Saturday, April 15, 2017

Canberra Marathon Number 16 Done and Dusted!

One week ago I ran my 16th Canberra Marathon. It doesn't get easier as the years go by but I am gradually getting nearer to my ultimate goal of running 20 Canberra Marathons and becoming a Burley Griffin.

Training started seriously from 1 January as it does every year for me, my longest run this time being 37km. A couple of my training weeks were well over 100km and I felt reasonably well prepared in spite of a constantly niggly hamstring.

My alarm was set for just before 4am on marathon day and I woke to the sound of the rain steadily falling. It also felt very cold - not a good omen.  However by the time I arrived at the start line the rain had stopped. It was still cold but that's not a bad thing when running 42.2km  and there was no wind at 6.25am. The first 5km felt tough as there is a slight hill heading to Parliament House which feels like a mountain at the start of a long run without a proper warm-up but after that I found my rhythm and began to feel comfortable.

It is a pretty course running past many of Canberra icons including Old Parliament House, new Parliament House, the High Court, the National Art Gallery, the National Library and beside the pretty Lake Burley Griffin.  For a little while I ran with a girl from interstate and she commented on the beauty of the surroundings. It made me see the sights through a visitor's eyes and I felt very lucky to call Canberra my home.

At about the 10km mark I ran with a lady who last year ran seven marathons in seven days and in June will do it again. She is raising money for Bravehearts, a charity to help abused children. We ran together for about 10km and she was loads of fun calling out our names to spectators and keeping me entertained. It certainly helped the time go by. I lost her when she ran ahead at a water stop but at about 35km I saw her again and surprisingly I ended up finishing about ten minutes ahead of her.

During the entire course my Dave rode his bike and appeared whenever he could calling out encouragement and keeping me smiling. It was also exciting to be joined by speedygeoff  when I had about 7km to go. He ran a few kilometres with me which boosted my spirits considerably.

The spectators and volunteers are what makes a marathon doable. They are the people who keep the competitors going, who really get us to the finish line. I cannot express my gratitude enough.

At about 25km the temperature dropped even more and the rain returned. It was light and refreshing for a few kilometres and then the heavens really opened. The last few kms were difficult especially as the course had been altered a little bit to create an extra loop which also created an extra 550metres to the total distance! I was very happy indeed to reach that finish line in the pouring rain and with a huge relieved smile on my face.

Griffins (those who have run at least ten Canberra Marathons)

Finish time: 4:43:25 (2 minutes slower than last year)
Place in age group: 3rd

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Another Canberra Marathon completed!

It has been twelve months since I last blogged and it is difficult to make that first step back into blogland. It's been a busy, full twelve months with the arrival of two more grandsons and a wonderful trip last winter to Italy and the Greek Islands, running in lots of exotic places. In a few weeks time we are heading for Spain where Mr B will compete in the world duathlon championships at the start of our five week holiday. 

The Canberra Marathon has come and gone again for another year. That makes 15 Canberra marathons successfully completed. I have to say this was probably my toughest marathon and definitely my slowest. I went into it with a very sore leg and at the 5km point I wondered if I would actually complete it but the endorphins kicked in and the competitors, volunteers and spectators kept me going. The weather was perfect and the support as always fabulous. However, I have never been more happy to reach the finish line. It was a very long 42.2km. A week and a half later I am still sore although I have not run, but walked every day with my dog and done cross training such as swimming, body balance and stretching.

I have no doubt that I will endeavour to be back to do it all again next  year.

Postscript: The official results tell me that I came 2nd in my age group out of 11 in a time of 4hours 41minutes which is 5 minutes slower than last year but in a better position! Now to start running again!

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