Launceston Ten and the hunt for the PB

Personal Best.  This is so much better than those gold, red and blue ribbons that were given out to the fast people at school.  Those ribbons would be pinned on the fast runners and the rest of us would get nothing.  Nothing but a sense that we weren’t good enough and a huge desire to throw away our running shoes and NEVER get them out again!

Sunday was the fourth time I’ve been brave enough to line up at the start of the Launceston Ten.  This event attracts elites from around the world.  It’s known for its flatness and fastness.  The runner who finished first did so in 28:54!  To most us it’s a fun run that brings on the challenge of trying for a PB.

This year the event had new management complete with a slight reworking of the course and a Festival in City Park.  There was even a mini-expo from which I scored my favourite running shoes for $50 (they are usually $260).  According to the media, registrations for the event were up by 50%.  There were 999 finishers for the 10km!  

Pauly, Janette and Judy: a fantastic cheer squad! (Pauly has the man flu).

My new shoes beside my old ones.

2014 was the first year I ran Launceston Ten.  My time was 52:36.  2015 I was a little faster with a time of 51:57 a PB!  2016 I got slower 54:19 and this year slower again 57:39.  No PBs for the last two years.  Has something happened to my desire to get a PB or have I simply ran the fastest I’ll ever run?  I don’t know but the lack of a PB is simply not worrying me.

I’ll happily clap and rejoice with a fellow runner when they achieve a PB.  I love the pure delight of those lovely people who unexpectedly run faster than ever before.  The look of sheer happiness, shock, elation, and then often the happy tears that follow.  I love how humble these people are.  They don’t expect to achieve and then they do the person who is the most surprised is them!  I just want to go and give them a hug and warmly congratulate them every time!

Are my days of PBs over?  Who knows.  I think they might be.  Right now I’m happy just to be running.  On Sunday I even ran a little incognito:  no hat, no pink.  I managed to sneak by quite a few people totally unrecognised.  And do you know what?  I enjoyed my run immensely.  I smiled all the way.  It was a great day to be out running just for the pure delight of being able to.  The last PB I managed at Launceston Ten will always be cherished.  The memory of running faster than I thought possible will not be forgotten.   But today, this year, right now, running seems to be about the joy of running.  Running makes life richer.  Running is fun.  I’m so glad I am able to run.

Happy running 🙂

Oh but I do LOVE my finishers medals ❤

Time

The trouble with time is that we never seem to have enough. But then sometimes we have too much. Time on our hands.  Out of time.  Wasting time.  Spending time.  Making the most of time.  Clock watching.  You can’t buy it.  You can’t negotiate for more.  Once it’s spent it’s gone.

When Pauly and I first started to look into running marathons one of the biggest things that was stressed upon me through reading and through talking to other runners was that it’s important to choose a marathon that we had time to train for.  If life is too stressful or busy then choose another marathon. Choose another time for training that isn’t so busy or stressed.  The trouble for us is that we’re not exactly young.  While I firmly believe in positive aging and staying fit, healthy and active forever no matter how old we are, the fact of the matter is Pauly will turn 60 this year and I’m over 50.  For us it’s run marathons now or perhaps we will run out of time and never run marathons.

This is an old forgotten house on a road near the farm.  It was taken in November 2013.  Fast forward to now and this what the place looks like.  Unloved.  Broken down by time and neglect.  Falling apart.

This is a tree on the same road taken in November 2013.And here is the tree today.  A similar story of aging negatively.  No tending.  No care.  No nothing.  Only wind, rain, sun.  Drought and flood and even snow.

Things tend to fall apart with time especially those things that are not tended and cared for.  Running marathons means that  we have to look after our bodies.  Pauly and I watch what we eat, we aim for good sleep (doesn’t happen anywhere near as much as we’d like it to) and we keep our bodies moving.  Unlike the tree and the building we are not sitting around waiting to fall apart we are being active and doing the things that we love.  All the research points to this reversing or at least limiting the effects of aging.

Photo taken from strengthcoachtherapy on Instagram.

