Run hijacking: Woman Vs Man

Just in case you think I’ve slipped into a world of seriousness, here’s a snapshot of what happened in my head on Saturday after I asked my mate Ben if I could run with him on Sunday…

ME

After parkrun

Ok so Ben’s said I can jump in on his run tomorrow. Sweet. Wait. Just Ben was going on that run though, so that probably means he wants to go at his usual pace which is much faster than mine. So he was probably just being polite when I asked to run with him. OMG. I’ve just hijacked his run! Oh no! How did that conversation actually go? Think back…

Me: Hey Ben where are you running tomorrow?
Ben: Heading out for 9km at Bickley Brook.
Me: Oh cool, that’d be awesome I’ll come with you?
Ben: Yeah sure sounds good.

OMG was there an awkward pause?

Uh-oh

There was no actual invitation. Poor Ben just answered my question about where he was running. I just invited myself! Noooooooo! Ok don’t stress it’s fine. We organised for 6:45am pickup with 7am run.

Later that day

Oh yes I don’t have to go out until 2pm! We can head out later than stupid o’clock! I’ll message Ben and let him know. Ok good good Ben’s fine with that. Phew, what a stuff around.

10 minutes later

download (1)Oh my actual god I have to be back at home by 9am. Seriously cringing. I have to ask Ben to start earlier again after I just said later. Ohhh noooo I look like a moron. A run hijacking moron. Ohh fucking hell… I’ll just have to message Ben and deal with the fallout of being an unorganised moron. Breathe. Just breathe. It’s ok. It’s ok.
PHEW! Ben unphased…. Though it’s hard to tell by text. Dammit he’s probably thinking I’m an idiot for crashing his solo run and then dictating the time… oh my actual god I feel awful. I’m such an idiot. Why didn’t I just say “oh hey cool hope it’s a good one?” when I asked about his run this morning. Ohhhhhhh Ben I’m sorrrryyyyyyy!!!!! Play it cool, play it cool. It’s fine.

BEN
(what I anticipate his actual reactions were with any luck)

download (2)After parkrun
Running. Tomorrow. 6:45am. Got it.
Later that day
Running. Tomorrow. 7:45am. Got it.
10 minutes later
Running. Tomorrow. 6:45am. Got it.

6 days to go…

15 weeks ago I started training for 6 Inch.

Scott emailed me a training plan that would get me to the start line. He admitted that the 15 week time frame was a little bit tight, but he was confident I could at least give it a try. It would mean no “falling off the wagon” and losing a week or two of training. It would mean doing the damn hills if he said do the damn hills. It would mean taking it easy so I didn’t hurt myself. It would mean just seeing how my knee (and indeed the rest of my body) would hold up.

Two weeks later I finally cracked the sweet sweet goodness of the mid-foot strike. Yes. 2 weeks into a 15 week ultra trail marathon training plan and I started a transition into a MFS. My calves raged at me; suffering the huge indignity of being properly engaged for the first time ever.

Day 4 of the MFS transition and I couldn’t even make 2km into parkrun before the DOMS in my calves quite literally stopped me in my tracks. I had to walk the rest of the way. I felt a bit shattered.

Over the following weeks I nudged my calves into superhero mode. Calves… ACTIVATE! Weeks and weeks of running them out and I could finally get out of bed in the morning without my legs buckling underneath me with surprise morning “my legs don’t fucking work” pain… Although I did provide some amusement for my husband and work colleagues (I’ll admit it was pretty funny the day I got up too quickly out of my office chair, took two steps and fell on my face because my legs wouldn’t play ball) I was happy to finally get over the “newbie” MFS. I am now a confident mid foot striker.

In September all I thought about preparing for this race as that you get a training plan,  you complete the training plan and then you run the race.That’s about as much thought as I’d put into this “journey” in September. You just do the training and then you line up and run your race and hope you get the time you want. Pretty basic.

That is not correct.

There is nothing basic about training like this, and I’m not talking about the body hits. My body has survived about 500km in the past 3 and a half months.

I did not realise how emotional this would be. I have had some huge wins, some great times, some amazing runs. And I have had some very low lows. Doubts. Confusion. Disappointment. I have fended off those saying “why would you even want to do this?” and “you know you could die in a bushfire” and “you’re running again?”. And in my army against the disbelievers I have some excellent friends. A whole community of people who continue to say “you are awesome” and “look how far you’ve come” and “let me help you make it” and “come run with us” and probably most importantly “we understand”.

