2014 City 2 Surf

This year I finished my 8th City2Surf in a row and came away with my second fastest time. And I am very happy with that time considering that it was off the back of a tough 5hr trail run the day before.

We had a whole crew from the UNSW CHeBA (Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing) Team there walking/running the course, followed by a bbq get together at the end to celebrate. One of the team members has entered the race in every year of it’s history, what an honour!

cheba team

My friend Jess and I had some food & drinks after the race too. I didn’t realise how red my face was until i saw this photo!!

city2surf with jess

And here I am with our wonderful CHeBA organiser Heidi Mitchell, apparently I beat her by 4 seconds, hilarious!!

city2surf

Happy Running 🙂

 

My 1st Marathon Anniversary

I could not think of a better way to spend my 1st Marathon Anniversary than back on the same course for my second marathon. I’m starting to get very nervous about the race, but will be using it as a training run in preparation for the Oxfam Trailwalker run in about a month’s time.

The course will be quite challenging for me as it’s very, very flat – something I really struggled with at the Canberra Ultra, but this time I am going to be more prepared for the boredom and i may even use my headphones which I haven’t used during a run for over a year.

Picture1

Quite a few of my friends will also be running the marathon, half marathon & 10km courses so hopefully i will get to see many familiar faces while out on the course and at the finish line.

Best wishes to everyone running this weekend.

Happy Running 😀

2014 Shoalhaven King of the Mountain

Last Sundays run felt like a trail run due to the spectacular location, however it was 99% on road. I actually didn’t realise this until the day before the race when I eventually checked out the website, oops!

I arrived at Cambewarra Public School in time to register, visit the toilet and still have 45 mins to spare. And i remember thinking, most of my friends are probably still tucked up in bed…. I must plan a sleep in one weekend soon…..

Start line

The weather was very, very windy but thankfully not too cold. As i waited I ran into Sam and Gavin from Striders and a few other familiar faces. We gathered at the start line under the banner and when the gun went off we all wishes each other well and I promised myself to sit at a nice slow, comfortable pace for the start of the race.

Start line with gang

Thankfully I suck to the plan. This race was 32km and I had not run that far since attempting TNF in May so it was going to be a bit of a challenge, especially as it was road which is a lot tougher on the body. However I did need the road practise as I have a marathon coming up in under a month – arghhhh!!

There were lots of rolling ups and downs and the local Nowra Athletics Club had put up some encouraging (and funny) signs along the road to cheer us along. These were most amusing at times.

I ran with Geoff who is a local and has one the race about 8 times, though he missed last year due to an achilles injury. It was great to have his company for about 5-6 kms as they flew by but eventually he struggled on the hills and I had to let him go.

There was a very rainforest-like section where we came flying down the hill and over a water crossing, this section was beautiful and the photo below makes me look like i’m running on water. How cool is that! (Thanks to specshots.com)

running on water

The largest hill we would encounter on the day was Mt Scuzi, where I met a lovely woman called Tina who ended up running with me all the way to the end. We chatted all the way up Mt Scuzi as we power walked and it made it such an easier challenge, check out the view from the top (below)

View from top of Mt Scuzi

I did not stop at the drink stations as I had my hydration pack with all my goodies, however I waited for Tina and then we headed back down the mountain on the gravel road.

Down Mt Scuzi

We chatted a lot and kept a very good pace as we moved down the mountain, and we realised that we had actually already met at the Mt Solitary Ultra a few months back when i ran with her for a section of that. it’s a very small world within the running community and i love it.

View from Mt Scuzi 2

We ran a very consistent and competitive pace with each other through the rolling streets in front of us and we over took a few people who were struggling in the last 5-6kms. I actually felt better when i got to about the 16km mark and I’ve felt this before so it must take me a while for my body to warm up.

We ran into Kangaroo Valley on the main street (road closures of course) and we saw some people in front of us that we wanted to get past, so we both stepped up the pace and even though there was an incline we were both determined to push hard all the way to the finish.

As I got to the fence at the top of the last incline I heard Sam cheering for me and pointing at the finish line, so I kicked it up one more gear and went past Tina. She was struggling a little and I cheered her on and we sprinted over the finish line.

I had just run 32km in 3hrs 19 mins 12 seconds – I was very happy with that!!

Below is the always lovely Luigi (Sydney Striders) crossing the finish line too.

Finish Line

 

I had a most enjoyable run and will definitely be back next year to give it another crack, i highly recommend it to anyone as it was awesome!!

Happy Running 🙂

Hitting 50

I’ve always thought that with every race there is a new lesson to be learnt and challenges to overcome. Last Sunday definitely proved me right as I’ve learnt a great deal from the whole experience.

With only 5 weeks remaining until my first 100km ultra marathon I was keen to see how my body would cope running 50km on the road, so that had been the reason I signed up for this race. Well it was that, and also the heckling from my running mates who are always pushing me to have a go, of which I am very thankful.

