Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Boston Marathon bombings and what they mean to an Australian

Yesterday was a day like any other. I got up, went to work, and happily read the latest edition of Runner's World on the train, thinking about all the plans I have and what I want to achieve this year running-wise.

I got to work, turned on the computer, and when I loaded up my usual programs (Hotmail, Facebook and Twitter), my heart sank. Two bombings had happened at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. A couple of people dead, multitudes injured. Images of runners and spectators with their legs ripped open, blood gushing everywhere.

How could this happen?

I normally check my phone first thing in the morning, but since I lost my phone on the weekend it's been a little difficult. Finding out all this had happened that morning and I didn't know, for some reason made it even worse.Coming to work and finding this out, whilst I'd been happily unaware of it all on the tram reading about running seemed wrong.

What really struck me though, is the fact that it was the Boston Marathon. I'll never run in it. Hell, I'll probably never go to Boston. I haven't even run a marathon yet. But being part of the running community, and following blogs like I Thought They Said Rum where Scott tried to qualify for Boston (or BQ as it's called), made me realise just how hard it is to get there, and how it's the holy grail of marathon running.

It made me realise that the people who were there had worked so Goddamned hard to get there, and for many of them, that dream is over. Whether it be the three who died, or the ones who got their legs torn off, or even the people who are uninjured but continue to wonder "What if?" every time they lace their running shoes up.

To me, that is the tragedy of what happened at Boston. People whose passion was running now tainted. The very thing that game them release from any stress, joy on a good good day, may now be the source of that stress. If running is your form of release and celebration, what do you do when the act of running becomes that source of stress and anxiety?

People have been posting on Facebook things like this:

And it is true. So much horror happens around the world on a daily basis that we become immune to it. For our own sanity we try to put it aside and try not to think about it otherwise the immensity of it will render us curled up in rocking back and forth in the feotal position. So when something happens that does resonate with us, that's when we are shocked. 

I'm saddened by Boston because it's my community. My people. My sport. My passion. I know what it's like to train for something big, and to be on the course and looking forward to crossing that finishing line. 
Maybe it's wrong that I'm more saddened by the Boston Marathon bombings that any of the deaths mentioned above. And so be it. 

Today, I am thinking about those in my running community. 

via Run the Edge on Facebook

Monday, 1 April 2013

Pole update - Intermediate 2 weeks 1 and 2

At the end of term 1 in Intermediate 1 I was a little concerned about moving up to Inter 2 as I wasn't feeling as awesome at it as I'd like. Bloody Capricorn tendencies coming out. Now that I have started Intermediate 2 I feel fine - I'm not sure if I gained my mojo back or if it's more that some of the girls who would get every move right every.single.time straight away aren't in the class, but something is better.


Pole Dance Art – 18 Hot Moves on -
via Pole for My Soul

We spent a lot of the first class doing moves like the one above. I was able to do it with no hands straight off, so was really happy with it. It's just a really nice looking move that is easy to do, rather than the hard ones that don't look hard. 

Week 2 was spent doing a lot of handstands. I can't find the pictures easily, but this is similar to what we were doing - lots of going into Batman and then sliding down into handstands and doing various leg things. I couldn't see my legs in the mirror so I don't know how they looked, but hopefully it was OK. 

Handstand variations

I went to the physio the day after as I'd hurt my back in a pole strength class two weeks before, and my physio asked me why I liked pole dancing. I thought about it for a while and said "Because it's like gymnastics for adults". Doing the handstands in class made me realise that my body can't really handle a lot of that any more (wrists can only take so much after all) so this is a brilliant replacement. 

We did however do some other moves in the strength class, such as: 

Sumo squats
Cross-legged L climb. 

BLOODY HARD! Basically you use your arms, with your thighs to anchor you before you pull yourself up again. I can get maybe 4 climbs in a row and that's it. 

We also did lots of planks, push ups, wall sits, arabesque leg lifts and pole squats. The other killer move apart from the cross-legged L climb where the core exercises. You'd stand to one side of the pole and pull yourself up like you were going to invert. Instead you'd do 10 crunches then swap sides. 5 sets on each side.  Ow. 

Sadly my back is still sore today, several days after the physio (sorer in fact than it was previously...) so I'm taking it pretty easy. Hopefully it will be fine for Wednesday's class. 

