Sunday, April 30, 2006

Kill or Cure!

My cold is back with a vengeance! Yesterday morning it rained and it rained. We dressed in our running gear, went to the car to set off for our run at the lake but the rain was not slowing down and after a few telephone calls to CJ and JS we decided to give it a miss. Instead we changed into warm clothes and did the shopping and other sundry household tasks. I was very dosed up with cold and flu tablets and was quite glad of the reprieve. Trouble is that's two days in a row without running. Later in the day Mr B and I went to the movies to see World's Fastest Indian. It was a great movie. We just loved it and would strongly recommend it for a feel-good movie. Anthony Hopkins was superb as Burt Munro, a New Zealander who set a number of motorcycle speed records in the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in the late '60s when he himself was in his late 60s.

Anyway on to Sunday and the Vets' Monthly Handicap Run

Location: Mt Majura Nature Park
Distance: 10km
Time taken: 58:28
Place: 56th
Average pace per km: 5:55
Calories burned: 594

Comments: "It's getting harder and harder to breathe......" Yes, I found it difficult to breathe in parts mainly cos I'm all stuffed up and have to breathe through my mouth. I was pretty dosed up on echinacea and cold and flu tablets and it wasn't helped by the fact that the start of the run was uphill. In normal circumstances I think I would have enjoyed the run. It was all off-road on a dirt track and a lot of it was uphill but there was also a fair amount of downhill and it was interesting through the hills. Trouble was I was feeling pretty ordinary. However I did manage a little sprint at the end so that I could finish just before Marg M which made me feel better. It was great to chat to everyone and we were so pleased to be there when our good friend Ian won the gold for the short course on his birthday - great pressie to take home - a big trophy and a medal. Good on you Ian! Mr B and CJ ran to the finish almost neck and neck, Mr B sprinting through to the finish just 15secs ahead of CJ who, I might add, decided to run yesterday afternoon when the rain cleared, unlike us! Later CJ, Mr B and I went for a relaxing coffee and a blueberry friand each at Carlo's in Watson - yummo!

I think the run did me good as tonight I feel marginally better. Here's hoping I have a better night's sleep. Tomorrow I will start to be good, lose the extra couple of kilos I've put on and get back into it. Yoga starts up again on Wed and tomorrow is speedygeoff's group.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Maybe I should have stayed in Bed!

Distance: 6km
Time: 36mins
Calories burned: 351
Location: Kaleen block

Comments: It was an effort to force myself out of bed cos I had a bit of a disturbed night's sleep. It was 1deg and felt very cold. In fact I didn't warm up until the 4km mark.I didn't feel very wonderful on the run. In fact as I reached my door I thought I was going to throw up - must have been too many Anzac biscuits last night - they're so more-ish!! I feel like a blob. I think this Sat warrants a long run and on Sunday is the Vets' Handicap run. That should work off those extra kilos!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Crunching the Autumn Leaves!

What an absolutely perfect day in Canberra today. The sun shone down and the sky was blue, blue, blue. Mr B and I went to see the Rennie Ellis 'Aussies All' photography exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery by the lake. It was really interesting and of course necessitated a cappuccino afterwards followed by a walk beside the lake to look at all the plaques celebrating the Australians of the Year since 1960. I notice that initially there was just one Aussie of the Year then this increased to two Aussies of the Year which in the 1990s included a Junior and Senior Aussie of the Year and in the last three years has also included a Local Hero of the Year. I have run past these many times but never stopped to look. Walking slowly studying them gives a whole different perspective! It was quite seriously a glorious day and I knew it required a run. We were home by 3pm and I telephoned CJ to suggest a coffee at Tilleys later. Mr B and I ran to her house in Turner and then ran to Tilleys where she joined us for coffee and an Anzac bikkie (yum) and from there she took us home. It was a lovely day.

