Tag Archives: Parkrun

Time for an update 

My “year of no” is going so fast! I realised at work the other day that I only have three more fortnightly payrolls to process before the end of financial year. Again. Already. Wasn’t it Christmas last week?

With all the public holidays around Easter and Anzac Day, we took 5 days of annual leave and had a relaxing time visiting my parents at the coast for 12 beautiful days. Time for some long runs and rides without having to stress about getting to work on time. And a casual ride with Dad one afternoon.

I volunteered at their local parkrun as tailrunner on Easter weekend. It was also my birthday and some friends from Tamworth travelled over primarily to check out a new parkrun and to run with me on my birthday. It was really special.

Before that though, in early April, I had a medical appointment in Newcastle on a Monday morning so we decided to go down for the weekend so I could notch up another tourist parkrun. I went to Stockton parkrun and managed another sub 30:00 min 5km. The only one I’ve achieved since my previous post. It’s yet another beautiful, waterside location. I now have 24 different parkrun locations under my belt. Considering there are only three (including home) within a two hour drive radius of home I think that’s pretty good.

While chatting to people after parkrun, the Hill to Harbour 10km run was mentioned. It was being held the following day. I had nothing planned so I signed up! Since when did I become someone who could decide to do a 10km race the day before? It started with a long run uphill before dipping down to the harbour and finishing with a lengthy flat run. (And a 10km PB!)

At the end of April I did my first 100km bike ride on a supported ride (vehicles with warning signs). It was a long day in the saddle. I’d had several friends trying to convince me to give it a crack. I resisted a long time but eventually bowed to peer pressure and am rather pleased to have achieved it. This was at the 80km rest break.

A few of us have signed up for the Coffs Harbour version of this same ride in July (part of Cycling NSW’s #five100 series). Road trip! We have a chauffeur organised (husband of a friend) and bike racks consolidated.

Speaking of road trips, the same group of us are heading to Port Stephens Triathlon Festival this weekend. We had all signed up for the Sprint distance (750m swim/20km ride/5km run). Until yesterday when I changed my registration to the standard distance (double the sprint).

One reason was because the organisers offered free entry into a “Superhero” wave in the enticer event with any other race entry. We all signed up for that too and bought matching costumes (to wear over our trisuits). When the race schedule was released we realised we are all too slow to finish the sprint before the superhero race starts. Especially with our waves starting later. By changing to the standard race I will have time to do the superhero race with another friend from Sydney who bought a costume to match ours.

We deliberately chose one without a cape (don’t need any extra hindrances in the water) and we probably won’t bother with the mask.

Another reason for changing was the start times. The sprint starts at 1pm! The standard at 8am so I should hopefully be finished by 12pm. No afternoon running required.

The third reason for changing is that I need to get an idea of how fast I ride in a race these days over a longer distance. Because I also signed up for the LCW Jervis Bay. It’s a kind of choose your own adventure race. The swim is on the Friday, ride Saturday and run Sunday. There are a range of distances for each leg so you can do a short swim/long ride/medium run combination, or no swim or just a fun run. Whatever you like! I signed up for the full ironman distances – GULP! 3.8km swim. 180km bike ride. 42.2km run. My first marathon will be the day after a 180km hilly bike ride. My coach has her work cut out for her! My biggest concern is that I don’t currently ride fast enough to meet the 8 hour cutoff even if I don’t take any loo breaks. I haven’t mastered eating on the bike yet either. I don’t know how the ironman competitors do it. At least I know that I can have a good meal and sleep after the bike. I don’t have to run straight away.

I figured that with this being my year of “no”, now is when I’m most likely to have time to train for these bigger distances at my pace.

The medals layer over each other. One for each leg you do. And there’s a special 4th medal for everyone who completes the three longest distances. The bling might have been the deciding factor.  It will be similar to this one.

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(Above picture sourced from LCW Jervis Bay’s facebook page)

I’ve been astounded by the impact my mental freshness  (due to lack of commitments and deadlines) has had on my ability to focus on my training! And my nutrition but I think that’s enough for today.

What’s your biggest goal or achievement this year?

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I can’t remember exactly when I started a C25K program for the first time. It was most likely about seven years ago. After multiple attempts, I eventually made it to the end and have kept going from there.

Fast forward to today. I finally cracked the 30 minute barrier for a 5km run at my local parkrun. It’s been a long time coming.

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There have been moments of insane jealousy when friends reached this milestone sooner. I know I should have simply been happy for them but the truth is I wasn’t. Not 100% anyway.

