Tag Archives: plans

Triathlon no longer

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Yes, you heard it here first.

My long-held ambition to do a Sprint Triathlon has hit another snag. First it was the looming December deadline, then it was the rolled ankle. This snag, however, has really turned things around. And, of all things, it was my first swim in… oh I don’t know, 10 years?… that did it.

It was horrible. No, really, I mean horrible. Really horrible. Now it may not be truly ironic that an ex-swimmer’s demise has come from swimming, but it certainly qualifies for Alanis Morriset irony, no?

The other day I decided it was time to hit the pool, to test out my gills, so to speak. I mean, February ain’t that far off and I’d hate to be hit by a nasty shock in the first 450m of my big event. A test run is what any wise aspiring sprint triathlete would do.

By the end of the first lap (which I walked 25m of because it was too cold to just jump right in) my shoulders were lead and it had become painfully clear that any semblance of the core strength required to keep one’s arse afloat was no longer part of my physiology. Devastating to say the least. As if getting into a swimsuit was not traumatic enough, I didn’t even look like I knew what I was doing. The Olympic rings tattooed on my hip made a complete mockery of me.

I seethed down lap two and determined that my weakness would not get the better of me. I would swim 450m if I had to do it on the bottom of the pool, coming up for air from time to time like a whale. Even if it took all night. Even if it meant that Blossom would have to (shock-horror) take a bottle instead of my boob. Even if it meant emerging with prune fingers and chlorine poisoning, I would do that 450m.

By the time I had completed 300m I had had lane rage twice (what is it with hairy men swimming two millimetres from your ankles when it’s clear you’re having enough trouble dragging yourself through the water, let alone their bulk in your supposed wash, not to mention the oblivious teenagers who stand in the middle of the lane to chat about their i-phones and the 8-year-old playing chicken with oncoming traffic… GET OUT OF THE GODDAMN WAY!), I’d wrestled with leaking goggles (is it possible my head has changed shape that much in 10 years?), I’d smashed my toe on the wall during a miserable attempt at a tumble turn (you should have heard the language accompanying that moment) and my sprint triathlon career was over. Done. Vertig. Finnis.

It was clear there was nothing sprint-like about what I am capable of doing, nor is there anything athletic about it. In fact, my swim felt a lot like I was running in water, so I’m a bit doubtful about the “tri” bit too.

But hold the violins. There’s no need to dip into your bag of “Encouraging Things to Say When the Chips are Down” just yet. You see, I dragged my sorry arse through another 1200m. That’s right, total 1.5km, and in that time I made a new goal:

I may not be attempting a triathlon at the end of February, but I will be attempting a Triplodalong. The notion of me doing anything sprinty or athletic may be ludicrous, but I can plod, right? Anybody can plod.

Genius, no?

I don’t know why I never thought of it before. In fact, I’m so chuffed with this new lower bar that I have decided to make it a New Year’s Resolution – I will cease being an overachiever (and hence giving myself a world of grief). Instead, I will aim to “plod along” through every activity, ensuring that the only thing I achieve is ENJOYMENT.

I think this resolution should cover every other item on my monumental list of  eating habits to change, gardening, sewing and cooking to master, writing to do, child rearing to get a handle on, husband keeping to perfect, self grooming to be considered, household maintaining to be completed and world-changing to be fitted into spare time. If I shoot for plodding and enjoyment, 2011 should be a cracker on all fronts.

Care to join me?

Or you could always join me over at RRSAHM for a Flog Yo Blog Friday list…

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Pounding Pavements and Ripping the Roads

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I’ve been exercising.

(wild hoots and riotous applause now please)

You may remember that in one of my bouts of motherhood amnesia, I vowed to do a sprint triathlon before the end of the year. Well, I am proud to say that motherhood won out over this rather absurd goal. The last event for the year is on in two weeks and I will not be anywhere near it. In fact, I wouldn’t be seen dead in a swimsuit yet, so that rules me out completely!

BUT

I have been exercising… the goal, a sprint triathlon at the end of February.

I’ve been pounding the pavement with my latest bandwagon (C 2 5k) and loving it despite my run of mishaps (don’t bother pardoning the pun). I’m mid-way through Week 5 and so far I have one misadventure on every single run. The latest have involved local wildlife (specifically rather persistent flies), domestic (though not domesticated) dogs enjoying the chase, wardrobe malfunctions (read: shorts creeping up my crack and causing nasty chafing between the thunder thighs), and an unfortunate case of stealing debris from a building site for my husband at the beginning of the run and having to carry it all the way. I’m a good woman, I am.

