The year of being tenacious

So, here we are half way through January 2015 and I am yet to be at the start line of my second half marathon and I am yet to see the scales say a number under 100kg. There are a number of reasons, non-running related injuries and silly excuses which resulted in me arriving at this point.

But I will get there. I have no doubt I will get there. How do I know?


I know I can be determined. I know I can be resilient. So, I figured the thing I had to be was tenacious.

So, in November two things happened which led be to believe in my own tenacity.

Firstly, I signed up for a Virtual fun run – a fund raiser for the IMP (Indigenous Marathon Project). I signed up for a cumulative marathon. My intent was to run the 42.2km within a calendar week during the month of December.

Secondly,  I fractured my little toe on my right foot. In the kitchen. Getting my breakfast ready before work one day.

Verdict from my GP? No running for at least 6-8 weeks, but walking is fine.

So, I just figured I would make the Cumulative Marathon a walking one. My donation and support still counted. I would still get my special piece of bling. I was determined.

Or so I thought.

I arrived at Sunday 21/12/2015 not having walked one 1km towards the 42.2km. Not one. Silly excuses. No determination to speak of at all.

Then on Sunday 21/12/2014 I decided to meet up for an RMA get together and walk while the others ran the almost 7km of the Bridge to Bridge walk in Leonay/Emu Plains/Penrith.


And I did it!

It wasn’t particularly fast – but I kept a reasonably steady pace. I didn’t notice any pain from my toe. And I had started the virtual cumulative marathon.

I was very happy.


On Monday 22/12/14 I set off to walk 9km along my favourite local running route.

I ended up doing 9.31km.

It took 1:41:51, and my average speed was 5.5km an hour.

I had now done 15.9km in total.

I was determined to finish the 42.2km by 31/12/14. Which was in fact the end date of the virtual fun run.


On Christmas Eve at 6:34am I set out to do about another 9km. At 52:40 I realised I had completed 21.1 of the 42.2km. Celebrated that with a Walkfie*.


I ended doing 10.7km that day.

And I decided to be really determined and complete the last 15.7km by Sunday 28/12/14.

Totally doable. And after all I was determined.

I planned my next walk for Boxing Day.

(Because Christmas Day I planned to do the Santa Virtual Fun Run – but that’s another Blog Post. Because it wasn’t done – for reasons not related to this particular post.)

And I had an idea. On Saturday at my home parkrun which is almost perfectly flat I would try doing some short running intervals in the 5km.

I woke up Boxing Day and walked to our bathroom, to get ready for my walk.

And I was in excruciating pain. Unbearable. I could barely walk. My right ankle hurt. My calf hurt. My shin hurt. My heel hurt.

I couldn’t possibly entertain the idea of going for a walk. It got a little better over the course of the day. But I spent as much of the day off my foot as possible.

On Saturday I woke up, excited about heading down to the parkrun at Penrith Lakes. And there was a shooting pain up through my heel, and overall the pain was worse than it was on Friday.

No parkrun for me that day.

It was then we decided to google the symptoms.

It wasn’t good news.

We concluded that it was something to do with my Achilles Tendon. We weren’t sure exactly what the level of injury, but we figured ice and rest was the way to go. And calling my GP on Monday morning.

My fitbit total for that day was 751 steps – I think that sums it up perfectly.

I was still determined to get the Virtual Run completed by 1/1/15.

Surely it would be better with a couple of days rest and ice?

It turns out I needed to be more than determined.

To be continued …….

*Walkfie – the walking version of a Runfie – 77noni

Runfie: A photograph that you take of yourself before, during, or after a run to share your runner’s high, your latest running fashion statement, or to show off some form of badassery. – From the

Consistency over complacency

So, I’m about to embark on my 13th round of 12wbt. You’d think by now I’d be at my goal weight by now. That’s 12 x 12 weeks, and then some. But not so much.

And I know why. I allowed complacent thoughts to dominate consistent behaviour. I felt a lot better when I stumbled across this quote….

