Gutbusting with Hillitude

I’ve had one of those running weeks that looking back I can’t believe is true.

A few weeks ago I honestly thought I was facing a running issue that was going to sideline me for quite some time.  I was in pain and limping.  Whatever it was had become steadily worse.  My first thoughts about this were how will I cope with the stresses and anxieties of daily life without a good dose of running?  My second thought was for all the events Pauly and I had coming up and particularly Run Melbourne in July – I don’t want to let me beautiful running buddies down, I need to be at the start line with them, for them and for me.

The Podiatrist said I couldn’t make my foot issues any worse.  In fact she said unless I ran and made the Morton’s Neuroma really inflamed it wouldn’t show up on an MRI scan.  As for the Abductor Hullucis, strapping, stretching and exercises should eventually help that to heal.  Running won’t make either of these worse.  I might get a bit of pain, but I wouldn’t sideline myself even more.

Bring on last Saturday.  5km parkrun ran successfully without pain, ran with the gorgeous Janette who is encouragement personified.  Just a little stinging feeling on the top of my foot and pulled up pretty ok the next day.  I ran with the strapping but not the neuroma pad in my shoe.

Tuesday evening Pauly and I laced up for a late afternoon run in Deloraine.  Up and down a few hills.  It was magic.  MAGIC!  Cool evening autumn weather.  Loved it.  Foot was fine, this time I used the neuroma pad and while it felt strange having that big lump in my shoe it was fine.  The foot pulled up even better than Saturday.

Thursday, finally I got to run with my beautiful running buddy Louise.  How the tables have turned here.  Initially when we started running together I would be telling her our pace, directing the course, asking how she was feeling.  She has been a runner for a long time she just never really knew how far she could run. Turns out her little runs were actually around the 10km mark and sometimes longer.  She is now the pacer, run director and encourager, her running is going from strength to strength.  We ran 10km up and down hills.  I found it a struggle, I felt like my fitness had suffered.  I was puffing and at the end was exhausted.  But my foot was ok and I did it.  Louise emailed me afterwards and compared a 10km run we did back in March, we were only a few minutes slower – so not too bad really!  I was so encouraged by that email.

From 5km, to 7km, to 10km.  Things were looking good.

I couldn’t focus past each run.  It was get one done and then see if I can do the next and go a bit further.

I did go further.  I did the Gutbuster yesterday.  11.6km of gut busting hills.


Yesterday was the Launceston Running Club’s Sidmouth Gutbuster (the Club had a name change at the start of the year from Athletic to Running).  Hills, inclines, up and downs.  Some runners in Launceston think this event is way too crazy to enter.  I wrote a post about my first attempt last year.

This is a handicapped race.  My handicap was 16:15 this year, a minute more than last year.  The start is at the top of a big hill. Bit funny really, you start going downhill, the body is lulled into a false sense of security… gee this isn’t too bad, oh nice! Running, running, zooming down the hills, lovely vineyards to the right, beautiful views of the Tamar River to the left.  Nice.  Lovely. Sweet!  Then a little flat around the river.  We could have a little song and a skip it’s so idyllic.  Certainly not gut busting at this point.

But then the start of the first mega hill.  No singing.  No skipping.  Get your hillitude on!  I am a hill runner, I can run up hills!  I am a hill runner, I can run up hills!  I chanted to myself.  Little running steps chipping away at that great big, endless hill!


Finally at the top and then zoom down!  One problem.  The weather is freezing!  There was a small rain front that had come through while I was at the bottom of the hill, complete with strong wind and well, it was nasty nasty running conditions (last year it was 22ºC warm and sunny, this year it was 13ºC and very gusty).  I was so happy to be running that I decided not to think about the weather, I just concentrated on how happy I was to be running.  But this little bit of rain made this steep road very slippery.  Zooming down wasn’t an option, too risky, I’m not sure if sliding down on my bottom was an option?  Might have been faster than my running hehe!

