Which Disney Princess are you?

I think it was a blog by @AskWifey that first introduced me to the Disney Princess Half Marathon. What??? I could run a half marathon that would not only take me through the Disney castle, but I would be the odd one out if I didn’t have on a tutu and tiara?

I would love to run in a tiara. I don’t have an answer to the question of why, but perhaps it stems back to when I was a little girl with a magic wand that could transform anything into a beautiful princess.

I was a dreamy child spending many an hour imagining I was Tinkerbell and talking with the other fairies up the back of the garden. I also rather liked Cinderella and her fairy god mother. Other than the obvious issues with girls expecting Prince Charming to come along with a glass slipper, I think that Cinderella holds a far greater message for us all.

I always liked Cinderella because she isn’t afraid of a bit of hard work. She is also extremely emotionally resilient and independent. You can see where I am going with this….

Cinderella

Training for a marathon means that I have to enjoy alot of hard work, lots of km’s, sweat, sore muscles and persistence. One also needs to be able to manage their mind and mental state both when pounding the pavement and also at all others times when injury strikes, your body aches, and you are really tired but still have to get on with the other important parts of your life, like parenthood, with love and compassion.

And the real transformation comes from within. Cinderella’s fairy godmother could be a metaphor for what happens if we all tap into our hidden princess. If we are good within, then the good shines without. Cinderella’s optimism and joy in life is what truly makes her a princess in my mind. No wonder Prince Charming comes into her life.

I am full of optimism and joy as well as the necessary hard work and emotional resilience. I am looking forward to the day when I can #runDisney and know the joy of running into the Disney castle with some of my #momsrunning and #FiTASTICMomsRun twitter crew. We have talked about it for a few years and hopefully we can make it come to life very soon.

Now where is that magic wand of mine?

 

Race Recap – Goal #4 Achieved

I was waiting for the official images from the race so that I could add one into this blog but unfortunately they are all a bit ordinary. Very disappointing!! I was wearing one of my favourite nuu-muu dresses – violette.

So lets talk about what was achieved. Since I started running three years ago, I have had a number of goals. 

#1 – To run a half marathon – I achieved this in October 2009 in an incredibly slow time of 2:25. Nine months earlier I hadnt been able to run more than 5 – 10 minutes so a great achievement for me.

#2 – To run a 10km in less than hour – I achieved this in December 2009 with my sister in law at a wonderful women’s only fun run. 

#3 – To run a 5km in less than 25 minutes – I haven’t done this officially at a race as I don’t really register for shorter races but I have done it in training just this year, in May I think. Ecstatic with achieving this goal as I have always believed that my body contains NO fast twitch fibres at all. Not sure if it even knows what they are!

#4 – To run a half marathon in less than two hours – this one has been on the list for a while. I was a little complacent during last year’s Run Melbourne event and ended up with a time of 2:01:13. Doh! I did enjoy a nice chat with a lovely guy in the middle of the run – you can read about that here. And then disaster struck in October 2011 when I came down with a virus the night before running the Melbourne Half Marathon and ended up wtih a time of 2:07ish which was pretty good considering I nearly threw up on the side of the course and had to take walk breaks.

#5 – To run a full marathon in under 4 and a half hours – this is slated for October 2012… I’ll keep you posted.

#6 – To run a half marathon in 1:50.

On 15 July 2012, I achieved goal number 4. I ran the Run Melbourne Half Marathon in 1:55:48. NICE. I am absolutely delighted that I have achieved my goal of running a sub 2 hour half. It was not a great run. I didn’t feel good for the last six kilometres, but it is a funny course and I always go out too hard as it starts with more downhills than uphill. And you have to do two laps of this twisty, dog leg, hilly course. 

Nonetheless, it was another one of those magical mornings. Dark and cold at the start line with everyone revved up and excited and slowly the sky got lighter as we got underway. Finally a bit of blue sky and sunshine showed itself just when I needed it to get through the last 6km. 

One of my friends had text me the day before to wish me luck and told me I would be fine as I have a “mind of steel”. I carried this with me anytime the going got tough. I didn’t stop, I carried my own water so I didn’t have to deal with the water stations, I used some gels and focussed on hitting my splits. First 10k in 55mins, hit 16km at 1:26, then open up and run as hard as you can.

Well, I did the first two ok, but the opening up bit, ahem, I think I might have slowed down… tried desperately hard to push but it just didn’t work. I have no idea why as I am usually good at pushing on tired legs – I practice it all the time on my training runs. 

