‘Normal-ish’

(I prefer ‘Normal-ish’ to that ghastly COVID-19 cliche (one of many) – ‘The New Normal’ – UGH!)

Iso has not treated Buddy well – #fatass #badangle

So where did we leave it last month? Let’s start with the thing that is kind of the purpose of this blog, running!

It’s been a month of consolidation – I’m not doing any ultramarathons yet, or even marathons, or even HALF marathons, but I’m improving in consistency and pace. This week I managed 2 x 1 hour and 1 x 45 minute runs – next week I have a ‘recovery’ week (scheduled every 4th week for the foreseeable future) and I do quite look forward to these!

Very excitingly, since my last post, my regular running groups have resumed! After 5 months or so running mostly solo, it is an absolute joy to be back running with people again! Even though I’m often running on my own within those groups (deliberately, because I don’t want to get sucked in to running at someone else’s pace!)

There have even been some ‘events’ – just before the running groups resumed, one of said groups put on a low-key self-supported half marathon and 10k. Needless to say it was the 10k that I did, and it was an absolute delight to be there!

Complete with homemade medals!

And just today I participated for the first time in ‘Women’s Run in the Park’ – a timed 5k which is run several times during the year, a set course designed so you can see your improvement over the year. Apparently this one had a bigger turnout than usual, probably because a free timed 5k event at the moment is as rare as hen’s teeth! The weather threatened but held off nicely for us, I’d forgotten just how muddy Victoria Park can be, but again it was so nice to be part of a group run! And lovely to see a whole lot of ladies I hadn’t seen in AGES (I’m talking about you Michelle, and Ruth, and Ros, among others!) Thanks to Julie and the Adelaide Harriers for putting it on – probably see you next month!

Going out is still a bit of a novelty (sorry to my Victorian friends, probably skip this next bit!) – I’ve been out for dinner once and lunch a couple of times in the past month, and last weekend a lovely coastal walk followed by a wine at the pub (we must do that again, ladies!)

OK now to the bit everyone really wants to know about (?) TV and movies!

I’m nearly finished Season 7 of The Office (this season has taken awhile due to 2 week free trials of Binge and Disney+).

I’m into Season 4 of Arrested Development (this is the last season I have on DVD – there was a 5th season but I heard it was a bit of a letdown, if anyone’s seen it I’d be keen to hear if it’s worth watching!) Seasons 1-3 were perfection, Season 4 is very different in format but no less enjoyable! Kind of thinking that once I finish this one I might go back and rewatch from the start!

On Binge I got through the whole 2 seasons of Big Little Lies (fantastic series – even though I’m not a huge Nicole Kidman fan – Meryl Streep KILLED IT in Season 2!) and a few movies including Goodfellas which I’d been keen to see for a while – I then started watching The Sopranos and got 6 episodes in before my free trial ended – I’ll get around to watching the rest of it eventually!

I currently have Disney+ on a free trial, all I really wanted to watch was Hamilton (definitely worth a watch if you haven’t seen it – even if you’re not heaps into musicals, it’s not like your typical musical!) and I’m keen to hear any other recommendations for stuff to watch on Disney+ in the next week and a half! (Not the Avengers series – not enough hours in the day or days in the week for that!)

Finally got my drum amp set up but just waiting for delivery of a splitter cable (any day now!) so the sound will come out both speakers – I’m sure the neighbours can hardly wait…

I bought a book… it’s probably a bit too advanced for me but I’ll give it a crack – starting with ‘You Give Love A Bad Name’!

Who knows what the next month will bring?

More photos of my cats, probably…

Not very exciting – but at last some progress…

Haven’t posted in a while (and in fact my last post never went onto social media so maybe have a quick read of that one first!

Running-wise, I am now up to 3 runs per week, 2 of 60 minutes and 1 of 30 minutes. Still by myself, on closed tracks (ie no having to stop for traffic) because I don’t want to waste any precious seconds! Getting pretty damn bored with my routes but glad to be making some progress! Looking forward to running with other people soon!

Got back to one of my favourite spots for the first time in AGES!!! (You can only get there on foot – or possibly mountain bike?)

It’s lovely to be able to go out again without having to have an ‘essential’ reason. Since my last post I’ve been out for coffee a few times (and even SAT AT THE COFFEE SHOP!) and even more exciting, I MET SOME FRIENDS FOR A WINE AT THE PUB!!!

Still enjoying being off the social media, although I am finding it challenging to get up-to-date info from businesses (such as, opening hours) as most of them seem to rely on Facebook for this kind of info! I might get back on one day but I reckon I’ll put some kind of self-imposed restrictions on so it doesn’t eat up too much of my day – the days are busy enough as it is!

Being able to go out for a meal means not having this in my face when trying to eat pizza!

