Sunday, November 13, 2011

From the City, to the Sea

Yesterday I ran the very first City 2 Sea, Melbourne's sister event to Sydney's massively popular City 2 Surf. The 14k course went from the National Gallery, along St Kilda Road, around Albert Park and down into St Kilda. About 13,000 people turned up, which I think is pretty awesome for an event in it's first year.

Between my recent holiday, a bout of shingles in September and a flu in the last week or two, I was not really fit to run this race. I turned up dressed to run, but planning to walk. Until I saw all the other runners, that is, at which point I thought- bugger it. I wanna run!
After an interminable wait in the Green Panadol corral with my pal Matty H, we were finally off. The weather was coolish, overcast but slightly humid. I wore a long sleeved Nike tech shirt, my favourite white 2XU hat (yup, if you can't beat the 2XU twins, join em), and my snazzy new Reebok shorts (which later proved to be a bit of a mistake). It's the first time I've turned up to a race feeling really cute :D
I have the slightly dodgy technique of finding a runner of similar pace to me, or a pace I find comfortable, and drafting off them, so when I eventually found a guy who was running a near perfect 7:30k pace, I stuck with him. In all my time of drafting I've never been busted, or if I have they never said....until yesterday! 7:30 is a moderate to top pace for me, and I was untrained and tiring fast, so eventually slowed down, and my draftee piped up to say, "Nooo, don't stop, you've got a good few k's in you yet!"
And so I didn't. I hung in for as long as I could, but after the first four I had a nasty stitch, and so with a high five I bid my draftee a good race. He was a newbie runner who had never previously run farther than a 5k, but he had a lovely smooth, solid pace and a relaxed stride. I'd love to know how he went, but in a field that size it was pretty hard to spot him later! I just hope he had a good race.

I was pretty happy with my 4k effort, and could have left it there. I'd planned some shorter 3-4k runs this week to ease back in, and that would have been a good effort. I walked the next two or three k's, and was feeling pretty done.

But my heart always breaks as I watch runners pass me....I can't take it. So when a runner passed me slowly and turned to me and smiled, I smiled weakly back and asked if I could pace with her for awhile. She said she was doing 8:30's, and I smiled and said that would be perfect.
The runner's name was Emma. I'd noticed Emma when I was standing in the corrals, because she was an anomaly. A buxom, heavy woman, but her gear was serious. I think I've spent so long feeling like an anomaly that I saw her right away, and knew what she was-the real deal, sheathed in fat, maybe, but burning inside with the need to just do it, to be challenged, to keep going.
I ran with Emma almost all the way to the finish. I had to stop and walk a lot-there's no denying that I was in a world of pain, and a little whingy with it, if I'm honest. She just kept running her own race. Sure, the pace dropped, but she just kept going.
I asked a lot of questions about Emma's three marathons, her training, and just generally shot the breeze. It's the longest time I've ever spent talking with another runner like that in real life. As a solo runner I am a reader of forums, a thinker of thoughts, a listener to podcasts...but I very rarely run with others, because I am too slow, plain and simple, for most.
I don't think I was very good company, being tired, whingy, and having almost completely blocked ears (pollen, you suck!). I didn't quite know how to think or what to say, so I just settled for being interested in what she had to say, and the challenges she'd faced and overcome.
It's true that runners come in all shapes and sizes, and we're all special in our own way, and blah blah blah...but some people are just going to do what they want, and be what they are, and if others don't like it, they just don't give a rat's arse, and that's why Emma is awesome.
I came in at 2:03:37, which I'm pretty pleased with. I'm in a world of pain today with very sore quads and a tweaky right ankle (sore in much the same place as after the HM) but I'm hoping it will ease
today, so that I can go out for a little run tomorrow.
Oh yeah baby, I'm so back :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Holidaze/Sick of work

As a reward for surviving a mind-crunching few months at work, lovely fiance and I finally took a long awaited holiday at the end of November. Four nights in a resort in the lovely Lakes Entrance, which is near to my hometown and family, but far enough away to feel exotic (and put off any unwanted visitors, lol).

I had grand plans to run all over the town, climb the giant hill, and generally be my usual energizer bunny self. While I did go for one run while I was in town, after that something strange happened....

I started to relax.

Perhaps a little too much. I slept a lot, ate a lot, and spent some quality time with my family. I snuggled in bed watching movies with my man, and took a lot of naps. Seriously, I was the queen of the world of sleeping.

When we returned home I did all the usual jobs, shopping and the like, and yes, some short runs (I've now learnt that my legs really do not like extended periods of sitting in the car, it brought on shin pain, ouch!) but again, I pretty much turned into a veggie. We splurged on some new DVD's and spent a few days curled up watching Daria and reliving my teen years. Quality.

Fiance had been ill with a flu bug on and off for several weeks, so naturally on my first day back at work the bugs hit me with a vengeance. By the next day I couldn't hold my head up. Back to the couch for me.

While it was a filthy virus, it has turned out to be a good thing. I was so incredibly ill (I could hear my lungs rattling with fluid when I breathed :/) that I made the effort to visit the GP (this took 3 hours. Seriously.). She listened to my chest and pronounced a nasty chest infection, which needed antibiotics, but where things got interesting was when she looked at my face and asked if I am "Always this pale?" I said yes, and blushingly explained that I looked worse because I had no makeup on. She sent me off for a blood test, and I've since found out that I'm anaemic and deficient in Vitamin D. The vitamin D thing is unsurprising, try as I might I simply cannot get a tan from those damn fluoros, but I thought I was eating pretty well and getting enough iron. Evidently not.

I'd been having trouble getting through the day most of the time, and feeling increasingly tired, which I'd blamed on my schedule. It's pretty punishing, I'm up so early each day, and my job can be mind numbingly dull. Add to that runs, cooking and the endless amount of cleaning each week...I have to wonder how many other women are low in Iron and feeling this way.

Running wise, I've had this week off. Sunday is the C2S, and I've been looking forward to running it ever since I heard about it. I'll still be attending, but this year I'll be walking it. I'm trying to focus on the fact that no matter how slow I run next year, it'll be a PB!

Getting sick is never fun, and for a few days there I wished I could move out of my body and just float around for a bit. But, if getting sick means you leave off your bronzer and get some important health news, then maybe getting sick is ok.