The finale - Part 1

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

All good things must come to and end but what a way to officially end my first round of the 12wbt.  I joined about 800 other people on the training oval at Ballymore for the end of round workout.  I was slightly nervous of what was going to happen after hearing some stories about the intensity of the session in the rain and mud in Melboure last round.

The starting time was a little odd.  Who organises to start exercising for an hour at Midday? I decide that I had to be organised.  I was leaving home too early for morning tea or lunch so I packed some snacks, plus some extras for my car companions.  I forgot the sunscreen but thankfully the organiser's had that on hand.

Helen, Belinda and Gillian
When we arrived the crowd was only small.  Not long after collecting our registration kits our little posse was approached by a woman wearing a 12WBT t-shirt.  I thought she was just being friendly and next thing you know I was meant to be doing an interview WITH MICHELLE.  With some for warning about the questions that were going to be asked my nerves weren't taking over but the butterflies were still there.  A couple of interviews were done and then all of a sudden Michelle was running out of time so Tracey and I missed out.  With a bit of quick thinking Tracey managed to get a photo with Mish organised.

About 15 minutes later and the action started with a group warm up in front of the stage with Mish leading.  I then started wishing I hadn't done weights the night before that focused on my upper body.  My arms and chest were already sore before the push ups started!  Then it was off to our fitness level groups for 3 x 15 minute sessions.

I'd convinced myself with a little push from Kath last weekend to do the Advanced training session and now my heart rate was increasing with fear.  The first activity for us was boxing.  I ended up with the pads, Belinda was punching at me without gloves, we lost Gil to another group and Helen was smiling thinking she got a little bit of a break.  That was until the words run and burpee came out.  After a few more instructions we started our 3.5 minute round.  Half way into the first round Mish turns up and starts yelling at us.  Belinda is punching and kicking like a mad women and Mish yells out something along the lines of "way to go women in purple".  We're then all called off our stations for a mini session with Mish - our own little torture chamber.  Less that a minute later that's over, we finish the first round and rotate.

I'm running and burpee-ing, Helen's punching and kicking while Belinda stands there and takes it, deserving every second of that rest.  Round 2 over and we rotate again.  I've got to say I'm so glad Helen could count because I couldn't manage to keep track of kick, lunge, punch, squat or whatever was going on.  The loud speaker sounds and it time to go to the 2nd 15 minute round ... Cross Training.

First we did 3 x 200m sprints in 1:05.  You started on your back, got up when the whistle blew and ran and were meant to lay down again at the end.  Each time I made it back with literally seconds to spare so I just kept running.  Next we were lined up in the sand doing push-ups.  We then had to wait until the person in front of us got up and started running around the group until we could get up and follow them before coming back to our spot and starting push ups again.  We then moved on to pushing the tackling machine around.  Unfortunately there were a few too many people in the group so it wasn't that effective.

Onto Round 3 - The Viper Room.  This one had us confused.  There weren't enough vipers (a weighted tube with cut outs to handle it) for the number of participants and when you missed most of the briefing while trying to workout where to go it got even more confusing.  All I know is that if it was being done properly then it must have been hard work as Ange looked absolutely stuffed from helping run the section for the morning. In the end it meant, more push ups, skiing and other exercises before the final speaker sounded for our cool down.

Opps, did I say cool down?  There's no cool down until the  final blast with Mish!  Some more running, jumping, burpees and push ups before we finally start to cool down.  In the end I ended up burning 587 calories and gained a tan line.



Lean and Fit Here I Come

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

After finishing my first round of the 12wbt I decided to jump back on the train for my second round straight away.  There's no point in having an "off-season" and undo the good work I've done.  Bad habits are so hard to break but are so easy to re-establish so I don't want them to come creeping back in the door.

After attending my first group session on Sunday as mini milestone in addition to my major milestone I decided that I am fit enough to give Lean and Fit a good run for its' money.  I know its not going to be easy but I need to step up to the challenge.  There's no point in staying in my comfort zone.

I can now do some full push ups.  OK so the forms not perfect but you've got to start somewhere.  I'm also starting to get some more strength in my arms.  Lifting sandbags over and over and over again proved that!

