Checking in

Last week I cam down with a sinus infection and it knocked me off my feet. I spent a good 4 days sleeping and even though i’m only just starting to feel human again, I’ve got a lot to look forward to. You see tomorrow I fly out to New Zealand and next weekend I will run my first overseas race, the Shooter Moonlight Mountain Marathon.

I have never visited New Zealand before so thought I’d get some extra time off work either side of the race to explore the country. I will be flying solo for this trip as the hubby is already back at work.

So tomorrow I fly to Auckland where I stay for a few days before flying to Christchurch to rock out at the Foo Fighters concert (yes i’m only flying to Christchurch and staying for 1 day to see them, they are my fav band and I would never miss a chance to see them in concert!!). Then I jump onto a bus and travel to Queenstown where I spend the rest of my holiday. I have a couple of days before the race to settle in and relax, then on 21 February i’ll be toeing the start line. After the race I have a couple of days rest and then I set off tramping Milford and Routeburn for just over a week. Then I fly home.

I am feeling very nervous and excited, but today i’m struggling to pack and keep worrying that I’ll forget to take something important. Fingers crossed that I don’t.

Keep well my friends and I promise to report back with all my stories when I return in March.

Happy running 😀

(Mini) Megalong Mega

The other reason why I knew I’d be sore last Monday morning was because last Sunday morning I woke at 3.15am to get ready myself and drive to the Blue Mountains for a long run with the Sydney Striders 6ft training group. When the alarm went off I remember thinking about when I was younger and used to get home at about this same time, how things have changed…. for the better!

I met Maria and Troy at 4.30am as I was driver for the day and we headed for the mountains. The chatter in the car at the start was good, although it got very quiet once we hit the motorway.

After a scheduled toilet stop close to the start we parked the car and rushed to catch up to the group that started at 6.30am (we were running a tiny bit late). Its was a little chilly when we started, although once we sprinted down the first hill and when we hit our first uphill we were much warmer.

After the first little uphill section there’s a lot of undulating single track all the way down to the Cox River, which we were hoping wasn’t too high and easy to cross. One year the race had to be cancelled because it was like rapids going through the river after heavy rainfall in the prior week.

So we made our way down to the river and caught up with some Striders along the way. Most of them had not run on the course before so they told me to take the lead, look out! (Did they know I’d gotten people lost before, ha ha). So I led the way down to the river which is about 6-7km from the road and they all followed me across, with huge smiles and lots of laughs.

megalong

When we got to the other side it was the start of the mountains. Some big climbs were coming up and as I was running on tired legs I decided that I wasn’t going to push it too hard today and so walked most of the hills. Most of the girls took off ahead and I ran for most of the rest of my run with a friend Amy who ‘d run with at Quarry Rd the week before. Maria went flying up the hills in front of me, way to go!

megalong 2

There were lots of uphills and w chatted and ran some and walked some and ran into lots of other runners from other groups who were out at part of a training camp. I ran into Alia who I had met at the Narrabeen Allnighter and saw the winner from the 6ft Track Marathon the prior year, he went flying down the hill towards us. I wish I was that fast!

After the turn around point Amy and I ran into Gilbert and he turned back to run with us too. As we were making our way back up another hill hill we heard some motorbikes blazing up the trail behind us. They came revving up the hill and stopped in front of us at the top of the hill. They had trail bikes and quad bikes, you can see them in the background of the photo below. We said hello and they offered us a lift, very tempting but the down hills were upon us now so no time to rest.

megalong 4

We caught up to some other Striders and I felt like I had some gas in the tank so I left Amy & Gilbert and used my downhill skills to gain speed and i lost them in no time. Downhill are my strength and I never saw any of the group again until I hit the finish.

I felt like I was flying down the hills and it felt great not to have any knee pain too, sometimes on the downhills it can really smash your legs but I was having a blast!!

I hit the river and decided to sit and soak my legs for a minute as the cool water felt great. I chatted to some other runners who I had caught up to and some others who came in behind me, but I still didn’t see my mates from earlier.

Finally I got myself out of the river and headed back up the nasty trail to the Megalong Road, it’s quite deceiving this single track as it’s a continual uphill battle to the road. I felt good, I felt strong so I kept moving at a consistent pace and overtook a few people which surprised me. I also got overtaken by a few people so my head wasn’t getting too big. But it felt so good to be feeling strong and confident.

I got back to the road and said hi to some friends and other runners who had finished and then made my way to the car for some food & drinks. I’d packed an esky with some of my favourites like Chocolate milk, yummo!! Andy came over to chat and looked a little worse for ware, I gave him a blanket to sit on and he came good. We chatted and made our way up to greet the other runners as they returned from their slog.

I saw Nicole from RMA (Running Mums Australia) and Emma & Scott from Trailblazers who were doing a massive 52km feat that day and were just passing through when I saw them. It was a great day and so many familiar faces, we had a bit of a road party celebrating the long long training run that we had all conquered. It was a great day and smiles all round 🙂

We eventually packed up the car and made our way home and again it was a very quiet trip with a few snoozey people to keep me company. When I finally got home I hit the spa and then snoozed on the couch, a recovery snooze as I like to call it.