So last Friday at lunchtime my friend Georgie drove us down to Canberra for the running festival. She was racing in the 10km on Saturday, along with Todd from SHRunners. There was quite a large group heading down for the events so we all planned to cheer them on during their race on saturday and then they would repay the favor on Sunday. However I felt like I was cheating them all as I knew I would be out there for the longest amount of time, as i was the only one from our group doing the ultra.

On Saturday we got up bright and early to head to the start and see them off. We raced around cheering them on at a few different points along the course and then saw them at the finish line for some final encouragement. Georgie got a new PB which was fantastic, and Todd was happy to finish as he’d been battling a cold all week prior to the race, as well as still being in recovery mode from a stack a few weeks back.

I was also lucky enough to spot an old family friend Jess as she ran over the finish line, as well at Matilda who had used my 10km entry bib to take part in the event. Originally I had signed up for the 10km course, however I had changed my mind closer to the event and had given her the entry as she was a local in Canberra and was keen to run when I contacted her.

The morning was lovely and when I got back to the hotel I decided to have a nap before the afternoon’s adventures, which consisted of going to watch the 3pm game of Raiders v Knights at GIO Stadium with Georgie & Todd, followed by 6pm dinner with our group to carb load.

I had a lovely penne bolognaise for dinner at the restaurant and got back to my hotel so I could be in bed by 9pm. I hadn’t slept well the night before so I was feeling very tired and wanted to get as much rest as possible.

My alarm went off at 4am on Sunday and I got up to have some toast and a banana for breakfast, as I wanted to make sure that I ate more than 2 hours before the race start time. So I went back to bed for 30 minutes after breakfast and then got up and prepared for the race. We were leaving the hotel at 5.20am to walk to the start line located just across the bridge about a 20 minute walk away.

There were quite a few people doing the half marathon and a few also doing the marathon, including two of our runners  who were competing in their first ever marathon, Janet and Brendan. I was so glad that the marathoners and ultra runners were doing the same course too as it meant we got to run with them for the first 42.195km before heading to our extended lap around the lake.

Here’s a few of queuing outside the loos before the race, that’s me on the far right.

before race with shr crew

I ran into some of my Sydney Striders buddies and had a quick selfie with Emma who I have been lucky enough to share some trails with over the past 6 months. She was locked in for the marathon and I wished her well.

before race with emma

We did a few warm up stretches and made our way to the start line, the nerves were building and I couldn’t believe that I  was going to do this. What was I thinking!! ha ha

at the start lineI also ran into Tilly and Brendan at the start line and we had a quick photo before the gun went off. Tilly was unfortunately struggling with a cold (which later turned into Laryngitis, I still can’t believe she finished the race!) and Brendan was popping his marathon cherry!!

 

 

at the start ine with tilly and brendan

The gun went off and our first section ran around the Parliament house, here’s a shot I took as we ran up the first hill. If you look closely to the left of the screen you can spot a guy wearing his full army uniform, we saw him a few times and he didn’t even break a sweat. What a machine!

parliament house

I also managed to get a selfie of myself and Rob from the Nike Sydney Store (below) as we ran up this first hill, it’s a bit blurred but not bad to say were were actually running when I took it.

running with rob at the start

It was at this point I handed my phone to our guys in the crowd, hopefully they would get some shots of me with in down the track. We wouldn’t see them again until about the 15km mark.

Rob and I ran a lot of the first 20km together, he’s quicker than me but was also using this run as a training event for TNF100. We also had the pleasure of being accompanied by Kathy (Kathleen I think) from the Sydney Striders. I had met her only the weekend before at the 10km race in Lane Cove where Simon had paced us all the way to the finish. Kathy was lovely and had a great sense of humour so it was really great to have her with us at this point too.

As we approached the 15km mark we were looking out for our crew and there they were. Todd, Georgie and Megan all cheering us along. It was so good to see them and take my mind of running for a moment.

15km mark

15km mark 3

It was this point that I finally felt warm and could feel myself getting into a rhythm. This course was going to be pretty flat so I wanted to make sure I concentrated on not thinking about my legs or my feet. Unfortunately my plan failed.

By the time I got to 21km Rob had taken off and was building his gap with every out-and-back section that we saw him. Go Rob! So it was Kathy and I who stuck together for a little bit longer, we chatted and laughed and made friends with some of the other runners around us. I always like trying to make them smile as runners can sometimes look so serious during a race.

Then I walked. I wasn’t even half way and I was walking. I was so angry at myself for walking but my head was struggling. I had to let Kathy go unfortunately and I tried to turn my thoughts more positive.

I ran. I walked. I ran. I walked. I walked. I ran. I walked.