I've now completed my first two L&F workouts.  I did the week one cardio from last round two nights ago and killed a huge 630 calories in just over an hour!  I also know where most of them died - it was on the dreadmill doing rolling intervals.  I was able to do the speed interval at moderate joggers pace (9 - 12kph) but on the hill I couldn't get above 8 even though I could hit the 9% at that speed.  After the first interval I then dropped back to the beginner jogger pace to finish off the intervals.  I was absolutely knackered!

Today I'm planning my attack on my first strength session.  I know all of the exercises so that's not a problem, it the increase in weight and reps that are going to test me.  Add to that the fact that I've got DOMS in my abs.  Mind you I'm still shocked that there is some muscle down there to have any pain.

Now I've got to starting thinking about my goals for this round ....


Reflections on Round 2

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Our last official weigh in and fitness test results occurred on Wednesday and as of tomorrow Round 2 comes to its official close.  So its time to reflect on what I've learnt and how far I've come.

Just over 15 weeks ago I was 81.0kg, today I'm 67.5kg.  An amazing loss of 13.5kg or 16.7%.  I've lost a total of 58cm off my body over five locations.

Week 1
Week 12
Total loss (cm)
Waist (at belly button)
Right Thigh
Left Thigh

My fitness stats have surprised me.

Week 1
Week 12
Time Trial (900m)
5 min 32s
4 min 50s
Push ups (on knees)
Wall sit
1min 0s
2min 14s
1min 14s
Ab Stage
Sit and Reach

To check off my goals that I set for myself back in May

1 month
I will lose 3kg - check
I will run 5km in 40min - check

3 months
I will lose 9kg -  check
I will run 10km in under 80 minutes - check

So not only did I achieve my goals, I smashed them.

So what have I learnt? Its hard to put into words.  I've come to trust in myself.  I know what my body needs and what it doesn't.  I'm learning to listen to myself and not to doubt my choices.  I'm learning to say no.  I've got work to do there but I am improving.  I now know that I love running, I crave the freedom and get out of sorts when I can't hit the road.  My training space is scared.  It my time to connect with my inner-self again, so please excuse me if I ignore you at the gym or as I'm out running.

There is a lot more that I still need to get my head around so I've decided that I will be returning to do Round 3.  I'm not expecting my results to be anywhere near as dramatic.  How could I expect that when my BMI has dropped from 29.75 to 24.79.

I'm attempting to not focus on the number as much in the next round.  My original goal weight was 63kg but that isn't what I'm truly aiming for.  I'm aiming to feel good in my own skin.   Before I started Round 2 I felt fairly good about myself due to my running, as I finish Round 2 I feel great and at the end of Round 3 I will feel even greater.  I will be mirroring my LJ tee that says "Good, Great, Greater".

This round my be over but my journey is still continuing


My First Half Marathon

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

On Sunday the 7th of August on ran my first half marathon in a time of 2 hours 33 minutes and 25 seconds.  Up until this day I had never run past 17km and that was also a first.  Three days after the event and I'm still happy that I was given the extra push by a fellow virgin half marathon runner.

My journey to run a half marathon didn't start with 12 or more weeks of preparation like most normal people would do.  It all started from a training session that I did with Helen in which we both ran our very first 15km.  At the end of the run she announced that she was going to do the half and I basically said she was nuts.  How the hell do you go and do a half marathon with only 3 weeks of preparation?

Three days after that run, with a couple of backward and forward messages and I had been swayed into taking part too.  Time to start looking at training.  I found a few 3 day a week plans, Helen found another one and between all of them I was surpised to see that we weren't too far off the distance for preparation.  I attempted some sprint sessions but wasn't the best at them.

Two weeks out from the event I did my biggest run to date 17km.  It included a few hills, I tried out some GU chomps for the first time and finished in about 2:10.  I wanted to run further that day but I couldn't really afford the time to get out to 19km.  In hindsight it was just as well.

That evening my body decided that enough was enough and it was time for a break.  I'd been fighting a pesky head cold for about a month but it decided to turn into a nasty fever ridden, dry unrelenting coughing fit cold.  Just what I didn't need.  By the Friday things were improving so I took myself back of to the gym for a little run on the dreadmill and a Pump session.  The exercise felt so dam good, even if I did hack up a lung a couple of times.

