Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Farewell and good riddance 2014

I have spent a fair amount of time contemplating this little spot on the internet, as life got hard this year my blog was the first thing to go, followed quickly by my sanity! (you think I am joking but it got close there sometimes).

However, as many people do while contemplating a new year dawning, with all the hopes, dreams and possibilities it holds I am hoping there are some pretty awesome gems for my family, and I would love to document them, so fingers crossed I can start to write here regularly again.

This year Otto starts prep, I have three more triathlons to complete and a few other as yet undecided events that I would like to compete and secure some PB's.  It is my last year with Hugo home full time and I am determined to enjoy and embrace each experience, the years are flying and I am learning to take each day as it comes.

So with the final day of this bad year dawning I set my alarm to run before work along the river, a favourite place of mine.  The only drawback being the consistent and ever so familiar pain under my diaphragm.  I can't even begin to explain what it was like to wake up and have that pain, after all the injections, hot flushes, mood swings, vagueness, insomnia and worry throughout my treatment, it didn't work.  The old pain was back and I was pissed off, both at my body and at the timing, how dare this "thing" come and ruin the last day of the year, remind me of how scary and painful some of these months were and how much I paid personally for it, but I am nothing if not stubborn and "ran" (jogged) anyway.

The pain would increase whenever I tried to run faster so I kept it at a slow and steady pace, sometimes smiling, sometimes holding back the tears, but I was determined that a disease which has taken so much from me this year would not take my one saviour, my one driving force (other than my family) which got me through some hard and horrible weeks.  The ability to run, to fill my lungs with air and clear my head, to tell me that no matter how hard it felt, how much it hurt I would be ok. So I did it, laced up those shoes and ran anyway.

It was a hot and humid morning, even at 6am but running along here is always my happy place, usually a rare moment when I get to run without the boys, and feel a part of the community of fellow exercisers with wave, nod and smile as we pass each other, drawing our own strengths to face our individual challenges from the sweat running down our cheeks.

So farewell 2014, you have taught me so much about myself, what and who is important in my life and a strength I didn't know I had, but kindly leave now and let me move on.  There are bigger and better things waiting for me and I am going to grab them, with both hands and hold on tight for whatever comes my way, because I know I can do it.

Happy New Year from 3/4 of us, we wish all our friends and family the happiest and most loved 2015.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The week that was.

This week has been a bit of a quiet training week, after last week my legs needed some rest, I had a few back to back hard training sessions both in the pool and on land and by Sunday night I was taking myself to bed just after the kids went down!

Monday "brick" session is going well, after doing swim squad I hit the bike track circling the swimming complex while Hugo is in kids club and waves to me each time I pass, I need to start doing some more interval training on this day but for right now my aim is to run negative splits as close to race pace as I can, so far I am finding this pretty good.

I know that soon I need to start incorporating more strength workouts into my weekly routine, I find especially with swimming that my upper body and core strength are really letting me down so I am hoping that I will start to do that on either a Tuesday or Thursday night but as yet I haven't found the motivation to do anything except research them!

Tuesday Hugo and I usually head out to do something together after riding with Otto to kindy.  A group of friends usually meet at a library for rhyme time and coffee but I had yet to work out how to manage that on the bike without a pram for Hugo once we got there.  This week I had my light bulb moment and had a great time chatting and riding with Hugo the whole way there.  Our set up got a few comments but it worked for us and allowed Hugo a much nicer spot to nap on the way home.

The extra weight of the carriage on the back certainly added to my resistance and while it isn't a long ride, I certainly felt it on the way home!

Wednesday is usually a run day but my whole day got mucked around this week so nothing really happened.

Friday was back to swim squad and I was proud to be able to keep up with other women that were well out of my reach even a few months ago while sprinting off the blocks.  It is nice to see some improvement after swimming during the colder months when it would have been much nicer to stick at home and cuddle with the boys.

This morning was park run, and while it wasn't a PB, this run was the first time I really noticed my strength improving.  When I first started I guessed my pace to be sitting around the 5:30/km pace as that is what it felt like, imagine my surprise when I was actually sitting around the 5:06/km pace, for the first 3 km, slowing down as always for the hills and incline towards the finish line.

I hate that hill in the picture, it is within the final 2km's and from here on there is a slight incline almost the whole way to the end!

Tomorrow is Father's day, so no training tomorrow, just celebrating the wonderful man that supports and sustains us, and helps me to reach my goals in life.

Monday, September 1, 2014

An update.

So I have been missing in action for a while now, for no good reason in particular except that I haven't felt like writing here, life gets like that I suppose.  

Training has started in earnest for the triathlon season of 2014-15, I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous by the prospect, having spent a good amount of money on gear, coaching and racing I am keen to make it all worthwhile.

