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.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

One week on...

It would have been lovely to spend a few more days on the warm Gold Coast and revel in the post marathon glory but we headed back to cold, wet Melbourne and jealously looked at other peoples pics and posts of the sunshine. It has been a very relaxed week, no running until Saturday and lots of relaxing. And of course talking and planning of the next goal.
Chris has asked me if things are going to go back to normal, meaning is he going to get his wife back. I've told him I will keep running but haven't shared all the plans just yet, I don't want to freak him out. I'm only going to play tennis one night a week when the new season starts on Thursday. In hindsight 2 nights was too much with all the marathon training. We are booked into the half marathon for Run Melbourne in 2 weeks so he may not even notice the long runs creeping back into my week.

We popped our 'finishers' T shirts on and fronted up to a very frosty Parkrun for our first recovery run. It was meant to be a slow jog, according to the plan, but we shot off for the 5k feeling good.


After the run it was lovely to catch up with running friends and then we went over to look at the brand new athletics track. We cheekily jumped the fence to run a hot lap running as fast as we could for the 400 metres.

 

My ranking on the Strava segment currently sits at 11/14, my pace was good over the short distance and I quite liked the full pelt feeling on the brand new, springy surface. I'm hoping to be able to use the track more as part of mixing up our training runs.


The girls couldn't co-ordinate their Garmins to get on the board.

Running Buddy was kind enough to share her purchased photos


the guys behind us kept us entertained but is one of them wearing Vibram shoes??



Thursday, July 7, 2016

My first marathon...

As each day passes my perspective on running the marathon changes. From the relief of actually crossing the finish line, to the sense of immense achievement some disappointments have crept in. Physically I feel much better than I anticipated just fatigued not sore at all.

So here are the positives...

I ran 42.4 kms in 5 hours and 25 minutes.

I felt excited to be one of 6,500 runners taking on this challenge.

I loved the flat beachy course lined with supporters.

I achieved an awesome goal that 6 months ago seemed impossible.

I learned A LOT from this run. I learned things that I want to improve and change.

Having Chris on the course waiting for me firstly at the 34k mark was so helpful. I was scanning for him, willing myself to get to that point. His encouragement spurred me on to the next difficult stage.

Some things I want to improve upon are pace, form, fuelling, hydration and the mental game of pushing on when you just don't want to.

The gear worked well. The compression socks, shoes, shorts and our team T-shirt were fine. I ended up with chafing from my bra front and back and under my left arm. It was handy to have vaseline to slap on at a first aid table and after that I didn't feel the burn but have been left with quite a mark. The drink bottles bounced around and gave me shits actually.
My trusty Garmin that has served me well since 2012 was not up to the challenge and I learned it only had a 5 hours GPS capability so after 37 kms it faded to blank. Another disappointment. Another kick to say you didn't reach your goal, if you'd run quicker and not walked your times would've been recorded...

I am trying to not let the disappointments overshadow my achievement.  I walked more than I hoped, I was slower than my goal time. Being the first marathon you're not really sure and perhaps I shouldn't have set a time for myself. That's for next time.

Contemplating the job ahead

team #JAM


waiting to start

keep your eye on that pacer Jo
28km down, 14 to go
 The amount of support along the way was phenomenal. The entire course was lined with people calling out encouragements, calling out our names, telling us to keep going, push on etc. The camaraderie amongst the runners also was fabulous. Of course we weren't up with the elites but were made to feel our effort was miraculous. I got a bit emotional when we saw the wheelchair athletes zooming back towards us with the pace car. We'd only been running for about an hour at that stage and I had a little teary moment and kept running.

relief to see Chris at 34k point
At about this point my legs didn't feel like they were moving at all, I was really plodding and the snippets of video reflect this also. The girls had gotten away from me and I really had to focus on moving my feet. I got talking to two other girls who started to push me, wouldn't let me walk, told me to dump water on my head and were so very encouraging so much so I caught up to Running Buddy (who was also struggling) and we were able to finish together. I am so glad we finished together and that we found that little bit extra in the tank to finish strong.

Coming in to the finish chute, what a relief


we are marathoners!

And of course the debriefing and analysing started immediately and has continued on every day since. Never again had crossed my mind during the run but we are already planning another...


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Lots to say part 2...

While we were in Toowoomba I was still in the taper period so I planned 2 runs to stay on track. Toowoomba is a very hilly town and I set off on my 7km first run looking for the location of the Toowoomba parkrun. Just 2 k from brother-in-laws i found the lovely Queens Park.


I had a little tummy trouble so by the time I reached the park I bolted over to the toilet. I only realised that I had made a bee line for the Mens when I walked out and wondered why there were urinals in there...oops no harm done only a little embarrassement!

I struggled back up the hill and thought it was a crap run and put it down to every now and then you have a bad one and I don't do as well on my own. I looked on Garmin later and realised that Toowoomba is at 700m elevation so I managed some altitude training at the same time.

On Saturday morning I went back down to the park at 7am for the parkrun. It was only 3 degrees on that morning so I wore long sleeves and pants and tucked my bar code into my pocket. The 5k run was 2 laps of the park with a hill and a nice down hill section. I took it easy and clocked up a 33 minute time. They do things a little differently here and while they had 17 volunteers on the course there was no-one taking photographs so I snapped my own momento.

