Thursday, March 29, 2012

Today's Run

I woke up with anticipation of a good run today. And the reason behind my extreme optimism? I had new shoes and a new running singlet so I was going to look hot - and I had to run accordingly.

Stupid, huh?! I've only been running longer stretches (ie anything over 2k) for about a week. Yes, I ran 5k on Saturday. Yes, I ran every step of my run on Tuesday - all 6.4k of it - but I had a couple of chat breaks. Yes, my resting heart rate is still elevated so I'm not back to normal yet. And yes, the doctor said it would take months. But still I just felt like I was going to have a good one.

For the last few weeks I've been running the same route on Thursdays and Sundays and, even though it gives me a really good comparison of data from one run to the next, it's kind of getting boring. No, it's REALLY getting boring. I decided that the route out to the University of Queensland would be flat enough so that's where I headed. And it was flat enough - until I got to the hill.

Can I just say at this point, any positive elevation is a hill in my book? Because my heart rate is unusually reactive just the slightest rise can get an extraordinary rise in my pulse. And because I have to keep my HR as low as possible, hills are not my friend.

Somewhere in the back of my head I'd had a little whispered thought that maybe I could run the whole way. And maybe I could stretch the distance out from my usual 7k to a nice, neat 10k. Some might call me delusional. I like to think I'm a positive thinker with delusions of grandeur. It's all how you look at it really.

Well that hill put the kibosh on my grand plans. I got right to the uni (about 4.5k) and had to walk to get my HR under control. Funny thing is that my legs don't feel too bad. They want to go faster. It's just the numbers on the watch that make me pull back.

But even though I had to walk, I didn't cut back on my distance. Once I've decided my route I never change. I can be stubbornly pig-headed. I ran down past the duck pond and then around to the front entrance of the university again and almost literally ran into my husband who was cycling to work. He'd stopped at the round-about in front of a few workmen so I took the opportunity to plant a big one on him as I passed just to leave them wondering.

I ended up having four walk breaks - disappointing. But the last 200m is across the school oval next to our house and I just couldn't resist putting the accelerator down and just running fast for the hell of it. It felt so good!

But despite the endorphin rush from that little sprint, I still felt a bit down about the run until I read Erika's blog. It talked about savouring every run - even the sucky ones - because we can't get to the good ones without going through the bad. It was exactly what I needed to put everything into perspective. Just two weeks ago my Thursday run totalled all of 3.5k running - I've more than doubled that. And I know I will be able to run 10k again soon and then 20k and then who knows?!!

And really my run today wasn't THAT bad. I ran 8k out of 10. I kept my HR at a respectable level. I looked hot in my new gear (and I do say that tongue in cheek). And I got to make some workmen wonder, nay hope, if they might possibly be the next victim of the kiss-and-run bandit.

And on a final note I'd like to leave you with a couple of the mysteries of the universe that have kept me wondering over the past few days.

Why is it that when you arrive home and you're busting to go to the loo, the key just will not go into the lock smoothly and quickly like it normally does?

Why is it that when you arrive home you are busting to go to the loo even if you weren't when you were driving?

Why is that your dog who was busting to go to the loo has invariably gone - right in shortest line between the front door and the loo?

And why is it that despite not being able to find a dress for a wedding for ages, you end up with two and can't decide?

Feel free to share the deep mysteries of your own lives.

Monday, March 26, 2012

When Good Toilets Turn Bad

Warning - This post may contain disturbing information. Please do not read while eating.

I am not a particularly materialistic person. My wardrobe is spartan (except for the excessive number of running shoes). I don't spend a lot of money on our household décor. I don't have to have the latest and greatest of anything really - as long as what I have is doing the job, I'm pretty happy.

But lately I've become quite covetous of one particular item. I want it. I need it! I have to have it!! I sometimes dream that I've got it and wake up bitterly disappointed - like a reverse nightmare.

And what is this wonderful thing that I must possess? I want one of these ...

I lust after the latest lavatory. I covet a new commode. I long to perch my posterior on  pure, pristine, polished porcelain. (And nothing says DESIRE quite like alliteration)

Okay, I actually do already have an indoors, flushing toilet. It's been quite a few years since I last had to use one of these ... 

But my toilet has seen better days. It leaks a little at the back. There are memories of meals past that can not be removed despite litres of bleach and DOMS-inducing scrubbing. And, worst of all, it's started to have a few, shall we say, ISSUES when it comes to flushing.

