Marathon Crazyness

Today I ran the Perth Marathon! Maybe a bit crazy since it’s only been two weeks since I finished my first ultra marathon of 76kms… Anyway, I felt good and had already registered so thought I would give it a go. I certainly didn’t run for a specific time or PB (personal best)!! I was just happy to shuffle along with my friend Leisha as she completed her long run in the lead-up to her first marathon over on the Gold Coast in a few weeks time!
It was a fresh 6 degrees at 7am in the morning but like last year it was a beautiful sunny day! The start was awesome and I felt great cruising along on a 5.45/km pace as we ran from Crown Casino towards Narrows Bridge. Though as soon as I met Leisha at the 5km mark we ended up running at a 5.30/km pace which was way too fast this early in the race. At about 29-30km my calf started to hurt and shortly after that I really started to struggle. After turning around at the 30km mark (by the blue boat shed) the head wind felt so strong and I had to stop and walk a little. That wasn’t such a good idea as within seconds my legs started to seize up and it was more painful to walk than to run! We managed to run to Narrows Bridge where Leisha had done her 30kms and left me to finish of the race. It was a really tough last 10kms and as much as I wanted to walk I knew it was going to hurt even more so managed to move forward with a slow jog. Despite my sore calf and slow shuffle I finished the race in 4 hours and 13 minutes and ended up with a 7 minutes PB! Very surprised by it but definitely happy since I wasn’t bothered about my finishing time at all today. I know I can pull off a sub 4 hour marathon but the question is if I really want/need to? I’m not sure the flat road marathons really is my cup of tea. I much prefer long hilly trails I think.. Even though I’m feeling pretty broken tonight and my toenails are looking horrible it’s been an amazing year of running! I have achieved more than I ever hoped for with the 76km ultra marathon being the number one! Now time for rest and recovery. We’re off to Sweden in 11days time and I can’t wait to see my family and friends again!

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No More Botox?

It’s been 8 weeks since Cayla’s Botox injections at PMH. She has since then had about four weeks of serial casting to stretch the muscles in her left leg and foot. Apart from a small pressure sore on her heel she’s done really well and we managed to get about five degrees dorsiflexion. She has got a new pair of AFOs and she picked the same pattern as last year; purple butterflies.
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Earlier in the week we had our post-botox appointment at PMH. This is where we meet with a pediatrician and a physio therapist where they will assess the effects of the Botox injections. I had quite a few questions and wanted to talk to them about Cayla’s laryngospasm that happened during her last GA. You can read about that here. We really don’t want to be worried every time she goes under a general anesthetic which is twice a year for her botox injections.. There was a new pediatrician there that I have never met but apparently she was in the room when Cayla had her last botox so she was aware of the issue re laryngospasm. We spoke about it whilst the physio was checking Cayla’s legs and feet. It was a good chat and the pead pretty much said that they are not overly keen on putting Cayla under a general anesthetic as it is a very high risk that it will happen again They are not 100% sure why but think it has got to do with the lack of saliva control. We talked about possibly doing the injections without a GA but we’re not sure Cayla is old enough yet and I don’t want to freak her out either. So our plan of action is a referral which will be sent to the orthopedic clinic for a specialist to access her in regards to a future surgery. This won’t happen in the next year or even two so no dramas but it will be good to get some more information about our options. Until then we have to control her tight leg muscles with stretching, AFOs, serial casting and Electrodress (Molli). We have so far been using the loose electrodes but will try the outfit when we go to Sweden in a few weeks time. I have no clue how it all will work out but definitely happy to give it a go. The Botox injections have so far definitely been a great help and Cayla is walking better than ever. She is putting much more weight on her left leg and have recently been discharged from the Hip Surveillance Clinic at PMH which is great news! We will also inquire about the WalkAid but that will have to wait until we’re back from Sweden. 12 more days and we’re on the plane!!
A few photos from Nathan’s life in the last few weeks; he’s been invested to Cubs Scouts, received an Honors Certificate, and participated in the school’s yearly cross country carnival. Go Nathan! Also big congratulations to my sis Linda who have just graduated from a Swedish gymnasium. This is a secondary school which prepares the student for higher education at a university - well done Linda!
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Just a few more…

Ok I will soon stop going on about this amazing ultra but first a few more photos! Most of the photos were taken by Ron McGlinn who spent the whole day capturing these awesome images for all the runners to keep (for free!). This race was such a great experience and I am so grateful for these memories.

