Holiday Running

Yesterday my husband and I got back from a 4 day trip up the coast to Bateau Bay. We headed up there on Christmas Day after visiting my family to spend some time with his family, which included his parents, his sister Megan with her hubby (my good friend Joe) and their beautiful baby girl Darcy. I had actually met my husband through Joe, so he and I have been good mates for years.

On Boxing Day I got up early and took my dog for a walk up to the nearest lookout, i’m unsure what it’s called and it was raining so I didn’t take my phone so I have no happy snaps to show you i’m sorry. However I did come across the start to some nearby trail walk/runs and I kept note. I planned to come back to them tomorrow and do some tough hill training, it was not a flat area at all and would be a good way to work of some of the christmas indulgence.

So the next morning I set off before 6am to hit the trails. Unfortunately I couldn’t take the dog as they’re not allowed in the national parks, but it felt really good to be able to go at my own speed and push myself without having to worry about tripping over the dog.

Boy was it hilly!! I was very red in the face when I got back to the house, but I was lucky enough to have a brief chats with some other runners on the trails. They told me of some other nearby trails, in particular one which went all the way down to Shelley Beach. So I planned that in my head for tomorrow mornings run, and I could take the dog on that run too which was great as I really do like her company.

As planned I got up again the next morning and ran all the way down to Shelley Beach, where I also got to run along the beach with the dog and dip the legs into the water. We then ran back to the house which included a rather large hill at the last section, totally worth it though. Ebony (my 18 month old puppy) loves the beach, she has only been a handful of times but she dived right into the waves and loves tearing across the sand causing havoc. She bounds through the shallow water and always seems to have a bouncier stride at the beach, we clearly have lots in common!! ha ha

Here are some photos from the trails I ran (apologies for the awful selfie!!):

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I will be honest and also let you know that each and every night that I was away I drank. Not heaps, okay maybe the first night I might have drunk quite a lot, but I never let it interrupt my training sessions. It’s not normal for me to drink very much lately but I had decided that the next 5 months are going to be some of the hardest training sessions, and the hardest runs that I will ever encounter, so after this mini break I would get back on the healthy band wagon. So it was my last week of a few little indulgences, before I buckle down. All in moderation right?

That being said, we had a fantastic time on our holiday but it’s good to be home. I even got up this morning and did a 12km run to the local beach, how good is my life!!

Happy Running!

Recruiting a Mentor

I have decided that I need to get some assistance with my training plan and nutritional advice for the upcoming ultras in 2014. So a few weeks ago I had a call with Hanny Alston from Find Your Feet and I’ve now recruited her as my mentor.

Hanny was the recommended contact on the Northface100 page, for anything training and preparation. She’s a very well known ultra marathon runner and started her career in orienteering. There is lots more I could write about her but it would take days, she’s awesome – trust me!

My first meeting with Hanny was over the phone and would be a little about her getting to know me and a lot about what training plans I need to make and stick to going forward. Hanny said the three key points to consider were:

  1. Sustainable training / Smart training
  2. Getting to know the course
  3. Nutrition / Hydration

As I have already signed up to attend the 3 day training camp Hanny is running in a couple if weeks which covers the second two key points mentioned above, we were going to focus our call on the first point – Sustainable training / Smarter Training.

Firstly I would need to add some Hill Training into my schedule, to prepare me for the ‘mountains’ that would be in my races. These could be hill repetitions, hilly loop courses, reps on various hills, hill time trials etc. The sessions would start smaller and build up to 2 hours in length over the time of my training period.

The plan going forward would be to train hard for 2 weeks and every third week I would back off the gas just a little to let my body recover, then ramp it up again and so on.  The idea is to give my body enough time to recover and focuses more on quality rather than quantity.

Hanny emailed me an awesome spreadsheet which I can use to plan, monitor and track my training schedule. I had been using one previously in my marathon planning that I created myself, but this was much more comprehensive and a lot better than anything I could have put together.

We talked for about 45-50 minutes and I walked away with a huge amount of information and knowledge. Now I have to sit down, digest it all, and start working on my plan. Wish me luck!

It really was a pleasure to chat with Hanny and I look forward to meeting her at the TNF training camp in a couple of weeks.

Happy Running

Whale Rock Run

Last Sunday the Sydney Striders 6Ft Training Group met up at Waterloo Park in Marsfield. We had quite a large group of runners, as another local running group was joining us for the trail.

Group Shot

I ran most of the course following Gordon, a veteran to the trail and regular at these group runs. I also got to share the road with Pete and Stef who you can see in the photo below. I even managed to recruit Pete as support crew for my Northface100 challenge next year. He has crewed for some others in the same race in prior years and he offered so I jumped at the chance!

runing shot

We eventually made it to the famous “Whale Rock” (see photos below) and the trail had been quite an adventure. There were some very uneven surfaces and some of the narrowest tracks I have come across yet, you couldn’t even really see there was a trail in some parts. But we followed our trusty guide and he never let us down.