Happy running 😀

Race Report: SMH 10km SunRun

As I cautiously got out of bed this morning I was expecting to feel more Tin-man than human being after the tough running I put my body through this weekend, but instead I was pleasantly surprised. Usually after a weekend like that my joints are stiff, the muscles are sore and i’m exhausted. I Still feel exhausted but the body is holding up really well, perhaps i’m getting stronger than I thought.

So what did I do on the weekend?

On Saturday I entered a 10km race called the SMH SunRun which starts in Dee Why and ends in Manly. My friend Maria and I met at her place for 4.30am and we drove to Dee Why for the start at 6.45am. We arrived just early enough to get free parking and only have to queue a few mins for the toilet, which was a huge bonus because as we walked out the toilet queue had grown to about 50+ people deep. Score!

We headed to the start line and saw some familiar Strider faces and chatted about the course and what goals everyone was setting out for today. My coach and I had chosen a goal of 49 mins as I desperately wanted to go under 50 mins. He had given me some good tips and reminded me to ‘race’ instead of ‘run’ the course like I usually do. I felt very nervous. I hadn’t ‘raced’ and event ever and it had been a long time since I had run a 10km event. I had actually woken with a headache and not feeling great that morning, but I was determined to stay positive and had decided on my mantra when the going got tough…… “Just fucking run”.

Maria and I did a 10 minute warm up to get the legs moving and then edged our way through the crowd. We found some speedy friends near to the front of our (blue) group and we readied ourselves for the start. (That’s me hiding at the back right in the picture below)

sunrun 2

 

The gun went off at 6.45am and the first section was the first hill, great! I tried to make my way through the crowd of runners and sneakily headed up the footpath on the left hand side which meant I could keep my rhythm and no have to weave around the other runners. I felt grateful that I had warmed up as it meant my legs were feeling ready to go and I went up the first hill right on my target pace. I was out of breath but I knew there was a down hill section i could use to get it back and about another 1.5km till the narrow section where I wanted to make sure that I didn’t get stuck behind any slow runners.

I had been speaking to a local runner who works in my office and he has given me some tips about the course, these proved tobe most useful as I could plan out my run and knew when and where to expect things like the narrow path, the never ending hills etc.

We got to the narrow section and I was feeling good. I was breathing heavy but thought it was a pace I could keep up for the remainder of the run. I tried not to get stuck behind people through the narrow section, which was a bit challenging, but I just kept repeating my mantra when the negative comments crept in. It’s funny (and annoying) how lots of males do not like being overtaken by a woman, so they speed up when you try to pass them. I tried not to let it affect my speed, but maybe it made me go faster too, i’m not sure.

We got through the narrow path section and hit the road, a slight incline was coming but it wouldn’t last long so I just kept running as consistently as I could through the undulating sections and kept picking off runners ahead of me to keep me focused.

There was a nice little out/around/back section where you got to see the other runners just ahead and just behind you and this was great as i saw some friends and we all cheered each other on as we headed for the next hill. The hill was at about 7km so I backed off the pace slightly before that hill to get some big breaths in and then muscled my way through it to the top getting out of breath again. I knew it had slowed me down and I remember my coaches words about not slowing at the top but pushing through and over, so i dug deep and overtook some more runners who were struggling after the hill.

Usually what comes after a hill is a downhill, and I was looking forward to using that to gain some time I’d lost, so i powered down passing several more people and I was now on the home stretch, less than 2km to go, running along the beachfront to the main part of Manly.

I picked a female runner in front of me who looked strong and had overtaken me just moments beforehand, and tried to stick with her for the last effort. I kept trying to catch her but only just managed to stay the same pace a few steps behind. It was then I heard a familiar voice, it was Richard from work, the loacl runner who had given me some tips. He cheered me along and i got a burst of energy to sprint for the finish. So I ran my little heart out and overtook the girl who I had been charging down and sprinted over the finish line doing my best ‘Darth Vader’ impersonation.

I looked at my watch – 47:07 and tears welled up in my eyes. I had done it. I had smashed my goal and I could not have been happier. What an achievement. I couldn’t breath and I could hardly stand up, but you could not have wiped the grin off my face!

Slowly I walked around trying to get my breath back and I headed back towards the finish line to look for Maria, i knew she wouldn’t be far behind me. And there she was, blazing over the line in 49:18, she had also cracked the 50 minute target too, wonderful!

We celebrated with some Strider friends we saw at the finish line and collected our race medals to prove our efforts. Another one to add to my collection.

And what better way to recover than i dip in the ocean, how could you not when it was right there! The water was so refreshing and we all laughed and chatted while we swam in our running gear. Then we even got a free coffee from the lovely people at the Virgin Active tent.

What a great way to start a weekend. It truly was a race I won’t forget in a hurry and I can’t wait for the next challenge.

sunrun aftermath

Happy Running 😀