Sunday, March 30, 2014

I'm Going To Do Something Wild And Outrageous

I'm doing something a little bit wild and outrageous soon.

I'm running my first race of the year in less than a fortnight. Yeah, I know - nothing wild or outrageous there.

But I'm running this race interstate. Again - neither wild nor outrageous, especially considering that the place I'm going to is Canberra and the wildest thing that happens down there is the bickering between political parties in Parliament House.

The reason that this trip is wild and outrageous is that I'm doing it BY MYSELF.

No, I didn't accidentally press caps locked at the end of that sentence. It's capitalised because travelling by myself is a big, fat, hairy deal to me.

I know that to most of you it's not something that would bother you. It's such a non-event that doing it doesn't even make you blink. But I'm not like most people. I like to think I'm special. Or should I say 'special'?

I have a interesting history with plane travel. And a lot of it involves vomiting. On the plane. And in the terminal. Some has involved being wheeled around in a wheelchair. Being upgraded to business class because I seemed so sick. All because I was nervous.

Sometimes my anxiety has me teetering on a fine wire between normality and insanity. Okay, I might have exaggerated that just a little bit but I'll do what I have to to justify using cute doggy GIFs.

I am slightly better at aeroplane travel than I used to be. Thanks in part to mind-altering drugs. I don't even actually have to take the tablets to cope. As long as they're in my handbag I can pretend that getting on a plane is really no big deal. I can sit relaxed in my chair and just go with the flow.

But if I'm going to be totally honest and before you all get too impressed with my feats of courage, I have to admit that I'm not going to be totally on my own. There's a small contingent of GaleForcers heading down. One of them, Elio, even gave me his flight details so I could be on the same flights after he heard that I get a wee bit nervous about flying. And on Saturday I came clean with the whole vomiting-wheelchair riding extent of it. I've got to hand it to him - I didn't even see him flinch. Either he knows a lot of other crazy ladies or his Mum brought him up so well that he's too polite to show his horror.

The reason that I like to travel with family is that they already know the extent of the crazy that happens when I get nervous. And they have to put up with it because they love me. Or maybe it's because I cook and clean for them, but I choose to think it's because they love me. Letting non-blood relatives in on the act is a totally different challenge. But I've often said that GaleForce is like my other family so I guess it's time that this other family met their crazy aunt. I'm hoping that we have so much fun on the weekend that I won't have time to be nervous. I'm hoping that it's so much fun that Bronwyn Bishop sanctions us for laughing too much (sorry I couldn't resist the political reference that only Aussie's who are current with their news will get).

And my goals for the race? To run without any pharmaceutical assistance. That's a big enough goal for the moment.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

How A Run Can Suck But Still Be Amazing.

Sometimes a run can be awful and great at the same time.

Yesterday's run was.

I'd missed Wednesday's run because the weather was so awful. We've had some pretty heavy rain in the last few days. My throat's been sore and I've been putting in long hours of work - it just seemed like the sensible thing to stay in bed, get a bit more sleep and stay dry. I went through the usual internal argument at 4:15am and debated the pros and the cons. And I must have drifted back off to sleep mid-argument (proving my point that debates are boring) still holding my alarm clock because the next thing I knew the clock had crashed to the floor and it wasn't working. The Gods had spoken - no alarm means that I'm not supposed to run and who am I to defy the Gods?

Thursday is Hills day and there was a very strong chance that the trails would be in bad shape after all the rain. We were warned that the session might be cancelled but thinking isn't my strong point at 4:45am so I got up like I usually would, made the bed, had my banana and got dressed all before I checked on my phone. Yes, the trails were bad and the session was cancelled and our instructions from Coach Chris were to go back to bed. Of course it was too late for that. I was dressed for a run so I was going to have a run. What a defiant little runner I am.

Right from the start it felt hard. My legs were heavy and didn't want to move. I told myself it was going to just be an easy run and I could cut it short if I didn't start to feel better. And then I went through all the reasons that it was feeling so hard just to reassure myself that this wasn't the start of a trend. My throat was sore. I'd done leg work the day before. I've been working lots of hours and haven't had a full day off in 3 weeks. I'd had a very disturbed night's sleep the night before. No wonder I wasn't feeling it.

