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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Cadbury 10k – 14/1/18

After a month or more off and doing pretty well nothing since Point to Pinnacle I was sorely under trained for this race.
I made an effort to get a few runs in and mediocre strength training, at least so my joints would be able to manage to movement.
Each run was tough and wore me out, but I knew I had to get back into it somewhere – and the first race of the year is the best place to test the waters. Well, kind of.
I certainly wasn’t worried bout a pb, if it happened then I’d be happy, otherwise, finish the race was the important thing.
Start the race, finish the race. Smile and have fun.

We arrived in plenty of time to do the usual toilet line up and leave me with the RMA’s for a photo.
I positioned myself in my regular spot – middle of the pack – and once we started I kept my eyes out for the 60 min pacer. While the time wasn’t overly important I like to have an idea of where I’m travelling. I was ahead of him until just past the 7k mark then he left me in his wake. Each kilometre was hard, and I felt like I was wading through mud. Cumbersome and un co-ordinated.
Catching up again at 9k he paced me up the hill and was waiting to push us through the finishing chute.

The race as whole was tough, but I managed a smile as I passed the photographer – resulting in one of my best race pictures to date.
The rest of them…yeah, I really have to work on my Kenyan/finishing face. Better yet, figure out how to get rid of it, replacing it with a huge smile.

I’m super happy with result of sub-60, narrowly missing my pb by 23 seconds. That’s not an issue, really it isn’t. I ran, I had fun for the most part, and I finished. My bonus, finishing under the hour and still upright. Smiling and happy.

My word for this year is Stronger, my hashtag #believebefinishstronger and that is exactly what I plan to do. I have started well, and I want to continue on this way.

Run strong

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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.

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

Ross 2017 – 21.1km

After a rocky training schedule I started race day with one thing in mind. Finish the race.

During my interrupted training I knew I was good for the distance so decided to continue as I could with whatever strength and stretching routines I could muster up.

On the day I drove to Ross with a friend and we arrived early enough to pic up bibs, take a walk, stretch and make the copious toilet stops before the start. I was feeling good and had made the last minute decision to run naked – no hydration. The weather was looking ok, not much sun, dark clouds promising rain and the usual Ross wind.

As we started off I made sure to keep my pace slow, purposely bringing it back down. One of my many running faults is to start out too quick and then die in the back half. I didn’t want that to happen this time.
The first drink station is around the 4-5km mark and by then I was ready for some fluids. And a lolly or two. Imagine my horror when I see no lolly bowls at the ready. Nothing, nada, zip. Oh well, they might be at the next one. Nope, no such luck.

Walking through with my drink I sipped a bit then continued on. The infamous Ross headwind started just past the tree lined part on a long 3km section of open road and that set the mood for the rest of the run. Tough.
Ironically, it was this section of the road on the way out I started my music with the first song being ‘Road to Nowhere’ from the Talking Heads.

I pushed along the long and lonely road, by this time I was pretty well on my own. A few half and full marathon runners passed me. As I got closer to the turn for That Hill there was a little congestion but nothing too bad. Eyeing off the hill for the first time in 12 months was weird. Knowing I only needed to do it twice gave me comfort, as did the size of it, I had remembered it as something that resembled Everest (or for Tasmanians, Mount Wellington). I powered up it and got close to half way before the steep kicked in and I shuffle/walked the rest. Near the top I picked up the pace and continued on down the other side.

The rest of the run went smoothly, walked through the drink stations, sipping then emptying the rest over my head, and moving along, doing an occasional walk as I felt it.

At 17kms I was feeling good, running alongside another RMA and checking my watch saw that if I kept the current pace I could get a pb. Woohoo! I was still aiming to finish so just kept moving. A  friend was approaching on her second lap and I ran in front of her attempting a couple of jumps. We high fived and continued on. Boy, that wore me out, I shouldn’t do that again mid-race. Walked most of the hill and kept on moving.

