Monday, 24 August 2015

Ultra distraction

Again I have cast the blogginess aside.

Which is quite rude really because I quite like this little outlet. But it seems other things get in the way. Even now I can hear the cat trying to dig her way through her litter tray and it is driving me insane, so I will stop my lovely train of thought and dispose of some kitty shit.

I’ve been distracted.

And it’s not just from shitting kitties or from high schoolers and their manic social lives, from single parenting or even working. It’s not been from volunteering for the hockey team or crafting or dating or even Netflix. It’s something bigger.

Something I said I was never going to do.

Something I didn’t realise I really wanted to do.

A year ago I said I never wanted to do a marathon, and technically GOR was actually a bit more than a marathon so, loophole, but then Lee and I had such a great time running GOR and we already had the base fitness for another event and this was only a few extra k’s and there was a few drinks and then some convincing and lots of nervous “yeahs!” and then……. And then there was the entry to my first Ultra.

Oh and it’s a 50km trail run.

With beach running.

And cliffs.

And rocks and reefs.


So that has been the distraction.

Yesterday was long run Sunday and I remembered the exact same moment during training for the mara that it felt all a bit over-whelming. Yesterday it was during a very slow 25km along an undulating, rocky, river path that I have grown to love, that I wanted to stop. Everything hurt, my legs heavy from the last few big runs, my breathing labored, my mind telling me very convincingly over a few hours how better I could be spending my time.

But I didn’t stop, I kept going, ran far away from my final destination so there was no short cuts possible. And when I got home I kept going, getting washing on, vacuuming. Valuable time on my feet, preparing for that day in September, the date on the screen of my phone, the constant reminder of what I’m training for.

I’m lucky that Crazy spends alternate weekends at her dads which gives me more time to run, that she is old enough to leave at home on shorter run days. That I live somewhere that I feel fine with going out just after 5am to get runs in before I need to get us ready for school.

But it is consuming. Full time work, parenting, volunteering, social life goes ahead as usual but there’s the little buzzer in your head reminding you.

Reminding you that you need sleep, 9pm is not really that bad for bedtime, reminding you to eat properly, its probably not great to run 30km tomorrow when all you’ve had is a toasted sandwich for dinner. Reminding you that physio exercises are prescribed for a reason.

Reminding you that trails are beautiful, watching the sunrise is glorious, muddy is fun, that there is so much satisfaction in finishing that tough run and that the exhaustion will be worth the elation.

Another goal for the BackOfThePackSuperstars and a reminder to never say never.

I think I’m finding an ultra to be a very worthy distraction.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Running reflection

Just over three weeks ago I ran my first (more than a) marathon, Lorne to Apollo Bay along the amazing Great Ocean Road. The reason I know that is because my hair free race legs are due a wax so it must be around that time frame. Seems like ages ago, and unless you look at the skank that are my butchered and post-blistered feet, its hard to know it happened.

After writing my last post I was wondering if I was going to be proved wrong and I would experience some life changing experience over those 44.5km, yeah nah. Didn’t happen.

I can tell you what did happen though ……

After admiring the slightest of moons in a clear, pre-dawn sky, I watched the sun rise majestically over the ocean. As the bus taking us to the start line, wound around hair pin turns that we knew we would be running soon, I took in crashing waves down below the cliffs to my right and hurling travelsick competitors to my left.

I took the biggest cocktail of tablets hoping my gut and arse would behave and be pain free over the next few hours – which it did, yay! I felt I deserved a medal for that.

RunningBuddy Lee kept me occupied and entertained with various split, pace and distance equations, we kept to our original plan that we had trained with and it worked a charm.

There was various high fiving and talk of spanking bastard hills once Mount Defiance and other peaks were behind us.

We chatted to other competitors along the way, learnt a few stories as we followed the white lines of the road, offering encouragement and being encouraged, the #backOfThePackSuperstars knowing it was a different race for us than it was for those up front.

There were treasured texts and pics from my family offering support and faith.

For a while I had the joy of running on a growing blister pillow on the bottom of both feet, feeling it squish and roll like a half-filled waterbed with every step.

Then the blister popped.

There was no wall. No time when I thought I couldn’t go on. Lee and I stayed side by side the whole way, we chatted, we pondered, we were silent, we had a laugh and we stayed true to doing this together for fun. Towards the end would we were tired but definitely not defeated.

Seeing our family and friends there at the finish line was brilliant – crossing the line, arms held high, the thought still fills me with pride and gratitude. To share the run with Lee was beyond fabulous.

The run was pretty pain free, smart training and smarter running meant that hips and knees and all the rest felt pretty good. We weren’t running just for this race, we were running so we could keep running, the following week, month, year….. whatever, I was upright at the end and that was brilliant. And even better, I could still do stairs afterwards!

Walking back to where we were staying then driving back to Melbourne that night was pretty tough, but as I looked down and saw my Garmin at 52km for the day…… an Ultra started to cross my mind.........maybe next year.

A huge thank you to all the team and ambassadors at SheScience for supporting me (physically and mentally) on my way to the mara - thanks all x

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Nearly time

In just over a week I will be able to call myself a marathoner.


