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!

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.

 

Set your goals in concrete but your plans in sand. Be flexible with your strategies but firm on your goals.

Tomorrow is Sunday of week 8 of my third round of 12wbt. Mini-milestone day for me. I will be taking part in a fun run.

However, today something happened, that in the long run might just mean more than achieving my goal tomorrow for the mini-milestone.

At the end of the BodyPump class there was the usual stretch track – all done on the floor. At the end of the track we did a hip flexor stretch. And when I finished instead of leaning on the bench for support or using my hand (or both hands for support) I just stood up. This was a huge deal. This time last year at about 155kgs I could not get up off the floor without Mr G literally pulling me up. When I was doing stretches at Curves or a Zumba class I would either roll very elegantly 😉 or scoot on my bum, over to a piece of furniture I could use to pull myself up.

But today, a year down the track at 109kgs, I just got up off the floor – and wanted to shout out, “Look mum, no hands!”

For a number of years as I got close to 165kgs and then hit that highest weight, I couldn’t even get up off our lounge at bedtime each evening without Mr G literally pulling me to my feet. Each night at 10.30pm-ish the feelings of dread and failure would build up as I knew I would have to face yet again how pathetic I believed I had become. It was nothing short of torture going to bed each night thinking I had failed at the last thing I had to do that day. And those negative feelings began a downward spiral, each and every night, that I had let myself go to the point I would never be able to do anything about it.

I am so glad I have proved myself wrong.

The achievement at 10.30 this morning got me thinking about just how far I had come.

So, having already put in my results for this week’s fitness test this morning, I went back to look at my results for the beginning of my first round of 12wbt.

September 2011

1km time trial: 11min 47 sec

Push ups: 8 on knees

Wall sit: 15 secs

Sit and reach: -9cm

Abdominal Strength: level 1

July 2012

1km time trial: 7min 10 sec

Push ups: 31 on knees

Wall sit: 1min 49secs

Sit and reach: 7cm

Abdominal Strength: level 3

When I first started 12wbt last August in the preseason my goal was to get to 77kgs by my birthday at the end of July 2012. Well, this hasn’t happened, but I certainly don’t consider myself a failure. My goal has remained the same – set in the concrete, to reach 77kgs. But the plans have changed according to the circumstances of my life. I have had a few setbacks. Spraining my ankle twice in round 3 2011. A bout of clinical depression ( a relapse according to my doctor) in round 1 2012 which caught me by surprise. Three weeks of being seriously ill with two infections in round 2 2012. Who knows, if it hadn’t been for these three setbacks, maybe I’d be 77kgs by now. It doesn’t bear thinking about, because it doesn’t really matter. I am running my own race to get to my goal weight. It doesn’t actually matter when I get there, as long as I keep working towards that goal.

I realised today after my SSS that the last two weeks have proven to be another setback. I had just finished a BodyPump class, followed by a Sh’Bam class and I was talking to the instructor. Ms P, the instructor, the one who takes my favourite 6am BodyPump classes on Mondays and Thursdays. Which of course I haven’t been to in the last two weeks as I am responsible for taking calls from unwell teachers, and then making the calls to secure a casual teacher to replace them. To do so I have to make sure I am available  from 6am to 7.30am each morning.

I admitted to Ms P that in the last two weeks on Monday to Thursday nights I had been to one Bodypump, one BodyBalance and one Zumba class – and one stroke correction lesson. I admitted out loud my excuse was I was just so tired in the early evenings after work. She suggested to not go home first, but to come to the gym on the way home. Then I had to admit that every morning I would put my gym bag in the car,  and five of those eight evenings I drove straight past the gym to go home.

I realised I had ignored what I had written in the sand. I realised I had let myself down. And Ms P reminded me that if I was feeling tired the best thing I could do would be to exercise. Lesson learned for me. Pulling out the JFDI card is just as important at 6pm as it is at 6am. And the bottom line is that if I choose not to JFDI I won’t be any closer to my goal in four weeks time, and my fitness test results may not look too different than they do right now.

I will achieve my goal. I will do the work that is needed to achieve the goal. I will rewrite the plans in the sand to include a JFDI card. I want more moments like the one I experienced this morning.

I can make excuses or I can achieve my goal. Bit of a no brainer really.

(Thanks to my friend and fellow 12wbt-er who posted the quote I have used in the title above. When I saw it before leaving for the gym this morning I thought that sums up my journey so far. Then, breakthrough moment as I am leaving the gym, it is totally relevant for where I am right now.)

