Monday, 29 October 2012

Epic Ride, Epic Weekend, Epic Cause

This will be a difficult post to encapsulate all the emotion, energy and effort into words, but as I am one never to be lost for words I will do my best but please excuse the length of it, it will be a doozy.  Those that follow me on Twitter and are in my facebook groups will know that this weekend I took on the second hardest physical challenge in my life (the hardest being Kokoda in 2006) which saw myself and my team of 5 others including my brave and amazing wife (more to come about that later) ride 200kms over the weekend to raise money for Peter Mac Cancer Hospital.

We have been preparing for this for 6 months and this has been the catalyst for us getting fit and joining the 12WBT to be 100% honest with myself, but still it was a huge distance and there were doubts at times and I wondered how I would be able to do it over 2 days.  We have been out raising funds through a number of different ways and I managed to raise a total of $6540 and Julie managed approx. $3600 which is amazing.  Our team of 6 raised just over $26K which is just unbelievable.  We are so proud of our efforts and so grateful to all the wonderful people that have donated.  It means so much to us.  To all the people that donated to me, it has blown me away.  Some of them I don’t even know, but knowing the cause impacted them they did it anyway.  Just shows you how important it is.  Saturday morning saw the culmination of all the hard work, both on and off the bike, with a very early start to the day.

Early night to bed on Friday, which was hard as we were so excited, but as we were leaving home at 5am we needed it.  We dropped off the bikes and bags and loaded them onto the trucks and were waiting with the other 2000 odd riders to get on the road.  The excitement or anticipation could be felt in the crowd as well as the emotion.  The most amazing thing about this ride was that it was not about how fast you could do it, how fit you were or how much money you had raised, it was all about the cause.  People of all body shapes and sizes were there in lycra outfits riding for loved ones that had survived the battle, some have lost the battle and some still going through it.  It was emotional stuff.  There were tears prior to the start from some, but they were tears of joy as we were trying to do our bit to make a difference.  Might not be much, but it is the least we can do to support the hospital that Julie’s dad is currently undergoing his treatment in.  After the obligatory speeches we were let loose on the roads at around 7am.  As you can imagine, trying to get 2000 cyclists out of Melbourne is no easy feat, so we were let go in waves.
Nervous but excited prior to Day 1

Needless to say the first part around the lake, through South Melbourne and up the Yarra was slow going.  This continued pretty much until we hit Yarra Boulevard and the hills.  Now we were able to stretch out a bit with all the riders being at differing levels of ability in the hills.  Thankfully at this point I was able to stick with Bec (our team leader) and the Giant girls (Tracey and Corinna, aka Cheap & Nasty).  These ladies are all machines and way out of my league, so they were obviously being nice to me early on.  It was good riding with accomplished cyclists as it taught me a lot and they are pretty good chicks as well.  We found ourselves back on the heading through Fairfield and Ivanhoe to our first pit stop.  We were all there waiting for the rest of the team when Julie and Nicki came in just behind us.  It was at this time where reality really smacked us in the face.  Nicki found out 10 minutes prior to the pit stop that the person she was riding for had passed away that morning.  If we did not know by then why we needed to raise money to find a cure, we sure do now.  It was awesome to see the team rally around Nicki, but she wanted us to do the ride at our own pace and let her continue.  She is an amazing person.
The next part of our ride was where we started heading towards the north eastern parts of town where I knew there were going to be some hills and sadly after trying to keep up with the girls I was shown my limitations and they were gone up some of those hills.  It was not worth it for me to push with only 35kms done on the first day and Corinna was an animal tackling those.  I made it to Research, almost half way on day 1 still intact with no dramas or mechanical issues.  Time to refuel and get ready for the real hills that were about to hit us.  Little did I know they were a lot sooner than I had anticipated.  Julie met up with us at this pit stop and was not a happy camper.  I have no idea why as she was in a mood that meant it best I not talk to her, so I soon jump on the beast and off I went to tackle my own issues, HILLS!!!!  The first big climb was immediately out the pit stop and it was not a nice one at all.  After this we had nasty little downhill on wet road to a slippery roundabout (so the volunteers were telling us) and then the next monster which was to be the big one for the day.  I started up this hill full of gusto determined to make it to the top only to find that my granny gears were not available.  This meant I was really struggling when I reached the last third of the hill and unfortunately had to get off and walk.  Not what I was planning to do but I had no option otherwise I would have fallen off.  In the grand scheme of things it was not a big deal, my main focus was to make sure that I finished the 2 days not burn myself out 50kms into the ride.  After this there were lots of rolling hills, which meant I was having to be a little more risky on the downhill sections and travel quicker than I wanted to on slippery roads in order to have the speed to get up the other side.  Thankfully I rolled into Lilydale for the lunch stop and that meant 76kms down and a chance to fuel up and also get my gears checked by the mechanic.
Me at lunch on Day 1

