I passed!

I passed the first test. I was asked to participate in a new women’s group that is starting up. Something I am actually interested in and ordinarily would have said yes. But I said no! I wished them well and said I hope it is still going next year so I can join in then.

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It was my first day back at work today after 3 weeks off. The office was closed that whole time so I had a crazy day working through a backlog of emails and phone messages.

However, I came home, hopped onto Zwift for 30 minutes, had some dinner, and found myself with an entire evening looming ahead with absolutely no obligations, deadlines, must-dos or should-dos.

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The Zwift mountains reminded me of the rides around Jindabyne just two weeks ago. Except I was on the wrong side of the road today!

This feeling of “free time” is WONDERFUL! I’ve known for a long time that something had to give. I’m so glad I finally made it happen and I am excited for what 2017 will bring.

That is all.

Smile

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2017 Jindy Training Camp

I survived the training camp at Jindabyne. What a relief. 

Highlights:

Climbing to the top of Mt Kosciuszko

Completing my longest bike ride to date. There were some rests in this time.

Riding from Little Thredbo to Thredbo and back. I walked up 3 or 4 hills.

Where to for 2017?

Half marathons in March and September

Sprint triathlons in May and October
How will I do it? Careful planning, time management and no excuses. 

Over the past two years I have been deliberately removing possible excuses from my life.

I replaced my shoe laces with elastic laces so I have no reason to stop and check/tie laces when running.

We have downsized our home from 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 2 acres of grass to a small 2 bedroom flat in a duplex (less cleaning, less tidying, fewer belongings). 

I am no longer on any committees.

I have no regular commitments other than work. I don’t usually make new year resolutions but this year I am determined to avoid being too busy to do grocery shopping and cooking. If asked to do anything requiring regular attendance, whether 2 weeks or 6 months, my answer will be no. Just for 12 months. 

My theory is that this will mean fewer late night deadlines which in turn will hopefully result in fewer skipped morning training sessions. More consistent training, better eating and time to reconnect with family and friends at short notice.

It will be hard, I’m sure. I thought I would have time to commit to posting regularly on this blog but that’s another commitment. I will probably post more often but I won’t be committing to a regular schedule. 

No excuses left! 

2016, where are you? 

It is hard to believe that it’s already late on 2nd January 2017. 2016 has flown. 

In October I signed up for the Forster Sprint triathlon at the last minute. I still wasn’t feeling great and training was ordinary but this was just for fun. No expectations. 

I was happy to see one of the official photos showing me actually leaning into a corner!

Then at the end of November, I completed my second half marathon (Central Coast). The course was out and back and hugged the coastline of the bay. It was hot though and I am still struggling to get back to where I was with my running. I went into the race with a plan to run 5 minutes then walk 1 minute. Unfortunately, I was stuck near a group running together. I think it was wonderful that they were all out there supporting each other but they were using both sides of the path and I had to sprint to pass them. Then when I got to my walks they would pass me again. I eventually managed to get far enough ahead by skipping a couple of walks but I overdid it. 

Pre-race

My original goal for Sydney was 2:20. My modified would-be-super-happy goal for Central Coast based on training quantity and paces was 2:30 but I wasn’t confident I would even make 2:45. Final time was 2:38 which was more than 10 minutes faster than my first half. So much easier when you don’t injure yourself. There was A LOT of walking in the second half. 

Approx 16km in. One parkrun to go. Photo credit to my very supportive husband.

And there was a medal. And a longest run on my new watch. My longest training run leading into this race was only 12km.

Also in November, my home parkrun won a local council sports development award. Our team was quite stoked. Over 180 different people had volunteered at Tamworth parkrun in the 12 months of the award period. Such a simple yet amazingly effective concept.

In December, I stood down as the Tamworth parkrun event director and did a bit of parkrun tourism. I was hoping to visit my 20th different parkrun by the end of the year. I did my 20th on 31st December.

Mt Penang parkrun, November

Narrabri parkrun, December. This one was special as a friend from Tamworth joined me for a road trip leaving at some ungodly hour to be there and we met up with another friend who was a Narrabri local. It was a very small crowd and I ended up first in age category with a slowish run/walk.