A couple of kilometres in, my MP3 ran out of battery. It was around that point that I remembered that I'd meant to charge it a week ago. Oops. And it was at the first water stop that I realised that I hadn't worn my spibelt so I had no fuel. That wouldn't matter if my run was short but this one was supposed to be 16k and I'll generally have a honey or two when I run that far. I was really starting to wish that I'd been a good GaleForcer and done what the coach had said. It wouldn't kill me to make the bed twice in one day but running 16k might.

But then a little miracle happened. The skies started to lighten. First there were pink streaks in the clouds. Then the pink turned to orange and yellow and the whole sky exploded with colour. Of course I didn't have my phone with me to take a photo. So I captured them in my head - the city as a silhouette with an amazing technicolour backdrop, colours reflected in plate glass windows, silhouetted runners in single file across the bridge. It didn't matter that my legs were heavy any more. My spirit was soaring.
Luckily some of my squad mates remembered their phones so I could share just how beautiful it was. Thanks Jess!!

Of course I didn't cut the run short. I couldn't bear to miss out on the magnificent light show. I kept on till I got to the Botanical Gardens then ran around the ponds (another of my favourite places) and got to see the water lilies in full bloom. And then I was on my way back home and the run had two last gifts to give to me - the cormorant sitting on the log in the river trying to sun himself. 

And the smiling runner whose face spelled out just how much he was enjoying his run. I figure he'd just started to be that happy.

Honestly yesterday's running sucked but the run was amazing. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Pretty Big Carrot.

We all need a carrot sometimes.

I decided that I needed one yesterday. And not the grated stuff that I put on my salad at lunch.

No, I needed a real carrot. An incentive to get me through the next few weeks of work-hell. So I've made some plans. I'm going away for a race weekend.

Not just any race weekend. I'm going to steal two days off work - only fair because work has stolen more than two days off me - and have an extended long weekend. Down in Victoria. Where my eldest and his girlfriend has just moved to. And my #2 is going to come as well.

I'm a wee bit excited.

And I got even more excited when I Googled for pictures to put here and show you why I'm excited.

Beautiful, isn't it?!!

It's the Great Ocean Road Marathon down in Victoria. Josh and I will be doing the half (which is actually 23k. The marathon is 45k). 

Procrastination made the hunt for accommodation a little tricky. Especially since there'll be four of us. But I managed to find somewhere just out of Apollo Bay where the race finishes. It's a point-to-point race.

I'm not sure what I'm more excited about - running in such a spectacular part of the world or seeing Sam. One thing's for sure, the combination of the two is a pretty big carrot.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

But I Was So Sure.

Being so work-busy has had me making a couple of mistakes this week.

The first involved a catch-up coffee with a friend. I'd made the date before things got so out of hand. But Chris is one of my oldest friends - in length of friendship, not age - and I wasn't going to cancel even if it meant I had to work on the weekend. And I'd planned to do that anyway.

I'd committed the time and the place to memory. 10:00am at La Diva. And I worked frantically all morning to be ready for that time. I left home just a little early and arrived just before 10. Chris wasn't there but she's always so punctual that I knew that she wouldn't be long. But after 10 minutes the doubts that had been prickling me all morning resurfaced.

They started when I was drying my hair and the conversation in my head went a little like this.

"It's 10:00 that we're meeting - or is it 10:30?"

"I'm pretty sure it's 10:00. But I might just check my emails"

"Damn - I've turned the computer off. If I turn it back on I'll be late. Or early? I wish I'd written it in my diary."

"Maybe it's in my work diary"

""Wish I'd written more than 'Coffee with Chris'"

"Stop over-thinking. Trust your memory - you might be 51 but your brain still works"

So sitting by myself at La Diva I convinced myself that not only did I have the time wrong but I probably had the place wrong too. It was time to swallow my pride and reveal my lack of organisation to Chris. I sent her a text and when she called back I was happy to know that I'd at least gotten the place right.

We had a lovely coffee together and actually pre-planned our next. And this time I put it in my phone. With an alert so there's no way I can get the time or place wrong.

And when I got home I checked on the email before deleting it. I'd been right. My memory was vindicated - for this time at least.

The second mistake came Saturday - long run day.

