Sunday, August 28, 2011

Running with the Doctor

Yesterday I ran with the "Doctor", my "Doctor".

Let me first explain, I am a category one British Nerd.  As a consequence I am a fan of Doctor Who - let's add Torchwood too (except for this year, but that's a whole difference essay).

Yesterday, was the first episode of the second half of the sixth season.  Yep, it doesn't make sense to any of us either, but let's just say there are quite a few of us [Category One Nerds] who were pretty excited about it.  So many questions, so many plots... Do they kill Hitler? Do they find Melody? Does RiverSong come back? Will Amy become all lame-arse because she is now a "Mother"? The usual life-death questions.

So in celebration for, 1) I can now run and 2) Doctor Who was back, I made an effort to run with the "Doctor" yesterday.  I have a pretty eclectic play-list on my ipod and it get's weirder every year. I do run without music on the technical trails. If I do wear my iPod, it's usually on an easy, well-known trail.  I usually only have one earbud in and it's on very low.  I can still hear my footfalls.  It's more of a background beat than anything I consciously listen to.  Quite often it set's the mood of what could be a mundane run.  I have my warm-up music (Bowie) and I have my fartlek music (currently Arcade fire and the Killers).  I have my mental reset music (snow patrol).  I have my happy music (Noah and the Whale and Mumford and Sons). I also have a fantasy tune.  This is a fast sprint with a grin - where I run with the biggest smile and as I quick as I can.  It's a narrow margin if I don't kill myself as I fall over a tree root.

It's this:

It's called "I am the Doctor" and it's the 11th Doctor's theme tune.  I do not have any other orchestral music on my iPod except this, but this is one of my favourite tracks.  When this comes on, I run over my bit of trail as fast as I can.  I pretend there are aliens in the sky and that the sky is a funny shade of purple.  I imagine that we are being chased and shot at. I dash from bush to tree and try to hide from deadly ray blasts. I see explosions and debris flying in the air.  For 4 minutes I am transported and I am running for my life.  I skip and I dance over the roots and gravel and if I had a "sonic screwdriver" I am sure there would be a few trees without leaves and quite a few squirrels scared "poo-less".

This is my unbidden fun track.  I know that no-one would understand what's going in my head when this comes on, but that's fine.

So yesterday I ran from the Soltaran, the Darleks and the Cybermen.  Okay, my knee didn't like it and I developed a kick-arse blister on my funky toe.  My 3 mile run only ended up being 2 miles before I accepted defeat.  However I DO NOT care.  I got to play this and for 4 minutes I was 7 years old and hiding behind the sofa, imagining what it would be like to be with "Doctor Who" on his travels in the TARDIS.  I was having the best time.  Many people would count the fact I had a "technically" bad run as something to be upset about.  I don't - I got to run with the "Doctor".

So, Run. Basically Run.

[Note: Fantastic episode last night.  Just want to know, WTF happened to Hitler? Is he still locked in the cupboard?]

Monday, August 22, 2011

What to do? An internal debate…

So Guys, I am in a dilemma and I need some advice.  Don't fret, this isn't a life or death situation.  Nothing will get harmed, maimed or mutilated as a result of your advice; except for peoples sanity, but sanity is not necessarily a quantifiable thing.  Thankfully, if it was, I am not sure  I would be able to type due to the straight-jacket I would have been placed in.

So I am looking for an opinion; a direction.  I am looking for advice on what this blog should/could be about.

After about 27 or so months of minimalist running and about 20 or so months of inane ramblings about -well not much really- I am wondering if I should start to include reviews of the minimal shoes that I have tried.  This is a dilemma for me because this was never what the blog was to be about and I am still not sure it's what I want it to be about.

The thing is, there are a million reviewers out there on the interwebiverse and a good chunk of them review minimal shoes.  There are also a proportion of that "minimal shoe review brigade" that actually review the shoes really well - they are the ones I look to when I want to see what a shoe will be like.  If you want to know who they are, look at my sidebar.  So I have never felt the need to put in my two-cents worth, because they would say it so much better than I would. There is an overload of information out there and I don't necessarily want to add to that.  I like just "Keeping It Simple (and yes I am Stupid sometimes)".

That doesn't mean I don't give my opinion if I am directly asked.  I will tell you what I do and don't like about a shoe -in fact about anything at all really- so that's not necessarily it.  I just don't want to volunteer the information out of the blue, straight into your inbox without any warning.

