Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Just Read Them For The Articles

Some days it's like the universe is bent on teaching you a lesson. Today I learnt a fascinating one.

Bubbles and I were out on our walk, which ended up being a run/walk because we were just feeling that good, when I saw the most puzzling piece of litter on the ground. It was a page from one of THOSE magazines. The sort of magazines that are often at the back of the newsagency where the sleazy men hang out. You know the type - the ones who move off quickly when you go into the wrong aisle looking for your running magazine and pretend that they've been looking at the car magazines all along while surreptitiously trying to sneak a peak down your cleavage.

Anyway, this page had the picture of a girl with the most enormous, naked, unfettered breasts that I've ever seen in my life. Now, I come from a house of big-breasted women. In fact I used to BE a big-breasted woman (hello double D) but breast-feeding and running has streamlined these puppies into a much more manageable size. My youngest sister, when she was pregnant was positively distraught when her E (for enormous) boobs became an F (for f@*#ing enormous). Well the breasts made my sister's look quite pitiful really.

But it wasn't the breasts that puzzled me so much - although I did wonder if they were real and if they were, why hadn't she had a reduction and if they weren't, why had she chosen to be so freakishly large. It was actually the headline that made me wonder. Emblazoned across her breasts were the words - My Breasts Saved My Life.

Those words got my neurons firing for the rest of the walk. How had her breasts saved her life? Had she fallen overboard on the high seas and her breasts had acted as a flotation device? Had they then become beacons to the rescue helicopter?  Had she been forced to jump from the fourth floor of  a building and her breasts had cushioned her fall? Had she been shot at or stabbed by a mugger and the bullet or knife been stopped short by her industrial-sized (and possibly filled with industrial-strength French) silicon implant?

I really wished I'd stopped and tucked it into the dog-poo pouch that's on Bubble's lead so I could have read it quietly in the locked toilet when I got home. (Isn't that where men have found it best to read such literature?) I will never know the answer to the question. BUT I have learned that maybe men DO read THOSE kinds of magazines for the articles.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Adrenalin- Pumpers

I'd really like to set the record straight today. I am NOT a total bitch to my husband. I can actually treat him quite nicely when he's been a good boy. And he generally doesn't read my blog but I do make a point of reading out the ones that feature him heavily so he knows what the rest of the world knows about himself (from my perspective). 

I was heavily influenced by my grandmother in regards to marital relationships. She had a philosophy that was quoted so often that it became embedded deep in my DNA - "Treat 'em mean and keep 'em keen". I can't tell you how often I heard that as I was growing up and it's become my mantra. I should make a cross-stitch of it, frame it and hang it over our bed. But Iven and I have been married for 26 years so it must be working on some level.

Today I was back at training after having last week off because of the rain. And today I got to include run breaks into my walk. And today those run breaks added up to almost 1k (in a 5k route). And today I haven't had any nasty after effects from my exertions. No headache. No nausea. So today I'm feeling really positive. But I'm not going to push it. My plan for this week is to walk (no running) again on Thursday. Walk/run on Saturday with the group (for 500m until I drop off the back). Then walk on Sunday. I'm on the comeback trail.

So today's excitement was that I've gotten to run - yesterday's excitement was even more adrenalin-producing. We had a little visitor in our house.

The picture is in Sam's bedroom and this what he woke up to. That's one way of getting your kids up and going in the morning. None of that hitting the snooze button for a few extra zzz's. I think it may have been the snake that Sam chased from the hen house a month ago and I think this snake has a very long memory. They say revenge is a dish best served cold - well this snake believes that it's a dish served by cold-blooded animals. 

I had to go down into his room today and I have to say that my heart rate was a little higher than normal. I kept looking for movement out of the corner of my eye. I have no idea how he slept down there last night.

