Monday, January 9, 2017

the short getaway...

at the last minute we decided while we had a few days off together we would go for a short getaway. I had been wanting to go somewhere in the week between Christmas and New Year but hadn't been able to commit to anything. I had a visit to Robe SA in mind but we decided on Phillip Island, being able to find some accommodation at short notice was the clincher.

We ended up staying at the Aussie Golf Ranch at Cowes and it turned out to be just perfect. A single cabin style on the 9 hole golf course was just what we needed. It was a 10 minute walk through the bush and over the dunes to the beach, and a short drive to the town of Cowes. I was surprised at how busy Cowes was, I was expecting it to be similar to Port Fairy but it was larger and very busy with the influx of tourist visitors. The traffic was bumper to bumper before we even got to the Island and I imagine during the Grand Prix it would be worse.

 Our first, and only, visit to Phillip Island was back in 1984, before we were married. We had a weekend away on Chris' motorbike with a few friends from his Sth Melb workplace. Much has changed since then!

So we set out to explore the island, visiting the Nobbies and the Blow Hole, spying some fairy penguins in their nesting boxes. It was warm and drizzling rain but that didn't deter us or other tourists. Large facilities at the Nobbies and the Penguin Parade have been built for the tourists since our last visit and it has become very commercial. We enjoyed our visit to the Grand Prix circuit but it was too wet to try out the go karts.

the Blow Hole

at the Nobbies

fairy penguins

the Nobbies
Back in the day you could walk over to the Nobbies and explore the rock pools etc, but I suppose to protect the wildlife and the environment there are rules and restrictions in place to prevent you going off the board walk. Nevertheless we enjoyed ourselves.

Grand Prix home straight

still raining at Rhyll
sunset beach walk
 the weather did clear and become very hot and I was a little jealous of the surfers at Woolamai Beach

We explored briefly all ends of the large island and I feel like we had a good break. I love the beach and really enjoyed this break. Now I am ready to face 2017 and new challenges.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The hot Christmas...

Christmas day this year was a scorcher...37 degrees. Very few photos were taken, we were busy staying cool in Big Sister's pool in between courses. I am grateful that we can spend time together as a family at Christmas, enjoying each others company.

from Hayley's instagram

Each year it changes a little bit, the children are now all young adults and are entertaining us instead of the other way around.
And all too soon the day is over, the decorations get packed away and we look forward to the approaching year.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

50 Parkruns...

I managed to squeeze in this milestone this morning on Christmas Eve. Luckily parkrun starts at 8am so we were done by 9 to fit in last minute preparations for Christmas.

I first attended parkrun back in February 2014 when Toolern Creek parkrun was launched and it has taken me nearly 2 years to rack them up. 46 of them were at this home base, 2 at Maribyrnong, 1 at You Yangs launch and 1 at Toowoomba while we were visiting family in Qld. There has been both hot and cold mornings, and some rain but every Saturday parkrun goes ahead.
I also have volunteered 12 times and enjoy being part of the parkrun community.

This morning 6 of us reached this milestone including a family of 4 and when the photos are posted I will attach them here. Lots of the group of 60 odd got into the spirit and celebrated Christmas and running at the same time on this hot morning. Thunder rumbled a Happy Christmas before we started and we were pleased some lightning was moving away to the East.

thanks Damo for the snap
Running Buddy was able to attend also and I was grateful that she was able to squeeze that in her busy day with family duties, to run with me. Poor old Mel had to work (but then let us know there were no patients in the ward to look after anyway - better that people stay out of hospital at Christmas).
I wore a sequinned skirt that was very festive but very scratchy so will be kept for very special runs in the future. A few commented that whilst festive hats and headbands are fun they aren't that comfortable!

I'm glad I was able to have this run this morning. With us being so busy and the weather heating up finally, running is on the back burner.

Now off to prepare for Christmas dinner with Hayley and Ben.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Trails, hills and creek crossings...

Running Buddy and I joined up with some of the MCR crew and ran our first proper trail event. It was a tough event with even some of the experienced trail runners saying it was a hard event. Put on by the Running Company Ballarat the aptly named Gold Rush Trail Run resulted in some more bling.

The morning was beautiful as we waited beside the Daylesford Lake for our 10 o'clock start.

Melton City Runners
We got to see some of the 22km runners come past as our start line was their half way point. We set off into the bush to hit the trails. Some of it was narrow with the blackberry bush trying to impinge on our path. Some of it was rocky with tree roots trying to trip us over. Most of it was up hill and then down, the down hill sections being tricky and just as challenging as the up. We crossed several creeks and tried not to get our feet wet. We used muscles we haven't used in running before.

