Let the running begin… 100km on a Sunday

•June 7, 2014 • 3 Comments

So tomorrow I have my first hit out in a 100km road race in the Gold Coast 100! www.goldcoast100.com The training has been done which seems like it was a lifetime ago and the taper has left me feeling fresh and ready! The idea that I actually am about to embark on that distance is still just an idea! However 5hours in to it tomorrow and Il know that it is not just an idea. Its been an awesome journey from last August until now. I decided after the Kokoda Challenge that I wanted to run around Mount Egmont in my home town in NZ. I wanted to do something crazy, that not many do. I was lucky to find that in long distance running. Since then I have run in many places around the Coast and met some of the most amazing and inspiring people. Experiences you can’t buy and ones I can’t wait to keep having! 

In the last 6-8weeks of training I have learnt more about how my body handles the load and fatigue than I have in a very long time. I also have learnt that if you want something you make a choice and chase it with everything you have got. So tomorrow is a big stepping stone towards the long-term goal of 160km in Taranaki. 6:10am is kick off and Il still be be out there while your enjoying lunch ha. That part freaks me out! At the moment the nerves are non-existent, however I know they will build as the day goes on. I am pretty sure they will peak when I know I need to go to sleep, thats when I get excited about what the following day will bring. All these little parts to racing are what make it an amazing experience. One I wish most people would get out there and experience. It is such an amazing feeling I guess thats why I can’t give it up.

Most of all I can’t wait to experience how my body deals with the journey tomorrow. My aim to enjoy every minute and KM I am out there. Il leave you with the idea that everything and anything is possible! Start with a silly idea and let it grow!! Who knows where you will end up and who you will meet along the way, but the journey is amazing I can assure you that!

Il be looking forward to crossing that line tomorrow. 

Yours in running………

Connie Richards Fitness Blogger x

“Impossible is Nothing”

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Run Wild………..

•May 23, 2014 • 1 Comment

So lately I have been pumped by uni so have been suffocating in a pile of paper and my laptop. Arrrhhhhh!!! The semester is drawing to an end which means a little breather for me coming soon! Thank God! The last month has been hectic with uni, loosing two jobs and running some mammoth miles. But whats life with no hurdles. Now that the running is slowly starting to ease the tiredness factor is lessoning. I noticed while I was in the thick of those big runs I was super tired and unable to deal with little stressors of life. A few mini meltdown occurred. Now that I am coming out the other side of that fatigue I am starting to feel quite good. The last few runs have felt smooth and the legs are ticking over nicely. Finally the work that I put into the legs over that block feels like it is paying off. 

When building for an event or putting in a block of solid training it is important to not become discouraged. More often than not people get into the hard slog in a build up for an event and loose interest as they are constantly tired and not seeing improvements. But one must remember this is where the hard work is done, the strength is built and the money is put in the bank. Remind yourself how good its going to feel when your not tired and that if you can train in this state its only going to get better. Image

The other key factor to remember is that even if you want something so badly like for me for example, to run faster. You must remember that this takes time!!!! Be patient. It doesn’t happen in three weeks it doesn’t happen in 3 months but it does happen. If you put together solid training blocks time and time again you will see the improvements. You must remind yourself to just keep building your base. You will find that when it comes time, and the volume of training is dropped you will start to see the results. Thats when the light bulb goes off anf you realize all those long hard grinds are worth it.

For me I had week after week in the last 6 week block that I felt like rubbish in some sessions. The mind starts to play games, thoughts like if i can’t string these weeks together however am I going to last 100km become louder. But at the exact moment I was feeling completely overloaded my coach dropped me back in my long runs and what a difference that makes. I feel alive rather than in some psycho zommbie state. So if you feel like your in a rut, hold on to get through the block you are in, or communicate with your coach as it may just be a simple tweek of your program and that will be enough to get you through.

There is always light at the end of the tunnel, don’t loose hope yet. Just think of all the long hard milage as money in the bank and you want that savings to grow so that when you start spending you have ample savings to use. 

Run wild…….

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No limits…….why I heart running

•May 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Running is one of those forms of fitness that you constantly chase that extra km or that steeper hill! I think that is what I like about it. You can run well and win races but you always search for more. Wether you are just beginning or have been running for some time. Running has to be one of the most addictive forms of fitness I know. Once you start you can’t get enough! You always just want to improve. I am constantly searching to better myself! 
The best thing about running is it offers much more than just fitness, you meet great like minded people, you see some of the most amazing scenery that most people miss out on and finally the health benefits are huge.You can be addicted to running, or you may enjoy it socially or you may chose to chase running glory. The best part is there are so many distances and forms of running that there is no shortage or chance of boredom. There is always something for everyone. 

