The potty-mouthed brunette

Today I remembered a conversation I had on New Year’s Eve. There MAY have been champagne involved. We were discussing words that friends would use to describe you. A risky conversation when you are a bit pissed. Guess how they described me? Has brown hair. Is dramatic. Swears like a trooper.

Nice. A potty mouth brunette who flaps her arms around wildly when talking about the gym (*gesticulates frantically*).

Case in point… when push came to shove at the ‘house of horror’ with Fat Old Bat the Landlord, it WAS dramatic and my mouth was the pottiest it’s ever been. FOB decided one Friday that she wanted me out on Saturday because she was having a makeup party. My first thought was to tell her where to put her makeup. But given that I couldn’t wait to get out of there, I decided it was a blessing and bailed.

Then, come Saturday, we had a row about the washing machine and I found myself on the side of the road with everything I own crammed into garbage bags, a backpack and a suitcase. A cab driver kindly put my things in his car while I stood there blubbering and probably swearing.

The next two weeks were a haze of sofas, hotels and spare beds. I often considered tossing it all in to go back to Oz. My training hit the skids and so the marathon was looking more and more grim.

But I finally moved into a new house-share this week. With friends of friends. It is a two month solution till I figure things out. It is perfect. The house comes with a roman style bathroom (you can almost have a bath in the basin), bright red carpet and a mural on the shower wall. And I’m living with three couples. Yep three (*shrugs*). Compared to the ‘house of horror’, it’s a dream. Surely.

So here I am – day two in my new house – waiting for my running buddy to turn up. I’m in my own bed, with a cup of tea, writing (*wriggles toes*). It is blissfully quiet.

And now that that weird period of my life is behind me, it must be time for a run (*flings duvet off and commando rolls out of bed*).

Please help me raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre at www.justgiving.com/KirstenLodge

K xo

Advertisements

A cup of human kindness

The past week has been a strange one. My training has dipped in the last few days because instead of running each night, I’m out flat hunting. I wish I was a pre-dawn runner but I’m just not that into it. I’m a night owl.

And after the third week on the job, I feel less like the new kid at work but I still manage to make a regular arse of myself. I met a guy who introduced himself as Weeeeen. I said ‘nice to meet you Weeeeen’. He is a Scotsman named Wayne. At least it got a laugh.

Thirdly, my flat mate has become even weirder. I dread going home. I feel sorry for her – even when she flies off the handle because I have done two loads of washing this week instead of my ‘allowance’ of one. There is something eating away at her.

I’ve moaned to my social network because they are kind and sympathetic. My Tweeties always come back with a witty quip to help me see the funny side of the ridiculous situations I find myself in.

But a few weeks ago I was on my home when I saw an old man pushed to the ground by a thug because he had accidentally bumped into the guy while getting off the train. When I went to help him I directed an expletive at the thug and he knocked me to the ground too. Not one person stopped to ask if either of us was OK. Yet on Twitter the responses to my update came thick and fast. Was I ok? Was I hurt? More mentally than physically, thanks guys.

So it has made me think about human kind. What makes a stranger reach out over a social network yet when you’ve been knocked over in a busy tube station most people will step over you?

Is it safety, anonymity, fear? Do I even need to ask?

London is a strange place. It is transient, fast paced and exciting. It is a city of opportunity. But it is hard. Its exterior is so tough that it seems easier to step over it than to stop and see if it’s OK.

In the past three months that I’ve lived here, I’ve often asked myself why am I here? How the hell did I get here? I think, like many expats, by chance.

To make life a little easier for myself and to keep the demons away, I run. And to make life a little easier for others, I raise money.

A few years ago when I was training for a half marathon with an Australian charity called Can Too, I was struggling up a hill and Can Too’s director, Annie, saw me and came to chat. She told me that whenever she struggled she thought of why she was doing this. And for her it was because she can. There are others who can’t. So she throws her heart and soul into it. She has raised millions of dollars for cancer research in Australia. Millions.

So this is why I’m doing it. Because I can.

