Saturday, 31 March 2007

Another goal achieved and a lesson learned

I was so excited to be doing the Relay for Life this year. Twelve months ago, I set myself the goal of running my two half hour legs of the relay. When I set the goal, I didn't really believe I could do it, but I decided to give it a go. I managed to run for 30 mins non-stop once late last year, but it wasn't until this year that I began to be able to do it consistently. As recently as six weeks ago, I wasn't sure I'd be able to do the first leg let alone run the second! In fact, looking back over my blog, I managed a half hour run for the first time this year in mid-February.

Last year I walked 15 laps altogether, and so I set myself a goal of 20 laps. I worked out that I'd have to be able to run at 8km/hr to achieve that. I wanted some wriggle room, so I tried to get used to running a little faster than that. I also tried to get used to running for more than 30 mins so that I could give myself a good stern talking to when I got to the "I can't go any further" stage.

Well, to my delight, I managed to run 11 laps in each leg. That's 4.4 km. I didn't manage to do it non-stop - I took a few one minute walking breaks - but I knew I was on track to make the 10 laps so I wasn't worried about walking. That's where I learned today's lesson though. I got to the AIS outdoor running track a little early, so I had a cup of coffee. I'm a dill! I managed to run 4 laps without stopping, but halfway through the 5th I realised that the sloshing in my stomach wasn't going to go away, so I dropped to a walk for a minute. That seemed to settle it enough to manage a little more running. I ended up taking the break on the 5th, 7th and 9th lap the first time, and on the 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th lap the second time. Interestingly, on the last lap I was able to manage to keep going. It's amazing how knowing you're going to stop soon gives you the strength to keep going.

At the end of my second leg, I decided to walk with the next relay person as a cool down. On the way around, I realised that if I walked 3 laps I'd have covered 10 km, so I did that. The event organisers had a stretch class happening shortly after I finished, so I did that. It was terrific. I couldn't manage all the stretches - I'm not flexible enough - but I certainly could feel the benefits.

After I got home, I headed straight for the gym to collect my 25 points. I had great plans of collecting 50 points by doing Body Pump as well, but on the walk from my place to the gym I realised that my knees were telling me that lunges and squats would be a bad idea if I thought I was going to be able to run tomorrow. As I really want to run the 5 km rather than walk it, I decided to listen to my knees.

I jumped on the bike because it's kind to knees, but I realised I wasn't enjoying it after 4 mins and switched to the treadmill. I walked for 40 mins at 6 km/hr and zero gradient. This means I covered 14 km for the day, not counting any extra walking I do, such as to the gym and back. My pedometer reading was past 22k at lunchtime! My legs are really feeling it now. I think I'll be having a power nap this afternoon.

One thing is for sure tomorrow - I won't be drinking any coffee in the half hour before the run.

Friday, 30 March 2007

Nice easy day today

I thought I'd better take it easy today if I was going to run for an hour tomorrow morning. This morning's gym visit involved half an hour on the treadmill at 6 km/h on an inclination of 3. It was quite relaxing. I tried some Chi Running focuses, like walking from my centre and leaning forward. I also did the body sensing thing, checking in with how I was feeling. It was hard to keep concentrating. I can see that I'll have to keep practising.

I was supposed to get to the Relay for Life opening ceremony this evening, but there was an urgent support problem just as I was leaving. One of my team was there, but I decided that it would be kinder to go back and help him out. After all, I didn't have to be at the opening ceremony. Seeing that I wasn't going to be able to make Relay for Life, I thought about dropping in at the gym for the Biggest Loser party they were having instead, but I ended up having to stay back at work too late to do that too.

Still, my step count is only 11k for the day, so I've given my legs a good rest before tomorrow. I've been reading everyone's blogs, and they are all busy tapering! My little rest feels like a baby taper.

I'm really quite excited about tomorrow. I'm going to go to bed early, so I get plenty of sleep.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Tired legs

I've covered a lot of distance today. I blame the girls at work, who are enthusiastically running a "Biggest Winner" competition. They have all sorts of health challenges that you can meet to gain points - eat 10 pieces of fruit in a week, walk 10000 steps a day, etc. They are also organising fun activities. Today, we were put into teams and encouraged to walk around the building twice. There's a 1.4 km walking track around my workplace, which is in the middle of a paddock.

Now, even I can do the maths - 1.4 km x 2 = 2.8 km, which isn't a lot of distance. It is, however, 2.8 km on top of the distance I already planned to cover. I did an interval run this morning, and repeated it this evening. That was another 6.3 km all up. My pedometer is reading almost 28000 steps! No wonder my legs are tired.

I really enjoyed both interval runs. I find I run much better in the morning than in the evening though. The run itself involved 15 mins of intervals of 6 / 9.5 km/h, followed by 5 mins at 9 km/h and 5 mins at 6 km/h before a short cool down and stretching. I then did Body Jam, which I love. Unfortunately the class is going to be cancelled in a few weeks.

I didn't realise I hadn't blogged last night, because I was busy reading other people's blogs. I managed to get through my overdue weights session on Wednesday by splitting it in half. I couldn't see any other way to manage it this week, so I did the first part in the morning and finished it off in the evening. Because of that, I spent a little bit of extra time on my abs exercises. Leanne told me how to make one of the exercises harder .. and it was a lot harder! I also managed two sets of 10 reps on the rolldowns. That's the first time I've managed to persevere through the two sets.

Squash was a lot of fun. I played four games and managed to win two of them. The court seemed really small last night. I don't know if it's because I'm finding it so easy to get around it or because I feel bigger because I have more muscle. I'm definitely not bigger. I've lost a little more weight and my clothes are continuing to feel looser.

I'm having the strangest experience at the moment. When I catch sight of myself in the mirror, I feel like I'm looking at a stranger. At first I thought it was my new hairstyle, but it's not all that different. I finally realised that it's my neckline. I think my neck is thinner. It's quite disconcerting to be having trouble recognising myself.

I got my team t-shirt for the Relay for Life today. It's much better than last year's, thank goodness. It's also two sizes smaller and it's loose on me. **huge grin**

I'm really looking forward to all the running I'm doing on the weekend. I've been working hard to be fit enough to manage to run one of my legs of the Relay for Life. I've grown in confidence lately so, not only do I expect to run both legs, I also think I'll be able to run on Sunday as well. I originally planned to walk because I didn't think I was fit enough to run two days in a row, but I've realised that I'm much fitter than I give myself credit for.

I had great fun chatting with people at the gym tonight. To think I used to go and hardly speak to anyone. It's a much friendlier place than it used to be. I hope this spirit of camaraderie continues after the fitness challenge is over.

Oh, I forgot to mention how my team did in the 'walk around the building' at work. I wasn't that keen on participating, because I always get a lot of exercise on Thursdays. I had this plan to walk with whoever was the slowest member of our team and have a nice relaxing time. The first part of the plan was a success - I was with the slowest member of the team. The relaxing part didn't come to fruition. My team members lead the way around the building, so there was I, keeping up with them. I wish I had longer legs! Still, it was fun and we managed to win the challenge comfortably.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Another good run

I went running with Leanne this morning - we covered 4.2 km in half an hour, which I was really pleased with. I'm hoping to run two sessions of 10 laps in half an hour on Saturday at the Relay for Life, and if I can run like I did this morning I'll be fine.

I enjoyed the run. It makes quite a difference running with someone else. The chatting is fun and the company is encouraging. I'm hoping that the group who are running together in the Biggest Loser challenge will keep going once the challenge is over, even if it's only on an informal basis.

I didn't get to the gym this evening. Something more important came up after work. I'll have to make up the points later in the week. I managed to make up Sunday's points on Monday. I did a pump class as well as my usual workout.

I was careful not to overdo it on Monday, so I stuck to my old favourite - the treadmill. In the morning, I did the "Fat Burner" session. After discovering that I was severely underestimating the level I should be doing on the bike I cranked the level on this up to 8. I did 20 mins at 6 km/hr and then finished off with 10 mins of walking at 6 km/hr. My legs felt good after Sunday's run.

In the evening, I did the "Aerobic Training" session for 20 mins at 6 km/hr for 20 mins and then walked for another 20 mins, before going to Pump. The lunges in the Pump session were a killer, although I managed to do them all.

I'm overdue on my weights session, so that's on the cards for tomorrow. I've also got squash, which is my favourite. Something to look forward to.

