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

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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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.

 

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.

 

 

“That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run.” Forrest Gump

That’s how it started for me way back in 1992.  I just woke up one morning and decided it would be a good idea to go for a run.  Unlike Forrest, I just went around the block. Once.  But it didn’t take long before I was doing thirty minutes or so most mornings before work, and ten kilometres twice on the weekend.  Many times since I’ve stopped running last century I’ve wanted to take it up again.  But I’ve kept making excuses.  But not any more.

I am a runner again.

How?

JFDI and an app on my iPhone called ease into C25K.

I’m up to Week two, day two.  And I can do it. I just have to focus on breathing, not taking too long strides, weight forward and not crossing my arms in front of my body and I can do it! (Many thanks to the 12wbt Sydneysiders members who gave me those tips.)  It has helped enormously that I have a #runningbuddy – you may have seen her comments on this blog.

So my next step is to do Week two, day three, and just keep on going.  I have signed up for a running clinic later this month, where my running will be videoed and I will get feedback on how to improve.  And I found out yesterday that Michelle Bridges is adding 10km and Half Marathon training regimes to the fitness programs on 12wbt.  I am so happy about that.  My goal is to run the 10km of the Blacktown City Fun Run in June this year.  Next goal is to run the 14km of the City2Surf in August.  If I am ready I’ll start the half marathon training in Round 3 2012.  If I’m not ready, I’ll do that in Round 1 2013.

It’s more than just a way to burn calories and lose weight.  It’s something I really enjoy.

That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I’d just run across the great state of Alabama. And that’s what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For n particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going. 


Everyday I’m shufflin’

I like to run.  Sometime last century I woke up one morning in March and thought I might run today.  I ended up running around the block in bare feet – and I was hooked – and I bought a pair of trainers that afternoon.

Back in 1992 long before I had heard of JFDI or C25K or interval training I started pushing myself a little harder every day.  Six days a week.  For about 30  minutes on 4 week days and 10kms each Saturday and Sunday.  I had left my ex-husband and was living in a share house with two gorgeous guys who encouraged me to go for it.  My mother wanted to know why I was so happy – I told her it was the endorphins.  She started lecturing me about the dangers of taking drugs.  But it was too late, I was already addicted.

A friend from my university days and I were chatting one day, and it turned out she was learning to jog too.  We made the decision to enter the City2Surf.  So we trained on our own and we trained together.  We entered our first Fun Run in June 1992 – The Terry Fox Run – a 5km run around the grounds of Sydney University – where we had studied together.  We were so nervous at the start line.  I remember one of us said to the other at the start line – “So when the gun goes , we run?”  We were both about the same fitness level, but I am a lot taller than my friend, so we agreed if I wanted to stretch my legs a little further than hers the I was to go for it and we’d meet each other at the finish.  We both finished in about 30 minutes.  Very pleased with ourselves.

Our next fun run was the Bay Run.  From memory I think I did the Bay Run’s 7km in about 45 minutes.  What astounded us though was as we were about 3kms from the finishing line, there were the serious athletes running the course for a second time in the opposite direction.  We thought – why on earth would you do that after finishing the 7kms?  Then we realised that 7km + 7km = 14km = the City2Surf.  And it was next week – what were we thinking?

We were so excited the next week.  In 1992 it wasn’t as big as it was last year.  We were in the second group to start next to the Australian Museum.  There were no timing chips in those days, and you had to wait until Tuesday to get your results in the paper, and it took almost as long to find your name amongst the thousands as it did to run it.  I managed to jog most of the way – had to walk for a little bit.  But was pleased with my efforts as I did it in just under 90 minutes.

In October that year we did an 8km Fun Run around Burwood.  That night I went out with a group of friends and met Mr G for the first time.  It was love at first sight – truely.  And running didn’t seem as important any more.  I remember the afternoon of our first date a few days later I went for a run to calm my nerves from my home in Homebush to Bicentennial Park.  I know I went for runs after that – but that’s the last one that sticks in my mind.

So here I am in 2012 – currently 133kgs – and desperate to get that wonderful feeling of freedom I used to get last century, and the endorphin rush.  This post I think explains why I was so badly wanted to do the City2Surf in 2010 – at 165kgs and with absolutely no training.  I started the C25K program last round of 12wbt, but after spraining my for ankle the second time in ten days (not while running – just walking long a grassy footpath) – my doctor said no running for 12 weeks.

Well twelve weeks has come and gone. And along with the passage of time came the “Paralysis by analysis”.

All that changed last Thursday. I did a fitness test with some other members of a local 12wbt group.  For part of the 1km time trial I shuffled – without the help of the C25K app.

Then yesterday – the big leap – I was at the gym on the cardio equipment. 20 minutes bike + 20 minutes cross-trainer + 20 minutes treadmill + 5 minutes rower.  When I got to the treadmill, I thought JFDI – just like I did that morning in 1992.  And I alternated 1 minute at 5.5km/hr – my fast walking pace with 6.4km/hour – my shufflin’ pace.  The first two 1 minute intervals at 6.4km/h I hung on to heart rate bar as if my life depended on it – and the third time I let go.  It was great.  After less than 10 minutes total I’m hooked again. So, I’m off to get a properly fitted pair of runners.  C25K starts Monday!  First Fun Run – Sri Chinmoy on the 19th February – the 2 mile event – 3.22 kilometers.  My first running goal is to attempt this distance on the 19th without stopping – jogging, shufflin’ or crawling.

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