Sunday, July 31, 2011

Feet, do your stuff

The time has come, the Walrus said... are you saying I'm fat?
Current lurgi status is as follows: chest is still a bit tight but no longer crackly, head is drippy and ears blocked but no longer permanently achy. In the last week I've done a couple of bike workouts and short runs. Tomorrow, unless it's raining ('cause as my five faithful readers know, I may be foolhardy but I'm not stupid don't say anything) I'm going to put 20km in the Melbourne Marathon bank. I'm a bit nervous becuase I'm not 100%. In the interests of not overdoing it I'll be running one song, walking one song, all the freakin' everlasting glacial way. I've seen some plum blossoms about and that means Spring is almost here YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY!! so there won't be a frost (I hope).
I'll let you know how it goes, eh?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Huzzah! The breathing of LBTEPA no longer sounds like scrunched up cellophane (crepitations, according to my learned medical friend BP), at least not all the time. Our brave leader has broken a sweat for the first time in a week by trudging to school with Noddie this morning (all of 2.5km round trip), and then later put together a slow 30min on the bike to Prove She Is Back hahahaha sheesh can you believe how her mind works?
Mt Washing is still blocking the laundry door but I've made some inroads into the bottomless chasm that is and will forever be uni. There's been energy for important things, like THIS!!!
and for being very angry about a particular individual who makes her living as a (ahem) "journalist", spouting "controversial" opinions and then getting all upset because people think she is full of $h!t and should jolly well pull her head in. I am not going to link to this person because attention is what gives her lowest-common-denominator negativity its power.
My my my, LBTEPA, exclaim my five faithful readers, whatever has this person done to arouse such ire? To paraphrase, she "doesn't understand what all the fuss is about" (Cadel Evans winning the Tour de France) and "doesn't think sportspeople should be called heroes". I'd almost, almost be able to swallow that, she is entitled to her point of view after all, not everyone is as interested in sport as I am am and if you haven't done endurance sport it might be hard to grasp the level of dedication and suffering it takes to achieve at the highest level - if she hadn't followed it up with remarks like "he gets paid millions to ride a bike anyway" (sour grapes, perhaps, and all the other people she names as heroes like surgeons and firefighters do it for free?) and "he doesn't even live in Australia anyway" (simply not true, please try g00g!ing before you sling mud next time, beeyatch).
Her basic point is that Cadel Evans should not be feted as a hero because he is a sporting champion rather than achieving in some worthy area of service to mankind. In her mind, one cannot be the other.
I call bullshit. I say to you, (ahem) "lady", I will have my own heroes regardless of your mean-spirited, ill-informed (ahem) "writings". I feel sorry for you that you are so "sophisticated" that you can only find inspiration in achievements which fit in with an arbitrary and inconsistently applied set of values after all you called Jessica Watson a hero, hmmmmm????. Nor can you allow others to take pleasure in or be uplifted by things you disagree with. Sad.
My heroes are brave and dedicated and determined and inspiring. They give me the gift of their big hearts and Big Dreams, and the message that hard work, strong principles and absolutely never ever giving up enable us to overcome whatever life might throw in our path. Heroes teach us that a heroic life is a beautiful life. Heroes make us think not only I want to be like that but also I can be like that. Heroes overcome even when they don't succeed, which is why we rejoice with them if they finally do.
Here are some of my heroes
- Kieren Perkins
- Dietrich Boenhoeffer
- Robert DeCastella
- my grade 3 teacher
- Chris Moon
- Papa Meilland
- my Mum and Dad
- my grandparents
- my siblings
- Team SD
- Duane, Mary and Tracy

Who are your heroes?
More anon, coruscators!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Feel dreadful.
Stagger out of bed at 9.30am.
Look at the messy messy house.
Think about how much work and uni stuff is piling up.
Read on Effbee that "everyone else" is already over 20km for their Melbourne long runs.
Find this:

Don't feed your fears. If you want to feed something then feed your purpose. Feed your passion. Feed your creativity. Feed your inspiration. Feed your hopes. Feed your Soul. But please, please don't feed the fears. It won't take them but a minute to devour all of the goodness in your Life. Sorry fear, I got nothin' for you today. Or tomorrow...
(Thanks again Fi. Are you especially watching out for me lately?)

