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.