Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Getting close now...

just under 2 weeks until my next marathon, its actually a 43km marathon so the longest run ever for me. And this 3rd marathon will be my first on a trail course. It won't be nearly as tough as Mt Macedon but longer with sections run on the beach, so a real mixture.

Our last long run was along the bay. Together, before we go in different directions but still with full support for each other.

with the Sea Shepherd 'Steve Irwin' in the background

bad ass, hard core defenders of the oceans. docked at Williamstown until the next campaign
We ran from Altona, touched the Westgate Bridge, up to Yarraville Park and back. The morning was really cold but it was a beautiful morning for a 4 hour run! Plenty of time to solve the problems of the world.

While I was running I was thinking about how far I had come and the things I had learned along the way. I have had several people say to me recently 'I don't know how you do it' and 'I couldn't run 100m'. I always reply the same. That it has taken me a long time to get to this point, none of it has come naturally or easily but it has been worth every step. I wasn't all rainbows and positivity either. I didn't enjoy the last 10 of the 32.5k and wanted it to be over. But soon enough it was over and we were dissecting the run and patting ourselves on the back.

I feel ready and philosophical about this next challenge.

What will be, will be.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Tough trail report...

the mountain beckons

I did the toughest trail so far in my running journey. 21.6km along the trails of Mount Macedon. The day started out freezing cold but clear and frosty. I chipped the frost off my car to head to Gisborne to meet up with a fellow MCR runner who happens to have the same parking anxieties I do and was happy to carpool early.

freezing conditions
We made it in good time and got one of the few good car parks remaining. Lots of runners had our same thought and had arrived early also. But we managed to miss having to use the bus shuttle which turned out to be running late so our start was delayed 15 mins until they arrived. Our early arrival meant we could warm up with a coffee, get our bibs and not have to queue too much for the toilet. It was really frosty and we tried to find a patch of sunshine to keep warm(ish).

when you are so cold you don't care what you look like
MCR crew all doing different races

The first 3-4 km were what they call 'technical' not very steep rather undulating but rocky. It was one of these little rocks that tripped me up at the 2k mark and I fell.Luckily no injury just a bit of mud on my hands and knees and on I went. The trails were beautiful, ferny and covered with leaf litter. Most of the field charged ahead and I had to give way to runners belting back on the narrow trail. We climbed up to the lookout and I paused to take in the view and get my breath back.

There were many challenges, steep slippery descents, steep slippery ascents (I couldn't get up one particularly slippery section without grabbing a stick to help me get some traction), lots of up and down but I pushed on with my mantra of 'do your best' in my head.

As the morning progressed members of the public started appearing on the trails and in the picnic grounds that we passed through. As I ran through I suddenly heard a women shouting NO NO, STOP and COMEBACK!  I then heard the sound of dogs running up behind me and I was frightened what might happen when they caught me. She struggled to get control of the dogs, they were in for a big run.

I heard of one person behind me getting lost and I nearly did too.

some of the markings were not so obvious
But I managed to stay on track and finish in 4 hours. Not the fastest time but I was never going to win. Today was all about the massive challenge and finishing. All the MCR crew were happy with their efforts and as always it is an amazing feeling to be cheered on by your squad.

So it was eventful day including a fall and being chased by dogs, eek and tonight I am pretty tired and a little sore but looking ahead to the next challenge.

Edited to add these photos, taken by a lovely Mum who passed the time waiting for her daughter to run the 50k race by taking just about everyone's photo. Thankyou  Michelle Knoll

at the start

nearly there, close to the finish

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The trail awaits...

at Mount Macedon.

I'm a little anxious tonight about tomorrow's 21k trail run around the top of the mountain. The race briefing was not reassuring at all and full of don'ts.

Don't go off the path, look for the markers and be aware that sometimes nasty people like to tamper with them. Take a map or use your phone...that may not help me.

my mapping skills are lost, hopefully I wont be also

Don't use the cafe toilet or go for a squat in the bush,,,big no no!

Don't park in an unauthorised spot...do they not know the anxieties I have with parking!!! I'm going super early and carpooling.

Don't leave any rubbish behind, not even the tiniest tab off a gel packet, it could jeopardise future events. I'm all on board with this one.

Don't go too quick on the slippery sections, you might fall over. Steer clear of the shiny bits. No danger of my going too quick. Which takes me to the next one...

Don't go too slow or you might get swept up and DNF. I am determined to come home with a medal.

Don't go home without having your number marked off. No timing chip here, a volunteer will mark everyone off, at aid stations and at the finish.

And the weather bureau isn't helping either with a 0 degree forecast, will feel like -6!

It wasn't all doom and gloom though. The positive message was enjoy the view, enjoy the trails, help each other get through. Thank a volunteer. I'm told these trails+ events are well organised and quite a few MCR people are attending and planning a pub debriefing afterwards. Experienced trail runners have given advice about gear and clothing

I read an interesting article today saying that if you voice your concerns or worries, give them a name, then the brain can process them, make sense of them and then you feel better.

Well bring it on, here I come!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Hello there...