My first race is actually next month doing the Bribie Island series, it is a shorter course than the olympic distance and a great place to practice before the Kingscliff Triathlon in November.  In total I will be doing 4 short course triathlons and 2 olympic distance events between October and March!

It is certainly going to be an interesting summer.

I am hoping to come back here a bit more regularly in the future to keep a good log of my training and race performance throughout the season, and of course I have to update the half marathon and duathlon results, but for now, my training weary body is going to bed.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Half marathon eve.

Well tomorrow is the day, I am excited and nervous all at once to get this half marathon under way, unlike last time I know how much pain this will bring but I also know how amazing it will feel to finish.

This time my goals are a little different, my time at the twighlight half marathon in March was 2 hours 8 minutes, this time I am really hoping to better that time.

Achievable goal:  2hrs
Hopeful goal: 1hr 55min
Would love to goal: 1hour 50min

My "would love to goal"  is probably wishful thinking, but it would feel amazing if I could manage it, I am pretty sure that it is unattainable and I haven't done enough training to get there but you never know what could happen on race day!  My plan is to run with the pacer for 1hr 50min for as long as I can, but hopefully not dropping back any further than the 1hr 55min pacer to ensure that I can cross the line in that time.

I am off now to enjoy a quiet day with Han as the boys are having a sleep over and rest while enjoying as many carbs as I like.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Oh hi!

My poor neglected blog, while it hasn't been far from my thoughts for the last month I just haven't managed a time to keep it updated.  Hugo has taken his poor sleeping record and shown me just how bad it can get lately, with multiple wakings resulting in about 4 hours sleep on a bad night, or 6 hours sleep on a good night!  I have been so exhausted that keeping up with anything that isn't imperative to survival (or limited training) has been dropped in favour of sleep, or at least tuning out to the television, while I wait for the cries that tell me I need to re settle again and again and again.  The last few nights however have been a little better, we got a bit tougher with him over the weekend and it seems to be paying off, so my fingers are crossed that I might soon enjoy a good nights sleep again.

Throughout this time I have had to cut back on some training, it just hasn't been as easy to head out in the cold with two kids in the pram while I have been so exhausted.  I am still doing as much as possible, however it has left me feeling very under prepared for the half marathon in 10 days!

I did get some encouragement recently when I smashed a PB during a park run by a long shot, I still can't believe I managed it with both kids in the pram, this time last year I would never have dreamed it was possible.

10 days to go!  Can I bring it in under 2 hours?  Fingers are crossed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

5 Random things.

I have added a few new favourite songs to my running playlist, but easily my favourite one at the moment is 'Super Love'.  I don't keep up with many artists these days, maybe it is an age thing, or the fact that I listen to a crazy amount of children's music but I am fairly unapologetic about what I love, even if it is cheesy and over produced, if it gets me moving then it works for me.

I am having enough hot flushes lately to heat our house, I am over it, sick to death of constantly peeling layers off to cool down and then piling them back on again when I am freezing and of course with skin like mine I also go a lovely shade of beetroot.  However Friday marks the halfway point and if I wasn't working I would consider champagne!

The boys have been hilarious lately, Hugo is demanding but endearing, his current obsession of trains and rubbish trucks is reaching fever point and he often sobs like his world is ending if either are out of his sight for very long.  Otto has discovered words like "hypothesis" and "experiment" and would like to conduct science experiments of increasing danger to test them out.

I am counting down sleeps until this weekend when I get to go away for my first ever girls weekend with my book club since having children, the excitement is reaching fever pitch.


And yes, I really am screaming that.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Yesterday at 5am my alarm went off, usually on a race day I am out of bed like a shot ready to get dressed and in the car full of enthusiasm, but yesterday I just couldn't muster it, for some reason I snoozed the alarm and tried to forget about it, eventually I hauled myself out of bed and got ready to go.  I still can't explain why I was so apathetic about it but the feeling continued right up until the second km, I am pleased that I eventually got my head out of whatever funk it was in but it wasn't the most fun way to start a race.

The course is a stunning route showing off the best of the inner city area that we are blessed to have, lots of views of the river with a few killer hills right at the end that had me swearing in disbelief, I got up them well enough but coming back down was a bit terrifying, I still need to work on that.

I ran as part of a corporate team with my work so was looking out for any other similar shirts, sadly I didn't see any while running but it was great to have a meet up at the tent once the race was done with a yummy breakfast waiting for us.  

Overall this is a great run, a very well organised event in a great part of the city at a time when we usually enjoy wonderful weather so I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a challenge next year.  I am happy because with a time of 1hr 13min I have secured myself a spot in the red zone next year, which is right at the front meaning that I will be pushed to go even faster surrounded by all those speedy people.