My first real Parkrun tourism
 I wanted to have a little run but always had in the back of my mind the big challenge I was to face the next day and that we had been preparing for since January.



Couldn't resist taking this cheeky snap, I took it as a sign that Queensland was cheering me on.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Lots to say...

Our trip has been and gone and it was a ripper. We were only gone for less than a week but managed to cram a lot in, the marathon being the highlight.
Before the big race we stayed for a few days in Toowoomba with Duncan and Donna and had a lovely catch up. The trip was a huge trip down memory lane for Chris as he revisited his old haunts and showed me around.
'upgraded' to the first row

Welcome to Toowoomba

Cabarlah, Chris' Army posting

The Farmers Arms where many an hour was spent

had to have a beer at the old stomping ground

this time tea at Willowsprings

and of course a latte for me (and cake)

the view from Picnic Point 
 Duncan was able to tell stories from the terrible floods that roared through in 2011. Many people were drowned or washed away and the main road into Toowoomba that is pictured above was a torrent that poured down the Range down into the valley below and washed away the whole community of Grantham. Not that you can tell now, lots of rebuilding and development has replaced the devastation.


Duncan made the pattern for these bins during his apprenticeship at the Foundry


Tabletop mountain in the distance
 I have a photo somewhere which I'm determined to find of me standing in this same spot taken on my first trip to Toowoomba when we were young and adventurous and had ridden on Chris' motorbike from Victoria to Queensland, about 30 years ago.

overlooking the valley.
We also had fun catching up with family over a few drinks and trying to play Wii fit games, seems that alcohol and Wii balance games equals lots of laughter.

I got to get in a couple of runs and stay on track for the marathon. We had a lovely time and were sad to go but I was anxious to move onto the next phase of our trip.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Counting down...

Just 2 days left before we fly out to warmer climes.

2 runs down this weekend and just 3 short runs before the big one.

4 things to print out: flights, rental car, accommodation, bib collection.

2 cases to pack, and decisions to make about outfits.

Saturday saw us shopping before our run to pick up a new singlet which will be our new unofficial team shirt.


and keeping with the rule of 'nothing new on race day' we tried them out on Sunday. Even though I wanted to wear long sleeves on this freezing morning we tested out the shirt and agreed the lightweight top will be perfect for the Gold Coast. A cruisy 10k was the perfect way to end up our training together. We won't run as a trio again until next Sunday morning and we chatted about how excited we are and how the finish line will be an emotional one.

I think you can follow along our progress with these links audience guide.

Voting has been done and we got to see Erin at work at the pre poll. She has made us very proud with her application to this position, and she is pleased with herself also. The election has been good for our household in unexpected ways.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Another Friday check in...

another week of leave is almost done and a lovely week it has been. The weather has turned very wintry and has made me look forward to our Queensland trip even more. I managed to sort some more things around here, cook some meals and cakes, get new tyres for my car, and try to settle into this tapering period.

We ran 15 kms on Sunday and it felt a little strange not to do more and then another run on Tuesday which stretched out our legs. I really enjoyed this run as we paused on top of the hill to investigate the new bridge across the river and then took a cross country detour to get back. We haven't done this running for pleasure running for a while and it was nice not to have time/pace constraints.

The planning and talking and checking of weather forecasts has continued at a furious rate. I am excitedly anticipating this trip and have forced myself not to pack too early. Chris has started his leave as of tonight so we will be able to prepare together the last details.

I want to get in a couple of short runs over the next few days if the icy weather allows.

5 sleeps to go!!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Friday check in...

except I'm posting this on Saturday this week...

My first week of leave has been lovely. There is something very comforting in the satisfaction of cleaning and sorting things that have been put off for so long. Not very exciting but good.

My cough has improved after Tuesday's disastrous run which was abandoned after just 4.5km. I haven't been that short of breath for ages. I tried to make RB feel bad that she had made me run up our big hill but I don't think it worked. I have had a rest from running to feel better and now look forward to getting back into it. A chilly run at Parkrun felt really good this morning and of course the running chatter has given more tips and ideas.

I've been doing a lot of reading about marathons, checking on our course and other details. A fellow runner put me onto this guy, James Dunne  who helped him with his marathon prep.




Might be a bit late in the training to start now.

I've also read a lot about training the brain and what I have to tell myself repeatedly. Apparently fatigue is just an emotion and you can talk yourself out of it. And I have to speak to myself like I would a friend. "You've got this, you've done the work, you can keep going"

And I was able to get the ultrasound done but the plan of seeing the GP for the results before we go away hasn't worked, no appointments available til after the race, hopefully no issues will spoil my race.

My survey completing has paid off with a free entry to Run Melbourne this year. I hadn't planned on running in it this year as it is only 3 weeks after the marathon and I've done the 10k twice before, but who can say no to free pass? It is a nice race to participate in, another big event and well run so off I'll go to do another half marathon. Maybe that will be the new distance. When the girls saw that I had taken up the offer they also signed up to do it. It will be nice to do another one together.

This caught my eye today

very apt, the donut that gives you wings