Saturday, October 20, 2007

Out of service

I am currently in Vienna in Austria for another work trip and saw Ewen's message on my previous post. Thanks mate for your concern.

I have been out of action due to injury yet again. I had the incredible high of the Boston Marathon earlier in the year but the period since then has been a non event. I have had a persistent groin injury the whole year and have not been able to shake it. The injury has received noodles of rest and physio and yet it persists. A scan in mid-year did not show anything spectacular but every time I run I can feel pain and tightness to the groin. I strongly suspect it is all nerve related and wonder if I have nerve entrapment. A lot of wiring has to make its way through a narrow passage from leg to torso and I think the electronics and other engineering in that part of the world is suffering from overload.

I have run out of answers and I have to admit to feeling very down about the whole thing. I have had a few other non-running related difficulties of late as well and the less said about this year the better.

Rest heals all wounds. I shall return.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Venus in our vines

I had a real weekend of contrasts when it came to running. On Saturday I did the usual run with my group over 20k's or so out at the Cotter Reserve. It feels like you are in the middle of nowhere, yet it is only about a 10 minute drive from Canberra's western suburbs. It was a gloopy morning for running with mist and light drizzle. The conditions (at left) could easily have been mistaken for any melancholy day on the Yorkshire moors.

But then came Sunday. This time I was alone, doing one of my favourite runs - and taking photos along the way - from my home in Gordon in Canberra's southern suburbs to the Pine Island reserve then back along the banks of the Murrumbidgee River to home. It was another of those mornings where me the runner, and the birds, the bees, the flowers and the trees all were in love with one another. We were all so high on fresh air and the blue skies that this couldn't have been legal. What a morning!

A morning like this recently with one of my running buddies brought out the poet in me again:

From where does Nature's sleeping beauty spring?
When playful runners roam those dream time hills
And watch the dawn's gold sail to which we cling
To starry skies and the winter moon's chills
Or season's blush - frosty fall's disrobed trees
Kangaroos, scarlet birds, a river's wealth
Wattle wonders, nectar and springtime bees
Nature's pulse, ancient lines that rule by stealth
But how does a lofty mind see such things?
When flirty running girl is my eye's feast
And mankind loses its sense to false kings
Beauty for one, is just another's beast
Yet fragrance flows from Adam's love for Eve
It's Venus in our vines to which we breathe.

For the record, my poem conforms to the structures of a Shakespearean sonnet. I am trying to say that there is so much beauty in Nature, yet sometimes we can be distracted by "flirty running girls" or the materialism of life ("false kings") and beauty is also in the eye of the beholder ("beauty for one is just another's beast").

Yet the bottom line is that it is a man's love for a woman and vice versa that allows us to see beauty in Nature. It's the Venus (love) in our vines (Nature) to which we breathe.

We are so lucky to be runners to allow us to see and feel such things.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Creature from the Black Lagoon

I had another good week of running with recent niggles and injuries all behaving themselves. I also had the most delightful fun yesterday morning (Sunday) with one of my running buddies. It was a dream morning for running.

We started at Weston Park in Yarralumla just as the sun gushed orange over distant hills, giving birth to another day. Barely a cloud in the sky. It was a mild morning; crisp but not cold. Cockatoos and Galahs squawked their welcome. As we ran along the southern shores of Lake Burley Griffin around Lotus Bay towards Reconciliation Place in Parkes there were even some sea gulls, a surprise.

I love these runs when there's little pressure or expectations. We jogged a bit and walked a little with plenty of time to observe. The birds were friendly, but so were the people. We came across guys preparing their boats, a young couple taking photos, and a few runners and walkers. There were smiles and waves, everyone relaxed. What is it about mornings like this? There's an order and simplicity to Nature where each has their place - even for us, these strange, bipedal intruders we sometimes seem to be.

Except I think when it comes to water. Last Thursday night I headed off to the Australian Academy of Science building, "the Dome", to attend a Get Up political forum on the Australian Senate. There is an unfenced moat with about a metre and a half of water sitting idly around the outside of the building. As I waited at the building entrance, I thought surely many a bugger pissed to the hilt would have stumbled outside from a cocktail function or something similar and trundled into that water.

