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2013 in review

31 Dec

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,100 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Sydney Coastrek challenge to help end avoidable blindness

15 Nov

My next challenge will be the Sydney Coastrek 28/2/14-1/3/14. As if I haven’t had enough of walking! However, I will be doing this as part of a team with 3 other amazing women.

On 28th February and 1st March, we’ll be trekking for many hours along Sydney’s beautiful coastline between Palm Beach and Coogee Beach all to help restore sight to people who are needlessly blind.

Our team of four, Skinny Flat Whites, is participating in the Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek, in support of the amazing work of The Fred Hollows Foundation.


SO PLEASE SPONSOR MY TREK and help end avoidable blindness! Together we can make that difference!

Please click on the following link to make a donation to a very worthy cause:
CJ’s fundraising page

Thank you


20131114-223509.jpgThree-quarter of needlessly blind people on this planet are women and girls like H’Nhi. Your support will help to restore their sight and give them a second change in life.

The packing dilemma

28 Oct

It is the day before I leave for Sydney, before heading off to New York. And true to form, I still have an empty suitcase. Why? Because I keep changing my mind about what to pack. I’m procrastinating. I can’t make a decision.

It’s easy, says everyone.
Just pack the bare essentials, says everyone.
Travel lightly, says everyone.

But it’s not easy.
I confess I’m the world’s worst packer. I cannot travel lightly. It’s a genetic thing. Well, ok, I might be exaggerating a touch but I’ve had years of packing stuff…just in case. I start off with the best of intentions – the bare minimum but then a little voice pipes up and says, maybe you should throw in that top (or jacket, or dress, or pants, or jumper), just in case.

I’ve also endured years of I told you so’s, the alleged voice(s) of reason, the raised eyebrow, and also a million and one reasons why I don’t need to pack so much…from everyone.
You know, suddenly everyone is an expert and their way is the best way.
Which of course frustrates me no end. It’s a bit like people giving advice on how to taper, how to train, the best way run a marathon, etc. Which is fine if I’ve asked for advice.

And also I was at work today. So it was hard to get in the right headspace for packing. I know I’m going on holiday but it’s hard to get too excited when I still had meetings, last minute emails and other work things to do.

So either tonight (hasn’t happened yet) or tomorrow morning there will be this frazzled woman madly throwing all sorts of clothing items in her suitcase, hoping that somehow she will get an outfit out of it once she arrives at the other end!

Worst case scenario? I guess I’ll have to go shopping in New York! At least I have a shopping buddy. :)

There were no more long walks after Thursday’s cortisone injections. After a quick poll I was quickly made aware that doing a long walk on the weekend was probably not the wisest thing to do. So instead I did a weights session followed by a 45min xtrainer intervals session at the gym. And I’ll do the same again tomorrow…maybe. Then that will be it until Sunday 3 November 10.55am when I start the NY marathon.



9 Oct

WordPress keeps crashing tonight. This is, hopefully, third time lucky.

My first entry was an eloquent piece on whether plodders have a place in a marathon? I had recently read a New York Times article addressing this question. Well you will have to take my word for it as the application crashed and I lost the lot.

Anyway I wasn’t sure whether to feel offended, amused, angry or a mix of all these emotions after reading this article.

Apparently walkers, and slow runners, are ruining the marathon’s mystique and disrespecting the distance.

“It’s a joke to run a marathon by walking every other mile or by finishing in six, seven, eight hours,” said Adrienne Wald, 54, the women’s cross-country coach at the College of New Rochelle, who ran her first marathon in 1984. “It used to be that running a marathon was worth something — there used to be a pride saying that you ran a marathon, but not anymore. Now it’s, ‘How low is the bar?’”

Arrogant? Elitist? Has a point?

“…more than half of the people at a marathon are just overweight and “trying to get a shirt and medal … looking to one day tell a story about the saga and the suffering of their 11 minute pace ‘race.’”

And this in the comments section: “The marathon has become a circus, no doubt about it. I have no problem with people plodding their way through a course in 6 or 7 hours. Of course, they shouldn’t be given the same medals and acknowledgment as someone who busted their buns for months in training and completed it in four hours.”

I’m sorry? I’ve not busted my buns in training for months? Those bruised toenails, the shin splints, the endless hours on weekends spent walking…if that’s not training then I don’t know what is. I have trained as hard for this event as I would’ve if I’d been running. Of course I’d rather be running but that’s not going to happen. And be damned if I’m going to travel all that way to watch on the sidelines. No siree. I will be out there plodding for 7 hours. And bloody well proud of it.