Here's some more prettiness to finish off this post :) 

via Pole for my Soul

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Run 4 the Kids race update

Wow. What an awesome run! R4TK was my favourite race before the half marathon, mainly because it was the only race I'd done. I first did the 5km there 3 years ago (first time ever running 5km), and then the long course 14.38kms the year after. It was training for the 14kms that I fell completely in love with running. I loved the free training sessions on a Mon and Wed, even forgoing a paid semester of acrobalance and tumbling on a Tues so I could go to the sessions pain free. Acrobalance was hard on the old muscles.

After missing out last year because I was on my honeymoon (life is so hard hey?) and missing ALL the training sessions this year because of the heat and work being stupidly busy, I wasn't feeling as prepped as I could.

I woke up early, had coffee and toast, sorted out my stuff and off I went for the tram. Halfway there I realised that I left my armband at hone. Nooo!  Too late to turn around I kept on. Talking to fellow runners at the tram stop made be realise I could just hold my phone. You know you're tired when pretty much every other option but that goes through your head :-/ I spoke to another runner in the tram who was going her first run , and the 15km. The entire tram was filled with runners, which I really love. Nice to see others like me at 7:30 in the morning.

I met Dan in the city after he finished a 13 hour night shift and off we went. It didn't seem quite as well organised as last year - maybe because we were later than expected due to a very long toilet line at Fed Square. The entire pre-race was about waiting. But it was a good chance to people watch.
Dan and I before the race

Obligatory crowd shot 
Lady on stilts. As you do
I was in the Blue Zone, for people with a 50 min 10km pace (a little optimistic when I booked) and Dan was in the Orange Zone. We compromised in the Yellow Zone, until he got shamed by the announcer to leave. I was on my own after that,which I kinda like more.

And they're off! No...just waiting. Just some of the 35,000 runners patiently waiting
After around 10 or 15 mins for the waves to go through, we were off! And it felt good. Really good. Sure, there are heaps of people, but it's not as jam packed as the 5 kms and people actually run rather than walk. Very few prams too. And yes the tunnel is hot, but it's the friggen Burnley Tunnel - how often do you get to run through that??

The run to the Bolte Bridge was good. Feeling good, good pace. The clouds had cleared up (again!) so it started getting hot near the on ramp. The drinks station was a welcome relief. Then up the ramp. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself as I was powering up, thinking that my strength is my stamina-I may not go fast but I keep on going, whereas others were slowing down and walking. I was overtaking people and then...I got overtaken by someone I'd overtaken ages ago! RMH Staff Member t-shirt lady, I'm talking about you. I started running faster and eventually lost her.

By that time I'd reached the top, there was a cool breeze and the endorphins kicked in. I started grinning like a fool, waving at the cameras and taking in the views. It was SO MUCH FUN! I realised the benefits of holding my camera - taking photos was easy!

Midrun view of Melbourne from the Bolte Bridge
I stayed in the shade of the wall and ran down. I felt pretty good until about the 12km mark when I started flagging. People overtook me and my right ankle/calf started hurting. I kept on going slowly, and it was only the supporters that got e through. Never underestimate the power of supporters. In the final km there were heaps of kids wanting high fives-how could I deny them? They really helped me through. Thanks little dudes!

I finished the run in a respectable 1:25:54, with an average page of 5:43. I was hoping for 1:30 but thought it would be around 1:45. To say I'm happy with the time is an understatement - I haven't run anything below a 6:00 pace for a long time, and it was below 1:30. Dan finished his in 1:44:49, which considering he'd been up all night and didn't train is pretty spectacular.

A somewhat pink me waiting for Dan after the race
It was then straight home for a big brekkie of eggs, mushrooms, spinach and toast, and bed for Dan.

It's really relit the fire for a marathon. I just had so much fun running this one I really want to get that feeling again, and have something to aim for.

All in all, a great day and a great race.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Pole update week 7 and 8

Wow, I've been slack on the blogging front hey!

We did some pretty cool stuff at pole over the last couple of weeks. I missed one session because I was in Canberra for work, but came back to some awesome stuff. I think this first move is my favourite. I'm not entirely sure what it's called, and Pole Dance Dictionary calls it inside leg hang so I'll go with that. It's incredibly easy but looks really nice.

Inside leg hang

I can't really remember the other moves we did since we did some choreography for our end of term performance (which was rubbish! rubbish I tell you!) but it was fun.

