Fantastic weekend

What a weekend! A few weeks ago I signed up to do a walk with my local 12WBT group. I didn’t really look at what was involved other than to check I wasn’t working and had nothing else on that day. I thought it would make an interesting change from bootcamp for 1 week and be a nice social event. A few days beforehand I had another look… “18km”… ok I thought. I’ve done 14 around the Bay, an extra 4 should be fine… “suitable for intermediate to advanced fitness”… ummm I know I signed up for intermediate this round but I really think I’m more “beginner to intermediate” what have I signed up for?… a bit more reading…. “allow 5 hours”…. hang on what!?!??! Its 18km. I can walk at 6km an hour… surely it should only be a little over 3 hours?… people were also mentioning stairs. Fair to say that by the day of the event I was a little nervous. Determined, but nervous. One of my ‘fears” is of holding other people up. I hate being the slowest and having other people have to wait for me because I’m the fat one, the unfit one. Correction WAS the fat, unfit one. I’m a lot fitter than I used to be, and 17kg lighter. I decided to ignore the fear and just do it. I know the people in this group. They are supportive. They wont mind if I’m a bit slow, they applaud anyone for giving it a go.

Saturday dawned a little cloudy but with no rain in the forecast. I donned my “Pink Lady” (inner westie top) ready to face the hike. We all met at Taronga Zoo and set off up the hill. I had kind of hoped for a nice gentle downhill or at least flat start, but it was not to be. Start as you mean to finish so off we went. The fitter people in the group set what felt like a cracking pace (probably wasn’t though I just hadnt woken up yet!) but after a while I settled into it and started enjoying the gorgeous scenery around Sydney Harbour. I won’t lie, a couple of bits were hard – some of those stairs seemed to go on forever, and when I say stairs, I mean stairs built for giants. Those things were huge! Overall though it wasn’t too bad. I kept up with the others, and even managed to jog a little bit in a few places (funnily enough during the last few kms jogging was less painful than walking). Speaking of the last few kms, it seems 18kms was optimistic. The walks was actually 20km long. I did it in 4 hours and 34 minutes including some stops for photos, and for everyone to regroup etc. I was so proud when I got to the end. It was my first real “mini milestone” event. My muscles ached but I didn’t care. I just enjoyed the sense of achievement and that I had done it with these wonderful, supportive and inspiring people. Only disappointment was that when we stopped for a short break at the halfway point, I had accidentally stopped my HRM while trying to pause it, so I didnt have the full calorie number to photograph. I do know however that I burned 2274 calories on that walk and that is freakin AWESOME!

I was a tad concerned about how doing the walk Saturday might effect my fitness test on Sunday. I pulled up WAY better than expected though. A little stiff in the hips and glutes (stairs grrrr) but otherwise fine. Whats more I SMASHED my fitness test:

Time trial – 15sec faster,

pushups – 10 more on my toes and only 3 less on my knees so huge improvement,

plank – 28 sec longer

flexibility – improved 1cm

wall sit – 6 seconds less but after the effort my quads put in yesterday I am not disappointed in the slightest with that effort!

Yep overall I’m calling that a great weekend fitness wise 🙂

Some of the people on the Taronga to Manly walk about 1/3 of the way through

Some of the people on the Taronga to Manly walk about 1/3 of the way through

So proud of this. Burn baby BURN

So proud of this. Burn baby BURN


The benefits of training buddies

I will admit it. I don’t love exercise. I don’t jump out of bed in the morning thinking YAY time to get the blood pumping and the heart racing (actually I can think of FAR more enjoyable ways to do both!) For me every exercise session is a JFDI session. For that reason my workout buddies are absolutely invaluable. I may let myself down sometimes by not training but I will never pike on a training session I have promised to do with someone else. On the rare occassion they dont turn up, I figure I’m there anyway and do the session.

This weekend I was once again reminded of how wonderful training buddies are, and of how lucky I am to have the support network I do. I am still struggling a bit with sleeping and want nothing more at 6am than to roll over and go back to sleep. Its cold out, and dark and what sane person gets out of bed at that time if they dont have to? Me apparently. Saturday morning was bootcamp. Every Saturday morning I feel like rolling over and going back to sleep but I dont. I’ve promised people I will be there so I go. There was a part of me (a very large part of me) that hoped it was raining this Sat morning so I could sleep in, but it wasnt so I dragged my sorry butt out of bed before i could think about it and turned up. We had a fabulous boxing session and I burned 533 cals I would not have if I had stayed in bed. Not my biggest burn sure, but I know I gave it everything as I had complete jelly legs by the end of it!

