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Popping my 'Ultra' cherry
Monday, 08 October 2012 06:12

"The Yurrebilla Trail is one of Adelaide's treasures. The trail winds its way through a series of National Parks and Conservation Reserves under the Mt Lofty summit, as it makes its way across the western face of the Adelaide Hills. Never more than 12 km from the centre of Adelaide, the trail offers stunning views, amazing gorges, waterfalls, wildlife and wildflowers. Commencing at Belair Railway Station in the south, the trail climbs 1865 metres and descends 2060 metres before it reaches its destination at Ambers Gully, Athelstone. Runners are required to run on only a few roads which connect the end of one bush track to the start of another trail. "

A couple of weeks ago (23/9/12), I ran my first Ultra marathon - along the glorious Yurrebilla trail in Adelaide.  It runs from the Belair train station, about 20 mins from the city to the south.  You can check out a map here.  

I chose to start in group B - aiming to finish the 56km in between 7.5 and 9.5 hrs.  There was a group intending to run slower that started an hour earlier, and a fast group to start an hour later.  We were a big mob - over 100 people by my estimate, assembling on a cool and overcast morning, lining up for 1 of 2 portaloos, placing our drop bags in the designated places and meeting up with running mates.  I took my time at the start, starting well back in the grouping and running with Diane, and then with Emma.  We then ran through the Belair National Park, into Brownhill Creek, down an amazing series of switchbacks and then around the hills face at Mitcham.  I took a tumble at about 11km in, after a quick pitstop at the caravan park left me running alone for a bit.  I tripped, landed in a bush on my left hip with a little scrape of my hands.  I was fine, but it did give me a fright, and I spent a fair bit of time after that running slowly and being pretty vigilant as to how my hips were feeling.  I did catch up to Emma and Diane eventually and I spent most of this time chatting to Emma who had won the 24 hr running event in Adelaide the last couple of years.  I worked out pretty quickly however that we may have been able to run on the flat at a similar pace, but my downhill skills were not up to par.  We were passed by our first Group A runners only 2 hours in - a couple of guys had run our first two hours in only 1.  It was at about this point that we also came across our first Group C walkers.  We popped out onto the old Mt Barker Rd at Eagle on the Hill and ran along the road there for a while.  A koala joined us for a little while - waddling up the road, before crossing over at the site of the old petrol stations.  It's funny -  I think my running style matched his a few hours later.

We dropped back into national park again here - Cleland, for a trip along the track and then onto the stretch affectionately known as 'highway one' - the main Mt Lofty walking track.  We took the turn off to head straight uphill and then to the Cleland Carpark for our first major checkpoint.  Our numbers were marked here, there was food and drinks available, and our drop bags were available - I  had packed spare socks and gels as well as a spare t shirt.  It had been forecast to rain, but that was holding off for the morning.  I was about 30 minutes ahead of schedule at this point (it was around 10 am) - on target for about a 7 hr finish, and feeling pretty comfortable.  Leaving the carpark, we joined the Heysen trail, the major trail in South Australia, and ran on very familiar tracks towards Summertown and Greenhill Rd.  My dear friend Ruth had popped out to see me and called out as I was running, still with Emma here.  I hadn't realised we came so close to such a familiar spot.  Clambering over a style that ran over a barbed wire fence after more than 3 hours of running (and walking, to be fair) did give me pause to think on how these legs would still be travelling in another 4 or 5 hours.

The next national park on the trip was Horsenell Gully - a lovely park with rugged trails, and this is where Emma left me for good - the descent into said gully was steep and technical and all of a sudden, my knees were feeling pretty geriatric - just diffusely sore and swollen.  I am not confident running downhill at the best of times -  I don't trust my balance (I think surfers and skateboarders would have an advantage here, and my years of rowing and therefore balancing on my butt doesn't give me any advantage at all) plus I am a big scaredy cat when it comes to risk of falling and injury.  It is one thing to run alone, another to try to work next week with a busted wrist.  I ran alone for quite a long time here, up the otherside of the gully, across the top towards Norton Summit, and then along the trail towards Morialta.  A loo break at Norton Summit, greeting some familiar but faster runners on the approach to Morialta as they passed me, running slower and slower with my sore knees.  I had forgotten to bring my earphones, and was left for a long time with only my thoughts for company.  As much as the views are spectacular, for so much of the time running on trails I needed to keep my eyes squarely on the ground so I didn't trip again.  

