Half marathon – 12 in 2 list

Hot on the heels of my harbour bridge climb last Friday, yesterday, Sunday 6th July, I did the Gold Coast Half Marathon.

Talk about a busy month – between the BF cashing in his skydive, to me climbing the bridge (and having a fancy dinner), then the half marathon, and in less than a week, leaving for Osaka, Japan, I hardly have time for chores 😮

My running pal!
My running pal (still asleep?)!

My training program heading towards the half marathon was sporadic.  I had periods of very regular short runs, and I moved from a non runner to 5kms in a period of 12 weeks.  After that, things sort of feel apart, and my running routine was more ‘resistance to running’.  I managed two or three ‘runs home’ which varied from 6-7kms to 13kms, but that’s probably as far as I ran prior to the half.  So I always knew it would be TOUGH!

Usually, I run first thing in the morning, or after work.  Neither times, is it just after a meal.  Despite this, I decided I’d have porridge before the half marathon.  Perhaps a rookie error!  I’m pretty sure all that liquid was the cause of some serious cramping, or stitches I felt in my side.  I just walked them out, but it got to the stage that returning to running was a sure way to shake another stitch into forming!!

Derange 'why am I doing this' face - and we're in C starting group - ie not the slowest!
Derange ‘why am I doing this’ face – and we’re in C starting group – ie not the slowest!

I also run with a heart rate monitor.  This started when I started the Michelle Bridges 12 Week running program, as a way to ensure I wasn’t overexerting myself, and in the early days, I realised I was running at too high a heart rate.  I was shocked to repeatedly see my heart rate at 180 during the half marathon.  I usually want it to be under 172, and in training runs, once it gets to 177-178 I usually walk til I can bring it down.  In the race, I ended up employing the same strategy.

Those speedy gonzalas in front... at the start line
Those speedy gonzalas in front… at the start line

I hoped to run to my usual pace, which is about 9km/hr (5.6mph).  This would have been ambitious, but part of goal setting it to aim high!  This would have had me with a finish time of 2hrs 20mins. Thankfully, the very well organised Gold Coast Half Marathon has pace runners, the ‘slowest’ of whom ran at a target completion time of 2:20.  Sadly, I let them get ahead of me, and never caught up with them somewhere in the middle single digits of the run.

Proud father and daughter duo!
Proud father and daughter duo!

I was lucky enough to run the race with my father, who I ran with for the first few kilometers.  My father has run a number of ‘halves’ before, including this particular race when I was young.  It came as no surprise that he beat me, quite substantially!  He is slow and steady, but he NEVER walks!!  So my father finished with a time around 2hr10!  I however… came in at about 2hrs33 (by my timing – official timing below).

My stats
My stats

To be honest, I’m pleased I made it across the line unaided!  Was it a run?  Mostly not!  I walked a WHOLE heap, and I wish the pain I felt from the stitches, and later my heart, could have made it possible to run more of the race, but no.  That being said, I don’t for a minute diminish the achievement that is finishing a 21.1km course!

Dad's more impressive stats!
Dad’s more impressive stats!

A day on, I’m sore in my hips, the right arm (from the ‘strain’ of holding my phone… I prefer that to an arm strap).  Even my shoulders are achy.  And I spent the whole day after the run sore and tired! Tired beyond belief!

Views to die for!
Views to die for!

The only photo I wish I had to share with you is of my T Shirt – duly handed out once you FINISH the 21.1kms!! I did take this freebie (but not the medal) cause I am gosh darn proud, and feel I need proof I made it! I will wear it on (much shorter) runs in the future, to shock & awe!

Neon Run

To keep with my 12 in 2 goal to run a half marathon sometime by the end of 2014, I signed up for the Sydney 5km Neon Run this past Saturday with my water polo coach and some of her friends.  The run was in the evening around the Domain and Mrs Macquaries Chair – iconic parkland around Sydney Harbour.

Here’s the foursome:

Light in our eyes for the neon run
Light in our eyes for the neon run

The glasses were $10 (!!) each – seems a lot for plasticy goodness with LEDs.  I wasn’t going to buy any (partly because I didn’t bring any money, and partly – well regular Wednesday readers would know why).  But the team bought me a pair, and were smart enough to know they just HAD to be blue!

I'm blue, if I was green I would die
I’m blue, if I was green I would die
Blue glasses for the blue eyed girl
Blue glasses for the blue eyed girl

There were other merchandising options, like these:

Other merchandise - fluro dreadlocks on head bands.  There were also mowhawks.
Other merchandise – fluro dreadlocks on head bands. There were also mowhawks.

