Surprise! Part One – Screw The Half Marathon

Matilda was surprised

Oh. My. Dog. What HAS she done now?

I have a surprise for you today.  Because I’ve written a race report that nobody saw coming… Even me, to an extent.

Admittedly, I started writing this ‘introduction section’ which I’m calling Part One a week and a half ago, with nervously shaking hands and shallow breath.  Because I had an inkling about what might happen and I wanted to document some of the crazy thoughts I had in the lead-up.

Even though I had no intention of sharing such information until today, just in case I chickened out.

Chickened out of what?  You ask.  Be patient, I reply, I need to build it up.

You see, I accidentally found a race I wasn’t ready for.  And even though I knew it was ridiculous, I couldn’t get it out of my head.  I woke up at 2am thinking about it, night after night after night.  As I sat typing emails at work, dramatic and crystal-clear visions of the race interrupted my thoughts ominously.  I had butterflies in my stomach and a tingling in my toes whenever I thought about it.

This accidentally-found race, I felt, was calling to me.

I must reiterate: I wasn’t searching for another race.  I didn’t need a ridiculous challenge.  Regular readers will remember that I was (am!) already engrossed in training for a momentous running race: in fact the Sunshine Coast Half Marathon was only 40 days away when I sat myself down to begin writing this prelude to the race report. Today there are just 4 weeks to go until that highly-anticipated event.

I already have enough on my plate.

And let’s not forget that I find comfort in sticking to the training plan I map out, which allows me to follow logical and progressively harder steps that I set myself to gradually reach bigger goals.  That’s the smart way to train.

It would seem ridiculous, then (and totally stupid, probably) to skip some steps and sign up for a 26.4km trail run, which would take me over 3 hours to complete this morning.  Ridiculous.

But, well…

Surprise!
Continue reading

The Happiness Assassination

Grandpa the devil

Me and Grandpa, the assassinator.

I have suspected that Grandpa is out to get me for a while now. And today I can present to you irrefutable proof that he wants me to be miserable.

Continue reading

Data-less… And Happy?

Geddit?

It’s about time

Following on from my rather pathetic whining during the Wild Horse Mountain 16.5km race and throughout the ensuing report, it is time to answer the million-dollar question that literally hundre Grandpa has asked me:

Why don’t I just buy myself the infamous fancy Garmin watch that measures distance as well as time?

Well the answer is complicated, because in case you hadn’t noticed I am a complicated soul.  Turn your brain on and try to keep up because before unleashing this blog post upon the world I re-read the dribble and counted approximately 8 instances where I contradict myself or make no sense.  Brace yourself… Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

Wild Horse at Night

Wild Horse at Night confirmation email

Another registration!

Thank you to the organisers of Wild Horse at Night (also known as WH@N) for providing me with the best blog post title I ever had. It sounds so romantic and dramatic, don’t you agree? Wild Horse at Night. NEIGH!! I particularly like that when combined with the previous post, the blog has developed something of an equestrian theme this week.  I should have themed weeks more often, I think.

Wild Horse at Night is a race I have signed up for, taking place this coming Saturday night. As the name would suggest to those of you familiar with the Sunshine Coast here in Australia, it is held on and around Wild Horse Mountain (which is one of the Glass House Mountains at Beerburrum)

Yes, this means it is a trail run – or a cross country run, if you are from the UK. Although POMs and ex-POMs (such as myself) should be careful if we use that phrase in other countries, because I used it myself in a conversation a few days ago and my friend thought I literally meant I was going to run across the country.

SIDENOTE: I do class myself as crazy but I seriously wonder how I must come across to others when people who know me think there is any kind of likelihood that I would attempt to run across the country of Australia.  For the record, the likelihood is definitely zero.

So anyway, what’s the deal with WH@N and trail running? Continue reading

I’m Riding The Unicorn, Don’t Worry

The unicorn I call improvement

Remember this?  The elusive unicorn that I call Improvement, with her fairy helpers

The deeper I get into this triathlon training, the less likely it becomes that exciting things happen on a daily basis.  That’s how it feels to me, anyway.

Maybe you guys would actually be really pleased to hear about the cycling I did on the spin bike at the gym for an hour, while watching ‘Millionaire Hot Seat’ and Channel 9 News on Tuesday night.  But I doubt it, so I don’t write about it.

