Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Last Run

I did my last run for 2009 this morning - a nice 11.5k run down to a golf course then all along the river, through the Uni. of Queensland and then back home. It was drizzly and hot and really humid and the humidity got to me by about 7k but I ran it and I'm patting myself on the back.

I ran past a man that Iven and I and the dogs had walked past on Monday. I remembered him because he stopped to let us pass twice - before and after Nelson took his toilet break. Well, he obviously remembered me too. I got a big smile, a wave and a loud "Happy New Year" Made me smile too.

The other thing that made me smile was the rainbow. It went from horizon to horizon - beautiful! Finished off the year wonderfully.

I hope everyone has a wonderful 2010 and all your dreams and goals are fulfilled.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Running towards 2010

Being that it's only a day and a half till New Years it's time to talk resolutions. 2010 is going to be the year of the marathon. I've got my marathon picked out and I now have a partner to run it with. Just yesterday Jenny (my very fit 56 yo triathlon friend) asked if it'd be ok to run Melbourne Marathon with me. Silly question - of course it's ok.

2010 will also be my very last year of High School. (big cheer from the crowd) That will be my 11th year at Brisbane State High - preceded by 13 years at Indooroopilly Primary School. The finish line is in sight. (I'm not counting tertiary education here - I'm just counting my responsibility to get kids onto buses/ferries, ironing uniforms and other parental duties)

Apart from that I'm just aiming to get back to full strength with my running and enjoy my life leaving all the emotional crap of 2009 behind.

Monday, December 28, 2009


I've been feeling really good about my progress lately. I've had lots of runs where I've achieved my goals for that run (ie. not feel exhausted for the rest of the day) Well today was speed session again and we were set 400m reps with 100m recovery. The aim was to get between 6 and 10 done. The first felt comfortable at 1:46 but the first always feels comfortable. The next was slightly slower 1:48 then they fovered around the 1:50 mark until I got to rep no 8 where it blew out to 1:55. I really wanted to finish the session so I started on the 9th rep - back down to 1:48 and I'd intended to take it slower and rep no 10 was 1:44 (with a little dry-reaching at the end. Yuk!)

Not too bad, I thought ... until I got home and saw my last lot of times for 400 reps. Most were around the 1:47 mark. Admittedly I'd only done 8 reps that time but today I was feeling so good and it felt sort-of fast. I know it shouldn't worry me and I should be pleased to complete it as well as I did but it's such a long way off the high 1:30's/ low 1:40's of July

Patience, Grasshopper!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Sydney was fast and frenetic and fun. It was three days of walking, shopping and coffee and I loved it. My sister Julie is a great travel companion. Her ideas of what would be good to do melded with mine so we never argued over activities.

We left early Friday and had arrived in Sydney before 9. Caught the train to Central and walked less than 500m to our hotel. Our room was ready so we could take up our luggage, dump it and be off to explore.

Our first port of call was Paddy's Market. Julie and I both seem to have an issue with map-reading so it took us at least 15 mins to walk there despite it just being over the road. Maybe if we'd looked away from the map and at our surroundings..? We needed to eat so we ended up with all the workers in a local cafe having the $5 special - fruit toast and coffee. Then we hit the markets.

From the markets we walked over to Darling Harbour, wandered around and had a late lunch. Then it was back to the room for a pre-show nap. Vietnamese for dinner and we were at the Capitol Theatre by 7:30.

Wicked was fantastic. The costumes were amazing (I wanted to see how they were put together)
The sets were seamless and the music was flawless. I really enjoyed the whole performance and couldn't get "Defying Gravity" out of my head for the rest of the trip.

Saturday we set out early for a walk down to Bondi. It took about one and a half hours and we felt like we'd pre-paid breakfast. Can I say that the view from our table at the cafe was beautiful?! We caught the bus back to Paddington to the Saturday Craft Markets then walked back into the city, around Circular Quay and the Rocks. We walked from 7 in the morning till 3 in the afternoon with just a couple of breaks. Back to the room for a nap and some reading (or was it reading then a nap?) then Darling Harbour for dinner and to watch the Christmas fireworks.

