Wk 14 – 13 Half Marathons for the past 13 weeks

WOW, when I completed my 1st half marathon 3 years ago, I felt jubilant and needed to recover for at least a week. If you had told me that in 3 years time I would be running a minimum distance of a half marathon each week consistently for 13 weeks, and training for a marathon, I would have told you that you were insane and from another planet.

Well who would have thought that with the ‘baby steps approach’ from running a minute and gradually increasing it, I would have been able to achieve this. Not I.

You see as a kid watching the London Marathon on the telly, I saw the elite athletes sprint the distance, some of them not even breaking a sweat. Then there were the army of runners, that followed in their footsteps, the ‘ordinary people doing extraordinary things’. I remember it as if it was yesterday, willing the people on, cheering from the couch, and having tears in my eyes as they crossed the finish line…… And in 2 weeks time this will be me too :)

Training this week was a lot lighter than previous weeks as the running taper was well and truly underway. Tuesday, I was down at the local track for sprints training for 6 x 800m. It took a couple of circuits to get into it and it’s amazing how by running faster, I feel that my form improves. I also play a mental game with myself, imagining that I’m elite athlete training for a race running around the athletics track.

Friday’s run was a 8km run around the local neighbourhood. I had a rough course in mind, and thanks to my Garmin 606 I was able to track my speed and how far I had gone and extend the loop. I wasn’t anticipating it to be as hilly as it was though, however as I now love hills, it was all good.

Gusty GeelongMy appetite has been through the roof this week, I don’t know what that’s about. Still eating sensibly and healthily, if not more often. Maybe my subconscious is thinking it needs to ‘stockpile’ calories for the Big Day. Hmm just going with the flow of it, and tuning into my bodies needs.

My biggest challenge in next few weeks, is rest and keeping my mind occupied so it doesn’t go in a tail spin about the marathon…. all good.

Well for my last half marathon distance in this training plan, Mother Nature certainly put on a show. Not only was the temperature up in the 20s, a lot higher compared to recent weeks, but many local towns were given gale force wind warnings. Needless to say this morning’s run, felt like running in a wind machine, being pushed backwards and sideways when I was running up hill. I’ve never experienced a 360 degree wind before on a run, it was definitely up there with one of the hardest runs I’ve done. Now for recovery.

2 weeks and counting :)

Wk13 – Last 30km Training Run

To be honest when I think of the Melbourne Marathon now, I get an overwhelming surge of butterflies in my belly, then the voices in my head start, just like they did the weeks before I ran my first half marathon … wondering if I’ve overtrained, have I done enough training, should I have done more hill work, speed work. ‘It is what it is’ I say, to quieten the voices. ‘And it will turn out the way it’s meant to on the day. So no point stressing about something that will happen in 3 weeks time.’ Peace :)

I’ve also been blown away by the continued support and well wishes I’ve received from people near and far. So thank you, you know who you are, it means a lot. :)

I’m amazed at my progress, and there would be no way on earth, that I would have believed you back when I finished my 1st half marathon, that I’d be able to run a minimum half marathon every week, for 13 weeks straight. I’m amazed time after time what the Body-Mind-Spirit can achieve when it’s working in sync together and training each week.

So usual sprints, tempo run and long run this week. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just sticking to the program and remaining flexible around my running days and other life commitments.

More yummy healthy snack creations this week, and I love my time experimenting in the kitchen doing my ‘cut, paste and add’ from a number of different recipes to create something new. This week was no exception with a yummy Carrot & Sultana Cake

Sunday’s run was my last 30km before the marathon. I had swapped a few long runs around to fit in the Bellarine Rail Trail 34km race and other commitments, so my program was a bit out of sync. However looking back over my training plan I’ve achieved 5 runs over 30km, and 2 of them were back to back weeks, (last week and today) so I’m happy about that and feel as ready as I’ll ever be for the Marathon.

As I was running today, I imagined with every step I took, that I was actually running the Melbourne course, taking in the sights, running side by side a sea of other runners to a cheering crowd at the finish line…… brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. This is real and happening.

Wherever you’re at with your running, enjoy the journey.

Wish It … Dream It … Do It!

