Thursday, January 31, 2008

Last instalment - 42.2km run

........Finally I reappeared, much to the relief of Team Cathy, and started off on my 42.2km run. My plan for the marathon was to run between drink stations, these were about 2km apart, then walk for a minute having something to eat and drink. The first drink station was probably about 200m down the road from the transition area but I stopped nevertheless to have a drink and walk for a minute. I had people encouraging me to run, telling me it wasn't that bad, obviously thinking I had given up before I'd really started!

I ran this course last November in the Half Ironman, and had a very bad experience - I had trained through a Canberra winter so really hadn't done any training in warm, let alone hot, weather and the weather was hot on the day. Also the course is quite hilly and I just couldn't run the hills initially - it probably took me about 10km before I felt like I could really run decently at all. This had been at the back of my mind during all my run training since and I felt that I was better prepared this time - most of my running had been done in the heat of the day and I had run hills ad nauseum, so let me at 'em! The only thing I wasn't sure about was how I'd go running 42.2km after cycling for 180km - I was about to find out!

It was still very warm late in the afternoon so I was still drinking but I was starting to feel bloated and crampy in the belly - not a good sign. What to do? I didn't know whether I should stop drinking sports drink and just stick to water, considering I still had a long way to go and I didn't want to run out of energy and hit the wall. I had a couple of jellybeans at the next drink station but by now I was over sweet food in a big way. I concentrated on watching other competitors and looked forward to seeing Team Cathy again when I completed the 5km Tuncurry loop before heading out on the 16km loop through Forster suburbs. I also got to see the lead woman heading toward the finish as I was heading out on my first 21km loop. Another diversion was to read the chalk messages on the footpaths and road from supporters and yes, I found plenty done by creative members of Team Cathy.

The hills weren't presenting a problem at all and I managed to pass quite a few people this way. Supporters and residents were well spread out on the run course so there weren't many times when you weren't cheered on or alone. I started to drink flat coke and eat vegemite sandwiches and this worked for me. I was feeling great and smiling and laughing which prompted remarks like "you're obviously not running hard enough" or "you're looking far too relaxed - this is supposed to hurt!" I was running along minding my own business when I heard that horn - I knew that sound and it could only mean that Team Cathy were around somewhere. And they were - across the road hanging out the car windows - yelling and hooting for all they were worth!

Coming through to run the second lap I was given an orange scrunchie to wear on my arm indicating that I had already completed one lap - now I was feeling like I was getting somewhere. However, during the 5km Tuncurry loop I was starting to feel really tired and it was taking all my effort to keep running between drink stations. Don't tell me this was it - I was going to hit the wall - I still had 21km to do - not good. I saw Rae Wells up ahead - she was supporting her husband who was also doing the Ironman. I had been seeing Rae on and off throughout the day, on the bike and run. I told her I wanted to stop, I was so tired. "You're not tired - you're feeling great. Come on you can do it - think positively." Yeah right. However I continued on and within a couple of kilometres I was feeling fine and smiling as I came up to pass Team Cathy again, before heading out for my last 16km.

Downhill running was proving to be a challenge as my right ITB was starting to flare up. I had had problems with my ITB early on in training - cycling aggravated it and for a few weeks I couldn't run or cycle far without it hurting. However, at this point in the Ironman nothing was going to stop me from finishing and it was only the downhills that were a little difficult. I was passing so many people now who were walking. I had to pin a glowstick to my top as night began to fall. Soon I was running in the dark and this was also proving to be interesting - I almost tripped over at the 32km mark. Coming to the final turnaround, which meant I only had 8km to go, I almost bumped into two Team Cathy supporters - Ruth and Helen. I don't know who got the biggest shock - them or me!!!

Now I was heading home - I felt as though I was flying up the hills. I could definitely feel my ITB now but with 2km to go it didn't matter - I knew I was going to make it. I was going to finish and I felt great. Spectators were congratulating me and calling me an Ironman even though I hadn't finished yet. Up that last hill and ahead I could see lights and people, lots of people. I could also hear them counting down to 13 hours but the time wasn't important.

