Saturday, 13 November 2010

Fed up and confused

Okay, this may be a wee bit self pitying so - be warned. But, seriously, WTF is going on.

Do not ask me why but I put myself out there, once again, and went on a date via an online dating site. We had a great connection, but kept it very low key - as we both wanted to. We both agreed there was a click and that we wanted to see each other again.

I got a cute text message (last night) saying that he thought I had a gorgeous smile and an awesome body. The last bit is quite laughable, but whatever, I'm not going to argue. I always maintain that I look GREAT in clothes as I know how to dress for my shape and cover the bits that need coverage. But I digress.

This morning I sent him a message thanking him for the sweet message, and saying that I thought he was pretty damn hot himself, and that I couldn't wait to see him again. He replied asking me when he got to "feast his eyes" again, and we agreed that we would catch up - today - and that I'd call him after my swimming training session.

Well, I did my bit! Called and left a message, which might've been a little bit of a silly message (just referencing something we'd spoken about a week prior. I forget that I have great recall of small conversation points, and that maybe others don't). So, guess what, I didn't hear from him! I sent him a text five hours after I called saying I was sorry if I offended him, saying it was just a joke, and all I got back was a text saying "what offended me?" I wrote back saying "hee hee, nevermind. I guess it didn't in that case. So, when are you free to chat/catch up". And ...zilch..

Blah. I do NOT understand. At 9.30am he's telling me he thinks I'm a spunk and that I'd be a "dream" to touch (hah) and literally four hours later he's ignoring calls and not returning them.

Tell me, what happens in four hours????

Sunday, 10 October 2010

There goes my brain....

Cranky post - be warned.
First, some good news. I can fit into my skinny jeans (skinny as in small sized, not skinny leg jeans - I could never wear them), with no muffin top and 100% comfort sitting down. Rockin'! Means, of course that my OTHER jeans are now too big. Blah, I'm buying new ones.

Secondly, I need to slap myself very hard. WHY do I do this to myself, why. Goes something like this - met a great guy last weekend, went out with him for drinks the next night. Caught up with him on Wednesday and went out for drinks on Friday. Was a smitten kitten, smiling like a loon. So, what happened at drinks on Friday. Duh! Had lots of drinks, let him convince me to let him come home with me ... I was like, fine, but I'm wearing PJs and you're keeping your hands to yourself. All seemed good until about 20 minutes into falling asleep when we start kissing and one thing leads to another - yadda yadda yadda.

So, guess what? This guy who previously - as in on Friday - was telling me how much he liked me and literally asked me to be his girlfriend, has now fallen off the face of the earth. WTF? He sent me a text on Saturday saying he had an amazing night and thinks I'm fantastic and have the best legs in the world (obviously a lie), and then - poof. He was gone. I sent him two follow-up messages and heard nothing back for over a day and a half. Considering prior to Friday I heard from him at least once a day, it's obvious something is up. What can I say ... the only thing that happened between Friday and Saturday was me sleeping with him.

WHYYYYY the f*ck did I do it??? I mean, apart from the obvious reason (a few too many drinks). I know better than that, especially with a guy I like! Bloody hell.

Anyhoo, in other good news - I'm on holidays now so have two weeks to forget about it. Plus, going up to far north Queensland for some sun ... coming back with a tan or at least having caught up on my sleep deficit.

Lesson may have finally been learnt eh? No more!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Man update

It's Saturday night of the long-weekend and I've been inside practically all day ... sick! Baaah. Not sure, but I actually feel worse than yesterday ... hopefully tomorrow my quiet night tonight will pay off and I'll feel better.

Anyway, my last post updated everything (pretty much) except MEN. Well, there's been all sorts of strange goings on in that department of late. I've been back on the good ol' online dating scene for a while and ... man, it's super depressing. Here is a quick-fire break-down of my dating adventures:

Short-arse: Lied BIG time about his height (ie: said he was 5'10" and was 5'6") and was total sleeze - sitting WAY too close to me and patting my hand and arm, and also called me darling. When he asked me if I wanted to catch up again I said "sure, as friends", and he texted me the same night asking me out again. It was late, so I ignored it, and the next day he sent me a range of texts telling me I was dishonest and a liar and should've told him upfront I wasn't interested. Phew, dodged a bullet there. Psycho.

Mr Insecure: God-love him but Mr Insecure was great on email, chat and even talking on the phone. But when it came to actually meeting in person - he went extremely strange. Also, he wouldn't share pics. He kept asking me for ones (that weren't on my profile) and came up with excuses not to send any through - saying they were unflattering and stuff. So finally, when I said "let's catch up" he said that he was too embarrassed too because he'd put on weight since his profile pictures. Blah, next. Not because of the weight, but becuase he was chicken sh*t.

Mr Dream Boat: I am so hooked on this guy right now and I have no idea how to get over it! This guy is not from RSVP, but "real life". Met at a ... work function. We work for the same company, but so do 500 other people, and I literally see him once a week. We just hit it off. We have so much in common. So, at this work function we both got drunk and managed to escape the crowds to have a fantastic snog session and line up another date. Which was similarly brilliant, I just loved talking to him and then we had ... well, fantastic sex. He is mega hot (buff) and tall, dark ... oh boy. It was worth the (several month) dry spell. We were definitely going somewhere, but last weekend I was mad busy hosting a ball and having a birthday so we didn't catch up.

Then on Wednesday I find out that he's finally moving departments ... yay for him, boo for me because it means we are now working somewhat together. While he still seemed keen on continuing ... I am just too old to have a relationship with someone I work with - on any level - and I do not want things to become uncomfortable for either of us. It's a great company, and I worked hard to get there - and so did he.

So boo to that. Obviously I am not "upset" because I was pretty instrumental in the decision-making process, and it's good for him. But I just feel like this is the second time (or what, fortieth) time the universe has thrown a great man my way who I can't be with. Bloody hell, I'm guessing there's a message in there for me ... I just wish I knew what the hell it was.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Diet of the cavewoman

I was spurred into action today by a post on a blog I love to read, saying that many other bloggers were AWOL or MIA. In the vain hope that someone's reading I thought I'd better get on and write an update on my cavewoman ways.

Well, it's been around six weeks on the caveman diet which is detailed in another post but essentially involves meat, chicken, fish, kangaroo, nuts, all-you-can-eat green veggies, and ... uh, water? I drink coffee too, and take some supplements (recommended to me by my trainer).

I get weighed every four weeks and - what's 1000 times worse - he uses callipers to measure my skinfold (or fatfold in my case!). Firstly, it's embarrassing and I have to lift up my top, readjust bra-straps and stuff like that ... urgh. Anyhoo, the GOOD news is that my body fat has dropped by something like seven percent in six weeks. Which I think is great, I've put on 2.9kg of lean muscle, and on the scales lost around 6kg. Frankly, figures have never bothered me - it's how I feel and how my clothes fit. And in both of those areas I'm giving a tentative thumbs up. Especially around my waist, where I've lost over 10cm. Which is GREAT as I had never had a problem with weight there until the last year or so.

My weights routine with the Caveman Trainer is pretty friggin' brutal. But I like that he holds nothing back and doesn't treat me like a girl ... or doesn't go easy on me because I'm a girl. He ignores my gender and sets me challenges that are based on my physical capabilities. He doesn't rant and rave and cheer me on, he is just to the point and tough. Like me ... a bit.

But then, he has a heart. Today I was NOT up to it, to be honest, but I dragged myself in to the gym because I NEEDED to do something and I'd already paid for the session. I've got a pretty yuck case of tonsillitis at the moment ... yesterday was the WORST day ever, I felt beyond horrendous - feverish, light-headed, weak, and swallowing was like razor-blades and ... god, I dunno, lemon juice combined. Heh, you know it's not a good sign when the doctor looks down your throat and grimaces. The back of my throat is ulcerated and swollen. I wasn't so bothered to see this (doctor insisted on getting a mirror so I could look), because once I knew why it was hurting so much I felt better. It's the whole "unknown" pain - you know it hurts, but not why.

Anyhoo, I got a shot of penicillin in the butt (oh fun) and a does of pretty hardcore antibiotics. I went home and slept for HOURS. Seriously, I slept more in one evening/night than I did in probably three nights on the weekend. I hit the couch at about 5pm and woke up at about 7pm from a deep sleep. Staggered around for a while before managing a shower and made up some clear soup, then managed to stay awake until about 9pm when it was back to bed for some more sleep. I took my doses of antibiotics and panadol in the middle of the night too, and woke up feeling at least 50 percent better. Still not back to max power, but I am definitely on the mend.

So there you go! I still struggle with the diet at times, but by and large I manage to avoid white carbs and stuff like that. I really miss fruit, but I can eat strawberries and blueberries in moderation so I make the most of that.

I am still recovering from an horrendous blender incident on Sunday morning. I was making myself a post-workout super protein shake pinched from a few different blogs I've seen. It has 3 scoops of protein powder, about 1/2 cup rice milk, some water, 2 cups of spinach, fibre supplement and handful of berries. Anyway, I whizzed it all up and then noticed it was leaking from under the blender and down the housing the jug sits in. This has happened once before ... when I didn't quite click the "plug" at the base of the jug in - the thing that holds the blades. Sooo, when I lifted the jug up, the plug stayed put and my lovely smoothie went EVERYWHERE. All over the bench, under other bench-top items such as toaster, kettle, teaspoon holder etc etc. Oh, and then it ran over the edge of the bench and onto my relatively clean and shiny running shoes. Now THAT was NOT what I needed at 9am on a Sunday ... on my BIRTHDAY.

