Saturday, December 14, 2013

A running tally

For the second year in a row (my blog is only one year old, okay) I'm doing Miss Zippy's Year of Running recap. Here goes:

- Best race experience?
Does it count as a race? The Hen Party Tutu-Wearing Chicken Run (aka the Pocari Sweat Run in June), with the blushing (ok - glowing...ok, all-out sweating) bride and the hen party crew. A run with, and for, friends.

- Best run? 
This may be a strange choice - but I'll have to say 24km on a treadmill during the Great Haze of 2013, which told me a few things about myself, my capacity to deal with boredom, and the nature of the universe. I developed the ability to hold multiple chat conversations on a phone with minimal typos. I may have seen my life flash before my eyes.
Also, the other day my run by the canal was like the 12 days of Christmas gone wrong: 4 little egrets, 3 spotted doves, 2 striated herons, 1 stray common sandpiper, and a very fit uncle on his unicycle. (He's a regular there - every other regular in the neighbourhood knows him by sight. So, any run on which I see Mr Unicycle Uncle is a pretty good one.

Best new piece of gear? 
Tim(ex) III - my third Timex Ironman 30-lap watch in a row. I am a woman of extremely little gear. (Husband may disagree, citing overflowing gear drawers.) I've run for ten years and *STILL* don't own a GPS watch or heart-rate monitor... Mr Tim and my twice-yearly shoe purchases are about as technical as I get. My goggles are five years old. My swim caps are the latex freebies I get at races. Until perhaps two years ago I hadn't purchased any of my own running shirts (they were all free from races).

- Best piece of running advice you received? 
It's a tie: All of George Sheehan's 'Running and Being' (READ IT), and Holly bellowing "USE YOUR HAMSTRINGS" at the end of a rather rough sprint tri.

- Most inspirational runner? 
The most inspirational runners in my life will be, now and always, mum and dad. My mum runs 4.5km twice a day (you heard that right). She gets it done. (She claims not to enjoy it and doesn't race, but really she secretly likes to run.)
My dad doesn't run that much any more but if he could do his first marathon in his 40s with two kids I can certainly do it now. I'm told he finished those runs BEFORE taking me for our morning walks when I was little. The walks were at sunrise on a Sunday so I can only imagine what time he actually woke up.  

- If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? 
Running is my antidote, my universal balm.


  1. Your Mum is amazing! Twice a day is so impressive. No wonder she's one of your inspirations.

    1. Seriously! She also weight-trains ("It prevents osteoporosis") religiously. I have never seen any evidence that she ENJOYS any of these things, but she is a doctor who takes her own medicine!

  2. You know, my haze-induced 29K is also up there as one my best runs for the year. Amazing what we can do when there's no other choice (besides "not run"). But was 24 really better than achieving a sub-5 marathon? :)

    And I'm impressed you actually remember that cheer session. And I never asked you whether it worked (or even made sense). :)

    1. A sub-5 marathon was a HUGE highlight! Unfortunately my coach now seems to believe I can go 4:30...

      I'm a great believer in imagery and the mind-body connection (try thinking 'Imagine molten metal flowing down through your body and into your foot, anchoring you to the ground' the next time you have to stand on one leg). I *think* it worked...

    2. I fail to see why this is unfortunate.

  3. I'm struggling to understand what "USE YOUR HAMSTRINGS" would actually feel like (do I use my hamstrings when I run? I have no idea), but if it comes from Coach Holly, it's probably good advice.

    I'm also a huge fan of the Timex Ironman - I've been wearing them for years! I DO use a Garmin for running, though, so I'm not as hardcore about it as you are. My senior year of college I lived with three of my best friends and one day we realized that we ALL wore the same watch. That's when we knew we were meant to be.

    Sum up my year... Goodbye Alaska, Hello Oregon? Sure.

    1. Hamstrings are used to lift your heel up (kick-your-butt style, not high-knee-march style), and some people use them to help with the "pull through" phase. However, lots of runners rely on their glutes first (only?). Changing muscle activation patterns is pretty hard, but Grace's quads were cramping, and she was in a painful place. I was trying to distract and help her....

    2. The distraction worked! :)