Tag Archives: 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.

parkrun

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.

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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)

Doing it for the medal

Shock! Horror! Two posts in one week month! Since my previous post I have been doing a lot of soul-searching, trying to work out what it is that is stopping me from swimming in the open water. I’m not fast in the pool either but I can swim the distance.

I haven’t had any real insight into whatever is causing the problems. It’s not a conscious decision to stop swimming – I’ve stopped before I even think about it. At least I’ve got to the point where I can at least do a few little side strokes to keep moving forward instead of staying still.

A friend of mine uses the hash tag #doingitforthemedal to label every post on facebook or instagram that is related to her training, racing, planning etc.

The thought hit me today that I’m going to receive a half ironman finisher’s medal on Sunday even though I’m doing it as part of a team. Who would have thought I would ever own one of those?

It seems unfair to those completing the whole race individually but it sounds like all the members of the teams will receive the same medal.

I know I’ve mentioned before that it’s not about the bling (but it does help). I also know that’s not really motivation in itself. But in this case, if I don’t give that swim everything I’ve got (knowing I don’t need to save any physical or mental energy for the bike or run) then I’m not going to earn the medal.

It will then join the pile of medals (the ones I’ve kept) in my “sports cupboard”.

bling

I’m certain that every time I open the door, the half ironman medal will be the one I see. It will jump out at me, catch my attention, and mock me: You don’t deserve me. You didn’t even swim the whole way. How could you accept a medal for that pathetic effort?

I don’t think I could handle that for long. Thinking about the unknown strangers trapped in a world of torment after being trafficked doesn’t help. Telling myself to “just keep swimming” doesn’t help. Chanting (silently since my face is in the water) “don’t stop don’t stop don’t stop” doesn’t help.

Maybe Doing it For the Medal, Breathe, with emphasis on the bold words, will work. Or Earn That Medal, Breathe. Yes, I’m still using the “1, 2, 3, breathe” method of swimming. Forget about counting strokes or laps, or anything else other than breathing.

Don’t get me wrong, if I still end up stopping now and then, that’s okay. I will be happy and feel like I earned that medal, as long as I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I left nothing in the tank.

Another friend uses the hash tag #letsdothis2015 so I’ll steal her catch phrase too.

Four more sleeps… Let’s do this!

Dam Swim

Now, if I was a swearing person, that title would read Dam(n) Swim. Yes, I’m old-fashioned, and “damn” is still a swear word in my book.

As of yesterday, so is “dam”, I think.

I went for a training swim at a dam about half an hour away with some other people who are also in the Trifreedom group of athletes competing in the Port Macquarie Half Ironman event next week. Some are doing the whole event while others of us are in teams. You might remember, I decided to do a swim leg. Swimming is my worst leg but I couldn’t imagine trying to ride 90km. A few months ago I would have been able to do the 21.1km run except that it’ll be the middle of the day and I don’t handle the heat well. If I wanted to be part of the Trifreedom crew, it had to be the swim.

I don’t know what my problem is but I can swim 2.5km in the pool pretty much non-stop but stick me in “open water” (even the enclosed dam) with or without a wetsuit, and I can’t swim more than 10 or 15 strokes before I drop my feet and tread water for a bit.

When I last swam at the dam in February, it was without a wetsuit and the weather turned stormy as we got in the water. I took this video after we got out. It doesn’t show it clearly but it wasn’t pleasant.

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day but the swim was HORRIBLE. Like Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Swim kind of horrible.

I finished in “just over an hour” according to the lady who organised it but I don’t know how nice she was being as I didn’t wear a watch. (It’s a one hour cut-off for the race next week.)


Just to break up all the text, I received this message from my sister today, who had her first baby a month ago.

planking


My goggles leaked when I started to swim and I stopped to adjust them 2 or 3 times (even though I had put my head in the water before we started and they seemed okay). The water was disgusting. I couldn’t see the weeds in the shallows. Then there was grass and stuff floating on the top – I don’t know if that’s normal or if the other, faster swimmers just churned it all up for me. I thought about turning back soooo many times on the way to the first buoy. Once I got there I thought about heading straight back and skipping the rest of the buoys but knew I’d never get in the water next week if I did that. I had to tough it out. The silver stripe on the sleeve of my wetsuit was distracting – because I kept seeing it out of the corner of my eye. The zip strap/cord thing came off the Velcro and was hanging over my upper arm and it took me ages to work out what it was. Then it ended up around the front of my neck.