When I get my running program for the month I look at it and commit it to memory. It's not hard - there's really only 4 long-run distances to worry about because the other sessions are generally speed session (which Coach Chris tells us about on the morning), hill session (again we're told what we're doing when we arrive) and a mid-week, mid-length run of 12-16k.

I knew I had a 24k run on Saturday so had arranged to meet with the stupid-early group. We did our 24k without mishap (but not without a mis-start thanks to the drunk man in the taxi who had to throw up unexpectedly and voluminously). And when I got home I put all the details onto my training sheet. That's when I realised that maybe my self-satisfaction about my memory the previous day had been a little too smug.

There it was in black and white - 20k. Heaven knows where I'd hallucinated the 24k from. At least it'll stand me in good stead for my first half marathon of the year.

Seems like I can't trust my memory after all.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Less Panic. More Work.

It happens every year.

A day. Or two. Or a whole week. Where I realise I've taken on too much work and I'm never going to get it done before the dead line and how can I be that stupid because this was the year that I was going to be in control.

I'd decided on some strict rules for this year to stop all the usual craziness from happening. I wasn't going to take any individual orders. And I haven't. I even told my sister that I couldn't make a costume for her daughter. I know - that possibly makes me the worst sister of all time. And I decided that I wouldn't take any orders from interstate (yep, I broke that rule). But despite patchy implementations of these new rules I find myself in exactly the same position as I do every year - too much to do and too little time.

So Tuesday I did what I always do when I feel overwhelmed at work. I wrote a list. So I could see that it was actually more manageable than it seemed to be in my mind.

The list only had four things on it and writing it didn't help for a change - especially when I decided to check on the calendar and see just how many working weeks I had to do it in. Full panic mode!

So I made a plan of attack. To work every hour that I possibly can in the next few weeks. My plans are rarely complex. That's probably why I suck at chess.

Sounds like fun, doesn't it?!

Surprisingly, though it's been a little bit fun. I've been setting myself targets for the day and if I reach them I reward myself. With a piece of home-made toblerone rocky road. And if I don't reach them I console myself. With a piece of home-made toblerone rocky road.

And I've managed to palm off some of the meal-making. Luke and Becky did an amazing job of the burritos last night and I got to know what it feels like to just rock up at the table to have the meal waiting there. I could get used to that.

And I play games with myself. Because that's the only way you can appliqué 60 of the same leotards without going a little bit crazy.

The game I play is beat the clock. All you need is a stopwatch (or a phone with a stopwatch function), a full bobbin of thread and no interruptions.

This is not my fastest 1k time. This is my current record for appliquéing all the white bits on this current leotard. Thirty seconds faster than the first time I timed it. And I was as excited about this PB as I am about any PB. 

But timing is also a double-edged sword because it gives me something tangible to base my panic on. Multiply that number by 60. Add in the appliqué time for the purple pieces multiplied by 60. Then there's cutting time, pinning time and the occasional food/drink/toilet break and the final answer is ... cutting it too fine for my liking.

And somewhere in the middle of this work-fest I've got to squeeze in a quick trip down south to go for a little run. 

But the thing is - I always get them done. So my motto for the next few weeks is going to be Less Panic. More Work.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Beware Of The Dog

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I love my dog. More than my kids at times (sorry kids but Toby never leaves his bed unmade or leaves dirty undies on the floor). And definitely more than my husband (Yes, Iven knows this and is happy to accept it as long as I keep baking cupcakes, washing his clothes and making his dinner).

Toby has been an absolute delight to me from the moment we brought him home. Despite having to clean messes up off the carpet (and there weren't many because he was a pretty quick learner). He's made me laugh every day - even when I was going through some pretty hard times.

He's been a great companion, an excellent waste disposal unit and a great de-stresser (it's hard not to relax when you're stroking the snoring dog that's trying to lie on your lap). And I'm pretty sure that he likes all the TV programs that I like - which is more than I can say about anyone else in my family.

He's also been a great guard dog.

Or so I thought.

Toby has a timid, gentle nature so everyone who knows him knows that he'd never actually hurt a fly. Okay, once he killed a bird but it was only because he was trying to help it outside and who knew that its neck would be so fragile?