Charlie was spending the morning with the kids at Little Athletics, so by this point of the afternoon I was hoping he would be able to pop up at one of the checkpoints to say hi.  Every time I knew I was getting closer to a drink station, I'd keep imagining seeing him and the kids, falling into his arms, describing how this was much more sore than I had thought it would be, getting a hug and a drink and then going on my way again, tearing up all the way.  I'd screen all the cars - a silver car with bike racks on the roof, and every time, I wouldn't see his car - so many so similar.  Then after passing the drink stop, I'd get all teary again.  The Morialta Barns checkpoint was a big stop - rice cream, coke and buns in addition to the fruit, lollies, chocolate, chips, muesli bars, up and go, water, cordial and gatorade.  It also represented only 21km to go.  That's funny - only a half marathon left for the run for the day.  Easy peasy.  On my very very sore knees.  I'm quite glad no one was around to pay attention to my running style.  My shoulders were high, trying to help lift myself up each step as  my legs were not pushing me along well with the knee pain.  I was however, pretty confident that there was nothing seriously wrong with them - both hurt about the same, in a very diffuse way, not particularly worse uphill or downhill vs running on the flat, but generally not liking to move very much into flexion.  I figured they had just had enough of me trying to run.  I could respect that position.  But I was always going to keep running.  It was no way sore enough to make me stop.

There were 9 stops along the whole route for drinks and snacks.  I mainly ate fruit and lollies, with a couple of squares of chocolate as well as water at each opportunity.  I ran with a camelback on, but I think I only had 1500ml or so of that for the day.  I certainly didn't run it dry.  I carried bandaids and tape and some gels, but didn't use any of them.  I also had a table printed out with my projected times through each of the drink stops to finish at 7.5 hrs vs 8 hrs. Going through Morialta, I was acutely aware of having not seen any B group runner for hours.  I had passed C Group walkers, and been passed by many A Group runners, so I ran alone.  Heading into Morialta, more familiar territory for me, running slowly, slowly, being passed.  Therre were 'Germans' manning the Deep View Lookout (coke on offer here!) , then the long haul up to Moores Rd.  I passed a couple of younger runners who are patients of mine - I was pleased to see them - and hit a fairly short lived good spot.  I didn't slow down so much with fatigue as others were, so was making a little ground on a few people.  I ran with Doug Smart for some of it - local running legend and wearer of the Number 1 bib as one of the 7 runners to have run all 6 Yurrrebilla Ultras.  He is 69 years old and has run more km this year than I have in my life.  He did the 100km trailblazer this weekend, only 2 weeks after Yurrebilla.  I pulled away from him, and after a little while saw Terry Cleary up ahead - another running legend, wearer of Bib #2, and the guy who possibly does the most to encourage other runners to come on out and join in.  I caught up to him, and ran with him for a while along the sandy trail on the ridge. I was feeling fine, until we started to go down a little.  Even though we were still on good track, the slight decline on the road made a difference to my knees, so I farewelled Terry, and then Doug, who steamed past me so solidly, I knew there was no chance of catching him again in the remaining few km.  

