Time for a goal check-in

As we’re now a few months into 2015 (and I’m on school holidays which is always a bit of a reflective time), it seems like a good time to check in and see how I’m going towards my goals for the year…

  1. Finishing a half marathon – done!
    Still feel very happy & proud of achieving this one and am looking around to potentially run another one later in the year 🙂
  2. Reducing my 5km time. Anything closer to 30 mins will make me happy
    I have reduced it a little with a PB a couple of weeks ago at parkrun. More importantly, my times are getting both better and more consistent.
  3. ‘Run sensible’ and injury free – listen to my body and do what it needs, not necessarily what I feel like
    I’m trying. My achilles is playing up at the moment so I’m back to stretching, foam rolling and have shortened my distances.
  4. Increase my running habit, gently and carefully. Aiming for 4x per week
    Not yet. See #3 which is making this hard.
  5. Try out a trail event
    Funny that I’m checking in with this today as a friend had just sent me a link to a local trail event a few hours ago. I’m thinking about it – just have to see how my achilles holds up first.
  6. Get back to my happy running weight (which was about 10kgs ago – oops!)
    I’m working on it. Slowly.
  7. Run as many parkruns as I can
    Have definitely been doing this and have just completed my 10th. I’m loving the camaraderie and feeling connected to my local community as I’ve never really been much of a ‘joiner’ before.
  8. Volunteer at parkrun
    Done! In fact, I’ve actually volunteered twice with another stint coming up in a couple of weeks. Lots of fun and worth passing up a run for.
  9. Be a parkrun tourist at any opportunity I get
    I’ve had 1 tourist jaunt with another couple planned over the next few months. Much to my husband’s annoyance, I’m planning our upcoming Sydney trip around ensuring I’m close enough to a parkrun on the Saturday morning 😉
  10. Most importantly, ‘run happy’ (as the lovely people at Brooks say) and remember why I run – because it clears my head, makes me smile and makes me an all-round nicer person to be around.
    Definitely! I lost my running mojo a little with the preparation for the half marathon. I think I had put so much pressure on myself with the whole race-cation thing that it squeezed some of the fun out of it. However the actual run well and truly put the fun back in and I’ve been back in love with it ever since. I also have parkrun to thank as that has also helped me to ‘run happy’.

Not doing too bad so far!

How are you going with your running goals for the year?

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my week in running – a creaky tendon and a new challenge

I pulled up a bit sore after last week’s Run for the kids but not in a muscular kind of way. Regular blog readers would know that I have had problems with my achilles for about a year now which come and go. This week, it flared in a big way and saw me hobbling around at work on Monday like an old lady. I was really gutted as it hasn’t been more than a pesky niggle for a long time. By Wednesday it was starting to settle back down again but I rested it for the week anyway. Not only that, but I’ve started back with my calf strengthening, eccentric heel drop exercises (that I should have been doing all along) in an effort to get it back under control.

On Saturday, it felt good enough to test it out at parkrun and I decided to set myself a bit of a challenge too. I’ve always adopted a run-walk approach and have been quite happy with that but a niggling voice in the back of my head has recently started to ask ‘why’? I wondered if, deep down, I run-walk because I’m scared of failing if I just try to run. So I set myself the challenge of running as far as I could before I felt the need to walk. To my astonishment, I made it 3km before even thinking about walking. The last 2km, I did my usual run-walk intervals but felt pretty good and proud of myself crossing the line. I’m still a fan of the run-walk approach but feel like I’ve got options now and aren’t just doing it because I can’t just run. And, foot willing, it’s given me something new to aim for in my runs this week.

Race recap – Run for the kids

I really wasn’t sure whether I’d make it to the start line this morning as I’ve had a cold and been feeling pretty rubbish for the past week. I’ve been resting up for the last few days but still wasn’t 100% when my alarm went off at 6am and got ready with a ‘I’m not sure if I should be doing this’ kind of feeling.

I’m pleased to say that the excitement took over once I made it to the start area of Run for the kids and my sniffles were well and truly relegated to the back of my mind. It was a perfect, crisp, blue skyed Melbourne morning – gorgeous running weather.

