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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The 10km plan

You’ve run a marathon, you’ve run more halves than you can count (training runs included) and now you decided you want to have a training plan for 10km runs.

Whaaat???

The answer is pretty simple.
To help me get enjoyment out of running again.
Less pressure on performance, and more on fun.

At Ross last year when I had finished my half I made the decision. At least I think it it was at this point. It really doesn’t matter where or when I decided, I am just to very happy that I did.
I’ve taken all the pressure off me for this year.
2018 is about the 10km Run. One of my runs are longer than 10 (ok, city to casino is 11, but it’s so close, it really doesn’t count as more, does it?) with a few fivers thrown in for good measure. This means training is short and sweet, no long days with me recovering from a 25+ km run. Just me and basic runs, having fun.
Part of the decision was because I wanted to run each race that both Cadbury and Ross have (10, 21 and 42 + 5 for Cadbury) and have the full collection of medals.

So why do a plan for a distance I can almost run it in my sleep?  After Point to Pinnacle,  (which took more out of me than expected), add in the Christmas rush I have with work that starts about the same time, and my work partner needing medical time off, I was stuffed before I started and never really got a proper reprieve. (No wonder I got a cold the day we broke up for xmas).

Mojo – gone. Running oomph – gone. Enjoyment – kinda gone.

Dont get me wrong, I still itched to get out and do something I just couldn’t seem to make it happen, call it laziness, I just had no will to move.

The plan with the plan, was to help me get moving, I’m good at following rules if you will, so having something to be accountable with makes it easier to just get out and do it.

I’ve done up my years worth of races, hubby is happy with them, there is one weekend trip and a few long days coming up – he’s an awesome support to me driving 3 to 4 hours and then hang around while I run about with hundreds of others and then drive me home.
So it’s now time to get moving, and see what I can achieve with a year full of 10k training. Intervals, speed work and regular rest days. Aiming for consistent sub 60 mins, although finishing each race means I’ve still achieved what I wanted.

Check my race page for this years events and happy training.

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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.

Half training, motivation

I had a short break (like a couple of days) upon returning from the Gold Coast and then jumped straight back into training, this time for Ross.  I’m now wondering, with my motivation waning, whether I should have taken a longer break. I have moments where I run simply because I have to, not because I want to. I make excuses, I slack off. I’m not running because I really can’t be bothered.  When I’m in the mood I go crazy, I can run, do my gym and eat well without missing a beat.  This as been hit and miss for a few weeks now.  I’ve got three weeks til Ross and while I know I can do the distance without too much issue,  I have moments of thinking I’m not prepared enough.  Then there’s the fuelling issue – do I take my hydration belt, my new jetpack backpack or do I go with nothing but my watch. The option to do a long run with no hydration is very tempting. The feeling of freedom, lightweight, nothing bogging me down so to speak. But then I know I like to have a drink whenever I feel like it. On the other hand I know the course from last year and where the drink stations are. Including the one at the start/finish there are 3, plenty over the course of 10kms.

How do I work my training after this race  Do I follow my own plan after this, or give it two weeks between race and plan commencement?  Right now, I’m thinking my own plan. Work on the strength and aim to do 2 or 3 runs per week. A long run on the weekend and the others where I fit them in. I know when I was being more consistent with my strength the runs were easier, and I felt better when doing them. Ah the  problems. First world ones at that.  I am grateful that I can run, despite my few injuries this year, I am still going, still moving forward.

I realise as I write/fumble my way through this, why I am feeling this way. There are stresses at work, and I’m doing 10 hour days for the next however long, which at times will feel twice that, my husband is going through some stuff, and I’m tired.  I need that one sleep in a week (preferably not on my long run day), to stop doing too much,  working on being the best wife and mother I can, and the best employee I can be. I don’t like to be doing nothing, or letting everyone do things for me not when I know I can do them myself.

So after that little bit of nonsense, I think I will take a longer break after this next race before I start my planning for Point to Pinnacle. It doesn’t mean I won’t run, jus  that I won’t have a plan to run to, just strength and run, nothing more, nothing less.