Feel better.
Have a nap.

More anon

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Right here right now

I have gone down with Noddie's foul lurgi like a statue of Lenin in 1992 and for the last three days have been up to nothing more than coughing and croaking my way from bed to couch and back. I "should" have put 20km in the Melbourne marathon bank this morning - but you know what? A) there's no way I could physically do it, and B) it would have been the wrong thing to do. When you're sick - and people do get sick - you need to rest. It's the right thing to do right now.
Now calm down, people! No need to panic! Hysterically self-blaming LBTEPA has not been kidnapped, brainwashed, and sent back spouting airy-fairy new-age BS. I think, at long-overdue last, she may have just faded away. And Hoo-f#$%-ing-ray, say my five faithful readers. You've been very patient.
I was reading this today, thanks to my brilliant friend Fiona (I don't know if she reads this but if you do Darl, big hugs to you mate!!!) and although I don't completely subscribe to the whole "everything happens for a reason" argument, I do like its key message:
I do know what my values are and how to live by them. I just have to let myself be peaceful enough to do it. I might have moments of OMGwhat'sgunnahappenifI'mthis farbehindalreadyDISASTERDISASTER!! but I don't have to respond to them. If I let go of my illusion of control over outcomes and have faith in the process - and myself - all will be well.
I must be away now, my treasures, for a late-afternoon nap in readiness to watch Cadel have a crack at the maillot jaune. It's on at about midnight our time, curse those sophisticated Europeans and their pesky time zones.
Aussie Aussie Aussie, allez allez allez!

a Peace rose.

More anon, domestiques!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A satisfying conversation #2

The House of LBTEPA is as we speak the House of Plague. Noddie may or may not have whooping cough - she's had her immunisations so I'm going for the latter - and the Spousal Unit and I are raspy of throat and achy of head. He's worse than I am, poor lambie, and I am concerned about the young hiker-for-charity who stayed with us over the weekend. He has come over from Oklahoma to walk from Sydney to Adelaide (about 1500km) on his summer break from theological college to to raise money for wells and sanitation projects in Africa. He's off down the road toward Melbourne now and it's been pouring since he left, poor bugger; it'd be too bad if he was crook as well because of us. BTW if any of my five faithful readers in Victoria would be interested in supporting this young bloke with company, encouragment or accommodation, let me know. Big Dreamers need all the help they can get!

But on to the Satisfying Conversation.
Ring ring
Hello, this is LBTEPA
Hi, I'm Slick Young Man From the Local Gym, we have a lot of new programs and services available to support people's health and wellbeing and I was wondering if there were any aspects of your fitness, stress management etc that we could help you with?
Ummm...Well I'm doing three marathons this year and you've actually interrupted my bike workout this afternoon, so I think I'm pretty right for the moment.

I'm actually going to look into this place as it's the only 24 hour gym in the area. That could be very useful. I do love the gym but as I said to the lovely SYMFtLG, my exercise is organised around my primary duties of spousing and parenting, with work, uni and maintaining rudimentary household hygiene fighting it out for the minor placings. I do need a lot of sleep as well so the wee small hours aren't really my thing. I intend to be sweating on a daily basis for at least the next 40 years, though, so I am sure that a right time to pump iron will come again. More anon, muscle bounders!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


thanks for the trip to Queensland. After we recovered from the marathon we really enjoyed being warm! And the rides! Too much fun!
But we need to talk about yesterday. You ran for six hours two weeks ago, for sure. That was very well done. But you do recall that the success of the day depended on an effective Nutrition and Hydration Plan? You do?
Then what were you thinking, setting out on a two hour run with no fuel or water? And then acting all surprised when you hit the wall and could barely raise a grumpy trot? We were willing to make allowances on this occasion, seeing as you were near your Mum's and you could bott a drink and a couple of jubes from there. Please take time to recall the heaviness of limb and despondency of mind that remained even after you gave the blood some sugar. If we may speak plainly, you have some long runs coming up, yes? Well you pull that kind of stunt on us again and having to detour a couple of km to get some lollies will be the least of your worries.
Yours sincerely
Your Body