Sat afternoon I headed up to my brothers place and spent the afternoon running around with my 4yo niece. It is nice to be able to keep up with her energy levels a lot better than I used to. I still had 100 of this weeks push up challenge left so I did some while I was there. It was so cute watching my niece (aka Mini Me) trying to copy me. She can’t do them on her toes but she smashed them out on her knees 🙂 Even my brother was impressed that I was able to do “guys pushups”. With their encouragement I managed another 50 in spite of aching shoulders from Friday night’s pump class and the morning boxing session.

Normally I use the hour + drive each way as an excuse to stay up there, (and eat and drink too much) and skip training in the morning. This week though I had committed to meeting some people for a double lap of the bay on Sunday morning. (Yes thats right DOUBLE!). There was a moment when my niece begged me to stay that I felt like cancelling, but I held strong and came home. I’m so glad I did!

Woke up this morning to glorious sunshine and met the girls at the bay. We did the first 6 and a bit km pretty easy pace (some of us faster than others and the only run was across the iron cove bridge) and then met up for breakfast. (I was good poached eggs and 1 piece of toast). The 2nd lap, we decided we would interval run. I teamed up with a couple of newbies who are doing their first round and we basically broke up the bay into chunks. Our intervals werent timed or measured, but we were consistent. I actually figure the new girls are fitter than I am they just dont know it yet! We all pushed each other along, and by the end I had SMASHED my old PB by around 5 minutes! We did the 7km in 1hr and 2 minutes. I thought we might have got the 1 hour at one point, but there just wasnt enough left in the tank. By the end, we had walked and ran 14km in 2hr and 14 minutes. I had burned 1178 calories. (Super SUNDAY Session!) and the second lap we’d averaged around 8 and a half minutes per km which for me is pretty fast! (I usually do 9 – 10min). Teaming up with the others was inspiring and motivating. The enthusiasm of people just starting out on their journey is infectious and I find it really rejuvenated me. Without my training buddies I would have a) Not got out of bed or b) only done 1 lap and c) not pushed myself to run as much as I did! I even managed to finished the 300 push up challenge while stretching after the bay. YAY!!!! Now just have to start the 800 step up challenge.

So here it is lunch time Sunday and I feel like I’ve really accomplished something exercise wise this weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I am sore… oh boy am  I sore and it’s going to be worse tomorrow, but I am also incredibly satisfied. Im also looking forward to enjoying my dinner out tonight with no guilt!

I hope everyone else has a fabulous weekend and gets out to enjoy the gorgeous sunshine!

Surprises on the scales

Last week I had a huge loss. I figured that was the plane bloat and extra fluid I was holding due to eating heaps of salt and other less than healthy foods while I was on holidays. Since I’ve been home I’ve eaten pretty well (apart from a big red flag weekend) but had only managed to exercise on 3 days. I was therefore hoping for a loss but expecting only about 500g if I was lucky. Imagine my surprise then when I stepped on the scales and saw that I had dropped 2.3kg!!! That’s huge. Not counting last week, that’s my biggest loss ever. I’m thinking there was a bit of leftover fluid and maybe my body has gone into shock at eating clean again. Either way I don’t care. It’s awesome!!! Added to that my scales say I’ve lost 2% fat. Happy days 🙂 those are the same scales that 2 months ago would measure my fat at all because there was too much of it.

The only downside is how it effects other people. I know it’s hard not to compare yourself to others (I struggled during round 1 preseason I remember), but when people complain about a loss of 800gm and think its terrible and want to throw in the towel because its not as big as those like mine, it makes me feel bad for sharing and takes some of the gloss off. I’d like us to celebrate every achievement, no matter how big or small. Sure some weeks the numbers aren’t massive (although really I think 800g is huge) but the effort that went into getting those results are just as big. Bodies just don’t work according to some magical formula especially female bodies. Some will lose small numbers on the scales but massive inches. Others lose more on the scales and less on the tape measure. Some get big results on both and for others it’s slow going all the way. Everyone is on their own journey. It’s a journey not a race. It doesn’t matter if we don’t get there first, what matters is that we pick up our feet day after day, step after step and keep going. I know it might seem really easy for me to say when I’m sitting on a really big loss this week but I mean it. Next week I’m expecting a small number, maybe even less than 500g – that’s the way my body usually works, but I will celebrate that as well as celebrating with those who lose big numbers. I hope that others continue on their journey they start to feel the same about the scales. Any loss is a good loss. Even of there is no loss, the scales are but one indicator of the changes we are making. Celebrate ALL the accomplishments – increased fitness, sticking to the meal plan, being in control of food instead of it controlling us, running further / faster, doing more push-ups etc.

