My Journey

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Well, here I am at a point I never imagined I would be. I have always been into sport. Right from the age of 5 I was competing in races at school, and what made it better for me was that I almost always won. No matter what I did I was good at it, a natural athlete. I competed in sprinting, swimming, softball, netball and loved them all. So why now am I starting again from scratch? How did I get to this point?

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    Loving the Gym

    I have been overseas for a month and didn’t do much running but plenty of walking. I came back feeling great and ready to commit to the gym again. When I usually get back from the States, I suffer from jetlag for the first week and use that as an excuse not to do too much. This time I decided was going to be different.

    I went straight back to work the day after I got home and woke really early because of the time zone thing. It worked out really well because it meant I could go to the gym before work and I’ve been every morning since then. So that was 4 days last week, then Saturday we went to Dreamworld which was a day of walking, Sunday was the 2 mile run and so far I’ve been to the gym both mornings this week.

    What I’ve done in the past is try to do more than is comfortable at the gym, but this time I am working within my comfort zone. I start with 10 – 15 minutes on the treadmill then work my way through the weight machines. I go from an arm machine to a leg machine and alternate until I’ve used all the machines that I’m familiar with. I think I’m working everything that needs work, except I do need to do some ab work. I need to watch what other are doing to get some ideas.

    I still have a free session with a personal trainer that I can use. If you join a gym, make sure you get this as part of your membership and then make sure you use it. I have held off using mine until I know exactly what I want from the session. What I have noticed since I was sick earlier in the year and lost a lot of weight, is that I have lost a lot of muscle too. My aim is to build up the muscle again and to be a bit more shapely than I was previously. The great thing with losing all the weight is that I have lost the stubborn fat on my arms and belly. Yay.

    Now I suppose I should be training for something so I will let you know what event I enter.

    Happy exercising


    Wow I thought I’d Lost It

    I have been so out of my exercise habits and have had a hard time getting a routine back.

    Everything changed as far as exercise times went because of a change of work and of course the change of season which means it’s so much darker in the morning. My best time for running was always the morning, which was of course the coolest time, but now I have the role of caregiver for my two grandsons every week day. I now get them off in the morning and then go to work myself. I really started to feel my fitness slipping away because I just couldn’t get a new routine going.

    Last week though I decided that it was time to look into gym membership again. It’s definitely worth looking around when you look for a gym. I went to a few and found a huge difference in costs. I ended up going to one of the 24 hour places which is just around the corner from work and home. They had half price membership for the first 3 months, no joining fee and then my daughter and I are going on to a 2 for 1 deal. We pay under $6 p/wk which I think is pretty good. Anyway, it changed everything for me and I have gone after work every day since I joined.

    The other good thing about joining a gym is that they usually offer at least one free session with a personal trainer. I haven’t had mine yet, and when I do I really want it to focus on the thing I find hardest in my training. I think for me that is aerobic stuff.

    When I was really fit (in the old days) I was really bouncy and light on my feet. I could jump really high and run really fast. Ah, the good old days. I really miss that lightness though and would like to work out how to get it back. Once when we were running to the start of our weekly 2 mile run, I watched my 9 year old grandson running and he had such an easy stride and so light. I imagined myself having the same lightness and it was amazing. I  could feel the ease in my joints, the length in my spine and I felt like I was hardly touching the ground. Then as my lack of fitness kicked in, my mind took over from my imagination and I went back to my old style of struggle.

    It just shows you what your mind can do in a positive way and a negative way. The more you can focus on the positive the more it becomes a habit and the easier it gets. This of course goes for everything in life not just running. So look for the good things, the things you want in your life, the great style and when the negative looks you in the face, just turn away and go back to the positive (even if it is just in your imagination).

