Miss Skarmel

This is Miss Skarmel - in cartoon and in writing. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

2006 - A Write Off

Well I think it's about time I made it official on my blog.

I am no longer running Canberra Marathon/Ultra 2006.

Not only have I missed far too much running (a good week lately has been running twice a week, in the region of 5kms, but I just do not have everything falling in place to make it a good year to set goals/make big plans.

My nutrition has been lacking, my stretching non existent, my sleep poor, my motivation out the window, plus personal worries and stresses have been making everything difficult in the plans department. Well, you could say the latter is causing all the other issues.

For the time being I am writing off 2006 as a race year. I'll be super happy if I can class myself as a 'casual runner' these days, but that might not even be reachable.

My main target is to hopefully be able to run a bit more during work hours, especially now I'm moving out to Rhodes for my new roll it will be perfect (fingers crossed) thanks to all the tracks out near Homebush.

Here's hoping......

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Not much happening

Yes, I know I would be more consistent. But I haven't. And same goes with my running.

Well besides doing a lot more resting than running (thanks to a variety of good excuses at the time - not so now), here is the highlights ummm...not so flash stuff I've done :

Sunday 15th January - 21.1km Sydney Marathon Clinic, Smithfield

I basically took it slow from the start firstly because I didn't know how I would end up, and secondly, because my body doesn't remember what anything but slow is!

Of course the brain didn't co-operate at the start, come the first drink station I was already planning my strategy of when to incorporate a walk. The 10km point sounded good at the time. But thankfully, by the 9th km I was running with ultra-legend Bob Fickle (who had also done a fine effort at Coastal Classic the previous weekend).

Bob was running at a pace that was quicker than I wanted but eventually I was in the rhythm and having him tell me stories kept my mind off the running (even though we talked about nothing but!).
I cruised through the next 6kms with Bob and I felt better and thought that I could possibly go faster but didn't want to risk it. Bob left me at the last turn around where he was going to pick up some runners. I stayed cool and picked up the pace a little as I felt great for the last 6kms. I ran strongly and picked up all the runners Bob had (including Bob!) and finished off with a great strong fast last km. That was definately a boost to the confidence I have been lacking for quite a while.
Didn't write my splits down but from what I remember, 1st km: 5'15' last km 4'10" (super happy with that last km!) Total: 1.48.38

Week following this run equalled 5 days of resting and one day of an easy run (5km). Poor effort.

Sunday 22nd January - Long run @ Baulkham Hills

Having felt less than great most of the week I finally felt myself again and jumped out of bed to meet this bunch. We headed through all parts of Kellyville and I love the tough hills we encounter (it can improve me faster than I can anywhere else).
With my lack of running of late atm, I was worried I wouldn't be able to keep up. Oddly enough, by the end of the run I was the one that felt the strongest in our little group. The hills weren't too bad either, not crash hot, but could've been a lot messier! :)

Tuesday 24th January - What, a speed session?

Very briefly introduced my body to a speed session, with 1 rep of 5" (2"). Surprisingly, I ran most of the run at my current 1/2 marathon pace and then picked up for the 1 rep as I left if for the 2nd half of my run.

Not bad an effort overall.

Thursday 26th January - Australia Day 5km Fun Run @ Penrith Regatta Centre

I ran the 5km with Josh for his debut Fun Run (and the fact that I was far too unfit for a 10km effort. To think, 12months ago, I ran my first sub 45" 10km and was ecstatic, now, I feel old and slow.

I specifically took an oversized blow up hand with the Australian Flag on it to wave it around as I ran. Josh did a superb effort and ran the whole way! My chest co-operated as did my legs, and I obliginly hi-5'd all the volunteers I ran past with my huge hand.
Josh snuck in a mighty fine sprint at the end (that took me by surprise and I couldn't keep up) and he beat me to the line by one second. Which I guess is only fitting, I can't beat him on his first fun run! Time: 27'28"

Saturday 28th January - All Women's Triathlon (Enticer) @ Penrith Regatta Centre

Again, this is something that I did last year and although my swimming was non existent then, I was a lot fitter in the other disiplines.

This time round my swimming was still poor but something I had worked on months and months ago (I hadn't swum since winter though).

So I stuck to the Enticer 250m/10km/2.5km. All I hoped for was to not be last out of the water (which almost happened last year). I thankfully was between 5th last out of the water (didn't really look too closely) which I was slightly disappointed as I thought my swimming was a little better than last year (but thankfully only took me about 8mins compared to last year of almost 18!!).

