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!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Scattered Thoughts

Just a few random things today.

I haven't hurt myself for three whole days! My elbow has scabbed up nicely and the blisters are almost healed. I'm hoping not to spill any blood at all this week :)

Iven and I have finally become fed up with stepping in chicken poo and cleaning up the gravel that the Rockettes have scratched all over the paths. We've built a chicken-proof fence across the back yard to contain them and their misdeeds and THEY ARE NOT HAPPY! Every time I go out into the yard I get clucked at. They wander up and down the length of the fence and rush the gate when anyone enters. They've even gone so far as to withhold eggs. And this makes me wonder if not laying is anything like constipation. Do they get stomach aches and the urge to push but come up empty? Or are they just being tight-arses?

Josh got all his marks back and he will graduate - with second-class honours. Proud of my boy.

And, yes Jamoosh, your invite did get lost in the mail. Would you have come?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Today's Injury is Brought to You By The Letter B

B is for blister. B is for blood. Two B's are for blood blisters of which I have two. A matched set!! One for each foot.

I got my blood blisters from yesterday's beach run. It was our first beach run of Summer (even though it's still technically Spring) and the weather was glorious. I had decided to just run on the hard sand for the first run just to let my legs get used to sand running again. What I hadn't accounted for was the effect of the hard sand on my baby-soft soles.

We ran for about 4 k up the beach then turned around and ran back and my feet were already hurting by the turn-around point. But the only way to get back was to run so I just had to ignore what my feet were saying. And when I got back I saw these on my feet -

So this week has been a week of suffering (only a little) for my sport. I have a bruised toe-nail, a scabbed up elbow and two blood blisters (now lanced and drained). Who'd have thought running was so dangerous?!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

I Am A Domestic Goddess

Seriously OVER baking!! This week I've baked 4 batches of brownies (and they're big batches), 4 dozen triple choc cookies, 4 dozen cupcakes, 2 caramel slices and 3 dozen pumpkin scones. And we don't even celebrate Thanksgiving!

The sad thing is that even though I've been baking up a storm we actually haven't been able to keep much of it. Some went for a 'thank you' morning tea to the business where Josh did his prac work. Some went to my sister's cafe when she was over-run with catering orders. Some went to Sam's work Christmas party. Some is going with Luke and his friends to the coast for their finishing high school get-away and some is going to a friend who's just arrived home from the States after doing New York Marathon. And the baking hasn't finished - I still have to make a cake for a barbecue tomorrow and a birthday cake for one of my running friends.

And on top of that I've sewn up 7 padded bikinis, a pair of tights, a pretty, shiny, pink g-string for a bodybuilder for his wedding night, 4 men's bathers and a rhythmic gymnastics costume.

So with all this baking and sewing I've dubbed myself a Domestic Goddess - but I'm happy to hand over my title to anyone prepared to take it on.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lift Those Knees

I ventured back to hills today - seeing as I'm feeling so good with my running. Now that it's so light at 5:30am we're back on the trails and today we hit the Simpson Falls trail. It's a really pretty trail but you don't actually get to appreciate the beauty because the trail is fairly rocky and you have to concentrate on where you place your feet. There's also a lot of high steps which are a bit tough on the quads.

It's been a while since I've run hills and I was finding it pretty challenging and getting a bit tired when I lost concentration and didn't lift my feet up high enough and ...

Luckily I landed on the soft stuff and not the rocks. And, being the hard-core runner that I am, I picked myself up and kept going for the last 6k.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mixed Emotions

I've been a bit disappointed this week. I've been waiting all year to finally become a mother-who-has-no-one-at-school-any-more. I've been waiting for my life to change and, to be frank, I've yet to see any difference. Sure, I haven't had to wash uniforms or make lunches, but it feels more like a holiday than a permanent life change. Maybe it'll feel more the way I was expecting once Luke starts university (assuming he will get in).

