Friday, December 31, 2010

Bad timing

The initial diagnosis for my dodgy left leg is ITB syndrome, and most likely some issues with my glutes as well. I didn't actually have any physio on those areas yesterday though. Long story, but my neck, shoulder and forearm problems are all overuse injuries related to my desk job, so treatment is being covered by worker's comp. I was in desperate need of some work on my neck yesterday, and there just wasn't time to muck around with my leg as well. Besides, I really can't jam them both into a session that's being paid for under compo.

So I'm ordered to spend the next week getting up close and personal with my foam roller and tennis ball, and we'll see how things are at my next physio visit. If need be, I'll schedule some extra sessions at my own cost - I need this fixed!

Today's workout was a looooong session on the floor with abovementioned torture instruments. I also did some glute activation work and gave my thoracic region a bonus going-over while I was at it. Then I jumped on the spin bike for some cardio. Turns out that I can handle moderate speed and resistance, but as soon as I add some load or pace (or get clever and try to do some one-legged drills), my left knee starts complaining quite loudly. Dammit.

In summary, I can't run or do any high-impact stuff, stairs are out of the question, I'm unable to do anything much in the way of leg training and apparently I can't really cycle either. I guess that leaves me with upper body, walking and some pilates-type activities. Or plodding on the spin bike. I suppose I can always stick a DVD on and grind my way through that.

The timing sucks big ones. I'm on holidays, so have plenty of time to train, and Bike Boy is busy upgrading my road bike, so it'll be extra schmick. *cries* I want to be outdoors on my new and improved ride...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Holidays

Since Bike Boy and I both have this week off, we took the opportunity to pay an overnight visit to some friends on their house boat at Lake Eildon. I was a sloth: snoozed on a sun lounge, read a couple of magazines, played with my camera, drank champagne and just sat around enjoying some excellent company.

The Baby was more active, having a go at a few things he'd never tried before: wake boarding (didn't quite get the hang, but he gave it a good bash before he got too cold), driving the inflatable dinghy, a ride on a jetski, and discovering that it is possible to have a good time without a Playstation.

The weather was perfect, but I was a bit too blase about the sunshine and copped some nasty sunburn on my shoulders and chest. Ouch.

Our taxi service from the shore:



The Baby paddling his own canoe:



And hitching a ride on a jetski:



The men did the cooking. Bike Boy whipped up a Thai curry of mussels, prawns and calamari, among other delights:



Our view:



And looking towards the neighbours at sunset:



That's all the holidays we'll be having for now, although I have plenty more time off. We're planning an excursion a bit further afield later in the year though. Bali's looking good. :)

********

Back home and back to normal...

This morning, I took myself off to the gym. I had planned to train legs, but my left leg is still not right... looks like a job for Peter the Physio. Lucky I'm seeing him this afternoon. So I changed plans and did an upper body workout instead. I dialled things down a notch or two, since it's now been a month since I've done any real training, but I think I'll pull up a bit sore tomorrow. I'll just gradually increase the intensity again - I expect to be back to where I was within a couple of weeks.

I wasn't thrilled by my reflection in the mirror. The pants I chose to wear have a very snug waistband, resulting in the Christmas bloat showing up as a couple of extra rolls above and below. Nice. But I know that will disappear quickly over the next week or two, so whatever... Meanwhile, those pants won't be coming out of the drawer for a little while.

To distract myself from the mirror's image, I spent the time between sets looking around the gym, and found that the view was very, very nice today. I like holidays...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas in brief

8:00am wake up, home-smoked ham on toast for breakfast, gift-opening, early drinks with the in-laws, lunch with my family, home and relaxing by 5:00pm.













I was spoiled, with lots of lovely gifts. A new camera bag, Gold Class vouchers, DVDs, and more. But the one that I was most thrilled with? A cellophane bag of peanut butter Lindor Balls. I often complain that Bike Boy doesn't listen to me, but he proved me wrong, hunting down the elusive treats at the Lindt shop (who knew there even was such a thing??) and surprising me with them.

Now it's onto Boxing Day - some shopping, a BBQ with friends, cricket on TV and the holidays stretching ahead of me.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Celebrating

It may be Christmas Eve, but in our family there's one important event left to celebrate before we move onto tomorrow's festivities. Today is The Baby's birthday.

He was almost born on Christmas Day. Labour was stop-start, and by the time things really got going, it was getting close to 11:00pm. I had one eye on the clock the whole time - no WAY was this kid being born on the 25th! With some superhuman effort, I pushed him out at 11:07pm. Fifty-three minutes to spare, phew.

So tonight there will be cake and candles, and phone calls and visits from family. And one very happy "little" boy.






Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Catch up

The past week has gone by in a bit of a blur... too much to do and not enough sleep, unfortunately. I'm just hanging out for Friday, when I'll be freed from the office grind for a lovely long five weeks. Here's my quick roundup of recent events:

I wasn't happy when I woke up yesterday with a nasty sore throat - AGAIN. What the hell, universe? I've had my quota of suffering for this year. *grumble* Luckily it's better today, so I'm optimistic that I'll be feeling fine and full of the Christmas spirit by the end of the week. And not the kind that comes in a bottle, either.

This morning I'm heading off early and taking a detour on my way to work to spend some birthday loot on one of these:



I'm very excited about this purchase. I've owned a series of Canon SLRs since 1994, but have never been able to justify the cost of a genuine Canon flash. Thanks to some lovely friends at work who gave me a shopping voucher to spend at Knifepoint, plus some cash from family, I have the funds to splurge on one to go with my spanking new 500D.

The Baby's birthday is on Friday and he's been doing a countdown since the calendar ticked over to December. We'll all be glad when the day finally arrives. Must remember to get a cake - I always make an extra effort to give the kid a special birthday, so it doesn't just blend into Christmas. Apparently I've been remiss with my other kids though - The Middle Child pointed out when I ordered the cake for his 18th this year that he's never had a cake before. Not quite true, but I may have overlooked it more than once... Hey, it's my birthday too - someone else should be doing cake duty.

I'll be back after Christmas with some more health and fitness-related posts. Right now, I'm way too tired to think clearly...

Have a merry one, lovely blog people!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Not going to plan

After the past few activity (and illness) filled weeks, this week was the one where I was supposed to catch up on a few things and get back into my normal training routine. I should know better than to make plans...

Sleep is still being elusive, the washing machine has decided to break down, and Bike Boy discovered the driver's side mirror on his car smashed to smithereens when he arrived at the railway station car park tonight. Aargh! I now need to fit urgent hand washing into my evening routine until the repair guy comes on Wednesday, plus play taxi tomorrow while the mechanic has the car to fit a new mirror. I also have a hairdresser appointment tomorrow night at 6:00, which I can't cancel because I'm beginning to look like Cousin It. I'm scaring myself every time I look in the mirror.

Thanks to the lack of sleep, my tolerance level for anything remotely inconvenient is at an all-time low. BUT... in between washing, ironing and dealing with eBay transactions, I managed to squeeze in a walk tonight. That may not quite be up there with the RPM class I had planned for the morning, but it's better than nothing. Especially when it includes scrambling up and down steep river embankments.

I learned long ago that when things go really pear-shaped, you just have to do the best you can and not waste any time feeling guilty about what isn't getting done. RPM will still be there next week.