I believe the perfect time to chase a dream is now.  Looking back at our distance running I see worry and stress and uncertainty related to our situation on the farm.  But I also see time laced with finishers medals, great weekends with wonderful people and a sense of achievement like no other.  The stress and worry would still be there but why not decorate it up with some wonderful running bling?  While this was the best decision for us (the only decision) timing for marathon training is crucial and I do understand and acknowledge this.  I read on Julie’s blog recently about falling down seven times and getting up eight.  There is never a right time to start to eat healthy, get into running or to do whatever it is you want to do.  The only right time is now.  Don’t wait for a magical sign or for the 1st of January.  Start today.  Now.

And now that I’ve successfully spent an hour musing over time with the key board and delete button I shall go.  Like sands through the hour-glass please take these musings with grains of salt.

Happy running 🙂

PS this is week one of a ten week plan heading us towards Adelaide Marathon South Australia.  No this isn’t a good time to be training for a marathon for us.  But there is no time like the present.  Here we go again!

Juggling Apps

I’m a Polar fan.  I love my RC3 GPS running watch.  While I was on the blogging break not only did I have a break from blogging but my beloved RC3 had a break too.  It malfunctioned.  The start button wouldn’t work.  The device had been fogging up a bit and I wondered if it wasn’t quite as shower proof as it had been (let’s face it, this watch has done major kms which equals litres of sweat and many rainy runs).

August 2016 – a milestone with my RC3

The malfunction happened as we were setting off for a Friday long run.  As we drove up the driveway I quickly downloaded Runkeeper.  The screen shot below shows what it records.  Pretty awesome for a free app.  And what’s not to love about the different audio options?  The Drill Instructor is my favourite!  He called me the best maggot on the block whenever I picked up the pace a little bit; he had me giggling but the audio could be annoying to other runners so mostly I had it on silent.

With a marathon coming up I wanted something reliable to record my run and I was seriously thinking about not carrying my phone.  Having a phone would be a distraction!  I’d be taking photos here and there and using this an excuse to have a walk.  Janette to the rescue.  She lent her beautiful purple Garmin.  This not only looks good but did exactly what I needed it to do.

But what to do long term?  Through Polar’s web site I made an enquiry about getting my RC3 fixed.  It was a simple procedure to send it away and there was no charge for them to take a look.  In the meantime I browsed new sports watches.  Polar was soon to launch their M430.  It had everything I wanted in a running watch complete with smart notifications and a fitness tracker function.  The people at Polar offered a 20% discount to trade in the RC3.  I simply can’t part with the RC3.  It’s seen me through so many runs.  I’m far from a hoarder but this is something I will never part with.  It’s just too special.  What to do?  I asked for the 20% discount anyway!  And, they gave it to me.  The verdict on fixing the RC3 was that it was going to cost a few dollars.  With a new watch coming I decided not to fix it.  The RC3 was sent back at no charge.  I’m impressed with Polar!

All my data from the RC3 is synced to Polar Personal Trainer.  I love it.  It’s easy to use and the data is great:  maps, heart rate, laps, altitude and pace.  There is considerably more data available but this is as complex as I need it to be.

This is the very first screen shot of Polar Personal Trainer included in a blog post (The Launceston Running Club’s Gut Buster event, April 2013). Since this I’ve turned on laps.

The new Polar M430 however uses Polar Flow.  Ugh.  Now I have running data in Polar Personal Trainer, Garmin, Runkeeper AND just for good measure I’ve had a play with Strava too.  I quite like Strava.  Now what?  I can sync data between the two Polar apps and I can sync Polar Flow with Strava.  Are you still with me?  So many apps all being juggled.

Of course I could use a running diary.  Louie is a fan of this method.

It was good to have a play and experiment with the different apps.  I’m impressed that Runkeeper and Strava are both free to download and provide excellent data both during and post run.  From here on I’m going to be a Polar Flow person syncing to Strava as a back up.

A screen shot from Strava.

Why do I want to keep records of my runs?  I love going back and looking at different events and seeing how far I’ve come.  Pauly was talking with one of his nieces recently; she would like to run a half marathon.  She’s running 5kms comfortably but hasn’t gone any further and doesn’t think she can.  With my running records I can look back at my running data and see those years where I thought I would never run more than 5kms.  But as I flip through the months I see my long runs go from 5kms to 7kms, then to 10kms.  I zoom ahead and there are weekly long runs of between 16 and 20kms; then it starts to climb all the way to marathon distance with my longest runs being 44kms at The Great Ocean Road Marathon.  Any distance seems impossible until we do it.  How do we get there?  Run.  Get out there and run.  Try.  You will never know until you try.  Little bit by little bit if your heart longs to run a bit further you will be able to do it.  If I can, anyone can!

