“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

Week 1 – Round 3 – Bloggers’ Challenge

1. Describe myself in less than fifty words.

I am 47 years old and have struggled most of my life to keep my weight under control and be healthy.

Then a year ago I took a leap of faith and signed up for my first round of 12wbt.

My focus changed from trying to lose weight – to being as healthy as possible. My eating, thinking and exercising all changed as I began to take care of my health for me.

And now a year later I’m 50kgs lighter, and down 60kgs from my heaviest weight.

But I still can’t stick to word limits.

2. This program is called a transformation. When I signed up for this round (my fourth round) what was it about myself I wanted to transform?

I want to transform myself into a runner. I want to run all the time like I did in the sprint for the finish line in the photo above. I want to increase my fitness – so that I can run the 1km time trial in under 5:30. I want to be able to run 10km in about an hour or so. I am doing the 10km Fun Run training this round so that I can achieve those goals.

3.  What is it about myself I am happy with right now?

I am happy that I am more determined than ever to achieve my goals while taking part in the 12wbt.

I am happy that although I have some ways I go in terms of my weight loss, I no longer have to shop in Plus Size stores or departments. (Although I must say the sales assistants at BeMe in Penrith and Emu Plains are just lovely, and I will miss them.)

I am happy that I believe I can achieve anything I set  out to achieve – including running a half marathon.

4. The aspect of this program I think will present me with the toughest challenge.

Getting enough sleep. I am going to set an alarm to remind me at 10.00pm each night to go to bed. I am determined to be close to my goal weight at the end of this round – so this means getting enough sleep each night is vital.

5. What is it you look forward to the most in the next twelve weeks?

Being able to run again like I did last century.  At the moment it usually takes a lot of mental effort to keep going. But I know once I am fitter, and have been consistent with running three times a week, my mind will enjoy the time I am actually running a lot more. And I will regain that sense of freedom I used to get with running when I was younger.

6. I’ve now completed  four days of the Round 3 program.

The thing that has surprised me the most is how much I miss training even after only four days. I hurt my ankle on Day One – and it has meant running, Zumba and BodyPump were not really possible during the last few days.

7. What I want to see, think and feel when you look in the mirror on Sunday 18th November 2012.

I want to see someone who is almost at their goal weight.

I want to think about how I have done all I can do to be a woman of my word.

I want to feel proud that I’m the best version of me I can be at that time in my life.

This post is my response to week 1 of the 12wbt Bloggers’ Challenge I am hosting in Round 3 2012.

If you’d like to join in with the challenge then create a post on your blog to answer the questions – or just the ones you’d like to answer. 

Then copy the link for that blog post – not the link for the entire blog – just this one post. Then paste the link in the Linky Tool below. Everyone who wants to can then click on the links in the linky tool to read all the responses to this week’s challenge.

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Bloggers’ Challenge – Week 1 – It’s never too late to be what you might have been.

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

George Elliot

You’ve done your preseason tasks – including taken the before photos. You’ve taken a long hard look at yourself. And you’ve completed, at least, the first three days of Round 3 2012. It’s time to blog about the person who said yes to the 12wbt program, and the person you think you will be on the 18th November, 2012.
 
Remember, its up to you exactly how you respond to this challenge, including how many of the questions you answer. You might even come up with your own questions.
 

1. Describe yourself in less than fifty words. What is it you want us to know about you? (Of course if you need more than fifty words, consider using a picture 😉 )

2. This program is called a transformation. When you signed up for this round (whether is your ninth round, first round or somewhere in between) what was it about yourself you wanted to transform?

3. One of the phrases Michelle Bridges says that has struck a chord with me is that we should be striving to be the best version of ourselves. To me that means we don’t have to change ourselves completely in order to have a successful transformation. What is it about yourself you are happy with right now? It can be related to your mind, body or soul, and of course there may well be more than one thing you are happy with.

4. What aspect of this program do you think will present you with the toughest challenge. What are you going to focus on to ensure you feel successful at the end of the twelve weeks? How is your answer to number 3 going to help you overcome this challenge?

5. What is it you look forward to the most in the next twelve weeks?

6. You’ve now completed at least three days of the program. What has surprised you the most about how you’ve coped with any challenges so far in the twelve weeks?

7. Can you describe what you want to see, think and feel when you look in the mirror on Sunday 18th November 2012.

“Until you make peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have.” Doris Mortman

Fellow bloggers – once you have written your response to this week’s challenge – put a link below using the linky tool – the name can be your blog name, your forum name or your actual name or something else meaningful for you. Have fun!
 
