Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A self medication post


It can be a scary word, huh!

Last week I had a really bad day. I was driving home and felt at a bit of a loss. What can I do? When things come crashing down, I no longer turn to food.....or cigarettes.....or alcohol.....or any of the other bad 'coping mechanisms' I tested out over the years. But I needed something! The fact that I felt I needed something to do, to console myself with, is perhaps another issue or blog post in itself :) But for now, I needed something - and I realised it can be hard when you're stopping all of your vices! My old addictions used to soothe me. What the hell am I supposed to do now??

On this particular day I ended up going to sleep for an hour as I just didn't know what else to do. I took the advice I gave a friend a couple of years ago. She had an awful day- she essentially lost her family on Christmas Day. She rang me and I was interstate and couldn't be there to help her. All I could suggest to her was to go to sleep. She was that devastated and in such a state that that's what I thought was best for starters. She wasn't in a fit state to do anything so I told her to lay there. I'm not likening myself to her situation, but last week I didn't know what to do- I couldn't (well, 'wouldn't') eat, smoke or drink etc., so I went to sleep. I don't sleep during the day! But I did. And then I saw a friend.

Why do we have addictions? My biggest (okay, one of my biggest) addictions has been to food. Yeah, how did that turn out for ya, Coco? ;) Why do we often develop unhealthy addictions? And also why do we seem to have addictions full stop? A life in moderation has never been my strong point.

The other frustrating thing is that addictions, or habits, seem to creep slowly back in. Just when we thought we'd banished them forever, they can easily rear their ugly head and rejoin our lives. 

One of my new addictions is blogging ;) - it has been completely therapeutic for me. Have a bad day? Blog. Have a great day? Blog. Any day in between....yeah, we'll blog. Exercise / training / running / events are slowly creeping up there too but I wouldn't give them the label of an addiction just yet. Blogging doesn't clog up my arteries, make me gain weight, drink-dial or potentially develop early onset emphysema. It's overall pretty healthy :) 

I'm having a really bad day today. So I've come here to blog. That is all. Thanks for reading my addiction tonight. :)

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

An open letter to my friends

Dearest friends,

One of you told me something yesterday, that blew me away. You told me about something that a lot of you have done, for me.  We'll call it #operationstunner (#OS) - because my gosh it is a stunner of a thing, and I have been stunned / speechless / open mouthed now for a record almost 24 hours. :)  I've been processing it now for this long and I still don't have the words. Any words. I'm writing this blog post blindly, not even sure if I can finish it. There's one particular thing I haven't said yet, because even though it's the most important word, it also doesn't seem enough. "Thank you."  It doesn't encompass everything I need it to stand for.

What do you do when thank you isn't enough? I guess the incredible thing about #OS is that I know that everyone involved probably don't feel the need to be thanked. That's what makes it even more special. I have been shown the greatest generosity, warmth and support over the past week. In a series of things that culminated in #OS yesterday.

My friends: have you ever been shown such compassion or generosity before? From anyone. I'm talking anything- maybe just a smile from a passing stranger when you're having a bad day. Do you know those times that turn your day around, or your week, month or even year? Do you know that when you're on the giving end of that compassion, you have no idea just how much effect you can have? You don't always know where that person is at the time and how much impact you are capable of making. Just like the passing stranger smiling has no idea just how bad your day was, you don't always know what's going on or how much you have the ability to help someone.

Yesterday and so many times last week I was blown away by how much people care. I asked "why?" because, well, I didn't know what else to ask. But I meant it - why? Why would people be so generous and thoughtful? 

I came up with an idea yesterday that I'm really excited about. It needs a few things set in place to work, but I will let you know very soon what it is. It's my way of saying thanks because, well, as I said, "thank you" isn't enough. So stay tuned for that.

But in the meantime please know to never underestimate the power of support. The beauty I have seen from friends (this includes family), through the years, this year, last week and in the amazing #OS, warms my soul. It reminds me that we all have the opportunity to help our friends, our community, people around us and afar. Something as seemingly meaningless as a kind word or smile can have a (pink) butterfly effect ripple like you wouldn't believe. There's a lot of sad, scary and disappointing things in this world. But when we have our friends around us, or even just someone to say we're going to be alright, we can achieve so much more. Please never ever underestimate your power to help someone. Pay it forward, tell someone they're amazing, smile at the sad looking man on the park bench. YOU have the power to remind other people that THEY have the power. Because sometimes they forget. And sometimes they forget their own strength.

