The Flying Beetroot: Looking For What’s Lost

The Flying Beetroot Searching

I’ve lost my Running Mojo. Have you seen it anywhere? I know I had it at the last half-marathon but I haven’t seen it since.

Maybe I left it on the roof of the car and it fell off on the drive home.

Or maybe I actually lost it somewhere in the last few kilometres of the race and it is hanging from a branch of a tree where someone picked it up and hung it in case its owner came back to find it.

I’ve looked everywhere at home. I thought I’d found it when I came across my Run Forrest t-shirt in a drawer a few weeks ago but it was just a trick of the light.

It has been very cold lately. Perhaps it slunk off when I wasn’t looking and is hibernating somewhere.


It’s a mystery.



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Run Forrest, Run!

Run Forrest 4

She’s mad, I tell you. Completely bonkers.

That’s me. Talking to me. I do that a lot.

I don’t listen.

Which is how I found myself lining up to run 21km through hilly rainforest* yesterday morning. Some people never learn. At least I had company. My friend Carolyn, otherwise regularly known as the Spreadsheet Enforcer, was lining up with me. Foolish woman.

(*’Rainforest’ in my part of the world does not mean ‘humidity’. Certainly not in winter anyway. It’s cool temperate rainforest.)

Called Run Forrest, it is a race described as follows: “Staged in the hinterland township of Forrest, nestled in the heart of the Otway Ranges, Run Forrest will showcase the region’s world class trails and breathtaking natural beauty – undulating hills, flowing rivers, dense fern gullies and the cool, fresh air of the Otway Ranges.”

Sounds kind of pretty, right?

It was. Pretty damned hard is what it was.

Now, before I get into the whole torturous saga, let me pull my Pollyanna act. On the plus side, for a winter’s day in one of the wettest places in the state, we miraculously scored a mild and sunny day. Also, I did not score any leeches. (That’s for Joanne.)

So, here goes on the rest of the story:

After a meandering loop that took us almost back to the start line (wow, that was a quick 21k!), we were sent up a steep rocky track. Nice.

There was some rather pleasant ferny rainforest with a bit of a hill before a quick jog along the road to the local reservoir.

Run Forrest 1

The run across the dam wall was pretty easy. (Taking this photo, I said to my then-patient friend, “Sorry, this is what happens when you run with a blogger.”)

Run Forrest 2

And then off we went into the rainforest proper. And it was beautiful.

Run Forrest 3

Run Forrest 5

And that’s it for the photos. Because after that it got nasty. Nasty, nasty hills. Steep, muddy and endless. I ran them at first until I couldn’t any more. Besides, I’d reached a point where a long-legged walking stride (I do this weird, doubled-over thing where my face is almost on the ground but it works) was just as fast as the grandma shuffle I had been doing.

At the top, we crossed a road and then! Oh glory! Downhill!!

We’d moved onto the famous Red Carpet, a well-known, heart-stopping mountain bike trail with sharp twisty turns. (No mountain bikes – the beauty of this run is the chance to take to this track without worrying about getting bowled over by Evel Knievel wannabes.)

Well, this was fun!

Until we noticed runners coming the other way. Oh, are you lost? Or are you doing the 10km run?

It took a few minutes for the truth to dawn.

We had to run back up the hill.

Here’s what went on in my head at this point:

Me: ohmygod! ohmygod! ohmygod!

Other Me: Get a grip!

Me: But we have to run back up! We have to run back up! I can’t! I can’t! ohmygod! ohmygod! ohmygod!

Other Me: Oh, for heaven’s sake, chill!! Yes, you have to run back up. But remember that nasty uphill you just ran? You get to run DOWN that one.

Me: ohmyg…. Oh. That’s true.

I wanted a photo of our loop around Lake Elizabeth at the bottom of the hill but I nearly fell in just trying to enjoy the scenery so I concentrated on my feet instead.

We made it back up that hill, actually not as bad as I’d remembered and then it was down the other side, whooping and hollering and doing the ‘flappy bird’ thing around the bends until we emerged near the finish line.