BY the time I got to the 25km point the soles of my feet were aching and I felt like my feet were the size of balloons. Every step felt painful to the pads of my feet and I was struggling not to think about it. I probably should have done some longer distance road runs in the lead up got this race, as my feet clearly weren’t used to hitting the pavement after all the trails I’ve done lately. Mental note to self.

I kept running and walking, and where possible I ran on the grassed sections to alleviate some of the pain. It didn’t seem to be getting any worse but it felt like the soles of my feet were bruised all over. All I could think about was taking off my shoes.

Then I tripped on a long blade of grass and I felt pain in my groin in the same spot that had been giving me issues about a month back. This was not turning out to be a good day.

I shortened my gait to try and minimise the groin pain that had started and i’m pretty sure if there were any photos of me during the middle sections of the race there would not be a smile. But the sun was shining and I was determined to finish.

I ran. I walked. I walked. I walked. I ran. I walked.

There were many sections on the course where there was an out-and-back and you got a chance to see the other runners. This was the only thing that kept me going, knowing that my mates were out there enduring this too. There support and encouragement kept me in better spirits than I cold muster.

For the next 3 hours I Ran and walked and tried to stay positive. It was the toughest race of my life mentally, and I think I have even blacked out some of it as I don’t know what else to write here about that part of the race. It was flat, a few hills and undulating sections and the sun was shining.

Thankfully when I got to about the 37km mark a lovely man who was cheering on runners ran with me for about 1 km and we had a chat as he got me back running again. I don’t know who he was but I was very thankful. And as we went up over the hill I realised there was a large crowd of people ahead and it really lifted my spirits to see so many people out here supporting there loved ones.

This was a great mood lifter as it was an out and back and i knew that I would get to run through here again at about the 40km mark. So I kept running, and slowly overtook a few more people. I found a bit of a rhythm again and when I got back to the same part with the crowd I spotted Anne from work. I was so excited to see a friendly face and I gave her a hug as I ran around the corner. For the marathoners they only had about 2kms to go, so I cheered them on and wishes them well and did everything I could to not think about the pain in my feet and groin.

I made my way up around a roundabout and turned left, then heard a man with a speaker announcing Marathoners to the right, Ultra runners to the left up onto the bike path. I was running up on the grass at this point and the guy on the microphone encouragement me to get back down onto the pavement and onto the course. He didn’t know the pain in my feet but I did as he said and kept running.

I got to the section where the marathoners were heading for the finish and I saw Russell from the Striders, I yelled out and encouraged him to crank it to the finish line as I followed the path towards our final lap around the lake.

My brain was over it, I just wanted to be finished. But I ran and walked when I needed to and about halfway along this section I realised it was an out-and-back so I got to see many other ultra runners who looked like they were in as much pain as me. We all cheered each other on and this really helped my mood to lift a little. I had less than 10kms to go.

Then I saw Matilda, I was so happy to see her. She had even brought down her beautiful dog to cheer me on. I gave her a hug and kept running towards the turn around point. As I rounded the bend I made sure I’d let the other runners know they were close to the turn around too, I knew the boost would help lift their spirits too.

I followed the path and took a left back up onto a bridge and when I got to the other side I saw Matilda again. She had come along to run/walk this section with me and I cannot express how much I needed her company and smiley face right at that point.

She ran ahead and got a few photos for me and we chatted about her 50km run that had been in the very same section of the course.

46km mark

So glad she got one of me smiling too. ha ha

47km mark

I really enjoyed running with Matilda and talking to her so a big thanks to her for taking my mind away from the pain and putting the smile back on my face. I owe you honey!

I crossed the last bridge at the finish area was in my sights. All I could think about was the faster you get there the sooner you can take your shoes off. My get felt huge and I just wanted to sit/lay down.  So I picked up the pace and then all of a sudden Parker was next to me running and cheering me on, he was a friend Karie’s from run club husband and a good runner too. He told me I had shot last him while he had been keeping an eye out so had to sprint to catch up. How lovely of him to be there.

Then I got closer to the line and Rob came to run with me too. I felt bad as he was trying to talk to me but I didn’t really have any words left and I was out of breath trying to speed up for the finish. Poor Rob, I hope he didn’t think I was ignoring him. I was just stuffed.

running to the finish

insert text here

running to the finish 2

Then i rounded the last U-turn and could hear all my crew cheering and waving and I couldn’t believe that I had made it. I sprinted the finish and overtook a couple of people in front of me. I’m not sure where the last spurt came from but I was so glad to have stuck it out and made it to the finish line.

at the finish line

after the race

Me with my first ‘Ultras Marathon’ medal 🙂

me with my medal

How cool was the medal!?!?

my medal

I grabbed some water and some bananas and got hugs from all of my team mates who cheered me up with their smiley faces. I owe so much to these guys for always supporting and encouraging me in the lead up to this race and many others. I love running with you guys and I know I can always count on you.

