Tag Archives: Race Report

It’s about time…

It’s about time I came back with my race reports!

Standard distance race report:

Swim = Horrible

Bike = OK

Run = Walk

Enticer superhero race report: Fun, fun, fun.

 

The swim was two laps with a short run (walk) along the beach between each lap. There was a massive swell. Someone said 1.8m. The waves weren’t breaking on us but they were stopping me from swimming. I don’t get much practice with waves or chop in my local 25m indoor pool!

Two things got me through the first lap:

  • Knowing I couldn’t drown in my new super-duper wetsuit, and
  • Knowing that when I got to shore they would tell me it was too rough so they were cancelling the second lap.

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Only they didn’t tell me that. I spent 5 minutes on shore debating whether to attempt the second lap. My garmin had registered 1.1km for the first half of a 1.5km swim. I debated how many water safety peoples’ lives I would be risking by trying to go around again. Even after I waded back in to the point that I had to start swimming, I stopped. I pondered. I debated back and forth. I decided I’d spent a lot of money getting there and entering, and buying a wetsuit so I might as well try to finish.

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I was not in as much of a hurry as the person in the green cap!

This photo is deceptive. The water looks flat. The waves were huge. I reckon that is one wave showing here from the foamy break line to the top of the water/sky horizon, not a wide expanse of water.

The second lap wasn’t quite as bad, maybe because I was telling myself I’d survived it once I could survive again, or maybe because the swell had dropped a little. I will never know. I DO know, I drank a lot of sea water in that hour. I also know that my new wetsuit was worth every cent. It did not give me any grief at all. I didn’t have to adjust it or fight against it. It was just there keeping me afloat. A far cry from the panic-inducing first wetsuit swim I did.

 

Off onto the bike. I have often joked that a benefit of being a slow swimmer is that it’s easy to find your bike in transition. Here’s proof.

Here I come. Still not in any kind of rush.

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There I go.

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The bike was okay. Because the swim took so much longer than expected my nutrition plan had to be adjusted on the fly. I had no idea what to do about all the sea water I’d swallowed. My electrolyte drink sort of burned as it passed down my salt-affected throat. Water was okay. The bike was three laps. The first time up the biggish hill, I thought “this isn’t as bad as I remember”. The second time was every bit as bad as I remembered. On the third time around I had a headwind.

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Off onto the run. Oh boy. There’s all that salt water. It was sloshing around inside my tummy making me feel ill. I kept thinking if I could stir it up enough to get it out, I’d feel great but I couldn’t push myself to that point and ended up run/walking. I walked about half. I would run until I felt sick and walk until it felt manageable.

 

I went into this race thinking it would be an easy PB over the distance given my recent training paces. I could not have been more wrong. I was slower by about the same time I thought I’d be quicker.

Although I know I have a lot of room for improvement both physically and mentally, I can see that I have come a long way mentally. Not long ago I probably would have given up at the end of the first swim lap.

 

And I most certainly would not have got back in the water that afternoon, in a costume no less, for another race. The waves were still big, but not quite as big. And the race was shorter.

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Superhero race entrants

The crowd was more enthusiastic out on the bike course with cheers of “go wonder woman” or variations on that theme.

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Same on the run/walk. I was encouraged to call on my super powers. I joked that they’d been taken from me for bad behaviour.

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So the day was up and down, much like the water in the swim.

Doing the superhero race with friends (we planned our matching outfits) was a fantastic way to end the season.

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I don’t know where this image came from, I saved it to my phone a long time ago. Looks like facebook according to the top right hand corner. It’s not a page I follow. It does a good job of summarising how I feel about these races.

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Because we stayed an extra night after the race we got to have a delicious late breakfast at a beachside cafe and discovered our own little Aussie slice of Egypt (sand, pyramids and camels) at Birubi Beach!

