Preaching to the converted

I was having a little laugh to my web developer the other day about my blog and its extremely large readership (cough, cough). Of course I would love to see the numbers go up and enjoy peering at my site stats from time to time but really, I just love to write about running.

And more than that, I just love to write.

And I love to run.

Now coupling that conversation with one I have just had with one of my colleagues at work who is a CrossFit fanatic I have something to write about.  We discussed that when you are militant about something, it turns people off. Such as, I love CrossFit, everyone should be doing CrossFit, YOU should be doing CrossFit.

I stop myself from talking about running ALL the time so I don’t bore the pants off everyone I meet. I also don’t discuss swimming or cycling much either. Lucky I am an Arts graduate because that means I have plenty of other topics that I can talk about at a moments notice. As a Law Graduate once said to me, you will always be good at dinner parties. At the time I was offended but now I see what a great talent it is.

Anyway, it made me think about this blog and how I am just preaching to the converted. I have no illusions that most of my readers are other runners or my friends who are kind enough to read my work. So do I need to do something about that? Do I want to do something about that?

You know what? I kind of do. I would love to see more of my friends and acquaintances getting out there for a bit of a spin. See them turning their legs over in whatever way works for them. Getting time to themselves, making time to get fit, time to meditate, time to de-stress, time to understand the true gift of life as you find yourself out of breath.

How do I do that? How can I preach to the converted AND motivate others to get moving?

Any ideas?



Why do you love running?

I have just received a free e-book from Jason over at Strength Running and would like to share it with you.

He has taken quotes from his readers as to why they love running and added them to beautiful pictures. If you need inspiration to get out the door then here it is.

50-Quotes-Book-Cover-260x300I am sure you will find someone else who shares the same thought as you do about why you love running. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of why we do it.

Here is that reminder.

Please, go for a run. You wont regret it.


Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

I have been running consistently since 2009. During this time I have been particularly pathetic when it comes to maintaining a consistent pace while out on a run, knowing what pace I am running without looking at my watch, or being able to work out my breathing.

After much frustration I gave up and just ran. I stopped worrying about why I couldn’t do all the things that other runners seemed to be able to and used the technology at my fingertips to help with my training.

With my recent foray into heart rate training and my discovery of Dr Phillip Maffetone’s approach, I have been working on building my aerobic base. This has meant running at an excruciatingly slow pace (because my aerobic system is so poor) with a heart rate monitor.

This morning while out on my bike ride, I found that I could tell as soon as my heart rate went beyond the aerobic base level that I have been running within without looking at my watch. I could then quickly back off my pace to let it drop again. I have never been so sensitively attuned to what my body is doing during training. I was mighty impressed with myself.

Maybe, just maybe, after all these years I have finally had enough experience that I intuitively understand my body.

Now that is exciting.

And very useful.

Oh no the mojo…

Ah, once again I am in the post marathon mojo mourning. My running mojo is gone and actually being able to admit it feels like the first step to recovery.

I have definitely been in denial.

Really, I don’t feel like going out for a run, I don’t feel like going for a ride or a swim. I just want to be a big, fat, lazy bones. Hubbie thinks I need a new goal but the thought of a goal makes me shrink inside. I just want to sleep and eat lots.

And sleep some more. And then perhaps curl up on the couch with a good book.

Maybe it has nothing to do with my marathon a couple of months ago and everything to do with the middle of winter. Either way I am going to have to go with it and see where it takes me.

I will make sure that I go for a run at least three times a week and one bike and a swim but I am not going to worry about pace, time or intensity. I am just going to “be”.

Perhaps when I am out there just “being” I might find my mojo hidden in the bushes. I think that is what happened last time.

How about you? Post race anti-climax issues?