    Happy exercising


    Baby Sitting

    I’m half way through 2 weeks of looking after my grandsons. My daughter is in New York doing the Six Day Race and, although we had planned to go with her, we couldn’t get the money together in time. It seems that it has turned out for the best though because she would be really distracted by the boys being there. They don’t understand the focus needed to run this type of race and would definitely be trying to get her attention.

    My running is not going too well while I have them. It’s almost impossible to get out when you have a toddler to look after. I have been out to Runners Are Smilers and was lucky enough to have an offer to look after the little one while I ran. I have never run with a pram but I’m sure I would find it difficult. I went for a walk yesterday and even tackling the hills in our street was difficult enough. I appreciate how strong Subala must be to run all the time with a pram. It could only have benefited her 6 day training.

    I will do another post when I’m back on track with my training.

    Happy exercising


    I’ve Come a Long Way

    I was just reading my About Me page to remind myself where I was at when I started this blog. It was just over a year ago and I had no fitness at all. I was not far off committing to running a 10km race. I was so sure I could do it having had memories of running 10km in a previous life. Haha, I think I ran about 100 metres then walked 9.8 kms and then ran another 100 metres. I definitely had a sense of achievement after I finished but also a reality check.

    Today though is a different story. If I ran the same flat course today I’m sure I could run the whole distance. In fact I should do it to see what time I could do. I think it’s a good idea to run public events every once in a while. Not only do you have the measured course to compare your times but the comradeship of running with like minded people. Runners are such a friendly bunch of people. I think it has something to do with the endorphins that running releases. Everyone is on a running high.

    If you have been keeping a journal of you fitness journey, have a look back and remind yourself of how far you’ve come. It really is encouraging.

    My Next Events:

    IronMaori – 22 June – Gold Coast Queensland (triathlon)

    Sri Chinmoy Marathon – 23 August – Rockland Lake State Park, New York

    The IronMaori is a short triathlon designed to encourage Maori to get back to good health. It is a short course and with a bit of training I’m sure I can do this. I’ll need to do a bit of swimming training to complete the 300 metre swim. I think the rest is a 3km bike ride and a 5km run. I should be up to that!

    Plan your next event.

    Happy exercising




    New Shorts, Guerilla Circuit & New Bike

    I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I was going to buy some new shorts. I’d been wearing the same pair since they were given to me when I entered the 10km race in June

    Wearing my new shorts

    2012 and I needed to treat myself. Since that 10km race I have lost quite a bit of weight too and they were looking ridiculous on me. So I went shopping and boy was it a difficult task getting something I felt comfortable in, but I chose a pair which will do in the mean time.

    They are actually mens shorts and I got them because they were a little longer than the womens. They have a red trim around the legs, and you will notice that they match my shoes. All very important to be colour co-ordinated if you want to feel your best out there. It’s just what they advise against when you are buying sports gear.

    Heading out on my bike

    So I have my new bike and did my first ride on Saturday. I started work later than usual which gave me plenty of time to try out the ride. I estimated that it would take me about 45 minutes which I calculated from some friends travel times. They have ridden to the same destination but from a different start point. My calculations were perfect and I arrived exactly on time. It was such a nice ride although there were some difficult up hills and since it was my first outing on the bike, I was still to sort out the gears. Luckily it has many, many gears and I had to use the lowest quite often. The downhills were great fun though but I didn’t think that they would then turn into up hills on the way home. At least I wasn’t in a hurry to get home and just as well because I had to walk quite a few hills. I haven’t been out again since but at least it is always another option for travelling when I need it.

    Kayaks under the bridge

    Crossing the Green Bridge. Buses, bikes and pedestrians only

    So the day after my big bike ride was the 2 mile race and we decided to change our venue. Until now we have been running around the streets but its not the most inspiring course and so we decided to go back to a course that was used some time ago. It is in the Botanical Gardens and its so beautiful. We ran along a pathway and then turned back and ran along the edge of the river. This we did twice and then veered off to finish at the rotunda a little deeper into the gardens. These particular gardens have been dedicated as a Sri Chinmoy Peace Garden and so it was an appropriate place to have the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence run.

