Sunday, 30 June 2013

'It's just...'

When did those two words....'It's just...' enter my vocabulary?

As in 'It's just a 5 k run.' or 'It's just a quick 60 minute run.'

Looking back, I would NEVER have imagined saying that.  In fact I spent 99% of teenage life on the couch.

In my 20's I walked, but only if I had to go somewhere because I didn't have my driving license and couldn't be bothered waiting for the bus.

In my 30's I walked to 'get fit' because after 4 babies, the old body wasn't snapping back the way it used to and besides, walking was healthy yeah? Not running, running is bad for your knees and hips and kidneys and your eyeballs might jolt out.

I remember well my first funrun. I thought I was going to die, I believe I prayed for death several times.  I sounded like a steam train and couldn't walk for days afterwards. That was an 8k run, and it took me well over an hour of pain, breathing through what felt like a sock filled with wet concrete.  Never again I vowed, I am clearly not made for running.

Well I was clearly suffering memory problems because I did do another funrun, 5k. It was....better but nothing to sing from the mountaintops.  Then a 10k run....back to never wanting to run ever again.  I even thought because I was short, it meant I couldn't run...don't have the legs for it, see?

Then came the big FOUR OH....yep turning 40. I was determined to do something big before I turned 40, so yep, I signed up for a half marathon a month before my birthday.  What training did this involve?  A few half hearted 10k runs, if I can run 10, I can run 20, it's just double right?

I hit the wall at 18kms in that run.  I was passed by a woman who had a stroke and told me she had to learn to walk again so she decided she might as well learn to run. I was passed by the elderly, by prams, by smartarse children. When I crossed that line in a daze and feeling like death....I said NEVER AGAIN.....about two hours after I could actually speak and breath again without moaning.

So today, doing my long slow 20k training run for my next half marathon (yep, definitely memory problems there) and talking about plans for training for the full marathon (yep, tick the delusional box) I caught myself saying out loud, " Yes I went for a run through the week but IT WAS JUST 6 kms. And after next weeks long run we have JUST a little 10 K-er to run before the Big Day"

What the HELL did I just say?

5 years ago I was convinced if I ran my eyeballs would pop out, I'd lose a kidney and be crippled for life. Running a whole kilometre would put me in hospital.

10 years ago, a leisurely walk to the shops chatting with a friend counted as exercise and barely raised a sweat.

20 years ago, walking to the bus stop would be the total exercise for the WEEK.

25 years ago, what is this word, exercise? And can you move? You are blocking  Bon Jovi on Video Hits.

And 3 weeks out from a 21.1 km race, I ran 20 km and felt like keeping on going. I ran for over 2 hours at a relaxed, chat-worthy, Queen singing ( scaring tourists and cyclists alike) Yarra river rower perving pace, throwing in the odd Footloose or Eye of the Tiger dance and felt GOOD.

 Michael, you DO know how I feel.

I have gone from not being able to run, to half dying in an 8k run, to never wanting to run a 10k again, to never EVER running another half marathon to running almost a half marathon in training and looking forward to a full 42.2K marathon. Who knew?  Who would have ever believed it? Not me. Not then and sometimes, not even now.

And now it has become a little like the words of my lovely running buddy Theresa, "I won't get out of bed for anything less than a 10 K run." LOL

Thursday, 27 June 2013


A while ago, I read or I was told ( I can't remember which, I'm an old lady after all LOL) that if you are a long distance runner, you must be a selfish person. A long distance runner must be selfish because they spend so long away from their families running, 2 or 3 hours at a time or more.  After a run like that they must be so tired they can't do anything else with their family. Everything revolves around their training, how their body feels, what they eat and especially in the case of ultra marathoners, their support network.


So to me it means that if I choose to follow my goal of running my first marathon, I will be a selfish person. Because I run.

And apparently I have been told last year ( and blogged about it) that by following my healthy lifestyle in eating and using mainly whole foods, I was 'abusing' my children by not letting them go to McDonalds and 'making' them run funruns.....both of which are false. So now, not only am I selfish for running and following a goal but now I am a child abuser.