With an amazing lunch came some sunshine, which was perfect as it was a bit cold during the morning and overcast as well.  With a fixed bike it was now time to tackle the last 24kms and look forward to a rest, a beer and a feed.  On the way to the finish there was another pit stop at Domain Chandon, of all places.  I wondered how many ladies stopped there and didn’t leave.  I thought Julie might have been one of them, but sadly for here she was already in a vehicle being driven past it with her day being over due to injury.  I finally made it to Healesville thinking my day was over only to find the camp site was 3kms out the other side and up another blasted hill.  Head down, bum up and off we go.  We I finally arrived not only was Bec and Cheap & Nasty waiting to cheer me home but a huge crowd of finishers and volunteers were there cheering for every person that rode in the gates.  It was an amazing experience and one that I will remember for a long time.  Finally off that bike, I put him to bed and went to get the tent set up then get changed and eat.  Food was sensational as was the onsite coffee machines and dessert selection.  Whilst I didn’t have any, the fact that there was quality food available made everyone happy.
Bikes all tucked up for the night

We were tucked up in bed at 8:30 for a good night’s sleep only to have that idea come crashing down with a lot of people deciding to have discussions outside our tent and also there being a competition to see who could snore or fart the loudest.  Let’s just say it was an interesting night.  We were then woken up by some stupid cow who set her alarm for 5am and had it right next to my head in the tent behind.  That mean pretty much everyone in the tent city was up then.  We were not allowed to leave until 6:30am  so we had plenty of time to pack up, eat the hearty brekkie provided and get ready.

Tent city full of activity morning of day 2

Which is what we did and off we headed at around 6:45am for another long and gruelling day.  Let’s just say if we thought all the hills were in day 1 we were very much mistaken.  Day 2 was full of bigger and more gruelling hills with one of them being over 2kms in length.  What were they thinking sending amateur cyclists on this sort of route.  I worked as hard as I could to conquer some of these but even experienced fit cyclists were walking up these hills which made me feel better.  Sadly Julie was not able to ride these hills due to her ankle swelling up but to her credit she tried.  She was taken to the halfway point by the sweep vehicle. 
Now my journey was one that I never expected to be on 8 months ago and I was so proud of my efforts so far.  I was feeling good after 100kms down, legs strong and confident.  During the first part of the morning and 50kms I had proven to myself that I was a lot more mentally and physically stronger than I had given myself credit for.  This was something that tested me in a number of different ways and was really going to get hard as we got nearer to the finish line.  I managed to get to the lunch stop at 74kms but as we took off I experienced a cramp in my right hamstring.  This meant that I was not able to raise my leg to pedal without cramping.  Makes it hard to ride then doesn’t it.  I finally got rid of the cramps and continued on making it through the outer suburbs and into the Yarra Boulevard area on my way home.  I had forgotten the hills that were involved on the boulevard and was not happy about them but as I neared the top of one I could hear cheering and cow bells.  It was all the volunteers at the top and it was the pit stop, which meant I could have a drink, rest and wait for Julie.  I received a text from her telling me she was back on the bike and determined to finish.  I called her and told her I would wait so we would finish together.  I did mention to her that she still had some hills to go up and whilst I expected her to walk them I had forgotten how stubborn she can be.  I waited an hour and bit then thought I would go out onto the road to see if I could see her walking up the hill and give her some support.  I then saw this determined looking figure riding up the hill, which made me so proud.  She was in obviously pain and not feeling the best but she was determined to do this for her dad.  She really is a trooper.  I was so happy that I had waited for her and we would finish this together.
Julie powering up the last hill

After she quickly had a drink and something to eat we jumped back on the bike and knew there were no more hills.  We were only 14kms from the finish, which meant a ride along the Yarra trail and then through some city streets to Albert Park lake and down the finishing tunnel.  We crossed the line together and it was an amazing feeling knowing that we had done it.  I had made the 200kms without incident, proving that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.  I openly admit that I had not done enough training leading into this, especially considering I had not done any hills, but if you want something bad enough you will make it happen.

