Tuesday, September 23, 2014

10km? What is this madness?

Actually, 10km is quite sensible - I just haven't gone for a hard run over the distance since the Nike She Runs the Night event in May last year. Yep, it's been over a year since my last 10km. I have been running regularly, but that wasn't quite enough. I was aiming for 52 minutes but ended up with 52:33 according to my watch (and that matches the Strava segment so I'm sticking to that rather than the 52:39 official time, which is still a PB but that's a result of starting in the middle of the pack and taking a while to get over the start line). Yep, 52:33 is a PB (by about 30 seconds) but I'm just not all that happy with it.

But hey, here I am looking happy because this is the 3.8km mark. And also because I'm wearing an awesome Virtual Run Blerch t-shirt Although it's a little bigger than I'd like. Maybe I should buy the regular Blerch t-shirt, but a size down. Oh, look at those postage charges. *Crying*
Image from Sri Chinmoy Races event gallery.
It was a great morning for a run - cool with some nice sunshine. I ended up feeling a little warm by about the 8km mark and thinking that I would not be enjoying myself if it were proper-warm and if I were doing a half-marathon. So before the race had finished I was already changing my plans for the Sussan Women's run on December 7 from the half-marathon to the 10km.

The start was a bit fast but I think that just happens as you try and find a spot for yourself in the field and settle into the run. The first 5km were fairly steady (between 4:55 to 5:07), but the last 5km weren’t so good with 5:10, 5:14, 5:27, 5:18 and 4:57. My heart rate only hit 184 at the end, so I’m sure I could have ramped up the pace at the end earlier than I did. The blip at about 7.5km was where I walked so that I could comfortably take in a drink - I don’t normally drink on runs, but then I don’t regularly run 5:15/km!

My pace (columns) and heart rate (line) during the run via Smashrun. A bit of a fast start, but at least my fastest km was the last one! Yeah, that big dark block means FAST BIT. 
I had planned on running this race in March when the Beat the Blerch races were announced. In Washington. Being geographically challenged I decided I would pick a nearby 10km on the same day and run in honour of The Blerch. Then a virtual race package was released, so I picked that up (and some socks, but now wish I had also picked up the magnet because More Snacks). Although the magnet does have free worldwide shipping...

Seriously. How is this not the perfect fridge magnet? Or pantry magnet if your doors are magnetic...
Pick yours up from The Oatmeal Shop, because that's where I stole this image from.
I’m still figuring out my autoimmune issues, but I think they’re flaring right now as I picked up a lot of mosquito bites (at least 10) at Pakenham parkrun. And so I’m extra thirsty. Even needed a drink during my easy 5km run this afternoon - and I was running at a pace a little slower than 6:00/km!

So I’m taking it easy this week as my body gets over the mosquito bites (they sting like crazy if I go for a walk, and much worse if I go for a run), and hopefully I’ll stop being so thirsty! Then I’ll follow a training plan and we’ll see what happens to my splits in November with the Run for the Firies and City2Sea. I’m aiming for the Sussan Women’s run as my next “proper” 10km. I was initially considering the half-marathon, but I don’t think it’d be fun if December 7 ends up being a hot morning!

My posture's a bit screwed this time around. This is because it's now at 8.8km, and I'm trying to do two thumbs up but my elbows want to do the chicken dance. No idea why my head is in a weird sticky-outie position. I'm sure there's a lot of wasted energy just holding that tension in my neck.
Image from Sri Chinmoy Races event gallery.

So THAT'S what I look like from behind.
Image from Sri Chinmoy Races event gallery.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Albert Melbourne parkrun

I should start this post by pointing out that:
  1. I was coming back from an upset tummy
  2. I made to the trip to Albert Park as some women who appeared keen on parkrun weren't keen on making their way to Westerfolds Park
  3. 11 of the women who said they'd come were No Shows
  4. I took it super easy with a First Timer who ended up walking most of the course
  5. My GPS glitched after 3.5km and so I need to go back at some point to add to my Veloviewer parkrun map set.
Most of the above irritates me. I know it had rained almost non-stop the day before and that the skies were drizzling before parkrun, but 11 No Shows irritates me. Significantly.

I've never been keen on Albert Melbourne parkrun (as there already was an Albert parkrun in the UK) as it's quite simply not somewhere I want to run. I don't like crowds and busy places, I don't like driving into the city (as I had to on this occasion due to the weather), and I've run around Albert Park on many occasions before. 