But wait!  There's more!

When I started doing a weight program through Lean and Strong on the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation, lots of opinions came out of the woodwork then....I am turning anorexic because I don't need to lose weight, going to gym following the program meant I am obsessed and that I will turn into a man with all those muscles and lose my husband to a real woman.

Sooo....I am now a selfish, abusive, anorexic, obsessive, manlike, abandoned woman......all for changing my lifestyle from sedentary to healthy.

Let's look at this a different way.

I am me, and always have been.  Still the same but my priorities have changed. I have one body that has to last me as long as I live so I might as well make it a good one. Taking care of myself isn't selfish, it's smart. On the plane what's the first thing they tell you in an emergency?  Put your own face mask on first then look after others.

If I don't look after myself, I get sick. That stops me from looking after my family and doing things with them. I'll be unfit and not be able to keep up with my family. In time, I'll be too embarrassed to go out because I look so fat...and miss out on my family.

When I DO look after myself, I feel good.  I feel great.  When I run, I work out my frustrations and irritations that could mean a massive blowup if I don't get rid of it.  Some people use meditation or medication, I run. Calmer wife, calmer life....

I set an example and my children and family do not miss out. I arrange my workouts around my family and my long runs are only one day a week, not such a big deal when I could be equally as 'distant' from my children in my own house, on the computer, in a book, watching television. I have balance between myself, my family and friends and work.

My children learn HOW to look after themselves through watching me.  Parents are the greatest educators of their children and we are raising the next generation of adults. Thats something a lot of parents have lost sight of, the emphasis is on raising children and now we have a helluva lot of 20-30 year old children.....very few 20-30 year old adults. The best way children learn is through watching and copying.  So what are they copying?

My personal opinion....I think it is selfish to NOT look after yourself. It is selfish to eat what you want and get sick and expect others to look after you.  It's selfish to sit on your backside in front of the television and not enjoy the life you have been given.  It's selfish to raise another generation up to inaction and whininess when things are uncomfortable and to feed them food low in nutritional value.
It's selfish to blame others for your inability to eat better and live better.

So I guess the question is....which selfishness do we choose?

Sunday, 23 June 2013

A Winter Mornings run

Today was planned for a long run...18 kilometres of foot following foot. Due to illness and timing, I was on my own for this one.  Just me, the path and the 2 degree temperature outside.

I rugged up in layers....singlet, longsleeved top and hoodie and popped on my gloves.  As soon as it was light I was off.

It was frosty but clear....I could hear the grass crunching under my feet and everything sparkled.  The sun was just rising and turning the sky orange and pink when I hit the river, 2 kilometres into the run.

It was a wee bit cold for birdlife, I've never heard the river so silent. As I ran I could see the mist starting to curl up from the water's surface, felt like I was in an Arthurian tale and could imagine a knight standing silently on the island in the middle of the river, guarding unicorns and maidens.

I continued on at a fairly good pace, I was starting to warm up a bit now. I followed the river for a while then crossed a bridge at the highway, turning to run under it and then joining the path again behind the Werribee Zoo. The sky was a bit more alive here, the eagles were out, a few fat bunnies ran away when they heard me coming and one little fat bunny further up the path a fair way was not as quick as the others...certainly not as quick as the drop dead gorgeous bird that swooped it up.  It was amazing, way beyond words and so quick.

Anyway...ground...still frosty. Felt like I was running through Christmasland, which freaked me out a bit after reading Joe Hill's book NOS4R2. Pace quickened a bit after that. Far too much imagination to be running alone...

I also discovered two things I did not realise before while running behind the Zoo and the Mansion.

1.  Wooden bridges, when  icy, look spectacular but are also slippery.
2. I can nearly do the splits.

After making these discoveries, I ran on, a little more carefully.  More birds were appearing, my favourites, the fairy wrens were bobbing about along the path and (not my favourites) the magpies were singing their hearts out. The sun was shining a little better now, and the run along the paths through the Mansion were beautiful. The lions roared for their breakfast in the background.  Long swathes of green and frosty grass edged the path as I ran around the lake and to the grotto.

