Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey…stuff

Or – have Tardis, will travel.

Have you ever wondered what you might do if given the opportunity to visit your ‘younger self’?  (Let’s assume doing so wouldn’t create any gaping holes in reality or any other warned-against dire outcomes of time travel).

Would you maybe impart a bit of wisdom, warn against mistakes yet-to-be-made, or even provide reassurance that it will all be OK?

Maybe your preferred mode of transport would be a Delorean.  Or even Dumbledore’s Time Turner.  I’d definitely choose the Tardis (Hello, Tenth Doctor!), but I think instead of trying to fix or help with ‘the big stuff’, would take a light approach (I don’t want to scare the kid, and having a random stranger turn up in a blue box would be a bit freaky in itself!).

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Original art by Eloise Moffatt. Gatecrashing ‘companion’ from http://www.bitstrips.com

So I think it would go something like this:

George Michael will break your heart.  I know you have the dance moves down pat to ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ and absolutely rock it! wearing your Choose Life T-shirt, but he’s not the one for you.  You’ll just have to trust me on this. Oh, and taking a photo of yourself in front of an A-Ha poster…not cool.  People can tell that you’re not really with them.

Spoil your mother a bit more.  Your gifts until now have been a bit…lacking.  Did you really think that bunch of fake flowers and a crappy vase from the $2 shop was an awesome mother’s day present?  Oh you did?  Well…try harder next time, OK?

While we’re on the subject; in a couple of years you’ll have to do a school project on your family.  Here’s a tip – Mum isn’t ‘just a boring old housewife’.  OK, maybe you won’t write those exact words but they’re pretty close.  We both know you don’t mean it that way, but…talk her up a bit.  She’s a great mum and deserves it (especially as your dog got such a detailed mention…with photos!).

Hang in there with your sister.  Sharing a room will only happen for a few more years – around the time when your Guns n Roses posters take over and you also discover Aerosmith.  She’s really not so bad – she just has her own friends, is more grown up, and doesn’t always want her little sister hanging around (these things just happen).

Oh, and that thing you guys have with an imaginary line down the middle of the room (meaning she can’t access the door as it’s on YOUR side) is mean!  Things may seem terrible now, but these times will give you some great memories when you’re older.  You’ll remember things differently, and she will actually turn out to be your best friend and someone you’ll share many laughs with (especially over her past love for Billy Idol).  It seems really far-fetched now, but I promise that one day you’ll wonder what you’d do without her. You’ll also wonder how someone’s laugh can make you laugh harder than the joke itself…but that’s something for another time.

Don’t stop playing the guitar.  You’ll regret it down the track, and when you pick it up again years later will discover how much you love it.  Keep trying even though your fingers hurt and you think you suck.  Just a tip though – ask Dad to buy you some real strings.  That fishing line he put on the ‘D’ string is not really cutting it.

That money tree will never grow.  I hate to break it to you kid, but those coins you planted have long been dug up and spent by your brother and sister. It was a bit of a joke, apparently (one you fell for).  So you can stop watering it now. They’ll continue to leave you out of things at times, and play these kinds of tricks on you (you are very gullible, aren’t you?), but it doesn’t mean they don’t love you.  They’re just being pests.

Brush things off.  When you’re around 15 a friend’s mother will ask, ‘Have you always been chubby?’ Just brush it off.  You’re not chubby, you’re healthy and active.  Don’t run home and weigh yourself – there’s enough time for that ‘joy’ later in life.

You’ll learn why people say dumb (or even hurtful) stuff later, too.  So when it happens just ignore it and move on.

Think about choosing a different AFL team.  I know you love Richmond, but you’re in for years of heartache.  You’ll convince yourself it doesn’t matter that they haven’t won (or been in) a premiership since around the time you were born, and that they’re a ‘scrappy’ team full of heart.  You’ll also eventually come to love the number 9 (sigh).

But just think about it.  Maybe Sydney?  Red is your favourite colour, and you did once have that thing for Warwick Capper (or maybe that hasn’t happened yet?).

Anyway, no pressure (we really do love them, and their year is coming!).

Keep reading!  I know you love it now, but even bigger things are in store.  One day you’ll discover Roland, Jake, Oy, Susannah and Eddie (they’re on a quest to The Dark Tower!) and will consider them dear friends.  You’ll have to wait years in-between some books – and will curse Stephen King at times for this – but it’s so worth it (especially the part where Oy wears ruby slippers…or whatever Billy Bumblers wear on their paws…anyway – you’re gonna love it).

Oh – and those comics you read?  Buy the Sea Monkeys!!  I’m still wondering after all these years if they were as awesome as they looked in the pictures.