Since the last post where I was 14 weeks out from the next marathon and just getting back into running after my surgery, training is back in full swing.

That next marathon is now just 5 4 weeks away.

Long runs have taken over the weekends and events are being ticked off the list. Thanks goodness for my running girls who are keeping me to the plan. Thank goodness also for Melton City Runners and their passion for running which sees me included in their training runs and drills as well. How could I not succeed in such a supportive environment.

Since getting back to running I have been a regular at Wednesday night track sessions and the different drills are pushing me and my fitness and endurance along nicely.

Some hill/mountain training in the You Yangs has pushed my trail fitness along as well.

MCR at the You Yangs

The 'sadddle' - harder than it looks

trialling my new hydration vest at You Yangs parkrun
I was ready for the annual Run 4 Kids run and we dressed up in our bright yellow singlets and ran through the tunnel and over the Bolte Bridge. A bit of rain didn't hamper us too much and shows how hard core we really are.

I busted out a tutu for the first and last time


We worked our way up to be ready for the first half marathon of the year at the Werribee Mansion. It was a hard morning and showed we still had a long way to go.

And more recently we travelled down to the coast to run along the Great Ocean Road. We again camped at Kennett River. This time Melissa had her new tent to try out and we experienced foxes in the campsite overnight, and we kept awake by human and animal noises for a lot of the night. But in the morning a glorious sunrise greeted us and set the mood for the day.

The weather gods were kind to us again, even though the doomsayers had delighted in telling us in the lead up week that Victoria was expecting a months' worth of rain in 3 days. We were not happy with this prediction. Running in the rain isn't a problem but camping and getting ready in the rain would not have been fun. But it turned out to be fine and even sunny at the end. Similar to last year the night was mild and the camping was fine. We are learning something each year but still haven't learned out to pack lightly.

start line smiles

finish line smiles

The 23km was a beautiful run, its a tough one but well worth the effort. The girls finished ahead of me but I was more than happy with my run. We were all happy with our performance and effort. We then lingered after the race to relax and have coffee and food and to watch the marathoners and ultra runners finish their races.

I was determined to catch up with unsporty woman. I saw Annie finish her marathon and when I talked to her she was in that 'I've just run 44km and I can't think straight' fog so we chatted for a few minutes and then she was on her way to hydrate, rest and find her crew. I'm so glad I was able to meet her and a shame I didn't get a pic, oh well next time.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Back to it...

The rest is over.

Back to work. Back to training. 14 weeks until the next full marathon.

Training is gradually building and I'm still not back to previous fitness levels and try not to get too discouraged by slow progress.
running the whole 5k, Karen behind stuck with me and got her PB

Parkrun has been a good start. My first week back I just wanted to see how I went and had walk breaks. The following week my goal was to run the 5k without stopping and I'm happy to say each week has been a little faster. I've had loads of encouragement and have felt really well.

Maribyrnong Parkrun and had to leave Hayley behind to run all the way

My shadow in the white managed to run the whole way too
 I am particularly happy with this last run. I could hear the young girl close behind the whole way and as we turned for the last 300m she came level with me and I said to her I wondered when she was going to pass me and to go strong to the finish. After we crossed the line I had a laugh with her about her shadowing antics with a swoop at the end. She said she was using me as her pacer and thanked me for getting her across the line, she felt she would have given up otherwise and walked a bit. A PB in the bank for her and I was pleased to help her out. Way to go Kayla!

Track nights have been a bit tougher, not quite managing the whole work out but doing the best I can and reaching a little further each time.

I was asked to fill in for Ladies Mon night tennis and won the 2 sets but felt I wasn't playing to full capacity. Weekly sessions at Cardio Tennis will see an improvement there too. Last Friday we had a circuit that involved skipping and I'm happy to say no leakage occurred! A big step forward.

The first of our racing events was run this morning. It turned out to be a 34 degree day as we hit the trails for a 10k through Brimbank Park. I couldn't run the whole way and spent time walking up the steep hills that ring the valley and river.

MCR girls rule!

at the top of a very big hill

the hills were brutal

thanks for helping me out
happy to finish

another medal is always a nice reward
Today's run shows I still have a long way to go but will keep chipping away, supported by my running team mates and my very special Running Buddy.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Time to start up again...

My 4 week enforced break from activities is up and I have tentatively started back on the training track. I've left my books and crafts and projects to put my runners back on. My running gear is a little more snug than it was a month ago. It doesn't take long to soften up and put on weight when you aren't doing too much and have been cooking up a storm.

How much fitness I have lost was brought home last night at my first real track night. I was huffing and puffing and bringing up the rear. The Wings for Life World Run Ambassadors attended to run a promotional fun night culminating in a mini chase. I couldn't keep up. I tried not to give up but couldn't maintain the pace. I've also noticed how well the girls have been doing as they maintain the training runs and gym sessions, getting PBs  and looking fab.

spectating at the Bellarine Flying Brick Sunset Run
 This little girl is such a sweetheart. She endears herself to everyone and is a handy little runner. She tries to keep up with her Dad and big sister. We often run with her and she helps us as much as we help her.
Dunny art
While the girls were running their respective 10k and half marathon races Martin and I walked up the hill to the pub for refreshments before making our way to the finish line to cheer the finishers. Couldn't resist a cheeky pic of this lovely mosaic work that depicts Portarlington but has been unceremoniously mounted on a toilet block.

