City 2 Casino 11k (7k)

It was all going well until it wasn’t.
Sometimes it works.
Sometimes it all falls in a heap.
And sometimes it gets all muddled up.
Which is what happened for my last race.
I was all over the training, and then I was over the training.
Life and general busyness got in the way and my training fell somewhat by the wayside.
The plan was written up, the first two weeks went well and then I just got sick of it. I spose it got to feeling too much like hard work. My aim for any race these days is to have fun and finish the distance.
Now I know I can do a 10K distance, I’m not overly fussed about getting too much faster – because I am having fun at this speed – I want to just run.

I keep up with running several times a week and incorporating several stretch or gym sessions as well, and feel reasonably confident heading into Sunday’s run.
Then it happened.
Sunday morning started like any other race day, a few nerves, several trips to the loo and then settling in to the inevitable of what would happen.
We got to town and I randomly checked my phone only to have a message pop up from a friend.
Our race was cancelled.
A burst water main had exploded all over the highway where we were to be running.
……What was this… A bad dream, a sick joke…
I quickly got onto Facebook and… No, the same news was all over my feed.
11k cancelled and we are to do the 7k instead.
Holy Moses.
I wasn’t prepared for 7km.
Now you might think that being a shorter race meant it would be easier and all that. But I find it’s a whole ‘nother mind set. Seven is a squidge past 5 so I am more likely to run it faster. Ten is a long run and I work on the first 2-3k to get into a rhythm and settle into pace.  Now I had to push it quick and with an uphill start.
I told my friends – when questioned on my thoughts of time – I don’t really train this distance so I’d try around the 6min pace mark and go from there. Just play it by ear.

This was a tough one for me, I think I let the mental get a hold of my head and it put me off. Well, I put me off really.  I decided to ‘run to feel’ which worked for most of the way. I still pushed harder than I would on a ‘run to feel’ and I’m glad I did. I felt really good after finishing and was so proud of my consistent pace. I suppose it helps that I enjoy the 10k and it’s a comfortable distance. You need to train but not too much, and it’s over relatively quickly.

All in all it’s a good result and it now means I can wait another year or two before I do the 7 for real. While properly training for it.

Keep the training going, be strong.  Jen

2km to go. Getting tired.
Oh my, the last 50m is in sight, time to smile and actually look like I’m enjoying this.. I did, really.
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Run Devonport – 18/3

There’s a lot to be said about not putting expectations on yourself and having fun while you run. You never know, you may get a pb. The same goes for strength workouts and intervals.

You probably get where I’m going here.
I raced on Sunday.
I did really well.
I’m proud of myself.

The forecast was not good and the closer it got, the more nervous I felt. I’ve run in the rain before, so if I had to I would. It’s just really uncomfortable and makes you really cold. “Pull up your big girl panties and get on with it, I said, what kind of silliness is this, take note of that tatt on your ankle. Mind over matter. It’s only water after all”. Having got that out of my head, I felt better, and then the weather cleared up.

By the time the 10k started it was only a little windy, and there was 5 mins of rain during the race. As I lined up I decided subconsciously that I would not look at my watch, I was going to concentrate on not falling over myself and face plant into a puddle.
Last time I thought of that, I kept sneaking peaks after the first 4kms. This time, I didn’t look at all, even when I finished. Saved the workout and looked for my husband. And only when he said what he did, did I look at my time.

The course we ran had changed to the parkrun x 2 laps as the wind had been blowing the road signs everywhere as they set up. I didn’t mind as the whole thing was new to me. And two laps of 5km is not too bad, better than two of 10 or 20k.

Its a beautiful course, winding along the river bank for 2.5kms, completely flat and easy to run. I ran by feel as I’ve tried before, not thinking about anything but being at ease, resting the shoulders, moving forward with good movements. My only thought was to try and keep the 60min pacer close by or behind me slightly.

