Monday, May 31, 2010

8 X 8 =

Taking Saturday off did me a world of good. I turned up at speed session this morning feeling more refreshed than I have lately and just as well I did because Coach Chris had a tough session planned. We were to do between 5 and 8 X 800m with a 200m recovery.

I decided to go out conservatively - well it felt conservative but it turned out to be the second fastest split of the morning, 3:38. From there it went to 3:39, 3:40, 3:38, 3:41, 3:41; 3:37 and finally 3:39. How's that for consistency?!! There was only 4s between my fastest and slowest split AND I managed all 8 reps.

So that was the highlight of the day. It's all downhill from here. Work is seriously quiet at the moment and I don't suffer boredom very well. I do have a little work to do but unless the phones start ringing it'll be done by the end of next week. I might have to start sending my baking to school with Luke so he can sell it. How many brownies/cookies/cupcakes would I have to bake to earn a decent income?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Backyard Bullying.

I swear this will be my last post about chickens for a while.

Yesterday I realised that there was bullying of school-yard proportions happening in our back yard. The Roxettes, like most teenage females,decided to pick on the only other female around - Bubbles our fox terrier cross. Bubbles is a little nervy and quite timid and just didn't have it in her to fight back. And what were they fighting over? A lamb bone! Who knew that chickens liked bones?!

Bubbles was obviously upset.

On the running front, I was a little slack this morning. I stayed in bed and didn't run my 22k long run. I've been fighting the guilts all day but keep telling myself it was the right thing to do. All week I've had headaches and sinus pain and have felt a little awful. The 3 runs that I did all went well but I'm still scared of pushing myself too much. I just couldn't bear to feel as bad as I did last year all over again.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Eggciting News

There was excitement at our house yesterday. One of the chickens was acting strange. She was digging in the dirt and squatting and nestling against the other hen. And she was squawking and generally being quite loud. She was going to lay her first egg!!

I went down to watch and to open up their cage. Both birds came out but the bird in question was walking really uncomfortably. She was hunched over but her butt was elevated and all the feathers around that area were ruffled. 'Great!' I thought. 'Better get the camera to record this momentous event'

So I stood quietly and waited ... and waited ... and waited. She nestled down into the dirt elevated her tail feathers and strained and there it was - the most disgusting, sloppy, brown dropping! Talk about disappointing!!!

And so the wait continues.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

There's a lot of breathless anticipation in our household at the moment. We're awaiting a few things at the moment - some good and some not so. On the not-so-good side we have exams in the offing. Josh has his second-last exam session ever!!! It's great to be so close to the end but there's soooo much to get through. Plus Josh is a bit of a stress-head. He likes to do well (He got a Dean's Scholar Award last semester) but in the process screws himself up in knots.

Luke is also looking down the barrel of exams. He's a bit more relaxed about it at the moment but that's because he's a procrastinator. The urgency will catch up to him soon and it'll hit hard.

On the good side, I have my first race coming up in a week and a half. I'm a little nervous about it - wondering how hard I can push myself and if I'll have any unwanted after-effects. If only my crystal ball was working.

The most important thing that we're looking forward to is the arrival of our first egg. Our chickens, the Roxettes, are now about 6 months old and theoretically SHOULD have started laying. They've been practicing their 'I've laid and egg' cackle so I keep racing out to check but so far nothing!I'm starting to get a little pissed off because I think they're having a little private joke with me. I've started to threaten them with delicious chicken recipes but my threats are falling on deaf ears.

Speed session went well yesterday. Coach Chris had us running 600m reps with a 200 recovery. I ran 9 reps at 4:30 pace (that's 2:43 per rep). It got tough for the last few but I was pushed along by a group member so I didn't get a chance to slacken off. Rest day today then back at hills tomorrow.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Meet The Incredibles

My family is very special. We, and I do mean all five of us plus Nelson the dog, have very mild super-powers. It's a big call to make but would I lead you astray?!