And when this weird week is over and I’ve moved away from the landlord who needs a laundry lesson, my heart and soul will be in this too.

Please help me raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre at http://www.justgiving.com/KirstenLodge

K xo

Where’s that bloody wagon?

Today I took another step forward in my running training. I joined the running club at work. I’ve steered clear because I can think of nothing more demoralising than trying to keep up with a lot of perky young things bouncing down the street or hot blokes who cover more ground in one stride than I cover in a whole block.

So I did it. I joined the running club. And I dragged along a friend from my team so that I had someone to share the pain with. Thankfully they were all women in the group. But not long after we took off, one had already bounded off across the Thames. I was.. well.. at the back of the pack. Yep. Last. Huffing and puffing my guts out. No surprises there.

Then came the pain. Out of nowhere. I felt like I’d been stabbed in the ribs. A stitch so bad that passersby were looking at me in pity. Stop they were saying. (They weren’t really.) Then my mind wandered back to last night and the.. 3.. ehem..  glasses of wine that had been forced down my gob at the bar.. i mean restaurant. Yep. I fell off the wagon. And I paid the price. Pain.

But since I’ve given up the booze I’ve lost 3cm off my waist. Thank god. Because when I arrived in London after 8 months of eating South American fish, white rice and manky salad, I developed a nasty habit of eating nothing but cheese and hot chips. So my girly waist line was starting to look.. well less girly. In fact, it felt like I was trying to stuff a sausage every time I put my Skins on.

So I learnt my lesson. It’s time to get serious because the countdown is now on to the big race. I know that eventually the chafe, the flimsy toenails and the pain will all be worth it. Even more so for my charity (MS Resource Centre) who will be the ones that really benefit from me running. C’arn Lodgey. Better find that wagon…

A steamy start to the New Year

In a week that has been trying in many more ways than one, surprisingly, my London Marathon training seems to have stepped up a notch. Perhaps having steam coming out of my ears was just what I needed to kick things along on the running front.

Last week my brand new uninsured iphone4 stopped working and, of course, my insurance doesn’t kick in until next week. When I went to get it repaired, the deadbeat in the mobile phone shop told me with a smirk that it was my own stupidity that broke it in the first place so I would have to ‘suffer’ in the weeks that it would take to get it fixed.

I was so steaming mad I went for a run. I pounded that pavement with such force that I couldn’t believe there weren’t dents in the concrete.

Then things went awry on the home front – the washing machine broke down, I had a small fire in the oven and the flatmate washed my white clothes with bright purple socks.

They say that when the shit hits the fan, people’s true colours come out. And, unlike the purple dye in my clothes, they sure did.

I’ve discovered that I’m living with a kleptomaniac who has ripped more people off in the past week than the Wolf of Wall Street and is too scared to sleep in her bedroom in case she catches a chill. So she sleeps on the couch and for the duration of her slumber I’m forced to tiptoe around the flat.

I have also discovered her aptitude for bringing home men and bonking them on the lounge room floor. Nice!

The events of late have left me stressed out and whingy, which I hate. But my running has never been better.

Yesterday I smashed 8 miles in an hour and a half. Well smashed by my standards. Normally I return after a long run looking drawn in the face and feeling a bit wobbly. And while I wouldn’t say that I bounced in through the front door looking sharp, I felt pretty good. Then I reached the kitchen where the purple sock offender was standing with a crumb on the end of her finger saying hysterically “look…. LOOK!”

So I told my couch-sleeping, obsessive-compulsive crumb-finding flatmate where to stick her purple socks and now I find myself homeless and mobile phoneless.

But in the grand scheme of things, it is just a phone and there are couches I can sleep on until I find my real home. In the meantime, my running is my rock.

** Please support my fundraising efforts. I am raising money for the Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre. You can donate via my fundraising page at http://www.justgiving.com/KirstenLodge. Please please please give generously.

Peaks and trousers

In a week where London temperatures are bordering on arctic, I’ve been wondering how long it will take for me to fall into a training rhythm. I haven’t quite got there yet.