Race recap

It has been five days since my last marathon. Part of me still can’t fathom that I have the determination to run a marathon but here I sit, tapping away the words that will describe the race that was my second ever marathon. My immediate thoughts, when I think back to those four hours, are muddled by the gorgeous few days that came after it. My mind is awash of images of autumn leaves on vines, the damp, sweet smell of earth, the feeling of crisp, clean air around you and moving in your lungs. The feeling of peace and happiness that comes from being in the country, outside, laughing with family and friends, meeting new people and enjoying the preciousness of time together. Big, raucous dinners, quiet moments at a cellar door as you savour a deep shiraz. IMG_1339 My romantic dream of running the Barossa Marathon came to fruition, like many of the big reds that aided my recovery, and I am left with magical memories even if it didn’t go to plan. My regular readers will know that my training was immaculate. I followed a training plan and pretty much nailed it. All the tempos, speedwork and long runs. Plenty of km’s in the legs and all at the right kind of pace. I became really excited and laid out a plan for my splits with my coach (aka my little brother). I started to believe that I could get a sub 4 hour time. The day we left for the Barossa I kept whispering to my husband, “42.2”. I was beside myself with excitement, like a little kid waiting for a dear friend to come for a play, or waiting for that ice cream that a parent had promised. My insides were a delightful flutter of nerves and excitement and I couldn’t wait to get out there and see what I could do knowing that I could not have prepared any better. Such a culmination of events that had transpired to make everything perfect for me in the lead up to the race. I had even gone so far as to give up alcohol, significantly reduce my caffeine and cut back sugar a month before to give myself the best chance for a great race. You know what they say about the best laid plans….. And some of you know what they say about marathons. I learnt a lot last Sunday morning. I learnt a lot about myself, about my mental strength, my physical capabilities, and the truth about running a marathon. My first marathon had not prepared me at all, thank goodness my long training runs had. We were lucky enough to have absolutely perfect race conditions. Not too cold at the start and it didn’t get too warm as the race went on. What was absolutely delightful about this marathon is that I got to run most of it with my friend Jarrod Mast. Here we are at the start line with the compulsory selfie. We hung at the back of the small field. IMG_1277 IMG_1285 Jarrod had said that he would run a sub 4 hour with me, knowing what my pace plan was going to be. Of course we had the agreement that at any stage the other could go on their own depending on how they felt. I thought that he would be leaving me behind at some point as he is a very seasoned runner with two Comrades under his belt. Unbeknownst to me until after the race, he knew when he hit the 18k mark that he wasn’t going to be making a sub 4 hour time. Marathons are funny things. You can’t really “bank” time. The faster you go at the beginning often means the slower you go at the end, so Jarrod knowing early on that he wasn’t on pace means that he sacrificed getting the best time he could on the day in order to run with me. There are not enough words of gratitude to express how I feel – thanks mate. 20x30-BVDA0233We ran at least 28k together until we slowly and painstakingly parted ways as I crept further forward, yelling words of encouragement at each turn around when we saw each other. Those 28ks were brilliant. We chatted, laughed, learnt more about each other. Jarrod seemed to know half the field so we gave our regards to many others on the way. We bumped into one of my travelling companions as she did the 10k and our course overlapped. Coming in for the half way mark on the two lap course was also spectacular. My family and friends were waiting to see me, my kids with their snake lollies being handed out to the crowd of runners. (One for you, one for me…). It fired me up and I was ready to tackle the second half. We had been doing well up until this point – not perfectly hitting my splits but close enough so we were only a couple of minutes behind time. Jarrod and I checked in with each other about how we were feeling. I said I felt like I had only run 12k at this time. He laughed and said he could feel all 21.1. Oh, ok. We kept cruising for a while but I could slowly feel the pace draining out of my legs. We were slowing up to 6min/km pace and we were only at the 27km mark. What was happening? Jarrod’s reply was it was likely to be heart rate. Damm it. Damm those gels that you have to take while running and all their caffeine. Perhaps I had been a bit silly to reduce my tolerance. This is when I slowly started inching away from Jarrod after a slower stop at a drink station for him. By the 33k mark I knew my time goal was slipping away from me. I text my husband to let him know I was doing it tough. He sent me a magnificent reply. “You’ve got this. No f*ing around.” Followed up with, “Not long to go. You have a lifetime to reflect. Go hard.” I decided to not let the knowledge of my missed time goal upset me and to remember why I was out there. I love running. Truly. It isn’t easy and it isn’t always fun, but it makes me feel good regardless. I took in the gorgeous scenery and smiled to myself. I was running a marathon! I really started to hurt at the 36k mark and I just thought to myself, “are you doing the best you can in this moment? Can you go any faster?” I made sure I kept doing my best in every moment. Running as fast as I could (which was pretty slow) and staying focussed on the present moment. This is the time when you realise what a marathon is truly about, for you. This is what makes it an accomplishment, a personal achievement, something to admire about yourself. That time when you do not give up, give in, or allow yourself to be swallowed up. I looked up at the autumn sky, I looked across the rows of grape vines, I felt the road beneath my feet. I filled myself up with gratitude for being able to run a marathon. I tipped my hat to all my training, those long runs in the wind and the rain, and kept on going, counting down the kilometres. I was going to get to see my family soon.   20x30-BVDA1858 20x30-BVRB0376 The end of the course had a couple of corners and I wasn’t sure where my family and friends would be. I could see one looming in the distance and kept on plodding, getting agonisingly closer and closer to its edge. As I turned the third last corner I heard a yell, “there she is!” and saw my children frantically waving their pom poms and cheering. I could hear my husband yelling “you’ve got this”. One of my friends had his video camera going and the other was snapping shots like a crazy lady. I suddenly felt rejuvenated after kilometre after kilometre of mental push and pull. I ran to my family full of elation and encouraged my kids and their friends to run with me. The last couple of hundred metres were spectacular as I was flanked by my daughter and my friend’s daughter with my son running just behind. So nice to run a small, community marathon which meant that they could cross the finish line with me. It is a moment I will cherish forever. 20x30-BVKB2634 So, I didn’t get my time goal of 3:59:59.  Who cares. I ended up with a seven minute PB of 4:10:51.  I trained for and ran another marathon and I got to share that with those most precious to me.