 

 

 

 

Wk12 – Time To Go To Rehab

They tried to make me go to rehab and I said “NO NO NO”

foam-roller-exercisesYep I had to admit it, it was time to rest. My achilles since Sunday was just bordering on annoyingly painful even when I walked, so I had to take a bitter pill and STOP! Ouch, now there’s nothing worse for a runner, I believe, then not being able to run.

However, from past experiences I knew it was more painful in the long run, excuse the pun, if you didn’t rest, when your body was giving you clear signals to rest.

So I had to take that bitter pill and STOP, so instead of going to the gym to exercise, my routine switched to the vibrogym to stretch my achilles and calves, followed by a session on the foam roller.

Welcome to a cheap form of ‘good’ torture. Using your body weight to roll up and down on a foam roller to get blood circulating to those ‘problem’ areas giving them a nice massage is… well lets just call it ‘happy hell’ – short term pain, it doesn’t last for long, as the initial pain does go. But oh the longterm benefits – it’s like a mini massage. Check out some more foam roller exercises here.

So that was my routine for the week. Being patient worked as by Friday my achilles seemed a lot better, so feeling better about my 32km run scheduled for Sunday.

Sunday morning’s long run was great. Yes it was a bit tough, although I powered through. I listened to podcasts for the 2nd time on this long run, and it seemed to make the difference, as my mind only wandered a couple of times, and was more interested in the content of the audio, while my legs carried me forward one step at a time.

Slight twinge in the achilles at 6km, and then it passed as quickly as it had come, and I kept going. It wasn’t an earth shattering time, however what I’ve noticed is that by keep showing up you body, mind and spirit work in sync and get stronger.

I’ve been experimenting and creating some healthy food options this week, so I’ll be sharing the recipes with you over the next few weeks.

So with 4 weeks to go, and still injury free, I’ve just booked my spot in the Melbourne Marathon. I’m pretty excited. It’s happening, making the dream a reality.

Wish It ….. Dream It …. Do It!

Wk 11 – The Race Starts At 30km …..what the ….

Totally amazed how my usual 2 days of ‘john wayne’ walking have now been reduced to a day, even after 35.5km run on Sunday. My recovery plan is working a treat – healthy food to refuel, stretching, wearing SKINS compression recovery tights, good nights sleep, massage on the vibrogym. Yes I was tired on Monday, but hey, the fatigue lasted half a day, instead of all day, and improved every time I ‘refueled’. Yes I’ve started to think of my body like a car, and ‘refueling’ it for performance, not feeding it CRAP and expecting it to work for me. After all this is my home, and I have to live in it for the rest of my life.

I had 2 days off running, Monday and Tuesday, and switched my sprints training to Wednesday morning, after my PT session. Perfect, worked a treat. My hip was still a bit sore from Sunday’s fall, although happy with my 8.5km session – 1km/2km/1km/1km repeats on the treadmill incline.

Wednesday night was Body Balance class, cool to stretch further, and realising that I’d lost a bit of strength and flexibility in my upper body, but ohh the blissful meditation afterwards. I think I was floating off to somewhere in Asia… heaven.

Friday was a tempo run along the Geelong Waterfront….. so happy to live by the water and awesome reflections of the boats in the water.

My biggest A-HA’s in running, always come from my long runs, and this Sunday was no exception for a 24.4km run. Out early and running in the morning fog along the river, before the sun finally broke through to a gorgeous sunny day. Awesomeness.

Long distance running and judging where toilet blocks will be on your run, always seems to be a challenge for me LOL, and I was sprung bad at 3km, desperate for the loo, hid behind a tree, only to appear out of the mist being met by a morning dog walker… oops

Oh lord… not again, the ole left achilles and calf, feeling like a knife had been jabbed in it for 3 kms, found somewhere to stretch it and eased back on the pace. Then my mind started “Do you think you should run on it? What if you make it worse? What will you be like on marathon day, then what? You could always walk you know? What about running 10km instead of your planned 21km, that would be better for everyone wouldn’t it…. blah blah blah”

Constant endless monkey chatter. I did carry on, monitoring how it felt and gradually my mind shut up, and as the focus was now on the run not on my achilles, the pain went away… funny that.