Down a steep descent, and onto Montacute Rd for the final bit of road running.  At the final drink stop at the base of Black Hill, a final drink, words of encouragement, and up the hill that is timed top and bottom for the 'King of the Mountain'.  Needless to say, I didn't trouble anyone much with that.  But I did do it in about 30 minutes - I had run it 26 minutes the week before , so it surprised me how much I hadn't slowed down.  Jo Kruk won that section this year - 20 minutes, on her way to finishing 3rd overall and 3rd woman.  She has the KOM record from last year - 17 minutes something, and she finished 4th overall in the Gobi Desert March this year. I shared some of this climb with Barb which was lovely, chatting away again, until she hit her stride again on the flat at the top of the hill.  My slow shuffle continued, seeing Derilyn on top of the hill ringing her bell and signalling only 1km or so to go down Ambers Gully.  A dry waterfall.  Very steep stony 'stairs'.  With no handrail.  I would have liked a handrail.....

Slowly, carefully, I met up with David Close on this closing segment - he organises the Sunday morning sessions that I regularly run, springing away on his 75 year old legs.  I feel pretty privileged to watch these people, admire their running technique and even more so, their ability to keep doing it year on year.  I am such a youngster in the scheme of things out here, which is pretty refreshing.  I'll never trouble the podium, but this is potentially something I can do for the next 30 or 40 years.  Pretty cool.

The last little bit, along the gentle decline, through the trees, around the bend and there we were - the finish.  The loud speaker.  Charlie.  The kids were over the road on their scooter, so I didn't see them.  At the finish I was surrounded by all the people I had run with at various times, smiling, congratulating me on finishing.  I hugged Charlie, thanked Kirsty for bringing my warm clothes from Belair, received my medal from Sadie Cranston, Race Director, and had a spot to eat.  And drink.  Warm clothes, exchanged stories with other runners, then wait for the bus ride back to the footy club and my car.

I finished in 7 hrs 53 mins.  Exactly where I had hoped to (I had said I was planning on 8 hrs - they suggest twice your marathon time plus a bit).  I was surprised to see just how well some runners had finished - people I run with on our shorter runs, so I plan to do a bit more leg strength work and see if I can toughen up my legs for the downhills.  More practice on the hills, developing some trail skills as well as doing some of the long runs again (4 hrs vs 2 hrs) in the lead up to it.  I hadn't done a lot of training in the 5 weeks between the Adelaide  marathon and Yurrebilla - just 2 runs a week, although almost all of them were on trails.  So there is plenty of room to improve.  I'll target sub 7 hours, I figure :)


One other exciting thing to note - I ran the City To Bay fun run on September 16th with my 9 year old son, Luca.  He had been talking about it for almost a year - definitely since I ran the NY marathon last November.  I kept offering for him to join me on my shorter runs, but he kept declining, and then with a couple of months to go, I confirmed he still wanted to enter, and he did a couple of runs with me, and a couple with his dad.  A grand total of 4 or 5 runs of 4.4, 6.6, 7.5 and 8.1 km.  He expressed some concern that he hadn't done a 10k yet, but I reassured him that he'd be ok.  He plays soccer and hockey through the winter, along with the typical boy thing of playing footy 4 times a day in addition to PE and fitness sessions at school.  

On the day, he expressed horror at my wearing my Jodi Lee Foundation tutu, until I told him about all the other people we'd see in costume.  As soon as we arrived near the start area, we saw Jack Lee (Jodi and Nick's son) with a group of other JLF runners and walkers.  We were asked if Jack could run with us (rather than his younger sister), so I was running with 2 little boys - Jack had his tutu on too.  Off we went, eventually (25 minutes after the first runners started), and as is typical, we went a little faster than we planned.  I  had picked 6 minute pace as our target - 72 minutes for the 12km event.  We headed out at around 5:30 pace, but after 2 km, the boys were feeling pretty comfy, so I left it there.  At 4km, we were on target for a 66 minute run, and the boys were feeling good, negotiating the crowds and the drink stops well.  At 8km, we were on target for 65 minutes, and Luca said 'I wish we could have done it in 59 minutes'.  Still 4 km to go, buddy!!  Down the last little bit along Jetty Rd and Luca had dropped a few meteres behind me, but the crowds were such that I lost visual contact - I slowed down and called out, then once he saw me and saw me calling, he decided I must have meant it was time to sprint to the finish.  The little lightweight tore off, and by the time I realised he was sprinting for the line and not just to catch up, I had to sprint all out, too.  Jack came with me, but Luca was too fast.  For the first time, he outsprinted me.  My 3:10 pace wasn't enough.  Luca crossed the line in 1 hour, 4 minutes, 40 secs.   I was 2 secs behind, and Jack another 1 sec behind me.  Luca told me the next day, he really just wanted to beat Jack.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

