Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 - Adios!!

So the last day of the calendar year, whilst not actually different or significant in any way, is a nice point in time in which to look back at the good, bad and ugly in your life and provide a starting point to do things better. Except, I like to think of it as a continuation of the journey!

What have I learned in 2012?

That I don't ever want to feel the way I do about myself in this photo:


and that I don't want to go to my 30th school reunion looking like this:



I learned that if you eat crap and drink a lot of alcohol, you get fat. Simple as that.

Ever so close to 80kg - never want to see that number again!

Speaking of 80's, I learned that 80% of weight loss is diet. You can never outrun a crappy diet. But I like the running part.



I learned that consistency is key. I am human - I get sick, sometimes life gets in the way. But every day is an opportunity to pick yourself up and keep making good choices.

I learned that waiting for "motivation" to come along is a fallacy. Most of the time, I'm not going to feel like going for a run or chopping up veggies. JFDI!



And so for the last day of 2012, I JFDI, went for my tempo run. Crappy place to run, yes?


Max was keen, as always:


I had my knees on show for the first time in forever, in my new 2XU compression shorts:


I thought I had set my app to tell me only the time and also a tempo of 7:30min/km. It told me nothing, so I just ran to the end of the path and back. This is what I managed:


Very happy to have achieved 7:32min/km average and quite excited by that 6:50min/km for the 3rd kilometre! I wonder what I can achieve in the fitness test in a couple of weeks?

I'm also very happy to end the year lighter than I have been at any time during it. I won't start 2013 with a resolution to "lose weight" because I'm already doing it! But I will keep on putting one foot in front of the other :-)

Happy New Year!

Sayonora 2012

I thought I might pop by my blog to have a little reflect on the year that was 2012 and to pause for a bit and have a think about what I want to bring to 2013, just so y'all don't forget about me and so I can take stock.

Let's start with the positives, shall we?


  • We had a nice summer, relaxing by the pool and out and about in our nearby National Parks:


  • I tidied up our homeschool space, moving it downstairs:


...which we still use (sometimes!) and occasionally still looks as neat as this!!

  • We had a great trip to our nation's capital Canberra and also to Thredbo in the spring:


  • We found out that Video Boy does, in fact, have ADHD (the inattentive type) and were able to finally put another piece in the puzzle that is my son:

  • I got to meet some other, new (to me) homeschool mums in the area, and finally met Helena and her family from Loving to Learn

  • In homeschooling, we did great maths, some OK writing, some interesting science and I'm sure we did some other stuff too....


Wombat Girl found tea and quadratic equations equally fulfilling!

Turns out they're not too old to enjoy being kids

Board games continue to be a very important family recreational past-time

We did enjoy our paper folding and fractals (and so did you!)

Occasionally I make them do "proper" work
  • The kids did well on their external testing (NAPLAN and UNSW exams), showing progress and reassuring me that we must be doing something right!
  • On a personal note, I took charge of my health and finished the year 5kg lighter than when I started (with a couple of ups and downs in between):


  • The kids grew. A lot!





OK - so onto the not so good things about 2012 - not to dwell on the bad, but to learn from it and move forward:
  • I spent way too much time at work. Paid work, which is nice for $$ and all, but especially toward the end of the year, the balance got out of whack.
  • Consequently, we didn't really get into a homeschooling groove this year. Sure we got some stuff done, but there was lots I had planned that we didn't achieve and I just had an overwhelming sense of "just getting by". 
  • My babies are growing up! I know this is inevitable, but it just compounds the need to spend time with them while they are still at home and still "kids", rather than adults.
So, 2013, what do the fates have in store for me? Well, you never know what's around the corner, but based on where we are now and what we've learned this year, next year I would like to:
  • Work less, homeschool more. My main "resolution" for 2013.
  • Laugh more, say "yes" to my kids and hubby more.
  • Keep on track with my health and later in the year, run a half marathon (gotta have goals!)
  • Go on a decent relaxing, but interesting holiday (longer than a couple of days break)
  • I may post later in the year of big changes afoot, but these things take time and may not even happen, so until then, I will keep on keeping on, doing the best that I can.
So on that note, I wish all of you a very Happy New Year - may you work on it being a good one and may luck smile on you (at least occasionally!).