Living in Canada I also have a limited selection of minimal shoes I can just go out and buy, (and yes until about 2 weeks ago I have brought or won every shoe I currently have in my possession.  Invisible Shoes and Merrell have sent me shoes to check out). I hate ordering over the internet, because I have funky feet and I hate the hassle of trying to figure out what size I am.  Heaven forbid if I get it wrong and I have to send them back and order new ones.  Especially in Canada, the mail delivery from the USA is shocking.  We are talking about a 2-3 week  delivery of the Luna Sandals I won from a blog-contest and they were only travelling about 140 miles.  Can you imagine that timeframe x2 or x3 for a pair of shoes ordered over the internet?  Forget it. Oh and as an additional note CANADAPOST SUCKS!

So I  own a few pairs of minimal running shoes, (more than DH would really like) and they have been confined to the Five Fingers, Merrell and New Balance varieties.  I have recently been running/walking in Huaraches - which I love BTW.  It's enough that I know what I do AND don't like in a shoe.  In fact I have even gone so far and made my own minimal shoes. They are also still to date my favourite shoe.  In fact they are the only pair of shoes I  have reviewed and that was as a (comical) guest post on BRU.

I am now getting to the point where my minimal shoe collection is growing and the field on what I do and don't like is getting more refined.  So, readers.. yes, you…  the ones sat with an open web-browser window and probably a cup of coffee (or tea, I am a tea person myself), I need your input?

If I posted my thoughts on what I like/don't like in a shoe would you be interested, or would I just be adding to the information overload?  Would it be a beneficial service to the female minimalist runners out there? (Sorry Fella's my feet are SO small that there is NO way I will be able to review the men's shoes - not unless little fairies came in and magicked them into a tiny size).  Would the reviews from a "short-arsed", "pixie-footed", "buggered toed", "run's like a duck on land" minimalist runner be of any use to you?  Now that I have refined the criteria I am guessing not :)

Let me know, your input could be saving the interwebiverse from additional stress and trauma.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Autistic and Barefoot

I have a theory,

Not often do the two halves of my life come together.  Usually (well here anyway) I am a barefoot runner OR I am a Mummy.  Generally it's pretty fixed.  Until, I started thinking.

As you are all well aware, my son has a form of Autism, which involves a lot of  sensory integration issues.  He has sensory issues in pretty much all of the senses. One of his biggest hurdles is how he marries his tactile, proprioceptive and vestibular senses.  These senses deal with how we perceive our arms, legs, body etc in our environment.  It's how we take these signals from our eyes, hands, feet, skin, ears/gravity and interpret them so we can stand up, walk in a straight line and not bash into anything.

When people have issues with these senses it can be seen in a number of ways.  Sensitivity to clothing, inability to stand up straight, falling over, spinning, a craving for deep pressure.  They may also deliberately bash into objects, prefer small cramped space to get sensory input BUT at the same time hate a scratchy sock or shirt. They have difficulty holding a pencil, putting on clothes, sitting still and climbing.  How children and adults react to these sensitivities are all based on them. Everyone is unique.  You unfortunately have to work it out yourself.

To get a clear idea of who we are dealing with, here is D's sensory profile:
Visual hyper-sensitive (see's everything, unable to filter)
Auditory hypersensitive (hears everything, unable to filter)
Gustatory hypo-sensitive (prefers bland, hard foods, limited diet)
Olfactory hyper-sensitive (very sharp sense of smell)
Tactile hyper-sensitive to light touch (so dislikes tight clothing, will jump and sudden touch) 
Proprioceptively hypo-sensitive - possibly.  Hyper and hypo sensitivity have similar traits so it's  hard to tell.  However he is sensory seeking in this area. He seeks deep pressure (high pain threshold, likes rough-housing, self-injures, self-stims, poor body awareness)
Vestibular hyper-sensitive.  (Clumsy, poor balance, craves movement. Doesn't get dizzy, has difficulty self-calming)

So I watched and observed.  I noticed that D seemed more "stable" at home.  Outside, he always seemed to trip up or fall over and even his Occupational Therapist mentioned he had balance/crossing midline issues on her evaluation.  He also seemed calmer.  This could be due to the "quieter" environment at home, but could it be due to something more?

I couldn't understand why he was better at home and then I realized at home he was always barefoot. Could it be that simple?

