3 Unessential Running Essentials – Runners Tell All

This month’s topic in the Runners Tell All Link Up is Favorite Running Gear/Products. I have lots of these, but some that are particularly high up on the list than others. Obviously you need to wear clothes and shoes and underwear, etc. And particularly if they are specifically made for running then that can help a lot more, but this is not always essential. I am not going to go through the obvious bits of gear that I wear the most as a) I have done posts on this before, and b) it’s probably just boring.

Instead I am going to talk about my unessential running essentials…

1. My Garmin

This is a relatively new unessential running essential I have acquired (if you want to know how I acquired this see this post). When I first began running I did it to just keep going and make it to the finish. Since then I have started to set goals for myself in terms of time and distance so a GPS watch is ideal for this. I am also a bit OCD so once I have decided I want to do a specific time then I need to have a way of tracking it, Garmin is the answer for all your OCD running needs!

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2. My iPod Shuffle

I love my little pink shuffle that my husband bought me about 5 years ago. It’s still going strong and it goes with me whenever I am running on my own. Some people are totally happy to run, and prefer to run, music free. I, on the other hand, prefer to have music, unless I am running with a buddy. The shuffle is awesome because it just clips easily onto the band of my shorts or tights and you barely even know it is there. It’s easy to skip to the next song and adjust the volume. ‘Nuff said! P.S. uinfortunately I am not being sponsored by Apple for this plug but I swear you got to get on that shuffle wagon, it beats a bulky thing around your arm any day!

3. My adidas visor

I know this one is super nerdy but I LOVE this visor. I have a weirdly small head and always have trouble trying to find hats that fit me and that don’t have Dora the Explorer or Mickey Mouse on them… First world problems! I had been hunting for a hat ever since I started running because I hate the sun in my eyes but don’t like running in sunglasses… Second first world problem right thur! So my Mum actually gave me this visor a couple of years ago and it goes with me on all my runs too. It fits AND it keeps my hair off my face – the other thing i can’t stand when I’m running.

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There it is folks, the visor in all it’s glory

Those are just three of my unessential running essentials. Here are a few of my favourite brands that I like the wear:

  • Nike – they make the best shorts (as you can kinda see in the above photo), called tempo shorts. I do not like short shorts or clingy ones so these are perfect for me. They also make great tops (also seen in above picture and below). I would totally wear their shoes because of how cool they look but they are just not right for my feet… Third first world problem!
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  • Asics – I wear their shoes and always have. I love them, although am about to change it up a bit and give mizuno a try

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  • Adidas – they made some good hats, jackets and tops.
  • Gu – I love the Gu chews and now take these as a staple on long runs and in marathons.

What are your unessential running essentials?

Favourite brands for running gear?

5 ways to get your running mojo back

I recently mentioned in a blog post about how I had lost my running mojo. Don’t be fooled by the title of this post though, I still haven’t entirely gotten it back. What I have got, however, is the desire to get it back, and I’m finally just realising that it’s not something that just automatically comes back on its own (usually), but something you have to go out and get for yourself. So here are my 5 tips on how to get your running mojo back…

1. Start running…

I know this sounds so basic, but when you have lost your desire to run, then it’s actually quite hard to get out and do it. Tell yourself you are only going to run one minute, if it helps, and then walk the rest of the way. But I guarantee you that most of the time once you actually get your gear on, get out that door and get going, you will always want to run more than that! It’s a good start.

2. Sign up to a race…

You don’t have to break world records, or even your own, but a race can often be a great kick starter to getting back on track with your running. Also, if you have lost some fitness, seeing that in a race can make you want to get back to running fit again and fast. There’s nothing worse than running a race and feeling like you are not at your running best.

Last weekend I ran a 9km race as a bit of a kick start to my running again. When I originally signed up for it, almost 2 months ago, I had decided I wanted to get a new PB and absolutely nail it. Lots of things happened – like holidays, me being lazy, books, tonsillitis, life and more life, and therefore on the day I ended up just running it because I had signed up for it. I didn’t actually do as bad as I thought I may have but I definitely was a long way off the goal I had originally set… Motivation right thur!

Coming up… Orewa Half Marathon, April 13th!

3. Get a/some running buddies…

IMG_7682I am desperately missing my amazing running buddy that I trained for the Auckland marathon with last year, as she has moved town (and not because of me… Or at least that’s what she said??). However, this weekend just gone my sister in law came to stay and we went for a casual 8km run together and I loved it. It was lovely to have a buddy to run and chat with and make me not think about how hot it was or how I thought the hill would kill me. So I have a spot going… Running buddy wanted! Must enjoy running!

4. Revisit the past for some motivation…

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One of my favourite quotes this one. It’s all in the mind!

