Posted in Resolutions

Resolutions Update: October

It’s been too long since I’ve done one of these. As an aside, how exactly is it October already?

Boston skyline from the Arnold Arboretum
Boston skyline from the Arnold Arboretum

Here’s my 2013 Resolutions update:

Completed: Earn $3760

Yes, this one was smashed quite a few months ago – in fact I’ve earned around $7k this year as a teacher.  What made me sad was when I realized that in 6 months of teaching I’d earned the same as one month of work in my old job. SIGH.

Of course, now the summer’s over the teaching work has dried up a bit, so instead I’ve taken up two (unpaid) internships at the Museum of Science!

Still in progress: Buy some shares

I’ve hit a few roadblocks here.  One, my nice list and all my research into what shares to buy was lost during a backup sync (stupid OneNote, grr); Two, there are logistical reasons why buying shares in the country in which you are not resident for tax purposes is awkward; Three, it’s too boring to look into.  So, I don’t know what’s going to happen here.

Still in progress: Write a newspaper article, a short story and a book outline

I have several half-formed ideas for book outline (non-fiction mostly), I’m working on a short story or ten from my travels as a teenager (coming soon to this blog!). And the newspaper article – well, I need to think about that some more.

Still in progress: Make a website/blog for me

Yes, sporadic updates are made, but no real audience has been identified.  Travel posts attract the most attention, followed by running posts. ESL posts attract almost zero attention.  I’ll continue to work on it – and I’ll continue to post on travel and running and other things as inspiration hits me.

Likely abandoned: Get a US driver’s license

My husband got his, but there’s really no reason for me to get one, so the motivation has gone.  We’ll see, it could still happen I suppose.

Abandoned: See at least one sunrise per month

Yep, the summer months and working made it extra hard for me to be motivated to get up for the extra-early sunrises.  I know, lame.

Posted in Half-marathon, Resolutions

Resolutions update – May

Here’s a late May update on a few things:

Run a half-marathon

Oh yeah – it’s done!  And in under two hours (1:57:17).  Full race recap here.


Earn $3760

Got paid for April: $802, which leaves me with $3132-$802= $2330 to earn.  I’ve had a fair bit of work this month so with any luck I’ll be another $1500 closer in a few days!


Make a website/blog for me

So I was going pretty well with this, but then I got too busy to blog.  At least I got too busy to put it ahead of running, sleeping, doing the housework etc.  Need to work on the frequency of posts.

Get a US Driver’s license

I’ve persuaded my friend Julia to lend her person as “MA licensed driver with 1 years experience”, we believe we can use a Zipcar in the test, so now we just need to do some practice, and then do the test. I doubt this is going to happen in the near future.

See at least 1 sunrise per month

Failed for April, but technically I was up before sunrise on 26th May for my half-marathon.  There wasn’t much in the way of sun though…

May 'sunrise'
May ‘sunrise’

Buy some shares

I looked into my late grandfather’s share portfolio for some ideas and honestly, it’s not great: at least it’s not ‘ethically’ great. It’s all oil and defense technology companies.  I think I’ll look further.  As for the actual process of buying shares, I’m looking into Barclays Stockbrokers to see how they work.

And for June:

Keep working to earn money, go to the Boston Pops, plan a trip to NYC and work on some writing.

Posted in Half-marathon, Resolutions

Race Recap – Boston’s Run to Remember

I’ve been training for the Run to Remember to fulfill one of my 2013 Resolutions… here’s what happened!

My alarm woke me at 5.10am and I saw the day had dawned rainy and cold.

Great - rainy and cold

Google weather
Google weather

At 5.55am I jogged to the train station to catch the first Red Line train of the morning and pretty much the only people I saw were runners.  It was drizzling a bit but the rain wasn’t too heavy.

I met Hélène on the train and we walked together to the start – and immediately found Helen and Geoff.  Score.

