Monday, January 27, 2014


The Twelve (or is that thirteen) Doctors?
"Times Change and so must I."

“Times change and so must I.
We all change when you think about it.
We’re all different people all through our lives.
And that’s ok, that’s good, as long as you keep moving,
as long as you remember all the people that you used to be.
I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear.
I will always remember when The Doctor was me."

Doctor Who Christmas Special
December 25 2014

We all have points in our life that define us. There are periods where we change; morph into someone new.  Each chapter in our personal history requires us to someone unique to that era.  We can’t be static in our personalities. We need to grow, change and in some case be a completely different person to what came before. Who I was when I was ten, will not be the person I am at forty. That’s good.

Yet, just because I change, it doesn’t mean I forget. I won’t forget who I was, but protect it and learn from it.

If my life, emulated the Doctor’s -If I had to break my life into thirteen transformations- what would they be? Where did I ‘re-generate’ into someone new? As the Doctor says, “Times change and so must I”.

[Note: my interpretations of the Doctor's incarnations may not be wholly accurate. I am going from sketchy memories and feelings here. To all of those ardent Doctor Who fans: Please be gentle and kind. And absolutely NO flaming or trolling!! Let's leave the flames and Trolls to the episodes. Okay?]

One (William Hartnell)
Grey and fuzzy memories like, half missing episodes. A first hint of what is to come without the knowledge about how far I would eventually go.  This was the beginning and my personality was just forming. 
Years 0-4

Two (Patrick Troughton)
Childlike attitude, but with hints of frustration anger – heck, I was a child, what’s not frustrating about that?! Memories of playing in the long summer, with only luck preventing the worst from happening. Living with a childlike innocence in a dangerous society. 
Years 4-10

Three (Jon Pertwee)
Suddenly I was stranded as a foreigner in a strange land. There was culture shock as I was transplanted from my home in an urban, multicultural and working-class society to an alien –rural conservative and culturally insular- world where everyone acted and reacted differently. I was an outcast. 
Years 10-13

Four (Tom Baker)
This was one of my favourite times in my life: Warm recollections of friendship. I was still an ‘odd-ball’ but developing my own sense of identity and character. I had fun and enjoying the adventure. I may even have possessed a long stripy scarf. Who knows? 
Years 13-16

Five (Peter Davidson)
Here I was growing into myself; it was hard and as such I relied heavily on my family and friends. I was still young and perhaps a little insecure. Trying to look after others as much as they may have wanted to help me.
Years 16-18

Six (Colin Baker)
I was a teenager living my life away from home in the big city. Like most teenagers when leaving home, you feel like you are grown-up, smart and, as a consequence, you are loud and perhaps a little brash. I was the typical student; full of myself, believing I knew everything. Everything was louder and larger; black and white.  
Years 18-22

Seven (Sylvester McCoy)
I mainly went through life accidentally leaping from one scenario to another. I sort of did know what I was doing –in a haphazard way- but I usually relied on luck to get me through. I had many different careers, all of them learnt by randomly hitting a keyboard key in a fashion that kind of worked. 
Years 22-26

Eight (Paul McGann)
 Perhaps this was my quietest time: The time in which I hid away. There isn’t very much to mention on my life at this point – same old adventures, every day. I did flit from place to place but it was for something greater than me. I was still the same ‘odd-ball’ as before. This was where my innovative streak came along. I was set upon projects that required quirky solutions and thinking outside of the norm; I would try anything to fix a problem, and generally it worked (maybe). 
Years 26-30

The Other Doctor (John Hurt)
There are always dark times in everyone’s life. Times when huge decisions create huge consequences and it feels like a battle to keep a hold on everything you value and love.  This was when I had to choose homelessness and my husband, or to walk away and live my life. I stayed and through a difficult year, living with family, as my husband worked through his demons, I became mentally strong with a sense of purpose. We eventually found our own place in the world. This was a time when it was impossible to get it right
Years 30-32

Nine (Christopher Eccleston)
When you come through a battle it changes you. You are older, wiser and you are different. As I transitioned into the new me, I became a mother. This was another battle and one where I never anticipated the consequences. Through my Sons’ birth, I was re-born too. 
Years 32-33

Ten (David Tennant)
We all want to run away sometimes. We need change and different cultures to make us realize where we are from. This was the time I ran. I ran so far and to so many different places. Trying to hide from myself in new places and new friendships. I ran; ran so far and it was my intention never to run back. Years 

