Rules CONTROL the fun

I admit to liking structure and routine. I’ll even admit to having a fondness for planning and procedures. Don’t even get me started on lists.

Rules can be good! Helpful, even.

Which means that I sometimes have a hard time bending them.

Don’t get me wrong – I can ‘do’ spontaneous with the best of them…but preferably with advanced warning, and a bit of a ‘heads up’ on what we’re being spontaneous about.

If you don’t mind.

So…this running thing has caused a bit of conflict at times.

I can happily go with the flow on a number of things. I even enjoy it.

But ask me to run through red lights, cross the road when the little man is clearly not even green, or jog the wrong way down a one-way street, and I experience an inner eye-twitch (of sorts). My brain whispers, “rule breaker”, my eyes look around for undercover traffic cops, and my conscience just shakes its head in disappointment.

Well…maybe not exactly like that – but the point it, it’s still not a natural thing to do.

I remember my first 5km running event through the city. The streets were closed off, it was an organised run, but my law-abiding brain initially wanted to stop at every red traffic light and politely wait for zeroes of cars to pass.

I continued on, but the urge to wait was definitely there. So was the eye-twitch.

At my second event, said brain wanted me to go the ‘correct’ way around a roundabout. As in – where the traffic would go. I was in my own little world, following the ‘traffic rules’, and almost did the full loop.

All I was missing (apparently) was a set of indicators and a horn. I forgot to human.

Luckily, I spotted others just in time and followed their path (whew!).

running rules

I still prefer trail runs, or a run in the park, but when it comes to ‘bending the rules’ for a stint in the city I’m definitely getting better. Getting up at stupid o’clock also helps; barely any traffic, a few dogs and their humans, and fellow runners.

So my recent triumph?

*drum roll*

I ran through three pedestrian crossings before the lovely green ‘walk’ signal gave the OK. Without a guilty look on my face (*shifty eyes*), and without the expectation of an “Excuse me, Mam – we’d like you to come with us” being uttered from the darkness.

Granted, I probably wasn’t fully awake at the time, and no doubt running in a sleep-deprived haze.  Even my conscience gave me a free pass.

Or maybe it was still asleep (did I mention it was stupid o’clock?).

Either way – I’d say that’s progress for sure. 😉

 

Smashing goals out of the park(run)

Juneathon Day 7: The one where I raced a dog.

Otherwise known as my first parkrun in…forever.  Where I not only raced a dog – I won!  Goal = smashed. 5k done. Thankyouverymuch. The end.

So there you have it.

 

…but if you want specifics, I guess you can read on. Spoilsports.

The starting line

Feeling a bit nervous (as it’s been a while), but also excited to be back running again.

And we’re off…

Around 500m in

“Umm, this actually feels kinda OK. Breathing is easy, legs are fresh(ish).”

Checks Garmin: “Woah – great pace.”

Excitement starts to rise: “I think I might beat my parkrun PB today!“

1k

“Goodness, is it really only 1k? That last bit went kinda slowly. Never mind, I have a goal to reach: Onwards to the finish line and a new PB!”

1.1k

“I’ll just stop for a little breather. Just a short walk won’t hurt.”

2.1k

“Have they lengthened the course? I think my Garmin is broken.”

2.5k

Spots teeny-tiny dog.

Hatches new plan.

Pretends it was the plan all along.

3k-4k

“The dog has only overtaken me four times, but that hill is my chance to take the lead again.

I got this.”

4.1k

“I don’t got this.”

4.2k

“Never mind the parkrun PB – please just let me beat the dog.”

4.5k

New burst of energy found.

The finish line

(Internal) applause.

Sense of relief.

 

I did eventually win’ (cough), but for a teeny-tiny dog, she really had some get-up-and-go!

Here she is crossing the finish line:

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(Yes, I waited around. Yes, I snuck a photo. Yes, they both had no idea they were involved in my plans)

Then after finishing, off she pranced without losing a breath!

 

…I wonder if she wants a training partner…?

 

So there you have it. Ruby Sneakers: smashing hastily revised and slightly ridiculous goals since June 2014.

 

It was actually a great morning, and we even broke the attendance record.

Congrats, Launceston parkrun! (photo from their facebook page)

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I’m already looking forward to next week.

