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Friday, February 27, 2009

It's NOT me, it's THEM

Wrongness #1
*conversation with my doctor who will not be remaining in this role earlier this week*
LBTEPA: As a person who's recovered from chronic fatigue syndrome, should I be worrying that whenever I get to a decent level of exercise, Noddie brings home a germ from school and I get sick?
Dr: you just shouldn't do so much exercise

Wrongness #2
*sms from LBTEPA to Spousal Unit this morning*
Have been to ( popular triathlon clothing manufacturer ) to get a new top for the BRW tri. Am obviously too tall and too FAT to do triathlons. HATE EVERYONE.

Hmmph. I am Athena, hear me sob pathetically and feel sorry for myself, I mean ROAAAAARRRR!
A rant: how stupid is the sizing when a strong healthy size 14 42 year old woman can't fit into a mens' XL? Should I be wearing a skintight midriff top with no bra coverage, or a cotton sack b/c I weigh more than 75kg? Well f#$% that, and f#$% them

The BRW triathlon is a hoot. 5000-plus Serious Corporate Types just oozing with Keen Competitiveness and Company Spirit (see you there Mark :P). It's a relay where each team member does the whole triathlon. This is the second time I've done the event; both times it's been as a last-minute fill-in! I'll be racing for my friend M, who is pregnant and forbidden to compete this summer. She promises to channel her her frustration positively by preparing a sensationally elaborate post-race picnic.

Uni starts this week. I've looked at my reading and assignment list. I AM PETRIFIED.

The dour tone and simple sentence construction of this post might be because I've given up soft drink for Lent and am missing the caffeine and sugar Big Time. It might not.
More anon, self-improvers!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

a perfect swim

It was my sister-in-law's 40th last night so I wasn't sure whether I would be doing the Bay Swim this year. Priorities, my friends! I packed my swim bag before I went out, and decided that if I woke up by seven next morning, it would be on. After a bit of hmmm I'm not really awake yet am I? oh, I am... ok I'll look at the clock... it was 6.56. Fair enough. Fall out of bed, don the togs, slurp tea, drive to the beach and cough up the cash. It looked very promising when I got there - pretty flat and a little hazy cloud that would burn off later. The Spousal Unit and Noddie were away for the weekend; when I tried to ring them J's phone was off so I just left a message saying I was going for a swim and would try again when I was finished. As usual there were loads of tall wiry bronzed types in "I've been in harder swims than you" t-shirts, yapping on to each other about how soft Davo was only doing 11 hours at Busso. I just sat on the life saving club steps with my feet in the cool sand and waited for the start.
The water was warm, there was minimal swell or chop and the sun came out just as we started. Swimming in the sea makes me so happy - I just love that lovely bouyant feeling of being at one with the waves, way way off shore. The field rarely tops 200 so there's always a lot of room in this event. No kicking or argy-bargy (there could be some at the front; I have no knowledge of such matters): it's just a nice long swim that people who like to swim a long way like to do. Straight off the beach, turn right at the breakwater, cross the shipping channel and then head in through the marina so the nice people can help you up the ramp and unzip your wetsuit. Toooooo pleasant.
Except for the jellyfish. I had a moment of slightly unpleasant clarity at the party last night. I was explaining to a woman that jellyfish stings are pretty painful, but as long as you keep calm they're never really bad enough to stop you swimming. Then I noticed the look on her face, kind of horrified and repulsed....and I thought, I sound INSANE. That really shook me. What sort of lunatic must I be to deliberately swim out where there might be any sort of waves, it's 30m deep in places, and I know that I will be stung by jellyfish? What sort of person does that for fun? Don't answer that!
I didn't think about it this morning. I just thought about the waves and my stroke rate and how jellyfish sting like absolute #$%& and my catch and my kick and crap there are a lot of those little f#$%ers this year, ow ow ow and how pretty the sunshine was on the water and how lucky I was to be out there and how much jellyfish gave me the sh$ts and how nice it was to be feeling so strong all the way and oh, are we there already?
I didn't want it to be over. I think I did a pretty decent time, the first aid people had plenty of vinegar and ice, the fundraising* sausages were delicious and the t-shirt was nice. A perfect swim. Just perfect. Another golden bead on this summer's chain of memories-that-make-me-smile.
More anon, aquanauts!
*Otherwise I wouldn't have dreamt of having one no no no noooo

UPDATE: 3.2km (including jellyfish) - 1.02.28. GO ME!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

H9A, SU!