It’s now been nearly 4 months since my last cut and colour. I haven’t resorted to the clippers yet but it’s just a matter of time…

I’m now into Season 7 of The Office, I haven’t made much progress since my last post because I’ve since discovered my new favourite show/obsession (OK, I use the term ‘new’ very loosely) – Arrested Development, best show ever! If you haven’t seen it, please do! (And if you have – it’s always worth a rewatch!)

Brilliant – and very appropriate for these strange times!

Still bashing away at the drums, I do still really want an acoustic kit but I really don’t have the room so I am currently awaiting delivery of a drum amp so my neighbours can enjoy my new hobby too. Neighbours, you are welcome!

That’s about it for now – catch you in another month or so!

A brief update…

I’ve been a bit slack on the writing front!

Running-wise, I am now up to 3 runs per week, 2 of 45 minutes and 1 of 30 minutes. Next week, all going well, I’ll be up to 3 x 45 minutes. And when my regular running groups start up again (with the COVID-19 restrictions gradually easing from Monday, I imagine it won’t be too far away) I’m hoping to be able to join them!

I am lucky enough to still have a job, ‘business as unusual’ as they say, and to still be able to GO to work rather than the dreaded WFH (I say dreaded because if I were to be working from home I could go days without seeing another human – turns out I needs my human contact!)

Other than at work, I don’t see people IRL other than my family, but I do love randomly running into people I know, and I do mean running into, because it almost always happens when I’m running (or occasionally walking through the cemetery at lunchtime – always lovely to see you Deb!)

I’ve signed out of my Facebook and Instagram accounts and turned off my notifications. Best thing I ever did! There was way too much negativity and scaremongering on Facebook in particular, and it was almost ALL COVID-19 related. Now I just check a few news sites once or twice a day (ABC is a good one) and limit my mindless scrolling.

My hairdresser closed (temporarily I hope!) the day before my last appointment so it’s now been nearly 12 weeks since my last cut and colour. I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands – I’m not quite game to cut it myself (when I do it will be #2 clippers) but I thought what better time to try something a bit different…

I haven’t really experienced any boredom from ‘lockdown’ – because I’m still working full time and commuting, I’ve just got evenings and weekends to fill. I still have a lot of books left to read (and many I’d love to re-read) and a similar story with my DVD collection. There’s also the recently-discovered joy of the streaming service (I know, a bit late to the party, but what better time to rock up?) – I’m now up to Season 6 of The Office on Amazon Prime and have also finally got around to watching The Godfather trilogy (first two WOW, third one less so!) and a few other great movies including The Big Lebowski and No Country For Old Men.

I’ve also been getting REALLY into music. I’m still playing my piano and guitars, although not every day, but I’m really committed to the drums, practising every day since I got my first kit. I’m now planning to buy an acoustic kit (I’ll keep the electronic one for evening and early morning practice, of course!)

(I’ve also managed to save a bit of money AND annual leave, and with my planned US trip in October looking less likely than Donald Trump saying something intelligent, I reckon when I eventually get to go, I might be able to afford to do it in style!)

That’s about it for now, I’ll update in another month or so, or if I have something interesting to report!

Opportunity knocks!

Seems a bit weird to be talking about opportunities when each day more and more places/activities/events are being cancelled or shut down? Stick with me!

First things first, I should provide a running update! This week I was cleared to start running solidly for 30 minutes, and yesterday, for the first time in over 6 months, I ran nonstop for 30 minutes!

Since resuming running in January I’ve done most of my running either around the oval or the Uni Loop, to avoid having to stop for traffic like I would on a road run. With social distancing being the new normal, I find the Uni Loop is a bit busier than I’d like, so I think I’ll be sticking with early morning oval runs for now! (Although, it seems more people are getting the same idea – it’s quite busy on the oval too now!)

A lot of people are now going to have to adapt to solo running after being used to running in groups, with all the running groups being put on hold and running events being cancelled. For me it just means continuing doing what I’ve been doing, because I haven’t got back to any of my groups and events are a long way off! The only thing I’m really missing out on is parkrun (insert sad face here) although I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be doing it right now even if it was on!

As we all know, this is a temporary situation. It could be a long temporary, but eventually we will be able to go out freely and socialise again and won’t we all appreciate it then!

For now, we have to work out different +/- innovative ways of doing the things we love! This is where the ‘opportunity’ bit comes in!

I don’t especially like talking on the phone, I think it’s because I like using my hands and also I use sarcasm a bit, and without face to face contact it’s easy to be misunderstood! So staying in touch with friends by phone instead of in person doesn’t really excite me, however I am pretty excited about trying out the group video chat apps. Imagine being able to go to a party with friends and not have to worry about how you’re getting home? Amazing! So there’s an opportunity right there – after this I may never want to go out again!

