Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Getting A Kickstart Into 2011

I'm sitting here typing with my leg resting on the desk (very lady-like) and an ice-pack on my knee. Today was my third day running some form of hill in a row and my left knee is not happy. It's not really bad and didn't hurt at all when I was running but I can feel it and I'd rather not feel it so the ice-pack is precautionary.

Yesterday Coach Chris threw in a special session. It was a mystery session where we only found out the meeting place at 9 pm (via text) the night before. We knew the start time and the length of the session but not what it was going to involve. Boy did he have a doozy for us.

The suburb where I live is really hilly so that's where CC chose to run. He picked out two of the gnarliest hills he could find and made us run reps up them. One of the streets, Gower Street, is rumoured to be the steepest hill in Brisbane. He had us run that one 5 times. And by run I mean run until you can't run any more and walk the rest of the way. I managed to get to the top (very slowly) 4 times out of the 5 but on the last rep one of the walkers passed me, I was running so slowly.

Gower Street is in a residential area and while we were running it a man was packing up his utility for his day's work. I can only imagine what was going through his head. I'm sure he was questioning our collective sanity - I certainly was.

The other hill, Miskin Street, we only had to run up three times. And we had a cheer squad (a rowdy group that I think hadn't been to bed yet) to give us lots of encouragement. It somehow made it easier to run.

Today's session was hills, which seemed a little superfluous after running hills the previous two days. My legs weren't happy. I could feel the remnants of yesterday's session weighing them down but I put my head down and tried to enjoy it as much as possible. Thank goodness there's two days of rest until I have to run again. The next run is another mystery run - can't wait! (disclaimer - please note the heavy use of sarcasm)

I think CC is giving us a kick start into 2011. Personally, I'm looking forward to a much more positive running year. I'm starting at a healthier level. I've learnt about resting being a fundamental part of training. I've now seen a kinesiologist to get some help with the nutritional side of things. He's put me on some specific vitamins and minerals to help with recovery. (I'm not a big believer in alternative medicine but my sister swears by him so I've decided to open my mind and give it a go) And I've sorted my first race of 2011 - the 9th of January (yes, next week) I'll be running a half marathon from the Cadbury chocolate factory in Hobart, Tasmania. When we finish we get a sample bag - yay!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Wrap-Up

It was so nice to run - and run hard this morning.After all the indulgence of the Christmas period it was cathartic to burn off a few calories. Coach Chris had us running some pretty nasty reps which involved a hill but I managed to keep my pace really consistent.

A little Christmas miracle happened at our house. If you're a regular reader, you may recall that one of the Rockettes has been clucky. She'd stopped laying and refused to leave the nest and was giving us her most maternal looks. She was actually in a psychotic state, believing that she was the re-incarnation of the Virgin Mary.

Christmas morning came and she got herself off the nest and started scratching around their run again - just like nothing had happened. I'm not sure why or how she snapped out of it. Maybe it was the Prozac I'd been dissolving in her water (just kidding. It was Zoloft which has fewer side-effects - in particular less anger issues and with a face like that we can't afford for her to get any moodier than she already is). Or whether it was the fact that the 25th of December had rolled around and there was no star above her chicken coop and no shepherds had come a-calling and there was not even an egg under her expansive and maternal posterior. I'm just relieved that things are back to normal.

And on another animal note - Nelson, our 12 year old dalmatian was a very naughty boy. He managed to break into Iven's Christmas truffles and scoff the lot. He obviously didn't see the ad on TV which clearly states that chocolate isn't good for dogs.

Luckily there weren't any serious side-effects (the theobromine can cause cardiac issues) but there were a few unpleasant consequences. Let's just say that it WASN'T a Silent Night. And, Iven, I DO NOT FART THAT LOUDLY! Heavens know how Bubbles survived the night. And I'm really glad our Christmas is in Summer and there's no need for a lovely, warm fire.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas is done and dusted for another year. Phew! We survived the over-indulgence and the weather without too much pain. (I haven't dared stand on the scales yet)

Christmas was incredibly wet. We've had the wettest December for as long as I can remember. It's rained nearly every day so far this month. Our dams are full and our soil is sodden and my house is getting mouldy. Yuk!

