Weigh Ins and Workouts – Week 4

Hhhhhuuuuuuuggghhhhh!!!  Ok that’s me taking a huge breath after a really busy couple of days (you try working out how to write down the sound of a big breath??).  Basically, everything you shouldn’t do when trying to lose weight or just before a weigh in I have done over the last 3 days.  I haven’t exercised, I haven’t had a lot of sleep, I have been skipping meals, I’m hormonal, I ate chocolate cake, drank wine, didn’t drink much water, and ate a big, salty, dinner of bacon and eggs the night before weigh in because I had no other food in the house.  Yay me!  My days of chaos started with a last minute request from a Uni back home to do some assignment marking for their little baby Exercise Physiologists.  I was excited to be asked and happy to do it.  You know that saying, ‘Your eyes are bigger than your stomach’?  Well I tend to have that problem in regard to work (as well as the food problem too) where I start saying yes to all these things because I really want to do them and then I am left scrambling to make deadlines! lol  I have recently started participating in a subject at Uni of Tasmania, enrolled in an online course for Better Breathing (run by a physio experienced in training athletes in more efficient breathing techniques and at the other end of the spectrum working with those with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases), and accepted the secretary position for the swimming club.

This week was a little more exciting than usual as the Hubby was running a Junior Rugby League skills session for the first time, we had a Parent Teacher Meeting, and we had the Twin’s 7th Birthday on Friday too.  I somehow thought it would be a good idea to let them have a few kids over for a movie night.  Turns out a few kids for one, a few kids for the other, and a couple to keep the big boy happy turns into 14 boys over for a Boys Night In!!  And then it rained in Panna (Who knew it rained here??).  Next thing I knew, I have a million kids running up and down my hallways screaming at the top of their voices about a Zombie raid or some such thing.   So you can imagine the state of my house after this invasion, but not only that, the hubby flew out early the next morning to visit his family in Wollongong so I was left with the kids, the mess, and 20 more assignments to mark in two days!!!  Needless to say the assignments took priority and I am sure my kids were there somewhere amongst the mess.

Image credit

Anyway my point is, sometimes things don’t go to plan and I was feeling like a hot, porky mess and sure that all my good work had been undone.  In the grand scheme of things it was three bad days and this does not negate four weeks of good behaviour.  I wasn’t going to weigh in as I didn’t want to be disappointed in the results and have them confirm (via numbers) that I had lost any progress I had managed to chip away at and achieve.  But then I got curious….and I wanted to prove the point that the scales aren’t the be all and end all of this journey.  The scales would possibly tell me that I haven’t lost any weight in 4 weeks (according to the numbers), that my body fat had increased, and that 4 weeks of hard work meant nothing as the numbers on that scale hadn’t changed!  Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it??  It tells me nothing about the fact that I feel better, have more energy, am stronger and fitter, and am convinced I look better in my underwear (especially when I suck the belly in)!! 😉

Too much information I know, moving on…..here is the week in workouts:

Monday:  100 Club – managed to complete the 100 reps across the board and quicker than last week too!  Also backed up in the afternoon and made it to a ‘Burn’ class which was a 30min abs and core workout.

Tuesday:  10 x 30sec sprints and Whole body strength workout (Bench Press, Flies and KB rotate,rack and press, bent over rows and lat pulldowns, leg extensions and low squats).  Backed up in the afternoon with the kids for a 3km interval jog.

Wednesday:  4km walk/rest day.

Thursday:  Boxing class in the morning.

Friday:  This is where the good stuff ends…….Nothing.

Saturday:  Nothing…….

Sunday:  Nothing……..

Poor ‘Wayne’ also had a bit of a topsy turvy week.  The body was telling her to back off and give it a chance to catch up.  You have to listen to the body at times and give it what it needs.  So her early week was a bit lighter, backed off the strength and did lower intensity cardio instead.  By the end of the week ‘Wayne’ was starting to bounce back and feel better than ever.

Weigh In Results:

This week we had different scales as the one we had been using in previous weeks died a natural death.  I managed to lose 0.9kg this week, but gained 6% BF??  Hmmmm, I’m a little sceptical as to the accuracy of scales, so many variables.  I had taken limited water water the few days prior to weigh in and the instructor advised that this can play a big factor in the body fat reading.  I think the weight loss for me was possibly a little because of dehydration.

Total to date:  Down 2.4kg and 1%BF    Oh well, we will see what next week brings.

‘Wayne’ had a great week this week….down 2kg!! and 0% BF.  Again the scales may play a little part in no BF changes.

Total to date:  Down 2kg and 3%BF.

Most exciting for me are the changes for ‘Wayne’ in her attitude, fitness, and body awareness.  She advised this week that she is just starting to feel capable of doing this.  From wondering ‘when the session was going to end’ in the very first week (I thought I was being gentle on her, hehe) to knowing she can complete it and even looking forward to it.  ‘Wayne’ was comfortable and motivated to go on her own over the last few days when I couldn’t make it, and stated she even felt she could put together a workout!!  Yay for progress in any form.  ‘Wayne’ is starting to move better and train with purpose.  Its happening, she’s joining the club and will love exercise and the way it makes her feel by the time I am done with her and its exciting!!

Remember, don’t let the scales define your journey!

Weigh Ins and Workouts – Week 3

The focus was on eating well this week and stepping up the intensity and weights during training this week.  For the most part we have done this well, however this week we had a very exciting Ladies Night in Pannawonica.  As you can imagine there is not a lot of night life in this little town, and very little excuse to dress up and get some heels on (thongs being standard dress code here for everyone and for everywhere), so when there is a night organised for the ladies involving cocktail dresses, high heels, Song Star, and possibly a “little” alcohol, what’s a girl to do?  I was fairly well behaved, that may have been more to do with the First Aid Course I had the next day starting at 8am as well as my very real fear that any singing I tried to do under the influence may have set all the dogs in the town to howling with me, then with any great restraint on my part.  My lips are sealed on whether ‘Wayne’ may have overindulged…… One thing ‘Wayne’ does well is that she is not afraid to push herself with weights and training.  She has not hesitated to do everything I have asked without question and the results will follow.  The tip this week for ‘Wayne’ was to ensure that technique is maintained when increasing the weights.  If the technique starts falling off it is time to stop, rest, and reset to neutral posture.  The general rule of thumb for our training that I have been recommending to ‘Wayne’ is that if she hits 15 reps the load is too light, but if she can’t get more than 6 reps without losing technique the load is too heavy. Before I let you know the results for this week here is a quick summary of the weeks training.

