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.

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And so the training begins

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here and so much has happened. Let me tell you the short version …

My physio has been an enormous help with some very good exercises – changing things slightly so I am comfortable with the action and seeing the desired good form and result. My squats have improved out of sight with her new technique. I’ve just seen her our third visit and she is pretty happy with me. There are still things to work on,  and I have a new exercise to do which is fine. After all these years of bad habits, they aren’t going to fix themselves overnight.  I know I am seeing results and feeling the difference all over, not just in my knee, after only six weeks.  To be running again this close after seeing her I am incredibly happy, with no pain now outside of the usual running ache I get (a completely different pain to that of the ITB).

Hubby comes home one day and says ‘..I’m doing the city to casino..I have to get my fitness back up and this is a good way to start…and I can help you with marathon training…’ Woohoo! Love him to bits ❤️.  The (marathon) training plan is ready to go and we can follow it through to race day – which is a planned 10k run 🏃- with runs that will ease us both into the distance.   I know hubby will be able to do it, he’s pretty fit – he can put me to shame with his 5k pace and with a little practice he’ll whip my butt. We’ve agreed that on the day it will be a run at our own pace with the aim to finish. If he gets into the zone and wants to surge ahead then he can go, I don’t want to feel like I am holding him back, and vice versa, I would like to look at a PB. I am so happy that he wants to do this (for both of us) and no matter what I am incredibly proud of him getting out there.

Between the first two physio visits I took the two weeks off running completely.  Tried a small one two days post visit and it hurt like the bejeezers so took the rest of the time off. My second visit gave me new exercises and the permission to walk if I need to during a run.  In this last few weeks I’ve done several runs, two stair climbs and continued my strength and stretches. I feel good, albeit somewhat unfit. I will improve over the next few weeks. Speaking of improvement, my diet needs serious work.  I haven’t been as disciplined with this like I should be, between not running and eating larger portions (plus a bit too much chocolate) it’s not good for the waistline. I will work on it, I have to if I’m going to be in peak (ish, for me) condition and be able to improve on my current results. The books will come out and a healthier plan put into place that the whole family can eat also. There is no reason for hubby and I to eat too much differently to the kids. Breakfast is my main issue, I am up early and don’t like to eat too much at 6am, I then do a full-on 2+ hours of work and by the time I’m finished with that I am starving. Two small breakfasts would be ideal, I just have to find the right combination so I’m not eating too much.

As mentioned above, the marathon training plan is in place. It started on Tuesday with a 5k jog which was perfect for post physio. I have written it up onto the white board so everyone knows what’s happening. If hubby is on nights and there is a run he will be able to do his bit during the day (if he so wishes) while I’m at work.  My long Sunday runs will need to be changed around from the last plan as hubby’s roster is different. Some weeks will be morning runs, others will be afternoon ones. Be organised is the key for this one.

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My strength and stretching routine this fortnight has been a little hit and miss though one thing I’m really embracing (and it seems to be working) is my foam roller. Doing the sides and fronts of my legs hurts yet feels so good afterwards. I’m concentrating on form over repetitions for strength movements and this is working. My push-ups are also becoming easier. Real push ups people, not the knee version.

Til next time, train strong and stay safe, jennifer

 

 

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.

You, my friend, are a marathoner.

Warning: looong post marathon recap.


I’ve written before about what goes into training for a marathon or any race. A lot of hard work, determination and commitment. Early morning starts, long runs, new diet and learning how to fuel during your runs. Gaining  new kind of mental strength. Sticking to your guns. And lots of running. Like, lots and lots of running.

Pre-race

It was back in January sometime I think when I first decided to do this marathon. Back then it seemed like a pipe dream, it was so far away. Then came June and July with one last race before I knuckled down and got serious about my marathon training. I followed a plan which was great. It made me accountable and made sure I was getting the right amount of miles in (even though we are metric, it doesn’t sound quite right saying getting the kilometres in, so miles it is). Doing the job I needed to do. I used to run all the time, when I could, with no real idea of training plans, but this time I resisted the urge and gave the control over to someone else, well, my phone, but you get the drift. And I feel it worked. One thing I could have done differently was do more strength training, but hindsight is a wonderful thing, so we learn and move forward.

The week of the race was nerve-wracking for me, people at work were sick and I was worried I’d come down with something. I was also really tired and had no real energy to speak of. I wanted to run, but didn’t want to wear my self out. I was making out lists in my head of what I needed to take with me, cover all bases and circumstances. We were driving nearly 3 hours away so there was no time to say ‘can you pop home and grab something’ midway through the race.