I truly don't know what I've done to deserve such amazing friends. I am completely blessed and I know that more than ever now, if I surround myself with happiness, red, support, love, care and things that feel good, I can move mountains. Only in my wildest dreams could I have imagined having friends like I do in my life. 

To the angels who were involved with #OS, and the head angel who made this happen and had me open mouthed for a good couple of hours, :) you are incredible beyond belief. When we get bogged down with life, with stuff, with disappointments, sometimes we have to ignore the doldrums of responsibility and just do something that puts a huge smile on our face and reignites our passion. And thanks to my #OS angels, I can.

I love you all, my #OS'ers and everyone else who enriches my life.  And even though this doesn't seem enough....from the very centre, middle of my heart,
You reminded me that I am the luckiest girl in the world xoxoxoxoxoxooxo

Pagsanjan Falls 2004 - another moment in my life when words weren't enough :)

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Actually, this is extraordinary

Hi!  So - continuing on from the last blog post.... Yesterday.  Did parkrun.  A few hours later we arrived at Relay For Life - an event run by the Cancer Council to raise money and awareness of Cancer.  (Check out:  Ooh wow, what a night.  In essence, the relay itself is where teams of 15 walk around a field for 18 hours (3pm - 9am).  At least one person from each team must be holding the team's baton and walking the field at all times.  To summarise the night in my eyes, here's what I put on my personal Facebook this morning:

On the way to Relay For Life
18 hours, 15 amazing girls, unsuccessfully trying to rope down crazy flying tarps in the storm, running barefoot in the rain to Chili Peppers, Powderfinger & Live, bikie club for tea at 4am, saturated clothes, lighting candles in paper bags in the wind, a not-so-good sprained & limping foot, inside out umbrellas, Gatorade & choc dipped strawberries for breaky, shivering in blankets, tutus, flashing tiaras, flooding tents, drowned butterfly face & teary over-tired swaying to slow songs. We joked about it last night but we actually really are so lucky.

That pretty much says it all.  3 hours in, Brisbane's 'drought' broke and we experienced a torrential downpour and storm.  It was insane.  Seriously, it hasn't rained in months.  Yet the one night where we are out all night / camping / walking / not sleeping - BAM!  Absolute wild weather.  I wish I had it on video - there was one point where 4 of us were each standing at the corner of a tarp, madly trying to secure it with rope to protect the tent underneath to protect our belongings from getting wet.  The tarp was flapping so wildly, the rope was flinging through the rain, we were screaming at each other to be heard through the storm, saturated and holding on with all of our might.  The wind was so strong it ripped the tarp from the rope and it went flying again and we had to concede defeat.  Storm: 1, Tent: 0.  You could only laugh.  Our catch phrase from the night was "we are sooo lucky."  It started as a joke but we all knew that underneath, we actually were.
The weather started out so good...

Yet all through the wild weather, our amazing team (and the other teams!) kept trooping on, walking around that field - through the storm - saturated to the bone but with huge smiles on our faces.  All of our clothes were wet, even our dry ones for later.  Yet we had a great night - it was an experience and a half that's for sure - and we raised money for Cancer.  I don't know the exact figure but for memory I think this Relay alone raised $52,000!  Amazing.


There are many, but some of my favourite moments included:
Survivors and carers march

*Watching Cancer survivors and carers march around the field at the start of the event.  They wore sashes and marched, so strong, around that field.  I am still completely moved by this.  Well actually, by them.

*Getting to know my team mates more.  I can't speak highly enough of this group of amazing women.

*Lighting a candle for my grandfather - it was dark, it was raining, it was windy, but we huddled around for a candle lighting ceremony and managed to light candles in paper bags marked "Hope".  My Pa passed away when I was 11 and I lit my candle for him.  Then "Amazing Grace" started to play - this was played at his funeral xo

*Running a lap of the field for my Pa and for a few other people.