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Port Macquarie Running Festival 2017–Half Marathon

I went into this race with a lot of writing on my hand. I had three average paces and what finish time they would give me:

6:58 pace –> 2 hours 27 minutes (pipe dream, over the moon goal)

7:04 pace –> 2 hours 29 minutes (realistic goal based on training)

7:18 pace –> 2 hours 34 minutes (would still be a PB)

 

I met with my coach the night before the race (she lives in Port Macquarie) and we discussed my plan to “just go with it” if I was a bit faster than 7:02 for the first few kilometres. I often start a race fast (zig-zagging around other competitors) then settle into my normal slower pace. I didn’t plan to do this if I was insanely fast (sub 6:30) because I know I can’t sustain that for long but I thought 6:45-6:55 would be okay. She didn’t like my plan and assured me that even if I felt okay at the beginning, I would pay for it at about 19km.

So, I also scribbled 7:02 15km – 7:15 on my hand. She had calculated that I could run at 7:02 pace for the first 15km then drop back to 7:15 for the final 6.1km and I would meet my 2:30 goal. I would have needed to be at 5km at 35.11, 10km at 1:10, 15km at 1:45 and 20km at 2:22. This was all scribbled on the back on my hand.

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15 hours later

The race started and I was very quickly at the back of the pack. I had people behind me but I didn’t think there were many. No zig-zagging required because there was a lot of space. No sprinting to get around people. I settled into my “comfortable pace” pretty much straight away. It was too fast though. I was averaging around 6:43. I have always struggled to run at a target pace. I seem to have run or walk settings. Sometimes the run is fast, other times not. Today happened to be a fast day.

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This was a good race for spectators – I ran past my support crew and chauffeur
(AKA hubby) 6 times. This was at about 6km I think.

I made it to the 5km mark early at 33.33. I kept waiting for my body to reject the fast speed. This was the pace I had been training at back in August/September before I got sick but I haven’t been able to run longer distances as quickly since then. At 10km I was still ahead of schedule (1:07.11) and at 15km I was 4 minutes ahead of schedule (1:40.52) with an average pace of 6:44 still. The wheels did start to fall off a bit then. I walked some water stations. It was getting tough but I finally found my “race” mentality and thought, what if I can finish this with a 6:45 average pace? I couldn’t calculate what my finish time would be but I knew it would be under 2:27 from my pipe dream notes. (I’m sure there was a bit of determination not to give any opportunity for my coach to say “I told you so” as well.)

The 20th kilometre was my only one which dropped below 7:00 pace. I had one kilometre that was 6:28 but all the others were between 6:34 and 6:58 so I’m quite happy (#understatementoftheyear) with my consistency. I pulled out a 6:49 for the final kilometre and finished in 2:23.27! A huge PB. 12 minutes faster than my training run two weeks ago and 15 minutes quicker than my last half marathon race.

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The time on the clock behind me was for the 10km event which started before I finished. Some people completed the “Treble Breakwall Buster”. They ran the half marathon in under 2 hours, then backed up for a 10km in under 1 hour and finished off with a 5km. There was no cutoff time for the 5km.

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I didn’t finish last, but even if I had, I still would have been incredibly happy with my finish time.

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Nice bling and a well-organised event.

Mission Accomplished

Port Stephens Triathlon Festival – Sprint Distance.

The summarised version:

For the first time (that I can remember) I enjoyed “the race” rather than the “sense of achievement” after enduring the race and finishing.

The full version:

I achieved a number of mini-goals in yesterday’s race.

I didn’t end up having to make the hardest decision – to wetsuit, or not to wetsuit. The swim was cancelled late Friday afternoon due to dangerous water conditions.

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It wasn’t any better by 10:15am Saturday morning.

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Instead of the 750m swim we had a 2km beach run. Yet another first for me. I went into this race thinking “I’m going to enjoy the challenge and experience something different”.

Running on sand was certainly different. Fortunately, due to the amount of rain, it was all fairly hard underfoot for the first lap although a bit churned up by the time the back-of-packers finished the second lap.

I hadn’t left town when I saw the post about the cancellation of the swim so I was able to duck back home after work to get an old pair of sneakers. This meant I would have clean, dry shoes for the second run.

