Wednesday, October 28, 2009

World Peas

Check under your beds, people - the podcast has landed!
The amazing Dietgirl has worked her technological wizardry and somehow fixed the recording so I don't sound as though I have a peg on my nose! My bit is about 26 minutes in - the rest is chock full o' goal-related advice too.

In other news
*warning: excessive exclamation marks and capital letters are used in this section of the post*
The large hardware chain that gives the Spousal Unit money for going there is opening a branch in Bairnsdale, where we've wanted to live for ages!!! We weren't expecting this for a couple more years, but when the positions were advertised three weeks ago J went for one and has been transferred!!
I grew up in a smallish city. One of my goals has always been to get out of Melbourne's endless sprawl to live in a place that has an edge. By that I mean you actually leave it to go to other places, rather than just driving through endless similar-looking suburbs to get to one that just has a different name. That sounds silly but there you go. It's my life.
Cool things about our new town
- my parents live there
- three hours' drive from Melbourne; not too far to come up for races or the footy - and there's a direct rail link too! I love train rides!
- kids walk to school and ride their bikes everywhere. J and I had pretty much 'free range' childhoods and as far as possible I want that for Noddie too.
- beautiful countryside - these will be my running tracks! sigh...........
- sailing and powerboating (I was checking something on eb@y ok ok it was shoes - and was rather touched to notice that J is 'watching' some boats)
- horse racing (= opportunities to wear awesome hats)
- an amenable church where we already know people
- a strong tri club
- if I get a job that starts at 8.30 am, I'll leave home at 8.15, not 7.30! And I can ride my bike!
- houses are cheaper so we'll get something nice and big with spare rooms - so you can all come and stay!
Oh I could go on and on - and don't think I won't! - but had better get into the day. It's sooooooo hard to concentrate on work and my pesky exams! But I'll manage
*grins to self
More anon, adventurers!

Monday, October 26, 2009

I must remember this

*blinks, looks around* Where did that week go?
If there were any numbers starting with M I could do a (day of the week) (number starting with the same letter) list of Stuff That Keeps Popping Into My Head, like all the cool kids do. There should be a day starting with STKPIMH. See to it, will you?
While I was walking during the marathon can it really be two weeks ago?, I stopped at a water station to refill my waist bottle. One of the volunteers, a real lemon sucker lady - you know those people, you can tell their most-used phrase is "you'd think they would have...." and their habitual expression is what my dear grandma would have described as "having a bad smell under her nose" - oh come on, you know these women - said to me, is this this your first marathon?
And will it be your last?
NO! I said to her.
Not that I have decided about this yet, and I certainly hadn't at the time, but I wanted to refute her assumption that I was walking and at the back of the field because I was unprepared. Slow doesn't mean unprepared, lady. Slow means slow. That's all.
Cool marathon day thing #946 - my friend M whipping a champagne glass from her bag at the finish, and her partner G filling and refilling it with g@tor@de as fast as I could drink it. That's fabulousness in action, people.

And she took this great photo! Thanks M!
Another I must remember this: I was walking back to the bar after the marathon with my mum and the Spousal Unit. There's a waist-high glass barrier outside, and I was really really surprised to see lots of muscles moving in my legs! I said to J, who knew they were there? He answered, everyone except you!
You know the strangest post-marathon feeling? Not, as you might think, the stairs at work ow ow ow, but noticing it was October 13th. I'd focused, fixated even, on October 11th for so long - and then - so suddenly - it was gone! I was on The Other Side! It felt quite surreal, although that may also have been partially due to the monster case of post-race vagueness I've had. Smiling at nothing, pleasantly wafty and more than a little bit dreamlike.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I've also been feeling a little bit lost this last fortnight. I was thinking (as you do), oh woe! woe! My mojo is gone, gone, never to be seen again! I simply cannot pile 10000000000 things into the day and charge through them all like a bull at a gate like I could two weeks ago! Oh woe!
But then it struck me: the tumble-through-the-day run/work/study/family/rinse-and-repeat craziness of this winter wasn't meant to be sustainable. I did it because I had to; because with Very Slow Marathon training and uni on top of My Actual Life I may possibly I admit nothing have come fairly close to maybe having bitten off the tiniest little bit more than I could chew. Now my first VSM is sparkling on the necklace of life's most golden days, my assignments are in and I just have to prepare for my exams. I've been swimming again and doing weights and riding my bike outside instead of on the trainer. I can do things "later"! No wonder things seem a bit aimless. I'm not used to having "later" available!
I might not have it for long though.....*cue thrilling music*
We're waiting on some Very Exciting News this week which could see our lives take a very rapid right-hand turn. If it does come off, there will be much, much over-excited blogging coming out of Chateau LBTEPA. I'll keep you posted.
More anon, stargazers!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pod people