Sure enough not ten minutes later, that is exactly what happened. Except it was no drunken skunk, but a dear old lady in a wheelchair. She probably had visions in her youth of being a Formula One driver perhaps. She took the corner of the pathway, too fast and too tight and, yep...plop!..went straight into the drink. Oh, this was funny! She didn't think so, of course, and she had a point. She was SINKING! She certainly wasn't thinking of England as she lay on her back, the water rising, tangled in that chair of hers.

Many hands make light work, but that doesn't apply to old ladies sinking in wheel chairs. Yes, many helpers extended their hands from the (dry!) edge of the abyss. Yet she continued to flounder. There was only one solution - TD to the rescue! In my business suit and shiny leather shoes (less the jacket) I jumped in to help the damsel in distress. With one hand through her legs and the other under her back, it was like tossing sheep at the Cloncurry annual show as'manoeuvred' her up to the helpers' hands at the edge of the moat.

Yay, she was saved. I do remember her smiling as she was driven off and at least she was happy. As for me, I later felt silly sitting in that large auditorium listening to the debate completely wet below the waist. I imagined I also smelt like that putrefied creep in the "Creature from the Black Lagoon". A bizarre night to say the least.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Just call me TD

Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments on my previous post which are greatly appreciated as always.

After the 'excitement' of my Moty posts and earlier overseas adventures with pigeons and all I decided on a deliberately low-key tone for that last post. But as a couple of you very perceptively picked up (Cirque and Eddie especially), 'My Moty' has well and truly returned. She's back indeed. And I do feel like the Old Running Don of Old.

I was away overseas for work again during the week and that photo at top left is of a great sunset snapped through the window of my cab as I headed back out to the airport.

In other news, I have decided to give Sydney City to Surf the flick this year. I'd paid, entered, and received my number and am fit. My mates will be there, I love the race, and it's an annual pilgrimage for me - not a combination of fortuitous events to be scoffed at! It's just that I didn't think I could afford to have two consecutive weekends away from home as the following weekend I have decided to head north to Brisbane and run the Noosa half-marathon. More on that later.

It was pleasing to get through last Saturday's Bush Capital run without pain or discomfort to my adductor. All year I have been battling this right adductor/groin/glute tendon and nerve thing. That's a convoluted description and it was a convoluted injury . Yet as is sometimes the way with injuries, this ever persistent pest just got up and left. Just like that!

With the injury gone (apparently - fingers crossed), something else has left - and for good. Hasn't anyone noticed?? "Tuggeranong Don" is kaput and replaced by "TD". I had long felt uncomfortable with the former, which was too much of a mouthful and too hard to spell. It was boring. It's now gone. For the bereaved, donations in lieu of flowers can be sent to any suitable charity for the relatives and victims of deceased blog handles.

For the time being until I can think of something better it will be the plain and simple boy next door name of "TD". I would therefore be grateful if you could respect my wishes at this sensitive time by no longer cavorting with my alter ego. Just call me TD.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bush Capital Marathon Festival

I've just walked in the door, dry salt still on my face, and sweaty and smelly after a great run in one of this morning's Bush Capital events.

From Campbell High School near the Australian War Memorial, runners had their choice of hilly and bushy races from 16 k to a 60 k ultra through the Mt Ainslie and Mt Majura bush reserves. Inviting tracks and trails and Mother Nature's sqwarking, jumping and crawling things were in abundance. There were a few humans here and there as well. They did the running. Like me, who ran in the 25 k event.

It was beaut morning for running, not too cold or too warm with a nice breeze in parts. I really enjoyed my run. I ran easily for the first 12k's or so and had a good chin wag with a bunch of other runners.

About the 15 k mark, I caught up with Emma from my Saturday group and we solved the world's problems during most of the homeward leg. I found our chat a great distraction from those pesky hills that simply refused to flatten out over the race's latter part. I had enough energy for a kick finish and surprised myself by not collapsing at the end.