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So there it is, young one.  Not big life lessons – you’ll have to learn those yourself.  At times you’ll be scared, and there will be many tears – but you’ll get through them. They’ll make you stronger, make you kinder and more compassionate toward others.  People will tell you that at times live life through rose coloured glasses – but you’ll be OK with that.

Now go have fun!  If memory serves, you’re about to go searching for Tasmanian Tigers again with your brother. I know you both think they’re still around (even if they have been extinct for years)…so enjoy!

Oh, and I almost forgot…don’t blink!

(not spoiling the surprise on this last one…you’ll just have to wait)

WordPress – we need to talk!

Dear WordPress,

Or should I call you Judgey Judgerson ?  How about JJ for short?

Here’s the thing, JJ – your tag “suggestions” (when I publish a post) aren’t doing much for my self-confidence. They almost feel like…well, a diagnosis of sorts.  Like you’re simply picking out certain words I’ve written and then being all, ‘A-Ha!  Fellas, here’s that poor blogger we’ve been trying to help out.  Quick – suggest that tag for her again before she slips through the cracks!’

Or even worse – that you made up your mind months ago, assigned me a permanent tag “suggestion”, and I’m now pigeon-holed for all future posts.  I can hear it now: ‘Hey love, file this one in the Watch and Observe category for us would you?  Cheers.’

What tag I hear you ask?

Mental–Health (seriously, JJ – it’s kinda starting to hurt my feelings)

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Stern, questioning look courtesy of Bitstrips facebook app

I actually can’t tell if you’re trying to be helpful, witty, or well…a bit of a dick.

But just in case it’s the first, and you really are the caring type (I want to give you the benefit of the doubt, JJ), please let me explain a few things:

1. The username – RubySneaker

To you that name might make it appear that I really dig wearing only one shoe.  Like it’s my thing and that I actually do get around with a permanent limp and holes in my sock.

The thing is, your 12-letter-username rule meant that I had to drop something (or was it that someone else already had that username?  I can’t recall sorry.  Anyway…).  So I had to make a choice, and the ‘s’ on the end of my preferred name went.

See?  Easily explained away.

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Sidenote:  I tried to get around this by (craftily) using a gravatar picture with the full name of RubySneakers, but alas – some fellow bloggers also think I only wear one shoe. So for this one I’ll give you a free pass.   

2. Talking about sometimes needing other butts to sniff

If you took the time to read this one instead of automatically playing “helpful doctor”, you’d find that I meant something completely harmless.  That I was actually referring to exercising with others and how it can be motivating and encouraging.

Mental-Health indeed!

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Stern, annoyed look courtesy of Bitstrips facebook app

3. Conversations between my mind, legs and smoker’s lungs (when I first tried to run)

Umm…so…yeah.

Kidding.  I was kidding!  *awkward laugh*

That never really happened.  Honest.

4. The fact that I’m now addressing you as an actual person

Well, JJ, we have known each other for around six months now.  Sure, there is no doubt a team of people working there.  With algorithms, technical thingies and wot-not also most likely involved somehow.

But you’re always providing helpful blog posts, encouraging me to read Freshly Pressed, and even hinting at other blogs I might enjoy.  “Diagnosis” aside, it’s like you do know me a bit.  Therefore I feel like I know you a bit, too.

In fact, in Australia, giving a nickname to someone is a true sign of friendship.  So, JJ (mate), I think this one’s also explained away pretty nicely.

So there you go – all cleared up and not a Mental-Health tag in sight. (right?)

I hope you can see that you have been pretty darn judgey, and I also trust that my use of stern air quotes on certain phrases (and my even sterner cartoon-glares) have served their purpose.

So, JJ – thanks for your time.  I hope the above has sufficiently quashed any concerns you may have had.

If so, great.

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‘Relieved, hope-they-fell-for-it’ image also from Bitstrips

If not, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.  And just to show you that there are no hard feelings, this one’s on me:

*tag*  #Mental-Health

Ps – there’s also a slight chance that the tag suggestion might be as a result of writing about running, fitness and mindset.  All healthy stuff.  If so, please accept my apologies, JJ – sorry – WordPress. You’re doing a fine job.

Chat soon!

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Update: Upon posting, this was the suggested tag.  I heart you, WordPress.

WordPress is funny!

Well played, my friend, well played.

“Mummy, why is that lady making funny noises?”

Little girl:  *Points and stares*

Mum:  Oh, she’s just trying to run.

Little girl:  But she’s all red in the face!  And she sounds like you and Dad do when you make me go to bed early!

