Saturday Results

Turns out we didn’t do quite as badly as we first thought.  We compared to previous Saturday events and this one was a lot longer overall, with most people taking over an hour to complete the same course we did – other events were closer to half an hour.

With numbers seeming well down on average, probably due to the rain, we came 12th/13th out of 20 who took part in the same course.  Quickest on course was under 50 minutes while a couple took over two hours and a couple mispunched – very easy to do here.

In hindsight, this was a really good course.  There was a lot of running across the entire map, the trails were mostly clear with the controls set out partly in full view, partly hidden – enough that you had to pay really close attention to the map, anyway.  I’ve pulled up well, my legs know they worked but still feel strong.  My ankle is sore from when I went over it, but I can walk comfortably enough.

On to the next challenge!

Dreaming of One Day

Ultra Trail Australia did something really, really smart.  Shortly after their event which included a 22km, 50km and 100km as well as a kids race and a vertical step challenge they asked for runners to submit a race report with the opportunity to win an entry for next year.

Results are in and not only did they publish the reports that won entry to next year, by the looks of things they have published all of them.  Makes for a great time waster and a fascinating read – so many race reports.  From front runners to back of the packers, different reasons for running, different reasons for being able to push through, a number of did not finish and even one did not start (which turned out to be a great read).

Check them all out!

It made me dream of the 50km, admire anyone who attempted the 100km (damn tough people, every single one of them!) and realistically aspire to at least being able to give the 22km a shot next year or the year after.

Saturday Orienteering

I’ve eyed this series of events off before, but had been under the impression that they were for school kids and their families.  We recently realised they were open to everyone, so when one came up that we could make it to we decided to check it out.

This one was only 15 minutes away and we arranged with the in-laws to come out and have some fun with the girls while we ran.  There were three course options – a 45 minute score course similar to Summer Series; a short line course; and a long line course.  Our original plan was to run different courses, but on arrival we decided to do the long line course together, potentially splitting up if I needed to walk too much.

My Garmin took aaaaages to lock on to gps, over 5 minutes!  Then we were given our maps, beeped our starts, had our first look at our maps and headed off.  Skirted around some construction fencing, then along a nice clear track towards the first marker – which was at the far end of our map from the start…  We started seeing controls from the get go and made sure we checked if they matched up with controls we had to get later – this ended up saving us loads of time later on and making some good gains on faster runners.

Within 100m we hit the first descent – gulp!  This was actually a sign of things to come, the map scale might have been only 1:5000 on an A4 sheet, but the contours were 5m, and there were a LOT of them.  It was a slow walk, skid, scramble, clamber as we went down, down, down to the creek.  Then our first route choice which ended up being a good call.  Slightly more up, but then some road which made for good traveling. The first control was near a creek crossing and, as most controls were, was obviously placed.  The second control was back towards the start, but along the alternate route – much slower.  Several creek crossings, lots of mud, parts of the path fallen away and trees to climb over.  Lots of fun, but pretty tight when we met people coming the other way.

I said "wait", he thought I said "wet", result - a blur!

I said “wait”, he thought I said “wet”, result – a blur!

All the way back to the first creek we hit and a different crossing – very glad there hadn’t been any more rain or we would have been wading across.  Control 3 was across the other side of the map again, after being more used to score courses where we can pick up controls in any order we like, it felt terribly wrong to be passing controls that we would have to come back and get later on.  Some beautiful running along some very pretty trails, then some steps and some more steps.  A little worse for wear after recent storms too which made for slow going.  Past three more controls that we would have to get later on and we were finally at control 3 and almost half an hour in!  This was definitely going to be a lot slower than we had expected.

Then some lovely fast gently downhill firetrail and we overshot our turnoff, wasting a lot of time.  Back up we went, then found the right side trail.  A little way in a large stick tried to trip me up. And again, and again.  Damn thing was at least two metres long and had somehow twisted itself into my shoelaces and had me madly hopped along trying not to fall over.  I won the battle and disentangled myself from the branch, making sure it ended up well off the trail.  More trees to climb over and we were finally at control 4.

Control 5 was an easy find and not too far off.  Control 6 we definitely took the hard way!  We headed down to the trail we thought we needed to get to.  But the only way down was clambering down what was basically a cliff face.  With fallen trees.  And slippery.  Not our best effort, but we got there in the end and realised how easy it actually should have been.

Controls 7 and 8 we had already spotted, it was just a matter of retracing our steps and making our way down four contours we had previously climbed, then back up again and back down again.  The down was fun, but running the same track four times was definitely my least favourite thing to do!

Control 9 was a gentle run back along a previous trail and keeping an eye out for the marker we had previously spotted – having noted this one previously actually let us get ahead of a couple of runners that had overtaken us earlier.  On to Control 10 which was at yet another creek crossing, again, one we had noted earlier and proved no problem. Not far to control 11 and then it was the climb back up our original downhill from the start.  Oh boy that was slow!  Eight contours (40m of up in less than 200m) of elevation before we could finally move a bit faster than a crawl to make our way to control 12.

