Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Canberra Marathon Number 14

After a rather traumatic few days another Canberra Marathon has come and gone. Last Wednesday night our little 12 year old granddaughter was rushed to hospital and diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This was a very scary experience for everybody but she was finally sent home last night after almost a week. Now the tough times will really begin with a steep learning curve of management.
However on Sunday it was time to focus on the marathon although this little princess was on my mind every step of the way.
It was difficult to struggle out of bed at 4am on Sunday to prepare for a 6.25am very chilly start but the conditions were perfect for my 14th Canberra marathon and my 4th one running as a Griffin. The atmosphere was wonderful with positive vibes and excited voices everywhere. Although I had my ipod shuffle attached I think I only had the music turned on for about 10km of the 42.195km run. There were runners to chat to and spectators, supporters and volunteers to keep me motivated. In fact I really enjoyed my morning.
This marathon course is challenging to say the least. It is much hillier than the previous course but incorporates lots of lovely Canberra icons and there were even hot air balloons floating overhead at one point. Griffin Thommo, who had already run in the Anzac Ultra during the week, was running with his first time marathoner brother and kept stopping to take photos on the way and kept me entertained.  I was well ahead of the 4:30 pacer for two thirds of the way and then somehow both the pacers crept past me and I realised my finishing goal time was slipping away. For the last 10km my left hamstring was very painful and it probably slowed me down somewhat but I was so happy to have Mr B and Richard out there on their bikes supporting me and appearing at different spots just when I needed encouragement. As I approached Yarralumla speedygeoff appeared and ran with me for several kilometres and Ewen was there running ahead and taking photos too. Just as I headed towards Weston Park there was Jen with all her children cheering me on! It was so exciting having friends popping up all over the place.
I have to say that the volunteers did an amazing job and everything went smoothly. Thank you to Margaret, Gwen and Ron who were helping at Black Mountain peninsular and Kathy at about the 27km mark.  The course may be undulating and challenging but it is also pretty and interesting. In the last few kilometres I was delighted to see Janene encouraging me in to the finish and giving me a little spurt of energy to get me over the line, sore, tired and very happy. It was a good day. The sun appeared through the clouds after the run had finished - such good timing.
Later I indulged in the best post marathon breakfast ever and a relaxing radox bubble bath - bliss!
The official results say that I came 5th in my W60-69 age group out of 17 in a time of 4:36:14 which is, I believe, my slowest Canberra Marathon time yet but all that really matters is that I finished and I'm still smiling! Thank you to all my wonderful friends for your support and most especially to my greatest supporter of all, the very patient Mr B.


Sunday, April 05, 2015

Back to Jogalong on Easter Sunday

With only a week to go until the Canberra Marathon I am now in taper mode. However, this morning, on Easter Sunday and with no more daylight saving, I had a text from friend Margaret suggesting we run the jogalong at Weston Park today. I haven't done this run for several years. It's a women's and girls' handicapped 6km run held on the first Sunday of each month and it was such fun to meet up with lots of running buddies, some of whom have been running this event for many, many years. Way back in the 90's I ran over 50 of these runs and even had a t-shirt to prove it but somehow other events got in the way, the course moved location several times and I just never returned. I had forgotten what a great well-organised run this is and will return to do it again, possibly next month.
I ran off from the same handicap as Margaret, Group 27 and interestingly finished in 27th place in a time of 35minutes 49seconds. In 2003 I ran the 6km in 31minutes on a different course and probably a more difficult one. I realise 12 years later I have slowed down considerably!
Since my last post I have also run the Weston Creek Half Marathon and managed to better my last year's time by 2 minutes. My time was still a slow 2hours 9 minutes but I felt comfortable and happy for the majority of the run although my left hamstring still twinged at times as it did again today. I just hope I can get through the marathon without mishap!
My last long run was the week after the half and track season has now finished too. This Easter weekend has been full of lovely family activities and tomorrow Mr B and I are taking two of our grandchildren to the folk festival held annually over Easter in Canberra. This is somewhere else we haven't been for many years. Nothing like a few different activities to keep life interesting!