Yesterday I went to use the toilet (we're all human, so there's no need to be shocked). There were a few things floating in it and I decided that one of the boys had been a little lax in his flushing (ie - hadn't bothered to press the button). I'm not a princess and I'm happy to conserve water so I decided to use it regardless and kill two birds with one stone - or a number one and a number two with one flush.

It wasn't until I pressed the button that I realised that the previous donor hadn't been slack or forgetful. The toilet was having a severe dose of Monday-itis and was refusing to perform its normal duties. The water level rose disturbingly high and with it came all the flotsam that was yesterday's dinner and disintegrated toilet paper. 

It stopped just short of flowing over. Phew.

But I was the only one at home so I was going to have to deal with it. Damn!

I have stuck my arm up the rectum of horses and cows before, so giving the toilet s-bend a bit of a poke with the toilet brush isn't too much of a stretch. Or it wasn't until I dropped the brush in all that brown, lumpy water. 

There are days that I wished I'd kept my to-the-armpit rubber glove. I had to plunge my hand into that-which-cannot-be-named and grab my wet toilet brush to complete the unblocking operation. 

Pass the disinfectant please.

So when Iven got home yesterday the first thing I did was make him pledge his undying love to me by promising me a new loo. He agreed. And we can continue to live happily ever after :)

P.S. to Youngie and Andrew - your cakes were made before all this happened so you can eat up without fear of E Coli.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Why You Shouldn't Work Twelve Days In A Row

I've just had to put in a long stint of consecutive days and I've decided that I can't do silly stuff like that any more - it's just not good for me and everyone else around me.


1. Working 40+ hours a week with no days off makes me cranky. Yep, I've been wearing my cranky pants over the last couple of days and my butt just doesn't look good in them. I had to go and vote in our state election yesterday and I was annoyed that I had to give up some of my first day off in a fortnight. So when I got to the polling booth and was inundated with voting pamphlets (as if my letter box hasn't been full with these over the past couple of weeks). Then this perky little girl who didn't even look old enough to vote came up to me and told me to vote NLP. I snapped and told her that I'd vote for who I wanted to, thank you very much. I crushed a little bit of perky out of her and I didn't even feel bad that I'd done it.

2. I react pretty badly when I find out the courier company who I entrust with my hard work loses it. Friday is the day I get a delivery from my sewing machinist. It didn't arrive in the morning like it usually does. In the afternoon my courier came with some fabric but no leotards. I knew the work had been picked up but the company couldn't find the parcel in it's tracking system - because the courier had forgotten to scan it. I finished work on Friday thinking that a whole week's worth of work was gone and I was somehow going to have to redo it all. I begged a hug from my son, grabbed a big handful of peanut M&Ms, went to the movies with Iven and came home to a message to say that the parcel had been found and would be delivered first thing on Monday. Huge sigh of relief!

3. Baking gets to feel like a chore. I love baking. I love making pretty little morsels and feeding them to hungry mouths. I like trying new recipes. I like sampling the cake batter - just for quality control purposes. But today I just wasn't feeling it. I did bake regardless - March is a big birthday month and my policy is that no birthday should go without cake. And I felt better after I baked.

 Marble Cupcakes

Carrot Cake

I've never done a carrot cake before but I can honestly say the batter tasted pretty good.

4. I make very bad food choices. For dinner last night I ate a bowl of ice cream topped with peanut M&Ms and I followed this with crackers and cheese. At this point I'll remind you that I'm lactose intolerant. All I can say is it's an ill wind that blows no good.

But it's not all been bad. I've managed to get on top of my work load. Sort of. I think. And my running - well it's coming along very nicely thank you. Yesterday's run - out of 10k I ran 8.5 and 5 of those k were continual. It was just 3 weeks ago that I thought even 1k was months off. Last week my grand total of running k's was 17 - this week it's 23. And that's without any side effects - no post-run nausea, no achey legs, no headaches. 

Hopefully, this week will be calmer at work. Hopefully this week I'll be able to continue adding k's to my tally. And hopefully, this week I can take these cranky pants off and maybe burn them.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

If You're Awesome And You Know It Clap Your Hands.

I want everyone to take a seat and prepare themselves for the unveiling of my awesomeness.

