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My quiet year!
Wednesday, 22 July 2015 02:30

I am having a year of rebuilding.  Of participating in events and enjoying spending time with training partners, but not training hard and trying to build some consistency again.


Since Boston, I have run in the Barossa marathon - a beautiful event with a 2 lap in and out style course, so despite the lack of crowds, there is much support from fellow marathoners and half marathoners as we pass each other on those legs.  It is a very flat course, and I think is an ideal candidate for a PB run.  For me, it was 5 weeks after Boston, so I was very pleased to do my run / walk routine again and finish only a minute slower than I did a month earlier.

Barossa road

At the finish, Beck and a small cheersquad of friends chanted 'Tory, Tory, Tory', just like strangers had in Boston, which had me throwing my head back with luaughter in the final metres of the event.

Barossa finish


I had a fun June / July with 4 events in 5 weeks, starting with a duathlon that Charlie and I did as a team.  He called us 'Chuckntors', and we managed to win the long course team event - my first ever Duathlon trophy!  The following week was the Mt Crawford event run by Trail Running SA - a beautiful sunny morning for a friendly jog along mostly wide firetrails in the Mt Crawford forest.  I spent the whole time chatting to Karen Bentley, discussing life, the universe and everything.  We decided we were very glad to have signed up for the single lap (12.5km) rather than the full event given the nature of some of the hills.  She was tapering for the Big Red Run, a multiday event in the Simpson desert which was starting the following week.

duathlon start

duathlon bling 

w KB Mt Crawford

The next event on the list was the Pichi Richi Marathon, an uphill run from Port Augusta to Quorn - the southern section of the mighty Flinders Ranges.  I had not trained much during the week - some rowing, an ergo test, I'd had a cold late night with a basketball game at Mt Barker (3 degrees!) and we all drove up to Melrose to stay for the night.  Melrose is 65km south of Quorn, so I had an early drive to get to Quirn toi catch the bus to drive me 42 km to Pt Augusta for the race start.  Phew!  Meanwhile, Charlie and the girls enjoyed exploring the town, the playgrounds, the creek and the extensive mountain bike trails in Melrose.  The run itself was beautiful, on another gorgeous winters day.  I ran the whole way with Rachel - chatting, occasionally running with others for a while, but we started and finished together.  An unremarkable time of 4:49, but we were both happy with the time on the feet and the chance for a long run without feeling worse for wear.

pichi bib 

start pichi

pichi train

The Pichi Richi Railway, after which the event is named 

Two weeks later was the biggest run of my life.  On the back of almost no training.  I had signed up for the Yumigo 24 Hour running event, thinking I could, but really, no, I wasn't thinking.  I did the 12 hr run 2 years ago, so it seemd a natural progression, to see what it is like.  I didn't want to do the 12 hour, because I was not fit enough to improve on my distance last time, I argued to myself.  I did no prep, other than to run a couple of marathons at low intensity.  A grand total of 830km of running for the year heading into the event.  In terms of goals, I thought that 100 miles sounded nice and round (161km).  Except that I haven't trained.  And my feet were so sore not so very long ago.  


I spent the week before the event in a bit of a flurry of activity, planning what I'd need to wear, to eat, to drink, when I'd need company, whether I'd share space in another tent or pitch my own.  I had an offer from Karen Winters to crew for me - to record what time I did my laps in and what I ate and drank and to hand me what I needed as I passed by her each lap.  What a trouper!  I also put out a plea on facebook for people who might want to run through the night with me.  Wow, what a response!  Those hours from 10pm - 10am were all snapped up within a few hours.  What an amazing community of runners.  Logistically, and because the event also has 6 hour and 12 hour options, the course is too busy before 6pm on the Saturday.  


The weather forecast, after a couple of glorious weekends with sunshine and warm air, was for severe weather warnings, the coldest day we had experienced in 5 years and snow falling all around the country.  Of course.  24 hours, with a howling wind, rain and occasional hail.  Excellent.  The forecast hel true, as the coldest day we had experienced in several years, with wind, hail and rain.  But there were also dry bits, being Adelaide, the capital of the driest state on the driest continent in the world.

