Please support our Oxfamily

train buddies

on the train

Firstly I want to thanks Roger for taking such great photos, they really capture the fun times that have on the trails and it’s great to be able to share that with you all.

Last Saturday we boarded the train at Berowra Station early on Saturday morning headed for the Hawkesbury River. The plan was to run sections 1 and 2 of the Oxfam course and we were all looking forward to the first checkpoint where Roger’s mum & her partner norm were going to meet us with coffee and food. It was bloody cold that morning.

sign

We got to Hawkesbury River and lots of hikers/runners got off the train and headed for the trail just like us, it’s great to see so many other groups out there training on the course too. We had a little chat with most of the groups that we ran past as they were all walking, and we wished each other well for race day.

Only 6 weeks to go!!

sunrise 2

 

sunshine shot

Emma and Dominic were leading the pack and Roger and I both stopped to take some photos in a few spots, my favorite shot of the day is the one below.

sunrise

The water was so flat up there amongst the hills, such a clear sky too.

lake 2

 

 

lake

We all ran and laughed and joked around quite a lot for this run, it was a great morning and check out our support crew below. I had decided to make a kilt to keep me warm at the stop while i ate everything offered to me (I don’t recommend this, ha ha) – hard boiled eggs, bread, salt packets, coffee….

our checkpoint crew

How good is my kilt?

my kilt

At the checkpoint Roger also picked up his bacon & egg subway wrap and proceeded to eat it during the next section as we ran down the mountain – talk about showing off. Clearly we were going way too slow for him – ha ha

roger eating sub and running

And not only did our run involved running, it also involved climbing up and down rock surfaces which is always fun. At one point I made my own way down a rock and Emma followed me as i led her astray. We got there in the end and it was one of the most enjoyable trail runs I’ve ever had. Thanks team!!

rock climbing

So here is my awesome Oxfamily (below) and if you want to support us you can do so via this link: https://trailwalker.oxfam.org.au/team/home/17564

oxfamily

 

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!! 😀

photo-15

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 😀

Back to basics

Last Thursday my physio gave me the all clear to start running again and i was allowed to do 5-6km over the weekend. I thought I would make the most of a little sunshine on Saturday and headed down to the beach with the dog for a barefoot run and I’m so glad that I did.

The morning started with heavy fog and some sprinkles of rain, but as soon as we hit the sand the clouds parted and the sun came through, couldn’t have times it better if we tried.

I stopped at just over 5km as I started to get tight in the affected area and thought it best not to push on until 6km. So thee you have it, back out there already and loving it.

Cronulla 31 May

I saw the physio again this morning before work and he told me to do another 5km today followed by a 7-10km on Wednesday. So today I decided to hit the wharves at Pyrmont during my lunch break and it went very smoothly as I did not feel any pain or tightness – bonus!!

Pyrmont 2 June

My next test will be the longer run on Wednesday, I have recruited a buddy to come with me too and i’m really looking forward to the catch up. Stay tuned!

Happy Running 😀

Catching the worm

Yesterday I got up at 3.15am to get a long run in before work. And yes it was quite tough getting out of bed at that time, but I plan ahead the night before I run early and had everything ready to go for when the alarm went off. All I had to do was throw on some running gear, grab my pack and I can be out the door within 10 minutes.

I ran with a friend called Jason who I had met at the training camp in the Blue Mountains a few months back and we’ve kept in touch via facebook. There were a few of us at that camp who (we realised) live close by so we exchanged details and planned to do some training runs together. It’s amazing the amount of people who I have kept in touch with since that camp, it’s been most helpful in more ways than I ever thought possible.

Jason and his mates (Andy & Clint) run together regularly before work most days, and they’re all training for The NorthFace100 like me, so when he emailed me yesterday asking if I’d like to come along I jumped at the chance. It would be good “night” training for me and a chance to test out my new Hokas.

So we met up at the Sutherland Bike Track car park at 3.55am and headed across and over the Loftus train station. We went along a couple of streets and eventually hit a gate that led to the fire trail we would be taking today. Most of the run follows a big pipeline and I’ve heard about locals who’ve run this before. I’ve wanted to run the tracks close to home before but haven’t known many people who’ve run them and I’m too much of a scaredy cat to go by myself.