Tonight I'll be taking every sleep remedy I can find and going to bed early in my quest for a decent night's sleep. I'm also switching my one coffee a day to decaf. *cringe* I know coffee isn't the problem, but cutting it out can't hurt, can it?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Vegemite etiquette

I fancied a muffin with butter and Vegemite for breakfast this morning, just for a change. I unscrewed the lid of the jar and discovered this:



Apparently, my children need lessons in how to use a jar of Vegemite.

1. Dip your knife into the lovely black goo and take just a little bit.
2. Spread on your toast.
3. If the Vegemite isn't thick enough, repeat steps 1 & 2.

That's it. Nowhere do these instructions say: Stick your knife in and take a HUGE glob, spread half of it on your toast and then return the buttery, crumb-filled mess to the inside of the jar, thus causing the next user of the salty spread to gag.

Are you paying attention, family?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Hanging in there

No, I haven't been hungover since Saturday; just busy.

Since I had a week off work sick and I'm disappearing for five weeks from Christmas, I have a bit of a backlog of things to get finished before my holidays. That time is shortened by the work Christmas lunches - which tend to last all afternoon. This year I'm invited to three. I may skip one...

At home my time has been consumed by party clean-up (small), washing catch-up (huge), running kids around, getting the Christmas decorations up, organising next year's booklist, selling this year's textbooks on eBay, and running a million last-minute errands that I keep discovering I need to do before you-know-when. Plus there was a disaster averted earlier this week, when once again, a university proved how utterly incompetent they are at C.O.M.M.U.N.I.C.A.T.I.O.N. It was a stupid, stupid slip-up that almost cost The Middle Child his chance at a place in his dream course. Thanks to Bike Boy doing some of what he's good at (communicating, by a karmic coincidence), the kid got his interview yesterday. So even if he doesn't make the grade, at least he's had a fair go at it.

Phew. On top of all that, my sleep is spasmodic again. *sigh* So I'm just hanging out for 12:00 noon on December 24th. Bring it on, Santa - I need a break!

The party was fabulous, by the way.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Celebrations continue

Thanks for the lovely birthday wishes, all. :) I had a very busy day, only managing a few glasses of bubbly last night in the midst of being a semi-responsible parent.

Yesterday was all about The Middle Child, it being not only my fiftieth, but his eighteenth birthday. We put on a small party for him - about 25 of his friends showed up and Bike Boy BBQ-ed up a storm.

OF COURSE, since he had finally reached the legal age for consuming alcohol, the birthday boy overdid it and I got to spend the latter part of my birthday holding my boy's head over a bucket. I doubt he even remembers everyone singing Happy Birthday to him... and his girlfriend had to blow out the candles for him. Poor baby. I suspect he won't repeat the experience in a big rush.

To top it off, his rotten little brother was running around snapping photos of him looking the worse for wear and then posting them on Facebook. There may be bloodshed today.

********

I plan a slightly more civilised evening for my own celebrations tonight. I shall be keeping myself nice, at least until after the speeches. I'm also quite confident that no bucket will be required.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Halfway to a telegram from the queen


On the momentous occasion of clocking up half a century, I feel as though I ought to be making some profound observations on life. But frankly, I feel about half my age and I hardly ever act my age, so I'd probably come out with a fart joke or something equally immature. It's best if I spare you....

Fifty seemed so old when I was twenty. Actually, fifty WAS old when I was twenty. Back then, fifty-year-old women were grey and slow-moving, and always complaining of some ache or pain. They sat around knitting or swapping recipes, and they dressed like old ladies.

I hear people say that "Fifty is the new forty" and I think Bugger that! In my case, fifty is the new THIRTY. I don't plan to give up my jeans and t-shirts in favour of elastic-waisted granny-pants in some shiny stretchy synthetic fabric. And I won't be shopping for a new wardrobe of tops and dresses with sleeves that cover my upper arms, because "ladies past a certain age" can't help being a bit flabby and floppy.

As for knitting, maybe I'll take it up when I'm eighty.

Meanwhile, if you want me, I'll be over at the park, swinging on the monkey bars.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Not with a bang, but a whimper...

My Nailing November challenge was going along just fine until the universe decided that my body would be the perfect incubator for some truly disgusting microbial life-forms. *gag*

There's nothing I could have done to prevent getting sick, so I won't be wasting any time feeling like a failure. Instead, I'm giving myself a pat on the back for the positive steps I took, and for what I managed to achieve up until I succumbed to the dreaded lurgy.

I made a big effort to eat my veggies when at home for lunch, and succeeded 95% of the time. I gave my cardio efforts an enormous shove in the right direction, really surprising myself by pulling out some top performances. And I did manage to get to bed at a decent hour ...although there wasn't much actual sleeping happening a lot of the time.

I'm calling it a success anyway. :)

Moving right along to December.... Considering how sick I've been, I'm allowing myself the weekend to recuperate fully before getting back on the horse. On Monday morning I shall be up and at 'em, working towards my little fitness and strength goals once more.

But first, I have some celebrating to do. ;)

Psst!

It's safe to come back... the Bleurgh is gone.

Looks like the antibiotics are finally working.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bleurgh


I'm trying very hard to find something to feel positive about, but things have been a bit grim over the past week.

First, my nasty virus may have departed, but it's left behind a souvenir in the form of a sinus infection. I feel worse than I did last week, if that's possible. I'm dying to get back to training, but the only activities I'm fit for are sleeping and complaining. *grump*

Then, the weather has been completely and utterly shite. Yes, it's great that the drought has finally broken, but COME ON! We have some major celebrating to do and the forecast for the foreseeable future is: rain, thunderstorms, rain, showers, rain and uh....rain. My party decorations all depend on fine weather (and no, I can't put them up inside the house), the new bar won't even get a run if it's pouring, and The Middle Child is having a BBQ for his 18th birthday, which is kind of weather-dependent too. *whinge*

Thanks to the worst allergy season in recent history, my asthma and eczema have flared up, adding to the general feeling of crappiness. And my face is all dry and scabby, so I'm going to look real pretty for my party.

Now Bike Boy has woken up today with a sore throat. Fantastic. Just what we need.

So, the positive side of all this is..... um... yeah. Exactly.

I'm staying away for a bit until I'm fit for human society. I'll return when The Cranky is safely back in its cage.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Look out, slugs!

Thankfully, the evil snot-virus appears to be departing. I managed a reasonable amount of sleep last night, my throat is only scratchy and dry instead of excruciating, and I can even breathe a bit through my nose. Thank goodness - I don't get sick very often, and I'm utterly miserable on the rare occasions when it happens. In fact, I've whinged so much, I'm even fed up with myself.

The torrential rain over the past 36 hours seems to have temporarily reduced the extreme pollen count that sent my hay fever into overdrive, but my asthma has decided to be a bit troublesome now. Oh well, that's nothing drugs can't fix.

So it's Friday and I'm at home - that has to be a good thing. :) What shall I do? I'm planning a day full of excitement: grocery shopping, washing, maybe a nap, and I need get outside and do a slug patrol - those buggers are making a meal out of my lime and cumquat leaves. Who knows, slug-squishing could even be therapeutic.

Don't you wish you could swap lives with me?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hammering away

I haven't forgotten about my NOvember Nailer goals; I've just been a bit distracted by other things, and haven't had a second to blog about them.

