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April « 2010 « Rebecca Preston's Blog

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Archive for April, 2010

Lest We Forget

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Today, the 25th of April, is ANZAC Day.  It’s an important day for all Australians and New Zealanders, as it marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces in Gallipoli in WWI.  ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day is now a day of national rememberance to commerate the lives of all the soldiers that have fought in all the wars, for their country.

Ever since I was young, this day has held great significance for me.  From an early age, my parents have demonstrated a great respect for our soldiers, as both their fathers served in WWII.  And given the opportunity when I was younger, I would march in the ANZAC Day parade, proudly displaying my Poppie’s medals.  (I did have some embarrassing pics of me marching in my primary school recorder band, to scan and upload, but the scanner wasn’t working)

My mother’s father, “Poppie”, was captured in Singapore and held prisoner of war in Changi.  It’s bizarre really.  When I hear the word Changi, I immediately associate it with excitement and opportunity, because to me, it represents Changi airport, and this airport is usually a stop over for me on my way to races and training camps.  But the Changi my Poppie would have known, would of been one of terror.  Mum said he didn’t talk about his time in Changi often.  Apparently he said the only thing that kept him alive was the coconuts he would collect and eat/drink when he managed to sneak out at night.  So yes, those coconuts do have amazing nutrients.  And one horror story he told her, was sometimes after returning to prison from a day of labouring, they would be ‘greeted’ with the vision of seeing their fellow inmates’ heads on sticks.  He survived.  However, an experience like that would no doubt scar you for life.

My father’s father, Grand Dad, fought in Syria (Middle East) in WWII.  His battillion was brought back to fight in New Guinea where he fought on the (now) famous Kokoda trail, and was injured in battle, and horrifyingly had to witness his best friend being blown up next to him.  He too never spoke often of his time at war, and again no doubt an experience that only sleep (perhaps) can provide you with peace from the horrors you have witnessed.

Those are just my two stories, that go along with the many many more.  And that is why we commerate ANZAC Day.  To remember all the soldiers that fought for the freedom of our country.  To remind myself  how lucky I am to live the life I live today- lucky to wake up and have the freedom of choice to be able to throw on my running shoes and go for a run. 

 My two grandfathers weren’t the only soldiers in my family.  My great great great Grandpappy Preston fought in the Civil War for the Confederates.cimg3508

It’s an old photo, but my father has had it restored to full colour and condition.  We are very proud of our great great great Grandpappy Preston. 

I have now decided, every blog of mine, shall include a youtube clip.  Gallipoli is an Aussie movie about two guys (one of them, a very young Mel Gibson), who were really good runners, that enlist for the WWI.  When I first saw it, I was very young and the war part was sort of irrelevant to me.  What stood out to me in the film was the running and the mantra Archy (not Mel) and his uncle/coach would repeat before he ran:

Uncle Jack: What are your legs?
Archy Hamilton: Springs. Steel springs.
Jack: What are they going to do?
Archy : Hurl me down the track.
Jack: How fast can you run?
Archy : As fast as a leopard.
Jack: How fast are you going to run?
Archy : As fast as a leopard!
Jack: Then let’s see you do it!

For anyone that has never seen Gallipoli, here is the very powerful ending:

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“I Come From The Land Down Under”

Friday, April 23rd, 2010
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Everytime I return home after an extended period overseas, the “Aussieness” of my home country is at first, a shock.  However, popular media is responsible for exaggerating how raw and outback Australia really is.  For example, when I travelled overseas to the states as a teenager, I had many US teens ask me if I ride a kangaroo to school, and I have never once said or heard in it’s proper context ”Throw another shrimp on the barbie”.  However, I do live very much immersed in the true Aussie lifestyle.

No morning in complete without vegemite.  And since bread is pretty much off the menu for me, I’m so Australian, I can eat it off the spoon.  YUM. 

Within hours of landing Tuesday morning, I went to pay for fuel at the counter of the service station (not gas station).  There was a truck driver talking away to the console operator, and he turned to me and said, “Go ahead love.  I’m just flappin’ me chops”. 

