What's on the horizon?

Friday, September 30, 2011

I've been asked by a couple of people what my next event or challenge is going to be. Between now and Christmas I've got a few things planned and hopefully along the way I might fit in a couple more.

The next 12wbt related challenge is the first Mini Milestone for the round. I've set up a walk/run through Toohey Forest Park for next Sunday. At the moment it looks like the majority of those coming will be walking but I'm hoping to get someone to come who wants to run with me. The route of mapped out is around 8km return but if I can find someone else crazy enough to join me I've got about another 2.5 - 3km I can add onto it.  I have also decided on a back up plan if I can't get someone else to run with me.

The plan is that I run for about 500m or so and then either back track until I find the walkers and turn around and repeat until the end.  Alternatively I do a similar thing by running a distance or for a set time and then do some strength exercises on the side of the path until the walkers catch up to me and then take off again. Whatever happens it will be something different from my usually weekend long runs.

After I've recovered from the Mini Milestone challenge I'll then be competing in my very first triathlon on the 23 October.  The Triathlon Pink helps raise funds for The National Breast Cancer Foundation and is a female only event.  I'll be doing the long course which is a 300m swim, 9km ride and 3km run.  The swim and run don't worry me at all.  The bike has me a little bit concerned but I know I'll make it, I just may be a little slow on the old rusty bike.  That reminds me, I should take it out for a spin soon and make sure its road worthy still!

What I believe will be my biggest challenge since the half marathon will be The Mousdash. The Mousdash is a 10km run on the road up and around Mt Coo-tha. Definitely not for the faint hearted - feel free to have a look at the elevation profile if you clink on the route! This event will be run on the 13th of November as part of fundraising for "Movember". For those that don't already know Movember's aim is to raise funds and awareness for Men's Health and in particular prostate cancer and depression.  On the first of November men are clean shaven and throughout the month groom themselves' to form the perfect moustache.

At the end of November come another event that I may partake in. At the moment this one is still up in the air as it looks like we will have our work Christmas party the afternoon/evening before. The Variety Santa Fun Run is a 5km run which will be done just for fun.  What could be better than running along first thing in the morning in a Santa suit while raising funds for Variety and then spending the rest of the morning with the kids in the park enjoying Christmas activities?

Guess what - I'm not finished yet! The 10th December will mark the official end of Round 3 party for the 12WBT. I'm planning on heading down to Sydney to celebrate with some of the other participant but more importantly I'll be going to do the end of season work out to show myself how far I've come in such a short period of time.  I've also got my fingers crossed that I'll be able to partake in an unofficial 12WBT fun run down there too.

So as you can see I've got a fairly busy couple of months ahead of me and I'm sure there will be a couple of other 12WBT events to pop up in the very near future.


A Picture of Health

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

As part of Kath's unofficical 12WBT blogging Challenge she's asked two questions for week 2 post:

  • What is (to you) a picture of health? 
  • What is health?
 There's not a straight forward answer for this one. Being healthy and fit comes in all different shapes and sizes. Just because someone has a BMI of 20 doesn't mean that they are fit and healthy. They might be what I've come to refer as "skinny fat", or having a low lean muscle percentage and eat crap all the time. Sure they might look fairly good but unless they're one of the lucky few it will catch up with them.

I had a search of the net for the pictures below. I saw these, and some others a couple of years ago and I find that they are a fantastic visual representation of health, body image and our differences.  All the women in the pictures below are/were olympic athletes. Their heights, weights and build all vary and as they are at the top of their field you can only assume they are in top physical condition and health.

Source: amazingasset.com via

So what is health to me? To narrow it down for me it is my body and my mind being in sync.  It is me being free to do whatever I want to do, to not be restricted by weight, emotional or physical baggage.  Yes it is possible to tick all the boxes in relation to your PHYSCIAL health and fitness but if you aren't able to do the same emotionally and mentally then something is out of balance.

You don't have to have the resting heart rate of an Olympic long distance runner, the body fat percentage of a gymnast or the strength of a weightlifter to be healthy. Being healthy aids in your body being able to repair itself and to handle the stresses that we throw at it everyday.  Being a picture of health helps you stay in a happy place and lets you be free.


