A terrible, terrible run

Walking – nay, hobbling – home from my run (more on that in a moment) I was lamenting my fitness.  Or, more accurately, my lack of fitness.  Oh, how the goal posts move without you even realising it.  Twelve months ago I would have been over the moon with today’s run, I would have been celebrating – I would have come home and screamed it from the rooftops ‘I am superfit!’  Today, not so much.

I went out intending to run 21.1km.  I was even feeling so good about it that I thought I might be able to run a PB.  I quickly decided not to try because it was hotter than I am used to running in (I’m sorry, fellow Australians!  I feel like I have betrayed you!) and really just wanted to have a nice, cruisy, easy run.  At about 8km I decided to cut it to 18km.  I stopped just after 9km and sat on a bench fighting with my Clif Shot Blocs (which I eventually opened!) and having just spent the last three km inadvertently running though the pack up of a regatta on the Thames.

Oh gosh, it just went down hill from there.  A long, long, long way down hill.  I power walked for 500m between 12.5 and 13km.  I convinced myself that I could stop at 15km, but by the time I hit the distance I wasn’t even off the Thames Path yet, meaning I was more than three kms from home, and at least one km from the bus.  Then I decided to struggle though, then I decided to give up, then I decided to keep running – you get the picture.

In the end I ran a pretty awful 17km, with a shocking time, and walked about 1.5km home.

Long runs just ain’t what they used to be (and I am feeling very unfit, and like I have heaps of work to do before TR24, and to get in shape for RPF Ultra and RRR in October.)

Oh. my.

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Petition against privatising UK student loans

I was going to write a post about this: but I think this one contains all the necessary information. Please sign this petition: even if you are not in academia or a university student – this will change the game for a lot of people, and could potentially raise the interest rates on current student loans in the UK. It’s important.

Classically Inclined

As Twitter and the New Statesman noticed yesterday, Danny Alexander has confirmed the government’s intention to privatise the student loan book.

There are so many things wrong with this that I can’t quite begin to articulate them, but let’s settle for the fact that there are some suggestions in a leaked memo that the interest on existing loans could be increased retrospectively.

Given all the problems and issues we’re facing with getting the most talented students from any background into higher education, the privatisation of the loan book would be one further discouragement from pursuing further study from those without independent financial resources. It would be one further step towards the privatisation and marketisation that is already creeping into the university sector, where (to my mind) it has no place. And it won’t ultimately do anything towards improving the country’s financial situation right now.

Tim Whitmarsh has set up

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Don’t start a PhD.

Don’t start a band  PhD
Nobody wants to hear nobody wants to hear
Nobody understands
Don’t start a band  PhD
You’ll be so disappointed that it was nothing like you planned
Don’t start a band  PhD
Oh yea yea yea

I hate to ruin the magic
I hate to kill the dream
But once you’ve been behind the scenes then you’ll know just what I mean
You might think that’s its cool to get up on stage
And play rock and roll present origianl research from your heart and soul
But no one shows up and your songs papers all suck
And there’s no applause and no flying bras
No girls will scream for you and no ones gonna sing along with cite you

Don’t start a band  PhD
No body wants to hear nobody understands
Don’t start a band  PhD
You will be so damn terrible they’ll all think your shitty
Don’t start a band  PhD
Oh yea yea yea
’cause you wont get paid
And you won’t get laid

And even if you make it
All the way to MTV tenure
I don’t think you could take it
All the bullshit and the greed
Everyone is so fake when they shake you hand
And they kiss your ass ’cause then they get cash
And the business end will turn every friend
To an enemy oh you will see

They’ll turn their their backs and they’ll be gone
Faster than can say ‘what did I do wrong’

Don’t start a band  PhD
No body really cares nobody understands
Don’t Start a band  PhD
You will sign your lives away and then you’ll be working for the man
Don’t start a band  PhD oh yea yea yea

Your message will get lost
You’ll get double crossed

And if you that the joy of playing research
Will keep you going through the years
Wait till you poor and frustrated
And the fun just disappears
Nobody cares what you have to say
And noes gonna listen anyways

Rock and roll Peer review will bring you down
And it will kick you while your on the ground

Don’t start a band  PhD
Don’t even try you will regret it yea
Don’t start a band  PhD
You’ll be so disappointed that it was nothing like you planned
Don’t start a band  PhD
Oh yea yea yea

So just give up now
I’ll show you how

Don’t start a band  PhD [x4]

Secrets

WARNING: This might be triggering.  Please read with caution.

**I considered not posting this, but I have decided to do so for a number of reasons.  I think it’s an important thing for me to talk about, and I think it says some worthwhile things.  I don’t want to  give the impression that I think that mental health problems are trivial, they are not.  This is why I am running the Royal Parks Ultra for the mental heath charity Mind.  You can read more about why I’m running for Mind here.  You can donate over here.**

Something weird and unexpected happened to me on my run last night.  I ran by a very, very thin woman and I didn’t – even for a moment – wish that I was her.  I think it’s the first time ever that it’s happened.  And, here’s what was happening in my brain: she is lovely and thin, but my not-lovely-and-thin arse and legs are going to get my body around 80kms – and not drag them around (well, maybe drag them around the last few kilometres) but run them around.  It’s something I wouldn’t be able to do without my slightly-too-large, muscular thighs.

