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Thursday, July 30, 2009

That went ok.

Just so you don't think I spend my entire time running in a cheerful daze of happy energy and positive thinking
Last Sunday morning I ran 23km. It went ok, if by "ok" you mean "for the last 12km it was brutal and I wanted to die or at least curl up into a ball and cry". Maaaaaate.

The morning started off ok (really ok, not "kill me now" ok); the alarm went off and I got up, I got out the door without waking anyone up and with everything I needed (and as the legendary Wes has pointed out, how simple is it to pack for a run as compared to a tri? Thermos, blister-tape, safety pins, gels and you're off!), and with enough time to stop at the ATM for cash and get a sensational park right near the start. It was a lovely morning and Princes Park was a picture, all charming families in the playgrounds and delightful dogs on the ovals. The lovely Mrs W was in attendance so we decided to set off together on the four-and-a-bit lap course, sticking to a 9:1 run:walk. Poor Mrs W had been having a rotten weekend and in my opinion was jolly gutsy to have shown up. I won't reveal any details, but teenagers suck! We spent the first couple of laps bitching about kids and weight and husbands and being slow and other tiresome things, and of course waving to other CR people as they flashed by.This is clearly very early on as I am smiling and lifting at least one foot. Mrs W is to the right
Then Mrs W's knee got nasty and she shooed me off while she walked a bit. I continued with my 9:1 and gel schedule, around and around the park. I have to tell you, it got hard faster than it usually does. I don't usually mind skinnyfasts being twice as fast as I am - what would be the point? It's true whether I mind or not! - but today all the hateful voices were on the attack. Why do I bother? I hate this What's the point? I'm useless at this. Don't pat me or say things, you condescending fast bastards.
Please note: I know these are my issues and completely divorced from reality. Every single CR I have met is a treasure and a fountain of encouragement. And as soon as I stop running I know this.
It hurt, too. It hurt a lot more than running even a pretty long way usually does. Don't start on me, you marathoners and ultrarunners - I know it's not far at all in the grand scheme of things, but Get A Grip! Running for nearly three hours Is Not Normal. Ask anyone.
But I digress. Back to my hard day cause this is all about me. My legs hurt, my hips hurt, my glutes hurt...and then there were the 'rises' (I know they weren't hills, but by crikey they felt like it by the fourth lap). I stuck grimly to 9:1. If the number on my watch had 0 at the end, I walked. If not, I ran. It was impossible to stay positive. It would have been irrational to stay positive! When I tried to tell myself don't worry, this is fine, the rational part of my brain replied what a lot of cr@p! It is NOT fine! What could I say to myself? How could I get my head around the unpleasantness of it all and keep going? I was hating everyone and everything - all the fast people, the charming volunteers at the water station with no water, and myself for my slow weak legs and every stupid decision that had let to every extra kilogram that I was lugging around this boring stupid course.
What could I do? How could I keep going?
I kept going by deciding it was okay. Okay is not fine. Okay is not comfortable. However, okay is bearable. Okay is calm.
My head became a wilderness, a desert of despair-avoidance. If I thought about how hard it was, I was lost. Songs saved me, signs saved me, beautiful winter trees saved me. The world was about pretending the f#$% f#$% f#$% I f#$%ing hate this just wasn't there. My existence was about staying calm and keeping on going. When I could, I thought this is okay. I can keep this up. Hold your form. Think about your breathing. This is okay. I can keep this up. While I was running I kept thinking, you'll remember this on marathon day. There will be times like this on marathon day and now you know you can deal with them. This is okay. I can keep this up.
And it was okay and I did keep it up.The hardest part was trudging through the finishing chute and seeing all my CR friends chatting and laughing and knowing that I had 23km on The Schedule all hail The mighty Schedule! and I'd only done 21. Oh, how I wanted to stop running and go over to them. But I didn't. I ran to the 1km mark and back again. Most people I knew had gone home but I'd done what I said I would, and that's what mattered.
Then I had a pancake and a cup of tea and walked back to escort the mighty Mrs W to the line. She was finishing that run No Matter What, goddammit, and huge huge credit to her.Then I went home and had a sleep on the couch. Bliss.
When I woke up I had a filthy head cold. Mystery solved. Meh.

More anon, often lapped but never beaten!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Died and gone to heaven