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Home at last

I was so paralysed with anxiety by the fact that MY BLING GOT LEFT BEHIND AT THE HOTEL IN QUEENSLAND NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! (Not. By. Me. and may I say how lucky the Spousal Unit is to be alive) that I was virtually unable to function and certainly unable to produce scintillating prose such as that expected by my five faithful readers. I was heartbroken.
Don't worry, it'll be FINE, everyone soothed, they're posting it back. It'll be here soon. But you know and I know, my friends, that Sometimes Things Get Lost In The Post. My Bling is Awesome and Mighty but it's not all that big, comparatively speaking. It's only little!
So this afternoon there was much rejoicing when it was made known throughout the kingdom of LBTEPA that My Bling Was Home. Home safe at last, and around my neck where it belongs.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Race report: 2011 Gold Coast Marathon

As was the case last year at the Gold Coast, I'm really not feeling like writing a race report. However, the reluctance is for a completely opposite reason - I am so pleased and satisfied with how the day went that I am happy to let it fade into the mists of smug antiquity.
I do want to get it all down though, both to inspire others (we here at the LBTEPA BigHead Society live, as always, to help) and to remember it for myself. I have presented it in sections for organisational purposes and to allow for comfort breaks.

After dodging every lurgi going around Noddie's school and J's and my work I was pretty confident about starting in good health can I have a WOOT? until about midnight on Friday when the yummy yummy Chinese food I'd so enjoyed turned on me and I spent the rest of the night either vomiting or lying on the couch waiting for the next wave of nausea and stomcah cramps to kick in can I have a BLEAH? I can't put it better than my saintly Mum who said you can't take a trick, can you? Next time it's vegemite sandwiches for the last two days! All day Saturday I sipped sports drink, took ibuprofen for the stomach cramps and crossed every digit I possessed. Late in the afternoon I got some stomach stuff from the chemist which helped to the extent that I could keep down some vegemite sandwiches see Mums know everything and then some pasta at the pre-race dinner. I was feeling really down and kept thinking about what the mean old skinnyfast from the last post had said, stupid, I know (BTW it was a bloke and I saw him afterward and just wished I'd been close enough to vomit on his shoes) and told the Spousal Unit not to bother coming out until the finish becuase I had no idea how I would go. I slept ok until the cramps hit again at 3.30am so I had some more painkillers and slept on the couch until the proper alarm went off at 5.

As per The Nutrition and Hydration Plan ALL HAIL THE PLAN!, I downed a couple of big glasses of sports drink and hit the road. I met another lady from our hotel who was running; it was her first full so we chatted all the way as we walked to the race precinct. There's something wonderful in the air before a marathon. Everyone is just a little bit nervous and a lot excited and there's that whiff of bodyglide and goanna oil too. I sat by the road in the 5.00-6.30 corral listening to people BS about how fast they usually were until it was SHOWTIME.

