Saturday, August 01, 2015

Six left after crest

Post Pioneer parkrun reporting in:

My foot hurt afterwards, so:

I didn't do the intended extra lap after parkrun
I'm not doing a run at Bickley Brook reservoir next Sunday, and am going to parkrun on Saturday instead to see how it goes.

However:

I ran on the lumpy Pioneer course 29:25, considerably faster than my 31:19 at the flat Swan River Run
I ran like I normally run, and didn't look at time and splits
Pioneer was always going to be a far bigger test of my tendon that SRR would be
It hurt going into the 4th kilometre, so I managed the first three OK, but heading uphill into my final lap of the course it started to twinge
It didn't hurt nearly as much as it did weekend before last when I needed to ice it for so long I fell asleep
During parkrun I didn't need to stop and walk,
I didn't need to stop at all
I didn't feel like I had to put in much effort to cover the 5km in that time, so I've somehow managed to retain that base fitness.

Also: those logical thoughts managed to wheedle their way into my head over the past few days, so I'm less worried about not having enough fitness to run Six Inch, however I am still going to use November as my decision time.

Overall: Feeling generally positive. I haven't progressed as far as I'd hoped and/or thought, but I haven't gone backwards either.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Restoration

The physiotherapist discharged me today for my back. I’m good to go on that account; just keep my posture as correct as can be. Which isn’t too bad when I stand, but I have a tendency to slump when I sit, so maintaining the hollow of my back is key. I am at least better at keeping my posture when I sit than last year before I sprained the facet joint. I can’t help but wonder whether a disc injury is enough for my sense memory to smack me upside the head and make me sit up straight even more often.

Where does this leave my foot injury? Well, as suggested, resting it would heal it. I was fortunate that the doctor gave me Celebrex, and one capsule per day kept the inflammation down and eliminated the pain 95% of the time. When it did hurt I iced it and napped, and that helped a lot – so far I’ve never had to take painkillers, all the pain was caused by inflammation, and the NSAIDs squashed that almost flat with ice as the chasing steamroller.

I was given permission to run on Sunday, I did the 5k Swan River Run, and pulled up in 31 minutes; which I think is the worst official time I’ve ever run for a 5km flat course since 2012 without having also been parkrun Run Director or stopping for a toilet mid-parkrun. I didn’t race, I just ran, navigating the crowd at the start – it took a kilometre to break free of the mass of walkers – and the whole time I was super conscious of how my foot felt, and it didn’t feel of anything.

I’m going to parkrun this Saturday, with perhaps another lap of the course if I feel OK. It’ll be at Pioneer, which is as opposite a course as I can get to the 5k Swan River Run, so it should be a good test for my foot. The physio showed me precisely where to dig in my thumb on my foot to see if it is still sore. It takes some pressing, and it is sore, just nowhere near to the extent that it was when it was diagnosed.

I’m quietly shitting myself. I’m being irritatingly precious about my injury – which in comparison to the injuries my friends are currently carrying makes me look like a running version of The Princess and the Pea, but I really don’t want to make it worse, and I simultaneously really don’t want to decide in November that I’m undertrained and shouldn’t do Six Inch. Because I really really really want to do that race.

I’m resorting to spreadsheets to calculate distances and percentage increases in volume. Going off the standard of 10% increase in mileage each week; if we say I have a base of 10km, then by the week before Six Inch I should be able to withstand a 95km week, which is far far more per week that I ran last year in training. Indeed, considering last year I was completely exhausted by training and my biggest monthly mileage was October at 173km *logically* I will be fine, training wise. But no matter how I turn it, logic just won’t fit inside my head today.

I’m going to come off the Celebrex soon, I’ll take my final capsule this coming Monday morning, and it should be completely out of my system by next Friday. I’m not parkrunning that Saturday, I’m going to save my energy for a run up in Bickley Brook reservoir with Jeremy on Sunday afternoon. That’s going to be about 10-12km, and is my final test. If it all goes horribly wrong, then I have a final 7 capsules of Celebrex and I’ll have to have a chat with the doctor. I don’t like the idea of running any real distance while using NSAIDs; I’ve read far too many tales of runners hospitalised with kidney failure having run using ibuprofen – god knows what Celebrex could do to you.

