Number 5553

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I haven’t blogged for a while due to being up the wall with work and life in general and it only occurred to me tonight that I hadn’t actually filled anyone in on how the Flora Women’s Mini Marathon went!!

Last Monday 3rd June was the big day! It was absolutely boiling and the sun was splitting the skies which I was slightly worried about as I hadn’t run in such blistering heat before.

To be honest I didn’t have a great start. There were 40,000 entrants and I entered as a jogger (first mistake) which apparently a number of walkers decide to enter as so they aren’t stuck behind the ‘slow’ walkers. This of course doesn’t make any sense to me because then anyone who wants to jog is stuck behind the so called ‘fast walkers’. This meant it took me about 2 kilometres to get past all the walkers and finally get into a rhythm.

My second mistake was not stopping at the first water station. I hadn’t realised there would only be three water stops in total so by the time I got to the second one at 6 kms I was rather dehydrated and really feeling the burn.

However, when I got to the finish line I got a burst of energy and sprinted to the end noting that I had finished in a time of 1 hour 14 minutes, which although slower than my practice times, I was happy with.

It wasn’t until the next day that I got my final time and place. I actually ran in 1 hour 9 minutes – seeing as it took so long to get over the start line thanks to the walkers – and placed 5553 out of 40,000 women!! Even better!

The final great piece of news is that I have raised over €200 for Dogs Aid and am still collecting sponsorship money so hopefully I can increase the total amount!

The next challenge is on Saturday as I am running 4km at 4am up Tara Hill in aid of CMRF! Keep you updated on how that one goes!

Success and Disappointment

beach1The past week has been both of great success and disappointment. In short, I completed my first practice 10k run!

The downside of this week is that I stupidly ran a 6k on Monday, 2 days before I ran my 10k, and have now hurt my foot, meaning I have to take a break from running for a week or so. My foot is rather swollen and is tender to touch so taking a break is the only way forward to prevent further injury. From searching through Google, I think I may have injured my anterior talofibular ligament and most websites say to strengthen the ankle as well as ice the foot a few times a day. Has anyone else had this issue and know the best course of action?

runtastic1Going back to my 10k, I ran it in just under 1 hour 10 minutes which I am really pleased with. I also ran a new route which was simply stunning as it was along the back roads with lovely views. I haven’t taken a photo of my run as I got a new armband (woowho!) and so I’m not running with my phone in my hand which although it’s a lot easier, means I can’t take photos as I go. Now I have completed my first 10k run, I want to do it in a shorter time!! I would love to get down to 60 minutes for when I run the mini marathon in June.

Seeing as I couldn’t go for a run this weekend, Alan took me on a surprise trip to the beach with the dogs. I didn’t have a clue where we were going and although it was freezing cold (I wore 5 layers), it was amazing. I love feeling the fresh air on my face, and walking on the sand was good exercise for strengthening my foot. The dogs love the beach too, and spent their time running in and out of the sea and digging in the sand, hence Charlie’s sandy face in the photo below. The beach was an hour and a half away but we spent nearly 3 hours walking along so it was definitely a worthwhile trip. I never thought I would say it but I really did miss going for a run this weekend so hopefully I will be back to running next weekend and will be able to beat my time.

“Slight small injuries, and they will become none at all.”
Thomas Fuller 

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Charlie and Bella enjoying the beach

Just a Reminder: Meet Lottie

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As you know I am running the Flora Women’s Mini Marathon in aid of the hardworking charity Dogs Aid. I thought I would write this post as a reminder of how awful humans can be to helpless animals.

Yesterday one of the girls we work with asked if we would mind looking after a dog for a couple of nights before she goes to her new home in Czech Republic and of course we said we would take her. We brought her home, she met our two dogs and they are all luckily getting on well! We noticed how timid and gentle she is straight away and how she only stayed close to me and didn’t really go near my husband which shows her distrust in men.

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Last night one of the ladies who rescued Lottie put a photo up on Facebook of how she looked when she saved her from the pound. Lottie was due to be put down on the day she was taken. If you don’t know, animals are put down only 5 DAYS after they arrive in the pound and most don’t get the chance to even be noticed by the general public. As you can see from the photo above, Lottie was treated horribly!! She was starved and had gangrene all over her body from being kept in disgusting conditions. We were appalled that the lovely sweet natured dog we had in our home was treated with such malice and she still has scars on her body as a reminder. She is only 2 years old. The sad thing is that so many other animals are treated like this and more often than not they are not even given a chance to find a loving home.

