Fessing up

I”m not sure if I should be admitting this, but early on Thursday morning I got up and got dressed to go and hit the Honeymoon Trail for a stair session before work. It’s an awesome 1km staircase through the bush in the Royal National Park.

I packed my headtorch as it was still dark and set out in the car. What I failed to remember when I planned this session in my head the night before was….. spiders. I hate them. I’m scared of them and I will avoid them at all costs. So I got out of the car and proceeded towards the steps and did a few warm up exercises. I then started the ascent and went up about 4 stairs before I froze at the sight of a giant, no humongous, hairy spider that was blocking the path. Needless to say I legged it back down the stairs and quickly got back into my car. There was no way I was going up those stairs.

What a wuss!!

I know, I can hear you saying it. But i didn’t let it stop me from training as I drove to the local running track in Sylvania and punched out some intervals instead. Now that I have gotten that off my chest and it is out in open I can start from the beginning….

In preparation for the killer mountains that I am going to face during my races in March and May, I have decided to make stairs my friend. So last Tuesday a work colleague and I set out to run some stairs in Woolloomooloo, Sydney and it was not as hard as I had expected. I”m not sure if this is because we only did a short session or if I am getting stronger. I have been doing some hilly loops around home more frequently than usual so maybe it was helping. So when I got home that night I made a plan to incorporate more stairs into my training, and that’s when the Honeymoon Track came into my mind, and you know how that turned out!! ha ha

Anyway, last night while I was taking  my dog for a walk around the neighborhood I decided to go a slightly different way and I’m very glad that I did because I found a large staircase that will be great for training (and won’t have any spiders). Yay!!

Happy Friday and Happy Running! 😉

Get Lost!

Last Saturday our Sydney Striders crew ran a trail in the Ku-Ring-Gai National Park which was named after one of the group’s runners who created the course, Clare’s Calamity.

We had a huge group of over 40 runners show up for this run which was great to see. And with just 7 weeks until the 6 Foot track Marathon it’s clear everyone was putting in the kms to be as prepared as possible. I can’t believe it’s only 7 weeks away, scary!!

group shot

Andy met us at the start and gave us all a map of the course with some directions on the other side, and it looked like we were running the shape of a butterfly. I stuck the map in my front pocket and hoped that it would stay dry. Must remember next time to bring a plastic sleeve to put the map in!

So we started off down the first section of the course which was fire trail and then hit some single-tracked rocky section down to the water. I could not believe the view with the fog over the water, it was supposed to hit over 40 degrees that day! Check it out!

PICTURE 1

PICTURE 2

We also came past a local toilet block and everybody ducked in for one last pit stop before carrying on the trail. We crossed a bridge and made our way along some beautiful trails along the side of the mountain. It was very narrow and there were a lot of fallen trees to contend with but it was a lovely place to be.

PICTURE 4

Here is a shot of my running buddies Lorena and Karen contemplating a river crossing, there were a few tricky spots but we helped each other across.

PICTURE 3

It was really heating up and the humidity meant that I was going through water quicker than normal, so I made a note to slow down a little to make sure i had enough to last the whole 30km trip. I had also put 2 Shotz tablets into my 2 litre hydration flask today, just trialing it to see if it makes a difference. I wanted to put it into a separate, smaller container but I didn’t have one so I guesstimated this measurement. Funnily enough I did notice that I felt better and more consistent for a longer period of time this week, there didn’t seem to be any peaks and troughs so maybe this had something to do with it.

I have put in an order for 500ml soft hydration flask but it hasn’t been delivered yet. I will use this to put 1 tablet with water and have it separate on my runs in future, well that’s the plan.

PICTURE 7

Leonor even decided to have a little rest on the wooden bench that had been provided, ha ha Actually she’s the fittest of us all and we thought it was hilarious that there were benches at every bend of this steep section on the course.

Leonor is running through the Sahara desert in April and is doing the equivalent of a marathon each day for 5 days, how hardcore is that! She’s an inspiration let me tell you. Such a bright, bubbly lady and I got some really good tips from her during the run too. Like the Gurney Goo, stops blisters entirely and is killer stuff.

This course had some really steep, hilly sections and most of them we walked. The view in my next photo below shows a spot that we had just run from, on the top of the other side of the valley.

PICTURE 5

And then we got lost… ha ha. In the photo below you can see a bridge that we stopped at to take photos and this is apparently where we went wrong. Ooops! We went over this bridge when apparently we should not have, and we ran quite a distance after this photo was taken.

PICTURE 6

When we eventually realised that we didn’t know where we were going, we turned back around and headed for the road section we passed a little while earlier. We knew how to get back to the start point from the road so we decided to take the less risky option as we had already been running for over 3 and a half hours.

So just before turning back we decided to have a selfie…. so here’s Karen, Leonor and myself on the right laughing and having a blast. It really was such an enjoyable run sharing the road with them and I hope I didn’t slow them down.

gals shot

So we ran along the road back to the cars and gossiped the whole way. What a hoot! A most enjoyable run and it’s thanks to Karen & Leonor.