At 8km, another runner came up behind me and started chatting “You’re all fuelled up, how far are you going?” Oh 21-24km, depending on my achilles I said. “Ah yes they take a long time to heal don’t they” Hmm, I just dealt with all my monkey chatter, I certainly didn’t need to feel worse again…..I know he meant well though.

“Are you training for anything” Yep I’m doing the Melbourne Marathon, next month it’s my 1st one.

“Ahh good, yep I did it a while ago, on the original course starting at Frankston… I remember driving to the start from Melbourne, thinking that’s a long way… anyway I came 3rd that year”

Oh great, that’s awesome, well done I congratulated him… do you have any tips for me.

“Well as it’s your 1st, just to finish really you can think about time later, if you want to take it up further. It’s a really hard thing you’re doing a marathon, oh and don’t set off to fast…. you know the real race starts at 30km.”

And with that he wished me well and sprinted off.

Now I don’t know if I felt encouraged or deflated hearing that….. I mean a 30km warm up for a 12km race, seems a bit extreme don’t you think.

However deep down I knew exactly what he meant, from the 3 runs I had done over 30km, I was pulling on every ounce of energy, inspiration, motivation, inner strength, determination and spirit to keep my legs going putting one foot in front of another.

Yes it would be a challenge, yes it would be an adventure, and no I didn’t know how it would turn out, but you know what I’m doing it anyway giving it my best shot.

Wk10 – I Get Knocked Down, I Get Up Again

It’s amazing how your mind goes on a training to, as well as your body when you stretch for a new fitness goal. Right at the start of this training, I thought I wonder if if could do it? My weekly and daily motto was just keep showing up taking it week by week and it will all unfold in the perfect way its supposed to. :)

Landy Field

Landy Field, Geelong

This week was no exception to that, and as the mornings got warmer as Victoria, Australia approached Spring, I welcomed getting back on the track, for my Tuesday sprint session. This week was 5 x 1200m with a 10min slow jog for a warm up. It felt great to be back on track.

Wednesday was a light weight session although in the afternoon, for some strange reason, I circled my left ankle around and felt a niggle in my achilles. “Oh no, please no” I thought not this again, not now, not with 6 weeks to go. So I rested it, praying that it wouldn’t flare up into the acute pain of achilles tendinitis I had 3 years ago.

Luckily the pain went and I was able to run 8km on Thursday without too much bother, doing my best to stick to the pace set in my program.

As Sunday was predicted to be a hotter one than the last week, 22c, happy dance as the Aussie Spring arrives, I knew that my body still needed to adapt to running long distance in hotter weather, so I decided to start earlier – 6.30am early!!!

All going well, until 6km, when I tripped crossing a road, and landed flat on my face, hands out in front to break my fall, as I skidded along, very unglamorously, with water bottles scattered in my wake. Luckily there was nothing broken, damaged pride maybe, but hey that’s the beauty of running early in the morning cos there’s no-one around to see your bloopers…..

Man it hurt though, as I landed heavily on the top of my left leg and right knee and hands. I scooped up my water bottles put them back in my fuel belt and crossed the road to assess the damage. Ripped gloves, totally replaceable and grateful it wasn’t a bitumen/gravel rash – ouch. My left leg was a concern though as I walked the next 1/2 km as the shock set in and the pain throbbed, it almost bought tears to my eyes. Now this might seem ‘woo-woo’ to some, however I placed my left hand on my sore leg and imagined a white healing light coming from my palm to heal my badly bruised leg.

Thankfully it soothed it enough for the pain to disappear after another 1km of running – yay success.

‘I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down”

Who would have thought back in 1997 when I was out partying and singing along to this drinking song by Chumbawamba that 17 years on I’d be using it to motivate myself to keep going on a 35km training run, certainly not I. The twists and turns of life eh.

Now people have asked me about nutrition and what I eat – before, during and after a run. Well that depends on the distance and where my body is at.

For example Saturday, day before my long run, I had the following :-

Breakfast

Riceflakes in milk, ground ginger, cranberries and pear

Morning Snack

2 x Spirulina Nut Ball

Lunch

Sardines on 2 slices of toast, tomato and spinach, mayonnaise on side

4 x toast, butter, honey and banana

Chocolate

Afternoon Snack

Spirulina Nut Ball

Banana, Date, Ginger, Soy Milk Smoothie

Dinner

Chilli Con Carne with rice

Day of a Long Run

Today I had 2 bananas, couple of glasses of water, and small apple, carrot, beetroot juice – 1 hour before I set off for my run. This was the 1st time I’ve had 2 bananas and it served me well., so sticking to that.