To recap, my goals were:

To eat a proper lunch on weekends or other days when I'm at home - specifically, to include veggies.

I've done well on this one - there's only been one occasion when I haven't eaten protein + veggies + good carbs for lunch, and even that wasn't an awful choice.

To get to bed at a decent time so I can get up early to train.

There haven't been any late nights, except on weekends, so I'm giving this one a tick, even if I haven't actually been doing the training part over the past week.

To Go Hard or Go Home with my cardio efforts.

I've definitely nailed this one - Phat Camp certainly helped. LOL. Of course, I've done nothing since, but I have valid reasons. I plan to be back on the bike, giving myself a good thrashing, as soon as this virus clears up. Hopefully, that won't aggravate my ITB.

As for my other fitness goals, well... a couple of them are on hold, but I blitzed my pushup goal at Phat Camp, as well as the squat jump goal. The running will have to wait till my leg is 100%... Stretching was going well too, but that's on the back burner too until I feel human again.

Maybe I'm not exactly where I expected, but I can honestly say that I'm doing my best, and that's all anyone can do.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Passing the time

Where have I been? Let's see.... working, cleaning (in preparation for the upcoming Significant Birthday), helping Bike Boy finish off our outdoor bar and install garden lighting, and over the past few days, dealing with a nasty virus that's taken up residence in my head and throat. Today, just for extra-bonus joy points, the feral north wind sent my hay fever into overdrive as well. Good times...

I feel so ill, I would have given anything to have taken a sick day today, but I had two separate "things" on at work that I just couldn't miss. Sometimes you really are indispensable. Yay.
:( Tomorrow though, I am not showing up.

End of whinge.

In other news, the Middle Child had his first interview for his shortlisted tertiary courses today. Because his course selections are classified as performing arts subjects, entrance selection doesn't go on VCE scores at all; written application plus interview decides who gets in and who doesn't. He thinks he did well. :) One down, three to go.

Post-Phat Camp, I managed a super upper body session on Wednesday last week. Since then I've done zero, apart from some walking. That's because once the DOMS wore off, I discovered that I'd done something to my left ITB - possibly as a result of all the duck walks or the plyo exercises(?), compounded by my leg length discrepancy and over-pronating feet. That ruled out training legs, or any kind of cardio activity other than walking, while I waited for it to heal. I'm sure it's only minor, but I'm not about to push my luck.

By the time I was set to do upper body again or tackle an RPM class, the snot-virus from hell had descended and frankly, what with the lack of sleep and the inability to breathe, I don't fancy training at all. Even walking doesn't appeal, since it would require my traversing the neighbourhood with a wad of tissues shoved up both nostrils.

So I consulted my trainer (me) and she prescribed rest. Lots of rest. Hopefully, this bug will sod off and bother someone else in a couple of days and my hip, thigh and knee will be as good as new so I can get back to it. I'm not feeling at all guilty about being a slug - sometimes it's the right thing to do.

Meanwhile, I'm passing the time parked on the couch with laptop and remote controls, catching up on recorded TV shows and browsing eBay looking for furniture bargains. So far I've picked up two things that were just what I needed - or will be once I get stuck into them with sander and paintbrush.

I also horrified my family the other day when I started checking out stuff that had been put out on the nature strip for an upcoming hard rubbish collection... (Honestly, the things people chuck out!) I'm seriously considering going back for some chairs that looked just the ticket for our mostly unfurnished lounge. Be afraid, kids....be very afraid. ;)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Was that a challenge?

On Friday night at the start of Phat Camp, Jen made sure to tell all the campers how much she LOVES Tim Tams. Of course, this ensures that she receives enough of them over the weekend to stuff a suitcase, which gives her a supply that lasts several months. Smart thinking, since they're hard to come by in the U.S. ;)

Later, during a discussion about nutrition, she was asked what her favourite protein source is and she replied: egg whites. She waxed lyrical about ways to cook egg whites and said that her favourite thing is an egg white omelette, filled with all kinds of things: mushrooms, peppers, turkey, etc, etc. THEN she sighed and said: If only someone would invent a Tim Tam omelette...

You know I can't resist a culinary challenge. And I'm the queen of the souffle omelette. So I give you.....

The TIM TAM SOUFFLE OMELETTE



It needs just a little refining, but it was pretty damn good. And just quietly, half of one is perfectly adequate. I feel a little sick now...

I promise to share the recipe, just not now. I'm off to see Hairspray tonight, and I look like something the cat dragged in. I need a hairdresser and makeup artist, stat!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Happy legs

The killer DOMS has receded to the point where it's (mostly) not even bothering me. That's a HUGE difference to my previous three Phat Camps, where it took a week for my poor, poor legs to recover.

The only things I did different were:

1. I wore my Skins to bed on Sunday night. I had an awful night on Saturday, not just with the DOMS waking me every time I moved, but with achey (sp?) legs too. I dragged on my compression tights on Sunday before hitting the sack and slept only a little better, but noticed the difference in my legs the next morning.

2. I drank at least a litre of Xtend each day during Phat Camp. Jen sells Scivation products, and the gym had it on tap for the campers, with a different flavour each day. I use this stuff anyway on weight training days and also when I do an RPM or tough Spinervals workout, but I really had no benchmark for comparing the effects before this. Now I can say that this stuff ROCKS when it comes to aiding recovery. The blue raspberry flavour is pretty good too... that's on my shopping list when my grape runs out.

I've had two rest days, but it was back to the gym this morning for upper body. I was very pleased to see my old mates Delts and Biceps looking back at me in the mirror while I was finishing up with ladder bicep curls. They've been in hiding, but today they came out to play. Welcome back! :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Phat Camp dot-point summary


I have a billion things to do today, so here's my in brief summary of some things I learned (or re-learned) on the weekend:

- I'm crap at spider crawls, but I totally rock duck walks. Thank goodness for all the leg and glute work I've done over the past three years.

- Duck walks up and over steps suuuuuuuck. Especially when you have short legs.

- I can do way more than I thought I could.

- I forgot how much hundreds of walking lunges hurt.

- My fitness and strength are far below where they were at my last Phat Camp in March 08, but way above where I was seven weeks ago. And I'm good with that.

- The DOMS is bad. I mean can't sleep for the pain bad. Damn! How did I forget about that?

- Jen still loves Tim Tams.

- The most inspirational campers aren't always the strongest or the fittest-looking.

- It doesn't matter if you have no equipment or no space, you can still do a kick-arse training session.

- I'm more at peace with myself than I've ever been. Huh.

I can't wait to do it again.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Done!

Exhausted, stinky, sore everywhere, inspired, exhilarated.

Yep, another Phat Camp is over.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Break in transmission

This week I'm busier than a one-legged man in a bum-kicking contest. So excuse me if I'm absent from the blog for a few days.

The next month is actually jam-packed full of events and outings - which will be nice, but is actually a bit challenging for a homebody like me, because it leaves me little time to do the things that need to be done (like washing) and almost none for the things I'd like to do. That little equation adds up to a stressed-out Kek. I'm going to have to make a big effort to ignore stuff that doesn't really need doing and relax a bit.

My agenda for the next few days looks like this:

Thursday: Work, physio, dinner with a BFL buddy who's hopping across the ditch from New Zealand for a flying visit.