Sunday we were up early again to walk to Rushcutter's Bay for our sailing experience. I was a little anxious about getting sea-sick but I shouldn't have worried. I was fine and I loved it! It was so peaceful on the water. I felt like I'd left all the baggage from this year out there. I got off the water feeling so light and free. We filled in the rest of the day wandering around then back to the airport and a warm welcome home.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Burying My Head in the Sand

It's only eight days till Christmas. Only seven more shopping days! I still have to buy for Iven, Mum, Dad and Natalie (my walking friend). I still have no idea what to get for any of them so what do you think I'm going to do ? That's right, I'm going to head right away from Brisbane and fly down to Sydney for a long weekend of self-indulgence. I think it's the ultimate in putting my head in the sand but it may actually provide inspiration. I'm hoping to get in a few hours at Paddy's Markets possibly tomorrow when the weather man has predicted rain. And I'm keeping my fingers crossed that just the right thing jumps out at me.

On the running front I've done two sessions this week. Speed on Tuesday was good. Coach Chris made me sit out one of the reps after last week's poor recovery. I felt pretty good for the session and afterwards. Today's run was nearly 11k and I managed the hill that I walked up last week. I did run a little too hard on some of the middle k's but once I have a nap in a little while I'll be feeling fine.

Heard from Sammy in London today. It's snowing!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Another Good One

I wasn't looking forward to yesterday's 10k run after Wednesday's aborted debacle. Silly me got chatting to Fiona (who is FAST) just as we started off and this meant that I was running a little quicker than I'd intended (Note to self - stay at the back of the pack) At about 3k in I told Fi I needed to back off the pace a little and I did. Peter G was just a little behind me and it had worked so well pace-wise running with him last week that we just fell into step again. Chris caught us at the Goodwill Bridge and trotted home with us. A very pleasant run despite my misgivings.

I backed up in the afternoon with a 12k walk with my long-time, walking-partner-in-crime Natalie. It was hot and sticky but the company made the time go so quickly. I love Saturdays!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sam Graduated

My first-born graduated today. The ceremony was full of all the pomp and circumstance that you'd expect. People in silly gown in 35 degree heat. People wearing silly hats. Lots of parents wearing proud, silly little grins. I was one of those silly grinners - so proud of my boy that I felt like crying through most of the ceremony and I hate crying! I especially hate public crying but today it didn't matter. No matter how much I tried to distract myself I let a few wet ones spill.

I've been trying to work out why I was such a wuss and I've decided that today has marked the day that my boy is all grown up. He's ready to launch into the world and establish himself as a professional and a man. He's someone that I nurtured and encouraged and loved and he's become someone that any mother would be proud of. Congratulations Sammy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Getting Ahead of Myself

Remember how not just five days ago I had a good run? Well on the strength of that run I set myself a goal for speed session this week. The goal - to run the entire session. And I achieved that goal. And I felt pretty good afterwards but I didn't have my high GI carbs straight afterwards. By 9:30 I was feeling pretty average but a hot chocolate and a rest picked me up.

Wednesday was rest day but I got woken up early by my early-departing workers and didn't get a rest later.

Today I dragged myself out of bed after resetting my alarm a couple of times. In hindsight I should have turned it off. I was out the door by 5:30 and was attempting to emulate last Wednesday's 11k run (okay it was 10.77 but 11 sounds better) My legs felt heavy going up Stanley Tce but it's all uphill so I just took it easy. My heart rate wasn't too bad. I hit the crest of the hill and from there it was all down for a while and I started to feel a bit better. Crossed Moggill Rd and up the hill to Indro shops, down through the train station and then up Harts Rd. I think that's where I became unstuck. One of my friends lives on the street and her husband was standing out the front. I said hello to him and then headed up the hill (another hill!!!) but ran it a little faster than I should have just in case he was watching. (Silly, vain woman!) Boy was I tired when I got to the top. My legs felt weak but my silly head kept pushing me. I got to the bottom of the next hill and realised that this was ridiculous so I walked. Then I reassessed the rest of my run and cut out the last loop. I got back to Oakman Park, saw that I'd run 8k, which was what Chris had set, and walked the last little bit home.