I didn’t walk in this run at all. First mini-goal achieved.

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A lady I met through parkrun and a facebook group I belong to took this photo – finishing the beach run with an uphill climb to transition. Definitely a better option than swimming.

I wasn’t sure how my legs would go on the bike coming off a run. I haven’t ever trained to ride after running since it’s usually the other way around. It was a pleasant surprise to find that everything was just fine.

I was exiting transition and about to clamber onto my bike when a bunch of super-fast guys from a later wave come through. They were all doing fancy, flying, jump-on-while-you’re-moving mounts so I just walked off to the side and stood there waiting for a gap in the traffic, hopped on my bike, then went for my ride. I was a little freaked out by the fast guys who continued to pass me at regular intervals with seemingly only inches to spare. The road was wet and very potholed (this was a town that was very badly affected by the recent Hunter Storm/East Coast Low) and I was scared I was going to have to pull out in front of someone with no wriggle room.

A short distance in my bike started rattling but it only seemed to be at (relatively) higher speeds. I stopped twice and pulled off the side of the road to see if I could find anything loose but I couldn’t. I was almost in tears with fear that I was going to lose a wheel. A number of people had crashed in the longer race which finished just before mine started. I eventually “got a grip” and convinced myself the wheels weren’t going to fall off physically so I couldn’t let the mental wheels fall off either.

I finished the first lap of the two lap course and though “wow, I’m halfway through already”. I was hoping this race would feel shorter than the last one I did. It should have – it was only half the distance. But it really did. It all seemed so easy. The wind was howling on the bike and at one point I felt like I was being blown sideways. I had told myself I wasn’t going to brake on the downhills unless it was really dangerous. I didn’t have to decide that either because the wind was blowing hard up the hill when I was on the big downhills so I had no choice but to keep pedalling.

Bike done without mishap. No crash, no broken bike, and maintained a regular cadence (about 85) except on the biggest hill. Another mini-goal achieved.

Onto the run and the sun came out. About 1km into the 5km run I realised I was enjoying myself. I don’t generally enjoy races. I’ve done them because if I’m not training for a race I lose focus and skip my training. I think Sprint is definitely my distance. It’s long enough to be a challenge but short enough that I can train for it and enjoy it.

I usually enjoy the thrill of the sense of accomplishment after I’ve finished a race but I think (at least as best as I can remember) this is the first time I’ve enjoyed a race during the race itself.

Once again, there were no finisher’s medals but that’s okay. I’m “over” that now. I did get a t-shirt that fits though.

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Should have brushed my hair: taken after my looong drive home.

I stayed overnight Saturday night with relatives as well and didn’t have to drive home until today. That was a nice change too, instead of driving home on the day of the race. Halfway home I stopped for fuel and a loo break and noticed the front tyre looking a little flat. I drove the 20 metres to the air thingy and found it was down to less than half what it should be, and I could see a screw in the tyre. Tried to call the hubby to ask if it was safe to drive still (the screw was flush with the tyre) since I’d obviously been driving on it for a while. I couldn’t reach him so called my dad. Long story short, I drove the rest of the way home but checked the tyre pressure at every town with an open petrol station between there and home. It certainly kept me alert anyway.

I see a trip to a tyre shop in my future.

While waiting for hubby to ring me back, before I rang Dad, I moved everything around in the back of the car to see how accessible the jack and spare tyre were and found the source of the rattle on my bike. The bottom screw on the bottle cage was almost out. The bottle must have been holding it in! I’m rather relieved that it wasn’t a super-hot day and I didn’t need to drink more often.

The enticer race had a “superheroes” theme. There were a lot of competitors who dressed up. I’m sure they were all relieved that the swim was cancelled. Some of them did the whole race in masks as well as their costumes! It was a lot of fun to watch.

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All in all, I am very happy with this final race of my triathlon season and am grateful that I didn’t pull out after all. I’m looking forward to many more enjoyable races in the future.