WEEK 3

Monday – Morning was a quick 25 minute, high intensity, cardio session followed by a session on the foam roller to address some tight areas ‘Wayne’ has.  If you want to know more about how to use a foam roller, check out my previous post on this. Afternoon – 100 Club.  Ding, ding, ding, I managed to complete the 100 reps for all exercises, Yay!!  Will increase the weights where I can next week.

Tuesday – 15 minutes warm up, Upper Body Program.  [Lat P/Down, Seated Row, KB rotate/rack/press, Lateral raises, Bench Press, Chest Flies, Plank.] Afternoon – Run with kids 3km

Wednesday – 4km walk around town/Rest day.

Thursday – Circuit/strength class 45 minutes. Heavy on the legs.

Friday – 15minutes warm/up and intervals, Upper Body Program as on Tuesday, finished with another 15minutes of cross trainer intervals, in preparation for our night out.

Saturday – Run with kids, 3.3km.  Late gym session, 3km treadmill run, 15km bike (hill climb intervals for 15mins of it), 2km row.

Sunday – Short MTB ride and 45min Yoga session.

All right so stats for this week:

I was down 0.2kg and 3.5%BF.  Total lost overall:  Lost 1.7kg and 8.5%BF

NB.  I will just say that we had a little trouble with the scales, first reading seemed to be way off and on a different set of scales, so we grabbed the scales that were used last week and results seemed a little more realistic.  I will be interested to see what next week brings and look to this weeks results with a grain of salt.  Just a reminder to keep everything consistent on weigh in day if you are watching the scales.

‘Wayne’ managed to stay the same with weight and BF% which is not so bad given a certain ladies night out that I won’t mention. 😉 Total lost overall:  Body weight is the same but has lost 3.3%BF.  (Just as a comparison, the average body fat % lost so far per person for this challenge is 1.3%, so we are both going OK) Foundations are being laid and I am expecting a big finish at the end for ‘Wayne’.  Watch this space…..

Weigh Ins and Workouts

Today marks two weeks into the 8 week Pannawonica Body Fat challenge.  With our trip away last weekend and a cyclone cruising past late this week, my initial two weeks have been far from perfect however progress has still been achieved.  For those that are interested I thought I would document my (and my exercise partner’s) training and progress over the next 8 weeks.  Now for confidentiality reasons I am going to call my training partner ‘Wayne’.  She will laugh at this as it was her kids who sparked this name after an innocent chat during dinner the other night when she suddenly remembered she had ‘weigh in’ the next morning…one child asked ‘Who’s Wayne?” and her other child stated…”I think it is someone she trains with at the gym.”  Everyone had a laugh and now ‘Wayne’ will be the name of my training partner for the sake of the blog.

The purpose of these first two weeks at the gym was to build a foundation of good technique and basic strength and endurance.  ‘Wayne’ and I are doing a mixture of classes and strength training in the gym.  Research has shown that one of the best ways to lose body fat (notice I said body fat and not weight loss, as a common mistake is to cut the calorie intake and hit the cardio which results in great numbers on the scales but often leads to loss in muscle mass, difficulty maintaining this weight loss, and sometimes minimal changes to actual body fat) is to follow a strength protocol and/or add some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  As ‘Wayne’ has not done a lot of this type of training we won’t be following a strict HIIT protocol, more of a vigorous exercise intensity level until we reach a point where technique is solid and fitness/strength allows us to push to the level needed for HIIT.

Obviously a good diet is crucial for any body composition changes to occur and we are both tracking our intake via My Fitness Pal.  In terms of macronutrient breakdown, at this stage I am aiming for a moderate diet of approximately 50% Carbohydrates, 30% Protein, and 20% Fat.  I know, shock horror, the carbohydrate percentage is quite high and flies in the face of the recent push for high protein and low carb diets for weight loss.  For me this works at the moment, I like endurance exercise and will keep it in my training so I find I like a higher carb content in my diet.  I’m also not aiming for a competition bikini body just a better, healthier body so I am not super strict with my diet at this stage.  I may change the ratio if my weight loss stalls, but for now it works.  In terms of diet, the things I am working on at the moment are:

  • Increased water intake >2L + extra during exercise
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Restricting/avoiding chocolates, sweets, and processed food
  • Aiming to have greens at every meal
  • Controlling portion sizes

As I said, not strict, just working on the basics.  I have also agreed with ‘Wayne’ that we have 5 Diet Passes for the 8 week period, where we are able to use them if we have a special dinner or event and want to splurge, or just really have a craving for something.  Everything in moderation and I think it is unrealistic that we can be perfect 100% of the time.  The aim for this is so we don’t feel like anything is forbidden and also to encourage mindful indulgence.  If you are going to indulge make sure it is something you really want otherwise don’t do it.

OK enough rambling, my training for the past two weeks is as follows.  ‘Wayne’ and I train together Mon-Fri with weekends on our own to allow for family commitments and our own individual training interests.

Week One

Monday – 100 Club (Jumping lunges, KB Swings, weighted boxing combo, wall sit with barbell bicep curls, Fitball ‘Y’s’, medicine ball slams, Heel taps, Shuttle runs length of gym) 100 reps of each, any order, any amount of reps at a time in 45mins with a 60sec plank every 5 minutes.  Ouch!

Tuesday – At the gym, upper body focus.  Warm up 5minutes followed by 10-15 spin bike hill climbs, 30sec hard work 30sec easy.  Chest Press, Seated Row, Lat Pulldown, KB rotate rack and press, Knee push ups (tricep or normal depending on ability).  3 sets, 10-15 reps.  Emphasis on JUST getting 10 reps to start, if we reach 15 reps then must increase weights.  Technique, technique, technique.  Intensity may not quite be there initially but it will come down the track.

