What is Canicross?

A few weeks ago Facebook recommended an event it thought I might be interested in, due to my constant liking of dog related pages! It was for the Sled Dog Expo run by Sled Dog Racing Queensland. Whenever I run with our dogs and watch Ruby in particular, I always comment on what a good sled dog she would be! Aside from the fact that she does not have the same endurance level as me, she loves to run and as soon as you give her the “Let’s go” command, she is away! Holly loves to run too and I reckon she could easily run 10-15k with me, and not even look tired!

So I started to look into the Sled Dog Racing and realised that it doesn’t just take place in snowy environments and isn’t just with a sled! It originated in Europe but seems to be getting more and more popular over here which is great for us and our dogs!

Canicross is the sport of cross-country running with your dog, using special equipment to make it safer and more comfortable for you and your dog. The dog wears a harness that allows free motion of the limbs and doesn’t restrict their breathing. The runner wears a waist belt which looks a bit like a climbing harness as it also goes around the legs to help lift you up and forward from the hips and take the strain off your back when the dog pulls. Between the runner and the dog is a bungee line to help soften the jolts from abrupt stopping and changes of direction over tricky terrain. I was amazed to find out that there are races around the Brisbane area for Canicross and can’t wait to get our equipment and give it a go! We love to run in the trails and so do the dogs but it’s hard holding a lead and you feel like you can’t run properly. Hopefully with all the correct equipment, we will all enjoy it a bit more!

And if running or sledding isn’t your thing, you can also do it with a mountain bike, a scooter or skiis, anything that allows your dog to pull you along!

To find out more, visit the Sled Dog Racing Queensland website www.sdrq.org.au or come to the Gold Coast Sled Dog Expo on March 7th or the Brisbane Sled Dog Expo on March 28th. I will also be there doing free dog massage, as I am sure these athletic dogs will be happy to have some help with their recovery!

Picture credit: Kirby Reaves, Reflections of Rogue Photography

Why We Love to Run

I’ve recently had to take a whole year off running due to a foot injury that would not heal. It’s not the first time I have had to take time off (and probably not the last!), but it is definitely the longest period of no running. I hate not running, but I throw myself into weight training and that keeps my sanity! But it got me thinking, why do we love to run so much? I know I’m not alone here!

For me, I run to clear my head. It’s good thinking and alone time, where I forget anything that may be bothering me. Coupled with the rush of happy hormones, you inevitably feel better after a run, than before!

But why do we push ourselves beyond our capabilities, and keep pushing even when we know we shouldn’t (like through an injury)?

Running definitely has addictive qualities. All other exercise I do makes me feel good, but not the same “good” as when I have been for a run. Is it that nothing gets my heart rate up as high as running does? Or maybe it’s being out in nature and getting some vitamin D that makes it feel better?

Over the years of injuries, I’ve learnt to appreciate running. To me now, it’s not worth pushing it to the point of time out for injury. I’ve accepted that running distance is not what I am made to do, but maybe I can run 5k a few days a week without a problem? And this is better than no running at all. I think I will miss that feeling of pride after you have finished a marathon and the buzz after completing a long run with friends, but I know now that I don’t ever want to go through a year off again and having to wear a stupid moonboot!

Why do you love to run? 

New York Food – Part One

You are not just in New York to run a marathon, you are going to want to fuel up on some delicious meals! There are some amazing restaurants in New York and this most recent trip over, we found some great ones! We used an app called OpenTable to book most of them as some of them are so popular you have to book way in advance. Here is part one of my favourites, stay tuned for part two!

  • Don’t Tell Mama 343 W 46th St – A piano bar where you can have a meal and then go next door and watch people playing and singing, the bar staff get up and sing too! I don’t really like that kind of music but it was a great atmosphere and experience and the food was pretty good. The whole road is called Restaurant Row so a great place to find somewhere to eat!
  • Butter 70 W 45th St – One of my favourite restaurants, apparently featured on Gossip Girls. Amazing food, great atmosphere, close to Times Square.
  • Chelsea Markets – Great to look through and lots of nice places to eat.
  • Gramercy Tavern 42 E 20th St – Had an amazing lunch here. They have bar food or restaurant. The restaurant is amazing, great food and you may spot some celebs in there – we saw Yoko Ono and some guy from Heroes!
  • The River Cafe 1 Water St, Brooklyn – Very expensive set 3 course menu, mostly paying for the view, which was amazing as it is right next to the Brooklyn Bridge with perfect city views, but the staff are a bit up themselves and looked down on us because of the way we dressed. We didn’t know we had to dress up so were just in jeans and jumpers. They made my husband and Dad put on a dinner jacket!! Don’t recommend unless you want to frock up and have a huge bill!
  • Burke and Wills 226 W 79th St – Australian bar/restaurant with great food, if you are missing home!
  • Prohibition 503 Columbus Ave – A pub that plays live music near to above restaurant, we went for drink there after.

My New York Marathon Tips

I’m starting to see a lot of people for massage who are running the New York Marathon this year, and as I competed in it last year, I have lots of good info and tips to share to help prepare you for the day!

  • Be prepared for the cold, long wait before you start – I left my apartment at 5.30am to get on the subway, a ferry and a bus to arrive at the starting village at about 7am. I was in wave 1 and started at 9.40am, so it is a very long time to be out in the elements on Staten Island! It was freezing and extremely windy, I had 7 layers of clothes on and a thermal first aid blanket!
  • Take a cushion – Once on Staten Island, there is grass or concrete to sit on for your 3 hour wait. I went to Jack’s discount store the day before and bought a cushion for a few bucks!
  • The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is long – The first bridge across to Manhattan is about 2.5k! It’s not as steep as the Gateway bridge but it’s definitely longer!
  • Try and run down the middle of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge if you are on the lower level – The nice guys on the upper level decide they need a pee in the first kilometre of the race and kindly do it off the side of the bridge! If it is a little windy, as it was last year, you may get a face full!
  • The race is not flat – I thought it would be but there are lots of sneaky inclines in there, even through central park at the end.
  • Don’t go for baggage option – If you check a bag in you won’t get out of the place for about 90 mins after crossing the finish line! I didn’t take a bag and it still took about 40 mins to exit! If you don’t opt for a bag, they give you a plastic bag when you collect your number, to put your bits in that you might want for the wait like water and snacks. If you have a bag they assume you will have a jumper so when you cross the line you will be given a foil blanket. If you have no bag then they also wrap you up in a lovely, warm, stylish (?) poncho!
  • When you cross the finish line, you have another 5k to walk! – You are so happy to cross the line, get your medal, get your photo taken and get your bag of snacks and drinks . . . then they make you walk for miles to exit central park at certain streets according to your name. You can’t stop or sit down or stretch, you just have to “keep going, you’re nearly there”!!! I thought I had finished the race but I was wrong!! In hindsight, moving and not just stopping after a marathon is good for the legs!! 
  • Enjoy the crowds and atmosphere – there really is nothing like it! The whole of the city come out to cheer you on, there is no part when you are out there alone. I usually run with an iPod in races for distraction, but I actually took it out of my ears to take in the experience, it’s pretty amazing! Enjoy!