Monday, July 28, 2008

Cities M7 Marathon 08

This time last year, I was nervously awaiting my first marathon on this very course.....

WOW! It was cold! Below freezing at the start, with a nice layer of frost everywhere. The portable gas heaters that everyone crowded around were wonderful. It was funny to see a bunch of 'underdressed for the cold' people, standing huddled in the dark under some heaters, reluctant to move to the start line til the last second.

With only 137 starters, this race thins out quickly for me, and within 1km, I was running alone. I began to question my sanity even then. 42.2k is a long way on your own. I hate to DNF though and would rather be last than pull out when I know I can finish.

I spent about 10k trying to run with good 'form'. Lately I have noticed how much I lean forward when I run, possibly due to watching the ground to make sure I don't step on/in anything sharp or nasty. I tried to stay upright, chin up, arms swinging parallel and lifting my heels. I was told to imagine riding a unicycle while running... which worked remarkably well.

At 11km with no company in sight, I pulled out the ipod, figuring it might pass a bit of time. Just then Steve, the original Barefoot, tapped me on the shoulder and said hi. I was surprised to see him, figuring he would be in front of me. He had missed the start and was cruising through the field as he ran. He opted, graciously, to run with me for a while.

I have never run with another person in a marathon race for more than a few kms, so this was fun. He stayed with me, chatting and encouraging me along with bits of advice until 21.1k. He said (and rightly so) that it was hard to do the entire race completely alone. Just quietly, it also made me move faster than I would have alone. After he left, I was happy to keep plodding knowing I was half way there already.

The next 14k were uneventful, though I slowed a bit. I worried about the cut off a few times, but recalculating in my head figured I'd still make it. Once again form became an issue, with my left hip and knee starting to hurt quite a lot. Still it wasn't bad enough to stop, though I don't think my limping gait was helping me much! The day never seemed to warm up either and my feet were cold for the whole race. I think I didn't even feel my toes until about 25k. I only did half of this race barefoot, the other half in Five Fingers.

At about 35k something switched on in my head. I don't even know what. Perhaps it was that there was only 7k left. Maybe it was the caffiene laced gel I sucked down. I may have even found the inner 'agro' that I need to bring out much earlier in long runs. Whatever it was, I picked the pace up and began to overtake the stragglers. Each person passed spurred me on. I really enjoyed this part of the run and was even slightly disappointed when I was near the end with no left to chase. That sounds very egocentric, even as I type it now, but it was a new feeling for me.

Again I broke no records today. It was my 6th marathon in 12 months. Possibly too many for this body so soon. But what a ride!! I'm loving the long distances, pushing myself, learning as I go. Already looking forward to the next one.....

Friday, July 25, 2008

Get up outta the dirt

Hip hop music is not usually my first choice in music, but this song by Brisbane band "Butterfingers" has brilliant lyrics. What we make of our lives is our choice.

There’s never been a better time than right now
To get up outta the dirt
There’s never been a better time than right now
To get up outta the dirt
If you sniffle ‘cause your life’s difficult, that’s typical
What you get, what you give
Karma is reciprocal
I got a couple of bones to pick
It's your life, don't whine, take ownership
Get up, stand up, throw your hands up
While high check your mind back for propaganda
We’re there to slander
Truth to candour and it’s good for the goose as it is for the gander
Every gamut of the planet reaps what it sows
So forget about your hair and forget about your clothes
Same goes for your woes for the moment is priceless
Puberty blues becomes midlife crisis
This isn’t an attack or a lack of compassion
But you gotta get yourself back in the action
Tap into your passion and follow it up
Either that or let the madness swallow you up
How full is your cup, half-full or half empty?
You’re the envy of plenty, tread gently
Apathy is deadly and if you got seeds of doubt
That need to sprout, you need to weed them out
I read about people with real cares
And feel for those getting killed in Zaire
Children die there from extreme poverty
In perspective my problems don’t bother me
Think positive, forget about the negative
There’s never been a better time to get your shit together,
It’s bad etiquette to bitch and moan
With your nice clean clothes and your mobile phone
If you can’t see your feet ‘cause you over-eat
And that’s your biggest problem then your life is sweet
Not sleepin’ on the street then you probably got it good
Get up, put your head up, if you can then you should
Stand up straight!
Don't take no shit!
Hands on your shoulders, shoulders on your hips
It's time for a change!
So make it swift!
You're only getting older with the lifeline that you live
There's never been a better time than right now
To get up outta the dirt

Monday, July 21, 2008

A spot of Poetry

See the girl in silly shoes

She thinks she will cruise

Plodding slowly in the race

She is such a disgrace

Running is a serious thing

Do it fast get some bling

Asic shoes are the go

Or brooks if you're slow

So tell that silly girl

To give shoes a whirl

Barefoot running does not knit

No shoes makes you a twit

tim 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

King of the Mountain

Well I'm not the King.... surprise surprise :)

Today was humbling. I set out in good spirits and average physical state to conquer Mt Scanzi and sample the famed rum at the top of the climb.

Had the run been 16k long, I would have finished strongly with a big smile and had time to sample the scones and tea provided by the good folk down Cambewarra way.

