Marathon Crazyness

Today I ran the Perth Marathon! Maybe a bit crazy since it’s only been two weeks since I finished my first ultra marathon of 76kms… Anyway, I felt good and had already registered so thought I would give it a go. I certainly didn’t run for a specific time or PB (personal best)!! I was just happy to shuffle along with my friend Leisha as she completed her long run in the lead-up to her first marathon over on the Gold Coast in a few weeks time!
It was a fresh 6 degrees at 7am in the morning but like last year it was a beautiful sunny day! The start was awesome and I felt great cruising along on a 5.45/km pace as we ran from Crown Casino towards Narrows Bridge. Though as soon as I met Leisha at the 5km mark we ended up running at a 5.30/km pace which was way too fast this early in the race. At about 29-30km my calf started to hurt and shortly after that I really started to struggle. After turning around at the 30km mark (by the blue boat shed) the head wind felt so strong and I had to stop and walk a little. That wasn’t such a good idea as within seconds my legs started to seize up and it was more painful to walk than to run! We managed to run to Narrows Bridge where Leisha had done her 30kms and left me to finish of the race. It was a really tough last 10kms and as much as I wanted to walk I knew it was going to hurt even more so managed to move forward with a slow jog. Despite my sore calf and slow shuffle I finished the race in 4 hours and 13 minutes and ended up with a 7 minutes PB! Very surprised by it but definitely happy since I wasn’t bothered about my finishing time at all today. I know I can pull off a sub 4 hour marathon but the question is if I really want/need to? I’m not sure the flat road marathons really is my cup of tea. I much prefer long hilly trails I think.. Even though I’m feeling pretty broken tonight and my toenails are looking horrible it’s been an amazing year of running! I have achieved more than I ever hoped for with the 76km ultra marathon being the number one! Now time for rest and recovery. We’re off to Sweden in 11days time and I can’t wait to see my family and friends again!

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Just a few more…

Ok I will soon stop going on about this amazing ultra but first a few more photos! Most of the photos were taken by Ron McGlinn who spent the whole day capturing these awesome images for all the runners to keep (for free!). This race was such a great experience and I am so grateful for these memories.

Some people have asked me what I had to eat/drink throughout the day so here we go:
8 gu gels
2 jam sandwiches
3 bananas
water + electrolyte drink
Salt tablets 

Coming in to the third station at Mt Helena (61km). Huge milestone in the race!
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Munching bananas!


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Kep Ultra 75km Race Recap

It’s Saturday and nearly a week has passed since I finished my first ultra marathon. I feel great! My legs were a bit stiff after the race and my head was in a cloud but that is understandable since I was out running for just over 9 and 1/2 hours..! I had a massage earlier in the week which was awesome for the legs and I have also had a a hair cut which was well over due…!
I was pretty nervous as we left Perth and made our way towards Northam on Saturday afternoon. Since I was only offered an entry two weeks before the race I didn’t do any of the recon runs so knew pretty much nothing about the course. Maybe it was better to get in to the race late as I certainly didn’t over train like so many other people. More than 35 runners pulled out before the race and I saw quite a few with physio tape in different angles across their legs in the morning of the race. I researched a range of different ultra marathon plans and it’s easy to see how you can get injured as they all require a lot of running. Don’t get me wrong, I have done a lot of training over the last 4.5 months but I would probably have had a slightly different approach if I knew I was going to run this race! I was aiming for Perth Marathon (15th June) so have only trained on flat roads, no trails.
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start (1)We met a group of runners at the Pasta dinner party in Northam the night before the race and it was great to meet them and possibly get even more nervous as they all seemed so fit and experienced! We stayed in a ‘executive suit’ at Northam Motel which was anything but exclusive but hey it did the job and I had a good night’s sleep. I woke up before my alarm went off and decided to study the map of the race course to try to remember all the important notes where navigation could possibly get tricky.. Wow, very nervous now….. Anyway, had some breakfast and got myself ready for the big day ahead. At 6.15am we arrived at the start and it was a freezing 8 degrees.. I picked up my race bib, and showed them all the mandatory gear needed which was headlamp + spare batteries, yellow safety vest, whistle, mobile phone and at least 600ml of water. I went for a last last visit to the toilet before the start and at 7am 74 runners set off from Northam towards Mundaring. It is quite hilly out of Northam and my race strategy of running 25min and walking 5mins went out of the window straight away. But that’s ok, I decided to still walk moste of the hills and run the flats and downhills. The road between Northam and the first aid station Clackline at 19km was alright, not very scenic but it was nice to tick off one aid station and I was feeling good.
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Mike was waiting at Clackline and it was nice to see a familiar face along the course. It was a bit crazy at this aid station with heaps of parked cars, dogs, kids and cheering people everywhere. The friendly volunteers filled up my water bladder and Mike gave me a banana to eat and a jam sandwich to bring on the road. I was faffing about with my bag and couldn’t close it, I wasn’t sure if I needed to ‘check in’ and it was all a bit crazy and quite overwhelming!

