Even though Tuesday was a public holiday in Canberra TB and I were up bright and early for bootcamp. The schedule said interval training, which had me feeling quite apprehensive as Krissi and I were going for a run straight afterwards. Knowing how hard an interval training session is, I was wondering if I'd be able to run for an hour afterwards.
It was a chilly morning - you'd never know it was meant to be Spring. I braved the elements in a nice warm hoodie and I had a long sleeved top for my run later. We went for a warmup run around the oval. I was struggling immediately to keep up with the others. I felt even more worried about my PT session, particularly as I'd been so stiff and sore on Sunday evening. When I stood up after I finished blogging I was hobbling like a little old lady.
After the warmup run and stretches, we jogged as a group around the outside of the marked oval, which was about 300m long. The purpose of this lap is to check out the ground to make sure we're aware of any trouble patches. After running on the Campbell High School oval during the last bootcamp, this place looked like heaven. They play AFL on Reid Oval during the winter, so it's kept in good condition. As we jogged around Krissi told me that it was up to me whether or not I took the interval session a little easy as we were going for a long run afterwards. I didn't pay much attention to the word "long" as all my runs with Krissi seem long to me.
We ran a second lap around the oval at our own pace. TB ran off ahead of the group while I dutifully brought up the rear. As we finished we were given numbers, which were used to divide us into teams. I ended up in the same team as TB, which I was pleased about. Krissi explained the concept of the intervals session, and I was suddenly glad that I was the slowest runner in the group. We were doing a velodrome session, where the team would run around the oval as a group, dropping the slowest runners off at the end of the second lap, then the next slowest etc, until the fastest runner ran a lap on their own. While the others were still running, the people who had dropped off would be doing exercises in the middle of the oval.
I ran my two laps, then did a lap of crunches, a lap of pushups, a lap of squats and another lap of crunches. After the faster runners had some time to recover, we did the session in reverse, picking up a runner each lap, then finishing with two laps for me. More crunches, pushups and squats for me, but I was feeling a lot more confident about my run afterwards. As for TB, he did a lot of running. That's what you get for being fast!
We stretched and chatted at the end of the session. I was keen to head off and so was Krissi. She suggested I eat something, but I didn't want to after my experience at the fun run on Sunday. We drove over to the other side of the War Memorial, which surprised me, as it's a five minute walk. I thought Krissi must have another appointment after me, but I soon found out why we were putting the cars near our finishing spot. Krissi was taking me for a "long" run.
Because it was a public holiday, I didn't have to be at work and Krissi's next client had moved their session to Thursday, Krissi was taking the opportunity to take me for a run right around the base of Mt Ainslie. Now this is a run that my running buddies have spoken about with awe and fear. Krissi herself had told me that she cried the first time she went up one of the hills. I think she is probably exaggerating, but even the thought that she might feel like crying is enough to impress me with the magnitude of the task. Mind you, she's been preparing me mentally for this over the past few weeks, as she's been telling me about the various sections and how they are all achievable. We've even run nearly one third of the way up the horrendous hill. I have to admit that I've dropped to a walk the two times we've done that, but at least I knew what it looked like.
Krissi told me that the run was just under 10 km. We'd been running just under 7 km along there in approximately an hour. Krissi thought we would be out there for about an hour and a half, which seemed like a long time to me.
I felt absolutely fine when we started the run. I was warmed up from bootcamp. I checked out how I was feeling, just as my Chi Running book advises. No aches and pains anywhere. Still, as I ran along beside Krissi I was thinking up all the reasons why I couldn't do the full run. My knee would hurt afterwards, I would have to walk all the hills, etc, etc. I didn't want to embarrass myself by giving up immediately, so I thought I'd see how I went on the way to the turnaround point.