The night before I was fairly relaxed, almost too much so, or so I felt at the time. Chilled out with a movie and pizza as per usual. The plan is not to eat differently so I didn’t, only to say that I didn’t eat as much.

My only worry  about the race itself, was if I needed to poop somewhere along the route.  I usually have had to on my long runs so was nervous about that rearing its ugly head. Pee, well, I’d deal with wet pants if I had to. I had packed my bag and had food items in the fridge ready to go. My bag had a full change of clothes, cream for my feet, ugg boots, lollies and Father’s Day presents for my husband (great day to have a race and make it all about me).

Race day arrives

Considering what usually happens before a race I got a decent 5 hours sleep before a 3am alarm got us all up and about. I had taken advantage of several extra good sleeps during the week to make sure I was properly rested as well as getting in the extra hydration.

The drive to Ross was uneventful with only one pit stop along the way after a 4.30 coffee. I also had a banana. This is not my usual pre race thing, but the time and distance meant it would be OK for digestion and the toilet.  We arrived with plenty of time to collect my bib and wander around before the other runners started to appear. I have this thing about being early and making sure I have everything organised. Especially if I have not done it before. For me it’s the one thing I can control (to a certain extent) in a predominately uncontrollable environment.

As it got closer to race start time I got my gear ready – the warm up jacket came off and hydration vest, sunnies and cap on. Made sure my ear buds were turned on, tracking apps and music at the ready. I wasn’t feeling particularly nervous at this point, more excited than anything. This was like a dream me true and I was ready for it. The pre run photo shows this I think.  The group was small with less than 100 runners all up for the marathon. And 18 of those were us women.

As the bell went for start I pressed all the right buttons on the phone, started a slow jog towards the incline heading out-of-town and waving at my husband with the camera.  It was then getting into my head space and making sure I didn’t head out too fast. One thing I have learnt is that I tend to start quick and then peter out. I wanted to make sure this didn’t happen as with 40+ kms to go it wouldn’t be good.

The route takes you several kms out-of-town down a long semi winding road before back tracking, a sharp right then left turn at the 8km mark and you hit the only hill to start the loop around the back-end of town.  The last part takes you down Main Street and rounding the corner to the start/finish line and heading out again.  The first time you do the hill, it’s not too bad, but by the third and fourth it has become a mountain and a nemesis. While I certainly felt that way, it wasn’t so much a nemesis for me as an opportunity to take a walk break and catch my breath. Basically a 10.5km loop you repeat four times. Boring as batshit and mentally hard.

I made good time for my first and second laps, with the clock telling me I was right on time. My hydration was spot on, Tailwind is my new best friend and I don’t know how I would have survived if I didn’t invest in a camelbak for long runs. While I had lollies in my vest they had loads of them at each drink station and I took advantage. Just a couple to keep my spirits up, and a drink of water at two of the stations for a different kind of fluid. This worked amazingly well. While the tailwind kept me going, the plain water was perfect for a splash on the face and refreshing the body, and hydration purposes.

By the I was at about 14kms the 10k and half runners had started and I passed the biggest group along one of the windiest stretches of road. As the 42ers were spread out by this time it was good to see more people on the road and I was able to wave at others I knew or knew of from runners groups on Facebook.

I finished my second lap feeling ok, but it was starting to get to me. Another 5k was starting to hit the wall. My feet were killing me and I was exhausted.  I pushed though. I wasn’t doing all this way to not finish, to fall in a heap.

Each lap I had done my kids and husband were there to high-five me and that gave me the much-needed boost I needed each time. The third lap was so much harder. The wind had picked up and constantly pushing against it was not just physically hard but mentally draining also. I had done half and had to push through another two times. As another runner said to me after the race, the monotony of the repetition is hard, and harder mentally on newbies. It is also incredibly boring. I just made through third lap and by then our eldest some had turned up and high-fived me, giving me the ‘one lap left mum’. While I know it was in support and much appreciated, I was feeling like he had just said I had to do a  whole lot more than just one. I grinned and said thanks and kept going. Feeling slower than a wet week, or a turtle stuck in peanut butter.

This is where the going got real tough. Where I had to dig deep to find that strength to keep moving. The strength to not curl up in a ball on the ground and cry. The strength to not call someone and say ‘come and get me’  There were tears, and moments of feeling sorry for myself, looking behind me and seeing no one. No one in front of me. Coming to the realisation I was last. Seeing the safety vehicles taking away the signage. The drink station ladies leaving in their cars. The sheer loneliness of running shuffling along this long winding road on your own. I found that inner strength. That mental toughness that helped me though my other long runs. I picked myself up and kept going. Even I was last, who cares. My first and main goal was to finish this thing. Cross the line at the end of a marathon. No matter what.

