The Tempest’s Bridport Blast

And the tempest sucked the air in with its massive lungs and let loose the fury of its breath.  It lined up the seaside hamlet of Bridport and unleashed the blast all the way to Scottsdale.  No valley, no dip in the road between seaside and country was safe; there was no lee to shelter, no protection, no safe place.  The blast of wind blew and blew all the way.

Saturday was the Launceston Running Club’s Scottsdale to Bridport Half Marathon, this is a handicapped race.  My handicap was 20:10 after the start.  This is the fourth time I’ve run this course and the toughest.

A short piece from the race report.

I’ve run many a windy run.  Notably was Ross Marathon in September last year where the wind was strong and ferocious but with a few sheltered kms out of the 10.55km loop in which to regroup and have a break from the wind.  A training run that Louie and I did one Friday about a year ago was so strong that when the wind was at our backs we seemed to fly!

Yes, windy runs of note.  BUT nothing like yesterday.  The wind simply did not stop.  Wind is too polite a term.  Let’s call it WIND with cyclonic ambition, a WIND that took delight in gusts and gales.  A WIND on steroids doing HIIT training perhaps!

Scottsdale to Bridport is an undulating point to point run that includes three massive hills – the whole entire way was one big angry, enraged, furious head wind.  It didn’t die down from start to finish in fact at times the gusts became so huge that if I happened to have air (as in both feet off the ground) I was blown off the road into the gravel verge.

But guess what?  I was a minute faster than Run Melbourne two weeks ago which was calm and flat.  Huh?  How did that happen?  I have no idea.  I got angry with the wind.  The desire to walk was huge but I remembered the encouragement that Janette has given me recently to keep on running and not to talk myself into walking so I kept running on.  AND I am so proud of my 5km splits!  I kept running in trying conditions and managed eight 1km laps under 6:00/km.

Everyone who ran on Saturday should be extremely proud of themselves.  That wind was tough.  Every single runner who finished looked as if they’d just spent a few hours in a tumble dryer machine.  They looked pooped.  Exhausted.  Red in the face.  Completely spent.

The winner managed a half marathon PB!!! How did she do that???  This little lady sped past me at the 17km mark. It was her first win with the club and she was incredibly happy, excited but also humble in victory.  Her attitude to her running and winning is bench mark.  Her humility is truly inspiring.  Her time was 1:38:57!  It was an absolute joy to congratulate her at the end and celebrate her success.

Pauly had a good run too 1:48:05 and my time was 2:12:48. Not a PB for either of us, but we both agreed that despite the conditions we did our absolute best and that in my book is a PB.

I was so pooped at the end that I only managed to get a shot of Pauly finishing.
This finish line felt so good.  Just to be able to stop and shelter from the wind – heaven!

But let’s not think about time.  It was tough out there.  Anyone who finished that event is a winner. A big winner!  Why?  Because they didn’t give up even though honestly the weather was so bad that pulling out was a valid option.  I looked at the trees bending and swaying in the wind, especially about 5kms out of Bridport.  It was scary!  Well done to all the runners.  It was character building and showed us all how strong we are.

Next stop, Adelaide Marathon next weekend.  I’ll be embracing the taper this week.

Happy running 🙂

Run Melbourne Weekend in Pictures

Friday we arrived, we shopped, we collected our race bibs and we ate at China Town.  Imagine a table full to over flowing with luscious Chinese food with varied levels of chop stick expertise around the table.

Saturday it was Engagement Party Day.  More shopping.  Hair dos.  Then off to the party we went.

The Happy Couple with Pauly and I.

Brown-eyed Daughter #1, the Maid of Honour-to-be, Blondie Daughter #1, the Bride-to-Be and her lovely Bridesmaids-to-be.  The photo hasn’t been taken at a funny angle.  Brown-eyed Daughter #1 is 5’8 and the little blondie on the end is less than 5′.  As for the Bride-to-Be, she had enormous heels on.

The Happy Couple with the GPs, my Mum and Dad.

Janette, Pauly and a few party people.

The Wedding Party-to-be complete with Son #1 in the front.