The M430 tells me it’s time to move!

Happy running 🙂

Post-Marathon Three Rs

Recover Rest Relax

Last week and this week it’s all about recovering from running 44kms.

Here are my Unsporty Recovery Tips!

Take a cool dip

Not always easy to do but getting into some cool water as quickly as possible post-marathon  will speed up recovery.  It cools down those overworked muscles and helps to prevent inflammation.  After doing this a few times I’ve been amazed by the results so have become a firm believer in this rather chilly form of recovery.  It’s not always easy to get into freezing cold water but from my experience it’s so worth the effort.

Re-Fuel and Re-Hydrate

Marathons use mega calories.  At the end of a marathon I never feel like eating but it’s oh so important.  What to eat though?  I say eat what you feel like: you’ve earnt it!  Hydration is a no brainer.  All that sweaty running and the body needs to fill back up again.  Drink, drink and drink some more.  Get that water and those electrolytes into you I tell myself.  Ginger beer is my favourite post-marathon hydrator.  There is just something about it – cold, fizzy, spicy, sweet.  After that it’s the usual assortment of electrolytes, preferably a no-sugar option such as Endura low cal.

Massage

Did someone say massage?  This is my least favourite recovery practice.  I so hate those post-run massages.  I’d rather get out my magnesium cream and do it myself than let some muscley, lithe, enthusiastic, young masseuse anywhere near my fatigued, flabby, cellulite encrusted limbs.  Ouch is all I can say!  But I know many runners believe in this form of sadism and are much braver than me.  Getting the blood moving around the muscles in whatever way works though is important!

A few days post marathon and I’m ready for a remedial massage.  There’s nothing like getting those kinks smoothed out.  A good masseuse will advise if any area needs some extra attention.

Keep Moving

Sitting down like a couch potato immediately after a big run can be disastrous; stiffness and soreness will set in quick time.  It’s way better to have periods of rest with periods of movement.  Swim.  Spa.  Walk.  Keep the blood pumping around the body aids recovery.  I’ve learnt this the hard way and found that trying to sleep the night after a marathon when all I’ve done is sit all afternoon means cramps and discomfort.

Wearing the marathon medal post-marathon may or may not help with recovery but it’s worth a try!

After Recovery comes Rest. 

Everyone has a different idea of post-marathon rest.  Usually I’ll go for a 3km run three days post-marathon; a nice go-at-your-own-pace sort of shuffle, nothing too much.  Having a whole week off running is ok too.  Along with taking it easy on the running front, for a couple of weeks post-marathon it’s ok to cut back on other usual activities.  I’ll take a break from the gym and from Running Group, have early nights and generally take some time out from routine exercise.

Pauly and I after our first run post-marathon. We’re at beautiful Kings Park, Perth Western Australia.

And if you’re really lucky like I am right now you take a holiday!  I’m currently enjoying a couple of weeks in beautiful Western Australia.  It may be snowing at home in Tasmania but here it’s sunny and 25°C.  I’m staying with brown-eyed daughter #1 and generally blobbing around reading, sleeping, eating and having some blissful walks around and about this lovely part of Australia.

The Containbow. An colourful feature I discovered during a run around Fremantle this week.

Treating recovery with respect is important for everyone but especially for us old girls and boys over 50.  I intend to be at the start line of long distance runs for many years to come so having a proper recovery, rest and relaxation period post-marathon is just as important as the training to be at the start line.

Now to put the Adelaide Marathon plan together!

Happy running 🙂

Fabulous, Fabulous Running

What did you miss most while you recovered from the ITB injury? 

I missed running.  All of it.  Running has become more than just exercise.  It’s my thing.  It forms my identity.  It gives me a reason to meet up with friends, have weekends away, coffees, breakfasts, lunches out.  It keeps me sane and gives time out from worries.  I missed the whole running package.  I missed everything.

The non-runner who asked me this question didn’t fully understand my response and that’s ok.  I know that those in my tribe understand fully and don’t need an answer because they wouldn’t ask the question.  Runners just know.

And here I am back again to tell you about marathon number six.  The Great Ocean Road Marathon, Victoria Australia.