The last turn was in sight and my watch said I was going to get a good time. Pushing on, looking at the mantra on my shoes – Finish Strong – and ploughed down Main Street. A surprise, and awesome support, came from car on the side  door opens and a voice calls out “Go Jennifer!!” I look around, wave and grin like a Cheshire, then pushed on harder. The little things, running side by side not talking, a shout out from a car, high fiving friends, saying ‘good luck’ ‘well done’ ‘keep it up’ are all welcome as it gives a boost we may not realise we need.

I approach the last corner and check my watch – omg! – vere to the right as I hit the finishing chute, grabbing the pb bell and giving it a good ring.

This race was one of my best. For numerous reasons. I wanted to finish, I wasn’t fully worried about a pb (always good, but now, not essential) and feeling stronger due to my regular strength workouts.

Beating even my wildest dreams for this (or any) race and gaining two personal bests over two consecutive years at the same Race location. First my marathon, now the half – wonder if I could make it a trifecta when I return to do the ten k next year?

A huge smile and absolute relief. Finished 21.1km in 2.16.58.
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We started the half as the clocked ticked over 1.30 from the full marathon start.

Train well, train with fun and keep working on being the best version of you, Jennifer

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

GCAM 17 part 2, the race

I get to my corral and, feeling a moment of relief, settle for what feels like half a second to catch my breath. Still feeling a little panicked and out of breath I take off my jacket, and yank on the tutu, all a little too fast to be comfortable.  Tying the jacket to the back of my pack I pull it on, making sure it’s fitting in all the right places.  Some guy sees the bottles and says “no jet packs allowed” I laugh back at him and say “I wish” before he disappears into the crowd.
The announcer has moved the elites off and we patiently wait for room to walk forward. There are so many ahead of me and by now I have calmed down enough to take a good mouthful of drink, shake out my body and gather my thoughts for the race ahead. I get my phone ready for tracking and make sure my sunnies are secure in their pocket before taking a pre race selfie and picture of the pack ahead of me.
We’re moving slowly forward and I’m in the last corral – which is the 2.20 and above time group – so it’s a good 5 mins before a cheer goes up from ahead and we can start a slow jog. We cheer and holler as we go under the arch waving at the crowds along the road.

My plan for this race has changed numerous times and by the time I head through the starting arch it has came back to ‘simply finish and enjoy myself’. I cruise along, not thinking too much about anything except not tripping heels in front and being courteous to those behind me. It takes several kilometres before the crowd starts to thin and I can run with a bit more space to myself. I’m so used to running ‘free’ I was almost claustrophobic with the crowds. Almost but not quite.
While it was not on purpose I was happy that there was no volume on my phone to give me distance and stats, I just wanted to run and enjoy the day. That being said, the first 5k took forever, and I started to lag. I could feel a blister forming on my left foot, some chaffing on the inner thigh and my hydration pack had a kink somewhere near my underarm that just wouldn’t fold flat. After a few goes of trying to sort it out I gave up and figured I’d just take whatever it gave me. It couldn’t get any worse than what I had just gone through.  After two weeks of no activity I was worn out, sluggish with lead legs, and every turn we went round I was hoping to see the 10k turn point.
That point came when I least expected it and I was pleasantly surprised with the time on the board. I can do 10km in around 60-66 mins so when I saw it was around 75, it gave me hope. Add another reason to hold back the tears. After the bad start to my day I had been holding back tears of both disappointment and absolute joy at being there. It was kind of surreal, I had spent so long training for this and looking forward to it, I couldn’t quite believe I was actually there.
I kept cruising, avoiding the toilet lines and moving aside at the drink stations, (I had my own after all), waving and cheering out to the spectators. The crowds certainly kept my spirits up, and with the thought of husband with me I was able to keep those ‘negative nelly’ feelings at bay.
I was starting to wane shortly after the 12km mark with my knee also starting to jiggle. I made the decision to walk where I needed to and not push too much, my goal of finishing being foremost in my head.
IMG_2365
From here on in, I fought back the tears on more than one occasion, and aimed to collect as many high fives as I could. I spotted one camera guy just in time thanks to the girl in front of me doing a wave and ‘V’ with her hand – and my picture shows me looking happy and strong – something I’ve worked hard at achieving.