But even though we know he's harmless, visitors to our place will often get a different initial impression. Toby has a very intimidating bark. It's deep and loud and it means business. Sure he looks pretty but he sounds ferocious.

We live right next to the back of a school and sometimes the kids come a little close to our fence line for Toby's liking. Just two days ago a couple of loud boys decided to come a within Toby's territorial range so Toby let them know in no uncertain terms that they should back off. He was using his most officious bark and I was just about to go outside and tell him off when he bark changed and became a bit muffled.

Of course I was curious. So I went outside. The reason for the change in bark was obvious.

Yes, he was barking around the teddy that was in his mouth. I'm pretty sure he wasn't protecting his house or his humans. He was making sure those big, loud boys didn't get a hold of his favourite toy.

Yes, he's one ferocious guard dog.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

There's Life In The Old Girl Yet

I turned 51 last week.

I was a little ambivalent about this milestone. Which is odd because turning 50 didn't faze me at all. But 51 - that's on its way to 60.

Luckily I know some pretty damned awesome 60 year olds.

60 year olds that do their first marathon. 60 year olds that return to triathlons after having back surgery. 60 year olds that smash me at speed session every week now. And for the record Bevan, yes, I was trying and no I wasn't sick - you're just better than me now :-)

So rather than being maudlin about my slow slide down the slippery slope of old age I decided to focus on what I actually can still do.

I can still eat an apple with my own teeth. That might not seem like a huge accomplishment to some but I can still remember my Grandpa sitting on his front steps with an apple and a spoon. His dentures wouldn't let him have the simple pleasure of biting into a crisp apple and have the juice dribble down his chin. Most people from that generation had dentures by the time they were in their 40's and a visit to your grandparents would be a revelation of the marvel of modern dentistry. Nothing is more fascinating to a six year old than a glass containing a full set of teeth and nothing is quite as amusing as your grandpa sticking them out of his mouth at the dining table when your grandma's back's turned.

I can still fit into clothes I had 28 years ago. And that's just as well because I really, really hate having to buy new ones. I recently ran into a parent from one of my son's primary school days and his comment was that I hadn't changed at all. I think he was probably talking about what I was wearing rather than how well I'd aged but I'm going to take it as a compliment on the latter just because I choose to.

I can still touch my nose with my big toe. I know, I know - you're pretty impressed and pretty confused about why I'd even know that. Some things are meant to remain a mystery so the why will remain unanswered. The fact is that I can - even if it's harder than it used to be when I was three. 

I can still make a cake without a recipe. I know the day will come when my memory has deserted me and I won't be able to remember if it was two eggs or four but that day is not today. Or at least it wasn't on Thursday. And once I do forget the recipe I'll be fine for a while - until the day when I forget where I keep the recipes. And that will be the day I give up baking forever.

I can still run around Mt Coottha. This is probably one of the things I'm proudest of. When I was growing up it seemed that as you got older it was inevitable that you became inactive, overweight and infirm. Once you became a mother you became matronly. I am so grateful to the pioneers of women's running who pushed through to force society to accept that women could and should be physically active. That our femininity wasn't in peril and our uteruses (uteri?) weren't going to fall out of our bodies if we ran. And I'm also grateful to the runners who chose not to retire once they got a little older and proved that it was something that you could do until your body said you couldn't any more. That day has not come for me yet and my plan is that it won't come for many years yet.

And I can still learn new technology. Which is just as well because the boys gave me a Kindle for my birthday. Talk about leading me into temptation. Reading is up there with running as one of my favourite things and having a Kindle, a credit card and a WiFi connection means that I have access to hundreds of thousands of books. 

There's still a bit of life in this old girl yet. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ombre Hair - Bad Regrowth In Disguise?

I've been a little bit lazy lately.

Not with my running. I'm consistently running over 50k a week at the moment so I'm happy about that.

And not with my work.That's been manic for a couple of weeks now. Competition season is just a little way off and everyone wants to put their order in right now. Weekend work has started already and I'm having to work a few extra hours every day just so I don't drown.

No, the area that I've been a bit lazy in is my hair. It's been months since I've had a trim and a little longer since I've had it coloured. And we all know what that means - the shame of regrowth!