“I suppose it’s too bad people can’t be a little more consistent. But if they were, maybe they would stop being people.”               Budd Schulberg


So I’m human. I’m not perfect. I have pretty much let go of the need for perfectionism, but maybe just a little too much.

My first three rounds I lost about 12kgs each round. That, and the losses in between rounds meant that at the end of my third round I was down to 104.6kg. A 60kg total loss give or take 400 grams.

The next round I was out to run a 10km fun run without stopping. Did that and dropped a few more kilos along the way. In fact a few weeks after that round I was in double figures. I actually dropped down to about 94kg in January 2013. And I started training for my first half marathon.

That’s when the perfectionism got in the way. I was ravenously hungry being 94kgs and doing the low slow runs needed to train for a half marathon, one of four runs a week. So, I allowed myself a few extra “healthy” calories. Not a problem really. Except then I told myself, you’ve blown it now you may as well have that cake or serve of hot chips or hunk of cheese. That’s a problem.

By the time I ran the half marathon in April I was just over 100kgs again. And then the wheels fell off, as I didn’t believe I was really a runner. I stopped running. I doubted myself. Running mojo was non-existent.

And then, a turning point. A 30+ crew member talked about a blogger who posted about herself – both the things she saw as negatives and positives. Soon we were all doing it. And the message at the bottom of the photo says it all. We all put it on our collages. “I’m f*cking awesome and so are you!” It was all about accepting who we are and embracing it and loving ourselves. We were all very active supporting one another as we posted these expressions of self love.


I took the selfie when I was out on a run as the sun was setting and I felt on top of the world. In case you can’t read the orange text it says:

Was morbidly obese

47 years young

Bipolar disorder

Stretch marks

Dark circles

Runs slowly

Loves to run

LG means Life’s Great
65kgs gone

Half marathon done

So, making and sharing that collage saw a big shift in my mind set last July.

And then once my mindset was all set, other aspects of my life began to unravel. I became ill with a virus. And another virus. My son was unwell. I slipped on a shallot in the kitchen and the x-ray suggested a suspected fracture and I ended up with my foot in a cast. After two weeks of intense pain in the cast I saw a specialist, and he said it wasn’t fractured, shouldn’t have been in a cast and that was the reason for the intense pain.  So, no 10km Run Sydney fun run for me in 2013.

I get the all clear to begin running again after Christmas 2013. At first it was short distances with gradually increasing running intervals and gradually decreasing walking intervals. I went to cheer on some friends at the Sun Run in Manly, NSW at the beginning of February as there was no way I could take on the 7km hilly course.

By the Pink Triathlon in March 2014 I was ready to take on a 5km fun run with no walking intervals. And I did it. I was slow, it took me 41:21 to finish – but I finished and there was no pain in my ankle.

I was all set to run the 10km event at the Canberra Running Festival on the 12th April. And I was still on track after the shallot incident to take part in the Gold Coast half marathon in July. It wasn’t to be. On Friday 4th April I was walking alongside the checkout area of a supermarket and all of a sudden I was face first on the hard floor. I had slipped on what looked like a puddle of icecream (the same colour as the floor), twisted my other ankle and sprained it.

Recovery was slow. Very slow. I wasn’t able to do run and walk intervals without pain six weeks after the injury occurred. Finally, in July (after the weekend of the Gold Coast Marathon) I was able to run 5km without needing to include walking intervals. Between the accident and getting to this point, I was feeling very stressed about various aspects of my life. Instead of looking after my nutrition and being consistent with my training I dropped the ball big time. I was complacent. I made excuses. I kept promising myself tomorrow would be better.

And so, I have come so far in the last three years. But I have realised if I continue with the complacency, the excuses and the false promises I won’t get where I really want to be. I realised I had to choose, between consistency or complacency.

I choose consistency.

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”
Robert Collier






Where to now? My goals for the next 12 weeks and beyond.

I’m not scared of growing old, I’m just scared of not

achieving everything that  I want to do.

Melanie Laurent

So I finished a half marathon – which was my major goal for Round 1 2013 of 12wbt. I finished it – but not quite in the manner that I wanted. (There’ll be a blog post about that soon.) So, there are less than two weeks left of the current round, and my next 12wbt round – Round 2 2013 – starts in 20 days, so I have been doing some thinking about my future goals while doing the preseason tasks.

