Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gold Coast - 1 More Sleep

Race day tomorrow!! I'm waylaying running nerves by baking. And carb-loading (yep, I'm only doing a 10k and don't need to carb-load) by tasting. Even Nelson (dalmatian) is carb-loading by licking the cooking bowls.

I've sort-of started packing by putting stuff that I think I'll need on my bed.I've got my race number and my chip and my Garmin. No clothes yet. I guess they're sort-of important especially if I don't want to race naked - and I don't want to do that because I'd have trouble deciding where to pin the number.

This year we're not leaving home until after peak hour traffic settles down. Last year's trip was a huge learning curve. Peak hour = 2X normal drive time. Then add another 2 hours round trip when you realise that you've left your handbag with the keys to the unit and your wallet and phone back in Brisbane. This year I'd rather leave my running shoes at home and run in my boots than have to repeat that debacle.

I've had my usual internal battle about tomorrow's race. What seemed a great idea seems to pall as it gets closer. Doesn't help that the bout of flu put me right back with my training. In fact, this week the only running I've done was Tuesday's speed session. I piked on Wednesday's run but rationalized it because my knee was a little niggly after Tuesday's run and I've had a slightly elevated heart rate every since being sick. I'm great at rationalizing!

Will I PR tomorrow? There's no way on earth that I'll ever hit the 46s again but I'm starting to think in terms of post-OTS PRs. I ran Gold Coast in 52 mins last year so I'm aiming to go under that. The closer to 50 I get the happier I'll be and if I get under I'll be astounded and thrilled. You never know what might happen on the day.

I'm really looking forward to a couple of nights away, eating out, hanging with my running buds, cheering my running buds, eating out a bit more and collecting my 7th medal for the Gold Coast 10k.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

My black jeans went missing last week. I knew they'd been washed but they weren't in either of the two places that I'd expect to find them - the laundry or my bottom drawer. Clearly I'd left my brain out of gear when I'd done the folding and put them in someone else's pile.

I started my searching in Sam's room - nothing. Same as Josh's room. Luke's room was off limits because he was still asleep so I ended up wearing another pair. When he finally emerged from his room I rifled through his wardrobe. Same result as his brothers' rooms - Absolutely Nothing!!

He came in and sprung me searching his wardrobe and demanded to know why (and in retrospect I'm wondering what he was hiding - certainly not his Mother's clothing). And when I explained about my missing jeans he flushed a little. It seems that the black jeans he'd worn the previous day were a little short (he's 6'3 and I'm 5'9) and they kept creeping into his crotch and getting his boys quite uncomfortable.

I'm hoping that he's not scarred for life from this experience. But more than that I hope it's a one-off with no progression. I don't want to be finding any of my skirts, dresses or underwear missing.

3 DAYS TILL GOLD COAST. There will be no PRs for me but I'm hoping to go around the 50 min mark - all going well and not getting stuck in too much slow-moving traffic.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My tip of the week -

Do not spend an hour and a half doing your long slow run (with a last 3k kick home) before dawn on Saturday,

Then follow it with two hours walking around a shopping center,

Then follow that with three hours on your feet in your non-cushioned boots on tiles baking, (black forest cookies - yum!)

Then follow that with a three hour walk and talk-fest with your BFF,

Then spend an hour on the floor rolling around trying to stretch some of the stiffness out of your legs and realise that it's 9 o'clock and you still haven't had any dinner,

Then stay up late crocheting a rug for your son's GF and watching Wimbledon,

Then get to bed really, really late and find your husband awake and frisky ...

... And expect to wake up early the next day to go for a run.

Chances are you'll sleep through your alarm! (oops)

At least I had an awesome Saturday run :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Youth vs Aging

Aging happens! To all of us. Despite our best attempts to keep ourselves youthful, Father Time keeps the clocks ticking and change is inevitable.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately just because of my last bout of the flu. I will say that everyone has had this flu and most people are finding it harder tho shake than normal. But when I was younger I would get sick and a few days later things would be back to normal. Now I'm off running for a week (ie - should be in bed but can't cause I'm the only one running the business and if I don't work I don't get paid) Then I feel pretty ordinary for another week, then I get some little complication - a nice bacterial infection or sinusitis - then I have to go to the doctor.

