Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Watch out kids... here comes Mum.

I am feeling very chuffed with myself this week - in that my swimming and jogging times have improved to the point that I am challenging my children!

What does this say about me? (It says I was never a high achiever with sport!)

It's a bit sad, but I think I'm great because my time yesterday for swimming 1 km (40 laps x 25m) - and I did 19:15 - beats my 11 year old's most recent PB of (she thinks) 19:30. It was probably 4 or 5 mins better than the last time I did it too (a couple of years ago probably)..

On the surface that sounds like nothing to write home about - but the truth is that I wasn't ever much of a swimmer. Four years ago I started with this adult swimming squad (for stroke correction and fitness) - motivated by realising that my then 9 and 7 year olds were already way better swimmers than I was!

My ability to run in my youth was even worse than my swimming, (make that, like, zilch ability) so starting to do so after the age of 40 (and carrying about 10 kg more than I should be) has been a big personal achievement. The local Little Athletics club runs a casual Cross Country session every Tuesday afternoon in the off season. Anyone can turn up, chuck 50 cents each in the container, and then run 1, 2 or 3 laps of a 2.5 km course... mostly dirt track through a bit of bush, between the high school and the footy oval.

They clock your time as you come in, give you a ticket no; you put your name down with your number, and they publish the times in each of the local papers the next weekend. They also keep a running tally for every person. 1 point for turning up and running; 3 points if you do a PB. If you getto 20 points you get a bronze medallion, 30 pts for silver (probably more for gold, I don't know.)

The older two girls had just taken to cross country running when it happened at school (and did well at it without having to try much at all, really.) My #3 approaches the physical pursuits in life more cautiously, and so 2 years ago I thought maybe we could both 'learn' how to run together.

She has gone from a prone-to-tears 5 year old likely to trip and graze her knees, to this keen 7 yr old who insists on going every week, and runs off ahead of slow coach Mum, feeling very superior (no doubt) in the knowledge that she beats me easily every week.

We learnt that they had a medal system and realised that she had improved enough to be eligible for the bronze, so she is quite chuffed about that. As I have slowly improved, she's said things to me like "I think you're improving, Mum". (Hey, isn't praise and positive reinforcement supposed to be my job?)

There is one section near the end where the course doubles back on itself, (a red paint dot on a path being the turnaround point) and we normally hi-five each other as she passes me on the home run. It was the closest ever to the red dot today that we hi-fived, and I ended up finishing only 50 seconds behind her (feeling almost like throwing up, actually -so I know I was trying.) 16:32 - 20 seconds better than my last PB. Woo hoo. My main aim with doing this was to actually manage to get through the course without walking _any_ of it, so I am very happy.

I told Zoe I was going to catch her next week! (Which is unfortunately the last week until next year.) That should get her moving.

I reckon I have only been able to coax my body into a jog because of the aerobic fitness I've gained from the swimming. Neither is helping me lose much weight.. (though maybe I'd just be bigger if I wasn't doing this!) I think if anyone videoed me running I would die of embarrassment and never do it again; I can't imagine I cut a very athletic figure galumphing along as I do. The red face that doesn't subside for another hour is bad enough, particularly when I dropped by the local supermarket on the way home today, and someone ask if I was sunburnt!

My left hip is also playing up a bit.. I am hoping it won't get too bad, because I don't want to have to give up the ability to run now that I have finally managed to do so! It's only taken me 44 years to get to this point!
I don't need to exercise, just running through your post makes me produce endorphins. Can't you hear me panting!

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