Vega Sport Gel

During the run, a fuel belt of 2 x water and 2 x apple/carrot/beetroot juice – for 1st 21km. I stopped at home to refuel, loo break and time for some suncream. Refuel – glass of water, small apple/carrot/beetroot juice, refilled my water bottles with water, before setting out for another 14km.

At 25km I took a VEGA Sport endurance gel, testing a new brand as last gel I took a fortnight ago upset my stomach for 2km running afterwards – not pretty. , so was looking for a more natural product. Thanks to Eileen, from Raw Ambition, she suggested the VEGA sport brand as its a plant based, dairy, gluten and soy free product containing no artificial flavours, colours or sweetners. Happy days, tasted delicious, didn’t upset my stomach and gave me a boost for the next 10km.

Post Run – Recover Food

Number one is fluid replacement – for me that’s water before I stretch., followed by a banana, date, ginger and soy milk smoothie. Today I didn’t feel overly hungry, probably because of the extra banana and gel today, so I waited a couple of hours before I had salmon, baby bok choy, spinach, rice in teriyaki sauce.

This was my 3rd long run over 30km, at 35.5km the furthest ever, and probably the best so far. Just like life you have good and bad days, you also have good and bad training runs, and just have to roll with the punches, remembering that if you get knocked down, you get up again and keep on going putting one foot in front of the other……

Wk9 – Bitumen, Bush Trails, Sand And Crazy Knife Man

You know what I really wasn’t anticipating how much Sunday’s 34km run would take it out of me. The last 6km I felt, but I kept going, one foot in front of the other.

On Sunday, after the weekly washing & chores, I finally collapsed, I felt totally exhausted, and still wondering how I’d do another 8kms on Marathon Day. Deep down inside me, I knew I would. I thought back to when I started running up hills, hated it with a passion, and could only run a 1/4 of the way up the steep hills. Within weeks I was running repeats up these hills.

I knew adding on the distance would be no different. I had to incorporate 2-3 more runs over 30km in the next 7 weeks and I’d be right.

Monday –  after a good sleep and a morning stretch, I felt I was no longer walking like a cowboy. However gradually my legs got sorer as the day wore on and into Tuesday. Ahh yes, delayed general soreness. Tuesday, bit stiff for my sprints session, although pulled 6.5km out of the bag, and felt better for it. Rather than wingeing, I was glad I did it.

Ahh a one hour massage session booked in on Tuesday night, well it was half ahhhh and half oowwww as the knuckles/fingers kneaded my glutes. It took me till Thursday to feel better although I knew the longterm pain of not going for regular massages, to flush the toxins out of your body, would only lead to injury. So I’m really glad I’m making that monthly commitment to myself and my body.

Wednesday PT session was again focussed on specific exercises for running – strength and stretching. Again my gluts and core took a hammering, although great to do the exercises, to know where I need to focus on.

Sleeping has been erratc this week, and really felt that I needed a rest this week. I was just pushing through after doing the 34km and not really resting my body, so no running this week till Saturday.

Inverlock ForeshoreWeekend away with the girls to Inverlock – just what the heart and soul had ordered – NICE :) Friday night – spaghetti bolognaise with the girls and fireside chats, perfect. After a bit of a slow start to Saturday, I got going for my long run – 20km. Part of me just wanted to kick back with my friends, and in the same breath I knew I had committed to this training no matter what. So as always, I looked for a way I could juggle both – a morning run, the rest of day with my mates :)

As I set off I soon realised I still felt ‘mentally scarred’ from my last run. Now that might sound melodramatic, however, I wasn’t in the right mental space for the 1st 5km, as thoughts of the last 6km from the previous run came flooding back. Yep just like good and bad days, You also have good and bad training days.

It certainly didn’t help that the route I chose to run started off on the bitumen then onto one of the main highways for 2km. Even though it was 8am in the morning, I was still concerned that a car full of holiday goers might come round a bend rather quickly and then it would be ‘all over red rover’.

