Friday, May 27, 2016

Marathon Wrap

The marathon has been & gone & I'm a little behind in updating here!  I'm blaming a business software (including payroll) upgrade that has been one headache after another with 2 x patches from the provider already installed post upgrade & another pending when they rectify the latest fault.  It has been so stressful I had to take a walk around the block the other day as I was in tears after proving the latest fault to the help desk.  Moving on.

If you're a new or sometime reader, this is the 2nd time I've run the Great Ocean Road Marathon & the 3rd marathon overall.  The GORM follows the southern coast of Victoria from Lorne to Apollo Bay whereby the road is closed to vehicles for the event on the Sunday for the 60km ultra,   44km marathon & 23km half marathon.

This year we booked a house in Apollo Bay for the weekend after learning last year how quickly accommodation books out in the region.  I should have taken a photo of the car loaded up for the weekend - I mean how much gear do 3 adults & a dog need for 2 nights away?  The answer was a lot.  

Mum & Dad joined us for the weekend at the house having arrived late afternoon had the house nicely warmed for our arrival.  Unfortunately when Mum went to put the  lasagne she'd made into the oven for dinner, she found Dad had occidentally grabbed the container full of left over birthday cake!!!  We decided to walk the 2 blocks to the pub (MIL in the car) for dinner.  Nothing overly exciting & Dad & I were disappointed they had the rugby on the TV instead of the Cat's game!

Home to watch the end of the footy & hopefully a good nights sleep (+ sleep in).  Plumbing Boy was up before dawn & took Trix for an epic walk.  She was in heaven after being confined for the past 4 weeks due to being on heat.  I received at text at 7.30am asking me for the coffee order!

Once the rest of the tribe were up & dressed, we walked to the foreshore to check out the local market & the event arena (I suppose it is called) for more coffee & a browse.  Dad & PB had their blood pressure & sugar taken by the local healthcare organization who had a stand while I picked up a race packet for a friend.  Mizuno were one of the sponsors & not having had a pair of their sneakers before, decided to try a pair - at almost half price I couldn't say no to a pair of these.

Spent the rest of the day wandering back & forth from the house to down the street watching the 14km event, soaking up the sunshine & preparing for the marathon by drinking 2 litres of my sports drink & 4 litres of water on top of that!!!  And of course the numerous bathroom stops as a result.




I was actually feeling pretty calm about the event & as I hadn't put a time goal on it I was pretty relaxed.  Once my cousin arrived, we ended up having take away pizza for dinner as everywhere was booked out early, I really wanted an early night & none of us wanted to leave the warmth of the house.  It took me a while to drift off, but I slept pretty well considering.  My biggest worry was the weather - the forecast was for 35 km per hour winds with showers & I could hear the wind rattling the windows of the house!

Last year we stayed on the Melbourne side of the Lorne so it was only a short (10? minute) drive to the starting line.  This year we stayed at the finish line & as the website said the road from Skene's Creek closed at 5am to traffic to Lorne I opted to catch the 6.15am courtesy bus to the starting line.  PB & Trix walked me down & I was amazed by the number of buses!  I didn't count them but there must have been 20+.  A quick farewell, onto the bus & we were off!



A lovely gentleman sat next to me & we chatted for half the journey.  He'd grown up in Kenya & today was running his 19th Marathon!!!  His only goal was to finish & he planned on walking up ALL the hills, running the down hills & flats.  I think it was fate sitting next to this man - it reinforced in me that it's OK to stop & walk a while & that getting to the starting line is all that matters.  Finishing is good too & as Carol has said, the event really is the victory lap to celebrate all the hard work you have put into training for the event.






We arrived as dawn was breaking & watched the sun rise over the southern ocean.  I found the friend of friend who's race packet I'd collected & we had a quick chat, then it was off to join the queue to the ladies, then back down to the beach for another picture before depositing a layer of clothing & my water bottle for collection at the finish line.  I think this time last year if I had been on my own the anxiety would have crippled me.  I was relieved that while I did feel a little anxious, it erred on the side of nervousness & I managed it quite well.  







