Run the Bridge, Feb 18

The usual pre race nerves set in a few days before hand. The weather, my bib, clothes, food and hydration, getting there on time.

My training had gone well and I was feeling good, ready to start and finish the race – enjoying it all the way.

We arrived at the start with plenty of time and I did some stretches and chatted with hubby before he had to leave – making sure he got to the finish line in time.

I headed to my usual mid pack starting position and loosely jiggled on my toes.
The 4 minutes between the elites and us starting were painfully long.
The start of this race is always tough because the route turns the first km into a bottleneck where you have to jump and weave to not be tripped or trip anyone else.

I decided right on the start that I would not check my watch at each km notification, I would listen to my body and go with the flow. The km markers were pretty spot on as my watch buzzed almost exactly at each one.

I slowed for a drink at the first station then paced myself up the first hill. It’s a sharp incline that is worse than the main event (the height of the bridge), and I didn’t want to walk too much. A short couple of walks and I was at the top and getting into cruise mode again.

Coming up towards the bridge and there was a huge crowd – 5k walkers and runners and cheer squads – the place was pumping. People cheered us as we passed them making our way up to the crest. Just past the top and the next race started. They surged past us, sprinting down the bridge. It was most off-putting, after settling into a rhythm and then having it all go out of whack – I lost the runner I was following and felt a bit lost and slow in all the speedsters around me.

It was at the 7km mark that I saw the 60 min pacer and knew I was reasonably on target – I will admit, I had checked my watch one around the 5k mark.  Losing them while I grabbed another drink was no great drama and I continued on my way. I was  happy knowing I may or may not make the sub 60.

The next two kms were tough, the end is so close yet so far away. The last km is though a mass of support and cheers, and really keeps you going.  Five hundred meters away from the crown to mini incline and turnaround and then it’s the race to the finish.  Most of the time anyway. As I headed back down to the corner and finishing, I gave myself a talking to. “Slow down, don’t rush it, smile, relax, finish strong, finish smiling”. I loosened my shoulders and off I went. Smiling the whole way down the chute, no weird sprint and angst face, just smiling and feeling good.

There is 1 good picture – the other 2 I have my eyes shut. Go figure, I don’t even know where the photographer is and I still have my eyes shut.

Crossing the line I save my tomtom, only to discover is says 9.98kms – but the time, 57.57 is all I’m worried about. Woohoo, pb time, for both the distance and race.

The official time was 57.54. I’m very happy and rest a few days before getting back into training for the next race. I think it shows what the plan can do, I was consistent and adding in the strength and interval workouts really helped.


Back to it. Happy training and finish strong.

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There’s no such thing as a bad run…

Really…?
What makes up a bad run. Slow speed or pace. Niggly old or new injuries. Mental or emotional worries and stress?
We may certainly use these as a reason for a bad run, but I think it comes down to something a lot more simple. You had a plan or expectation in mind which didn’t meet the end result. So it may have been from being stressed about work or family, or an old injury seems to be coming back but these are also things that others have channelled and gotten themselves further or faster than previous runs.
When we put expectations on ourselves it can be our downfall. Not always, but I’d say it becomes a factor if it all ‘falls in a heap’.
My 10k plan had me doing a fast run recently and I thought, I don’t want to do my usual route for the distance, I feel like something more scenic and maybe doing a longer distance, not fast but at a good pace.
Talk about fall in a heap. The weather had been warm but wasn’t overly hot, the breeze was good and there was very little traffic. So why did my run not work out how I wanted.
I can say all the things I want, when in reality, I haven’t stretched or gotten as much effective rest as I should have. Those are why my foot twinged, my limbs felt heavy and I just had trouble moving.

I had wanted to run along the coast line, fairly flat and easy. Thinking along the lines of 12-15 instead of 10. Not a problem. Usually.
I just made it to 5k slowly (40 mins) before deciding to head home. Walking if I had to. The only problem is to get home I would have to do a 30km run, call for help or walk up a huge steep hill. Well there was no way I was doing 30k.
The message was sent out and I got 6km over the hill and down the side before a lift arrived.
Was this a bad run? Maybe. It was also me getting out there and doing 10 kms even if it wasn’t fast or terribly easy. So while disappointed I am still happy with my efforts.
There are no bad runs, there are only easy or hard runs. Any run you do is good. It is better than sitting on the couch at home.