This was a great training run for the half marathon in a few weeks, and the fact that I could maintain a 5:13/km pace has me really hopeful that I will get my goal of coming in under 2 hours.  Now I just keep my training on schedule, and with an active recovery swim this morning I am right on schedule!

 What started as a hard race finished as a triumph, and you can't ask for much better than that.

Friday, June 13, 2014

21 km really does look a long way.

Today the course map for the half marathon was released, I have been looking forward to printing it out and getting to know the course really well, hopefully even running the whole thing at least once, or at least sections of it.

The crazy part about it all is that it seems insanely long!  I have run this distance before, but that run was 2 laps of the same course whereas this one only double backs a few times so we have a very good idea of just how long it will be!  

Better keep training!  I am running the city2south on Sunday so it will be very interesting to see how I go over the 14 km.  Tonight I am all set to enjoy the new season of Orange is the new black with a few glasses of wine and some good chocolate.

Enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ticking off a new goal.

Today, after being woken by Hugo at 4:30am with a request to play trains (how about a loud resounding NO) and not long after by Otto demanding that I fix his blankets as he found them too "confusing" I wasn't feeling very enthused to head to work and then a run along the river.  Thank goodness there is always coffee.

After finishing for the day I got changed without thinking about it and set off along the river, it is one of my favourite places to run, especially on a day like today with the sun out and a slight breeze, a perfect 22 degrees.  I wasn't paying too much attention to my running app, I was mostly watching for cyclists and enjoying the view, thinking about how great it is to be able to live in such a gorgeous city and how thankful I am to be able to run there, when suddenly an update came through and I realised that I was running at my goal pace, a pace that I have been working towards for months!  I only had two km's to go and knew that I had it in me, suddenly my thoughts changed to keeping on pace and attacking the run, the whole time with a huge grin on my face, I could do it, I knew I could.

And I did, I danced a victory dance right there on Coronation Drive, I don't care who saw me, I had finally cracked it and it felt good.

Yep, 5 min/km, a year ago I would never have dreamed of being able to achieve that and I am proud of those numbers, they show a lot of hard work and determination.

And I am still beaming!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Can I put in an order for more weather like this!

Hasn't this morning been gorgeous!  I was woken bright and early as usual but managed to convince both boys to snuggle a bit longer under the covers as it was still dark and cold, I love this time the most, when they are both still warm from their own beds, chatting about what we are doing today.

I decided not to run, it was a bit close to my run from yesterday and both boys still have coughs so I don't want them out in the cold air, instead we chose to ride to Kindy this morning and that is always fun for all of us.  Otto is so proud of riding his bike, especially when all his friends see him ride up to the gate, and Hugo loves it too, this morning I had the bonus of riding with my very own dinosaur on the back.

I love Tuesday's, Hugo and I are free to do whatever we like, and this week we continued on to meet a new friend for coffee and a play in the park right by the river.  Honestly, some mornings everything just goes right and today was one of them.

I think even this sleepysaurus thinks so.

Later today I am meeting with the builder to start working towards our renovations, we have been waiting such a long time to get this started and I am beyond excited to get going with our first stage.  Having lived through renovations before I know it won't be easy but the end product will be absolutely worth it.

How to make your sports wardrobe go further!

Ok, so since starting to become more serious in my sporting ventures I have noticed that there is a ridiculous amount of apparel out there for each discipline.  Swimmers in all shapes, colours and sizes, running gear for all different seasons, shapes and sizes and cycling gear that seems to cover very little but cost an awful lot.

I started off running, and over the last 18 months have amassed a decent wardrobe inspired by lycra, a few cross season pieces but mostly summer stuff as this is only my second winter running and last year I borrowed Han's long sleeve travel top.  I shop only in sales and hate paying much more than $20 for any item (except shoes, I will pay good money to run pain free).  Stumbling into the world of cycling I was surprised and dismayed that much of my running wardrobe didn't transition well into that field and then I learnt the hard way that the padding in cycling pants is there for a very good reason.  Now add triathlon to that and the pants need a different style of padding, I guess running and cycling with a giant water soaked pad between your legs really isn't anyone's idea of fun.  Last night I spent a bit of time on ebay and other sites trying to find a reasonably priced triathlon pant when I discovered what is possibly the funniest, ugliest but best invention for people like me!

In the interest of full disclosure these are not the ones that I purchased, there were a few different ones to select from, but this picture gives the best idea.

With the cycling undies, my running wardrobe will go even further as I can wear these under all my running tights, go ahead, laugh, I sure did but I am pleased as anything to only spend $10 on a pair of undies instead of over $100 on a pair of cycling tights!