Off to have a little pre-work nap. I'm just following doctor's orders!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Good, The Bad and The New Bedroom Decor

Let's start with the good news. I'm starting to feel a lot better. I'm getting through my work days without wanting to curl up in a little ball on the workroom floor, have a cry and then a half hour nap. AND I'm working longer days - not because I want to, but because it's that time of the year. I'm not having to lie down as soon as  I get upstairs after work just to gather enough strength to get through the evening. And I'm not feeling nauseated for the first six hours of the day. So that's all a big plus.

I've been a very good or lazy girl this week - depending on what camp you're sitting in. The hard-core fitness nuts will be on the side of lazy. But the conservatives who like the idea of me following doctor's instructions will say I've been good. I've walked only twice this week, not my usual four times and done my yoga DVD twice. Honestly I wasn't intending to walk only twice but the weather hasn't been so kind. We've had a few days of rain and I'd decided (in consultation with Bubbles) that walking in the rain wasn't sensible when you've been sick.

So now it's time to get onto the bad news. I've done something to my back. Wednesday it had me up in the middle of the night but felt better in the morning. That night it was back (no pun intended) and I had more Nurofen to help me sleep. Thursday it was sore all day and Friday I succumbed to the lure of a shopping centre massage to try to get the kinks out. More Nurofen, stretching, heat packs hasn't helped much and tomorrow morning I'll be ringing my physio, Chris to see if she can squeeze me in. I kinda think it's because I've been so inactive - like rigor mortis has sensed that my body is failing me and is starting to move in before the corpse is cold.

But even all this annoying pain has had its up side. Iven's been so kind and considerate and helpful. He's had to really step up with the meal preparation. Seeing me in pain bothers him ( he's so nice - seeing him in pain makes me offer to give him a quick injection to put him out of my misery). He's bought me hot packs, made me cups of tea, given me a back massage that resulted in bruising and another that didn't.

But the best thing that's come of all this is that I've been able to redecorate our bedroom without having to argue with him to get my way (and I like to get my way when it comes to interior decorating). Friday morning I found a hole in our doona cover, thanks to Bubbles. It was a really old cover and we'd already looked for a replacement without success but I had to look a little more seriously this time. So Saturday found us at the shops. I'd already decided which one I'd wanted the day before when I'd had a quick reconnaissance mission but, in the interest of LETTING him think he had a say in the matter, I took him back to get his approval. He liked it BUT he quite liked the navy one more and carried it around the shop like a kid who'd found the stuffed toy of his dreams and couldn't live without it.

It didn't take much, though, to get him to let me have my way. A few grimaces of pain, a bit of self-massage of my neck and shoulders, a few sighing breaths and he was putty in my hands. I swear I wasn't putting it on!  But I may remember this incident next time I really want my own way on an important issue. In fact - it may just be the best time ever to plan that overseas trip.

And I did finally get to the movies - Friday night. And I got a meal as well. The old man CAN step up when he really tries.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

In The Wee Small Hours

Sometimes I wonder what I get up to when I'm asleep. I know I toss and turn a bit, from the wrinkles on the sheets. And I suspect that there's some snoring occasionally - but who doesn't? I've seen what happens when Nelson sleeps - there's barking, whining and lots of running in a horizontal position. And I now suspect that I may be doing the same.

And the reason that I suspect that I'm a very active sleeper was because I managed to put my back into spasm while I was sound asleep. I must have been doing the limbo or the tango. One minute I thought I was sleeping peacefully and the next I wasn't able to breathe or move without wanting to cry.

Being a normal hypochondriac, the first thing that crossed my mind was some form of cancer - spinal, brain, metastatic breast cancer. Well, I figure if you're going to have a disease you might as well pick something fatal. Abdominal aortic aneurysm was another diagnosis I made in my sleep-addled, pain-wracked state. But in my heart of hearts I knew it was just an everyday, run-of-the-mill muscle spasm. So I got out of bed, heated up a heat pack and took two ibuprofen. Then I turned on the TV and lay on the couch and waited for the drugs and the heat to take effect.

Did you know that there's NOTHING on the TV at 1:30 in the morning?!! Every channel wanted to sell me something. At 1:30 in the morning I'm not going to be awake because my kids cannot multiply three digit numbers in their heads. I've bought them all calculators so they're never going to have to.