I RAN a whole 2.3k yesterday - continuously. No stopping! 6:30 pace.

I know. I know. You're all speechless. Awesome has a name and it's Char!!

I shouldn't really be this excited. It's not like I did five 1k reps at 4:20 pace. (which I have done - a long time ago). But when even walking up a hill was pushing my heart rate up to 170, running any distance is really exciting. In fact it reminds me of my very early running days when I'd get a little rush just thinking about running (just like any new love) and I'd be smiling all day after I'd done a new distance.

These are back on my feet.

Attractive, aren't they?!! But we can't have me with an ITB issue after all the crap that my body's been through. I've even gone and ordered myself some new runners as a little reward for surviving.

Yes, I know I still have to be ever so cautious. And I know that I still have to keep my eye on my heart rate. And I know I will still be chanting 'slow, slow' for a little while to come. But I'm going to be excited and enjoy every improvement.

Runners weren't the only new shoes that I bought yesterday. I bit the bullet and went where most men fear to tread - shoe shopping. The last time I bought a pair of nice shoes (not runners) was in 1985 for my impending wedding. I still have those shoes. But white court shoes don't really go with the dresses that I've bought for the wedding. It was an eye-opening experience. I found that I have no balance. I am afraid of heights. And like Anne Hathaway in The Devil Loves Prada, I have no sense of style. Thank goodness for the heavily pregnant assistant who squatted in front of me to measure up my feet (That was a truly scary moment in the history of shopping - I thought I might have to pull out all my Vet knowledge and assist in a delivery. People and dogs are pretty similar when it comes to those kinds of things aren't they?). 

How do girls walk in some of the shoes out there? It defies gravity and physics!

I ended up with these.

They're not too high. They have a slightly sturdier heel. And I should survive the wedding and reception without breaking my ankle.

I had to text my fashion guru sister about my success. And while she was happy for me, she let me know that I wasn't done yet.

Spray tan?? People will know I have a tan when they look down and see the sock line at my ankle. I'm right for underwear. I've got me some of those 'look-I've-had-three-babies-but-I've-still-got-a-flat-stomach' undies. I looked in my drawer and found that the only nail polish bottle I have has congealed.

Sigh! Deep breath. I'm awesome and I know it - I can do this glam thing, even if it kills me.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Blogging As An Excuse Not To Work


I'm spending time on my blog because I just don't want to work. I've worked 10 days in a row (admittedly Saturday and Sunday were only four hours each) and all I want is a day off. I don't think that's unreasonable but my order book is full and I'm turning away clients and the dates that my orders are needed are getting closer at a ridiculously fast rate so I just have to suck it up and work, work, work.

I did steal some time to go to the shops this morning to do some banking and get a quick coffee, (who am I trying to kid - I do that every day but I only feel guilty about it when I've got a lot of work pressure). While I was trying to get a park I noticed something quite interesting. Men with long cars find it difficult to park in tight slots. (There is no euphemism intended and those who think there is need to wash their minds out with lavender soap - it'll make them think of their Grandmas and create extra guilt) I had to wait for two men in station wagons having to stop and straighten multiple times before finally getting in. I drive a much more car-park appropriate vehicle and could just slip into a spot in one go. Let's chalk one up for the ladies.

I've been having some Garmin issues lately. For my past two runs (yes, I'm calling them runs now because there's more running than walking) I've gone to put it on to find it DEAD. Blank screen. 0% battery. I'd charged it and had 100% battery showing the day before but it had discharged during the night. I started to think new Garmin (the grey and pink 110) but a little Googling and some TLC with alcohol (sometimes alcohol IS the answer) and it's working perfectly again. The terminals just needed some cleaning. Unfortunately the pretty grey and pink 110 will have to wait.

I accidentally left the Garmin timing after my Saturday run. This was probably part of the reason why the watch was flat when I tried to use it on Sunday. It was sitting on my kitchen bench on the charger just counting off the seconds - and the kilometres. It was a mistake that showed that Garmins are not 100% accurate. I'd left it on for 25 hours and apparently in that time it travelled 35 k. Ten of those kilometres were legit. Probably two were driving home from my run. That leaves 23k unaccounted for. So either there's a very fit rat in training for the Gold Coast marathon who needed to borrow it OR there's a degree of error in each and every Garmin.