Needless to say I headed back towards the beach & the esplanade. Ahh yes that lifted my spirits, and I soon got into the groove again. The sun was belting down and it was surprisingly hot to run in, so I kept the fluids up. The views were spectacular, and as I ran and explored further out of the town, I discovered Anderson Inlet, a magic nature trial with stunning coastline views.

Morning Reflections

Morning Reflections

Runners Allowed!!!!!

Runners Allowed!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I realised I’m the most happiest when I’m out running in nature and exploring. There were a few more stops on this run to admire the view, reflect and chill out before returning for a shower, brekkie and quickish turnaround to hangout with my friends.

Skins recovery pants on, it was great to tuck into a lunchtime feast in a local cafe with friends watching the most ‘unusual siege’ in the local town unfold. A man ran through town with a knife ending up on the Tourist Information Office roof, surrounded my uniformed and plain clothes cops. It seemed that most of the town were out watching the bizarre activity. Never a dull moment in Inverlock.

 

Wk8 – The Lead Up To My 1st 34km Run

This week, after 21 km at the weekend, my body, mind and spirit seemed to have a good ole rest :) compared to the past month of steadily increasing the kms.

I truly felt that I’d stretched the elastic band so far out of my comfort zone, that I now had a new comfort zone and pain threshold. What I once thought was a stretch was now completely doable. Hence the 21km on Saturday, I was able to jump in the shower afterwards and get on with my day, as if it was a 5km or 10km…. trust me in the past I would have been groaning with stiffness and on the couch.

It’s true testament that your body and mind adapts to whatever you give it. AND you’re always ready for the next challenge in life, no matter how ‘scary’ it is. As people we are meant to grow, and if we don’t grow, like plants we die. End of sermon and story!!!

So this week, with a rest day on Sunday…… and celebrating 3 family birthdays…. I made it to the gym for a weight training session on Monday. Ahh yes the good old one legged leg press, how I’ve missed you…. I knew it would build up strength in my quads though.

Tuesday, I surprised myself, got to the gym earlier than usual, and actually completed my planned sprint session – awesome, felt good. And again what works for me is I break the session into bite size bits and just focus on the next step. 8km in total of 2 x (6x400m) 1:30 rest in between sets, or 100-200m, as I was feeling ok.

3 years ago when I started ‘sprint training’ I hated it with a passion, but knew that by doing it, it would help me get fitter, faster and stronger. Little did I know back then, that with a little bit of form, the majority of it I feel is mental strength – telling yourself you can do it, just another 200m, keep going, breathe deeply, etc.

So mentally even though it was at a faster pace than I run my ‘long runs’ I knew that it was only for a short distance and short period of time, and it wouldn’t last forever. So just make the most of it, and keep showing up week after week, and it will all unfold as it’s supposed to.

Wednesday for some reason there was a lot going on in this little head of mine, and to be honest my 90% clean diet went completely out the window for a night….. lets just say that I reverted back to my 20’s eating and drinking way to much, felt shocking, restless sleep, took 2 nurofen at 3.30am to stop the pain :( and then eventually got to sleep.

WOW now that was a lesson I really didn’t need – to feel that dreadful and crap, by eating crap. Completely swung over the other way, just for short term gratification…. Interesting. Needless to say, on Thursday scheduled for a run, I still showed up, even though my stomach felt as if it was in my mouth, I took it gently and only ran 3.5km. 2 days rest, ready for 34km run on the Bellarine Trial – looking forward to it.

Sunday, came and blessed with great weather. Hubby dropped me off and I waited at the start for a couple of friends who were doing it too. As one of my mates was giving me a lift back, I left my gear in her car. Perfect. Or so I thought. She wanted to start 1/2 hr earlier than everyone else, to get a head start, so that she could finish before the ‘cut off’. So we said goodbye and she head off. At this point I’d locked the car, with my gear inside, and was unable to work out the spare car key to open it. DOH, double DOH….. with only 10 mins to go till the start of the race.

Panic set in as I sprinted off for 1km after my friend, to sort out the key. Not the ‘calm’ start to the race I was after. It is what it is. And I was just being plain stupid not working out how to open the car……. Sorted it out, joined the queue for the girls loo, and still had to get my gear from the car with only 2 mins to the start. Got to the start with 30 secs to go, and still sorting out my watch, my music on my I-phone, putting on gloves.

