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…..

MAKE NO EXCUSES!
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

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink

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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.

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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.

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It was a lovely run, very picturesque.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

Happy New Year to Me!

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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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It hurt, but I kept going anyway

I didn’t get a chance to do my SSS yesterday – so SSS on a Sunday it was.

I have been doing the Advanced Lean & Fit program – modified because I have gone over on my ankle twice in the last four weeks – and not while exercising! I have bought a you beaut medium heavy duty support bandage and have been working around the injury. I had planned to do the 10km run training program this round, and the good news is I can comfortably run and jog on a treadmill for over half an hour – so I am going to give the 10km running training a go outdoors this week. I thought I might have to start at week one – but I just looked at the week five program and I think I will be able to do it. And I am planning to enter a fun run on Saturday – so that fits nicely with the training schedule.

But back to the SSS today.

It began with a warm up walk on the treadmill at a steep incline – and then rolling intervals on the treadmill for 25 minutes.  My treadmill measures distance in miles – so it says I did 2.7 miles, which is actually 4.2 kilometres. I can hardly believe I went that far in that time with the amount of walking involved in the warm and during the intervals themselves.

The intervals were in blocks – with the final minute in each block a recovery minute where I walked at a pace of 3.7 m/h. During the working phase of the intervals my top speed was 7.5mph (10km/h) – I can hardly believe I was able to run that fast on the treadmill. But I just printed out the plan from the 12wbt and said to myself JFDI. The intervals were I was jogging at a higher incline were a killer, my legs were burning by the end of the last set.

And this is what I looked like at the end of the rolling intervals.  I love the feeling of the first drip of sweat on my forehead, because I think “now I’m really working” and it reminds me of the saying “Sweat is fat crying”.

Mr G. took the photo for me – I was too bust trying to catch my breath to smile. But I was happy. I can’t believe how great it feels to push yourself to do something further than you thought you were capable of achieving. When I looked at the plans and saw the top speed was 10km/h I thought “I can’t do that” – and then I remembered that the first three letters of can’t spell can.

After the rolling intervals it was time for the AMRAP workout of the training session – upper body and abs.  There were three working phases. In the first working phase I completed 3 circuits and managed to do a couple of reps of a fourth circuit.  The second phase three complete circuits and got half way through the reps of the second exercise. The third working phase I thought this time I was going to go for four complete circuits – and I did it. I told myself I was going to do it and worked out how long I had to do each set of reps. I have a nifty app on my iPhone for timing AMRAPs and a beeper goes off when there is one minute to go. When I heard that beep go I knew I had to dig deep to make the time limit and keep good form.

And the result 653 calories gone! And a whole bucket load of fat crying. Gotta be happy with that!

 

 

A Walk in the Park – Not!

Mr G and I traveled to Perth the Friday before last for the Round 2 2012 Finale Workout and Party. As we live just outside Sydney, we decided to make the most of the flight and stay for a week and celebrate our second honeymoon. When we got married in 1997, we traveled on the Indian Pacific to Perth, and then stayed in Perth and traveled around the South-West Corner for two weeks before flying back to Sydney. So, after all the turmoil of the seven years following my diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder we figured we could treat ourselves to a romantic getaway after the finale.

On the Monday and Tuesday night we stayed our Rottnest Island, were we had visited on a day trip on our honeymoon.  On the Tuesday morning, we hadn’t decided exactly what we were going to do for the day, and breakfast wasn’t being served for another hour or so, so Mr G suggested we go for a walk, and I added that I could do a training session on a beach like I had the afternoon before.

Instead of heading for the beach we went to the previous day – Mr G suggested we try another road as it headed towards a different lake. “There’ll be a beach there,” he said. There wasn’t. There was a sandy gravel road. We had walked as far as we could without risking being late for breakfast, Mr G likes to be first in line for the buffet 😉 – so I agreed to stop and do my TABATA training session.

It was devised by a friend who has just finished her PT training. It involved five different exercises, including sit ups and mountain climbers.  I explained, carefully, to Mr G that the TABATA involved me doing each exercise in eight sets, each set lasting twenty seconds, with a ten second rest in between. And a thirty second rest in between each exercise. All he had to do was keep count of the number of sets and operate the stopwatch on my phone.

 

 

 

 

The sit ups were the third exercise. While resting on my back in between working times I looked up at the sky and thought what a view to have during a workout. The Mr G came in to view, and I thought what a great shot for the photo a day challenge I’m doing this month. So, next rest I took the photo, the title “Hero”. Very appropriate I thought. Here he was supporting, encouraging and helping me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mountain climbers were the second last exercise. When  is doing the first set I counted a very high number. When he called rest I said that was a very long twenty seconds. “Twenty seconds – not twenty seconds – it was thirty seconds,” said Mr G. I asked why he did that. He said all my working sets were thirty seconds long. I lost my calm, cool composure 😉 and said they were supposed to be twenty.

His response, “Suck it up princess and finish them all as thirty second sets!” So this is the face I made him pull to show how mean he was to me! Mr G – the apprentice tough trainer!

I felt I really deserved the breakfast that morning!

Following Dory’s Advice

I have always liked to swim, but have never been very good at it. Two months ago I started adult stroke correction lessons. Best thing ever. I’m not about to break any world records, but the 25 metre laps at the pool at my gym aren’t quite as arduous as they once were.

Miss G inspired me to dive in with enthusiasm. She has been having weekly swimming lessons for years – and for quite some time I never though she would master freestyle. Two months ago she was promoted to mini squad – so she swims lap after lap for an hour twice a week. It is a pleasure to watch her swim – it seems so effortless. And absolute proof that if you never give up you’ll get there in the end.

So why stroke correction for me right now? The Triathlon Pink on October 6th 2012. To complete the short course I have to swim for 100 metres. So I need to build my stamina and confidence in the pool.

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So I found myself looking at the pool yesterday afternoon while Miss G was doing heroin squad laps. I try to swim another two times a week besides the stroke correction lesson. I’ve got give weeks to build up to swimming four laps of the pool without stopping. I took the photo above for the #fmsphotoaday challenge – yesterday was “far away” – and from my perspective right now 25 metres seems very far away.

So I got in the pool and started swimming two laps of freestyle and two laps of backstroke. (I had never swum back stroke until two months ago. My plan was to swim for half an hour, just doing as many laps as I could, and try to swim more than 25 metres backstroke without stopping.

When I started I was sharing the lane with someone swimming just a little faster than me. Then she got out and another swimmer got in the lane – he was very fast, and could swim at least three laps while I swam one. Up until yesterday this would have put me off, because my mind would have started saying I wasn’t good enough and there was no point trying – I would never be that fast.

But I kept going – and surprised myself at the 26 minute mark that I had done 18 laps. And then I realised another two laps would mean 500 metres – half a kilometre of swimming in half an hour. I had never swum that far before. Ever.

And even after all the effort I had put in for the first 26 minutes, those last two laps were the easiest – probably because I really believed I could do it!

I didn’t manage to swim 50 metres without stopping last night – but I really think on two weeks time I will be.

And I was very pleased with the calorie burn for half an hour.

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So I’ll be ready for the swimming leg. The 1 kilometre run doesn’t worry me. But the be riding leg – well that’s another matter. And another post soon.

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