And I'm going to need to get in some sprint training before next years run, so we can go under 59 minutes.  And the next year, I'll have to arrange a point to meet up with him at the finish, once he's had a drink and a stretch!  He was the second fastest 9 year old this year.

And, as always, if you want to learn more about the Jodi Lee Foundation, screening for bowel cancer or would like to donate to the Jodi Lee Foundation and support my quest to run a marathon on each of the seven continents, please click on the links.  Or follow me on facebook :)






Barefoot running
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 07:59

Wednesday 12th September 2012

I have been asked to do a short post on the SA Trail Running enews that goes out this week, so I thought I would share my thoughts and opinions with you.  I was asked to do it after this piece on Catalyst on ABC TV was on last week.  Here is the post:

'Barefoot' running is a very popular movement describing running in less supportive shoes than we have been used to.  'Chi running' and 'Pose method' are based on the same principles.  This includes running with literally bare feet, the use of 'barefoot style' shoes like the Vibram Five Fingers which provde only a thin rubber sole to protect the sole of the foot and have the distinctive 5 toed design, 'zero drop' shoes with no difference in height from the heel to the forefoot but a little cushioning (racing flats or even 'old skool' Dunlop Volleys) and 'minimalist' shoes with a 0-6mm drop from the heel to the forefoot of the shoe.  The notion of barefoot running was popularised in the book 'Born to Run' by Christopher McDougall a couple of years ago, and there is a lot of information on the web now about it.  I was lucky enough to meet Dr Daniel Lieberman, the evolutionary biologist from Harvard who is quoted extensively in the book and has done a lot of research into running, when I was at the national Physiotherapy conference last year.  Check out his website here:
The idea is to reduce the ground reaction force when your heel hits the ground.  It has been suggested that we are not meant to run this way, we are not 'designed' to run this way, and it has been the use of built up shoes since the 1970's that has caused us to even try to run with a heel strike.  Whilst we walk with a heel strike, walking is a very different pattern to running which includes a different action in meeting the ground.
Running without heavily built up shoes, you cannot land on your heel - it hurts!   Running without shoes, you will land on the ball of your foot (the forefoot), then lower the heel, using the many joints of the foot as well as the elastic properties of the achilles tendon and calf to absorb the forces, lower the heel to the ground and then, with these structures on stretch, they recoil, helping generate propulsive force to push us forward to our next stride.  It is meant to be a much more efficient way of running both metabolically and in terms of stress on our lower limbs.  It is argued that the high injury rates of runners, suggested to be as high as 70% of runners each year, is because of the high heeled running shoes we wear (like the Kayanos I run in).   Most of the lower limb injuries that physios see in runners are from overuse - essentially poor accommodation of these forces.  The loads are not attenuated well, so show up as plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinosis, shin splints, stress fractures, ITB problems, and hip problems.
There are three key technical things to change to adopt a running style that is closer to a 'barefoot' style, regardless of your footwear.  The first is cadence - the number of foot strikes per minute.  The ideal cadence is 180 steps per minute.  You can count, or use a smartphone app like a metronome to get an idea of the right rhythm.  To allow so many steps per minute, your stride length must be reduced - less distance between each foot fall.  This is point two.  Your foot should land when it is just under your centre of gravity (your pelvis), rather than out in front of you (change # 3).  To do this, you will tend to land on the mid or front section of your foot. Shoes with a more built up heel make it more difficult to manage this - you need to lift your foot so high to clear the ground that you almost have to land on your heel. One of the easiest ways to incorporate this is to try to land 'quietly' rather than thumping down each step.  In fact, this is probably the key 'take home message' - run quietly with more steps per minute.  Doing this will reduce the stress of your landing, and allow the structure of the foot, achilles and calf to take the load, rather than your knees.
So, should you rush out and get a pair of these shoes and throw out your old (very expensive) ones?  Well, not so fast.  Most of us have not run barefoot since we were 6 years old or so.  It takes quite a long time to adjust to the extra load on your foot joints and muscles, your achilles tendon and your calf muscles, so many programs (such as this one,  this one, this Australian one, and this Runners World link) suggest running only a few minutes to start with on either a grassy or very smooth paved surface, then finishing the run in your normal shoes.  Each session, increase your time without shoes (or with lightweight shoes) by only a few minutes, allowing plenty of time for adjustment.  If you have injuries or are a slow learner (from a motor learning perspective) it may take even longer. There is a lot of advice on the websites linked to this post, with a lot more background than I have given.
 Be patient, and the rewards in terms of injury prevention could be great.  Having said that, the jury is out as to whether 'barefoot running' is the great cure all, or just another fad.  There is a school of opinion that says that it may not be for everyone, and certainly Dan Lieberman champions a moderate view.  Others are pretty strident that this is the only way we should attempt to run.
For myself, with all I have read and listened to on the subject, my prior learning and the expert advice sought, I am still a bit undecided if it is for me.  I am a bigger, heavier runner, so some cushioning will probably always be a good idea.  Ideally, more average sized women weighing around 60kg and men of 70 -80 kgs should be fine.  I am a really slow learner (from a motor learning perspective - you could also say I am uncoordinated.  It wouldn't be mean), so it takes me a very, very long time to change a motor pattern (my form).  I have also only been running for less than 2 years, and so far without injury, so am not keen to tempt fate too much by changing style - if it ain't broke, don't fix it!  Having said that, I have now bought some Nike Free for the road and Inov-8 trail shoes, experimenting with less drop from heel to forefoot and using them on shorter runs.  I am not 'in training' and following a program for a specific event, so I can be pretty flexible with my training, and allow plenty of recovery time between runs, so this is a good time to experiment. So far, so good.  I will run the City - Bay this weekend in the Nike's rather than my Kayanos which I have run in consistently.  I will still run Yurrebilla next week in my trusty Trabuco's though - I haven't spent enough time in the Inov-8's to know that I will survive my longest run to date happily in them yet!
I'd be interested to hear what you have found - do you use minimalist shoes?  Has it changed your injury rate?  Let me know at