    After then run we did our guerilla circuit again. This time it was more than just me, my daughter and my grandson. In fact there were 9 of us. We did the same circuit as last time so we were able to compare our times and I did do better this time but only by a few seconds. I am putting my lack of improvement down to the fact that it was the hottest most humid day we have had for quite a while and it was exhausting. Such a lot of fun though. Today I can feel my abs a little but the rest of me is fine so must be getting fitter.

    Next week we have another circuit planned after our run. Lets see how many are keen to do it again. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Happy exercising


    Sprint Training

    Finishing the 2 mile race. I don’t look too fast

    I continue to be amazed with what I am now capable of doing. A few weeks ago when my daughter forced me to do a guerilla circuit with her , I was amazed at how well I did and ever since then I have been promising to go and do other extra things to mix it up and, hopefully increase my fitness. So yesterday we finally went out again.

    We did the weekly Runners are Smilers 2 mile run and I really struggled with the heat. Amazingly it has got really hot here again although it is supposed to be going into Autumn. Our course is reasonably shaded at 7am but every time I ran through a sunny patch I could feel my energy draining away. I felt like Bolt when he gets too close to styrofoam. All the way around I was consoling myself with the fact that I did a PB last week and it doesn’t matter if this week I did a worse time. When the weather gets cooler I can do another PB.  On my second mile I really felt like walking but was trying to convince myself that if I could get up this hill then there was a big downhill and then if I still felt like walking I would do it on the next hill. These mind tricks are great for getting you through the tough bits …. usually. It didn’t work yesterday. I walked. The sweat was pouring down my face and into my eyes and really stung so I used my walking stretch to wipe my face and eyes. I only walked about 10 metres but it was amazing how much difference it made. At the top of the hill I started running (jogging) again and kept going until the end.

    When my time was called out I questioned it. I thought they must have given me the wrong minutes. 20.57. I got a new PB. How can that be when I felt so bad. My only explanation is that I am getting faster overall. The thing about getting fitter is that you always push yourself to the same point of tiredness but that point keeps moving. So here I am finally under 21 minutes and now to get under 20 minutes. How great would that be to be in the teens.

    Looking good. Both feet off the ground!

    Anyway, after this we went back to the reserve where we did our marathon 2 weeks ago, and found a nice quiet stretch of road where the baby would be safe on the road and marked a 50 metre stretch of hill that we could do some sprint training on. As with the guerilla circuit there was the three of us, my daughter, grandson and me. I was pretty certain that I would only be able to do it a couple of times and would need a huge break in between them, but I really surprised myself again. We alternated with one running, one timing and one walking back down to the bottom. I went first and did an 11.02 seconds. It felt great to be sprinting and not too difficult. I wished I’d pushed myself harder because I could only see myself getting slower with each subsequent run. The opposite was true though. We (my daughter) decided that 10 runs each would be a good number and of all my runs the first was the slowest. My fastest was 9.8 somewhere in the middle and even my last run was 10 seconds.

    I felt great afterwards as you always do when you’ve done something that seemed impossible. Today I could feel a few muscles that I haven’t been working in my normal runs. My arms from the pumping motion and also around my hip joint. I suppose I don’t usually use my hips to that extent in my daily shuffle around the block. But best of all I feel great mentally just knowing that I can still do this stuff. I don’t look as great in the photos as I imagine in my head, but maybe the photos will improve too over time.

    So next week we are going to do the guerilla circuit again and will have a few others to do it with us. Lets see how my time has improved for that.

    Happy exercising


    A New PB (Personal Best)

    Although my running has been a bit spasmodic I managed to run a new PB on Sunday in the 2  mile run. If I discount last weeks run, on the new hilly course, then my previous two runs have both been the same time, 21.29. Amazing how you can run 2 miles in exactly the same time to the seconds.

