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.

awesome

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

 

 

 

 

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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.

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”.

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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!

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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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Bloggers’ Challenge – Week 2 – To reward, or not reward, that is the question….

The reward of a thing well done is having done it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am a primary school teacher, so I spend an awful lot of time every day giving out rewards – both verbal and token. I can claim stamps, stickers and certificates on my income tax. It’s an integral part of my job to provide extrinsic rewards to others, in order to recognise their achievements and encourage them to go on doing their best.

So in this week two challenge, I’m asking you, my fellow bloggers to think about how important rewards are for you on your 12wbt journey. Do you think they are a necessary part of the journey? Do they hinder or help?

Awards are so unnecessary, because I think we get so much out of our work by just doing it. The work is a reward in itself.

Natalie Portman

Question 1. (For everyone doing the challenge)

What are your goals for this week?

What is/are your main goal/goals for week four of the twelve weeks?

What is/are your main goal/goals for week eight of the twelve weeks?

What is/are your main goal/goals for week twelve of the twelve weeks?

What is/are your main goal/goals for one year in the future?

Now you’ve answered the question about your goals, there are three ways you could respond to this week’s Bloggers’ Challenge. Remember though, there is no right or wrong, what you believe is right for you is right for you. This week’s challenge is about exploring how you think about this and considering what is the best thing for you to do for yourself.

So, do you agree with Natalie Portman and Ralph Waldo Emerson? Or not? 

If you do agree……..

2. Why do you think extrinsic, or external rewards, for achieving goals on the 12wbt are not an important part of the journey?

3. If you don’t reward yourself when you achieve goals – do you still recognise your achievements somehow?

So, if you don’t agree with Natalie Portman and Ralph Waldo Emerson, then here is your questions 2 and 3.

2. Why do you think its important to reward yourself along the way as you achieve your goals as a  12wbt?

3. What rewards do you have planned when you achieve the goals?

And if you both agree and disagree with Natalie Portman and Ralph Waldo Emerson, then you can answer both question 2s and 3s.

Remember, your answers can be as long or short as you want them to be. They can be answered in sentences or in point form. You can add photos too if you want to illustrate your point of view, or share how your journey is for you visually.

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 – whether you are writing a blog post for the challenge or not – can then click on the links in the linky tool to read all the responses to this week’s challenge.

 

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

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.

 

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