Friday, October 21, 2016

Virtual racing...

We love a bit of medal bling and are building up quite a collection. Not as many as some but I now have 17 hanging on a hook. I like to flick through some times remembering the races and the circumstances that got me to that point. I particularly like the first one, the Mothers Day Classic where running 4km was a mammoth goal. And now on top of the pile is my latest marathon where running 42.2km was achieved.

I would like to add some different medals to my collection and we are looking further afield to do this. Before the year is out I will add the City 2 Sea (15k) and perhaps the Carmens Womens Fun Run half marathon (formerly the Sussans Womens)

We are also going to support an indigenous marathon project and participate in a virtual run.

The Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF) is an Australian charity organisation that provides an opportunity for Indigenous men and women to complete the New York Marathon, inspiring a nation and encouraging healthy and active lifestyles.

We have chosen to run 100km in November and by doing so we will help raise some funds and get another medal. If you click on the link you will get the details and see that you can choose any distance to cover, you don't have to run it all but you will feel mighty good at the end.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The good weekend...

running the marathon was just a part of my bloody good weekend.  I was able to enjoy some luxury at the Sofitel and eat my way through the weekend.

I went into the city with Running Buddy and her hubbie so didn't even have to drive or worry about parking and then was treated like a queen when we arrived. The staff were very efficient and attentive and greeted us with a Bonjour or Bonsoir Madame and made me feel very fancy. Up on the 47th floor the view blew me away.

Even the bed was luxurious as the view. Being so close to the start line was a great idea and it meant we were close again after the event to recover without travelling.

After settling in we met for a drink and a snack before heading out to our early dinner.

 The girls had been to Gazi before so were able to off insight into how to proceed
dips to share

melt in your mouth beef souvlaki

the ceiling is covered in terracotta pots

to finish a Brest and coffee
After the race Hayley and Ben took me to a pub in Richmond and I didn't feel at all out of place in my singlet, race bib and medal. I was sweaty, salt encrusted and wind blown, but happy.

After a soak in the bath and a rest we headed out to try Hayley's favourite Mamasita for some authentic Mexican food. We were lucky we walked in at the right moment so didn't have to wait for a table and were able to plonk our weary bodies down. In our post marathon state we couldn't make a decision so went with the waitress' suggestions and were again satisfied.

We had an early night again and made a plan to have breakfast together after check out. Right behind the Sofitel is Cumulus Inc which we had walked past the night before and thought it looked good. This time are timing was a little off and waited about 10 minutes to be seated but then enjoyed a late breakfast among the hip city people. Of course the conversation always returned to the marathon or our plans for the next one.

It was a beautiful weekend doing what I love to do in a style I could become accustomed to.

Now back to reality.

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Bloody good magnificent Melbourne weekend...

where I ran my second marathon, got a PB and lapped up some luxury.

Our training had paid off, we were better prepared and had the advantage of being in our home town with our support crew nearby and knowing the course really well. And I'm pleased to say I ran better and finished in 5:07:25 knowing I had given it my all.

We checked into the Sofitel on Saturday afternoon so we could easily access the startline at Rod Laver Arena and not have to worry about parking or getting up super early. We had a delicious early meal at Gazi and finished our carb loading week in style. We didn't see George Columbaris but ate his yummy souvlaki and chips with feta and dips and bread and a little wine.

not the souvlaki from the fish & chip shop

Of course we had to have dessert and coffee and then an early turn in.

Sunday morning saw us at the start line at 6:20 and amongst the 6,000 starters we were able to catch up with some people from the training group and other members of MCR.

sunrise over the G, pre marathon excitement

start line selfie
We were off at 7am and in the excitement and emotion of the moment I didn't see my Garmin turn off so while I was trotting along at the start I was still searching for location, which doesn't work very well while you are moving. I contemplated stopping still to get it going but it came on and I lost only the first 500m.

I ran along the course feeling pretty good despite the windy conditions, the mood in the beginning was upbeat as I settled into my race pace. We ran past familiar landmarks; Flinders St station, St Kilda Rd, Albert Park Lake and onto Beaconsfield Parade. I passed the half marathon mark within the cut off time and plodded along with the wind in my face and then into my back.

The wind meant I ditched my cap, tucking it into my flip belt for most of the race.

getting tougher by the km
 Peter and Martin aka our support crew positioned themselves along the route to cheer us on and take photos (and to carry our bags). They managed to have breakfasts and coffees and get back to the MCG to wait for us to finish. I had tried to tee up a good spot for Hayley to watch from but she wasn't there when I got there. I had been hanging on for that 35k marker but it didn't happen so I knew I had to plug on to see her at the end.

I battled on wanting to get a sub 5 hour time but it wasn't going to be this time. As I rounded the last turn and entered the MCG I gave it one last spurt past the 3k walkers and across the line.

those 2 in green behind me are Spartans - have done 10+ consecutive Melb maras

After crossing the line you go down the players chute to get your medal, the lovely volunteer made me feel like a champion as she presented me with the medal. I met up with the girls who had finished before me and we fell into each others arms and had a little cry. It was an emotional moment. Running Buddy had done so well busting out a great time of 4:47 and poor Mel had her knee give out the 36 km mark and had to walk the last bit, she had had a great race up until that injury flared and finished in 4:57. We ended up 10 minutes apart.