Sam has been using his long-suffering parents to practice his new physio knowledge. He examined my back the other day and told me that I'm inflexible. What?! Me, rigid??!! The fact that I refuse to do things out of my comfort zone, will not break my schedule for anything, find it hard to eat things that I deem 'bad' food surely doesn't mean that I'm inflexible. He's given me an exercise to help with my back pain so hopefully I'll be able to pull off the strapping tape soon - you didn't know that I was just being held together by a bit of gaffer tape did you?

He also examined Iven's back. There was a bit of poking and prodding, some squeezing and then a warning from Iven that there might be an imminent release of gas. Sam backed off. Iven declared the emergency over. But as soon as Sam started manipulating Iven again a stealth fart snuck out. Why is farting so hilarious?!

Procrastination over - best get a little work done. I have more of these to make.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Amusement and Amazement

Conversation with my #3 son ( Background behind this conversation - he had bought himself some shorts which fitted great but, once he was back at uni, he found that he couldn't spend all day sitting down in them without the, ahem, 'boys' being squished. I went past the same shop that he'd bought them in the other day and found they were on sale so I bought him two pairs in the next size up.)

"How were the shorts?"- me
"Really good" - him
"So there was enough room for the boys?"
"So you'll be able to give me grandkids eventually?"
"I guess so"
"Well it was $15 well spent"

You all have conversations with your kids like that, right? We're not weird or abnormal?

I want you to prepare yourself to be amazed and astounded by the rest of this post. Last week I did a whole 30 kilometres!! Yes, I know! That's totally mind-blowing. But even more astounding - I RAN 17 of those kilometres. Bit by bit. Inch by inch I'm clawing back my mileage. It's almost unbearably slow but my aim is to keep my heart rate low so it will be slow until my body says I can go a bit faster. I strung together over a kilometre in one hit on Saturday. Just a few weeks ago I remember thinking that a whole kilometre seemed like such a long way and now I can do it (as long as I walk for a while after).

But it won't go to my head like that little sip of apple cider did. I will be keeping my self restrained, constrained and disciplined until ... until it all feels normal again.

The second thing that you will all be amazed by - I have a dress for the wedding. Actually, that's not totally true - I have two dresses for the wedding. 

 Excuse the dreadful photographs - this is what happens when you interrupt your child from playing an on-line game at just the moment when he is being set upon by gorgons and dragons and other nasties. He gets photographic revenge.

How I came to have two dresses is a tale of bravery and tenacity and self-belief that rivals my marathon story. Friday I decided that I COULD do what every other woman in the world seems to enjoy - I could walk into a dress shop and try on something. And even braver - I could walk into a posh dress shop in my old denim skirt and tee shirt and flip flops (I would have said thongs but some of you foreigners have a different idea of what a thong is - I'm talking footwear not underwear.)

The first shop I went into was empty apart from me and the 20something year old assistant. She was sweet and asked what I was looking for. She did NOT give me the what-the-hell-are-you-doing-in-our-shop-cause-you-don't-fit-our-usual-clientèle-look. She accurately guessed my size, sent me to the dressing room and proceeded to bring in every dress in my size that they had in the shop. I could not do up the zip in any of them. I have a freakishly large rib cage and these dressed were not made to accommodate it. But she even went so far as to recommend other shops and then she wished me luck and I moved on.

The next dress shop had another lovely assistant. I gave her my spiel about needing a dress for a wedding, not being a dress-wearer and being a shopping-hater. And she did the same. I was whisked off to the dressing room and she flooded me with appropriate dresses. I could do up the zips on these ones. And I even had to go down a size. The red one fitted like it had been made for me and although it wasn't what I had in mind, I had a rush of blood to the head and bought it anyway.

Saturday arrived and flushed with my courage and success I decided to hit up a couple of other shops that I'd been recommended. Iven volunteered to be my shopping companion (give the man a medal). We went to  Paddington and started to wander. There are lots of dress shops up and down the street and we went into most of them but I didn't try on anything until I saw THE lace dress. I'd seen it on line the day before and fell in love with it. It looked just as pretty in real life. And then I tried it on - it was a little big and they didn't have another size. But I can sew so that's only a minor hiccup. So I bought it.

And now I have another problem. I like them both. So which do I choose - the red or the black?