It was pitch black and the only thing lighting the way was our headlamps. I was using a Petzl R+ and 2 of the other guys were using Ayup (I think that’s how you spell it). The Ayup actually had 2 torches so you could have one pointing up and one down towards the ground and they were very, very bright. My headlamp was much more compact (didn’t have the huge battery pack at the back like the others) and you can adjust the direction of the beam quite easily while running as it has a few different setting spots. The Petzl had a couple of brightness settings (as they all do) and I wanted to try the sensor setting yesterday, this setting actually takes information in about how bright the area is in front of you and adjusts the brightness accordingly to save power when less light is needed. And I think as the guys headlamps were much brighter it meant that my torch didn’t have to be at full power for the whole run.

Most of you who read my posts regularly will know that I usually stop and take a lot of photos so i can share my running journey, but during this run I only managed 1 photo and even then by the time I got the phone camera working the guys were so far away from me that you can hardly see them.

photo

We ran across a creek and up and down the trails and came out at another road which we crossed and then found another gate which led us back to running along the pipeline again. Luckily Jason knew where he was going as I honestly would have gotten very lost. The guys were running at a pace faster than what I would normally run but I didn’t want to fall behind so I kept pushing myself, only having to walk a few small hillier sections, which they kept running and doubled-back to get me.

This was an out and back trail so once we turned around we knew what was coming, and it actually seemed much quicker on the way back. And when we got back to the cars the sun was only just starting to rise over the horizon. What an awesome way to start the day!

I did not have any problems with my new Hoka One One Stinson Trail shoes and they felt very comfortable, going downhill was a breeze for my knees and ankles due to the extra support they provided. I was a little worried when I bought them that my weak ankles (from years of netball) wouldn’t cope well in them, but after a little while of jogging you hardly even notice a difference. Here’s a shot of them nicely christened from the run.

hokas

The guys were fun to run with and we chatted a lot and had a few laughs along the way. It’s always great to have new company on the trails and i felt like the time passed so quickly during that whole run. All in all we ran just over 23km and it took us 2 hours and 45 minutes, here’s the Nike+ App information.

nikeplus

Happy Trail Running 🙂

Hitting the dirt in Queensland

Queensland is a beautiful place to visit so when we got invited to attend a wedding at Sunshine Beach on the Sunshine Coast, I immediately looked up Google maps to see if there were some nearby trails. Well maybe not immediately, but it was pretty soon after I had sent off the acceptance RSVP.

I was travelling with the Outlaws (my name for the in-laws) who are great company and we were staying at a place called the La Mer which overlooked the ocean, check out the view from our apartment when we arrived on Friday night.

View from apartment

We had dinner at the Noosa Surf club with most of the other wedding guests and I drove us home for an early night before tomorrow’s run.

The alarm went off at 5.30am so I could be dressed and ready to run just before the sun came up. I really love being able to catch the sunrise when I’m out running, especially as it’s generally cooler at that time of the day too. But unfortunately there was a lot of cloud cover and a lot of fog so there wasn’t much of a sunrise that day.

sign at start

I followed the Coastal Track (Number 5, very well signposted) for my first lap of the park and and at one point it brought me out to the beach for a short sand running section. Good practice for me as I generally avoid sand running at all costs! ha ha

Beach shot

I followed this trail up and down and around the coastline and saw many other walkers ans runners out doing the same thing. I actually managed to overtake a few runners which is not like me. It was so nice to be running somewhere different and the view was magnificent, however the humidity soon slowed me right down as I was sweating like a pig and my clothes became quite damp very early on. Gross!

View from trail

I got talking to some lovely local ladies (say that fast a few times) at a spot called Hell’s Gate (see image below), they gave me a run down on the Park which was very helpful. We chatted about area and they talked about you wouldn’t want to get swept into He;;’s Gate or it would be a death trap!

hells gate

I wished them well and kept running along the coastal track. At the end of it was a parking area and some public toilets so i made good use of the fresh running water and filled up my water bottle. I was wearing a Camelbak 600ml flask belt and the bottle sat in the small of my back. The belt had a pocked in it so that I could carry some gels and my mobile phone so it was perfect for today’s run.

After that pit stop I decided to take the Tanglewood Trail which also linked in with the Noosa Hill Trail. The fog got very heavy and I looked very creepy by the time I got to the top of the hill, and I almost wet my pants when a bush turkey came out of nowhere and scared the beejeezus out of me!!

foggy trail

And here’s an awful selfie!! Yuck!!

trail selfie

The Noosa Hill Trail took me back down to where the Coastal Track had ended so I filled up my water bottle again and set out to complete the Tanglewood Trail again, as I had only done part of it the first time as I took the turn for the Noosa Hill about halfway along it.

