Be Prepared

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Handsome Husband and I are training for a marathon later this month.  We are a little behind on our training as apparently we should be tapering now, rather than still increasing our mileage! Yesterday was time for our 20 miler and we had discussed getting up early and so being able to finish well before lunchtime.  However, things didn’t quite work out like that!

Our little corner of Alberta, Canada, has the distinction of being the sunniest city in Canada with 333 days of bright sunshine per year (http://www.currentresults.com/Weather-Extremes/Canada/sunniest-cities.php) and although it has been cold and snowy lately, yesterday’s forecast was a high of 20 degrees Celsius (68F) I know that may not be warm to some of you,  but  we were looking forward to running in shorts and t shirts instead of gloves, hats, thermal pants etc.

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I don’t usually take fluids when I am running, but as we were going to take it slow, I grabbed my fuel belt with 3 small bottles of Nuun, my iphone in case I wanted to take any pictures and a chocolate GU energy gel just in case.  Add sunglasses and my fancy new Nike sportwatch to track the distance and I was ready!

Off we set and all was well until around mile 13 when Handsome Husband remarked, ‘Wow! That sun’s hot!’ which was closely followed by, “I’ve run out of drink..”  At that time, we were miles from anywhere, but I had my phone and decided to call the Happy Teenager who could drive out to meet us with some lovely cold drinks…  Hmm..No answer..

Our only option was to detour to our house, grab another drink and then carry on. During the 4 miles it took us to get home, we realised that we hadn’t been prepared at all! Although I had a phone, we didn’t have enough fluids, we hadn’t thought about sunblock or wearing a hat, and if only we had brought some money, we could have bought a drink!

Hopefully, that was a lesson learned and in future we will plan a little more thoughtfully but this led me to wondering, what should be the essentials?  I have heard of people who take nothing at all as well as people who take a lot including self defence weapons, so what do you take? Are you a minimalist or do you pack for every eventuality?

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Only a runner would understand..

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Tomorrow is the day! Registration opens for the Disney World races in January 2014. I have my phone, computer and ipad set up to remind me, just in case I had forgotten! Funnily enough, Handsome Husband has just appeared looking puzzled with his phone in his hand. Yes, I set his phone to email reminders too!

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January 8th is my birthday, and 2014 will be the big 50, so what better way than to celebrate with Goofy in the happiest place on earth? Yes, I am hoping to register for the Goofy challenge; a half marathon on the Saturday, followed by the full marathon on the Sunday.  Handsome Husband and Happy Teenager will hopefully run the half marathon with me and according to the Disney website, as of today, we have 274 days in which to train!

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Tomorrow, I will be sat at my computer, with credit card in hand, hopefully registering for my dream race.  As long as I can work out the time zones…

Wish me luck!

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The Things We Do For Love..

“Could we ever go on vacation without running a marathon?”  That was the question Handsome Husband asked me yesterday evening when I was surfing the internet looking for marathons by the ocean in July.

My first thought was, “Ummm, no. Why would we do that?” Then I started to feel a little guilty. You see, running is MY passion, not really his.  He tells me he runs purely to get the necessary exercise, but I don’t really believe him, after all, what’s not to love? You can do it anywhere, anytime, with very little equipment. You can do it with other people or on your own, you can go fast, slow or any combination you like. You can compete against others, or against yourself. I could go on and on..

These past couple of years we have visited some amazing places all through running. We’ve been to Nashville, Las Vegas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Pasadena, and many more. These are trips we might not have taken, and experiences we might have missed if we hadn’t signed up to race.  Possibly my favourite memory is running down the Extra Terrestrial Highway in Nevada, in the middle of the night, with my honey and our teenage son. It was a truly magical experience with a full moon and many, many shooting stars, finishing in the town of Rachel, with breakfast at the Little Ale’inn.

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(Posing for a picture after the race. HH had to carry the camera too! See www.calicoracing.com  for this race)

So thank you honey, for indulging and encouraging my passion.  I really do appreciate every time you’ve selflessly agreed to our race fees, flights, hotel bills, expo shopping sprees, and even more than that, thank you for running the miles with me, cooking supper when I’m too tired after long run days, knowing my favourite flavours of GU and Nuun, calming my pre-race jitters, oh, and pretending not to be grossed out by my toenails!

