I Go To Rio
(5th Marathon Continent- South America)
I had a phone call the other day, an old friend from my hometown in Victoria, she was worried that I had died! She had been following all the ups and downs of my European saga and wanted to know why I wasn’t writing anymore...she made it sound like I was a Drama Queen.. Who me!!!
So I thought maybe it’s time to start the writing again, and what better way to start a marathon journey than to write about the worst day I’ve had this year (besides the horrendous last marathon I'm trying to forget), at least if I start on the worst day, things will only get better..won't they?
I have been training for a few weeks and not so happy with my running and fitness levels. I remember the first tip I gave out this year to my runners. I asked them if they could fit a marathon or half marathon into their life this year. I told them they had to look at what was going on in their lives as long distance running takes time and commitment...of course I never practise what I preach..I made and paid for my booking for the Rio marathon and then I proceed to move house, work seven mornings a week, build a new website, start up new clubs and then wonder why my running is suffering….
I moved to Coolum Beach last week-end, my sixth move in three years of living in Queensland, and yes I am over it.
I’m going to commence my South American Marathon Blog on Monday the 30th of March (the way it turned out you would of thought it was two days later). You may have heard of the classic tale The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe well I’m entitling this first instalment
The Bat, the Idiot and the Broomstick, (not as famous but just as scary!)
I had moved, but there were so many things I needed to do on Monday. I had to go the agents with forms; back to Noosa to get more stuff; post office, bank etc you know the drill. But first I had to wait for my new fridge to arrive, in half an hour (9.30am). At 10 am I got a call to say they were stuck behind a traffic accident on the motorway and they didn’t know what time they would arrive, but to wait for them.
That was Ok because I was sitting on hold for the past hour waiting for vodaphone to get my new internet package going.
The fridge arrived by 11am, great I thought ready to go, but then I had a call from a tradie wanting to fit a remote control device to the garage door, could I hang around for a half hour, which turned into an hour.
When he arrived he decided he couldn’t do his job as an electrician had to come and fit a power point, could I hang around...”No I couldn’t”….so he left in a huff.
Whew 1pm still enough time to do all my running around before school gets out. The girls were on new buses today so I had to be home to make sure they had it all sorted. Out to the car with a pile of paperwork in my arms and what I saw made me pull up short, a bat (not the cricket type, but the native, vampire type) had attached himself to my roof rack and was hanging on the side of my car.
He was dead. there was blood all down the side of the car and he seemed to have wrapped himself around my roof rack and was hanging upside down as bats tend to do. I had to think for a bit, what to do...I turned around to see the brand new broom I had bought the day before next to the back door, ideal for dislodging a bat from the roof rack of the car. So I sidled up from a distance and started to poke him with the broom, he reached out a claw grabbed the broom, the wings went out, Ala horror movie style, he starting baring the teeth, screeching and he launched himself to about 10cm from my face… guess what? He wasn’t dead!
I have to be honest I was a whisker from the literal version of “Shitting myself”, for a few seconds time stood still, he kept screeching and baring his teeth, in my face and I honestly thought, in a minute I’m going to be joining Buffy and her friends (at least I can be a good vampire).
So there we were, the bat had the broom in one claw, and the roof rack in the other, he stopped his screeching but he was still flashing his little fangs…I thought how to I get out of this predicament, and then I got angry...I mentally told him, he could have my car it's getting old and crappy..but surely he didn’t have to take my new broom!! Well possession is 9/10ths of the law and I then accepted that I cannot win a battle against this bat, I managed to throw my end of the broom onto the top of the car and start Plan B...so back inside…
Long story short...Australia Zoo were called by the RSPCA, then they rang me to say whatever you do don’t go near him, a bite or a scratch from a bat can be very dangerous to humans, I didn’t mention the broom, they can work that one out when they get here.
Forty Five minutes later, Australia Zoo to the rescue, two very cute, nice boys in Khakis arrive.
Steve may be gone but his spirit lives on, I could hear him in them as they said “Oooh what a beauty, don’t be scared little fella “” unfortunately they were talking to the bat not me. They rescued him and wrapped him up and took him away, what an amazing service Australia Zoo provides. I know Terry cops a lot of flack for her commercial gains, but I saw the fantastic work the Wildlife Warrior charity service that Australia Zoo provide today, so good on them..And more importantly, I had my broom (and oh yes the car back, albeit bloody).
I read recently that it’s the washing machine, not the pill that have liberated the modern woman, however, I challenge that. I think the humble broom has done wonders for the modern, single woman. Since we stopped riding them, it’s amazing the myriad of tasks the humble broom can do..except for removing bats off your car of course…but everything else is OK.
My history of native animals and marathons is not good, whilst training for Auckland, I was chased into the sea by dingoes on Fraser Island, I'm sure if you look through enough webpages you can read that horror story as well.
Could it get worse...why not…Monday evening I run with some like minded runners who are training for the Gold Coast events. I had planned to run 20km and I was looking forward to it as I was way behind with my running. A good group turned up, we discussed how we were going to run the 20km, off we went, 500metres up the road, I tripped (on nothing of course) and down I went on the bitumen, ouch, I could feel a big graze on my knees, hands elbows, I picked myself up and kept running..as you do. The knee was stinging but that passed eventually, I went on to run the 20 with Dennis, but boy did I struggle with my fitness in the last 3km...very frustrating. We were glad when it was over, and on my first stretch, I had a look at the injured knee, to see blood all over my lower leg, I'm sure that bloody bat is having the last laugh.