Now for countdown - seven more sleeps! It never gets easier!

 Our 8 year old grandson running a PB at Parkrun with his dad

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Starting the week the right way!

Monday I tried a new class at the gym so that I could join Miranda. It was a crossworks/balance class. The first half concentrated on abs and upper body strength using fitness bands. The second half was a speeded up body balance class. There was some difficult stretching and twisting involved in the first half of the class and I think I may have pulled something so I may give this class a miss until after the marathon. I have managed to book a few remedial massages over the next few weeks starting tomorrow. I am a bit sore in places! I could be more sore after the massage!
I made it to the early speedygeese warm up run with Miranda and speedygeoff before the main session where there was another good turnout. Jen had run the 45km Six Foot Track in the weekend and needed to recover so she took photos from the side which worked out well. We were divided initially into teams of three and had zigzag relays down the grassy bank and up the straights. In the first half we ran down the diagonals where we were tagged by our team member then ran as fast as we could up the straights. While waiting to be tagged we jogged across the short ends of the oval shaped bank. For the second half of our session we were divided into teams of two (I stayed with Susan) and we had an extra length to run which meant we ran fast down the diagonals and up the straights before we were tagged.  It's always a fun session and this was no exception. After our cool down most of us headed for dinner at the yacht club - a lovely social evening.
Total distance: 10km
Miranda, speedygeoff and strewth heading back to Parliament House

Tagging Susan as I run up the straight.
This morning I ran down to Lake Ginninderra and around it and back the same way to make a total of 15km - a good way to start the day before my afternoon shift at work.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Only Four Weeks to Marathon Day!

Last week I ran my long run (34km) on Friday and we headed for Sydney straight afterwards. Marg joined me for 17km of my run which was great as it broke it up a bit and it's always lovely to have company. I ran from home to Gungahlin and Marg and I ran round Yerrabi Pond (where the Gungahlin Parkrun is held) and round the Crace loop (another newish suburb in Gungahlin). Then I ran home adding a little extra loop on the way.
Home, shower and then off to Sydney for The Eagles concert at Homebush. It was amazing. They sang all the old songs and we loved every minute of it. We stayed with our daughter and her husband in Waterloo for a couple of nights and managed a 9km run next morning including Centennial Park. On the Saturday evening we all went to the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. It was loads of fun.
My total distance for the week was 84km.
This week I stuck to my program much more rigidly. It's my last really hard week as next weekend I have a half marathon event to run which means my long run is shorter.
As Monday was Canberra Day and a public holiday here our speedygeese session was held in a different venue at Yarralumla. I arrived at 4.30pm as did Miranda, speedygeoff and Dan which meant we were able to do a warm up of 6km before the main session. We used the oval for our main session which, after our warmup run, was a session of 40secs sprints on 2 mins with a jog between for a a total of 20minutes. We finished with a cool down run and had a bit of fun throwing a Frisbee around before jogging back to our cars.
On Tuesday I headed for Bruce Ridge where I ran hill fartleks of 2 x 60secs/60 float, 4 x 30/30, 2 x 60/60, 4 x 30/30 and 2 x 60/60. I then crossed the road to O'Connor Ridge where I managed to get a bit lost and had to ask directions to lead me back to the cycle track and run home again completing 17km before my afternoon work shift.
On Wednesday it was still dark when I headed out for my 13k run and I needed a headlight as I had to fit the run in before a full day at work.
Thursday it was back to the track where I took part in the 3000m fitness walk and the 3000m run with some jogging inbetween events to make up my distance of 9km altogether. I also did a Body Balance class with Miranda at another branch of my gym. It was a much bigger and more modern area than my usual gym and I really enjoyed it.
On Saturday I ran my long run leaving home before 6.30am, when it was just starting to get light, I ran to Lake Burley Griffin and on reaching the lake the first person I saw was Roger who is training for the Paris Marathon. It was a morning of seeing everyone. Next was Maria who is also training for Paris and she had Peter cycling beside her. Next sighting was Liz  running with a cyclist friend nearby. I also spotted Bob on his bike a couple of times. I ran West Basin including the extra Weston Park loop which is very pretty. Being early the hot air balloons were hovering overhead in the early sunrise. It was a beautiful sight. As I left the lake and headed home again it was a nice surprise to find that Mr B had cycled down on his mountain bike to meet me and ride the last 7km home where he suggested I run another 600m to round up my distance. I thought it was only me that did that. Anyway I ended up running 36km but I wasn't exactly fast. I must admit though that I didn't feel too sore and although I have been a bit tired and very hungry all weekend I feel more positive about the forthcoming marathon. It may be a slow one but I have more confidence in finishing it at least.
This morning (Sunday) was another early start as Mr B was competing in the ACT Triathlon Championships Olympic distance which is now known as the standard distance triathlon. It was a very cool morning and the wind picked up making the water choppy. CJ was also competing and Ewen joined me to cheer them on. We managed to squeeze in a 9km run while they were out on the bike leg. It was fun as we had a good view of the cyclists when we ran offroad beside them.
They both did well in not ideal conditions. It was an inspiring event altogether.
Total distance for week: 96.5km (I should have run that extra 500m if I had only realised)!
Bruce Ridge - kangaroo in distance