Briefly, for about half a second, I thought I was going to cry but excitement took over. I high fived someone I recognised from Canberra. Team Cathy spotted me and I jumped up and down excitedly when I saw them, before high fiving kids lining the sides of the finish chute. I felt a million dollars and my smile was getting bigger and bigger - I had done it. I had made possible what I once thought was impossible - it was a little bit of magic. The announcer, American Mike Reilly, the voice of Ironman, was calling me across the finish line (I was told this after - I was so excited that I missed hearing it!) and then I was finished. After 13hours, 2minutes and 10 seconds of swimming, cycling and running I could finally stop. I am an Ironman!!!!


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Part 3: 180.2km cycle

The bike course is two laps of 90.1km of flat to undulating road, varying from satisfactory to poor condition. It was also starting to warm up. Other cyclists whizzed past but I kept telling myself to take it easy, there was a long way to go - 180.2km, in fact. My plan for the bike was to maintain a steady pace and check my bike computer every hour to make sure I was on target. Eating and drinking was going to be important as I was probably going to be on my bike for at least 7 hours and then would have to get off and run a marathon. So I ate sandwiches, bananas, gels, fruit bars, fruit sticks - some I had with me, some I collected as I rode through aid stations. I exchanged a bidon at every station as well, these were 10km apart, alternating between water and sports drink.

Coming back into Forster at the end of my first lap was amazing. Supporters and onlookers had lined the street and were yelling, blowing whistles and making as much noise as possible. Sure enough when I came to the turnaround point I could hear the tell-tale horn and the shrieks and see the bright yellow t-shirts - Team Cathy was pretty excited!

Back out of town for the next 90.1km and it could be very easy to feel overwhelmed about the distance still to cover and the hours still to go but strangely enough I felt fine. I had some minor discomfort, mainly with a niggly backache, and saddle soreness but otherwise I was feeling fine and starting to pass people - some of those who had passed me earlier. It was beginning to get a lot warmer and drinking was even more important. The hills were still out there and some felt a little steeper than the first time around but the downhills still felt pretty good! Also, as I was heading out for my second lap the lead male competitor, Chris McCormack, was heading into town at the end of his cycle! In fact, I think as I was heading out on the run, he was finishing but I digress..............

6 hours and 51 minutes later and I had finished the cycle and was changing into my run gear. I took a little longer with this transition, about 12 minutes, but why rush? I had about 7 hours before the final cut-off so I stretched, had a drink, ate some potato crisps, went to the toilet.

to be continued..........

Hot, hot, hot

Today's calendar entry: "Dermatologists have found that applying chocolate topically renews and moisturises the skin."

It was hot yesterday afternoon, running in the 5km at Stromlo. The facility is great but it lacks shade at the moment. The grass track is excellent to run on, and there are undulations as it meanders around for 2.5km. This meant we were running 2 laps. I ran a warm up lap with Ewen and Jeni to familiarise myself with the course and even then I was feeling hot. Finally it was time to start and I promised myself that I would run the first lap comfortably – no silly business!

The first lap wasn’t too bad – chatted a while with Chris P, Kerrie B flew past, Susan Hobson and Sarah Fien were just ahead. The second lap was hard and getting harder – it seemed hillier the second time around. And hot – when there was no breeze, the sun was just beating down. I have never been so happy to finish. Water tasted wonderful! The shade was beautiful! I came in 60th overall, in a field of 105; my time was 23.14min. Happy!

This morning I ran 12km, my usual route behind Hawker. I was tired and it all seemed much hillier than I remembered it. It was warm for 6am – about 19*c. I also took water with me which I don’t usually do for the shorter morning runs but I was still feeling a little dehydrated from yesterday’s run.

I also had a win this morning – a pair of pants that I haven’t been able to fit into properly since last summer, now fit me. Yay! There is something to be said for marathon training!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The things you see.......