My goals are focussed on me getting to my target weight – by my 48th birthday in July I want to be really, really close. I also want to be able to run the 14km of the City2Surf on August 11th in a much better time than my walk/jog effort in 2012.

So for the first four weeks of the round I have two goals.

1. My weight will be close to 92kgs.

2. I will run the 7km of the Sri Chinmoy Centennial Park event in 50 minutes or under.

I have two goals for the end of Round 2 2013.

1. My weight will be 80kgs – and that will mean within 5kgs of my target weight of 77kgs.

2. I will run the 7km of The Bay Run in close to 45 minutes.

So how do I keep the feelings of being scared and overwhlemed at bay? I mean I haven’t been under 90kgs since 2003. The last time I ran a 7km fun run it took about 56 minutes. How do I get from where I am now to the point to achieving these goals? I think there are three steps.

Step 1 – Take a deep breath. These goals are smart – specific, measureable (all I need is a tape measure and set of scales), achievable, realistic and time based. It is okay. I can do this. And the world won’t end if I don’t make these goals. The point is I have something to strive towards, and as long as I work towards them each and every day I can consider myself a success.

Step 2 – Reflect on how far I have come in the last 18 months of doing the 12wbt.

Q11743So, here I am in September 2011. I am in the purple top taking part in the Parkinson’s Unity Walk. The 5km took me about 1:00:00 and it was a huge effort to push myself to walk that fast.

This event was during the preseason of my first round of 12wbt – I weigh about 152kgs in this photo.

That feels so long ago.

And looking at it makes me realise if I could pick myself up and move forward from there, I can achieve what I have set out to do in the next 12 weeks.

20130103-234455.jpgAnd here I am just over a year later finishing a Sri Chinmoy 7km event at Iron Cove . I finished that fun run in 53:28. I came 83rd out of 85 females in the under 50 category, finishing about 25 minutes after the person who came first. But I still felt like a winner. It took some determination at times to keep pushing – but it certainly was a lot easier than walking 5km in an hour 14 months earlier.

This photo was taken during my fourth round of 12wbt, and I probably weighed about 103kgs. But I am wearing a Lorna Jane running singlet – size large – and feeling pretty good about that fact.

This also feels like a long time ago – since then I have been able to run twice that distance as a training run in about twice the time.

And looking at that I know if I could transform like that in one year, I’ve got what it takes to achieve my next set of goals.

Step 3 – Think about what it will take to move forward from where I am today. If it’s broken down in the basic behaviours, its obvious to me what could happen in one month, two months, three months, six months and one year.

This means I will have to…..

Follow a 14km training plan.
Plan my workouts every week to fit in with run club and work commitments.
Get to bed at 10:00pm at night.
Plan and organise food every week.
Continue to eat clean following 12wbt approach, and plan nutrition before and after long slow runs.

I can do these six things. I have to remember as I make my choices each day, that each choice will bring me closer to achieving my goals – or further from my goals.

Today I know that there is still work to be done,

but along the way my I am achieving my dreams.

Candace Parker

So, by April next year I want to be maintaining my target weight and be able to run the half marathon at the Australian Running Festival in about 2:30:00.

If I stay on track with the 1 month, 3 month and 6 month goals there is no reason I shouldn’t be able to be at my target weight and running across the finish line at the half marathon feeling triumphant.

If it is to be, it is up to me.

“The fullness of life lies in dreaming,

and manifesting, the impossible dreams.”

Sri Chinmoy

This princess has ballet flats, not glass slippers

This princess has ballet flats, not glass slippers

As a child I was a big fan of traditional tales from long ago, as well as the modern Disney versions. As an adult primary school teacher, traditional tales still fascinate me (as do all aspects of children’s literature) because of how they can help children in many ways socially and academically.

So can the tale of Cinderella give me insight into my 12wbt journey? You might think at first – no way, Cinderella has a fairy godmother who makes life better for her with the wave of her magic wand.

