Archive for the ‘running’ Category

Needless to say, packing my running shoes and running clothes into my 10kg carry-on over the holiday wasn’t my highest priority… So I didn’t run. For almost 3 weeks.

I ran two 30-35 minute runs this week and went on a 50 minute run today. I’ll admit, the first couple runs were really rough but I was surprised how easily I could run the 50 minute run today. It helped that I finally found the walking path along the lough [I’m an idiot, it’s this awesome paved biking/walking path that follows the shore for miles… why did I just find this now?], so the view was enjoyable the whole way and the weather is beautiful today!

I could feel my legs getting sore by the end of it, and now that I’ve been sitting down for a bit I can feel it even more but all-in-all I deem it a success. It’s amazing how the body can bounce back… hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised when I start really training in June and won’t be as far behind as I think I am.

Trying not to think about the impending flight cancellation… Nothing to do but wait and see, but I have my fingers crossed. A friend did point out, and I must agree, how ironic it is that we are enjoying amazing blue skies and yet all these flights are getting canceled on account of a big dust cloud that no one can see [I even spent a good portion of my run squinting north into the sky to see a sign of it… no luck].

Volcano, please stop erupting. Thanks.


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By 11:15 this morning, I had already run 6 miles. Okay, 6-ISH miles. I ran the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile in Belfast, so it was a mile loop in the center of Belfast  that I had to run. six. times. The repetitiveness wasn’t as bad as I thought [except I know that area pretty well so it was kind of boring in that sense] but it was a nice, easy run in good weather for a good cause. I guess I can’t complain! The reason I say it was 6ish miles is because I’m fairly certain the “mile” loops were short. I ran my 6 in 42 minutes, including the walk/jog I had to do for the first mile because there were so many people. The start was goofy… you had the option to do a mile, 3 miles, or 6 miles, and it was up to you whether you walked, jogged or ran it. Yet they started us all together in this huge LUMP, so when the starting horn went off, I was ready to start running but there were people of all different levels around me [including school kids and women pushing strollers].

I ran the “race” with a girl from my course and one of her friends, and afterward we went to a restaurant/diner in Carrickfergus for brunch. And can you guess what I ordered? The “American Breakfast”!! I guess it was called that because it included 2 fluffy pancakes and syrup because nothing else seemed particularly American to me, except maybe the hashbrowns patties. I have never once had a breakfast with a sunnyside up fried egg, sauteed mushrooms or a fried tomato. Oh well, it hit the spot anyway =) I haven’t had a proper breakfast like that since I was home!

It’s been a relaxing weekend for me… I haven’t ventured from my room much because I am DETERMINED to get tons of my coursework done. I have a test in one class tomorrow, but I think I should be okay in it. It’s marketing research and I’ve already taking statistics at home so it’s about half review, half new. Plus, the professor gave us 5 “sample questions” that are pretty much straight definitions from the book, multiple choice, and look pretty easy. I have high hopes. Nothing else is due until after Easter Break but I really want to be done/nearly finished with as much as I can so I don’t have to worry about it while I’m traveling. My tiny to-do list is getting smaller and smaller!

I can’t believe it’s already the 21st of March…! I have been in Northern Ireland for over 2 months, and have just over 2 months left. My mom and sister arrive in less than 4 days, so I have been getting everything finalized and sorted with that and CAN ABSOLUTELY NOT WAIT. As much as I love Facebook and Skype, nothing can really compare to hugging your family or just sitting around and chatting. It will be really cool to have them here and be able to show them where I’m living, the places I go, MY little part of Belfast that I frequent, all of those things. It’s gonna be a great 10 days!

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So I figured I better recap my trip down to Cork with the University athletics team before I leave for Dublin to celebrate St Patrick’s Day… I went down this past weekend, and I’m really glad that I went. It was weird to be racing cross country in March but that’s how their season is set up. I asked one of the boys on the team, and he said they race cross country from November until March, and then track is from March until August. All the University competitions are squished into a 3 month period in spring, though.