Forster parkrun with my mum, December. This was only their third or fourth week. I’m so excited about it launching because I was travelling 30min to Taree whenever I visited my parents. Usually the morning after driving 3.5 hours to their place. This is a stunning 3 lap coastal course.

Ginninderra parkrun, 31st December. My 60th parkrun, 20th different course and 5th State/Territory (NSW, Qld, Tas, NT, ACT). Also the first single loop parkrun I’ve done. Another pretty location but a bit lonely behind the runners and ahead of the walkers.

Tuggeranong parkrun, 1st January. I look like I’m running alone but I was one of 263 who turned up for the New Year’s Day event. No 1st in age category at this one. And the friend from Narrabri was also there unexpectedly! It was nice to see a familiar face amongst all the other friendly faces.

So what does 2017 hold? Who knows. I considered quitting triathlons and running altogether several times recently but I really do enjoy it, especially the running. Right now, I’m in Jindabyne at a triathlon training camp which I’d booked in July. I didn’t think about the terrain  (winter ski country) at the time. Tomorrow’s ride from Little Thredbo to Thredbo, on the roads no less, is going to be both a mental and physical challenge. I generally avoid hills as much as possible. 

The lake is beautiful though. We did a swim and run today along with some tyre/tube changing practice.

Still hoping for a sub 30 min 5km. I have signed up for the Port Macquarie Running Festival half marathon in March. I have the deferred Sydney Half Marathon to doin Sydney and a few triathlons thrown into the mix. 

I hope you’re all having a great start to the year. All the best for 2017!

Tamworth parkrun turns 2

My home parkrun turned 2 on Saturday. For 104 consecutive Saturdays, volunteers have hosted this free, timed 5km run. The previous two weeks looked like they would need to be cancelled due to imminent flooding but were able to proceed at the last minute.

Our theme for the birthday celebration was to come dressed as something starting with P. Some costumes were a little abstract (person, participant, puppy walker) while others were more obvious (pirates, police, patients, pink panther, Penelope Pitstop). Others wore purple or pink or PJs. Pirate seemed to be the most popular and that was also my choice.

My co-event director was Pikachu. Our photographer was a princess. You can see all the photos here.

These are my favourites.

I was recognised for my 50th parkrun (along with two others). We had a lovely cake too. After a couple of miserable days the sun popped out for us.

Near the turnaround point. I need to learn to time my thumbs ups better to avoid looking like I’m attempting the chicken dance.

Towards the end, I was starting to overheat. I struggle to keep cool even with a visor, let alone with a scarf and eye patch. The patch was see through.

Someone needs to design costumes for runners that are breathable. This nylon/polyester dress was also quite transparent so I wore short tights and an ordinary singlet underneath. H.O.T.

There were about 5 more pirates but they had left by the time the photographer tried to get us all together.

I’m not quite back to 100% yet but still managed to run 33:30. I was grateful to be up and about again. Back into half marathon training this week.

Sydney Running Festival – 9km Bridge Run 

I ended up participating in the 9km Bridge Run race today. I ran with a friend who has also been sick recently. Neither of us were anywhere near our peak or even recent fitness level. We agreed to implement a plan to run 800m then walk 200m for the entire distance. However we also agreed that if either of us needed to walk further or run slower, then we would. This race became all about enjoyment of the scenery and company and simply encouraging each other.

Prerace


On the bridge

At least when I return next year for my deferred half marathon entry I won’t be as tempted to stop for selfies on the bridge. (I need to do something about my hair I think.)

It makes sense now that I think about it but I had always pictured aircraft carriers with a flat deck…

And it’s over. Nice bling. Possibly the prettiest in my collection to date.

Not a fast run but quite enjoyable. I’m grateful to have even been able to move after the lead up I’d had.

Post race 

As you can see, it was overcast and drizzly. Perfect weather for me to run in.

We caught a City Cat ferry (catamaran) home travelling under the bridge again. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of looking at this bridge or the Opera House.