 

Previous Juneathon (micro)blog: Day 6

It’s a zig zag kind of day

Juneathon Day 5: The one with all the climbing.

Otherwise known as a trip to the Cataract Gorge via the Zig Zag track, which is a steep climb of pain trail with a series of…well… zig-zags…and some pretty amazing views.

Throw in a walk across the suspension bridge, more climbing on the way back, and a jog to / from home, and before you know it you’ve clocked up a sneaky 7.5k without even realising.

I did take a few photos just for you guys. Nothing at all to do with needing a rest. Nope, definitely not that.

“Please Take Care – Steep Track” – Yep, they weren’t kidding:

Zig Zag Track

 

Obligatory selfie. Having a drink…after only 5 minutes of climbing… #totallyfit:

Selfie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The recently-built viewing platform:

Viewing Platform Cataract Gorge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The suspension bridge – and halfway point – taken (bravely) from the platform:

View - Cataract Gorge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting closer to the bridge. A ride on the chairlift will have to wait for another time:

First Basin Launceston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well hello there! Who’s a pretty boy, then?

Peacock at Cataract Gorge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a little bit further and we’re at the Alexandra Suspension Bridge.  It actually swings slightly as you go across:

Alexandra Suspension Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the bridge and heading back – this time along a different winding trail:

Gorge Walk Launceston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kings Bridge in the distance…

Cataract Gorge Launceston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…and we’re done!

Kings Bridge Launceston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a short jog home from here.

That was actually pretty fun – I could even be tempted to do it again next week!

Previous Juneathon (micro) blogs: Day 4, Day 3, Day 2, Day 1

 

 

 

By the Power of Grayskull, I now declare this rest period over!

Yep – that should do it.

But just in case, I’ll also pull out my magic wand (Expecto…Rest-o-stoppus?) and add a sprinkle of fairy dust. That always works…right?

Actually, there’s a lot to be said for rest periods – any runner will tell you that they’re important for recovery.

Example: Run 10k, rest. (Easy, right?)

Nailed it.

I think you’re meant to run again after a few days… but whatever. I’ll leave the technical stuff to the experts.

I discovered I was really good at the resting part and got excited to have a new goal (I love being good at stuff!!). It does take a bit of dedication though – all of that distraction and avoidance is tough work.

Referring back to last year’s Diddly Squat challenge for a few pointers helped a lot, and I even reached Expert Resting Level recently (for those playing at home – that’s the stage where you can physically see your butt imprint in the couch cushions).

So having ticked off that goal, it’s time to set a new one:

Run (or do some other form of exercise) every day in June.

That’s right – it’s Juneathon time!

juneathon_participant_logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

I haven’t taken part before, but figure since it starts on the first day of winter, requires exercise every day, and I haven’t run in months, it’s really quite a sensible thing to do.

Logic has always been one of my strong points.

You do also need to blog – or microblog – about your Juneathon efforts every day, so I’ll be updating here and on Twitter.

I’m actually looking forward to it, and have my trusty treadmill and never-used rowing machine ready as backups on those too-frosty / too-rainy Tasmanian winter days.

Good luck to others taking part, and happy running!

 

Now where did I put my gear…?

I survived The Hunger Games!

Or maybe it was more like The Long Walk – a novel by Stephen King in which race participants get ‘taken out’ (for not keeping pace) until only one survives.

There’s also a chance I may be exaggerating ever so slightly have misinterpreted things.

But I’m sure you’ll forgive me for experiencing a moment of panic that there would be weapons involved slight concern about today’s 10km event upon agreeing to the following ‘WARNING, RELEASE AND INDEMNITY’ (all caps = Very. Serious. Business.):

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That’s right: significant risk blah, blah…of death from blah blah…’accidents’ with other participants, spectators or road users!

No worries, race organisers: here’s some money – where do I sign?!

In reality there was not a whiff of danger in sight. I don’t mean to sound disappointed (honestly), and in fact am quite relieved. Dodging runners who did the whole ‘sudden-stop’ thing certainly kept me on my toes, so to not have the added pressure of also dodging arrows or bullets was a blessing, really .

Now…onto the actual telling-you-about-the-run stuff!