And hold your breath for the next thrilling chapter - Shoe and Accessory Shopping : Where The Fun Never Ends!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's My Birthday - Part 2

When I left you all the other day it was 9:30 on my birthday morning and I'd had a really lovely few hours. I had a busy day of work ahead - too many orders and not enough time - but after my wonderful morning I was pumped and ready to go. But I have a couple of admissions to make -

#1 I didn't really achieve much.

#2 I spent a bit of the afternoon crying.

The not achieving much part is a no-brainer. If you manage to get any work done at all on your birthday, you're a legend or you need more people in your life. I spent hours on Facebook reading birthday messages and replying to them. I had a couple of visitors and a few phone calls. I think I managed to draft and cut only two leotards and a few pair of tights.

The crying part was NOT because I was unhappy, disappointed or hurt. I'm not a big crier. In fact I hate crying - especially in public. But I think my virus has made me a little soft and thee's been some pretty tragic things happen lately so  I've actually spent more time crying this year than I have in the last five.

The thing that triggered all the tears was a visit from my sister and my Mum. Julie had arrived first bearing gifts. She gave me the first present ever that hinted of my increasing age - a wheat heat. It's a special heat pack filled with wheat and linseeds that you heat in the microwave. This was for my dodgy back. And the sad thing is that I was terribly excited to get it. I'm wondering If I'll be able to contain my joy when I get my first walking stick.

And then Mum gave me the gift from her and Dad. It was in a ring box and my immediate thought was that it was funny that I was going to get two rings on my birthday when I rarely wear them. I opened the box and found this.

It's a really pretty ring and it fit me perfectly. But I still didn't get it. And then Mum explained that it was my Grandmother's engagement ring and that's when I burst into tears.

I had a really close relationship with my Grandma. She's the one who taught me to sew - it's because of her teaching me to make a gingham apron that I now spend my days making leotards. I spent many happy hours out on her farm, picking grapes and tomatoes, swinging from the willow tree, hitting a tennis ball against the door of the garage, playing dress-ups ... My memories from then are so vivid and like a warm hug. You could always count on Grandma making you feel special. She died a few years back now and when she died I bought a gold locket that I wear constantly to remind me of her and Grandpa.

Mum knew that I'd been feeling pretty low lately - the illness, family issues and a few other things had made me struggle with a few things like self-worth. She valued that ring - it was her Mum's ring and it was the one few things that she'd really wanted as a remembrance when Grandma had died. But she also knew how much it would mean to me so she gave it to me. And I'm sitting here typing this with tears in my eyes again. 

I couldn't explain about the ring to anyone without crying again - but they weren't sad tears. I've been so moved by Mum's sacrifice and reminded again about having all that love when I was growing up. I can't ever remember having a more special, meaningful day.

But it wasn't over yet. Luke arrived home with a big bunch of lilies - I've left them in my workroom so every day that I open the door I'm surrounded by their amazing fragrance. Josh gave me a culinary tour of Korea - some new things to taste. And Sam's bought me a book voucher because he knows how much I love to read and that choosing the book is almost as much fun as reading it.

And then there's the chocolate ...

A bouquet of chocolate from a running friend and too many peanut M&M's to eat in one sitting. 
And then this masterpiece from my big sister, Julie. It was a tricky one to cut - but really delicious.

I've come away from my birthday feeling loved and valued and really blessed with having so many lovely people in my life. It's really what birthday's are all about, isn't it?

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's My Birthday!

Happy birthday to me!

49 today. Only twelve more months till I can move up into a new age group!

Today is turning out to be a lovely, glorious day. A day when you are forced to admit that there are a lot of wonderful people in the world that you're privileged to have in your life. I have been flooded with birthday wishes and hugs. I have spent the morning breakfasting with the running girls and Tom. I have been totally spoilt by my husband. It's everything you could want from a birthday.

Except maybe for the special birthday zit.

But even a pimple can be a nice reminder that even though you're chronological age is pretty significant, you're biological age is not much more than a teenager. (I know I'm fooling myself but it's fun to be truly delusional)

So how have I spent this auspicious day so far? (It's only 9:30 but I've managed to cram a lot in a morning.) Up at 4:30 am to find a special birthday present from Nelson - a clean house. No little doggy accidents!! He really cares. 

Iven was up early too and gave me a lovely card and a very generous present. A few weeks ago he asked what I'd like and I threw off a very sarcastic "expensive jewellery" reply. But he took me at my word an now I'm sporting this ...

