Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tuesday: Half minus 5

This taper thing makes you go a little a lot cuckoo.

Is it excitement?  Nerves?  Panic?  Or a bizzarre paranoia reserved for runners less than one week out from a big event?
This is my morning so far...

7:10am                 There’s a lot of people sneezing on this train today.
                                Is it hayfever or cold and flu?
                                OMG if they have colds…and they’re sneezing…I could get sick
                                Oh look, there’s a runner.
                                She looks fit.
                                Wonder if she’s running on Sunday.
                                Do I look that strong when I run?
                                I’m hungry

7:11am                 Definitely colds.
                                Will go to the chemist before work and get some olive leaf extract or something.
                                Could really go a choc chip muffin right now.
10:10am               Could really go a choc chip muffin right now.

10:15am               “Large skinny cap thanks”
                                And a muffin?
                                Oh look at that choc chip one.
                                Quick, ask for a freaking muffin
                                You don’t need a muffin
                                They make your ass wobble
                                No muffins this week
                                “and a choc chip muffin thanks”
10:20am              "D'oh!"                              “Does anyone want my muffin?”

Monday, October 6, 2014

I'll have what he's having...

A few weeks ago I posted about THE MAN and his resolve to sample the 5:2 diet.

At around the same time, he saw an exercise / muscular-skeletal therapist who gave him a stack of exercises to strengthen his areas of weakness and increase flexibility.  As very seldom happens with anyone who receives a plan, he has stuck to it.  With incredible results.  And combined with the 5:2 fast diet, I'm pretty amazed at the changes.

Three weeks in and he's dropped around 2 kilos from the one place that weight goes on - his middle.

And combined with the stretches, he has abs.  Visible abs.

So what's a girl to do but join in?

My first fast day was Saturday.  I had a good breakfast post-parkrun.  An omelette with mushrooms, tomato and spinach.  Plus a coffee of course.

I didn't feel like eating again until around 2pm, but I diverted the pangs with more water.  And then even more water.  By 4 O'Clock, it was getting harder to distract myself, so I hit the floor for 15 minutes of core work.  It's impossible to feel hungry when you're working your core.  Water.  Water again.  And before I knew it, 6pm had come around and it was legitimately time for dinner.  It was almost a shame to break the fast.

We went easy for dinner.  Steamed flathead tails with salad.  Light and delish.  It was enough.

At bed time I was a little shocked to discover a 1.5kg loss for the day.  I was also shocked at how self-satisfied I felt at conquering the hunger pains and remaining in control.  Like a test that I had passed or something.

Will I do it again?  Absolutely.  But it'll have to wait now until next week.  I've got a half marathon to run on the weekend ;)

Monday, September 15, 2014

That was fast

It could just be the (virtual) company I keep, but every second person on my Facebook newsfeed is talking about the 5:2 fasting story aired last night.

There's discussions about the validity of a single day fast, longer spans without food and taking fluids only, and balancing opinions as to why this diet or that diet is better / worse / stupid.  And that's the thing about nutrition and diets; everyone has a different opinion, and it seems that research can prove or disprove pretty much every theory you can poke a fork at.

Now, Mr. Husband, who always swore to be a meat-and-three-veg kinda guy has changed his food intake a LOT.  There's still some sharpening up to do, but for a man who used to only eat white bread, meat, potatoes, chicken maryland and gravy, to now willingly choose brown rice, lean meats, fish and loads of veg is a bit of a miracle.

Today, he decided to try a fasting day.  Breakfast, no lunch and no dinner.  Even his beloved cups of tea became black with no sugar.

Who IS this man?

I may have to get up early and cook him bacon and eggs for breakfast in the morning because I'm predicting he'll be eyeing off the dog and picturing her covered in gravy by the morning!

As this unfolds I'll watch with equal parts of interest and suspicion.  It can't be all bad, can it?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Con artist

Have we all been conned?

This idea of life that we've been conditioned to accept...is this all there is?