There are no photos of my speech.  I wrote a Fairy Story and told it complete with Once Upon a Time…right down to and they continued to live happily ever after.  I was proud of my speech even though I was rather nervous when delivering it.  It must’ve been ok because Blondie Daughter #1 and her betrothed have requested the story book I made to go with it to keep.  Awww.

Post Party drinks.  We didn’t think to get a photo of the two of us so two English backpackers kindly obliged.  We got to bed at midnight.

Who’s idea was it to run a half marathon early the next day after my daughter’s Engagement Party?  Oh that’s right the Run was planned and the trip booked then the Happy Couple decided to save us a trip across Bass Strait and have us combine the two.

The alarm went off at 5:15am and I was not feeling bright eyed, bushy tailed or ready to run.

Yep, it was still dark when we arrived at the Runner’s World Magazine VIP tent.  We applied and were given a place.  Wow!  There was coffee, there was breakfast, there were massages, there were smiley encouraging faces  AND best of all, designated portaloos!  Arrrr the relief.  WITH plenty of toilet paper.  I really did feel like a VIP.

All too soon it was time to start running.  Off the Quackers waddled.  No one managed a PB but everyone enjoyed their run and did much better than expected.  All of us had been sick in the few weeks leading up, particularly Louie who had been most unwell.  Considering all that, we did wonderfully.  I was 14 minutes slower than my Run Melbourne PB, but that’s ok.  I enjoyed myself and ran all the way with no walk breaks.

The course is pretty and varied.  There is bountiful support and entertainment along the way.  Any country people looking to do a big city run in Australia, Run Melbourne is the top choice.  It’s well organised and after completing this event three times, I’ve never felt like a number but always been made to feel like a valued participant by every official and volunteer.

Louie and I post run.

Pauly and I.

And look who I found!!!  None other than Wonder Woman Debbie from Deb’s World.  It was so lovely to meet her just before she went out and smashed the 6km event.  Here’s to more meet ups Debbie x

Then it was back to the VIP tent and a little role reversal.  Here is Pauly fetching us delicious morsels.  It’s true to say that we enjoyed it all too much!  No wonder he likes to be waited on. It’s quite nice really.

And here we are being waited on.  Fetch another coffee please Pauly 🙂

Then it was massage time for those brave souls like Janette.

Arrrgh! Purr!

The VIP tent is highly recommended.  We were able to apply because we are subscribers to the magazine.  We were their guests and treated like Very Important Runners.  Thanks Runner’s World Magazine Australia.

Next it was definitely time to shower and rest.  But skip the rest part, Pauly and I had my Dad to take to the football.

I nearly fell asleep in the first quarter zzzz I was so tired!  Etihad Stadium was packed.  Fortunately I’d pre-booked seats because I didn’t want to take my chances with not having a seat for my poor tired legs, I mean I wanted to make sure that my aged parent, Dad, had a seat!  Yes, that’s why I pre-booked, for Dad, not for me!  Louie, Grant and Karlee had to stand up.  I don’t know how Louie did it.  Janette didn’t come. Was she resting?  No!  The was shopping to be done.  Retail therapy was calling.

Dad and Pauly at the football.  For a Kiwi Pauly managed to follow the game and quite enjoyed it although I’m sure he won’t admit it.

That night, after another lovely dinner with the crew including the Happy Couple, we went for a walk down Southbank.

I allowed myself the most delicious cup cake.  It was chocolate with an oozy, goozy, sweet, delicious filling just underneath the velvety vanilla frosting…. Man it was good!

Apart from Team Quackers and my parents my lovely sister-in-law and brother-in-law came over to Melbourne from New Zealand for the party.  They got up early and clapped and cheered us on the run too.  Here we are at the iconic Koko Black in Royal Arcade in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD.

And here is Mum enjoying a hot chocolate too.

All up a wonderful weekend.  Perhaps not the most ideal combination of events for running fabulousness but the best combination for making the most out of life, enjoying the company of special people and making wonderful memories.

Happy running 🙂

This weekend it’s the Launceston Running Club’s Scottsdale to Bridport Half Marathon.  Our very first half marathon back in 2013.  Since then we’ve clocked over 20 so have decided to stop counting.  If I can do all this running stuff, guess what?  Anyone can!  I don’t think this half marathon will see a PB, but it will see running far, happy and always.