Friday: Get to work early so I can leave early, organise food and pack stuff for the weekend (must remember my camera!), head into the city for Phat Camp from 6:00pm

Saturday: Up early and off to the city again for more Phat Camp torture fun.

Sunday: Repeat Saturday, hopefully finish up by 4:00pm, dash home to shower and change and arrive late at a 21st.

Monday: I am taking the day OFF to catch up on some housework, before heading off to the Kool Skools awards night in the evening to (hopefully) witness The Middle Child's band repeat last year's performance and take out another award.

Then it's work, work, work and I'm off to see Hairspray on Thursday night. All good fun, but I feel exhausted already...

Back soon!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

To sleep, perchance to dream...


I've been having an awful time with insomnia again. This time, it's definitely not coffee. Nope, it's my crazy hormones. The hot flushes strike at night, waking me a million times (well, it seems like it) and leaving me feeling exhausted and wrung out in the morning.

My miracle pills aren't helping any more - I even doubled the dose, but no joy. I remarked to Bike Boy tonight that I must start taking my hops/valerian evil-tasting drops on a regular basis and see if that does the job. The potion is designed to relieve insomnia, but hops is known to also have a beneficial effect on menopausal symptoms.

Then Bike Boy mentioned that one of his beer brewing books had a recipe for a hops pillow, designed to improve sleep. It apparently promotes extremely vivid dreams though - if I combine it with magnesium, I wonder if my usual crazy dreams will become even more loony?

Anyway, he's out of hop flowers at the moment, but as soon as he gets some more, I'm going to hop to it (geddit?) and whip up one of these little numbers to test it out.



By the way, in spite of a very crappy night, I got up at 5:30 this morning and headed off to my RPM class. Must remember next time to eat something at the gym afterwards, NOT wait till I get to work an hour and twenty minutes later. My legs refused to go up the stairs... I was totally out of fuel. Oops.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Whose fault?

Katie wrote an excellent post yesterday about cause and effect.

One thing that drives me crazy is people who will not take responsibility for their own feelings and subsequent actions. Emotions are funny things - we react instinctively to certain words, people, situations. Although instinct may be the wrong word, because in many cases it's a learned response. And if you've learned something, you can always un-learn it, can't you?

Some days it seems to me that everybody in the whole world wants someone to blame for their problems. Maybe the flip side of that is that they live in hope that "someone" will come and rescue them from those problems, without them having to lift a finger themselves.

Well, you know what? Nobody is coming to rescue you. There is no knight in shining armour, no superhero waiting to swoop in and fix everything that's wrong in your life. As Katie says: Who's driving the bus?

You need to get off your butt and take some kind of action. Accept that you're in control and take a single step towards wherever it is you want to be; that's all it takes to get started. The alternative is, you can stay right where you are, with your anger, disappointment, resentment and regret to keep you company.

As for me, I'm not joining the pity party. I'm busy being my own superhero, as Mizfit would say.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Got goals?


As I've mentioned a few times recently, I'm working on improving my fitness and strength and things are going well. But I've committed to taking it a step further by setting some measurable goals, just to help keep me on track and progressing nicely - thanks for the poke, Clara. ;)

The brief was to aim for a minimum 10% improvement in specific areas over an eight-week period, which started from the 1st November. That takes us up to the 26th December. Perfect.

For some reason though, I'm actually having trouble with this goal-setting thing. That's kind of unusual for me, because normally I know exactly what I want... I'm not sure what's up with that, but here goes anyway:

1. Push ups. Getting back to my former performance level with these is a really big thing for me. For now, I'm settling for cranking out 10% more of these little beauties. I could aim for a more challenging figure than 10%, but I'm not about to aggravate my left shoulder by trying to be heroic...

I probably should have done a 1-minute push up test and worked from there, but since I didn't, I'll have to base my benchmark on this week's 3 x 10 effort. 30 pushups in total, so a 10% improvement means that's only 33 I have to work towards. Ah, let's round it up to 35. I reserve the right to break up the sets any way I like.

2. Running. 20 minutes can be done; I proved that on Wednesday. I'm stretching the 10% goal here and will be aiming for a solid 30 minutes by Boxing Day. I know I can do it, but putting it here in black and white will make sure I actually DO.

3. Squat jumps. This morning I decided that, since I managed 12 last time, I'd aim for 13 today. I did 15 - woot! So I'm setting myself the target of nailing 30 of these by the end of this challenge. OK, so that's a 100% improvement, but it's only 10% x 10. Close enough.

4. Stretching. This is something I skip on the slightest pretext. Let's face it, it's not exciting at all. But it is something I need to do, so I'm biting the bullet and committing to a separate weekly stretching session, as well as the normal after-training stretch.

Note there are no weight goals amongst these. I thought about it, but I'm lifting the maximum I can on a daily basis, while paying attention to the level of pain in my arms, shoulder or neck. Some days I lift more than others; I'm fine with that. So there are no crazy Leg press 300kg or Bench 50kg goals here....

These do feel like pretty feeble goals to me. I'd like to be aiming for something exciting like doing 10 consecutive chin-ups, or a 5km run in under 25 minutes, but I'm being realistic about where I'm at right now.

This isn't replacing my NOvember Nailer challenge, it's enhancing it. Speaking of which, I've had a bit of a relaxed week, since I've been on holidays. So the getting to bed early goal went out the window. Luckily that wasn't a drama since I didn't have to get up at the crack of dawn.

The goal of eating a proper lunch has actually been achieved - I've made sure there were supplies in the fridge to make it easy. Even at the races on Thursday I bought a roast beef roll piled high with coleslaw, so I made sure I got my veggies in.

As for the goal of giving my cardio efforts a gee-up, I've even surprised myself with what I've pulled out this past week.

This post has taken me HOURS to write. It doesn't feel finished, but I'm not spending any more time on it. I'm off to have a quiet read on my last day of freedom... I comfort myself with the thought that there's only seven weeks until the Christmas holidays. :)

The low-down

My annual pilgrimage to Flemington went well - apart from the freezing cold, crappy weather. My TAB account had more in it at the end of the day than what I started with, there was champagne a-plenty, I didn't come home with blisters on my feet, and we weren't left stranded by our cruddy train system either - so I'd call it a success.



I was extremely happy with my savvy shopping and felt pretty damn good in my bargain outfit. I'll share my secrets....

There's a Diana Ferrari factory clearance outlet in the shopping strip near my office and over the years I've picked up some crazy-cheap shoes. The fuschia satin jobs weren't all that cheap at $80, but that was still $40 off retail, so I'm not complaining. The matching bag was reduced and reduced and REDUCED - from $60 down to $20. I figured that made up for the shoes. I mean, if you average it, $100 for shoes and bag is a good deal. ;)

I then had to find a fascinator in a matching colour. Unfortunately, that meant paying full price - but at $30, it wasn't going to break the bank. I still think $30 for a few feathers stuck on a comb is outrageous.... but this year I didn't have time to create one, and nothing I already own was going to work.

The little black shrug was $25 from one of those shops that sells cheap Asian imports. I saw it and knew it was going to work perfectly with the halter-neck dress. Ah, the dress....

Guess where I found my dress? Not somewhere I usually go looking for special occasion outfits. Or any occasion outfits, for that matter.

K Mart.

You read right. K Mart. $29.95. How awesome is that?

