Thursday, February 28, 2013

How I Got My Fat Lip

Yesterday I ended up with a fat lip.

No, Iven didn't go all Chris Brown on me. Although, admittedly, I'm probably annoying enough sometimes for him to want to. All that nagging about putting his dirty washing IN the basket and not next to. Poking him in the back in the middle of the night when he's obviously sound asleep (well, I'm pretty sure he's asleep judging from the snoring). Forcing him to eat all my baking and give me positive feedback or else I sulk. And these are probably the more charming of my irritating attributes.

And I didn't walk into a pantry door that had been carelessly left open by one of my progeny.

And Toby didn't head-butt me when I finally relented and let him lick out my cereal bowl.

Please sir, I want some more.

No, I managed to give myself the fat lip. By trying on a bikini top.

Can I just say right now that being able to do this requires very special, advanced skills in clumsiness! Throw a bit of motor skill deterioration caused by age (did I mention that I turn 50 REALLY soon?) and you have the perfect recipe to cause significant harm to your own body.

I tried to take a photo of said fat lip for the blog but I had to zoom in so close that all my wrinkles and saggy bits were more noticeable than the lip swelling so you'll have to take my word for how disfiguring this injury was and how grateful I was that I had no clients or co-workers around to gasp and turn away from its grotesqueness. And unfortunately the swelling had gone down by the time Iven got home so there's no one who can actually bear witness to my pain and suffering - except Toby. But he can't talk and he loves me too much to ever turn away.

Did anyone notice that my hair is almost the same colour as Toby's now? It's true about owners starting to look like their pets. I'm thinking that brown contact lenses would really suit me.

So you're all wondering now exactly HOW I managed to smack myself in the mouth. Well, I'm still trying to work it out too. I'd gotten my latest batch of leotards and bikinis back from the machinist and in it was the bikini I'd made for Ali as her prize for the giveaway. I just wanted to see that everything was sitting right before I sewed in the bikini clip at the back. Lycra is very elastic and Ali is smaller than I am so I had to pull it pretty firmly to get it to sit in the right spot. But my grip wasn't tight enough and one of the sides came loose. The other side sprang back bringing my clenched fist with it - right into my bottom lip. Ouch! 

This isn't the first time that I've been injured at work. For all of you who don't know what exactly it is that I do, I run a dress making business specialising in sportswear. Specifically, I make leotards for aerobics, rhythmic gymnastics and dance and costumes for bodybuilding.

You'd think that this would be a pretty sedentary, safe business to be in. And it is for the most part. But apparently add me to the mix and any number of mishaps can occur. And I can't sue the boss because I AM the boss.

Punching myself in the mouth is the latest in a long line of injuries. Pinning myself is a regular occurrence and I don't often notice until I see blood on the piece of fabric I was cutting or sewing. I've managed to sew myself with the sewing machine. You don't know you're alive until you've had a machine thrust a needle into your finger. I've also managed to hand-sew my leg to a hem and that didn't hurt at all. I've snipped the webbing in my hand multiple times. I've nearly swallowed pins when I accidentally dropped them into my cup of tea instead of the pin container. And then there's the times that I've tipped myself off my stool because I couldn't be bothered getting off it to fetch some fabric and decided I should be able to roll all the way across the room with one push. I should never have let Bubbles sleep in the room that day.

I really should charge danger money. 

I must finish here because I've got to get the next leotard started. Wish me luck. I hope I come out of today in one piece!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Teaching This Old Dog New Tricks

I haven't had to call anyone a fatuous nincompoop in over 24 hours. You know what that means don't you? It means that I finally got out and ran. In the pouring rain. It was so wet that after a while I didn't even bother trying to run around the puddles because they were getting too big, my shoes were already a bit wet AND I couldn't actually see them because my glasses were splattered. It wasn't my most favourite run ever but it did get rid of all that cranky that had been festering in my little black heart. I'm now a much nicer person ... for the moment.

I'm also a wonky person. Just ask my physio. Nothing is quite working the way it's supposed to and the end result is the hip pain that I'd been having. After two weeks of doing my exercises religiously I went back to boast about my progress. Yes, I've made slight improvements but I still run kinda funny. Knees together. Feet flicking out. Hips rocking. That's why I've never wanted to buy a finishing line video. Who wants to spend money on watching yourself run like ... actually, there's absolutely nothing I can compare my running style to. No wonder people know it's me running from a distance. My style is truly distinctive and unique.

I totally blame the fact that I wasn't allowed to learn ballet as a child. If I'd learnt ballet I might have been more comfortable with turning my toes out a little. I might have actually developed some core strength and some glutes. You need glutes for those leaps don't you?

And if I'd learnt how to jete like that I might have had a decent shot in keeping my shoes a little drier yesterday. 