In the afternoon – training run with the kids

Wednesday – Both feeling a little sore so decided on a 4km recovery walk round town.

Thursday – Boxing Class, 1 hour.

Friday – At the gym, lower body focus. Start body weight only add weights if able.  Squats to sit on a low step (to encourage good range and good technique), Single leg balance exercise (balance exercises are awesome for pelvic/knee/ankle stability as well as body awareness and increased muscle recruitment), Weighted Lunges, KB Swings, Push up position rows.  3 sets, 15 reps (each side if required).

Saturday – Rest Day.  Swimming, snorkelling, kayaking at Coral Bay.

Sunday – 2km Paddle, and 4km beach walk in the afternoon.  Swimming, snorkelling, kayaking at Coral Bay.

RESULTS:  No weigh in for me this week as away in Coral Bay.  ‘Wayne’ lost 0.3kg and 3%BF.  Now initially I had warned that this type of training can be a little slower to show you the love on the scales in kg lost.  The aim is to build some muscle and burn off the unwanted fat.  Muscles grow when challenged and broken down, forcing the body to rally to meet the challenge.  1kg of muscle weighs the same as 1kg of fat BUT takes up only 1/3 of the space which is why we always remind you to look for changes in how your clothes fit and how you feel and not only for what the scales say.

It can be a little disappointing to look at “only” 0.3kg loss but if you look at 3%BF lost in one week, that is amazing!  When I crunched the numbers this 3%BF translates into 2.6kg fat lost of ‘Wayne’s’ total body weight.  We know that body fat is down 2.6kg but the scales only showed 0.3kg overall so we can assume that we managed to build some hard won muscle.  It is a great result.

Week Two

Monday – Drive home from Coral Bay but dragged myself to the gym that night.  4km treadmill run, quick upper body circuit – 15 Bench Press, 15 each side KB rotate, rack and press, 15 Deadlift with bent over rows, and 20 KB swings. 3 times through.

Tuesday – At the gym, lower body.  Warm up then 10 x 30hard/30easy standing hill sprints on spin bike. Squats to low step (weighted), Low lunge hold with kickbacks (focus on good posture and stretching out ‘Wayne’s’ tight hip flexors), push ups, high step ups single leg with weights, single leg balance exercise.  15reps, 3 sets.  Finished with another lot of spin bike sprints.

Wednesday – 4km walk around town.  Fun Run training in the afternoon with the boys.

Thursday – Cyclone incoming and school cancelled so didn’t make it to class.  Did a Jillian Michaels circuit class found on YouTube.  It was a little hard on the body especially on the tiles in my living area, lol.

 

Friday – At gym, upper body focus.  15min bike warm up.  Chest Press, Chest Flies, Leg Ext and Alternating lunges (weighted if able), Lat Pulldown and Shoulder Press.  10-15reps, 3 sets.  Finished with 10 x 30hard/30easy on cross trainer.

Saturday – 20 km bike ride (Pyramid set: Increase level every 1min for 8 levels, 3min recovery ride, Increase level every 45sec for 8 levels, 3min recovery ride, increase level every 30secs for 8 levels, 3 min recovery ride.  Finish final 7km steady pace, keeping at 90-100 RPM.)  Followed by 3km treadmill run, steady pace.

Sunday – Yoga for Weight loss and Fun run training with the boys.

 

RESULTS:  First weigh in for me….dah da daaah….1.5kg down and down 5%BF over the two weeks.  Very excited about that considering my less than perfect food choices over the weekend away and, ahem, during Cyclone day at home.  I have used 3 of my passes, eeek.  Time to tighten up the belt.  ‘Wayne’ didn’t have big improvements on the scale this week, back to starting weight but BF% is down a further 0.3%.  So still making some body composition changes.  She also admitted that she missed a couple of training days this week.  We will sit down and review everything on Monday and step it up.  To be honest I don’t really expect to see huge weight loss in the first two weeks with someone new to strength training as their body adapts, but I do expect to see a good loss on the scales in week 3 all things going to plan.

Conquering Walsh’s Pyramid

Along with Mt Bartle Frere, Queensland’s highest mountain that I climbed a couple of years ago, the Pyramid in Gordonvale has also been on my exercise hitlist radar.  Each year in August, the little town of Gordonvale hosts the Great Pyramid Race.  Legend has it that the race originated when two local cane farmers were sitting having a drink at the pub.  The men decided to settle an argument by seeing who could make it to the peak of nearby Walsh’s Pyramid first.  A wager was made and the day set for the very first race.  It generated so much interest with the locals that a bookie took bets on the outcome and The Great Pyramid Race was born.  The first official race ran in 1959 and the fittest and bravest come to compete each year.  After climbing the mountain at a comfortable pace I did wonder how people ‘race’ the Pyramid and am not surprised that this quote is used in promoting the race!

 “A never-ending uphill scramble and a ‘controlled’ downhill free fall”

One thing I love about an exercise challenge is that it can be quite social.  Or maybe I just have friends that are the same kind of crazy as I am.  Even though it was summer in the tropics (read hot and humid) I had two friends immediately volunteer to come with me.  One friend travelled 4 hours to catch up for a couple of nights, and the other was up at 4am to drive ninety minutes to meet us at the base of the mountain.  I am very thankful for such good friends who make the effort as my visits are very few and far between these days.

Walsh's6

I was a little worried that it would be quite difficult to find the start of the track (and copped some good-natured ribbing about my recent adventures getting lost) but I am happy to report that it is quite well marked.  From the Gordonvale Service Station it is only 5 minutes drive along the highway, heading towards Innisfail, that you will come across Moss Road on your right hand side.  There are signs for parking ahead and you will come to a gravel parking area after only a couple of minutes.  The track is well marked, no really it is, I don’t think even I could get lost.  From all I had read this was supposed to be a 6km return climb but the girls and I think that it could be a bit closer to 8km return based on some markings on the track and how long it took us.  The time to the top for us was 3 hours and only 90 minutes back down at a fairly comfortable pace.