I don't have a decent photo at the start line with all the runners - my hands had gotten quite cold & gone numb due to the Raynaurds & getting the phone out of it's waterproof pouch & my pocket was becoming difficult.  Finally we were off & running.  There were quite a few spectators out, some in their PJ's & a few with amusing signs/posters cheering us on.   I'd run maybe half a km & was on the outskirts of town when I heard very loud yelling from the side street to my right.  I glanced over at the people who were wildly gesticulating with their arms to realize it was plumbing boy.  Any my cousin!!!!!

It took me a few seconds for it to sink in before I could wave madly back at them with a big smile on my face!  After he'd seen me off at the bus PB got talking to a race official at the coffee shop & had told him about his disappointment at not being able to drive me up & see me off.  The official said mate, you're right to go if you leave Skenes Creek before 7am!  He hot tailed it home, woke up my cuz, loaded up his electric bike & took off leaving a note for my Dad!  

Apparently they made it to the start as the gun went off, but didn't have time to see me, so they ran back to the car & amazingly googled mapped themselves into a position where they could.  I think they felt like they were on the amazing race & were pumped for the rest of the day with their efforts!!  

I was chuckling for the next 20kms at least, whenever they popped back into my head.  It gave me such a boost!  While the scenery is amazing on the GOR, there are not a lot of spectators on course to lift your spirits when things get tough or to distract you from it.

As you could see from the earlier pictures, the weather was actually magnificent for the first half (although it took 6kms before my feet & hands completely defrosted & the pins & needles subsided) - blue sky, sunshine & light winds.






As always, there is a bit of banter with the on course photographers - they are always at the top of a bloody hill & you are trying to smile & not look like you are about to huck a lung!!!

Everything went to plan for the first half & my half marathon time was reasonable.  I'd planned to walk through the drink stations & I did - I usually try to run through them & get frustrated with other runners obstructing &/or stopping dead in front of me - if you can't beat em, join em. I was carrying 2 litres of tailwind (sports drink) in my hydration pack but still wanted to drink the water on course.

Not long after the halfway point 2 things happened.  I tightened up & my ITB did too giving me knee pain & the bad weather arrived.  Luckily for me I was only doused by showers, but that gusty head wind - yikes!  I stopped & stretched but by 32kms was struggling to get a 1km out of a stretch & started walking up the hills.




Almost got air here!  Road is wet so this must have been in the last half.  I plodded on to Skenes Creek where PB was supposed to meet me on his bicycle.  I'd been running 400m walking 200m (repeat) for the past 4kms & was very disappointed when he wasn't there!  Of course my mind went to all those bad places - firstly was the MIL OK - did she drop dead, have a stroke, have a fall?  Did PB & cuz have a crash on the way back driving like loons.  So on & so forth.  

By now the road was half open to traffic & there were witches cones up the middle of the road.  Run 10, walk 3, repeat.  Finally in the distance I see a cyclist & a walker - PB & Cuz.  PB with his portable speaker tied to his handle bars blasting tunes.  My right knee felt like someone was stabbing it with a knife every time my foot hit the pavement by then, so having their support for the last few kms was a god send.  

Over the full marathon point - didn't even check my watch.  PB sidles up to me on his bike.  Cat he says, look ahead.  See those cheetah legs?  You can't let them beat your leopard legs.  Now go get her (a girl in running tights just like mine only black & tan).  I says to my cuz who'd been running with me (who could actually walk faster than I could run by now mind you) OK - we has one more mission.  See those cheetah legs - we have to beat them.  PB said.

So off we went. Run 10 cones, walk 1.  Run 10 cones, walk 1.  Overtook the cheetah legs & didn't look back.  Finally we are in town & I remembered Mum & Dad were baby sitting MIL probably sitting in a cafe to keep her warm.  I yelled out to my cuz "we should have called Mum & Dad to tell them I'm coming" - I was thinking they've come down for the weekend to support me & they're not even going to see me crossing the damn finishing line!

I'll get them my cuz yells out & takes off like she's running a sprint race!  I try to pick up my pace a little as the finishing chute is now in sight.  Just before I see a hand with a lead from the side coming towards me - it's Dad with Trixie.  Do you want her he yells??!!  It only took a split second for me to grab the lead.  After all, heaps of runners cross the the finishing line with their kids!







And finally we cross the finishing line!!!!  You can tell by my smile that my heart filled with joy to hear the crowd cheer little Trix (& maybe me) down the finishing chute & across that line!  I was so focused on Trix I completely forgot to stop my watch so had to wait until the next day for my results.  A rather slow 5.04.45 compared with last years 4.21.something!