Clackline

 

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The next section was a 24km long and straight pea gravel road for most of the way to the second aid station, Wooroloo. I was running along fine but found the long gradual incline quite hard so did have regular walking breaks. I had a gel or some of my jam sandwich every 30-40 minutes and was feeling pretty good. I decided to listen to some music and forgot that I was holding on to my sandwich and dropped it somewhere around 28kms…! Because I was fiddling with my bag so much at the aid station I just grabbed the sandwich in a plastic zip lock bag in my hand and took off… Anyway I had to run back a couple of hundred meters to find it and luckily it wasn’t too far away.. But because I had to backtrack to find my sandwich I had by then lost the small group of runners that I ran with and was now running by myself. At around 30km I thought I was lost and had a short moment of panic… rang Mike nearly in tears but after talking to him and checking the gps on my mobile phone and realised that I was on the right track.. phew… Mike popped up a few times along the way taking photos and it was great to see him as I was still running on my own and hadn’t seen another runner for quite some time.

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It was great to get to the 2nd aid station at Wooroloo which was at the 43km mark. I had a banana, filled up my water bladder and sports drink, grabbed another jam sandwich (but this time I packed it safely inside my bag) and off I went! I had by then caught up with a few of the other runners again and even though we weren’t running side by side it was nice to know they were around. The Kep track is quite easy to navigate but there were a few tricky spots and I am glad to have run those sections with other people. It’s difficult to think straight when you are tired.
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I don’t remember much of the section between Wooroloo and Mt Helena (18km). I was listening to music, thinking about my brother, the finish line and concentrating on taking in fuel and water regularly, counting down the kilometers. But I do clearly remember coming in to aid station 3 at Mt Helena! I knew this before hand but before we could check in at that aid station we had to run 600m down the hill and back again and this was so frustrating.. I’m still not quite sure why we had to do this extra section as this would make the full race distance 76kms but hey, there we go. Getting to this aid station was a huge milestone for me! I wanted to get out of there before 3pm or I would have to carry a yellow safety vest and headlamp. I checked out at 2.45pm…. phew! Now I only had about 15km to go so the next 10kms I ran with a big smile on my face, I even had a cry if I remember right… At this stage I was still feeling good and I knew I was going to finish the race, even if I walked the last bit I was going to finish!!
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The day before the race Mike and I drove to the area where I would finish the race and I couldn’t wait to get to that roundabout where the race notes said that we were to ‘ignore all markers’, turn left and run up a short 300m hill before the finish line.
This last section from Mt Helena to Mundaring was so pretty, single man trail surrounded by bush. Green and lush from all the rain we’ve had in Perth lately. I ran the last bit of the race with a really lovely English girl called Amanda. We ran together at the start and some other short sections of the race, it’s kind of nice to chat to people now and then but most of the race I ran by myself which was fine too. We chatted away and by this stage (around 70kms) I had quite stiff hips and my feet or mostly toes started to hurt too. My garmin watch died around this time as it only had 8 hours of battery life but I had runkeeper going on my phone so that was alright. We chatted away and before we knew it we crossed Mundaring Weir Road, ran along a small section along this road for a couple of hundred meters until we hit a ROUNDABOUT!!! Yes! Yes! Friggin Yeeees! There it is, THE roundabout!! Some Kep volunteers cheered us on, told us to safely cross the road and run up the hill towards the finish. We walked a little bit and then started to slowly jog towards the orange cones at the top of the hill. I saw a group of people and Mike was among them waving at me and taking photos. I cannot describe the feeling of turning right at the top of the hill, following the orange cones, hearing people clapping their hands cheering us on as we ran towards the finish line…!! It was EPIC and I’m nearly crying when writing this! It was so awesome….. Amanda and I ran across the finish line together, received our medals around our necks, had a big hug and smiled for more photos. I don’t know that many people in the ‘ultra world’ here in Perth but a few friendly faces were at the finish line and I was so happy to see them. Shirley, Ben, Cheryl, Chris – you guys rock! I can’t wait to share this experience with you all next year! A massive thanks to my amazing running friends Cheryl, Shirley, Sylvie and Leisha… for your invaluable advice and support but mostly for believing in me! A huge thanks to my husband Michael for spending the night in the most exclusive motel in Northam and for being my support crew throughout the whole race, I love you. To my mum in Sweden who could barely sleep and sent me 32 messages on Viber throughout the day! You are too funny and can’t wait to see you in a few weeks! Big thanks to Ian and Gwendy for looking after the kids! To friends and family all around the world for your support and kind messages, especially on Facebook where my finish line post has got more than 130 likes and over 100 messages – thanks! I still cannot believe that I have just ran 76kms in my first ultra marathon….