Or I might get a little injury. Used to be that I would have a couple of days rest and all would be good. Now I need x-rays, scans, physio and threatened amputation (just joking) for it to get better.

I know I'm not alone - lots of my more-elderly friends (I'm talking youthful 50-somethings) have said the same. Do I like it? Absolutely not! Is there anything I can do about it? Apart from exercising and eating well and having a good attitude - probably very little.

But having said that, I only missed one week of running and yesterday I ran all around Mt Coottha in the same time that I ran it before I got sick. Take that Father Time!

And on to other positive things - Josh has been really good this week. He and alcohol are just a really bad mix so I'm hoping he's learnt his lesson (I'm an optimist). Luke has almost finished his first semester of uni. One more exam to go today and it's 4 weeks holiday. And Sam has had some excellent results coaching strength and conditioning to his elite swimmer, Maegen. She swam at a meet in Santa Clara after some intensive altitude training in Mexico and ended up with one of the world's fastest times of 2011 and a PR. And that's without a taper. Sam's pretty chuffed.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Can Breathe!

I went to the doctor's last week. I had an accumulation of minor ailments that made it seem worth the time and money. But of course, just before I'm supposed to leave I got a call to say my doctor was sick (really?!! She spends all day surrounded by sick people and she gets sick? Go figure.) and I was offered another.

I treat unknown doctors with a healthy dose off suspicion. I've been to some barely competent ones and they cost as much as good ones so if I'm paying I'd like to get value for money. The lady I got seemed good from the start. She didn't prescribe antibiotics for my sinusitis. I like a doctor who doesn't over-prescribe antibiotics. She added a cortisone cream to my antifungal for the weird armpit rash (My biggest fear with this rash is that it's an allergic reaction to technical fabric and I'd either have to go back to cotton t shirts or give up running.) And she gave me another prescription for Valium after lecturing me on its addictive properties.(I have it to fly and occasionally to help me sleep when life gets interesting.) I managed to convince her that 50 X 2 mg tablets (and I haven't even finished all 50) in 7 years means that I'm probably not addicted.

A week on, though, I've changed my opinion. She prescribed a very expensive nasal spray for the sinusitis. I used it diligently but after a week of really annoying headaches I decided to buy the over-the-counter sinus tablets. (Mainly because the cartoon simulation on the tv ad was just like my sinuses - red and throbbing and swollen. And when that little cartoon guy took the tablet it all went away) Finally I am pain-free!! And I had an awesome sleep last night. And I could smell when I went out for my run this morning.

Just over a week till Gold Coast running festival. I'm doing the 10k - my 7th in a row. Having the flu put a bit of a road block on my training but I don't care too much. I'll give it a good go and have a great weekend away.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Losing Your Marbles

How do you get a group of strangers together laughing and working towards the same goal? You give a 4 year old a bag of marbles that they accidentally break in the middle of a shopping centre.

This happened in front of me this morning. A little girl dropped her bag of marbles and I heard a plink, plink, plink. The marbles scattered everywhere and all of a sudden people were chasing these little glass balls - old people, young people, men and women all stopped their busy days to help this little girl collect her treasures. We were rewarded with a beaming smile and a quiet thank you and a little glow inside. Totally made my morning!

My sister came home from Tasmania after a week of flight delays due to volcanic ash from a volcano in Chile. While she was in Tasmania I'd sent her on a mission. While I was there in January I'd visited the Salamanca Markets in Hobart and heard a man playing acoustic guitar. There was something about his music that touched me and I actually had to fight back tears. I couldn't stop thinking about it when I got home and when Julie told me she was going I asked her to look for a CD for me. On Saturday I got a text from her asking if I knew what his name was because she was standing there listening to a man playing the most beautiful music. It had to be the same one! She loved the music so much that she bought herself a CD as well.

So now with his CD in my possession I found out who the artist was - Cary Lewincamp

Something about his music is just so joyful and peaceful - a little like running through a beautiful forest trail. I'm putting his music on my MP3 and sometimes on my runs I'm going to be transported back to Tasmania.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Good Relationships and Good Saturdays.

Thanks to everyone who commented their support after my last post. I'd had a tough couple of days and it really helps to write it all down - and then I get lovely, empathetic comments that take the loneliness out of a problem. Josh has been a lot better since his little melt-down. I'm not kidding myself that he's totally better but at least he's back on track for the moment.

