Sunday, February 4, 2018

Running update...

My year's goal of running 20km per week has so far stayed on track. Despite horrendously hot weather (some days of 42 degrees C) I have managed to either do several shorter runs or one Sunday got it all in one day.
These runs have mostly been on the trails with the group and I have been shown several that I hadn't done before, some on the weekend and a couple on the Thursday night group runs while tennis has been on hiatus.
at Blackwood I got 22k in one run

refreshments after makes it worthwhile

surprising what you find in the bush

Running with this assortment of people is always fun and challenging. I'm trying to keep up and not get bitten by pesky March flies.

Bellarine Sunset Run
Starting at  4:40pm at St Leonards wasn't really sunset but a beautiful afternoon run to Portarlington. Last year I watched the girls run while I was recuperating after my operation but this year I was running the 10.7k with them.
The weather was perfect and there was lots of support from the other MCR runners doing either the 10 or 21k event. They arranged a 'pirate ship' to race against, somewhat like racing against the Puffing Billy train.

#teamJAM back together

the ship made the journey in about 1:50 hours

thanks for the medal Georgie

It was a really nice run, flat, along the coast with loads of support along the way from our group, from the volunteers and the locals who sat in front of their caravans and offered cheers, drinks or a spray from the hose. Not that I ran it particularly fast but I really enjoyed it. I particularly loved getting high fives along the way from other runners and the support at the end was fantastic. No matter what time you run, you are cheered over like a superstar.

hard to get everyone together for a group shot, this is pretty close
It was a good start to our year of event running. Lots more to come...

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Back on the trail...

Last year I averaged 20km per week, this year my goal is to do at least 20k again. I think this achievable given I had 2 hiatus periods last year.

First 10k was easy with the parkrun double.

Next 10k was a trail run in a new location nearby on Long Forest Road. We had run this one for the first time last week. Making the 6pm start time then had been easy because of an early finish at work but this week I couldn't get away early. By the time I had gone home, sorted a meal and changed it was already 6 by the time I left. I had told the girls to head up to the meeting point as I didn't know if I was going to make it. When I arrived at the carpark it was full of cars and the group had already started their run. They had a 10 min start on me.
My plan was to follow along as much of  the trail as I could remember. If I felt unsure I was going to turn back or if I got to the loop part and they were still ahead then I would turn back. I hadn't told anyone I had made it and I didn't want to be on my own out there or them seeing my car in the car park and not knowing where I was.
So I headed off. I didn't feel afraid at all. I surprised myself by remembering landmarks along the way. The Doritos that Mel had pointed out. The bendy tree you had to duck under. The reedy bit along the river that whipped at your legs. The bright orange flags randomly placed in the clearing. The second river crossing that Pat had helped my up (made it up on my own the second time!) and as I approached the loop section I could see the group up ahead. They were regrouping and having a breather. I was met with joyous cries of 'here comes Jo!'
They were surprised that I had popped up and I was glad I had caught up with them and quite proud of myself for remembering the way.

photo credit Michael T

I wouldn't like to run out there by myself, if you slipped and hurt yourself it is nice to know help isn't too far away and the danger of getting lost is negated by the proximity to assistance.

Running and exploring our wonderful bushland is much better shared with friends.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

New Year, new goals...

The New Year started off with a bang. After a quiet celebration of the year with my running buddies I was up early on New Year's Day to head to parkrun.
Many events put on a special event, parkrun is usually run only on a Saturday morning but Christmas Day and New Year's Day is a special extra event.
Last year I went to just one of these at Maribynong and it was a great way to start off what was to be a really great year. This year I was planning to do the same but as a MCR group were heading off to do the 'double' I joined in.
We started off at Coburg parkrun at 8am. 230 keen runners ran the lovely scenic course and it was lovely to be cheered on by the faster runners who hadn't walked the hilly part.

our jump shot co-ordination needs work
Next we headed off to Darebin parkrun in Reservoir for a 930am start. About 200 lined up for that one and most had come from the Coburg run to get the double done.
Another good run from the group along a river course. Mine was slower as I was feeling the effects of the champagne the night before and no water during the morning. But still I enjoyed the morning with these wonderful people.

