Friday, July 22, 2016

GCAM 2016

A plan was hatched before Christmas 2015 by a couple of my newer running buddies to go to the Gold Coast for the Gold Coast Airport Marathon running festival in July 2016. This would be all of our first interstate event - how could I say no!  We were a posse of 1 Marathon runner, 1 Half Marathon runner (me) & 3 x 10km runners.  Us 4 girls stayed in an apartment right in Surfers Paradise, about a 5 minute walk from the beach & our Marathon runner stayed with his family out in the burbs taking an extended 2 week vacation.

I managed to fit 3 nights/4 days worth of clothes in here (+ an over sized handbag) & took both as cabin luggage.  Did not want them losing my stuff!  Had a bit of time to kill at Melbourne Airport.

And at Coolongatta hanging out with this guy & getting some rays waiting for another of my travelling companions to arrive.

Marathon runner picked us up at the airport & we swung by the convention centre to pick up his race packet & have a look at the expo.

 Found our names on the event wall of runners...........

Then headed to our accommodation, a wander around & a late lunch/early dinner as we had 3 runners starting @ 6.30am Saturday morning for the 10km.

Our accommodation was approximately 20 minutes travel time from the event precinct & the recommendation was to arrive an hour before your event start time.  

The tram was a 2 minute walk from our building & supposedly running every 7 minutes from 4.30am.  The runners were up before 4am, I rolled out of bed around 4.15am & we walked out the door at 4.30.  It was bloody freezing!!!  We made it to the start line with out incident; runners lined up for the portaloo & then we went for a bit of a walk, warm up (runners) & to watch the beginnings of the sunrise before making our way to the start line.

One more portaloo stop & it was time to head to the starting chute.  Instead of carrying all the jumpers in the bags I was now in charge of, I put them all on trying to warm up!!!  Finally our wave was off & the girls took off.  M was hoping for a PB, of the other two, one had come down with a rotten cold & the other hadn't trained much so they had a walk/run strategy & planned on taking lots of photo's & have a bit of fun with it.

I went in search of HOT coffee still not being able to feel my hands or feet & then back to the road hoping to see M on the back leg of the first out & back section.  I had given up waiting thinking I'd missed her as I didn't want to miss her at the finish line when I saw her out of the corner of my eye!!  I yelled & cheered, but was stuck on the other side of the dual carriage way & she didn't hear or see me.

Raced around to the finish line & settled in to a good spot half way down the finishing corral to wait for M.  I missed the winner, but saw the first girls over the line & had lots of fun cheering runners of all shapes, sizes & abilities!  Finally I spotted M.  By this time there were a lot of runners in the chute & I had been worried I'd miss her!  Waved my arms wildly & cheered - Bam - she saw me!  Big grin & down to the finish line.

I headed back to the rendezvous point to meet her, knowing the other two were together & would be a while yet + I had all their phones & warm clothes :-)

M achieved her PB & was stoked with her time & the run overall, but was a little annoyed that the drink stations weren't set up when she went through the first 2 - the cups were all empty with the volunteers only just starting to fill them.  I don't worry about drink stations for 10kms, but for those who do, that can really throw you off your run.

By the time the other 2 finished & met us the sun was out & I had finally defrosted.  Back to Surfers for well earned breakfast & showers for the sweaty mob & a wander around the shops (& a sleep for the snotty one who was looking rather pale post run).

We pretty much chilled out for the rest of the day with the other girls in recovery mode & me yet to run.  Some of us took the opportunity to make happy feet before an early dinner. I was in bed by 8pm after laying out my gear as another early start was required!!

My start time was 6am & after yesterdays chilly start there was no way I wanted to wait around at the start line for an hour.  I was happy to aim for 5.30am.  This morning however the trams were a little more packed & the girls shoved me into a sardine packed tram on my own worried I wouldn't make it there on time.  I was then worried they wouldn't make it to grab my bag back off me LOL!

All was well & it was finally time to donate my warmest layers to our sickie & head for my start wave.  The girls saw me off & then went in search of Marathon runner who's event didn't start until 7.20am - MADNESS!!!  I have no idea why they don't start the Marathon first -making them run in the heat of the day wasn't very nice (in my opinion).

Finally I was off & settled into a reasonable pace (5.35).  I haven't done any speed training since the Great Ocean Road Marathon & have still been plagued with ITB pain - the longest run I'd done between the two was 15kms & the pain set in about then so I had no idea how I'd fare today.