But I didn't learn ballet. I learnt how to play the piano so instead I learnt how to hold a slump position for the good fifteen minutes that I would practice under duress when I was younger building up to at least an hour of slumping once I got to play pieces that I actually enjoyed. I also developed highly tuned hip flexors from all that sitting and pedal pressing. Hip flexors which are still as tight and inflexible today from hours more spent at a sewing machine slumping and pedal pressing and running incorrectly.

When you've been moving the wrong way for fifty years it's a little bit hard to change. New movement patterns feel weird. Physio Chris (as opposed to Coach Chris) has given me a new exercise to help my muscles get used to working. I've got to tie my legs together bondage-style then pretend that I've been riding a horse for at least a week and am a little saddle sore. Knees apart! 

The aim is to keep my knees under my hips rather than directly under my mid-line. It feels weird, wrong and a little naughty. After all, I'm a lady and a lady keeps her knees together. 

Stop laughing!  Just because I talk about farting (and have known to do it on the very rare occasion) and sometimes have to unblock the toilet with a piece of wire and a plunger and call people fatuous nincompoops (but only when they deserve it) and yell at the TV when the ref makes a bad call and give Coach Chris the finger when he gives me grief doesn't mean I'm not a lady. I can be a lady if I want to. I just reserve the right to choose when I am one. 

I'm thinking of wearing a long skirt when I do the shopping tomorrow and bringing along my tubing for an extended workout around the aisles of Woolworths. I'm sure no one will notice me walking strangely.

 But on second thoughts I don't want to be stopped on suspicion of shoplifting a turkey.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Venting Some Steam

Fatuous nincompoop!

If you haven't seen Lincoln, I'd definitely recommend it. I got to see it yesterday with a friend and we both loved it. The language had me totally bewitched. Way back then it was possible to totally insult someone and have it sound quite beautiful.

"Some of us breathe oxygen, and we find the mephitic fumes of his oratory a lethal challenge to our pleural capacities."

Yes, I had to look up the meaning of mephitic (foul-smelling, noxious). But isn't that sentence almost picturesque? I certainly wish politicians would talk more like that these days. It would make politics way more entertaining.

My friend and I decided that this week we would challenge ourselves to use the phrase 'fatuous nincompoop' in the right context sometime this week. I've used it twice today but not totally in the right context. The first was to a tradesman who thought it would be perfectly okay to park me in at the shopping centre and leave his car unattended. I was unimpressed - unimpressed enough to mutter my new favourite-est insult at him under my breath (I haven't quite worked my way up to saying it aloud). Admittedly he wasn't fatuous just self-serving and inconsiderate but the insult felt good rolling off my tongue - good enough to repeat again when some other fatuous nincompoop tried to reverse into my car. Okay, again not fatuous. Maybe just short-sighted or impatient.

You might have picked up a little of my mood today. Not happy Jan! 

It's raining AGAIN! It rained a couple of days last week and it didn't worry me too much. It rained about a month ago - heavily - and again I didn't worry about it too much. Today, though, I've had enough. I'm sick of the washing not drying. I'm sick of wet dog paw prints through the house. I'm sick of sitting on the couch and having it feel dank. I'm sick of watching the mould grow. And I'm sick of trying to get my runners dry and that lovely aroma that emanates from them.

Most of all I'm annoyed with myself for NOT running today. In a weak moment  (at about 3am) I emerged from my sleep enough to hear the rain still bucketing down (and this is through my anti-snore, marriage-saving ear plugs) and I turned off my alarm. I don't always make the right decision at 3am in the morning and I've been cranky about it ever since. 

And it's made worse because I missed my long run on Saturday. I've had a minor relapse with my recovery. It's not dreadful and not unexpected. On the Yaz/Yasmin forum I was warned that it would happen for at least a year. It's about 4 weeks since I had the last one and it lasted about a week so I'm expecting to start feeling better by the middle of this week. But missing two runs in a row and feeling 'off' makes me cranky too.

So while I'm feeling like this I'm going to let it all hang out and just vent my spleen. I'm annoyed that the paper person didn't totally wrap my paper and it ended up sodden and unreadable - had to buy another to do the sudoku. I'm cranky with myself for forgetting to take my water bottle to the shops this morning. Not impressed that I spent ten minutes drying my hair only to have it go totally limp because of the humidity.

Not happy either - a little bit of rain and I can't do a thing with my ear hair. 

 Not happy that two wet dogs ended up napping on my bed and I won't be able to wash the doona cover for most of this week. 

I was particularly unimpressed that I had a canine companion do my stretches with me, especially when he finished his session by shaking his wet self all over me.

And then I had to put up with him giving me the pathetic why-won't-you-take-me-for-a-walk-and-why-don't-you-want-a-cuddle look. Yep, that made me cranky too.

I still don't see why we can't go out

The only thing I'm not cranky about is the cake I made on Saturday.

 No, it's not for anything special. I just made it as a tease for one of the squad members who set me a challenge. Is it wrong that being mean is the only thing making me smile today?

