Sunday, November 18, 2007

meme - it's all about me

I've been tagged by the wonderful ShirleyPerly to do a meme (is that what you say? Do you do a meme? Perform one? Blog one? Publish one? Never mind... ). The rules are as follows (pasted in from Shirley's site):
  • Link to your tagger, and post these rules on your blog.
  • Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
  • Tag 5 people at the end of your post by their names and links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog.
S0 - everything you want to know about me (but were afraid to ask). You should have trusted your instincts hehe....

- I've lived in lots of different countries in my life - in Holland, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the US and the UK. The only place I really resisted moving to was rural Lincolnshire - and guess where I have now lived longest in one single place -yup! Spital-in-the-Street, Lincolnshire. And I'm very very happy here! Sometimes a type A control freak needs to be pushed where she doesn't want to go...
- I'm truly terrible at any sports that require hand-eye co-ordination. You know how people will say this and then actually be quite good? I was on a hockey team for years and managed to avoid ever having to hit the ball. I could stop it but I couldn't hit it. So I didn't. Ever. When I was about 16 I met some friends who had only met me when I (and they) were really young - like 4. The one thing they remembered about me was that I couldn't catch or throw...
- I read compulsively. Books, internet, newspapers etc. That's all good. But if I'm somewhere with no good reading material I'll read instruction manuals, leaflets, ingredients on the side of foods etc. As a result I can read upside down writing. I might make a good spy one day...
- I love cats. Just love them. Have one now - Pippi after Pippi Longstocking - who just makes my day with her loveliness...

-However, I hate mice. Hate them! And Pippi brings in live ones, tortures them and then loses interest and lets them run off in the house (kind of not the purpose of having a cat on the farm). So to my children's great amusement I am actually the lady who climbs on a chair when she sees a mouse and screams until someone (often my 7 year old) catches it. ..

So that's it folks!

My turn to tag - I tag Jen, Greg, Melisa, Drusy, Terry and LizzieLee!

Shut up and Run

Ok I promise I won't bore y'all with everything toooo much. But I'm in schedule madness at the moment. If you've been reading this blog for a while you'll know I followed Hal Higdon's Intermediate I for my Chicago marathon, no schedule for my Derbyshire marathon (doh!) and Hal Higdon Intermediate II which then dropped down to Intermediate I for my fourth marathon. I am now 1 week away from starting an 18 + 2 week training program for London. Why +2? Because I've booked a 10 day skiing holiday in January where I probably won't be running. (Plenty of hard aerobic workouts though - I ski like I run, little skill, much determination). I feel that Hal and I have reached the end of our road together - I don't know whether I could improve much more on this schedule. I would like a different program this time as I think I would benefit from more varied workouts - a bit of speedwork, more tempo work etc. Sooo... I have been reading Pete Pfitzinger's Advanced Marathoning and my - this is advanced stuff. I've come a long way since starting running with John Bingham. While I think I'm at the bottom end of the people he's writing for I do want to improve my marathon time (are you kidding? who doesn't?) and I also want to try something new..

So - what are the factors?
- Jen (the great and the fast ) commented that's she's about to finish a 12 week Pfitz programme but feels that 18 might be too long - you might lose motivation. More so than with other programs Jen? I'm really interested to know what you think.
- the fabulous MarathonMaritza? You followed Pfitz for 18 weeks no? What did you think?
- Anyone else got some thoughts to throw in?

I'm going to have to show my hand here as well. Remember that post I put up and took down recently about prioritising and fitting everything in? Well.. I wrote that because I was in the process of finalising arrangements for a job. I have been working freelance from home for some time now but have now been offered a part-time position in a marketing department. It's a great job with great challenges AND mommy-friendly hours - 9-2:30 Mon-Thurs so it has everything I could ask for at this point. BUT while I've been able to run when I wanted recently since my son went to school, I am obviously going to have to do a lot more prioritising now. This is a good thing - I tend to get more organised when I have to and much more efficient. But. Running. So - here's my thinking. The Pfitz 18 week schedule has 4 days of running, 3 of rest / cross training. Long runs on Sunday. Now - given that my Fridays are free I think I would do my long runs on Friday and then just move the whole schedule back 2 days. This would mean that I would have to fit in one midweek long run during my Mon-Thu working week. Thankfully I joined a gym a month or so ago so I think that run will most of these in the evening on a treadmill. Husband is very supportive - of marathoning and working - so, provided I schedule all my runs in - I think that is feasible.