*Getting my hair caught so well in the tent zip that my hair had to be broken off to let me free - we were on the ground laughing :)

*Making a cup of tea at 4am in a bikie club house. #anotherrandommoment :)

Beautiful moment xo
*This morning at the closing ceremony, our team sat on the ground while we listened and they played this beautiful song.  I was getting teary, I was overtired and emotional and I wanted to hug my friends on either side of me.  It was so beautiful as everyone must have been feeling the exact same as me as we all put our arms around each other and swayed for the rest of the song.  It was the most incredible moment and was the perfect thing to end the last 18 hours.

But there was one more moment that I had It was selfish but amazing.  At one point late last night, I was doing laps of the field and wanted to run.  So I did.  I put on my iPod, turned up the volume, took off my shoes and just ran around and round the field, again and again.  It was raining and I was exhausted but I didn't care.  I just wanted to run.  I was doing it for my team, but when others came to join / give me a break, I didn't want to stop, so I kept jogging.

I feel selfish because I was enjoying it and just running on my own.  But it was so therapeutic for me and I was on a roll - I didn't want to stop.  I have had another week with incredible highs and incredible lows (one week this year I will just have an average week where nothing of interest happens, ok?) :)  But some of the laps of that field I did for other people, some laps were for fitness - I wanted to exercise, and some of those laps, I cranked the volume of inspiring songs and I just ran for me.  It was so therapeutic.  Running around that field in the rain, I let go of the bad stuff from the week and smiled at the good stuff.  I didn't want to stop.  I used my HRM last night and at this point was out there for 1 hour 45 min.  Around and around.  Loving it :)
Having my hair broken off after getting caught in tent zip!

Somehow though I ended up asleep.  I still say I was tricked ;)  I got encouraged off the field under the 'pretence' of drinking water and then before I knew it was in my friends car to sleep for a couple of hours.  Hmmm ;)  I did appreciate this :)  But I did still want to run. :)

Unfortunately though, when I woke up I realised I had damaged my foot.  I don't know how but I can hardly walk on it.  I'd say it's from jogging barefoot in the rain / wet ground, or maybe from overcompensating the left side of my body as I had really sore glutes on my right side from parkrun.  However I did it though, it hurts and unfortunately I only managed 2 more laps before I had to sit out for the rest of the relay.  I was so disappointed.  I would have pushed through the pain but I was in a group of friends who know a lot about these types of injuries and they wouldn't let me do any more and told me to rest it.  I am quite submissive when it comes to people telling me what to do out of care so I listened to them and sat out.  This also meant not completing a push-ups challenge I set myself too.  So.  Disappointed.

Conga line around the field

Not a big deal I know.  But at the time I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.  Not about the pain, just about the fact that I wanted to keep going, and I wanted to run, but I couldn't.  Especially after the sun rose, they played all of these 'dancing songs' like Y.M.C.A., Mararena and the Grease Megamix.  And Gangnam Style.  I wanted to do Gangnam Style!  I don't even know how to do Gangnam Style but I wanted to do it!  I was so frustrated sitting there, not being able to participate.  It made me think though and realise I was lucky that this was just a temporary thing.  Really, I am lucky.

Pushups challenge grand total
I didn't care what anyone else said though and joined in for the last couple of laps where everyone joined in and did the Time Warp.  I had a friend helping me walk but I did it.  Then we sat and swayed :)  Then we went home and hot showered and slept.

But the point I'm trying to make is this.  12WBT's weekly challenge last week was to show how we are extraordinary, and how we're turning the impossible to the possible.  I did my 1min. video which I posted on this blog and I meant what I put together.  But I realised something else that is for me personally, more extraordinary.  Last night, this morning, yesterday, last weekend, every other event etc., why did I do those things?  Why did I get sad when I couldn't do Gangnam Style around a field wearing a tutu?  Why did I run around and round in the rain last night, barefoot, in a white poncho?

Because I wanted to.

For Pa

Not because I have to.  I was packing for this weekend and was going through a bag that I haven't emptied for a while.  I was sifting through coconut bras and tutus and skipping ropes and hula skirts and sandy shoes and a fitness expo showbag and all of these random things and it made me smile and see how different my life has been lately.

One of the groups this weekend who organised some activities were Life.  Be In It.


