I know you've all been on the edge of your seats wondering how I went in the Flinders 5 this year. It's taken me a few days to fully process my run, and the results are in:
Mel's time in 2012 (minimal training): 27min 44sec
Mel's time in 2013 (C25K training): 27min 33sec
Looking at those numbers you may well wonder why I bothered (actually, I was wondering the same thing myself for a day or two).
But here's the key difference: last year I ran no more than 2k at a time, then strolled along for a bit to recover. This year I ran the whole way, no walking. My breathing was steady, my legs were quiet, and I felt good enough to chat to people as I ran around the course. I think I found my jogging pace. Unfortunately, discovering this pace seems to have locked away my sprint ability, but I think a few more weeks of training would have allowed me to tap into that again.
The C25K program took me from being a not-particularly-fit non-runner to a moderately-fit runner; someone who actually enjoyed running 5k.
So now that I've graduated from Couch to 5k, and now that the Flin5 is over for another year, will I keep running? I'd like to, which is something I never thought I'd say. And that, to me, means that C25K was a success. Give it a go; you may surprise yourself.
And for those of you who are wondering: I'm wearing a Waterlily Nuu-Muu. This funky addition to my wardrobe was really comfy to run in, and may also get some social outings over summer.
We've had proper spring weather this week, and no mistake. This morning the senior netball was rained out, but juniors had a lovely time on the court. Today I went for a run and at one point had the sun on my back and rain in my face. On a good day the entrance to the Sports Club (the home of the Pasta Night and Flinders 5) looks like this. On a bad day I can't get a photo because my phone gets blown out of my hands, or the lens gets covered in rain. Not that I'm trying to put anyone off at all, of course.
When you're next in Whitemark, you should check out the window display in Bowman's (our local newsagent/haberdasher/department store). The current display is running-themed: need a new sports bra? running watch? jogging shorts? inspirational fitness mag? Bowman's has it all!
Next to these essential items are some photos of the 2008 Flinders 5. Take a look next time you're in town. Recognise any faces?
Thanks to Lois and Megan for helping to promote our event.
C25K: Week 8 dusted off
My final thought for the day is "Cripes, I've just finished Week 8 Day 3 of the Couch to 5k". That means the Running Festival is only a fortnight away. One more week and I'll be officially through the program. Two more weeks and I'll really test out how well the C25K worked for me.
I've been mixing up my training sessions over the last week or so - officially I'm supposed to be running non-stop for about 30min, but to keep myself motivated I've been adding some sprintervals. I tend to find the long steady shuffle quite tedious, so these short bursts of speed are perfect for increasing my fitness, stimulating my brain and ensuring I actually keep getting out there to train.
Two weeks to go... Will I keep running afterwards? I'm not sure. Which is an improvement on a month ago when my answer would have been "Nah, don't have time! This is a one off". The thing I'm finding most amazing is that I'm learning to ignore all the little excuses my brain puts out. I just put my running gear on and go. (Although I will admit that today I had kind of hoped I'd forgotten to pack my socks - no way was I going to run through town without my running socks.)
Two weeks to go... I think I'm ready. How about you?
I was on the Big Island last week (aka mainland Tasmania), so had a change of scenery for my running.
Last Monday's run was from West Launceston to the Gorge. This pic gives a vague idea of the terrain I was running / walking through. Fortunately most of my running was downhill, but what goes down must come up. My calves took 4 days to recover, and I walked most of the uphill!
The water level at First Basin is fairly impressive at the moment! Not much more rain before the pool's under water instead of holding it.
The pool was also holding a half-drowned pademelon, which fortunately was close to the edge so I managed to haul it out. Poor little tacker was a bit chilled and shocked so I popped him in a sheltered spot near the bush. Not sure whether he survived the night, but a dead paddy in the bush is probably a bit less traumatising for the tourists than a dead paddy in the pool! The bloke running the chairlift said he'd let the council know about the latest swimming macropod. Seems like it might be a common thing. Anyway, it was a good distraction before the uphill run home.
I got the chance to attend the Launceston Parkrun on Saturday. This fantastic weekly free 5k event is organised by volunteers, and gave me a good opportunity to test out my training progress. My time of 28:48 was no PB but considering I ran/shuffled all but 100m I'm calling it a little personal win (honestly, my legs got bored and wanted to do something different for thirty seconds. Normally they get bored for longer than that). I was surprised with how good my breathing and heart rate felt - no last gasps even with my trademark final sprint. The last 5 weeks of training must be doing some good! It'll be interesting comparing this with my Flinders 5 time in 5 weeks.
Now I just need to work on Ignoring My Legs (big thanks to the anonymous parkrunner who talked me through the 4th km and handed out this sagely advice which kept me running. Parkrun seems to be like that - a big welcoming supportive group ready to encourage each other).
And finally: new shoes! Thanks to Mike from the Running Company in Launceston for the comprehensive gait analysis and great friendly service. These are so comfortable, and in my favourite colour! Don't think I'm running any faster just yet, but I don't think that's the shoes' fault. Can't wait to put them through their paces over the coming weeks. But it's certainly good to be home again.
I've been trundling my way through the C25K program, with varying levels of energy, over the last 4 weeks. I had a bit of a hiccup last week; couldn't seem to prioritise my training (a.k.a. life got in the way). But I realised that it's now only 6 weeks to the RunFest (gasp! really?), so have been working hard this week to follow the training regime.
I'm getting to know my running style now. I can feel which part of my foot hits the ground first (my normal bursts of gazelle-like springing: heel first; the shuffle I'm reduced to when running more than 100m: midfoot). I've taken notice of my breathing pattern, which seems to have been influenced by this article on breathing technique, because today, without even thinking, I realised I was following a 3:4 pattern (in for 3 steps, out for 4).
Today I was up in the centre of the island, in the middle of gorgeous rolling farmland. The weather was rather undecided, but I warmed up enough to cope with the cool breeze between the bursts of sunshine.
Half an hour of interval training, and only one car drove past. Gotta love the peace and serenity of training on Flinders :-)
Considering we're recommending it to all of you I thought I should take my own advice and start training. I'm going to document some of that journey here, and will either inspire someone else to start training or will make others feel better about their own fitness. You'll soon work out on which side of that line you stand...
I downloaded the Couch to 5k program, including the Podrunner audio files (I don't own a watch so rely on my mp3 player to tell me when to start and stop). (See our training page for some links)
My first session was on Monday, a gorgeous frosty morning. I'm not sure what I expected of myself, but I think I realised how little cardio fitness I currently have! I could probably walk the Pub2Pub tomorrow with no worries, but this Flinders 5 caper is going to take some work.
My saving grace is that the walk/run loop I have is a perfect length, reasonably flat, and rather scenic. The other bonus is that my only spectators are magpies, a sea eagle, and seven sheep. I need all the distraction I can get when running because usually my brain is too busy listening to my legs complaining. And complain they did: the beeps signalling the end of each run minute only just arrived in time.
Anyway, I managed to survive the Week 1 session without too much soreness, and even followed it up with a 3hr beach walk later in the day.
Ahh, surely this is paradise!