Country runner at heart

After a weekend spent in the big city celebrating Son #1’s 21st birthday my love of running in the country has grown.  I took my running gear with me but didn’t feel the city running love.  I saw runners and the for the first time there was no running envy.  It looked like hard work with all that people dodging going on.  My running gear went to the city clean and came home to the farm clean.  This is a first!

Here’s to running in the country.  Here’s to celebrating a quiet run where the audience is made up of mountain ducks, eagles and hawks.  Parrots, plovers and cockatoos.  Cows, bulls and feral cats.  Wallabies, possums and a farm worker or two.

How blessed am I to be a Country Runner?

Over the muddy cattle stop.

Past the flooded paddocks with the cloud covered Tiers as the back drop.

There’s a new load of sawdust; calving isn’t far away.

There is the bull paddock.  I want Pauly to call the three young jersey bulls Huey, Dewey and Louie! They have attitude these three. One had a bit to say me to the other day as I was out and about.  I had a bit to say to him and chased him off.  No young bull is going to get the better of this old running girl!

Over the dairy cattle stop and through the mud-soup.

A quick selfie at the top of the driveway.  It’s wet, foggy, cold and rainy.

My favourite running road!

The tide is rising on the Main Drain.

Pauly came to make sure I was ok.  It was getting dark.

Muddy shoes = didn’t let the weather stop me!

For those who are regular readers of the blog here is a little update on our farm.  Nothing has changed.  We continue to live a little with one foot in limbo and the other steadfast on farm soil.  We’ve got used to this and we are choosing to see the good in where we are.  No news is good news.  And how lucky are we to still be here and living this wonderful farming way of life.  Here’s to many more country runs.  Want to join me one day?

Happy running 🙂

Me and Son #1 outside the Catmosphere complete with cat scarf and ginger cat biscuit.

My three babies at the Catmosphere (the Catmosphere is a cat café and we had a great time spending time with the furry felines.

Pufferphobia

The Doctor will see you now.

Hello Unsporty, what can I do for you today?

Hello Doctor.  I’ve come to see you about my allergy.

Your allergy?  What allergy is this?

I’m allergic to puffing. 

Puffing? 

Yes.  When I run and I puff.  I get all anxious and wheezy and I can’t talk so it must be an allergic reaction to puffing.

I see.  Tell me more.

It’s got worse since I hurt my knee.  I wheeze and get out of breath and I have to slow down or the puffing gets so bad.  I need some of those allergy tablets, those anti-thing-a-me-bobs.

Antihistamine?

Yes.  Those ones please.

Interesting symptoms for an allergy Unsporty.

???

Yes.  I’m not sure you are suffering from an allergy.  From the wealth of my medical knowledge I’d say you’re suffering from Pufferphobia.

Pufferphobia?

Pufferphobia (noun)

Extreme or irrational fear of over exertion.  Unreasonable dread of physical effort that causes excessive or fast breathing.

Oh.

Don’t take this too hard.  I will prescribe some therapy to assist you win over this phobia.  The main thing is to stop talking during your middle distance runs and to push a bit harder.  The second thing I’d like you to do is to cover your GPS watch and run to feel rather than what your pace says.  You’ve run very well during triathlons without a GPS and your recent Launceston 10 was excellent.  Stop worrying about the puff and run because you love it.  Get back that old Unsporty Woman mind-set of I can.

Is that all?

Yes, that’s all.  Start working on mastering the puff.  Puffing is good for you, you’ve done it before and you can do it again.  Stop worrying about your knee, keep up the exercises and preventative therapies for your knee and you’ll be fine.  Your lungs won’t explode and neither will your knee.  You are made to puff.  Get out there and run a little bit harder during your middle distance and shorter runs.  You can do it!

Ok.

Good to hear and by doing all this you’ll be ready for B…

Don’t mention the B word Doctor!!!

Well that event in December, you’ll be ready for it. Ok?

Ok Doctor.  I will try.

Happy running 🙂

The B word?  Bruny Island Ultra.  Two little ducks are registered, one more to go.

Wintry Weather Woes

Here we are in the dead of winter in the southern most state of Australia.  Arrrr Tasmania, you do not disappoint in the winter weather department.  You do those three Fs so Fabulously.  Frost.  Fog.  Freezing-temperatures.  Tick, tick and tick!