... with a matching pair of earrings and pendant.

By 5:15 it was time to go to training. March is a busy birthday month so there were a few cakes to deliver. And even better- all the recipients were there.

Then they took off one way and I took off the other. Then we joined up again around 3.5k. That's the best part of the session for me because I get to catch up with a lot more people and get to still feel like I'm part of the group even if I can't do the session.

After the session I met up with some of the girls and Tom (the lone male representative) and had breakfast. Lots of laughter. Lots of talking. Lots of eating. Good times.

I came home to find my phone full of messages and my Facebook wall covered with birthday messages. I've got an enormous day of work ahead of me but I'm in a very happy place today and I don't think that anything could take that away.

And because I'm in a happy place I'm going to give all you young things out there a little gift - an insight into how it feels to be nearly 50. 

#1 Be prepared for parts of your body to make strange, loud noises. My hips pop. My neck cracks. I sometimes come out with unexpected burps. And if I have dairy I can pass enough wind to make the dog leave the room. (For anyone planning on visiting rest assured - I've given up dairy)

#2 Your skin will sag more than when you were 16. Some lights are particularly cruel and will convince you that you're covered with cellulite. My advice here is to leave the lights off if you want to make a good impression - unless you have a dog that has random unexpected accidents around the house and in that case only leave the lights off if you're an adventurous soul who likes to gamble and clean up ground-in messes.

#3 You will forget a lot of stuff. People's names. Important events. Where you put your keys, or the sugar, or your car. But you will retain interesting snippets of information so when you forget a name you can make it into a guessing game by providing clues. Who am I? I was a famous Australian Prime Minister who decided to go for a swim and never come home. Or - I won a bronze medal for sprinting at the Olympics in 1976, then won a gold at the Commonwealth games for the 400m in 1980, survived breast cancer and work as a gardener in Melbourne. 

#4 You will still have a lot of the hang-ups that you had when you were a teenager but you've learnt to live with them and work around them. You will still feel a lot like you did back then - except for the strange noises emanating from your body, the random pains that you've discovered, and the fact that staying up after 9:30 pm is almost impossible. 

#5 You will enjoy using the age thing as an excuse if you don't want to do something. But on the flip-side you will impress younger people that you can still move and think despite being so old. Yeah, I know 49 isn't that old but when I was young I didn't think any further past the year 2000 when I'd turn 37 and I thought that was pretty old back then.

Now off to work. The birthday carousel has to stop for the next 8 or 9 hours because the real world has to intervene. And then we can crank it up again tonight - till 9:30. Do I know how to live or what?!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fears and Phobias

My niece is getting married in four weeks. Planning is well under way. The dress and shoes have been chosen. The venue has been booked and the caterers organised. Her littlest flower girl (her 10 month old daughter) has even learnt how to walk for the big occasion. It's the first wedding of this generation of our family and I should be excited. But I'm not. I have a huge mountain to climb before I can let excitement set in. And this mountain is freaking me out. I have to find something to wear.

Those who've been reading my blog for a while know how I feel about shopping for clothes. I hate it. I abhor it. I have a fear that borders on phobia. I'm irrational and unreasonable and I'd rather run a marathon than try on a dress in a tiny fitting room with cruel and unusual lighting and mirrors that are only a meter away from your every figure flaw. I've been known to go out shopping for a dress and come home with two pair of running shorts.

But I have to get something. My wardrobe is woefully inadequate - consisting of running gear, jeans, t shirts and singlets and a couple of ten year old skirts. My newest non-running purchase is a denim skirt which I've worn almost constantly since I bought it. It's cool and comfortable and totally NOT stylish. Nicky's wedding is having a cocktail reception so I kinda have to make a little effort.

So Thursday I decided that I needed to make a start. I had about 90 minutes before I had to be home to see clients. I had my Mum and sister as moral support. There was never a better time. First up we hit Harts. It's a shop that I've never been into before. It's filled with formal wear that all looks a bit the same. We were immediately set upon by a matronly sales assistant with perfectly coiffed hair to go with her perfectly coiffed attitude. I'm sure the well-worn denim skirt told her that I wasn't her normal customer but a sale is a sale and she tried to help. I found a dress that I thought would be a good shape on me. It was covered with beads and sequins and feathers and I hated it but I wanted to see if the shape was good. So I tried it on. The shape was good and I went to show my Mum and sister by opening the curtain up a crack when it was yanked open by the formerly mentioned assistant and suddenly I had an audience. Man, I love being way out of my comfort zone with and being exposed to the world.

