Running towards another new thing

Over the weekend I ran 5km for the first time. This probably doesn’t seem far to some people, but I’m not a runner and never have been. I like the idea of being a runner and I have tried to run a few times over the last ten years, but I could never seem to push past the barriers.

I decided to put a running goal on my list of 32 new things to challenge myself. I decided that it wasn’t enough to run 5km. I had to do it in a good time. So although running 5km is a new thing in itself, that alone is not on my list. What will hopefully become one of my new things is running 5km in under 30 minutes.

Turning up on Saturday for the run was a battle in itself, being up and eating breakfast before 7am is not what I would call weekend fun. I’m sure that if I wasn’t going with my sister, I would never have made it at all. My sister is a runner and I tagged along to one of her run meets.

It was cold, I was nervous and had no idea how far I could run. Up until this day I had only run a maximum of 3 km.

For my first 5km run I am pretty happy I ran the whole way. That’s probably largely due to my sister pushing me along. I found that it helped knowing how far I had run and how far I had left to go. My time was 33 mins 21 secs. I have a little bit of work to do to bring my time under 30 minutes, but at least I now know what I have to work with.

At this stage my focus is on crossing off another one of my new things and don’t intend of taking running up permanently. Although I’ve heard that it can be addictive.

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Troubled by a dream

The other night I had a dream that I went back to being an Environmental Health Officer. In my dream I was happy. I awoke from my dream a little annoyed with myself. Do I want to be a Health Inspector again?? My immediate thought was NO!! So why am I dreaming about it with so much fondness. What am I missing?

I am at week 4 in my new job. Recently I completed my timesheet. Sitting at my desk, I peered down at my total number of hours worked for the fortnight. It was 42. Uncontrollably a broad smile filled my face which soon turned into laughter. This was crazy; I only worked 42 hours in two weeks. Before I had decided to take my gap year, I would work more than that in one week. I was stressed, grumpy and tired, uninspired and felt unappreciated.

Although my income is significantly less then it once was, I didn’t think it mattered because I am happy. But I am beginning to wonder whether I am missing some of the challenges that come with a higher paid job……

#5 of 32 Blood donation

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I had a friend tell me that I was being boring for counting blood donation as one of my 32 new things. The person thought that there are more exciting things I could be doing, but what could be more exciting then saving lives.

I have been walking past the Australian Red Cross Blood Service in Bendigo for years; I didn’t even know they were there. I arrived early, because I wasn’t entirely sure where I was going. I found the staff at the service to be awesome! Everyone was very friendly, chatty and reassuring.

After the boring but important paperwork was completed, I got to sit in one of the big chairs. It was almost like a theme park ride. The chair lifted and reclined seamlessly, my adrenaline was pumping and I was being given instructions on what to do if I felt unwell during the donation.

I don’t love needles, but who does. I didn’t think it was necessary to watch the needle go into my arm. I could feel it pierce my skin, so I knew it was there. My blood was a little shy to begin with and the slow flow rate set off the alarm on the machine. It didn’t faze me, but the staff were quick to reassure me that everything was ok.

The donation itself took about 10 mins. I would have taken a photo of the process, but the staff set me a challenge of spending 10 mins without my phone. I had to laugh when part way through the donation my phone started to ring. It gave me the opportunity to say: see, I told you I needed my phone 😉

I thought I was very calm about the donation process. I’m not sure whether it was because it was my first time or whether on the exterior I looked like I was freaking out, but the staff kept checking in on me to make sure I was okay. It could also be because the newbie before me had fainted.

The nurse described to me that you never know how your body will react to donating blood for the first time. Your body may think that you are hurt because you are bleeding and its natural reaction might be that you need to rest, so you faint.

Overall I had a fab time donating blood. I got to chat to some really nice people, I tuned out from the world for 10 mins and I had some juice and snacks afterwards. Before I left I schedule my next donation.

A couple of days after the donation I received a phone call seeking feedback on my experience at the blood service. The first thing out of my mouth was: ‘it was awesome, I had fun.’ The caller was a little shocked and said she had never heard blood donation being described as fun before, but it was true. I think the staff made the difference in my experience. They were all up beat, chatty and efficient which passed the time quickly.

I’m really happy that I chose blood donation as one of my new things. I have now set myself a new challenge of donating blood when I can for the rest of my life. It feels good to do something that will help someone else.

Numbers 3 & 4 of 32: Fun in the Barossa Valley

3. Scarecrow Hunting: It started with a map, a car and a camera and ended after an awesome journey around the Barossa Valley.

The scarecrows appear as part of the biannual event, the Barossa Vintage Festival, which is the longest running wine festival in Australia.  The scarecrows are made by the community, school groups, families and businesses. They can be found in shop windows, farm paddocks, along the streetscape and household front gardens. Here are a couple of my favourites.

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Check out the event website for more photos. http://barossavintagefestival.com.au/barossa-scarecrows

I left the scarecrow hunt with grand plans to make my own scarecrow to watch over my vegetable garden. Stay tuned for photos.

4. Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop: I love food. I enjoy growing my own produce and making delicious food using whatever is in season.  Maggie Beer is one of my inspirations.  I didn’t know what to expect from my visit, but from the moment we arrived I was overwhelmed by the warmth and hospitality.  My visit to Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop can only be described as magical.

We strolled around the gardens, doing the nature walk and the farm walk and enjoyed watching the birds. We stayed for lunch and selected from the picnic style menu while enjoying a delicious wine.

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Porcini Mushroom & Verjuice Pate Picnic Basket & the Seasonal Cheese Picnic Basket

It was a wonderful relaxed concept.  Our food arrived in actual baskets and we ate with our hands.  If the weather was better, it would have been perfect to sit on the lawn areas outside.

After picking up a few of Maggie’s goodies for the pantry we departed. If you are ever in the vicinity, I would highly recommend a visit.

http://www.maggiebeer.com.au