First International Marathon coming up

This time in two weeks the Quackers will be chilling in Auckland New Zealand ready for our first international marathon – Auckland Marathon.

Did you know that this event started in 1936?  No, neither did I until I looked it up on Wikipedia.  The event didn’t become a regular thing until around the 1960s.  Fit things those Kiwis (or is that fut thungs those Kiwis).  There were just under 2000 finishers in the 2016 marathon, 5700 in the half, nearly 3000 in the 12km Traverse and about 500 in the 5km.  And there’s a kids run too!  Lots of Kiwi running buddies to meet!

It is rather important that the Quackers learn to understand Kiwi!  We are at an advantage because Pauly is from New Zealand.  The good things about New Zealanders and Australians is that we both think each other sounds funny so there is laughter on both sides.

True story!  One time I was visiting my parents in law and there had been a terrible boating accident.  We were watching the TV news report about how the people had survived.  There were concerned faces and oh that’s terrible and how horrible for them being uttered in the lounge room.  But not me.  Nope.  I was giggling my head off!  How rude is this Australian daughter in law???  The survivors had clung to an upturned Chilly Bin.  Hearing the news reader say chully bun cracked me up.  What ever on earth is a chully bun?  Now not only is the term chilly bin a funny name to an Australian but with the Kiwi vowel sounds it is hilarious!  Chully Bun!

Chilly Bin is New Zealand for Esky and obviously a perfect mate to have on a fishing trip, as good as a life jacket me thinks!

 

Esky is Australian for Chilly Bin.  Why are they called an Esky?  No idea.  They just are.  It’s Australian.

A helpful guide for the Quackers

But I digress!  Back to Auckland Marathon!

By all accounts this is going to be a Sweet As event.  It looks rather well organised.  There is an awesome app that has everything we need in it.  I’ve looked at quite a few marathon apps and this one would have to be the most comprehensive and thorough.  It has every detail a runner could need.  The information via the website and social media has been top notch!  I’m impressed with these Kiwi Running Bros.

Auckland is a harbour city.  It is beautiful.  The marathon course winds around the waterfront and over the Auckland Bridge.  We even start the day with a ferry ride from our accommodation over to the start of the race.  How cool is that?

We are all looking forward to flying across The Ditch* to New Zealand to run this rather picturesque marathon.  The best thing about this event is that the cut off times are extremely Unsporty Woman Friendly.  This will be my last long run before (hopefully) I line up at the start line of Bruny Island Ultra in December.

Happy running 🙂

*The Ditch is the term that Australians and New Zealanders call the Tasman Sea that separates our two nations. Or The dUtch in Kiwi 🙂

Safety Pins

Have you ever thought about the important role that safety pins play in running?

I have.

Runners the world over use millions and millions of them each year.  Four safety pins per runner each event?  This Unsporty Woman alone has used (counting on fingers and toes) umm lots!  And they are everywhere around the house.  They are pinned inside my running jacket for those just in case moments.  They are pinned on my gear bag.  They are carefully looped together and stashed in my handbag.  Some remain on bibs from runs past; they are shiny, jingly, jangly reminders of the run.  They sit in my sewing box.  They sit in my ring bowl.  Safety pins, safety pins, everywhere I look there are safety pins.

Who invented such handy little tools and who was the first bright spark to think of them as the perfect means to secure a race bib to a runner?  According to Wikipedia a Mr Hunt invented them.  This is an apt name because when we need them and can’t find them we certainly do hunt for them!

They are strong.  These little silver pins can keep a race bib on a runner through wind and rain.  Through much arm rubbing they never budge.  I wonder how many marathons the safety pin has run?  They would be the world record holder of the most I’d say!

But what happens when the event runs out of safety pins???

There is horror.  There is dismay.  There is panic!

How will I secure my bib??? 

The cry goes out: Has anyone got a spare safety pin?  If I’m near by of course the answer is a benevolent (yes I am seriously organised) Yes!  I bestow my pins upon the pin-less runner and such gratitude comes from them to me like no gratitude ever seen.

Be like a safety pin!

  • they keep things together
  • they are shiny and bright no matter what the weather
  • they are secure
  • they are tough
  • they are humble (I’ve never heard a safety pin brag)

Safety pins are awesome!

Next time you’re lining up at an event, your bib firmly secured to your running top, look down and get your cue from your safety pins:  Shine brightly, stick with the program, stay strong to the end!

Safety pins rock!

