There’s just no stopping in a white zone.

I dug out a suitcase from under the house today. Brought a clear wallet with some empty bottles to decant smellies into. Tried to find another pair of yoga pants for the flights, and failed. Admittedly, I only tried one shop, but I don’t want running tights, and I don’t want tracksuit pants, I want in between, none of which I could find.

Still doesn’t feel real though.

Trawling through Erika’s photos to find my favourite one of her that showed her sweet and kind nature, was not a good hour or so. I was a complete mess to be honest. I was doing the ugly cry, and my head was so congested at the end of it, ugh.

Still, in amongst the snot and sobs, I had several laughs at our shenanigans, so it wasn’t all bad. As Glennon Doyle Melton says, “Grief is the receipt you get for loving someone.”

In other news, we had Archie’s 8th birthday this weekend. He had a great day, although we managed to get to Ben and Jerry’s too early to get his ‘Pupil of the Week’ reward, that remains in the bank for another day. We had a family dinner in the evening, all the meals were lovely and we had a good conversation too.

I’ve also been pottering through my clothes and bags. I brought a new bag, which means an old one needs to go. I ended up putting two bags into the charity pile, Archie’s old welly boots and some other clothes that I do like; but every time I put them, on I take them back off again. Times change.

As I pack for the funeral, I am going to review what I’ve got in the spare room. Do I need it? Do I use it? Would I buy it again at full price? If not, it’s going. I have a weight on me I’m trying to shift.

Tomorrow, I’m taking my running stuff to work. It’s time to get back out there again.

Trust the process

I started doing 8 Weeks to Wow at the beginning of September. Yes, yes, Osher pointed me in the direction of Chief and Emilie Brabon; but it was more the exercises that have helped his head-space that I was interested in.

I’ve not deviated from the eating plan, mainly as it’s ridiculously easy. Barely any carbs, which isn’t an issue for me as I don’t have them often anyway. Minimum of 150g of salad leaves a day, have you seen how much that is? Unlimited egg whites, 2 egg yolks a day, palm sized amounts of lean meat and low fat cheese, yoghurt with <6g of sugar per serve, plus practically every other vegetable, herbs, spices etc.

I’m having bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, an egg, plus another couple of egg whites to scramble it all together for breakfast. An epic salad with a boiled egg, or smoked salmon, or cheese, roasted veggies for dinner, and if I get hungry there’s unlimited celery and cucumber to munch on, with the additional egg if I’ve not had it at lunch time.

My head is clearer, I’m sleeping better and combined with the Steptember challenge at work I’m hitting over 10,000k a day on a regular basis, I’ve also been for a couple of runs. I’ve not drunk anything since Sunday 2nd September. And I’m very happy with that.

But man, the exercises are hard work. If I sneezed, coughed, laughed or stood up or sat down, it hurt. I shuffled up and down stairs, creaked and groaned for the first couple of days, I had to stop exercising as I could barely move. Just as I was getting ready to get going again, Arch woke up with a temperature and sore throat on Friday. Saturday we were all ok, Sunday I woke up feeling weird, lightheaded and dizzy. Monday I had a thumping headache. Tuesday Hubs woke up coughing, and went to the doctors on Wednesday. He’s still not right, and is starting antibiotics tomorrow (Sunday) as per GPs directions; I did suggest today as he had to go back to bed this afternoon, but as I’m not the GP… If he’s no better in a couple of weeks, he’s being tested for glandular fever. Yup, you read that right.

Hubs and I joke about having a normal week. We don’t think we’ve ever had one where what we’ve planned has panned out. At least we’re happy going with the flow. Trust the process, the end result is worth it, even if the route there is less than direct.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner

Yesterday’s run of 13.5km, or 8 and a wee bit miles was the hardest run I’ve done. Ever. Whatever comes up for me in my running journey, it’s gonna have to go some to beat the two hours I was out and about yesterday morning.

Let’s begin at the beginning. Run the Rock is a well-respected, well-attended run in country Victoria, organised and supported by Sole Motive. A fabulous company that support smaller, quirkier runs; The Harvest Run in the Yarra Valley is one of theirs. Kath and I had a great time with that run last year, (it also persuaded my GP that I had a problem with asthma, the gentlest of slopes defeated me, since then and a medication change, I’ve progressed in leaps and bounds).

Race bib collection opened at 7am, the half-marathon started at 8:15am, my race left at 9:25am. The joining instructions were clear, road closures in place from 7am. I booked a hotel room in nearby Woodend as I was not getting up before 5am to get up and ready to drive an hour so I could get in before the roads closed.