In other training news, I went for a long run this afternoon, and it felt good to get some distance on the legs again, especially without the stroller, it is a bit slower than race pace as I have a 14 km run coming up on Sunday.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The week that was.

I was perusing my facebook feed earlier today when a lovely reminder from the Brisbane Marathon Festival popped up, "only 8 weeks until race day"!  Cue stress hot flush and a realisation that I absolutely need to start seriously attacking my training if I want to make it under two hours, I was so organised and strict leading up to the twilight half marathon and my efforts were rewarded, so I know I can do it.

I really pushed myself at swimming last Friday and have had a few stroke correction suggestions made to me by our coach which have helped immensely, even if it slows me down to start with while I am concentrating on correcting the technique, I have had muscles become sore that I didn't even know existed!

Saturday I headed to a quick park run before the rubbish truck party, I was still feeling pretty exhausted from the previous day's efforts in the pool so I didn't intend on pushing it too hard.  It was overcast and I decided to listen to music and use the Nike running app for a change as I usually do these runs without any technology, what I can only imagine was a fault due to the cloud cover preventing good signal to the GPS my nike app started to throw some strange sounding splits my way, it felt like I was pushing hard and keeping up with the pack but my 1 km splits were much slower than normal, a fact that I put down to swimming at the time.  Until I got my park run results.
Park run: 26:55
Nike:  28:55
Now that is a pretty big difference and to be honest I feel like I was pushing myself hard enough that the 26:55 is the more realistic time, certainly not the recovery run I was planning but I am still happy that I was able to push myself through the 27 minute barrier again.

After eating our weight in sugar on Saturday afternoon at Hugo's party the whole family headed out to enjoy the color run in Brisbane with some friends on Sunday morning.  It was a great event, possibly a little less family friendly than the one we attended on the Gold Coast last year but we all left smiling and covered in paint, so fair to say mission accomplished.

Monday and Tuesday turned out to be rest days due to a few unscheduled changes to our routine but we did manage to ride our bikes to and from kindy each day which was a lovely time to spend with the boys. 

 Wednesday I headed back to the pool for a heart rate class, I usually can't attend on a Wednesday so it was fun to try it out, I worked more on my stroke and have been given more instruction, so more sore muscles but I am much happier to be heading in the right direction as swimming is easily my weakest triathlon discipline.  The rest of the week was filled with more swimming and minimal running.  

That all changed today as I headed to my second triathlon training session.  Last time my ass was handed to me on a platter and I left with my tail between my legs, this time I feel as though I was able to redeem myself somewhat.

After finishing late at work last night I woke up crazy early and headed out before the sun came out.  It is so invigorating being out at that time of morning, most often you see other people running, cycling or driving to fit their training in before the weekend starts and life takes over, it is a really peaceful time of day to experience and never fails to make me appreciate the ability to greet it.  I enjoyed training within a group, not only for the social aspect but also for the ability to push yourself to try and keep up with people fitter and faster than you.  This week I didn't finish dead last, but still in the slower portion of the club, I am happy there, it means I have a long way to go yet.

A new week is about to start and I feel ready to get out there and start attacking that half marathon goal.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Rubbish truck party.

I am the first to admit that as much as I love Hugo, love celebrating events especially birthdays, my desire to throw a big party leading up to his second birthday was severely lacking.  We had so much happening so I was relieved to remember that Otto's second birthday was a fizzer as well, at least that meant I didn't have to keep it fair.

So, Hugo is obsessed with rubbish trucks, has been for as long as I can remember.  Bin day at our house is the best day of the week, you will often find us camped out on the driveway watching them go about their business while the drivers toot and wave to him, he has a little excited jump and dance when he sees them coming that I really need to remember to record before it stops.  It wasn't even a decision process to make that some sort of overall theme, even if it was kept pretty minimal.

Hugo had a great day, and managed to be lucky enough to gain three rubbish trucks which have been played with non stop since Saturday.  We are so incredibly blessed to have him in our family and just as lucky to have so many wonderful family and friends around us that make up our village.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Triathlon training.

A few days ago, I woke up well before the sun, while my children and husband slumbered under their warm sheets and blankets dreaming of another day ahead, I was on my way to a triathlon club training session.

The night before I was all packed up, everything laid out ready to go, the car packed and sorted, I was a mixture of nerves, excitement and disbelief that I had signed myself up to attend.  Ever since the miscarriage last month my training has been off, I have been unmotivated and unable to face my goals as I constantly run them up against where I would have been in my pregnancy and no one wins at that game.  Something had to be done, I know I need time to grieve but I also needed to feel good about training for something again, and have confidence in myself.  To give myself a kickstart I have signed up for a triathlon club in my area, due to schedules I am only able to attend once a fortnight so I was intrigued to see if it would be worth going.

