Sunday, May 29, 2011

Alastair does burpees

First, a note: I have had it pointed out to me that, for a post that was supposed to focus on my strengths, I indulged in a lot of negative self-talk in my previous post. Mea culpa. Just let it be known: I am awesome, hehe. I am actually in a better place with regard to self-esteem and self-belief than I have been in many years!

Now, for the fun stuff. When we were at the park watching my eight-year-old have soccer practice this week, Alastair (five years old) asked me if we could do burpees. Really, what can you say to that?

When he stops and shakes his head, it's because he didn't do it right. I think he is his mother's son.

After this, he sat on my back while I did push-ups (22kg of resistance!) and when I said I couldn't do any more, his response was: "Just one more! No, wait, three more!" Thanks, Alastair.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Week 2 Blogging Challenge: My Greatest Strengths

Thanks, Kath, for this week's timely blogging challenge: my greatest strengths.

I remember being asked at my very first job interview, what I thought were my greatest strengths. I couldn't answer it well then, I've bluffed my way through answering it at many job interviews since, and I still struggle to answer it honestly.

I will stick to strengths that are relevant to the 12WBT and living a healthy life, because you probably don't need to know that I can spot a spelling error from a mile away, am a nit-picking grammar nazi of a copy-editor, and can sew a nice straight seam on the sewing machine. Or that I make really good coffee and can do multiplication and addition in my head. Just so you know, though, I can do all those things!

1. Endurance and persistence

In school, I always wanted to be really good at a sport. I wasn't terrible at sport, but I didn't have an overwhelming talent in any one area. I took up cross-country and longer-distance track running (1500m) because I worked out that most people simply couldn't be bothered keeping on going; while sprinting relied heavily on natural talent, I could at least make it to interschools in longer distances by showing up at training and just outlasting most others.

Same thing applies now. I'm never going to be at the front of a pack in a running race, but I can just keep on going, burn those calories, run distances that some people think are really awesome, by pure grit. There's no elegance in my running style, just one foot in front of the other.

Like the story of the hare and the tortoise, I'm quite happy to plod along slowly, as long as I do what I need to do.

2. Not being strong

Sounds silly, yes? I think that when you are very good at something, it can be difficult to help others and empathise with their struggles. In high school, I was a maths whiz. Almost everything we studied just came so easily to me - yes, I was one of those annoying people who could not study hard, and still get good marks (unfortunately this didn't carry through to university, but that's another story). Quite often, I would be asked to help friends with the coursework and it just didn't work! Because it came so easily to me, my explanations of the process were inadequate to them, and we got frustrated with each other.

In some ways, the same applies to fitness, weight loss, and so on. I am ashamed to say that I used to take part in fat-hatred. I always thought it was okay because I "wasn't saying I hated the PERSON", but it's not okay to make fat jokes, poke fun at people for gaining weight, ridicule overweight people struggling to run along the footpath. God, I feel ashamed writing this, and I hope anyone reading who is overweight, has been overweight, and particularly those who have been overweight all their lives, do not hate me for this. I could run, and I was thin, therefore people who weren't thin and who couldn't run or were unfit, were obviously lazy and doing something wrong.

You'll all be pleased to hear I've gained bucketloads of empathy since then. Of course, the cynics among you could argue that it's only because I put on excess weight myself, but I prefer to think it's just part of growing up. I've had struggles with various other issues along the way, and so not being strong (physically, at least. I have become stronger mentally) has made me a much nicer and kinder person. I just wish I hadn't spent a number of years of my life being an arsehole!

OK, I'm done. I could only come up with two! Guess I'm not that good at this yet.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

12WBT food ...

... is bloody brilliant.

Salmon, ginger & greens stir-fry the other night.

I have tried canned salmon (hated it) and smoked salmon (could take it or leave it) and wasn't too keen on trying the salmon fillets, but it was really good! Less fishy than canned, if that makes sense, the texture was great and the ginger really set it off.

Roast vegie salad with chickpeas and dill yogurt dressing last night. I took the photo before I drizzled the dressing on, silly me!

