The Cliffy Shuffle

Cliff Young 8

This morning I went for a 7km training run with my friend MP.  (MP is one of the nicest people I know.  Seriously.  Even when we got cut off by a gigantic truck which could have flattened us, she merely issued a stern, but non-shouty chastisement.  No screaming like a banshee at all.  Unlike me).

It is lucky that MP is of such an accommodating nature because as we hit the trail this morning, it swiftly became evident just how unfit I really am.  This has me quaking in my ratty old sneakers about how I’m going to manage next week’s 9km Bridge Run.

We started off at a brisk walk, chatting about kids and life and then after a quick loo stop (we’ve both had kids, no bladders of iron for us), we started off at a gentle jog.  Or more accurately, the Cliffy Shuffle.  Actually I was the only one shuffling, MP has recently completed the City to Surf so she’s far ahead of me yet stuck by me all the way and coached me to keep on going.

Thing is, I’ve been training on and off for a few months.  I was very keen at first but was felled by a new job with much longer hours and then a rampant winter virus which got the kids first, then me, then me again.  So I’ve really only been regularly training for the past 6 weeks and boy, does it show!

I did the Bridge Run 4 years ago and trained fairly solidly for three months.  I was also several kilos lighter and obviously, younger than I am now.  I had never been a runner before so I was thrilled to cross the finish line in 1 hour and 13 minutes.  There, thought I.  I can do it!!  I planned to keep training, perhaps do a half marathon, the sky was the limit!  Alas, I decided to take a week off to recover and that was the end of my running.

This time I’ve been using the brilliant C25K app on my phone.  Most of my training has been on the treadmill due to having kids at home but when it’s just me on the weekend, I’ve headed outside, the dog trotting along beside me and have been very pleased with my progress.  Until today.  Big sigh.  But I am absolutely going to do it.  Plus I’m very motivated by possibly getting to meet up with Steph from Mamamarmalade on the day.  She’s the one who inspired me through her blog to start running again.

Anyway, at the end of the 7km course it turned out we had run for 28 minutes in total and the longest stint was 19 minutes.  I was pretty pleased with this, despite my huffing and puffing (but with barely enough breath to blow a house of straw down) at the end.

As little treat and incentive I popped into Lorna Jane and bought my first ever pair of running tights.  They look absolutely ridiculous (turns out I haven’t lost an ounce of weight despite all this running) but I don’t care.  I am determined to get through the race, raise money for my charity and enjoy myself no matter what, even if I have to do the Cliffy Shuffle the whole entire way… sans gumboots of course!

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Be Seen Not Heard Woman!

abbott meme

This morning I popped into the local hardware to pick up a few DIY supplies.  They had Meet the Press playing loudly on the television with an older man and a young man who may have still been in his teens watching it.  There were some clips playing of the last weeks election trail highlights (suppository remark etc) and I, being open at all times to respectful political discourse said, “yikes, don’t vote this bloke in whatever you do”.  I was smiling and not at all trying to be inflammatory.  This was apparently the worst thing I could have said.  The older man (much older than me, I’d say in his 60’s) became instantly enraged and expressed absolute disbelief.  He then started going on about how Whitlam, Hawke, Keating and Rudd had bankrupted this country.  I, somewhat taken aback, said that I didn’t think that was quite true and he shouted at me that it was.  He then ranted about how Kevin Rudd had killed some young men (I think he was referring to the home insulation scheme) and then said “and don’t even get me started on Gillard”.  Given that it was pretty clear to me that this man was angry, I decided not to get him started on Gillard. I did however point out that I feared for my job should the Liberal party get in.  He didn’t ask me to elaborate, why would he want to hear what I had to say when he was in full flight?

Now, I am a pretty strong person.  I’ve endured certain hurdles in my life that have required me to be able to take a lot and then come back for more.  I am educated and outspoken and I will happily engage in a discussion with people from both sides of politics, religion, and any subject really, as long as it’s done in a respectful way.  I respect your right to your opinion and if we’re having a discussion, I do want to hear your side of it, but I don’t want to be shouted out.  I don’t want to be put down.

I’ll admit I was caught off guard this morning. I was in what I thought was a pretty working class environment, I absolutely consider myself working class and did try and appease scary shouting guy by saying well, I will probably vote Greens.  I actually haven’t decided as yet, but I thought this would calm him down as he continued to rant about prime ministers past and present (left mind you, nothing of the right).  I was briefly tempted to point out to him that if it wasn’t for Whitlam, I would almost certainly have had to remain in an abusive marriage because it would have been almost impossible for me to leave with my children without sending us into poverty but I held my tongue.  Because I am a woman.  And I know that when shouting ranting old white guys get going, it’s time for all the good girls to shut their mouths.

All this took place in front of two young men, neither of whom spoke up for me.  I whispered something conspiratorially to the young chap serving me “see, if you vote Liberal you get really angry” and he smiled, equally as embarrassed by scary shouting guy’s outburst as I was.  Both young men looked embarrassed but one of them, the younger of the two looked a little big smug.  Like I had been put in my place.  Which I had.

I chatted a bit with the chap serving me, trying to stand tall and keep my voice steady to show that this rant hadn’t bothered me at all.  To prove that being shouted at by a stranger, who then walked into the back office muttering and calling me stupid, hadn’t had the least bit of effect on me.  But of course it had.

As I waited for my order to be completed, I began to feel more and more upset.  I already felt shaky and I could feel that familiar burning behind my eyes as I began to well up at the indignity of it all.  I steeled myself to hold my head high and announce haughtily as I left.. “the thing that scares me most about the Liberal party getting in is that old white men like you will continue to think it’s okay to shout at women for simply having a different opinion to yours”.. but I didn’t say anything.  The shop was full of old white men and it felt too hard.

And so I slunk out to my car, sat down and cried.  That man had scared me and shouted me down.  He had put me down in front of two younger men to whom I have no doubt he disparaged me as soon as I left.  And I let him.  Years of fear and conditioning came roaring back as I disengaged in order to keep the peace and I feel ashamed that I didn’t speak up for myself.  I think that shame may last for a while.

Maybe that scary shouting guy has no power at home and so he takes his rage out on people like me.  Maybe he’s a frightening horrible man to live with and he’s exactly the same in public.  Who’s to know?  But I can say quite emphatically that if those are the sorts of people who the Liberal party represent, then I want nothing to do them.

The First…

love chocolate

There are days when I just cannot seem to get out of bed, without first imagining myself to be the star of a movie montage.  I play suitable background music in my head and see myself in various montage stages.  For example, pre-get fabulous job montage which sees me trudging to the office to deal with yet more of the daily grind and coming home again, flopping on the couch with a wine and lamenting my lack of employment opportunities.  I don’t of course flop on the couch with wine because I have kids and pets and general domestic chores to deal with in the evenings and I have a different montage scenario to get me through this part of the day as well.

Anyway, blogging is something I love, and those who’ve read my blogs know that I have mainly written about dating, the nightmares, pitfalls and general hell of it all.  Perhaps not surprisingly, I have become pretty bored with the dating game and my blog posts were getting more and more similar so I’ve decided to stop doing that for now.  Dating and writing about it.  But I want to keep writing, so I am going to do it this way for now.  I hope you’ll keep me company.

Backing music:   Changes – David Bowie

Outfit:  T-shirt, The Gap