Round and Round and Round

I think winter evening runs are going to get terribly repetitive.  Tonight it was short and sharp.  Two lap warm up of the local oval, 8 x 100m intervals with 100m fast walk between and a one lap cool down.  All fitted in just under 20 minutes.  One hell of an audience though.  Soccer training has started with a vengeance and the parents were out in force tonight as well.

Start of the run was hard, first two intervals were the slowest, but I got into a rhythm and ran all of the rest at around 3:10-3:30min/km pace – very fast for me!  I tried to push my legs to go just a little faster in the last interval, but they just weren’t having it.  I left nothing out there.  Awesome way to burn of a stressful week at workround and round

Results

Moonlight

For what felt like a really good run, the results weren’t great.  In Masters Women category, I came sixth out of six.  Overall it was equal 38th out of 68 (I think).  Checking out the names of those who beat me, it was pretty much a list of the women that far outclass me every week in Summer Series though, so I really shouldn’t be surprised.

Just shows me that there’s plenty of room to improve – which isn’t really surprising!

On the plus side, I did get my Garmin date issue sorted out. The “usual” suggested fixes from Strava didn’t work, however we found an app called Golden Cheetah.  Import the FIT file to the app, change the dates, then export as a TCX.  Upload and done!  Just like magic.  And my run is now spread out to the various places, distances updated and I’m happy again.

Knapsack Gully

For what was a fun run but felt terribly slow, we ended up doing ok.  We didn’t come last, which I had expected.  We came 13 out of 15 on our course, with 2 DNF.  And a lot of the times were not too far off ours – two were less than a minute faster than us, a further two were within 5 minutes and there was only one finisher in under an hour.

Blue Mountains Meanderings

I’ve been poking around in the orienteering calendar for random events we might be able to get to over winter.  Somehow I’ve ended up picking four events in four weeks..   Moonlight Madness was the first one and yesterday we headed out to Glenbrook for a local event.

We had no idea what to expect, just that there was a range of course lengths and difficulties and we would ask once we got there.  All the courses were a line course.  We were always going to go the long course, just the decision to go easy or moderate.  We met a chatty bloke at the start who ran us through it all and in the end decided that a Moderate course would provide a bit more of a challenge rather than just a nice run in the bush.

We finally headed off around 11am, starting on the streets for the first control on our way to the bush.  The weather was mild and sunny – a perfect autumn day!  The tracks were clearly marked, the map was easy to follow and it started surprisingly level for most of the first half.  The difference between the easy and moderate courses was that for the easy course the controls would be on the path, while for the moderate course the controls were off trail, so the navigation component became much more important.

We found it!

We found it!

The next few controls passed by fairly easily.  The trails were fun and we passed many mountain bikers out enjoying the day.  I may have charged down a hill or two with my arms out and making aeroplane noises, much to the amusement of my husband.  About half way through it started getting a little trickier and we had to start really paying attention to the map and trusting in our ability to know exactly where we were.  The hills started kicking in here too!

There;s a control in there somewhere...

There;s a control in there somewhere…

Up out of the gully and back onto some streets, then things got tricky.  A couple of controls in scrub, no paths.  A little searching and we found those two ok.  Then it was up and over a hill and clambering over some rocks tot the next one and off for the final control.  This was probably the trickiest yet as we pushed through the bush, slipped over ricks in a creek and found the final control in a clearing!  An easy enough walk out of the bush and back on to a short section of road to the finish.

Now that's a hill!

Now that’s a hill!

It ended up being a lot longer than we expected – both in time and distance.  We had expected to start earlier, so hadn’t planned to eat beforehand, but by the time we finished we were starving.  Luckily I had put a couple of bananas in the car, but we really hadn’t fuelled well at all.  My legs had hheld up well until the final stretch of road when my left calf started pulling.  It sorted itself out quickly once we stopped, but then my right calf knotted up.

More of an effort than we had been expecting, but a gorgeous day to be out in the bush!

