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

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Half the job...

Steve Monaghetti says if you are running a half marathon (21.1k) you are only doing half the job.

And he is right I suppose but it still a long way and a huge accomplishment for some. As a beginner runner 5k was a long way, then a 10km seemed to be the next goal. Stepping up to a half marathon and then the full marathon was never on my radar. But as my running friends wanted go further I went along with them.
After achieving a finish in the trail marathon (43k) in June, I have been cruising along with with middling distances. I watched the girls run in the half marathon at Run Melbourne recently as I didn't feel I was ready to run and didn't want to fork out another $110 for an event I was half hearted about.
Spectating and cheering/supporting is fine. Every now and then you need to take stock of what you want to achieve and train for and reset your goals.

So we entered the Sandy Point half marathon. The girls had had good results at Run Melbourne and were keen to improve their times. The prep was a bit haphazard as Running Buddy had a break at Port Douglas in the sun and Mel suffered with a virus that took 2 weeks to shake. The PB's were pushed out of mind and it was determined to be just a training run instead.

Terrible weather conditions greeted us in the morning and cold winds whipped across the Bay from Tasmania. Running into a vicious headwind made me seriously contemplate not finishing, I was only about 3k in when I had to bargain with myself to continue. I kept forward momentum with the rain whipping my face, head down until it was just as far to turn back as it was to keep running. I interspersed running with walking between showers wanting to get to the turn around so the wind would be at my back. An out and back course meant encouragement from the girls who were ahead of me and then waiting for me at the end. No more headwind but showers of hail spurred me to the finish.

I can hear the girls cheering me over the line

a welcome warm hug

Thanks Sandy Point for showing me I can do hard things.

And despite the tough conditions the girls both shaved times of their previous half marathon times to record PB's! I am very proud of them both.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Another trail...

Our next trail run took us up on to the hills of the You Yangs, near Lara Victoria.

We tackled the 15k event and it was very overcast and threatening at the beginning but we managed to get the whole run done without getting wet.
It was very hilly and another great challenge. I'm slowly getting used to this trail running caper, pushing myself further and harder.

some of the MCR crew

It is all good preparation for the Surf Coast Century Ultra coming up on Sept 9th. On that day some will undertake 100km solo, 50km solo or like us a team of 4 taking on 100km.

Monday, July 10, 2017


to my two wonderful running buddies.

Winners are grinners
They both tackled the Gold Coast marathon this year and improved on last years time. Not being able to be with them this year was a bit sad for me but I followed their progress and revelled in their achievement nonetheless.

We have done so many events together it was strange not only for me, but for our friends who cheer us on as well, to not be with them this time. I was asked several times why I wasn't with them and the main one was financial. Running is not a cheap sport if you participate in destination events like this one.

Hopefully we can do more events together as I feel it is the main reason I have come so far with my running. You can run on your own but the support of friends will get you further every time.

Good on you girls, you are champions!!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Marathon number 3...

What a wonderful event, I'm still on a high. There is such a lot swirling around in my head to process about this latest achievement.

My first trail marathon was a long affair. 7 hours and 5 minutes of running on beaches, trails, up and down steps and hills. It was completely different to any other running I have done and I loved it.

We ran from Torquay to Fairhaven winding through the scrubby coast and along the beach.

the beautiful surf coast
Fishermans beach was abuzz

chilly start to the day

Trail running is so different to road running and as I have found out time goals are not part of it. I had thought roughly it would take me 6 hours, I thought that was achievable but it was not to be. The course was tougher than I was prepared for and king tides and huge swells meant the 4 beach sections were very challenging. More experienced runners struggled with the conditions so I don't feel disappointed in this effort at all. It was tough but I enjoyed it. It was completely new and I embraced it. At each aid station I stopped and refilled my water bottle, fueled up with some food and chatted to the volunteers and found out what the next section had in store. In every other race stopping for a drink is a no no, you grab a cup on the run, slurp a few sips and then keep running, tossing your cup towards a bin and try not to shower a  fellow runner. I ate chips, muesli bar and lollies in addition to the gels I had in my vest.

Someone had told me the course was flat. Not even close, Sure the beach sections were flat but they were really tough. I couldn't run on the soft sand and spent a lot of the time dodging the waves lapping at the dunes.

the water was lapping at our feet

the swell at Bell's beach was huge

there was no hard sand to run on 

the soft sand was hard going
 The waves and swell were so good at Bell's beach a surfing comp was underway in this '50 year storm' conditions - perfect for surfing but not for running.

we had to scramble onto the dunes
 Normally there is a long sections of bare sand to enjoy.

a beautiful day for a run
Other parts of the course were also beautiful. It had started out cool but sunny, about 13 degrees by the afternoon. I had my arm warmers on and they were up and down the whole day. In the sun I would warm up but in the foresty bits I would get cold again.

A lot of the time I was on my own, looking out for the pink tape tags to guide me and reassure me I was on course. There were loads of wonderful volunteers at many spots along the way who directed and encouraged me. Everyone was so nice, they were out in the cold conditions for many hours.

This inlet crossing was not something I was expecting either. I picked my way across and ended up with water logged shoes and then squelched along for a few kms, wet feet just adding to the adventure.

After the long 3k section along Urquharts beach I came to the 34km aid station manned by my wonderful friends of MCR

The last 8kms were the best, I cruised along up to the light house at Aireys Inlet and onto the beach at Fairhaven and up the steps to the surf club and across the finish line. Melissa was there to cheer me over the line and help me when I needed it most. After a long run like that your brain doesn't work very well and she got my bag and ushered me into the change room to put on warm clothes. She then presented me with a hot coffee and we had a little debrief and shared stories of our run.

this is a cool trace of the route

another medal for my collection
 A truly wonderful experience and another event to tick off the list