Some people have asked me what I had to eat/drink throughout the day so here we go:
8 gu gels
2 jam sandwiches
3 bananas
water + electrolyte drink
Salt tablets 

Coming in to the third station at Mt Helena (61km). Huge milestone in the race!
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Munching bananas!


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Kep Ultra 75km Race Recap

It’s Saturday and nearly a week has passed since I finished my first ultra marathon. I feel great! My legs were a bit stiff after the race and my head was in a cloud but that is understandable since I was out running for just over 9 and 1/2 hours..! I had a massage earlier in the week which was awesome for the legs and I have also had a a hair cut which was well over due…!
I was pretty nervous as we left Perth and made our way towards Northam on Saturday afternoon. Since I was only offered an entry two weeks before the race I didn’t do any of the recon runs so knew pretty much nothing about the course. Maybe it was better to get in to the race late as I certainly didn’t over train like so many other people. More than 35 runners pulled out before the race and I saw quite a few with physio tape in different angles across their legs in the morning of the race. I researched a range of different ultra marathon plans and it’s easy to see how you can get injured as they all require a lot of running. Don’t get me wrong, I have done a lot of training over the last 4.5 months but I would probably have had a slightly different approach if I knew I was going to run this race! I was aiming for Perth Marathon (15th June) so have only trained on flat roads, no trails.
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start (1)We met a group of runners at the Pasta dinner party in Northam the night before the race and it was great to meet them and possibly get even more nervous as they all seemed so fit and experienced! We stayed in a ‘executive suit’ at Northam Motel which was anything but exclusive but hey it did the job and I had a good night’s sleep. I woke up before my alarm went off and decided to study the map of the race course to try to remember all the important notes where navigation could possibly get tricky.. Wow, very nervous now….. Anyway, had some breakfast and got myself ready for the big day ahead. At 6.15am we arrived at the start and it was a freezing 8 degrees.. I picked up my race bib, and showed them all the mandatory gear needed which was headlamp + spare batteries, yellow safety vest, whistle, mobile phone and at least 600ml of water. I went for a last last visit to the toilet before the start and at 7am 74 runners set off from Northam towards Mundaring. It is quite hilly out of Northam and my race strategy of running 25min and walking 5mins went out of the window straight away. But that’s ok, I decided to still walk moste of the hills and run the flats and downhills. The road between Northam and the first aid station Clackline at 19km was alright, not very scenic but it was nice to tick off one aid station and I was feeling good.
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Mike was waiting at Clackline and it was nice to see a familiar face along the course. It was a bit crazy at this aid station with heaps of parked cars, dogs, kids and cheering people everywhere. The friendly volunteers filled up my water bladder and Mike gave me a banana to eat and a jam sandwich to bring on the road. I was faffing about with my bag and couldn’t close it, I wasn’t sure if I needed to ‘check in’ and it was all a bit crazy and quite overwhelming!

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The next section was a 24km long and straight pea gravel road for most of the way to the second aid station, Wooroloo. I was running along fine but found the long gradual incline quite hard so did have regular walking breaks. I had a gel or some of my jam sandwich every 30-40 minutes and was feeling pretty good. I decided to listen to some music and forgot that I was holding on to my sandwich and dropped it somewhere around 28kms…! Because I was fiddling with my bag so much at the aid station I just grabbed the sandwich in a plastic zip lock bag in my hand and took off… Anyway I had to run back a couple of hundred meters to find it and luckily it wasn’t too far away.. But because I had to backtrack to find my sandwich I had by then lost the small group of runners that I ran with and was now running by myself. At around 30km I thought I was lost and had a short moment of panic… rang Mike nearly in tears but after talking to him and checking the gps on my mobile phone and realised that I was on the right track.. phew… Mike popped up a few times along the way taking photos and it was great to see him as I was still running on my own and hadn’t seen another runner for quite some time.