I suppose if there’s one good thing about injury (and those are bloody thin on the ground) it does make you realise how much something like a goal race means to you.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Catching up with the past

While I hadn't *completely* forgotten that I had a LiveJournal from years ago, I did remember that I hadn't written in it for ages. I was going to delete it wholesale, but then I went through some old posts and realised that my blogging days started in the early 2000s.

May 2010 I started this blog, Not Travelling At Speed. For some reason I didn't feel like I wanted to publish my Why I Ride post to my LiveJournal - I think because I'd locked down most of my posts because they felt private. I wrote the way I do here, but I still felt like I wasn't ready for prime time. Why I Ride was the first thing I'd written that I didn't want to hide.

But having read through some of them, I decided to transfer them to Not Travelling. It isn't all of my posts, just some of them, but the ones that I've transferred made me smile and feel nostalgic.

For context: in Feb 2002 I started at university, after having worked in a public library for about three years. Around August 2002 I started working at a Beaconsfield independent video store called Starland Video. That's about when my blogging started.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Unstable

I think I’ve worked out why I broke where I broke, but it’s all speculation I suppose. I ran Gold Coast half marathon with no increase in back pain – indeed, my range of motion improved over the weekend. I’d been super diligent about good posture and lumbar support all weekend and on the plane (hooray for Qantas and new A330s), and overall I went OK, back wise.

The day before the race we headed north towards Brisbane to run Logan River parkrun. Ran it easy, just keeping pace with Jeremy. Back south on the Gold Coast we went to the Race Expo and shopped madly. Woke up on time for the half, got to the start line, ran my race (didn’t have the GPS going on my watch so it was measuring distance off my cadence sensor – at some point I really must calibrate it, so it doesn’t read 25km for a race that has been IAAF measured as 21.1km, but hey ho). Didn’t get a PB, didn’t get a PW either, and while I posted on my Facebook that I was happy (and in a way I was, because I hadn’t completely buggered my back), I wasn’t truly happy with my race.

When your best laid plans go to crap and nothing goes particularly right you shift your goals, you shift your thinking. You go into a race knowing that it isn’t going to be a PB, and your focus shifts to just enjoying the day and the atmosphere.

But your day is dampened slightly – you run along, and you see people lining the streets, practically the full length of the course cheering on runners whom they’ve never met, whom they never will, and you know that you would have run that PB and it would have been sweet. It sounds selfish, wanky and overly dramatic, but I think you need to mourn not being able to run your race the way you’d planned.

After my race the balls of my feet felt flattened and bashed. I’d run in my newest Mizuno Sayonaras – the first pair of Sayonara 2s that I’d owned, the previous two pairs were Sayonara 1s. I’d run long in them before, but this was the first half marathon I’d run in them. As the week wore on, the ache in my left foot disappeared, and the ache in my right moved to the edge of my foot. The soreness was constant, and increased some days, decreased others. Judging severity, it didn’t help that I was on paracetamol loaded cold and flu meds for a day – post flight colds suck, but at least they’re shortlived. The ache climaxed on Friday evening, as I walked through the underground train station. My knee gave out as the pain in my foot peaked, and I grabbed the handrail on the barrier in reflex.

I limped all Friday evening, booked in to see the doctor 10:30am Saturday and volunteered at parkrun instead of running. At the surgery the doctor examined my foot, and sent me off for X-rays to see if it was a stress fracture. She said that it probably wouldn’t show up on an X-ray because it would be too fresh, but Medicare only pay for scans in this situation if you’ve gone for the X-ray first. She also prescribed Celebrex. After the X-ray I went to the shops to pick up some bread and filled the prescription. The pharmacist said to take it with meals, and I’ve since spoken to someone who is on Celebrex long term, and she said that the day she discovered the pharmacist was very very correct on that point was not a fun day. I took my capsule with my lunch.

Celebrex is a wonder drug. A standard NSAID, I only need to take it once a day, at breakfast. It keeps my inflammation to a minute amount, and all discomfort disappeared, which meant when I went to the physio on the following Monday he was a bit sceptical that I had a stress fracture. He gave me treatment on my back (it really is improving no end), and afterwards offered to try and diagnose what was wrong with my foot. I trust him, so I said yes.

He got me to point at the general area where it was sore, then took my right foot in both hands, one on the heel and one cupping the toes. He compressed my foot and if I recall correctly he tried to twist it. There was no pain, and I said so. He said “Then it’s not a stress fracture, because there is no way I’d be able to do that otherwise”.