Do you believe in bad runs or just runs that don’t quite work the way you hoped..?

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The 10km plan

You’ve run a marathon, you’ve run more halves than you can count (training runs included) and now you decided you want to have a training plan for 10km runs.

Whaaat???

The answer is pretty simple.
To help me get enjoyment out of running again.
Less pressure on performance, and more on fun.

At Ross last year when I had finished my half I made the decision. At least I think it it was at this point. It really doesn’t matter where or when I decided, I am just to very happy that I did.
I’ve taken all the pressure off me for this year.
2018 is about the 10km Run. One of my runs are longer than 10 (ok, city to casino is 11, but it’s so close, it really doesn’t count as more, does it?) with a few fivers thrown in for good measure. This means training is short and sweet, no long days with me recovering from a 25+ km run. Just me and basic runs, having fun.
Part of the decision was because I wanted to run each race that both Cadbury and Ross have (10, 21 and 42 + 5 for Cadbury) and have the full collection of medals.

So why do a plan for a distance I can almost run it in my sleep?  After Point to Pinnacle,  (which took more out of me than expected), add in the Christmas rush I have with work that starts about the same time, and my work partner needing medical time off, I was stuffed before I started and never really got a proper reprieve. (No wonder I got a cold the day we broke up for xmas).

Mojo – gone. Running oomph – gone. Enjoyment – kinda gone.

Dont get me wrong, I still itched to get out and do something I just couldn’t seem to make it happen, call it laziness, I just had no will to move.

The plan with the plan, was to help me get moving, I’m good at following rules if you will, so having something to be accountable with makes it easier to just get out and do it.

I’ve done up my years worth of races, hubby is happy with them, there is one weekend trip and a few long days coming up – he’s an awesome support to me driving 3 to 4 hours and then hang around while I run about with hundreds of others and then drive me home.
So it’s now time to get moving, and see what I can achieve with a year full of 10k training. Intervals, speed work and regular rest days. Aiming for consistent sub 60 mins, although finishing each race means I’ve still achieved what I wanted.

Check my race page for this years events and happy training.

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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.

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

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.

The plan

I love the plan.

This is my second time using the plan.

The plan works for me.

I feel more in control when using the plan.

I don’t feel guilty on rest days when using the plan.

The plan gives me more freedom.

The plan works.

Trust the plan.

Trust the training.

You will finish and the plan will have paid off.

I love the plan.

I hate the plan.

 

Run to your plan and stay strong.

 

Off to the physio I go…

After my last post and the resulting abysmal runs I went off to the physio to see what she could help me with.

Not only did I get really good information and help, with instructions on exercises to do, I felt embarrassed by and ashamed of my lack of form. This appeared to be my the main problem – lack of form.

She poked and prodded, I bent, twisted and showed her my squats. Did wall sits, and quad stretches. While we talked and discussed these movements, I got a lovely massage that eased my leg.

I went home with a list of exercises and strength movements to work on, and feeling positive after getting permission to run again.  The catch…don’t wait til my knee is killing me to stop, but when I feel a niggle, I should stop and do a few stretches. Reset it so the speak.

There is something in this that puts me at ease. I could do this myself. Say stop and rest, stop and stretch, but I’m stubborn and could not bring myself to actually do it. The flip side of this, having someone who is helping to fix me, who then give me permission makes it all ok. I don’t quite know how or what, but I am more comfortable about doing it.

The rest of the week passed in a blur of half-hearted exercises as I felt worn out physically for some reason (and not an excuse, work was ridiculous and very day).

I’ve made myself a pact today that I need to keep up my normal strength exercises, concentrating on the ones she gave me, skipping one she doesn’t recommend. Loads of stretching, and also foam rolling – she said she can’t see why I shouldn’t. Yippee, I am feeling really good  from doing this on each leg.

And running. Every second day. Doing a version of the Jeff Galloway run/walk method.  I really need to get my strength back up, and right now the only way to do this is to do what she says and practice.

Run strong my friends, 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.