Every house should have a grotto......

Leaving the Mansion I ran the paths that led to the Victorian State Rose Garden next door.  The roses are not at their best being Winter but I cannot WAIT to run this during September and October when they will be in full bloom!  It was peaceful here, and every now and then you'd get a whiff of rose scented air.  The sun was warming up a bit and it felt good.

Running out the main gates and along the farmlands now I was lost in my own little world. The sky was clear. My legs felt good, I was over halfway through the run. It felt good to be alive. And joining onto the main road I was amazed to see what I was running into....

 Foglights anyone?  All that Arthurian mist wending its way through the streets....incredible since when I left it was crisp and clear. Watching for random unicorns in the mist, I turned for the home leg.  This is along the Federation Trail back to the river, a favourite with cyclists.  Nothing like running and having a group of men all call out good morning to you.  Enough to turn a girls head ;)  Including the cyclist having a quiet pee against the tree.  I tried to be discreet and not pay attention but he was cheery enough to wish me good morning as I ran past, eyes looking anywhere but that vicinity.

I even ran into the 3 Amigos, friends who are cyclists.  Nothing like running into mates to keep you going!

Finally, 1 hour and 56 minutes later and feeling good I hit home.  18.23 kilometres later and a brilliant way to start the day.

But  the best bit about running in Winter? after.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Fancy a chat?

Yesterday I ran with a super brilliant bunch of women, a fantastic 7 km around a lake in 8 degree temperature. I so needed the run after a stressful week, it just felt like I wasn't even touching the ground. We ended up pairing up and chatting along the way. Who knew it was only 8 degrees?  Not me, too busy solving the worlds problems.  So it was entirely appropriate I was tagged on Facebook with this picture.

Oh how true that is, although I'd be in trouble......there'd be nothing left of me!

I have always loved a chat.  I chat to anyone and everyone. I think that's part of why I love working in kindergarten so much, nobody loves a chat more than a 4 year old child, except perhaps the teachers. I strike up conversations with people waiting in queues or waiting rooms, sitting on trains, walking past the house, woe betide you if you are a salesperson knocking on the door and I'm in a chatty mood.

I have gone from running on my own and working out on my own to having the highlight of my week running with someone to talk to. And talk I do. I've been accused of being able to talk underwater. (which I'll never know because I'm too scared to put my head under water.)  But I do know that on a 2 hour run I can talk the whole way and not be out of breath, or subject matter.

But it's not just the social side of talking while running that draws me.

Talking while you run is a great indication of your heart rate and effort. If you can talk while you are running, then you are not overworking the cardiovascular system. While I'm training for these long runs, knowing I can sustain a comfortable pace to keep talking and still do the distance is important to me. When I can get only a couple of words out between puffs, I know I'm working hard in that workout.  Still doesn't stop my chatting!

I also find my breathing while running and talking is regular and relaxed, it gets into a rhythm that makes running so much easier. I've been on runs where I've lost control of my breathing and I felt all weird....breathing at the wrong time felt a bit like trying to write my name with my left hand, awkward, uncomfortable and just plain wrong. Talking though has stopped that, and made it easier to slip into that natural rhythm.

Mentally chatting  makes a run fly by. My brain is so busy conversing and listening with others, there's no room for the general whinges that pop up....the "It's too"'s too cold, it's too long, it's too painful blah blah blah. Sorry, no time to think about that, I am currently solving a particular knotty problem of who is going to win X factor and why with my friend. Or swapping a recipe as we run and thinking "omg yes I am SO making that when I get home."

Talking while running saves my marriage, my children's lives, my professionalism, my sanity, stops me from missing out seeing Commando on TV. Talking with my friends on the run encourages me when I think the next hill will kill me, as I encourage them when they are feeling it. We talk about next races, so we can all sign up together and party on afterwards. We talk about dreams, hopes, irritations and sadness. And we look forward to the next run.

