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Zürich CityRun : Race Review

16 Apr

Well that was an interesting weekend.

I love Zürich, I really do. I’ve loved it since the first day we visited back in September 2010 but I think the main reason I like it so much is because it has everything Geneva doesn’t in terms of variety and lifestyle and well just about everything. I now also love Zürich because of the awesome time I ran this weekend (more on that in a moment). But Zürich has a tarnished record now where I’m concerned because this race was far from enjoyable and I would even say go so far as to say that Geneva trumps Zurich in their Marathon weekends. Ouch!

First off, race entry price. Races can be expensive, I understand that, but at CHF 110 for the marathon and CHF 55 for the CityRun, it is an expense race even by Swiss standards! We paid CHF 85 for the Lausanne Marathon and CHF 45 for the Lausanne 10KM in October 2013 and just recently paid CHF 85 for the Geneva Marathon and CHF 45 for the Geneva 10KM. Sorry Zürich, you’re off to a bad start. Score of -1 for cost.

On to the marathon expo and pasta party. We don’t really spend a long time at the “marathon expo”, we’re there only to collect our bibs and race packs. And the only pasta party we’ve been to was in Amsterdam so I don’t really have a wide base for comparison, BUT… this pasta party was bad! Amsterdam Marathon Pasta Party offered a buffet of pasta, salad, yogurt, fruit and water. Zurich Marathon Pasta Party offered one bowl of pasta per person. That’s it. One small bowl of pasta per person. Score of -1.

Next is the race pack. This is the best part because usually this is where you get a bunch of freebies. The best freebie I’ve ever received was a camelbak drink bottle from the Geneva Marathon in 2012 so no amount of free muesli or washing powder is going to win here. The race pack of freebies was average; contained more brochures than edible items and the bag was not of the reusable kind so I’m going to have to give it a score of -1 on the race pack.

Finisher t-shirts and race medals are up next. Between my husband and myself we’re starting to build quite a collection of race t-shirts and medals and surprisingly enough I haven’t yet received two the same colour!! I remarked to my husband the other evening that we should start some kind of memorial wall in the study of all our race medals and bibs etc.. a project for a rainy/snowy day next winter 🙂 Well can I tell you that I’m pretty impressed with the Li Ning t-shirt I got in Zürich; good size ranges, great fit (which is quite a feat in itself considering my midget size), nice feel, excellent breathability (I wore it on race day so it’s been tested) and high visibility (neon yellow!). The medals on the other hand we ho-hum. Not bad, but nothing fancy. Overall I think it has to be a score of +1 on t-shirts and medals.

Finally, the race. Boy was this bad! I’m not talking about my performance here, because that was pretty amazing if I do say so myself, but the organisation of the race. Waiting at the start line 15 minutes before the race there was no music being played to get everyone psyched up, there was no warm up being yelled down the megaphone, there was no excitement or atmosphere at all! The marathon runners set off at 8:30am (after the gun shot going off 3 minutes early), followed by the relay marathon runners at 8:38am, followed by the CityRun participants at 8:40am. Now I may be only speaking for myself here but I tend to run my 10KM races at a significantly faster pace than a half-marathon or full marathon, so to schedule the start of the CityRun on 10 minutes after the start of the full marathon seems a bit ludicrous to me. I spent the entire race weaving in and out of relay runners and marathon runners, passing the 5h30m group, then the 5h00 group, then the 4h30m group and then the 4h00 group. I can only imagine what that must have done to the mentality and focus of those marathon runners, to be passed by thousands of CityRun runners throughout the entire first 10KM of the race! Definitely a score of -1 on the race organisation.

Amazingly, after hardly any training runs in recent weeks and with having to constantly pass a million people during the race, I finished the 9.8KM Zürich CityRun (yes, 9.8KM, they couldn’t even make it an even 10KM!!!) in 42m29s, placing 38th out of 1,114 women.

Zürich Marathon / CityRun, you are totally overpriced and with a score of -3/5 we won’t be signing up for you again anytime soon.