We headed off to Myers and foraged around unsuccessfully then off to yet another shop where a poor young sales assistant tried to help. She obviously didn't understand that if I wanted to wear a t shirt to a cocktail party I'd choose one of my own. And she had no idea that when I said I didn't look good in neutral colours that cream was included in that palette. Luckily time ran out before I could hit any other shops. Ninety minutes down and I am still no closer. I decided that it might be simpler to just make something - and then I get three new team orders for work and they're all due in April. I won't be making anything!

So today I'm off to hit the shops again. Oh, and I've been up since three because my back's gone into spasm again so it should be as much fun as Thursday's expedition. Oh why can't there be a dress fairy that just comes to your house in the dark of night and leave THE perfect dress in your wardrobe?!!

BUT on the up side. I was totally demoralised after my run/walk yesterday. I know it's not sounding like the upside yet - just bear with me for a moment.  I ran 6 of the 10k and managed a full kilometre. But I didn't keep an eye on my heart rate and when I got home I saw that I'd let it get higher than I should. I was running a bit by feel and it honestly didn't feel that bad but by the evening I felt pretty awful. I walked this morning (no running because my back hurt way too much) - the same route that I've done every Sunday for the last 5 weeks. Last time I fully walked it was four weeks ago - today I walked it 8 minutes faster and my average heart rate was 8 beats slower. That's significant improvement and I'm really excited.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012



That's the only word that could describe Bubble's face today when I left on my walk/run without her. She saw me dress in my running gear and her little tail began to wag. Then she saw me pull out my running shoes and the tail wag became a mad flutter. There was some hysterical whining. She followed my every step - even into the toilet where the whining and tail-wagging continued. There was some confusion when I went to the front door without going to collect her lead. But she was still hopeful. And then she was devastated when I firmly said no and shut the door on her sad little face. I'm so mean.


That's how I felt last night when I found my eldest son in the bathroom shaving his legs. No, he's not a cyclist, triathlete or swimmer. And yes, I know that you don't have to be a girl to shave your legs. But there's something a little feminine about doing so. He had good reason, though. Today they're going to be practising strapping techniques for his course and he was quite prepared to appear a little feminine at home as long as he didn't squeal like a girl in front of his other macho uni friends.

And more disappoinment.

When I walk/run I like to enjoy the scenery. And if that scenery just happens to be a young man on his bike with spray-on lycra which shows off every muscle contraction, well so be it. Today's scenery was not quite that pretty. Heavily overweight, with his stomach resting on the crossbar of his bike. Puffing and wheezing as he struggled to pass me (I was only walking). And then he passed and I was dazzled by the spectacle. Two  milky white moons divided by a deep crevice and decorated with the ghost of recent pimples past. As much as I admired that he was getting out to exercise, I was horrified by his wardrobe malfunction. There are just some secrets that should forever remain hidden. And there are some moments when you wish that you had a camera because words truly can't give justice to what you've had to behold.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Poo and Ugly Birthday Cakes

Crap!!! That's what it's all been about today. I started the day to find a pile of it in the hallway. Honestly, it looked as though the house had been broken into by a pack of horses. Nelson did his usual I'm-too-ashamed-to-look-at-you sneak out of the house. Four fifty am is too early to be cleaning up poo of any sort.

Then I came home from training to find that my toilet had blocked up. Woohoo!! If there's something I like even more than cleaning up dog poo at four fifty am, it's unblocking a toilet of all the morning waste products of a family of four males. Plunging the toilet brush as far down the s-bend as it will go and releasing what ever's causing the blockage could possibly be the highlight of my week. Thank goodness I have a strong stomach.

I was watching a comedy festival on TV last night and one of the comedians suggested that it was hard to convey intent with electronic media. He suggested that there should be a few more fonts developed with precisely this problem in mind. I totally agree. But I'd probably be using Sarcastica all the time.