24 hr course


I managed to keep going all day and all night, until just before dawn when my feet were so sore.  I had many blisters, I was tired, I was cold, my shoulders hurt, I was hobbling, I was sore from peeing practically every hour, and I managed to convince myself that my aching left foot could be *a bad sign* so I should just rest.  No point getting really hurt.  I snuggled under blankets, ate a bit, snoozed a bit.  Apologised to runners who had come out to help me (but were still able to run without me).  I decided that I had done enough, and changed into my warm dry clothes.  I pulled out my phone to look at facebook.  77 notifications to look over, and then I clicked on the link to the event results which were being updated every minute.  The results tent was 3 tents away - I wasn't walking that far!  I saw that I was somehow still in 3rd place for the women, with 135km completed.  I was 9km or so ahead of the 2 women behind me.  No one was running much anymore except for the very front runners.   If I stayed snuggled under blankets on my warm recliner chair in the tent, I could lose 3rd place.  I couldn't lose 3rd place by just laying on the couch! I would have to be run past to lose that.  So, up I got.  Grabbed my raincoat, and started hobbling (oh!  Those blisters!).  Charlie arrived with our girls, Karen walked with me, my mum arrived, my running buddies kept doing their laps, and I kept moving for the remaining 2 hours.  My walking smoothed out a bit, and I was able to finish on 144.93km and third female :)


The race was won by a first timer, 29 year old Lee, who was so strong in her running all day, all night and all morning again.  Her spirits stayed high throughout as she set new national age group records for 100km, 12 hour, 150 km, 100 mile, 200km and the total (207km).  It was amazing to watch.  It was also amazing to see David, a running buddy on and off for years, achieve his 100 mile goal with absolute relentless forward progress. We all had running buddies throughout the night, as well as the volunteers spending all day, all night and all day again to keep the event moving smoothly and safely.  It is a credit to race director Ben from Yumigo! as well as our local running community.

finish 24




I am struggling with the consistency this winter.  It is cold.  Bed is warm.  Bed wins more often than not.  


The training sessions where I am meeting people work better - my surf rowing sessions, where I must turn up.  But they are only happening about fortnightly right now.  I did a few river rowing sessions as well in an 8+ at Adelaide Rowing Club, but we are struggling with numbers, which I think becomes a self fulfilling prophecy - you need 9 to attend to get an 8 on the water, and if everyone can't make it some smaller combinations can go out, but it is not quite the same.  I was very consistent with gym 2x per week, but even that has dropped off in the last few weeks.  I am trying not to overload, and the 24 hour running event less than 2 weeks ago meant that I didn't really want to do weights the week before that, nor since.  And there was a marathon only 2 weeks earlier, so weights the week before and week after that seemed unecessary.  Except that it's now a month since I last did weights...


I did a few of the Friday morning speed work sessions, but I haven't joined in for a little while - maybe this week is the week for that!


For the rest of the year - there are a couple of other local marathons I'd like to do (Adelaide and Kangaroo Island), Yurrebilla Ultra again (#3 for me!), the Australian Masters Games in October and an Outback Epic mountain bike event in late October with Charlie and friends.  Then the surf life saving season starts.  So it's time to keep strapping the shoes on, as well as getting on the bike, and out on the gulf to row!  Not so quiet after all.


As always - bowel cancer screening saves lives.  If you're 40 or over, please do a simple test at home.  And if you'd like to support the work of The Jodi Lee Foundation in increasing awareness of bowel cancer screening, please donate to them via my 'Running For Jodi Lee' project

