Long, long, and long

Once again, it has been a LONG time between posts.

In preparation for my first and last half marathon, I’ve been doing some LONG runs.

I made it to Eucla on my virtual journey around Australia so I’m heading for Broome – the LONG way. 4,282km. That will take me a while. 38.4km down, 4,243.6km to go. My family (parents, husband, sister, brother-in-law) is tentatively planning a trip from Darwin to Broome for next year. I wonder if I’ll make it there virtually or in person first.

Broome - the long way around

Since my last post, I have been interstate and visited Hobart parkrun. This was a friendly little group of just under 50 runners. My friend and travelling buddy is currently injured and not allowed to run. We wore jeans so we wouldn’t be tempted to run. We did a fast walk and because of the small number of participants I was second in my age group (!) with a time of 49:50. And I met some lovely ladies who I’d only met online through a facebook group called five30runners. It started as a group for people of all ages and ability with a common goal of running 5km in 30 minutes but it has basically turned into a free-for-fall for any interested runners (in a good way).

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If you are interested in viewing more photos from my Hobart trip, you can check them out here. One of my favourites is this one from when we recreated a photo taken back in 1986 (oh so LONG ago).

recreation

I’ve also reached, and now passed, a couple of milestones in my running training.

Taken when we did a 14km run – our longest to date at the time.

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I did a 16km run after that, but I did it on my own and wore a different shirt to normal and ended up with bad chafing (another milestone – I’ve never had chafing problems before). I had to buy a long-sleeved running top to wear for the last few weeks because I couldn’t put my arms down against my body the skin was so raw. It’s been interesting – since I run in a singlet even in temperatures barely above freezing so I don’t overheat. Today I ran in my normal singlet again and no chafing so I’m good to go for next weekend’s half marathon.

Most people I’ve spoken to or read about have said that you only need to run up to 17 or 18km in preparation for a half marathon (21.1km). Because my mental game hasn’t caught up with my body yet, I wanted to know for sure that I could run the distance within the cut off time. So, after discussing it with my coach, the 20km run on my plan last week turned into a “20km if you’re doing it tough, and 22km if you are feeling good”.

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So much “stuff” needed just to go for a little 20+ km run.

I did 21.2km. That 19th kilometre was the hardest of all and I didn’t want to stop after that kilometre or I might not have run again. Ever. Besides, from the 20km mark I could tell myself “only another 8 or 9 minutes and you can stop. The last kilometre was much better than the second last. And I had a little bit of time up my sleeve for the cutoff to allow for unexpected toilet breaks. I ran with my friend up to 17km then she headed back to the car to finish off her scheduled 18km run while I kept going to clock up my extra kilometres while she patiently waited.

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All smiles after we’d finished!

A couple of days later I had a short run to do. I’m not sure exactly when a 30min run became a short run to me, but it did. It was such a relief that my legs still worked!

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One of those “I’m feeling silly so let’s take a silly selfie” moments.

Today I had my last long run before the race next weekend. I was on my own again so no photos but I didn’t follow my plan. I was supposed to do 8km at my “race pace” then 4km easy to finish off. I have no idea what my race pace should be since I’ve been running so slowly recently so I ignored my coach’s plan and decided to just run and see what happened (for the record, I don’t recommend this approach). What happened, was a PB for the first 5km (32:26 – previous PB 32:28 in December last year), then a PB at the 10km mark (1:09:00 – previous PB 1:14:02 two weeks ago), and a full 12km at a sub 7:00 pace for the first time in a very LONG time.

I am heading into the half marathon with no concrete expectations. My goals are to finish, within cutoff, without needing medical assistance. I have taken some annual leave from work so I don’t have to travel back until the second day after the race which will be much nicer than driving home the same day which I usually do. I’ll have a WHOLE day off to recover.

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