Here are the highlights

  • A fabulous weekend away with The Quackers, Louise, Grant, Janette and Pauly.
  • Beyond fabulous weather especially considering how dreadfully stormy it’d been the week before.
  • A simply fabulous run for all of us!  Louie smoked those hilly 44kms in 4:20:53 and 81st woman overall.  Janette in 4:31:12 and 104th woman.  These ladies know how to run!!!  And me in 5:23:04.
  • Pauly managed to be the last Ultra runner through before the sweeper bus coming in in 6:27:24 for those hilly 60kms.

The best thing for me was being at the marathon start line again.  Back in September when that calf hit me in the knee I didn’t think I’d be lining up at another marathon.  And there I was.  At the start line of The Great Ocean Road 44km marathon event.  I ran all the way to the 30km mark without walk breaks feeling fabulous.  After 30kms I took walk breaks crossing the marathon line in just sub 5:00:00 (a course PB of nearly six minutes).  I then walked the rest of the way.

This is what 60kms of a hilly total elevation of 1100m looks like. The cutoff was 6:30:00.

The Marathon.  It’s a long way.  But then any distance is a long way until we train and manage to run it.  How grateful am I that I was able to make a date, be at the start line and then at the finish line with my mate Marathon? More grateful than I could ever say.

Yes, it’s the whole running package that keeps me lacing up my shoes and running.  Running is my thing.

Happy running 🙂

My results. I’m rather proud of myself 🙂

A wrap and a break

A wrap

Triathlon season number one is a wrap.  All up this Unsporty Woman participated in seven baby triathlons or Super Sprints as they are more accurately know this spring/summer 2016-17 season.  The swim distance is between 375 and 200m, cycle distance 10kms and run between 2kms and 3kms.

Pauly completed five including a Sprint Distance Triathlon (500m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run).  A couple of other Quackers also took to the water, cycle and run and proved that they too have triathlons in them – go Louise and Janette.

Triathlon was completely outside my comfort zone.  I’ve stressed about drowning and sharks, about crashing and cramping on the bike and about getting my wet suit off.  All that stressing wasn’t necessary.  While I did struggle with the wet suit removal all the other stressing was completely unnecessary.  And not only that I was fastest old lady on two occasions (let’s not say how large the field was – small, it was small, tiny, puny!).

Genuine place medals! Who ever would’ve thought that could happen???

The Devonport Triathlon was the final triathlon for us this season.  It was my first one swimming at a beach.  It was a little rougher than what I’ve experienced before but all up it was ok.  The ride was four laps.  This was a little worrying because I’m not good at hair-pin bends and we had to turn a total of seven times.

Looking back I’m content with how things went with my first triathlon season. Not using a GPS means that swimming, cycling and running are done according to feel.  I’ve looked at the results and have become a little faster but this I think is due to getting faster at transition rather than anything else!  My confidence and enjoyment has grown.

At the Devonport Tri I was pleased to see Sam competing in the Olympic distance event.  She is totally inspirational with how she approaches triathlon. Despite set backs with injury she just keeps on going.  Never giving up.  Debbie was also there doing her first triathlon in the baby one too.  She smoked it and was long finished before I waddled over the line.

First Triathlon season?  It’s a wrap.  A happy wrap of looking back at something I didn’t think I would be able to do and finding that I can;  and not only can I triathlon but it’s fun!  Here are some happy snaps thanks to my Mum and Dad who were cheer squad.

A break

What’s this break?  I’m taking a break from blogging for now.  For the first time in months we have a clear calendar with nothing except Launceston Running Club runs until The Great Ocean Road Marathon in May.  With all the comings and goings of farm life and things being up in the air, I’m going to take a little down time to concentrate on a few tasks that need my full attention.  The Marathon Plan is written and is up on the fridge.  Post-ITB the plan is rather loose, it’s more a guide.  The plan has been constructed to simply get me over the finish line.

Keep on running happily Dear Reader, I’ll be back in May to tell you how we all did at Great Ocean Road.

Happy running 🙂

Thanks Sam for this photo!

A multi-discipline multi-sport

Tri.  What does it mean?  It means three.


 

 

 

 

 

Triathlon is traditionally three sports:

  1. Swimming
  2. Cycling, and
  3. Running

These three sports are done one after the other in one event known as Triathlon.