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Rust-free zone


A few months back, I left his comment on Magda's old blog:

I will slap the next person who says "Oh, your body just falls apart as you get older", or "You won't be doing xxxx when you're 50".

I'm bloody 50 in less than four months and I'm not ready to just sit around and knit yet. Or probably ever. LOL.


It's now only four weeks till my 50th birthday and here's what I have planned for the next year:

Phat Camp in a week's time. Two and a half days of killer workouts, with a bunch of positive, health and fitness focused ladies. BOOYAH! Yes, I will be crippled with DOMS for probably a week afterwards, but hell; at least I'll know I'm alive.

A huge celebration on the occasion of clocking up half a century. No way am I letting this occasion slide by, unnoticed. I'll be making as much noise as possible. (Advance apologies to the neighbours...)

The return to full-on crazy-arse fitness and strength. I'm well on the way to this already. I'm not being reckless; I see my physio every week, I listen to his advice, I take breaks at work, and I'm following a graduated approach to training so that I don't do the old snakes-and-ladders act and find myself right back where I started. But I will not be beaten!

Another appearance on the figure stage. No, I'm not going to win. I do this for a lot of reasons, but not because I think I have a hope of taking out the trophy (unless of course nobody else shows up). The main thing for me is that it's a bloody terrifying, exhilarating, awesome leap out of my comfort zone. And for a shy girl, that's a huge challenge. It's not set in stone yet, but I'm aiming for July...

I want to run, I want to lift heavy stuff, I want to be full of energy, well into my sixties and beyond. I do NOT want to be sitting on the couch moaning about my lumbago (I don't even know what that is, to be honest). I don't want to join the "over fifties" activities my local council runs. I spotted a link on their website a while back and thought Ooh - what can I get for nix? I clicked through and found it was all gentle walks and macrame and bus trips to the rose gardens for seniors. As I commented to my GP "I'm turning fifty, not bloody ninety!"

Injuries aside, I'm feeling remarkably young for my years. I look around at other people my age, and listen to them complain about their backs, their necks, their blood pressure and cholesterol and so on. And I realise that my mad exercise addiction is actually helping to keep injuries at bay, not making them more likely. I stop training; I suffer problems with my hip and lower back. I step up the intensity and frequency of training and the pains disappear.

So, like the picture says.... I'd rather wear out than rust. Don't DARE tell me that things change when you turn fifty. I heard that from so many sources when I was about to turn forty - and look at me now. :)

Friday, November 05, 2010

Above average

As I was warming up on the treadmill the other day, I actually took notice of all the info displayed on the console. Usually, all I care about is the speed I'm going at and the time that's elapsed, but there's all sorts of stuff to keep you amused on these machines - and I don't mean the TV channels.

For one thing, there are some short cut buttons on the touch screens, so you can go straight to an "average" speed for the kind of workout you want to do. I nearly choked when I noticed that the jog button is set to 6.0kmh. Man, I walk faster than that, and I'm not exactly at the point where I'm doing Cathy Freeman-esque sprints. I think walk was 3kmh and run 9kmh. Hell, even I can run at 9kmh without feeling any pain. And as for walking at 3kmh, I think I'd drop off to sleep through sheer boredom and fall off the treadmill.

The other thing that had me chuckling was the table of heart rates for age. I scanned down the list and discovered that at (almost) 50, if I wanted to do an 80% MHR workout, my heart rate should be around the 136 BPM mark. Uh...I think NOT. That would put my maximum heart rate at 170, which is based on the old 220 minus your age formula. Load of rubbish.

I don't know what my actual max is, but I do know that I've tipped 218 in the past. While my resting heart rate gets lower as I get fitter, my maximum heart rate doesn't follow that same pattern.

Huh. If I trained at 136 BPM, I'd never get past a walk up a slight incline. That might be comfortable, but it isn't going to advance my fitness any.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Smashed it!


Yesterday I was determined to pull out a really smashing cardio workout. It's not my favourite thing, but that makes the feeling of achievement afterwards even better, because I know I've pushed myself out of my comfort zone. Doing something you enjoy is easy, mentally; doing something you dislike is a lot more of a challenge.

Running is something I've never been terribly good at, but I remember the feeling when I ran my first 5km event, then a few months later managed an 8km. The pace might have been slow, but I crossed that finish line knowing that I hadn't wimped out and walked any of it.

So today I decided it was time to work on my running again. The weather dictated that it would be a treadmill run, and that can be oh, so boring. Blah. So I made up a workout with some variety, like so:

Walk for 5 minutes to warm up
Run for 5 minutes
Up the incline to 1.5 and run for 10 minutes
Drop back to zero incline and run another 5 minutes
Slow to a brisk walk for 2 minutes
Slow right down and do 20 walking lunges
Back to a brisk walk for 1 minute
Do another 20 walking lunges
Walk for 2 minutes
Get off and do 20 defensive squats (That got some looks! LOL)
Walk for another minute
Do a side shuffle for 30 seconds
Switch to the other side for 30 seconds
Back to a walk for 1 minute
Up the speed and sprint for 1 minute
Do 20 more walking lunges and cool down

No chance of getting bored with that!

I'd say I nailed my NOvember cardio goal...

No training for me today; I'm off to the races. Hurrah!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Ocsober: All over

I completely forgot to post an update on Ocsober. Yes, I did make it through 31 days without a single drink. *adjusts halo* As I reported earlier, it wasn't hard at all.

Thanks to the lovely ladies who sponsored me - it made me just that bit more committed. :)


Hehe...funny:



Image courtesy of Beer Blokes

Bet that link gets Bike Boy's attention....

I think that was my thumb!

Strike one: No veggies with dinner.

Last night Bike Boy BBQ-ed up a pile of meat (and some chicken breast for me), which he and the boys planned to eat man-style: with bread and sauce. As I walked back in the door after picking up The Middle Child from work, he asked if I was going to make a salad.

Hmm, let's see.... it's cold, and I hate salad in cold weather. Dinner's ready right now and I'm hungry. I'm also tired and that immediately leads to my can't be bothered reflex kicking in. So dinner consisted of chicken and a couple of pieces of a garlic and chive twisty thing I bought from the bakery.

Lesson to take away from this? Be prepared. I could have organised salad or veggies before I left. If it was there, all ready to serve, I'd have eaten it.

On the positive side, I didn't eat a massive amount of bread. And I resisted the urge to have a drink. Champagne on Cup Day is practically compulsory, but nope, not a single drop did I have. I also smacked down the evil chocolate bitch, who likes to pop up every time I go to the supermarket. Chocolate! Or chocolate ice cream! What about chocolate cake? she whispers. I thought about how much better I'll feel on my birthday without the extra kgs and ignored her.

Not such a bad effort, really.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

From strength to strength


It always amazes me how quickly the human body can return to its former levels of strength and fitness after a break. Even after a pretty long break.

I took the bull by the horns and joined my new gym in late September. I did my very first workout there on the 28th, so exactly five weeks ago today. Boy, that was a demoralising experience - but I sucked it up and just got on with it, even though what I felt like doing was hiding in a corner somewhere.

I could barely manage five pushups in total. My first battle with the elliptical saw me get off in disgust after five minutes - I thought I was going to die. I could just get through 30 seconds of backwards motion and oh, how my legs burned! I was lifting baby weights and could hold a standard plank for only about 40 seconds, and was mortified at my sad efforts.

