Saturday, February 26, 2011

I'm Loved !!

Iven's never been much of a gift-giver. I think he has gift-giving phobia. Around Christmas and my birthday you'll often see him staring into space with the look of a hunted animal on his face. It's gotten to the point where I rarely expect much for either of these big occasions, never expect anything for Valentine's day or our anniversary and would probably fall down in a dead faint if he bought me anything spontaneously.

Well today a miracle occurred. Iven went to the hardware store to buy a new handle for our broom (because I'd worn the last one out taking joy flights over the city every time I had PMS). He came home with the broomstick and this -

Now don't be jealous of my new toilet seat with the soft-close lid. It's not one of those fancy seats with heating. It's just not cold enough here to warrant that - even on our most bitter Winter morning.

The gift has made me feel so special - almost like the time I got a toilet cistern for my birthday (no joke). And being the first to use it ... it just showed me the place I held in Iven's heart and that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

And what did I do to warrant such a gift? Nothing X-rated I can assure you. All I did was complain about having my butt bitten every time I sat down on our old toilet seat. And Iven couldn't bear the thought of my tooshie being hurt

Don't you all wish you had someone who loved you this much!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mood Lifters

What a difference a couple of days make! I'm feeling a lot more like me now and not so negative. It really helped getting all that empathy from you guys. Thank you! I turned off the tv stations that were getting me down. I'm still keeping up with what's happening but hearing it twice a day is so much better for my mental health than being immersed in it.

I went to a hills session for the first time in a couple of months. My motivation to go was so I'd have company. Boy, did I have company! Usually the group's around 15 people. Yesterday it was easily double that. And even though I was running hills, I kept to my plan of running conservatively. I ran just behind a girl who's usually quite a way behind me and stayed behind her for most of the session (Sorry, Anna. Hope my breathing down your neck didn't annoy you too much) Running out in the bush is the greatest mood-lifter.

My day started weirdly yesterday. I woke at just after 4 am and decided to try and get a little more sleep. Well, I was really successful and fell into a deep sleep which involved dreaming - and who should be in my dream but Marlene from Mission to (another) Marathon. I was making her a leotard and it was sort-of ugly - sorry, Marlene. As I said - weird!

Yesterday morning wasn't just weird. It held a promise. That Summer and these stinking hot and humid days will come to an end. It was a beautiful morning with just the hint of crispness to it - perfect for running up hills.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Down - But Not Out

I'm feeling a bit flat today. Some of it is due to the earthquake in Christchurch. We've had 24 hr coverage of it on TV and it's starting to wear a little. Can you get disaster overload? It's only February and so far we've had floods, fires, cyclones and earthquakes. Enough already!!

Usually I'd watch a little of the coverage and once I've reached saturation point watch something that I'd recorded. The remote control of my recorder has chosen now to stop working so I can't do that. Desperately hoping that the replacement turns up today or it will be a long day at work.

Another reason I'm feeling flat is because I'm on day 10 of cramping and bleeding (I know, I know - TMI) I've just started taking the pill for endometriosis and the assistant at the pharmacy said I could start taking it right away despite the stage of my cycle. Well she was wrong! And my hormones have won the battle over synthetic hormones and it's left my body a bit confused. Hoping this will settle down over the next couple of days.

And after feeling so energised over the weekend, today I'm tired and it's disheartening. I had a tough speed session yesterday - 1 mile repeats. But I ran it conservatively and only ran 3 of the 4 repeats at speed. And even though I was so conservative, I felt beaten up for the rest of the day. I even needed a lie-down before work. My optimism over a quick recovery was dented. It's silly really - I know that the supplements will take at least a month to kick in and 3 months to really make a difference. But I'm human which means I'm impatient.

So this is my plan.
I will not run more than 3 times a week for a month from the date of starting the supplements.
I will only run at a moderate intensity.
I will make sure I get adequate sleep. (Does anyone know of a cure for snoring?)
I will be diligent in taking my supplements.
I will provide my body with good quality fuel.
I will work on my little issue of hip instability so I feel like I'm not just marching on the spot.
And I will keep reminding myself that good things are worth waiting for - Patience Grasshopper!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Good Weekend and A Story With a Moral

We've just had the worst weather over the past few days. It's been hot and sticky - in fact the lowest it got last night was 25 C which is 77F. that sort of weather is not conducive to sleeping well. But today we've been promised a storm. And a cool change. And I'm hoping that Summer will finally be over.

