Ross 10k – 2/9/18″

It’s been a week since and I’m only just getting around to posting this. I’d actually forgotten, being busy with work and trying to calm my quad.
I’d done the training but missed hills and strength. Ok, so all I’d done is some running. I arrived on the day half an hour early, perfect time really. Having been here before I knew where everything was and what to go was.

Grabbing my bib I head to the toilet – standard practice really. This year they had a 2km race for the kids so we registered Mr 14 and headed out to stretch and listen to the usual pre race talk.
As we set off I aim to go slow and cruise, knowing my leg would niggle pretty quickly before I settle into an easy pace.
The turn around is further along than I remember and I’m starting to hurt.
By the second kilometre I am feeling ok and start the turn for ‘the hill’. I get up it ok, walking just a super short bit before taking the down hill and grabbing a drink at the 3km mark.
I call out and wave to hubby and Mr 14 at the drinks station and continue on.
The roads are so long and flat that it feels like it takes forever but my watch buzzes 5km at 27 min, and I head out again for the second lap.

I’m cruising along, still feeling the pain in my leg and notice at around the 9k mark that my watch has died.*
I kind of pick up the pace as I head down main street, but that last corner and heading to the finishers chute is what does it for me.
They call out names where they can, and I hear mine. I’m smiling all the way and there is a good picture or two (yay!) of me finishing.

I glance at the clock and think that I’ve blown my time by 2+ minutes so don’t worry about it till the next day.
Imagine my surprise when I see I missed my PB by 90 secs. If my watch was still alive I would have definitely pushed to try for 3 pb’s in a row. Had my watch not die when it did, I would have been able to push myself just that little bit and get another pb. Aaah, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
I would have yo say I am pretty happy with this result despite going in under prepared.

Mr 14 oh so closely missed his dream of 10 mins for 2k by 2 seconds. His goal for this weekend’s 2.5k race is to get it in 12 mins.

*my watch had been giving me grief all week. It wasn’t holding it’s charge and it felt like I was hooking it up every day. Finally realised that one of the charging pins was all out of whack, so straightened it up and bingo…watch is charging once again. Thank fook for that. Didn’t need the headache that could have caused.

Train hard, train regularly, don’t miss the important things, Jen x

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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

What’s your exercise?

And why do you do it?

I got thinking about this at work today after a customer came in – Not wearing her active wear like she usually does – and we commented about the 3 sets of clothes we have. Work wear, gym wear and dressing up.

My colleague asked what gym she uses and so it started. She goes to a F45 class. My colleague has started gym work as physio recovery and fitness after cancer treatment. I run.

I’m not sure why our customer does the gym, but I’m pretty sure with her job as a nurse it would help her with the strength required for certain duties at work. As a larger girl, she may not look fit but I could almost guarantee her strength would knock me out the water.

My college does it purely so surgery scars don’t hurt, and she can move the way she used to, or as close to as possible. From experience seeing other people with similar surgeries not doing their physio and how they are faring now, she is doing absolutely the right thing. She is pretty fit from all the running around and lifting we do at work, but her reasons for gym work are for something completely different.

Me. I run. My strength training is purely to help my running. Keep things strong. All the benefits of that are definitely a bonus and appreciated. While I know that to get a firmer midsection, or leaner arms I have to work certain exercises and do more of them, I am not in it purely for the aesthetics. That would take up too much of my time, which I don’t have.

Why do I run? For fitness and physical well-being. Because I like to eat. For my own future, and staving off the injuries I may get. Oh, and because I love to eat.

When a family member has had knee reconstructions, and other physical ailments like that, you want to help keep you body a healthy as possible.
I love running and it’s good for me. I love the pain I feel in the moment. I love the relief when I’m finished. I love the rush of endorphins, and how I feel afterwards.

What is your exercise?  Why do you do it?

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.