The other big opportunity I can see is time on our hands, with a lot of our regular activities off the cards, to try new things. Sure, the options are a bit limited, but what better time to learn a new skill, new language, finally get around to doing stuff around the house… so many things we can do if we focus on what we still can do rather than what we can’t!

6 months ago when I last had a lot of time on my hands (and was mostly limited to seated activities) I was planning to buy or rent an electronic drumkit. I soon realised I had plenty to do to fill my day, and the drums fell by the wayside.

Then last weekend, with the threat of lockdown looming, I put the call out on social media, asking my friends if I should buy an electronic drumkit. The response was a resounding ‘YES!’ and as luck would have it one of my friends had a second hand kit she was wanting to sell very cheaply! I got it, started taking some online lessons and I’m pretty sure I’m hooked now! (And my neighbours will be very grateful that I haven’t figured out how to make it make noise other than through headphones!)

I’m interested to know, are you trying something new during these ‘interesting’ times? Any suggestions?

Warning: mostly non-running content…

Mostly words and few pictures, sorry!

It’s been a little while since my last post – yes I admit I have been a slacker on that front.

I have upgraded my running – from 4 weeks of 20 minutes of 1:00 run and 4:00 walk, I have now been doing 30 minutes of 2:00 run/3:00 walk for the past 2 weeks. I reckon I need 1 more week of that and I’ll flip the run/walk intervals around. Still a long way from a marathon but plenty of time for that! Oh and the best bit is that after 5 months I finally started doing parkrun again – oh the joy!

And I got to see this again for the first time in FOREVER!

OK so there’s not much more to say about running so let’s talk about some other stuff. Because there’s more to life, right?

I have nearly finished Season 4 of The Office. Unfortunately I have no more DVDs after season 4 so next it’s either a box set (yeah, people still do buy DVDs!) or a Netflix/Stan/Amazon Prime subscription. If you, like me, have been living under a rock for the past 15 years and haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favour! (I think I appreciate it even more now that I work in an actual office!)

Let’s not forget one of the other joys of life, music! A couple of weeks ago I bought a last minute ticket to see Alice Cooper who is still killing it after over 50 years!

Last week I had the pleasure of seeing Queen and Adam Lambert live for the third (and hopefully not last) time! I was a bit dubious about Adelaide Oval as a venue, although I had previously seen 3 very excellent bands there in AC/DC, the Rolling Stones and Guns N’Roses – personally I think the sound and atmosphere is much better in an indoor, more ‘intimate’ space – however I was not disappointed with the show and the venue! Only with the old stick-in-the-mud who had a go at me for standing up during We Will Rock You (in the freaking ENCORE! She’s lucky I sat down up until that point!) – give me standing tickets any day!

I only took a couple of photos – this one doesn’t come close to doing it justice but the light show during ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’ was a showstopper!

In a couple of weeks I have the privilege of seeing The Darkness at the ultimate intimate venue, The Gov – all standing, Thankyou very much! And I only recently found out that their drummer is the son of Queen’s Roger Taylor – quite the pedigree! A few months later I’ve got Iron Maiden and Faith No More, both at the Entertainment Centre – can’t wait! (And hopefully there’ll be another gig or 2 for me to go to when I finally get to the USA in October!)

I’ve really got into eco stuff, recycling, decluttering, all that stuff! I am going to see how long I can go between putting out my red bin (landfill) – last time it went out was 15 December and it’s not even close to half full! My recycling bin hasn’t gone out since 5 January and I reckon it’ll be another fortnight until it’s full. I try to avoid buying ANYTHING in plastic, and I get all my dry goods/cleaning products from bulk stores. It’s a little thing but every little bit helps! (And I hope SA soon follows in the footsteps of some Victorian councils and introduces a 4th bin for glass recycling!

Oh and of course it’s Fringe time again so plenty of eclectic shows as usual! Music, comedy, cabaret, even a Silent Disco walking tour – you name it! Great time of year in Adelaide, especially now the car race is over!

That’ll do for now – see you out running somewhere, or at a gig soon!

It begins…

I’m allowed to run now! YAY!

It’s only 20 minutes of 1 min run/4 min walk, every second day…

But it’s still RUNNING!

Next stop: parkrun! (OK maybe parkWALK but still…)

Once a loopy runner, always a loopy runner!

Perspective!

So today I got the all clear to start walking (just short distances) without crutches.

So that’s pretty great!
I didn’t bother asking the doctor if I could do parkrun this Saturday! Well, she didn’t say I COULDN’T!
She got me to stand on my left leg, and I couldn’t balance for some reason!
I’m keeping the crutches in the car now.
Things I have done in the past month.