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I ran this race in memory of my beautiful brother Samir. He was taken from us on the 1st January 2007 at only 25 years of age, we love him and miss him so much every day. It meant a lot to me to run this race for him, he was a very athletic and active person, and I know that he would be so proud of me. Physical pain is nothing
compared to the pain we all endured when he died and still feel every day.
Love you little brother, one day we’ll meet again.

Here are a few photos from the finish………… tears of joy…….. Epic!

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The Finish! (14)

 

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Kep Ultra 75km

I have some really crazy and exciting running news! In January I tried to get an entry for this year’s Kep Ultra 75km/100km but unfortunately I didn’t get in. The race director had already taking in more than 25 runners above the limit and had 17 people on the wait list. I was number 10 on the wait list so I thought I had no chance at all and decided to do some solid training over the next 4.5 months anyway and run Perth Marathon again. I followed a different training program this time with a lot more quality running with intervals and tempo running compared to a year ago. It was fewer days running in the week but really fast times to run plus cross training (rowing/spinning). I also decided to do Michelle Bridges 12 week Lean and Strong Program which had me in the gym 4 times a week doing weights. My long runs have also been different this year as instead of increasing my km’s every week I have done long runs of 28-32km (35km as my longest run) pretty much from the start. It was challenging at times but I feel great and more important I have no injuries at all. Anyway, to get to the point……….! A couple of weeks ago I received an email informing me that I had been offered a race entry for this year’s Kep Ultra..!! I did not expect that at all! The sensible part of me said; don’t do it this year, volunteer at the event and train for it ‘properly’ next year instead. However I am really excited and scared(!) but ready to give it my best shot so have registered and will be running 75km tomorrow!! I’m not looking at a particular finishing time, just purely enjoy it and finish in one piece. It’s very different to running a marathon where I would run at a faster pace for 42.2km. I will run this ultra at a much slower pace and incorporate walking breaks throughout the race. I should be able to get to 50km ok and after that I have no idea what will happen.. Gaaaahhhhhh! This is so far out of my comfort zone that it makes me feel sick but hey, some people swear that’s where the magic happens….!

Trip down South

It’s the day before Christmas eve and we are gearing up to celebrate Swedish Christmas with my Swedish friends tomorrow! This year we are hosting Christmas at our house and expecting 26 people..! 14 kids and 12 adults……. wish us luck! Celebrating Swedish Christmas is a massive highlight of the year and I’m so happy to have my gorgeous friend Michaela with her family here in Perth at the moment. The kids are playing non stop every day and spending hours in our pool which must be our best investment as yet! We are having a great time just hanging, drinking wine and eating cheese.. and our trip down south was awesome! First we spent one night at Preston Beach and then three nights at Yallingup Forrest Resort before heading back to Perth. The weather was perfect and we spent most of our time chilling out at different beaches in the area. After two days of rest I went for my first run after 6inch, only a short easy 3km loop on a beautiful forest trail near our resort.
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It’s great to go for a run and finally do a proper stretch… something that I didn’t really do after the race. I went for an easy 9.5 km with my usual running group yesterday and my legs are feeling really good! Very happy to have recovered so fast as after the Perth Marathon I couldn’t/wanted to run for a good few weeks afterwards. I haven’t decided what races I’m doing next year but will have a proper think over the Christmas break.
I’m just about to make a veeeery yummy ginger thins cheesecake for tomorrow’s celebrations. I make this every year and have posted a photo with the recipe below but unless you’re Swedish you may find it a bit difficult to understand!