Happy Birthday Miss G

Today is Miss G’s birthday – and it is a major red flag event – as we always let Miss G and Master G choose a birthday dinner restaurant.
And Miss G’s choice for her eleventh birthday? A buffet restaurant.
Yep, thanks for that enormous red flag Miss G. And there’s a Teppanyaki restaurant right next door and she loves that too. That would have been perfect – little bit of rice, relatively small portions and no array of tempting dessert.
So when I said that a buffet would be hard for me not to overeat, my then ten year old daughter simply, in a matter of fact way, “Three plates mum!” I asked her what she meant, and she said, “One plate for entree, one plate for mains and one for dessert”.
Too easy.
Maybe.
So my plan has been to treat today’s food like a treat meal Saturday.
Breakfast was a whole meal small pita bread, cottage cheese (chives and onion flavour), tomato slices and rocket. That was 223 calories.
Morning tea was a long black.
Lunch was an open cheese sandwich with two slices bread, one slice tasty cheese, tomato slices and lettuce. That was 285 calories.
Afternoon tea is a small skim cappuccino probably 71 calories.
That leaves me with 621 calories for the treat meal.
So I’m going to follow Miss G’s advice and have three plates – about 200 calories each. And my beverage of choice will be sparkling mineral water, because this is not just “Dry July” for me but a dry round also.
And you might wanting to know why I agreed to this meal, you may have already posted a comment asking me as much. The reason is that it is Miss G really loves a buffet. She is the birthday princess. She has been very supportive of me on this 12wbt journey.
And above all else my 12wbt journey is not just for twelve weeks, but for the rest of my life. And I need to have a different approach to an “All you can eat buffet” than I have had in the past. And now is the time to start being in control of red flag situations, not letting them control me.
And Miss G, the birthday princess, will make sure I follow her rules.

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Be careful what you wish for

Once I get back to Sydney there will be a post about the actual finale workout. There is so much I want to say about the experience.

This post is about just one way in which the workout has had a positive affect on my life.

The first crew tshirt I noticed as we were warming up was the back of a blue crew. Its one of my fabourite. Their slogan –
Mish’n  Possible
Love the sentiment, and I’m always partial to a play on words. 

So before I knew it, the circuit part of the workout  had begun and  Mr G and I headed to the nearest stage. You know how it’s always best to do the thing you dislike most first? Well that’s what we got to do. Push ups and planks – and not just static ones – dynamic ones too.  And at this strength station, my all time favourite plyometric exercise the Burpee.

I put my hands on the ground and said JFDI to myself and nothing happened. I just can’t get my head around kicking my legs out straight behind me at the same time.

Now my epic fail at the Burpee would be the end of this post except that at that point, in her capacity if roving trainer,  Mish was at our station. And I was acting like a rabbit caught in the headlights. So I attempted a modified Burpee, which I’m sure no one would recognise as any type of exercise.

And that’s when for the first time since starting 12wbt I wished I could do a Burpee.

I forgot to be careful what I wished for at that moment.

And back at the hotel with Mr G, I was catching up on twitter when I saw  a tweet from Amanda Cole which said “@77Noni legend effort!! You are doing great, so proud! Smash it up today! @MishBridges”

I replied “smashed – but need burpee lesson!”

Then Amanda replied “@77Noni well done!! Happy to provide lesson 🙂 @MishBridges”


See, I should  have been careful what I wished for, seriously.  Now if you don’t know Amanda Cole she was a winner of 12wbt Lean and Strong.  And if you follow the link on the right of this blog, you’ll see she is a personal trainer.  I have a PT session coming up soon. And I plan to do a PitP  workout again soon too.  That means I am going to bee to working at it until I master the Burpee.

But seriously, I think it’s one thing to be careful what you wish for – but it’s another thing to really want to achieve something you once thought was impossible.  And that’s what 12wbt is all about. It’s more than losing kilograms, it’s about gaining things too.

Confidence.  Belief in yourself. Ability to make the impossible possible.

And as we were jogging around at the next station the back of another crew tshirt said something which inspired me.

Dream
Believe
Achieve

The Awesome 30+ Crew

When I first joined the 12wbt forums in Round 3 2011 – little did I now I was going to stumble upon a fabulous support crew who were going to play an important part in my journey.  The website offered forums for members based on how much weight they had to lose – among many other things.  So naturally I clicked on the 30+ kgs page.  Straight away I felt at home and felt that people understood me. At the end of the round, we started to become more active on Facebook, and a group of us set up a challenge to assist us in keeping a good mindset in between Round 3 and Round 1.

Being a member of the 30+ Crew has helped me stay focused, in between rounds and now during Round 1 2012.  There are so many inspirational and supportive people in the group.  When we feel good about something we post, and everyone celebrates together.  When someone is struggling they post, and there are lots of other members of the crew to offer support, advice or a shoulder to cry on.  When someone has a question – they ask – and the question gets answered. As far as I know the only negative thing discussed is how many members bought a dress for the finale thinking it would fit in May, and then find out a couple of weeks later it is too big.

For me the members of the group have inspired me to push myself to do things I thought were impossible.  I will always be really grateful for the change in attitude I was able to achieve.

Week 10 saw the Weekly Surprise Challenge of making a video or written blog of your journey.  We decided to make a group video blog.

The great thing about 12wbt members though is that it doesn’t seem to matter whether they have 5, 55 or 105 kgs to lose, or are members to become “Lean & Strong” or “Lean & Fit”, they all seem to understand what it means for another member to be making this journey, to be the best version of themselves.