Up against a wall surrounded by curve balls

Run Melbourne weekend seems like a long time ago.

We shopped.

We went to the Engagement Party.

We survived the football.

The aged parents are safely back at home having had a great time.

Since then my oldest friend’s Dad died suddenly (he was diagnosed with cancer and passed away 10 days later).   My most loved Dad-in-Law had a mini-stroke but he seems to be doing ok.  And I’ve had a bit of bad news, which will come right eventually, with a reno project.

Curve balls, curve balls everywhere.

But one thing that shines out of all this is the human spirit.

My friend Karen

Many many years ago I introduced my lovely quiet friend to another dear friend and they got married, I was a bridesmaid.  Through thick and thin they have stood beside each other.  Just last night I learnt that this quiet friend of mine quietly used her nursing skills to nurse her Dad-in-law so he could stay in his home, surrounded by his family and die in peace.

I do truly believe that this friend of mine is one of life’s angels.  She is kind and unassuming.  She has faced hardship and troubles but has stood steadfastly with her family and here she was quietly caring for her Dad-in-Law.  On that day that I introduced her there was no way to know that my dear friend and his family were welcoming such a wonderful young woman who’s kindness and love would make such a difference in their lives from decade to decade.

Life is for living.  Live each day like it’s a gift.  We don’t know the number of our days but we can make each day count.

Once I manage to kick away a few of these curve balls I’ll fill you in on the fun and happiness of our Run Melbourne weekend.  We had a great time!  Another wonderful weekend of making happy memories with the beautiful running tribe who blended into my extended family as if we were linked by blood.  I am surrounded by the most precious women who I am privileged to call friend.

Happy running 🙂

Chasing the Aurora Australis

Oh Southern Lights where forth art thou?  Come out and show thy pretty shades of purple and green.  Glow and radiate and beam.  Show thyself to me.

I’ve become an avid Aurora Australis chaser.  Living out in the wilds of Tasmania under The Great Western Tiers at 41°South, way beyond the town and city lights;  I live in a prime spot to view this reclusive radiant gleams and glow of light.  The Aurora Australis is the Southern Hemisphere’s answer to the Aurora Borealis.

Did you know that there is an Aurora Service on the internet?  There is.  From this I’ve learnt about the Kp index which measures the solar flares and winds and complicated things like that.  What I understand, for a simple soul like me, is that if the Kp is around 4 or more I’m likely to see some sort of Aurora action. The maximum Kp is 9.  The Aurora Australis being visible also depends on how waxed or waned the moon is and what the cloud cover is doing.

Still with me?

Since becoming a devoted follower of this Glittery Lady of the Night I’ve managed to see her emerge, but dimly, on two occasions (both times the Kp has been 4).  She shows a beautiful glow just above Mother Cummings Peak.  Tonight is one such time.  There she is.  I can’t show you a photograph because I’ve taken none.  A phone camera doesn’t cut it.  What I have in my memory is a beautiful celestial glow.  A silhouette of mountains, beams of light that flicker and move, a softness and loveliness in the blackest ink of night.  With the most glorious, most milky of Milky Ways twinkling in the foreground.  So vast.  So huge.  So how small am I.  It’s below freezing but I could easily lie out in the paddock and drink it all in for hours.

This place we call home has its challenges but this magnificent sight makes those challenges melt away.  Come on Old Girl, make that Kp index 6 or 7 and really show me your stuff!  I live in watchful hope.

Sunday, yesterday, was our longest run before Adelaide Marathon.  32kms.  We set off from the farm, down muddy lanes, through the easement that lies between Paul’s farm and the next and out onto country roads that only the locals use.  Around Caveside, Needles,  Dairy Plains, Western Creek, Red Hills, Cheshunt and Montana we ran.  We live on the doorstep of beautiful country; the perfect place to run.

We’re going on a long run, it’s going to be a slow one. We’re not scared.  Squelchy squelchy mud.  We can’t go over it.  We can’t go under it. We’ll have to go through it!