The numbers:

  • Distance: 7.9km
  • Time: 1:29:29 (approx 1hr moving time according to strava!)
  • Elevation: 139m

Moonlight Madness

A last minute decision to go to the first Moonlight Madness of the year – a 45 minute orienteering run similar in style to the Summer Series.  Last minute being relative of course, with 2 young kids, there is no real last minute.  In this case, it meant I decided two days prior.  The main difference between this one and Summer Series, with daylight savings all done and winter approaching, is running in the dark.  Headlamps or torches are a must – we picked up cheap Energizer ones from Bunnings last year – and pace inevitably slows down when running in the dark in new locations.

Tonight the starting point was Pymble and I was reasonably familiar with the surrounding hilly streets, but it all depended on whether the map was mainly north or south of the start.  I was utterly delighted when I got my hands on the map to see that it was mostly in St Ives!  My home for over 10 years and the map area covered my old street, friends places and old haunts.  For once, picking a route was fairly easy, while there were some big hills, I was able to plan the rest to minimise the ups and downs, a couple of options if we needed to cut things short or extend at the end, and we were off with little delay.

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A duck and weave into state forest at the start, avoiding trails in the dark and sticking to roads as much as possible.  Then it was off for the big loop around familiar streets.  I was feeling strong and positive, running was done at a decent pace and walking the steeper hills to save energy and check the map.  So much fun running past places I hadn’t seen for close to 20 years – there have been a lot of changes in that time, but plenty still remained the same.

A couple of minor errors in navigation (things look different in the dark), but nothing major, a push along part of my old “walk to school” path, a loop around for an additional 40 points and past my old house.  A creek crossing, so civilised with a bridge now, and heading back for the final hill to the finish.

A couple of minutes over time, by our numbers our final tally for the night was 350 (320 after time penalty) and 6km covered.  Scoring is old school for these events, you have to carry a scorecard and pencil as well as the map and note down the code at each checkpoint.  The whole run felt great. I pushed harder than usual and did it easily, my legs gave me almost no trouble, a slight twinge in my calf towards the end, but not enough to slow me down.

My only complaint is my Garmin got confused and thinks that I ran this activity on 31 May 2016 – some six weeks in the future.  So it’s not syncing with Strava and all my other goodies like RunDownUnder and Running Heroes.

The numbers:

  • Distance: 6km
  • Elevation: 80m
  • Time: 47:29

Inconsistency

Yep.  That’s me.

I didn’t run this weekend.  I should have, but I didn’t.  Saturday couldn’t happen, but Sunday should have.  I felt like crap in the morning though – tired, cranky and sore.  I had a nap at lunchtime.  In the afternoon I really should have run.  But it just didn’t work out that way.  I did get a ton of food cooked up for the week so I don’t have to live off random crap for dinner all week.

But I still should have run.

I just checked my  weekly distances for the past several weeks – 5km  / 0km / 26km / 15km / 3km. Really, really no consistency at all.

Goals – Part 3

2x Metro League

More orienteering.  These are held in various bush locations around Sydney.  There are league tables for the clubs who have teams competing at the five different levels.  There’s also an option to “enter on the day” and have a run just for the experience – this is what we want to do this year.  The aim is to have a go at something a little different and get an idea of what’s involved.

 

Parkrun

A free, timed 5km event, run entirely by volunteers and held every Saturday morning at various locations around Sydney, Australia and the world!  I think I made it there about six times last year, with my last two runs around mid-year and both being a sub-30 minute run.  This year I’ve convinced my husband to give it a go and we will go when we can, taking it in turns to run each week.  There’s a fantastic playground at our local one with great paths for our girls to scooter along as well.  I’m currently hitting about the 31:00 – 31:30 mark and my aim is to get back to sub-30’s on a regular basis.

Intervals

Damn leg took a good three days to settle down after a very, very painful post-run Monday.  Today was pain free.  So I went for a run tonight.