OMG OMG! Squeals and girly handflaps!! The inspiring DG invited me on to her podcast to talk about setting and achieving goals! We had a long talk when she was in Melbourne earlier this year, and she's even funnier, gutsier and more delightful than you would think from her blog - hard to imagine, I know, but true! So of course I agreed.
But then I started thinking about how I actually set and achieve goals. I came up with this:
I dunno, I just do.
I asked the Spousal Unit. You've seen me set lots of goals and carry them off. How do I do it?
ummmm I dunno, you just decide you'll do things and then you do them.
It was looking like a short interview.
DG sent me the questions. No pressure! So as not to let down all her loyal listeners I started thinking about some answers. What came out was pretty much along the lines of my manifesto of a couple of years ago, but with added me! me! me! At least I'm consistent, eh?
Q1) how do you stay so "normal" with your goals? in that you set them and achieve them but dont seem to become obsessed and narrow focused either.
I have to tell you, the Spousal Unit laughed and laughed at this one
A: I love talking to runners about running and I love trying to communicate the joy if it to others, but I'm always aware of people's eyes glazing over! I do have good friends I can yap on and on and on to about it when we are together, which is great and saves poor J from being bored to death. Also that's what my blog is for! Endurance sport is my special thing, but it's a part of my WHOLE life as a wife/mum/student/friend/counsellor. I love it, and it's important to me and I do get a bit obsessed J just read this and said "a BIT?" but it's not my primary duty. It's actually a quite private pleasure for me. I get to go off on my own and do it. I mean, what IS a marathon but 6 hours of "mummy time"?
This will sound SO arrogant - but I know what I need AND i feel ok about making sure I get it. I want friends who I can obsess with about running and triathlon so I joined an online forum and started my blog. If I want praise, or a hug, or help with folding the washing I'll ask for it. I need alone time cos I'm an introvert so I take it. If I fulfil my obligations as a wife and mother and do my job, I don't feel guilty (or not very guilty!) about saying right I'm off to the study/ for a run/to a race. It's an example to Noddie about adult women and marriage as well. The Spousal Unit thinks this is normal too (or he may do - he doesn't say otherwise!). I'm achievement oriented. I set goals because I want to. Not everyone is like that, and they don't have to be. The point is, if you're getting what you need you can be pretty relaxed about most other stuff.

