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

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!

 

 

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.)

12wbt Blogging Challenge – Week 2 – Exercise

It’s hard to believe right now that a little over a year ago I avoided any sort of exercise, pretty much as if I was allergic to it.  Thanks goodness for my visit to Solar Springs last year. First thing Saturday morning I ventured into the gym – and hopped on the treadmill, the cross-trainer and rower.  Before I knew it I had a red face, a heart that was beating noticeably, sweaty skin and laboured breathing. But I felt fantastic!

Now, a year later exercise is an important part of my life.

At 6am I hit the gym from Monday to Thursday.  I do BodyPump or RPM. I really enjoy both classes.  Monday nights I go to a Zumba class – that’s a whole lot of fun and a great calorie burner.

Friday is my rest day – just as important as the other six training days.

Saturday is my SSS. I usually begin with weight training in the gym, then cardio in the gym and finish up with a Sh’Bam class.

Sunday is an RPM and BodyBalance class double.  Unless I’m doing a fun run in the city – in which case I will try to get to Pain in the Domain and/or Pain in the Park with Amanda Cole and the Sydneysiders.

And, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays I also squeeze in thirty minutes of c25k training.

One thing I tried last round which I never thought I would was boxing.  I just love it and wish there were more days in the week so I could add it into my regular schedule.

I have also been inspired by Lisa and Jayne to want to give Crossfit a go.  There is even Crossfit box a few kilometres from where I work, but at this point in time I don’t know how I’d fit it in on a regular basis. But who knows what the future will hold.

There is also a Bikram Yoga studio open now in the north-western suburbs of Sydney – I’d love to try that too.

And of course, this October I’d like to be able to enter the Triathlon Pink short course.  The only reason I haven’t signed up yet is because the furthest I have ridden a bike without assistance is about three metres. I am going to do my best to be ready to take it on in October.

And of course I’ll be hitting the Giant Staircase again in July. Looking forward to being red faced, sweaty and out of breath that day.

Moving into my third round with consistency

I am very happy with myself today, but I’ll get to why that is later in this post.

I plan to blog about my successes and achievements in my second round of 12wbt (Round 1 2012) in the next couple of weeks, because I do have plenty to celebrate.

However, I have been working on the first Preseason task for this round and what I was able to do this week has got me thinking.

During my second round I did some things in my training which I would not have thought possible at the end of my first round.  These include:

1. Training for three hours straight (three Les Mills classes) and burning over 3000 calories in the process.

2. Walking down the Furber Steps, along 2.5kms of bush track, up the Giant Staircase and 2.5kms back to our starting point, without suffering with DOMS for three days afterwards.

3. Completing my first one on one Personal Training session – using a kettlebell and TRX for the first time, buring over 900 calories in the hour – when most of the cardio was just in the warm up.

However, despite these great highs, I have to be honest and admit I just didn’t cut it when it came to getting out of bed day in, day out and getting my sorry butt to the gym as planned.  I’m still working through exactly why this came about while doing my first preseason task.

But it really hit home on the weekend just gone, the last weekend of Round 1 2012.

Firstly, I had planned to run the 4km event at Sri Chinmoy at Cooks River last Sunday.  Despite getting fitted for lovely new runners at a specialist shoe store in January, attending a running clinic and starting off really strong in February – my running seemed to disappear from my weekly training.  So, determined to make an effort to enter the Sri Chinmoy event I hopped on the treadmill at the gym the day before to see what I could do, and if I could give it a go the next day.  There was no way I could run anywhere near 4kms.  Bad news – inconsistent behaviour had meant I couldn’t achieve my milestone event.  Good news – I didn’t beat myself up about it.  Just made me more determined to work through the preseason tasks again and set new goals for running, plan it carefully and follow through to the end of the round.

Secondly, on the Sunday I was back at the gym doing a RPM and BodyBalance double.  I hadn’t done RPM with this instructor for a while, at first she thought I was new, oops!  And I kept up for the first three tracks, but then had to virtually ride easy for the rest of the class.  Bad news – my capabilities had severely dropped off.  Good news – I didn’t beat myself up about, just became more determined to stay in the saddle now I was back.  More good news – I was talking to the instructor at the end of the class.  She was very complimentary about my ongoing transformation – turns out she didn’t recognise me because of my weight loss perhaps?  I told her what I had thought about my decline in fitness – and how I was determined not to let it happen again.  She commented that thinking like that was probably just as important as the weight I had lost.

So how was the start of preseason for me and my training?  A 5am get up each morning this week – tomorrow is my rest day.  That meant 6am BodyPump on Monday, 6am RPM on Tuesday, 6am RPM on Wednesday and 6am BodyPump today.  I’m restarting my “Crunchtime with Exercise” ticker to start on Monday 7th May.

I feel really energised and ready to take on my third round.

Consistency isn’t the word of the day.  It’s the word of my life.

Preseason Task 4 – Gear Up

So if you know me you know for the last five weeks I’ve been training mean.  I can hardly believe the improvement in my strength, the way I can sustain a 80% of maximum heart throughout a workout and the overall improvement in my fitness.  And at “Pain in the Park” today I could get from the ground to standing with only using one hand.  Its a huge deal, as this time last year I didn’t dare sit on the ground as I was worried my 160kg frame would remain there.