And go…… well the pack of runners left….. and there was Sue still sorting myself out at the start. Great!!!! As I finally got it together and set off to catch them up, then the sinking feeling and a flashback to being a kid, out in a cross country run, despising running with a passion, and being at the back of the pack, as everyone had passed me. And all I wanted to do was go home.

Bellarine Trail 1

The view

Man I seriously had to give myself a talking too. Even though we’re all heading in the same direction, we’re all here for different reasons. I’m running my own race, doing the best I can with the resources I have today. I’m going to give it my all, I can’t ask for anything else.

Hmmm that’s better, and soon got in the groove.

5km in and I was boiling. Decided to take off my jacket. Sounds simply right. Yep, however as I had dropped so far back in the race I didn’t want to stop, walk and take it off. I’m a multi talented, multi task chick so lets do it on the run, I thought.

Now that would have been a funny sight, watching me run, whilst un pinning my race number from my jacket, unzip jacket half way, re pin on shirt, then take off jacket, un hook I-phone that was strapped to my arm on top off jacket, re attach to my arm, zip up jacket and tie around waist. Mission accomplished, now to catch up some tail enders. I managed to pass 8 which was a good effort. :)

From 14km onwards the leaders of the pack, had already reached the 1/2 way mark and were on their way back. They flew past me. All going well at the 17km turn around point and quick loo break. I was sipping all the way on water and beet/carrot/apple juice from my fuel belt until 24km drink station where I restocked on water and had a gel.

I’m not used to taking gels, and it gave me an upset stomach for the next 2 kms, but I kept going and slowed my pace a bit until I felt better.

The Bellarine steam train past me at 27km, and it really lifted my spirits as I waved to the driver, he waved back and tooted his horn…..Ahh cute. Went from feeling crap to elated in a heart beat.

Happy to finish :)

Happy to finish 

The last 6km were horrid, as I slowed right back to 7-7.30 min/km, just putting one foot in front of the other, yep my glorified ‘Sue Shuffle’ had returned. All I could think about was ‘How the hell am I going to pull another 8km out of the bag on Marathon day in 8 weeks time, when I’m feeling like this now.’

Just keep showing up, putting one foot in front of the other, moving forward towards the finish line. And that’s what I did, and met my friends at the end. I think the big smile on my face was because I’d actually finished, I made it and it was over :)

Remember you can achieve anything you set your heart and mind to, as well.

Wish It….Dream It….Do It!

Wk7 – Countdown to Spring!

A fun run short of a marathon… WOW I still can’t believe I ran 32km last Sunday. It’s still sinking in. I felt wasted immediately afterwards, although with my post run management plan in place, I felt quite energised when I got back home…..

Stretch before get in car, followed by water and banana. As soon as I got home a banana, ginger, date smoothie, followed by a shower. I wear my Skins recovery compression pants for the rest of the day, which just eases my muscles. Followed by more food – left over curry & rice (find this is the best, just to heat up food from night before, save cooking when tired). Then I sit and rest for the rest of the afternoon.

I love our Sunday afternoons, I say to hubby. He laughs, what do you mean ‘lazy’ you’ve just run a hilly 32km. What I meant was having absolute no plans for the afternoon – hehe :)

Early night Sunday, Monday rest day, bit stiff, you know the way when you get off the couch, stand up then don’t bend your knees when you walk, that kind of stiff, although spirits high still thinking of Sunday’s run best ever. Then Monday night the nagging thought, as delayed muscle soreness increased, do I stick to the plan and do sprints tomorrow morning, or listen to my body. I would sleep on it.

Tuesday am came and although I had heavy legs, to actually ‘turn them over’ on the treadmill for sprints felt good. I only did half the scheduled plan 3 reps of 800m instead of 6. I must start this work out earlier, to complete it and get to work on time ….hmmm

I ‘felt trashed’ all of Tuesday, mentally and physically, and was thinking after a ½ marathon race I would take a week off, and here I am on Tuesday, back in the gym doing sprints and back to work, as if nothing had happened on the weekend.