Q2) what are your top three tips for setting realistic, achievable goals?
what are there DOs or DONTs with regards to goal setting you'd wanna share?
Q3) how do you know (for YOU, LBTEPA) when a goal is REACHING FOR THE STARS but not unrealistic?
It's a 'reaching for the stars' dream if it'd fit at the end of "I've always wanted to...." or 'one day I'll....'" or if it just keeps popping into your head.
I don't think of dreams or goals as "realistic" or otherwise. I can dream anything I want! I think the main thing is to know it's OK to have secret crazy BIG DREAMS. Then it's a matter of why not just have a crack at it? You can have any big dream, and then shape the details to "reality" as you go along.
The key is being able to identify the absolute guts of your dream. When I thought about doing this marathon (did I tell you I ran the Melbourne marathon last week? Oh, I did?) , the guts of it, the really really important part of it that I saw really clearly whenever I thought about it, was running into the MCG, and getting a medal (which I could then refuse to take off for a week). Anything else was a bonus. So what did I have to do to run into the MCG - before the gates shut! - and get a medal?
Focusing first on the thing you want and then seeing what you have to do to get it works much better than looking at all the things in the way first up. The things in the way can easily obscure your dream. If you keep your eyes on the prize, you see stepping-stones, or things to cross off your list mmmmmmmmm lists........., not obstacles. It doesn't matter how far it is from where you are to where you want to be - just as long as you have a picture of it in your mind.
You don't have to believe you can do it either. I gave up about twice a week, you ask J! You just have to think you might like to do it, and be able to imagine the first step eg doing one subject at uni or running for 30 seconds. That's how I started running after I had Noddie - run 30s, cough up a lung, walk 4.30, repeat x5. Each step leads you to think you might be able to do the next one, and all of a sudden five years later you're running into the MCG and refusing to take off your medal for a week :)
Doing this sort of thing ripples through the rest of your life too. Why shouldn't I wear pink cowboy boots, or bright red nails and lipstick in races, or go on the bouncy castle if I want to? So what if I'm older and heavier and slower than most of the athletes in the events I do? No-one except me really cares if my big secret dream comes true or not. I'll turn 50 one day whether or not I'm living the life I want, so I might as well go after it!
DO'S and DON'TS....ummmmm.....
That line from Strictly Ballroom came into my head "A life lived in fear is a life half lived". Being afraid of something could well be a reason not to do it (no way am I EVER swimming with sharks). But not necessarily. You don't have to crash through every barrier, BUT if your sentence "I'd love to do thing x..." ends with "but I'm scared (of failure/that my family won't love me if I don't fold the washing/that people will laugh/that I'll be bad at it)" - that's a reason to look more closely at it and maybe say, so what? I'll have a crack anyway.
As my dear mother says, what's the worst thing that could happen?
DO go after YOUR dream. So what if I just ran a marathon and DG moved to Europe and found true love? What's YOUR dream?
Do it YOUR way. I like lists and charts and smiley-face stickers and lots of complaining and celebrations - that's MY way. You're a grown-up, you're good at stuff. What makes you good at it? Approach your goal with YOUR skills and gifts instead of trying to do it the same way as your friend/sister/someone you read about on the internet.
DON'T crucify yourself on a time-frame. Life happens, and getting where you want to go may take quite a bit longer than you expected (my 6-year plan to become a psychologist looks like taking double that, but I'm a Mum when I never thought I would be. What's that saying? you CAN do everything you want - just not all at once. I plan to be in good health for the next 40-50 years. There's plenty of time.
DON'T let it go.
The most important thing is to never see yourself as having "failed". Maybe you didn't do what you set out to - but I bet you're so different from the person you were when you started. Maybe it wasn't the right time, or maybe it wasn't the right dream? Grieve and feel bitter disappointment by all means - but you're still you, the secret Big Dreamer in the wonder woman t-shirt (and the marathon medal you refuse to take off).

It was so nice to talk to DG again. I want some brainy person out there to invent a person-transmitter so I can hug all my wonderful friends whenever I want to, no matter where they live. See to it, will you?

More anon, high steppers!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Everyone, everyone should have the chance to feel the way I do today. I can't walk down stairs but so what? I am a rock star! I'm floating on the fabulousness of it all. I am majestic.

I am a marathoner.
I have a huge amount I want to write about My Marathon no! you gasp, but I'll lob this up as a first step. I wrote it for an online forum I belong to so it's a bit scrappy but I wanted to just get it down before it all fades into glorious memory.
I'll start with a glossary (with added links!) for those unfamiliar with the scene.
Here is the course map. CRs = friends from Cool Running. They gather after the marathon at Transport, which is a bar in Fed Square, about 2km from the finish, just across Princes Bridge.

