Boston marathon

We weren’t in Boston last year for the marathon so I’ve never felt it was my place to get on board with the Boston strong tag line. Today though I was excited to be part of the day. To be honest, you kind of have to, the city is pretty much shut down.

We wandered up to Beacon Street which was the 24mile mark. The sky was blue and full of helicopters, police everywhere and it felt really safe. Now I’m no runner, but my friend Tina has taught me how important it is to cheer for the participants, so with Aussie and American flags in hand we found a spot on the railing.

We cheered and cheered and cheered. Well I did, the kids got bored quite quickly. I *think* we saw a friend of my parents, if not a random guy was encouraged quite loudly. Every Aussie that ran past got an extra ‘go Aussie’ and I even saw someone wearing a essendon footy top and he managed a high fist pump when he heard me.

I was so proud of all the runners, a marathon is not on my to do list at all and I hope that the crowd support helped them along. All I know is that if I was in a race half way around the world it would give me a bit of a boost hearing someone from home and I’d run that little bit further and little bit faster.

Well done to every participant, just by competing you’ve done so brilliantly.

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Brookline Day

Last weekend I woke up to the sound of a major storm. Normally not an issue, but three boys had signed up for a fun run at 9am on Sunday. The event was being run at Larz Anderson Park, not easy to get to with public transport so I thought we’d catch a cab to get there, then the shuttle bus back home. We got ourselves organised, packing a change of clothes just in case. Our taxi driver ripped us off; turning back after a wrong turn and going quite a convoluted way. Annoying, but not the end of the world. We were dropped off at the wrong part of the park (our fault, not the driver’s) so had to walk quite quickly to get to the start line for the kids’ race.

I rushed to get the bib numbers but wasn’t quite fast enough and the starter’s gun went. Woo shot off, ready to race but Skets got stage fright and refused to run. Poor Hutch who was in the adults race after that, jogged with Meema, who was sure she should be competing too, and then raced off to catch up with Woo once I got to the start. Skets ran off into the trees, quite annoyed with himself I think, and by then Woo had disappeared around the bend. As soon as I saw them coming back I started cheering. A good friend of mine who competes in lots of fun runs has taught me how helpful a good cheer can be for the participants. I must say I was bursting with pride as Woo came down the hill, lots of yelling from me and Meema he came down with a big smile on his face. I gave him a big hug and told him how thrilled I was and how proud, and he went over to talk to Skets and ask why he didn’t join in. Skets was still grumpy so wanted to poke Woo with a stick, and Woo said, “Why didn’t you run? I came last and I don’t care I ran my best, even though I walked a little bit”. How cool can kids be?

We then got ready for Hutch’s race and got our ‘go daddy go’ cheer warmed up as he took off. The route was quite hilly but very picturesque apparently. While he’s was running, the kids got face painting and balloon hats – always fun.

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I set myself up near the finish line, I must say it seemed strange that no one was cheering on the other racers, so I cheered everyone! Hutch came 10th in his age group, happy with that.

We then went to spend the rest of the afternoon at Brookline day, the local festival. The rain had cleared to a gloriously sunny day so we wandered around checking out all the stalls. Two new yoga studios are opening up in the next month so I’ve picked up some brochures from them, the usual police officers, food trucks and six amazing jumping castles all free.

The return shuttle wasn’t great, over 45 minutes late, but it was on an all American yellow school bus 🙂

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Lovely day all round. And I only had to yell about 45 times.

Moving to the US – part 3, Boston!

After a great weekend in Legoland, we caught a red eye from LAX to Boston. Leaving at 930 at night wasn’t too bad and because we were really early to the airport we were allocated row 4.

The pilots were lovely and let the kids have a look around the cockpit and gave them a badge. Brought back memories of when I was a kid flying back to NZ, we loved going up to the cockpit and seeing all those buttons.

Unfortunately when we sat down there was a man on the row in front of us who shooshed the kids as soon as we got on. Not necessary. I had to comment – ‘don’t worry, they’ll be fine they’ll sleep on the plane.’ Of course this didn’t happen.