The short answer is yes!  It was hard work but it taught me so many aspects of both triathlon and running that I wasn't aware of, it was great to get out in a group, even if I was amongst the slowest and the coffee after was worth it.  I have a long way to go if I want to feel good about my performance at the end of the year, but I am hopeful that I am on my way.

Next up, marathon school!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Getting back to it.

This last weekend we finally started to recover from a fortnight of (possibly exaggerated) black plague.  The sleep factor has been low, the grumpy factor high and the training non existent, my sole purpose was to get us all back to health and recover well.  In saying that, I did run 8 km for the Mothers Day Classic, I was feeling a bit better and the boys were so pumped to "run" in a proper race with me that I didn't feel as though I could let them down.  It was a nice run, I felt good and was happy with 46:43 as my time.

It was great to run with Mum and has become a tradition for over ten years now, broken only by overseas placements and pregnancies, a great reminder of how life constantly changes over the years and the achievements we have both made in living an active life.

Now that we are finally better it has been back to training, I have another half marathon in August and I am aiming to get my time in under 2 hours, and of course my ultimate goal of competing in an Olympic distance triathlon in November.  I have lined up a few new items in my training this time around and I have to say it has been a challenge and I have questioned exactly what I am doing.  I am still enjoying park run on Saturday and even managed to come first in my category last week which was thrilling!

(Don't you love the sass coming from Otto!)

But Sunday I headed out for a ride with a cycling club, admittedly I thought we were only going to do 30-40km of a route I have cycled a few times, ensuring I would be back home around 8 so imagine my surprise when all of a sudden we are heading towards Wynum and they have put me in the fast pace group.  It was approx 50-60km round trip and by the middle I was feeling exhausted, I had overdressed so was pretty hot, sick of stopping at lights and going up hills, it was all I could do to hold it together until we got back to our cars.  I questioned my sanity many times on that ride, exactly what did I think I was doing?  I have barely ridden in my life time, never with a proper bike and never within the capacity that I have challenged myself to lately, I was constantly at the back of the group and felt like I was holding the fast people up, and I hate being at the back.

Roll on Monday and I turn up at swim squad only to be told we are doing 30 100 meter repeats, it is enough to destroy a persons will to live, or at the minimum swim!  I am still determined to go without fins and make sure that I can learn to swim better without them so with sore legs from the day before I dive in and get started.  Now that I have taken my fins off I am pretty much the slowest in the squad and swimming 3kms certainly gives you plenty of time to think, again, about how you are the back of the pack, struggling to improve and keep balance in life.  I questioned myself yet again, have I set unrealistic goals?  Am I still having fun?  Should I just go back to running a few times a week and call it a day?

No, of course not, I set myself some goals, I know how good it is when you reach them and all this hard work is worth it, both mentally and physically.  The hard work I put in now is payed back tenfold later at the finish line, or when life throws me more curve balls (but please no more just yet), I can tell myself and my children that hard work is worth it, it pays off, the cheap medal means more than just a token, it is a culmination of the hard work, sweat, tears and self doubt that has been overcome to continue driving towards a goal and seek personal improvement.

We all have to start somewhere, and the bottom of the pack is just as good as anywhere.

Friday, May 9, 2014

When nothing goes to plan.

So this week started off well, Hugo and I went to the pool, I got a nice recovery swim and we were settling into our week, I had researched some different running routes to change our routine and couldn't wait to give them a try.  That all came to a grinding halt when Hugo woke hourly, sometimes twice an hour on Monday night, finishing with a temperature over 40 degrees for hours that I couldn't get down no matter what.  Off to the doctor with my sick little bunny who had a horrible case of tonsillitis, his poor throat looked so sore, and he looked even worse.

Thankfully I knew with the antibiotics he would soon start feeling better.  Obviously I put all training on hold, there was no point stressing his body out sitting in a cold pram and I was feeling pretty exhausted as well, there was always the end of the week and our life comes first.

By midday Wednesday there was a big improvement, I was having trouble getting him to rest and keep quiet, so after picking Otto up from Kindy I decided we would head out for a bike ride with our new bikes seat for Hugo.  At least Hugo would get some fresh air and we could leave the house without him over exerting himself.

 We had a great time, Hugo giggled the whole way and Otto felt like such a big boy riding beside me, exactly what we all needed after such an exhausting few days, it is always hard to see your children sick and miserable and be unable to do much to make them feel better, that there is so much relief when they get back to their normal troublesome selves!