I have to admit I am addicted ha! I heart trail running and am looking forward to getting back in there soon. With trail running you are out in the fresh air enjoying nature and the views you are often spoilt with. Trail running is not just for the boys! Females are running trails and running trails well all around the world. So ladies if you get the chance to go take it, you will not be disappointed. The destinations that are on offer for trail running are huge so if your traveling or have trail access locally get out there and see what is on offer.  You will wonder why it took you so long to go. 

In under a month I line up for my first 100km road race. To be honest I’m a little nervous but also excited to see how the last block of training has paid off. Initially I was hoping to gain a qualification to world champs however at this stage the world champs are canceled so this at least removes the time pressure at this stage and I can just concentrate on running to the best of my ability. Training has been going great, however I still have had the odd run not go my way. I guess better now rather than later. I have to learn that you can’t always run well and to learn from the runs that don’t go to plan.

For the 100km race there are many things other that just running to worry about. Working for around 9hours the body definitely needs to be fueled. So trialling with some gels and other nutrition supplements is key. Working out what works best for you prior to race day is crucial. What socks will you wear, are you going to tape your toes to avoid blisters, what clothing best suits the conditions etc etc the list goes on. These are all things that need to be tested and thought of prior to such a large event. The list gets bigger when you hit the trails as you need to be self sufficient in most races and have to carry mandatory gear out there. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. So if in doubt ask someone will be able to answer your query. 

Always prepare for everything and anything that could happen, if you have prepared you are a step ahead all ready. 

Finally I highly recommend digging out your running shoes and hitting the pavement or trails. There are so many races covering all distances that picking a running goal is easy. While you work towards that goal you are doing your health wonders so check out what is on offer and start you winter blitz now.

Running has no limits as to what can be achieved! So make it part of your regime. 

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Run to your own beat………

•April 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Third week into my new program and all is going well! The big runs are big! and the back up runs kick my arse just incase it isn’t from the day before. It has been nice having a well structured program and knowing my body can handle the intensity of the sessions so far. All this money in the bank (miles in the legs) and I just might feel ready for this 100km killer. I am just over a month away from the race, this distance will be the biggest to date so nailing all the little things prior like nutrition, gear and training are what makes the 100km seem possible. It is funny to think that this time last year I wasn’t even considering a gigantic run like this so much can happen in a year.
I would not change it for a thing. Im always told something sometimes has to give and my running never seems to be the thing I give on. Running to me is like my happy place, I’m free of any annoying issues in my life, my uni work, my computer and work. If only the running paid my bills…. For that moment I just worry about one foot in front of the other…. Left right left right “Excellence never occurs by accident. It is a habit of long practice”. Practice makes perfect so the more you put in the more you get out.

The 100km in June has gone from just a race to conquer the distance to a race to achieve qualification to the 100km world champs. Being flexible with goals is the exciting part things can change some for the good and some for the bad. But you just take it head on and move forward regardless. I am super excited about the idea but first to do what is required to get me to the start line and running. I have been trying not to worry to much about outcomes and work on the small parts to get to the start line and be as fit as I can and injury free. I believe we are all sometimes to outcome focussed therefor it can be a let down when we may not gain that desired result. I experienced that with my kayaking. So I still always aim to exceed but am learning that it is not everything. A result is always a great motivation which many of us use but it is also important to see the bigger picture. Desired results are not always going to be your outcome so it is important not to get to lost in that one focus but to work on the small things that get you in the best position to achieve that outcome. I aim to put together the next month of work and taper to put me in the best state for the race. On the day will decide my outcome.

Anything you do in life can be something you excel in. But knowing that you have worked towards that excellence and done everything you can to get there makes the journey so much sweeter. Setting goals is always the best way to start, even though goals are very outcome driven, it would be a lie to say that what first inspires us is not a result or outcome. Once that goal is set, you must ask how do I get there….. put together a plan and work away. Life isn’t easy and we are taught to work hard for something we want.

So don’t sit back and watch others do things you wish to be a part of, get in there and show yourself what you can do!

Life is too short to live anyone else`s dream. Run to your own beat.

 

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50km Nerang the trail monster……

•April 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment

So in the weekend I put my legs to the test in a 50km trail run. It certainly was not just the legs that got tested but the mind also. The race kicked off at 6am with a large enough field contesting the mens and women’s race. At least at this point the heat wasn’t to bad. The race consisted of 2x 25km laps of fire trail, rocky roads and some steep climbs and descends. This race you had to be self sufficient as there was only 2 drink stations so they were around 12.5km between drink stops. 

