Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Pride

A while ago we had friends over for dinner.  Mother (M) & daughter (m) have recently taken up running increasing from 0kms to 5km & then to 10km fun runs all in their first year of running.  M's sister B is a half marathon runner, &  she & I both have been encouraging them (although B got them going to start with!).  The 4 of us are going to the gold coast to run our respective 21.1 & 10km distances as part of the Gold Coast Marathon event later this year.

After showing M & m around our new abode, M said to me, now, I promised m that I'd ask you if she could have a look at your running medals - would that be OK?

m had been a swimmer & a basketballer through primary school & early high school & had lots of winning medals & ribbons for these events (currently in year 11).  I was surprised anyone, especially m who'd already won so many finals & events would want to see my participation medals & said as much to M.  She exclaimed vehmently "No Cat - each & every one of these medals represent all the hard work you put in to complete each of these events!!!  You should be so proud of them!" 

She also said that she'd be buggered if she was going to pay to run a 5 or 10km event & not be given some bling to prove that she bloody well did it!!!

I guess the lesson for me is to appreciate that I have worked hard.  I have completed these distances & I should be proud of my hard work no matter the time (or if I had to walk for a bit).  

Santa gave me a couple of medal display hangers for Christmas so it's about time I took the medals off the rung on the coat rack hung them up properly to remind me how far I have come & to be proud of my achievements.  Plumbing Boy finally got around to doing that for me on the weekend.  Timely considering the Marathon is on Sunday!!!!  It's time draw on these achievements & take some pride in my hard work & get my head in the game!


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

70

A couple of weeks ago my Dad turned 70.  How the hell did that happen??



A high tea was held in honour of the milestone.  Dad only wanted a few immediate family members for a quiet gathering, but somehow almost 30 people were in attendance.  


Sorry about the bad lighting....


We would have invited more, but one has to abide by the birthday boys instructions to a degree!




There was off course more food than required or as Dad would say "than you can poke a stick at" & I was in a serious sugar coma for days post party!


Then we had a work birthday with more bloody cake!


One must have at least one piece to share in the celebrations, it's only polite after all!!

I did temper the birthday weekend with a run along the foreshore & out of town along Hopkins Point Road (because I couldn't remember if Logans Beach road dead ended - it did).  There was 1 good followed by several gentle rolling hills to climb; plus countryside complete with cows as well as coastline to look at.  The fresh air scented with pine & eucalyptus (as well as the dairy!) was heavenly & I witnessed a beautiful sunrise to boot.  

I also had to stop at the break water end of the beach to let a couple of race horses cross the path on their way to their daybreak beach work out - didn't want to scare them with my fluoro orange top (picture post run).
  



I love running in the country (sorry, no cow pictures Carol) & especially along the coast.  So much more to see & think about!!  

View from our accommodation below - PB's mum came with us & requires ambulant style amenities preferably next to her bedroom & while Mum & Dad's bathroom can accommodate, they had a full house & half their floor ripped up to be replaced so not conducive to a wheelie walker.




Sunday morning PB & I wandered up to Thunder Point while waiting for the rest of the sleeping beauties to arise.






Love love love the rugged coast line!  This little love came with us & had a sleep over at my aunt & uncles where the party was held as she couldn't stay in the accommodation with us.


She was very taken with her new holiday house complete with doggie door & multiple daily walks!!  The other love stayed home & guarded the house.



Lucky he cant work the taps yet, because this is his latest trick.



It was a great weekend, but I'm not so sure Dad is that keen to be 70.  He said his week started badly when walking into the milkbar earlier in the week someone held the door open for him & called him Pops!  Maybe it was the sling - he's just had carpel tunnel & dupuytrens contracture sliced & diced.


Happy Birthday Dad.  We'll start counting backwards from now on hey!


Friday, April 15, 2016

Distance Running

We were out for dinner recently for a friend of a friends birthday.  There were 30 odd people, quite a few of whom were recreational athletes.  Plumbing Boy & I got chatting to some people sitting near us, (Dad & Son) with Dad telling us his son is a distance runner & won some prize money last year.  Of course my ears perked up & I asked son about his running & distances & he proclaimed his long distance was 5kms.


