Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Some thoughts on finishing C25K

I have been attempting to not just start, but actually finish, the C25K* program for the past 3 years. 

I spent roughly 5 months before beginning C25K walking at least 5 out of 7 days for 40 minutes. And I started C25K again on a bit of a whim after convincing my teen to do it with me. He got sick and dropped out and I decided to just keep going.

The smartest decision I made was to name the 3 days each week I would run and stick to it. So each Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning I headed out no matter what. This approach left no room for "I don't feel like it today, I'll go tomorrow instead."

My biggest fear was, and remains, injury. My knees are not fantastic and I am carrying a lot of extra weight. I "ran" slowly, no heroics, so slowly that power walkers easily passed me. 

Rather than feeling defeated by my pace, by being passed by every other runner (and some walkers) on my route,  I have tried really hard to turn what could be a negative into inspiration. 

I am not a "natural" runner, but for some reason I really do love running.  The feeling of both achievement and well-being that settles over me at the end of each run more than makes up for the less happy feelings experienced while tackling a difficult stretch that I now refer to as Bastard Hill Rd.



I am disappointed that my son dropped out but thrilled my tween daughter is now more than halfway through C25K herself. She has attempted it before but never finished. She will make it this time and I am hoping will be my running partner for years to come.

Finishing C25K is not an ending but a beginning. For the next 6 months I plan to continue running for 30 minutes 3 times per week and adding in some weights work on my non-running days. And then I will be tackling C210K. 




* C25K is popular running app that is designed to get the 'couch potato' running continuously for 5km or 30 minutes in 8 weeks. I used the free app by Zen Labs and played my own music using Pandora.





 








Monday, June 23, 2014

Places we call home: watching the World Cup

We are a family that talks about politics in the same way many obsess over sports, so when watching the World Cup it is not so surprising that my youngest asks "Who should we 'vote' for?"

The earnest discussion that follows this question is all about finding the connections, however tenuous, between 'us' and the rest of the world.

When England plays Italy I say that we will 'vote' for Italy: "Dad's grandfather was from Sicily."

"But" interjects Mr9 "my best friend's Dad is from England".

This morning it is Croatia v Mexico. My heart is with Mexico, because I know that good friends of all four of my children will be cheering them on wildly from their homes in California. Then I remember that one of Mr14's best friends is about to visit Croatia for the first time, to meet his mother's extended family.

When Australia plays there is no argument. We are Team Australia. And the same applies when America plays.

My youngest - like the rest of us, a dual citizen - cannot keep things straight in his own mind when the country of his birth  or the country he now lives in play. 

"Is Australia winning?" he asks during the Portugal v USA match.

"No, America is playing, not Australia," I say.

Australia and America are in his mind interchangeable. They both represent and bring forth the feelings associated with the places we call "home". 

My son's loyalties are not divided, nor are they in competition with each other. In fact the opposite is the case. Like immigrants the world over, he feels more connections not less, and this is in my mind something to be celebrated. 



  



 
 







 






Monday, June 9, 2014

Eavesdropping

An Australian and American sit behind me, sharing a coffee and shooting the breeze on a rainy Tuesday morning in Sydney.

The conversation shifts gears, from Syria to Hilary. Will she, won't she? 

I anaesthetise my young boys with treats and technology. Please just let me have a moment of peace. 

I am counting down the days until my husband arrives. I miss him. I also miss, desperately, the ability to escape for an hour or three. 

I flip through the paper. No surprise, the cartoonists sum up the events of the day best with just a few squiggly lines and well chosen words. Boom. 

I tune back in. The men are now talking domestic policy, sharing their exasperation at the absence of a science minister and befuddlement over last night's #qanda. I want to add in my two cents.

I have something to say here in a way I never will about the goings on in Silicon Valley. Just as importantly, I have people to say it to.

We leave the cafe, and I ready myself for the sort of shopping experience I could just as easily have in the US at a generic and dreary discount department store. The only thing that distinguishes this store from any other are the rows and rows of packaged lollies. And even though they are second rate home brand versions of my childhood favourites I still have to restrain myself, cutting a bargain that will no doubt be broken before the week is out.

At the self-serve check-out - the only sort on offer - we ring up our purchases. A clothes horse to hang washing that I would normally lazily throw in the dryer; track suit pants for the kids that are so cheap I would rather not reflect too hard on the conditions under which they were made; and a bag of crappy plastic pirate figures and "accessories" that I plan to point at each time the boys demand an electronic.

Today I missed home a little bit. Not only my husband, but also the dog and - if I am being completely honest - the dryer. When the kids weren't shouting at each other they were shouting at me. Mostly it felt like the opposite of a holiday.

Maybe that is a good thing. If it doesn't feel like a holiday then it must mean that we are, in a sense, home.