The support of the parkrun and triathlon communities is incredible. I would like to send a huge thank you into the universe for every post like, strava kudos, high five and comment, whether in person or online.

And if you are currently where I was, feeling jealous, wanting to “unfriend” people on facebook so you don’t have to see their fast run posts, please tick with it. You’re not alone!

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I am over the moon. This run topped off a pretty awesome couple of weeks for me. I did sneak in a small 30 second walk at 4.3km when I was debating whether I really wanted the sub-30 enough to keep pushing. I gave myself a stern talking to, reminding myself it was only another 5-6 minutes to the finish. Not another 2 hours like last week… so off I trotted.

And yet, I ended up with the least flattering parkrun photo I think I’ve ever had.

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I’m not sure if this was the eye-roll at the photographer for waiting at the top of a small incline, or wondering if I really wanted to keep going. This was just before my walk break.

Usually I manage to smile or wave or at least look like I’m enjoying myself. I always enjoy parkrun. It’s so friendly and encouraging. I see it as more of a social activity rather than part of my training.

parkrun milestones

Three years after my first parkrun, I finally cracked the 50% age grading today! I shaved more than a minute off my PB on this course (set last May!) and was almost 2 and 1/2 minutes faster than my best time this year. Such a great start to the weekend. One of the most positive, friendly and encouraging community events I’ve ever been part of.

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Find a parkrun near you and check it out! Despite the name, you don’t have to run – walkers are also accepted and welcomed! And it’s free. All it will cost you is a bit of time and effort to register and print a personalised barcode. After that, all you do is turn up to any parkrun IN THE WORLD with that same barcode for a free, timed, 5km run/walk. Just remember to check local start times as it does vary from one event to another.

068 - 4th March 2017 - Tamworth parkrun 38, New PB Sub 31 50 age grade

I mistimed my wave at the photographer and I think I might have been trying to talk to her as well. Approximately 3.5km into today’s parkrun.

This run was my last “effort” run before the half marathon next weekend. The other runs this week have been a bit tough. They were short but my legs were feeling a bit heavy. I was quite surprised by the result today. I had done a 1km ‘warm up’ before driving to parkrun and that was very slow. I don’t usually do a warm up run so there might be something to that…

The week before last though when I ran my 30 minute 5km also included a 200m swim PB, a local club tri PB and my long run on the Sunday resulted in an unofficial 3 minute half marathon PB as well. I say unofficial because it wasn’t in a race but it’s on my garmin and strava so maybe that’s official after all.

I feel much better prepared going into this race than I did the last one (which wouldn’t really be hard). I am not-so-secretly hoping to crack the 2 hour 30 minute mark for the race. This was my goal for the Gold Coast Half Marathon in 2015 but I haven’t made it yet. I ran 2:35 last weekend on my own so I’m quietly confident that if the weather plays nicely, the race atmosphere will help me get there. (I also won’t have done a triathlon 12 hours before starting the race…) The course is a 3 lap out and back type and I know quite a few people who will be there so it will be nice to see friendly faces. It’ll be like parkrun on a huge scale. And 4 and a bit times as long.

On a completely different note, I also ventured onto the new volcano route in Zwift. The designers for this cycling “game” are so creative. Who would think of riding through a volcano? They’ve released another route up the volcano in the last couple of days which I haven’t tried yet.

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The low wattage outputs (top left) are when I was too busy trying to get
nice screenshots to bother pedalling.

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).

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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

Indoor Cycling

I’ve finally started doing more cycling. From the comfort of my own lounge room. In summary, it’s an online “game” called Zwift which uses the data from your own bike trainer and sensors to move an animated you around an island called Watopia. People from all over the world log in whenever. Or you can prearrange a time to meet friends for a group ride. It costs $10 USD per month but if it means I’m riding my bike, then it’s worth it.

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Let’s face it – where else will I ever get to wear a green sprinter’s jersey??? (Either I’m Lightning McQueen over a 400m distance, or there aren’t many females using Zwift yet at the times that I’ve been online.)

These are some of the reasons I enjoy using Zwift.