Train as you feel it, don’t push it, your body will know what to do.

jennifer

GCAM 17, part 3, post race 🏁

Crossing the finish line was the greatest moment of my day. I was exhausted but happy, I had finished a tough race, and in what I thought was a good time. Walking through the finish area I was unsure what to do for a brief moment, but following the other runners I saw the signs for t-shirts and medal collection. Ah, the moment I have been waiting for. Bling! One reason we love to do races. Thanking the girl I walked into the tent and collected my shirt, oh my it’s beautiful. I had seen others wearing their and they looked fantastic.
I took off my pack and lay on the grass for a few minutes, soaking in the sun, and having more drinks. After 5 minutes I wandered off outside the main area to do some stretches in the peace and quiet. And then it hit me. I got up and almost immediately sat on the ground, head between my legs, then I had to lay down, head spinning, my gut churning. Wait a few minutes and try another stretch. Message my husband. Walk a few metres and have to sit down again. Oh shit, I need the toilet, where is it, oh no, head is spinning…Somehow I found my way back to the baggage tent where, with head spinning and body all hot and cold, I collapsed on the ground and curled up in the foetal position. I could feel that fainting feeling, my head was about to blow off, my body couldn’t decide if it was hot or cold, and my gut wanted to burst out of my bladder (the problem I thought lay in not going to the toilet before the start of the race).
A few minutes went past and the ladies inside the tent came over and asked if I needed help. I think I nodded and mumbled a yes I did want help. The next half hour or so went in a blur, of jackets lain over me, tin foil wrap, the medic taking my blood pressure and sugar levels, sipping water, shivering like no tomorrow despite blankets,and my head not knowing if it was spinning or not.
The decision was made to get me into a wheel chair and head over to the main medical tent. We went via the porta loo where I managed to do nothing at all bar a small wee. Disappointed to the max. And my gut still hurt. The ‘best’ part of the trip was having to cross the highway – marathon runners and cheering crowds to boot – in a wheelchair wrapped in tin foil, skin white a ghost. That could have been embarrassing but you know what, I was feeling like shit and with that many people it was bound to happen to some. I very elegantly (not) laid on a stretcher and was surrounded by eager medics.
In the eigtheen months I have been running the only time I have come close to feeling like this, is after my very first half marathon where I knew nothing of recovery, race hydration and the like. Boy have I learnt a lot since then. It makes all the difference to your performance for the whole day.
I’m starting to feel better after two bananas and a bottle of water. I call my husband and have a chat then ask I feel I can head off. I’ve walked around, my head is not spinning any more and I’m not running hot and cold. Given I was there on my own I was advised to take it slowly so I didn’t keel over while driving.
My husband and I had agreed that I had major anxiety over the being late issue and after letting me run the race my body had gone into shock once I’d finished. It did take the fun out the afternoon for me, but I was happy that I had survived and done this amazing thing.
I wandered slowly back along to cross the road, and finally being able to use the loo was interrupted by the phone ringing. Not now, really…. the lady in the stall next door chuckles and has to listen to my phone til gives up. Talk about bad timing. I have a quick chat to my eldest son and message the other one as I cross the road back again and go looking for the car.
This is where things went bad again.
Away from the waterfront the heat was stifling, it was just past 12 and there was no breeze. I’m wandering along the street looking for the car and cannot see it anywhere. Now I know I was in a panic when I parked but I also know I was only one block back from the course. I was in the right street, just not far enough across. I say down on some steps to think, and hope like hell I didnt have to ring my friends and say I’d lost their car. No, I hadn’t lost the car, just gained them a parking fine for stopping in a loading zone. Shit. Not as bad as I had thought it would be.
Hoping to find a maccas or something on the way home was not to be and I certaintly wasn’t going to tempt fate and make a detour. I made it back up the mountain to my friend’s house without any further directional difficulties. Noting that one was home and feeling glad for a minute, I stripped off, climbed into bed and promptly fell asleep. An hour later I wake feeling somewhat better, and stumble into the shower. Omg. That is fantastic, hot, good pressure and soapy. I stand there for what feels like an eternity before drying off and cooking up Vegemite toast. Just what I needed. By then I was starving, although with a slight headache still. I head upstairs where I’m asked, after the how’d the race go, if I wanted to head out for a drink. No alcohol for me but a bowl of sweet potato fries filled the spot. Back home and I head back to bed before dinner.
After dinner I have a long soak in a radox bath before packing my bags and catching yet another early night ready for my trip home. I wake at 4.45 for a 5.15 trip to the train station and notice that for the third time the pillow has a lovely wet patch on it. You know the kind of deep sleep where you wake having drooled on the pillow – yep, that was me three times in 24hrs after my race. I had been exhausted in more ways than just the physical and I must admit I woke on that Monday morning feeling of refreshed and ready to go.