And Again (David Tennant)
Regardless how far you run, you eventually end up running back the way you came. Despite, never realizing it, I was in fact running back to my home and the memories I was trying to escape from. It was a long path, but I was finding my way back to what was important. 
Years 36-38

Eleven (or is that Thirteen?) (Matt Smith)
I was rediscovering the whimsy: Enjoying being childlike but has the confidence of age and experience.  The last forty years had taken it’s toll, but also it had made me realize what I was at heart. I was strong –a fighter-, but I could be soft and caring to. I was looking after others as much they were looking after myself. Just because I was called a ‘Mother’, didn’t mean I knew what I was doing. I loved learning new things. This was the time I discovered I could run: Basically Run. What would this incarnation be without running? 
Years 38- now

Like the last episode that should have been my limit, yet, through my friends and family, I have more lives to live. I will still carry on; I will still change. I wonder what my next thirteen lives will bring me?

Friday, January 24, 2014

How could you break me?

It’s Friday and in my quagmire of Sloe Gin infused thoughts there is a theme running. It’s an amalgamation of different feelings and fleeting idea’s that have lead to a simple question:

When would I give up?

There have been a few antecedents to this question. Predominantly, the quarter-okay maybe half-bottle of Sloe Gin I have just drunk. It also includes, my Brother-in-law and how is at the moment; followed by swimming in the pool today and then just watching an episode of ‘Top Gear’.

They do seem incongruous as ideas, but there is a pattern to them. Let me explain.

My Brother-in-Law after a horrendous start to the weekend –by falling forty feet onto scaffolding- has come on leaps. Since Saturday when he was air-lifted to emergency he has under-gone, surgery, ICU, Ventilators,  sedation and Coma, to emerge a week later, awake, talking, and about to be transferred to a local hospital. However, there is no denying that the next year, is going to be tough. Walking, moving and anything involving more than lying in bed, is going to be a challenge. However, he will be able to move – maybe not brilliantly, but he will be able to perform most things in life (luckily). Will this break him? No. Would it break me? No.

Follow this, with my swim session this morning. I was feeling a little lousy. A combination of hormones, stress and general over-training has left me feeling ‘Blah’. I am building up my swimming in the idea of trying out a triathlon. As such, I making full use of a pull-buoy. Today, I swam 40 laps of a 25m pool -- without any real issues. Heck, I wasn’t even out of breath. A thought came to me. Despite my hate of swimming, if I lost the use of my legs, then they could strap a pull-buoy to my legs and I could swim. Would I break and fall to pieces? No, I would just keep going on.

As I supped my Sloe Gin, I watched an old episode of ‘Top Gear’. During this episode, the presenters tried a silly experiment to ‘beef-up’ a set of mobility scooters and try to race against a group of Army amputees, up a mountain. Of course, the army won. It made me think. What would it take for me to give up? I could work around a mountain.

Last April, after the Boston Marathon bombings I wrote a poem about how I was feeling, called ‘In defiance of you’. At the time, I suppose I had already thought how far someone might need to go to break my spirit and I came to the conclusion that whatever life threw at me, I could cope.

I could cope. I am forty years old and life can dish at me what it wants.

What would you need to take from me to stop me overcoming destiny. What sense would I have to lose? What disaster would be needed to overwhelm me?

I suppose there isn’t much.

If you took away my legs, I would get new ones and still run.
If you stopped me from walking, then I would swim.
If you took away my arms, then I could still walk
If you took away my arms and legs, then I could still think.
If you took away my sight, I could still hear.
If you took away my sense of hearing, I could still see.
If you took away both sight and hearing, I could still touch.
I would still have a voice.
If you took away sight, hearing, touch and voice, I would be lonely, but I could still dream and think and try.

What would it take to break me?

I suppose in my alcohol-fuzzy sense of thinking, I am empowered. To realize that life cannot beat me. Yes, it may throw troubled times my way, but I am strong enough to get through it. Through disasters, I can cope; I can create solutions and work around them. If you wanted to break me, then you would need to take my mind: My soul.

I know I can cope.

Despite what you may think of me, I can safely say, I am stronger than you think. That's a nice thought to fall asleep to.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Running because I can

Running in my favourite shirt, covered in mud and with
a smile on my face.
Thanks to Julie Mortlock at Natural Images Photography
This weekend I started an extra turn on lifes’ wheel. Yep, I had a Birthday. Not a big one; just going a little further into my Racing age-group. In a big change I decided to run on my Birthday.