I had written PATIENT on my hand to remind me to start slow as I was aware that it was a long way (hello Captain Obvious) and that my energy reserves were not so vast as one might wish. I was also very much aware of the cutoff so I tried to balance movin' right along with Not So Fast Missy. Our hotel was at 3km and to my great delight J and Noddie and the hotel owners were out there cheering! What a boost! It already seemed more humid than this cold-blooded Southerner was used to so I drank at each water stop - of which there were a great many, well and enthusiastically supplied all the way to the end I'M TALKING TO YOU, MELBOURNE MARATHON. After 10 km I implemented the Hot Weather Plan at every drink station, as follows
1. Hat off
2. Earphones off
3. Water over head
4. Gulp half a cup
It worked a treat and I didn't ever feel really dreadful even though it got even hotter as the day went on. Mum the weather guru looked up the humidity - 88%!!! I was happy to learn that, as it wasn't just me being a la-la. I kept expecting to have to stop for the loo but I'd feel like it for a bit and then it would go away.
The first 30km of the race is quite nice, along the beach and through residential streets where all the kids are out in their pjs clapping and giving you high-fives. It's an out-and-back so you get to see the elites floating past, and the really fast runners, and the fast runners, and every other bloody runner...but this is the lot of the VSM runner and that's ok. Most of the water stations had one each side so you didn't have to cross the road but there was one on our side without an opposite number. I didn't really care about the faster runners cutting across to get water, it was warm after all, but I did object to being cannoned into and sworn at by two runners who were, after all, on the wrong side of the road taking water from someone else's water station. I remarked to the Spousal Unit that you could just imagine the flaming a slow runner would get if the situation was reversed! My day was made at about 7km when my beloved Mrs Wombat (Team Stupidly Determined (injured division)) popped out of the crowd and gave me a wonderful hug.

In the interests of Not Freaking Out I wasn't using my watch at all, just plugging on a a comfortable pace. I was happy to note that I hit the 15km mark a little way ahead of my target. At the back of the pack a lot of people run/walk so there was a fair bit of leapfrogging and chatting and hot, isn't it?ing. I ran for a while with an amazing woman called Sheila. This was her eighth marathon - she'd done Ottawa (where she was from), Rome, Reykjavik, Santiago, COMRADES and ANTARCTICA OMG *bows and scrapes* - and she said that although she liked Queensland and indeed Australia very much, she was just hoping to make the cutoff so she didn't have to fly 25 hours here again. She did, too. Go Sheila! At one stage we were running along the Gold Coast highway which was cut to one lane each way and reduced to a crawl by this motley crew of old, fat, slow dreamers. We were all but scorched by their death stares but we didn't care. Shortly after this I passed one John Z, 100+ marathon legend etc etc, who will feature in the story later.

The following will glow brightly in the firmament of LBTEPA's Lifetime Stupid decisions, as will become clear later - my tummy was starting to hurt again so I took some ibuprofen I know, I took the edge off things a bit and I was pretty happy about hitting 30km comfortably before my target of 4.5 hours. The GCM is actually two out-and-backs, one south and one north of the start area. At 31km you pass the finish, where heaps of people have already finished and others are steaming their way in while you have 11 km to go. It was good to see people wearing The Medal and to tell myself that one of them was waiting for ME, I just have to go out and get it. It was just so so wonderful to get a hug from the Spousal Unit, who had disobeyed my orders hahahaha and was waiting there to cheer me on. I'd stuck to The Hydration and Nutrition Plan ALL HAIL THE PLAN! so I was feeling leg-weary but still ok in myself. It's a stretch of road with fast-food restaurants and concrete and not much else and it was here that I realised the error of A Plan that was basically hang in there until 30km then see what happens becuase you know what happens with A Plan like that? You're all by yourself at 33km with no plan, that's what happens! As an aside, I saw the Best T-shirt Ever around this time: SHUT UP, LEGS. Must get one.