The conditions for the race couldn’t have been any better. I started to panic a few weeks ago because I realized that I was potentially going to be running a rough cross country course without racing spikes… One of the other girls brought an old pair of spikes for me to wear, but the course ended up being super dry and super flat [we did loops around athletic fields; there wasn’t even a proper hill]. The course itself must have been short because I ran a 19:22 for a 5K and there is NO way that I am in that kind of shape. Judging by the other times, I think it would be safer to say it was around 21:22 but there’s really no way of telling. It’s interesting that a competition like this could be so horribly off, though. If that happened at the championships at home there would be outrage… I guess everything is just so much more laid back here, and they just don’t have the resources to support a more professional atmosphere.

The girls team didn’t score as a team. You only need four to score, but our fourth girl dropped out because she was sick but wanted to try to run it anyway. The boys, on the other hand, did SO well! They got 2nd and only lost to first place by 2 points, which surprised just about everyone I think. After the awards and everything, we went back to our hotel and the hosting University had a dinner and night out planned for all the participants, which was a ton of fun… Reminded me of being out with my team at home =) It was so weird running with another team, though. It was hard to be motivated to compete on behalf of the University here because it really means nothing to me compared to my University at home. That sounds a lot worse than I mean it to sound; it’s just that I am so close to my team at home and feel responsible to my teammates, but it’s just a different dynamic here. Definitely missing my team back home…

Okay, so there’s the recap in a nutshell! Getting the 7AM [!!!!!] bus to Dublin in the morning so I need to be off to bed before the long day tomorrow! Happy St Patrick’s Day!

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In 2 weeks, I’m running 6 miles around Belfast in behalf of Sainsbury’s Sport Relief. After choosing the 6 mile course over the 3 or 1 mile course, I found out that I’ll only be doing a 1 mile loop 6 times, so… it’s gonna be rough. But I can do it, and it’s for a good cause =) So, if you’d like to help me out, I set a goal of how much I’d like to raise. You can check out my page below:


In other “running news,” I’m competing in the Irish Universities Cross Country Championships down in Cork this coming weekend. I realized about a week ago that all I have to race in are my regular running shoes, so I sent out a plea to some friends to help me out with some proper spikes to run in. I can just imagine slipping and sliding around the course, ick.

The weather here has been great for running in, too! This whole weekend and last half of the week has been sunny and in the mid-to-high 40s… Shorts and a long sleeve shirt, my favorite running outfit! I love good runs, too, because they really just keep me level. Whenever I start missing my friends from home or whatever it is, going for a run always just clears my head and makes everything better.

Okay, enough about running, on to do some actual coursework… Yes, I actually do have a few classes and, believe it or not, I do a tiny bit of work here and there!

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I made my running debut in the Emerald Isle on Saturday, February 13th. It was the Irish University Indoor Championships at the Nenagh Olympic Stadium down in the Republic. Obviously, “olympic” is a bit misleading, but it was a great experience anyway!

First off, it felt so GOOD to go on a team trip. I’m so accustomed to going on trips every weekend with my team at home, and I think I was missing it a little bit. It definitely wasn’t the same as home, though. For one, we drove in cars down and had to pay for everything on our own (worth it, of course!). We drove down (~4 hours) on Friday night and had dinner and stayed in a hotel down there, then got up Saturday to compete.

You can see a picture of the inside of the facility. It’s the only indoor facility on the entire island of Ireland, and it made me feel guilty about calling facilities in the state “bad.” The track surface itself wasn’t so bad, but the banked track was really steep and I’ve never run on one before so I wasn’t really ready for it. Also, the place wasn’t heated. at. all. It was actually colder inside than it was outside, so I had on about 4 layers plus two jackets and gloves; it was common to see people in winter coats with gloves and scarves, and I could actually see my breath!