So my advice to you runners is:

And to the girls I run with...feel free to tell me to shut up if needed.....and be thankful I don't sing and run.

Monday, 17 June 2013

The Secret.

I read a quote some time ago, ages ago.  But it is something that has stuck in my head.

To be brave and courageous doesn't mean you are fearless.  It means you feel the fear and act anyway.

I found myself pondering over this little gem I have been hoarding in my mind as I see news of Nelson Mandela's health on the news. It cropped up in my mind bright and shiny when I was sitting on the couch, having the internal whinge that comes with preparing to go for a workout.

" I don't want to. It won't matter. Sigh. Frump. Whinge. Whine."

So why did this quote pop up then?  Going to gym is not a courageous thing, I'm not afraid of going to gym or working out, I don't think my life is in danger or zombies will overrun the place and eat our brains, or vampires in cool cars are going to rock up....

( note to self, go easy on the Joe Hill and Stephen King books. One needs to sleep at some point without all the lights on)

Then my maze of a mind figured it out.....DISCIPLINE.

To be disciplined does not mean I am motivated. To be disciplined is to act WITHOUT motivation. To do it anyway even though a snuggly bed listening to the rain on the roof is a far better proposition than going out to an over bright, over loud and over man filled gym. Reading a book is far more attractive than running 8 km of varying interval speed and hill sprints on a treadmill that goes nowhere.

But discipline....that is the 'strength' in self respect, the iron bar that holds your head up high, the means to get the job done. And that, my friends, is the Secret.

This was an important thing for me, to come at just the right time. You see, after my long run of almost 16 kms yesterday the endorphins hit hard and I was flying.  What a brilliant run.....starting in pre dawn, running along the local river, out behind our zoo and historical mansion......watching the dawn light up the windows like the Mansion was on fire and hearing the lions waking, roaring at the sunrise.

 Running through farmland with the hawks in the air and the rabbits on the ground, then back along the river seeing it burbling over the rocks, carrying ducks lazily along the banks. Supreme bliss and soul restoring.  Add to that a gorgeous friend to chat to as we ran and it was perfection (thanks Theresa!)

So blissful and so perfect in fact that while I was still in my run induced endorphic state, I committed myself to a very scary prospect.

I will be running a full marathon this October. 42.2 kms. All based on a glorious 15.5 km run.

I will need discipline to achieve this. I will need the discipline to stick to the training plan, to keep running when my legs feel like lead and all of me hurts. To not go and have that 3 drinks too many on a Saturday night, given that the next morning I will be running anywhere from 20-36 kms in training.

Discipline and courage hand in hand, to line up at the start line and run it.

My new motto: Determination and Courage....

 pertinacia et fortitudo

Friday, 14 June 2013

No longer a Wet Weather virgin...

Honestly, you'd swear I was made out of tissue paper the way I carry on about the weather when I run. It has to be cool not hot, not windy but slightly breezy, preferably daylight and definitely dry.
 I have cancelled runs when I see an ominous cloud in the sky, and, living in Melbourne, there are often ominous clouds in the sky. I have successfully evaded running in the rain for some time.

Until tonight.

It has been a hectic day at work, imagine 24  four and five year old children on a rainy day stuck inside, need I say more?? Consequently, I left work late and had no time for a gym session before school pickup. No matter I chirpily thought to myself I'll run laps of the footy oval at Hunter's training tonight. Great plan. Smile smugly at coming up with plan B and marvel at how flexible I am.

It IS cold, but I took precautions...fluffy headband to cover ears....check. Three layers of tops....check. Gloves for chilly hands....check. Comfy slippers to keep in the car for when I finish running....check.

I am SO prepared.

I hop out of the car and watch my son and husband run off to the team.  I click on my heart rate monitor and start on my first lap of the grassy oval.

I should stop here and point out, we have had about three days of rain. The footy oval is not of Olympic fact it could double as a horse paddock when junior footballers aren't kicking balls randomly across the surface.  A lush carpet it is not, it's more like the rental share house carpet with strange odours and several layers of cigarette burns.