He poked around: “does that hurt?” “no”, “does that hurt?” “no”, “does that hurt?” “no”, “does that hurt?” “no”, “does that hurt?” “JESUS CHRIST OW OW OW OW OW HRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

“You’ve torn a tendon. Not a complete tear, but it’s just … there.” And he poked the skin on my foot in a way that I could SEE THE TENDON. This is not something I wish to repeat. But sure enough, he showed me on the anatomy chart the peroneus brevis, the tendon that I’ve torn, and it looked awfully like the shape of the tendon I’d seen underneath my skin.

I must differentiate the two diagnostic techniques of my doctor and my physiotherapist. Now, in the defence of my doctor, that was the first time she’d met me, and I suspect you don’t want to induce a great deal of pain in a patient, particularly a new one when you’re in a General Practice Surgery and not an Emergency Room. My physiotherapist has no such qualms. He knows me, he knows my pain threshold, and he’ll dig in with this thumb if he thinks that he needs to dig in. Apparently he thought he needed to dig in.

So I’ve torn my peroneus brevis. It’s a stability tendon, and it’s quite useful. The fact that it’s a stability tendon has given me a few ideas of why I broke where I broke.

I’m going to be blunt and point out at the moment I’m fatter than I have been in a while. While we trained for our first half marathons I did my first round of Michelle Bridges 12WBT, so when I was heading into the longer runs nearing race day, I was lighter than when I started out. I was also running long runs in a pair of supportive volume trainers – ASICS 3030s, while my race shoes were Mizuno Elixirs.

I’ve been halfarsedly trying to save money, and I never really bothered properly regularly replacing my volume trainers. Mizuno Sayonaras have been super cheap at a local sports shop, and the Sayonara 1s only had a couple flaws in comparison with the brilliant and sadly missed Elixir. I bought a pair of Mizuno Inspire 10s in London when I decided if I walked another 20km day in Birkenstocks I was going to do something I would later regret. They became my volume trainers and indeed, I ran part of my Six Inch training in them until I realised the trail had worn them smooth and I trashed them and bought some Salomon trail shoes to run in instead.

I also bought a ridiculously cheap pair of On Running Cloudrunners which would qualify as volume trainers but I never really used them on a long run except for the weekend after I got them. I’d taken them down to Geographe Bay parkrun for their first outing and when I realised I forgot to pack the Inspires too I had to use them to run 25km from Dunsborough to Busselton. But since Six Inch I hadn’t really done many long training runs, and with my bloody useless preparation or lack thereof and my crappy preparatory races in the lead up to Gold Coast I tended to run the distance only at races and not in training.

I’m heavier, and I’m running in shoes that don’t have sufficient support for long distance running. I’m not running enough long runs in training and mongrelling races when I need to, relying on the fact that the half marathon distance doesn’t scare me anymore. A half doesn’t scare my head, but I think I need to remember that my body isn’t as strong as my will. My brain will get me through a lot, but my body will break down without proper preparation. And by being heavier and not running in more supportive shoes, I’m giving my body more weak points to fail at.

I am giving myself until November. I will come back, I will train, and I will assess the situation in November. If I feel that my preparation for Six Inch isn’t what I need it to be, then I will withdraw. There will be no mongrelling of Six Inch. I like the race too much to do that. I will withdraw, transfer my spot (or defer it until next year), and volunteer instead. And then I will enter February’s Lark Hill Dusk till Dawn 50k.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Broken before I started

The plan was to run the Joondalup Half Marathon as a lead up to the Run for a Reason half marathon. Except I didn’t start Joondalup because I wasn’t feeling great. Not feeling great developed into a four week cold that required steroids to get rid of it. I mongrelled the Run for a Reason with two preparatory runs – 10km on the Tuesday prior backed up with 11 km on the Wednesday.

I was going to run the tail end of the Perth Marathon Relay for Jeremy as he hit the last of his Gold Coast Airport Marathon training, and I did, but I still wasn’t feeling spectacular after my cold, so the plan to keep the pace up became just to finish.

And that led up to Gold Coast. I wasn’t feeling very inspired by my training so far – probably because all our best laid plans had fallen into a hole – so I decided to mix it up a bit. I dug through some old training instructions and cracked out the dynamic stretching.