Then things started to unravel. Kath, my running buddy, messaged me on Wednesday, she’d came down with gastro and her daughter started vomiting that night as well. Thursday I checked in on her, she was still in bed, I asked Hubs if he wanted to come up for the night instead. Hubs asked Archie if he wanted to go on an adventure on Saturday morning?

On Friday Kath confirmed she wasn’t going anywhere fast; we threw some things in a bag and all headed to the motel after work, driving in rush-hour traffic, watching the sun set and chatting. We dropped our bags off at the motel and went for out dinner, finding a great pizza place nearby. Archie was ready to eat his arm off, they were flat-chat, by the time we got pizza, Archie was climbing the walls and on the verge of a meltdown. When he blood sugar dips, he’s feral. Just like his mother.

After we’d eaten we headed back to our room for the night, we all had showers, went to bed and got up before the alarm went in the morning. Mainly because Hubs and I had the weirdest, vivid dreams all night long. I can’t say either of us rested really. I got everyone packed back up while the boys had breakfast. It was cold, windy and spitting with rain when we left.

Mount Macedon was hiding behind clouds, the wind was picking up, and I was very grateful for my extra layers as it was a balmy 8c when I got dropped off at the Hanging Rock Racetrack. Due to the winds, the course was changed, we couldn’t Run the Rock any more, on account of low flying rocks. I collected my bib, then sat on a picnic bench, eating my breakfast while wrapped in a picnic blanket and trying to stop my paperwork blowing away.

I called Kath, people watched, dropped my bag in and like everyone else huddled under the marquees that were threatening to blow away. I warmed up as best I could, but knew until I started running, I was stuffed. After one last wee, we lined up, and trotted off. The wind blew my breath away, it took me 3km to warm up and get under cover of trees so I could run, breathe and feel like I’m enjoying this. Then, frabjous joy, Jac appeared out of nowhere. The pair of us shrieked with joy, ran, hugged and caught up on three years over 3km. We kept each other going, chatting and laughing with each other.

The course had now turned into trail running, which I do not do. I’m so clumsy, I prefer roads, at a pinch – grass, and will put up with footpaths in parks. Jac headed off as I needed to walk down the hills so I didn’t fall arse over tit. A girl has got to know her limitations.

It was now more than spitting. It was rain.

Then hail.

Then the rain started to come in sideways.

Then, despite the road closures, some fuck knuckle decided to move out a sheep transport articulated truck. Right in the middle of the runners. “Fuck you, I’m a truck”.

I was so cross I instagrammed a story, on my already damp phone, which pushed my phone over the edge and it gave up on me and shut down. I’d found my stride by then too, I felt strong and was consistently hitting 7 and a half minute KMs. The truck was the beginning of the end.

Did I mention the rain? And the wind? And that I was now soaked to the skin? With no way of contacting anyone? AND no Hugh Fraser reading me Poirot?

I was well grumpy. There was literally no way out but through. I ran, walked, ran a bit more. Peed behind a tree. Ran a bit. Walked a bit. Swore a lot. Complained to anyone who listened that this ‘was not fun’. Professed undying love to the CFA and volunteers handing out drinks and encouragement.

I got to the end, I didn’t even bother running over the line; I just wanted to find Hubs, Archie and get dry. I did make the lady who was handing out medals laugh, as I lifted my sodden jacket up to show my bib. I went to collect my bag and managed to miss Hubs completely who was waiting with a bath sheet, one of two he’d brought when the weather he and Archie had been in turned in his words ‘Biblical’.

I went to the bathroom, hands purple with cold and tried to wiggle out my wet clothes enough to pee. This was when I nearly started crying, I had stuff in my flipbelt I did not want to drop on the floor, but didn’t have the movement in my fingers to get lycra off. I also had dry clothes in my bag, but couldn’t cope with the thought of changing in a tiny stall with no room to move.

My phone thankfully switched on, I found my family and Hubs wrapped me in the towel. We walked to the car, found another toilet block with bigger stalls and as I was a bit dryer and with a bit more circulation, I got changed.

I can honestly say that buying those towels was up there with him helping me have a shower the day after Archie was born.

There was a coffee waiting for me in the car, another towel that I doubled up and spread over my legs. I put my heating on to 27c and thawed out. When we got home, I had a hot shower and got into bed with the duvet, a blanket and a hot water bottle. I emerged at about 3pm wanting cake.