My only criticism of the podcast program is the atrocious song change in Week 4. I don’t know what you were playing at, Robert, but DJ just ain’t your thing. I thought there was something wrong with my machine, but no, the three tracks jostling for air space and creating a cacophonous noise for almost a minute just as I started my last run for the session was simply you trying to be cool. Newsflash: NOT COOL.

So, being past half way to a 5k Cliff Young shuffle with just enough bounce to get the ponytail swinging, I decided it was time to incorporate some riding into the mix.

Let me clarify here: Mr D loves me more when I exercise. Not because I’m sohotrightnow, nor is it the beetroot face and sweat moustache, but because I’m not such a snarky, downtrodden martyr when I exercise. So, having the unsettling capacity to see through me as he does, Mr D eliminated the last of my “Reasons Why I Can’t Possibly Go For A Ride Today” by buying me a new helmet for my birthday. Bugger.

“Riding”,for me, means getting on my bike and hanging on for dear life while feeling sure I am about to die of a heart attack any moment. I’m not what you might call a “confident” rider. No. Ok, so it terrifies me. There. I’ve said it.

But I got out there yesterday. Good for me. I rode 9k. Good for me. I figured that if swimming was all about getting into a breathing rhythm, and if the same seemed to be true for running, then I’d just do the same thing on the bike. Good for me.

I got the pedals going – breathe in one two, breathe out two three four, breathe in one two, breathe out two three four – I geared up and down to make sure I didn’t lose that rhythm and, LO! HARK! JOY TO THE WORLD! I had a great time doing it!

So, after a rest day today and a run tomorrow, I’m going all out: I’m going to do the 18k that I’ll have to do in the race. Bring it on. See how it goes. Who knows, I may be ripping up the road and pounding the pavement all in one session next week. Then we’ll really see who’s a tough little chicken!

And if, for some reason, motherhood wins out over this burgeoning triathlon career of mine, I will at least take solace in the fact that I now have three exercise options to keep the snarky martyr at bay. And that is a good thing. For everyone. Yes?

A POST POST SCRIPT (Do you like this? I think it’s really quite funny!)
After writing this post, I went to the bakery. At the bakery I bought a bun. With my bun, I exited the bakery. As I exited the bakery I stepped down an uneven step. As I stepped down the uneven step, I rolled my ankle. As I rolled my ankle I jarred my knees. As I jarred my knees (and rolled my ankle) I swore loudly…
So now I have my ankle in ice. I hobble. I creak and moan and curse that step. I will not be “going all out” any time soon. The universe has spoken. The career is on hold. The bun was average.
The end.

Jog Blog

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As the title suggests, I went for a jog today. Actually, it was more like a Cliff Young shuffle interspersed with significant periods of walking, but at least I was out there.

In fact, the last three days have seen a level of dedication to physical fitness that I have not had in the 10 years since I retired from swimming… OK, except for the annual ‘I’m making a comeback’ fit that would take hold for a week or three every time a major international swimming event came up on the calendar. And no, it has nothing to do with the approaching Commonwealth Games. Seriously. I swear. Not even the tiniest whisper of a hint. Honest. I don’t want to make a comeback. Scout’s Honour.

(Not because I couldn’t do it, mind you. I mean the times they are swimming aren’t THAT much faster, especially since they’ve banned techno-doping with those Star-Trek ‘Beam me up Scotty’ suits. I could make a comeback, if I really wanted to. All it would take is a full-time nanny, housekeeper and live-in massage therapist, me to quit breastfeeding the Blossom and to forget about having any more kids for a few years, and the kind of monastic devotion to a masochistic training regime that would make SAS training look like a walk in the park, but I could do it. Seriously. What? You don’t think I could? You want me to prove it? I will. I’ll make that comeback, just say the word… Ahem… Sorry… Where was I? … OK, I don’t want to make a comeback and the Commonwealth Games are just another sporting event. Right.)

  

So, what has brought on my two bike rides and one ‘run’ in the last three days?

Firstly, my parents have been visiting so I have had babysitters. A luxury not to be sneezed at. An opportunity to be grasped.

Secondly, motherhood amnesia. Again. I know, a running theme with me.

