Interminable Rain

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Pic from www.imgur.com

Aw… poor little guy. And, after yesterday, I know exactly what he feels like…

Torrential rain in these parts. In this pic, the orangutan is sheltering from the monsoons of Borneo. At least monsoon rains are warm. No such luck here in Ireland. We had hours of wind and rain and c..c..c..cold like I`d never seen before.

Since I`ve started running regularly of course, I`m more attuned to the elements. Whereas before I would have closed the curtains and shut the door on the elements and curled up by the fire, now, I`m like a little kid with my nose pressed up to the window wondering if I`ll get out at all today.

And there was no way in hell I was going out in yesterday`s squalls. Should`ve stayed home and done core exercises. But instead I stayed home and ate creme eggs. No, there is no correlation between the two, except that more of one is required to offset the effects of the other. And I know which one I prefer to be doing.

Sigh.

And that neatly describes my relationship with running. I`m a fair weather runner.

Damn, someone stole that name already for their blog!

On the plus side, I got to fool around about with wordpress. Boy, but it`s a complex planet: so many themes, too many choices. I inadvertentently changed my theme to the one you see here now. I like it though. It reminds me that my heart is also in art and that I really should spend a little more time updating my photography, painting and knitting interests. And maybe even blog them on here.

I also found a fab photography blog. I`m sure there`s a ton more out there too but this one really appealed. Back when I started running I used to take the camera along and enjoy a photorun. I reminded me that I`ve gotta do that again.

And I have an ongoing knitting project in the works with the beginings of an aran jumper in my knitting basket. More pics and updates to follow….

And the very best of news. I start two weeks holidays today so I`m going to knit and photograph and swim and run to my heart`s content.

Oh, and blog it all here, of course.

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Snow Show

Couldn`t wait to get my runners on this morning. Not because I`m super dedicated. Ha! No! It was a flurry of snow that got me really motivated. Damned if I was going to be tackling all that white stuff if it stuck to the ground.

Anyway, peer closely at the pic,reader, and see if you can spot any snow in dem der clouds…..

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Yep, this is where I got to. One of my favourite jaunts, down by the river and heading towards town.

In the end up, the dreaded white blanket never materialized. And I got a fastish six mile run in. Faster than usual because I was f-f-f-freezing if I slowed down at all. Thermal base layer and fleece were working over time to keep me toasty too.

From what I could gather on the garmin my times were around the 10 min mile mark. And then, for the last mile, I sped up a bit to push me under the 9 min mile mark.

Felt really good throughout too. Best I`ve felt, fitness wise, since my pre marathon days. So maybe injury and subsequent loss of fitness are behind me now.

The only bit of bad news is that my Garmin ant stick(a kind of memory stick thingy that takes data off the Garmin and slots it into the garmin connect website) wouldn`t work when I got home. I sure hope its just a temporary glitch. I mind that baby better than my own kids. It goes straight from lap top to being stowed away in a little pouch after I“ve uploaded the data. Can`t understand why it would play up.

And I need it for next week. I will be trying new routes from Tuesday. All the way from Girona in Spain! Ooohh, the lengths I`ll go to to make my jog-and my blog-interesting!

I also happen to have  heap of work related stuff to do out there but yes, running is definitely on the cards. In fact I`m going to wear most of my running gear on the flight, just to sidestep having to lug my Brooks running shoes in my Ryanair flight bag.

Anyway, round up of this week`s runs is pretty good. I`ve hit the grand total of twenty two miles. Also ran intervals and dug myself out of the post 10 min mile zone. The key thing seems to have been last Sunday`s long slow run. Those nine miles, not only pushed the weekly total, but also gave me the confidence to believe I can climb back into the marathon training zone again. Plus, I really, really enjoyed being out there.

Would love another chance at that tomorrow. Depends on the darned weather though. A snow show will mean a no show. So, here`s hoping….

Chi Running

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My running form has been pretty abysmal lately. Legs like lead, pace like an old lady(okay, okay, don`t start!) and I`ve gloomy thoughts creeping in about last year being maybe as good as I`m ever going to get.

Hmmmm. Time to change things around.

Have been reading Danny Dreyer`s “Chi Running“. It appeals because it claims to minimize injury while also minimizing the effort one puts into running. And anyway, I`m biased towards anything that encourages me to really enjoy running.

As I`ve been leafing through the book, I realised I`d had Danny Dreyer`s epiphany myself. Not quite on the road to Damascus but on a long slow run last September. My feet were protesting just a tad back then-Achilles stuff rather than my subsequent marathon ligament and joint crap-and I just felt I`d have to really really relax my feet, relax my body as I ran. And, even more critically, shut the hell up and totally concentrate on what my body was trying to say. Didn`t go down too well with my running buddy at the time but it sure worked for me. After a mile or two of niggles, my feet co operated again, and, as the run went on and I hit an almost meditative frame of mind, enjoying the rhythm of the whole thing, have to say I didn`t feel I`d run twenty miles at all. Just felt really really good.

