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Saturday, July 31, 2010

chewing

so
it's the end of week 2 of the semester and thanks to the bastard sinus infection from hell, (thankfully much improved) I've done half of the reading for week one. My placement supervisor isn't answering my emails. There are 10 weeks to go until Very Slow Marathon #3 and my longest run in the last two weeks is 100 minutes. I love my new job and I'm learning heaps but had some, er, unhelpful guidance from my boss which has resulted in a backlog of paperwork it will take a while to get through with my new case load. Scary stuff.
A recent release from LBTEPA's press office clearly outlines current policy on Situation Overload 2010. It may be summarised as follows: all is not lost! I'm almost properly well again after weeks and weeks and weeks of being crook. It's a huge thing to have energy and optimism again. The Spousal Unit steps up when I need him. I don't need to watch as much tv as I do, we can all walk now so my floors can remain putrid, and Noddie can put away her own clothes. As I discussed with the mighty Emma recently - who punched out her second marathon today!!! With hills!!!Yay for you darl! - we in Team Stupidly Determined know how to keep going. We don't, however, know how to give up. I have many awesome shoes and earrings so there is no danger of slipping standards of fabulousness.
My five faithful readers know that I am a Lord of the Whinge. I fear the Bleat, but know its power as a precursor to renewed striving when the soft-boiled eggs hit the fan. I have everything I need to get everything done. I even have a Plan.
The Plan is this: Most importantly:Better get the kettle on. More anon, tannin fans!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cool things

-working at a community health centre, so I could stay in my office and keep working until they rang me to tell me it was time for my doctor appointment and I could come over to the clinic. This, my friends, is the payoff for all these years of study.
- a doctor who saw that I was really sick and had been so for ages and gave me something to fix it
- a doctor who asked enough questions and listened well enough to realise that I have been frequently sick since I had a tooth out some years ago, and is going to investigate if there's anything structural involved
- antibiotics. Thankyou thankyou thankyou Alexander and Howard!!
- my recliner and nanna rug
- the comfy quiet bed in the sunny spare room
- the kindling splinter went deeply into J's cheek rather than his eye, and even though he didn't listen to me hahahaha about getting treatment, he did listen to my Dad (pharmacist + bloke = worth paying attention to, you see) and got it stitched up so it's healing well. I tell you what, I got such a fright when J came in with blood all down his face! I nearly levitated out of my armchair!
- the pink milk, toast and adorable get well card that Noddie made for me All By Herself after J left for work on Saturday morning.
- feeling better at long, looooong last. How good is feeling quite well? I. Love. It. I'm not 100% by any means but I can potter about happily doing stuff rather than dragging my weary carcass from bed to job to chair to bed like I have been for weeks and weeks. I. Love. It.
- Skype! I had to organise it for uni; I got it all done yesterday and I have already been able to talk to my dear friends Secret Sara and the mighty Emma. News flash: LBTEPA's quality of life skyrockets due to free video calling program! Shhhhh don't tell anyone but I am a bit in love with Skype
- being cheerful without having to work at it. Feeling optimistic and capable. I love feeling well!
More anon, groovers!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bleat bleat bleat

So the bastard sinuses are at it again, if they ever really went away. They didn't really, just died down to a dull roar. After much work I have got to a point where I believe that it's not my fault that I get sick a lot. I work out, I sleep, I drink lots of water and eat f&v, I take iron, Vitamin D and other less empirically validated immune system supplements. I look after myself. Being sick is Not My Fault. This new perspective is A Big Change, and much more restful, but doesn't leave me with much to do except be pissed off and sad at my lot.
I cannot begin to tell you how Over This I am. But I'll have a crack for form's sake. You knew I would. Darn I'm plucky.
I am Over 'managing the symptoms' ie taking, snorting and inhaling stuff all day for weeks and weeks and weeks so I can function and concentrate.....oh, and also breathe.
I am Over having doctors tell me it's not an infection when it bloody is.
I am Over having a headache All The Time for weeks and weeks and weeks
I am Over wondering if I rested a bit it might go away, then resting, and it doesn't go away but a bit of my hard-earned fitness does.
I am Over exercise being Really Hard All The Time.
This is Absolute @#$%$#!& BS and I am so tired, tired of it and frustrated I could just cry.
Le sigh...........
Thanks for listening, my darlings. No need to comment, I'm all right really. Just wanted to vent. Better make another #$%*! doctor appointment, eh?
More anon, cheerful whistlers!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Run Melbourne 2010

