When the wheels get wobbly

32kms is a long way.  With 5kms to go the wheels got wobbly.  My pace went from slow to snail.  Pauly decided to run off and quickly became a little blue spec in the distance.  Louise, reluctantly kept her pace up and she too became a small apricot spec out in front.

Pauly and Louise running under the threatening skies.  We had a great run made all the better because of the encouragement from running friends.

Pauly and Louise running under the threatening skies. We had a great run made all the better because of the encouragement from running friends.

This run was so different from the 30km run the week before (average pace 6:40kms per minute).  Whereas at the finish of the 30km I felt tired but elated and that I could indeed keep running.  This week on the 32km run I started to doubt my ability to push through to marathon distance (average pace for the 32kms was 6:49kms per minute).

Oh dear.  Those small voices of doubt got louder and louder.  Flash backs to when I first started running came to me and how down I was on myself.  You can’t do this.  You look silly when you run.  Who do you think you are trying to run when you are over 40?  You’ve never been able to do it before, why should you try now?  Stop!  Thank goodness for mental fortitude learnt from hours and hours, kms and kms spent in running shoes; I kicked those thoughts in the head and started my positive running mantras up.

You can do it.  You can do it. Go Unsporty Girl! (yep I’m a girl when I’m running not a 50 year old Unsporty Woman, but a young-at-heart 50 year old girl).  I was still tired all over but my mind became sharper and I pushed through to the end.  I finished those 32kms because of sheer mental toughness.

But the wheels had the wobbles. 

On Saturday Pauly and I went to the much anticipated wedding of a chap who works on the farm.  They had been saving for years.  What an honour to be invited.  I was dropped off very early  at the wedding venue because Pauly was to be chauffeur to the Groom and his Best Man.

Saturday was also the day of the Bruny Island Ultra.  I had two running friends running and I was way past OCD checking facebook for updates.  As I sat in the garden of the beautiful old Inn that was to be the place for the wedding, well ahead of all the guests, I read the devastating news that one of my friends had been forced to pull out of the 64km event at the 54km mark – she had to pull out with just 10kms to go.

I couldn’t cry because I was all made-up and about to be a guest at a wedding.  I could feel the disappointment in the words that announced her withdrawal from the event.  Then I saw the photos of her poor sore feet.  She was beyond devastated.  Gutted.  Defeated.  How I longed to throw my arms around her and tell her how awesome she is just for having a go.  This is a mum who has diabetes and sets herself amazing challenges and in so doing, just for trying, inspires so many around her both near and far.

The wheels fell off her first Bruny Island Ultra attempt.  I have never had to withdraw from an event but it is a reality that could happen one day.  I truly believe it takes more guts to withdraw than it does to continue.  The lady has several marathons under her belt.  Withdrawing yesterday was her only option.

As I look ahead to the Cadbury Marathon and then back to my not-so-good long run this week I’m again full of healthy respect for this challenge I’ve set myself.  Yes it’s doable.  But I won’t know until the day if I can do it.  I’m going to believe that I can.  I’m going to be at that start line with full belief that I can achieve.  The heart break of yesterday spurs me on to try my best BUT to respect what I’m about to try and do even more.


To my lovely running friend who had to withdraw yesterday you are a star.  You can sit back with confidence knowing that under the circumstances you gave it your all.  To my lovely friend who now has a Bruny Island finisher’s medal you are amazing. I’m so in awe of both these wonderful running ladies.  They had the guts to line up and give it their all on the day.  And that is all any of us can do.  The thing I have taken from this is to be kind to ourselves and to celebrate having the guts to try.

Happy running 🙂

PS task for this week?  Read the Lazy Runner’s chapter on Mental Running and to get more into my mental preparation for the big 42.2kms in just five weeks time.

PPS I have just re-read this post for the umpteenth time…The more I read it the more I am totally determined to kick those 42.2kms in the butt!  If I can run up a mountain, me the Unsporty Woman I can run a marathon!!!!  Yep, 100% belief that I can 🙂  No point in thinking I won’t get there, may as well be positive!  Being positive makes the journey so much happier.  Happy running xxx

Here are some happy snaps of the garden that was the setting for the Wedding.








