Author Archives: AmyAdelante

In danger of becoming a Serious Runner

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There area casual runners and then there are serious runners, and a whole spectrum in between. Without realising or intending to, lately I’ve been feeling a shift further along the spectrum.

IMG_2449It seems to have crept up slowly, but I find myself becoming aware of and more involved in running related activities. Encountering people at work who are runners. Facebook ‘Recommended posts’ appear with running gear and race promos. More of my Facebook posts have some aspect of running in them. Having post-run debrief conversations ‘I started out strong but faded half-way through…’ 

I’m spending more time, and money, participating in runs. My wardrobe is expanding with t-shirts from running events. I have a collection of caps that I wear running – to keep the sweat out of my eyes and cover my less-than-tidy hair. The laundry basket seems to get fuller – and smeller – with running gear.

I have even signed up for the Mother’s Day Classic run, a charity fundraiser for breast cancer. Ever since I became a mother, somewhere around 14 years ago, all I can ever recall wanting was ‘a quiet morning and sleeping in’. Which of course never happens anyway, as any mother would know!

But now I am going out of my way to get out of bed and out of the door and running 8km. What am I thinking?!?IMG_2444 (1)

However, I’m also subtly influencing my kids’ activity levels and including them in participating in the 4km fun run. Then we can all go out for breakfast and pig out with the sense of satisfaction that we have really earned it.

It seems all the rage these days is Running Blogs – I had no idea how popular they have become. Aside from doing running and talking about it, now we can read and write about it. So add this one to the mix.

PBs all around!

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How long has it been, I wonder, since this trio began informal training sessions. Looking back at previous posts, the timeline appears to be about a month. Four weeks of running 9-10kms once a week together, plus weekend 5km ParkRuns, and whatever individual runs we do.

Apparently that’s enough for this trio to all achieve PBs on the same day.

Though we each have a separate pace and individual timing, by working together it seems that our abilities have all improved. After coming across the line in our own time, we discovered that we had all improved on our previous times and achieved Personal Bests (PBs). After all, we are all running our own race for our own reasons, right?

Parkrun2-300416I’m not overly interested in times and stats, but I hope my team won’t mind me sharing our PBs for this week’s 5 km run here:

Mr J 20:27 / Ms T 22:51 /Myself 25:28

Previously we might have described ourselves as solo runners, enjoying the meditative solitude of letting thoughts run along with the feet running, listening to favorite tunes. The advantage of solo running is the freedom to go wherever, whenever, and however far you wish. Group running locks those variables in. Just a few short weeks though has shown the advantages all around, and there’s no argument against the benefits of team training.

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Word of the Day: Struggle

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Today’s Word of the Day is… Struggle 

An extra training run, with a later start than usual today. In fact it’s full daylight.  As Ms T, Mr J and I set out, there’s talk of going even further. But still maintaining the same pace. We pushed hard. Well certainly I did, attempting to keep up with my jelly legs and tightening calf muscles as we progress.

Recalling the wine I indulged in last night, I ponder whether it was really that advisable after all.

A pleasant distraction provides a different focus along the way: the Australian national surf-life saving competition, ‘The Aussies’ #Aussies2016. Across several beach areas and various events in the water and on the sand, competitors and tourists occupy the usual paths. Some minor detours are in place to avoid clashing or crashing with events but we weave our way through.

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Words of wisdom

Blisters niggle my toes as I concentrate on picking up and putting down one foot after the other. [I could upload photos, but let’s face it, no one wants to see someone else’s blisters.] No words come from my mouth, as breathing is it’s essential function for the time being. Conversation and the usual random thoughts abandon me, and it’s almost a meditative step-step-breathe-step pattern. Repeat.

My wrist begins to vibrate and I realise I’ve reached my 10,000 steps for the day. Nice to have that out of the way by 8am! For a brief moment, it spurs me on to keep moving.

I watch as Mr J, then Ms T, work their way up that demon of a hill ahead of me. My pace slows right down, lifting my knees higher the best I can, til eventually I reach the summit. Gracefully, they wait for me at the top and we continue on the home stretch.

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The run took us all the way around the bay.

Breathing heavily, sweat dripping and a bright red face, I finally register that we’re in reach of the end of the path. The end is in sight! I struggle over to a tap to wash off and cool my face. Dehydration may be creeping in as well and I gulp the refreshing liquid.

Checking our devices and comparing stats, we determine that we extended the run by 2.5km today. This may be contributing to my struggle today. Still only just over half-way to a half-marathon. Making progress but I don’t need to visit a fortune teller to know that more training is in my future.

I knew it wouldn’t all be fun and games, and today wasn’t a walk in the park for me. On the positive side, I’m still vertical, a little worse for wear, but beginning to feel a sense of  satisfaction after my breath returns and heart rate slows.