Yes, that's right. I turned 32 on the weekend. Holy crapola. Which is part of the reason why I had such a BIG weekend with no sleep - I was keeping myself busy. At this time of year - much worse than Christmas - I tend to get a bit blue. I reflect on things too much and inevitably find myself a bit unhappy. Not this year, there were moments of feeling a bit glum - but there were NO TEARS and lots of fun and smiles. So, big high five on that one.

Oh, it did help that I did something VERY bad in hindsight but VERY, VERY good for self-esteem boosting and for improving my mood at the time. I kissed this majorly hot guy at work ... at the conclusion of a very boozy work function (that my department had hosted). Seriously, the guy is a SPUNK. I have been perving on him for mooonths. Naturally, he wouldn't look at me twice in the normal world. But, after a few drinks when "party Amanda" comes out and manages to lose her insecurities over talking to good looking men (who normal Amanda fancies), I seem to become quite the chatty companion and have been known to attract guys who are well out of my league (in my mind only, of course) normally.

I have since had a few "oh shiiiit" moments. But la la la, he is seriously hot and I would do it again in a second if given the chance. Nope, have NO idea if he has vaguely similar feelings about me and am not pushing the issue at this stage. Just happy to reminisce over what it was like to kiss him for, like, an HOUR.

Okay, that's my update. I am going to try to post more often. I am really hoping that all this training will soon start to bring some really serious results!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Caveman carb-cycling

I am on a five-day carb-cycling program. For five days I eat lean protein (steak, chicken, ham, fish, eggs) and green veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, rocket, salad) and sweet potato. Plus some nuts every morning. I take fish oil capsules with each meal and some other digestive support tablets.

BUT on the night of my fifth day ... I get to eat carbs! Oooh, it's heaven. I've only been through two cycles so far, and have stuck to some simple carbs with brown rice and banana ... oh, and a few squares of dark chocolate :) All are allowed too.

The idea is that the high carbs night restarts my metabolism. And thank GOD for carbs night. I keeps me sane. And gives me much needed energy.

After two weeks I have definitely noticed a difference. I would not say this is weight-loss, so much as getting back to normal. I haven't felt nearly as bloated or puffy, which I had been feeling all the time. On the scales it's about 3 to 4kg down, but I would say a lot of that is water-loss. I have, however, noticed my face has slimmed down a bit! Hurrah, because it was definitely getting a bit too round and moon-like.

People keep asking me about my goals. Is it bad that I don't have a set goal? I just want to lose body fat and get stronger. Weight goals have never worked for me because I am quite muscular, but I would definitely like to trim down by a good 10cm around my waist and I have some other measurements in mind too.

My other goal is to run FASTER. I'm four weeks away from my SEVENTH half marathon. Because I'm a mentor in the program, I am not running it for myself but instead in a support role so I won't be running it for a time. About a month after that race, though, there is another half which I am contemplating enterting. It may be a little soon, but I am really seriously considering it!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

I eat steak for breakfast

Yes, unfortunately it's true.

This morning I jumped ... okay, groaned out of bed at 6.10am and wandered into the kitchen. For the first time in my life I was going to eat steak before midday. Hell, before coffee. A plain steak with a handful of almonds. No sauce, seasoning or anything.

I chose a 200g porterhouse, which starts me off with around 50g of protein, plus some extra from the nuts. Bam! I hammered it out a bit with a meat tenderiser, because I wanted it to cook faster and be easier to eat. A light splash of olive oil, about three minutes on each side and I was eating breakfast. Mmm.

You know ... it was interesting. It didn't taste bad, of course, it was just my mind telling me "this isn't breakfast! This is wrong". I slowed down towards the end as I could feel it starting to settle in my stomach. Over three hours later I am feeling the effects of a) carb starvation and b) having a full stomach of food = headache! And finding it hard to concentrate.

But, this is what I'm doing for a little while. I am not looking at the big picture, or medium picture, I am simply taking things one day and even moreso, one meal at a time.

Coming up at about 11am I have some ham and two eggs to grapple with. Oh boy, am I excited! Oh, and some spinach too.

Like anything, when you make changes it takes your body a while to adapt, which is why I am locking myself in for a month of super-strict behaviour. If I see results, even small ones, I will stick with it. Even if I just start to feel better and brighter/lighter that will make it worthwhile. Could not imagine running in this state though, so I hope my body starts to burn through this stuff soon!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

I have a headache

So I am on day two of changing my diet from a carb-breakfast of porridge to no beige carbs and much higher protein. I haven't received my full report and plan from my new trainer, but I am trying to start slowly changing things as I realise I have a lot to change and so I am trying the "change one thing every day" approach. Right now I am trying to get used to not having porridge for breakfast and instead am having protein. The first day - due to what was in the fridge - I had two eggs scrambled with no milk added (a bit of water to thin them out) and ... a kangaroo sausage. The eggs were okay, but the sausage was NOT and I am never buying them again. I like kangaroo, but only in steak form.

This morning I had the same - two eggs and some sliced ham, with some avocado for good fats. I am finding this soooo hard to eat, because I am not used to eating this sort of food so early in the day. It's just so unappetising and against my routine of the past, oh, 31 years!

I am determined to stick to it (although tomorrow ahead of the City2Surf I am having porridge!), but it's seriously giving me a headache. I've looked it up and it seems that one potential reason is that protein takes longer to digest than carbs like oats, and apparently undigested food is a trigger for headaches? Probably a little bit of sugar withdrawal too as I am cutting it out all together. Slowly anyway. On Friday I ate a strawberry, and today I ate some fruit salad at brunch with a friend. It was seriously the best option as there was NO WAY I was eating eggs again.

I find this diet a little confusing. No dairy, no fruit, no carbs from things like pasta, rice or noodles. I mean, fruit is good for you. Sure, you need to eat it in moderation due to the high sugar content, but what about all the great nutrients and minerals (and fibre) you get from them? Plus, no dairy? Hello, osteoperosis! I am going to ask my trainer about some of this on Tuesday because I'm a little concerned.

ZERO energy today, although I was running around quite a bit driving from one side of the bloody city to the other. Very tiring! Picked up a case of wine that's been waiting for me for a while, wish I could drink it all tonight ... but don't think that would be great race prep. Instead will have a light dinner with some fish and veggies and a nice early night.

Friends have been asking me what my goals are, because they can't see why I want to change anything. Heh, of course they're my friends and they have to say this, but they also remember a time a few years ago when I would've done anything to be at the weight I am now.

For now, I have no specific goals other than to lose body fat, tone up and improve my nutrition knowledge. Right now I have a diet and exercise regime that clearly isn't working for me, and if I'm going to work this hard - I want some bloody results. I'm sure my trainer will help me come up with these. I am determined to stay healthy and not get carried away with this though!

I did realise that in my period of extreme weight loss/skinny-ness I was probably starving myself. I really wasn't eating enough ... my diet was something like: 1/2 cup of muesli or 2 weetbix with milk, maybe an apple for morning tea, a coffee w skim milk, salad for lunch - maybe with protein, sometimes a bread roll, and for dinner I'd have a tiny piece of meat and some veggies. And honestly, I remember some nights after big runs when I would skip dinner and eat a cucumber or something. Especially if you consider that then I'd run about 35km a week and do something like nine to 11 gym classes (four on the weekends and seven during the week) that just wasn't enough food. I remember everything being vveery slim - I had no boobs (for the first time in my life and - honestly - I loved it), and no hips. I'm sorry, but I LIKED it because I'd always had round curves and it was so good to be so trim. But now I do realise I got there in an incredibly unhealthy way and I'm lucky that I caught Ross River Fever when I did as it forced me to slow down and start eating properly and take care of my liver a bit better.

So, onwards and downwards ... and upwards! I can't wait for my energy levels to pick up again. I have no idea how I'm going to run tomorrow ... hah, slowly I imagine!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

New trainer and new beginnings

As evidenced in this blog and my constant whingeing to friends, family and anyone who will listen - for the past year or two (especially the last 12 months) I have been really struggling with weight gain.

Last week at work we had a group from the Athletes Foot come in to fit us for shoes. I had just been to a proper running shoe store that fit me with some great runners, but I went down anyway for a second opinion. Unlike some stores I've been in - these guys knew their stuff. They used the Fit Print mechanism, but also watched you walk away from them - in bare feet and with your Achilles exposed. The guy who I worked with gave an identical diagnosis pretty much to previous ones, so I was impressed! He also knew a bit about running and CanToo - bonus.

I digress. Also present was this great personal trainer - Libby, who runs an Eastern Suburbs (Sydney) based boot camp and personal training business called Bottom's Up. I decided to ask her for some nutrition tips because really, I don't feel like I can do anymore exercise - maybe just smarter exercise - and I really think that nutrition is 80% of weight loss or more!

What she told me was quite eye opening and led me to where I am now. Essentially, she told me I wasn't eating enough aiming for 1300 calories a day and exercising up to 1000 calories a day. That I wasn't eating enough protein and that I was eating the wrong sort of carbs. Eep. I asked her for a recommendation of a good personal trainer who also did nutrition because I am now so confused after reading sooo many things about everything under the sun.