Two steps into the run and I hear squish. About a nano second after that I feel the creeping cold wetness caressing my foot through shoe and sock, about the same time a smell not unlike a mixture of wet earth, wet dog and wet cowpat hit my nose. Gross.

I trudge on, trying to find the driest parts of the ground, a bit like finding the driest parts of the ocean really.  I could feel mud flicking up behind me. Instantly my head was saying STOP! You don't DO wet running! Yuk it's all muddy! You are going to STINK and be so cold.....

and then I JFDI......Just Freaking Did It.

My shoes are wet already, My aim was to run for the hour, I was here already, might as well do it.  Was I not the woman who ran Tough Mudder in January?  Now THAT was some mud.

Checking my GPS after every couple of laps, I was doing well. At about kilometre 4 ( 10 laps of the oval) rained. That good old Melbourne rain, not quite a mist, not really a downpour, just constantly irritating misty soaking rain.

I was over it. I'm cold. I'm squishing. I have mud all up my back and legs. I stink of mud and now it is raining.  Why the hell am I doing this to myself?


Then the lightbulb flashed over my head.....


That's why. I love moving, I love being outside and running, feeling the breeze, seeing how far I can go. I love the rhythm my breath goes into with my feet, I love the thinking time or chatting time depending on whether I'm running alone or with others.  I love hearing the beat of my feet against the ground, I love the warmth that spreads throughout my whole body. I love the feeling of flying when it is a good run, I like the feeling of overcoming when it is a not so good run.


Mind you, it took me another 2 laps before Brains Trust here figured that out. I'm not running for time, I'm not running for places or sheep stations or recognition. I'm running because I love it.

My whinges blew away like the misty rain. I wiped the face of my watch to check on progress for time to time but most of the time, in my head I was Gene Kelly, tap dancing away like a fool without his gumboots on.

I was running in the rain and I was hap hap happy again.

And the bestest of best bits of all about running in the rain?  Coming home to a gloriously hot bubble bath to restore the pink into your toes and the molten syrupy relaxation in my muscles.

Now, I know, the next time it rains, I will most likely hesitate.  I'll consider cancelling the run. I'll have the same excuses lining up like an army in my head.  However, I've done it now.  I survived. I am no longer a Rain Run virgin.

And exactly how far can one person run in sodden muddy joggers, soaked running gear and on numb legs during a one hour footy training session?

Well, about 10 kilometres, and still have energy to tap dance back to the car.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

They are always watching you......

One day, about 5-6 weeks ago, I sat down with my notebook at the kitchen table and thought about my goals.  My 1 month, 3 month, my 6 month and my 12 month goals. Besdie me, my 8 yr old daughter, Piper, sat colouring in the latest picture of Barbie from the internet.

" What are you doing, Mum?" Piper asked.

" I'm setting my goals for the next few months" I answered.

" Haven't you already done that before?"she continued, still colouring in.

" Yep, but when you meet a goal, then you set some others so you always hav something to aim for.  This time I'm doing something a bit different." and I explained I was wanting to run more so my fitness goals are now based more on running.

Cue deep silence from the mini interrogator as she negotiated a particularly difficult flower on the Barbie page.

"Can I set some goals too Mum? Or is it just for grown ups?" came the next question.

And that's when we stopped my goal setting, and looked at what Piper wanted to do.  She gave herself a deadline....July, before her 9th birthday.  After we discussed how goals need to be realistic after 'getting a pony' popped up,  and achievable in the timeframe after " being an Olympic hockey player" came next. She eventually settled on some simple, yet challenging goals.

1. Run 2 km
2. Climb the Grampians
3. Ride a bike 10 km.

And together as a family, we made sure we helped her meet those goals.

I have four children, 2 adult children and 2 younger. Since I changed my life to this much healthier version, first my husband got on board.....then my younger son and daughter. And now, I am overwhelmingly pleased to say, both my adult children have begun making steps towards healthier living as well.  My eldest has begun running and asking advice about cutting sugar from her diet.  My second has ditched the energy drinks and Oreo cookie dinners and started making meals with REAL FOOD in it. 

