Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I thought March was the month for madness

Just a quick post to let you know why I have been on the quiet over the last month.

To say life is hectic is not an understatement -- it is far beyond that.

When I started out in September with D going into grade one, I had this foolish notion that I could do so many things with the thirty hours of free time I had a week.  Slowly over the following 5 months or so, that thirty hours was whittled away to perhaps twenty.  Twenty is still not bad; I could still run, write, help out at BRS and occasionally clean.  Life was still good.

Then February came about.  Instead of being able to actively plan my calendar, my life went into fire-fighting mode.

Following an allergy test I had done at the end of January, my body went into allergic melt-down.  Those pin-pricks just seemed to show my body that I could be allergic to what-ever I wanted.  This started the down-hill spiral.  Everything I seemed to eat, touch or breathe, resulted in asthma, hives and sneezing.

My days weren't spent in the coffee shop anymore.  They were spent trying to find a decent vacuum cleaner -- Did you know Dyson have a whole range of models out in March and therefore NO-ONE has any?  Yep, neither did I until I needed one.  We then had to research how to limit allergens, which resulted in new mattresses, pillows, bedding and another $1000 we didn't want to spend.

Then I needed to get cleaning and re-organising, so that everywhere is as clinical than a doctors office.  Oh, the cleaning... I am not sure how D coped with the concept of me cleaning.  Seems like he didn't.

I was still writing and BRS'ing, then disaster No. 2 turned up.

D, began suffering what has been termed "Sensory overloads".  The last one in the series, resulted in him throwing chairs in his classroom in a bid to get out of something - not sure if it was a task, environment, or life in general.  Frankly at this point it doesn't matter.  His class had to be evacuated and the whole incident was elevated to full-scale disaster.  Followed by a horrendous after-meeting by someone I will only term "Aide from Hell".  The result ended up being a Mum who frankly wanted to shut down, a kid who couldn't and wouldn't go to school because of anxiety.

Those twenty free hours which had previously been demoted from thirty. Now, we had ten.  After a very short week in school, D re-turned to school for 2 hours every day.  When a thirty minute handover was counted, this left me with ninety minutes a day.  Heck, I had more free-time when he was in pre-school.

Add, in Doctors consultations and additional therapy sessions, it was clear the only way my house would look decent was if a bomb was placed inside it.  Something D actually wanted to attempt by the way.  Never tell an kid on the spectrum that he "can do whatever you want, sweetie", because he will!

Then in the midst of confusion, add in calamity No.3.  They do say these events come in three's right?

During the site migration of the BRS site, we encountered Domain name issues, which lead to legal issues.  The whole 'blow-by-blow' is still in the works and won't be released until we are super-sure that what we say is validated and accurate.  The last thing we need is for the whole community to be pulled and for the 'powers-that-be' to face legal bills rivalling their kids college funds.  Being on the executive committee, this meant that whilst BRS was down, I wasn't able to spend the time sitting drinking wine and eating chocolates (probably two of the items I am not currently allergic too!).  My in-box grew to the size of the Marsh-mellow man from Ghost-busters and I had to be creative when doing the conference calls with a highly-strung 7 year old hanging around.  Yep, I was that Mum who used the power of 2 new Skylanders and 2 hours of game time as a babysitting tool.

I am pleased we are beginning to see the light at the end tunnel of this mess, now NEWBRS is up and running.  I am sure there is a lot more work to be done until the whole sorry incident has been put to bed, but those gut-wrenching couple of weeks where we honestly didn't know if the community would survive seemed to have lapsed for a while.

In a few months, when the dust has settled and we are all cleared with what we are allowed to say, then I will tell the story.  It's actually quite an uplifting story when it's finally published.  A story of how a virtual community came together to save itself from those who had only monetary interest in it.  How, passion and dedication won over the big bucks.

As you can imagine, the writing part of my life has pretty much taken a back seat for a week or two - or three, or four.

One part of my life that hasn't suffered as much as it could have is my running.  I am thankful for that.  It has been my life-saver over the last month.  I had started a half marathon clinic in January and although the allergies and asthma has meant I can't run as quick as I would like, it has shown me that slow distances is something I can do.  I now have a reason to run at least three times a week and even if I miss one of the club sessions, it just spurs me on to get that run in somewhere.  So I am still running 3-4 times a week and I am running the long distance more often than not.  However, I must point out I think the training plan is insane.

I am training for a half marathon in May, and yet the plan has shown that over six weeks, (last week and the next 5 weeks), four out of 6 runs are over 10 miles.  In fact one run is actually 13 miles.  I am running a half marathon in training for a half-marathon.  To me that sounds of crazy.

I am sure my usual training plan of running 6-8 miles in my long run, then getting drunk, registering for a half-marathon three days before it happens, is a more viable training schedule.  I mean, come-on! Last week I ran nearly 30 miles in a week. I haven't run that mileage in over 18 months.  Perhaps I should question my sanity and those little pills the Doctor gave me a couple of weeks ago :)

Regardless, my life at the moment is spent being more of a grown-up than I would like -- OR running away from being a grown-up and failing miserably.

Let's hope I just had an early start on the March Madness, because I am not sure  my sanity can take another month of this.  Saying that -- isn't it Spring Break in a couple of weeks? Oh, I am so screwed.  Good-bye sanity, you will be missed.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Are trail runners happier?

I wrote an article for Jason for his Barefoot Running University site a while back and it has finally been published.

It's been up for a couple of days, but other issues have been more pressing so I have only now just caught up and provided the link here.