It was also very pleasing to catch up with some great running buddies and fellow bloggers. My Saturday group were out in force. Ewen , Aki and Friar were there as was the Queen herself, Lucky Legs. It was also really nice to meet Bernie G from Sydney. I am not sure what my finishing time was and I don't care. It was simply good fun.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Motivation - a love story Part 3

Cinderella, that tart! My Moty and her were having one of their feminine bonding sessions at the Fairybucks cafe when I found my lover and needed to convince her to come home.

What to do about Miss Motivation? Her story was my story, the great passion of my life.

As a runner she had nearly always been there when I felt good. But enter injury, sickness, cold mornings and other difficulties that life decides we need. Then she's off with the fairies to the Enchanted Forrest. She was reluctant, but I had a plan...

I would woo her. It would be the good, old fashioned way just like they do in the movies. I held out the promise of lemon-scented fresh linen and lavender bubble baths. We would be the free spirits of old, abandoning ourselves to the effects of fresh air, the fragrant soil and Mother Earth in all her glory. We would share the poetry of our souls. In my best Elvis voice, I would be singing "...I can't help falling in l-o-v-e with you..."

I threw in a tear for good measure. Not just any tear, but a masculine, briny tear, full of the saddest juice; a child's tear that spluttered when 'old yeller' bit the dust all those years ago. That's what I would show her. Something to make her go week at the knees.

It worked. Motivation came running into my arms (of course she came running). We clasped again, again and again never to leave.

She also made me happy by giving Cinderella the flick (personally, I never though much of the chick. I thought she would be better off with that other prissy thing, Snow White. Neither, I should add, are runners).

But then....what's this...."pfft"....a puff of smoke (cue puff of smoke, flash of lightning, claps of thunders, etc) hovers over my beloved. It's Motivation's Fairy God Mother, er, Father, along with a tiara, frumpy frock and hairy legs.

"Yes, it is Motivation's Fairy God Father" the voice proclaims. continued:

"Motivation is like love; it can come and go when we least expect it. To get it back, you don't need Viagra (Ewen), you just need the right key to the right lock. Like love it can be found in the most unexpected places, under a rock, at the end of the rainbow, at the end of a race and our arms around sweaty salt-encrusted strangers...

...The real key to the lock is 'expectations'. We put expectations on ourselves, they sometimes immediately can't be met and, hey presto, the motivation slides, we give in".

"So what do we do about it", I said.

"Relax, my child. You don't need to go looking for love. It's a cliche, but it's true: just be yourself and love will come to you. Motivation is the same," he said. "Take one small step at a time, cross train, don't sweat it and in time you will start to feel your old self again...".

"Pfft." Then as suddenly as had come, he was gone..gone with the wind...(heard that somewhere before I think??)

(cue angels singing, Mana falling from heaven, sound from Suncorp Stadium after Queensland State of Origin win, etc)

Alone at last with My Moty, our eyes met and danced a tango. Soul mates for life! A heart-felt reunion indeed (at your request Cirque)

Ever the optimist, Motivation gushed in relief to see me, "oooh you're so spunky! I want to go running but what if it rained, what if we got injured, what if it was cold..."

I cut her short. As we off together hand in hand towards the setting sun, I blurted:

"Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn."

And we lived happily ever after.

(cue soundtrack from 2001 Space Odyssey..)
da dah dum dum dum dum dum da da daaah da daaaah dum dum da daah...........

The End


Well, that's enough of that. JayKay's post that she had lost her motivation and the many others I have read prompted me to use my imagination and have some fun. Whether I have been able to convey a useful message at the same time I will leave others to judge.

Tesso asked about the the mini-series. In my dreams I could pretend that Brad Pitt would play me. Debra Winger, Annette Bening, Cate Blanchett, Emma Thompson and Meryl Streep have been among my favourite actresses over the years and I would love to see them play Motivation. Not sure who would play the Fairy Godfather. Ideas? Maybe I could write the screenplay but I doubt I would have enough motivation to see it through!

Note: No fairies, fairy god fathers, or other creatures were hurt in the compilation of this drama. For overseas readers and those from southern Australian states, the Queensland State of Origin team is the world's greatest ever rugby league football team. Champions.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Motivation - a love story Part 2

"Oh, damn", I thought, suddenly amazed at my ability to speak in tongues. My high school English teacher would be proud.