And I didn't think that Zumba was the answer to all my problems, as much as I felt like partying at 1:30 in the morning with a muscle spasm in my back.  Everyone who has seen me attempt to dance (and there's not many of you out there)  knows that there's a reason why I chose running as a sport - coordination! I did go to a funk class at the gym once and didn't even work up a sweat and this was in Summer in Brisbane when thinking can sometimes make me sweat.  I just couldn't get it! And on leaving the gym I had to ride in the elevator with the instructor of the class and he asked if I'd enjoyed it - he obviously hadn't taken his eyes off himself in the mirror to see me standing still for most of the class. So I don't think spending all my hard-earned dough on Zumba DVDs is going to help anyone except the person who's selling them.

What they really need to be selling at those ridiculous hours of the morning are drugs!! Sleeping tablets. Colic medicine for babies. Pain killers. And maybe just a little wine to wash the tablets down with (disclaimer - I do NOT advocate the use of alcohol and sleeping tablets together). Seriously, people are not up at that hour of the morning out of choice. And if my drug ads had a 30 minute delivery guarantee like some of the pizza delivery places, I think everyone would be happy.

Luckily it didn't take long for the ibuprofen and heat to work its magic and I was back in bed in less than an hour. And this morning I've woken up pain-free. And with a great idea that could earn me millions!!

Hope you all slept well last night. And if you didn't I hope you too have worked out your path to riches.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cranky Pants and Theme Songs

I put my cranky pants on by accident on Sunday. Apparently these are my cranky pants.

Once I had put them on my mood changed. I'd been happy when I got up. I'd felt pretty good so Bubbles and I laced on our walking shoes (that in a previous life were running shoes) and set out on a leisurely 7k. I came home a little tired but okay. I had my breakfast still feeling quite happy. Then I had my shower and put on those shorts and something switched. It could have had something to do with Iven not remembering that we'd planned to go to the movies and he'd decided to fill his day with something different that involved NO FUN WHATSOEVER FOR ME. But I'm blaming the pants. I've since washed them and hung them out in the sun to improve their disposition so I'm hoping they will behave themselves next time I wear them.

So how did I spend my Sunday instead of going to see my other celebrity free pass at the movies? First I'll explain the idea of the celebrity free pass. It is the celebrity who you quite fancy and who you get a free pass from your marriage to spend a little 'quality' time with (assuming that they find you as irresistible as you find them - which of course they would). The celebrity with my top billing is Hugh Jackman (being an Aussie and a nice guy and having a thing for older women helped put him on top). But I've always been a little partial to Liam Neeson. I think it's the accent. And he was starring in the movie that Iven FORGOT we were going to see. (and I have not yet forgotten that he forgot - I'm a little like an elephant that way)  So I got to spend the day WORKING. No wonder I had my cranky pants on. I spent four less-than-blissful hours cutting out bikinis for body builders. I'd have rather gone to the movies.

I'm not a very good patient. I think it's because I'm lacking the patient gene. You'd have thought that having three kids would have given me the patience of a saint - but not so. My theme song at the moment is Anastacia's Sick and Tired. Yep, I'm sick and tired of always feeling sick and tired. Maybe she had Glandular Fever too. Or maybe she was just singing about a bad relationship. 

Thank goodness I have friends who give me their time to have breakfast with and let me vent to. And, funnily, when I'm with them there doesn't seem to be so strong a need to vent. They give me a little dose of sanity and perspective. Maybe I should change my theme song to Barbra Streisand's People and change the lyrics just slightly to 'People who have people are the luckiest people in the world.'