I'd say that I should stay away from sharp implements today but I have to work and work involves the use of needles, pins and scissors. And I'm sure that if I was pushed enough I could do a bit of damage with an HB pencil, sharp or blunt. Maybe I should just put a 'Beware of Rabid Dog' sign on my workroom door and hope people take the hint.

So now I've got it all off my chest, it's your turn. What's made you cranky today? Vent away!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Trickery and Subterfuge

Yesterday I had to totally trick myself to get my run in.

I'm going to back up a few days to explain why. Saturday's long run was my first 20k of the year and I'd intended to run it as slow as I could - somewhere in the vicinity of 6:00 to 6:30 min kilometres. It just so happened that on Saturday only one other member of the squad was running 20k and he's a lot faster runner than I am.

I told myself that it was all okay, that I'd just stick to running my pace and tell John not to worry about me. But John wanted company for his run and was happy to run at my pace. I tried to convince him that I was holding him back but he wouldn't listen and try as I might, those kilometres just wouldn't stay as slow as I'd intended. Needless to say, I was pretty tired after the 20k but it was nothing that a 2 hour afternoon, drool-on-the-pillow sleep couldn't sort out.

Roll on to Monday and I did my tempo/progression/interval run - another intense run but a run I was really happy with. Then Tuesday was speed which is always a take-no-prisoners kind of run. It's a go hard or go home, leave nothing in the tank, grateful that I don't start work until midday and can have a morning nap day.

When I got up on Wednesday to take the dogs for a walk I could feel the sum total of the last few days and the fact that I couldn't face taking both dogs, despite having to look at the pitifully sad look on Bubbles' face when I shut the door on her, was a heads up that my body was feeling it.

So come Thursday morning and I switched my alarm off and rolled over to get some more zzz's. I told myself that it didn't matter if I missed a day. And it doesn't. Much better to let this old body recover properly.

But it's hard to just let a run go. All day I wrestled with questions. Should I run? Should I rest? Am I too tired? Will a run pick me up a little? I just couldn't decide.

I'd put everything in place so I could run if the mood hit. I'd put a lamb curry in the slow cooker and planned the rest of the meal to make it Iven-proof so when it came to the end of the work day I couldn't think of a good enough excuse not to run. I told myself I'd just test out how I was feeling and if I wasn't feeling it I'd go short and walk up the hills.

Turns out, though, that I was feeling it. I don't know if it was the change in routine or the 12 hours extra recovery but I had a great run.

If I'd told myself at the beginning of the day that I could sleep in but I'd HAVE to make up the run in the evening, I probably wouldn't have run. I would have spent all day dreading it. If I'd told myself at the beginning of the run that I would be running an undulating 12k at 5:30 pace, I just wouldn't have believed it. When I left home all I'd planned for was 5k of movement - running or walking, I wasn't fussed. But by letting myself believe that I could do the minimum, I allowed myself time to warm up gradually, actually listen to my body and go with how I was feeling.

Yep, sometimes tricking yourself into a run turns out brilliantly. Sometimes I can't believe how gullible I am.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ear Worms

I have a very bad case of Ear Worm.

Luckily it's nothing like other types of worms that can infect humans. You're welcome to post comments of disgust about this photo - I know it'll gross a lot of you out. I happen to find it in the fascinating but very disturbing category - a lot like the photos that we used to pour over in my older sister's nursing textbooks. (Try looking up genital warts while you're eating breakfast.)

Ear worms are something that probably everyone has experienced at one time or another. They're the little bits of songs that implant themselves in your brain on perpetual loop. And they can drive you insane!

It happens to me a lot when I run. The first time I really remember it happening was my first half marathon when Tina Arena sang Sorrento Moon over and over for two hours. And it wasn't even the whole song - it was only 16 bars because that's all the words that I knew. The day after the half marathon I went out and bought the CD just so I could learn the rest of the song.

Since then it's happened too many times to count and if I'm running solo I'll almost always run with music so at least I'll get some variety in my tunes, to say nothing of the quality of voice. Even my in-head voice isn't that great.

I rarely use music when I'm running in a group. Mostly because I like to be a little social and also because my hearing isn't as good as it used to be and trying to listen to someone talking over the sound of my heavy breathing AND music ... well let's just say that sometimes I hope that my smile and nod are appropriate.

Tuesday mornings are always speed sessions so I never take my MP3 and for the last few weeks I've had the re-emergence of the dreaded Ear Worm. It's usually the last song that I heard on the radio before I got out of the car.

Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men ended up being quite a good tempo for me to run to and I managed to get pretty even pacing that week. The next week it was Call Me Maybe and the fact that I kept changing the lyrics to Call Me Crazy may have been a commentary on how I was feeling at that moment. But again, the tempo was really good at keeping me on pace.

This week I didn't have my car to take to speed. Josh was kind enough to lend me his. But Josh is really into music and has a pretty good system in his car (complete with some pretty powerful sub woofers that give us a heads up that he's on his way home when he turns into our street. His stereo system was not meant to be used by the mothers of the world. Hi-tech? Absolutely! Too many buttons and knobs. And all those pretty lights just confuse me. All I could manage was the volume control - choice of music was totally beyond me.