Sadly for me, this race is 32k long, and the mountain bit kicks in around 22k. I hurt. Going up always takes its toll, but running down the other side should be a snap.

Today, even going down was hard. Not injured, but just tired and sore. Perhaps it was the marathon last weekend? Or the fall the weekend before? Lack of solid training? Perhaps all of these and more. Whatever it was, I had to walk most of the last 10k.

Finishing last and in a very slow time in front of people I have come to respect, admire and call my friends, wasn't easy. At this time I think I may have mentioned something along the lines of 'never running again as long as I live'. I now withdraw this ridiculous statement ;)

Perhaps next year I'll finish a little closer to the King.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Gold Coast Marathon 08

It is completely crazy to run this race. I am not in good physical condition, and I'm not trained to do it. But I'm going anyway :) I'm stubborn and sometimes a bit foolhardy.

We flew up to the Gold Coast and stayed with my parents for a couple of days, hanging out, sleeping, eating and generally being lazy. On the Saturday I set out in the very stormy weather to register for the marathon at the expo. I know, last minute...

It was pouring, and the whole area was a wash out! But the organisation of the event was second to none, and in no time I had a bib and a timing chip, not to mention a big dent in the credit card. A few Westies chatted to us, and I lined up for an autograph or 2 from Lee Troop.

Before going to the expo, I realised how seriously underprepared I was. I had no velcro to attach the chip to my ankle....trip to my aunty who saved me with her trusty sewing box. No lollies, though I had a couple of gels. I bought some poptop kids drinks and taped some gels and lollies in a bag to the bottle, leaving 3 at the personal drinks area. I hate carrying gels in a race.

That night saw me get no sleep, mum and I sat up talking for hours. 1am and I crawled into bed. The alarm went off at 4.30... who on earth set that??? It took me a few minutes to realise I did, and I had to get up and run 42km!

Dave (UndercoverBrother from CR) picked me up at 5.30 and drove me to the start line. Arriving in perfect time to drop a bag off, and head to the start.

I changed my mind about 30 times when it came to shoes/no shoes. I'm kicking myself now, but I wore vibram five fingers for the first couple of km. The ground was so wet, and rain was still threatening and I thought I wouldn't make it barefoot. Stupid really, of course I would have.

After about 2km, the shoes came off and I carried them a further 24k before dropping them off to friend.

The large number of competitors meant I was never alone in this race. What a great feeling. I chatted to so many people as I plodded along. My hip started to hurt, as did my knee (fall from last weekend) after about 1km, so I was in for a long day.

I met and chatted to a Japanese tv star, complete with film crew and entourage. A fellow who was doing a walk/run technique hoping to break 6 hours... I reckon he would have broken 5! A man who had just completed Ironman Japan and was walking, having a coffee and cake.... he said he was tired, and besides he liked coffee and cake. We talked about 100mile races, I hope to see him at one soon.

I had what I call an 'Anton' moment while running. At about 32km, my body suddenly stopped hurting and I felt my stride was perfect. The motion of my feet and arms was smooth and effortless. I sped up, though my breathing was not laboured. I passed about 40 runners in the next couple of km and felt invincible. It was like running on clouds.

I came crashing down at 35k when I slowed to collect my drink/gel/lollies. They were nowhere to be seen. Damn and bugger! My last gel was at 25k, and still another 7k to go. Oh well, nothing like a bit of a challenge to toughen up the soul.

My favourite 'meeting' of the day was an older gentleman who wore a shirt with 'Port Moresby Road Runners' on it. I speak the local New Guinean lingo, having grown up there, and he was trotting along with a young PNG guy at his side. I came up beside them and said hello, asking how he was, all in pidgin. The shock on the PNG mans face was priceless. We spoke a few sentences and I trotted off up a small rise. It occured to me later that it would have been very strange for him to see me, a very blonde non-indigenous girl, running in bare feet, greet him in his native language.

This was quite near the end of the run, and at this point, the struggle to compete with the 7.5km walkers became the focus. Though we had a separate lane to run it, we were mostly running off the course on the footpath to avoid having to duck and weave, as groups of people 4-5 abreast took up the road.

Rounding the corner for home was wonderful, I really was tired, but still very happy. I wondered to myself if I could keep on going.... perhaps even for another 120k? I reckon I could have done at least a few more km today.

Today I was slow. 5.29.26. But I had fun. Lots of fun. I did 40k barefoot, my longest barefoot run to date. Next time I'll ignore the voice that tells me I need shoes to start off with. Next time I'll put an extra gel in my pocket.

But next time, I'll enjoy it as least as much as I did this one.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Winter is over, spring is here. I have struggled to move lately. My body has been tired and my soul has been weary too.

I posted last month about the seasons we go through, and wondered if winter would ever end.

Many races over many many months were like my Summer.... I had boundless energy and nothing seemed impossible.

The North Face 100 in May was a race I had worked hard towards and I had done my best.... Autumn for my running life and I reaped a good reward.

Life has thrown me some big challenges in the last few weeks, and I have found it hard to cope. My winter. So I have rested, physically and mentally.

Once I was rested, I realised I needed to MOVE on to Spring, regardless of the cold dark feelings of winter still in my bones. To not move is to risk spending a lifetime in Winter, and becoming comfortable there.