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Twice around the creek

I made it around the creek twice today! According to Map My Run that's 6.48 km. That's the furthest I've run without stopping, so I'm feeling very proud of myself. Not only was it further, it was also faster. I made it around the first time in 22:39 and finished in 46:01. That's roughly 7 mins per km.

I started out concentrating on lifting my feet and made an effort not to go too fast at the beginning. It seemed really easy, and I ended up at my first marker ahead of my usual time, so I don't think I did too well on "going slower at the start". As I was running that first bit I thought heard someone behind me. I kept expecting them to pass me, but they didn't so I thought maybe I'd imagined their existence. When I got to the bridge, I was able to look back, and there was another runner there. I still expected him to pass me. I got to the next point where I could see how far he was behind me and he was further behind! That's never happened to me before. I was feeling all the excitement I think Celeste must have felt when she passed her jogger.

The route around the creek isn't completely flat, so I got to run up and down a few tiny hills. I followed the arm pumping, leaning forward advice from the Chi Running book going up and I let gravity take me down. Usually when I'm running down a hill I hold myself up and try to get my breath back. This time, I felt like I was flying down the hills. It was great fun. I was wishing the hills were bigger!

I was amazed by how much faster my time was too. The last time I ran around the creek it took me 24:30 and I got to the point where I stopped (approx 5.5 km according to my map run) in 41:44. Today the first lap was nearly 2 mins faster and I reached the 5.5 km mark in 39:10. I thought I was going much more slowly the second time around. It was a little slower, but it was nowhere near as slow as I thought it was.

I passed on going to the gym this morning. I realised that I was going to struggle to get there and back before my brother arrived, and I figured I'd already done more work than I'd planned on my run, so I gave myself a day off. I'll make up the points tomorrow evening by doing a class.

After having a coffee with my mum, Jim and I set off to the shopping centre. We ambled over and back, taking an hour to do the whole walk. It was only about three and a half kms, but we were busy chatting and ensuring that my nephew, Simon, looked carefully in all directions when crossing the road. It was a lovely walk and didn't feel like exercise at all. Mind you, I've had an afternoon nap! I was exhausted.

Jim's looking terrific and he tells me that his knee is getting a lot better too. I didn't rub it in about being able to run when he can't, but I was bubbling over with enthusiasm about my progress.

Something beginning with T

Isabelle posted a letter meme the other day. Her letter was G and she wrote about a number of G words that mean something to her. I loved reading her post about her Girls, Giggles, Granny, Green, Gardens, Golden Daffodils and Grand Designs, so I put my name up for a random letter. Isabelle allocated me the letter T. If any of you would like to do this, let me know and I'll send you a letter via a comment in your blog.


I've always valued and admired teachers. In fact, many years ago I was a high school maths teacher. I was very lucky with some of my teachers. I imagine that having a student who simply raced through the syllabus must have been a challenge for them, but these teachers, mainly women, worked out how to keep challenging me, found me extension work to do to keep me interested in school, and instilled in me a lifelong love for helping others to learn.

I loved teaching maths. It was so rewarding to see students suddenly understand what it was that they were trying to achieve. The decision to leave teaching came as a total shock to me, but when I made it, after a series of stress related illnesses during a time of government cutbacks and worsening work conditions, it ended up being one of the best things I'd ever done for myself. Every once in a while I think about returning to teaching, but I look at the salary I now earn doing a much less stressful job and realise that it's a nice daydream but it's not going to happen.

Fortunately for me, I've discovered that it doeesn't matter what job I do, I can still teach. I love being able to help people discover their potential and become more than they knew they could be.


Television plays such a large role in our lives. I remember watching "Adventure Island" when I was young. My mother made me a heart shaped apron just like my heroine Lisa. I wanted to be Lisa when I grew up and I treasured that apron. I had a "Mr Doo-bee" jumping ball, and I remember seeing the first episode of "Sesame Street" when it screened in Australia - it was Janet's 5th birthday. My father used to appear in television ads, in crazy dress up with his boss, singing and dancing. He was also asked to sing Irish songs on the local afternoon show every St Patrick's Day. I loved "Doctor Who" and "MASH" and I really enjoy the new "Doctor Who" and "Torchwood" series.

Funnily enough, since I started my journey to being a fitter and healthier person, I watch a lot less television. I try to see "The Biggest Loser" as I find that show inspirational, but there's not much else I'm watching at the moment, unless it happens to be on DVD. That's not to say that the television is never on - it's great company as background noise when I'm writing up my blog.


I love my personal training sessions. I never saw myself as someone who would be an enthusiastic exerciser, so I knew I needed my trainer to push me to work hard. I've had three personal trainers help me on my journey, Kelly, Sarah and Leanne, and all three have been wonderful. Kelly trained the unfit, unhealthy version of me, and introduced me to the idea of "good pain". Sarah taught me to set long term goals. Leanne is encouraging me to find out what it is that I'm capable of achieving.


I love to talk. If talking was an Olympic sport I could talk for Australia! When I was living in Melbourne I was a member of Toastmasters. I love public speaking.

My family are high intensity communicators. If you were at our place when we're all there, you'd be amazed that there can be so many conversations going on at once, and that people can be actively participating in more than one at a time. You can always be assured of being listened to at our place, as we see listening as an important part of talking. We love story telling and enjoy hearing all our old favourites at family occasions. It's great when we have family or friends visit from Ireland, as all the old stories come out again for another airing.


It's just as well that I like travel, as I travel from Melbourne to Canberra for work on a fortnightly basis. I love flying. The novelty may have worn off, but I still enjoy the sensation of taking off and landing.

Travel overseas is tremendous fun, and I don't do it nearly enough. My last big trip was to Ireland and England in 2003 with my favourite sister, Janet. We went over for my Uncle Jack's 80th birthday. My next trip is to the Gold Coast in May, again with family. I'm looking forward to that one, particularly to being on the beach in my swimmers. When I reach my goal weight I'm going to reward myself with a trip to Broome. I've always wanted to go there.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Good hair day

I definitely had the best hair in the gym this morning, and it didn't take as long as I predicted. I was only there for an hour and three quarters. I love going to the gym after I get my hair done, as I don't end up with all the amazing "hold your hair still in a gale" product everywhere. I also look more like the real me, which personally I prefer.

It seemed quite busy at the gym. I jumped on the treadmill and opted for the fast walk option. I did see how I'd go with a jog, but my ankle felt just a little bit not right so I dropped back to walking. I started off at 6.0 km/h on a gradient of 3, but decided to see how I'd go at 6.4 km/h. I remember a few weeks ago deciding that it just wasn't comfortable to walk at that pace. Today, I walked at that speed for 25 mins on a gradient. How good is that?!?

Even though I wasn't running, I tried some Chi Running stuff. I concentrated on keeping my shoulders relaxed and being conscious of moving my elbows rather than my arms. This focus stuff takes focus!

The rest of the day was quiet as far as exercise is concerned. I caught up on some blog reading, which I enjoy hugely. I shopped, which counts as walking, and I spent quality time with my good friend, Erika.

I'm feeling very tempted to eat heaps this evening, but I've done well to stay in my calorie range today, so I'll resist temptation by going to bed. I find that works really well.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's exercise program. I'm also looking forward to the extra hour in the day. I love it when daylight saving ends.

Friday, 23 March 2007

Fabulous run this morning

I really enjoyed my run this morning. It felt great while I was running. I was still on a high by the time I got to work an hour later.

I bought a book on Chi Running. I read about it on someone's blog, and I saw it in Borders the other day, so I thought I'd give it a go. Today, I jumped on the treadmill and worked on a couple of things mentioned in the book - my cadence and picking up my feet. The time just flew and I didn't feel like I was working hard at all. I ran at 7.6 km/h. I was only going to do 20 mins because I was a little late to the gym, but I decided to keep going and ended up running 4 km in just under 32 mins. I nearly missed the bus, but the run was definitely worth it.

Of course, I don't know if the run felt easy because of the different technique or because I'm so much fitter. Still, it doesn't really matter. I had a great time.

I didn't get to the gym tonight. I had a social engagement that took precedence. I was glad to discover that I was able to miss a gym session without completely stressing over it. I'll make sure I do the weights session over the weekend and I'll survive not earning the points for the workout.