Received my medal gratefully from one of the amazing volunteers & stopped to answer a few people wanting to know if Trix ran the whole way with me before the obligatory victory picture on the stage.  I am pleased to say that this year we have a date stamped on the medal AND on the ribbon after neither last year!!!




No standing in the ocean for a recovery ice bath this year - it was just too cold & windy.  We scoffed some fish & chips (I had my protein drink a hand full of chips & some water - really could not face fried fishy food at that point - even the chips tasted fishy) before making a hasty retreat to the cars & heading for home.  I travelled with my cousin in her car, making like a bogan, necking champers from the bottle.




While I think I hurt more this year than last year, I must have become a little accustomed to the pain as I was already planning next years campaign on the way home (or maybe that was the Prosecco).  I will not let those hills defeat me & I know exactly what I need to do next time, but more on that another day.  If you've read this far you too need a medal!  

I pulled up pretty well - the night of I woke up every time I moved as my knee hurt.  Monday I worked a normal day tired & pretty stiff.  Felt relatively normal by Tuesday with no pain or stiffness by Wednesday & struggled with the concept of an enforced week of no running or gym allowed!  I did go on a 2 hour walk with Trix & some friends Saturday morning & did a Yoga class on Sunday.

I'm back into it this week with a 5km Monday, 7km yesterday & 10 - 12 planned for tomorrow.  5 weeks to the Gold Coast Airport Half!!!  Onwards!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Pride

A while ago we had friends over for dinner.  Mother (M) & daughter (m) have recently taken up running increasing from 0kms to 5km & then to 10km fun runs all in their first year of running.  M's sister B is a half marathon runner, &  she & I both have been encouraging them (although B got them going to start with!).  The 4 of us are going to the gold coast to run our respective 21.1 & 10km distances as part of the Gold Coast Marathon event later this year.

After showing M & m around our new abode, M said to me, now, I promised m that I'd ask you if she could have a look at your running medals - would that be OK?

m had been a swimmer & a basketballer through primary school & early high school & had lots of winning medals & ribbons for these events (currently in year 11).  I was surprised anyone, especially m who'd already won so many finals & events would want to see my participation medals & said as much to M.  She exclaimed vehmently "No Cat - each & every one of these medals represent all the hard work you put in to complete each of these events!!!  You should be so proud of them!" 

She also said that she'd be buggered if she was going to pay to run a 5 or 10km event & not be given some bling to prove that she bloody well did it!!!

I guess the lesson for me is to appreciate that I have worked hard.  I have completed these distances & I should be proud of my hard work no matter the time (or if I had to walk for a bit).  

Santa gave me a couple of medal display hangers for Christmas so it's about time I took the medals off the rung on the coat rack hung them up properly to remind me how far I have come & to be proud of my achievements.  Plumbing Boy finally got around to doing that for me on the weekend.  Timely considering the Marathon is on Sunday!!!!  It's time draw on these achievements & take some pride in my hard work & get my head in the game!


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

70

A couple of weeks ago my Dad turned 70.  How the hell did that happen??



A high tea was held in honour of the milestone.  Dad only wanted a few immediate family members for a quiet gathering, but somehow almost 30 people were in attendance.  


Sorry about the bad lighting....


We would have invited more, but one has to abide by the birthday boys instructions to a degree!




There was off course more food than required or as Dad would say "than you can poke a stick at" & I was in a serious sugar coma for days post party!


Then we had a work birthday with more bloody cake!


One must have at least one piece to share in the celebrations, it's only polite after all!!

I did temper the birthday weekend with a run along the foreshore & out of town along Hopkins Point Road (because I couldn't remember if Logans Beach road dead ended - it did).  There was 1 good followed by several gentle rolling hills to climb; plus countryside complete with cows as well as coastline to look at.  The fresh air scented with pine & eucalyptus (as well as the dairy!) was heavenly & I witnessed a beautiful sunrise to boot.  

I also had to stop at the break water end of the beach to let a couple of race horses cross the path on their way to their daybreak beach work out - didn't want to scare them with my fluoro orange top (picture post run).
  



I love running in the country (sorry, no cow pictures Carol) & especially along the coast.  So much more to see & think about!!  