On the subject of push-ups, really pleased to say I’ve kept up and am now halfway through Michelle’s 300 push up challenge this week. Not always easy, especially to do them on top of regular training, but I’ve done them and most of them on my toes even though I’m only “required” to do them on knees.

Here’s hoping the positivity flows into the next week 🙂 and congratulations to EVERYONE for their amazing achievements on and off the scales this week.

Learning to Run

Anyone who knows me knows I have never been what you would consider athletic. Sure, as a kid I was fit, did every dance class known to man and tried my hand at numerous sports, but apart from dancing I never stuck with anything for more than a few weeks especially if it involved running. I hated running. I was crap at it and I hated anything I was crap at. The only time I recall getting any sort of solace or comfort from running was when they told me our first dog had to be put down, and I ran down the street with him back to the car because I couldn’t bear walking. Since then I havent done any running voluntarily… until 12WBT.

Round 1 saw me attempt the couch to 5k… for a few weeks. It helped. As did all the running drills I did in bootcamp etc. I stopped the C25K mainly because I was doing all sorts of other exercise and it didn’t really fit in. By week 8 of 12WBT though I had improved in my running enough to run 1km without stopping for my fitness test. I was pretty happy about that!  I had planned to run during my holiday but that didnt end up happening, so I was a bit worried about whether I could repeat the performance for my fitness test in Round 2.

Thankfully I did! My time wasn’t as good, but that wasn’t the issue. I just wanted to run the km again. It’s very much a mental thing for me. When I start puffing an panting my brain tells me I should stop. I have to keep making deals with myself to go further. This time though it was a bit different. Sure I was puffing like a steam train about 50m in and I knew I wasn’t going to do it easy, but I also had the knowledge that i have been able to complete it before, and that as bad as my breathing sounds (passers by give me concerned looks – probably thinking I’m about to keel over), that as long as it doesn’t get any worse I can keep going. I even had some left for a sprint at the end! Funnily enough, as hard as the jogging part was, the sprint part actually felt good! My legs strode out, my arms pumped, I felt strong! Don’t get me wrong, it was only very short  and I wouldn’t have broken any Olympic records, but for that few seconds I could actually tell why people enjoy this running thing.

I therefore decided to join a group of inner westies for a Couch to 10km training session. When the alarm went off at 5.30 on Friday morning, I didn’t let myself procrastinate. I was up, dressed and out the door before I had the chance to think about the fact that I had just voluntarily cut short the first proper night’s sleep I’d had in a week. It was cold and dark when I met the ladies near the bay and I was a little intimidated when I saw that most of the others were regular runners – some had even done marathons! Luckily the lovely Carol was there (my partner from my first ever bootcamp). The lady who had organised it, and her husband are both runners and had set out a course for us with  cones. We’d run to the first cone, then walk back, run to the second cone, then do a combination of walking and running back to the start. We kept this up for the whole session. Cheri, the organiser ran with Carol and I (how that girl can hold a conversation while running i have no idea!). She was a great motivator and didnt make me feel like I was holding people back at all. By the end of the session we had walked/jogged 4km. Most of it was jogged! I even had enough left for another sprint finish and once again I got that awesome feeling for that few seconds of sprinting.

I’m planning on attending these sessions every Friday morning if work permits. I’m really looking forward to improving how long I can run for. A little part of me is also looking forward to extending the length of my “sprints”… who knows, maybe one day I’ll be able to actually run (not just jog) the whole 1km! Miracles happen right?