A lovely mud pack for our Brooks running shoes.  Tiffany’s blue looks most becoming with pooy mud I think.

 

Yesterday by day rainbows and snow clouds.  By night the Aurora Australis.

Western Creek

Snow clouds gathering.  It was cold yesterday.

 

Finally going down the driveway to the farmhouse and there are the three new Jersey Bulls.  Huey, Dewey and Louie.  They have attitude those three!

And there we are.  Two old runners with Mother Cummings Peak in the background.  We can look at this Peak from the farm house.  We can see the Southern Lights over it by night AND we can run a wonderful course and take in views of The Great Western Tiers and see the Peak from different perspectives along the way.

Life is better in running shoes.

Happy running 🙂

PS This weekend is Run Melbourne AND Blondie Daughter #1’s Engagement Party the night before AND I’m taking my aged parents (hello Mum and Dad) over Bass Strait for the occasion.  I’m taking my Dad to the football too.  Wish me luck!

Country runner at heart

After a weekend spent in the big city celebrating Son #1’s 21st birthday my love of running in the country has grown.  I took my running gear with me but didn’t feel the city running love.  I saw runners and the for the first time there was no running envy.  It looked like hard work with all that people dodging going on.  My running gear went to the city clean and came home to the farm clean.  This is a first!

Here’s to running in the country.  Here’s to celebrating a quiet run where the audience is made up of mountain ducks, eagles and hawks.  Parrots, plovers and cockatoos.  Cows, bulls and feral cats.  Wallabies, possums and a farm worker or two.

How blessed am I to be a Country Runner?

Over the muddy cattle stop.

Past the flooded paddocks with the cloud covered Tiers as the back drop.

There’s a new load of sawdust; calving isn’t far away.

There is the bull paddock.  I want Pauly to call the three young jersey bulls Huey, Dewey and Louie! They have attitude these three. One had a bit to say me to the other day as I was out and about.  I had a bit to say to him and chased him off.  No young bull is going to get the better of this old running girl!

Over the dairy cattle stop and through the mud-soup.

A quick selfie at the top of the driveway.  It’s wet, foggy, cold and rainy.

My favourite running road!

The tide is rising on the Main Drain.

Pauly came to make sure I was ok.  It was getting dark.

Muddy shoes = didn’t let the weather stop me!

For those who are regular readers of the blog here is a little update on our farm.  Nothing has changed.  We continue to live a little with one foot in limbo and the other steadfast on farm soil.  We’ve got used to this and we are choosing to see the good in where we are.  No news is good news.  And how lucky are we to still be here and living this wonderful farming way of life.  Here’s to many more country runs.  Want to join me one day?

Happy running 🙂

Me and Son #1 outside the Catmosphere complete with cat scarf and ginger cat biscuit.

My three babies at the Catmosphere (the Catmosphere is a cat café and we had a great time spending time with the furry felines.

Pufferphobia

The Doctor will see you now.

Hello Unsporty, what can I do for you today?

Hello Doctor.  I’ve come to see you about my allergy.

Your allergy?  What allergy is this?

I’m allergic to puffing. 

Puffing? 

Yes.  When I run and I puff.  I get all anxious and wheezy and I can’t talk so it must be an allergic reaction to puffing.

I see.  Tell me more.

It’s got worse since I hurt my knee.  I wheeze and get out of breath and I have to slow down or the puffing gets so bad.  I need some of those allergy tablets, those anti-thing-a-me-bobs.

Antihistamine?

Yes.  Those ones please.

Interesting symptoms for an allergy Unsporty.

???

Yes.  I’m not sure you are suffering from an allergy.  From the wealth of my medical knowledge I’d say you’re suffering from Pufferphobia.

Pufferphobia?

Pufferphobia (noun)

Extreme or irrational fear of over exertion.  Unreasonable dread of physical effort that causes excessive or fast breathing.

Oh.

Don’t take this too hard.  I will prescribe some therapy to assist you win over this phobia.  The main thing is to stop talking during your middle distance runs and to push a bit harder.  The second thing I’d like you to do is to cover your GPS watch and run to feel rather than what your pace says.  You’ve run very well during triathlons without a GPS and your recent Launceston 10 was excellent.  Stop worrying about the puff and run because you love it.  Get back that old Unsporty Woman mind-set of I can.