I may have been disappointed with my lack of life change but I haven't been disappointed with my running. Yesterday we were doing 800's and 200's and my times were back to where they'd been before Melbourne. I was still slowing by my last rep but not as badly as the past few weeks. And today I backed up with a 10k run - the same route that I'd run last week. Today's run ended up 3 mins faster but my average heart rate was 6 bpm slower. It's taken 6 weeks but I'm finally feeling good again.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving (which we don't celebrate in Australia) I'd like to tell you all what I'm most thankful for. I'm thankful for having a household full of males. I love all of my boys to bits even when they drive me just a little insane. And having males around means that you never have to take the blame for farts - be they loud and proud or silent but deadly. (I think I may be lactose-intolerant)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Moment's Weakness

This finally happened -

And Iven and I were extremely proud parents for the third time.

But today I have something dreadful to confess. Something I'm really ashamed of.

You know how I've been sprouting off about once Luke leaves school there'll be no more lunches made and no more ironing done?!! Yesterday I was weak and I ironed three of his shirts. I swear it will never happen again!

(I'm feeling much better now I've confessed)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Was That A Compliment?

One of my running routes takes me right past my son Sam's work. He's an exercise physiologist and wors in a studio quite close to home. Whenever I run past I always look up and I've never seen him ... that is until yesterday. He poked his head out of the window and yelled a greeting as I was running by.

Later that day he came home (for food because he's always hungry) and asked if it'd given me a lift to see him.

"Of course" I said. "Did you see me looking up at the window as I ran by?"

He laughed. "No, my client was running on the treadmill facing the window. He said that everyone seemed to be out running this morning and that there was a good-looking runner just going past now. I looked out then had to tell him that it was my Mum."

Boy, was I flattered. I wanted to know how old this client was. (Usually the ones who think I'm attractive are seniors) And he turned out to be in his mid-30's. I was feeling REALLY good about myself until Sam opened his big mouth and said
"but you should see his wife, Mum. He's obviously not very fussy!"

Thanks Sam for keeping my ego in check. Remind me to do the same for you one day.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

God's Little Gifts

Some days I'm sure that God sends me little events to help me accept things. Yesterday was one of those days. It was Chemistry exam take #2 for Luke and they'd kindly set the exam for earlier than when school starts. This meant that we had to consult the CityCat (ferry) schedule and work out exactly when to leave.

The CityCat left at 8:08 so I wanted to leave at 7:50. Luke, however, thought that was too early and, despite my grim predictions of traffic issues at that time of the morning, got ready for his scheduled departure time of 7:56. We left home and hadn't gone 500m before he knew that I WAS RIGHT! The traffic was crawling where we usually had a free run and he missed the City Cat.

Why is it that when kids make mistakes, we parents are the ones who have to fix it? Mind you, if it was a normal day I would have made him catch the later one and been late for school. But it wasn't a normal day and he HAD to get there on time for an exam that he'd already done. So I just had to suck it up and drive him through peak hour traffic into the city.

It did give me a little quality time with my soon-to-be-graduated-from-high-school young man. And that was time to graciously point out that this inconvenience to his mother was all his fault. He was incredulous! How could it be his fault that the traffic was bad?!!! OMG! How can it NOT be his fault.

All this week I'd been feeling a little nostalgic about leaving high school. That drive into the city totally cured me of that and I think that was God's little gift to me.

And onto things of running. I had my best run post-marathon this morning. It was only 10k and it was pretty slow but I felt pretty good through the run and have felt energized ever since. (I'd been really tired after all my other ones.) Oh happy day!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Congratulations Lucy and Brad.

It was my sister's engagement party yesterday and on Friday I was still wondering what to wear. I didn't have much in my wardrobe so I hit the shops in the faint hope of finding something. And I did find something - two new pairs of running shorts. Oops!! How typical!

I came home and posted this on Facebook -

"I really did intend to shop for a dress for Lucy and Brad's engagement party - so how come I ended up coming home with two pairs of running shorts?!"

And I got this in reply from Lucy -

"ha ha... cause they are easier to buy! Just wear them... I didn't mention dress code :)"

But I think that made her worried that I might just actually turn up in running shorts so that afternoon I got a text from her. She and my other sister were in Target and had picked out some dresses for me and I was to stop work immediately and come try them on.

