Archive | March, 2017

UQ Twilight 10km

20 Mar

Having recently done my first half ironman (yep, I mentioned it again), the thought of lining up for the Twilight UQ 10km fun run wasn’t really all that daunting.  While I hadn’t actually gone out and run 10km straight of late, I was confident I’d be able to do the distance. Friends encouraged me, and many suggested that it was “only” 10km so I should ace it no problem at all.  I think the reality is what I have found is that no matter what the distance, you give it your all. Whether it be a sprint distance triathlon, a local parkrun…. or even a half ironman, I always want to get to the end of the race thinking I couldn’t have gone any harder rather than well, that was an easy day out. So despite it being a shorter distance than some events I’ve participated in lately, I approached the start line ready to give it my all. Last year I did the race in 1:18 and I wanted to beat that time this year.

We went along with our friends Jeff and Debbie and were at the start plenty early enough. Early enough in fact to watch the start and finish of the 5km race ahead of us.  I have to say that was a great way to start our running afternoon. Such a cool reminder that anyone can have a go at running – there were all different shapes, sizes, ages and abilities participating. I know when I started running I couldn’t make it from one street light to the next, but by just increasing my distance a little further each time, and consistently getting out there, I’ve been able to finish various sized events – and I really enjoy it!… anyway I’m digressing, this is a race report….

The rain was falling by the bucket load Sunday morning… as the race start time approached the skies had cleared, the temp had reduced to what could normally be classed as a pleasant 26, but the humidity was above 80% and the dew point 22.2… and by the time we hit race end it was 25 but humidity had climbed to almost 90% and the dewpoint 23… all in all pretty uncomfortable running conditions. You only had to look around at the finishers – we all looked like we had been caught in a torrential downpour but the delightful news was it was all sweat!

As our start approached, Jeff, Dave and I lined up. The usual nerves kicked in while waiting on the start line, my heart rate was 120 before I even started (double what it normally is!).  I wished the guys well in their run, and not long after we were away.  The first couple of kilometres are uneventful, before the first long slow climb up over the green bridge.  I was feeling good at this point, I’ve crossed the bridge a time or two on my bike, so I knew it was just a long slow steady climb and knew that I’d be fine.  At this point Dave was still running beside me. I’d love to say we had been chatting the whole way but I’m not sure we had even said a word at this point… both of us were too busy breathing.  Once we’d successfully crossed the bridge it was a welcome downhill to head along the Corso.  We were surrounded by so many runners – it was really wonderful to see so many out.  It was here, at about 3.5km I enjoyed my first hydration station. Knowing how hot it was out on course I decided that I needed to have a couple of mouthfuls at each station from here on in to replace some lost fluid.  At each water station I took the time to have two good mouthfuls of water, and then continued on my way.  Dave was still sitting to my right, I wasn’t sure if he was sticking with me to help pace him, or if I was slowing him down… I honestly didn’t have much breath to ask the question, but we kept chugging away side by side.

The Corso lasts forever… okay, so it really doesn’t, but the turn-around seems to be a long way away. At the 5km mark I was pretty happy with my time and just wanted to keep going as long as I could, as hard as I could. I still couldn’t see the turn around, and I couldn’t remember how much further on it was… all I could see was a sea of runners ahead of me, so I kept just putting one foot in front of another.  I’m pretty sure that the first words I uttered to Dave (who was still running alongside me) was “Thank you God” when I saw that the sea of runners ahead had started to turn around…. There’s nothing like knowing you’re on the back half of a course!  It was here I could tell myself “just one parkrun to go!”

Once we turned around I made the decision to take on a gel. I had brought one with me as a “just in case” – for an hour of exercise I didn’t really need one, but I was starting to really feel the effects of the heat and decided that I would use the extra kick.  The problem was, my hands and my shirt were just soaked I couldn’t actually get a good grip on my gel to get the top off!! In the end I was able to bite the corner out, but consuming the gel through the tiny hole took at least 1km if not more – Dave who seemed to have voice, checked with me a couple of times if I was finished and I could only shake my head each time (he was generously asking as he was prepared to carry my rubbish).  As we got to the last couple of aid stations, I slowed even more to pick up some drinks. But other than that we kept on.  Dave would get ahead of me at aid stations but then hung back to wait for me to catch up again after them.  I’m sure he could have done a better time yesterday if he wasn’t waiting for me!

As we approached the cemetery I knew the last hill was coming… and I knew it was a lot steeper than the first slow climb. However, I also knew, once I got over that hill it was either downhill or flat for the remaining 2km.  So, I set off to try and get up the hill without having to walk. I would love to tell you that I let out a big cheer at the top when I did make it up without stopping, however the reality is I was desperately trying to breathe, and oh so thankful for the break of the downhill… the last 2kms – such a relief to almost be able to “see” the finish line.  I was still really happy with my pace overall and wasn’t sure if I’d make a personal best 10km or not, but I knew I was well on track to beat my time from last year.

As we hit the last kilometre, with Dave still by my side he picked up his pace…. Nothing like the finish line to spur one on! But I didn’t have too much left in me, I tried to pick up my pace a couple of times and then found I had to settle back a little.  One of the pacers for the half marathon (going out on the second lap) yelled out “you 10km guys should be going as hard as you can home” – someone near me said they were… I was just trying to breathe….  The race finishes on the UQ sports field track, with the grandstand next to you – it feels like you’re really finishing a race.  I saw Jeff and Debbie (Jeff had already finished) right near the finish line and gave them a thumbs up as I ran past. Dave and I crossed the line together.  Our time exactly 1:05:13 – we started and finished another race together.

