On being fearless

I have the great privilege of being involved with the 261 Fearless organisation.  It's a global network of women, united together to find their own strength and fearlessness through running.  It is comprised of womens running clubs in the US, UK, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Albania, and New Zealand.

It all began with Kathrine Switzer, a woman who came to be a pioneer of womens running, wore as the first official female entrant into the Boston Marathon in 1967.  Back then, it was a mens only event, women were not allowed to enter as they were considered too delicate for the long distance.

Because Kathrine entered under her initials, K.V. Switzer, and due to the cold conditions was wearing a baggy sweatshirt and track pants, it wasn't until a couple of miles into the race that she was spotted.  A woman, in a mens race! The race director tried to forcibly remove her from the course, but he was stopped by her then boyfriend at the time.  Upset and angry, she continued to …

Varicose Veins - Part Two

Part One of this post, which includes some background and a 'before' pic of the varicose veins, can be found here.

The initial consultation involved a look at my veins under ultrasound.  He found that the long saphenous vein, which runs from the foot to the groin (to join the femoral vein) was basically a dud.  In places, the vein had enlarged up to 8cm.  The treatment plan was to take the faulty vein out of service, hereby re-routing the blood through other healthy veins of the leg, relieving pressure on the smaller veins that fed into it, then return after a few weeks to treat any that varicose veins that remained.
Varicose vein treatment used to involve a full stripping of the vein - cuts along the affected vein and physically stripped from the body.  It involved anaesthesia, pre-procedure drugs and treatment pain medication, and a long recovery period.  Thankfully they've developed less intrusive ways of treatment now..
The clinic I saw uses a type of medical grade glue c…

Varicose Veins - Part One

Disclaimer: I am not saying that those with varicose veins, of any degree, need to get them fixed.  My veins were really affecting my self-confidence so I made the decision to have them removed.

I have decided to share my experience with varicose veins and treatment, in the hope that it may be helpful for anyone else out there wanting to do something about their own veins but wanting a better idea of what it involves.

First of all, what are varicose veins? 

"Veins are the blood vessels that carry blood from the body to the heart (whereas arteries carry blood from the heart to the body).  Properly functioning veins have a series of one-way valves that keep the blood flowing in one direction towards the heart.  Varicose veins occur when, as a result of various causes, the valves within the veins become inefficient (incompetent) and allow blood to backflow.  The blood pools in the area below the affected valve causing the vein to enlarge and stretch.  Varicose veins appear under the sk…

A reflection on my last half marathon training cycle...

Recently I ran 'comeback' half-marathon (race report here).  It was my first in two years after I suffered a serious injury shortly after completing my second half marathon in 2016. 

Since the injury (which took me out for six months), I'd not had too much interest in running, entering only a 5km and 10km event.  I've had a few setbacks including complications from varicose vein surgery as well which had put the brakes on any fitness gains.  It felt like there was a lot of 'starting again' over the past two years.

I felt like I had unfinished business with the half marathon distance, and always in the back of my mind wanted to do 'at least one more'.  However, mentally, I wasn't quite ready to take a chance on training for another half marathon.  The desire was there, but the fear of re-injury was much greater.  

After parkrun on a Saturday morning earlier this year, I said to the Great Forest Events race organiser, Chris, that I was thinking about doi…

Half Marathon #3 - Great Forest Events at Waitarere

14 April, 2018.  

The day was here. My first half marathon in two years.  The half marathon I wasn't sure I would run again after 'that hip injury' in 2016.  It took a long time to physically recover from that injury but a lot longer after that to mentally recover.  The fear of re-injury, to the same level, or worse, was real.  

It was a chilly morning - there was snow on the nearby ranges after the storm that week - but it was dry and fairly still. Perfect running conditions.

I arrived around 8.15am for a 9am race start, which gave me plenty of time to get myself organised, a porta-loo break (or two) and a bag drop of food and warm clothes for afterwards at the tent.

Kevin found me in the starting area and pulled me closer to the front.  He was only one of a few I'd shared my sub-2 goal with.  He intended to do the same, and had some advice for me.  "You gotta come up closer to the front," he'd said in our chats over Instagram the week beforehand.  "Let…

I'm an athlete and so are you...

What is an athlete?

Several definitions can be found online:

- a person who is trained or skilled in exercies, sports, or games requiring physical strength (Merriam-Webster)

- A person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise (Oxford)

- An athlete is a person who does a sport, especially athletics, or track and field events (Collins)

- A person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength (

The common words?  Person, trained/proficient/does and exercise/sport.

I want to suggest that anyone who actively trains for their sport, by setting themselves goals and puts the hard work in to achieve those goals, is an athlete.  You may not be a professional or elite athlete; you may never win a race in your life.  But if you run regularly, compete in crossfit, triathlon, anything that requires dedication and training, that makes you an athlete, just like me.

💖 K8

This year's birthday challenge

For my birthday the last few years (except for 2017 when I was injured) I've set myself a running challenge to celebrate another year old.  Basically, any excuse to do a new adventure and challenge myself really!  In previous years it's been running the length of the river track in Palmerston North (it was the first time I had done it, and the first time I'd run 10km after the birth of my third son), and running the Gorge for the first time.

This year I had the Paekakariki Escarpment track in mind.  The last few times we've driven to Wellington along the Kapiti Coast, I've pointed out the trail to my husband.  It's a track cut into the hillside between Paekakariki and Pukerua Bay.  I'd seen photos on Facebook and Instagram from others who'd done the track, and was keen to give it a go for myself!

Imagine my luck to be invived along with Gerry and Wouna to do the track on the day before my birthday! I was in!  I invited Kel along too, thankfully she was ke…