Distance: 9km
Time taken: 49:53
Average pace per km: 5:32
Calories burned: 526
Fastest km: 5:16

Comments: I so enjoyed this run. We ran along the cycle track to Lyneham and on past O'Connor to Turner crunching and playing in the autumn leaves which were everywhere. There were still plenty of orange and gold leaves on the trees as well as the crunchy leaves which we ran through. There was a little breeze blowing them around and it was such a lovely run. I had to run at a reasonable pace to keep up with Mr B but I enjoyed it and although I had initially intended to run a longer run I felt that this was a quality run and I did enjoy that coffee and bikkie at Tilleys.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Hill Runs at Parliament House - 5.30pm

Distance: 8.61km
Calories: 491

Session: Warm up loop of Parliament House followed by 8 hill runs down and up the grass verges around each side of Parliament House. Some were steeper than others and as it was dark and we could see virtually nothing underneath or in front of us it was a case of running with caution avoiding uneven potholes and rough grassy bits. The second last hill was the steepest - oh boy, after going steeply down, down, down it was up, up, up and boy was it steep. Then the instructions were to run back to the last runners and repeat the hills and run on to the start. As the majority of people did not run back (Ewen and I did the right thing - tee hee) they had to run a steep grassy hill at the finish to the top of Parliament House grassy roof. Then we all went round to the other side of the roof and ran up the top of that side - another very steep hill. We then finished off with a warm down loop of Parliament House again. It was a good session. I chatted to two Barbaras - one a kiwi and the other a Q'lander "with attitude" who has just moved here. It was fun but next week I'll take a torch!

I had just finished my shower after arriving home when I receive a telephone call from the office. A couple of staff had worked overtime and forgotten their key so I had to drive back into work to lock up - oh joy! By the time I arrived home the second time I didn't feel like cooking a proper meal so I picked all night - bad girl. I need to return to my good pre-marathon habits. I may try a long run tomorrow some time as no need to go to work on Anzac Day. These Autumn days in Canberra are very beautiful.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Perfect Day for a Run

Distance: 11km
Time taken: 65mins
Average pace per km: 5:54
Calories burned: 641

Comments: I drove to the lake and met up with Mr B and Lorraine and Elaine from his squash group. We ran a gentle 11km from the yacht club to Scrivener Dam and back to the yacht club with a few noticeable hills where we pushed ourselves. It was a stunning autumn day. The sky was clear and blue with not a breath of wind but I have to add it was freezing. There had been a frost and parts of the pedestrian bridge over the water had ice on it as the sun hadn't reached that spot so we had to watch our footing. My fingers were very very cold and didn't warm up until about the 7km mark. The overnight temperature had been minus 6degrees!! However later it reached 17deg which still isn't particularly warm but the sun was lovely. The colours of the autumn leaves on the trees were gorgeous - all oranges, browns and golds. There were hot air balloons floating above us and it really was a glorious day to be alive. It was also great to run with company and I really enjoyed my run.
Later, after my nail appointment, I drove into the mall and met up with CJ and Kezza who has just returned from Alice Springs. It was great to catch up with her again. At night we went to a surprise 50th birthday party for The Hare and that too was a great night catching up with friends.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

EASING back into it!!

Distance: 6km at 6.15am
Time taken: 36mins!
Calories: 363

Oh well, consistency prevails - consistently slow! The first 3km felt positively awful. My throat is very sore and dry and I was struggling although it was quite light for 6.15am and really quite pleasant out there. On the return loop I found a bit more rhythm and started to enjoy myself. In the weekend I must do a longer run. Time is running out for the Canberra Half and I need to reassure myself I can still run the distance!! I hope this niggly throat improves soon.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter at the Beach!

I hope everybody had a lovely Easter break and enjoyed some sunshine. We drove to Vincentia in Jervis Bay at the South Coast and stayed in a lovely little B & B for three nights. It was such a lovely relaxing break and we even went for two swims at the beach. Yes, we had glorious weather - a bit windy in parts but mainly warm, sunny and very pleasant. We found a sheltered beach and enjoyed the blue blue water and the surf and the very white soft sand. We had a fantastic meal out on our first night with a dessert to die for (chocolate basket with mousse, cream & strawberries) - absolute heaven! Yes, Jen, chocolate has been tasting far too good this week and I'm now suffering from chocolate overload (if that's possible)! We did manage two runs so slowly I am returning to the training. We do have a half marathon to run in four weeks time after all. We drove back to Canberra via Berry today and visited a lovely gallery where we bought a beautiful framed photo of Vincentia to put on our wall so that we can drool over it in the middle of winter!