I've realised that I'm going to have the best hair at the gym tomorrow. I'm off to the hairdresser in the morning, and then I'm heading straight to the gym. I hope that all the people on the treadmills around me appreciate it. *chuckle*

On Tuesday all the people around me nearly witnessed something I'm sure they'd probably not appreciate. I was running along on the treadmill and my shorts started to fall down. These were bike pants, so it was pretty extreme for them to fall down. Fortunately, I was able to hike them up enough to ensure that I didn't have an ongoing battle with my pants falling down, as it would have put an end to my run. On reflection, I was quite pleased that this had happened because it's a sign that my shape has changed again. I'm not so sure I'd have been pleased if they'd kept falling down though.

On Sunday my brother and I are getting together. The conversation was quite hilarious - Me, the former couch potato: "I'm going for a run, then I'm off to the gym. I'll be home around 10:30." Him, enthusiastic exerciser, who inspired me to start this journey in the first place: "I'll come over then and we'll walk to the shopping centre (miles away) for a coffee - that way we'll exercise while we talk". Me: "Great idea." Can you believe it - I think that's a great idea?!? What's happened to me? By the way, the reason we're walking is that he can't run because of a bad knee. Being a loving sister, I take great delight in reminding him every once in a while that I can run and he can't. He's avoiding a knee reconstruction, so I figure he's fair game. Besides, I can always run away from him!

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Boxing is such fun

I never knew how satisfying it was to hit things hard until I did my first boxing session a few months ago. Boxing is a great workout. I know it combines cardio and strength training but the thing I like best about it is the punching. I'm not really sure why I like it so much. It's not as though I have any stress to work out or anybody I'm upset with. I don't go imagining faces in front of me. I just like the feeling I get when I hit hard. Maybe it's the sense of strength it gives me.

Today's personal training session was a blast. It started off with some nasty quad exercises. Leanne was "taking care of my ankle" for me. I was wishing I hadn't mentioned that it was sore, as it's just about better now! After that, I got to practise punching. Hmm, maybe I did have some aggression to work off after all. Those quad exercises were mean and Leanne was holding up the pads. *evil smile*

I'm punching a lot harder than I did a few months ago, which is really satisfying. It's partly that my core is stronger, and partly that my technique is better. I love the sound the gloves make when you connect properly.

Along with all the various types of punching, I did some squats and lunges. My legs really know that they had a workout tonight. My ankle is perfectly fine, which is a relief. Instead of the usual run, Leanne got me on the bike. I usually choose level 6 but she dialled up level 10, and when I was handling that she pushed it up to level 15. I think I've been underestimating how hard I should be working on my own. When we did the abs work at the end, Leanne was really pleased with my progress. Of course, progress is measured by her giving me harder exercises to do. Tonight it was reverse crunches. I couldn't have done these with my tummy in the way twelve months back, but now I can. It's a great feeling. Well, it's a great feeling apart from the pain!

This morning I did an easy walk again, as planned, and this evening, I ventured back onto the bike. I managed to get to my slim session, and my weight stayed the same, which was terrific, as it was an evening weight this time, so I have really lost the 40 kgs. I didn't get to hip hop, as my p/t session was later than originally planned. By the time I'd stretched, the class had started. I looked in, to see if I'd be able to join in a little late, but it looked quite intimidating. Ok, they were down on the floor. That immediately made it too hard for me!

I think I'll be able to test my ankle out with a run tomorrow morning and I'll do a weights session in the evening. I'm off to Melbourne on Saturday, so I'll have to get myself across to Yarraville in the afternoon. It's going to be too hard in the morning as I have the all-important hair appointment. Theoretically, I should be able to get to the gym in the morning, but while I love my hairdresser to bits, he has no understanding of the concept of speed!

I'm hanging out to do another run around the creek on Sunday morning. I want to see how much I've improved. One of my sisters kindly took some "before" photos of me at the beginning of the fitness challenge, and they are still on the pc in Melbourne. I must take the same outfit down there, and see how much I've changed shape. I found a top in my wardrobe that I thought I'd given away, so I'm going to try it on to see how baggy it is. I know it's too big, but I'm still looking forward to seeing that it's too big.

I still have the gym gear I wore when I first went to the gym. The top was too tight then, but it was the only exercise gear I owned that came close to fitting me at the time. I've hung on to the tracksuit pants so I can do one of those photos people do where they hold out their big pants to show how much weight they've lost. Of course, I'll probably never get the photo taken, but I have the outfit, just in case!

Well, tonight's blog entry has gone all over the place. I'd better quit now or who knows where it will end up!

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Being careful

I've got a sore ankle. I don't know how or when I hurt it, but it was sore last night when I was running. I tried denial .. if I ignore it, it won't be sore .. but that didn't work, so I'm being careful with it. At least, that's the plan. I'm really aware that one thing that would definitely derail my progress is to get injured, so I'm pretty cautious when something hurts.

This morning I did my weights session as planned. I made sure my form was good, especially on the leg exercises, and I didn't feel my ankle at all. It was a good session. I managed the two sets of chinups more easily today. I'm starting to think I should work on the next weight increase now. The pec fly is also easier. I'm reluctant to increase that one, as I had so much trouble with it at first. I guess I'll just have to bite the bullet and do it.

My abs are much stronger, which I think is due to the running. I'm going to have to talk to Leanne, my trainer, about how to make one of my exercises harder. I increased the reps, which helped for a while, but it's getting easy again. There was a time when I never let on when things were easy. I thought the trainer would work it out for themselves and didn't realise it was something I should be doing. I also never changed anything on my own. I've become a lot more confident.

This evening, I played squash, but I basically loafed. I wasn't really confident that I wouldn't make my ankle worse, so I didn't run. I was hitting the ball badly - you forget how much good footwork matters until you don't place your feet properly. To be perfectly frank, it wasn't much of a workout. One of the guys wasn't well and stopped playing, and the other one, when I finally admitted that I was worried about my ankle, kindly told me I was an idiot and that I should quit too. He said it more diplomatically than that. It sounded more like "you'll be upset if you're not able to go to the gym". He also convinced me to ice it after I finished exercising, which I've done tonight.

I dropped in at the gym on the way home, to collect my 25 points. I walked on the treadmill for half an hour at 5.6 km/h. It was a nice easy workout. I concentrated on keeping good form, which meant that my ankle didn't complain at all. I also checked where I was on the leaderboard for the fitness challenge. I'm safely in the top 5, which is where I wanted to be.

I received a lovely compliment from one of the girls behind the desk. She's one of my favourite people at the gym. I was asking her how all her various jobs were going and, out of the blue, she mentioned how much she liked the way I was approaching the fitness challenge. She thought I was working hard and that my positive attitude was a pleasure to see. She then told me that she enjoyed seeing me at the gym because I had such a positive presence around the place, even when I didn't stop and chat. I thought that was a great compliment. I thanked her for being so kind, and bubbled my way out of the gym.

I had to go to the supermarket after the gym, because it's my turn to bring morning tea to work tomorrow. I don't eat any of the morning tea, but I make sure I have a healthy snack while everyone else is having something to eat. They are all used to me at work, so they don't try and talk me into eating anything.

Tomorrow morning, I'm planning to do a light cardio session, to give my ankle a bit longer to realise that it's really not hurt, and in the evening I have personal training and a Hip Hop / Funk class. Apparently that's what they are replacing Body Jam with. I'm looking forward to it. I think it will be hilarious, me doing Hip Hop.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Back into my routine

The long weekend is over and it's situation normal again. Amazingly, I found myself missing the gym last night. I didn't get a sudden surge of energy and run off to do some exercise - but I did find myself at a bit of a loose end in the evening. Maybe I'm developing a habit that will outlast the fitness challenge!

This morning I was up bright and early and was at the gym 5 mins after the door opened. There were all these women there before me .. and it seemed really busy today. I think it might have been because I was there before the morning class started for a change. I don't usually see all those women arrive at the gym.

I did half an hour on the treadmill this morning, 20 mins of Fat Burner at 6 km/h, level 6 and then 10 mins of just walking at 6 km/h. I made sure I did my stretches. That's one of the benefits of getting to the gym early, plenty of time to stretch.

This evening I did an interval run - 6 / 10.6 km/hr for 15 mins, followed by 5 mins at 6, then stretching. Had to cut it short, as had to get to trivia. Our trivia team managed to come 2nd tonight, which was pretty good.

Tomorrow, I'm planning to do a weights session if I get to the gym early enough. If I'm late, I'll do some cardio. After work I'm playing squash, and I'll finish off at the gym with some gentle treadmill walking. I'm usually pretty tired after squash. It's that competitive nature of mine, and I have some ground to make up after last week.