On Sunday I ventured out for a longer run - 8.8km of hell to be more precise.  I couldn't believe the drop in performance that one week could have.  The rest of the week was spent doing small runs (nothing over 6km) and a bit of resistance.  On Friday I also did a stretch and core session before having a well earned rest on Saturday.

Saturday night's treat meal ended up being at an Italian restaurant.  While I had always had in the back of my mind having a pasta meal the night before I have now learnt that not to eat out the night before a race.  The change in my diet over the last 12 weeks meant that the extra greasiness and saltiness didn't agree with me at all and most of the meal left my system a little too quickly.

Sunday I was up at 4am to start getting ready.  My microwave did the impossible and made an entire egg disappear in one bang.  Thankfully I had a spare egg in the fridge.  I downed the last glasses of water and my husband and I were out the door on the way to town before 5.

After bumping into Helen we dropped off our gear in the baggage tent and headed off to the start line for a bit of stretching and nervous waiting while the sun slowly started to rise. 

The start to this was an absolute nightmare.  The Brisbane City Council in the infinite wisdom have decided that closing the streets, all be it before anyone is even awake, to hold a premier running even just isn't good practice.  So to combat this the organiser's of the event are force to using walking paths for the majority of the even. 

The full and half marathon runner's were all started at the same time.  I feel sorry for the elite runners as to make the distances required we had to do two laps of the Botanical Gardens.  While they were beautiful a 3m wide path with 3000 competitors isn't appropriate.  Add in the elite runners having to run through the pack of slower runners and it just wasn't good form

The course then headed over the Goodwill Bridge.  By this stage it was "easy" running.  Everyone had found their place in the pack and there was no dodging and weaving like in previous events I've been in.  At the end of the bridge we turned right, were cheered on by on lookers and headed off down through Southbank.  I hit the 4km mark before the 30minute mark and had found my stride, I think I even managed to smile for one of the many cameras.

Around the 8km mark I coasted up the hill towards Orleigh Park.  Only 3 months ago that hill seemed to be so long and so steep, this time around it was only a litte blip. Just after the 8.5km mark I chewed on my first chomp thinking the water station wasn't too far away.  Unfortunately the water station was on the opposite side of the road and I wasn't changing direction for that.  I then spotted my DH and not far behind him was Helen.  They had both already turned around at Orleigh Park and were at around the 10km mark, it was about one hour in to the run.

I had a giggle watching the line up for the porta-loos on my way to the turn around point.  By the time I was passing them again I'd run about another kilometer and the line had only just disappeared.  I'd saved myself about 7:30 for not have a pit stop.  I grabbed my first drink of water at the drink station and managed to get more over me than in my mouth as I wasn't going to slow down or stop - nothing was going to break my stride, I was listening to "Eye of the Tiger". 

Back down the hill and along Riverside Drive and I started passing people that were now walking.  I still hadn't walked a step since I started running after the awful start and that's the way I wanted to finish it.  12km in and a "recovery" type of track was on my iPod.  I had meant to take that one off so I used it to focus on my breathing.  Next thing you know I've hit the 12.5km and the song is talking about miracles, which is kind of appropriate. 

Here comes 14km and I having a laugh.  There is a song on my iPod that reminds me of David Bowy in Labyrinth surrounded by all his creatures, "He reminds me of the man, The man with the power, The power of Voodoo".  I get a few strange looks from people I'm passing - I've got no idea why.    Not long after this I start playing leap frog with another runner.  I spur him on for a kilometer but by the time get closer to the Goodwill Bridge I've left him behind.  By this stage I'm in the zone and I don't even know what is playing on the iPod.  I then spot a friend from High School on his second lap doing the Marathon, he flys by with good form.

