Hugs and condolences

I ran 10k without my Garmin last night.

*dramatic pause*

You can hug me now, or just provide words of support – whichever you prefer.

It wasn’t until the halfway point that I even realised (how did that even happen? I usually check it obsessively every 30 seconds or so!).

Disbelief and sad feelings ensued, let me tell you.  I finished the run, but it just wasn’t the same.

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You can then imagine the sweet relief when I awoke several hours later to discover it was a very real nightmare, you guys! just a dream.

Just a dream. (*repeats and rocks back and forward*)

It was awful. Imagine if I hadn’t just forgotten it, but that it (gasp) died!

I would definitely need something like this (please take notes – this subject is overly dramatic, I know very important):

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In any case, it was just a dream (but thank you for the hug – I feel much better now).

It may also have been an indication that I love and rely on my Garmin just a little too much.

Like a heads-up from my subconscious that it might be verging on ridiculous.

Subconscious: You can go for a run without it, you know? Other people manage just fine.

Me: Whatever.

Stupid brain.

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More sympathy cards for runners available at Runner’s World:

Twitter for chicks

You know…chicks!  As in: those with recently-hatched accounts who still have their downy fluff (or is it fluffy down?), are ‘cheeping’ as opposed to fully-fledged tweeting, and still awkwardly stumbling around in the nest Twitter land.

See – chicks!

Or to be more specific – this chick!  *points to self*

So now that we’ve got that sorted: fellow chicks and unhatched thinking-about-joining folk, feel free to gather ‘round for a few basic tips and explanations I’ve picked up along the way.

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First tweets

When starting out with a new Twitter account, you’re on your own.  No one knows you’re there, but the general idea is to start saying stuff anyway.

See that compose button?  If you click on that, you have 140 characters available in which you can announce things… to yourself. That’s right!  You say things, and they just float out there into the whatchamacallit.

Imagine wandering out into the street. It’s dark and deserted.

You:  *clears throat* “I did THIS today!”

Crickets:  “chirp”

To mix things up a bit, you might try something different.

You: “Look at what THIS person did today!”                                                                       *points at newspaper you’ve carried out into the dark street with you*

Crickets: “chirp chirp”                                                                                           *tumbleweed rolls by*

See? That’s tweeting. Announcing stuff, saying things and sharing tidbits of information.

There’s no guarantee anyone will hear them but if you like the sound of crickets, it’s all good.

Following others

Feeling very strange talking to yourself a bit lonely?  Just click on the search button and find other people that are also saying stuff – preferably with similar interests to you.  You may still be talking to yourself (or letting out the odd half-hearted “cheep” now and then), but by adding people to follow you can creep in on read what they’re saying about…things.

Just a word of warning:  Try not to develop click-and-follow-frenzy. Yes, people are saying things!  Things that interest you!  Just try to stay cool. You’ll get suggestions on people to follow, and if you’re clicking in a highly-excitable fashion and following all willy-nilly, Twitter will think you’re a 12 year old girl and recommend Justin Bieber (ps thanks, Twitter – that was awesome of you).

Still not sure about following?

Imagine you are at, say, a supermarket, and someone ahead of you picks up your favourite brand of muesli.  Keeping a safe distance, you wander behind them – waiting for their thoughts on the benefits of muesli. Or a recommendation on a new type of muesli. Or an announcement that there is a special on!

That kind of thing.

Which brings us to…

Retweeting

If you’re feeling brave, you repeat their muesli announcement. Word for word – making sure it’s said loudly enough for them to hear (you might even nod to each other in acknowledgement).

Making sense?  OK let’s look at it in a different way:

Do you have siblings, and if so, did you ever play that game where you just repeat what the other said? Well, in the land of Twitter, the childhood game of Copycat is encouraged with a retweet!

Someone just said stuff that’s pretty awesome? Retweet that stuff! 

A bit shy, or don’t have anything to say? Retweet someone else’s stuff!

So basically: sharing someone’s exact words with your own entire zeroes-of-followers.

Which leads nicely onto…

First follower

You’ve just announced loudly that muesli is on special, and someone else in the supermarket happened to hear.  They’ve popped over a few isles to where you are, had a bit of a subtle squiz at your shopping basket, and basically decided to see what else you might have to say (after-all, savings are savings!).

When it happens, try not to let this exciting event throw you too much.

It may be someone who liked what you had to say, but it could also be someone on their own clicking-and-following frenzy.

Either way, there’s no need to agonise over future tweets for fear of scaring them off.

Commenting

If until now you’ve just been saying stuff to yourself, it might be time to say stuff to actual other people.

It may feel like you’re butting in on a conversation to add your 2-cents, or answering a random stranger you just happened overhear, but…actually that is what you’re doing…anyhow – on Twitter, it’s OK!