  • It’s easy to get caught up in the “race” to not let the person behind catch you (and you don’t have to look over your shoulder to see them), or to catch the person in front of you, or see how long you can draft off someone.
  • I work harder in this game than I do on the road. I think it’s because I don’t have to worry about traffic, potholes, magpies etc. Or being stranded too far from home if I absolutely run out of puff. I can give it all I’ve got.
  • I also work harder in Zwift than I do just cycling on my trainer because if I stop pedalling or slow down, the animated character on screen unclips or sips her drink. It’s a visual reminder that I’ve lost focus whereas on the trainer I find I just drift off and then realise I’ve stopped pedalling and have no idea how long I’ve been off with the fairies.
  • King/Queen of the mountain, green jerseys, yellow jerseys, this game has it all – instant updates and comparisons of PBs on some segments (don’t have to wait for strava upload 🙂 )
  • Group rides are great – it’s not often I get to feel like I can keep up with everyone else. It does wonders for the self esteem. I don’t have to know whether they’re slacking off, I can imagine that they’re sweating and panting as much as I am!
  • The graphics are great, the concept is even better. Seeing where the many different riders online are from (country) and seeing messages flying in French or Spanish makes you feel like  you’re part of something so much bigger than just my lounge room.
  • No cars
  • No helmets
  • No crashes (and even if someone cuts you off you just go through them like a hologram)
  • Fast looking bikes and snazzy cycling clothing
  • Cycling with dolphins, sting rays, whales – where else can you cycle under the ocean?
  • Estimated calories burned are counted as a number of pizza slices!
  • It’s the best excuse for playing computer games and not feeling guilty.
  • It makes me feel like a real cyclist.

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In an hour online it’ll go from day to night with beautiful sunrises, long shadows and spectacular scenery.

My coach told me that getting my cycling done will also help my running. She might be onto something there.

In my previous post (late February), I wrote that “I haven’t run a 30min 5km yet and don’t seem to be getting any closer but my training has been rather erratic.”

I realised today that I haven’t skipped a session on my training program since 3rd March! That’s a whole month with all planned training completed. If only I was that dedicated to my food intake.

Recently, 1km intervals were added to my program – to be done weekly. 6 x 1km run at effort (preferably sub 6:00 pace) with a 2 minute complete rest/stop between each one.

The first time I attempted this, I managed sub 6:00 for one of the six only (5:51 – a new PB). The second time, I had two under 6 minutes. Last weekend had a huge training load due to the public holidays and being able to get some longer sets in. I managed a 10km run/walk (planned 8 minute run/1 minute walk repeated for the whole distance) and averaged 7:10 pace even with the walks. I was over the moon with this. I had another 1km interval set two and FOUR of them were under 6 minutes! A 5:59, 5:47 (new 1km PB), 5:57 and 5:58. The other two were 6:34 and 6:19 – not too shabby either. Considering the first two were done in the dark with a headlamp on unfamiliar paths near my parents’ house, I was thrilled.

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I’m so glad daylight saving has finally ended…IMG_20160325_100231

10km with beautiful coastal scenery

 

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That’s me in the light blue being overtaken by a huge pack of cyclists on Zwift. Would completely freak me out in real life but was strangely pretty cool at the time.

On Easter Saturday I was up at 4.30am to drive 1.5 hours to the nearest parkrun which had a 7.00am start! I was also catching up with a friend I hadn’t seen in ages otherwise I probably wouldn’t have bothered.

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Yesterday was another big day – 45 minutes on the bike (which I did on Zwift) then a 10km run. My plan for this was to run the 5km from home to parkrun, then have a few minutes rest during the briefings and continue with the second 5km. The second 5km was much slower than the first because THIS happened quite unexpectedly!

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So, I STILL haven’t run 5km in under 30 minutes but it’s getting closer! This was almost two minutes faster than my previous 5km PB of 32:28 which I ran in December 2014. I hadn’t even gone out with the intention of going hard or getting a PB, I was just running. The last 500m was tough but I’d seen how close I was to a PB so pushed on. Needless to say, there wasn’t much left in the tank for the second 5km so I walked a lot, chatted with other parkrunners and did a leisurely 38 minutes. It doesn’t seem that long ago that 38 minutes would have been a fast 5km for me. It’s odd how our perspective changes over time.

More zwift screenshots – because I can.

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Cycling related architecture

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Spot the whale?

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And the dolphins?

The creators have an incredible imagination. Wonder if they could develop Zwimt for swimming from the comfort of home?

I’m enjoying being on my bike again. (And swimming and running, so that’s got to be good for my triathlon pursuits!)

What’s next? A three-hour intensive swim training session with Effortless Swimming at the end of April, a triathlon in May, a holiday to Broome in June, Sutherland to Surf (11km) in July, Dubbo Stampede in August and the Sydney Running Festival Half Marathon in September (we run over the Sydney Harbour Bridge – I’m reasonably certain I’ll be stopping for a selfie!). So much for my year of spending more time at home. And in amongst all of this, I am determined to shed my excess weight. Imagine how fast I could run if my legs had 5-10 fewer kilograms to cart around!

Is there a gadget or training technique/tool that has reignited your enthusiasm?