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.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Wheelie??...

Just when you think life is cruising along nicely something is thrown up at you that you don't expect.

Sunday morning I hopped into my car to head off for a run and thought the car felt a little off. Then when I felt a jolt instead of reversing out of the driveway I got out to look around. Maybe I had a flat tyre... no, I was missing a wheel.

I was completely gob smacked. Stunned. In disbelief.

The wheel was ...gone.

How could this happen??

I went back in and told Chris. He was also could not believe what I was saying.

Overnight someone had very quietly jacked up my locked car and taken the wheel complete with the wheel nuts, left the jack in place and went away.

We never heard a thing.

Several tricky manoeuvres later, reminiscent from a scene in 'The Castle', we Chris secured the spare with a nut from each of the remaining wheels and moved it out of the way.

The police were also a little bemused by the situation. There has been thefts and break ins but this was the only wheelie crime reported lately. Seems someone needed an Astra wheel more than I did.

A running friend offered to talk to his mate at the wreckers who knew someone who could get a rim for me this week. As I handed over my money the thought that I might be buying back my own property crossed my mind. When I get a new tyre for the replacement rim and some lock nuts the 'incident' will be over.

And we can go back to the uneventful life thanks

Friday, October 21, 2016

Virtual racing...

We love a bit of medal bling and are building up quite a collection. Not as many as some but I now have 17 hanging on a hook. I like to flick through some times remembering the races and the circumstances that got me to that point. I particularly like the first one, the Mothers Day Classic where running 4km was a mammoth goal. And now on top of the pile is my latest marathon where running 42.2km was achieved.

I would like to add some different medals to my collection and we are looking further afield to do this. Before the year is out I will add the City 2 Sea (15k) and perhaps the Carmens Womens Fun Run half marathon (formerly the Sussans Womens)

We are also going to support an indigenous marathon project and participate in a virtual run.



The Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF) is an Australian charity organisation that provides an opportunity for Indigenous men and women to complete the New York Marathon, inspiring a nation and encouraging healthy and active lifestyles.











We have chosen to run 100km in November and by doing so we will help raise some funds and get another medal. If you click on the link you will get the details and see that you can choose any distance to cover, you don't have to run it all but you will feel mighty good at the end.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The good weekend...

running the marathon was just a part of my bloody good weekend.  I was able to enjoy some luxury at the Sofitel and eat my way through the weekend.

I went into the city with Running Buddy and her hubbie so didn't even have to drive or worry about parking and then was treated like a queen when we arrived. The staff were very efficient and attentive and greeted us with a Bonjour or Bonsoir Madame and made me feel very fancy. Up on the 47th floor the view blew me away.




Even the bed was luxurious as the view. Being so close to the start line was a great idea and it meant we were close again after the event to recover without travelling.
















After settling in we met for a drink and a snack before heading out to our early dinner.

 The girls had been to Gazi before so were able to off insight into how to proceed
dips to share



melt in your mouth beef souvlaki

the ceiling is covered in terracotta pots

to finish a Brest and coffee
After the race Hayley and Ben took me to a pub in Richmond and I didn't feel at all out of place in my singlet, race bib and medal. I was sweaty, salt encrusted and wind blown, but happy.

After a soak in the bath and a rest we headed out to try Hayley's favourite Mamasita for some authentic Mexican food. We were lucky we walked in at the right moment so didn't have to wait for a table and were able to plonk our weary bodies down. In our post marathon state we couldn't make a decision so went with the waitress' suggestions and were again satisfied.


We had an early night again and made a plan to have breakfast together after check out. Right behind the Sofitel is Cumulus Inc which we had walked past the night before and thought it looked good. This time are timing was a little off and waited about 10 minutes to be seated but then enjoyed a late breakfast among the hip city people. Of course the conversation always returned to the marathon or our plans for the next one.

It was a beautiful weekend doing what I love to do in a style I could become accustomed to.

Now back to reality.


Monday, October 17, 2016

The Bloody good magnificent Melbourne weekend...

where I ran my second marathon, got a PB and lapped up some luxury.

Our training had paid off, we were better prepared and had the advantage of being in our home town with our support crew nearby and knowing the course really well. And I'm pleased to say I ran better and finished in 5:07:25 knowing I had given it my all.

We checked into the Sofitel on Saturday afternoon so we could easily access the startline at Rod Laver Arena and not have to worry about parking or getting up super early. We had a delicious early meal at Gazi and finished our carb loading week in style. We didn't see George Columbaris but ate his yummy souvlaki and chips with feta and dips and bread and a little wine.

not the souvlaki from the fish & chip shop

Of course we had to have dessert and coffee and then an early turn in.

