Coastal Classic | 2014

3h56m03s PB

What’s with races being scheduled so early? I can understand the logic during the summer when the days are longer and the temperatures become significantly hotter once the clock ticks towards noon. But right now it still feels like winter.

As I lie in bed deliberating the pro’s and con’s of not only getting up but then driving for an hour, waiting on a train platform for 1/2 hour, catching a train for another 1/2 hour, and then registering, preparing, warming-up and waiting for 1 1/2 hours before starting, I seriously question my sanity and consider ditching my second Coastal Classic.

After all, it has been raining heavily all night and it’s still raining now. The track will be slippery. I haven’t prepared specifically for this event. I don’t want to get injured. I haven’t prepared sufficiently for this event. I would hate to not finish.

What’s more, I was out the night before celebrating a friend’s birthday: drinking beer (my preferred method of carb-loading). So here I am subsisting on 4 1/2 hours of sleep. All good excuses but pretty lame reasons to pull-out.

End of discussion. Tired and grumpy, out of bed I crawl, reassuring myself that now that the hard part is over everything from hereon in will be much, much easier.

The run (now in its 5th year) follows the picturesque coastal walk from Otford to Bundeena through the Royal National Park in Sydney’s south. To say it’s a a stunning location doesn’t really do it justice. It is quite simply magnificent!

Yet weeks and weeks and weeks of rain will play havoc with the trail. I envisage deep puddles and squelching mud that will add to our challenge. And that’s exactly what we encounter.

It’s not even remotely like a typical road race: there is no smooth bitumen, gently undulating and pleasantly even. It’s jagged rocks and wind-scoured sandstone platforms; sandy trails followed by sandy beaches; steel-mesh walkways and timber planks laid across muddy tracks. Running creeks and stagnant puddles. Greasy grass and precarious palm fronds underfoot. Broken branches to trip us up and fallen trees to clamber over. And a bit more mud that acts remarkably like quicksand.

Up and down and up and down again.

Given the conditions, I’m surprised at how dry the route is in many sections. And yet, just when I think we’ve seen the last of the mud, we’re confronted by another section that is worse than the last.

To be honest, I don’t think anything could have truly prepared me for this. All the same, the beauty of the scenery, the soothing sound of the crashing waves, and my determination to not only finish the course but complete it under 4 hours, spurs me on to run when I would much prefer to walk.

I also have visions of leeches writhing all over my shoes as one runner describes (whilst we’re on the train from Sutherland to Otford) how his friend (who recently ran this course) looked down at his shoes in horror at a Medusa-like scene. Great!

Despite the arduous nature of the event the competitor enthusiasm is high and the banter amongst fellow runners is light-hearted and friendly; encouraging and inspiring.

The weather, for the most part, is now favourable. The sun shines at the start and the occasional rain shower does little to dampen our spirits. The cool breeze is bracing and invigorating.

Volunteers at the four checkpoints hand-out water and fruit, lollies and kindness. They help keep us going when all we want to do is throw-in the towel and call it a day.

And not surprisingly, it’s around the 21 km mark that I decide the fun has stopped and it’s becoming a lot like hard work. But that’s OK. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is.

Although the race is billed as roughly 29 km I know that with all our side-stepping and slip-sliding it’s at least an extra km. And my GPS watch confirms this when I stop it at 30.1 km.

The nature of the race means the finish times are similar to those of a marathon. And, as always, finishing is a blessed relief.

Collapsing with exhaustion at the end my legs cramp up from the sheer exertion. An ice-cold dip in the ocean would be a great idea right now but I have neither the energy nor the ability to get myself back down to the beach. Instead, I’m looking forward to the steaming, hot bath when I eventually get home.

And although I don’t feel like it right now, I do envisage doing it again. But I may wait a couple of years so I can fully recover.

Kim | marathon runner

goals | december

20121101-194359.jpg

image credit : loosenyourwhitecollar.com

It’s been a while since I last updated this blog and a lot has happened.

