Sunday, June 30, 2013

Grey Skies.

Grey skies.

It's been grey skies for the last few days and quite frankly I'm over it. I cope fine with it in summer because it keeps the temperatures down but in winter it just makes the days miserable. And it's just all wrong - our winters are usually crisp, cool nights followed by clear blue skies.

Yesterday I waited around all afternoon for a break in the showers so I could get my run in. Lying on my bed, snuggled under my dressing gown with a dog either side of me - well, let's just say that my baser instinct was telling me to stay exactly where I was.

Luckily my inner nag and a call of nature got me up and going. And I only regretted wearing the (new) singlet and shorts for the first kilometre.

Not Genetics Just Hard Work

I had a great run. It was my last tempo run before the Gold Coast 10k coming up this weekend. I just concentrated on trying to stay positive through the run by focusing on what I was doing well. Running up the hills it was all about my legs feeling strong - such a contrast to how they were last year. And on the flat it was all about keeping the cadence up, enjoying the feeling of pushing myself and not backing off when I felt tired. It was such a confidence boost going into the race. And I'm happy that I didn't listen to my inner sloth.

Because today's so grey I'm going to post about the things that have made me smile over the weekend. This ... 

...certainly did. It's hard to read, I know, but it's the data from my Garmin for the year so far. The distance says 1249k. I've stuffed up the timing of my runs quite a few times so I'm comfortable saying that I've run over 1250k so far this year. Considering that my total distance last year was 1667k, that number made me smile.

 Babysitting my foster grandchild also made me smile. 

This is Bronte.

Luke and Becky are dog-sitting her for 10 weeks but on Friday they wanted to go out so 'Grandma' and 'Grandpa' were left holding the baby. It totally upset the dynamics of our own menagerie. Bronte is an only dog and as such is alpha bitch. Toby is still operating in puppy/annoying teenager mode and didn't know how to take Bronte. He wanted to play but her growls told him that play was not on the cards. He likes toys but so does Bronte and she liked his toys so he was left looking longingly as she carried around teddy and played with his tennis ball.

On one occasion Bronte took his ball but placed it on the floor close to her - close enough that he'd have to run the gauntlet to get it. Toby REALLY wanted his ball so he came up with a plan. He did that slow walk that dogs do when they don't want to be noticed. Step ... step... step... step... (he passes Bronte) ... step,step step. All the time his eyes were on the ball. And so were Bronte's. He looped through the lounge room and did the whole thing again. Then on the third pass he snatched up the ball and raced outside with it. 

Toby is a genius! And he was incredibly relieved when Bronte was picked up, normal hierarchy was restored and he could be his usual playful self. 

The other thing that made me smile was spending Friday night with this beautiful girl.

Sam's girlfriend Hannah is up from Sydney for a little while and came to Sam's football match. I have to admit that we probably didn't watch all of the first half because there was a fair bit of catching up to do. But we all saw Sam's amazing goal in the last couple of minutes that won the match for UQ. Just inside the right corner of the 18 yard box, kicked the ball past nearly the entire opposing team and curled it into the top left hand corner. That's my boy!

No, I don't care that it's grey today. I've got lots to keep me smiling till it's blue again.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Post-Wedding Week

Ughh! It's been a LONG week. I guess that's not surprising after having such a lovely weekend. All the usual everyday stuff seems so mundane and drab. What I should have done - other than come home and work, cook, clean etc. - is invite myself along on the honeymoon. I swear I wouldn't have made a nuisance of myself. They'd hardly notice that I was there and I could have come in handy taking pictures of the two of them together on their travels.

I've managed to get through the BORING days at work by going to a happy place in my head - that little romantic bubble that we were all cocooned in on the weekend. Luckily I haven't had too many clients come over because I could often be found sitting with a dopey grin and a glazed look in my eyes.

Luckily there have been a couple of distractions - a political coup by a certain K Rudd which means that I will probably be taken away for a brain scan if I'm taken to hospital with a head knock and someone asks me who our current Prime Minister is.

And there was also that important game of Rugby League on Wednesday night. I'm still waiting for Coach Chris to come over to eat humble pie - or in this case cupcake with a chocolate coated cockroach garnish. I guess he's had a busy week.