And there ends my token blog post ;)

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Pole update weeks 4 and 5

This weeks' pole class was fantastic, which was in start contrast to the week before. Week 4 we spent on the spin pole. Spin pole looks amazing - most of the performances you see are on spin pole - but it's very hard to do. It's a completely different set of muscles and thought processes, and there is centrifugal force to contend with. I walked our of the class feeling a bit shit. There was one move I just couldn't get, and I was not feeling at the top of my game.

Luckily, that changed this week. We learnt a bunch of new tricks and a lot of them were strength based, so I did pretty well.

Reverse chair - my favourite move, but you switch over so you're going in reverse.
Boomerang hold - we called it something lese. Pretty difficult to hold and killer on your upper thighs.
Backwards dizzy spin - we did pizza legs/wonder woman into backwards dizzy. Fun.
Hello boys! Our was slightly different - the plan is to open your legs wide (hence the name), so similar to boomerang hold above. Again, good upper thigh workout
Pizza legs/Wonder Woman

All images are from a nifty site,

In other news, I bought a chin up bar on Friday. Worth every cent of the princely $12 I paid. Looking forward to the gun show :-D

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Pole Update - week 3

Last week's pole session was pretty good. We learnt a lot of new moves but I left feeling like I could have done them better and with more finesse. I'm still good at the strength moves but not so much at the pretty moves. Anyway, practice makes perfect right?

In order for me to remember some if the moves (and give me a wonderful excuse to google pole dancing), here are some of the moves we learnt:

Advanced layback

Side Spiral

Side spiral

Inverted crucifix minus one leg

I've also realised that I am going to have to live with constant bruising. I saw this in Dakota Fox's Facebook page and swiped it. Have already bought some arnica ;)

Friday, 8 February 2013

Caving and kayaking

My brother have a tradition where we buy each other Red Balloon vouchers to do something active for Christmas and/or our birthdays. As both of our birthdays are around Christmas time, this invariably means that we're frantically trying to use them before they expire. This was one of those times.

I bought my brother a full day Caving and Kayaking adventure for two people which we used on the weekend. After an early start driving tyhrough torrential rain (never a good feeling when you're doing something outdoorsie) to pick my brother up and then head to Wonga Park for the kayaking, we arrived to shambles. The company organising it really weren't organised and it was a hit of a shambles. We eventually got going though, and found kayaking to be pleasant, if a little boring.

The rain had cleared up and we paddled along the river, surrounded by Aussie scenery and trees. We went through a couple of Stage 1 and 2 rapids, which really aren't rapids. Because it was the middle of summer the water level was low so we would constantly get snagged on rocks, and being a large inflatable two-person kayak meant that they would lodge themselves and stick there.

The highlight of the kayaking was getting tipped into the drink at a rapid which we approached from the wrong angle (we were a little rubbish).

Scenes like this always make me happy
After a really average and soggy lunch we drove to Yarra Junction for the caving section. Heading up to the caves through rainforest made me feel right at home. The earlier rain had made everything smell divine.

Kayak and Cave 3rd of February 2013_18
The group, a rag tag mix of Aussies, Canadians and Brits

We got suited up in helmets with head torches, our old clothes (they really should stress that more) and went into Britannia Caves. The caving system opened up a couple of years ago and is a great beginners cave. As someone who is mildly claustrophobic I can contest that it's good for beginners. Knowing that everyone else is able to get through, and people do every day (two groups a day) meant that I felt pretty comfortable doing it.

Kayak and Cave 3rd of February 2013_23
Coming out of the section of terror
The photo above is me coming out of a section where I almost panicked. To get through you need to submerge in water and make your way along until you reach the end - only a couple of metres. However, when you're covered in water with rock above you, it's pretty easy to get a little freaked out. The smile on my face above was a very relieved smile.

The final bit we did was named after 127 Hours, where you basically need to chimney yourself down more than 5mt to get to the bottom. I went last, and despite everyone who went before me doing it, man, it was a little scary. You need to use your arms and knees to brace yourself and just use that pressure to slooowly move down the rock. My brother called out "Just tense your bum and use your butt cheeks!", which strangely wasn't the first time he said that on the day, but that wasn't as easy as it sounded (also I didn't want to completely destroy my jeans...). I was again trying not to freak out which meant I was going really slowly, thus making it harder on my muscles to move down. When I started getting further my brother called out "Just slide", which I did, and it turns out I was closer to the ground than I thought.

