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!

 

 

Bloggers’ Challenge – Week 1 – It’s never too late to be what you might have been.

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

George Elliot

You’ve done your preseason tasks – including taken the before photos. You’ve taken a long hard look at yourself. And you’ve completed, at least, the first three days of Round 3 2012. It’s time to blog about the person who said yes to the 12wbt program, and the person you think you will be on the 18th November, 2012.
 
Remember, its up to you exactly how you respond to this challenge, including how many of the questions you answer. You might even come up with your own questions.
 

1. Describe yourself in less than fifty words. What is it you want us to know about you? (Of course if you need more than fifty words, consider using a picture 😉 )

2. This program is called a transformation. When you signed up for this round (whether is your ninth round, first round or somewhere in between) what was it about yourself you wanted to transform?

3. One of the phrases Michelle Bridges says that has struck a chord with me is that we should be striving to be the best version of ourselves. To me that means we don’t have to change ourselves completely in order to have a successful transformation. What is it about yourself you are happy with right now? It can be related to your mind, body or soul, and of course there may well be more than one thing you are happy with.

4. What aspect of this program do you think will present you with the toughest challenge. What are you going to focus on to ensure you feel successful at the end of the twelve weeks? How is your answer to number 3 going to help you overcome this challenge?

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

6. You’ve now completed at least three days of the program. What has surprised you the most about how you’ve coped with any challenges so far in the twelve weeks?

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

“Until you make peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have.” Doris Mortman

Fellow bloggers – once you have written your response to this week’s challenge – put a link below using the linky tool – the name can be your blog name, your forum name or your actual name or something else meaningful for you. Have fun!
 
Blog readers – click on the linky tool below to read the responses to this 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.

 

 

Swifter, higher, stronger

The 2012 Olympic Games are in full swing and watching the athletes competing and performing at their best is more than just inspiring.
Watching the female Triathlon yesterday made me want to be able to ride a bike and enter the Triathlon Pink even more than before.

And then it got me thinking.

How I have proven to be swifter, higher, stronger this past week?

This morning I entered a 7km fun run – The Bay Run around Iron Cove Bay. I completed the 7km in 58:59, and burned 761 calories doing so. I completed the 7 kilometres in a walk and jog combination. I didn’t quite jog the first two kilometres without stopping – because in the last 200 metres or so of the at first two kilometres is an uphill section leading up to the Iron Cove Bridge.  I jogged up as much as I could, walked up the rest of the hill and then resumed jogging straight away. The thing that really surprised me was when I looked at my Runkeeper statistics for the run the last kilometre had been the fastest – by a matter of seconds – of all seven kilometres. It is making me think a lot about what I may be capable of as a runner. At the end of the run Ms L appeared. Ms L is a member of the Sydneysiders and one of the 12wbt members who inspired me to learn to ride a bike and enter the Triathlon Pink.

In January 2012 I started doing Sh’bam classes as part of my regular SSS. When I started I took all the low impact options, didn’t always use my arms and was forever looking at the clock wondering how many tracks were left. And even doing the low impact options I’d always be wondering how much more there would be of each particular track before I could stop and get a drink.  Yesterday I became aware of a huge shift. I do just about all the class with the high impact options and all the arm movements.  Each track finishes before I am ready to finish – I could easily keep going with another round. I’m not looking at the clock wondering how many rounds to go. And I leap as high as possible each time there is an opportunity to leap. I know I do not look like an elegant dancer, but I feel like one. This is me at the end of the Sh’Bam class last week, and the end of my SSS, exhausted but energised. And wearing my first piece of brand name workout gear bought through a non-plus size store.

Yesterday when I was getting ready for the gym, all my not so baggy gym clothes were in the wash. My options were my size 26 clothes (I’m currently an 18 on the bottom and 16 on top), or putting on the workout clothes I bought online months ago from a US website when they were sale. When they arrived they looked like Barbie doll clothes and I doubted I would ever lose enough weight to fit into them. I put them on and felt very self conscious. Mr G didn’t understand what my problem was and why I felt uncomfortable looking down at myself. I explained I felt like a size 26 wearing something that didn’t fit me. He said I was being silly and I looked fine.

I got compliments on how I looked at the gym from my friends, and the Sh’Bam instructor Ms P said I looked like I was ready for summer! Very chuffed. When I got home I asked Master G to take a photo – intending it to be part of a video log. I posed for a sensible photo, then posed for a silly one. This is the silly one.

 

I couldn’t believe it was me when I looked at the photo. Where did the biceps come from? And then I realised for almost a year I’ve been working hard at steadily increasing my weights in BodyPump, and then at the beginning of this year I started weight training in the gym once a week. I started BodyPump with 2.5kg on the bar. I now squat with 20kgs on the bar, and do the Bicep and Tricep tracks with 10kgs on the bar. This photo proves to me I am stronger in body and mind. I am a better version of the person I was this time last year.