Iven, the patriarch, has the ability to make things invisible. He mostly does this to smallish objects such as his sunglasses, car keys, credit card or wallet but he's been known to make larger objects, like the car and a small child, disappear into thin air.

My eldest son, Sam, has the power of wind (anyone remember the cartoon Captain Planet) Sam's wind is not environmentally friendly, in fact he should have to pay a carbon-offset tax, but it is effective in clearing a room.

Josh's very mild super-power is the ability to withstand very high levels off decibels which may one day come in handy. (re sonic boom) We can hear him before we see him as he drives down the street.

Luke can control time - or at least that's the skill he's trying to develop. He has taken procrastination to a new level and always thinks there'll be time to get that homework done later.

Our dog Nelson has psychic powers. He can make food drop from the bench just by standing under you when you're doing the food prep. I think this is a really draining super-power to use because once he's eaten he always has to go off and have a sleep.

And my very mild super-power is the power to control electric lights - and I don't mean just by switching them off and on at the power point. When I'm running or walking or even when I'm driving, streetlights sometimes turn off when I go under them. This happens at least 3 times a week and even my walking friend Natalie comments on it now. I haven't learnt how to use this ability to its best advantage (no I can't see myself graffiti-ing walls or committing B&E's) but when I come up with something I'll let you know.

Today's run was a nice relaxed 12k done in almost total darkness, especially after I made yet another streetlight turn off. I left around 5am (thank you dogs for waking me up so early) and did the run through the University along the river. The problem with running in darkness is that you can't see the swarms of insects at mouth-height. I managed to swallow something but at least it was small and went down without too much of a fight.

Hope you all enjoy your runs today.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I've been tagged by AJH at Age Group Rocks which makes this blog an easy one topic-wise. Seven things about me - hmmm!

1. I can't sleep without reading, even if it's just a page or two. (and it often is when I'm deep into heavy training)

2. When I was working my first locum as a Vet I met a girl who'd graduated as a Vet but worked as a sewing machinist in a factory. I couldn't believe that anyone would give up being a Vet for such a lowly position. I now spend most of my days sewing and I believe that life can be totally ironic.

3. Three days after my Grandmother, who I was really close to, died I dreamt that she phoned me. She had been quite deaf before she died but could hear clearly if you called her. She rang me to tell me that she was fine and she was with Grandpa, who'd died a few years before. Remembering this still gives me goosebumps.

4. I had a miscarriage at 10 weeks between my second and third babies and so did one of my sisters.

5. I was state discus champion in my final year of high school but only because the girl who'd won the previous year had left school to do nursing..

6. One time while working as a Vet I had to euthanase a budgie. I decided to do it like we did chickens - by breaking their necks. I managed to pull the budgie's head right off.

7. One day I want to run a major overseas event - any suggestions?

If you haven't been tagged previously please consider yourself tagged, write 7 things about yourself and pass it on to 15 other people.

And on to the most important topic - today's 22k run. I can't quite say exactly how far I ran or how long it took me because I'd forgotten to delete the files off my very full Garmin. It got me to 10k and had a hissy-fit. I ran a loop that I know is just over 21k and added an extra loop through the Botanical Gardens so I think I would have done at least 22k. And I got back to our starting point just under 2 hours even though I stopped and chatted to an old friend for a while. The highlights of the run were chatting to two new group members and wondering why there was a mattress right across our running path. The lowlight was finding out from my old friend that she hadn't become a grandma because the baby had died of spina bifida. So sad!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Good Accidents

My husband Iven came off his bike yesterday. He has been riding to and from work for a fair few years now so it was probably his time for something to happen. Apparently he was turning right at a roundabout. He stuck his hand out to indicate his intentions and moved into the right lane (after checking to make sure he was safe). The motorcyclist behind decided that he could probably squeeze through but he didn't quite make it. Iven heard the squeal of brakes and the next thing he knew he was skidding along the road.

I must say he was really lucky and it could have been much worse. He has a nice road rash on his forearm but nothing on his legs because of his work pants which are made of a very heavy duty cotton. He managed to keep his head off the ground and his bike got only minor damage. The motorcyclist ended up with a torn-up jacket and a bit of damage to the bike but no injuries. It was a good accident - as far as accidents go.