Ah well, it was what it was, and despite being disapointed with how I felt, I was deliriously happy to have achieved my goal.

I also was lucky enough to be in the Runners World VIP tent so I scored a free massage after the run from a lovely physio called Andrew. Thanks Runners World!

Now I get to turn my mind completely to my marathon training and focus on endurance, not pace. 

Run happy everyone!

Why all these runners?

I often get asked why I think that there has been such an increase in runners over the last few years, in particular, the number of mother runners.

I think I have finally nailed an answer….

1. Because it is in our DNA – in the words of Christopher McDougall – we were Born to Run.

2. Because running is FREE and freeing.

For a mum, what better thing is there than being selfish enough to do something for yourself. To use all that resilience that you have built through parenting and channelling it into running long. All it takes is throwing on a pair of kicks and heading out the door.

Magic!

Confessions of a trainee marathoner

1. I confess to absolutely loving my marathon training.

2. I confess to having to hold myself back in conversations so that I don’t talk incessantly about pace, distance, fuelling, compression socks, my love for my garmin, and any running gear or training plans generally.

3. I confess to planning out “other” topics of conversation so that I have them ready to go in order to help with holding myself back from talking about running (see point 2.).

4. I confess to eating more chocolate because I feel that I am allowed after running 24km on the weekend.

5. I confess to secretly loving to go fast despite saying that I have to work on distance and negative splits and not worry about pace. It’s true, I have to stop thinking about pace. Really….. Ok, I will try harder.

6. I confess that I am the luckiest woman in the world being able to negotiate work hours so I can run when I need to and as my training plan dictates.

7. I confess that I am reading ‘Born to Run’ again just because I love how it inspires me to run further.

8. I confess that I don’t care what my legs look like so long as they get me through my km’s. They have a purpose! They are not here to look good.

I didn’t really understand when my brother and sister-in-law told me that a marathon is a huge emotional commitment. I knew it would be a time commitment but now I can see that the emotional commitment is also the joy that comes from running long, from having a plan to follow, having a purpose. And the thinking time it takes up is so much more than I expected.

Thank goodness for DailyMile and Twitter where I can talk incessantly about running and all those like-minded people completely understand and provide an infinite amount of wisdom and experience.

I am promising myself that I will look back on this time and remember how exciting it is and how full of joy no matter what comes.

Ah Happiness….

I love running.

I do. I love it more than a good glass of shiraz from the Barossa Valley, and let me tell you, that is saying something. (Sorry Langmeil, Two Hands, Artisans, I do still love you).

I love it more than a block of lindt chocolate kindly left in the fridge for me from my mother-in-law for our return from holiday.

But I dont love it more than a delightful Sunday morning sleep in with my hubbie. Lucky I changed my Marathon training plan around so that Sundays are my rest day. 🙂

My marathon plan is set and I am excited. I typed it into an excel spreadsheet and messed around with the dates and distances to allow for holidays, family engagements and timing of other races. Whooo hooooo. Now it is up on the fridge for all the family to see and, hopefully, to understand why I am waltzing out the door, again, in my running gear. 

Happiness is a well thought out training plan. Even greater happiness comes from being able to stick to that plan as much as possible. We shall see how it goes.

18k medium long run – DONE on Saturday just gone. Nailed my goal of running at a consistent pace despite the terrain and tested out using gels again (which has been disastrous in the past). Great run, great post-run feeling.

Fartleks – DONE in the freezing cold. Had forgotten what a hard workout they can be… hmmmm….

10k – DONE this morning. Once again in the cold but I was feeling rather sluggish following the Fartleks yesterday. 

Wondering if perhaps choosing the intermediate marathon training plan was a little ambitious but only time will tell. Right now I am revelling in having a training plan for my first ever marathon and am excited about the km’s I am going to traverse.

Happy running everyone.

 

The best laid plans….

My hubbie desperately needed a family holiday to recharge his soul so we headed off to sunny Malaysia for 10 days. It was absolutely divine. 35 degrees every day with 90 something percent humidity. I live for that kind of weather. It makes me feel alive.

Before I left, I had been realistic about the fact that I wouldn’t be able to stick to my training plan. The hot, humid weather would keep me from running the 24km that was scheduled for the first weekend. I decided that if I could run a number of 10km runs in those conditions then that would make up for the lack of distance. Or at least I could fool myself that this was the case.

When we arrived at the beautiful resort that we had chosen, I quickly checked out their maps and worked out a route that I could run, starting with a 5km. The next morning I was up and at ’em as soon as it was light.