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It was great to get to the 2nd aid station at Wooroloo which was at the 43km mark. I had a banana, filled up my water bladder and sports drink, grabbed another jam sandwich (but this time I packed it safely inside my bag) and off I went! I had by then caught up with a few of the other runners again and even though we weren’t running side by side it was nice to know they were around. The Kep track is quite easy to navigate but there were a few tricky spots and I am glad to have run those sections with other people. It’s difficult to think straight when you are tired.
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I don’t remember much of the section between Wooroloo and Mt Helena (18km). I was listening to music, thinking about my brother, the finish line and concentrating on taking in fuel and water regularly, counting down the kilometers. But I do clearly remember coming in to aid station 3 at Mt Helena! I knew this before hand but before we could check in at that aid station we had to run 600m down the hill and back again and this was so frustrating.. I’m still not quite sure why we had to do this extra section as this would make the full race distance 76kms but hey, there we go. Getting to this aid station was a huge milestone for me! I wanted to get out of there before 3pm or I would have to carry a yellow safety vest and headlamp. I checked out at 2.45pm…. phew! Now I only had about 15km to go so the next 10kms I ran with a big smile on my face, I even had a cry if I remember right… At this stage I was still feeling good and I knew I was going to finish the race, even if I walked the last bit I was going to finish!!
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The day before the race Mike and I drove to the area where I would finish the race and I couldn’t wait to get to that roundabout where the race notes said that we were to ‘ignore all markers’, turn left and run up a short 300m hill before the finish line.
This last section from Mt Helena to Mundaring was so pretty, single man trail surrounded by bush. Green and lush from all the rain we’ve had in Perth lately. I ran the last bit of the race with a really lovely English girl called Amanda. We ran together at the start and some other short sections of the race, it’s kind of nice to chat to people now and then but most of the race I ran by myself which was fine too. We chatted away and by this stage (around 70kms) I had quite stiff hips and my feet or mostly toes started to hurt too. My garmin watch died around this time as it only had 8 hours of battery life but I had runkeeper going on my phone so that was alright. We chatted away and before we knew it we crossed Mundaring Weir Road, ran along a small section along this road for a couple of hundred meters until we hit a ROUNDABOUT!!! Yes! Yes! Friggin Yeeees! There it is, THE roundabout!! Some Kep volunteers cheered us on, told us to safely cross the road and run up the hill towards the finish. We walked a little bit and then started to slowly jog towards the orange cones at the top of the hill. I saw a group of people and Mike was among them waving at me and taking photos. I cannot describe the feeling of turning right at the top of the hill, following the orange cones, hearing people clapping their hands cheering us on as we ran towards the finish line…!! It was EPIC and I’m nearly crying when writing this! It was so awesome….. Amanda and I ran across the finish line together, received our medals around our necks, had a big hug and smiled for more photos. I don’t know that many people in the ‘ultra world’ here in Perth but a few friendly faces were at the finish line and I was so happy to see them. Shirley, Ben, Cheryl, Chris – you guys rock! I can’t wait to share this experience with you all next year! A massive thanks to my amazing running friends Cheryl, Shirley, Sylvie and Leisha… for your invaluable advice and support but mostly for believing in me! A huge thanks to my husband Michael for spending the night in the most exclusive motel in Northam and for being my support crew throughout the whole race, I love you. To my mum in Sweden who could barely sleep and sent me 32 messages on Viber throughout the day! You are too funny and can’t wait to see you in a few weeks! Big thanks to Ian and Gwendy for looking after the kids! To friends and family all around the world for your support and kind messages, especially on Facebook where my finish line post has got more than 130 likes and over 100 messages – thanks! I still cannot believe that I have just ran 76kms in my first ultra marathon….

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I ran this race in memory of my beautiful brother Samir. He was taken from us on the 1st January 2007 at only 25 years of age, we love him and miss him so much every day. It meant a lot to me to run this race for him, he was a very athletic and active person, and I know that he would be so proud of me. Physical pain is nothing
compared to the pain we all endured when he died and still feel every day.
Love you little brother, one day we’ll meet again.

Here are a few photos from the finish………… tears of joy…….. Epic!

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Kep Ultra 75km

I have some really crazy and exciting running news! In January I tried to get an entry for this year’s Kep Ultra 75km/100km but unfortunately I didn’t get in. The race director had already taking in more than 25 runners above the limit and had 17 people on the wait list. I was number 10 on the wait list so I thought I had no chance at all and decided to do some solid training over the next 4.5 months anyway and run Perth Marathon again. I followed a different training program this time with a lot more quality running with intervals and tempo running compared to a year ago. It was fewer days running in the week but really fast times to run plus cross training (rowing/spinning). I also decided to do Michelle Bridges 12 week Lean and Strong Program which had me in the gym 4 times a week doing weights. My long runs have also been different this year as instead of increasing my km’s every week I have done long runs of 28-32km (35km as my longest run) pretty much from the start. It was challenging at times but I feel great and more important I have no injuries at all. Anyway, to get to the point……….! A couple of weeks ago I received an email informing me that I had been offered a race entry for this year’s Kep Ultra..!! I did not expect that at all! The sensible part of me said; don’t do it this year, volunteer at the event and train for it ‘properly’ next year instead. However I am really excited and scared(!) but ready to give it my best shot so have registered and will be running 75km tomorrow!! I’m not looking at a particular finishing time, just purely enjoy it and finish in one piece. It’s very different to running a marathon where I would run at a faster pace for 42.2km. I will run this ultra at a much slower pace and incorporate walking breaks throughout the race. I should be able to get to 50km ok and after that I have no idea what will happen.. Gaaaahhhhhh! This is so far out of my comfort zone that it makes me feel sick but hey, some people swear that’s where the magic happens….!