So yesterday I drove to speed with the soft strains of gangsta music (he'll disagree about my categorisation but I call any music which describes women in pretty derogatory terms as gangsta) dub-dubbing in my brain. I'm pretty sure I had the cool head-nod-thingy happening too. But my opinion of cool is often reclassified as embarrassing and dorky by my progeny.

I got out of the car convinced that my run was going to be smattered with lyrics that included 'bitches' and 'ho's'. I was tempted to turn my running cap around backwards so I'd look as hard-core as the music that was happening in my head. But it was raining and I didn't want my glasses to get wet - you kinda lose that hard-core edge when you trip over because you can't see.

We started running and once I got into a rhythm the music began. No bitches or ho's thankfully. My Ear Worm decided that a little Alicia Keys would be nice - but sung by the cast of Glee (who I have in miniature in my brain apparently). Why I was singing about New York is anyone's guess. But I can tell you it's easier to run fast without having to bob your head every second step.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Getting It All Sorted On The Run

Some days you wake up feeling a bit off your game.

That was me today. I hadn't slept well. I had a lot on my to-do list for the day. I was wondering how my legs would feel after my first 20k run for the year (yes, be impressed - it was hard but I'm counting it as a huge success). But the thing that was making me feel trepidatious (it's probably a made-up word but it was exactly how I was feeling at 5 am) was that I HAVE NO CAR for at least today and possibly till Wednesday.

Luke had organised to take Iven's car on a little break away before uni starts. And that was fine in theory because Iven and I can manage with one car as he commutes to work by bike. But in practice, the car that he was meant to take just refused to start. And I, being the caring, nurturing, sacrificial martyr that I am, gave him mine (yes, he'll be reminded of this monumental sacrifice for at least 6 months and will never want to borrow my car again). I'm expecting a mind-blowingly awesome Mother's Day present for this one.

Not having a car means that I'm either stuck at home or at everyone else's mercy. Neither is a good option. And the planning for my next couple of days was going to require a little careful thought. And bribery.

And that's where my head was when I started my run today.

On my program I was supposed to be running a controlled 10k. (Actually I was running Thursday's controlled 10k and shuffling Wednesday's 12k to Thursday so I'm not running more than two days in a row. And this is all with Coach Chris's blessing). But I'd decided that my running has progressed to a point where I can start to introduce a little speed into these runs so I'd turned that controlled run into a 2k warm up with a 6k tempo then a 2k cool down.

The first k was all about waking up (5:54 pace). By the second k, thoughts of the to-do list was starting to filter into my conscious thinking (5:43). By the third k I was starting to stress about how I was going to get everything done. And this was perfect timing. The mental stress made my legs want to go a bit faster - like I could out-run the work ahead (5:32). From there my pace increased little by little, along with the length of me list, to be more like a progression run than a tempo run (5:12, 5:05, 5:01).

But that's when the s$%t hit the fan. Sometimes my intestines don't like me moving quickly and start to complain. Today was one of those days but I wasn't too perturbed - I knew a toilet was nearby.

Not so - according to the friendly bare-foot runner doing laps on the grassy field next to the toilets. He'd had to pedal back home because they were locked. Pedalling back home was not an option for me - mainly because I didn't have a bike. And the next closest toilets were over a kilometre away. A kilometre can be a LONG way when you're desperate.

So my controlled run, that became a tempo run, that became a progression run, now became an interval run. I ran as fast as I could until I HAD to walk. Then I walked until I could safely run again. And I repeated that about five or six times until I reached my safe haven. And that became the fastest k for the entire run. Apparently I can still move it if I have enough motivation.

I had one more hard kilometre to run before the cool down and it has a bit of a hill in it but I still did it in 5:07 and then it was just a nice gentle cruise home.

And in that time that I was running I sorted my to-do list into two separate lists - negotiable and non-negotiable - which took the pressure off and helped melt some of the stress away.

The non-negotiable list had the run (tick), walking the dogs (tick - it saves stress down the line by not having to deal with too much doggy energy and the mischief that two dogs with too much doggy energy can get up to), baking a couple of cakes for tomorrow's speed session (tick), coffee (tick - thanks to my number one son who knows that I'm a nicer person when I get some caffeine into me).

The negotiable list was work. Actually work straddles both lists. But doing extra work by starting early was the negotiable part. Short list, I know but it takes up a lot of time at the moment.

I also worked out how I would get to training tomorrow morning if our car's still not working and number two son is happy for me to borrow his car as long as I'm home before 9am.

So today's run was a success in more than one way.

I love running!

But I don't want to leave this post without sharing a life lesson I learnt over the weekend. Having someone walk past your house calling for their dog (whose name sounded awfully like Foreskin) is a real passion killer.