Mum:  *Awkward laugh*

Little girl:  She’s not moving very far is she? Do you think we should help?

Mum:  Let’s go over here and say hi to this puppy… (Nice save there, mum!)

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OK, so I can’t be 100% sure that this was their exact conversation, but I have a sneaking suspicion it was pretty close.  There was a little girl with who I am assuming was her mum on my run today, and they did look my way, talk, and then pat a puppy.  There also wasn’t any actual pointing (but that could just be due to good parenting and teaching manners and stuff).

Or maybe (just maybe) they were simply chatting about something completely unrelated.

In either case, let me just state right now:

Running is tough!

This is not by any means a new discovery.  I found out the hard way months ago when taking my (then) smoker’s lungs out for their first 5km jaunt (which was mostly walking with bursts of breathless staggering).

Up until attempting the 5km, I’d been doing around 3km on the treadmill a few times a week.  That was also tough, and I guess I’d just been hoping that five(ish) months later, it would have become a little bit more enjoyable.

Just a bit (c’mon – give something!).

But I’m still yet to achieve that feeling.  I’ve heard words ‘joy’, ‘elation’, ‘the zone’, and ‘the high’ used to describe it.

So I can only hope that it’s just around the corner.  That instead of this:

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I might feel this:

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I really don’t mean to sound all ‘Woe is me’ (for that, I apologise).

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It’s…just tough.  Simple as that.

I know I’m not alone, and that many runners experience the same thing (I’ve Googled researched it to reassure myself).

I also know that it will get better, easier, more enjoyable…but that it takes time (and effort, and consistency).

I guess I’m just getting it out there. Acknowledging that this ‘running business’ can be hard, but from what I’ve also experienced – very rewarding.

So with that off my chest (thanks for listening) it’s now time to focus on the positives (and let’s face it – harden up, stop being so impatient, and be thankful that I can run at all).

So here goes:

  • I’m certainly faster, and can now run the whole way. (Big tick for that).  I recently managed 6.5km, and next week the goal is 8km.
  • I breathe easier, feel much fitter generally, and my legs aren’t as heavy or tired. (Another big tick)
  • I love the feeling at the end of a run. It’s over!  (The relief – oh, the sweet relief)
  • I’ve re-discovered a love of sprinting.  I may not enjoy running any great distances, but when sprints are on the cards it’s a good day.
  • At times, especially after a group event or training, I’m energised and happy.  With feelings of what could actually be the so-called ‘high’ creeping in.

Sidenote: During this last one I become super-talkative when I get home.  The ‘I did this, my time was that, then this happened…’ kind of stuff. 

‘J’, naturally, is thrilled-to-bits hearing all the detail.

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So with only four weeks to go until the big day (10km!!), my plan for each run from here is to just focus on the end.  To keep my head down, ignore the *points and stares* going on in my head, and keep running until it’s time to stop.

To realise that I may not ever be one of those runners, but if it does happen (please let it happen)…well that’s just a nice bonus.

(I sound awfully convincing, right?)

All cartoons created using the bitstrips facebook app.

The early bird gets the…cheese?

I’ve mentioned the little determined mouse before, and how he’s helped me to focus on goals – reminding me to never give up.

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I had reason to think of him again today after (finally!!) getting out the door and actually running 5km.

I got the cheese!

Well, only a teeny-tiny crumbly bit really, but enough to remind me of how good it tastes. And that if I wanted more, I’d better put my red helmet ruby slippers on and get to it!

But let’s back up a bit…

After smashing the April diddly-squat goal, I tried to think of a new challenge. Maybe one that actually involved, you know…exercise and stuff.

So the next step was to check out a few of my favourite blogs.  Within minutes I was feeling all inspired and keen (you guys!), and realising that I already had a goal:

Running!

Or, more specifically: running 10km on 16 June (eep!).

Which is not that far away (double-eep!).

So going to bed that night I laid out my running gear, put the Garmin on the charger, and set the alarm. I was pumped.

That night I dreamt of running. 9km in 8-ish hours (apparently my dream-self knows her stuff. Don’t want to set any speed records now, do we?).  It felt great and I didn’t even break a sweat.

The alarm went off the next morning and something happened. I turned it off, rolled over…and slept.

Awesome. Day one, and already off to a stellar start.

The next few days went pretty much the same way, but with the addition of:

  • buying new gear (gloves, proper running socks and a headband thingy to keep my ears warm on these freezing mornings)
  • talking to ‘fellow’ runners
  • reading more blogs
  • oiling the treadmill (as a backup)
  • telling more friends about it and sharing this blog with some of them (the old accountability trick!)

So basically, just doing lots of procrastinating planning.

