Monthly Archives: February 2010

1/2 Marathon Training Update

It’s all ‘Headology’

The other day I was sitting at home after walking the dogs to the shops and back (our usual morning routine), and I started beating myself up about not going for a run that day.  Again. 

The Gold Coast marathon is approaching rapidly, and I’m still not training hard enough. 

Why?  What’s stopping me? 

Excuses R Us

Instead of finding ways to ‘DO’ it’s kind of easier to justify why you can’t. 

Sitting alongside my computer desk is the walking machine my wife has hired for a couple of months.  We’ve all had a chop on it.  It’s a medium size unit, and the few times I’ve tried to run on it has caused it to make some unhealthy noises.  So, I walk instead.  3 to 5 klms, at 6 kph.  And while it’s better than doing nothing, it’s still not helping me achieve my goal. 

Sure, it’s keeping me fit-ish, but not in a competitive running way. 

So, why not run.  Well, there’s the weather.  It’s hot.  The rain has kept most of us indoors.  Then, when the rain stops, the mossies, flies and other bities swarm all over us as soon as we open a door.  It’s really miserable outdoors at the moment. 

The gym.  Yep, I’ve hit it a few times, and run on the big machines down there, but lately, I’ve been focussing on the gym as a place where I do my upper body workouts.  Something I’m actually enjoying this time round, so I’m very reluctant to mess with those routines while I’m having so much fun doing them! 

I’ve been cycling pretty much everywhere on my days off, walking to work, walking the dogs, and generally keeping fairly active, but the running goal is making me feel pretty guilty.  Sure, it seemed like a good idea last year, when the weather was cool, the sun shining, and all the bitie creatures snug in their homes, but lately, I’ve started thinking, “Mate, you’re not going to make that 21 k’s.  Forget it, it’s too hard anyway.  Pick another goal.” 

This morning that voice was pretty strong, but I didn’t want to listen to it.  I really want to do this run, but how?  How can I get some running time in?  

Sporticus to the Rescue

While I was having an internal mental debate in my head between the Good voice and the Bad voice, the tv was blaring away in the background.  Distracted, I turned in my chair and saw this chap:

‘Sporticus’, the alter ego of Magnus Scheving, creator of the Lazytown tv show. 

“Man, he’s one fit lad!” I thought to myself as I watched him hop, jump, dash and hurl himself about the screen. 

He picked up a deck of cards and flipped through them, “I wonder which exercise I will do today?” he asked as he selected a card.  “Running!” he exclaimed then began to run rather vigorously on the spot.  Fast running, slow running.  Running with high kicks.  Knees up running.  Intense running.  Running like his life and career depended on it. 

My eyebrows climbed over my head in amazement.  Here was the answer to my problem!  Running on the spot.  Ok, it’s not ideal but it’s a hell of a lot better than ‘sitting on the spot’, or ‘being in a spot’. 

Amazing to think that when I needed an answer to a pressing problem, tv solved it.  Homer was right, “Is there nothing tv can’t do?”   

Now What?

Well, I figure, that all I need to do on days when I can’t go for a run, is to grab a towel, put on my sandshoes, and run on the spot for at least 30 mins.  Can I do that?  Yes I can.  I don’t need to travel anywhere, I can do it indoors away from the bities, I won’t be tripping over the dogs, and best of all, my family can enjoy my presence while I work out… which is a good thing right? 

It may be boring as hell, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.  Even if there is no direction!  I’ll keep you posted…

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Mondays’ Column – Gladstone Gold!

Recently I was ambling through the bush behind the family terriers, Dumbdog and Littledog, when I happened to spy an abandoned car in the distant scrub.  As we approached the vehicle, a bloke leaped out of a nearby hole in the ground brandishing a pick and shovel.  Dumbdog immediately feigned a seizure, while Littledog dived behind my ankles, barking wildly and wetting herself at the same time.  

Once we all got over our mutual shock, I got to talking with the bloke and learned that he was fossicking for gold.  Gold!  Apparently we were standing on an old gold field which was still yielding some small finds.  It took all my self control not to drop to the ground and start grubbing about for those elusive yellow rocks. 

