Ho hum

12 days out from Marathon Number five and I’m home sick with the virus that is rampantly doing the rounds of Northern Tasmania.  I don’t have enough fingers to count the people I know who’ve enjoyed some down time with this energy-sucking annoyance.

It's freezing but beautiful and sunny - spring is around the corner.

It’s freezing but beautiful and sunny – spring is around the corner.

In truth I think I’ve been fighting the virus off for a couple of weeks, finally on Tuesday morning it hit in a way that I couldn’t ignore it.  What to do?  Look after myself that’s what.  For the first time in eight years I’m being most grown up and have taken multiple days off work (view nervous twitching).  Currently I’ve missed one day of training (yesterday).  I’m confident that by marathon day, in fact by this weekend I’ll be back on deck.  It’s taper time, so missing a few runs will not hurt at all; perhaps could do me some good.  I’ll be itching to get out running when that horn sounds for the start of the marathon.

In the meantime I am indulging in all things healthy.

Take that virus, you won't survive with this arsenal of healthiness. I've even made some chicken soup complete with garlic, ginger, onions, chili and black pepper.

Take that virus, you won’t survive with this arsenal of healthiness. I’ve even made some chicken soup complete with garlic, ginger, onions, turmeric, chili and black pepper.

In blessing-counting mode I’m grateful that I can take time off work, rest and eat well.  It’s wonderful to live in a place where these things are possible.

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Calving hasn't officially started but already the calf shed is filling.

Calving hasn’t officially started but already the calf shed is filling.   I hope Pauly doesn’t come down with the virus, his boss isn’t quite so nice (that’s the trouble when you work for yourself).

Yes, a little bit of ho hum-ness here for this Unsporty Woman, but come marathon day I’ll be fighting fit!  Maybe I’ll even be a little dangerous due to suffering from cabin fever.  Now back to the couch and my ultra-marathon reading.

Happy running:)

Decluttering

Today I can say I reached a new level of grownupness in the running realm.  I’ve done something that I gasp never thought I would EVER do.

Have you ever noticed how slippery running clothes are?  One moment they are neatly folded and looking tidy, the next minute they are a colourful moosh.  Looking into the wardrobe becomes more like looking into a tumble drier or washing machine than an ordered storage system.  Just a few prods through the pile to find that specific running singlet will mean that they’re all messed up.  And this is especially the case when one’s collection of running clothes has grown to the point where the storage system cannot cope and indeed there are not enough weeks in the year to wear all this kit.

Today I culled, cleaned and de-cluttered.  Running gear that hasn’t been worn for more than a year was ruthlessly thrown into the recycle bag.  The first couple of decisions were tough.  My brow became clammy, my heart pumped faster.  But as I progressed I was able to employ logic and calmly culled away.  Just as a librarian weeds the collection, I weeded out my kit.

Mintie slept in the sun while I decluttered (he is not allowed on the bed).

Mintie slept in the sun while I decluttered (he is not allowed on the bed).

Yes.  Today I feel I have reached a bench mark in running maturity.  I, the Unsporty Woman, have been able to get rid of running gear that I no longer need.

Usually I have three pairs of running shoes on the go at any one time. I have five right now!

Usually I have three pairs of running shoes on the go at any one time. I have five right now! Pretty…

It feels good to finally have this job done.

It’s been a lovely weekend.  Launceston Running Club had the final race for the 2016 season on Saturday.  The 10km feature race was on a new course.  Both Pauly and I ran pretty well, nothing outstanding but pretty good.

Now our attention fully turns to Ross Marathon in two weekend’s time.  Marathon number five for Louise and I.  I think I can safely claim grownup status as a runner.  If I can do all of this then anyone can.  Never give up!

Happy running:)

Bruny Island Ultra Elevation

In 18 days time Louise and I will be lined up to run our third marathon this year and our fifth in total.  Ross Marathon is a small event.  Last year there were 47 men and 14 women.  It’s a small event even by Tasmanian standards.  There is a half marathon and a 10km event; all up about 450 people participate.

