Archive | July, 2013

The grunter

30 Jul

When I’m at the gym for my weights session I totally zone out. There’s no idle chit chat for me. I’m there for one purpose and one purpose only – to get through my weights session in the time allotted. I pop my ear phones in, turn my iPod up and get on with it.

This morning I was distracted by The Grunter. I could hear him over my music – every couple of minutes or so my music would be punctuated by very loud grunts. The first time it happened I thought someone had hurt themselves and I swung around to see what had happened. But no….no injury, just a guy looking very red in the face, eyeballs bulging, the veins in his head popping as he strained and grunted under a massive weight balanced on his barbell. Once he had finished his reps he would let the bar drop, crashing to the ground. Time now to stop, gaze into the full length mirror and strike a pose. Then on to the next set or the next exercise…and more grunting. Very.loudly.

Well I guess it did distract me from how I was feeling though I was finding it hard to concentrate given the volume of grunts coming from nearby. I can’t say I have encountered the grunter before so maybe he only makes brief gym appearances or we go at different times. Until this morning.

At lunchtime I went for a 6km walk with the plan of concentrating on my walking form. Today though, nothing seemed to flow and I think at times it was a mish mash of race walking (done really badly) and my normal walking style. I hate to know what I actually look like while walking – maybe it’s better I don’t know! Though some guy did compliment my shoes – my pink/blue Asics gel trainers. Interesting that he commented on my shoes rather than the pace of my walking! Still I was walking faster than him, not hard when he was wearing thongs! 🙂



The final week

29 Jul

As they say, all good things must come to an end and so it is with Round 2 of the 12WBT program. This is the start of week 12, the final week.

So what have I been up to and what are my plans for the week?

Walking training for the NY marathon is coming along. I am currently working on improving my walking pace. This is an area that definitely needs improving because quite honestly I suck at walking. However, I have been given some useful tips on improving my walking (thank you Sharon!) and I’m applying them, or at least trying to. I guess I am moving into race walking mode and there is definitely a technique to doing this. I can’t quite get the hip thing going because of the hammy. However I am noticing a difference in my gait and an increase in my pace. Even yesterday, before I started adopting some changes to the way I walk, I actually managed a walking PB for 6km. This walk was done mid-afternoon so it was a lot warmer than very early in the morning! By the time I finished I was definitely feeling very warm. My pace for this 6km was 8:48min/km. Previously my best pace for 6km was a whisker over 9min/km. So a PB!!!! Then this morning I incorporated some of the tips I’ve been given and my time for 6km was quicker than it has been for any of my early morning walks. I’m not sure what my pace was because someone left their Garmin on overnight and it was totally dead this morning! Ooops.

Last week’s total walking distance: 44.9km! That’s a few hours of walking. I don’t think I’ve ever clocked up those sorts of distances for walking…like, ever.

Tomorrow and on Thursday it’s my regular gym session and I’m to try incorporating some lower body exercises with very low weights again and see how my hammy likes it. I’m also including walks at lunchtimes on these days so fingers crossed we have decent weather. I think rain is forecast. Oh, and fingers crossed that work doesn’t get too crazy and I don’t manage to get outside (it happened last week).

I have finally booked our San Francisco accommodation for November. We are staying there for 6 nights. I’ve chosen a hotel in Union Square. Now I only have the Hawaii accommodation to book. Yay!

I’m still to finish knitting the baby layette. It’s on my to do list but lately I just never seem to get around to it. Now she’s been born I really need to get a move on or she’ll have grown out of it!

I have a series of Saturday brunches starting this coming Saturday. This is my payment for doing the tax returns for sons #1 and #2 and Mr CJ. I’m cheap! Besides it’s a nice way of getting some one on one time with my boys. This means that I will be doing my long walks later in the day rather than very early in the morning. At least it should be a lot warmer! I don’t think I could do another Saturday bone chiller again (see last Saturday’s post).

