my 2011

A year ago I was in Australia, on Phillip Island with James, Nadege, and Ash. It feels like that was a long, long time ago. Since then I have:

— acquired Australian permanent residency:

— quit my job (three little words, a lot of drama)

— sold all my possessions

(pictured: Nom and Mansa, two of my favourite girls in the world, modeling some of the crap I flogged at my yard sale)

— gone on a variety of manic road trips around Australia with James and the White Knight

— run 107km with miCoach, 345km with RunKeeper, and an estimated 15km with James this summer (I know, wow, right??!), which adds up to a total of 467km. There was a biiiig gap in running due to the fact that I…

— travelled around Europe from April to August, mostly on the back of this motorbike.

 It wasn’t quite the self-indulgent experience we had planned, but I squeezed in time in a number of countries:

—  England (London, Devon), France (most of the Lot department, Biarritz & Bayonne, Marseille, Strasbourg, Paris), Spain (San Sebastian), Italy (Florence, Lake Como), Switzerland (some tiny village in the Alps), Belgium (Brussels, Knock), and Sweden (Gothenburg). One day I will get round to writing at least a bit about my travels. I also moved to Taiwan where I have visited Penghu and Taidong as well as of course Taipei. I also spent significant amounts of time pacing up and down the airports of: Abu Dhabi; Copenhagen; Moscow; Beijing. #jetsetting #namedropping

— lost my boyfriend, running buddy and close friend James to MSF after they whisked him away to Uganda out of the blue. A lot of the time I’m ok with this and chalk it up to fate taking us our separate ways. Sometimes I’m not so ok with this. 

— gone back to Mandarin school and somehow heaved my way back up to upper intermediate/advanced level.

— learned to really, truly, cross-my-heart-hope-to-die, love my own company. 

— found the Hash House Harriers — I have no words. 

2012 promises: Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, finish school, get a new job, run two half-marathons, and more…


GPS is boo

Time: 26:34 + 6:32
Distance: 4.23km + 1km
Pace: 6:17min/km

I motivated myself easily this morning — the idea of escaping a warm and muggy room for a run in the cool breeze before it got too hot outside was very appealing.

I ran easily around Carlton Gardens once and then broke free and decided to run to Edinburgh Gardens for a change of scenery. The run along Nicholson St was great, every set of pedestrian lights was green and I didn’t have to stop once. I’d accidentally set my music on repeat:1 instead of repeat:all, and was stuck on “Dance the way I feel” which is a great song, really energetic… but was starting to do my head in after a few repeats.

So my run went smoothly for about 4km and then I reached the end of the path at the other end of Edinburgh Gardens and thought, Hmm. I don’t like running here. I’m bored. So I stopped and walked towards home, but ended up running the last kilometre or so. This isn’t that exciting except that when I got home and checked the run report on my phone, it told me I had run the last kilometre in 4:20min. I was so excited! Then I got to work and checked it out in detail, and the stupid GPS must have somehow gotten confused by the traffic on the corner of Brunswick and Johnston, because it shows me as having dashed all over the place:

The pink line is my actual route, and the purple one is what the miCoach GPS tracked. So I didn’t run that fast after all. So sad 😦 It’s the risk of depending too much on technology, I guess. I’ve never noticed this before but I always run in parks rather than along roads, so I’m pretty sure it’s something to do with GPS interference from cars — empty roads and parklands are precisely tracked.

I wouldn’t mind so much, only miCoach now thinks my fastest kilometre is 4:10 (not even 20??) and I will have to delete the workout and re-enter everything manually to avoid throwing off my stats.

my first century

I logged into miCoach today to turn off some notifications (being emailed every day to remind me to go running is annoying and ineffective, who would have guessed?) and was greeted with a huge Congratulations — I’ve now run 100km since I started using the miCoach system on the 30th of August. I have been rather lazy in the last two months, but that still works out at an average of 10km a week…

I’m also informed that I have run a total of 11h 30min 44s, burned 6346 kcal, and that my fastest kilometre was run in 5:01 minutes. I think my running/working out hasn’t been its best these last few months, and I wish I had stats for early in the year when I was on an exercise binge, but then again, at least I have nothing to compare it to and therefore it looks like progress! What’s the point of looking back and saying “I used to be this good… I used to be this strong… but I’m not any more”? No point whatsoever.

back in the game!

