Tag Archives: ireland

Running.

Whistler is a very active place.  People make full use of the mountains; in winter they ski and snowboard, and in summer they bike and hike.  There are trails made specifically for walkers/runners/cyclists so that no one has to travel at the side of the motorway.
Frequently walking past all these active people started to make me feel lazy.  I wanted to start doing something.  A few years ago I started running for a brief spell, then I moved to England for university and stopped.  Since I had done it before, and it didn’t require the purchase of any expensive equipment (aside from proper shoes), I decided to take up running again, only ‘for real’ this time.

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This is the first pair of proper running shoes I’ve owned, and wow, it really makes a difference.  It’s a bit of an upfront cost, but it’s definitely worth investing in a pair of proper runners that are designed to support your feet and ankles.

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I started out with no real plan.  I just jogged/ran for as long as I could and then slowed down to a walk until I felt able to go faster again.  If you follow me on Instagram (@njmarcus), you may have noticed that a lot of my photos lately have been around Lost Lake.  This area is perfect for running because there are no vehicles, just cyclists, walkers and runners.  Plus, it’s a beautiful area.

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I have to go running first thing, otherwise I won’t go.  It’s never a good idea to head out on an empty stomach, but at the same time it’s unwise to exercise with a full stomach.  I’ve found that, for me, the perfect thing is a small glass of fresh smoothie.  I blend a banana, a handful of strawberries, some orange juice and soy milk.  Or a few slices of peach, or fresh mango, or apple, or grapes.  Or whatever I have in the fridge that morning.
I like to set off about half an hour after I’ve had my smoothie, so in that in-between time I get dressed into my running gear, and set out my clothes for the day so when I get home I can just hop in the shower then get ready.

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After about three or four weeks of just running, somewhat aimlessly, I decided I needed more structure, and maybe something to aim for.  I’ve said (mainly to myself) for quite a while that I want to run a marathon some day, but it’s gone no further than me thinking that.  To be honest, it’s something I’ve thought would be awesome to do, but at the same time I knew I could never actually do.
I read quite a few health and fitness blogs, and I read Katie’s post about surprising her sister by turning up to run a half marathon with her.  Then I flicked through some other posts on her blog, and saw all these other people posting their accomplishments and achievements, and something in me just clicked and I thought maybe I could do this.  But not on my own.

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I mulled it over while I ran by the lake that morning, and by the time I got back, I decided to look into races I could possibly enter.  The first one I found was the Whistler Half Marathon, which is happening this weekend.  Uh, yeah, I’m not quite ready for that.  I knew that for any type of race, no matter how short, I needed time to prepare and train.  So anyway, I searched and searched, and finally found a 5k in Ireland in October.  I don’t think I’ve mentioned this, but I’m going to be back home for the whole of October (to be my big sister’s Maid of Honour, woo!), and so I pitched it to my family to see if anyone would run it with me, and virtually train with me.  Turns out my family are an easily led bunch ;)  Even my dad agreed to run.

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5 kilometres may seem like nothing to some people, but to me it is huge.  I’ve never done something like this before, so while I am excited, I am pretty nervous.

Since the decision has been made, I’ve started the Couch to 5k training program, which promises to have me ready to run 5k in nine weeks.  I’m at the end of week one, so I have a long way to go, but I am so happy to be actively (excuse the pun) doing something about this dream.  Right now I feel like I am walking more than I am running, but as the saying goes, you don’t have to go fast, you just have to go.

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Missing the sea.

Until I moved to England, three years ago, I had always lived by the sea.
Was it intentional, Mum and Dad, that throughout several house moves, we stuck to the coast?
I took it for granted, never having known anything different.  And then I moved to the middle of England, and the first warm day came and I realised there was no beach nearby.  Everyone flocked to a park, we spread out our blankets on the grass, and enjoyed the sun (all fifteen minutes of it).  And sure, it was lovely, but there was no salty breeze, no sand between my toes (for days to come) and no icy cold waves to jump over.
Even on brisk winter days, I miss putting my wellies on and taking the dogs for a walk on the beach, while the wind rips my scarf off and chills me to the bone.

This summer I was more than excited to be going on two holidays to seaside towns, back to back.  Not fancy, hot, different-language kind of beaches, but proper seaweedy, disappointing-weather, packed lunch kind of beaches.

Youghal in County Cork was beautiful.  The house we stayed in overlooked the bay, and we sat in the bay window seats for hours watching for dolphins.