As I enter my second tapering week, my emotions have strapped themselves into the front seats of a roller coaster usually reserved for adolescent girls. In the space of an hour I can go from elated to severe self doubt. I swing from loving myself sick to feeling overwhelmed and small. I am up and bloody down and sideways for fuck sake. How can you feel so awesome one minute and then suddenly go “oh wait… maybe I haven’t actually done enough training”. I think about runs I missed. I think about whether or not I’ve run enough hills? Have I? Didn’t I? Can I really make my goal time? Is it ok if I don’t? IS IT??????

Having not yet run this kind of race, I am looking forward to learning how it’s going to make me feel. I was skeptical when Scott started telling me it would be a very personal experience, almost spiritual. How could that be? It’s just a big long run. But as a nudge closer and closer to the 21st of December I am beginning to realise what Scott means. This run is going to be epic. For me. It will be MY run. It will be all mine. Just for me. It will be MY joy. It will be MY pain. It will be ME who gets me to the finish. Nobody can do this for me. Am I good enough? Have I done enough? We’ll have to wait and see.

November’s Lessons

Lesson 1: Marathon training involves some great highs and some low lows

High

This month I ran a 30 minute parkrun to support new 50 club member Clinton to a 30 minute PB. Ben brought the right pace, Adrian brought the music, I brought the camera and Clinton brought his heart and soul. The 30 minute train left the start line and pumped all the way around the 5km course. I was happy to learn that I’m not the only one who starts to get audible when the pain sets in about the 4km mark. Clinton gave it everything and while he only just missed his sub 30 goal, he still set a 5km PB. The parkrun spirit flowed freely that Saturday and I was thrilled to be a part of it.

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Clinton “Batman” Bishop – click the photo for a link to his blog

On a side note, if you ever fancy sprinting ahead of a running pack in order to secure some great video footage with your phone, note that your phone will record the greatness, the determination, the anguish. It will also record your ridiculous heavy breathing over all of that.

Low

It’s been an emotional month. I have no doubt the emotions run with hormonal cycles. At the start of November I had an entire week off running. I just. Couldn’t. I didn’t even think about “getting back out there” for a whole week. I didn’t miss it. I didn’t want it. I was happy to go without it. I always hear about runners who are gagging for a run if they’re on holiday or something but I dunno, maybe the fact that I did not miss it meant I’m not a serious runner? Does it? Is it ok to miss a whole week without regret?

High

I ticked off my very longest runs ever (30km and 32km) and I felt wonderful after both of these runs. The first 30km run I did with Alicia who is also training for 6 Inch. It was cruisy, we chatted a lot and at the end of it we timed it so we could toe the start line with the parkrunners at 8am. It was really lovely to be swept into the parkrun community by our friends who knew we’d punched out 25kms already and they encouraged us to keep going! wpid-20141115_134712.jpg

Before my 32km run I put the call out for a buddy as I didn’t fancy running at 5am alone. Running bestie Renee put her hand up even though 5am isn’t really her style and I was thankful for the support. I was even more stoked to rock up to the carpark at 5am to see 2 other parkrunners who’d come down to join us for a 5km lap (5am people – wtf!!). Abdul, Tom, Renee and I cruised around the course. We chatted, laughed, I nearly fell over… the boys said seeya after 5km and Renee and I continued on until Renee had completed 21.1km (ftw!) and on my final lap I was alone, until Tom popped up again unexpectedly with his daughter India in a pram and he helped me finish the final 5km. He’d been home, got India up, fed and dressed and come back down again! I am incredibly thankful for how much support I got from my friends. I’ll admit, the night before I actually had a cry because I thought I’d not be able to get my long run in because I couldn’t go alone at 5am. Parkrunners to the rescue. I love the parkrun community.

 

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Low

wpid-img_20141121_175156.jpgI’d ummed and ahhed about the prospect of running the 100km Anzac Ultra in Sydney in April 2015. Only 5 months away but coming off the back of 6 Inch training, I was at least flirting with the idea. My husband (a quiet supporter) sighed, but said I could do it if I really wanted to provided the house didn’t go to shit with all the training. Coach Scott was hesitant. Not because he didn’t think I could do it, but because the training would be a lot, and there’s a family/running life balance to be struck and this might tip the scales. Anzac Day is my birthday. Also the 100 year anniversary won’t come around again. The race is a one off.  I really wanted to do it.  However, I have 4 sons. Two of whom will start high school next year. There just are not enough hours in my day to be able to do the right amount of training AND keep my family together. Maybe. But it’d be a fucking stretch, I’d probably be grumpy a lot, and I’d likely push my very tolerant husband to the edge. And that’s no fun for everyone. So, sadly, I had to set this one aside. People I spoke to said I was crazy for considering it because I have so many kids to care for. It bums me out a bit that as a woman, as a runner, I have to put some goals aside. Apparently I need to wait until they’re older and it will be easier. I’ll tell the world right now, I’m not waiting for 15 years before I get going on my ultra dream. Fuck that. Yes I am a mother. But I am also a woman separate from that role. That’s a whole blog post on its own I think….