Three Questions

Monday, September 26, 2011

I had a friend ask me a question the other day. Well actually it was three.

  1. What for you was the turning point to getting fit?
  2. What made this time different from other attempts in the past? 
  3. What has changed in you?
To be honest I'd never actually really sat down and thought about them before but I told her I'd do a blog on it as they were very thought provoking for me. So here I go.

What was the turning point to getting fit?
To be honest I don't think there was one point. I had decided around Christmas last year that I was going to start running come the new year. I don't know why I decided to do that but I guess somewhere deep inside of me I wasn't happy with what I'd become. I started doing interval running on the first of January but went a little bit to hard and fast and injured my foot.  I started using my spin bike and the pool to keep me moving until my foot recovered and by the middle of February I was out pounding the pavement again.

Somewhere between February and March something clicked and a worked out that I actually liked running. I even took my gear with me on a holiday out to Uluru. It was around this time that my husband suggested that I an the Gold Coast 10km.  By now I'd started looking at doing the Mother's Day Classic 8km and told him that I'd do the 10 if I survived the 8km and the rest is history.

As the months went by I got fitter a could run longer and further but I still wasn't losing weight and wasn't happy about how I felt. It was late in April when I asked an online friend about the Michelle Bridge's 12 Week Body Transformation and I thought that I had nothing to lose and it could only help.

What made this time different from other attempts in the past?
The main difference from any other attempt to get fit, lose weight etc was that I wasn't doing it for an event, I wasn't doing it for someone else, I was doing it for me. I started fairly slowly and by the time I'd come across the 12WBT I was ready for a real change and wake. Realistically I could have done it all by myself. I know the calories in, calories out stuff but having the plan written out it front of you made it easier. The food is also REAL. I'm not eating chemical laden crap. Don't get me wrong I still indulge but nowhere near as much as I once did.

The other thing that helped me a lot was going to my first Stand Your Ground Workshop. In the words of Emma, it helped "get my shit together". Once again I knew everything she "taught" me but it just needed to be uncovered again.

Another thing that has made things different is that IT HAS WORKED! I've lost about 16kg since the beginning of May. I'm now at that point where by body is saying its happy and I've found a happy plateau and I'm happy staying at 65/66 for a while.

What has changed in you?
The biggest change I've noticed myself is that I love to exercise now.  I used to play a fair amount of sport back in high school and up until I left uni. I used to enjoy it but I wasn't as addicted to it as I am now. I guess back then it was more of a social thing too but at the same time it also managed to keep my weight under control without me having to watch things to carefully.
I've also now learnt that I have to find time for me. I can't be the person I want and need to be if I don't nurture myself first and exercising is part of that.  I now look at exercise and eating as a way of life not as a short term solution.


Stand Your Ground 2

Monday, September 19, 2011

The bruises on and around my knees are starting to turn to lovely shade of yellow-green, the bruises on my knuckles have disappeared but the scabs remain and are healing and the marks on my shoulders are also fading. To look at the marks on my limbs it looks like I've been in a bit of a fight, and to some extents its true.

On Saturday I attended Stand Your Ground Workshop 2. These workshops are run by Emma from Emazon Chronicles. Some of you may remember me writing this blog post back in July about Stand Your Ground. At the time I didn't even know there was a second workshop and even if I did it wouldn't have mattered. Even up until attending the second session bits and pieces of information from that session continued to make themselves clear.  I've been asked numerous times about what the workshops do, or what do you learn and its different for everyone and something that can't really be explained. The best explanation is that these workshops help you understand your mind, and get "your shit together" by using fight training as the catalyst.

I still can't explain Saturday's session to someone that didn't attend it, and even to the other seven women that attended it may not understand my own explanation of the session. The way I felt after SYG 1 and 2 were almost polar opposites. After 1 I didn't really want to talk to anyone, I had to let things sit and absorb what I had learnt.  I started to understand why I had fallen in love with running. Light bulbs were going off but I was silent.