Instead, I whipped back home and told my mate ‘No Worries’ Neville what I’d learned.  His eyes lit up, “No worries,” he said, “I’ve got a metal detector, all we have to do is tune it in, and we’re away.”  Nev’s wife laughed as he dragged his rusty old detector out of the shed, “Off to the beach again are you Long John?” she sniggered.  Nev pointedly ignored her.    

Our first discovery was finding that my wife had foolishly left her wedding ring on the kitchen sink, so I tossed it into one of the weed beds in the backyard and Nev tried locating it. 

One frantic hour later I found it by stepping on it.  Further testing was bought to a halt by Long Suffering Wife who had been watching us from the house with deepening suspicion.  The ring was immediately confiscated and Nev and I sought refuge in the bush where we spent the rest of the day scouring a piece of ground the size of Tasmania.  By nightfall we had unearthed one hubcap, two rusty bolts, and a bullet riddled aerosol can. 

Our enthusiasm waned over the following weeks as ‘The Mother Lode’ managed to elude us, but our wives’ appreciated the peace and quiet, and the dogs got plenty of exercise, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time. 

We recovered from our bout of gold fever with minimal scarring, and I returned to work after convincing the boss that my abusive resignation letter was actually an appalling practical joke.  Nev tossed his metal detector back into the shed, and returned to working on a computer programme which picks winning Lotto numbers.  He’s looking for investors to get in on the ground floor if anyone is interested?

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Life is Like A River Journey

This week I have had a lot to think about;  the ups and downs of the average life, the sudden deaths of some young folk in our town, and various perspectives on some dramas at work.  Then I was struck by the thought of how each life is like a river journey, how you start off as a small trickle (literally!), and eventually after winding down an everwidening stream you enter lakes, and encounter rapids, caves, canyons, logs, etc. until you come to the ocean.  The ultimate end of our journey, where all rivers and our lives are destined to finish.

I was going to write a post on it, then I came across this site: which explained it much better. 

Then I followed the link to this site: which impressed me very much.  The author has placed the book on her site for you to read for free, but for a small donation, she would send the complete PDF file.  I whipped out my trusty debit card and made a donation, and early this morning the Ebook was appeared in my ‘in-box’ and what I’ve read so far has been brilliant.  

I’m so impressed that I’d like to publish my own novels in this manner… and soon hopefully 🙂



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Mondays’ Column – Boxed In

Years ago in Brisbane I met a former Gladstonian, Graham Dicker.  Graham is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and it came as a bit of a shock to learn that he used to be a boxer of some fame, and a real terror in the ring.  From that point on I laughed heartily at all his jokes, no matter how bad they were.   

Graham was so quick that he could hit you at least four or five times while you were dropping to the floor, and as someone with all the speed of a very old and heavily sedated wombat, I stood in awe of him.   

My own boxing career started and finished one night at a mates’ barbecue.  A group of us young bucks were bragging about the various codes of self defence we were involved in at the time, each convinced that our particular brand of martial arts was superior.  An old bloke laughed at us, “Ha!  You’re all wrong, a good boxer would clean up the lot of you.” 

What happened next was completely my fault.  To cut a long story short, we ended up beneath the clothesline for a ‘friendly’ sparring session.  The old fella wasn’t keen, “Can’t you just take my word for it?” he asked. 

“Don’t worry pops,” I said, patting him on the back, “I’ll take it easy on you.” 

We squared up, and there was a blur of movement.  “Struth!” he cried, “You alright?”

“I’m fine!” I roared, scrambling to my feet. 

“You know,” he said, “it’s not a crime to block the odd punch, regardless of how slow I’m throwing them.” 

I lunged at him.  He helped me back up, “Feel like quitting?” he asked hopefully.

Focussing on his fuzzy outline I growled, “No, I’ve got your measure now.”  Feinting right, I swung in hard and hit empty air. 

“I’ve hurt my hand,” he said as he helped me to my feet again, “better go hold a cold beer to stop the swelling.”

