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2015 – the wrap up

Linking up with Smitha and Dani to tell you all about my year in running!

macgirlrunning 2015

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Is there such a thing as a ‘bad run’?

If you’ve ever hunted around on pinterest or instagram for running related stuff, you’ll have come across various inspirational quotes declaring that ‘there’s no such thing as a bad run’. But is that actually true or just something we tell ourselves to get ourselves out of the door?

This week, I’ve been catching up on reading my favourite blogs and came across this one from Laura at Lazy Girl Running and it got me thinking. It was still on my mind when I went out for a run yesterday. It should have been a great run – I’m on holidays, there’s no pressure, I was running on one of my favourite routes and the sun was shining. But it just wasn’t a good run.

Don’t get me wrong, I managed to talk myself into not completely hating it – after all, with views like these, it can’t be all bad. But the running part was hard, it hurt in general, non-specific ways that just sucked and making myself run further than the first 500m was a huge challenge. I’m completely surprised that I managed to push it to 7km as I swore I was ready to give up at 1km.

So yes, it’s possible to have a ‘bad run’. I think the secret is to not let that fact beat you and try to put it into perspective. One bad run doesn’t mean I hate running. And I still appreciated being able to run, get outside, enjoy the amazing place I live….all the while, wishing it was done and I was back at home. So maybe I don’t have ‘bad’ runs, just ‘hard’ ones.

What was your worst run?

Reflecting on 2015

At the end of last year, I set some goals so I guess it must be just about time to see how I went…

  • Finishing a half marathon 
    Done – still the proudest moment of my year. Up there in the top 3 ever 🙂
  • Reducing my 5km time. Anything closer to 30 mins will make me happy 
    A little. And it was very early in the year. My times lately have started to come back up but I’m not where I want to be
  • ‘Run sensible’ and injury free – listen to my body and do what it needs, not necessarily what I feel like 
    Mostly. The fact that I’ve run pretty much all year tells you I’m doing ok. I still get achilles niggles but am getting better at listening to them and stopping when needed.
  • Increase my running habit, gently and carefully. Aiming for 4x per week 
    Sometimes. Very much dependent on the previous goal. Sometimes I can get away with it, sometimes I can’t. However I am a lot more consistent with my running and have run more this year than I did last year.
  • Try out a trail event
    No – haven’t officially got to this yet. They still scare me a little bit. I’ve run solo on trails but haven’t yet made it to an official event.
  • Get back to my happy running weight (which was about 10kgs ago – oops!)
    Not yet but I’m moving in the right direction!
  • Run as many parkruns as I can 
    Absolutely. I’ve just clocked up #30 and have been a lot more consistent with this throughout the year.
  • Volunteer at parkrun 
    8 times & every one of them was so much fun. Not sure which I enjoy more, volunteering or running!
  • Be a parkrun tourist at any opportunity I get 
    Yes! This year, I’ve visited Toolern Creek, Altona Beach, Castlemaine, Hervey Bay, Albury-Wodonga, Bendigo and Tuggeranong so I’ve definitely made the most of touristing opportunities!
  • 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 was at risk of losing my running mojo again recently – feeling a little burnt out and stressed about my upcoming half marathon. And then I remembered why I do it. There really is nothing quite like heading out for a run at sunset to clear your head and put a smile on your face.

Bring on 2016!

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Sussan women’s fun run – race recap

My favourite run of the year was on this morning – the Sussan women’s fun run – and I’m pleased to say it didn’t disappoint.

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This year, I was lucky enough to be at this event with some great friends – Jo, Jill & Maggi – which all just added to the fantastic atmosphere. We left home rather early but were rewarded with my usual easy and close car park and time to meander through the event village to pick up bibs and my prize (I won some Natio sunscreen, which will definitely come in handy over the next few months!). We queued for the porta-loos (clean and with real toilet paper – bonus!), browsed the stands and entered a competition to win some shoes then it was time to gather at the start. We wished each other all the best and set off at our own paces.

20151206_084515.jpgThe thing I love most about this run in the atmosphere and general camaraderie of all who participate. The looping course also means you’re never on your own as you get to see the same people multiple times and cheer on those faster and slower than you. The huge cheers for the fastest 10km runners were a great sign of this but there was equally large support for those at the back of the field.

The first few km whizzed by and I felt good. My foot was giving its usual twinges but I had energy and, most of all, felt happy to be doing this. I’d worried that I had lost my running mojo with City2Sea and the general flatness I felt at the start of that but it was well and truly back this morning. I even had a few vaguely teary moments at particularly loud cheers from the crowd – it’s that sort of event where you can’t help but be lifted by the generally positive mood.

I stuck to my 3 min run/1 min walk throughout and felt strong and happy. Coming in to the finish shute, Bastille’s ‘Pompeii’ came on my iPod which made me smile (brilliant song!) and felt like an anthem worthy of pushing me over the finish line. Hearing my friends cheer me over the line was great – so much more fun to be doing this event with others.

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It wasn’t a PB although wasn’t far off it and it was my 2nd best 10km time this year. But it really wasn’t about the time today (not that it ever is!) – it was about enjoying the run and I certainly achieved that. Most importantly, it reminded me how much I enjoy running and how grateful I am to have met some awesome running friends this year. Bring on 2016!

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)