Tuesday, May 21, 2013

YCRC Half Marathon

Loot from the barrel draw plus medal and lucky run number

With Margaret just before the start. Photo by Ewen.

It was so cold early in the morning of the Canberra Running Club's Half Marathon on Sunday. In fact it was minus 4 degrees when I was eating breakfast and wondering how many layers to wear! I selected a singlet and shorts with a long sleeved top and gloves to be removed at the 4km mark.
It felt so cold when I met up with Marg to run our warm up after collecting my race number. Mr B was a volunteer and was put on bag duty. This did mean he could catch my jacket and gloves when we ran past the 4km drinks station. It also meant he could trot out for a 10km run while we were running the half.
I was sorry I didn't retain my gloves for a bit longer as it took at least 10km before my fingers had any feeling. They were numb with cold. The toes on my left foot were also numb but strangely running in singlet and shorts felt fine. 
The sun struggled through a little later and it actually turned into a glorious morning for running with no wind at that time. We ran hospital hill instead of running round the museum as we did in previous years. The aternative route would have been much flatter. We started at 8am and ran a 4km loop round some of Canberra's icons before heading off round the West Basin of the lake on the undulating track. I had forgotten how many hills there are running that loop. I had extra music loaded on my ipod and I listened to it from one ear only so that I could be conscious of my beautiful surroundings and all the people out there. I actually really enjoyed the run although it was a bit of a shuffle at the start. I chatted to quite a few people on the way and I felt good, yes I actually felt good. I am sure I ran the second half quicker than the first. I only consumed one gu and my tummy felt fine which is definitely a plus for me so I'm not quite sure what I did differently. I guess it was just a good day and the cold weather must have suited me. My only problem was that for the entire run my left hamstring hurt and I was a bit worried I would really hurt it if I tried too hard so I decided to just enjoy the day which I did!
After the run I found Marilyn, Margaret, Caroline and heaps of running mates who had all run well. Although I only came 5th in my age group I was happy to have beaten my time by 2 minutes from the Weston Creek Half a couple of months previously. It was also very exciting to score a barrel draw prize and it was a beauty. I won a $25 Runners Shop Voucher (that may have to be a gift for someone else tee hee), a $40 massage voucher and a bottle of white wine. Woo hoo! How lucky am I!
Distance: 21.1km (plus 1km warm up)
Time taken: 2:05:47
Average pace per km: 5:56
Calories burned: 1226

I had some very exciting news on Saturday morning while at work. My youngest daughter rang me from Singapore. She had been flown there as a surprise and taken to one of the world's best restaurants to celebrate her tenth anniversary of going out with her boyfriend. She rang to say they are now engaged! Big excitement and we are delighted.

On Monday I showed up at speedygeese training at Parliament House. As it was the nearest Monday to my birthday I took a bottle of sparkling wine to share after our training so it was important I showed up. The session included pyramids along the straight grassy edge by Parliament House. I just ran gently for 7km but as my hamstring was tight and sore I definitely did not push myself!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Autumn is turning into Winter!

Brrrr - it's not getting any warmer in Canberra now. The pretty Autumn leaves are falling rapidly from the trees and the quicker we sweep them up the quicker they fall. It's a question of crunching through the leaves and remembering to remove shoes at the door. And it's so cold. The sun shines less brightly and we are lucky to have much warmth in it. We have had some rain and bitterly cold wind and cloudy overcast skies. It's not nearly as conducive to running in the cold evenings. Even taking Teddy for his daily walks requires a thick jacket and gloves. I haven't located my woolly beanie yet but that will be next.
I managed 4 x 1min 45seconds for my daily plank this morning. Next week I increase to 2minutes. It's definitely becoming harder!
Our speedygeese session was at Kaleen Oval tonight. Marg drove to my house and ran with me to the oval. Sadly CJ really hurt her hamstring on Tuesday evening and won't be running for some time. The girls well and truly outnunbered the boys tonight. There was Janene, Kelley, Miranda, Maria (who turned up a little late and ran long timed sprints), Margaret, Me, Susan, Rod and speedygeoff braving the cold.
We ran 1200m loops and some shortcuts crossing the ovals in the middle. Marg and I basically took it easy. She had already run 11km today and I was more interested in the distance than the speed. It was good to have company or I would have struggled at the idea of braving the cold weather!
Total distance: 8km