Moral of the story - only buy a house where the neighbourhood dogs have regular doggy names like Fido or Spot.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hip, Hip Hooray and a Winner

There are inherent dangers in ramping up the mileage quickly after you've been forced into what feels like semi-retirement.

My long-term readers are quite aware of the struggles I've had with my health (unexplained fatigue and loss of all my running super-powers) over the last couple of years. And the eureka moment when I finally got a diagnosis (very low testosterone levels due to my age and the use of a contraceptive pill). And my improvement over the last couple of months of treatment (yay for performance and life-enhancing drugs).

Feeling normal again after feeling so awful for so long has been a heady experience and I've grasped my new-found energy with both hands and started to flog my body the way I used to be able to without thinking twice about it. But I've been a little too over-enthusiastic it seems. Especially since my body lost quite a lot of muscle tone and strength from my ordeal. Apparently good muscle tone and strength is one of the requirements for happy, injury-free running. Who'd have thought?!!

I was losing a battle with an annoying hip issue. It didn't hurt while I was running but as the day went on and I tightened up, it would start to remind me exactly how far I'd run that day. Sometimes it would wake me up at 3 am and tell me to stretch. Believe me, those 3 am wake up calls are not my favourite. I've done my penance as a mother of three and should never have to get up at that time again.

So I decided to do the only sensible thing I could - ring my high school BFF who, as fortune has it, is an awesome physiotherapist and get her to give my hip a stern talking-to. She gave me an examination then made me run through some of the strengthening exercises I'd been doing. I'd been doing them wrong!!

Turns out my mother was wrong when she told me that a lady should keep her knees together. That rule does apply in certain circumstances like when you're sitting on stage wearing a really short skirt or when you're getting out of a car in said short skirt sans panties. In those two situations the knees-together rule is definitely a rule to live by. But when you're a runner whose healthy pink glow comes from exertion and not blusher, when you wear short shorts rather than skirts for the most part - it's knees apart all the way.

I'm having to retrain my movement patterns to keep my knees more in line with my hips. And it's HARD to change almost 50 years of conditioning.

I have only two exercises to do, a one legged squat and a reverse plank with a knee lift, and they're mentally exhausting. Also my tongue gets quite a workout. If I don't hold it exactly the right way I have absolutely no chance of doing the exercise right. It's hard to teach this old dog new tricks. But I'm stubborn enough to not allow it to beat me.

There has been a marked improvement in my hip discomfort already and it's only been two days. Yay! And there's been a definite improvement in my motivation to keep my piano dusted. Can't see the link? It's because the piano is a highly polished and reflective surface and acts like a mirror so I can check if I'm doing the exercise correctly. Obviously!!

The third benefit of having the minor issue is that I get to catch up with Chris (the physio, not the coach this time). We have a re-visit next Wednesday and have included enough time to have a coffee and gossip. And she hasn't told me to stop running. Having injuries isn't all bad.


I've drawn the winner of the Personal Planner giveaway. I wanted to make the drawing totally transparent and enlisted the help of my favourite canine (mostly because he can't read and therefore can't be accused of favouritism).

Each of the entrant's names were inscribed on a pig's ear to ensure the cooperation of said canine. Needless to say he was very enthusiastic, helpful and drooly.

And the winner is Lara from Princess Goddess Mommy. Well done Lara. You tasted delicious and made his bowels move (Aren't you glad I didn't photograph that?!) Can you send me your email address and I'll organise for the gift voucher to be emailed out to you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Amazing Real-Life Stories

I know that a lot of you come here to find out about my latest achievements - to be impressed, amazed and astounded by what I can only describe as God's unfair bestowing of gifts on one person. So to satisfy this need in you, the less fortunate, I'd like to share a little story from Sunday.

I don't run on Sundays. I'm too busy recovering from Saturday's run and I was especially busy recovering from a big week of over 50k, an endorphin rush to end all endorphin rushes AND a late night with a friend catching up on three weeks' gossip.

Even though I don't run on Sundays, I don't like to do nothing so lately I've been harnessing up the beasts (AKA Toby and Bubbles) and taking them for a walk. We've come a long way from our first ménage a trois-style walk. There are still bursts of complete lunacy by Toby but they're usually over within the first kilometre. Once they get into a rhythm it all seems to settle down (until we see a duck, a magpie or a cockatoo within chasing distance and then it's every man for himself and I just hold on for the ride).

Post walk-recovery

Unfortunately on Sunday I hadn't actually dealt with 'business' before we left home. This is a vital part of running preparation. There has been many a good run brought to a complete halt over the lack of preparatory emptying. But we were walking and I've managed without before so I thought we'd be good.

We weren't!

And while squatting on the side of the path is perfectly acceptable for my four-legged friends, it's generally frowned on for humans - except when we're doing the 500k relay where it's fine to cop a squat whenever nature calls.

Luckily help was close at hand in the form of the public toilets in a park that wasn't too far away. We walked with brisk determination towards them, clenched through the full cycle of traffic light changes then finally made it to our safe haven.