From moon boot to the Boston Marathon in 5 months
Wednesday, 22 April 2015 19:16








What an amazing experience is the Boston Marathon. As the oldest continuously running marathon in the world, the 119th race was held in cold, wet conditions. After glorious weather all week, it became cold on Sunday afternoon, then wet by 9am on holiday Monday (Patriots day). The rain set in for several hours. We were up around dawn, and walked about a kilometre to the buses at Boston Common. There was a security check there, to board one of dozens of school buses for the trip out to Hopkinton, 42km away. 
I stayed the night with my friend Jen from North Carolina, whom I met on the Antarctica trip last year. We quickly bumped into Sophia Shi, who was on the same trip!  We walked together and boarded the same bus for the 30 minute drive. The athletes village is held on the local school grounds. An enormous marquee was set up - as big as a huge circus tent, and was filled with runners seeking shelter from the rain and cold. It was a sea of plastic bags and silver space blankets as everyone tried to keep warm. Hundreds of portaloos, tables filled with bagels, water, Gatorade, Clif bars and shot blocks, and military on building roofs to keep an eye on proceedings. Everyone wears spare old clothes that will be donated to charity once they are removed before the race. There was no room for us to sit for the first hour or so, but after the first wave of runners moved towards the start, we found a seat on the damp ground, using discarded space blankets to wrap around us, along with some hand heat pads I'd brought from home (they weren't especially effective). 
W Jen and Sophia
Another hour or so sitting on the ground there, and it was time to move towards the corrals. Jen opted to run with me, moving back a couple of corrals to do so. She ran the Two Oceans 56k ultra marathon in Africa only 2 weeks ago, so is still a little tired after that amazing experience. Our start time was 10:50am, so we walked the next kilometre to the last big toilet stop (it was still in pretty good knick), and decided what to discard. Jen opted to remove nothing - she ran the entire event in a plastic poncho and throw away jacket. We saw a woman rearranging things under her layers - she commented that she has no pride left. She was going to hide in a portaloo to pump her breasts before the run, but then decided she could do it outside. Her 6 month old was going to feed later. I told her that was one of the most awesome things I'd seen. Once we were running,  I also saw a woman running at 31 weeks pregnant, and another who was only 3 months post natal. That sounded a bit riskier to me. 
7500 of us moved into our corrals, and then we were off - no anthem or cannon or song, just a clap. The excitement was palpable. I had managed to remove my rubbish bag (worn like a dress) and my space blanket (worn like a skirt), but still wore my polar fleece jacket. As well as thermal tights, merino buff and gloves, sun visor, Yurrebilla buff, injinji and racing socks and my usual racing shirt with my name super bold across the front. And I was still cold for 10km!
I did my usual run/ walk routine, despite the downhill crowded start. The noise was such that I couldn't hear the interval timer app I use, so I decided to walk for around a minute every mile. Plus any additional walk breaks I needed. I felt very silly walking those first 4 or 5 times. I think Jen felt even more silly. Who walks in the first 10k of a marathon?  We did!  We moved off the road to the right each time, and this worked well. 
Dancing and running
The crowds cheering were remarkable. I love American crowds!  They yell and scream and wave cowbells and carry signs and they do it for hours, even in the freezing rain. Well, it was 3 degrees. Not quite freezing, but certainly close enough for me!  I was yelled at all the way. Jen decided her name was Tory as well. I had comments from other runners about the non stop cheering. I even met a woman who had seen the post on the Boston marathon Facebook page last week that featured me. Our bib numbers were only 4 apart, so we had the same qualifying time!  I think we had very nearly the same finish time as well (nearly 40 minutes slower than qualifying). 
Tory! Tory! Tory! Tory!
Go Tory - you got this!
Tory!  I've been waiting to see you!
You're awesome Tory! 
You look great, Tory!
Running strong, Tory!
Woo hoo!  To-ry! Lookin' good!
And so on. The whole way. It was so cool. 
At about the half way point, we ran past Wellesley College. The girls here have a reputation for seeking kisses from runners, or planting one on them. So I decided to get in on it. I got a kiss from a girl, and then from a boy, to even it out!  You could hear the noise they made from hundreds of metres up the road, before we could see them. My jacket was around my waist by now, but I was holding on to it in case it was windy as well as wet later on. 
20km mark 
At 14 miles, Jen was feeling pretty tired from her ultra. We'd stopped twice to remove the wet tape from her feet, so we decided I'd run on ahead. I had a pitstop, so she ran ahead, I caught her again, and we walked through the 15 mile marker together. After this point, I ran on ahead. I was watching my pace chart on my wrist, and realised I was a few minutes ahead of my 4:20 target (best case scenario) finish time. 