But…..but……the finish line is that way. Why are you sending us in the opposite direction?

Okay, we’re on the wrong side of the creek and you’re sending us up to the bridge. Okay. Breathe.

We crossed the bridge and looked for the markers to point us to the finish line. Nope. Still in the opposite direction.

I nearly lost it at this point. I got very sooky.

Pfft. That was nothing. Rounding the corner we saw………

……one more hill.

Really??? A hill?? 500m from the finish line??? You evil, nasty, sadistic…..

Nothing for it but to push on. Muttering obscenities under our breath.

Somehow we dug out enough energy to make a (not super fast) sprint to the finish line. I’d joked about joining arms and skipping across the finish line but that was early in the race when it seemed like a fun idea. Twenty-one kilometres later…. not so much.

Run Forrest Result

Equal 70th out of 134 starters in the Female 21km runners, 21st out of 49 in our age group, 50m40s behind the winner. I can live with that.

Would I do it again?

Are you mad?

Hm. Well, you may not be but I clearly am so…………

THANKS: I’d like to express my deepest love and gratitude to my friend Carolyn who is not only the Spreadsheet Enforcer but Mentor and Encourager Extraordinaire. I think I would still have finished the race (given my inherent stubbornness), but I would not have done nearly as well and I certainly would not have had anywhere near as much fun. (Yes, bits of it were fun.)

Postscript: I got up at 6.30am the next morning to go rowing. She’s mad, I tell you. Stark, raving mad.

Postscript Two: It was my father’s birthday yesterday. Our first without him. As I wrote on Facebook that morning: “I’m not sure what he’d make of me spending it running for two hours through the Otways but I think he would smile encouragingly and bemusedly, wish me luck and then segue into a story about that time he was driving through Forrest and…”

(ICYMI: My memories of my father on the day he died are here.)

Dad and his wine



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The Flying Beetroot: Still Flyi….er….Flapping

The Flying Beetroot Still Flying

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the vegetable crisper.

[puts on sing-song voice] She’s ba-ack.

I see dead-tired people.


Okay, enough of the scary movie references. It’s bad enough you have to face the aviated vegetable again as it is.

I thought you might be thinking that the purple running shoes had been hung up for good – or at least for winter – post-mildly-acceptable-half-marathon-running-event.

However, if you were really paying attention you may have picked up in a post (way back when) that before I even knew if I could run a half marathon, I’d signed up for another one. It was a moment of momentary insanity. Or, given my usual state of insanity, perhaps a moment of weird sanity.

But being a Bear of Very Little Attention Span, running yet another half marathon on asphalt (or bitumen or whatever you call that black stuff) roads or bike tracks would be boring. If I was going to tackle this distance again it had to be something different.

Enter Run Forrest. (Yes, yes, let’s get the movie reference out of the way early. All together now: “Run, Forrest, run!” Thank you. Can we move on now?)

Here’s a description of the course:

The 21km course will start in the township of Forrest at the beautiful Barwon River.

The trail run will follow the Barwon River along the famous Red Carpet to Lake Elizabeth. The Red Carpet is a favourite amongst mountain bikers for its dynamic technical sections, fern covered single track and fast downhill corners.

Now we get a chance to run it…..

Run Forrest also gives trail runners access to the beautiful fern banks surrounding the majestic Lake Elizabeth.

The course is tough with tight, off cambered turns, fast down hills and undulating with plenty of flow.

The course is a circuit ending at the race village on the banks of the Barwon River.

I’m rather attracted to the phrases “dynamic technical sections” and “fast down hills”, providing, of course, that there are no “very slow up hills” to go with them.

Naturally, a course of this description has necessitated the purchase of more er… grippy shoes (otherwise known as trail runners) and a modified training regimen.

Unfortunately, trail-like running tracks are not immediately handy – the most suitable being at least a twenty minute drive away – so in these time-pressured days of work and family life, I have had to make do with running on nature strips* and gravel tracks where available. Fortunately, footpaths* are in short supply close to home so running on grass is readily available.

(*See International Vocabulary Reference at the bottom of the post.)