Sunday morning saw us at the start line at 6:20 and amongst the 6,000 starters we were able to catch up with some people from the training group and other members of MCR.

sunrise over the G, pre marathon excitement



start line selfie
We were off at 7am and in the excitement and emotion of the moment I didn't see my Garmin turn off so while I was trotting along at the start I was still searching for location, which doesn't work very well while you are moving. I contemplated stopping still to get it going but it came on and I lost only the first 500m.

I ran along the course feeling pretty good despite the windy conditions, the mood in the beginning was upbeat as I settled into my race pace. We ran past familiar landmarks; Flinders St station, St Kilda Rd, Albert Park Lake and onto Beaconsfield Parade. I passed the half marathon mark within the cut off time and plodded along with the wind in my face and then into my back.




The wind meant I ditched my cap, tucking it into my flip belt for most of the race.


getting tougher by the km
 Peter and Martin aka our support crew positioned themselves along the route to cheer us on and take photos (and to carry our bags). They managed to have breakfasts and coffees and get back to the MCG to wait for us to finish. I had tried to tee up a good spot for Hayley to watch from but she wasn't there when I got there. I had been hanging on for that 35k marker but it didn't happen so I knew I had to plug on to see her at the end.

I battled on wanting to get a sub 5 hour time but it wasn't going to be this time. As I rounded the last turn and entered the MCG I gave it one last spurt past the 3k walkers and across the line.

those 2 in green behind me are Spartans - have done 10+ consecutive Melb maras

After crossing the line you go down the players chute to get your medal, the lovely volunteer made me feel like a champion as she presented me with the medal. I met up with the girls who had finished before me and we fell into each others arms and had a little cry. It was an emotional moment. Running Buddy had done so well busting out a great time of 4:47 and poor Mel had her knee give out the 36 km mark and had to walk the last bit, she had had a great race up until that injury flared and finished in 4:57. We ended up 10 minutes apart.


We found our family and friends and headed separate ways to celebrate. I found Hayley and Ben who had seen me cross the finish line and we headed to a Richmond pub. It seemed like the longest km I had ever walked and was very glad to sit down and have this cold cider. She was nearly as proud of me as I was of myself!



I wore that medal all afternoon

Second marathon done. I remember while running the first one that I wouldn't run more than a half again but this one was better in some regards and not in others. The support from MCR this time was invaluable, feeling part of the group was very buoying. The volunteers are always awesome and now I have seen both sides of the Melbourne Marathon. The support along the course was good but not quite up to the standard of the Gold Coast, which was phenomenal. Finishing in the MCG is good but it is difficult to get to your supporters and then you're out of the ground. 

I felt like I couldn't have done any better on the day, there is probably improvements to be made and we'll examine those before...the next one.







Thursday, October 6, 2016

10 sleeps to go...

Just 10 more days before we face our next big challenge.
We are in the taper part of the training plan and it feels a little strange. On one hand its kinda nice not to be pushing all the time but on the other I am a bit nervous about whether we have done enough. From what I read that seems about right and plenty of others have the same concerns.

Our long runs have felt pretty good and the gear and the nutrition have been sorted. I'm looking forward to race day with a mixture of nerves and excitement, the Gold Coast Marathon some 12 weeks ago has become a memory as this event takes precedence but I'm hoping the muscle memory will take over once we start.

In just 10 days time...

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Nearly over the hump...

We have nearly reached the pinnacle of training for the marathon. Just 3 weeks left to get those k's in our legs and I'm happy to report that after 5 weeks of down time our Mel is back running with us.
Running Buddy had a change of scenery and ran in the Sydney Running Festival and refreshed her joy of running. Without her I slipped off the plan a bit and waited for her return to hit the road again. A brisk 10k walk with Big Sister was a lovely way to spend the day, with a break for a cafe lunch, but did not add to the km tally for the week. Wet weather in Melbourne had put me off as well.

I need to harden the F up and get on with it.

So we planned to do 34kms along the beach front for our longest run. We all had Monday off so set off to get it done. It was hard. I only got 32 done and Mel back from injury hiatus put us to shame and busted out a 33. I was cross with myself for thinking I could be out running for nearly 4 hours and not get sunburnt and now have a patchwork of differing shades of red skin for my neglect. I was exhausted at the end and sat in a Port Melbourne cafe unable to choose something to eat and drink. The young waitress was very unimpressed by my lament of  'we've just run 32k and can't decide...'

Since then I have run another 2 x fast 8k and attended the You Yangs parkrun launch this morning.

MCR at the You Yangs

this is the kind of running I enjoy and I know I will enjoy running again when this hard slog part of training is done.