While Ross is very much our focus right now, we are looking just beyond it.  After Ross there will be one week of rest then it’s right into 12 weeks of Bruny Island Ultra training.  After discussion and much research we have decided to split our long runs over two days with about a 60/40 to 70/30 split.  Our aim with Bruny is to finish, we have 10 hours to run 64km (that’s 40 miles).  We think our plan will get us from start to finish with the minimum of stress.

Our plan is still very much in draft mode.

In the meantime here is a graphic of the elevation of Bruny Island Ultra courtesy of Pauly’s run last year.

Bruny Island Ultra Elevation map

Thank goodness for hillitude!  We are going to need it.  After running a marathon distance we’ll still have a half marathon of hills to go.

Any thoughts or advice on ultra marathon running would be most appreciated.  Any comments along the lines of you’re crazy will be responded to with much raspberry blowing (we know we’re crazy):)  But why not try and run an Ultra?  Why wonder if we can do it when we can actually try?  Wondering has no thrill or interest or fun.  Trying brings the thrill of What if we actually do it???  How cool will it be to try and do this together?  What stories we’ll be able to tell!  There will be no wondering for Louie and I, we’ll be lacing up our shoes and running as far as we can and hopefully on Saturday 03 December at about 2:30pm we’ll be holding up a sign at the Bruny Island Lighthouse!

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Here are Team Quackers from last year.  Pauly ran Solo and the rest of us ran in a team relay.  This year Louie and I line up to run the whole way!

Happy running:)

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A walk up the Tiers

It’s been a mixed-bag of a weekend on many levels.  Weather:  rainy and stormy with high winds to warm and sunny.  Running:  Sluggish to Energising.

Today was a 15km run with The Running Group.  I do love this group so much.  Why?  We are all there for the fun of running.  We encourage each other.  There’s no competitiveness except on a fun basis AND we genuinely like each other.  Our Coach is awesome and brings out the best in us.  There is no better example of this than today when the Lovely Cathy ran her very first marathon in Adelaide South Australia in 4:25:00!  Her goal was just to finish.  We were so happy.  We found out while having breakfast together after our run.  Fantastic.

All up I’ve run 48kms in three days and right now I’m feeling really encouraged about the marathon in three weeks time.  Louie had a good run this morning too.  Perhaps the ingredient that was missing Friday was the sunshine.  Who knows.  But thank goodness for good runs for both of us.

HIggs Track is only a 10 minute drive from our place.

HIggs Track is only a 10 minute drive from our place.

Last Sunday afternoon Pauly and I did something completely different.  We live under The Great Western Tiers, Tasmania Australia, and while I’ve climbed a few of the peaks in the area I haven’t done so for years and years.  Finally after much talking (eight years) we put on our trail shoes, packed a snack and off we set to climb up in the Tiers to Lady Lake Hut.

The highlands of Tasmania have a rich history of hardworking people who used the land, flora and fauna to support themselves.  Farmers often went trapping in the winter to supplement their incomes and as a result developed finely honed bush skills.  The weather in the mountain can change just like that, it’s tough and treacherous.  And this is only a couple of generations ago.  How times have changed.  For the good? For the bad?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that the land was meant to be used and cared for.  Locking it up doesn’t do it any good.  Over using it doesn’t do it any good either.  Finding a balance is what I believe makes good land management.

Here are a few happy snaps from last Sunday.

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The start of Higgs Track – Pauly en pointe in his farm gear.

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The tracks starts in our famous Tasmanian temperate rain forest. It’s so beautiful.

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Initially the track is lovely and smooth

Initially the track is lovely and smooth.

Beautiful rock work

Beautiful rock work.

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No matter where we are the farmer is on the job

No matter where we are the farmer is on the job.  He was coordinating a delivery of gravel to re-do some of the flood damaged laneways on the farm.  It’s been the toughest of tough winter seasons for farmers in our area.