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Back to it!

Well, after a rather ordinary week diet- and exercise-wise, I'm back into it properly today, starting with my "long" endurance run. This week was another 5.5km run (plus 5min walking for warm up and cool down).

I loved last week's run - it felt so good, I felt as if I could actually run for 10km. This week? Oh. My. God. It killed me! I did it at the same run pace as last week, but damn, it hurt this week and I really felt as if I was struggling the whole way:


It's bizzare to me that the same run, same route, same pace, on hour later (I slept in a little) can feel so different! I think even the dog felt it, because about halfway through he put his bum on the ground as if to say "nah, I'm not feeling it today". Unfortunately for him (and me) we had to get back to the car, so I encouraged him with an enthusiastic voice that I did not feel. I did lots of "disassociating" where I purposefully relaxed my shoulders and just listened to the words of the songs and tried not to think about running and how much I want to stop and walk. It did the trick and I got there (although I will admit to walking the very last 200m or so of the run interval - it was uphill!).

Perhaps the excess of Christmas has caught up with me (not that I was that excessive!) and certainly this bug I've been fighting off has knocked me for a bit of a six and I've been feeling very tired and washed out. But a nutritious diet, some vitamins and maybe some Yakult yoghurt will see me bouncing back, I'm sure!

And it was PACKED out there today! I knew there was a reason I meant to wake early and it wasn't just to miss the heat. Our little seaside town is overrun with visitors, which is great for the economy, but it makes for a very crowded footpath. Every man, woman, child, toddler, baby in a pram and their dog were out and about! And soooo many runners! And all of them faster than me (which, apparently, is not hard). At least I run faster than the walkers (gotta look on the bright side).

Home to a healthy, protein-packed egg-white omelette (it was OK, but yolks are sorely missed!):



Going grocery shopping this afternoon to make sure the fridge and cupboards are stocked up with the necessary ingredients to stick to the food plan! I have a relatively quiet week work-wise, so no excuses on the exercise front either!

Back to it, baby!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Post-Christmas post

Ahh. So this is Christmas!

That time of year filled with red flag days, food, wine, and stress. Not a great recipe for weight loss.

It has been interesting doing this 12WBT thing over the festive season. I wanted to keep my longer-term goals in mind, so I've been sticking to the program as much as possible.

I loved my long run (5.5km) on Saturday morning. Hubby came with me - it's been a while since he's run with me and I am just a little proud of my superior fitness (much less heavy breathing from me, especially uphill) and staying power (I got to run the last bit by myself).



I'm proud not because I want to be better than him, but because I have been working so hard on this and it is obviously paying off. Also really happy that the calories burnt (according to my HRM rather than the app) are over 500 for a run now and of my sub-8 minute pace!! Maybe speed and hill intervals really work!



I came home and spent the rest of the day in a house-cleaning frenzy! I reckon I burnt quite a few calories just doing mopping and tidying!

The last few days have been a bit off the rails. I bailed on my tempo run on Monday because I slept appallingly the night before and I had to start work early. My diet hasn't been bad as such, but just a bit all over the place.

Christmas Day! A lot of talk on the forums about following the recipes and Mish encouraging us to do a Christmas morning workout and post photos. Well, I don't have a photo because I didn't do my toning workout. My kids were up early wanting to open presents and I'm not going to put everyone on hold because I need to burn 300 calories. Them's my excuses, and I'm sticking to them. However, I did score a lot of good running loot (because I need more crap to run with!)