Toby was more than happy to join me in the cubicle but Bubbles was a lot more reluctant. Probably with good cause! She pulled backwards and no amount of coaxing would entice her in. But reluctance is easy to overcome when you're only 4 kilos. I just picked her up and locked the door.

It's not so easy being precariously perched on the porcelain when you've got two dogs that want to escape to freedom by crawling under the door, attached to your wrist. And it's even harder trying to pull up sweaty shorts one-handed. The draw-string was totally out of the question.

And what was so amazing about this, you ask. The amazing part is that I managed to complete a toilet visit with a difficulty rating of 8.8 in under 3 minutes. It can take my husband the entire duration of blow-drying my hair (a good 7 minutes) to complete a bog-standard visit.

I know, I know - I am one in a million.

While we're on the subject of exercise shorts I'd like to find out if anyone shares my irrational fear. 

The shorts that I've bought this year have all got in-built undies. In the past I've just cut these out and worn my own but it seems like such a waste that I've been wearing them as I bought them. The first time I wore them with my own undies under the built-ins but this seemed to be paranoid in the extreme so I've been going commando - if you can call wearing just one pair of undies instead of two commando. 

My problem though is that now I fear a complete and catastrophic wardrobe malfunction. That somehow my shorts will just fall off as I run along or I will be dacked by a random passer-by. And that I'll be left running bare-assed through the centre of Brisbane. 

I have no reason for this fear. My shorts have never once fallen down. No stranger has ever tried to dack me. And yet, whenever I get ready for my run the thought is there. I guess that's why it's called irrational.

So am I alone in this?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Warning To Runners - Don't Make Decisions in the Middle Of a Runner's High

Have you ever gotten a runner's high? If you're a runner then you probably have and that's why you're still a runner.

Have you ever got a runner's high that almost made you do something stupid? I can say yes to this question too after Saturday.

I'd like to start by saying that I had a great running week last week. It started with a good 12k on Monday, along Hillside Terrace which is the only form of hill training that I'm doing at the moment. That 12k was immediately followed by a 3k walk with the dogs so I'd finished the run in respectable shape.

Tuesday was speed and Coach Chris had us running alternate 1k and 500m repeats. For the first time in what seems forever, I ran all my 1k's sub 4:50 and all the 500s sub 2:20. Sign me up for the next Olympics now!

Thursday I ran a run of undisclosed length (I don't want to say so I don't get in trouble with Coach Chris). It felt good and it felt pretty easy (except for the second last k which is a bit of a hill) and when I got home I saw that I'd run it faster than I'd been running for a while and yet my average heart rate was lower.

Saturday I was down to run a 16k. The weather's finally turned and it's starting to be a little cooler and less humid in the mornings so it felt pleasant and comfortable for the first few k. I was running a high 5 min pace and feeling pretty good but kept expecting it to get hard in the second half. It never did. It just continued to feel good, even when I ramped up the pace.

The last k was 5:09 and I was a bundle of emotions - all positive. Happy that my running's finally starting to return. Excited to be getting a little bit faster. Relieved that my health problems are under control. Add in some endorphins and you've got an amazing high. No wonder we runners keep coming back for more.

And it was in this heady mixture of happy hormones and euphoric emotions that I got a little voice in my head. It reminded me of my BAD (big audacious dream) that I'd had in November last year before I started to tank again and before I started treatment. The voice said that I should run Canberra with Bec and Daven.

Bec is just recovering from a nasty bout of plantar fasciitis and Daven fell off his bike and broke himself and both haven't been doing as much running as they normally would leading up to a marathon. The plan is to just run it as best they can. I've been running more than them so I reasoned that if they could, I could. It doesn't matter that I'm a good 20 years older than them and that I've only had a couple of good running weeks.

So I sent a text off to Bec to let her know my hair-brained scheme. And then I sent one to Coach Chris. His response involved words like stupid and crazy and irresponsible. My euphoria had worn off enough for me to recognise that as a possible no. And enough common sense had returned for me to see the wisdom there. I guess that's why we pay him the big bucks - to keep us from doing stuff conceived in a drug-addled state.

So I won't be running the Canberra full. BUT the half is now on my radar. AND I'm trying to convince one of the fruits of my loins to come do it with me. AND I've decided that it'll have to be Melbourne after all. And this time I might take a map of the Entertainment Centre with me so I don't get lost in there looking for a toilet like last time.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Things I Fear

It's started already. People have begun to ask the question that scares the bejeezes out of me.

"What would you like for your birthday?"

I've had a fear of this question ever since I was a lot younger. The thing is that there's no 'right' answer. And I like to be right. And I have a bit of a phobia about asking for something/anything because I may be seen as greedy (something drummed into me as a young child). And I honestly don't need for anything. And I hate window shopping so I don't know if there's anything out there that I would just frivolously like (except another puppy because they're just so cute and so much fun!)

I'll admit it. I'm a nightmare to shop for.

If I was a little more altruistic I would ask people to donate money to a worthy cause. But I kinda want something material. And that makes me feel greedy.