Today I spent 45 mins on my favourite machine, the xtrainer. It’s always hard backing up after legs day at the gym. And tomorrow is more leg work, along with arms and shoulders. Followed by the xtrainer again on Friday. And then a 27km walk on Saturday. Fun times :)


The object of my attention

2 Oct

This morning, while on the xtrainer for 45 minutes, I spent an inordinate amount of time focussing on a pair of calves in front of me, and not of the bovine variety.

And strictly speaking, while I appeared to be focused on this pair of calves, I wasn’t actually ‘focussed’ on them, if you get my drift. I was looking but not ‘looking’.

I find when I am engaged in a monotonous activity, ie 45 minutes on a xtrainer, I might look like I’m staring at something ahead of me but actually I am zoning out. So it’s not that something in my line of sight has captured my attention, it’s usually because I’m a million miles away, lost in my thoughts, or immersed in the temporary discomfort of 30 second intervals, always a fun activity, says no-one ever.

So there I was, slogging away on the xtrainer focussing on the pair of calves in front of me – belonging to a guy on the xtrainer in the row in front of me. Nicely muscled and not too hairy now that I come to think of it…not that I was paying any attention. Really. Truly.

It just made me realise the things we inadvertently do when we’re focusing on something else. Normally I wouldn’t be so fixated on someone’s calves!


The best laid plans…

23 Sep


Well…it’s been a stressful couple of weeks.  But now I think I can take a breath, sit back and contemplate how things have radically changed from just two weeks ago.

Injury-wise, it’s not great news. I do have a hamstring attachment tear (semitendinosus) identified in an ultrasound scan but as they couldn’t determine the extent of the tear, decided against a cortisone injection without an MRI. However I also seem to have some sort of hip issue going on as well – it feels like a cartilage tear (I have had one of these before). So at the moment I can’t walk long distances comfortably, let alone run. My cardio at the moment is confined to 45 minutes on the xtrainer, about 4 times a week. I did do a slow 10km walk yesterday but I’m feeling sore today. However I haven’t given up yet – not while there is still breath in my body!

Holiday-wise, this has been turned upside down and inside out. Two weeks ago I thought I was spending a month in the States – New York, Vegas, San Fran, LA and Hawaii. Flights and most of our accommodation had been booked and paid for. However, for reasons I won’t go into, now I am spending a week in NY then meeting up with son #3 and spending a week each in Paris, Barcelona and Rome. But to get from there (US holiday) to here (US/Europe holiday) has involved what I refer to as the week from hell, followed by another week of frantically sorting things out. Yes, there has been money lost on some flights and credits used for new flights plus extra paid for new flights (with the amount I’ve spent on flights I could’ve flown business class). However, I was able to cancel US accommodation and get all my money back within 2 days (sometimes miracles do happen – thank you I have now booked apartments in Paris, Barcelona and Rome so fingers crossed these work out. I have also booked flights between these cities.

So a lot can change in a week or two. There has been a lot of stress (yes, I do admit to having have a mini meltdown), lots of angst and loss of sleep. But I do believe we have the makings of a grand adventure, even if it is radically different to what I had originally envisaged.

Now the only thing to do is get the injury under control, or at least get a cortisone injection!

postscript: I have just finished a 60 minute xtrainer session at the gym. I thought the treadmill was bad enough, but try staying on a xtrainer for any length of time and not lose your mind. Or is it just me?!

Sometimes I don’t JFDI

23 Aug

Normally I bang on about how I JFDI, no excuses, get up and out there, and how great I feel once I’ve started.

However there are days when I know deep down, intuitively, that getting up and getting out there is not the best thing for my body.

It’s a different feeling – a heaviness, a fatigue fog that descends, and I have absolutely no energy.

Interestingly when I feel like this there is no internal battle between good and evil ie “I don’t want to get up and exercise” vs “I’ll feel so guilty if I don’t get up and go for a walk, the gym or whatever”.

It’s like my body knows that I need a rest and my mind knows better than to argue with it.

This morning was one of those mornings.

I felt so tired and definitely feeling the fatigue fog.

Even the thought of getting up, dressed and out the door for a walk was tiring.

And I didn’t fight the feeling.

I need to rest.

So be it.

There is always another day.

Today I rest.


Why do I exercise early in the day?

22 Aug

I admit, I have not always been a morning person – it’s a habit that I have had to develop over many years. But usually it’s the only time of day I can guarantee that I won’t be interrupted or have other commitments that get in the way.

It’s also the best time of day, once I drag myself out of my warm snuggly bed (this is especially hard in winter). There is not a lot of traffic, it’s quiet, and sometimes I get to see the most awesome sunrises.