I was supposed to start the day with a run with Coach Chris. Both of us aren't big Christmas people and I thought a run would give me the shot of endorphins that I needed. But CC piked at the last moment and I just wasn't feeling like running by myself. When the boys woke up we had our gift exchange. I'd given Josh some running gifts - a pair of shorts, singlet and a Nike + Sportsband. He decided that they needed to be used so he, Sam and I headed out. Woohoo! I got my run and my endorphins.

Even though it was rainy it was still pretty warm and humid. We finished the run like this -

Then it was off to my parents' place for lunch. Home for a nap. Then back for the big Christmas dinner - turkey and heaps of veggies, followed by my sister's famous Christmas icecream (chocolate icecream with white and dark chocolate pieces and roast nuts), plum pudding and brandy cream.

This morning we woke to more rain. I started to feel a bit claustrophobic in our damp, dark house so Iven and I went for a walk to the local shopping centre to have a coffee. The walk was just what I needed. It was so nice to see the creek flowing (last Christmas it was almost dry)

and to see the little gifts of nature

I am hanging out for a real run, though. Roll on Tuesday!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Tis the day before Christmas and I'm finally all ready. Still not feeling the spirit but at least all the presents are bought and wrapped.

A whole week ago Marlene tagged me to answer a few questions. I know I'm a little late but better late than never.

What are you most proud of accomplishing in 2010?

My best running moments this year were running the Sydney Half Marathon in September with my son Josh and running my first marathon in Melbourne. This year was a lot about survival, not so much pb's. After a bout of over training syndrome I was happy to just be running, especially with the major family/work issues that had to be dealt with.

What are your running goals for 2011?

My goals for this year are to continue to get back to where I was running-wise in July 2009. And to continue to enjoy my running.

What was your favorite race?

Without a doubt my favourite race was the half in Sydney. It was amazing to be able to run with Josh, to run over the Harbour Bridge, around most of the Sydney landmarks and to finish in the Opera House forecourt. Plus my time was better than I'd expected.

What is your favorite holiday guilty pleasure?

Naps! I love making myself some lunch and taking it to bed with me. Then reading till my eyes just have to close. Both my dogs think afternoon naps are a must and join me so it gets a little crowded on the bed. And sometimes a little stinky.

What is your most embarrassing running moment?

My most embarrassing running moment involved an urgent call of nature, a lack of conveniently sited toilets and a fire hose. You've all got imaginations so I don't need to say anything more.

I'm going to tag

Stefano and

Talking about running - I've actually done some this week. Speed session was Tuesday and Coach Chris had us do mile repeats again. We did these two weeks ago and they were not so great. I started at 7:09 then things went down hill - 7:17, 7:34 and 7:45. It was a very poor show of consistency.

But this week I was a lot happier with my pacing - 7:09, 7:06, 7:11 and 7:22. I still died a little by the end but the first three were pretty even.

Then we had hills yesterday. The weather has been so wet here that we had to avoid the trails and just stick to the road so we ran the loop of the mountain. It starts with a 2.2k section uphill and then undulates around the top for a while then it's downhill. The first section is tough - I was managing 7 min k's - but you get your legs back once it starts undulating and then you can kick it home. My last three k's were all around the 4:30 mark and they felt great. I wish all my running could feel so good and be as fast. I finished the loop 2 mins faster than I'd done it before!! And I even stopped at the top of the first uphill to catch my breath.

Happy Christmas to Everyone - One Sleep To Go.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Today is the calm after the storm. I have had a massive few days and now, finally I can get my head into the Christmas thing - after I recover a little.

It started Friday. Josh graduated. Woohoo! Unfortunately the day didn't start the best with him and I having a big fight as he left the house. Let's just call it too much stress. He did apologise via text which defused the whole situation and allowed me to enjoy it. This year's graduation, unlike Sam's last year, didn't make me cry. Not sure why.

Saturday started really early. I woke up at 3:30 am for a 5:30 run. Again - not sure why - maybe the anticipation of the work that was ahead. The run was great, a brisk 20k. Then it was home, breakfast, fruit and vegies market then home to get stuck into the real work of the weekend - 4 dozen caramel mud cupcakes for the wedding the next day. Apart from being distracted and letting the first batch catch a little on the bottom of the saucepan, it all went smoothly.