That stretch of road looked a hundred miles longer than it had been before and the return felt a hundred miles longer.

I rounded the turn point and walked to the drinks table and took one with me. Fished about for a lolly out of my pocket and kept the run shuffle going. And then I saw them. Three more women. All walking. And here I was thinking they were on their last lap the last time I had seen them. For a brief moment I felt some joy, I was not going to be last. It felt a little mean, but in all honestly, I think anyone would feel some joy at realising that.

Seeing those women put a little more bounce in my step and got my stubborn side revved up. I may not be last but I certainly wasn’t going to walk it either. The final time I hit the hill I pushed a fast walk, as fast as I could anyway and rang the bell at the top like no tomorrow.  If anyone was listening then they were going to know someone was there. One last drink station and then the  last 1500 meters.

Looking ahead I saw someone walking around a corner and as I got closer saw it was my husband. I had never been so happy to see him as I was right then, the tears started and I had to pull back, telling him he shouldn’t have. I’m glad he did as I may not have actually sped up, but I felt lighter and more eager than ever to finish it. He kept me going. He then gave me the news that I wasn’t going to make the cut off time when they opened the roads again. Which also meant I wasn’t going to make my second goal. A sub 5 hours. I had 4 minutes to do a mile and even in my revved up state it wasn’t going to happen. Pessimistic? no, just realistic.

Rounding the last corner and heading down Main Street our youngest was there and started the jog with us. I felt so proud to have them there with me.  Along the route several other runners who had finished the full waved and gave thumbs up, calling out ‘well done’ and ‘good job’, an acknowledgment of what we had all done and that I was still doing mine. As we reached the street end the finish chute was in sight my two elder boys were there and I said ‘come one..’ As they followed me in as I found a teeny bit of speed and pushed for the finish line. I was so proud and tired and utterly exhausted but still heard the lady say ‘look a that smile’ as I came towards them.

Time for recover

Crossing the line I stand long enough to hand in my timing chip and receive my medal. Oh medal, how I love thee… And then collapse on the grass .  This didn’t last long, and hubby gave me hand to get up, believe me I was not able to do it on my own. Gingerly I walked back to the car with my boys, amid them making jokes about tripping me over and the fact I wouldn’t be able to get back up. I laughed at them and was mock angry saying I’d soon chase them down. Nothing was a nicer sight than my post run jacket and chocolate shake. A vague attempt at calf stretches and then chilling out before  we started the trip back home. Finishing at 1pm it was nearly 2 by the time we left. I nibbled on my banana and peanut butter sandwiches, drinking a diluted bottle of tailwind water.

An hour from home we stopped for snacks, and I was surprised that #eatallthefood hadn’t kicked in yet. My feet by this time were slowly killing me in my sneakers so I asked for my ugg boots. Ah the bliss of soft woolly feet. I wasn’t at all surprised by the looks I got but I was so far from caring it didn’t bother me – Ugg boots, stripy calf sleeves, shorts and hooded jacket. I tell you, I owned it.

Getting home and out of sweaty gear never felt as good as it did that day. A long hot shower fixed me and we walked (I hobbled) down the road to find pizza for dinner. That was not to be, so toasted sandwiches, ice cream and a movie instead before early to bed for all.  While I slept well that night, it was each time I woke to roll over I had to grip the bed to help me, and the covers felt like ton weights on my body. I slept in, feeling like a brick trying to move when I got up the next day. Then it hit me. While I ached and my legs were sore, I simply could not walk. My heels had decided to kick in and were in excruciating pain. Even my toes complained. I somehow managed a coffee and some water, before the head spins, fainting feeling and vomit in the throat pushed me back to bed for another hour.

Struggling into the shower and dressing before my husband came home, I finally got the munchies. Toast, chips, biscuits. If it wasn’t nailed down I ate it. We took a walk and had coffee. And chips, and cake. At home for dinner, it was enormous hamburgers and cake and ice cream. Another coffee, and more water. Finally I was sated. My body refueled. Note to self here: it’s time to pull back on the food, to get ready for more training and less of eating everything in sight.

A week of stretching and my body feels awesome and strong again. Thank god for having a physical job, it kept my body moving and not seizing up sitting at a desk.

A short (3km?) slow, naked (no music, tracking etc) run yesterday to get me back into it and my heels, toes and backs of my knees really felt it. Overall, feeling great!