We lined up for the abundant portapotties then went to drop off Helen’s bag.  The hall of the World Trade Center was completely packed and we could barely move.  When we finally emerged we saw we were at the 10.30/mile pacing point and couldn’t do anything about it.

While the drizzle continued there were speeches, a minute’s silence and the national anthem, then at 7.10am the horn sounded and we were off.

The route as per my Garmin (from
The route as per my Garmin (from

Of course, when I say “we were off” I mean, we shuffled forward for a few minutes before it was possible to break into a walk, and then into a ‘run’ – I did the first four km of the race at 7:24/km, 6:26/km, 5:48/km and 6.07/km.  I was getting really angry at this point because the runner traffic was so heavy – my goal of a sub-two hour half seemed impossible and now I was just going for a slow run in the rain.  It was at this point that Helen caught me up – we were just crossing Longfellow Bridge.  She told me Geoff was way ahead and this gave me hope – maybe it would be possible to fight my way through the crowd and make some progress.

So after that 30 minute warm up I decided to get on with the race.  We ran along Memorial Drive – we gave hi-fives to the police officers at MIT, I tried my first ever water stop and managed to inhale half of the cup and spill the other half on my shoes and down my leg.  (By the third water stop I’d go the hang of it).

At the turn-around point at Harvard (and please note, about half a km from my house) my husband was waiting for me and snapped this great picture! This was at about 10km.

At the half-way point.
At the half-way point.

Then it started to rain quite heavily.  I didn’t mind too much though – I had a fantastic view of the city across the river (it reminded my a lot of certain parts of the Brisbane skyline (circa 2002)).  I broke out the GU I had brought with me – just as well as it turns out: the GU table that was supposed to be at mile 8 was nowhere to be seen (it turned up at mile 11).

My splits for this section (5km – 15km) were mostly in the 5.20/km area. I honestly thought there was no way I could keep that up for the rest of the race, but I kept pushing, telling myself to “go hard or go home” (corny, I know).

As we got back into the city – crossing Longfellow again – we passed the 10 mile marker and I looked at the gun-time clock – 1hr 33 mins – and I realised I was in with a chance of a sub-2hr race. All I had to do (ha!) was pull out a 27 minute 5km and I’d be there. My pace for 16km-19km slowed a bit to more like 5.30/km, but I only needed about 5.40/km to make it inside the goal.

As we reached Downtown Crossing T station and I was on very familiar ground, I just started flying. I did the 19th km at 5.01/km and the 20th at 4.39/km. And as I approached the finish line I saw the gun-time was 2:00:30 or so and I knew I’d done it.

Immediately after the finish line we were funnelled into the World Trade Center hall which was completely full again and all I wanted to do was faint/throw up/lie down. The crowd pressed me forward and I got water, a medal and a bagel.  I fought my way outside and ran into Hélène who had finished about 1 minute before me.

Medal and T-shirt.
Medal and T-shirt.

We walked to our meeting point where my husband (bearing the most important post-race food product) and two friends were waiting:

mmmm donuts.
mmmm donuts.

When Helen and Geoff arrived – they had done a 2hr 6min – we discussed what we thought of the race.  We decided:

1. It seemed poorly organized (too many people for the size of the streets, missing GU stand to name but two problems).

2. The race packet was just plain weird  (a single advil, some cereal, and some athlete’s foot powder?)

3. The race t-shirt was pretty crappy – cotton and essentially see-through.

4. The entrance fee was very expensive but the medal was excellent.

BUT we were all extremely happy to have met our goals and run the race so overall we really didn’t care.

Final result:

Place      Div /Tot  Div     Nettime   Pace
2544/6389  383/1286  F3039   1:57:17   8:57
Helen, Geoff, Hélène and me.
Helen, Geoff, Hélène and me – victorious!

[The training plan I used is this one, and my training updates are here].

Posted in Half-marathon, Resolutions

Half Training Update – weeks 9-11

Yes, I’ve abandoned the blog for almost a month – sorry about that!  My excuse is I was working flat out and I put actually running ahead of writing about running.  I know, crazy.