What's your theme song today?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Recovery And Revenge

So how's my recovery going? Yes I knew you'd all want to know the answer to that question. It's going well - considering that it's only been two days since I got a diagnosis. But I am a little peeved with my family. They KNOW I have to rest and no one has hired me four strong Nubian slaves wearing only loin cloths (well, it's hot here in Brisbane)  and bearing large ostrich feather fans and platters of peeled grapes. It's not much to ask for - after 26 years of marriage and 25 years of child rearing. I know I have a household of four adult males but both Iven and Luke have dodgy backs and they'd struggle carrying me around in a sedan chair. And let's face it, Iven's loin-cloth-wearing-days are probably behind him.
Artist's Impression Of Me And My Nubians

I've been getting a little help with the meals and the laundry. Work's my biggest energy-sucker but there's not a lot you can do about that when you're the sole operator of a business and it's the busy time of the year. Yesterday I had clients in my workroom from midday till 4pm and I found out that I don't do well going without food for so long. So I'm going to buy some healthy snacks to have on hand just in case that happens again. And talking about food - I'm being so good about my diet. I'm throwing fresh greens and reds and oranges and purples with every meal and feeling much better for doing so. I'm avoiding a lot of sugar cause that makes me really tired and I've chucked out lactose all together and my bowels and family thank me for it daily.

Green With Envy

But my biggest problem has come in the shape of a spotted dog. Nelson is jealous! He's getting sick and tired of Bubbles being the chosen one (for walks). And he's acting out like a two year old who missed out on ice cream. He tried the pitiful eyes and soulful expression and that didn't work. I'm not deliberately cruel - he's just the equivalent of 98 in dog years and has dodgy hips that will only carry him a kilometre if he's lucky. Then he switched tactics and decided to bark for most of the time that we were walking. Again, not a very successful tactic because I can't hear him when I'm on the other side of the suburb. But I guess, being a dog you don't have many weapons in your persuasion arsenal.

So he's resigned himself to the fact that he won't be going out and he's not happy - in fact he's been out for some doggy revenge. He's taken ideas from the monkeys in the Madagascar movie and gone for the only other trick up his sleeve (actually, it wasn't up his sleeve) - he's gone for the poo-flinging. 

He's gotten me twice in the last 24 hours. Last night he had a little accident on the steps leading outside. He acted like he didn't want to come in until I'd cleaned it up just in case he trod in it and brought it into the house. So he lured me into his carefully thought out and brilliant plan. I went outside and picked up the first deposit, then the second and, while carrying it down the stairs to put into the garden, I stepped in the one that he'd hidden under the cover of darkness. Score one for Nellie - none for me.

Then this morning I woke up early to meet the group before they left me eating their dust. It was still dark but I was confident because of the previous night's shenanigans that there would be no little whoopsies in the kitchen. Well, I was wrong. Nellie had boobie-trapped the floor just as you walk in to turn the light on.Score two for Nellie. 

He's Not Sleeping - He's Plotting More Revenge

I've organised for Iven to take him for a little walk this afternoon - so I guess he's won.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Doctor's Visit #2

To be perfectly honest, it's been a tough week. But today's post is not all doom and gloom. There's a really big silver lining that I'll get to by the end of the story.

When we last left our heroine (me) she had been a bit of a naughty girl and had run just a little bit during her Sunday walk. Being that she suffered no ill-effects from the tiny bit of very slow trotting, she decided to repeat the process on Tuesday's walk. And she could totally justify it as a scientific experiment so she could bring valid results to her apothecary (the older Dr Young)

Well Tuesday's experiment was way less successful than Sunday's. I felt fine while I was running and made sure to stop before my heart rate climbed too high  AND I only ran on the flat or down-hill bits. But by the time I'd finished breakfast I was starting to feel a bit ordinary. Tired, nauseated, headachey, achey legs and a bit shivery. I went home and had a nanna nap before I started work. But the sick feeling stayed with me all day.

At my last doctor's visit, he had mentioned that it sounded like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome so, like any normal person with an internet connection would do, I Goggled it. SERIOUSLY NOT THE ILLNESS YOU WANT IF YOU'RE A RUNNER. Average recovery length (if you recover at all) is 7 years. That would take me into my mid 50s!! But after my Tuesday run/walk I saw this as a distinct possibility and thinking this way was messing with my mind. The idea of feeling as awful as I do for 7 years or more was horrendous. I was cranky and snappy and a little bit mean to any family member that looked at me the wrong way.