I have never managed to race on my Birthday before. In Canada, the racing season seemed to end at the end of November and started back at the beginning of January. As you would expect with the Pacific Coast Mountains, any winter races were usually road and with torrential rain. It took a special race to pull this trail-rat out for a winter race.

Last winter –my first back in the UK- I was either knocking hell out of my house, or it was knocking hell out of me. Two months of winter renovation ensured that I spent a spring and summer out of running –or in fact anything involving moving- commission.

It’s been a slow six months and my return to winter running involves local trails and lots of mud. We have been blessed with an exceptional mild winter. There has been rain, but it has been contained to the dark hours; leaving a muddy, but warm and bright day to run in.

I have been enjoying my winter runs and although they are ponderous and not exactly blistering, they have been fun. I am enjoying running again. Only using my body as a guide to how a run instead of a GPS ‘whatever’. There has been no paces, or finishing times – not that I was really constrained by that in the first place.

This weekend, when I was asked what I wanted for my birthday, I wanted nothing more than to have a fun race with my friends, with my little family waiting at the finish. That is what I got. I ran the weekly ‘Conkers Parkrun’, as I wore my favourite kit.  I ran through every puddle, ensuring I was covered in mud, whilst making every volunteer smile. I just enjoyed being with my friends. At the end, in the drizzle, were my husband and son waiting to get inside in the dry for their bacon and sausage sandwiches.

I loved being out there and I had a smile on my face even after I came home.

However, as we were out getting wet and muddy, one-hundred-and-twenty miles away, my Brother-In-Law was being airlifted to hospital after an accident at work.

Not to get into the rather gruesome details; it is safe to say he is lucky to be alive. As I say that he is lucky, it does mean that he is very badly broken and he is currently in ICU after under-going operations and preparing for more.

It meant my –and my sons’ birthday, which is the day after- was tinged with worry and as much love we could ferry down whatever cosmic path we could think of.

Today, I ran again. A very muddy cross-country -or as those over the Atlantic would say, ‘trail’ - run. My friend Nikki, seemed to know what I needed. Instead of our usual three-and-something loop, she took us on random trails and onto muddy slopes and fields. In the end, I ran over six miles and I so needed that.

The run today was more about letting everything go. Just attempting to go primal so that I could lose the sick feeling in my stomach. Admittedly the sick feeling came back as we passed a field of cow’s who frankly had the worst gastroenteritis issues on the planet; the smell was so bad we spent a good ten minutes trying to run past without vomiting. Never before have I been so glad of woolen mittens.

The run was very much needed. Nikki took me over as many hills she could find. She made me run through every field we came across. When we came to a cross-roads, she gave a choice on which direction we could go; knowing that I would always pick the longer route.

It was hard. Yet, I needed it. I needed to feel some pain and discomfort. I needed to hurt a little. I needed to feel like I couldn’t go on, because when you feel you can’t go on, you always find that little well in yourself reminding you that you have to. You can go on.

I needed to feel like I couldn’t go on, because I needed to be reminded that I was running because I can. We all need to be reminded of that; we need to be reminded that there are always people who can’t and that we are indeed very, very lucky.

As mentioned in my first blog post of the year, my aim is to PB for every timed race I do this year. So here is this weeks PB report.

Monday 20th January
Today I PBed at '6.48 miles whilst holding a mitten over my mouth and gagging'. There are some cows out there that serious digestive issues.

Saturday 18th January
PB of 'how muddy can we get Nikki in 3.1 miles'

Wednesday 15th January
3.8 mile timed run with a PB of "woohoo. I didn't stop and I didn't say 'I hate that hill'. 

Monday 13th January
Today's PB was '3.7 miles whilst I panted "Andy, ohhh Andy. Go faster Andy. *Pant* get me sweaty Andy". Nikki, Andy and I were playing innuendo bingo before you ask.

Friday 10th January
Today as part of My Jantastic goal I ran a PB of '1.56 miles whilst my phone thought I was pool-running and didn't track it properly' in 17:58

Thursday 9th January
Raynaulds was bad today, so my timed run was, a PB in the "3.81 miles avoiding the mud patches and standing water" category, with a 47 something. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Strong isn’t the new skinny; ‘Self-‘ is the new everything.

I may not do tipsy –fine, that’s a lie, okay I do- but when I do, I do it well.