In contrast as I walked out of SYG2 my hands were still shaking, most likely from the adrenaline still running through my veins.  Even as the darkness of the night took over, my heart felt light, I felt like singing from the top of the tallest building.  During the evening I came across this quote by Marianne Williamson which struck a chord with me:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
By morning I no longer felt like singing or dancing on the roof tops but I felt a strange sense of peace.  I'd come to a place of better knowing and understanding and I felt strong. 


My Refresher Course

Friday, September 16, 2011

Just a little bit of a refresher for myself before Emazon tomorrow.

Source: google.com.au via Kym on Pinterest

Source: google.com.au via Kym on Pinterest

Source: google.com.au via Kym on Pinterest

Source: google.com.au via Kym on Pinterest

Source: google.com.au via Kym on Pinterest


A working Mum's Morning

Thursday, September 15, 2011

For some reason today I thought I’d put together a little piece on a typical morning at my place when I’m going to work.  I'm lucky firstly because I only work part-time, usually 2 or 3 days a week.  Added to this is the fact that my husband is also my employer so on the mornings that the shit hits the fan with girls he is usually also pretty understanding of me being late. Another bonus is that he is supporting my exercising and will go to work later himself on the mornings that I’m out pounding the pavement.

5:30am – the alarm goes off and I roll over and hit the snooze button.

5:37am – the alarm goes off again. I hit the button again but this time I’m hearing noise from the girls room.  Victoria is about to get out of bed.

5:40am – Victoria is standing beside me waving and saying mummy. Time to get up and get ready to run.  Victoria is now in the bed or causing chaos in our room. I turn on the TV and she settles enough to let DH to keep resting while I get dressed.
5:50am – I’m looking for some part of my running gear. Be it the iPod, my HRM strap, the watch or the GPS attachments. It never seems to matter if I get ready the night before as something always disappears – most likely due to Victoria picking it up as she comes to greet us good morning.
6:00am – Out the door. This is my time.
7ish am – Return home as DH jumps in the car to leave – its hand over time.  On a good morning he’s started the kids breakfast, on a bad one Victoria’s trashed the joint and may have even been put in the shower to clean up the mess.
7:30am – Breakfast are complete and it’s time for a shower. I can no longer enjoy a shower alone in the mornings as Victoria always joins me and Elizabeth comes in about half of the time. If they’re both in there fights over the bottles or toys will no doubt start.
8:00am – I’m dressed but chasing two naked kids around the house. Elizabeth protests that she can’t find the right outfit to wear and Victoria just flat out refuses to help while I’m trying to get her dressed.
8:10am (but usually turns into 8:30 in the mayhem) out the door. Elizabeth will be complaining that her seatbelt is too tight and Victoria will be removing her shoes.
8:30ish – Daycare drop off.  Elizabeth happily goes to her room and finds her friends.  I find one of Victoria’s careers so she gets a cuddle so I can leave without tears.
8:50ish – At my desk. The mayhem has ended for another morning.
So it may seem a little crazy and I haven’t even started on the late afternoon/early evening shift.  A day at work is so much more relaxing than my days at home with the girls. That being said I cherish those days too.


Round three bloggers challenge - All about me

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kath, aka Shrinking Kath, aka The Courage to Start has kindly set up a weekly blogging challenge as part of round 3 of the 12WBT.

The first topic is "Introduce Yourself", so here I go .....

1. Describe yourself in 25 words or less
I'm a work in progress. Wife and mum to two beautiful girls. I'm not the life of the party but I'm not sitting in the corner either. Watch out because I say what I think and sometimes it does sting a little (I need to work tact a little!).

2. What brings you to 12wbt?
I start 12WBT in Round 2 of 2011.  I'd started running at the beginning of the year and I thought my diet was going ok but I just couldn't shift the weight. I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.  I wanted to feel better about myself and bring back the person that I know I can be.

3. Why do you blog?
I blog more for selfish reasons. I find it to be a perfect forum for dumping how I'm feeling and what I'm going though on my journey.  As a positive note if it helps inspire someone or makes someone realise that they are not alone then it's even better.