Here’s the crowd, it was a small event, relatively speaking. That being said, we entered in a walking group, but did want to jog a bit. Sadly, there were too many people underfoot at the start, and of course after our first burst of running, we weren’t as interested anymore! There were four different music and dance stations, as well as fantastic harbour views! We did run the last 750m plus to the finish, which was nice.

The crowd and the starting arches
The crowd and the starting arches

My phone ran out of battery not that much later, so there’s no ‘night’ photos, which is when the run started. It was pretty amazing to see all the costumes, and we vowed to amp it up next year. I’d love me a bright tutu, though I’m not sure how comfortable it would be to run in! There was one guy just in fluro jocks – and painted on suspenders! And it was cold at the start line… So he was very daring.

Events like this a great – legitimately FUN run (or walk). I’m pleased to report that they used paper cups (unlike last time) AND they had lots of recycling bins for the cups too! Sadly, the glasses were plastic wrapped, as were our ice lollies filled with rehydration fluid, handed out at the finish.
For more fun photos, see the Neon Run site.

What’s the most fun you’ve had exercising? (Or is that an oxymoron to you?)

Goals Update – September

To be honest, usually I spend the month editting and drafting my monthly goal update post.  Not this month! So, there’ll be no list of my meals.  And everything feels a bit sketchy!

For new readers, every month, I like to check in with the ‘New years goals‘ I set.  It’s a regular reminder of what I’d like to be doing!

Financial

Save $20k $26k cash by 22 Dec (for when I get a mortgage offset account): stalled
August: $21,140.13
September: $21,020.20 (-$120)

Such a nice looking number, but sadly not on target for my stretch $26k goal.  Thanks to… booking a holiday to Vietnam with the BF!

12 in 2 Adventures savings fund: hahaha what? nope
July: $749.93 (how’d that go down?)
August: $1.72 (-$748,21)
September: $1.73 (+$0.01) Oh for interest!

Grocery spend: improved from August’s HUGE spend

I’m loathed to share figures, as Australia’s costs vs other countries and readers might be misinterpreted.  Let’s just say, it’s a little more than double my ‘usual’ spend when I lived alone.  I’m happy with that.  22% is on meat, 13% on dairy (we eat so much cheese!).  I’m pleased that fruit and vege % spend are up on last month.  I’ve got a piece of fruit a day as a snack (banana or apple), plus frozen berries on my porridge.  Vegies aren’t so simply integrated, yet.

Volunteering hours: alright (poorly remembered though!)

Sat 13th: 4hrs doing church flowers

Health

Cook at home twice a weekAchieved! 

The BF and I have a great ‘menu’ for every week, which helps the ‘I don’t know, what do you want’ conversations.  I’ll get a few more photos together, and then I’ll share it with you.

Sugar: Totally not on my radar

Although, after our housewarming this weekend (I’ll bake a number of treats), I’m pledged to try and join Lucinda Sans in her first mention of the Droptober challenge to eat less sweets.  Here’s the rules she published.

Train for polo – Training to run a half marathon:  inconsistent, but some running

Actually, the summer water polo season is starting, so far I’ve not been to training, due to a cold, then my lift/carpool hurting her toe, and the next week being out of town.

However, on the running front, I did a 9km organised run, and I’ve signed up for the Neon run in October (5km) and the Color Run in February (5km).  This past week, which is technically October, I’ve run twice, though quite short distances, and once the week before.

Cultural

2 films a month: wow, another month with no cinema visits

2 books a monthachieved

I read World War Z (remember I saw the film earlier this year?)  The book was totally different, as commenters warned me.  I enjoyed the book, but it took me a while to get through it.

Then I read Plastic Free, by Beth Terry which I reviewed earlier this week.  I really enjoyed it!

I’m in the middle of Mr Know-it-all by A.J. Jacobs.  I read his book about reading the bible and living it literally, and was reminded of this book of his thanks to Lucinda’s review.

Social

Call/connect with an out of town friend: Did wonderfully

I had a friend from Orange come to town, and we met for a hot chocolate.  Another friend stayed two nights in our guest room when she came to Sydney for a wedding (I’d seen her a few weeks ago in Melbourne!).  A very dear friend in Brisbane has been great at encouraging me via Facebook, so I feel closer there, and another friend who used to live in Sydney and moved to Alice Springs, and then to the UK, we had a great chat on Facebook the other evening.  We couldn’t believe it was three years almost to the day, that I’d visited her in Alice!