#3 son, Luke and girlfriend, Becky invited us over to watch the game with them at the house they've been looking after. I've heard that once a child leaves home that they can change but I wasn't quite expecting this - Luke in his penguin suit. I hadn't realised that the dress code for the evening was formal. I'd just worn jeans.

And of course there's been some running. In an amazing/unfortunate coincidence we ended up doing exactly the speed session that I'd been talking about just the day before with the bride and groom as we walked along the beach. We'd all agreed that the 3k, 2k, 1k session that we used to do was probably our least liked (okay, we may have said hated and despised but I don't want Coach Chris to get ideas and include it more regularly) and wasn't it nice that we didn't do it any more?? I could hardly believe my ears and my luck (?) when he announced what we were doing Tuesday morning. But Thursday morning's run into the Gardens and seeing the Storey Bridge glowing red after the big win the night before really made up for it.

We got the go-ahead from the bride to put up wedding pics on Facebook last night. Awesome! I finally got to see how I looked. I was too cowardly to have a good look when I was getting ready because I knew if I didn't think I looked okay I would have been incredibly self-conscious in the photos. Ignorance can be bliss! I think part of me was a little scared that people would look at the photos and wonder why Bec had asked this lady who was old enough to be her Mum (but only just and only if I'd been sexually precocious which I wasn't) to be part of the wedding party.

Channelling my inner girly girl. Hair. Make up. Nails. First time I've had this done in ... ever. Better late than never. 

The whole group outside Wasabi Restaurant.

Daven and I. We were sitting just in front of a glass wall - amazing views of the water but no real sunset because of the clouds. 

My favourite picture so far. I haven't seen any of the professional ones but this one just says everything.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Wedding Of The Year

All weddings by nature are a beautiful thing. After all, what's not beautiful about two souls finding each other and committing to care for each other for the rest of their lives?

Some weddings, however, are just that little bit more meaningful - more intimate, personal and touch you down deep enough to make you remember way back when. Bec and Tom's wedding was one of those.

I've been trying to compose a post that would give justice to how lovely last weekend was and have decided against a minute-by-minute account. I'd rather try and share the pictures and special moments that are going to be in my memory's highlight reel.

Firstly, though, I'll just give you a brief overview of the main characters of this love story. I've known Tom pretty much as long as I've been running with the squad but I knew him first as 'Tom-and-James'. He's a twin and I couldn't tell them apart for a LONG time. Bec was also in the squad and the first time I really talked to her was on a run and she confided in me that she was just starting to see Tom. Tom is mature beyond his years. Sensible. Caring. Hard working. Loyal. Devoted. Bec is warm and effervescent and glows with an inner and outer beauty. She hates being the centre of attention but her personality draws people in like moths to the flame. They decided to have a very small wedding - just themselves and six friends. And I was privileged enough to be one of them.

They booked two apartments for the eight of us up at the Sunshine Coast for the weekend and that's where we headed after our long run on Saturday.

That's the introduction done and now comes the highlights.

Magnificent weather. Amazing views from the apartments. And 57 steps to climb up and down every time we wanted to go anywhere. Forgetting to go to the loo once you'd got to the car meant an incidental hill session. Didn't mind so much on Sunday but on Saturday after 20k and a two hour drive without stretching ... let's just say I was feeling the burn.

Bec, the bride, with Bek and Shelley, the bridesmaids. Definitely highlights! I had met Bek a couple of times before wedding planning had started but only met Shelley recently and I know why Bec loves them so much. Warm. Open. Funny. We talked and laughed so much that our cheeks ached and our stomach muscles hurt.

Saturday dinner of fish and chips washed down with champagne, sitting on the sand. The huge moon shimmering a silver path over the waves. Enjoying the company, the sounds of the waves and the sense of peace.
Courtesy of Bek Kington

Waking up Sunday morning to the promise of a gorgeous day. A hug with the bride-to-be in the kitchen before the day really got started. She was excited and nervous. Glowing even before any make-up had been applied.

 Ducking up the road to get a coffee. Ringing Youngie, the only one of the wedding party not yet there (apparently the Wallabies v Lions game was a big deal if you like Rugby) to make sure he HAD remembered THE dress.

Preparing. Hair. Make up. Lights, camera, action!

The bouquets were just whipped up by Bek, a graphic designer, who has an amazing eye for form and colour. She also took the most artistic photos at the reception and kindly let me use some of them.