But when I think about it – what is Cinderella doing in her day to day life?

She is consistently doing the hard work day in day out. No excuses. No whining. No whinging. She follows the JFDI principles every day of her life.

And then there is a red flag moment she gets to go to the ball and meet Prince Charming – but there are conditions, and in not meeting those conditions things go a little wrong.

But the next day – what does she do? She goes back to work being consistent – get life isn’t over because she made one mistake.

And then the years of consistent effort and lack of whining pay off, and she lives happily ever after with her prince.

So, what’s the moral of the story for me as a 12wbt member?
Don’t make excuses.
Be consistent.


An Interview With 77noni

Do you have any regrets?
I don’t believe in having regrets, only situations I can learn from in the future. However, the fact that at 165kgs in May 2010 I found out about 12wbt, and between then and July 2011 keep deleting the emails inviting me to join is something I wish I hadn’t done. But rather then be too regretful, I’m just glad I read that Women’s Weekly article that August night. Michelle Bridges’ obvious passion for what she did made me realise her program was the way for me to go. And within eight weeks of following her principles I had shed fourteen kilograms. So, I don’t regret not joining Round 2 2010 – but I’ve learned not to let opportunities pass me by because I think I’m not capable.

When in your life have you felt most alone?
When I’m clinically depressed I feel very alone – even when surrounded by my loving family and supportive friends. I have Bipolar Disorder (I was diagnosed in 2003) and the lows for me seem very low, as I have the euphoric highs to compare them to in my mind. In 2008, I was lucky enough to be treated by Dr L in the public health system – and apart from two brief relapses of depression I have been well since June 2008.

What has been the happiest moment of doing 12wbt?

Sliding down the slippery dip with friends at the Thredbo pool. I had never been on a slide before, and my lovely friends coaxed me to put the mat on the top of the slide and let go of my fears. I think this photo says it all.

(picture to be inserted soonish)

Who has been the kindest to you on this journey?
October 2011 Michelle Bridges was at Australia’s biggest health check morning. During the course of the morning she led a Body Attack class. I was about 140kgs and I am about 182cm tall. At the time I was recovering from a sprained ankle and was very much at a Beginners fitness level. Then Michelle Bridges asked the group to do a one legged standing quad stretch. I wobbled all over the place trying to execute the balancing stretch – when a hand reached out and supported me. It belonged to Ms B, a fellow member of the 12wbt Sydneysiders. Not only did she manage to do the stretch perfectly herself, but this petite dance teacher helped me to balance and do the stretch.

(Ms B went on to be a winner of Lean & Strong Round 3 2012.)

What is your earliest memory of doing 12wbt?
I made up my mind to do the 12wbt on Tuesday night in August 2011. On the Saturday Master G and I headed in to the city to stay the night before doing the City2Surf on the Sunday. That morning I requested to join the 12wbt Sydneysiders Facebook group. On the way in on the train I took Michelle Bridges’ Crunch Time cookbook – as I was determined to start eating better on the Monday. I freaked out when I saw the vast majority of the dinners had no pasta, potatoes, bread, rice or couscous. I remember snapping the book shut in horror thinking I could never ever eat an evening without one those goodies on my plate every night. Then I thought – what’s more important – a nightly fix of carbs or getting rid of the weight?
That evening after dinner I started posting in the Sydneysiders group and told them I was walking the City2Surf the next day with my son. I received encouraging comments, especially the next day when I told them I had bettered my 2010 time.
And the next night, did I miss the carbs, hell yes, especially as the family were eating them. But it got easier – and now I don’t miss them at all.

What is your proudest 12wbt moment ?
There are lots of moments which made me stand tall and proud. Getting to the top of Mt Koscziosko, finally completing a 1km trial without walking and finishing my first 10km fun run without walking. But the proudest moment of my 12wbt journey was being a finalist for Round 2, 2012 and being up on stage, receiving a medal and words of encouragement from Michelle Bridges.


What does your future hold?

Being healthier, fitter and happier – because despite the clinical depression, I didn’t start 12wbt unhappy – just not as happy as I could have been.