But then I went to see the nice Dr Young. He had the results of my blood tests and there were some unusual abnormalities with my virus tests. I tested positive to having an older Glandular Fever infection but also positive to a very recent infection and that doesn't really make sense. Except that you can get this reaction if you've had a couple of other viruses - Parvovirus (no, not the dog one) or Cytomegalovirus (which Josh had last year). And I'm probably so tired because you can get post viral fatigue after any virus which will knock me around for a little while longer but I will improve gradually over the next couple of months.

In the meanwhile I have the perfect excuse to be lazy - doctor's orders. I can demand help around the house  (something that I'm starting to get better at). I can just lie down when I'm tired at the end of the day (like Iven's been doing for years and I've resented him for). I can go for walks with Bubbles and just make them relaxing walks. And I can sleep in late as much as I want because it's when you're sleeping that the body does its best recovering.

Relief was what I felt first. Followed by elation. I have a name for my condition. I'm not a hypochondriac. I have a plan of action. There's a light at the end of the tunnel.

Then I texted a couple of people and posted on Facebook and was swamped with the love that my running squad  is notorious for. I got phone calls from family and friends. And once again felt incredibly blessed that I have such supportive people in my life. And then I felt incredibly tired - there might be light at the end of the tunnel but the end of the tunnel's still a little way off.

Has anyone else had this or known someone who's had it?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I'm a Naughty Girl And I Must Be Spanked

I have an admission to make. It's actually a confession and I'm a little ashamed. I ran today.

Let's start at the beginning. It was a gorgeous morning when I woke up. We'd had a storm last night and the morning felt fresh and coolish (for summer) and I'd woken up without an alarm just before six am. When I walked into the lounge room, Bubbles looked at me with such longing and expectation that I was powerless to resist. (Actually I walked in and said 'walk' and she did that cute little ears-pricked-head-tilt thing)

My morning heart rate was a very respectable 48 which meant that I wasn't suffering any ill-effects from yesterday's walk so I knew we could push the pace as much as yesterday. My first inkling of temptation came when we hit the first decline. Bubbles was really moving and walking made it hard to keep with her so I just trotted a few steps till we got to the flat part. And in that moment of casual carelessness an evil little plan was born. One of my alter-egos decided that it would be all right to run down any of the declines we came to - which amounted to one section in each of the kilometres except for the middle section. And so to give myself a running break in that k I allowed myself to trot a flat section. And I (hanging my head low with shame telling you this) did have to drag Bubbles faster than she wanted to go BUT dragging her means that her toenails get worn down and I don't have to clip them and she hates me clipping them so I did it in her best interest. (See, I can justify anything) And I didn't ever run more than 200metres.

My average heart rate for the walk was 130 which was less than last Sunday's walk (where all I did was walk). Both were pretty hilly routes but you get that in my suburb of Taringa, which in indigenous dialect means place of hills.

When I got home I felt okay enough to spend 40 minutes in the garden digging up some ground for our new and exciting landscaping. Actually, landscaping is probably too fancy a term for what we're doing. We're just going to put in a couple of plants near my fancy-arse washing line path and we're going to try to get rid of the weeds.

The digging was probably more than I should have attempted. And God punished me by letting my spade hit a root which made my hand get a great big bruise. I've had an afternoon nap and I'm feeling pretty normal. Hopefully there'll be no ramifications tomorrow.

And talking of cupcakes (yeah, I know that no one was talking about cupcakes. But I was thinking about them and couldn't come up with a decent segue) I decided that I wouldn't let my failure of last weekend beat me. I was going to tame that recipe and it was not going to sink this time. I changed things around a little in the recipe and added more flour  because last time it seemed like a really wet mix. Well I'm happy to report that it didn't sink quite so far this time. And I'm happier to report that the little concavity will be easy to fill with frosting once I decide what flavour I want to make. And I'm happiest to report that Iven came up with a creative, intelligent and appropriate name for my less-than-perfect sugary treat. He's called it The Sunken Treasure. Sometimes he surprises me.