A few of you commented on our relationship. I'm really blessed that all my three boys will talk to me about the big issues, and the little ones - and sometimes even ones that I'm not remotely interested in and will you please stop talking because it's really late and I need to sleep. I don't remember ever consciously making an effort to encourage this but I've always shown them that I was interested in their lives. Always asked them how their days were and how they were feeling. And I've always told them that I'd rather hear the truth, even if it's tough. And they've taken me at my word and shared their lives with me - the good and the bad.

And today everything's good and I'm resting in the peace that this brings. I've had a lovely 24 hrs. Yesterday I had a business call inquiring about leotards and the caller was a girl that I'd sewn for when she was competing in aerobic competitions about 12 years ago (or maybe more). She's now coaching and I was the one she wanted to make costumes for her girls.

Last night my NRL team got up and flogged their more-highly ranked opposition. Go Broncos!

This morning I got to be in charge of the long run for our group while Coach Chris is in New Zealand running a marathon. Poor man - his faith in me is probably misguided but being in charge gave me a sense of importance (misguided and deluded).

And to top everything off, I got a text from a squad member who'd moved to Canberra. She was up in Brisbane and did I want to catch up for coffee today? Absolutely!! Two hours of non-stop chatting. I still can't believe that a 20something year old chooses to hang out with me when she gets up here. Running seems to know no age-barriers.

And Josh? He hung out with friends last night. Did not drink. Got home at a respectable hour. Slept in (it IS after-all Saturday) Then met up with friends for a bike ride. That's just the sort of life that I want him to want for himself.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Running - Better Than Drugs

My week is finally turning for the better.

Josh had a bit of a bad day on Wednesday which meant that I had a bad day on Wednesday and Thursday (I always have to go one better). He left to go to work on Wednesday and simply couldn't face it so he turned around and came home. He's only been there a couple of months so it's too soon to be taking time off so I of course get freaked out that he'll lose his job.

We did a lot of talking on Wednesday. There are some very big advantages to having a work-from-home job. Being available for your kids is one of them. I told him that I thought he needed to get more in control of his life. He's like a whirling dervish at times. We had a long weekend last weekend and he spent every night out with his friends. All night out = not enough sleep. There was too much alcohol consumed and alcohol is a depressant. Not enough sleep + too much alcohol = a not-very-happy Josh.

So we nutted out a bit of a plan to help him cope better with his life. Less alcohol. More sleep. More exercise. Being more organised. Putting more positive things in his life than negative ones.

Needless to say, though, I still worried for most of the day and into the night. The worry pervaded my dreams and a nightmare woke me up and kept me awake for ages so I turned off my alarm and said goodbye to any chance of running hills in the morning. Sometimes sleep is more important.

But because I didn't run in the morning it freed me up to run that evening and I did. And I had company. Josh decided to come with me. We had a lovely 12k run in the dark wearing our safety lights (Josh has special lights that flash disco-style and look like he's having a party all by himself) and Josh's mood was SO much better. Running is the BEST anti-depressant.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Multitasking 101 - Thinking While Running

Can I just say boo?!!! My final run of last week - my long slow distance - sucked! It's my own fault, I know. I had 20k written on my program so whenever anyone asked how far I was going I said 20k. Doesn't matter that I'd been pretty sick the week before. Doesn't matter that I didn't complete any of my sessions this week (on purpose because I was recovering from last week). Doesn't matter that on Thursday I'd decided to just run about 15k. And it doesn't matter that I only get about 4 hours sleep the night before (also my own fault for having coffee in the afternoon)

Saturday dawned and all my good intentions went out the window. I did every thing possible to make it a hard run for myself. I went out too hard and got into an interesting conversation with a much faster runner. I didn't turn around with that runner when she cut her run short. I proceeded to tag along with another group of much faster runners. I forgot to take my gel at 45 mins. I finally turned around at 9k because I couldn't face the hill that was between me and the 10k turnaround. Then I ran another couple of k before I remembered to take my gel. I got to run alone for a while and didn't back off the pace much. Then Coach Chris caught me up and I felt I had to keep up with him (as if I ever could!)

