Ross 2017 – 21.1km

After a rocky training schedule I started race day with one thing in mind. Finish the race.

During my interrupted training I knew I was good for the distance so decided to continue as I could with whatever strength and stretching routines I could muster up.

On the day I drove to Ross with a friend and we arrived early enough to pic up bibs, take a walk, stretch and make the copious toilet stops before the start. I was feeling good and had made the last minute decision to run naked – no hydration. The weather was looking ok, not much sun, dark clouds promising rain and the usual Ross wind.

As we started off I made sure to keep my pace slow, purposely bringing it back down. One of my many running faults is to start out too quick and then die in the back half. I didn’t want that to happen this time.
The first drink station is around the 4-5km mark and by then I was ready for some fluids. And a lolly or two. Imagine my horror when I see no lolly bowls at the ready. Nothing, nada, zip. Oh well, they might be at the next one. Nope, no such luck.

Walking through with my drink I sipped a bit then continued on. The infamous Ross headwind started just past the tree lined part on a long 3km section of open road and that set the mood for the rest of the run. Tough.
Ironically, it was this section of the road on the way out I started my music with the first song being ‘Road to Nowhere’ from the Talking Heads.

I pushed along the long and lonely road, by this time I was pretty well on my own. A few half and full marathon runners passed me. As I got closer to the turn for That Hill there was a little congestion but nothing too bad. Eyeing off the hill for the first time in 12 months was weird. Knowing I only needed to do it twice gave me comfort, as did the size of it, I had remembered it as something that resembled Everest (or for Tasmanians, Mount Wellington). I powered up it and got close to half way before the steep kicked in and I shuffle/walked the rest. Near the top I picked up the pace and continued on down the other side.

The rest of the run went smoothly, walked through the drink stations, sipping then emptying the rest over my head, and moving along, doing an occasional walk as I felt it.

At 17kms I was feeling good, running alongside another RMA and checking my watch saw that if I kept the current pace I could get a pb. Woohoo! I was still aiming to finish so just kept moving. A  friend was approaching on her second lap and I ran in front of her attempting a couple of jumps. We high fived and continued on. Boy, that wore me out, I shouldn’t do that again mid-race. Walked most of the hill and kept on moving.

The last turn was in sight and my watch said I was going to get a good time. Pushing on, looking at the mantra on my shoes – Finish Strong – and ploughed down Main Street. A surprise, and awesome support, came from car on the side  door opens and a voice calls out “Go Jennifer!!” I look around, wave and grin like a Cheshire, then pushed on harder. The little things, running side by side not talking, a shout out from a car, high fiving friends, saying ‘good luck’ ‘well done’ ‘keep it up’ are all welcome as it gives a boost we may not realise we need.

I approach the last corner and check my watch – omg! – vere to the right as I hit the finishing chute, grabbing the pb bell and giving it a good ring.

This race was one of my best. For numerous reasons. I wanted to finish, I wasn’t fully worried about a pb (always good, but now, not essential) and feeling stronger due to my regular strength workouts.

Beating even my wildest dreams for this (or any) race and gaining two personal bests over two consecutive years at the same Race location. First my marathon, now the half – wonder if I could make it a trifecta when I return to do the ten k next year?

A huge smile and absolute relief. Finished 21.1km in 2.16.58.
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We started the half as the clocked ticked over 1.30 from the full marathon start.

Train well, train with fun and keep working on being the best version of you, Jennifer

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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

Hobart 19/2/17

Sunday woke with clouds and crisp air. Drowsily my feet hit the floor and I stumbled around trying to wake up. At the same time I’m trying not to be so awake, the nerves had started already. You know the feeling, you’re awake but trying to be asleep still. It’s a weird way to describe it, but if you know it, you understand.
Taping my leg I dressed, deciding on the tank top as it wasn’t raining. Good choice there, it warmed up considerably later on.
We made good time to the city, arriving with enough time to chill before hubby had to leave due to road closures. The race precinct was initially slow, and still chilly.  After all we were right near the water. Now normally I would have my jacket until the last minute and it would go in the bag drop bus, but seeing as hubby was meeting me at the finish line I gave it to him and had to deal with the resultant goosebumps for an hour. I did plenty of stretches to keep warm, and because now more than ever, it is important to keep my muscles stretched and warm.
Two toilet breaks down and with under 10mins to go we herded around the start line, nervously chatting, taking selfies and finding the pacer we wanted to keep within sight. The chit chat changes dramatically when you are in the starting bay, a whole new level of excitement and nervousness.
I know I have trouble with technology sometimes but this morning really took the cake. I had somehow not saved the last run I did, so on trying to start a new one my watch kept turning off. A bit more practice is needed to get each button down pat without looking at it. The result is I have no record of today’s route.
Once we set off and climbed the short hill to get onto the highway and start the bridge incline. From the trip over the bridge it was a zig zag pace, with 1000 other runners to contend with and the kids who are all over the place. I did go a little fast down the other side but the knee felt good and I passed the 30min pacer. Figuring I could slow down a little I made the small adjustment and grabbed a drink to sip as we passed the station.
The next decline saw me pull up as another runner tapped my shoulder and said my shoelace was undone…bugger. Pulling up on the footpath to re-lace, I tried twice to do it quickly with no success. Slow it down and there it goes. Thirty seconds gone, and I did push a little harder as I headed off again.
We’re now at Davey street, heading around the back of Morrison street, across Constitution dock and into Salamanca. This is the last km and those around me started pulling away, I didn’t have the energy for a full on sprint so I increased my pace just a little.
Through the crowds cheering and calling out – this is an awesome feeling, especially when you see people you know – then around the cone and into the finishers chute.
The time board said 1.28 something so I’m hoping that means I finally got a sub 30. It was to be. Yay! Pulling up over the line and I grab my medal, ‘thank you very much, omg, it’s so heavy…’ and grab my Gatorade, free hat and a slice of watermelon.
And proceed to hunt out hubby. Where is he? One reason to keep my phone on me. I do my stretches while I wait, hoping he arrived back in time to see me finish.
A good ten minutes passes before I turn around and there he is. We just missed seeing each other in the crowd.
Hugs and pictures and can I put my jacket on now, I’m cold and we head off to coffee and breakfast.
The time is 9.30, I feel awesome and ready to get the rest of my day going.

