Daring to Tri

Since I stopped work to have the boys, setting and achieving personal goals has been hard.

And I don’t mean finally emptying the laundry basket or single-handedly building the Death Star out of match sticks.

When you work, there are tasks to master, recognition for a job well done and a sense of purpose.

In parent-land it’s groundhog day most of the time. Same chores, different days. No pay rise, no ‘well done!’.

It was my choice to stop work and on the whole I’m glad I did. I need to be there to advocate for BW and he needs me to be around.

A few years ago, a tragic event shattered our family. I put on weight. A LOT of weight. I stopped caring.

One day, I realised the need to be a healthy role model for the boys.

Running became my new jam. It didn’t help me lose weight initially, but mentally it was what I needed.

I had a new goal. Times to be beaten.

Personal Bests to accumulate.

Being a novice and all, I didn’t do it properly, so got injured and had to think of other forms of exercise.

Surprisingly for a lazy cow I actually like being outdoors. Gyms bore me senseless.

I love swimming so switching to triathlon seemed the obvious choice.

In tri, you are running your own race (nothing like watching all the elite athletes sprint past you in a half marathon to make you feel like a snail).

Competitors come in all ages and shapes. And there are lots of women competing too.

I entered a few sprint triathlon (400m swim, 10km bike, 3km run), but naturally it wasn’t enough of a challenge.

So six months after we arrived in Melbourne, I signed up for The Murray Man.

The only long course (2km swim, 80km cycle, 20km run) triathlon in South Australia.

I knew I’d be among the slowest, but I didn’t care.

To finish would be a massive achievement.

Then this happened. I was devastated.

All that hard work. For nothing.

Luckily, I have a knack for picking crazy friends.

S and J were originally coming along to cheer me on, but decided to form a team with me.

I was doing the swim, J was doing the cycle and S was doing the run.

The swim may not seem a big deal, but I HATE open water swimming.

Oooo, the glamour!

I am TERRIFIED.

Of everything that might be in the water.

I get  seasick when it’s choppy and I don’t like being out of my depth.

As my mate Kim would say I am that “sooky lala”.

But I did it and knocked 14 minutes off the time I expected. Barring a migraine from looking at the sun, I felt amazing.

S & J both came under their estimated times.

We came 3rd in our category with a time of 5 hours 41 seconds.

I thought I would feel sad that I hadn’t had the chance to do the race solo, but being part of a team was fantastic.

Team Anglo-Viking

The most fun you can have without drinking.

And for a gin queen, that is saying something.

Do you like to set yourself challenges? I’d love to hear from you!

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Who Do You Think You Are?

It’s happening again.

Activities I have been looking forward to, suddenly loom like insurmountable obstacles, to be avoided at all costs.

The Black Dog is whispering in my ear.

“Who do you think you are?”

“What makes you think you can do this?”

“Is anyone really interested in anything you have to say?”

I swear I can hear the fucker laughing at me.

I can’t breathe.

Trying to ignore him, I realise the voice is coming from inside my own head.

Fuck.

My brain, conditioned over so many years, is playing its favourite tricks.

You are not good enough.

“She may as well stop coming to ballet you know, she’s getting too tall”

“It’s a shame really, her sister is so pretty”

“Why do you have to look like him?”

“You can’t do that”

“Depression  lies” a good friend told me.

It probably does.

But she’s still here. The tall, gawky girl, who sometimes talks too much and too loudly, scared of doing or saying the wrong thing.

Still trying to find out whether or not she’s good enough.

Today is World Mental Health Day – raising public awareness of mental health issues. Depression affects 350 million people worldwide.

It’s time to end the stigma.

Helping Myself

Sometimes, when the black dog is hanging around, it’s hard to keep going.

Lost in the fog, I stop smelling the roses and focus on getting through the day, one sluggish step at a time.

This blog is going to help me on those dark days, by enabling me to look back on moments like these pictured above.

A reminder of who I am, who I love and who loves me.