 

So… November  has had its ups and downs….

Lesson 2: Blisters are absolute balls

wpid-20141129_104235.jpgSeriously – I have socks almost literally worth their weight in gold and every long run I’m plagued with some serious blisters. I tape all my toes (do you know how hard it is to tape little toes at 4am?). I tape down the insides of my feet. I think my shoes take on the “Pimp My Feet” challenge with every long run. They see how many new blister additions can be squeezed into the available space. Toes are taped? No worries, we can squeeze in some painful skin rubbing just above that tape. Oh heyyy… how about a blister underneath the tape just for something different. Haven’t taped an area? Let’s see how tough it is… And yes yes yes! A double whammy challenge: blister on a blister. That shit is possible. And painful. Jerk feet. Jerk socks. Jerk shoes. My feet are getting rougher and take more punishment than usual, but still, I almost couldn’t finish my last 5km on the weekend because my feet were all chopped up.

Lesson 3: Don’t be offended when people underestimate you

This speaks for itself really.

This “cute” “pocket rocket” runner right here has her feelings hurt just a little bit when people tell her she’s crazy for wanting to run so far, or perhaps, so fast.

Lesson 4: I take a mean “4am up for a long run” selfie

 

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Sloshing, bonking, breaking… my first trail running experience

Given I’m training for a 46km trail marathon, good sense dictates I should get out on an actual trail at some point.

Last Sunday Railway Reserves Heritage Trail had my name all over it. Ok, well all over 25km of it.

Oh my actual fuck. Ok, that’s not how it started but that’s certainly how things ended…

1. My Garmin failed before I got out of the car. Wow. Winning so far.

2. I realised I had passed the “wear high vis” component of the run:

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3. Jeremy gave me a lesson in how to stop your water sloshing around in your hydration pack.

4. The start of the run involved one fully sick old railway tunnel #creepy #donottrip #couldntseeafuckingthing

5. I took in the scenery and realised immediately I’d fallen in love with trail running. My last long run had been through exhaust choked streets. This was a different creature all together and I fucking loved it.

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6. Ben dropped back to chat with me for a bit and while I probably could match his pace for a short I knew that if I did that I’d be out for the count 5km in and we had 25km to go. I excused myself from Ben’s cheery company.

7.  We ran 12.5km out on the non-technical track. From time to time we stopped to regroup as the slower runners (ie me) caught up. I enjoyed some quality chat from new people I’d met. So many interesting stories.

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8. We turned around and started to head back to the car. I ran most of the way with Kelly who is also training for 6 Inch. We are relatively close as far as speed goes and today was also Kelly’s longest run ever.

9. I reckon I managed about 15km comfortably before slowly slowly my body/brain started to panic. Without a garmin it was hard to know exactly how I was going, all I knew was that when we got to the toilet blocks we were 5kms from the cars. Come on toilet blocks!

10. 15-18km my knee started to hurt. I really did feel as if I’d have to stop very shortly and that I’d not be able to make it back without having my sorry arse collected by a vehicle. But I concentrated on lifting my knees higher. That was fucking hard because my legs were so goddamn heavy.

11. I don’t even know what km it was but I was wooed by Jez and Kelly with their own harmonious rendition of a song about fucking dogs…. about having carnal knowledge with dogs… It was weird to hear singing out in the bush and they weren’t too bad! I was grateful for the distraction. My body was hurting.

12. All I could think about was getting to the toilet blocks. Not because I needed them, but because they meant we were 5kms from the finish. 35mins ish until the end of the pain. Fuck me they were nowhere. I am pretty sure I whined a lot to poor Kelly who was nothing but supportive and encouraging. Kelly loves a good chat, so she talked, I whined and together we actually made it to the toilet block.

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13. Bitter sweet toilet block experience: STILL 5 WHOLE KMS FROM THE FUCKING CARS. I declared my death to be imminent. Jez reassured me that should that be the case, he had his GoPro on standby to film it. I felt hazy. I felt gross. I thought maybe that I was bonking (my favourite running word). I felt so out of it. It was a weird sensation. (I spoke with Scott about this later, he thinks maybe I was thinking I was bonking when I actually wasn’t, I just thought I was…I have no idea what to make of a psychosomatic bonk.)

14. At about 21.1kms Kelly mentioned that I was now running in uncharted territory – further than I’d ever run before. I can’t remember if I felt happy at that point? Maybe. It is pretty awesome to run further than a half marathon in one morning. I think Kelly’s longest distance was 22km…we celebrated her longest run ever too….