We were encouraged by all runners not just the members of our group. We tried to enjoy the surroundings which were quite beautiful. We did not see any wildlife thankfully.

We stopped at this waterfall to appreciate the view before we climbed to the top of it.

It was nice not to be focused on a time but just to enjoy the running and the different challenges the trails presented. A challenging but very rewarding morning of running.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Year of running...

The running year is almost done.

It has been quite an extraordinary year which has seen me achieve goals I never imagined possible. Hundreds of kilometres in training and in events have been recorded on my Garmin and loaded onto Strava. Hardly any of these kms have been run on my own. I've had my running girls by my side for all the tough parts and for the rewarding parts. I've made new running friends at MCR and at parkrun. I like to think I have inspired others on this crazy running journey.

1500 kms of running adventures
After deciding in January that this would be the year we would finally take the step to run the full marathon we set out to make that goal a reality.
We ran not just that first full marathon but went on to run another full and 5 half marathons. We ran some of the same races that we had done before and tried some new ones too.
I loved our road trip weekend away to run the Great Ocean Road half and of course our interstate adventure to the Gold Coast will always be a highlight. My times haven't changed much but I have learned things about myself along the way and thankfully the body has held up without injury.
I have also really enjoyed learning more about running and being part of a running group. I would never have got to this point if I was out there on my own.

I have accumulated quite a medal collection now and I look back on those mementos and remember the effort and struggle to get each of them. I will be adding two more before 2016 ends, one for the virtual run and one for the trail run next weekend. I always said I would do more trail running after I had run the marathon and maybe that is the direction for next year.

One thing for sure I'll still be running

Monday, December 12, 2016

The heart attack...

The day I played the Ladies Tennis Tournament my Big Sister messaged me to say her husband had had a heart attack and she had been called into the Emergency Dept. I was a bit shocked at this news but went on to play and win a trophy.
I waited for updates and snippets of news came via text during the day, people have heart attacks all the time but the way it had unfolded turned out to be a remarkable story.

Seems his day started off as usual and he walked a short distance from his home to the nearby train station but then collapsed on the platform. Bystanders came to his aid and commenced CPR and an ambulance called. Intubation and more CPR followed as he was transported to hospital, the same hospital that he normally works at but had a city meeting to attend that morning instead. Still unconscious he was taken to the cath lab where stents were to be inserted. The ED staff had contacted my sister  and she rushed to be with him. Examination showed stents were not a viable treatment and he was quickly taken into emergency theatre to have Coronary Artery Bypass Grafts. An eventful week in ICU was to follow and after 6 days he finally woke to make a recovery.

Because he had not been awake to answer any questions the search began to find those first responders. By the power of a facebook plea entered by his niece, pieces of the story started to come together. Local and Melbourne radio picked up the story and the locals who had stepped in so quickly were identified and thanked.

CPR save lives.
Early CPR gives people the best chance of survival. We are so grateful that those people knew what to do and put their CPR training into action.

He is recovering at home now with my relieved sister and niece, looking forward to Christmas celebrations and we are grateful that this story had a wonderful outcome.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Another parkrun convert...

I mentioned to Erin that running at parkrun would be good for her, to meet some new people and to try out running. To my surprise she agreed, without any hassling or cajoling. We found some gear for her to run in, printed her barcode and borrowed an old pair of shoes. She got early (no makeup!)and came to parkrun with me.

I wanted an easy run before the half marathon the next day so we walked and ran and chatted. We ran until she was out of breath and then walked til she recovered. During her stints of running she dashed off for short bursts claiming I run too slow. Slow I might be but I can keep going.

Being the self conscious thing she is she didn't want to take off her jumper or be photographed but she allowed both things to happen.

trying to hide behind me to avoid the photographer

She felt sick after the unaccustomed activity and told me her goal was to be able to run further without feeling sick. That will come if she listens to her mother and builds up gradually.

At least she said she will give it another go and was a bit chuffed when her results were emailed to her (first in her age group!)

Running for women...

team JAM
Sunday saw we 3 running friends tackle our last running challenge as a threesome for the year.
 We went all out in pink in the Carman's  Womens Fun Run. Previously sponsored by Sussans and now Carman the muesli lady, we ran our last half marathon to raise money for breast cancer.

The weather was forecast for a very warm 34 degrees so we were lucky to have started early and finished by 10am. Later in the day wind and thunderstorms tried to spoil a good day.

I struggled with the 21.1 km course and feel tired at the end of this big year but I'm glad to be still running

we found the Running Diva leader Erica after the run
 Even though it was tough I thoroughly enjoyed the day. Plans are afoot for next year.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Too many funerals...