I was so hopeful that the worst was done, so imagine my surprise when I again spent the whole night awake with Hugo for what appeared to be no reason, no temperature, he was warm enough without overheating, he wasn't hungry or thirsty.  The next morning it all became clear in the light of day.  The poor little boy's mouth was covered in cold sore's, his immune system so depleted that they couldn't fight them.

Just to be sure it wasn't a drug allergy we headed back to the doctor, only to be told it was as I suspected and there isn't much we can do.  Thankfully now the swelling has gone down but a big red angry rash extending underneath his chin is in place until they finally go away, Hugo has been through so much this week, and other than looking like he has come off second best he is in good spirits and finally sleeping again, I haven't done any form of training and that is fine with me, the Mothers Day Classic is on tomorrow and hopefully my little ones will be well enough to attend, if not they will stay at home and continue to recover with Han.

I did manage to source some great homemade fudge from a fete this morning and a new book for Otto, so all is not lost, but we are hoping that our turn for some good news isn't too far away.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What a weekend!

Saturday dawned nice and early for us thanks to my two little alarm clocks and I hurried to get us out the door for park run.  I had forgotten how much longer it will take to get them dressed and out the door now that the cooler weather has kicked in, and didn't that happen quickly!  Anyone who lives in Brisbane is currently wondering whatever happened to Autumn?  We were hot last week and freezing this week, I noticed with irony this evening as I was folding the kids clean laundry that there was an equal mix of tracksuit pants and shorts in there, but I digress.
Saturday was cold, so cold, and then add the wind factor being close to the river and the pram ended up feeling like a parachute to push ahead of me through the head wind,  I was exhausted by the time we were finished, and it was by far my worst time on that course.  I still managed to come 6th in my Category so I assume everyone struggled with it.  It did mean that I could let go of the pram and trust it wouldn't move very far which made for a fun photo.  The wind on Saturday held nothing however to the wind on Sunday!

I was pumped for Sunday, my first big ride on the bike with 2000 other people doing various distances and elevations.  I opted for the 50 km ride and I have never been more grateful for thinking small.  I haven't spent much time on the bike lately so was a bit concerned about my fitness, but that turned out to be the least of my concerns after checking the weather and discovering that the low was 6 degrees with wind gusts of 20-30 km.  I started riding in the summer and have absolutely no winter gear so I was panicking slightly about what on earth I was going to wear that would keep me warm, the short answer is nothing, as I found out.  I managed to source some extra layers and purchased a fleece vest for my birthday which was my savior, but even that wasn't enough, it was brutal.  In the end this ride wasn't about enjoyment but endurance, the wind sliced through every layer, almost blew me off the bike countless times and I lost track of the hills I climbed, by the last one I was cranky, so cranky I am pretty sure anyone near me would have heard me swearing the whole way up and not in a particularly lady like fashion.  I was bored, wind swept, freezing cold and hungry, by the time that finish line loomed ahead of me the best I could manage for the photographer was a grimace, I looked happier half way through my half marathon then I did at the end of this easy ride.

I am pleased I did it, I learnt that I need more time on the bike, more time doing hills and more winter gear than I first thought!

 Mum managed to climb Mt Cootha and ride 75 km's the route taking her right past my house, I have no idea how she managed to continue on, knowing that I have a coffee machine and hot shower right there, she is made of better stuff then me, I am 90% sure I would have stopped, said to hell with it, and picked the car up later!

The icing on the cake for my red tinged wind burnt face was waking up Monday morning to a glorious winter day, beautiful blue sky, not even the hint of a breeze, absolutely perfect cycling weather, also, to those with access to a heated pool, the perfect active recovery from a hard day on the bike.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Inside play.

So today was meant to be the last of the warm weather, the only catch was that it also included some rain, swimming lessons were on the schedule and desperately needed to be attended after a few slack weeks, so off we went.

The boys had so much fun and were incredibly muddy and sandy by the time I picked them up from kids club and headed to their lessons, a sure sign of a good hour spent playing with other kids!  After some piping hot pea and ham soup we made our way home, only to discover a severe weather warning to be issued for the afternoon.  Cue hysterics from mostly me about what on earth I was going to do with them for the long and solitary hours until bedtime!

Kinetic sand was the answer (I sound like some badly worded advertisement), a few months back a friend of mine who owns Finlee and me kept raving about this new product she had started selling, and normally I love her taste and fall in love with the amazing products she finds, but I was dubious.  I thought surely it was just like Play-doh, or normal sand, I just didn't understand what was so special.  Eventually she brought some along to a play date and let the boys have some fun, only then did I understand how amazing it was to work with, and how the kids responded to the texture.

It has come out a few times since then and each time it is a hit, the boys are really careful with it, and even when they aren't it is so easy to clean up as the sand will stick together.  This afternoon it saved my sanity as both boys played with it for over an hour, making it into so many different imaginative scenarios I was astounded.