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday at Dickson

Today was cold. The sun was shining for most of the day which provided a little warmth but as the afternoon went on it became colder and by the time we started our warm up at Dickson Oval it felt bitterly cold. I wore gloves, running beanie, 3/4 tights, t-shirt, long sleeved top and spray jacket. Only the top layer came off during the course of the session but I definitely warmed up. The wind dropped and the bitterly cold air seemed to diminish somewhat.
There were 9 of us tonight plus our fearless leader - Marg, Kelley, Cathy, Miranda, me, Colin, Rod, Roden, Mick and speedygeoff. Parts of the oval were soggy from the rain we had experienced last night but most of it was spongy and very runnable. We ran a couple of warm up loops before starting our main set.Three of us were given batons and three started at a point 100m away on the flat. The goal was to run as fast as possible to pass the baton to the first person at the other end who would then run back and pass it to the next person etc. We repeated this for 15 minutes and then we ran zigzags up and down the hilly bank for 5 minutes before repeating the relay but this time for 10 minutes.
It was certainly tough to keep sprinting short sharp bursts and unfortunately poor CJ pulled her hamstring in the final 100m. She had to leave before the warm down to go home and ice her leg. Fingers crossed it will feel better tomorrow as she has entered the half marathon on Sunday - not good timing at all. Not that pulling a hamstring is ever good timing. That is definitely the danger with 100m sprints!
Total distance: 7km

Monday, May 13, 2013

We frightened off the rain!

I am now into week 4 of my 'plank a day' program and this morning's plank was 1min 45secs. This morning I went for a swim at the local pool and managed 1km very slightly faster than last week. Then I enjoyed a relaxing spa and "enjoy" is definitely the word as, while in that soothing water, I was suddently invaded by ten very healthy, fit young men (footy players would be my guess) who had been instructed by their coach to have a spa. There was no way I was emerging from that water while they were there and certainly no way I was going to walk up the steps in front of them to get out of the spa so I waited until their coach told them they had to leave before I emerged. Phew - enough excitement for one morning! It required a quick coffee after my shower so that I could continue my day.

Today it rained. Lately this is an unusual sight in Canberra and as a consequence the garden is very dry and will benefit hugely from the lovely downpour. I did manage to give Teddy his walk when it eased off at one stage. However, as I drove to the Speedygeese session at Parliament House it began to rain quite heavily and I was worried we might be running in the underground carpark. There were only eight of us brave souls including our speedychief. In fact we had equal numbers of male and females. We decided to risk a warm up loop wrapped up in appropriate rainwear and see if it was possible to do our session outside. As we approached Parliament House after one loop the rain had eased and by the time we headed out for our next loop it had stopped completely. Fantastic! We had scared the rain away just in time for the main part of our session. SG led us to the hill in front of PH and here we had to run 20 x 100m hill repeats on 90seconds. It was tough of course and our shoes were soggy but I'm sure these hills are doing me some good!!
We ran a cool down loop back to our cars and the rain continued to hold off. How lucky!
Total distance: 8km

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Classic Mothers' Day

Mr B and I both ran the 10km run in the Mothers' Day Classic this morning. CJ, Marg and I had entered as part of Team MamaMoves and were given a pretty pink t-shirt to wear in the event. I have never run in this event before and couldn't believe the huge turnout. 
It was a really foggy day and there was an eerie mist covering the lake as we lined up for the start. Us girls started in the middle of the pack which is something we would not do again. It was indeed a mistake as we were barely shuffling for a few kilometres. In fact because of the fog we were instructed to stay on the overbridge over Kings Avenue. This bridge is very narrow and squeezing over a thousand people into a narrow space is not an easy ask. There was definitely no way we could move in anything more than a jog for quite some time.
However, in spite of a very slow start it was fun and a great event bringing out so many people to run for their mums or people who had been touched by breast cancer in some way. There were three events - a 10km run, 5km run and a 5km walk so lots of volunteers were out there helping on the course.
Mr B ran a PB of 45mins 27secs and came first in his age group - a fantastic result.  He had the commonsense to start nearer the front and didn't have the problem with congestion over the bridge.
After we had finished we managed to watch Lucky Legs run along the finish line of he 5km run. She never fails to impress me with her determination and endurance at 83 plus. Unfortunately we couldn't stay talking for long as it was time to rush home for a shower and drive to Bungendore to meet our son and family for a delicious Mothers' Day brunch at the woodworks. Later we walked round looking at all the shops. It was such fun.
Veggie Benne (poached eggs, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes and benedict sauce - yummo)
I was very spoilt for mothers' day. My children know their mum well! Flowers, a running singlet, gorgeous cards, delicious food and itunes vouchers. I am indeed truly blessed.
Total distance: 10km
Time taken: 59:46
Overall place: 782 (1322 finishers)
Place in age group: 7th female (22 finishers)
Later I took Teddy for a lovely walk while Mr B cooked dinner and my youngest daughter chatted to me on Skype!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Parkrun on a gorgeous Autumn Day

