Tag Archives: grateful

Race time has arrived


It’s starting to look a lot like a Marathon

IMG_3262Promotional signs crop up around the streets near the race. Marquees from clubs and merchandise stalls line the pop-up event headquarters. Parking restrictions and road closures in place. Forecast: Sunny, slight breeze, 12C/54F overnight, high of 20C/68F. Excited and nervous athletes buzz around the area.

Approaching the registration desk to collect my race number, it starts to feel real. Really real. Laminated signs designate the various distances: Marathon (42.2km). Nope – too far! 10km run. Nope – too short! Half-marathon (21.1km). Ah yes – that’s Just Right.


Race numbers and promos

The cheery volunteer looks up my name and pulls out my race badge, handing it to me with four safety pins and a promotional visor. I suddenly recall that I used a cheeky name when registering, way back in March! Seems so long since that day I committed to participate in this event. And I convinced my teenagers to join in on the shorter 5km distance.


Event headquarters


Deliberate winding back of activity to rest the body. Sleep well, eat well. Shorter runs at slower speeds. After many months of early alarms and smelly laundry, all the preparation has reached a head and now time for restoration before the big day. And indeed to take the opportunity for some pampering after so much hard work – a massage and a facial just to look and feel my best.

Fortunately through the months, injury and illness have not found me. Ironically now, at the 24-hours-to-go stage, I suffer from congestion and the onset of a head cold. Perhaps it’s all catching up with me. A trip to the health food store for some high dosage treatment, plenty of fluids and a quiet day will hopefully see me improve by the time I make an appearance at the Start line. No matter what state I’m in, I anticipate that the excitement of the day and the festive atmosphere will buoy my spirits and carry me along the path.

Race day preparation checklist:

  • Running clothes laid out (not simply for fashion statement, but practical to avoid chafing etc) IMG_3149
  • Running shoes ready (have opted for my older pair to avoid the blisters my current pair give me)
  • Phone and Fitbit charged up
  • Sunglasses and hat
  • Water bottle and energy drink prepared (perfect timing as the container is nearly empty)
  • Towel and spare clothes for afterwardsIMG_3204
  • Cash for post-race celebrations (perhaps most important of all!)

Now, have I forgotten anything? Seems like I usually do… Oh yes, Smile and Have Fun! Most important. Am I ready for this? As ready as I’ve ever going to be! I’ve enjoyed the training and the increased fitness, making friendships and pushing beyond my limits. A big Thank You and best wishes to all my running buddies (you know who you are) and moral support crew! I look forward to seeing you all at the Start line.

And I can’t leave out my target finish time. I’m aiming for under 2 hours, preferably closer to 1 hr 50-55. But ultimately, whatever the time, I want to get across the finish, and enjoy the atmosphere along the way.

Words of wisdom, from back at the start of the journey

Words of wisdom, from back at the start of the journey.

Joining training group


Group training sessions

Training circles expand as I participate in a weekly run session coordinated by the marathon organizers. Conveniently it complements the proposed 12-week pre-marathon training schedule. Well at least one day a week I will be following the recommended guidelines…

IMG_2456Tuesday 6am and about 30 keen souls gather at the designated location. Dividing into groups of fast, intermediate, and well, slow, a leader for each subdivision starts off the runners, who don’t know each other and haven’t run together before. After a 4km warm up, the target is to do intervals. A manageable 30 second sprint, the 30 seconds of recovery jogging. Increase to 60, then 90 seconds of sprinting and recovering. All the way up to 2 minutes of fast paced running and then slowing down to jog. Repeat. Repeat.

Having mainly just done consistent running, I’m not used this style, but can appreciate the benefits. It seems my pace places me somewhere in between the intermediate and slow group, so I end up doing the distance solo, using my watch as timekeeper to start and stop each interval. Eventually we all end up back at the starting point and after brief acknowledgement, everyone disperses to commence the rest of their day.

More running talk, with an article about the increasing popularity of running on the academic based news site The Conversation. The modern concept of ‘running’ as sport/exercise seems to have gained popularity in the 1960s.

In rejecting our lethargy, we will continue to look to the easiest, cheapest and most accessible and enjoyable activity that we can.

