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Monday, June 29, 2009

Not too bad, considering

Race report: Run Melbourne Half Marathon
Time: 2.42.43 (PW)
Rating: pleased(ish)

This is really really long so I have divided it into sections so when you have to go for a cuppa or a loo break you'll know where you were up to.
The run was really really long too. I think this could be my Personal Worst time. I was briefly upset by that but am over it now. I can run for nearly three hours on bloodymindedness and a bling-fixation, and that's good! I am That Person!

As my five faithful readers know, my preparation for this run has been less than ideal - but if I only did things I was super-well prepared for and had a chance of excelling at I'd spend a LOT of time at home. I felt like doing it, I knew I could do it, so I did. And despite still walking like the Tin Man two days later, I'm glad I did. It was a good day.
Apart from the absence of any consistent training, which I think I may have mentioned, everything leading up to the run went perfectly. I hydrated and carbed up on Saturday and did my race nails in time for an early night. The alarm went off, I remembered to get petrol and got a free park about 1.5km from the start. Score! Last year the bag dropoff was an absolute schemozzle - everyone's bags were all in one spot, in the rain, so when the slow half-marathoners fought their freezing way to the front of the bag scrum, all our stuff was wet - so I was very happy to literally walk into the half-marathon bag area while I was looking for it. Score again! I was in the last wave so there was plenty of time to use the rather nice facilities at Fed Square and amble up to the start. The weather was perfect too - still, quite cold and foggy at first, clearing to a gorgeous fine morning that never got too hot for my long sleeves. I took a bit of a risk wearing the runners I bought on Friday but they were really comfortable. Triple score! I couldn't find my friend Mrs W, who is about my speed, so I was worried she'd caught her husband's cold and hadn't been able to start. I never feel excited before a race, just a bit sick usually about what a stupid idea this was and how I shouldn't bother because I'm so slow/unfit/lardy. I shuffled along under the arch (which I belive fell down on the 5km runners!) trying to wish some energy into my legs but finding very little. Seeing as this run was all about the medal and the pain, not the time, when I caught up with some friends halfway up the Shrine Hill I decided to walk to the top with them. It was time to HTFU and start running so I set off, with Z bounding irritatingly ahead of me like a demented kangaroo.
1-7KM
I quite enjoyed the first lap in the way you do when you know you're going to PAY for it later. There were bands playing and there was plenty of room along the river path, around the Tennis Centre and over the skybridge to the MCG because the 10km hadn't started.

I know a lot of people didn't like the spiralling course that took us twice around the MCG (twice each lap = four times = lots of MCG for those not so inclined) but I always like looking at the statues,