Merry Christmas!

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6 Inch Trail Ultra Marathon Finisher!

Four days ago I completed my first trail ultra marathon; a 47.3km hilly race from North Dandalup to Dwellingup south of Perth! It was a very hot race (about 38degrees) and I’m absolutely stoked to have finished it! This year we have raised more than $4000 for
Cayla and other kids with Cerebral palsy through The Centre for Cerebral Palsy (TCCP). A huge thanks to our friends and family who have supported us and donated to Cayla’s Challenge, we love you!
I have my best friend and her family from Sweden here at the moment and we are chilling out in Yallingup about 3 hrs south of Perth as I’m writing this. I’m recovering really well from the race and I’m looking forward taking it easy over the next few weeks. Here are some pics from Sunday morning, love looking at these photos, so many great memories!

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Last day of Kindy

Yesterday Mike and I went to school for Cayla’s class Christmas concert and end of year party. They were so cute and did a fantastic job with their singing and presentation. Cayla thanked everyone for coming to the concert without using her talker and we are so very proud of her! Cayla’s last day was yesterday and she has now finished off her first year at school! It’s gone super fast and I still remember that first day of kindy, or maybe more the day before… how nervous I was.. and worried about pretty much everything. But it’s been such a great year, her teacher and aides have been awesome and Cayla has come so far. She is now counting up to about 20, writing her name and know pretty much all the sounds and a lot of the letters as well. She has made many friends in the class and hopefully we will stay in contact even though she will be going to another school next year.
Nathan still has a couple of more days at school before he finishing for the year and last night he attended a Halloween disco that the school arranged. It was very well organised as usual and he had an awesome time!

Gotta go now, we have a very busy weekend ahead! My best friend from Sweden is here with her family and it’s AWESOME to hang out with her! They are loving the warm weather and swimming in the pool most of the day. Can’t wait to have a proper drink with her but that will have to wait until tomorrow after I have finished my 47km trail marathon!! Woohooooo! It’s going to be about 39 degrees but hopefully we will have finished the race before it gets too hot! Four months of training and I’m feeling pumped!! Wish me luck and if you haven’t already donated to Cayla’s challenge please follow this link to make fast secure online donation :D
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Last playgroup and hydro

It’s the end of the year and the ‘silly season’ is about to kick off or possibly already has! I don’t really mind as our Christmas tree and decorations are up and all gifts are wrapped and hidden in our walk-in-robe! We have bought some more outdoor Christmas lights and it looks awesome and the kids loves it! Things you have to do when there is no snow outside and both Mike and I get pretty excited about it…! Though I wish the inside of my house looked like the picture below, it looks amazing! Just need an open fire and a dog..
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Both Nathan and Cayla are going well but I think we can all agree that it will be nice with a long Summer holiday soon. It’s been a great year so far and Cayla has come so far in many areas which we are so happy about. Her speech is not amazing but she is definitely improving! I feel so much better after we found out that she got a place at the Fremantle Language Development Centre (LDC). Not sure if she understand but we have told her that she is starting a new school next year and bought her a dress (uniform) which she loves. It’s a little bit sad that the kids are not going to be at the same school but at the same time I know that for Cayla this is an amazing opportunity and we are all still jumping out of joy that she got a place! Today we went to TCCP for her last playgroup and hydro pool session and met up with Cayla’s little friend Sienna. It’s a bit sad that we won’t go to TCCP for playgroup and hydro anymore and it’s crazy that she is starting full-time school next year.. I reckon I will feel really lost for a few weeks, or days at least ;)
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Cayla and Sienna