Career

Certification: last edits needed, then submit them in October

All my episode reports are written, and long enough.  My external mentor has reviewed them all, and now I need to make some improvements and submit them!  I hope to have them submitted by the end of October.

Sorry there wasn’t any photos… How are your new year’s resolutions progressing?

Running – 12 in 2 list progress

In February this year, I set 12 goals I wanted to achieve in two years, called 12 in 2.  Number 11 was to run a half marathon, which is 21kms.  Naturally, as a non runner, this is a huge stretch of a goal but something I put on the list to as the ultimate challenge.  When I say non-runner, I mean I devised ways to get out of high school cross country, despite being otherwise a capable and fit athlete!  Warm up jogs at boot camp or school sport had me whinging (and panting) the loudest.  However, this past Sunday, I completed the 9km Bridge Run over the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, as a stepping stone to the half marathon.

Million dollar real estate with a view to our start!
Million dollar real estate with a view to our start!

The 9km bridge run (5.6 miles) was the last race of the day, starting after the marathon, half marathon and family fun run (4kms) for the Blackmore’s Sydney Running Festival.  So it was a sunny warm day for the 9am start at Milson’s Point.  I was in group C, which run third/last of the groups, due to us having expected run times of 1hr or over.  The cutout off it 90 minutes <- I was pretty confident I wouldn’t get cut off, but your never know!

I can’t help myself, and took heaps of photos before the start, to share with you:

The view in front of me
The view in front of me
The view to the left
The view to the left
The view behind me - yes, the lady in blue and I talked... I can't help myself!
The view behind me – yes, the lady in blue and I talked… I can’t help myself!

How’d I go?

I set myself a target pace of 9kms per hour, hoping to finish in an hour of starting (I actually started at about 9.23am).  I had Runkeeper going, along with some music.  When I usually ‘run’ I actually do jogs interspersed with walking, and still achieve this 9kmh so I was happy to pace myself to this.

The first kilometer was hard, and I always find the start of a run the worst!  There was also a gentle but continuous incline to get onto the bridge as well.  It was exciting to be on the bridge though! I drive on it twice a day to get to and from work, and here I was, running on it when it was completely devoid of cars.  There was definitely a smug smile through the running pain! I remember I didn’t make the first kilometer without a walking stretch.  Still, Runkeeper kept me up to date every 5 minutes with my pacing, and I think only one interval over the whole run was I behind!

Our course had us do all sorts of strange things to someone accustomed to Sydney roads – we went the ‘wrong way’ down a spiral ramp onto the Cahill expressway, which took us running over the train line at Circular Quay.  If I’d been more about blogging than running, I might have photographed the sparkling harbour, and iconic bridge and Opera House, but by this stage, I was in the thick of the ‘running’ and not so worried about a play by play for my readers!

Where Runkeeper saw me run!
Where Runkeeper saw me run!

Prior to this run, I’d only done a training run at 6km. That run was more than two weeks prior to the Bridge Run, and in the meantime, I’d been through a cold. So, part of me wasn’t entirely confident in how I’d run! I used positive self talk to help – instead of ‘you’ve never run more than 6kms’, I’d say ‘wow, you’ve got 3kms to go, you can easily do that’. It made a big difference!

Oh so bright!
Oh so bright!

According to Runkeeper (I love their stats), I was above 9kms per hour for the first 4kms, which probably helped me stay ahead in pacing for the second ‘half’ of the race. Interestingly, the peaks in the coure are around the 4.5-5km mark and again in the last km! As far as speed, at my fastest I was doing 12.32kmph (I must check where it thinks I ran that fast!), and at the slowest, in my last km, was at 7.77kmph. Overall, I ran at 8.79kmph, for a total distance of 9.63kms (They say the course is ‘about’ 9km). This took me 1 hr and 5 minutes. This puts me right on pace, even though I didn’t meet my 1hr ambitious finish goal. Overall, I’m happy I made it to the end without an injury (even my shin splint like pain was silent), though I did have tight hamstrings before and after.

I never took this photo (photos were banned to keep the flow on the bridge - I actually was running when I snapped this!)
I never took this photo (photos were banned to keep the flow on the bridge – I actually was running when I snapped this!)