It made sense in some ways.  Most of our sensory input comes from our feet.  The input from our feet is fundamental in telling us how we are connected to the world.  I asked friends who had dealings with children with sensory issues.  They all seemed to say that the children they dealt with seemed to have a certain "reaction" in regards to the input of their feet.  They can either HATE the feel of the floor, or were calmer when they were barefoot OR had stimulation on their feet.  Just "google" "Sensory issues, Autism and feet" and you get one of two responses.  Either the children need super tight socks and shoes or they rip their shoes off and need to go barefoot.  

As I researched this topic more I discovered that Proprioceptive input can decrease hyper-active responses from other sensations. The book "Building Bridges" by "Yack, Aquilla and Sutton" cite an article by "Wilbarger, Williams and Shellenberger"  that states:
"Certain types of proprioceptive sensations can help the brain regulate arousal states.  Proprioceptive sensations rarely overload the nervous system and some sensations can have both calming and alerting abilities depending on the individual nervous system."

Wilbarger is responsible for the "Wilbarger Brushing technique" which has been used by Occupational Therapists to regulate Sensory Integration in children.

The Proprioceptive sense is how our bodies interpret touch.  Could the increased input through the feet gained form being barefoot be used to help D calm himself?

Obviously D was in the camp of wanting to rip off his socks and shoes.  However, we do not live in a society where going barefoot is considered acceptable.  In schools, Malls, or any public building you need to wear shoes.  Also Children who need sensory pressure, also have very high pain thresholds.  I know this is the case with D.  Keeping him barefoot, will not solve his problem of looking where he was going and lifting his feet if he steps on something sharp.  I have spent an evening picking splinters out of the bottom of his feet because he ran onto bark chipping and didn't feel the splinters until later that night when they were imbedded.  So how did I marry all of these problems? Minimalist shoes!

Unfortunately being in Canada, I have no easy access to minimalist shoes in a children's size.  I could order them, but as D is super picky I didn't want to spend hundreds of dollars on shoes he may hate the feel/look/shape of.  The beauty of Autism is that once their minds are made up it's hard to break the pattern.  The only decent minimalist shoes I could find were the child's sized VFF's.  As he is a child that can't find his fingers to put on gloves, I didn't want to risk my sanity.  In the end, I decided to go and buy a pair of $10 water pool shoes.  It was only an experiment right?

But then I tried it.  With no real expectations except idol curiosity, I discovered that this was something he needed.  Within hours, he was claiming these were the most comfortable shoes he had worn.  Within days, he was climbing and climbing with confidence.  Within a week, he refused to wear anything else. 

[Edit: My husband is more of a skeptic than me.  He accepts my barefoot/minimal running as one of my quirks, but he isn't a convert.  However, even he commented that when D was in his water shoes, he was able to climb and run with more stability.]

This is a situation where I wished I had the foresight to take video of him before I switched his shoes.  Now I can't take him out of his falling apart $10 pair of water shoes.  However, I do have "after" video of him showing us his new climbing moves and telling us what he likes about his shoes.

Yes, I know I am coming to this topic with an element of bias.  As a barefoot runner and advocate I AM going to say being barefoot is best. So, I would love to know from others who may work/live with children with sensory issues.  Is this something you have experienced, or may think it explains your child's behaviour?  Are we onto something?  Obviously going barefoot or minimalist is not the cure for sensory integration or Autism - however, if it can provide the sensory feedback these children need it can't be a bad thing.

I am not a Behavioural Consultant, Occupational Therapist or a Doctor.  I am a Mum how is largely self-taught on Autism.  So I would also be interested if anyone has any medical research on this.  I have tried searching on the internet.  Although I have found a lot of antidotal information I haven't found any documented studies.  If you are in the medical profession and this is an area of research you could be interested in, then please let me know - I will happily try and help.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I am back people - now it's your turn to start running

"Basically Run". No really RUN.  I have been given the go ahead to chase you - although for me to actually catch you you will need to run as fast as a snail and only for 2 mins at a time.

On Wednesday I went to the Orthopaedic surgeon and he has told me that my x-rays didn't show anything, but heck, they didn't last time when my knee was a size of a melon.  However, given the fact I have been a very good girl (and no I didn't sleep with him!) I can start running again.

So on Wednesday I went for my first "official" run in 8 weeks.  I had run before, but as I mentioned to the nice intern who was admiring my "Invisible Shoes" Huaraches with neon lemon laces, it was only in emergency situations; a.k.a Chasing and saving a 6 year old from immanent death. I hadn't run more than a handful of steps in any real direction for pretty much 2 months.