and the 'Passout here' sign near Gate one amused me no end. I caught up with Mrs W around the 'G too - she was having a rough day but soldiered on to within about five minutes of her PB. You're a legend, Mrs W!
When I thought about the next time I'll be running around the MCG I just grinned like an idiot.
7-11KM
The lap around the upper concourse was flat, too, unlike any other bloody part of the course. Don't think that's the worst word I used about the oh-so-gradual but never-bloody-ending rise through the park around the stadium either. I was still feeling pretty strong along Wellington Parade, even up the little hill to Flinders St. I stuck to my 9:1 run:walk all the way. It got really lonely really fast, though, after I passed the 'first lap, straight ahead, second lap turn left' sign and headed toward Federation Square and my second loop. Z was walking quite a bit now and we'd chat briefly as he got his breath back and then took off again. He told me later he hadn't eaten breakfast - ah, the foolishness of youth! No wonder he looked so crook.
11-18KM
We had our own lane alongside the thousands and thousands of 10k runners lining up. It seemed to take a long time to get past them. Off up the Shrine hill again I went. It was very quiet and I was starting to feel tired. Josh Grogan carried me this time - "you raise me up" came on the earphones and I cranked it up loud and played it again and kept to my 9:1 until I got almost to the top of Anderson St again. Then I said a rude word to myself and walked the last steep bit. I was having the run I'd earned and it was pretty much as hard as I thought it would be, dammit.
By the time I reached Olympic Park for the second time the 10 km elites were well gone and the pace packs were thundering by. The 40 minute 10k-ers run almost twice as fast as I do. Pack after pack streamed past. It was quite unsettling. I literally retreated into myself to shut out the noise and the stupid wash of shame. It doesn't matter how slow you are. It doesn't matter. You're going to finish another half marathon today. Hold your form and slow down.
Running over the skybridge with a thousand of your closest mates is a hoot! The concrete wobbles and bounces and your legs are still a bit confused when you stagger off for another spin around the MCG. I still liked the statues and managed to laugh at the "passout here" sign again, but going down along Brunton avenue and around past all the food vans mmmm....doughnuts.... and back toward the oh-f#$%-not-again rise through the gardens I really started to crack the sads. I hurt. It was only 3km to go but it still seemed a long way.
18-21KM
Around this time a very interesting and helpful thought occured to me. I was running along, arguing with myself, as you do, about whether anything bad would happen or I would be a hopeless worthless lazypants if I walked up a bit of the hill. This really hurts, I thought to myself. I hate this. Then I thought, hang on - that second sentence doesn't necessarily have to follow the first. It hurts - oh yes it does, no denying that. It hurts like billy-oh. But I don't have to hate it. It can just be something that is, rather than something that p!$$#s me off. Hmmmmmm. Following this train of thought passed a couple of painful uphill minutes, but oh how happy I was to take the sharp left along Wellington St. Downhill at last! I caught up with Z again and we cheered each other up talking about what we were listening to - he was bopping to the sex p1stols (he's very young) and I was steaming along to I don't care what you think as long as it's about me - the best of us can find happiness in misery...I love it when the ipod fairy delivers. Past the Hilton and the Flagstaff gardens, past the Brunton Avenue underpass...not far now. Oh, I was hurting, yes I was. A bloke was just about to take down the 20km sign so I yelled at him to just leave it where it was until we went past. We earned that sign! Up up up the very last hill we trundled. There was no way I was stopping now. I was so grateful that Z was there distracting me with his puffed-out attempts at cheery remarks and his annoying bouncy stride. Misery shared is misery halved.Another sharp left and then a lovely lovely downhill again, across the tram tracks and to the last corner.Z (centre)is looking keen - I'm grandstanding on the right
I knew the finish was not far away, and damn I was ready to stop. I called to Z to go go go and he bounded away (21-year-old legs, they can do that), and finally I ran over the mat. I could stop. That was another very good moment.
A very nice young lady cut off my shoe tag - there wasn't going to be any bending down done by me, no no no no. Another charming individual gave me the cool medal. I lurched through the showbag area but somehow failed to acquire anything except a small bottle of a very peculiar drink, I think called an oxy-shot? Opinion: bleh!
In lieu of standing up, I draped myself over the finishing chute fence to cheer in Mrs W, who finished strong and smiling as always. I was just contemplating the long walk up to the bags when Noddie and the Spousal Unit showed up! What a lovely surprise! I was so happy to see them, especially because I wouldn't have to drive home and could partake of a hard-earned sherbet with the CR crew. I love being around people who think it's a top idea to gut out an underprepared 21.1km on a cold winter morning and then yap on about it at length. Just one thing though: to the skinnyfast CR who remarked in a surprised voice "You look really tired" - just because I took twice as long as you doesn't mean I didn't work as hard as you. Effort and speed are not correlated. So there.
The afternoon was a pleasant blur of ice-bath, lunch, a nap and sitting by the heater with my feet up watching my Bulldogs win. I didn't buy a race shirt, but I haven't taken off my medal either. As I said to the Spousal Unit, there's something about running 21km very slowly that puts you in a very good mood.
Goodness knows how I'll go on the Gold Coast this weekend. I'll start, I'll finish, I'll get a medal and I'll have a drink or several with Mrs W to celebrate our victories over our sworn enemies Old, Fat, Slow, Real Life, Fear and Doubt.
Life is all about celebrating, my friends
More anon, conquerers!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mendacity

It's very very important to never ever blog at 4 a.m., unless of course you're just home from an awesome night out and want to share your exuberant delight at your experiences with the world, in which case your writing would most likely be a) utterly incomprehensible and b) unintentionally hilarious. The majority of the time, 4 a.m. blogging would go something like this: why why why did the Spousal Unit bring home wine and chips and chocolate when he knows I'm trying to shed this hideous lard? He's trying to sabotage me, oh woe! Why why why did I not calmly refuse to partake of those instruments of Satan? I'm so weak! Oh woe! And my hip hurts. I'll never be able to finish on Sunday and I'll probably get injured and won't be able to do the Gold Coast now and that will mean I won't be able to run in October. Oh woe! Why why why didn't I get on the foam roller and loosen up? Hang on, I did use the roller. And I did my pushups and situps. My nose is itchy. I can't sleep. J's snoring away like a combine harvester. It's not fair. Zzzzzzz.
Fast forward three hours. I got up, hopped on the scales because it was weekly weigh day - and had (supposedly) gained 2.5kg!! In a week!!!! WTF???
Luckily my daylight self laughs with scorn at the mendacity of the evil lying bastard scales and went straight to the wardrobe to try on the litmus-test garment - the red dress I bought at Christmas that was a leeetle bit snug, and that next Christmas WILL be a trifle large.
It's perfect. Even a little bit loose. *makes vulgar gesture* take that, scales!
Friday was one of those red-letter days I get a couple of times a year. Noddie was at school for the last day of term and my exams are over so my time was all my own. Bliss! I bought some new runners, at half price!! Woot!! ....and then the shopping gods really smiled. Sunbeams broke through the clouds. Choirs of angels sang. The only pair of purple cowboy boots with stripey linings in the whole shop were marked down by 80% and in my size!
*fans self at the recollection*
Then I lunched with a dear (and always truthful) fashionista friend, who complimented my haircut. The morals of the story? Everything passes, good friends are precious, and sometimes the universe just wants you to have great shoes.
I don't really know why, but I'm quite looking forward to tomorrow's half marathon. I like the race slogan. I might buy a shirt. More anon, twinkle toes!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Today I...

