Yesterday`s Entry.

Yoga pose

Juneathon Day Fourteen, and I`m longing to worship the sun again. Damned rain.

Anyone living in Ireland bears the possibility of skipping summer entirely. We spend the whole winter hunched over, head down against slanting knives of cold rain with merely a sliver of hope for a bit of warmth in the year. Then, the very second the sun decides to edge our way, we instantly strip off longing to soak up some of its heat. Two days later, we`re all muffled up again, scowling under leaden clouds.

And so it was today. By evening time the downpour had turned monsoon-like. Minus the tropical heat, of course. Run in that? You must be kidding me. I made Key Lime Pie, instead, and imagined I was living in Florida whining about the humidity and the heat.

And, to fulfil my exercise obligations, I practised a little yoga.

Yoga is something I used to do a lot of before I discovered running. Running makes yoga seem lazy and I really struggle to find the mindset for all that stretching and laying about these days. I used to do a lot of meditation in the past also, but running can take of that too. I usually get to a point during my long slow runs where I am just cruising along with my mind in a place of perfect calm. That does my meditation these days.

So the girl in the pic? Yes, she`s the image of me. Perfect hour glass shape, perfect pose. I`m just two stone heavier and half a yard shorter, that`s all. The sky on the other hand is all wrong. Definitely not an Irish sky. At least not this week. Next week, maybe, who knows?

Maybe I should just take one reminder from this Juneathon day. Any good yogi would live in the moment. Don`t fret about what`s behind or what`s ahead. Feel the rain and know, like everything else, it won`t go on forever.

Footnote 1: This entry failed to post last night because my internet server fecked up.
Footnote 2: Key Lime Pie entry to follow shortly. It`s the easiest peasiest coolest most tropical and delicious dessert you`ll ever make.


Bending Over Backwards

Bending Over Backwards

I have always known that I am a bendy, stretchy person. Why, one of least useful skills is the fact, that on a good day-and preferably when no one is watching -I can bend over backwards and type at the same time.

Don`t believe me? Well, see above pic. No, it`s not me. but its what I`d look like if I were performing the crab over my laptop. Except my laptop is black, not white. And I rarely wear pencil skirts.

I can touch my thumb to my forearm and touch the ground without bending my knees. Oh, and bend my little finger up into a right angle.

I never knew this bendy stretchy stuff had a name. Nor that it was, actually, a problem. At least for my running.

Twelve miles into  last October`s marathon, my feet felt like they were coming apart. If you`ve run a marathon, you`ll know how hard it is not to run it. When you`re out there, after having trained for months, you not going to let anything stop you on the day. And so, squished my feet through fourteen miles of agony after that. Yes, it was worth it.

Two weeks post marathon, I was still hobbling. I hobbled all the way to the podiatrist`s clinic. And it was there that I first heard the word: Hypermobility.

She told me that my joints can move around too freely because the ligaments are loose. And the ligaments and tendons are loose because they have too much collagen.

Great for swimming-I`ve been told my feet move really gracefully in the water.

Not so good for running.

Great for super smooth skin. (Oh,you can tell, I hate to brag.)

Not so great for ballet. At least, not from the perspective of injury.

Ah, yes, my last entry where I had dreams of being Dark Swan before Nicole Portman was ever born? Well, all that bendy stretchy stuff really is useful for dance. And gymnastics.

Mind you, the closest I got to it in reality is years and years of doing yoga.

My daughter`s ballet teacher took me aside last week. Her first lesson en pointe went well but, the ballet teacher explained, my daughter is hypermobile. From a ballet perspective, her foot looks beautiful, arches wonderfully when she is up on her toes, but, and she looked at my girl gravely as she said:

“You should never, ever try a double pirouette”

Apparently, her foot en pointe is too unstable to support her if she decides to spin about the place. Hypermobility makes her feet more prone to injury.

My girl doesn`t mind in the slightest. She likes dance but is unlikely to be treading the boards for the Bolshoi any time soon. Double pirouettes aren`t her priority.