And then, like a gift from heaven, I was struck with stomach cramps. I had to find a toilet and this gave me the perfect opportunity to ditch Coach Chris. I still had about 5k to go and even though I finally backed off a little, the damage was done. Why, oh why do I do this to myself? I am a fairly intelligent woman. I did well at school. Got a good degree. Can run my own business and a family without killing any kids or swearing at customers. But when it comes to running sometimes I act like a total retard. (I'm sorry that I'm not very politically correct) Certainly my neurons don't spend a lot of my running time actually working.

So today, having learnt the lesson of Saturday, I went out for my 12k run. Still ran probably a little harder than I should have but it was much better than Saturday.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Brisbane has been shivering for the past few days. Our winters are usually so mild that it's a bit of a shock to the system. Thursday morning I woke up at 4:45 for our hill session and it was 13.5C. That was the warmest it got all day. The nights have been cold and may have involved some sharing of body warmth just for practical purposes.

So when I woke up the other morning and saw little white patches all over our back lawn (okay, the term lawn is used fairly loosely here. It's more like a back weed bed) the first thing I thought of was SNOW!

Only problem with that is IT NEVER SNOWS IN BRISBANE. Not ever!!

Maybe frost?

The only way to find out for sure was to go for a closer inspection. So I rugged up and faced the brisk morning air to find these

And what are they? This last pic shows what it is before metamorphosis.

Who'd have thought that a dog turd could look so pretty and delicate?!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ouch That Hurt!

How hard is it to come back to running when you've been sick?!! Monday's run wasn't too bad - probably because it was pretty slow and I had to make a code brown toilet stop and I walked up the hill.

Tuesday's speed session was tougher. 1k reps with only 100m recovery. Seriously?!! Only 100m???? We usually get 200m recovery when we're doing 800m reps but Coach Chris was at his masochistic best. My first two reps were pretty awesome, all things considered. They were 4:34 and 4:38. But it went downhill pretty quickly after that - 4:48, 4:53 and 4:52 - and I pulled out of the last lap due to the fact that I was coughing up a lung and needed to make a dash to the loo.

I took Wednesday off. And then it was hills this morning. And it was favourite session - loops through the centre of the mountain then running down the front to see the city spread before us. Man did it hurt today!! I had nothing. But I didn't walk and I managed 4 loops and I've got to be pleased with that. Next week will be better!!

It had better be better. I was just getting my running mojo back, was feeling strong and people were commenting on how well I was running. And on the strength of my new-found strength I'd gotten excited about choosing some races. I've got the Gold Coast 10k coming up first weekend in July, followed by the Jetty to Jetty 5k and the Park to Park 5k (I did the 10k here last year and no amount of money could induce me to do that hilly double loop again.) Then in early August I'll be toeing the line for the Brisbane 1/2. This was my first ever 1/2 marathon fifteen years ago. Then in September I'll run another half in Sydney as the lead-up to my second (and maybe final) marathon in Melbourne.

That's the plan anyway.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Growing Old Disgracefully

I went out for a little run today - the first in what seems like forever (okay it was only 6 days but it felt like forever) Can you forget how to run in such a short time?

I started off and my legs felt like I'd borrowed them from a wino who'd been hitting the sauce pretty hard. They felt wobbly - and not in a I've-piled-on-the-pounds-and-got-massive-cellulity-thighs kind of way. They just didn't feel quite normal. But they did warm up quickly and my lungs behaved themselves perfectly well. And apart from an unscheduled toilet stop (what the? I'd gone before I'd left home and this was only 2.5k in) it turned out to be not too bad a run. I am, however, expecting tomorrow's speed session to be challenging.

One of the reasons why I enjoyed my run today (apart from the fact that I've been incapable for a week)was because of the inspiration I got from a story that my sister told me yesterday. My sister, Julie is a rower and has been competing at the master's championships down in Tasmania. Tasmania is our southern-most state and is definitely our coldest. They were competing on Lake Barrington where the water temperature is 2C. One unfortunate 75 year old lady ended up taking an unexpected dip just before her race was to start. It took a while to fish her out but once she was out she didn't retire to a nice warm spot to prevent hypothermia. She got herself back into her scull - wet clothes and all - and waited for the starters horn. She won her 1000m race by 20 seconds but she wasn't done yet. She got out of her scull ran over to a pontoon where her teammates were waiting for her and proceeded to race in a quad scull. She won that one too.

