My Romance With Running

Stories about running


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Auckland Half Marathon, rugby etc.

OMG The Auckland Marathon! I just like did not know what to wear. I literally could not even pick which shorts made my butt look the best BECAUSE IT LOOKS GREAT IN ANYTHING. Butt really. I had trained hard for this event, and I had thoughtlessly dressed myself, in clothing, before each run so why was this any different. Because of the cameras of course!

I changed my outfit four times

I changed my outfit four times

On Sunday the 1st of November 2015, the whole of New Zealand was wide awake. At least that is how it seemed on my way to the start line of the Auckland Marathon. This race includes a half marathon, a 12km traverse and a 5km event and this year it also doubled as the New Zealand Marathon Championships. This was good news for me as it meant a lot of the faster runners had entered the championship event and I had a better chance of placing in the half. Thanks ladies!

It was Halloween the night before so zombie brides and sugar skulls were staggering about at 5am down near the waterfront. Irate, peroxide totally-sober-what-are-you-on-about women were screaming at bouncers that they ‘weren’t even pissed man you’re being a c***’ let me back in to the bar’. Sprinkle in a few piles of fresh and festive vomit, and a few thousand runners, dorky as always with skinny legs jutting out of shorts bouncing towards the ferry terminal and this completed the picture.

The ferry ride to the start line

The ferry ride to the start line

The atmosphere at the start line was unlike any other race I’ve been to. The majority of people were not warming up for the race using the traditional method of jogging, stride outs and dynamic stretches; they were sitting down fixated on the big screen playing the Rugby World Cup final, leaping in to the air at regular intervals with arms flailing, roaring excitedly at the screen. The Kiwis were taking on the Aussies, Ma’a Nonu had just scored and the runners erupted in to the air with cheers. The two shits I gave about rugby had been left in a portaloo shortly after I got to Devonport so I went off to warm up and left the fans to their game.

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Dan kick the ball kick the ball Dan ball Dan ball.

Warming up near the star line were all the elite athletes who look like thoroughbreds, meanwhile you struggle to adjust your shorts and your undies and try to look like you know what you’re doing here. What was going through my head: Should I have worn these shoes? I haven’t raced in ASICS, are they too heavy? Too pink? Oh my god I’m wearing pink and red. What if I chafe really badly? Should I be this far towards the front? The girl next to me is wearing makeup, ha, what a dick. I wonder if my lipstick will stay on for the whole race *smoldering pout*.

Camille Buscombe warming up

Camille Buscomb warming up before going on to whinny the race

Kia rite! Kia rite! Kia mau! Hī!

The gun went, the legs went, the fast people went out fast, the eager people went out fast, the person with the pink shoes and red lipstick stumbled forward, right had on left wrist to start the Garmin, 21.1km to go!

The first part of the course is undulating. I thought it would be easy as I run a lot of hills but it was neigh. As we came up to the first photographer I was running behind a guy wearing a camouflage Morph Suit, and right next to a bronzed Amazon goddess with abs and a long blonde ponytail. Like hell am I being in a photo with these two freaks! I hid behind another runner until the danger had passed, race photos are never flattering but are even less so when you are running with a model and a guy who is taking the piss but running faster than you.

My legs felt tight for the first 12km but I made myself stick to around a 4.11 pace. People kept passing me but that was fine, you have to run your own race and not worry about what everyone else is doing. I knew I would pass them later anyway (Their lipstick game was non-existent and their shoes weren’t fly AF).

Running up the Harbor Bridge

Running up the Harbour Bridge

When I saw the Harbour bridge I got a massive runboner, finally one big hill and not all these silly undulations! Somewhere a few kms back the All Blacks had won the World Cup, oh how exciting. I was focused now, Morph Suit guy was in my sights so it was time to catch him and redeem myself from the shame of being beaten by someone in costume. I had a gel that I likely didn’t need but things that taste like lollies make me happy and therefore I run better.

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Very Athlete. Much photogenic. Wow.

The final 5km is flat and fast, I could see three females in the race ahead of my, ponytails swinging, beckoning to be scalped. I caught them in the last 1500m and ran at the pace I wished I could run the entire race at, trying to focus on my form and not smearing my lipstick.

As I came up to the finish line I could see my personal best time tick over the time display ahead of me, I crossed the line in 1.28.06. If the world hadn’t stopped turning for 1 minute and 6 seconds of overtime in the RWC I would have run a PB for sure. Hopefully that ball game doesn’t clash with my run game again in the future.

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I placed 9th in a field of 2,810 which makes me sound like a hero because that is heaps of people, like almost five times the number of friends I have on Facebook. Full results for the race are here.

FEELINGS ARE YAY

I feel really happy with how I ran this race, my splits were pretty even, I ran 11 seconds slower than my personal best time and finished feeling (and looking) great. I haven’t raced a half marathon since June 2014 as I got a pelvic stress fracture shortly after that race. It feels good to be back at what was my peak level of fitness and I’m grateful for all the help I had from people to get back on track. Time to run faster now!