I sent a tweet after the ride finished to Michelle Bridges to notify her that my SSS was finished and that over the course of the 2 days and 200kms I had managed to burn 10700 calories.  See her response below.
The Guru answering my tweet

It was an emotional ending all round with hugs between team members, congratulations and then getting to meet the reason Bec starting doing this, her brother in law Vince who was told 5 years ago he had 6 months and now he is okay.  Peter Mac helped him and if he had been sick, Bec would not have started her crusade to help Peter Mac and I would never have done this.  Whilst I don’t want anyone to be sick, the fact that we are all wiser and better for it now, Vince included has helped a lot more people and raised $$ and awareness. 
Before I finish off this lengthy post, I would love to thank the volunteers and crew members as they were amazing.  All of them went out of their way to make our weekend the best it could be and their support, cheering and encouragement were sensational.  If anyone is interested in taking part next year, I have already signed up, let me know as we would welcome as many new team members as possible.  You don’t have to be a cyclist, I wasn’t, but it is all about the cause, proving you can do it and helping get rid of this horrible disease.
Proud team at the finish line, mission accomplished

Remember, if your mind can CONCEIVE, and your heart can BELIEVE it, then you can ACHIEVE it.  JFDI!!!!!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Slow & Steady Wins the Race

A very wise man once said "It doesn't matter how slowly you go, as long as you don't stop." This wise man was Confucius and how fitting that Michelle Bridges actually posted this on her Facebook page and tweeted this today.  This fits perfectly with this blog post that I was putting together yesterday and today.

I have now completed 20 weeks of the 12 WBT program and not once have I bothered to do any mini-milestones.  Suppose I just never saw the point of it, but this week I decided that I was going to after speaking to others and reading what they had planned.  With my bike ride coming up next week, I set myself the challenge of riding 100kms yesterday to prove to myself that I can do it.  I wanted to know that I had passed that psychological barrier and how my body would react before I had to do it twice next weekend.  It was also a good time to get out and ride on the freeway as the Round the Bay in a Day was on as well.

I hit the freeway at 7:30am yesterday morning and jumped onto the back of a group that were moving along nicely.  It is easier riding in a group, so I thought the fact that i would be at the back and being dragged along might save me some energy for my return trip on the way home.  Only issue here is that this group was moving at approx 30kms per hour and that is a bit fast for me.  I did my best to keep up, but after 10kms or so I dropped off the back of that group.  I was disappointed but soon found some riders going more my speed at around 25 kms per hour.

After another 10kms these riders decided to stop at a rest stop leaving me on my own.  Admittedly there were hundreds, if not thousands of riders in front and behind me, so not technically on my own, but one thing I did learn is that if I am trying to go faster than I physically can I will only burn myself out and my thighs started to scream at around 30kms.  I was worried that I might have injured myself by going to hard to early.   This is when I decided to ease off the pace to prevent myself from picking up an injury and remembered that it was not a race, it is a ride.

The old children's story "The Hare & the Tortoise" seemed to pop into my mind for some reason.  There were so many people speeding past me yesterday on the freeway (and good on them for being able to ride that quickly) but I was still going to get to my destination.  Surprisingly I passed a number of them as they had picked up punctures or mechanical problems.  I also know that next weekend there will be those keen and good cyclists that will take off in the morning like the hare, others that will ride at my pace and then those that will be slower than me (the tortoise) but we will all get to Healesville in our own time.

As you can imagine, riding 100kms gives you a lot of time to think about things.  I found myself thinking about the journey this bike ride has taken me on.  When I signed up for this ride I was 150kgs with no idea how I was going to get fit enough to ride 200kms in 2 days.  Then in June I found the program that has pretty much saved my life, perhaps it was divine intervention.