Flown interstate, 4 flights in total. Given the sticks and the impossibility of carrying or pushing around a suitcase, I had to drag out my old backpack from my early backpacking days. It did force me to be a bit more circumspect about packing than I normally am! The only real issue was the one flight from Canberra to Melbourne on the ATR 72 with the walk across the tarmac and boarding via the very steep back steps. I decided to get on the lift to get back down at the other end. That was fun!

Went to the Pink Ball Test Match at Adelaide Oval for 4 days, up and down steps (my choice – there’s plenty of accessible seating.) Big plus – being able to use the disabled parking area right outside the gate. Minus – being unable to carry a drink so requiring other people to get them for me!

Prior to the cricket I went to the annual Members’ Test Match Dinner – fantastic night, I managed to wear stilettos and not fall over, and we were lucky enough to get a Rock Star Table right up the front!

Last weekend I went to see an 80s cover band at the Gov, the crutches did get in the way a bit (it was a bit hard to wave my hands in the air without the risk of taking someone out!) but despite that, it was a great night!

More parkrun volunteering, plenty more coffees and lunches! (And black and purple ice cream on a 40 degree day!)

Started swimming, overdid it a bit in the first few weeks, had a few weeks off and just started up again. As of today I am now allowed to start using my legs! Didn’t stop me from recording a 33 second 100m split yesterday (to put that in perspective, the current MALE world record for 100m is just under 45 seconds). Maybe I have a new career ahead of me!

I know I’m a bit late to the party but I’ve just finished watching the first 2 seasons of The Office. Such a great show!

Oh and the BBL starts tonight so there’s the next month taken care of!
For the next month I’ll be gradually building up the amount of walking I do, and starting to do some hip muscle strengthening, with a view to maybe starting a bit of gentle run/walking in 4-6 weeks.
Where’s that perspective?
It’s certainly going to come in handy when I eventually get back to my proper job, this experience will give me a much better perspective of what it’s like to be one of my clients (and I won’t have to hear the old “Oh, you wouldn’t know what it’s like! You’re young and (relatively speaking) fit!” Well, actually…
It’s only been a few hours, so I haven’t experienced all the joys yet, but here are a few that spring immediately to mind!
  • The joys of being able to just walk from one room to the other! I just know that when I wake up tomorrow I’m going to wonder where those damn things are!
  • Going out to lunch and not having to select seats based on where I can put the sticks without them getting in the way!
  • Being able to carry stuff!
That’s probably about it for now – see you in another month or so!

From ‘athlete’ to sloth – aka ‘The Summer Of Jane’

Hey friends, it’s been a while, and although very little has been going on in my world since my last post, I thought it would be nice to post a little update in case anyone is interested!

If you’re a Seinfeld fan you may understand ‘The Summer Of Jane’. If not – Google ‘The Summer Of George’. Basically, George gets a 3 month ‘holiday’ from work and starts with all these grand plans of what he was going to do with his time, and finishes up as a sloth!

So last time we met, I had just been diagnosed with a fracture of the pelvis and had been instructed to do minimal weightbearing on the affected left side, no lifting, no swimming or cycling, basically no exercise at all, with the possible exception of some light seated upper body exercises.

I did go to the gym once. It was a logistical nightmare – while I could lift 4kg dumbbells sitting down, I somehow had to get them from the weight rack to the seat. So I put my gym membership on hold for a few months.