Feels good to start the year off right.

Monday, December 18, 2017


It certainly has been an event filled year.

I've run on the road and trails. I've been up the top of mountains and run on the beach, I've been rained on and in zero temperatures.  We've camped and travelled and stayed in tents and cabins. I've done about 30 parkruns and clocked up around 900 km on my shoes. That's a bit more than I thought seeing has I had a month off after my surgery and down time getting my blood pressure sorted.
I ran just one marathon and a few half marathons, tried a relay and embraced new friendships within running. We tried some new events and went back to our favourites for another go.

I added 14 bibs to my folder and 10 medals to the rack.

We have our eyes on some new events and longer distances for next year. The planning has begun in earnest over coffees or wine, calendars have the beginning of plans and training plans have been sourced.
There is no stopping us.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Winding up the running year...

Gold Rush Trail Run was my last running event for the year, we will have to try to maintain some training over the next few hot weeks before the events begin again in February.

Monday night I will play in the Melton Twilight Mixed Doubles Grand Final and that will wind up the tennis year also. Not as much tennis as running this year but I still really enjoy playing and our training session each week.

We ran Gold Rush last year and it was worth repeating this year. There was a good turnout of MCR people running in the 2 distances, 13 or 24k. The trail was lovely and quite a challenge and although I was separated from my friends I never felt alone or unsupported on the trail. The volunteers and marshalls would either encourage you by name or just by calling out 'C'mon MCR' and we were all in differing amounts of hurt.

Eddy stopped midway to have a selfie at our start line

hi 5 with Pat to get me to the end

wet feet, a chance to cool off

 Never easy but always worthwhile.

when you're struggling a little encouragement will get you through
It was nice to finish and recap with the group and revel in our accomplishment. I even saw my GP at the finish, she'd had a hard day too. These running friends have come to mean a lot to me and kept me involved with the sport far longer than I imagined.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Quiet times...

For some months I have been experiencing some breathlessness and chest pains while running that I put down to a variety of excuses. Aging, not training hard enough, anxiety were on the top of my list. Once I mentioned it to my GP she set into investigating and ruling out any sinister causes. An initial echocardiogram looked like there was a serious problem so I was ordered not to run long or hard until we had more information. Waiting for the Specialist was hard as I felt my diminishing fitness was on a slippery slope.
Thankfully that the diagnosis in the end was uncontrolled hypertension causing 'stiffness' of the heart which has responded nicely to an increase in medication. I have been given the all clear to push hard again and I have begun the way back to long distance running.
I was very grateful for the expert care of my GP and Cardiologist both of who are also runners so understood my circumstance with a bit more insight.

So I'm back into it but apart from a couple of parkruns the calendar has been a bit bare. A recent planning session saw us tossing up possibilities for 2018 which includes new races we want to try and favourites we want to repeat.

To finish off the year we ran together in AfterGlow last weekend and had a blast. Dressing up, running in the dark along the coast, watching the sunset and mixing with fabulous people is a true "fun run".

fab vollies adding to the fun

start line glowing vibes

Bell's beach to Torquay along the Surf Coast Walk 

12km turned into 13km

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Bellarine Rail Trail run...

 A 17km training run along the rail trail from Drysdale to Queenscliff sounded just like the perfect amount 2 weeks after SCC.

The girls are in the grips of their training for the Melbourne Marathon and did the 34km loop from Queenscliff to Drysdale and back to Queenscliff.

I caught the train to the half way point and started with the other runners doing just half the distance.

Parts of the track were under water and most of it was very muddy. It was a nice morning though and I enjoyed picking my way along the path, chatting to other runners and high fiving the girls as they crossed my path.

I made the mistake of wearing my newly aquired SCC T shirt. I had many kudos and questions about the 100km race as we were running along. I had to keep answering that I had only done 28km, enough to get the T shirt!

There was no avoiding crossing this section of water and it cooled off the feet and washed some of the mud off. I had worn brand new trail shoes and they held up to this first test.

 It was a very enjoyable run, a challenging distance and loads of fun.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Surf Coast Century...