On my way back in the first 5 a friend was waiting and getting pictures of the RMA’s on course. I waved and gave thumbs up, smiling and continuing on. Not thinking about it until I saw her again on the last lap. I was having fun and feeling good so had a go at the jump shot. She got both attempts and it was great to see the joy in my face for once. I tend to look so serious during races that to see a picture with the inside feelings coming out was just amazing.

I kept cruising, self talking the ‘stay steady, don’t race, enjoy the finish’. So up the finishers chute with a big grin and feeling damned good. Tired, but good.

I wandered out to find hubby and he was looking pretty pleased, a big hug and photos with him saying “that was fast” I questioned, and said I never looked at my watch, his reply was that I wasn’t too far behind the 50min pacer…a check of my watch and Omg! Another pb! I was fast. The thing is, I didn’t feel fast, I felt comfortable, I wasn’t too tired. These are the things I am after. Finishing a race with more in the tank. Doing a race easier, steadier.

There is a lot to be said for not putting expectations on yourself.
For having fun when you run.
Most importantly, for those strength and interval workouts.

My official time? 56.47.

A new pb by 1.07. While I am not worried about being quicker than 55mins, you never know what might happen with 8 or so more races to go this year.

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Have you done a race where you’ve completely surprised yourself with a result?
Have you tried the jump shot? Did you succeed?
Let’s share some feel good stories (and pictures if you want).

Train well and have fun running

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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And so the training begins

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here and so much has happened. Let me tell you the short version …

My physio has been an enormous help with some very good exercises – changing things slightly so I am comfortable with the action and seeing the desired good form and result. My squats have improved out of sight with her new technique. I’ve just seen her our third visit and she is pretty happy with me. There are still things to work on,  and I have a new exercise to do which is fine. After all these years of bad habits, they aren’t going to fix themselves overnight.  I know I am seeing results and feeling the difference all over, not just in my knee, after only six weeks.  To be running again this close after seeing her I am incredibly happy, with no pain now outside of the usual running ache I get (a completely different pain to that of the ITB).

Hubby comes home one day and says ‘..I’m doing the city to casino..I have to get my fitness back up and this is a good way to start…and I can help you with marathon training…’ Woohoo! Love him to bits ❤️.  The (marathon) training plan is ready to go and we can follow it through to race day – which is a planned 10k run 🏃- with runs that will ease us both into the distance.   I know hubby will be able to do it, he’s pretty fit – he can put me to shame with his 5k pace and with a little practice he’ll whip my butt. We’ve agreed that on the day it will be a run at our own pace with the aim to finish. If he gets into the zone and wants to surge ahead then he can go, I don’t want to feel like I am holding him back, and vice versa, I would like to look at a PB. I am so happy that he wants to do this (for both of us) and no matter what I am incredibly proud of him getting out there.

Between the first two physio visits I took the two weeks off running completely.  Tried a small one two days post visit and it hurt like the bejeezers so took the rest of the time off. My second visit gave me new exercises and the permission to walk if I need to during a run.  In this last few weeks I’ve done several runs, two stair climbs and continued my strength and stretches. I feel good, albeit somewhat unfit. I will improve over the next few weeks. Speaking of improvement, my diet needs serious work.  I haven’t been as disciplined with this like I should be, between not running and eating larger portions (plus a bit too much chocolate) it’s not good for the waistline. I will work on it, I have to if I’m going to be in peak (ish, for me) condition and be able to improve on my current results. The books will come out and a healthier plan put into place that the whole family can eat also. There is no reason for hubby and I to eat too much differently to the kids. Breakfast is my main issue, I am up early and don’t like to eat too much at 6am, I then do a full-on 2+ hours of work and by the time I’m finished with that I am starving. Two small breakfasts would be ideal, I just have to find the right combination so I’m not eating too much.