This bout of amnesia has seen me commit to two rather daunting events requiring the kind of physical prowess I no longer possess – A 24hr MegaSwim to raise money for MS Australia (committed to when I was 3 months pregnant with Blossom and clearly delusional about how I was going to juggle two kids) and a Sprint Triathlon to be completed before the end of the year. I am, unfortunately a woman of my word an despite my efforts to learn the N-Word and my recent spate of withdrawing from a number of fun social engagements because of the kids, these two are proving hard to shake.

The MS MegaSwim has the obvious ‘good cause’ guilt attached, but thankfully it is a relay, so provided I get more than the current one member in my team (yes, that one member is me), we can all take turns. If I remain the only member, I may have to band in with someone else who is a whole lot more organised than I. At least it is a swim.

The other, however, has the personal challenge thing attached, and in this world of motherhood where competition is futile and generally heartbreaking (I mean, who wants to compete and then find that everyone else is a better mother and your children have the odds stacked against them already simply because of your ineptitude? It’s better to just not go there.) my natural need for a competitive outlet has latched onto this Sprint Triathlon mission. Only problem is, the end of the year is fast approaching and I have done three days of preparation.

So as I pounded the pavement (and I mean, every inch of the pavement, that’s how slow and arduous the shuffle was),  I began to think how I might make this a more realistic goal. Because, if I am honest, three days of training during each of  my parents’ monthly visits isn’t really going to cut it. Sure, whenever I mention that I’m going to do this thing people say, “Oh, you’ll shit it in. You can swim 400m with your eyes closed. Easy.” But they neglect to consider that it is called a TRI-athlon for a reason. If it only involved swimming 400m, I may well have committed to doing five of them back-to-back. But it does not, eyes closed or otherwise.

The problem for me is the land activity and, as I have discovered today, particularly the run. You see, on a bike there is a certain amount of inertia that helps you along. You can stop peddling and let gravity do it’s thing as you go down the hills. You can gear up or down to get the biggest bang for your pedal-power buck. But when running, it’s all up to you and those non-existent leg muscles that have withered and died from so many hours parked in front of the computer, blogging.

It was this on the final up-hill stumble towards home that I realised the solution was simple. They just had to change the order of events. If I could run first, ride second and swim third, I wouldn’t have to face the hardest part when I was already completely and utterly fucked.

So I have penned this letter to El Presidente of the International Triathlon Union and I will let you know when the new rules come into effect.

International Triathlon Union (ITU)
#221, 998 Harbourside Dr.,
North Vancouver, BC,
Canada, V7P 3T2

 

Dear El Presidente Marisol Casado,

I am a mother of two small children and aspiring Sprint Triathlete who has noticed a rather obvious flaw in the way your sport is run.

As I am sure you are aware, the current order in which the three sports making up a triathlon are programmed , namely swim, ride, run, leaves competitors facing the hardest event last. This is a rather unfair and unnecessarily masochistic approach. Your sport would have a much wider appeal (and I dare say records would tumble) if you were to change the order to run, ride, swim.

The new order will allow competitors to cane themselves in the run without fear of what is to come, ensuring faster times overall. The following ride would allow competitors to work the lactic acid build-up from their legs, while making the most of inertia and down-hill runs on the bike. Finally, the swim would provide the perfect cool down to ensure athletes did not injure themselves because of post-race stagnation brought on by the completely-shattered-can’t-move syndrome that currently affects many competitors in your sport. I mean, who doesn’t feel better after a dip?

While I understand that there are a number of unreasonably fit fanatics who enjoy partaking in triathlons like the Port Macquarie Ironman and other such ludicrous events, and who may appreciate the added challenge of running at the end of such an event, but for the majority of would-be competitors, this is a clear indication of elitism in the sport. We unfit mothers of the world would like to be given a chance and by changing the order of events you would be sending a clear message of inclusivity to the world.

I propose that these changes be made before the last Sunday of 2010 to ensure I have the best possible chance of achieving my Sprint Triathlon goal.

Thank you.

Your humble servant and sports visionary,

Nadine

PS: If you require a bribe, I would be happy to make a Lion Cake for you.

A Tale of Two Babies – Part 1

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This whole birthday thing has made be nostalgic. I’m also sick and illness does a misty-eyed Mumma Nadz make. So I’m going to share a story. A story of plans made, intentions dashed, illusions shattered and second chances. Part 1 goes like this:

(A word of warning for readers who have not yet ventured down the baby path: This post contains graphic information that may turn you off all together. The writer recommends that you defer your decisions until you have read Part 2 of The Story where things get a whole lot nicer.)