I equate my mission to get back the fit and healthy person I should be and haven't been for 20 years to Aesop's fable.   There is no rabbit in this race, it is all about being the tortoise.  Slow and stead will win this weight loss race.  There is no quick fix, if there was everyone would do it and it would be easy.  You will only get to where you want to be by grinding out the results.  That means a lot of hard work, both mentally and physically over an extended period of time.  I suppose this realisation has come to me and been reinforced by the slow down in my weight loss this round.  Initially the weight fell off me very quickly, due to the fact that I had so much to lose.  It has slowed this round, but I have not gone as hard as I did last round.  The reasons for this are still being discovered and worked on also.  I am still moving forward, just like Confucius says in the above quote, but the path has been a little wavy rather than a straight line.  As much as I don't want the weight loss to slow down and I would love to be at my goal weight early next year, I am also aware that I am still learning a lot about what makes me tick.

This is the biggest thing I have taken from this program.  All the other diets don't address the biggest issue in my opinion, which is why this happens and how to combat it.  Sure they give you the food, diet plans and the ethos behind why it works, but they don't help address your demons and eliminate excuses like Michelle and her crew do.  If it wasn't for this learning and the continuous reminders that you need to have your mindset in the right place I would have been the hare running around expecting it to come all too easy and then finding myself asleep under the tree when I need to rest (aka becomes to hard).  Only problem is when the weight stopped coming off or it got to hard I would have stayed under the tree and stopped moving.  With the tools I have been given now I know it is not an easy path, it will have periods of slow weight loss and red flag days, but so long as I stay on the path and I keep moving (no afternoon nanna or hare naps) I will get there in my own time but being a lot better for the journey.

Knowledge is power and now I feel empowered to understand why things have happened in the past and how I can work towards changing them. I will not always get it right but I know that I will at least still be moving and not stopping.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Owning Your Actions

All of us have got to this point where we needed help by not owning our actions and making excuses for why we have allowed ourselves to get to the point where we are overweight and sometimes extremely unhappy.  I would always find myself losing interest after a few months and giving up, starting the vicious cycle all over again.  Thankfully the discovery of Michelle Bridges 12WBT has given me the tools to change that.

Why is 12WBT any different you may ask?  Well in my opinion it is more than just a change in what you eat.  It is a lifestyle change with all the tools you need to understand why you are in this position and what you need to do to change that.  No other program I have seen gives you the ability to look at your mindset and make the changes through the help and assistance given by Michelle and her videos as well as her support crew and fellow members.  This is not a fad diet, this is a way to alter your life and empower yourself to make sure you can do it long term.

Out for a 5km morning walk

Now, it also teaches you that what you want to achieve is also up to the individual and Michelle has quite often said that you need to fail sometimes to realise where you go wrong and how to fix it for the future.  This is one area that I feel I have grown in over the last 20 weeks.  The first round was a great period for me, but this round the weight loss has not been as much and this week I actually had a gain.  OMG shock horror, what will I do now.  In the past I would have given up and buried my head in the sand.  Probably grabbed a box of BBQ shapes and a bottle of wine and sat in front of the telly.  This would have started the vicious cycle all over again, then the woe is me crap would start again.

Yes I know that the idea of this program is not to put weight on, but the circumstances here were a little different.  I have been in Bali for the last week on a second honeymoon/40th birthday present for a week with no children.  Our intention was to exercise everyday as per my last post and eat clean.  Now this is easier said than done, especially when a dose of Bali belly visits both of us.  I will say that we did  quite a bit of walking (15kms first day, 7kms the second day, 1000 calories burn for SSS on saturday and then a 40 km bike ride the last day) but a couple of days which were spent doing nothing due to upset tummies killed it.  Yes there were a few beers (maybe more than a few) and a number of cocktails, but the hardest part was finding clean food.  Eating salads in a place where you can't really eat anything washed in the water made it interesting and the hotel only had salads in creamy dressings.  I did find a wonderful tomato salad on the second last day though.  They had very little that I would consider clean foods.  We were also eating out a little when we could and they don't have the same outlook as restaurants over here.   I am not making excuses here, but we were there to have a good time as well.