My race was okay… Only 8 or 9 girls in the race, and I finished 6th so I got ONE POINT for the University of Ulster, yay! I actually felt okay running even though I’ve only been running about 4 days a week and haven’t done any speedwork. I figured out what my lap splits were supposed to be, but it was too hard to focus on racing and try to keep track of my watch at the same time (so, Hanna/Mikey/other SHU runners: thanks for always helping with splits and keeping us on track, it’s so hard to try to do it while you’re running!). Still, I was on pace at my mile split but then fell off a little, even though I passed someone during that time!

Oh, and then I ran the 4×200 at the end…ha! Athletics is really relaxed, and a few athletes drove themselves and left after their events, so by the time the 4×200 came around (it was the last event), there were only 4 girls left at the meet, including myself. There were only 6 teams in the relay, though, so we automatically would score if we ran so I was a team player and agreed to run it. I tried warning the other girls, but I still don’t think they were prepared for how truly bad I am at sprinting.

So… one meet down, cross country championships in a month or so! Apparently we have a chance to get some medals there, so it would be cool to bring some hardware back to the states =)

Oh, and on the way back, it was dark and in the country so you could see all the stars. I found Orion’s Belt and the Big Dipper… thought it was super cool that I could see the same stars at home that I can here =) Perfect ending to the trip!

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international phenomenon?

When I’m running at home or at school and a car or truck honks at me, for about 5 minutes I run and wonder who was behind the wheel and if I know them or not.

Well, I don’t know anyone here. So stop honking at me.

Oh, and construction workers catcall at runners here, too. Yep.

In the whole scheme of things, I guess putting up with a couple annoying people was worth an hour run along the coast in great running weather!

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I’m on a team!

Well, I still have to register with the athletic facility and pay 25 pounds but I’m PRACTICALLY on a team here =)

Today I went to the team meeting for the athletics club (read: track team), and it’s really a different experience. It actually is a club, so there are actually students who run the whole thing; one of the athletics facility staff members sits in on the meetings to lend a hand but isn’t technically  in charge in any way. They had an agenda and everything, talking about fundraising and the upcoming meets and so on. The university doesn’t support the club at all either so they pay for EVERYTHING with fundraising (guess who will be bagging groceries with the team and begging for money…).

The weight training (ehh I think they call it something different though) is set up different, too. I’m not exactly sure how it works until I go, but twice a week they have a trainer actually instruct them and lead them through the lifting routine I think? At least it will force me to actually lift instead of just standing around in the weight room (woops… sorry Coach Ham…).

They don’t meet for training runs, though. Except maybe some will get together before or after we lift, but generally everyone just works out on their own and I suppose makes up their own training too because there was no mention of training schedules or anything. The one boy said that he runs with a club at home, so I think if I want to find people to actually run WITH then I’ll have to keep looking for a club. Not sure yet what I’ll do about that; it’s so pretty here anyway that it’s not that hard to talk myself into going for a run. Plus I have plenty of places to explore!

So, the first meet is the Irish Indoor Championships on February 13th and I think I’m running the 3000 there. They were so impressed that I wanted to run that long of a distance, and that I also offered to run the 1500 as well. I mean, I might just do one, but the president of the club sort of went on a tangent about being a team and everyone stepping up and so on and it just put me in the team mood! Who knows how I’ll stack up against anyone, but I might as well take advantage of the opportunity to compete.

Another reason I’m excited about being in the club is that we travel to these meets and stay overnight and all that, so I’ll get to see some of Ireland! This first one is in Nenagh, which is in the middle/south of the Republic of Ireland. The cross country championship in March is in Cork, and the outdoor championships in April is in Dublin. I’m going to be such a nerd with my camera, taking pictures out the bus windows and everything… oh well! Happy to be a part of something over here! Oh, and I’m getting a bag and sweatshirt and jersey, hehe. I love running souvenirs!

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