The love of my life, Motivation, had disappeared in the trance of time. Some might say she wasn't mine alone.

Ha! She was. There was something different about My Moty. When the going had been good Motivation was my friend to accompany me, a runner, through races thick and thin. But now when I was injured, sick and sore she was gone. A rough diamond who couldn't handle things when the going got tough.

I was haunted by that song by Lennon and his bodgy-headed mates from Liverpool, "There's something in the way she moves..." Oh, so true. She moves alright, but not when I wanted her to and to places I knew not where. Which planet, which galaxy, which universe? I know men are from Mars and women are from god-knows-where but THIS was ridiculous!

Where had she gone? I had looked long and hard, yet I was left bereft. Things were at their worst. But isn't it strange that when things are at their worst that suddenly clarity - an epiphany - comes to us to show us the way through the puzzle.

Lance Armstrong said in is bestseller "It's not about the bike" that the irony of his chemotherapy treatment for cancer was the worse he felt, the better he got.

It is a bit like that for runners, too, missing their motivation. So often in running and in life all the world's nastiness can hit us all at once. Not nice. I felt like that after running the Boston marathon earlier this year when I got injured.

Yet I decided to use some reverse psychology on myself. I was feeling miserable and relying on others to get me out of the bog. In the end I felt that I 0nly I could get myself moving. And that's when I had the epiphany. That's when I said "stuff this", I was not going to allow myself to feel sorry for myself because I couldn't run. I was going to reverse the strength of those negative feelings to bounce upwards...

...certainly that is what I decided when it came to me and my absent lover, Motivation. Typically, when I became more positive in my thinking, Good News, another friend, raised her beautiful, beautiful head. She told me about Saffron.

And Saffron, the yellow fairy, one of those spunky little flitty things I had spoken to at the bottom of my garden told me about Motivation. There had been a sighting. "Oh, yus, yus," I cried, punching the air.

Motivation, she said, could be found in the Enchanted Forrest of Lost Hopes and Repressed Marathon Desires. Motivation was there with another flaky one called Cinderella. Both were in the said Forrest sipping caramel lattes and bemoaning their bad luck with the men of this world (or at least some world!).

Motivation and Cinderella were real girl friends, as only girls can be. They shared a fetish over shoes: Cinderella with ...well... at that stage she didn't have any. Motivation, of course, had her tailor-made size eight Brooks Adrenaline running shoes. (Please note, I say "hers" but they were actually unisex running shoes we both wore, such was the relationship we had.)

Oh, they could be catty too. Privately Motivation always felt that Cinderella's obsession with pumpkin carriages was a tad odd. Motivation ALWAYS preferred to run to the ball.

Still, they shared so much in common, and both wanted to be coveted by the best stallions in the land - Cinderella by some dude in leotards wearing a fluffy pink hat (and he had a kinky thing for glass slippers didn't he?). Motivation, I would hope, was thinking only of me.

Anyway, this is where I found my little cherished catty cherub - in the Enchanted Forrest with that siren, Cinderella. Just seeing head spun with desire, engorged with endorphin-rich love again, and again...

Trying to ignore the tart sitting next to her, I pleaded to my Moty:

"My darling, the hills will be alive with the sound of music, our music. Our running steps, our breathing, our spirits would be entwined forever...if only you will come with me..."




What did she mean, NO? Just like that, NO! How could she? My oxygen-depleted brain cells couldn't take anymore of this. And they weren't going to take any more of this. I would fight for her. Release her from that fandango she seemed to be in with Cinderella.

I would get my Moty back. It was just that I was going to have to be smart. I had a plan...


Will this story have a happy ending? Will I get my Motivation back? Does Viagra get to play a part? Who will play me in the television mini-series of this grand adventure?

Stay tuned for the final exciting installment of "Motivation - a love story" - which will be released at 7 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time on Monday 23 July.

Agents please note the exclusive rights to this story are currently under negotiation with the inhabitants of Planet Venus. It will then be available in all good book stores throughout the universe.