Following my one day on one day off plan today was cross training day, this meant 45 minutes of rolling hills on the exercise bike. The temptation to throw myself head first into running again full time is obviously hugely overwhelming, however, I resist and proceed with my usual caution.
Well, this should really be a New Years Eve post, but as I will not be doing any significant running between now and 01/01 this is a good a time as any for reflections on the year past, and anyway, I’m in the mood so why quibble over a week.
I have often said “I started running January this year”. This is not strictly true, I did a reasonable amount of running in the 12 months prior, however this was all on the treadmill and it was not my sole form of exercise I was also doing Spin, Pump, Cross Trainer, Rowing Machine and weight training. At the start of this year however I decided I needed a goal, having lost the 15Kgs I had gained. I can’t swim and competitive bike riding was never going to be my thing so I decided to focus on running after doing some fun runs in late 2005 and discovering that I really enjoyed the experience.
So how did 2006 pan out?
The gym membership was dumped, a proper pair of runners were purchased and I started taking my first regular steps out doors.
January saw me completing 133Kms for the month and I was so proud. I entered the 14.7Km Run for the Kids and my training focussed on getting me over the line in my goal time of 80 minutes, at that point I had run 15Km on the treadmill, ONCE (this took me 90 minutes and I got the first of many bruised toes), all other runs had been 10Km or less. I did my first outdoor long run of 11km and posted a question on the forum about long run pace and worrying whether or not I would ever be able to cope with 14.2Kms.
By the time I lined up for the race on April 9th I had several long runs behind me, including one of 24Km and I crossed the line in 75:15, almost 5 minutes under my goal time. I’d joined the R4K training runs from Niketown and met some fantastic runners who were and continue to be a constant source of encouragement, advice, laughs, companionship for long runs and have made me realise that runners are the coolest people :-)
Prior to the R4K I ran my first 10km race and learned alot as my erstwhile pacer told me at the 8km mark when I was throwing up “Welcome to racing”. My time was just over 50 minutes and it hurt alot, but in a good way (am I strange?), another 10km was raced in May, I finished in 48:10, next year I hope to go under 45 minutes.
But the big one was the Gold Coast Half Marathon that I had set my sights on when I first read about it in July 2005 and I had been training for since January this year. I’ll never forget the feeling of pure adrenalin (tinged with a healthy dose of raw naked fear) as I stood on the start line waiting for the gun. So many people had given me so much support, friendship and encouragement to get me to that point, but for the next 21.1km it was all down to me. Exactly 1 hour and 48 minutes later I crossed the finish line with my sister cheering me on.
Upon getting back to Melbourne I took the advice of a friend (a runner whose advice I respect immensely) and joined a training group so I could do some proper speedwork, I also found my fantastic massage therapist, Corrie who helps keep my niggles at bay. Speedwork was a wake up call and I initially struggled with some confidence issues as I huffed and puffed my way around the track in the cold and dark chasing everyone else. I don’t mind admitting now that the first couple of weeks were extremely difficult and I came close to packing it in and resigning myself to the role of “occasional fun runner”. But I smacked myself on the back of the head, gave myself a stern talking to, pulled my socks up, dug deep and got stuck into it. As I sit here today I am eternally grateful that I faced the challenge and did not give up because they are a great group and can’t wait until I can get back into it again mid January.
Not much racing followed the second half of the year, though I did PB a 5km (22:56) and earned a 2nd placing for my age (3rd female overall) and a nice silver medal. I chose not to race, rather focus my energies on letting my body get used to speedwork and higher mileage training ahead of another half marathon attempt in October.
October 8th and I stand shivering in a rain squall at Rickets Point on Beach Road with another 21.1kms stretched out ahead of me, just as nervous as I was 13 weeks previous. Dedicated training, a favorable tail wind for alot of the way and for the last 4kms sheer grit and determination got me to The Arts Centre in 1:44:36, a 3 minute 24 second PB. I then spent the rest of the afternoon watching inspired as several friends finished their Marathon journey’s.
A blog friend visited from NZ and I was proud to show off some of my favorite running spots on a stunning Melbourne spring morning, why would anyone sleep in on a Sunday and miss such a stunning experience, I ask you, why??
There is so much more, sub zero 7am Sunday morning long runs in Wandin, running over the Sydney Harbor Bridge in the dark, cold pouring rain (and loving every minute), getting and recovering from my first running injury, overcoming my monumental shyness and meeting lots of wonderful new people, making my mum proud of me, spending lot’s of money on sneakers, discovering I CAN live without chocolate and alcohol but not really wanting to, getting waaaaaaay out of my comfort zone and loving it and finally becoming addicted body and soul, or should I say sole, to running.
And next year, looking forward to a hugely exciting year of new challenges and experiences, running for Sandringham AC and hopefully achieving some of those time goals I have set for myself.
Fun times ahead, can’t wait to see what I can do…..
I am not proofing this post, call it a stream of consciousness ramble, I hope it makes sense.