So what do you all think? Am I nuts? The more sensible amongst you will probably say you can't tell me whether this is all feasible. On the scale of discipline and determination I would say I am definitely human - I get tired and lose motivation - but I am also determined and keen. And I think it will help me to cope with the inevitable workplace stress etc. to have my running to come back to.

Input asked for guys and gals. In the meantime, I've been having a good time running footloose and schedule-free. Had a few days in London this week and check me out in Hyde Park

Yup there's Lolly again - this time city dog took country girl for a run round Hyde Park!

And ShirleyPerly - I had to think of you when I saw this. Bear in mind that it was cold (maybe about 3 or 4 above (Celcius) and look at these gals swimming with the ducks!
Shirley's also tagged me so my next post will be a meme... And we will soon be onto rhinos I promise! In the meantime, keep running!

Monday, November 12, 2007

And she's off!

Yes - anyone who knows me knows me that the reflective, calm and considered side of me only tends to last very briefly before I go full throttle into my next commitment! While I am trying to be wary of overcommitment this time - I really AM - I have just received word that I will be given the opportunity to RUN THE LONDON MARATHON in April of 2008. How exciting is that!

I will be running it for a charity which is very close to my heart - Save the Rhino International. I have supported them in the past by running the 2005 NYC marathon and the 2006 Chicago marathon to raise money for their cause and am delighted to be able to run with and for them in London.
I will post much more information about them and why I think they are such a worthwhile cause to support shortly when I have my information together. But I didn't want to keep IrishBlue and Maddy on their toes any longer - they can finally sleep at night..

So - it's just under 2 weeks till D-day - the beginning of training. I'm madly reading up on different schedules and different strategies but in 2 weeks time everything should be in place to start a 20 week training countdown. Any suggestions very welcome - I'm thinking the Pfitz is finally going to come out and be dealt with but thoughts, opinions etc. are very welcome. I will enjoy the couch while I can!

Finally - the weight loss is happening, but slowly. I've signed up with P.O.M's weightloss challenge over at Runnerslounge - look for the holiday weight loss challenge where the gruesome reality is there for all to witness. IrishBlue and Drusy have joined in already so it's all out there..

I'll be back soon!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Clarification... and running for Ryan

I've just deleted the post I put up yesterday - about exercise making you more intelligent and related to that, ideas that were rolling around in my head at the moment because I don't think I made a very good job of getting my point across...

So just to reassure everyone - I'm fine. Totally fine. Not un-motivated at all. MarathonChris's comment was much more coherent than my long blurb. I am really looking for some time-management skills and, attached to that, some new assertiveness and communication techniques to help me achieve this more effective time-management. I am hoping that a daily practise of meditation might help me set priorities I'm happy with and give me a chance to consider those commitments in my life that I might not want to continue with. There. I've now said it in a paragraph, without a rant about self-help on the side. And all this thought, in turn, has been prompted by finishing a marathon and taking some time off training to just think about what's next in all aspects of my life. Thank you all for your comments as they have made it much easier for me to put my thoughts into words.

Anyway onwards and onwards - wonderful and FAST Jen has passed on the news about running 5.5 miles for Ryan Shay next week and I wanted to spread the word. I've got a busy week ahead but will find the time to run the distance in his memory next Saturday.

As for my other news - IrishBlue - there is so much cooking in the oven but I just dare not open the door for the minute for fear it all falls flat... As soon as it's sitting on the counter cooling I will let you know..

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Running with the dawwggsss

Another beautiful day - I just can't get bored of this amazing beautiful autumn. It's chilly now but I like that - good running weather. Went out for my first 5 miler since the marathon today. I took it easy - no aches or pains but I want to keep it that way - and it was just lovely. I finally got a chance to listen to Steve Runner's PB busting marathon report. I've been doing short runs with my husband at lunchtime which has been great but man - I do talk! I give myself a headache. I need podcasts to listen to so that I shut up and run. I love running with others from time to time but my goodness me - I need to be gagged! Anyway, I brought out some perfect running buddies with me today. Our dog - Frankie aka Franklin Delano Dogveldt and a sleepover guest from London, Lolly. Now Frankie is used to running with me but Lolly's a city girl and a tad on the chubby side. Rich perhaps, coming from me, but trust me - if she wore skinny jeans she too would have a muffin top. So initially country dog took the lead - check out country dog waiting for city dog to catch up. But then country dog gave up! For no good reason, Frankie just went off and sat on the lawn. DNF for Franklin. And city dog pulled through. She did the full 5 miles for me. I burned 500 or so kcals, apparently, not sure how this translates to dogs but it'll do her the power of good at any rate. She just needs to learn to keep up and stop stopping unless I do, in which case she needs to learn to wait until I do whatever it I'm doing that's making me stop. Like taking a picture. See Lolly stretch!