“Yeah, good idea,” I mumbled through numb lips whilst checking my skull for possible fracture.  We agreed to call it a tie and I helped him back inside by draping myself across his shoulders.

That night I learned that that no matter how good you think you are, sooner or later you’ll meet someone faster, stronger, and cleverer than yourself, and I’m very grateful the old fella knocked that message into my head before I met Graham and challenged him to a ‘friendly’ bout.

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Mondays’ Column – Night Noises 8.2.10

Recently I was startled awake by the raucous cawing of some crows, and as most crossword fans know, the correct term for a group of crows is a ‘Murder’; a word not far from my mind at that moment.  It was 4.30 a.m., and as I lay in my bed thinking dark thoughts involving shotguns and flamethrowers, it struck me that I’d never heard crows calling out before dawn. 

Amid the squawks came the distant clatter of a shunting coal train, and I recalled the first time I heard that particular noise in 1976, on our first night in Gladstone.  My little brother and I had just drifted off to sleep when a nearby loco ploughed into a long line of empty coal wagons.  As sonic booms shook our room, we shot from our beds, certain that the world had come to an end.  Gazing out of our bedroom window we were amazed to see that all the houses in our street were still standing.  Our father, woken by the train, or possibly our screaming, crammed us back into our beds where we lay gibbering until we fell asleep. 

Throughout the night, along with the shunting, were the sounds of QAL hooters, and shiftworkers coming and going on their two-stroke scooters, plus the beeping horns of the ‘call out’ taxis.  Taxis were sent out at all hours to wake up and deliver employees to the plant and considerate cabbies would merely hammer on the front door, as the woken worker stumbled about inside, frantically grabbing his work gear while yelling, “Stone the flamin’ crows!  I’m coming!”  Stupid cabbies though, would sit outside the house, honking their horns until someone either came out to go to work, or punch them about the head.  Sometimes it was both.       

Callouts were worth big bucks, and one old workmate told me that when his wife heard a taxi pull up next door during the night, she would lean out of their bedroom window and scream, “You hungry beggar!”  Then she’d make him ring work and demand a callout as well.  Callouts are extremely rare today, which means my mate, his suburb, and a battalion of cabbies, are getting a lot more sleep of a night.    

The crows finally shut up as the sun rose, and I stumbled from my bed thinking, ‘Yep, Gladstone’s a bit quieter nowadays.’  Opening my curtains I saw that the crows had flipped open our bin lid and were pulling apart the garbage bags and spreading rubbish all over the street.  History repeated itself as our street woke to my cries of, “You hungry beggars!  I’ll murder the lot of you! Stone the flamin’ crows!”

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Midway point of “How to be Rich and Happy”

This week I was sent an E-Book by the very charming, and always funny, Tim Brownson – How to be Rich and Happy.  You can catch up with Tim here:

I’d been humming and ha-ing about purchasing this book from Tim for a few months now, and this week I got a copy and started working through it.  I mean I’m actually DOING the exercises as I read, as opposed to my normal, speed read, quick reflection, forget, and move on looking for the next motivational ‘hit’.

Ok, it’s been a lot harder than I first thought to discover my Values.  Pinning them down is driving me nuts… there must be an easier way of identifying them dammit!  But I persisted until I had enough info before moving on with the book.  Then I got to the section titled, “What are your favourite movies?”  which hit me harder than a slap up the side of the head with a wet fish.  Humour was one of my values by the way 🙂 

I nominated six.  These are six movies I sit down to watch at least a couple of times each year without fail.  And in those six movies are the values which call to me.  There is something about the story, the characters, the setting, the vision, challenges, missions, or goals in those shows, that touches me at ‘bone level’.  And that is what I’ve spent the last few days thinking about, and has led me to start looking more closely at my favourite novels, short stories, and poems.  There is a definite pattern forming… a pattern my wife informs me that she has been aware of for some time!  I’m not going to go into detail, but basically it boils down to the lure of adventure with a group of close mates, overcoming serious odds, and returning home better for the experience.

Or, perhaps I’m a selfish sod, who shouldn’t have got married…  😦 

Well, it’s just like an adventure isn’t it?  The hero has to go through a debilitating low before he wins through to the eventual happy ending… apparently. 