On Thursday, I have my p/t - moved from Monday, and I'll be doing Body Pump as well. The Body Jam instructor will be away and they have real trouble trying to find a replacement. I quite like Pump, so I don't mind as much as if they were replacing it with Attack.

I'll be in Melbourne this weekend, so I'm missing out on RPM. I'll have to find out which morning they do a studio cycle class and get myself to that. I quite like the RPM now that I've got my breathing sorted.

It's great to be back into a routine.

Monday, 19 March 2007

That was awesome

I'm just back from my run with the girls from black team. When we met, it was starting to rain. I was thinking, "oh well, at least we got ourselves out here", but one of the group told us that we may as well run in the rain, and so we did. Seeing that we'd all made the effort to get there, we didn't take much convincing. We had four runners and two walkers.

I told the runners that I'd just follow along behind if I couldn't keep up, but I found that I was able to keep up from the start. It was like the team group fitness session, where we'd done a little running. I found it hard to start off as slowly as they did. Still, once I was used to it, it was a very comfortable pace to run at. I've no idea how fast we were going, or how far we went, but we ran for 42 mins. A couple of the girls seemed to think it was 7 km. I know I'm running faster than I was before, but I don't know how much faster. I don't really care. I kept up, I enjoyed myself, I didn't wimp out because of the rain, and I feel great now. Oh, and one of these days I'll know exactly how far that run was and I'll be able to work it out.

**Edit: Sorry Celeste, I forgot to mention that I think the run was much closer to 5 km. I didn't feel as though I was running particularly fast, and I've been told that particular run is around 5 km.**

It was fun running with the group. For one thing, we were chatting as we ran. I was really pleased that I was able to talk and run. It's a good sign that my cardio fitness has improved out of sight. I also found I wasn't constantly having to encourage myself to keep running. I only had one moment of that, at around the 34 min mark. I told myself that I could run for 40 mins without stopping, and that I'd consider stopping once I'd run for that long. Of course, by then we were nearly back to our starting point, and there was no way that I was going to stop then.

At the end of the run, I was really glad we'd made it, but I had plenty left in the tank, and could have kept going if I'd needed to. That's a great sign for the future. I've been a little apprehensive about the weekend with Relay for Life (2 x half hr relay legs on Saturday) and the Women's Fun Run (5 km on Sunday), but I know I can manage both now.

As for the rest of the day, apart from going shopping, which is one of my favourite activities, I think I'll just take it easy.

PS: It was absolutely pouring down when we finished. I still had a 15 min walk back to my place across the city centre. Fortunately, being a public holiday, there weren't a lot of people out and about at 9 am. I ran part of the way, and walked the rest. I looked like a drowned rat. Still, I had that lovely warm feeling of virtue one gets from exercising and a nice hot shower to look forward to when I got home.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Relaxing Day

It's lovely going to the gym in the morning on a long weekend. First of all, hardly anybody else is there. Secondly, it's much later than I usually go. Thirdly, I'm not going to be dashing off to work once I've finished. Hmm, this sounds like every weekend. The best thing about the long weekend is that there's an extra day of late starts and no rushing to work.

I didn't end up doing Body Balance because the class wasn't until 11 and I had to be on the bus at 12 as I was meeting up with a friend to go to the movies. I did the "Aerobic Training" session on the treadmill for 20 mins at 5.6 km/h on level 6 and then finished off walking at 6km/h until I reached the 3 km mark. That took 31.5 mins all up. I forgot my HRM for the second day running, so I'll have to estimate the calorie burn. I seem to be doing these sessions more easily all the time, so I'll have to be conservative. I also forgot my pedometer, but 3 km of walking is 5000 steps for me, so that's ok.

I've had a few people comment on the amount of exercise I'm doing lately. I'm half way through a 12 week fitness challenge that Fernwood is running in conjunction with Biggest Loser. It might seem like I'm doing a lot, but there are women at the gym who are easily outperforming me. Not many, I admit, but there are a few.

The contest works on a points basis - 25 pts for a workout, 35 pts for a cycle class, etc. With another 100 pts for attending my p/t and slim sessions, I'm getting to the gym twice a day on work days and once a day on weekends, so I get a minimum of 400 pts a week. I've managed an average of 440/week over the 6 weeks, which I'm pretty pleased with. Mind you, some people are managing 600+ points in a single week. To get the extra points you have to be able to (a) go the gym an extra time a day; or (b) get to more classes than I'm doing. While I could get to more classes, I'd have to give something else up, like my weekly trivia night.

I set my goals for the fitness challenge as follows: (a) get to the gym twice a day on work days; (b) get to the gym once on weekends, even when I'm in Melbourne; and (c) finish in the top 5.

I realised that the points for the cms lost were going to wipe me out of the top 5, so I've changed that goal to finish in the top 5 before the cms lost points are added to the totals. I'll have to have a serious look at the points chart this week. I have been in the top 5 since the start, but a few people have upped their effort lately, so I might have to get myself to a couple of extra classes. I wasn't at all interested in classes at the start of the challenge, but I've been enjoying the ones I've tried so far so I'm a lot more willing to try them now.

The challenge has been great for me. I needed a push to get my weight loss back on track, and this appeals to my competitive nature. Because we're organised into teams, those days that I don't feel like getting myself to the gym I use the "get the points for the team" to motivate me. I've typically been really slack on the weekends I'm in Melbourne, but now that I've proven to myself how easy it is to fit in a visit to the gym in Yarraville I have no excuse not to exercise when I'm at home.

Getting involved with the black team has also been great. We've entered a team in the Canberra Women and Girls Fun Run on 1 April, and they are organising another team for the Mother's Day Classic. I'm pretty sure I'll organise my Melbourne trips so that I can run with them on that day too. I was pretty tentative about doing an organised fun run, and it will be so much easier with a group of people I know than it would have been on my own.

I'll be doing the Global Corporate Challenge (a walking challenge) with a team from work this year, and I think we'll probably have a serious attempt at a top ten finish this year. We entered for the first time last year, and were surprised to find we finished just outside the top 20. It's whetted our appetite to give it a serious go, and getting my fitness up now will make me a better team member. I started at about 12k steps a day at the beginning of the challenge last year and ended up walking 25k steps a day for the last 25 days. It was quite an effort, but you clock up steps faster running than walking, so I think I'll be able to improve significantly.

I realised some time ago that if I'm going to keep the weight I've worked so hard to lose off, that I have to be a more active person. I'm working hard to become that person.

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Long weekend

We have a long weekend here in Canberra. As usual, my gym is closed on Monday. I must go to the gym with the worst hours in world! I'm seriously considering changing gyms, as Fitness First is opening soon nearby. Mind you, I do like that Fernwood is only for women. And I'm sure that other Fernwood gyms in Canberra will be open. I just have to make the effort to get to one of them.

Today, I went to RPM. The class is definitely getting easier, although it's still a great workout. I took some advice that I was given earlier this week, and set the bike seat a little higher. I've been finding that my knees ache, and I was advised to sit so that my legs didn't bend to 90 degrees. It seems to have made a difference, but I guess I'll really know tomorrow.

Before RPM I did a Fat Burner session on the treadmill as a warmup. Afterwards, I signed up for Body Pump. I had a half an hour between the two classes so I had a coffee break. I haven't done the sitting around in the gym, reading a magazine thing before, but I didn't think I'd last through Pump without some rest.

Pump was quite a workout. Now that I've done it a few times, I put the weights up a little, and I could really feel them during the session. I can see that this is going to be good for me. I just have to organise my week to get more than one class a week in.

One thing I was really pleased by during the session. The instructor said "you can go lower" on the squats, and I was thinking "oh no I can't!" but I tried anyway. Amazingly, I found a little more. She kept saying it, which I thought was strange, so I had a look around at the other women, and realised that most of them COULD go a lot lower. It made me feel really good to realise I was doing a lot better than most of the women in the room. I've worked hard on having good form with my squats, and I've also worked on getting right down (benefits of a discussion I had with my brother, who's a serious gym person). It's great to see that it's working.

This afternoon I found myself really needing the power nap I'd laughingly suggested yesterday, so I gave in to it and slept for a couple of hours. I woke up starving, so maybe my body had been working hard on repairing all the muscles I tortured today. Either that, or it was just aware that I'd missed afternoon tea.