Adelaide Marathon - #3
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 06:53

Adelaide Marathon - Continent #3 August 19th 2012

This was a tough race.  

I have spent the last 12 weeks since the GWM working on my speed.  I had thought that my results last year especially indicated I could do a marathon in under 3hrs 40 - both my 10km PB and my half marathon PB indicated that.  The NY marathon I did really comforatably, much to most people's surprise when they ask me - how much did it hurt? did you hit the wall? I bet you couldn't wait to get to the end.  I had an awesome day that day, and it genuinely didn't hurt until I finished, and even that was moderate.  The ice bath was definitely the hardest part of the whole day.  I had little soreness the next day, and none the next.

So the aim with this one, on home territory and without factors like travelling and different cooking and eating arrangements to worry about, was to see just how fast I could go.  I contacted a coach online who prepared a program for me, and I had a Skype meeting with him every 3-4 weeks to check in with how I was progressing.   I did a lot more sprints in an effort to get faster, but I wasn't able to improve my sprint times by much.  I also did some tough anaerobic sessions that were a little longer than sprints, as well as long hard runs (in contrast to the more typical long slow runs) whereby I was running at marathon race pace for the long run.  I also tried using gels in training, to see how I handled them, as I had only ever used one before in NY.  I was also able to run the 6 hr GW marathon with only 2 bananas, so it was worth experiemnting with them to see if they would help me.