    Anyway, when we started the run I could feel that I was going faster at the start. In the height of the summer heat I was suffering a bit with painful knees. The joint actually feels like it is swollen, and as a result it was taking me a few hundred metres to get into a rhythm, but on days like last Sunday, with the temperature a bit cooler I can get straight into it and at the second turn, when I am usually so far behind everyone that I can’t really even see them, on Sunday I could still see almost everyone. Because my training hasn’t been great over the last couple of weeks I could feel myself getting tired in the final quarter of the run, but still I took 5 seconds of my previous best time.

    Since then I have been for one early morning run and I think I can actually fit this in 2 to 3 times a week. It has to fit with my early starts. Getting earlier nights is the answer because nothing beats the feeling of starting your working day knowing that you have already been for a run.

    In my last post I was saying how I needed to treat myself to some new running shorts so I went shopping yesterday and, you know that there’s not much in the shops that isn’t really short. When I tried them on I was really disappointed to see how bad they looked on me. Although I have lost quite a bit of weight, the cellulite on my thighs is pretty ugly. My daughter told me that building up muscle tone will help that and I will try doing a few more weights, but I think there must be other things I can do too, so I will do some research and let you know. I have just bought a bike (still to pick it up) and I think that will help. My plan is to bike to work as often as I can because not only do I need the exercise but parking is restricted so biking is the obvious answer. I’ll get a photo of it for my next post.

    Happy exercising


    It’s Been A While

    I’ve just been looking at my last post and it was a while ago and not much has happened in my fitness world.

    I had great intentions of devoting my Sundays to special workouts but nothing has happened since the guerilla circuit. I got a cold just after the circuit and this lasted about a week and a half so my running was not very regular. I was still able to do the Monday evening Runners Are Smilers 2 mile but not much else. Also since the circuit I have started working in a vegetarian cafe here in Brisbane, My Heart-Garden, and I start at 6.30 every morning, 6 days a week. This has really disturbed my training because I was a morning runner. I’m finding it really hard to get out in the evening but will have to push through this.

    Our 2 mile race is now back to 7am Sunday morning. It’s just too dark now in the evenings, and last Sunday we changed our course to a local reserve which was a nice change of scenery but the hills were a killer. My daughter did a walk around the 1 mile loop the night before and deemed it a good course. Of course she only went around once but after one loop the hill got steeper and steeper. We only had to go around twice for the 2 mile run, but we all stayed on to run a combined marathon to celebrate the first marathon of our meditation teacher, Sri Chinmoy in 1979.

    Sri Chinmoy

    I did 5 miles (8km) which was the most I had run for a very long time, and am embarrassed to say I found it hard, really hard. I did the 10km race last year but walked 90 percent of that. I have to do more long runs.

    So my number one priority now is to find a suitable time to run. I have to leave for work too early in the morning for that to be possible and when I get home it’s far too easy to sit down and rest after standing all day. So this is going to have to change. I am looking at bikes so that I can bike to work some days. It’s about a half hour trip each way and there are also a couple of days when I finish early.

    I tell you what, even after just a couple of weeks of irregular exercise I feel tireder and can feel the weight coming back. Definitely exercise is the easiest way to keep your weight under control.

    Anyway I will find a solution that suits and my next post will be full of all the variations of exercise I have been doing.

    One exciting thing is that now that I am working I can afford some new running shorts. If you look at all the photos I have put up of myself you can see that in every picture I’m wearing the same shorts and they are too big for me now and I deserve to shout myself some new ones. I’ll put up a photo of my new ones with my next post.

    Happy exercising


    Variety Sunday

    After last Sunday’s guerilla circuit I decided that I would do something different every Sunday. We decided that the guerilla circuit would be a good gauge on our fitness so we will do that every 4th Sunday, but what to do on the other Sundays.