Tomorrow I might do the Body Balance session at the gym. I'm not 100% sure, as I'm not all that flexible, so it might just be a terribly disappointing thing to do. Still, until I try it I won't know.

On Monday, there's a group of us going for a run, which is a new thing for me. I'm quite looking forward to it. If I still have the energy I might get my backside across to one of the other gyms to pick up 25 points for a workout. It would be interesting to see what the Woden gym is like and to pick up a class timetable as I travel through Woden every day on the way to and from work.

Other than that, it should be a quiet weekend.

Friday, 16 March 2007

Thanks everyone

Thanks for all the encouraging comments. I appreciate your support. Andrew, congratulations on your own marvellous achievement, and on staying there! Celeste, I'm sure you'll get there when you're ready. (The speed on the treadmill is only for a minute or so at a time!)

Now for my exercise update.

This morning I did an nice easy cardio - Fatburner at 5.6 km/h on level 6 for 20 mins, then a bit of walking on the level, some stretching and I was done. This evening I did my weights session as planned. I managed two full sets of chinups without a break. To get used to the weight I was managing as many as I could, then dropping back to finish first one set, then the second. I finally had the weight the whole way through, but had to rest part way through the second set. It was great to get through both sets without stopping until the end.

I upped the weight on my leg exercises. It's a bit like running, you have to be careful not to take it up too much all at once. As I'm a natural bludger, I find increasing in small steps quite an easy approach to follow. I got through the whole program, even the dreaded roll downs. I'm supposed to do 2 sets of 10, but I've only been doing 1. I decided that I'd build up to the second set in stages, so I did 12 rolldowns tonight. I'm going to increase by 2 each time I do my program, so I should be doing the full two sets in a couple of weeks.

I was watching this woman at the gym. She was using heavy weights and seemed to be going at it with incredible vim and vigour, but her technique was all over the place. I really wanted to check with her was she trying to do a "one arm row" at one stage, because there was no way that she was using her back properly, but she was so gung-ho that I thought she might get insulted if I approached her. I wish I knew whether or not you can make suggestions to people. I always err on the side of caution. I did have a "Dirty Dancing" flashback though. Her arms were all wrong at one stage, and I had this "spaghetti arms" quote going through my brain. At least I didn't say it out aloud.

I was chatting to one of the team members at the gym and was invited to join her and some of the others on Monday for a walk (it's a public holiday here in Canberra). Some of the group are running and some are walking. I bumped into one of the others later and was again asked if I'd like to do the walk. I think I'll go along, but I'm going to join the running group. I checked how fast they'll be going and they'll do the 5km in about 34 mins. That's a bit fast for me, but I'll keep up as long as I can or I'll just run along behind them.

I've booked myself in for RPM tomorrow. If I still have the energy I'll do the Pump class too, then I'll come home for an afternoon nap! I don't have quite so much on socially, so I should be able to do some serious relaxing over the weekend.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Major milestone achieved

I finally did it - I lost 40 kgs! I'm really excited and happy with my achievement. It's been a long time coming and I've struggled over the last four months to get past the 38 kg mark. Now that I'm here, I feel wonderful. It is definitely worth it. I have so much energy, my health is terrific, and I am enjoying myself so much every day.

I started this weight loss journey in July 2004, when I signed up with Lite 'N' Easy. It was a last ditch effort before I went to talk to a doctor about gastric banding. I lost 12 kg on their meal plans, and then put most of them back on over the Christmas break. In January, I started back on Lite 'N' Easy, lost some of the weight again, and then found myself overeating once more. I realised that I needed a better solution than pre-packaged food. I joined Fernwood in February 2005. Deep down, in my heart and soul, I didn't really believe I could lose weight so I concentrated on becoming fitter.

As I expected I didn't I didn't lose much weight the first 12 months I was at the gym, but I managed to lose 2 and a half dress sizes with the help of my personal trainers. I realised later that I was sabotaging my weight loss efforts because of my belief that I couldn't lose weight, but at the time I told myself I was happy just to become fit.

When I started out, I didn't really have a vision of where I was going to end up. Fortunately for me, one of my trainers encouraged me to set some long term goals. I came up with three for 2006 - to be able to touch my toes, to lose two more dress sizes and to be able to run for half an hour. I managed to achieve all three by November, 2006. I never expected that I would lose the weight I have now lost, but last year a light seemed to go on in my brain. It was a combination of factors, having Leanne as my personal trainer, a book I read "The Lazy Girl's Guide to Losing Weight and Getting Fit", watching the Biggest Loser on TV, and Jillian Michael's "it's just maths" approach to weight loss. After that light went on I managed to achieve even more than I had expected during 2006. I lost 30 kg, discovered running, was able to touch my toes, and shopped in a 'normal' size store for the first time in nearly 20 years.

I've learned a lot about myself while I've been on this journey. I've discovered that my family and friends are amazingly supportive and encouraging. I've found that people who hardly know me are pleased for me. My work colleagues have been tremendous. I'm able to set myself stretch goals and achieve them. I am stronger and fitter and faster than I ever expected to be. I love running. I love doing my weights program. I have learned to like salad. I can make great food choices.

Today, I know exactly how much weight I plan to lose, and I have a plan for getting there. I believe that I can achieve my goal and I am prepared to work hard to get there. Along the way, I intend to enjoy every moment of the journey.

Today's Exercise

As this blog is meant to be about my fitness challenge, here's today's update.

This morning I did an interval run for 15 mins - 6 / 10.5 km/h. I then walked for another 10 mins at 6 km/h before heading off to be weighed. As an aside: I had missed my slimplicity appointment earlier in the week, missing out on the 50 points that I would have earned for going. I apologised to one of the slimplicity consultants, thinking she was the person I had inadvertently stood up. I was wrong, but she kindly offered to give me a short consultation so I could have my points. Funnily enough, when the scales showed my 40 kg goal had been achieved, I didn't realise it, as I was thinking about how generous Cathy had been to squeeze an appointment in for me. I was in the shower before the numbers actually registered. I was thrilled to announce my accomplishment to Cathy. To my delight, Leanne, my personal trainer, was also at the desk, so I got to tell her at the same time.

This evening I had decided to do cardio and had reconciled myself to the knowledge that the Body Jam class was cancelled and I'd be doing Pump. I repeated this morning's interval run, then walked and ran until I reached the 4 km mark. That gave me time to stretch before the class. To my delight, Body Jam was on, and I had a ball trying to follow the dance routines.

I've managed to clock up over 21000 steps today, so it's been a great day's exercise. I'm feeling it now though.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Bit sore today

I obviously used my arms more than I realised at rock climbing. I have aches in places I didn't realise I had muscles. It must have been the amazingly tight grip I had on the handholds. A couple of times I may have panicked and attempted to pull myself into a safer position. Before my arms started hurting, I remembered those occasions as taking a controlled secure grip with careful consideration. Now the pain is helping me to "recollect" more accurately.

This morning I dialled up a 15 minute session on the crosstrainer. I don't use it much, and 15 minutes sounded like a lot. I found it really boring. I don't find running boring at all, but the cross trainer is not exactly exciting. Maybe having to move my arms and my legs at the same time makes it too hard for me to think while I'm on the machine. Anyway, I stuck it out to the 15 minute mark and then the machine suggested a 5 minute cool down. I decided to stay for the 5 mins. Because I was going more slowly I enjoyed it more.

I then decided to finish off with 10 mins on the bike but I just couldn't get comfortable, so I swapped back to my old favourite, the treadmill.

After work, I played squash with two of my workmates. I'm regretting the sledging, as I didn't play all that well. My serving was ordinary and I just didn't seem to get running. I discovered my shoes were loose. I bought them nearly a year ago, and my feet are a lot narrower now. Of course, it didn't occur to me to tighten the laces until after I finished playing. I've been finding that a lot of my shoes are getting too big. This losing weight is great but it sure is expensive. Still, I get to go shopping a lot.

I headed to the gym to collect my 25 points. I did a "Fat Burner" session on the treadmill. My heart rate stayed right up there, probably because we'd been playing squash, so I got a good calorie burn for the session.

I've done just over 18000 steps for the day. I thought about heading to the supermarket before going home to get the count over 20000, but I piked out. I think I'll be in bed early tonight. I've worn myself out!