Race result: 22/22 in age category, 129/133 females, 315/322 competitors. As I mentioned earlier, I was very happy with my bike leg and it was certainly my strongest leg. I was 307/322 on the bike. I’m interested in my official result but not concerned or focussed on them. For me, this race was about feeling good and riding/running to the best of my ability on the day. #missionaccomplished

One day, I will look at improving my transition times.

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And to top off a great day, there was a live koala in a tree near the finish when I was walking back to my car after the presentations.

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Do you enjoy racing or just the sense of accomplishment when you’ve finished?

My first sprint

Last Saturday, I completed my first sprint distance triathlon.
750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run. This is my race novel report.

Women’s Triathlon Festival,
International Regatta Centre, Penrith

Pre-race:

I woke at 6am as planned and posted on Facebook, as you do these days that I was feeling ready for this race. I knew I could do the distance but the head game would be my biggest risk factor. I was feeling confident though. I followed signs to Penrith but somehow ended up driving through fog on an 80km/h road instead of on the motorway. Needless to say, I arrived later than planned. I registered then headed off to transition to set up and find the entry and exit locations. I even remembered to count how many bays down my row I was so I could find my bike. As I left transition (right on closing time because of my lateness) I realised I’d worked out where my bike was in relation to the bike entrance. That wouldn’t help much coming from the swim! Oh well, I couldn’t do anything about it now. Hoping I had everything set up as properly despite the rush, I headed up to where the briefings have been every other time I’ve done a race at this venue but noone was there. Then a friend heard over the PA that the briefing was near transition so back down the hill I went feeling a little silly.

Lesson 1: It’s better to arrive too early than too late, or “just in time”.

Swim:

Briefing over, we shivered our way to the swim start. If the temperature of the wet grass was any indication, we were in for a chilly swim. The last two triathlons I did at Penrith had a 150m swim and a 300m swim. This time, I was looking at 750m and it seemed like we were walking for a looooong time. I remember walking past the 1500m rowing marker. Then we finally stopped and made our way into the water. I don’t own a wetsuit and have never considered buying one. Until now. Once my race started I didn’t feel cold. I just felt freaked out by the murky water. I was expecting weeds from previous swims there but at times I couldn’t even see the weeds my hands were touching. Swimming is my weakest leg so I was expecting to be overtaken by the following waves and was pleasantly surprised when I didn’t get bashed in the process. People seemed to swim around me. I had no concept of time or distance since all my training was done in a 25m pool and my basic garmin isn’t waterproof. When I thought (hoped) I was about half way through, I saw the 1250 (or 1750, I can’t remember) marker. Eeek! I’ve only done 250m. What am I going to do? I started to freak out about whether I would make it to the end of the swim and worried about using energy unnecessarily zig-zagging across the lake so I ended up doing my poor imitation of “sighting” on almost every breath. Eventually I made it to the finish and stumbled out of the water. I still didn’t cold, I was just glad to have made it. I walked slowly to transition and found my bike.

Lesson 2: Take note of surroundings and try to find some features to gauge where I’m at on the swim… Eliminate the guess work.

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T1:

Found my bike easily – there weren’t many left to choose from. I took my time calming myself down again and putting on my garmin. Drank some Gatorade and water. I looked at my sneakers then back at my bike shoes. Sneakers. Bike shoes. Sneakers. Bike shoes. I bought my bike shoes with cleats 3 years before I found the courage to ride with them. This was the test. Eventually decided on the cleats and set off. What joy! I managed to mount without mishap.

Lesson 3: Don’t think about it – just stick to the plan. Coach knows best.