Tonight I went to the gym where I did a bike ride and watched TV.  I watched that slightly weird smug guy Eddie Maguire quiz a bunch of people on the most random facts you could ever hope to not fill your brain with.  My favourite question required the contestant to finish the apparently ‘typical Aussie slang’ term ‘It’s London for a _______’ and the answer was brick.  Not a single person in Australia knew the answer to the question.  Then I watched Channel 9 News where they evidently haven’t heard of Syria or anything.  The top story was the weather ‘event’ that had passed 4 days prior.

But in spite of my training not being note-worthy, you should rest assured that I am indeed making some improvements.  In fact, the Unicorn That Is Improvement has been broken by my relentless pursuit of it, and I’ve saddled her up for a slow and challenging trek through this mysterious triathlon forest.

Take swimming for instance. Continue reading

Mother Nature Vs City2South

Radar image

It is raining a bit

I am really pleased that I have a race tomorrow, to force me to do some goddam exercise. I have done close to nothing all week, which is most unlike me. Sometimes life just gets in the way and your usual routine is a physical – and literal – impossibility.

So I am pleased, except that on Thursday I started getting messages from my crew (ie, Grandpa) that Brisbane was going to be in for torrential rain this weekend. I was travelling at the time and hadn’t seen a weather forecast for about 4 days, so I told Grandpa he was a bloody liar and hung up on him.

I do not like to run in torrential rain.

Then I arrived back to Brisbane with this weird wet stuff falling from the sky and had to decide on a new approach. I love running in the rain, I told myself. It will make me a badass, and none of my family will want to come and cheer me on (which usually makes me feel guilty, especially for an unimportant training race such as the City2South) Continue reading

parkrun Round 2 – The Elusive Negative Split

Running

About 500 metres into parkrun round 2

Excuse me while my ego puffs out my chest in pride at how good a triathlete I am for knowing the phrase ‘the negative split’.

I really hope you guys don’t know what it means. I had no idea what it meant either, until a few weeks ago.

I would have guessed it was something to do with doing box splits, because I used to attempt to do those when I was a little girl at gymnastics and not only did I feel very negative about the groin-tearing sensation they induce, but I always got very negative reviews from the gymnastics teacher (Colin) about my box split achievements. So negative split totally makes sense in that situation.

But no, ‘the negative split’ is not about box splits.

A negative split is an athletic achievement whereby you complete the second half of your event in a faster time than you completed the first half.  So for instance, when running a 10km, a negative split means you ran the last 5km in less time than it took to do the first 5km.

Who cares? Absolutely nobody, unless they are infected with some sort of disease that makes them want to be some sort of athlete – particularly in my case, a triathlete. Continue reading

Just Call Me Jack

running in paradise

Running Straddie!

Stumbling along on this triathlon journey, I have become something of a ‘jack of all trades’. And yes you guessed it; a master of none.

I can now proudly swim without drowning, bike without coming last (or first) and run without losing my place in a crowd of fellow runners.

My slight improvements have been consistent but not outstanding in any of the three sports required. But now that is about to change.

Because it is time for me to become a master of running. Continue reading

Straddie Salute Race Report, or The Best Thing I Ever Did

Kangaroo

Stradbroke Island and a resident kangaroo (can you see him?)

One of the draw cards when signing up for The Straddie Salute triathlon was the location, and arriving at the island yesterday was everything I had hoped it would be.

I should admit that if you had asked me my opinion in the 12 hours before arriving, I might have screamed various swear words at you and dramatically lamented how difficult it was proving to pack bags for a triathlon and a four day weekend on an island with limited resources.  But once the panic was over, it was overwhelmingly a positive thing to have a ‘destination triathlon’; the island is stunning and has a different feel to the mainland, which put us in holiday mode instantly.

As we drove the 20 minutes from the ferry to our accommodation I paid attention to the roads and felt reassured to see that they were lovely and fresh-looking, completely free from potholes and loose gravel (a possibility that had been haunting me for weeks)

Unfortunately my dread returned quickly as we travelled up and down massive hills. I was… well, gobsmacked. For some reason I had told myself that sand islands are quite flat, even though I have been to other sand islands and they weren’t flat at all. Straddie is not flat at all.

I had been planning on taking it easy on the bike and maintaining happy, under-worked legs that would be ready for an epic run.  But the more I thought about those hills, the more I realised that taking it easy on the bike was a physical impossibility. By the time I went to bed last night I’d had to modify my Race Day Plan:

New Plan: This will hurt from beginning to end and you will continue to move forward until the hurting can stop. Which is at the finish line.

Abbreviated plan: Move forward relentlessly.

Simple, really. Continue reading