Me during our 40km ride from Kintamani to Ubud

Now at the end of the day, I failed so to speak in so far as I came home and gained weight, but I have also won if that is possible.  By gaining weight and not allowing it to dictate how I am going on this journey and deeming it as failing I have embraced the fact, acknowledge that it is part of life and that Sh!t happens.  When I get to goal it will happen as well, will I throw my hands up in the air and have a tanty then.  No, I will own it and know that it is just a couple of kilos and in the grand scheme of things it puts me a couple of weeks behind where I wanted to be.  So what!!!  I am not racing anyone, I know I will now get to where I want to be and I am happy that I had an awesome time away with my wife.  I also exercised more in that week away than I have in the last 8or more holidays I have been on, so to me that is a huge step forward.

Julie & I at the Ubud terraced rice paddies

The ultimate goal for me is to get below 90kgs.  That was never going to be a quick fix, but more importantly I want to get there being happy with the person I have become, make sure I am still living life and hopefully as close to the program as I can be, but knowing that the entire time I have been working towards getting to that goal I have also been enjoying life and learning from all the experiences.  In the past that would not have happened and whilst this round might not be as successful as the last in the weight loss area, I feel I have learnt a lot more about my mental deficiencies and strengths than I did in the last when it all happened too easily.  This has been a more successful round for me because I have learnt more about how to make sure I don't fall back into the old me and I will keep moving forward.

We had an awesome week in Bali and I know when I go back next time I will be in a far better place because of what I have learnt over the last week. I look forward to going back and doing more cycling, it was amazing and I highly recommend Celebrity Cycling Tours.  These 2 guys were brilliant and it is supporting local industry.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Recharging the Batteries.

Recharge the batteries.
This post is being done from sunny Bali. No weight lost this week but not an issue in the grand scheme of things. What is he talking about you may ask, especially when this blog is about my weight loss journey. Lately I have mentioned that I have felt a bit flat and tired. I think this has had an impact on the amount of weight I have or haven't lost. I have felt like the energizer bunnies poor cousin, full of batteries that you pick up from the $2 shop and only last a couple of days. Part of this is due to me not being well and still getting over bronchitis, but a lot of it also is because of the two rounds rolling straight into each other. This is something that I am going to have to deal with especially with round 4 starting straight after this round, which I will be continuing with.

Now I am in no way complaining about this, no one is making me sign up or pay my $$ and I am going to be a Michelle Bridges convert for the rest of my life with the great results I have achieved, but at some point we all need to take a step back and look at how we are travelling and also understand how this journey will be best travelled by us. For me this is with a holiday. Now I am in no way saying that by leaving the country the 12WBT is out of sight out of mind. This is my life now and nothing changes with a time zone. I just need a week away to put my crappy batteries in a charger, not log into the forums or my numerous Facebook groups and just have some me time with my wife. This holiday is a test of sorts. I will indulge in a number of drinks during the week, but the biggest difference will be the fact that we have packed just as many pieces of workout gear as we have normal clothes. We have even packed our cycling knicks and helmets. I have never even contemplated that for a holiday before. I plan on doing as much walking as possible and will be doing a session of exercise everyday.

As Michelle said in one of her live videos, when on holiday you have no excuse not to exercise because you have no time constraints like you do normally at home. Add to that I have no children this holiday either so get up everyday and JFDI.

Well today started with us being awake at 5:30am still being on Melbourne time, so we got up and headed out for a walk at 6:15 and turned on the GPS and tracked that we walked 5kms. We then had breakfast and decided we would check out the local area some more. This ended up in a further couple of kms being walked before we decided to head to Kuta for some shopping and a visit to the memorial for the bombing. The 10th anniversary is in 2 days but we don't want to be there then, so we paid our respects today. We then proceeded to walk a further 10 kms shopping and sightseeing and also sweating our bits off. Yes we indulged in a couple of cold Bintangs and a wonderful lunch, but made up for it with a swim this afternoon. We have decided that every morning will be a walk and/or a visit to the fitness centre but tomorrow will also involve a 1 hour massage and a bike ride for a couple of hours.