You may even try taking part in an organised chat using hashtags (eg #runchat). Just be prepared for a flurry of never ending, oh goodness there are so many! tweets.  And if you only manage to say a couple of actual things in the space of an hour, that’s OK too (small steps).

Just jump right in and comment.  Engage away!

You’ll outgrow your downy fluff? fluffy down and have feathers in no time.

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Final tip

If someone tweets @you and shares something you wrote, don’t panic (‘what do I do, what’s the etiquette; is there some kind of tweet-speak or secret code?‘).

Once you calm down you’ll realise that a simple thank-you also works in internet land. There’s definitely no need to courtesy, and in fact there is a ‘favourite’ button that you can also use to show your appreciation. Asking fellow Twitterers / twits / tweeters others is right up there, too (you know, do that ‘engaging thing’ we talked about?).  You’ll soon find out they’re a pretty helpful, welcoming bunch.

For anything else, you may wish to Google ‘Twitter 101’ or ‘How to not look like a dick on Twitter’.  You know, if you want to…not that I did that or anything.                            *whistles and walks away*

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@RubySneaker

All cartoons created using the bitstrips facebook app. 
Additional (poorly Photoshopped) 'chicks' courtesy of Twitter.

Catch me if you can

I’m not big on having my photo taken (you’re shocked, I know), so was quite surprised to find myself looking forward to seeing some from the 10k last week. It was my first ‘big’ event, and having a snap or two would have been a bit nice.

For memories and…stuff.

Or at the very least, something to whip out for extra motivation (ie to ward off the diddly-squats).

So when an email came from the official photographer a few days ago, I excitedly clicked on the link.

Umm…

“What are you doing? Why are you staring at the ground?! Are there coins or other valuables down there? A treasure map, maybe?”

All (bar one) were of the top of my hat, and with my head tilted sideways in some weird pose. Like I’m not only looking for coins or valuables, but listening (intently!) for them as well. I’m almost certain that without the help of the crowd, I would have ended up completely lost and going the wrong way (but rich, apparently!). 

The photos are actually quite good for a bit of a laugh, but alas, could have been of anyone in a red hat and white top. The only difference being that I’m clutching a wad of used tissues in my headband thingy that I’d taken off earlier (so not only rich, but classy as well).

Being a race novice, I also figured that if there were going to be photos taken it would happen right at the end. 

*Cue over-the-top, I’m-not-puffed-at-all smile*

So, yeah… I do want to apologise to the unsuspecting family and friends of other participants who were greeted by a grinning loon at the finish line. Turns out, the photographer was placed 30 or so metres before this point (whoops) so my well-timed ‘finish face’ was probably a bit over the top / scary.

I actually feel a bit silly now for wanting an ‘action shot’ (not to mention embarrassed by admitting to the whole ‘finish face’ pose and subsequent let-down).  I should really have known better.

First, there was parkrun:

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Then, the Women’s 5k:

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(Sorry Tasrunphotos – I would have paid $28.00 for the real thing; if only you’d captured my ‘good’ side)

So last Sunday was nothing out of the ordinary, really:

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And another. So fast I was a blur:

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In fact – on looking back over the ‘evidence’ of my running, I may have discovered something so much better: a new game to play!

‘Spot the wannabe runner’ (not dissimilar to Where’s Wally?).

See – there’s always a silver lining.  It’s actually right up my alley, and something I could definitely have fun with.

Or ‘run’ with, if you will (sorry).

So here’s to the next challenge – I think it’s white hat’s turn to partially shine. 🙂

I survived The Hunger Games!

Or maybe it was more like The Long Walk – a novel by Stephen King in which race participants get ‘taken out’ (for not keeping pace) until only one survives.

There’s also a chance I may be exaggerating ever so slightly have misinterpreted things.

But I’m sure you’ll forgive me for experiencing a moment of panic that there would be weapons involved slight concern about today’s 10km event upon agreeing to the following ‘WARNING, RELEASE AND INDEMNITY’ (all caps = Very. Serious. Business.):

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That’s right: significant risk blah, blah…of death from blah blah…’accidents’ with other participants, spectators or road users!

No worries, race organisers: here’s some money – where do I sign?!

In reality there was not a whiff of danger in sight. I don’t mean to sound disappointed (honestly), and in fact am quite relieved. Dodging runners who did the whole ‘sudden-stop’ thing certainly kept me on my toes, so to not have the added pressure of also dodging arrows or bullets was a blessing, really .

Now…onto the actual telling-you-about-the-run stuff!

The Launceston 10 is a 10km road race, and this year’s event had around 1600 entrants.  Apparently it’s a bit of a big deal, and attracts top athletes from around the country.  The men’s division winner – in 29:09 – was Olympian Ben St Lawrence, who is also known to some of us as a ‘provider of great tips and advice’ in the 12WBT running forums.