Either way, I’ll keep plodding on, and keep you posted.

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Marathon Update

No idea who this is, but we have the same running style... slow and painful.

Let’s just say that this Summer has knocked me for six.  The heat was so bad that just walking down to the running track left me exhausted, and after 1/2 an hour of running on the treadmill at the gym I needed floaties to get off the machine. 

But this week, a bout of cooler weather (belting down rain!) has seen me out and about a little more.  Still miles behind schedule though.  Each time I pull on the running shoes the dogs go into a frenzy, because it’s walking time.  I have tried a few times to run with them, but it’s hard to get into a rythym when they want to stop every ten feet and pee on things! 

Anyway, as the big day approaches, I’ve measured out a few road runs which I’ll get into this week.  I’ve worked out that I’m not a treadmill, or oval runner, as I tend to get bored fairly easily.  And I’m quite looking forward to pounding the streets, from light pole to light pole.  With a bit of luck the heat will stay away until I can get my routine sorted.  

The only other thing to sort out is the chafing at the top of my legs.  It’s only a small section of skin, but geez it hurts when it starts to burn.  So I end up running like some sort of perverted crab…  Will slip on the bike pants and a pair of running shorts over the top and see if this helps.  Apart from that, all else is good so far, and I’ve just got to work on increasing the distance I can run.  At the moment, my longest without a break is 7 k’s. 

This Easter, the Road Runners are holding their annual Good Friday Fun Run.  This year I’ll sign on for the 10 k event, with the goal of running the entire length without stopping (not even for a toilet break this time!).

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Mondays’ Column 1.2.10 – Sunburn

Last week I spent several hours at the beach frolicking in the surf.  The suntan lotion I had slathered all over myself was the ‘old bottle’, the expiry date on it was November 2007.  I didn’t know suncream had an expiry date.  So this week, Mr. Stupid is peeling flaky skin off his quivering hide. 

That ad which comes on at dinner time is really getting to me, the one where they show ‘skin cells under stress’.  Basically the jist of the ad is this; if you’ve ever been sunburned, and let’s face it, who in Gladstone hasn’t, then you’re going to die.  It’s almost enough to put me off my meal, but I force it down anyway because I’m obviously going to need to keep my strength up. 

The sun never used to be our enemy, and songs about the sun also contained the word ‘fun’, which was what we lived for.  Summer days were spent outside playing, swimming or running about in Queensland’s’ industrial strength sunshine, and nearly everyone had a ‘healthy’ bronze tan, with the only exceptions being nuns, nerds and freckly redheads.          

Unlike today’s’ porcelain skinned, light avoiding celebrities, many of the stars of my youth sported tans which made them look, trendy, with it, and hip.  Admittedly, their sun-wrinkled, leather brown skins had all the elasticity of ancient parchment, but it was the ‘in thing’ and everyone wanted it.

In order to emulate that much desired brown skinned look, we would lie in the sun for hours at a time, our bodies glistening under layers of oil.  It sounds incredible when I think about it now, but coconut oil was the lotion of choice; we might as well have been using chip fat!  We weren’t sun baking; we were basting, literally roasting in our skins as we rolled about on our towels like chooks on a rotisserie.  And like a roast, our skin would quickly dry out, and peel off.  So help me God, we actually used to have competitions to see who could get the largest shred of skin off in one piece.  Our skin cells were way beyond stressed, they were literally traumatised, and it’s a miracle that any of us have survived this long.

Nowadays at tea time, I sit in front of the tele watching those skin cancer ads while food drops from my slack mouth.  Gazing down at my spot covered skin, I fervently wish that I had never lived in a tropical wonderland which encouraged the outdoor life.  I wish that I had always worn a shirt and used sunscreen.  I wish that I had stapled a wide brimmed hat, the size and thickness of a circus tent to my head every time I left the house.  I really wish I’d never been sunburned.  Ever. 

But mostly I wish that I’d had insisted we eat tea at the table with the tele off, because those ads are killing me.


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