As mentioned above, the marathon training plan is in place. It started on Tuesday with a 5k jog which was perfect for post physio. I have written it up onto the white board so everyone knows what’s happening. If hubby is on nights and there is a run he will be able to do his bit during the day (if he so wishes) while I’m at work.  My long Sunday runs will need to be changed around from the last plan as hubby’s roster is different. Some weeks will be morning runs, others will be afternoon ones. Be organised is the key for this one.

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My strength and stretching routine this fortnight has been a little hit and miss though one thing I’m really embracing (and it seems to be working) is my foam roller. Doing the sides and fronts of my legs hurts yet feels so good afterwards. I’m concentrating on form over repetitions for strength movements and this is working. My push-ups are also becoming easier. Real push ups people, not the knee version.

Til next time, train strong and stay safe, jennifer

 

 

The end of an amazing year means….

This year I have had many awesome runs, many less than ideal runs. I’ve run over 915kms as if writing this, I’ve run PB’s and completely fallen short of them.

I’ve learnt many things about myself, about my body, my mind and my strength. I am stronger, fitter and happier than I was in January. 

I am capable of so much. Running. Career. Family. Myself. I am more me than I have ever been. I am still growing and learning and will continue to do so. 

In recognition of what I have achieved and who I am because of it I decided on getting a tattoo. So if it all falls in a heap in years to come, this year will always have a special place in my heart. 

It commemorates the main races I did, the running group that had a lot of input – community support is a booster! – and that fact I went for inaugural races in my inaugural year of running all in my own little state!

Mind over matter – the body will do what the mind tells it to.


All my races, Tassie, and the awesome support of the RMA. 

From zero to Ultra

If someone had said to me three years ago I would be considering running an ultra I would have laughed at them. Not only because I had no idea what an ultra actually was but because I wasn’t even running. Nothing. Maybe walking occasionally but running, no way.

Fast forward to today and it is a high possibility that I will do this.* After starting the year with this race on my long list (and solo at that), I had come to the conclusion that it wasn’t something I had in me. During all my training sessions, especially for my marathon,  the realisation hit me that the extra distance was not something I wanted to do. I’m sure I am capable of it, it was more of an acceptance of ones limitations and desires. Some people don’t ever go past ten kilometres and there is nothing wrong with that. I’m happy with marathon distance as my big one.

So why am I thinking of doing this race now?
I’m still a little surprised at what I have completed over the last 18 months, I have gone from barely running five kms to being able to run a marathon! I am so happy with how much I am enjoying running and where it’s taken me. This year so far I have run and finished 7 races with 2 to go.
I am also incredibly proud of myself and what I have achieved. I have changed so much since I first began, learning a hell of a lot about myself and I can’t wait to keep going and see where I can fly to.

I have learnt something from every race I have entered.
I have learnt to what extent I can push my body, how far it will go til it breaks down, or not.
I have learnt about the mental struggle that occurs when you run insane distances, in one hit, and over the course of a week.
I have learnt about the challenges that pop up when you think you can’t do it anymore and some how you just go out and do it, realising it wasn’t that hard after all.
I have learnt about the challenges you push through when your head tells you to stop, when everything hurts and you want to curl up in a ball. When the recovery is all out of whack and you feel like you’re dying.
I have learnt from that, how your body reacts to the torture you put it through.
I have learnt about how freaking awesome my body is, and how it works. From the good, the bad and the downright ugly – toilet stops and bodily function, black toenails, aches in places you never knew you had – to the best bits – feeling fit, healthy and able to conquer anything that is put in your path.
I have learnt that the pain is all worth it in the end when you feel like a million dollars.
I have learnt about the change in mind-set, from comparing yourself to everyone else, to comparing how you were yesterday instead.
I have learnt about the obsession with times and whether they are worthy or not, changing it instead to finish lines not finish times.
I have learnt about accomplishment of training and starting the race to the joy and feeling of pride when you cross the finish line – no matter what position you are in.
I have learnt about getting out there and that starting something is the first and the most important step to take, hard as it may be sometimes.