Now, let me say here I was once asked whether I knew why I had stopped injuring myself when running, and I laughed and said “because I stopped warming up”. Now, that was a guess; my return from injury usually involved a run-walk strategy, so I’d do a brisk walk for a while and then break into a light jog. That became just starting out jogging – sometimes I would be a bit fast at the start, sometimes I would be slow and build up in speed with each kilometre, so that I’d get 5 consecutive negative splits in a 5km run. But I never tried to stretch, and I’d only work on something if it niggled.

So the Tuesday I decided to bring out the old dynamic stretches was a mistake. Jeremy was away in Sydney for work, and I was at darkrun. We run round the soccer field at the moment, so I was using that as my warmup ready for the freedom run on the Canning River parkrun course later that evening. I did the dynamic stretches, I could feel muscles move that hadn’t moved in a while. If you look at my running technique it’s a bit ‘Cliffy Young shuffle’ – no high knees or feet kicking up to my buttocks. So when I felt muscles move that hadn’t moved in a while, I should have known I was on a path to doom.

I ran the freedom run fine, and the next few days I was OK; I could feel those little used muscles protest, but it wasn’t terrible. But I think I loosened up an area, which meant that one day when I moved wrong – bam. I did my back.

I went for a massage, and halfway through it I realised that I was in the midst of a physiotherapy job, so I booked in for the next day. A ‘minor disc injury’ was diagnosed. Not massive, but enough, and there I was, three weeks out from Gold Coast half marathon with a dodgy back.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Just a number

Your finish token number at parkrun doesn't mean anything you know. It's a number that indicates the amount of stopwatch lap button presses the timekeeper has made at parkrun that Saturday. Just because you are number 56 this week it doesn't mean that you necessarily did better than last week when you got number 76. It could mean that there were just twenty less people who turned up this week. It could mean that some people who went for a quick run last week went for a slow run this week.

I know it sounds harsh, and I don't mean it to be, but I've seen people fixate on their parkrun finish token position number like it has real meaning and it doesn't. People laugh at the line "parkrun is a run, not a race", but it's true. That's why you can't win parkrun, you can only be first finisher.

I've finished third finisher overall, I've finished 432nd finisher. That third finisher position doesn't tell you anything. It doesn't tell you that it was bucketing down with rain, and that there were a total of six runners that day. It doesn't tell you that we rocked up 3 minutes after everyone had started, having bolted from Balingup to Manjimup in order to run that day. My 432nd finisher token was two weeks prior, at Bushy Park. It was a gorgeous day, and I ran with Jeremy, and we were ecstatic that we were on holiday in England  and running Bushy parkrun on what a regular Bushy parkrunner called a fairly quiet Saturday with only 841 runners. It's my 'worst ever' finish position, yet it's one of my better parkrun times.

My first parkrun I ran 33:09, and was the 46th runner of 48. Last week someone said to me that they thought they'd have been gutted that they were third last having just run that time. It hadn't even occurred to me to care. I'd run the entire five kilometres of my first ever parkrun and got my finish token and sat down on the grass knackered as Jeremy came over with the stopwatch, showed me my time and gave me a high five.

And that's my point - if you want to measure your improvement at parkrun, focus on your finish time. Try and increase your age graded percentage. Don't feel discouraged if you never finish first in your age category - you need to recognise that while someone may be in the same age category as you, they've also have been running since they watched the Olympics on television when they were in year three at primary school and begged their parents to let them do Little Athletics.

Last of all, always remember that despite people's competitiveness, parkrun isn't a race. You can't win it, so if you come first finisher, that's nice, but the only thing it really means is that the barcode scanning queue is a bit shorter for you than it is for the people who finish after you.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Where to start

I used to be known as a cyclist, and people asked me how I started. So I told them. Now I am known as a runner, and people ask me how I started. So I’m telling you.

Starting was probably the hardest part. I had read about the Couch to 5K program, and I’d found a C25K app to use on my iPod Touch, but it sat there, virtually unused for years. I tried at one point, and it wasn’t very successful, and while I knew why, I also felt like I was trying for someone else’s benefit and not my own. 

In November 2011 I decided that I wanted to complete a triathlon. I simultaneously signed up for the mini tri option at the Women’s Triathlon in February and the lead-up six week training course run out of Challenge Stadium. The course started in January, so I had two months to get in the pool and to learn to run.