Well, she delivered to me the cream of the crop. His name is Daine McDonald and he runs a PT business called Clean Health. I had my first consultation with him TODAY - the same day I initially spoke to him. Argh, scary that I had zero time to prepare ... thank god I shaved this morning! I HATE these things. I have never, ever had a good initial consultation - no matter how much thinner or fitter I've been. They involve scary things like getting on scales and being measured, poked, proded and the rest. Plus, I have had some horrendous comments ... including a trainer who I NEVER saw again who informed me that I was obese, despite acknowledging that my cardio fitness and strength put me in the excellent category for fitness.

Anyway, today was different. Daine had me fill out a serious of questionnaries to determine my standard health, exercise and diet history and any potential hormone imbalances through a long questionnaire with a HEAP of true and false answers. This was quite interesting as I had never given many of these questions a second thought, and suddenly I found myself wondering if I had a good memory, had a healthy libido and a good imagination!

My head is still swimming a little, but the results are etched inside my brain because ... I've been doing it WRONG. Well wrong. In fact, there are few ways I could more wrong! My training, up to now, has been focussed around running - particularly long distance running - thinking it must be good as it works all muscles and burns calories, as well as strenghtening my lungs and heart. Unfortunately, it also causes the body to create a hormone called cortisol which causes the body to retain weight - particularly around the mid-section.

I have been trying to ignore it, but particularly in the last seven or eight months I have struggled with this area. Not so much a "gut", but just weight on my torso, which I have never had a problem with. In fact, my slim waist was often considered my best feature.

In addition to this, my diet - formulated for me by a three-month course with a different nutritionist - was wrong. According to Daine, it is too high in carbs and sugars (only natural mind you), too low in protein and not nearly enough of the good fats. This diet, in fact, is also cortisol creating AND can affect liver and kidney function. Fantastic. So my diet AND my exercise routine are contributing to me gaining weight despite both being rather good!

After this discussion, which had me wanting to do a number of things - including run away, cry and call my previous nutritionist and demand a refund of my $450 dollars, it was time for the measuring. Daine used this scary looking pair of metal pincers ... or callipers, to measure skinfolds. I absolutely realise the rationale behind it, which is why I went through with it, but inside I was dying. I had only just met this person and now he's actively grabbing my (somewhat generous) love handles and pinching them in a cruel looking shiny contraption? Thankfully, it was all over quite quickly. Then it was just a quick jump on the scales, which thankfully didn't explode but did display some scary digits, and we were talking action plans.

I am receiving a full report from Daine closer to the weekend, but for now I need to stop eating carbs (porridge) for breakfast and have protein. He recommended red meat and eggs. Yeah, I am serious. This goes against everything I've ever considered breakfast to be. Eggs - sometimes - but steak? For breakfast? Ew! He went one step further and recommended game meats like deer and roo. Okay, so I am going to go with roo as I cannot face venison or similar sub-8am.

Secondly, I am onto the supplements - a tablespoon of liquid fish oil in the morning and a teaspoon at night. Tonight I started with the teaspoon and it was pretty gross. I am going to have to mix that stuff in with something I think. Next, are some other digestive supplements. They smelt pretty bad, but apparently they will help sort out acid and enzyme levels in my gut. Finally, in addition to the liquid fish oil, I am taking three fish oil capsules through-out the day. Unbelievable.

Finally, I am not to exercise in the evening. This apparently also causes cortisol levels to spike, which is why I can't sleep at night sometimes! Argh. So it's now all before work or at lunchtime work outs.

I am going to give it all a bloody good go, if for no other reason than I've laid down a substantial amount of money for this stuff and now I want to see what it does. Training per usual until next Tuesday when who knows what will happen to me.

If I said I didn't care about what happens on the scale I would be lying. I want to be under 65kg at least, under 60kg preferable. I must point out, I am a shortie. I'm 158cm or so, so these weights would be fine for me. I'd love to lose weight of my upper arms, which have always been chunky (apparently could be a wheat problem), and my stomach and thighs.

I would also like to gain my energy and vitality back. It has left me in the last year or so! Work has been busy, sure, but I have worked much harder and longer in my life and had more energy than I currently have.

So, I look forward to reporting back! Hopefully I can pass on some useful tips beyond attempting to eat a steak for breakfast.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Sunday night quickie

Not a great week by any scale of the imagination. Had what I like to call Demonic Ovary Month ... felt HORRENDOUS for two days (cramps and nausea) but thankfully recovered in time for Wednesday training (just about anyway).

I did skip all other activities. It was time for a rest week.

I've started making up ground this weekend though, I think! 18km running in total, plus SUPER healthy eating. Well, with only a few minor blights. Have decided to really focus on diet for two solid weeks. Have broken the sugar hold from last weekend's binge and have stocked the fridge with veggies, fruit and lean protein options :)

Today was ALMOST perfect.

45min hill run, then had cup of cooked porridge (made with water) plus half an apple, two tablespoons of chopped walnuts and 1 teaspoon of sunflower seeds, plus a sprinkle of cinnamon and brown sugar. Tasteee.

Then I had a soy mocha before heading out running shoe shopping with two friends. Super fun (and successful).

Lunch was four Vita-Weets with Nut Butter and raspberry jam (on the run) and an apple.

Arvo snack was about 1/2 cup of pistachio nuts. Oh, and I had a beer :)

Dinner tonight was DELICIOUS from The Biggest Loser cookbook - beef strips stir fried with oyster sauce (plus chilli, garlic and ginger), with baby buk choy. Served with low-GI doongara rice. Made one recipe switch - cut the onion (blergh) and added the chilli. Super tasty.

I decided to spoil myself for dessert with a Fuji fruit (yum) and mango yoghurt.

So, let's see how the week pans out. No late nights this week and lots of running, gym and sleep plus good healthy food.

Have THE WORST first date story to share ... but will have to put that up tomorrow as the pain is still far too fresh to recount tonight.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Goldy Half and The Hunger x 2

The half-marathon - and activities after the race - last year was so much fun that a group of us decided to do it all again, and invite some newbies along. Once again, it didn't fail to impress! Arrived on Saturday lunchtime and, after dumping gear at the hotel, we wandered off to the expo. These things are kinda crazy, but they're also great for checking out all sorts of running gear and gadgets. I managed to refrain from buying, mainly because I was really hot and uncomfortable after flying from 13C temps to pushing 30C in the sun!

We had our traditional carb loading dinner at a restaurant in Broadbeach, after an agonisingly long wait ... next year, a booking will be essential! Plus the traditional glass of red. I was determined to make this a holiday as much as a race. Due to the dinner delay, we all went to bed a fair bit later than is ideal ... but I am a firm believer in the theory that two nights before the race is when you need to get the best sleep, not as much the night before. Of course, it all helps!

This year we had much less stress at the startline, we were lined up before the gun went off - which is always a good start - and we actually warmed up! None of which happened in 2009. My running at the moment is a little bit different as I'm a CanToo mentor. This means I am focussed on helping other runners achieve their goals, rather than on my own times and challenges.

The Gold Half was my first real experience of this, running with a girl who wanted to beat her previous time of 2h24min. As this was nearly 25minutes below my average half-mara time, I knew I could get her home in a good time but had to also be careful not to push her too hard. I was very proud of our efforts, as we took it out REALLY slowly in the first 11km and managed to steadily build the pace for the next 10km. In her previous race, my mentee had stopped running at 14km and never recovered, walking and running for the remainder of the race.

As we approached the 14km mark, she was starting to complain of being tired and having sore knees. I knew she was tired - so was I - but I knew that she didn't need to stop, it was purely a mental thing. So I told her to get to the 15km mark and she could stop, and repeated this at every km marker - saying "nah, let's stop at the next one". She twigged at the 17km mark, where I switched to saying "only 4km left" and stuff like that. And - whoo hoo - she took seven minutes off her time to record a PB. Unfortunately I did encourage her to sprint the last 100m, and she nearly collapsed at the finish line ... but she was very happy with her efforts and I was happy with mine!

My coach redeemed himself from last year's horrendous full marathon effort, where he blew up at about 31km and spent the next 11km walking in terrible pain. This year he was 12kg lighter and finished - looking good - in under four hours. An absolute legend.

After we all finished our respective runs, we headed back to the hotels for showers (painful in my case due to dreadful under-bra chaffing) and some extra sleep before hitting the town at 4.30pm!

The next two nights are pretty much a blur but can be summed up in one word: FUN. Dancing, drinking, flirting, guys, laughter, more flirting and guys, and more dancing and drinking. Oooh, so much fun.

I came back to Sydney, however, feeling like it was definitely time for some focus!

Heh, unfortunately this focus was undermined by what I call ... The Hunger. The Hunger hits me about two or three days before my period arrives (sorry to be blunt!) and during this time I am a bottomless pit. I usually have a very small appetite, preferring to eat small meals more regularly rather than huge meals in one sitting. Not when The Hunger hits. When it's around, I never feel full or satisfied. Example? I got pizza on Friday, which I never get, but I was tired and it was 7.30pm and I wanted to eat and go to bed early. I get a healthy-ish option from the local pizza place, but usually I eat three pieces - four at the very most. On Friday, I ate six! And I was still thinking of eating more when I put the remaining two slices away. Argh.