Clovelly Beach
Balloons over Lake Burley Griffin

Mardi Gras Parade Sydney

Mardi Gras Parade

Mardi Gras Parade

Telstra Tower in the distance on my long run

A competitor checking out swim start at triathlon

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Women's and Girls' Fun Run

On Thursday night I met up with Marg some time before the track events were due to start and we went for a 5km warm up run on O'Connor Ridge behind the AIS. It would have been pleasant just to continue running there but we had to return to take part in a few events. Somehow I was roped into running in the mile run (something I don't normally do) and immediately after it finished I lined up for the 2000m fitness walk. To finish the evening I ran the 3000m run. It was a combined meet with the ACT Athletics club which included some very young, extremely fast competitors - a little intimidating to be lapped several times but quite exciting too knowing the potential of some of these bright young runners setting incredible PBs.
As this was my pull-back week I only ran a total of 20km for my Saturday long run this week and included the local Parkrun after the first 7km warm up. I ran my slowest time ever and after running another 3km with the lovely company of friend Bron, I ran the remaining 5km home feeling just a tad sore and disappointed in myself. My left foot has been troubling me for a while indicating plantar fasciitis which concerns me somewhat with only six weeks until the marathon.
Today (Sunday) I ran in the annual Women's and Girls' Fun Run in support of a cure for ovarian cancer. There were 762 finishers. It was a rather strange day weather wise. At times it was really hot but when the sun went behind the clouds it was quite pleasant. Fortunately for the majority of the run the conditions were perfect. I finished in a time of 28:13 and was 7th in my age group out of 40 finishers. Not great but a few seconds faster than when I last ran this event in 2013 and I felt a whole lot better today than I did yesterday.
Ewen and I on duty at the February ACT Veteran's Monthly Handicap


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February Fun

Considerable time has passed and a lot of kilometres have been run since I last posted at the start of February!
In the first weekend of February I took part in the Sprint Marathon Relay. This is held annually and organised by one of our amazing vets, Jim. It is always good fun and this year was no exception. We were put into 9 teams of 6 runners and each runner had to run from one spot to the next (either 1 or 2km usually) passing the baton to the next person in their team. There is quite a gap between runners where one can go for a jog while waiting or socialise with all the other team members waiting for their respective runners and cheering everyone on. It was great weather for the event if a little hot but we were lucky with lots of shady trees. The lake track was very busy with cyclists and other runners but fortunately there were no collisions!
Ewen was the official photographer and he did a great job!