Yes we are on holidays, but this is our new sort of holiday where physical activity is a big part of it and we embrace it and are loving it. When I come back here in 6 months time I will be close to goal if not there already, fit ripped and loving the new me.

I apologise for any poor formatting in this post but it is a killer trying to do it on an iPhone poolside.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

12WBT Weekly Surprise VLOG

This post is a follow up from my last, but I have done a VLOG for the 12WBT weekly surprise.  This challenge was about putting together your own mindset video.  I hope you enjoy it and take something from it.

This is my first ever VLOG and I found it very hard to get a message into such a short timeframe.  Might be my last post for a week or so as I am going to Bali for a week so I am sure this will through up a few challenges and prompt a couple of interesting posts whilst I am away.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Looking at the Big Picture

This morning is the WWW day.  Wake up, wee and weigh in Wednesday.  This has always been my favourite day of the week on this program as it is when I officially get to see what the results from the weeks hard work have thrown up.  Thankfully after being ill for the most of last week I was able to work out last night in our “Last Chance Training” which is now building up a little following and a new member last night joining us, Bec Green.  It is wonderful having these ladies join us and making sure that we push ourselves as a group on Tuesday nights, although there will be no training for the next 2 of them as I will be in Bali.

This morning saw another loss of 1.2kgs for the week, which takes me to 9.1kgs for the round and 33.6kgs in total in 18 weeks.  I can’t believe this and considering I was struggling both mentally and physically prior to be ill it has come at the perfect time.  I am now hoping to be busting out some super numbers in the next 6 weeks and hopefully lose the 12.5kgs I need to get me under the tonne by the end of the round.  This is my goal and would be the best Christmas present ever.

My issues that I have documented in this blog over the last 4-6 weeks about feeling tired and mentally flat were put into some serious perspective yesterday.  Yes I have said that I have been struggling and doing it tough, but I was given a huge wake up yesterday which caused me to seriously get a grip and put a few things in perspective.  My issues, which aren’t really issues in the grand scheme of things, are so miniscule that I need to sit back and realise how fortunate I really am and make the most of every opportunity I have.  Each day provides me with the chance to make that day amazing.  I am given the chance to do pretty much what I choose and to impact other people’s lives in a positive manner if I indeed choose to.  So what has made me reflect like this? 

A lot of people will know that I am taking part, along with my wife, in the “Ride to Conquer Cancer” at the end of this month.  Raising money for the Peter Mac Institute has allowed me to become part of people’s lives and personal history that I otherwise would not have known about and I am shocked to see how many people have been impacted by this horrible disease.  Cancer does not discriminate in any way, shape or form.  It is random whom it selects and it is brutal.  Yesterday I was given the news from 2 separate people that they have been impacted also.  One of these people is a very dear friend of my wife’s (and a training buddy and friend of mine) whom donated a considerable sum of money to Julie’s ride.  When we asked her why she did that, she told us that she had a family member that was only given a couple of weeks to live and she felt like she had to do something to give back.  Now, this was totally unexpected and a very sad moment for all of us.  This has and will continue to impact our friend whether we do the ride or not, but for her to feel that this is what she can do to give back was an amazing gesture.

Secondly, I received an email from a person I have only met through the 12WBT and struck up a friendship with.  I have since been fortunate enough to meet them and consider them part of my support network within the program.  I was told yesterday that they are also gravely ill and don’t have a lot of confidence in the prognosis.  To hear this was absolutely gutting, but to read on and have them, tell me that this was not going to beat them and whilst it was going to be tough and they were going to have to fight for their life, they were not giving up and would tackle this mother head on.  If someone can be given a prognosis like that and decide that this is something they are going to tackle and beat, why am I whining about not losing enough weight and feeling tired.  These people have not been given a choice, yet they are the ones that are fighting everyday to be in the same position I am in right now.    I have no reason to complain, whine or feel down especially when I know what others are going through.  Whilst I am saddened by the thought of people I know having to deal with this, I am determined that I will now do what I can to prove to them and everyone else that the choices I make moving forward from this day are because I CAN and I CHOOSE to make every moment count.  I can’t live these people’s lives through my own, but I can certainly make sure I don’t take things for granted and use their inspirational battles to ensure that I make the most of my time here.