I’ll probably never stop being a tourist either. 


We also managed a mostly-walk at Parramatta parkrun yesterday. 

And since the deferred half marathon is still a year away, I found another one to do as a consolation prize. I will now be running the Central Coast Half Marathon at the end of November. 

Happy running!

parkrun statistics

On Saturday, I completed my 50th parkrun. It took me over 2 1/2 years to reach this milestone. There were a couple of reasons for this:

1. There were no parkruns within 3 hours drive of home until about 5 months after I did my first parkrun

2. I’ve been heavily involved with getting Tamworth parkrun up and going so I have volunteered a lot more than most parkrunners (although not much more often than the rest of my super-supportive event team).

50parkruns

If you haven’t yet discovered parkrun (which begin in the UK but has now spread to 14 countries) you should look it up. It’s a free, weekly, timed 5km run (or walk or combination). Every parkrun I’ve been to has been welcoming and friendly. (Check them out here www.parkrun.com or www.parkrun.com.au.)

I visited Darwin parkrun on a recent holiday and another lady there was visiting from Brisbane but I had met her when she used to live here in Tamworth!

Hot and humid at Darwin parkrun:

047-2 Darwin parkrun

My parkrun statistics:

Number of runs 50
Times volunteered 36 (officially)
parkrun PB 31:20 (28th May 2016)
parkruns visited 15
Armidale (3), Cairns (1), Callaghan (1), Campbelltown (1), Darwin (1), Dubbo (1), Hobart (1), Lake Mac (1), Logan River (1), Maitland (1), Newy (2), Port Macquarie (2), Singleton (1), Tamworth (30), Taree(3)
Next parkrun Parramatta parkrun (17th September)

 

Other news:

– “Life” got too crazy and I withdrew from the 70.3 triathlon I was going to do in October. I could not manage the training load with everything else that was going on at the time. It was a difficult decision but I am confident it was the right one to make.

– After 11 years as a volunteer with the NSW SES, I have recently resigned as a member. Priorities and interests have changed over that time (I discovered triathlon!). I will probably join again sometime in the future when my work busy times don’t compete as heavily with SES peak periods.

– I registered for my second half marathon in February (a rematch after the last attempt when I sustained an injury partway into the race). That was supposed to be this coming weekend and until a few weeks ago I was on track for a goal time of 2:25. However, about 1 1/2 weeks ago I was struck down by an unidentified virus and was pretty much bedridden for about 8 days. Under doctor’s orders (but it was a no-brainer really) I have withdrawn. I was able to defer the entry to next year with no penalty. I was back at work today and will do my first short run tomorrow. If it goes well then I may consider entering the 9km race option instead (since I was a cheapskate and purchased non-refundable tickets and no travel insurance). If it’s all too hard then I will attend as a spectator and cheer on the many friends who are running in various events. My last big training weekend was 3 consecutive days of running with a goal pace of 6:45. I nailed the first two (6km run to parkrun followed by parkrun, then a 7km run the next day) and mostly managed the third (another 7km run).

The first two days:

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At the moment, I am goal-less, race-less and restless. My main focus will be getting back to 100% health (and I’m not prepared to risk my health just to run a race this weekend even if it is over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and finishing at the Opera House). Other than that, I’m still working on that sub-30 minute 5km!

Hope to see you at parkrun somewhere! Tamworth parkrun’s second anniversary celebration is coming up on 24th September with a “p” theme. Stay tuned for this year’s costume. At least this year I should be able to run in my outfit – unlike last year’s sumo suit.

sumo

This is it.

The big one.

After my one and only olympic/standard distance triathlon in March 2015, I decided I would go back to enjoying my sprint distance races. I’m just not fast enough to fit in the amount of training required for longer distance races. Trying to fit in two exercise sessions in one day along with all my other commitments was impossible. I pulled out of everything else I was involved in for a few months leading up to the race so I could get it done.