Is that all?

Yes, that’s all.  Start working on mastering the puff.  Puffing is good for you, you’ve done it before and you can do it again.  Stop worrying about your knee, keep up the exercises and preventative therapies for your knee and you’ll be fine.  Your lungs won’t explode and neither will your knee.  You are made to puff.  Get out there and run a little bit harder during your middle distance and shorter runs.  You can do it!

Ok.

Good to hear and by doing all this you’ll be ready for B…

Don’t mention the B word Doctor!!!

Well that event in December, you’ll be ready for it. Ok?

Ok Doctor.  I will try.

Happy running 🙂

The B word?  Bruny Island Ultra.  Two little ducks are registered, one more to go.

Wintry Weather Woes

Here we are in the dead of winter in the southern most state of Australia.  Arrrr Tasmania, you do not disappoint in the winter weather department.  You do those three Fs so Fabulously.  Frost.  Fog.  Freezing-temperatures.  Tick, tick and tick!

It’s been cold.  On Monday my toes remained cold all day.  That’s all day!  Despite a busy agenda and lots of moving around, my toes did not warm up until I removed my long leather boots and wiggled them in front of the fire at the end of the working day.  They were still cold when we got to the gym for an hour of Les Mills Body Pump and CX Worx.

Along with the freezing temperatures that favourite winter thing, the head cold, decided to ramp up its snotty, cotton-woolish ugliness.  I’m pleased to say that as of this weekend I’m pretty much 100% but sickness hasn’t been a happy marathon training ally.

Running and training has happened and on the whole it’s been good.  I think Pauly must’ve been feeling very ill with the head cold because when he finally managed to shake it off he turned into this happy-let’s-go-smiley-running-man.  Huh?  Usually when there is only the two of us with a run at home on the farm he will make every excuse reason why he shouldn’t come with me and I go on my own.  Not so Tuesday night.  I was fully prepared for the You are too sick, you shouldn’t go running conversation from him to me, but no, no such talk.  Rather Excuse Finding Procrastination Man turned into Action Man.  Not only did he immediately put down the coffee plunger he was holding when I walked in the door, but leapt off to get ready for a 5km run!

Notice the attractive thermal and beanie. It was cold! That’s COLD!!!

And what a 5km run we had!  Mud, mud and more muddy mud of the mud variety.  Slipping.  Sliding.  Smelly.  Mud plus cow poo equals stinky.  There was I plodding along trying to avoid the deepest muddy bits and stay upright and there was Pauly all chirpy and happy zooming off taking photos.  There was a role reversal here except that I wasn’t moaning and groaning like Pauly does for the first couple of kms.  I was just happy to be out running and happier that my lungs seemed to be coping ok.

That was Tuesday.

Louie, Pauly and I had our first run together in what felt like ages on Friday.  A lovely 15km run up and around the sunnier higher parts of Deloraine.  The lower parts were still freezing and slippery with ice.

Saturday we were off for a run with the Launceston Running Club.  Due to so much on outside of running we hadn’t made it to LRC in weeks and weeks.  And not only did we run but I managed 2nd place.  The LRC season has handicapped runs from 5km up to half marathon.  This week it was a 5km.

Don’t let that blue sky fool you. It was cold!  My handicap was 5ish minutes.

2nd place hehe

And today.  Sunday.  Today was the Running Group’s Half Margaretathon, 21.1kms named in honour of the first person that our Coach trained for a half marathon.  It was freezing!  Despite the cold it was a lovely run and good to get it done.

Janette organised the aid stations.

Here I am six weeks out from Adelaide Marathon and the training hasn’t been wonderful.  Wintry weather, colds and a calendar that keeps getting stuffed with more tasks hasn’t added up to the best of training so far.  If this was the first marathon I’d be concerned.  With all the training and running and events I’ve learnt to trust my runner’s body and my runner’s mindset.  I know I can do it.  There won’t be a PB, but there will be the most important ingredients:  a start line, a finish line AND a medal!  (Well I hope there will….fingers crossed!).

Happy running 🙂