We strive to snare a bigger job, to make a bigger income, to buy bigger stuff, that we need a bigger house to contain, with a bigger mortgage, that we need to have a bigger job to pay for, and so the circle goes.

What if we just didn't?

When I list the things that make me happy; wind in my hair, salt on my skin, sun in the air, to love and feel love, to feel free... how does the way I live now support these?  The question is rhetorical by the way!

Nowhere on my list is a home theatre room, or even a TV, his and hers vanities, a powder room, business cards, a fancy title, 600 thread count sheets, 2XU compression pants.

Nowhere on my list have I included sitting at a desk with no natural light for 9 hours a day, shuffling meaningless papers, cleansing an email inbox, commuting for 3 hours each day and listening to people re-cycle business jargon.

I want to create art.  
Not gallery hanging, brush created stuff.  
The kind of art that changes things.  
Changes people.  
A health sculptor.

There.  That's what I will be when I grow up.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

In the zone

Do you ever have one of those days when your inbox makes you do a double take?

Not your work inbox - yucckkkkkk.  The one where all of those opt-in emails you have to sign up for to get some ebook or free offer go to.  I'm a sucker for those things.

Yesterday was one of those days.

Exhibit a)

The Divine Writer;
Opt in:  5 fail-safe tips for starting your book.
Status:  book not started.

I rarely read these emails.  In fact, this may be the first one I've clicked through for more.  And it's not as thought the title grabbed me, either.  "My favourite books: The Big Leap"

It was actually about self-sabotage and intentionally living under your potential.  The article then went on to talk about "your zone of genius", and this is where things got REALLY interesting (for me!).

So, they described four zones;
Zone of incompetence - things you know you're crap at and should out-source.
Zone of competence - stuff you CAN do, don't really like to do, and others can do just as well.
Zone of excellence - you're good here.  Comfortable.  Maybe even accomplished.  But you're not lit up or excited, even if you do make a living from operating in this zone.

And then came the really good stuff...
Zone of genius - the thing you were born to do.  Your divine calling. Things that draw on your special gifts and talents.

The article goes on to say that unfortunately, most of us play it safe and stay in our zone of excellence, or even worse, our zone of competence. The flow on effects are that around the time we hit 40, or midlife, or whatever you want to call it, we've been so used to ignoring our genius that beats louder and louder as the years progress, that not listening manifests in any number of nasties.  Depression, illness, relationship conflict.  Alarms going off, but still we don't listen.


There's something bigger in me than meetings and taking minutes and conforming to the norm of the corporate world.  I just don't fit there.  And I'm getting restless.  I've been restless for years.  It's not going away, even when I press mute.  
It's getting louder, louder, louder!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sunday runny Sunday

What a way to farewell a Melbourne Winter!

Sunday was a simply perfect day for a long run.  Spring was teasing us; sunny with a kick of heat, and like the perfect curry, it warmed our bones from outside in.  The sea air left a tinge of saltiness.  The paths were well worn with eager joggers making the most of this spectacular day.

Starting at Mt Martha shops, we headed out at a speedy warm-up walk as far South as the path would take us, before turning into the breeze and taking off.

Less than 2km in, we hit the first of many hills.  Long and slow, we powered up to the 4km point before the path flattened and we found our pace and settled into the run.  Spectacular scenery, friendly locals, great company - what more do you need?

We tried to simulate race-feel and dropped to a walk for our own drink stop every 4 or so kilometres, so by the time we reached our turn-around point at the top of Bellura Hill, we were feeling pretty fresh and confident we had the return trip in our legs, lungs and minds.

Today was about so much more than distance.  Sure, our aim was to hit the magical 18km mark. New territory and all that.  Everything we've read about half-marathon preparation says that this is the longest distance you need to do to be ready.

Do we feel ready?  You betcha!

We took the legs for a cool down in the ocean.  Despite appearances...definitely still Winter.  Brrrrrrrrr

Many more experiences to add to the tool kit though.

Katrina went for a strong breakfast of oats.  I scoffed down 2 pieces of grainy toast with peanut butter and honey about an hour before running.