Well, I`m plainly not in that position in the past few weeks. Yep, recovery of feet from marathon really has taken a long time. I haven`t signed up for physio or anyone else beyond getting orthotics for work wear and walking. I`m just tuning into what my feet want. Doing whatever running they can manage and, from a foot recovery point of view, that approach seems to have worked for me. But at the cost of speed and possibly endurance.

Yesterday was meant to be a long run. Ran with leaden legs a total of 3.20 miles. Hated every second of it.

So, last night, I dug into Danny Dreyer`s book in ernest. Learnt how to change my posture in order to improve my running form. Also decided, even though I`d use the Garmin to time my run, I wasn`t going to fuss about time, just really relax, almost hit into meditative mode and just enjoy the whole movement.

Another factor was the route. I didn`t plan to go to a particular place or distance. But I did start off from a completely different part of town, with the intention of just following my nose around the place.” Relax and enjoy” were the key words.

And I did. I was barely breathing. Just moving along, tuning into the forward lean and the back stride that Danny recommends. My pace was slow-real slow. But I didn`t care. I`ve plenty of time to get faster. Aim was only to enjoy myself. No mega push. I`d say my heart was barely breathing. And all of me felt good.

It`s been good to get used to the Garmin too. I like that it keeps a record of everything and now, that it and Chi Running are new to me. I might as well start at a very low base line. Which I have. Pace was just shy of eleven minutes. Distance 4.50 miles. And yep, I enjoyed every second of it.

The runner in the above pic is Irish athlete Catherina McKiernan. She does a lot of work with Chi Running. She has weekend workshops on the topic and I emailed her about attending one of them. Won`t quote her directly here now, as I haven`t sought her permission, but I did get a delightful and lengthy email back from the lady herself all about the whole Chi Running workshop and how it might help with my foot problems. I am sorely tempted to attend. I really want to run the marathon again this year, really want to do it injury free and under 4.30 minutes.I just don`t have €110-€150 on a workshop right now.

So, my recessionista solution has been to invest in the paperback from the originator of the Chi Running principles. It`s not quite the same as having Catherina analyse my form on video and in person, but `twill have to do for now.

I`m hoping I`ll tune into some of my September LSR form, time and distance, over the next couple of monthsa and all with even less effort.

Anyway, tonight`s run has been encouraging. So, we`ll see.

 

Sloth

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I so completely identified with fairweather`s recent entry that I was tempted to reblog it. But that would be the lazy way out and it`s because I`m too tempted to take the lazy way out that I am in this fix in the first place.

Raheny Five Mile race was on last Sunday and I missed it. Can`t blame laziness for my missing it. After all, I heard the Sirens call in the form of an overnight stay with my sister and our daughters in a five star hotel complete with afternoon tea, dinner, prosecco, cosmopolitans…Well, what else could a girl do?

That meant I`d no incentive to really work in January. Nothing to taunt me into improving on last year`s five miles in forty five minutes run. And I`m almost happy about that!

That`s where the laziness kicks in.

Also, see above pic. That`s what my Garmin forerunner looks like. I`ve had it since last August. And finally got around to working it last night. Now that`s fatal mix of laziness and technological ineptitude.

I`m still struggling with the techie bits too.

But we`ve got to muddle on past our weaknesses somehow.

Last Sunday, despite a bucket load of food and drink, I waddled down to the pool and swam 880 metres.And on Monday, I ran four miles.

Did nothing beyond half a mile with my garmin last night. Struggling with the damn thing clipped my running time down to nothing.

And I`m reading Danny Dreyer`s “Chi Running”. That book makes complete sense to me. I`ve a lifetime of yoga and meditation in my bones and learned in my long runs last year that really listening to my body and relaxing in my runs was vital for me to continuing. Danny promotes all this and a whole lot more.

I`m only at the start of the book and already can see how improving my posture when I run can help me run so much more easily. And when I run easily-like on Monday night-I can enjoy it more which means I want to do it more often.

The other thing I struggle with too  though is the damned weather and time. With work and the kids it really is hard to whip an hour out of my day just to run.And if it`s pelting rain, which it invariably is, I tend to wait til the rain stops. Which it doesn`t, quite often.

Okay, plan is: Wear my  Garmin to track my runs. Keep reading Chi Running.Sign up for a couple of races.Relax, enjoy.

Anyway, four miles done this week. Gotta get my ass out there today. Wish me luck!