At the end of the race, I made my own way home. There was just swarms of people at the finish, so I can’t imagine if the BF had made it in, even trying to find him! Then getting to the train was a little bit of a logistical challenge – I ended up crossing the marathon runners path twice! Thankfully, Sydney smartly provides free public transport for all run participants, so being lazy, I got the train, then a bus (cause just a train involved more walking to get home!). The bf was at home after spending the last 24 hours on a yacht race, and we headed out for burgers. I then thought I was entitled to anything I wanted, being that I burned 710 calories! Alas, I still coped some cheek when a block or two of chocolate ended up in the shopping trolley! (For the record, I’ve not yet had any!)

So, in a rousing finale: anything is possible when you set your mind to it!  Practice makes the world of difference, and having people overtake you is often enough to stumble from walking to jogging again.  Now for a training plan to get me to a half marathon! (My brother’s time was 2hr02minutes for his half – impressive!)

Gratitude (for Sunday)

  • I finished the race, without an injury!
  • A beautiful warm day
  • The BF’s patience in traffic, during run road closures
  • The Newsroom finale (and finding out it’s signed for a new season!)
  • Mac and cheese made by the BF
  • For being somewhat relaxed with the state of the less than perfect house

What ambitious goals have you set yourself?  Have you surprised yourself in what you can achieve?

Progress report: Run a half marathon

My planned 7km Bridge Run, as part of Sydney Running FestivalSource: http://www.sydneyrunningfestival.com.au/
My planned 7km Bridge Run, as part of Sydney Running Festival
Source: http://www.sydneyrunningfestival.com.au/

In my 12 in 2 list, I have some pretty ambitious goals – like running a half marathon.  Thankfully the idea of 12 in 2 is to achieve 12 different goals in two years, so the half marathon isn’t something that’s likely to happen soon, but I have to start somewhere, right? (I have an upcoming post about how I plan to get around to all my 12 in the 2 years, complete with a plan for the $).

I’ve always been a walker – I walk when it’s the easiest option.  Given I don’t have a car, that’s all the time!  But upping the ante to running? Well that’s another story!  So I discovered that Runkeeper has programs, so I signed up to a 5km program – that trains you slowly to get to up to running 5km.  Once I master that, I can start on a half marathon program.  I started looking at the half marathon programs, and they already expected I could run 5km, so… makes sense to start smaller!

I started small, but I’ve ‘ramped’ it up of late:

Week of 17 Feb – 1.5km

Week of 24 Deb – 2.4km

Week of 3 Mar – 10.3km

Week of 10 Mar – 13.8km

Week of 17 Mar – 19.7km (includes 100% walking (~4.4km) & run/walk combos)

Running progress - towards a half marathon
Running progress – towards a half marathon

Evidently, the first weeks were pretty lame.  My running partner was out of town for a funeral, so I made that an excuse not to do my workout every second day.  But, now I’ve mastered the Runkeeper ‘reminder’ system, and powered on alone.  Our first ‘team’ run is a 3.2km jog, which marks the 13th workout of 28.   Based on the training schedule I’ll be reading for a race on 19 April! I’ve found a 7km run in Sept which is over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, so I’ll do that – by that time I should easily be able to manage a 7km race.

Let me assure you, it’s not been easy.  My Saturday 3.2km run was HARD WORK (after a few drinks on Friday night).  But I persevered, and I was happy to be finished at 20 min 20 seconds!  It was hard, even though earlier in the week, I ran 3.85km in a set 25 minute run target.  Then on Monday, I was tasked with a 45 min walk/jog, and shocked myself with a number of personal bests – getting a distance of 6.1kms in 50 mins (that’s about 7.32kms/h – I ‘walk’ a bit faster on the treadmill, but that’s ‘easy’ in comparison to real life)!  However, back to a hard day on Wednesday, when I couldn’t for the life of me jog at a snail’s pace for the full 3.2kms outside in the real world – instead, there was a lot of walking (and therefore more kms achieved).  Interestingly, Runkeeper tracks elevation, and there’s some 40m ‘spikes’) so that might explain some of the difficulty.

So, I’m on track to get to 5km, a mini goal to getting to a half marathon.  Thanks to a blog, I feel somewhat accountable.  However,  just yesterday, I started getting twinges of shin splints.  So I’ll ice them, stretch more.  I’ll only do it every second day (and try to cut out incidental walking, esp in the WRONG shoes!).  Or I might just take things a little easier for the time being… tough call.

How do you find reaching your fitness targets?  What ambitious goals have you set yourself?

12 in 2 list

Extra Organised is a blog I used to read, lost and have refound…  As is often the case, other people’s posts inspire my own, and so without further ado, I shall too make a list of 12 goals to achieve in 2 years.  I have linked above to her specific post.  Sadly for me I can’t comment on this blog (or any typepad blogs) which makes me sad, but hopefully the link will alert her to my interest!