Run: Recovery
Time: 30:13min
Distance: 4.72km

What a fantastic run! I didn’t want it to end and kept turning down different paths of the park to put off arriving home. It was meant to be 20 minutes long but after I found my stride I knew I was definitely running for more than that. I wish I’d known I was only a few hundred metres off 5km as I could easily have done them! Should have checked before I stopped.

I had a rude awakening when I suddenly realised it was 6:26 and I hadn’t heard my alarm for yoga. I hesitated just a few seconds before throwing on my clothes and running to class. I made it to the classroom by 6:30 on the dot, rather out of breath but thrilled to be there. The 90 minute practice went well and when I got outside and felt the sunshine pouring over me I was suddenly motivated for a run. So glad I did! Unfortunately I was so excited I accidentally deleted the run from my phone without synching it so I can’t analyse it in detail…

I think the reasons this run went so beautifully were:
— a sustainable pace (45 seconds slower than average but much more agreeable)
— a couple days of rest beforehand
— Lady Gaga in my ears to warm up, which made me happy and bouncy, followed by trance which is far more soothing and rhythmic
— yoga beforehand stretching and warming my legs up
— last but not least, gorgeous weather: warm sunshine but chill breeze, so I was rejoicing in the blue sky without overheating!

Anyway, I cannot express how pleasant and fun this run was. Looking forward to tomorrow! At last I’m enjoying running again…

monday lets me down

Last night I called my mother to get her to adjust my miCoach settings online (which meant negotiating our way through the website in French over the phone) so that I could run a little slower. This morning I was quite excited about the 30 minute interval run, because I was confident it would be more comfortable and achievable.

Well 10 minutes in I started my period, which I decided to ignore, and then 15 minutes in I got a stitch. I walked it out and tried again — stitch again. I’ve given up for the time being. I’m hoping I have the day off so I may get a chance to run again this afternoon or evening, providing my period pains stay under control… The new adjusted pace was probably just right so this time it’s 100% human failure!

miCoach 25/09

Run: Intervals
Time: 20:19
Distance: 3.46km
Pace: 5:53m/km

I wasn’t going to have time or energy for a run yesterday — 13 hour workdays just don’t leave room for exercise. I was still aching from yoga anyway so I was happy to schedule in a rest/recovery day. Annoyingly, early this morning I had to head back into work briefly, but this meant I would be going via Carlton Gardens anyway so I changed into my running gear and ran on my way back.

I’ve recently watched several documentaries and films featuring childbirth. And I wonder what it is that makes humans put themselves through agony and then forget the pain and even claim to enjoy the entire experience and do it all over again. Childbirth, love… and running. The moment it’s over I feel great and start looking forward to the next one. But the whole time I’m running I’m loaaaathing it. Well maybe not all the time. But a large chunk of it!

My (expensive and flashy) BlackBerry fell out my pocket and I stepped on it (nice scratches), then it kept trying to play slow girly music at the same time as my “DJ Podrunner” 140bpm electro mix. I guess those distractions weren’t as bad as I thought though, as I scored 100%! I may have my doubts about the scoring system on miCoach but I don’t care, seeing 100% on the screen was well worth it!

After my run I did a workout video. It’s terrifying how much strength I’ve lost this winter. Now I’m weak as a kitteh and going to do nothing all day! Boss has offered to pay for a massage as my neck is screwed after too much Photoshop, but I don’t think I can be bothered.

miCoach 22/09

Run: Intervals
Time: 21:03
Distance: 3.53km
Pace: 5.58

I honestly didn’t think this one would happen. When my alarm went off at 8:30 I just reset it for 9:45 and went straight back to sleep. I wasn’t planning to run before work, but at 10 I sort of had this surge of energy that swept me up and out of bed and into my running shoes and out the door and suddenly I was running again.

And hating it. It’s such hard work. I don’t know how Alison can do 35km runs every week when my daily 3.5km is such a fight. I feel so heavy and uncoordinated. I know that 3.5km is a warm-up distance and if I were to run at a slower pace I can go three times the distance (or three times the duration, although not both of those at the same time). But 35km? nu-uh! I know you worked up to these distances gradually, Alison, but it still commands a tremendous amount of respect!

However, I am really proud of myself for getting out of bed on a day which I had assigned as a possible “rest day”, and to do a particularly nasty run (blue-green-yellow-blue-green-yellow-bluuuuue, with blue=10km/h and yellow=12.5km/h). I managed to run, shower, breakfast (mashed banana, chia seeds and honey on toast) which I gulped down as I speed-walked to work, all in the space of an hour. It helped that the sun was shining, and that I reminded myself that I can achieve a lot in 20 minutes of running!