.....when you go for a long run! I wish I had a camera! I was probably about 16km into my long run (almost halfway) when I came across an ironing board, set up, with clothes hanging off it. To put it in context, I saw this ironing board just as I left the O’Connor entrance to Black Mountain nature park so I was still in the bush. I had to look twice just to be sure I wasn’t hallucinating! I’m assuming it has been set up by some person who has been collecting lost clothing items from the nature park and this was quite a novel way of displaying them in hope that their owners would reclaim them.

Anyway back to the long run – last Saturday morning. It was basically the same as the long run the week before only a little longer. I ran a total of 34km from home to Black Mt Nature Park and back again. Probably the only thing I did differently was to run the (signposted) Little Black Mt circuit which added on a couple of kms. It was also a lot warmer with sunny blue skies. However I did notice that a few weeks ago I would’ve struggled with this one, especially over the latter stages, whereas on Saturday, while I felt tired, certainly ran it a lot better. So I am improving - 34km in 3hr 27min.

The hard thing was backing up with a 6km race the following morning. It was the monthly Veteran’s run handicap, at Campbell Park. I felt tired and sluggish initially and it was really only from the turnaround point that I felt that I could make it home in a respectable time, and not die on the way! Again, it was sunny and hot. I started in group 36 (still!) and finished 92nd in a field of 116 – so not last thankfully (though for a while I thought that was to be the case!). My time was 28.52min.

Monday was a rest day and this morning I was up bright and early (ok, well maybe just early!) and off to the gym, the first time for 5 weeks. So it was light weights and high reps so I can run this afternoon in the 5km race at Stromlo Forest Park, part of the Cross Country Summer series. Thing is, it’s meant to be 34*c today and it probably won’t have cooled down a lot by 6pm. And there’s no shade on the grass track. It’s going to be hot.

Part 2 - 3.8km swim

My plan for the Ironman was not to race it, the distances are just too huge for me to even contemplate racing, but to make the cut-offs and do it comfortably, if that's possible. There's a 2 hour cut-off for the swim, 10 hour cut-off from the start of the swim for the bike and an overall cut-off of 15 and 1/2 hours for the finish. I thought I could probably finish in 14 to 14 and 1/2 hours.

Back to Sunday, April 4 2004, transition area at Forster Keys - the start of my first Ironman triathlon. My husband Steve had found my goggles - in the boot of our car. They had fallen out when I had pulled my wetsuit out of my gear bag. Crisis over I could now concentrate on the 3.8km swim ahead of me - in the lake in front of me - with 1500 other competitors. I had seen video footage of the swim start and for a very average swimmer it doesn't inspire confidence, particularly when one is not wearing a wetsuit. While during the cycle and run everyone supports each other, in the swim it is usually everyone for themselves. My plan, if you could call it one (survival was probably a more apt description) was to stay out of everyone's way and if that meant swimming way out on the fringes adding an extra kilometre, then so be it. There were five large groups of coloured caps in the lake - you had to give an estimated swim time on the entry form and at the time I thought 1 hour 20 minutes sounded quite a wetsuit.

Now I was thinking one and a half hours might actually be more realistic. My estimated time had me in a yellow cap and we were the last group. As far as I could see ahead of me in the water were people. Relax, I kept telling myself, just treat it as a training swim. Before I knew it we had started and I didn't have time to think about anything but avoiding arms, bodies, legs. There were times when I was swimming along by myself and thinking that it wasn't so bad and then there were other times when it felt as though fifty people were trying to swim over me. Relax, I kept telling myself, take it easy, breathe, find an empty space, avoid that person, breathe.......... There was only the one time when someone either kicked or hit my foot, I'm not sure what happened but oh did it hurt. I had to keep wiggling my toes to reassure myself nothing was broken.

