Thursday, 30 August 2007

Body Attack

I'm really enjoying Body Attack. I love being able to do it. I still take the low impact option for some of the exercises, and I wimp out on some of the abs work, but I'm definitely improving. For the first time I did some bouncing on the knee lifts and I'm starting to get the hang of the sideway single knees. If they called it "hop sideways" I would have gotten it sooner.

I'm pretty coordinated, but today I felt particularly klutzy when we were supposed to raise both arms while doing knee repeaters. I'm going to have to practise that one at home! I just couldn't get the arms and legs working together.

My knees were a little tired, so I kept a few of the moves low deliberately, as opposed to not being able to keep up with the high impact option. I'm really keen to do Body Attack, but I don't want it to get in the way of my running!

Tomorrow I have my PT session with Krissi, and there's a Body Balance class in the evening. I've been really happy with my exercise program lately - lots of variety, which is keeping me interested. I've got the Group Outdoor Fitness Challenge coming up, and Dragon Boat racing, and Spring into Shape. It's all looking good. :-)

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Morning run and Style consultation

This morning I went out for a run. I was up late last night, tidying up for the style consultation today, so I took a while to wake up this morning. Fortunately, I was able to have a bit of a lie in while I waited for the sun to rise.

It's amazing how much easier it is to get dressed when your clothes are neatly put away. My drawers were one of the things that I tidied up last night. I found all sorts of things that I'd been making half-hearted attempts to find, such as black socks.

I decided to run along the bike path towards Dickson. I hadn't felt all that well when I woke up so I told myself I'd just run according to how I was feeling. I figured that the important thing was to get out there and that it didn't matter how fast I ran. My aim was to be out there for about half an hour, to run as much of that time as I could, and to be kind to myself if I stopped or decided to cut the run short. After five minutes I took a walking break. I was in the middle of berating myself for not doing better when I remembered my vow to be kind. I stopped the negative self-talk and started running again when I felt ready. I ended up really enjoying the run. As I'd hoped, I was out there for just over half an hour. I ran for about 25 minutes of that. I managed to spend 7 minutes stretching when I got back home.

My knee was fine while I was running, but I did feel a slight twinge when I started to run up a short steep hill. I'm wondering if it's the hills on the way to work that are tiring it out rather than the fact that I jarred it slightly. I'll have to pay attention. I actually chose to run up the steeper side of the street! Even I'm having trouble believing that I'm making choices like that.

I used to announce every once in a while, when I did something a little too healthy or sensible, "Now I'm officially crazy". When I first started running I often made that remark to my family when telling them about my runs. I've noticed that I don't say it any more. I think it's because I've done so many things that I once would have thought were crazy, like voluntarily choose the steep side of the street, that there's no point commenting on my sanity. I passed "officially crazy" months ago.

I have some news on the bra front, seeing so many people are waiting to hear what I think of the Enell. With running and Body Attack classes I'm struggling to have my most supportive bras washed and dried before I need them again. I can't see myself being able to justify the expense of another Enell or two just yet. Wearing two of my regular sports bras works really well, but the extra laundering is going to wear them out much faster. I decided to see if I could find a cheap crop top bra to wear over my sports bra. I found one for $20 in Target yesterday and I tested the combination out on my run this morning. That little bit of extra support made the run much more comfortable. If the Enell is as good as everyone says I'm sure I'll buy some more over time, but this is an affordable solution in the mean time.

Style Consultation

It was terrific fun, every bit as good as I'd hoped. My wardrobe now looks incredibly neat. I’ve really only been using half the hanging space, and now I’m using all of it. My coats are in one section, my business jackets, skirts and trousers are in another, all my sports gear is together and my tops are sorted by type – sleeveless to long sleeved.

The style consultant (SC) was fabulous. As well as helping me to get rid of a few disaster items, she also put everything on the hangers the right way and then sorted my clothes into groups. I can see that I’ll save heaps of time putting outfits together – provided that I can keep the wardrobe organised.

One of my sisters has helped me to learn how to shop for the new me - the transition from plus sizes to normal sizes wasn't easy - and I was relieved that SC was endorsing so much of my sister's advice. SC explained why some things worked better than others and showed me some combinations I had in my wardrobe that I hadn't seen. Isn't it funny how when you buy a top to wear with a particular pair of pants you think that you can only wear it with those pants? I was concerned that she'd not approve of my favourite top but she absolutely loved it, and found even more ways I could wear it.

At the beginning of the session, before looking at any of my clothes, SC took me through a series of questions, looked at my veins to work out what colours would suit me best, measured my face, checked out my bones, and talked to me about my fashion needs. She made a list of things for me to think about buying and she's taken it home to prioritise and send back to me.

I'm doing the shopping session with her next Thursday morning. I have to work out how much I'm willing to spend, but I think I'll be buying shoes, jeans with wider legs, skirts and trousers, makeup and accessories. I have plenty of tops but I've pretty much been getting by at work with two pairs of trousers and a pair of jeans on casual Friday. I haven't bought new shoes for 18 months, so I really do need them too.

Some of the advice she gave me had me thinking "Doh!" I have a close-fitting ruby red that I love, but I have to be feeling really confident to wear it because I look "busty" in it. SC suggested adding long black beads to draw the eye away from my chest. I never think of simple inexpensive things like that and now I know I'll get much more wear out of it.

I had my makeup done again. I was going to go to the gym after the session, but I decided that I'd give the gym a miss so that I would still have the makeup on when I got to Trivia. It's great fun having it done. I don't think Trivia really did it justice.

Tomorrow I have to transfer some of my clothes and shoes back to work. I made sure I had them all home for today's session, but I need them at the other end if I'm going to keep up my running commute. I won't be running to work again this week, but at least this way I'll have everything ready for next Monday.