Saturday's 8km run definitely didn't work that off, and then I headed off to a wine and cheese tasting ... oh boy, I don't want to think of the calories there!

Sunday I went for a tough 7km hill run that hurt BADLY due to me already having sore legs, being a bit tired, needing new shoes AND the weather turning v. weird. It was that pre-storm weather.

Anyway, not content with the pizza and cheese and wine damage, I went to a baby shower where there were waaaay more cupcakes with delicious icing than necessary. I can't remember exactly how many I had ... at least two, maybe pushing three (I ate the icing off one - the cake was burnt and hard). Plus ... oh, so much junk. But damn, it was good.

Now, it's time for me to really knuckle down. 10 weeks to the September race, and I want to pace the 2h group and feel fit and healthy - not like I'm dragging my butt around! Nothing flashy, just sensible eating.

Although, I am contemplating trying Light n' Easy or similar ... just because I never seem to have enough time to shop OR cook. Hmmm.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010


Well, the scales are still wacked out ... but for now they're heading in the right direction so, yay.

Have maintained good behaviour for a week! That is a serious break-through. No biscuits at work and all healthy lunches. My new favourite lunch is a small salad from Iku of steamed veggies (mainly zucchini, brocoli, carrot, beans - no carbs) and some steamed purple cabbage and beet salad with a teeny bit of tahini and garlic/herb dressing, plus five or so 9-grain vitawheats with either chicken, tuna or Laughing Cow cheese. Perfect!

Feeling good, like things are heading in the right direction. Have regained some semblance of focus, which is great.

Exercise over the last week or so:

Last Tuesday - pump/combat double
Wednesday - 6.5km run
Thursday - nothing
Friday - rest!
Saturday - 8km run plus 15km hiking with 10kg pack
Sunday - 15km hiking with 10kg pack (was an overnight hike)
Monday - rest, thank god
Tuesday (today) - pump/combat double

Tomorrow is 7km running - 2km warm-up plus 5km time trial - aiming for under 28 mins

Thursday - yet to be determined
Friday will definitely be a rest day, as Saturday running 10km and then on Sunday going for around 18/20km (or two hours).

I am finding myself back in the good habit, that I find works best for myself, which is to simply say "no" when I am considering bad stuff like biscuits at work. Have had a few low-fat hot chocolates, plus some soy mochas but really, that's it.

So, I'm happy so far. Trick is, as ever, to maintain it. But I am the 80/20 girl, I believe in five days of crystal clear good behaviour, plus two days where I can take it a bit easy. Maybe go to dinner/lunch etc and have a few drinkies.

Scales are in good territory now, will see if they can stay there. Must do measurements!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Woman on a mission

Weirdness continues on the scales! Today am UP 1kg compared with yesterday. Although today feel 1001 times better than yesterday. Something baaaad was going on in my stomach, it felt bloated and tight, and I found trying to clench my stomach muscles really hurt a bit. Poor insides are in a bit of a mess after DREADFUL eating on the weekend.

It wasn't so much the quantity as the quality, which I find is often the problem when staying with friends who don't eat the same way I do. Biggest problem was - lack of fruit and good veg. Oh, and a disgusting KFC incident. Although I ended up just eating some chips, I determined they were probably the lesser evil compared to the fried chicken. The GOOD that came out of it, for there is good in every bad situation!, was that I NEVER want to eat it again. Sometimes I get cravings for junk like KFC, and I can honestly say I didn't enjoy any of it - so now I can remind myself of that the next time I have a crease craving.

I have got myself right back on track though. Yesterday I was tempted by the work cookie jar (x2), but I had porridge with a banana for breakfast, apple and mandarin for a snack, a lamb salad wrap for lunch, a banana for an afternoon snack and then did the Pump/Combat double. Pump was okay, but during combat my stomach felt super-horrible and I really only went at about 70-80% of what I usually would. Mind you, I was still going harder than most of the people in the class and worked up a good sweat.

Today I have REALLY pulled my finger out. Running training for the next half-marathon with CanToo starts this afternoon and I am starting a 3-month campaign of fitness and health. So, after getting up pre-6am, getting dressed and driving my car (and self) over to the other side of the city so I can be at training on time, I headed to the supermarket where I bought supplies. I got a new variety of porridge - the Weightwise version from Uncle Toby's. It's probably not as good as regular oats (and sure as heck doesn't taste as good), but it has extra fibre and protein which has to be a good thing. I also paid a small fortune for a teeny packet of Chia seeds, which are like flaxseeds and currently being promoted as the next "super food". Packed with omega-3s - which are good for helping reduce inflammation (caused by running and stuff), plus anti-oxidants and protein. I put about half a teaspoon or so over my porridge.

You can eat them whole, unlike flaxseeds, and apparently they keep better as well. They didn't add any flavour, but they were great to crunch on! I am already a big fan.

I also added about a tablespoon of dried fruit and nuts just to mix it up a bit.

I need to get the tape measure out to do some "before" measuring. I do want to lose 4-5kg on the scales, but since I seem to be able to lose 3kg over the course of two days, and then regain it, I think a tape measure might be a bit more reliable way of measuring results.

Here is a relatively vague weekly workout plan for the next month or so:
Sunday - 30 min light run
Monday - 40 min tempo run plus Body Attack or Body Pump (or both!)
Tuesday - double-class Pump and Combat
Wednesday - CanToo track session (will add a class in here during the day soon)
Thursday - Cardio plus Pump
Friday - rest day
Saturday - long run plus strength training (pump or weights)

Need to try to get to the Core class at the gym - there's one at Friday lunchtime so might try that one.

Okay, off to face the work day.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

A new class and OUCH

Oh boy, my abs are killing me. In that SERIOUS way where it hurts to laugh, cough, sneeze, yawn, stretch and ... yeah, everything hurts. What've I done? I did the Body Core class at Fitness First. Holy moly. At the time I definitely felt like it was working, although to be honest I found myself so frustrated through-out most of the class at my lack of balance and general core strength that I was too busy hacking on myself (mentally, not literally) that I managed to ignore most of the pain.

I will DEFINITELY be putting this one into the weekly rotation though, I think it will do me wonders combined with everything else.

So, since last Saturday here's what I've done:
Sat: run 16km
Sun: body attack class
Mon: whoot, a movie! And nothing else as I was SICK
Tues: body combat
Wed: Core
Thur: Pump

Tomorrow I won't be able to squeeze a class or run in as I have to get to work early so that I may leave SUPER early to get myself to the airport on time.

I have decided to have a break weekend from serious exercise. Since I am having a break from Sydney, I thought it was a good time to have a break from running/gym etc. And I will be in Wagga without my beloved car so I imagine there will be some walking done.

From Monday, however, it's back on the serious straight and narrow for three months. I am tossing up trying Michelle Bridges' 12 week challenge or whatever it's called, it's not a huge spend and - who knows - I might pick up some tips or, if nothing else, some motivation.

Did an incredibly stupid thing yesterday and today, although it's partially not my fault as I did not have much of an option. I wore two skirts that were really a teeny bit too small right now. Not catastrophically tight, nothing split or anything, but I just felt horrible, uncomfortable and, well, fat. It kind of made me miserable but I'm determined now to turn that feeling into a positive by making it my motivation to stay on course next week.

Seriously, a month of good behaviour and I will be heading in the right direction, I really think I just need to clear my head out of the city with some good friends and I will feel much better.

Oh, and sleep is important too ... so, goodnight!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

What I know...

not much, essentially! But I do know what's right, for me, and what's wrong.

Mentioned previously how I had a baaaad week for food, not completely disastrous but certainly up there on the bad carbs ranking. And whoah, is it hitting my body! Weight hasn't substantially changed, yet, but I am feeling an extra kg or so in the stomach area. Oh joy.

So, here's what I know. I absolutely need a low-er carb diet. I refuse to go with no carbs because - hello - training for a half marathon and a zero carb diet just won't cut it. That being said, on Saturday I went for a 16km run (admittedly at a slower pace than I usually would) without carbing it up the night before and without my usual morning prep. AND I had a cold/sore throat thing. So, I think I'm getting fitter.

Anyhoo, obviously the pizza/thai week was super bad, but I have definitely let more carbs into my life than I need to. I really want to trim down those extra KGs for the next half-marathon, which is four weeks away, AND even moreso for the September half-marathon.

Number one, is to cut the booze. Empty carbs and calories. Yeah, alright, I enjoy it - but I have really been going way overboard. A bottle of wine on the average big night out - that's a whoooole lotta calories. This weekend is my last hurrah, as I'm heading for a wine tasting event, but after that - I'm on the dry and narrow. Hee hee.

Number two, cut the bloody biscuits. God damn biscuit jar at work. It gets me all the time. Some days one, some two, one day I had FOUR - holy jeezus, and I don't even eat them at home.

Obviously, I can do some little treats ... problem is I keep forgetting what I've already had because it's that "mindless eating", where you're just shoving stuff in and not really thinking about it or enjoying it. It would be much better if I saved the biscuit enjoyment for when I was home, tucked up on the couch, and not sitting in front of my desk at work stressing over the next piece of work that needs to be done.