So I did. And I bought an appropriate dress. And they didn't have to be embarrassed by their sister who values function over style.

My sisters and I

Luke, Sam and Josh with Luke's girlfriend Becky and Sam's girlfriend Hannah

Julie and I

Friday, November 12, 2010


I know it was just yesterday that I was bragging about Luke finishing exams and school but it seems that I was a little premature. Luke did his music exam, which he thinks went well, then went into the city to buy himself a cover for his birthday present (and iPod touch). He came home with his girlfriend in tow to watch his favourite DVD before heading back out to celebrate his birthday with his school friends. As far as he was concerned he was on holidays.

And then we got a text from the school. (how techno are schools these days?!) It said Re-sit Chem exam on Wed at 8:30 am.

Huh?? Re-sit an exam that he'd done the previous day?

We still don't know the full story but the Chem exam paper was put on the school intranet - we've been told that it was a student who stole the exam off the teacher's desk or that it was the teacher who put it there by mistake. Either way there was a security breach which MAY have advantaged some students. So the exam has to be done all over again.

How do you tell your son this sort of news on his birthday? It was horrible and he was NOT impressed. Now he has to hit the books again - which is a bit of an issue because we had borrowed our text book from someone and Luke has handed it back so we'll have to re-borrow it or manage without.

And still on a negative note. I had a really sucky run this morning. It was 17k over a really hilly route in disgusting heat and even worse humidity. I ended up walking the hard bits of two hills. The only good things about the run was that it did finish EVENTUALLY and there was quite a bit of eye-candy to push me through some of the last few k's. I'd like to thank the boys from the Brisbane Lions team for choosing that location to run their time trial and I'd especially like to thank the ones who found it so hot that they had to remove some of their clothes!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Today my little Luke turned 17. Today my little Luke had his last high school exam. Today I've finished with high school forever (except for a graduation ceremony). Today I enter the next phase of my life.

I've never been someone big on change but this is a change that I've been looking forward to for a while now. I've really enjoyed my boys' education. I've enjoyed watching them learn academically and socially. I've enjoyed their school friends and their friends parents.

It's been 17 years since I first dropped Sam off at his Grade 1 class. !7 years of packing lunches, ironing uniforms, helping with homework, rushing kids out the door at the right time, making sure instruments got practiced, library books got returned, sports uniforms were packed and bathing caps were powdered and returned to swimming bags. 17 years of reading notes, signing notes, going to parent-teacher meetings, making sure payments were made on time, buying textbooks and pencils/rulers/erasers/protractors. This has been an epic journey and I survived.

Freedom has never looked so sweet or felt more well-deserved. It's time to start looking around to find some options to fill in the extra time I'll have. I could do a pilates class, that cake decorating course I'd planned on or maybe write a novel. The most important thing I'll have to do is keep my eyes peeled and my mind open to opportunities.

Hello world! What have you got to offer me?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Texts from my Sons

I got texts from both of my boys doing exams yesterday. They were almost identical -

Went well :)

Nice to know their hard work is paying off and it's nice that they want to share their news with their Mum.

We're down to 2 exams for Luke and 1 exam and 1 assignment for Josh. The end is nigh!!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Thanks for the last responses. I've decided I was trying to push things too soon and I'm going to leave out the hill sessions till my legs are back to normal. So what if I'm a slow recoverer.

I will continue speed because speed is my favourite session. Actually it was today's session and went quite well considering I had only about 4 hours sleep last night. Why so little sleep? It's exam time for two of the boys and one, in particular, is a night owl and not the quietest person so that put bed time back a little. Then I was woken by an urgent bladder at 2 am. And then by an urgent dog's bladder at 3 am. Actually by the time I got to the dog the urgency had passed and I had trodden in it and it wasn't just his bladder so 3 am saw me mopping up the laundry floor after picking up all the solids. Oh yay!