Andrew, I'm exercising for about half an hour in the morning, and from half an hour to two hours in the evening, depending on how much time I have. I also get about 40 minutes of walking in each day travelling to and from work, and doing the shopping is worth another half an hour of walking at least.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Early morning run

I really enjoyed my run this morning. From the start it felt good. I don't remember ever finding a run easy from the beginning before, but this one was. Usually I'm thinking "what am I doing? when can I stop?" for the first five minutes, but today I just ran.

Leanne had me do something different today. We stopped three times during the run for me to do exercises. The first stop involved 10 burpees. Now, if you ever want a serious laugh at 6:10 am in the morning, you should tag along behind me next time. Burpees and me do not go together. Unfortunately, Leanne has this "never say die" attitude, and so I did 10 very uncoordinated burpees. Well, I jumped up in the air 10 times. I scrambled down to the ground 10 times. My feet went away from my hands 10 times and I jumped back towards my hands 10 times. Any one of those combinations may have borne a vague relationship to a burpee, but it was entirely coincidental.

The second lot of exercises were 10 pushups and 10 situps and the last lot involved 15 lunges on each leg. I am the woman who couldn't do a pushup to save her life and whose reaction to the thought of lunges was to immediately develop a serious injury in both knees. Now, 15 lunges is easily achievable and pushups / situps are a push over.

Leanne explained to me that breaking up the run like that makes it harder. Something to do with losing momentum. I thought the exercises were a good chance to get my breath back. Clearly I had it all wrong.

With all of these exercise breaks, we managed to get back to the gym in 28 mins. We do a short warm up walk, run for a bit out and back, sprint the last few metres and then walk back to the gym. When we got back, my immediate question was "how far did the foot pod say we went?" This obsession with stats is a clear sign that I've become a runner. Anyway, we'd covered 3.8 km, which I thought was amazing. I didn't think I'd run that fast, because the run had felt so easy. I was really pleased.

This afternoon's session at the gym wasn't at all planned. I was a bit all over the place with what I wanted to do. There was a 5 km run that started at 6 pm near the lake, but I didn't manage to get myself into town in time to do that. I thought about running at the gym, but when I got off the bus I discovered that my knees were a little tired, so I decided to do my weights program. I've realised that it's much easier when I've worked out what I'm going to do in advance.

I haven't done any alternative cardio lately, so I'm going to make an effort to use the other machines tomorrow morning. The bike and the crosstrainer should be kind to my knees. I've got squash after work, which involves a lot of dashing around and missing the ball, so I will do an easy treadmill session when I get to the gym after that. Squash is likely to be a little competitive tomorrow as there may have been some sledging going on at work.

On Thursday, I will do some interval running in the morning, and some general cardio work in the evening before I go to Body Jam. On Friday, I'll do my weights program in the evening, and I'll probably do a treadmill session in the morning.

I think that's enough planning for one day!

Monday, 12 March 2007

Rock climbing and an amazing victory

The black team went rock climbing today. I was really excited to try it. This type of activity has been something I couldn't have imagined having a go at in the past. I wasn't sure how I would go, but I made a deal with myself that I wouldn't beat myself up if I wasn't any good at it. All I wanted to do was have a go.

Well, I did it .. I climbed about four feet up the wall and then fell off. The harness caught me and I was perfectly safe. I had two more goes and fell off both times. I couldn't seem to get my centre of gravity in the right place. I was still really pleased that I had a go, and that I managed to climb part of the way up the wall. Belaying was fun too, and took a bit of effort. Going with the team was the best part. We have a really lovely group of women on our team and it was great to spend some time with them doing something that was a challenge for us all.

This morning I felt great when I woke up. I obviously managed to get enough rest over the weekend. I went to the gym and did a walk rather than a run, as my knees were a little stiff. I'm running with Leanne tomorrow, so I wanted to make sure I didn't have any excuses when I saw her. I'm looking forward to the run as I've improved a lot since I last ran with her.

Now, for my amazing victory. First of all, thanks for the positive comments on my battle with the demon food. It's great to receive encouragement, particularly when I'm struggling.

When I got home tonight, dinner wasn't a problem. I had left over paella, which was delicious. I was well within my calorie budget, but I felt like eating something else. I was looking at various options - thank goodness I sent so much stuff home with people. Eventually I dug the left over party pies out of the freezer, and put all six of them on a plate to go in the microwave. I planned to eat them and then thought I'd finish off the left over sausage rolls. Before I reheated the pies, I looked at the calorie and fat content. I thought about how I felt last night and decided that I really didn't want to eat them. I put them back in their box and put them in the freezer. There won't be anything wrong with eating them one or two at a time while they are within my calorie budget, but half a dozen when I'm not hungry didn't happen tonight and hopefully, won't happen again.

Instead, I finished my meal with some delicious icecream and I still have calories left for a snack later if I want one. I am feeling great.

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Still battling with the demon food

I got myself to the gym, and had a great weights session. I also did a fair bit of walking and carrying groceries today. All was going really well, until this afternoon.

I organised a Spanish meal with a group of people from work. I hosted it and it was a lot of fun getting the food prepared. I cooked a vegetarian paella, as some of my friends are vegetarian. Everyone brought a dish and we had a veritable feast.

I also bought some cheese, biscuits and olives. After the others left, I managed to eat the leftovers. I totally blew my calorie budget for the day and I am really disappointed in myself.

I am trying to think of the things that I did today that showed control over the demon food, and I did have a few small victories. I managed to send the bag of potato chips that didn't get opened home with someone. I threw out some of the cheese and olives. I put the rest of the really delicious cape seed loaf in the freezer.

I suppose I can take consolation in the fact that a really bad day now is nothing like a really bad day used to be, but I had thought I'd do a lot better. I am going to have to improve in this area. I like hosting festive occasions. I just have to be smarter in future.

I think, for a while at least, I'll have to keep cheese on the forbidden food list. I like it more than is good for me.

Still, this is just a setback and I am back on track already.

Saturday, 10 March 2007

RPM today

I managed to get myself to the RPM class today. I was quite looking forward to it, in a "this is going to hurt but I'll feel good at the end" kind of way. I found the class much easier today, even though my quads were burning for much of it. I'm breathing a lot better.

There were quite a few black team members scoring points for the team at the gym this morning, which is great. We're looking forward to rock climbing on Monday too.

I also did a treadmill warm up before RPM, the "Aerobic Training" session at 5.6 km/h on level 8.

After the gym, I headed off to meet up with some friends for a coffee. We walked around the new Canberra Centre as well, so I ended up getting some exercise. I'm going to have an afternoon nap now. I'm worn out!

Friday, 9 March 2007

Almost at the half way mark

Week 5 of the 12 week challenge is almost over. I've managed to get myself to the gym every day, and twice a day on work days. It was a real struggle to get out of bed this morning, but I managed it. Once I was up, it was easy enough to get to the gym, so it seems I've developed a habit. I'm hoping that I can keep it up, at least a few times a week, once the freezing Canberra mornings set in. I'll be doing the Global Corporate Challenge then, which should help me to maintain my motivation.

This morning, given my reluctant start to the day, I decided not to push myself by running. I did the "Fat Burner" program on the treadmill and then headed off to work. This evening, I did my weights program as planned. I felt really strong and managed to get everything done. After I finished, there was time for a quick treadmill session, so I spent 10 mins there. I tried a few intervals of 11 km/h and managed them, as they were half the length of the intervals I did the other day.

I've booked into the RPM class tomorrow, so now I'm committed. I'll get there early and do another cardio workout for the points. Other than that, I don't have any exercise plans. I'm looking forward to the weekend. I really feel like I need the rest.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Great Day

The day got off to a really good start. It was pretty normal to begin with. I did all the usual 'get myself to the gym' stuff, managed another 15 mins on the bike, followed by 10 mins of walking and then decided to miss the bus today, and did my stretches. After I'd showered, I bumped into one of my black team team mates. That's when the day moved from ordinary to excellent.

We were chatting about the fitness challenge and she mentioned she played hockey. Now hockey is one of my things. I started playing when I was 7 and played through into my 30s. Now that I'm fit again, I've been thinking about playing veteran's hockey. I just hadn't worked out whether I'd play in Canberra or in Melbourne.

Well, now I know there's a social veteran's comp on Saturday mornings, starting in a few weeks. My commuting won't be a problem. I can even borrow a hockey stick. I am feeling really excited about getting back into it. There's a vets carnival this weekend, so I'm going to try to get down there at some stage. I've booked so much into this weekend that it might not be possible.