Well, it’s crazy how time flies but I have finished my big training load in preparation for the 6inch trail marathon (47km) on the 15th December! It’s been full on the last four months but I have really tried to take every day and week as it comes and put in my absolute best. I was doing fine until a couple of weeks ago when I did about 90km of running in one week, after that I started to get a little niggle in my calf. Went for a sports massage (or three..) but it wasn’t until I saw the physio for some needling and ultrasound that my leg started to feel better. I have also bought a pair of new shoes which has helped a lot. I really enjoy trail running and find it quite boring to run long on the road now. The first time I went down to North Dandalup where the start for the 6inch Trail Marathon is I really had no trail running experience at all. A friend picked me up at 4.30 in the morning for a 5.30 start. We did 17km out and back without getting too  much lost… and no snake sightings at all! It was a very hot day with 37 degrees so it took us over 4.5 hours but that was including stopping to ‘eat’ 5 carb gels, 3 x wee stops (weird since I never wee on a run.. must have been nervous!) plus getting a bit lost on the way back.
A few weeks ago we headed down to North Dandalup again we decided to do an A-to-B run instead of out-and-back as we wanted to see more of the actual race course. We took two cars and left my car at the 28km mark and drove my friend’s car back to the start and off we went. This race start with a tough climb of 300m over 1.5km.. and we were walking most of it but I’m sure the elite runners will just blast up that hill on the actual race day! We were running along fine until we got to the 17km mark.. that’s when I realised that I had forgotten my car keys in my friend’s car…..!!!!!!!! WTF!!! Very annoying, but luckily we were only 3kms away from the main road that would lead us back to the start. I’m so glad we didn’t run the whole 28kms to my car and then realised this horrible mistake…! I can add that there is absolutely no reception in this area… my friend was not too impressed. So we ran to the main road and then followed it 11kms back to the start. We had run about 31km at this point but our plan was to run 37-38km. My friend had a sore ankle and had enough but I felt really good so decided to do a few more k’s and finished of at 36km. Job done but I am never ever going to forget my keys in someone’s car again..! Lesson learned the hard way..
Last Saturday we did our last long run, it was a run that I was a bit worried about for some reason. We had to do 40km and decided to stay in the city and do this run on a flat road instead of the trails. I had been battling negative thoughts, crappy runs and a sore leg all week so it felt awesome to SMASH out my Peak Long Run of 40km feeling that great! Still can’t quite believe that I just ran 40kms in a training run.. crazy..! It’s amazing how you little by little can condition your body and mind to run long distances. Though there is no doubt that there has been a lot of hard work involved to get where I am today but that just makes this whole experience more satisfying.
Bring on the 6inch! :D
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Funky Monkey to Red Devil

Another week (or two..) has passed and lots of things has happened! The busy Christmas season has not even started and my calendar is full of things pretty much every day of the week. If I’m not out running or taking Cayla to appointments I’m out photographing a wedding, attending a birthday party, doing paper work, cleaning the house and so on.. but hey, I’m not complaining it’s all good :)

