13th March 2016
Can you believe we’re nearly a quarter of the way through 2016? What has happened to time? Is there some disturbance in the space-time continuum that means that time is getting ahead of itself? Or is it that we’ve moved nearer the equator and somehow that secretly makes time pass more quickly? (It could be the lack of daylight saving in Queensland – half the day is gone by the time I emerge from my sleepy cocoon). Frankly, I find it all a bit trying!
Anyhoo, here we are and so much has happened and so much has changed, and we’re so far into 2016. Yet, somehow, it doesn’t feel like it can be possible that we’re here. I’m only ready for it to be January 13th, not March 13th!!
What has happened? Well, clearly that brain to blog direct download technology still isn’t working. I have been blogging furiously, but it’s never got outside of my head, it seems…
So here’s a quick run through of the year so far – sorry that this might be a bit overlong. Just make a cuppa as often as you need, but I have to tell you that the BIG NEWS is at the end, so you need to keep reading…
Obviously we’re now installed in a house in Brisbane. We’ve more or less fitted all our shit into it, but it was a close call. Let’s just say, before we move again, there is going to have to be another massive cull! And when I say “move again”, I simply mean shift to our own property. I have given the Grumpster full and fair warning that I am not moving again. I like Brissy – this place is ace, so I’m staying put.
We’ve been back to the UK. My first trip back since 2013, and it was fabulous. We caught up with the relics, we got very drunk in London with my sis and her then fiancé (now husband). There was “hiawathering” in the Underground, many cocktails in the Station bar, allocation of numbers for the toilet on the train home and sisterly sprinting through Stevenage station. My recollection is somewhat hazy, but it was worth the hangover. Reconnecting with my sis was AMAZING!!
Then there was the actual wedding. We stayed in a coach house for one night and then a stately home: I always felt I was destined for life above stairs. It might have been short lived, but I found my way into a house with a back staircase and a full set of bells still intact, even if not in service. The other notable discovery was some divine hand wash called Rhubarb Rhubard!: NobleIsle – you need to expand into Australia, because I need refills in my life. It smells so good, it’s enough to drive anyone to a hand washing preoccupation.
My sis looked stunning on the day, but the most glamorous dress you’ve ever set eyes on is not enough to prevent that girl striking a few yoga poses when the prosecco cork has popped. Have you seen the Facebook video of the magpie dangling upside down and it’s mate is standing by trying to make it behave? It reminds me of my sis and her bestie. It you haven’t seen it, take a look here – it’s hilarious.
And then it was all over and we had to come home. We flew with the cabin cougher from hell. Some guy, who was truly unwell, decided he needed to stand up to cough every time he was barking himself half to death. And being at the front of the cabin, he also felt it necessary to turn round and splutter his germs over his fellow passengers. Needless to say, I copped for whatever he had when we got home. Yay for mandatory flight sickness.
Herbert started school. And apart from having to find his way round a school that is ginormous compared to the one he was at, he’s finally been introduced to the concept that is known as homework. It’s been a shock to the system: after carefully dodging it for the last couple of years in Whyalla, there is suddenly nowhere to hide at high school. I wouldn’t say that he’s completely converted to being a dedicated student, but he works a lot harder than he ever has before. Then there’s the hormones that are aggressively changing my little boy into a young man. The sports uniform I bought in November barely fits already! So I’ve taken the precaution of buying a blazer with sleeves so long he looks like he’s in a gorilla suit. I am determined it will fit him until the end of Year 10!!
The other big change is that the girls are now installed at uni in Adelaide. It’s just me, the boys, 2 male dogs and Gracie. And Gracie is in disgrace, so I miss my girls a lot. It’s left a big void, and it’s not something I’ve fully got my head round, so I can’t really articulate the excitement, sorrow, hope, grieving that I’ve been going through. Let’s just say, Oscar is having to spend more time outdoors, as it’s the only way he’s keeping his fur on – it would have been stroked off weeks ago, if he’d only do affection….
I’m also on the rollercoaster that is looking for work. I’m dipping in and out of Brené Brown’s books regularly to remind myself that I can cope with rejection and develop “shame resilience”.
And my usual outlet for all the things – running – is suddenly off the cards!
