Friday, 4 November 2016

will run for chocolate

Training for my second marathon has officially begun. All the action is on 15 January 2017 at the Cadbury chocolate factory in Claremont, Tasmania.

I'm scared and excited in equal measure.

Scared because being my second marathon I know what to expect, not just on the day but in the weeks between now and then. I'm exhaustipated just thinking about those 30km+ long training runs.

Excited because this will be my first visit to Tasmania, and my mum and I are making a mother and daughter extra-long weekend of it.  I'm also excited knowing that I have run 42.2km once before, I know I can do it again... and prove that the first time really wasn't a fluke.

...and this time there will be chocolate!

Friday, 26 February 2016

Half way to ninety

It was my birthday last week. My 45th. I'm half way to ninety, which kind of makes me sound old. But I don't feel it, not this week anyway.

My birthday was a day of reflection, as one tends to do when they clock over into new digits. While it was tempting to dwell on all the things I haven't done that I wanted to do before I reached 'middle-age', my focus is on the one thing I never thought I could (or would even want to) do. Run a marathon.

Right now, at 45, I am the fittest I have ever been my life. And I'm so very proud of that. Although I had previously hated running and would do anything to avoid it, a little over three years ago I decided that I wanted to give it a red hot go. At almost 42 I was losing a fight with gravity, and realised that I needed to do something to avoid the dreaded 'middle-aged spread'. So I learned to run.

No-one was more surprised than me. Not only could I run (after weeks of persistent 0 - 5km training sessions) but I actually enjoy it.  These days I lace up my shoes and head out for a 5km run for fun. Who knew?!

I could go on and on about the transformation that takes place when running becomes not just a chore but a way of life, but I won't. I haven't got time for that. Today. But I will say that I didn't start running with the intention to run a marathon. No way. I didn't realised I was that crazy.

I'm 45, half way to ninety. In six weeks I'll be running my first marathon. And that feels awesome.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

How to keep your running mojo after you've crossed the finish line

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If you're like most runners, you probably trained hard for weeks or months to reach your goal of finishing a race. Whether it was 5km, 10km, or a half or even a full marathon, it was an incredible achievement and now it's done you're in a bit of a slump. It might surprise you to know that it is quite common to lose motivation, feel fatigued or even a little bit lost after reaching a goal that you'd worked so hard for. It's happened to me, and here are a few strategies I've used to get myself back on track (pardon the pun!).

Take a few days off! 

Yep! It's okay to take a break and give yourself a few days to recover. Take a week if you have to, your body needs to rest. But give yourself a date to get back out there so you know that the rest days won't be forever.

Cross train

Go for a walk, ride a bike, swim some laps or join a fitness class. Zumba, anyone?
The point is to keep your body moving, even if it's at a lower intensity. You can do that, right?

Set a new goal 

When you think about it, achieving a goal rarely means that you've 'arrived'. A goal is usually a stepping stone to another goal, and achievement signals the need to reset. So set yourself a new goal, but of course make sure that it is realistic and that you have a plan to get you there. Short-term goals, like weekly or monthly mileage, are a great way to get back into the routine of regular running sessions.  Longer term goals, like your next event, keep you going and give you another achievement to strive for. It's okay to register for an event that is the same distance, or even shorter, than the previous. For instance, you could shoot for a PB at a shorter distance which means that you'd focus on increasing your pace. Of course you might just be in it for the bling!

Lace up your shoes 

Just put on your running shoes and head out the door. Appreciate that you have a healthy body, a pair of strong legs and air in your lungs.  Enjoy the moment, be thankful that you can run rather than seeing it as a chore. Focus on how awesome you'll feel after your run, and just do it!

Even more importantly, don't put too much pressure on yourself. Listen to what you body is telling you, remember you have worked hard, possibly stretching your physical limits. Your body might just need time to recover and there's no shame in giving yourself a break.

Have you got any tips to add?

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

3 questions you will ask yourself when you decide to run your first marathon (and you'll keep asking)

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Late in 2015 I decided that 2016 would be my 'year of the marathon'. Immediately the questions started, mostly in my head but sometimes out loud.  Now that we are three weeks into the new year, and I am on week five of my marathon training plan those questions are still hanging around in my head, but the answers remain the same.