And in true Australian form, a HUGE rugby league scandal erupted yesterday.  And that is all we will hear on the news for the next couple of weeks.  Past examples always include players getting very drunk and caught in compromising situations (sexual relations, public nudity).  In fact, last year, one such example involved a player getting locked out of his hotel room, NAKED, and caught taking a…..hmmm, how should I say…….in aussie terms, caught taking a ‘dump’  in the hallway outside his room.  I guess, when you gotta go, you gotta go???   Yes, the league players are full of class and professionalism, and in true Aussie form, they still upheld as hero’s.  And to tell you the truth, most people I know, myself included, thought the ‘poo situation’ was hilarious, and could relate, having done crazy stuff themselves while under the influence. 

I do see kangaroos quite regularly.  When I run track at the Sunshine Coast University, they are everywhere, and quite tame.  I’m lucky to live in an estate situated within bushland, full of wildlife (not so lucky when he have huge spiders the house though), and we feed kookaburras over our back fence.  Not all Aussie wildlife is good though.  I hate magpies with a passion.  For those that don’t know what magpies are, or what they do, check this out:

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I’ll finish up with a clip from a great Aussie movie, The Castle.  Keep an eye out for Eric Bana, who has now gone on to bigger things in Hollywood.

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Inspiration

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Being here at camp in Krabi has been unreal.  I think I have been here now for 8 weeks, but I’m not counting.  I have pretty much enjoyed every minute of it, except for the lengthy visa runs Scott and I have had to endure twice now.  Last Sunday, we had the added bonus of going to a Thai funeral on the way home from the Malaysian border (perhaps Scott can tell you all about that one). 

Anyway, being in camp with my fellow team mates is inspiring.  While all of us here have a strong internal drive to get the best out of ourselves, and often don’t need ‘inspiring’ from external sources, it is nice to have company during the sessions.  I know for me personally, I have benefitted greatly from being around my team mates, both in and out of training. 

Last week when I wrote my Seinfeld Blog, I thought I had nothing exciting to report on.  Then I realised, I had some very exciting news, and something that inspires me.  My mum had raced the Mooloolaba Triathlon the previous Sunday, and she had placed 6th in her age group.  While 6th is a solid performance and a great achievement, what was even more exciting is that she had the fastest swim in her category, followed by a strong ride.  For the past year, she has been under my instructions in the water.  I do have the advantage of being pretty much a carbon copy of her-  that is, what works for me and what Doc tells me to do, will most probably work for her, because we are so similar;  right down to the annoying wrist drop in the catch part of the stroke.  So I’m taking this opportunity to say Well Done Mum on a great swim.  The biggest take home lesson for me is, she had been so consistent with her swim sessions- 4 x week for a year, she used her ‘tools of the trade’, and she had absolute faith in what I told her, so there was never any doubt in her mind that using paddles and pb for the most part of the session was the right thing to do.   A recipe for success in my opinion.  And the good news is, I am returning home from camp with a lot more knowledge and a few more tricks up my sleeve.  Lets see if we can get the fastest swim and bike splits next year :)

Here's mum cheering me on in Hawaii in 2007.

Here's mum cheering me on in Hawaii in 2007.

The Seinfeld Blog

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Just like the show, Seinfeld is known as “the show about nothing”, this blog is essentially about nothing.  I have no race reports to write, no quick Singapore trips to review, and as much as I love my bike, I don’t think a bike componetry blog about Black Panther would be nearly as exciting as Tereza’s.  I love the simplicity of BP, no bike computers, power metres, just my trusty old Record 10 speed, which will be upgraded to Super Record 11 speed as soon as I can afford it :)

So what have I been up to?  Training, eating, sleeping, with the occasional massage thrown in.  Yes, I live a charmed life, and sometimes I do feel a bit guilty about having this great opportunity to train and live this lifestyle. 

It’s Easter this weekend back home, but no easter eggs can be found here.  Lucky for me!!!!  Easter for me means spending time with family.  This Easter weekend will be spent with my ‘other’ family, the Team TBB family.  Actually, the better part of my Easter Sunday will spent in a car/van, doing a short visa run down to the Malaysian border. 

Ok, time for another session.  Off to the pool.