Sorry for the depressing post, but since hearing this news yesterday it has been weighing on my mind.  I feel better for having got it out there.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Missing Training!!

As I mentioned in my last post, I was ill all of last week with bronchitis.  Having never suffered from an illness like this before I was not sure of what to expect, but I will say that it is the worst I have felt since I was 16 with a severe case of the chicken pox.  This completely knocked the stuffing out of me, had me feeling very lethargic and eating very little.  It was mostly due to this that I lost 4.3kgs last week. 
Now as the week continued and I started to feel better, my food intake increased and the lethargy disappeared mostly.  I was still not well enough to train on Saturday morning when I put the ladies through another circuit and boxing session at 7:30am and we were lucky enough to have a few extra Western Warriors join us.  It was great to have Bridie, Tracey and Dayna there for the morning and we hope to see them again.  I also hope they liked our little training session, which is designed for everyone with a small circuit and then our normal session of boxing afterwards to finish off with some serious arm DOMS.

As I said, I was not able to take part due to still recovering from my illness, but I was out there to encourage and mostly time the circuits and also make sure all the ladies were not talking too much and also that they were doing the exercises properly.  What I did take away from this was that I was actually missing the fact that I was not involved.  I wanted to get into my exercise gear and take part.  Not sure my lungs would have been happy with the idea or being able to function adequately enough to ensure I didn’t vomit, but the simple fact that I couldn’t be a part of it and wanted to be was an amazing turnaround for me.  I can’t honestly remember ever having felt that way, not being able to take part because I was ill but wanting to.  I know there have been plenty of times in the past where I have not taken part in something through knowing my limitations or for fear of being embarrassed because I was too fat and didn’t want to face the ridicule, but this was me knowing I can do it and smash it out harder than most there, but not able to purely due to being ill.  It got me thinking about how much I will be jumping back into it when I can this week for a huge session.

Having missed the weekend SSS, I woke up to some beautiful sunshine and Julie asking me if I wanted to go for a bike ride.  How could I pass that up?  I got changed and headed out on my bike.  This is my new found favourite form of exercise.  I had no idea how far I was going to go, probably for around 50kms (which is a 2 hour ride) but I also was not sure how I would be feeling.  After about 3kms I hit a head wind and the first big gust of wind nearly took my breath away and had me coughing.  I was not sure how far I was actually going to make it before I had to turn around, but I decided that I would do the small circuit and not push myself.  In the end I went for the longer ride and as I was riding with the wind I went out for 15kms and then turned back.  The tailwind lulled me into a false sense of security because it had me forgetting the head wind and the coughing.  I managed to take it easy on the way home and burnt 890 calories in 1 hour 10 minutes.  It was so nice to be back out on the bike again and even better that I didn’t have any visits from the dreaded magpies whilst out. 

What I have realised most over this last weekend is that the ability to exercise and be active is a privilege and something that we all take for granted.  When we are fat and lazy, we see it as a bore or a chore and something that only crazy people do because they have nothing better to do.  When you become and active person and you finally start to enjoy exercise in whatever form you choose, you soon become used to doing it 6 or so times a week and it becomes part of your regular routine the same as going to work or the shops.  If you get injured or sick and have this taken away from you it creates a loss for you and only then do you realise that you are in a fortunate position that you can exercise and be active.  What about those that are not as fortunate. 

This 12WBT program has given me the chance to realise that exercise is my way out of being the person I was. Add to this the nutrition and daily lessons I am learning about myself and I have been granted the second chance that not everyone gets.  I am even looking forward to putting my new found love of exercise into practise in a week’s time when I am in Bali.  We have planned our trip away so that we can do some form of exercise every morning prior to heading out for the day.  Obviously the rest of our days will include walking, cycling and swimming amongst other things (I hope to go jet skiing whilst I am away) which would never have been high on my holiday agenda 12 months ago.  I am now looking at all my day to day activities in a completely new light and this is due to the change in mindset and fitness that allow me to do this.  I can’t wait to get back to exercise as soon as I lose this cough.