I wouldn't have believed that Bec could be any more glowing but she was. The dress was gorgeous and her hair made her look she'd time-travelled from the 1920s - classically beautiful.

The look on Tom's face when she walked down the aisle made some of us well up a little. Unfortunately I have no pics from either the church or after taking photos on the beach. But I have some moments that will stay with me forever (or until dementia really kicks in). The little girl who was mesmerised by the princess walking towards her. The dachshund puppy who found it all too scary. The lifeguard who had no idea when he was putting on his uniform that morning that he'd end up in someone's wedding album. Watching Bek take off her sandals to stop them from getting wet only to have them nearly wash out to sea.

The reception at a two hatted Japanese restaurant, Wasabi, was so intimate. We had plate after plate of the most incredible-tasting food that was all explained to us in detail by our waiter. Seaweed that only grows in whirlpools in a particular location. Blue fin tuna that's collected straight from the boat up the road before the rest of the catch is shipped over to Japan, then man-handled by the chefs into their fish-smelling station wagon. Wagyu beef that has had classical music played to it and has been massaged daily by the virgin daughters of the last Tsar of Russia who escaped the Bolsheviks. Okay I might have made up the bit about the Russian virgin princesses . How much champagne did I have??

Courtesy of Bek Kington

Courtesy of Bek Kington

Courtesy of Bek Kington

Courtesy of Bek Kington 

Courtesy of Bek Kington

Courtesy of Bek Kington

The one thing that stands out most from the reception would have to be the speeches. Goosebumps when Tom told us of the first time he noticed Bec who'd just finished a race and how he thought she was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. Damp eyes all round when Shelley talked about her relationship with Bec. Laughter when Bek told us about the time Bec overstayed her welcome. There was so much love at the table.

Then back at the apartment we all assembled in the lounge in our pyjamas and de-glammed, talked some more, laughed some more and listened to music. 

It's a bit scary how yesterday's beautiful eyelashes can look like spiders when you wake up the next day.

And for those who asked to see this particular bridesmaid - I'm betting you're regretting that right about now. This is a selfie taken the morning after the night before. Five hours of restless sleep always has me looking my best. Took me a good ten minutes to get my hair out of it's gravity-defying state so I could sneak out to an early coffee with the newly-weds.

I really don't know if I can do the wedding justice - it's hard to convey exactly how special this wedding was to be part of. The whole weekend was such a high that it's going to be tough to settle back into real life. 

Thanks again Tom and Bec for letting me share it with you. Have a wonderful honeymoon and I'll see you (and thousands of photos of your travels) in about a month.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Confession time

Confession #1 - I just ordered a couple of running singlets from Rockwear.

Did I need new singlets? No. Is it currently winter and too cold to wear singlets? Yep! Will they make it harder for me to close my running clothes drawer? Infinitely. But they're such nice colours and I know they'll be worn over and over and over again. And once I'm dead I won't be able to buy cute running singlets any more. YOLO!

Confession #2 - I didn't do a scrap of work yesterday.

All my work was up to date. Well, except for the leotard for the hula hoop performer. But she's not in a hurry and I need something to do next week. So I went and did my grocery shopping then put the soup on for dinner and then took the phone off the hook and snuggled with my puppies for a couple of hours. It felt so great to be able to give in to the post-run, post-lunch fatigue without guilt. Well, not much guilt.

Confession #3 - I let Toby lick out the bowl today when I was doing some baking.

I know, I know - I was only just complaining that he was getting chubby and there I am, enabling him. But we have solved the issue of him helping himself to compost scraps. And I did scrape out most of the cake batter so he really only got a taste rather than a meal so I'm not feeling too guilty. It was really hard to resist those eyes.

The reason for the cake batter is this weekend's wedding. I'm going to be making a (hopefully) amazing chocolate layer cake. So far the cakes are made and luckily there was no sinkage - so far so good. Actually the thing I'm worried most about is getting it to the venue in one piece. We have quite a long drive to get there and I don't have an appropriate cake container so I'm making do.

My biggest fear is sudden braking at 100k/hour. As far as I can recall from my grade 12 Physics (how many years ago was that? 33??), inertia can have a particularly catastrophic effect on chocolate cake travelling that fast. So I'm hoping for a smooth road, very little traffic (first day of school holidays so I'm not sure I'll get that wish) and shock-absorbing icing. I'm also hoping that the rain and the freezing weather (freezing by Brisbane standards) goes by Sunday and that the wedding takes place without the wedding party having blue lips and goose bumps.