We found our family and friends and headed separate ways to celebrate. I found Hayley and Ben who had seen me cross the finish line and we headed to a Richmond pub. It seemed like the longest km I had ever walked and was very glad to sit down and have this cold cider. She was nearly as proud of me as I was of myself!

I wore that medal all afternoon

Second marathon done. I remember while running the first one that I wouldn't run more than a half again but this one was better in some regards and not in others. The support from MCR this time was invaluable, feeling part of the group was very buoying. The volunteers are always awesome and now I have seen both sides of the Melbourne Marathon. The support along the course was good but not quite up to the standard of the Gold Coast, which was phenomenal. Finishing in the MCG is good but it is difficult to get to your supporters and then you're out of the ground. 

I felt like I couldn't have done any better on the day, there is probably improvements to be made and we'll examine those before...the next one.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

10 sleeps to go...

Just 10 more days before we face our next big challenge.
We are in the taper part of the training plan and it feels a little strange. On one hand its kinda nice not to be pushing all the time but on the other I am a bit nervous about whether we have done enough. From what I read that seems about right and plenty of others have the same concerns.

Our long runs have felt pretty good and the gear and the nutrition have been sorted. I'm looking forward to race day with a mixture of nerves and excitement, the Gold Coast Marathon some 12 weeks ago has become a memory as this event takes precedence but I'm hoping the muscle memory will take over once we start.

In just 10 days time...

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Nearly over the hump...

We have nearly reached the pinnacle of training for the marathon. Just 3 weeks left to get those k's in our legs and I'm happy to report that after 5 weeks of down time our Mel is back running with us.
Running Buddy had a change of scenery and ran in the Sydney Running Festival and refreshed her joy of running. Without her I slipped off the plan a bit and waited for her return to hit the road again. A brisk 10k walk with Big Sister was a lovely way to spend the day, with a break for a cafe lunch, but did not add to the km tally for the week. Wet weather in Melbourne had put me off as well.

I need to harden the F up and get on with it.

So we planned to do 34kms along the beach front for our longest run. We all had Monday off so set off to get it done. It was hard. I only got 32 done and Mel back from injury hiatus put us to shame and busted out a 33. I was cross with myself for thinking I could be out running for nearly 4 hours and not get sunburnt and now have a patchwork of differing shades of red skin for my neglect. I was exhausted at the end and sat in a Port Melbourne cafe unable to choose something to eat and drink. The young waitress was very unimpressed by my lament of  'we've just run 32k and can't decide...'

Since then I have run another 2 x fast 8k and attended the You Yangs parkrun launch this morning.

MCR at the You Yangs

this is the kind of running I enjoy and I know I will enjoy running again when this hard slog part of training is done.

Tomorrow is another 28k with the training group and then the tapering begins!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Rain has put us off tonight from trying out the pyramid run. With no break in sight from the drenching we are hoping to get it done tomorrow night. I think I needed another day break from the long run we did on Sunday anyway. Although we got the 30km done it was hard and I ended up a little sunburnt from the 3 & 1/2 hours out in the sun. We almost didn't get it done as after just 3km into it I was consumed by a wicked gut ache that felt more like intense period pain than a need for the toilet. My ever patient Running Buddy nursed me through another couple of slow ks until it passed as mysteriously as it had shown up.

But still 30k was tough but showed me we are a bit closer to our goal.

And then I saw this bucket list of running goals and while it is U.S. based I've adjusted it a little to suit my own goals. And it was nice to cross some off the list already.
  1. Trail run in a National Park this will be a goal for next year, after my hysterectomy, I want to pursue some trail runs
  2. Ocean run on the sand Yep did that at Port Fairy and it was glorious and freeing.
  3. Complete a Marathon Gold Coast and Melbourne are ticked off but I still have Paris or New York or Amsterdam or London as an ultimate goal
  4. Serve as a race-day volunteer Yep did that at Melbourne Marathon last year and while it was  a good experience it made me want to run even more. I volunteer at parkrun too, encouraging others to run.
  5. Three generations of runners in one race this one will be particularly tricky for some time, maybe just 2 generations in one race will suffice, Hayley has taken up running so I'm pinning my hopes on her
  6. Sunrise run  We were up before the sun for the last Run Melbourne
  7. Conquer each distance: 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon done, done, done, done
  8. Run for charity done - Sussan's womens race, Mother's Day Classics, Run4kids, Run for Mental Health and many more
  9. Run with someone completing her first race Yep when we roped Mel into her first Run Melbourne, and she beat me!
  10. Participate in a long distance, overnight relay this one will stay on the list for a while, but going on road trips like when we went to Great Ocean Road was such a fun trip I can imagine it would be just as much fun
  11. Race festively (race-themed attire or tutu and tiara all count) Next Run 4 the kids I want to wear a tutu and hope to rope in Big Sister to make me one
  12. Run Central Park Insert Run a few tourist Parkruns instead. I've done 2 away from my  'home parkrun' at Maryibyrnong and Toowoomba but would like to run some more
  13. Run the Golden Gate Bridge 
  14. Run Big Sky country 
  15. Attend a runners’ retreat
  16. Join a running group Yep joining Melton City Runners has introduced me to some great friends and motivating runners
  17. Complete a trail race Does Hanging Rock 20km count? I'm MCR will help me with this one
  18. Volunteer to support a kids’ running group or after-school fitness program, I'm more likely to encourage others to find the joy of running
  19. Train with a four-legged, furry running companion gonna have to get a dog first...
  1. Never stop chasing the next dream or challenge.
How many can you cross off?