We left at 6am from the base and would not leave it any later in summer.  It was a really hot and humid morning and I was literally dripping half way up so make sure you have plenty of fluids if you are crazy enough to do it in Summer.  There were quite a few people on the mountain which did actually surprise us.  It would be a beautiful walk in the cooler months.  It WAS a beautiful climb even in the heat and one everyone with reasonable fitness should try.  The views are amazing.

The track was quite steep in places with quite a few scrambles up rocks however there were plenty of flat-ish sections to catch a breather.

We did find that just when you thought you were near the top…..it wasn’t…..then you would think that this must be it…..and it wasn’t……then finally this must be it……and we still weren’t quite there.  Eventually we did make it and I love this photo taken of my good friend at the top of the Pyramid as it just seems to capture the spirit of adventure and satisfaction from making it to the top.

Thanks ladies for a wonderful catch up, we will have to start planning our next adventure.  This was a wonderful hike, so give it a go next time you are in the area!

Fitness Events in Australia – Challenge Yourself

One of the reasons for getting this blog up and running was to inspire people to set some goals and make a start on living a healthier lifestyle.  As I have mentioned before, when I put together a hitlist for myself I try and have a goal that is a bit scary and out of my comfort zone so that I continue to challenge myself.  I thought I would help you out and put together some of the sites that I look at for some inspiration for my big hitlist item.  Stop procrastinating…..lock in an event….and get training!!

Australian Running Calender – I’ll kick off with running events because it requires very little equipment and training can be done absolutely anywhere.  If you are new to running don’t forget to check out My Top Running Tips from an ‘I can’t run’ Mum and Exercise Physiologist.

Park Run Australia –  This is a free weekly event, a timed 5km run held in many parks across the world.  Good place to start if you are nervous about participating in an event.

parkrun2

Eventfinda – Upcoming Sports & Outdoors Events.  This is a calender of many, many, different sports.  You just have to choose one that tickles your fancy.

Eventlist – Australian Triathlon, Running, Obstacle Racing & Multisport Event Calender

Oxfam Trailwalker – Challenge Yourself, Challenge Poverty

This was at the start of my shift, all four members completing the 100km which was quite a feat.  Quite a few teams lost members due to injury or exhaustion.

Stairclimbing Australia – Looking for something different?  Stairclimbing is a thing!  Looks tough but covers some pretty great locations.

Ocean Swims – Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Pacific, and Europe

Adventurethon Australia – Off road multi sport event (Kayak, Mountain Bike, Trail Run).  Different distances for different levels of fitness, also can be done as a team event.  You can read about my first Adventurethon here.

Albany finish

Adventure Race Australia – This race involves a bit of everything.  It is off road so trail running and mountain biking is involved.  For the water component you can often choose whether to kayak, canoe, or swim.  There is also an element of navigation/orienteering involved as well as some alternative challenges (these are optional).  It looks like a lot of fun and encourages family and team participation along with individual racing of course.  There are some great prizes up for grabs too.

Tough Mudder – Mud Run

Basic RGB

This is by no means an exhaustive list but it should give everyone a place to start.  What are you waiting for?

If you know of any other great events that I should check out please get in contact with me and share the fun.

Adventurethon Albany

Well, it wasn’t perfect.  It wasn’t pretty.  But this mother of four, who couldn’t run four months ago and couldn’t kayak as little as four weeks ago, finished her first Enduro adventurethon – 5km paddle, 2km beach run, 4km paddle, 22km steep mountain bike ride, and 8-10km trail run.  This is how the event unfolded (you may want to get comfortable and grab a coffee). We loaded up the car and headed to Albany on the Friday before the Saturday event.

Looks like an adventurous car now!!

Looks like an adventurous car now!!

Albany is approximately 400km south of Perth and we had quite a leisurely drive down.  I will do another post on the different things we did in and around Albany as it is definitely worth a visit.  As we drove down the main street of Albany, it was a little overcast, a little cold, and really windy.

Cruising down the main street of Albany...nothing like a bike and a kayak on the roof to announce that we were here for the Adventurethon.

Cruising down the main street of Albany…nothing like a bike and a kayak on the roof to announce that we were here for the Adventurethon.  OK it doesn’t look overcast, but that is because I snapped the only patch of sunlight!

As we arrived a little before check in time, we decided to cruise around and check out some of the locations as per the course outline posted weeks earlier by the organisers.  First we took the scenic route around Royal Princess Harbour with the windmills of the Wind Farm glinting in the distance.

Beautiful view

Beautiful view

Then we headed to Camp Quaranup and Point Possession.  This was the point where we would paddle out to from Anzac Peace Park, complete a run, before paddling back.

Definitely couldn't complain about the scenery!

Definitely couldn’t complain about the scenery!

We did try to visit The Gap and Natural Bridge in the Torndirrup National Park but found that the road in was closed  At this point the hubby had lost his tolerance for my ‘just drive and see what we can find’ approach as we hadn’t yet stopped to pick up a map, so sadly we didn’t checkout the blowholes. Next stop was to check out Mt Melville, one part of the epic mountain bike ride.  We found signage and tape marking for the course which was a little bit of a reality check.

And guess what I found on my scouting trip...a toilet!!  If you have been following along you'll know I was a little concerned about the toilet situation, but turns out I didn't actually need to go.

And guess what I found on my scouting trip…a toilet!! If you have been following along you’ll know I was a little concerned about the toilet situation, but turns out I didn’t actually need to go.

Checking out the view and quietly freaking out at what I had signed up for.

Checking out the view and quietly freaking out at what I had signed up for.

Off to check in at the Albany Holiday Park which was basic but had everything that we needed.  Pre race briefing was that night at Due South, a lovely restaurant right on the harbour.  As we pulled up the wind was blowing a gale and the water was really choppy.  I think I may have peed my pants a little at this stage and the first tendrils of real doubt crept in.

You can't really see the choppy water in this photo but trust me it was daunting OK!  Even the kids were a little concerned...."Mum are you really going to paddle over to that island?  Won't you tip out in this wind?"....Not helping boys.

You can’t really see the choppy water in this photo but trust me it was daunting OK! Even the kids were a little concerned….”Mum are you really going to paddle over to that island? Won’t you tip out in this wind?”….Not helping boys.