I stopped and hung onto the water safety person’s board (so glad they’d organised some for us) and asked her to attach it properly. I was all good after that – strapwise anyway. I felt like I was out there for hours – at least an hour and a half. I deliberately didn’t take my garmin because it doesn’t seem very reliable in the open water and I figured I was better off not knowing, and just pushing on. One benefit of stopping so often was that I didn’t have a chance to swim off course.

Even when I got to about 50m from shore I still couldn’t get myself to “just swim the rest of the way”. However, I didn’t freak out about washing over the spillway and down the river so that’s progress over last time. 

When I got home, all I wanted to do was curl up in the foetal position in bed and bawl my eyes out. I didn’t. I bought a slab of chocolate and a can of coke instead. I should have opted for the cry because  the junk food didn’t help either. I only ate one row of chocolate and the can is still unopened in the fridge (that’s sooo not me). I ended up texting the organiser and asking how much over an hour I was, and not to sugar coat it. She said about 1:05 so I’m okay with that. I’m told that in the river at Port it’ll be easier because it’s salt water.

I didn’t actually panic like I did in March at the race even though I stopped and regrouped/refocused several times. 

I always struggled writing essays at school (very rarely reaching the required word count) but I’ve just written over 500 words about a 1 hour swim.

I’m not sure if I want to know what the tides and currents will be doing or not. Part of me wants to know so that if I find it hard at the start I can blame the current but part of me doesn’t want to know in case it’s hard and the current is supposed to be helping me. That’ll do terrible things to my head imagining how much harder the swim back will be…

I didn’t think to take any photos of the lovely views on the way out and at the dam. I came home on a back road and saw camels in a paddock!

Instead, the only bright spot will be the photo of my brightest fluoro orange swim cap which made a special appearance at the dam – I wanted to be visible! And my new polarised swim goggles. I’m hoping they cut down some of the glare during the swim so I can see the buoys more easily.

 

DamSwim

 

On the running front, my physio finally gave me the all-clear to start running again. Yay! I really had no idea how much I would miss it.

I’m almost back to square one again, struggling to run 1km. However, what I’m finding is that when I run, I’m running faster than I used to. I still can’t sustain it for long but if I can gradually increase the distance I might just end up faster overall. The 18 month plateau of sitting on about 7:00 pace might be broken. I was a parkrun tourist at Taree parkrun about a week ago and I was running 200m sections (with walks between) at sub 6:00 pace!!! I could barely do that on my hard effort interval sessions before. All those physio exercises have done something good. So even my injury has a silver lining.

Time to get some sleep before the big race next weekend. I’m determined to come in under that cut-off!

After the Half Ironman swim, my next races are a 5km fun run in Armidale on 1st November and a sprint triathlon at Forster on 8th November. If the weather and conditions are similar to last year, I’d like to think that I can improve on my swim and bike times (new bike since last year) and I’ll just see what happens on the run.

I know many of you have some big races coming up too – so good luck, stay healthy and have fun!

Oh, and here’s a photo of my husband and I at the Tamworth parkrun 1st anniversary celebration on 26th September. It was a “sport theme” dress up day – cheap and easy, and those who didn’t want to go all-out like us could go dressed as “parkrunners” and fit right in. It was so much fun and well supported. We’re in the sumo-suits.

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Rematch?

Two months after completing the half marathon, I went for my first run this morning. Remember when running 500m was hard work? Well I’m back there again. I’m hoping the road back to run fitness won’t be as hard this time around.

A lot has been happening in the last two months and I’ve had neither time nor inclination to write. That’s not true. I had time, but couldn’t think of anything worth writing (or reading).

I had planned to stop and take photos along the way and enjoy my one and only half marathon – the only reason I took my phone with me. However, as I settled into the rhythm of the race I decided I wouldn’t stop and take photos. I didn’t want to be able to use the excuse “I was only slow because I stopped to take photos”. It’s time to stop sabotaging my own results.