We went back to the hotel and showered and then headed for a recovery meal at the same place we’d had brekkie the day before. It was delish!!

recovery meal group shot

Janet and Brendan had both smashed their first marathons (front left) and I loved hearing their stories about the race. We congratulated each other and said our goodbyes. I look forward to seeing them all again at run club in just over a week.

Georgie and I headed back to her car and much to her surprise that I didn’t fall asleep in the car on the way home, we chatted all the way and scoffed down some pizza for dinner when we got to my place. Best pizza ever!!

Looking back I’m not sure why I was so hard on myself about how slow my run had been. I hadn’t been my fastest, but I’ve learnt that I can go on even when my body and head are telling me to stop. And I’m so glad that I pushed through because my legs and feet are feeling a million times better today (Wednesday) and my groin pain has gone al together. Though I know that I have lots more stretching and cross-training to do over the next few weeks so that my legs can recover fully.

Only 2 weeks until the Mt Solitary Ultra in the Blue Mountains, bring it on!!

Happy Running 😀

The Longest Run

This Sunday I will attempt to run my furthest distance yet, a 50km road race as part of the Australian Running Festival in Canberra. I’m getting very nervous about this event, which is probably a good thing, but it’s going to be a great weekend as I am travelling down with the SHR crew and lots of my running mates from the Striders are competing too.

The Ultra Marathon course covers the same course as the marathon, with an extra loop at the end.Below is the elevation chart, which looks much easier than some of the tough climbs that I have done on the trails over the past months, however I know it will be challenging in many other ways (especially that last 10km – ouch!).

Canberra Ultra Marathon Elevation Chart

Originally I was signed up for 10km run on the Saturday, but my training buddies (after much heckling and encouragement) told me to pull up my big girl pants and sign up for the 50km, so I did!! Geez I have rubbery arms!!

The plan for Sunday is use it as a training run for TNF100, as it’s only 6 weeks away now. So i’ll be taking it very slow and easy for the entire run as it’s going to be about getting the time on my feet. I’ve been reading up about the course and the toughest sections are from 20-30km and 40-50km, so about halfway and right at the end, which means that most runners shouldn’t be pushing it too hard to early anyway.

It will be so nice to know that lots of my running friends will be the course that day too and I hope to encounter them all at some stage, even if it’s only at the start line to wish them good luck (Shaun Hardy).

The rest of my week will be spent doing yoga, getting a massage, walking the dog around the block and taking it easy. Tapering is much needed but very hard at time so I just need to keep my mind busy.

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 🙂

10km @ North Head with Sydney Striders

Tapering obviously agrees with me. Two weeks out from the 6 Foot Track Marathon I started to back off the kilometers and switch my routine to less running. Monday I did a recovery pool swim session, Tuesday a cycle session, Wednesday a remedial massage, Thursday was Pilates and Friday I rested. So when I got up ready to run on Saturday morning I felt great.

I jumped in the car and headed for North Head at Manly for the 10km Sydney Striders race. I ran into Missy and Simon from my SHR run club in the city and then settled at the start line next to and ex work mate and friend Chloe who had come along for the ride.

The sky was very dark and it had rained most of the night, but although it was quite cool the humidity could be felt as soon as you started running. My goal today was to try and hit the 50 minute mark, as my current 10km record was 51 min 53 seconds.

I ran the first few kilometers a little faster than I normally do and I continued with the pace as I was feeling confident and could control my breathing. I started to overtake a few people and remembered I’d been told this course was flat and fast. So why not give it a good crack!

At one point I caught up to Simon and decided that I should slow down and run with him as I might not be able to keep up the pace I’d been doing for the whole distance. So we ran together for a couple of km’s and it was nice to have someone pushing me along. Normally I just run by myself and don’t push myself much at all, especially on the longer runs I’ve been doing most of the time lately.

My breath started to get a bit uneven and I decided to slow down a little more and let Simon go ahead. I was still making great pace and thought for certain I would be in with a chance of a new PB. I kept pushing and at the point when I normally would have slowed down even more I just get digging deeper, I wanted that PB and I wanted it today.

I ran as fast as my legs could take me and when I rounded the last bend and headed up the last incline I sped up. I wanted to feel like I had given it my all, so I busted my guts and my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest.

I crossed the line with a new PB of 47:41, more than 4 minutes faster than any other 10km that I have run before. How amazing is that?!

You could not wipe the smile off my face and when I finally got my breath back I reassessed the body and found my legs felt fantastic, at no point during the run did I get any pain or strain. I felt ready for 6 Foot and I felt unstoppable.

We all gathered around to have snacks and a drink after the race and it was great to hear that many people had gotten PB’s as well. Everyone was smiling and in a great mood. What an awesome way to start the weekend!

Happy Running!