15. My body was starting to fail. I had pain where I have never had pain before. My right hip/groin was fucked. Ouch. My feet felt swollen and they fucking hurrrrrrt. I’d proudly maintained a mid foot strike for the distance but I’d had enough. Too bad for me we still had 3km to go.

16. We walked a bit, ran a bit, walked a bit more, ran a bit more. I didn’t know if Kelly was hurting as much as me but she seemed happy to stay with me. Did she need to walk too? I dunno but at that stage I was more than happy to declare myself Queen of Whiny Land and just fucking stop, walk, carry on about all sorts of paaaaaaaain….

17. 24km. We ran the last km.

18. We finished 25 whole kilometres. Oh my actual fuck. I had no words. My body was screaming and I wanted to just lie down. But the rest of the group was there, and the phrase “fake it til you make it” came to mind. I attempted a casual stroll to the group, “yeah hey guys, totes just ran 25kms, but whatevs… anyone keen for another lap?” kinda thing… It started to rain, we took a photo of all the people who’d conquered their longest run that morning:

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19. Got in the car and I declared I was absolutely fucked. Broken. That it was very, very fucking hard. To which Jeremy replied “Yeah but you finished it”. Yanno what? I fucking did.

19. Car. Bakery. Chat. Home. Couch. Movies. Wrecked.

Can’t rate Kelly and Jez highly enough. I am thrilled they’re likely to be close by at 6 Inch. They are so good for the soul. So good for the broken running spirit. They dragged me across the line on Sunday.

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I am super proud of what I achieved on Sunday. And even more stoked that my body bounced back without any issues within 2 days. Fucking go me!

How to recover when you’re going fucking crazy

I lost my running mojo on Saturday. Short story: I ran 17km home from work the day after interval day. Cue epic muscle fatigue that kept me up all night and consequent brain collapse.

I could not run on Saturday.

I could not run Sunday morning.

I hauled out for a 7km run on Sunday arvo and it hurt my body and my head.

My mental fitness copped a beating. If I couldn’t cope after a 17km long run in the cooler weather, there’s no fucking way I’d get anywhere near the start line for 6 Inch. I dissolved into a gooey, miserable mess and my mood got darker and darker. By Monday night I was legitimately feeling anxious, depressed and overwhelmed. Running mojo: gone. Life mojo: gone. Fuck.

Another contributory factor to the bleakness was the imminent loss of my adopted coach Scott. He is leaving for the UK on Thursday. I am so happy that he is going to be with his partner. He needs to be over there. But when he steps on that plane, my motivator, my “I can come out for a run with you” guy, my “I know you can make it” guy, my “let’s push you a little bit harder” guy will be gone. Yes I know he will be available online. But I know I’m not the only one who’s going to miss his bouncy enthusiasm at parkrun each Saturday morning.

I hit rock bottom on Monday night. I could not think properly. I felt like I might shatter into a thousand pieces. I was afraid.

On Tuesday I had to do something.

I reached out in every way I knew how.

I emailed close friends for support. They replied instantly, offering shelter from the storm. I reached out to my running club saying I was sorry for being so absent but letting them know I was here. They confirmed that it was ok, that I belonged, and offered some wisdom for coping (thanks Pete). I talked to my husband who doesn’t “get it” when I get anxious, but he hugged me tight and just listened to his batshit crazy wife, again. I resolved to go running. I did not want to go. But I forced myself to get dressed and go to darkrun where I knew I would see so many people who I love to run with, love to chat with. As soon as I saw Dan and flipped him the bird as I parked, I knew the night was going to be ok. I ran 6.5km. I felt lighter. It felt easier. Everything felt better. Scott was there. Michelle was there. Cordelia was there. Ben and Alicia were there. Jeremy and Kelly were there. Kate. Salena. So many people. Without even knowing it they all added to my happiness. Each of them, little bit by little bit.

Afterwards a few of us went out for a beer to say seeya to Scott. Scott presented me with his official 6 Inch map from last year. Together we poured over it and Jeremy and Kelly told story after story about the race last year. The pain. The joy. The “I want to die” moments. I haven’t laughed so hard for ages. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the race, I started to feel much better about it. Dread turned to enthusiasm. I think even Cordelia was tempted to sign up next year!

I broke the back of my depressed state last night. I slept well. I have been positive all day at work. I have my running mojo back. I have my life mojo back. Thank fuck for that. No – thank fuck for all the good people in my life. So many interlocking parts, each one holding me up when I could not stand by myself.  Act. Belong. Commit. JFDI.

 

The goddamn mental game #fuckthegrind

The mental game. I failed it yesterday.