I did take a “before” photo though. (The reverse camera on my phone is really not high quality.) The atmosphere was amazing – so many people! Being in the last start zone, I had no idea when the race actually started. All of a sudden the crowd just started moving. So we moved with them. Then they stopped. Then they started again. Eventually we crossed the start line – 8 minutes after the race started!

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I mentioned in my short post-race post that my body gave out before my mind did. 10km into the run I started getting a very sharp pain below my right knee. Until that point I was spot on my target pace. After that point, everything started to fall apart. I was overtaken by about 500 people in the second half of the race. I pretty much had to hobble the last 11km. As long as I kept my leg straight I could (mostly) put pressure on it. Trying to bend it backwards and pull my foot up to take another stride was incredibly painful. I’m the first to admit that I have a very low pain threshold and I’m the last person who would just “suck it up”. I’m that person who tells people to stop if they’ve hurt themselves. “It’s not worth risking permanent injury” I would say to Kevin’s squash team mates if they rolled ankles or ran into the wall during a match. “It’s just a social competition.”

On the day, I finally got a taste of that determination to finish no matter what. That was new. I’ve paid for this race, I’m not planning to do another one, so I should just stick it out and hope I can still make the cutoff. So many new thoughts!

The ladies I’d trained with had the same time goal of 2:30 but they were planning to start slow and speed up at the end to overtake people and feel good that way. My plan was to start out faster while I was fresh (controlled faster – not stupid faster) knowing that I would slow down as I fatigued. They passed me about 1km after I started my crazy lopsided dance.

You can see in some of the official photos how badly I was swinging my foot to get it in front of the other.

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Then of course, there is the photo sequence of “before and after I saw the photographer”. #smileforthecamera #whataposer

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For a short time, I was disappointed with my finish photos because all the cameras I could see were focused on the wheelchair marathon winner who was coming down the chute with me which made me feel insignificant and unimportant. As it turns out there was a camera still on the finish line… and it’s not about the photos anyway.

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I actually shed a few tears between the finish line and the shirts/medals area. I know they aren’t the point either, but I was thinking “how could they have run out already” because I’m so used to being given that stuff as soon as you cross the line. Instead, I just crossed the line, walked into an open space and had to look for signs where to go next and how to get out. They were tears of relief that I’d finally made it I think as well as just feeling lost and all my running insecurities came flooding back.

I was disappointed for a minute or so that I didn’t go close to 2:30 but I had said all along I’d be happy just to go under 3 hours, and to do that while “injured” is pretty amazing.So where to from here? I went to see a physio when I got home a few days after the race. It turns out the knee pain was the symptom of an ITB problem. Another running milestone! So I’ve been under “no running” instructions until this week with lots of exercises to do.

My next race is the swim leg of a half ironman triathlon (1.9km in the river) at Port Macquarie. 6 weeks from today. Needless to say, I’ve been doing a lot of swimming. Every day this week. I went for a training swim in the river, on the actual course a couple of weeks ago and it surprised me just how much more energy I expend in the “open” water than in the pool. I can now swim 2km easily (albeit slowly) in the pool, but put me in the river in a wetsuit and I’m ready for a break after 5-10 strokes. This race is going to be all about my mental state.

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I’m the shorty on the left. The one who was still trying so hard to smile after the
swim that she didn’t think about taking her goggles off yet.

The race itself was not a goal of mine, being a part of the Tri Freedom team is the goal. This is a local charity which raises funds and awareness for the A21 Campaign – “Abolishing Injustice in the 21st Century”. That is my incentive. I’ve wanted to be a part of it for years but have never been able to consider the distances required in the cutoff times. When it hurts in the swim, I’ll be thinking of the unfortunate people who have been trafficked and have no hope of getting out. I only have to endure the water for an hour. I’m hoping I won’t be “enduring” at all, but it gives me some perspective. I’m there by choice, with a purpose. They have had all their rights, dignities and respect stolen from them.

After that, it’s a 5km fun run in Armidale on 1st November followed by the Forster Sprint triathlon on 7th November. I’ll be trying to beat last year’s time.

ASIDE: I have wondered if I should start a campaign asking people to boycott the Armidale fun run so I have a chance at a podium finish. (I’m kidding – if, you’re reading this, you should go and register to support the local events!)

armidale

From there? Who knows. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll take on the Gold Coast Half Marathon again next year for a rematch. I’d love to have another crack at that 2:30 time. So, yes, all those who said “you’ll do more than one”, you can now say “I told you so”. Maybe.

