2019: Say Yes to Adventure

New Year, New Me?  Of course!  

The beginning of a New Year is the perfect occasion to assess where one is at, and where one wants to be.  Because, if we're not looking to grow as a human and add to our experience of life, then are we really living?  

Last year I set three words of intention for 2018 - Joy, Purpose & Courage (which you can read about here).  2018 was a fantastic year for me - I took a lot of big steps, some which were way out of my comfort zone, and I was rewarded immensely for it.  More on that on a later blog to come.

So what about 2019?  The first thing that popped into my mind on the 1st of January was "Say Yes to Adventure".  Yep, lets go with that.  

So, what is adventure?

Typically painted as 'exploration into the unknown, fraught with danger and risk', - I don't think it's just about doing extreme, exciting and unusual things.

Perhaps 'adventure' is really just about stepping outside your comfort zone - which means that each…

Queenstown Half Marathon

For a few years now I have said I wanted to go and do the Queenstown half, feeling that it was unlikely though as it's so far away and expensive to get to.  This year my hubby said "If you want to do it, make it happen".  So with that, I entered us both in May (the event is in November), and booked both flights and accommodation immediately!
At the time, I was coming off an ITB niggle that put a bit of a halt on my training for a few weeks, but once I had that sorted, we were 10 weeks out from the half marathon which is a perfect build up for me.  The training went well - building those weekend long runs slowly with an occasional easier week (and a trip to Rarotonga in the middle!) and getting in three other shorter runs during the week.  My longest run was 17km (which I did two weeks in a row), with a two week taper.  The weekend before the race I set a new 10km PB which was a great confidence booster heading in to the half marathon.
Then all of a sudden, race week was he…

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…