See - a nightmare!!!

So if anyone has any great ideas PLEASE put them in the comments and then I can just tell my nearest and dearest to read my blog and take special note of certain comments. Thank you in advance because I just know all you lovely people are full of brilliant ideas.


My answering machine broke. I'd like to blame faulty manufacturing and poor design BUT in my heart of hearts I think that it's probably because I've dropped it just one too many times. My cleaning lady told me that some strange man kept answering the phone but whenever I pressed the OGM (out-going message not a dyslexic Oh my God) button all I could hear was my husky, sexy voice (yep, Aussie strine has a certain allure) stammering over an invitation to leave a message. And not many people were actually leaving a message.

So I decided to check for myself exactly what was happening and if, in my absence, my phone became possessed by a well spoken Englishman. Years ago this would have been a tricky exercise. I would have had to go to someone else's house and give them twenty cents to use their phone. Or I could have done what I did once (or twice), rung my number from my own phone to find it engaged. Go figure!!

Now it's just a matter of remembering where I left my mobile and then trying to remember the home number before giving up in disgust and looking in my contacts and finally calling home.

I found out Evelyn (the cleaning lady) was right. There was a very imperious Englishman giving a very dismissive message to all my customers. I wasn't available to take calls. There was no offer to take a message for me and it's not like he'd have to search for pen and paper - there's always one right next to the phone. It sounded like I was just way too busy and way too important to lower myself to come to the phone.

So my solution? I turned the machine off. And I haven't quite got around to buying a new one. And it's three weeks into the new work year. Oops!

The problem is that I'm a little ambivalent about work. Sure I like it enough but I just don't want to get as busy as I did last year. I don't want to work weekends and public holidays. I'm just happy to do about five hours a day and leave it at that. So my warped, twisted brain has decided that if someone rings and can't get me they might not ring back. And if they do ring back it means that they are really keen. Which might mean that they're happy to pay a premium for my quality workmanship. Resulting in no loss of income, just a reduction in working hours. Win-win!

It was cleaning day today and when I got home from the grocery shopping Evelyn reported to me that my answering machine wasn't working (because it was switched off). Someone had tried over and over to ring. But because I hadn't answered, they'd decided to just drive on over and talk to me in person. I love the logic there. Of course the reason that I wasn't answering the phone was because I was on the toilet, hard of hearing, elbow-deep in laundry, or simply unable to get to it in ten rings. Apparently they were shocked that I wasn't home. 

Sometimes I fear that common sense is becoming extinct.


And talking about common sense, I'd really like to know where the common sense is in my push up challenge program?! Two weeks ago I maxed out at 15 push ups. There was nothing more in my wobbly, weak muscles. Today's program had me doing reps of 16, 17, 14, 14 and 20. Eighty one in total! This is ridiculously fast progression. Three of my sets were over my max from when I started.

There were some ugly push ups towards the end and a lot of grunting. Toby became quite concerned at one point and trying to do a push up when you've got this ...

... just a few inches from your face it's hard to channel your mean, hard-core man woman of steel. That face just melts me!

I'll admit right now that I'm a little bit scared of what's in store next week. I may have to lock Toby out of the room in future to get them done.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Best Wife Backfire

I blathered on a little while back about marriage and the promises made to each other. Promises to love and cherish. Promises to support each other. Promises to be a help-meet. I know that's a pretty old-fashioned term and possibly lots of you have never heard it before. I know it because I am old and smart (I've been called a smart mouth enough times to know that people think I'm pretty clever). And because I went to church long enough to get through Genesis.

A help-meet, for all you youngies and heathens out there, is a helpful mate. A spouse who helps their partner.

Because I'm not one to hide my light under a bushel, I'd like to say that I'm a pretty awesome help-meet.

Iven recently turned 60. We didn't make a fuss over him turning 60 because he didn't want a fuss made. In fact, if he'd been able to cancel his birthday all together (minus the cake of course) he'd have done so. He wasn't happy about turning 60.

Iven's not been happy about any of the signs of aging. When he needed to get glasses at 49 (most people need them at 40 so he did pretty well), he was down for a couple of weeks. Grey hairs would have been plucked out if doing so hadn't left him totally bald. But those long nasal hairs and eyebrow hairs which grow just to taunt a man with a thinning pate have been ruthlessly plucked out.

I was sympathetic. Sure I wanted to throw him a huge bash complete with fireworks and jugglers and minstrels (and if you believe that you might also believe that my unicorn pees rainbows and gave birth to a litter of pink chickens and lavender lambs) but I respected his wishes and bought him some gardening stuff (if that's not a dead give-away of impending retirement, nothing is) and made him a fruitcake filled with dried fruit cut up really small and no nuts because they're a choking hazard.