I have mentioned before that I was a swimmer. A swimmer who competed at Olympic level. This is not a badge of honour I wear proudly, but a fact I mention here to put my approach to childbirth into some kind of context. Pain? I had been to the extreme of it, willingly, twice a day for the best part of my life. Endurance? I had found my limit and gone beyond it, willingly, twice a day for the best part of my life. Emotions? I had seen the most exquisite highs and blackest lows, willingly, twice a day for the best part of my life. Lack of control? Check. Physical mayhem? Check. Facing the unknown? Check. Check. Check.

Childbirth did not scare me. It was going to be like a really long Step Test, a VO2Max set, a ‘Hell Week’ squashed into one day. I would breathe, like I had done in training millions of times. I would be pushed to the point of delirium and convulsion and I would just keep going like I had done in training millions of times. I watched the videos. I read the magazines. I studies the photographs of watermelon-sized heads pushing through cherry-sized vaginas accompanied by shit and blood and lumpy, white goop. And I had made peace with the thought that I was going to disgrace myself in front of a team of doctors and midwives and my darling Mr D. I was going to have a baby.

Instinct had told me that a birth plan was a stupid idea and my obstetrician had confirmed the hunch. “It becomes nothing more than a list of the things that didn’t happen or a list of the things that stressed you out.” So I had no plan. Only intentions and rough strategies and a clear picture of how it would all go down… No, that’s not a plan, okay?!

Sally MacLeland ran the final of the 100m Hurdles at the Beijing games. Mr D and I stayed up to watch it. She exclaimed in breathless wonder “Are you serious?!” in her post-race interview and The Lion popped his sack. Within 10 minutes the contractions started and from that point on they were so strong I couldn’t talk or stand and breathing was the concerted effort I had anticipated in the latter stages. And they were regular at 5 mins apart. And they didn’t go away completely between them.

“I think I’m having this baby soon,” I said to Mr D and he called the hospital, we went in for a check and they sent me home with some Panadine (that did squat) and the recommendation that I rest up and call back when contractions got to 3 minutes apart.

I did everything right. I spent hours in the bath. I tried walking around the back yard, squatting every five minutes to moan a mantra and breathe. I nibbled on jelly and sipped on cool soups for a second or two in the less intense moments. And I did this all day and well into the next night. A very, very long Step Test training session.

When the contractions hit 3-minutely and my moaning pitch escalated to the distressed moo-ing of a cow, we called the hospital and went in. By midnight they had examined me and declared,

“Congratulations, Nadine, you are four and a half centimeters dilated!”

“Four and a what?! I’ve been… AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH…whooo… whooo… whooo… mmm… mmm… mmm… for 24 hours and I’m not even half-way there?!”

It seems the Lion was back-to-back, back-to-front being the way the little suckers should come out. He was jammed in there like a little champagne cork and he wasn’t budging until he either voluntarily turned around or the doctor got the scissors and cut him out of his packaging. I was no longer part of my body. I needed sleep so badly I wanted to die. They encouragingly told me that I could be doing this for another 24 hours and Mr D came to the fore.

“This is the good advice we said we’d take” and I, incapable of holding myself above the water in the bath, let alone coherent speech, said, “Don… car… nee… slee… nee… slee… nee… slee…. i…i…i…IIIIIII-YAAAAHHHHHHHHH ha-ha-ha-ha-ha… ngggrrr…!”

Epidural. “Whoomp-whoomp-whoomp” of the Little Lion’s heart. Fogginess. My leg fell out of bed at one point and I had to call to Mr D to put it back. Another 8 hours and I was ‘allowed’ to push. But push what where? I couldn’t feel anything, so I pretended. And, it seems I pretended good. In fact, I pretended so good that I catapulted my placenta into the doctor’s chest so hard it splattered his crisp, white business shirt and he fumbled it like a muddy football.

32 hours later and The Little Lion stared at his father for 10 minutes while Mr D cried like a baby. I laughed the hysterical laugh of a drunkard, every single one of my intentions laying shattered on the floor. And we’ve been laughing and crying and laughing again ever since!

Olympics? Piece of cake.

A Military Operation

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I took my 23month old and my 2month old to Sydney overnight to have breakfast with my sister at 7am at the airport before she left for Europe. Need I say more?

A Mazda 323 with two car seats in it is no place for a travel cot, a bassinet, bedding, bags of clothes needed and spare sets in case of disaster, nappies, food, pram and sufficient toys to distract the toddler from the 2.5 hour drive. Loading it all was like playing tetris in 3D. By the time we hit the road the kids were cocooned in their seats and I prayed we would not need to stop on the way for fear of having to unpack and repack in a crowded Maccas car park with irate travellers beeping their horns at the vacant parking space filled with my piles of baby crap.

