Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Running to the end...

When I look back at the year, one theme has dominated.


I've (mostly) enjoyed the training and the results. I've run in old places and new ones. I've run races I said I wouldn't do again and got talked into 2 half marathons so am counting that as having done a full. We've mastered running in the rain and learn something new with each race we enter.

There has been plenty of times when I wanted to give up or haven't enjoyed running but these marvellous girls have kept me going. And it looks like they aren't letting me off the hook next year. There is talk of an actual full marathon and talk of looking further afield for races. 

I've recorded 650kms on my Garmin but one of the best runs was one where I didn't turn it on properly and just paced myself on how I felt.

I can see new shoes in the near future. I've managed to be injury free but some little niggles are creeping in

Here's to running on in 2015.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

2014 is nearly done...

The year is drawing to an end.

There has been so much build up to Christmas and holidays. Lots of work had to be finished off before leave could commence.
Work Christmas party number 1

We entertained homesick English visitors and tried to make the season as Christmassy as possible. I pulled together a Christmas Eve dinner and we wore paper hats and had a great time. I think they appreciated the effort and perhaps it eased the pangs slightly. The hot weather has really thrown them off balance, it doesn't seem like Christmas to them at all and it has been interesting to hear how things are different and some are the same. A cruise around looking at the Christmas lights was a highlight as well.

We enjoyed our family Christmas celebration today after a less frenetic gift exchange than we are used to, having grown up children changes the dynamic somewhat. It was lovely to have Hayley back in the fold.

long time since there were 3 kids in the back seat
 Hayley withstood the barrage of questions about her time away and entertained us all with her witty ways.
Hayley is dismayed she is officially the shortest cousin

Everyone gathered for their family shot and the big group photo taken with the timer

Where's Callum?

Add caption

And behind the scenes...

It was lovely to spend time with these goof balls.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

First week home...

Hayley has been having a lovely time reconnecting with her Australian and English friends. Surprises for some, all pleased to see her back home. She has begun job hunting fervently and has managed to spread the contents of her giant pack around the house. We've had some meals and outings and it has been really nice to hear her say 'that meal was the best'. She has been rediscovering some old favourites that she had missed or just wasn't the same. She has relearned to drive and relayed tales from her time away. She is different now and has become a bigger personality than she was before. Meeting her new friends reveals a bit more of herself to me.
Erin has had some adjusting to do too. Her position in the family has shifted back and now that they are all older it's quite different. I'm seeing Erin in a new way as well. Even Chris has been different with Hayley in the house.

I know that Hayley won't stay permanently, that there are more travels and adventures and friends to come so I am enjoying this time.

And I haven't stopped smiling.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Race report no: 30...

Today was the worst conditions we have run in. Constant rain overnight set up the course for the Sussan's Women's Fun Run as full of puddles and a muddy finish. We lined up in the rain. We ran in the rain. We went home in the rain. During the race rain constantly dripped off my hat. Despite the rain the race went really well and I did a best time of 2:18:40 a whopping 5 mins off my first attempt and blasted October's time. Our preparation was not as focused as previously, we had done a few long runs but I wasn't as stressed as last time. Mentally I had a plan and it paid off.

The girls got to the finish line a couple of minutes before me and we were all pleased with our results.

It's still raining, we are wet through but happy to be finished

Mel's husband gets the saint award as he made the effort to get to the finish line in the rain. It was her goal when she started running at the start of this year to run a half marathon by the end. I am glad that this last race of the  year meant I finished on a high.

And now I have 30 bibs in my book and a few medals on the hook.

The rain meant that the tennis club championships would have been cancelled. I haven't  had confirmation of that but if they reschedule I might be able to play after all.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Surprises at tennis...

Thursday night mixed doubles tennis went off with a bang. We won 3 sets and that was enough to bag the trophy, the 5th set didn't go ahead, we were already celebrating!

the winning team, thanks guys for a great season

I lost the first set though but came through to win my second set and was lucky enough to pull off a blindingly good shot to win the game and the set. I headed up to the clubhouse on a high and optimistic that the 4th set that was being played out could be a winner. While I was chatting and cooling off I got the surprise of my life.

 Around the corner came Lucy then Erin and THEN HAYLEY!

