I’ve been so disorganised lately that not only have I not been blogging, I’ve even neglected journalling. And there have been so many highs and lows over the last few months that I really need to get my thoughts organised.
I’m doing this now to put to words the utter elation and pride I feel in myself at the moment. I am so unbelievably chuffed that I need to hold on to this moment by writing it down for posterity.
I made it thru #hellandback last Saturday, June 14, 2014. A day for the history books. What’s that you say? And how did I get roped into something so hellish? It all starts with a man. (As these stories usually do). With my husband, in fact.
I’ve been nagging justin for years that he needs to get a hobby. Business consumes him, body and soul and I told him that if he doesn’t take an interest in anything besides work, he will a. Drop dead the second he retires or b. never retire. Now I’m not belittling my husbands work ethic cos if he doesn’t work, we won’t eat. But I wanted him to have something just for him. No one was more delighted than I when he started hill walking and mountaineering in the last couple of years. So,exhibit a- Justin- super fit and super active.
Anyone who knows me knows that my physical activity is confined to the bedroom, taking the occasional basket of laundry down the stairs and shovelling food into my mouth as fast as possible. So, exhibit b, me- lazy and totally unfit.
So last December, I made the mistake of telling Justin that I would do something with him next year. Just the two of us. Now, in all honestly, I thought my husband would cash in some sexual favours, but it seems I underestimated him.
We’re going to do hell&back, he says.
What’s that, I say?
From their website:
“WHAT IS HELL & BACK?
HELL & BACK is an off-road adventure event, featuring man-made obstacles and naturally occurring challenges over a variety of terrain, in the private Belmont Estate in Bray, Co. Wicklow.
WHY IS IT DIFFERENT?
HELL & BACK is not just a hill run / mountain run / assault course / road race / hill walk / adventure race, but a combination of the best parts of all these pursuits! The time it takes for you to complete the course is not important – making it thru’ the challenge in one piece is!!!”
So on one cold Decembers eve, he sat me down to show me what hell&back was. We watched the videos and I laughed. And l laughed and laughed some more. And I said, no way, no how.
And we would have left it at that, except he took out the big guns. Gabriella, he says, do you think mummy can do that? And she said no.
And by god, I was not going to be one of those people that their kids don’t believe in, it went against all my super mummy instincts. So I said, dammit, sign me up.
And my fate was sealed. All I had to do then was get off my ass.
I have no willpower, no one knows this better than me and the cupboard full of diet aids, powders, tablets and gadgets in our house. I signed up with a personal trainer, Brian, from DT fitness and it was the best (even though it sometimes felt like the worst) thing. I presented myself to him one dark winters morning at 7am. This was a feat in itself as I’ve been suffering from insomnia for years and this makes me furthest from a morning person ever! Brian didn’t outright laugh when I told him where I needed to be in 6 months. And he didn’t cut me any slack and he didn’t baby me. It was my responsibility. I had to do it for myself. And I figured, I may as well give it a go. There were plenty of mornings I was at the gym when I didn’t wake up until my 45 minutes were up!
We also started juicing daily. Bags of carrots, kale, spinach, you name it, we tried to drink it. I didn’t notice a huge health benefit with juicing until one day, 3 or 4 months down the line when I realised I hadn’t been sick once since we started. Even with the crappy weather and all the extra physical activity.
Slowly but surely, one week turned to 4. I was delighted with my progress and though I hadn’t lost weight, I did lose inches so it was a start for me.
And then Roy got sick, or more sick as it were. And the next few weeks were a blur of miles up and down the road to Dublin. We cried, we laughed, we reminisced and we grieved. And I can hand on heart say that training gave me focus.
I have to note that transitioning from running on a treadmill to on the road was really hard for me. I was doing 30 seconds walking, 1 minute running or more like 2 minutes gasping for breath, 30 seconds running. And then one day, someone posted a link to the Irish Times couch to 5km. I clicked on a video for week 3 and just like that, something made sense. She said, if you can’t run for long, slow down. That was it. And that day, I ran my first continuos 3km. So I was absolutely delighted. And from there, I built it up and up.
I now run every other day. The day I did my first 10km, I crowed and crowed about it. Me. 10km! What dimension is this? 10km when I’ve never run in my life before. It was such an amazing feeling to achieve something of that magnitude. And by accident too! We had been mapping out routes and Justin had convinced me that it was only 5-7km, I needed a long run so I thought to give it a go. 6km came and went and then a sign that said “donegal 4km”. I kept telling myself that I could get kathleen to collect me and I nearly made that call. But instead I focused on telling justin I did 10km and just how I would humblebrag about it on Facebook. So I kept going and I’m so glad I had it in me!
In the midst of all this, we lost Roy. And the aftershocks of that loss are still deeply felt, 2 months down the line. I do believe that the training, the very solitude of running saved me. It helped me compartmentalise my grief and also use it to inspire me to keep going. I would like to believe that Roy would have believed in me.
I feel that it gave justin that same focus. He spoke to his dad about us doing hell&back, and hell and high water, I knew he was going to give it his best for his dad as well.