I bought a set of crutches (the thinking being that it would be cheaper than hiring them for 8 or more weeks – not that I was expecting to need them long term). I definitely made the right choice with the elbow crutches – have you ever used underarm crutches? I have. Forget about it! The big advantage is that I can let go of them to do stuff, and they stay attached to my arms. They say you have to have slightly more upper body strength to use them, but if you can manage them, they’re definitely the way to go. (Interestingly, I read that elbow crutches are the preferred option in most of the world, except for our friend America. Over there, they are specifically for people with long term disabilities. Another good reason I didn’t go over there with them!)
I kind of figured that dragging myself around on crutches was more than enough upper body workout without having to go to the gym. I’m fully expecting to end up with Michelle Obama arms!
Oh, and I wore out a pair of crutch tips after 7 weeks. I’m going to say it’s because the crutches are cheap and nasty and not because I’ve been walking too much!
OK now to the plus sides of having to use crutches to get around.
Disabled parking, aka ‘rock star parking’. I don’t use it all the time, only if there isn’t a normal park close by – the proximity to where I am going, is more important in my case than the size of the park. Although, given that I am unable to unlock my door from the driver side, the extra width does come in handy sometimes! (And before you ask, yes I do have a permit!) Free parking in the city is also a bonus, although I don’t go in there too often – again I’m not supposed to walk too much, and going to town invariably requires a fair bit of walking!
People are generally pretty courteous – opening doors (although I have worked out a pretty good method of doing it myself) and bringing coffees to me rather than me having to carry them (Spoiler alert – I can’t carry a coffee!) A couple of times at winery cellar doors I was looked after very well – special shout out to Alpha Box & Dice where we were seated on a very comfy lounge chair and the guy brought the wines to us rather than me having to flamingo at the bar!
I have to get help with putting the bins out/bringing them in, doing my weekly shopping, putting clean linen on the bed, and washing my sheets/towels. HATE THAT! Luckily for me I am able to do everything else I needed to around the house. And If I need just a few things I can manage a small shop myself. The first time I put the goods in my backpack to carry them, but then I decided that was a bad idea. Although I don’t think that anyone would suspect I wasn’t going to pay for them, it would be a pretty damn good scam if I was dodgy!
Carrying stuff around the house is the biggest problem. I did fashion a carrying tray out of a (never used) kitty litter tray, reusable bag, bulldog clip and a lanyard, and that worked well the one time I used it, but I didn’t trust if for anything heavier. Consequently I ended up eating a lot of meals sat at the kitchen bench (which I often do anyway, as I usually end up with a cat or two on me or in my food if I sit on the lounge!)
I spent the first week or so trying to find a plastic stool so I could sit in the shower to wash the lower part of my right leg (the only bit I couldn’t do standing up, because I can’t stand on my left leg) – you know those plastic stools that are shaped kind of like an hourglass? Many’s the time I’ve seen them in client’s houses and advised them against using them in the shower for safety reasons. But do you think I could find one? In the end I managed to find one from IKEA (I did have to assemble it myself but it was one of your easier assemblies!) which worked a treat!
Logistics aside, probably the thing that concerned me most in the beginning was, what the hell am I going to do? No work, no running, minimal walking – doesn’t leave a lot, does it?
Firstly I set myself a few rules. One, once I got out of bed in the morning (which was usually quite early as my cats would need feeding), I would close the door and not go back in there until bedtime. Two, no TV until 6pm (except on weekends if there was sport on, of course! And if there’s cricket on during the week, of course that’s an exception too!) Three, I have to leave the house every day, even if it’s just for a coffee!
Coinciding with the start of my leave was the Adelaide 6 Day event – a running event that is of absolutely no interest to me in terms of participating, but was a great way to spend a few hours each day, hanging out at the track, cheering on the runners and chatting with the volunteers and supporters.
Coffee. Well, maximum 2 cups a day, and never at home (I currently don’t have any coffee in the house). If I didn’t have a post-run coffee group to join in with (Thursday and Sunday are regular days) or a friend to catch up with, I’d try out a few new local coffee shops each week. We are definitely spoiled for choice!
Going out for lunch on a weekday is a rare treat, something I have managed to do quite a few times! And I even got to go to a “Not The Melbourne Cup” lunch that was catered by my favourite vegan Greek food truck (Staazi and Co – is there another one?)
I don’t normally watch a lot of TV but given that I don’t have to get up early for running or gym, I stay up a lot later than usual so I watch a bit more TV than I normally do. (I really got into the later seasons of ‘Two And A Half Men’ and also ‘The Office’)
One thing I was doing before that I am thankfully still able to do, is sort of play a bit of piano and guitar. I can now play pretty much the whole of Bohemian Rhapsody on piano (not particularly well, but you’d be able to recognise it!)
I tried colouring in. I bought a couple of books, one which was a Monet book. As you can see from the picture, I am not about to quit my day job!

I did a couple of jigsaws. I found I couldn’t sit and do it all day, 90 minutes at a time was about the max! I did 2 1000 piece puzzles (with the ‘help’of my cats), the first one took me a week and the second one 9 days.

I’ve done a bit of tidying up around the house – sorting through papers, books, CDs, DVDs. I got rid of a box that had been in my lounge room for 6 years. (That box contained my 72 Derwent pencils from school – which was my inspiration for trying colouring!)

I managed to cull 4 boxes of work stuff down to 1, using the scanning app on my phone and ditching the hard copies once I’d scanned them. That was VERY satisfying (and cleared my dining table so I could do jigsaws!)
I’ve made a few trips (OK, a lot of trips) to second hand book stores and op shops – partly to donate stuff, but mostly to buy more stuff. I could have spent a lot of money at the Lions Bookmart in Tusmore, the Oxfam shop in the city, the OG Book Exchange in Klemzig, and 2 different Savers stores. Luckily for my bank balance, I was limited to buying what I could carry!

I read a lot! I’m not normally a big reader but I can happily sit all day on the couch reading and listening to Triple M Hard N’ Heavy. I mix it up between mostly novels and biographies. In particular in the beginning I was looking for inspiration in the form of stories about people who have overcome challenges far greater than what I am currently dealing with!