Kayak and Cave 3rd of February 2013_20
Me with some caving peeps. The lady was hilarious
We ended up wet, filthy, covered in mud and silica (which isn't coming off my clothes after two washes), sore and very very bruised. It was awesome. I don't think I'd do it again in a hurry, but certainly as a once off I enjoyed it. And the instructors were pretty cool. All in all it was the highlight of the day.

We ended up in Warburton and I had the most amazing crack turkish bread. Seriously, I don't know what they put in the avocado dip but it was pretty much the best thing I have ever tasted. Good work cafe, good work.

As an aside, when i was contorting myself through the rocks I heard my bad knee crack a couple of times and it's been sore all week so no running. I'm hoping anti inflams and ice will help, but it's not looking good

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Pole update - week 2

We had a really good class last week. After having the last class cancelled due to hot weather, it was cold and rainy and good to be inside. We started the warm up which includes lots of fan kicks, which I'm rubbish at. I asked the teacher Ally to go through it with me, and since the rest of the class were also a bit rubbish we all went through it. So I think I can confidently say I know how to do fan kicks. Hopefully. 

It was straight into climbing the pole three times right to the top and then down but not touching the bottom. It was more tiring than expected. But then we got to do my favourite part of the night - inverted crucifix! 

It's pretty cool holding on with only your legs, although getting down or out of the move isn't very attractive - a painstaking slide into an awkward handstand or just down to the ground.

We also had a go on a spin pole, which was pretty full on - definitely a different set of muscles and doing everything. Our instructor said that at some point this term we are going to have a lesson purely on the spin pole. I foresee lots of awesome and injuries in my future :)

We also did a bit of sexy dancing to pad out the lesson. I think our instructor must despair of us because I certainly wasn't looking sexy, and sadly my classmates weren't either. But we can totally learn that, right. Right?

Good to know

A friend sent me this when I was having a hard day recently. Sometimes it's worth remembering.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

32 by 32 - Go Parasailing

This week I celebrated by 31st  birthday. Normally I make big plans but this year didn't really feel like doing much - just dinner with friends, as there were other substitute birthday plans happening already. I went to a gig, had a family dinner with the in-laws and...parasailing!

My brother and I have a tradition where we buy each other adventure vouchers every year for Christmas and/or our birthdays. Invariably these end up being used in a rush around my birthday because they're summer events and expire soon. As it was with parasailing, which is why I put it on my 32 by 32 list. It's a nice easy win ;)

D, my brother R and I drove to Rye, along the Mornington Peninsular. The day started our overcast with rain forecast but ended up sunny - thanks global warming! We didn't really know what to expect and we were the last ones on the boat, then off we went.

R and I about to take off
A couple of people went before us, then it was time for D and I. We strapped in and up we went! It was a lot of fun and very relaxing. We could see for ages and the water was the most amazing colour. When we eventually came down we thought we would get dunked in the drink, but only our legs did. 

I went straight back up again with my brother, and was able to lie back as I was seated a little differently and really enjoy it. It was a little windier so we were buffeted around more, which was a lot of fun. We did get dunked.
We then checked out Gannamatta beach, which is the ocean side of the peninsular where all the surfers go. Man, it looked awesome! Pretty rough though - not sure if I want to surf there any time soon!

All in all it was a great day out. Parasailing is really peaceful and easy, and not at all scary. If you're thinking of doing it definitely give it a go.

Hope you all had a good weekend!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Ridiculous runs and Domestic Goddesses

This weekend has been a great one! Saturday I bit the bullet and went shopping for new runners. After getting shin splints from my last ones (which were gain analysed and all that jazz) I was a little concerned about getting new shoes. After spending more than I planned on, I have shiny new runners. Perfect for running in my first Hash House Harriers. 
After signing up to a random HHH a year ago, I was finally able to attend a meeting. Basically HHHs are known as drinking groups with a running problem, or running groups with a drinking problem (depending on your view point). So I knew it would be a good day.
Dan came along and we met up at a pub in the city, with about 13 other people, many of them HHH virgins as well. We got told what it's all about and then off we went. It was hilarious. Running through the city yelling "On on!" or "On left" while tourists and locals stared at the rag tag group of crazy people running was awesome.  
Running down Little Bourke St (Chinatown)
After 11kms running through the city and surrounding areas, we ended up back at the pub for a drink and an initiation into HHH culture. After chatting and promising to come back next month, Dan and I decided  hearty Mexican was in order, so Taco Bills was the next port of call. Being a birthday club member meant that my meal and a slice of Mexican cake was free (SCORE!). I always forget that you really should wear your stretchy pants when you go to Taco Bill. We rolled ourselves home and parked on the couch to watch much more fit and talented people than us dance on TV. 