But never mind her; this blog is all about me.Right?

I want to keep running. But without wrecking my feet. Armed with all the nightmare prognosis that internet research guarantees. I have, nevertheless, managed to find a few useful tips for my training plan.

Back come the orthotics. Seems my feet need some stability. They`ll do it for my workday.

Off come the shoes. I like to prance about the house in socks anyway. So it`s foot stretching  and strengthening time when I`m sofa bound.

Out comes the yoga mat. Back to more strengthening poses than the stretchy bendy showy offy stuff I like to do.

I`ve always love biking, and can swim reasonably well. So they`re back in as part of my running fitness.

Dammit, but I really really want another go at a marathon. Dublin, specifically. I hope I can do it.

See, there is something really special about getting into the marathon club. For me, it just always will be up there as a Lifetime Achievement thing. Up there in lights, along with the Births of My Three Children.

That is why I felt a sucker punch when son texted me about the sad happenings at the Boston Marathon. The loss of innocent lives anywhere should matter to all of us. But marathon endline is, to me, as sacred a space as any for it is full of the the very best of the human spirit.

It is the point which marks triumph over adversity.

It`s also why I`ll be glued to my TV on Sunday, watching the London Marathon. I am really excited for my fellow bloggers as they head into this. Go, all of you! You will rock. You will test yourself to the last. You will succeed. You will be SO proud of you!

The crowd will be great and I`ll be roaring too.

“Go You!”






Red Soles


I always knew I was destined to wear red soles Of course I`d a pair of Louboutins in mind. Not these uber swish orthotics.

Yep,I`ve joined the Orthotic Club. No, it`s not quite in the same bracket as the Warfarin club. Or the poor men in the Prostate Club. But still, it sure feels like a dreaded Age Issue.

Health practioners won`t get rich on me. But my feet have been sounding a few warning bells ever since my last Long Slow Run.(LSR) They practically sprouted mega sirens when I dragged myself through the last two miles of a twenty mile run. Same story in the marathon. Only the collapse came at the twelve mile point.

Time to pay attention.

Oh I`m fond of the self healing option. Like listening to what my body tells me it needs. Often, a good rest does the trick. Or really stretching out properly, or enjoying a relaxing swim

But my feet have always been telling darker tales. I get hard skin really regularly.(Warning:This blog post can only get less pretty so stop here if you must). That demands the kind of scraping only a good podiatrist can do. Callouses, corns. All those ugly horrible words for ugly horrible conditions. Yep, have them.Katy whips out her magic wand aka callous file and zap! they`re gone!

My toes are very squished together too. And I get the odd twinge from my Achilles and less occasionally, shin splints.Like my feet can`t cushion my legs properly.

The cause of those conditions( in my case, and in Katy`s expert opinion) is foot hypermobility.

Yay, at last. A foot condition that actually sounds good!

My toes are very flexible. So are the joints in my feet. Seems my tendons and muscles have a job holding all that flexibility together and so wham, sometimes they plain give up and my feet go splat.

On the plus side, the rest of me is very flexitle too. I always loved stretching, yoga, gymnastics. And now I know why. Because I`m hypermobile! Of course I didn`t know that term until today. But it really helped to make sense on why I need all that bendy stretchy exercise stuff in my life

Solution for my uber flexible feet? €100 for super sexy orthotics. I can stick them in any pair of shoes provided of course, it has enough depth to hold them in place. After a couple of weeks my legs/feet will have adapted to them and my feet will readjust to a more comfortable position.

That`s the theory. I`m giving it my best shot.

Throwing in specific foot exercises as well and, as you can see,I`ve hauled out my yoga mat too.It`s going to play an important role in my rejigged training plan.

.Of course there`s the little niggle of whether this hypermobility will come between me and my desire to run faster.Off to research that one now.

Meanwhile I have to be happy with the fact that I`m one super flexbile girl with great red soles…