Heading to my happy place

While many of the worlds elite trail runners are taking part in Western States and Chamonix this weekend, i’ll be heading to my happy place in the Blue Mountains for the 25km Woodford to Glenbrook Classic along with many other running friends from SHR and Striders. The course is mostly fire trail and from about 13km onward it is mostly downhill to the finish.

Woodford to Glenbrook - Course profile

I’m really looking forward to this course and only 2 more sleeps!

Happy Running 😀

Running on empty

Have you ever been out on a run and your legs felt like dead weights? That was me on Sunday, I was struggling with every step and it felt like I was doing more harm than good. I have actually never felt so flat, not even when I’ve been running my ultras.

Looking back I can see why I was tired as I’d given myself a kick up the butt last week and ramped up my training schedule as the physio had given me the thumbs up last Monday morning. So what had I done differently since then?

Tuesday morning I got up and ran 3km of hillyness with the dog around my local area, I had a work training day & dinner that night so couldn’t fit anything else into the agenda unfortunately.

Wednesday I got up early and took the dog for a 3km power walk around the block, then went for a 9km run at lunch out to Pyrmont wharves and back.

Thursday I got up early again and took the dog for a 3km power walk around the block, then decided that I would try a new class at the gym called ‘HIIT’ which stands for High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT was a lot of fun but it was also very high intensity, which meant that I was knackered and dripping with sweat by the end of the class. I knew right then that I would be sore for a few days.

Friday morning i got up and took the dog for another 3km power walk around the hilly block, then decided that I would skip my lunch run as I was feeling very tired from the HIIT session the day before.

Saturday morning I got up early and trained my client Amanda with a Boxing session, then headed over to a friends place to go for a run with Kristy and her hubby Nigel. We snuck in about 13km of trails through the Royal National Park near home and I felt a little sore in the muscles but generally pretty good. So we had a cheese and ham croissant for brekkie to celebrate.

Sunday I got up early and drove to St Ives to meet up with my Oxfam crew for a 1hr run and then we would meet up with the Trailblazers for an additional 1.5 hour run. This is where I came undone. I didn’t feel too bad for the first hour, but as soon as I started the session with the bigger group I knew it was going to be a struggle, and I ended up turning back early with another 2 runners who had to be back for other reasons (like work). I was getting pain in the arch of my foot & I just felt sore all over. I felt bad for slowing the other 2 runners down as they had to wait for me on several occasions when I walked, but luckily one of them was my good friend (& fellow Oxfam team member) Emma and she helped keep me going.

I got back to the cars, got warm & chatted to the runners as they were coming back then headed home for brunch & a snooze on the couch, I felt exhausted.

Time to rest and recover 🙂

STOCK 13/09/05

Extra. Extra. Read all about it.

So what’s the new goss I hear you say. What new races have I signed up for to keep me entertained for the rest of 2014……?

Firstly, I went to the physio on Monday after doing the half marathon last weekend and he was very impressed at the lack of pain, inflammation or anything of a negative effect so has given me permission to start being AWESOME again. Which means that I can plan some more big races for the res of the year.

So what did i register for first? The M7 Marathon at the end of July. The M7 Marathon was my first marathon in 2013 and it was now going to be my second marathon. I know quite a lot of people doing the M7 this year too so it will be lovely knowing there smiling faces are out on the course too and hopefully i’ll get to see them at the finish line too.

And what else have I signed up for? Not another 100km I hear you say! But yes, I was asked by my good mate Emma to join her team for the Oxfam Trailwalker in August and i’m very excited about this opportunity. The teams have lots of weekend day and night training runs planned as we plan to run the course (not walk) and aim to complete it within 20 hours.

How exciting is that – woohoo!! 😀

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Glow Worm Tunnel Half Marathon

How slack am I, it’s taken me all week to write this blog. Sorry!

Last Friday I set off to Newnes for a camping / running weekend as part of the Glow Worm Tunnel Marathon & Half Marathon. After driving through Lithgow I was blown away by the size of the mountains and cliffs around me, it was breathtaking…….. my photos do not do it any justice so next year you’re all going to have to head out there and see it for yourselves.

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As I drove through the beautiful cliffs that towered around me I felt like I had escaped to another world, it was so calming and set me in good spirits for the weekend ahead. The plan was to race on Saturday in the half marathon & volunteer to help out on Sunday if they needed it. So that meant 2 nights of camping in my tent with 80% chance of rain predicted for the whole weekend. I thought at the time, this could get interesting.