Winter has also arrived so as the days have become more heavily discounted, I have often found myself running in the dark. This actually has some advantages, mostly in regard to speed:

  1. Racing the light home with the darkness hot on one’s heels can tend to make one pick up the pace.
  2. In the increasingly chillier weather, one is compelled to move a little quicker to prevent certain extremities from freezing.
  3. Running along the river in the dark by oneself adds a feeling of “thrill” that does make the legs move faster. (I prefer the term “thrill” to “shit-scared”.)

Racing the light

What I keep forgetting is to bring along a head torch so I can see properly once the darkness inevitably catches up with me (a speedy runner I am not as evidenced by my first half marathon time). Here’s a stretch of nature strip near my home that is ripe for running along:


Sorry, that’s in the dark without a flash. Here it is with a flash:


Hm. Not much better, is it? Do you want to see what it looks like in daylight?


Yeah. A head torch is probably a good idea. One inconvenient wobble on that stretch…..

Before you ask, yes, I have a training spreadsheet. No, I will not be publishing it.

Because I don’t want to.

Because, unlike the glorious evergreen of the previous spreadsheet, this one is widely stained with the blood red of failure.

One week into the set training I came down with a bad case of “Falling Into A Hole” with a side order of “Losing The Plot”. There was no running for a week while I clambered my way back out of the hole. I got back on track (figuratively and literally) but was left with a debilitating dose of the “Can’t Be Bothered”s. Add some cold and wet winter weather and a stressful workload and it’s been too easy to take the “I’ll do it tomorrow” route to non-compliance.

I’m not overly concerned about it. One advantage of choosing a second race drastically different to the first is that there is no time to beat. It’s a picturesque location, it’s something different and this one I will not be running alone. My friend Carolyn, the notorious Spreadsheet Enforcer, is running with me.

I’ve decided (for the sake of my sanity and not to be overwhelmed with regret) that it is not a race on Sunday. It is a (admittedly hopefully rather rapid) stroll through the beautiful southern Victorian rainforest on a lovely winter morning.

Lake Elizabeth

Lake Elizabeth in the Otways. (Photo:

I’ll let you know exactly how that works out…


International Vocabulary Reference

Nature Strip –  berm, curb strip, devil strip / devil’s strip, parking strip, planting strip, sidewalk buffer, utility strip, verge, neutral ground

Footpath – pavement, sidewalk, footway, platform

(With thanks to Wiktionary)




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The Flying Beetroot: Crossing The Finish Line

The Flying Beetroot Finish Line

That’s it. The deed has been done. Your patient five-month following of the adventures of a rustic vegetable has been rewarded. The Half Marathon has been run.

Here’s where we started:

Training runs

And here’s where things stood as I lined up at the start line yesterday:

Training runs 11

Things got a little weird in the last couple of weeks of training due to a little trip to New York City (more on that later):

Thursday’s run got moved to Wednesday so as not to be required to run up and down the aisle of an aeroplane.

Friday’s run was allocated to a Golden Ticket since jet lag and running don’t mix well.

Sunday’s run was two laps of Central Park (just about) in the late afternoon when temperatures were sub-10°C. That was a great run and I felt really fresh at the end of it. So fresh I couldn’t feel my arms.

Tuesday’s and Thursday’s runs were done on the treadmill in the hotel gym. I really hate treadmills. I have a whole new appreciation of living in a climate that allows me to run outdoors all year round.

Sunday’s allocated training run was moved to Saturday and called the Scotland Run. Funnest training I’ve ever undertaken.

One more go on the treadmill on Tuesday. Thank all the gods.

Friday’s last training run before the big day was about an hour after we arrived home. It was more of a Cliff Young shuffle than a run but I covered the distance.

And thus on Sunday the Big Day arrived.

Half Marathon 1

I have no photographic evidence of the start because I was alone. Getting a jet-lagged husband and three teenage boys down to a race start line by 8am on a Sunday morning? Not going to happen.

I was grateful I had participated in the Scotland Run the week before (my first ever fun run). Having experienced a start with 8,000 runners, Sunday’s start line with less than 900 runners was a breeze.