We learn more from our mistakes than from our successes and today's lesson was - Pride cometh before a fall. I need to stick to my run plan and hold back. I am feeling fine now. Will rest again tomorrow and then a LSD run on Saturday.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy Runs and Christmas Rats

It's been a while since I mentioned running and there's been a good reason for that. It's not that I haven't been running. I've done my pathetic, slow speed, my Thursday 8-10k and my Saturday 10k but there's been little to write home about. I run, I come home feel crap and need a sleep by midday. That is until last Saturday. (drum roll please) I did my 10k and I felt good and continued to feel good for the rest of the day. (Little happy dance) It's been 8 weeks of very minimal progress and equally minimal running. The running's felt fairly unpleasant compared to how I normally feel.
Saturday's run felt good! I enjoyed it! Yay!

And on a totally different topic, we finally put our Christmas tree up yesterday. I've been putting it off because I am basically lazy but I really couldn't put it off any longer or we'd have nowhere to put our presents. I pulled out the tree from it's storage area and noticed that the cardboard box it lives in was looking a bit worse for wear. Then I smelt it - the unmistakable odour of rat! Some dirty rat had decided to re-enact the nativity scene in MY christmas tree. Luckily they'd departed but they hadn't taken the smell with them. A good spray with Glen 20 (pine scent) had it smelling like a pine forest.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I'd Like to Thank...

You guessed it - I got an award at the squad Christmas dinner last night. Actually it was two awards, a merit award ( for meritorious behaviour?) and (drum roll please) "Cook of the Year" award. Only I could join a running club and end up with a cooking trophy! I've been chuckling all day about it.

The thing is, I love to bake. I love to share my baking and I love when people tell me that they love my baking. I'm going to share two secrets here - the secrets to why my baking's so good.
#1. I have only a couple of recipes that are fool-proof and I recycle them over and over again.
#2. I play my favourite music when I bake. And I sing along. Loudly! It adds a special touch of joy to any recipe and I swear you can taste it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Xmas Shopping

It's finally happened! The moment of realisation that sticking my head in the sand was not going to make Christmas go away. So this morning I put on that slightly frantic expression that accompanies Christmas shopping and headed to Indro Shopping Centre. I can't say it was the most productive excursion but that's my fault for allowing Iven (husband) to come with me.

At this point I'd like to say that Iven is reluctant to make a decision at the best of times. He follows me around, gets in my way and asks questions that the details on the box have already answered. We managed to buy Luke's gift but it was such an ordeal that enough was enough and it was time to come home.

From this moment forward I solemnly vow to complete the shopping by myself!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Oh I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside

You guessed it - I got in a beach run this morning. There's nothing better than a run at the beach and our squad generally has one a fortnight over late Spring and Summer. Coach Chris texted me last night and offered me a ride - too kind - so 5:20 am saw me hopping into his car for the hour drive to Southport.

It's been stinking hot for the last four days and today was no different. We had a little breeze as we headed toward the spit but nothing on the return journey. Talk about sweat!! Didn't matter, though. Something happens to my spirits when I run on the sand. They lift and any baggage I've been carrying gets tossed into the ocean. There's a section of beach that's off-leash and that's the best part. It's a dog party!

“Big dogs, little dogs, red dogs, blue dogs, yellow dogs, green dogs, black dogs, & white dogs are all at a dog party! What a dog party!” (Apologies to PD Eastmann)

There were dogs digging holes, dogs barking at the waves, dogs chasing sticks or balls and some very friendly butt-sniffing dogs. Their joy was tangible and contagious.