I went out to the playing fields near our house and ran around them. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to run it all, so I thought that I’d implement the idea of the Couch to 5K program and just run a bit, walk a bit, run a bit. I would set out on the perimeter of the fields and run to certain lamp posts, then allow myself to walk for a lamp post interval, then ran to another specific lamp post. I did this a couple of times before I decided that I wanted a bit more structure in my attempts.

I’d already worked out when cycling that being attached to my phone or my iPod Touch was a huge irritation to me – I didn’t like those arm bands, and I suspected I’d just be distracted by my phone if I had easy access to it. I unearthed my old iPod Shuffle and loaded the first week’s track of the Podrunner Couch to 5K podcast onto it – the Shuffle just clipped onto my clothes and wasn’t obtrusive. The Podrunner music is set to a specific set of beats per minute, and there are tones overlaid on the music that tell you when to run or to walk.

I made the decision to follow the Couch to 5K program but not the timing of the program. The proper program timing has you running to the week 1 track three times, then the next week moving to the week 2 track and running to that three times. I knew what my schedule was like and decided that I would only move to week 2 when I had managed to comfortably complete the three runs to the week 1 track within a seven day period. If I wasn’t comfortable, or my schedule meant that I couldn’t do the three runs in that timeframe, then I wouldn’t graduate to the next track. I was going arrange my running to my schedule, not theirs, which meant no pressure to me. 

I hadn’t been running long when I started to develop shin splints. I didn’t realise that they were shin splints at first, as it only appeared in one leg initially. When one Saturday morning it in appeared both I realised what it was and booked a session at The Running Centre that lunchtime to get on a treadmill, have my gait videoed and find a pair of shoes that were more supportive than the old trainers that I’d been running in previously. Once I had different shoes the shin pain halved immediately, but I realised I’d done sufficient damage to warrant booking in to see a physiotherapist. She showed me exercises to do three times a day, immediately followed up with icing of my shins. I was also shown how to use sports tape and to tape up my shins and calves so that they were supported before I went for a run. Over the following six weeks she would give me regular horribly painful Saturday morning massages of my calf muscles to loosen them up.

The realisation of shin splints was about one week out of the start of the triathlon training course. My physiotherapist gave me options to do that wouldn’t cause flare ups; like running on the grass verge alongside the path. The course running coach was very encouraging and pleased to see that I was out giving it a go any way I could rather than avoiding the problem entirely. I took careful notice of the instructions during the course because even if I couldn’t implement the coaching ideas immediately they were something I could try in the future. For running sessions at home I was still slowly making my way through the Podrunner Couch to 5K series. 

To my relief around the end of the training course my shin splints completely dissipated. Mid-course during swim training I managed to sprain a facet joint in my neck so I had been visiting a physiotherapist near work for my neck three times a week, plus the physiotherapist near home on Saturday for my shins. Needless to say my physiotherapy benefit on my health insurance swiftly ran out. I would end up needing physiotherapy three times a week for three months before I had complete movement in my neck again. Interestingly, before the sprain I used to regularly wake up with a stiff neck because “I’d slept wrong”, but since I completed the physiotherapy I’ve very rarely woken up with any neck issues and if I did they would quickly dissipate rather than hang around for days the way they used to.

I completed the triathlon, and did as expected – appallingly badly in the swim, fourth in my age group for the bike split and mid-pack by the time I finished the run. But I’d loved the running, so I carried on with Couch to 5K. Just before we went to Malaysia for our honeymoon and then the Malaysian Formula 1 race, I had been ready to graduate to the Week 5 tracks, but after not running at all in KL (good intentions aside) and then having to recover from a terrible cold that I’d developed in KL, I ran week 4 again. When I finished, and where I’d finished on my regular playing fields course I realised I was much faster than before, so I downloaded the Week 5 tracks. 

Week 5 in Couch to 5K is a departure from the previous four weeks. For starters, there are three Podrunner tracks, the first two making the run intervals longer, culminating in the third track a 20 minute solid bout of running. I barrelled through these with relative ease; I’d feared them a bit, but by that point I’d been regularly running for about 6 months, and they proved no difficulty. The next week I went to the week 6 tracks, and had no issue with those either. Actually, that’s a lie; for the first track of the week it had felt weird returning to interval running again just to build up to 25 minutes of running for the third run of the week, so I jumped straight to the third track of week 6.