Only four more days till I see the doctor. I'm really hoping  that he'll let me continue to add running breaks to my walks so I can feel less guilty.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Big Dogs, Little Dogs, Black Dogs and White Dogs (apologies to Dr Seuss)

Sam's finished his exams! That malignant pall has been cast from our house and life can now go on as normal.  He was a much happier camper this afternoon when he arrived home with the weight off his shoulders. And quite an exuberant one just now when he turned up with a group of his fellow future-physios. My guess is that they'd been drinking  a little (wasn't a hard guess - they were holding bottles of beer). There is nothing more excited than a group of slightly tipsy students who have just finished exams.

My running hiatus continues. I have failed a little in the non-running stakes this week. Actually it was twice in two days. I took Bubbles walking yesterday and we had to run across a road to avoid being road-kill (I think the doctor will forgive me for that one). And today I had to foil the most well-planned breakout since The Great Escape. Nelson thought he'd take the opportunity to take himself for a walk when I was upstairs making my lunch. The only flaw in his plan was that he made too much noise pushing over the piece of wood that is our dog-escape-proofer. I raced through the house and caught him on the other side. Thank goodness he's 98 in dog years. At 48, I have youth on my side. (It's not often I can say that)

I have decided to take up a new hobby, seeing as I have a few spare hours a week. I haven't actually settled on one but I was thinking that dog-watching would be interesting. Or more specifically watching the toileting behaviour of dogs. It's quite fascinating and every dog seems to have his own technique. Nelson's is The Walk Of Shame. He has very unstable hips (you probably would too if you were 98) and can't hold a squat position in one place. So he crouches down and creeps gradually forward leaving deposits at nice regular intervals. This is done while looking over his shoulder with a mortified look on his face.

Bubbles has perfected The Princess Poop. She is a little too precious to defecate in our garden so she tries to save it for our walks. Then she'll find THE most manicured lawn available and do her deed with pride, knowing her loyal servant will clean up behind her.

Did someone say walk?
My sister's dog Wilbur has been a house-guest of ours from time to time and he is The Paranoid Pooper. Willie worries about people or dogs creeping up on him when he's in the act so he circles around three times before squatting quickly and squirting one out. Because it has to be done quickly, there's often more than one toilet stop per walk.

Willie's paranoia may stem from his problem-drinking.

We've also had my other 'nephew' Benny over to stay. Benny is a proponent of the Sharing Is Caring bowel movement. He cannot be in someone else's yard for more than five minutes before he's left a little token of his esteem. (I so wanted to write esteam but that would only apply to very cold winter's days).

So what do you think? Fascinating? Or she's-becoming-that-looney-dog-woman?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

An ADD Blog (Or More Scattered Bits of Randomness)

Before I start I'd just like to say that yes, those were really pyjamas that Sam's wearing. If any of you watch How I Met Your Mother you might recognise them from Barney's wardrobe. Sam decided that he too would like to be as cool as Barney. I personally think he's managed to achieve what he wanted. (but I'm his Mother so I may be biased)

The weather has been incredibly kind to me. It's been so stinking hot and humid that I ALMOST didn't envy the squad heading out to do their speed session yesterday. 24C/75F with a 'feels like' temp of 28C/82F at 5:30 in the morning is not my idea of ideal running temps. There were a lot of red faces and sweat-soaked singlets by the time I'd walked around to them.

I actually managed to pull my gluteal and hamstring yesterday. At this point I'd like to say that I sometimes think that runners run because they're a little too uncoordinated to do anything else. My theory goes back to the time when I joined in a parents/kids soccer match at my son's soccer break-up. I was running along and had to make a sudden turn because the game changed direction and I fell over. I didn't trip. I didn't get ankle-tapped. No one was near me. There were no pot holes. And I didn't even have the ball. I just randomly fell over. And this theory has been proven time and again by my fellow runners and inspired my calendar to Coach Chris - Stacks, Stubs and Other Random Running Injuries.