It’s been cold.  On Monday my toes remained cold all day.  That’s all day!  Despite a busy agenda and lots of moving around, my toes did not warm up until I removed my long leather boots and wiggled them in front of the fire at the end of the working day.  They were still cold when we got to the gym for an hour of Les Mills Body Pump and CX Worx.

Along with the freezing temperatures that favourite winter thing, the head cold, decided to ramp up its snotty, cotton-woolish ugliness.  I’m pleased to say that as of this weekend I’m pretty much 100% but sickness hasn’t been a happy marathon training ally.

Running and training has happened and on the whole it’s been good.  I think Pauly must’ve been feeling very ill with the head cold because when he finally managed to shake it off he turned into this happy-let’s-go-smiley-running-man.  Huh?  Usually when there is only the two of us with a run at home on the farm he will make every excuse reason why he shouldn’t come with me and I go on my own.  Not so Tuesday night.  I was fully prepared for the You are too sick, you shouldn’t go running conversation from him to me, but no, no such talk.  Rather Excuse Finding Procrastination Man turned into Action Man.  Not only did he immediately put down the coffee plunger he was holding when I walked in the door, but leapt off to get ready for a 5km run!

Notice the attractive thermal and beanie. It was cold! That’s COLD!!!

And what a 5km run we had!  Mud, mud and more muddy mud of the mud variety.  Slipping.  Sliding.  Smelly.  Mud plus cow poo equals stinky.  There was I plodding along trying to avoid the deepest muddy bits and stay upright and there was Pauly all chirpy and happy zooming off taking photos.  There was a role reversal here except that I wasn’t moaning and groaning like Pauly does for the first couple of kms.  I was just happy to be out running and happier that my lungs seemed to be coping ok.

That was Tuesday.

Louie, Pauly and I had our first run together in what felt like ages on Friday.  A lovely 15km run up and around the sunnier higher parts of Deloraine.  The lower parts were still freezing and slippery with ice.

Saturday we were off for a run with the Launceston Running Club.  Due to so much on outside of running we hadn’t made it to LRC in weeks and weeks.  And not only did we run but I managed 2nd place.  The LRC season has handicapped runs from 5km up to half marathon.  This week it was a 5km.

Don’t let that blue sky fool you. It was cold!  My handicap was 5ish minutes.

2nd place hehe

And today.  Sunday.  Today was the Running Group’s Half Margaretathon, 21.1kms named in honour of the first person that our Coach trained for a half marathon.  It was freezing!  Despite the cold it was a lovely run and good to get it done.

Janette organised the aid stations.

Here I am six weeks out from Adelaide Marathon and the training hasn’t been wonderful.  Wintry weather, colds and a calendar that keeps getting stuffed with more tasks hasn’t added up to the best of training so far.  If this was the first marathon I’d be concerned.  With all the training and running and events I’ve learnt to trust my runner’s body and my runner’s mindset.  I know I can do it.  There won’t be a PB, but there will be the most important ingredients:  a start line, a finish line AND a medal!  (Well I hope there will….fingers crossed!).

Happy running 🙂

Flattery and insults – getting to know my new watch

My watch has obviously been to charm school.  It regularly tells me I’m Elite and that I’m improving my speed and aerobic fitness.  Sometimes it tells me I’ve increased my resistance to fatigue.  When I do runs that are longer than any it has spent with me, it gives me a trophy!  It obviously likes me to watch my weight because when I do a session that burns more calories than any other, it gives me a trophy too.  I smile and feel that warm glow of smugness and think Gosh, I LOVE my new watch.  And watch and I feel that happy honeymooner-smitten-ness of a new relationship.

But at times my Polar is Bi-Polar and after giving me a compliment it goes and slaps me with an insult!

21% of sessions without any training benefit?  Really?  How rude!

What about the time out in my running shoes getting some vitamin D?  What about the time spent with running buddies who recharge my batteries through their gift of friendship?  What about all that psychological hippy stuff that’s good for my soul as well as my soles?

What about that Mr Bi-Polar???

I’ve heard of the concept of junk miles but I don’t understand them.  Every km that I spend in running shoes is benefiting me in some way other than just my physical fitness.   So poo poo to non-benefitting sessions.  This is not where I’m at right now.   Training for Marathon number seven is having its ups and downs due to the demands of work, wintry weather and unfortunately a touch of a head cold but I’m still out there doing it and mostly enjoying it too.

Here’s to all our time in running shoes, the runs with benefits, the runs for fun, the runs that hurt like mad and the runs that feel effortless.  Here’s to running because we love it.  Every run is doing me good regardless of what Mr Polar tells me.