I've long had a goal to run three times in a week, and I've never managed to achieve it. I have two runs done so far this week, so I only need one more. I've booked a run with my nephew on the weekend, so this goal is definitely on its way to being crossed off the to do list. Now all I have to do is make it a habit.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Rest day

I didn't exercise this morning as my knee was a little sore last night. I headed off to the gym for yoga tonight, but the class wasn't on. I decided to head home and work on my resting. If only it was an Olympic Sport!

Seeing that I don't have any exercise as such to talk about tonight, I'm taking this opportunity to provide an update on a few things.

First of all, I've ordered myself an Enell bra from Storm in a D Cup. I'm really looking forward to testing it out. I'm expecting great things after all I've heard. The order has been posted so hopefully my new bra will be waiting for me when I'm in Melbourne on the weekend.

Secondly, I've ordered a couple of yoga dvd's from Home Fitness Delivered. I checked them out on ebay. The prices were fairly similar but the postage was heaps better from Home Fitness. The first of the dvd's was posted today so I've got my fingers crossed that it will be there too when I get home. It would have been handy to have it here this evening.

Thirdly, I booked myself a style consultation. The first session is tomorrow afternoon. The consultant will go through my wardrobe with me and give me some feedback. I'm hoping that some of my clothes end up in the "Good choice Kathy, keep on wearing these" pile instead of everything being in the "Fashion victim tragic mistake" pile. I'm really hoping that my favourite items make the cut. Fingers crossed!

On the running front, I'm finding it amazingly hard to get myself organised. I was all set to run to work tomorrow when I realised that I had another commitment. Ditto Friday. Now, my plan this week was to run to work on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I can accept that I ended up with one scheduling conflict, but two? I was feeling a bit grumpy about tomorrow's run when I realised that I could fit it in before my appointment tomorrow. I just won't run to work. Problem solved. Mind you, looking at my calendar when I'm making plans might make life a bit easier too.

As for Friday, I can cheerfully skip that one as I've booked a run with one of my nephews in Melbourne over the weekend. That's a direct consequence of some thinking I did during yesterday's run. Yes, it's a dangerous sport! I was running along thinking "it's so much easier when you know where you're going" and then I was thinking "it would be handy to run the Spring Into Shape course before the first race". Luckily I was only half way to work, which left me more time to think. Consequently I realised that this weekend is my only chance to do that. I'm staying with one of my sisters for a change, so I buzzed her to check that she'd (a) drive me into town, (b) lend me a nephew to run with, and (c) wait patiently while we ran 4 km then (d) drive us home. Fortunately she agreed to do all of the above.

On the home front, my parents' heart maintenance is progressing. Dad is finished all of his. He ended up having an angioplasty and two stents inserted. He recovered quickly and he looks so much better with colour in his face. Mum has to have a heart valve replaced. She's on a waiting list, and goes into hospital in early September for some sort of pre-op thing. She's vague about the details as she is feeling quite apprehensive and doesn't really want to know. Based on Dad's experience, we think her operation will happen fairly quickly after that. I don't think the surgeon likes to commit in case Mum gets bumped down the list by someone who is in more need of his skill than she is.

We're all being very positive for Mum. She's aware that she'll be in pain for quite a while after the operation, and that she will have to work at her rehabilitation exercises. From all accounts, people feel so well after the operation that the pain is worth it. I guess time will tell. We all heal fast and have high pain thresholds so we feel quietly confident that she will do really well. Obviously we come from good peasant stock.

This has ended up being quite a long post for a day that didn't involve exercise. :-)

Monday, 27 August 2007

Another run to work

This morning I ran to work again. It was a lovely morning. I decided to take Spark Driver's advice and run on the other side of the road facing the traffic. Instead of staying on the road though, I followed the walking path, as I figured it would be even safer. It certainly put a lot more distance between me and the cars, which felt good.

I'm sure the hill on the other side of the road is WAY bigger. It seemed enormous when I was running up it today. As well as seeming to be higher, the walking path goes down at each of the overpasses and then back up, so I kept losing and gaining elevation. To add insult to injury, when I was running down the far side of the hill, I realised that my turn off happened long before the bottom of the hill, which meant that I did a lot more running up than running down. Maybe I should rethink my whole approach and run home from work instead. At least there'd be more downhill.

I was bright pink when I got to work and I felt pink all day. I checked a couple of times and the pink was slowly but surely fading thank goodness. I'm going to have to make sure I don't schedule any meetings where I want to impress people for the first hour or two after I arrive at work! I'm not sure looking as though you're too silly to come out of the sun is the way to impress people.

Last night I realised that I'll have to be a little more organised in future. I had my work clothes sorted, but I'd forgotten about my gym clothes. It meant that I wouldn't be able to get to Body Attack, which was probably a good thing for my legs in retrospect. They are quite tired tonight. Instead I went shopping for a small purse to hold my apartment pass and key. I've been taking my key off the key ring while I run, and I've been fretting about losing it. Did you know that you can have champagne tastes when it comes to holders? Still, I'll be much less worried now, so it's all good.

Warrior Woman pointed out that running home took less organisation. I don't know why I hadn't thought of that. Maybe it's because I see myself as a morning runner. I'll see if I can manage the morning runs, and if it's too much work, I'll think about running home.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Personal Training and Body Balance

This morning I had my first personal training session with Krissi. It was at 7:30, which seemed so late! For the past two years I've been catching my bus at 7:22, so it felt really strange to be heading off to the gym instead of to work.