And I’m ready to go again. Some people say once they’ve done one that’s it, don’t need to go again, well I think I’ve got the bug and it’s on again. Three days post run and I said I’ll go back to where it all started this year. Cadbury marathon. To do the full.  A funny thing with that is before I have even registered for the January run I have tickets booked (thanks cheerleader husband) for GCAM* (my third marathon) in July.

Hands down, my amazing beautiful family aside, it is the best thing I have achieved so far.

Happy running, Jennifer x

Finishing photo. The feeling you have when you have full support of your family.
Finishing photo. The feeling you have when you have full support of your family.

 

*GCAM – Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Queensland.

The title for this post came from an acquaintance on a Facebook running page as the comment to my ‘I’ve done it, I’ve run a marathon’ post I put up. It brought tears to my eyes, and is the perfect title for this.

Post workout recovery – what I choose to do.

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If there’s one thing I’ve learnt through long runs and marathon training, it’s how I like to recover after a long run. Short runs, like a five or ten k requires a slightly vastly different routine than that of a 20+ km run. Not having the time to do my usual recovery session recently, I realised what I like to do and how my body works.

A short run requires light stretching, a protein shake and I’m good to go. Nothing more than that.

A long run works the body and mind in a deeper, harder way, so need a more intense variety of recovery.

I like to take my time and let my body cool down, relax. Then refuel and refreshen.  From a long run it takes up to 2 hours before I eat properly and at least another hour after that before I have the energy to do more than be a couch potato. I let my body relax, and I have learnt to make sure I do it properly.

I know what I am like if I don’t recover properly, headaches prevail and general grumpiness. Not nice for anyone in the direct vicinity. Myself either. I dislike how it feels. I may not always like the pain on a long run but I do love the feeling I have after.

My routine goes something like this.

Finish my run. Spend ten minutes chilling, walking and letting my body relax. Let the shakes in my legs calm down.  Make a protein shake. Stretch and drink. Eat a banana. Chill out a bit more. Drink water. Shower. And somewhere around 1 1/2 – 2 hours post run I am ready to eat properly.

This was really put to the test when I did my 25km run. What I thought would be an ‘easy’ run was a lot harder than I thought, and my post run routine was stretched to its limits. I passed, but not without more aches and pain than I wanted.

The week after when I had my 30km I also had another little helper. Proper fuel in my camelbak. Water is great and definitely required but on long runs you need to do more than just hydrate. Replacing the salts you lose are important and help the body to keep moving. Tailwind is my new best friend. While I didn’t drink all 2 litres of it, I was so much better off afterwards. Less tired, more energy, and no headaches.  I will be using this on my marathon and any time I do more than 15kms. If it works I’m going to use it.

I had to explain my recovery routine to my husband prior to my 30k. I’d said that I would be up and out the door at 5am, allowing four hours to do the run. He then said, but that’s only mid morning. And so I explained what I do and the time frame it takes up. He seemed to understand then why I was happy to get up that early on my day off. I will be up that early if it means I have more time to do other things later. (Even if that day it was veg out on the couch and watch a movie or two and eat all the food I could stuff in my mouth).

My recovery session after my marathon this weekend may be slightly different again, but hopefully as much the same as usual. It’s a 2 1/2-3 hour drive from home and I have my family with me as my support crew (plus its Father’s Day here), and it’s a race which means meeting up with friends (more like running acquaintances) and being around the general atmosphere of race day. Then the drive home. At least I won’t have to drive at all.

recovery is important no matter what distance you run, or how hard you do it. Fuel, hydration, rest and stretching.

Now I must head off and make up my list of what I need to take with me, I can’t be forgetting the important things. Especially not with a 3am get up on the day.

Happy running and safe recovery.

Jennifer

 

 

The sub 60 challenge.

The sub run. No,not to subway, but the running of a distance below a certain time frame. Most people when they start running eventually getting point where they want to aim for a sub 30 5k or a sub 60 10k. While I know I can do the former, it is the latter I have been more interested in. Five km for me is a warm up,a run to do so I feel ‘like I’ve done something when I’m feeling lazy’ kind of thing. After only 12 short months I am definitely in the minimum of 10km distances. The best man can do five km a good five minutes quicker than me and still have room for a sprint at the end. Me, I’ve always been good at holding the pace for distance. Over the last six months I have run several 10km races and my goal was to get that elusive sub 60 mins. I have been so close several times, and have done it once or twice over a longer distance, but for me it has to be official. I feel that once I’ve done it, and it’s in writing so to speak, then I can move on to the next thing. This is not saying I will never be happy and there is always something else round the corner, it is about stretching myself, adjusting the dream, while still being proud of where I have come from and what I have achieved. Even right now, as I type this, I am pretty happy with my results to this point.