I pulled into Newnes and it seems the organisers were running a little late and I could not register straight away so i set off to put up my tent and met my fellow neighbors Pete & Maddy (his daughter) who was running the half, and Deb who was sleeping in her ute and also running the half. They were both great and gave me an extra pair of hands when putting up and pulling down the tent. Aside from helping with the tent they were very nice people.

Eventually I was able to register and pick up my race T-shirt, so headed back to the tent to get everything organised for tomorrow’s race. I was starting to feel nervous and also very tired. I got everything out ready for the run & headed out to have some dinner at the pre-organised buffet at camp HQ. It was a bit cold, but not too bad. Thankfully I had ran into Andy from Striders on the way to dinner so we sat and chatted with some other runners about race day tactics and shared other running stories.

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After dinner I headed back to the tent and Deb and I decided to go for a walk along the first section of the course to check it out. It was dark by now so we took our torches and made sure we were rugged up warm. We were also thankful that there hadn’t been any rain yet – fingers were crossed!!

There was a short fire trail road section which met the first river crossing, however we managed to get across and stay dry using the stepping stones on the right hand side. Mental note for the morning, stay to the right and use the stepping stones so we can keep our feet dry for as long as possible.

We walked and chatted and it was great to get to know Deb, she’s had a pretty horrific 5 weeks leading up the race and I admired her for being there and being so brave. I really do hope she adds me on bookface as i’d like to keep in contact with her and wasn’t able to find her so far. So we walked for a couple of kms then headed back to camp. I chatted to Deb for a little outside our tents but it started to rain so i retreated inside for an early night. It was 7.30pm.

And I slept like a baby… that is, until I woke up to a soggy sleeping bag and water dripping in several locations throughout. Not a great thing, but at least it hadn’t made me too cold and luckily missed my running gear and clothes so at least they were all dry.

I got up and had brekkie at 6.00am, race start was 8.00am so I had a few hours to digest the meal and I kept it light. Toast with honey, a banana and thankfully a ‘real’ coffee from the baristas who were there for the whole weekend (thank you). After that I headed back to the tent to get ready and made my way to the start line for the race briefing, where I saw Tanya & Andy eager and ready to run.

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It poured, I mean bucketed down during the race briefing and it was cold. Not as cold as the previous year (so i’m told). But the clouds parted and as we set off the rain became a drizzle and for most of the run it did not rain at all, only spots.

Here’s a shot of us heading towards the start line, that’s the old Newnes Hotel in the background on the left, they do a mean plunger coffee for only $3 and the place is a museum, a must visit if you’re ever in the area.

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We were off and racing and as planned I stuck to the right and managed to keep my feet dry crossing the river, which had not gotten any bigger since the night before so the stepping stones were clearly visible.

The first half of this run was mostly incline all the way up to the Glow Worm Tunnel, so i knew it would be tough. However it was all very ‘runnable’ and there was not a lot of walking done at all for the entire course. I was breathing a little heavier than usual but this was to be expected as it was all incline, so I just told myself to get into a rhythm and stick with it.

I passed a few people in the first 7km leading up to the checkpoint and saw one lady wearing no shoes, plus two others in just sandles. It was muddy, slippery and lots of branches and debris around so i hoped we would all stay safe.

I ran through the checkpoint thanking the volunteers and waving as i went. I was carrying all the water and food that i would need so there was no point wasting time here. I chatted with some lovely runners, a guy named Ian who is working a an engineer on the Barangaroo Project in Sydney, funnily enough our company will be moving there in a couple of years. Then I chatted to another Deb and as we got towards the Glow Worm tunnel we all slowed down to get out our torches.

It was pitch black in the cave and thankfully the guy behind me had a stronger beam than mine, as mine was not helping at all. Unfortunately I did not see any Glow Worms 😦 Maybe with all the runners coming through we had been too loud and scared them, it;s a shame but I know i’ll be back. There were cameras set up at this point too so hopefully I’ve got some good shots coming as I didn’t take my phone out to get an pictures.

After the tunnel was a few small hills and then it meant the rest was all decline. My strength is going downhill so my plan was to gun it from here to the end. There were some large downhill sections and I just let myself go, I was flying down some of these hills and i think some people thought I was crazy as I really was going fast. My Garmin told me that I was doing 4’06” pace at the steepest section (almost as fast as Shaun & Mike on the flat, ha ha).