And now, back to the vacation planning…

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All You Need is Love

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This last week I have been reading some amazing blogs where the writer has written a letter of apology to their body. (See my blogging buddies at http://runninglovingliving.com/ and http://www.lovelifesurf.com/  )The sentiments are that often as we mature,  we come to love our bodies with all their perceived faults and flaws and are grateful for the things they do for us and are able to focus on what an amazing design we are rather than superficial complaints such as ‘my legs are too short, fat, thin’, or, ‘I wish my butt was bigger/smaller’. On that subject, I spent many years hating my butt because I was convinced it was huge – this was long before various celebrities made having an ample behind something fashionably desirable.

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(Sorry, I couldn’t resist that picture!)

Since I became a runner, it shrunk drastically and so I am still not fashionable! Oh well!

This got me thinking what a valuable exercise this can be, even if you don’t want to write a letter, it is good to look back on the things you used to dislike about yourself and compare them to how you feel now. As a runner, I no longer look at my legs and wish they were longer and thinner, but I see them as strong and powerful. I am impressed how far they can carry me, and am grateful that they haven’t let me down yet!  I have even been known to talk to them when I’m running, ‘Come on legs, you got this.’

However, I am still not getting a pedicure – toenails? Who needs ‘em?

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It’s a Dog’s Life

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Often when I’m out running I see other runners, running, with their dogs. There are two particular people I notice; one lady has two large dogs which I think are weimaraners. Together they seem to glide along so gracefully. The other person I see regularly is a man with a middle sized terrier type of dog. The dog has black shaggy fur and although they certainly could not be described as graceful, they are both clearly having a great time. Whenever I see them, I always wish my dog would run with me.  So, here begins my quest to turn Murphy the Irish Terrier, into a running dog. If you want to see an Irish terrier in action, check out the movie, Firehouse Dog. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0476995/

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However, Murphy doesn’t quite get it! Murphy loves going out for walks, in fact whenever I come down the stairs, he thinks he’s going out, and if anyone puts shoes on, he dances around getting in the way. Just lately he’s figured out that I usually get my sunglasses out of the kitchen drawer before we go out, so now, whenever I open that drawer, he starts hopping around and wagging his tail. Often I can’t make eye contact if I’m not taking him out as I feel so guilty!

So you might be thinking that he would make a great running partner?  Yes, but on his terms! We live in an area where there is a lot of wildlife: deer, squirrels and rabbits, not to mention coyotes and the occasional cougar, so there are a lot of interesting smells for a dog, and he apparently has to sniff them all. Not so much of a problem if we are walking, but when running it’s a nightmare! He’s either pulling forward or backward but never the direction I’m going, and if he actually sees a squirrel or another dog he takes off so fast, I am in fear of losing my arm!

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We live in a beautiful town where there are lots of great pathways around the river valley, but dogs are not allowed off leash, which is probably just as well for Murphy as he clearly has a one track mind…. Did someone say, ‘squirrel’?

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It’s a sweet, sweet life

Today I came across an interesting article whereby scientists have discovered that insects eat for pleasure!  Researchers at the University of Georgia have identified the neural pathways in an insect that are tied to eating for pleasure, a discovery which may shed light on similar impulsive eating pathways in the human brain.

The insect chosen for this research was the fruit fly larvae. The research team presented them with appetising odours and found this caused impulsive feeding of sugar-rich foods, with the fly larvae consuming approximately 30 per cent more food.

When the fly larvae were offered a ‘sub standard meal’ (though I shudder to think what a sub standard meal for a fly larvae might be..) they refused to eat it.

According to lead researcher, Ping Shen,  UGA Associate Professor of Cellular Biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, even fly larvae have expectations. He said that, if the concentration of sugar is reduced below a certain threshold, the fly larvae simply do not respond.

It is hoped that if scientists can use this information and begin to understand how compulsive eating behaviours happen, and it may eventually be possible to devise a way to prevent it in humans.

However, imagining fly larvae happily munching their sweet treats might just go some way towards preventing us compulsively eating those cup cakes!

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Read the whole article here. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/257070.php