An update on the old blood pressure. While the medication has made me feel better within myself it seems my renal function has deteriorated enough for my GP to message me to say stop taking it while we figure out the next step.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Friday catch up...

I had a couple of different running experiences this week which brings back into focus why I do what I do.

We have been running with a group of strangers in the city that we have been slowly getting to know each Sunday morning getting our long runs done. The group splits into two with a faster group and us in the slower group, We have been getting tips and sometimes more information than we know how to process but we are learning all the time while clocking up the kms. We are able to encourage other similar runners and gain insight from the more experienced. At this stage of my running I am somewhere in between novice and expert.

During the week I ran with the local running group to do a fast 6k. I was able to run part of the way with the President of the group. He had just completed a 100km trail ultra run on the surf coast and treated this quick run as a 'recovery run'. I let him do all the talking although he kindly showed interest in my training plan and then offered advice. Seems that our current plan is a better one than the one we had used in the lead up to the Gold Coast. A plan is a hot topic, I was asked several times which plan we were using and I glad I had something to say, that I was legitimately training for this marathon.

The outdoors proved dangerous for my Running Buddy when she was swooped by a magpie in a local park and ended up with a black eye. Ironically it is one of her biggest fears, along with sink holes, a torment we have to endure each Spring. Luckily she was wearing her sunglasses otherwise it could have been worse and it has shaken her confidence. And she wasn't even running at the time. I was concerned that she may never run outside again but shortly afterwards she posted this pyramid plan for us to try. The plan we are using this time incorporates more than just long, easy paced runs.

My nursing skills have been put to the test this week with my poor husband struck down with the man flu. He must feel really sick as he has allowed me to tend to him, he has even taken the proffered medication and advice. As long as he is not sharing his condition we will get through this.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

6 weeks to go...

Training has been going well in its all consuming way.

We have had several long runs with the Melbourne Marathon training group, which has been a great way to push ourselves. 29k last Sunday and another 24 today. We start in the city and run from anywhere to the Zoo or Sandringham and have been picking up tips from the pacers and other runners. The paths are very busy with fellow runners, lots of cyclists and people out and about enjoying the city. It makes it a bit challenging dodging and weaving but we get to cover new territory and follow the marathon route which will be a bit of an advantage for the event.
Next up is a couple of longer runs before the taper.  We've been putting in about 50k per week and feeling like we are better prepared than previously.
Chris is getting used to the weekends being dominated by long runs or overwhelming fatigue. My battle with my uterus will continue until after the marathon is done, then I'll have to have an enforced hiatus and then back into new challenges next year.

But right now I'm really looking forward to the taper.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Post Olympics post...

I love watching the Olympics, even for sports I don't normally follow. Watching a highly trained athlete push themselves to the limit to finish is awe inspiring.
I was mesmerised by the marathons and distance races, marvelling at the quick pace they set. I got teary watching replays of great finishes and cheered on Chloe Esposito in her Decathlon gold each time I saw it.
These athletes are the best in the world and to see someone come in 7th when they had given their all is still winning in my book.
It has been inspirational for me as well to keep training to reach my goal, just when I needed a boost. The time I put in is not insignificant for me but does not compare with the 4 year commitment the Olympians have made, so I will push on til October to get it done.

Our #teamJAM is a little fractured at the moment with Mel out with injury that hopefully will not keep her out too much longer. Running Buddy and I have been going out regularly to do tempo runs, fartlek, hill sprints and long runs. We did Parkrun twice on Saturday, a quick one and a long one doing 23k all up. Social engagements have meant we haven't been able to get back to the city on Sundays or enter events to keep us going.

But I think we are on track for our own gold medal.

and I had an opportunity to purchase this bike on Saturday from a friend who is upgrading so I will be able to add some cycling to my training

Sunday, August 14, 2016

We went to a party...

my nephew's 21st, with a musical theme for the budding musician.

 Chris got right into the spirit of the night and stayed in his Ozzy Osbourne character most of the night even allowing us to paint his nails with black nail polish and add eye liner to his eyes

I was Stevie Nicks and you need to see a full length shot to get the full effect of the flowing outfit I had found at 3 op shops.

not much of a stretch to be Tame Impala front man

Ben was introduced to the family and survived the experience. Hopefully he will be at many more family functions

 Erin's Amy Winehouse looked very good and in true form avoided the paps as much as she could

We had a lovely time and it was fun to dress up and play a character for a few hours. I didn't get to sing but my little sister (the mother of the birthday boy) took over the band's mike to belt out her rendition of Ballroom Blitz.

It was a nice distraction from the running training program.