Having been used to the skycouches on the way over, it was a noticeable difference in the seat depth on a normal seat. Woo and Hutch can sleep sitting up fairly well, Skets tried his hardest with his sister lying all over him and wriggling constantly. Unfortunately for me and the man in front, every time Meema moved she grizzled. And that was every 15 minutes or so. I didn’t get a lot of sleep and neither did the man in front probably.

We arrived, scoffed blueberry muffins and caught a maxi taxi to our house. Our driver was lovely, gave us a running commentary of the areas we were going through and dropped us off around 7am.

The house is great, a three storey townhouse fully furnished. I mean fully, there is everything here we could ever need. We were told to eat what ever was in the pantry and to make ourselves at home. A trip to the supermarket was required, the fruit here is very cheap – $10 a kilo for blueberries! It’s been lovely to get summer fruits in August, and having berries on my cereal is very decadent. I haven’t been able to find any cordial anywhere so our usual Lemon Lime and Bitters has had to be adapted and yoghurt is 90% low or no fat. There does seem to be high sugar content in everything, even the garlic salt that was already here has sugar in it. I’m sticking to the as fresh as possible plan and hopefully we can keep the sugar intake low.

We’re sticking to a fairly tight budget while were here, $100 per day. I’ve downloaded an app to track our spending and I’m pleased to say at the end of week one we’re spot on where we should be.

We’ve spent the first week checking out the local area. Having chosen not to buy a car we walk everywhere and can navigate the T (subway) pretty easily now. Hutch commented today that we are living really healthily, lots of walking, green smoothies and spending time at the park. A dad today wandered over to see what exactly that ball was when he saw our footy lying in the playground 🙂

We have been over to Harvard in Cambridge for Hutch to register, a lovely man overheard us on the T saying we needed to buy the kids shoes and he told us where to go. We ended up at Sears and bought three pairs of kids shoes for $26! Phones are organised, bank accounts opened and the kids enrolled at school. The kids have to take their lunches so I am now getting my head around what they will be eating, the allergy rates seem a lot lower so I’m expecting the request of peanut butter sandwiches – seems bizarre to be allowed to take them to school as we’ve been so indoctrinated back home that nuts are banned.

When meeting with the principal I asked if the kids have to wear hats outside and he didn’t fully understand my question, then laughed when he realised I was talking about sun protection. The kids haven’t worn sunscreen since california and we’ve been outside for hours each day in mid 20s weather and there is no sign of sunburn. I think they have the opposite problem that the kids have vitamin D deficiency in the winter because there’s not enough time spent outside.

I’m really looking forward to getting school started, it will hopefully be a great chance to meet some other families and get our routine established.

So, where were we?

It’s been far too long since I wrote here, and so many things have happened. Here’s a quick recap.

Tough Mudder was amazing! Had such a great time, would happily do it again. Our team was the best you could hope for, eight committed people who wanted us all to finish regardless of how long it took. Unfortunately there was an injury around the 8k mark so we were slowed down to a walk, but we completed every obstacle and were very grateful for a soak in the spa that night at our accommodation. I love linking people up from our friendship group that don’t know each other, we had a lovely bbq last weekend with the team and with 5 little boys and 2 little girls running madly around the house, the adults actually got a chance to sit and converse.

Hutch is in to Harvard, Boston here we come! Very exciting and the kids are getting on board, though I don’t think they really understand much of what is going on. I must look into Tough Mudder in Boston, I haven’t been for a run since January…

March was hard. I knew it would be but it didn’t make things any easier. Finding a house in the US, settling on our new house and renting it out as well as adding the joy of getting a new mortgage and doing our taxes. Full on. I was exhausted and overwhelmed by the end, but it all worked out quite quickly thankfully. We’ve got a house in Boston (well Brookline actually) sorted, it’s a block from the local school. Did you know school starts at 8am over there?? Not happy Jan! Subzero temperatures and cajoling three small people to school in the dark will not be fun. Hutch will be able to walk to Harvard and I think the shops etc aren’t too far. Our land lady and I skyped a few times and she took me on a tour of the house via her lap top.Makes it so much easier these days than it used to be. I was up at 6am putting on make up to make a good impression, then rolled out some cute kids that were just getting out of bed. Anything to help our cause. It clearly paid off 🙂