But despite the really crappy weather, I had a good weekend. It started with an ordinary run on Saturday morning. Running + heat + me = fail! I got through the 16k but didn't enjoy it much. There seems to be a very strong correlation between the temperature and how well I run.

My sister had us over for lunch to thank everyone who'd helped them during the floods. We were in Tasmania and the only help that came from our house came from Sam and Luke and our washing machine, so I did feel like a bit of a fraud but the food made me forget to feel bad.

Later that afternoon Natalie, my Saturday walking friend, came over. It'd been raining early that morning when she left home so she hadn't packed her walking gear. Yay - we didn't have to walk in the stinking heat and we STILL got to have coffee.

Sunday I had nothing planned which meant I could play catch up around the house. Three loads of washing. Lots of baking - including a new recipe for lemon poppyseed cupcakes that has white chocolate in and are totally yummy. Cleaning out the bathroom cabinet (which hasn't been done since the turn of the century - I had nappy rash cream in there and Luke is 17 now!). Cleaning the mould off our front door. And, at the end of the day, lots of hip stabilizing exercises because stable hips mean happy runners.

I know this doesn't sound very exciting but the fact that I had enough energy to want to do it made me happy. For the past year or so I've spent the weekend doing my long run then resting up and doing as little as possible. Even on Friday I had more energy than I normally do. I was told that it'd take about a month to see any effects from the CoEnzyme Q10, but I'm just wondering ... Or maybe it's a placebo effect. I'm really enjoying having energy.

And on a totally different subject - Sam and I were talking about childhood injuries last night - ones that would produce a scar. The boys haven't had many but Sam's best one was a cut to the back of the head which needed stitches. And how did he get this cut? Sam was a creative kid and a pretty bright one. We didn't have a slippery slide in the back yard so he decided to make his own using an old door and a pile of bricks. He was about four at the time so it was a bit of a job lifting up the door and it was not a steep slide so it was disappointingly slow. And this is where the ingenuity comes in - Iven had just changed the oil in his car and hadn't gotten rid of the old oil so Sam decided to put it to good use. It made that slide way slipperier. So slippery, that he went pelting down and whacked his head on the concrete. I had to wash all that oil out of his hair to find where the blood was coming from and then it was a quick trip to the medical center. So the moral to today's story is - Never use sump oil to make your slippery slide faster.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Superiority Complex.

I've finally had verification of something that I always suspected of myself. I am SUPERIOR. I am not only above average - I'm way above average.

I got written results back from the sports med doctor from my test on Wednesday. I thought they were just checking to see my response to exercise. But no - it had to be quantified and I've come out with a VO2 of 47.6 which, for a woman of my vast age, puts me in the superior category. If I'd known I was going to get a result I may have tried a bit harder. I'd decided that I wasn't going to get to the puke zone - after all the whole reason for me doing this test was because I'm not feeling very fit. Imagine what it would have been if I was feeling okay. And imagine just how bad the people down the lower end of the scale of fitness feel every single day.

Son Sam, the exercise physiologist, grudgingly agreed that it was a pretty good result. But, not wanting me to get too inflated an ego, he let me know that it was JUST an estimate. I personally thought that he should be thrilled that he's come from such a SUPERIOR bloodline.

So today I'm basking in an air of superiority. Walking around looking at lesser beings and secretly pitying their averageness. Knowing full well that my superiority is on the rise - when I'm back to full health, I will be on another stratosphere. But don't worry - I'll still have time for all of my faithful followers.

(disclaimer: This blog has been written with my tongue wedged firmly in my cheek and should be read in the same manner.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Results Are In

I've been to the doctor's twice this week. First time was to get my results back from last week's tests. And I got zilch - normal, normal and more normal. There was a little reduction in my serum protein levels which means that my immune system is working hard. So with nothing much to work with, I doctor scheduled me for an exercise stress test and an appointment with the dietitian.

First off this morning I headed in to see the dietitian. She asked lots of questions and I was honest (I even admitted to the weekly fish and chips/burger while watching Biggest Loser and the nightly cookie with a cup of tea). Apparently I'm doing a pretty good job getting the balance right.