Blog readers – click on the linky tool below to read the responses to this challenge.
 
 

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Introduction to the 12wbt Blogger’s Challenge – Round 3 2012

Welcome fellow bloggers to the 12wbt Bloggers’ Challenge – Round 3 2012.

This blog is for everyone, whether you are a seasoned blogger, just started your first blog this round or sitting there thinking about starting one right now.

Each week I will post on this blog a topic for you to write about, related to 12wbt of course. You are welcome to join in with the challenge every single week – or whenever you can. If you are reading this and its already week 2 or beyond, please don’t hesitate to jump in right now with this week’s challenge – or if you can – catch up on the ones you have missed.

I will post the challenges each Wednesday. I will post in the 12wbt forums that the latest challenge is ready, update my 77Noni status on facebook and send out a tweet when the weekly challenge is ready.  The weekly challenges will all be available in their own “archive” in a link list on the right hand side of my blog, right below my tickers.

It is up to you exactly how you respond – there are certainly no expectations for the number of words or anything else for that matter. I envisage each week there will be a series of questions – and its up to you whether you respond to all of them or just some of them. It’s your own personal response to different aspects of the journey. A way to get to know yourself, and your fellow bloggers, a little better.

There will be a linky tool at the bottom of each challenge, so you can provide a link to your blog post for that week. It’s a great way to get to know other bloggers on their 12wbt journey. I have participated in Blogging Challenges in the last three rounds – and have always enjoyed reading other members’ points of view on the weekly topics. (I have to come clean here and admit I have never been good at posting every week of the challenges – so that’s my goal this round – to not only set the challenge each week – but write my response as well!)

And of course, as you click on the links to your fellow bloggers’ responses, don’t hesitate to leave them a comment and encourage them to keep blogging.

So, everyone is welcome, don’t hesitate to join in with the challenge. It can be especially useful for those times you have the urge to write and express yourself, but you’re not to sure what to write about.

Are you ready for the challenge? Are you ready to think a little outside your comfort zone? Are you ready to share how you are transforming your thinking as well as your body?

Leonie smile

Goals are dreams with deadlines

Last year on Saturday 13th August I joined the Facebook group for 12wbt Sydneysiders. Master G and I stayed in a hotel on Pitt Street that night so we wouldn’t have to make an early trek into the city from the Blue Mountains for the start of the City2Surf the next day.

While we were watching television that night I was busy multi-tasking and reading the posts from my fellow Sydneysiders members on the Facebook group – most of the chat was about the City2Surf. The next day I searched in vain while waiting for the starters gun for the yellow group for a purple Sydneysiders shirt. I kept looking for the first three hours of my walk to Bondi for a Sydneysiders shirt. I lost count of how many other purple team shirts there were last year. I was so excited, when about half a kilometre to go I looked behind me and saw a runner with an orange bib about to overtake me – with a purple Sydneysiders shirt! It spurred me on even though I felt like all my energy was spent. I already felt like I was part of the 12wbt team, even though my first preseason didn’t start until the next day.

That night while recovering from my adventure I posted this in the Sydneysiders facebook group

“Well my son and I walked and finished in 3hours 12minutes and 11 seconds. Doesn’t sound great at first – but 10 minutes quicker than last year – and I found HB hill a real struggle. Looking foward to next year – hopefully I’ll be a lot closer to 100kgs – maybe even under 🙂 – and maybe my finishing time will be under 2 hours???”

The supportive comments I received from people I didn’t know yet made me feel so much better about what Master G and I had done that day on the way to Bondi. Looking back at the post now I realise how much those same people have supported me over the last year, and how they are now very much part of my life.  Three examples are, Ms H who encouraged me no end at an outdoor training session this afternoon, and made sure my form was as close to perfect as possible and encouraged me to work hard to achieve my goals. Ms R who joined a group of the Blue Mountains crew this morning with me for a bushwalk and brunch. Ms B who makes gorgeous JFDI bracelets ( an idea suggested by Ms R) which I wore last Sunday to remind me what I had to think if thoughts of giving up entered my mind.

Searching for this post a little while ago, and then tearing up while reading the comments and looking at the “likes”, made me realise how important all the support and encouragement I get from my fellow 12wbt members really is in ensuring I reach my goals.

I was very disappointed with my time in 2011, I was really hoping to break the three hour barrier – but 3:12:11 was the best I could do on the day. Their comments made sure I didn’t stay disappointed for long.