I loved this one, and I roasted the vegies before picking the kids up from school, so it was a super-quick meal once I'd done that part. We have swimming class on Tuesday evenings and don't get home until 6.30pm.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 1

Goodbye 'girly' hand-held weights (2kg?! Pfft.), hello, stealing my other half's dumbbells and barbell, hehe. Though he did request I put the dumbbells back to the 15kg that was on there before instead of my pissy 5kg. He can't run 14km, though :P

Day 1, Lean and Strong program. I did 84 push-ups today, 48 of them on my toes (not all at once, as part of supersets). I did my fitness test as well: 3.27 for my 1km, it bloody well burned though!

I think I'll be sore in the morning.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Celebrate the small achievements too

Tonight I went out to dinner (end of round 1/beginning of round 2 celebration with the awesome Perth Crew!), and I ordered a chicken dish, was supposed to come with chips and salad. I asked for no chips, please. They brought it out with chips. I ate three or four of them, but the old me would have eaten the whole plateful. I didn't; they sat there staring at me and I DID NOT EAT THEM.


Note to self: set goals higher

Today I did a 14km fun run. I hadn't managed to get to that distance in training, and I hadn't even run 10+kms in a month. I thought, 2 hours would be okay. 1hr45min would be good, I'd be happy with that.

So, yeh, I kind of smashed it. I'm on a bit of a high right about now. Although I am still wearing my Skins because I can tell I'm going to be sore tonight. The next fun run that I do, I might have to go up a start category and not start in the slowest one!

One year ago I ran the 4.5km course at this same fun run. I'd just completed the Couch to 5k running program. It took me about 30 minutes. After that I basically didn't run again until signing up for Round 1 of the 12WBT at the start of this year. Now, a year later, and after only five months of training, I can run three times as far, and significantly faster. Thank you 12WBT!

Suddenly the half-marathon goal in August looks very achievable.

I have to say, one of my favourite parts of the run was the way my playlist - despite being on Shuffle - managed to pull out the right songs at the right time. One section of the run was through the freeway tunnel. It was very warm, and I'm not convinced the air quality was okay; I was struggling. Just as I saw (literally) the light at the end of the tunnel, 'Beautiful Day' came on. Later on, at about 9km, when we came off the freeway and started running along the river, which felt like a turning point to me because I knew where we were going, 'I Can See Clearly Now'. And at 13.5km, just about to run into the WACA, 'Firework' by Katy Perry, just in time for a sprint to the finish line. Awesome.

Friday, May 20, 2011

If you can dream it, you can achieve it.

Kath @ The Courage to Start had this great idea of a blog ring/blogging challenge. A post on a certain topic each week.

I want you to paint me a word picture. Pretend today is not today. You are not nervous, or overwhelmed or apprehensive or excited about the next 12 weeks. You are none of those things because you have LIVED it! You are at the finish line!

So, it's the end of August. I'm hanging out in sunny Brisbane with the awesome Perth crew. The group workout has gone brilliantly. This time I smashed the pushups and situps, and had the confidence to introduce myself to some more 12WBTers I knew from the forums but hadn't met IRL.

Now it's time for the party. I have the most awesome dress, being a size 10 is great because everything comes in that size! I don't feel the need for suck-it-in underwear because I finally have abs again after doing my crunches every night.

My before and after pics go up on the screen, and I feel awesome because I DIDN'T flake out at the end of the round this time. I'll treat myself to a few drinks tonight, but nothing too big because I'm running my first half-marathon next weekend and I'm aiming for a good time.

Once again I am just so happy for everyone and their exciting transformation journeys. I am happy to be me.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Things I learned in Melbourne

I've come a long way, emotionally and physically. 13 weeks ago, if you'd told me I would have flown to the other side of the country and hung out with people I (at that point) hadn't met, at social events with SEVEN HUNDRED other people, I'd have laughed.

I also learned I have a long way to go. Couldn't keep up with those full push-ups in the advanced group, and my arms are WEAK.

And I learned Melbourne gets very muddy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Round 2 - are you ready?