Thank you so much ladies and happy running 😀

Thank you Vic

This morning we had our last run training session with Vic Mitchell from DC Run and I was looking forward to the time trial and hopefully beating my past result.

During our third session with Vic we ran a 2 km time trial and I got a time of 8:17 which I was very happy with at the time. Most of my runs are a LOT slower than that but mainly because I have been running for distance and not time in my training runs.

Today I got a time of 7:56 which means I’ve cut a whopping 21 seconds from this distance. Needless to say I am very chuffed to have had such a positive result and I will definitely be looking to get some more technique training from Vic in the future.

My goal after the marathon is to improve my efficiency by improving my running technique and doing much shorter races to implement this. I’m sure this will be a long, slow process but it will be much better for me in the long run (no pun intended) as I want to be able to run forever!

So a big thank you to Vic for the early morning sessions and David from DC Run for organising our group. I highly recommend you contact these guys if you want to improve your running and live in the Sydney area.

Woohoo! 🙂

A new PB!!

I don’t know how it happened & it defies logic, but I seem to be quicker the further I run. Today I not only ran my fastest half marathon (1:52:05), but it also included my fastest 10km yet (52:11:03)!
The SMH Half Marathon was my second half marathon and I really enjoyed it. It was also a relief to know I can still run that far and enjoy it, especially when there is just over 2 months till my marathon (which is scary).
I was very nervous in the days leading up to the race as my time last year had been a much faster pace than I usually run in training, so I felt like there was no chance I could do it again. My plan was to not keep an eye on my pace and just run to how I felt, that way I wouldn’t put pressure on myself to go faster (or slower) and could just relax and enjoy the run. And boy was that hard! The other reason I had decided to run this way was because my marathon training planner said I needed to use it as a training run, and not push myself too hard. Runners always want to keep an eye on their pace & track their progress, especially for the longer runs – just ask any runner. But I managed to keep my word and I’m thankful that I did.
The course was not as scenic as the Blackmores race last year and it had a few more hills (most of them near the end), but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable. It was well organized and I would recommend it to anyone.
I think another one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much was because I saw so many friends, run leaders and run clubbers on the course. Seeing them go past and encouraging others (even people that I didn’t know) really adds to the spirit of the run.
Afterwards a few of us run leaders and supporters met for brunch & celebratory drinks. It was great to hear all about the race preparation, planning and the PB’s that were achieved. They are so inspiring and I can learn so much from them.
So now I sit on the couch with my feet up resting the legs. It’s days like this I am thankful to be where I am and supported by so many wonderful family and friends. I love my life!

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The ‘Long Course’ Monday

On Sunday night after running a 10km Saturday at race pace and having a recovery swim to assist my joints and muscles, I received a message to let me now I would be taking the 17km long course the next night at run club (Monday).

To be honest I was scared and not very sure that I could complete 17km at a 5.45 min pace, but i’ll be damned if I was going to let it beat me. Have you noticed I’m a little bit competitive? Mostly with myself, but I think it helps in one way or another as it means I never give up.

Now back to the long course. I arrived in store at 4.50pm and there were already some keen runners waiting to sign-up. It’s restricted to 30 runners, 15 in each group so either a 5.15 or 5.45 pace. We keep the groups small as it’s easier to keep everyone together and enjoy the run better. And it’s a beautiful run. We started with the usual 10km circuit which goes from Hyde Park to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, then past the Opera House and through Circular Quay. Then we headed past the Overseas Passenger Terminal, under the Harbour Bridge looking over to Luna Park and along Hickson road. We then snaked our way up to the left and onto the Harbour Bridge. It’s so beautiful running along the bridge at night with all the lights and the cars racing past. There are lots of people and the view is spectacular.

My group stayed close together and they were so much fun to run with. A really friendly bunch who I could tell loved running just as much as me. It’s so nice to be in the company of people who share the joy of running.

As we were running over the Harbour Bridge I found that I had not yet conquered my fear of heights and without realising this my body sped up as it clearly wanted to get off the bridge ASAP. I turned around at one point and only 1 of my runners had kept up, oops! So I slowed down and apologised to the crew at the other end, they had a good chuckle at my fear of heights and we kept pacing along.

When we got back down onto Hickson Rd we caught up with some of the other groups doing 10km that had started a little bit later than us, and it was nice to hear some friendly banter about their run too. We took in all the wonderful dinner smells as we went past the restaurants on Cockle Bay and King St Wharves, and when we hit Hurricanes on the other side of Darling Harbour I thought half my crew were going to abandon me for a quick steak! But we managed to high tail it past those wonderful smells and we made our way onto the Pyrmont foot bridge and headed back up to the store.

There were so many smiles and high fives at the finish line, it really was an awesome run and I hope I get to run it again soon.

The Long Course