    Well for me I need to work on my speed. I’ve got to the point where I can run continuously for 30 minutes but I’m so slow. I feel like a lead weight even though I’ve lost quite a lot of body weight and I used to be pretty fast at least on short distances. I must admit, I’ve never been particularly in to long distance running and have never been very fast, but I suppose that could change. I’ve been working on my endurance and my strength (with the weights workouts) so now its time to do some speed work.

    So this Sunday (today) I thought I would find a piece of flat ground (I chose a stretch of road near the playground) preferably not concrete, and do some 100 metre sprints. So I thought I would sprint 100

    To the untrained eye this looks like I’m in the down faze of a situp, but this was as far as I got.

    Pushing forward on the hand grips lifts your body weight

    mtr then jog back using that time as my rest period, then sprint again. I haven’t decided how many

    Jumping just a little to achieve my chin up

    times to do it yet. Either it would be a certain number of reps or I could set a time limit, say 20 minutes. I think that sounds long enough or maybe too long. I can only give a go and adjust as I go. I can use it also as a gauge of my fitness for future Sunday sprint days.

    I haven’t decided what to do on the other 2 Sundays of the cycle, but the possibilities are a long swim (or any swim since I haven’t been for months), a fitness class, maybe aerobics or spin, a long run or even as I get faster I could do a tempo run which is running my usual distance but at a faster pace the whole way.

    Yesterday the family went for a walk. It was supposed to be a 7km walk but it was getting dark and we only made it to the park and then we stopped to try out the workout machines and didn’t get any further. We think we may incorporate the machines into a circuit at some stage but in the meantime they are a bit of fun. Funny how heavy your own body weight can be.

    Happy exercising



    2 Mile Race

    Every week a group of us meet up to run a 2 mile race. It is the Sri Chinmoy Runners Are Smilers race which is designed as a self transcendence race. Basically this means that each week you take your

    At the start line

    own time and the next week you try do do better. You can easily track your progress like this.

    Anyway, I have not really run this race for quite a few years but since my new fitness regime started I have decided to join in and see how I go. For 4 or 5 weeks I just did 1 mile and my times did improve quite a bit. My last 1 mile time was 10mins 28secs compared to 4 weeks previously when I did 11mins 55secs, so a definite improvement, but 2 weeks ago I decided it was time to go for the 2 mile. I had hoped it would be raining so the temperature would be bearable but no such luck anyway I figured that with all the training I had been doing I could finish in not much more than twice my 1 mile time. Of course I was running behind everyone else who had been training a lot longer than me, but I kept up the same pace all the way not having to stop and walk at all which made me happy.

    The course is quite hilly as is a lot of Brisbane, so I was enjoying the down hills immensely, but those up hills!!! My pace was slowing to not much more than a walk on the second mile. In fact I wouldn’t have been surprised if a walker had passed me. But I kept running. It’s funny how the second mile seems so much longer than the first. For the first mile I could see someone in front of me for most of the time but about half way through the second mile the gap got too wide and I was on my own. That’s when you feel like walking or just giving up and walking a short cut to the finish, but since it’s about self transcendence then it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to finish, but if you don’t then you’ve nothing to compare your next time to.

    Coming up to the finish line

    So I ran to the end and finished in a time of 22mins 40secs. Not a bad time but lots of room for improvement and now that I had successfully done 2 miles there was no going back to just 1 mile. I had proven I was capable and now I just had to get up my fitness.

    So this week I ran again and although it didn’t seem any easier I ran it in a time of 21mins 59secs, 41secs faster than than the previous week and just scraping in under 22minutes. But it has to easier than I’m doing it now. So my goal this week is to do some speed work. I’m going over to the park over the back, the scene of the guerilla circuit and will do some sprints. What I think I will do is sprint the length of the park and then jog back and repeat. I’m not sure how long I can keep it up for but I do know that I can carry on long after I think of quitting. So I may set a time limit. I’ll let you know how I do it and how I get on.

    Happy exercising


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