Work went well, and I got to the gym after the usual rush. It's been so hectic there that I gave it an extra 15 mins to calm down! I had a 20 min interval run 6 / 10, then my slim session, where I got measured, and then body jam. I lost 0.5 kg according to the Fernwood scales, and 19 cm in four weeks, which is great. Measuring my waist is hilarious. My tummy keeps changing shape, which means my belly button moves around a lot. I feel sorry for the poor woman who tries to work out where my waist is. She really has to work hard.

Body Jam was a lot of fun. I am finding some of the steps a little easier to do but I'm still struggling with my right and my left.

I'm planning to do a little more running tomorrow morning, followed by weights in the evening. On Saturday, I'm hoping to get to RPM. I might see if I can manage to get myself out of bed to go for a run on Sunday morning. I'd quite like to see what it's like running bridge to bridge at Lake Burley Griffin, which I've been told is about 5 km.

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Played squash today

Squash is one of my favourite sports. I started playing when I was 12 and didn't stop until my mid-thirties. One of the things that I've loved about losing all this weight is that I've been able to play squash again. Last year I started playing with a couple of guys from work but various things cropped up, such as childcare arrangements not working out and blisters, and we haven't played much since October. I've really missed it, so it was great to discover that childcare has been sorted out, injured feet have healed, and we're booked in regularly on Wednesday.

Tonight was a blast, and I'm sure we'll all be a little sore and sorry tomorrow. There was no easing into it. Everyone was playing to win! Ok, well I was playing to win! And I managed to win three out of five games. I'm moving around the court much faster than I did last year. This running really helps.

After squash I was dropped near the gym so that I could go and collect my points. I'm still feeling the effects of those one-legged squats, so I modified my weights routine to leave out anything that hurt my quads. It was a pretty low key workout, concentrating on my arms. I have been doing roll downs for an abs exercise for a few weeks now. I hate them, but I'm glad to say they are steadily improving. I had a major milestone today. I went to use the assisted chin ups machine, and I didn't have to add weight! Whoever used it last was about my size! Usually I have to add another 20 kg or more to the counterweight. I'm starting to feel like I'm a normal sized person.

This morning's session went quite well. I decided, after yesterday morning's series of disasters, the bike wasn't going to defeat me. I managed to find one with a working drink bottle holder, straps for my feet, and a display screen that displayed stuff. (I may have been wrong when I thought that the display didn't work yesterday, but that is yet to be fully established.) I managed 15 mins on the bike, riding 5.4 km in that time. I was really pleased with how I went, as I struggle with exercise bikes. I guess the RPM has been making a major difference. If I keep this up, I may be able to transform my "loungeroom art" back into a working bicycle. I finished off the session with 10 mins of "Fat Blaster" at 5.6 km/h on level 6. I skipped the stretching so that I'd catch my bus, but I made up for it tonight.

I ran into my friend's fiance this evening and he did the classic doubletake "Kathy, you look great". It was wonderful to see his reaction. I haven't seen him since October / November last year, so he really noticed a change. I love seeing people I haven't seen for a while.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Sore today

Did I say I was having fun last night? Did I mention that I was doing one legged fitball squats? Did I happen to remark that my glutes and quads were burning at the end of the exercise? Yes, no and I don't think so.

It's time I reconsidered this whole "good pain" approach to health and fitness.

Seriously, I'm a little sore today, but I'm really pleased that I was able to
(a) do the fun weights session and
(b) survive the Body Pump class.
I am just feeling it a little today.

I was tired when I woke up this morning. I managed to get myself organised and to the gym on auto pilot, where I had one of those "everything seemed to go wrong" mornings. I decided to cycle instead of use the treadmill. The first bike I chose didn't have the footstraps. The second bike had a broken drink holder. The third bike's display screen didn't work. I gave up then and headed off to the treadmill.

I started a "Fat Burner", Level 8, 6 km/h session, and lasted a whole two and a half minutes before deciding that gradient was a step too far this morning. I dialled the machine back to plain walking. After leaving the gym I was early for the bus so I added on another 10 mins of walking around Civic. I felt quite virtuous in a "I've just been to the gym instead of sleeping in" kind of way as I walked around town.

This evening I had my usual rushed workout between work and trivia. I didn't try to get to the run as it would simply stress me and I'd only get 25 points for it, which I'd get at the gym without the additional stress. Mind you, the gym was chaos when I arrived .. lots of women, no lockers .. the run was starting to look really good.

When I did get to my exercise session, I decided to do an interval run, as I wasn't at the other run. I started off at 6 / 11 km/h for 20 mins. I managed two 11 km/h intervals before dialling it back to 10. It was really too fast for me for too long. I was proud of myself for keeping on going at 10, as I was really tempted to drop right back to a walk. I finished off the half hour by walking the last ten minutes at 6 km/h.

I managed to get showered and changed in time to get to Trivia before it started. That was an effort in itself. As usual, it was well worth the effort. We didn't repeat our winning form, coming fifth, but we had a good time. The quiz master was much quicker tonight too, which made it a more pleasant evening.

I did well with my food. I'm glad I thought about it last night as I think it was particularly important today. I seemed to be hungry for much of the day. My body probably wanted protein to repair all the muscles I shocked last night. I managed to make good food choices all day, and skipped the chocolate mud cake at trivia completely. It seems to be getting easier all the time to do the right thing as far as food is concerned.

Well, it's time for me to go to bed to do the rest part of the recovery session. I'm going to be resting with enthusiasm tonight.

Monday, 5 March 2007

Rock Climbing Postponed

We're going next week! We were told that there would be 50 kids there from 7:30 pm, and decided that we'd rather wait for a quieter time. I was glad, as it will be easier for me to manage getting there next week.

Instead of rock climbing, I did a Body Pump class. That's the class with barbells and squats. I have studiously avoided it in the past, even though my personal trainer takes this class right after my p/t session. I figured that I would make the effort tonight, as the rock climbing was off. I'm really glad that I did. It was much easier than I remembered (ok, Leanne talked me into a class a few months back) and I enjoyed being able to last the distance through the squats and lunges.

This morning I got myself to the gym for a gentle cardio session. I did 20 mins of "Aerobic Training" at 5.6 km/h on level 6 followed by 10 mins of walking at 6 km/h. This evening I had my usual p/t session. It was a weights session, doing a number of activities that aren't in my regular program. I always find these sessions fun, even though they are hard work.

There were stacks of people at the gym tonight. It seems that all the advertising Fernwood are doing during Biggest Loser is definitely paying off. It felt really crowded when I got there just before 6 pm. The numbers fell right off close to 7 pm though, which meant there was plenty of space for me in Body Pump.

Because the rock climbing was postponed, the group fitness session is going to be a 5 km run with the ACT Cross Country Club. I am not sure I can do it. If I'm on the bus tomorrow evening, I won't be in town in time for the 6pm start. If I get a lift, it might be possible, although the logistics of getting to the starting point will need to be worked out. Mind you, I joined the ACTCCC today. All I have to do now is get to one of their runs!

My planned fitness sessions are a cardio session in the morning followed by a different one in the evening, before I head off to Trivia. My main challenge for tomorrow will be to eat enough. I've been struggling with that the last two Tuesday nights. Still, I'm aware of the problem now so I should be able to overcome it.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Exciting News

I'm off to the gym shortly, but I wanted to record two major achievements.

The day got off to a great start .. I weighed myself this morning and I'd lost weight! I'm getting closer and closer to being able to say "I've lost more than 40 kgs". Isn't it exciting?

I've been stuck in limbo on 38 kgs for quite a while. I maintained my weight over Christmas / New Year, but it snuck up a little in January. Since the start of the fitness challenge I've managed to lose 3.6 kg. Even better, my total weight loss is now moving in the right direction.

I have all these rewards planned for when I get to different weightloss milestones, and I'm looking forward to reaching them. The next major one involves reaching 70 kg. When I get there, I'm off to a day spa at the Mansion Hotel in Werribee.

The rewards are a great incentive. My 80 kg reward was climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. A group of friends, from Canberra AND Melbourne, came to Sydney with me and we had a fabulous weekend, celebrating my achievement from the top of the bridge. I'm pretty sure I'll get a few takers for the day spa too.