Bike:

I actually felt good on the ride. I passed a couple of people, was lapped by several people and passed by many more. However, I was able to maintain a relatively (for me) steady cadence of around 85 which was my goal. I was aiming for 2:30 kilometres and my actual kms ranged from 2:24 to 2:40 so I was very happy with that. My (non-official) time for the 20km was spot on 50 minutes which was my goal. I also managed to focus on sipping my water which is the step I usually forget leaving my dehydrated for the run. I was NOT going to let that happen today. Somewhere in the 3rd lap I realised my toes were getting cold and I realised I hadn’t done any training with wet socks in my shoes (I wear socks due to the location of a very irritating seam in the shoe). I had dry socks to put on for the run so I wasn’t overly concerned. I didn’t want to spoil the bike leg with a crash so I unclipped my left foot around 50m from the dismount line and coasted/pedalled-one-legged to the finish. I think the winners were finishing their run as I started my 3rd or 4th lap of the bike course. (Strangely, although I felt like this was my best leg, it was my worst result in terms of placing in age category!)

Lesson 4: Practise riding with wet socks, or investigate the existence of thermal sport socks.

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T2:

Shoes and wet socks off. Dry socks and sneakers on and away I went.


Run:

My plan was to walk the first 2 minutes refocusing my mind on my goal for the run: to run the whole run, except through the water stations. I tend to take off too fast and can’t maintain the pace. I walked the first minute or so and realised the dry socks had not helped my toes at all. They were numb! I thought that only happened to ironman competitors! Walking felt weird and jogging felt unsteady. I’ve run in sub-zero temperatures for winter training but my toes had never been that cold. I walked off and on for a bit (ran past the finish chute and the grandstand of course – people might be watching!). Out of curiosity, I switched the screen on my garmin to the time (clock) to see how I was going. It was 10.33. The race started at 9am. My goal of finishing in under 2 minutes was shot to pieces. Even my flat-out sprint pace wouldn’t get me home in time and I’d already walked more than I wanted to. At this point the real mental drama started. I thought “I can’t finish in under 2 hours, so what’s the point of trying any more” and I walked. Then the debate started – like a cartoon devil and angel on each shoulder. “I’ve travelled all this way – I might as well see what I can do… But I’ve already blown my chances… but I survived the swim… just!… And I did fine on the bike and didn’t crash!… Yeah, but others are walking too…Suck it up Heather! You have your perfect race conditions and you promised yourself you’d run the whole way” This was the clincher. I had been hoping for lower temperatures, especially for the run, because I don’t handle the heat well at all. I ran from there to the turnaround point and some of the way back. When I thought about stopping I had to tell myself “You’re not hurt, you’re not injured (you just have numb toes), you’re just being lazy.” Then I saw the start point for the swim and it was pretty much at the 1750m (or 1250m – whichever the other one wasn’t). So then I started beating myself up about how much I’d freaked out in the swim unnecessarily – I’d already swum 500m when I thought I’d only done 250m. The last 250m felt a lot longer than the first 500m because of the stressed state I’d got myself into. This mini rant (at myself) caused me to lose concentration and before I knew it I was walking again. I’m not sure how long for but eventually I realised and switched back onto run mode and picked up the pace for the finish line. I even managed to pass two ladies who stopped for water at the aid station that was only a couple of hundred metres from the finish. I didn’t need water that badly and wanted to pass “someone” on the run. That, and I didn’t think I’d start running again if I stopped.

Lesson 5: I need to learn to wrap up the internal debates more quickly. Stressing makes everything feel harder than it needs to be.

The finish:

I looked at the clock as I crossed the line 2:02. Soooo cranky! We mustn’t have started right on 9am so when I saw it was 10:33am, I hadn’t really been going for over 1½ hours already. If I had run just a little bit more I could have achieved my goal.

I was disappointed that I struggled so much mentally. I knew that was likely to be my weakness and I think it was made worse by the pre-race rush caused by my late arrival at the venue. However, I am extremely happy that I didn’t fall off my bike. I didn’t reinjure the calf I tore last October. The weather co-operated with me. I prepared properly and didn’t end up with a headache on the run. 12 months ago completing a sprint distance triathlon would have been impossible but I did it.

Lesson 6: Don’t look at the time during the race, just watch the pace and cadence and get out there and do what I came to do.

The highlight reel:

My very first triathlon was the try-a-tri (150m/5km/1.5km) at this same venue in March 2011 in 40:03.