So how did I go with the goals for the 2012 City2Surf mentioned in the post on Facebook on the 14/8/11?

My time was 2:00:25 – twenty-six seconds short of breaking the two hour barrier. Very happy with that result. I am pretty sure I jogged more than half of the 14kms altogther.

My weight last Sunday was 105.9kgs. So not under 100kgs – but so much better than the 155kgs I was when I did the 2011 City2Surf.

But here is the huge achievement. Heartbreak Hill. Last year it nearly broke my heart. I don’t know how many times I stopped on the hill. I lost count of the number of times Master G and I had the following conversation, each time I had to stop, “Me: I just need to catch my breath. Master G: Come on mum you can do it. Me: I know, I can’t believe its harder than it was last year.” It didn’t help that last year there was a sponsor for Heartbreak Hill, and there were signs on every power pole with encouraging words for the runner/walkers/crawlers. It did my head in because I’m sure there were at least five or six signs (over about 200 metres) saying we were half way.

In 2012 there was no such sponsor and no signage on the Hill. So before I realised it I was walking up the hill, doubting that I was  walking up the Hill (because of the lack of signs) and wondering if it started at the 7km mark instead of finishing at the 7km mark. And then I was crossing a timing mat which would send a signal to my Facebook page to say I had finished Heartbreak Hill. And I was still waiting for it to start! I had power walked up the entire hill without stopping, without needing to catch my breath and without wishing it was over already.

And here is the big achievement – I finished those first 7kms (including Heartbreak Hill) in just over one hour. My time for the first 7km of the 2012 City2Surf was only a couple of minutes slower than my time for the relatively flat 7km of the Bay Run fun run the week before. I realised I had a good chance to get to the finish line in two hours if I stayed focused.

My goals for the 2013 City2Surf?

Finish in 1:30:00 or under.

Weigh 77kgs.

Run all the way up Heartbreak Hill.

Round 3 2012 of 12wbt I’m going to be following the 10km Fun Run training program, so I’ll be well on the way to meeting those three goals by December 2012.

 

Things i understand better after doing the city2surf today

1. Our minds want to give in long before our body actually does. And i just love my heart rate monitor – quite often when i thought i should have a break from jogging and power walk a glance at my heart rate on my HRM would tell me i had plenty in the tank and should keep jogging

2. If you set shorter term goals its much easier to achieve a bigger audacious goal  Last week I walked and jogged the relatively flat 7kms of the Bay Run in 58:59. I really wanted to try and do the 14kms of the very hilly City2Surf in two hours today. On the bus on the way into the cityI started to think my two hour goal would be impossible, given the differences of the terrain. I realised instead of thinking “must do 14kms in two hours” I started thinking in terms of one kilometre at a time – and what time I would have to try and do each kilometre in to stay on pace with my big goal. It wasnt impossible to set out to do each individual kilometre in under nine minutes – and when I broke down the big goal that’s all I had to do

3. You can train with a head cold – that is, an illness above the neck. Note to self – get a spi-belt so you can carry extra tissues next time you do a fun run.

4. If you don’t give up you will achieve your goals

 

I’ve been waiting a year to do this……

 

This is me one year ago. I was just approaching the finish line of the 2011 City2Surf. My time was 3:12:11.  Master G was there by my side. It was tough going up Heartbreak Hill, and every other small incline after that was sheer torture. I weighed 155kgs. My training regime consisted of walking on the weekends, one or two Zumba classes a week and two or three thirty minute Curves sessions a week. I was eating in excess of 2400 calories a day. I was in a better place than I was a year before that – but if I knew if didn’t do something to improve my health, I was risking more than heartbreak.

The good thing was the next day was the first day of Round 3 2011 preseason for 12wbt. My life changed completely from that day. Well, it was already starting to change from the moment I decided to sign up the Tuesday night before. I knew I was not going to be trapped in this body for much longer. Little did I know just how much my body, and my mind, was going to transform over the next fifty-two weeks.

So, I’m about to go to bed so I am well rested for the City2Surf in the morning. I was aiming to be running the whole 14kms tomorrow, but my running training has had a few setbacks. So my plan is to jog the first 5kms, and then do a walk and jog combo for the remaining 9kms. My goal is to finish an hour faster than I did last year. So, hopefully there will be a tweet from me saying as much at about 11:20am.