This morning I tried delicious homemade gluten free muesli made from a recipe given to me by a work colleague. It’s a combination of chia seeds, linseeds, walnuts, slivered almonds, goji berries, pepitas and sunflower seeds. I also added quinoa flakes. So instead of the Breakfast Banana Smoothie which was on the program for this morning I had Breakfast Banana Muesli instead. I’m not one for drinks as meals – they never seem to satisfy me for long. So I had the muesli soaked in a little milk, then added sliced banana, Chobani natural fat free yoghurt and cinnamon. Yummo. It was both delicious and filling.


The human iceblock

27 Jul
This was the temperature part way through my walk

This was the temperature part way through my walk

I was the human iceblock this morning. From 5.50am to about 8.15am I was outdoors walking 15km in sub-zero temperatures. I just did not warm up, nor did it get warmer. By the time I finished I could just glimpse the faint rays of the sun through the clouds or fog or whatever it was. I have to admit there were times when I was so close to quitting or tempted to ring Mr CJ, although his reaction to coming and picking me up so early in the morning is probably what prevented me from doing that! On the return trip (it was an out and back walk) I was focused on the coffee and the mushroom omelette I was planning on having for breakfast. I am so food focused sometimes but whatever gets me to the finish line!

Anyhoo I walked 15km at a fairly constant pace for 2 hours and 21 minutes. Most disheartening was that I only burnt 578 calories. By the time I got back home every part of me was frozen and it took a while before my hands could function properly again. Which was a bit of an issue as I was starving and trying to prepare my breakfast!

Honestly its times like these that make me wish we lived in the tropics! 🙂

And now, later in the day, its starting to catch up with me. I’m feeling so tired. I find it staggering that I can run 15km and it doesn’t bother me yet walking 15km totally wears me out. Ok, I have gone shopping, done some housework, the washing, our tax, but still. I don’t think I’ll be long out of bed tonight.  🙂

Today's long walk

Today’s long walk

The work-in-progress me

25 Jul

I was reading an article by Craig Harper today titled ‘I’m a F**kwit sometimes’ and it resonated with me. There are so many self-help ‘gurus’ trying to sell their message to us that we should be awesome, amazing, living life to our maximum potential, achieving our dreams, and being super positive people all the time.

But you know, in real life yes, sometimes I am simply amazing (and believe me, you’ll hear about it) but sometimes I can be so ordinary, super boring, so utterly predictable, half arsed, lazy, well I could go on and on. I can’t be totally switched on, 110% positive, brimming with enthusiasm, and totally embracing life all the time.

And you know, that’s ok.

As Craig says, I am (we all are) a work in progress – totally human, fallible and imperfect. We can have our off days when things just don’t go to plan, as we can have our super awesome days, and every shade in between.

Anyway I was running late for the gym this morning. I had so much gear to organise for the gym, the shower afterwards, the walk at lunchtime (which didn’t happen) – all this so I could get to work early as I was meeting a friend for breakfast. Honestly, the things I do for good coffee, food and company!

And it was so cold. I made the mistake of having a peek at the weather report before getting out of bed. It was minus 5 degrees but apparently felt like minus 10. WTF! No way! Thank goodness I wasn’t walking this morning. Even so I had to tip warm water over my car windscreen, passenger windows and doors, as they had frozen shut.

Once at the gym it was a case of lots of shoulder presses, upright rows, triceps dips and bicep curls, with the odd set of push ups in there just to mix things up. Result? Jelly arms!

The planned 5km walk at lunchtime never happened today because of work pressures – it’s always the way. However I plan on doing the walk tomorrow lunchtime regardless. I’m sure they can do without me for about 50 minutes.

And I’ve been hungry today. Lunch never hit the sides (leftover Tandoori chicken) and my teensy mandarin certainly wasn’t going to hit the mark. Fortunately a work colleague gave me a kiwi fruit and an orange which helped fill me up. Then a little later I had an apple and some almonds. And tonight there’s been some snacking while preparing dinner and getting tomorrow’s lunch organised. Oops :0

So the work-in-progress me has had some hits and some misses today. But that’s ok. That’s life.