At this point I decided that I was going for it. A few months previous Jeremy and I had walked the perimeter of the playing fields with my bike Garmin and had measured the full distance as 1.8km and marked every 250 metres up to 1.75km. We knew that if we ran the perimeter three times that would make 5.4km, so one day I loaded up some music on my Shuffle, and went out there and ran. It took me about 45 minutes, but I ran all 5.4km. I was ecstatic. I deleted the remaining Podrunner tracks and replaced them with a playlist that went for a bit longer than 45 minutes. At some point not long after that I realised that I liked hearing the sounds of my neighbourhood instead of music so I stopped using my Shuffle and just ran my three laps of the playing fields without music.

I kept going out there and running my 5k. At one point Jeremy and I felt brave enough that we decided to expand our horizons beyond the playing fields and run a perfect 5km loop that I’d found online; the loop went straight past our house. This was a big step because I generally ran before work and with the playing fields loop if for some reason I couldn’t complete the run I could always shortcut through the playing fields for home. Running around the neighbourhood made that easy back-out clause disappear.

It had been early in 2012 that I’d read of parkrun in a magazine, so I kept an eye on the parkrun website to see whether it would come to Perth. At some point I found out that Claisebrook Cove parkrun was launching the first Saturday in August, so I waited impatiently for it to begin. The Monday before the launch I was sitting cross legged between shelves at work, went to stand up and felt a very sharp pain in my left knee. I gingerly walked around on it, but by the Wednesday I’d had to buy a knee brace so I booked into the physiotherapist again, only about 50 days after having stopped seeing him for my neck. He told me that I’d torn my medial collateral ligament, and that running at parkrun – actually running full stop – was out, so I was restricted to volunteering for a while. I knew my knee injury was a pre-existing condition; back in 2009 after I crashed my bike the doctor sewed my left knee back together, which meant I wasn’t able to bend it for a few weeks while it healed. When the stitches came out I’d  been told to go to a physiotherapist to get full movement back into it, but hadn’t been diligent in attending beyond about three sessions. One day standing up in an awkward fashion tore it at its weakest point.

The physio got me back functioning in time for the Perth City to Surf at the end of August; “your knee will probably hurt but you won’t do any more damage to it”. It wasn’t close to perfect – his advice was City to Surf on Sunday, or parkrun on Saturday; but not both, so I chose City to Surf. Jeremy and I had walked the 12km course a few years ago, but the 2012 City to Surf 4km run was going to be our first running event. We enjoyed ourselves, and finished happy with our times. The following week was a little difficult on limbs that weren’t used to hills – we’d been training around our area which is a mini Netherlands when it comes to elevation change, and by the Friday my right hamstring was fairly tight. In retrospect this was to have been expected; my right leg had been doing all the stability work keeping me upright while my left knee was a shambles. So when my right hamstring tore while I was running the Friday morning after the race I knew immediately what I’d done. I already had a booking for the physio that day for my knee, so I sat perched on my ice pack at work until the appointment and then the physio ignored my knee and worked on my hamstring instead.

When my hamstring and knee were finally sorted it was the start of October, and the physio allowed me to run parkrun. I’d been volunteering reasonably regularly on Saturdays, sometimes getting Jeremy to come meet me at the Kinky Lizard cafĂ© for the post parkrun coffee afterwards, but this was to be my first bash at it, so Jeremy volunteered as timekeeper while I ran. The first guy in came in in 19:07, and I came in in 33:09. In that 14 minute gap Jeremy was converted to a parkrunner. He immediately ‘got’ it; that it wasn't just his mad wife and a small group of runners, it was a supportive community. The next week I had a Saturday morning appointment, so I wasn’t going to run parkrun, but he went to Claisebrook Cove without me. By December 2012 he would be talking to Jon about setting up what became Canning River parkrun. 

Having both become parkrunners, Jeremy and I decided to run a 10k race in Albany at the end of October, so we drove down to do it and took part in one of the last Port to Point races. It was surprisingly hot for Albany, and the hilly 10k course took me 1:23:00 to complete. Two weeks later there was a 10k race in Fremantle, and the flatter course had me 4 minutes faster, with 1:18:51. 

In the finishing area at Fremantle, surrounded by parkrunners I sat quietly, reflecting on a few things. One, it had been almost bang on 365 days since I’d decided I needed to learn how to run, and two, that I’d taken it very gently the whole way round on the Fremantle 10k course. So gently in fact, that if given the option I knew I could have immediately set off and run the course all over again.

Three months later I ran my first half marathon.