Happy running 🙂

Launceston Ten and the hunt for the PB

Personal Best.  This is so much better than those gold, red and blue ribbons that were given out to the fast people at school.  Those ribbons would be pinned on the fast runners and the rest of us would get nothing.  Nothing but a sense that we weren’t good enough and a huge desire to throw away our running shoes and NEVER get them out again!

Sunday was the fourth time I’ve been brave enough to line up at the start of the Launceston Ten.  This event attracts elites from around the world.  It’s known for its flatness and fastness.  The runner who finished first did so in 28:54!  To most us it’s a fun run that brings on the challenge of trying for a PB.

This year the event had new management complete with a slight reworking of the course and a Festival in City Park.  There was even a mini-expo from which I scored my favourite running shoes for $50 (they are usually $260).  According to the media, registrations for the event were up by 50%.  There were 999 finishers for the 10km!  

Pauly, Janette and Judy: a fantastic cheer squad! (Pauly has the man flu).

My new shoes beside my old ones.

2014 was the first year I ran Launceston Ten.  My time was 52:36.  2015 I was a little faster with a time of 51:57 a PB!  2016 I got slower 54:19 and this year slower again 57:39.  No PBs for the last two years.  Has something happened to my desire to get a PB or have I simply ran the fastest I’ll ever run?  I don’t know but the lack of a PB is simply not worrying me.

I’ll happily clap and rejoice with a fellow runner when they achieve a PB.  I love the pure delight of those lovely people who unexpectedly run faster than ever before.  The look of sheer happiness, shock, elation, and then often the happy tears that follow.  I love how humble these people are.  They don’t expect to achieve and then they do the person who is the most surprised is them!  I just want to go and give them a hug and warmly congratulate them every time!

Are my days of PBs over?  Who knows.  I think they might be.  Right now I’m happy just to be running.  On Sunday I even ran a little incognito:  no hat, no pink.  I managed to sneak by quite a few people totally unrecognised.  And do you know what?  I enjoyed my run immensely.  I smiled all the way.  It was a great day to be out running just for the pure delight of being able to.  The last PB I managed at Launceston Ten will always be cherished.  The memory of running faster than I thought possible will not be forgotten.   But today, this year, right now, running seems to be about the joy of running.  Running makes life richer.  Running is fun.  I’m so glad I am able to run.

Happy running 🙂

Oh but I do LOVE my finishers medals ❤

Time

The trouble with time is that we never seem to have enough. But then sometimes we have too much. Time on our hands.  Out of time.  Wasting time.  Spending time.  Making the most of time.  Clock watching.  You can’t buy it.  You can’t negotiate for more.  Once it’s spent it’s gone.

When Pauly and I first started to look into running marathons one of the biggest things that was stressed upon me through reading and through talking to other runners was that it’s important to choose a marathon that we had time to train for.  If life is too stressful or busy then choose another marathon. Choose another time for training that isn’t so busy or stressed.  The trouble for us is that we’re not exactly young.  While I firmly believe in positive aging and staying fit, healthy and active forever no matter how old we are, the fact of the matter is Pauly will turn 60 this year and I’m over 50.  For us it’s run marathons now or perhaps we will run out of time and never run marathons.

This is an old forgotten house on a road near the farm.  It was taken in November 2013.  Fast forward to now and this what the place looks like.  Unloved.  Broken down by time and neglect.  Falling apart.

This is a tree on the same road taken in November 2013.And here is the tree today.  A similar story of aging negatively.  No tending.  No care.  No nothing.  Only wind, rain, sun.  Drought and flood and even snow.

Things tend to fall apart with time especially those things that are not tended and cared for.  Running marathons means that  we have to look after our bodies.  Pauly and I watch what we eat, we aim for good sleep (doesn’t happen anywhere near as much as we’d like it to) and we keep our bodies moving.  Unlike the tree and the building we are not sitting around waiting to fall apart we are being active and doing the things that we love.  All the research points to this reversing or at least limiting the effects of aging.

Photo taken from strengthcoachtherapy on Instagram.

I believe the perfect time to chase a dream is now.  Looking back at our distance running I see worry and stress and uncertainty related to our situation on the farm.  But I also see time laced with finishers medals, great weekends with wonderful people and a sense of achievement like no other.  The stress and worry would still be there but why not decorate it up with some wonderful running bling?  While this was the best decision for us (the only decision) timing for marathon training is crucial and I do understand and acknowledge this.  I read on Julie’s blog recently about falling down seven times and getting up eight.  There is never a right time to start to eat healthy, get into running or to do whatever it is you want to do.  The only right time is now.  Don’t wait for a magical sign or for the 1st of January.  Start today.  Now.

