Monday, March 5, 2012

It's been a while....

It's been a while since I've written so I thought I'd do a quick update of the last few months.

I'm not sure what got into me, but last year I decided to enter The Northface 100.
Ever since then, I've just been panicked about it.
It's not that I didn't think I could do it, I knew I could do it physically, I just wasn't sure I had the mental strength, or if I did, it would come at a cost to other areas in my life.
I'm just not in a position to be able to do it stress free... so I pulled out.

It was such a hard decision.

My running had been going pretty good until I got an injury but even so, I was still able to run, but the stress of having that injury and knowing that I would have to keep running with that injury and keep building my kms was just too much.

These days I'm running 70kms a week but they're broken down to 5 14km runs so it's no big deal. I'm doing them quite comfortably.
Because of this injury though, I'm not pushing my speeds and I'm not doing any hills as that tends to aggravate it.
While I could get depressed and upset about that, I'm really so very grateful to be able to run at all.

I've also decided that I'm not going to be entering any events this year. That is, not until this injury has cleared up and with me still running on it, I predict it's going to take a good six months to heal properly.

So in the meantime I keep my kms up and live through my other running friends who are out there participating in great events and going from strength to strength....

Sunday, October 9, 2011

McLaren Vale Half

At About the 16kms mark

Ran the Mclaren Vale 1/2 Marathon today.

It was a last thought, as far as I go, to enter. I had won a SARRC Voucher at the Yurrebilla dinner and wanted a new goal to focus on so thought I'd enter...

But the whole lead up to this event was pretty poor on my part. I'd had one good run, the rest had all been sluggish and by the Wednesday before this event, I didn't even want to run anymore.
Yesterday I was starting to come up with excuses for why I wouldn't run it.
Could I say I was sick?
Something else came up?
All these thoughts were going through my mind.

Before the marathon and ultra marathon, I'd been quietly confident. The feeling I had before this 1/2 marathon was completely different...

Last night I had dream after dream after dream where I was late for it...  I panicked all night that I wasn't going to get up on time.

But I got up with plenty of time. My son and daughter had put their hands up to volunteer (ok, so I put their hands up) and they were up early... we left the house and drove down there, arriving more than an hour before start time. I prefer that. That way I get to settle in, talk to other runners and just be a little more relaxed before start.

I did get to talk to a lot of people. There are still people coming up to me saying they know me from facebook or a messageboard or a friend of a friend... I think that's pretty cool. I love meeting new people.
Thanks Sadie for the pic!

There were more than I would have imagined running it! I was surprised... Over 650 entrants last I heard.
So we started and once again, just like in the marathon, everyone passed me. I honestly did try to get some speed up but couldn't do it. At about the 6km mark I relaxed a bit and by 9kms I was even enjoying it... thought I could have almost done a good time but when I got to the main rd with about 7kms to go, I saw there was a crowd building and runners were just stopped there. What the hell was going on!
It seems the police had stepped in to stop traffic congestion and stopped the runners.. some of them had been there for over three minutes. That's a long time when you're trying to go for a PB!!

The wait there took away what little ambition that was starting to build to go for a good time.
So I just ran...
Talked to a few runners along the way and finished.
Made it in a woeful 1:54

I can't tell you how much I hate that.. would have been less without the main rd stop but still not under 1:50 which is what I would have wanted.

Love this running community though. Got to talk lots of inspirational people before and after the event and I think, as I had hoped, my son and daughter got a lot out of it too. My son even asked me how long it would take for him to be able to run a good 5km. I don't know what I answered but his next words were "Don't get that excited mum.."
I'd love for both of them to take up running!

Oh!! And I should mention that I won a random draw prize!!!
I was standing there talking to another runner about what we've won in the past, when his name gets called out! He'd won a $100 athletes foot voucher! I don't mind telling you I was jealous!
So he gets back and we talk about how fantastic it is that he won while they're still reading out names... next minute, my name gets drawn out and I've won a $200 athletes foot voucher!!! WOW!!
I came back to him and said "What are the chances of that happening!! Two people standing next to each other each getting a prize!"
He said we must be standing in the lucky spot...
So for that alone, I'm glad I ran this event today, despite everything!