This just shows me that every little thing I do, my children, no matter what age, are watching.  Even when I think they aren't taking it in, that they don't notice what I am doing, their eyes are always watching, their values are always forming, their actions are still guided in some way by my own examples. In turning my own life around, I have helped empower my children to live better and stronger, to be able to make informed choices and how to reach their potential, using their own skills, knowledge and ethics.

But back to goals....

Piper ran her 2 km with me in training, slowly but determinedly.  She ended up being selected for the school cross country team, running 2 km in a race.  She came 56th but my heart was busting....she was off the couch, and feeling a sense of achievement.

Then yesterday.....we addressed her second goal. The family drove three hours to the Grampians, on a sunny but freezing cold day, so she could complete the Pinnacle walk. It is a 3.5 km walk.  Not far, but most of it is vertical.....She completed it in 2 hours 30 mins with a sandwich break at the top.

The first set of rock steps...easy the blue dot.  That's her :)

There were a huge number of these metal steps put into the side of the rock. It was at this point, the " Oh my gosh Mum" started....frequent drink breaks and she kept powering on. She's the tiny blue dot at the top.

And at last....she reached the top. If it's any indication for those of you with heart rate monitors, I consider myself fairly fit and I burned nearly 700 calories just in climbing and walking.

As we walked to the bottom, she talked about the goals she might set now.  I suggested maybe we could do this walk again, or another bushwalk. Her response made me smile.....

" Nah, I need something that will challenge me.  I've done this."

What an amazing kid.

Just know, whatever you do, whatever you say, however you act, is being observed and filed away by those in your care. I have learned if I want a better life for my children, I must show them a better life, by being the person I would like them to be, by showing the values and behaviour I would like them to develop.

Gandhi was right....

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Testing the research..

While reading Australian Womens Health today I came across a little nugget of research.

"According to researchers from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, US, 
happily married couples are more likely to put on the kilos than people in unsatisfying marriages."

I wonder why?  Is it because we don't feel the need to 'try' anymore?  Do we get comfortable in our little nest of love and more accepting of each other? Do we like making each other happy through food?

 Now I take studies with a grain of salt.  The first study followed 169 couples over a period of 4 years, and no further. So I decided to apply my own experience to test this theory out.

In 2 months time I will have been married to a gorgeous man for 13 years. In that time he has taken on the role of stepdad to my older two girls and became a father to another two children.  That's right, 4 children in total.

When we married,  he was 21, I was 28. Young, in love and totally for each other.

And yes I am that short I had to stand on a rock for our wedding photos.

In those first 4 years, we both gained weight....partly due to finances ( carbs are cheap, 99c pasta anyone?), partly due to time ( small children... pregnancies and work) and partly due because we didn't really know any better.  

Then we moved to Melbourne from Queensland.  Our youngest was only 10 months old and we set off into the big unknown, with no family or anyone we knew in Melbourne.  Those were our tough years.  Still in love yes, but lonely, all we had was our little family.  It was a make or break time, it could draw us closer or pull us apart....I'm glad to say it brought us closer. This happened about when the Southern Methodist University would have finished their study on our marriage.

Were we both heavier than when we married?  Yes. But not just due to being happily married, a whole range of different experiences left their mark on us.  Moving, children, both of us having limited 'foodology' experience, having both grown up in meat and 2 veg homes, ignorance of how our bodies work best....all contributed to weight gain.

And then six years ago....Troy won a raffle prize at our son's school....6 weeks personal training.

He lost the weight.  He got fit. But after the 6 weeks, the weight started creeping back on slowly but surely.  It did spark something in us both though, the idea that working out and being fit could be part of our marriage.

Fast forward a few years to 2011. I was fed up with the way I looked.  My marriage was happy but neither of us were happy in ourselves. Strange how happiness can be in different layers, unhappy with myself but happy as a couple. I found Michelle Bridge's website and joined Michelle Bridges 12 Week body Transformation.

