Back on the Roads

Last time I ran my local 5km road loop was back at the start of April!  It’s been trails, orienteering and illness taking all my running time since then.  After a month of long (for me) trails – 11km, 13km, 16km and 10km – it was time to see if I could still put in any pace on a road run.

So Friday morning I headed out before work for a quick 5km.  The first thing I noticed was the wind – never notice that down in the trails since I mostly run along the river valley.  I was getting along at what I thought was a reasonable pace, when I glanced at my watch – 7:30.  What?!  Surely I wasn’t running that slowly, so I picked up the pace a little.  The second kilometre buzzed over and it was 5:38.  Wow – that’s damn quick for me.  Aaaah, I realise what happened, I was looking at the total run time, not my pace!  Oh well, that had felt good, a hard effort but not gasping for breath at the end of it.

I had told myself I could take a walk break at 2km and just before 4km, but I was feeling good so kept on going, changing my plan to a single walk at 3km.  Then promptly needed a 10 second break.  Nope, going to keep moving, can’t stop yet.  Took my walk break at 2.8km for 200m, then ended up needing another minute walking part way into the 4th kilometre as well.  My legs were struggling, my breathing was hard but I pushed on, no more stopping now.  The last kilometre and I picked up the pace just a little – damn it was getting tough.  Around the last bend and pushed on harder, managing a sub-4min pace for the last section.

Finally I was done!  Overall time was nowhere near my best and a little disappointing, I really need to work on those walk breaks.  Then I looked at my stats:

5km

Woah!  Really happy with that 1k effort.  The only time I’ve been faster was doing a 1km time trial nearly a year ago, this time it was after having already pushing through a hard 4km effort.

With no more trial runs coming up, I think it might be time to put in some effort over shorter distances and seeing if I can start sustaining my effort over the distance and not need those walk breaks.  Added bonus, my asthma didn’t bother me in the slightest, in fact, it never even crossed my mind.

Run Down Under – made it to Sydney!

Over the last year, my wish list for birthday and christmas has had a definite increase in running related items on it.  Last Christmas, my husband signed me up to Run Down Under for the year.

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The basic premise of Run Down Under is that you go for your runs and upload them to the site and it tracks the total number of kilometres you have run and then tracks your progress as you make your virtual way around Australia.  I upload my runs to Garmin, which then automatically syncs to Strava.  Then when I log in to Run Down Under, I tell it to sync with Strava and it uploads my runs and does loads of funky stuff – tells me how far I am overall, for the year, for the week, tracks it all on rankings tables.

The point of this post?  After starting in Canberra, and making your way counter clockwise around the country, every so often you pass through a “destination”.  You get an email congratulating you and some interesting snippets of information about the town.  Last week I made it to the first major destination – Sydney!  Finally!!!

Capture1

I had hoped to get there in June, but injury, illness, etc was against me and I finally made it to Sydney the first weekend of July, thanks to the Turkey Trot.  Apparently they even send you out a gift!  I’ll post it once it gets here.

Next destination?  Wyong is about 68km off – so a couple of months if I’m lucky.  Next major destination is Brisbane, roughly 1000km and therefore two years away.  Estimated time for me to make it around the entire loop at my current rate – 5 March 2044, although I’m optimistic that I can do it a little more quickly than that!

Sydney Turkey Trot Race Recap

We didn’t come last – mission accomplished!  And while our time was longer than last year, so was the distance we covered.  Our average pace was quicker, so I can’t complain too much.

On to the event itself.  Started off on the wrong foot when I realised I was out of jelly beans!  My only tried and tested fueling for running and definitely required for this event. Quick stop at a petrol station and I had to make do with whatever I could find – ended up with some fruit chews of some sort.  Individually wrapped so I could just put a handful in my pocket and hopefully they wouldn’t make a mess everywhere.

Dropped my car off near the finish and we both headed off to the start location in Baulkham Hills.  We were pretty early, but a good number of people were already there with more turning up right up to start time.  The long event runners headed off at 9:00 and we headed over to the start area to pick up our first maps and wait for it to begin at 9:15.  The idea of this race, as with many orienteering events, is that you don’t look at the map until your time starts.  But with most of the field already studying and planning their route we didn’t see why we should be the only ones left out!

Map 1

Map 1

A quick countdown from the starters phone and we were all off.  The rest of the field quickly pulled away from us – it was fast!  Only one checkpoint in the first kilometre and we clocked a speedy sub 6 minutes.  Way too fast, but we were already being left behind with only one or two other runners still in sight.  It had felt a fairly easy run at the pace, but it was early days yet with approximately another 11km to go.

Through a small network of overgrown bush tracks for the next point and then on to what would feature for a large part of the event – smooth, paved bike paths through peaceful parkland.  The gentle slopes made for easy running (and walking) and the majority of the controls were easy to find.  Up over a hill on some roads, then down to another parkland following a creek bed.  Under some major roads, a few short hills, a bit of backtracking and we were still moving well.