Whoever made up this multi-sport got the name completely wrong.  I’m going to tell you why and successfully argue that Triathlon should really be called Decathlon.

Discipline 1:  Triathlon Packing

This involves much thought, preparation, time and list writing.  Without the essential triathlon gear there will be no triathloning!

  1. Swimming: cap, goggles, wet suit, conditioner for the legs and arms to make wet suit taking off easier, spray oil for the same purpose, rubber gloves to prevent finger nail damage of the wet suit, plastic bag for the easy slipping on of the feet and hands into the wet suit
  2. Cycle: bike, helmet, shoes, sunglasses
  3. Run: cap and running shoes
  4. Transition: drink, jelly beans, towel, lip balm, sun screen
  5. Carefully place all in the transition bag and place bike securely on the car.

Discipline 2:  Transition Setting Up

Lay out the gear so that it’s straightforward to get it on and get it off quickly (quickly?  Yes, quickly!).  Sounds simple but trust me it’s an art.

Discipline 3: Wet Suit Application

  1. Conditioner on legs and arms
  2. 1st foot in a plastic bag, slither into 1st wet suit leg, repeat on the other side
  3. Same process with arms
  4. Spay oil on legs and arms of suit
  5. Find someone to heave up that zip
  6. Pop on the swim cap
  7. Spit in the goggles, goggles on

Discipline 4:  Swimming

Get in water, swim for a god-awful amount of time to a distant buoy, keep swimming then eventually stagger out of water to transition thanking the gods that a) you didn’t drown and b) you didn’t become shark food.

Discipline 5:  Swim to Ride Transition

  1. Take wet suit off

Struggle…wriggle…pull…yank…

Yawn…

The crowd looks at their watches…

Struggle…wriggle…pull…yank…

The 1st competitor finishes the run…

More struggling…POP!

Yep, wet suit is off now.

 

  1. Put on helmet, shoes and glasses
  2. Un-rack bike and race off to the mount/dismount line

Discipline 6:  Cycle

Ride the bike out and back, round and round or whatever is required, hopefully pass a few beginners on mountain bikes.

Discipline 7:  Cycle to Run Transition

  1. Get off bike at mount/dismount line
  2. Stagger into transition
  3. Rack bike, remove helmet, put on running shoes and cap
  4. Run

Discipline 8:  Running

Stagger around the course in a posture that is reminiscent of Neanderthal man puffing and wheezing and generally looking pained.  Cross finish line. Collapse.

Discipline 9:  Transition Pack Up

After all the careful packing to get to the event, stuff everything into transition bag.  Wet stuff.  Dry stuff.  We are too stuffed to care!  Grab bike and wheel carefully (we do care about our bikes, all homage to our beautiful road bike that allowed us to zoom past the beginners on mountain bikes) put on car.  Stuff the stuff in the boot.  Drive home.

Discipline 10:  Triathlon Unpacking

Carefully and lovingly put bike away.  All other stuff just dump it down and slowly sort:

  1. Rinse wet suit and hang to dry
  2. Rinse and dry cap and goggles
  3. Rinse and put shoes to dry
  4. Shake grass and debris from transition towel, put all the disgusting salt-encrusted gear in the washing machine and wash, hang to dry. Flop on couch.  Drink coffee.  Start planning for the next triathlon because all of that was so much fun!  Post smiling happy snaps on social media!  (Delete all happy snaps that make us look like a bedraggled, homeless walrus in colourful lycra).

Triathlon?  I think not.  Decathlon is a much better name for this multi-discipline multi-sport of swimming, cycling and running known as Triathlon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Triathlon has kept me sane this spring/summer season, it was something to focus on while my ITB healed.  At the time I wanted to be training for and doing a 64km ultra marathon.  Instead I tried at triathlon and found that I love it.  Those clouds do sometimes have silver linings.  Thank goodness for wonderful friends who look out for us and give us a shove in the right direction when it’s needed.  I’ll be forever grateful to Bruce and Janette for getting us into this wonderful sport.  If Triathlon is on your wish list don’t just wish, have a go.  If I can do this then there is no reason why you can’t have a try at triathlon too.

Today was our last triathlon for this season.  I’ll tell you about it next.

Happy running 🙂