Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Asics training plan...

With all of our researching, reading, questioning & trialling we have been sticking to a consistent plan. We've incorporated advice and tried products and gear as we progress. We have found some things that work well (like Tailwind, mefix for chafing) and things that don't (short shorts and black tops) and not been too rigid in our following of the plan.
The last 2 weeks of the plan have been to run a 5k, a 10k and a 25k during the week.

So we headed off to Parkrun on Saturday for a short one, and I was feeling good. I thought I would push myself and see what I could do. The result was a happy PB and a full 96 secs off my previous best time. Another record on my Garmin.

5k in 27:23, my fastest 5k
Must have been the new MCR visor that made me so speedy.

Running Buddy had an idea for our first 25k run

Altona to Williamstown 25km
We started from Altona and ran along the foreshore through to Williamstown, we thought we might get all the way to the Westgate Bridge but we didn't quite make it before we had to turn around. It was a lovely flat run and RB pointed out things from her old stomping ground along the way. We even ran through a farmers market and saw many walkers, cyclists and the odd scuba diver. A strong head wind tried to push us back for the last 3km before we turned and what a blessed relief it was to have that wind finally push us along from behind. Even with the tail wind the last few km were tough and I felt my pace slowing toward the end. I didn't want any views by that time I just wanted to finish. It was the farthest I'd run and showed to me I could do hard things.

Fastest 5k and farthest run all in one weekend.

The second long run was my idea

Keilor to Avondale Heights along the Maribyrnong River
We parked at Brimbank Park and ran along the Maribyrnong River until the track left the river and then turned back. To continue along the river we needed to go up into the streets of Avondale Heights and we weren't really sure of the route so headed back. This run was a bit more challenging, not as flat and it was a cold morning and showers fell intermittently. By the end we were wet through and RB's lips were blue and her hands a deathly white. But we were well prepared with dry clothes to change into and coffee for the way home.
Similarly to last week, the out part of the course was full of chatter and observations of kangaroos and golf courses and the old munitions factory. There were less people out on this cold morning, just a few hardy souls with their dogs. The back part of the run was more like head down, cap low, music on and soldiering on in the rain over the undulating trail. By the time we got back to the car we were a few kms short of our goal so ran past until we hit the 25 km mark.

This week is a lighter week with just a 5k, 10, and another 10.5k to do. I'll also play 2 nights of tennis and do a cardio session on the courts. Then comes a week ending in a 30km run before we start to taper.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Great Ocean Road half marathon...

Wow what a fantastic weekend.

It was a hard race and it threw all sorts of challenges at us...hills that went on and on for kilometres, head winds and a rainy finish but I am pleased with my effort and my result and I have another medal to add to my collection and we are another step closer to the big event.

and an impressive medal it is too
First of all we set off with Running Buddy's car packed to the hilt with camping and running gear.

you need as much stuff for one night as for a week 
Excitedly we set off on out camping/running road trip. We stopped at Anglesea for our first toilet break and then onto Lorne to have a break and to collect the clothing drop bags (as it happened they had run out of said bags only to have to collect in the morning)
1st pitstop

2nd pitstop...refreshed & ready to hit the winding road

the sun was shining on us at Lorne
We drove along to Kennett River stopping with the other tourists to stop at the iconic sign to snap a pic.

Once we checked into the Kennett River Holiday Park onto our powered site we set up our camp and introduced Mel to camping. We set up our swags figuring it out as we went along.

pretty good job I think
the locals got a little too close
the koalas were quiet overnight

We wanted to get set up before dark so there was time to head over the road to check out the beach before we headed out for dinner.

this shot was reflective of our mood, upbeat and happy

We got to Apollo Bay by 6 and thought we would pop into the Hotel to have dinner. Apollo Bay was abuzz with runners intent on the same thing so we were turned away and wandered along the street looking for an alternative. We found a little wine bar that serves tapas that turned out to be perfect. We had a little wine, lots of water and shared some plates that were delicious. We were pretty hungry so didn't take a pic until dessert was served. It has become a tradition to have a doughnut the day before a race but couldn't find one and settled for some churros instead.

Back to the campground we found a few more runners had set up their camps, there was some in tents and some sleeping in their vehicles. Running Buddy had found at the last minute that her son had left the poles for his swag ...somewhere, he's not sure where so she also ended up sleeping in her car but it was quite a good set up. After a cup of tea sitting around the lantern we were in bed by 930.

I had a fitful sleep, I never sleep well the first night in a strange bed and I listened to the noises of the campground with the surf crashing in the background. Chris had smartly said I would be lucky if someone didn't toss something at me to stop me snoring but nothing landed on me and I woke at 5am to the sound of the garbage truck and the crew setting up the start line. The beauty of staying at Kennett River was that we didn't have to catch an early shuttle bus and could get up at 630 to be ready to cross the road to start at 8am. Thousands turned up in a steady stream of buses before the road closures and turned the little caravan park into a hive of activity. Pity the poor people who were actually camping. We had a key to the park toilets so didn't have to queue in ridiculously long lines for our toilet routine. We quickly packed out swags and gear and got ready for the actual race, the whole reason we were there.