The run went reasonably well. I guess asking an ageing body to work its guts out for a couple of hours isn’t going to go completely smoothly. My right hamstring grumbled and my left knee sniggered but it never rose above a mere complaint. But the stitches were bitches. The last one, stabbing me in the chest for the last two kilometres, was nicknamed Cruella De Vil.

While I started alone, there was support when I needed it from the Spreadsheet Enforcer and the Gauntlet Thrower and family arrived at the 17 kilometre mark to provide photographic evidence that I actually ran. Just the Husband and Youngest Son. Eldest Son and Middle Son stayed in bed. No prizes for guessing who is my favourite child.

Half Marathon 2

Very grateful to be allocated the number 96 so if my jet-lagged brain put my bib on upside down it wouldn’t matter.

Half Marathon 3

That singlet is from my days in the Spreadsheet Enforcer’s running group a few years ago. It says “Run Hard, Eat Cake”. That’s my kind of running.

There was a clock at the finish line so I could know my time. I didn’t even see it, I was so focussed on just getting across that line. While my running app gave me a time, I’ve not always been overly confident of its veracity so I waited for the official results.

Half Marathon results

For those not in the know: Finish Time is based on when I crossed the line after the gun went off. If you’re well back in the starting pack, you’re disadvantaged (by 40 seconds in my case). Net Time is based on my actual timing chip registering me crossing the start and finish lines and thus a more accurate picture of how long it took me to run the distance.


Two hours, two minutes and 56 seconds. I was thrilled. I was hoping for two hours in a sort of wishful, wouldn’t-it-be-cool-to-do-it-in-two-hours kind of way so to have come a few minutes close was exciting. Besides, who wants to crack a super time for their first race? It just means too much hard work to beat it next time.

And today I received notification of official photographs in which I appear and fortunately there is one of me crossing the finish line:


I look relieved. I wonder why?

So now I have a week off running, apparently, but then I’d best get back into it. I’ve already booked in for Run Forrest in June. (And no, it has nothing to do with the Tom Hanks movie.)

So thank you all for coming along on the runs through the heat and the rain, through knee troubles and headaches, through frustrations and triumphs. We made it. Now, can I offer you some beetroot relish?

Postscript: For those who may have remembered that as well as the race this weekend, I also had to sing in a concert on Friday night and Saturday and Sunday afternoons, that all went smoothly. And I made the interesting discovery on Friday night while waiting out the back to go on stage that it is actually literally possible to fall asleep standing up. You just don’t stay standing up for long. (It’s okay, I grabbed the back of a chair in front of me before I hit the floor.)



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The Flying Beetroot: Scotland The Brave And The Fast

The Flying Beetroot was given the day off today and the Flying Thistle ran in her place.

The Flying Thistle

Today was the 12th annual New York City Scotland Run in Central Park to launch a week of Scottish activities during Scotland Week. Ten kilometres, more than 8,000 runners, bagpipers, highland dancers and the blue and white of St Andrew’s cross everywhere you looked (even the bagels handed out at the end of the race were blue and white).

I didn’t have an official previous race time so I was in the last (slowest) group. This had the advantage of giving me lots of people to pass which can only be good for your ego.

Certainly an experience for a fun run newbie from a provincial city in Australia.

I loved it. And ran a pretty good time given I wasn’t busting myself to break any records. It was technically my Sunday training run and I was just there to have fun.

There were all sorts of runners:

  • The This Could Be Fun Non-Trainers who were walking by the first hill half a mile into the race.
  • The Weaving All Over The Road Slow Runners who drove me up the wall.
  • The I Didn’t Think I’d Get This Hot In A Winter Jacket Strippers. Really?
  • The Let’s Get Into It Scots in their kilts, hats and scarves. That would be me. I wore my father’s Buchanan clan glengarry with great (and somewhat emotional) pride.

Most definitely one of my favourite memories to take home from our visit to the Big Apple.

The Flying Thistle is now retired and the Flying Beetroot is back on track to meet that Half Marathon challenge next weekend.