Pre race briefing did not help matters as race organiser, Joel Savage (the same guy who answered my naive questions and knew I was not so experienced on the paddle), ran through all the safety concerns for an adventure race.  You know, beware of the bitey things in the water, if you can’t manage the paddle just signal the crew in the safety boats (I am sure Joel was looking straight at me, eek),  don’t forget 2 compression bandages must be carried so you can deliver your own first aid for broken bones, snake bites, cuts and grazes, you know, minor things.  Ok, forget the quietly freaking out stage, I was in full freak out, blowing into a brown paper bag at this point!!  Doesn’t help when it was only a fairly small race number and everyone there looked fit, firm, and fantastic and I felt every inch the mum with four kids hanging off me.  Obviously there is risk involved, like any outdoor activity, and duty of care requires that every eventuality is covered where possible.  I know this, but my slight nervousness may have exaggerated the import of these gentle reminders. Poor Hubby, every five minutes that night I was in his ear…”Do you think I can do this?”….”Will I be able to paddle on that choppy water?”….”Have I done enough?”…..”What do I do if I can’t do the paddle?”…..Are you asleep, nudge, nudge, elbow to ribs..”Was this a stupid idea?”  He was so very patient and supportive, and so certain of me and my ability to do it.  If I wasn’t such a tightwad I swear I would have given it all up then but I hate to waste good money so suck it up I did.

Race day dawned and kick off time crept inexorably closer.

Race day dawned and kick off time crept inexorably closer.

I spent most of the morning on the toilet (no wonder you don’t need to go for the remainder of the race…nervous pee anyone?), but the other part of the morning was spent organising all the gear, honestly hubby had that pretty well covered, and chatting to other competitors.  Everyone was very friendly and happy to help out where possible.  Lovely Dave, who was worried about having the slowest boat (he actually may have had the slowest boat as he did have a very heavy kayak which took on a lot of water).  Dave would paddle 2 hours to work and walk his kayak, on his homemade wheels, up through the city to his office, how’s that for amazing?  Members from the RSL did a brief welcome speech and provided information on the history of the area we would be covering and the relevance to our ANZAC’s.  It was great to hear a little more information on the area, pretty great start to the race…Why should I worry about a little old race when the ANZAC’s were heading off to war from this very spot about 100 years earlier.

The race has begun!

The race has begun!

Five minutes into the race and I was once again cool, calm, and collected.  I was confident that I could do the paddle and that I could get back in if I fell out, I was comfortable that I had done enough training and that I could hang in there to the end even if I hadn’t quite done enough.  From that point on I let the doubt go and began to enjoy this event that I had invested so much time and energy on. Once I got the hang of the tipping and rolling motion, I started to pick up my pace a little.  We headed past Cheynes Whaling Boat, a shipwreck marking our turning point to head to Point Possession.  Once we got past the shipwreck we encountered much smoother conditions and I really started enjoying the paddle.  After pulling up on the beach, throwing on an old pair of shoes, the run section took us across the beautiful white sandy beach of Point Possession up and over a steep rocky outcrop, back along the beach on the other side and back into the boat.  It was frustrating not being able to run (due to the calf injury I sustained 8 days out) but I took the time to eat a banana and have a drink…a leisurely stroll really.  Caught a couple of the guys again on the paddle back to the mainland, and then my boys were there to cheer me on.

Nothing like a good welcome back on dry land.

Nothing like a good welcome back on dry land.

Quick stop to pull on shoes and helmet and off I went for the bike leg.  There were lots of hill climbs, some quite technical with loose gravel, stairs, and tree roots, which I am not so good at.  I did find I was pushing my bike a lot!  The first wooden berm was quite steep with a steep drop at the end..was glad that I walked it as one of the guys had come off on it just as I came across it.  Once reaching the top of Mt Melville we headed across town and up Mt Clarence and Mt Adelaide.

View from Mt Adelaide

View from Mt Adelaide

Yep, three mountains in one day.  I had a little stack on some sand, quite embarrassing really, but other than that the ride went OK.

Feeling OK at this point, felt like I still had some fuel left in the tank.

Feeling OK at this point, felt like I still had some fuel left in the tank.

What to say about the run…it still frustrates me that I couldn’t run it and see what I could do with the run.  I probably would have walked the hills still but the flats were killing me.  Everyone was so friendly on the course and I thank the couple of guys that stopped and had a chat along the way.  The calf was a little twitchy especially on the rock hopping section, where you are jumping from rock to rock.  Usually I love rock hopping, but I was nervous of the calf the whole time.  Having a complete stack and landing knees first on some sharp rocks didn’t help matters!  Blood started dripping from the knee, so it was lucky I had my bandages to wrap it up.  All good still able to finish just added a few bumps and scrapes. It was really good to finish this race and I was actually pretty emotional, mainly cause I had so much doubt this time round, and it was just nice to prove to myself and others that we are stronger than we think we are and can do so much more if we set the doubt aside and just go for it. Albany finish Finish emotion Honestly, it was a great event and if you have done some training there really is nothing to be afraid of.  Forget tours to learn more about a town or city just do an Adventurethon.…the best way to see the sights of the city!  And women, get your butts out here!  Grab some friends and do a team event, do the Taste of Adventurethon, or go the whole hog yourself…….the kids will love training with you and you will surprise yourself!

If you are interested in reading more about my journey to adventurethon, the ups and downs, and what I did training wise you can follow these links:

Registering for My First Adventurethon

Journey to Adventurethon Albany

Journey to Adventurethon – Update 2

Journey to Adventurethon – Update 3

Journey to Adventurethon – Update 4

Journey to Adventurethon – Update 5

Journey to Adventurethon – Update 6

Interview with Adventurethon Creator Joel Savage – Asking the Stupid Questions

Journey to Adventurethon – Update 7

The Funny Thing About Failure…

The Funny Thing About Failure….