4. Who is your biggest inspiration in life and why?
Now you've thrown in a tough one. I'll go with my Grandma. She was always smiling and joyful and nothing seemed to get her down. Even during her last few days she found the strength to put on a cheerful voice while wishing me happy birthday. She was always so organised and never forgot dates or events. She loved life and those around her with all her heart. Most of all she had no regrets.

5. What things in life bring you the most joy?
My family.  I don't know what I'd do without my husband and kids. After that comes the freedom of running.

6. What do you think your greatest challenge is going to be this round?
To stay really focused on my diet. I've been able to be a little more relaxed last round with portion sizes as I was a lot bigger at the beginning but that's all changed now.

7. What are you most excited about 12wbt?
To get down to my goal weight of 63kg. I can't remember being that weight since high school at the end of year 12. I'm in those last 5kg area so I know its not going to be easy. 

8. And what scares the pants off you?
Believing any excuses I make up that cause me to stray and not make my goal.

9. Tell me - right now - today - how you feel about exercise in no more than 10 words.
Its my sacred place, enjoyment and time just for me.

10. Complete this sentence - in 12 weeks time - on the last day of 12wbt I am going to be feeling ...
on top of the world for being the best version of myself.

Please jump over to Kath's blog for a link to others that are also participating in this challenge.


Bridge to Brisbane

So on Sunday I conquered another milestone by running the Bridge to Brisbane. The 10km distance wasn't the issue at all, obviously after completing a half marathon, it was the mental side of getting up the bridge.

B2B 2011 - care of The Courier Mail
A little bit of background on the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges (previously known as the Gateway Bridge when there was only one bridge). The bridge/s pass over the only access point to Brisbane for large vessels and the site was chosen due to its proximity to the port, industrial areas and the airport. These factors gave the bridge its unique shape.  The bridge had to have a clearance from the high water mark of 55m for shipping navigation but less than 80m (including light poles and signs) for aviation navigation.  Added to these requirements was that the maximum grade on the bridge for vehicle traffic requirements was 5.27% and you've got a limited window on which to design your structure.   In the end at their highest point the bridges are 64.5m above the Brisbane River and span approximately 1.63km.

The start of the race was at 6:10 which meant that DH and I had a fairly early start.  Our alarm went of at about 4am and then we got up and got ourselves ready. At about 4:30am Heidi (a fellow 12WBTer) arrive for our car pooling journey to the race. A bit more scratching around, putting on catering bracelets, race bibs and other stuff and we were off.

Thankfully we left with plenty of time to spare as getting the car park proved to take a while. After finally getting the car parked we had the 800m walk to the starting area.  The hill up from the railway station was just what we needed to start to warm us up and get the blood pumping. As we made it to the starting area I heard the 6:00am start for the wheelies and then the Marshall started calling the red and blue runners into place. Not long after greens were being called. Even though we all had yellow bibs we squished in towards the end of the greens.

After what seemed like an eternity we slowly progressed to the starting line. Over the mats, push the buttons on the watch and off we go. Steven and Heidi took off up the slope at a pretty good speed, but I decided I needed to keep my own pace on that upward slope as it was still playing with my mind. I ended up surprising myself as I made it to the top of the bridge and hit the 1km mark in 7:00.6 minutes.  Then came the fun down hill run. I managed to position myself behind two mums with running prams and had my first clear run with any dodging and weaving, until their pace got too much for me around the 2.5km mark

As we continued on to Kingsford Smith Drive the running became easier.  I was doing less dodging of walkers that shouldn't have even been in the running pack (vent number 1) but then I managed to roll my ankle on the train track. Around the same time I also saw a couple of other runner trip on the roadside barriers and some of those falls must have really hurt. As I continued on towards the 5km (vent number 2 coming) I started to get frustrated by interval runners. I know that some people can't keep a steady pace and need to use intervals, but FFS not go from an all out run/spring to almost a dead halt.  It makes it very hard for the person behind you to get out of the way and not slam into you! At least with the straight walkers you could pick your line and weave around them.

The 5km mark saw the start of the protest line. At first I thought it was an anti-carbon tax demonstration. The first sign had something about the majority of our greenhouse gases come from cattle - at this stage I must have missed the vegan slogan at the end. Then came people dressed in animal suits with signs about becoming vegan to reduce your carbon footprint by up to 95%. On the plus side it gave me something to take my mind off things as I continued to dodge people and I also got a giggle at one of the running mascots tackling one of the demonstration animals.