Pack on and blazing we were off, I had the aim of just completing this circuit as I knew nothing was going to be easy about it, but also I wanted to do well. With names like heartbreak hill and the gut buster we quickly found out what we were in for! The first half of each 25km lap is tough, some good climbs, some step descends but also some great sights. I aimed to just settle into a pace from the start and not worry to much about what was going on around me or who I was near, 50km is a long way and a lot can happen in that time. However the race separated quite quickly and I had found myself to be the leading lady cruising along mostly on my own. The first lap went quite nicely everything to plan, I just ticked away and worked as much as I could. I made a rule with myself to only walk two hills the rest I ran. Nutrition wise I took water in my pack, gels and some endura drink in a handheld. The handheld was empty in the first 6km hmmm its a warm day this is going to be interesting. I rationed as much of my water as I could as I didn’t want to have to stop to refill the 1.5L pack. (this possibly could have been a bad decision) 

I got to the first aid station and soaked myself with water and gulped down as much as possible hoping it would be enough to get me through. By the end of the first lap the other distances had started coming through which was so good for morale and motivation, a couple of high fives and smiles go a long way especially when you have to hit the turn around point (which is the eventual finish line) and head out again!! Mind game much!!! But that is half the challenge so off you go! Again I gulped down as much fluid as I could changed my handheld at the aid station and got on my way.

Second lap started and straight into all the climbing that we had been through before its a tough game running but this was made even tougher by doing the same grueling course twice! You knew what was around every corner on that second lap. Got to love what we do to ourselves. The second lap I felt go pretty pear shaped pretty quick, I was fatiguing and running out of fluids in the heat. Walking had now become my best friend every hill, I just could not lift my legs so opted to walk and work with what I had left for the flats and downhills. The best was yet to come on this part of the trail are beehives, now in the first lap I had not really paid to much attention to them on the second lap my mind was wondering so I had a little gaze, well…. eyes on the prize connie. I clipped my right foot and went through a slow motion flight to land on the rocky path on my right side. Not Ideal! I think I bounced straight back up and kept moving, much to the amazement of the guy running beside me! No time to worry about that I told him, even with blood coming out the little bite on my shoulder and knee! He did comment to me later that he had never heard so many swear words come out at once and he was a plumber so is used to that kind of talk….. Opps very un-lady-like but il blame the shock!

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So after this mishap I still had about 15km to go to be honest I was battling, this became the hardest 15km to date I have done. I was running scared with the fact that I thought 2nd place would catch me. It was a complete mind game and I just had to keep telling myself to move, don’t stop get running again. 

Anyhow as you can read it got nasty the last 5km I had no water and was thinking all sorts of bizzare thoughts! Its awesome what fatigue can do, mixed in with a bit of heat and dehydration! The nice part about the finish or last 3km is its downhill so you could roll if you had to! I was so happy to come around that last bend and see the finishing arch and to enjoy probably a good 10 cups of water!! Thirsty thirsty. 

Relief I had made it!!! Everyone that I spoke to said they suffered the same issues on the 2nd lap, it was warm and we were paying for it!

Another race under the belt, luckily I managed to hold on for a win and another great event! They really know how to test you on the Gold Coast with the conditions and trails they choose! Awesome to see record numbers out there and heaps of people getting involved over all the distances!

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Now after a few days of recovery back to business I’ve got km’s to clock up and work to do. 

Running wild………

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Up the Buff…… thankfully not Duff!

•March 24, 2014 • 2 Comments

In the weekend I took part in the Up The Buff 25km trail race. It was my first race on a trail so again another learning experiment. Standing at the start and listening to the pre-race safety talk from the boys they ask “how many people are returning up the buff racers”?? I would think there was no more than 10 out of a couple of hundred runners! Alarm bells rung haha was it that hectic people chose not to return this year!! I was about to find out. To late now anyhow. We were off and straight into a hill or one of many. 

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When racing, one of the hardest things is to not get caught up in the pace of the race at the start. I kept just telling myself stick to your own pace, stick to your own pace. Easier said than done. After a fast climb up the road we hit the trails heavy breathing and all! At this point I thought oh shit hahaha 4km in and my legs are tired already. I’m hoping I wasn’t the only runner wondering what I had signed up for. To late now we were in the thick of it.