I seem to have a problem with my running pants (or are they trousers?).  This week I’ve managed to leave them at home, shrink them and wear them inside out. And it’s only Wednesday. I dread to think what will happen next.

I did my long run on Sunday. I had planned to go on Saturday but one Friday night wine too many determined that a long run the next morning would be ineffective and miserable. But on Sunday I tore that footpath in half. I flew along at a racey 11 minutes per mile. For 75 minutes. Without stopping. My feet even struggled to keep up with me. There were a few moments when I wobbled like mad (more so than usual).

Then I got home, ate two-thirds of the fridge, jumped in the shower and screamed for New Zealand when the hot water hit my chafe. Oh god. Not that again. And much earlier on in the piece than any other training I’ve done.

So I need new running gear. Fast! I’m not sure if I’m being overly sensitive but I keep hearing the ‘s’ word. ‘Snow’! Am I going to have to run in Ugg boots? A fur coat? Will my MSRC t-shirt fit over the top of all that? I’ve never even had to run with anything on my ears before. Will I cope? Am I being dramatic? Perhaps. I prefer to think that all of this going on in my imagination is exciting.

It IS exciting. I’m excited that I’ve raised my first £20 for MSRC. I’m excited about the thought of crossing Tower Bridge and hearing that crowd roar. I’m excited that MSRC just sent me my iron-on letters that spell out my name for the crowd to cheer me on when I do cross that bridge. I’m excited that next week I will have sorted out my trousers (hopefully). And if it snows, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Kx

I’m not sure how I got here

When I arrived in London 8 weeks ago, I had just a backpack. I didn’t even own a pair of running shoes. I’m still recovering from the shock of returning to civilisation after eight months on the road in South America and being far away from home.

But amidst all this weirdness and wonder, I somehow, by some miracle, have landed a place in the much coveted London Marathon.

The London Marathon is so popular that it is done by ballot. You apply. You miss out. The other option is to run for a charity and raise money for them. I am enormously excited about getting a place with the Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre.

But I’ve had a less than perfect start to my training and I keep getting lost on my runs.

Last week I did my first training run back after being struck down by ‘a proper English cold’. I’ve felt like death for well over a week. I’ve been easing my body back with strength training but last week I decided that I felt well enough to run home from work – a supposed 4.7 mile (7.5 km). That’s if you follow the printed map in your hand or the GPS in your bag. Otherwise the run is about 6 miles if you choose to ignore the map in your hand because surely the map is wrong.

So my run/ hobble didn’t go so well. I picked the worst possible route home. When I planned my route, it never occurred to me that Oxford Street may not be the best street to jog down during peak hour.  After dodging hundreds of prams and wheelie suitcases that seemed to spring out of nowhere, I gave up and walked in a huff. Finally, once I’d reached Edgeware Road I had some space.

I was feeling quite pleased with myself when I discovered that I was running west instead of north west. So, after an hour and a half of stumbling around the streets with blue lips and many choice words rolling through my mind, I saw a bus and on I hopped. The woman I sat next to looked horrified and swiftly stuffed her fingers in her nose to block my sweaty smell that was radiating throughout the bus.

To top it off my back pack rubbed on my shoulders (I later discovered the straps were all over the shop), my shoes didn’t feel right and I felt like I needed to run in a fur coat – I could feel the temperature dropping from 8 degrees. I know I’ll be keeping Kleenex in business this winter with the tsunami like force of liquid that seems to stream from my nose the second I take off.

By the time I got home, I was shivering, starving and stiff as a plank.

If I said I’d found it an exhilarating experience, I would be lying. I’m unable to repeat any of the choice words that had rolled around in my mind. And for the life of me, I can’t work out how I came to be in London – let alone in London training for the marathon.

But at the back of mind is that familiar voice. I haven’t heard it in a while. It says… ‘Here we go again. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.’

The physical and mental challenge I face is enormous – run 26.2 miles or 42.1 kilometres and raise AT LEAST (!) 1500 pounds for the Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre. I would like to raise a million.

I’m up for it if you are!
Kx