The run was capped off with a very good coffee and breakfast at a local cafe. What a great morning!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Rainbows on Grey Days

Sometimes hard days strike for no reason. You just get out of bed one day and feel flat. The world seems grey and you don't have enough energy to pull yourself out of it. Yesterday was one of those days for me. I'm not sure what precipitated it but I had a serious case of the blahs! My number one son, Sam was supposed to meet me to shop for his graduation present (a winter jacket for his trip to Europe) but he had rung by 8:30 to postpone it till mid-morning which left me wondering how I would fill the next couple of hours. At this point I need to explain that work is finished for the year and I don't cope with boredom very well.

I decided to just go about my usual morning - shower, dry hair, dress and go to Indro for a coffee. I was just at the hair-drying stage when I heard a voice over all the noise. It was little-sister Lucy who needed a slight alteration to her daughter Dani's costume (dance concert is this weekend and in the dress rehearsal Dani's pants had fallen down. Unfortunately Dani had gone commando - much embarrassment) We chatted for a while but Lucy had to get to work so I finished up and headed off. This was my first glimmer of light through the clouds.

I've befriended the owners of my local coffee haunt and had heard that their twins were visiting rellies in Kenya. It was a surprise visit due the previous day. My second glimmer of light was hearing how excited everyone in Kenya had been. I don't know these people but I enjoyed sharing the joy and excitement vicariously.

My third glimmer of light happened when my oldest niece Nicole found me, drinking coffee and doing the crossword. She was happy to fill in the rest of my spare time with all her plans for an extended stay in Europe followed by her wedding. Happy conversation!

My grey morning dissipated. How can you be down when you're given rainbows?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Three Days in an Oven

I survived! I've just endured the hardest, hottest weekend of running that I'll (hopefully) ever do. Runners are the most insane bunch. Over 300 of them turned up pre-dawn on Friday morning to spend the next three days racing over 500k. I woke up at 2am (after only 4 hours of very fitful sleep) and was at Coach Chris's house by half past. We packed the bus and were on our way by 3. The starting line was Beenleigh Football Grounds and I was number one runner for our team. The gun went off at 5:45 and we were on our way.

Most teams had put on their gun runners which meant that I was left eating dust. My plan was to be conservative but, as usual, my competitive spirit got the better of me and soon I was passing runners - not many, mind you, but more than one. I finished my leg in 4:45 pace fairly pleased with the run but worried that I may have made a mistake in going too hard. Then I realised that I couldn't see the pick-up car and my worry changed to whether I'd been forgotten. Twenty minutes later the car arrived and I could get some water but some damage had been done. I've been having some problem regulating blood sugar levels and need some high GI food really soon after finishing exercise so the delay meant a BSL dip and I started to feel really sick. Three mouthfuls of cereal and I was heaving into the bushes. Yuk!

The nausea stayed for a few hours and I was seriously wishing that I'd stayed in bed. And seriously wishing that there was no such thing as over-training syndrome. But it passed and I started to enjoy the company of the team. We were unlucky to have the most horrendously hot weekend that the 500k Challenge has ever seen but lucky to have an airconditioned bus. Incredibly no-one was seriously affected by the heat although a few did collapse at the end of their relay legs. I think the tireless work of the watering crews kept everyone in one piece.

My runs did slow through the event. I had been given 5 but Chris knew I was struggling and swapped me down to 4. The last was at 1:30 pm in over 35 degree (Celsius) heat so it was a real endurance event. I could only manage 5:30 pace but I survived and didn't throw up at the end!
The funny thing though is that I had a fantastic weekend. Spent hours with amazingly positive people and laughed till I was almost crying. I'd definitely do it all again - but next time I'll be praying for cooler weather.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Where's the Brass Band?

