Sunday, August 28, 2011

Adelaide Marathon 2011

As always, before any race or running event, I ask myself "What the hell am I thinking?"
And this morning, while I was sitting in the car waiting (yes I came way early as I always do..) those doubts started to nag at me again. 
Why was I doing this?
Had I done enough training? My training this year was so different..
Am I going to be humiliated and have to pull out?
Are those last few kms going to be the death of me as they were last year?

It was pretty exciting at the start though. So many people came up to me and said hi. A lot of them even knew me by name and I wasn't sure who some of them were but I guess if you start showing up at running events and races, (not to mention having a voice on facebook) people start to get to know you.
And I really love that about running. I love how everyone is just so supportive and so nice and we all want everyone else to do well.

So there was a lot of back slapping and well wishing going on at the start.

Before we knew we were off... and the start was good. I didn't think I took off as fast as I did last year but maybe that was a good thing.
Last year I remember overtaking people at the start, this year it seemed EVERYONE was overtaking me! I tried not to get discouraged because I knew the times they do are not going to affect my time.
I'm running against myself.. and I was running at just over 5min/km pace then so I was doing alright...

So  I think I went pretty well on that pace till just over the halfway mark. Then we hit some winds and it wasn't that bad and maybe I would have slowed down a bit anyhow, but I forced myself not to look at my garmin. I just wanted to run to make it...  But I knew I'd slowed down...

I did sneak a peak from time to time and saw that I was actually close to being able to make a sub 4 time but it would require that burst of effort which I knew I didn't have. I was working at the maximum...

And those last eight kms especially were difficult. I wanted to stop so many times but I just talked myself through it.
"Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, doesn't matter how long you take, loved ones are waiting for me at the end and they may even be there now... the quicker I get there the sooner I can see them and the quicker I can be finished..."
And it worked.

I stopped at the drink stations but only so that I could drink....

Got to the end and I just couldn't take the smile off my face.
I'd beaten last years time.
My garmin showed 4.05.02
It also showed that I ran 42.53kms so a bit longer than an actual marathon course... and believe me, when you want to die, those 300 metres mean a lot!!!

After last year's marathon I was saying "never again" but this year, although I know it was hard, I'm not saying it... I'm not saying I'm looking forward to my next one but it's definitely an option!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Yurebilla Stage Two

In preparation for the Yurrebilla Trail Run 56km Ultra, I've been running the trial runs.

The course has been split into three stages. The first was 16 1/2 kms long and was four weeks ago.
The second was 17 1/2kms and was held last Saturday.

I don't know why I work myself up so much before these runs. It could because I've not run on most of these trails before so I'm always worried about getting lost. It could be because I know I'm going to run it two ways, and would prefer to start at the end, run to the start and start with the group, then run with the group back to the end.... than start at the start with everyone, run to the end and then run back to the start.
I know, I have you all confused and I probably could have worded that much better but...

For the run this last Saturday, at least I knew where the start and finish were, so I wasn't worried about that, but to get to the start by 8am (which is the time the main group was starting) I'd have to start at the finish at least two hours before, and that means running on trails in the dark...
That was fine when I didn't know what to expect, but having done that once before, I knew what to expect and wasn't looking forward to it...

I barely slept Friday night because I get anxious about silly things  sometimes and I still hadn't decided whether I was doing a 6am start or going with the main group at 8am and doubling back that way... I really didn't want to do that... so I decided I'd just head on out there early and if there were people I could run with, great, I'd go with them, if not, I'd just go back home and make it to the 8am start with the others...

As I couldn't sleep, I checked my emails during the night and found out that at least one other runner (Thanks Callum!) was going to be there at the finish point, ready to run to the start,  but he was leaving at 5.30am...

I'm only 15minutes from the meeting point so I got up, got ready and went!

The early morning and the sheer silliness of what we were doing caught up with me though and after about a kms of uphill, in the dark running I stopped and said very embarrassingly "I don't think I can do this today"
Callum spoke like a doctor trying to soothe a frightened child and said wisely to just give myself  twenty minutes and if I still felt bad, to turn back then...

Magically, after those words were spoken, it all went away! I felt fine or at least, back to normal and we went on our way.

Running in pitch blackness, with only our little torches to light the way is quite an experience and not one that I'm too fond of. I did have a "mid-light trip" which is becoming customary for me. I've got quite the selection of scrapes and bruises on my lower limbs at the moment but nothing serious and nothing to stop me running!

At one point there was a heavy rustling in the bushes which I'm sure was a kangaroo but we just kept moving.... moving fast....

We heard the howl of a koala and stopped to try to find it with our litte torches... we didn't find the one howling but we did see one just a few meters away right at eye level!! So close!!

I've pasted our route as mapped by my garmin but I only turned it on after we'd already gone 1.3km so it's short by that much.

 We ended up getting to the start with plenty of time left before the actual start took place. We were going to take it easy on the way back but everyone was running so we just ran along with them.

When we got back to the spot where we'd seen the koala, we noticed he was still there so I took a couple of photos. Those things don't move for nothing!!

As every run is, it was great once it was finished! I was driving home thinking "Did I really just run that far?" and you know, I really felt pretty good... just the odd niggle or two but nothing major...

Just one more training run to go now before the main event!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Too late to back out now...

I've really been enjoying my running lately. So much so, that I've neglected to update this blog!

Last year I ran the Adelaide marathon. After an injury setback, and starting again slowly early this year, I didn't think the marathon would be a possibility but....

I started running trails and that seems to have made my general running stronger.

The great thing about trails is that there is so much going on, you forget what you're doing! There is so much to take in from the different terrain, to the smells and sounds around you. Not to mention the gorgeous scenery...
Starting at 6am in pitch darkness adds an interesting dimension too!!

But on Sunday the 31st of July I ran the Hills 2 Henley race.

I was looking forward to doing this as it was the first long non trail run I had done in a while.
I did an ok time but I just felt like I had such a bad run. I'm not sure why.
The conditions were perfect.

I had told myself that I'd see how I went with this race before deciding if I was going to tackle the marathon but who was I kidding? Of course I was going to do the marathon!!
Not that I think I'll do well... but I know I'll hate myself on the day, thinking everyone else is running and I'm not in it...
So no matter how badly I'm going to do, I'm in...

And strangely enough, I'm no where near as nervous as I was this time last year about it all!