The simplicity of putting on a pair of running shoes and heading out the door at any time certainly makes it convenient. Finding those who share in the running fraternity comes from unexpected places. The other day as my son’s friend’s parents dropped off their child, they spotted my Hoka running shoes in sitting on the shoe rack inside the garage and sparked off a conversation about running.IMG_2569

In a wider social benefit, recently Parkrun partnered with the local council to hold a community event – ‘Racism. It stops with me.’ In small ways, running can bring together different groups of people to foster understanding and friendship. In today’s world, we need all the cooperation and respect we can get.

As the time to the half-marathon draw nearer, I continue with clocking up the kilometers and increasing speed as best I can. Inspiration comes from many corners, my regular training buddies, other runners, online communities. And I feel proud to be a role model for my teenage kids and inspire them to challenge themselves and reach  high and do the best they can.

Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Countdown: 12 weeks to half-marathon


Singing Running in the rain

Rain mixes with sweat in the pre-dawn haze. Dampness turns to wet, then turns to soaked, before there’s any IMG_2630chance to really think about it. Even though that weather app on my phone predicted 90% rain when I checked the night before, the morning appears starts out overcast but somewhat devoid of rain activity. Hence the prepared rain gear stayed warm and dry in the back of the car.

Indeed, the first 5-6km in 15C dark overcast skies only hovered without threatening moisture. Approaching the turnaround point and the weather app proved its superior prediction ability and the skies let loose generous drops of pent up precipitation. Facing nature doesn’t

I run because it's glamorous... NOT!

I run because it’s glamorous… NOT!

particularly overwhelm me, but thinking of that rain gear in the car makes me annoyed at my arrogance that I wouldn’t require pr


Work commitments beckon Mr J and Ms T is under the weather (literally), hence my running companion today is a mutual running companion, Ms B. Though not as well acquainted, easy conversation comes as the pavement rolls underfoot. Nominally we have had about the same running pace, though I’m pleasantly surprised that just these last couple months of longer and somewhat faster pace have increased my pace. Other little benefits include adjusting my watch band tighter and clothes fitting looser. My appetite also craves more protein, and more food overall.

Countdown: 12 weeks

Reminders come through that the half marathon at the Sunshine Coast marathon festival (the main goal of this training regime) is now at the 12-week countdown stage. My eyes glaze over as I attempt to absorb a recommended training program chart. When to run. How long to run. When to rest. What other exercises to do. Various such programs exist – this is just one example.

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 2.03.07 pm

Not a program-follower by nature, I wonder how closely I should follow these recommendations vs doing my own thing. No doubt I will make it there and across the finish line either way, though it could be a matter of how fast I get there and how well I recover afterwards. Already I’m pleased with the progress I’m making in overall fitness levels, pace and strength. Another 12 weeks of training – let’s see what it take me!

Grateful for two legs to carry me


A father wearing pink leggings and matching tutu lifts his daughter with a similar outfit to his shoulders.


Mother’s Day morning and there’s a sea of pink invading the school sports field. Socks, shirts, shorts, caps in shades of pink. Pink hair spray and bright pink lipstick. A pink bra worn over the outside of a shirt.

Women, men and children gather in support of those who have been through the experience of cancer, breast cancer in particular. To commemorate and celebrate those who have come through to the other side, and those who have not.

Among the stalls of sponsors and vendors, pink plastic capes are available for those who feel they require that extra bit of pink to complete their attire for the event. One such customer is a 12-year-old boy. IMG_2541Handing over his $2 he happily wraps the cape around his shoulders, and it hangs down to his ankles. I ask him if running with this somewhat unwieldy accessory might prove difficult or hamper his progress. After a moment’s contemplation, his response is simple and and direct:

‘Maybe a little, but how hard would it be if you were having to go through breast cancer?’

He is my son and knows a couple of women who have been down that road. My daughter runs faster and further than she is usually comfortable with, taking inspiration from the atmosphere of the day and contemplating those who have to endure much worse.

What is the point in running?

Why do I get up when it’s dark and cold and hit the pavement?

Because I can.

IMG_2509I run because I have two legs and two feet that can carry me forward.

I run for those who have endured disease or injury and face obstacles to get up and out there.

I run because of the guy with an awkward gait I see out walking, pushing past his limitation and stilted movements, greeting all passers with a smile and ‘Morning.

I run because of my friend with rheumatoid arthritis who can barely walk from the car to the house without a reasonable amount of discomfort.

I run for my kids, who put their best effort into everything they do and I want to do the same.

For everyone experiencing a physical or mental condition that restricts their activity, I run because I can.