As I push new boundaries I’m learning a whole lot about what my body can and cannot do. But the process is a shitty one. Yesterday is an excellent example. Wait, let me go back to the night before. At 10pm on Tuesday night 19 more places were opened for 6 Inch. I got way too excited and bought a spot. Didn’t even think it through just fucking did it whilst enjoying the FB applause of fellow entrants. There. It was done.

Fast forward to 4pm the next day. Scott had agreed to come for a 15km run with me. In the fine print I missed the part where that meant Scott was going to run my arse up and down a million fucking hills for 2 hours:

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Each peak on that goddamn graph is the top of an incline. Total elevation gained: 163m. I know nothing about whether or not that’s a lot, but Scott says it is so I’ll go with that.

Running hills is fucked. It’s slow. It’s hard. And it takes even longer to knock out the distance you’re going for. Perhaps it is the mental anguish of a novice runner that’s causing my negative mental state. All I kept thinking was “fuck me, another fucking hill and I’m so fucking fucked and I’ve only run 2.7 fucking kilometres fuck fuck fuck“…. that interchangeably with “fuck you Scott…” By 4km my feet were burning. Dunno if that was because of my socks or too much downward pressure running down all those steep inclines? Either way, my feet hurt and that made me inherently unhappy.

About 5km – slight knee niggles promoted thoughts of “Oh I’ll tell Scott I have to stop at 10km because of my knee”

9km – walk break. Goddammit that felt good. 5 whole minutes of not having to tryyyyyyyy. Not having to fucking push myself. Laughable really considering I was only doing 6:30 pace….

12km (or thereabouts, can’t fully remember because I was being crowned Queen of Struggle Town) another epic hill and a new body pain. Right achilles just for something different. And twinge in left calf.

14km I had some of Scott’s water/gel mix. I think it made me feel a bit better but that small life raft of hope was smashed to pieces by the horrendous thought waves of “omg I hope that does not upset my stomach in a I’m-about-to-shit-my-pants kinda way”. It really is incredible how that fear can override all other thoughts. You get a moment of clarity when you know that should it be required, you could do a full 1200m sprint to the toilet block up ahead. Thank god I did not need to do that.

16km cool down walk.

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A dark sky to match my mood

Yesterday all I could think about was how hard running was. How everything fucking hurt. How NEW things fucking hurt. It wasn’t worth it. It couldn’t do it anymore. I was defeated. Surely it shouldn’t hurt like this? Surely it shouldn’t be so goddamn hard? I was so slow. I felt weak. There was no runner’s high yesterday. The confusion and the fatigue lingers still.

Post run I whined to Scott about all my hardship. All my frustrations. He told me that I had only taken the negative out of the day. He asked me to see it from another angle – he said:

“you’re looking at the wrong aspects… look at the positives:

you were sleep deprived,
didn’t have the best fuelling strategy,
ran faster than you wanted,
ran elevations more than you wanted,
AND FINISHED!”

Again. He is right. Why can’t I see what he sees? Why do I feel so flat about yesterday? I think it might be because I have this unrealistic expectation that each run will be hard but satisfying. That each run I will feel stronger, I will conquer another training session, and while it may be difficult, I will feel all the better for it. It’s like so many things in life though (parenting, studying, LIFE in general) you have this expectation that is driven by what? Social media? Advertising? An unusual perception that real runners exercise hard, run hard and gain hard every time they go out.

I chatted with a few friends late last night who confirmed that after long runs, after hill sprints, after a huge effort their bodies hurt. They sometimes cannot sleep properly for the fatigue, for the ache, for the worrying if they’ve overdone it. They feel twinges each time they run. Not every run is going to fill me with a runner’s high and my own mental pat on the back for being awesome. Sounds funny, but I was so down about last night I couldn’t even be bothered to share it on my FB page. Mental huh. I didn’t want to see it. I didn’t want to think about it.

For the first time ever, I put my runners on this morning and I didn’t like them on my feet. I’d talked to Scott about my plan for parkrun on Saturday and still I don’t even want to run it. It’s only 5km. I don’t want to do it.

Every time I run with Scott I learn something new. Yes, I learn about shoes, and socks, and hydration, and protein shakes and beer and what each of us might like to do if we could afford to live in Applecross… but each time I learn something about myself. Sometimes it’s that I’m capable of amazing running, other times it’s that I can push beyond a limit I thought I had. Last night I learnt that for long runs I always take the easy option. Always. I run flat and I impress myself with my own awesomeness of “long runs”. Last night I learnt that I’m a whiny princess who hates hills and hates running when it’s not “easy”. Fuck. The mental game beat me yesterday. But I’m gunna give it another go.

Fancy a half marathon? Don’t mind if I do

Yesterday my friend Scott clocked up his two thousandth kilometre for 2014. TWO. THOUSAND. KILOMETRES. That’s a bullshit amount of running. I was inspired.

