Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Two Bays 2014 - The epic run

2:38:01 was my target time, the time to beat from last year. 2:34:28 was the time that ticked over on the clock as I passed over the line.
I had set myself the goal of running under 2:30 and I fell just shy. Was I disappointed, yes I was. Was I stoked to beat last years’ time? Yes I was.

This year I had set out to conquer the 28km ‘Short Course’ of the Two Bays Trail run. I had trained under the guidance of last year’s  3rd placing female – Bec from Staying Power Fitness and went into the race feeling confident. Since February last year I have been running with the Dandenong Trail Runners up and down Mt Dandenong and along the surrounding trails. I was fitter, faster and stronger. Or so I thought…

The night before I'd prepped my gear and all that was missing was the race bib. At 4:40 I was picked up by Peter, 5:05 We met Ben and hit the road for the drive down to Dromana for the start. 

This fish is alive!
If you’ve read last year’s recap you’ll know that this is a tough run. The big challenge is the 1000ft climb in the first 3kms (sorry about the ft/km thing). My race strategy was to go out easy but be within the top 100 through the first checkpoint and then come home strong.  So, at 7:00am we set off. I took off with the field and settled into a 4:40km pace and felt good. Others were shooting past me, I rolled on past a few. The field settled and we started the climb just after the first km ticked over. I tried to drop back the pace and according to the HR was doing about 150 – 160 BPM. This was a comfortable pace and I felt comfortable as we hit ‘the hill’. I dropped into a slower jog and began the climb. I felt strong and was picking up places in the field. I had to hold myself back and allowed a few short walks to try and keep the HR from spiking to highly. 
Locals were long gone before I got here...

Enjoying the descent - l really like the POSE form in front of me

As we hit the top of the climb the trail became the free flowing single track that I was looking forward to and we were able to move along at a fun pace.  With all the training under my belt, it seemed a lot easier and far more enjoyable than last year. It was over too quickly. It was as I started the descent down the trail via the fire tracks that I think I made my mistake. I got talking (as you do/if you can call it that) with a couple of other runners and got sucked into running quicker than I should. I also think it was here that I also tried to hold back a little with my technique and took some early impact through my hips that would come to haunt me later.

The amazing volunteers!
Upon reaching the bottom we headed out through one of the first check points and were eagerly greeted by the ‘vollies’ who are what makes this race what it is. Each check point was manned by the most amazing crews – clowns, beach goers, top hats and more. The cheers and encouragement they gave lifted your spirits and reminded you why you were here. Yes, this race is a challenging one but the people behind it are one of a kind.

Roads became trails, trails became bush and boardwalks which became short sections on roads which ultimately lead us out onto the beach track to Bushrangers Bay and the fabled lighthouse (or the Lighthouse at the end of the tunnel as reminded at the 25km marker).

I really enjoyed the first 19 – 20 kms of the run. I was able to run freely through the bush single tracks, pushed up a few of the roads and loved trailing people on the gradual downhill segments. My increased fitness and form really allowed me to enjoy the scenery that was on offer and camaraderie of this event.

At 20 – 21km it again went pear shaped, and memories of last year came back to haunt me…  I’m not sure why, fatigue most likely but I started to struggle with my hips. At first it was a niggle, but it steadily grew stronger or more persistent as the run drew on. FRUSTRATING!! Cramps I could deal with, but this put me into preservation mode. So, once again the last 5km were a combination of the walk/run/scream/shuffle that I finished with last year. I did manage to run more of the final components of the race a little more strongly than last year and seeing the wife and kids at the finishing line made it all worth it.

Finding some form as the end is in sight...
And done!

Some of the Dandy Runners
Will I do it again? I’m pretty sure I have some unfinished business with this event, and Mrs Fish is fairly keen to run it for herself.

2015 is looking like a goer! 

Finally, a huge thank you to Steve at fstop 5 @ for allowing me to use their photographs. Amazing work guys!

And last of all, if you like what you've read, keep up with the training, the little bits of inspiration and the community chat via the ThisFishCanRun Facebook page.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Using the power of positive thinking!

What is positive thinking? Is it just a saying? Is it a source a faith?

For me, positive thinking is hope. It’s also a little bit of your dreams. It’s a source of strength and self-belief. And, it’s going to get me flying across the line at Two Bays on Sunday, 12 January.

I’ve spent the last 4 months training for this event – 28kms of mixed terrain of trail and back road, including a 1km elevation climb in the first 3kms.
Now that it is less than a week away I’ve got to that nervous/anticipatory stage of the build-up. Last year I enjoyed the run, this year I want to go out there and beat it. And beat it I will, by using a little more positive thinking power and drawing on myself belief.

To diverge just once more, just a tiny little bit, I want to delve deep into my memories to a professional learning conference I did when my FiancĂ©e, now wife and I attended while teaching in Birmingham in 2003. I forget the name of the course and what it was really about, but one thing I took away was self-belief cards. 

Self-belief cards are little post-it notes that you write a positive on, and slip under your pillow. The idea is that you look at them before nodding off, and then look at again first thing in the morning. I used them for about 2 days after the conference and that was that.

Now, in the lead up to Two Bays, I’ve resurrected the idea. Why?

It came to me after jumping on the Dandenong Runners Facebook Group. We were discussing the planned runs for the weekend and I posted one that was perhaps a little ambitious. But, the support from my peers and friends and the many conversations I’ve had while running with them over the last 6 months made me believe that I could do it. “With the form your in Fish, you and XXXX are about the only ones that I know that’ll do it.” Anyway, Sunday came and Nigel and I went out and ran that course. I got 50m from the top of one of the most challenging hills in the Dandenongs and completely blew away another track that I'd never completely ran. Nice work Fish. 

I know I can achieve more than I have done previously. Saying that, I’ve had some amazing runs this last year and I am very proud of what I’ve done. But, there’s always been that little nagging doubt about if I’ve really achieved what I’ve set out to do?

So, this race will be different. Next to my bed is a little arm chair, perhaps to hold a mobile (cell) phone in. Right now it has ½ a dozen belief cards on it, which I look at each time I head into my room. Here they are:

  1.         Master yourself - Time to prove what others believe!
  2.         Master the hill, run a negative split! 
  3.         You will run a 4:30 pace! 
  4.         You have the determination to hit your goal time – you will do it! 
  5.         You will run with who you want, when you want. 
  6.         Your body is a temple; it’s ready to serve you. 
  7.         Enjoy the occasion, you’ve earnt it!

Well, I’ve a Fartlek session left and an easy 6-8k tempo run to run before smashing it out on Sunday.

With the power of positive thinking this Fish can run!

What gets you through a run?