Cayla’s Speech

Cayla is talking more and more and unclear words are becoming a little bit easier to understand which is great! I love listening in when Cayla is playing with her older brother Nathan. Being her brother he does understand her pretty well but it’s also because her words are becoming more clear which is pretty exciting. Even though she can say quite a few clear words now it seems to be more difficult for her to put them together in a long sentence. Sometimes she chats away and it sounds like Japanese, really cute but we can’t understand a word!
Because people are fundraising for TCCP every year children with cerebral palsy are able to receive equipment needed to help them do more ‘normal’ things and it make their lives just that little bit easier. Nearly two years ago Cayla was lucky to receive a device called Vantage Lite, we call it her ‘computer’. Some of you may know what a Vantage Lite is but for you that don’t it’s a device (size of an iPad) with 84 different pictures. Different picture combinations make up a range of words and sentences. This device is Cayla’s voice when people can’t quite understand what she is trying to say. Last year TCCP secured a huge grant to help children using different AAC system (argumentative and alternative communication) with extra therapy sessions to help making them more confident and efficient in using the device at home and/or at school. Cayla has recently received the first block of these intensive therapy sessions with senior speech pathologist Sue Suter from the TCCP’s cp tech department. Sue reported that even though Cayla is not using the device all that often she is picking up new words and word combinations very quick which is a great start. IMG_7045Because Cayla is verbal we don’t use it at all at home but we do bring it to school every day. Cayla’s teacher and the speech pathologist at the Language Development Centre have recently been trained in using the device and hopefully they will find it useful in the classroom. Ideally we want Cayla to be able to speak on her own without the use of a device but right now we can all see that it can be a great teaching and assessment tool for a range of activities at school. Things like telling her weekly news and what she has been up to over the holidays and so on.
Some very exciting news is that Cayla has been accepted to a 5-day camp in October! It’s a camp for children using a device such as the Vantage Lite and the whole family is invited to come along. There will be plenty of experienced staff at the camp and lots of things for the siblings to do so I’m pretty sure it will be lots of fun! The camp is called Motor Mouth Camp and is sponsored by Variety. You can find more info here.
There are no short cuts, Cayla’s speech is improving slowly but she will need to go to speech therapy for many years ahead. We practice sounds, tongue movements, lip closure, words and sentences and so on every day. The Language Development Centre is truly an amazing school with a range of programs in place to help children with speech difficulties. Socially Cayla is such a happy and lovely person who easily make friends at school. She is just like any other 5-year-old girl with a love for pink, Barbie dolls, dancing and singing. She loves helping out in the kitchen, taking her little soft toy dog “woof” out for a walk in the stroller or standing on our bed singing to herself in the bathroom mirror. She is still drooling a fair bit and we use the scarfs pretty much every day. It gets worse when she’s concentrating or working on different speech sounds and with only 12 kids in the class they work them hard! But saying that Cayla absolutely loves going to school and ringing the bell is very exciting and fun job! IMG_7192IMG_7190IMG_7266

 