But most of all I hope that Sunday kicks off the most wonderful adventure for Bec and Tom - a life together filled with joy and love and laughter. And lots of runs!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Doggy Biggest Loser

Toby has a little problem.

It's a pretty common problem for dogs of his breed and similar breeds. But it's a problem that needs to be addressed for him to live a long and healthy life.

Toby loves food! He's an unashamed binger and will eat almost anything. Broccoli, beans, mouldy bread - if he can find it he will eat it. 

And it's starting to show. I've noticed a definite wiggle in his walk lately. Actually it's more like a waddle where his belly is swaying from side to side as he makes his way from couch to food bowl and back again. Oh, yes - he's a couch potato that has a nice turn of speed when he hears someone rummaging in the pantry. And he's my constant companion once I put my baking apron on.

I tried to convince myself that it was just his winter coat but not even I can ignore that waddle. So I'm going to have to harden up and start to ignore those pleading eyes.

We decided as a family that we were going to reduce his dog food and the number of leftovers that he's offered. And this has resulted in more leftovers going into the compost which in turn goes into the hen. I can live with a fat hen but not a fat dog.

But this has not gone unnoticed by our astute and cunning canine. Unbeknownst to me, he's been making forays into the chook run to help himself to what he thinks is rightfully his. And here I was thinking that his new diet wasn't working. 

The other day I went outside to see why our hen was a little upset and there was Toby. He wasn't interested in her - only her food - and she was indignant that she had to share all those luscious morsels of dinners past.

So Iven has had to do a little work on the fence. This is the doggy version of a padlock on the fridge. 

He can't get a toe-hold on the wire any more. Humans 1 - Toby 0

I'm pretty sure that his reduced food intake and his nightly walks will have him back to normal in no time. 

And for those of you wondering why I don't just take him running with me (which was one of my plans when I bought him). He is just like his human brothers when they were younger. No amount of cajoling or bribery could get them to see running as a fun exercise. They'd come for a couple of times around cross-country and then they'd find some excuse why they couldn't. Toby likes the IDEA of a run but isn't in love with any distance over 500m. He slows down. He sits. He's even been known to lie down and refuse to move. It takes me back to having a two year old - without the full blown heel-stomping, red-faced tantrum.

Any ideas in how to make my boy into a lean, mean running machine?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Career Sea Change

I am thinking of changing professions.

It won't be the first time in my life. I've had a couple of jobs and some of them have even been paid me. I earned a bit of money while I was at uni by ironing and cleaning house - yeah, that was a lot of fun and probably the reason why I still cringe when I plug in the iron. Then I did a two week stint on a chicken farm where I learnt to crack eggs in both hands at the same time without getting shell into the egg pulp. That's a life skill worth having.

I worked as a vet for a little while after I graduated until it became just too hard with kids and then I became domestic goddess/slave/business owner. That's been my longest-running role.

But this weekend opened my eyes to other possibilities.

I went to a Hens party on Saturday. As I've mentioned a couple of times, my running friend Bec is getting married. The Bucks were all heading out on a magical mystery tour which involved physical and emotional challenges, confronting fears and challenging livers. It also involved humiliating the groom just a little by making him dress like this all day.

Yes, that's one of my creations. I like to think there's some understated elegance there. Tom doesn't look entirely convinced, though. And if there's enough interest I might just start a line of leotards just for classy Bucks' functions.

Bec, the bride-to-be, was treated with a lot more dignity.  

The girls decided that we'd be cultured and have an afternoon filled with art and music and arranged an art teacher to come and give us drawing lessons - life drawing. Yep, that means a nude model. Or, more precisely, an almost nude model. He kept it classy by wearing a bow tie.

I was expecting to feel a little confronted by the whole thing but it was surprising - when you're focused on what you're doing it doesn't seem at all weird to be staring at a strange naked man.

So my new career? Artist of course!

How could you think otherwise after seeing these beauties?? My latent talent is obvious. It might need a little honing but when I get a passion for something I can be unstoppable. 

The first two sketches were done using a single line and not really being able to look down at what you were doing. The bottom two were done using the techniques shown to us by the teacher. We only had five minutes to do them in which explains the lack of detail. The model was quite concerned that I'd left out a bit of him - I'm pretty sure that there was more than one bit that I missed out on but not being a male, couldn't decide which he thought was more vital. 