My evening to get the girls settled, so my only option for a run was laps around the local oval.  Luckily it’s winter and soccer training is on, so most nights the lights are on.  I decided my best option was a quick batch of intervals.  I have been reading some running sites recently and there are so many different options for running intervals.  I went with the pyramid intervals option.

It was actually kind of fun.  Started with a two lap warm up, then did intervals of 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 400m, 200m, 100m.  With 100m walk between each.  All distances were approximate as I just measured it based on the oval being 400m and the lights around the oval being close enough to 100m apart each.

I’m not going to break any records, but I got them done.  My calf gave a bit of a twitch towards the end and I’m icing it as I write, but nothing too bad.  Think I need to avoid hills for a while to let it recover properly.

Wolli Metrogaine

We nearly didn’t make it – a sick kid, non-responsive babysitter and at ten minutes to 10am we still weren’t sure if we were going or not!  To say our prep wasn’t ideal is possibly an understatement.  I had been up half the night with a toddler with croup, had hydrated well, but other than my usual breakfast before 6am, hadn’t eaten anything else.  At just five minutes to 10, the babysitter confirmed and chaos ensued as we finished getting ready and ran though things with the carer.  A good run to the starting point and a lucky car spot (even in the shade!) had us checking in as planned.

We picked up our wrist bands and maps, a quick toilet stop and then set to studying the map and eyeing up potential routes.  Our aim was an incredibly optimistic 20km in the three hour event, so had to include a number of decision points where we could cut things short.  We reviewed the “suggested” 6km, 8km and 11.5km routes for novices and used them as a starting point for our plan.  The aim (as always!) was to maximise points, while minimising hills to try and protect my still not 100% legs.  Then with a rough anti-clockwise plan in place (chosen for the convenient placement of a toilet stop around 6km in!), we listened to the pre-race briefing and, three minutes early, we were off!2016-04-11 08.34.23

Everyone hurried on out the school gates and quickly dispersed in all directions following their own plans.  Quite a few were heading the same way as us, but a steady jog had us behind the speedy runners and in front of the walkers.  A short down and up and we were at the first control, turn around and back down past a steady stream of people with maps in hand and then we were heading along some pretty single track to our next checkpoint.  Our third control was a little trickier to find, Nick thought we had gone past it already, I was convinced we hadn’t reached it yet.  We kept on a little further only to come across someone just ahead of us searching for the same place.  A careful walk across slime covered rocks near mangroves and we were back off again.

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Back up into the streets of Earlwood for the next section and a duck and weave out to the lookout and first photo of the day.  Lots of people around this one and the next few before things thinned out and we were on our own again.  About an hour in and I was desperate for a loo stop which showed up right on time.  Five minute break for toilet, muesli bar and a powerade.  While it was a fairly mild day, the humidity was a killer and it was a relief to get my hands on a cold drink.  Took a little while to get going again after putting all that in my belly, but we saw plenty of people at the next checkpoint before crossing Cooks River and on to a couple of long slogs between controls and some more short but steep hills.

2016-04-11 08.35.31

The next hour saw fewer controls but some good points in them.  We realised our original full route had been optimistic, so picked which route to cut it back to.  Some route changes on the fly – an extra 20 points here and a bonus 90 points we hadn’t counted on.  While my mind kept flagging, Nick is fantastic at reminding me to eat another jellybean.  It basically goes in a cycle… Running happily.  I get cranky.  I get told to eat a jellybean.  Eat jellybean.  Running happily.  Repeat.  My legs felt great – we were keeping up a slow but steady pace, walked up any hills and just kept on going.

2016-04-11 08.36.50

Into the third hour and just street work left, mostly flat and some long, gentle inclines.  Then I felt the first twinge in my achilles.  Ten metres on the second twinge – time to stop running and start walking.  I tell Nick, that’s it, we grab the last two controls and head in.  He responded with, I was thinking we could grab this one as well in the time easily.  No, it’s time to head in before I hurt myself.  Walking was a breeze, so I tried a jog again – nope.  Ah well, checked the time, bugger it, let’s grab that extra one.  Hmmmm, can we nab one more??  No, definitely time to head in now.