This could be a real blah blah blah post...
....I didn't really feel like doing this race because I was still tired from Queensland and it was a weekend away from home blah blah blah...
but I had to becuase I'd bought the race t-shirt and you can't wear it if you didn't run it subtext what a legend I am being able to punch out a HM whenever I want (sub-subtext: what a wanker) blah blah blah...
I started ok on a 9:1 run:walk but after 9km I started having persistent knee soreness so I ran one song:walked one song all the way to the end blah blah blah...
but it's not! I'm so glad I went! It was a great day, a really fun course which went around my old stamping grounds, and it seemed every second person was a friend from coolrunning. People really got stuck into having a good time. This bloke was a BIG bit of all right, and very brave, but not too bright as he did the whole thing (half mara) in thongs! (AKA flipflops, for my foreign friends. I have no information regarding his foundation garments)I saw this bloke too, and his matching mates in red and green.OMG my eyes, my eyes....this is Mr Wombat, the beloved of my beloved Mrs Wombat (in costume THANK GOODNESS aarrgghh my eyes...)
I had a great time at the back of the pack. It was a two-loop course, and we passed the 10k runners just before they started; they cheered and clapped and called encouragement, before they zoomed past me like I was tied to a tree. Lots of people read my shirt and spoke to me or patted my shoulder as they zoomed past - so kind and friendly! The maths award goes to a bloke who told me quite seriously that I was 50% tougher than the 10km runners! Well done sir!
It was a huge day - all in all 17,000 people got out there and had fun in the half, the 10 or the 5km. It was cold, but not raining, and gosh it was just a privelege to be there.
My time? Who cares? I suspect it will be a PW by a significant amount, but that wasn't what it was about. This is what it was about.

Team Stupidly Determined (Victorian division)
More anon, suckers-out of the marrow of life!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Highlights package