I piked on my hill session today. I haven't been sleeping that well this week and had a headache developing so I turned my alarm off and slept till the dogs scratched at the door, about 6:30. Damn I hate missing training but one of the things that I've learnt on the last year is that the occasional missed session REALLY doesn't matter. And it certainly doesn't mean that I'm weak and pathetic. (That's just what the evil me tells the good me) I'm looking forward to a good 22k on Saturday.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Think Before Speaking

My post today is on how you should engage your mouth only after thinking.

Poor Josh continues to be a little sad about his breakup. He's trying to distract himself as much as possible so he decided to go stag to a friend's 21st on the weekend. He spent the evening fielding questions about Teresa (where is she? when did you guys breakup? what happened?) which made him feel pretty ordinary. But the one comment that made him feel the worst came from the birthday boy - Why don't you just get back together? As if it's up to him.

My second example of stupid comments comes from a pharmacy assistant. I had to get some medication for a female problem last week (okay it was thrush - yuk!) I asked the assistant what was effective and she asked me if I'd used anything before. I told her I wanted to try the tablet and she agreed that it was a good choice. Then (and this is the stupid question) she asked if I had symptoms. Of course I had symptoms. How else would I know I had thrush?! It wasn't like I'd had a premonition or read it in my daily horoscope. It was hard not to give her a scathing, are-you-serious? look.

So my thought for today is a quote that my Aunt wrote in my autograph book when I was young - "It's better to be silent and let people think you're a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Timing Is Everything

Saturday's long run was great. It was a flat 16.5 k along the river - out and back. The first k was up along the road because the bike path is off-limits to runners while some construction work is being done. (Meanwhile the cyclists are still allowed to use it. Go figure.)The section of footpath along the road was littered with obstacles - light poles, drunks, a road worker's car ... it made for a frustrating start.

We finally got back onto the bike path and I realised I was feeling really good so I ramped up the pace a little. Then the naughty voice in my head said that seeing as it wasn't a terribly long run today it might be interesting to see how I'd go at a faster pace. I have my first race of the year exactly 3 weeks away and I've been worried/wondering about what pace I should be trying for and what I can sustain so I thought pushing up the pace may give me a bit of confidence.

So my pace dropped from 5:56 to 5:38 and then hovered around 5:10ish for a few k. I hit my turn-around, had a gel and some water then started back. I was managing to sustain a good pace and even dropped into the sub-5 min zone for 4 of the k's on the return trip, the fastest being 4:45. Yes, I was tired at the end but not ridiculously tired. And yes I was happy.

So at this point I'm hoping for a sub 25 min run at Doomben and if things are going well I'd love to try for 4:45 min k's. I know it won't be a PB but honestly, I don't care.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Who has the Best Winters? We Do!

We had our first serious taste of Winter the last two mornings. Now you in the northern hemisphere may scoff at what we call Winter but can you please hold your derision down to a dull roar? Thursday morning was 11 degrees and this morning we dipped into single figures (Yes, it is only celsius but honestly that's often as low as it gets.)

I have had to make a few changes with the onset of the cold. I have retired my shorts and singlets and replaced them with capris and long-sleeves. I have pulled out my trusty jumper/cardigan that I've worn to training for the last 4 years. I am wearing jeans again - my Winter uniform. (I always try them on with trepidation - will they still fit? They do!) Scarves have become my accessory of choice. Nelson, our dalmatian is wearing his coat to bed (and sometimes for the rest of the day of I forget to take it off) All the windows in our house have now been closed and will probably remain that way until August-ish.

I do think that Brisbane has one of the best Winters in the world. The nights are crisp and fresh but the days are usually sunny and if you can find a spot in the sun it can thaw you out. We have plants that flower all through Winter - orange trumpeter vine and bougainvillea look magnificent against a blue sky. Very few of our trees actually shed their leaves. Really the worst thing about Winter is that it's too short.