We returned to the start about 15 minutes before cut off time, handed in our trackers and joined the queue for food.  No soft drinks (I was looking forward to a Coke), so we headed back to the car.  A few stretches, then in for the drive home.

The numbers

  • Distance: 16.7km
  • Time: 2:46:48
  • Elevation: 200m

Results

  • Controls: 21
  • Score: 1170
  • Position:
    • 63/149 overall
    • 10/58 mixed teams

This is the first rogaine we’ve been in where they permitted single entries rather than teams.  Which goes a fair way to our overall result nearly half way down the list.  It did give us a great result in the mixed teams though which we were really pleased with, especially given our slow finish.  There was only 100 point between us and 5th spot.

The best part of the whole thing.  While I was unsurprisingly tired, I felt generally fantastic.  I had no leg pain while running, and no post run aches either.  A beautiful day and a great run, can’t wait for the next one!

Weekend Wander

This weekend the plan was to run long and slow, explore a new route and see what sort of elevation it had and how much distance it would add to my usual trail loop.  Timing was to be dependent on weather and whatever other plans we came up with.  So I ended up heading off 3:30pm on Sunday – better late than never!

First couple of k’s were a standard path – bit of road then on to trail.  Only sewer remediation is being done in the area and the lovely quiet trail now stinks and a large section has been resurfaced, some of it well, some of it terribly.  Not nearly as nice as it used to be.  Then a different turn off, a couple of creek crossings, a stop to check the map and ask some bushwalkers for directions and I hit the bush steps.  And more steps, and more steps.2016-04-11 08.33.27

My left calf/achilles started playing up on this bit – I was taking it easy, only walking any uphill sections and was only in the third kilometre.  This really wasn’t a good sign.  But, I needed this run for my sanity.  It was my moment of quiet in a hectic, toddler fueled weekend and I was determined to make 10km, even if I had to walk the whole thing.

I reached the road at the top of the hill and turned down it to end up on some lovely fire trail.  Gently downhill, on wide, well graded trail, this was easy running.  I took it slowly, the calf still bothering me and stopped to check out the view a couple of times.  Then I hit the steep downhill sections, really felt for the guy on a mountain bike slogging his way back up.  And back on to my usual trail.  The new section added close to four kilometres and about 100m in elevation.

2016-04-11 08.32.38

I’ve pulled up sore – the leg isn’t happy with me, although icing has helped a little.  hopefully a decent sleep will see it better by morning.

  • Distance: 10km
  • Time: 1:32:58
  • Elevation: 140m

Goals – Part 2

Great Nosh Footrace

This is a trail run organised by orienteers, which is how I came across it last year.  It’s around 16km of damn hilly but beautiful terrain, ranging from single track to smooth, wide fire trail.  We signed up last year, despite the fact that the farthest I had ever run was 6km.  I had a cold for the two weeks leading up to the race, my nose only clearing at kilometre eight.  I struggled, both Achilles cramped, but I did it and even managed to jog a bit towards the end and put on a push to the finish.  We didn’t finish last.  It took 2 hours 40 minutes with my goal this year to get it to sub 2 hours.

 

Turkey Trot

Another orienteering event!  This one is a line course, you have to get all the controls in the order stated, the navigation is fairly straight forward and there are three course lengths.  It’s held in Sydney’s north west in a slightly different location each year.  We did the medium course (12km) last year, I think in around two hours.  My aim this year is to do it in sub 1:40.  Hopefully I will have done a couple of runs this length prior to the event at the start of July.

 

Goanna

Another orienteering event run on a variation of a straight line course.  Three different course lengths are available.  I’m pretty sure we did the medium course last year (could have been long) and I struggled on the day.  A lot!  My husband has the patience of a saint.  While it is scored individually, we ran it together.  This year we will do better.