There are some moments in life that really should have their own sound-track. Today had one of those moments. Sam finished his degree in Human Movement Studies and is now (bar disaster in any of his exams) an Exercise Physiologist. It's been a bit of a slog. First year he failed Anatomy after his girlfriend dumped him a week before the exams. Then he took a year off to get his head together and earn a bit of money. He came back all fired up with a new direction and hasn't looked back. His last exam completed was a bit of a let-down. It should have come with a bit of pomp and ceremony or, at the very least, a brass band and fireworks so here they are. Congratulations Sam - you've done a great job and we're really proud of you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Feeling the Fear.

'Feeling the fear' - it's part of a line from a Desiree song which finishes 'Doing it anyway'. I'm up to the feeling the fear part. The weather forecast for this weekend is starting to freak me out!! We can expect anywhere from 34 to 36 celsius (92 - 97 farenheit) and out on the open road it's likely to be even hotter. Is it crazy to be doing this relay? I know most of the legs are less than 5k but I don't know when my legs are. I'm hoping Coach Chris has been really kind to my poor battle-weary body.

The weather isn't the only thing I'm scared of - I'm lacking confidence in my body and its ability to back up especially after very little sleep. Last year I didn't even give it a thought. I just hopped on the bus and went for a ride and had a wonderful time. What a difference a year can make!

I shouldn't worry too much. I know I can pull out if it gets too much. I know I can run slow and I know that I probably won't die but once that niggle of doubt gets in it's hard to shift. It's one of those silly little quirks of mine that makes me so endearing (note the use of sarcasm) and this time next week I'll probably be blogging about how great it was.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


It's not even the end of Spring and we're having our first mini-heatwave. I hate Summer! It starts too early and goes too long and sucks the life out of me. The forecast is for 30+ every day this week - not so great for the weekend's relay. I've got my fingers crossed that Chris has been kind to me and given me mostly early runs. It's a crazy time of year to be running in the middle of the day but runners are a special kind of crazy!

And talking about crazy, the inaugural Mousdash was held yesterday starting from the Botanical Gardens and circling up and around Mt Coottha. That's 10.5k of crazy! I have run Mt Coottha before but never in a race and never starting right from the bottom. About 700 hardy souls took up the challenge and I got to stand around and cheer. I've never seen so many dodgy porno-star moustaches in one place in my life.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Little Glimmers

Three runs this week. Just three runs but they've been three glimmers of light in my running wilderness. Tuesday's speed session was slow but I recovered well. Thursday's 8k - also slow but recovered well again. This morning it was a 10ker and, running with the group, was probably a little too fast. My average HR was up to 170 (Wednesday's was 160). I averaged 5:45 per k and I should be shooting for 6. But, good news - I'm feeling pretty good and being that it's Saturday I get to have and afternoon nap. Yay!

Even though it was a little fast, I love the social side of running with the group. I love catching up with what everyone's up to, saying hello to acquaintances that we run past and even running into old friends. Today I ran into Louise. Louise and I have spent many hours together on the side of soccer pitches around Brisbane but now the boys are older we don't catch up that often. It was so nice to catch up. This is one of the little gifts that running gives me.

I'm starting to look forward to next weekend's relay. It's going to be a long, tiring three days and it's likely to be hot but there's no other event like it. We're not competitive but everyone gives it their best shot and there's nothing that bonds the group as close as acting sentry for each other when we use the bush toilet. Plus the weekend raises heaps of money for the Endeavour Foundation to help kids and adults with Cerebral Palsy. Fun, fun, fun!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why I Love to Run

There are just so many reasons. I love the endorphins, the peace of being by myself, the company of others when I run with a group, the fact that I can eat just a little more. The list goes on and on till we get to the number one reason - having breakfast with my running friends.

We've been doing it for about two years now on a monthly basis and it's something that we all really enjoy. There's 5 of us but numbers can drop to 3 if things get busy. We range in age from 55 down to 24 but age doesnt seem to matter when we have our love of running as a common interest.