It’s been a funny few months, and after all the issues with my hip last year, I was delighted when we moved to Brisbane and it seemed to be holding up nicely. I was getting out to Parkrun and developing back into a nice little running routine. I’d printed off the Comrades training plan from the website and was excited by the change to a time-based training approach and was sticking to the sessions nicely prior to going to the UK.
Things went off a little whilst we were away, but I wasn’t too worried about that, because the trip to the UK was always going to be a bit distracting. But I did manage to get to a Parkrun in Scunthorpe, and I had a bit of a trot across the lanes in Ruthin. But the bit that really threw me was the lurg on coming back, which knocked me for six. I spent 2 days firmly fixed to the mattress, and another 10 days before I could drag myself out for a run.
Which had me in a panic, as I kept looking at the schedule pinned to the fridge, and seeing the times stretching out, and worrying that I was missing my longer runs and wondering how I could “catch back up”. By the time I got the girls to Adelaide, I was feeling much better, and was back out trotting regularly, albeit for shorter runs that stipulated. Being able to run along the Torrens, sniffing the South Australian eucalypts and feeling the fresh pinch of the cool morning air on my skin flushed me with confidence, though, and a renewed determination was suddenly swimming through my blood. I loved the feel of my Altras, my legs felt springy and ready for anything and 8kms melted by. So I got back to Brissy and repeated 8kms in my Altras the very next day.
But that’s where things probably started to go wrong in hindsight. Because I ran another 8kms in Altras, and I’d been running in my Saucony Omnis up until then. Which are really due for renewal, so had started to feel a bit like the soles were made out of concrete. They also have 8mm of heel support, as opposed to the Altras which have zero. So after 16km over 2 days in zero drop shoes, my calves were complaining about how much stretching I was asking them to do.
But I had to catch up.
So, I rested the following day, went to a Pilates class (I never realised lying on a mat could be such hard work) and then did hill sprints the following day. In my Omnis. I kept going, but could feel the tightness in my calves was getting no better despite stretching.
But I had a plan on the fridge and I had to catch up!
So I then went for a run around Mount Coot-tha, but only managed one lap, despite the lovely ladies from the River City Runners doing at least 1 more. But my calf & tendon were sore, and let’s face it, my training had been so hit and miss, my cardiovascular fitness was pretty stretched with just one lap. So I went home, but was determined to finish my session, and I went back out. But after run/walking 4km, my leg was really painful, so I just walked for another 6km. Better to get the time on my legs, I thought… Then I rested for a day, and the following day I went and did some track based Yasso intervals. I have to say, I loved it, but again, I got home and my wretched calf/tendon was sore. I ran, I rested, I rested some more, I ran the RACQ International Ladies Day 5km – gently – but could feel my calf/tendon the whole way. And when I got home, I was fed up. I was fed up of tendons hurting, then my hip giving up and now my tendon hurting again. So I did what everyone would do in those circumstances, and buried myself in Facebook. But this was actually the right thing to do for once. Happily, someone had asked a question about physios in the Brisbane area, and sufficiently fed up, I decided I needed to get on top of the various niggles. So armed with a few recommendations, I plumped for the practice that sounded like it really specialised in runners’ woes and got myself an appointment.
Which is when the reality of 2016 really came home to roost. My calves are extremely tight. I have now seen a physio and a podiatrist (and I’m a little star struck as a result, but more of that another time). There is a toe to wall test to measure how flexible your calves are. Do you know the one? The expected range of movement is 10cm: I was assessed at less than 1 cm. I have weak glutes and my problem is actually in the shins. I have shin splints, with an outside chance of a stress fracture. So no running for about 7 – 10 days until it’s reassessed. And definitely no running long distances. So, no Maidenwell Marathon (but I am hopeful for a small trot at the running festival) and definitely no Comrades.
So, I’ve had a few days to digest all this now. I’m gutted that there won’t be a back-to-back this year. And that I won’t be able to make the trip to see Jackie get her green number. I’m gutted that I can’t prove to myself that last year wasn’t just a fluke.
But there is a tiny little flicker of excitement. Because if not Comrades, what else could I be doing?
I am allowed to swim and I am allowed to cycle. And if I’m allowed to swim and cycle, what could that mean?
What if I could teach my body to do freestyle, rather than just breaststroke?
What if I tried my legs on a bike?
What other challenges are there that would take the pressure off my running legs?
I wonder, I wonder…..
Keep watching this space, peeps. There could be some new news….!