I've had a darker area become more visible around my part and that area's gotten bigger and bigger. It's like a message to the world that says 'I can't do it all' or 'I'd rather have a coffee with a friend on my limited down time than sit with bleach in my hair making my eyes run' or I just don't care any more'.

Luckily I only feel bad about it a couple of times a day - when I'm blow-drying my hair in the morning and any time I catch my reflection where there's good light. And, because my attention span isn't that great, those feelings don't last long.

But yesterday I saw something on TV that took away all my feelings of laziness and inadequacy of being a modern-woman-who-can't-do- it-all.

Ombre hair!

I'd heard of Ombre cake. I've even tried to make an Ombre cake. It wasn't as successful as the one in the picture but it wasn't too bad for a first attempt.

Who knew that I would be so much more successful at Ombre hair without even realising that there was such a thing? Give me a couple more months and I'll have hair a lot like on that box. Except that it'll be on a fifty-one year old. Which won't look anywhere near as nice. Or as trendy. My suspicions are that it will look like a middle-aged woman who's just let herself go. 

Which leads me back to where I was - in desperate need of a colour and cut but without the time to do it.

And in other news I had a lovely breakfast with some of my family the other day. My mum and sister were there. As was my niece and her family.

Nicole was feeding one of the boys and Nick had the other but Annie, their 2 year old wanted to sit at the table too so my sister lifted her up onto her lap. We were all busy in conversation and eating when my sister jumped up from her chair a little and deposited Annie onto the floor. 

We were all confused until we saw the puddle on the floor and the wet patch on my sister's pants. Annie is in the process of potty training. Add that to just having done a swimming lesson (I can remember swallowing my fair share of pool water when I was learning. I'm pretty sure that I now have an immune system that could fight Ebola if it had to) and let's just say it was probably inevitable. I haven't had such a good laugh in a long time. Luckily my sister's pants were quick-drying so she only had to cope with the ignominy of the wet crotch patch for a short while. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

'That' Age

I'm getting to 'that' age.

You know - the time in life when you do occasionally stupid things but at least you can explain them away by mentioning how old you are.

My slightly stupid thing (and I say slightly because it really wasn't earth shattering - just exasperating) was done on Wednesday but it had its effects on Friday.

I had to make forty red velvet cupcakes for a fortieth birthday party. Not a difficult task but I was using a recipe that I hadn't done in a while and in the back of my mind I had an inkling that it needed some ingredients that I don't usually keep on hand. I found the recipe (after a ten minute search through many disorganised plastic sleeves of recipes from the internet) and wrote the ingredients on my shopping list.

Friday comes and the plan was to start baking at the crack of dawn. I started to get out the ingredients and I was only down to the third one when I realised that my fore-planning hadn't been terribly thorough. Oh yes, I'd bought the ingredients that I usually didn't stock but I'd forgotten to check in my pantry to make sure I had enough of the other stuff. And what I was short on was plain flour.

You ran out of baking ingredients??
The thing is that I generally bake cakes with self-raising flour. And I did have plenty of that but this recipe is so different I was pretty sure that I couldn't just substitute and hope for the best. I had enough flour for a double batch which, according to the recipe, would have made thirty-six cakes so I decided to be a little stingy when I came to spooning out the batter into the cases. And I did a pretty good job of it. Thirty-nine cupcakes! Being one cupcake short is just cruel but there was no way I could make them any smaller so I had to bite the bullet and make another batch.

I decided to quickly do a Google search to see if I could somehow use my self raising flour to make some more. My other option was to go to the shops but if I went to the shops I'd have had to have another coffee (because I'm genetically incapable of resisting that smell) and do the crossword in the paper and that would have taken a lot more time out of an already-tight schedule.

Of course there was an alternative recipe on the internet. Because the internet has answers to all the burning questions. It's just a pity that it didn't have the capability to read the situation and present me with the answer before I even knew that there was a problem. I could have saved myself a good half hour of wondering what was the best and most efficient way to solve my problem.

The whole point of this story isn't to show you pictures of pretty cupcakes - even though I'm doing just that.

I'm heading towards yet another birthday and I've realised that things will probably not get a lot better in this department. Where once I had a mind like a steel trap, it now resembles a pasta strainer. Exasperating at times. Like when you're trying to remember someone's name. Or exactly the right word that you know exists and it starts with a P. Or when you're punching your pin number into the ATM and you get it wrong for the third time and the machine swallows your card.