Our company Select PR works closely with Dogs Aid to try and get the word out about the charity but it is still very hard to raise funds. Personally, seeing this photo of Lottie has pushed me to try and raise even more money whilst running the mini marathon. I have some cash donations which aren’t up online so I would really appreciate it if you could donate something on my iDonate Page to show that you support the charity and to encourage others to give what they can.

Thank You.

“The man who kills the animals today is the man who kills the people who get in his way tomorrow.”

Dr. Diane Fossey, Woman in the Mists 

The Weather is Testing my Patience

5507974524_77f2593573_zThis weekend and the start of this week have been a strange one to be honest. I think my issue lies with the weather and it not knowing whether it is winter or spring.

My friend Amanda arrived from Spain on Thursday night which I was very excited for. When collecting Amanda from the airport it was raining out of the heavens and it didn’t stop until Friday evening. It’s funny to spend time with someone who isn’t used to the bad weather anymore. We always know that it’s not nice but to hear the disbelief from someone who is only home for a week is another thing. It really hits home that other countries don’t experience such horrible weather most of the year round.

Luckily for me the rain stopped for a while on Saturday and so I was able to go out for a run…and run I did! Nearly 9k! I was really proud of myself, except for a mini panic attack that happened mid-run when I was running up a steep hill and couldn’t catch my breath. Has this happened to anyone before? I don’t know what came over me, but within about 2 minutes I was fine again and ran on. It makes me want to get out again to do the same run to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

My nearly 9k run           Our Wickow hike

My nearly 9k run                                                                      Our Wickow hike

My body seems to be reacting quite well to my longer runs as although this time I was tight, I wasn’t sore like the last time. I had also managed to beat my usual 4.3k run by over 60 seconds towards the end of last week so I’m pretty pleased with how it’s all going so far.

On Sunday we went for a hike in Wicklow. Last time we were there the sun was shining and we even got a bit sunburnt but this time was a different story! Although the walk was still nice, it was bitterly cold and even snowed on and off for a while. Crazy stuff! It’s even snowing now as I type!

We have been a bit ‘snowed’ under with work, but I am hoping to go for another short run tomorrow before I go to my Mum’s for the long weekend to scoff Easter eggs and roast dinners. I know it is only a 10k race which isn’t much to some people, however I am running the mini-marathon for a really good cause. As you have probably seen at the top of my page, I am running for Dogs Aid which work tirelessly to help abandoned and abused animals. Any donation would be greatly appreciated!

“We may have bad weather in Ireland, but the sun shines in the hearts of the people and that keeps us all warm.”
Marianne Williamson

Couple Running & Screaming Calves

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Well I said I was going to blog about my running experiences to ensure I made the effort to keep up with my training schedule and this past weekend I did just that! We had a fun filled long weekend of running and walking, and of course, eating!

I went out on Saturday for my first run in nearly three weeks (lazy I know) and to be honest it actually wasn’t too bad! I did my usual short route of 4.3k near my house. The sun was shining, there wasn’t too much traffic on the road and I didn’t bump into any people which is always a bonus! I managed to do the run in 27 minutes which I was pleased with as it was the same time I had done it in before my lazy spell.

A good few times my husband Alan has mentioned a ‘bog run’ he loves to go on and Sunday was my introduction to it! I only knew roughly where we were going as Alan had kindly driven me round the route a few months ago when he started running it to show me how peaceful it was. I will admit I was slightly nervous about the run seeing as it is just under 7.7k which is my longest run yet. Keep in mind that I had only run just under 6k before my lazy spell. However I got up on Sunday raring to go and just thought to myself “I can walk at the end if I need to” yet lo and behold I ran the whole thing! I won’t say it was easy because it most definitely wasn’t. At one stage I thought my heart was about to explode as I ran up a hill and put with that the rain and freezing cold weather, I was slightly miserable at the start of the run. Luckily though I got through it and came out on top and completed the run in 48 minutes, my calves however are still very tight, even after all the stretching!

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Sorry for the shaky pics – running while taking photos will do that!