What a great day it was!
I had 3 plans and 2 goals.
My time goal was anywhere between "in my dreams" 5hrs30 and "do or die" 7hrs - MCG or bust!
Plan 1 (wishful thinking that stupid bronchitis might be completely better after 6 days *rolls eyes*) run first 5km, do 4:1 run:walk intervals to the end.
Plan 2. 4:1 until 20km, then assess every 5km to see if 3:2 would work better
Plan 3 (stupid bronchitis asserting itself all day) 3:2 the whole way
The goals were A. get to 30km by 11.30 so no matter what, I'd have enough time to finish and
B. get to the MCG by 2.00
I stuck to my drink and gel plan all day and it went perfectly. I kept topping up my waist bottle at the drink stations which turned out to be a good idea especially in the last 6km.
I ended up using all of the plans and achieving all the of the goals. I felt fine at the start - 6 days of dr-ordered rest will do that! - so ran the first 5km then dropped back to 4:1 as I'd planned and trained for. That went ok until about 25km when my lungs started to protest. I couldn't get a deep breath and my head was starting to spin. I'd had some asthma spray at 21km (as planned) so I had some more and dropped back to 3:2 run:walk along the beach. I had plenty of legs left, but alas, no lungs - I was working so hard to get in a full breath that my upper back was starting to cramp.
At 30km I had to recognise that enough was enough, for now. While I'm prepared to take some risks with my health (eg attampt my first full marathon with bronchitis) I'm not completely foolhardy. To keep running I would have had to keep having asthma spray every half hour, NOT a good idea, so I started walking as fast as I could. Luckily I'd reached goal A and had enough time, so while this was a disappointing development it wasn't a disaster. I confess I had a wallow in the pity pool for a little while, until I thought of the people I know who'd give anything to be as strong and healthy as I am, and started counting my blessings again. I walked from 30-40km, a lot of it with a nice bloke from Adelaide, I wish I'd got his name but I was concentrating fiercely on moving forward as fast as I could. As my friend EE said to me one step at a time, one km at a time, one marathon at a time.
I put a few comments about the organisation of the 'off-road" course and the services for very slow runners in the "improve melb marathon" thread on CR, so there's not much to say about THAT here.
I saved my last shot of asthma spray for the south side of Princes bridge - I was going to run those last 2km I'd imagined so many times, no matter what! I was threading my way past Transport thinking, oh well all the CRs must have gone home, when all of a sudden crowds of people in blue and yellow poured out, cheering and waving and high-fiving me! What a wonderful surprise! That's the only time I got a bit teary the whole day.
I was so happy, so so happy to finally run around the corner onto Batman Ave and toward the gate. It seemed a long way away but then I was there and running up the tunnel and OMG into the MCG!!! The place just went mad (my whole family - including my mum who'd come up from Bairnsdale on the train as a surprise - and lots of friends were there, they're pretty loud and it echoed EVERYWHERE) and I just seemed to float around the stadium and then I was finished.The race announcer asked me how I found my first marathon and I told him, I just followed the course and there it was. He didn't ask me any more questions.My beloved comrade in Stupid Determination, Mrs Wombat, made it in with five minutes to spare! Thanks for the heart attack darl! She'd looked so done in around Albert Park and along the beach, I'd been so scared she wouldn't make it - but her huge courageous heart got her there. I was so happy for her I couldn't stop hugging her all afternoon.

It was a much longer walk back to Fed Square than it was from there in the morning!
I will quote my friend the mighty Emma in saying you'll have to pry my medal from my cold dead fingers.Noddie wanted to take it to school today but I'm not letting it out of my sight.
A great highlight of the whole thing was raising nearly $1700 * edit - more than $1800 now! for CanTeen! I am so blessed to have such generous friends and family!
Other highlights:
the CR who came up before the run and told Mrs W and I that he really admired what we were doing. I appreciated that more than he knows.
Unexpected hugs from friends - hi Emma and Sara! - along the way
People reading my 'stupidly determined' shirt and cheering me. It really helped.
I was running with a young man on beach road who was struggling. I told him 'don't you give up now, keep going until the full seven hours have passed, you just keep going'. He was the last official finisher. You go mate!!
I want to join everyone else in thanking the volunteers, who were just marvellous, especially the ones who let me use the lift up to the MCG spectator area instead of making me walk out and around and up the stairs
I'd particularly like to say how proud I am to be a friend of Mrs Wombat - whose idea this whole Big Dream was in the first place (remind me to NEVER have a few sherbies with her after a race again) - who is the toughest woman with the biggest heart I know.
A GREAT day - a hard day, but one of the happiest, best days of my whole life.

Team Stupidly Determined - the magnificent Mrs W, LBTEPA and the mighty Emma. Marathon runners.