The bike was a burner. I got on there like only I know how and went as best as I could. I picked up quite a few ladies with only 2 passing me in the last km.

My legs were feeling very lactic after the ride compared to last year, but I just hobbled out on the run and just concentrated on a speedy 2.5km. I was pleased to see that the commentator noticed my strong run as I came past, and so to keep strong I made an agreement with myself to only walk at the turn around (I mean, I didn't want to trip or anything!). So I plodded along and overtook many more ladies. I slowed at the turnaround and allowed a young fellow to squirt water on me (it sure was hot!) and continued my merry way.

Low and behold having been almost last out of the water I ended up 16th overall with 62 participants.

Time: 42'06" (too bad there weren't splits this time round). Although according to my watch I did 8odd for the swim, can't remember the bike although if I do a simple calculation I could easily find out) and 9'55" for the run (which I highly doubt is correct though - I'm not that fast) - I have all these splits (plus my half marathon splits from Smithfield, I just have to clean up first to find where I wrote them).

Tuesday 31st January - Pain in the Domain - Group 4

Finally remembered to go to Pain. It was a struggle and it wasn't nice, but being my first proper faster run in a loonng time I guess it was ok.

Sunday 5th February - No Long Run

I woke up planning on meeting the Baulko group but my dog had a bleeding nose which kept me home playing nurse.

I coincidentally did a 'workout' of sorts by defrosting the freezer (which is big enough to fit 2 ppl in) and thanks to that my legs, butt, stomach, ribs, arms, everything was sore!

I did somehow find a little time to head out for a not so long run of 40mins. It was hot, I was thirsty and I wanted to get home. Not so great mental strength.

Monday 6th February - Coco induced Run

My sister wanted to go for a run so I brought Coco (my dog) with us. Coco and I always do a 2km block which she runs the first half then sniffs, walks, 'marks her spot', the second half. But with my sister there I kept on her tail and she ran the whole way, even sprinted up the hill which was good for me too. We had to head back to catch up to sis, but everyone was very happy with the short outting.

Tuesday 7th February - Pain in the Domain - Group 4

Well I expected a run like last week but it was far from it. So much better and stronger and I was so happy with the effort. I felt like I had reserve energy after the long run, having kept it consistent (and ran within myself) and I was able to pick up the speed in the last section and recover quickly.
If I could do this all the time I reckon I will be back to my good old self in no time.

Canberra Marathon : Now I initially planned on doing the 50km, but Sebastian reminded me today that there are only 2 months until the big event. I am no where near my fitness that I had 12 months ago and am concerned that I might not be ready in time. I have filled out my entry but will not post it until I see some marked improvement. *fingers crossed everything goes to plan*

Plan B? If I'm not fit for Canberra, I'm firstly going to be ticked off, and secondly probably going to be ticked off so much that I will end up writing off 2006 for any events and just use it as a 'I'm a recreational runner but don't race' type year. Which I think would suck, but also gives me the peace of mind to have as many rest days as I want (to an extent).

Right now, the mind is wanting, but the schedule isn't. So *more fingers crossed* that everything works out ok.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

My First Ultra

With the lead up to the 12 Hour Coastal Classic @ Gosford I looked back at why I wanted to do the run in the first place.

Why? To actually get myself into gear and do some training (meaning, actually doing my long runs - and everything else in between).

Well I couldn't have been further from what I planned.

I may still only be a relatively new runner, but I have never approached any previous races with this amount of training. It is the least I have ever done. It went against everything I wanted out of this run physically and mentally.

I have never been so physically poor and mentally weak. My average training weeks in the two months leading up to the 12 Hour were anything from a meazly 11kms to a 'one-off' 50kms (with more 20-odd km totals than anything else).

Saturday/Sunday 7-8th January - 12 Hour Coastal Classic @ Gosford

Well as with how the training was going, the day of the run was just as poor. I had minimal breakfast with Hungry Jacks for lunch and nothing else in between.

My friends and I headed off for Gosford at about 4pm hoping to get there around 5.30pm, but in typical Miss Skarmel style, I accidentally decided to drive 40 extra kms past Gosford and to closer to Newcastle than what I wanted. So having driven an extra 80 kms we got to Gosford a little later than I wanted but with plenty of time to set up. But the problem was we wouldn't have time to get to eat something decent because there wasn't that much time to get out, eat and digest.