It didn't seem long before the front runners were coming back & we cheered them on as they flew by heading back towards the finish line (the course is an out & back).  There were lots of people out cheering & I high fived as many kids (& adults) as possible & almost came to a flying face plant focusing on a bunch of kids on the back of a ute.....who were parked over a speed hump.......that I didn't see. 

Thankfully it was only a stumble for me & I continued on keeping my eyes peeled for further trip hazards.  I took a little detour @ about 7kms into a public toilet block @ a sports ground - much better than a portaloo &; no queue!!  

It was a bit of a multi tasking stop as I needed a bit of a costume change.  I really didn't pack very well for the run.  The singlet I'd packed was more for 25 degrees, not 9 & the long sleeved top I ran in was more for 5 degrees & now I was a little warm.

Not wanting to put my belly on display I'd noted another lady with the same problem & followed her lead - pulled my zip down the whole way & shimmied my arms out of the sleeves & through the neck, sliding my top down just below my crop top & tied the arms around my waist.  Problem solved.  Top half nice & cool, belly covered :-)

At 12kms the ITB pain kicked in & I had to stop & stretch every 2kms thereafter crossing the finishing line 2.03.39 my watch; official 2.03.37.  Collected my medal & finishers shirt & headed to the rendezvous point to meet the girls.  

After around 20 minutes one of them came looking for me, the other two still looking for me on the finishing chute - they'd been waiting but didn't see me!!!  Luckily I had my dry t-shirt to change into & the sun had come out otherwise I'd have been a shivering crying mess (they had my warm clothes & phone)!!!!

After some finishing photo's it was back to Surfers for breakfast & a hot shower.  As we headed to the cafe we noticed the Marathon runners along the foreshore.  Checked the time & decided to go down & see if we could see our Marathon runner.  3.40 pacer went past, 3.50 pacer, then the 4hr pacer - he can't be far away (although went in with a lower back/hip strain & wasn't sure how he'd go).

Our wait paid off with big cheers & massive high fives as he came past us at around the 25km mark.  On to breakfast & a quick shower as we wanted to get back to the finishing line.  Perfect timing - waited around 5 minutes along the finishing chute before he came through - not so happy & said he would have stopped & walked & possibly thrown up if we hadn't been there.

Spent the afternoon walking back home along the beach taking in the warmth of the sun & the beauty of the ocean.

Then it was time for some recovery & celebration!

Hot epsom salts/radox bath, followed by legs up the wall.

A play on the foam roller

Some bubbles

And one last sunset

Once again early to bed & an early start for flights home.  Mine was the latest flight to leave GC & I had a little time to kill @ the airport.

A little bit of shopping, finished reading my book & started the next in the series.  Finally it was time to board & before I knew it I was back in Melbourne.  I met two of the girls at the baggage carousel (they'd had a stop over in Sydney) & after a long wait & a visit to the lost luggage counter we were on our way home with 1 less bag (still in Sydney - to be delivered to their home the following day).  

It was a great weekend away with friends & we are already planning our next interstate running adventure: Cadbury Half Marathon event in Tasmania in January 2017 (& 2 of the girls first attempt at the half distance!!!!).

I did learn a few things about running an interstate event:

1. Do not under any circumstance pay heed to other peoples interpretation of the weather or humidity conditions.  Read the forecast your self & go by experience.  It will be hot they said, 21 up their is like 27 at home they said, its the humidity, you'll only need a light cardi for nights they said.  The humidity was the same as Melbourne.  We were up at 4am & it was 9 degrees & very cold.  I had to buy another jumper & packed the wrong running attire. 

2. The scenic route was the Marathon route.  For some reason I was expecting to run along the beach.  My bad.  The half was through suburbia with only the last 4kms? along the water.

3. Look where you are going.    This isn't really an interstate lesson though, just a running lesson in general!!!!  That speed hump almost undid me.

I have a pretty medal to add to the collection.  The Marathon medal is MUCH bigger............& I may just want one...........

Monday, July 11, 2016


I'm still alive!  I promise!  Just been a tad busy.  Still running.  Work is mental.........end of financial year & all + learning new payroll software & the implementation of new business software is somewhat time consuming as we will run both old & new for the month of July at least!  And a 4 day long weekend - race report to follow!  And of course more running, gym, shoes, puppy dog & kitty cat love.

Hope you are all well & warm!

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!