I want to say to anyone reading this - if you have a Big Dream, GO FOR IT.
Be patient and keep at it, little by little. Don't let it go. You don't have to be able to imagine doing that Big Thing to start, either. You just have to imagine the first step. You'll get there.
More anon

Sunday, October 11, 2009


What a GREAT day.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Not much more to do

I had no idea there was so much stuff you have to do to prepare for a marathon - look! I've made a list!
Train for 6 months
Practice nutrition plan ALL HAIL THE NUTRITION PLAN!
Lurch from one virus to another. Ignore them all, keep training.
Get fabulous shirt
Come down with severe bronchitis ten days out
Recover to about 75% by race day
Revise target finish time upward
Raise more than $1600 for CanTeen
Attend marathon opening ceremony
Feel overwhelmed, want to cry/be sick/run away
Get race advice from Deek!!! (swoooon)
(for my US readers, that's like getting a hug and a pep-talk from Bill Rogers)
Peer through MCG Gate C to finish line. Get all teary.
Tape toes
Stick motivational sayings to gels
Conditions are never just right.
-this is the day that the Lord has made! We will rejoice, and be glad in it.
- I am marvellously made
- you PAID to do this
- think of the BLING
- one step at a time, one km at a time, one marathon at a time.
- the MCG awaits you!
- hills schmills, I've run bigger than this at 4.30 am
- I deserve to be here.
- the finish IS there.

Put marathon mix onto 1p0d. Seven hours exactly, because that's all I'll need
Charge 1p0d
Write name on race number so people can cheer me personally
Pin race number on shirt
Wear shirt around house looking in mirrors and reflective surfaces
Write reminders on hands
LH - Happy with my pace
RH - Patience

Message written on arm by Noddie
-water bottle belt
-sinus stuff, puffer
-clean socks and t-shirt
-phone, money

Make breakfast
Set out clothes
-sports bra
-old jumper to wear to start

Watch inspiring y0utu6e clips
Paint red race nails
Watch marathon challenge one more time (poor J, he's so nice to me)
Watch last half hour of Run Fatboy Run" (I have to go to bed early tonight)
Show up

Friday, October 09, 2009

True story

Person Who's Just Found Out I'm Running A Marathon In Two Days : Wow! How far is that?
LBTEPA: 42.2km
PWJFOIRAMITD: That's a long way!
LBTEPA: (thinks: you reckon?) yes, it is.
PWJFOIRAMITD: Have you been training?
LBTEPA:(thinks: sure, I'm going to run for more than six hours in two days' time, why would I have done any training?): yes, a fair bit.
PWJFOIRAMITD: how long do you think you'll take?
LBTEPA: A bit more than six hours
PWJFOIRAMITD: (pause) well, it's good you're giving it a go...........
LBTEPA: (thinks: Hmph. You try it, sport!) (disguises bared teeth as pleasant smile)

*sigh* if I had a dollar for every time I've had that conversation, I wouldn't need any sponsors for my Very Slow Marathon! But I do of course (you can donate by clicking here - that's if you aren't wanting to dong me on the head with a wok for asking so many times. I'd understand that). Your generosity has already exceeded my wildest dreams - more than $1600 raised for CanTeen! You're the greatest!

VSM status update with 2 sleeps to go
- the antibiotics for this #$%* #$%* #$%^! bronchitis are working. I can take a deep breath now. Most of the time.
- I have 3 race plans 'cause as you know, I loves me a Plan, depending on how well the antibiotics keep working
1. run 5k then drop back to run 4 minutes walk 1 minute (4:1)
2. start using 4:1 then drop back to 3:2 after 21km
3. use 3:2 the whole way
- I only have one race goal though - get through Gate C of the MCG by 2pm (by way of the whole 42.2km marathon course, of course - just having a sleep-in and going there later wouldn't be the thing at all. I recognise that)
As a friend of mine said to me, you know what they call the last person over the line in a marathon? A marathoner. So there.

One last thought, from another dear friend (*hi Jeanne!*)
"Here's what I just happened to read on the Saturday night before my first marathon (she's done two. What a legend)
I will thank you because I am marvelously made/ Your works are wonderful, and I know it well. —Psalm 139

So I wrote "marvelously made" on back of my hand, and it became my mantra for the day. A reminder of how marvelous and miraculous it is that I am able to do any of this."