I've just been organising a last-minute breakfast for a very special reason. Karen, our 24 year old, is getting married. For the last year we've been discussing dresses, venues, flowers and menus so we all decided that a pre-wedding breakfast was a must. I'm so blessed to be able to share in the special moments of these special friends. All of us married runners are going to bring along our wedding pics to laugh over and we'll declare a moritorium on husband-bashing for the morning. I can't wait!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Feeling Good! Yay

It was speed session again today and, after last week's debacle, I knew I had to be ultra-conservative. The warm-up went okay ( my HR was around 160 - but that's pretty normal for me)
then it was into the work. Coach Chris was mixing it up a bit - 1k's and 200m's with 200m recoveries. Everyone did 1k to start. Mine was a pitiful 4:47 and after that he just gave me 200m repeats for the rest of the session. I had a standing rest every 3 or 4 reps to get my HR down. It was hardly the sort of session that I'd normally be pleased with but I'm so thrilled with my recovery. I'm sitting here feeling so good - better than I've felt in such a long time so I'm cheering. Yay!!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Patty cake, Patty cake...

What a huge weekend! It was the first engagement for the next generation. Nicole and Nick finally decided to bite the bullet and formalise their long-standing relationship. So the family did what it does best - cook and decorate.

Mum was in charge of the floral arrangements and I was in charge of the cupcake tower. Older sister Julie was my hugely-capable sidekick and together we whipped up 101 cupcakes. We did chocolate mud, lemon sour cream, white chocolate and vanilla. Then we had to decorate. It was 5 hours worth of exhausting - but it was fun and we were both pleased with the end result. The party went off well too.

I didn't run all weekend. I have a huge dose of the guilts which I have to quash and let go of. The 500k Relay is on in less than a fortnight and I need to be feeling on top of things by then. I have only 3 runs scheduled for this week and need to be ultra-conservative especially at speed tomorrow. Coach Chris has been told to be on my back about going slow - seems so wrong for a speed session.

And on the home front we're in full exam mode. Josh has only one to go to finish his 3rd year in electrical engineering. Sam starts on Wed but will be finished his degree (human movements/exercise physiology) in less than a fortnight and Luke will start next Monday. There will be neurons firing all over the house!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Oestrogen Therapy

What is it about males that makes them totally oblivious to mess - especially the mess that they have created? Does the Y chromosome confer a state of domestic blindness that would make them technically eligible for the Paralympics?

Sometimes it's hard being the only female in a household full of males (and no, Bubbles our dog and Bailey the rat do not count) There is no pink, no frills and no lace, unless you count the curtains in the loo which were my one defiance. There is, however, lots of socks, jocks and football boots that have an indescribable odour which could be bottled and marketed as a weapon of mass-destruction.

Coming from a family full of females, except Dad, I sometimes long to escape it all and have some Oestrogen Therapy. So the plan is to escape for a long weekend with my sister Julie and fly off to Sydney for a long weekend. We're going to see Wicked - something I could never do with Iven who doesn't get the whole singing thing and can't even last through an hour of Glee. We'll also get to shop. Yay!!

I've actually just been to Sydney. I was there in September to run the half - my last race before realising why I wasn't running well. (The photo is about 3k from the end when I'd given up all will to live but managed to smile for the camera.) Iven and Luke came too so shopping was pretty-much off the table. I can't wait.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Maybe Melbourne?

Reality is setting in. It's going to take a long time to recover from OTS. I just relaxed my guard a little on Tuesday, ran a little too fast (and believe me it wasn't fast) and yesterday I felt like I was back to square one. I dragged through the day, exhausted. I had an 8ker this morning and was vigilant. HR monitor on and me watching it like a hawk. It was a pitifully slow shuffle - run would be a huge exaggeration - dropping back to a walk if my HR started to climb too much. It took 56 mins to do the distance. Ah well.

I'm starting to think that Canberra in April may be a bit too soon and Melbourne in October more do-able. The thing is - I don't want my first marathon to be a nightmare.