Thank goodness it doesn't require a lot of mental acuity to run.

By the way - I just had to go ask Luke's girlfriend how to spell acuity - because I'd forgotten - because I'm old! I love the irony.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Hills And Mountains

The mountain worked its magic on me yesterday just like I knew it would.

I arrived at our meeting spot just before 5:30am only to have Coach Chris say that we were running Owl Trail. He immediately turned to me apologetically because he knows that I'm completely neurotic about running Owl Trail. When I'd agreed to finally coming back to hills (after a two year hiatus) I'd made it quite clear that I wouldn't run Owl Trail again. Ever! Or more specifically run DOWN Owl Trail.

At this point I need to say that I don't think I've ever RUN down Owl Trail. I've walked down it if you can call what I do walking. It's a bit more like scuttling, skidding, standing contemplating my options, looking for trees that will break my relentless downward motion, more standing feeling slightly desperate about getting down, stopping suddenly in front of someone because I can't work out the best way not to break my neck and causing a pile-up AND watching while the faster, more fearless members of the group (which is pretty much the entire group) complete their third ascent while I'm still on my first descent.

It's not my best-ever workout because I spend so much time stationary in indecisive terror AND I'm a danger to other runners on the hill. So I'm pretty sure Coach Chris didn't mind too much that I wouldn't be coming to the Owl Trail sessions. The only problem is that he didn't let me know ahead of time. But that's not really a problem when there are other options. My alternative was to run all the way up Owl Trail to the top then to follow the road around and down. There are plenty more hills to conquer on that route so I wasn't going to be missing out.

For all the members of the GaleForce Squad who think I get special treatment - that I'm teacher's pet - I'd like to set you straight. It's more like teacher's pest. There's a reason that Coach Chris has so little hair. Poor man - so incredibly long-suffering! He might not understand my neuroses but he has enough sense to pander to them. And I reward his patience and tolerance with cupcakes. It's a win-win for both of us. Plus I've endured my share of Owl Trail sessions and never improved so he's wise enough to stop flogging this dead horse.

So I started with the group. We ran from the car park, across a grassy area and re-grouped at the base of the trail. Coach Chris outlined the session and off we went.

The first part of the trail is up and around a bend. Then it flattens a little before going up, up and up. And as we were going up, up and up I could feel all the negativity from the day before just melt away. All the tension dripped off me like sweat.

It was a glorious morning. The temperatures have just started to cool fractionally and there was no rain for the first day in the last three. The bush smelled clean and fresh and it felt great to be alive. I honestly don't think it's possible to hang onto any negative emotions when you're out running in all that green. And as much as I love running with the group, running by myself in such a beautiful spot was a balm to my soul.

I left the session euphoric. Full of endorphins and ready to face the mountain of work that was waiting.

And those happy hormones are still with me today. Which is just as well because that mountain of work doesn't seem to have gotten any smaller.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

I made a mistake this morning.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. But like a lot of ideas that you get at 4:30am in the morning, it really wasn't that good after all.

My good idea? To turn my alarm off. To sleep in. To have a lazy start to the day.

At the time I justified it by telling myself that it was raining and cold. Apologies to all of you North Americans who can really complain about the cold. It really wasn't that cold. I'd had to pull up a blanket - that's all. The windows were still wide open and that's how I could hear the rain so clearly.

And I justified it by reminding myself that I'd been really tired after yesterday's speed session and had to drag myself through the day. It was a tough session - 10 mins effort then 3 mins rest, repeated four times. I hadn't even done a whole last rep due to an urgent call of nature. Thank goodness football season has started and the toilets were unlocked. The last time we did this set I'd died big time by the end. This time all of my reps were faster even if I was slowing towards the end. Yes, I'd worked hard so it was fair enough that I was tired.

My third justification was the niggly little pain that I've had in my hip for the last couple of months. It hasn't been getting worse but neither has it been getting any better. It doesn't hurt when I run so I've kept running - it just annoys me a little when I tighten up afterwards. I figured at 4:30am that it was a great idea to give my hip an extra day to recover.