Sunday was another really early start. 3:30am! What the?? I didn't have the alarm set until 5:15 but my bladder and an overactive mind preempted that. It was the squad's Christmas run. We all dress up and run through the streets of the City, often where people are just leaving their party's/clubs and we always get loads of comments.

My outfit - The top

Please excuse the bad photo - I had to take about a dozen to get one where you could read the shirt so disregard the bad hair and the bags under the eyes and the weird expression on my face.

and the hat

Such a fun run, followed by breakfast then the mad dash home to get decorating. The decorating didn't take as long as I'd feared but I had to take the cakes up to the venue without causing any damage. My sister Julie came to my rescue and nursed them while I did my best impersonation of a granny driver and we managed to get them their intact. Then we had to assemble the stand, put on the wrappers and the finishing touch of the hearts. We finished with less than an hour before we had to leave for the wedding and I was still dressed in my Christmas run clothes (sweat included)

Mad dash home for shower, quick change, slap on a little make-up and then off again. It had started pouring by now and we were a little damp by the time we were sitting in the chapel. Lucy arrived and was looking as beautiful as we knew she would, with her two girls as bridesmaids. Dad sniffled his way through the service as we knew he would and we all enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with this new beginning.

When we left the church we realised that it had rained pretty hard.

The reception was lovely but the weather hadn't been too kind to the hearts on my cupcakes. The outline hearts just wanted to lie down and have a rest but I did manage a photo with it looking the way it should.

So that's why I'm tired. Today will be a day of rest.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Messages From On High

It's only three days till the big day for Lucy and Brad. The clock's ticking and final preparations are underway. I've finally solved the problem of The Cupcake Icing vs The Weather. We're ditching the buttercream in favour of Italian Meringue. There's a little more work involved but the white is whiter and it has a better hold for the hearts. Phew!

This is Lucy's second marriage. And Brad's. And we're all hoping that it's a much better fit for both of them than their first partners. My Mum, who could win a gold medal for worrying, has been praying hard that it'll be right. Today in her prayers she asked God for a sign to put her mind at rest. Unfortunately while she was praying a really big thunderstorm was on the way. Lots of thunder and lightening! And, would you believe it, a bolt of lightening hit the roof of her house and sparked a little fire. The first Mum knew of it was her dogs going insane, barking at the firemen.

Poor Mum's now hoping that the lightening bolt wasn't a rather strongly worded message.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Tale of Two Days

Picture this. Sitting under sails at a coffee shop with your BFF having breakfast while overlooking the beautiful Broadwater on the Gold Coast. The sun's shining (the first time in at least a week) and there's a gentle breeze. The coffee and the food is delicious and the conversation doesn't stop and is punctuated with laughter.

That was my morning yesterday. I'd promised my friend Natalie a full day in her first week of holidays and we picked a beauty. I left home at 6:30 am and arrived back almost 12 hours later and in all that time we didn't run out of things to talk about. We managed to squeeze a little Christmas shopping into the day as well and I crossed another two people off my list. Woohoo!!

And then today was back to reality. An early start with speed session - Kenyans again but this time I completed the session (even if I didn't quite reach my time goal on the last k) Home for breakfast, ironing and a few other fun chores (please note the heavy sarcasm). Then off to the shops for a quick coffee with my sister, more Christmas shopping (three more people ticked off). A drive out to the cake decorating supplies shop to by buttercream whitener. (who knew there was such a thing and titanium dioxide doesn't sound like something we should be eating) Back home to stay - a quick batch of brownies for the sister who owns the cafe and has a ridiculous amount of catering to do tomorrow. A long chat with a client who was dropping off fabric then the afternoon filled with cutting, drafting and sewing.

I mad a prototype of Lucy's wedding cupcake on the weekend to see how it would stand up to the humidity. A bit of googling had provided me with a useful tip - to add a small amount of cream of tartar to the buttercream to give it a bit more body. It worked! And I was really happy with the result.

Just imagine the icing white and the larger heart more tilted. I sent the picture to Lucy and waited for the response ... She liked it but she was wondering if the hearts weren't too much.