On the up side I've got a fun few days ahead looking forward to my niece's engagement party. I'm in charge of decorating the cupcakes (in lieu of an engagement cake) so I've been practicing. Check them out.

Monday, November 2, 2009

One step forward, one step back.

It feels like I'm marching on the spot at the moment. I've cut my running down to three per week and the aim is to run with as little intensity as possible. Saturday's 8k turned into a 10k because I prefer to have company and Geoff had said he was doing 10. The problem with company is that you will push yourself probably more than you should so you don't let the side down. I let my HR get up a bit more than it should but I did recover well that afternoon.

Today's non-speed Speed Session was also a little harder than I should have tried but I did stop after the 3rd k to let the group I'd been running with get enough a head that I didn't feel like I had to keep up. I had a great chat with Tammy after. She's been where I am now - overtrained and going backwards. It was so encouraging to hear about her first marathon just three weeks ago and how her recovery has gone. It may have taken almost a year but she's running so well now. Her advice? Take all the pressure off and enjoy running. Sounds like good advice.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


A few things have happened over the past few days which have made me realise that I have lots to be grateful for. Gratitude is hard to come by when things are not going as you'd planned. But gratitude really helps with attitude.

The first thing that happened was a conversation with one of Josh's friends. I just asked him how his Mum was doing. She used to belong to my running squad but had to have surgery. Recovery has not gone to plan and she now needs a walking stick to help her get around. She's about my age.

My next conversation was with a squad member who's coming back after almost a year absence. I thought she'd been injured but she'd actually been quite sick needing a few hospital stays.

I've been so frustrated with having to slow right down and cancel events but in the scheme of things it's only a small speed bump. I can still run and I have my health. I have a lovely family and lots of supportive friends. Generally life is good.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm No Superman

I've never thought myself as delusional. I've always considered myself to be fairly rational with a realistic outlook on life. So it's come as a devastating shock to find out the truth - I'm not Superman (or woman if we want to be gender-anal) I am aging whether I like it or not.

Forty-six isn't exactly old but neither is it young. Forty-six is middle-aged and middle-aged means that your body doesn't function quite as efficiently as it used to. I've been running for years but only training seriously, with a squad and a coach, for two years. And I've been training hard. Speed on Tuesday, a tempo or interval run Wednesday, hills on Thursday and a long, slow run Saturday (which was never that slow) I'm really diligent with my program - rarely missing a day - plus I like to fit in as many races during the racing season as I can. I ran every run as hard as I could and neglected the very thing that's fundamental to training - Rest!

Overtraining Syndrome should be re-named Under-recovery Syndrome. It's subtle. Creeping up on you disguised as other minor annoyances that can be explained away. The reason I ran so poorly at the Brisbane Marathon Festival was because I was coming down with a stomach virus and I was slow in the Sydney Half because of the hills and everyone knows that I'm not great at hills. The fact that I felt crap every day, even when I hadn't trained, was incidental. But when people started to ask what was wrong, why wasn't I running so well, I had to assess the situation.

I went and had blood tests which showed that I was remarkably healthy for someone who was always exhausted. Not anaemic. Thyroid working well. Not going through menopause and great cholesterol levels. My heart rate was under 70, which to most people is good, but to me was high. The only thing it could be was Overtraining Syndrome.

Being the self-appointed 'Google Queen', I spent a lot of time researching OTS and apart from the physical side of things there is a large component of emotional in the mix. The situation that my family has been through this year (that I may or may not elaborate on at a later date) would definitely have been compounding things. It was a 'Perfect Storm' of factors that has brought me to this point. And yesterday I got the news that I wasn't to run two events that I'd been looking forward to. Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap!

I did know in my heart-of-hearts that it probably was a good idea to scrap them but I still didn't want to hear it. The good news is that Canberra Marathon is still a strong possibilty. And I had an okay run yesterday - almost 7k with a walk up the hill and not feeling like I needed a nap in the afternoon.