Listen to that.  Life.  Be In It.  I can - and as this weekend reminded me, a lot of people can't.  I can, and I want to.

I've been doing this stuff which I thought for me, is extraordinary.  The things themselves I mean. But I realised moreso, the thing I love more, is that I want to do these things.  For me. What's better than doing things that push you beyond your assumed limits, supporting friends and making yourself smile on the inside? Because not only can you, you want to.

That is what is extraordinary to me. :)

Of course, I was a pink butterfly :)

My 1st parkrun: proving it to myself

Fell asleep mid-word
I'm walking like an old woman, I have red marks covering my torso (wet HRM/Spibelt chafing under wet clothes for 24 hours) and fell asleep earlier before I could finish typing this word to Tweet

Parkrun and Relay for Life: done!  What a full on 24 hours.  I've actually split up this blog post into 2 parts - my posts are long enough as they are, I know. :)  So this is Part 1....Part 2, about Relay For Life, can be found in my next blog post.

Warm up
It started with parkrun at New Farm yesterday morning.  I was so nervous beforehand.  Like feeling nauseous-nervous.  For those uninitiated, parkrun is, to quote from their website: "parkrun organise free, weekly, 5km timed runs around the world.  They are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in."

In my head though, the description of parkrun was "something my fit friends do that I wouldn't dream of attempting any time soon." ;)
And we're off!

However I agreed to trying one out when a supportive friend suggested I could do it a few weeks ago.  It's been in my diary, ------ and on my mind, since.  She knew I could do it.  And I wanted to do it.  I did.  For a few reasons, but for one, to prove to myself that I could do it, and to remind myself that I can run 5km, and that Bridge to Brisbane (my first and only 5km run last month), wasn't just a fluke or a once off.

I was so nervous beforehand - as the time went on the more panicked I got.  I wouldn't have pulled out - I don't do that (unfortunately!) ;)  but I didn't know how I'd go.  I've only run 5km once!  And that was a total surprise.  I only started running a few months ago.  At the gathering area before it started, I stood there thinking seriously what am I doing here?  I don't belong here.

But I did it. :)  Ooh yeah ;)  I am slow.  Very slow.  But my friend ran beside me, at my slow pace, the whole way.  She was awesome.  Another friend doubled back after finishing her 5km to run the rest of the way with us.  I had so much support, :) I worried about my breathing a few times but pushed past it and simply did it!  My time for B2B was 48:47.  My time for parkrun was 45:12!  More than 3min. off :)  The friend who doubled back just completed a marathon and gave me the advice to hold onto those 3min. improvements, as she said, nowadays a 3 second improvement is good for her :)

I'm so glad I did it - I enjoyed it and am proud of myself.

Part 2 of yesterday is coming in my next blog post...stay tuned :)

B2B wasn't a fluke :)

Friday, 26 October 2012

My possible life

In a week where I my confidence in myself has been so far shot I can't even see it right now, I've had a few things that have pepped me up. Blog readers amazing comments, thank you. My friends for your belief in and care for me, thank you. And 12WBT, whose weekly challenge encouraged me to do this video. I'm so not in the right head space to put myself out there, let alone put some of my fat photos on You Tube! But I did it. 1 minute is hard to stick to but I did what I could. Enjoy :)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Keep your head held high

"That's the last one."

4 words that I didn't expect to, or want to hear.

So ---- on Sunday I had The Triathlon.  I capitalise that phrase because it's been that long in the planning, I can't believe it finally happened.  I first decided to do a tri about 3 years ago.  3 years and many failed training plans and procrastination later, I finally set this as my Mini Milestone for Week 8 of this round- that means I had to do it!  Marking it as my MM and stating this in my blog makes it official, you know! ;)  No backing out now.