Fast forward to now - five weeks later - and I've managed to do three sets of ten pushups. Not that impressive, sure, except when you consider that it's a 600% improvement on where I started from. I also fronted up for my leg session yesterday and decided I was bored with the program I'd been doing. So I rummaged through the myriad sheets of paper in the bottom of my gym bag, found one of Liz's old programs and decided to give it a go.

I warmed up with one-and-a-half barbell squats. I knew those were going to hurt so I refrained from adding any plates onto the Olympic bar and boy, was I right - Ouch! Next was a deadlift/rack pull complex and my weights weren't even embarrassing. Not quite my best, but not a long way from it. Then I moved onto step-ups with a plate held overhead - these don't need a heavy weight, but I decided not to be a wuss and stacked ALL of the risers under my step. I skipped the next exercise - hamstring raises from the floor - because: a) I'm pretty sure I can't do those yet; and b) I don't have a partner and there was nothing I could find to wedge my feet under.

The finisher was 30 jump squats. Hmm. I thought about giving them a miss, but told myself to shut up and just do as many as I could. I got to twelve... which is not terrible. I remember it took me a while to work up to thirty the first time I did this program, and I was pretty fit then. I added a couple of BOSU exercises and a couple of planks with arms on a stability ball and feet on a bench (yes!) and then moved onto cardio.

I eyed off the machines and saw my old nemesis, the elliptical, staring at me. I squared my shoulders and stepped up for a rematch. I think I muttered something like You're not beating me this time, Buster! I actually surprised myself. I did intervals of one minute forwards/one minute backwards/one minute forward and in spite of the soaring heart rate, it was almost easy. I interspersed those three minute sets with sets of mountain climbers, pop squats and iso-squats.

Man, that felt good. Well, good might be stretching it a bit - it was a killer workout and I was in some extreme pain, but mentally, it felt good. If there'd been someone nearby (even a total stranger) when I was done, I'd have high-fived them.

I finished with a long stretching session and some foam roller work for my upper back.

It just shows that if you start slowly and push yourself a bit more each session...and don't allow the negative voices to take control... you can achieve a lot of progress in a short time.

I feel bulletproof once more.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Nailing it - day 1



I'm happy with the start I've made in my NOvember challenge.

I had leftovers in the fridge, so lunch was chicken, sweet potato, broccoli and carrots. Tick!

This morning's leg workout was a killer, but I didn't let that stop me ripping out a super cardio workout. I did have to have stern words with my inner princess, but she slunk off when she realised I was serious about this thing. Tick!

I don't need to get up early in the morning (public holiday, yay!), but I'm about to head off to bed now. So Tick to that too!

Great start, Kek! You'll be Kek-alicious in no time.*


* 'Scuse me talking to myself. :p

Faking it...again

The other day I decided that if I want to feel like an athlete, I need to act like an athlete. And of course that means training hard (and regularly) and eating well. But it also refers to the unspoken messages we send. Somewhere inside my head, part of me has still been feeling unworthy. Or something, anyway.

So yesterday I thought about what I can do to turn that negative voice off. I'm still working on The Plan, but for starters, I pulled out my ANB tank top and wore it to the gym. Just the simple act of wearing that competitor's T-shirt made me feel a little more like the real deal.

And I think I'm going to throw my hooker heels in my gym bag and do some posing practice this week while I have extra time available - just for fun. OK, also because I suck at posing and really need to work on it if I'm actually going to step on stage again.

Plus (if this rainy weather ever clears up) I'll start taking my training gear to work 2-3 times a week, so I can do some extra cardio at the park in my lunch break.

I figure that if I train like an athlete, eat like an athlete, look like an athlete and ACT like an athlete, then pretty soon I have to start feeling like an athlete again. I've always been a fan of the Fake it till you make it approach.

If anyone has any other brilliant suggestions, I'm open...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Let's nail it!



I'm joining up with Liz in her Nail it November efforts. There are only two months left of this year, and I intend to make the most of them.

So, during November, I'm going to work on a few things.

I have a bit of a bad habit of reaching for any old thing for lunch when I'm at home. Working day or not, I need to be consistent about eating properly. That means protein, vegies and all.

So I'm saying NO to having "whatever" for lunch on the weekends.

I need to be up early to train, or it isn't likely to happen, but like Liz, I have a tendency to stay up later than I can afford to.

So I'll be saying NO to late nights.

My fitness needs a kick in the pants, and I can't afford to pussyfoot around with cardio if I'm going to get myself up to speed any time soon. I can talk myself out of a cardio session on the slightest pretext ...it's one of my talents. ;)

So I'm saying NO to wussing out on cardio. No cutting it short, no scaling it back, and definitely no skipping it.

That should do it.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Let the holidays begin!

A lot of Melbournians take a sickie, an RDO or some other kind of leave on Monday, to make it a lovely four-day weekend for the Melbourne Cup. Me, I take it a step further and take the entire week off.

Hey, I'm going to the races on Thursday, and it takes me a long time to get ready.

An ounce of prevention

This is interesting:

Australia is set to have a national preventative health agency after the federal opposition declared it would support the body if some changes were made...

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said more preventative action on health would take pressure off hospitals.

The agency would coordinate education campaigns and research but it would not be responsible for imposing taxes on junk food, cigarettes and alcohol, Ms Gillard said...

Australian Medical Association President Andrew Pesce said the agency would play a key role in informing and education Australians about getting and staying healthy.

"A growing number of Australians are at high risk of serious diseases and premature death due to excess weight, smoking and excess alcohol use," Mr Pesce said.

"Doctors are seeing the consequences of these problems in their patients every day and much of it can be prevented."

Mr Pesce said the agency, with the support of a doctor on its advisory council, would provide a central focus for evidence on prevention measures and a coordinated national and strategic approach to preventing chronic disease.


The Age, October 26


Spending money on preventing major health issues certainly beats chucking billions into the hospital and pharmaceutical systems after the horse has bolted.

I'll be waiting to hear what this new agency will actually DO. And whether it can make the people it's intended to help begin to take some responsibility for their own health.

Hmm.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Final Five

Ocsober has only five days to run (including today) and I'm feeling very smug about getting through 26 days without resorting to buying a Leave Pass. At $50 a day, the level of desperation would need to be severe to overcome my ingrained tight-arse tendencies anyway.

Bike Boy has still been drinking beer and spirits, but he's very thoughtfully refrained from opening a bottle of wine all month. Not that it would have bothered me particularly, but I appreciate the gesture.

I found myself at a pub following a funeral a week ago and happily sipped a lime and soda while everyone else had wine, vodka and so on. Saturday's wedding wasn't even a drama - I was driving anyway - but again we ended up at a pub between the church service and the reception, and I drank one lemon, lime and bitters, a coffee and then water. I even toasted the happy couple with water. No way was I touching that champagne!

Mostly, I haven't missed it. Once or twice I've felt like relaxing with a glass of wine after working all day outdoors, but the desire passed pretty quickly. Some Perrier or San Pellegrino served with a slice of lemon in a wine glass made a perfectly adequate substitute.

I'm looking forward to Oaks Day though - there will be some champagne consumed at the races. Thank goodness the Cup carnival falls in November.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Survived!