So now, if anyone mentions the idea of running a certain race I can laugh at them. And it comes from a place at says ‘I can do it, even if I won’t register. I can do it ’cause I’ve done it before. I can do because I love to run, I love to compete – even if it’s just against myself’

* Hubby and are looking at competing together in our own team of two.
The challenge has been set. If we don’t take it up there is no shame in that. If we do, then we will blitz it.
Either way, it’s our decision and no one can judge us for it.
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You, my friend, are a marathoner.

Warning: looong post marathon recap.


I’ve written before about what goes into training for a marathon or any race. A lot of hard work, determination and commitment. Early morning starts, long runs, new diet and learning how to fuel during your runs. Gaining  new kind of mental strength. Sticking to your guns. And lots of running. Like, lots and lots of running.

Pre-race

It was back in January sometime I think when I first decided to do this marathon. Back then it seemed like a pipe dream, it was so far away. Then came June and July with one last race before I knuckled down and got serious about my marathon training. I followed a plan which was great. It made me accountable and made sure I was getting the right amount of miles in (even though we are metric, it doesn’t sound quite right saying getting the kilometres in, so miles it is). Doing the job I needed to do. I used to run all the time, when I could, with no real idea of training plans, but this time I resisted the urge and gave the control over to someone else, well, my phone, but you get the drift. And I feel it worked. One thing I could have done differently was do more strength training, but hindsight is a wonderful thing, so we learn and move forward.

The week of the race was nerve-wracking for me, people at work were sick and I was worried I’d come down with something. I was also really tired and had no real energy to speak of. I wanted to run, but didn’t want to wear my self out. I was making out lists in my head of what I needed to take with me, cover all bases and circumstances. We were driving nearly 3 hours away so there was no time to say ‘can you pop home and grab something’ midway through the race.

The night before I was fairly relaxed, almost too much so, or so I felt at the time. Chilled out with a movie and pizza as per usual. The plan is not to eat differently so I didn’t, only to say that I didn’t eat as much.

My only worry  about the race itself, was if I needed to poop somewhere along the route.  I usually have had to on my long runs so was nervous about that rearing its ugly head. Pee, well, I’d deal with wet pants if I had to. I had packed my bag and had food items in the fridge ready to go. My bag had a full change of clothes, cream for my feet, ugg boots, lollies and Father’s Day presents for my husband (great day to have a race and make it all about me).

Race day arrives

Considering what usually happens before a race I got a decent 5 hours sleep before a 3am alarm got us all up and about. I had taken advantage of several extra good sleeps during the week to make sure I was properly rested as well as getting in the extra hydration.

The drive to Ross was uneventful with only one pit stop along the way after a 4.30 coffee. I also had a banana. This is not my usual pre race thing, but the time and distance meant it would be OK for digestion and the toilet.  We arrived with plenty of time to collect my bib and wander around before the other runners started to appear. I have this thing about being early and making sure I have everything organised. Especially if I have not done it before. For me it’s the one thing I can control (to a certain extent) in a predominately uncontrollable environment.

As it got closer to race start time I got my gear ready – the warm up jacket came off and hydration vest, sunnies and cap on. Made sure my ear buds were turned on, tracking apps and music at the ready. I wasn’t feeling particularly nervous at this point, more excited than anything. This was like a dream me true and I was ready for it. The pre run photo shows this I think.  The group was small with less than 100 runners all up for the marathon. And 18 of those were us women.

As the bell went for start I pressed all the right buttons on the phone, started a slow jog towards the incline heading out-of-town and waving at my husband with the camera.  It was then getting into my head space and making sure I didn’t head out too fast. One thing I have learnt is that I tend to start quick and then peter out. I wanted to make sure this didn’t happen as with 40+ kms to go it wouldn’t be good.