Rhetorical question, but why did I wait so long to do strength exercises? Oh my god, it has helped so much in just a month. Not only do I feel stronger, but I feel faster (without trying) and fitter.
My knee was awesome. It niggled a little but no sharp pains, and it wasn’t stopping me from getting this done.

I know now I can register for the next 10k, a semi road-semi trail run than I did last year. Another time to beat. Or at the very least, simply finish.

Running with only a watch, with no phone… I love it. Theres a certain sense of freedom not having anything else on me. No music, no phone to worry about (the odd message or call from those who forget what I’m doing) which is cool, as I’ve been enjoying my runs without music. Another sense of freedom, leave it all behind, listen to nature, your footsteps, breathing…. I digress, oops. It’s an awesome feeling.
This is going to be a good year I can feel it.

My time was  awesome, with a mere 15 seconds between gun time and chip time.

Run strong and do your best, Jennifer.

My post injury workout

Now that I’m making running a regular thing, just another activity I do throughout the day I have a calendar on the wall that I fill with my dreams and aspirations – in between the other life I have to keep organised. I have it marked down as something else to cross off. I love it, and while this makes it seem like a chore, it’s the time factor (30-90+mins required for a run and stretching afterwards) to take into consideration.

Going from running or doing some form exercise each day to having a week off to recoup from an injury makes the re start tough going.  My calendar this week had 3 x 5+k, an 8 and a 10k with body routines on the between days.
Well that is going to the shits. Thursday I was involved in a bike accident and while only bruised wanted to rest my leg – I didn’t fancy the chance of a blood clot creeping around my body with the extra movements. Come Monday morning and I am itching to get out. My head is about to explode. My body feels sludgy and ugh after doing nothing. Like it’s been on holiday.
I need that run. I have to do it.
I could the change in my mood as soon as I put on my bra (a good sports bra is an absolute must no matter your cup size, girls) and pulled up my running pants. Adding the music and my favourite cap and it was all I needed.
I could feel the smile bubbling away inside.
Doing a few stretches, setting the timer and I’m out the door.
The feeling of elation lasted for, oh, the first kilometre.  My dicky knee screamed at me. ‘what the fuck are you doing? It’s been a week and this is how you treat me?’ Yeah, sorry about that, knee. And I know that I will be feeling it for a couple of days. Maybe the 8 and 10k will have to wait til the end of the week.
I pushed through and completed my 5.8 in 36 mins. Right on par really, even though it felt slow.  I can do it closer to the 30 min mark, but with my knee I wasn’t upset at all.

I know I should have taken it easier, done the 3.4k run after such a big break, but that burn, that feeling I get isn’t quite the same. The burn of a bad knee is a whole other concept, and one I have to pay to get taken away. Might have to make it a regular appointment.
I spose the point I’m trying to make is that no matter what the injury, always start back into your routine slowly.  There’s no need to be all gung-ho and launch yourself at it like a rocket. Your goals will still be there. Your time/speed will come back.  You will bounce back as your body recognises what is going on.. ‘oh, yeah, I remember this movement’. And your body will thank you in the long run.

I will be pushing it, but also being mindful of my own limitations at this time over the next week.

I had a goal on the MapMyRun website/app of getting in 40 miles over 4 weeks. I would have easily done it, including today’s run as I only had the equivalent of 10km to finish. I got to 90%.
I’m not making a goal for this month, May, as there are 7 full days where I wont have a chance of getting any running in at all. These days will have to include other full body exercises.

I’ll leave you with a little saying that is relevant for today and a picture of me post run.

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