Since freshening up my blog a little I have been reading over some of my old posts. I read about my running story, how I got started, some of the races I had done, and even some posts I had done on motivation and it made me want to be ‘that runner’ again. If you don’t record stories of past runs then get out medals or t shirts or any memorabilia that you have of past runs. Look at some photos or something to get you back in that frame of mind. It really does help!

5. Be inspired by others’ running stories and successes…

Sometimes it’s easy to feel jealous of other peoples’ running stories and successes *guilty* but they can actually be a great source of inspiration and motivation. I am 99.9% certain I will never be a 3-hour-marathoner, but I can definitely keep getting my own PBs and becoming a better runner. Reading about other peoples’ running often makes me think that if they can then I can too. It also makes me feel pretty darn lazy if all I am doing is sitting at my computer or on the couch reading their stories instead of actually being out there myself.

Check out the blogs I follow for some stories from other amazing runners!

Be the runner whose story inspires others! That’s what I want to be!

Lost your running mojo?

How do/will you get it back?

It’s Officially Official…

I just had to use this title again because I still can’t believe it…

IT’S OFFICIAL…

As of yesterday, I now have a ONE YEAR OLD!!

IMG_0371Say whaaaaat! I know right, I still look feel like I’m 19 and now I have a one year old! Where did this last eight years year go!

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Not to make this the ‘crazy baby lady blog’ or anything like that, but I really just had to tell you all about the craziness that is my life right now, having a one year old and all (and put in some pictures so you can all see how cool he is). It really has been the greatest year of our lives and we wouldn’t have changed a thing!

Running on the other hand…
Eek! I have been sick for the last two weeks with some awesome things such as tonsillitis and strep throat… Gross! So have been totally whacked! I thought I was just a bit worn out and had overdone things somewhere along the lines only to be told I actually was a bit sick. My doctor knows me so well too when she says: ‘You need to take it easy, and by that I mean NO running’. Dang!

So the last week and a half have consisted of some lovely walks coupled with some lovely book reading and on demand TV watching. I have never been a day sleeper or lier downer but have surprisingly loved having a few of those the last couple of weeks.

This has also made me think twice about the half marathon I was going to be running in 2.5 weeks. I am very out of running fitness for it already, then with 1.5 weeks out of action I am thinking I will leave it and set my sights on another one in May so I can really do well at it.

This weekend I have a 9km race which I think I will still run as am already starting to feel heaps better thanks to good ol’ anti-biotics, however I don’t think I’ll be breaking any speed limits or anything. I will run and enjoy and probably get over taken by someone’s granny along the way.

I’m normally not one to take doctor’s orders either but am happy just relaxing and not running at the moment… Weird! Maybe I should go and see the doctor about that??

Anyone racing this weekend? What distance?

What’s the longest sickness or injury has every put you out of running/exercise for before?

Isn’t my child just the cutest one year old you’ve ever seen!?!

Runners Tell All: My Running Story

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Runners Tell All is a monthly link up that my wonderful friend Amanda, over at The Lady Okie Blog, is hosting with a friend. It will run for the whole year and it is a monthly thing, on the 21st of each month. It’s going to be awesome and there are also going to be heaps of prizes up for grabs over the year, as well as the chance to get to read and know a whole lot of other running bloggers… I love it already!

So if you are keen to get involved, or just read other peoples’ running stories, then head over here and get amongst it!

This is the first month of it and here is the topic:

How and Why You Started Running in 250 words or less.

I love telling my running story, mainly because the short of it is that 5 years ago I could barely run 1km without having to stop and catch my breath, and now I am a marathon runner! And here’s the slightly longer of it…

I began running when we lived in Italy in 2008. My husband was a pro rugby player there and I was doing extramural study. That meant that I was often cooped up in our tiny apartment all day with my nose in the books, whilst Tim was out training for, and playing, rugby with a team.

I decided that I needed something to keep me sane (apart from just going to the gym every/every other day). I had a friend there that was a marathon runner and she mentioned that there was going to be a marathon (along with some shorter distances) in our town soon. After getting up my running on the treadmill to about 20 mins (and being darn proud of that), I decided I might just be able to tackle the 7km distance, and with a bit of arm twisting from my friend.

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Come race day I was super nervous but also super excited. Little did I know that was the start of my life as a runner. I was super slow on the day but ran the whole way and that little 7km run led into soooo much more. Four months after that I ran my first half marathon and I haven’t looked back on running since.

Before my time in Italy I could barely run the 800m (half a mile) around my block at home without my husband having to piggy back me the rest of the way. Now I have 3 marathons, 8 half marathons, and many other shorter races under my belt with plenty more lined up for the future. Now I spend my time running and posting cheesy photos and quotes like these:

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 How did you get into running, what’s your ‘story’?