Yesterday I managed to trip over a speed bump in the car park - stupidly walking along and not watching where I was going. It's just as well I can't run at the moment because I apparently have trouble just walking.

But back to the weather - you know it's hot around here when the ants start making their way indoors. Iven's theory is that they know there's a lot of rain on the way. I'm wondering what kind of equipment the ant meteorologist uses and if it's accurate. I've been finding ants in very unusual and inconvenient places - on top of the shower screen where some people (Josh) leave their toothpaste and toothbrush. Don't worry Josh I rinsed all the ants out before you could see. Also in and on our toilet (I always wondered where the saying 'ants in your pants' came from and now I know). Those little suckers can bite! And finally I found a trail travelling between the shower and the toilet - I'm hoping for Josh's sake that they'd gone to the shower before heading for the toilet! 

I got the most awesome parcel in the mail this week.  These arrived from Jon  and I actually managed to load them up with music and get them working without any assistance from my kids. They are truly idiot-proof and user-friendly.
They hold 4GB of your favourite songs and are really comfortable when you sew or walk (well I'm not allowed to run yet). Their only draw-back is that they can cause leg injuries - I was playing with these when I tripped in the car park.

My life has been filled with little ironies lately - it's almost like the universe is having a laugh at my expense. Iven makes me a lovely path to the clothes line so I don't have to stand on sticks and stones and Nelson's dog poo - Nelson decides that the path is the best place to poop on (or maybe he thought the path needed a dotted line down the middle). I buy a huge tub of protein powder to help build up my muscles - I struggle to open it because my arms are too weak. I come down with this weird fatigue/overtraining thing and Iven gets a bad back so I can't be mean to him while I'm not running - where's the fun in that?!

My wish for each and every one of you for today is that you see those little ironies in life and laugh along with the universe.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Losing My Mojo

Bubbles and I racked up two walks this weekend. Woohoo! I took her along to meet the squad on Saturday morning. She was a bit confused that I was in my running gear and it was still pretty dark outside and yet she was being invited along. I was stupidly surprised when a few of the squad members knew her name - they'd never met her before. But they'd read my blog and seen her pic. And I shouldn't have been so surprised.

We had a great walk along the river and Bubbles managed to PR a 1k split - 10:23!! A minute faster than her Thursday walk. I think she's getting fitter.

Then we went for a walk up through the bushland at the back of my suburb. It's a really lovely area but very hilly. Probably the wrong walk to do when I'm supposed to be taking it easy but once you've started, the only way to get back home is to keep walking. I kept checking my HR monitor - it got up to 176 on the last awful hill - and wondering if the numbers I was seeing were really abnormal. So frustrating - you can't even go for a little walk without overthinking and worrying.

The rest of the day was filled with baking. I'm still working through the recipes in my new book and the Bento Cupcakes looked really appealing

Picture from my new cupcake cookbook - Making Cupcakes With Lola

They're a chocolate batter with chopped chocolate and in the centre of the cupcake is a caramel-filled chocolate - Yum! I never worry about trying out new stuff because it always works out so I went ahead and followed the recipe to the letter and this is what came out of the oven ...

... Note the big crater in the centre of the cupcake. The cupcake in the original picture DID NOT have one of these. Major fail!! But I went ahead and made the icing - white chocolate cream cheese frosting - and thought I'd hide the concavity with a mountain of sweetness that could put most people into a diabetic coma.

I'd never made this type of frosting before. It involved making a white chocolate ganache and mixing it into the cream cheese frosting and then refrigerating it for about an hour till it was firm enough to pipe on. At this point I'll mention that it's a British cookbook and we're in Australia in the hottest time of the year. I'll also mention that I chose to ignore the heat factor despite the fact that I'm usually a fairly intelligent person. And this is the result ...

My frosting just couldn't manage to hold a swirl so after a couple of failed attempts I just slopped it on. It doesn't look quite like the cookbook picture.

Talk about a blow to my fragile ego - not only have I lost my running mojo but now I've lost my cupcake baking mojo. What next?!!!