This morning we went through my program. Krissi made a few changes. I'll have to get down to the gym over the weekend and work through it while I still remember it all. The leg press is getting changed back to leg extensions and Krissi is reordering things so that I exercise to failure. My one armed one legged row is turning into a more difficult exercise on a balance disk. I wasn't able to do the row part so I'm going to be timing myself on the disk while I make feeble attempts to row. Before I do my fitball situps, I'm doing a chest press with my legs in the air to keep my back on the bench and a toss and catch at the top, which I know from one experience adds quite a burn.

The fitball lifts have turned into something harder too. I don't know what to call them, but it's another fitball exercise that involves rolling the ball in towards me, lifting my hips and squeezing my butt. When Krissi does it, there's this lovely straight line from her shoulders to her knees. I had my tummy in the way, but I know the straight line was under there somewhere.

No more bent bar, which I don't mind. It was fun for novelty value, but I'm quite happy to use free weights. We didn't get to the abs exercises yet but at the rate I'm going, my abs will be worn out with all these classes.

Tonight was the new Body Balance and we ended up with three instructors in the class, which meant one could do the beginner's move, one the intermediate and one the advanced. It was a really nice routine. I got myself all tangled up on some of it, but I know I'll improve with time.

Tomorrow I might go running with some of the running crew. I'll see how I feel.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Personal Training and Body Attack

Today I had my last personal training session with Leanne. I will miss her a lot. Her enthusiasm and encouragement really helped me to progress with my health and fitness goals. Leanne is the one who got me running outside. It took her a while to convince me, but she did it. I'll always be grateful for that. Leanne also helped me to realise that I was giving up too easily when an exercise got hard. Now I try to do a little more than I think I can before stopping.

Today's training session was a little relaxed, as it was the last one. I warmed up for five minutes while I checked out the photos of Leanne's brand new niece. Leanne checked out my one-legged one-armed row, which has been coming along really well. We then did squats with a step - squatting on one side and then jumping across and squatting on the other. In between sets I did a very tragic version of burpees. I am able to manage the jump up and the pushup. It's the transition that I struggle with.

After that it was twisting crunches on the fitball, then the plank. I found it really difficult after the speed I'd been going at for the other activities. I felt really shaky when I started so I took a few deep breaths and thought, oh well, I'll be lucky to make 30 seconds. I stopped when my lower back started to hurt. To my amazement, I'd lasted 60 seconds. I was really pleased about that. I'm glad Leanne explains the exercises and how to know when to stop. Apparently, when my lower back starts to hurt my abs have pretty much given up, so there's not much point continuing on. On the basis of my new "don't give up straight away" approach to exercise, I try sucking in my abs a bit tighter to see if my back will stop hurting. If it doesn't, I stop.

Leanne then had me doing an abs exercise where you start in a crunch position with your legs bent and then touch your feet on one side then the other so you engage your obliques as well as your middle. That one had me giggling, but I could feel it doing me good.

Tonight I headed off to Body Attack again. I remembered to wear the right bra, so I was able to do more of the high impact stuff. It felt good. I really like being fit enough to work at that pace. I also like that my knees are holding up to it so well. My left knee has been a little sore this week, as I sort of twisted it slightly on a tussock of grass when I was running to work. I could feel it tonight, but only as a slight sensation that had me making sure my knee was in the right position when we did the lunges.

My favourite part of Body Attack is the running track, followed by the agility track. By the time we get to that one, we're half way through the class. It's fun stretching out for a run and I feel like it's a bit of a break. I'm not sure that it's meant to be one, but it certainly seems like one.

Tomorrow morning, I have my first personal training session with Krissi. I am so pleased that she's agreed to take me on. I half expected that she wouldn't be able to fit me in when I can get to the gym, as she's such a popular and busy trainer. I was going to ask her to add me to a waiting list for the first available session. Anyway, she's put herself out a little to take me on, which is extremely kind of her.

I had been going to run to work tomorrow, but I'm more than happy to be changing my plans. I'll have plenty of opportunities for my running commute and there was only one session that worked for both Krissi and me. Tomorrow night I'm planning to do Body Balance. On the weekend I want to get out on my bike. I haven't been out riding for weeks now.

Krissi and Brad are running another Outdoor Group Fitness Challenge in September - 8 sessions over 4 weeks. I'm signed up for it already. I enjoyed the last one so much.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Running commute and yoga

I finally did it - I ran to work this morning. I've been wanting to do this ever since I started at my new workplace so I was really pleased to be able to cross this off my 'to do' list.

I'm not sure exactly how far it is - a bit less than 5 k's I think. It took me 35 minutes, I wasn't trying to run fast and I took a few walking breaks. My next few goals will be to get halfway without stopping, then to the top of the big hill, then to the office.

There was one stretch I was a little concerned about. It's on a major road, where the road goes across a series of three overpasses. I had to move onto the bike path with the traffic behind me. Fortunately traffic was pretty light and the bike path was wide enough for me to feel safe, so it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. If it had been I would have had to either run on the other side of the road or take the walking path option.

Now I have to get some more clothes to work for my next run. I did pretty well with remembering things. I wish I'd thought to have my usual breakfast at work - at least I know that for next time. I also could have done with a clean pair of socks. I found it amusing was that I was pink for half the day. Mind you, I felt fantastic - I was in a great mood all day. I love those extended runner's highs. On the way past the big hill on the bus, I found myself breaking out into the hugest smile. I've been checking out the route for so long now that I felt an enormous sense of accomplishment to have finally done it.

I rang my brother to tell him what I'd done. He's the one who inspired me to become more active, and I knew he'd understand exactly how I felt, even though he's not a runner. He was as encouraging as he always is. It's great to know that I've got his support.