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The Ups and Downs of Running

4 Apr

I’ve had a bit of a rough trot (again!) with my marathon training and so I’ve reluctantly signed myself up for the 10KM race at the Geneva Marathon in May instead of the half-marathon I’ve been training for. *sigh*

I haven’t really posted anything related to running or my half-marathon training recently because, well, there’s nothing report on as I’ve managed only 5 runs in the past 4 weeks. According to my dear husband, I’ve been going too hard (again) and haven’t given my legs a chance to really strengthen up for the speeds I want to be running at. I know he’s right but there are some days, very few days, but there are some days when I have a really amazing run at my goal speed and it fills me with so much hope and thoughts of being able to continue forever. But then there will be one day, just one day, when my calves start cramping at 10KM or 12KM mark just to spite me and force me to a halt for at least a week. This up and down cycle of running has been happening for a few weeks now, to the point where I now no longer run to a set pace, where I am no longer following any sort of training plan and where I am no longer running more than 12KM. And so my half-marathon in May has flown out the window and doesn’t look like returning any time soon.

I’m really enjoying my runs at the moment – the one’s that don’t hurt. The spring weather in Geneva is gorgeous and I’m having such a great time running along the lake and taking in the beautiful surrounding mountains, newly planted spring flower beds and boats out on the lake. I love being outside, filling my lungs with fresh air, wind in my hair, dodging the tourists crowding the Jardin Anglais.

I’m happy to be running and signing up for races but I just wish I could do more. I just wish I could run for more than 1 hour without a hiccup. I just wish my legs would once and for all sort themselves out so that I can get in some damned proper training.

I’m off to run in Zürich this weekend. The husband will be running his 4th Marathon whilst I run the 10KM and then wait patiently for him at the finish line.

Wish us luck x

Keeping It Real

19 Mar

I’ve seen a lot of posts on Facebook and magazine articles and blogging news about body image and the phrase “keeping it real”.

I don’t usually concern myself with tyring to lose weight or build muscle or have a gap between my thighs but every now and then when I look at pictures is sports magazines or advertisements and I see a really nicely toned and buffed woman I think “damn she looks good” followed by “wish I could look like that” followed closely by “never going to happen“. I know the amount of hard work it would take for me to ever look anything like those unrealistic photos and I simply don’t have enough hours in the day to achieve that (or the money or the willpower for that matter). But why are we always so hard on ourselves, always wanting to look like someone else, always striving for what we don’t have, and never being satisfied with what we do have?

This is exactly what people have been posting/blogging/writing about recently and last week my inbox surprised me with a Runner’s World update that I actually wanted to read (truth be told I usually just delete them!). The title “Female Runners Keep It Real” was instantly attractive – I guess all the hype and activity on this topic helped in obtaining my attention – and the synopsis “Pro runner Lauren Fleshman challenged runners to post unflattering photos of themselves in an effort to “keep it real” and redefine the meaning of beauty” made me click the link to read more. The link directed me to a stream of selfies posted by runners of varying shapes and sizes and they were all beautifully “normal” looking people. It reassured me that THIS is what normal is and not the fantasy, fake tanned, photoshopped, not eaten in 3 days photos of women we see everywhere else.

I don’t have a picture perfect body and I certainly don’t like most of my running photos – tight pants and ill-fitted tops – but you know what, I’m ok with that because that’s me and I’m happy with how I look (most of the time) and I can shrug off those photos and suggestions that say I should look otherwise. Sure I’m jealous of the girl next to me on race day at the start line in just a sports bra and shorts and looking all fine but she either won the lottery in the genes department or has 10 hours a day to kill at the gym. However there are many women who still believe in the media and the image they portray which saddens me but which is also why I am so grateful for the many women out there who are actively trying to redefine beauty and say what is REAL.

It doesn’t need to be said since all my running photos are pretty horrible but I will continue to post unflattering photos of myself here on my blog and I won’t apologise if that causes anyone any offence.

Here’s to keeping it real.