I was pretty tired in the last couple of weeks before the marathon, so I was careful with my diet (lots and lots of veggies) and careful with my sleep (plenty of it) and I reduced my weight training 2 weeks out as well as reducing some of the volume and intensity of my training sessions.  I worked only a half day on Friday, and a shorter session on Saturday as well.

My preparation went well, otherwise.  I slept ok the night before the run, after carb loading through the day with sweet potato in the morning and at lunchtime and pasta for dinner.  I was well hydrated (always am) and had a good yoga session on the Friday evening at Yogafusion.  I woke bright and early around 4 m, and got up at 4.30.  I had my normal green smoothie for breakfast as well as a banana.  Showered, dressed, taped up bits that need taping and put Chafe free on the bits that need protection from chafing.  Vaseline on my feet and then into the socks.  Another drink of water to be safe.  A phnoe call to mum, as we were going to park there before walking across to the start area.

Charlie (chief photographer) and Beck both met me at Mum's, where I had another pit stop, then we walked in the pre dawn light across to the finish area to drop gear bags and do a final pitstop (I tell ya!!).  A quick chat to a few other folks, then the walk across to St Peters Cathedral for the start.  It really made for a pretty start line.  A cool, still and cloudy morning, it was perfect running weather for the 450 runners that entered the full marathon.  All together, there almost 1600 entrants for the full, half and 10k events.

We started on time, and I was careful to keep to my goal pace.  My aim was 5.00 mins per km for the whole way through.  I knew that there were some hilly sections, having run the course a few times in training, so I was prepared to let my pace drop a little for that.  I also keep an eye on my heart rate, knowing that I should be staying below my anaerobic threshold which kicks in at about 167 bpm.  The Garmin is handy for that.   I started off feeling good, getting established in the field.  I could see my friend Andrew ahead of me in his very fluoro yellow top, about 100m ahead very quickly, and he stayed that far ahead for the first 7 or 8 km.  

The first uphill started about 3 km in, and although I slowed down a little, I can see now on my Strava link that my 'grade adjusted pace - GAP' was too fast for 7 of the first 11 km. By about 10%.  My HR was also rapidly too high.  I then tried to bring it down by slowing down.  I slowed by over 10%, and then 20%, but my HR stayed high.  I knew that it would be a problem at some point, but I didn't want to slow down any furhter.  It was hard watching people pass me, not trying to keep up with them.  I thought I was going slower (according to my watch) than the link above tells me in terms of my GAP - there are more km showing there that are close to pace than I was actually running on the day, according to my watch.  Check out the Strava link to see what I mean.  

Most of the run was pretty enjoyable.  As always, the volunteers were great - calling out encouragement, many using my name (as it was on my top again) or remarking on the tutu I was wearing to promote the Jodi Lee Foundation.  The best bit of the run was probably the start of the second lap, just after half way, when all the half marathon people had started, and the faster marathon runners were all coming off the North Adelaide hill.  I was running West on War Memorial Drive, and loads of people were now running East.  I saw friends, patients, new running friends and strangers.  And because I was wearing a tutu and had my name on my chest, so many people said 'hi', called out encouragement, smiled, waved, high fived.  It was lovely - and the best way to distract me from the start of the third quarter - always a tricky time in any event, of any length.