Most 75 year olds I know are starting to get old. They might already be in retirement villages - not her. This woman was a testament to the importance of keeping active and having a never-say-die attitude. I really want to be like her when I grow up.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Creating Memories

I wasn't looking forward to today. It's Saturday and what's a Saturday without getting up before dawn and running. When we went out I had serious runner's envy every time I saw one of my soul brothers or sisters.

But I managed to survive the day by bedding down with my favourite puppies and a good book and then hitting the kitchen. Today's creations were whole grain bagels and tangelo and poppy seed muffins. I'm particularly happy with the muffins. The tangelos came off our tree and each of the 8 eggs came from our hens. And the poppy seeds ... as much as I'd like to say they came from our own opium patch, honesty forces me to admit they were from the supermarket.

I'd just pulled the muffins out of the oven when Luke walked into the house.

"I love coming home when you've been baking. It smells so good"

And then Josh turned up with a friend and repeated what Luke had just said.

It warmed my heart. And made me think. All these habits we have as parents make such an impact. My thing is obviously baking - always has been - and my kids relate the smell of cakes/biscuits/muffins/bagels baking with home and love and a time when they were cared for and nurtured.

Some parents are big on making a fuss of holidays - decorating Christmas trees with the family, creating Easter egg hunts, going to midnight mass. All of these family traditions are things that make families unique and bonded as a unit. They are the things that you remember well into adulthood and try to emulate for your own children.

It's kinda nice to think that years from now my kids might walk past a bakery, take a whiff and be transported back into my warm kitchen.

What memories are you creating for your families?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things

I've been possessed by the spirit of a chain-smoking octogenarian for the past three days. I'm tired all the time. I've lost my sense of smell. And walking up ten stairs is enough to make me want to have a nap for an hour. Stupid man-flu! Actually I could call it Swine flu because Iven's a pig for giving it to me.

So Sunday's 10k is definitely canceled. Thank you to all the wise people and Jamoosh, who gave their opinion on my last blog. You're right - I would not find any satisfaction in racing the way I'm feeling. I have wavered back and forth about doing it - last night I even decided that it could be a goer but that was before the cold and flu tablets wore off - but today I felt so awful that I texted Coach Chris and told him I was out so it's now official.

So because I've been feeling so bad, I've been making a list of things that make me happy. My list started today while I was out doing my weekly shopping. I decided to treat my poor sick self with a book that I'd been coveting all week. And when I went into the shop to buy the book I found another that looked interesting so I bought it as well. Then I went off to replace the cake scraper that I'd destroyed with my electric mixer when I last made cupcakes. And that was the start of my list

- Having a good book to read
- Having a good book under the bed to look forward to reading after I've finished the good book I'm currently into.
- Baking delicious and highly calorific treats for the family and friends
- Getting compliments on above treats.

And what would my list be without running
- Having a good run
- Having a good run with good company
- Running in new shoes cause they're bound to make me faster
- Having breakfast out with my running friends after a hard session
- Running with my kids

Then it gets kind of random
- knowing all my kids are happy
- sharing my Saturday nap with my dogs
- collecting the eggs from the chickens
- singing along to my favourite music while I'm cooking dinner (not a big fan of cooking dinner but listening to music gets me through it)
- the weekly debriefing with Natalie every Saturday
- seeing the sun rise on a cool crisp morning
- a really good cup of coffee (all right, a mug) by myself or with company
- not having to turn the alarm on some days
- having a cuddle of my new great-niece
- getting a cuddle from any of my very big boys and knowing it means as much to them as it does from me
- having people look disbelieving at me when I tell them I'm nearly 50 - damn it's good for my ego!
- falling asleep easily and staying asleep till morning.
- seeing the look on my clients' faces when they try on their leotards and they love them

Seriously, I could just go on and on.

Thinking about the list was interesting. I realised that there's very little on the list that's to do with money (except maybe the new running shoes and buying books). The things in life that make me happiest are not material possessions - they're mostly about people - family and friends - appreciating the simple things in life and working towards my own goals (and achieving them). And despite feeling sick, I can say that I'm pretty happy with my life.