I could hear the helicopter above me, could smell and taste the diesel fumes from jetskis and boats which were nearby, could vaguely hear the announcer on the loudspeaker when I swam past the crowds. The last 400m back into shore was probably the roughest part of the swim as people sensed they were almost finished and pulled out all stops to get there - there were arms flying and legs kicking everywhere. I had done it - I had swum 3.8km without a wetsuit and emerged unscathed from the experience in 1 hour 23 minutes.

Then I was in the tent changing into my cycling gear. A volunteer filled my back pockets with fruit bars, gels, and fruit sticks. I had earlier that morning packed a couple of sandwiches into the bento box on my bike. Shoes on, sunnies on, helmet on and done up and I was out the door heading for my bike.......stop..... have a drink, get my bearings, find my bike. Team Cathy supporters decked out in bright yellow t-shirts and caps ensured that everyone knew I was on my way! be continued!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Motivational Magic

Going through some documents yesterday I came across this one, which I had written not long after completing the Ironman at Forster back in 2004. As I read it I could feel the hairs rising on the back of my neck; it was an amazing achievement. If ever I need a motivational boost then all I need do is read this again. It will be in instalments because it is quite long. Here is the first instalment of an amazing adventure..........

Ironman Australian Triathlon, April 4 2004

It is 5.40am Sunday 4 April 2004 and I am madly searching through my fairly empty gear bag for swimming goggles which are not there, trying not to feel sick. I'm at the 19th Ironman Australian triathlon at Forster-Tuncurry, 35 minutes before the swim start and I can't find my goggles. Not only that but for the first time ever in the history of the Australian Ironman it was going to be a non-wetsuit swim, due to the water temperature. Why, why, did it have to be this year?!

Rewind to Sunday April 6 2003 - Kerry O'Neill and I are in Forster to watch our first Ironman and to support a couple of Kerry's friends from Alice Springs who were doing the event. "You'll be doing it next year," friends warned me when I told them I was going to watch the Ironman, "You won't be able to help yourself!" Don't be silly, I told them - who would be mad enough to swim 3.8km, cycle 180.2km and then run a marathon after that? Certainly not me! The sheer size of the event amazed us, the thousands of supporters, the 1500 or so competitors, the accompanying infrastructure - no other triathlon I've attended comes even close to the size and atmosphere of the Ironman. And then there's the finish - it feels and looks like everyone in Forster is down at the finish shute, cheering people on, whether they come in 1st, 10th, 1230th, or last. In fact it is the only event I know where everyone stays to the very end - its one big party! It was at this point that a little thought started niggling away - some of those people doing this event looked very normal and if they can do it, then well maybe so can I. Uh oh……..that finish has sucked me in - I wanted to do an Ironman!!!!!!

And what a year its been since then - cycling in below zero temperatures during Winter; a very memorable ride to Murrumbateman by myself in sleet and strong winds and being attacked in the face by a vicious magpie on the return trip; all the food that I was able to eat and not put on weight! (the Tim Tam training diet); the half ironman in Forster in November last year - during the run wondering why the hell I was doing this; hearing my name in the rolldown process after the Half Ironman when I was offered a spot at the Ironman; all those laps in the pool, all those kms on that bike seat; those 'lovely' bike/run sessions on a Wednesday (130km cycle followed by a 20km run); those days when I wondered why the hell I was doing this - those thoughts happened more frequently early this year; the bombshell dropped at the briefing the day before the Ironman - no wetsuits allowed, the first time in 19 years; and finally the realisation about 35mins before the race start that my goggles were not in my bag!

To be continued.......

Icky Thump

Today’s calendar entry: “Men, coffee, and chocolate are all better rich - Anon”

Today’s title sort of sounds like my running sometimes – ‘icky’ describing how I feel; ‘thump’ describing my running style. But actually it’s one of my favourite running songs at the moment by the White Stripes. The lyrics are kind of interesting though. Here’s a sample:

Icky thump
Who’da thunk
Sittin drunk on a wagon to Mexico?