I was feeling ok with the extra workload until the point that I wasn't.  Sounds complicated - huh?   It hit me quite quickly at about km 34/5 - I was slowing down a little for a couple of km before that, with my HR dropping a bit but my 'perceived rate of exertion - PRE' pretty high (perhaps 8 or 9 /10).  Then my HR dropped another 10 points and my distrss went up.  I guess it was a bit like that transition stage of labour - it hurts, you want out, and it kind of hurts everywhere, but especially in the mid section.  Skip to next paragraph if you get sqeamish - right now.  Especially the boys.  In the interests of being brutally honest, sharing my experience, and perhaps helping other people realise that they are not the only ones that experience such things, as well as my professional experience, I'm going to hold no prisoners here.  I started to cramp in most of the muscles around my groin - the front of my left hip has been a bit sore on and off, but this got very tight and sore, my hamstrings started getting grabby, my hip flexors and then a terrible acute proctalgia fugax.  Cramp of the anus.  Oh. My. God.  This is where the the labour comparison came in.  I didn't know if I needed to stop (I have had this once before - about 10 mins after finishing the NYM), needed to go to the loo, had part of my pelvic organs falling out or what.  Very sore, very distressing.  My breath was all horrid and gaspy.  I slowed to a stagger, hands onto my knees.  This was when I was on North Terrace, outside the new RAH building and near the skate park.  Lots of traffic stationary in 2 lanes.  Probably lots of witnesses.  I couldn't have cared.  I may have wailed a bit.  Another runner asked if I was ok, if I needed anything, and I managed to assure her I'd be alright.  I moaned a bit when I staggered past a volunteer who I know from facebook, as she egged me on.  

I kept plugging along, trying to 'run', although my pace was dramatically slower (6:54 for that km).  At the top of the hill, I saw Charlie, cheering me on, noticing I was falling further behind people who had been only a little ahead of me.  I muttered something about really struggling with this one.  On to the downhill, concentrating on relaxing, realising that the cramps had reduced and that I didn't need a pitstop (all those pitstops before the run paid off - none on the actual run this time) and trying to get focussed on the remainder of the run.  I checked my watch as part of getting focussed.  I realsied if I could keep running at least 6 minute km's, I could still come in under 4 hours.  I had let go of the aim of a 3.30's in the first 10km.  A PB (sub 3:50) was still possible until about km 34, if I had been able to hold pace.  But now, at km 36, that was no longer an option.  But I could still finish under that big 4 hour mark.  So I held myself as tall as I could, and tried to relax, and tried to keep running.  My pace improved from km 39 and held consistent.  The cheers in the last km or so were great, and really helped me when all I wanted to do was get to Charlie so he could hold me up.  My pride was wounded, I was frustrated that things had gone so wrong after so much work, but I was determined, always, to get there.

In the last little bit - the finish 'chute' - I saw Beck, who had had to retire injured half way, and our friend Leanne who was in town for the day.  Apparently my running style wasn't technically very good anymore, but there had been other people needing assistance to finish, so they weren't too hard on me Tongue out.  I rounded the corner, crossed the line with Charlie right there to get a picture, threw my arms up for the end, then staggered out of the way, absolutely beat.  Water, an apple, a warm top, seeing my friends, Mum made it down to the finish as well, and a back track to collect my medal.

I didn't do the proper cool down this time - we walked slowly around to a cafe for coffee and breakfast, then home and a hot shower and a rest.  Charlie went off riding, so I was able to spend the afternoon lying down.   A gentle walk later in the day down the road to get some food (Tom Yum soup - yum!) and a very early night.  Sore hips and pelvic joints, a pillow between my knees like when I was pregnant, and lights were out by 8:30pm.  Some hip stiffness on Monday, a little bit of tenderness in my right knee (that I didn't worry about - I figured it was a bit cross cos I just ran a marathon).  Some shoulder soreness on Tuesday - perhaps I was holding myself up by the sholders for those last few km's!!  Yoga on Tuesday night helped, and I was back out for a gentle trail run on Wednesday - it's good to be back out on the trails.  The Yurrebilla Ultra Marathon is next month - my first Ultramarathon!  56km in the Adelaide hills.  I'm really looking forward to a fun, no pressure run that day.

Thank you to all of you that have supported me so far.  Please, please donate to the Jodi Lee Foundation and to help continue to spread the word about screening for bowel cancer - every year from 40.  I actually said that to a few people on the run on Sunday!  And you can follow my progress on Facebook - Running for Jodi Lee.