So as instructed I went onto the indoor level track.  No trails just yet.  I took off my shoes and ran in my threadbare socks.  As a note I would have run barefoot, but I have been cautioned about running barefoot by the city staff too many times. It's a no-no here in Canada.  Obviously the shoe industry has players on the city council.

So I ran - and walked, but I ran.  I put on some of my favourite songs and I danced, sang and generally did the most kick-arse air-drums for the slowest mile ever recorded by something that didn't carry a shell on it's back.  I hadn't forgotten but I was still overwhelmed about why I love to run.

It isn't about the numbers - I ran a mile on a flat track in about 25 mins.  It wasn't about the need to wear lycra and the funky Garmin watches.  It was just the joy of feeling the ground underneath my feet and the air passing through my hair.  I may have only been going quicker than walking distance by definition, but I felt like I was flying.

Despite the fact it was only a mile, I did take photo's.  I made jokes with the two pensioners walking the track.  I sprinted and then giggled like a school kid because I knew I shouldn't. 

I was reminded that this is why I run.  This is what I have been looking forward to it.  Although my mind has been up-beat about my absence, I am SO glad to be back.

Next stop (aside from NYC), a informal running clinic with some other Mum's from school.  Fall Classic 10K here I come! How sweet life can be!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Okay, this is starting to kill me.

First off, I will apologise.  I have had an exceptionally horrible day, after an exceptionally horrible couple of weeks and the only way I can deal - just today - is to have maybe one too many glasses of wine.  This always makes me maudlin, so apologise I will.

However, I am at the end.  It makes me sad looking at my son.  How horrible is that to say?  I love my son to bits and I would never change him, but the last few days all I have wanted to do is break down and cry.

He isn't the same as other kids.  He will never be the same as other kids and at his tender age of 6, I am having to sit down and accept that AGAIN.

Don't get me wrong I have been in this situation before. Lots more.  However, after every time I go through this, his symptoms get better and as a high functioning Autistic child, you forget it.  His quirks are just quirks.  Something that makes him stand out and makes you cherish every part.

And then there are the bad days.  The bad weeks.  He is tired, overstressed and out of routine and every little issue comes to the front.  You can't hide from it, and because you were able to before it just hits you.  He is not the same, he will never be the same and life will always be tricky for him.  How as a mother can I cope with that?

It's a mother's job to make things better.  Fix things; make things happier.  Take away all the problems.  But what happens when you can't?  When before you could even tried you have failed.  When your whole life is making your son's life just good enough to get by.  I am not making his life better, I am just enabling him to cope.

D has been having a lot more interaction with children of his own age during the school break.  I can make excuses for his behaviour and usually his strangeness is dismissed in a "Really?" kind of way.  But not this week.  I cannot make any explanations.  When his oldest acquaintance; his longest known peer; turns around in a parroted "taught by his parent's" fashion and says "D you are just too hyper", as D spins, bent double, as his head is on the floor, ignoring everything and everyone.  It just doesn't cut it.  I see the difference.  As he scrunches; nay destroys the game cards, because he needs the tactile comfort and his friends just politely queries it.  What do I say?

As he sits in the corner and avoids any interaction in a camp today... I know there is nothing I can do.  I can't make him better.  I can't "Fix" him, I can't help him.  I just start to die.

So forgive me for this quiet blubbering into the ether.  I already feel a bit better as I wipe the tears.  I know tomorrow I will feel better and I will slap that smile on my face as I face the day.  I will love all the things I usually love. I will counter all his issues and our day will be full of fun.  But just for these 30 minutes as I have typed this, just forget I have quietly broken my heart and mended it again.  That I have looked the - perhaps false - truth in the face and then ignored it.

Tomorrow will be better.

Just send this post into the unknown as it was designed.  Ignored, forgotten by anyone who reads it as I cleanse the last few days from my soul.

Not really an uplifting post.  Feel free to get some wine and ignore.  I know I want to.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Do I really have to answer that? (Part 2)

Well, you asked for it... yeah, actually you did! Huh, you only have yourself to blame.  

If you could be a superhero, what superhero would you be and why? (Zap)
Didn't you already know I am one?  I am "Tootles" the crime-fighting squirrel.  Myself and "Nutty" (a.k.a Jesse) wear capes, masks and fight boring people with Nutella sandwiches and our lame sense of humour.  Yes, we were drunk. VERY, VERY DRUNK! and it was a slow night.