Number three, veggies in all their forms. This is what works for me. I am giving myself free reign to essentially eat as much as I want of the following at all meals (excluding breakfast): cucumber, lettuce, spinach, carrot, zucchini, brussel sprouts, capsicum, celery, beans/peas, tomato, mushrooms ... and whatever else I've forgotten. Here's what I know works for me food wise: huuuuuge stack of veggies, small chicken breast/steak/lamb chops/tofu/fish, a potato/half a sweet potato/half a cut of rice/pasta, plus a splash of sauce. I stuck to that for a loooong time for lunch and dinner (although lunch I'd often swap the potato/rice etc for a bread roll. So I'm going back to what works.

Number four, detecting hunger. Previously, I would think about whether I was actually hungry (ie: what I had eaten/done that day etc) or if I was bored/tired/stressed etc. It took a while to adapt, but eventually I could actually control my hunger. Hah, no more! These days I often don't even give myself a chance to think before I'm shoving something (not always bad) inside my mouth. So, like when I quit another bad habit, when I feel the urge to eat instead I will: drink a cup of green/herbal tea, drink a litre of water or similar. Once I have done that and waited 10 minutes, if I still feel like eating I can have something.

Number five, don't think. I used to have a way of tricking myself (I've mentioned this before) so I didn't eat things I shouldn't. I would just say loudly, in my mind, NO. I didn't have that debate with myself - because man, I am soooo good at talking up the positives of getting that piece of banana bread with honeycomb butter. I just said no. And no, meant no. The minute I felt my brain starting to go into pro-con mode, I said NO again. Sounds crazy, but it really worked.

Example. Tonight after work I couldn't do my pump/combat double as I got stuck back at work late. I did combat, however. I had a protein drink thingy, which is about 300 calories, telling myself when I got home I would just have a piece of fruit for dinner. I don't get home until about 9pm anyway on Tuesdays. So, I got home - cold and tired after a bit of a shocker of a bus ride, and was all geared up for soup. It's not bad soup, it's really v. light and healthy, but I didn't need it! Instead, I ate an apple. It was a big kick-ass apple I can tell you, but that was all I needed. Then I had a nice hot choc - with honey and cocoa. And yeah, totally satisfied. Stick to the no!

Hmm, I think that's it.

Deep down, I know what works. Lately I have been doing this pathetic "oh, I don't know why these extra KGs are creeping on, blah blah genetics crap crap". I do know! Sure, some people could do what I do - exercise wise - and eat much worse than me and be thinner. Tough sh*t. I can't. For whatever reason I have an unforgiving metabolism where I really cannot let those little incidents happen.

I have been remembering this moment from 2006. It was an awesome moment. It's quite narcisistic, so apologies. But understand, only 12 months prior to this event I had weighed at least 25kg more and was unhealthy and miserable. Anyhoo, I was in Newtown and was walking up to meet some friends at the pub (where I was going to sip on a single gin and tonic - lower cals - and chat). I was wearing my first pair of size 10 jeans and a size M singlet (breakthrough), and I was probably about 3kg lighter but a lot fitter and more toned than where I am now. Back then I did A LOT more cross training as I wasn't doing the half-marathon stuff - an average week for me involved running 35km all up, doing 11 gym classes split between pump and combat, plus some extra cardio stuff.

So anyhoo, I was walking along in Newtown on a stinking hot summer's day. The previous summer had been miserable, squeezing into horrible size 16 jeans, sweating like a pig etc and feeling like everything was sticking to me. Which is probably was. I happened to glance in a shop window as I walked by and - narcisism, argh - I was seriously taken aback by my reflection. Were they MY slim thighs? OMG, yes. Was that my tiny, toned waist? Yes! Etc etc.

Flash forward to this week where I have been stunned and horrified by the changes in my body over the last month. Arggggh.

I won't go into it, suffice to say I ain't happy with stuff.

I know I can't essentially go back to 2006. I was younger-ish, but I also worked much differently. While I started at 5am, I finished by 12.30pm and was generally home by 1.30pm. Plenty of time to eat lunch and have a nice two hour nap or so, before heading off to the gym for 5pm or so.

Flash forward to now. Yeah, I start at around 8.30am ... but instead of hoping in a taxi at 4.30am I'm spending 40-50 minutes on public transport. So let's move that back to 7.30am. THEN, I need a bit longer to get ready (used to spend 30 minutes or less) as I have a lot more contact with clients - so let's make that 40 min to an hour to get ready. That's 6.30am. THEN, I finish at around 5.30pm. Plus, I actually have to work a LOT harder as I'm not just doing subbing and moving words around a bit - I'm actually doing STUFF that requires effort and mental energy.

Anyhoo, this is life. Yeah, I need to stop comparing - for my own sanity, and maybe I can cut myself a teeny bit of slack. Ultimately, however, I need to find a way that works for me - whatever that is. I did it before, and I need to do it again.

Will report back in a week or two, post wine tasting etc. Not that I imagine anyone is reading this, but I would dearly love to look back on this post in three months - at least 5kg lighter and a lot more toned and fit.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Strange fluctuations!

For the first time in a long time I've been regularly weighing myself, and I think now I remember why. Quite seriously, in the course of four days my weight quite literally fluctuated by three or four kilos. Unbelievable.

I must admit, it's not been a great week body-wise. I really haven't felt like myself. I did Combat on Monday, Pump/Combat double on Tuesday and then was SHATTERED for the next three days. On the Wednesday after the double my calf muscles were sore ... and during the day it got worse and worse and they were just two blocks of knotted muscle. Super painful. I think it was because I had a very busy day where I was sitting down for long blocks. Anyway, they were still agony to the touch three days later.

Thursday and Friday I started to feel tired and sick, scratchy sore throat and very tired. Unfortunately I have faaar too much on at work at the moment to take a day off, and I am only a few weeks (well, five I think) away from the Gold Coast half so I must keep the KMs and exercise up.

Ran 16km this morning with some of the CanToo crew. I ran at a slower pace than I would usually say is comfortable for me, but it was fun to run as a group and chat along the way. Supposed to be doing another hour/10km tomorrow but we shall see if I can manage that.

Think the weight fluctuations are to do with weird TOTM, had a demonic ovary month with shocking cramps and mood swings. But who knows.

I managed to do better with food this week - much, much better than the previous week of pizza, Thai and repeat. Next week, though, will be even better as I'm just going to stick to veg, lean meat/tuna, fruit and low GI carbs. Hopefully this will help things energy-wise as I always feel better when I eat cleanly. I guess it's nice to deviate every now and then though, if only to remind myself of why I stick on the straight and narrow.

Think I have really been doing a bit too much, not so much this week as over previous weeks and months. Looking in my diary I have barely had a weekend where there's not been 1001 things to be done for many months. Late nights, no relaxing between flat out weeks and work with stress and huge work loads.

Ahhh, I really just need to go back to basics - which is the best thing to do at times like this. Simple food, good sleep, exercise, stretching - and repeat.

Depending on which day it is, I'm anywhere between 2kg and 5kg away from where I'd really like to be. I feel confident, though, that with a month of good behaviour things should sort themselves out. Must get my tape measure out, as I've always found that a much better gauge of things.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Ouch and refocus

The SMH Half-Marathon and my first race for 2010 was yesterday, and oooohhh boy was it a) painful, b) challenging, c) fun!, and finally d) a wake up call.

I was very nervous on Saturday, the day before the race, so spent the day cleaning and doing a little bit of shopping. The cleaning was so that when I got home after the race I would be able to relax rather than worry about needing to clean the house. I also changed the sheets on my bed, so I would have those deliciously clean fresh sheets to sleep in. In the evening a few members of my CanToo group gathered for dinner at one of their houses, for a spot of carb loading and nerve calming. I think this is where I made a bit of a mistakes, eating a bit more than I really wanted to (but oh, it was delish). I slept pretty well once I got my brain to stop going through the details of the next day - what time I was getting up, where I was parking, what time the train was etc. Thankfully I'd had a great sleep on Friday night, so I still felt pretty fresh when I woke up.

Early start on Race Day. Alarm was set for 4.30am but I was wide awake at 4am and decided to get up and moving. Breakfast was two pieces of soy and linseed bread with peanut butter and banana, plus a strong coffee to wake me up and get things going. Because I was nervous, this didn't sit so well! Think I will go back to porridge from now on.

I was giving four people a lift from my place. It was great travelling in with them as they helped to take my mind off the race, we had fun taking picks at the train station and on the train too, making jokes and talking about everything except running!

We got to the start line nice and early, plenty of time to go to the toilet without having to wait for 20 minutes in a queue and put bags into the bag check, which can be a little hectic when there are 10,000-plus people in the race. I love the atomsphere at big races, there are people from all different walks of life, and different fitness and ability levels, and they're all so excited and alive - up bright and early on a Sunday to run 21.1km instead of sleeping in bed, drinking coffee or reading the paper (which sounds pretty good when you're shivering at 6.30am standing around in your running gear).

We did a good warm up, stretching session and got some last words of advice from our coach, who is a legend and a running inspiration. After getting a big group photo with the wider CanToo group the 1h55min "bus", as we were calling ourselves, headed up to the startline. Last year I started waaaay back in the pack and, as a consequence, was constantly dodging and weaving to try to get past people, so this year I was determined to get closer to the start to avoid the slower congestion. It was a good move, as I didn't find myself doing quite as much sideways running, which I find very tiring.