Next big run (after the ultra) is the Kilimanjaro Marathon in March 2013, and I have now been confirmed a place for Antarctica in March 2014.  So exciting!!  Stay well Smile










Progressing well
Thursday, 02 August 2012 10:03

Thursday 2nd August


I can't believe it has been so long since I last posted.  Training is going well.  I have continued to do sprint sessions once or twice per week, with fartlek work (1 min @ 5% faster than marathon pace, 1 min off for an hr, 2:1 for 75 mins, 3:1 for 90 mins - gets tough).  I have added a slow run each week, giving me 4 runs per week - 2 lots of 2 consecutive days.  This is a big challenge to my mantra for the last 18 months of never running consecutive days, but I have held up well.  I have no injury concerns, and fewer niggles over time in general.  Some minor left hip niggle is the only one at the moment - not limiting, not specific, but it does tend to be my tighter hip anyway.

I did the 25 km Parklands loop a few weeks ago.  It was a tough morning - one where I really struggled with my head as I went along, bargaining with myself to keep going vs quitting from the second of 5 laps.  I headed out perhaps slightly fast, didn't bring any gels (despite meaning to), and really slowed down in the last lap.  My confidence took a bit of a hit, especially as I am heavier than I was last year.

I have done a training run with the SARRC group of the Adelaide marathon course.  It is going to be a very tough course.  Much up and down, especially considering we think of Adelaide as being flat.  Down to river level, up to road level, down to river level, back up to road level, and two laps of it.  I have done a long run out to St Kilda (not a scenic run along National Highway 1) to meet Charlie and the kids on a sunday morning.  I have run out to Pt Adelaide for a Sunday morning work breakfast.  Last week I competed in the Hills To Henley event - Athelstone primary school, along the Torrens, somewhat downhill to the beach.  30km, at race pace, where I actually managed to run 5:03 pace the whole way.  I was very pleased, running strongly throughout, passing lots of people in the last 5 km or so (in contrast to the parklands run), and actually achieving my goal pace.  It stands me in good stead in the lead up to the Adelaide marathon, now only 17 days away.

I also had some very exciting news today - I have confirmed entry for the Antarctica marathon in 2014.  It will happen less than 5 weeks after my 40th birthday, so guess how I am celebrating?  I am absolutely thrilled - check out the link.

I am also committed now to the Kilimanjaro Marathon next year - continent # 4.  We are all getting excited about that as we are making a family trip out of it, including taking my mum along.  I still need to decide on which races and when for continents 6+7, and we see how that shapes up in the next 6-12 months.

In the meantime - I just keep running.  Loving it.




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Health News

This weeks links

The Cancer Council came out this week and announced that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption, and that alcohol should be considered to be as carcinogenic as smoking and asbestos are.  As well as being highly associated with throat and mouth cancers, it is now found to correlate highly with breast and bowel cancers.  Perhaps it should not be so surprising that a substance that can so alter mood and ability, even at very mild levels should turn out to be in fact, not good for us.

This story, an editorial from the British Journal of Sports Medicine earlier this year has some amazing targets - it ties in with our look at sitting and health, and is about developing healthcare systems that support exercise - recognise it as being as vital a measure of our health as is blood sugar levels or blood pressure.  It recommends 150 minutes of physical activity per week for adults as a minimum.  30 mins on 5 days.  For children, it is 420 mins / week - 60 minutes every day.  How close are you?

This is another article on inactivity / obesity and health from Sports Medicine Australia, highlighting the link between an inactive childhood and a lifetime of battling depression.  It is food for thought (!) these days where there seems to be much paranoia about safety of children away from their parents watchful eyes, and therefore a tendency to want to keep them closely under watch instead of encouraging more activity and indeed risk taking behaviours.  The ability to judge situations for risk and to be able to take appropriate risks builds self esteem and resilience.  Not much to do with bowel cancer awareness, but close to my heart as well.

Another article on sitting

This one is in really simple terms - if you walk 30 mins (as recommended) and sleep 8 hours, most of us still have 15.5 hours per day not moving.  You cannot sit all day behind a screen, then drive your car and sit and watch tv with out it being bad for you.  A good read.