What mental strategies do you use to get through the "pain cave" and other challenging moments when running? (Zap)
I chant "Only X number of miles before I can crack open the flask of wine iskiate during races. On normal runs I carry my ipod, although I don't necessarily use it.  I have a play-list that is full of kick-arse tunes.  Generally I just make fun of myself - even if I think/do something that at the time is not actually funny.  As soon as I get the giggles, the run get's a lot easier.

What was the last experience that made you a stronger person? (Zap)
I suppose when my mother passed away last year.  

When you have "free time" to yourself, what do you like to do (besides running)? (Zap)
I love to read - I was given a Kindle a couple of years back and if I was stranded on an island, I would take my Kindle and a solar powered connector.  I suppose recently I have enjoyed writing.  I am not necessarily that good at it, but it's very satisfying.  I don't get much chance to write in my blog, but I like to try at least once a week - it just clears out my mind.

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? (Zap)
Just one thing?  There is so many things I would love to do.  I suppose it would be to learn to play an instrument.  I missed out on that in school (because for some reason I am tone deaf and they wanted me to learn the tuba! Just not going there).  I think it would be very satisfying to pick up an instrument and just play.. It's a plan of mine to start when D goes to school.

There are ton's of things I want to try - I want to learn languages, rock climb, learn to fly. I would love to take beautiful pictures.  Knit, sew and carpentry.  I used to draw - albeit badly.  I suppose deep down despite my very analytical self I am little bit of an artisan.

What's the most annoying American habit? (ShelBel)
I don't any culture or nation has an annoying habit that is unique to them.  I think that's something I have learnt over the last few years.  No country is really that different. 

I suppose a LONG time a go, I thought the "American enthusasium" for well everything was annoying.  I remember (and we are going back about 10 years now), walking into a clothes store in Washington D.C to browse and the clerk insisted on dressing me up and shouting out to everyone "Here's my new British friend, she's so sweet".  It was really hard not pulling a face and saying "Really? Come on".  I think I brought a handful of clothes just to get away - which in some respects fulfilled her job.  

However,  now I have experienced a lot more, I am not sure I even notice it anymore and if I do, then I just silently laugh. I have more annoying British habits than any habit's the Americans have.

When people try to pretend they have a British accent does it annoy you? (ShelBel)
No, I think it's pretty funny.  I would probably join in.  Actually my accent is strange and I usually get mistaken from being from anywhere else than the UK.  If I talk in an Irish accent then that's when we are really in trouble. It means I am about to fall flat on my face and throw up in a bush.  If I get asked "which part of Ireland am I from?" then that's a sign I really need to stop drinking.

If you were a My Little Pony, which one would you be and why? (ShelBel)
It's been so long since I looked at "My Little Pony".  I took the on-line personality test; yep, I am not sure what is scarier, I looked at the site or I actually took the test.  My answer was Pinkie Pie.  After evaluating the rest of the ponies (did I just say that out loud? *shudder*), then yeah, Pinkie Pie would be it.  Only because there wasn't a punk/goth little pony, who falls on the floor after eating fermented berries - do they eat berries or is that the surfs?   Hasbro really messed up on that one. 

According to the site, Pinkie Pie, is giggly, playful and skips through the streets looking for fun.  She is the silliest pony around and is a free spirit acting on her whims.  She marches to her own drum.

Yeah, I could handle that.  Now if we could just get her dressed in black with a G+T in her hand, she would pretty much be perfect.

Do you have a nickname? (ShelBel)
Not really.  I suppose Kitty or KittyK from the old days of RWOL.  Most people I know virtually probably know me as kitty.

What is the best place you have visited or lived so far?(ShelBel)
If we were looking for a general area/country I am not sure - London I suppose.  I lived there for 4 years as a student and honestly there is SO much to see and do there.  You could go to a different part of the world just by going down an alley.

If we were REALLY narrowing it down then South Kensington in London.  In this little area they have so many huge, vastly different and awe inspiring museums.  The Science Museum, V+A, Natural History Museum.  I think I spent most of my free time as a student here.  I used to pay 3 quid (British pounds) and head here for the day with a packed lunch.  The Museums were free.  I used to spend a lot of time at the National Gallery too.