There are many motivational blogs out there, that tell you that you need to be ‘this and that’ to be anything at all. Remember the ‘70’s? To be cool, you needed to be either a feminist or gay. The ‘80’s? well, you needed a cell-phone and a job in Wall Street. The ‘90’s was all about the ‘dot-com’s’ and how fast you could download porn – I know from experience on that one. Hit the ‘Naughtie’s’ and we had to be ‘Zen’ with everything. It was all ‘Yoga’, Lululemon, starbucks and recycling. We tried to ‘Save the world’ by trying to marry the fact we owned three wide-screen TV’s with the fact we had a Prius.

It’s all shit.

Now, we have reached… whatever decade we are meant to be in and it’s all, ‘Skinny is the new sexy’, or ‘Strong is the new skinny’ or… do you know what? I frankly have no idea on who I am meant to be now. Am I an earth mother who goes in for organic? Perhaps I am advocate for causes in mental health. Oh, I know… I am ‘Techno-blogger-earth-runner-mother-thingie-who llikes a night out’. Actually, I am just exhausted.

I cannot live up to expectations on me. But, guess what? I don’t want to. I am not limited by conventions.

I am the person who decides on a whim to run for Parent governor of the schools PTA – just because I know I can.

I am the person who goes out without any make-up and with my hair a mess – because I know that stuff doesn’t matter.

I make fun of myself, because I know I am the funniest person I know.

I get drunk at parties because I know the people I have chosen to be friends will look after me and will have fun teasing me in the morning.

I go out for the morning school run in my running gear and pick up my kid in the afternoon in the same running gear and I don’t care I stink.

I like to study stuff only because it is interesting; and everything is interesting.

It’s great I am mediocre at lots of things and a specialist at nothing.

I like that my idea of love is that I give my husband my hot-water bottle, whilst I wait in a cold house for the kettle to boil so I can fill his.

I love the fact my kid thinks I am silly.

I think it’s even better he tells me things I never knew and he’s nine.

I like the fact his friends want to come over for play-dates to our house.

I think it’s awesome that our house is always a mess, but my son’s friends still don’t care.

I pick up the Jelly Baby from the floor even if it’s past the two-second rule and still give it to my kid.

I let my kid play video-game’s to get some quiet time.

I am able to teach my friends new things, but that I am compelled to listen when they talk.

I like being a ‘Bad Mom’

I am five pounds heavier than this time last year and it’s great.

I went to University and I still know nothing and I am proud of it.

When I run it has to be through mud.

I get smarter the more I drink (alcohol not green tea).

I giggle during yoga.

I was kicked out of the girl-guides.

My son has theological discussions about the ‘non-existance’ of God and I am proud of him.

I like our little family questions everything.

I serve frozen-oven-heated chicken nuggets for dinner and that’s okay.

I giggle when the word ‘Poop’ is mentioned.

When I went to the Royal Opera House to see a concert, the only smart clothes I had were my running gear.

My boobs sag and my tum and bum are lumpy, but hey ,I am forty and that’s okay.

I like the fact that I am happy to admit that.
I run a 12minute mile on a run because I was distracted by a squirrel. Squirrels are cool and worth stopping for.

TUTU’s are acceptable running gear.

Being unable to type ‘acceptable’ is funny.

Having to use the delete key twenty times to type the above sentence is funnier

I love automatic spell-checker.

I don’t edit what I write.

I love all my friends, even the ones I haven’t met.

My first love was a girl, but the 1990’s got in the way.

I love Doctor Who and I own four sonic screwdrivers

I want a four slot toaster for my birthday.

I have just realised I talk some real shit on a Friday night.

I wonder why anyone wants to read this crap.

Hands up who get’s the picture? I am normal. I am in my forties and frankly that’s okay. I have the advantage on those ‘twenty-something’ nubile-nympthettes. I know I talk shit and I am don’t care if anyone cares. I am at the moment, lying in bed as my husband tries to coax a kid to sleep. There are paint-tester slodges on the wall. The heating doesn’t work unless there is a ‘l’ in the month. (yes, it did take me a few minutes to figure that one out). My kid is too quirky for ‘normal’ school to cope and I am glad – he is also in the next room watching Youtube video’s we are only provisionally vetting, so he will probably grow up to be a psychopath (or the next programmer of a billion dollar game).

The fact is all of those Meme’s on Facebook are crap. Strong isn’t the new sexy. Self-something is the new sexy. I know because I am it. You only have to look past the fleece onesie, to find that out.

P.S. I am also under the impression that this post had a point to it, but frankly now I have written it, I am not sure what that was.