Coach Chris had us do a 1k time trial followed by 400m reps today. I was happy with 4:09 for the time trial but even happier that I managed to maintain pace for the 400's within 3 secs. A consistent speed session is a good speed session. And even better - the rain held off until we were running back to our cars at the end.

So I'm off for a quick nap before I get stuck into my sewing - today's work is to make 14 Tweedledee and Tweedledum costumes. My work is never boring!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Limited Psychic Powers

I'm psychic! I was supposed to be running at the beach today but yesterday's 14k took more out of me than I expected (damned hills) and I just wasn't feeling like an hour's drive to run, even to have breakfast out with my running buddies after. So last night I bit the bullet and sent Coach Chris the text that told him I would be piking. That text gave me permission to stay up late and read the book that I'm just loving at the moment. It gave me permission to turn my alarm off and to sleep as long as I wanted this morning.(which turned out to be only 6:50 but that's better than 5:00) And when I woke and got round to checking my phone there was a text from CC which said, due to nasty weather, this morning's session was cancelled. So I got to enjoy my sleep-in totally guilt-free!

I know that I'm gradually getting back to strength after the marathon. I know that at the cellular level there is evidence of damage up till 8 weeks after such a big effort. I know I'm getting older and I'm more likely to take a little longer than say a 25 year old. But what I really want to know is other people's experiences of recovery - especially those in the over-40 category. I've found this week that I can run okay when it's flat but put a hill in front of me and my legs are just not there. Is this normal? Am I taking extra-long? Does it really matter? (I know the answer to this - no!)I'm just wondering because of the 25k relay that I'd like to do in 5 weeks. Did I start the post by saying I was psychic? It seems that my psychic powers are limited.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

How Quickly We Forget

Actually that should be how quickly our legs forget to run up hills. I've had 5 weeks off our hills session and had my first run back yesterday. I had to have those weeks off - tapering for Melbourne then recovery - but ouch, that first week back involves some significant pain.

I was feeling really good after Tuesday's speed session. Coach Chris had us doing a 3200m handicap race. It's a strange idea over an odd distance but he had good reason. Tuesday was Melbourne Cup day when all of Australia stops to watch a horse race. It's got the biggest prize purse and the most prestige of any horse race in Australia and it's over 3200m. I was given a three and a half minute handicap which, while flattering, was a little over-estimating of my actual ability. Last year he totally over-estimated my speed and I finished dead last (if I was a race horse I would have been sold to the glue factory). But this year I was only passed by three runners and DID NOT FINISH LAST! My pace averaged 4:39 per k which I was quite pleased with. Then we finished the session with some 200m and I managed to run faster than any other 200 sessions this year (Yay!)

So off the back of that session I was feeling pretty good about my recovery from Melbourne and then I did hills ... There's still a bit of strength that I have to get back. I know this because there was some walking involved yesterday and there's lots of pain today. (just DOMS - nothing serious)

I wanted to wish anyone running New York this weekend all the best of luck. My friend Karen is doing it.

She's the shorter one - memorise her face and say hi to her if you see her (amongst a crowd of thousands)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Influential Women

I visited the newly-opened patisserie of a running friend today. Actually it's her husband's patisserie but what's his is hers when you're married. It's a cute little shop in a strip of shops and has mix and match old furniture and you feel at home as soon as you walk through the door. Fiona, my running friend, was there and she greeted me with a kiss and I introduced her to my sister.

Fiona proceeded to say the nicest things about me to my sister - how much I inspire her and how much she'd like to be like me (as she gets older). It was a little embarrassing but terribly flattering and it got me thinking about how we influence other people. I get inspired my people in my running group all the time - by their positivity, their commitment and dedication, and their acceptance of everyone. I don't think of myself as inspirational - I just enjoy being around such a nice group of people who help keep me motivated - but Fiona's comments brought home to me that people see your actions and can be affected by them either positively or negatively. And I would rather be affecting people positively.