I don't think I would have felt nearly as good if I'd gone running with the girls, much as I enjoy running with them. I would have worked harder - I'm sure they would have run for longer than 35 minutes - but it wouldn't have been the goal I've been dreaming of for so long now. I'll save the bike ride / run combination for another time.

I want to go out and do it all again tomorrow, but I'm trying to remember that I haven't been doing much running lately and I should build up my time again slowly. I'm going to try to work out a run / ride combination that lets me get my gym work done too. I'm going to choose a 10k training program and base it on that.

Tonight I had yoga. I realised half way through the day that I'd forgotten to stretch after my run. Instead of doing some stretches then, I thought I'd be able to rely on yoga to catch up. Silly me. I wasn't able to do one of the earlier stretches because my quads were too tight, and then I started to cramp up during some of the other moves. Another lesson learnt.

Still, by the end of the yoga session I was feeling relaxed and mellow. We did classic yoga tonight - lots of sitting. One of the poses was a great shin stretch - sitting back on our heels with our toes stretched out rather than flexed. Leaning back from there to put our hands on the floor behind us was the move I couldn't do because of my quads. I'm sure it would have been a good quad stretch under normal circumstances.

We were doing a plank type exercise in yoga tonight, which had me remembering JayKay and her 60 second plank. (Well done JayKay!) Anyway, we were getting into plank position and then out of it a few times, checking that we had the position right. Then we got back into plank, lifted one leg and then held it. Not for 60 seconds, but long enough for me to count to 10. We then did the other leg. Some of the class were lifting the opposite arm as well. I didn't even try. While we were doing that series, it felt like I was up really high when I was in plank position. It wasn't until I was walking home that I worked it out. My normal plank position is on my elbows but I was up on my hands, so of course I was higher. When I got over the 'Doh!' factor, I was pretty impressed.

I've realised that my back is really tight. A legacy of all the sitting at a computer I guess. I'll have to find some exercises to work on that. I am going to buy myself a yoga dvd to do between classes. I've got a pilates book but I think the dvd will be a better option for me. I find stopping to read the next exercise really breaks up the rhythm. I guess if I persisted I'd learn the routine, but I haven't got that sort of patience.

Anyway, I've got to go and pack all the stuff I want to leave at work for my next run. Chuckle. I've also realised I'm going to need more running clothes, bike panniers (still haven't gotten around to buying them) and I'm sure I can dream up a few more 'must have' accessories.

Some quick replies to comments:

Celeste, yes, I had to laugh at myself for forgetting my precious building pass too.
Em, that would be lovely.
Kathryn, I'm sure you'd enjoy Body Attack. Wear cross trainers though! I finally thought of it last night and it made a big difference.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Body Attack

Tonight was the launch of the new Body Attack. I've only been doing Body Attack for a short while, so I was expecting something different. The only thing that was different was the music. All the moves were pretty much the same in pretty much the same order. I felt a little disappointed, but it was still a good workout.

I took the low impact option more than usual as I forgot about the bounce factor when I was packing my gear this morning. It was one of those forgetful days today. This morning I left my brand new building access pass at home. I also managed to leave my heart rate monitor at work.

I've managed to get myself organised enough to have toiletries and a set of work clothes at the office. Now all I have to do is run to work. Mind you, tomorrow morning some of the people from the running course are going for a run behind the War Memorial, so I might do that with them and then ride on to work from there. I'll decide in the morning.

Other than that, nothing much to report on the exercise front. I had a pretty relaxing weekend. I did manage to sign up for Spring into Shape. I'm going to do the 8 km series. Now all I have to do is get out there regularly and train.

Friday, 17 August 2007

I sacrificed exercise for beauty

Tonight I headed to the gym for Body Balance. I was in a bit of a rush so I raced into the gym, got changed and went to buy some water on my way into class. As I breezed through the lady behind the desk asked me if I was going to attend the personal style session that the gym had organised. I explained that I'd been really tempted to do this but had decided that I needed the stretching from Body Balance. That's when I was offered the carrot - if I came to the style session, they'd use me for the makeup demonstration.

Well, talk about a pushover! I struggled feebly on the hook for all of five seconds before caving. I made it look good though, as I checked to see if there was a Body Balance class on over the weekend. I've done a deal with myself to get to it on Sunday.

The personal style consultant was excellent and I am pretty sure that I'll book myself a package. It will involve three sessions - a wardrobe consultation and organisation, personal shopping and hair & makeup advice / wardrobe consolidation. It looks like I'll have to do it during normal business hours so I'll have to check at work to find out if they think they can manage without me for a few hours! I'm sure they'll be fine.

As it happens, it's probably just as well that I didn't do much exercise today, as I'm a little sore from yesterday. I keep reminding myself that rest days are an important part of the program but I don't tend to plan them in. They seem to occur without effort. (This is where a blushing smiley would look appropriate but I'm too lazy to work out how to do one. You'd never know I was a programmer.)

Andrew, the chocolate frog started out as a joke. A little over twelve months ago, one of my project teams needed something done that was outside of their control. Various attempts to make it happen had run into the "you're the contractors, we're the client, we'll do what we like" attitude that seems to regularly get in the way of partnering arrangements. I told them I'd make it happen and was jokingly offered a chocolate frog as a reward. I saw it as just part of my job (that's what managers do after all) but the people around me thought I was working a miracle. I laughed at them one day when they were discussing whether or not I'd earn the frog and told them to "make sure you frame it before you give it to me". I didn't think anything more about it but when their project was successfully delivered I was awarded a framed chocolate frog. It took pride of place on my desk until I changed jobs and was a useful reminder to the team and myself that we could get the seemingly impossible done when we needed it to happen. Now it's on display in my loungeroom.