It was great running with the "bus", which initially included my good friend Sam, two great guys from the group - Ben and Mike - and our coach. The banter was light and supportive, we were all monitoring how everyone was feeling about the pace etc. Our first km was a bit over our average km pace goal of 5.27min, but we picked it up on the next one. Unfortunately at about the 7km mark or so we lost Sam as she ran into the Marriot hotel for an urgent bathroom stop. The poor thing has had lots of problems lately getting bad stomach cramps during running which result in her needing to find a bathroom ASAP! I wanted to stop with her, but I knew I'd never get back on track so stuck with the bus. At the 8km mark our coach got off the bus to drop back and catch up with some of the other runners from our group, but it was great to have him for those 8km.

I took my first Gu/gel at this point which is where everything went a bit pear shaped. I take these gels all the time, but for some reason yesterday it just did not sit well. I possibly should've drunk some more water, but I'm not sure that would've helped. I stuck with the bus - just - until about 13km, when I started feeling dizzy. It's quite a strange sensation to feel dizzy when you're running, but my face started tingling and I was actually worried I was going to faint. So I took a bit of a water/walking break at one of the water stations. So I got off the bus! I was totally peeved at myself, but I was determined not to let it stop me from finishing or getting in under two hours.

At about 18km I hit the wall big time. My hamstrings cramped and my feet were in agony, think it's time for some new shoes. I really desperately wanted to stop, but I managed to keep putting one foot in front of each other - just! Thankfully at about the 20km mark I caught up with one of the guys from the bus. Mike was struggling just as much as I was, but we managed to motivate each other for the last KM and we both finished in about 1h59min! I was STOKED. And very proud of myself for finishing when I was in sooo much pain.

I was on pretty wobbly legs, and feeling quite dizzy again. I probably needed another gel at about 16km or so, but I was feeling so sick that I just couldn't face it. I got to the bag pick-up area and thankfully didn't have to wait too long for my bag. Wandered around and located some food - got an apple, mandarin and two Powerbars. Plus some water. I really wanted Gatorade but there were a million people queuing up for it so I decided to stick with water. I located the CanToo tent in the recovery village and caught up with some of my team mates. This gave me another great boost of energy, seeing their smiling faces - flushed from the exercise and glowing with pride, especially the people who had never done a half-mara before and who didn't think they could ever do one.

So, that's the long-winded race report - and the ouch!

The second part of this post is my re-focus. I've been struggling with diet lately and, dang, it's showing. So I've decided it's time to tighten things up a bit. No more letting things slide and not worrying about the extra biscuit, beer, coffee (with sugar) etc. I have some goals, but I won't mention them just yet as I want to do some measurements and serious planning in terms of food and set some restrictions around alcohol and going out to dinner and stuff like that.

Anyhoo, I'm off to see the Sea Eagles take on the Eels tonight, so I'm going to make a smoothie and then get some extra sleep.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Man stuff

In other news, men are extremely confusing types.

On Saturday I met "the new guy" for what he describes as "non-alcohol based behaviour". Which I was cool with. Most of our dates have revolved around drinking wine or eating, which in my mind was GREAT as I love wine and I only think that once I really stepped over the line between being tipsy (and still capable of coherent/intelligent conversation) and drunk, and HE was drunk too.

He has dropped a few comments about it, which has bothered me a bit. I am comfortable with my alcohol intake levels and I have never gone beyond the point of control, EVER. I have decided to let existing comments go, they were in the vein of seeing a preview on TV for 60 Minutes or A Current Affair (can't remember which) featuring a special on teenage binge drinking and him asking me if I was a teenager binge drinker. I soooo wasn't, so naturally I said "no", to which he replied "huh, what happened?" Idiot. I would like to believe he was just being provocative (it worked), so just laughed, but if it comes up again I'm thinking that he has some opinion on my drinking and I'll ask him exactly what he'd like to say.

So that's one current point of annoyance. It's probably just a personality thing. It's just that he seems to have this way of managing to exclude his behaviour from judgement and focus on mine. Hellooo, it wasn't like I was there drinking by myself.

NOT going to allow it to cloud my judgement as I am PMSing a bit and that always makes me a bit prickly about these sort of things.

Just one more vent though. We went to dinner - as part of a paid-for work event put on by a client. My role as a food writer and editor is to assess everything and try pretty much everything so that I can comment on it. We were at a progressive dinner that went to various restaurants in Sydney for each course - nibbles at one, main at another, dessert somewhere else etc. So, at the restaurant for the main course we were served this amaaazing hand-made pasta. It was to die for. There was also, however, this delicious and fluffy looking homemade bread - served with chilli oil (my favourite). I'd commented on how good the pasta was, but I really wanted to try the bread as it looked amazing. I was served a huge wedge of it, but I only ate a tiny corner of it - and it and the chilli oil were both simply DELICIOUS. As I commented on how good it was, he says to me "why don't you just have more pasta instead of eating the bread". WTF? What's it to him? We weren't paying, I had brought him along as a "colleague" so he was there for 100% free (whereas I have to write something about it).

Urgh, to be honest, I am thinking these are not good signs but - also to be honest - I want to determine that it's not just a range of other things including: me PMSing, reading too much into things, looking for things to fault in self-protection behaviour, etc etc.

I am well-known for my self-protection behaviour. These days, I am better at spotting it ... but the first major case of it was a few years ago when I had been with my ex for about six weeks I absolutely LOST IT at him one night and ran off in a huff. No idea what sparked it now. But that was classic self-protection behaviour because I knew we were getting "close" and I was starting to freak out about putting myself in that situation where I was vulnerable and someone could hurt me. As it turns out of course he WAS very bad for me - emotionally manipulative, insecure and more, so perhaps I should've trusted my instincts?

Hmm, anyway, I am trying (after this post of course) not to think too much about it, because I can be my own worst enemy - talking myself into and out of things.

We shall see.

Feeling better

Saturday morning's run on the SMH half-marathon course worked wonders! It was a simply stunning autumn morning, cool and crisp air, clear skies and a light breeze. Unfortunately, I still felt pretty dreadful due to coldy/sinus thingy, but I decided to run with some of my teammates on 5.30min/km pacing to see if I could manage it for the half.

Unlike last week when we bolted off the startline - which resulted in us running several KMs at 5min pacing or under and me having to drop back to a more reasonable 5.40min/km pace - we took it out easy. We ran the first km in a very moderate 5.55min, which was needed as we were all creaking and groaning a bit trying to warm up. From there, we kicked it up to sit between 5.20min and 5.35min kms for the rest of the run (around 10.5km), which one accidental 5.13min km which was my fault (started running hard up a hill and kept that pace).

While I know I won't be too devastated if I don't run 1hr 55min, I REALLY want to and I really think I can do it if I stick with these guys. I felt great until about the 50minute mark (we finished in 56.20mins) and I could not have turned around and done it all again. With water, energy gel, a bit of carb loading the night before etc I think it's definitely achievable. I also like running with these two guys, they're both just top-notch fellas who manage to motivate you in a very subtle way. No yelling or cliched phrases (pain is weakness leaving the body - not helpful at the 19km mark), just quiet support and the fact that they have faith in you and believe you can do it. It works wonders!

My coldy/sinus thingy is lingering and ANNOYING me, but I am determined to shift it this week with a bit of sensible behaviour - sleeping more than six hours a night, good food, no alcohol etc.

Super excited!

Friday, 7 May 2010

Running, gyming, working and a new man

Well, another long stint of AWOL behaviour from me. Not without just cause. Work has naturally gone mental and I feel like I spent most of April putting out spot fires and chasing myself around. While I naturally love long weekends, having shorter weeks (but the same amount of work to do) is not ideal. The good news, however, is that I had a very successful April in that I met all of my targets and kicked some great goals, putting together some great content for my websites (articles, slideshows etc). So, big tick there.

Training for my next half has been mixed. I have really been struggling with tight ITBs and sore knees, plus motivation in general. I am feeling a bit burnt out, physically and mentally, from early mornings to get a run in or to get to the gym before work (which means a 5.30am wake-up), and the group I am training with - with CanToo - well, we just haven't gelled as well as with other groups. There is also a strange resentment between what's called Wave A and B.

It's pretty obvious, but Wave A are the runners who are slightly more experienced and faster, and Wave B are either beginners or more social runners (or just like to take it a bit easier). I am by no stretch of the imagination a fast runner, I am just middle of the pack but I push myself quite hard and don't like to mess around too much if that makes sense. I mean, I still have great fun with it and love chatting to my friends while we run - but I'm there to "do the business" and get on with my day. Anyway, Wave A really only consists of about six people compared with 21 people in Wave B and we have had to deal with some weird comments and attitude. I think they think that we think less of them, when in fact they inspire us because they all push so hard and have improved sooo much. Ahh, anyway. Not long to go now.

So, slightly injury-plagued plus weird inter-group tensions, lots of work and a few too many big weekends, means I really am not feeling ready for the run. I initially had aimed to run it in under 1hr55min or at least better than my pb of 1hr57min, but now I will be happy to a) finish and b) run in under two hours. Plus, I am determined to maintain a better attitude than my last half-marathon or this race last year, when I let horrible negative self-talk get the better of me. Basically, I was really hurting and I got stuck in a loop of self-hate.

Anyway, this is the first one for the year, and I plan to do three more so there's plenty of time to get to 1hr55min.