As per my plan, this morning I fronted up to the 6:00am RPM class at my gym. I had a bad night, and when the alarm went off, I seriously thought about giving it a miss - for about five seconds, before my conscience kicked me out of bed.

I wasn't quite matching the cadence the instructor was suggesting, and my resistance levels were probably a little light too, but I was making a conscious effort not to overdo things to the point where I'd be dragging my arse by the middle of the class. Of course, I wondered if I was being a wimp. But when I started to feel a bit nauseous in Track 6, I knew I wasn't wussing out.

Two things struck me about the rest of the participants:

1. All the women were wearing track pants. WTF? The lone guy in the class was in regular old shorts, but it was just little old me in my bike nicks. Track pants? Seriously? I think I'd have died of heat exhaustion.

2. I showed up with my 750ml bottle of water and my 1L of Extend. By the end of the class, I'd emptied the litre bottle and had less than half of the water left. Everyone else was sipping daintily on their 600ml water bottles. How the hell do you get through 55 minutes of intense cardio with a piddling 600ml of water? Am I just a water piggy?

Anyway, I survived and my big bowl of oats was very welcome. :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

I went out to buy some apples and....

Anyone remember that old game? No? So it's just me who was a daggy Girl Guide then?

Anyway, moving right along...I urgently required some apples today, so I popped out to the shops at lunchtime. Then out of nowhere, I thought I should just have a browse around for something to wear to the Oaks next week. I was going to recycle something, but I've done that the past couple of years and frankly, I'm over it.

Before I knew it I was loaded up with this dress:



These WICKED shoes:



This matching bag:



And this fascinator:



All I need now is a just-in-case jacket and I'm all set.



The best bit? This whole bundle of awesomeness cost me under $160.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The excitement never stops around here

In my dreams plan for the day:

Go out for second breakfast.
Go furniture shopping (and not even think about how much anything costs).
Laze on the couch with a magazine and a cuppa and maybe nod off for a while.

Reality bites plan for the day:

Have second coffee (hey, it's the weekend).
Do another four loads of washing, hang out same.
Give house a cursory clean. Prioritise kids' bathroom...I think I saw something move in there!
Seasol garden, spread some moo poo on the fruit trees.
Oil outdoor furniture.
Iron Bike Boy's shirts for the week.
Return DVDs and go shopping for milk and other boring necessities.
Organise food and training gear for tomorrow.
Collapse in an exhausted heap onto mis-matched furniture to watch an hour of TV before crawling into bed just a wee bit too late for my own good.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

K.I.S.S.


Simplicity can be a good thing when we're trying to juggle a lot in our lives. More (or more complex) is not necessarily better.

Think about it: You have a job, kids, a house to keep (more or less) clean and tidy, bills to pay, shopping to do, meals to prepare, training to get done - and somewhere you'd like to squeeze in a bit of social life, and maybe some quiet time with your significant other as well.

Much as I love interesting food, and enjoy variety with my training, I find that over-complicated meal plans and training programs can send my brain into overload mode when I already have a lot on my plate. Given my recent history of anxiety, I'm not keen on pushing my limits in that area.

I usually manage to swing a day off every couple of weeks - ah, the beauty of flexible working arrangements! But right now, I'm three-quarters of the way through a four-week stint of solid five-day weeks. I know! You're thinking: Aww. Poor love! (Shut up, OK? I know I have it easy.) Anyway, between standard work days and my irritatingly long commute, I'm not actually home all that much on weekdays. Then weekends are a blur of catching up on the washing, running errands and trying to fit in all the stuff that's piled up during the week.

I'm actually coping quite well, but trying to get my head around anything that requires real brain power outside work is an impossible task. After spending eight seven hours a day using my grey matter to do research, compile spreadsheets, analyse data, interpret laws that appear to be written in a mysterious foreign language and then draw some logical conclusions from all of that, I do NOT want to be thinking hard when it comes to anything else.

So my simple approach involves:

1. Using tried and true exercise programs; ones that I'm comfortable with and that I know work for me. I have an old weight training program that's a basic two-day upper and lower body split. I've deleted a couple of exercises that I simply can't do with my dodgy neck and shoulder, but the rest works beautifully for me. I'm also keeping cardio super-basic. Steady-state or simple intervals suit me just fine at the moment, along with some Spinervals workouts. No thinking required there; just do whatever Coach Troy orders. Plus making an effort to get off my butt and walk more every single day. (Thank you, trusty pedometer!)

Nothing new, nothing fancy, nothing that requires me to carry a written plan around the gym in case I forget anything. Nothing's set in stone though - if I feel like doing something different on a given day, then I just wing it.

2. Eating whatever's easiest - within reason. There isn't much that Bike Boy cooks that I won't eat, so this doesn't pose a problem. I'm not being fanatical about avoiding processed food - if we're home late, I'll happily drag a jar of balti sauce out of the pantry and do a quick cheat's curry. Mostly, I just add extra veggies to whatever's on the menu and I'm good to go.

I'm also aiming to have leftovers from our dinners most nights, so we have lunches ready to go in the fridge. Less work and less thinking...

3. Keeping my gym bag packed with everything I need. Towel, gloves, resistance band, water bottle, ipod. All I have to do is chuck in my phone and leave the bag by the garage door with my car keys before I go to bed, and I'm set for the morning.

My no-brainer, less-is-more plan seems to be working just fine at the moment. I don't feel as though I have to do X, Y or Z. I'm not bored out of my brain (not yet, anyway). I feel challenged, but I'm not dreading my workouts ...or organising my meals.

Best of all, I'm not feeling frazzled or overwhelmed, and I can see improvements in my fitness. Plus my clothes are getting looser.

Now I need to go hang out in my wardrobe and ponder what to wear to a wedding this afternoon...at least I have a few choices. :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Too smart for my own good

I'm in the habit of (mostly) writing my posts at night, and setting them to publish the next morning. Sometimes I'm super-organised and write two or three posts at once and then set them to publish, one each day, over the next few days.

That works really well when you have a head overflowing with ideas, because you can spread them out instead of bombarding your readers with umpteen posts on the one day. You also don't have to worry about days when you're too busy to blog or you're completely void of inspiration - you can chill and just let automated publishing take care of things for you.

Only problem is, you have to know what today's date is, so you can figure out the date you want your post to publish. I can be a bit ditzy about that at times. Which is why you got two posts yesterday. One of them was meant to appear like magic this morning, but ...oops.

So, this is all you get for today's post. Tough luck.



Thursday, October 21, 2010

All grown up



I got up yesterday morning to find blood everywhere in the kitchen. No, it wasn't a horrible accident, just The Middle Child getting ready for Muck Up Day and mixing up fake blood for his zombie costume.

Tonight he'll suave it up in shirt and tie and ride in a limo to the Year 12 formal. Then we'll be into the whirlwind of exams and graduation and results and uni offers.

I'm just wondering what happened to my chubby little cherub with the blonde curls.

Soaking up the non-skankiness

I’m enjoying the new gym. It’s fun to have a new play space, but I keep finding more good things about it:

1. RPM classes at no (extra) cost. Most of the times don’t suit me, but there’s the Tuesday 6:00am class and the Thursday 6:00pm class...which *ahem* my sister in law instructs ...I KNOW! How embarrassing that I’ve only been ONCE in the year and a bit that the gym’s been open.

