Running, bubbles & gin

I can’t say I run because I love it, but I run because I need it. I need how it makes me feel. I love the calm and mental clarity I feel after a run. I love the feeling of elation and satisfaction that I get from setting myself a goal and accomplishing it. I love the flood of endorphins post run and the feeling that ‘I’ve earned my wine / cake / gin tonight…’! [Talking of gin… I have to share this gem: ‘5 reasons why gin is perfect for New Year’s detox‘ … ahem, back to the ‘fitness blog post’!] Most importantly, I love being able to keep up with my three daughters (and puppy, Cocoa!).

I am counting down the weeks (six) till I run my second half marathon. The first (blog post link here) was in the Santa Ynez Valley of California – Santa Barbara’s wine region – May, 2014. I did pretty well for my first half marathon (after following a 12 week training program with the Nike + running App), coming in at the 13.1 mile mark in 1 hour 56 minutes.

It was such an amazing feeling to accomplish something I’d never done before and a great way to kick start the first year of my forties. When I started the training I was feeling pretty beat after 3 or 4 miles (around 5km) and didn’t know how I’d possibly manage the full distance (20.1km). I was amazed at how with diligent training, gradually increasing the distance and pace over the 12 weeks, my body adapted and accomplished more than I thought was possible.

I also learned a few lessons about listening better to my body and stopping at the first sign of injury. The last two weeks of training were pretty much canned due to my stubborn perseverance on a sore ankle (caused by running with tight calf muscles). Still, I taped up my ankle and squeezed into a pair of compression socks, and did that half marathon – I had the extra motivation of running for a good cause (a friend’s son – Elijah – has a rare disease called ‘Prune Belly Syndrome’ and needs ongoing care and treatment).

Anyway, back to the now, and the training. I’ve reached the six week mark, where training steps up a notch. I’m running five day’s a week (so my App instructs me). Tomorrow my ‘coach’ has scheduled 14km for me and I’ll get out there and do it – even though it’ll take a little mental self-talk (to say the least!). The furthest I’ve ran in a long time was 11kms (7 miles) – just this week – and that took a lot of mind over body work!

Easter Island Statue, Lyall Bay, Wellington

If I wasn’t training I’d probably choose to run three times a week, and for about half an hour to an hour (max), and on ‘fair weather days’ (I know, I really need to toughen up!). I’ve found it quite a challenge adjusting to running in the wind of Welly, after running in pretty much the same conditions every time I left the door in Southern California. I really have to grit my teeth and battle on into that wind at times!

I wouldn’t have the motivation to run that distance if it wasn’t for the end goal and knowing that if I put in the distance and the work now, I’ll do myself proud on the day of the half marathon (no matter what the wind Gods of Wellington choose to throw at runners on Sunday 22 February in the Cigna Wellington Round the Bays).

map-21k-1024x723

I also wouldn’t be able to run if it wasn’t for my hubby’s encouragement. We have three daughters that we love to hang out with and it’s seriously hard for me to tear myself away from family, home and responsibilities that come with that.

I remind myself, on every run, that taking the time out to exercise makes me a better parent in so many ways – mentally, physically and leading through example (ahem, apart from the wine and gin consumption… everything in moderation though, hey?!).

So, this Friday evening, the sun is out, the birds are singing their summer melodies (along with the music blaring out from our outdoor speakers – apologies neighbours), whilst I sip a cool G&T, watch over my youngest daughter making amazing bubbles and reflect on the reasons why I run (and give myself a positive self-talk that I WILL smash that 14km tomorrow!).

Bubbles in the garden