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

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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

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

 

 

Journey to the Pinnacle

It’s four and a half weeks til my next big race. The worlds toughest half marathon. And I can believe it. 21kms of incline. To a total height of over 1270 meters above sea level. That’s pretty high. And a lot of hard work. Lots of hill to climb. Like a mountains worth, literally.


My training has been slightly hit and miss as it should have been all about strength and hills.  I haven’t done as much strength training as I’d hoped I would, yet my hills are moving along quite nicely. Both of these workouts are definitely not my strength so it’s been a double whammy on the challenge. The challenge of getting to the top. The challenge of training hills (my knees hate me most of the time with any kind of incline) and strength (while I know I should do it I make excuses to not go there).

I’m almost enjoying the hills. I can feel it’s making my usual runs stronger and faster. The hills while challenging, are good for me, for my mental strength as well as my physical. Thinking that no matter what happens on race day, this training can only be good for me.

On my run this evening I ‘officially’ passed 700kms for the year.  I think I have done nearly 800 as I started the challenge a good few weeks after the start date.  So my run was hard initially, what felt like an actual vertical climb before levelling out and heading back down hill, I got to thinking about the race. And how I was going to tackle it time wise. Normally wouldn’t be too worried about a time but this one has a strict cut off period to allow for as little traffic disruption as possible (and is capped at 3000 people combined for the walk and run). And in my very basic math head I began working out how fast I would need to go to finish within the time. And it’s not too bad.

What I figured out.  Time frame minus say 20 minutes. Times by 60. Divide by 4. This would give me an idea of how long to allow for each five km plus plenty of time to finish that last kilometre, and rest up/stretch before catching the bus back to the start line. Number crunching done, it works out like this.

3.40 total time.  Minus twenty minutes. Times 60. Time is now 200 minutes. Divide by 4 = 50 minutes per 5km + time up my sleeve for the last and final dash to the finish line.

Now as I usually do my 5k in roughly 30 mins I’m working on an extra twenty making this more than doable. And in my head that works. It doesn’t mean I’m going to slack off and run slower. It’s only going to make me want to work harder so I’m stronger and more capable of doing it. And doing it stronger.

This is one race where the adage of “Finish lines not finish times” is all I’m thinking about. I just want to make it to the top. Because with such an iconic race (founded in 1995) participating – and reaching the Pinnacle! – is so much a part of the end result.

A preview of some of the hills I’ve been working on lately.

 

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.