100kms in a month – done!

For the second year in a row, I signed up for the Indigenous marathon project‘s virtual run. Last year, I managed to run a cumulative marathon (42.2km) in a month so wanted to push myself further this year….by more than doubling it to 100km.

I’m pleased to say that I accomplished my goal. It hasn’t been easy and my creaky achilles is as creaky as ever. Despite a few twinges, my run tonight was bliss – I felt so comfortable and found my rhythm easily which definitely doesn’t always happen.

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So many happy memories in this collection of pictures – can’t believe I fitted all of that into 1 month!

Naked running….with clothes

This morning, I ran naked. No, not like that – I did keep my clothes on, I just got rid of some of the techie gadgets that normally accompany me on a run, inspired by International day of running naked (check out the Naked Runners page for more inspiration). I will admit that I still had my iPod – I have been known to run without this but find it disturbing to listen to my breathing (or ‘gasping’ as it is more accurately described).

I did, however, run without my Garmin which is a huge thing for me. Normally, my pre-parkrun ritual is all about finding satellites and not letting it go to sleep before the run. I was a bit nervous about this – I like my statistics and like to know how I’m going so I wasn’t really sure how I’d feel without it.

I’m pleased to say I felt fantastic. I hadn’t realised how much it clearly is a distraction for me, constantly checking in on my time or pace and worrying about my finish time. Today, I didn’t care. I just ran. And, if I felt like walking, I walked. And if I felt like going faster, I did. Interestingly enough, my finish time was 1 second faster than last time; a week when I didn’t enjoy the run so much and it felt like a chore. Today I felt quite free and unencumbered.

I can’t say that I’m going to bury the Garmin in the bin but perhaps I have been persuaded to leave it behind sometimes, especially when my running mojo is in short supply and I just need to enjoy it.

City2Sea – race recap

We were blessed with an absolutely perfect morning for today’s City2Sea, very different from the rain-fest that was last year’s event. My friend and I were dropped off at the MCG about an hour before and, soon enough, joined the inevitable queue for the portaloos. This ended up killing 1/2 hour of our time – there were clearly not enough for the thousands of runners who were waiting. We were lucky that we managed to get in and out in time to join the other ‘blue start’ runners.

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I’d forgotten how far it was from the shute to the start line & there was no confetti for us this year to kick it off so the start actually felt like a bit of an anti-climax. The downhill stretch makes up for it – perfect way to start a long run and made me feel like I was doing ok. We caught up with another friend, got a running selfie, bid our goodbyes and focused on our own races. My friend was on fire today and sped ahead while I dropped my speed to ‘run comfortable’.

There seemed to be a lot more people this year although that didn’t result in having to duck and weave too much, just made me feel like I wasn’t out there on my own. Soon enough, we were dropping underneath the Arts Centre and back around onto St Kilda Road. By the time I got to the 5km mark, I was feeling tired and, while I was enjoying myself, wasn’t feeling like I wanted to keep running for another 10km. I wasn’t quite at the point of seriously considering dropping out but was definitely feeling like I would rather be somewhere else.

My saviour came in the form of a running friend I’d met through parkrun, Brendan. He’d run the first 6km fast and was happy to have an easy run/walk for the rest so we ran together and our chatter distracted me perfectly. So much so that my 10km time was within a minute of my yearly PB. I’m not often lucky enough to run with to others as it’s rare that I find someone at my pace (or willing to slow down to my pace!) so this was a bit of a novelty and really helped with get me to the finish. Even the slog around Albert Park lake was quite pleasant and felt a lot quicker than it did last year.

Turning out of Albert Park, we only had the short run along Fitzroy Street to go and then the finish line was in sight. My achilles was grateful and happily carried me there, even managing a spurt of speed for the finish line. My time overall was 2 minutes slower than last year but I was really happy with it – from not wanting to be there a 5km to a relatively fast run at 15km was definitely a big shift 🙂

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Overall, a good run. I’m happy I did it and had a lot of fun with my running friends. However I suspect, unless some of the points below change, I won’t be doing it again next year…

Summary:
+ Great course. Being a point to point course, you don’t have to traipse past the same place twice and you get both the beauty of the Melbourne skyline and the fun of finishing at the beach

Bib pickup. Yes, you actually have to go and pick it up, even though this is 2015 and we’ve had a reliable postal service for years. This is basically so you’ll be forced to walk through the ‘expo’ (hence placating sponsors) but, to be honest, it’s not much of an expo. The opening hours for it are also not particularly convenient nor is the location.
Lack of toilets. Despite knowing how many registrations they had, there was still a complete lack of toilets at the start, made worse as a block of them didn’t appear to be working (with no water attached). Not a great start to a 15km run.
Cut off times. I got grumpy about this last year so at least I knew it was coming. The overall cutoff is fair however if you don’t make it to the 10.6km in time, you’ll be diverted onto the path. This cutoff time is completely at odds with the pace required to finish the course in time. I understand that they have to have cutoff times but I paid the same money as the first person over the finish line and I deserve to run the same course. Because of this detour, I didn’t actually get to run the 15km I’d paid for (only managing 14.85km)

Lara fun run – race recap

The 5th anniversary of the Lara fun run was held yesterday but, despite being local, it’s the first time I’ve actually run it. I was convinced to join by some friends and signed up for the 10km, which is 2 laps of the beautiful Serendip Sanctuary.

The start/finish line in the grounds of Pirra homestead

The start/finish line in the grounds of Pirra homestead

Being a small event, it was all very friendly and low-key with around 700 participants overall (105 finishing the 10km). The conditions weren’t ideal – it was already 20 degrees when I arrived and starting at 9am meant the sun was up and at its relentless best.

From the first few minutes, I knew this one was going to be hard. The heat and the humidity made it such a challenge, despite the flat and easy course. It is also a two-lap course which is always a challenge and starting the 2nd lap, I was close to giving up. The only thing that kept me going was my friend’s voice in my head – “parkrunners don’t pay for 5km”!!!

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The 2nd lap actually turned out to be a lot better – there were no crowds left (as all the 5 km runners were now gone), the course was no longer an unknown stretch of road and I knew I was on the home stretch, regardless of it being a fairly long stretch. And I was last. You’d think this was a negative thing but it was actually a bit of a relief. I had known going into this that I was probably going to come last as I’d checked out times from last year and knew they were all faster than my best. Realising I really was last therefore took the pressure off – the worst had happened, the world hadn’t ended and I couldn’t come any further behind.

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This emu hung around a while after crossing the road in front of me

A big bonus of running after all the crowds had gone was that the animals came out to play and I was treated to an emu crossing the road and some wallabies stepping up to say hello.

I’m also really pleased to say that the volunteers were all absolutely lovely. In bigger events, you don’t always get treated well at the back of the pack but I was encouraged and supported all the way to the finish line and didn’t feel I was holding anyone up. I don’t think I’ve ever been more relieved to see a finish line – it was beautiful but a tough, tiring run.

Will I do this one again? I’m not sure. The course is stunning and the organisers and volunteers are friendly which are both huge pluses. However I really don’t like multi-lap courses and the late start time meant it was hotter than it needed to be. I can see this becoming one of those events which I enter on the day if I happen to feel like it 🙂