That was a lot of work for two samples of a pre-workout drink.

Forty-five days

I’ve been sober for 45 days, the longest in years. I only nearly buckled once, when Archie had his meltdown at a birthday party. I stood in front of the wine rack and goodness me it was so tempting. I stood with my hands to my head as the bath ran; it could have been oh so easy – but I didn’t succumb. I read The Darling Buds of May instead, with my ears under the water. Blissful silence.

I’ve dreamt about drinking a glass of red a few weeks ago, in the dream I tip some down the bathroom sink to wash away the evidence, sobbing at Hubs that I was sorry for doing it. Thank you subconscious.

Some nights I sit at a set of traffic lights in our home town, next to a Taco Bill (franchise restaurant chain), where they serve goldfish bowl sized margaritas. I’ve never had one of them, but I loved their sangria. Gordon’s Gin have a new advertising campaign out. Bus stops all over the place have carefully stylised images of spirits, wines, beers. Until I’d stopped, I didn’t really appreciate how much advertising there was for alcohol.

At work I sit on the Health and Wellbeing Committee, our annual survey results are in. Nearly 70% of the people who responded said that they didn’t want assistance to reduce their drinking at this time, we don’t know if that is the same 70% that said they drunk at least one or two times a week. But we do know 45% of respondents said they drank more than five drinks on a single occasion. Talking about this yesterday, we were shocked it was so high, but at the same time around the table we acknowledged that a drinking culture in Australia is so all pervading, it is hard work to say you don’t or aren’t drinking.

Back in the UK if I said that I didn’t want to drink on a night out, it was pretty much left at ‘OK’ and that was it; here you can get the Spanish Inquisition and nth degree on why not. I’m still not sure on what to say about it yet, not that we’ve been anywhere really, but keep repeating ‘No thank you’ in my head for practice. At Book Club last month, I arrived with a bottle of sparkling mineral water, despite our penchant for vino, no one was bothered if I drank or not.

I can’t say I won’t ever drink again, I’m just not having one today, like I didn’t yesterday or the 44 days before that.

I’ve given up weighing myself. Excuse me here, but FUCK ME it’s frustrating. I got so excited about the number on the scales the other day, then within two days, 5kg appeared out of nowhere. Had I done anything differently? Had I buffalo. Hal Elrod and Jon Berghoff talk in this podcast about “trusting the process” when all else fails and nothing seems to be happening. Taking that into consideration, I’m now looking at my average KM speed when I run. This number has come down from 9.59 min/km at the beginning of January to 8.11 min/km.

I’m feeling stronger every time I go out, three times this week so far, and probably again tomorrow lunchtime, with a longer one on the weekend. Hills still exacerbate my asthma, but I run what I can, walk the rest, run again and each time it’s getting easier. As I puff my way back home, I come down a hill to the flat of the road we live on. By the time I get there, I feel on top of the world. As I said in a little video today on Instagram, if I could bottle this feeling and share it with you, I would.

I finished an awesome book this week, How To Break Up With Your Phone, ironically on my kindle as it’s not coming out as a print edition here in Oz. Before, during and after reading it I have done the following:

  • Taken the email and Twitter apps off
  • Taken Facebook app off, and changed my settings so I have to sign in every. single. time. I want to use it. I’ve also taken my phone number off, so now it’s yelling at me to put it back on. Limited my past posts, tightened up my security and would dearly like to tell it to take a long walk off a short pier.
  • Brought an alarm clock
  • I now charge my phone overnight in the kitchen, the alarm still goes off on my phone, (the clock is only if I need to know the time), but now I wake  up walk to the phone and switch it off. et voila, I’m out of bed.

In four days, I’m sleeping better, using my phone less and generally feel less angst and frazzlement. I still use it for my podcasts, music and if we’re out and I have a query, I’ll still search for the answer. But I am not mindlessly scrolling away because I have nothing better to do; it now lives in the kitchen, not in my hand.

I’m also working on the #MillionaireMorning by Mel Robbins, which is more aligned to me than the #MiracleMorning I like getting up and sitting in silence to let my mind wake up and ease into the day.

I’ve also (re)written a chapter of my book too. Here’s a piece of advice for you, if you’ve got notes, jottings or scribbles of book ideas. Put them into the cloud now. I had half a book on the Mac that got stolen, am now trying to find it again. *sad face*

We’re also working on limiting Archie’s screen time, he dug out Monopoly this morning. Not sure that he’s ready for the arguments that game always brings, I left for work this morning with him and his Dad playing Connect 4. Hubs has been signed off work with a chest infection, stayed home on Tuesday and has moved from couch to bed and back again. I can feel my chest tightening, and am coughing a bit when I get up, one of the reasons I ran today, in case I’m not up for it in a couple of days.