The Launceston 10 is a 10km road race, and this year’s event had around 1600 entrants.  Apparently it’s a bit of a big deal, and attracts top athletes from around the country.  The men’s division winner – in 29:09 – was Olympian Ben St Lawrence, who is also known to some of us as a ‘provider of great tips and advice’ in the 12WBT running forums.

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Way to go, Ben!
Photo source: http://www.examiner.com.au

It was a flat course – out and back along the highway, with bagpipes at the halfway point. Yes, you did just read that. And no, I didn’t stop for a bit of Highland Flinging (tempting as it was).

It was cold (I guess it is winter after-all), and the home 5km-stretch provided a lovely, challenging head wind, but all-in-all it was pretty great.

Runners are an awesome bunch, aren’t they?  Even though I arrived alone, I quickly met up with three lovely ladies I met through the 12WBT program and instantly felt welcomed and included.

(Big thanks to ‘M’ and her pre-run training / stretching tips. I think they made all the difference.)

During the run there were also numerous people chatting, laughing, and generally having a grand old time.

So how did I go?  I managed to run the whole way (woo hoo!) and beat my 5km PB time in the process (*almost* under 30 minutes, so am getting closer on that front).

My legs held up, my lungs didn’t burst, and I averaged 6:24 min/km which isn’t too shabby for a first 10km attempt.

In short: I survived The Hunger Games!

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Having a bunch of supportive, encouraging people in your corner certainly goes a long way (thank you!). Congrats also to those who took part – now go and rest up!

So I guess this also means that I need to find a new goal. I hear there’s another 10km coming up in September, so that might be worth a look.

This ‘running thing’ might end up being just as addictive as the ‘buying running gear thing’.

Which can only be a good thing, right?

Eight days and counting

Anyone who has been checking in on my progress during the last six months may know that I’ve had a few stops and starts; from achieving (and enjoying) a certain level of health and fitness, to falling off the wagon (then getting back on again, then doing diddly-squat for a while) to more recently setting a goal of eating the whole block of cheese running 10km.

It’s nearly here (cue trumpets)! 16 June. Only eight days away, and the day I attempt to run 10km for the first time.

Eight. Days.

Crap.

Sorry. I mean – oh dear, that’s not far away!

So in honour of the countdown (did I mention it’s only eight days away?!) below is a bit of a wrap-up of the last couple of weeks.

Otherwise known as: eight random bits of information that you didn’t ask for but are getting anyway:

8. The longest distance run so far.  I’ve been doing my long runs on Sundays, and last week managed 8km. There was one teeny-tiny point where I walked briefly, but no-one was around so it doesn’t count (Right? Good. Carry on).

Tomorrow’s goal is 9km (and to also not keel over in the process), followed by 10km on race day.

7. The magic number, apparently. Around the 7km mark during my last two runs something weird happened.  It felt OK. For a time my mind was quiet, my breathing felt even, and running didn’t seem like such a struggle.  It was so encouraging, and a feeling I want to experience again.

Sidenote: I must admit to getting a tad bit excited at this point: ‘I’m a runner! It’s happened!’ If I had long hair, there would have definitely some slow-motion-ponytail-swishing action and toothy, sparkling smiles going on. 

I quickly got a hold of myself though, ie:

6. The number of seconds ‘7’ lasted for.  OK – maybe it was slightly longer (at least a minute?) but when my stupid, sabotaging brain kicked back in, that’s what it felt like (so sweet, yet so fleeting). On the upside, I now know ‘that feeling’ does exist (yay!).

This was also the point where I had to remind myself (yet again) that it takes time, effort and persistence, and to also not be so impatient for results.

6 is also the number of runs completed over the last two weeks – a mixture of speed work, treadmill, long runs and a group run. I’m trying to do three per week, and include some core work or strengthening stuff in-between.

5. The current PB distance.  One of my goals is to run sub-30 minutes over 5km, and each week am slowly chipping away and getting closer. Tuesday night’s running group helped – there’s nothing quite as motivating as running in the dark, at the absolute rear of the pack, and having to speed up so as not to lose everyone and get left behind!

4. Days left to register for the 10km.  Umm…yeah. So I haven’t registered yet. I’ll do it later today (or tomorrow). Promise.

3. Running things bought this week.  It’s winter, so the two long-sleeved tops purchased were a must. I also lashed out and bought proper socks (man, those things are expensive!).