These past five weeks have seen a huge shift in the way I perceive myself while I’m working out.  Instead of doubting myself, I’m just trying my best.  Instead of giving up, I’m pushing for just a little longer.  Instead of saying I can’t, I’m saying I will.

Today was a good example. And it involved planks.

No not those planks – these planks. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part of the boxing workout involved doing three twenty second planks in between bouts of boxing.  The first plank I said to myself – I’m getting off my knees and onto my toes – never done either of those things before.

That is,
1. Plank on toes.

2. Deciding I could do an exercise above a beginner level when I previously thought it was beyond me.

First twenty seconds finished with me still on my toes.

Second twenty seconds I started on my toes, but my inner voice said – “You can get on your knees if you think you won’t make it.”  How helpful was that thought?  At the ten second mark I was on my knees.

Third twenty seconds I decided I was going to do the full twenty seconds on my toes.  Each time as I breathed out I said to myself, “I can do this” – and I did.

So what does all this have to do with preseason task four?  Its about training mean and hard.  Its about striving to do my best all the time.  Its about having a plan that will see me achieve my goals.  Its about attempting to do the things I thought were impossible.  Its about having a plan, but being willing to mix it up. It means I will achieve the goals I set in preseason task three.

It means I am going to give it my best shot to move from a beginner level to an intermediate level by the end of Round 1 2012.

My “Gear Up” plan is to be found on the page “The Plan” – you can click on the link above – or the one below to find out what I intend to do this round – starting tomorrow!

http://fitandhappynotfatandhippy.com/the-plan/

Feeling flat? Too many endorphins? No, just need a rest day!

Thursday 19th January – RPM = 960 calories

Friday 20th January – Cardio in Gym 82 minutes = 945 calories

Saturday 21st January – SSS – Pump = 620 calories + Sh’Bam = 770 + Cardio in Gym (82 mins) 803 calories = 2193 calories

Sunday 22nd January – 3.2km brisk walk = 63 calories on Garmin (Now I know why some runners wear their Polar HRM and Garmin HRM at the same time!)

Monday 23rd January – Manly Scenic Walk 9km = 2355 calories

Tuesday 24th January – c25K = 248 calories + RPM = 741 calories + Zumba = 808 calories = 1877 calories

Wednesday 25th January – Power walk with incline intervals (level 4) on treadmill (30 minutes) = 507 calories

No wonder I’m feeling a little tired right now.

Will blog about “What I Ate Wednesday” (a new regular feature of this blog) tomorrow morning.

Won’t do the training I tweeted about (ie DVD + treadmill walk) tomorrow – don’t want to risk injury or burnout.  I’ve worked hard the last seven days and my body needs a rest.  No matter how much I want to train more.  Mr G has put his foot down though, and said you look tired, you need to give your body a break.

Training tomorrow will be watching one of my favourite movies

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.

The Giant Staircase

I have lived in the Blue Mountains for more than 15 years and I have never done this particular bush walk before.  And to be honest, I’m not in too much of a hurry to do it again – though I will do it again when my fitness levels have improved.  In fact, I have challenged myself to walk it again this time next year – with a “few” extra stairs for good measure.  I have been encouraged by someone who did the walk with me last Thursday to give it a go over Easter this year.  Maybe.

The walk starts at Echo Point, Katoomba – near the Three Sisters.  After a short walk down a track we hit the staircase.  About 910 stairs down into the valley.  Some of them sandstone, some of them steel, pretty much all of them narrow.  When I get to the top of the staircase I realise why I may never have attempted this before.  Me and my stomach just don’t like heights.  Can you see my white knuckles? (I’m the one in the middle – clutching the handrail as if my life depended on it.)

To add to my dislike of heights is the fear that I am going to do my ankle an injury on this walk.  The steps are quite narrow and uneven.  So why am I going through with this you ask?  After all I could have turned back at the top of the stairs.

For me this journey with 12wbt is all about moving out of my comfort zone and challenging myself.  I knew I was in no danger – the worst thing was I felt bad that I was holding the group up because I was so slow.  There were times when going down the stairs I wasn’t having the most fun of my life – but getting to the bottom of the staircase was a wonderful feeling.  I proved to myself again that I can do anything if I set my mind to it.  And it proves that having the support of other 12wbt members is invaluable.  (It also helped that because of my fear of hurting my ankle, my eyes were pretty much watching my feet all the way down – which meant I wasn’t overtly aware of the heights involved!)

The other reason for doing it was to gauge the improvement in my fitness over time.  It’s what Michelle Bridges would refer to as a milestone event.  As I said in the first paragraph in this post I will be doing it in the future – and I know through consistency in my training I will be stronger and fitter – and the stairs won’t be half as difficult for me as they were last week.  This is us at the bottom of the staircase.  I was so relieved to get down there!  The challenges you may take on as part of this transformation will vary from this particular one – but positive feeling you get when you have achieved it is worth all the effort.