Well my body knew otherwise and was telling me so, 8.30pm almost asleep on the couch watching ‘Save with Jamie’ not through boredom, as I love Jamie Oliver cooking shows and rarely get to watch them, but mainly through exhaustion. So off to bed at 9pm for a 9 hour sleep, unheard of normally, but it was just what my body wanted.

Wednesday, PT session, nice gentle stretching and mobilisation exercises specific for my running. This was perfect as I don’t think my body could have taken a heavy workload today. By Thursday though I was ready to run again, and had a 6km run around the neighbourhood in the rain.

I switched my long run to Saturday this week, due to family commitments, and mentally I was on fire……as I was scheduled for 21km. Compared to the last few weeks, this felt like a walk in the park, and was on one of my favourite running routes around the Barwon River. Perfect.

I’m getting to love the early mornings, running before the rest of the world wakes up and still have the rest of the day to enjoy too. :) You could definitely feel that Spring was around the corner as it was quite pleasant when the sun came out.

I’m still juggling the loo breaks and hydration on long runs though. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than running with a full bladder and knowing that the next toilet block is 8km away… arghhhhh.

It was great to drop the kms back to 21km, it was a refreshing relief. Man I’ve come a long way from running my 1st 5km and struggling. And to think that for the past 6 weeks I have run a 1/2 marathon or more each weekend, wow, I have to pinch myself, to make sure its not a dream. For something in the past I thought was impossible is now a reality.

I’m ready for my longest race ever next Sunday – Bellarine Rail Trail 34km. Nice :)

Happy Running xx

Wk 6 – Breathtaking Bells Beach, an emotional run

Bells Beach

Bells Beach

If you had told me back in 1990 when I first backpacked to Australia and saw the amazing Bells Beach that I’d be running 32km along the Coastal Path to Bells and back, I wouldn’t have believed you, would have thought you were dreaming, on drugs or just plain crazy. Well 14 years on, through gradual improvements in my running and mindset, I had created that same image, and was doing exactly that.

As the weeks go on and the long runs get longer, I’ve been looking for different routes. I’m a traveller and explorer at heart, so for me getting back into nature, on a long run exploring and discovering new things is pure bliss :)

This Tuesday was sprints at the gym –  6.5km run with 2 x 1800m and 2 x 800m repeats. Time flew by as I was listening to a podcast and really into it. I squeezed in a brief weights session on Wednesday, although I hadn’t done this particular program for over a month, and had forgot some of the exercises my PT had shown me – doh!!!!!! Luckily I created some other exercises to mix it up for a upper & lower body work out, specific for my running. I was scheduled for a 8km run, on Thursday, and just squeezed in a 4km run before work.

Sunday, scheduled for a long run to Bells Beach, 30-32km, woke up, checked weather on my phone… are you kidding -0.5c, yeah right and you’re really going to run in that along the coast. Somehow, I managed to peel myself from under the doona, have a banana and juice and get my gear ready….. gloves no where to be seen, this chick has the coldest hands in winter at the best of times, ask hubby. So the scenario of running in sub zero conditions without gloves for 30km+ wasn’t appealing at all.. Luckily I was reunited with them in the car, sooooo grateful let me tell you.

And we’re off, left a bit later than usual in the optimistic hope that it would warm up with the early morning sun, even if it was by 1c. Nope, the car temperature was showing 0c with a snowflake and the windscreen wipers scraped ice off the windows – NICE, not :(

As I was driving to the start of my run, I was asking myself… WHY am I doing this, why am I out on a Sunday morning instead of under the doona still. “Because you said you would” wow, yep that’s it, no other reason needed. I promised myself I would commit to the training and get to the Melbourne Marathon start line, injury free and enjoy the race. So I just had to keep showing up and putting one foot in front of the other on my runs. Nothing more complicated than that.

Next song on the radio “True Colours” Cyndi Lauper… how apt for how I was feeling…

You with the sad eyes
Don’t be discouraged
Oh I realize
It’s hard to take courage
In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you
Can make you feel so small

But I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colours
True colours are beautiful,
Like a rainbow

And the next song… literally bought me to tears, sobbing, singing and driving the car – Gerry Rafferty – “Baker Street”

And when you wake up, it’s a new morning
The sun is shining, it’s a new morning
And you’re going, you’re going home

It was one of my Mum’s favourite songs, I knew that she was with me in spirit, and I remembered the happy childhood memories, family holidays at the beach, and I knew that I was not alone, that we’d run together along the coast.