Top of Kokoda dance
On the morning of the tri I climbed Brisbane's Kokoda, like I did in Week 4.  It was a fundraising event that the (can I just say amazing) Relay for Life team that I am a part of had planned, and seeing as I love to 'do all the events' (!) and was a part of this team, I went along.  I can not believe the difference in 4 weeks. I would never use the term 'easy' for tackling this, but I felt fine the whole way.  When I did it 4 weeks ago I was one of the last few to make it up the hill and my heart rate sky rocketed.  On Sunday though it seemed a lot shorter and it wasn't the big deal it was for myself as it was last time.  My awesome trekking buddy C and I jogged on and off on the way down, having fun and good naturedly overtaking people.  Maybe I just was mentally preparing myself for the rest of the day but it seemed fine.  And this time reaching 'The' Yellow Pole was done smiling and running instead of falling over on it, exhausted. :)

At the bottom of the hill we had breakfast, and I joined in for a short while before I had to drive to the coast for Event #2.

The Tutu's & Tiara's Relay for Life team with Mish :)
You know those games where you are asked if you could invite 3 guests over for dinner, who would you invite?  Well here's a spin off question, who would I invite for breakfast on the morning of my 1st triathlon?  Maybe Michelle Bridges?  WELL SHE CAME ALONG!  Seriously, could I have asked for a better breaky guest??  Mish, Billy and the gorgeous Heather came along amidst a busy schedule to surprise the group.  Amazing stuff.  It was so inspiring to have her sign my top I was about to wear in my tri and just hear her speak.  I was already amidst a group of inspiring, amazing people who have inspired me for months now, and then our "guru" ;) just casually strolls on over?  Incredible! :)

Mish signing my shirt!
Anyway --- fast forward an hour or two later, and I arrive at the Gold Coast and at the tri event.  I have avoided swimming since Year 8 swimming carnival (the togs factor) and cycling since 2010 (the awful event factor) so I wasn't really giving myself a great lead in.  However nothing stops me so I didn't even worry about this.  I felt fine and was just looking forward to getting into it.

All of these pink swimming capped girls sat in the seats alongside the pool for our briefing - I felt like I was back at school again.  I may as well have been, for how I reacted when I hopped into the water.  Swimming may be like riding a bike: you never forget, but hopping in the water?  Well, I forgot what that was like.  I sunk to the bottom and got a nose full of water - I couldn't catch my breath, panicked like a freaking 2 year old on their first swimming lesson and instinctively started scrambling for the side of the pool.  My gosh.  I hadn't even been doing the tri for 5 seconds and I was already a mess!!

I calmed myself down, reminded myself of what it's like to be in a pool (!) and started swimming.

I had the pool to myself
I was probably the 3rd last person to hop into the pool (it was done one at a time).  People had finished the swim leg before I even jumped in.  So it wasn't any big surprise that I was quickly overtaken by the 2 behind me and was coming last.  It's a timed event from when you start yourself, so I know I wasn't coming 'last' as such.  But physically I was the last one in the pool, and that was really embarrassing.  There were spectators and then there was the whole group of the next event sitting alongside the pool for their briefing and here I was, a lonesome pink capped figure, the only one in the pool doing a very poor form of breaststroke so I didn't panic with the breathing thing again.

I made it though, jumped out and ran to my bike, reassuring myself that I would make up some time in the cycling and running legs.  I got dressed and started cycling.  A quick background of my cycling: I jumped on my bike for a Mini Milestone last round.  As a once off thing.  The time before that, I had a bit of an experience.  If you want the long version, you can read it here: Coming 7000th  The short version though is that I did the Brisbane to Gold Coast 100km Cycle Challenge.  I was the very last to enter the finish banner and I had a police escort and entourage for a lot of the way, as well as police loudspeakers announcing to the crowd that I was the last rider.  In Queensland's biggest cycling event.  I was horrified at the time and it shot my confidence to pieces.  It's been two years since and Sunday's tri was really the first time I'd made my way back onto my bike properly.
Bike transition

I struggled with the cycling leg.  Physically it wasn't too hard, but mentally it was a different thing all together.  I was at the back from the start, so it makes sense that I would still be there.  But what got me was that the people doing the event that started half an hour after mine, started catching up to me with the cycling.  Yes their distances were shorter, but still....  After 1 or 2 laps (I had to do 3), I realised that I was probably the last person from my event left on the cycling track.  I hadn't thought about bringing my head phones so instead turned on my music speakers on my iPhone that was down my top and put it onto my 'JFDI playlist' that I created.  I was starting to get upset and read a few SMS's and FB messages from people wishing me luck and that helped a lot.  I even glanced over and saw where I had struggled riding 2 years previous - Runaway Bay.  The ironies of this and the name itself (Runaway), were not lost on me.  I started saying to myself "shut up mind": my newly created spin-off of cycling legend Jens Voigt's infamous "shut up legs" quote.  My legs weren't too bad - it was my mind that needed shutting up!!
Cycling track

"Shut up mind."