It is all marvellous, and I am lucky.
I have to tell you, though, I'm really, really scared. Much more scared now this #$%* #$%* #$%^ bronchitis has laid me so low. I don't want the whole day to be really horrible. I don't want to make myself really ill, and I don't want to let everyone down. *sigh* I think I need another Plan. Here's a good one : start slow, then back right off. Keep running until they tell me to stop. Remember that it is all marvellous, and I am lucky.
Think of me on Sunday, eh? Here's where I'm going!More anon, big dreamers!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Right back there

I was lying awake last night, not fretting about the 3000 words I have to write on the ethics of prenatal genetic diagnosis by next Wednesday, or the way my anticipated five and a half/six hours on the road on Sunday will probably end up closer to six and a half/scarily close to the cutoff. Really, I wasn't. It's just that the antibiotics make me a bit nauseous, my head still aches most of the time and the extra asthma stuff I have to have for the next few days makes my heart race a bit. Meh. It seems to be working though, so I'm sticking with it. But I digress.
I tried all the usual calming things as I lay there; I thought about my nice warm house and soft sheets and sweet daughter (she was asleep at the time) and my adorable husband (ditto), and all my other blessings.....and I still could not get my heart to slow down. It was a pest. I wanted to sleep. It occurred to me that listening to music might pass the time, so I got up and got my 1p0d. I snuggled down again and clicked it on
I love my 1p0d. I only ever listen to it when I'm running. I've chosen all the songs carefully so they cheer me up or rev me up or lift me up. They're my friends. I've spent a lot of time with those songs, feeling calm and strong, huffing and sweating, usually by myself, often in the dark when the lights are pretty or when the sun's coming up. Running with my music is a very good place to be.
And oh, my friends, my friends -
as I lay floating on my songs in the dark last night -
I was right back there. It was like magic. Each track took me to a place I know well - that running place, where I am calm and happy and peaceful and strong and sure of myself.
I love it there.
And my friends, my friends - on Sunday, I'll be there again.

More anon, peaceful grinners.
BTW if you're planning on being anywhere near the MCG around lunchtime on Sunday, email me and I'll give you the Spousal Unit's phone number. You can cheer me in!

Monday, October 05, 2009


F@ceb00k post Oct 1st
LBTEPA has handed in another assignment! Yay! and lost her voice and is coughing b/c of the Return of The Virus! Boo! But I ignore this virus! Virus schmirus! Give it your worst, virus - I will treat you with the utmost scorn (and panadol and betadine gargle and sleep)
F@ceb00k post Oct 3rd
LBTEPA is just about in despair at being so sick so close to the marathon. Does it matter if you lie on the couch coughing for the last ten days of your taper?
F@ceb00k post Oct 4th
LBTEPA is getting sicker and sicker and is past panic.
SMS to the Spousal Unit, Oct 5th
Good news: i don't have a virus. Bad news: severe bronchitis. Good news: antibiotics! And there are 6 more sleeps until the marathon! Plenty of time! (curling into ball and rocking back and forth now).
I do not, I cannot have any thoughts about this.

But I do have this.......- the best race shirt ever!
- and this - it's not finished yet, but I'll be carrying it in my pocket on M-day.
more anon, rainbow chasers

Friday, October 02, 2009

words of wisdom

Dear friends: I need your help!
As fellow tilters at the windmill of life, you've learned lots of good stuff about keeping on keeping on, and I need to know it.
Now the plan is this: I'll be taking 6 or 7 gels on the m-word in
eight and a bit days' time OMG OMG OMG!!! Bestow upon me your wisdom, my friends, that I may stick it to my gel packages, read it when I open them, and hence obtain spiritual as well as physical nourishment as I wend my way around the 42.2km OMG OMG OMG!!!
So far I have come up with "remember you paid to do this", and the mighty Emma has contributed "Trained hard, race easy" and "The finish line really does exist". I might write that last one on my hand!
Thanking you in anticipation
More anon, band of brothers!