My menu consisted of half Mish recipes and half regular food. I made Curtis Stone cheese and proscuitto puffs (they were so yummy and turned out exceptionally well). Enjoyed prawn/avocado/tomato salad for entree. Made the spinach, cranberry and walnut salad and I tried to make her turkey recipe, but couldn't find turkey breast anywhere, so I just bought a pre-stuffed one and shoved that in the oven. We also enjoyed a beautiful blackberry and balsamic glazed ham. Also made the mini choc fudge cakes, but they were a bit heavy and stodgy. I totally enjoyed my couple of glasses of Grant Burge champagne - just divine!



Things went a little downhill after dessert. I was trying to enjoy a relaxing glass of white wine after all my hard work when I had a bad attack of indigestion. I just had to lie down and I felt disgusting. The guests left, afternoon turned to evening and as I lay on the couch, watching Harry Potter, I just felt worse and worse. I missed the end of the movie as I was busy throwing up.

I went to bed after that, but blissful slumber eluded me as I lay down with stomach cramps and body aches. I think it was after 2am when I finally nodded off. Today I feel as if a truck has run me over and my Boxing Day will be a very quiet one of blogging, TV, and a few cups of tea. Those hills can wait.

Given that no-one else appears to be sick, means I haven't poisoned my family - I actually think it may be my body rejecting crappy food and/or alcohol. This is the second time in a few weeks that I've suffered this and perhaps I just need to really eat and drink clean?!

Oh, so today is Wednesday, I hear you say? The scales told me 74.4kg (164.0 lbs) this morning. So a gain, but not unexpected and not too big. Looking forward to next week even more now!

We are halfway through our Round 4 of 12 Week Body Transformation - 6 more weeks to go. I'm going to give it a good nudge and see how what I can achieve.

How did you celebrate Christmas?
Were you "naughty" or "nice"?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Have yourself a very Merry Christmas!

Hello all you loyal Defying Gravity followers!

Well, the year is rapidly coming to an end. It is the eve of Christmas Day, and no matter what your religious persuasion, it is the time for peace and goodwill.

Defying Gravity has been a bit quiet of late, but rest assured, we are all still here, still well, and looking forward to the festive season (a hot one in Oz) and lots of joyful learning in 2013! January looks a little hectic, but hopefully after that things will settle down and get "normal" again (whatever that is).

In the interim, here's our little geeky contribution to Christmas merriment:



Merry Christmas to you all and our best wishes and joy for the year to come!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Crap I run with...

You know how one of the great things about running is that you don't need much gear; you can just pull on your shoes and you're good to go?

Um. Me, not so much.

Now, I don't run "a lot". I am pretty proud of my 5.5km this morning - felt really good and I actually enjoyed that run (in stark contrast to last week's 4.5km where I felt I might just die a little bit). But damn, I seem to have accumulated a lot of "running stuff".

To go out for a little jog, first I need my compression pants (Performax crop) - these are great - they stop my wibbly bits from wobbling so much and apparently, they also increase circulation and oxygen flow to the muscles, providing maximum support and assisting in recovery time. Mine get hammered - I only own one pair (because they are ridiculously expensive) and need a wash after every sweat-soaked run.

WOMENS REFLECTOR CROP

I also own a few running singlets. I sweat so much, that just plain cotton singlets don't cut it - they get soggy with sweat and feel disgusting and chafe. So I go for "technical fabric" that wick away sweat. I LOVE LuleLemon tops - the only brand I've found that have looser-fitting styles for those of us who have a little tum-tum and don't want everyone thinking I'm running around the block 5 months pregnant.

RUN: Team Spirit TankRun: Light As Air Singlet

I also LOVE their running socks; no blisters, not hot and helps me remember my left foot from my right foot:

W Ultimate Padded Run Sock

So, shoes are pretty important - I don't recommend churning out the km's in a pair of Dunlop Volleys. A fashion statement they may be, but they don't give you much support:


After my Asics Gel Kayanos gave up the ghost, I ventured out to Athletes Foot, and came away with Mizuno Wave Inspire 8's (support for those that roll inward a bit and for those of us who are a bit, ahem, heavier) - so far so good!


