Focus on the positives

Taper has been going nicely. I have had a massage and my last long run on Saturday, 1.5 hrs, felt good and was over before I knew it.

The key to a good taper, though, isn't just physical. More than anything, it's about getting yourself mentally prepared.

On Saturday as I ran past a bus stop and a would-be passenger called out as I passed, "I wish I could do that. I've got busted knees". I realised how lucky I was to be able to consider running a marathon. It was then that I remembered how important it is for me to spend this week focussing on the positives.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Throughout my preparation for this, my first marathon, I've been reading What I Talk About When I Talk About Running - a memoir by novelist Haruki Murakami.

As a (very) amateur writer and runner, it is perfect reading material for me right now - lent to me by my boss when she heard I was training for the marathon.

I identified really strongly with his attitude to running. For Haruki, it seems that running is a meditation and a discipline; a way for him to tackle his life as a writer with a newly found physical and mental strength. It doesn't seem to be about success in its pure sense; rather his running is a way for him to challenge himself, to better himself, and to find out more about himself. Through his running, he remains true to himself.

All of these things, I identified with. They're exactly what I talk about, when I talk about running.

Running Pink

KKB has been following the progress of Deborah de Williams, who is attempting a world record run around Australia to raise funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

We were both devastated to read on her blog last night that she has recently had to retire from her attempt to become the first female to run around Australia. Running between 20 and 50ks every day for a year is always going to take its toll, but about a month ago, Deborah tripped over her running companion Maggie, her border collie. She has soldiered on since then, but having twisted her ankle, she has had ongoing injuries due to changing her gait to compensate.

A gutsy lady, she's looking to start her second attempt in February and will continue her fundrasing effort for the NBCF.

Our thoughts are with you Deborah.

Keep the respect

Well, I was fairly apprehensive about my big run yesterday. After a few double runs of 30k combined, it was time to put it together to complete a 33k River Loop.

Like the previous days, the morning was cold, and as we are still a week and a half off the winter Equinox, the sun wasn't strong enough to cut through.

KKB had offered to ride a loop to measure my intended path, then come back to supply extra drinks and moral support.

I needed the extra Gatorade but needed the moral support more. In retrospect, I don't think I'd prepared mentally for the run. I've done this route before when preparing for each of my Ironman races, so maybe I thought it would be all too easy.

I had a few issues along the way with my tummy and tight muscles, so hopefully some better dietary preparation and a few massages will help with that. But mentally I've realised I need to keep the respect for what I'm doing. A marathon is not a walk in the park.


Cut my run to a short speed session. Nearly froze my face, feet and hands off.

Where I want to be

I did my double run on Saturday afternoon along the beach at Lennox Head. KKB and a couple of friends rode 200k to Lennox - with the aim to ride back to Brisvegas on Sunday.

I'd driven down to meet them so when it came time to back up the morning's run, I set off hoping to find a path along the beachfront. As I ran aimlessly I came across a couple of blokes that had obviously just returned from their afternoon sabattical. They gave me some directions for an 8k loop but I was far too unfamiliar with the town to have any idea what they were talking about.

They saw this, so suggested I just run along the beach. The tide was right to have hard sand, they assured me.

Although I was a unsure whether this was a good idea - it turned out to be an absolute delight. The sand was definitely hard enough to ensure it felt just like running on the sand track at UQ. The air was a lot fresher than any of the runs I'd do at home. The scenery, well, obviously it was wonderful.

I found the right path to get me back to the shops near where we were staying, and as I crossed the road I saw a plant pot stencilled with "Are you where you want to be?".

Something I say to myself when I'm finding it tough in training, or racing for that matter, is, "Where else would you want to be?". Invariably, the answer is "Nowhere. I'm exactly where I want to be."
I smiled to myself and ran round the corner home.

The comraderie of running

Another 25ks this morning, out and back back through New Farm and the Botanical Gardens.

Obviously 25ks is a long way to run. Sometimes I get asked how I keep myself occupied when I run. It varies from run to run. Sometimes I'm happy just to look at my surrounds, and other times I need to be try a little harder to distract myself from the task at hand.

Often, I take notice of the people around me, and when I do this I've found that I especially take note of those who look like they're on a long run - loaded Fuel Belt, visibly smeared with sunscreen and often with compression socks.

On out and back runs, you often come across the same people twice - once on the way out and again on the way back. So when I'm on longer runs, I love seeing my endurance comrades at the start and end of a run. Sometimes, they recognise me too, just with a bit of a smile or a nod. But that's all it takes to communicate the respect and encouragement that's shared by endurance runners. It's a good thing.