I spent the next few minutes feeling very pleased with myself about the whole thing, and then I ducked into the allotments and threw up.

Now, that in itself is shockingly unsurprising for a long-time bulimic who goes a bit up and down (and well, aren’t we all like that…) but – and hear me out – it really wasn’t like that.  It was the bottle of water that I had basically sculled, on top of dinner, before bolting out the door for my run.  It was sloshing around in my stomach and making me feel ill.  I have a love-hate relationship with feeling full, and sometimes it does get the better of me.  Coupled with running, it was just too much.

Looking at me you wouldn’t necessarily think that I’m anything other than a regular 30 year old, and especially not that I have this ‘dark secret.’  It’s certainly not a glamorous thing to discuss, but I’m not adverse to talking about it.  In fact, the older I get the more and more I’m seeing that one of the reasons that I have struggled with this other woman for so long is because I have refused to talk about her.  I mean, it.

Running has been the best thing for me, but it only helps so much.  But now, the debates that I have aren’t ‘will I be fat?’ but ‘will my body be adequately fuelled for the 22km run I want to do later.’

This is from Postsecret.  It wasn’t written by me, and it doesn’t describe my circumstances.  It tells a bigger story than I could.

images

For now, I don’t think I can write any more about this.  Perhaps another time, I will.

Would I want to be 16 again?

I have a hard time with reconciling the person that I am and being a mother.  I often feel like I am ‘doing it wrong.’  If I’m absolutely honest, I don’t really like being a mother and I don’t think of myself as one.  I love my daughter, and I obviously wouldn’t shirk my responsibilities to her, but I don’t particularly enjoy being a mum.  Not her mum, just a mum.  Any mum.  I wonder if I would feel differently about the whole thing if I had a larger support network.  That is to say, I suppose, if my own mum was around (or, to be totally accurate, if I was around her.)  I think the image that we (all) project into the world is that we are together and fun, fit, fantastic parents who spend their days happily painting dots onto a piece of paper.  We’re not.  Or maybe I just assume that other parents don’t like doing that stuff either, because it makes me feel better about the fact that sometimes – a lot of the sometimes, and perhaps a lot more of the sometimes that I should – I would rather be doing something else.  Like working.

That’s quite a horrible thing to admit, particularly to the cold expanse of the internet: I would rather spend time working than playing with my child.

And, obviously that’s not the whole truth.  I don’t need to say that I love my child – I think it’s a given – and I do love spending time with her.  I love going to the park and watching her run around and explore, and I love sitting on the floor reading books with her.  I just don’t love it enough to want to do it all the time.

I think I’m starting to think more about it because we’re recently been talking about me needing to watch her full time until I get a ‘proper job’.  We are incredibly fortunate that we have been able to have her in nursery for 2 1/2 days each week while I finish my PhD, but that time is coming to an end and we can’t really justify the expense for an intangible nothing.  Even though, to me, that intangible nothing is my book.  I think what it comes down it is this: I’m not sure I’d be able to cope with being a full-time, stay-at-home mum.  Hats off to women who do it (and there are a lot of women who do it and love it, and I suppose just as many who don’t love it and still do it), I salute you.  I’m not sure I’m cut out for it, but I guess we’ll find out in four months or so.

Blisters and body-troubles

Juneathon:

This morning saw Neon Toddler and I head out in the beautiful weather to go to the park.  Once there, I did five minutes on the rowing machine, during which I got a blister on my hand.  Then, ten minutes going backwards on the elliptical.  At that stage, Neon Toddler was ready to hit the play equipment and we ran around for about 45 minutes doing all the things that adventurous little girls like to do:

2013-06-05 11.12.01 2013-06-05 11.26.46 2013-06-05 11.12.59 2013-06-05 11.23.47

This evening, after dinner, I ran.  I ran because I love running, and because the point of Juneathon is to jog, log and blog.  Anyway, I set out with a modest Wednesday-long-run goal of 10-12kms.  I ran just over 3km before my stomach started to cramp up, and I started feeling lightheaded and like I was going to puke.  So I turned around and came home, and I’m really pleased that I did.  There are times to push though it, and tonight was not one of those times.  I’m off to bed to get enough rest to get this whatever-it-is out of my system before tomorrow.

I other news, my legs hurt today, from the thighs and glutes workout yesterday.  Not cool, but also awesome.

Dinner:

For dinner tonight we had wholewheat pasta with peas and asparagus in a very light, creamy sauce that was made of a small bit of vegan butter-spread, a splash of almond milk and some Cheezly ‘cheese.’  I enjoyed it, and it more or less passed the Toddler-test.  Mr. Neon thinks: ‘yeah, it was nice, bit too much asparagus but other than that.’  (Looking at Neon Toddler’s bowl, she thought there was too much asparagus too.  I must be the only one that liked the asparagus.)

I would have taken a picture, but my phone is a hunk of junk at the moment.  I went from full charge to no-battery between 8.30am and 4.30pm.  Not great.  If you value battery life don’t get an HTC One X.