Keep calm and Carry On – Back to reality

I arrived back home this morning after my fabulous trip. I had had the best of intentions to exercise once I got back to England, however I broke my toe on my last night in Casablanca (accidently kicked the bed leg) so walking was painful enough – running was just not going to happen. I’ve faced the scales. I’ve put on 3kg during the trip. ok. I can accept that. I ate and drank anything and everything and did stuff all in regards to exercise. I enjoyed every moment of my trip but I let my self discipline disappear. That is the result. I’m not going to let it stress me out. I’m home again so that means back into my routine.

Luckily I have a couple of meals in the freezer as I have no tie to do the shopping before I go back to work and I really dont want the bad eating to continue now I’m home. Toe is still out of shape but nowhere near as painful so I should be able to get straight back into the exercise too without using that as an excuse. Round 2 starts today, and whilst I am a little behind on preseason tasks and preparation I feel ready to take on the round. I’ve done my measuring (funnily enough only increased waist size – the rest were down from Week 8, Rnd 1). I’m planning on doing the fitness test on Wednesday morning as I have nanna duties tomorrow and otherwise time is taken up with work. Bootcamp should be on for Saturday and the fab ladies I worked out with in my local area last round are keen to keep it up this round. I will also join a gym this round to help keep me motivated on dark cold/wet/rainy winters days when id rather sit on the couch wrapped in a blanket.

Goals for this round:

Lose 10kgs including the 3 I’ve just put on (to bring total lost to 22kg)

Run 2km without stopping. (am hoping I can still run 1km)

Keep consistent with the food for the full 12 weeks (allowing myself a little leeway for my 40th birthday weekend towards the end of the round)

Do 20 full pushups.

Stay positive and not let the “I’m back home” blues get me down and sabotage my efforts

Great motto for me this round

Great motto for me this round

by the end of the trip I was looking like a porker!

by the end of the trip I was looking like a porker!

stone henge camel


Too much of a good thing

The view from the top of St Pauls in London

The view from the top of St Pauls in London

Marching with the Grenadier Guard Band

Marching with the Grenadier Guard Band

View from the top of the tallest tower while walking the walls of Dubrovnik

View from the top of the tallest tower while walking the walls of Dubrovnik

with my gorgeous friends at the "Big waterfall" in Plitvice National Park

with my gorgeous friends at the “Big waterfall” in Plitvice National Park

I’m currently halfway through my travels and have been having a fantastic time. I managed to keep things pretty well balanced while I was in London I believe – I kept up my morning training with pushups, situps, squats, and biceps ticeps and spent my days walking, exploring the city and climbing everything in sight – including all 500 steps in St Paul’s Cathedral. I was really pleased to be able to do it all with no ill effects – no jelly legs after the steps, no having to stop to catch my breath etc. Sure my feet hurt by the end of the day but I was able to do so much more than I have done on previous holidays thanks to my improved fitness. In the evenings I enjoyed socialising with the friend I was staying with, enjoying a couple of drinks and a nice meal guilt free.

Once I met up with my Sydney friends and joined the tour for Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia though the balance went out the window. Here I was with my old drinking buddies. We hadn’t seen each other for 6 months so the first thing we did was go out for a drink and a nice meal… and I feel like we haven’t stopped since! In no way am I blaming my friends for this – each one of us has been living a much healthier lifestyle prior to this trip but it seemed once we got together it all went out the window. It has been great to see them though, and they did notice my weight loss which really felt great. I feel like I have put on weight this week though. Hard to tell exactly without scales but I just don’t feel as light as I used to.

Partly I think it has to do with the style of tour we are on. Usually if I do a tour, I do a small group one which utilises local transport and involves a lot more walking and carrying of your own bags. This trip though is a larger one, with it’s own coach. Bags are picked up from your hotel room and delivered to the room in the next hotel. The bus picks you up at the hotel door and drops you off at your next location. Yes there is a walking tour in each city for about an hour, (not fast walking at all though and a lot of standing around – a good pace for the majority of the tour who seem aged 60+) and yes I have managed to do some walking in our “free time” but it’s still been way more sitting than moving. I’m actually missing exercise. I even found myself doing planks on a bench while we had a toilt break at a service station yesterday!

Food wise we have been trying all the local cuisines – very heavy on the meat, breads etc and very light on the vegetables.All washed down with copious amounts of the local vino. I think I’m drinking less than I have on previous trips – 2-3 glasses most days but its still a LOT. We are all craving veggies. Last night we went to a restaurant recommended to us by a taxi driver that serves traditional Slovenian cuisine and for the first time we had veggies that weren’t massively over cooked or drowning in butter. It was heaven!!! I’m really missing eating clean, as much as I am enjoying the new taste sensations I’m experiencing.