Running is best at this time of year too. I get up before the sun and get to see the sunrise. There's often fog over the Brisbane river to provide a bit of atmosphere and it feels so much easier to run when it's cool.

Tomorrow's run is going to be a 15 or 16 k run along the river. Coach Chris has cut back the distance this week to help with recovery. The plan is to have 3 weeks where I push it and the fourth is a recovery week. Hopefully this will stop OTS recurring.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Adult Tantrums

I go to the shopping centre every week day before work. I go to have a coffee and do the crossword quietly before the work day begins. This morning's peace and quiet were shattered before I'd even completed half of my crossword by a very frazzled mother. She was screaming at her 3 or 4 year old daughter, calling her some ugly names while the grandmother looked on. I watched the interchange for a while. The little girl was reduced to sobs from her mother's tirade. Grandma tried to placate both mother and daughter and looked a little embarrassed about her daughter's behaviour.

And why was the mother so upset? Her little girl didn't make up her mind quickly enough about what she wanted to eat and when she finally decided it was at another stall a few meters away. How inconvenient for the mother!

What that woman did really upset me. Her little girl did nothing terribly wrong and certainly nothing awful enough to cause such a scene. The mother's reaction was little short of child abuse. Screaming at such a young child and letting them know how worthless they are will leave scars that may never heal. We parents are charged with such an important role and it's essential that we act like the adults and provide good role models for impressionable minds.

I wish I'd had the balls to walk up to that woman and tell her to grow up and start acting like a mother.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Road to Overtraining

Tuesday is Speed Day and being that today is Tuesday you can probably guess that I had a speed session this morning. It was another challenging session - but I've never been to a speed session that's been cruisey. We started off with a 1k warm up. Coach Chris had an evil glint in his eye so I was thinking time trial. I was right. We were starting off with a 2k time trial followed by a 2 min recovery then it was 4 or 5 800's depending on time.

I started the time trial conservatively. Age does bring wisdom. Too often I have blasted out of the start only to die within a kilometer. It makes for a miserable run. I picked one of the runners in front of me and just tried to stay in touch with him. It was a double 1k loop and I hit the first k at 4:32. I started to reel in my pace-maker on the second loop until I was just a couple of paces behind him with 400 to go. I considered passing then but decided it would give him too much time to pass me back so I left it till there was only 200m to go - breezed past him and left him eating my dust ( Have I ever mentioned that I love beating men ) 9:02 finish time which shows that my recovery is continuing.

The 800's hurt a little but they're supposed to. My first was the fastest(3:38)then it was 3:40 for #2. The last 3 were all at 3:43 - talk about consistent! I checked my times for the last 800's I did and these are definitely better. Yay

I thought I'd mention a bit about overtraining syndrome ( cause you asked Teamarcia) It was such a gradual thing that I can't exactly pinpoint when it started. I ran a couple of good races early July and in August but never allowed myself much recovery. I was really focused on Sydney half marathon and wanted to do a good time there. I was only running 4 times a week but every session I ran pretty hard. At the same time we were having a tough time with my Mum and Dad that had started around Easter and the issues didn't seem to be improving at all. It got to the point that I was call-screening my Mum and avoiding any contact with her. It was a heavy time emotionally and I was using running as a crutch.

My first indicator was a really bad time at a 10k run (50 mins - 4 mins more than I'd run earlier that month) It was a hot day so I thought that was the issue and when I got home I felt sick and vomited. So then I was thinking I'd caught a bug. This was 3 weeks before the Sydney half and I thought nothing of it. I was starting to NOT look forward to training, which is unlike me, and I wasn't sleeping well. And I'd lost a little weight. But I thought that I'd start to feel fresher when I tapered - I didn't.

Sydney half was a nightmare. I ran okay to 15k then the wheels fell off and I limped home. I felt physically sick again for 24 hours and REALLY tired. The next couple of weeks I continued to train but I was exhausted. I'd lie on the floor in the workroom and have a nanna nap. My heart rate was up all the time and I felt sick after every training session. So I went to the doctor for a blood test. Nothing wrong except my immunity was down a little. The doctor agreed that it was probably overtraining syndrome and I needed time off then to come back slowly. It's taken 6 months because I let myself go down so far.