Enough calcium - tick
Enough carbs - tick
Enough protein - tick
Enough vegies - tick
Maybe another piece of fruit to make two instead of one
Definitely more fluids - 2 litres is the base level and I should be having more on my heavy sweating days.
More salt to stop me from peeing out the extra water that I'm drinking.
Taking in my carbs on the long run a little earlier on - at maybe 45 mins instead of an hour.

I learnt that we only have enough stored carbs in our body to last 2 hours - and that's when our stores are maximal. This rarely happens for people who are training except if they've done a proper taper and carb load so taking in some nutrition while we're on a long run is absolutely necessary.

After the dietitian, it was off to the treadmill for the test. Sam had given me the low-down on what would happen and I knew it wasn't going to be fun. What I didn't realise is that I need practice if I'm going to run on a treadmill ever again. Wow, did I feel gumby! My feet kept scraping the tread and I was having trouble even walking at an even pace. I pulled the pin after 18 mins because I didn't have anything to prove and I didn't want to go to the next level. Yep - call me chicken! They had enough information to tell me that I'm normal - which is what I expected to hear but doesn't give me any answers.

The doctor has conceded that it probably still is Overtraining Syndrome and has given me a supplement, Coenzyme Q10, that has been proven to work both in Overtraining Syndrome and in Chronic Fatigue. It's also been used in endurance athletes with really good results. The pharmacist told me it would take a month or so to work. It is necessary at the cellular level in the mitochondria to help in the production of energy (seriously, don't I sound like a science geek?). We usually produce it ourselves but don't produce as much as we age and can't get it in our diets, ergo the supplementation.

So I have a plan - to take my sessions at a moderate pace until I start picking up, to take my supplement and to implement the dietary changes recommended. I feel like I'm heading on the right track.

(Actually I wasn't TOTALLY honest with the dietitian. I didn't tell her about licking the beaters when I cook or having a little taste of the cake batter which I really had to do because I had changed the recipe for Josh's birthday cake a little. But I sent the cake off with him to work so I won't actually eat any of it and we all know that it's the cooked cake that has the calories - not the batter)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

This Weekend.

A weekend seems to have banished the male PMS from our household. If only weekends could last all week long!

I've come home from my girls' weekend to find my house a hive of industry. I have quite talented sons (note strong, maternal pride). Josh has bought himself an early birthday present - a massive sub-woofer for his car. He spent many hours yesterday putting it in his car and wiring it up. Now it sounds like there's an electrical storm in the distance every time he drives down the street.

He's not only talented - he's also very considerate. He offered me a back massage. When I accepted, he loaded me into the car and drove around the block with the sub-woofer booming away. It's not quite the massage I was expecting. Usually I don't have issues with my ears ringing after a massage.

My kitchen is in total disarray. Luke is making a Valentines Day picnic for Becky, his girlfriend. He's made heart-shaped brownies with a caramel centre and profiteroles filled with creme patissiere and dipped in chocolate. Luke is not intimidated when it comes to cooking. He'll give anything a go.

The girls' weekend away was lovely. We arrived at the coast at midday and went out to lunch. Then we strolled up into Surfers Paradise to book a massage. The massage was really relaxing and didn't involve bruising, crying or pleading with the therapist to stop like my last one. I even managed to sneak in a little reading time and an afternoon nap. Three of my sisters hit the town that night. My older sister and I are not big party animals. We don't do clubs or drink much so we had an early-ish night. Then this morning we headed out for a late breakfast before coming home.

And just before I finish I wanted to say that I had GOOD run yesterday. It was my first good run in a very, very long time. I think part of the reason was because it was a lot cooler. It felt so good to be able to run my 16k and not want to die at the end - in fact my last k was my fastest.

I mentioned to one of my sisters that I was feeling a lot happier because I had such a good run and she thought it was "sad" that I let how a run goes influence how I feel. What she doesn't understand is that a lot of factors influence what makes a good run. Feeling good and running easy makes for a good run but so does the people you run with, what you talk about, if you run past anything interesting and what's playing on the MP3. Yesterday I got to meet a new group member and had a lovely chat to her. I got to see other parts of our routes I haven't seen since the floods. I got to see a coat-hanger hanging over a light fixture that was 3m high. And I got to listen to some Abba (yes I know I have daggy tastes in music - but I like what I like and I'm not ashamed). Honestly I don't think it matters how I get my 'happies' - whether it be running or spending all night dancing.