Today was a day dominated by funerals.

We nurses are a superstitious lot. We believe the full moon brings the crazies into the Emergency Dept, if you say the word quiet it instantly gets busy and deaths come in threes. There were 3 funerals today and I went to two of them.

The first was a really good funeral.
  I have been to enough funerals to know what constitutes a good or mediocre funeral.
It was a nice tribute to the man who had lived a full life but succumbed to illness at 67. His family and friends regaled us with tales of his sporting prowess, work ethic and love of family. There were tears and laughs in the overflowing Chapel. Memories were shared and it was a nice send off.

The second funeral could not have been more different.
A former colleague of Chris' from when they worked in  the Transit Patrol Service, had only about 25 show up to pay their respects and half of them were his direct family. Apparently he had become estranged from his wife and 2 children and there was an uncomfortable allusion to the method of death, probable suicide. The Celebrant rattled off some facts about his life with little emotion. There was no tribute from family or friends, there was no photo montage and the whole thing was over in 20 minutes. We waved him off to the Essendon theme song. It was a sad affair for all the wrong reasons. I got the feeling that his life had a downward spiral where he died lonely and alone at 57 in Moe, and the funeral was a duty that had to be performed. The four former Transit Patrol Officers were a bit suprised that so few had made the trip to Dandenong for the service. Just shows that a strong social media group does not always equate to a strong physically supportive group.

I was also struck by a thought that we could have been attending my Brother-in-laws funeral today instead. His close call of death recently is a whole 'nother story which luckily had a different outcome. I'll tell you about that in another post.

The 90 minute journey home was a good opportunity for Chris and I to talk about plans. At first Chris said I could do whatever I wanted because he wouldn't care but I pressed him for a few details. I have some ideas of songs and photos and anecdotes. Some of the conversation was light hearted and some serious but the pervading thought was hopefully a few more will gather to remember our passing. He felt badly for his friend and the shabby funeral we had witnessed.

And I'm sure the third funeral, which I just couldn't make, would have been a packed affair too. He had been a true gentleman, a local who was involved in community and surrounded by his family to the end.

All in all a reflective day which has been a reminder to live a full life.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Running to the end of the year...

After the second marathon this year I have slowly been getting back to running longer distances again and have set our sights on the next goals to achieve.

We excitedly signed up for the City 2 Sea 15k and this year the day of the race was hot and challenging. I was going pretty well for the 1st 10k but the heat got to me and I struggled over the line. We haven't had much hot weather this Spring and we just aren't used to the conditions yet.

Pretty happy to get the bling around my neck! and to find these girls and get some refreshments.

My tennis partner and I were also happy to win recently at the Djerriwarrh Health Services Ladies Tennis Tournament. Last year we came runners up in our division but this year we were able to take out the trophy.

Don't let the overcast day fool you, I got pretty sunburnt on my quest for the trophy. Kath and I would have played Club Champs together but we are running another half marathon that day and Kath is tripping off on a holiday.

I finally got Hayley to her first parkrun and now I am working on Erin to join me. parkrun is perfect for beginner runners as both my girls are. My hope is that they develop a love of running and being active. Our run together was a nice mix of running with walk breaks while I caught Hayley up with the latest news, the most important bit being her Uncle's heart attack the day before. We were walking the last part and I said to her at a designated point 500m from the finish we would run to cross the line. When we reached that point she bolted off to beat me. She recorded her PB of 36 mins and said she would have given up sooner if she had gone on her own. Hopefully she will be encouraged to continue on her own or rope Ben into going with her.

cheeky bugger sprinted off to finish ahead

We went off to a local cafe to have breakfast and more of a catch up. It was a lovely morning with my girl.  Erin has been quite isolated this year so I'm hoping the friendly crew at Toolern Creek will welcome and encourage her also.

OK, so next up is the 5th half marathon for the year, a womans only event along the Beach Rd in St Kilda, From memory it is 5k out and back in each direction repeated twice. Last time we ran in drizzly rain, the forecast this year is 28 degrees.Somewhere in between would be good.

We also have a social Beer run on trails and a formal 11k trail run to test out the trail shoes. I should reach my 50 parkruns milestone on Christmas Eve, that will be the run I wear the tutu for so I can cross that off the running bucket list. I'm a bit nervous about wearing it on a long run like the half in case it bothers me and I leave it in a gutter somewhere.
Before we know it the year will be over and we will be grizzling about the heat and how hard it is to run in. An enforced hiatus will see me out until March then back into it with some new goals to achieve.