Thursday, September 27, 2007

High School Musical Party

Tomorrow night we're throwing a High School Musical party for the 11 year old (girl). Hopefully the new friends she has made in school will come and then they will know where we live and then maybe they'll call round and be lifelong friends. Easy.

We're busy making GO WILDCATS pennants and microphones and trying to theme things. The movie is apparently about basketball so we've bought little hoops to decorate the room and are making t-shirts and little party bags containing lip gloss and the like! I'm heading to the Square to try and get some red and white table cloths (Wildcats colours) and red and white streamers or ribbons but with all the shops taken over with Halloween stuff it's getting hard to find these items.

Any other ideas would be most welcome! (I haven't even watched the movie yet, that would probably help me with the theming.......)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

World Mountain Running Champs 2007

Just back from my second trip to Switzerland in 2 weeks! I'm glad to be home and get on with normality for a while as it's been hectic lately. The race itself went ok for me, would love to have done better but at the same time I had something to prove. I had debated pulling out of Jungfrau marathon in order to be fresh for the World Mountain Running Champs the week after. But I had trained for a few months for Jungfrau and was looking forward to it and really didn't want to not run. It's probably odd to some that I thought much more seriously about pulling out of the World Champs and allowing someone else run. But that was how I felt. I was looking forward to Jungfrau and dreading the other!

So I decided to do both.
So I had something to prove.
Because I was second in the Irish trials I wanted to be second Irish home.
And I was, so that initially made me happy and relieved.

But coming 69th in a race of 86 women wasn't going to make me happy for long, but maybe next year I would train properly for the trials and do better on the hills (and not run a mountain marathon the week before, if I did qualify!)

Anyway back at home all is good. Grace is gone to an adventure centre in Fermanagh. I miss her already. Grace is much more like an adult now and I can talk to her about the kids and what she thinks of certain things to do with school or whatever. When she comes home from school it's like another adult in the house, not a kid, and that's kinda reassuring.

The above photo is of me with Jonathan Wyatt, 3 times world mountain running champ, and winner of the Jungfrau marathon the week before. I must put it next to my Paula photo!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Off to Switzerland AGAIN! for the World Mountain Running Championships! Woohoo! Back next week!

Junior Cert Results

Grace is getting her Junior Cert results today. Rather than giving them their results at 9am like every other school, her school have decided in their wisdom to make them sit through classes as usual all day today and give them their results at 3pm. I think it's a bit cruel. And unnecessary. The excuses given by schools for doing this is usually that they don't want the kids to be ceelbrating all day. Well for a start these kids are 15/ 16 and it's up to responsible parents to ensure they are not celebrating at all!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Jungfrau Marathon - the result!

Firstly I am raging I have no photos because the scenery at the Jungfrau marathon was absolutley breathtakingly beautiful. I took some on my phone the day we left, just views from my room but they don't do it any justice.

Anyway the race went well. I was very nervous before hand but that's normal for me; I get quiet and withdrawn the day before, can hardly hold a conversation and am forcing myself to eat. My stomach is usually churning badly the day before but I managed to force myslef to eat a little pasta at lunch and dinner. My phone hadn't been working in Interlaken but Tony phoned me on a friend's phone to let me know that he had to bring the 5 year old to hospital in the middle of the night because he couldn't breathe. Scary stuff, the other kids got a bit freaked out too so fair play to Tony for handling everything. Anyway all is good now and I tried not to think about it too much while I was there.

Race morning is always so nerve wracking, forcing breakfast down you at 6am when all you want to do is wretch! I get so nervous, I don't know why I do it!

Anyway we got to the start and dropped our bags off a few minutes before the off. I just walked virtually right behind the start line which is good because I hate being trapped in the crowds. The atmosphere was really good and like all races people just want to get underway. It wasn't too long before we were off! The race does a lap of the town first, taking up the first 4 or 5k. I think at this stage some people were feeling the heat. The race gradually continues on on roads with the odd hill at 10 or 15k, all the time you're waiting on the "big" climb which you know is ahead. I remember not feeling great at this early stage, still had a jittery feeling and legs were sore. I know that that happens from the sun though, your muscles dehydrate much faster and get crampy, no matter how much water you drink. There was a big town at about half way (21k)that I remember feeling I was tired but that didn't last, because I had some of my fastest kilometres after that.

It's always at this point in a marathon that I start to feel good and this one was no different. I really wanted to get on with it and eat up those kilometres so at this stage I knuckled down to ploughing through these flat sections, dying to get ahead and start the job of the big first climb. It wasn't long coming!

As we headed into the climb I noticed that I was running while those around me walked so that gave me a boost to keep going. It wasn't long before the hill was unrunnable as it got too steep and the turns were sharp as we ascended. It went on for a couple of kilkometres maybe until it eventually turned into gradual hills that were runnable.

I really started to sort of enjoy myself than, the views were incredible and the hills were runnable for the most part if I put my head down and just knuckled down. They start to mark the course in quarter of kilometres at this stage which I though was great because each kilometre was broken down into four maangeable distances and before I knew it I fell like I was heading for home. I can rememeber a feeling at about 35k that it was time to start racing, to take down a few more people ahead of me, to get past all the walking competitors that were now blocking my way. At the 35 to 39 k mark I remember that it was only myself and 2 other women, from those around us, who were actually still running. This is always a good mental boost and as the trail turned into a single rocky track I was skipping around all the walkers to get past! Great feeling! As it gets closer to 40k the track gets very steep and walking is inevitable but I knew I wasn't far from home. The steepness continues till 41 when suddenly you're on a downhill kilometre to the finish. I was flying at this stage and feeling great! I crossed the line in 4.19 with a big smile on my face and was so happy to just have enjoyed the whole experience. I really felt that for me I was only warming up and starting to enjoy myself and suddenly it was all over! Awww!

The finish area had hot showers, hairdryers, massage and was a bit crazy with people so I didn't hang about, the train down to where I had just ran from took two hours! So I only took twice as long to run uphill than the train took to go down! Ha ha!
I never bumped into Mick but I was thinking about his brother Tony along the way. When you're in the middle of something like this and you get those "good to be alive" feelings you realise how lucky you are not only to run but to experience something as incredible as this event. The views and the toughness make it unique, it really is one to do if you run!
After a marathon I usually try and pick out a "marathon moment" but it takes a couple of weeks for certain memories to stand out as the most unique so I will think about it for a while. Thanks to all the commenters who left support, it was great. I had been saying ovber at For Nine Pounds that I had a sore foot that was worrying me, well you know for those 4 hours and 19 minutes there wasn't a bother on my foot, so the sleepless night was for nothing, as they usually are!!

I felt fine afterwards and have had very little stiffness or soreness. I'm gonna make sure not to run too much this week because (and you won't belive this because I hardly can) I'm back in Switzerland on Thursday to run on Saturday in the World Mountain Running Championships so the green knickers get an outing again! I often get a bit low two days afetr a marathon, it's just coming down from the buzz afterwards I think does it, but I'm not feeling that today so all is good!
Interlaken wasn't a great town for shopping but of course, being Switzerland my biscuit box now looks like this:

Holiday Chocolate!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Away again?

I'm about to find out which is harder: looking after 3 kids or running 26 miles uphill.

I'm off here.