The following Friday (13th) Mr B and I drove through to Melbourne as he was competing in the Australian Triathlon Champs there on Sunday. We had a pleasant trip and stayed in a basic but adequate apartment in St Kilda about 4km from the start. For the first nine years of my life I lived in a little suburb called St Kilda in Dunedin in the South Island of New Zealand. It too is a coastal town but very different from St Kilda in Melbourne! I remember trolley buses in the St Kilda where I was a child but in St Kilda, Melbourne there are trams and tramlines everywhere making transportation very easy and convenient.  (As a point of interest there is no actual Saint Kilda. The name  is purported to originate from a corruption of the Old Norse name for the spring on Hirta, Childa in Scotland).
I digress! On the Saturday morning I rose very early after checking out a route the day before, and ran along a track mainly beside the ocean in one direction and then changing direction for a total of 33km. When I stepped out the door in the very early hours of the morning the rain was falling very heavily. On the Friday evening there had been lightning and thunder and heavy driving rain as we walked to a local restaurant for dinner but at least the storm had subsided by Saturday and instead it was just steady rain although I had to battle a head wind. The rain subsided for about an hour in the middle of the run but returned to just a light drizzle for the remainder of the run which was actually quite a pleasant cooling relief.
On Sunday morning I ran to the start of the triathlon while Mr B cycled. It was only 4km so I continued on for another 4km while Mr B racked his bike and was numbered up. It was such a different day weather-wise to the day before. The sun shone and the weather was warm. The ocean only had a slight ripple and basically the conditions were almost perfect for a sprint distance triathlon. Mr B had a good race, no podium finish but a good experience and certainly it appears he has enough points to make him eligible for the world triathlon championships in Chicago later in the year.

Since returning from Melbourne on Tuesday last week we have experienced some very hot weather in Canberra. Running has continued, with a middle distance run last Wednesday of 20km, track races and a very long run of 34km on Saturday which proved to be rather a disaster. I was really struggling with the humidity even though I had left home by 6.30am. I really do not want to feel like that on marathon day!

Sunday was the Vets Handicap but as I was on roster I only ran a short 6km run with Ewen before the event so as not to miss out entirely and to keep my legs moving.

Speedygeese on Monday at Parliament House was hot. As I pulled up in the carpark the temperature read 31deg. After our warm up we had a really tough session of 400m intervals including a nasty hill towards the finish. There were 20 of us which was a great turnout but oh boy it was hard and hot! And then at about 10.30pm that night it rained. As soon as I heard it pelting down I ran outside just to stand in the cool air and smell the rain - oh so lovely! Pity it was so short lived.

This is my easy week in theory and today's run was only 13km. Before I met Marg for the last half of the run I incorporated some fartlek sprints of 2 x 60sec with 60sec float and 2 x 30sec with 30sec floats twice. Marg and I ran round Crace and later enjoyed a lovely coffee. And just after I hung out the washing it started to rain! It lasted all of ten minutes after which I took Teddy for a lovely walk on the trails at the back of our suburb.

Sprint marathon relay

A birthday treat for Marg's birthday this month


Melbourne Art Gallery

St Kilda Beach run

Mr B at the start of the sprint triathlon in St Kilda

Sunset in St Kilda



Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Speedygeese and some cross training

On Monday I arrived at speedygeese about 25mins before the start to find speedycathy stretching in the carpark. I encouraged her to go for a gentle warm up run with me before the main session and we managed 3.4km before heading back to meet all the speedygeese waiting to start. We ran a warm up loop and then headed for the rose garden. Our main session was 10 x 400m loops with 200m fast on the straight, jogging back to the start for a very short rest before the whistle each time. The speedier geese ran on 2:30 and the rest of us ran on 3mins. We finished with a cool down jog.
Total distance including early warm up: 11km
speedygeese on a cool down on a hill training run recently (photo by Ewen)
Today (Tuesday) is my cross training day. This morning, before work, I swam 1km at the pool and when I arrived home after work it was such a beautiful evening that Mr B and I went for a cycle from home and round the lake. Now I haven't been on my bike for well over 12 months so I even had to relearn the gears. I definitely felt like I was doing a work out and enjoyed the challenge.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Centenary Trail Stage 3

