parkrun tourism @ eastern gardens

I must say, I have quite liked having my NENDY (nearest event not done yet) for parkrun a mere 22km away. There was something reassuring about knowing that I had the potential to do a new event at any time I wanted without worrying about accommodation or working out whether it was driveable in the early hours of a Saturday morning. In fact, we’d considered leaving Eastern Gardens parkrun as our last event in Victoria but, in need of a change, we ventured there this morning instead.

I tried really hard to see this one through tourist eyes but it’s hard – firstly, I know the course very, very well and secondly, I know many of the team behind it (all fabulous!). So forgive my familiarity. Eastern Gardens parkrun takes place very near Eastern Beach on Geelong’s beautiful waterfront. It really is an ideal spot for a parkrun – a gorgeous park with a wide track, ample parking, toilet facilities, a shelter for rainy briefings and a stone’s throw from the water for a post-run dip. Tick, tick, tick!

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Eastern Gardens course is a very easy to follow out and back with an added shorter out and back to make up the distance. While it’s easy to follow and the track is easy to run on, the hills make it not a particularly easy run. They’re those sneaky hills which don’t really look like hills until you try to run them and they then feel very much like hills. Being incredibly familiar with this course, I knew what to expect but it didn’t help – they were a challenge, particularly in this morning’s humidity. However having a couple of out and back bits does mean there are lots of opportunities for cheering others on and receiving encouragement, all of which were flowing this morning.

Another benefit of this course is the ample selection of cafes for post-parkrun breakfast – the team generally meet at Winifreds which I can highly recommend. Or meander along the waterfront for coffee or ice cream (or both!).

And now I’m back to having a far away NENDY and facing the prospect of a long drive to tick off another parkrun – such a tough life! I suspect it will be a looooong time until we tick off all Victorian parkruns and I’m ok with that – I’m enjoying sampling them slowly. Although, with a New Year’s double coming up, maybe not that slowly at the moment 🙂

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marathon training – week 3

Back to real life this week and familiar places to run. Along with the time and tiredness constraints that real life tends to bring.

Tuesday was another treadmill run – not only did I have further Glee episodes to keep me company, I also wanted to try out the indoor run function on my watch. Turns out it was fairly close to the distance the treadmill said (a little under but I can live with that) and gave me speed and heart rate data. It’s not going to make me a treadmill convert – I can tolerate it for short runs when I have to but it’s definitely harder.

Thursday was one of those days that, despite everything going against me, I ran anyway. It had been a massive day at work including a meeting at the end and my headache told me I had forgotten to include time with my water bottle in the day. But my training plan said run so I ran. It was a neighbourhood meander, complete with headlamp as the sun was going down and it included a lap of the wetlands in the dark. It was great.

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Saturday’s parkrun was a volunteering one as I was Run Director at You Yangs so I headed into town for a waterfront run to make up for it afterwards. Again, perfect run. I kept it ‘easy’ pace and just enjoyed it. So much so that I decided to try for my favourite sprint around the boardwalk at the end. This has been a consistent over the last few years – throwing a fast lap around it at the end of waterfront runs as a benchmark to measure how I’m tracking. And, on Saturday, I ran a PB. I only knocked 2 seconds off my time but that was a time that was set quite a while ago so it’s great to know that I’m getting back to where I was.

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Today’s long run was not perfect and it took a lot of effort to get out of the door. I woke up feeling like I might be succumbing to the germs my students have been sharing this week so I took a bit longer to get ready but ended up dressed, out the door and off to the Bellarine Rail Trail. I loved being outdoors and in the sunshine and was grateful for that, just had to suck it up and get through the running bits which weren’t great. I was thankful that the required pace on my training plan was super easy.

It’s been an interesting week of fabulous running and hard running and that’s why this blog is a handy record for me of both. It can be hard, when the ‘I don’t want to’ hits to remember the good runs so this is here to remind me. Bring on week 4 🙂

Weekly summary – 25.4km (3hr 48min):
Tuesday – 4.32km (40:05)
Thursday – 6.4km (55:49)
Saturday – 4.61km (40:01)
Sunday – 10.01km (1:32:41)

 

Reaching a milestone

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know how much a part of my life parkrun has become. Today, I reached a significant milestone in my journey – my 50th parkrun.