By the time 19kms came about I was really struggling, taking the race one km at a time, limping a little, walking where needed and still, holding back the tears.
The hardest part, which was also the best was the last full kilometre. So many people, so many cheers and high fives, and finally, turning the corner to see the most fantastic sight….the arch with ‘250m to go’ and the crowd that gathers in the final 100metres…incredible!

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I have never been so happy in a race as I did at that point*. Trying not to limp too much, I’m head down, bum up, legs moving, no energy for any kind of sprint, trying to smile and not cry, crossing the line and subsequently forgetting all about smiling and giving the air high fives.
Seeing my time of 2.36 and I’m over the moon. Not only did I finish, but in a time much quicker than I had expected given my lead legs.

 

To be continued….

*a small lie, finishing my marathon was up there with the happiest I’ve felt in a race.

GCAM 17, part 1, Getting to the precinct.

I’ve done the training and am ready to do one last long run and keep up the strength workouts.  I am ready to go, getting excited and nervous and then I wake up one day a with a sore throat. You know the one. It says I’m going to make your life a misery for a week or more. Well it lived up to its reputation. For nearly two weeks I was full of snot, dizzy heads and no energy to do any kind of exercise. I really wanted to but knew I’d get my arse handed to me if I tried. If not by the cold then by my husband.
The week I was flying out it eased and I was just coughing my lungs out.
My bags were packed by the Wednesday with only last minute things to add Saturday morning. By this time I was feeling and unfit, I know I wasn’t but it’s just the way it goes for runners when you don’t do exercise for a while.
Waking early I had my coffee and small breakfast before we left for the airport.
From Hobart to Brisbane was pretty typical of flights with a short stopover in Sydney where I had a lunch of coffee with chicken avocado whole grain sandwich.
Having pre-paid my train ticket made it easy for the next step. Let my hosts know where I was and they told me which stop to get off at. Then sit back and relax.
After a bolognese dinner I head back to my room. My gear is ready to go, flat me photographed and facebooked/instagrammed. I make my phone call to home and have a shower. The bed is really comfy and I surprisingly a good amount of sleep before the 3.30 alarm goes off.

It’s now Sunday morning, about 4.15 am, and I’m on the way to the Gold Coast marathon precinct. I had wished my husband a happy birthday and was headed towards my first interstate race. The half marathon, a good middle to long distance run, that I quite like. I was excited!
Within 20 minutes it all turned to shit.

To say my ‘anxiety about being late’ went into overdrive, is an understatement. I’ve always liked being somewhere early, even to the doctors, when I know I’ll be sitting there waiting anyway, so this was going to test me to the limits.
I had been worried about this exact thing happening several weeks before.
I was going to be in a place I don’t know, on my own and driving someone else’s car, to a place I didn’t know. Hmm, recipe for disaster. And disaster it was.
I would love to see the tracking of where I had driven, it would have looked like a crazy cat going nuts. I realised afterwards I had taken either a wrong turn or turned at the wrong place and that set the wheels in motion. Somehow I ended up on the freeway going in completely the wrong direction. This is what happens when it’s dark, and the streets don’t always have signs.  I stopped several times, close to tears, hyperventilating, before taking a breath and looking at the map again.
The result of that – I got lost not once, or twice, but three times, and at 5.30, with only 15 mins to get there I rang my friends to ask for directions.
Luckily for me I was very close and it took me no time at all to get where I was going.
Joining a group of cars I found the right place and scoured the street for an empty park.
Shit shit shit, where is a space, these got to be one here somewhere….I spy one and pull in sharply, grab my gear, jump out and run. Doing a half turn I lock the car and quickly start to follow another runner I see ahead of me.
I catch him up and ask where to go, he points the way and we run on. By this time it is the cut off for gathering in the corral and we are heading down the last kilometre of the race route. The support and running club tents are up and people are out watching, getting reading for us to all run past. I must have looked like a deer in the headlights with a crazy panicked look on my face. I duck and weave those standing around while looking for the sign to corral D.