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The Flying Beetroot: It Wasn’t Easy Being Green

The monochromatic spreadsheet is no more. Ta dah!

Training runs 10

Last Tuesday I used my first Golden Ticket, so kindly provided by my gauntlet-throwing friend to help me through what seemed like an interminable training regime when I started. It took me a good five minutes to hit send on the request message. It felt like failure.

I had neglected to get up early to run (to be honest, I’d forgotten about it – this is a sign that I am starting to get bored and I suspect I’m not the only one, right?), then I got called into work, got home from school pick ups at 4.15pm, was due at the Blood Bank for a plasma donation at 5.45pm and had to be at a rehearsal by 7.30pm. It takes me around half an hour to run 5km so technically I had time in between getting home and going to the Blood Bank but, in a significant step for me, I decided to be realistic and allow myself a moment of downtime. (Don’t die of shock.)

And while one part of me wanted to call me a failure, another part of me was feeling proud that I had been able to let go of perfection and be practical. (Are you still with me? Do I need the defibrillator?) And, when my Golden Ticket request was met with excitement, another part of me was so happy to have given joy to a friend who had taken the time to be so creative and supportive.

So it’s all good. Seriously.

Well, except for the knee trouble.

Who said that??

[Runner Me raises her hand sheepishly]

There is no knee trouble, got it?!?

[Runner Me shrugs and sneaks away, limping dramatically. ]

Oh, don’t be ridiculous! It’s not that bad!

Really. It’s not. Have a look at that spreadsheet.

See? There’s a second Red Letter Day. I ran my longest distance yet last Sunday. The training plan says 18km but I actually pushed it out to 19.1km. Two more kilometres and that half marathon is in the bag. In. The. Bag.

(Superstitious Me is screaming at me right now. “Shut up, shut up, shut up!” She needs to chill.)

[Calls after Runner Me] There is no knee trouble!

The Flying Beetroot Being Green

It’s not easy being green reddish-purple.




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The Flying Beetroot: Doing Things The Easy Way

The Flying Beetroot The Easy Way

I like to do things the easy way. I only ever take on one task at a time and if there’s a shortcut or an easier path, I’ll take it. I don’t overcommit and I’ll skip something if it seems like too much trouble.

Stop laughing.

Okay, so I was lying.

It would be nice to be that way, though, wouldn’t it? I’m not sure. I’ve never been like that. Is it easier?

I’m beginning to wonder if I have an Overcommitted fetish. I can’t seem to help myself. Personally, I just think that the world is full of new and exciting things and I want to do them all NOW.

So, in between the running and the rowing and the teenager-wrangling, I’ve just started rehearsals for a production of Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona. It’s on in May so the half marathon will be done and dusted but it’s in the middle of the Masters Rowing season so life could get….full. But I figure if I can walk 100 kilometres and then perform a major part in a play the next day (, this should be a cinch. I only have a couple of fun minor roles.

You may recall that I have taken on this half marathon having never before competed in a running event. There have been opportunities over the summer to compete in lesser distance events but I’ve resisted them because I’ve always been rather enamoured of the idea of being able to say “my first running event was a half marathon”.

Then a friend sent me a link to a 10km event that’s on the weekend before the half marathon. It was too exciting to resist and so I am replacing my scheduled 10km training run on the Sunday with this event:

Scotland Run

As a descendent of Scots on both sides of my family, I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to be doing this race.

Um. MOSY? That race is in Central Park. You know that’s in New York City, right?

Really? Oh well, it’s lucky I’m going to be there that weekend, then.

What was I saying about doing things the easy way? Oh, yes. Instead of spending the last two weeks before the half marathon checking off the last training runs and focussing on my nutrition and hydration, I’ll be schlepping it around the Big Apple.

Mr and Mrs MOSY are abandoning their offspring and flying away for a reason I am not allowed to share but let’s just say Mr MOSY will do anything to avoid a party.