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Hanging out at the start line

Despite all the people (the event attracted about 33,000 runners), it didn’t feel crazily crowded and, soon enough, the starting gun for our wave was going off and we began the shuffle forwards to make it across the start. I had my head down in concentration (and contemplation) when I heard someone say to me ‘Don’t look so serious – have a great run!’. Steve Moneghetti was standing at the start line cheering people on and these encouraging words instantly put a smile on my face and sent me off with enthusiasm.

I had previously worried about the number of runners and had heard lots of people say how crowded it was at the start. However I didn’t feel boxed in at all felt the crowd were mostly moving together, with very few people attempting to weave in and out. We ran over the Swan St bridge and along the Yarra before turning sharply for our descent into the Domain tunnel. It was definitely an experience to get to run through here – warm and muggy but pretty spectacular. The hum of traffic was replaced by the hum of breathless runners and excited bits of conversation.

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Running through the Domain tunnel

Coming out of the tunnel brought cool relief – I hadn’t realised how warm it was in there until we were out in the fresh air again and it felt divine. Not far out of the tunnel, I came across my friend, Jill, from my local parkrun and was so pleased to be able to share much of the rest of the run with her.

Running along the freeway then up on the Bolte Bridge wasn’t as challenging as I had imagined. I thought the hill was going to feel really steep but I don’t even remember it, just feeling really lucky to be getting to run over the bridge and see the views across the city and the bay. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one struck with the feeling as the majority of those around me stopped (or at least slowed down) for selfies and the volunteers on top of the bridge were kept busy with photo requests.

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Blurry but happy selfie on top of the Bolte Bridge

Once we were off the bridge and weaving our way through the Docklands, I started to find things a bit tough, with the usual bits starting to hurt as they tend to do over longer distances. The hill up Collins Street was probably the most brutal on the course – it might be small but it’s also pretty steep and, having already run over 10km, my legs were feeling it.

Soon after this, we were heading back over the Yarra and turning in to Southbank which was actually really good. The crowds eating brunch in the many restaurants and tourists out for a stroll added to the atmosphere and I felt really proud to be running in this event. And, with only a couple of kilometres to go, I knew I was going to make it.

Heading back along St Kilda Road, I saw the finish line and had a renewed burst of energy – 15.5km done! Just over the finish line, I caught up with my friends and was so happy to be able to share this event with them. I usually run events like this alone and it really does make a difference to have someone to chat to afterwards and share in the experience.

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15.5km – done!

Summary: It was my 2nd time running this event – my first was my first ever fun run back in 2009 and I had just as much fun today as I did then.

+ Atmosphere: The event volunteers are so enthusiastic and supportive and the crowd is a perfect mix of serious runners, those out there for fun and those who are there to celebrate and raise funds for the amazing work of Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital. That mix really makes for an incredible atmosphere.

+ The course: There is no other event in Melbourne’s calendar where you get to go through a tunnel and over a bridge so it’s definitely a winner from that perspective. Add into that the other fabulous sights of Melbourne that the course winds through – it’s the perfect snapshot of inner city life.

+ Entry fees: The entry fee for this event is a very reasonable $53, of which $31.60 is donated to the Royal Children’s Hospital. So as well as being a great run, you’re doing something worthwhile for others as well.

The late start. This one is a really, really minor point and I almost didn’t list it as I know some people might prefer this. Our wave didn’t start until 9am which felt quite late on an early Autumn day that was heading for 28C. However the late start also meant a lot of people could travel in by public transport and help reduce overcrowding in the city. So I guess there’s pros and cons of this one. And I’m just an early bird 🙂

Calling upon the force

I’ve got a cold at the moment. Not a terrible one but big enough that it has made it hard to convince myself to do anything that expends energy. So there’s been this internal conflict going on – to run or not to run? I know I’m perfectly capable of running with a cold and I also know that I’ll feel better for having done so. The hard part is mustering up the energy to get my kit on and get out the door.

Indicative of my state of ‘meh’ is that I missed parkrun yesterday. Very unusual. This morning I got up and decided to catch up on my running blogs and a magical thing happened – I found some energy. I shall, for today, call it ‘the force’ as I feel like it works in a similar way to that which Yoda radiates. Reading about all the inspirational things people are doing, all the obstacles they are overcoming and all the amazing things they feel once they’ve done their runs was enough to stop me feeling flat and make me put my shoes on.

4km later, I’m still lacking in energy but feeling much better about it. So, to those of you who blog about running, keep it up. I need you. And I’m happy to return the favour & write something inspirational whenever you need it 🙂