Weigh in Wednesday

24 Jul

200g to go, 200g to go! I’m almost at my goal weight though to be honest my weight is really not an issue anymore. As I’ve said previously, I am fitting into my clothes, some which I haven’t been able to fit into for a couple of years, and I feel so much better (chocolate over-indulgences aside). It’s amazing though how losing a couple of kilos can make such a huge difference. It’s taken me 11 weeks to lose 2.8kg so it’s certainly not been a speedy process. But the fact that the food on the program is still holding my interest says a lot as I’m easily bored and need variety. And when I get bored is when I start snacking and more often. This program offers variety in bucket loads, not only in meal choices (vegetarian, regular, and weight loss or weight maintenance) but also with exercise choices. The weights program changes every fortnight, as does the cardio component. I can choose from gym machines, gym classes, outdoors or at home options. In fact it really becomes a lifestyle rather than a diet per se and that’s what I like about it. I can see myself continuing to follow the program and eat the meals because they are so damn tasty and easy to prepare. I have all the recipes in 2 Kikki K recipe folders and these would have to be the 2 recipe books that get the most use in my house. I have used many of the recipes at some point (over 300 recipes), so that’s not bad! And now that I’m on the maintenance program I get to eat so much more food with each meal.

It was very frosty this morning when I went for my early morning 6km walk and despite all my layers and gloves I still felt the cold today. I did a fartlek walk in that I sped up for a certain number of lamp posts and then walked at a steady pace between others. It helps pass the time.

So far this week I have clocked up 17km of walking, probably the most I’ve ever walked!

I met up for lunch with friends at the Blue Olive café today. I haven’t been to this café in years and even then it was ever only for breakfast. I’d never been there for lunch before. Wow, what a revelation. They cater very well for people who have to eat gluten free. I had the pumpkin soup with a side of gluten free toast but I could have chosen from a large range of sandwiches or rolls. They also have salads plus some mains. I didn’t even look at the cake/slice display! Best not to put temptation in my way! So Ruth and Liz, I think we might have to try out this café for breakfast sometime soon!

This afternoon I had my regular physio appointment. Since the last appointment I have only managed one running session and that was a dismal failure. Since then my hammy has been sore and I have not been tempted to even try running because I really don’t need another setback. So what was today’s verdict? Take another week off from attempting to run (this will make it 3 weeks) and then try again. In the meantime I can continue with lower body weights at the gym and the walking. Also it seems that I have Femoroacetabular impingement, a congenital condition exacerbated by particular activities. It presents as restricted range of hip motion ie hip flexion and internal rotation. And also explains my tendency to get hip and hammy injuries – because you name it, I’ve had it!


Toughen up Tuesday

23 Jul

Actually I think in the 12WBT program it’s known as Tighten up Tuesday but I prefer the term ‘toughen up’. The aim of the day is to tighten up the diet and exercise – no excuses, no cheating, and no slacking off. Hmmm….

So here goes….

An early morning weights session at the gym, focusing on back and chest since I can’t do any of the leg exercises…yet again. So there were the usual lat pull downs, low cable rows, lots of push ups and dumbbell chest presses. And some time on the xtrainer, just to mix things up. And there was no slacking off or opting for easier weights but I still don’t feel like I’m getting a proper workout because I can’t do any leg-based weights. Do I sound frustrated? Yes!

For breakfast I had apple muesli, dolloped with natural yoghurt. I use the Kuranda gluten free, fruit free muesli with quinoa and cacao nibs. It’s delicious. Topped with grated apple and milk, and then dolloped with chobani natural yoghurt it becomes very, very delicious!

Morning tea was some more natural yoghurt with oven roasted strawberries. If you’ve never tasted oven roasted strawberries, you are really missing out on a taste sensation. This method is particularly good for strawberries that aren’t fully ripe and tasty – oven roasting brings out the sweetness and intensifies it. All you need to do is hull them, halve them, and place them on a baking tray (cut side up so they don’t stick to the baking paper) and roast in a 150*c oven for around 30 minutes.