I’m Moving On: How to Choose New Running Shoes

I think it is well and truly safe to say that I have over done my dash in these bad boys…

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They have accompanied me on many a good time and a tough time. They have been there through thick and through thin, witnessed my ups and downs, my achievements and proud moments, and the not-so-proud moments too. The time we have spent together is priceless, however it’s time for me to move on. I am fickle, yes! I change shoes like the change in seasons (OK, maybe not that often but it sounded very poetic in my head).

This is not just about me getting a new pair of shoes – I don’t get all poetic just whenever I need to buy new shoes, no! It is actually about me trying a new brand of shoe altogether. I have been wearing Asics for well over 5 years and when I decided I needed to get new shoes (late last year – yes it has taken me ages!), I realised Asics no longer made the shoe of theirs that I had been wearing. I had been thinking about playing the field for a while and this just confirmed for me that our relationship had gone stale. It was time to move on.

Some time or another ago (I know that doesn’t make much sense) I must have signed up to a Mizuno running email thingee and yesterday I got an email with a link to this in it: Mizuno Precision Fit Online.

It was brilliant. It’s pretty similar to what they do when you actually go into a shoe store and get your running style/foot type analysed. Except, you do it all from the comfort of your couch!

So after taking the precision fit test, I realised that I think I might actually like to give Mizuno shoes a go and try out one of the styles that the results from the test recommended for me. Now how do I pick which one I will go with out of the 3 different styles recommended? It’s a very scientific process this one, I go with the colour I like the best! Don’t say you didn’t realise I was that smart!?!

The best thing in selecting new running shoes is to go and get fitted by someone professionally. I actually found Precision fit online to be pretty accurate but if you are new to running shoes and you don’t trust the online tool, then definitely go to a sports shoe store and get checked out. Sometimes they like you to run barefoot across the room so you look like a dork they can analyse your style, or they might get you to run on a treadmill. Picking shoes just because they look pretty is a great idea if you love injuries not really the best way to go about it, but once you know which shoes you need, then hopefully they come in a nice selection of colours for you. And if not, suck it up and wear the darn shoes! It beats any sort of injury you could get from wearing the wrong shoes.

That’s how I ended up with the lovely shoes pictured above… The only colour I could get – not my first choice that’s for sure! If I was going to pick shoes based on looks then it would probably be Nike, there are some super funky Nikes out there but Nike running shoes and I are just not meant to be!

What running shoes do you wear?

How do you pick your brand/shoe?

Ever been professionally fitted/tested?

10 reasons why people run marathons

Think running is ridiculous and running for 42.2kms (26.2 miles) is a cruel idea of punishment, or a joke? Think again my friend! Here’s a list of 10 reasons why people (and by people I mostly mean me) run marathons… Agree with any?

I run for feather boas?!?

I run for feather boas?!?

1. To actually get your butt moving…

Ever been guilty of saying this:

‘I really need to start doing more exercise’.

Or making this New Year’s resolution:

‘This year I am going to exercise every day’, or ‘I will do more exercise this year’… And what happens? Nothing! You are too vague so it never happens. Running a marathon MAKES it happen! Set goals people and not lame NY resolutions!

2. To eat all you want and more without severe reasoning…

When you are at a dinner party and the ladies (and some guys) are all like ‘well I did go for a half hour walk this morning so I guess I have earned a piece of this cheesecake that is the size of my head’. Yip, you know fair and square you’ve earned yours!

3. For bragging rights…

That’s right, I RAN a marathon this weekend! How was your Grey’s Anatomy Marathon that you did on your couch??

4. To challenge yourself beyond what you thought you could ever achieve…

You may possibly not actually be able to believe you are capable of running a marathon until you do it… Or even after you do it!

5. The thrill of the chase

Running makes you become competitive, if not with other runners then definitely, in fact mostly, with yourself. You smirk and smile and count (in your head) when you pass people. You are forever after that PB (PR).

6. Because who isn’t impressed by someone who has (or does) run marathons – put THAT on your CV!

7. The bling – who doesn’t love a good race medal?

Something to show for all the hard earned $$ you forked out to run the thing in the first place! Saddest day of my life = running my second marathon and only finding out after crossing the finish line that they only do medals every 5th marathon… This was not one of those. I felt cheated!

This guy certainly loves a good medal!

This guy certainly loves a good medal!

8. If P-Diddy, Oprah and Will Ferrell can do it, then so can you…

Or more importantly, if I can run one then you definitely can!

9. Because who needs toenails anyway?

10. The classic ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. 

So true! I am very happy to announce that a marathon has not killed me… Yet!

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and run a marathon!

It’s been a while…

As you all may know (but probably not care), it has been a while since I have posted, thus I have lost my blogging mojo a wee bit. Please bear with my while I try to get it back.