While I'm posting on a non-exercise day (I'm not counting the little bit of walking I did today as exercise) I thought I'd give you all an update on how my new approach to my health goals was going. My eating was completely out of control - I'd be so good on weekdays during the day but would then blow all my effort in the evenings or on weekends. To tell the truth, I didn't think my new approach would do much more than stop me feeling so miserable about it, but the difference has been amazing.

For example, even though I was "trying hard" I'd buy myself snack food at the supermarket that I kidded myself that I wasn't going to eat all at once. Since setting the new goals I find myself uninterested in buying snack foods. After all, corn chips don't meet the "quality food" goal as a general rule - too many calories, too much salt. I'm not feeling as compulsive about snacking. Earlier this evening I found myself thinking about eating, decided I'd eat strawberries rather than biscuits, then looked at the time and chose not to eat them so close to bed time.

I was pleased for a few reasons - first of all, I had bought fruit (that's the food group I struggle to eat), secondly, I recognised that I was looking for something to eat out of habit rather than hunger, thirdly, I hadn't felt like snacking all evening, and fourthly, I managed to meet my goal of not eating within two hours of bedtime.

This evening I decided to go for a bit of a browse through blogland. I love following the links from your various pages. Tonight, I revisited some of Kathryn's links and I came across a new website, 43 Things. It looks like it might be fun. With all my talking about goal setting lately, it was a good link for me to discover.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

I've been tagged

Thanks Kathryn.

Jobs I’ve Held: checkout chick, maths teacher, IT consultant

Movies I Can Watch Over & Over: Chariots of Fire, Star Wars, Phantom of the Opera, Legally Blonde, Sound of Music

My Guilty Pleasures: Spending the day reading or watching DVD's and eating junk food

Places I have lived (in order): Brisbane, Southport, Bundaberg, Maryborough, Melbourne, Warracknabeal, Mildura, Sunnycliffs, Melbourne, Darwin, Melbourne, Canberra

Shows I enjoy: Crime shows, Buffy, Firefly, Roswell, Doctor Who, Torchwood

Places I Have Been on Holiday: Hervey Bay, Ireland, Ocean Grove, England, France, Bali, Scotland, Gold Coast

Favorite Foods: Cheese, Nachos, Chilli

Websites I Visit Daily: The Age, your Blogs, the weather, Calorie King, Runner's World

Body Parts I Have Injured: Do paper cuts count? a couple of broken bones when I was young

Awards I’ve Won: a few academic awards, a few speaking awards, a few service awards, a few hockey and squash premierships, a framed chocolate frog (my favourite)

Nicknames You’ve Been Called: None really - there are so many variations of Katherine

I’ll tag Angela, Isabelle, JayKay and JoJo. Hope you all enjoy filling this in.

Personal training and Body Attack

This morning I had my personal training as usual. After warming up, Leanne handed me a 2 kg medicine ball and had me do lunges around the gym, raising the ball over my head while I lunged and lifting my knee up in between steps. Usually we just walk across the gym a couple of times but today she had me travelling down to the group fitness room. Not only did we go further than usual, I was able to chat to Leanne while doing them, which is pretty cool. Mind you, my arms were tired when we stopped.

While I was chatting away I was thinking back to how I used to feel about lunges. I always found them a real challenge, especially as I used to experience pain in my left knee when doing them. It's taken a lot of work to get to the stage I'm at now, and I really enjoy being able to do them now. All that hard work to strengthen my left knee has paid off.

We were working my legs today, so Leanne had me go straight to squats, while throwing the medicine ball. We did 40 of those, and then did 'rested' by doing some pushups with the medicine ball. I didn't think I'd be able to do them at all, even on my knees. Leanne got me to try on my toes first, and I was able to get into position ok and try a couple, but that was as far as it went. I didn't trust my balance enough to bend my elbows. On my knees, I was able to bend my elbows, so I did two sets of 12 pushups. Leanne encouraged me to use my chest and my back, which had me thinking. I finally understood that I could use my back on the way up and I found it a lot easier. I think my pushups are going to improve out of sight.

We then went back to legs and I did 2 minutes of knee repeaters on the step. I was really getting into it and Leanne commented on the fact that I was doing them much faster than in the past. My cardio fitness is really good at the moment and I'm definitely enjoying the benefits.

After that I did a set of a combination of two jumps on the spot and then squats. I did some addition later, and realised I did 60 squats this morning. My legs are definitely tired now. After that we finished with a couple of fitball exercises, one which was kind of like a rolling plank and one which was a butt exercise. It felt like a great workout. I am really going to miss these sessions with Leanne. It's the last one next week. There's a chance I'll have to travel down to Melbourne next week. I explained to the boss that I'd really really like to be in Canberra next Thursday morning. Hopefully he can make that happen for me.

This evening I made it to Body Attack. I hadn't had this instructor before and she seemed really high energy while chatting before the class. As usual, when confronted with somebody new, I was feeling a little anxious about keeping up. I shouldn't have worried. The instructor kept showing us the low impact options and I was able to keep up with the high impact option about two thirds of the time. It was a great calorie burn. I'm definitely going to keep this class in my repertoire.

There were lots of star jumps. I'm really pleased to be able to do them. I was checking out the class in the mirror to see how far behind everyone else I was with these. To my delight, I was quite a bit ahead of some of the others. It's a great feeling. Mind you, I'm not getting too carried away with myself. Those mirrors are quite unforgiving. I was definitely the 'biggest' girl in the room, and I was horrified to see my tummy bouncing up and down with a life of its own. Anyway, I figure I have to get over feeling horrified as it's going to bounce. I did the two bra thing again, and felt quite comfortable, even though there was a lot of bouncing going on there too.