On the training front I'd like to announce that I did a whopping 27k last week. With maybe 10 of those k being slightly more than a walk (calling it running is like saying that Paris Hilton is a talented celebrity). I'm having to be so careful with how much I push it. Saturday's run was a bit too much. When I looked at the info from my watch I saw that I'd let my heart rate get way too high on occasions. Unfortunately I can't judge by feel that it's as high as it is so I have to keep my eye on my watch. But I know I've pushed it too much if I feel nauseated a few hours after or the next day and my legs ache after each session, like I'm coming down with a fever. I felt pretty ordinary on Sunday so I took today's session really carefully and managed to keep my heart rate at a much lower level. It's all such a different mindset to what I'm used to - take it easy and don't push!! I'm learning very slowly.

March has finally arrived and with it is the start of a long month of birthdays. (Mine's next Tuesday, thanks for asking). I made my first birthday cake of the month yesterday and, being that it was for Coach Chris, it warranted an extra amount of thought and effort. 

It's possibly the ugliest cake I've ever decorated. But there's a special meaning behind everything on it. Coach Chris is an avid fan of his chosen team in the NRL comp - the Parramatta Eels. He deludes himself into believing that THIS year is going to be THEIR year. In fact I think the last time that they won the Grand Final was in the '80s. He also likes to rev up the squad's Bronco's (the local team) supporters when the Broncos play the Eels - as they did last Friday. Broncos won. Eels lost. Coach Chris got lots of 'suck it' texts and now has this lovely cake to commemorate the occasion with. I hope he enjoys eating all those Eels with his wooden spoon. Happy Birthday Chris!!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mixed Emotions.

Mixed emotions is the only possible way to describe this week - especially the last couple of days.

Yesterday I woke up so excited. I was going to get to run with the group. For at least 300m or so. It amazes me at how exciting such a pitiful distance can feel when you've been out of action for 7 weeks. I left home without Bubbles for the first time in a month and she was confused and disappointed - but I was going to run and she only has 6 inch legs so it just wasn't going to work if I took her.

We took off at 5:30 and I did a great job for 550m before I realised that I'd gone a little further than intended and needed to walk. I blame Mike for that. He was just up to the exciting bit in the conversation where the surgeon was going to cut into his butt cheek and potentially deprive him the opportunity of being a g-string model. It's funny, though, how quickly after you stop running where even 500m becomes a long way. Surely my previous almost 30 years of pounding the pavement should count for something. But no! You take almost 2 months off and your legs pretend like they've forgotten how to run.

I decided at that point that I'd jog 500, walk 500. And yes, I mean jog rather than run. I was slower than a trickle but it was just so good to have that little bounce in my step. I ended up going 10k all told - so effectively I ran over 5k yesterday. AND I got to hear the end of Mike's story when we finished. (And no, he didn't show me his scar)

I came home elated. Sure, it wasn't anything to write home about performance-wise AND running even 1k in a stretch seems like a long way off but it was a giant leap in the right direction.

That was the highlight of the week. All the rest is pretty heavy stuff. I started out the week with the news that my physio/high school bestie had just had to have her beloved rottweiler put down. She loves her animals as much as I love mine and I knew how awful it was for her.

Then later in the week I heard of two separate tragedies affecting people that I have run with and laughed with. Lives over before their time. Both devastatingly sad. And then the news of a serious illness affecting a lady that I'd spent many hours with on the side of soccer pitches. And finally, today, another friend has made the decision to put her beautiful dalmatian down - 15 years old and in constant pain. It's a little close to home for me with Nelson showing obvious signs of decline.

Enough sad news already!!

Bubbles and I hit the road again today to help process all the heavy stuff. It was  another run/walk with a lot more walking than yesterday's. It didn't really take any of the sadness away but it did help in the way that exercising always seems to help.

We walked past the exact same spot that I'd seen the torn-out article that had so intrigued me on Thursday. I have to admit that we went quite slowly and looked really carefully just in case it was still around. I spotted a rubbish bin and I have to admit that I was tempted to go scrounging. But Bubbles thought that it might look a bit undignified - a 40-something year old woman scavenging in the bin to find porn. I tend to think if we'd been scavenging in the bin for scraps of pie or sandwiches she may have changed her tune.

The sadness will dull in time. And life will go on - it's kind of relentless that way. This week I'll take more time to really appreciate all the wonderful people in my life. And I'm hoping that the bad news will give us a little breather to help us regain our equilibrium. I'm wishing for everyone a week filled only with good news. And smiles. And laughter.