Actually, I could still be Superman - Superman who's been exposed to Kryptonite.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sequins, Glitter and Tutus

Three weeks. Twenty-one days. Five hundred and four hours. That's all the time left to complete all the costumes for the end-of-year dance concerts. Things are ticking over quite well. All the samples, bar one, are made and the majority of the sizing is done but there's no time to rest on our laurels. It's heads down and tails up - go, go, go.

I quite enjoy this time of the year. I can see the end in sight and holidays on the way. Having my own business has given me a certain amount of freedom and part of that freedom involves taking all of the school holidays off. The business tends to revolve around the school year with school aerobics, gymnastics, dance and swimming all being extra-curriculars. The trade-off, though, is a not-substantial income but I can live with that.

It's funny to look back and see how my career path evolved. When I was a kid all I wanted to do was to be able to work from home but by the time we had careers night at high school ( I think that was grade 11 ) I knew I was destined to be a Vet. I scored highly enough to get into the course and proceeded to complete the five years required, graduated and promptly got married. There were few jobs in Brisbane and Iven and I weren't prepared to move so I got some part-time and locum jobs and when I got pregnant with Josh, my second, I made myself a pair of togs and Physique Aerobicwear was born.

That was 22 years and countless leotards ago. I think I'm one of the lucky few that actually enjoys their work. I get enormous satisfaction from the creative side of things and I love putting smiles on the faces of little girls. And I get my need for glitter and sequins and pretty things - the need that was never satisfied because of having three sons - well and truly out of my system.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Dying Cockroaches

I've just returned from the shops and coffee with my sister. From where I was sitting I could see a cockroach in its last throes of life desperately trying to make it to the rubbish bin - the holy grail for cockroaches. While not overly fond of cockroaches, I had to admire its tenacity. It kept crawling, dragging its innards behind it, until it drew its last breath.

This brought two questions to mind. The first was - did the cockroach hitch a lift with me to the shops? It could easily happen being that I don't like the idea of insecticides being sprayed all over our house for us to absorb (Yes, I know cockroaches carry disease but exposure to chemicals can cause cancer) I have a 'live and let live attitude' where if they're out of sight they're out of mind but honestly I've seen many a dead cockroach in our kitchen where the cause of death is old age.

My second question was did I look a bit like this particular cockroach this morning at training? Painfully slow but determined even though I've been stomped on by life and I feel like the guts have been crushed out of me (Melodramatic I know - I swear I could write for Days of Our Lives) Today's session was Speed and I was so not speedy. Not only was I not speedy but even running slow felt exhausting. I hate overtraining syndrome! I hate that after all my hard work I feel less fit than when I started! And I really hate being patient!!! If I wasn't an adult I'd probably throw myself on my back and kick my legs around, screaming with frustration just like an upturned dying cockroach. I miss my daily endorphin fix. Must be an endomorpho-junkie.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Marathons are hard. 42.195 kilometers of sweating, puffing, blisters and doubting.The doubting's probably the hardest part. Did I train hard enough? Will I make it? Why am I doing this? All that lack of self-belief floats around those few firing neurons that aren't totally absorbed in the process of breathe-in, breathe-out, left foot, right foot. It starts as a whisper that you try to drown out with those boppy tunes on your MP3 but the whisper gets louder until it's like the voice of a hiker lost in the Grand Canyon desperate to be found. Somewhere you have to draw up all the strength inside to run on despite the internal silent screams that are telling you to stop.

Unfortunately I'm not yet speaking with the voice of experience. The farthest I've run so far is 25k (that's not including the Warwick Pentathrun earlier this year - 42.2 k in 5 events over 2 days). I'm 46 and have just come through one of the hardest years of my life. I'm suffering from over-training syndrome at the moment but still planning on running the Canberra Marathon in April next year. Insane? Well, maybe but if I don't run that maybe will be a definite!!