I adore the sense of adventure that is involved with placing your feet where they have never been before. Looking around at scenery your eyes have never seen. Not knowing what is coming up around the corner or how much longer the path will meander before you. That is one of the many joys of running in a new place. You get to see and know it so intimately. You become so much more aware of your environment, the sounds, the smells, the feel, the wildlife.

The path I took quickly led into the jungle. There had been a thunderstorm the night before so the river I crossed via a rickety wooden bridge was smelly and green. The jungle path was oppressive with heat and the dampness in the air made it feel very close and tight. My lungs were working hard but my legs were fresh and my mind excited. My garmin GPS lost me and I didn’t care.

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The path meandered through the jungle until it opened up on a beautiful beach. The tide was out – yay! I quickly was on the hard sand near the water line and lifted my head to take in the huge sky, stretch of beach and smell the salty air. I was alone on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world (or so I felt at the time) looking out on the South China Sea.

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My run along the beach was heavenly and I was sad when it had finished. Ah, but there was more to be discovered. I found the main road that led back to the resort and enjoyed discovering its treasures. Finding the staff accommodation, the main car park, seeing the back of the eating areas and staff entry to the kitchen, finding the vegie patches, past the sports centre, and out to the front gate. I have no idea how far I ran but I can say that I was wrecked. It could only have been 5km but when I stopped and leant forward to catch my breath, the sweat dropped off me like a rain storm. Immediately I thought, “uh-oh, this isn’t good.” If only running 5k had me feeling like I had done 8 hours of aerobics I was in a whole world of hurt.

I did my best for the rest of the holiday. Trying hard to build the distance I ran and I also added in some cross training to help me. I did body pump classes and water aerobics not to mention the walking, swimming, sailing, tree top challenge course, running around after the kids and some dancing.

My beautifully laid plan went astray, as they do, but it was a magical holiday filled with experiences that I won’t get again in a hurry. Hard work ahead of me now, but from a well-rested place with a sense of having been invigorated by the journey.

Happy trails everyone.

 

So when can I call myself a “runner”?

Seriously folks, at what point in time do you get the ability/right/confidence to call yourself a runner? 

Following my last post where I confessed to some negative internal thoughts, I have been wondering if, because of those thoughts, I don’t actually consider myself a runner. What I have come up with is that I actually see myself more as a mum that runs. 

This is fascinating because I am more than just a mum. Just like all parents, I balance paid work, children, housework, volunteer work and my own hobbies (hmm perhaps that should be singular, hobby).

I guess in my mind a real runner is those people who replace their full time work with their running. These are the elite athletes who focus on their sport. 

Also, I think that my mum title takes up a lot more time, brain space and emotional energy than any other thing that I do in my life. Although that might all change with my marathon plans this year!

As with all of us I guess, we are multi-faceted and to call yourself one thing, such as a “runner”, does not truly represent who we are or our experiences.

I truly am a mum who runs (and works, and sleeps, and reads, and daydreams).

Another mother runner. How does your running fit in with your life and sense of identity?

 

John_bingham_runner_quote

Lost and Found

Had a fabulous night in with a dear girlfriend last night. We often share stories about our experience of motherhood, wife-hood, and balancing our personal passions in life. Something I know to be true is that motherhood (parenthood) has been my making and also my undoing.

Hence, I started to think about how I am in the “lost and found” box at the local swimming pool. I have lost myself in parenthood and also found myself. Tacky? Cliched? Let me explain.

I lost my independence starting at 6 months pregnant when I couldn’t move the way I wanted. I found my sense of joy in knowing that I was making a little person inside my body.

I lost my desire for an exciting career and found the desire for a good night’s sleep to be so much more important.

I lost my status of breadwinner in the family home and found I could actually rely on others, and it was ok.

I lost myself, my identity as a feminist, a professional, a “successful” woman and found the peace of an afternoon in the sun, the joy of actually getting something done like a clean load of washing on the line.

And again, I lost my independence, my ability to be selfish, to do what I want when I want without considering anyone else. And found that my mother was true, we are all 2 year olds having tantrums when we can’t have our way, it is a very thin veneer. I also found that it is better to share the experience of life and to see it in a completely different light, interpreted through those childish eyes that we have forgotten we once had.

I have lost my sense of self, passion and purpose. I found my joy, resilience, and mental toughness.

And what is life but the love we have for each other?

I will not wait for the children to fly the nest before reclaiming my journey in life. I will find the balance of my personal passion and my responsibilities in order to give them an interesting mother.

Children need interesting mothers.