As we crossed the line, we went for a short walk to keep moving.  I felt shocking! I was absolutely stoked with my time, but I honestly thought I was going to vomit. I walked, and bent over, and walked and bent over, and willed myself to keep my stomach intact.  So there you have it, another fun run achieved.  I’m absolutely stoked to knock a full 13 minutes off my time from last year – no complaints about a greater than 10% improvement.  What is even better is that it did end up being a PB time for me over the 10km distance as well. So, I was pretty stoked with that!

This was my first event as a fisiocrem sponsored athlete – so I was sure to wear my fisiocrem visor, and equally as sure to put some of that cream into my tired legs before bed! Maybe my new purple visor made me run faster…

twilight pre

At the start line – with Dave (L) and Jeff (R).  


Also got to wear my new MND fundraising tights – super comfy!


Sundays musing

15 Mar

Public speaking… you know, when your mouth turns as dry as a chip, your hands, arms and even legs are shaking like there’s a violent earthquake or you’re having a seizure, your mind goes blank, then what you DO say feels a little jumbled… please tell me you can relate to this!

On Sunday I was asked to share how my love of multisport and my Christian faith interact. I experienced all of the above and more! Despite having some positive feedback afterwards I feel a little like I wasn’t as eloquent as I would have liked, and therefore I’ve decided to answer this question on my blog – and then those who weren’t able to experience the full effects of Jen’s terror when public speaking (as well as those who did!) can read what it was I really wanted to get out on Sunday.

So, how is it that my faith and multi-sport combine?

I love multisport. I train consistently on days off (and will be heading to the pool just as soon as I finish this post).  I get a lot of enjoyment from swimming, cycling, and yes, even running (well… most days…).  I’m a nurse in an Intensive Care Unit, and it can be very easy to think that everyone in the world is sick.  Because, for a lot of hours a week that is my world.  I see people who were previously very active, not able to get out of bed. I see people who have a long journey to any kind of “normal activity” – where walking 10m to the bathroom poses a major logistical challenge.  So training and exercise for me feels like a privilege and opportunity to make the most of the capable body God has given me. Each day I’m incredibly thankful that I, for now, have the time and ability to go out and do it. I feel that God is pleased when I treat my body well. I will also use the tougher training sessions to remind myself of those who cannot currently participate due to illness (particularly family and friends) and take the opportunity to pray for them.

Exercise for me is also a wonderful stress reliever.  I enjoy getting out in the open air and reminding myself that there really is an incredible world out there.  I’m continually thankful that I am not God because I’m just not creative enough for the job.  How many different species of trees are there? What about flowers? The birds in the air, animals on the ground (even the pesky bush turkeys)…. How cool are the cloud formations some times? The world would have looked far more mundane if I had created it – with one type of tree, and one type of flower…  I find time on my long runs, or time on my long bike rides are great times to have a chat to my creator. I can talk about things that are worrying me, things that I’m thankful for…. And sometimes, even ask him to kindly turn the headwind into a tailwind (this isn’t all that successful so far though….).

I also use my love of multi-sport to raise awareness for major medical diseases – in particular, Cancer and Motor Neurone Disease.  Both of these diseases have impacted my world significantly, and continue to do so on a daily basis.  I do believe however, that God made some pretty clever people in this world. Medical Researchers are spending their days investigating these diseases and endeavouring to find links so that treatments and cures can be found or improved.  To do this they need funding. I will therefore continue to raise money and awareness for these two areas in particular – in the clothes I wear out on course (for example: Smiling for Smiddy – funding cancer research, MND and Me – funding research into MND), or by participating in fundraising activities for these areas in particular.  I believe that with God inspired minds, these researchers can and will find medical breakthroughs, and I pray that in my lifetime someone who hears the words “I’m sorry, you have MND” will also be able to have a conversation about treatment options.

I have made some wonderful friends in the multisport world.  There are girls who have seen me at my worst, a sweaty, dripping mess. Cranky that I have to run up that hill for what seems like the 100th time (but is probably only the 9th)… in tears when a session didn’t go as I planned…. wondering how much longer before I can stop… hearing me whinge and whine like a 2 year old who didn’t get ice-cream for dessert.  These girls have been by my side in some big lows and highs. They’ve cheered me on out on course, as well as in training. They have sung me up Mount Cootha to distract me from the fact I’m absolutely shattered and feel like I can’t turn the pedals one last time…. They have got up out of bed to run, ride or swim with me… the clock has even been known to start with a “3” so that I can do a long ride and a run before church. They have taken the time to ask “So Jen, how are you, and I mean REALLY?”  I love that I can build great relationships with those in my triathlon world.  Do I have the same belief system as all of them? Nope. Does it make an iota of difference to our friendship? Nope.  These guys know church is a priority for me (and happily schedule training with me early enough to attend!). If they want my opinion they will ask for it.  Otherwise, I just pray and always strive to be a good example. I want my love for my training buddies (just as much as my love for my colleagues, patients and other friends) to be reflective of God’s love for me.

My brother Pete, who has MND, suggested (perhaps jokingly but I’m holding him to it) that once he’s had his miracle and MND is no longer present in his body, that he’ll do a half ironman with me. So, in the meantime I’m going to keep training so I’m ready when he is!

So, as I journey through my life, and my multi-sport passion, my prayer is very much reflective of the Casting Crowns Song – “Love them like Jesus”.  In so many areas of life I don’t have the answers, but I believe my role in life is to walk beside others on their journeys, and just love them!

Casting Crowns: Love them like Jesus – Chorus:
Just love them like Jesus, carry them to Him
His yoke is easy, His burden is light
You don’t need the answers, to all of life’s questions
Just know that He loves them, and stay by their side