My new medal - did I mention I have a new medal? I do! I did a marathon to get it and it's grouse! - has worn a groove in my neck and been shown to everyone foolish enough to ask how I went and too slow to escape once I get started. As the layers of memory of the day have sorted themselves into an enduring recollection, little snippets of oh-wow-wasn't-that-a-cool-thing! have popped up and sparkled at me, making me smile and smile.
In no particular order, here they are
- the elites flying by. They are so amazing, like another species!
- the frail, white-haired old lady on her balcony playing Chariots of Fire on her boombox for us
- all the little kids, so thrilled to get high fives from a runner (any runner, even me!)
- seeing the Spousal Unit and Noddie at 32km. I'd been kind of looking forward to seeing them outside our apartment at 27km, and when they weren't there I thought they were probably a bit tired from doing the 5km (WELL DONE S.U. AND N!!) and I'd see them at the finish. I trundled on, almost to the finish (not my finish, the real finish, I had to RUN PAST IT and do another 12km) and there they were! If I hadn't done all my crying a few kms back I'd have wept on J's shoulder. It's a bit lonely out there at the back when things are a bit tough; just getting that reminder that there are people out there who love you and are cheering for you is like a sudden blaze of sunshine on a grey day.
- cheering the Coolrunners coming back the other way and getting a go CoolRunner! in return
- the cameraderie at the back of the pack. We leapfrog each other, pass and re-pass and worry when we see our mates slow or lying on the grass. Yay for Narelle the last official finisher - you toughed it out darl!
- asking the already-finished people walking back to their hotels and pools and showers and couches please can I see your medal? Without fail they showed it to me and told me you can do it, keep going, your medal is waiting for you
- the volunteers at the aid stations, road closures and checkpoints. Some dressed up in flowers or wigs or other craziness, some didn't, but all were just so splendidly encouraging and kind. Even the ones who put the Endura and the water in the wrong colour cups - this wouldn't have been such an issue if I hadn't tipped it over my head!
- the mighty Emma and her adorable husband R who appeared like djinns out of nowhere on the corner of a road in the mankiest, most desolate stretch of the last 10km.
- the runner dressed as Mt Fuji. How hot s/he must have been!
- the bride and groom who ran the race in wedding outfits as part of their honeymoon. They were quoted in the local paper as saying 'the marathon is long, just as our life together will be'. Bravo and hear hear!
-the little old bloke in the thick tracksuit and the hat with the dear little dog.
- the vision-impaired runners with their guides
- zooming around each turnaround with my arms outstretched like an aeroplane. It's important to celebrate these things!
- the mad Philipino (?) bloke who galloped up and down the back end of the field cheering us all on. I couldn't keep up with him, he tried to make me but I just had nothing left. He was like an adorable, whistle-blowing, bell-ringing, super-talkative guardian angel for us all down there at the back.
- the bloke with the ghastly, ghastly rap music at the 35-6ish mark. I wanted to KILL HIM - hadn't I been through enough? What had I ever done to him? Then the song 'if you're going through hell, keep on going' came on the 1p0d and I couldn't help but laugh.
- the other bloke at the 35km checkpoint telling me I was looking good and don't worry, you're 15 minutes ahead of the cutoff, you'll be fine. Although the video shows me waving in a perfunctory fashion (it was meant to be pleasant!) and grunting acknowldgement (I thought I was smiling!) I was so grateful I could have kissed him.
- if Noddie, the Spousal Unit and the Mad Philipino bloke were angels and Emma and R were genies, then Dizzey was a blessing from heaven. She appeared with 5km to go and trundled along with me, running and walking, running and walking, lamp post to lamp post. Becuase she was there, the no really this is too far and it's been going on too long, I can't run any more imp that was trying to get a grip on my shoulder just had to f#$% off. Team LBTEPA was throwing it all at the line. Thanks for my PB Dizzey!
- I know I mentioned this in the last post, but getting into the finishers' chute was like going to heaven. There is nothing, nothing like knowing you've Done It.
- so many people at the afterparty thanking me for organising it and giving them the chance to connect with other CRs, sometimes for the first time. I am so lucky to know so many lovely people.
- my racing stripe! After running six hours in the warm northern sun, my lily white Victorian legs sported a shorts line that made me smile every time I saw it - on myself, or the other people who were taking the stairs at the waterslide park quite gingerly too!
So there you go.
Now it's almost two weeks later. My medal is in my pocket. Did I mention I did another marathon and got a new medal? This afternoon I'll be driving to Melbourne to stay with the magnificent Mrs Wombat, then tomorrow we're trundling around the Run Melbourne half marathon, because the bling is nice. That's pretty funny really. Stupid Determination rules!!
More anon, partners-in-fabulousness!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Staring down 42.2