I’m not sure how I feel at the moment. Shitting myself mainly (in both an IBD and non-IBD kinda way). Completely and utterly consumed is another feeling.

Over the gazillion weeks that the gorgeous Lee and I have been training, it’s constantly been on my mind.

What time to get up to get a run in before work, when to do the physio exercises, what I should be eating, where to run, is that distance enough, how am I feeling after 30km, how are my feet, why am I so tired, what do the blood tests say, do I need more iron, what am I going to wear, should I be faster, why aren’t I faster, will these shoes work, what should our pace be……..

……. Can I actually do this?

It’s so consuming.

Word on the street is that a marathon is life changing. I don’t agree.

It’s changed my life over the past few months by completely taking over it, but I don’t feel any different. Maybe in 7 days I will. 

There's been no epiphany, no lightbulb moment. 

The training has been tough, I know the run will be tougher. But life is hard, this is one day, granted there will be a fair bit of pain for a few days afterwards, but it is one day.

Life is hard, chronic illness is hard, daily pain is hard, single parenting is hard, bowel surgery was hard, weeks in hospital was hard, divorce is hard, ill family members is hard.

This, this I’m running with a wonderful friend for pleasure and I want it be a day that I look back on being great fun, hours to catch up and chat with spectacular views.

I’ll happily take that rather than looking for a life changing experience. 

Thursday, 26 March 2015

And with a swish of the pen…

……it was done.

I just signed my divorce papers.

Like a dreaded injection, the anticipation and the after effects far outweigh the pain of the actual event.

Just a little prick.

Last year I read a piece by Anna Spargo-Ryan on her divorce, touching, emotional, heart felt words across my screen. At the time, I couldn’t wait until the legal requirement of twelve months had passed so we could get our papers in, there would be no waiting for us, I wasn’t going to be sad, I would be celebrating. Why would I want to stay married to someone who loves another?

And now its fifteen months since he moved out, I’ve just signed the papers that I’ve held onto for the past week and it feels so very shit.

Another sucky, painful part of being grown up.

Beautiful, well-meaning friends tell me that this is all about moving on; I can now start a new chapter of my life. I don’t know what that means.

I feel as though if I am being asked to write the next chapter with pavement chalk on the back of a postage stamp. Nothing fits. Not even flimsy, poorly written metaphors.

Nothing has changed but everything has.

There are still notes full of everlasting love sitting in drawers. The words haven’t changed but their meaning has. A ring, a little tarnished from no longer being worn sits in a dish. Photos packed away amongst books. Everywhere a memory. Tucked away from sight is easier.

Sadness at what the pen swish represents, the lost best friend, missing my extended family – still connected, but different. The fear of an uncertain future.

In a bit I’m sure I will believe my friends when they tell me about the exciting new beginnings, but for the time being it’s just about the swish of the pen signing the end of the chapter.

Image via Pinterest

Saturday, 14 March 2015

She Science and me

A very cool thing that is happening this year is I am an Ambassador for She Science, Australia’s only store specialising in Sports Bra fitting and prescription.

Not only will I get to be flashing my sports bra all over the interwebs in various training sweaty selfies (as you do) but Tish and her amazing team will be supporting me as I train for my first marathon as well as other races throughout 2015.

The Ambassador program is an fantastic opportunity, and a huge thrill to be a part of such a diverse and motivated group of women. Other Ambassadors include a WAFL player, a triathlete, cyclists, an ultra marathoner and other inspiring women who all believe in promoting women’s health. Check out their instagram feed to meet all of us

This week, I’ve written a little bit more over on the She Science blog about getting ready for my first marathon and more about She Science will be popping up in this blog over the next 12 months.

Image via Tegyn Angel

Monday, 23 February 2015

12 weeks until go

So the marathon I swore I would never do is in around 12 weeks time. That’s like a month in ‘highly anxious runner’ time.

As the kilometers are increasing week by week, here are some of the things that are getting me through so far -

A running buddy
I have Lee and she’s ace. I’m a late starter into the running buddy thing, my fear of being too slow or whatever always took over when friends would ask. But Lee saw through that crap and now like a glorious sistermance we are owning those hills together.

A decent, properly fitted bra
Obviously. I have an impressive chest and it needs to be secure for those 3+hour shuffles, who has time for under boob chaffing and muscle damage from boobs flailing willy nilly like hyperactive pitball puppies in a sack. Not me.

A training plan
Zoey from Operation Move wrote our plan. For me, having someone else write the plan makes me more accountable and less likely to skip a session.

My god, I’m so fricken hungry all the time and its not just for carbs. Seriously, this is the last jar of Nutella allowed in the house.

Stretchy Pants
Call them compression pants for speedy recovery if you like but they also work well with the above mentioned point.

Bells and whistles
This is all the unnecessary guff that I love. My Garmin, decent playlists and podcasts, body glide, Epsom salt baths, a foam roller for daily punishment and even a hashtag.

And finally……

A sense of humour
Because it hurts. All of it is ouchy. My brain. My body. The 5am alarms, the increasing kilometers before a day at work, the muscle aches, last week even my eye lashes ached. But a crazy night in rolling my butt up and down a hard foam cylinder is enough to keep a wry smile on my face.

For now.