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The second triathlon I did at Penrith was an enticer (300m/10km/2km) in November 2012 in a time of 1:03:12.

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My third Penrith triathlon was this sprint (750m/20km/5km) so more than double the distance of the previous one, in less than twice the time.

The best bits:

I had friends doing the sprint and enticer races too. This was only the second time I knew someone else who was going to the same event and it really made the day a lot more enjoyable.

I forgot I was in the second wave which started about three minutes after the first wave, so I DID come in under 2 hours despite all the mental dramas I experienced. Yay! 1:58:27.

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The following day I did the Color Run with a bunch of friends:

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Do you have any tips and tricks for winning internal debates? Do you make time for mental training in addition to physical training?

Smiling slows you down

I have a new theory. Smiling while you run makes you run more slowly. I ran in the 10km race at the Forster Running Festival this morning.

I went into the race with a goal of running the whole 10km, walking only in the drink stations. My best time for a 10km is 71 minutes which was at the Tamworth Running Festival three weeks ago and I hadn’t really trained specifically for today’s race because I didn’t plan to enter.

I did a 15 minute run yesterday morning to loosen up and hopefully “feel fast”. I managed a fairly consistent pace which I was pleased with (blue graph below).

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I picked up my race pack yesterday afternoon and had to put out a “help me please” request because I couldn’t work out how to attach the timing chip to my shoe. I’ve only had the bib or velcro ankle ones before. I found a video on you tube. I also realised the chip had a website address on the back of it so I found some instructions on their website. The only problem was that it didn’t work with the way I tie my laces. So, I ended up going with the you tube method. It seems to have worked because I registered an official time. 

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201st from 210 finishers, 113th from 118 females, 42 from 43 female 30-39 runners.

The race started on a nice downhill stretch. Most of the competitors had reached the first turn around point and were running towards me before I even reached the first drink station (at 2km). And that’s okay. I know I’m not a fast runner. In fact, one tall girl with really long legs was just in front of me most of the way – and she walked most of it. I really had to push myself to gain ground on her!

Starting at the back of the pack to avoid being crushed, hiding behind the more athletic-looking people:

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Back to my story. At this point, I realised that the stragglers and the back half of “the pack” were smiling and encouraging one another. They were just happy to be out there on the course, running in a race. The “serious” runners up front were focussed and determined. They were probably enjoying themselves too but you couldn’t tell by looking at them.

Here I am: already a straggler, not even at the 2km mark.

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I didn’t achieve my goal. I walked a number of short sections – mainly in the shady spots trying to cool down. I’m used to running at 5.30/6.00am. The temperature at 9.00am when the race started was already pretty warm and by the time I crossed the line at approximately 10.15am it was hotter still. I need to do some running later in the day (on weekends perhaps) before I attempt another race. Today’s time was 76 minutes. In July I ran 11km in 77 minutes. Initially I was disappointed. My main reason for entering was to prove to myself that I could run the full distance after walking so much of the Tamworth Ten.

I had worked out that 70 minutes (my absolute best possible time I could dream of) was 14 lots of 5 minutes and I ticked them off in my head as I ran. After 50 minutes I guessed that I had about 20 minutes to go. Just four more lots of 5 minutes. I was wrong. It took me 26 minutes to finish from there. Note to self: Next time study the course map more closely and remember what distances the drink stations are at. Then I’ll be able to gauge my progress and have some idea how far into the race I am.

The course was picturesque with absolutely stunning views looking out over either the lake or the ocean most of the time. There were a number of different surfaces though – pavement, concrete, sandy soil (hard packed though), gravel and timber planks. I’ve really only run on concrete and pavement so I was a bit unsure and felt unsteady on the gravel and dirt.