I followed that trail all the back back around to one of the sections near the beach at the start of my day’s run and decided to head back along the coast down towards the apartment. There was another little trail along the beach front over the cliff top and down some huge stairs and I was keen to check it out.

So I ran along the beach and I was the only person around for miles….

Beach footprints

At the south end of the beach I had to compete with the rocks and the tide coming in to reach the trail I wanted but it was quite cool and refreshing for my feet.

rocks on beach

I eventually found the trail which was quite hard to spot and is not signposted, but I hoped that my trusty map would not fail me. I saw a couple more bush turkeys and headed up to the top of the cliff and the view was spectacular when I got there.

End view down coast

I rounded the bend a little further along the track and there was a concrete staircase going straight down all the way to the beach. At 2 sections on the staircase there was actually a seat for you to sit down and although it looked very inviting I did not accept the invitaition and kept on running.

The soft sand under my feet at the bottom made my legs feel heavier than ever and I slowly dragged my body down the coastline.

By the time I got back to the apartment I had been running for 2 hours and completed 14km, not a bad effort. I had been hoping for a lot more kms but given the humidity I decided to cut it short and rest before the wedding.

I had a quick shower and we headed for breakfast, how good does this look? It was delish!!

breakfast

Happy Running 😀

Sea Change with the Striders

Last weekend i thought it would be a good idea to do 2 smaller runs instead of one big long run as I felt like my legs were still recovering from the race 2 weeks back. So Saturday I had done the Kedumba Half marathon and Sunday I joined the Sydney Striders for an early morning road run along the coast.

We met at Centennial Park in Randwick  and headed off just before the sunrise towards the coast. We started with a group of about 20 runners and although the cloud cover kept us nice and cool it meant that we didn’t get to see the sunrise.

clovelly group

This course had a few options with a short 15km, a medium 22km and a long 32km. I had chosen the 15km as my legs were still sore from Kedumba and I didn’t want to over do it. As i slowed down to get some photos I rang into Brad and he and I ended up running the shorter option together.

Clovelly Brad

Brad was a lovely guy who helped to take my mind of the pain in my legs so i could keep running. He works as a full time Personal Trainer (which is what I hope to do one day) so we had lots to talk about. And when I was tempted to cut our run even shorter he pushed me and kept me on track. He was recovering from an Achilles issue and had been told to take it easy. I’m pretty sure my slowness meant that he was forced to take it easy! ha ha

We came across a lady walking her Labrador puppy and we had to stop and pat the excited little devil. I love dogs, especially puppies – they are so playful and cute! We made another stop soon after this too so i could get a shot of the colours in the sky, you can almost see the sunrise behind.

Clovelly beach

The coast was a lovely sea change to the mountains and it took my mind off the fact that I was road running (and sore).

clovelly 2

We eventually got back to the start location and had some lovely food and refreshments (provided by the Host, thank you) and I decided not to hang around and wait for the others because I hadn’t seen my husband much that weekend, and wanted to get home and spend some time with him.

Most of my day was spent on the couch recovering and the only time I left the house was to take the dog for a walk. I hope you all had a lovely Sunday and weekend.

Happy Running 🙂

Buffalo Creek Reserve

A group of us organised an unofficial Striders 6Ft training run at the Buffalo Creek Reserve in North Ryde last Saturday, as there was no official run set for this weekend aside from a 14km race with the Striders on Sunday (which wasn’t quite long enough for some of us). So we rocked up to the park ready to run at sunrise which was 6.30am.

Buffalo Creek Reserve sign

Today we had 8 victims running through the trails in the area and we were lucky to have Alex along as he knew the area well. It was such an enjoyable run and we really had a lot of fun.

group rock shot

The morning was quite cloudy and cool which was a nice change from some of the hot and humid runs that we have had in the past couple of months. We ran through some swamps and single tracks and boardwalks. We had a bit of everything on this run.

river shot with sky

We even cut across a construction site that was block our path.

construction site

There were a couple of road sections that took us to the next trail, so I was very thankful that Alex led us because I never would have found this course without him.

downhill road shot

There were a few small bridges to cross and the water was very calm in all places we stopped to look. It was a beautiful area.

creek shot

We even had to rock climb around one section of the track and use some metal prongs haning out of the rock to hold ourselves up. Here’s a shot of the group about to climb across the wall. You also had to duck quite low while climbing across and unfortunately I whacked my head quite hard when I was too busy trying not to slip and fall into the water below.

group rock shot 2

We ran across part of a golf course, for about a kilometer and I think we surprised the golfers who stopped to let us pass.

golfing shot

There was a beautiful little running waterfall that we ran past, nothing like Wentworth falls but pretty nonetheless.

waterfall shot

We did an extra loop section at one point and the trail was covered with a few fallen trees, but we didn’t let that stop us.

fallen trees

After a few final boardwalks we hit the road and ran down the last section back to our starting point. I was very thankful to be back but I had a very enjoyable run.