This is the first time I haven't run to the start of the Parkrun from home. Instead Mr B and I drove there and I only ran about 300m before the start of the run, hardly a warm up at that crisp time of day. However, it was great to be there and the sun was soon beautiful and we warmed up quickly. Deek and his female indigenous group were there as helpers today. They are running the Mothers' Day Classic tomorrow as are we and will also soon be training to run the New York marathon later this year! Maybe we'll see them there. 
CJ and I had been promised a coffee at the end of the run by our good friend Gary because we finished the Canberra Marathon and this was our first opportunity to get together. Of course this was lovely to look forward to and we were joined by Marg and Mr B at the Birrigai Cafe. It was a very pleasant way to spend a relaxing time with great friends. Thank you Gary!
I didn't run the Parkrun as fast as usual. It felt ok but I was holding back a little as we are running in the MD Classic 10km run tomorrow. At least that was my excuse for not running as well this week!
Total distance: 5km
Time taken: 28:17 (PB 27:50)
Place overall: 72nd (110 finishers)
Place in age group: 1st (probably the only one)
Later Mr B and I took Teddy for a long walk while I was delivering Avon. It was yet another stunning Autumn day. 
In the mail yesterday I received a parcel from my newly married daughter for Mothers' Day tomorrow. I have restrained myself and will open it in the morning. And today I was delivered a gorgeous bunch of flowers from the other daughter. Yay I love being spoilt. 
Tomorrow after the run we are going for brunch with our Canberra family. Woo hoo! What a fun weekend.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

A New Session with the speedygeese at Kaleen Oval

I started the day with 4 planks of 90seconds each. Then off to work until 2pm and on the way home I detoured to deliver Avon. Later I changed into running gear for our next speedygeese training session. This time we trained at Kaleen Oval which is only 800m from my house. Marg parked her car at my place and we ran to meet the others at the oval. It was great to see Yelena, Susan and Janene there. The best part of our SG sessions is all the lovely people who train.
The oval was well lit and there were just a few young soccer players practising in the middle of the field. We ran round the perimeter of the oval a couple of times and then our main set was doing just that. It was a distance of 1200m and we ran firstly in an anti-clockwise direction with a short cool down before running in a clockwise direction, another short cool down and then ran back in the other direction. The 1200m were the fast ones (or faster at least). Then we ran a few 100m strides before our cool down 1200m loop. Then we had a pleasant chat and some stretches before everyone went home in their various directions. Marg and I ran home rounding up the distance for the run.
Total distance: 9km

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Speedygeese at Dickson Oval with lots of buddies

It was lovely to find so many running buddies at Dickson Oval for our speedygeese session last night. There was Maria (who had run the early long run and was just about to leave when I arrived), Kelley, Kym, Margaret, Miranda and CJ all there to run the session which made it extra good especially as we outnumbered the boys! We ran a long and short warm up loop of the oval before running a timed 2 laps in the 4th lane making a total of 850m for each loop. We then ran 6 x 850m off our handicap, jogging inbetween and starting every 6 minutes. It was a good session and the lungs certainly got a work out!
We finished with a cool down jog of the large oval.
Total distance: 8km
Today (Wednesday) I am up to 3 x 90secs for my planks. I did them before heading for work this morning. When I arrived home from work the sun was still shining and I took Teddy for a run on the trails of North Lyneham ridge. He loves it there as it's dusty, undulating and he can run off lead. My legs felt a bit heavy after last night's session but I managed to run through it at a slow pace.
Total distance: 6km hilly