The towns rolled by, the crowds kept cheering.  'Heartbreak Hill' loomed just after the 20 mile marker. This hill has a reputation, obviously. There were some rolling hills in the previous few miles, but this one is the longest and steepest. And occurs at the 30km mark (which I rolled through in just on 3 hrs). I ran the whole way up. No walking breaks for this old girl! The crowds continued to yell and cheer. Then we got to Boston College. Those kids yelled and screamed!  There was free beer offered to runners - I almost pulled over for a photo (not my thing to drink during a run). At a mile to go (the Citgo sign!), the crowd was yelling so hard, I stopped to video a moment. My gloves came off, my phone was pulled out of its ziplock baggy, and I stopped and filmed some of the crowd!  I was tired, cold, sore. But I was nearly done. 
Just to finish this race was going to be an achievement, but I can't help myself. I felt a bit of a fraud all week, having trained so much less than usual, having not done any really long runs in training, walking sections of every mile, and still being a heavier weight than I've ever run at. Being an event you qualify for, it was interesting to see how not crowded we were, running at our pace. I stuck with my plan, knowing that I have not done enough training to cope well with the last 10-12 km without the walk breaks. My muscles aren't conditioned enough and I'm not fit enough. I wasn't nervous at all, I slept well last night, and I haven't had that for any other event before!  Today was about marking the fact I could do it. 
I signed up for the event on the first day I could, only a week after a moon boot was put on my left leg to rest it and try to help it heal. I'd had foot pain for over a year. I hadn't trained properly in that year. Both feet were sore, not responding to rehab at all, and hurt every hour of every day. An MRI showed much more inflammation than expected. Plantar fasciitis, a tear in the plantar fascia, a bone spur, synovitis in 3 joints, tendinitis, bursitis, and bone marrow oedema in my calcaneus. The rheumatologist wanted me to wear the boot for 8 weeks to see how much it settled down with mechanical irritation removed. 
I bought a FitBit to limit my steps each day, trying to keep to only 6000 steps per day. I wore that boot religiously. It took 3.5 weeks for the spasm and tightness in my tibialis posterior muscle to finally let go. By 8 weeks, I had a wasted left calf, a flat foot (from wasting of my foot muscles), and a foot drop when I walked, as my shin muscles were so weak. I wore Nike free runners with an orthotic in it all the time, all summer long. I was trying to stimulate the foot intrinsic muscles to work, but provide the foot with some support, given my arch was not being maintained when I was up and about. It's a bit of an oxymoron, but it seemed to strike a balance. I had regular podiatry and physio and chiro treatment. After two weeks, once I could walk without my foot slapping down, I ran for 5 minutes for the first time, on advice of a sports physician. 5 days later, I ran for 7 minutes, 5 days later again, 9 minutes. I then started a pattern of running for 3 minutes and walking for 1, and increased each run by 2 minutes of running time. I progressed to running twice per week, and then 3 times per week by the 4/5 week mark. 
By Christmas, I was running 3 times per week, and by early January, I ran for an hour (4:1 pattern)  for the first time. Once I managed that, I kept my two weekday runs at an hour, and only increased the weekend run by a kilometre or two each week. After three weeks of building up, I did a week with a step down, to allow adaption to the load. Each week, the kilometres added up. Each week, I kept up with just 3 running sessions. I did yoga most weeks, I did weights 2-3 times per week, doing a strength program to improve my leg and buttock strength, knowing that Boston was a hilly course which would need good leg strength. My biggest 2 runs were 29km - far less than the more typical 32-35km maximal distance runs that I'd do as part of marathon training. And I only did 2 of them, instead of the 3-6 long runs I'd usually do.   In the last few weeks, I moved to a 5:1 pattern, figuring that would match well with kilometre markers. 
 I finished almost in the bottom quarter - my worst ever result. But I am so proud of my achievement today. I have trained really well within my imposed limitations. My feet have not been sore in the lead up to the event, except for a little bit after my 2 long runs of 29km. It was a general foot ache, rather than a plantar fascial soreness. And I hurt a bit all over right now. Especially the chafed bits (despite the body glide, gosh darn it!).  I finished in 4:14, 21 128 overall, from 26650 or so finishers (30 000 entrants).
Boston finish
Space blanket
It's my 5th best time out of 7 marathons. The slower ones were Antarctica and the Great Wall of China. So it's my slowest road marathon. But I'm so pleased. 
Boston Strong
Bowel Cancer Awareness month
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 08:44