And my running? Well, this morning I did 4 x 500m with a one minute rest between each. The first two felt good but slow. The third had a niggle in my knee, so I’m obviously still not activating the correct muscles, and the fourth was just plain hard work.

I’ll have to make up a bit of time on the swim and bike at Forster because it looks like my run leg will be a bit slower than last year. There’s still two months to get it sorted, so it’s onward and upward and it’s good to be back!

We’re off to Port Douglas tomorrow for two weeks of holiday so I have a relaxed, unstructured training plan that involves the lagoon pool at the resort and some beach walks, and of course Cairns parkrun next Saturday.

Speaking of parkrun, we’re coming up to the first anniversary of Tamworth parkrun. It’s been an amazing twelve months of new friends, new skills and lots of warm fuzzy feelings.

So, that is the last two months worth of posts in one. Possibly still not worth reading, but thanks for reading anyway. Smile

Elastic enlightenment

I bought some new running shoes recently which came pre-laced with elastic laces. I struggled with the toggles for a while and I thought it was taking me longer to adjust the toggles in transition in my triathlons than it used to take to tie the normal laces in a double knot.

I mentioned this to a fellow triathlete and she informed me that the idea is that you “set and forget” the elastic laces. Why couldn’t the instructions be more clear in that respect?

Since this moment of enlightenment, and realising I can just pull my shoes on and don’t have to worry about laces at all, I’m sure I’m saving at least 5 seconds in transition.

In all seriousness, I’m not competitive (or fast) enough to need to shave any time of my transition splits. The elastic laces are still convenient though.

shoes

I mentioned previously that I registered for my first (and only) olympic distance race at Coffs Harbour on 8th March. Plans have changed. Our house sold super-quickly and life has been more crazy-busy than normal. The Port Macquarie Triathlon Club has a club race this coming weekend which is also olympic distance. So, after much consideration, I am forfeiting my entry to the Coffs race and doing the Port Macquarie club race. I had to join the club in order to be eligible to race. Who would ever have thought I would be a member of a triathlon club – let alone TWO clubs at the same time!

 

The decision was made only a week or so ago. This meant I lost 7 days of prep for the biggest race of my life. I am going into the weekend physically tired from late nights sorting through decades worth of paper and other accumulated rubbish. I feel incredibly underprepared both mentally and physically. I can’t remember the last time I actually ran 10km. I KNOW I have never run 10km after a 40km bike ride.

I made the mistake at looking at last year’s results for this race and that has psyched me out a bit. I think I’m going to be about 1/2 hour slower than the slowest finisher last year. It is not uncommon for me to be the last finisher at my local club so it shouldn’t be an issue. However, I run the last section beating myself up thinking all the volunteers are having to hang around just for me, and surely they all want to be going home. The worst thing about these thoughts is that I know it’s probably not the case. When I’m volunteering at parkrun waiting for the slower runners and walkers to finish, I’m happy to see them participating and finishing. I don’t stand there clock-watching so I can pack up. Yet while I’m out there, I feel like I’m holding everyone up.

One of the reasons I decided on the Port Macquarie race is that my coach is based there and she offered to do the race with me. In many ways, that will be really nice. And yet I don’t want it to be mentally draining for her if she spends the whole race having to keep my spirits up!

I keep coming back to the question of why it is so much easier to encourage others than it is to encourage ourselves. I have two days to get my attitude into gear so I am celebrating the fact that I am able to race rather than concentrating on all the other rubbish (there is no other word for it) that floats through my mind. I want to get to the end of the race feeling good (yet exhausted) and happy that I managed to finish it. I don’t want to focus on how slow I am.

I am finally doing a race big enough to require nutrition supplements. There’s a first time for everything! (This is not all for this race – I had to test them out beforehand to make sure my stomach could handle them.)

gels

And now for something different, my best friend and I booked our 40th birthday celebration holiday tonight (just us, getting away for a long weekend). We are heading to Tassie for the first time. Neither of us have been there before. She doesn’t know it yet, but I’m determined that we’ll visit Hobart parkrun while we’re in town.