After struggling to run over the last week due to calf pain on my right leg, it came to a head with me trying to run yet again after resting it for 5 days with a sharp, stabbing pain in the back of my calf last Thursday.  I had a pretty good idea that the news was not good and was not surprised when the physio confirmed the diagnosis of minor calf tear (Grade 1-2) and stated that I would not be running in 8 days without risking further injury.  I initially felt an overwhelming sense of failure that I would not be able to run in the Adventurethon.  I felt like all my hard work had gone to waste, four months of being sore every single day (except after rest day), dragging myself out to run or train, often with four kids in tow, paying money for the kayak and a couple of lessons, all thrown out the window for a little muscle tear in the final week.  After throwing myself a little pity party, I picked myself up and decided that I can still complete the adventurethon by walking its just going to take me a bit longer.

Along the way I have realised a few things about failure:

  • Firstly….

Can't fail

  • When assessing failure you have to review the overall goal.

My reasons for competing in an Adventurethon were that I wanted something to train for, I wanted to travel somewhere I haven’t been before to do the event, I wanted to challenge myself, see if I could do it and do it to the best of my ability, and I wanted to do something that I had never done before.

When coming to terms with not being able to run the final leg I realised that I could still walk it which meant that I could still complete the event and it was still going to challenge me in all the ways that mattered.  My game plan initially was to expend as little energy as possible in the kayak, go steady in the bike, and then leave nothing left in the final run.  Now I will be pushing both the kayak and the bike a little harder and then trying to bring it home as quick as I can walk it.  Same, same…

This has absolutely given me something to train for and looking back at where I started (read this post), I am amazed at how far my fitness and strength has come.  I couldn’t run 2km without dying and now I can run 5.5km comfortably.  45minutes on the exercise bike was my long ride and that is now my recovery ride.  I couldn’t kayak 3 weeks ago, didn’t know the first thing about it actually, to being able to leave my instructor, Dave, behind in our final paddle session.  I have lifted weights in crossfit that I didn’t think I could and completed brutal sessions that I would not have done a couple of months ago and followed it up with a run.  I can get a kayak on top of the bloody patrol by myself and strap it down with occy straps (may not sound like much but hubby usually does all this so I am proud of this).

kayak strap

 

So all in all I am feeling OK with this turn of events.  Its not how I planned it and I would have liked to have been fighting fit and given it a good old crack.  I will still give it everything but it will be very frustrating watching everyone run past me.  All good, I will probably be that stuffed that I won’t give a hot damn…hehe will probably be grateful for my ‘excuse’ not to run!

  • No one can make you feel like a failure without your consent, or as Eleanor Roosevelt would say…

No one can make you

Image Credit

Roll on Adventurethon Albany, I am as ready as I will ever be.

10 Reasons You Should Start an Exercise Hitlist

For those of you who are following this blog you may have missed my earlier posts on the reasons why I started my own Exercise Hitlists.  You can read about that here and here if you wish.  I also thought I would give you 10 reasons why you should start your very own hitlist!!

1.  Stop Procrastinating

Don’t be a should’ve, would’ve, could’ve person!  A hitlist is all about writing down those things that you have always thought of doing.  “I would like to run that loop around the river, it looks amazing”  Well put it on the list along with the things that you will need to do it.  ie Buy shoes, Start a running program, Begin a basic strength program.  BAM, you are already up to 4 items.  You can read my basic Hitlist Rules on this page, but don’t forget they are only a guideline do what works for you.

procrastinate

2.  Commit to your Goals

The very act of writing your goals down is a powerful way of committing to them.  A study completed by Dominican University of California has proven that by accountability, committment, and writing your goals down, you are 33% more likely to be successful.  An exercise hitlist can give you a very clear plan on how you (and your family) are going to become more active.

3.  Be a Tourist in Your Own City and Surrounding Areas.

Stop waiting for your next holiday to do something exciting.  I guarantee people actually travel to your home town for their holidays (amazing right?).  Have you checked out all the popular tourist spots?  What does your local Visitor Centre recommend for ‘Things To Do’ in your area?  Every visitor centre I have been to are very helpful and often have maps on walking and biking trails that you can do.  So much fun to be had without going anywhere!

All of these spots are within 20 minutes from home.

All of these spots are within 20 minutes from home.

4.  Get Stuff Done.

I have completed about 5 hitlists in total.  On some lists, I have a couple of things that I didn’t quite get around to, whether because I lost enthusiasm for that item, or other factors came into play.  But that’s OK, the positive thing is that I managed to complete 8 other items that may otherwise have been lost in the craziness of everyday life and not even attempted.  I find that I am now much better at finding reasons why I can fit something in, then automatically saying that I couldn’t possibly do that.

5.  It Inspires Others

Don’t underestimate your ability to inspire others.  Put it out there, take photos and share them.  Not only will you have people wondering where you are, you will have them wondering whether they could do more, and then before you know it they are doing more activity too.  In a nation that is high up on the obesity stakes, we can all do with a little inspiration.

6.  Quite Simply, It……Is……Fun.

No really, it is.  My hitlist, or your sister’s hitlist may not look that exciting and that’s OK.  Make it exciting for you.  Sometimes you have to try a few new things before you find the thing that floats your boat.  That’s the whole point.  Go on, try it.

7.  You Will Do Things You Didn’t Think Were Possible.

Ask me 12 months ago whether I could run 5km and I would have laughed myself silly and told you that I couldn’t run and wouldn’t be trying it anytime soon either.  It starts with you asking a question of yourself about whether it is possible?  It is a little spark of hope and belief that opens up a whole world of opportunity.  Because when you start believing in yourself anything is possible….and that is an amazing feeling.

One of the greatest momets

8.  Your Family Will Thank You

My husband and I have four beautiful boys, one 8yr old, twins who are 6 1/2 yrs old, and one 4 1/2 yr old.  Kids need to be active and benefit from exploring and being outside, surrounded by nature.  We have done quite a lot with the kids just by starting with a basic plan and the desire to try new things.  Check out some of the fun, simple, things we have done with the kids.