The route takes you several kms out-of-town down a long semi winding road before back tracking, a sharp right then left turn at the 8km mark and you hit the only hill to start the loop around the back-end of town.  The last part takes you down Main Street and rounding the corner to the start/finish line and heading out again.  The first time you do the hill, it’s not too bad, but by the third and fourth it has become a mountain and a nemesis. While I certainly felt that way, it wasn’t so much a nemesis for me as an opportunity to take a walk break and catch my breath. Basically a 10.5km loop you repeat four times. Boring as batshit and mentally hard.

I made good time for my first and second laps, with the clock telling me I was right on time. My hydration was spot on, Tailwind is my new best friend and I don’t know how I would have survived if I didn’t invest in a camelbak for long runs. While I had lollies in my vest they had loads of them at each drink station and I took advantage. Just a couple to keep my spirits up, and a drink of water at two of the stations for a different kind of fluid. This worked amazingly well. While the tailwind kept me going, the plain water was perfect for a splash on the face and refreshing the body, and hydration purposes.

By the I was at about 14kms the 10k and half runners had started and I passed the biggest group along one of the windiest stretches of road. As the 42ers were spread out by this time it was good to see more people on the road and I was able to wave at others I knew or knew of from runners groups on Facebook.

I finished my second lap feeling ok, but it was starting to get to me. Another 5k was starting to hit the wall. My feet were killing me and I was exhausted.  I pushed though. I wasn’t doing all this way to not finish, to fall in a heap.

Each lap I had done my kids and husband were there to high-five me and that gave me the much-needed boost I needed each time. The third lap was so much harder. The wind had picked up and constantly pushing against it was not just physically hard but mentally draining also. I had done half and had to push through another two times. As another runner said to me after the race, the monotony of the repetition is hard, and harder mentally on newbies. It is also incredibly boring. I just made through third lap and by then our eldest some had turned up and high-fived me, giving me the ‘one lap left mum’. While I know it was in support and much appreciated, I was feeling like he had just said I had to do a  whole lot more than just one. I grinned and said thanks and kept going. Feeling slower than a wet week, or a turtle stuck in peanut butter.

This is where the going got real tough. Where I had to dig deep to find that strength to keep moving. The strength to not curl up in a ball on the ground and cry. The strength to not call someone and say ‘come and get me’  There were tears, and moments of feeling sorry for myself, looking behind me and seeing no one. No one in front of me. Coming to the realisation I was last. Seeing the safety vehicles taking away the signage. The drink station ladies leaving in their cars. The sheer loneliness of running shuffling along this long winding road on your own. I found that inner strength. That mental toughness that helped me though my other long runs. I picked myself up and kept going. Even I was last, who cares. My first and main goal was to finish this thing. Cross the line at the end of a marathon. No matter what.

That stretch of road looked a hundred miles longer than it had been before and the return felt a hundred miles longer.

I rounded the turn point and walked to the drinks table and took one with me. Fished about for a lolly out of my pocket and kept the run shuffle going. And then I saw them. Three more women. All walking. And here I was thinking they were on their last lap the last time I had seen them. For a brief moment I felt some joy, I was not going to be last. It felt a little mean, but in all honestly, I think anyone would feel some joy at realising that.

Seeing those women put a little more bounce in my step and got my stubborn side revved up. I may not be last but I certainly wasn’t going to walk it either. The final time I hit the hill I pushed a fast walk, as fast as I could anyway and rang the bell at the top like no tomorrow.  If anyone was listening then they were going to know someone was there. One last drink station and then the  last 1500 meters.

Looking ahead I saw someone walking around a corner and as I got closer saw it was my husband. I had never been so happy to see him as I was right then, the tears started and I had to pull back, telling him he shouldn’t have. I’m glad he did as I may not have actually sped up, but I felt lighter and more eager than ever to finish it. He kept me going. He then gave me the news that I wasn’t going to make the cut off time when they opened the roads again. Which also meant I wasn’t going to make my second goal. A sub 5 hours. I had 4 minutes to do a mile and even in my revved up state it wasn’t going to happen. Pessimistic? no, just realistic.