The morning was perfect, sunny & mild. We had studied the course, even driven along it, & knew what we were in for, now we just had to do it. I ran the whole way, up all the hills and enjoyed the downhill respites. I felt pretty good and plodded along sometimes listening to my music but often lost in my thoughts, taking in the views and battling the strong head wind.

At one point I looked up and there was a beautiful rainbow framing my view. I didn't at that point think about the rain that was creating this rainbow but we copped it shortly after that. A little drizzle turned into steady rain that soaked me through.  As we got closer to Apollo Bay supporters started to appear to cheer us on, it is always nice to have complete strangers willing you along, even if they say 'nearly there' when you aren't. As I came into the finish chute I heard the announcer announce my name and it made me smile. I was glad to finish and wonder how I am going to run another 20k on top of that. At that pace it will be a 5 hour marathon. That's a lot of running.

a soggy but happy finish

I don't mind running in the rain but was wet through at the finish and got cold quickly when I stopped. As always after a long run I felt unwell and even though we did a quick change in front of strangers in the laudromat into our dry clothes AND ate a banana AND replaced fluids it took me a while to come good. Apollo Bay was even more crowded and we battled to find somewhere out of the rain to have a coffee. The girls were interested in some shopping but I couldn't think straight to make a purchase. I think it is the levels of lactic acid that make me feel unwell and being cold makes it worse. I just have to keep moving and keep drinking.

On our way back to shuttle bus we paused at the sidelines to watch others finish and to see our MCR team mate Frank blitz the inuagural 60k Ultra in 4:05 taking out the $1000 prize. Colin was pleased with his sub 4 result but Eddy struggled after doing Wings for Life last weekend.

the MCR crew, I'll have my top soon
I wasn't looking forward to the bus trip back to Kennett River but made it back without incident where we showered and headed home. We decided we were hungry by then so stopped at Wye River for this delicious burger. It really hit the spot.

It was an excellent weekend, the race was achievable, the family survived without me and again it has proved to me that I can do hard things

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A coastal adventure...

Our training plan called for a half marathon distance this weekend (as well as last weekend and next weekend) but another formal event fell nicely into our plan.

 We will camping the night before in the Kennett River caravan park in swags and running 23 km from Kennett River into Apollo bay. We will be running along the Great Ocean Road with spectacular views (apparently) and just a bit of elevation.

at least the last 8km is downhill and flat
There isn't much at Kennett River

 apart from those views.

The finish line at Apollo Bay will be buzzing with 6,000 finishers pouring in

Much planning has gone into this weekend and I'm praying for fine weather, I don't mind running in the rain but camping out in it is another thing.

Full race report to follow

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Pushing through...

In my constant reading and researching I found an article that really gelled with me. After my complaining about the bad run I was made to realize it is all part of the growth process.

Jeff Gaudette says in his article:
Consequently, when the race gets tough, the athlete questions their ability and their training as opposed to accepting the challenge and realizing pushing through the pain is a part of racing.

What you can do

Prepare yourself mentally. Don’t head into the race telling yourself that somehow this race is going to be different.

Be prepared for it to hurt, but remember that you’ve trained yourself to push through this exact situation.

Visualize the race during your training runs or while meditating and picture yourself hitting that point in the race when your body starts to hurt. Recall those feelings from your last race or hard workout and then visualize yourself pushing through that moment.

By preparing yourself mentally, you’ll be ready to face the realities of the race.

Instead of wanting to give up I have to try to push through the hurt so when it inevitably gets tough I can be tougher.

It can be done.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The cost of running...

I was having a bad day yesterday. The planned 21km training run was hard. I struggled and my legs felt tired. I started using tactics to keep going, watching Running Buddy get further away. She did a couple of loops to get back to me but not even my music or my negotiations helped much.

So my mind wandered to lots of places, one of which was the amount of money I have spent on this sport. It was partly prompted by a conversation I had had at work about the total cost of getting to this marathon in July. I don't really want to add up the money spent on races and events in the lead up as well as our flights and accommodation on the Gold Coast and it doesn't need to be said out loud.

Running is meant to be a relatively cheap sport, you can do it anywhere, solo or with others, you just need to go, you don't even need shoes if you prescribe to the barefoot running style.


the right equipment makes all the difference and to get money out of the increasingly growing running community the 'must have' items are also growing. We 'need' to have all the things to make us better runners, to prevent injury and stay out on course.

this was a happy day of running

Just yesterday my outfit looked pretty much like this.

This just to get out the door.

I haven't added in the multiple pants/shorts/tops/socks I have purchased.  Or the yoga DVD & foam roller. Or the headphones.   I also ran yesterday with a fuel belt with water bottles (another $30).

I am very thankful to be able to run and feel fit and healthy and shouldn't expect every run to feel glorious, a fact I was reminded of when I loaded the run onto Strava. My running community was as always very supportive and buoyed me with their comments.

I'll just put this one down to a bad run and a bad day and go out again today and tomorrow and the next day, only 9 weeks til the marathon.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

New shoes and a long run...