If you could have one last food or meal item what would it be? (ShelBel)
Fresh raspberries. I would pretty much do anything for fresh raspberries.  Really, not kidding…  pretty much anything.  :D

What's the BEST thing about having a son with autism? (UTR)
The fact that he is unbelievably smart and he see's the world so simply.  I always worried about becoming a parent.  I would have to deal with Bob the Builder and have to break things down to the simplest level.  But I have a son that challenges me.  He wants to know about physics, biology and chemistry.   I can use complex language and explain concepts that go above normal 6 year olds.  He see's the world in such a unique way and comes up with patterns, links and solutions to problems, that I wonder what he will come up with next.  He's very logical; I like that.
How'd you wind up in Canada? (in 10 words or less) (UTR)
Husband is very smart and was offered a job here.

Who is your favorite Doctor? (UTR)
I am assuming we are talking about Doctor Who here?  You aren't asking who my favourite family practitioner is I take it..;)

Ahh, okay very tricky.  Of the new Doctors, it will probably be Matt Smith - can't believe I am saying that, because I never thought I would like him.  He has the old soul which hints at his past, he is very childlike and quirky and he has that undercurrent of power and authority.  The other Doctors had some of those traits, but they never really had all of them together.  I mean Matt Smiths doctor has come up with the best lines - just watch the Christmas Carol episode for most of my favourites.  I suppose he has more of my sense of humour.
i.e. "Big, flashy lighty thing has me written all over it.  Well not actually, but just give time and a crayon" Classic!

As for the old Doctors, I suppose it was Tom Baker.  Not really because of the story lines because I have to admit I can't remember most of them.  Just because of the memories from my childhood. He was the Doctor I grew up watching behind the back of the sofa.  I just have a feeling of winter, the coal fire and all the lights being off.  My little sister and I used to make a little Den and our heads used to pop out during the non-scary bits.  When the monsters came we used to duck behind the sofa like prairie dogs or something. He just reminds me of my childhood.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Do I really have to answer that? (Part 1)

Firstly, thank you for all of the great questions.  Considering I was trying to hide the fact I was doing this as much as possible I ended up with so many, I will have to split this into 2 parts probably.  There were some really hard ones in there and it made me think quite a bit about who I am.  I suppose that's the whole point of this really.

So Thanks to all those that asked me something - I may have been a little upset if there was a tumbleweed lingering in the comments section, but my brain and liver are complaining.  I am a bear with a very small brain (and now an empty wine bottle) ;)  So here goes.

What do you miss most about the UK and Australia? (AngieB)
I suppose I miss my family from the UK.  I also miss the history.  I know that sounds bad, but I used to visit castles and country houses that were hundred, if not thousands of years old nearly every weekend in the summer.  I went to a state school that was founded in the 1500's and lived in student houses that were 150 years old. I remember digging in our back garden as a little girl and pulling out old coins, 200 year old bits of pottery and bit's of flint etc that were thousands of years old.  I just miss that.

As for Australia, I miss the people.  They really call black, "fucking black".  The phrase to describe some of them is "Ocker".  I remember i had landed in Australia about 2 weeks before and I went to a "Queensland Playgroup" meeting, which was just a glorified play-date with broken toys in a church hall.  D was about 3 or so and I was approached by this lovely, typical Grandmother.  Her first question to me was, "has your son found his favourite toy yet?" I looked at her quizzically.  "His Penis dear".  As a Brit I am used to frank questions, but even I was stunned.  When after 18 months we had to leave, I had people I hadn't seen in about 6 months coming up to me in the Mall saying, "I hear you are leaving".  I haven't found that automatic acceptance or familiarity anywhere else.  

I also miss the wildlife in Australia.  It's the only place where you can see exotic birds and koala's in the trees - AND IT'S NORMAL.  The bugs, the snakes and the bats floored me everytime.  Seeing a Kangaroo as road-kill.  It was just surreal.  Saying that, I am sure my Australian friends would think 200 foot conifers, fungus the size of dinner plates and Bears/Racoons going through your trash was pretty exotic.

What do you like best aboot (hehe) living in Canada? (AngieB)
Eh? *laugh* I love the scenery.  Even after 6 years, it still blows me away and now that I run, and run trails, even more so.  I am also glad we are here for D's sake.  I have heard horror stories from my friends in other countries in regards to children on the spectrum.  I don't think we would have found the governmental and educational support for D anywhere else. 

If you could be Jesus, Mohammed, Zues, Ra or the flying spaghetti monster which would you choose? (BourbonFeet)
I actually believe there is something bigger than me out there - I just don't know what it was.  It could be a God, or a computer program, or a random dog dreaming about us.  I don't really know or care.  However, I am actually against organized religion.  I think that organized religion has been the cause of much of the bloodshed in our planets history. As to Paraphrase (badly) the film "Dogma", "God was actually a good idea until religion became involved".