In other much more exciting news, I've been seeing a new man. And it really is exciting, but in a more grown up way. I am not crazily lust-filled, like I have previously been at this stage (two month mark) in other "situations" (refuse to say relationships). At the same time, however, I definitely lust after him! I would say that he really crept up on me, I mean, we met on RSVP so we met on a date but initially I really didn't think I was interested. But, we had such a great time together that we agreed to be friends and still catch up. By the third date of great conversation and lots of laughs I started to get the feeling that I was interested in more than just friends, and so was he. And, yay, he was/is!

It's weird, because he's not what I would ever have described as "my type" of guy. While he's not adverse to exercise, it's not a big part of his day to day life. Whereas it pretty much forms the backbone of mine and I am usually really only interested in guys who am sporty/active. But he's still super strong and much fitter than you would expect. He has an active job, so that would help.

Secondly, he's a very gentle, sweet type of guy. Of course, I like sweet guys, but because I am a very strong and independent type of person, I've always felt a bit uncomfortable around guys who don't strike me as being strong and confident. His quietly spoken, slightly shy nature, however, is not the real him though! He is definitely a quietly confident and strong guy, but he's thoughtful and considerate, and has a lovely gentle nature. Already he's impressed me and put a huge smile on my face (even now) by doing incredibly thoughtful things. You know, he suggests places to go for dinner, makes bookings at restaurants instead of just taking pot-luck, buys tickets for shows, and when he cooked me dinner he made an extra effort to make sure it was super-healthy and fat-free. It wasn't THE best, because he served me about three-times as much food as I would ever eat in one go, but the effort he went to to make something I would like pleased me more than any $500 night at a restaurant.

I have been trying not to talk or gush about it too much as I don't want to jinx things, but I feel like things are heading in the right direction - at a steady but slow pace (which I like) - so putting it out there in the cosmos won't do any harm.

And in between running, gyming and meeting a new guy, I've been loving reading everyone's blogs and seeing them overcome their own challenges and working towards their goals. Totally inspirational.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

One Month Count Doooown

Counting down. We're in the real business end of training for the SMH half-marathon. It's exactly one month tomorrow! Today we did 18km. Let me make that, 18 HARD km! We ran along a gorgeous track through the Lane Cove National Park. Stunning scenery, lovely and cool to be out of the sun (which was quite hot today when there was no breeze) holy cow, it was intense. There were some horrendous up-hill sections which involved stairs. Not your nice concrete stairs, but bush-stairs - rocks, wooden steps twice or three times as wide as other your standard step. TWO sets! Yeowch. Finally, at the 9km turn-around there was a seriously bad-ass hill. Practically vertical. Argh! My coach even said to me that it was the hardest course he'd ever run!

This comes after some big training weeks on the track. Last week was 8x400m, this week was 12 laps of "straights and curves" - 100m hard, 100m easy, 100m hard and 100m easy then a lap recovery. All up, it was 24 laps, plus four for warm-up. I was sooo tired afterwards I could barely speak. Oh, plus we had fifteen seconds recovery in between sets and were running them in under 5.20min.

Right now, I'm struggling a bit because work has been very very busy and I'm finding myself snacking on things I really shouldn't be. However, I am refusing to panic. Still four weeks to the race and I'm confident I can drop a good 3kg. I just need to stop the bad snacking as everything else is pretty good. Plus, the team have gone "dry" for the last month of training. Not that we drink a LOT, but just to give ourselves a bit of a booze break, save some calories AND some cashola! I am looking forward to the challenge, although I have given myself a pass for a night or two.

I should add that last weekend, after a 16km training run, a friend and I went on a 25km overnight hike. More stunning countryside, but it was a notoriously hard track with lots of big climbs up mountain-sides and down steep cliffs and the like. By Sunday evening, I had easily done 42km if you include walking to and from train stations and the like. Which, I will admit, was not the best way of preparing for the big training sessions this week.

So, no more hikes until AFTER the race. Swim tomorrow morning to attempt to loosen up what feels like atrophied legs, Mondays are a 7km tempo run, Tuesday morning is Pump, Wednesday is track work, Thursdays Pump and Friday is a DAY OFF, then Saturday is the training run. Next week is 18km next week and then the following two we start a taper with two weeks of 11km.

I am hoping that making a big diet change in terms of snacks and really making sure my lunches and dinners are spot on (breakfast is sorted - I usually just have porridge made with water and skim milk).

Fingers crossed I can slim things down a bit as after two recent hikes, I've really learnt to appreciate the difference a few kilos makes to carry around.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

A few break-throughs

Well, it's been all systems go here for the last few weeks. Work is work is work, and it's a mad house as always. There have been some moments of extreme stress - on a level I've never experienced - in the past few weeks, to the point where I was ready to tell my manager I simply couldn't do what she was asking me to.

Naturally, I just knuckled down in a major way and got the job done. There is light at the end of the tunnel ... it's a distant light, but I am focussed on it.

That's the bad stuff, which is good because it's getting better.

The good and great stuff! Number one, on Monday I had a break-through run. I've been training, hard, for the May half-marathon for five weeks and up until Monday I had felt like I was really struggling to run well. Not technique-wise, but in terms of feeling horrible and heavy on my feet and generally un-running fit. On Monday, despite the fact I was sooo sore from serious Pump class on Sunday plus walking lots in high heels on Sunday afternoon, I went for a 5km tempo run and ... it felt good! I had that great feeling of having energy even while I was pushing myself up a hill. Whoo hoo! Which is good, great even, because tomorrow's running session is 8x400m sprints, which are enough to bring me to tears and/or to my knees. Hopefully they won't be quite as evil.

Number two breakthrough, twice I stopped myself from being ... well, misused is the wrong word, but "messed around" by guys. Firstly, on Friday a guy who I have seen twice rang me to try to move our date from Friday to Sunday. Firstly, he knew I was busy on Sunday as my family were in town. Secondly, he had done the exact same thing the week before. So I said "no" it wasn't okay and, in fact, I didn't want to see him. Not on Sunday, and not again. And I didn't. I realise things come up, but I really felt like he was on the verge of messing me around.

The second time was a guy who I dated agggges ago and it just sort of fell away. No funny business, but there was potential. Well he has TWICE called me for an impromptu catch up, but I have refused as it's obvious whoever he has been seeing in the interim has lost interest and now he's just going for what HE thinks, no doubt, is second best. Pfft, that so is not happening.

It may sound minor, but for me it's a big deal to recognise what's going on and not allow myself to be used for anything - even if it's just for company or killing time if you know what I mean. I have far too much going on to be wasting time with guys who are just wanting to waste my time.

Heh, okay, rant over.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Taking my own advice!

A few years ago a friend of mine who had a significant amount of weight to lose came to me asking for advice on how to lose a large amount of weight. I had recently lost 20kg in about four months through extremely healthy eating and exercise and she was just looking for a bit of inspiration/motivation.

This conversation came back to me last night as I looked at myself in the mirror in some horror, noticing some of my problem areas are really becoming more of a problem than they have been for about four years. Yikes. I seriously was on the verge of a panic attack. Negative thoughts about how I was going to end up back where I started - overweight and miserable - and have to start all over again.

After taking a series of deep breaths I decided freaking out was not going to help matters AT ALL, and what I needed was to take steps to get back on track. Step one was to jump on the scale to see the damage. It's really NOT that bad, but the problem is all the weight is sitting on my stomach and thighs - my problem areas - and that's where I always look. It's about 3kg that I want/need to lose, nothing too drastic I guess but on my short frame it makes a big difference.

My second step was to think about the advice I gave my friend. Basically, it was not to think too much about losing X amount of weight, rather it was breaking it all down into days. Each day - when I was on my first mission - I would barely permit myself to think about where I would be in a month or at the end of the month, I only thought about getting through the day - eating healthily, eating clean, going for a run/to the gym etc. For me, this worked because I didn't freak out about how HARD the weeks and months might be, I just thought about each day.

I apply a similar approach to running. Right now, I don't think I could run a half-marathon. Or, if I could, I would struggle badly and suffer even more badly the next day. However, if I focus on doing my weekly track sessions, one long run a week (increasing by 10 percent each week) plus a tempo run, a cardio session, weights session (times two) each week, I can handle it much more easily and don't freak out. Further, I break the week down - Monday is (at the moment) a 5km tempo run with some biiiig hills, Tuesday is Pump, Wednesday is my track running session, Thursday is cardio plus Pump, Friday is my rest day, Saturday is my long run plus weights and Sunday is a cardio recovery session plus a swim. Plus I try to do a core workout every second morning - just for 15 minutes or so - plus stretching my ITBs and hamstrings every day.

This is what's manageable. I just need to calm down and turn things around.

So, there you go, I'm taking my own advice. Any other advice/suggestions greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Endings and new beginnings

I did my fifth and last official ocean swim for the season on Sunday, rounding it off with the 2km race at the Cole Classic. The weather was dreadful, raining and windy. The swell at Manly Beach, where the race was supposed to be held, was huge. So dangerous that the beach was actually closed, and the race was moved to the much more protected Shelley Beach. Which was all good with me!

I had arrived early for the 1km race because some of the less confident swimmers in our group were hoping for people to swim along with them. The weather kept a few of them away, however, so I didn't have to! I was secretly relieved as I was feeling a bit run down and tired, so I'm not sure I would've been especially helpful to them!

