Race report: Sussan Women’s Fun Run.

First up: disclaimer. For the past 8weeks I’ve only been able to cycle or swim due to a stress fracture in my ankle. Please take this into account when considering my time. Mind you, I’m just happy I finished (spoiler alert).

So anyways, back to the beginning. A couple of months ago, my sister in law Lotta and I decided to sign up for the Sussan Women’s Fun Run, with a plan to train together, which was all well and good until I started running down steep concrete paths and stuffed my ankle. We then went our separate ways: Lotta to continue the training plan, me to cycle and swim and complain about how I couldn’t run.

I had recurring dreams about kicking off my shoes and running. Not the “running away from bad guys” scary running dreams. Just “joyfully running around barefoot” kind of running dreams.

BUT bright side is this period of non running has reminded me of how much I like using my bike for transport, and how much I enjoy swimming for it’s all-body workout and the relaxing mindlessness of the rhythmic arm strokes.

We originally planned to just have a girls weekend but Gary and my brother Scott wanted to come to Melbourne with us for the Saturday. We drove down together, and picked up Lotta’s new car. Then Gary and I went rollerblade shopping (for him) while Scott and Lotta shopped at the DFO stores. Gary and I also visited St. Kilda beach before meeting back up with them.

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There were jellyfish. I really like these ones because they look like jellybeans and have no stingers. I’ve snorkeled in water absolutely full of them before and it was a cool experience.

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After that we met at the hotel, and sent the boys home in Lotta’s new car. A short walk to Oakleigh for some supermarket purchases – breakfast bananas for Lotta and super strong sunscreen for me because I left mine at home.

Then a quiet dinner from the downstairs Chinese place – braised tofu and mushrooms for me. Good Chinese too – no thick, goopy sauce and no MSGs.

Then a little reading, a shower, and bed.

Woke up just after 5am.

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the sunrise (and the servo) across from our room

We got ready – I had set everything out the night before so I wasn’t panicking I the morning about where my things were. Then we zoomed off in a taxi to St Kilda. I didn’t want to carry anything so I used the pocket on my running dress (more on that later!) and my “stuff cuff” from the colour run 2 weeks ago. I love that thing- I can put some cash and a few cards – license/bank card/myki card – and it’s totally secure and safe on my wrist.

Got my heart rate monitor on and threw my glasses in my pocket because I hate running with them on and I totally forgot I was wearing them and didn’t leave them in my car!

We wandered about, had a look at the stalls. Ate bananas. Used the loos. Got someone to take a photo.

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don’t we look nice and fresh?

Then it was time to line up and get started! We were both a bit nervous at this point. Neither of us have run a half marathon before, and Lotta said this was her first race.

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waiting…

I made final promises to myself to take it easier than I wanted to, keeping my ankle in mind, and we crossed the start line and we were off. I said good luck to Lotta and she took off. I kept my pace easy and ran the first 3kms without walking.
From then on I abandoned my plan of running and waking alternate kilometers. Instead I ran until I felt I needed to stop then walked. For the first lap of the course there was probably more running than walking.

I took a single snap during the race – once the runners were thinned out. It was a great course along the seaside.

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It was a beautiful day temperature wise, but the sun beaming down didn’t help. Nor did the headwind that seemed to pickup in the last few kilometers.

I had taken a few dates with me, with a plan to eat one every 5kms as I much prefer dates for quick energy. I think it helped – maybe as a placebo but a single date every few kms did make me feel like I could keep going.

At about halfway, however, the issues started. My hips started aching a little by 7kms, then by about the 10 km mark it was like having knives in my hips when I ran the interval sections.

Strangely enough, my ankle was fine and caused me no issues at all.

But I carried on and revised my goal – to finish in less than 3 hours. I ended up walking the majority of the second lap, running small intervals (e.g this set of lights to the next one).

In the last 3 kms I could feel mini cramps starting in my thighs and the front of my shins. I thought about stopping and stretching but decided to continue on because if I stopped I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get up again!

I ran the last section, and felt my pain (momentarily) melt away when I saw the finish line. Crossing those mats was an amazing feeling and I must admit I got a little emotional.

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Along the course there were a few ladies doing about the same pace as me. Two of them I chatted to briefly while we were all walking a section. Lo and behold they were at the finish line to cheer me on!

I had a few lovely comments about my dress. I saw two ladies wearing dresses as well – they looked like fun homemade wonder woman outfits – but nobody else in a running dress. I kind of like that. Even the announcer at the start line (cheering us on to our second lap) made a comment about it. There were a few people out and about on the course and clapping as we went past too and the whole atmosphere was really lovely.

So, my finishing time ended up being 2:59:15. Under the 3 hour goal I set, and within the time category I registered into.

The good news is when I re-evaluated my plan, I calculated what my pace would need to be and I stuck to it – running short intervals as needed to keep my the time right. And the other news is that I now have a time for my first half marathon, and a goal to beat for my next one!

When I got home I was happy to welcome a new addition to my “Victory Wall”

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Can’t wait for my next challenge (Although my legs may have something to say about that tomorrow.)

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