2. Chilled filtered water. And lockers. And showers! Neither the skanky gym or the one I haunted last year offered such luxuries. Hey, they were cheap...

3. Pretty surroundings. The d├ęcor is very funky. Bright orange feature segments of backlit Perspex. Wakes you up in the morning, that’s for sure. I'm not too sure about the plastic palm trees though. Hmm.

4. Video channels, ipod sockets and other fancy-schmancy features on the cardio machines that most people probably take for granted. All new to meeee.

5. A big, empty cardio studio – there’s only one day each week that there's a class scheduled for 6:00am, so I’m planning on using the room for some of my cardio workouts, and definitely for posing practice down the track.

6. A BOSU. A foam roller. Umpteen stability balls. More than one medicine ball (and it's not flat). Hurrah for not having to lug my own equipment to the gym!

Plus it's literally 5 minutes away at 6:00am. Love it!

You can't see the awesome orange funk-adelic decor here, but see? Plastic palm trees!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

T-minus 25 and counting

Melbourne Phat Camp 2011 starts on the 14th November and I need to seriously lift my strength and particularly my cardio fitness, or else I AM GOING TO DIE.



There are now three-and-a-half weeks to go and I need to start pushing myself a little harder if I’m going to survive an intense weekend of pop squats, bear crawls and other such killer moves. It’s not that I’ve been slacking off up until now, but I have been aiming to make small progressive improvements, rather than recklessly trying to smash it in the gym from Day 1. A workout along the lines of what I consider “normal” was so daunting a few weeks ago that I’d never have got out of bed if that was in my training plan.

So I began with some easier stuff in Week 1, like brisk incline walking, or trundling along at a moderate pace on the elliptical. In Week 2, I pushed things along a bit with activities like some simple jogging/walking intervals and a dose of Coach Troy (with the resistance dialled way down). Over the past few days I’ve upped the ante again - on Sunday I even threw in one of my crazy cardio sessions, although it was abbreviated. Then I just tacked on some more moderate cardio to get me to my allocated time.

That’s all good progress, but now I need to give things a good shove and pull out some really challenging stuff. I realised as I was finishing my training yesterday morning that there’s an RPM class at my gym at 6:00am on Tuesdays, so that’s on the menu for next week. If the crazy weather will stay fine for more than five minutes, I’ll include some outdoor training as well. Maybe something like this:

Wed - Legs + walk
Thu - Spinervals aero base builder
Fri - Upper body + elliptical (steady state)
Sat - REST
Sun - Outdoor boot camp workout
Mon - Legs + rower intervals
Tue - RPM

If I survive that (kidding!), I’ll execute a similar plan the following week, but turn up the intensity a smidge more.

Come to think of it, even if the weather sucks, I’ll chuck in one of my indoor boot camp workouts. If they’re good enough for my clients….

I don’t expect miracles – my strength can’t possibly be back to its peak in such a short timeframe, and even my cardio fitness is still going to be below par. And I know I’ll have to skip or modify some Phat Camp activities so as not to aggravate my injuries. But I need to be as fit as I possibly can under the circumstances. My self-respect demands it.

I don’t think I’ll be putting myself in the “advanced” group this time around… That’s OK, it’s all about having fun and doing your best, not proving to anyone else how good you (think you) are.

I’m excited and looking forward to my fourth Phat Camp. But just between you and me, I’m almost as terrified as I was the very first time I attended in 2005.

At least the chances of it being as hot as in 2008 (see sweaty pic above) are very, very slim. March. Melbourne. 3 days of 40+ degrees in a giant tin shed with no air con. Brutal!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Finishing strong



2010 has sucked in many ways. Not that there have been any major dramas in my life that I can point to and say "See? No wonder I've had such a battle." It's just been the cumulative effect of a whole lot of stressful situations in 2008-09.

Of course, there was the camel's-back-breaking straw of my Dad's death. That tipped me over the edge and turned me into an anxious, miserable mess. But overall, there were just minor annoyances, upsets and disappointments that seemed to keep on coming, non-stop.

This year was supposed to be all about getting back to normal, but it took me until June before the paralysing anxiety lifted completely and I was even able to begin clawing my way back. From June to September was a little bumpy, and progress was a stop-start affair.

But the past three weeks has seen the return of the old me. Finally. Getting up early to train is once again just what I do, instead of an impossible task. Being positive and determined is the order of the day. And happiness and contentment are more frequent residents inside my head than gloom and pessimism.

So 2010, you can BITE ME. Give it your best shot, throw everything you have at me; I don't care. I'm finishing this year out on a high.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Perception

All week my weight's been going up and down by 100g, in spite of sticking to my plans in both the training and nutrition departments. So this morning when I stepped on the scales, it was no surprise to find myself exactly where I was last Monday....or am I?

Mid-week I realised that my work pants were sitting quite loosely on my hips (a nice change from being tight up around my waist and feeling like they're strangling me in several places!). I can see in the mirror that I've leaned out a bit around the waist and my belly is flatter. I've been feeling GREAT and have pushed training up a notch - even though I'm still not at my best in terms of cardio, there's a major improvement on where I was three weeks ago.

So, do I feel as though I've failed? Do I feel fat? Did I kick the scales across the room and go eat a plateful of buttered toast to console myself? Nuh-uh. I'm still feeling good and I'm ready for another great week (in spite of having slept in and missed training this morning. Impromptu rest day, coming up!).

My scales told me that my weight hasn't changed this week. That's all. I took that piece of data and put it together with the evidence of the pants test and my own eyes, plus the sum of what I achieved on the training and nutrition fronts last week. And those things add up to the fact that everything is going exactly as it should, and a loss is on the way.

On with the week. Giddyup!

Friday, October 15, 2010

See what I'm up against?

These are actual comments made to me by colleagues over the past week or so:

My personal trainer says I can't eat carbs if I want to lose weight.

Ugh. I just ate four pieces of cake at morning tea. I'll have to pay for it with extra time on the treadmill tonight. *sigh*

Eek! That yoghurt has three grams of fat in it. I can't eat that. Fat's bad for you.

I've put on half a kilo overnight. I'll have to skip lunch today.

I think I officially give up.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The highest honour

While I was lying awake at 4:15 this morning for no good reason, I took note of some of the ridiculous thoughts, questions and memories that flit through my head. Why do we think such stupid things in the wee hours?

My mind got going on a name theme - don't ask me how I got there - and in the course of its ramblings, I recalled this:

I once had a cow named after me. I wasn't sure whether to be honoured or offended at first. In the end, I decided to take it as a compliment.

What's the most dubious compliment you've ever been paid?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Over the hump



Today's voice-in-my-head was one of the less helpful ones. I was up and on the spin bike nice and early, with Coach Troy bossing encouraging me to give it my best.

But my inner princess was putting on a top performance and telling me it was OK to quit IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FIRST SET. Yes, it was hard and no, I wasn't enjoying it one bit. After wavering for just a minute, I told her to shut the hell up and just put my head down and got on with it. That first set was gruelling - both mentally and physically. Bleurgh.

But then a funny thing happened. I was about two minutes into the second set, when I realised I'd found my pace, hit my stride and was actually going to make it through. Thank you, legs and lungs!

There's always that point in a cardio workout where you get "over the hump" so to speak, and from then on you feel like you could go forever. I love that.