Part of my marathon training called for a 10km slow run on Sunday just gone. Well, it just so happened that it coincided with a local fun run….yep, you guessed it, a ten kay-er. It didn’t take much to say “bugger the plan, I’m going for the sub 60”. And speed is good to practice also. While I am not speedy by some standards, it was fast for me.
My plan after I arrived was to identify the 60 min runner and stick with him the whole way til the last kilometre and then pop ahead to finish under the hour.
We all know how “the best laid plans…” work out. Well mine did. I went out strong and got ahead of the pacer. Actually I went out too quick and got ahead of the pacer. For most of the race I was pretty well in the middle of the 55 and 60 min pacers, I considered this good, I could place quite well.
The last couple of k’s were hard, the result of going too hard too fast too soon, and I slowed down probably more than I wanted too. Either way, I still finished strong, as I like to, and was about a minute ahead of the pacer.
Then, typically, I forgot to turn off my tracking so it clocked my run at 1.01 with a very slow last 300m.

I was still pretty sure at this point that I had done it, but when I saw the preliminary results I was super happy. I may have had less than 60 seconds to spare but a sub 60 is a sub 60 no matter whether there is 1 second left on the clock or otherwise. And I am really proud of myself. Now, I don’t mind what I do. So long as my longer distances are consistent then I am happy. I can cross one more thing of my list.
My stats for the race are:
Place: 164/196
Gender place: 60/84
Time: 59.14!

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And in other news I am now officially registered for the Point to Pinnacle in November. 21km of pure hill climb through some of the best scenery we have to offer. And spaces are limited to 3000. Scary stuff.

Marathon training back up and running!

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Training for a marathon is hard work. It takes a lot of hard work. Dedication. Commitment. Resilience. I have all of these, just not always and not all at the same time when I probably should have. Like now, when I’m in marathon training mode.  My lack of any decent running over the last few weeks is due to the pain in the butt that is moving house. And working full time.  Not having one iota of energy to even think about running.  This move took everything we had, yet even though I was not running I didn’t get that sludgy feeling I normally do. That feeling of losing fitness and becoming a slug. I have felt pretty good physically through all of that, so when I started again last week with a few treadmill runs I knew I would be alright.

As I have said before I have the Asics running plan to help me keep on track and so far it is doing its job. I tend to run a bit faster than it wants me to, despite feeling at those moments that I couldn’t go slower if I walked. I am doing alright.  I’m figuring the plan has been worked out on flat runs not hills, so on my hill climbs tell it I’m going slower.  I like hills, and I hate hills. Hills are good to help with strength and a different kind of endurance. They also kill my knees.

I wrote up my training plan on a big white board and its in the corner of our lounge/gym where it’s easy to read for everyone. Crossing off each day and updating both my running apps* gives me some satisfaction. It also makes it easy so if anyone wants to plan something they know what I should be doing and when.

*my phone had a bit of a hiccup so has been sent away. What I got as a replacement was a dinosaur so my runs have to be tracked by car for distance before I can run them. So it’s an update of apps and not a ‘stop tracking and save’ motion. This may mean my runs are slightly off for a week or two. I’m not worried, i am still doing it.

My eating plan has been ok, smaller serves and less giving in to temptations. Control is the key.  I’m not sure if my body has changed that much or it’s an illusion, but I do feel leaner. It’s a good feeling.

During the week my runs were pretty good, I was feeling it during and after, even though my mid length run was slower than I wanted. I was a bit worried during that run as it got dark a lot quicker than I was expecting so had to finish in the dark not being totally visible.  Next time, (so this week), it will be reflectors and head lamp. Hopefully with a little running beanie I’ve ordered.  I’ve found that while the head lamp is great (this morning’s run proved that) it doesn’t fit so well over my cap. So I wore my cap backwards so the lamp was in the right place. Felt a bit weird but you know what, I’d rather look silly and be visible than the alternative.

Why would I wear a cap when it’s dark? Well for many reasons. When I started running I found that I really disliked my hair bouncing around (yes, even with short hair) and if I wasn’t wearing my sunnies the glare would hurt my eyes. So a cap became a part of my outfit. Now, I don’t go anywhere without it, if it’s raining, it will also keep the rain at bay somewhat. That and clear glasses. Good for cold/wet/dark so I can still see (cold makes the eyes water like you wouldn’t believe).