After the drawing class it was off to dinner and I found out that if I was ever taken to Guantanamo Bay on suspicion of terrorism and was tortured by having loud music played into my cell I'd probably last only about fifteen minutes before giving up a life-time's worth of secrets. I'd be telling them my passwords, pin numbers and the location of my secret stash of peanut M&Ms as well as handing over all three of my sons into slavery.

So terrorism's definitely off my list of possible new careers. But fine art's a definite possibility. What do you think?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

It's All Done With Smoke And Mirrors And Industrial-Strength Underwear

I'm feeling strangely uplifted today.

Could be that the new bra I bought this week has special anti-gravity properties. Man, I love physics - and I love how physics can be used to counteract its basic laws. A few bits of elastic, appropriately moulded foam, some pretty lace and lycra and some industrial-strength wire can wipe away the effects of three hungry babies and 50 years of gravity.

Actually I'm thinking that I should lengthen the bra straps just a little - my mammaries aren't used to the altitude and I don't want them suffering from lack of oxygen. So maybe I should acclimatise them by extending the straps way out then tightening them a little every couple of days. Doesn't altitude training result in the production of extra red blood cells to help minimise the effects of the lower oxygen concentration? So wearing a more uplifting bra should eventually result in me being a better endurance athlete. And a perkier one.

So you can probably guess from the new bra that I did finally manage to go underwear shopping this week. Sans sons. And a whole new world was opened up to me. Who knew that there was underwear that really negates the need to ever exercise again? That would probably be every woman in the developed world except me. 

I thought that it was only by hard work and privation (or being one of the genetically blessed minority) that women were able to look good in clothes. Not so. Apparently you can manage to slim off kilos just by squeezing yourself into a modern-day corset.

Spend a good twenty minutes wrestling this thing on and not only will months of substance abuse (my substance of choice is peanut m&ms) be forgiven but the glute-deficient amongst us can instantly blend into a crowd - no longer to be mocked by their more well-endowed sisters (who can probably twerk). If only they'd had these years ago when I spent most of my weekends sitting on concrete watching the boys play football. I would never have had to bemoan my lack of god-given padding or the fact that I'd forgotten to bring a cushion again.

See Coach Chris - there's really no reason to run hills. Apart from developing strength and stamina. Why go to all the trouble when you can give the illusion that you run hills and do squats in your spare time?!

I can't help but feel that it's all a bit of a con job. And that there must be some mightily disappointed men out there who go to 'unwrap their present' only to find that it's not what they were expecting.

But regardless of my moral misgivings I will be wearing said garment of medieval torture. The French said it best - 'Il faut souffrir pour etre belle.' One must suffer to be beautiful.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Brush With Celebrity

Occasionally in life you get a chance to rub shoulders with greatness. It's happened to me a few times in my fifty years. I've sweat next to the wife of a local newsreader at my gym. I got to discuss the virtues of netting vs tulle for a fairy skirt with a children's TV presenter. I've sat next to the captain of our local NRL team at a soccer match (I'm certain it was Sam Thaiday - well, pretty sure). And I sat directly behind the winner of Australian Idol, Stan Walker, in a Virgin lounge in Sydney.

But today I'd like to boast about my brush with Australia's newest football star. Man of the match from last night's World Cup Qualifier, Robbie Kruse.

Nine years ago Robbie was a skinny little kid playing with my eldest Sam at Brisbane Toro. He was two years younger than most of the kids on the team but his talent was obvious. He was too small to ever play a full match - the bigger boys on opposing teams saw him as an easy target and he was often pushed around and over. But he was a tenacious player with fantastic skills and he just never quit.

At the breakup at the end of the season I was standing chatting with another mum when we saw Robbie head down the hallway to the toilet. He didn't shut the door and we were given a pretty good view of proceedings and it was then that I said to Anda (the mum next to me) that one day, when he was a famous Socceroo, we'd be able to say that we'd seen him pee.

So there you have it - I've seen a now-famous Socceroo pee. 

And that's the closest, most intimate, brush with celebrity that I'll probably ever have because being presented with a gold medal by Hugh Jackman in my imagination doesn't really count. Unfortunately.