Although I finally achieved my weigh-in target last year it has drifted a little since then.

And my Japanese has taken a back-seat in the last month.

What’s more, I was doing pretty well updating my three blogs but since my return to Sydney they have not been a priority. Unfortunately, everyday life has crowded out my creative outlet.

However, I did manage to maintain my training and complete the Rebel 10k Run.

So all-in-all I am satisfied with my accomplishments.

I think one reason I’m feeling some lack of direction is because I have not set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (SMART) goals.

So I have decided, with a new month on hand, to buckle-down and create a comprehensive set-of-goals for the rest of the year, starting with two major priorities.

A. Do not overcommit by having too many goals.

They need to be realistic and achievable. Otherwise I’m just setting myself up to fail.

B. Once my goals for the month are set, I need to generate a plan of action.

To outline in detail (in my calendar) when I’m going to run, study, photograph, and blog. It may be that after doing this I see there’s too much given the limited time available.

OK. So, with this in mind, I’m going to create new goals for both November and December. Wish me luck:

1. weigh-in at 70kg

2. complete & pass Japanese Language: Certificate I TAFE Course
3. learn to read & write a total of 1000 Japanese Kanji characters

4. create outline for portrait photograph project
4. update all three blogs once a week

6. run 21m15s PB for 5km
7. run 44m30s PB for 10km

8. 50 push-ups
9. 6-minute plank

Phew. It’s going to be a busy couple of months.

Kim | 72.8

Emily’s Song

v.1
You’re a seed bursting forth in spring
Seeking all that life will bring
You greet the world with arms stretched wide
Branches lifting to the sky

v.2
Memories fresh as summer showers
Blossoms rich like scented flowers
Tender in the breeze you sway
Breathing in, you’re borne away

chorus
Your smile it lights up this big, big world
Shining bright, around it swirls
Sunlight streaming through your heart
Bringing joy to near and far

v.3
With energy you abound
Somersaulting across the ground
Dancing with autumn’s faith
Making friends with ease and grace

v.4
Learning ways of a teenage girl
Winter’s tears yet unfurled
Eyes of hazel reflect your love
Mirrors to your LORD above

chorus
Your smile it lights up this big, big world
Shining bright, around it swirls
Sunlight streaming through your heart
Bringing joy to near and far

fill
Seventeen, and who would have thought it
Seasons pass us so quickly, now you’re here
A stunning beauty, a real fine woman

chorus
Your smile it lights up this big, big world
Shining bright, around it swirls
Sunlight streaming through your heart
Bringing joy to near and far

end
Your life is patched as if a quilt
Future dreams are hopes to fill

Kim | father

the “I Quit Sugar” ebook

If you’re looking for a useful, easy-to-follow guide on how to break your sugar addiction then I highly recommend the “I Quit Sugar” ebook by Sarah Wilson.

Based on an 8-week plan it outlines the “why?” as well as the “how?” without getting too technical.

The ebook is packed-full of helpful tips and ideas and supplemented with her personal experiences in kicking the habit.

Check out her website to learn more.

You can even sign-up for an 8-week program if that would give you the added motivation to get started.

And if you don’t think you need to give-up sugar then try it for a week or two. See how you go. You’ve got nothing to lose: except a few pounds of course!

Kim | marathon runner

perceived rate of exertion

When I’m running I always like to use a heart rate monitor.

I don’t necessarily keep a close eye on my heart rate (HR) but glancing at it every now-and-again means I maintain my level of exercise within a predetermined target band.

There is an alternative measure that is more subjective called the Perceived Rate of Exertion (PRE).

For me it’s a scale that coincidentally equates pretty closely to my heart rate: 100 + (PRE x 10).

Thus I’ll warm-up at a PRE of 23 and then do an aerobic run at a PRE of 35.

If I’m running at a heart rate of 150 then I find I can talk but it’s not conversational. So I treat this as a limit. To go faster means I’m leaving the aerobic zone and climbing into the anaerobic zone.