My second highlight for the morning was that I made it out of bed for my run around the creek. I did even better than I expected, getting around in 24:30, then continuing on non-stop until I reached the 2/3 mark. That took me 41:44. We think that it's 3.2 km around the creek, so I definitely ran for 5 km non-stop outside this morning. I am really proud of myself.

There weren't many people out and about at 7:30 this morning. I was the only runner. Now I'm heading off to the gym to collect my 25 points. A bit later than planned, but I've given myself a pass to miss the Body Attack class. I ran more than I'd thought I would, so I figure I'd better not push it too hard.

Late update

Points collected. I did my weights session, apart from my abs exercises. Any excuse and I'll happily skip the abs section. I'm feeling really tired now. I'm not used to all this running. Oh, and my step count for the day is close to 20,000 due to some more shopping. I managed to buy some great tops to go with the work clothes I bought yesterday.

I'm really seeing a difference in my body shape at the moment. I seem to have firmed up in my middle section. Mind you, it's going to take a lot more firming. I had great fun trying on clothes. Everything fitted. Actually, I took the wrong size to start with and had to go back to get a smaller size. If it's never happened to you then you have NO idea how good that feels.

The trip back to Canberra was fine. Ever since the Global Corporate Challenge last year, I get myself dropped at the aiport at least half an hour before boarding, and I walk around the airport. It's interesting seeing all the people around the place, there's always something going on, and it was an easy way to get my step count up. It's now become a habit.

It sure is good to be home though. I'm heading straight off to bed after I finish this update. Oh, and after I check out the links on Celeste's blog. Oh, and ...

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Shopping in Smith Street

It's 30 years since I moved to Melbourne, and today I've been shopping in Smith Street Collingwood for the very first time. It was an incredibly successful shopping trip. I've managed to purchase much of my winter work wardrobe. One of the challenges I've been facing with my journey to becoming fitter and healthier is having to buy new clothes because I've been giving away my 'fat' clothes. Needless to say, it's a challenge that I've taken on with enthusiasm.

Mind you, it was a little more of a challenge than I expected. All went well at first. I arrived in Melbourne, went home for second breakfast (my stomach thinks I'm really a hobbit), and headed off to the gym as planned. I'm just starting a cold, so I decided to take it a little easy today. I did a 15 minute interval run, at 6 / 11 km/hr, and then walked for the next 15 minutes. I was happy with how the session went and all was well with the world. After my shower, I jumped in the car, ready to go shopping, and then disaster struck. I realised that I had no idea how to get to Smith Street. It didn't matter that I was starting from Yarraville instead of Deer Park. I didn't actually know where Smith Street was. I had a vague idea that it was somewhere over near Hoddle Street, but I didn't think driving around the general area of Hoddle Street would be a terribly effective way to find it.

Part of my grand plan last night was to check the Melways this morning before I headed to the gym. That was the part that I completely forgot today. I scanned the car for a Melways but, true to form, all the various editions were safely home in Deer Park rather than being in the car. I rang Erika with a plea for directions, and a possible shopping catastrophe was averted.

Mind you, if instead of suggesting we shop at the factory outlets in Smith Street I'd been told, go to St Vincents, head towards Maccas, swing left, and drive down the street a bit, I would have been fine. Isn't it amazing how you can negotiate a major city for years without actually knowing any of the street names?

It's not cold in Canberra yet, but it will be freezing shortly, so I concentrated on buying warm clothes. As we went past them, we dropped in to every sports clothing factory outlet we came across - Adidas, Brooks, Champion, Nike, etc. I successfully resisted the urge to buy any more sports gear until I had my work clothes sorted. The budget will only stretch so far. I need work gear for four days a week, as Fridays are casual days, so that's all I'm buying. I'm back on track, working towards my weight loss goal, so I'm hoping to return to Smith Street in a couple of months to buy the next size down. I'll hit the sports outlets then.

Mind you, and even I have trouble believing this, I'm getting tired of buying new clothes. I've had to buy everything, from underwear to outerwear, from casual wear to work wear, from sports clothes to dressy clothes, in several sizes now, and it's getting old. Not to mention expensive! Even my shoes have had to be replaced because my feet are thinner!

Please note: This is not a complaint. I'm absolutely thrilled to be doing this.

I'm planning to get to the gym tomorrow morning for a Body Attack class (yes, I've finally admitted to myself that I'm fit enough to try this one) and a weights session. If I can talk myself into it first thing, I'm going to run around the creek. It will be a good measure of how much I've progressed with my running over the past few weeks.

Friday, 2 March 2007

At least I'm fit enough to run for the bus

Our afternoon bus driver keeps arriving early! I had to jog down the driveway to catch the bus the other day. Not the most comfortable activity when not wearing a sports bra. Yesterday he was 5 mins early, so a quick walk was needed from the gate to the bus stop. Today, I was taking no chances. Not only was I there in plenty of time, I was wearing a sports bra too. The bus was 5 mins early again. Personally, I'd rather it was late than early, as there's a half hour wait for the next bus.

This morning's gym session was the gentle cardio I'd promised myself, 20 mins of Aerobic Training on the treadmill, followed by a 5 min walk and 5 mins of stretching.

This evening, I did my weights session as planned. I got through the whole thing in 40 mins, which is good. There were a lot of people in the gym, as the pink team were doing their group fitness session, but there was plenty of space for me to do my program. I was a little concerned at first, as they took up the weights area last week, but they were doing different activities this time. It looked like a lot of fun - hard work though.

Tomorrow, I fly down to Melbourne in the morning, then head to the gym before going shopping with Erika. I think I'll do a run tomorrow morning, and weights on Sunday morning at the gym. On Sunday, if there's time, I might do a class. I won't have time for that tomorrow. If I get motivated enough, I'll go for a run around the creek. I won't have the same excuse I had last time I was home in Deer Park, because I've packed enough gym gear for two visits and the run.

The other thing I want to do this weekend is put in my entry form for the fun run on 1st April. Once that's in, I'm officially committed.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Gym still closed this morning

I went to the gym this morning to do my weight session and it was still closed. As I was already up and about, I headed off for a walk around Civic. The only problem with walking at this time of year is the proliferation of leaf blowers around the place. The noise echoes off the city buildings, and ruins a perfectly good walk.

Out on the edges of the city centre, there was still a lot of leaf litter and mud on the paths. It was quite slippery. As I walked around I was trying to decide whether or not I'd take a chance on the group being at the gym at 8 am. I came to the conclusion that the gym would have phoned Krissi and the two girls booked in for personal training, so I decided to go to work on time instead. You guessed it - I backed the wrong horse. They all showed up for the run. It seems I gave the gym manager too much credit.

Anyway, I was disappointed, as I'd worked out this whole strategy for making up the points I missed on Wednesday night. Instead of getting back on track I ended up missing points for the group session and my morning workout too. As I have a goal of finishing in the top five of the women taking part in the fitness challenge at my gym, I'll have to make those sessions up.

Krissi sent an email update out, and I discovered the girls had run 7 km in 50 minutes. When I heard that I was half disappointed and half relieved that I hadn't gone along, as I don't think I'm up for that yet. I've only just gotten to the 5 km in 40 mins mark!

This evening, I had planned to do a cardio session as well as going to Body Jam. My Slim session was earlier than I thought it would be, so I had 45 mins between it and the Body Jam class. I decided to see whether or not I might have been able to do the 7 km in 50 mins. I headed off at 8 km/h and managed to run 5 km in 37.5 mins. If I'd been able to keep going at that rate I would have hit 7 km in 52.5 mins, but I found myself having to stop at the 5 km mark. Any more running was just too much. I walked another 0.5 km cooling down. I got to 5.5 km at the 44 min mark. I was pleased with myself, although I would have liked to have been able to push myself to run a little further. Still, I've achieved my goal of running 5 km without stopping. Next step is to run 6 km.

The Body Jam class was a new release. Seeing it was only my second visit, that didn't mean a lot to me, but the instructor was really pleased. I enjoyed the session. It was a mix of latin, jive and hip hop. I burned 400 calories in the hour and I'm feelig the effects already. All in all, I've had a great exercise day today.

I've been eating well and exercising hard, and I'm not seeing any real progress on the scales. I lost 0.3 kg this week, according to the gym scales. Still, the weight is going in the right direction, so I won't complain. I am going to look more closely at the portion sizes for the things I'm not making myself. Maybe I'm eating more than I think.

Tomorrow, I'll do another cardio session and a weight session in the evening. I'll be in bed early tonight though .. I'm feeling really tired tonight.