Friday 14 April (Good Friday) at 5.15pm - First run post-marathon

Distance: 7km
Time: 42:46
Average pace per km: 6:06
Calories: 414

Comments: It hurt. I can't pretend it was comfortable. I ran slowly and with caution. My legs felt heavy and I felt odd twinges in all sorts of places. It took about 5km before I finally felt a bit better. I ran with Mr B or should I say I kept him in sight. I couldn't run at his pace, my legs did not cooperate. However at least I have started and it was a pleasant time of day to run. We just made it back to our b & b as the bright red full moon moved into the horizon. It was very beautiful.
Sunday 16 April - Happy Easter and a longer run!
Distance: 12.35km at 4.30pm
Time taken: approx 69mins (52mins for 9km - Gandalf time)
Average pace per km: 5:49
Fastest km: 5:36
Comments: It took more than 3km before Gandalf found a satellite but fortunately Mr B had his watch with him so we could estimate the total distance. We ran from Vincentia to Huskisson Beach along varying degrees of undulating cycle tracks. Again it took me a fair while to reach my comfort zone but 12km is pretty good and I was happy to have done it. We left earlier so reached our b & b before it was too dark to see. We also managed to stretch on a tree while we could still see! It's so nice running near the beach and viewing that beautiful blue water and surf. Gee I love the beach.

Monday, April 10, 2006

A Few Marathon Photos

Running with JS

Two out of Three Aint Bad!!

Canberra Ultra Marathon

Goal 1: To finish the ultra 50km marathon with a smile on my face - achieved
Goal 2: To complete marathon in under 4 hours - not quite!
Goal 3: To complete Ultra marathon in under 5 hours - achieved

Distance: 50km
Time taken: 4hours 56minutes

Comments: It was a stunning day in Canberra, ideal conditions to run a marathon. I set the alarm for 4.30am, ate my toast, honey and banana, showered, dressed and organised myself for a chilly start. I chose not to wear gloves as I knew I would heat up quickly. I ran a very short warm-up and at the start saw lots of CRs including CJ, Griffin, Speedygeoff and Ewen and managed to see Lucky Legs for a quick hug. She looked amazing. Speedygeoff was the pacer for the 4 hour group but I kept a bit behind him as I didn't want to start out too fast. My ultimate goal was to achieve the 50km. I ran with JS and we all chatted happily and nervously to those beside us before the start was called.

It was about 2deg at the start of the run but reached 20deg by mid-day. There was not a breath of wind and it was a clear crisp day with a blue sky. There were hot air balloons floating above us and the lake looked stunning. In fact it made me feel very lucky to live in such a beautiful city and know that all those interstate people were sharing its beauty on such a stunning day. We took off to a fairly slow start as it was quite congested with a great turn-out of about 1000 entrants. We reached the 5km point in 27mins which was pretty much on schedule and 10km at 53mins which was probably a tad too fast. We had obviously speeded up quite a bit as we got into our stride and in fact Gandalf records that our 8th km was run in 4:59. We were still on schedule at 21km at 1hr 56mins but at the 32km mark I felt really queasy. My tummy was feeling decidedly dodgy and I felt like throwing up. Somehow the thought of guu or even sports drinks just made me feel worse and I appreciated the water on the way. There were heaps of drinks stations and the volunteers were fantastic. In fact the supporters on the way were just amazing. There were CR cheer squads loudly cheering us on and people calling our names along the way. It was a great atmosphere. Our pace slowed down from about this point. Up to then we had managed to keep Speedygeoff in sight but at that stage I think we made a decision that the important goal was to achieve the ultra in under 5 hours and unfortunately not make the 4 hour goal for the marathon. Certainly my average pace dropped considerably at that point and we ran through the marathon finish point at 4hrs 5mins. The tricky bit was running right through that finish point without stopping and focussing on keeping on going up that little incline and round the bend and out of sight of the cheering people. After we had rounded that corner we slowed down even more but determination then set in. We were going to do this no matter what!