As the name suggests this event is 100km long. Runners tackle this distance solo or in relay teams of up to 4 runners. On this day other runners tackle the 50km event. Members of our running group had talked up this event and it sounded like something we could achieve. Our tight group of 3 recruited a 4th team member and we signed up for another big adventure.

Training had included some trail running at Brimbank Park and the You Yangs plus the girls long runs which are part of their marathon training. We tried to do a night run to test out the head lamps but got freaked out on our own and came home and had wine instead.
Several meetings and much messaging later we had our accommodation sorted, equipment prepared and itinerary locked in.

The 4 legs of the relay are distinctly different and on the recommendation of another runner we allocated  to what we thought were our strengths.

a head lamp was mandatory for the 530am start

a beautiful sunrise after an awful week of cold weather

a bit nervous & excited for what was to come
We saw Running Buddy off for her 21km leg along the beaches of the Surf Coast, starting at Anglesea heading to Torquay. She was in for lots of rock hopping and wading through waist deep water at times but did really well to come into the checkpoint in 2:50 to tag me off.

triumphant & happy that the first leg was done

time to catch a breath and pass on the gps tracker

we shared some gear & then I was off onto leg 2
a quick photo and off I go

Leg 2 was a 28km section from Torquay back to Anglesea winding through the coast trail and hinterland. For me it was tough. It was hilly and long. I tripped and fell but got back up to keep running. I walked some, ran some and got through to the end in 4:04. 

at the midpoint checkpoint, 14 more km to go

beautiful trail conditions

the shoe wash to prevent 'die back'

the grass trees were thick in places, whipping our arms and legs

Finally I came out onto the beach and really close to the end, just one more inlet crossing to go. I was looking at the depth of the water trying to suss out the best place to cross. The girls were on the other side cheering me on, so I though F*ck it! and plunged in and ran to the checkpoint.

hat on backwards means a tough run

I was so happy to see them telling me that the finish was very close
the girls were waiting to cheer me to my finish

 Our GPS tracker enabled us to follow where we were at any point in the day so we could estimate arrival time.

coffee while waiting
 We thought we would have hours to fill in time between legs to eat, drink, rest but it is a busy day zooming between checkpoints, ferrying runners to showers and warm clothes. There was time though to debrief and catch up with the MCR people and cheer on others.
Sunny as it looks in these photos it was still cool when you weren't moving, casting off a jacket at the last moment.
next runner preparing to go

 excitement & nerves rippled through the day
Linda heads off for leg 3
Linda's leg 3 was nearly 30km long and she is an experienced runner who is willing to tackle anything and embraced this challenge. We met Linda through parkrun and she has fitted into our group very naturally. This leg included scrambling under a bridge and through the hinterland again up to Mogg's Creek. We waited at her mid point at Distillery Creek to cheer her on and then we drove up to the last checkpoint to do the last changeover.

It was a long day for Melissa who was up at 5am to see off the first runners and then waiting all day until 4:15 pm to run that last leg.

 Mel started in daylight but dusk came and then the dark and so the headlight came out. Being a fast runner Mel was perfect for the last leg. We were checking the tracker and amazed at her progress so headed down to the finish line in time to see her cross the line at 6:50 pm. She had hills and long beach sections from Moggs Creek back to Anglesea.

When the final runner crosses the line the medals were handed over. The first team finished the 100k in 7:15 hours, the first solo 100k runner in 8:43 hours. Our team was mid field

The  last runner came through in 20 hours and 22 did not finish. There were some injuries that prevented people from finishing and we saw one girl with what looked like a broken collar bone carried out to an ambulance. 400 conquered the challenge and I was amazed at the mental and physical strength needed to get through such an event.

hard to get a good photos late at night but the 4 of us shared an amazing day
sandy, muddy, wet

Our team came together so well and each of us performed really well. We supported and encouraged each other. We learned a lot about running a big event in a relay. It was an amazing experience, exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. There were many highlights and I'm lucky to have shared it with an amazing group of women and with the larger supportive community of Melton City Runners.

MCR waited for the last person to cross the line & revelled in each others success