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After 1.8kms and 535m of climb we’re at the top and there is Lady Lake Hut.  Pauly had thought we would ‘trail run’ up to the hut.  Run?  We huffed and puffed and it took us 1:10:00 to go 2km.  It was heavy going.

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Lady Lake Hut is on the original site of one built in the early 1900s that subsequently burnt down during bush fires in the 1960s.  The Mountain Hut Preservation Society worked behind the scenes for years to make the rebuild possible then got to work and built it as well.  They have worked on a number of heritage sites to ensure the history of the pioneering past is not lost.  Mountain huts were integral to the survival of those who ventured into the mountains.  There was no gortex or light weight gear in those days.

The history of the hut and the rebuild, along with a helicopter crash and miraculous survival is told on a story board on the veranda of the hut. (I’ve recently read a self-published account of the helicopter crash and am amazed that anyone survived, this was all in and around the rebuilding of the hut pictured).  I’ve read three different books on the history of the area and it was just lovely to finally make it up there.  And it’s only a 10 minute drive and a 2km walk away from our front door.  There is much I could say about my thoughts on the history of this wonderful place I call home, but since this is a running blog I’ll leave it at that.

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In the Valley we could easily make out the farm and the boundary fences.

In the Valley we could easily make out the farm and the boundary fences.

Then it was time to head back down.

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Crossing the bridge again and nearly back to the start of the track.

I hope you enjoyed the photos.

Happy running:)

Endurance

In space of a week, one awesome run and one totally hideous run.

Last Saturday was the Scottsdale to Bridport half marathon, I loved every step of it!

This Friday was a 28km training run.

28kms.  If I was only going to say good things about this run there are only two things that I can say.  1) I got to run with Louie and 2) I got to the end.  That’s all.  There were only two good things about it.  By 8kms in I was struggling.  8kms?  You call yourself a marathoner?  Ugh!  Even Louie struggled.  I can’t blame poor preparation:  Thursday saw me eating and drinking appropriately and having an early night.  The weather was horrible (wet and windy) but even that shouldn’t have made the run so bad.  I have no idea why it was so bad for both Louie and I.  No idea at all.  It was what it was – bad.  But we did it, Louie and I together.  Thanks Louie for keeping me running when I know you were struggling yourself.  Last long run before Ross Marathon.  It was ugly!

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How can running from one week to the next be so different?

The trick I’ve found it is to dig deep and to remember that in the scheme of things running a bad run makes us stronger.  Don’t dwell on it.  Move forwards.  A good run is around the corner.

Then today was the penultimate run with the Launceston Running Club for 2016, a hilly 5km.  It wasn’t remarkable in anyway.  I did it.  I have enjoyed my runs with the Club this year and I have taken the motto of the Club where you can run for fun to heart as always.  Next week is the 10km Feature Race and the last event on the calendar.

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Yeah.  So.  Not a good week this week.  And that’s ok.  Running is about endurance as much as anything else.  I have endured.  Sometimes that’s all we need to do.  It’s not always about trophies and PBs – sure they are nice, but sometimes it’s only about making it to the finish because the fuel tank says that’s all we can do.  AND getting to the finish makes us a winner every single time.  Finisher = Winner.

Here’s to a better week next week.

Happy running:)

 

Scottsdale to Bridport Half Marathon

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Photos from Launceston Running Club’s facebook page

Yesterday was Launceston Running Club‘s Scottsdale to Bridport Half Marathon.  This was my very first ever half marathon in 2013.  Yesterday was the third time I’ve run this event and up until a few moments ago I thought it was my 17th half marathon.  Well no, thanks to the wonders of record keeping, it was the 18th time this Unporty Woman has lined up and ran a 21.1km event.

And what an event it was.  I loved every single second of it!  How could this be?  There is always a point in a race where I go oh dear, what am I doing this for, why am I here?  But no, not yesterday.  I loved it.  At km number 15 I was having so much fun that I knew I had a big grin on my face but I couldn’t get serious and stop smiling.