Is it bad to have rice crackers and chardonnay for dinner?
It's been a wild week. Not terrible, but more taxing than most. I work as a crisis counsellor, which is always quite demanding but was made more so this week because of understaffing (temporary, arising from admin staff changeover teething problems), combined with a massive spike in call numbers as a result of a local tragedy. I went to a staff development meeting that I'm not obliged to attend and usually avoid because I have never liked discussing "what my soul needs to learn" or my "heart space" (not that these things are wrong - it's just that as a cranky, country-raised Anglo-Saxon Protestant, they aren't really me) and I usually come out feeling chewed up and spat out. As a dedicated optimist, I can only say that I've learned my lesson and henceforth will be giving it A Big Miss.
Through the are you sure it's not knock off time yet? filter, the callers seemed either desperately sad or completely unable to comprehend the notions of personal responsibility or courtesy. Then a colleague did something quite 'challenging' (aka f#%*ing rude and annoying). When I finally escaped after being on deck by myself for the last two hours, when there are usually four of us, a fruit truck had parked me in and I was going to be late picking up Noddie for her tap dancing lessons. There was nothing to do but laugh, and turn Suzi Q up LOUD. I'm a red hot fox and I can take the knocks....
The run I had after dinner was like a warm bath for my tired mind. Of course I didn't want to go - after dinner with the family and sitting on Noddie's soft warm bed reading stories mmmmmmm soft....warm..... the siren call of the recliner was strong. But I resisted! The run wasn't effortless or anything hahahaha effortless running, good one LBTEPA! - my feet, knees and hips behave as though they're completely unrelated to me or each other for at least the first 2km of every run - but it was just so nice to be out there, quite alone in the drizzle, just being my physical self. I puffed and sweated along and thought of nothing except how pretty it was with the haloes around the streetlights, and how much I liked my new tights and jacket, and of Noddie asleep in her bed and the Spousal Unit dozing in the recliner in the warm house waiting for me. I sang along to my music and felt perfectly happy.
I was going to write heaps more but it's Saturday morning already! So in a nutshell:
I ran 19km last Monday along the freeway bike trail. It was SO WINDY I could almost rest by leaning into it . I am SO GLAD I'm not training for anything that involves cycling outdoors in this GALE! Not that I am neglecting Minerva: I spend an hour or so a week on my bike trainer watching triathlon on the plasma, how utterly utterly lame, no?
I'm doing the Sri Chinmoy half marathon tomorrow with a couple of km tacked on beforehand to hit my scheduled 23km. I cannot believe I have turned into a person who would write that.
Uni has started back. I have 2000 words due in 3 weeks. I have to get cracking on the granny square rug I'm making for my friend's baby as it may be induced today! Noddie and the Spousal Unit have gone out and the house is clean because we all worked together to get it done. I think I may have died and gone to heaven. Now everyone, sing it with me! You know you want to!More anon, Wild Ones!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Seven

This is a shameless (yet lazy) ripoff of Misty's "Thursday Thirteen" because I've been meaning to blog all week. I do want to write a race report from the Gold Coast half at some stage, but when it came time to write this week I just faffed around with other things until I ran out of time.
So without further ado
1. I'm in a much better place mentally about training and race goals than I was last year. I had three days off this week because I had gastro ewww and a headcold, and I was able to sit with that and say, oh well, these things happen rather than beating myself up about how a) it must have been my fault and b) my marathon was now doomed beyond all redemption. People have commented on this blog imagine how well you could do if you had uninterrupted training! Oh my, how marvellous would that be? But at the moment I seem to get sick a lot, there's a lot of stuff going around, I work in an open-plan, air-conditioned office and I hang around with a five year old germ-magnet. I think what I actually have to do is imagine how well I can do with interrupted training!
I can't imagine finishing a marathon. I can imagine resting and sleeping when I'm sick so I get better sooner. I can imagine missing sessions when uni and family demands take priority. I can imagine keeping at my training program as best I can. I can imagine showing up on race day feeling sick with apprehension because I'm old/fat/underdone etc etc, and keeping on going until I finish no matter how long it takes. And you know what? All of that's perfectly ok by me!
2. I had almost the perfect day today. I got off my disorganised behind and did my bike trainer session before the longest and possibly least interesting church service in living memory I can't be sure I think I nodded off at one stage. After lunch we played everlasting snakes and ladders, then I listened to the footy on the radio and crocheted the granny square rug I'm making for my friend's baby. It was a really thrilling game that didn't involve my team, who won this weekend, yay! Then we had a roast for dinner and J and Noddie watched Merlin.
3. The Ferguson Plarre Boston Bun J brought home for afternoon tea was the closest thing to perfection I have eaten in many a long year.
4. I may never eat Boston Bun again.
5.You remember I was dreadfully upset because I messed up an exam and thought I might fail a subject? I got 75! Even when I checked the web page several times! I haven't stopped grinning.
6. No-one will ever listen to my exam bleating again. The Spousal Unit says he never does anyway, the beast LOL.
7. After watching the master roster at work like a hawk, I snapped up the shift I've been wanting for months. Life will be much simpler to organise now, hoorah!
Here are a couple of photos from our holiday, to prove how much effort I put into having An Excellent Time. Someone has to take it for the team :P
More anon, wearers of rose-tinted spectacles!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Jiggety jig

We're home again, we're unpacked and the washing is done. The inlaws killed my goldfish and I'm regretting not doing the vacuuming before we left.
I ran the half marathon 7 minutes faster than last week (2.35.00), hurrah! The post-race rehydration session with my over-excited running mates was the model of decorum and restraint you would expect. Now that Noddie the daredevil is tall enough, we hammered the SCARY rides at the amusement parks, enjoyed looking at sealions, dolphins, sharks and cassowaries and patting kangaroos, wallabies and emus. I'm never eating anything fried ever again. It was a top holiday!
On the principle that no photos = did not happen, here is race day.

Nearly there...
I might have to buy this one - but not the dvd of my finish, I look like a clockwork toy! Have I always had such a peculiar gait?J and Noddie sprinting to the finish of the Junior Dash!The bling girls.
More bling girls - including my partner in marathon lunacy Mrs W (centre) and the mighty Emma, just finished running her first full marathon! Too old? Too fat? Not good enough? Too scared? Too much 'real life' to manage? We don't think so!
More anon, demon-slayers!