This year I am starting back at work again, working 2 days a week. Fletcher will be going into daycare (starting this week… Eek!) and before he starts we needed to have 3 visits. Today was the third one and I was to leave him there for an hour, without being there with me. This was the perfect opportunity for me to get in a run and not think of the fact that in T-3 days he will be starting at daycare like a big kid without me… Waaa! Oh and did I mention he will be 1 in 2 weeks… Say Whaaaaaat!

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So I managed to get in 8 kms and felt great. I have a 9km race in 3 weeks time and would love to be able to do it in 45mins, but we’ll see. So today I started out nice and slow and managed to finish running at a 5min/km pace… If you don’t know, my legs are short… Like really short! Like half the length of Kate Moss’s… Probably. So running fast for me is hard work – Yes I blame it on my legs, it’s the best place to put the blame since they are the things carrying me when I run right?

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Red Much? Hot day for an 8ker!

I have a confession to make too: I have been a terrible runner so far this year. 10kms is the furthest I have run and most of my runs have been lame. Maybe with my lost blogging mojo went my running mojo?? Anyway, I am getting back on track now with a 9km race in 3 weeks and a half marathon (hopefully) in 5 weeks… Eek! There is also a 5km summer series that starts this week, for 6 weeks, and I am hoping to get to a few of those and get a new 5k PB.. YEOW!

Coming up on the blog we will have a runners’ link up later this month, as well as the opportunity to win a race entry… Yay! Looking forward to it!

How has your running been so far this year?

Do you have any races coming up? If so, what are they?

What is your favourite distance to run?
Mine is definitely the half marathon distance, particularly when I have trained well.

It’s Official!

It is official…

I have finally signed up to get my own website name and now I am here, using it… Woohoo!! About time! I hope you hadn’t given up on following me because now I am back it the game. I have lots of things in store for you here on the blog like a running link up, some more races coming up, and lots of hilarious posts as per usual… Or is it just me that thinks that? Anyway, please be sure to follow me here, at curiousrunner.com instead of my old site. And please also keep in mind that I will be finishing off some things on this new site over time so bear with my while you see new changes taking place.

Hope you have all been great, can’t wait to get blogging on my brand spankin’ new site!

Peace out ya’ll!

Maintaining running fitness…

Over the last few weeks since my half marathon and marathon, I have really been taking it easy. I have been enjoying going for runs without any expectations on them. However, I have not been running anywhere near as much as I was when training and I definitely haven’t been pushing myself in my running.

This morning I got myself geared up, strapped my wee buddy in the buggy and headed out for a buggy run.

There is actually a child in there, promise!

My stunning scenery – the sea is back there somewhere.

It was 8.30am and cray-zizzle hot and I chose to do a 6km buggy run with mega hills. I felt every bit of it and ended up having to walk some of the hills, and even that almost caused me to pop a lung! I was so tired at the turnaround point that I had to make an excuse of stopping to take photos for my blog to give me a rest!

6 weeks ago I was running a marathon, now I’m popping a lung!

I was running a marathon, now I’m popping a lung! Whaaaaat!

If you have no idea what I am on about, watch this video… My fave part of the whole movie, I cried laughing!

Anyway. This got me thinking about losing running fitness. I was so surprised at how hard some of my longer runs have been feeling. I can’t believe that it has happened so fast too. Who would have thought that not running would cause you to lose running fitness?? If only you could stay as fit by sitting on the couch watching youtube videos all day!

So this brings me to some tips on maintaining running fitness:

1. If you can’t run to keep up your fitness due to a running injury, try a high intensity workout like a spin class, excellent for fitness maintenance and it is less impact on your body than running.
2. You don’t have to run for miles and miles like in marathon training but make sure you keep some hills in there and maybe even a few sprints every now and then to help keep speed, leg strength and fitness up.
3. Do some weight work to help you keep leg and core strength.
4. Change it up a bit by adding in some fun social sports to your workouts. I have been playing summer soccer and that is so much fun, and a killer workout with all the short sprints I do up and down the field (which is pretty much all I do out there).
5. If you have lost all motivation after a long time training for a big event then get a running buddy. This will help you get out there and it is a lot more fun running with someone else.
6. Don’t lose your routine. Make sure running, or whatever exercise you choose to do, stays as part of your daily routine. 

And don’t be hard on yourself. Remember you have just done a huge event, or recovered from an injury or come back after some time off (whatever it may be), so things aren’t going to be the same as where you left them. You will have to work a bit to get it back but once you are into the swing of things you’ll be running as good as ever in no time.

Now time to follow my own advice!!

Just on another note (and because I know you think my baby is as awesome as I do), my baby has been practicing his ninja skills and seems to be getting them down to a fine art…
This is how I have found him sleeping twice in the last week. I have no idea how he gets himself upside down in his smaller-than-average cot but I sooo wish I could have seen the whole thing!

How long does it take you to lose your running fitness? 
Any other tips on how to maintain it or get it back quickly?
Favourite time of year to run?
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