At 3pm I told my husband I was going for a run and took off out the door. He did not know what I had in mind. He thought I might do 5km, maybe 10km. I’ve not run a serious distance since forever. Here’s how it went:

  1. I decided I’d run to Nat’s place about 8km away. I reasoned that I would run at least 9km and then turn around and come home. The further I ran from my house, the further I had to run back.
  2. About 3km in my knee started to ache a bit. It continued for about 2 more kms and I thought “oh no…. I’m gunna have to call it quits! I can’t fucking believe it – I’ve not been heel striking at all waaaaaaahhhh”
  3. I started to lift my knees slightly higher – got a bit of “prancing pony” happening and my knee pain stopped. *Shrug*. Maybe it just needed to warm up?
  4. Fast forward to the 7km mark – I got swooped by one huge arse magpie! Fucking hell I actually heard a “CHOMP” noise at my ear and I turned my head to see a big fucking bird in full battle armour ready to take my arse down to the curb. Holy shit! He missed my face by centimetres and I gave the oncoming traffic a fabulous arm flapping dance/sprint demonstration.
  5. Following my “I nearly got eaten by a magpie” terror inspired interval I cruised around to Nat’s place. Alas, she was not at home. I snuck a drink from her front garden hose and then turned around to come home.
  6. I thought about trying to avoid the magpie territory. Then I thought about how non-amazing my sense of direction is and realised I had no choice really but to follow the same streets home lest I be lost in the Thornlie slums forever.
  7. I came up to the same street. I crossed the road (really Didi? You think he can’t just fly over and kill you from the other side of the road?) It’s really hard to run while you’re trying to look up and behind you. Like, really hard. Like, almost fall on your arse because you trip over kind of hard….
  8. Survived magpie territory.
  9. About the 14km mark started to get chafing under my right arm. Same place as always. Thought it might be my bra. Turns out it’s probably just my arm rubbing for too long against my side. Must use bodyglide next time. Unsure yet if “lubing” before a run will be fun or not, all I know is that chafing is absolute balls.
  10. About 15km I was running pretty slowly. I use the term “running” quite loosely because I’m not sure anything slower than a 7:50 pace is actually “running” rather, very fast bouncy walking really. It’s hard to tell how fast I ran each km because I did stop here and there for water and for traffic. That’s a problem running in the burbs… fucking traffic.
  11. I learnt that Thornlie shits all over South Perth as far as water fountains goes. I kept finding them on the side of ovals, along the footpath, at Nat’s place – awesome. Sure I have no doubt many a youth has probably pissed in these at one time or another, but I let the water run for a little while and didn’t put my mouth on the spout or anything… One even sported some edgy artwork #graffiti #cocknballs
  12. About 16km I was tired. But at that point I knew I’d finish the 21.1km. A whole half marathon. Yep – a whole half. I wanted to see if I could do it again. Haven’t run more than 14km in a whole year. I wanted it badly, and not just for me.
  13. About 16.1km my legs decided they hated me. While I had zero pain in my knee (ftw) the anguish going on in my shoes was picking up a level. New mid foot strike = serious caning of the balls of my feet which was… balls… I felt like I was running in bare feet, Mr Mizuno was offering no comfort whatsoever.
  14. I enjoyed a second “terror interval” after being swooped by a second fucking magpie! OMFG just fuck off already, at 17km I don’t need no fucking heart attack, I’m not trying to attack your fucking babies…. jesus…
  15. 18km and everything hurt. Feet. Calves. Shoulders (Shoulders?). I actually felt a little bit woozy at one point. I had moved from “Oh, I’m gunna make it” to “Aw man I’m going to have to call for help shortly”… I honestly felt like the pain in my body had surpassed ordinary and was well on its way to consuming my consciousness. That sounds a bit dramatic. But at that time I could not recall ever feeling so queer. Perhaps this was “the wall”? I dunno. I hated it. I needed to get home.
  16. I started to lose my shit. I was actually singing out loud. I couldn’t give one flying fuck whether or not anyone could hear me. It was either my bad singing, or actual whimpering. Those were my choices. I think I interchanged both over the last 5km.
  17. At 19.5km (give or take) I literally stopped to smell the roses. I needed to break the pain receptors in my head. By inhaling a strong smell you can redirect your senses temporarily to that sensation instead of the “Fuck me my legs are about to collapse” sensation. True story. It worked. For about 15 seconds. I was tempted to yank off a rose and snort the damn thing while I ran.
  18. Prayed my Garmin would not die. Please Garmin. Please hold on. I can’t believe I had to urge my electronic device not to give up.
  19. I couldn’t believe the 20th km got me to my front door. NOOOOOOO!!! I had to run up and down my fucking street to get the final 1100m in. My neighbours probably think I’m a dickhead. Whatever – I’m a dickhead who just ran a half marathon bitches. The final song blaring into my headphones was Rise Against’s “I don’t wanna be here any more”. Google it and laugh your head off. Nope. Didn’t want to be there anymore. No fucking more. I wanted to go home.
  20. I did it.