Last Sunday was Tough Mudder and believe it or not I had a GREAT time! It was muddy, wet and crazy but so much fun and I managed to complete all obstacles without too much trouble. Even the “Funky Monkey” (see photo below, I’m to the right in the picture) which was about 20 or so monkey bars to swing across. Plus I didn’t really get electrocuted at all, not sure why but I only got a small zap on my butt when crawling through one of the obstacles and did not get zapped at all in the last crazy 10000v obstacle! It was a very well organised event, great team experience, lots of fun and we will be coming back next year! But next year we’ll bring Gatorade as one of our team members got major cramp the last 5km but he still finished the race!
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The kids had their yearly Sport’s Carnival last week and it was such a hot day, sunny and 35 degrees..! It was Cayla’s first sport’s day and she did so well in her 50m race, yes, she did come last but not by too much. She was so hot and tired afterwards and didn’t really want to join in the obstacles with her friends. I don’t think she was feeling 100% and was actually home with a runny nose the next day poor thing.
_DSC2319Because Cayla wasn’t feeling very well we didn’t do anything for Halloween which was the day after the Sport’s Carnival. However, after seeing heaps of photos of kids out trick or treating on Facebook I felt a huge quilt trip coming over me and decided to be a good Mum, get organised and throw together a Halloween party for the kids on Friday night instead! They loved it and at least now we have some Halloween decorations for next year….!
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It’s not long until the 6inch trail ultra marathon and I’m training most days of the week. My midweek long run is up to 17km and because Mike is out cycling that morning I have to do this run on the treadmill….. yes people.. 17 kilometres on a treadmill!! It’s beyond boring…….. but sometimes you just have to get the job done..
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My upper back and calves were pretty sore after Tough Mudder, not used to all those obstacles!
I have recently started a 30day cleanse and detox program with only natural products in the form of shakes and supplements. I’m using these products as add-ons to my usual diet as I’m not trying to lose weight and burning a lot of calories from running. I’m only on day 5 but hoping that it will give me some extra energy which will be great in the weeks leading up to the trail marathon in December. At the moment I’m feeling a bit so and so to be honest but probably because my body is getting rid of horrible toxins. Hopefully it will change for the better in due course! I did 31km on Sunday morning and felt pretty good. This weekend I’m doing 35km on the trails with a friend. She’s picking me up at 4.30am as it will probably take us about 4-4.5 hours and it’s going to be a very hot day on Sunday. Hopefully we won’t get lost… or step on a snake….! There has been quite a few snake sightings lately….. maybe I should stick to road marathons instead..!austrailia_kill_you

Today we’ve been to TCCP as Cayla had an appointment with Dana and Michael at The Lower Limb and Foot Clinic. We see them about once or twice a year to review Cayla’s gait (walk pattern) and talk about serial casting and so on to improve things. I was expecting 3-4 weeks of serial casting as we always do this after Botox and was just hoping they didn’t want Cayla to have serial casting on both feet…. But you know what! Her range of movement is pretty good and they didn’t think she needed any serial casting done at all this time…!!! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Woooohoooooooooooo!!! I’m so happy I could fly to heaven! We just have to continue to aim for overall symmetry and do exercises where she will put more weight on her left foot by riding on her scooter and so on. Cayla’s physio Megan will see her for a few physio therapy sessions and give us a new home program to work on for the next few months. First a place at the Fremantle Language Development school and now no serial casting – happy days!

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It’s getting warmer!

Finally some warmer weather! It’s been a very wet Spring so far and as much as I don’t mind running in the rain it’s awesome to see the blue sky! It’s now light when I get up for my interval sessions at 5am and it doesn’t feel like you are the only one awake and out running. My training for the 6inch IMG_5665trail marathon is going well and the last two weeks have been huge! Last week I did 90km which is more than I did at the top of the training for Perth Marathon six months ago. Most of my running is done on the road but a couple of weeks ago I did half of the 6inch race course with some lovely people. We did about 24km on the trails north of Dwellingup and it’s was great running in the forest especially on the single man trails. Can’t wait to go back!
Mike and I train on alternative days pretty much and it’s working really well and it’s great to have our hobbies in common. I love that Mike is ordering carb gels and other stuff online for our training. He is doing so well with his cycling and is planning to do a huge race next year. It’s called 5 dams and is something like 250km long…..! I’m not sure what races I’m doing next year, my focus is on the 6inch in December this year. The race is just the motivator, it’s the training that I enjoy the most. Early morning runs are just amazing and it sets you up for the day in such a great way! I do two interval sessions a week and my mid-week run is about 15-17km. Today I did 15km on the Zamia Trail in Bold Park which is such a beautiful place near the ocean. It’s green, lush and hilly which is perfect training for the 6inch. It’s been quite warm today (around 30 degrees) and even though it was a nice run my legs felt tired and heavy. Lucky I have two days of rest now! I’m doing a wedding on Saturday, starting at 9am so it will be a long day for sure. On Sunday my wedding photography team is doing Tough Mudder!!! I’ve been ignoring this crazy obstacle race for many months but now it’s here and I’m feeling pretty pumped! and scared….!! I have no expectations but hoping the warrior in me will come out and hopefully I will be flying over those vertical walls, monkey bars, ice baths, tunnels, mud, electricity….! :D
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