Running commentary

Posted August 6th, 2009 by Penny Wise

Have really thrown myself into Free Exercise Month! Was much needed too I must say. I don't know what it is about winter but I know I'm not the only one to fall off the fitness wagon. The salads get swapped for hearty stews and it's more appealing to curl up in the warm with a good book than go out and exercise. But not any more! It's beautiful here at the moment, glorious sunshine, the birds are all singing their heads off and the daffodils and spring bulbs are out already. I think spring has sprung early! Shame it's still so bloomin' freezing inside, brr! Still, I can proudly say I have exercised every single day for the past 10 days. Sometimes for half an hour, other times for longer. Mind you, I don't really have a choice if I'm supposed to be running a marathon in three months time!

I admit, I've found it hard to get back into exercise mode. In fact Noel was starting to despair - what was it going to take to get me motivated? After all, I'd already paid $106 to enter the marathon, had I thrown my money down the drain along with my willpower? Even I was starting to wonder - then quite unexpectedly I got the jolt I needed. We were horrified to learn in the school holidays that Liam's PE teacher, Mr Clapham had broken his neck playing rugby and was completely paralysed. At just 27 years old, he had everything going for him - a new teaching job and a lovely young wife. They had just become new homeowners and their first baby was due any day. Even though it was his first year at the school, Mr Clapham quickly made a good impression among students and teachers alike and was larger than life both in stature and character. Liam was one of the many students who thought he was 'cool' and looked forward to his lessons.

When news broke of Mr Clapham's injury the whole school and surrounding community was shocked and saddened. It really brought home that this was something that could happen to anyone. Mercifully the stress did not cause the Clapham's baby to make an early appearance, quite the contrary! She stayed snug and warm in her mum's tummy until last week, by which time another miracle had occurred - Mr Clapham had begun to regain some feeling and movement in one arm. The students at the school held a 'mufti day' to raise money for their teacher, where everyone donates a gold coin for the privilege of not having to wear school uniform for the day. They were proud and delighted to raise $3,000 with their efforts - and this gave me an idea. If I was going to attempt to kill myself in this marathon, I might as well do it for a good cause. From that moment on I decided I would run the 42km to raise money for Mr Clapham!

Since making the decision I have been full of excitement and motivation. It's not about me any more, it's about him. I've committed myself and I can't let him or any of my sponsors down. Exercising has become a sheer joy! No more procrastinating, no more making excuses about not having time, or the weather not being right, I just can't wait to get out there and run every day. In the ten days I have been back running the scales tell me I've lost a kilo but I can see already my body shape is changing and the little pouch I wear around my waist when I'm running keeps getting looser. It really doesn't take long at all to see a difference once you start exercising. A couple of blogs back I mentioned 'the snowball effect' and I realised just how true this is the other day. I took Ali round to a new friend's house to play and met his mum for the first time. As soon as she saw me she said, 'I know you from somewhere but I'm not sure where from'. I was expecting her to say from SS or That's Life or something, but instead she came out with 'I know! You're the lady I used to see running around town every morning. I started running because of you!' I have to say I really was chuffed to bits - who would have thought!

Anyway, this blog is supposed to be about saving money so I'm not going to bore you silly with my 'running commentary' on the marathon for the next three months (excuse the pun) but if anyone is interested in keeping tabs on my fundraising mission you are very welcome to visit this special 'limited time only' blog called Not Gonna Crawl. It's a place where Mr Clapham, his students, supporters and anyone else who would like to can check in and see how things are progressing. Blogging in itself is a fantastic motivation tool - when you make your thoughts and deeds public you make yourself accountable. No matter how small or personal the goal, when you put yourself 'out there' you have to stay on track. If you don't, you feel as though you're failing EVERYONE, not just yourself, even if nobody else reads it!

There is one other reason I've thrown myself into this marathon. I'm currently waiting on tests for multiple sclerosis. My eyes have been doing strange things for quite a while now but I never thought anything of it, just put it down to funny eyes! It was only when I went to the optometrists to get a new pair of glasses that some rather loud alarm bells rang and he referred me to the hospital. I checked out the other 'usual' symptoms of MS online and I seem to have all of those too but I'm not overly concerned about that. After all, name me a person who hasn't read the symptoms of swine flu and felt they had that too! It's a bit of a waiting game at the moment but as my mum says, I refuse to worry until there's proof I've got something to worry about. Still, I'm even more determined to run this marathon now, just in case it's the only one I ever get to do.

On the more positive side, my Australia fund is going well! In just three weeks I have raised $855.70 on Trade Me! I've still got HEAPS more to sell too, it's just a question of getting the time to list everything. There's no denying it is time consuming but I console myself with the fact that it's time well spent if it's for the family. I can't believe some of the things that people buy or how much they pay for them. I put $1 on a pilates DVD and it sold for $39 - that's more than I paid for it in the first place! Then there was the half empty bottle of perfume that sold for $10! I would never have thought of selling that in a million years but I saw how popular people's 'bathroom clearout' auctions were and thought I would try it out. I guess if it's something they use all the time it's still a good bargain and it's not as though there was anything wrong with it. I've still got a 78 litre container full of stuff to list, plus a basket full on top of that and I know there's still plenty more lurking in cupboards that I haven't checked out yet. Honestly, what did we do before the likes of Trade Me and eBay? It's amazing how much stuff accumulates. I'm still donating heaps of things to the local church op shop as well! It's such a good feeling everytime I take another bag full of parcels to the Post Office - not simply because I've sold them but because they're going to someone who really wants them, rather than sitting at our place unused and unappreciated.

I'm not sure how well things are going on the 'saving' front as it's been a big month for bills but I know for certain that we've been doing a great job of 'not spending'. Noel does a stirling job of bulk shopping at the supermarket and we never seem to go to Mr Patel's any more. Next week is Liam's birthday - I shall be the proud mother of a teenager! He's growing up so fast, bless him. He has the same size feet as his dad and towers over me now (which he relishes). In fact it won't be long before he's taller than Alex, he gleefully noticed yesterday! He loves being responsible for buying his own shoes and clothes and he and Alex are always online looking for bargains overseas, where the popular skate brands are so much cheaper. Then they club together to make the postage cheaper too. In fact, he buys so much of what he wants himself these days, I'm not quite sure what to get him for his birthday! Fortunately Liam doesn't set his sights as high as Ali - top of Liam's birthday wishlist is a bag of cashews and a treat for Hubble, his beloved dog. I'm sure we can manage that!

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