Lesmurdie Falls and Why All Kids Should Get Out and Explore

Indoor Rockclimbing

John Forrest National Park and The Troll Tunnel

9.  You May Lose Weight….Or You May Not.

To be honest you won’t hear me going on about weight loss too much here, although I am a girl and reserve the right to whinge about my weight occasionally.  The reason I don’t want the hitlist to be about weight is that successful weight loss is about a combination of factors coming into play such as nutrition, consistent exercise, stress levels, sleep quality, and gut health.  I have seen weight loss attempts being foiled by just one of these things not being right.  The Exercise Hitlist is about finding enjoyment in exercise, trying new things, being a positive role model for your kids or those around you, and its about making exercise a habit.  Hopefully by starting a hitlist you will be empowered and start to feel capable of tackling the other factors if your goal is weight loss.

10.  You Will Feel Awesome

Start ticking a few items off the list and you will start feeling awesome.  Complete a whole entire Exercise Hitlist and look back over what you have done, trust me, you will feel like a Rockstar!!  Don’t believe me, go on I dare you to try it…..

What would you put on your Hitlist??

 

 

 

My Top 10 Running Tips – From an “I Can’t Run” Mum and Exercise Physiologist

So you have decided to start running and are thinking that there is no way that your out of shape body is going to come to the party.  Yep, I’m hearing you, I have been thinking that since I finished having kids four years ago.  But its kind of part of the plan if I am going to complete an Enduro Adventurethon in Albany.  Now that I have managed to hit my 5km milestone recently I felt like I should share my top tips if you want to start running…..

1.  Buy some decent shoes.

This is where it all begins, protecting the point of impact and therefore reducing the loading through the knees, hips, and back.  This translates quite simply to less injuries.  Athletes Foot is a good starting point if you have no idea what you need in a shoe as their staff tend to be well trained and knowledgeable.  However, last time that I was at Rebel Sports store I noticed that they have a nifty little machine that tested foot loading pattern and gave feedback on what support you would benefit from and sizing info.  Usually you see this at Athletes Foot but good to see that it is a little more mainstream now.  If you have any specific concerns your best option is to review with a Podiatrist.  Also, if you find a shoe you love, I’ve learnt to stick with it!

Love my Brooks running shoes.  For me they are just so comfortable.

Love my Brooks running shoes. For me they are just so comfortable.

2.  Protect the Puppies

Researchers in Britain estimate that during sport, the average breast can move 21 centimetres (about the length of a box of tissues) in a figure eight movement. Breasts don’t only move up and down, they move side to side, and even in and out. Given the average breast weighs about the same as 1.2 litres of milk and is held in place by skin and Cooper’s ligaments, that’s a lot of bounce or slide.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/women-need-more-support-if-theyre-to-embrace-sport-20120831-255o8.html#ixzz3Dm0RsO5T

The following table is from The Exercise and Breast Support brochure that was funded by Sports Medicine Australia.

Sports Bra and exercise

So if you don’t want the boobs any lower than they already are than I suggest you do your best to bind those puppies up.  In fact, I believe that preparing for a run is like preparing for a cyclone…you have to strap down or tuck away everything that can move!   There are some great compression garments out there and I recently bought a 2XU trisuit for my upcoming adventurethon that was really comfortable.  For a cheaper option, I find wearing a sports bra and one piece swimmers under my running gear is quite good.

3.  Strengthen the Pelvic Floor

This means learning how to activate these muscles properly.  Its not just for the ladies either, men can also benefit from improving their pelvic floor strength.  You can read a little about it here and here, but sometimes its worth getting some feedback on whether you are actually working the muscles the right way.  I think it is worth the money to review with a Physiotherapist who specialises in pelvic floor training especially if you have any concerns.  There are plenty of tools out there to help strengthen the pelvic floor such as the Wave Chair (physio), the kegelmaster, Ben Wa Balls, or Luna Balls.  Just be careful googling some of those!!

4.  Participate in Regular Strength Training

Guess what, muscles have a purpose.  In simple terms muscles create movement, stabilize joints, and generate force and power.  The more muscle stability around the joints the less the risk of injury.  Also increased strength has been proven to translate into increased endurance.  Increasing core strength is also going to lead to increased efficiency in your running, reduced injury risk, and longer time running til fatigued.  Need more convincing?  Then you might want to read this article.

5.  Change your Mindset

Since having kids I have been a little overweight and not as confident in my body.  Even after losing over 25kg and getting somewhat fit I have been very hesitant to start running.  I am just shy of 5’10, and I am not lucky enough to be that lean and lanky kind of tall person.  Nope, I’m built like a good solid workhorse.  Running, after kids, has just been uncomfortable and honestly I have been happy to get my exercise fix from everything but running.  That all has to change now that I am stepping out of my comfort zone and doing an Adventurethon that includes an 8km trail run.  One of the biggest things that had to change was my attitude to running.  I started thinking about why I can run.  I started remembering that I actually used to be pretty good at running, especially cross country running.  I started to believe that it is a skill that can be learnt, endurance that can be trained.  These changes in my thoughts made all the difference, and guess what?  Running doesn’t suck quite as much as I thought it would.

Allow yourself to believe that you CAN.

6.  Learn How to Run

Seems simple doesn’t it?  Learning to run correctly from the start can make all the difference to how you go with a running program and is an important strategy for injury prevention.  Check out this video.

7.  Use a Running Program to get you Started

I am following a Couch to 5km program that is designed to get beginners running 5km in about 9 weeks.  I love having a set program to follow.  I don’t have to think about it or worry about when I should be running next….I just do as I am told.  I have tried this program before, not long after having the twins, when I was still quite overweight and had no strength training behind me either.  I really struggled and found it very difficult.  This time round I was excited to find the first 3 weeks quite comfortable and I was tempted to skip ahead.  However, even though my endurance was up to standard, I wanted to give my body a chance to catch up and develop the right muscles needed to run further and faster.  No injuries!!  If you need a little more support and encouragement then you may want to check out Operation Move.

8.  Stretching and Foam Rolling

If you are going to all the trouble and hard work in order to improve your running distance or times than set aside 10-15 minutes at the end of your exercise sessions to stretch.  Keeping your muscles loose, pliable, and hydrated means that your joints and ligaments stay healthy too.  Prevention is so much easier than rehabilitation.  I strongly believe that the roller has played a significant role in keeping me injury free during my training and really urge everyone to give it a go.  Check out my blog post on what foam rolling is all about.