I have been reading blogs for long enough to understand that some people are paid to review products and I just wanted to be clear that I wasn't asked to do this nor was I paid in any way to write this, it is my own opinion.

And my verdict is that the product, while not essential for child development, it is a great tool to have as a parent when you need something different to help entertain.

Also, I kind of like playing with it too!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Happy May!

So today is the 1st of May, it deserves mentioning for a few reasons.  The month of April is over, it was the best and absolute worst of months I have experienced in quite a while, I also start a new training regimen for a half marathon in 12 weeks time, it will mark the halfway point in my treatment and I am hoping to bring my time in under 2 hours.

I decided to start the month off right, a 5km run into the city from Toowong with the kids, a picnic breakfast overlooking the river seemed like perfection, especially as the weather is set to cool down into a proper autumn over the weekend.  It was as lovely as I had hoped, both boys were entranced by the tunnels, bridges, cyclists and city cats.  I couldn't stop smiling as I ran, happy to be able to breathe the fresh air and appreciate my ability to get out of the house and run, we had a lovely morning frolicking in the water and sand, chasing birds and heading back to the car by boat on the city cat.  We really do live in a wonderful city.

 Of course as every new training program starts I make certain to also have some nutrition goals, such as no wine or chocolate during the week, plenty of protein and carbs and lots of water.  Then at night I find myself with a glass of wine and chocolate beside me, I am nothing if not consistent!

At least there is always tomorrow night to get it right!!!

Swimming day tomorrow, it has been a good few weeks since I have entered the pool, and the temperature has dropped considerably in that time, wish me luck!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Getting my groove back.

So tomorrow is menopause day as I have started officially calling it in my head, I am hoping to start the day off happy with my normal morning swim squad session before a coffee and play with Hugo.  I am trying hard not to concentrate on the fact that this rules any chance of a baby out for six months, instead I am focusing on my wonderful family, and the training and running goals I have for this year, but, it is exhausting.

Keeping a happy persona all day for everyone around me when sometimes all I want to do is scream is tiring, keeping busy for the kids has been at once my saving grace but also difficult when I just want to crawl back into bed and mope.  Don't get me wrong, it isn't all bad, the happiness isn't all forced, just sometimes, but that is life, and I really am very lucky.

I have taken the last few weeks off running and training, a few sessions here and there but slow and steady, nothing to really write about.  I finally decided that this weekend I would get going again, I have no need to be cautious while training and on this medication so I may as well chase those goals down and get excited for them, back to Parkrun it was.  Considering it was almost a month since any serious training had been done I wasn't optimistic and mostly just wanted to see how I would go.

I am pretty happy with the results, 27:28 my slowest run to date but not by much and I am happy to cut myself a bit of a break, the best part was that I had a great time, felt the happiest I have in the last few weeks and reminded myself why this is such an important part of my week, but also my sanity.

Menopause, I am ready for you!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Finding my joy.

Almost three weeks ago I was sitting at this very computer, in this very same spot when I looked down beside me and smiled yet again, I was beaming, once the shock wore off I was on cloud nine, surprised does not even begin to explain seeing that positive sign on the stick.

I have never had the pleasure of a surprise pregnancy, of my three pregnancies I have two healthy boys, both planned in doctors rooms and with plenty of time to prepare ourselves.  This pregnancy took our breath away and continues to daily.  For that whole first week I would smile just to think that we had done it, all on our own, no doctors, no tests, no bloodwork, no scans, no probes, no tears or heartache, just two people who love each other doing what most people do all on their own.  It certainly wasn't the best timing, a house to renovate, a new FIFO (fly in/fly out) job that takes my husband away during the week and two boys that take all my energy and time, I thought of the goals I had for my training this year but none of it mattered we would make it work.

Almost a fortnight ago I was here at this computer once again, trying desperately to remember if I spotted during early pregnancy with either Otto or Hugo, being at once reassured and concerned by Dr Google.  Han was due to fly out again early the next day so we made the decision to head to the doctor due to my increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, and from there we were sent to the hospital for a scan.

As you can imagine, waiting for that scan and the blood test results was excruciating, I kept rebounding from assuring myself and Han that I was just being a worry wart and it would all be ok, to thinking the worst.  Finally the radiographer arrived and we were in the cold lifeless scan room waiting to hear our fate, that booming sound of silence from both the radiographer and the screen soon told me all that I needed to know.

No baby, not this time.

What can you say, what can you do, when that flood of emotion comes racing at you like a tidal wave, ready to destroy and obliterate all the joy not only from you but from those closest to you.  We go through the motions, try to say the right things, "something wrong with the baby"  "better to know now than continue on until the 12 week scan"  "Someone else is fighting a greater sorrow than us right now", but nothing takes away the pain of a little life that we will never get to know, for whatever reason it wasn't meant for us, but that doesn't make the sadness any less.

