Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Boston Marathon bombings and what they mean to an Australian

Yesterday was a day like any other. I got up, went to work, and happily read the latest edition of Runner's World on the train, thinking about all the plans I have and what I want to achieve this year running-wise.

I got to work, turned on the computer, and when I loaded up my usual programs (Hotmail, Facebook and Twitter), my heart sank. Two bombings had happened at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. A couple of people dead, multitudes injured. Images of runners and spectators with their legs ripped open, blood gushing everywhere.

How could this happen?

I normally check my phone first thing in the morning, but since I lost my phone on the weekend it's been a little difficult. Finding out all this had happened that morning and I didn't know, for some reason made it even worse.Coming to work and finding this out, whilst I'd been happily unaware of it all on the tram reading about running seemed wrong.

What really struck me though, is the fact that it was the Boston Marathon. I'll never run in it. Hell, I'll probably never go to Boston. I haven't even run a marathon yet. But being part of the running community, and following blogs like I Thought They Said Rum where Scott tried to qualify for Boston (or BQ as it's called), made me realise just how hard it is to get there, and how it's the holy grail of marathon running.

It made me realise that the people who were there had worked so Goddamned hard to get there, and for many of them, that dream is over. Whether it be the three who died, or the ones who got their legs torn off, or even the people who are uninjured but continue to wonder "What if?" every time they lace their running shoes up.

To me, that is the tragedy of what happened at Boston. People whose passion was running now tainted. The very thing that game them release from any stress, joy on a good good day, may now be the source of that stress. If running is your form of release and celebration, what do you do when the act of running becomes that source of stress and anxiety?

People have been posting on Facebook things like this:

And it is true. So much horror happens around the world on a daily basis that we become immune to it. For our own sanity we try to put it aside and try not to think about it otherwise the immensity of it will render us curled up in rocking back and forth in the feotal position. So when something happens that does resonate with us, that's when we are shocked. 

I'm saddened by Boston because it's my community. My people. My sport. My passion. I know what it's like to train for something big, and to be on the course and looking forward to crossing that finishing line. 
Maybe it's wrong that I'm more saddened by the Boston Marathon bombings that any of the deaths mentioned above. And so be it. 

Today, I am thinking about those in my running community. 

via Run the Edge on Facebook

Monday, 1 April 2013

Pole update - Intermediate 2 weeks 1 and 2

At the end of term 1 in Intermediate 1 I was a little concerned about moving up to Inter 2 as I wasn't feeling as awesome at it as I'd like. Bloody Capricorn tendencies coming out. Now that I have started Intermediate 2 I feel fine - I'm not sure if I gained my mojo back or if it's more that some of the girls who would get every move right every.single.time straight away aren't in the class, but something is better.


Pole Dance Art – 18 Hot Moves on -
via Pole for My Soul

We spent a lot of the first class doing moves like the one above. I was able to do it with no hands straight off, so was really happy with it. It's just a really nice looking move that is easy to do, rather than the hard ones that don't look hard. 

Week 2 was spent doing a lot of handstands. I can't find the pictures easily, but this is similar to what we were doing - lots of going into Batman and then sliding down into handstands and doing various leg things. I couldn't see my legs in the mirror so I don't know how they looked, but hopefully it was OK. 

Handstand variations

I went to the physio the day after as I'd hurt my back in a pole strength class two weeks before, and my physio asked me why I liked pole dancing. I thought about it for a while and said "Because it's like gymnastics for adults". Doing the handstands in class made me realise that my body can't really handle a lot of that any more (wrists can only take so much after all) so this is a brilliant replacement. 

We did however do some other moves in the strength class, such as: 

Sumo squats
Cross-legged L climb. 

BLOODY HARD! Basically you use your arms, with your thighs to anchor you before you pull yourself up again. I can get maybe 4 climbs in a row and that's it. 

We also did lots of planks, push ups, wall sits, arabesque leg lifts and pole squats. The other killer move apart from the cross-legged L climb where the core exercises. You'd stand to one side of the pole and pull yourself up like you were going to invert. Instead you'd do 10 crunches then swap sides. 5 sets on each side.  Ow. 

Sadly my back is still sore today, several days after the physio (sorer in fact than it was previously...) so I'm taking it pretty easy. Hopefully it will be fine for Wednesday's class. 

Here's some more prettiness to finish off this post :) 

via Pole for my Soul

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Run 4 the Kids race update

Wow. What an awesome run! R4TK was my favourite race before the half marathon, mainly because it was the only race I'd done. I first did the 5km there 3 years ago (first time ever running 5km), and then the long course 14.38kms the year after. It was training for the 14kms that I fell completely in love with running. I loved the free training sessions on a Mon and Wed, even forgoing a paid semester of acrobalance and tumbling on a Tues so I could go to the sessions pain free. Acrobalance was hard on the old muscles.