This month, June, is bowel cancer awarenss month.  Please do a test.  This week - click on the link to order one which will arrive in your mailbox in the next week.  Or check to see if your chemist has them available.


I have an article in this months 'In Motion' magazine - the monthly publication of the Australian Physiotherapy Association.  


Antarctica Marathon
Sunday, 16 March 2014 21:47

9th March 2014
Antarctica marathon.

We had a 6am wake up message on the boat, and a reminder of the 6:15 breakfast. A shower, more agonising over layers, wondering about the weather report of 0 degrees and 20 knot (50 km/hr) winds instead of the 10 knots promised us last night! Cornflakes with sugar and a banana and an apple juice - the breakky of champions! Actually, it seems to have worked pretty well for me, every race I have done since Steph Gaskell suggested it, I have run trouble free, tummy wise, and with enough juice in the tank each time.

I decided on two merino tops - my I/O hoodie and my older pink Kathmandu merino, with my 'Tory' t shirt over the top and my new shell over the top. The hood, an I/O merino neck gaiter, a NY marathon wool and fleece beanie, my 2XU thermal compression tights, wool socks and asics goretex trail shoes, merino gloves and waterproof gloves to start with. 4 sachets of endura citrus goop in one container, 3 sachets of GU raspberry chocolate in the other, 2 water bottles for the two water drops and two small water bottles for back up at the base camp.

We boarded about the third zodiac with extra gear on - fleece pants, fleece neck gaiter, big parka, extra socks, wet skins and boots for the trip to shore, and got there just in time for Thom to finish talking with the Russian base commander who had apparently changed his mind about where we could set up. The start was therefore moved about 200m towards 'Uruguay'. The course was set up with a very hilly 3.5km run out to Uruguay from the Russian and Chilean bases and back and then a flatter 3.5km trip out to the Chinese 'Great Wall' base and back. This 14km loop was then done three times, with the half marathoners only needing one trip to China and two to Uruguay.

The approximate course - this is from last year

We waited in the cold, I was mostly waiting until I could see signs of the toilet tent being set up again as I didn't see the point in getting undressed too early, and timing changing with the trip to the loo seemed sensible. By the time we got to 8:30, however, I figured it was time to start disrobing and changing shoes. Off with the boots, the wet skin pants and the fleece pants, off with the second pair of socks, and on with the running shoes and the tutu. Off with the jacket, on with the running belt, add the gu in the hammer squeeze bottles borrowed from Paul, spare one in the jacket pocket, adjust the headwear and we're sorted. By now, the loo tent was nearly ready for the last minute pitstop (that's mandatory, isn't it?), and then it was time for the final briefing. Because the start had had to be moved, the loops were no longer exactly even (and in fact, the half marathon was probably a few hundred metres short), but it wasn't really going to matter.

I started towards the front of the assembled pack of 98 runners, and settled quickly into about 10th position heading up the first steep muddy hill. I was the leading female for the whole of that first 3.5km, up and down lots of muddy and icy slopes, leaping over freezing rocky creeks, getting blasted by the wind across little lakes and marvelling at how much some of the scenery looked like Iceland did when we were there a few years ago. Soon after the turn around at 'Uruguay' (tail wind!), another girl passed me, Jen. She ran well and was quickly 50m or so ahead of me. I was ok with that - I had been hoping for a top 3 finish, not knowing anything about the calibre of the other runners, but hoping in a small field that I could have a chance.

Once back at base camp ('Russia'), I dropped off my jacket which was now around my waist as well as my waterproof gloves as it was a much flatter trip out to China. The tailwind wasn't noticeable in this direction, the road often very rocky /pebbley and at times was tricky going, without being technical per se. There were fewer creeks to leap this way and fewer quagmires to negotiate and Jen tore ahead of me. After the turn around, the 50km/hr wind was brutal. It was very difficult going, slogging into this wind, on a road that was only steep enough to walk up in a couple of places, so it was just a slow trudging run into the wind. It was chilly, but I was ok at this point. I had a drink bottle that I'd collected at base, ready to drop at about the halfway point of the leg, so handed that to Amanda at the drink stop on my way through.

As I went past base again, the 14km point, Jen was hundreds of metres ahead of me - it was only the fact that her top was fluoro yellow that allowed me to keep track of her at all. I thought that was almost going to be the last I saw of her as she was so strong on the flatter roads. The headwind continued all the way back to Uruguay, but I had more fun in this section. The hills were short and sharp, so I hiked up them well, and really enjoyed running down them fast. My shoes were sticking really well, I don't think I felt them slip once, so I trusted my footing more than I ever usually do and really opened up. I liked that the surfaces, whilst very muddy or icy had no loose bits on them, unlike most of the trails at home, and it helped my confidence enormously. I don't know how many other people felt the same as I did, because by the turn around, Jen was only 200m or so ahead of me. I soon realised that I was able to gain a lot of ground on those downhills, and within 2k I had caught up. I thought that would be the first of many passes with her, given we were nearly out of technical track and back on the flatter road, but it didn't turn out that way. We were also only number 11 and 12 overall after passing a couple of fast starting Chinese base employees.