Next was possibly the hardest part of the entire thing.  Run past the finish to do a wide loop through the bush around the oval and pick up the final three controls.  This was all straightforward, easy running, our legs were getting tired, but we still found the energy to pick up the pace a little and then finally, finally, reach the finish.

Wow!  That took SO long.  Much tougher than we had expected with the terrain and the navigation was tricky partly because we’ve never worked on a map at that scale before, so kept overshooting our goals.  It was slow, slow, slow.  But on the good side – I had no issues with breathing, no pain, no tightness or pulling in my calves.  It was also my first test run with my new compression socks which I’d picked up on sale during the week.  They were awesome!  So comfortable and this was the first run since January that my calf and achilles haven’t given me any problems at all.  Big, big win!

Sexy new socks

Sexy new socks

So given that massive report, this must have been a BIG run – right?!  Well, here are the stats to show just how slowly we went.

  • Distance: 6.4km
  • Time: 1:24
  • Elevation: 100m

My garmin also had a spectacular fail, recording this run as over 140 hours long.  No idea what happened, but that’s definitely a best effort yet!  Added bonus – finding a leech on the way home.  At least it was on the outside of my shoe and was still a skinny thing, having failed to find a way through my new socks!

Managing My Asthma

After the last two runs where I struggled with my breathing – more than expected after not running for a while – it was time to head back to the doctor and find out more about managing my asthma.  Luckily my GP is also a runner and keen to get me back out being able to run normally again as soon as possible.

He got me to do a peak flow test – not ideal when I’m still suffering symptoms but still worth starting to track so we can identify any changes.  Apparently I was at 96% of expected.

After reducing my dose as initially directed, I’m now back on two puffs twice a day for at least two weeks to try and get it under control again.  After that, down to one puff twice a day for a couple of months but going back up to the higher dose if I find it’s not controlling things enough.  Then maybe, just maybe, at the end of winter I will be able wean off it entirely – until the next time, anyway.

My trail run is the only run I’ve done since going back on increased asthma meds and it started tough too, but I don’t think things had completely kicked in at that point.  Not sure when my next run will be.  Hoping for an orienteering run on Saturday, but that’s weather and health dependent.

Added “bonus” – the steroids in the inhaler have made my voice husky, so I’m going to have a crap voice for several months.  I hope this doesn’t happen every year.

 

Back on the Local Trails

It was tough getting myself out on the weekend, but a long weekend with no run just wouldn’t be right.  So, Sunday lunchtime, I pulled my shoes on and headed out the door planning for an 8km run along our local trails.

The first 500 metres was so, so difficult.  My breathing was as hard as if I was at the end of my run, not the start but my heart rate was nice and low.  Damn asthma again!  Fingers crossed that it would sort itself out after a while, I pulled back to a walk up the first little hill and then picked up my pace as the road leveled out.  Then it was downhill for nearly one kilometre by which time I had warmed up and my breathing had sorted itself out – yay!

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Then I was properly on the trails, still a bit muddy in places from the recent rain, but not nearly as much water in the creeks as I expected.  It was a beautiful day, my legs felt good, the sun was shining and there were plenty of other people out enjoying the day too.  I pushed on up the hill, walking when needed – 15 minutes and 80 metres elevation gain by way of steps and rocks, tree roots sticking out everywhere and every now and then a 10 metre stretch of smooth trail.  Then it was (nearly) all smooth running back downhill again.

I was passed by a mountain bike just as we got back on the fire trail, he slowed right down though on the slight uphill.  Just the motivation I needed to keep running up that incline – could I catch him again?  So close!  I made it within a few metres of him before the trail headed downhill again and he got away from me.

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The long, gentle uphill back out of the valley was hard, I walked a lot of it, then I was back on the road again for the final stretch home to finish up with exactly 8km.  My time was ok, I have to remember that I’m still getting my run legs back after a month off and my breathing is working exactly as it should yet.  Plenty of time to improve on some of the strava segments along the way.

  • Distance: 8km
  • Time: 1:05:28
  • Elevation: 136m

And the perfect, sunny winter day as seen from our back deck while doing some post run stretches, my legs were definitely hurting after those hills!

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First Parkrun for the Girls

We went along to Parkrun on the weekend, our first one in a couple of months.  The girls have been begging to “run with mummy” for a while now, so while my husband ran, we hung out at the back of the pack.

My 3yr old started my running watch when every one got going.  Then we organised ourselves with the carrying of water and holding hands and started off at a bit of a jog.  They loved it!  My older girl found holding hands too restricting, so went a little ahead doing a busy little, bum wiggling, arm pumping, running action looking very purposeful in her pink trackies, hoodie, sunnies and flashing shoes.  The 2yr old wasn’t quite as independent having taken a tumble while out yesterday, so clung on for dear life, but still got a nice little jog going, regularly checking in with me – “mummy, are you sweaty?”.  Apparently that is how to tell if you have been for a run.