I packed a Gu (my first experience) in my singlet pocket and took a small amount at 7km with 1/4 of my water bottle to test how it settled.  All good, so took another slurp at about 12km.
Katrina didn't bring anything along this time as she'd had such a great breakfast.  At about 14km she was really feeling depleted and finished off my Gu to bring her home.

I hadn't read anything about Gu before I went out.  Had no idea that the packet doesn't open fully and kind of seals back over itself.  Handy for my pocket.  And that you have to kind of bite down and force the contents up towards the top.  Doesn't taste too bad but it's VERY sweet if you're not used to eating sugar.

This is our specialty...

Smashed avocado on sourdough with bacon and a poached egg.  And a very tall skinny cap of course!  All washed down with a heck of a lot of water.

I'm prone to blisters, but came away from this run with no new additions to my collection, thanks to vaseline on my toes.  Top, bottom, in between.  You'd think it would squish around, but it's nothing other than glorious.

Katrina wore uncomfy socks last week, but swapped them out this time and all was good. I wore my ever reliable Thorlo Pads.  I could try others, but why mess with something so good?

So we've got a permanent record of our achievement *puffs chest out proudly*

No, we didn't run the WHOLE way.  We had roads to cross, a bathroom break, fuel stops, and most importantly FUN, without leaving ourselves completely wiped out for a week!

Time to start getting excited about next Sunday's run...

Friday, August 29, 2014


I’m not sure that I like running fast.  It’s hard.  I sweat.  A lot.  And the mind games it takes to keep going are almost more effort than the actual run.

Yesterday was speed day.  Melbourne had put on an absolute farewell to Winter with glorious sunny, clear skies.  Really, I just wanted to walk in it; feel the sun warm my bones, breathe in this prelude of Spring.  But I have a plan, so through gritted teeth I scanned in at gym and said hello to Mr. Treadmill.

Still a little pissy about missing the goodness outside, I extended my walking warm-up to 10 minutes, gave myself a stern talking to and ran…

1.       10kph                    90 seconds                          30 seconds rest

2.       12kph                    60 seconds                          45 seconds rest

3.       14kph                    60 seconds                          45 seconds rest

4.       16kph                    45 seconds                          60 seconds rest

5.       14kph                    60 seconds                          60 seconds rest

6.       12kph                    60 seconds                          45 seconds rest

7.       10kph                    90 seconds                          30 seconds rest


And this is what I noticed;

10kph, 6 min/km feels really slow now.  Especially on the way back down the pyramid.  In fact, it felt a little awkward and was difficult to get a rhythm happening.

12kph, 5 min/km is actually a pretty manageable pace.  That’s hilarious to write.  And again, coming back down the pyramid, I felt as though I could stay here for longer than the pre-planned 60 seconds.

14kph, 4.28min/km – now this was a challenge, and definitely harder on the first attempt, but I clearly remember thinking on the last (fourth) interval at this pace, that there’s not that much difference between 5min and 4 min pace.  Sounds dumb when I read it back – must have been the endorphins!

16kph, 3.75min/km was T O U G H.  I felt like a water buffalo thumping across the belt.  There was no grace, form or style, it was survival mode.  On the first interval set I narrowly avoided becoming treadmill roadkill, my feet barely able to jump off the belt.  I didn’t quite get through the full 45 seconds; more like 41.  The second set was a definite improvement.  I squeezed out 45 seconds but had no more in me.

It’s really important to me to record these observations here for a couple of reasons.  I remember the first time I ran this style of interval on the treadmill, about 18 months ago.  After 12kph I nervously increased to 13kph but could only manage a few steps, and one set was enough.  I may never improve beyond where I am now – this may be my peak, but if it’s not, I’ll have this new baseline to measure myself against.

To me, competition comes in two forms; against the person I was yesterday, and against the voices in my head that tell me garbage stories about why I can’t, or shouldn’t, or won’t.  Yesterday I beat them both.  Winning J