Sheesh, you people - no pressure! But leaning forward confidentially I need to tell you something - it's only now, nine days later, I've felt that I could write a race report that didn't sound like a whole lot of whingeing and excuses. It took me this long to realise that it just was how it was. I have waded through my issues and am not buying into this whole feeling-bad-about-myself-because-I'm-not-perfect crap. I am old and fat and slow and I am a Very Slow marathon runner. This is how it was.
Pre-race
I had a bit of an inkling I wasn't totally on top of my game wellness-wise when I woke up on Thursday with a cold sore. Ewwww. Can anyone say 'run down?' Noddie doesn't sleep too well when Daddy is away so I hadn't had much uninterrupted sleep since Wednesday, but we got to Melbourne happily enough, then aarrgghh went to the in-laws aaarrrggghhh for dinner aarrgghh and to stay the night aarrgghh. I sat in the living room away from the footy, doing my race nails and sticking inspiring quotes on my gels. I couldn't think of many. Song titles - defying gravity, paid my dues; friends' names; sayings sent to me by you, my five faithful readers. I came up with 'it's a pleasure and a privelege', but I didn't use that one. Noddie only woke us twice.
Our plane on Saturday was delayed for an hour which was a bit of a worry - hello worst nightmare, being delayed so long we couldn't pick up our race packets! - but turned out ok. We did get there on time, and I got to catch up with my good CR friend Dizzey while we were waiting. She had planned to do GC as her first full marathon but had a whole lot of family/life stuff happen and pulled out. We were talking about our preparation; when I said my last long run had been 4 weeks ago she winced and looked away. I was still coughing like a seal with a pack-a-day habit and getting a bit desperate about my bastard sinuses. I told J after the race that I knew better than to hope for a whole marathon training program uninterrupted by illness, but I would like to actually bloody run one when I wasn't sick! It was all shaping up so well hahahahaha, but during the conversation with D, I at last found my One Thing, my reason, my mantra: STARE DOWN 42.2km.
We got to the expo in time and picked up our race packs, then spent the GDP of a small country on chest-and-sinus clearing medicine, on the advice of a charming and clearly very wise pharmacist (she was running the half). After a quick dip in the spa at our apartment it was time to catch up with Team Stupidly Determined at the CoolRunning pre-race do. To be honest I didn't really want to go but I'd organised it so I really had to. Using Noddie as an excuse, we didn't stay late. I was so scared I could hardly eat, and people kept saying don't worry, you'll be fiiiine. Don't worry? DON'T WORRY? Only the mighty Emma told it like it was: it'll hurt a lot for a long time, but you'll finish. A couple of annoying skinnyfasts kept faffing on that there were no hills on the course. We told them we had a lot more gravity to deal with than they did; we would decide what was a hill, thanks.
Sunday morning . Race day. Dun dun dun duhhh. I sat up the back among the walkers and the first-timers, just waiting. It was a beautiful morning. 1-18km - not so bad. I need to learn to go out slower...yes, that is possible.
19-24km - The drugs wore off. For half an hour or so I started coughing more frequently and my head was aching more and more.
You know what...I'm finding it hard to bring myself to go back there, I really am. Bloody hell it was hard. I think I'll just cut-and-paste my post from the running forum I belong to.

"Although I took a really long time - 6.16.58 - my race report can be quite brief. 'I was undertrained and off colour. I ran/walked 4:1 until my head ached and I coughed so much I vomited, cried, then walked, then took some medicine, then H'ed TFU and ran/walked every other lamp post for 15km'. Sounds a bit pathetic. Oh well, it was what it was and if anything I proved a worthy member of team Stupidly Determined.
In a way though, it was a good day and an important day b/c I stared down 42.2km and didn't give up.Highlights were cheering the CRs going the other way, seeing the Spousal Unit and Noddie at 32km, the Mighty Emma and her husband a few km later, and the wonderful Dizzey, who stuck with me over the last 5km. The support for us back of the packers is so lovely, it really keeps you going so thanks to everyone who cheered me on and told me I could make it.

I was just happy to finish under the cutoff, hop into the pool at the hotel then wobble back to the Surf Club to celebrate (addendum: and, after numerous restorative sherbies, remark repeatedly and with astonishment that I am So F#$%ing Brave I Can't Believe It. Thanks to all present for not telling me to Shut the F#$% Up. I'd had a Big Day. You were very kind). On the principle that you value most the things that were hardest to acquire, my second marathon finishers' medal will always be one of my proudest posessions (btw, how nice is the bling this year? Well done, organisers!). Team SD does Gold Coast 2010
I wish I hadn't watched the race videos though, nothing like illusions shattered, I don't look like Paula Radcliffe at all rolleyes.gif. "
THE END
My race was ruled by the thought pain is inevitable: suffering is optional. That made things simpler, if not any easier. It was hard, it was difficult, it was painful. But I couldn't with any truthfulness call it awful, or horrible. I could say with accuracy that it hurt, but thinking this sucks, I hate this was a choice. Dammit. Because I knew that, I couldn't go there, no matter how much i hurt or how tired I was. It never crossed my mind to give up. There was simply no reason to stop. That thought saved me from the despair death spiral. I owe my medal -which I am of course still wearing - to that thought.
Why did it not even cross my mind to DNS or drop back to the half? My options were finish under the cutoff (preferred), be dragged off the course (seemed likely at one stage, hurrah for medicine!), or be pulled off the course by the sag wagon. Every time I saw that b#$%$# van I told it to f#$% off, under my breath of course, I've been well brought up. I was NOT going to shave 4-5km off the course like a bloke I passed twice, but who never passed me. You work it out. I saw him later with a finisher's shirt talking about how he was worried about making the cutoff. Shame on you sir!
Here's a video of my oh-so-happy finish. You might want to turn down the sound a bit, the Mighty Emma is Very Excited. Being in the finishing chute - at last! - meant I no longer had to fiercely restrict my thinking to Just Keep Moving. I could finally, finally entertain the sweet sweet thoughts that I was going to finish, and that I could stop. You bet your sweet bippy I was pleased.
video
The Spousal Unit asked why I do these enormously challenging things. I explained that I need to keep pushing my limits. I need to stare down Hard Things. I find it very interesting to develop mental and physical strategies to Just keep Moving No Matter What, and throw them at race day. There was a pause. Then he said ok, I know why you do it...but why do you want to do it?
Which is the big question. The answer is, because I want to. And that's enough.
And this is enough for today.
More anon, patient ones. Splash on!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It took a long time, but it was a long way