I am however a rationalist and a realist.  I gave myself a few days to feel sad, ironically kept myself busy helping two friends that had just given birth and looking after the boys, acknowledging the sadness but at the same time keeping myself aware of the joy that was around me.  The boys and I headed up to the coast for a night to catch up with family and friends, breathe deeply the ocean air that always restores and calms me and soak up the sun and salt before summer slips ever so slowly into winter.

While we were there I noticed some pain, nothing too serious but certainly persistent.  It continued to grow during the day but I was busy keeping the boys from drowning or falling of high objects, by the time I started to drive home that night I noticed that it was pretty uncomfortable, took some panadol and headed straight to bed.  The next day the pain was still there, I just made sure to take it easy and not lift or bend too much.  I have had this pain before and it was investigated surgically towards the end of last year where some Endometriosis was discovered (I was diagnosed with severe Endometriosis in 2007) and removed, the pain had been manageable since then but this time it was clearly escalating quickly.  By the afternoon it was becoming obvious that I would need some medical attention, as the pain is centered around my diaphragm it makes breathing difficult and painful so for the second time in a week I went to hospital, this time in the middle of the Easter weekend.

I was upset, the boys went to bed without us so we weren't able to talk about, or get ready for the Easter bunny to visit together, at that stage I thought I might have to be admitted to hospital and didn't want to miss the Easter egg hunt or my birthday (also Easter Sunday) with my family, mostly I just felt like such a failure.  The miscarriage was sad, but I felt as though throughout the week I had come to terms with it, I felt ready to take a deep breathe and move on, but this pain was holding me back, holding us all back from moving on.  Once I was comfortable and yet another scan was performed I was allowed to go home, with an appointment to see my specialist on Tuesday.

I was ready early Tuesday morning, armed with questions and information when my brilliant minded but terrible mannered doctor bluntly told me that the only option moving forward was to start on a medication I had taken 7 years earlier just after being diagnosed.  Zoladex.  This medication hinders the release of oestrogen, the hormone that feeds this disease, with the hope that it will kill the patch that is sitting in my diaphragm.  While taking this medication I will be forced into a chemical menopause which will be reversed once I stop, after six months.  I wasn't expecting this at all, last time it didn't work, hopefully this time it does, the disease we are treating is in a different area now and the medication has proven to be effective for this type of spread before.

So for now, I am preparing to enter menopause at 34, we have gone from such a happy high a few weeks ago to an exhausted body and mind low currently.  Previous experience has taught me that we will be ok, that these life experiences make us stronger and closer as a family unit, it is now more important than ever for me to find the joy in my little everyday with the boys and Han.  People all over the world face sorrow much worse than this, disease worse than this and a much greater loss than I could ever imagine.  If this is the hardest lesson I face than I will be forever grateful.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Life lately.

Things have been a bit slow on the blog, because thankfully life has been a bit slow.  I haven't signed up to any events for the month of April and decided to take a break from so much training.  I am still getting out there and running, riding and swimming, I couldn't imagine my life now without it, but some of the intensity has gone.  I have another half marathon to complete in August, so soon I will be setting training goals and pushing myself to hopefully make a PB of completing it within two hours, but for right now, I just need some rest.

The boys and I have been making the most of our current school holidays and exploring what is on in our wonderful city.  Our first port of call was the deep sea exhibit at the museum, Otto had been counting down the days until this opened for two weeks, which is a crazy long time when you are four!  It was a major hit, especially as the childrens area is themed around the Octonauts TV show.  I loved that it was such a well thought out exhibit, there is plenty to keep the children amused as you walk through the different areas and so many interactive stations for them to explore.  It also isn't a massive display, so for most of the time I could let the children move around on their own and I could keep my eye on them, it is always so much more enjoyable for everyone if I am not restricting them to a pram or holding my hand!

As usual we have spent some time at the local Koala Sanctuary, it is a school holiday, bad day, weekend with no plans staple around here.  We are lucky to be yearly members and live so close to such an amazing animal Sanctuary.  I imagine there aren't many kids who wake up and decide they want to feed Kangaroos that day and actually get to do it.

Of course, we have spent a fair amount of time lazing around at home, playing, building and creating general mayhem when I am not watching, one thing is for sure, life with two boys is never dull!

Otto put together this bubble machine with Han's work, it has been his pride and joy to see it work and blow bubbles.  Another Engineer in the making.

Another week of school holidays is about to start and we are all excited and happy, we have a great week coming with so many adventures, it will be hard to send him back to Kindy!