Monday, May 06, 2013

Hill Repeats at Parliament House

Today was a good day. I started it with a swim at CISAC. Now I haven't swum in the pool for months and was surprised that I managed to swim 1km comfortably albeit slowly but "slow" is my middle name so not a problem. I will improve with practice!
Later after a great walk with Teddy in the sunshine it was time to head for the speedygeese session at Parliament House. It was a good turnout with more girls than boys for once. We ran a warm up loop around the trails by Parliament House before heading for one of the grassy hills. Uh oh, we all knew what that meant. Sure enough the main session was hill repeats - 20 of them in fact on 90secs. It was tough but I managed to run every one. It was good that Marilyn, Kerrie, Yelena and Rae were there as well as all the regulars. That's what makes these sessions fun - all the lovely people who go.
Total distance: 8km

Sunday, May 05, 2013

A Wedding in the Family

The happy couple

Son Peter and his lovely wife Jo at little sister's wedding
Last weekend we celebrated the marriage of our eldest daughter and her lovely man in Sydney. It was a very small ceremony set by the beach at Watsons Bay - just a few close friends and direct family - less than two dozen of us and a perfect day.
Mr B and I drove to Sydney in his new Alfa on Anzac Day and stayed with our youngest daughter. Next morning she joined me for a short run. That's the very first time we have ever run together as Em has only recently taken up running so that was a very special time and lots of fun.
On Sunday after all the excitement had died down Mr B and I drove out to the beach and managed to fit in an awesome swim before heading off for a family barbeque at the new bride's apartment. The weather for the entire weekend was stunning  It was really special family time.
Proud parents of the bride and groom
Cutting the cute cake!
Proud dad
Little sister Em and her partner

On Monday it was back to speedygeese training where we ran relay team diagonals on the lawns in front of Parliament House. Next day I worked late and was unable to go to SG training at Dickson but managed to run on Wednesday off road with Teddy for 11km after work,
On Thursday  I went to a new session which speedychief is holding at the Uni of Canberra's oval. The aim of this was to run with the triathlon group, the Bilbys, and to share their lights. However Miranda and I arrived at the same time and when we finally found our SG friends they were running in the dark. No Bilbys turned up and our SG group eventually ran around the perimeter of the lit up soccer field which was being used for training at the same time. We ran a warm up and then ran 3 fast laps followed by 1 slow lap and did this 3 times. It was difficult as I was conscious all the time of avoiding the soccer ball and watching the rough ground underneath. I think there may be a change of venue next week.
Friday was Body Balance and a rest from running before a long run next day.
On Saturday I incorporated the Ginninderra Parkrun with a longer run. I ran 5km from home to the start, ran the 5km Parkrun catching up with lots of friends before and afterwards and then ran the rest of the lake with CJ (a great opportunity for a chat) before heading home.
Total distance: 20km
Time taken for 5km Parkrun: 27:57 (7seconds outside my PB - grrr)
Age percentage: 70.42%
It was a great day for a run although at 8am it was still cool and there was a bit of head wind at one stage which was annoying. I do hope to improve that time eventually. 
This morning, Sunday, I just took Teddy for another trail run on the hills on North Lyneham ridge - only 8km this time but Teddy is no longer a lovely clean dog after rolling happily on his back on the dusty trails! Later Mr B and I went for a little drive out to the country for a delightful lunch in the sunshine. I really am enjoying this pleasant Autumn weather.
In the past couple of weeks I have been following a program called "plankaday". This starts with anything from Level 1 (15seconds) to Level 4 (60seconds) and progresses by 15seconds per plank each week. In Week 1 Monday I started at Level 4 and did one plank of 60secs. On Tuesday this increased to 2 x 60secs, Wednesday was 3 x 60secs, Thursday 4 x 60secs then Friday reduced to 3 x 60secs, Saturday 2 x 60secs and Sunday back to 1 x 60secs. In Week 2 the same program except the time was increased by 15secs to 75seconds per plank. 
Tomorrow I start Week 3 which is 90seconds per plank (1minute 30seconds). I imagine by Day 4 (Thursday) that will feel quite tough. The break in between each plank can be anything up to 5 minutes although so far the most rest between has been 1 minute. We shall see. One thing is certain though; it is helping me feel my abs!