While I’m on the subject, what else do I have in my outfit range… my pink light as a feather all purpose Asics jacket (in a fluro-ish pink, so my perfect colour and highly visible as well!). It keeps the cold at bay, the rain and the wind. And because it’s so light I don’t get hot while wearing it. It is incredible!

Then there’s the asics high vis vest I bought for the same reason. Night time visibility. Not only its it in that gorgeous green it has pockets galore for all the little things you need plus the back is a pocket to hold a camelbak. Ooops, I may have just picked one up yesterday to use for my longer runs… for anything over 20km my hydration belt just doesn’t cut it.

I tested it out this morning. Very comfortable to run with. Cold on my back a bit, though the weather wouldn’t have helped with that, it didn’t bounce around and was easy to use.
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Cold hands have been an issue, so with any length run if it’s cold enough, my Nike running gloves with padded fingers for smart phone easy access are the bomb. Comfortable as, and my hands didn’t get too hot like I thought they would. I run hot so each of these things could be an issue. With this cold weather I and finding that extra layer is awfully good.

Another lovely find is my asics long sleep top. Thumb holes so it covers the hands a bit, and a fluro high vis section across the upper back. Super comfy and again, not too hot.

Most of my running gear has been Kmart, Big W, Michelle Bridges, Target, you know, the cheaper items and not full on brand names. There are items though that I will spend on and ‘get what I pay for’. Quality and durability.  I do like Asics, big fan here.

Wow, that was a bit of a digression there. From training plans to my outfits. Ah well. Running is the most expensive free sport .

Back to the training. I am loving it, more so when summer kicks in and daylight savings is back.  Longer evenings after work, lighter earlier in the morning. There is that certain freedom in running, and even in training mode I am still enjoying it. Only way to go really. I have to work hard, I have to push through the ‘it’s going to be cold on the weekend’ comments that I hear everyday at work.

My mid week runs are short, 5 and 10k, with the long run on a Sunday. Perfect as Sunday’s were my usual long run day anyway. My long runs up to race week are 10 (handy as I’m doing a 10k fun run on this day, sub 60 is the plan), 21, 25, 30 then 14 the week before race day. My only issue is only getting to the 30k mark and not having tried the full kahuna before the actual day. For my half marathon I ran it at least twice that I can remember so I know that I could actually do it. I spose I should trust myself, my training and the race day high to get me through. I’ve heard it’s a flat course so hopefully will make it ‘easier’. Of course running 42.2 km isn’t easy by anyone’s measure, but hills certainly make it more challenging.

I will keep plugging along, doing the work, stretching and light weight workouts on my rest days. Having a plan has been good for me. I think I said it once before somewhere. Leaving the planning to someone else and doing what I’m told has been good. I’m not feeling guilty because I think I should be running, because I know I will get the run in when I am meant to. Before, I used to be push push push, run run run, all the time, with a ‘gotta go for a run or I’ll lose it all’ mentality. Oh how I’ve grown up, if just a little bit.

Marathon (#1) training has started

After a four-week hiatus due to my own silly expectations and burning myself out with races I am back into it. And while it was nice to let my body rest, I also felt the sludge creeping back in which made me feel worse about not running.  So I bit the bullet and did it. Jumped on the tready for a quick 3km warm up and in that 20 mins I was invigorated to keep it going.

I then race registrations.
And paid for it.
There is no backing out now.
I am officially registered for the Ross marathon.
42.2kms.
4+ hours running.

Off to the store I go and find the Asics training app to help keep me motivated and in the zone to get my speed, and distance just right.

I’ve done three 7km runs so far with a supposed 12 day break then straight into a 10K.  Really. I don’t think so. My plan is to fill those rest days with targeted strength training and other short/med/long runs, while keeping enough rest days as just that. Rest days.

There are about 12 weeks til race day so I will be working pretty hard, especially as over the next 3 weeks I am moving house. From then on, I can do early morning or evening runs as I will be 2 mins away from work as compared to 30.

I have one race between now and then, a ten km locally which will be good practice. At 5 weeks away it will give me a chance to improve and work on several problem areas.
I am feeling optimistic, which is fair given its early days. I dare say when there is only a few weeks left the nerves will start to kick in.
I’m optimistic about my skill, my ability to do it. I can this.
I’m optimistic also about the time and finishing.  My training will be mainly hilly  and I’ve heard the course is pretty flat. So incline training to finish a flatter course strongly (I’m not going to even think about negative splits, that will be a bonus).

