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.

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Cure...

you'll be surprised to learn that this post has nothing to do with running, apart from the times when we were walking through the city that I said to Hayley "we ran along here" "we ran up here" "we ran over this bridge".

I know it is shocking but sometimes I do things, good things, that don't involve running. But I did also say to Hayley I hadn't ever driven down this road or been to this place  unless it was running related.

We went to see The Cure in concert at Rod Laver Arena as a  birthday gift to her. And it was fabulous.



I don't know all their music but I enjoyed the whole show, their distinctive style and sound has remained the same over the decades and I was surprised that Robert Smith sounds exactly the same as he always has. And we certainly got value for money, the songs kept coming and Hayley was pleased that they played all her favourites.

Happy Birthday my dear, I can't believe you are nearly 28 and that I got to do share this with you.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The next stage...

As I went to file yesterday's race bib it struck me that the marathon bib was a nice end point to the current folder which is full to bursting and I need to start another.

In 2011 I started the Couch to 5k program and used the Mother's Day Classic 4km run to motivate me to continue. After that race I proudly recorded my time, printed my certificate and stowed the bib. Many races and events followed, 45 in all, from 4km all the way to 42.2km.

5 years to get from novice to marathoner.

team JAM has its own hashtag now
It has been an incredible journey and as I flick through the folder I recall each race and what I learned along the way. I do know that there wouldn't be as many bibs if Running Buddy hadn't been there to encourage me and spur me on. The first 9 races were a learning curve for sure but having someone to share not only the races but all the training as well has been truly special. Not really friends before this running journey, we have come a long way with our friendship as well as our running. There are so many memories attached to each bib, laughter and tears, frustration and joys and the development of the saying 'good on us'. We have learned a lot about each other, our routines and bodily functions. We've stripped off in front of each other and shared the pain of chafing in sensitive spots, blisters, sore hips and muscles. We have used running as therapy to solve frustrations of husbands new and old, children and now grandchildren and I am so very grateful for this special bond.
With the addition to our running gang our plans and goals got grander and bigger and took on a life of their own.Some days the instant messages flow thick and fast with plans and ideas. We've now also joined the Melton City Runners running group and another aspect of our running will develop with other motivated runners to take us to places we hadn't imagined.

So 'good on us' as I start another folder and gather more memories and friends.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Run Melbourne...

my last week of leave culminated with one last running event. I knew it was going to be the dominant theme of this leave and the timing was perfect.

Run Melbourne half marathon was not something on our radar just 3 weeks after running our first full marathon but a free VIP entry was too good to pass up. We did a little maintenance training in the last 3 weeks and maintained our form for this one. I had a goal of beating my best previous half marathon time of 2:20 (obtained earlier this year at Geelong). We set off with the 2:10 pacer in sight and I stuck with her as long as I could. We have learned things from all the training and preparations we have done and I felt really good as we pounded along the Melbourne streets.

21.1km course
It was a freezing morning and we reluctantly threw off our 'throwaway' jackets and warmed up once we got into a rhythm. The first half was quite quick for me and I slowed down in the second half losing sight of the pacer but able to push myself along. I never felt like walking or giving up and managed a PB of 2:15:35. A full 5 minutes of improvement! I was really happy with myself and felt satisfied in the end.

Each of us had improvements on this day and each recorded a PB

Being a VIP was a nice bonus but felt a little guilty at not being able to share it with the girls.

Being part of the MCR team was also a fabulous part of the day. Cheers of encouragement always help you along and it is nice to be in such an identifiable team.

fun in the outwestphotobooth
Half marathon number 7 turned out to be the best but right now I am little weary and still not quite ready to head back to work on Tuesday.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday check in...

Another lovely week has passed with a little running, catching up with an old friend and valuing a continuous supply of electricity.

I've had the 24 hour BP monitor squeezing my arm every 30 minutes to show whether I actually do have high blood pressure. In a few weeks I'll discuss with my lovely GP what my options are. She has been a great find, being a runner herself she understands my passion for uninterrupted training.

On the stormy freezing day while it was snowing on nearby hills I made a batch of lemon meringue pies, making the pastry and lemon butter from scratch.

The following day we had a planned power outage supposedly from 9am until 2pm. The house was dark and cold and we were bored to snores without our usual forms of entertainment. There was little I could do without power so camped down in my favourite cafe where the coffee was good, the wifi flowed and I was warm. It seemed like as soon as the power came back on after 3 we turned on every light and appliance like we had been deprived for days not hours. Pity those in Tassie who are snowed in, flooded out and still without electricity.

I was also able to have a yummy lunch (and many coffees) with a beautiful friend who I haven't seen in person for years. We have communicated via the internet and followed the progress of our lives and our children through facebook but this real time was very refreshing. It's nice to know true friendships are enduring.

If my GP says I have to give up coffee to treat my blood pressure I will seriously struggle.

The new season of tennis comp has started and it was lovely to get back into it with a couple of wins and some really good hitting. The new team is a good group and we will quickly settle into playing together. Cardio tennis also started back and that also felt really good to be buzzing around and stretching out the legs.

And finally I caught up with Big Sister at her place. It's been a couple of weeks since our last catch up and we had lots to say!

Another week of leave before the hectic schedule starts up again.