As every good procrastinator planner knows – this all takes time.  You have to do it thoroughly – it just makes good sense.

In the end though, what it came down to was a big dose of JFDI.

To Just Friggin’ Do It.

So I did.

I know it’s not a huge achievement, but it is a step in the right direction. My last run was way back in March, where I joined 1600+ others in the Women’s 5km.  If you look closely you might just spot me here somewhere:

Today’s 5km was much slower. There were some moments where I might as well have been walking (yep, I was that slow) but luckily for me, other joggers appeared along the way.  Every time another runner appeared, I straightened my posture, picked up the pace, and made an effort to pretend I had been running that way the whole time.

Also luckily for me: they were super-fast, meaning that I didn’t need to keep the pretence up for too long and could go back to breathless staggering.

In the end though, speed didn’t really matter.  After around two months of next-to-no exercise, I did the whole thing without stopping, and I did it on my own without any other butts to sniff.

So are things back on track?  I think so.

There’s still a long way to go, but the whole block of cheese 10km is starting to look more within reach than it did last week.

But just in case…

Running alarm

April challenge: a month of diddly-squats

The result?  Nailed it!

Granted, this type of squat is probably not on any approved-for-fitness list.  There’s also a strong chance it won’t result in tight buns, great legs or increased strength.

But…

When you’re the type of person who likes to achieve goals, see results, and tick things off lists, sometimes a little positive spin is in order.  Especially after a month of doing little-to-no exercise (OK – closer to two months, but let’s pretend it’s not that bad).

Enter the diddly-squat challenge!

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[Lovely readers – this is the point where the kind-hearted amongst you indulge me.  I’m not terribly good at admitting defeat or failure, so we’re now going on a little journey called ‘Let’s pretend I meant this the whole time, and have done exceptionally well!’  Some of you may prefer to call it ‘She’s really lost it this time’, and that’s OK too. The key message here: we’re kidding ourselves celebrating!]

I didn’t expect to do so well.  In fact it wasn’t until earlier today when I looked back over the last month that I realised just how well:

  • no parkruns
  • no running on the treadmill or outdoors at all
  • definitely no fitness classes, gyms, DVDs or exercise plans.

Sure, there have been a few slip-ups.  The walks to work, the house painting and numerous hours of prep-work / trips up and down a ladder, early morning walks with the new dog, and even the odd spot of renovating (lifting, more ladder trips and painting – that kind of thing).  But overall, I’m pretty happy with the amount of diddly-squat managed in the last month.

So in the spirit of sharing, below are my top tips*.

1. Be consistent

It takes time to develop habits, so this one does take a few days to get into the swing of things.

Start each day by hitting that snooze button on the alarm clock as soon as it rudely pulls you out of a warm, deep sleep. Do this again when it goes off a 2nd time, and repeat until you actually have to get up in order to avoid being late for work.

After a couple of days you can skip the snooze button altogether, and before you know it – bam!  Routine developed.

They do say consistency is key, after all.

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2. Avoid temptation

Don’t by any means blog, visit WordPress (or any other blogging site) or check out fitness websites.  And definitely no visiting the 12wbt forums.  These are laden with all kinds of inspirational stories, photos and tales of exactly the thing you are trying to keep away from.  Too much of this type of behaviour and you’re on a slippery slope to actual exercise.

If you’ve been an active part of the blogging community, this one will be extremely difficult.  You’ll start to miss reading certain blogs – even feel terrible about being so slack – and may suffer withdrawals wondering what people have been up to.  Just remember that it’s all about achieving your goal, and once it’s over you can go back to stalking visiting them later.

If you do slip up and accidentally read, ‘like’ or comment encouragingly on someone’s facebook post about them running 10km for the first time ever (or something equally as dangerous), take a deep breath and distract yourself.  It will pass, but to speed up the process visit websites guaranteed to help you waste time.

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YouTube and Reddit are good options, and there are some great non-fitness blogs around these days that do the trick nicely.

If this doesn’t work and you’re still promising yourself that you’ll ‘start again tomorrow’, never fear.  This will pass quickly if you revisit Tip 1.

3. Plan ahead

This one takes a bit of effort, but is well worth the results.

The key is to plan other things to do.  Like painting the house, getting a new dog, or even cleaning out the spare room – anything that ensures that you have more balls to juggle than ever.

Pretty soon one of those bad boys will drop, and if you’re lucky it will be the right one.

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You’re welcome!

So with April’s goal smashed, it time to plan another one for May. This time I’m thinking something with actual exercise or activity of some kind.

This goal-setting caper is great!

*note: advice may produce better results with tongue firmly in cheek