I happy snapped a rainbow. I smelt the roses. I got in touch with nature (ok nature took it upon itself to get in touch with me). I finished the damn distance. I felt horrendous. I thought I might vomit. This was not due to over exertion. This was due to not eating nearly enough food before the run. My body was empty. I crawled in the door. I announced I’d just ran a half marathon. Surprised husband thought I’d done 5km and had been at my sister’s having a cuppa. He was astounded. I plunged my legs into our freezing pool for 10 minutes then limped to the bathroom to squeeze on my compression socks. I had to stay on the floor for a fair while. Legs had given it up finally.

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Bragged on FB. Got snaps from running buddies. Ate epic takeout. Decided it was time to run a half marathon again in 2 weeks. Can’t wait.

The End.

Parkrun puddles

This morning I wrested myself out of the clutches of my slumbering 4 year old and got ready for parkrun. 30 seconds before I walked out the door I noticed the brooding black clouds outside. Ohhhhhhh….. *shrug*…… Arrive at Canning River at 7:30am for a warm up. 7:31 cue epic downpour. I sat in the car and watched all the gallant volunteers donning their high vis vests as the heavens opened and spewed out their cold wet guts. It was tempting to bail out and drive home. But why? Because I didn’t want to get wet? Pfffft…. if I didn’t run now then I’d have to run later and it was going to rain a lot of the day. Fuck it. Plus my friend Scott was waiting for me, having run 5 wet kilometres already. His “it’s only water” attitude meant he wasn’t going to be accepting any excuses this morning!

I bounced out of the car and did a 1km warm up, a few stretches and high knees and I was ready to go. Race director makes appropriate joke about parkrun being a new triathlon training event and then we were off. I didn’t even wear my glasses (no point) so all I could do was chase my pacer bunny Scott round the course. First km at tempo, increase to threshold pace by the third km, brief rest and repeat. Ok so TRC told me that based on my 5km PB time my tempo pace is 5:43 and threshold pace is 5:18. I’d decided those paces sounded too pissweak, so Scott paced me at 5:30 then 5:15 and 5:00….

I coped ok with the first 3km – splits – 5:20, 5:11 and 4:52. We stopped for about 2 minutes and headed off again. This is where I got a little bit whiny… Scott got a little bit “c’mon c’mon c’mon” as I slipped behind a little bit. Mentally I struggled a little bit after I’d stopped. I sheltered from the headwind behind Scott and tried to keep up, but kept slowing down. I stopped during the 5th km just for a few seconds to stretch out my calves. I felt like my mid foot strike was ok, form perhaps struggling a bit but I had no knee pain at all. Scott said a good way to gauge too much vertical bounce is how my necklace bounces around my neck. Bend my knees slightly more and voila, no more bounce. But it’s fucking harrrrrrrrd to do that consistently… *whine* *whine*… But as my new form becomes easier, I don’t have to concentrate so bloody hard on that so I can focus on other little things. Pump arms. Don’t bounce up and down. Lift knees a bit more. Smile for camera.

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Finished the 5km parkrun, dashed through the finish line, snapped up a barcode and kept going. Oh for the love of running – only one 5 minute km to go. We walked 170m across to the start line again (ok so I was watching my Garmin counting every 10m) and took off. Just. One. More. Kilometre (of which I’d already walked 170m). I kept looking down at my Garmin, desperate to know how many more metres I had left at that horrendous pace. Scott kept telling me the watch had nothing for me, and to stop looking at it, it couldn’t help me… Finally clicked over the last 100m, I could have cried. Actually I think I did cry a little bit on the inside when I realised that Scott wasn’t counting that fucking precious 170m walk across the car park. Oh no. Then it was “ok give it everything you’ve got”. Oh you’ve got to be fucking kidding me… Scott no… I pushed my legs as fast as they would go, I thought my lungs were going to burst, but Scott gave no indication of ending the sprint. Really? Any second and I was going to keel over. Finally he said we’d finish up at the bottom of the slope (which to me looked like another 400m away, it was more like 100m away)… I didn’t think I could make it…. Scott urged me to run faster –  oh sweet baby Jesus I had nothing left…. I flogged it down the slope and stopped dead. Lungs heaving. Legs screaming. Scott smiling. Well… I’d done it…. (ok small stop but I managed 98% of what we’d planned to do). Pacer/coach Scott gave me a minute to compose myself to fend off the retching and the hating and we jogged back to the start.