Training update week 11

It’s now less than a week to go before the Run to Remember half marathon and I did my last long run on Sunday (12 miles – 19.3 km).  I averaged 5.46 min/km in 18C sunshine.  I hope that Sunday 7am will be a bit cooler than this – and if so, and if everything goes to plan I might be able to get around in 2 hours. I’m going to need to average 5.41 min/km to do that though…..

I practiced with GU fuel on this run…. and can I just say “yuck”!  As per instructions I had the strawberry banana flavour before I started running and it was pretty revolting.  I had the chocolate outrage flavour on the run and it was much tastier but then it gave me stomach ache. Doh.


Annnyway, since this is the fuel that will be provided during the race I’ll just have to cope. I’m thinking about packing a few Shot Bloks in case I screw up getting to the fuel table.

I also tried a new route at the weekend and it was excellent – so many water fountains!  I ran along the southern bank of the Charles from Harvard to the Museum of Science and back. It was a pretty nice run – a few tourists, dogs, kids, cyclists and other runners but it wasn’t ridiculous.  Also there were lots of wildlife…


The rest of week 11 was 3/5/3 miles – not much to report except I felt quite slow.

Training update week 10

It was 3/5/3/11 miles.   Not much to report except I finally got sick of the Minuteman trail with its worlds-supply of dads taking their kids for bike rides and getting in the way.

Training update week 9

This was a taper week so I did 3/5/3/6 miles.  I did my fastest 1 km this week – 5.01 minutes, and fastest 10 km – 55.11 mins.  Mind you, my Garmin was playing up on the 10 km run so I’m not 100% confident of the PR.  It reckoned I started in the middle of a house – also nowhere near where I actually started….


So I’ve got an easy week this week – 3/2/2 miles. I’ll try to drink lots of water, not eat too much crap (she says while munching on caramel popcorn…) and get enough sleep…

Finally, my thoughts are with everyone in Moore, OK after the insane tornado this afternoon.


Posted in Resolutions

2013 Resolutions Update – April

I made some progress on my 2013 New Years Resolutions during March…


Put a video on YouTube

Yes – on February 25th I uploaded my first YouTube video. It was some scenes from Boston’s Snowpocalypse – but with the fatal flaw of being added waaaay after the fact so no-one was interested in watching it! 🙂  Opps. Will try harder to be timely next time.

Completed for March:

See at least one sunrise per month

Yes, managed it for March – just!

Sunrise: March 29th.
Sunrise: March 29th.

Progress Made:

Run a half-marathon race

I’ve entered Boston’s Run to Remember which is on May 26th.  I found a training plan and it’s all going well so far.

Earn $3760

My first USD paycheck arrived in March!


That leaves $3132 left to earn this year. I’ve been given three (or four?) more weeks work so hopefully by mid-May I’ll be perhaps another $1250 (+) closer…

Get a US driver’s license

I went for my first driving lesson last week, my first ever time driving on the wrong side of the road.  I survived!   My lesson was with Love Driving School who charged $50 an hour. This seemed quite excessive actually so I don’t think I’ll be going back to them.  He also charges $100 to sponsor you for your driving test (i.e. provide car and person)… I recently made further enquiries and found a school that charges… wait for it… $158 to sponsor you for your driving test!  Excuse me?  What planet is this? (oh yeah, it’s America…)

Write a newspaper article, a short story and a book outline

No, but I did write a few narratives while we were in Australia – Sydney Morning Run is one of them.

Make a website/blog for me

This blog is going well – I have 21 subscribers!  I find this amazing since I haven’t told anyone about the blog…?  My best post for likes has been Australia Trip – Summary Part 1.  I’m severely lacking in comments though. Something to work on for next month?

Also relevant this month:

I also want to:

  1. Watch the Boston Marathon (in person!)

I might have a problem with this….  My next set of work starts on 15th April — Marathon Monday!  In the morning!  SIGH.


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