I let out a little scream as I was so pleased and surprised. She had come home a week early to surprise me, set up with Abi and Robbo. I couldn't let her go. We were laughing and crying and I was like,
WHAT, HOW, WHY, HOW?????? Lucy had already been surprised the night before when she landed on WEDNESDAY. Hayley didn't want to surprise me then as I had to work Thursday and wanted to be able to spend the day with me Friday. She had been home and surprised Erin and Chris and Callum. Luckily she came when I had finished playing as I would have been way too distracted to finish any tennis.
My plans for today had already changed as Big Sister had meetings and Cardio had been cancelled and this unexpected happening has been wonderful.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

More tennis...

Since the last big race tennis has been the centre of my attention. We had the Annual Ladies High Tea Tournament for the local hospital. 140 women came along to support the fundraiser and play some (at times very competitive) tennis. The trophies were well worth winning but Rosie and I in our first pairing together couldn't take one home. The weather was perfect and the day successful.

The next tennis outing was the semi finals on Thursday night, which we scraped through into the grand final next week. The deciding 5th set was a nail biter but we came up trumps.

Today was a fund raiser for Relay for Life. We played 4 sets in hot temperatures and what at times felt like blazing sunshine. I wanted a bit more cloud cover and the forecast storm never took the sting from the sun. I am very thankful for well applied effective sunscreen, so I feel like I beat the 36 degree day. Couldn't win the afternoon but took out a raffle prize. It was a good hit up leading up to the grand final with fun people, just the sort of day I really enjoy.

Next focus is the Sussans Womens half marathon next weekend and have my fingers crossed for good weather and a good run.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The race is done...

The City to Sea 15k is done. In the bag. All wrapped up. And I am pleased to say it was a ripper.

Not once did we grizzle when the rain did not let up.

No complaining about being cold while we waited.

And no whinging about distance, soreness or being wet.

Our throw away ponchos and op shop finds were discarded at the last minute and did a fabulous job of keeping us mostly dry. The rain decided to stop at 820am when the gun went off. The race was run under damp and overcast condition with about 9000 runners who were not put off by the weather.

For the first time in 30 races Running Buddy and I had to make a pit stop at the half way porta potties. There would be no holding on. So we paused our timers and 'used the facilities'.

The course was really nice and we all ran really well. I was very happy with the 1:34 time and feel much better about this years event. A coffee in Fitzroy St and a tram ride back to the city car park finished off a great morning. During the car ride home we analysed every km, the highlights and the amusing sights. These girls are such a boost to me and I love doing these events with them. I might even buckle and do the half marathon on 7th December. I will have to forego the tennis 'Club Championships' and the MRA Toy Run to do so. Even today's event clashed with the Eureka Stair Climb and a Color Run at Flemington. I would highly recommend doing a colour run once in your life. It's a great experience and you don't need to be physically fit to participate. The stair climb on the other hand seems very daunting and difficult.

I learned today that wet running pants are very hard to pull up in the confines of a porta loo when you are in a hurry...

Friday, November 14, 2014

City 2 sea...

This is our next event, the City2Sea and as you can see its just 1 day away. I have been looking at the forecast each day and was happy a few days ago when the bureau said it was going to be 24 degrees. But each day it has deteriorated from cloudy to showery to rain.
We did this race last year and being close to the half marathon I thought I would be easily able to pull off the 15km but I really struggled. I still find some days and distances are tough.
This year we have kept up the training so we can finish strong. It's a lovely course from the MCG down to St Kilda and a very popular event.

We have been very lucky not to have had to run in rain very often and are perhaps a bit spoiled having great conditions for our events.

90% chance of the morning...

I was thumbing through my race folder and counted up the bibs. Sunday's event will be my 30th race. That's an average of 8 per year since I started. Not what I expected when I took up running.

I just have to remember this

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Holidays are over...

Back to work this week and the 3 days have been busy. Busy catching up, busy clinically and then a forum to attend in the city on Friday.

I should have known that there would be as many 'what did you do? did you go away?' questions on my return as there were prior.

I felt like a had a long break, it didn't feel rushed and it was as productive as I wanted it to be. Sometimes I feel like making up a lie about an exotic adventure to satisfy those who are aren't satisfied with a 'nothing much' answer. I have added in a 'training for and recovering from the half marathon' answer for some who just cannot comprehend what seems to be a wasted time.

Someone at the forum said if your employer doesn't replace you while you are away then you shouldn't have to catch up on what didn't get done. If it needed to be done someone should have done it. Doesn't really work that way for me and rather than not receiving the 300 emails, it took me 3 hours to wade through and prioritise them. It will take me a couple of weeks to get back to where I was before. The forum didn't help either just gave me lots of ideas for new projects to start on...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Not a running post...

Bored with what is on offer on the TV and having read everything in my feed reader and used up all my lives on Candy Crush I started reading back through my blog posts.

Not bad if I say so myself.

But very heavy on the running posts. Sorry about that. So to change it up a little here is a post

Today being a Public Holiday in Melbourne AND the last day of my leave I played tennis all day.

my new partner
Kath and I partnered up for the first time and battled the heat and the very windy conditions to play 5 sets of good tennis. We had some wins and losses and are a very even match up. It was a lot of fun. we got a second in the sweep and third in the round robin. Kath was very organised and bought us matching tops to wear so we really looked the goods. It was a lovely way to end up my holidays. 

A big shout out to my Running Buddy who celebrates her birthday today. Even though it fell on the public holiday she still had to work and be normal etc. Happiest of birthdays my friend. I hope you always feel like you crossed the finish line in first place.

AND in very exciting news, Hayley has purchased her ticket home!! She will be home for Christmas and will skip winter this year and return for an Australian baking. Much like our Nana used to do, switching between Cairns and Melbourne to avoid the cold. It will be good to have her home and be able to catch up on her news in person.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Who knew...

Who knew today would be such a good day?

Not me.

The weather was not the best...pretty grey and cool and threatening to rain.
The preparation was not the best either...a bit haphazard.

But it all fell into place at the Lara Fun Run, a race I hadn't committed to until the last registration day (Thursday). A race I have done twice before and was not really interested in repeating.

Turns out that set of circumstances produced one of the best runs I have had. Ever. I ran a PB of 58:58 for the 10km. I busted that elusive  60 min barrier. I felt really good the whole way.

Running Buddy made us laugh today as she tried out her 'selfie pole'

and I was just a bit happy with myself

It has been a week of excitements. I have been trying to catch up with Hayley's bestie from the UK. Messages back and forth haven't come to fruition so imagine my surprise when she walked into my Pilates class.

I was even happy with this snap,
we had run 6k up hills in the heat in the afternoon
 and then got bent out of shape in the class

It was almost as good as seeing Hayley herself. Abi has spent more time with Hayley while she has been in the UK and I can see why the two of them have become close.

Much happiness...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

One week later...

...I am recovering well.

I've had a 5km run,  a good stretch at Pilates, 2 sets of mixed doubles on Thursday night, a good cardio session on Friday and another 4 sets of tennis today.

Perhaps not the relaxing post half marathon recovery week but not having to work has really helped. We have had the debrief hash out about how we could do better/different next time. time. And we have planned out the next few weeks events, the next long run being City to Sea in November (15k)

This week I also learned that Suze broke her arm when she fell at tennis last week (that's 2 for 2 now) and Emma suffered a meniscus tear. l learned my  pilates instructor is expecting her first baby. And I found out my eyesight has deteriorated some more so need glasses for long and short distance focus. I didn't need a test to know that, but snazzy new glasses to wear most of the time should take the edge off. I met up with Hayley's 'UK Abi' when she had a shift at Baby Black but work kept us from having a proper catch up.

Half way through my holidays and it has been mighty fine.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

It's done...

the much anticipated half marathon is finished. All done and dusted for the year. Perhaps I should wait a day or two before posting this race report because right now I'm not sure how I feel about it. Except spent.

Thankyou random stranger for taking our picture
It was a beautiful morning as we waited for our 8am start. We set off from the MCG down St Kilda Rd, around Albert Park Lake and back to the 'G. We couldn't go in this year as they are resurfacing for the cricket season so finished behind the ground. We got a buzz as we saw the leaders of the full marathon heading back down St Kilda Rd for their super quick times.

Dominic Pius ONDORO finished in 2:11:30 to take first place and Nikki CHAPPLE led the ladies with 2:31:04. My time was very similar to Nikki's except she ran twice as far. Makes sense then that she, as a champion, runs twice as fast as well.

Waiting at the finish line was young Joel, the son of my colleague, who was doing a project about marathon running and we were as close as he could get to a real life runner. Bless him. He came to cheer us on.