And it makes me wonder how much swifter, higher and stronger I’ll be able to be this time next year.

And, what a different person I’ll be in four years time as I’m watching my television while the athletes are competing in Brazil.

 

Blogging Challenge Week 5 (Yep, two weeks late!)

FOOD!

I am sure that word has your attention. 😉 For this week of the blogging challenge Jayne has asked us to think about how our food habits have changed since starting 12wbt.

What were your old food habits like?

What were you like before embarking on this journey to become a healthier version of yourself?

How did you feel?

Before joining 12wbt I know I would have like to have thought my eating habits were healthy. But I was kidding myself. As the Commando said to Graeme in the 2012 The Biggest Loser, “You don’t get to be over 200kgs by eating salad!”  

I have battled with my attitude to food most of my 47 years.  Through the preseasons tasks I have completed over the last three rounds I have come to realise part of the problem is I see it as a control thing. While other aspects of my life are out of control – I can choose to control what I eat, which meant eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.

I went on my first diet at the age of twelve. It was 1977.   I clearly remember though, on our first day of high school we were dismissed at lunch time. So we raced home, changed out of our new uniforms and went straight to the local take away shop and bought ourselves a big feed of fish and chips. After weeks of feeling deprived, and feeling empowered by starting high school, we felt we were taking control by having whatever we wanted. We were in control. We could choose. And we chose something unhealthy. And this led us to decide to abandon the diet we were following. Probably in itself not a bad thing with the benefit of hindsight in 2012 – but for years I told the story of my first dieting failure at the age of twelve.

From 1997 to 2006 I was a Weight Watchers leader.  Not surprisingly, I thought I knew everything there was to know about weight loss.  But, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing when combined with an unhealthy attitude towards  eating. I certainly learnt more about eating clean and having  healthy attitude towards food in my first nine weeks of following the “Crunch Time Cookbook” and then 12wbt principles than I did in nine years of leading.

In the weeks before I joined 12wbt I was having “diet” food from a well known company delivered to my door.  I was eating the 1800 calorie per day program – and – eating extra because I never felt satisfied. That combined with the fact that I was not exercising more than three times a week meant my weight loss from October 2010 to August 2011 was 10kgs. Most of the foods I was eating were processed and high in sodium.

And I felt terrible. I had no energy. I was tired all the time.

I was bursting out of a size 26 – and wondering where on earth I was going to find clothes to fit when I needed size 28.

My doctor weighs me monthly.  This time twelve months ago she was still encouraging me to have lap band surgery. I was morbidly obese. All the tests showed no problems, but we both knew there would be a time when I would begin experiencing serious health complications. It felt terrible that my doctor felt there was no hope for me except lap band surgery.

And despite my thinking that eating whatever I liked was being in control of my life – I felt like I had no control over my life.

I often felt uncomfortable because I had eaten way too much at one sitting.  I also had terrible digestive problems with a type of reflux. This was worse whenever I was laying down.

Was there anything you struggled with but have over come?

The first thing was not having starchy carbohydrate based foods every evening. When I first looked through the Crunch Time Cookbook during preseason of Round 3 2011 I closed it again and thought “I could never do that! Is Michelle Bridges serious?” And of course, I did it and continued to do it.
I decided during my first preseason I would give up alcohol for the twelve weeks of the round. Not just because each glass would use valuable calories  and the fact that having alcohol in your system affects what your body chooses to metabolise. I mainly chose to give up alcohol because after a couple of glasses I know I have a tendency to not worry so much about what I am eating. I am now half way through my third round and the only time I have chosen to drink alcohol during a twelve week round was during my Thredbo weekend. (Well you can’t visit an alpine region and not have schnapps! And of course a glass or two of bubbles.)
I tried to give up Coke Zero and Diet Coke and Pepsi Max during my first round in 2011, but my resolve didn’t last long. My reason for drinking it was that if I had a “sugar craving” it would satisfy it. I decided on the 27th December, 2011 I would give up artificially sweetened drinks.  I decided going “cold turkey” was the best option for me. The first few days were tough, especially when I was buying petrol, as it was a habit for me to grab a bottle when I filled the car with petrol. By the new year the “sugar cravings” were gone, and I have since found out that the chemicals within Diet Cola drinks actually contribute to such cravings.
Now chocolate – that is something I am working on. My current strategy is to break off two squares and get Mr G to hide the rest from me.
Hopefully soon I’ll be writing a post about how I can break off two squares and put the rest in the cupboard and not think about it again for a couple of weeks.
I don’t know when, but I know for sure it will happen.

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