There's a lot of change happening at the gym. Apart from Leanne leaving next week, there are other people who have disappeared from view. Two of the slim coaches are leaving this week. They are both lovely ladies, and I'll miss seeing them around. At least I knew they were leaving, so I've had a chance to say goodbye. I do wish the gym would let us know what was going on. My favourite receptionist has gone, and I didn't even know she'd left. I saw her at the shops recently and didn't stop to talk as I thought I'd see her at the gym. I hope I bump into her again, as it would be good to be able to wish her well in her next endeavour.

I finally got building access at work, so I'll be able to start my various 'exercise' commutes - running, walking or riding. I haven't done any of these yet, because it would have been too much of a hassle to get to the showers. I could have tried the commute on the way home but I really prefer running in the morning and I have a complex about standing around in the foyer in my cycling gear while waiting for someone to sign me in. That's all sorted now. I'll have to ride my bike out there on the weekend, just to confirm that I can cope with the hills.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Chilli and Yoga

I learned an important lesson today - don't eat too much chilli before an important run. I got up this morning, feeling the after effects of last night's dinner, which was delicious by the way. I was hoping that I'd be ok for my run, but I ended up having to miss it. I was dressed and about to ride off on my bike when I had to head back to the bathroom.

Unfortunately, that means I missed the time trial and I also didn't manage to run three times in a week. I was telling myself that if I ran this evening I'd make that goal, but that didn't motivate me to get out there. Instead, I chose to go to Yoga.

We did Power Yoga today, which was just as well as the room was freezing. Tonight's moves were dynamic and we were mainly on our feet. To my surprise, part of the way through I was seriously considering stopping to take off my warm top. I was too caught up in the moves to take the time to stop. It was really cool to be moving from one thing to the next and keeping up for a change. I do like the slower pace of Yoga.

The other thing that is surprising me is how quickly I'm progressing with the various moves. My balance is heaps better and my flexibility is increasing by leaps and bounds (or twists and stretches). Fortunately, before I start thinking I'm an expert, we did a seated stretch today that reminded me just how far I have to go. I wasn't able to do it at all. The stretch started off in a half lotus, and involved leaning forward with a straight back. All these people could lean right down over their legs. Not me. My tummy was in the way, my back was tight, and my legs were saying 'that's far enough'. Another move that completely defeated me involved stretching one leg up when seated. Apparently there's a two legged version that's called the hairpin. I was thinking that I probably didn't need that level of detail yet.

Anyway, I was going to do my weights program tomorrow morning, but I might go running instead. That leaves weights as an option for Thursday's pt session.

Oh, I have signed up for a dragon boat race in October. The gym is putting a team in to a fundraising event of some kind. There'll be two training sessions and then the race. It should be a lot of fun. The team is going to be half staff and half members, and some of the Team Black Women have already entered. Thank goodness for the power of email!

Monday, 13 August 2007

Weights program

It was good to get to the gym tonight. I got stuck at work and so was running behind time. Mind you, being there later meant that the gym wasn't as busy, so there was an upside.

I worked my way through my program, but I did check whether or not I could do the lunges without weights first. I was due to put the weight up, so I did, but I really felt it in my quads when I did the leg press, so I ended up dropping the weight on that one. I did a lot of stretching during the program and after it. I even did the downward dog a couple of times to stretch out my calves and hamstrings.

I was checking out the dates on my program. It's almost two months since I started this one. It doesn't seem that long. One of the goals for the program was to manage five fitball pushups on my toes, so I gave it a go tonight. I was able to get into position, but I wasn't doing the pushups properly. It's still progress, as I wasn't able to balance on the ball in pushup position at all. I'll have to keep trying with that one.

I've been watching the personal trainers while I've been exercising. They all seem fine. I'll talk to Krissi first as I'm hoping that she will be able to fit me into her schedule. If she can't, then I'll have to book some sessions with a new trainer as August is nearly over. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I won't have to travel for work for the next couple of weeks, so that I don't miss any more of my time with Leanne.

Thanks for the kind comments on yesterday's post. Your support is really appreciated.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Going backwards with my weight loss

I only weigh myself when I'm home in Melbourne, so it's generally two to three weeks between weigh ins. Unfortunately, the last few times I've weighed myself I've been putting weight on. My eating has been a strange mix of '80% in control' and '20% way out of control' lately. I've been thinking about what I need to do to get back on track and I've come to the conclusion that I need to stop obsessing about it. Of course, that's easier said than done.

I've decided to set myself health goals rather than weightloss goals. I just have to work them out. I like the philosophy in the Chi Running book, where you aim to enjoy the process, so I'm thinking of the following:

I will make healthy lifestyle choices. (eat properly, get enough sleep, etc)
I will treat my body with respect. (good quality food, minimise stress)
I will maintain my current level of activity. (running, gym, walking)

I'm hoping that having broad goals like this will stop me from beating up on myself over small failures. For example, healthy lifestyle choices includes things like eating sensibly sized portions and not drinking too much champagne.

I want to set myself some more specific goals too, but I'm resisting the impulse at the moment because I've gotten myself into a bit of a state about my eating. I remember I did a similar thing with my running recently. I ended up so anxious that I didn't think I could run. Easing up on myself seemed to get me over that, and I'm enjoying running again.

Funnily enough, people are telling me that I'm looking really well. I think that's down to the exercise I'm doing. I'm continuing to tone even though I'm gaining back some of the weight I've lost. I think my skin has been tightening up too, which is a bonus. I certainly feel as though I'm stronger and fitter.