But sometimes being sympathetic isn't being a good wife. Sometimes being a good wife involves identifying the problem (denial of age) and helping one's spouse come to the point of acceptance and peace. Sometimes this involves pulling out a scalpel and lancing a boil. (Remind me some time to tell you the story of how, as a young vet, I actually did pull out a scalpel and cut out a cyst from his chest. That's true love!)

So I did the kindest thing I could do. I ordered him a Senior's Card. That was my version of lancing the boil without anaesthetic and using salt to cauterise and sterilise the wound.

He didn't seem that excited when I presented it to him. Even after I explained that he'd get discounts off movies and coffee and other stuff. And he was a little careless with it. I found it under a heap of rubbish on our filing cabinet. So I thoughtfully rescued it and put it in his wallet. And then when we went to the movies I MADE him use it! And now he's on his way to acceptance and peace.

But I'm starting to wonder whether I shouldn't have done all this wonderful wifey stuff in about a month and a half. You see, it's my 50th birthday in about five weeks which gives him ample time to plot his revenge work on a plan to help me reach acceptance and peace with my new age group. And while jewellery may have been a bit much to ask for, seeing as how he's showered me with it lately, I'd really rather not get support stockings, incontinence pads and a funeral insurance package.

Maybe, for once, I'll be keeping my mouth shut about my impending birthday. I might get lucky, after all he did forget our anniversary.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Fun Continues - Gynaecologist Visit Part Two.

I've had an 'a-ha' moment this week.

When the gynaecologist is happy, everyone's happy. It's a truism that probably every one else in the world was aware of, but I'm pretty new to going to gynaecologists so I came to this fact later on in life.

So you might have guessed that I went back to my gynae this week. It's been an appointment that I've been in two minds about - I was looking forward to telling her just how well I was feeling now and I was dreading telling her that I'd gone AMA (against medical advice) and stopped taking the contraceptive pill.

I don't like to do the wrong thing and I was convinced that I wasn't. But she's the one who's spent five years in medical school, more years as an intern and resident and then even more years specialising. All I had was the advice of Dr Google and hundreds of other women who had had a bad experience with Yaz - so obviously I was better informed.

The visit was preceded by a compulsory blood test. I'm not one to get weak at the knees over having a bit of blood drawn BUT I do like a skilled phlebotomist. And I got THE BEST. I didn't even feel her putting the needle in. Luckily I was watching or I wouldn't have even noticed her sucking out litres of my life-sustaining blood. Okay, it might not have been litres but it definitely is life-sustaining.

The phlebotomist was not only skilled but she even offered to send a note home to Iven saying that I could not cook or do any other household chores for at least a week. Now that's a woman after my own heart.

Anyway back to the gynaecologist. My appointment was on Thursday and I agonised over what to wear. Let's face it - a gynaecologist visit usually ends up with Joe Cocker singing 'You Can Leave Your Hat On' so why make life difficult and wear the high-neck blouse with 50 pearl buttons, the lace-up corset and the chastity belt. But on the other hand the velcroed, tear-off mini skirt in gold sequins might have been a little trashy for The Wesley hospital. After all it's private and not like the public hospital where I had my three babies. In the public hospital you can pretty much wear whatever you like judging by the clothes they gave Josh when he had his hand operated on. See-through paper undies, sexy white compression socks and that risqué purple gown with the split up the back. I went for middle of the road - shortish-but-not-obscene skirt and a singlet.

I started getting butterflies while I was sitting in the waiting room. Last time she cut out a piece of me, threw it in the bin and made me bleed. Admittedly this didn't hurt at all BUT I was concerned that I might make her angry with my disobedience and heaven knows how a woman who owns scalpels and a speculum likes to punish naughty girls.

She was all smiles when she ushered me into her room. She asked how I was and of course I told her that I was doing brilliantly well. And then I blurted out the truth that I'd gone off the pill. And her reaction? There was almost none. I'd wasted all that good nervous energy for nothing. There was more blurting from me - of how I was feeling stronger, sleeping better, able to sneeze in public with a full bladder, less tired and just happier. She didn't actually ask for any of this but I figured that if I was having to pay then she was darn-well going to listen.

My blood results had come in and the pendulum has swung. My free testosterone levels are slightly over the upper limit. Not at Caster Semenya levels yet and certainly nothing that she was concerned about. I won't have to worry about having to learn to shave off my mo' or pee standing up (although that could come in useful at times).

And then she offered to repeat the failed Pap smear. This was the moment when she'd normally crank up Joe Cocker. But mercifully I had to decline. It's not often that I'm pleased that I've got my period. On the down-side I still have to get the test done but I'm sure it won't hurt to put that off for a month or three.

She dismissed me saying that she was done with me. To continue with the cream but to come back if I have any issues with my plumbing. She told me she had lots of other things in her bag of tricks. And I don't think she meant doves or a rabbit. Scary!

But having said all that - I really like my gynae. What's not to like about a woman who wishes you well with your marathons when you're leaving?!! So if you live in Brisbane, need a gynae and would like to know her name just pop me a line and I'm happy to share. That would give us a very special bond - almost like sisters.