Pauly and the Groom

Pauly and the Groom and Pauly’s beloved big black car

26 thoughts on “When the wheels get wobbly

  1. Sitting here reading my favorite blog missed the last couple so enjoying whilst having a cuppa. The hellish hundred you say I reckon looks hard work lol but good on you. The long runs simply amazing go you 3, I will have to do that loop one day so love that area where you run, looks so peaceful. The wheels are wobbly, the distance you 3 have achieved and continue to do is simply amazing, snail pace or not it’s your determination and guts I say will get you all over that finish line in January. What lovely words you wrote when your running friend had to pull out of a what I call a superhuman feat in participating in an ultra marathon and to complete 50+ ks is I take my hat off to her. I hope she is ok I don’t know her but I feel for her. This is what running does we have that connection I don’t quite understand I guess it’s the bond and love of running, don’t know, can’t put it into words. Keep saying your mantras squash those negative thoughts, you are 50 fit and fabulous. 😄

    • Thanks Leanne 🙂 I’d love to have your company for the Meander 10km loop. Let me know when you’d like to come and run. I know what you mean about feeling a connection with other runners even if we don’t know them. She seems to be doing find, announcing that she’s already entered her next fun run! So bouncing back beautifully. I’ll keep saying my mantras. I found it good to reflect and to again realise just how big a marathon is. Feeling 100% positive especially because of your encouragement!

  2. Annie unless there is a major injury you are going to do this marathon. Perhaps what your body is telling you is really let go of the timing business. This is your first one and my guess is there will be more. Focus on getting across the line. Who really cares if it is at 6:40 or 7:30. It will have been a major accomplishment and you can build from there. You don’t want to push so hard that at 34 kms you hit a wall and can not continue. You can tell me to shut up now. You can do this! Just pace yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day. 🙂

    • Thanks Sue 🙂 Seeing a friend not reach her goal brought home the hugeness of the marathon. I tend to be all happy and sunny all the time about running but after yesterday wanted to keep it very real. I honestly don’t mind what time I do. At this point I have Pauly telling me sub 4:30:00 but I’m thinking more along the lines of 5 hours and I’m so ok with that 🙂 Please don’t shut up, I’m loving the encouragement very very much!!!!!!

      • Well count on me to be cheering like a mad woman. I aimed to finish between 5-6 hrs and ended up at 5:23. I am sure you have heard this many times but the best piece of advice I got was to aim to run the first and last km and all inbetween at the same pace. So basically slow down for tthe first half and if you can speed up the last 10km good for you but you won’t have used it all up in the early hours.

      • Thanks Sue 🙂 I have heard about pace but it’s really good to keep hearing it. The man I ran with last weekend at parkrun in Melbourne also said something similar. I am determined to stick with my 6:15 minutes per km pace. I think that this is where I might’ve gone wrong on Friday. I tried to keep up with Louise and Pauly for too long (I feel bad that they have to slow down for me so push myself). It was a good lesson learnt that I do need to stick to my happy pace. I need enough energy to run over the finish line and flop into the arms of Cadbury’s Freddo Frog and Caramelo Koala who I know will be there at the finish line. I’m loving all the care and advice so much!!!! I’m just back from an 8km run and am feeling mighty. I’m over in Melbourne for the week while Isabelle has her tonsils out so needed to get a run in just in case I can’t get out for a few days post-surgery. I can’t believe there are just five weeks to go to the marathon! Thanks so much Sue xxx

      • It sounds like you have things figured out Annie. Yes find your comfortable pace and stick with that. Really important in that first five kms race day. You have done so many races you should have no problems keeping yourself paced. I hope your daughter’s surgery goes well!

      • Thanks Sue 🙂 in going to stick to my run plan and chant ‘own race, own pace’. I’m so used to seeing everyone sailing out in front and becoming little specs in the distance. But it’s really good to hear this and be reminded. I really appreciate it. It’s Pauly with the time ambitions for me hehe perhaps he doesn’t want to wait too long or he’ll have to eat too much chocolate! The patient is doing ok, still waiting 🙂

  3. I believe you will always have one really tough training run when training for a marathon when you mind gets you through, you have had your snow so it’s all plain sailing form here! I can’t emphasise enough the importance of mental attitude it getting to the finish line, you need some mantras. For me first marathon I had ‘I am a marathoner’ used to say that over and over when the going got tough. X