Happy running 🙂

PS or of course you can be like an Event Clip… same job as a safety pin…but prettier, thanks Shaz x

The Silent Cat Door

The farm house cat door belongs to the little calico girl and the big ginger boy.  The door is showing signs of wear.  It’s a little rusty; it could do with a paint and a clean.  Remnants of cat fur cling to the edges.

Through the cat door the little calico girl and the big ginger boy would come in and out, out and in.  Sometimes they would run through; they could hear the knife on the chopping board and knew there would be a special piece of meat for them.  Other times they would slowly push through, not knowing what was outside especially on a dark night.  Frequently they wouldn’t be alone; with them they would bring the bird, mouse, rabbit or rat they’d successfully hunted down.  They would bring in their prize and proudly leave it for the girl who loves them to find. Feathers and fur and other body parts trailed gruesomely around the house.  At times their prize would be lifeless, other times it would be alive and the girl was left to find where the poor creature was hiding.  The girl of the house often said that these two hunters were part of a catch and release program:  they would capture their prey outside and release it inside.

 

Now the cat door is silent.  The big ginger boy fell asleep in the girl’s arms less than a year ago and the little calico girl did the same a few days past.

These two pussy cats were more than pussy cats to the girl who loves them.  They were her friends, her company, her comfort, her loves.  They knew when to come and smooch her legs.  They knew when to snuggle up on her bed.  They knew where to find her when she needed a cuddle and soft, warm, furry cat body on her lap.

The girl’s heart is broken.  She looks at the silent cat door and tears roll down her face.  Is there anything sadder than a cat door without a cat?  The farm house feels colder.  There is no cosy cat bed by the fire.  No pussy cat comes running when the evening meal is being prepared.  There is no meow of welcome home.  No gentle purr and no pussy cat chin to give a gentle scratch.

The cat door of the farm house is silent.

There is another cat door.  There is one inside the heart of the girl who loves the big ginger boy and the little calico girl.  Firmly behind this door are happy and treasured memories of these beautiful pussy cats.  The space is crammed with love and happiness of days spent with them.  She is grateful that they chose her to be their girl and she got to have them as her precious pussy cats.  They may be cats but underneath they were angels, sent to unconditionally love the girl.

In loving memory of Mintie who fell asleep in the girl’s arms in his 17th year on 25 November 2016.

And in loving memory of Poppy who fell asleep in the girl’s arms in her 21st year on 28th September 2017.

Always loved.

Always remembered.

Two beautiful pussy cats who can never be replaced.

Once in a lifetime pets.

Thank you Mintie and Poppy for choosing me.

Thank you for reading this post.

Writing this down has helped to heal my heart ❤ Life goes on.  I am richer for having two wonderful pets and wouldn’t swap the sadness of now for the wonderful memories tucked away behind the cat door in my  heart.

Happy running 🙂

Run for your Heart

For the last few years I’ve been concentrating on longer distance events.  The little home-grown fun runs that featured in my early running days have sort of been relegated to the past and forgotten as I’ve set my sights on half and full marathons.

I looked at the advertising for Run for your Heart and it dawned on me that were it not for events like this my running confidence wouldn’t be what it is today, so I signed up. 

Venturing out onto the oval brought back all those memories of being a brand new runner.  That awkward fish out of water feeling and those terrible nerves flooded back.  Yet here I am today a seasoned runner who can clip on a race bib and feel comfortable wearing it in the blink of an eye. 

I’m grateful for many reasons not only for allowing me to grow in confidence as a runner.  They are organised by a teams of volunteers who care about a cause.  This one is all about improving heart health in Northern Tasmania.  The Clifford Craig Foundation supports our local hospitals and medical research.  The Rotary Club was out in force volunteering today as well.

Janette and I at the start

Here’s to home-grown local fun runs organised by people who care.  Long may this Unsporty Woman lace up her shoes and support them!  And let’s raise a toast to those volunteers who care enough to keep raising funds with the vision of a healthier future for all of us.

Run in memory of my dear friend’s Dad x

Happy running 🙂

Living the Dream

During tough times when doors don’t open as we’d like them to here on the farm, I gently remind my Pauly that he is living his dream.  His dream to have his own dairy farm was dreamt way before it became a reality.  With all its ups and downs he is in fact living his dream.  Would he have chosen a different way of life had he known how hard it would be?  No way.  He’d have still rolled up those sleeves, pulled on his blue overalls, popped on his beanie and purposely strode off in his gumboots to make his farming dream come true.  Yes, despite it not looking quite how he imagined right now, he is living his dream.  He’s worked hard and he made his dream come true; despite curve balls and odds stacked against us, we are still here!  The farming dream lives on.