On Thursday it was nine years since I made the Spousal Unit the happiest of men. It's been super, darl. Mwah! Look! My dress still fits! Pardon? doesn't everyone dress up for their anniversary sushi picnic on the livng room floor?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Satisfaction

Race report: Gatorade 5 Elwood
Distance: 500/20/5
Time: 1.38.12
Rating: happy

The most satisfying thing about Sunday’s race – apart from a four minute PB for the distance, yippee! and Noddie coming along to watch, so great! – was racing with five other Athenas. So far this year it's been me, plus one other woman once; it was such a thrill to be in a group of athletes who don’t fit the skinnyfast tri-norm (bless their nimble little dri-fit socks), and have a red hot go nonetheless. I have looked forward to this day for so long. I hope they all come back, with friends!
Although she is somewhat vague about the difference between a triathlon and a half-marathon, Noddie was ever so excited about coming along. She was especially excited when we sat on the front step on Saturday evening to paint her very own bright red race nails, just like Mummy’s! So excited she was that she raced into our room at 5.15 on Sunday morning – a full hour early – convinced that it was certainly time to get up! At least she flaked it in our bed for another hour, sigh….
We hadn’t found my friend M or her partner super-speedy G by the time I had to set up transition. I thought the security people were just a teensy bit inflexible refusing to let Noddie into the transition area, but they were just doing their job and were lovely to her, appointing her as honorary bike number-checker. When we did find them, M revealed her nefarious plot – to feed Noddie red things all morning! Arrgghh! Her plan was a roaring success – or rather, a whingeing, screaming and arguing success. M and G are expecting their first child in August (congratulations darls! So happy for you!) and let me tell you, in about five years I will be paying them back Big Time. But I digress.
The Gatorade race director is a funny bloke. He does the start announcing and always asks for comments, so I shouldn’t have been surprised to hear a familiar little voice telling him I’d like to say, Race hard Mummy! Thanks Noddie! I was grinning as the gun went off and we charged in.
Ahem. It has belatedly occurred to me that possible explanations for my recent woeful swims might be a) hardly any swimming and b) doing all my training at drill pace (now where did I put that mensa application?). Thus the Plan for the swim was to trust the form created by all those drills, and keep my stroke rate up No Matter What. The water was nippy but quite pleasant – and so clear! So pretty! I concentrated on a strong catch and high stroke rate and pretty soon it was time to puff and pant up the beach to enthusiastic cheering from M and Noddie (actually just M: Noddie called out to tell me she’d had two jelly snakes already). For a moment it seemed that the bastard wetsuit wasn’t going to unzip, but my silent swearing at it did the trick and T1 was no more glacially slow than usual. Running on tippytoes in my fab new proper road bike shoes was funny! The nong who could neither get on his bike, nor stay out of the way of those who could, was not.
As you know, season 08-09 has been the summer of fit in whatever training I can and then show up and make the best of it on the day. I really felt that on Sunday. Everyone rode past me like I was tied to a tree – they always do, but today it upset me a little bit. I thought of Iron Mary’s wise words – I’m pushing my envelope, the others are pushing theirs and tried not to mind and to focus on what I was doing. It was a perfect day for a ride too, no wind, fairly cool, and the two-loop course was good because I could 'chunk it' – four times five km, even I can do that! I drank my water and ate my sport beans and kept on pedalling with my fab new proper road bike shoes. M and Noddie screamed encouragement (Noddie: M bought me a babychino!) and then I was at the dismount line, almost failing to unclip, but not quite. Time to run.
My knee hurt at the start of the the run - WTF? My foot hurt too! And my neck hurt! WTF?I caught myself thinking that I just wasn’t feeling it today. Whoa! Bleat alert!! Bleat alert! Now now, I thought, this Will Not Do. I could wallow in crapitude or I could…not. Time to find my happy place, quicksticks. Time to bring out the relaxed form that I had practiced all those mornings. Time to tell myself to shut the f#$% UP because I didn’t come here to listen to your WHINING has this been a bit of a theme in my races this season?…hmmm…. Relax, breathe, balance…. I was too tired to sing my usual little song but when I felt like walking I’d remind myself if you can’t keep it up, slow it down. Hold your form, just hold your form….One cool thing happened during the run – the fifth Athena (wouldn’t that be a good movie?) only passed me at the halfway mark! I’m usually stone motherless last by the first lap of the bike! It was good to see the finish arch, and even better to see M and Noddie yelling and waving (Run Mummy run! I had some chips!). I was so delighted to see them I rushed up and gave Noddie a big kiss, then ran over the timing mat. I didn’t need those five seconds. Even after three huge cups of Gatorade, I felt bone weary and had a foul headache, but I was determined to stay and cheer the Athena presentations. Yay Jana! Great win! You rock!
Post-race activities included a belated birthday lunch at a cafĂ© with M and G and Secret Sara (who is off to do the Paris half-marathon in two weeks!!!), crawling home through a traffic jam with a wired and cranky Noddie, and crashing so heavily on the couch that I didn’t hear the Spousal Unit come home.
Question for the week: will I do a 3.5km ocean swim the morning after my sister-in-law’s fortieth birthday party? Decisions, decisions….
More anon, rolling stones!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Smoky