So it's back to the doc tomorrow for my blood results. I'm kind of looking forward to it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Male PMS

I don't know if it's because of the moon or because the year's settling in to its normal mundane rhythm, but a few of the folks in my house are cranky. Surprisingly it's not me - and I'm the only one here who can legitimately lay claim to PMS plus having to cut back on my runs AND only managing to run really, REALLY badly could potentially make for a very cranky mother. No, I'm quite even-keeled at the moment. It's my boys who are not so happy with life.

Luke had a major dummy spit yesterday. This is really unusual for him because he's very pleasant-natured. He's just started part-time work a week ago and had been given his working hours for this week - just Monday and Tuesday afternoons. Josh works at the same place and was working every afternoon this week. He'd only been at work for a short while when someone came up and asked where Luke was. Apparently there had been a miscommunication and he was supposed to work Monday through to Thursday. Funnily no-one mentioned anything when he didn't show on Wednesday. So Luke got a call saying you're supposed to be working and had to cancel his plans for the evening and jump in the car and fight peak hour traffic to get there as soon as he could. He was NOT happy.

Then Sam came home after soccer training last night and he brought a very unpleasant mood in with him. He'd gone to training after a long few days at work and managed to pull a groin muscle in the first ten minutes of the session. Add that to rolling an ankle a few days beforehand. He's tired and sore and grumpy.

Iven came home in a similar mood yesterday. He'd managed to have his front brakes lock up on him on the way home from work. As he was flying not-so-gracefully over the handlebars he decided that he may have done something wrong when he put on the new brakes. He only ended up with some gravel rash on his leg and hand - it could have been much worse.

So the only ones in this household that have managed to stay pleasant are Josh and I. I'm suspecting that the impending weekend away with my sisters has something to do with my good mood. We're having a belated hens weekend for my younger sister and I get to leave all the crankies at home to wallow in their own self-pity. How timely!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Putting My Ego In My Pocket

It's officially been confirmed. I DO have a heart!

It's been an interesting week so far. It started first thing Monday morning at the Sports Med Doctor. I liked him - he really listened. Then he examined me and found a slight heart murmur. He wasn't worried but he did want it checked out just to be sure. He also made me get bloods taken again for a few tests to see if anything shows up. I did the bloods straight away but had to wait till today to have my heart looked at.

So this morning I rocked up for my echocardiogram. I had to get naked from the waist up then had ECG leads attached. Then it was pretty much just like an ultrasound, The sonographer was great. He's recently taken up running to lose a few kilos and last year ran his first 2 half marathons. I think he's hooked because he's lining up to do his first marathon this year. I did my best recruiting spiel and tried to convince him to come along to speed sessions.

At the end of about half an hour he told me that he found nothing particularly interesting. There's a slight regurgitation with one of my valves but nothing that would cause any problems. And the murmur is probably because my heart is so strong. So good news!

Meanwhile I have to wait till next Monday to find out the results of my blood tests. But the good news is that I'm allowed to run - I just have to take it easy. So yesterday's speed session was not very speedy and today's run was a very slow 7k where I just kept my eye on my HR monitor. I even WALKED up a hill to keep my HR down.

I was chatting to my brother-in-law about all of this on Sunday and he's recently done a couple of months of low HR training. The thing I took out of that conversation is that "you have to put your ego in your pocket" and just run to your goals. I used that phrase a lot this morning when my instincts made me want to run faster.

I'm really looking forward to next Monday and hoping the doc's got some interesting results - and that there's a magic pill that will get me back to close to where I was.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I had a deja vu moment today. I had spent most of the weekend baking for Mum and Dad's party and I was making the icing for the last lot of cupcakes when Sam came into the kitchen and offered to help.

THIS is how Sam helps -

It brought a wistful smile to my face and had me searching through my old photo albums for this -

Some things in life just don't change that much - and I'm glad that they don't.