Special mention to Adelaide’s own SJ Morgan’s new novel ‘Hide’ – I went to the book launch on a Sunday afternoon and had finished reading the book by midday the next day – genuinely unputdownable!

To stay in touch with all things running, I volunteered at a few events (Heysen 105 and Cleland trail championships) as well as at a few different parkruns – running or not, Saturday is ALWAYS parkrun day! It’s a great way to keep involved when you can’t participate yourself – the free coffee is just a bonus!

I started a social media detox. Initially, because I wasn’t enjoying seeing everyone’s running posts. And although I’m sure I have missed out on a lot of news and events, it was actually really great. I hate to think how much time I’ve wasted in the past on mindless scrolling! Instead of the aforementioned scrolling and posting about every incredibly tedious thing I was doing (actually, I don’t think I post THAT much) I’m focusing on actual proper human interaction and doing stuff. I highly recommend it!

2 months down and another month to go before I can get rid of the sticks and hopefully start walking. On the plus side(s), I am now allowed to start swimming, AND the cricket is on.

So hopefully soon this screen on my watch will stop taunting me!

Well that’s about it from me – might post another update around Christmas time!

Change of plans…

So, it turns out I’m not running Chicago Marathon anymore. Or New York. Or even going to the USA for 5 weeks. Instead I am on my couch watching crappy daytime TV – yay!

I think it goes back to the 24 hour race in July, and the training that led up to it. The training and the race all went really well, and I eased back into running not too long afterwards.

4 weeks after the 24hr I ran a respectable half marathon.

After 8 weeks I did my first trail race in ages and had a fantastic run.

5 days after that I had a twinge in my hip during a run which steadily got worse (thought it was an adductor muscle), walk/jogged the rest of the way, and contemplated not running the City-Bay Half Marathon that Sunday. I got on the Voltaren and rested and it seemed to have settled so I turned up to run on Sunday.

I managed to run 1km super slow and it flared up again so I decided to walk/run the rest of the way. Whatever it was, there was the possibility I might have to run/walk Chicago and NYC so this would be good practice. I tried to run a few times but it just wasn’t happening so I decided to walk the rest of it. I really wanted that medal! (Plus, I’ve never DNFed and I certainly wasn’t going to start now!)

The 21.1km took me 3 hours 10 minutes I was very close to last place. But I got there. (And I wasn’t last!)

Last piece of bling I’ll be earning for a long time!

Once I’d sat down in Nat’s car for the drive back to her place (from where we had carpooled) I could hardly walk – I managed to get home and put my feet up on the couch for the rest of the day.

On Monday Beck messaged me telling me I needed an MRI ASAP as she strongly suspected a pelvic stress fracture. Wednesday I got the MRI. If you’ve never had an MRI before, it’s vey loud so they give you headphones with music to distract you from the noise. The first song I heard was Bon Jovi’s ‘Keep The Faith’ which I thought was a good omen.

It was not. Beck’s suspicions were correct. Chicago was out, NYC would be a walk at best.

On Friday Beck had received the MRI results and essentially there was no chance of walking NYC. It wasn’t just your standard stress fracture – the bone had broken right through in one place and a second stress fracture could result in an unstable pelvis if it progresses to a full fracture. She indicated that the likely management would be minimal weight bearing for at least 8 weeks.

Initially I was keen to go ahead with the trip – there were a lot of things I WOULD be able to do – but over time things started to pop into my head. Getting around airports, wrangling luggage. shopping, stairs, bunk beds… All would be tricky if I was essentially on one leg!

So I decided that if I was to be on crutches I would postpone the trip – I deferred my Chicago entry to 2020 so I would not need to re-qualify. (Having said that, there is no guarantee I will be able to run a marathon by then, but I have nothing to lose!)

It’s likely to be at least 4 months before I can slowly get back to running.

As someone who used to run 5 days a week, it’s a bit of an adjustment – at the moment I can’t even swim or ride to get my cardio! (And my 1300+ day streak of doing a 5 minute plank every day has come to an abrupt end!)

My Garmin is taunting me! YOU JUDGEY BASTARD!

So yeah it’s pretty shitty but not the worst thing that has ever happened to anyone and I will definitely come out with some good lessons (‘don’t run City-Bay on a broken pelvis’ being one of them!)

What to do for the next 8+ weeks? I am going to spend more time practising my piano and guitar (and even thinking of taking up drums – for a upper body workout!), watching bad TV (and hopefully some good!) and doing a tour of Adelaide’s coffee shops! Gonna smash some upper body workouts at the gym! Maybe do some kind of online course? Or maybe I’ll just watch the first 14 seasons of Supernatural – all 300+ episodes!