I wasn't originally going to do Round 2. I thought one round was enough; let's be honest - I'm a cheapskate!! But the last few weeks of Round 1, where I stuffed up, brought home to me that I do still need to be accountable. I need the support, and I need the virtual butt-kicking :P

Plus, my strength, and in particular my core, has a LONG way to go, and the gym and/or personal training sessions aren't feasible for me at the moment - so 12WBT it is.

My goals for this round:

- lose the last 3 and a bit kilos to get to my original goal weight. Re-assess this goal based on how I feel. It was always a bit of a stab in the dark as it's been so long since I was a shape I was happy with.
- run a half-marathon
- go hard in strength training
- get beyond stage 1 in the abs part of the fitness test! Oh God, I will throw a party the day I can do a full sit-up.

My back will thank me. It is better since I am carrying less weight around, but it still really bothers me sometimes, and I know I need that strong core to support my back. I've had three large babies - the girls were 4.3kg each, Alastair was a piddly little 3.1kg - and my abs still have a good one-inch gap, almost three years after my youngest was born.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Final weigh-in

The 12 weeks are just about up. I would have loved to end on more of a high - I feel surrounded by people who have been absolutely blitzing it the last couple of weeks and I haven't managed to. In the end, however, I am very pleased with my results on the program.

Final stats:

7.7kg (10.12%) lost in the 12 weeks.
12.9kg lost including pre-season.
27cm lost in the 12 weeks (my waist is now NOT in the increased risk for heart disease range).
A lot learned!

I will be back for Round 2. I wasn't originally planning to, but I decided I still have enough to learn to make it worthwhile. I'm only allowing myself one more round, though. I WILL nail it this time, I will create true and lasting habits.

Right now I am going to focus on Melbourne. Two sleeps to go!

Monday, May 9, 2011


I'm tired of this up/down, up/down. I wouldn't say I'm yo-yoing but I'm definitely having a tough couple of weeks. So much so that I feel a bit of a fraud being an Ambassador on the forums, and going to Melbourne this weekend :( At the same time the social anxiety is really kicking in and I'm scared I'll fly over there and end up not leaving my hotel room.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I'm examining my excuses again, for one of the Round 2 pre-season tasks.

Round 1 was over summer and autumn, but the autumn has been so warm here in Perth that heat was definitely an issue. Cold, not so much. "I'm cold" and "I have a cold/sniffly nose/cough" are definitely going to come up in Round 2, though. I actually started to run last summer and autumn; I trained for a 4.5km run in May 2010 and completed it. Soon after that I caught a cold and the mornings were so cold that I completely fell off the wagon.

I will NOT do that again! It's not as if we have snow, ice or sleet here, 'cold' mornings are still a few degrees Celsius.

In gearing up for this round, I'm taking the weather and my excuses into account. Today I bought a pair of Skins compression tights, yes, they are quite expensive at $127, but (a) they are full-length and (b) because they assist blood flow, they'll keep me warmer.

I also have a couple of long-sleeved running top in a 'dri-fit' sort of fabric; when I get warm I just push the sleeves up, or I could wear a singlet underneath and tie the top around my waist as they're so lightweight.

I have a headband that will cover my ears.

I'm pretty set, although I'm considering gloves - I wanted to find a long-sleeved top with extra-long sleeves and thumb-holes, but no luck.

Maintaining good eating habits will boost my immune system, and I'm prepared with natural remedies to take at the first sign of a cold. If necessary, I'll use cold and flu tablets; I don't need to worry anymore about drying up my milk because Evie's weaned, and while I don't like relying on pharmaceuticals, if I just take them on the mornings I need to run it won't be so bad.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lyrics of the week

From my new favourite running song, F***in' Perfect, by P!nk:

You're so mean when you talk about yourself; you were wrong.
Change the voices in your head; make them like you instead.
So complicated, look happy, you'll make it
Filled with so much hatred, such a tired game.
It's enough; I've done all I can think of.
Chased down all my demons, I've seen you do the same.

Pretty, pretty please, don't you ever, ever feel
Like you're less than f***n' perfect.

I've changed the voices in my head. Still working on chasing all those demons down :)