I have also decided to relinquish my need for running to the app and just do what it says. Aside of course from a12 day break. But if it says do 12kms, I will do 12 kms.
I’m ready for this.
This is my year for running.
This is my year to really discover me, and what I am capable of.
This is my year to follow my dreams, to work on interstate races, to decide my distance preference.
And you know what I say…?

Bring it on!!

My goals for the marathon.
To finish.
To finish under 5hrs.
To finish around the 4.30hrs mark.

I also know that by the time I get there I will be the fittest I have ever been and stronger than ever.

Work hard, enjoy the journey, reap the rewards.
Jennifer

Supplements and inside vs outside running….

Supplements. Ah, that dreaded word. You either love them or hate them. You live by them or can’t be arsed. You’re addicted to them or have no wish to try them.  No matter what side of the fence you sit on, we all have a perception of them and where they live within our own moral exercise ground.
I have always been of the ‘no way in hell’ camp. Until my husband bought a weight loss powder for me (and him) and some kind of muscle builder one for him.
I have to admit I’ve become kind of addicted to the weight loss one, not for the weight loss reason, but because it tastes so damn good.
I will also admit, that is the only thing I take to help with my weight loss/fitness journey. Protein shakes, muscle builders and the like are not on my radar. My work keeps my arms reasonably toned, as does my running. And the rest is all about fitness now I’m at my goal weight.
Hubby is using the muscle builder one to help him out while he gets started in the gym, loses weight (he is doing so well, having changed so many things recently, it is really noticeable!). He will stop once he gets to a point where he feels comfortable with using the gym only.
And that is the sort of control we all need. Being able to use a product for only as long as it serves its purpose, until we can stand on our own two feet and manage things ourselves (Like anything I spose).And that’s all I want to say on that subject. Mainly because supplements are not in our everyday radar and we don’t want them to be. I always said if I can’t lose weight the old-fashioned way of hard work and dedication then there is no hope for me. In this case there is a glimmer of hope for me as I did 90% of it on my own, the rest was starting a 70hr/week job with little time to snack and nibble.
Each to their own I say. I don’t judge.

Now this next one I have slightly more to talk about.
Inside vs outside training, running, sport.

Back in high school I was a runner. And although my distance was no longer than the ubiquitous 1500m, I loved it. That and cross-country.
Fast forward many years and I decide on a whim to enter the Mother’s Day classic and run 8km.  After having done no exercise at all for years.
So I hit the gym and work on a few things, lots of treadmill running and very little road running. My goal was to do it in less than an hour.
First up, I did that. Secondly, I was badly prepared and it showed. In the first 500 metres. I was stuffed just going around the athletics field and up the short sharp hill to get onto the road. Omg, I wondered then and there what I had gotten myself into to. I settled into my own rhythm soon enough, having to deal with the fact mothers and prams were overtaking me.
Treadmill running is fine so long as you don’t just stay on the one speed and incline. You still have to challenge yourself and that’s what I didn’t do. Running on the bitumen is quite different, and a whole lot harder than the treadmill.
A few years later I start running again, more seriously, and outside. There is something so fulfilling about getting out in the fresh air (where you can outside of the city) and just running. Natural hills and dips work you in a way a treadmill just doesn’t know how. Sure the speed is good, and you can make a steady go at it, but being outside means more challenges to keep up the pace, push to actually run up the hill and not walk.  One thing I have learnt is that “you don’t learn to run up a hill by walking it” And it’s true. If you don’t challenge yourself then nothing will change. And I try this every time I go out now. Even if it’s a barely moving shuffle type of run I am not walking and I do not stop.  This is not an option on the treadmill, it is way easier to press the buttons.  Running outside give you the inspiration to want to run, to want to keep going, the make the most of the journey, and knowing the destination.
Right now I am just doing treadmill work (20-30 mins worth, not even full 5kms) and hanging out for daylight savings when I can get outside again. Really push myself, going further along the road, heading north, heading south. Anywhere, just running. Being out in the air.
My goal this and next year is to compete in a 10k, half and marathon.  The first step to doing that is looking for them, and then biting the bullet and registering. This at least makes me accountable to setting a goal and achieving it.

At the end of the day, which ever method you use for running is your decision. It depend on what you want to achieve with your exercise. If it’s simply for weight loss and basic exercise, then the treadmill is fine, no different really to walking along the road. If it’s competition and bigger goals then road running for sure (or trails if that’s what you like) and mixing up the treadmill for other types of training. I know I’m happy with both, my preference is the outside life.

Keep running, stay crazy and have fun!