I eventually finished the 3rd lap and I was reassuring myself that I was now 2/3 of the way through and I would be fine with the running.  I racked my bike and joined everyone on the running track.  It was only 2km but I was tired and struggling mentally so I didn't run the whole way: I jogged and walked on and off.

I was nearing the end of my first lap and as I passed a few girls I heard them tell one of the officials that there were only a couple of people behind them.  I quickly processed this and realised what it meant.  These girls entering the running track were from the event after me.  I was only finishing my first lap and had one more to go.  The event after me only had to do one lap and they had already started it.  I ran around the running 'turn' to start my second leg.  I saw officials on walkie talkies turning their heads away to speak each time they saw me.  I wasn't being paranoid, I am certain they were talking about me - ever since the cycling I had seen them do this and I am sure I was a marker for the last competitor.  I didn't ask anyone if I was last, I learnt that mistake last time.  And besides, I already knew.  I didn't need confirmation.  Instead, the enormity of this started to sink in.  

Let me put it out there that I was not upset about 'coming last'.  I was one of the last to start my event, I was at the back of the pack of each of the 3 legs and I wasn't trained up well etc. etc.  Besides, it doesn't matter of the order - it's a matter of actually starting it, and hopefully finishing it.  But what got me was that it was happening again.  I felt so mortified 2 years ago on the Bris-GC ride - and now 2 years later, here I was again??

I am not used to frequenting super sports centres!
I was the last of all of the events of the day.  Even the event that started after mine had passed me.  Every single person.  As soon as I realised this, I started hyperventilating.  It was like an asthma attack but because I only get very occassional mild asthma, I think it was probably just hyperventilating brought on by myself.  I couldn't catch a breath.  I was wheezing and almost dropped to the ground just out of panic.  I had my hand over my mouth.  One lady who was walking opposite me asked if I was ok and I could only nod with panicked eyes.  Thankfully I talked myself down because apart from this lovely lady (who I got to hug a thank you to later!), there was no-one left.  She disappeared from view very quickly and even the officials in that area left.  As I entered the running field on my last lap, I was completely alone.  I was devastated.  I was also torn - I wanted to hurry up and just finish it so I wasn't as far behind everyone else as I already was so I wanted to run, but I was so upset, I could barely even walk.

I turned my music up quite loud (who cares, I had a running field to myself!) ;) and Gym Class Heroes "The Fighter" played.  All through the day I listened to my songs of the moment - Fighter, Try, Hall of Fame and Battle Scars.  I didn't know if I could do it.  I needed help so I scrambled onto my iPhone and wrote that I was struggling on the FB 30+ crew page.  I needed some support badly and this crew is amazing and I knew that I could get it.  Sure enough I got some beautiful messages come through to say to keep on going.  I was mentally trying to gear myself up for the end of the race - I was now so far behind everyone else I was expecting to be a bit of a spectacle and that was panicking me to no end.  Thank you 30+ crew. xo

I finished on the field and tried to run a bit more but just couldn't.  I went past a few officials closer to the main event - all of the officials were very supportive and encouraging through the whole day- the Pinkie Tri has a great crew.  But as I went past the last few, I heard those dreaded 4 words.  I already knew this but hearing them said out loud just shot me down.

"That's the last one."

Oh my gosh.  It was true.  I entered the main field and saw the finish banner.  This is where I got the grit of my life.  I was mortified, so embarrassed and just wanting someone to hold my hand.  No-one was around because I was the only one still running (!) so I had to do this myself.  I couldn't believe I had left my sunglasses at Kokoda in the morning.  Of all the days.  I could have done with them.