Botox and Laryngospasm

Today we went to Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) for Cayla’s 6-montly botox injections in her left leg. Cayla had to fast from 7am and we had to be at the hospital at 10am in the morning. We didn’t get home until just after 5pm… such a long draining day. As much as I don’t really like the doctors injecting botox into my child’s body we do know that it really helps with the spasticity in her calf and hamstring. We have seen a big  improvement in her walking the last few years and I have been told many times that the small amount of botox injected in her leg is nothing to worry about. Usually Cayla is doing pretty well with the general anesthetic and the recovery but not today.. Apparently she had something called laryngospasm just after she had gone down for the general anesthetic, but before they had put the IV (drip needle) in her hand. That’s when the vocal cords suddenly seize up, blocking the flow of air into the lungs.. They had to give her an injection of a muscle relaxant so they could get tubes down her throat and nose with oxygen! Both doctors came out at different times and spoke to me in the recovery room, ensuring me that Cayla was fine and explained what had happened and why she had a nose bleed an a sore throat… We ended up staying in the recovery room over an hour waiting for the ‘ward nurse’ to come and collect us and take us back to the ward where Cayla’s dad was waiting. Cayla recovered fine and we gave her some panodil for her sore throat. She had some toast and apple juice, and after some more testing and removing the IV we were finally discharged to go home.
Of course I did some more research as soon as I got home and apparently Laryngospasm caused by anesthesia can be particularly deadly for children, leading to cardiac arrest within 30–45 seconds.. I’m not sure what to think but can’t help but feeling a bit uneasy about doing this twice a year with the risk of it happening again.. sucks.. We have a post-botox meeting at PMH in about 6-8 weeks time and I will bring a long list of questions regarding this (to me) scary condition and whether we could try the Botox without a general anesthetic (GA) sometime in the future? I know that older kids are having it done without a GA but not sure if Cayla is too young still. Ok, enough of this, I’m having a glass of red wine and then I’m off to bed.
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Finally School Holidays

It’s been ten weeks since the kids went back to school which means it’s time for two weeks of school holiday – yay! I have never been so happy to have a break from the usual routines than now… we’ve had lots of new routines with Cayla starting her new school and a bit of a change to our after-school activities. We have finally managed to get Nathan (nearly 8) to start doing a team sport… Well, he did play indoor soccer for a while 2-3 years ago but didn’t really enjoy it much. Since then he’s started scouts and continued with his swimming lessons once a week. Both Mike and I really believe that playing a team sport is important so we decided to give him a gentle ‘push’ in the right direction a few weeks ago by taking him to play outdoor soccer. He liked it and we couldn’t be more happy! However, this means he is now doing scouts, swimming and soccer which takes up 4 days of the week plus matches which will start from the 13th April..  oh well, we’ll see how it goes and if we have to drop an activity. He played his first game of soccer this morning and even though they lost (3-4), they had a great time!
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Cayla is only doing swimming once a week which is enough for her now when she’s started school full-time. I’m so impressed with her school and all the different programs they use for the students in all areas of learning and social activities. What’s more important is that Cayla absolutely LOVES her new school. She gets upset on the weekend as she can’t go to school.. hope it stays like that forever!
She was awarded an Honour’s Certificate a little while ago for settling in well to her new school and working very hard in her speech sessions. She didn’t know about the certificate and was really surprised and happy when the principal called out her name. She had the biggest smile on her face when she was standing on the stage with the other kids who was awarded with certificates. Super cute and we were of course super proud! I really hope she gets to stay at this school until year 3 which is the last year they can attend before they go back to their local main stream school. The first term is all about assessments and each child will be given a comprehensive IEP (Independent Education Plan) with individual targets and goals to work towards. We’ve just had our first Parent Meeting and she did score really low in most of the tests and assessments.. But that is to be expected, otherwise Cayla wouldn’t be at this school.
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We have had a crazy busy weekend with two birthday parties, baby shower, soccer game, and running/cycling training. My alarm went off at 4.20am…. can’t say that I love getting up that early in the morning but once I’m out there running, it all make total sense! I have completed ten weeks of Michelle Bridges 12 week advanced lean and strong program. I feel much stronger after all the weight lifting and it’s been great to try something out of my comfort zone. I’m about to buy some new running shoes but for some reason I find it really difficult to part with my old pairs…. what’s with that? Too many good memories maybe?? Or just weird?!?
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Cayla 5 years

Today is a very special day because today is Cayla’s birthday! She is finally turning 5 which she is absolutely over the moon about! She has been saying that she’s turning five soon for the last 8 months or so.. :)
Cayla usually wakes up first of everyone and comes in to our bedroom for a cuddle every morning, but today she stayed in her bed waiting for us to come to her. She was so cute giggling in bed when we sang for her and seeing all her pressies. We gave her Lego, a Barbie unicorn + doll, clothes, books, art and craft and she got a gorgeous princess dress, dolly and headband from her grandma (mormor) and Lars i Sweden. Nathan is building her Lego Pony Farm as we speak… We are catching up with family today for more celebrations. Mike’s brother Pete turned 30 yesterday and cousins Alyssa and Kate have both had their birthdays in March so we are doing a combined party in the park for everyone! Tomorrow after school Cayla is having a party with her friends from her new school at an indoor play centre and she is super excited!

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