In the time between my first and second nap I browsed Facebook and saw the times had already been posted on their website…ooh, how exciting, lets check out what I achieved….I must say I was plesaently surprised. After what I thought was an ok time turned out to be an awesome time. My chip time was only a few minutes over my previous PB. So to say I was happy is an understatement. I was excited. It wasn’t as bad as all that. The pain of the post run struggle was worth it. It may not have been a new pb (I knew it wouldn’t be by the half way point) but it was well within reach of my other times. 2.27.50!


The time above is the gun time, which I’m still pretty happy with, and the other time is what comes on my itab, and whati am saying it did it in. After all, it took that 9minutes to get from my start to the actual start.

It’s been a good week and a half since my trip to GCAM but already feels like a life time past. In that time I have moved house and continued my usual 9-10hr a day job. So much happens each day that I feel like it is old news already.
The things I learn t along the way on this race are many and varied.
– be more prepared and check out the timing of travel (airport transfers to start with)
– get there earlier to make sure I know where I am going on race day.
– stay closer to the race precinct.
– take my husband with me.
– all of the above.
– relax and breathe more during a race.
– drink more during a race – despite not feeling so bad, it was a lot hotter than what I have been used to so was mildly dehydrated at the end.

Stay safe, run with fun and enjoy your races, 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

Running scared – no excuses

I’ve been lazy with my workouts.

Its been busy at work – I’ve been lazy.

Physically I am tired – I’ve been lazy.

My body has ached and is sore – I’ve been lazy.

I really want to run – I’ve been lazy.

I really want to run – I’ve been scared.

I’m scared it’s going to hurt.

I’m scared it will cause more damage.

I now have to admit this to the Physio on Tuesday.

I’ve been lazy and scared of doing my workouts.

There are no excuses.

There are no reasons why I cannot and should not do them.

Mind over matter – I Can do this. I Will do this.

Being lazy will not get me running again.

Being lazy will not get me to GCAM.

Being lazy will not get me stronger.

Being scared will do me no favours.

Being scared will get me nowhere but stuck in a rut.

Being scared and lazy will only damage me in the long-term.

Time to pull on my big girl panties and get the job done.

 

Be safe out there, and keep your strength up, Jennifer

Off to the physio I go…

After my last post and the resulting abysmal runs I went off to the physio to see what she could help me with.

Not only did I get really good information and help, with instructions on exercises to do, I felt embarrassed by and ashamed of my lack of form. This appeared to be my the main problem – lack of form.

She poked and prodded, I bent, twisted and showed her my squats. Did wall sits, and quad stretches. While we talked and discussed these movements, I got a lovely massage that eased my leg.

I went home with a list of exercises and strength movements to work on, and feeling positive after getting permission to run again.  The catch…don’t wait til my knee is killing me to stop, but when I feel a niggle, I should stop and do a few stretches. Reset it so the speak.

There is something in this that puts me at ease. I could do this myself. Say stop and rest, stop and stretch, but I’m stubborn and could not bring myself to actually do it. The flip side of this, having someone who is helping to fix me, who then give me permission makes it all ok. I don’t quite know how or what, but I am more comfortable about doing it.

The rest of the week passed in a blur of half-hearted exercises as I felt worn out physically for some reason (and not an excuse, work was ridiculous and very day).

I’ve made myself a pact today that I need to keep up my normal strength exercises, concentrating on the ones she gave me, skipping one she doesn’t recommend. Loads of stretching, and also foam rolling – she said she can’t see why I shouldn’t. Yippee, I am feeling really good  from doing this on each leg.

And running. Every second day. Doing a version of the Jeff Galloway run/walk method.  I really need to get my strength back up, and right now the only way to do this is to do what she says and practice.

Run strong my friends, Jennifer

Goals for the new year

I started this post late last year and since then things have changed quite a bit….

I responded to a Facebook post a few weeks ago about what were we going to do in 2017 to top what we had done this year. I thought a bit about this as there are several answers one can give – go all out and want to achieve massive races we’ve not even thought about or be happy with what we’ve done and aim to enjoy the experiences.