I pass along the bottom of the Kangaroo Cliff watching a girl all of 8 or 9 scale them while thinking to myself what an awesome accomplishment for someone so young.  Onto the boardwalk, dodging people that are out for the Sunday walk and I'm passing the 16km mark.  The Storey Bridge is now in sight as I pass the 17km mark and spot my DH again.  I didn't realise at the time but he had or was just about to hit the wall.  A few seconds later I spot Helen again.  I'm now into unknown territory, I've never run this far before, I'm feeling really good.  I'm now approaching the 18km mark, time for another chomp and some water.  I manage to get even wetter this time!  Water goes up my nose, so I was rather thankful I had a hankerchief under my bra strap to clear it. 

Past the turn around point and back under the Storey Bridge, I'm now on the home straight.  I hit around the 19km mark and spot the first marathon runner complete with police escort.  He's probably got around 3km to catch up to me so I now have a challange - I'm going to finish before he does.  The next kilometer flys past in a daze, I grab some water at the last drinks stop, get wet again, and power on.  The Goodwill Bridge is in sight.  I round the bend to the spectators spuring me on. 

Time to tackle the bridge.  My stride shortens a little, I slow a little but it doesn't hurt that much.  I pass more runners, I reach the top and down the other side I go. 

I round the bend and spot Helen and her family.  She's finished and on her way to the car.  Her lovely husband Victor snaps off a few photos of me as Helen tells me the finish is just around the corner.  I wish I knew how close it was as I would have ramped it up even more.

 I'm running, I've nearly finished a half marathon and yet I still have a quick chin wag!
Better keep going.

I round the bend and spot the finishing line.  I pull out and pass the person you can see in the photo.  I cross the finish line and yet I could keep running!  How is that even possible?  I didn't actually want to stop - crazy hey?

I see my DH lying down on the grass knoll near the finish line, his shoes off and a huge blister on one foot and a bleeding toe on the other foot.  I sit down to rest.  That was a bad mistake that I'll never do again.  I found it nearly impossible to get off the ground and get moving again.  Sore from stopping yet elated in my achievement.  I had done it - I complete a half marathon with only 3 weeks of true preparation and only 217 days of running under my feet.


219 Days

Monday, August 8, 2011

On the first of January 2011 I took my first tentative steps into the world of running.   My very first session took me 22:32 to run 2.28km going in intervals of walking for 6 minutes and running for 1 minute.  At the time I didn't realise that I was so buggered after the running interval as I was going too fast.  I hadn't learnt about pacing myself at that stage.

After a set back with an injured foot in February, probably from over doing it, I took my newly found running obsession to Uluru (Ayer's Rock) with me and did a session around in resort at the beginning of March.  Running over the loose sandy soil was a new challenge as too was the extremely dry air. 

I completed my first 5km (well 5.27km) in 49:33 doing intervals of 5 minutes running and 1 minute walking on the 16th March .   I still hadn't worked out the pace thing yet but was getting a lot better.  It was not long after this that I started thinking about doing the 8km Mother's Day Classic.  By mid April my DH was pushing me to do the 10km Gold Coast Marathon.  I wouldn't give him an answer until I knew I could run 8km without stopping.

On the 26th of April I ran my first 8km just to make sure that I'd be able to finish the Mother's Day Classic.  It took me 1:07:55 but I did it and was now relaxed about the upcoming race.  With the help of my friend's and family I raised about $250 for Breast Cancer.  Most of my family couldn't believe that I was going to run 8km.  My cheeky brother broke his sponsorship up - $30 for signing up, $1 per kilometer finished, bonus of $12 for finishing in under 1:15 and the kicker, an extra $25 for finishing in under 60 minutes.  His money was never going to be in doubt for the kicker.

On the 8th May I ran the best run I could have imagined.  My average heart rate was 172 beats per minute and I finished in 1:03:12.  Have a look here for a full re-cap.  After finding my DH and kids after the finish line I announced that yes I would do the GC10km and one week later I complete my first 10km (ok 10.29 but who was counting) in 1:26:07.

Over the next few weeks I started building up a little further.  I did my first 11km and then for my mini milestone challenge I did 13.5km on the 19th of June in 1:47:07.  Next thing I know the Gold Coast 10km is here and I run a 1:10:27 knocking off 16 minutes in about 6 weeks.  Another link for the re-cap is here.