Life isn’t perfect ❤

Running for many of us is a dream and a goal to work towards.  We think of how wonderful it would be to run 5kms without feeling like dying.  We imagine the day where we can effortlessly run 10kms and talk at the same time.  Then as those dreams come true we set our sights on half marathons and eventually at marathons and perhaps even ultra marathons.  Faster times.  Longer distances.

One day not so long ago this Unsporty Woman decided that she would try and run.  The dream was to get to the red letter box at the top of the 1.2km farm driveway.  That was the biggest running dream I thought I’d ever accomplish.  Now I look back and, well, yes, I did that and I’ve done even more.  I am living the dream.  I am living the dream of being able to run.  I’m living the dream that trying and working hard does make things happen.

This weekend has been a wonderful weekend of running.  On Saturday Janette and I did our long run for week five of our 10 week marathon training plan for Auckland Marathon.  With Louie recovering from Sydney Marathon, I hatched a plan to run some kms before parkrun and some kms afterwards.  Janette came with me.  Janette is an awesome runner like Louie;  on long runs I am their slow pacer!

I can’t believe how good my run was!  I felt good and was able to keep up a reasonable pace.  Janette kept talking and encouraging the whole way.  Strava tells me I ran 27kms at 6:21 pace but Polar Flow tells me it was 27.05kms at 7:00 pace.  Strava seems to cut out stopping time and we did stop for a bit while we waited for parkrun to start.  The 27kms seemed to fly by because of the way the run was broken up into three parts:  Pre-parkrun, parkrun and post-parkrun.  It honestly didn’t seem like we’d run that far!

Janette and I at the start of parkrun, 9kms into our long run.

Janette finishing parkrun 14kms into our long run.

And there am I.

At the end of our run both of us were on such a high.  Janette had so many lovely words of encouragement.  I’ve been struggling with long runs lately and doubting myself (I’ve been missing my weekly long run with Louie).  You can do so much more than you think you can, she said!  Saturday proved this.  Thank you Janette x Janette was on a high for the rest of the day!  If you need a happy, sunny, talkative running friend who can have a one sided conversation (I got too tired to talk), Janette is the one to ask along!

Do you ever dream of running longer or faster?  Do you ever think it won’t come true?  I’ve learnt over the course of my running life that trying and keeping on trying does make things happen.  Stopping and doubting certainly won’t make those dreams come true so why not give it a go?

Today was the inaugural Launceston Marathon.  Pauly dreams of running marathons for the rest of his life.  After farming, running is his main passion and running long distance and running long distance fast!  The weather was terrible!  Head wind, drizzle that went from light and then decided to be full on sideways pelting; just horrible.  I felt for all the runners.  Janette and I didn’t run, we set up a cheer spot instead.  I took along a lucky poncho but it didn’t work!

Lucky poncho keeping my bag and boom box dry.  I had a wonderful (?) selection of 80s disco songs that we danced along too.

Janette and I had a ball, we danced and cheered all the runners until Pauly did his last lap.  During our cheering I met two blog followers!  I cheered them extra loud!  It was tough out there today!!!

Pauly was having a great run but with 8kms to go he started to cramp. He ground it with a time of 4:08:33.

Living the dream?  Sometimes things don’t go according to plan.  The weather is terrible.  The body doesn’t respond how we thought it would.  We’re tired or stressed or something isn’t right.  It doesn’t matter what the end result is, as long as we try our best and give it our best shot, I believe we are living our running dreams.  Doing the training and preparation, then crossing the start line makes us all winners.  If we get to the finish line even better!  It’s being prepared to start, that’s what makes us WINNERS!

To all the people who ran today especially to Pauly, Michelle and the two lovely blog readers who introduced themselves YOU ARE AWESOME!  You did it!  You made it!  Find a special place of honour for that finishers medal because you worked hard for it!

AND a huge thank you to Janette who helped me to achieve a faster than usual training run on Saturday.  She made my Bruny Island dream seem that little bit more doable.

Tonight as I type I am yet again overcome with a feeling of utter gratitude.  Gratitude to Janette for helping me through on Saturday and for being a mad, crazy cheering lady with me today.  Gratitude that I got to cheer on a whole lot of people living their dreams today, running so far in terrible conditions.  Is there anything more wonderful than seeing dreams come true?  I don’t think there is.

Happy running 🙂

PS Janette and I are awesome cheerers!  Apparently so!  I’ve received two messages tonight thanking us (they made me have a little cry, they were so lovely).  We are available for hire complete with 80s disco music 🙂

Too many marathons?