I had such a lovely day today. It started with a very pleasant, tough but enjoyable run and walk on the third stage of the Canberra Centenary Trail with Margaret. We met at Hall Village, left my car there and drove Marg's car to Mulligans Flat carpark from where we started our run. We ran to the official start point of the third stage start of the Centenary Trail located at the Northern Border Campsite which is a few kilometres off-road from Forde. The conditions were perfect - overcast, cool and wind free. It was rougher and hillier than we expected and took us a few hours to complete just over 20km. Along the way we saw lots of mountain bike riders and curious kangaroos. It was such a pretty course. We incorporated a climb up to One Tree Hill and the view was glorious. From there it was all downhill back to Hall Village. After a quick freshen up we crossed the road to the monthly Hall Markets and enjoyed gozleme and a coffee before checking out the markets.
In the afternoon Mr B and I had fun celebrating a friend's 60th and catching up with lots of friends we hadn't seen for ages. I have also started February's challenge - an alcohol free month!

Margaret climbing the last of the 191 steps to One Tree Hill

Attempting a selfie!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

ACT Veteran's Athletics Handicap and other events

On Sunday the first monthly handicap of the  year was held at Campbell Park. It was a new out and back.course this year.  It was a bit rough in parts but there were only a couple of tough hills and it wasn't too bad although it was rather hot and muggy. I had been re-handicapped several groups due to winning a silver medal at the last handicap of the year in November which meant that from Group 23 I had little chance of placing in the top half. In fact I came in at 76th which was a pretty poor effort. I didn't walk at all but I guess my pace was pretty slow, probably due to tired legs perhaps after yesterday's very long 34km run. The longer run for the handicap was only 6km so was over fairly quickly!
It was fun catching up with everyone and a group of us enjoyed great coffee afterwards in Ainslie.
This brought my total distance for the week to 81km.

Campbell Park Handicap - that's me at the back!

There are less than 11 weeks to go until the Canberra Marathon and this week is my easy week.
On Tuesday I took Teddy with me on a gentle 10km run from home. The temperatures this week are much cooler than we have been experiencing lately. Running is much more pleasant!

Wednesday I managed a slightly faster pace for a 12km mid week run. It feels a bit strange not running further for my middle distance run but I'm sticking to the shorter distances this week to freshen the legs.

On Thursday I entered the 1500m fitness walk at track and the 10,000m run championships. I needed some distance but wondered if I should perhaps have just stuck to the 3,000m at the beginning of the evening. However, my late arrival time made my decision for me and 10,000m it had to be, a bit of a last minute decision!  Ewen lap scored for me and I finished in 57:20 managing to come in ahead of three others. It's always debatable when I start as to whether I will come in last so that was a relief! I wore my newest Hoka Cliftons making a spur of the moment decision to ring Mr B to bring them to me and changing out of my track shoes. I'm not sure if they helped or hindered but I did have a sore foot and thought perhaps it was better not to feel the ground too much. There was a nasty head wind on one side of the track which may have slowed me a little. As I started my last 400m I made Bryan my target. He was just ahead of me and as I came into the final strait we were neck and neck and I put on a sprint. What I didn't realise was that he had another lap to go but at least he made me push myself at the end! Because it was a championship event and I was the only female in my age group I scored a gold medal! Woo hoo!

On Friday I just went to a Body Balance class at the gym and took Teddy for his daily walk which I made a bit longer than usual, but no running was involved. Instead Mr B and I went to see Still Alice at the movies in the afternoon - a moving and thought provoking experience.

This morning (Saturday) Dave and I decided to join Margaret at the Gungahlin Parkrun instead of our local one. After only a 1km warm up my legs felt stiff and sore. However they loosened up a bit during the run and in fact I managed a 35sec PB for that particular course finishing in 28:02. I still can't beat my PB from Ginninderra but one day perhaps! The conditions were ideal this morning - cool, crisp and not windy. Later Marg, Mr B and I headed for the local Italian cafĂ© and enjoyed great coffee, food and the excellent company of  Julia, Janene and Gregg, a very pleasant interlude indeed.

Mr B at Parkrun
Parkrunners at Gungahlin

Marg racing to the finish while very speedy Janene does her cool down!