Aaah well
What a chump
Well my head got a bump
When I hit it on the radio

Redhead senorita
Looking dead
Came and said
“Need a bed?”
En Espanol

I said
“Gimme a drink of water
I’m gonna ‘sing around the collar’
And I don’t need a microphone.”

Trust me, it sounds better than it reads! And it was songs like this that kept me going yesterday afternoon as I ran 18km, from home down to Lake Ginninderra, around the the peninsula and then back home again. The first 7km of the run didn’t bode well: I was averaging about 5.40min/km, my legs felt leaden, I felt tired, tummy felt blah, and I asked myself why do I do this? Not the running, but the time of day I sometimes choose to run. I am definitely not an afternoon runner – it sucks.

Anyway things improved after 7km and I enjoyed the rest of the run home. And my times had improved – I averaged 5.25min/km for the run so the second half was much, much better.

I ran a slow 8km this morning before meeting Strewth and Mr B for breakfast at Red Belly Black CafĂ©. They make the best muesli with natural yoghurt, topped with marinated apricots – it’s delicious.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Bead Diet

Today’s calendar entry: “The biggest mistake one can often make in life, is to be constantly fearing they will make one – E.S.F”

No run this morning. After being woken up by the same way-too-cheerful DJ (I really must change radio stations), I had my coffee and considered my options. Thing was, I wasn’t inspired to run this morning. Maybe the thought of running 18km before breakfast dampened my enthusiasm. Maybe I was tired. Maybe I was just being lazy and the thought of lying in bed for another hour or so had more appeal. So I made a deal with myself. Lie in this morning and then run 18km after work. Easy. Now to live up to my side of the bargain this afternoon.......

Surf the web and sometimes you find the strangest things. I’m not kidding – below is something I found on the ninemsn webpage! And you can even buy the bracelets!

Hottest diet and fitness trends for 2008
What are the hot new trends for 2008? Get fit and fab with the latest and hottest celeb fitness crazes — quick, before your friends find out [!! – my exclamation mark]

Bead diet
What is it? A calorie-counting plan that uses a beaded bracelet to help you diet. Each bead equals 100 calories, so if you want to eat 12,000 calories per day, slide 12 beads onto one string of the bracelet. Then when you eat 100 calories, slide a bead onto the other string.
What can I eat? Anything! As long as you know the calorie content.
How much weight will I lose? It depends, but if you stick to 1300 cals a day, you could lose six kilos in six weeks.
Why is it hot right now? Delta Goodrem is rumoured to be a fan and actress Kate Beckinsale makes her own diet bracelets for friends. Forget those red Kabbalah bracelets, you'll be seeing Hollywood's elite wearing diet beads in 2008.
How can I do it? Buy a bracelet at or make one. Take a piece of wool long enough to wrap around your wrist twice and then thread enough beads onto one strand of the wool. When you've eaten, just slide the bead to the other strand.”

I mean, the fact that both Delta and Kate are fans of this diet makes it so hot now, and gosh, Kate even makes her own diet bracelets for friends, it must be good, right?! Sheeeesh! Pass the Magnum Minis please.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tuesday thoughts

Today’s calendar entry: “Chocolate is, let’s face it, far more reliable than a man – Miranda Ingram.”

Have you noticed its getting darker in the mornings these days? I’m talking 5.30ish here. It was also considerably cooler this morning – 11*c proclaimed the ultra cheery radio voice – so cheery I felt half inclined to throw my clock radio across the room. Then I had my coffee and the day suddenly seemed rosy! Ok I exaggerate a little – I thought I could at least get up and run 10km followed by 6 x 100m strides on the oval. All this before breakfast too.

Which. Is. What. I. Did.

Got up……dressed……and ran…..10km in 49.28min. This was followed by 6 x 100m strides and then I was heading home for rolled oats with banana and sugar-free maple syrup. Yummo! I do love early mornings really, its just that getting out the door sometimes is the hardest part.