On the running front, I made it out for a short run today. I headed off around the creek. I was hardly out the door when it started raining, but I kept going. It was only light rain and it made it really pleasant to run. There were a few hardly souls out walking their dogs but they nearly all disappeared when the rain started.

To my relief, my calf was fine while I was running, but my hamstring was still tight. Not too tight for me to run though. I kept the pace steady, and aimed to relax as I ran. I also tried to keep my arms from crossing my body too much. I hadn't realised I was doing it, but I'm really noticing it now that Krissi has pointed it out. Running does seem easier when I try not to do that, so it's worth keeping an eye on.

When I got home I made sure I took my time stretching. My leg has been feeling a lot better today, so it was definitely worth the effort.

I felt as though getting out for a run was a real achievement today. I could easily have given it a miss, using my tight muscles as an excuse for resting. One of my running goals is to run three times a week, and I don't think I've actually made it yet. I ran Thursday and Sunday, and I'm due to run on Tuesday, so it looks like I'm going to achieve that goal this week. :-)

On Tuesday, we're going to be doing a 1 km time trial for the end of the running course. I'll be interested to see how I do. I've decided that the aim for me is to run for the whole distance and not worry about the time. When we did the first run, I ended up having to drop back to a walk twice to catch my breath. This time, I might need to slow down, but I want to keep running when that happens. If it's faster, that's great, but if it isn't that's fine too.

I'm not sure how I hurt my leg in the first place. It might have been Body Attack, so I'm going to give that a miss this Monday night. I don't want anything to get in the way of my run on Tuesday. I'll give the class another go on Thursday.

This week's exercise plan is:

Monday - weights
Tuesday - morning run and bike ride, evening Yoga
Wednesday - morning weights
Thursday - morning personal training, evening Body Attack
Friday - morning run, evening Body Balance
Saturday - bike ride, weights
Sunday - morning run and Body Balance

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Body Balance

On Friday morning I headed off to the gym. I had a tight calf and hamstring so I tested them out with a lunge without weights. It was painful, so I skipped my weights program and concentrated on stretching instead. It certainly helped, so I felt fine about heading back to the gym after work for Body Balance.

I was keen to do BB as I'd been reading an article about Yoga for runners which said that the downward dog is a great stretch for runners. It works the calves, the hamstrings and the glutes. As we'd done this move in BB before I was sure that I'd get a good workout for my sore leg. As expected, we moved through the downward dog a few times. In Body Balance the moves are much quicker than in Yoga. I struggle with getting through the sequences, for example, fold over, hands on the floor, move your leg back into a lunge, move your other leg back, do the downward dog, glide down through a plank into a cobra, back into downward dog, foot forward, other foot forward, unfold and salute the sun. All this in next to no time! By the time I got myself down into the downward dog it was time to do the next move.

All was not wasted however, as towards the end of the session we did some serious stretching. This included a variation of the downward dog that involved lifting one leg into the air. Well, that really did stretch out my calf and hamstring. I'm a convert!

Today has been a rest day. My calf is still a little sore. I'll see how it goes when I run tomrorow.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Shopping for exercise, morning run

After a day spent in a meeting on Wednesday, it was good to get to the hotel and check in. I went up to the hotel gym, which had a few pieces of cardio equipment and a handful of weight machines. Nothing flash, but perfectly respectable. As I was meeting up with my work colleague for dinner in Chinatown at 6 pm, I decided that I'd save the gym for later in the evening and headed off to go for a walk after parking the car.

On the way to the car park I realised I was right beside the new DFO, so I decided to do my walking there instead of down by the river. It was interesting to see what shops were there, and I was able to combine two of my hobbies, shopping and exercise. I had about an hour there, before walking across the city to Chinatown. I got there too early, so I detoured through Myers and then spent some time browsing in the Adidas store. It's good to check out the styles and prices as it makes it easier to work out if the deals on eBay are any good.

I was wishing I had a camera when my dinner arrived. I ordered sliced pork with chilli. The dish was made of beans, bamboo shoots, pork and chilli. It looked like a Christmas decoration with the green beans and the red chillis all over the plate. It was slathered in chilli seeds. I love hot food but I was awfully worried that I had made a huge mistake ordering this meal. I decided to give it a go, and I fished out a piece of something I didn't recognise. It was pork fat. You guessed it. As well as containing more chilli than I'd ever seen on a single plate before, the sliced pork was mainly fat not meat.

While it was an absolute diet disaster it was incredibly tasty. I was glad we were sharing our dishes, as the other dish, duck and bean shoots, was quite bland and balanced the burn out nicely. I was a little worried that I'd be ill later that evening from all the fat, but my cast iron stomach kicked in and I didn't suffer any unpleasant after effects.

After dinner, my workmate wanted to go to the Casino, so I walked there with them and then headed back to the hotel. I didn't head up to the gym when I got back, as I figured the shopping and walking counted as a relaxed workout. I also wasn't sure what the effect of exercising on top of that meal would be, so I decided discretion was the better part of valour.

This morning I managed to make it out of bed to go running. Hearing that it was 13 degrees outside at 6:30 am certainly helped. I headed out toward the docklands. I expected to see a few people out and about running along the waterfront, but I only passed one other runner. There were quite a few people going to work though, particularly when I ran past the railway station.

It was a great run. I really enjoyed myself, especially down at New Quay. I just relaxed into it and let my feet carry me along as I enjoyed the scenery. The lights on the Bolte Bridge looked great as I ran towards them. When I got to Telstra Dome I ran up the stairs, slowly, but I was running. I felt a bit selfconscious in my running gear when I got near the station. It's not exactly flattering and I felt 'fat'. I gave myself a stern talking to, telling myself that the people I was running past really didn't care what I looked like, and I really didn't care what they thought. Unfortunately, I forgot to tell myself what great legs I have. My butt is showing the benefit of all those squats and lunges too. I'm sure remembering that would have helped to cancel out the 'Oh my God, I hope nobody's actually looking at me' feelings I was experiencing as I negotiated my way through the crush of people who'd just poured across Spencer Street to Collins Street.