Another race down. Hopefully I have a better story to tell next time...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Yurrebilla 2011

After I'd finished.
So where does one start to talk about a day that held a challenge that has been so long awaited...

It was August last year when I first heard of Yurrebilla. For one reason or another I was unable to do it that year and it's haunted me ever since.
Last year, while the event was on, all I could do was think about the lucky people who were running it and experiencing it and sharing in each others pains and triumphs.
I wanted to be a part of it too and was so gutted I hadn't been.

This year was always going to be different. There was no way I was going to let it escape me this year.

I started by doing the training runs. The first two were done "two way" so I could get familiar with the trail and get the extra trail time in my legs.

Between a few of us, we organised a couple more training runs including one starting from Eagle on the Hill and finishing at Athelstone... the finish line.
Although this was a fantastic day, my performance up black hill left a LOT to be desired. This hill has broken many a runner during Yurrebilla and I was more than a little worried how I would handle it with 50kms in my legs...

So I started training on it. Going up and down, up and down.. and felt pretty confident with what I had done. I knew it would be different on the day with tired legs, but I wanted to have the confidence, or positive mental edge. By this morning, I was very familiar with the Black Hill portion of the trail and knew exactly what was coming up and where. I knew I could run up most of it on a good day...

As expected, I didn't sleep well last night but that's ok.
I got up just before 4am as I was just waiting for the alarm to go off anyway... quickly realised that I was ready in 20 minutes and was way early... the bus was leaving at 5.30 and even if I left the house at 5am, I'd be early...

I ended up getting to the bus at 5am.. was just so anxious to start!

We huddled at the start line. I was in the first group. (There were three start groups)
The countdown happened and off we went!! and all I could think was "I'm finally running Yurrebilla" I was just so happy!
I was surprised at how quickly the pack thinned out. There was a couple of guys ahead of me, then another girl and I ran together for a long time. At the halfway mark, one more guy passed us from our group and said something about  being on schedule for a 7 hour finish. The girl I was with and I just looked at each other and said "Does he know what the finish is like???" It may be 6kms, but you ain't going to be doing that in less than an hour... Not the regular people anyhow...

So we kept running... The girl I was with has had knee problems and has had limited running leading up to this event. She was worried how her knee would pull up.
She had her support crew come to meet her at just over the 30kms mark. Somewhere around there anyhow.. So I left them to it and went on as I was pretty confident of the route here on in.

Everyone kept telling me I was the first girl to come through. Made me feel pretty good even though I knew there were two groups starting after me.. so even though I was the first girl through, didn't mean I was placing first. But I was first in my group.

Finished strongly without too many dramas.
Runners from the 2nd and 3rd group starting passing me about the 44kms mark.

When I was 400 or so meters from the end I felt a lump in my throat and thought I was going to cry... but then my calf cramped up again as it had been doing off and on in the last 6kms and at that point a group B runner whizzed past me so the tears were put away and I forgot the cramp so I could just finish...

My time was 7.41.
If you had told me that I'd run this this morning, I wouldn't have believed it.
I was secretly hoping for 8 hours but thought I'd get 8 1/2...
Don't know if I could top it next year though!

Monday, September 5, 2011

When it's too perfect....

What an amazing morning I had.
After debating with myself about which trail to take, I decided to drive to Chambers Gully and run along Bartril track, then down longridge track till I got to the look out point.
 (You don't know how proud I am of myself that I'm starting to remember the names!)
This was the first morning I'd ever run it by myself.
I wasn't out to break any records. This morning was just about being out there and enjoying the experience.

It was chillier than I expected so I tried to get into a good pace to warm myself up. It was a gentle (and I use that term loosely) uphill. I found it hard going at the start but once I was about 5kms in I got that euphoric feeling that only other runners can really know about.

When my legs felt too heavy I stopped to take a photo or two.

I took this one to prove that yes, I really do have different running clothes although I will always be wearing a skirt of some kind...
Saw a koala or two. Too bad I couldn't get a good shot of this one.