As for which of the above I would be.  Well Jesus and Mohammed are just prophets - they would still have to appeal to a higher authority.  Zeus and Ra are old school. Dog's heads and birds claws.  Seriously?  They just wouldn't suit me.  Now the flying spaghetti monster is someone I could get behind.  He know's how to party, likes to have fun, and is probably quite forgiving.  ALSO he would enable me to move to Austria and have my drivers license photo with a strainer on my head.  You have gotta love that!

You must choose 1 and why.
1. Give up drinking and you will never get injured again.
2. Give up running and all your drinks are free for the rest of your life? (BourbonFeet)

Actually this was a really tough one to answer. In the end (much to the annoyance of the Spaghetti Monster) I have decided that I would give up drinking and not be injured.

Why?  It's not that I actually mind being injured for short periods of time - for example at the moment, it's given me an opportunity to re-group and prioritise what I want from running.  There is also something quite cathartic about starting again.  I have a tendency to be lazy with my form, I know I will be a better runner because when I start out again I will be super aware about how my body is feeling.

So the reason I chose to keep running and NOT have free drinks is because after a while free drinks would be kind of boring.  There is nothing new and challenging about it.  I can't imagine that happening with running.  There will ALWAYS be a new trail, or new location, or a new person to run with.  Even when I am 80 I can still imagine I could find somewhere new to run.  I can't imagine there would be that many new drinks around when I am 80; not that my liver would last that long.

What is your favourite thing to cook or bake? (VanessaR)
*laugh* not sure where the idea that I am a some type of cook came from.  I am not a "great" cook.  However, my personality is very much about "fixing things".  There is not a problem I don't think I can't fix (except world poverty and the debt mountain, but that's only because I can't lock up the world leaders in a room and get them drunk).  Since moving D to a Dairy, Gluten and Soy free diet, I have had to be creative.  D is 6, and it's hard for him to see what his friends are eating and for him not to have that.  So I have enjoyed trying to figure out substitutions that are good enough to fool him.  So I am not a fan of cooking normal stuff, but more of a fan of cooking something where I have to figure out a solution to a problem.

What's the prettiest thing you've ever worn? (VanessaR)
I suppose it depends on what you define as pretty.  I am a huge tomboy and as such I am pretty happy in jeans and a t-shirt.  I don't really do the girly stuff.  My theory on clothes shopping is that I find a shirt or jeans that fit and then buy 10 pairs in varying colours.  I did own a Ball-gown at college (which I promptly threw-up over in a fancy club in London - In-between the main course and the desert. Yes I was drunk). I suppose there was my wedding dress (although that was under duress).  I do own a floor length velvet hooded cape which my mother made.  As far as flowers and girlie stuff nah.  The running skirts only came about because I wanted to hide my arse from TMI bum, so I am not sure that really counts.

What's the most disgusting thing you've ever done on a trail? (VanessaR)
I am assuming this question is about running.  Actually I am pretty tame on the trail.  I am only a recent convert to "pee in the woods" and snot rockets.  I have never managed a number 2.  I did accidentally swear loudly at a group of old ladies, but that was because I was singing loudly to Tenacious D at the time.  

I have done other "disgusting" things in the woods, but they had absolutely NOTHING to do with running and.. well, let's leave that there shall we? :)

What's your favorite distance to run? (VanessaR)
I have never really run anything much over about 14 miles.  Not a conscious thing, just timing and injury really.  It's not that I wouldn't want to run further, I just haven't been in the opportunity to get enough time to run longer.  Maybe that will change in the next 12 months, who knows.  I am not a fan of racing the shorter distances; anything under 10K doesn't really do anything for me.  It's more of a terrain thing.  Give me a nice wooded trail and I would run that as much as you like.  I would take a 14-18K mountain trail run over a 21K+ road run any day During the week I like running about 8-10K, hopefully when my knee get's better and schedules are more accommodating I would run a longer run - going up to about 2+ hours.  