July 2015 was also my one and only half marathon. I never had any intention to run a half marathon but some of my running buddies had signed up so I figured if I was ever going to do it, I should do it with them. I finished but was forced to walk the second half with what I later found to be an ITB injury. I didn’t meet my (secret) time goal of 2:30.

Fast forward to 2016. I have signed up for a re-match on the half marathon. I’ve chosen a different course (Sydney) for this one. I’ve had my eye on the 9km Bridge Run at the Sydney Running Festival for a few years now. Who wouldn’t want to run over the Sydney Harbour Bridge once in their life? Instead, I registered for the half marathon. I have 13.5 weeks to go. The goals this time are to finish uninjured and hopefully under 2:30.

And, I’ve paid an insane amount of money to enter a half ironman-distance triathlon (but not the ironman brand) four weeks after the half marathon. This will be a 1.9km swim and a 90km bike ride followed by a 21.1km run. My thought pattern went something like:

I know I can swim 1.9km – I did that in October for a team event. I will be “half marathon fit” for the race in September. This race is only 4 weeks later. The “only” thing I need to work on is the bike. I’ve never ridden further than 45km in one go. Ever. Then I just have to put it all together and run a half marathon AFTER the 90km ride.

After a chat with my coach to confirm that it is theoretically do-able, I registered for the Forster Ultimate race.

forster

And what have I done since registering? Not a lot. Lost a small amount of weight over several months. Gained it all back and then some over the last two weeks while on holidays in Broome (lovely place but I had to survive two weekends with no parkrun). Skipped most of my long runs. Skipped most of my strength sessions.

I did clamber down then up this pile of boulders looking for dinosaur footprints (which we found so it was worth it).

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And I took my running gear away on the holiday with me and managed three 5km runs. Part of one was on this stunning stretch of the 22km long Cable Beach.

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I didn’t swim here but I did admire the view. At low tide, you have to walk 1.5km across the mudflats to get to the deeper water. Broome has one of the biggest tide differences in the world! Town Beach, Broome.

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ASIDE: The holiday ticked off three bucket list items for me – Visit Broome, ride a camel, ride in a sea plane. All in all, it was a wonderful trip, especially since we did it with immediate and extended family members.

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View from the seaplane over the Dampier Peninsula where we camped for two nights (near the lighthouse).

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And now back to my triathlon journey…

I had planned to keep my registration a secret until the last minute thinking I would put less pressure on myself. There are less than 10 people who know I registered. It’s at an event where I have done the sprint distance race for the last two years so I could talk about going without mentioning that I’ve registered for the longer distance race. I’m looking down the barrel of a 6 or 7 hour race.

Right now, I’m doubting my ability to push myself for that long. Somewhere in amongst all the other thoughts, I imagined that if I could learn to push myself for longer, then I could transpose this into my shorter distance training and races to push harder in those sessions.

note to self

(from facebook some time ago)

Therefore, I decided to get it out there. Make myself accountable to the cyber-world. This is the biggest athletic goal I have set since I started this journey. For the past few weeks I’ve been thinking it’s too big (what have I done?) but in the last couple of days I’ve caught up on some blog-reading and have been inspired to get my act together. I WILL do this. Besides, it’s a lot of money to throw away if I don’t.

Some of the blogs and instagram posts that have given me a much needed lift this week were:

Annie at Unsporty Women Can Run nailed it (me) when she wrote

Delicate Runner Syndrome (as I call it) frequently stops me from pushing too hard.  I’d rather run slow and for a long way than fast and pop a valve that might stop me from running.  But I take this too far and use it as an excuse to go slow.”

Teresa wrote about the pitfalls of comparing ourselves to others here.

Watching The Weight Drop on instagram posted this

WWD

There were others as well – it’s like I was bombarded with posts to challenge and motivate me. So that’s it. Time to knuckle down, eat healthily and do focussed training. And get to bed earlier (since it’s now 1.20am and I’m supposed to be swimming before work tomorrow).

 

What will I be saying this time next year when I look back at my doubts and fears?

What are you working on/toward at the moment?

Have you recently achieved a goal you set?

 

dontquite

(from facebook some time ago)