And now that I’ve successfully spent an hour musing over time with the key board and delete button I shall go.  Like sands through the hour-glass please take these musings with grains of salt.

Happy running 🙂

PS this is week one of a ten week plan heading us towards Adelaide Marathon South Australia.  No this isn’t a good time to be training for a marathon for us.  But there is no time like the present.  Here we go again!

Juggling Apps

I’m a Polar fan.  I love my RC3 GPS running watch.  While I was on the blogging break not only did I have a break from blogging but my beloved RC3 had a break too.  It malfunctioned.  The start button wouldn’t work.  The device had been fogging up a bit and I wondered if it wasn’t quite as shower proof as it had been (let’s face it, this watch has done major kms which equals litres of sweat and many rainy runs).

August 2016 – a milestone with my RC3

The malfunction happened as we were setting off for a Friday long run.  As we drove up the driveway I quickly downloaded Runkeeper.  The screen shot below shows what it records.  Pretty awesome for a free app.  And what’s not to love about the different audio options?  The Drill Instructor is my favourite!  He called me the best maggot on the block whenever I picked up the pace a little bit; he had me giggling but the audio could be annoying to other runners so mostly I had it on silent.

With a marathon coming up I wanted something reliable to record my run and I was seriously thinking about not carrying my phone.  Having a phone would be a distraction!  I’d be taking photos here and there and using this an excuse to have a walk.  Janette to the rescue.  She lent her beautiful purple Garmin.  This not only looks good but did exactly what I needed it to do.

But what to do long term?  Through Polar’s web site I made an enquiry about getting my RC3 fixed.  It was a simple procedure to send it away and there was no charge for them to take a look.  In the meantime I browsed new sports watches.  Polar was soon to launch their M430.  It had everything I wanted in a running watch complete with smart notifications and a fitness tracker function.  The people at Polar offered a 20% discount to trade in the RC3.  I simply can’t part with the RC3.  It’s seen me through so many runs.  I’m far from a hoarder but this is something I will never part with.  It’s just too special.  What to do?  I asked for the 20% discount anyway!  And, they gave it to me.  The verdict on fixing the RC3 was that it was going to cost a few dollars.  With a new watch coming I decided not to fix it.  The RC3 was sent back at no charge.  I’m impressed with Polar!

All my data from the RC3 is synced to Polar Personal Trainer.  I love it.  It’s easy to use and the data is great:  maps, heart rate, laps, altitude and pace.  There is considerably more data available but this is as complex as I need it to be.

This is the very first screen shot of Polar Personal Trainer included in a blog post (The Launceston Running Club’s Gut Buster event, April 2013). Since this I’ve turned on laps.

The new Polar M430 however uses Polar Flow.  Ugh.  Now I have running data in Polar Personal Trainer, Garmin, Runkeeper AND just for good measure I’ve had a play with Strava too.  I quite like Strava.  Now what?  I can sync data between the two Polar apps and I can sync Polar Flow with Strava.  Are you still with me?  So many apps all being juggled.

Of course I could use a running diary.  Louie is a fan of this method.

It was good to have a play and experiment with the different apps.  I’m impressed that Runkeeper and Strava are both free to download and provide excellent data both during and post run.  From here on I’m going to be a Polar Flow person syncing to Strava as a back up.

A screen shot from Strava.

Why do I want to keep records of my runs?  I love going back and looking at different events and seeing how far I’ve come.  Pauly was talking with one of his nieces recently; she would like to run a half marathon.  She’s running 5kms comfortably but hasn’t gone any further and doesn’t think she can.  With my running records I can look back at my running data and see those years where I thought I would never run more than 5kms.  But as I flip through the months I see my long runs go from 5kms to 7kms, then to 10kms.  I zoom ahead and there are weekly long runs of between 16 and 20kms; then it starts to climb all the way to marathon distance with my longest runs being 44kms at The Great Ocean Road Marathon.  Any distance seems impossible until we do it.  How do we get there?  Run.  Get out there and run.  Try.  You will never know until you try.  Little bit by little bit if your heart longs to run a bit further you will be able to do it.  If I can, anyone can!

The M430 tells me it’s time to move!

Happy running 🙂