It also made me think of people who have been influential in my life. Billy, my oldest client, who was at the gym until she turned 90! Teresa who I met by shopping for years on the same day as her and who is always so positive despite cancer and diabetes. Then there's Natalie (who I've walked with weekly for so many years that I can't remember) who has inspired me to be more generous with my time and my talents. And my young friend Karen, who has shown me that friendship doesn't have age-barriers. And Jenny... and Julie (my sister) ... There are too many wonderful women to name. I have been blessed with their abundance.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Vanity and Impatience

Is it just me or are we all just a little vain? I spent an hour yesterday watching a telecast of the Melbourne Marathon. And part of the reason that I gave up my Sunday nap time was because there was the smallest chance that I might catch sight of myself. Silly, really - there was very little chance of that happening. It was only an hour telecast and there were 20 000 plus competitors in all the events. But I did see two members of our squad and that made the missed nap worthwhile.

It was quite fun reliving the whole thing. The telecast showed a lot of the course and I found myself wondering if I'd missed parts of the course because they looked so unfamiliar. I guess there are just so many things to see over the course of 4 hours that you can't possibly remember them all. But watching it made it all very clear in my mind. I DO want to do it again. And it's made me impatient - impatient to be back to a training program again instead of a recovery one, impatient to be feeling strong again at training and impatient to find my next event.

Luckily I've still got lots to keep me occupied at the moment. With Luke winding up school very shortly, we've had a lot of extra events to attend. Just last week he had a music competition (Sun), a percussion soiree (Mon), Speech Night (Wed), and Music Dinner (Fri). All this while preparing for exams and completing assignments! And all the extra running around for us taking him and picking him up and being an appreciative audience. Nearly all these events are because of his involvement in the music program but all the time that he's dedicated was recognized at the music dinner when he was awarded a trophy for Percussionist of the Year! Congratulations Luke!!

The other thing I've been spending time on is trials for my sister's upcoming wedding cake. I've been experimenting with different flavoured cupcakes and frostings and with decorating techniques. Luckily I have plenty of willing guinea pigs who are happy to give me feedback on my creations. I haven't decided on the final design but that decision isn't fully mine - I guess Lucy needs to have a little say in the matter.

But all these things are second-choice distractions to the main event. I want to be really running again and I want it now! If patience is a virtue, then I'm not virtuous.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cold Showers and Sleepless Nights

How little sleep is it possible to survive on? That's the question of the week for my #2 son Josh. Josh is less than 3 weeks from finishing his degree in electrical engineering and it's just now that he's realised that he might have been a little relaxed in keeping on top of his assignments this semester. So far this week he's spent 3 full nights at university trying to complete his work. My friend Jenny, who's a uni lecturer, has assured me that most kids do it but the work that seemed brilliant at 2:00 am may not actually be that great. Personally I don't care what grades he gets as long as he passes and can graduate.

He did come home this morning briefly so I could see that he was still alive ... and to eat and have a shower. Poor Josh has been away so much this week that he didn't know that we're in the process of changing over our hot water system from the I-don't-know-how-old-but-it's-been-at-the-house-longer-than-we-have electrical system to a new solar system. They started the installation on Wednesday but ran out of day, came back on Thursday but were stopped by a huge electrical storm and are finishing today. Unfortunately they disconnected our old system yesterday afternoon which meant cold showers this morning. On the plus side I'm sure that gave Josh a bit of a wake-up. I'm just grateful that it's nice and warm at the moment.

While I'm in recovery, I've decided to try and be a bit more diligent about strength training. I'm particularly working on core strength because I know it's such an important area for runners. Sam has written me a program and I'm trying to do it 3 times a week. Lots of planks, crunches, bicycle crunches and stuff I don't even know the names of. And I've rekindled my love affair with push-ups. I must have the weakest upper body in the history of womankind. I can manage 10 push-ups from my toes but, let's face it, when you're hardly bending your elbows at all. My theory is that I'm weak because my arms are so long - it's to do with physics and lever length to power ratios. But if I'm diligent maybe one day I'll be able to almost touch my nose to the floor in a controlled manner (ie not just do a big face-plant)

Ten relaxed kilometers for me in the morning followed by a HOT shower. Have a good weekend everybody.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It Lives

There was quiet, restrained rejoicing in my house today. My phone has been resurrected. I took it from its little plastic coffin, put in the SIM card and powered it up. The screen lit up and when I used it all the appropriate noises had returned. I texted my son to phone me and I could hear him when I answered the phone. Hooray, my love affair with my phone can continue. Thank you all for your get well wishes - I'm sure they made all the difference.