Running Memes

11 Mar

I’m back into training for another race, this time the Geneva Half Marathon in early May and whilst I’m enjoying running in the gorgeous sunshine gracing our skies recently I’m struggling again with tight calves and sore shins *sigh*. I’m starting to think that I should change sports because I’m clearly not built for running long distances. And for some strange and unexplainable reason, I keep putting my shoes on and keep heading out the door for another run and keep coming back sore and tired. I don’t know what it is about running (or “runners” if I can call myself that) that keeps me coming back for more. It’s as if after that very first time you tie your laces and finish your first run that you’ve signed some secret, invisible document saying “I will hereby forever be a runner” with no regard to climate, kilometers, injuries or social calendar. But if I wasn’t a runner, then I wouldn’t be able to laugh (out loud) at these…

Enjoy!

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Courtesy ilovetorun.org

My Interview with Expat Blog Published Online

9 Jan

Hi guys, check out my interview on Expat Blog!

http://www.expat-blog.com/en/interview/137_sarah-in-geneva.html

This is a great community of expat bloggers from around the world with so many interesting stories of daily life abroad and I just love being apart of it.

If you’re an expat and you’re a blogger, why not become part of the Expat Blog community.

Foulées Automnales de Meyrin 10KM Race

2 Jan

Autumn was packed full of activities. We started off with the Berlin Marathon, followed by a weekend of hiking in and around Kandersteg, then there was the Lausanne Marathon where I ran the 10KM, followed by another weekend of hiking in Emmental and another 10KM race at the end of November.

The Foulées Automnales de Meyrin is a little local fun run around Meyrin – Meyrin is our neighbouring commune and a short hop, skip and jump from our apartment. Just over 100 women participated in the race while almost 300 men dominated the course. It was a beautifully clear day and we were due to set off at 13h30. I wasn’t feeling up to running though, after a girl’s night out the night before, and knowing all the hills that were part of the course did not help to ease my thoughts of wanting to hitch a tram ride back to the apartment. I didn’t really prepare for this race either; I did maybe 3 or 4 short runs in the 4 weeks leading up to this race… so yeah, not ideal.

It was a nice course (apart from all the hills), touring around Meyrin and finishing at the stadium (official name but by no means a “stadium”). My legs held up their part of the bargain but I had a stitch for the most part of the race so again not ideal conditions. Must have been the wraps I had for lunch just before the race.. normally I don’t eat before a midday run. I finished in 51m13s and could not have been happier to have finished!

Note to self : It pays to have a good sleep and proper practiced nutrition before a race 🙂

Coming up next.. The final run for 2013 and Christmas in Australia

Lausanne Marathon 2013 : 10KM Race + NEW PB!

31 Oct

Lausanne 10KM Run | Sunday 27 October 2013

OK so I didn’t actually do the full marathon, I’m not that silly, not like my husband (sorry babe!), but I did run in the 10KM race. This was my first 10KM race and to be honest I didn’t really know how I would go. I have been pretty lazy when it comes to running since the marathon and for weeks my husband had been saying “just take it easy, you don’t want another injury…”. With that in mind my registration said 55 minutes for my goal time. But I knew I could do better than that and decided to just “go for it” on the day.

Those of you living on the European continent will know that Sunday’s weather was crap. The forecast was crap and sure enough the actual day was crap. It pretty much rained (steadily) until around 11am. I seriously considered just not running. I mean come on, would you? The warm up area and bag drop was in a park, which was well and truly flooded and my socks and shoes were soaked through after 5 minutes. Goodbye white shoes 😦 Poor marathon runners started off at 10:10am and were followed by rain for at least the first 10KM (as told by my husband). Our start time was 10:45am. I held onto my umbrella until the last possible moment and fortunately for me and my fellow 10KM runners the rain eased and completely stopped by the time we started off! HA!

So you know how all the advice in the world tells you not to go out too hard or too fast in a race? Well I’ve been pretty good at sticking to that up until Sunday. Yep, I went out hard and didn’t stop. I figured I’d just see how it went. I could always slow down towards the end if I was really buggered.