Rounding the last corner and heading down Main Street our youngest was there and started the jog with us. I felt so proud to have them there with me.  Along the route several other runners who had finished the full waved and gave thumbs up, calling out ‘well done’ and ‘good job’, an acknowledgment of what we had all done and that I was still doing mine. As we reached the street end the finish chute was in sight my two elder boys were there and I said ‘come one..’ As they followed me in as I found a teeny bit of speed and pushed for the finish line. I was so proud and tired and utterly exhausted but still heard the lady say ‘look a that smile’ as I came towards them.

Time for recover

Crossing the line I stand long enough to hand in my timing chip and receive my medal. Oh medal, how I love thee… And then collapse on the grass .  This didn’t last long, and hubby gave me hand to get up, believe me I was not able to do it on my own. Gingerly I walked back to the car with my boys, amid them making jokes about tripping me over and the fact I wouldn’t be able to get back up. I laughed at them and was mock angry saying I’d soon chase them down. Nothing was a nicer sight than my post run jacket and chocolate shake. A vague attempt at calf stretches and then chilling out before  we started the trip back home. Finishing at 1pm it was nearly 2 by the time we left. I nibbled on my banana and peanut butter sandwiches, drinking a diluted bottle of tailwind water.

An hour from home we stopped for snacks, and I was surprised that #eatallthefood hadn’t kicked in yet. My feet by this time were slowly killing me in my sneakers so I asked for my ugg boots. Ah the bliss of soft woolly feet. I wasn’t at all surprised by the looks I got but I was so far from caring it didn’t bother me – Ugg boots, stripy calf sleeves, shorts and hooded jacket. I tell you, I owned it.

Getting home and out of sweaty gear never felt as good as it did that day. A long hot shower fixed me and we walked (I hobbled) down the road to find pizza for dinner. That was not to be, so toasted sandwiches, ice cream and a movie instead before early to bed for all.  While I slept well that night, it was each time I woke to roll over I had to grip the bed to help me, and the covers felt like ton weights on my body. I slept in, feeling like a brick trying to move when I got up the next day. Then it hit me. While I ached and my legs were sore, I simply could not walk. My heels had decided to kick in and were in excruciating pain. Even my toes complained. I somehow managed a coffee and some water, before the head spins, fainting feeling and vomit in the throat pushed me back to bed for another hour.

Struggling into the shower and dressing before my husband came home, I finally got the munchies. Toast, chips, biscuits. If it wasn’t nailed down I ate it. We took a walk and had coffee. And chips, and cake. At home for dinner, it was enormous hamburgers and cake and ice cream. Another coffee, and more water. Finally I was sated. My body refueled. Note to self here: it’s time to pull back on the food, to get ready for more training and less of eating everything in sight.

A week of stretching and my body feels awesome and strong again. Thank god for having a physical job, it kept my body moving and not seizing up sitting at a desk.

A short (3km?) slow, naked (no music, tracking etc) run yesterday to get me back into it and my heels, toes and backs of my knees really felt it. Overall, feeling great!

And I’m ready to go again. Some people say once they’ve done one that’s it, don’t need to go again, well I think I’ve got the bug and it’s on again. Three days post run and I said I’ll go back to where it all started this year. Cadbury marathon. To do the full.  A funny thing with that is before I have even registered for the January run I have tickets booked (thanks cheerleader husband) for GCAM* (my third marathon) in July.

Hands down, my amazing beautiful family aside, it is the best thing I have achieved so far.

Happy running, Jennifer x

Finishing photo. The feeling you have when you have full support of your family.
Finishing photo. The feeling you have when you have full support of your family.

 

*GCAM – Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Queensland.

The title for this post came from an acquaintance on a Facebook running page as the comment to my ‘I’ve done it, I’ve run a marathon’ post I put up. It brought tears to my eyes, and is the perfect title for this.

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