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.

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Journey to the pinnacle

Taking on the mountain and succeeding was my goal.
One of my bucket list races.
It all started last year when I did it for the first time. In the pouring rain.  I was hooked, I knew I had going to do it again.
I would register each year until I conquered that 1252mt incline for 21.1kms.
Small problem: I don’t mix very well with hills or heat. Hill training has always been an issue for me. I struggle with activity when it’s too hot. Two of the tougher challenges I face.

My training and running throughout this year was hit and miss meaning I didn’t do as much as I’d liked to have. It wasn’t ideal, but sometimes that’s how life goes.
In the weeks leading up to race day I was conflicted on clothes and hydration, waiting until the last minute to make the final decision.
In 2016 it was all but snowing and we were soaked before we started.  This year, the threat of heat stroke was very real.
It was to be the second hottest day (30C) in the history of the race and this was another factor in my lack of running a good portion of the race.

One of the many things I have learnt a whole through this year’s running is pretty simple – Finish my race and have fun while doing it.
Finishing can mean limping across the line in tears of pain to sprinting the finishing chute with a grin spread wide across my face. But I digress slightly, this post is about the Point to Pinnacle.
Knowing that my training was off and the weather was likely to be pretty hot, my goal was easy – Get to the top and have fun along the way. It is also my last big race for the year and I wanted to make sure it went off with a bang!
I had my race kit set out with everything I’d need for what the day would throw at me.
Sunscreen for the morning before the start. Short arms and legs, calf sleeves to alleviate cramps, a light jacket in case the pinnacle was cool, cream for chaffing, tissue for loo emergencies (hopefully not), lollies and my double barrel hydration pack. This pack is the bomb, it looks a like a little rocket pack and I love it. It was perfect for the race.

Shortly after we started, around the third kilometre mark, I realised I wasn’t going to be running (or shuffling) much of the mountain. My body was heavy and ached, and the heat hit me, even at that early point.  But I was still going to have fun. At 6 kms in I thought I was out for the count. Feeling a little laggy I popped a lolly in and slowly chewed it. The feedback was instant, the sugar rush smacked me square in the head and made me feel nauseous. I had a sudden thought that this was it, I was going to be finishing the race right there. Like hell that was happening. I had come too far to pull out now.  More water and some of my tailwind and I pushed through. No more lollies for me.

The races here in Hobart are always really well organised, with plenty of volunteers, well stocked water stations and loads of support along the course – and this one didn’t disappoint. There was no pushing for drinks and I took drinks at each one along the way, trying out a Gatorade at the 14km mark, it was way too sweet for my liking so tossed it and grabbed another water.
Two places along the way had water hoses out and they were spraying participants as they passed – ahh bliss. Perfect refreshment for the body.
My hydration pack was set up so I had tailwind on one side and water on the other. That way I could douse myself with water to cool the body, refilling from stations as needed and still have my salty goodness to drink.

I had a fantastic time, smiling one way or another, at others or at the view for most of the run.
Two thirds of the way up I stopped to get a selfie and another runner offered to do it for me. I agreed and we had to laugh as the police on their bikes stopped so they weren’t photo bombing..
This was only the second time I stopped walking.
Power walking was my thing – woman on a mission was definitely what I was up to. The incline never let up. Sometimes it was seriously steep, other times just continuing ever upwards with no end in sight. Rising 1252 metres without any kind of plateaus is a relentless pain.
At 3kms to go I was so ready to stop, you could see the top, hear the voices from above and yet it seemed like it was so far away. The buses were already heading back down to the Casino start point with the early finishers, which made me more determined to get there.
Seeing the finishing line was one of the happiest moments of the race and I pushed forward. Finally I was crossing the line – not even bothering to attempt a jog or run, just grinning like a Cheshire. Tired but accomplished. Hot and sweaty and so so happy. I had made it.
The heat was extreme, the incline just kept on going I had never given up.
I had made it to the Pinnacle.
I may not have run it like I wanted, but by damn I was not going to take a leisurely stroll – I was going to work for it!
The catch phrase for the race is ‘how are you going to feel when you reach the top’ – bloody fantastic.
I’ve done it and I don’t need to do it again. I had a ball and my photos show it – both smiles and determination.
I was not injured or heat stroked.
I could do it again – and try to beat my time. A 3hr P2P run would be good. As would a sub 5hr marathon. And there is time for both of them to be achieved in the future.

The toughest race is ahead….

Yep, it’s that time of the year again. Point to Pinnacle is coming up in just over a week (not 4 days like I thought) and I’m starting to get those nervous feels. The everyday regular nerves that come before something big happens. Nerves that happen in various degrees before a race – the bigger the race (or the first timeI do a particular race) the bigger the nerves.
I’m pretty confident of my chances in making it to the top despite several hazards along the way this year.  I’ve had numerous injuries and my training has been all over the place.  My mojo has come and gone and I’ve had moments of ‘negative Nancy’ being all over me.  The distance is not the issue, it’s the incline that scares me.