It was an absolutely massive day though, something like 4,300 people had registered for the race, but on the day I think there were less than 4,000 finishers as people opted to stay inside rather than brave the rain. My wave - the women 30-39 - was huuuge. It wasn't a tough course, mainly because the water was relatively calm for most of the race, but there were SEVEN cans/buoys to locate and swim around. Gah! It was ridiculous, constantly looking up and trying to see where I was swimming next. Thankfully I don't I swam TOO far off course, although a good extra hundred metres or two.

The finish, however, was the highlight. I tried out a technique I'd read about on a triathlon website, somewhere, about what to do to prevent the jelly legs feeling after a swim. Basically, you kick REALLY hard to get the blood flowing back into your legs, and breathe more frequently, taking in lots of extra oxygen. It worked! No jelly legs for me. I felt like I powered up the beach, feeling great. And the cheers from the CanToo crowd were fantastic! It felt amazing to be part of such a great organisation raising $$ for cancer research. We've recently hit the $4m mark, how awesome is that!

I cheered on my friends and training buddies, feeling somewhat bittersweet about it all. It was like "yay, we've finished" and "damn, we've finished" because there is no more swim program. Boo hoo. We had a BBQ at Manly Wharf afterwards and I think we were all feeling very emotional, such a relief for it to be over but we were sad that we weren't going to see each other as much. I'll admit, that I went home, had a shower and sat on the couch in my PJs for the afternoon. Something I rarely do! Made the somewhat catastrophic mistake of watching some Disney-esque family movie with Tom Selleck (helloooo) in it, with a very happy ending ... baah, cue waterworks. Managed to pull myself together though. Damn hormones.

So, that was the ending. I am still feeling sad about the swim finishing, despite the fact that in about four hours the run program starts! With the CanToo crew again, I am addicted! It's quite obvious, ha ha. A lot of my former running and swimming buddies will be joining me and I am looking forward to really challenging myself. I mean, every half marathon program is a challenge but I really think I can have a good running year if I can stay healthy and injury-free. My goal is to run four half-marathons this year, and at least one in under 1hr 55mins. My closest was 1hr 57mins and I nearly killed myself in the process. Well, no, not true. I actually was running on target until the 13km mark when I was hit by a terrible case of ... self loathing I think you could call it. I caught a glimpse of myself in a shop window and a range of horrible and negative thoughts flooded my brain.

I would also like to lose a good 5kg I think. I was analysing myself this morning and I think 5kg will put me where I'd like to be. It's healthy eating 101 here. No junk, just wholegrains for breakfast, fruit, salad etc and all homemade stuff. Slight slip up this morning with vegemite toast on turkish bread ... and just had a low-fat smoothie which I probably didn't really need.

Also going to start doing at least two spin classes a week plus three Bikram classes. Both in the mornings to free up the evenings for running and Pump. Let's see how we go!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The Big Swim

On Sunday, 31st of January, I completed the 2.7km Palm to Whale Beach swim that I have been training for since November 2009. The conditions were pretty good, all things considered, but it was still one of the hardest things I've ever done.

The swell was pretty big, with two to three metre waves ... which if you're just bobbing around, is great. But when you're swimming out and around a headland it's exhausting. Like being on a rollercoaster and you have to work extra hard going up and over the waves. Nothing, however, compares to when you actually get to the headland. It was like being in a washing machine, smashed by the waves on the left side of your body, and then the water was all churned up from the backwash of the waves hitting the headland.

It took me just under an hour, which is what I was aiming for, so I was happy in that regard. I was lucky because I didn't get sea sick which some of my teammates did. Urgh. Cannot imagine anything worse.

Anyway, I have one last race on Sunday which is 2km and not nearly as tough as it's in a sheltered beach rather than swimming out into the open water. I am looking forward to it, but I am quite relieved that swim season is about to end and running will start. I have really bulked up around the shoulders and chest! None of my tops fit ... well, a lot of them don't, and I feel like a man. I am going to keep swimming, but will keep it more around 1km a session rather than 3km or so. Really just more as recovery than fitness.

In general, everything has bulked up! More muscular legs and back. My core is stronger, but everything seems bigger! The scales haven't really moved though, so not sure if I've lost fat and put on muscle or if I'm just imagining things.

No rest for the wicket, however, as I've signed up to do my Bronze Medallion with the Newport SLSC. Should be a huge challenge, because clearly I don't like setting myself huge challenges (ha ha). On top of two sessions for that a week, I am also starting training for my first half-marathon for 2010 next week. I am really looking foward to that too ... going for 1hr55min again. Got so close last year!

I've been reading up on boosting your metabolism, naturally. Still very confuzzled by it all. Think I might try seeing a new nutritionist. But then, I figure I should be able to work it out all by myself.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


If any random person reading this can help me ... please do!

How much should I be eating? Last year I saw a nutritionist in an attempt to trim down ahead of my first half-marathon for 2009. Her advice was a low GI diet, with around 1300 to 1500 calories a day. In terms of exercise, on an average week I do:

3 x running sessions (two 30-40 mins, one 60mins)
3 x swimming sessions (three pool, one surf)
Pump x 2
Bikram x 2

Obviously I double up sometimes :)

Anyhoo, I spoke to a friend of mine who is a PT who worked out my base metabolic rate (or something) and she said based on those figures (which included height, weight, activity level, age) I should be eating more like 2,000 calories a day!

What the? And she suggested that I wasn't eating enough, which was slowing my metabolism down, which was why I was having trouble with random weight gain.

Does this sound vaguely plausible? I'm so confuzed. Situation normal really, but if I'm doing the absolute wrong thing, I'd love to know!


Monday, 11 January 2010

The de-clutter

I am now ready to face the new decade (don't start with me about it not being the new decade, I am calling it the new decade - the end!) after spending a good chunk of the glorious weekend cleaning up my flat.

I should say, that at no point is it ever terribly dirty. It's just messy because it's tiny and I have a lot of stuff. Plus, I tend to be quite sentimental with things so find it hard to throw them away. Not on the weekend! I did have reinforcements though, in the form of my mum and dad. Ahh yes, it's sad but I think they quite enjoyed it - especially bossing me around! I didn't work them too hard, but they helped me to be more objective about things. I got rid of old linen and towels, or at least got them out of the house. I did a major clothing audit and got rid of anything that was old, didn't fit (either too big or way too small), I didn't wear for whatever reason etc etc. It was impressive. I did the same to my rather impressive shoe collection, and threw out seven pairs! Most of them were old, or ones that I had bought on the spur of the moment and ignored the fact they were inappropriate/uncomfortable etc.

Ahh, brilliant. Then I gave the house a major clean from top to bottom, including borrowing my mum's fancy steam mop to do the bathroom and kitchen. Both are tiny, so it took about three minutes to do. But it feels great.

I feel totally cleansed! I also ordered some new bookshelves, which are coming this weekend, so I can finally sort out my books. I love books and refuse to throw them away, but they are currently scattered through-out the house. One small bookshelf, two boxes, and a stack of about 15 next to my bed.


So, running has been converted to swimming for a little while until the running training season starts properly in February. I did a 2km ocean race at Newport last weekend. The weather was HORRENDOUS. Windy, raining, cold and a big heavy swell with 2m waves that were dumping right on the beach. I may be mad, but I loved it. Aside from anything else, it was warmer in the water than outside it - especially when in a swimming costume. About halfway through I found myself marvelling at the amazing feeling of going over the big hump of a wave, being lifted up and gently sliding down it. Feeling fit and healthy, swimming 2km at 10am on a wet and cold Sunday morning when a good proportion of Sydney-siders were still tucked up in bed or, at the very least, inside enjoying a hot cup of tea or coffee.

I hate swimming much less than I did two months ago, but I am still really looking forward to getting back into serious running. I've been picking it up a bit myself, and have a fair way to go to get as fit (in terms of running) as I would like to be before training starts.

Anyway, here's to a de-cluttered 2010 and decade.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year!

I have waved goodbye to a very challenging year and welcomed in a fresh new one from Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour. It was an awesome evening. Didn't drink too much, just a moderate amount. Camped out under the stars, which was just lovely - mild night, light breeze to keep the air fresh. I decided to just sleep on a yoga mat, as it was easier to carry than an air mattress or similar. Wish I'd taken a better pillow though, just used a fleece top which didn't really do much. Means today is pretty much a write off as my neck is soooo unbelievably sore and I'm so tired from no sleep. I did a 1.8km swim yesterday morning though, and have done a fair bit of walking today so it's not so bad.

Christmas with the family was fantastic. Naturally we all ate far too much food, but it was good and Christmas only comes once a year ... thank god!

I am trying not to be disappointed with myself at the moment. I'm starting the year off pretty much where I was at the beginning of 2009, about 5kg heavier than where I want to be! I feel like I should give myself a break though because I'm still struggling to develop a functional routine around my new work hours AND get used to my new job. I haven't been going too crazy, but I think I'm just the type of person who cannot afford to slack off at all. I just need to get back to much lighter eating.

I initially freaked out a bit and started looking at detox diets, nothing too crazy, and diet plans etc but then I realised I know this stuff! I know what I'm doing wrong/right etc and all I need is a bit of extra planning, motivation and focus.

Main focus is to have a "good month". Just one month of eating right, getting MUCH more sleep, more regular exercise and especially need to get back to the gym.

Speaking of sleep... it's time for an early night.