Is it 11?  No….umm…I think it’s 13.  Oh I’m not sure.  Let’s count by states.  Let’s try and count by years.  Years?  You’ve only been running marathons for less than three years!

This is a conversation that Pauly and I had today.  We were trying to work out how many marathons he’s run.

Here’s our attempt at working it out:

2015

2016

2017

That makes 10 Marathons and three Ultra Marathons.

Sunday will be his 11th Marathon at the inaugural Launceston Marathon.  I’m going as cheer squad.

This November Pauly will turn 60.  We have a few things planned to mark this milestone.  We’re having a dinner with family and friends before the Auckland Marathon at the end of October and we’re having a bit of BBQ out on the farm the weekend after his birthday at the end of November.

It’s hard to believe that my fit, energetic, hard-working and long distance running husband will be 60.  A big birthday deserves to be celebrated early.  Today I gave Pauly a gift, a new Polar M430 like mine!  No point in putting something in the cupboard when it can be enjoyed right now.  He’s all set for Sunday to run his  umm…what number was it again…11th marathon (we think).  If you remember seeing Pauly running in a marathon that we’ve missed please let me know!

The card says ‘nearly 60’

And what happened with that other marathon runner?  The Lovely Louie?

A PB that’s what!  3:51:22!  Another marathon run sub-four hours.  Go Louie!!! We are so proud of you!!!

Happy running 🙂

PS Life has been particularly hectic of late.  With marathon training, calving on the farm and a renovation project, time has been scarce; this week throw in a root canal, two days away at statewide work meetings then another day of meetings out of town and I feel like I can’t keep up with myself.  Blog posts have been scant but running hasn’t been and thank goodness for a running to keep insanity at bay.  My apologies for not keeping up with comments xxx

Watching a runner bloom

One day a few years back someone asked me if they could come along to our next 5km fun run.  They liked to run but had never been in a fun run and they were feeling a bit shy.  Of course! I said.  And along she came.

Then she asked if she could come to another fun run.  Of course! I said.  And along she came to that too.

Cadbury Half Marathon 2014

Next she wondered if she could run a half marathon.  I am sure you can, I said.  How far do you normally run?  She wasn’t sure.  We made a date and we went for a 10km run.  How was that?  I asked.  Good, she said.  I usually go further than that, I didn’t know I was running so far.

Louise, Pauly and the Unsporty Woman AKA Louie, Huey and Dewey.  Run Melbourne Half 2014

A GPS watch, that’s what this runner needed.  She treated herself to a lovely lime green one.

The half marathon came and went.  More runs of all different distance and throw in Point to Pinnacle 2014 and you can see our runner blooming with each event she did.  She came to LOVE medals.  Oh she loves them a lot!  She loves virtual runs and has clocked up many fundraising kms in virtual runs and has wonderful medals to show for it.

Cadbury Marathon (our first marathon) 2015

Marathoners! Melbourne Marathon 2015, Janette’s first marathon!

Louie finishing that soggy train race.

Soon marathons came along.  Her dream was to go sub 4 hours.  That’s a goal now ticked off the list!  The Quackers are set on finishing a marathon in every state and territory of Australia and on the North and South Islands of New Zealand too.  And let’s not forget that soggy train race will we? We nearly changed her name to Huey after that one!

How could we forget last December when we got to see her become an Ultra Marathoner crossing the finish line of Bruny Island Ultra 64km race.

The face you pull when you’ve run 64kms and you think they’ve run out of medals…

 

On Sunday our running friend will line up at Sydney Marathon.  The rest of us will cheer her from home in Tasmania.  We are so proud of her!  We have watched her bloom into the confident, strong and capable distance runner she is today, full of determination and endurance.  Not only is she a wonderful runner but she is a kind and caring friend.

Louie I’m so glad you asked if you could come on that first fun run.  Here’s to all the adventures we’ve had and to all the ones we will have.  The Quackers might not be with you on Sunday but we will be with you in spirit and we know you will ace that marathon.

And just in case you forget what awesome cheerers Janette and I are here is a little memory from Bruny last year (sorry Janette!).

Go Louie!  Go Louie!  Pump the crumpet. Pump the crumpet!  

Happy running 🙂

When I think of why I love running so much the biggest picture that comes to my heart are a meld of faces of all the beautiful women that I have met through running.  The two really special ones here in Tasmania and the special ones in the UK, other states of Australia and Canada.  Who knew that running could bring people together like this?