I must say I didn't react well. I've spent a LOT of money and LOTS of hours on this project and the hearts were her idea. BUT it is her wedding and she should have what she wants so even though I complained to my husband and my sister Julie, I didn't say anything to Lucy. Then I talked to another sister, Fiona (getting confused with all these sisters yet?) and she suggested I leave the problem with her and she would talk up the hearts and Lucy would change her mind. And sure enough that's exactly what happened. And I'm relieved that I haven't wasted all those $$ and hours.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Week

One of the Rockettes is convinced she's about to become a Mother. Maybe because it's Christmas - the anniversary of the first virgin birth (she hasn't had any contact with a rooster). She's stopped laying and refuses to leave the nest and tries to claim the other chicken's egg as her own.

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Look at that face. Does she have the soft maternal features of a Mother? I didn't think so either. She looks a little evil - like she'd peck out the eyes of her first-born.

I've spent a lot of hours this week making these.

They're to go on the top of my sister's wedding cupcakes. But the weather has not been kind for cake decorating. It's been so humid/rainy/hot that the hearts aren't setting hard and the butter cream is too soft to hold the limp, saggy hearts. I'm really hoping the weather improves by next weekend or we'll have to go with plan B (whatever that might be)

And then there's this. My last Rhythmic costume of the year.

Then I got to see the costumes I'd made for the Commonwealth Games in a magazine! Seriously cool!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I was sick last night. Full-on, throwing up in the toilet sick. And to tell the truth, I'm still not feeling great this morning but I wasn't sick enough NOT to do the weekly grocery shop. I do this every Thursday and it's followed by a cup of coffee with my Mum, who also shops on Thursday.

Because of my dodgy stomach I probably shouldn't have had the coffee - but I love my coffee and I couldn't resist. But it didn't sit well and the conversation with my Mum had to be halted every so often so the waves of nausea could pass. I'm sure my body language wasn't that great and I certainly wasn't my usual cheery self.

It ended up being a short coffee. I raced off home and started work for the day but just a little while ago I was interrupted by a really nice, concerned text message. "Are you okay? You seemed a bit down this morning." Thing is - I couldn't tell who my lovely, concerned friend was. The caller wasn't in my contacts. And apart from my Mum, I hadn't seen or talked to anyone who would have my phone number. So I texted back - "Who is this? You're not in my phone contacts. I'm not down - just feeling a little sick"

The reply read - "It's Lizzie silly!"

Ha Ha! Wrong number. But this Lizzie-who-I-don't-know is a lovely, caring, human being and a kind friend. Wish I could meet her.

I also went past a woman that I don't want to meet this morning. She was driving an SUV with personalized number plates that read - NAG. I don't know if that's a personal quality that I'd like to advertise. And if they were a present from her husband I'm thinking that couples therapy might be a good idea.

Monday, December 6, 2010


This post is probably in the realm of too much information. So if you're squeamish about bodily functions best look away now.

This morning was speed session. Now for speed session I have to take some special precautions. I've had three fairly good sized babies and sometimes, the extra strain of running speedily causes some unwanted issues. (For the slower among you who take a while to pick up on things - issues = wee and precautions = pad) Ha ha - now I bet you're wishing you looked away.

We've been having lots of rain so the humidity, although it wasn't actually raining at the time, was 93% and when the sun came out it may as well have been raining with the sweat my clothes had to soak up.

After the session I went to shower at the athletics track. First of all I had to go to the loo to remove the aforementioned pad but, maybe due to all that sweating or substandard adhesive, the pad was already loose and it fell into the toilet. Oops! I knew it couldn't stay there because it might clog up the works so I tore off a piece of loo paper to fish it out with. I tried to turn and fish while still sitting but, being slippery with sweat, I slid off the seat. That has to be one of the most awkward moments I've had. I hope I don't have to explain the bruise on my buttocks to my husband.

(Disclaimer - the buttocks in the picture are not mine. Note the arm - it's way too hairy to be mine.)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Walking the Red Carpet.

I'm not comfortable being in the limelight. I hate being centre of attention and I'm always going to be this way. But there are moments that attention is thrust on you and you have to run with it with poise and grace and a great deal of blushing.