Not to long later and the Inner City ByPass comes into sight. Down the on ramp we go and then the up hill slog starts.  I'm not a person to stop for water breaks on a 10km run but while concentrating on the hill I was a little slow to realise the was one coming up and it was time to head away from the mayhem and head to the right.  All of a sudden I get water in my eye from a hose that's been put on spray over the track - not happy Jan. Apart from not expecting it, it just added to the slipperiness around the drinks station. OK vent number 3 over.

Up the hill I continued and it was at the top of the hill that I saw a young boy, probably only 8 or 9 running along with another adult male.  The guy wasn't his dad but he was helping and encouraging him all the way even though his own face was red and his was obviously hurting big time.  I threw out some words of encouragement from the heart as I couldn't even imagine running all that way at such a young age.

My watch said I'd completed the race in 1:05:07 (and run an extra 270m) and my official time was 1:04:50.  I was aiming for 1:07 so I was over the moon.  I'd run the GC 10km in 1:10:28 and that was flat.  What an improvement! 

After a quick phone call I located Heidi but Steven was lost in the crowd.  The two of us walked around towards the Athlete's Foot stand where I organised to have Steven to ring me when he turned up and the next thing you know we've bumped into a couple of other 12WBTer's.  After all of that effort it was time for a chin wag, a coffee and breakfast.
The 12WBT Crew - Me, Kath, Sharon and Heidi

I finally found Steven to discover that he'd managed to get under the 60 minute mark.  I think his official time was 59:00 so he is a very happy camper.  Heidi also smashed it by running 59:52. Kath ran what I believe to be a BP too of 1:01:03 and her husband Paul annihilated it in 41 minutes! All in all the perfect way to start out round 3 of the 12WBT.


The count down is on

Friday, September 9, 2011

The count down is on and I couldn't think of a better way to help kick off Round 3 of 12WBT.  Sunday starts the ball rolling with the Bridge to Brisbane. My goal is to run a sub 67min, or around 9km/hr.  My training has me on track to do this, with one slight exception - that bloody big bridge at the beginning. 5.27% for 800m has me a little concerned.  To start with it was only the "upside" of the bridge that had me worried but after talking to a few previous B2B runners I should be equally concerned about going down too. Apparently there is usually quite a few trips and falls from runners losing control on the downwards slope and taking others out with them.

My training diary is filled out and planned for the week ahead.  I'm yet to work out which hill I want to tackle as part of my 20 minute hill run intervals. My dilemma is that the hill with the better incline just isn't going to cut it on the length side of things whereas the longer hill's incline may not be hard enough. I guess it just means I have to run up the longer hill faster!

I've finished my shop and will be picking it all up after my weights session on Monday morning.  Mish your menu look DIVINE this week. I'm already hanging out for the lasagna and I'll be putting extra in the freezer for my post Friday night workouts. 
Thanks to a FB shout out by Shrinking Kath the end half of kick off week will also be a blast. I'm off to Stand Your Ground 2 Workshop.  I attended SYGW during round 2 this year and the clarity and insight that it gave me shocked me (and still does). My post on that workshop gives you a little bit of understanding of how I started to process it.

As part of my excitement from booking the course I started trolling Emma's Facebook page and came across her notes page on the topic of "The Brain V's the Mind".   So much came flying back at me from that 3 hours almost 2 months ago.

The bit that resonated so forcefully with me tonight was:
"GET OUT OF YOUR HEADS (the bit that already knows how to stand at the cupboard and fridge wondering what can I eat? when I’m not hungry) and get into your mind. Learn the difference. Empower yourself with knowledge so you are not trapped in a jail of just will power."
My bet is that everyone at some point has stood in front of the fridge or cupboard looking for something to eat out of habit, boredom, frustration or some other emotion and in the majority of cases grabbed something that their body didn't need. The trick is being able to identify it, listen to your body and determine if eating whatever it is in front of you is going to serve you. 


It's confession time.

