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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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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Run, Forrest, run!

Hands up any runner who has NOT had this apparently hilarious phrase yelled after them..

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For some reason, runners are often subject to harassment when out pounding the pavement, and a little incident yesterday got me wondering why that should be. Handsome Husband and I had finally managed to get out on our long run and had completed a pleasant 4 miles or so on sidewalks around our neighbourhood when our planned route took us out into nearby countryside and farmland where there are no handy sidewalks. Usually there isn’t much passing traffic on this wide road, and yesterday was no exception, although we were running in single file anyway. Two vehicles in separate incidents ‘buzzed’ us, getting close enough to spray us with gravel. Handsome Husband, who thinks he can take anyone on, gave them both rather a rude sign (this really freaks me out as I’m sure someone will come back and punch him one day) although luckily they appeared not to notice. The rest of the run went by pretty smoothly apart from a couple of glares from people who were obliviously meandering across the pathway and were clearly annoyed when we ran past, accidentally startling them. (Note to various users of public sidewalks and pathways… if you don’t want to jump out of your skin, take your ear buds out and be aware of other users)

After the most awesome shower (isn’t it great how a hot shower is a million times better after a run in the cold?) I was reading my facebook and twitter updates and found stories of other people being harassed on their runs, and forums such as Runners World are full of such stories. http://forums.runnersworld.com/forums/runner-communities/beginners/ever-harassed-run-outside Why do people feel runners are such fair game? My theory is that maybe they feel guilty as we are doing something that perhaps they know they should be doing but can’t or won’t and so react with anger.

Here is  a short list of some of the issues I have faced:

Yelled at in a non threatening way- the run, Forrest, run type of comment.

Buzzed by vehicles, often throwing grit/slush/water onto me.

I once had a man scream abuse at me because I was on a marked crosswalk and he didn’t think he had to stop as he was pulling a trailer.. That one shook me up a lot as his anger was really scary.

Teenagers with ‘smart’ comments who often try and race me. I always challenge them to run a mile with me and funnily enough they always back off.

Oh and I did have a car drive into me once, although that was because the driver was looking the other way and I wasn’t hurt so doesn’t really count as harassment!

I would be really interested to know if you have endured any kind of harassment, either friendly or not so friendly, and what did you do about it? Did you retaliate or ignore it and did it make you change your running routes at all?

Let’s be careful out there!

How did Santa know?

What makes a good gift? Apparently, it’s finding something unique to that person which makes them feel special. In my stocking this year I had the best present…an entry for the Rock and Roll San Diego marathon. Clearly, it wasn’t just Santa, but I imagine my husband had something to do with it as well! However, a number of friends and relatives did not share my enthusiasm and gave me pitying looks, on the other hand, many running friends/fellow fitness fanatics were rather jealous.

What was the best gift you received and why?

Have you ever received a ‘worst’ gift like these readers?http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/22/worst-gift-ive-ever-gotten_n_2159250.html