To be continued…

Night running – be organised and be safe

My running backyard is all windy roads with very little curbing or footpath. It’s all mainly coastal country roads or gravel roads on steep hills with no where to go when cars come past. I’ve learnt over the last twelve months how to manoeuvre these roads and be as safe as possible until the last two weeks.

My midweek runs are slow 5k and fast 10.5k. There is one particular route I like to do my 10k on as it’s about 11k by the time I get back home and it’s so easy to run. Hubby drives me to the top of a hill and I run the long way home. Unfortunately this means a windy narrow road for 5kms. At this time of year, I n the growing darkness.

And now to the part of being organised and safe.
This week it was not me.

– I just knew after I had started it would be dark before I finished, yet I didn’t grab my headlamp.
I had moved from gravel road to bitumen main road with more cars (it’s after 5 and people are doing home) and the darkness is creeping in.
– I’ve done more than half my run, with just under 5kms to go. I keep my ears and eyes open for vehicles and move off the road, stopping completely for them as they pass.
– With headlights on I duck my head so as not to be ‘a deer in the headlights’
– At 2kms to go I see a car coming and push ahead to get onto a wider part of the edging.
– They were going faster than I figured and before I could make it, they were upon me, and I was momentarily blinded.
– My right foot slipped out from under me, my left foot falls awkwardly and I’m down on my side, then rolling onto to my stomach, hands in the gravel.
– Scary thoughts go through my head – how far down the bank could I go if i slipped further? Will I be able to walk? Do I have to ring hubby! Why the fuck didn’t they stop? I’m pretty sure the car saw me.

I take responsibility for not having my headlamp and that being out there was dangerous, even with my light fluro jacket. Doesn’t mean people can’t show small courtesies and slow down, dim their lights or think of others.

I stand up and dust off, testing my foot. It hurts a little but I can still move. Gingerly I move off and manage to run the last few kms til I am able to jog up the street to home. It is ok that evening, with me doing lots of stretching. The next morning – ouch! It was so sore to walk on, so after a shower I decided to wear a compression sock to work (being on my feet all day I figured it would help) which worked a treat.
Today it felt fine but hubby suggested not to go pounding the pavement but rather take a long walk. So long walk it was, 7kms and I stopped and took some pictures, enjoyed my hour long time out.
Tomorrow we are looking at a hike (as warm up says hubby) then I can do my long run.

The lesson here for next time.. take my lamp just in case. I am not getting into that situation again. It was scary. Also make sure you have some kind of easily accessible ID in case something does happen.

Keep training and be safe out there, jennifer

City 2 Casino 2017

It’s race recap time again and while I didn’t pb as I had wanted to I had a great time. I joined hubby on this run – it was his idea after all, and am so very proud of him and how he went.

This is how it went down:
– the day was bright, sunny and warm.
– it was a fast field and I felt terribly slow.
– my knee played up and slowed me down more.
– my foot was so far asleep for half the race I’m surprised I was able to stay upright.
– hubby was right on my rail the whole way – unknown to me until the last second.
– we finished with on 21 seconds between us.
– I was happy and jumpy afterwards – hubby was sweaty, tired sore and I hope very proud of himself.
– post run coffee turned into a delightful egg and bacon brunch
– our race photos show us both looking strong and determined
– I love the bling and it looks great.
– hubby has said this hasn’t made him want to do it again

I will always treasure May 21st and what my husband achieved!

Keep training and do your best, Jennifer