moving house. From then on, I can do early morning or evening runs as I will be 2 mins away from work as compared to 30.
I have one race between now and then, a ten km locally which will be good practice. At 5 weeks away it will give me a chance to improve and work on several problem areas.
I am feeling optimistic, which is fair given its early days. I dare say when there is only a few weeks left the nerves will start to kick in.
I’m optimistic about my skill, my ability to do it. I can this.
I’m optimistic also about the time and finishing. My training will be mainly hilly and I’ve heard the course is pretty flat. So incline training to finish a flatter course strongly (I’m not going to even think about negative splits, that will be a bonus).
I have also decided to relinquish my need for running to the app and just do what it says. Aside of course from a12 day break. But if it says do 12kms, I will do 12 kms.
I’m ready for this.
This is my year for running.
This is my year to really discover me, and what I am capable of.
This is my year to follow my dreams, to work on interstate races, to decide my distance preference.
And you know what I say…?
Bring it on!!
My goals for the marathon.
To finish under 5hrs.
To finish around the 4.30hrs mark.
I also know that by the time I get there I will be the fittest I have ever been and stronger than ever.
Work hard, enjoy the journey, reap the rewards.