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Way to go, Ben!
Photo source: http://www.examiner.com.au

It was a flat course – out and back along the highway, with bagpipes at the halfway point. Yes, you did just read that. And no, I didn’t stop for a bit of Highland Flinging (tempting as it was).

It was cold (I guess it is winter after-all), and the home 5km-stretch provided a lovely, challenging head wind, but all-in-all it was pretty great.

Runners are an awesome bunch, aren’t they?  Even though I arrived alone, I quickly met up with three lovely ladies I met through the 12WBT program and instantly felt welcomed and included.

(Big thanks to ‘M’ and her pre-run training / stretching tips. I think they made all the difference.)

During the run there were also numerous people chatting, laughing, and generally having a grand old time.

So how did I go?  I managed to run the whole way (woo hoo!) and beat my 5km PB time in the process (*almost* under 30 minutes, so am getting closer on that front).

My legs held up, my lungs didn’t burst, and I averaged 6:24 min/km which isn’t too shabby for a first 10km attempt.

In short: I survived The Hunger Games!

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Having a bunch of supportive, encouraging people in your corner certainly goes a long way (thank you!). Congrats also to those who took part – now go and rest up!

So I guess this also means that I need to find a new goal. I hear there’s another 10km coming up in September, so that might be worth a look.

This ‘running thing’ might end up being just as addictive as the ‘buying running gear thing’.

Which can only be a good thing, right?

Eight days and counting

Anyone who has been checking in on my progress during the last six months may know that I’ve had a few stops and starts; from achieving (and enjoying) a certain level of health and fitness, to falling off the wagon (then getting back on again, then doing diddly-squat for a while) to more recently setting a goal of eating the whole block of cheese running 10km.

It’s nearly here (cue trumpets)! 16 June. Only eight days away, and the day I attempt to run 10km for the first time.

Eight. Days.

Crap.

Sorry. I mean – oh dear, that’s not far away!

So in honour of the countdown (did I mention it’s only eight days away?!) below is a bit of a wrap-up of the last couple of weeks.

Otherwise known as: eight random bits of information that you didn’t ask for but are getting anyway:

8. The longest distance run so far.  I’ve been doing my long runs on Sundays, and last week managed 8km. There was one teeny-tiny point where I walked briefly, but no-one was around so it doesn’t count (Right? Good. Carry on).

Tomorrow’s goal is 9km (and to also not keel over in the process), followed by 10km on race day.

7. The magic number, apparently. Around the 7km mark during my last two runs something weird happened.  It felt OK. For a time my mind was quiet, my breathing felt even, and running didn’t seem like such a struggle.  It was so encouraging, and a feeling I want to experience again.

Sidenote: I must admit to getting a tad bit excited at this point: ‘I’m a runner! It’s happened!’ If I had long hair, there would have definitely some slow-motion-ponytail-swishing action and toothy, sparkling smiles going on. 

I quickly got a hold of myself though, ie:

6. The number of seconds ‘7’ lasted for.  OK – maybe it was slightly longer (at least a minute?) but when my stupid, sabotaging brain kicked back in, that’s what it felt like (so sweet, yet so fleeting). On the upside, I now know ‘that feeling’ does exist (yay!).

This was also the point where I had to remind myself (yet again) that it takes time, effort and persistence, and to also not be so impatient for results.

6 is also the number of runs completed over the last two weeks – a mixture of speed work, treadmill, long runs and a group run. I’m trying to do three per week, and include some core work or strengthening stuff in-between.

5. The current PB distance.  One of my goals is to run sub-30 minutes over 5km, and each week am slowly chipping away and getting closer. Tuesday night’s running group helped – there’s nothing quite as motivating as running in the dark, at the absolute rear of the pack, and having to speed up so as not to lose everyone and get left behind!

4. Days left to register for the 10km.  Umm…yeah. So I haven’t registered yet. I’ll do it later today (or tomorrow). Promise.

3. Running things bought this week.  It’s winter, so the two long-sleeved tops purchased were a must. I also lashed out and bought proper socks (man, those things are expensive!).

2. Running things left to buy this week.  Black was not the best colour to wear while running at night. I did start out wearing a jacket with light reflector thingies on it (being safety conscious and all that), but stripped off around the 3km mark.

There was only a smallish section of the course that was unlit, but I now need to buy stick-on reflector tape and a light of some sort. Running in black is best left to the real ninjas.

1. Quite possibly the number of people left still reading this. *waves* Hi there, you! Aren’t you a bit lovely. 🙂

So that’s it. The eight-day countdown has begun.

I have a speech all prepared in the event I actually finish in one piece, and am also expecting a press conference and news cameras to drop by my house. Oh, and a write up in the local paper, if you don’t mind.

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Source: http://www.bitstrips.com (facebook app)

OK not really, but if my first non-stop 5km is anything to go by, there’s a chance I may be a tad bit excited. So while not a news feature, I will post an update on how it goes.

I think I’m actually looking forward to it.