I ended up going around the course with a First Timer who was lacking fitness. I didn't mind too much as I knew I couldn't push myself around the course even as a tempo run due to my upset tummy and subsequent lack of eating for the previous three days. But I was in a foul mood thanks to the No Shows (which I think occurred because they were scared of the rain, pfft) and it irritates me when people run with iPods in groups. I just don't understand it. Long solo run, acceptable. 5kms with other people, wtf. The First Timer was carrying an iPod around, and dropped it a few times. Hence, irritation. I am known for being grumpy when sick and tired, but I think you can see that I had irritation coming at me from all kinds of angles. ALL KINDS.

So, as for the parkrun itself? Well... the morning was pleasant, and the weather perfectly fine for running. 

The First Timers' run briefing was adequate - although you then need to hurry over to the start line (with parkrun volunteers telling you to hurry up) which was about 300m away. In all honesty, I think the First Timer and I covered these 300m faster than the average speed we went around parkrun. Not exactly the most welcoming start to unfit First Timers. 

Albert Park is similar to Westerfolds Park in that a lap of the existing circuit just isn't quite long enough, so there's a little bit of overlap between the start and finish in order to get the 5km. While we can take the direct route from our pre-run briefing area to the start line at Westerfolds parkrun, Albert Park Lake stops this from being possible at Albert Melbourne parkrun. It would make a lot more sense to me if the run briefing and First Timers run briefing were held at the start line in this scenario, or if the briefing started earlier so there'd be no rush to the start line.

Then there was the course. It's mostly flat on soft fine gravel and would be a lovely surface in dry weather. When it's rained extensively you end up with puddles. I'm sure that some of the parkrunners in the main pack would have just run through it (heck, I would have), but some would have avoided it. There are also plenty of other users at Albert Park during parkrun o'clock, so the puddles didn't really help with sharing the limited space available.

There's a little bit of wildlife with tagged swans and other water birds, but they're more accustomed to humans (which always makes me sad*), and Albert Melbourne parkrun is simply not as peaceful as the other parkruns with suburban wetlands and their less-human-curious water birds (Frog Hollow, Berwick Springs). No kangaroos though. ;)

My GPS glitched at about the 3.5km mark, so I need to go back at some point in order to add Albert Melbourne parkrun to my set of Veloviewer maps. I'll likely head down during a dry spell in spring so I can comfortably cruise down and back on the bike and not worry about being cold and wet during the return trip. Who knows, perhaps I'll be in a better mood by then and thus give Albert Melbourne parkrun a more favourable review (at least they have toilets near the finish area).

*A related aside, but an aside nonetheless: While dogs that do tricks are cute, how is that any different to training a bear to dance? Domestic dogs do need some training to keep them and people they interact with safe, but "tricks" are just stupid IMO.

Friday, August 1, 2014

A recap of July

97km of running & warm-down walks this month (it was 109km initially, but I just went through and deleted the dog walks - I'm still monitoring her mileage on DailyMile, but the weather's been so awful lately I don't think I'm close to "overtraining" her and her little legs).

I'm still very much focussed on picking up Smashrun badges - I only picked up two in July (the July and "easy runner" badges), but made good progress for one of the harder badges. I'm referring to the "towering stairs" badge, which requires 6 months of increasing mileage by 16km each month. It would be easier to achieve if starting from a very low base, but that's not how I roll. :) Now I need 114km in August to keep it going!

I picked up another sub-25 parkrun this month when I went to visit Frog Hollow parkrun last weekend. It's nice to know that my sub-25 Highlands parkrun wasn't a one-off, although I just need a bit more strength (and practice) to do this at Westerfolds and it's undulating terrain! I've also started trail running again, and my long run will have to come from this session. I'm trying to only run three times a week so that I have time for cycling, although the weather hasn't been all that bike-friendly lately (according to Strava I only hit 227km in July, which is better than the 11km in June).

Aims for August

The main aim is to reach 114km of running (and warm-down walks), but I also need to increase my long run and get some speed into my legs. I also need to get back into the habit of riding twice a week on weekdays (although the Thursday Breeze ride clashes with the most regular trail running I can do), taking the bike to parkun, and then going for a long ride on Sundays. The weather is starting to look better next week, so hopefully that will give me a good start!