It has taken me 1 year and 8 months to reach that goal, not to mention having to get myself up at 6.30 on Saturday mornings, 50 times (not always easy after a tiring week at work!). Over the 250km that I’ve covered in the name of parkrun, I’ve also managed to run at 18 different courses across Australia including one in every state/territory except Northern Territory (Darwin – I’m coming!). I’ve made incredible friends, shared great times and made amazing memories that will live with me forever. I’ve endured a -2 degree parkrun as well as a few hot ones (and I much prefer the -2!!). I’ve been last and have got over my fear of it, realising it doesn’t mean anything nor is it reflective of how much I put in.

Most importantly, I’m a happier person than I was when I started and have a lot more balance in my life. Quite fittingly, a lyric jumped out at me from my playlist while I ran this morning which summed up perfectly where I am on this journey –

I am the person I’ve been looking for

Here’s to a long and happy parkrunning future!

 

Happy birthday, Balyang Sanctuary parkrun

Balyang Sanctuary parkrun turned 3 today and I was very pleased to be able to join in the celebrations (as was my teddy bear)!

Parkrun has been such a great thing for me – not only ensuring that I fit at least a 5km run into my weekends but also introducing me to another supportive running community who I now count as great friends. Attending parkrun is a big part of my regular weekend routine and it doesn’t feel right if I’m not either running or volunteering.

We were lucky this morning to have perfect weather – not too crisp and just right for wearing our pyjamas! I felt really good on the run with only a few small niggles from my calf. I stuck to my 3/1 run/walk segments and managed to keep up a fairly consistent pace throughout. In fact, I was only 1 minute off a personal best which makes me feel like my speed is coming back up – I certainly felt strong out there today and not as tired as I have been.

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My teddy bear enjoyed the run too! And the cupcakes at the end were another good incentive to get to the finish line – yum!

Bring on another year of parkrun awesomeness 🙂

mega running weekend – pt 2 – Mother’s Day Classic

It’s very unusual for me to do 2 events on one weekend, especially since my achilles started to make its presence felt. Usually, if I’m running at something on Sunday, I’ll volunteer at parkrun so I have a rest day. However this weekend, it was hard to choose between the parkrun launch and Mother’s Day classic….so I did both!

My alarm clock went off even earlier than on Saturday and I was out of the house in the dark, heading into town to meet up with my friends. I arrived early so sat in my car, watching the rain fall down, when a police car pulled up alongside me. Not that I was doing anything wrong but I swear I have an inbuilt guilty conscience – what had I done!? As it turned out, I hadn’t done anything – it was a parkrun friend who knew we were meeting up and wanted to wish us all luck.

2015-05-10_Mothers_day_classic3After a quick photo stop, we headed off for the usual pre-race toilet break then joined the masses at the waterlogged Eastern Beach and tried to keep as warm and dry as possible until the start. Shedding our waterproof layers was hard – I don’t mind a bit of rain but the rain, wind and general coldness might have been enough to keep me away if I hadn’t been with friends.

We actually managed to miss the starting gun – the warm up and festivities at the stage area were still going on while the starting gun went and we turned at the noise to find a small group setting off across the line. We headed over and started in our own time. As the walkers and runners start together, there was a little ducking and weaving but there was plenty of room to spread out.

I ran with my friend for the first 1km and was impressed with myself as I managed to keep running, despite the steady hill heading up to Eastern Park. Knowing I didn’t want to push my foot, I switched to a 3/1 run/walk strategy after that. The rain had held off and it was just a very light drizzle which kept me cool without being annoying. And few things could take away the joy from running in this spot – Eastern Park is one of my favourite places to run in Geelong.

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The last couple of kilometres were the hardest as we came out of the park and headed down towards and beach and the brutal sea ‘breeze’.

I was pleasantly surprised at my time as I crossed the finish but then looked at the other part of my watch and realised it wasn’t really the 8km run that was advertised – my watch was registering a bit over 7.6km. I checked with my friends and found similar results – definitely shorter than intended. But an enjoyable run nevertheless.

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We stayed around a little afterwards to cheer another fellow parkrunner over the start line which is exactly when the heavens opened, ensuring all 4km runners and walkers were well and truly drenched. My walk back to the car felt more like a swim which just caused me to giggle – who the heck would not only choose to do this but pay for the privilege?! Me, that’s who 🙂

Overall, a great weekend, made even better by the friends I ran with and chatted to throughout. As much as I love my ‘alone time’ when I run, there’s definitely something to be said for being part of a supportive team of runners.