A comment was made on yesterday’s entry that it looked like I had made a massive jump in distance for my long runs. Not so, not so. I have been following a training program for a little while now, and the week before last my long run was 26km, previously 24km, 20k, etc. This coming Saturday I will run 34km and then for the following week (my easy week) I cut back to 20km. Likewise for my mid-week medium long run. This started at 10km, then 12km, 14km, 16km last week and 18km tomorrow. Next week it will be about 10km I think. Ok, so I suck at 10,000m on the track but out on the trails, on my own, going slowly – anything is achievable!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ups and downs and round and round......

......which basically sums up my long run yesterday morning. It was initially planned for Saturday morning but when I got up, nice and early, it was raining and I had no plans of starting a 30km run in the rain. So I went back to bed and later got up and ran 8km nice and easy….in the rain (my planned Sunday run).

Anyway I was up again nice and early on a Sunday (which is really unforgivable but like I said I didn’t have a choice) and set off running off-road behind the houses in Hawker – the suburb up the hill from ours. The track was slippery but surprisingly I did manage to stay upright though there were a couple of close calls! Then I diverted into the Pinnacle Nature Park for a little bit (to avoid a really steep hill though I still run uphill but its more gradual) before heading out of the park and towards Mt Painter nature park (behind Macquarie). Now here there is a steep hill but I haven’t managed to find a way around it so up I go – baby steps, until I reach the top and head off down the other side. For a little way it’s downhill though I have to watch my step because it is rocky in parts and there is the occasional exposed tree root to trip unsuspecting people.

Then it’s back uphill at the back of Cook briefly again when I cross the cycle path, before heading down another rocky path, back onto the cycle path briefly and then make my way through the gate into Aranda Nature Park. I was so busy concentrating on where I was going I didn’t see the large kangaroo standing in the middle of the trail until I was almost in front of it. I’m not sure who got the biggest fright – him/her or me! Then I noticed the paddock – instead of sheep it was full of kangaroos.

After following the trail a bit I came to the new underpass which took me into Black Mountain Nature Park and for a while the trail remains fairly flat, though again there were puddles and muddy patches. Now it was time to turn right and head upwards, as though I was heading to the top of Black Mt, which I wasn’t, but it still felt steepish. Finally I was at the top of the path and turn left to run downhill before turning right and running up another hill! (There’s a theme here!) I followed the trail around past the electrical sub-station, or whatever it is, and came out onto a road (I was probably near CSIRO). I followed this road for a little bit before turning back into the nature park and followed a very undulating trail, following power lines. Up until now the weather had been muggy, it was overcast and foggy in parts, but now it was starting to drizzle very lightly. I had visions of being drenched for the run home because I was at the farthest point of the run –
15km. However the rain was very very light and then

So, all the downhills and uphills I had run on the way out on this run, now became the uphills and downhills on the way home – challenging at times. However I felt comfortable for the entire distance which is great because my last couple of long runs have been very ordinary to say the least. The weather may have had something to do with it because the other runs have been done when it has been very sunny and hot – not my idea of fun or an enjoyable run. And then the previous week’s long run was affected by consuming some dodgy prawn rice paper rolls for tea the night before.
I had completed just over 30km in 3hrs – very happy with it. And it’s a great run too, mostly off-road. Okay, maybe less hills might make it better........!

Monday, January 14, 2008


Oh dear - first event of 2008 and my first since the Canberra marathon last year and I didn't finish. I had entered the 10,000m at the AIS track last Thursday evening. We had got back from the coast that afternoon, it was hot, and I was in two minds about whether to do it. I'd also had a fall a couple of days before and this would be my first run since then. But I had told Ewen I would do it so I couldn't wimp out!

I started well - snuck in behind Ewen and thought I could manage to stay with him for the distance. Bad move - I should never run someone else's race - it never works for me. Normally I start slowly and gradually get faster the longer I go. This time we set off at a cracking pace which was fine for about 5,000m but then I started feeling 'not quite right'. By 6,000m I was contemplating pulling out but as I'd never pulled out before I didn't really want to start now so talked myself into slowing down and taking it easy. However by 7,000m I knew I couldn't do another 3,000m and so I made the decision to stop...........