I went for a brisk 5km walk at lunchtime along the cycle path that takes me through Turner. Brisk because there was a rather chilly wind blowing. Normally I walk early in the morning and don’t see anyone but walking at lunchtime I was passed by lots of runners. Sigh. I do miss running. I was very envious of even the slowest plodder today because they can do something I can’t do at the moment – run. We always want what we can’t have.

Today for lunch I had left over potato, spinach and feta tortilla. Sometimes food always tastes better the day after it’s been made and today was no exception. To follow I had a small mandarin from our tree. It might be small in size but it packs a flavour punch that many shop bought mandarins lack.

To deal with the mid-afternoon munchies I snacked on soy, linseed and chia corn thins with cottage cheese. It may sound gross to some but this is actually one of my favourite snacks. To each their own, I always say. Having said that, every so often this afternoon my thoughts would stray to a packet of salt and vinegar chips. Don’t ask me why – this is not normally something I eat nor even usually crave. Maybe I’m lacking salt? Instead I had a licorice tea which actually is better in combating sweet cravings but it does seem to have helped marginally.

Tea tonight was lamb with beetroot puree and herbed peas with ricotta. I love ricotta in any dish. The beetroot puree was different. Gee its messy though – I had beetroot juice everywhere, especially when it came to peeling it once it had roasted, and then pureeing it. Fortunately I remembered to don some gloves for the peeling stage otherwise I’d have red hands now!

In summary I think it was a toughen up day. I came so close to succumbing to the salt & vinegar chips this afternoon. I added a walk at lunchtime, in addition to the weights session I did this morning.

And I’m thinking an early night might be on the cards. Though I do have to pull my finger out and finish off some baby clothes I’m knitting for a baby that has now arrived. And no, I’m not referring to the royal birth!


Back on the straight and narrow

22 Jul

After a weekend of indulgences it is time to get back on the straight and narrow again. In some ways this is a relief because indulging doesn’t always leave me feeling great. It’s nice to be able to indulge once in a while, as for special occasions, but it shouldn’t become an everyday, or even every couple of days, occurrence. And I must admit I could’ve done without the additional chocolate and ice cream dessert yesterday but what is done is done, and there’s no use getting my knickers in a twist over it.

As I commented yesterday, I have changed to the maintenance program which means the number of calories I can consume per day has increased. I thought this would happen with my snacks but the recipes actually alter to include extra amounts. I noticed it with breakfast this morning. Today I had the breakfast crumble with cinnamon yoghurt. I used homemade stewed apple rather than the processed apple and strawberry puree called for in the recipe, so it was so much nicer and much better for me. I also had extra yoghurt and granola and the addition of walnuts. Yummo. So this ended up being quite a filling breakfast. And for dinner tonight I had extra feta and some tomato paste on my pizza. It’s the little things 🙂

Exercise-wise, I was up and out early for my 6km walk. It was very frosty this morning but I was wearing my cycling gear – thermal leggings and cycling top and jacket, as well as gloves. It kept me warm and toasty and I didn’t really notice the cold…well not much, except for my face! It was my fastest walk to date, with an average pace of just a whisker over 9 minute km/min. There’s hope for me yet!


My nemesis

21 Jul

Now I know why I don’t keep chocolate in the house.


Because I don’t have an off switch when it comes to chocolate. If its there I have to eat it. I try to distract myself and not think about that block of chocolate hidden in the pantry but always my mind drifts back to that block of chocolate.

The reason for chocolate being in the house was because we had sons #1 and #2 around for dinner last night for their birthday. There is a tradition in our family of cooking favourite meals for birthdays which is why we had roast pork belly (delicious) and then chocolate self saucing pudding (awesome) for dessert. There was left over dark chocolate and premium vanilla ice cream. So tonight we had some more ice cream and then I also finished off the chocolate. Not because I was hungry but because it was there. Because I had been thinking about it all day.

So not the best day food wise. Ice cream. Chocolate. Too much snacking. Feeling very blegh.