There seemed to be something magical about being back on the course of my first ever half.  All the training miles that I’ve run since then.  All the wonderful events and goals achieved.  All the happy runs.  All the hard sloggy runs.  All the wonderful people I’ve met all because I was brave enough to keep trying to be a runner – well all this kept crowding into my mind and heart and I was filled with gratitude for running and all the richness it’s brought to Pauly and I.

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I ran the whole way happy. My laps don’t show my normal slow down, instead they are quite consistent.  While the course goes down 300m from start to finish there are three mega hills to chip away at.  I’m thrilled at how well I managed to tackle them.

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Here are my times:

  • 2013:  2:18:04
  • 2015:  2:10:15
  • 2016:  2:04:31

This little story of the Scottsdale to Bridport Half shows that even a runner like me can get stronger over time.  The key is to keep on trying.  To chip away at running goals just like we would a big hill.  Focus in on each step and before we know it we are at the top.  Don’t give up.  Keep on trying.  If I can do this running thing anyone can.

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Crossing the finish line – a handicap of 00:30:00 and I came 6th.

Pauly crossing the finish line, handicap of 1:07:00 and came last! Pauly's time was 1:46:00

Pauly crossing the finish line, handicap of 01:07:00 and he came last! Pauly’s time was 1:46:00

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Half Marathon Number 18 and just a wonderful place to run it, right where it all began – thank you running!

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Happy running:)

Look what came up on my watch right after I stopped it yesterday!

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Does my bum look big in this hydration pack?

If it does, I don’t care, I don’t care that my rear end looks big because it perfectly accommodates the most comfortable and efficient hydration pack that I’ve had the joy of owning.  How many hydration belts have I had the joy of owning?  In the hunt for the perfect kit this Unsporty Woman has shelled out on four actual hydration systems, three gear belts and two clip on drink containers.  The answer to how many is lots!  All of these have been ok, some even good, but no where near as good as the latest purchase.

Introducing Ultimate Directions new Groove Stereo belt.

I don’t just like this new belt, I LOVE it!  Here’s why:

  • it’s light weight, soft and comfortable
  • it fits my phone and gels with ease
  • it has bungee cord bits that hold a light weight jacket (yet to be fully tested)
  • there is a pocket at the back for keys and lip balms and thing
  • BEST OF ALL no slosh!  Not one sloshy, slushy sound comes from this wonderful belt.

I first saw this product at the Gold Coast Marathon Expo but the price was such that I needed to think about it.  No amount of smooth selling from the hip looking I’m an ultra running dude who knows everything could persuade me to part with my cash there and then.   Not even the offer of I’ll give you two bottles for the price of one.  I needed to think about it.  And think about it I did and then two weeks ago jumped online and ordered it.

It wasn’t cheap.

After two runs with it I’m in love.  I bought this myself and haven’t been sponsored to say nice things about this product but honestly it’s that good that I feel confident to recommend it.  Why pay for a whole lot of cheap systems (like I did) when you can go the Rolls-Royce and get perfection?

Here are a few happy snaps.

13872934_10153989535343020_1847489097505240740_nThis is the front.  It has two pockets at the front that are a bit like stretchy pouches, behind the pouches is a large zip pocket that easily fits an iPhone 6.

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This is the front where the belt folds around.  I bought a large size in case Pauly would like to use it.  The fabric is soft and breathable and doesn’t rub.

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And this is the back.  I spun the belt around to get the bottles out and it was no drama.  There is a drawstring cord to keep them in place; this is necessary as the level of the water goes down to prevent them from bouncing out.  It was so easy to pull the bottles out and then return them.  The bottles feel a bit funny at first but are easy to hold.  The valve to drink from is nice and water tight – they are those ones that you bite on to release the water.  Really easy to use!

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Highly recommended and worth the investment even if it does make my bum look big!

Happy running:)