Sink or swim?

It begins with butterflies in my stomach. Pesky, annoying, fluttery buggers.

Then the familiar feeling of panic.

I sleep, fitfully, woken every so often by palpitations.

The Black Dog is sniffing around me.

My chest weighs heavy as if a block of cement is sitting where my heart and lungs should be.

I can’t breathe.

I look at my ‘to do’ list and my chest tightens further.

I reach for the cookies…1,2,3 and more.

The Black Dog yaps in my ear:

“Cancel your lunch date”

“Who needs friends?”

“Why don’t you have a day on the couch?”

I eat another cookie.

Then I hear a tiny voice.

“Go. Get your stuff and go”.

I quickly get in the car.

Within ten minutes the smell of chlorine has wrapped itself around me.

I’m gliding through the water.

Counting my breaths 1,2,3,1,2,3.

Counting my laps 10,20,30,40.

For an hour the chatter in my head stops.

The Black Dog is banished to the sidelines.

I return to the house. The ‘to do’ list is still there.

I make a start.

What do you do when the Black Dog comes? 

Thankful Thursday

Inspired by Kate Says Stuff I am joining in with Thankful Thursday.

And a good job too.

The Black Dog is raining on my parade, so a chance to piss on his chips by taking a moment to think about some of the positives in my life is a good thing.

This week I am thankful that The Saint is, well, a saint. Not only working like mad to provide for his family, but supporting me in starting this little blog and in a million other ways.

I am grateful that we are (only just) in a position that I can stay at home, giving myself the time and space to come up with strategies for Boy Wonder like The Food Project.

I am thankful for moments like The Glitter Patch for reminding me that all is not lost and that there is hope for the future.

Most of all I am thankful for my little, loving family whose kisses and squeezes make it all worth while.

Take that Black Dog.

The Best Day

One of Cheeky Boy’s favourite sayings is “this is the best day EVER”, with extra emphasis on the EVER. I am sure most kids use this phrase but thankfully for us CB is easily pleased because we hear it a lot. A scoot to the park and an ice cream can elicit a TITBDE!

It got me thinking about how many Best Days EVER I have had over the years. My wedding, finding out I was pregnant, and holding my babies for the first time would definitely count, but since then? Hmmm. Since I became a stay at home mum, discovering I am wearing matching undies or finding a missing sock is enough to constitute a best day.

And then I cast my mind back to the day when I did something totally crazy. And I smile.

I should explain. Under no circumstances could you describe me as a thrill seeker. I am “Mrs Worry”, “Mrs Anxiety” and “Mrs What if?” all rolled into one. I have a phobia of heights, I hate anything scary and I don’t like theme parks. Get the picture?

It was the end of summer. I think we were coming up the first anniversary of BW’s diagnosis. Both The Saint and I were still in turmoil and the Black Dog had decided to visit again. I went to an event and happened to see an advert for a charity tandem sky dive to raise money for the children’s hospice where the event was being held. To this day, I cannot tell you what possessed me. I walked over to the stand and signed up on the spot.

Six week later we were on our way to the airfield. I will admit “Mrs What if” was present “What if the chute doesn’t open, what if I break my ankles when I land, what if I die?”. As we got closer to jump time, my mind cleared. Something in me needed to do this.

Sitting on the edge of the open aeroplane door waiting for the all clear, watching the pros hopping out, knowing that any second I was next, was truly the most terrifying experience of my life.

I’m falling!

And then we somersaulted out. I remember looking up at the underneath of the aeroplane, thinking “oh my god, we’re falling”. Right side up, I started to enjoy myself. To be above the clouds and surrounded by blue felt so peaceful in spite of the deafening noise of the air whooshing past my ears. All I could do was grin.

Grinning!

It did me the world of good to do something so out of character and started me on a new path to a more balanced me, not just a mum devoted to her kids. Whenever I have a niggling doubt about myself I remember that day.

What was your best day ever?