I haven't been cooped up at home the whole time, I volunteered at parkrun and at track night and cheered others on. I attempted my very first run at parkrun and did Ok without pushing myself too much. I walked 10k at the Relay for Life night.

MCR was the winning team with the most laps completed
Running Buddy tells me that next week is the beginning of my 16 week training program leading up to the marathon. Thankfully such programs start off fairly slow and build up so it should all be OK. Tennis is allowed again and then back to work to try to fit everything in.

Whilst I am itching to get back into it it has been nice to have had this break to regroup and centre myself.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The hiatus...

If you have to have a hiatus from running, mid summer is a good time to do it. It's been really hot and humid  and the odd bit of running I've done til now has seen me dripping with sweat. I know my form is off having only done bits and pieces since early December. Tennis had finished for the Summer break as well, so the hiatus has been timed pretty well.

It's been a while coming. Time spent on a waiting list, time allowed for things to improve on their own but didn't. And here I am recovering from a hysterectomy feeling pretty good and itching to get back on to my feet. I'm hoping related issues will all be resolved with this surgery. Dry pants during a run will be a big plus. Menopause will be a bit trickier to define but no bleeding to contend with is a huge bonus.

The surgery itself was long and the first night post op not good but since then I have continued to improve and feel well. Under Dr's orders I'm not to do any 'impact activity' like running or tennis for 4 weeks of my 6 week recovery time. I've watched these activities start up again without me. Soon enough I will be back into my training and I've had lots of time to read and to find new events. Time to plan what the year will hold and to set some goals.

A coffee date with the girls has set out the first few months of the year, incorporating an overseas trip and holidays into our training plan. I sadly told the girls I'm not going to join them at the Gold Coast this year but plan to do a trail marathon on the Surf Coast here in Vic instead in June. We will do our training together as the two events are only 2 weeks apart. We have Run 4 Kids, Hanging Rock and Great Ocean Road penciled in as part of our marathon training.

So instead of running I've been pottering around in the garden, getting Chris to drive me to different nurseries so we can fill the little nooks with plants. I've been reading actual books, not just websites and pulled out some crafts to do. When my sister visits we'll start, and probably finish, a jigsaw.

As good as I feel I am a little nervous about running again. I will take it slowly and try not to rush back into all the activities too quickly once my enforced time out is done.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Project...

The problem with running so much is that housework gets neglected and projects are put on the back burner. But with the next running goal some months away the intensity of training has waned and I find myself at home at little more looking at things around here that I have put off.  I have had a few runs in the last month and still trying to get to track night but the heat puts me off. I suspect I will pay the price when training does ramp up again.
 So this Summer break we were able to achieve a project on the house that we have talked about for ages.

Chris is very handy about the house and garden. Not really a gardener but he will build just about anything I ask him to and do it well. The outdoor area needed a finishing touch which we finally got around to.

before the screen... Chris built the pergola and paved this area

Things were measured, re measured, lined up and rechecked...

He used Ekodeck screening which is a composite bamboo/plastic product which is 'guaranteed not to warp or twist and doesn't need painting or oiling'
The screen completes the area and it has been a lovely place to sit in the afternoons.

Thank you my dear for being such a skilled and meticulous craftsman, it turned out exactly how I imagined it would.

Friday, January 20, 2017


As the years roll by the milestones accumulate along with them.

This year saw us celebrate 32 years of marriage. The photo at the top of this page is one of my favourites from that day in 1985. It was a spontaneous moment and captures our surprise perfectly.

We thought this year was going to quite low key but we took advantage of a gift from Hayley and went on a helicopter ride over the city. Hayley had been saving up our birthday and Mothers/Fathers Days gifts to culminate in this fabulous experience.

I had wanted to do a helicopter ride for my 50th birthday but it hadn't happened.

Chris was quite anxious about the flight, he was concerned about our safety. And when I saw the tiny craft my anxiety rose as well. But we survived and managed to get a lot of photos while we were enjoying the view. The wind did buffet us a little but were reassurred by our experienced pilot, John.

As it tragically turned out today, you can be run down in the middle of the city on the footpath and die in a random accident.

I took a lot of photos, here a just a few...

Melbourne city


Albert Park


Tennis Centre Australian Open in progress
I sat in front so could take photos
John was an excellent pilot pointing out landmarks etc. Over the radio came information that the police helicopter was in the area, sadly now we know why.

I thought to myself as we flew over that I have run in so many places in our lovely city. It looked magnificent from the air but my feet have taken me all over it as well. The MCG, Albert Park, Beaconsfield Parade through to St Kilda and Elwood, Flemington racecourse, Royal Park, the Zoo, Bolte Bridge, Alexandra Gardens.

We thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it as a wonderful experience.