So I got up to longridge feeling like I was having the best day of my life but it was only to get better... Kangaroos lined the path almost all the way to the longridge look out point.

They looked at me curiously (well I can't blame them really) and let me take a photo or two before hopping off to another location.

I took video of these two because they were cleaning each other or something but they stopped when I started filming...

The look out was beautiful as it always is.

I stopped to breathe it all in.

I had seen quite a few magpies along the longridge track on the way down, so on the way back through that part, I picked up a couple of branches... just in case... I felt invincible with those!!! But I was ready to toss them should I encounter another person.
Thankfully there were no magpie swoops to write about.

There was a pretty awesome thing that happened though.
I was back on the Bartrill track, not long turned from Longridge. I was watching my feet, making sure I stepped in the right spot and on the look out for potential snakes, when I almost ran into a kangaroo! I had just rounded the corner and it was right in the middle of the path!
I think we gave each other a fright!
He took off down the path in front of me. He was SO fast but he made it seem effortless!! Such graceful elegant creatures they are.

I kept running down the same track the kangaroo had gone on and about a km down, there he was again. This time he was stopped and just looking at me.
I'm sure he was thinking "You call that running???"
He watching me for about ten seconds this time and then pushed off again and unfortunately I didn't see him anymore

Kangaroos, Koalas, no Kookabarra's this morning though... but....

I got to the car, completely euphoric, wondering why the rest of the world doesn't know about this. I got in and started to drive when I got a message, so I pulled over.... while I was pulled over, a pretty little blue bird came and sat on my side view mirror! He alternated between the mirror and the window!
 He was dancing from point to point, showing off just for me!!

I watched and luckily caught a few photos even if they aren't that good.

Mother Nature loved me lots this morning

How will the rest of my day be able to compete with that??

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Adelaide Marathon 2011

As always, before any race or running event, I ask myself "What the hell am I thinking?"
And this morning, while I was sitting in the car waiting (yes I came way early as I always do..) those doubts started to nag at me again. 
Why was I doing this?
Had I done enough training? My training this year was so different..
Am I going to be humiliated and have to pull out?
Are those last few kms going to be the death of me as they were last year?

It was pretty exciting at the start though. So many people came up to me and said hi. A lot of them even knew me by name and I wasn't sure who some of them were but I guess if you start showing up at running events and races, (not to mention having a voice on facebook) people start to get to know you.
And I really love that about running. I love how everyone is just so supportive and so nice and we all want everyone else to do well.

So there was a lot of back slapping and well wishing going on at the start.

Before we knew we were off... and the start was good. I didn't think I took off as fast as I did last year but maybe that was a good thing.
Last year I remember overtaking people at the start, this year it seemed EVERYONE was overtaking me! I tried not to get discouraged because I knew the times they do are not going to affect my time.
I'm running against myself.. and I was running at just over 5min/km pace then so I was doing alright...

So  I think I went pretty well on that pace till just over the halfway mark. Then we hit some winds and it wasn't that bad and maybe I would have slowed down a bit anyhow, but I forced myself not to look at my garmin. I just wanted to run to make it...  But I knew I'd slowed down...

I did sneak a peak from time to time and saw that I was actually close to being able to make a sub 4 time but it would require that burst of effort which I knew I didn't have. I was working at the maximum...

And those last eight kms especially were difficult. I wanted to stop so many times but I just talked myself through it.
"Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, doesn't matter how long you take, loved ones are waiting for me at the end and they may even be there now... the quicker I get there the sooner I can see them and the quicker I can be finished..."
And it worked.

I stopped at the drink stations but only so that I could drink....

Got to the end and I just couldn't take the smile off my face.
I'd beaten last years time.
My garmin showed 4.05.02
It also showed that I ran 42.53kms so a bit longer than an actual marathon course... and believe me, when you want to die, those 300 metres mean a lot!!!

After last year's marathon I was saying "never again" but this year, although I know it was hard, I'm not saying it... I'm not saying I'm looking forward to my next one but it's definitely an option!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Yurebilla Stage Two

In preparation for the Yurrebilla Trail Run 56km Ultra, I've been running the trial runs.