It was actually quite exciting crossing the road past the marathon finishers coming in and going on to the cycle track and out again under the bridge and on. There we saw our friend Jon cheering us on from under the bridge. He joined us on the cycle track and ran beside us urging us on. We also saw Mr B cycling on the grass calling out encouragement and a work colleague on roller blades calling our names too. It was so good having such support and it kept us pushing on to that turnaround point where there were jellybeans on the table (oh so appreciated) and then that last gruelling 4km. I could feel the sense of achievement inside me, the feeling that I was going to make this under 5 hours. Yes WE were going to do it. The excitement was building and as I rounded that last bend I saw two runners ahead of me and I took off on my own on a last effort sprint passing the two runners and sprinting home at 4hours 56mins with a SMILE on my face. I was just so happy that I had done it under 5 hours. The medal was placed round my neck and I felt fantastic!

There were so many people out there cheering me on and I was one very happy person. My family all came out to see me and it felt wonderful being surrounded by family and friends - that warm fuzzy feeling just made me want to cry. CJ was there looking fresh and amazing. She had achieved her goal and then some - 3hours 26mins - wow, what a woman! She's a legend. We were both very happy. Then Roy came out of the hall with another medal for each of us, CJ was 2nd in her age group and I was 2nd in mine - yippee!!

Later we went to the after party at Rydges and met up with lots of CRs. I had a long chat with Robert Song and met up with Lucky Legs again. What an achievement for her setting the W75 record for the 50km. She is one amazing and inspirational lady. Everyone looked so happy. I also spent time getting to know Lorna (The Owl) who turns out to be a fellow kiwi. She's just delightful. It was lovely to meet so many CRs who we read about - the lovely Tesso, Courtleylove and her daughter, Plu, Wobbly, Cato, Ta and The Gnome and I saw Clairie and many other CRs there too.

That evening CJ, Mr CJ, JS, Mr B and I went out for dinner with our other friends and had a lovely night. Every one at that table who had run in the marathon or ultra had achieved a PB of some sort! It was a fantastic day altogether. Thank you JS for running with me and to everyone out there for being part of this wonderful community of runners. Will post some photos later.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Brrrr - I should have worn gloves! 3 sleeps left!

Distance: 5:03km
Time taken: 30:07mins
Average pace per km: 5:59
Calories burned: 290

Comments: I had to force myself out of bed and run an "easy" 30minute run. I wore leggings and arm warmers (yes Ewen I also wore the rest of my clothes so no smart comments please!). It was absolutely FREEZING out there! I should have worn gloves. My hands didn't warm up at all and they were like little blocks of ice. I had forgotten how cold Canberra can be in the mornings. It definitely felt like winter today. It didn't warm up to more than 14deg all day although the sun was shining. The wind was really bitter. Stay away on Sunday Mr Wind! I only ran for 30mins and felt all the niggles one expects during a taper and just before a big run - heel pain, ankle pain, back pain - not good. However at lunchtime I had a massage and he concentrated on my feet, legs and glutes. It felt so good. The hour went far too fast. I have run 8 runs of more than 30km in training for the ultra this year. That's a lot more than previous years for marathon training. Hope it takes me through the 50km. Tomorrow I have a rest day.

Thank you to all those lovely people who have wished me good luck on Sunday. It is fantastic to have your support and good wishes. I will give a full race report as soon as I can.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I can't believe it's only 4 sleeps left! An Easy Run at 6.15am.

Translate "easy" to "slow" run.

Distance: 7.56km
Time taken: 46:38
Average pace per km: 6:10 (yes, I said "slow")
Calories burned: 430

Comments: The session called for an easy 45min run and I took this as gospel. To start my legs felt very heavy. I wore arm warmers this morning as it was rather cool but the sun was coming out after the turnaround point. I ran past Giralang just before the tunnel heading for Gungahlin, turned and ran back home. It was light by 6.15am and I ran a little later than usual but it was good to be able to see! Tomorrow I have a 30min run, an easy 20mins on Saturday and then that's it before the big one! Today I drove out to the Runners' Shop at lunchtime and bought new Asics socks. Last night I stuck labels on my special drink bottles. I just have to write on them now!