More anon :)

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Five steps to glory

Now the Plan is This:
1. Work today. Finish last minute errands, cleaning and final packing. Work until 12.20 tomorrow. Catch the train to Melbourne at 12.40. Thank Mum for bringing Noddie and the bags to the station SHE IS A LEGEND THANKS MUM. Catch a suburban train to the in-laws’ place. Reunite with the Spousal Unit who has been in Melbourne all week for work yep that was SO CONVENIENT and made for a low-stress week NOT. Spend evening at the in-laws without the fortification of alcohol. DO NOT WATCH FOOTY. DO NOT LOOK AT WEATHER REPORT (20 degrees, humid, windy, 20% chance of rain). Do race nails. Sleep.
2. Load up with headcold medicine. Catch plane to Gold Coast. Pick up race packs. Check in to hotel. Dine with Team Stupidly Determined and other CRs. Feel sick with envy at skinnyfasts*, sorry I mean anxiety. Sleep.
3. Start race. Wonder why, I mean think about how lucky I am to be doing this (x 6.5 hours). Enjoy scenery and race day experience. Be patient and calm and hold my form (x 6.5 hours). Adhere STRICTLY to Hydration and Nutrition Strategies ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY HYDRATION AND NUTRITION STRATEGIES! Using previously established decision criteria (ie is cold a) gone b) the same c) worse) select and adhere to Run:walk Strategy A (run first 5km, 4:1 to end), B (4:1 all the way) or C (4:1 until 30km, then 5:5). Keep moving, no matter what (x 6.5 hours).
4. Get medal. Feel indescribably happy. Stand in ocean. Stagger past post-race party venue to get back to hotel whose idea was that? Sleep. Reunite with Team SD. Drink champagne and talk loudly and excitedly about the day. Stagger home to hotel, cunningly selected for its proximity to post-race celebrations I knew there was a reason.
5. Refuse to remove medal or climb any stairs (x 7-10 days).
I know there were only meant to be five, but this is actually why Noddie and the Spousal Unit are coming on the trip!
6. Go to theme parks. See cool animals. Eat fairy floss and hot dogs. Scream on rides. Sleep (x 4 days). Go home.
You can follow me via the race tracker on Sunday, if you are so inclined. The link to the site is on my sidebar and I believe there’ll be a big button to click on the day. My "thorough" approach to the event means you’ll be able to wander off for a cuppa or weed the garden between updates! I’m so considerate!
As my five faithful readers can tell by the above waffling, I’m currently really scared and trying really really hard to be brave, with, alas, limited success. If you were holding back, NOW is the time to send me an encouraging comment. I don’t know what internet access I’ll have for the next week, but I’ll try and stick up a quick post with my time so you’re not worrying too much *pokes out tongue*

More anon, reachers for the stars!
*As for the skinnyfasts, remember this - as I will