I'm so glad I went running. We were stuck in another meeting all day today, and two days of sitting has me feeling stiff and sore. We also had a bumpy flight back, which had me thinking of Em! Fortunately it doesn't happen all that often.

Tomorrow morning I'm planning to head to the gym to do my weights program and I hope to get there after work to do Body Balance. I aim to do a long run over the weekend too, probably a few laps of the creek. It's a while since I've run that, so it will be a good measure of my progress.

Oh, I'm sure I'm going to sleep well tonight! It will be so good to be in my own bed.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Weights training

On Friday morning I discovered I had a sore neck. It's fine now, thank goodness, but I took it easy for a few days to give it a chance to heal. It felt as though I'd strained it but I don't know exactly how or when it would have happened.

As ever, when you take a few days off it's hard to get started again. Over the weekend I did some gentle walking, but I really didn't get back into serious exercise until this evening.

I headed off for Yoga, which seemed just the right pace for me. Unfortunately the class was cancelled. Instead of turning around to go home, tempting as that seemed, I decided to stay and do my weights program. It was busier than usual in the gym. I guess some of the other yoga people also stayed around to work out.

Even though I wasn't all that keen on doing anything strenuous I really enjoyed myself this evening. I'm at that stage of the program where I have the exercises under control and I'm ready to start increasing the weights. It's a good feeling, knowing that you can do the sets properly.

The weekend was a lot of fun. My friend, Erika, came to stay. As predicted, she was very kind, putting up with the Kathy's Running Highlights tour of Canberra. Mind you, it was easy to organise. All I had to do was think up legitimate reasons to go past the various locations. For example, we went up to the Red Hill Lookout to see Canberra. The fact that we had to drive along the road I ran up the other day provided me with the opportunity to enthrall Erika with tales of my running exploits.

I've had to cancel my personal training this week, as I'm travelling to Melbourne for work on Wednesday and Thursday. We're staying in the CBD. I just checked the hotel details online, and it looks like it has a gymnasium. We're also near Fernwood, so I'm going to check out the timetable. It looks like I'll have to call them as their website isn't working. Staying in a hotel in my own city is going to feel strange, but I figure I may as well enjoy it.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Personal Training and Body Attack

This morning I had my personal training session. It was much warmer out and about this morning. It was 6 degrees when I left home and it only got down to 5. I wore a whole layer less of clothes so I didn't feel quite so much like the Michelin man on my way down the street. As the weather improves I can see that I'll become less obsessed with the recorded min or the "feels like" temperature. I have the Canberra weather page from The Age newspaper bookmarked in my favourites and I check it each night so that I know what to expect in the morning.

Mind you, I love my pt sessions, so it's never hard to get myself out of bed for them. I'm treating all my personal training sessions as doubly precious at the moment, as Leanne is leaving the gym at the end of August. That's not far away. I'm going to really miss working with her. It's been a terrific experience.

Now I have to think about establishing a relationship with a new trainer. While I know it will work out fine I can't help feeling a little nervous about it. There's the whole "Will they think I'm hopeless and wish they were working with someone else?" fear to deal with, as well as the usual "Will I like them? Will they like me? Will we work well together?" questions. I'd seen Leanne at work in the gym before she became my trainer, and I had all the same worries then. The reality has been so wonderful that now I have a new worry to add to the list. "What if my new trainer isn't half as good as Leanne?"

One of the things that I love about my pt sessions is that I end up laughing. I have a lot of fun with Leanne. This morning she had me doing a series of fitball exercises. It's amazing how much harder it is to do them when you're trying to balance. I would have been giggling if I hadn't been working so hard. Half way through the session Leanne asked me to guess what she'd been reading the night before - yes, a fitball exercise book. I'm thinking of getting her a book on siestas before my next session.

Over the past twelve months Leanne has been having various health problems. As she's very fit and works hard I think it's taken them a while to figure out what's wrong with her. Today she told me that she's been diagnosed with Crohn's disease. As she said, it's a better diagnosis than Bowel Cancer, which is what they were worried about when they did the tests. From what I've read, people can lead a normal life with medication, and are in good health when they aren't having a flare up. I don't know how much of a comfort that would be, as the symptoms don't sound like much fun. I hope she manages it well.

Aside: I find the Better Health Channel a great source of information for things like this. Our taxpayer dollars at work on something useful.

This evening I went back to Body Attack. I'd taken my gym gear to work, on the off-chance that I'd feel up to it, but I wasn't actually committed to doing it until I got to the gym. I was smarter this time. I had a bra with cross-over straps with me. As I was getting changed I remembered JoJo mentioning that she wore two bras, so I put my other sports bra back on with the straps in the regular position. I was so well strapped in, that the bouncing wasn't half the problem today. There were a lot of star jumps and I was glad I'd gone to the extra trouble.

I found it much easier today, as we did the same program that we did on Monday. I was able to put more effort into the various moves, and burned more calories as a result. My abs were sore. I've given them a good workout lately.

I've a busy weekend coming up. A very dear friend of mine is coming to vist me from Tasmania. We'll be doing a lot of sightseeing. I'm hoping she doesn't mind being taken around to all the highlights of my running career. I was thinking that it would be great to show her the Mother's Day Classic route, Red Hill, Lennox Gardens and so on. As she's a true friend, I'm sure she'll pretend to enjoy herself.