Tomorrow is another 28k with the training group and then the tapering begins!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Goals...

Rain has put us off tonight from trying out the pyramid run. With no break in sight from the drenching we are hoping to get it done tomorrow night. I think I needed another day break from the long run we did on Sunday anyway. Although we got the 30km done it was hard and I ended up a little sunburnt from the 3 & 1/2 hours out in the sun. We almost didn't get it done as after just 3km into it I was consumed by a wicked gut ache that felt more like intense period pain than a need for the toilet. My ever patient Running Buddy nursed me through another couple of slow ks until it passed as mysteriously as it had shown up.

But still 30k was tough but showed me we are a bit closer to our goal.

And then I saw this bucket list of running goals and while it is U.S. based I've adjusted it a little to suit my own goals. And it was nice to cross some off the list already.
  1. Trail run in a National Park this will be a goal for next year, after my hysterectomy, I want to pursue some trail runs
  2. Ocean run on the sand Yep did that at Port Fairy and it was glorious and freeing.
  3. Complete a Marathon Gold Coast and Melbourne are ticked off but I still have Paris or New York or Amsterdam or London as an ultimate goal
  4. Serve as a race-day volunteer Yep did that at Melbourne Marathon last year and while it was  a good experience it made me want to run even more. I volunteer at parkrun too, encouraging others to run.
  5. Three generations of runners in one race this one will be particularly tricky for some time, maybe just 2 generations in one race will suffice, Hayley has taken up running so I'm pinning my hopes on her
  6. Sunrise run  We were up before the sun for the last Run Melbourne
  7. Conquer each distance: 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon done, done, done, done
  8. Run for charity done - Sussan's womens race, Mother's Day Classics, Run4kids, Run for Mental Health and many more
  9. Run with someone completing her first race Yep when we roped Mel into her first Run Melbourne, and she beat me!
  10. Participate in a long distance, overnight relay this one will stay on the list for a while, but going on road trips like when we went to Great Ocean Road was such a fun trip I can imagine it would be just as much fun
  11. Race festively (race-themed attire or tutu and tiara all count) Next Run 4 the kids I want to wear a tutu and hope to rope in Big Sister to make me one
  12. Run Central Park Insert Run a few tourist Parkruns instead. I've done 2 away from my  'home parkrun' at Maryibyrnong and Toowoomba but would like to run some more
  13. Run the Golden Gate Bridge 
  14. Run Big Sky country 
  15. Attend a runners’ retreat
  16. Join a running group Yep joining Melton City Runners has introduced me to some great friends and motivating runners
  17. Complete a trail race Does Hanging Rock 20km count? I'm MCR will help me with this one
  18. Volunteer to support a kids’ running group or after-school fitness program, I'm more likely to encourage others to find the joy of running
  19. Train with a four-legged, furry running companion gonna have to get a dog first...
and…
  1. Never stop chasing the next dream or challenge.
How many can you cross off?

An update on the old blood pressure. While the medication has made me feel better within myself it seems my renal function has deteriorated enough for my GP to message me to say stop taking it while we figure out the next step.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Friday catch up...

I had a couple of different running experiences this week which brings back into focus why I do what I do.

We have been running with a group of strangers in the city that we have been slowly getting to know each Sunday morning getting our long runs done. The group splits into two with a faster group and us in the slower group, We have been getting tips and sometimes more information than we know how to process but we are learning all the time while clocking up the kms. We are able to encourage other similar runners and gain insight from the more experienced. At this stage of my running I am somewhere in between novice and expert.

During the week I ran with the local running group to do a fast 6k. I was able to run part of the way with the President of the group. He had just completed a 100km trail ultra run on the surf coast and treated this quick run as a 'recovery run'. I let him do all the talking although he kindly showed interest in my training plan and then offered advice. Seems that our current plan is a better one than the one we had used in the lead up to the Gold Coast. A plan is a hot topic, I was asked several times which plan we were using and I glad I had something to say, that I was legitimately training for this marathon.


The outdoors proved dangerous for my Running Buddy when she was swooped by a magpie in a local park and ended up with a black eye. Ironically it is one of her biggest fears, along with sink holes, a torment we have to endure each Spring. Luckily she was wearing her sunglasses otherwise it could have been worse and it has shaken her confidence. And she wasn't even running at the time. I was concerned that she may never run outside again but shortly afterwards she posted this pyramid plan for us to try. The plan we are using this time incorporates more than just long, easy paced runs.


My nursing skills have been put to the test this week with my poor husband struck down with the man flu. He must feel really sick as he has allowed me to tend to him, he has even taken the proffered medication and advice. As long as he is not sharing his condition we will get through this.