Yoga this evening
Had to stay in the shoulder stand for ages. We had some trainee teachers present taking notes and assisting us in our poses. This meant we had a tough session. Those dog poses and long stretches can be quite nasty but of course the last ten minutes makes up for everything. Tomorrow I have a massage - bliss!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

5 Sleeps Left! A Run after Work

Distance: 8.46km
Time taken: 49:46
Calories burned: 478
Average pace per km: 5:53
Fastest km: 5:16

Comments: Ran at 5.30pm from the office over the bridge to the ferry terminal and on round the museum and out along the lake edge to about 4.50km then turned round and ran back to the carpark near the office. It took me about 4km before all the twinges settled down. The legs felt like lumps of lead to start and it took quite a while to get into my stride. The session was to run 10mins at marathon pace but I actually ran about 4km at marathon pace as I felt much stronger in the second half of the run. By the time I returned to the carpark near work it was becoming quite dark which made it seem much later than it was. The mornings are lighter earlier however which is good. It was a much warmer morning today than yesterday. I noticed this at 7am when I left home for brekkie with friends. It would have been a good temperature for the marathon start!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Last Taper Week - 6 sleeps to take-off!

Stats for Marathon Training

Total km for week ending 2 April = 55.13 (2nd week of taper)
Total km in training for ultra marathon = 1,165km
Total km in 2006 = 1,004km

Today I drove out to Mitchell and had my CR singlet and cap embroidered with my blog name. They turned out really well and I'm feeling quite excited now the ultra is so close. I now have to label my special drink bottles and buy some new socks. Then I'll be ready! Today was a rest day and tomorrow I have a 9km run after work. The temperature has definitely dropped and the mornings are quite chilly. I wore long sleeves to work for the first time today. Sunday forecast is for 2deg overnight but looks like it might be quite a pleasant day. I have my fingers, toes and everything else crossed that the conditions will be just right - no wind or rain preferably!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

One Week to Ultra (7 more night sleeps - no more day sleeps!) - Daylight saving ends!

Last longish run - Sunday
Distance: 17km
Time taken: 1hour 36mins 58secs
Average pace per km: 5:42
Calories burned: 975
Fastest km: 4:59

Comments: Daylight saving has ended and all our clocks had to put back one hour. It was freezing this morning. In fact there were signs of frost outside. Be warned interstate people coming to compete next weekend, be prepared for a cold start. Mind you it will be appreciated at the 30km mark to have that cool air. The sun was shining and actually it would have been perfect marathon conditions today.

I met JS at the yacht club and we ran to Telopea Park School which is the start and finish spot of the marathon and ultra marathon. Then we ran round NSW Crescent and back to turnaround point of ultra from where we ran back to Telopea and turned again visualising the finish and the feeling of running past the finish and on for that last 8km. Yes it will be difficult but WE WILL DO IT even if we walk some of that last 8km. I really really want to achieve that goal. We stopped Gandalf at the 17km mark and walked the remaining bit back to the yacht club where we had a shower and drove to meet CJ, Mr CJ, The Hare and H for brekkie. Mr B is currently in Melbourne watching the Grand Prix as he had a last minute opportunity for a grandstand seat - too tempting to refuse as he's a mad car racing fiend. It was a good run and we ran several kms at approximately marathon pace.
Saturday' short run at 8am
Distance: 8.05km
Location: From home to tunnel heading towards Gungahlin and back
Time taken: 46:38
Average pace per km: 5:42
Fastest km: 5:14
Calories burned: 465
Comments: Ran with Mr B before he headed off to Melbourne. It was a cold morning with a high wind chill factor. In fact I would not like this to be the weather for marathon day - the wind was bitter. It was cold, grey and generally bleak at this time of the morning. I wore a cycle top which has short sleeves and that worked well. We ran fairly conservatively but picked up the pace in the last 2km.