If anyone has any other recommendations for things I can do sitting down, I’d love to hear them!

Race report – TRSA Mount Crawford Challenge 2019

What a fab morning we had at Mount Crawford!

On Sunday I took part in the Trail Running SA Mount Crawford Challenge for the first time. I had previously volunteered at this event twice – most recently 2 years ago when it was a rain and mud fest (and I was very glad to be wearing gumboots, and doing roles that allowed me to be undercover most of the time!) I’d never run there before, until TRSA put on a social run a few weeks ago where we ran in the rain for most of it but managed to dodge the worst of the weather (the hail and epic winds came later!) and our leader (who shall remain nameless) managed to get us lost several times!

It was my first (and most probably last) TRSA trail series race for this year. I had run their Five Peaks ultramarathon earlier in the year and I still stand by my statement that I’m never doing that one again!

I had volunteered at a drink station at the previous event at Kuitpo Forest, and although Mount Crawford wasn’t in my plan (I am, after all, supposed to be training for 2 road marathons) the joy and enthusiasm of the runners at Kuitpo was infectious and I couldn’t help signing up!

Preparation was ideal – I had a few glasses of wine after parkrun on Saturday (as you do) and then that night celebrated a milestone birthday of one of my awesome running buddies (leaving early of course as it would be an early start!).
At said birthday drinks, which happened to have a unicorn theme, I wasn’t sufficiently ‘unicorny’ so Tracey put a unicorn headband on my head. I jokingly said I would run in it the next day, to which she replied, “You totally should!”

Being a ‘cupless’ event, I was prepared with my race vest and 2 bottles of Gatorade, plus a Clif bar. I had no idea how long I would be out there for my 24ish kilometre run but I figured that should be enough to get me through. Knowing that there was likely to be some rain, I put my rain jacket in my pack ‘just in case’ – that would only be used if the rain was really heavy, as it does get a bit warm when running (I ran a lot of the 24 hour in it, but I was expecting to be moving a bit faster on this occasion!)

The other distances on offer were 35km starting at 7am (that was a big ‘NOPE’ from me!), 15km and 8km. I was tossing up between the 15 and the 24, and in the end chose the 24 as I don’t think I have done enough long runs for my marathon prep (the first marathon being in just under 5 weeks, and the second in just under 8), and a 24km trail would probably equate to a 30k flat road run.

I got a lift up with regular running buddy Riesje who was also doing the 24km. TRSA strongly encourages carpooling due to lack of parking space at their events (and the huge numbers of runners they attract!). Personally I prefer to drive by myself but I am happy to comply with their request because I can understand it would be a logistical nightmare if everyone thought like me! The parking situation was that people who carpooled got priority parking (ie rock star parking right near the start/finish

area) and those who didn’t had to park quite a long way away. As we went past the ‘park of shame’ (not really) where the solo travellers had to park, Dej who was one of the attendants, said if one of them got in our car we would have 3 people then we’d get chocolates (for having 3 or more people in the car)! Win-win, win for us and win for the extra 2 people we picked up who didn’t have to walk all that way! I thought that was a great idea!

Amazingly given the numbers of runners we didn’t have to queue up for the portaloos – that’s usually the way it goes, if you’re running a little bit late you can guarantee there will be a huge queue! The 35km had already started and the 15km didn’t start until 45 minutes after us (I think the 15km was the most popular option) so the crowd wasn’t too bad when we arrived. (I think having the 2 longer distances worked really well – there were 103 finishers in the 35km and 120 in the 24km, if there had been only one ‘long’ distance that would have been quite a crowd setting off all at once! Plus it weeded out all the silly people who did the 35km)

It wasn’t as cold as I thought it might be – I had layers on at the start but I was down to my usual T-shirt and arm warmers well before the race briefing. There was a fire near the start line which many people were gathered around, but I didn’t want to get anywhere near it – I might get just that little bit too comfortable and not want to leave! I had left my sunscreen in the car because I thought it would be very optimistic to put sunscreen on, but I noticed Jim putting some on in the bag drop area and he offered me some, I figured it couldn’t hurt – the sun MAY come out at some stage! I asked someone else if they thought sunnies were required and the response was an emphatic “No”, plus she said it was just extra weight to lug around! I’m not sure how much her sunnies weigh but I don’t think that would have been too much of an issue for me, however I did not want to carry anything in my hands and they wouldn’t fit easily in my race vest front pockets, so I opted to go without.

I wanted to wear my cap to keep the rain out of my eyes, however I did also want to wear the unicorn horn which would have looked a bit silly over a hat so I decided to put up with the rain and be a unicorn!