How did you meet your husband? (VanessaR)
Ahh, I was a nerd before the word was invented.  I knew M about 3-4 months before I actually met him.  I was in college studying to be a teacher and I broke my leg badly during my teaching practise (Friday night, beer and a step is all I am saying).  I wasn't allowed in school because of the pins, crutches and general kick-arse pain meds situation. So a group of my computer friends would sign me into the computer lab - it was easy to commute to, I could prop my leg up and occasionally nap. I knew M via IRC - when IRC was strange hash-codes, green screen and high end SUN boxes tied into a 56K link. He was studying in South Wales for his Doctorate.  He came down to visit friends at a games conference and he popped into see our little group.  My jaw dropped as he wasn't what I expected.  The rest is a bizarre history (and a whole different question).

What is your greatest wish for D? (VanessaR)
Just that he is happy to be who he is. Nothing more.  I just want him to be comfortable enough in his own skin that he makes life decisions that will make him happy and content.  I don't want him to be famous, or rich, gay, straight, married, kids, anything really - unless that's what he really wants.

You are stranded on a deserted island with Angie Bee and Krista. Krista is bringing the booze and the masseuse apparently. You may bring 3 things. What do you bring? (VanessaR)

A swallow, a sparrow and some scales.  (potentially with a coconut!)

Angie Bee and Shelly Robillard are competing in a bikini mud wrestling competition. Who do you place your bet on and why? (VanessaR)
Ohh.. good question.  Kind of scary as I may be in a room with both of them at some point.  Can I make the decision after a few test matches? No? Damn.  There are few people reading this who also lament that ;) (Not looking at you Jason, Patrick and Christian - honestly!)

Okay, Sorry Shelly, I would think it would be Angie.  I can imagine she would pull quite a few dirty (get it) tricks.  I also think she would have learnt a few moves from Jaymon - he can seriously kick some arse.

Regardless I would just be happy to sit there and watch. :)

Part 2 to follow when I have sobered up :D

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Getting to the point where I need to start running again...

...and before you all nod and agree with the Doctors about being competitive, it's not for the reasons you think.

It's been about 7-8 weeks since I last ran. Remember I am not about numbers so I am not really sure, but it's about that.  But heck, I am beginning to feel it.

Not Mentally; which is what most people would expect.  As far as that goes, I am still feeling quite chipper.  Keeping up with a 6 year old during the summer vacation has been enough to keep me psychologically challenged. in a "please don't blow that up" and "Come down from there before you kill yourself" kind of way.  Yes, I have reached that "Why aren't you in school yet?" point of the vacation, but I think that would have happened even if I was running 100 miles a week.

The reason I need to get running is purely physical.  It's not as if my body is solidifying into a mass of lard - well okay maybe a little.  I have been careful and ensured that I am eating better.  Over the last few weeks I have managed to do swimming and pool running,  but I am finding that this isn't cutting it as far as my body is concerned.

The last month or so I have been plagued by a host of little health issues which are now starting to really annoy me.  I have suffered from asthma and eczema all my life.  I have had hay-fever and a whole host of other auto-immune conditions.  All of them seem to have materialised, all at the same time.  I am finding it hard to breathe.  My skin is tight and itchy.  I feel like I always want to sneeze and I have sinus headaches.  My body aches and, well, it's just giving up on me.

These things are cyclical, I know and I am probably due for a dose of these complaints, but I thought about it today and I realised.  At the moment I can't breathe because my lungs are full of gunk.  I can feel it in every breath.   As I run, I use all of my lungs in huge gasping breaths as I push my limits; this clears the lungs from gunk.  Swimming doesn't do this.  My skin is tight and itchy because I am not getting the usual pink flush I get as I run. The blood flow and perspiration isn't there.  I don't get this as I pool run.  My sinuses are all screwed up because all the gunk is not getting cleared and solidifying (or alternatively, it is being drenched by lovely chlorinated pool water - nice!).  My joints are seizing because there isn't the resistance training my body get's when I run.  The gentle landing on the ground works my whole body as I relax into the ground 180 times a minute.

So I don't need to run because of the usual mental and endorphin hits.  I need it because other forms of exercise don't reset my body as much as running.  I need that clear-out of gunk and residue that lingers.    I am slowly being formed into a body of green gloop and I need to get rid of it.  I have tried other types of exercise, but it's all about strength.  I don't need that, I need the deep down, gut wrenching, heart pounding workout I get when I blast through the trails.

So Mr. Orthopedic man, please take my advice and a prescription from me.  If you want this body to work as it should, sign my knee off as "fit to return to work".  My heart, lungs and joints will thank you later - oh and let's not forget  my pelvic floor - umm.. am I TMI'ing again? Ooops!