These are the moments.

The Doldrums

I have been reading a really interesting book lately about the hidden rebels of Eureka. A rather infamous part of white Australian history. Many of the settlers who came to Australia in the 1850s were Brits looking to make their fortunes on the gold fields. Unfortunately the boat trip from England to Australia was rife with its own issues, one of which was the ‘doldrums’.  With no wind to fill the sails and the heat of the equator, it was trying times as they loitered on the sea in a creaking boat with no land in sight.

Eureka flag

And I am sure you can tell where I am going… I am heading into the doldrums. I unfortunately have a daughter who is a little too caring and sharing, and shared with me her nasty cold. Usually I would run through a cold but this one has me full of headaches, asthma and coughing through the night. Not to mention getting up to take care of my daughter who is also coughing through the night. Three days in and I am already over the litter of tissues, the incessant breathing issues, and the foggy eyeballs. I am aching to feel well and to be able to run, swim or bike.

Perhaps these rest days mean that I will run like the wind when I finally get out there?

Maybe I will more fully appreciate what my body can do rather than feeling resentful at my lack of speed.

Not where I wanted to be at this point of my training, but when does anything go to plan?

Lucky I have over 2 months until the marathon…..

2014 is underway

Here we are. 2014 is underway. Another year starting up full of promise and excitement as one day rolls into the next. I am not one for New Year resolutions as I like to be able to make changes in my life at anytime of the year. Also, being a philosophy graduate I view time as just a construct. This is very helpful when birthdays tick over as well. 🙂

However, I noted that I did a vlog last year as a way to wish my readers a happy festive season and let you know what I had in store for 2013. Looking back on my vlog made me laugh. I didn’t manage to achieve my goals. I got sidetracked by triathlon training with my sister in law which has been delightful. No marathon. Just a little bit more speed. But I did gain a huge respect for cross training which I never had before.

I did a vlog for 2014 but I seem to be having some technical difficulties with uploading it so you miss out seeing me without makeup, completely ad hoc, chatting about what I have coming up. Perhaps it is a sign that I shouldn’t do impulsive videos. If I get it working I will load it, but you have been warned.

I hope your 2014 has started off really well and that you are feeling full of the joy of life.


May you be Merry

A belated merry Christmas post. I tend to go off-line in the week before and after Christmas. There are so many fun things that take my attention and I become totally absorbed in the festivities. It can be such a wonderful time of year or a really stressful one depending on your frame of mind. I am back in to my meditation routine and recently saw someone who has helped me with a couple of extra techniques for bringing more joy, gratitude and peace into my life. I have had a very merry time indeed.

I hope your Christmas, Hanuka, or holidays were delightful and invigorating. Whatever it is that you choose to do during the silly season, I hope it was full of joy and laughter. I also hope you still got time to run, swim or cycle. Perhaps in new locations or with friends.

Wishing you all the best for the new year, may you achieve all your personal goals and have many moments of joy, love and peace.

Thanks for your readership and connecting with me.

Be Merry!

Training Mojo

Time for me to evaluate what I am doing and where I am headed in relation to my training. I loved my first triathlon and despite having initially had plans to do more, am not feeling particularly inspired to sign up for the next one.

I know why.

It’s because I will be doing it by myself and I also can’t expect to have a cheer squad like I did the first time around. I would be doing it just for me and for some reason that doesn’t seem like a good enough reason (today).

I have always trained just for me.  The triathlons were different. My sister in law inspired me to give them a go and we were going to do a whole series together over the summer. As you will know from previous posts, things haven’t worked out that way. So now, I feel a little ambivalent. I also went really hard during my first one that I will be hard pressed to beat those times after a few weeks of joy and mirth as usually occurs over the Christmas holidays.

Hubbie has said that I need to reset my goals and get on with it. He is right. I do need to do that. Perhaps Boxing Day might be a good time….

What do you do after race day? How long does it take you to get your training mojo back?