The trail was good experience for me, as it was different from the ones I’ve done so far. It was also very hilly and we had to walk some of the up-hill sections. However i think it was the most enjoyable one yet!

whale rock

If you live in the area I recommend you go and check it out, it’s a great course!

Next weekend we head to the Blue Mountains and run the first section of the 6Ft Track Marathon. It will be a very tough run, one of my longest in a while but I’m really looking forward to it.

Happy Running 🙂

2014: The Year of the Ultra

To say i’m nervous would be an understatement. I’m very, very nervous and with good reason. In the past week I have signed up for not only 1, but 2 ultra marathons for 2014.

Gulp!

As I take a deep breath I try to calm myself with thoughts of training hard and staying positive. But i’m excited, nervous and scared all at the same time (not necessarily in that order, ha ha).

A couple of Saturday’s ago I was lucky enough to register for the 6 Ft Track Marathon, a 45km trail stretching across the Blue Mountains from The Explorer’s Marked Tree, near Katoomba to Jenolan Caves. I have been told that this race sells out within minutes of registrations being opened so I made sure that I was sitting by the computer 9am and it paid off.

I’ve heard and read that it’s a tough course to say the least, and the elevation chart makes you want to cry just looking at it because the last 5km is all uphill…!!! But I do love hills and have some friends who can testify, Megan? Laura?! Seriously, i’m going to have my work cut out for me. I love a challenge!

Then last week I decided to register for the Northface100. The Northface100 is Australia’s premier 100km trail running event, held in the Blue Moutains National Park in New South Wales. That’s right, 100km. Surprised? Yes I was too!! What was i thinking!! I’m not sure I was thinking at all, but I figure that by May I will have the 6 Ft Track Marathon under my belt and can continue training for this adventure. What have i got to lose?! 

Now comes the planning and preparation, so feel free to share any info about ultras or trail running with me as I’m going to need all the help I can get, and…… wish me luck!

Happy Running 😀

Sydney TrailRunning Series

Yesterday I competed in my first ever trail running race, an event organised my Mountain Sports and held at the Manly Dam about a 30 minute drive north from the CBD.

I arrived super early as I had been slack and missed out on the online entry cut off date and had to register on the morning, but it meat I got a great parking spot which would come in handy if my legs were sore after the race.

One of my old work mates Sam spotted me and came up to say hello, he was running the half marathon (2 laps of the Manly Dam) which was more than I wanted to bite off and chew at the moment with my limited trail running experience. However I found out that he is also registered for some of the trail races i’m planning to do in 2014 and it sounds like it’s going to be a big year for both of us.

I wished Sam well and the half marathoners set off to start their journey. Apparently the gentleman who had won the Northface100 was also competing so there was some tough competition.

My mates Todd and Claire from Sydney Harbour Running club also turned up for a crack at the 10km trail run and we were in for a tough course.

They split us up into groups of about 30 to send us off in waves as apparently a lot of the course is single track. This made me a bit nervous as it can be hard to stay on your own pace with people breathing down your neck, or people in front who you catch up to and can’t get around…. I always get nervous before races, don’t we all.

And the count down began, we were off. Most of the first part of the race was single track and very uneven surfaces which would be good experience at dodging and weaving. Some of the time I was too busy looking down and got wacked with a low branch, so after that I kept reminding myself to also look up. You really have to be on your game and alert the whole time, it’s not like road running at all. I wore the Nike GPS watch but I don’t think I looked at my pace even once, whereas on the road you look at it all the time, the only time I looked at my watch was to check km’s.

A small part of the course on a fire trail and then it was back into the single track and then it opened to a lovely bridge crossing at the end of the Dam which was quite high but had some great views. Then it was hill time, the last one and by far the hardest part of the course. I walked it mostly as my legs were struggling, but I didn’t stop. I just kept moving, that’s my motto…… just keep moving. Then I tripped and fell. I landed on my wrist which softened the blow for my knees but it meant there was blood. I did a quick body check and it was only my hand that hurt so I got up straight away and kept moving. My concentration was lacking as I was getting tired, something I would need to work on. I ran very slowly on the down hill section and before I knew it the finish line was in sight. I dug deep and made a sprint for the line, it was done.

We were then spoilt with fruit, water, coffee and a bbq to replenish and I even went for a quick dip in the Dam to cool down.

Over all I loved the race, it was hard an it pushed me to test my limits but I kept going. And what a beautiful location, great track and having the dam to cool down was awesome.

I met up with the others to share our stories and we all had a fun time. As this race is the first of 4 races, we all decided that we had a blast and would be back next year!!

Happy running! 😀

Mud rules too

On Saturday 30 November I took part in the Mud Run with my sister and a group of her friends and it was loads of fun. It was held at the Equestrian Centre in Horsley Park, Sydney. Luckily my husband came to take some photos for us and they really capture how awesome the day was.

I don’t think I need to write much for this post, just check out the photos below. I have never been so dirty in my life! ha ha

At the start line before the mudMy sister and I during the raceMy mud swimOur team after the mud swimMe and my sis after the mud swimTeam mud slideMy mud climbMy sis doing more laughing than climbingOur team surviving the mud run