- really REALLY f#$*ed up about a third of my exam. I don't know why I didn't answer the question when I knew the answer , I just DIDN'T. STUPID STUPID STUPID. I blame the F@mily F1rst people.
- had an utterly hideous 'fix-up' haircut which at least looks misguided as opposed to incompetent.
- failed to purchase a pair of jeans to flatter my obviously grotesque posterior
- bought some ugly sunglasses
- HATE EVERYONENoddie and I went down to the creek in the dark for an Adventure Picnic dinner. We had fun.
More anon, riders on life's roller-coaster.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The good stuff

O my word I got a hit of the good stuff on Friday night when the Melbourne Coolrunners took over Chloe's Bar at Y&J's. I spent the evening talking and talking and TALKING about running, running and more running and clothes and boys and what our friends have been up to and what we think of their boys and clothes with my back-of-the-pack, 8min/kms on a good day, dunno why we do this when we're so bad at it but by crikey we're doing it anyway girlfriends. My soul sisters. The magnificent B and the mighty W. The gorgeous M, so inspiring and full of big dreams that she's an honorary slow-and-steady soul sister, despite knocking off four-hour marathons and ultras like they were walks to the shop. How I love and admire them. How I grin when I think about them! Spending the evening with these fine fun women was like a 3pm diet coke on a warm day - I'm all revved up again!Having discussed it at length (and volume) with my partners in crime, it is time to announce My Next Big Plan. Now the Plan Is This: on October 11th 2009 I will finish my first marathon. I don't care if there's an only an electric clock on a folding chair left when I run into the MCG one hundred and eleven days from now. B, W and I WILL be marathoners. Don't think this is an excitement and champagne fuelled bit of impetuosity, either, no no no no noooo. Last year at the Gold Coast half marathon post race, er, rehydration session, B and I pledged that 2009 would be Our Year. Of course when I sobered up I started qualifying that statement - I'll do it if it fits in with Noddie being at school and my studies, I'll do it if I don't get injured etc etc etc. But the idea flickered on. Spending yet another MM day in the cheer squad with the indomitable W last year fed the little flame. Having ODTAA* happen over and over and over again this winter so my two half marathons will just be long slow runs fuelled it even more. I entered the day it opened. Carrying number 391 for 42.195km will be hard. It will take a long time. It will be GREAT.
By the way, please don't frown: yesterday, after I cheered myself up immensely about the upcoming halfs by cranking out 15 slow km and then had an ice bath aaaaaahhhhhhh! but it did make a huge difference, I'm hardly stiff at all now, I studied for the whole afternoon. My exams are on Monday and Wednesday.
More anon, comrades!
*One Damn Thing After Another