9.  Enjoy your Rest Days

This is actually harder than it sounds.  I found that the more I improved the more I wanted to keep working at it, but intellectually, I also knew that I had to give my body time to repair and get stronger.  The rest day is a crucial part of the training program.

Rest Day

10.  Select Your Tunes

I actually don’t mind running with the wind in my face and only my thoughts to keep me company.  It makes a nice change from the noise and chaos that is four boys asking millions of questions.  Its a chance for me to sort through the things I need to do, any emotions, the good and bad things from the day, and finally to allow myself to dream big things.  In saying that who hasn’t gone for a run and been lifted up by an awesome song and gone that little bit faster or further.  Sometimes I have even run a little longer just to hear the end of the song.  And who hasn’t run to this song at one time or another….

 

I am linking up with Jess for IBOT so come on over and check out her latest post.

Journey to Adventurethon – Update 5

It is coming up to crunch time for my preparation to Albany and I am actually a little worried.  The bike and run components are coming together but I am officially worried about the kayak leg.  I have no training under my belt for this and at this point I don’t even know if I have a kayak that I can race.  As some of you may know I did manage to score a kayak off the side of the road which by some good fortune the previous owners were giving away.  It is old, a little dirty, but apart from a new bung and small leak that hubby assures me he can fix, this kayak looks like it could be a goer.

The only major problem seems to be whether or not I will be able to stay on it!!

The only major problem seems to be whether or not I will be able to stay on it!!

I don’t know a lot about kayaks or surf skis but from what I could learn from Google I am not entirely sure that this is a beginner level surf ski.  Only way to know whether I can use it come race day is to get some practice on it.  This is also causing some dramas as I need roof racks to transport it to a body of water that doesn’t have sharks that can eat me if I fall out!!  We have ordered roof racks for the car but that will be another week or so before they can be installed and ready to go.  Tick, tick, tick….goes the countdown clock.  Aaaggghhh.  If all else fails ‘the barge’ is ready to go and steady as a rock.

The Barge

The Barge

Well it is no use dwelling on things that can’t be changed so it is back to the grind in regard to my training.  The last two weeks have been pretty good and I have seen some progress in running distance, strength, and getting outside for my rides a lot more often.  Frequency of sessions has been a little hit and miss due to having lovely visitors, and I have also found that recovery has been a little slower.  Whether that is because I have increased the intensity of my training or not having the down time I usually would I am not sure.  I have another lot of visitors this coming week, therefore I might use this week to book in a yoga session and maybe a massage while completing what exercise sessions I can.  Then it will be head down, bottom up to put away some really solid training weeks. Here is my training summary for the last two weeks.

WEEK 9

Monday – Rest day after a very busy weekend.

Tuesday –  Crossfit session in the morning.  4.8km run in the afternoon.

Wednesday – Hilly mountain bike ride.  I wanted to try and do the ‘Ride through the Hills – Part 2’ ride that I found through the Perth Tourism website.  I took a couple of wrong turns though and ended up doing a modified version of the loop including a very steep ride up the hill to the Perth Observatory.  This ride ended up being 28km and took me 1 hour 40 minutes.

Thursday – Crossfit.  I did manage to squeeze in a 2km row before the class started.  It is amazing how much just a small tweak to the routine can make everything just that little bit harder.  I also did a basic 4.5km run in the afternoon.  Really didn’t feel like it but knew I would be in the car all day tomorrow as we were headed to Kalbarri for a long weekend, so I just had to do it.

Friday – Big 6 hours of driving to reach Kalbarri.  Kids had a small play at the beach and in the park that afternoon, so beautiful.  I managed to sneak a 3km beach walk in just to stretch the legs out.

Saturday – We hit the stunning gorges for some hiking today.  Nature’s Windows hike was only 1.2km return.

Nature's window Collage

Z-Bend gorge river trail was 2.6km return but we probably ended up doing 3km total as we did some extra exploring down the bottom of the gorge.

zbend gorge Collage

I also managed to sneak in a quick 10km bike ride that afternoon to Red Bluff point then walked 2km into the main beach where I met the boys fishing.

Sunday –  After dropping Mum and Dad off to start their epic coastal hike, the kids, hubby and I went for breakfast followed by the Pelican Feeding session by the Kalbarri foreshore.  It was great.

Pelican

I then went and completed my amazing 8km coastal run which you can read about here.  I rode the 6km home from Eagle Gorge before having a fantastic lazy day at the beach with the family until the sun went down.

Lazy beach Collage

WEEK 10

Monday – Back in the car for the return trip to Perth, boo hoo, did not want to leave Kalbarri.  No exercise today.

Tuesday – Road ride 18km in approximately 50minutes.

Wednesday – CrossFit.  Completed Filthy 50’s workout which was brutal (apparently someone turned 50 earlier in the week and this is how we celebrate….hmmm, I don’t want to know what happens when someone turns 60!)  Was going to run in the afternoon but I was absolutely wrecked from crossfit.

Thursday –  50 mins on Exercise bike (30km) followed by 3km run.  Had my first migraine tonight in quite some time.  Not surprised as I have been pushing a little harder this week, lots of travel, poor diet, and not getting quality sleep meant that it all fell in a heap.  Timely reminder to look after myself a little better.

Friday – Rest day.

Saturday – CrossFit.  I was only just feeling not so sore from the last crossfit session and then I was hit with another killer session.  Apparently Saturday’s partner workouts are known for being a little hardcore, well now I know.  Completely stuffed.

Sunday – Ow…Ow…Ow…so bloody sore.  Legs not so bad so saddled up and did a 30km road ride (actually managed to do the proper ride I tried last week).  Not my favourite ride, managed to swallow a fly (lots of gagging after that one, ewww) and then a bloody magpie started swooping me.  I must have looked like an absolute idiot ducking, swerving all over the place, and yelling at the stupid bird.  The things we do….

I am a little sad that my parents have had to go home after a lovely couple of weeks having them stay, and its awfully quite in the house.  I expect you may see a few more blog posts from me again…until the next visitors.