Has anyone else had a strange or interesting encounter with a celebrity?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Running Towards a Goal

It's a public holiday today. And it's raining.

Luckily, though, I got my Monday morning run done on Sunday afternoon. Rebel without a cause! Actually, that's not entirely true - I did have a cause and it was to be able to sleep in on the public holiday. And, as it turns out, not run in the rain. That was lucky.

Being able to change the time I run is one of the reasons I love winter. In summer if you're not on the road by 5:30 am there's no point in running. Believe me, I've tried it and even quite late afternoon it's way too hot and if I run once it's dark there are other issues - like who's going to cook dinner, what time will we finally get to eat and will I ever be able to get to sleep?

Yesterday I was running by 3:30pm. Actually that's not entirely true either. I was walking up the hill to the top road where I started running. So I was probably running by 3:37pm.

Running in the afternoon is quite a different ballgame to running in the morning. It's warm enough to be able to wear singlet and shorts rather than capris and a short sleeve shirt. I can actually see where I'm going. And there's a lot more people and cars to avoid. That means a little more waiting at lights but when you've been running pretty hard that's not actually a bad thing.

I'm also a bit less stiff once it comes to the afternoon so it doesn't take me so long to get into a rhythm. And that's good because I've been trying to treat my Monday (or Sunday) run as a tempo run so my body can start to get used to running out of my comfort zone.

When I wasn't well it was all about just doing what I could when it came to running. There was pretty much nothing when it came to making goals - apart from just being able to run when I could. I would try to get three runs done a week at the minimum but sometimes that didn't happen. And running fast was totally beyond me unless it was a quick few metres to get out of the way of a car. Being able to run structured training sessions now is great, wonderful, amazing but it's also challenging to a mind that's had only one focus over the last year or so - to keep the running as easy as possible.

So yesterday's run was three kilometres at an easy pace then I ramped it up over the next couple of k till I was running sub 5 min k's and my aim was to do as many of those as I could before I got home or died - whichever came first.

I learnt three interesting things yesterday.

If I stop frowning and consciously relax my face running fast seems a little easier. I don't know if there's a flow-on effect to the rest of my body but it definitely feels like there is.

My intestines will react negatively if I try to run fast for more than two kilometres. But a toilet stop will give me just enough of a breather to send me on my way with renewed vigour.

A hill in the middle of my tempo section will make me very anal about not breaking the law. There's a set of lights at the top of the hill and I'll usually run across that road despite what colour the little man is. Yesterday I refused to move until that little red man turned green as every law-abiding citizen should do.

Seven kilometres out of twelve done at sub-five minute pace. Happy with that. Although I'd be happier if I didn't feel the need to be quite so law-abiding. My next race is the 10k at the Gold Coast the first weekend in July and I'd really like to run under 50 mins. I'm pretty sure they don't allow me to stop my watch to duck off to the loo or to wait for traffic lights to change so I'm going to have to harden up a little and learn to love the pain.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Vindication and Shopping For Undies

Winner, winner chicken dinner.

It turned out not to be too hard to get the results corrected from Sunday's race. And it turned out that I wasn't the only one to have issues with the timing. Someone commented after that post that they'd known of seven runners at the event and out of them, six had incorrect results. How does this happen with computerised race timing? 

And for those wondering about net time vs gun time - there was only gun time at this race. The directors only pay for the cheapest timing package which doesn't include start mats. But the results were so poor I couldn't help but wonder if it might have been better to do it old-school. With a multi-timer and place tickets just like we used to do it at Little Athletics.

But on to more important real-world issues.

I'm going to be a bridesmaid in a couple of weeks. The 'maid' part of the title seems a little like false-advertising. Like I'm still young, innocent and perky. It would probably be more correct to be bride-matron or bride- been-there-done-that-got-three-sons-to-prove-it. 

But regardless I'm excited about the upcoming nuptials. It will be lovely to see Bec and Tom tie the knot. And to have a weekend away from my kids and husband. And to get dressed up.

Did you believe that? I'm really (and that's not sarcastic at all) excited about getting all prettied up. Me! Who hates shopping and make up and fancy shoes!! But this time I haven't had to make any of the decisions. The dress was scouted out by the bridesmaid who likes shopping and all I had to do was try it on. 

