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.

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

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…

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.