It’s time to come clean. My weight loss has come to a grinding halt in the last couple of weeks and I have no one to blame but myself.   The last couple of weeks has seen me eating out a little more than usual with a couple of celebrations and dinners with friends and family and even though my choices in general have been clean my portion control hasn’t been that good.  I’ve also indulged in a couple too many pieces of birthday cake.

At the time I knew I should have said no but I didn’t.  I kidded myself that I’d only have a small portion of the slice dished up to me and next thing you know it’s all gone.  By the time I’d get home I’d feel sick from the over indulgence and swear that I’d behave better next time.  Next time came and I did it AGAIN.  Then the vicious cycle the next day starts. Sugar cravings taught me. Thankfully I don’t keep any crap in the house that is tempting to me otherwise I would have eaten it.   
A week after the end of round 2 I decided that I was going to see how much I’ve actually retained on the nutrition side.  As part of this I decided to follow my own meal plans and not Mish’s. For some strange reason I also decided that I WASN’T going to record everything. This was what I believe to be my biggest undoing.  In general I believe I had a fair idea of the calorie content of what I was eating but because I wasn’t writing it down I’d forget I’d eaten something or I’d estimate something’s weight. All of these little bits obviously added up.

I have still been training and I still love it.  I’m loving seeing my running times get faster.  My BP’s on different routes I haven’t run for a while are crumbling all over the place. I’m really enjoying the swap I’ve made to the free weights area of the gym.   I’m guessing there is a slight possibility that this may have helped me build little bit of muscle over the last month as well.  Even though the scales aren’t really moving I’ve lost another 3cm of my bust and 1cm off my waist.

OK confession over. I’m ready and can’t wait to get started on the next 12 weeks. I can only gain as much from it that I’m willing to put in.


I'm still here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I've been a little slack since my last post and I can't believe that over two weeks has flown by.  Don't worry I'm still training like a women possessed.  If anything my training has gone up a notch since the finale.

I made the decision to give Advanced Lean and Fit a good crack on my second round of 12WBT.  Pre-season is almost over and I'm doing well with last season's exercise plan.  I've made the swap from circuit and pump classes for my strength session to the weights floor.  At first it was a little bit daunting but now I'm just one of the regulars.

I'm a little surprised at how much I'm enjoying the free weights. I guess it gives me a sense of accomplishment that there is no machine helping me out at all.  Another bonus about the weights floor is that I'm not as limited on my squat weight anymore.  In the classes I couldn't squat more than 20kg unless the instructor was able to help me as I couldn't lift anymore weight above my head. Now I can load up the olympic bar, position my shoulders under it and lift - so much easier.

I've just found my current limit for leg presses.  At 90kg I can start to feel the muscle weakness from my old water skiing injury. I'd actually forgotten that I even had any weakness there at all as running hadn't seemed to bother it.  Over the last few weeks all of my weights have been slowly increasing but I'll admit that I've got weak arms and my back muscles aren't much chop either.  Reverse pull ups look easier but I can't lift myself anywhere near the bar, and don't even ask about chin ups! Even with the assist machine I've got a lot of work to do.

My focus is going to shift a little this round.  I am still aiming to lose some more weight but I'm just going to see how I feel once I get to 63kg before deciding on what I'm going to do. This shift away from a weight loss goal as had me a little lost on what to do for my goals this round. I've decided to go for more fitness related goals this time.

So here's my goals for this round:

  • 18 full push ups
  • Do 2 ascents of Mt Gravatt.

3 months:
  • 50 full push ups
  • Run 5km in 30 minutes of less
I've also signed myself up to do my first triathlon. Its not a big one.  300m swim, 9km ride and 3km run.  The swim and the run don't worry me at all, its the bike that will be the challenge on my old rusty mountain bike.

My other event for the 12 weeks is the Mousdash.  This event is going to be one hell of a challenge while raising money for charity.  I'm still thinking I'm a little nuts for doing this as I really don't like hills and they don't get much bigger around Brisbane that Mt Cooth-tha. Mind you in a couple of weeks I'll be going up and down Mt Gravatt a couple of times and that little number has an average grade of 10% on the walking tracks.


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