Today I was feeling all domestic goddessy and made some zucchini muffins from the epic haul in our garden. 

I made the muffins using this recipe as a base, and substituting the ham, capsicum and mushrooms for a grated zucchini, 1 small carrot and three sundried tomatoes. It was pretty awesome.


I also made vegie stew with lentil dhal for meals during the week. What I'm really happy about though is that I've only had 5 drinks this week, so I've stuck to my resolution of only having 6 drinks a week, even though drinking is a large part of HHH culture. Next week is my birthday week though so that will be quite hard, but this week it's been easier than I thought. Hooray! Fingers crossed for next week.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

32 by 32

When I first started this blog I had a 30 before 30 challenge where I aimed to do 30 things before I turned 30. Since 30 is a seminal age, the items on that list were bucket list items and smaller yet still significant items.

I'll be 31 on January 15th, and would like to redo this list. However this time there is a random mixture. Some big things, but many little things. Some are things that are on my new 'one day list', which is a list of those things that you'll always say you'll do one day then forget about. I did one of these things today but will post about it another time. Some are other ones that I had on my big list but couldn't get around to.

So, in no particular order, here is my 32 by 32 list.

1. Do the splits
2. Cage dive with great white sharks
3. Learn to surf
4. Do a ghost tour around Melbourne
5. Do vertical splits again (i.e. splits up a wall or pole)
6. Go parasailing
7. Get my chest to the ground when stretching my legs out
8. Run a marathon (or another half marathon, but let's aim high shall we!)
9.  Bike ride along the beach
10. Do a somersault on the trampoline
11. Visit the Melbourne Museum
12. Have high tea
13. Visit Scienceworks
14. Register for Tough Mudder or Oxfam Trailwalk
15. Do Febfast
16. Sew a skirt and love it (or at least one that I can wear often)
17. Try aerial or hooping
18. Do Bikram yoga
19. Bake bread from scratch
20. Cook with Rhubarb
21. Make a delicious three course meal
22. Make Ice cream or sorbet
23. Cook one meal per month that I've pinned to my Pinterest board
24. Play golf
24. Read at least one classic
25. Do the Bay West Trail
27. Do Barefoot Bowling
28. Have dinner at Milanos
29. Go to the Art Deco 1920's pub/restaurant
30. Wednesday night trivia at the newly discovered pub up the road
31. Do the entire Yarra Scenic Drive
32. Sail a long ship

Join me as I do my 32 by 32 challenge. Do you have any items you've always wanted to do?

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Brand new year

I love this time of year. The craziness of Christmas and New Year's is over, and it's a brand new year. Everything is filled with opportunity and there is a chance to wipe the slate clean and think about what you want the coming year to be.

Let's do this.

I have many plans for 2013. One of my favourite things to do is go to the hills and hike for a while, find a nice spot to settle in and then go through my goals from the year before and see how it went. I didn't do this for 2012 which made it a little difficult to assess the year against my goals. Since it's been such a crazy year though it's not the end of the world. There were things I definitely accomplished, and things I didn't have on my list which I did accomplish, so it's all good.

I have a long list of things I plan on doing this year. Here's what I have so far:

2013 goals

  • Do the splits
  • Run uninjured (i.e. do stretches and exercises EVERY DAY)
  • Drink no more than 6 alcoholic drinks per week
  • Do the vertical splits for pole dancing
  • 5 deadlift chin-ups
  • Pay back uni debts
  • Get my chest to the ground
  • Start saving for a house
  • Learn to surf
  • Swim with great white sharks
  • Be less bitchy and judgmental
  • Be more calm
  • Do more yoga
  • Eat clean 70% of the time
  • Make new friends
  • Make fitness friends
  • Go to the hills once a month
  • Volunteer regularly
  • See things through to the end 
  • Be more proactive
  • Be disciplined
  • Use social media less
  • Lose 3kg of fat (more than happy to gain in in muscle)
  • Be more loving
  • Call my best friend more

There are too many items on the list and I know there are many items which don't have anything easily quantifiable. This is my wish list though, and I think I will start trimming it down into easily achievable goals. I also have something big planned for the coming year, so watch this space!

2013 - it's gonna be a good one!
Happy New Year Pinterest Friends