At first Troy wasn't so keen. After all the things I had tried before, surely this was another phase. I have to be honest and thought I would probably give up as well.  But I proved it wasn't a phase and I didn't give up.  Not only did I lose the weight, I became happier and more confident in myself.  Troy signed up.

Now go look at the wedding picture.  And look at the transformation below, particularly with Troy. This picture was taken this year, in May...nearly 13 years married.

So, in my experience....does being happily married make you fat? 

No. Being happily married has very little to do with it. Perhaps satisfaction in yourself may have something to do with weight gain, perhaps life events changing the physiology ( like pregnancy) might have something to do with gaining weight, who knows?  

We educated ourselves on how our bodies work, and experienced how it feels living a cleaner, healthier lifestyle. We cut the fast food and raised the fresh food.  We cut the watching tv together and began working out together.(Best workout partner ever) We lost the weight together....

and we are still happily married.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

So close and yet so far....

Sunday was the day for a 10km funrun for MS. This was held at Albert Park and consisted of 2 laps around the lake.

 And what a glorious day Melbourne put on for the occasion...
Rain and I are not good friends when outdoors.

So there I was, huddled in my car watching the clock....warm up was at 8.40 am and I left the car at 8.35 am :)

I joined the other two and a half thousand people shivering in front of the main arena and in the start chute. Here I found a handy tip. Tip no 1:  If you are little like me and freezing to death, squish yourself into the middle of the crowd.  Yes it is difficult to move but it is toasty warm with body heat.

The start siren blew and we were off, I hit a steady pace of about 5.30 a kilometre. The course was flat and on a sunny day would be lovely but in the misty rain which quickly stopped, it was just plain cold.  Even the swans watched frozenly....too cold to even delight in their usual pastime of trying to nip people.

The trail was muddy.  the trail was flooded.  It was crowded with people all trying to dance around the massive puddles. I was doing well until some numbnut stomped in a puddle and got me good. I took great delight in running past him later and leaving him for dead.

I had my tunes, I had my pace, I had the course to run and I kept on going, through wet shoes and socks, numb hands and cold body. I was in the fresh air and while I HATE being cold and wet, just the rhythm and the feel of the wind against me as I ran put me in my happy place.

The course cleared a great deal after the first lap, when the 5km runners veered to the left to their finish line. I was able to stride out and was loving it. I played games on the ipod music, keeping my feet to the tempo of the music, leaping like a gazelle over the puddles ( in my mind anyway) and turned for the home stretch where I hit the obstacle I hate in every single funrun I race.

Pedestrians. Walkers. People who walk 4 across, blocking the entire path and going s....l....o....w.... When you have hit a comfortable pace to run and are in the flow, coming up against this time after time after time is incredibly frustrating and just plain rude.  If you walk, fine, but MOVE TO THE LEFT! Just common courtesy which I find is lacking everywhere nowadays. So tip no 2: If you walk or slow to a stop be aware of who is around you and go to the left of the path, leaving a way clear for those runners coming behind you.  And earn our eternal love.

Finally, the finish line was there and coincidentally, the Wonder Woman theme song was playing as I crossed the line. I felt great and checked my unofficial time ( my watch, started just before the start hooter)

But my official time was 54 mins 46 seconds.

I am proud of my time particularly finishing and still feeling good, being able to maintain a pace all through the race. But I'd be lying if I wasn't a teensy bit disappointed as well.  I was so so close to breaking my 10k personal best time....but I missed it by 15 seconds. 15 tiny little ticks of the clock. Gives me something to aim for next time.

I left the finish line and went back to huddling in my little car, heaters on full, peeling off wet shoes and socks and plonking on my very unsexy leopard print slippers for the drive home.  It's all about preparation ;) Tip no 3: pack comfy shoes for the drive home.

So as yet I've still not run in the rain although it was a close thing Sunday. I admire those who can just go out in the rain and run, I think it's time for me to harden up and give it a bash......after all, it's not as if I'd melt....I think.