I had one of those moments two nights ago. It was our running squad's Christmas/End of Year party and I'd been looking forward to it for about a month. It's held at the Chalk Hotel which is one of the club's sponsors and they always put on a pretty good buffet. But that wasn't the only reason I was looking forward to it. I was getting a night out - no kids and no husband. I was being driven there by my Tuesday breakfast friend and running companion, Jenny. And I was going to spend time with my wonderful running group.

We arrived and settled into conversation. I got to chat to Leanne who'd just run her first marathon over in Athens! Amazing stories and an incredible race. We were deep in conversation when Coach Chris tapped me on the shoulder and said "Look who I found."

Talk about confused!! When I looked around there was my husband, Iven, who I'd left at home cooking dinner and hanging out washing. Huh?? What was he doing here? Iven explained that Jenny had organised for him to come to surprise me. I still was a little baffled but what the hell...

Dinner was served. Yum! My only complaint was that the plates were too small. I wanted to try everything and everything that I tried tasted really nice.

Once dinner was over the formalities began. Coach Chris presents awards every year. Encouragement awards, supporters awards, performance awards and the two top awards - Member's Member and Member of the Year. The first of these is voted on by all the members and the second is selected by C.C. He worked his way through them all and got to the Member's Member. He explained that it was the first year and it had been organised by one of our sponsors. The sponsor had tabulated the results and he had no idea who was to receive it. I was sitting right at the back and Mike, one of the runners, turned and pointed to me and said that he'd voted for me. And then C.C. was announcing the winner - apparently Mike wasn't the only one who voted for me.

I had to give a little speech. I have no idea what I said - just that I was dying a little inside. (I spent hours later on that night not able to sleep wondering if I'd said something stupid and embarrassed myself)Photos were taken and then, mercifully, I escaped down to the back of the room.

And then C.C. announced the Member of the Year. Me?!! Again! OMG - it felt like I had won an Oscar. There was a huge round of applause, more photos but I was allowed to get away without a speech this time.

After all of that I was surrounded by people wanting to congratulate me, hug me, kiss me, buy me drinks and tell me how well deserved my win was. I have NEVER felt more important, influential and loved. It was actually quite a heady experience (and not because I accepted all those drinks). It was a fantastic night!

I've been basking in the warm glow ever since. The thing is - I know I'm pretty ordinary, definitely not exciting. I work from home, have raised my boys and I live a quiet, uneventful life. I don't see myself as special so it astounds me that other people do. It's so nice to know that I can be who I am and be accepted by people from all walks of life. They haven't put the labels on me that I put on myself.

But the nicest thing that happened to me that evening was a comment from Iven. He told me that he was really happy that other people were acknowledging what he had known for years - that I was really special. Iven - you don't often say a lot but when you make comments like that you just make me melt. Love ya Hon!

So my trophy shelf is looking REALLY cluttered and full now. I'm thinking that we may have to build an extension!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tale of Two Birds

I spoke a little prematurely yesterday about no injuries. It was raining pretty heavily most of the day and one of the chickens was doing fence patrol when she caught sight of a small sodden lorikeet hopping around our back yard. I was in the workroom and her antics attracted my attention and, being an ex-vet and lover of animals (except the ones that poo in the middle of the night where you can walk in said poo), I thought it was up to me to rescue the poor defenseless creature.

I got a towel and threw it over the lorikeet. It wasn't happy about having his freedom curtailed and his squawks made the dogs almost manic. I took it up to Sam so he could look after it while I was looking for a cage. I opened the towel a little but put my finger too close ...

Those birds have really sharp beaks! But that HAS to be the end of my injuries for a while - that's the third one and bad things only come in threes. Don't they?!!

My second birdy tale involves the Rockettes. They've been a little parsimonious with their eggs lately and when I went down this morning I reached under the one on the nest to find there were NO eggs. They've often given us one egg but never none. I lifted her up a bit to make sure I hadn't just missed feeling it and, sure enough, nothing! But she was being really patient with being disturbed so I gave her a nice pat and some kind words and, like magic, an egg appeared. Talk about fresh!