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

 

 

 

 

Image

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

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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“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

Week 1 – Round 3 – Bloggers’ Challenge

1. Describe myself in less than fifty words.

I am 47 years old and have struggled most of my life to keep my weight under control and be healthy.

Then a year ago I took a leap of faith and signed up for my first round of 12wbt.

My focus changed from trying to lose weight – to being as healthy as possible. My eating, thinking and exercising all changed as I began to take care of my health for me.

And now a year later I’m 50kgs lighter, and down 60kgs from my heaviest weight.

But I still can’t stick to word limits.

2. This program is called a transformation. When I signed up for this round (my fourth round) what was it about myself I wanted to transform?

I want to transform myself into a runner. I want to run all the time like I did in the sprint for the finish line in the photo above. I want to increase my fitness – so that I can run the 1km time trial in under 5:30. I want to be able to run 10km in about an hour or so. I am doing the 10km Fun Run training this round so that I can achieve those goals.

3.  What is it about myself I am happy with right now?

I am happy that I am more determined than ever to achieve my goals while taking part in the 12wbt.

I am happy that although I have some ways I go in terms of my weight loss, I no longer have to shop in Plus Size stores or departments. (Although I must say the sales assistants at BeMe in Penrith and Emu Plains are just lovely, and I will miss them.)

I am happy that I believe I can achieve anything I set  out to achieve – including running a half marathon.

4. The aspect of this program I think will present me with the toughest challenge.

Getting enough sleep. I am going to set an alarm to remind me at 10.00pm each night to go to bed. I am determined to be close to my goal weight at the end of this round – so this means getting enough sleep each night is vital.

5. What is it you look forward to the most in the next twelve weeks?

Being able to run again like I did last century.  At the moment it usually takes a lot of mental effort to keep going. But I know once I am fitter, and have been consistent with running three times a week, my mind will enjoy the time I am actually running a lot more. And I will regain that sense of freedom I used to get with running when I was younger.

6. I’ve now completed  four days of the Round 3 program.

The thing that has surprised me the most is how much I miss training even after only four days. I hurt my ankle on Day One – and it has meant running, Zumba and BodyPump were not really possible during the last few days.

7. What I want to see, think and feel when you look in the mirror on Sunday 18th November 2012.

I want to see someone who is almost at their goal weight.

I want to think about how I have done all I can do to be a woman of my word.

I want to feel proud that I’m the best version of me I can be at that time in my life.

This post is my response to week 1 of the 12wbt Bloggers’ Challenge I am hosting in Round 3 2012.

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 can then click on the links in the linky tool to read all the responses to this week’s challenge.

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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.

 

 

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.)

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