We’ll be back two days before the half marathon. My final preparations will look like this:

Noon – arrive back from USA
Sometime in afternoon – run last 5km training run
8pm – perform in concert

2pm – perform in concert

8am – run half marathon
5pm – perform in concert

What? What about the concert? Oh. Didn’t I tell you about that?

Oh, by the way, I am also performing in a concert in memory of my friend Dennis who died last year. ( and Right after we get back from the USA and on the same weekend as the half marathon.

What??? Why are you looking at me like that??

You didn’t think I’d want to miss it, did you?

It could be worse, you know. There’s a Masters Rowing regatta on the Saturday. I was talking about maybe doing some morning events until one of my crewmates took me by the shoulders and shook me hard. So I said ‘No’. Aren’t you proud of me?

Anyway, the training spreadsheet continues apace as usual:

Training runs 9

Did I ever tell you what my friend called this spreadsheet? “How much can one girl fit into her life!!!” Little did she know…

The last three long Sunday runs have had to be in the middle of the day due to other commitments and pending thunderstorms. Last Sunday’s 14km was quite pleasant, run in a balmy 20°C. The 10km on the Sunday before that, not so much. It was 35°C. By the 6km mark, I thought I was going to be sick. At 7km, I was crying. And at 8km, I wondered how long it would take someone to find me if I had a heart attack.

I ran the whole 10 kilometres. And I ran up that hill at the end. And I tried not to throw up at the top.

How come a hill never looks as steep in a photograph as it does when you're standing at the bottom it?

I think I may have spreadsheet sickness…..

I noticed this week that a side effect of all this running in the summer is that I’ve developed a tan from the bottom of my knees (where my running pants end) to the tops of my ankles (where my socks begin). Well, given my Celtic heritage, “tan” may be stretching it a bit. It’s more like a slightly dirty stain.

One last thing. In a most uncharacteristic burst of belief in myself, despite having not yet successfully completed my first half marathon, I am already planning the next one. Of course, it had to be something different:

Run Forrest

Clicking on the image will take you to the website where I highly recommend watching the video on the home page. Ooh, I can’t wait!

And in a sort of Gauntlet Throwing Pay It Forward, I’ve challenged the Spreadsheet Enforcer to do this with me. The only downside being that she prepared her training schedule the other night and then sent me a message to tell me to replace one of my weekly 5km runs with hills work.

Urgh. Hills….

Running hills

I’d already run up two hills by this point so if it’s not quite in focus….



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The Flying Beetroot: Running Solo

The Flying Beetroot Running Solo

The beauty of the Internet in general and the blogging community in particular is that whatever challenge you take on, someone somewhere has done something similar to inspire you.

So, deciding in middle age to attempt a (sort of) long-distance running event, I have discovered no shortage of women who have gone before me. And further.

Joanne, Sue and Annie have all completed numerous half-marathons and even marathons at ages more advanced than I. How could I not persist in my efforts with these inspiring women in my sights?

But there’s one small problem. Each of these women and others that I know who have achieved similar feats all have one thing in common – partners/husbands who are runners. So there is someone there to say, “Honey/ Sweetheart/ Darling/ [insert favourite endearment here], let’s go for a run.” And they’ve often been there at the actual events to help push them along.

This is not the case for me. I am married to a man who thinks I walk too fast. I have three sons who would only see running as beneficial if they were being chased by a zombie horde. Even then, I suspect they would find somewhere to hide and come up with a technological solution to escape.

I do have one or two running friends who are not married to runners but they all seem to own dogs who are happy to run with them. I don’t have that either. Leonardo the Cat would view running with disdain.

Leonardo the Cat

So the only person who can get me out that door and onto the running track is me. The only one who can push me to that finish line on the day has to be me.

At least……………

That’s what I used to think. I have recently come to realise that I may not have a physical running partner beside me but what I do have is a large international community of friends and fellow bloggers who are running with me in my head. YOU are the ones who get me out the door. YOU are the ones who keep pushing me on when I want to give up.

Well, you and The Spreadsheet.

Speaking of which….

Training runs 8

Yeah, it’s still all green. Boring, huh?

But there are stories behind those monotonous green boxes. Not all of them have been coloured with ease.

