My First Trail Run – The WH@N Race Report

Wild Horse @ Night by AdiDwi

Wild Horse @ Night by AdiDwi

I do most of my run training in the late afternoon or at night time, so signing up for Wild Horse at Night (a race at night, as you may have guessed even if you didn’t read my previous post on it) seemed perfect. Except I had all day to get nervous. That bit wasn’t so perfect.

When I get nervous I turn into a psychopathic b*tch.  It’s unfortunate but true; My family suffers immensely.

I am sure there are plenty of you out there who really won’t understand why I might get nervous about a 16.5km trail run.  I know that for many people, this is the equivalent of ‘a walk in the park’ and perhaps a ‘fun event’.  Because the comments I got on the last post mostly used the word fun and even Grandpa said ‘it sounds exciting’ and that’s when I realised I was possibly alone in my fear of this event.

But don’t be too judgmental of my wimpiness – not only was this race the longest distance I’ve ever committed to running in my entire life, it was also my first outing on the trails since I was a schoolkid.

Just turning up at the start line was going to be a win for me.  For some reason, 16.5km seemed like a much more imposing challenge than 14km had.  Two hours of running (the time I expected to finish in) seemed like an almost impossible ask for my old-lady joints.

You may be asking why I even signed up for the event if I felt this way, but trust me when I say that the thought process when signing up for races goes something along the lines of ‘If I pay money to run it then I will deserve to complete it’. Zero logic or forethought is involved.

It got to the point yesterday where I had to tell myself that if I could just make it through to 4pm (when I could finally get changed and head off to Wild Horse Mountain car park, aka the start line) then I would have made it through the worst bit.  Yes, overcoming the nervousness and just turning up actually became a bigger mental challenge than running for two hours through treacherous trails with snakes and rocks in the dark.  Feel free to judge me for that.
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City2South Race Report, or My Quest to be Mates With Ronda

Medal

The benefit of running over triathlon-ing is getting a medal at the finish line!

As I ran around the house yesterday morning, trying to get ready for my epic trek into the city, I stubbed the little toe on my right foot. You know how it goes; I kicked the lounge chair that I have successfully walked past approximately 927 times a day for the past 7 years and which has not moved more than a millimetre in that time.

It hurt like a mother-effer, as all toe stubbings do. I performed the mandatory doubling-over, followed by swift sucking in of breath through my teeth. When I was satisfied that I wasn’t going to vomit, I continued with my preparations.

About thirty minutes later, I realised my toe was still throbbing and was starting to hurt more as time wore on. I tried to touch it but that hurt too much. I stared at my toe.

‘Don’t you be broken, you useless flap of bone and skin’ I warned.

‘Too late,’ it may as well have said.  Continue reading

Race Day Dedications

Matilda the dog

Pick me!

A few weeks ago I had the idea that I wanted to get some masking tape to stick to my bike’s handlebar, so that I could write myself a little motivation message to look at when I tackle the longest part of my triathlon – the cycling leg.

When I first thought of it, I was imagining that I’d need this reminder at Noosa, when I will attempt the mammoth Olympic-distance triathlon I began dreaming about last September.  It’s going to be a tough race, probably in the middle of a hot day, and will demand about 4 hours of effort from me.

The little message I’m planning on is very simple – it’s a short dedication ‘For xxx’ with three names of special people I will think about when the going gets tough.  I’ve chosen the names because I feel sure that the thought of them will spur me on – but I’ll show you who they are when we get closer.

As the idea became a steadfast commitment, I realised I could also incorporate a race day dedication on the handlebars of my bike at the Straddie Salute triathlon.  And I immediately knew who I wanted to ride for. Continue reading

Such A Show-Off

Chocolate cake from the Grimsey Brothers on Easter Sunday. Well worth the tortuous swim.

Chocolate cake from the Grimsey Brothers on Easter Sunday. Well worth the tortuous swim.

Happy Easter, Homies!

Don’t panic; I haven’t turned into an American hipster over the course of the long weekend (although I did have a nightmare in which a really rich potato with a toupee was running for president and I had an uncontrollable desire to vote for him, so…)

I’m still an average-Joe Queenslander.  It’s just that I was sitting here, staring at my screen ready to type and had no idea what else to write except ‘Happy Easter, Homies!’

Which is when I realised that I am trying to avoid a certain topic.  A topic that is actually unavoidable on a triathlon blog. Continue reading

I Can Run!

She Can Sweat

She Can Run! And sweat, evidently.

After completing my first pain-free 5km run, I was tempted to get straight back on the treadmill the next day and do it again. It was just so fun and exciting to be able to run comfortably.

Instead, I celebrated with a beer and rested my knees for a few days, switching my training to swimming for the next mornings.  The plan was to give myself the best possible chance of enjoying the same running experience all over again, because even though I had felt no pain during the successful run, I woke up the next day with slightly creaky hips – probably as a gentle reminder that I hadn’t run anywhere for 7 years and couldn’t expect to suddenly run everywhere.

And if I’m honest, a small part of me deep down was convinced that the whole thing had to be a fluke – so dragging out the rest period for as long as possible allowed me to enjoy the pretense that I could now run without pain. Continue reading

Research, research, research

studying

Studying

Once I had accepted the challenge of learning to run I tried to become a student of knee pain.  I really didn’t know much about leg muscles or leg movement but it only took about 5 minutes for me to find 30 different webpages willing to explain it all to me.

Reading through these websites went something like this:

Website: Runner’s Knee

Me: Yes.

Website: Impressive-looking anatomical picture of what I assume is a knee

Me: Impressive.

Website: Describes Symptom A

Me: Yes

Website: Describes symptoms B, C and D

Me: Yes!

Website: Describes Symptoms E, F and G

Me: Er no, not so much.

which made me realise that knee pain may differ quite a lot between sufferers… and be caused by a  combination of factors unique to each person.  Which in turn means that because it isn’t a one-size-fits-all pain, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all cure. Continue reading

Time To Run

She Can Try running

The third-cousin-twice-removed of Usain Bolt and a short white chick

With my road to swimming excellence mapped out in front of me, it was time to check on the other two skills I’d be requiring for my first triathlon. I’d started with my worst skill, so I thought that next I’d boost my confidence with my best skill of the three: running.

Technically, I think I could survive the running portion of any triathlon without fixing my knee and hip pain. I have survived a 10km race before, although I couldn’t walk for 3 days afterwards.

However, it’s possible I have the physical fitness to actually be GOOD at the running component; it should be my strength. It would also be nice to know that at least one part of the triathlon would be enjoyable (I laugh at this joke as I type)

I started to have visions of myself making up some of the lost time from swimming with a super-quick sprint to the finish line. Think Usain Bolt crossed with a short white chick. Or that person’s slightly slower third cousin twice removed. Continue reading