What a nice place to finish though:

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At one drink station I grabbed a cup of the electrolyte drink instead of water. I took one sip and realised my mistake. I don’t know what it is about them but they don’t agree with me. 5-10 minutes later my tummy was complaining. Just from one sip. Now (approx 6.25km) I was feeling very hot, extremely sluggish and wondering why on earth I had entered the race. The footpath I was running on was not closed to “normal” pedestrians and coming towards me were two children with their mum. The little girl said “look how fast that lady’s running”. I smiled, laughed and replied “I wish, but you’ve made my day”. That kept me going for a little while longer.

I realised later that I was running fast, like the little girl said. Maybe not as fast as others, or even as fast as I have in the past, but certainly faster than if I’d been walking at that point, and much faster than I could have imagined this time last year.

So fast, it’s blurry:

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I have also realised I wasn’t pushing myself so hard that I couldn’t talk. I was running off and on with another lady for much of the race and we encouraged each other whenever we overtook one another. Towards the end I had to keep pushing myself up the hills even when she stopped. My fear was that if I’d stopped running on the hills I might not have made it to the top!

I’m not sure this could be considered a smile:

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Speaking of hills, I heard one of the commentators/callers saying as the half marathoners started to finish that it’s not the fastest course because of the different terrain surfaces, even though it’s flat. Flat!? I know it didn’t have any mountains in it, but it was most definitely not flat by any stretch of my imagination. The bridge itself has two mini hills!

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Just look at the elevation (green graph below). The highest points were only 17m but that’s not flat… and at the end of the race too.

ForsterRace

I thought that having the 5km race start an hour after the 10km would be great. In Tamworth, they started just 5 minutes later so they flew past the straggling 10km-ers pretty early in the piece which I personally found a bit demoralising. I thought I at least had a chance to finish my 10km before the first 5km runner crossed the line. However, I was running more slowly than usual (and I’m fairly certain it was mostly the heat that knocked me around) and it turns out the 5km started 45 minutes after my race, not a whole hour. As a result there were a lot of speedy 5km runners were sprinting down the finish chute all around me as I plodded over the line. Some of them were young kids. One of them I recognised as my coach’s daughter.

There were also two events for children – 4km and 2km. I had already decided to hang around after my race to watch the presentations. I guess if I’m really honest, I also figured my only chance of a prize was a lucky door prize so I also hung around to put my bib in the box for that (I didn’t win one of those either). I am very glad I was there to see the real youngsters running. They were so happy. Some parents were out there with the real young ones too – including my coach whose three year old wanted to run after seeing the rest of the family running that day. (Just quietly – she’s a machine, currently training for an ironman – and ran the half marathon [winning her age group], had a 15 minute break and backed up for the 10km, then did the 2km with her son.) I’ve just debunked my own theory though because smiling definitely didn’t slow the kids down. They just ran at full speed all the way to the finish, obviously enjoying themselves. Many of them were high-fiving the spectators along the way. It was truly inspiring.

Another inspirational moment was during the presentations. I was sitting, chatting with my elderly running buddy from earlier. She won her age-group! Admittedly, she was the only female competitor in her group but I was amazed. She was in the 70+ category! And I only beat her by a few minutes.

ForsterBefore

I used to think twice about walking over the bridge (because it was soooo long, and I would reward myself with a scrumptious icecream) but today I ran over it twice, then walked back over it a third time to get home after the presentations. I might not have achieved my original goal for today but the day showed me just how far I have come since I started running. When I started a C25K program in February of this year I struggled to run for 30 seconds.

Mr K was kind enough to come along again today as my official photographer and support crew. It was extra special having someone at the finish to greet me. (My coach happened to be there too since her daughter was about to finish the 5km – as I mentioned earlier.)

ForsterFinished

I introduced myself to a fellow, Dave, who I was told is heavily involved in the Newy parkrun. Tonight when I got home I hopped on his website and can recommend you watch the TEDx talk (link on their homepage). They talk about enjoying running, without distractions. I think I’ve mentioned previously that I run without an ipod anyway – I enjoy it as my “quiet, down time” where I don’t have to think about anything. I’m not sure I can take the leap to leaving my watch behind yet! That thought scares me even just in day to day life!