Some of you may think that I chose option one, after all my very first race was 21kms with no experience what so ever. No, I chose instead the one that resonates with me. I have achieved so much this year and I’m incredibly proud of that. If you had told me in mid 2014 that by the end of 2016 I would have run over 1000 kms which included a marathon I would have laughed at you. Now, I say?

My response to the question was there was nothing to top. I was going to run the races I wanted to, work on PB’s in the ones I’ve done before (if it’s not to be, respect the reasoning why I didn’t) and enjoy the experiences as I went along.

I have two marathons booked in for this year and my plan is the same as before 1)Finish.
2)Finish still standing.
3)Finish under 5hrs (which would be a new PB).

My aim this year is to go forth and enjoy the next part of my journey. Train hard and learn from each session, gain something from each race and above all enjoy it all.
Each race, each training session, no matter how hard or bad we think it is gives us something to learn, gives us new strength. The things I have learnt about myself this year cannot be topped.
The support I have is the best any runner could have. Unwavering and wholehearted. I appreciate every moment, every hug and kiss, every message of it

While most of this remains the same, the big difference is adding in the unknown quantity…injury recovery time.
After having to pull out of my first marathon with my ITB and started dealing with the subsequent recovery period, my priorities have been focused elsewhere. I must recover, and work hard to do so. I have been consistent and will have to be diligent with this for the rest of my running life. I do not want this to happen again. It is driving me nuts having to take it easy and not be able to just get out there and run.
I have a race tomorrow that I had to downgrade to  5k from the 10. Even if had been able to manage the full 10, I knew I wouldn’t be getting a pb on this one (my aim had I been uninjured) so this is, while disappointing, doable as my now current running distance. When I say it hurts, it’s an emotional hurt. I’m not running past the point where it gets that sharp pain, which is around the 4-5k mark. It’s been so long since 5k was my total it feels laughable if it weren’t so serious. It’s all about baby steps, and being careful.

My second marathon I have planned has now been registered for and flights booked. I checked that when I arrive the day before should I feel I cannot do the full I am able to downgrade for the half. This was important, as I would much rather say I had to downgrade and then finish a half than be foolish and attempt the full only to finish it with another DNF. More on this at a later date.

Until then, stay active and train carefully, Jen.

ITBS

I’ve learnt more in the last month than I did all last year about my body.
ITB. It’s a pain in the leg.

Firstly, I should have been doing strength exercises a long time ago. I do know this of course, I was just too lazy and didn’t realise the impact it would have on me.
I learnt the sore knee I’ve had on and off for a few years has been ITB in the making. As in, with everything I have and have not done this was bound to happen. It would niggle occasionally but not to the extent I was stopped completely.
My research has shown me how it happened and how I can fix it, which means I can work on prevention.

So how did it happen. Missing those pivotal long runs, and several short ones, in the lead up to the marathon was it. Lack of stretching and strength also played their own part. It would be like having only run ever 10kms and then deciding to run a marathon with no extra training. The leg, and in particular, the it-band is going to give way and say ‘no more’.

Late last year I had made the decision to add more strength workouts into my routine, for me and my running. Well, it came about a little too late. The damage was done and I was about to witness it in all its agonising glory.

Recovery for this has numerous parts.
No running, or very little and definitely no declines. Foam, or stick rolling my legs more. More stretching before (and after) runs and workouts. Strength workouts specifically for the ITB and hips. Taping the area. Last but not least a visit to the physio. All of this is fine, I need to go for advice (what to and not to do), then maybe occasional visits.
During my self-imposed break from running I have been doing the exercises and had three days of rock tape on my leg. Wow. While still sore in places in feels 100%. I know that running on it will have to be done in short bursts – I’ve managed to get up to 4kms before it hurts. Slowly slowly. The tape has been so good on my leg. I have found it supports and helps relieve the muscles to the extent I can move without it being too painful.

It’s driving me nuts, not running like I used to. I want to get out there and just run, my heart and head say ‘do it’, my body on the other hand (more specifically, my knee) says not today, give it a break. I know this is good for me, the rest and letting my knee heal and I try not to be impatient as I still have many years of running left in me. I will not let this be the end of me.

Keep active and look after yourself, Jen