I've learnt a lot from this experience. Mostly that you have to listen to your body and listen closely and you can't run away from your problems. You have to face them even if it's hard.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to all of you Mums. I hope you have had or are having as lovely as day as me. My day started with breakfast out with my boys. Then I spent the next couple of hours finishing off my cupcake masterpiece for my Mum's afternoon tea and making pumpkin scones. It was such a lovely creative way to spend the afternoon - baking and listening to my favourite music.

Then it was off to Mum's for our traditional Mother's Day afternoon tea. All four of my sisters were there and all of us cook so it's a bit of an eat-fest. Julie, my oldest sister makes something like a calzone. It has pizza dough filled with haloumi, tomato and mint leaves. It's delicious! Then there were sandwiches, a cheese platter, scones, spring rolls, curry puffs, slice and cake. My poor Dad loves food (you can tell by the size of his tummy) and he finds it impossible to be restrained. He reckons he has to have a taste of everything so none of his daughters feels left out but we know better.

Anyway I promised a pic of my giant cupcake. I was a little disappointed with the actual cake part. It could have been moister. Next time I'll try a different recipe. But I was happy with how it looked. Unfortunately I managed to mess it up a little in transit by brushing it against my enormous rack! (I say that tongue in cheek) So I arrived at Mum's place with meringue and icing smeared on my chest.

So here it is.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Is Saturday the Best Day of the the Week?

I don't know if it's because I've caught up with my work but my happy days continue. I'm sitting here bathed in my post-run euphoria and I finished my run over 7.5 hours ago. I'm so happy because I ran the longest run I've managed since over a year ago and I finished it strong.

I was supposed to be running a 20k today but a couple of things happened to push it out to 24k. Firstly I was feeling really good. It was the coolest day we've had this year and I always run better in the cool. Secondly - we were running over the other side of the river and it's unknown territory for me. I was running in the lead group (and for a while I was taking the lead which means we were running pretty slow) and everyone in the group bar me were doing 24k. The route twisted and turned through the streets and, knowing how bad my sense of direction is, I was terrified of getting lost. So I just kept running.

I tried another gel this week. It was berry flavoured and I was quite looking forward to it. Yuk! It tasted like berry phlegm. Not too keen on the consistency. But I think it did it's job and even if it didn't I believed that it would. A psychosomatic effect is better than no effect at all.

I got home and uploaded all the running data from my Garmin - 24k in 2:08 which is 5:21 pace. The best info was that I'd used over 1700 calories which meant that my breakfast out was totally guilt-free.

You may not have picked up on this but I have a love/hate relationship with food. It stems from being a fat teenager (73 kg) who tried to lose weight by not eating, which worked to a point but I was never cut out for anorexia. I bounced from there to binge-eating and then bulimia for three years. When I became pregnant with my first the light bulb turned on and I realised that I had to eat properly for my baby's sake and I've been fine ever since. I still have some old thought patterns - I label foods as good or bad and I'm fairly disciplined but I do eat regularly and heathily.

So I had a great run and a lovely breakfast and I've just come back from Luke's first school soccer/football game of the season. They won! Go State High!! I have a walk with my friend Natalie this afternoon and then the unknown delights of Mother's Day to look forward to. I've put a special cake in the oven for my Mum. It's going to be a giant lemon meringue cupcake and it's a bit of an experiment but considering how my day has gone it will be a huge success. I'll put a picture of it up tomorrow if it works (no pic = epic fail!)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Life Is Good

Hhhhhhh! That's the sound of me letting go a huge sigh of relief. I have finally got my work orders under control. It's taken long days, weekends and the last two public holidays and now I can take my foot off the accelerator for a little while. I'm even thinking I may take a couple of Fridays off - at least until work becomes manic again.