Like the Sunday 14km run a couple of weeks ago when I had another rowing regatta that day. I rowed my two races in the morning and then ran 14km in the afternoon. In the rain.

And the next Sunday when I got to run with the Spreadsheet Enforcer. And, despite yakking the whole way, managed to run my best time for that distance. (Hm. You see what I mean about the advantage of a running partner.)

Or the Fridays that have been added to the mix in the past few weeks. I always have rowing on Friday mornings and then I must race home, deliver kids to school and get myself to my community singing group by 9am. The 5km run always has to wait until later in the day. Not fun on a hot Summer’s day.

What else? Pardon? Oh, you noticed. Yes, there is some red text there in that green box. What does it mean? It means I ran the longest distance I have ever run in my life that day. It was a Red Letter Day. The Gauntlet Thrower ran that one with me. Only in my head. We had been discussing the run the night before so she was very much present with me. I don’t believe I would have made it without her. It was a hot day and since I’d had commitments in the morning and they were forecasting thunderstorms for the afternoon, I had no choice but to run in the middle of the day. Let’s just say running 16km in the heat is… er… challenging.

So, two-thirds of the way through training and I’m still on a solid green track. Thanks for coming with me.

*Music Track: “One” performed by John Farnham



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The Flying Beetroot: Running With The Boats

You’ve probably been wondering what that ‘dilemma’ in regard to the scheduled 12km Sunday run I hinted at in my last post was about, right?

You may even have been wondering why my caped image has been conspicuously absent from the Comments section of your blog posts the last few days, eh?

Oh. You haven’t?

Right-o then. Just carry on. Nothing to see read here.

Well, okay, so just in case you have been wondering….

Here’s a clue.


Too obscure for you? Okay, here’s another more obvious one.


Still haven’t worked it out? How about this very obvious clue?


Well, if you haven’t worked it out by now, there’s no hope for you at all.

Last weekend I competed in my first rowing regatta at Rutherglen in Northern Victoria. Hosted by the Murray Rowing Association (founded 1861), it is the oldest regatta in Australia.

I was competing in a Female Coxed Quad Scull race and a Mixed Coxed Eight race on each day – 800m on Saturday and 500m on Sunday.

We came last fourth in our race on Saturday morning but apparently we were coming second until about 250m out from the finish. We hadn’t thought we were in contention. We had borrowed a very young cox from another rowing club and while she was very encouraging, I think it would have been helpful to know how close we were to the pack. (It’s hard to know where you are when you’re racing backwards.)

The Mixed Eight race was great fun. The eight is a sweep boat which means you use one oar – a bit different to my usual sculling with two oars. We came second in that race.

It rained all day Saturday – unusual for Rutherglen – but the sun came out for us on Sunday.

Sunday’s races were quick 500m sprints. Our cox for the Quad was a wonderful, very experienced member of our club and the difference was this:


My first ever regatta medal!

Drama was to come in the Mixed Eight race. We started well and were clearly in the lead when, barely halfway through the race, the boat in the lane next to us suddenly veered and ran into us. We stopped and the Stroke’s* hand flew up to raise a protest. The umpire looked at the other two boats who had continued to race down the course and told us to keep rowing. We took off like a rocket, powering that boat on sheer outrage. And we almost caught them. Had the course been 50m longer, we’d have still managed to finish first. At the finish line, the Stroke’s hand went up again. This time the protest was upheld and there was to be a repeat race, the boat causing the accident being ineligible to compete. The three remaining crews made their way back to the start line and we set up to race the course again. This time we were not so smooth in our method but still had strength and speed on our side and this was the result:


My first regatta and I scored two medals and experienced the adrenaline of a protest and repeat race (a rare occurrence I am told). Oh, and we also scored a bottle of wine each as a prize for our Quad race in addition to the medal. (We’re not sure how that happened but I think I can live with it.)


Booty from my first regatta




Now, have you figured out the dilemma?

How to fit in a 12 kilometre training run in the middle of a rowing regatta?