 

 

Times, goals and running underwear

:We’ll leave the underwear for a minute, it’s nothing raunchy or visual. Just a few thoughts and what I wear, having come about after reading a few articles out there.

I was looking through my phone notebook the other day and came across a note from back in August last year (2014). I had done lots of 5k walks and after feeling it was too slow, started running it. Compared to now that first time was pretty slow, but I was super happy with it. I then stated my next goal – how fast I wanted to go. I have since beaten that time a lot in less than 12 months.
My goal back then for the 5.8 and 3.4 were pretty lofty. I thought they were almost unattainable. Ha, if only I had known how much I would come to love and rely on running to keep me feeling good, along with the head clearing effect it has I would have reached higher. That is the good thing about hindsight, or growing stronger. I can now change those goals, knowing where I have come from and not just what I can do but where I have come from.  No pressure on where I can go if I can look back on not just my times, but my body and see where I have been.
The time for that first run…39:59. I thought it was super fast and my goal was to hit the 35 min mark. Seems a long time ago when I’m now running it in 30 at home and have got down to 28mins at my local Park Run.
I also do a bit of a tiny run, 3.4k. The first timed run there was 23:05. Not bad. My goal was 20mins, and while I have been oh so close to breaking it I am not so worried about that now as I want to pursue the distance factor. So 3.4 is like a warm-up almost now.

Distance has become my thing, and I want to be running not much less than 5k at any time I go out. I’m aiming to get consistent times in the 10 and pushing onwards to the 15 and 20.  I’m laughing at myself here as I am now eager to build up and do a marathon.  How things change. I remember in the not so distance past I told a friend that running a half or more was not my thing and takes a lot of dedication, motivation and strength. Total commitment.  See, laughing here, as I so want to do it. Five kilometres.. pfft, takes nothing to do. Pushing myself to do more, be more.  Friends are awesome!
My first 10k was a healthy time of 1:11. I wasn’t too fussed about the time, it was more of a test to see that I could do it, and what sort of time to aim for. To say I was happy with that is an understatement. I have done 4 in total and my quickest time was 1:03. I am not wanting to go much quicker really, if I can keep up a good pace and keep an average of 10K/hour I will be happy.
I was told that if I can do 5k in less than 30 then I can easily do 10 in an hour. Sure, but you have to remember one is distance, the other can be almost a sprint for some. The double distance changes how you run and how you pace. I’ve noticed that with my long runs. It is a completely different way of running. If I can do ten I know I can do 15 and 20. I have to up the distance steadily. Doing a half marathon in 2:30 is my goal, and I know when and where I will be doing it.

Goals are dreams and if we don’t have them, we wont change and grow and improve. And who wants to be stuck in the one place all the time. Not me.

 

Underwear… hmm.  I’m not large chested but I tell you, if I run in a normal bra then the girls hurt like you wouldn’t believe.  If you are large breasted then you know this pain from general activities.  Aside from good runners the biggest investment a woman can make for running is her bra. A sports bra designed for the activity you’re doing and costs both your boobs will be the best thing you buy.  Make sure you get properly fitted (like you should for any bra!) When I bought mine, I was asked what sort of activity I would be doing. Net and basket-ballers need something different again due to the stop start movements they do. Mine cost around $70 and I will definitely be getting at least one more. Super comfortable and keep the girls looking good outside of running.  Even though it feels like I’m pancaked, pictures show otherwise. Either way, I don’t care if I look flat chested, if my boobs don’t hurt then I am happy.

Knickers…wedgie material. And there’s nothing easy about pulling out a wedgie when you run. And like most women, our knickers are meant to look good when standing still not running, or walking or hell, even sitting. They ride up are arse and get quite uncomfortable. Running is no different. Grandma undies included. Even when you’re wearing skin-tight pants knickers move. I read some article about this and one woman stated she wore a G-string, or thong.  It would keep most of the sweat at bay, and meant there was no need for fidgeting with her skins. The first time I tried this it felt a little weird, then it become a kind of freedom. Your bum is going to jiggle when you run no matter your undies, so wearing none makes no difference really.  I just have to find the most comfortable wide waited g-string I can now. Wide waisted?? Yes, I had a pair of Elle McPherson ones years ago with a great waist band and they were the most comfy thong thing I had ever worn.  My fancy ones don’t quite cut it really.

Socks are whatever rows your boat. I wear bonds ankle sports socks from Big W. Cheap, comfy and not too hot.

This will go to publish and I shall change and head off on another 10k. After yesterday’s, not sure how I’ll go, doing a different route so shouldn’t be too bad.

Happy running, Jen