1. Dinner at Quay – done in January for my birthday.  They have the menu online so you can all ooo and ahhh

2. Dinner at Aria – next birthday seems like a good idea!

3. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb – might just happen this month with a Norwegian friend in town.  Otherwise, the BF and parents are getting sick of it being on the gift list so…

Source: http://www.bridgeclimb.com/
Source: http://www.bridgeclimb.com/

4. Go jet skiing

5. Go Zorbing (likely on the Gold Coast) The Gold Coast site shut up shop, so to NZ it might be!

6. Visit Lexi in NZ – if I don’t put this on a list, I know I won’t make it a priority.  And NZ is oh so close to Sydney, I’m not sure why I can’t just DO IT!

7. Do a knife skills course – for cooking of course

8. Learn to surf – I have a friend who seems to be into the idea of doing a camp style adventure!

9. Read the new testament – thought I’d down grade from ‘whole bible’.  I want to ACHIEVE these goals not get down that they are too hard! See my progress

10. Go on a silent retreat – people who know me will wonder.  A friend has done it, so I have an ‘in’

11. Run a half marathon – this is really putting it out there! Anything that’s money based, I seem to have the commitment, but health and fitness, not so much! (Update 1)

12. Plan and prepay my funeral – morbid, but then people call these bucket lists!

To be honest, I struggled with this list.  I feel like I have to have achievable goals.  Things I can actually DO!  Some of my goals aren’t that short term… some are just having stuff (silliness personified!)  And travel destinations (whilst I have one or two) don’t really excite me the way I wish they coulda/shoulda/woulda.  It helps that I’ve been privileged to tick off so many travel based goals I see on other bucket lists – maybe I’ll post of all the bucket style stuff I have already done?

What’s your 12 in 2?

Things I’d like to be…

I’d like to be (inspired by you Dar)

– a zero waste (landfill) home.  But I eat large single serve cookies from the vending machine when I’m hungry.  And buy the half cabbage wrapped in cling wrap (cause a whole cabbage is a whole lot of cabbage for one little lady!)

– sugar free. Ever been hungry and walked into a cafe? It’s SO hard to find a savoury snack!  And then your sweet chili sauce of course also has sugar in it, but I don’t do ‘chili’ really, so I can’t substitute.  This is mainly a weight management strategy (and an exercise avoidance tactic!)

– wheat free. Again, ever been hungry and tried to find something that is neither sugary nor wheat-y?  Potato chips for the win.  Likewise corn chips.  Fruit salad.  But that vending machine just haunted me. (let me be clear, I’m not celiac (heck I can’t spell it!) but I do try to keep my intake low to lessen my psoriasis)

– lactose free. I’m trying to limit lactose for the same reasons as wheat.  And I heard about the plight of cows, always birthing and boy cows dying.  But really, sometimes I am weak in the face of cheese.

– freecycler. If only people would take my stuff! (at least the most recent stuff  – I need a good home for oodles of bubble wrap).  I stopped reading the posts so I could be more of the below:

– anti consumer. But I really wanted a teal throw rug for summer as the winter one is itchy.  And if I waited 10,000 years I may find one in a second hand store, but then I’d need to not work and spend time thumbing through stores and checking ebay and gumtree

– minimalist. No stuff for stuff’s sake.  Alas, I have trinkets from travellers, and whilst i could part with them (no emotional heart strings), I don’t want my home to be TOO sterile!  Concrete floors are more than a good start down that path!

– public transport user. I’m SO reluctant to get a car, cause I know it’d be easier than choosing to walk or to catch a train or a bus.  But that work car often finds itself dropping off or picking up within walking distance of places (home and work namely!)

– debt free.  I only have my mortgage, and pay of any credit card debt weekly.  But still NO debt, wow that’d be awesome!

– make-from-scratch’er/no packaged food.  I can cook, but sometimes laziness comes to stay and she orders packaged garlic bread – complete with the icky plastic baggy!  And a rice cracker is so much easier than making or finding a recipe for a gluten free, sugar free snack!

– recycler.  I am, and I couldn’t be otherwise.  But today my take away coffee cup went in landfill, even though the lid and (clean) cardboard cup could be recycled (if I’d washed them well enough and kept them til I found the bin I needed).  I should have used my ‘keep cup’.

It’s not ‘all that I am’ but ‘all that I’m almost’…