Run #3 post-marathon happened yesterday. I'm starting to feel the love again. It seemed easier than last week and my endurance was definitely better. The plan for the rest of the week is a comfortable, relaxed 10k tomorrow and the same for Saturday.

This last paragraph is not for the weak of stomach. I just felt the need to say how different it is living in a chiefly testosterone-filled environment compared to the overly-oestrogenised one I grew up in. I have four sisters and three sons. Yesterday I was sent a text from son #1 and to say it was an over-share is not an exaggeration. He had picture-messaged me - our toilet and what hadn't been flushed. Thanks for that Sam! That would never have happened with any of my sisters. I think I've failed in the class, style and restraint aspect of their upbringing or maybe its just that boys will always be boys and will always find bodily functions amusing.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tired Legs and Clumsy Fingers

After a very enjoyable/well-earned/guilt-free week off after the marathon, I finally got a couple of runs in last week. The first was speed on Tuesday. Yes, I know speed is an odd choice for a first run back but speed doesn't actually have to be speedy (and it wasn't) and speed has the majority of squad members present and therefore the best opportunity to tell marathon tales of glory (or not). Plus I get to meet up with Jenny after for breakfast.

I had thought I was recovering really well up until that first run. Huh!!! All those books and articles that say recovery takes a good eight weeks are right. Go figure! I could feel how much extra effort I was having to use to run at a moderate pace. I could feel that marathon in my legs. So I eased right back and decided to enjoy my month of recovery runs.

My second run was a long, slow 10k on Saturday and once again I could feel how fatigued my body is. I'm really aware that I'm in the danger zone of overtraining at the moment so getting this recovery right means that my next year of running will be much more pleasant and productive.

And totally onto a different subject - I did a very stupid thing last Friday night. I managed to drop my iPhone (which I am totally addicted to) into a sink of dishwater. Disaster!! Actually I thought that it was going to be fine because it was still working straight after but the next day I realised that I couldn't hear anyone who called me. I went straight to the shop I'd gotten it from to get advice and was told to put it into an air-tight container with rice and any sachets of dessicant I could find. This is to help dry the innards out and I've been told that it could work. So my phone is now sitting in a simulated Mojave Dessert sans cacti and I'm waiting till Wednesday to turn it back on and see how much damage my clumsiness has caused. I miss my phone :(

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I am sitting here this morning basking in the warm glow that only comes with winning. No, I haven't been racing. Since my marathon I've ventured out only ... let me count them up ... once. What I've won isn't really a competition - except that I've made it so. It's the fact that I was right and my husband was wrong! And my winnings - the right to say "I told you so!!!"

We've been having a few issues with the Rockettes lately. The sun is getting up earlier and they're following suit. And while I have no problem with the time they get up, I have lots of problem with the noise that they make. One in particular is extremely vocal and extremely proud of her work (or she's having issues with haemorrhoids and it's pain I'm hearing). She's decided that the entire suburb needs to know every time she lays an egg. Seriously, we live in suburbia and buy eggs in cartons from the supermarket and we really don't care if you've laid one. The fact that I'm in recovery from the marathon means that I have fewer runs and am trying to sleep in and she has NO consideration at all.

After waking up with my cackle alarm yesterday for the third morning in a row I worked out a potential solution. Iven didn't think it would work but couldn't come up with any alternative. My solution was to cover the cage so the Rockettes would think it was still night. So last night we draped their cage with black plastic and told them that there was a solar eclipse and this morning the silence was golden - apart from the kookaburras and the lorikeets and the cockatoos. Bliss!

So there you go Iven, I was right!! I told you so!! I'm enjoying being able to gloat where it won't annoy you.