So my alarm got switched off. And I didn't wake up till almost 7:30. And now I'm cranky with myself. I'm a good hour behind in my schedule. I haven't had my dose of endorphins. It'll be hard to make the run up this week. And, worst of all, I still haven't been able to test out my new running shoes.

It was too wet yesterday and I didn't want to wear them on Saturday for a 20k. That's just asking for blisters.

Luckily, this mood will only be with me for less than 24 hours more. I've got hills at 5:30 tomorrow and there's no way I can stay cranky after running hills. It's something to do with the endorphins mixed with the smell of the bush, the sound of the birds and being surrounded by all that green. You can't help but feel good after a hill session.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Normal, Quiet Saturday Morning Run - Not Quite

Saturday's long run was a first for me.

It was the first time that I've ever had to talk to the police on my run. And it was the first time that I've ever had to use the phrase 'I refuse to answer on the grounds that it might incriminate me.'

It started off as a normal Saturday run. A big crowd of us meeting before 5:30am then heading in towards the city. We generally stick together for the first couple of kilometres and then settle into our own pace groups. I ended up with the usual culprits - Elio and Bevan - but with an extra female, Tracy, this time to balance out the numbers.

It was a lovely morning. We were travelling comfortably at around 5:20-5:30 pace and the banter was keeping us all amused. Silly running banter about who was higher on the running totem pole, squad captain (Bevan) or runner of the month (Elio). And should we do a running calendar of all the 'runners of the month'? And should it be a topless calendar? (I'll admit it - my idea! But I was thinking about firemen when I suggested it).

The boys seemed to be a little shy about the whole topless thing but when I suggested it be done Calendar Girl style with strategically placed pot plants or fruit I think they got the wrong idea.

We lost Bevan at the 8k mark (He had 16k on his program) and kept going to our 10k turnaround. And it was this trip back home that was the eventful part.

A couple of kilometres in we ran past a group of drunken revellers. All in high spirits and all filled high with spirits. No problems with them, though - they just wanted to high-five us and cheer us on our way. And we left them with smiles on our faces.

Tracy left us with about 4 kilometres to go. She wanted to push the pace on the home stretch. This left just Elio and I. We got to the river walkway and noticed a small group clustered at a spot near the fence looking down. When we got close we could hear a woman screaming hysterically. We could see her over the side. She was walking around on the rocks below and was very distressed. One of the other runners who had stopped asked her if she wanted us to call for help and she said yes. Then she disappeared from sight back under the walkway.

Two calls to the police and they were finally on their way. We could hear that the woman was not alone. There was a man underneath the walkway with her and he was angry. He kept yelling and swearing and threatening her. When she stopped screaming we were all very concerned for her safety.

It was a long 15 minutes waiting for the police to arrive. And when they did, they didn't seem to sense the urgency of the situation. They took a brief statement of what was happening and the fitter-looking of the two decided that maybe he should jump over the fence and see what was happening. I'm thinking that the tubbier one was there for moral support and his good penmanship? Or maybe he's an excellent shot.

The policeman emerged after a short while with the woman and a man (who was a lot less intimidating to look at than his angry yelling had suggested). He spent some time talking to them while policeman #2 came and took our details. I get why they wanted our names and phone numbers. But date of birth? The first girl's birth-date ended in a 1980's, the second was in the 1970s as was Elio's. Mine's in the next decade down so when he got around to asking me my birth-date that was my moment to use a phrase I've always wanted to use but never had occasion to.

And then we were dismissed. It was hard to get our legs going again for the last couple of kilometres back but we kept ourselves entertained by creating outrageous stories about why we were so late back. My creativity was minimal - we were stopped by the cops because we were speeding. But Elio's involved abseiling over the side of the walkway. When I pointed out the flaw in the story (the lack of rope) it became me being lowered by him over the side. And when I said that we wouldn't have been low enough it became him wedging his foot in the railings and hanging off the side while lowering me down using only one arm. I was finally happy with that one - totally believable! I'm just not sure what I'd have done once I'd gotten down to the rocks. Helped the woman climb back out using Elio as the rope while keeping her angry attacker at bay with the strength of my BO?

So that was my Saturday run. Did anyone else have anything unusual happen while on their weekend run?