We had a couple of tissue stops (the 2yr old), paused for a few minutes at the 400m mark to wait for daddy to pass by again so we could clap and cheer him on.  The tail runner passed us at this point, checking whether we were planning on doing the full course or not.  Since we weren’t, she kept moving on while we got ourselves sorted out to start moving again.

Another tissue stop, a few reminders to “keep left”, some water breaks – “I’m running out of energy, mummy. I need some water.”  Then I was informed that a toilet was needed.  Just keep going a bit further.  Distracted by a playground. “Can we come back here, mummy?”  And we made it as far as we were going to.  Just short of one kilometre.  The 2 year old pressed stop on the Garmin and we rushed off so the 3 year old could do her wee.  Then it was off to the playground!

The numbers:

  • Distance: 940m
  • Time: 15 minutes

The important bit – they enjoyed themselves and want to go back again. Maybe we will make it all the way through the first kilometre next time!

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Manly to Spit

An overcast morning meant that it was a much warmer morning than we have been having recently.  We parked the car at The Spit leaving jumpers in the car and just carrying the necessities – bus tickets, phone, car key, a little emergency cash and the most important thing, jelly beans.

A bus turned up almost straight away and whisked us off to Manly, a quick toilet stop and we headed off.  A slow and steady pace for the first couple of k’s on bike paths and roads before getting on to the trail.  We passed probably less than a dozen people along the entire trail – benefit of running mid week and with the threat of rain.

The view back to Manly

The view back to Manly

I haven’t been this way for probably close to five years and have never run it before.  The first part of the trail is all uphill, lots of steps and slow going.  Then it’s a rapid descent down the other side.  Although there continues to be ups and downs, steep steps, narrow sections, some mud, slippery rocks, everything needed to make sure you keep your mind on what your doing.

Steps, steps and more steps

Steps, steps and more steps

My breathing was a lot better this time, I think the varied pace works a lot better for me than trying to maintain steady pace for an entire run at the moment.  I started struggling around the 8km mark, but since we had to get back to our car, we kept moving and picked up the pace whenever we could.  My legs were definitely feeling it as well, longest run in quite a while!

My jelly bean fueling worked well, three jelly beans throughout the run giving me just enough of a boost to keep going.  We kept going for the full 10km, then ducked across the road for a well earned “snack” from Jimmy’s at the Spit.

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  • Distance: 10km
  • Time: 1hr 35m
  • Elevation: 190m

Oh! And I FINALLY got to test out my new shoes!  My new Asics were a dream. Just as comfortable as the old pair.  Very slight rubbing in a couple of places, but nothing that bothered me while actually running.  I think these will be seeing a lot of use in the future.

Recover after the run was hard though.  My body is feeling the effects of doing two runs this week after a month off exercise and still having a few issues with the asthma.  My legs felt heavy as lead, mind was a bit frazzled for a few hours.  A midday nap seemed to sort things out though and a well deserved glass of wine this evening.

Back on my Feet Again

First run in four weeks done!  It was short, flat and just a bit hard.  Not helped by forgetting to use my inhaler this morning, so breathing was definitely more difficult than it needed to be.  But it’s done.  And now I get back to getting on with things, working on my fitness, etc, etc.

Nick and I have the week off, our version of a holiday – the girls stay in daycare and have a “home holiday” for ourselves.  So this morning after dropping the girls off, we continued on to Bicentennial Park and took ourselves for a 5-6km slow and steady run.  It was lovely running new paths, weaving our way over the boardwalk through the mangroves, then along the bike paths.  The final stretch was a climb up some steps – very poor route planning on my part – and a final push to hit exactly 5km at our car.

And so convenient.  We just happened to have parked right near the cafe for a post run muffin and drink!

My legs were fine, I think I woke them up on the exercise bike on the weekend.  I struggled with my breathing the whole time though which wasn’t much fun.  My heart rate jumped for more than a kilometre at the start before settling back to a normal 160ish.  A slight pull from my right achilles again towards the end, but otherwise everything worked as it should.  A decent enough start.

  • Distance: 5km
  • Time: 36:10
  • Elevation: 18m

Yay – Exercising Again

With a long, wet winter forecast, a job that has me leaving around dawn and getting home after dark, I needed to find some way of getting in some regular exercise during the week this winter.  Then there’s the added bonus of Nick traveling for work occasionally which means that I can’t get out of the house to even run around the oval.  Last year was dismal, I think I ran on average twice a month and didn’t do anything else.

This winter will be different.  We hired an exercise bike for 3 months and tonight I gave it a test run.  30 minutes on program 4, average RPM of 75 – which gave me approx 14km with average heart rate 107, bike told me around 300 calories, while the garmin tells me only 130.  Recovery was easy, my quads definitely felt it though.  Felt really good to be moving again though and should help keep my legs in shape while I can’t run as frequently.

Relief

And Sundays race has been postponed!

Main feeling is relief.  With no recent runs, pouring rain, flooding, mud and the distance, I had stopped looking forward to the run and had started viewing it more as a challenge to be survived.  No new date yet, but at least I can start getting out and doing my own runs again – providing the weather isn’t too crazy.