 

 

To-do list

Last night I wrote a to-do list for today, the public holiday for a frickin horse race.

  • Hair – dye it
  • Toes – paint them
  • Change beds
  • Washing
  • Wardrobe – Project 333 selection
  • Shopping
  • Cooking
  • Spare room

I (as normal, and as most women do), anticipated more than I could do. Hubs made pancakes, after breakfast and a somewhat disturbed night, I went back to bed. I only woke up when my temperature broke again and I needed more meds.

My sleep last night wasn’t disturbed by the drugs, but by the bluddy cat, when he wants something he scrapes his paw on the bathroom window. It’s then a matter of deduction to figure out what he wants. To go out? No, not allowed overnight. More food? Can do that. Company? Sleep on my head, just quit it.

Up and down, up and down.

I staggered awake mid-morning. Up and down stairs doing washing, seven loads in total. today. Only one load left and we’re all caught up. The line outside and one airer is full, the tumble-dryer cycling through bedding and towels like a trooper.

I came upstairs after setting one load off to find Hubs with a head torch on fixing the oven, the element went phut a few weeks ago – a replacement one arrived before our weekend away. He made cookies with Archie while I went grocery shopping. The shops were pretty clear for a public holiday, which as I was a donkey on the edge was just as well. I had a list and only missed on thing off it – fresh tarragon was nowhere to be found. I did come home with two lots of coriander instead of one of coriander and one parsley. Whoops.

donkey

Since then, a chicken has been roasted and picked apart. A beef stew made and portioned up. Shepherd’s Pie made, eaten for dinner and left-overs portioned up. Muffins (sausage, bacon, cheese and eggs) for breakfasts on the run made and portioned up. Salads for two lunches this week made. Eggs boiled and peeled. All in all nearly twenty portions have found there way into the fridge or freezer.

The spare room has the other airer out of it and the spare chair from downstairs taken back downstairs. The rest of what the room needs can wait for the rest of the week.

Hair? That will get done tomorrow, I couldn’t face a shower tonight. I did a facemask, but the thought of a shower did me in.

Toe nails? I took my blue polish off and one nail feel off. Another two are FUBARd after the half marathon #sadface. Right in time for summer too. Anyone know how long toenails take to grow back? Asking for a friend.

I am however tucked up in a clean bed, and Archie is in a clean bed. Mt Foldmore will still be there tomorrow, as will the ironing. I did start my Project 333, I took clothes I’m not going to wear through Spring/ Summer and moved them down to the spare room. I still haven’t figured out my final list as I need to do my ironing first.

So all in all, a successful day. The three of us went to Archie’s Tae Kwon Do class too, which I don’t get to go to normally. Had a good catch-up with the other mums there, and organised a Kinder get-together too while we were there as well.

I’m still coughing, though not as bad and am about to nod off as I’m yawning copiously, but before I go I want to share this extraordinary book with you. While I pottered, I listened to Brené Brown’s Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging for the third time since it landed in my Audible account, (I’ve also read it on my kindle too). It is extraordinary, and completely broke me open on a run last month, I slowed down, then stopped running as I was weeping so hard:

True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.

She affectionally calls the book “How to lose friends and piss off everyone” :D

All I know is that something massive is shifting within me, I’m losing alignment with something that isn’t fitting and realigning with something that is. What that looks like, I don’t know. But walking round the supermarket today, I thought to myself, I needed to get ill. I needed to stop, because what I was doing wasn’t working. My body will send me messages that I will occasionally listen too, but sometimes a pebble isn’t enough. Sometimes you need a great big rock thrown at you.

30 Days to Healthy Living – day six

I would kill for a coffee. A proper one, not a decaf one. Curling my hands round my mug, inhaling the aroma of the beans, closing my eyes in anticipation for that first taste.

coffee

Instead I’m sitting at my desk listening to a program simulating coffee shop sounds with a decaf in my mug and climbing the walls.

Considering we’re on Thursday, I started on Saturday, getting to the ratty stage now ain’t bad. This will be the third? fourth? time I’ve given up proper coffee, and will be the last time. I canNOT go through this again. I’m still having the odd bit of caffeine insofar Fizz Sticks have a smidge at 45.5mg, but compared to my three shot Americano…

However, I’m not missing alcohol, yay.