We did make it to Sydney, to my Uncle’s house filled with relatives eager to see the new baby and fuss over how the toddler had grown. He posed for cameras and splashed in the bath with his baby cousin and tried oh so very hard not to play with the tantalising glass and ceramic figurines that seemed to fill every possible surface. He was a good boy, but it was such an effort. He even went to bed without fuss, leaving me free to deal with my hysterical baby who squirmed and wouldn’t feed and cried and writhed and spewed and screamed some more… until 10pm.

Dinner was scoffed and strategies for the morning were refined: Get up at 0500. Dress and feed baby in silence by 0530. Pack car with all but travel cot by 0550. Get toddler up in silence, strap him in car and give him a bottle of warm milk at 0600. Pack travel cot and associated bedding by 0608. Scan rooms and collect the vomit rag, the books, the pair of socks and sunglasses that have been hitherto forgotten by 0612. Strap baby into car 0613. Unpack clothes bag and select replacement top because baby has chucked all over me at 0614. Get changed and don’t swear by 0616. Say farewell and get in car and leave for the airport at 0619, only 4 minutes late. Breakfast at the airport, toddler runs around, baby feeds, tired and satisfied we all pile back into car and head to granny’s house for a visit, more running and lunch and, exhausted, we pile back into car and toddler sleeps all the way home. Military. Fool-proof. Easy.

Except that the toddler woke at 0230 crying out, “Preeeze Mummy! Preeeeze Mummy! Bot Mummy! Preeeze…. Daddy? Daddy? Bot Daddy?”

So he had his warm milky bottle at 0237.

And he screamed when I tried to put him back in his cot. Twice.

So at 0323 I took him into my room, to bed with me. Which he found far too exciting: “Ah! Mummy night night! Mummy hair… eye… beep beep nose… Mummy clip-clop?” as he climbed on my back.

“No. Sleep time now. Quiet…”

“Quie….” He whispered. And I thought I had won. He lay his head on my pillow and was quiet and still…

Until the baby did an adult-sized fart.

“Haha! Bubby brrrrrt! Poo-ey!”

And then she started to cry. 0346 and I decided to feed her in bed in the dark to maximise the chances of maintaining some semblance of calm.

But she wouldn’t latch on, I leaked all over my pyjama top, the toddler tried to ride her like a horse and I had to turn to light on to reveal yet another exciting room full of new things to explore and discuss on top note: “Ah! Cat – meeow! Book? Book? Muuuummmmmyyyy! Preeeze! Ah! Mooooooo! Clip-clop?”

At 0416, after the baby chucked all down my left arm and the toddler tried to pull the desk lamp down for the fourth time, I relented and turned on the TV with the sound down low – some b-grade New Zealand drama about a cheating husband  and an idiot doctor, American morning shows covering the World Hot Dog Eating Championships or the weather on SBS. The toddler climbed into the baby’s bassinet and started playing peek-a-boo until he announced, “Poo Poo!” and the room filled with a gas that threatened to asphyxiate us all in a matter of moments.

By 0500, I attempted to re-claim my plan, but the sight of bags being packed was enough to engage the toddlers deepest fears and he proceeded to bellow his terror at the prospect of being left behind and would not be satisfied with anything less than being carried around by Mummy and Mummy alone.

At 0535 I relented. I strapped them both in the car and left for the airport in the hope that the over-tired brood would sleep. They did… for 40 minutes. And I didn’t swear too much.

From 0630 – 0800 the Sydney International Airport was a playground. Strangers’ bags were stolen, escalators ridden, travellers bumped into and hallways raced down. What a wonderland! But no sign of the travellers we had come to see off. Breakfast was scoffed alone. Of course, the toddler wouldn’t eat and the baby did a wee reminiscent of Niagara Falls all over the baby change room.

We had a quick 10-minute “see ya” with my sister and I wondered whether the trauma was worth it. Why did I feel so compelled to see her off at the gate? Why would a phone call not suffice? The military plan, so painstakingly thought out had been annihilated, the kids took three days to recover, granny never got her visit, I ate more sugar on the 2.5 hour drive home than I had eaten in the previous year combined and walked around like a haggard old grouch for days. And why?

Because she is my sister.

And that’s enough.