As well as shedding almost 50kgs in the last 52 weeks, I am much fitter and stronger in body, mind and soul. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2003, and some of the years between the diagnosis and 2008 were very bleak indeed, as I spent most of that time in a clinically depressed state, with brief episodes of manic upswings in mood. The Black Dog Institute was a great support to me in those years. But still, even as recently as six months ago, I was ashamed of having a chronic mental illness and I was reluctant to be open and honest about it with everyone I knew.

A few months ago Michelle Bridges announced that the charity she was fundraising for in the City2Surf was the Black Dog Institute. After shedding many, many tears after realising I really shouldn’t be ashamed of having an invisible illness, I decided I would fund raise for the Black Dog Institute as well. I know that the funds I raise will contribute to someone else with Bipolar Disorder or Depression finding the path to wellness as I have.

If you would like to help out please consider donating to this worthy cause. You might like to sponsor me fifty cents for every kilometre I jog and walk tomorrow. That would be a $7 donation, and it would help to make a difference.

Here is the link to make a donation
http://www.fundraise.city2surf.com.au/leonie_gray_0

I look forward to updating this blog with my finish time from tomorrow and the photo of me at the finish line. And the great thing is, even if I don’t finish in under 2:12:11 – the fact I have never given up will make the result worthy of celebrating.

 

 

Swifter, higher, stronger

The 2012 Olympic Games are in full swing and watching the athletes competing and performing at their best is more than just inspiring.
Watching the female Triathlon yesterday made me want to be able to ride a bike and enter the Triathlon Pink even more than before.

And then it got me thinking.

How I have proven to be swifter, higher, stronger this past week?

This morning I entered a 7km fun run – The Bay Run around Iron Cove Bay. I completed the 7km in 58:59, and burned 761 calories doing so. I completed the 7 kilometres in a walk and jog combination. I didn’t quite jog the first two kilometres without stopping – because in the last 200 metres or so of the at first two kilometres is an uphill section leading up to the Iron Cove Bridge.  I jogged up as much as I could, walked up the rest of the hill and then resumed jogging straight away. The thing that really surprised me was when I looked at my Runkeeper statistics for the run the last kilometre had been the fastest – by a matter of seconds – of all seven kilometres. It is making me think a lot about what I may be capable of as a runner. At the end of the run Ms L appeared. Ms L is a member of the Sydneysiders and one of the 12wbt members who inspired me to learn to ride a bike and enter the Triathlon Pink.

In January 2012 I started doing Sh’bam classes as part of my regular SSS. When I started I took all the low impact options, didn’t always use my arms and was forever looking at the clock wondering how many tracks were left. And even doing the low impact options I’d always be wondering how much more there would be of each particular track before I could stop and get a drink.  Yesterday I became aware of a huge shift. I do just about all the class with the high impact options and all the arm movements.  Each track finishes before I am ready to finish – I could easily keep going with another round. I’m not looking at the clock wondering how many rounds to go. And I leap as high as possible each time there is an opportunity to leap. I know I do not look like an elegant dancer, but I feel like one. This is me at the end of the Sh’Bam class last week, and the end of my SSS, exhausted but energised. And wearing my first piece of brand name workout gear bought through a non-plus size store.

Yesterday when I was getting ready for the gym, all my not so baggy gym clothes were in the wash. My options were my size 26 clothes (I’m currently an 18 on the bottom and 16 on top), or putting on the workout clothes I bought online months ago from a US website when they were sale. When they arrived they looked like Barbie doll clothes and I doubted I would ever lose enough weight to fit into them. I put them on and felt very self conscious. Mr G didn’t understand what my problem was and why I felt uncomfortable looking down at myself. I explained I felt like a size 26 wearing something that didn’t fit me. He said I was being silly and I looked fine.

I got compliments on how I looked at the gym from my friends, and the Sh’Bam instructor Ms P said I looked like I was ready for summer! Very chuffed. When I got home I asked Master G to take a photo – intending it to be part of a video log. I posed for a sensible photo, then posed for a silly one. This is the silly one.

 

I couldn’t believe it was me when I looked at the photo. Where did the biceps come from? And then I realised for almost a year I’ve been working hard at steadily increasing my weights in BodyPump, and then at the beginning of this year I started weight training in the gym once a week. I started BodyPump with 2.5kg on the bar. I now squat with 20kgs on the bar, and do the Bicep and Tricep tracks with 10kgs on the bar. This photo proves to me I am stronger in body and mind. I am a better version of the person I was this time last year.

And it makes me wonder how much swifter, higher and stronger I’ll be able to be this time next year.

And, what a different person I’ll be in four years time as I’m watching my television while the athletes are competing in Brazil.