Thursday, June 18, 2009

That person

Just to say I'm writing this at work (which is ok, we're allowed) NOT when I'm supposed to be studying, which is coming along ok in a gosh I hope staring at a book and making notes facilitates recall, maybe I should put it under my pillow and hope it oozes into my brain by osmosis kind of way. I really appreciate all the encouragement I've received -thank you all so much ((hugs)). I've never been so underprepared in an academic situation before, but this is the Grown-Up World now and I'm not the centre of it so I just have to suck up the terror, keep working and make jolly sure this doesn't happen next semester.
A friend of mine at work commented that I was sounding much better after the departure of the stinking everlasting sinus infection. I replied, yes, I even went running last night without feeling as though I need a lung transplant. Wow, she said, you're so dedicated! I mumbled something about having races coming up and not wanting to die, as you do, but she persisted, saying no-one made you sign up to those races - that's dedicated! And then I thought, yes, it is. I am dedicated. I am dedicated to being physically strong and as healthy as I can manage. I am dedicated to becoming a person who can run (verrrrry slowly) for two or three hours. I want to be that person and I am prepared to impersonate her as long as I have to, even if that means heading out for a run at 8.30pm when the warm living room and the recliner seem infinitely more desirable, because that's when I have time.
It was a nice run. It was very cold and a bit foggy but that made it quiet and there were soft halos around the streetlights. I wore my heavier jersey with the flowers on it that I like, so I was warm and looked pretty. I was happy to be that person running in the misty dark. My friends, my friends - even if you don't really believe you can become who you want to be, plug away at it. Dedicate yourself to your dream. Be that person.
I had a #$%!@ #$%!@ #$% anaphylactic reaction when I got home. #$%!&* #$%&* #$%!&*!!! I got onto it quickly so I didn't have to use my epi-pen or go to hospital, but I will have to go back and see my allergy specialist. We'll be Having Words. I thought this was fixed for good so I'm a bit upset about it. Even more than the HORRIBLE itching and looking like the elephant man for a couple of days until the swelling subsides, I hate the Spousal Unit and Noddie worrying when I go out.In other news, I can't work out whether the impulsive haircut I had yesterday is the zenith of a lifetime of follicular butchery or rather cool. Time will tell.

More anon, rainbow chasers!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Repeat after me...

LBTEPA, STOP MUCKING AROUND ON YOUR BLOG AND DO SOME MORE STUDY!
YOU CAN DO THIS! JUST KEEP GOING!
You'll pass if you keep working.
You'll keep dropping weight if you stay cheerful and drink lots of water.
Try not to worry about those half-marathons too much. They won't be how you wanted them to be. You'll be ok, though.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Snakes and Ladders

Snake - another go-around with the crook-as-a-dog fairy. No more phlegm remarks though, I'm working on being more phlegmatic hahahaha I'm soooo funny
Ladder - at last it's been diagnosed as an infection so I can have some DRUGS and finally GET PROPERLY BETTER after five #%$ing weeks *bangs head on desk in frustration*

Snake - my longest run before Run Melbourne will be 13km, if the drugs work
Ladder - my recent training slogfests mean I am very well practiced at just keeping on going. Three hours? No problem! Le sigh...
Snake - the likelihood of a PB for either Run Melbourne or the Gold Coast with this trashed training is infinitesimal *gnashes teeth in disappointment, fakes plucky grin*
Ladder - race entries are expensive. By going very slowly I will be really getting my money's worth. I get bling anyway.
Snake - my knees were really hurting during my 'long' hahahaha run on Sunday - WTF? Since when do my knees hurt?
Ladder - a few painful minutes reacquainting myself with my foam roller ow ow ow ow and I was right as rain.
Snake - Noddie has been waking up a lot at night = Mummy hasn't had an unbroken night's sleep for a week
Ladder - feeling jetlagged without leaving home is kind of amusing, and after my epic 4am dummy-spit the other night she's been much better about not calling out.
Snake - my exams are in a week and a half and I've only just started revising
Ladder - ummmmm.........I'll need to make a progress chart! Yay for charts!Ladder - the Self-Efficacy Chart has been a great success. I've reminded myself that I can make positive changes even when life's path seems a trifle rocky. I've had five AFDs in a row for three weeks, got back into the habit of drinking lots of water and shed almost 2kg *beams*
It's been freezing here this week, which would seem to be a snake but is actually a ladder, providing as it does the the opportunity to wear my fabulous hot pink raincoat. It's all in how you look at it, daaahlings.......
More anon, stylish ruggers-up!

Friday, June 05, 2009

FFTB

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC PHLEGM-RELATED COMMENTS
My most excellent and humorous brother sent me this. I use it ALL THE TIME. Help yourself!
Now that Noddie is sleeping all night again instead of coughing herself sick every two hours, and I am no longer hacking up stuff with which you could cement a keystone*, regular blogging should resume shortly. I just need to catch up on a bit of reading, revise for my exams EEEK!, and whip up a couple of dresses for myself Noddie, because I said I would even though I was running a temperature at the time. And I want a new dress. There's also the matter of two half-marathons coming up in HOLY CRAP THAT SOON? weeks to be panicking about. There was nothing I could do when I was sick except rest, but now it's knee-and-hip nurturin', booze-forswearin' and good ol' sweatin' it out on the road time. Good times, busy times, scary times.....
In a beautiful segue if I do say so myself, here is my new motto.

This windcheater was was the only one my size in the chickybabe shop. It was also on the window mannequin, so I smiled politely at the shop assistant and leaned on the counter in an I'm old and stubborn and won't go away until you give me what I want way until she let me have it. I shall wear it always.
More anon, heel diggers-in!
* I did warn you