I was somewhat perplexed at 5kms being classified as distance running............goes to show how much I really know (SFA)!  However after listening & research at home, it would seem that anything further than 3km is considered long distance!  Having not grown up in the athletic's world I had no idea!  

So all of you out there who can run further than 3kms you are a long distance runners!  

So I don't need to be running half marathons nor marathons to call myself a long distance runner??  



Hmmm.  Well, I since there is only 30 sleeps to go til Marathon number 3 I'd better keep up with the training.  



I have 32 - 34kms to run tomorrow & am hydrating like ninja.  This will be me for the rest of the day!!!



Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Catch Up

Tux has begun his introduction to the great out doors, supervised of course.....


I was supposed to have lots of visitors over Easter which was when Tux's 6 week indoor confinement was up, but decided to start letting him out a week early as it would have been horrible if one of my visitors accidentally let him out & he nicked off.  So far so good excepting last night whereby he spent the whole night out!!  My bad.  




He was ready to come inside last night & just about to walk in the front door with me when he turned his head & spotted another cat on the road.  Off he took, had a slight mexican stand off with said kitty who hissed at Tux & Tux just looked at him & said whatever.  He walked back with me towards the house (I thought to come home) & then did a runner into next doors garden at the last minute!  



This was all after he'd gotten a fright from the neighbours kids who were playing basketball in their own back yard but the ball hit the paling fence between us pretty hard & a paling fell down on our side scaring Tux so much he jumped up the fence & onto the roof of the house!  

He went right up over the top of the roof to the front of the house...........Mr Fearless.  I had a very restless night listening out for him & was very happy to see him run in the back door when I called him at 5am this morning, despite being cross he hadn't come home!!!!  I've already told him he's not allowed out again until he's 21!!!


How adorable is Trix in her new flannie!!!!  I just couldn't help myself.  She almost got a cable knit sweater as well but couldn't justify the expenditure LOL.

A couple of weeks ago we went to a music festival down the coast.  There was music of course & plenty of food & merriment!  It took me a week to recover.  


local band Dalriada


Leftovers for Lunch 


Archie Roach - a national treasure


Steve Earle (above & below) with band


It took me a week to recover as I ended up with a bout of sinusitis.  This is not conducive to running.  I managed the 25 scheduled the Saturday afterwards but didn't do either of the shorter runs scheduled. I'd recovered enough & felt my mojo returning Wednesday night & had a beautiful outdoor run along the Maribyrnong river, part trail part path, complete with hills.  I only had 7 scheduled but decided to run 10 to make up a bit from the week before.


I have 30kms to run this Saturday.  I really only have 2 more super long runs after this before the Marathon, so while it's still 6 weeks away the end is nigh!  I'm trying not to think too hard about it & I'm taking away all time goals for the rest of the year to help make my running a little more fun too.  My only real goal for the GORM is to complete it: hopefully without injury, to run the whole way (not stop for injury) & to have fun (enjoy the view!) & maybe spot another Koala!!


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Walking the Walk

Some of you out there know I'm a supporter of Beyond Blue.  I did some fund raising for them during my first marathon; we also requested donations in lieu of gifts when we got married in 2009 in honour of Plumbing Boy's brother & another close friend of ours - both of whom took their own lives.

It's taken me a while to decide to write this post but as I am a firm believer that you must walk the walk if you talk the talk; and that is, if I want to help remove the stigma surrounding mental health in our society, & encourage others to seek help when they need to, then I need to talk about my own mental health.




Mid 2014 I was diagnosed with anxiety & my GP placed me on mild anti depressants.  I also sought counselling on referral from same GP from a psychologist. BTW - Medicare offer rebates for some mental health services - info here.

The most difficult part (after going to the GP) was going to that first session.  I procrastinated for some time & walking in the door of the clinic took every ounce of my courage.  I'm embarrassed to say that the fear of what if someone sees my car in the car park & what will they think entered my mind (I was worried about co-workers more than anyone).  That is such a terrible reason not to seek help, but it also shows how far society (or is that just me) has to go in beating the stigma.  Walk the bloody walk.




I was lucky & I felt comfortable with my psychologist from the beginning.  That's not to say I spilled everything in the first session: trust was built over time.  Not everyone has a good first (or second) experience & my understanding is that sometimes you need to try a few counsellors or psychologists to find a good fit.