The amazing thing about yesterday apart from actually being there and running when I thought I was going to be sidelined, was how I fared with the handicap.  Last year my handicap was 15:30 and runners started to pass me at the 3.5km mark.  This year my handicap was a minute more and no one passed me until the 9.5km mark.  That’s nearly at the end of the 11.6km course!!!

The altitude
The altitude – definitely needed Shaz’s hillitude here!

lapslaps 4 and 10 get gut busting in a big ways (laps are 1km)

Last year I was one of the first runners to start and third last back.  This year I was still one of the first runners out but I was 13th back and 3rd woman!!!

I took six minutes off my last years’ time, 1:11:44.  Pauly had a great race, he came 5th winning 5th prize!  His handicap was 26:20 and his time was 59:35 (last year his time was 1:08:45, he ran the Gutbuster coming off a nasty farm injury where he’d fallen down a sump hole and damaged his ribs.)  He was so happy to have done so well yesterday.  The fastest runner out of the 38 running yesterday conquered that course in 37:10!!!  He flew by me at the 10km.

I’m so happy and grateful.  Not about being faster.  I often joke and say I’ve gone from snail to tortoise in a few events recently, just got that little bit faster.  But getting a little bit faster is something that happens as fitness and running experience grow.

20140426_123927looking haggard – nearly 50 and just ran up those hills…
I’m holding the 13th place marker with happiness.  I need a fuzzy lens from now on!

Yesterday was such a huge shot in the arm for my running confidence.  I’m so grateful.  Grateful for beautiful running buddies who believe in me even when I’m at my lowest. Grateful for health professionals like my lovely Podiatrist who want to keep me running.  Grateful to my beautiful husband Pauly for his belief in me.  Grateful to the running blogging community where we share our stories and encourage each other on.  Ordinary people doing our thing in our corner of the world.  People who love running, love a challenge and love cheering each other on.

I conquered the Gutbuster for the second time yesterday.  Onwards and Upwards!  Run Melbourne here we come!

Happy running 🙂

20140426_124435Orange Gutbusters post race.
Pauly and our running friend Lance – this chap has the most phenomenal running story to tell…from non-runner to ultra runner in less than 18 months!
As one running friend said Not a lot of gut there. Guts on the other hand… oodles.
And he only signed up with the Club the night before!  Lance’s handicap was 36:00 and his time was a flying 55:30 – he didn’t manage to catch up to the old Dairy Farmer this time though 😛
Pauly needs to enjoy this because I don’t think it’s gong to be repeated.
(there is a bit of competition going on between these too hehe)

Here are a few shots taken on the drive home from the Gutbuster – this run is on a tourist route and there are lots of wineries to visit.

looking down to the Tamar River
looking down to the Tamar River
Wine drink stop?
Wine drink stop?
Motorists are very respectful of the small band of runners
Motorists are very respectful of the small band of runners
hills never look as steep in photos
hills never look as steep in photos
a nice flat part down by the river
a nice flat part down by the river

20140426_135926 20140426_134823Spending Pauly’s winnings at my favourite vineyard that’s just around the corner from the start of the race.

27 thoughts on “Gutbusting with Hillitude

  1. I would love to come run (and drink wine) with you in that beautiful valley. One of my favourite yogurts is from Tamar Valley. Now I am dreaming about a run-wine-yogurt relay kind of event somewhere in the grass down there.

    1. It’s on every year and Autumn is the best time to visit Tasmania 🙂 And the best thing of all is that Pauly is always ‘des’ because he doesn’t drink. We could all run, then he could drive us between wineries and we could sleep to recover enough to swill back a few more 🙂 Not sure about the yogurt though…I’ll leave that one to you.

  2. Loved reading about your hilly run, I can feel your joy in running just coming through the words and photos 🙂
    I’m hoping I feel like that again one day, in fact I’m not sure I’ve ever reached that nirvana yet!
    Thanks again for your lovely encouraging posts x

    1. Thanks Sam 🙂 Paul says I’m just an exercise endorphin junkie. He is always amazed that I can be a bit ho hum and then go for a run and come back happy and chatty. I hope you do get to experience that high feeling from a very awesome run. Glad you’re enjoying my ramblings x

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