The reasons behind my absence on this blog will happen at some point.  I can't say much at the moment, except it is a saga worthy of a 13 part political drama on HBO.  Actually probably not HBO, there is no nudity or sex.  Shame really ;)

My article was titled "Are trail runners happier?" and it's actually about nature and it's effect on depression. Yeah, it was a bit of a convoluted leap.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

I need your help... (a.k.a if you could ask one question, what would it be?)

I need your help!

Actually that's a broad statement because at the moment I need help in pretty much every part of my life.

When my sanity has returned and my stress levels have returned to something residing on this planet I will post about the on-going calamity that has hit my life in the last couple of weeks.  That's a whole story that requires at least one bottle of wine.

However, before the "Happy Pills" kick in -- yep, the last couple of weeks have been THAT bad, I need your help in writing some articles for Canadian Running Magazine

I want to do some interviews with some prominent members of the barefoot and minimalist running community.  I want to provide a fun twist though.  I mean we know the boring stuff about most of these (supposedly) famous runners.  We want to know the REALLY interesting things -- like if they had to chose a mythical creature as a pet, what would it be and why?

So, my mad idea is that I want to come up with a bank of maybe 50-100 bizarre (and not so bizarre) questions you would like to ask one of the growing band of famous minimalist and barefoot runners out there.  We would then find some way of randomly choosing the questions and the interviewee's would have to answer them.

The questions have to be generic in nature, because you won't know who will answer them.  So, don't post the question "What inspired you to write 'Born to Run'?" because it maybe Ken Bob Saxton who answers it.

So my request friends, is that you post in the comments section a list of questions you would like to add to the list. Please share the post with everyone you know, so we get a good list.

I will of course ask serious questions in the interviews - but if we can't have a bit of fun, then life would be very boring.

So come on guys, what's the strangest question you could ask?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

STFU and just do it!

Nope, this isn't an advert for Nike.

This is about people who think they aren't good enough.  They think they aren't good enough so they never try.  I really want to kick their arses!

Okay, this is coming out as a bit of a rant and that wasn't my intention.

I have had, in the past, people who never make any life changes, or take on new challenges because "they can't do it".

On Sunday I was in my long group run and I overheard (yep, I was eavesdropping, sorry!) someone say something like, "I didn't take the job because I wasn't ready for it...".  I really wanted to turn around and say something, but as I wasn't meant to be listening I wasn't in a position to.  Damn my fickle morality.

So this is my rant.

Never, ever think you can't do something.  There are very few things in this world you can't do.  Everything is possible, it's up to you to determine if you want to.

I have recently started writing a weekly article for Canadian Running Magazine.  I am not a journalist. I have never taken a writing course outside of high-school.  I am not even sure I am that much of a writer.  However, when they asked me I said "yes".  Why?  If I don't say yes, then I will never know what I am capable of.

This has been the story of my life really.

In college, I took courses that I had no aptitude for.  I didn't take them because I could get easy grades -- as was proven by my degree level.  I took them because if I didn't, I would never know what I was capable of.

After  college, I took a job for an emerging Internet provider.  I was on the customer service phone-desk.  I was technically on the lowest rung.  Yes, I did say, "Can you switch it off and switch it back on again". A lot!

However, every 6-12 months another department would ask me to see if I wanted to join them.  Each department change was for a job I did not know how to do.  I said "yes" anyway because I knew that I could find out the information one way or another.  Accepting that I was not going to know what I was doing meant I didn't mind asking for help.  I accepted that I might fail, however, I also knew that if I tried and failed, then I would be happier than if I never tried at all.

By the time I left I was developing new country-wide networks using the newest technology available.

I know there are things I cannot "naturally" do.  I will never be naturally blonde, brown-eyed or male.  Doesn't mean if I did really want to do those things then I couldn't.  I can buy contacts, hair dye and go to the relevant doctor.

There are some things I may like to do, but don't.  Maybe I would like to run an Ultra one day.  Or, maybe I would like to scale a world-famous mountain.  However, I don't desire them enough to put the effort into doing them.  Doesn't mean I can't and it doesn't mean I won't, it just means that at the moment I don't want to.

I suppose, deep down, this is what annoys me when people say "I can't...". You can do anything you want to.  What you are really saying when you say "I can't...", is "I don't want to..."  and more importantly, "I don't want to fail".

That's it really.  People are scared of failing.  They give up on an opportunity instead of trying and failing.  They don't want to look like an idiot in front of others.  Perhaps, I am on the Autistic Spectrum, because one of my strengths is that I don't care what you think of me.  Not really.  If you think I am an idiot, I would probably agree with you.

The fact that I don't care what people think of who I am and what I do, has meant that my life has taken a mirad of turns.  I have seen places and people I never would have imagined.  I have had experiences most people spend a lifetime cultivating.  I have had adventures and I have proved over and over, that in most cases I am capable of anything.

Don't get me wrong. I have made mistakes -- huge ones.  There have been times where I really wondered what the hell I was thinking.  Yet, looking back on my life, those mistakes are overshadowed by what I have achieved.

So when I hear people say, "I can't..." I just want to turn around and shake sense into them.  I want to shout at them and make them realise what sort of life they are missing, when they use, what is in fact the lamest excuse in the universe.

I want to shout, "It isn't a case of, 'you can't do this', it's a case of, 'you don't want to look like an idiot'.  Well guess what? You are an idiot".

Yeah, this is a bit of a rant.  It just annoys me when I think of all that wasted potential, because of peoples desire to always be the best.

Don't they realise that they may never be their best until they "Shut the Fuck Up and just do it!"?