That moment

I'd had members of my 12WBT JFDI team including beautiful L and my friend A call out words of support up till now and this had spurred me along.  But now I was all by myself and I knew all I had to do was to get to that banner.  I had to block out everything.  My friends mum got this shot of me.  She actually captured literally the moment that I dug my fingernails into my hands, blocked out the world and held my head higher than I ever have before.  Every eye was on me and I was absolutely willing the MC not to announce that I was last.  I don't think he did - I just heard him talk about my tutu.  Thank you.  I had been walking but ran down the last bit to that banner, managed to put my hands up in the air and ran through.

I managed to get given my medal, drink some water, take some photos, walk up to the grand stand and sit down before I broke down.  Poor A and A's mum had no idea what could be so wrong.  I could barely explain it... "I.....came....last....." wahhhhh.  I was beside myself.  I could hardly get that out let alone explain that it was because it happened again and how deeply embarrassed I was.

I calmed down and we picked up our bikes, took more photos and said goodbye.  I made it to the carpark and a lovely 30+'er who I hadn't met before, S, recognised me and came over to say hi.  She was lovely but the poor girl probably thinks I'm a nutter, I got two words out before I broke down sobbing again.  Ahhh I'm sorry, it was actually really nice to meet you despite not being able to speak much. :)  

I broke down again before I started my car, pulled myself together and started to drive home.  I only made it out of the carpark and onto the street before I had to pull over again.  Far out -- this really, really got to me.  I eventually made it home :)

To be honest, since then, I haven't really had a big enlightening proud moment or anything.  There's only one thing that I keep thinking of.  Yes, I achieved my goal, I started it, I finished it, I got a medal (!) and as my lovely K said, I can now call myself a triathlete. ;)

But what I realised is that I held my head high.  I gritted my teeth, dug my finger nails in, blocked out the rest of the world and kept going.  This is so hard to do but sometimes, we have to.  My friends have been amazing as well.  And this was just on Sunday.  Don't even ask me what happened on Monday.

When you have the wind knocked out of you, grit your teeth, clench your fists and keep going.

And above all else, keep your head held high. xx

Mish with the Kokoda challengers <3
For my awesome 30+'ers: 'I got a medal!'

Friday, 19 October 2012

Last Monday I ran away

Last Monday I ran away. From what? To where? Why? I didn't know. I'm 31....did you know you can still run away at 31?

I ran away a few times when I was a teenager. My best effort was a time where I managed to get to the train station which was a good 12km from home, with no public transport available. I'm still proud of that one. I made it onto a train even. I didn't get any further than the station. My Dad turned up and coaxed me off the train and back home. Dammit! ;)

Anyway - last Monday. I was edgy all day. Being in the #hellhole will do that to you. ;) But apart from that, I was trying to work out how to get to Emazon's Stand Your Ground (SYG) session. She was running sessions on the Sunshine Coast. I had booked in for a 1:1 session for later in the week which I was looking forward to. But I really wanted to attend other sessions, including SYG. 'Adult responsibilities' made this not viable for me. But I still wanted to go. I sat by the river at lunch (and took this photo) and tried to work things out so that I could go. No, I really couldn't.

However all afternoon in the #hellhole I was on edge and couldn't concentrate. I really REALLY wanted to go. Suddenly, about 2 hours before the session started, I threw all caution to the wind and made a decision. I was going. I literally excused myself from work, ran out the door, rang Fernwood to see if they had any spots left, burst into breathy tears when they said yes, booked my space and zoomed up the coast with a quick stop at home to grab my gear on the way. I work in South Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast is 100km away- and it was peak hour. I got my HRM strap twisted through my seat belt when I tried to put it on in the car. I also found myself changing my shirt in the car while stopped at traffic lights. Apparently I get dressed down to my bra in daylight now?? Really, Kate?  Never.done.that.before.  That's how focussed I was on just getting there. Either way, this whole venture was all very dramatic. If my afternoon had a backing track it would have been some very dramatic yet soulful piece of music, like something you'd hear in an airport chase scene in a Hollywood blockbuster. Seriously. Think of me next time you watch "Love Actually." :P

Tears, VERY loud singing in the car and 100km later, I made it to Fernwood and ran in 10 minutes late (sorry everyone).

And that's the night I ran away. I didn't know why I was running away. Or from what. A line from a song I belted out on the way home was "what did you expect to find"?  I didn't know.