PS The party went pretty well. Mum was a little emotional before it started but then got it all together and I think she may have enjoyed herself. Dad definitely enjoyed himself. As a family we always over-cater and the food's always good so Dad's happy!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Feeling Slightly Uncomfortable

There are certain situations in life that make you feel uncomfortable.

My son, Luke, had one of these last week. He's had his driver's license for all of 2 weeks and he'd gone to his girlfriend's place for dinner - driving there for the first time.(side note - we are now off the hook as far as driving him and picking him up. Now we just have to wait up and wonder if he's going to get home safely. Not sure which is better/worse.) They decided to go to McDonalds after dinner and pick up an ice cream then they parked in a nearby parking lot to eat it. They'd only been there a few minutes when a car screamed into the parking lot and pulled up next to them. It was the police!

Immediately Luke went through this thought process -
I haven't done anything wrong.
Well, I don't think I've done anything wrong.
Maybe I DID do something wrong.
Oh, crap, what did I do wrong?!!

He hadn't done anything. They were just doing random checks. But isn't it funny how we quickly jump to the guilty conclusion?

And I had my own 'out of my comfort zone' experience this week. I had to go to the doctor to have a PAP smear. (Don't we all just love having these done?) When I was making the appointment it was hard to know which doctor to ask for. Do I ask for a doctor I've never had and will never have again? Or do I ask for the doctor I really like? Shouldn't I spare her from the procedure because I like her?

I did end up with my favourite and she told me that the patient feels way worse about it than the practitioner. It doesn't bother them at all. Just as well I didn't become a doctor because I'm sure it would bother me. But even though I really like her I was so uptight about going. My heart rate was up. I was sweating. And this was before I even got into the room. I was terrified she was going to take my blood pressure because I knew it would be up. I could feel it going up every time I thought about having it done.

But it's all done now - and I should be right for another 2 years till I have to have it done again. And once the procedure was done we had a very nice consult. She's pretty sure that the ridiculous pains I have every month are endometriosis and she's put me on the pill to help regulate it. I'm not sure if I'm going to persist though because it's making me really nauseated for a lot of the day. I'll give it a couple of weeks to see if I adjust.

Sunday's going to be another uncomfortable day. It's my Mum and Dad's golden wedding anniversary and they're having an afternoon tea to celebrate. After everything that's happened, I'm really not sure how it's going to go. The only thing that I'm sure of is that the food will be good. All the hurt is still too raw for anyone to really celebrate a strong, happy marriage.

So in preparation for a potentially stressful weekend, I had my massage today. And I've booked in for another in a month's time. See I am looking after myself!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Circling The Drain

I haven't been feeling so great lately. No - it's nothing fatal (although the title could have hinted at that). It's that awful feeling that I had at the end of '09. Dreaded Overtraining Syndrome is rearing its ugly head again. My legs feel so empty when I run (no strength at all), my heart rate is hovering around 60 at rest (it's usually high 40's) and I'm not sleeping very well.

It's really hard for me to admit to all of this because admitting it somehow feels like failure. But it is what it is and I just have to deal with it.

So.... I have no more runs this week
And ... I have booked in to see a Sports Med Doctor on Monday.
And ... I'm planning on booking a massage for Friday (apparently they're good for this
problem - just ask Dr Google)

I think some of my problem is to do with recovering from the marathon and maybe running too hilly a half too hard. And when I came back to training ( all of 11 days ago) I ran a very hilly, hard run followed by a hilly speed session, another hilly Australia Day run and yet another hilly run on Saturday. Do you notice a theme? All of my runs have been hilly and hilly = high intensity. Plus its been stinking hot and humid which = high intensity.

The hilly thing has happened because all of our flat routes are still unrunable. They're along the river and some stretches of the run just aren't there any more. But the fact that my body takes so long to recover is something I need to address and I'm hoping the doc can give me answers ... or steroids ... or a little happy pill so I won't notice the lack of running.

But I still totally believe that this whole thing was caused by family stresses on top of the physical demands I was placing on my body. Coping with my husband's depression, dealing with finding out I had a secret half-brother, the fact of my Father's infidelity and trying to support my Mother, then Josh's depression post-breakup and finally my business partnership ending. It's been five very stress-filled years. No wonder I'm tired!

But I think I've caught it early so I'm hoping it'll be status normal soon. Fingers crossed that this doc has some insight.