So with my stomach grumbling and myself and my friends putting up a tent for the first time we were ready at just after 7pm when it started to hit me, the nervousness.

I sat around with my friends Tim, Johann and Emma and we downed some iced donuts and we got ourselves ready. Tim was starting off the timing and everyone was taking hourly turns.

The run started off all dandy, although I wasn't 100% sure of my pace so I just went with what my legs dictated.

Everything was dandy and I chatted with a fewllow from Canberra, Jeff, and this helped ease my overexcitement and not run to fast. I found out that I did the first hour with 9kms down, which was about 3 more than what I had calculated (mind you, my calculations changed each week).

I spoke to many of the runners as well as a quick chat with Bob Fickel and Paul Every, who both offered some good advice.

I made sure I ate something every 25-30mins, drank every 15mins and had a walk every 20mins or so.

Although I started with a grumbling stomach, my bellie was far from it come 2 hours into the run. You know, the time ticked by so quickly it's surprising how easily it changed from 2 hours to 4.

One of the runners there had a crew who was belting some great tunes out of their car and this was so great earing it. Especially when they played Millencolin and New Found Glory and I urged them to keep them coming! I remember being on the other side of the track when one of their songs was playing and I'd be singing along to the music and it urged me to continue with each lap because I knew if I kept running I'd get closer to the music.

Come about 2 1/2 hours into the run and the pain started. I was surprised it was so quickly seeing as though I have done at least a few runs longer than this, but of course, not this slow, or on grass. My hammies were tight as, and then my glutes started to feel it. It was worse when I slowed down or walked so I tried not to run much faster but made sure I lifted my knees a little and this pretty much releaved all the pain. It sucked when I had to take my walk break/eatting lap because it all came rushing back.

By the 3hour mark I was already contemplating my run for next year. None of this 'I'm too lazy to train' attitude, how could I have been so lazy leading up to this?!?! I want to be at the peak of my ultra fitness next year and achieve my big goal....now I just have to remember I said this...

I took a couple of breaks and sat with my mates for a bit just to wake them up and give me a boost and that was good to sit. I didn't sit for too long though.

As it was coming into the 3 1/2 hour mark I asked Johann 'So have I almost done 40kms?' on the presumption that I would do a similar time as my Canberra Marathon. But alas, I was closer to 30kms than 40! This was a total downer, but come an hour and more longer and I finally did it.

With the pain in my hammies getting worse, and now my arches started to hurt in my feet, I was getting concerned about over doing it because of my minimal training. I didn't want to jepordise my new year (as well as my future) running all because of one run. So, as I had initially wanted to do for my goal (except everyone else seemed to think otherwise!), I figured, I would go to 50kms and then reassess. All I wanted to do was more than a marathon just to say I did an ultra, so an extra 8kms would be even better!

So I reached 50kms in about 5.45hrs and then I stopped to talk to Emma who was timing at the time and I figured I would go have a shower and then see how I felt. I dawdled an extra lap then walked around to the tent and back to the showers for another extra lap. Having dawdled quite a bit I did that last lap at 6hours20mins. I had my shower then came back to the timing tent.

Ron (CR Sportsman) had just arrived to take over from Chris (CR Omni) and I sat and chatted with Chris. Ron tried to coax me to get back out there but I didn't want to get dirty again and like I said before, I had minimal training and didn't want to hurt myself and damage my future running goals for the year (although I don't have any yet). I chatted to Chris for quite a bit. We actually had a really good laugh, talking about running, Futurama, The Family Guy ohh it was a good way to finish a run hehe.

I drove Chris home with my friends in tow and we headed back to the run where they went to have an uncomfortable nap (we didn't have any beds or sleeping beds) and I went to the car to have a rest. I started to pack everything with about 2 hours in the run left and then watched the final hour.

If you want inspiration, what the end of an ultra! The passion, the determination, the pain, all showing in eyes of the runners. I started to feel guilty that I had only done 6hours and didn't feel deserved of saying that I did the run. I had tears in my eyes of joy as well as pain because I slightly knew what they were feeling, although of course not the extent of what they would have having run twice as long as I did.

Next year, I'm actually going to train, and train hard! I'll get my 100kms next year. I finally have a goal!