But back to my Drama Queen question... surely it’s not my fault that odd things seem to happen to me constantly...are people getting tired of listening to my dramas…the reason I question this now, is, I had to pick my daughters up after dancing, and when they got in the car I told them I fell over, my 13 year old in a monotone voice said “Which one this time?”, She was of course referring to my knees, “ Right”, I whimpered, “It’s always your right knee” she said with a bored sigh, “I’m sorry", I said "Next time I will try to land on my head, just so as to make it more interesting for you”, she just rolled her eyes at that.. teenagers I thought, they only care about themselves, so I thought I will tell some one who really cares about me, I txt David with my drama, knowing that he would ring me and come straight away to comfort me, 15 mins later he returned the txt with, “That’s no good, I will see you tomorrow” !!!!, So a very sore, sorry girl climbed the stairs and had a stinging shower, went to set the alarm for 3.30am..life for the Lazy Runner goes on.
"What the Hell are we doing?" Blog
You will be pleased to know that things have improved in my life since my last entry...not with my running of course, but the run of bad luck did end. I have bought a new car, I keep telling myself that it had nothing to do with the bat, but I must admit that it was always a very tentative trip to the car in the early, dark mornings after the bat incident. I’m not superstitious but surely a bat nearly bleeding out all over your car cannot be a good positive, energy sign!
As far as running goes I haven’t yet got out of the Lazy, ‘I don’t want to do another marathon’ bad attitude stage of the marathon training process, so naturally that attitude does affect your running.
However, one highlight is the Monday training sessions with other runners. You cannot beat company when you are miserable and unmotivated with your running. Usually the run goes like this, we start of saying how crap we feel and we might not get through the whole distance, then we catch up on what’s been happening over our week, about half way through we start having a whinge and a bitch, not just about running but everything that’s been annoying us recently, then we go quiet for a bit, then when we only have a couple of kms to go we liven up again and start having a bit of a joke and then the last km is usually head down, bum up and just finish the thing.
However, we often have a philosophical run or what I like to tag the “What the Hell are we doing here?” run. A few of us were cruising along Ok, chatting about our week that was until about 5km and then Lance caught up and joined in, and things started to slide, by that I mean a mental slide. I blame it on the Mooloolaba course …it is a stunning boardwalk and people seem to think the it should be used for strolling , picnicking, having a beer or two, playing on the beach, dog walking etc..and there we are, worked all day, no dinner, no evening tipple, banging out a 20km along the beachfront, so it does the beg the question “What the bloody hell are we doing?”. It soon got to the point that every time we saw someone doing what we used to do, like the man strolling along with the baby in the pram, we thought how did we go from that to this… training for a marathon? When did nice, normal, leisurely activities go to mad, crazy nighttime running for hours?. I mean it would be ok if someone was holding a gun to our head, or if it was to save one of our kid’s lives or find a cure for diabetes, but we are just doing it for….well I can’t even answer that one.
It slowly deteriorates to us wondering why we were doing it hard while the people are eating the fish and chips and enjoying a beer. And the dog walkers please don’t get us started. Why couldn’t we just be walking the dog, even the dogs look down their wet noses at us...
And just when we thought the crowd could not be anymore relaxed and doing as little as possible, then we saw it...the absolute epitomy of good common sense. There was a guy (or should I say a Legend), he had a dog alright, but no he wasn’t walking him, he was just standing there looking at the sea, and to add insult to injury he had a stubbie in his other hand...boy...were we impressed, so much so that I’m pretty sure Lance was thinking “I’m going to ditch these two idiots and ask this bloke if he will write me up a training program”
Luckily after 10km we left all the happy, normal people so we could wallow in our agony together, however the discussion did turn to how did this craziness come about, what lead to this?
We did find some solace though in talking about how tough it is for runners (you know serious runners like us) and the lack of support we get from our beloved family and friends. The last comment I got when I dropped my daughter at dancing before I started the run was “Don’t get out of the car and come in afterwards, we will come out, your red face is so embarrassing, people think there is something wrong with you”, I said to her “I’m sure other top athletes don’t get that sort of response from their children”, I just heard her say as she slammed the car door.. “But your not one of them are you?” I can’t argue with that.
Dennis had some lovely family quotes, like his dad’s “Show me a happy runner and I will take it up” and when Dennis told him he was running another marathon, dad said “God I hope you look a bit better than you did when you finished the last one”, come on Dennis surely it's not too much to ask to look brilliant and be smiling after running 42.2km!
I know whenever I make the announcement to my mum “I’m running another marathon" she always does the exaggerated sigh and then asks "How far is this one?”, when I say the obligatory “same as last time 42.2km” she backs up with a bigger sigh and says “And how long is this one going to take?” , I now say 1 hour 45mins, because I realise that no matter what time I say the response will always be a very shocked “That long!”
Poor Lance on the other hand hasn’t broken the news to his Mother yet about his marathon, because he said after he announced he was running a half last year, she said “Do you really think you should be doing that?”
Why do us runners not command the same respect and appreciation as other sporting people in their families, why are we always looked on as being a bit crazy and not quite right in the head…we ponder this as we run for 20km in the dark!! Hmmmmm
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