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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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

Goals for the new year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until then, stay active and train carefully, Jen.

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.

C2C – the one that started it all.

This is where it started 12 months ago. Twelve months ago when I was barely running and definitely not in any kind of competitive manner.  I saw the ads in the paper and said “next year I’m going to run that”.  If only I’d known then what I know now. That by the time I ran the City to Casino I would already have a half marathon, two 10km and the Mother’s Day Classic under my belt. And learnt a hell of a lot about myself over that time.  My strength with training and lasting the distances required. Sometimes with ease. Sometimes with aches and pains. And sometimes with disappointment.  Due of course to my own expectations.
My only goal at that time was getting the medal. Which meant finishing under the 2 hour mark. I figured I could that with some ease. What I didn’t realise was that I would be able to blitz even my best time to date in the process. And boy what a feeling it was.

The weeks leading up to race have been pretty wet and yucky. Especially on Sunday race days. Ah well. The craziest of the crazy still come out to run. Because it’s just water after all.  My training was constant and I made it work by doing lots of short but fairly intense treadmill runs
I was well organised as usual.  I’m that kind of person. I need to know I have everything ready. The location, parking, other transport if required, bag drops…everything.  I leave next to nothing to chance. And I’m always early. This does nothing for the nerves, but I deal with it. I get in a panic of I think I may be late.

So, at 7am I arrive at the finish line to park and wait for the bus.  Light stretches and taking the obligatory toilet stop I then wander around the empty car park before heading off to the buses. I chat with a lady doing the shorter run as we head off and wish each good luck at her stop.
Arriving at the start line there is another loo stop (I’ve found I’m not the only one who has to have 3 or 4 of these prior to a race) before running into a lady I met at the last two races I did.  Chatting with someone helps to ease the nerves, and ten minutes to start we are herded escorted by police across the highway through the road works to wait.
And then it starts to rain.  Big fat drops to start with. Ugh. It was cold and my toes were starting to go to sleep.
Nine am the gun goes off and by the time I crossed the start line it was full on raining and I was drenched. No point complaining, it was actually quite nice, with the temperature being low enough to make running comfortable.
I turned my phone right down so I could barely hear my running app, just enough to keep an ear on the time. By the time I reached the 3.5 km mark I felt good and had properly settled into a rhythm.  There were plenty of people always around and while I wasn’t listening to anything I wasn’t talking to anyone either.  I am a solo runner for the most part.
We had passed the two main inclines, one short and sharp the other longer and on both I ran a steady if slower pace and kept moving.  I have found that walking can make it harder to start again, so I make sure I keep moving and then it’s easier to pick up the pace on the flat or downhill.
My mistake I felt here, was doing what I do in my training runs and not push my downhills. That would have saved a good minute or two by going faster on the downhill.  Lesson learnt.
As we entered the short underpass to cross the highway the portable dj was there and it brought a big grin to my face. The instant pick me up was just what I needed. Then another sharp incline and back onto the highway.
It was as we ran past the waterfront with more spectators that I felt it. That feeling of insane joy, of accomplishment, of the thrill of running through the streets. Past people in cars, waving and smiling at the pedestrians.  It’s an odd feeling and I’m not sure I wrote exactly how it feels, but I want to do it again.  Being completely honest here it’s not about the looks, I’m an awkward and not the most elegant runner, I just love it all.  The atmosphere, the participation, the competition and the getting out there and doing.  There is something about running the streets, I simply love it.  Even if my photos don’t make it look so. That’s my competitive side coming out in me.

Then I am on the last stretch, the last 2-3 kilometres where we are running directly next to the cars.  I’m concentrating on getting past the walkers and avoiding the witches hats leaving me to completely miss the water station. Dammit, I was ready for another splash of water.  At the time I saw it, I was too close to the end and was certainly not going to turn round.  I pass a few more groups and hear mutters about how the runners have made rubbish and thrown their cups on the road.  I would have done the same 6 months ago. Not so any more.

About one kilometre out I chose to whip a little butt and move it up.   The last small incline was easy, then a light downhill and rounding the corner to the finish line. As I came round the corner the people fell away as I sprinted down the chute and across the finish line.  I caught a glimpse of the time and had that ‘Omg!’ moment. I had done it. Equalled my own 10k time for a full 11.4 km. Which meant I had done another sub 60 10K. I was so incredibly happy, tired, but happy.  And a week later, I still am. There’s something about getting a pb or finishing a race still strong that makes all the work worthwhile. Even the knowing I could have made it closer to the 60 mins doesn’t phase me*

Crossing the finish line was one thing, navigating the crowds to get my water and fruit was another.  Especially as the skies opened up at that moment and I drenched once again.

The grin on my lasted all afternoon and the energy I had was incredible. I was full of it. It was racing through me, giving me that runners high, only this time it lasted so long and I let it roll over me.
The race that started it all. The big one. That surreal feeling of having wanted something for so long and then finally having it in your hands.  Bring it on next year. You never know, I may blitz my time and get a sub 60 for the full 11km.

* One last 10k goal.  To get an official sub 60 min time.  Bring on ‘The Glenorchy Ten’ in July. A flat double loop course.

Finish line action shot

Happy running, 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

May Races

May is turning into a busy running month.
– 1st – Harcourts Signature Round the River 10km
– 8th – Mother’s Day Classic 8km
– 15th – City to Casino 11km

The organisers of the first race have high expectations or are some serious runners. There are two categories. Race and Social. Now because I run a slower than (25 min 5km and) 55 min 10km I have to attend the social run.
That being said, which is totally fine, I would like to bust out a sub 60 min 10km. Just once, to know I can do it.

Now to find something for the last Sunday that month. Or maybe I just work on my long run. I would like to finally hit the 25km mark.
This gives me April and the next two weeks to be more organised and get back into the gym for more strength training. My nemesis. I love running, just not the other bits that actually help make me a better runner.

And to finish up a little collage I played around with. This will change as I do more races over the course of the year. I will keep this as it is to remind me of my event beginnings.

RTB 10k and Cadbury Half 2016
RTB 10k and Cadbury Half 2016

First race ever…4 years on.

The following links are too two posts I did 4 years ago after my first ever race. Something done on a whim and not repeated. Until now. I have found something I really enjoy and want to do more of, to challenge myself. RUN!
Looking at the results a second time all I can say is how much I have grown and improved in that time. I look at it and think ‘that’s not a lot’ and then go ‘..well, given I’ve only been seriously running for less than 12 months, it’s a huge amount’.
The difference?  My pace average has dropped significantly from that point (6.96min/km) to what I can do now – 6.15min/km.

Race day at last.

And the post race piccies…

Keep running and enjoy the view.
Jennifer