Torquay BeachTorquay is an amazing spot, and as I started running the scenery just lifted me, it really did feel as if I was on holiday, exploring again. I remembered holidaying on the Gold Coast, and running to Burleigh Heads. Without a car on that trip, it was the best way to explore.

The views were stunning along the way, and I was sooo glad I ‘got out of my own way’ and did it anyway. So blessed and grateful to be back in nature, awesome views, exploring, feeling alive. And that’s why I run! :)

The path on the ‘Surf Coast Walk’ was clearly marked – Jan Juc – Bells Beach – then onward to Point Addis. Encountered some monster hills after Bells on route to Point Addis, so there was a bit of walking involved.

I didn’t have an gels with me, so I was quite conscious of my extra walking breaks and photo stops adding on to my time on this run. I managed 26km on 1 water & 3 fresh juices (mix of apple, carrot and beetroot) in my fuel belt until I got back to the car, for more water, before I added on another 6km.

Just another 6km I told myself, wow yet again I was amazing myself. It wasn’t that long ago, that I was convincing myself to run to the next lamp post, when I was starting to run from scratch. And now running 32km, I’m just a fun run short of a marathon. It proves that anything is possible if you take baby steps, are persistence and put in the ‘fun’ work. :)

Wish It… Dream It….Do It!

Wk5 – Listening To My Body Leads To Being Energised

Interesting week. Recovered well after Sunday’s 29km run. I think it was all down to my butter chicken and rice for lunch – hehe :)

Then woke up Tuesday morning with a sore throat and the start of a cold. I knew I didn’t have ‘time’ for a cold this week, with work deadlines and my running plan to stick too. So what did my body need? A rest.

Okay, I’m listening – early nights, more sleep, light exercise (mainly walking, yoga and stretching) to recharge. Perfect so that’s what I did.

I scaled my exercise right back this week. No sprints on Tuesday, PT session on Wednesday was 30 mins of stretching. On Thursday I managed 4km running on treadmill (2.5km fast pace).

The best bit of all was my 30 minute monthly massage. Yes I ended up on the ceiling again with the deep pressure to my gluts and ITB. Was I glad of the pain – yep you betcha, as I regained a fresh set of legs.

I know I need to incorporate some deeper stretches into my weekly routine, to help me in between massage appointments.

Lazy exercise days Friday and Saturday, just walking, prepping the body to recover ready for my Sunday long run.

My body welcomed the rest. Rather than pushing through like a martyr, I was able to nip my ‘cold’ in the bud early, so I was ready for my long run. I actually visualised running the route twice before I fell asleep last night, which clearly helped as it was an enjoyable, effortless run.

Geelong Waterfront 270714

Morning Reflections at Geelong

Sunday morning, woke up at 5am……argh……. started brainstorming business ideas, nope no chance of more sleep. It was a good thing though because I was out on the road, and back before most people were out from under their bed covers, and I still had the rest of my Sunday to enjoy. :)

Have to be mindful of the cold morning starts though, as I always tend to want the loo within the 1st hr. It must be a girlie thing. As it was a suburban route, there was nothing until I hit the Geelong waterfront at 8kms. Talk about mind power to keep myself thinking of other things.

Was still doing well at 18km, and with my initial goal of 21km, I decided to extend my run and go the long way home. It was great weather and lovely to feel the sun on my face. Nice… Finished up with a hilly 25km and very happy with my effort. It was a relaxed, cruisy run – awesome weather, checking out the views, taking some photos and exploring. I’ve come a long way in a few years, there was a time that running 5km for me was a big stretch…. and now I’m running 5 times that. I’m not saying that to impress you, but to impress upon you that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

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A few top tips from this run though. (Note to self as well !!!!!)

TOP TIP - To prevent chafing resulting in unnecessary loud singing/shrieking in the shower (post run), remember to apply cream to those ‘suspect’ areas.

TOP TIP – To save squinting from the winter sun, to avoid cracked pavements, to see kerbs to jump onto, to miss stray golf balls that land on the road next to the golf course and random dogs on extra long leads, remember to wear your sunnies. :)

Until next time – Happy running.