It was a pretty uninteresting course to be honest. It was straight up the lake towards Vevey and back again. We started in amongst buildings and houses and just when we were getting to the vineyards and lake views we were turned around for the return. There were quite a few hills too which slowed quite a few people, but not me! Ha ha!! I actually felt really good going up the hills and tried to power up downhill as much as possible. But the one thing powering me all the way was my dire need for a bathroom. I went just before the race but I obviously didn’t get everything out *sigh*. The last half of the race was a serious “I need to finish and FAST” situation. I wasn’t concentrating on my time, my speed or the hills and perhaps this is why those hills didn’t phase me.

I crossed the line in 47:55, my fastest 10KM run ever but certainly not my most enjoyable. I picked up water, a banana, a medal and a cap en route to the nearest porta-loo.

I had a ham and cheese crepe while waiting to see my hubby finish his second marathon in 4 weeks!! He’s an absolute star and even though he didn’t yet crack the 3h15m he’s still a speedy champion in my books.

I was unfortunately not snapped by any of the paparazzi but here’s a few other pics from the day

I’m pretty excited about the next 10KM run we have on the 30th November but I won’t be back running in any of the Lausanne Marathon events any time soon.

Post-Marathon Running

24 Oct

Oh guys, I don’t know what’s happened to me since I finished the marathon nearly ONE MONTH ago.

So what’s been happening? Not a lot to be frank. I’ve been on two runs in the last three weeks which is a pretty dismal effort but on the plus side I’ve signed myself up for two more races!! My “over-eager overachiever” husband wanted to run in the Lausanne Marathon taking place this Sunday so instead of going along with him as a spectator (I’m not ready to run another marathon just yet!) I decided to sign-up for the 10km run. My first 10km race – a lot of “firsts” for me this year! I’m obviously not taking it very seriously because let’s be honest, two runs in the last three weeks is not sufficient training to run a good time but I’m hoping to hash it out in about 55 minutes. And then I’ve signed myself up for the Escalade in December. The, almost, biggest event of the year in Geneva. I wrote a few lines on the Escalade and the associated race around the Geneva Old Town last year which you can read about here and here.

Now that the marathon training is all over I’m getting back into the spinning classes and pilates classes and next week I’m going to try my hand at BodyPump (a Les Mills weights class). I’m aiming to build up more “all over” body conditioning and strength so that next time I start training for a marathon I won’t get injured!! My physio also gave me a heap of strengthening exercises to do which I haven’t been very consistent in doing yet so I need to pull my socks up on that one.

Hmm.. having just said all that it seems I need to find my mojo and get back on the fitness bandwagon before I go too far the other way.

Help required!

Berlin Marathon 2013 : Race Recap

4 Oct

40th BMW Berlin Marathon | 29 September 2013

It’s over! All those weeks of training, oh painful training, and it’s all over so quickly.

My dear followers have been bored to tears each week with my training reports and injury woes and constant complaining so I know that you will be pleased to have it all over with. But for those that are still with me, that are still interested in my ramblings and that are eagerly awaiting the results of my hard efforts all year, then this is for you.

First off though, I wanted to say a humungous Thank You to a few people. To my dear Husband for all your encouragement and support from start to finish, for never giving up on me and for never getting annoyed or frustrated during my silly phases. I love you all the more for offering to run a marathon with me at my pace one day 🙂 To Becky for calling me on Skype every Monday morning to check up on my weekend long runs, for getting annoyed with me when my legs gave up and for your bottomless well of laughs and positivity. To my awesome physiotherapist, without your pain inflicting hands I am sure I would not have made it through 18 weeks of training or the race.

Continue reading

Training for My First Marathon; the Stats are in!

26 Sep

16 is the number of weeks I have been training for this race;

465 is the number of kilometers I have run in those 16 weeks;

44 is the number of hours it took me to run all those kilometers;

23,000 is the number of calories I burned during training but 98,000 is the approximate number of calories I consumed in chocolate in 16 weeks… hmm…

15 is the number of visits to my physiotherapist ouch!

4 is the number of thank you presents I need to buy for my amazing supporters;

3 is the number of days to go until the race; and

1,000,000 is the number of buckets I’m sweating in anxiety and anticipation!

Countless training sessions were missed due to injury, countless hours were spent in misery after missing a training session, countless words of encouragement and support were received and countless will be the joy and exhilaration I will have when I cross the finish line on Sunday!

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