We never saw any, but my mum and I saw loads of other interesting things.  Well, interesting to us, right Mum?  (That man is swimming by those rocks, but there’s a sign saying no swimming!  That boat looks awfully low at the back, do you think it’s got a leak?)


This is the old pier in Cobh (previously known as Queenstown, Cork) where the last passengers boarded the Titanic.  Sad :(

And then on to Whitby, North Yorkshire…


Actually this is Scarborough, right next to Whitby.


I think I’m in love with that ice cream van.

What is it about being by the sea that makes me feel calm and rested?
I love it.
All of it.
Waves, lighthouses, boats, long stretches of sand.

And just to balance out that nice photo of me sitting by a boat, here is a photo of me on a boat looking somewhat less composed…

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A few photos from back home.

I didn’t take very many photos when I was back home last week, in fact I am certain I am missing a few shots, but I guess I took those ones on my mum’s camera.  I’ll get them eventually (right, Mum?)

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St. Patrick’s Day

A little late, but happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Christmas photos.

And some photos from last Christmas that I just found on my phone…

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I can’t lie; I took this photo last Christmas on my phone, and I love it so much that I’m using it to help me catch up with the photo advent calendar :)

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A jumble of things.

You probably don’t care, but here is a jumble of  random little things about me…

1.  I will be twenty-three on Thursday.  23.  Two three.  Kind of mid-twenties… I’m frightened.

2. My middle name is Joy.  I’ve never really loved it to be honest, because I felt like a let down in not being super joyful all the time, but I’ve come to realise that I am joyful, in my own way :)

3.  This semester I have to read a novel per week.  I have no idea how I’m going to manage that.  The first one is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, which I read two years ago and hated.  I’m three-quarters of the way through it this time and don’t hate it just so much.

4.  I made soda bread this morning.  (I told you this would be random)

5.  I just walked to the post box and it is like a ghost town outside.  There are protests and riots going on in the city centre today so we were all warned to stay away.  All the shops are shut up and no one is leaving their home, even though where I live is a mile outside of the main city centre.

6.  I went out with my university’s Irish Society on Thursday night and felt like a total interloper because I don’t speak a word of Irish.  Turns out most of the other members don’t either.

7.  I really wanted to make a pizza type thing for dinner with my fresh soda bread but because the shops are closed I couldn’t get any tomato puree :(

8.  I need to get a job but this is a slight problem because nowhere is hiring.  And also, I’m hoping to get the ‘job’ of News Editor (officially this time, yet still unpaid) for my university newspaper, and this will take up any spare moment of time I may find myself with in between reading a million books.

9.  I am listening to this album on repeat this week.

10.  I am ridiculously excited to get started on my media based project for my Writing & Context module.  When it’s finished I will hopefully be able to share it here.

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Cranny Falls.

My car has been at the mechanic’s for almost two weeks, I’ve been going a little bit crazy stuck at home on my own. But he called last night to say I could pick it up, so I’m going tonight to get it. Can’t wait! (She still needs to pass the MOT, get taxed and insured, but sshhhhhh…)

Earlier this week my mum and I took a picnic to Cranny Falls, it’s a walk through the countryside up to a small waterfall, but if you venture off the path you can find the site of empty stone cottages from the days when the lime quarry was in business.  My dad’s mum lived there as a child, and I wanted to see if we could find her old house.  I don’t have any photos of the houses because my battery died right after we ate lunch, but I fully intend to go back and take a million photos.  It turns out that the house my Granny M lived in is actually still inhabited; while the other cottages were left to disintegrate, hers was the one reserved for the Quarry Foreman (which was her father at the time, circa 1930s), and so it is still lived in.  Kind of disappointing, as I’d hoped to be able to go inside and have a look around at an old ramshackle stone cottage.  The reason we figured this out was because we met a man and his wife also walking around with their dogs, and he knew everything about the history of the area, the quarry, mining, what happened there during the war, how the Germans had a peat business in full force until the war began and they had to leave.  It turns out that this man was born just down the road from our farm, and he knows my grandparents really well.  Couldn’t believe it!

I only got two half-decent photos before my camera battery died;

Mum and me at the waterfall (hidden behind Mum’s head)

There was no one around to take a photo so my camera was sitting precariously on a rock for this.
(And yes, my mum is wearing my uni hoodie.  Don’t think I’m getting it back, she loves it)

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