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Super kawaiiiiii

I’d like to say a huge thank you to my thighs for not chafing, my lovely friend Emma for looking after me all weekend, Ayesha for being in a lot of post-marathon pain which made me feel better about my own situation, and ASICS for letting me try out these pink shoes! But please make them red in future.

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Winning at winter running

Not so long ago, only twenty moons ago in fact, preparing for winter in the life of Amanda meant buying a good range of tea bags, making sure my scarf matched my coat, and getting the cosiest spot on the couch after work. Now it means finding the right running gear to make sure I can keep running through the hail storms, the rain, the wind, and inhospitable temperatures that are a New Zealand winter.

When I set out on a cold morning I first poke my head out the door to test the air. No matter what the temperature is I always wear the same thing; crop top, singlet or T-shirt, undies that are old and saggy so that they don’t get sucked in to my bum, an old Glassons merino from 2003, light jacket, gloves, head lamp, SPI belt, head band, socks, aaaand shoes.

I tend to over prepare, but what if? What if I’m running around the bays and sprain an ankle? I’d be metres away from fifty or so houses, a main road with regular traffic, dog walkers, and spanky spandex cyclists going by. I’d have to survive for minutes, perhaps even ten minutes in the elements before being rescued and whisked off to safety.

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Fail to prepare, prepare to fail! Wear all the things!

I wear my best snow storm outfit, then I set out on my way. Ten minutes in to my run it feels like I’ve stumbled in to a sauna and it’s time to re-think my attire. I pull of the headband, gloves, jacket, merino and singlet, all while still running and simultaneously checking my Garmin so that I’m sticking to the right pace. I tie these in an arrangement to my waist, tuck them in my undies, and wrap them around my wrist until I resemble the contents of a clothes dryer.

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Not uncomfortable or chafe-ey at all!

Runners wear event T-shirts, they wear no shirts, they wear skivvies, jackets, woolie jerseys, gloves, hats, caps, compression socks, sleeves, bandanas, crops and tights. Runners need a whole arsenal of clothing to get them through all four seasons.

HOT FASHION TIP!

Seen around the Wellington coast, shoulders are in! Stretch your top down so that it covers your fingers, reveal your white shoulders and obvious sports bra tan line. No top has sleeves long enough. It’s as if somehow by bunching as much fabric as you can into your fists you will regain feeling in your finger tips. This also makes the top ride up above your belly button, meaning it is necessary to wear it with your longest singlet as a combo. Who’s torso and arms was this garment designed for?

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Shoulder warmth being sacrificed for thawing frozen fingers

I expect a lot from my running tops. I expect that they will expand around the middle to accommodate 1.5L of banana smoothie post-run; have sleeves that act as a handkerchief, be light enough to tuck in to the side of my undies when not being worn and not pull said undies down below crack height, keep me warm, not make me sweat too much, not stink of sweat after being washed, AND make me look like an olympian.

Lululemon have a range of tops with names that appeal to (and aptly describe) me like Pace setter, Swiftly and Run Wild. I  settled on the swiftly because it would look good with my banana tights (it does). These tops are light weight but warm enough to wear without a jacket, even warm enough that your nipples don’t pierce through the fabric on a cold day. The Lulu tops are pretty and nicely cut so that you can wear them in public and almost go undetected as someone who never changes out of their gym gear.

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Thought I should wear my medals for this photo shoot

The best feature has to be THE SLEEVES! They are long enough to cover your wrists and they have thumb holes, holes for thumbs! It took me a few goes to work out that I need to wear my Garmin on top of the Swiftly so that my incessant checking of my pace can continue uninterrupted by excess sleevage.

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Check out those CUFFS

I don’t know how I coped running through last winter. Actually I do. I was averaging 25-30kms per week so if my memory serves me correctly, I only ran on ‘Can’t beat Wellington on a good day’ days, and opted for the treadmill when the weather was crap. Fast forward one year, it’s more like 100km per week, and spending 8 and a half hours on a treadmill each week is just not that appealing.

Since I’m putting in 8 hours a week of my blood sweat and sweat in to this running thing so I’m learning about the importance of clothing pretty quickly! Requests for advice and modelling shoots can be left in the comments section.

 

 A special thank you to Nathan Meffan for taking the photos, and to Ben Terry for your perfect aim with the hairdryer for the ‘Windswept’ glamour shots.


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The long and short of it

I have a few words of wisdom for those in the market for running gear for their legs. There is a reason that most people wear black 3/4 tights to exercise. There is a reason why rugby shorts are for rugby, and running shorts are for running. There is a reason for everything!

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SHORTS CHAFE!