Specifically, in my future I will be running the Half Marathon at the Australian Running Festival in August, followed by the Gold Coast Airport Half Marathon in July and the Blackmore’s Running festival in September. In July and September I will be aiming to run a personal best time.

I am also going to learn to ride a bicycle once and for all so I can enter a Triathlon.

This weekend I am trying kayaking for the first time. I also want to try stand up paddle boarding and indoor rock climbing.

When I get to goal, which will inevitably happen, I want to learn to ride a horse properly and go on an overnight trek in the Snowy Mountains.

Much better than sitting on the couch watching everyone lap me.

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink


It is so important to be well hydrated – both for helping to keep your body functioning well (because a well functioning body is able to lose weight better), and also, because to be able to train at your best the water is vital.

I learnt the second one the hard way recently.

Mrs M (my mum, otherwise known as Mama) recently treated me to a night at the Outback Spectacular on the Gold Coast, in South East Queensland. My first round of 12wbt (Round 3 2011) was a completely dry round – not one drop of alcohol passed my lips.

Since then I’ve allowed myself to indulge in moderation. Well at the Outback Spectsculsr (which I highly recommend by the way) I had three glasses of red wine with the meal. Not what I would class as a huge amount really – but much more than I have been used to since starting 12wbt, and compounded by two things. I didn’t alternate each glass with a glass of water and when I got back to the hotel I cracked open a mini bottle of red because “I felt like it”. Now, that’s certainly not moderation!

Mrs M and I loved the night, and we both wept during the tribute to Phar Lap, as my father Mr M – who passed away in 1992 – was a jockey and loved horses all his life. And as you can see by the photo it was one of the highlights of our weekend.


The next morning I planned to do my weekly endurance run, at the time I was training to do a ten kilometre fun run. The long run for that week was an eight kilometre run. Great I thought, the Gold Coast, unlike the Blue Mountains where I live, is relatively flat. So I got up, drank my normal two glasses of water before getting dressed, and headed out the door.

I took a bottle of water with me, but wasn’t wearing a hat. It was October, and in Sydney at this time it wasn’t really that hot and I wasn’t accustomed to wearing one.

When I completed the eight kilometres it was well over twenty-five degrees Celsius. Much hotter than I was used to running in. As you can see by the look on my Shredder Face at the end.


It was a lovely run, very picturesque.


So I jogged 4km out from Sea World Resort towards Southport, then turned and headed back the way I came. When I had gone five kilometres in total I suddenly felt like I had hit a brick wall, and I felt as though I was going to vomit – which is unusual for me.


Even though my legs were not sore and I wasn’t out of breath I could only manage to walk the final three kilometres back to the hotel. I very nearly threw up in the gardens of the Palazzo Versace! That would have been awkward!

With the benefit of hindsight – and the medical knowledge of another 12wbter Ms P, I realised I had been severely dehydrated. A combination of not enough water the day before, all the alcohol in my system, the lack of a hat and not being used to the warm conditions.

I live and learn every day.

Why do I do it?

Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to unite in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language that they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. NELSON MANDELA

In her book “Running to Extremes” Lisa Tamati has included this quote on the dedication page. For me, the final sentence in the part of the quote I have written above speaks to me in terms of my running. As someone who lives with Bipolar Disorder, taking up running has had positive effects on my mind, body and soul.

My stepson – Mr G2 – and his family gave me a Dymocks book voucher for Christmas last week. And it didn’t take me long to decide that LisaTamati’s book would be something the voucher would buy for me – I’ve been wanting to buy the book for ages.

I haven’t started reading it yet. It tells the story behind the Extreme Marathons she has participated in – including the La Ultra – 122kms non stop over two Himalayan mountain passes. There is also lots of tips and advice too for runners.


The blurb on the back says the question she gets asked more often than anything else is “Why do you do it?”. The book is an attempt to answer the question.

But I thought before I read the book I would answer the question about myself.