Like this morning. The sunrise was absolutely beautiful. And when I saw the amazing pinks, and golds, and reds, I thought of Hawaii. Not that I’ve been there…yet. And not because Canberra is so much like Hawaii – I’m thinking not! But I’ve seen photos of Hawaii’s sunrises and sunsets and this morning’s sunrise looked like one of those photos. So I’m really glad that I was up to see it.

There there are the other mornings when its frosty with sub zero temperatures. It can look like a winter wonderland – the frost sparkling on the lawns, the gardens, even the weeds. When my breath hangs suspended in the still crisp air.

Or when the fog creeps in, weaving its wispy tendrils through the trees, around the shrubs, slowly enveloping everything in its path.

There are other reasons. I get my exercise over and done with first thing in the day so it doesn’t matter what else happens during the day, it’s done. No excuses. No continuously justifying why I don’t want to exercise at the end of the day, when all I feel like doing is go home.

I always feel great after going to the gym or getting outside for a brisk walk.

I really appreciate my breakfast after an early morning session :)

How about you? What time of day suits you?



20 Aug

Is it just me but the day after a rest day I find it really hard to get motivated to get up early and to the gym, or out for a walk, or whatever other physical activity I had planned. It’s like give me an inch and I’ll take a mile. In other words, give me a rest day and I’ll find any excuse to extend it. Blame it on the inner sloth!

So if you hadn’t caught on by now, this was my usual early morning inner psychological warfare waging again. Get up, no stay in bed, get up, no stay in bed, GET UP, !@#$%^ Ceasefire!

Hmm, guess what won out! Yes it was a case of JFDI (just freakin’ do it) this morning. Get up, dress up, show up and get active. Once I was at the gym I decided to make the most of the hour I give myself to get through my workout, so it was heavier weights, faster reps, longer intervals, fewer rests.

And as usual, by the time I left the gym, I was glad I’d made the effort. Sound familiar?!



15 Aug

“Fitness, Education, Energy, Diet”

FEEDinc is the name of a nutrition service provide by Accredited Practising Dieticians Lisa Donaldson and Jenelle Croatto in Kingston. They describe their business as follows:

“These 4 key elements drive our wellness and give us sustained vitality. At FEEDinc. we will help you regain your vitality through thorough assessment and guidance towards a more nourished and energised you.

It is our mission to help all our clients achieve total wellness. We have expertise in all areas of nutrition – diabetes, heart disease, gastrointestinal upsets, weightloss, pregnancy, enteral feeding, sports nutrition, IBS, Low FODMAP, Coeliac Disease, high cholesterol, allergies, intolerance, eating disorders, healthy eating for children and everything in between. You will not be alone in your journey to better health.

We believe in eating minimally processed foods and will encourage you to become an active participant in life. This doesn’t mean becoming a Master Chef or an elite athlete, it simply means becoming a healthier and happier YOU.”

Jenelle goes on to say “I believe we should reconnect with food on a level that is not just about the calorie, carbohydrate and fat content that seems to be ever entrenched in the mind of today’s dieter. For millennia food has been used for more than sustenance. We use food in times of celebration, comfort and joy. With a balanced, non-restrictive attitude towards eating, food can be used in a way that is both nutritious and pleasurable.” Hear, hear.

Last night I attended a two hour interactive nutrition workshop Get Lean, Stay Lean in Kingston. I love their thinking regarding diet, in that, they don’t believe in diet plans as such. Rather the focus should be on good nutrition, quick and easy meals, enjoyment of food and to be more aware of and attuned to hunger signals and feelings of satiety when eating.

There were 10 of us who attended the interactive workshop where they had pre-prepared tasty food but also cooked up a couple of dishes for us on the night. So it was not only an informative couple of hours but it was also delicious!

We started with banana smoothie shots, followed by pumpkin, sweet potato and carrot soup, then frittata, a quick risotto that was prepared in a rice cooker, turkey meatloaf, a quinoa salad, san choy bow, stuffed capsicums (these weren’t gluten free so none for me), date and coconut balls rolled in cocoa, and we finished with chocolate mousse topped with natural yoghurt and strawberries.

Lisa is also coeliac so it was great to get some ideas regarding gluten free products (so many gluten free products are highly processed and high GI so it’s hard sometimes picking the products that are better for you) and meals. Lisa was originally a school teacher but when she was diagnosed with coeliac disease, she decided to go back to university, study nutrition and become a dietician.

This morning I managed a 7km walk before heading off to a work breakfast at Remi’s where I had a bowl of delicious gluten free muesli with natural yoghurt and banana. :)



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