At the time.
I found myself on Coco Beach :)

I didn't know what made me run to the coast that afternoon. Something made me. I didn't understand; I just knew I had to go. And since then, for a week and a half, I've been very quiet and I've been trying to work it out, as to why. It's been a full week, an incredible week, a dramatic week. It's had glimpses of everything from utter beauty to close to the depths of despair.
Surround yourself with red

Since last Monday night I've ended up doing 6 sessions with Emazon (yes, sometimes things do unexpectedly work out, not ever how you imagined.) :)  I've driven to the coast 4 times. I've stood by the beach in the rain, smiling. I haven't stopped writing.  I've drank a lot of tea. I've had processing D&M's on lonely stretches of the highway with amazing listener friends. I sat in a massage chair. I've sung a LOT, REALLY loudly. I've been taken by ambulance back to hospital. I've boxed. I've cried my heart out: in my car in empty dark gym carparks - in rooms with fish tanks - along dark dangerous streets before dusk. I've tried to meditate. I've been touched by friends messages, conversations, quotes, random comments. I've done yoga.  I remembered being 17. I've been inspired by pictures and quotes and lyrics.  I've been given a crystal. I've had my first bath in years.

I've listened.
I wrote all week

Some of those things were unrelated, some were soul inspiring, some were horrendously tough - but they were a series of events that all intertwined together to make me see something.

All week I've been craving to blog- with blogging being my recently discovered therapeutic 'thing'. :) I couldn't wait to share it with you and to make sense of it all. But I didn't know how to piece it together. I needed some time to clarify my thoughts. 

Yesterday I finally worked it all out. And I realised that I don't need to write here the ins and outs or exactly what happened last week. I don't even need to write it for myself. There's been so much being processed that I wouldn't be able to effectively write about it anyway.

But I wanted to share that I worked out why I ran away last week. I went searching for answers but didn't realise the questions. My word for the blind boxing at the start of the week was 'desperation' - my words just a few days later, following the same activity, were 'it's ok'.

I had a couple of hints along the way and still didn't get it. I still didn't know what my 'thing' was - what my question was - why I ran away - why I couldn't find the answer. The hints made me a bit frustrated: 'nope, they don't get it.' 

This was huger than just this week. This is a life thing. I went full circle. 

And then I got it. 
The quote

This picture really helped. Funny - just a random post on Facebook that caught my eye. It started to help me piece everything together. Ever theatrically obsessed, :) I talk about Cinderella a lot, but I started to feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Of course, I was Dorothy ;) I knew who my Glinda was :) and will forever be grateful, thank you Emma.  She showed me my red shoes.  I was trying to work out how I could ever thank her.  And I thought this blog post might be enough.  So I had my Dorothy and I had my Glinda.

But I had to cast the rest of this story. I started to think of who were my Scarecrow, Lion and Tin Man. I've had a lot of help, hints and support. They could be a number of people.

And then I silenced my mind :) and truly remembered the story from my childhood...The Wizard of Oz. And I remembered who Scarecrow, Lion and Tin Man were. 

They were Dorothy.

They were me.

Teaching us what we already knew, what was always inside us, but for whatever reason weren't ready to realise until now.

I realised why I ran away last Monday night. I wasn't running away, I was running to something.  When I realised this I thought I should make this big declaration to myself somewhere special.  Ever since I was a kid, I've been quite ceremonial (read, a weirdo) ;) and over the years have taken myself to the beach and random places to make decisions and life changing promises to myself. I thought maybe I can make this big realisation when I climb the mountain or do my first tri on Sunday.  Or maybe go back to the beach ;)  And I realised --- no, I don't need that.  I could be crawling the side of a mountain in space boots, or frolicking naked in the Pacific Ocean and make all the observations and promises I want.  It doesn't matter where I am.

Because everything is a journey...on the yellow brick road.  And everything I need is inside of me.  Sometimes we have to run away if that's all we can do.  And that's ok.  And sometimes it leads us to find something.

I didn't find perfection, I didn't find 'the answers'.  What I was looking for all this time?  It was me. :)

I just didn't realise it.

 One footlight at a time...

Early on Saturday up the coast

So much tea

Perhaps the most important picture on this blog post