Speaking of running with Alan, we had a very funny conversation with our friends last weekend about ‘couple running’. I am always worried about holding Alan back from running how he wants to run, whether it be running quickly or running a good distance. We didn’t realise however that many couples experience this! Our friends were laughing that they have exactly the same predicament even though there is nothing for us as females to worry about as the guys will run on if they wish. Have any other couples had this discussion too? It was hilarious to hear we aren’t the only ones!

We were lucky here on Monday to have a public holiday due to St. Patrick’s Day so we took the opportunity to go for a lovely walk in the woods with the dogs. We were going to go hill walking but my calves were still screaming at me and I thought I would be pushing it if I forced them to go up a few hills. It was great to go out for some exercise without pushing myself too much, and as always it was even better to then come home to a cup of tea knowing I had got up off my arse in the first place.

My next run is going to be on Thursday and to be honest I’ m not really sure what I should do whether it be a shorter run and to try and beat my personal best time or do another long run and try and go for possibly 8k. Does anyone have any advice on what I should do? All ideas welcome!

“Ask yourself: ‘Can I give more?’. The answer is usually: ‘Yes’.” 
Paul Tergat, Kenyan professional marathoner

La Vita Coco

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This week we were lucky to receive a lovely box of Vita Coco from the Irish division, after I randomly tweeted that I would love to try it and if anyone knew where to get it. I honestly didn’t expect them to send anything. The drinks came beautifully packaged as you can see above and there was a great selection of flavours too!

I had wanted to try Vita Coco for months after hearing how good it was and that it was a nice alternative to a soft drink for energy. As it says on their website, Vita Coco is an all-natural, super-hydrating, fat-free, cholesterol-free, nutrient-packed, potassium-stacked, mega-electrolyte coconut water and it is even gluten free and vegan-approved.

We shared some of the cartons around the office to get an idea of how they tasted. I had the one with pineapple and thought it was lovely. At first sip it tasted a bit strange as I haven’t tasted coconut water before but the more I drank it the more I wanted. There was only a hint of pineapple which was perfect as I was slightly concerned it would be over powering.

The good thing about these drinks is that they are going to be really refreshing come summer when it is slightly hotter (hopefully!) and I have also heard they help cure a hangover which is brilliant timing with it being St Patrick’s weekend!

Everyone have a lovely St Patrick’s Day…hope you all have lots of exciting plans!

“The two basic items necessary to sustain life are sunshine and coconut milk.”
Dustin Hoffman 

Learning to Run

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Although I have always been into sports growing up, I have never been much of a runner. I used to see people out running or gym bunnies running for hours on the treadmill and even though I thought it looked great, any time I tried to run I would end up wheezing, doubling over and saying to myself “I’ll stick to the cross trainer in future”.

This is one reason why it comes as a surprise to me (and I’m sure others) that I have recently signed up to run my first mini-marathon in June. Me jogging 10k/6.2 miles…and the reason why? All in aid of the charity Dogs Aid.

I will admit it, I’m a sucker for helping animals in need. We got our dog Charlie in an animal sanctuary and are currently fostering our third dog for a while. We share an office with one of the girls who volunteers for Dogs Aid, and has six dogs at any one time, and it really is heartbreaking to hear of all the stories of dogs left to fend for themselves or kept in horrible conditions. So one evening I was on Facebook and came across a post asking for people to run the Flora Women’s Mini Marathon in aid of Dogs Aid and before I had a chance to think about what I was doing I said “I’m going to run it!”

To be honest with you, training isn’t going too badly. I can nearly run 6k comfortably but I am struggling with regularly training and seeing as I only have 84 days to go I need to get this distance up. I have bookmarked and followed the likes of Women’s Running and Runtastic on Twitter, as well as downloaded the Runtastic app on my iPhone which is a GREAT help but I now need to step it up a notch so I figured if I blog about it then I have to make progress. I will also take photos on my runs to prove I am actually training!

I have set up a donation page and would really love it anyone could sponsor me to 1) keep me motivated and 2) donate to a brilliant charity who are always trying to help animals in need.

Also, I would really appreciate if anyone has any tips to stay motivated or advice on running a first 10k?

“Run the first mile with your legs, the second mile with your mind, and the third mile with your heart.”

Author Unknown