The to do list is still extensive, but it feels a bit like a wedding, you know when you’ve got the dress and the reception sorted that you can breathe a bit? Now the accom is done we can relax for a month before we have to get stuck into the visas, passports etc. I’ve told Hutch repeatedly that there will need to be a hefty shopping budget allocated to our trip, when I said the other day I’m not packing any clothes with holes or stains he looked at me like I had two heads. I know he’s going to be a student, but I truly hope his packing won’t be full of stained track pants and holey work shirts.

We haven’t looked into flights yet, am tossing up whether we go to Legoland in California on the way there to break up the trip. I think the kids will need something to look forward to, that Aus – LA flight is so long and it’s only 5 or so hours from the west to the east coast so for all our sanity it might be the way to go. Might leave that until May to really start investigating.

Four months to go!

Training

There’s a little over two months before Tough Mudder. Training was on the back seat for a while, but now daylight saving’s started and the days are warmer I’m getting back into it. A run on Saturday, boot camp on Sunday, another run yesterday. I decided to change the running strategy a bit, I could run for 30 minutes without stopping but it was a shuffle and felt quite inefficient, so I’ve gone back in the program and am now focussing on the running being at a decent stride length and building from there. Yesterday’s run was 5 minute kilometres (only for one or three minutes at a time) Faster than I expected but I felt like more of a runner. Will have to see if the mental weakness can be overcome by pushing through.

I know I’ll be the slowest in the team and just hope I don’t let them down.

It’s really just like brushing your teeth….

I’ve decided exercising is really just like brushing your teeth. You do it, you don’t ‘enjoy’ it, but it’s something that needs to be done regularly. Now that I’ve let go of the expectation that I will enjoy running, I’ve also realised I need a bit of structure, and having a training program that tells me what to do, and when it needs to be completed, means I drag myself out into the 4 degree morning and actually run. I’m going to be running for twenty minutes straight by the end of this week, a daunting thought, as running for one minute a month or so ago was intimidating. Continue reading

Tough Mudder

I’ve registered to do Tough Mudder at Phillip Island in January. It’s an extreme obstacle course run over about 18kms. Fire, Ice baths, log carrying, electric shocks are all part of the deal. They have a great marketing mind behind the whole thing. Now I love getting dirty, we used to camp as kids and loved the outdoorsy lifestyle, but I am intimidated by having to run so far. I’ve downloaded C25K onto my phone and went for my first run yesterday. Hadn’t figured out how to get the music playing so pretty much exercised for half an hour waiting for the voice in my ears to tell me what to do. It felt good I must say, heart was pumping but I wasn’t scared of running which I have been in the past.

Hutch is doing it with me, he did it this year and loved it, but is very fit so is really doing to to support me and help me finish. Some other friends have registered too, and I think it will be helpful to have them keep me honest when training needs to be done.

I just hope it’s not a 40 degree day, I don’t cope very well in the heat at all.

Riding along

I rode to work today.

To save a bit of money, get some exercise and set an example for the kids. It’s lovely once I’m on the way, but getting out of the house without forgetting something is a challenge. Three kids, seven bags (yep the kids need two each for kinder) and a bike to push the 600 or so metres to kinder. It took about half an hour to walk to kinder and drop them off, with the dawdling and the whingeing from M to sit on the seat and hold onto me as we walked  – there’s a precedent I should never have set.

When I mentioned to Mum that I wanted to start riding she wasn’t happy; ‘ you have responsibilities’ was the response, but it’s a river trail 90% of the way so quite pleasant, so long as I stay out of the way of the professional riders who zoom so quickly past me. The 10k’s takes me about 45 minutes, I’m sure Hutch could actually run faster than that, but my bike is what I like to call an Amsterdam bike – build for comfort not speed.

Only thing I forgot was my lunch. Better than forgetting my undies.