The tour finished yesterday so my friends and I headed up to Lake Bled. On a gorgeous spring day we were able to do a bit of walking in the fresh air including a 20 minute climb up some stairs in the side of a mountain to view a gorgeous waterfall. It felt good to move again although I’m disappointed that I seem to have lost a bit of fitness as my hips are a bit achy this evening. We had a very late lunch so have opted to skip dinner tonight. We are still meeting for farewell drinks though. I think having a stomach that isn’t overly stuffed for a change will be great. I’m not worried about drinking tonight as it is the last time I will see these girls for a while and I head to Morocco tomorrow. I’m not anticipating drinking much at all there especially as I don’t know anyone else on the tour. Hopefully the food there will be more focussed on veggies and a little less oily too.

Travelling really does make me realise how lucky I am. My tour passed through some of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the effects of the war there are still so evident. There are houses that are still in ruins – their occupants have not returned. Other homes have had the internals parts and roof restored but the external walls still have missing render and holes where they have been sprayed with bullets and shrapnel. These families were able to return home but have not had the money to restore the outside of their homes (government and aid paid for essential repairs only). Some homes have been restored completely and repinted in an effort to move on with life but the devastation is still evident. Cemeteries are filled with gravestones of those that died in 1991 – 1995. So many cut short in the prime of life – late teens to early 30s. They had no chance to live long healthy lives. It makes me appreciate what I have –  a home in a country that i love where I don’t live in fear and have never known war in my homeland; a body which while yes overweight, is still healthy and intact and able to take me into a healthier future; the opportunity to make the most of my life; and the financial ability to travel and see sights which both amaze and move me. I am indeed lucky.

I have 2 weeks before I head home. I’m hoping I can move more and eat / drink less in the next 2 weeks. I’m having a great time but missing my new home lifestyle.

Challenges of long haul air travel

Arrived in England after a long 22hours plus in the air. I’ve discovered that after eating predominantly clean for the last 9 weeks that poorly cooked, over seasoned, pre packaged food really doesn’t agree with me anymore, especially when combined with a pressurized cabin. Whilst I managed to sleep most of the first (9 hour) flight, the second one (13 1/2 hours) proved incredibly uncomfortable. Not only was my stomach totally bloated, I found my body just doesn’t like to sit still for that long anymore. – this from someone who’s movement pattern prior to 12WBT could have been likened to a sloth!

Friday I managed to keep my calories under control for the day. I opted for steamed scallop and vegetable dumplings for dinner at the airport. Idid have a small glass of red wine when I got on the plane (to celebrate and to help me sleep) but after that it was water all the way. Not sure how many calories I’ve eaten over the last 24 hours though. Plane food is not only crap it is hard to count. I tried to opt for the healthier meal choices, but I did have the bread rolls that came with the meals – mainly because I was hungry. The serving sizes are small (good thing) but there was very little protein or vegetables. Most if the tray was starch. 😩 I didn’t make a great choice for my first meal in England though – curry. I let the girl I’m staying with choose it and we ended up with a creamy, nutty one. I did keep my portion size small though and instead of washing it down with wine, I stuck to water.

I think that’s the way I’m going to deal with food a lot of the time – portion sizes. For me, part of the joy of travelling is experiencing all the local specialties. Indian curries are a big thing in England so of course I wanted to try one. I’ll also be going for a pub meal or 2 while I’m here and trying the pork sausages or pork pies or whatever is recommended. I’m not going to feel guilty about it either. I don’t want that sort of a relationship with food. I’m just going to control how much of it I eat and make sure I move my body

To that end, this morning, when I woke up, I started the day with 10 push ups (toes), 30 crunches, 20 bicep curls with resistance band, 20 tricep things with resistance band (both each arm) and 30 squats. I’d like to have gone for a walk / run but my host is still asleep and I don’t yet have a key to get back in to the apartment. I’ll be doing a fair bit of walking today so that should help too. Hopefully if I start every day with that little routine (or similar) I won’t lose too much strength.

Anyway I’m off to start the day and check out the London zoo!