Do you really want to do this?
Seriously, if the answer is "no, not really", you're in big trouble. You might as well just stop right there. I don't want to sound negative, I hate being told I can't do something just as much as the next person, but if you don't really, really, really want to run a marathon you'll probably wimp out at the first signs of losing a toenail. Unless you are firmly committed to crossing the finish line 42.2 km after you crossed the start line, it's unlikely that you'll stick to the training program that will get you there.  It's not the 42.2 kilometres you have to run on race day, it's the hundreds of kilometres you'll run in the months leading up to the day that have the power to undo you.

You've got to want it. Really want it.

Can I really do this?
It's perfectly natural to doubt whether you can do something that you've never done before. Sometimes a little bit of doubt can even be motivating. You know, prove the doubters wrong. Even if you're one of them. It's not the presence of doubt that will prevent you from succeeding, it's a lack of planning and commitment. So find a training plan that suits you, enlist a training partner or support person/s and commit to yourself that you can and will do it. Stick to the plan, no matter what, and anything is possible.

"Can I really do this?"  Yes you bloody well can!

Am I crazy?
...and the answer to this one is, "Yes, probably." Anyone who'll train for four months to run 42.2 kms for a bottle of water and a banana has to be at least a little bit bonkers. But that's okay. You might be crazy, but least you'll be fit, have great legs and a perky butt.

Got any other questions to add?

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

3 reasons NOT to wear old running shoes on your long run

old shoes
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It’s quite possible that most runners have done it at least once. That is, lace up a pair of running shoes that are well past their ‘use by’ date and set off for a run. I made that mistake on Sunday, for 15km. Foolish? Much.

So while I am by no means an expert on running shoes or injuries, I figure my stupidity has at least qualified me to share three reasons NOT to wear old running shoes on your long run (or any run, really).

1. Blisters

A common cause of blisters is ill-fitting shoes. You know, shoes that move on your feet as you run causing them to rub on areas of your feet, particularly the heel, toes and ball of your foot. Old running shoes that have stretched or have compressed soles can move around on your foot more than they did before all that wear and tear, and give you blisters.

2. Shin splints

Running in old shoes that have lost their shock absorption can contribute to shin splints. The term shin splints refers to pain felt anywhere along the shinbone from knee to ankle, and it’s far from pleasant. Impact and technique can be affected when running in old shoes, and these are thought to be two factors that increase the risk of shin splints.

3. Achy feet

When your running shoes are worn out they are just plain uncomfortable. Anyone who has worn six-inch heels will know that uncomfortable shoes equals achy feet. So if you are finding that your feet (or knees or back) are becoming achy after a run, chances are there is little cushioning left in your shoes.

So do your feet a favour. Replace your  running shoes when they are worn and no longer comfortable, and don’t be tempted to pull them out for ‘just one more run’ unless it’s to the shops to buy a new pair!

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Falling short in February

My running goal for the month of February was to run 100km.  This was the same distance goal I'd set for myself in January, one that I had achieved (with 106km).

Things didn't quite go according to plan during February though. Mostly because I was unwell for a week so was forced to take a week off. Although I was able to run just over 20km in the last week of the month, there just wasn't enough days to make up the shortfall.  Some months are like that. Short.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Old-school research

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Early this week I took myself off to the local library to do some research, the old-school way. According to the helpful lady behind the 'Memberships' desk, I hadn't used the library for more than five years. That would be why my borrower's card had been cancelled. Two years ago.

If I remember correctly, the same thing happened the last time I attempted to use my borrower's card... you guessed it! Over five years ago. Although I didn't actually have to remember this because the helpful lady behind the desk looked it up in her computer. *blush* Apparently a library card is cancelled if it isn't used in three years.

Now I'm not much of a mathematician but at a guess I'd say that means I've been to the local library twice in over eight years. It's not that I hadn't been to A library, I just hadn't been to the local council library.  While I was studying part-time I used the uni library. Occasionally. That was my excuse anyway.

You might be wondering what prompted me to visit the library after so many years. (Or maybe you aren't) Earlier this month I wrote a post about writing a book, or at least about practising writing and beginning research for a book. I went to find some information on life in Australia between the wars, and some specific local history, because this is the setting for my novel. I brought home three very interesting history books... and I can't believe I just said that! I've discovered that research is actually enjoyable when you are researching because you want to, not because you have to.

When did you last go to a library? What have you researched lately?