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


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!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Drum Roll Please...................

Introducing Tux - also known as Mr Tuxedo, get off the table, get off the bench, stop scratching the couch, stop scratching the carpet, get out of it (whatever it is he's in) & don't bite!

First day at home above & yes, he does have a very very very fluffy tail that rarely stops swishing!!!

I know we last spoke about procuring one of Trixie's puppies when the time comes, but I decided in the end that I would still prefer a cat while I'm working full time & leave having a puppy until I'm home more.  

Anyone who knows me knows my first love is cats (as opposed to dogs - although I am sure Trixie thinks she's a cat anyway).  I barely have time to walk Trixie during the week so how on earth would I have time to train & spend time with a puppy?

I'd been looking periodically at pet rescue sites for the right cat & just before we went on holidays I saw this guy.  He's approximately 2 years 3 months & spent the his first 18 months of life on the street with the past 7 months in a foster home with his foster mum & her daughter & 2 dogs.

I went to visit him the weekend we got home from holidays & had talked plumbing boy into the adoption by Monday morning.  Paper work done, funds transferred & his foster Mum delivered him Sunday morning as they like to do a house inspection I guess to make sure they are not handing over a pet to a psycho!

We kept him confined for 2 days before introducing him to Trixie, mainly using the adoption program's guidelines which went well.  Trixie is jealous of Tux & any time I go to pat Tux, she barrels over & pushes in. Tux doesn't really stand still long enough for a pat so it's not that much of an issue.  

Trixie wags her tail when she's close to him, but he's not overly in love with her yet (although doesn't hiss or anything.  It will only be 3 weeks on Sunday.  No-one has chased anyone yet but they're not sleeping in the same bed together yet either.  

I have my yoga mat on the floor in front of the TV & if I get off that to do anything, one or the other is plonked on it when I get back.  And when I try to do my core work out, Tux stands behind my head rubbing up against it either swishing his tail in my face or trying to swipe my pony tail & Trix stands at my chest & tries to either lick my face or armpits while trying to climb onto my chest & sit on me.  My paparazzi have been too slow to snap a pic so far!!!

Tux is very good at opening doors & has manage to open the back door 3 times now & escape when I've left it 2mm not quite closed.  All 3 times I was able to grab him within a couple of minutes & put him back inside.  I'm desperate to get his collar on this weekend (1 failed attempt so far - he arrived without a collar) as I have a tag on it with my phone number on it.  He is micro chipped, but they don't transfer that over to me until the 6 week trial period is over.  And I don't have a council tag for him yet.  So if he get out proper & if anything happens..............

Anyhoo.  Here are some more pics.  I couldn't get a decent one of him with Trix - they don't stand still enough long enough!!!!

Someone may have gotten a little over confident on the first day & coped a slap in the face......(yes, he drew blood)!

And of course life is no longer complete without this little face...................she's looking like a woolly teddy bear right now!!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Running Update

Running has been a bit blah of late.  It hasn't been the same since that awful twilight half marathon run towards the end of last year.  I've struggled with enthusiasm for Great Ocean Road Marathon training despite being exactly half way through my training program this week (10 of 20).  

I've been struggling with the 21.1 distance.  It's been HARD & I've been REALLY SLOW which has been doing my head in.  I know its already a long way & it doesn't matter how fast or slow you run, but the whole idea is to improve on your time right??  Or at least maintain a certain level which I've struggled with.  I'm guessing all this should probably tell me that something is amiss, but I'm blaming it on Febfast.  

This is Jim about to fall off the wagon & into the plonk at a dinner I was at early in Feb.  I think a girl cannot run on food & chocolate alone. I need wine which I gave up for the month of February during which time included my first run over the the 21.1km distance 2 weeks ago @ 23kms.  

I was quite stressed about the distance during the week & ended up asking my old PT give me a pep talk!!  I set out  committed to not worrying about the pace & after 5kms felt pretty strong & happy until 21.75kms..............when my right knee started to feel like a knuckle that needed cracking & then the familiar ITB knee pain set in.

I actually stopped & walked 200m to the drinking fountain ahead, had a drink & a reassessment, then shuffle ran the last km home feeling teary.  I was disheartened to say the least.  Iced & took anti inflams straight away + wore recovery skins all day & night.  It was actually feeling OK on Sunday & I started to wonder if it was all in my head!!  Put it through a PT session on Monday night without pain, but was still dubious about running.  

My lovely (new) PT recommended me her Myotherapist, whom I was very lucky to get a 1 hour appointment with on Wednesday afternoon (I've lost faith in my Physio, but that is a story for another day & probably not one for a public place).  Below is an image of injuries a Myo can treat.

She was very surprised I could run more than 10kms without pain & believes that my anatomy on the right side isn't doing me any favours (I'm knock kneed & duck footed on that side) & that my TLF & a little muscle in behind my knee which tries to keep it stable being tight as all get out are contributing.  She inflicted a fair bit of pain on me to loosen both of them off.

Long & short is that I'm doing most things right but need to spend more time on trigger point release all along the ITB & the hip area in addition to the regular foam rolling I was doing.  I had a follow up appointment yesterday & she's given me the all clear & only need to come back if it flares up again, so I am feeling hopeful.  

So much so that I finally ran some hills last night along the Maribyrnong river on a trail & felt great!!!!  More so mind than body - I was still slow & the hill was hard work; but I was HAPPY to be out there & happy to be running up a hill LOL!  Post run below.

I also found a great youtube on foam rolling & ITB last Friday which I believe has made a huge difference in my understanding & ability to self treat.  

Backtracking, I ran 5kms on the treadmill last Thursday after the Wednesday treatment & knee felt achey all day Friday.  Set off with trepidation for 15kms on Saturday & made it through without pain so the test will be tomorrow with a 25km run (having done 5kms on the treadmill after PT on Monday night & 7km hills last night without soreness). 

It hasn't been all doom & gloom however.  I arrived home from holidays beginning of Feb to find a parcel awaiting me:

My runamok tights from Char-  Aren't they snazzy!!! Fit is fabulous (similar to Running Bear fit), they are super comfortable & stay where put.  

I've joined the Rundownunder community & am currently virtually 48.30kms from Sydney (you start at Canberra) from the kms I've run this year.  Should get there next week.  That has helped with enthusiasm as it's pushing me to record & update my results so I can see where I am on the map (& in comparison to a few friends who are also part of this community - racing!!!)!

I bought some new sneakers on advice from a fellow runner friend who also worked for a number of years as the manager of a sports store.  She's a Saucony girl & I tried on a few pairs of her sisters recently & did some due diligence before heading into Podium Sports to try on my sizes before making a purchase.

I've ended up with a pair of Hurricanes (purple) & a pair of Guide 8's (blue) as recommended  - click on the links for some independent reviews & explanations of the shoes if you are interested. 

I wore the Guides on the treadmill Monday night & my feet felt like they were in heavenly pillows of softness.  Mind you that's how the Nike Lunar Glides felt too & look where they got me.

I wore the Hurricanes last night on the hill run & they were nowhere near as cushioned as the guides.  I had to undo the lock lacing between the car & the start of the trail as the tongue sides were bothering me.  I still don't think I had the lacing right as I felt like I was right in the toe box for the whole run although didn't feel any heel slippage.  

It is clear that I need stability for longer distance to help with the ITB issue, but one surely needs cushioning too!! Jury is out on both for now but the guides were lovely on.  The big decision is what to wear tomorrow!

The last thing that has given me hope is reading other bloggers who are having fun with their running.  In particular you Carol - you & Mike's antic's & pure joy with your running has helped me keep the faith.  So thank you!!!!