28 February 2014

{Not so} Fun Run

For a little over a month now, I have been getting out in the evenings at least three times a week to train for a running event in November. To help with keeping me motivated, I signed up to take part in the Round the Bays 6.5km fun run last Sunday. It is a really great family event, well-organised with free food, drinks and entertainment waiting at the finish line.

14,000 people assembled along the waterfront on that very warm morning and ran, jogged and walked their way around the course. The hill in the background of this photo is approximately the 2.5km mark. By the time I got around to that point, I was feeling pretty comfortable.
Michael Bolton checks out his competition and let's face it, there's ALOT to check out.

The course is stunning, and it is a rare opportunity to see the city from a different view point. Since I have not mastered the art of simultaneously jumping metres into the air and taking photos while running, I should add that these two photos are from the Stuff article of the race. In case it wasn't obvious already.
Having felt reasonably confident that I could last the distance around a flat course, I still only managed to make it to the 4km mark before those psychological barriers started to hit me and my breathing became more laboured to the point where I felt like I could not draw any oxygen into my lungs. I was just 1km from the end, the crowds cheering on the sidelines were getting bigger and I didn't want to embarrass myself by collapsing while throwing up on the finish chute, so I caved into my lungs' desperate cries to stop and walked for a bit. By a bit, I mean almost the rest of the way. It's fairly demoralising to have runners pushing buggies sail past you. It was then that I thought of my girls. Even though I had no idea where my family was standing amongst the hordes of people at the finish, I did not want them to see their mum walking so close to the end so I gritted my teeth and ran the last 100 metres. As I turned down towards the finish line, I heard my girls calling out to me. Their voices carried me over that line. That and the fact that they didn't see me walk.

I started the morning with two aims, one was to run the whole course (curse you, lungs!). The other was to finish with a sub-40 minute time. I crossed the line at 39.28 (yes-pants!). In the sweat-chafed, muscle-achey post-run afterglow, I realised that even though my children look to me for guidance and comfort and to be strong for them, they also give me the strength I need when I feel like I have nothing left to give.

Other things I learnt:
6.5km is quite a long way.
It is impossible to suck in your tummy when you are running.
Sports sock selection is very important as Mr Blister on my toe attests.

My support crew.

19 February 2014

The Book Thief

Woah 2014, what's the hurry? Slow down a bit, please. Summer has been wonderful, a combination of enjoying the outdoors, spending time with my girls and losing myself in novels.


That's a great segue into the topic of this blog post. Dear book lovers, I have just finished reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I am only sharing with you what you will learn if you read the back cover so there will be no spoilers other than to say that it is a tale of love, loss, survival and unlikely friendships forged amongst the setting of Nazi Germany. Narrated by none other than Death itself, it is a story that has not left me since I finished it last weekend.
My thoughts: Some of the most poetic prose I have ever read (and a German swear word or two) beautifully woven into a well-constructed plot with likeable main characters. Poetic prose might sound like a contradiction in terms, but it's the best way I can describe it. I thoroughly recommend it. However, I should mention that I have a penchant for novels that are set against the backdrop of war so if the persecution of Jews or the bleakness that is the reality of war are not themes that hold much interest, perhaps this is not the book for you.

I would love to read some recommendations of your own, feel free to let me know what books have stayed with you long after the final page was turned.