The problem with having enough time to walk it in if you need to is that when it's quite hot (although at about this stage the wind changed from south west to south east and it seemed to get much cooler thanks Mum for the weather info you rock) and you're really starting to hurt because you've run 31km and that's what happens when you do that you start to think I could walk it in.... BUT YOU CAN'T. That is not the Team Stupidly Determined Way. In a lot of races you get to 8-7-6 km from home and you think righto, 8-7-6 km from home, that's not too far, I do that at 5am....but not this day. This day was about run three songs, walk one song, and Nothing Else. It was about nothing else even existing except run three songs, walk one song. Nothing. At. All. It was about asking myself are you dead? No? Well then LBTEPA, you just keep running three songs, walking one UNTIL YOU DIE. True confession, though, and I do hope my five faithful readers will not judge me too harshly: I Cracked At Forty. As I have mentioned I'd not been looking at my watch or thinking much about any Thrilling Time Goals, but the 40km timing mat was impossible to ignore and I realised I wouldn't be going sub-six unless I suddenly grew wings. I lost it. I walked. From 40-41km there was no effort whatsoever to raise even a trot. I'm not that dark on myself about it though; dropping the ball for 9 minutes out of 6 hours is ok.
But,never fear, dear friends - all was not lost. For 41-42.2km I did have a Plan! I'd practiced The Plan at the end of every run for the last six weeks and it kicked in when I needed it: run, run, run that last km, then run some more and don't bloody stop until the finish no matter what I don't care if you die keep running that last km until You. Have. Finished. And that's what I did. I was so happy to be running up the chute that I almost started to cry but I didn't have enough breath so I just kept running and smiling and running and feeling so happy that I'd pulled it off that all I could do was smile some more and then I was finished.
You remember John Z, the 100+ marathoner I passed at 24km? I hadn't seen him since then, and there he was in the recovery area ahead of me. I have witnessed him do this in my last three marathons. He is a bloody cheat, he disgusts me and I feel sorry for him.
Then they gave me my medal and it was all worth it and time for the long slow walk home. I was so happy to have held it together on a tough day I really didn't care about anything.

After I'd had a shower, something to eat and a glass of bubbles with the Spousal Unit it was time to be with My People (over-excited runners all sharing way too much detail about their races) at the surf club. At the bar I was thrilled beyond measure to see Tristan Miller of Run Like Crazy fame - I'd caught a glimpse of him during the race hanging on for dear life to the 3.15 pace group and given him a cheer. We had a bit of a chat waiting for our drinks but I was starting to feel very peculiar so I had to cut it short and find a seat, probably just as well given my talent for gushiness toward those I admire. All of a sudden I felt as though I was going to faint or vomit or both so I made my way out to the lawn and lay down in the fresh air under a tree. I must have fallen asleep becuase a lady I'd been talking to came out and asked if I was ok. I really wasn't, so even though home was only 500m away I rang J and he came and picked me up. Gosh I felt dreadful. I was dizzy and vomiting and my head hurt awfully. I spent the afternoon sipping sports drink, dozing and being sick. By the evening I was able to eat again and that helped straight away. Next day I was well on the mend but had blood in my urine which was a worry. I went to the chemist and got a lecture from the pharmacist about kidney damage from taking ibuprofen when dehydrated. He did reassure me that it would resolve itself, which it has, thank goodness.

We've spent the days since hammering the rides at the amusement parks, basking in the sunshine and reading about the awful weather at home. Someone has to do it.
More anon, sybarites!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Done and dusted

very humid
stuck to The Plan ALL HAIL THE PLAN!
finished strongly
extremely crook with dehydration afterward but getting better now
awesome bling
very happy

Saturday, July 02, 2011

things I could have done without

- food poisoning on Friday night from which I have not entirely recovered
- packing the wrong shorts NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
- the mean rude old skinnyfast at the airport who, when I mentioned I was also doing the marathon, looked me up and down and enquired have you done any training?
Had I not been distracted by an overwhelming urge to hide away and cry and never run again, I could have pointed out that we both get the same medal, MATE.

The amazing Erin asked today in her blog why do you run? I run for a lot of reasons, as my five faithful readers know, but tomorrow I will (Digestion Gods permitting) finish my fourth marathon because that mean rude old skinnyfast thinks I shouldn't.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Here we go