I went into the Running Company store in Geelong to look at all the pretty shoes and get a new pair for the next phase of our training. I plan to wear in these new shoes to run the marathon in. I tried on a few pairs but in the end the best for my pronating feet is again the Brooks Ravenna. Updated from last year in a nice bright blue, which will see me run another 800kms.

We are following the Asics training plan pretty closely and today's 21k was able to be run with a couple of hundred others around the grounds of the Werribee Mansion.

#teamJAM about to start
2 x 10 km loops on a very nice course saw us finish in 2:20 and feeling pretty good. I like this course despite a flight of stairs which we had to climb twice. I like even better that I came first in my age category, yay for the old girls!

A good day overall and another one crossed off the list.

Monday, April 18, 2016

A hard rock to crack...

We tackled Hanging Rock for a 20km run as part of our overall training plan.

Seemed a good idea a few weeks ago.

It was a tough run and the hilly, rocky course was more trail like than we are used to and it showed in our slower times, 2:25 for me.

It was a lovely sunny crisp morning and we had high hopes of continuing our progress through the training runs, we thought we were well prepared but it didn't pan out as expected. At one stage Running Buddy was really struggling and we had to break up the run into smaller parts. "We'll run to that next tree" or "We'll run to the flag" etc. There was no thinking about how many kms there was to go, that was too much. I even tried tricking my brain into thinking I was running along our river and the hill was just like the one at home that we practice on. Even the speedy Melissa confessed to walking on the steep sections. Running Buddy apologised for holding me back but I was glad to catch my breath as well.

We had a bit of a joke with the volunteers/marshalls and photographers. They did a great job and some were cheeky in telling us we looked good (we didn't) that the rest of the course was all downhill (it wasn't) or that we were close to the end (not even close). When we saw this photographer waiting at the peak I told him he was mean but then teed up this jump for fun. I enjoyed this aspect of the event, not taking it all too seriously.

we had some fun with the photographer who was perched at the TOP of the hill!

I was able to trial a new hydration product called Tailwind which I sipped as I ran along instead of pre loading or relying on the drink stations. We also tried some Cliff blocks and protein bars which seemed good. Usually after a long run, despite eating and drinking various things, I feel very nauseated and have occasionally vomited. It takes me a while to come good and I have to feel right before the drive home as that just makes things worse. But after this race with the Tailwind on board and some protein immediately after the run, I felt really good.

The best part of the run was coming into the home stretch into the finishing chute I heard the faster members of the Melton City Runners who had already finished, had a beer and a shower cheering me on by name. It was very uplifting and heartening. It's quite nice to have a crew of varying abilities to be a part of and to pick their brains for advice.

MCR - the running crew

Later that day I saw this quote about runners preparing for this weekend's Boston Marathon...

Enjoy the day. While every person who shows up to run Boston on Monday won’t have the best race of their life time-wise, there is no reason this can’t be the best race of your life experience wise. Savor the moment and celebrate all the milestones along the way.
Each run teaches us something new.

This run certainly taught us something and that just might be not to think you know what you're in for.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Geelong half marathon...

During April we need to do 35km each week with a long run of 20k included in that amount, so we have been looking for routes and events to mix it up a little. Running the same local runs makes getting the distance done hard. We have found a couple of events to achieve our training distances.

The first of 4 planned events took place this morning with the Geelong Cross Country Club  Half Marathon along the Barwon River in Geelong. This event was perfect timing in our training plan to do the 21km distance.

The morning started off a little drizzly and cool and the queue for the bib pick up was insane, so much so that they delayed the start until all the bibs were handed out. But we started out just after 8am for our long run. It was a really nice course and running conditions were great. Along the river the undulations were challenging and there were well spaced drink stations and great supporters along the way. I felt good along the way and was glad to finish in 2:20. Best result for me so far and the training plan has paid off. It was quite a serious race and I was at the back of the field the whole way finishing 658th of 725. I ran all the way and was happy with my effort, I couldn't have run any faster and my goal still remains to run all the way in the marathon and not be fixated on a time.

Supersport images

my favourite running singlet from the City 2 Surf run

Running Buddy finishing strong

Mel finished 10 minutes ahead of me

finished at last 
Funny to think back when a half marathon was the be all and end all not just part of a training plan.

More long distances to cover.

Lots of running news...

After hearing about running running running at work some colleagues have thought 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em' ... we have worn them down.

Both of them have started where we started in running years ago with the Couch to 5k program and have the added advantage of having Parkrun to help them along.

I love both of these things. Couch to 5k gives you easy steps to transition from walking to run/walk to all running at a pace that suits you. Running with other people is another effective way to increase your running and Parkrun is a free timed event to challenge yourself and watch progress.

So Tania and Carol gave up a Saturday morning sleep in to attend Parkrun and we were there to encourage them, run/walk with them, taper for the half and introduce them to the friendly folk at Parkrun.

the relaxed pace meant we could have some fun
The girls did really well and said they would be back to improve on their bench mark time. It was a good reminder for us to remember how far we have come, how hard it was to run just 1k without gasping for breath, the friends we have made and where running has taken us.

This lovely short, relaxed run was a precursor for the next challenge...the Geelong Half Marathon