The top ten reasons I run.
10. It’s a great calorie burner.
9. I like to compete with myself and try and beat my personal bests.
8. I want to be able to outrun a bear if the need arises.
7. I love all the cute singlets made from the high tech fabrics
6. The endorphin rush after is a fabulous feeling.
5. I love the atmosphere at the start line of a fun run.
4. I love the feeling when I cross a finish line at a fun run.
3. My body feels powerful.
2. I feel empowered when I run.
1. I feel free of all my cares when I run


So, I’ve rediscovered a passion I held last century. I am in training for my first half marathon in April 2013, and so far enjoying the training immensely.

I also love reading. I love nothing better than a marathon reading session. So, I also bought “The Hobbit” and “A Game of Thrones” with the voucher. Because I need something to occupy my mind on my weekly rest day.

My choice to ride the waves or sit on the sand

A preview of the post for January 2nd I will finish tomorrow morning.

Who inspires me?





What can you do with a drunken sailor.

What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.

So it’s New Years Day 2013. Millions of people around the world are making resolutions to diet and exercise hard to achieve a weight related goal.

I used to be one of them. But since starting 12wbt I have decided I can’t just make resolutions about changing things in the short term to meet a specific goal. I have to commit to making sustained lifestyle changes which will see me being healthy in mind and body for the rest of my life.

So today, my family and I visited the Bundaberg Rum Distillery – an iconic Australian company, producing an alcoholic beverage made from sugar! And I indulged on the tasting after the tour, and treated myself to some take home beverages. So my choices today are not necessarily going to help me get to goal – but they are not going to prevent me from achieving my goals in the time frame I have set myself. It was a special indulgence for New Years Day, not an everyday “treat”.

So I could go into a panic and say I’ve ruined the week and I’ll start again on Monday. Not a good idea. One day of over indulging is not the end of the world. Six days of over indulging would see me move further away from my goals, not closer.

So tomorrow morning it’s back on track with week 2, day 2 of half marathon training. A fast run. Because what I do in the next six days will count for more next Wednesday than what I chose to do today with my family.

And no, I didn’t actually drink so much that I got drunk – unlike the suggestion in the title, and for a few reasons my fully didn’t celebrate New Years Eve in a big way – our celebration was New Years Day.

Happy New Year to Me!


I think back to the person I was two years ago, or even one year ago and I can hardly believe this is me.

Two years ago I weighed 160 something kilograms, was bursting out of size 26 clothes and didn’t exercise at all. I pretended I was eating healthily and was doing all I could to lose weight and stay in shape.

One year ago I weighed about 140 kilograms and I had recently completed a workout where I burned 1000 calories in one continuous workout for the first time. I was wearing size 24 clothes – bring almost six feet tall, the clothing sizes take longer to change. I was making much better choices in terms of clean eating and portion size, and I had gone five whole days without consuming any artificial sweeteners.

Now, as 2012 draws to end I can look back over the last two years and feel good about how far I have come. I got down to 97.2 kilograms a few weeks ago – choices made at Christmas celebrations saw that creep up a little. I am now training for a half marathon in April, and I consider a 5km steady jog an easy run. I love all types of training – I just wish there was more time in the day to do more. I now where a size 18, 16 or 14 depending on the brand – and plus size stores and labels are a thing of the past. For more than 90% of the time I can say with confidence my eating is clean and I avoid anything processed whenever I can. I decided to cut back on coffee at the end of November – and despite ten days of withdrawals, I am glad I made that choice. When I reintroduce it in February it will be in moderation.

And what will 2013 bring. I am going to make sure that I continue to maintain this healthier lifestyle.

At some point – before my first half marathon – I am determined to be at my goal of 77 kilograms.

I will have run three half marathons – in April, July and September – and do my best to improve on my finish time in each one. I will run the city2surf in about an hour and a half – much less than half the time it took me in 2010.

I will be a size 10 – 12 and really enjoy shopping for clothes.

I will be organised with my food – no excuses for not eating clean and keeping portion sizes honest.

And the really, really good part is that 2014 and beyond will be pretty much the same – but with lots more exciting things happening.

Happy New Year – every day is a new beginning. We write our own personal history one moment at a time.


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