I tried hard to run my race rather than getting sucked along into competing too early in tough conditions, but did push a bit to try to stay ahead, opening up on the downhills and hiking strongly up. I also tried to be mindful of not just 'plodding' along on the flat bits as I can tend to do on the trails. By the time I was back at the base, I realised I was about 10th overall after a couple of guys pulled in to finish the half marathon (one of them just in shorts and a long sleeved t shirt!). I looked behind me as I left Russia and could hardly see Jen behind, so she was already several hundred metres back. I kept pushing along this flatter section, running alone but there were some people still on their return journey coming the other way (around 10k completed, where I was up to 22/23), offering some cheers and high fives.

After turning around again at China, the wind was reaching new lows of cold and rainy and uncomfortable. I may well have said a few times as I passed people coming towards me that 'this wind is a bitch', as they seemed to be just cruising in the tailwind (that I had not noticed myself), but, boy, that wind was fierce! It was a miserable run. I don't know what I was thinking, but I managed to collect my drink bottle as I ran past. I was not meant to do that until the last lap. When I got back to base, I handed it to Charlie (no recollection at all!), and looked for my orange jacket. I couldn't see it anywhere. The benches I had left it on had been moved, and I couldn't seeing it anywhere. 'Where's my orange jacket?', I called out a few times. Boris (one of the One Ocean expedition leaders) said he had picked it up as it was blowing around and it was in the green bag. 'What green bag? Where?' There were two green bags, so he came over and opened it for me. I scrambled for the jacket, found the pocket, dropped my empty citrus goo container and collected my chocolate one, then realised I couldn't leave my empty container is this bag that wasn't mine, so rummaged for it to give to Charlie. Finally I found it, and set back on my way. I wasn't polite to Boris and I felt bad. I didn't swear at him or anything, but I was not gracious. I haven't yet seen him to thank him and to apologise. Hopefully tomorrow.

I was cold. I was feeling ok heading out at that 28km mark and was looking forward to this more technical ground that I seemed to be handling well, but by now, I really wanted to win. By the 24.5k turn at China, I counted that I was 9th, but Kelly was now the next girl behind me. It was tricky to work out how far, and I was getting a little muddled. I had some calories, drank a bit on the uphills, and kept pushing. It was in this section that I lapped a lot of people (thus I was 14km ahead), many of whom I knew were meant to be doing the full marathon, but who had to have missed the cut off. We were meant to be at halfway by 3:20, but if they were still 5km or so from there, they were going to run out of time.

I hadn't realised in my own frantic stop, but a few of the guys ahead of me had also stopped a bit at base as we went through the 28km mark, so as I approached the turn at Uruguay, I counted that I was now 6th overall. I wondered if I had missed some people, as there were half marathoners in particular about to finish in this section. By the time I turned, I was glad that 31 km were done in 3:31, but worked out that meant I had over an hour to go. I really just wanted it to be over. My legs were cold, especially up the top of my thighs (why are the fatter bits colder?), I was wet, I was cold, I was hungry. I had some chocolate gu and kept running. I collected my bottle from the lonely drop and kept running. About 1km from base, Charlie was waiting on a hill, taking pictures. He joined me for most of this section, running alongside, stomping through creeks, letting me go ahead on the icy descents. I waved as a sped on downhill to base and collected my jacket, tying it around my waist again.

As I left base for the last time, Alex from Switzerland was just coming up the hill to finish in a bit under 4 hrs. He had run very strongly all day and had led from the very start. Somewhere here, either when I was running with Charlie or when I tied my jacket around my waist, I lost my chocolate gu - it must have bounced out of my bumbag. I figured someone would find it - it's a squeezey plastic and I had it named - and I'd get it back at the end. I was looking forward to my water at the drink stop and was baffled when I couldn't seeing it. I wondered who could have taken it, certain I hadn't. Then I wondered if I was confused, so quickly told myself the date and realised that I wouldn't be able to diagnose if I was really confused anyway.

I was annoyed. I was cold and tired and not looking forward to the headwind home. The 2.18 miles they had talked about was confusing me (I couldn't work out that it was 3.5km for each leg; that's only been since I finished), and I was really concerned about Kelly catching up to me. I didn't like my chances of out running her side by side. I had really counted on still getting some water and sugar into me in this section, but now I had to do it without, and I was not confident that I was really 100% with it. I wasn't nauseous at all, I could see clearly and I think I was running in a straight line. I think. I really didn't want to mess it up, having led for this long, to now not win was going to dent my pride. I counted only 4 men ahead of me, but David, the closest, was far ahead.