The trail follows the fence line along the ridge of the hill so some of the views were amazing, not that we got to stop and smell the roses. It was all head down and breathing hard. It had plenty of ups and downs some a bit bigger than I wanted to see. The ups were steep so I chose to walk these, this was in an attempt to save my legs and energy for the descends. I have had plenty a ultra runner tell me walk the hills, the energy you will use to run them is not worth wasting. You don’t loose that much time so walking it was, then hit the descends as hard as I could.

At this point everyone is settling and finding a pace to work away at. I was on chase mode at this point as I was sitting in second so focused and working I kept plugging away. The best thing I liked about this race was the other competitors, everyone was egging one another on. You would pass people along the whole run and there was always a grunt or a distance estimate on were you sat. On some occasions I could only muster a wink, a smile or a mumbled keep it up! Plenty a red face and smile to be seen. 

Through the 2nd drink station and you hit strawberry hill (i think that is this lovely little hills name!!) opps I let out a muffled F. bomb (sorry mum and dad) this hill was rather large and in the blazing sun. I was lucky enough to be around a couple of other runners at this point so we entertained ourselves as we started the accent. 

Soaked in sweat and breathing heavy we made it to the top what came next was meant to be fun a decent……. Not so lucky it was so steep another muffled F. bomb drops from my mouth. Only because I know what goes down must come up. At this point everyone is hurting but knowing the finish line is getting closer. I was pushing now as I could smell home! Not long to go I kept telling myself just keep your legs moving….. I would wait for Caine (the mens winner) to come flying past (if you blink you miss him) then I would know that the turn around was not far (and did actually exist) Just to give the team of people on the drink stations a massive thank you! You were all like little fluro angels in your safety vests, was always a great to see you!! So good to have those stations out there especially on a hot day like it was.

Finally back to the road and I just about head off in the wrong direction again a fluro angel sorts me out! This part of the race hurt, the road twisted its way back over the hill with not much shade to hide from the heat of the sun. I emptied the tank at this stage I thought surely you can get through the last few Km’s so I gave my legs shit and headed for the line! Happy to see the finish line I crossed and let out my final F word (one of the following fun, flustered, food) And you thought I was swearing!!!! haha! 

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2:26 for 25km and I was lucky enough to leave with the title of Mrs Buff and a sneaky new course record which I know wont stand for long. This event I think will just get bigger every year! Awesome event and a heap of FUN another great F word. If you love to run and enjoy a challenge this one is for you. Congratulations to all who took part and see you next year!

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Now to build for the 50km in a few weeks time eeeekkkkk……….

 

The social media monster……….

•February 22, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I keep writing then deleting, writing then deleting! Sometimes words don’t always come easy.

Luckily the winter olympics are on while I type away. A visual distraction. What an awesome two weeks of winter wonderland action. New Zealand may not have medaled but some outstanding results none the less! No one unless they have been there can comprehend how different the pressure of the games is to even competing at international level. Don’t judge to quick NZ media our athletes have done our country proud. I also cannot wait to watch my mate compete at the paralympic games. He inspires and blows my mind every time he races! Speed be with you Corey Peters!

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Today also Australia and New Zealand were given the news that Charlotte Dawson (RIP) took her life after a long battle with depression and the battles with social media trolls. Why is it in todays world, social media has become so big people use it to behave or say something they would be too weak to say to ones face. Social media controls so much of todays world, people use it to advertise, to bully, to boost ego, to share knowledge and the list goes on…… What is it not used for?? What did we do beforehand? It seems we have all forgotten how to pick up a phone and ring and say hi or sit in the same room and just talk. Now I’m not saying I don’t use it as I do….but it is sad in some cases what it has done and become. Everyones life is in full view if they want it to be, it’s their to be scrutinized, analysed and commented on… Six degrees of separation becomes one……. Does that all of a sudden give you the right to critique ones life via a photo or status.

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I used to love following all the fitness instagrams until I realized how much it would grind my gears with all the “fitspiration physiques” and so on. I now have become a little more savvy with who and what I follow. I aim to follow things and people that inspire me to be a better me, people who are real whether they have a six pack or not. It is so easy to get caught up in a world of photos and tweets all of a sudden you know more about someone than you ever would and you probably have never met them. Scary how technology has changed these aspects of life.

It is something that is always going to be a part of our lives. It is a monster that I guess we all need to respect but most of all respect yourself and others. It will always be there how you deal with and utilize it will either undo you or aide you. Think twice before you comment, think twice before you post. Would you behave or say that to the persons face, if not I would recommend holding back.

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Your attitude in life will determine your direction! choose the right direction……………

 
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