Maybe I could swap the 12km run with the 5km one on Tuesday? And/or maybe I could fit it in between my morning and afternoon races?

Problems: 1. It was ridiculously muddy from all the rain on Saturday and I wasn’t really interested in slipping over and breaking a leg; 2. I felt I owed it to my crew mates not to turn up to a race with already tired legs.

So here’s the spreadsheet as it currently stands:

Training runs 7

“But where’s the red box?”

Right. There isn’t one. You will note, however, that there is a green box out of alignment. So I’ll explain. After packing up the boats


and a four hour drive home, arriving at 11.30pm on Sunday night, I got up at 7am on Monday and ran my 12km run. And you know what? It was one of the easiest runs I’ve done yet. I fairly bounced around that trail on the fun and excitement still coursing through my veins.

I figured that entitled me to just move the green box.

And that last green box? Getting up to row at 6am this morning, I should have known that this


would, when it came to running my 5km later in the morning, turn into this


I still ran. Of course I did. I’m more than a little insane.

Besides, it was kind of exciting to pass waterfalls and lakes on the usual run:



One last thing. Anyone who knows me well will know that what I am about to say is difficult for me. The Inner Critic has a very loud voice in my head and doesn’t often allow things like this to be said, but here goes:

I am incredibly proud of everything I have achieved in the past few days and I think I’m amazing.

There. Phew.

But I won’t let it go to my head.

*The Stroke is the first rower who sets the pace for everyone else to follow.



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The Flying Beetroot: Running Into 2015

The Flying Beetroot Flying Into 2015

I tend to avoid New Year resolutions. Why set yourself up for failure right at the start of the year? Anyway, I figure I’ve got enough left over from 2014 to keep me going for a while.

The running has continued, right on schedule. Sorry about the monochromatic thing, but it can’t be helped.

Training runs 6

Behind all those green boxes are more than just distances. Every run has its own story. Some are great, inspiring runs that make me feel like this idiot idea is actually achievable. Some make me feel like this:

I like the runs when the sun is behind me (tricky to do that the whole way when I run in a circle). If I’m struggling, I can watch my shadow on the ground. As Peter Pan would understand, my shadow seems to run faster than I do.

Shadow run

I made the Spreadsheet Enforcer run the 12km after Christmas with me, since she was on holidays. I’d thought about making her run the 9km on Christmas Day but I’m not really that vindictive. I enjoyed that 12km run. It was nice to have someone other than Obsessive Compulsive Me to talk to for a change. (Yes, we talked and ran. It was a breathless conversation.)

New Year’s Day is obviously a happier day for people than Christmas Day. I got a lot more smiles, waves and ‘Hello’s. Perhaps the new year gave people hope of a change or of new beginnings. As Miss Stacey said to Anne Shirley, “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.” Or maybe we were all just feeling smug that we were out exercising while everyone else was still in bed nursing a hangover.

I’ve gone back to rowing in earnest so some mornings I’ve rowed 7km before running 5-10km. And it’s summer. Double-Beetroot weather. Let’s just say, you wouldn’t want to hug me at the end of those runs…

At least the weather gods were kind to me last week and scheduled the two-day 40-plus-degrees (Celsius!) heatwave on Friday and Saturday when I didn’t have to run. Mind you, asked by our friend M-R what I would do if such weather did coincide with a run – would I still do it? – I believe my initial response was, “Ummm…..”. I could hear the eye-rolling on the other end of the line.

And in every one of those green boxes, at the end of every run, there’s this:

How come a hill never looks as steep in a photograph as it does when you're standing at the bottom it?

How come a hill never looks as steep in a photograph as it does when you’re standing at the bottom of it?

That’s what I run up at the end of my runs. Admittedly, at the end of a long run, it’s more of a fast stagger. And it’s not just to the gate, either. There’s a post just near the road at the top where I stop. Usually with a loud “Aargh!”

I have a dilemma about Sunday’s 12km run but I’m not going to tell you what it is because I know what you’ll say and, frankly, I don’t want to hear it. I’ll work it out but be prepared that the monochromatic spreadsheet may turn dichromatic.



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