A while ago I asked for people to tell me what they wanted me to blog about and a few of you said my running, so here goes;
Running is something I’ve always admired and wished I could be good at, so I dabbled with it in my 20s but never really took it up with any consistency until 2012 when I had started working for a business who had like minded colleagues. We worked close to the Royal Botanic Gardens (which has its own running track) and just started heading out after work a couple of nights a week for a run. Back then, 1-2km would leave me stuffed, so I really had to start from scratch and build it up. We took part in the 14.75km Run for the Kids in April of that year and continued to train throughout winter and entered the 21.1km Melbourne Half Marathon in October. A few weeks after completing that race (with an ok time of 2hrs20), I fell pregnant with Jack. Thus beginning an on/off relationship with running as I was pregnant or breastfeeding. I got my running groove back after Jack weaned but 6 months later I fell pregnant with Easton.
When Easton started to feed less (around 18 months old) I could really start to train and find some flow as I knew I wouldn’t have to interrupt my training with another pregnancy. I actually don’t consider myself a natural runner. It’s certainly not always easy, but I really enjoy the solitude of being out for a run, and the achievement of increasing my distance and fitness. Speed was never important to me until I started to get better at it. Even now, unless you’re an elite athlete aiming to win races, the only person I need to compete against is myself, and my previous times.
I’m not as disciplined about anything as I am with running. If I’m following a training program, then I’m quite strict at making sure I’m doing my 3 runs per week. A 5km, a 7.5 on hills and a longer run (once I’ve worked up to the 10km+ distance) on a Sunday. As a predominantly stay at home mum, my only option for running is during or just after dinner whilst the boys are eating or whilst hubby is bathing them. So dark and cold, I head out and try to stay within well-lit areas. As I said, it takes discipline, but I enjoy the time out and I love the post run high.
I’ve been training throughout autumn and winter, and gradually building up my distance to 13km, so it was perfect timing to enter today’s local 15km trail run. As I schedule my long runs on a Sunday anyway, this was a good chance to get it done early and acquire a new medal for my collection. My ultimate goal is to be able to complete a half marathon in under 2 hours, so I decided my strategy today was to try and stay at a 5:35/5:45 minute per km pace for the entirety of the run. What I hadn’t planned on was twinges of moderate pain under my kneecap during Tuesday’s 8km run and I was a bit worried. Because the pain would go away just as fast as it came on, I decided to rest until race day and made a mental note to stretch really well on the morning of the run and hope for the best.
Rain was forecast but I woke up to what looked like a pretty nice day. Hubby and the boys drove me to the reserve at 7:15am and would return between 8:45-9am to see me cross the finish line. The race kicked off right on time at 7:30am and wow, was everyone quick! I checked my watch straight away and saw I was beginning the run at a 5:00 minute per km pace, which felt good but was way too fast to sustain. I’ve made that mistake before and ended up bonking (runners speak for “reaching a point of exhaustion that makes it hard to go further”) half way through, so I slowed right up allowing competitors to pass me in order to just concentrate on my goal. The course was 3 laps of a 5km circuit. One side of the creek was a gravel trail and contained more inclines, the other side was a relatively flat concrete path. It was beautiful. The first lap went smoothly, the second lap was a bit more of a struggle and by 7/8 km I felt as though I wasn’t running well. Although because I’m generally an evening runner, my morning runs are usually tougher. I need fuel to run well but I can’t have too big a breakfast before a race in case it induces a stitch. It had also started to pour with rain (and my hair was looking SO nice this morning) soaking everything and making my clothes and shoes feel heavier. I soldiered on and tried to keep the consistent pace. I knew that once I got to 10km, I’d have one more lap to go. The rain ceased and the sun came out for the final lap and I tried to distract myself by thanking each volunteer along the trail, for giving up their time to help with the event. Usually by 13km into my previous 14-15km races my legs start to tire and send shooting pains into my hips. I was tired, but this wasn’t happening, most likely because I’d put so many kms into my legs in the previous few months, and I also didn’t feel a single pain in my knee. I wasn’t going to stop now. I crossed the finish line in a time of 1:25:10. Taking over 3 minutes off my personal best time and sticking to a 5:40 minute per km race pace.
Bring on the next run!
I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend.