Sunday, November 15, 2015

Run, run,run...

The weekend had some running in it of course, not the City 2 Sea or Run from hills formal kind of running but very satisfying running.

Early on Saturday morning was Parkrun and the encouragement of pacers

My plan  was to stay ahead of this tall girl with the 30 min bib

I was able to stay ahead of Carly and run a PB. I wanted to have a number with a 29 in front of it and Carly's voice was behind me saying 'don't let me catch you Jo-Anne' and I managed to stay ahead and laughed out loud when I saw the times...28:59!! Just have to keep that up now.

I wanted to keep up with this guy but had no hope

Parkrun is such a good event. It is run by a great bunch of volunteers. It's timed. It's free. There is loads of encouragement for all, whether young or old, new runner or not, running with a dog or pushing a pram or even if you can't run a step but want to work towards that goal. And being a global organisation means you can run in other states or even overseas.

As you can tell, I am a big fan.

By attending Parkrun and talking to other runners I was able to join a local running group. This group organises informal runs and meets up at various places by putting out a call on facebook. I answered such a call and ran with a small group in the Gorge this morning.

This run was billed as an 'easy 5k trail run'. Trail running is not my first choice but thought I would give it another try as it was good chance to try with a welcoming group.
We set out at 9 on a perfect morning, I've walked this track many times but running it required a lot of concentration. The pace was good and though I felt as though I was holding the group back they never let on, even stopping at times to look at a wombat or goat. Luckily no snakes this morning.

great spotting Tom
I was too busy looking at my feet to admire any scenery

cooling off post run
Trail running is a bit like hill running for me...I have to convince myself I like it. I know it is good for me and I just have to embrace it. Although the run was hard I enjoyed the challenge and getting to run with these nice people.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Highs and lows...

since my plan to get my running mojo back on track has been in place the strategies have been working well. Setting some goals, volunteering and the improvement in the weather has worked well. My runs have felt good. Until last Sunday when  we did the second race in the Spring into Shape series and it was hard. Running Buddy and I both struggled with the 10k course and hot morning posting dismal times and feeling wretched at the end. RB had crossed before me and was there to greet me as I crossed the finish line. Our embrace lasted longer than usual as I needed her support to stop from collapsing.

Some runs are hard.

2 runs since then put things into perspective and showed us one bad day is not the end.

I am stronger than my excuses...sometimes

Monday, October 26, 2015

The last day...

Erin had her last day of school, traditionally called Muck Up day has now turned into a more sedate, prankless fun day

the last walk
 They dressed up

 and said goodbye to their teachers
and to each other.

Because exams are yet to come the realisation of the finality hasn't hit yet.

After a relaxed morning they were sent home to prepare for the Valedictory Dinner. They swapped dress ups for formal wear and we headed into the city.

with the aptly named Mr Love, favourite teacher

Cheers to you Erin!

The evening was very nice with good food, some speeches and presentations, finished off with a little dancing. School is over. Fees are done. A new chapter begins.

The Melbourne Marathon...

One day this report will be a race report about my experience of running a full marathon and hopefully it will be a triumphant one reporting an achievable time.

This report is of my experience of volunteering at a drinks station, providing much needed fluid replacement to those who had finished their 42km run.

This happy group were kept very busy handing out water and electrolyte solution to the thousands that had participated. The elite athletes that came in first were ushered over to a VIP area, then we had the rush come through between 3-4 hours after the start gun.
 We were slammed, barely able to keep up with the demand, filling garbage bin sized buckets with fluids continuously. In the beginning we had neatly poured with a jug several thousand cups but as the rush came we were dipping the cups straight from the bucket and only just kept up.
After the 5 hour mark the line dwindled to a trickle and those runners looks more and more exhausted. More training perhaps would give them a better result in better condition. But they can all still call themselves marathoners and have the medal to prove it,
It was a good experience and we had some laughs. The Cerebral Palsy Education Centre who coordinated the 1500 volunteers did a great job and I hope they were able to get some benefit from providing this service. The runners were all very grateful and thankful which was nice. From my perspective volunteering had done what I wanted it to do. I felt like I had contributed, I am inspired by the participants and am renewed in my enthusiasm to run.

 I want to be back on the other side of the drinks table.

Run Ballarat...

I knew I wasn't ready for a half marathon and a long way off the full marathon so decided to do a 12km run with Mel in Ballarat.
Fundraising for the the Ballarat Children's Ward, running through the streets of Ballarat and around Lake Wendouree had much more appeal.

I felt ready to do this run but still found the hilly course a challenge. The last 2 kms around the lake were tough for me.

run ballarat course

It was lovely to be out in the sunshine, doing some physical activity, supporting a good cause.

I recently had a 7 day trial pass at a Fernwood Gym. I tried out some classes and was shown the equipment. It confirmed for me what I thought and that is I'm not a gym person. I like to do the physical activities I enjoy and don't want to feel I have to to justify the cost. I'll stick to running, tennis, cardio tennis sessions and try to find a casual pilates/yoga teacher.

Then I know I will keep it up.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

My running plan...

My plan to get back on track is working. The first step was to have a plan and then to begin.

Yesterday was Parkrun and a sub 30 time

A nice sunny morning to get you in the mood and no swooping!

Today was the first of the Spring into Shape series in Melbourne, 10km along the Yarra River. Running Buddy and I ran 1:03. Pretty happy with that. A really great morning  and we got some samples of magnesium powder and a new singlet. Can't complain about that.

Without any prior consultation RB and I turned up in the same singlet AGAIN!

I am planning to do Run Ballarat and the next 2 in the Spring series and volunteer at the Marathon. it certainly helps that the sun is shining again, my mood has lifted with the rising of the temperature.

I think that will have me on back on the straight and narrow again

Friday, September 25, 2015

Post run blues...

I think I have this thing.

I have felt a bit flat and took myself off to have thyroid, iron and hormones tested, turns out the results are all normal. I've been trying to train but the cold weather is all the excuse I need not to get out and run. Then I came across this article... post run blues.

It identifies how I've been feeling since the high of our trip to Sydney for the City 2 Surf. I've read all the tips and now I need to set another goal to work towards. I have also put my name down to volunteer at the Melbourne Marathon, if I can't run in it I can still be involved as they suggest.

Helping out at Parkrun has been good and I'm heading off to try to get a PB in the morning

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Good news...

Good news for me! My little car has been approved for repairs so will be back on the road soon.

Thank you to Hayley for catching the train and letting me pay the rego & insurance for the Barina for another year.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Me vs Skippy...

Dusk and dawn are the times when kangaroos move around the most.
I know this.
And yet I was burtling along a country road at dusk, a trip I had made hundreds of times before,not thinking about this fact.
But last Friday I was on the road at the exact time a kangaroo was hopping along and I hit it.
I was travelling at 100kms/hour, my cruise control set as the road is also known for highway patrol in marked/unmarked cars and speed cameras.
I didn't see him until it was too late, it just appeared in front of me. Too late to brake. Too late to avoid. Too late to do anything but swear and bang straight into it.
I was shocked but I pulled over. The darkness had set in and I couldn't see the roo. All I could see was the crumpled front of my little car.
With shaky hands I tried to call Chris. No phone reception in this spot. He couldn't have done much at that point as he was still at work, but I wanted someone to know I HAD HIT A ROO!
So what to do. I thought I'm stuck here & unless I flag down a car I'm on my own. I wasn't hurt, the engine was still running, no fluids escaping, one bulb still lit. So I straightened the light so it was pointing forward and drove on to get phone reception. Not really road worthy. Not at all really, but I just wanted to get out of there and get home. I was on my way to get Erin from Liams so I drove all the way thinking at any time I might conk out. I made it to Liam's and his father had a look and his Mum offered condolences.
see the kangaroo imprint on the bonnet
 It may not look like much and it is all panel damage but the quote is still $3,300! The only bit damaged under the bonnet is the battery.

I was curious about the kangaroo so we went back in the daylight to see if we could find it. Chris wondered if we would be able to tell if I had been the one to knock it down. We found it alright and there was no doubt as there were bits of my car surrounding it. Its own momentum and my hit pushed it about 20 metres off the road and pointing in the opposite direction to that which it was heading on that night.

this whopper owes me big time
No doubt that it died straight away, no suffering past the impact.
It could have been worse, I could've been hurt or trapped or my car completely undrivable.

Just waiting for the insurer to decide whether I can have my car on the road again. I really want to have it fixed, its been a great car and runs so well.

The irony of driving towards Hoppers Crossing is not lost on me either,

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Erin's birthday...

In June the youngest of our 3 offspring celebrated a milestone.

Erin turned 18!!

She had a small party to celebrate with her friends, again outside beside the gas heater with much laughter and some consumption of alcohol.

No one got out of hand so it was a success from my point of view, she may not agree.

I also wanted to recreate one of my favourite photos. Seemed a simple request but was a challenge to achieve.

Erin just a few days old 

18 years later & Chris still wearing that jumper.

Welcome to adulthood darling girl, finishing school and getting your drivers licence still a way off yet.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The beaut weekend...

Both my darling girls have had birthdays since my last post but I really want to share my spectacularly fantastic weekend.

Our little running group headed up to Sydney to do our very first City 2 Surf run. We have been planning for months, training in fits and starts and talking ourselves up until finally the time arrived.

We flew up to Sydney on Saturday and had a lovely day exploring the Rocks, Circular Quay and a ferry ride to Manly. I really wanted to go on the 'Betty Cuthbert' but that one wasn't going where we wanted to go. We had to settle for the 'Queenscliff' instead. We ate and drank our way around in preparation for the big event on Sunday morning.

I felt very touristy

Fuelling & hydrating going well

the Rocks Market

A trip on the Ferry
I stayed right on Hyde Park at the YWCA hotel. The rooms were basic but clean, and I felt safe. For $95 I shared a bathroom and breakfast was included. Many other runners were staying there as well as loads of other vistors to Sydney. I had many an interesting conversation and didn't feel lonely while away from the others who were staying at a nearby hotel 10 mins away.

After a good nights sleep, I stowed my bag and met the girls at Hyde Park, in perfect conditions. We said goodbye to the husbands who were to meet us at the finish line with our bags, and down the yellow starting chute we shuffled. We were excited about what this run would bring, none of us expecting to set any PB's.

Ready to start with 80,000 others

 Running, and getting into a rhythm was difficult. Many entrants had no intention of running and lots were walking. We spent most of our time weaving and dodging. The streets were lined with cheering spectators which spurred us on as well as bands, DJ's, the Army and Police Bands, hari chrishnas, belly dancers, drag queens, Wally's  and lots of people who had set up in their front yards to enjoy the spectacle and made for a fantastic atmosphere. They had positioned the music perfectly, it was always right there when you needed a boost. We were able to stick together in our matching tops until Heartbreak Hill. I had been unwell with a cold the week prior and just couldn't run all the way up the 1.5km heartbreaker. The girls were able to keep going while I walked and I met them at the finish line. I was pleased with my race. I made it in 1:41:39.

Bondi - 14 hilly kms later

After the race, it took about half an hour to find the fellas and then we started on the queue for the buses. It seemed to take an awful long time to get to the front of the queue but really they moved a lot of people fairly quickly. It was in this waiting time I actually got a bit sunburnt on my shoulders.

this is looking back at the bus queue, we are halfway to the top at this point.
I was hungry and thirsty by then and got a bit impatient and kept hinting that we should walk to Bondi Junction to catch the train. The others were happy to keep inching along and in the end it was the right decision. We were back in the city centre quite quickly and then filled up on some burgers and beers.
A wander around Darling Harbour and then back to the hotel for a shower and some more refreshments before I caught the train back to the Airport to come home.
I like many others wore my medal all day 
It was a fantastic experience, one I would recommend to any runners, a real Bucket List item. Not just the run but the day before were perfect with great food, company and weather.

925th of the older girls

Seems we are going to run another half marathon in October, I don't remember agreeing to this idea but have been told I did. The Gold Coast Marathon next July was also suggested, adrenaline and endorphins have a lot to answer for.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mother's Day

I had a lovely day on Mother's Day.

Unlike last year all my children are nearby and we were able to spend the day together. I was spoiled with gifts that were perfectly appropriate.. footcare for my punished feet, new slippers and a big mug for my morning cup of tea. We had a lovely high tea at our favourite cafe and overall a very nice time.

I'd had plans of making each of the children a reverse Mother's Day card and if I could have gotten into the study, found some space and inspiration I would have followed through with the idea.

What I wanted to say to each of them, in those hand made cards, on Mother's Day when the focus is on mothers is that I love them with all my heart. Whatever I do for them I do willingly. I want to see them grow and develop into happy content humans. I want them to realise their dreams knowing that I will always be there to support them. Each of them is my favourite. Each has their own uniqueness and I love them for it.

While we all have our own parenting styles and we don't do things the same or even agree what is the 'right' way but I'm going to keep on my way. I will also think of these 3 as my children even though they are adults now.

I will always be their Mumma.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A reunion...

A dinner was arranged to gather together the women who were part of the local Nursing Mother's Group dating back some 30 years. I went along to catch up with those from my involvement 20 odd years ago.

We built our house when Callum was a baby and moved in to celebrate his first birthday just 4 weeks later. I remember that time as being a busy one. Dealing with a new baby, working part time, caring for Hayley, building the house and making regular trips up the highway to check its progress.

When we moved in we had Chris' brother Vince living with us and we set out to settle in to this country town.  We still travelled back to the city to work, I took Hayley to her Kinder for the remainder of the year and often dropped both of the children to Mum's to babysit overnight when I was working night duty. Hayley can remember stopping the car mid way home so I could close my eyes for a few minutes, the fatigue being too much to get home safely.

One of the first things I did to meet people in our new town was to attend  a Nursing Mother's meeting. I was still breast feeding Callum but not in the position to join a 'New Mums Group' and when I saw the notice in the local paper I called the Leader and pursued it.

I remember Joy picking me up and taking us all to the Coffee Morning. From there I met and made friends, the kids met and played with children that have become life long friends for them too. Soon those women became an important part of my life and I was reminded of that on Thursday night. We shared stories from that time 20 or 30 years ago and laughed about the commonality of it. Trying to cope with new babies and toddlers and learning that we were all in very similar situations.

The  group faded away and closed some years after I was no longer involved. The name changed from NMAA to Australian Breastfeeding Association to more accurately reflect its purpose so it is sad that it is not a resource for local new mums any more. Our children attended local Kindergarten and schools, and after 6 years I was able to get work locally so stopped driving down that damn highway. I made many friends in town from a few different sources but still value that first contact as an important step.

We  have gone in a lot of different directions. Many of them are grandmothers and proudly showed off photos and stories of their grandbabies. Some of them have had loss and sadness, travel and change but all have loads of proud moments with the children that caused us to all come together in the first place

It certainly triggered some memories for me, I haven't thought about that time when our children were small for a long time....I should get out the albums and remember again.

Monday, May 4, 2015

An awesome day...2 race wrap edition

It was a huge day but ultimately rewarding and punishing at the same time.

Melissa, AKA Running Buddy No:2, and I headed over to Werribee Mansion to participate in an inaugural event. The Werribee Mansion Fun Run put on by PB Events was the first of 2 challenges for us this day. The 11km course around the manicured gardens surrounding the historic homestead was beautiful and challenging. There was a section of stairs and a steep hill up to a ridge that backs onto the Werribee Zoo. Doing a 2 lap course means you know you have to do those steps and hills twice. I was pretty pleased to come 10th in my age group in a field of 176 participating in the long course. Mel was ahead of me the whole way and finished 7 minutes ahead of me. She is much younger than me!
some steps
some paths

some bridges

After post race lattes we headed home to rest up for the next challenge.

At 530pm we headed into the city to join in the Wings for Life World Run. Not great timing that the 2 events fell on the same day. I hadn't remembered signing up for Werribee and then signed up for the second run at the behest of another running friend. Running Buddy had been ill for the past 3 weeks and sensibly bowed out of the morning run favouring the bigger World Run instead.
Because it is a world run, being run simultaneously around the world our event started at 9pm Melbourne time. We had to kit out in reflective vests and headlamps for safety and it made for quite the spectacle.

The roads were closed along Beach Road and we headed out with the chaser car ready to take off after giving us a 30 minute head start.

Spectators lined the route and cheered us on which was quite unexpected. They had come out of their posh homes or sat up on their balconies and gave us encouragement. I had originally set my goal for an ambitious 15 km but then settled for 10 so was very happy to actually get to 11km before the 'catcher' car caught up to us. Once you are overtaken that is your race done. We started sprinting when the car approached but my legs couldn't keep it up for long. The mood amongst our group was high, we had done a good job. Running Buddy and I had run from Elwood to Black Rock.
the Australian female winner ran 51km!
The male winner ran an astounding 79kms.
My result is recorded as 11.15 km with an overall rank of 14594 out of a world field of 68,740. I like my category rank of 659. But then I checked my Melbourne results and my category rank is 19 and overall rank is 597, not bad stats from a field of about 2,100. I was surprised how good I felt and am really happy with my performance. In effect I ran a half marathon just with a 12 hour break in between.

After the finish things went downhill. A crammed bus ride squeezed in with other sweaty runners back to the start then another nausea inducing bus ride back to the car made me feel quite unwell. Even though we got our jackets on fairly quickly once back at the start we got cold. The only drink to have was the sponsors Red Bull which I couldn't face so I downed a can of lemonade thinking that would help but no. I had to pull over on the freeway and have a good chuck. That relief meant I could get home but what I really wanted was to be warm and dry and tucked up with a hot cup of tea.

Looking back on the day I was very happy overall, a couple of negatives did not detract from the sense of achievement I felt. We ran in a unique race where the finish line catches you, we raised money for spinal cord research and we ran for those who can't.

We don't plan to do anything quite like that again.