Just sharing some sweat with Joel
 His message to us last night was "I hope you win"
Well we did win, just by finishing.

After some rehydration we wandering into the race expo to check out the gear. As a sport, technically all you need is runners, BUT there is a goldmine of merchandising to be had to make you faster, better and poorer. We wandered aimlessly in the end, not able to get our brains to function past...I'm glad that's over.

The bib is filed in the folder, the medal hung with pride, this week I will rest and recover so we can take on the next challenge.

Friday, October 10, 2014


It has been a lovely few days.

Taper week means winding down the training, doing some light workouts and being mentally prepared for the big day.


 I have run a little, including a trip into the city where I ran around the Tan,  past The Shrine,
to the MCG where I picked up our race packets and sponsors bags.

I have scrapped a little and got some prints done on line at Social Print Studio, so have lots more fodder for projects. These 5 x 5" prints are a nice quality. they are mainly Hayley's friends taken off Instagram and will be nice in her album.

The weather has been gorgeous and the promised 'red moon' was a fizzer in our backyard.

Oh and I had a low key birthday...nice and quiet

Chris's mother has moved back to Victoria, her failing health meant she was not managing in Hobart. We will visit tomorrow and check out the situation, stay tuned for the ever changing story.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Please don't ask...

"What are you doing on your holiday?'

I have started four weeks long service leave. I had a big chunk to dip into, a whole 23 weeks. So I have indulged myself and taken some off to do...not much. I have been asked continually what I am doing during my break, 4 weeks is quite a long time to take and my answer seemed inadequate, non deserving of the allocated time.

I don't have any trips planned. As much as I would love to see Hayley in the UK, we don't have the dosh to spend on a holiday like that. It's an expensive, long journey and I would want to see parts of Europe and the UK and she is tethered to Ipswich during the week with her full time job. If I were to go on my own to see her, the logistics of leaving family/Erin in school etc would be horrendous. I will see Hayley soon enough and she keeps me up to date with her adventures.

I don't have any big renovation or spring cleaning plans either. I might get some gardening done or clean out the linen cupboard or pantry but I might not either. My only real goal is to be prepared for the Marathon next Sunday.

I might take more photos, I might blog more often, I might do some scrapping. I might do a bit of baking for my family, I might catch up with friends. I'm not making any ambitious plans. Previously I would have put all manner of goals and achievements on myself. Not this time.

This time is going to be a breather, a regrouping time just for me. I was reading an article about a stay at home Moms perspective once all the kids are at school and how she is constantly asked what she does with her time during school hours. I liked this passage...

What kind of value do we place on a day with nothing planned? On a day not filled with lists of accomplishments, but with peace and quiet: a long walk to a coffee shop to enjoy a book, a phone conversation with a family member whom we've lost touch. Will we tell those stories, or leave them out? There is value in both the busy days and the slow, reflective ones. There is value in finding time for oneself.

This is what comes up if you Google 'relaxing'

So that is what I am doing on my leave, a little bit of this or that, maybe nothing, maybe a lot. I will go back to work knowing I have had this time for myself.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Just 7 days left...

The hay is in the barn.

Or as much hay as I can get in that 'ol barn. The work has been done and now we get to taper, have a light week and to try not to stress about what we should have done.

We will be OK.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Apes UK tour...

The local band once called The Boo Hoo Hoos and now named APES are headlining a tour in the UK. 

Hayley is beyond excited to see them in London. She will be able to have a big dose of Aussie friends and music.

Whenever I saw the lead singer Ben making my latte at Baby 
Black cafe I wanted to tell him that Hayley was going to meet up with them in London but she wanted to surprise them by turning up all cool and say 'Hey, wad up' not really, she doesn't talk like that. So I had to be cool too and keep mum, all the time thinking to myself 'I have a secret...'

Huge kudos to them for such a great step in the journey to being famous rockstars. Or making a living at being musicians.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The weather is against me...

Time is ticking away.

The countdown is on.

We just wanted one more long run under our belts to feel really prepared for the half marathon but what with gale force winds combined with a hot Sunday it didn't happen.

Tonight after work I was all set to run but the wind picked up again and hail and thunderstorms put me off.

Big plans for next week when I begin 4 weeks leave.

Big Big Plans!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

I had a goal...

but I fell a bit short today.

We were entered in the Spring into Shape 10km challenge and while we should be adding more kms to our training we thought that this would be a speed challenge for us.