But another attempt at a different recipe put my mind at ease.

The caramel biscotti ones worked out just fine. Phew!

Good luck to #1 son, Sam today starting a week of exams. If he got marks for style he'd ace all his exams - here's a photo of him in his new pyjamas.

Hope you all have a good running week. Could you all please run an extra k or two for me?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Scattered Bits Of Randomness

It's been hard to put a new post together - my thoughts have been so scatty lately. Could it be that running is the only thing that's warding off dementia?

I totally forgot to buy bread yesterday. I'm going to be sacked from my job of Super-Woman. Seriously, who forgets to buy bread?!! Especially when they're the sole food purchaser for a family of four hungry males. There was some very unhappy campers in my house this morning. Personally, I would have thought that bread could be substituted - we have other foodstuffs in the fridge and pantry. Bacon and eggs. English muffins. Two minute noodles. Muesli. All are perfectly adequate breakfast foods (except maybe the two minute noodles - but when you're desperate ...). But apparently they take too long to prepare when you're tired from staying out clubbing till 2am and need to be at work by 9am.

Yesterday I couldn't manage to do basic maths. I've agreed to bake brownies for the up-coming running camp (the one that I've had to pull out of because I can't run, can't kayak, can't walk for longer than an hour). I wanted to find out how many I needed to bake so I could buy the ingredients. There's going to be just over 60 at the camp so Coach Chris and I worked out that I needed 5 dozen. I had a mini, internal freak-out that I'd agreed to do such a big order. An hour later I remembered that each batch of brownies is 2 dozen so I only have to do 3 batches. Mini-crisis averted but there were self-recriminations about the depth of my stupidity.

I went for a walk yesterday evening with Bubbles - the dog with the 6 inch legs. I'd been talking to my sister about our walks the previous day and told her that our pace was about 12 mins per kilometre. She was astounded that we were so slow. I reminded her that I wasn't supposed to be breaking any land speed records at the moment but it tugged that competitive cord in me so yesterday I, stupidly, picked up the pace. I learnt something really important - Bubbles is a great walking companion for me in my current condition. Her top speed is 11:30 per k and if we try to go any faster there's dragging involved.

Once again I had runner's envy of the worst kind yesterday. There's a long gentle descent towards the end of our walk and I had this wild urge to just cut loose and run down it. It's just as well I had Bubbles there to restrain my baser nature. I can only imagine how bad it would have looked with my running wildly down the slope dragging my dog behind me on her belly because her legs had given out.

Once I got to the oval next to my house the runner's envy hit another high. There were dogs running around chasing tennis balls. I've decided that in my next life I'd like to come back as a dog with long flappy ears and the waggliest tail. Then everyone would be able to see just how joyful running makes me. I would bound along with those flappy ears waving behind me in the slipstream that I'd created chasing that green tennis ball until I got distracted by a bird over the other side of the field and then my owner would have to spend half an hour chasing me. (Yes, I'm that dog - the one that's had no obedience training. Actually, I had two weeks of lessons before the instructor asked my owner not to bring me back. Puppy school fail!)

And my final chapter of this random blog belongs to novelty soaps. I was given a cute cupcake-shaped soap for Christmas and the other day it was forced into use. (Yes, I forgot to buy soap as well as bread). While lathering myself up with it in the shower I was compelled to contemplate whether the designers actually intended for it to be used on the human body. Those little brown bits on the soap were more abundant when I pulled it out of the packaging. They were also more sand-paper like - possibly intended for exfoliation or dermabrasion depending on the enthusiasm of the lathering. In fact they were so coarse that, had I had a tattoo I could have saved myself the expense of laser removal. And the shape of the soap is far from ergonomic. But I will say that there are parts of my anatomy that have never been so clean thanks to that mound of 'icing'. I have put soap at the top of my next shopping list ... in capital letters and highlighted!

Has anyone else done anything totally screwy/scatty/without engaging what little grey matter is left? Is this a side-effect of not running?