Red sky at night is a shepherd's delight
Red sky in the morning is a shepherd's warning
Red sunrises and sunsets and smoky brown skies mean the wind has changed and we're all constantly reminded of the bushfires. Thankfully, although there are many fires still burning, the emergency is over. One firebug, aka murderous m&#$erf&*%ing son of a #$%& who will ROT IN HELL has been caught and the police are closing in on the others. It would be easy to blame all of the tragedy on arsonists, but many of the fires started from natural causes. Anger and blame are natural responses; I pray that this energy can be channelled constructively rather than becoming divisive bitterness.
One of J's staff and his wife were killed and another couple lost everything. His employers have been magnificent. The place has been crawling with counsellors and senior managers; other stores have sent over staff to cover for people who want time off; flowers arrive daily from former workmates. J has spent so much time on the fund-raising sausage sizzle that he may never eat another snag - but they've raised $9000 in five days. People are dropping a $50 into the tin to pay for a $2 sausage. There's a numb, drained feeling wherever you go. No-one really knows what to do - we buy wipes and bibs and tampons and non-perishables and go through our wardrobes and toy boxes for things to donate, but it seems so little under the circumstances. The Spousal Unit and I have been doing a fair bit of comfort eating, drinking and movie-watching. I went three days in a row without exercising !!!???!!! but I'm (mostly) cool with that - I'd have had to leave J to put Noddie to bed and she's been a bit feral. This morning I was a happy passenger again on the 5.30am bus. Running then is cool and quiet. Nice.
Tomorrow I'm racing again! It's been two months since I laced on a shoe in anger, apart from that little outing last month. Thanks to my kind friend M, who loves children even if they're not hers, Noddie will be coming along to watch, yay!Happy Valentine's Day to everyone. Love is precious - treasure it and spread it around!
More anon, mes ami. Mwah!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Life, the Universe and Everything

Monday
4.30pm knock off work. A hard day after the weekend, but the team is well supported. Think about cancelling tomorrow's party, but decide it's important to get together and celebrate even when times are dreadful.
4.50-6pm pick up Noddie from Nanny's, do high-speed grocery shop, zoom home and pick up Noddie's togs
6-6.30pm Noddie's first swimming lesson with a new teacher. What a champ my girl is.
6.50-8.30 dinner, stories, bedtime
8.30 decide not to make birthday cake. Watch Top Gear and have a glass of wine with the Spousal Unit.
9.45 zzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Tuesday
05.00 turn 42
05.20 get up and find Noddie's teddy for her (he had fallen out of bed)
05.45 decide that I will get up and run
06.40 shower
06.45 hop back into bed, elbow Spousal Unit and tell him that he and Noddie had better get on with the breakfast in bed becuase I have to leave for work in 45 minutes
07.00 breakfast in bed! Presents! More presents! (I'm spoilt, I know, but these ARE a combination Christmas/birthday present. We picked them up on the weekend. I can't wait until Friday when MInerva and I can play with them!)
10.30 co-worker notices 'SO FAR, THIS IS THE OLDEST I'VE EVER BEEN' t-shirt that I got for my 40th and 'birthday girl' badge that Noddie insisted I wear10.40 team sings happy birthday very softly in the phone room
10.42 supervisor thinks I can't possibly be over 40; immediately becomes my new very best friend
3pm finish work.
3.30 pick up Over Excited Noddie, start cleaning house and making food for party
3.31 decide to have a rest first
4.30 realise people are coming in two hours so getting something done might be a Good Plan
4.31 Spousal Unit comes home early to show me my surprise - he shaved his beard off!!!! Swoooooon! Who knew he could exude any more hawtness? Well actually I did, which is why I've been asking him to shave it off for two years, but *fans self* it was worth the wait.5.00-6.30 sing along to radio, make salads, birthday cake and dessert, set table, clean bathroom.
6.30-9.30 decorate cake. Accept many delightful cards, presents and telephone birthday wishes. Eat, drink and make very merry with family and friends, including three Over Excited under-6s and my sister's adorable new puppy.9.30-11.30 discover friends' hitherto unsuspected staying power - sing, laugh and dance around the living room to the Rocky Horror Picture Show!
12.15 zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Wednesday
07.30 vaguely notice Spousal unit getting up to get Noddie ready for school. Feel pleased not to be working today
08.45-12.00 drink tea, do dishes, eat baked bean jaffle. Spend birthday gift voucher on fabulous red shoes I've been lusting after for months.
Who knew chocolate crackles could be so much fun?
More anon, towel-minders!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Terrible

What a terrible weekend. Even where we live, about 20km away from the main fires, the heat and winds were demonic.
We were lucky - our loved ones are all safe. I just thank God for the brave, brave CFA volunteers.

Monday, February 02, 2009

What Noddie did next

Enjoy school, little mate. You will have so many adventures!