Now my friends - there is a running plan - with strategies and training plans and all that jazz - brewing in my little head. But I'm going to be uncharacteristically silent and share all with you in the next week or so when my plans will be a bit more firm. It's a tad undercooked at the moment. In the meantime, enjoy your running, enjoy your racing and stay in touch!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Saint Paula!

Wowee! Look at the girls! Amazing woman! Did you catch that final mile? Where did she get that sprint from? She is just incredible. I'm in total awe of this woman. 2:23:09. How's that for speed?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Reflection, resolutions and ... mrrm yesss a muffin top

Reflections after running my recent marathon:
- it is ALL worth it. The early morning, the tiredness, the stress of working your life round your schedule, the fear of failure .. it is all worth it when you're out there and your body is doing what it's trained to do and it's doing it well and it's surprising and amazing you with what it can do.
- there is no such thing as "just" a marathon. Just because this one was closer than Chicago and New York, and because I wasn't attaching a holiday to it didn't make it "just a marathon". It was hard and exciting and fun and painful and unmissable. Every single mile of it.
- there is a certain feeling I have when running a marathon that I never felt any other time - all my doubts and worries are pushed back in a way I find difficult at other times and I feel confident and strong and able, regardless of whether I'm actually doing well or not. If I'm struggling then I am fine with that and I don't judge myself harshly. If I'm doing well I'm fine with myself too. I am just, for a while, totally fine with myself. An incredible feeling. Perhaps worth finding outside of a marathon?
- you HAVE to put your name on your shirt. It really really helps.
- family is amazing.
- bin bags are amazing. Check this out LizzieLee!
- running mates are amazing. Look at Sal! Not at all self-conscious at being bin-bagged with me..

Now for the resolutions - with this marathon behind me it is very tempting to think about my next year of racing. An autumn marathon has now become a tradition and so has the traditional time off from running just after it. It's not that I'm not running, but I'm not training. I'm just running for the pleasure and the fun of it. In my experience, it is really important to have some time off a schedule so you can give some thought to what's next. My impulsive and overly ambitious nature means my natural instinct is to jump straight into a new plan but I'm holding off, just reviewing my options while I'm out there on these lovely autumn runs. So what are my running resolutions for the rest of 2007 / 2008?
- to follow a more rounded plan. The Hal Higdon intermediate plans have served me well but offer no speedwork or interval work. I think I've now probably done as well as I ever will on them and so I need to ramp it up a bit and shake it up a bit if I want to improve any further. The bad thing about blogging is that your previous unmet resolutions are out there - I wrote about following a Pfitzinger Advanced Marathoning plan earlier this year but then chickened out. I think I will go either for a Pfitz plan (it's working for Jen, after all) or follow a Hansen's plan like Steve Runner is doing.
- to run either a full or 2 halves in the spring. I've entered the lottery for London fully expecting not to get in (only 1 in 5 get in) but I'm doing it because after 5 unsuccesful entries you get in so one day my day will come.. If I don't get in I might find another UK full to train for or alternatively try to work hard on my half-times for a bit - might be a good strategy for trying out full marathon plans?
- to use my gym membership. I.e - some upper level work with weights etc. as well as swimming.
- to run an autumn marathon OR the relay if we can get a team together - I will be hassling you all after Christmas to see who's prepared to take part. If we can't get a team together I might run Chicago again or do Berlin..

Finally - the muffin top. You know you've overdone the post-marathon reward eating when you get jeans-induced indigestion and you've got a muffin top..
I'll spare y'all the image of my ... self spilling out of the top of my jeans but you can imagine. So I'm with the lovely and amazing Maddy and joining P.O.M's Holiday Weightsloss Challenge.

So off I go - on a beautiful Autumn run.