So, all set? Um. Not quite.

When one is of the female persuasion, one needs to look after one's girls. So a sports bra is essential. I quite like my Triumph Triaction seam-free bra. It also gets very sweaty and mine no longer is bright white:



When going for a longer run, I like Bonds Invisitails because they don't scrunch up and rub, and presumably, they appear "invisible" for those poor souls behind me.

Bonds Invisitails Midi Gravel Green Grey
Yep. I look like that. Not.

OK. Got my clothes all sorted. Now the tech.

I run with my iPhone. I like the apps - I've used Couch to 5K, Ease Into 10K and am currently using RunKeeper, which plays my music, I can program in distance/time/repeats and it also has a GPS, so I can see how far I've run.


Now you can't just shove your iPhone down your bra (get's a bit sweaty down there!), so I use a Belkin Dualfit armband (and one day I'll use the small size hole - just you watch!):


I found normal earbud earphones just fall out all the time, so I got Philips ActionFit Sports earphones, which are sweatproof (good idea) and hook over your ears. They are very comfortable!

I am also now using a heartrate monitor to see how many calories I burn. I am currently borrowing my hubbies el-cheapo one from Aldi:

Aldi Heart Rate Monitor $19.99 from 29th August

It seems to work OK, but I have a Garmin on my wishlist for Christmas!!

Alright. Ready to run?

Um. Nearly. 

Just need to hook the dog up to the Halti collar:


and tuck a couple of poo-bags up those compression pants, just in case:


And then tuck my car key into the convenient little pocket in said pants and FINALLY we can run!!

I'm exhausted before I start! But most of this stuff makes my run bearable or maybe even enjoyable.

*This is not a sponsored post. But I'm not beyond accepting deals of free stuff, or better yet payment for trying out things in return for my comments to my vast readership!

Do you gear up, or are you a "minimalist" runner?
What's your favourite piece of running gear?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Hills Are Alive!

...with the sound of heavy breathing and the occasional f-bomb.

I don't like hills. I will search out the flattest place possible to run.  When I started running, I would get to the end of the path, which is just before the hill and turn around:



But I am proud to say I have a little personal heartbreak hill that I have conquered - instead of turning around and following the path, I just keep going...up. I usually walked it. Wanna see?

My own heartbreak hill.

But as I got fitter, I ran up some of the hill, then walked and then finally one day, I "ran" up the entire thing. Was so pleased with myself and was rewarded with this view:

Not too foul, hey?
OK. So far, so good.

Today was our first 10K program day of Hill Repeats. The instructions were to sprint up a hill for 2 minutes and walk or jog (depending on your fitness) for 3 minutes. Repeat 3 times. Then do the same for 1/1 minutes. Sure. No problem! Are you ready, Heartbreak Hill? Bring. It. On.




I had to walk up the last bits of the 2 minutes. My legs couldn't do it. I did the 1 minutes on the flat, on the way back. The second 1 minute could hardly be called a sprint. But I did it (mostly). And I can only get fitter, stronger and better at them. It was quite warm out today. The radio said about 95% humidity. That's Bali conditions, people! Yuck. It was 20C. That's OK. JFDI. And then walk back to the car to die.

Poor Max was so confused! Up, down, run, walk, turn around, run, walk. He had no clue what was going on! I like to keep him guessing! He just loves to run with me.

But I don't think I will ever love hills.

And in other news today, it is Wednesday. You know what that means! Time to see if all this running up hills has made any difference. Except I weighed in before I went for my run, but you know what I mean:

74.0kg - 163.1 lbs

Another small loss for me, one giant leap in the quest to get smaller!! I just need to keep imagining how much easier hills are going to be if I weigh 10kg less!

If you run, do you avoid hills?
Have you ever subjected yourself to hill repeats?

52 Ancestors - Unusual Name

In this week's post, we have been asked to look behind an "unusual name" and I've chosen my great-aunt's husband, Fred...