8km done. I am so grateful that Scott enjoys hauling my whiny arse around parkrun on a regular basis, making my runs count and each time helping me believe in myself that little bit more. Thanks Scott – got a PB with my name on it in a couple of weeks :)

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TRC Spring Speed Course: Session 4

Last night I was back at the WA Athletics Centre (aka the huge stadium) for another interval session. Last week was a bit underwhelming. This week was much better. Coach Ben was back!

First we headed out for a warm up run. Oh yay…. another warm up run. Turns out last week the regulars went the extra long way (ie 3.5km warm up) when this week we only did 2.5km. That being said – it was 2.5km at a 5:30 pace. Seriously. Guys. What the actual fuck? I fell behind again at my 6:20 pace. As we turned around the last part of the oval it dawned on me that we’d started the run at a slightly different place so that meant we’d finish at that spot – omg I wasn’t paying proper attention at where we came out from the stadium! Heart palpitations set in. I was going to get lost for a second time. Not only because I was left behind again, but because I was not aware of my surroundings enough to remember where the hell we’d started. It seems dumb I know. Isn’t the stadium like right there? Can’t you see it? The answer is no. You can’t see it properly and there are other buildings and car parks and well goddammit it’s confusing. So yes. There I was. All alone. Again. Wondering where to go this time. FML right! I just took a punt and headed up a pathway and hurrah I was right. God, too much thinking involved for a warm up run!

WAAC selfie

WAAC selfie

After the warm up exercises we did 3 x 400m increasing pace with each lap. After that we did 200m “sprint” or 90% pace and 200m recovery jog for 1600m. We did that twice with a 3 minute rest in between. Not even kidding at one point my “recovery run” was a 8:15 pace shuffle. My calves were so sore it was all I could manage! I didn’t mind though. Was I the slowest? Absolutely. Did I actually get lapped? Yep. It was ok. When I got lapped the first time a guy from the group actually said “great work mate” as he ran past. It’s funny how little teeny weeny things like that can make you happy. Here’s this guy who’s pretty quick, acknowledging my efforts. Actually acknowledging that I’m part of the group and encouraging me to keep going. He probably didn’t think much of it. But it made me smile. And it made me run a little bit faster at the next sprint.

Ever the victim of technology indulgence myself it was amusing to see Ben on his phone during the session. Yeah, I know it’s boring watching people go round in circles, but you don’t have to be so obvious! That being said, he was nice enough to watch me as a sprinted past – offering encouragement. Actually, that’s his job so……..

While my calves were tight and sore (not unbearably so) I did manage the whole session comfortably and most importantly had no knee pain. I didn’t even tape my knee last night! Pretty stoked with that.

Steady progress and more parkrun love

Saturday is parkrun day. It is without a doubt my favourite day to run and today was no exception.

My TRC course book called for a “5km time trial”. I opted to give it a go at parkrun instead. I know the course. I love the people. In the end, having only recently changed my running form in quite a dramatic way, my calves only let me run (with good form) for 2km before packing it in. Yanno what? I wasn’t even bummed about it. My “time trial” would have to wait. Or, let’s go with officially 39:34. That’s how long it took me to complete 5km with my best form and some walking. Knowing that the pain is for the most part “transitional pain” as my calves take more load, I’m completely happy with how today panned out. My friend Aimee (aka Slow Little Runner) kept me company for the final 3kms which I was grateful for. Scott kept an eye on my form as he passed me, and confirmed that I was up on my toes a little bit too much as I had suspected.

Fiiiiiiiinally my friend Ryan made it down to parkrun. Ok he’s a friend of Sam’s but he’s a super runner and a super nice guy. He was trying for a SUB 20 PB!!! He only just missed it too. I had a chat with him afterwards and it was really great to welcome him to our parkrun community. I introduced him to my friends and they all got chatting pretty easily and I saw this photo taken today and I just loved it:

Andrew welcoming Ryan to his first Canning parkrun

Andrew welcoming Ryan to his first Canning parkrun

Parkrun is such a wonderful community, and everyone is welcome. Even though Ryan only just missed his PB (He ran a cracking 20:30 ish time) I know he’ll be back to try again soon. You know the course now mate – smash it out! Michelle only just missed her PB time as well – I know she’ll crack it soon!

And while there was no impressive PB for me today – I did have a giggle at my pic this week:

Ahoy matie! Pirate's dream ahead....

Ahoy matie! Pirate’s dream ahead….

That’s me in the black singlet. I know it might be confusing, but yes I am in fact a girl despite the fact I have the physique of a 14 year old boy. All I can say is, at least I don’t have to worry about trying to secure a large bosom when I want to run – that’s gotta count for something right? Right? FML.