2. Running things left to buy this week.  Black was not the best colour to wear while running at night. I did start out wearing a jacket with light reflector thingies on it (being safety conscious and all that), but stripped off around the 3km mark.

There was only a smallish section of the course that was unlit, but I now need to buy stick-on reflector tape and a light of some sort. Running in black is best left to the real ninjas.

1. Quite possibly the number of people left still reading this. *waves* Hi there, you! Aren’t you a bit lovely. 🙂

So that’s it. The eight-day countdown has begun.

I have a speech all prepared in the event I actually finish in one piece, and am also expecting a press conference and news cameras to drop by my house. Oh, and a write up in the local paper, if you don’t mind.

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Source: http://www.bitstrips.com (facebook app)

OK not really, but if my first non-stop 5km is anything to go by, there’s a chance I may be a tad bit excited. So while not a news feature, I will post an update on how it goes.

I think I’m actually looking forward to it.

“Mummy, why is that lady making funny noises?”

Little girl:  *Points and stares*

Mum:  Oh, she’s just trying to run.

Little girl:  But she’s all red in the face!  And she sounds like you and Dad do when you make me go to bed early!

Mum:  *Awkward laugh*

Little girl:  She’s not moving very far is she? Do you think we should help?

Mum:  Let’s go over here and say hi to this puppy… (Nice save there, mum!)

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OK, so I can’t be 100% sure that this was their exact conversation, but I have a sneaking suspicion it was pretty close.  There was a little girl with who I am assuming was her mum on my run today, and they did look my way, talk, and then pat a puppy.  There also wasn’t any actual pointing (but that could just be due to good parenting and teaching manners and stuff).

Or maybe (just maybe) they were simply chatting about something completely unrelated.

In either case, let me just state right now:

Running is tough!

This is not by any means a new discovery.  I found out the hard way months ago when taking my (then) smoker’s lungs out for their first 5km jaunt (which was mostly walking with bursts of breathless staggering).

Up until attempting the 5km, I’d been doing around 3km on the treadmill a few times a week.  That was also tough, and I guess I’d just been hoping that five(ish) months later, it would have become a little bit more enjoyable.

Just a bit (c’mon – give something!).

But I’m still yet to achieve that feeling.  I’ve heard words ‘joy’, ‘elation’, ‘the zone’, and ‘the high’ used to describe it.

So I can only hope that it’s just around the corner.  That instead of this:

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I might feel this:

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I really don’t mean to sound all ‘Woe is me’ (for that, I apologise).

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It’s…just tough.  Simple as that.

I know I’m not alone, and that many runners experience the same thing (I’ve Googled researched it to reassure myself).

I also know that it will get better, easier, more enjoyable…but that it takes time (and effort, and consistency).

I guess I’m just getting it out there. Acknowledging that this ‘running business’ can be hard, but from what I’ve also experienced – very rewarding.

So with that off my chest (thanks for listening) it’s now time to focus on the positives (and let’s face it – harden up, stop being so impatient, and be thankful that I can run at all).

So here goes:

  • I’m certainly faster, and can now run the whole way. (Big tick for that).  I recently managed 6.5km, and next week the goal is 8km.
  • I breathe easier, feel much fitter generally, and my legs aren’t as heavy or tired. (Another big tick)
  • I love the feeling at the end of a run. It’s over!  (The relief – oh, the sweet relief)
  • I’ve re-discovered a love of sprinting.  I may not enjoy running any great distances, but when sprints are on the cards it’s a good day.
  • At times, especially after a group event or training, I’m energised and happy.  With feelings of what could actually be the so-called ‘high’ creeping in.

Sidenote: During this last one I become super-talkative when I get home.  The ‘I did this, my time was that, then this happened…’ kind of stuff. 

‘J’, naturally, is thrilled-to-bits hearing all the detail.

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So with only four weeks to go until the big day (10km!!), my plan for each run from here is to just focus on the end.  To keep my head down, ignore the *points and stares* going on in my head, and keep running until it’s time to stop.

To realise that I may not ever be one of those runners, but if it does happen (please let it happen)…well that’s just a nice bonus.

(I sound awfully convincing, right?)

All cartoons created using the bitstrips facebook app.