Last Monday, I did my final 10km before the big race and then I went to a sports therapist for a massage. I was at this stage still petrified about doing it. That little voice in my head kept telling me that it just wasn’t going to happen. In fact, very few people knew I was going to do it. I told Joanne I was scared stiff and she told me not to think like that. Faith and not fear. I put in the work, I had strong legs. She said focus on only one obstacle, the one I’m most afraid of and work on my strategy to overcome it. And so I told the voices to shush. Ten foot tessie was my nemesis. Was I afraid of submerging myself into a skip full of ice? Crawling through barbed wire and getting electric shocks? Did the thought of snipers alley make me freeze up where actual snipers shot actual pellets at you while you ran? Was I afraid I would lose a shoe in the swamp and wouldn’t be able to continue? Yes! Yes! Yes! But my biggest fear was that I would be too heavy for anyone to help get over a 10foot wall.
Up to the very last moment, when we started the warm up on the big day, I was still quieting my doubts. I couldn’t even talk about it. The energy though, was electrifying. It was such a party atmosphere. I was sure that the synergy alone would get me through it.
Justin and I always joked that it was every man for himself. And to be honest, I didn’t want to hold him back. I like to fail or succeed on my own terms. In fairness, I caught him looking back when we first set off to make sure I was ok and I waved him on. That first kilometer was tough. Virtually all uphill, as the next 4km were. I thought all those weeks i had been training were rubbish. If I were to do it again, I would teach myself to run up and down hills. Endlessly. With a bag of rocks on my back.
And they put in a few psychological trips as well, the wrong signs so you think you did less than you had! It was torture. The obstacles themselves were piss easy, IF you compare it to the difficulty of that initial terrain. It was nearly a relief to get a break from climbing.
The camaraderie was infectious, there were several people doing it in teams or in couples. A few on their own like me who were determined to finish. No man left behind was one of their mottos. And I was so so grateful to all those people who helped me, either by helping me through an obstacle or by simply smiling and asking if I was okay.
I ran all the places I could, picked myself up each time I fell. Jumped head first into a freezing river, and sunk to my knees in the swamp.
I lost all sense of time, it was just a constant go, go, go. Where I should have felt relief when a Marshall said 1.5km to go, all I felt was trepidation that ten foot tessie was looming.
I can’t describe the feeling of coming out of the forest to hear justin and our friends cheering my name. I ran over for a drink and a bit of moral support before I faced the wall. And boy, that wall nearly broke me. I couldn’t even ask for help. All I kept thinking was that my fat ass would surely break these huge strapping men. Finally, one of them motioned over and said come on, we’ll get you over! There was no way I was going to make them do it more than once, so I gave my all to get over.
And the relief and bliss of landing on the other side was amazing. The tunnel of electric shocks was just a bit of craic after that.
And finally, finally, when I stood at the top of the slide at the finish line, the complete elation and pride that I had finished overwhelmed me. I saw the clock and I’d done the challenge in 3 hours, 5mins. Holy hell. I cried with joy all the way down.
Justin hasn’t stopped telling me how proud he is of me. Hell, I’m proud of me. But here I am, 3 days later. The muscles are still stiff and my body aches and I still have to quieten the voice in my head.
The one saying that it wasn’t that hard because after all, I was able to do it. It was all just hype and anyone could do it, because I managed didn’t i?
I’m telling that voice to shush, I did do it. I earned my number. I owned that course. Regardless of the time I did it in and no matter what, I made it thru.
Let me preface this post by saying that I am by no means referring to myself as beauty! Or sleeping for that matter.
Well, what’s the point then, you ask?
Do you ever get stuck in a rut and think, I need a change. I need to do something! And then you do and you think you are being so brave and adventurous doing this new thing and then you think one day, about 10 months later, hmmm, lets see if this old thing ever worked for me. And all of a sudden, you are transformed! Shazam! You are that person you had been looking for all along!!
And it’s like waking up from a deep sleep, a revelation. You were there all along. You’ve found the self you were meant to be.
Well, let me tell you. I had one of those moments yesterday.
Everything in my life is a big round of firefighting. I just can’t seem to get ahead of myself so I’m chasing my tail. With my husband, my kids, the house, work, etc etc etc.
But yesterday, I tried on some red lipstick. I’ve always known that I’m a red lipstick kind of girl. I’ve even sung it’s praises on this blog. It was my secret weapon. But a while back, I needed a change and I listened when someone told me to try something else. Try this rose lipstick, they said. It’s different but it’s you. And so I did. And it was great for a time, a long time. Until yesterday when I put the red lipstick on again and BOOM! I was a different person again.
And I KNOW I’m talking about lipstick, ffs. But it made me realise a bunch of things.
– You can have more than one lipstick at any given time! Yes, this is obvious. But I’m so lazy and complacent that I tend to stick to one thing all the time. So this needs to change. It’s not about changing one thing forever amen. It’s about developing and realising that maybe you were there all along. And incorporating the new colours with the old. And changing it up now and again.