First....and hopefully.....the only.......DNF for 2008.

What's with the teddy bears?

Something I had never noticed before on the way down to Bateman's Bay - the number of teddy bears, big and small, including one gorilla and one crazy frog, attached to trees between the outskirts of Queanbeyan and Bungendore. Some looked like they'd been there a while; others looked new. So what's the story with the teddy bears? Does anyone know?

I'm curious!


The coast was great; the fall I had before we left for the coast wasn't great! The first fall for 2008 - on the gravel, skin off the right palm, arm and knee. Lots of blood and gore as I ran home - lots of funny looks as blood splatter was going everywhere! Plus I was covered with dust down the front of my top.

The fall happened on the flat; I'd run up and down hills and over rocky tricky bits and then I fell on a flat stretch of path, on my way home. Mr CJ says I need to learn how to roll but as i retorted, I don't even know I'm going to fall over! It all happens so quickly - one minute I am upright running, the next minute I have face-planted the gravel!

So the right knee is bandaged again - this is becoming a January ritual!

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Even though it was my easy week I still had a long run to do on Saturday - though it was 18km as opposed to 28m, and for that I was very grateful. I had decided to start a little later in the morning and that was a bad mistake - even though it was cloudy, when the sun did make an appearance it was very hot. And when I was up the hills it was no fun at all.

Even so, the long run out to Black Mt nature park and back is one of my favourite runs - despite the hills and the uphill return trip! There is always a lot of birdlife to distract me while I'm running. We are so lucky - there is such diversity of birdlife here in Australia, and the colors are fantastic. Magpies, cockatoos, galahs, rosellas, blue wrens......
The run itself was uneventful though I had miscalculated the distance and what was meant to be a 16km run turned out to be 18km, which doesn't seem like a lot of difference but when its hot and hilly, well lets just say I was very grateful to finish. And the banana smoothie I had afterwards was just the best!
We're off to Batemen's Bay for a couple of days of R&R this week - hopefully the weather will be nice. Certainly beats going to SE Qld at the moment anyway!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Gifts from Boston

Received a lovely surprise in the mail today - a small box of gifts from Boston, USA. What with Christmas and the holidays I had completely forgotten I had taken part in the International City Swap, hosted by Shelley.

Basically what we do is we swap cities/towns. You put together a package that you think best represents the place where you live, and what you love about it. Or, if you think where you live is ridiculous, you can put in the silliest things you can find. It’s up to your own creativity. Last year there were packages circulating: from Detroit to Alaska, NYC to Rome, Jordan, NY to Turin, Italy, San Jose, CA to Australia, and Atlanta, Georgia to Rome.

I sent a package of Aussie stuff, including a packet of Tim Tams, to Alli in San Francisco and I received a package from Ulli in Boston. My goodies included a Boston 2008 calendar with various points of interest marked, such as where Ulli lives, and the park where she had a really bad date!; a very cute little red lobster fridge magnet (seems like they like their lobster in Boston); A Boston guide book, very necessary for any future trips there (well they do have a marathon!); a Red Sox cap (seems like lobster is not the only thing they are passionate about); a packet of Hershey's Kisses and a "Save the Earth. It's the only planet with chocolate" card. I love surprises!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!!!

We had a quiet new year's eve - watched tv for a bit then headed off to Civic to watch the midnight fireworks from our vantage point near the Acton Ferry terminal. No alcohol, no partying, very quiet.

Today is a rest day from running so I enjoyed my sleep in this morning. In fact, I slept through my first coffee which was kindly brought to me while I was still sleeping. He didn't wake me!

I forgot to mention yesterday that while I was in Woolies I saw hot cross buns for sale - on 31 December! So expect to see easter eggs on the shelves shortly.