Yes they do! This will almost always happen at the mid way point on a really long run, you’re a few km’s in and you feel that first little burning sensation on your inner thigh. Too late now mate, those babies will looked like plucked chickens dragged over hot tarseal by the time you get home. Once it starts there is little you can do to stop it, just keep running towards wherever you can get away with wearing no pants for a couple of hours.

Tucking your shorts in to your undies so that you look like you’re running wearing speedos is a method I have used to relieve chafe. It didn’t improve the situation at all, but I felt a sense of freedom running in almost-undies so I left the shorts firmly wedged in there.

Wearing your brother’s old Canterbury rugby shorts to run in is great when you’re starting out. Spot the Southlander careering around Wellington Harbour. The leg holes should be big enough for both legs at once, and the stiff cotton will act like a saw blade. You’ll have a line on your legs so gruesome that the sun will not light anything beyond it.

AVOID BUYING GREY TIGHTS

I love BodyPump. I love it so much that I stand right at the front of the class, every class, and when I hear the music outside the gym I start trying to do rotator raises with butternut pumpkins at New World Supermarket.

Don’t ever buy grey gym tights. The reasons may be immediately obvious to you, but just in case they aren’t, this is why.

When I lay down to do the core workout in the  BodyPump class I thought ‘That’s odd, I don’t remember peeing myself during the class.’ Wait a minute, sweat patches! One nice, visible from space, contrast set to high, crudely shaped like a heart, sweat patch, right in my groin. Complimented by a little sweaty arrow pointing to the spot between my butt cheeks that had acted as a funnel to channel any sweat to the pool gathering a little further down.

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Before and after a run

 Sweat patches are nothing to be ashamed of, they should be aspired to! Peeing yourself is slightly less acceptable, and the two are easily confused.

And the back view

And the back view

Those $15 tights don’t seem like such a bargain now, do they?

 Pick the right equipment for the job

Loose shorts are comfortable, and allow your legs and balls to move freely. Yes I said balls. There has been many a stray nut seen in the gym and the culprit is always that magic combination of loose shorts and no undies. No undies Monday stops when you set foot in the gym. Ladies, same goes for you. Please pick a sensible combination of underwear and over-wear for your bottom half, save the genital flashes for Snapchat.

My advice on choosing leg wear-

  • Pick something with few seam details or different panels of fabric on them. This means fewer parts to chafe and irritate your skin while you work out
  • Dark colours, patterns or horrendously/ gloriously/ heavenly bright tones hide sweat patches.
  • Check that they fit over your thighs properly and don’t sag around your fanny, you’ll end up hoisting them up like panty hose
  • POCKETS! Pockets are great for car keys, energy gels, your ipod and bus/coffee money, all of which you will put through the washing machine in a tired state after your run or gym session
  • Go for quality, if you can afford nice gym gear then do invest. It lasts longer, and there is less danger of it splitting or ripping while you’re in a group fitness class of 100 people mastering a roundhouse kick

 

Side note; I keep running around in these tights intending to get a picture for this blog, so there have been many sweat patches that have gone undocumented, but certainly not unseen. These ones were after a very windy 20km around the Bays in Wellington.

 

 


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Garmin Vs Casio- a review

newpicIn June 2012 I purchased a genuine Casio watch in Bangkok for 400฿. I used this watch to time my early runs, and would then map out my route on Nz Mapometer.

Fast forward one year, I thought I was pretty good at running and deserved one of those fancy GPS watches that my running buddies had. I had the spandex, the sock tan, the missing toenail; all I needed to become a fully verified runner was the watch, or so I thought.

This is a technical review of both watches, written by an unprofessional, non-sponsored, not-quite athlete so if you are thinking of making a purchase please read on!

Garmin Foreunner 210

POSITIVES

  • Has GPS that sometimes tracks my runs across the sea bed
  • You can see your elevation
  • You can now use the hashtag #Garmin on Instagram
  • Heart rate monitor that I could use if I removed it from the plastic

NEGATIVES

  • Isn’t yellow
  • LOCATING SATELLITES
  • Is freakin’ huge, like wearing a cupcake on my wrist only you cannot eat it and a cupcake is much easier to squash up your sleeve
  • Cost $399, I could have 14 Casio watches on each limb for that price
  • LOCATING SATELLITES

Casio F-91W

POSITIVES

  • Is Canary Yellow
  • Cost $7NZD
  • Lights up green, red and blue with just the push of a button
  • Has a stopwatch function
  • Water resistant (but at the same time is going rusty..)

NEGATIVES

  • Loses a few minutes a week, who cares anyway, there are no negatives it cost seven bucks.
  • Missing the ‘off’ function for an alarm that sounds daily at 10.17am
  • Should have bought more in different colours to match my running clothes

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To summarise, with no attention paid to the extreme bias based on colour, if you want value for money buy a Casio! Or learn how to use your Garmin properly.