The course has been split into three stages. The first was 16 1/2 kms long and was four weeks ago.
The second was 17 1/2kms and was held last Saturday.

I don't know why I work myself up so much before these runs. It could because I've not run on most of these trails before so I'm always worried about getting lost. It could be because I know I'm going to run it two ways, and would prefer to start at the end, run to the start and start with the group, then run with the group back to the end.... than start at the start with everyone, run to the end and then run back to the start.
I know, I have you all confused and I probably could have worded that much better but...

For the run this last Saturday, at least I knew where the start and finish were, so I wasn't worried about that, but to get to the start by 8am (which is the time the main group was starting) I'd have to start at the finish at least two hours before, and that means running on trails in the dark...
That was fine when I didn't know what to expect, but having done that once before, I knew what to expect and wasn't looking forward to it...

I barely slept Friday night because I get anxious about silly things  sometimes and I still hadn't decided whether I was doing a 6am start or going with the main group at 8am and doubling back that way... I really didn't want to do that... so I decided I'd just head on out there early and if there were people I could run with, great, I'd go with them, if not, I'd just go back home and make it to the 8am start with the others...

As I couldn't sleep, I checked my emails during the night and found out that at least one other runner (Thanks Callum!) was going to be there at the finish point, ready to run to the start,  but he was leaving at 5.30am...

I'm only 15minutes from the meeting point so I got up, got ready and went!

The early morning and the sheer silliness of what we were doing caught up with me though and after about a kms of uphill, in the dark running I stopped and said very embarrassingly "I don't think I can do this today"
Callum spoke like a doctor trying to soothe a frightened child and said wisely to just give myself  twenty minutes and if I still felt bad, to turn back then...

Magically, after those words were spoken, it all went away! I felt fine or at least, back to normal and we went on our way.

Running in pitch blackness, with only our little torches to light the way is quite an experience and not one that I'm too fond of. I did have a "mid-light trip" which is becoming customary for me. I've got quite the selection of scrapes and bruises on my lower limbs at the moment but nothing serious and nothing to stop me running!

At one point there was a heavy rustling in the bushes which I'm sure was a kangaroo but we just kept moving.... moving fast....

We heard the howl of a koala and stopped to try to find it with our litte torches... we didn't find the one howling but we did see one just a few meters away right at eye level!! So close!!

I've pasted our route as mapped by my garmin but I only turned it on after we'd already gone 1.3km so it's short by that much.

 We ended up getting to the start with plenty of time left before the actual start took place. We were going to take it easy on the way back but everyone was running so we just ran along with them.

When we got back to the spot where we'd seen the koala, we noticed he was still there so I took a couple of photos. Those things don't move for nothing!!

As every run is, it was great once it was finished! I was driving home thinking "Did I really just run that far?" and you know, I really felt pretty good... just the odd niggle or two but nothing major...

Just one more training run to go now before the main event!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Too late to back out now...

I've really been enjoying my running lately. So much so, that I've neglected to update this blog!

Last year I ran the Adelaide marathon. After an injury setback, and starting again slowly early this year, I didn't think the marathon would be a possibility but....

I started running trails and that seems to have made my general running stronger.

The great thing about trails is that there is so much going on, you forget what you're doing! There is so much to take in from the different terrain, to the smells and sounds around you. Not to mention the gorgeous scenery...
Starting at 6am in pitch darkness adds an interesting dimension too!!

But on Sunday the 31st of July I ran the Hills 2 Henley race.

I was looking forward to doing this as it was the first long non trail run I had done in a while.
I did an ok time but I just felt like I had such a bad run. I'm not sure why.
The conditions were perfect.

I had told myself that I'd see how I went with this race before deciding if I was going to tackle the marathon but who was I kidding? Of course I was going to do the marathon!!
Not that I think I'll do well... but I know I'll hate myself on the day, thinking everyone else is running and I'm not in it...
So no matter how badly I'm going to do, I'm in...

And strangely enough, I'm no where near as nervous as I was this time last year about it all!