I had worn my new Salomon vest today which fit like a glove right from the first step, so I was very pleased with that as I planned to use it for the Northface100.

I was also trialing Tailwind Nutrition for the first time, a mixture you add to your water which replaces all other fuels. I must say my energy levels felt very consistent throughout the run and I will be testing it again on some longer runs after the 6Ft track marathon. Only 2 weeks to go!!

Happy Running 🙂

The Hornsby ‘Hurricane’ STaR

The alarm went off at 4.00am last Sunday and I sleepily went for the snooze button until I remembered today’s alarm did not have a ‘snooze’ option and I had to get myself out of bed now! I felt very sluggish and sleepy but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I got a banana and a coffee into me and got ready to hit the road. I left a little bit later than I wanted to as I was struggling to get going, but I knew I had a bit of time up my sleeve, as I kind of new this might happen.

It has become regular practice for me to get up earlier on the weekends than during my work week and i very much look forward to a sleep in for a least 1 day on the weekend over the next couple of weeks. 

I had an hours drive to get to Hornsby and I always leave a bit early in case I get lost and also so that I can make a toilet stop before I get there, as most of our start locations don’t have amenities.  I got to the park about 5.40am and was happy to see a lot of familiar faces from our 6 foot training group, plus a friend of mine Simon who had recently joined the Striders too and I’d seen him a few weeks back at their 10km race in Homebush.

Sunday’s run was organised by a lady called Dale from the Sydney Striders and her trail was named the Hornsby Hurricane. She had maps for us all to use and also had been out on the track the night before pinning arrows to the course so we knew where to go.

The first section of the run was about 5km of road running until we hit the national park and I must say I did not enjoy it one bit. They had set off super fast, much faster than I would run on the road normally plus I was already running on tired legs. I did my best to keep up with them until we hit the national park and then there was a huge concrete descent which slowed me down as my knees were doing it tough.

I got to the bottom of the hill and the group had gathered near a toilet block for some last minute pit stops. A few minutes later we headed over a grassed section towards the start of the trail section which was quite narrow and very technical in some spots. I let quite a few people go past me as I knew that I needed to take it slow and easy today, it was all about getting time on my feet and not pace today. So I settled in at the back of the group and took my time.

photo

We tran along next to the creek for a while with glimpses of the water to our right. There were some beautiful little spots on the course and it was very pretty with the fog which also made it nice and cool for the run.

photo 2

photo 3

There were some very steep, technical sections on the course and because of all the rain it was very slippery. I ran a lot of the first half of this course by myself. I think it took me a while to warm up but even tually I caught up to the lovely Leonor who I have mentioned in my posts before. And I ran the second half of the course with her.

photo 8

Some of these sections you could easily get lost or turn the wrong way but luckily I didn’t get lost this week. And I had a backup map if needed.

photo 7

Here’s Leonor showing me how to climb this steep section, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Never seen anything like this before so we had to stop for photos. More like rock climbing than tail running, though i’m sure rock climbers have a lot less to hand onto than we did.

photo 6

photo 5

The rest of the course was tough, physically and mentally. I felt very sluggish and sleepy and the muscles were feeling it from the day before. I’m lucky I ended up running with 3 lovely ladies who helped keep me on track and focused on doing the full course. I honestly would have turned back a lot sooner than I did if they were not around.

We ran the last road section which was nasty. Very nasty. An extra loop that took us on the road again and was an out and back section. But we did it, we kept running in the pouring rain and we didn’t stop till we got back to see Dale’s smiling face and some snacks she had saved for us. Unfortunately there were no snags left as the crew before us had demolished them.

I might add that Dale told us we were the only group to do the extra lap at the end and so we decided to call ourselves the Dream Team. So here’s our Dream Team celebrating the finish.

photo 4

A few moment after this shot I found a leech on my shoes, thank goodness it hadn’t found my skin yet, those creepies are disgusting!!

Stay strong, believe in yourself and happy running!!