Fast forward to the 16th of July and I go on and 15+km training run with Helen for my mini milestone number 2 which I finish just shy of 2 hours.  Out of the blue she tells me that she's going to do the Brisbane Half Marathon in 3 weeks time and I tell her I'm crazy.  Next thing you know and I've signed up too!  Two weeks later I run 17.1km in 2:10 in preparation for the big one and then come crashing down in a heap with a cold.  Almost a whole week off without training and my goal becomes to finish the half even if it means walking part of it.

Come 4am on 7 August and I'm out of bed getting ready to run my first half marathon.  At 6am the starters gun goes off and I've started.  2:33:25 later and I pass through the finishing line having completed my very first half marathon.  I'll do a write up about the half in the coming days (hopefully with a couple of photos).

From 0 to 21.1km in 219 days.  If I can do it, you can too.


Help Me Choose

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I need some help from my fashion inclined readers.  I have absolutely no idea about what to choose.  On the 20th of this month I'm going along to the Round 2 12wbt finale party and taking along my childhood friend that I desperately need to catch up with.  The dress code is "Dress to Impress", which looking at past finale photos is anything from cocktail to formal.

I've narrowed my choices down to 3 dresses from my past and 1 that is new that may make it here in time.  Two of the 3 "past" dress currently fit me and the third requires me to lose another centimeter off my back for me to feel totally comfortable.

Now to the dresses from the past.  I'll start with the class LBD.  It sits from below the knee and drops.  There is a possibility that it may be a little on the large side by the 20th.  Its easy to dress this number up with a few accessories.

Dress number 2 dates back to around 1999 and has been worn to about four events.  It will show off all my curves but the neckline is above my collarbone.  I love the colours it throws.  The back will show off some of my newly found shoulder blades and it has a fishtail that makes it easy to walk in.

Dress number 3 is the one that is currently a tiny bit tight for my liking (but it does fit).  I believe that it will be perfect by the 20th.  This one dates back to 2001 and DH bought it for me while we were dating and I think its been worn once.  The back is rather low and due to that has to be worn without a bra.  It also has a slight train on it and has a bit of tulle under it to flare it out.  I also love the colours this one throws.

Here's a photo of the new dress.   Size 14 was too big so I'm swapping it for a 12.  The problem being is that it took 5 business days to get here so I'm assuming I'm looking at a 10 business days turn around.  Then I don't know if it will fit me, so fingers crossed.

So what's the verdict?  Dress 1, 2, 3 or 4?  I'm leaning towards 2 or 3 but I really can't decide.


Oh, Why Hello There ....

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Please excuse me for this really self indulgent post but I just can't help myself.  After 14 weeks of bloody hard work  I've lost 12.1kg so I'm going to take it as my right for some self indulgence.  There's been blood, lots of sweat and a few tears along the way and I'm not ready to stop just yet.

It hit me the other day while I was at DJ's getting fitted for a new bra.  I'll start with the down side of that experience - the girls have deflated from a 16D/DD to a very full 14C.  While I was standing in the change room awaiting the return of the fitter I caught a glimpse of my back.  The sight actually shocked and pleased me at the same time.  I couldn't believe that it was my back.  Gone is the protruding back fat, gone is the folds near my waist and in its place I can start to see definition and muscle. While obviously I'm not anything like the picture on the right (especially my arm) I am on my way.

Today at the gym I couldn't stop looking at my shoulders and back in the mirror while a worked out.  I kept grinning and talking to myself with phrases like "Why hello there". I'm thinking that some of my fellow gym goers must think that I'm a little bit nuts.  I'm absolutely loving the transformation that is taking place in front of my eyes.  My swimmer's shoulders from years ago are starting to take form and my collarbone now pokes through while doing certain lifts.

Another thing I've noticed over the last couple of days is the other areas that I'm losing fat.  How I wish I could just wave a wand and tell my body to remove all the excess fat from my gut first, but alas I can not.  I've now got skinny toes!  I never even realised I had fat toes until I noticed that I now have visible gaps between most of my toes.  My fingers are less chubby too and I'm going to have to do something to keep my rings on my fingers.  I wonder if I can get my DH to agree to get me an eternity ring to help with that?  OK now I am DREAMING.


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