It’s encouraged me to focus once again on the fact that I am able to run. Such a simple thing so many of us take for granted yet we don’t do it often enough. I can go outside and enjoy the sun and the breeze and the beautiful landscapes. I can simply run and enjoy it.

And just maybe, if I keep on running, I’ll eventually win an age-group when I’m as old as my running buddy today. It gives a new meaning to outrunning everyone else.

I was doubly inspired by both the old and young runners today.

Happy running!

 

PS We submitted our proposal to council this week for a parkrun! Here’s hoping they support it!

Trishave Try-a-tri, Sydney 2011

In the book Slow Fat Triathlete by Jayne Williams, I read that a lot of people keep a diary of their races. Here’s my first entry from March 2011.

Race: Try-a-tri, Trishave Womens Triathlon Festival

My first race bib and wrist band 🙂

Venue: Penrith International Regatta Centre, 13 March 2011

Distance: 150m swim, 5km bike, 1.5km run

Total official time: 40 min, 3 seconds.

My first triathlon. I had read you should taper off the training three weeks prior to an event. I only started three weeks before… First mistake?

Had chinese for dinner last night with some friends. Second mistake?

I ended up feeling so sick (dizzy, nauseous, faint) before the race that I didn’t warm up or stretch. Third mistake. I now believe the sick feeling was due to a combination of the chinese food, nerves and lack of sleep.

The race itself was quite fun. I was close to the slowest in my race in my age bracket. By a  long way. The one lady I struck up a conversation with while waiting for the race to start was a year ahead of me at school. We were at the the same primary school and were in a composite class together for maths for about 6 months I think. I had travelled 5.5 hours to this race, she’d travelled 4 and we found each other! She won our age group so I didn’t see her again once we started. 🙂

I’d only swum with goggles for the first time the week before so everyone’s feet and hands looked very close and I hesitated to swim right on top of them. I almost wish I hadn’t worn the goggles. I wouldn’t  have seen how filthy the water was. I’d never swum in a group before either. At least the water was still rather than with waves! I had also never swum in a group before. Lots of ‘firsts’ today. I managed to finish the swim then walked (didn’t even jog) up to transition. It was uphill. NO WAY was I running!

Couldn’t find my bike (well, my sister’s bike that I’d borrowed for the day) so I was fortunate that the lady I’d set up next to and chatted with earlier in the day had come out of the water just before me and called out to me. Struggled to get my helmet on – until I worked out I was trying to put it on backwards!

Right. Ready to ride! Managed to mount without misahp, rode about 50m to the steep(ish) bridge over the lake. They said the cycle course was flat!!!! My foot – in a now sopping wet sneaker – slipped off the pedal. Arrgh! How embarrassing. Oh well, back on the bike. The bike is my ‘best’ leg, if I have one. This is where I thought I’d catch people who’d beaten me out of the water. Uh oh… people are passing me! And here come the leaders of the wave that started 4 minutes after mine. These are the ‘over 40s women’.

I (possibly) could have ridden faster but wanted to make sure I had something left for the run which is by far my worst leg. What’s this? Uphill into transition???? Transitioned to the run without mishap. Phew.

Ah – drink stand. I had read that you should always take a drink. I couldn’t drink and run at the same time so I stopped, drank, then continued to walk up the HILL on the flat course.

Ran/jogged/plodded/walked/trudged my way to the 750m turn around mark. Put on a show by running under the finish arch and handed in my timing chip (I thought that was pretty cool – I’d never worn one before).

Hubby, Kevin, was great as my personal photographer and support crew. I got a free t-shirt and a certificate. And, I finished. Still walking and breathing and I’m happy with that.

I thought (as an uneducated guess) that I would need about 45 min to finish the whole thing. My swim training was in a 10 metre long backyard pool and  I really had no idea how much time to allow for transitions.

Summary: I was sooo excited. I actually got to run under one of those big inflatable finish lines. And I was wearing a timing chip that beeped at each transition and the finish line. I felt like a real athlete. I even got my name on an official ‘results‘ website.

FINISHED!