After missing out last year because I was on my honeymoon (life is so hard hey?) and missing ALL the training sessions this year because of the heat and work being stupidly busy, I wasn't feeling as prepped as I could.

I woke up early, had coffee and toast, sorted out my stuff and off I went for the tram. Halfway there I realised that I left my armband at hone. Nooo!  Too late to turn around I kept on. Talking to fellow runners at the tram stop made be realise I could just hold my phone. You know you're tired when pretty much every other option but that goes through your head :-/ I spoke to another runner in the tram who was going her first run , and the 15km. The entire tram was filled with runners, which I really love. Nice to see others like me at 7:30 in the morning.

I met Dan in the city after he finished a 13 hour night shift and off we went. It didn't seem quite as well organised as last year - maybe because we were later than expected due to a very long toilet line at Fed Square. The entire pre-race was about waiting. But it was a good chance to people watch.
Dan and I before the race

Obligatory crowd shot 
Lady on stilts. As you do
I was in the Blue Zone, for people with a 50 min 10km pace (a little optimistic when I booked) and Dan was in the Orange Zone. We compromised in the Yellow Zone, until he got shamed by the announcer to leave. I was on my own after that,which I kinda like more.

And they're off! No...just waiting. Just some of the 35,000 runners patiently waiting
After around 10 or 15 mins for the waves to go through, we were off! And it felt good. Really good. Sure, there are heaps of people, but it's not as jam packed as the 5 kms and people actually run rather than walk. Very few prams too. And yes the tunnel is hot, but it's the friggen Burnley Tunnel - how often do you get to run through that??

The run to the Bolte Bridge was good. Feeling good, good pace. The clouds had cleared up (again!) so it started getting hot near the on ramp. The drinks station was a welcome relief. Then up the ramp. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself as I was powering up, thinking that my strength is my stamina-I may not go fast but I keep on going, whereas others were slowing down and walking. I was overtaking people and then...I got overtaken by someone I'd overtaken ages ago! RMH Staff Member t-shirt lady, I'm talking about you. I started running faster and eventually lost her.

By that time I'd reached the top, there was a cool breeze and the endorphins kicked in. I started grinning like a fool, waving at the cameras and taking in the views. It was SO MUCH FUN! I realised the benefits of holding my camera - taking photos was easy!

Midrun view of Melbourne from the Bolte Bridge
I stayed in the shade of the wall and ran down. I felt pretty good until about the 12km mark when I started flagging. People overtook me and my right ankle/calf started hurting. I kept on going slowly, and it was only the supporters that got e through. Never underestimate the power of supporters. In the final km there were heaps of kids wanting high fives-how could I deny them? They really helped me through. Thanks little dudes!

I finished the run in a respectable 1:25:54, with an average page of 5:43. I was hoping for 1:30 but thought it would be around 1:45. To say I'm happy with the time is an understatement - I haven't run anything below a 6:00 pace for a long time, and it was below 1:30. Dan finished his in 1:44:49, which considering he'd been up all night and didn't train is pretty spectacular.

A somewhat pink me waiting for Dan after the race
It was then straight home for a big brekkie of eggs, mushrooms, spinach and toast, and bed for Dan.

It's really relit the fire for a marathon. I just had so much fun running this one I really want to get that feeling again, and have something to aim for.

All in all, a great day and a great race.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Pole update week 7 and 8

Wow, I've been slack on the blogging front hey!

We did some pretty cool stuff at pole over the last couple of weeks. I missed one session because I was in Canberra for work, but came back to some awesome stuff. I think this first move is my favourite. I'm not entirely sure what it's called, and Pole Dance Dictionary calls it inside leg hang so I'll go with that. It's incredibly easy but looks really nice.

Inside leg hang

I can't really remember the other moves we did since we did some choreography for our end of term performance (which was rubbish! rubbish I tell you!) but it was fun.

And there ends my token blog post ;)

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Pole update weeks 4 and 5

This weeks' pole class was fantastic, which was in start contrast to the week before. Week 4 we spent on the spin pole. Spin pole looks amazing - most of the performances you see are on spin pole - but it's very hard to do. It's a completely different set of muscles and thought processes, and there is centrifugal force to contend with. I walked our of the class feeling a bit shit. There was one move I just couldn't get, and I was not feeling at the top of my game.

Luckily, that changed this week. We learnt a bunch of new tricks and a lot of them were strength based, so I did pretty well.

Reverse chair - my favourite move, but you switch over so you're going in reverse.
Boomerang hold - we called it something lese. Pretty difficult to hold and killer on your upper thighs.
Backwards dizzy spin - we did pizza legs/wonder woman into backwards dizzy. Fun.
Hello boys! Our was slightly different - the plan is to open your legs wide (hence the name), so similar to boomerang hold above. Again, good upper thigh workout
Pizza legs/Wonder Woman

All images are from a nifty site,

In other news, I bought a chin up bar on Friday. Worth every cent of the princely $12 I paid. Looking forward to the gun show :-D