Make it to the top!
Training – I am both excited and apprehensive about the coming week and my last few workouts. My incline training has been non-existent for a good month so I know, should we get to go all the way up, my legs are going to kill me the next day. The thought of being able to say ‘I did it!, I conquered the Mountain’ is what will keep me going, that mind over matter. The challenge to push myself to the limits. The weather has been good so the odds of getting to the top are in our favour.
Weather – I am in two minds about this – do I want it to be wet and miserable like last year, or fine and sunny.  Wet and miserable means we will be taking the alternate route and doing 21kms to the Longley Pub, which would be a beautiful run up and over the hill, which would be an awesome and non stressfull finish.
Sunny, of course, means a trip to the top. Which I really want to achieve.
PB? – This of course, will happen if we get to all the way. Should we go up and over and finish at the pub..? then I will trot along like I did last year, and hope for the best. Running in that sort of rain, I am more worried about falling arse over and doing serious injury than making a PB. Like I said to a lady at work today, I don’t care if I come last, so long as I make it to the top before the bus has to pick me up. My goal is simply to finish.

Get to the start line.
Run the race.
Have fun.
Cross the finish line!

Getting to the start is half the battle.  I will be reading over and (loosely) following my plan from last years run (even though I didn’t need it in the end).  My splits for last years run was around the 70 min mark for the turnaround at 10k. That was right on time, about 35 mins per 5km. If I can manage that this year then it gives me 2 hours – another 120 mins to get 11 more kms under my belt. Doable..? I think so.

Train well, be consistent, Enjoy the run.
Jennifer

Point 2 Pinnacle

It’s been a week month, and I’m still on a high from this race. We didn’t make it to the top and it rained the whole way. It was bloody hard work and I was soaked to the bone. I didn’t care, I had a blast and in many ways it was my best race to date. Definitely one of the most enjoyable.

All the usual suspects for a race were lined up – I had done the training, I had a rough plan in place, I was organised for pre and post race and not even the rain was going to dampen my spirits for this one.

I had initially thought of this race as a one-off, a ‘conquer the mountain’ and be done with it. Well that went out the window with the crazy weather conditions and I just have to come back next year to give it another shot. Which in itself is not a bad thing.

I was disappointed that we were told the course was altered but along with every other race I’ve done it gave me a chance to learn something. With this one… I found out just how steep an incline the mountain really is. It is hard work. I know where I need to improve my hill workouts for the future. I know how much I need to dig deep and push through the pain. I know that this time next year I will conquer the mountain!

Why would all of this make it my best race of the year? Because I switched off all notions of a PB, of timing and pace,  and just did it. As usual my photos don’t show it, but I enjoyed every minute of it, up and back. I just ran. It was really getting back to running. I had my volume down on the phone so wasn’t hearing anything.

As it turns out I did make a PB and was slightly (10mins) ahead of my halfway time plan. When I heard the time as I approached the turn around I knew then that I could have made it to the top.  The way back down the hill was certainly a lot easier. I didn’t push for speed, I just moved along, knowing I would finish easily within the time frame. I could have gone harder, I was enjoying it as it was.

As I said it rained all the way up and back, and it wasn’t until I replaced my beanie after towelling my hair that I realised how cold I was, and my head. I took off and found a shopping centre with event public toilets – you don’t think how small the cubicles are til you want to get changed, and dry off at the same time.  To say it was awkward is an understatement, especially as everything was tight and sticking to me. I spent the rest of the afternoon in 3 layers done up past my chin, compression sleeves and a beanie. The cold was that bad.

 

I am so proud of what I have achieved this year, this was my best race for many reasons. Bring on next year – 2 marathons, numerous 10ks and I’ll have to find at least one half in there somewhere.

Keep running, be fit and have a great new year.

jennifer

 

 

Nearly time…and fulfilling a dream

This time last year I made the decision to run the City to Casino.
I made this pledge when I was not doing much running, or not enough to really get anywhere, and had no inclination to do other events.An 11km road race that is huge in Hobart. Popular. And fast. ~runs off to google last years results and then do the very bad thing if comparing myself to everyone else.
Well, how life changes. Within a 6 week period life changed for my husband and I and that’s when I started running in earnest. For me. Believe me, when you run for yourself, when you run for the right reasons.  When you run to things, not away from them, it is so much more productive.  And better for your health and mental well being.
I now have a fullish calendar of events and am pursuing my dream of running events all over the place. This year has become my year of running Tasmania. and some of the main events and distances.  half and full marathon, a proper 10km, the massively well-known City to Casino (C2C), the Point to Pinnacle (P2P).  The second ‘C’ and the first ‘P’ are one and the same place. Wrest Point Casino. And maybe, just maybe doing an Ultra with my husband.
My plan is to do one of each (at least) so I can decide on what sort of distance I prefer and feel comfortable with, and then follow that and be the best I can.

My next race is the City to Casino, with not so nice weather predicted.  I am waiting my email for the last lot of preparations, and picking up my race bib and timing chips.
I had wanted to finish in 70 mins. Well, I know I can do it now.  Not long now to know for sure. One week left…

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Enjoy your week, see you at the finish line
Jennifer