Run Unleashed – Nike She Runs Sydney

I had a giggle when I started writing this because ‘Run Unleashed’ kind of links in with my previous post about taking the dog with me for my short runs. And it was also the tag line for yesterdays Nike She Runs 10km at Centennial Park, a women’s only night run which has 6,000 runners this year (double the amount from 2012).

When I arrived at the grounds it was still light but it was bitterly cold, the breeze had some bite. And as it got darker, it got colder. I was very thankful to have worn long tights and a light jacket, as some girls were just in singlet & shorts. They made me cold just looking at them.
I ran into a few of my run club mates before the race, it was so nice to see everyone & chat about tactics and goal times. There was a real buzz in the air and so nice to see so many female runners in one spot, it was going to be a great race!

So I sat there and realized that it was actually the first time I had ever raced a 10km event. So Laura (my run leader friend who is about the same pace as me) planned to sit on a 5’30” pace and if we felt good at 5km then we would push a bit harder. That was the plan, but nothing ever goes to plan.

The orange group runners set off first and the excitement rose in the arena, it was almost time. We all hugged and wished each other well & mentally prepared for what was to come. Then the pink group was called, so we made our way to the start line and the atmosphere was amazing, everyone was so pumped up and trying to warm-up in the cold night air. The countdown began and we were off and racing. 

The start of most races can be hard as there are lots of people and nowhere to go, so if you get stuck behind somebody slow it can be tough to get your rhythm. But Laura and I picked our way through a few groups and kept each other moving at a comfy pace. The start actually felt more like an interval session than a run, but it felt good. I felt strong and we kept moving through the crowd and tried to stay on pace. It’s not surprising that my first k was my slowest, followed by the 2nd km and then we stayed pretty much on track after that. I made some headway up the hills as most people slowed down.

For some strange reason I love hills. I can’t explain it, but I love them and I look for them when i’m out on the road. Maybe it’s because always get a break on the downhill….

So there we were running the night with our matching singlets and flashing bracelets lighting up the park to music and signs and many cheers from the crowds around us. It was such a fun race and so inspiring to see so many female runners having a go, young and old, fast and slow. Sometimes the best goal is to make it to the finish line.

As I hit the 7.5 km mark I started to get my groove, I don’t actually think I warmed up until about that point because of the cold. My knees and ankles had felt a little sore up to that point, but I had to put it out of my mind. So as I slowly sped up I started picking off more and more people, I moved swiftly through the groups and felt like nothing could stop me. At the last corner I decided to make a sprint for the line. I took a deep breath and gave it everything I had, I ran past so many girls in that last half km, it was incredible. I felt unstoppable and I hit a new PB of 53:16.

I was so happy with my results and I ran into my friends who had also hit there targets. It was an amazing experience and everyone was pumped up and smiling. What an awesome event and what great friends. I would definitely be back again next year!!

Team shot collage 1

Running with my Moo

This morning I went for a short (hilly) run with my 1 yr old puppy Ebony (aka Moo or Moo Moo). It got me thinking about how I run when I take her with me and I also remembered reading about how Michelle Bridges tore her hamstring away from the bone when she tripped over her dog while going for a run. Do I change my style of running when I take her with me for short runs, and what were the chances she could trip me over?

Up until this point I have declined all offers to participate in any events that could increase my chance of injury, keeping my mindset focused on the marathon in July and wanting to be at my best for that run. So as I was running I pondered all of the above. I came to the conclusion that I should buy a longer lead so she can run way ahead of me, that way it gives me more time to react if I need to get out of her way. I’m not sure it would this eliminate the risk all together but surely it would help.

Then I thought about my running style, when i’m with her I have the lead in my right hand with my arm stretched out forward as she pulls me along. Sometimes I feel like my arms get more of a workout than my legs! She is a puppy so she has a lot of energy and for 80-90% of the run she’s up front. I felt like my body movement while running with her is a little lob-sided as only my left arm is free to move how it normally does. I’m sure that this is probably not ideal, but I love taking her with me and she needs the exercise so she doesn’t dig up the yard.

Google! That’s what I needed, i’m sure that i’m not the only person who has had this trouble. So when I got home I found it, the Handsfree Leash by Kyjen. It not only has a padded belt for my waist with a clip to attach the dog leash, but it also has a little pouch for me to put some poo bags and a gel (for when she gets older and I take her on longer runs). So I ordered it online and am very much looking forward to the day it arrives and I can test it out.