View from our accommodation below - PB's mum came with us & requires ambulant style amenities preferably next to her bedroom & while Mum & Dad's bathroom can accommodate, they had a full house & half their floor ripped up to be replaced so not conducive to a wheelie walker.




Sunday morning PB & I wandered up to Thunder Point while waiting for the rest of the sleeping beauties to arise.






Love love love the rugged coast line!  This little love came with us & had a sleep over at my aunt & uncles where the party was held as she couldn't stay in the accommodation with us.


She was very taken with her new holiday house complete with doggie door & multiple daily walks!!  The other love stayed home & guarded the house.



Lucky he cant work the taps yet, because this is his latest trick.



It was a great weekend, but I'm not so sure Dad is that keen to be 70.  He said his week started badly when walking into the milkbar earlier in the week someone held the door open for him & called him Pops!  Maybe it was the sling - he's just had carpel tunnel & dupuytrens contracture sliced & diced.


Happy Birthday Dad.  We'll start counting backwards from now on hey!


Friday, April 15, 2016

Distance Running

We were out for dinner recently for a friend of a friends birthday.  There were 30 odd people, quite a few of whom were recreational athletes.  Plumbing Boy & I got chatting to some people sitting near us, (Dad & Son) with Dad telling us his son is a distance runner & won some prize money last year.  Of course my ears perked up & I asked son about his running & distances & he proclaimed his long distance was 5kms.


I was somewhat perplexed at 5kms being classified as distance running............goes to show how much I really know (SFA)!  However after listening & research at home, it would seem that anything further than 3km is considered long distance!  Having not grown up in the athletic's world I had no idea!  

So all of you out there who can run further than 3kms you are a long distance runners!  

So I don't need to be running half marathons nor marathons to call myself a long distance runner??  



Hmmm.  Well, I since there is only 30 sleeps to go til Marathon number 3 I'd better keep up with the training.  



I have 32 - 34kms to run tomorrow & am hydrating like ninja.  This will be me for the rest of the day!!!



Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Catch Up

Tux has begun his introduction to the great out doors, supervised of course.....


I was supposed to have lots of visitors over Easter which was when Tux's 6 week indoor confinement was up, but decided to start letting him out a week early as it would have been horrible if one of my visitors accidentally let him out & he nicked off.  So far so good excepting last night whereby he spent the whole night out!!  My bad.  




He was ready to come inside last night & just about to walk in the front door with me when he turned his head & spotted another cat on the road.  Off he took, had a slight mexican stand off with said kitty who hissed at Tux & Tux just looked at him & said whatever.  He walked back with me towards the house (I thought to come home) & then did a runner into next doors garden at the last minute!  



This was all after he'd gotten a fright from the neighbours kids who were playing basketball in their own back yard but the ball hit the paling fence between us pretty hard & a paling fell down on our side scaring Tux so much he jumped up the fence & onto the roof of the house!  

He went right up over the top of the roof to the front of the house...........Mr Fearless.  I had a very restless night listening out for him & was very happy to see him run in the back door when I called him at 5am this morning, despite being cross he hadn't come home!!!!  I've already told him he's not allowed out again until he's 21!!!


How adorable is Trix in her new flannie!!!!  I just couldn't help myself.  She almost got a cable knit sweater as well but couldn't justify the expenditure LOL.

A couple of weeks ago we went to a music festival down the coast.  There was music of course & plenty of food & merriment!  It took me a week to recover.  


local band Dalriada


Leftovers for Lunch 


Archie Roach - a national treasure


Steve Earle (above & below) with band


It took me a week to recover as I ended up with a bout of sinusitis.  This is not conducive to running.  I managed the 25 scheduled the Saturday afterwards but didn't do either of the shorter runs scheduled. I'd recovered enough & felt my mojo returning Wednesday night & had a beautiful outdoor run along the Maribyrnong river, part trail part path, complete with hills.  I only had 7 scheduled but decided to run 10 to make up a bit from the week before.


I have 30kms to run this Saturday.  I really only have 2 more super long runs after this before the Marathon, so while it's still 6 weeks away the end is nigh!  I'm trying not to think too hard about it & I'm taking away all time goals for the rest of the year to help make my running a little more fun too.  My only real goal for the GORM is to complete it: hopefully without injury, to run the whole way (not stop for injury) & to have fun (enjoy the view!) & maybe spot another Koala!!