London-bound

I was telling the receptionist at my physio’s office a bit about our lives, packing up and moving around the world, and she said that she felt her shoulders stiffen with stress just talking to me. Not quite the effect I like to have on people. She was right though- packing up house, home and heart is stressful, probably more stressful than starting anew- or maybe I’m better at the arriving bit than I am at the leaving. Anyway, I love packing so so much, that I’m embarking today on a short trip to London with my daughters. We’re going to do tourist things and meet up with friends from Malaysia whom we haven’t seen in a whole three weeks!
The thing with packing in this part of the world is that the weather is so changeable and unpredictable. In one day you might a wool onesie, an umbrella, a rain coat, a sun hat, shorts and running shoes. I don’t have a wool onesie by the way though sometimes in the cool evenings I fantasize how cosy one might feel.
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Yesterday, after checking the London weather forecast, I made a strategic gamble to remove my well-folded trench coat from my suitcase and replace it with my foam roller. I may not be able to run around Hyde Park as anticipated at the time of booking a hotel- you guessed it- beside Hyde Park but I am going to keep rolling this damn ITB, yes I am. The running shoes are coming too but only for walking, honest. The thing about physio here is that it makes my leg too sore to allow any delusions about being recovered from injury. Physio makes me feel injured in fact. Let’s hope this strategy of paying for pain pays off. And let’s hope the weather forecast is right and I won’t need the trench coat.

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If Only Guinea Pigs Could Fly

Tigerphoto Last Sunday night, I sat down and did something I’d been procrastinating over for weeks. I made a poster advertising our four guinea pigs for adoption. And I cried. Guinea Pigs can’t fly, even on commercial airplanes, so we can’t take them with us to Australia. We’ve had Tiger, Dexter, Hermione and Grace for between two and a half and three years. It’s a bit complicated how we ended up with four in three separate cages but a Twitter feed description of the story would go something like: Two boys, one death, one boy, new friend, friend is a girl, lucky discovery before pregnancy, two more new friends, now two pairs, boys fight, separate, girls live happily ever after together. I put a few copies of the Guinea_Pigs poster in the trunk of my car with the weak intention of placing them on noticeboards at my children’s school. I hated the idea of advertising our little pets to total strangers. At physiotherapy, I told Akmal about my tale of projected loss and woe. ‘I’ll take one,’ he said as he released my posterior tibialis. ‘You will?’ Talk about making a girl happy on a Monday morning! Then Diana, a lovely lady with three children, who works at the clinic said she’d take one. I promised pictures. On Friday, at my 50th physio session since September, Diana was very excited about the guineas and agreed to take the pair of girls. An hour of so later, she Whatsapped me to ask if Dexter was still available as another physio wanted to take him.

GP PosterSo I didn’t need the poster, the animals are going to people whom I know will care for them, and all because I suffered a PTT injury which still niggles especially after hill workouts. Ain’t life funny. I haven’t handed over the animals yet but am very, very relieved that this major emotional hurdle has, if not been breached, well at least approached with a minimum chance of upset. I hope. In other news, I received an email from Garmin Malaysia today in response to my query about sponsorship – back in January. Yes, they’d like to sponsor me with a custom-made run top for racing and a watch, in return for reviewing their products and wearing the top and publishing photos of me wearing it on my blog. They suggest I get a Forerunner 620 from them, Aarrgh! My husband bought me a new Forerunner 620 four weeks ago for my birthday – and I love it. And I’m leaving Malaysia. But I hope I can still work something out. I have four races in Malaysia over the next six weeks, all of which I will write about, and during which I will used my Garmin watch. And I’m not going to stop racing when I get to Australia. I’m just going to be a lot further down the pack. But I plan to still write about my experiences. This is another reason why it sucks to move about. Good things  – and friendships too by the way – always materialise as you’re heading for the exit!

D-Day Minus 4 months

Moving sucks. And it doesn’t get easier emotionally (nor practically). And even when you know from experience that things usually work out, that children adjust to new schools, that new houses can be turned into new homes, that the nuances of every traffic system/shopping mall/currency/phone/culture/kitchen can be learned, and even new friends (and in this instance old friends too) await, it is done with a heavy heart. And tears. As a chronic weeper, there will, over the next few months, be lots of tears. 

The trick is to stay positive, look forward not back, though not too far forward as that can be scary when you think about the fact that you’ve no clue of what your address will be in six months, and embrace change. And cry in private. Yes, wish me luck with that. We haven’t in fact got confirmed places for the children in school in Perth, so as yet no flights will be booked. Still, I have to start conceding to myself at least that our time in Malaysia is coming to a close. Yep, tears. We’ve only got four months left.

For months I’ve been convinced that my running habit, picked up in Malaysia, would make moving easier, as it would allow me not only to keep exercising while between gym memberships, but it would also give me a tool for meeting new people in Perth. And as lots of people tell me, Perth is a fabulous place for running, so I know I’m fortunate that it’s there we’re going and not back to Manila (or Jakarta or umpteen other cities where running could be a challenge).

What I’m now realizing though is that my love of running developed here and the fabulous sense of community it offers will make the leave-taking harder. There is the list too of races that I can only see through until June. The familiar routes that I love and hate with equal passion. The familiar faces whose names I will never know but with whom I always exchange greetings on those weekend LSDs.

I have three half marathons, a 12km and a 15km to do before we go. If the Mizuno Wave Run is before June 13, I will sign up for that too. I need to stay injury-free, so having been lax with my physio since my parents arrived for a visit, I head back to rehab on Friday with a new ache in my knee (which might be due to a very high mileage week last week, or a need for new shoes). My PTT foot is complaining a little too so hopefully Akmal can knead the scar tissue out of it. I’m going to try not let nerves get the better of me at any of these races – the first, the NW Galaxy 12km, is this weekend – and do my best to enjoy the opportunity to race amongst friends (and within sight of those icons of the KL cityscape, the Petronas Towers).

Moving sucks but our nomadic lifestyle also brings privilege. I’m very aware of that. Leaving Norway four years ago was very painful, but I would never have missed out on the experience we’ve had in Malaysia, and I can’t have it both ways. So bear with me over the coming months. Keep moving forward, with no more than the odd glance over your shoulder, acknowledge the places you’ve been, without losing touch with where you have come from, stay strong mentally, talk to yourself if need be, push through the pain, and savour every moment. Running? Living? For the next few months, the same rules will apply.