I loved the second half of this course and felt great. It had started to sprinkle which cooled me down nicely and I stayed at a constant pace for most of the rest of the course. The first and last 7km were the same section, so once I got to the checkpoint I knew what was coming.

Then I rolled my ankle and fell to the floor. I think it was actually a good thing that I fell as it took a bit of the pressure off my ankle, but my knees were pretty cut up and the ankle was not feeling good at all. I stayed on the ground for a minute and then slowly got back up to my feet and tried to run. I will admit that it hurt to run but I kept going and eventually the pain subsided.

As i was approaching the final river crossing I’d decided that I would not take the stepping stones this time, instead I would plunge into the water and finish strong. And that’s exactly what I did, I even managed to pick up about 8 places as I overtook a whole group of ladies who were (being girl) using the stepping stones. How cool is that!!

I crossed the line on 2hr 35 minutes which is much quicker than I had expected, especially as it was my first long run since TNF 4 weeks earlier. I was so happy to have finished the race and had no issues with my hip/tendons which was the reason i had to pull out of TNF.

This was an awesome day – I was back and there’s no stopping me now!!

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Below is the view back towards the road leading into Newnes.

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I ended up only staying for a couple of hours after the race, enough time to see Tanya head off and finish the 6km race. Can you believe she actually was entered into all 4 runs that weekend..!?!? She did the half marathon, 6km, mountain dash & finished with the full marathon on the Sunday – she’s a machine! Great work Tanya!

So i packed up my soggy tent and belongings as there was more rain predicted and I did not fancy another night of getting wet and the possibility of it making me ill. It was pretty cold out there but the weather had cleared up a little so thankfully some of the water had evaporated.

I said my farewells and hit the road back home, i was looking forward to seeing my man and sleeping in a warm, dry, comfy bed.

The road leading out of Newnes was beautiful again I even had a small river crossing that was no challenge for my Yaris!

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The final view (above) was taken at the last point where the mountains finish and the not-so-picturesque driving starts. How gorgeous is that view……

And my dinner that night, well…….

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Happy Running 😀

What’s next?

A lot of people have been asking me “What’ next?” on my running journey and that’s a very good question.

If you’ve read my earlier blog about my TNF100 experience you’ll know that I plan to be back to conquer the course in 2015 so that’s the next big goal, however it has left me wondering “What else” I should do in the meantime. I had spent so much time and energy preparing for that 100km race and waiting 12 months for it to come around again would be painful without some small goals in between. So let’s see shall we…

Maybe I should find another 100km run in Australia that’s within the next 6 months?

Maybe I should do another marathon?

So I started looking back through my running CV (I have an excel spreadsheet, very nerdy) and I thought I might share the following information on the number of races i have done.

Ultra Marathons x 4

Marathons x 1

Half Marathons x 4

Looking at the above it seems i’m a bit lob-sided so my plan is to run another marathon within the next 6 months, now I just need to decide which one….?

Happy Running 🙂

Goals

Dream. Believe. Create. Succeed.

I grew up looking at those 4 words everyday, first thing when i opened my eyes they were there on my built-in cupboard door and I think they’re finally sunk in. I wrote those words down one day when I was a teenager feeling really bummed about whatever had gone wrong with my life at that point, I wish I could remember what it was….and so I’m sharing these words with you now as I recently shared them with a friend of mine called Scott and he thought they were great too.

Dream big and if it sounds scary then it’s probably a good thing!

Believe in yourself that you can work hard and achieve the dream.

Create a lifestyle and habits that support your dream.

Succeed by making sacrifices and never doubting yourself for a minute!

Mt Solitary Dream Beieve Create Succeed

Happy Running 😀

Fantastic Friday

And this was worthy of it’s own post….

As I was leaving the physio this morning he agreed to let me race on Sunday AND he also told me to go hard. I nearly fell over! But he said it will be a good test and of course if there’s any pain I should back off. This was GREAT news! I guess all those hours of exercises and icing & heat packs must be working.

I’ve been seeing Luke at Shire Sports Physio (Miranda) since my injury during TNF, first it was 3 times a week, then twice a week, and next week I only see him once. Luke really knows his stuff and although the session can be painful (dry needling is not very nice!) I know he’s helping get me back on my feet as fast as possible.

So i’m thrilled to be heading back onto the trails this weekend for the Sydney trail Series at St Ives, and many of my fellow SHR crew will be there too. I don’t care if it rains, I just want to get out there and have some fun!

Happy Running 😀

physio cartoon