The Road to Marathon

A few weeks ago, I made the big decision to pursue Perth’s City to Surf marathon as my fitness goal of the year.  I quit soccer and other sporting commitments so this can have my total focus.  I’ve been in pre-training for the last few weeks, and I’ll be starting the official Hal Higdon novice program in a couple more.

What I have learned so far is that running a marathon isn’t a decision you make just once; it’s one you make again and again.  You have to recommit every time you set your alarm for 5:15am and again when that buzzer goes off and you’re tired and all you want to do is sleep.  When you wake up ten minutes early, you start to bargain with yourself, trying to rationalize an excuse to put off the run until evening.  You have to strategically set out your clothes the night before, and charge your ipod.

This week, I am also starting to add some light cross and strength training to focus on my weaker muscles.  Even the specific rest days are all part of the bigger picture.  I think about this goal all the time and what more (or less) I could be doing to help myself achieve it.

This past weekend I ran a free 5k race in East Perth.  The Claisebrook Cove parkrun takes place every Saturday morning at 8 with the help of very enthusiastic volunteers.  Some of my friends have been doing it for weeks now, but this was my first one.

The last bend before the uphill finish. Dying of heat!
The last bend before the uphill finish. Dying of heat!

I’ve been reading books about running to pump myself up and learn what I need to know.  For now I’m taking a break from that and letting my body be my guide.  I’ve also got a training schedule and motivational post-its taped to the wall next to our bed.  Matt is being incredibly supportive.

Last Sunday was my 27th birthday.  I got up early in the morning to go down to the beach to support my good friend Thuy in her first triathlon.  I am so proud of how she did.  Teri and I took heaps of photos to capture the moment for our tri friends.

Post race photo with our little champ!
Post race photo with our little champ!

I’m keen to start doing triathlons in the next few years, but this year is all about the marathon.  I don’t even own a bicycle…yet.

Today I got new running shoes and they are gorgeous and I am bursting with excitement.  Maria is coming over later to help me break them in through a nice social walk.  I also looked at bikes and am in love with a purple beauty.  Need to save a few pennies before I can go back for her.  Sigh.

“The Happiest 5k on the Planet”

Today I was lucky enough to participate in The Color Run!  As far as I know, the originally American event is making its first tour of Australia and Perth got a piece of the action this morning.  I was lucky to have signed up early, because the event ended up completely sold out! I started the morning early by heading to my friend Thuy’s where a small group of us took photos and pumped ourselves up for the fun morning ahead.

Me and Thuy getting ready
Me and Thuy getting ready
Thuy and Michelle prepping
Thuy and Michelle prepping
Michelle, me and Thuy before the Color Run
Michelle, me and Thuy before the Color Run

We caught the bus and headed down to Langley park in the CBD with thousands of others.  It was great to see people running around in crazy outfits and identical Color Run gear.

I'm all ready to go!
I’m all ready to go!
Teri, Thuy and I "before"
Teri, Thuy and I “before”
Treble Clefs!
Treble Clefs!

In the end there was a group of about 10 of us sticking together as best we could.  Thuy, our other mates and I skipped, danced, jumped, jogged, walked and occasionally ran our way through the 5k course.  At every k, enthusiastic volunteers shook bottles of colorful powder at us.  After the first k (the color blue), we quickly realized we’d need to run right up to the Color Run crew as we went to ensure maximum color coverage.

My loves :D
My loves :D

All in all it was a fantastic morning.  We had a blast and it went by way too quickly.  At the end of the race we were given a bag of color powder each to be thrown in a group colorfest at the stage at the end of Langley Park.  They counted down until we all threw our dust in the sky together.  Thousands of us gathered and it was a beautiful five seconds of color flying up into the sky, before cascading down upon us in a cloud of deep red, green and pink.  The vibrant haze it created was breathtaking both figuratively and literally.  (It’s quite hard to see or breathe when standing in a giant fog of color dust.)

Michelle and Thuy (fairies!)
Michelle and Thuy (fairies!)
Thuy and I waiting for the bus
Thuy and I waiting for the bus

After catching the bus back to Thuy’s, I hustled home to show Matt how much fun I’d had.  He took this lovely picture for me before I commenced a very long scrub session in the shower.  There are still traces of the dust between my toes and on my neck and elbows.  I kinda like it there…

The Color Run Effect
The Color Run Effect

Check out The Color Run to see when it storms into a town near you!  (Mpls peeps, it’s coming this summer, don’t miss it!!)

I just realized I hadn’t finished reblogging Matt’s account of our mini-holiday! There’s still one to come after this, but this one is the funniest so far I’d say.

Magazine Theory

“Dad really drummed it into me not to drive in the country at this time of day, but there are a few cars around and no roos in sight. Maybe it was just one of those things that parents say to scare you straight…”

Earlier That Day…

“Buddy, in all the time I’ve been here, this is the most I have ever felt like I’m in Australia,” Emma said, beaming. “All I need now is to see some kangaroos…” she continued.

I shuddered.

“You’ve seen plenty of kangaroos before.”

“I know, but not in the wild!”

“What about all the ones at Pinnaroo Cemetery? That was like the first thing we did when you arrived in Australia.”

“They don’t count.”

“Well, you’ve seen the road signs. They’re out there…”

Remember a few posts ago when I mentioned that driving is relaxing, to a point? Well by the end of Day 2…

View original post 986 more words

Music and Moving

Hello world!

It’s been awhile since my last post announcing 5 ways.  I’ve got some drafts in the works, just need to get the appropriate photos to go along.  I thought I’d write a quick update to explain why I’ve been too busy!