In terms of the rest of the items I’m tracking through the 30 Days, I’m doing well. I have only missed one morning meditation, I am using changing into my PJs as my cue / trigger to stretch, use my foam roller and do my plank-a-day. I then hop into bed, do my gratitude journal and set up my evening meditation which sends me off to sleep nicely.

I feel lighter in myself, but not on the scale alas; wrong time of the month for that. My weight can vary as much as >2-4kg with water retention and bloating, it’s maddening. I do know that I am not the number on scale, I am more than that.

Hang on, that did not come out right.

I do need to blow my trumpet here, yesterday I went for a run with one of the guys from work. Running to Plenty Road is something that a lot of the more serious runners do on a regular basis, at least once a week. I’ve never managed it. It was always too big, too far, too too. But yesterday, I DID IT! I was so frickin proud of myself. My legs felt strong, and once I’d warmed up, I felt I could run for ages. It was my lungs that were slowing me down, what with it being a cold day and still getting used to exercising. But every time I go out, it gets easier. 9.1km. Get in.

I can also report back, that I did not waddle round the office today either. *nods*

Sore losers

This blog has been in my drafts for a wee while, sorry folks.

One thing I’ve enjoyed about watching the Olympics has been the coverage on Channel 7. I’ve seriously been impressed with the entire way they’ve shared the event with us; the Opening Ceremony was a delight, the commentators explained the ethos behind the changes, letting the performers, dancers and singers show the story without waffling on about what was going on. I am not going to lie, I was a mess, it was much more emotional than I can remember before – the segment reminding us all that the rain forest in Brazil is dwindling finished me off completely.

What has been less than impressive has been some of the print coverage of the fiesta, particularly the vitriol thrown towards the Australian team (as an example, should have been bookmarking them as I read them). From an English bird, on the cusp of becoming an Australian citizen, it’s not shown the Aussies in the best light. Some commentators have appeared to have taken it personally that performances have been down. This morning (nearly a month ago), Hubs and I heard on the radio a debate about whether more money should be invested in sport; $340m apparently isn’t enough.

From cricket to rugby, from cycling to swimming, sport in Australia is sacrosanct. We often have sport headlining the news news, and then the sporting news too. AFL has been completely dominated by TV schedules, just like the football (soccer) did in the UK. Every AFL game is now staggered across the weekend, so you can watch all of them back to back, from Thursday thru Monday night, should you wish to. No club, except a few interstate clubs and Geelong, have truly home grounds; most games are played at just a few stadiums in the Melbourne CBD. (We’ve even got a purpose built rectangular stadium, yet as it doesn’t hold enough people for money-grabbing promoters, a lot of soccer and rugby games are also played at either the MCG or Etihad stadiums).

I love sport, I really do. But hearing one commentator call Usain Bolt a ‘Genius’ really rankled. Usain Bolt is one of the best athletes this world has ever seen. He lights up the stadiums he competes in with his warmth and generous spirit towards everyone he meets; his performances are electrifying (pun intended), but genius? With the use of a different simile, I wouldn’t be experiencing such sour grapes. It’s like soccer players being described as ‘Heroic’, *combusts with fury*

In our lunchroom at work, the Managers agreed to install a TV for the duration of the Olympics. People have been laughing, joking, cheering (mostly quietly) competitors on our tea and lunch breaks – camaraderie is through the roof. We’re talking to colleagues we see once in a blue moon due to the disparate nature of our roles. The Olympics was an amateur sporting event, now to compete at top-flight status, that has been blown out the window. But at work, we’re loving watching the heats where competitors who are just awed to be there and are setting PBs, and jumping with glee at their results, excited to be there at all.

Hubs and I are trying to teach our son that sport is about taking part, showing up and doing your best on the day. Faster, higher, stronger. When he sees news coverage of a disappointing Australian Team, despite being in the top ten of the medal table, how do I explain that?

When our son hears coverage of the rugby or cricket and commentators calling for heads to roll because the Australian team have lost, how do I explain that the other team were just better? That they beat us, that not everyone can win all the time?

Being good at sport is one thing, being gracious losers is another. You do not need to spend millions of dollars on an enquiry into what went wrong. You need to consistently work at getting better, but on the day, it’s down to the race or event itself. Unless Usain Bolt is in your field – then you’re just along for the ride, but you’ll know you’ll have a great time.

And isn’t that the point of it all, really? To have fun, take part, push yourself. Not carry the weight of an entire outraged commentary team on your shoulders?