And not losing sight of yourself in the meantime.
This is probably the most ridiculously convoluted post I’ve written in a long time. But it just had to come out.
This morning, after putting my face on, I turned around to Gabriella and asked her what she thought, not really thinking she’d notice. And she said, “Mummy! You’re you again.”
Three weeks into the summer already!
My baby girl is 7! Seven! How can I have a child who is 7 years old? I am in awe everyday that I have 2 amazing, sometimes annoying, happy loving children.
I was reading back on a post I made in March and four months later, the insomnia is still there, the house is an even bigger shambles and yet we are still doing the best we can. Making happy memories amidst the chaos of everyday life.
And even though I could cry with frustration sometimes, I wouldn’t change it for the world. (Not all of it anyway. I am still waiting for the magic fairy to clean the house and unblock the negative energy that the clutter has created. We need some good feng shui joo joo going on)
So I need to make a never ending list to sort all out. Back in a sec (or a few weeks) 🙂
So, it’s two days the Christmas. November has come and gone and I’m still not sleeping. Except for the 48 hours sleep I had when I was deathly ill with a chest and ear infection. I did predict it after the hectic summer we had. My martyr complex knows no bounds!
Anyway, I miss journaling. Listening to myself ramble on and on. And what prompted me to do it just now was panic. Panic that today, I found out that I am the heaviest I’ve ever been bar when I was pregnant. In fact, I probably weighed as much when I was eight months pregnant. It’s just not on anymore. I’m fairly happy with myself, I know I’ll never be the skinny girl I wished for and purged for in high school. But I’ve never been this big either. So time to have a rethink and a reset. Max is three next month and I know I will be blaming him for the rest of my life for never losing the baby weight! So let’s get this shit together. No New Years resolutions. This is today’s resolution.
No better time than now!
Although doing this two days before Christmas is akin to setting myself up for failure. Just a reminder to myself to take it easy. Step away from the trifle!
In other news, the kids are off for christmas holidays, it’s been equally fun and frustrating hanging out. Justin and I had date night for his birthday. We were out three nights in a row and I’m getting old. 🙂 no bouncing back the next morning like I used to. No sleep ins either 🙂
Mom is in Sydney with Bj, jj and arjay are with Bbd and dads at home.
I can’t wait for Christmas morning for the kids 🙂 hope Santa comes!
Nothing good comes from a post that starts with a sigh. Unless its a love struck sigh but that’s not the case here. It is inevitably me whining for 1000 words about how tired I am and how much insomnia sucks.
I started this post off this morning full of self pity and recrimination about all manner of things. Some real, some imagined (at least I hope so). But it’s after lunch now and i had a hearty surf and turf salad- prawns and pork belly with Japanese dressing so I can hardly complain too much now.
Although my good humor is largely due to this. Hello, stroopwaffles. After a low carb week, it’s enough to send me sky high!
So back to my gloomy sleepless morning complete with erratic Irish September weather, I was well on my way to a pity party for one. It got so bad I was listening to josh groban. Guaranteed to make anyone maudlin. Although a little bit of Andrea Bocelli did lift me up a bit. Especially this one, lullaby
Too bad it didn’t put me to sleep though.
But it wasn’t so bad that I had to resort to watching homecoming videos on YouTube. That is my number one pity party activity of choice. What’s that you say? Go to YouTube, search homecoming and any number of videos will come up. I am specifically referring to American army/navy/air force/etc homecoming videos. The surprise ones are the best (or worst depending on how you look at it).
I watch them because,
A. When I get to those levels, I am usually a seething mass of tension and it’s the fastest way to make me cry
B. whatever your thoughts are about war, my life is not so bad that someone I love is away for months or years at a time with the very real prospect of bodily harm
C. I’m a sap.
So exhibit A is me this morning:
And exhibit B, me this afternoon. Slightly less sleepy even though I lost my lipstick. But still plenty neurotic.
I shall go now and get my head sorted for my monster summer post, if I ever get around to it.
Wow, back to school already. The summer zipped by, what with two full time jobs (thank god for insomnia-only way I’ve managed to work!), two kids and a house falling down on itself, it’s been a busy summer.
Slowly getting back into routine, still at a loss at what to put in gia’s lunchbox and waiting patiently for November to arrive so I can get some sleep. I’ve been extremely lucky with all my bookings and having a fall back income. So despite running on empty, I’m grateful for all the little extras we were able to do over the summer and give the kids.
Gabriella announced the other day that she would love to see Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower. There’s something to work for. God knows where she gets her ideas from. 🙂
I lost my journal in July. That’s a real PITA. I didn’t realise how much journaling helps me organise my jumbled thoughts.
I’ve been subsisting on 3-4 hours of sleep a night for the last 8 days. I’m ready to drop. Please let me sleep tonight. It’s getting bad cos I’ve had a couple of episodes of sleep paralysis and it’s going to drive me round the bend soon!
I thought I’d end this with some summer highlights but I think that deserves a post of this own. Just hope I get around to it. 🙂