The elevation in the 24km course was not huge, so I was able to run MOST of it (and probably COULD have run all of it if I’d wanted to) – however I did have to take a long hard look at myself when I took my first walk break going up the first biggish hill, and I was being overtaken. Now I have no problem being overtaken by runners when I’m walking, well I do have a problem with being overtaken by anyone at any time but at least in that case it is understandable. I do however have a problem with being overtaken quite comfortably by people walking! (At least it’s not as bad as being overtaken by walkers when you’re running – although that’s usually just a sign I need to stop running and start walking!)

Early stages – I didn’t see this photographer! Pic thanks to TRSA.

The course was very scenic, through a pine forest, some narrow bits and wide fire trails (which were super muddy!). It rained a little bit but never heavy enough for me to put my jacket on.

There were 2 drink stations along the course. Approaching the first one, there were some mysterious signs stating “Devil’s Head” with little pictures of devils on them. I had run through this area only a few weeks earlier and didn’t remember having seen these signs! Then we reached the drink station and there was the devil himself, it was all an elaborate promotion for the next TRSA event, “The Devil’s Nose” which unfortunately I won’t be able to do. I thought this was really clever, and just added something extra to the run, which I already enjoyed anyway!

The devil made me do it! Pic thanks to TRSA.

The second drink station, with an 80s theme, had funny signs on the way in and out, and 80s music blaring from the speakers – luckily I didn’t need to stop for a top up there, because otherwise I may have been tempted to stay and join the party!

I ran a lot of the first bit of the 24km on my own – once I’d settled into my place in the field, I didn’t overtake too many people, nor was I passed by many. We ran an approximately 8km loop before passing through the start/finish and commencing a larger loop which was identical to the loop the 15km runners did. The 15km runners started not long before I came through, so consequently it wasn’t long before I started catching up with some of them which was nice. Another big tick for TRSA and the way they design their courses – I saw quite a few of the faster 35km runners as well, and towards the end started to catch up with some of the 8km runners too.

On the second part of the course I caught up with 15km runner Glen, who the previous day had run his 64th marathon in a 12 month period. His goal was to run 65 marathons in the year leading up to his 65th birthday, which is on Thursday. He is going to run the 65th on his actual birthday. Most of the marathons have been informal (ie not official events, just a marathon distance). Quite a feat, and especially backing up from a marathon and doing a challenging 15km trail the next day!

All smiles with Glen! Pic thanks to TRSA.

When Glen started walking, his watch showed 11.8km and mine was just on 20. That meant that probably the 24km was not quite 24km. I don’t think I’ve ever complained when a trail course has turned out to be slightly less than advertised! (And to be fair, the times it has been longer has usually been due to navigational ‘mishaps’ on my part!)

The last bit of the course was along a fire track which was mostly clay-like mud and puddles. At this stage I didn’t care how muddy or wet my feet got! (I did tend to try to avoid large puddles early on, because you don’t want to run TOO far with wet feet, but with only a few kilometres to go it didn’t really matter anymore! Fun! And that was where I saw a few familiar faces, well actually it was a few familiar ‘backs of heads’ at first – Geoff and Janet in the 8km, Geoff doing his first trail event, and Janet who was well hydrated after the aforementioned post-parkrun wine!

Towards the end – still loving it and not regretting the unicorn at all! Pic thanks to TRSA.

The very end of the course was uphill. Of course it was, thanks TRSA, bit of a brutal way to finish but I definitely earned those brownies at the end!

In the end I stopped my watch at around 2 hours 20, I didn’t have any idea before the race what sort of time I might do, I had sub 3 hours in the back of my mind but having never run it before I didn’t really have a point of reference.

My main goals were to finish before all Maurice’s vegan brownies were gone (tick) and so Riesje wouldn’t have to wait hours for me (knowing she’d be well ahead of me) – another tick!

We stuck around for the presentations and to enjoy the fire for a bit, because the sun had come out towards the end of my run and it was very pleasant (once I’d changed out of my wet running gear into something warmer and drier!) Neither Riesje nor I won anything in the random prize draw, and as the prize draw wound up the rain started again so we legged it to the car (me by now in my Birkenstocks which are not exactly conducive to fast running in mud!) – another tick for carpooling and getting a close park!

I really enjoyed this run, one of the most enjoyable races I’ve done this year! Thanks to the TRSA committee and all the volunteers for making it a truly great morning – having been on the other side at the last event and seeing the volunteers briefing, it is a really well-oiled machine and no stone is left unturned, making for a fab experience all around! Well done to all the runners too especially those doing their first event!

Next up for me is something completely different, City-Bay half marathon next Sunday, and then hopefully will squeeze in a few more long road runs (ugh) before leaving for the US and the Chicago and New York City marathons – can’t wait!