Map 2

Map 2

There was only one other person from our event in occasional sight at this point when all of a sudden we were being surrounded by the lead runners from the long event.  The two events overlapped for a short time before we found ourselves at the water drop where we also picked up our third and final map.  At this point we had covered close to 9km and I was looking forward to a short run to the finish.  No such luck – this map listed the distance as just under 5km!  Nothing to be done but to keep going.

More roads, I planned a zig-zag route through the streets ignoring contours – oops!  Took us over a hill, not the best idea, but at least it wasn’t too big and we had some fast downhill on the other side.  Again crossing paths with runners from the long event, and stopping to remove some bark from inside my shoe.  Onwards and more roads with runners going in all different directions as we all headed closer and closer to the finish line.

Map 3

Map 3

An hour and a half in and we hit the most technical, single track of the whole thing to find the next control at a creek crossing.  Started seeing a lot more people now as this area was covered in the short courses which all started and ended at the finish location.  Four more controls to go and we were in the final bit of bush.  A tangled network of tracks to find our way through, multiple other orienteers to dodge and controls everywhere as we tried to keep some speed up.  Into the finish area – but where was the flag?!  Everyone was milling around for presentations while we scanned the area looking for that final point to beep into.  Ah – there it is, behind everyone!

Not last.  A few more long coursers still to come in, a final medium course runner and plenty of people still out on the shorter courses.  While our time was slower than last year, there was more than an extra kilometre on the length we ran.  Our overall pace was 20 seconds per kilometre quicker and moving pace was almost a minute better.  Which just shows that I needed too many stops this year.

Again, the first 8km I stuck to my goal of 8km/hr average.  The next 2km weren’t too far off and then it started creeping up a little more.  I still had a good bit of running left in me at the end though, unlike last year where my energy levels crashed after 8km and by 12km I was dragging myself along.  A good greasy lunch before heading home refueled us enough so we could still entertain the girls when we got home.  While tired, I felt good at the end and my recovery wasn’t too bad.  My calves and quads gave a few twinges over the next couple of days, but otherwise I’ve just been a bit tired.

Now just to hope I’ve got enough in the tank to follow it up with the NOSH Footrace on Sunday!

Stats for the Turkey Trot:

  • Distance: 13.5km
  • Time: 1:48:48 (moving time 1:38)
  • Elevation: 114m
  • Average Pace: 8:05min/km (moving pace 7:17min/km)  last years pace was 8:24min/km

 

May-June Numbers

I’ve spent a fair bit of the past two months sick with one thing or another and certainly haven’t managed to get in the number of runs I would have liked.  Given this, my numbers aren’t as bad as I might have thought.

I finished out May with the following – ok given I was pretty sick most of the month.

  • Runs: 3
  • Distance: 21.2km
  • Elevation: 352m

I’m happy enough with my June numbers though for a winter month.

  • Runs: 7
  • Distance: 40km
  • Elevation: 520m

I only did this many runs in June as I had a weeks leave in early June and the weather was perfect.  That combined with a long weekend let us squeeze in a few more runs than otherwise would have been possible.

Running total for the past year is heading in the right direction.  I’m still aiming to get this number to 500km for the past year.

  • Distance: 411km
  • Elevation: 4572m

I have no particular aim for elevation, maybe that can be a new goal for next year!

Loving my socks!

And I am so impressed with my 2XU running compression socks.  I picked them up from the outlet sale on their site, so colours were limited, but damn they’re good!  Feel pretty snug when I first put them on, but once I’m moving I barely notice them.  However, the couple of runs I’ve done so far with them on, I have had no issues at all with my calves while running.  A little tightness afterwards but nothing compared to how they had felt for the last few months.

Added bonus, when I rolled my ankle quite badly two weeks ago, I just kept on running.  The continued compression I think aided in the recovery.  During the week after, I would notice a few twinges when walking, but running on it a week later and I didn’t notice it at all.  Plus – they look damn sexy!

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Today

Today is the Sydney Turkey Trot which is listed in my goals.  We ran the medium course last year – an approximately 12km straight line orienteering course.  Last year my aim had been to stick to about a 7:30/km pace which we managed pretty much bang on for the first 8km.  After that first hour though, I didn’t have anything more and it took close to 45 minutes for the last 4km.

This year the aim is to stick to the 7:30/km pace for the whole thing – possibly a little optimistic at this point, but let’s see what happens!

A couple of days ago, there were less than 50 entries overall and only 3 in the womens medium course – basically a guarantee of a placing.  Checking now though, there are over 75 entries with six entries in the womens medium course.  Oh well, maybe another time.

I’m really looking forward to running tomorrow.  I’m not getting to run anywhere near as regularly as I would like over winter, but at least the runs I am doing are longer than what I usually manage.