The first thing she explained to me was that our sessions were a non judgemental, safe place for me to explore my thoughts & feelings.  That her only job was to support me & help me work through them.  There was no right or wrong so long as I wasn't thinking about or doing anything illegal (or planning to harm myself or others). This was a confidential space where I could be myself.




How did I come to be in this state in the first place you may ask.  Nothing in particular happened to me.  I'm just an ordinary office worker.  The anxiety crept up slowly, & I did see it coming.  I think I had my first mild panic attack in 2006.  Having friends with depression & anxiety who are prepared to speak in detail about their experiences, I had a fair understanding of what was happening to me.  It took a while & the encouragement of a friend who is a nurse for me to take that first step though.

There were certain aspects of my life & relationships I wasn't happy with & I'd been struggling with some of these feelings since my teenage years & early 20's.  Previously I'd been able to lock them in a box & not think about them but over time I guess they started to seep out & eventually like the Boggarts out of Harry Potter I became less in control of them & more & more paralysed by fear of them: fear of failure, fear of not measuring up to a standard I'd set for myself & that I felt society had set for me.  I needed help to get rid of them so to speak, or, to stuff them back into the box & get the lid firmly back on (I chose the first option).  You can call it a midlife crisis if you please.




You don't really get rid of feelings, but you can modify how you feel about them & approach them differently.  One of the things I found invaluable in the counselling sessions was the perspective I gained on not only my behaviour but the behaviour of those around me.  

I'm not going to go into details about who & what here, but I can see that in an anxious state your reality from the inside is completely different from someone else's reality looking in from the outside.  Something to bear in mind if you have to deal with someone in an anxious state: you simply do not both see the same situation in the same way at all.

I came off the medication after 6 months & continued with the 12 months worth of sessions doing all my home work - yes, there is that - & began to tell a few close friends.  Plumbing Boy was really good & in some aspects part of the problem (but by no means the only) but committed to being part of the solution.  




The first 3/4's of 2015 was also difficult & I revealed what had been happing to me to my parents early that year.  I didn't need to go back onto medication nor get a referral for another 12 months of counselling although have been considering it lately (to help me deal with our new living arrangements & especially with the changes Alzheimers is bringing & will continue to bring).  

I continued to put into practice what I'd learned in counselling & continue to do so now.  I've been feeling more like my old self this year.  More at ease.  I still have to remind myself sometimes that storm clouds pass & that it is OK to sit with uncomfortable feelings for a while.  If you go back & read this post about a ring it will probably make a whole lot more sense now.  

The point of this post I suppose is to remind you that nobody is exempt from life pressures.  1 in 5 adults are affected by mental health problems every year & nearly 45% of the population are affected at some stage in their lives - read more here. It doesn't matter what the pressure is, whether you think it worthy or not: if it is affecting you emotionally or psychologically, there is help available to you, you are not alone.  Talk to your GP, talk to a friend, talk to a stranger in an organisation like Beyond Blue, or Sane.  But you must speak up - it will take courage, but you can & must do it.





Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Gardens

One sunny day in February we went for a drive down the coast to Dromana for lunch with friends at Heronswood, part of a diggers club complete with nursery, gardens & restaurant.  Most of the fruit, veggies & herbs used in the restaurant are fresh from the garden with everything else on the menu locally sourced including beverages.  I took pictures of the non edible stuff!!










Our own garden is doing it's thing.  The first crop of lettuce is done & I pulled out the last of the plants this week as the leaves were just too bitter for even me too eat & they were going to seed anyway.  Next crop is in.  Our egg plant has delivered 1 beauty with a few more on the way.



The begonia plant we were given as a house warming gift is in full bloom.



I've had this pail for years meaning to use it as a herb garden & it's finally happened after plumbing boy drilled a few holes in the base for me.  I've already used the oregano & thyme.  Am sure the parsley will get a look in soon - just waiting for it to grow a little more!


An our roses are blooming away out the front.  I removed all the dead heads from the last bloom a couple of weeks ago & they've gone crazy so I picked some to enjoy inside.


The hot house is finally done although I haven't taken any photo's yet, & we've had a few tomato's & hope to have strawberries soon.  We're all getting quite into this gardening caper & have started our autumnal planting with some broccoli & something else, but for the life of me I cannot remember what!