Keep in mind that your heart rate is affected by hills, heat and humidity – and the subsequent dehydration that can occur – as well as altitude.

It’s a simple way of ensuring that those runs that should be easy to moderate don’t end up being too hard.

Kim | marathon runner

Real Insurance Sydney Harbour 10k | 2013

46m08s PB

It’s never easy getting up early to run a race. It’s dark. It’s cold. And invariably you haven’t slept very well.

Add to that the fact you may be nursing an injury – like my sprained ankle from a few weeks ago – and you start to get the picture of a reluctant participant in this year’s Real Insurance Sydney Harbour 10k.

Yet as I arrive at the marshalling area near the Overseas Passenger Terminal any thoughts of quitting quickly dissipate.

The bottled energy, the constrained anticipation, and the heightened expectancy are palpable and set-to-burst.

Sydney Harbour is a stunning location. I’ve lived here all my life – apart from several long overseas trips – yet it never ceases to instill in me a sense of awe and wonder.

Beneath the shadow of the Sydney Harbour Bridge we gather in the cool, dawn light.

Warm bodies limber-up and stretch as we nervously await the starter’s gun.

Some are running their first 10k ever. Others are old-hands looking for a new PB. A few Olympians and professional runners will lead the way for us lesser mortals.

Locals. Out-of-towners. Even a few foreigners. It’s an eclectic bunch all with a common goal: to finish.

What I really love about the 10k distance is that it’s over pretty quickly. In less than an hour for most.

Aiming for a sub-50 minute time I have secured a starting position in the front A-group. It’s a wise decision as it allows me to run with people of a similar pace.

The countdown begins. The echo of the gun ricochets off the old, character-filled buildings in The Rocks. And we’re away.

It’s a relatively flat course that winds it’s way around the harbour foreshore. Through Darling Harbour. And back. Finishing in front of the MCA at Circular Quay.

Not that’s there’s a lot of time to enjoy the sights. My focus is well-and-truly on running the road before me.

I decide early-on to try and maintain a consistent pace throughout the entire race rather than starting slow and finishing fast. Yet I’m surprised I’ve begun faster than planned. So I reign it in a litte and after the first km fall into a steady rhythm.

I actually spend a lot of time reminding myself that it’ll all be over soon. That the pain and discomfort is only temporary. Not to push too hard but also not to slacken off.

It pays dividends as I’m well on target.

Because it’s a relatively flat course it lends itself to the possibility of a fast time.

It’s this knowledge that keeps me going. The image of crossing the finish-line exhausted but happy. Satisfied that I’ll be rewarded for my effort.

As I round the corner near the Park Hyatt and see the majesty of the Sydney Opera House reflecting the bright, morning sunshine I know there’s less than a km to go.

As always, finishing is a blessed relief.

The feeling of self-satisfaction that comes from completing the event far out-weighs any temporal suffering.

I can’t wait for my next 10k!

Kim | marathon runner

dry july

I’ve been busy reading a well written, very informative, and often amusing book called High Sobriety by Jill Stark.

Whilst I initially thought it was about the problems of teenagers and twenty-something’s binge drinking I now understand that the problem of alcohol over-consumption is pervasive amongst all age groups, even if not necessarily to the same extent as our youth.

And whilst I do not consider myself a heavy drinker – as I don’t even drink alcohol every day nor more than 3 or 4 drinks at any one time – I’m sure it will do my liver good to take a break.

Yet the idea of a dry july has been around for a while. To quote their website, the not-for-profit organisation is “determined to improve the lives of adults living with cancer through an online social community giving up booze for the month of July.”

What’s more, the campaign provides a “chance to raise awareness of individual drinking habits, the value of a balanced healthy lifestyle, a personal challenge, encourage positive change and an awareness of a healthy attitude to alcohol consumption.”

Sometimes we need to break our old habits if we want to see lasting change in our lives.

So join me if you will. If you think you’re up for the challenge?

Kim | 75.2