Food consumed while running (only vegemite sandwiches were sampled in training so it was a matter of hoping my stomach would be fine each time I put something new in my mouth) :

Cream Buns

Cinnamon Donuts

Vegemite Sandwiches

Fairy Bread

Milo Mouse

Diced Fruit in Jelly

A huge assortment of lollies

Lot's of fun size chocolates - Twix, Freddo Frog, Milky Way

Home mixed sports drink - very diluted

Food I took but didn't consume :

Winnie the Poo Chocolate with Honey Filling Cupcakes

Ice Blocks

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Filling

Diluted Coke

I had so much food left over and really enjoyed eating the cream buns (because of the extra cream!)

The list above sounds like a typical diet of what I usually eat during a working week so not much was unusual to me although I wouldn't eat all in one day! I did get sick of having to eat at such regular intervals (one of the reasons I advised as to why I didn't want to continue running) - coming from someone who always throws something in her mouth every 5 mins at work!

Pit falls of eating all that junk? - Two mountainous pimples the next day!

Tesso : you were in my thoughts quite often leading up to and on the night of the run. I know you will do great in your run because you will have done the TOTAL OPPOSITE to everything I have! :)

So I guess I have officially run an ultra. Hmm, doesn't feel as great as my marathon run. I think because of my poor preparation and not really having a distinct goal to conquer (something harder than 50km I mean). Next Year.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Am I a Lazy Person? Cos I Ain't No Runner!

So, as expected, I haven't done much since I last updated....what am I doing with myself!!!

Monday 26th December - 140km Ride with Dave

Well I was pleased to have organised a ride with CR Uncle Dave, for as always, a tough ride (he doesn't do things easy!).

We started at Galston and rode to Berowra, left at the Pacific Hwy towards Brooklyn, and towards and into Gosford.

3 punctures with plenty of fruitless pitstops (public holiday-shops closed!) we made it back to the starting point about 11 hours later

I was very pleased to note that I was a lot more confident and stronger on the hills, although I still have to work on my decents. Dave was trying to get me close (and break) my max speed but I just couldn't let go of the breaks!

I only cracked in the last 20kms coming up from the Berowra ferry, where out of the blue my legs just couldn't go on. I had to pretend to post a Christmas card to stop Dave from hitting me for stopping hehe.

My legs felt so weak in the last few little undulations (hate that word!), but I was so pleased to see the end of the journey. I felt just like when we came up that big climb that's marked with the km markers that goes for 4kms coming back from Gosford (it's near Brooklyn I think)...hang on, it could have been another of the long hills (man there was too many! Everything looks all the same to me....). I was expecting to stop at the top and told Dave so (which he wasn't happy about), but then out of the blue saw Pie in the Sky. Boy was I happy! My legs zoomed up to the finish having found a boost of energy and I was screaming 'Pie In The Sky! Pie In The Sky!', hence, I did that at the top of each hill after for that 'magical lift'.

Super pleased with my effort - 24kms of long hills included. I think my tyre changing skills need more practice - maybe I should actually change one!

Must do this again soon....

Tuesday 27th - Wednesday 28th December - Stress Rest

Rightly so rested on Tuesday, although I felt super fine strangly enough!

Then it was too busy at work and I couldn't get out for a run on Wednesday, ahh well, more resting.

Thursday 29th December - Evening Run

Left home at 8.30pm and intended on doing the same length run on the cyclepath as last week. But my legs must've felt a little fatigued from the ride and I struggled at the mid-point and decided to turn back earlier than expected.

Still, was out for just under 1hour10mins, so not too bad - then again, I don't see a weekly long run....not so great...

Friday 30th December - Monday 2nd January - So Annoyed With Myself

Couldn't believe how lazy I was. Had good intentions of running each day but did I??

Just like Ned Flander's says 'We can't live on gooood intentions Marge!!'

Monday night I was so ticked off with myself and put my foot down. That's it, you're getting up early tomorrow and running before work, whether you get a full nights sleep or not!

Tuesday 3rd January - A Run!

How hard was it today!

Well to begin with, I had a I-haven't-run-in-4-days niggle, my knee was playing up.

Whatever, my own fault.

When I started running I couldn't even lift my knees up it was torture, I was hopeless!

I was thinking, this is the pace I want to run on Saturday, and I can't even do it now! All I felt like doing the whole time was apologise to all the serious ultra runners for wasting their time, and not being as focused as I should be.

Then I thought, if Miss Skarmel does anything well, that's handle tough situations and pain. So half way I sped up slightly and it was feeling better. 3/4's further I picked up a little more speed and was feeling tired but better. Goodness my muscles haven't felt this pain of speed (or lack of it!) in months! Yes I will be in poor condition on Saturday, but gosh darn it, I'll be giving it my full determination and effort!