Favourite run vs favourite medal

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

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

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Nearly there.

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

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

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

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Post run smiles with my bling and bag of chocolate

 

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

Keep training, running and being active, Jennifer

 

 

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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.

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.

Cadbury Marathon

The time came round all too quickly and while I was confident about the race I am not really surprised with what happened.
There were a few pivotal long runs I missed and some personal issues that knocked me about somewhat.
Add to that an up close encounter with wildlife that nearly stopped the car on the way that morning, which certainly didn’t make it easier to concentrate on the job at hand.
On arrival at the race precinct I attend the photo session with some of the other marathon girls before hunting out the bag drop. It was then I discovered my ear buds had disappeared. Looking everywhere resulted with nothing surfacing, meaning I had to run with no music. I have done a half with no music but 42kms was a whole different thing.
I feel this was yet another factor in what was to happen later on.

Doing some stretches and loosening up felt good, and I positioned myself at the back of the group at the start line. I’d rather overtake people than feel like I am holding others up or getting in the way of faster runners.

The first couple of kms were a loop of the housing estate where the factory is located and I paced myself carefully, working on not overtaking too many, on simply breathing and taking it easy. And then we were heading down the hill and onto the main road. There were a few people around, mainly the half runners arriving for the 6.30 start. A couple of inclines before heading down to the second drink station and hitting the straight.

The first 5kms I was pacing alright, not too fast and feeling strong. My drinks were good, stronger than I anticipated which would prove handy in the later hours. One last incline (a killer) and we were on the bridge and heading for approx 11-12km mark. More high fives and cheers from the running group I’m in (Running Mums Australia, aka RMA) which was awesome. The turnaround arrived and on looking back towards the Cadbury factory it looked so far away. I felt good, not too tired and no aches or pains.  Passing the point (17kms) where last year I hit the wall, I smiled as I felt strong and so completely different to where I was 12 months ago.

I was cruising along alright, starting to tire a little at the 20k mark, and slowing myself down a little, though still no indication of what was to come.

The turnaround for the marathon is at the bottom of that first hill near the factory (22-23km)and it was just after that my knee started to twinge and buckle slightly.  More high fives and cheers as I slowly make my way along the road. I smile as best I could, although it probably looked like a grimace. By the time I had finished another km my knee was in agony. It was like a knife was jammed in the side and with each bend of my leg it twisted just a bit more. I started a hobble limp type run and on reaching the top of the last slight incline I almost couldn’t move, tears were running down my face, attempts to stop them were useless. Walking was no reprieve from the pain, and attempting to run was pathetic. The conversation in my head came to a conclusion and I limped into the drink station unable to speak aside from blubbering through tears that my race was ending at this point.

I finished the Cadbury Marathon at 25.4kms in 2.52.05.
I started the race and it ended with a DNF.

My conversation went along the lines of – do I finish, no matter the time and risk never being able to run again, or at least for the rest of the year OR put aside the pride of finishing (at well past the cut off time of 6hrs) and get out while I still can, where I can recover and move onto the next race.
This is one of those positions that we know may happen, and dread it. I had said once before I would rather a DNF than a DNS. When the time came though, it was still a decision I dreaded. And not one I ever want to repeat.
The hardest and yet the easiest decision of my life. I plan on running for many years to come and my running ‘career’ was not about to end like this.

To say I was disappointed is an understatement. My husband wasn’t overly surprised, saying he had a bad feeling about this one. He is the most supportive guy and I got huge cuddles and an ‘I’m so proud of you, don’t ever think you did the wrong thing, or be upset, what you have achieved is so amazing, only a fool would have continued’.
The tears were needed on my part. I was stoic and somewhat philosophical about it, knowing that next year I will conquer it. I can’t win them all, some races are bad….yada Yama yada. Next year I will do the full at Cadbury.

The next day was a different story completely. It was like the enormity had set in. I was a blubbering mess and treated up at the mere mention of certain things. A friend went to hug me and then said ‘don’t you dare, look at what you’ve achieved, look at what you have done, don’t you dare cry on me!’ It was hard, but I controlled myself for the most part.
A lady at work a few days later said she had tears reading my post, thinking so close yet so far, assuming I was only a half km from the finish. If that was the case I would have crawled there. My co worker said she would have dragged me over the finish got me thinking, if it had been half a km or up to 5kms, I would have pushed through, struggled but done it. Five kms is not the 17 I actually had left and it would have been the hardest of my life.

This post has taken me nearly two weeks to post. One because I wanted to let the mourning pass, and really think about the race, two because we have been busy. You may ask why the word mourning. It’s about the loss of a race, the no being able to do it. Mourning is just the right word.

I have mentioned I earlier posts that each race, each training run teaches you something, you learn from everything you do.
I now know what that lesson was. I had already stated that I was going to be concentrating on more strength workouts – for both my running and pulling everything in a little tighter – and two weeks after I had made this goal the reasons for it became incredibly clear. I have to do mor wife I am to be a better runner, if I am to get through each race more comfortably. A tough way to learn a lesson, but sometimes that’s the way it goes.

I had a self imposed break for a week and then started my strength workouts and jogging as far as I could before my knee hurt. The first two runs I got to 3kms and had to stop. After a week of strength work I went out again. The idea was to take it easy, walk as needed but get hopefully 5kms done. Well, what a difference already. Four super quick kms later, my knee twinged just once and I felt strong the whole way. I followed my idea and scoffed at the first km thinking the gps was out. Imagine my surprise when I stopped tracking at 4K and saw the whole splits. Wow! For that day at least my knee was my friend again. I will be looking at a short runs and slowly building up to the 10 for my next race. Continuing my strength, and will add in extras this week specifically for the ITB (which I’m pretty sure is the problem).

Bring on this year, I am feeling strong and positive about what is to be and where I am going now.
Keep running and be safe out there,
Jennifer.