Admittedly there was a previous attempt at dress shopping before we hit gold. And it was on that occasion that I proved just how bad I was at the whole thing by being incapable of getting dressed without help. But it was hard to tell which was the front and which was the back. And that second dress at that tricky insert that was supposed to contain me not just flap down behind. 

Dresses should not require a degree to be able to put them on. 

The final dress, however is pretty idiot proof. Thank goodness. Because I am patently not gifted in this area.

But dressing up does not merely stop at the dress. There are shoes and wraps and accessories and underwear that also need to be sourced. And because the wedding is in just over two weeks I decided this week to tick a couple off the list. 

The shoes weren't too bad. Except that we needed to look for flat, sparkly sandals and it's winter so it's easier to get boots than sandals. I did manage to find a lovely pair with the help of a very long-suffering sales assistant that knew me on sight by the third time I'd been to her store. She liked me enough to let me strip off out the back and put the dress on so I could get a better idea of how it would look without jeans. 

The underwear was next on the list. I'd stupidly thought I'd actually try and lose a little bit of weight to get a flatter tummy to wear under this fairly figure-hugging dress. And I DID try for a day. And then there were left-over lollies from my cake that had to be eaten before they went mouldy. (Lollies go mouldy don't they?) And it would be irresponsible of me to serve up a cake without tasting the batter to make sure it tasted okay. 

So while it might have been good in theory, the reality is that I will being using artificial means of giving the illusion of a flat stomach. So after buying the shoes I headed off to a department store in search of industrial strength lycra. The only problem was that I had my eldest in tow. And despite him being one of the causes of my problem, he really was very against being part of the cure.

Who'd have thought 25 year old sons would hate to shop for underwear with their mothers?? I've shopped for his underwear for years and yet he gets all thingy about standing in the lingerie department with me.

Needless to say the underwear shopping was brief. (And no I'm not sorry for the bad pun.) I decided I'd try again the next day. But the next day came and I had both my eldest and youngest in tow and nineteen year olds are even more funny about standing in the lingerie department with their mothers.

I will try again next week. Without any of my progeny. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

CSI Bris-vegas

I swear those super-sleuths on TV have nothing on a runner who believes she ran better than the results on the internet suggest.

The provisional results for Sunday's race were on line by Sunday night and I'd been curious all day about the lady in pink that I'd passed in the home stretch. I'd thought that she might be in my age group  but I'm a terrible judge of age and the lady who'd collected the third place medal wasn't her so it was up to the results to satisfy my curiosity.

So I was surprised when I saw this - I'm seventh name down and the two people following close behind are definitely male. Plus the time I'd gotten on my watch was 5 seconds out. Sure I might not have pressed start the moment that they'd said go (it was a really low-key event - no starting pistol or hooter) but I certainly don't have a tortoise-like reaction. I'm more ninja-on-red-bull especially when I'm trying to drag off a P-plater apprentice tradie in a ute at a set of red lights.

So who was the lady in pink that I'd passed? Was she just a figment of my oxygen-deprived brain that I'd conjured up to keep me pushing the pace right to the end?

I knew I was going to have to wait till the photos came through to see if I was just making up porkies, if I was hallucinating and maybe needed (more) medicating and a white jacket OR if something had gone amiss with the timing and the results.

Photos came through yesterday evening and I'm relieved to know that I'm not seeing little pink people. Somehow the results got a little stuffed up - not sure how when it's all done with the magic of chips and computers.

It took quite a bit of searching to find the incriminating photos. The photographer had done a really good job of getting shots which hadn't been photo-bombed by hoards of gurning runners. (Gurning is a quaint English tradition where you win by being voted the most grotesque-looking. It's like a reverse beauty pageant.)

But persistence is my middle name. Or it might be OCD. Or she-who-must-be-right. I eventually found what I was looking for.

Here's me finishing in front of the lady in white from the half marathon and if you look closely you can see a little sliver of pink just poking out from the side of the finish arch.

And here's the same white lady being followed through the finish line by my pink hallucination-who-was-actually-real. I checked her number against the results and 'apparently' she finished 5 seconds ahead of me and won the 50-59 age group. 

So I'm claiming my rightful victory here and now. I might not have the medal but in my head I'm standing on the top of the podium with the olive wreath around my head and the gold medal being placed around by neck by none other than Hugh Jackman (Yep, I enjoyed that congratulatory kiss, Hugh. Hope you did too.) while the stadium full of adoring fans erupts with cheers making it impossible to hear the Chariots of Fire theme being played over the loud-speakers.