I chatted away to Krissi while this was all going on in my head. Before I knew it, we'd come to the part of run where there's a high, middle and low road. We've been taking the middle road. I threw up half way up the hill the first time we did that, and I stopped the walk the time after that. To my amazement I was running up the hill and chatting. I figured I'd shut up, relatively speaking that is, and try making it to the top without stopping. I succeeded! I shared my milestone with Krissi, who was keenly aware of what was happening. We had a mini celebration in the way you do when you're running. (Me: "Pant, pant, that was an achievement." Krissi: "Well done Kathy.". Me: "Pant, pant")
I was still thinking that I'd make up my mind about turning around at a particular point on the run when, all of a sudden, we were there. I hadn't realised we were so far along. I knew I was feeling great so I really didn't have any excuse to turn around. The run was so much easier than Sunday's had been. I was really enjoying myself. I figured that I'd keep on going.
The horrible hill was pretty much there. Krissi gave me a pep talk about how to get up the hill. The plan was not to look up, as the top of the hill seemed so far away. The part I'd already run was as steep as it got, and there were a few "flat" bits that would give us a rest along the way. I was to take it slowly but steadily. We made it to our furthest turn around point and I hadn't stopped to walk. I was really proud of myself but it was pretty hard work. The temptation to stop and walk was so strong. Then Krissi said the magic words, "Xxx didn't make it all the way to the top the first time she attempted it." I decided that I would attempt to get further than Xxx before stopping. I just forgot to ask where it was she stopped, so I ended up running all the way to the top.
I asked Krissi about stopping for a water break at the top. She kindly told me that I was going to have to drink my water while I was catching my breath on the downhill. We've been talking about that, as so many people, me included, feel as though they must stop at the top of the hill. Krissi is intent on curing me of the habit!
We got to what I thought was the top, just behind some people who were walking their dogs. They took the path that veered to the right, which went up again. I thought "Oh no, it keeps on going" but fortunately Krissi was quick to reassure me that we weren't going the same way. She had carried our water on her running belt, so she handed me my bottle and fed me a sports bean. Now, I've never had sports beans on a run before. They are fantastic! In retrospect, I'm a little amused that I became so excited by an orange jelly bean. It tasted so good and it was so refreshing. Krissi only had four sports beans and she kindly gave me three of them on the way around the mountain. In fact, she would have given me her fourth bean too, if I'd asked for it. How lovely is that?
Once we got over the top of the horrible hill, Krissi warned me about another part of the run that was psychologically difficult, a series of hills that looked tougher than they really were. After that was a section where you were in what looked like the middle of nowhere, reached a recognisable landmark, and then kept thinking you should be back at the War Memorial.
After the horrible hill there was a lovely long downhill to run, with fantastic country views. It's hard to believe that you're in the middle of Australia's capital city when you're running through bushland with not a building in sight. I settled in and enjoyed that stretch, particularly as I knew there was more hard work to come.
I was glad Krissi had warned me about the deceptive hills, as the sight of them would have convinced me that I was done. By this stage I really wanted to make it the whole way around the mountain without stopping. I gritted my teeth, took the hills slowly and made it up all of them. The next section didn't worry me so much as I worked in the building that was the recognisable landmark and I'd been running on some of the tracks in the past. What bothered me was that my legs felt like lead.
It was quite understandable. I haven't run for more than an hour for about 18 months. My longest recent run was 8.67 km on much flatter ground. I'd just done an hour of bootcamp (even if it was an easy session). No wonder my legs were tired.
That was the whole point of the run, to take me past what I'd been doing already. Krissi wanted to move me further from my comfort zone. She certainly succeeded!
As we wended our way along a few different tracks on our way back to our starting point, Krissi told me that the finish would appear sooner than I expected. I thought she was being extra encouraging, but she was right. Before I knew it, we were there. I was so glad! I went to turn off my Garmin and realised that I hadn't turned it on properly at the start of the run. My amazing run, complete with impressive elevation profile and I didn't have a record of it. I had to laugh. Oh well. It looks like I'll have to run it again so that I get one. (Krissi sent me hers. I just have to work out how to load it into SportsTracks. Don't worry, I'm an IT consultant - I'll figure it out eventually.)
I am so proud of myself for doing that run. The thing that I'm most proud of is that I ran the whole way. That's a major achievement as I used to be one of those run/walkers. It's taken me a long time to be able to just run as my legs seem to make the decision before my brain gets involved. I even stopped to walk a couple of times on Sunday.
I was exhausted all day on Tuesday though. Thank goodness it was a public holiday!