This past weekend was pretty crazy.  I had Friday afternoon post-work bevvies with Matt’s work mates, which was really nice.  I hadn’t met most of them before, so it was cool to put faces to names.  Lovely people, I’m glad he’s got such a great group working with him.

Saturday was the beginning of our friend Hannah moving in.  As of Monday she finally felt like she had everything in order.  It’s funny because her room already smells like her! (Though I suppose all her stuff in there probably has something to do with it).

Sunday The Treble Clefs (my a cappella group) had their very first busking experience.  Busking is when you perform in the street for coins.  It’s a great tradition in Perth, and down in Fremantle you don’t even need a license to do it!  We had a blast and were very well-received by the crowd.  Kids especially seemed to love us.

At the very end of the hour-long “gig,” an interesting fellow insisted we do backup for a song of his.  We reluctantly agreed, but it got a little weird afterward when he was begging for our contact details.  We made him quite a bit of change for just one song, so I suppose it was sort of a good deed.  He looked like Argus Filch from the Harry Potter movies.  I joked to the girls afterward that he was probably struggling to make it as a muggle.

Last big piece of news is that my soccer team won our league this year! I cannot believe I haven’t mentioned that yet.  Our last game was the last weekend in September and we had the club wind-up afterward.  Trophy night is coming up soon, but we already went to a presentation day a couple weekends ago.  I am so proud of the whole team and what we were able to accomplish this year!  Here’s a few photos from the wind-up:

Part 2 of our weekend away as told by Matt. He teases me a lot, but he’s funny and a great writer, so I forgive him :p

Magazine Theory

Apart from booking the accommodation, we didn’t do much planning for this trip. The extent of my thoughts on what we should see and do only went as far as a vague notion of retracing my steps from childhood family holidays, while trying show-off some of the nicer parts of WA to Emma. Armed with a ‘let’s see where this road takes us’ mentality, and a desire to see the ocean, we set off early on Day 2, and almost immediately, and quite accidentally came upon the beautiful Canal Rocks.

Despite the chilly breeze, the early morning was a great time to be there, with practically no one around and nice lighting for some snapshots.

View original post 929 more words

This is part one of Matt’s summary of our weekend away. In my mind it was absolutely perfect and I think we both couldn’t be happier. Amazingly it was our first “weekend away” as a couple. In celebration of my getting residency in Australia, we lived it up for three glorious days. I’ll re-post his parts 2 and 3 as they come!

Magazine Theory

Last week, to celebrate our partner visa finally being granted by the Immigration Department, I took Friday off work and spent the weekend down South with Emma. Though not known for my exuberance, even I got excited for this, our first real getaway as a couple, and my first holiday of any sort since 2009(!).

Keen to get the most out of every day, we hit the road early on Friday morning. The plan was to hit up Bunbury and Busselton on the way down to our accommodation in Yallingup, breaking up the 265 km, 3.5 hour journey a little bit.

As I drove along the highway competing with Emma to spot cows, I enjoyed the little things. Not being at work. Not dealing with traffic. The technological marvel that is cruise control. Up to a certain point, a nice long drive really can help you relax. Beyond that point lies…

View original post 364 more words

Gridiron Saturday

As my own form of social belated celebration for the 4th of July, I organized an American Football afternoon with friends.  Matt and some of his friends have played together some in the past, but yesterday I introduced them to the concept of “flag football.”  We all wore socks or towels tucked into our shorts to make for tackling without all the injuries.  Though there were several late withdrawals, we still had 11 people show up to play.  Despite forecasts of rain all weekend, it was a gorgeous day.

My friend Thuy is the best at celebrating.  She’s flying high here when her team was winning!

I love Mike’s victory dance post-touchdown.  Traditionally a rugby guy, he picked up NFL really quickly.  Loved his enthusiasm.  He and Maria were naturals at gridiron!

I think after every play we mostly just couldn’t stop laughing.  It was a great game because everyone had fun and got involved.

Ian’s looking serious with his cool gloves.  Some of Matt’s and my friends are just as into NFL as we are, so they came to play in all the right gear!  Though, Maria and I did wear our football boots, so I suppose we brought our A-game as well.

It was hard to get good photos at this time of day with all the shadows from the sun.  This was Matt’s team.  Luckily we don’t get too competitive when we play on opposite teams.  Though he did tackle me “for real” once by accident.  Claims he was trying to punch the ball out while I was running after a catch…lol.  Didn’t hurt me of course, it was all in good fun.  Everyone was in a serious fit of giggles.

This was my team, plus Li who was playing offense for both teams.  I’ve had a bit of a throw and kick with Danny and Li before, so I knew they had the skills, but I was blown away by Jonny’s throwing abilities.  We’d never played together before, but he sure was a great weapon at quarterback!  Also at one point he turned a not-so-great throw from me into a fantastic touchdown catch.

By the end of it, lots of us were pretty beat.  I always forget how tiring football can be.

Yes I am wearing shorts.  I’m so glad we had some girls show up today.  Next time we hope there will be more.

Ha, my fringe is out of control.  Matt and I taking our post-game photo.  We both had a lot of fun yesterday.

It started to get cold once the sun dropped, but what a beautiful day!  It was sunny, but not hot.  This was definitely a good winter activity.  I think some people were surprised to learn how much fun gridiron can be.  It’s the perfect sport to play with friends because you don’t need previous skills to participate and have a good time.  I am so appreciative to those who came.  Most are keen to get another game going soon.  Hopefully word will spread and we’ll get heaps of new recruits!