I was back at hills yesterday after a week's hiatus (because of the late evenings of school concerts). Being that it was the first Thursday in the month we started on the top of the hill. It was pitch black except for our flashing red lights that we clip to our shorts for safety reasons (my sister calls them flashing red haemmorhoids) I found out yesterday that I'm the clumsiest runner in the group. I managed to almost trip not once, not twice but THREE times in the course of the run. The first was on a twig and the second and third were on rocks. No one else seemed to have any problems - must be that I hardly lift my feet off the ground.

We ran along the road for twenty minutes, watching the sun come up over the city and listening to the birds. It was beautiful and peaceful and it gave me the most lovely start to what was going to be a hectic day.

Today started with a sound that I haven't heard in a few weeks - Josh, my broken-hearted boy, came singing down the hallway, full of his normal energy. He was off downstairs to pump some iron. I think he's getting over his broken heart - not that he's over Teresa but he's learning to live with the pain and getting on with it.

So for today - Life is good!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Public Holidays

I HATE my boss! Yes, I know I'm self-employed but that woman can be such a b@#ch. I've just spent today working. Not unusual for a Monday except that this particular Monday was a public holiday. She made me work yesterday as well AND all of last weekend which was another long weekend. All the deadlines are rapidly approaching and I still have 20 unitards to make so there's every chance that I may have to work next weekend as well. But after the 15th of May I'm going to take a couple of days off - just because I deserve them.

I did manage to squeeze in a run before I started work this morning. It was one of my regular routes but I was able to start a little later than usual and I saw something that I thought was a little odd. A woman came running towards me wearing running shorts, running shoes and a boob tube. That's right - no running bra and no straps of any description. Granted she was young and probably still perky but how long does she plan on staying perky running along unfettered? The poor thing obviously failed Physics - being unable to grasp basic concepts such as Gravity and Newton's law of Inertia. I'm looking forward to seeing her in a few years time to see if the Physics I was taught in school is actually true.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Saturday Is No Day Off

Yesterday was huge!! It started at 3:30 am with this weird dream where I kept hearing a strange sound. My dear hubby was snoring and I'd managed to incorporate it into my subconscious. Seeing as I was awake I had to go to the toilet and then the dogs decided that they did too. It was a bit over an hour till I had to be up for my run and I tried snoozing. Failed!

Our long run was 21k and I was well rested because I skipped hills this week. Coach Chris emailed us about the need for nutrition on longer runs so I decided that I'd try one of the gels Jenny had given me for my birthday. Jenny is a big gel-user and couldn't believe I wasn't. I have tried one a couple of years back and it wasn't a pleasant experience (stomach cramps and urgent calls of nature) so I've been a bit scared of trying again. But if I'm to do a marathon I'm going to have to find some way of getting calories in.

I planned my gel-stop very carefully. It had to be near a water fountain and within reasonable running distance to toilets. It was around the 12k mark. Luckily there was no intestinal fallout and even more luckily the gel seemed to have a positive effect. I managed to run the last 9k with no pace drop-off (which is normal for me) and my last k was my fastest. Go figure! 21k done in 1:52:56. I'm happy.

After the run it was my usual Saturday breakfast with hubby and family then off to the markets for our weekly fruit and vege shop then I had to help out at a sausage sizzle. The squad is raising money for our yearly relay (500k charity relay in November) I helped man the grill for 3 hours and smelt of fried onions for the rest of the day.

Back home for a quick cup of tea. Into the city to pick up Luke from his school. Back home again to put up my tired feet. Then off on a two hour walk with my walking friend Natalie. We tried a different route to our favourite coffee shop. It was my route and I made a fundamental mistake. I took us down a road that was marked Private. It took us to a dead end so we either had to back track or go cross country through the scrub to reach the road. By cross country I mean pretty much a vertical ascent. We chose that option and our little walk became a quest for survival (okay I'm exaggerating a little - but it was tough) It was such a relief to finally reach the safe haven of the coffee shop.

I got back home around 8:30 pm, tried to stay up and watch a movie but kept falling asleep.

Today my feet are a little sore. I wonder why?!!