Oh well back on track tomorrow. With one change. I’m moving to the maintenance program. I’m finding I’m getting hungry on the weight loss program which is resulting in extra snacking. I’m not too far off goal weight and I think the increase in calories will help. Lets see if it makes a difference.

Week 11 starts tomorrow!


Wild, wintry, wet, walking weather

20 Jul

A very wintry day

A very wintry day

I woke just after 4am to pouring rain outside. It was heavy and persistent. I was mentally reconfiguring my day to include a long walk at some point if I couldn’t do it early. Trouble with walking is that it’s not time efficient. To walk 13km was going to take me a couple of hours and so it was trying to find a 2 hour window later in the day. But eventually the rain stopped and by the time I got up, just after 5am,  I decided to chance it.

The weather actually wasn’t too bad at 6am when I finally stepped outside. The clouds had cleared, there weren’t too many puddles, there wasn’t a strong wind and it wasn’t frosty. I tried to keep to a brisk pace, well as brisk as my hammy will let me. Because I am more of an ambler rather than a power walker, I really have to concentrate on my pace. If my mind starts to drift off to something else my pace also drops off.

After following my regular early morning route through the local suburbs I then ventured down Belconnen Way to the cycle path that runs through Macquarie. Eventually, as my walks get longer I hope to make it to Lake Burley Griffin. But this morning I was only going 13km. The other disheartening thing about walking is that you just don’t burn the calories, or at least I don’t seem to, according my Garmin HRM: 339 calories for a 13km walk that took me 2 hours and 5 minutes.

Once back home again, and once my hands started functioning again, I made myself a spinach & two cheese omelette for breakfast. I may not have burnt many calories but I had certainly walked up an appetite.

The weather rapidly deteriorated as the day wore on and it has been alternating between wind, rain, hail, sleet and occasionally even sunshine. One thing that hasn’t changed is the temperature – its bloody freezing! So glad I made the decision to walk first thing this morning.

Tonight sons #1 and #2 are coming around for tea to celebrate their birthday which was during the week. On the menu is (block your ears Michelle Bridges!) roast pork belly (Garry Mehigan recipe) with pumpkin, potatoes, onions, garlic and greens with gravy and apple sauce, and for dessert chocolate self saucing pudding (Stephanie Alexander recipe) with premium vanilla ice cream. Can’t wait!

Spotted a rainbow on my walk

Spotted a rainbow on my walk


19 Jul

It’s not that I’m trying to wish my life away but by golly, I never thought this day would come. It’s been a long week this week, and it’s not been helped by coming down with the dreaded lurgy and being out of action for two days. Two days where I was in a brain fog, with a jack hammer banging away in my head and feeling like I’d been hit by a Mack truck. No fun at all really.

However, despite not feeling 100% this morning I decided to go for a quick walk around the block before attempting my core strength exercises. I’d been feeling a little stir crazy having been confined to my bed for the last couple of days and I thought a brisk walk would do me wonders. Except that it was pouring with rain as I stepped outdoors at 5.45am. Not one to be deterred, I was wearing my spray jacket (actually more of a rain jacket) and headed off into the rain…and wind. Yes, it was also very windy and this combined with the rain was not making for a very pleasant walk at all. But once I’ve set my mind to something I can be very determined, and I sloshed and splashed my way around the block, approximately 2km. It was not a long walk by any means, but it was a walk nonetheless.

Back home and after a quick change out of wet gear into something dry I then attempted my core strength exercises, which I hope are doing me some good. It’s a bit hard to tell as I’m not running and this is probably when I would feel the positive effects of the exercises. However, I’m currently not having any problems with my lower back…oops, let that thought out, didn’t I!

I had a delicious breakfast at Remi’s café this morning – poached eggs on toast with tomato and mushrooms. Work was frantic as I was catching up with several days’ work all before lunch. And then before I knew it, it was time to head home.

Tomorrow the plan is to get up early and do a 13km walk – this could take me a while. Its only expected to get to 9 degrees tomorrow and down to a low of 5 degrees overnight. So I’ve pulled out all my cold weather gear ready to brave the elements early tomorrow morning.