    • ‘I am a marathoner’ I like that one. Shaz, thank you for that one. I am reading a marathon book about a guy who is runs 52 marathons in 52 weeks and it’s all mental toughness, so I’m getting my mara-tude on big time. Thanks for your encouragement xxx

  4. A couple of things. One: what a beautiful place for a wedding! Two: Really a marathon is more about the prep than the last 26.2. You will make it even if you have to ask a course marshal to help you get there (like I did in marathon number 2). It is a ton about the mental piece and you show here that you have the mental fortitude to get you there! Sorry about your friend and congrats to your other friend. For me not doing so well in a race made me train to do it again so maybe she can do it next year.

    • Thanks Shanna 🙂 I’m beating she’ll be lining up again. It was a lovely place for a wedding and the happy couple were lucky with the weather. You have said exactly what we’ve said about P2P in that it is the training that ‘wins’ the race, the race is just the culmination of all the training. It sounds like it will be the same for the marathon. I’m getting my mental toughness on especially with all the support I’m getting. Thank you x

  5. Ok, honey – now you need to just sit down and take a deep breath. First of all; bad runs happen – you KNOW that. They happen to all of us, all the time. The same way those kick-ass amazing runs happen. Second; you were doing a 32km run (32 KILOMETER RUN!) and you say it got tough at 27km. Did you EVER think you could run 27km?!? That is an effing long way to go – a REALLY, REALLY long way to go. Running. In the heat. After all the other long runs you have been doing lately. This is not a predictor of how your marathon will go, it is par for the course and you will find that your next long run will be amazing. I promise. I am sooo in awe of you and your super long runs, you can do it! I was thinking about you when I was out running this weekend; I was wondering if you use gels or what do you do to try and avoid the wall?

    • I’m loving the coaching talk! I think you are amazing to be running your long distances and now you’re telling me you think I’m amazing…cool! I’ve been using an Italian product called Enervitene (I think that’s the correct spelling). It comes in a cheer pack with a resealable lid and is quite runny in consistency compared to gels. There is one with caffeine that really gives a lift. I’ve had one of these at each 10km point and then glucose jelly beans in between. But I think I haven’t been having enough jelly beans; will step them up a bit. Paul on the other hand is now on the Low Carb High Fat diet and runs with nothing! He has a jelly bean if he really needs it. I’ve never had to stop for a toilet break but have been on these long runs. I don’t think I’ve got the pre run nutrition quite right for these really long runs so the challenge is to start eating better now and live and breath the whole race eating thing! Thanks so much for your encouragement. It means so much that you would take the time to write me such a lovely long comment xxx

      • Bah, my distances are nothing compared to your mammoth runs! 🙂 The gels etc scare me. I worry about the toilet issues. There is a limit though to how far it’s possible to run without popping a jelly/gel or two. Amazing that Paul is running these kinds of distances without anything?! Wow. I think the running becomes more sciency when you start hitting these longer, 30km+, distances. I am too lazy for all that 🙂 Have you looked into chia seeds?

      • I agree it does start to get a bit sciency. I do like the humble glucose jelly bean, nothing fancy but gives the necessary energy. I haven’t looked into chia seeds. I will do that. With race nutrition there is so much information that all conflicts itself. I find this really confusing. That’s why I’m experimenting right from the word go. The toilet stops are an issue but I think that’s because I’m not eating properly the days prior to the long run. Race week will be nothing but good food, good rest and good preparation…that’s the plan anyway 🙂

  6. I have no doubt you will do great in your first marathon- your past history suggests so! But you are so right, we never know how the day will go, all we can do is show up and do our best. You are doing really well with your training, you deserve to pat yourself on the back for that and for setting such a good goal too.

  7. You got through the 32km training run, which is the maximum distance most will run in their marathon prep – so I have no doubt that you HAVE got this.

    And that garden is absolutely gorgeous!

    • It was a lovely garden, thanks Cecilia 🙂 We are supposed to be doing a 35km this week but after talking to our Coach we are dropping it back to 25kms and then the following week 37kms. He has us doing the 37kms because he feels it’s the best mental preparation that we can do as well as running training. Then it’s down to a 29km and a 19km the week before. It’s all getting very real and very exciting. Thanks for your encouragement, it’s extremely appreciated!!!

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