I checked the time as I rounded the last turn around (these weren't manned each time) - 4:20 - and kept a lookout for Kelly. It was 3:45 minutes later when we crossed paths, so I figured I was seven and a half minutes or so ahead. That felt really close. So I had to keep pushing, running into the cold headwind, jacket zipped up, face huddled into the soaking wet merino neck gaiter, sucking the air through it, tapping my numb finger tips, ignoring my aching feet, and willing myself onward. I walked up the hills here even though they were modest, but running up them into the headwind was more than I could bear. I kept checking behind me, but I could never see anyone coming my way.

As I went past the ATV's with either Jen or John aboard, they waved or high fived, Christine at the corner in Russia yelled out, and every runner I passed congratulated me for those last few km. I wasn't really enjoying it just yet - I really just wanted to finish! Around the last bend, and eventually the finish was in sight. I could see Charlie up there, I just had this last hill to climb with streams running down it. I did run all the way, but it was so slow and self conscious. The dozen or so people in the finish area were cheering, a tape had been held across for me to break, and I crossed. I won a running race! My first ever running win. I was the slowest in the class in primary school!

The most amazing thing to see on the course was Hein from South Africa. He is the first blind man to run a marathon in Antarctica. His guide, Nick, only met him for the first time 10 days before the run (indeed, Nick only booked the trip then on a very last minute cancellation. His sister, Lara, has now run a marathon on each of the continents in 11 months after selling her house and car, quitting her corporate job, and is now raising awareness for the orphans in South Africa, setting up an orphanage, which she plans to continue to do for the foreseeable future). They ran so well together, never falling once, in this slippery, rugged terrain. He's a lovely guy, with a terrific sense of humour. He was given the number 1 bib for he run and did a quick speech before the run and another the night after. He made a joke about having never grabbed so many boobies before in the space of a few days, then talked about a trip he did to India, where he visited a school for deaf and blind kids. He told us a bit about it, then recalled that he was asked which he would prefer - to be blind or deaf. He replied that he didn't know, but he was sure glad he wasn't both. He then reminded us all to be grateful for all we have and to relish it. There was much applause to his speech.

There are so many lovely people on board, so many stories. There is the lady who has run over 460 marathons, preferring to run 2 per month. I think she walks most of it, and I don't know how many she has done under 6 hours, but it is her hobby. Her partner is now up to 46 marathons, he says. He hates running, but he does it for her. They finished the half this week. I met the American president of the magazine group that does Elle and Harpers Bazaar - Michael also ran Kilimanjaro last year, and thinks he remembers the tutu :) He lives on E79th street in NY, so maybe we have somewhere to stay next time we are there? Lots of people have run 7 continents, one guy for the 4th time, many have done the 50 states in the US. I have a long list of runs to do now, all over the world! Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset, inca trail, Patagonia, Galapagos, Easter Island, Himalayan 100 miler - the trail events hold more appeal than the city runs, that's for sure.

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Health News

This weeks links

The Cancer Council came out this week and announced that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption, and that alcohol should be considered to be as carcinogenic as smoking and asbestos are.  As well as being highly associated with throat and mouth cancers, it is now found to correlate highly with breast and bowel cancers.  Perhaps it should not be so surprising that a substance that can so alter mood and ability, even at very mild levels should turn out to be in fact, not good for us.

This story, an editorial from the British Journal of Sports Medicine earlier this year has some amazing targets - it ties in with our look at sitting and health, and is about developing healthcare systems that support exercise - recognise it as being as vital a measure of our health as is blood sugar levels or blood pressure.  It recommends 150 minutes of physical activity per week for adults as a minimum.  30 mins on 5 days.  For children, it is 420 mins / week - 60 minutes every day.  How close are you?

This is another article on inactivity / obesity and health from Sports Medicine Australia, highlighting the link between an inactive childhood and a lifetime of battling depression.  It is food for thought (!) these days where there seems to be much paranoia about safety of children away from their parents watchful eyes, and therefore a tendency to want to keep them closely under watch instead of encouraging more activity and indeed risk taking behaviours.  The ability to judge situations for risk and to be able to take appropriate risks builds self esteem and resilience.  Not much to do with bowel cancer awareness, but close to my heart as well.

Another article on sitting

This one is in really simple terms - if you walk 30 mins (as recommended) and sleep 8 hours, most of us still have 15.5 hours per day not moving.  You cannot sit all day behind a screen, then drive your car and sit and watch tv with out it being bad for you.  A good read.