Pity reality isn't as much fun as my imagination!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Victory is Sweet.

Big weekend! As in I-need-a-weekend-to-recover-from-my-weekend kind of big.

It started Friday night going wedding dress shopping with a running friend. Perfect dress found. And got to see the most amazing views of the Brisbane River at night from the tenth floor.

Saturday started bright and early as it always does with the long run. I had nothing on my program (because of Sunday's race) but had been given permission to run, as long as I was feeling okay and kept the pace comfortable. I felt great and managed a very social 16k followed by a coffee and more socialising. Have I ever mentioned that I love my running group??

Saturday day was filled with the stuff that most Saturdays are filled with - catch up on all the jobs that get left during the week. Plus a little (unsuccessful) shopping for the upcoming nuptials. And by late Saturday afternoon our house had become the launch pad for my son's university ball. Luke and Becky scrub up pretty well.

Iven had no sooner left to drop them at the ball and it was time to go watch Sam's soccer match. I'm usually pretty good about actually watching the match when I go but Saturday I was distracted by social media (my bad). I'd posted pics of Luke and Becky and was reading the comments when there was a cheer from the UQ team's supporters. We'd scored. And it turned out that, worse than missing a goal, I'd missed seeing Sam score. I am a bad mother! Luckily the guy sitting in front of me had seen it and coached me in what to say when I congratulated Sam - that he met the ball well and left the keeper stranded. Yeah, Sam didn't believe that I'd say intelligent soccery stuff like that. Should have just said "great goal" and left it in the believable realm.

Sunday morning dawned with only a few jitters. Seems that having a few events close together like this has worked wonders in getting my nerves into a manageable place. There were enough nerves to make sure that I wouldn't have to find a bush in the middle of the course but not so many that I wanted to spew on the starting line. I'd got the balance just about perfect.

My race didn't start until 8:30am but we arrived at Doomben Race Course at 7:30 to pick up my race number and have enough time to warm up and use the loos. For the first time ever in my personal history of racing I didn't have to queue at the toilet. Plenty of stalls - no waiting. It's every runner's dream come true.

After a quick pre-race photo with the coach ...

... I headed out to do a quick warm up and watch the previous runners come in to the finish. Warm up completed five minutes before the start and I still got a place close to the front of the pack. I love smaller races!

The race started on time and we were off up the road. It was a small enough field so that all the dodging and weaving was done in the first couple of hundred metres and then it was clear sailing on open waters. I could see a lady in pink about 70 metres in front of me who looked like she was in my age group so I made it my task to try to close the gap on her. The first k clicked over in 4:35 and I was breathing pretty heavily so I eased up a little in the second, 4:47. That still felt a bit hard so I decided that it was just going to have to hurt - after all, if you're not hurting in a 5k race you're not doing it right.

The third k beeped at 4:43 and I was happy with that. Even happier when I realised that the gap with the pink lady had closed a bit. By the end of the fourth k it was down to only about 20m and I had the first scent of victory in my grasp. Yeah, I know there were more people in the race than just her but she was the one who had my target on her back.

The last k seemed really long but with the entry to the race course in sight, I made my move and passed the pinky. It was risky because there was still a couple of hundred metres to go and if she had more in the tank than me and a bigger desire to win she'd fight back. And she did. She passed me just before we turned the corner onto the home stretch. But I had the ace up my sleeve. Those speed sessions where Coach Chris made us lift our pace in the last 50m. I put on the turbo-boosters and passed her just before we hit the line. 

And then I had to keep walking to make sure I didn't throw up. Yes, victory can be sweet but public displays of your half-digested pre-race banana are a little embarrassing. 

Finishing time - 23:57 (self-timed). And second place in my age group. 

GaleForce Running Squad medal haul. Mine's the middle one.

But the best moment on the day came during the medal presentation. Most of the squad had gone and I'd told Coach Chris that I'd collect any won by the squad. One of our girls had taken out third in the 10 000m in the 30-34 age group. As I went to collect it there was applause and no shocked gasps of disbelief that I could possibly be that young. And the announcer didn't even suggest that I was Lucy's Mum coming to collect on her behalf. Winning!

So my three races in four weeks are now done. Time to knuckle down and get some solid training done before my next in five weeks.