My goal was to run this one at 10km/hr pace and finish in just under 60 minutes. Anything with a 5 at the beginning would be trumps, I would settle for a 59:59 but it was not to be. The lovely course along the Yarra would see me finish in 1:01:13. I couldn't quite get my pace quick enough.
Running buddy was able to crack it though and our Pharmacist friend also blitzed out a 54 min time after we had to convince her to go the 10k distance and not settle for a 5k.

When I got home and loaded up my times from the Garmin I saw that Mel had also run locally this morning and did a really quick time. Our encouragement has seen her overtake anything we can do.

Just 3 weeks left til the Marathon, more training is needed.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Countdown to the marathon...

Just 4 weeks left til we run the half marathon in Melbourne. We have been training by running down Werribee Vale Rd and trialling GU chomps/water/gatorade.
We ran 18kms but after about 14k I felt tired and out of puff.
My colleague was very keen for us to try Black Water,
a product her sister in law is importing from Canada. We downed the water which your brain tells you is not good being so ink like but it has no taste, if you close your eyes you can't tell it from normal water but apparently has super benefits for you. Not sure what the effect was but GU stirs up my guts and that was no different today.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Need to chill...

I find myself obsessing over things and I have to try to relax. What will be will be. To quote the Dalai Lama

Good advice.

I just need to chill.

This song is on repeat since I heard it recently.

Local band, filmed in the local hall, friends of Hayley's.

She is planning to see them perform in Manchester (of all places).

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Running for mental health...

New running convert Melissa found a new race for us to try, the De Castella Run supporting mental health. I was booked in before I could say where?? what?? how far??

Turned out it was all good.

A beautiful morning saw us head over to the Yarra Boulevard to run the hilly course. Apparently Robert de Castella was there to give an inspirational speech but I didn't see him. A few hundred of us ran either 5, 10 or 15k. I was on a high from previous run and thought 15k sounded achievable and we looked like this before we set off.

Xavier College 
The course was tough. Up and down the Boulevard for agonising km after km. I find running downhill as hard as running uphill and my hamstring started to twinge with all the climbing. But I persisted and was happy with my 1:40 time.

look at the elevation!!!
Garmin Connect tells me it was 250m of elevation gain, all those ups added up!

But this run I was able to spot the photographer and tried really hard to show good form and a smile and try to remember Will's tips - lean, lengthen, relax.

saved a little bit for a sprint to the finish
I listened to my tunes to keep me going along the way and found a pacing buddy to keep going at the end. Melissa did a fantastic job in her 10k and we were all done by 10am. These runs are lots of fun and a great pay off for all the boring training runs we do but I did think I was a little bit mental as I huffed and puffed through the course.

Monday, September 1, 2014

A party...

We attended number one nephew's 21st birthday celebrations and had a hoot!

We dressed up in our best black and white gear and headed up to Ballarat on a chilly wet night. Erin had a very cute new dress to wear and I repeated my outfit that I wore to Erin's Deb Ball. My sister looked smashing in a full length black dress and was very brave when she got up and led the band in a rendition of My Sharona. We were able to catch up with some of their other family and friends and have a dance.

The party went off really well and my sister had added some nice touches with a slide show, photo remembrance book to sign and a spectacular cake that she had made herself. Number 2 nephew's band was really good and played some of my favourite songs so I could do the embarrassing Mum dancing I like to do.

While I was at the party I shot some video clips of everyone saying 'hello Hayley' and posted them to Instagram. She appreciated the gesture and sent back her own clip saying Happy Birthday, it was lovely way to include her, pity I can't post it here to show.

Erin was able to ask her Young Man to the party and he fared very well running the gauntlet of our family. Being a party at a club type venue meant there was little opportunity for the grilling/teasing/scrutiny he would have endured otherwise. But he is a lovely boy and was able to represent himself admirably. Chris was more than a little freaked out at the arrangement of his sleeping over after the party. It was the easiest way to get around the late finish and distance to his home. Rules were laid down and followed. Everyone survived.

Erin and her 'friend' have become closer since they teamed up for the Debut. They spend as much time as they can together on the weekends and we as parents have clocked up many kms driving them in between. She has been very coy about their status taking a long time to actually call him her 'boyfriend' but seeing them cuddled up to each other on our couch has left me in no doubt.