Suddenly it occurs to me, that this is the furthest distance I have ever run!

Small steps lead to bigger ones and each little achievement marks a milestone and closer to the goal.

Keep it rolling

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Just above the opaque horizon a crescent moon smiles at me as I drive towards the morning run. Smiling at me, or mocking me? Either way, it’s a bonus to start the day and foreshadowing the beauty of the sunrise on its way at Mooloolaba Beach.

Warming up to a steady pace, I strive to keep pace with Ms T and Mr J, both faster and more experienced runners. This week we add one more kilometer to make it an even 10, and it seems the pace is just a tad IMG_2287quicker. Or I wonder if it’s just me, working hard to match the movement of my partners’ feet and legs.

Gradually the sky lightens and the orange sun appears beyond the clouds and we settle into a rhythm of steps and breathing. Salt air provides the steady backdrop aroma, occasionally giving way to the scent of coffee as we pass park benches occupied by those who have completed their morning routine.

At this stage, there is no real ‘training plan’ other than to ‘run regularly, preferably further and faster each time’. Sounds a bit vague but I suppose is the general idea. We’ve nominated Ms T to research something more specific in terms of a running strategy. She has the research skills and experience with running magazines and websites to explore something suitable.

Comparing technological devices, we each have our own ways of monitoring progress – watch, phone apps, Fitbit. A million and one ways can track what you’re doing these days – how far, how fast, how long. The ultimate trick is to get out there and do it.

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Time to get started

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Beep. Beep. Beep. The noise disturbs my slumber and I groggily wonder if it’s a delivery truck reversing. But it’s pitch black out – surely there must be regulations about noise in the middle of the night. Oh no wait. It’s not a delivery truck at all, but my alarm going off! Where is that snooze button?

Not quite coherent yet, my body moves on autopilot to locate the running gear cleverly laid out the night before. Otherwise, who knows what combinations might come out in the dark? The light will eventually appear, exposing a random mismatched outfit.

A hint of daylight appears while driving to meet my training partners, Ms T and Mr J, at the designated beachside location. No hint of chill in the air, a comfortable 19C/66F. A few stretches warm us up and we chat about nothing in particular as we put one foot in front of the other on the pavement. In semi-darknes, we casually acknowledge the handful of other early runners/walkers a they pass, with a nod or a muttered ‘Morning.

Increasing lightness hints at the impending dawn behind a bank of clouds. Keeping a steady pace and IMG_2136reasonable effort, we calculate it’s a good halfway point and stop to admire the sun coming up through the clouds beyond the beach. Sunrise. Over the beach. Worth getting out of bed for every time.

Replacing fluids and another brief stretch and we turn and retrace our steps back to the start. That hill we came down on the way now taunts us as we chug back up it like the little engine that could. Ascending isn’t twice as hard, it feels 10 times as hard on tired legs.

The easy chatter in the first few kilometers dissipates and quiet sets in the further we go. Mr J observes that as the day fully sets in and more feet occupy the path, the neighborly greetings seem to disappear, each person maintaining in impersonal distance. Contemplating why that happens, we churn up more path underfoot.

Familiar stretches of path appear and soon we’ve reached our destination, back where we started. We congratulate one another on a successful first session and commit to repeating the routine next week. Ms T has been charged with researching an actual training regime.

There’s vague mutterings about seeking out coffee, but other commitments beckon and we head off separately out into the sunny morning.

 

Run, Run, as fast as you can…

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Run, Forest, Run! Ready to run

Run for your life!

In it for the long run.

Running out of time.

Let’s run away together.

Okay, you get the idea. there’s lots of cultural references to the concept of running. Running towards something, away from something, to achieve something… maybe even for exercise.

And let’s face it, people either love it or hate it. A handful can somehow learn to love it, after much, much pain and suffering (okay, I’m exaggerating! It’s fun, right?!?).

Which category do I belong to? Well, if you think I have the energy to write a blog about hating running, I don’t. I am a runner. There. I said it. Don’t worry, I won’t attempt to convert anyone.

I don’t always love it. Not at the time. When it’s raining, too hot, too cold, too early, I’m too tired. But afterwards it’s always a great sense of satisfaction. I’m always glad I made the effort to get out there and put one foot after the other. Some days it’s magical – running on the beach as the sky begins to light up with sunrise. Going further and faster than before. Running into a friend along the way.

Mostly I run around 5-8kms several times a week, and most Saturday mornings you’ll find me at Park Run.

Now comes time to commit myself to a larger goal: running a half-marathon.

Wait. Did I say that out loud?IMG_5007

My running buddies, Ms T and Mr J, have made a pact to run 21km. Training begins with 20 weeks to prove our ability and endurance.

Come along for the adventure through blood, sweat and tears as we embark on the journey of a thousand miles… I mean, 21 kilometres.

Maybe I’ll run into you along the way!