And my final reason for doing this – six other 12wbt members were doing it, I was on holidays and I only live 25 minutes away – how could I say no?  The picture on the left show s the seven of us at the bottom of the staircase – official photographer was the partner of one of the members in the photo.  The companionship and encouragement helped me through this challenge.  And the chance to have lunch and coffee at the end of it all was pretty good incentive.

But the walk isn’t over yet!  We then headed along the track towards Scenic World.  It is about 2.5kms to Scenic World from the bottom of the Giant Staircase.  The plan was to catch the Scenic Railway back up to the cliff top.  It was a great walk along the track – and I have never done a bush walk at such a fast pace! It took one hour and fifteen minutes from the top of the staircase to the Scenic Railway platform.  I burned 543 calories in that time – so I was very happy with that.  Three of us took the railway back up to Scenic World – but just before we came to the platform we came across the Furber Steps.  Five members of our group chose to take the stairs back out the valley – and then walk the two and a bit kilometres back to Echo Point.  Given my jelly legs – I didn’t even give that option any consideration.   I really admire their tenacity and their willingness to take that option – one day in the future I’d like to do it too.

I am so glad I did it.  However, the next day my thighs were really sore – and walking up and down stairs (or ramps) was excruciating.   Needless to say I didn’t do a workout on Friday – but I pushed through the lingering soreness on Saturday to do a 5.5km walk, a Sh’Bam class and an hour workout on cardio equipment – it was SSS afterall!  And actually getting some exercise on the Saturday did help to relieve the soreness.

So, if you plan to do this walk next time you’re in the mountains my advice is don’t do it alone and take plenty of water.  You can park at Echo Point (about $12 for three hours) or for free at Scenic World.  The trolley bus operates a shuttle between Scenic World and Echo Point ($2.10) and the ride back up on the Scenic Railway is $11 – you pay at the top.

My thanks to Jayne for the photos – I was way to scared of my phone falling down a cliff to take any photos of my own!

A shot of Vitamin D and Caffeine

After feeling I was living in the gym last week doing the 100km challenge, I was really looking forward to a change this morning in my training routine.  The Sydney West Facebook group had organised an event – the Nepean River Walk (sometimes known as the Bridge to Bridge Walk).

Another member from the Blue Mountains and I met up with two other members (and one husband) to do the walk at 9.00am at the Coffee Club carpark, opposite Tench Reserve in Penrith.  I was a little apprehensive as it is 7kms to do the whole loop and my legs were a little sore from finishing the 100km challenge yesterday.  But I shouldn’t have worried, once we got going I forgot all about the sore muscles and just enjoyed the company, the views, and the challenge to see if I could make it a 500 calorie burn.

We headed south from the Coffee Club to the ramp which leads up to the M4 freeway – so we could cross the Nepean River to Leonay.  From there its down to the riverside track along a shady path heading north towards Emu Plains.  There were lots of other walkers, runners, dogs, prams and cyclists along the way.  Its a gently undulating pathway, and its fairly wide.

Before long we had reached the traffic lights at the Great Western Highway at Emu Plains.  From there we crossed the river on Victoria Bridge (unfortunately not as good a view as the bridge at the other end), turned right and headed south back towards our starting  point.

For a relatively short distance we were walking along a suburban street – no views of the river – but it wasn’t long before we were back in Tench Reserve walking along the pathways close to the river.

My legs were getting a little weary at this point and I went from a good steady rate of 150ish beats per minute (just right for my age) that I had maintained earlier in the walk to about 135-140 beats per minute.  So there is room for improvement in my fitness level!  I finished up with a 482 calorie burn for 82 minutes of walking and talking.  Quite pleased with that.

It was quite a joy to realise we were back at the Coffee Club.  It was about 10.20am – so the perfect time to enjoy a cup of coffee – skim of course!  The bottle of water we got before the coffees was nicely chilled.  Just what we needed after a walk on one of the “first” days of summer for the 2011/2012 season.

While we were at the Coffee Club I saw for the first time the kilo joule counts they have on their menu – informative and scary!  Some of the menu items were a whole days worth of calories on the 12wbt program.  It makes you realise how easy it is to put on weight when you regard that type of eating as every day rather than a treat.

I was also shown a shorter way to get to and from the Coffee Club today from the M4 freeway today by my travelling companion.  Coming from the Blue Mountains you turn right when you exit the freeway (so left when you exit if you are coming from Sydney) and then turn right at the next lights.  And then a couple more turns which take you south and west and you are there in no time.  A lot quicker than going along Mulgoa Road via the intersection next to Panthers Leagues Club.

Here is a website with more information.

http://www.seeuinsydney.com/2011/05/01/bridge-to-bridge-walk/

So my recommendation – JFDI!  If you live in the area its a great way to vary your training routine or of course it can be a regular workout.  You don’t have to do the whole loop – you can walk/jog/run for a certain distance or time and then head back again.

If you’re from further afield it’s worth considering the drive out there on a weekend – you can use the BBQ facilities in Tench Reserve and there is a Regional Art Gallery in Leonay across the road from the pathway.  You could even start or end your workout there.

Do you have a local scenic walk you like to take advantage of in your training schedule?

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