Thursday, 28 February 2013

Shrinking Man Becomes The Running Man

On a High………You Betcha
This week has been an amazing week for me when I look back over the last few days.  For those following my blog you will know that I have been determined to learn to run and do it over a decent distance.  I am also trying to go on a bit of a mission this round to make up for the last 2 rounds which have really been a waste in the weight loss department.  I have deemed this round to the ONE!!!!  After seeing the winner of last round take home a trip to Paris, my wife has told me to go and win her one.  So I might as well have a crack.

The last few weeks have been fantastic weight loss wise, but they have been just as good for me diet wise and training wise.  Obvioulsy the correlation between those 2 have an impact on the weight loss, but the big bonus for me is that I have not had a drop of alcohol in 19 days we have been doing this round.   There have been times when I have certainly wanted a drink, but we decided to go without for 12 weeks and at the moment it is working.  I can’t say I have been sleeping better, the hot nights have killed that, but there are no excuses for not working out.
Monday was a big day as I decided that I was going to enter the Half Marathon at Run Melbourne.  Following this hair brained idea, that night saw me go out and brave the weather for a run.  The gods must have been smiling on me as it didn’t rain until I walked back in the door.  I managed 8.25kms which was my longest run to date.  I was stoked.  It wasn’t fast, it wasn’t pretty but it was a little further than before.
1/2 Marathon Course

Wednesday saw weigh in day come and with a little apprehension I jumped on the scales.  I wasn’t apprehensive about my weight as I knew I had lost, the question was had I lost enough to be under 110kgs?  This is a weight I can’t last remember being at for at least 20 years.  Well I jumped on the scales and saw a number which I was stoked with.  109.6 was what looked back at me.  You little BEAUTY!!!!!!

Needless to say I walked out of the bathroom, after taking the obligatory photo to do a happy dance.  Yes I was still naked and thankfully Julie was still half asleep and couldn’t see me jumping about like an eejit.  What an awesome morning.  That means this round I have lost 8kg in 18 days and 6.8% bodyweight.  The thought of being under 100kgs before the end of this round is something that I had hoped for but now I am staring it in the eye and want it so badly that I am going to be working my rear end off to get there in the next 4-5 weeks.
Training yesterday consisted of a run, but once again I was unsure what it would end up being due to the crappy weather.  I had planned a route which could give me the option of a 5km, 8km or 10km run depending on how I felt, but this had to be altered on the go when I found the bridge I needed to cross under water.  So on my altered course I still had various options and decided to go for the middle one which would give me a run of approx. 7km.  Now this was not as far as I wanted to go but still a decent run and I know you should not always go out and just try and beat your last distance, but being competitive I always like to try and raise the bar, even if it is only with myself.  As I neared the point where I could turn home I decided to keep going.  I had been having stomach pains since the 3km mark but decided to push on and thought I could managed a few extra kms.  I did exactly this and when I decided to turn around it was at the 8.5km mark, which was now my longest run and I still had 2.25km to go to get back home.  Big question was, would my legs last that long.  I kept going, pounding the pavement like a galloping wilderbeast huffing and puffing but determined to out run the lion behind me, which in my case was just the shadow of doubt I had cast by choosing to go for this sort of distance and wondering if it would actually happen.  The lady talking in my left ear kept telling me the distance I had covered, average time per km and overall time and when she said I had made it to 10kms I actually gave out a yell of joy and a fit pump to myself.  I have no idea if anyone heard or saw me, but I honestly don’t care.  39 weeks ago I couldn’t even run the entire 1km for my time trial now I had just done 10kms in just over an hour and was still going. 

I ended up getting home to see 10.74kms completed in 1:09 which was my furtherest distance and longest time running.  Besides having run 10km’s I was more excited by the fact that the distance I had completed was in fact over half the distance I will be running in the half marathon.  This is more important to me as it means I know that I am capable of doing bigger things and I know I will complete this run because I WANT to.  My best mate (who is a fitness freak) has said to me that if I do this run, he will do it with me.  He has always wanted me to get involved with his triathlon club, so for him this will be something he never thought I would do, nor would we do it together.
I have also rewarded myself for my fitness progress and the fact that I am looking to ride over 1000kms later this year raising money for cancer research with a new bike.  I haven’t picked it up yet, but will do so in a couple of weeks.  This monster will have me flying around the burbs hopefully developing calves and thighs like Cadel Evans.  I know my wife likes my calves when defined, how will she like the rest of the muscles when I am lean mean running a cycling machine?
My New Beast - Yet to be Named

Watch this space for more progress reports as the shrinking man becomes the running man.

Friday, 22 February 2013

What is so FUN about a RUN?

Why is it called a Fun Run?  For years I have heard this term, Fun Run,  thrown around and wondered why on earth people associate those two words together and actually believe it to be the case.  Running is not fun!!!  Why would you deliberately go out and sign up for something and pay hard earned cash that was not fun.  That was my firm opinion and there was no budging me from that at all.  Then came along the guru (aka Michelle Bridges) and her scary little voice in her weekly videos telling me running is good and an easy and great way to burn calories.
In my first round I weighed 146kgs at the start and even though I hated running (which morbidly obese person doesn’t), I decided that I wanted to learn to run in order to burn as many calories as quickly as possible.  If that meant getting my fat wobbly arse moving around the local streets (even if it meant in the dark to not scare any of the local kids) that is what needed to be done.

Fast forward another 9 months and I have been regularly running around my area, sometimes with a few running buddies, mostly on my own.  I enjoy the solitude and chance to change it up every now and then.  Strangest part about this is that I now enjoy running.  I still don’t think it is fun, but I enjoy it.  Maybe I enjoy it because I never had the drive or balls to get up and do it in the past.  Perhaps it was the fear of failure and embarrassment back then, of being a fat, sweaty mess after trying to jog a kilometre unsuccessfully.  I don’t know, but what I do know now is that I am running and enjoying the new challenges it has thrown up for me.  I might not be fast, it might not look pretty but it is me moving a lot faster and for a lot longer than ever before in the past, even when I was fit and playing football.

Monday morning Dayna and I ran 8km around the tan track. For both of us this was our longest distance ever. Never did I think this would be possible.  We also ran for almost an hour. WOW, 1 entire hour running. Are you serious???  YEP, I was so chuffed.  This was in preparation for Wednesday night when we were taking part in the Brooks Sunset Series Fun Run at the Melbourne Zoo.  Seriously a 7.2km run in the evening, in heat with hills is not fun, so don’t call it that.  When I arrived I could not believe how many people were there and I was 45 minutes early.  I had no idea what to expect as this was my first fun run. There is that dreaded word again.  After meeting up with Dayna and a couple of other 12WBTer’s from our area, we got ready and headed to the start area.  People started to move forward and the announcer let us go.  Off we went, in a sea of mayhem, with people of all different paces, levels of ability and size trying to manoeuvre their way along the path.  Slowly it started to stretch out enough for me to get a little bit of rhythm going.  My biggest mistake was following Janine (another member of the Western Suburbs Warriors and an avid runner) as she is a lot better than me and I was not aware of the pace she was going at.  My GPS on my phone told me at 2kms that I was averaging 5:24 per km.  This was ludicrous as I only just do quicker than that on my time trial and I am normally comfortable running at 6 min pace.  Slow down big man, you will burst a valve I was telling myself. So slow down I did.  Now this is where I had my light bulb moment and the fun started to kick in.

My favourite picture. My youngest 2 fron and centre with their arms up for dad & oldest with the sign

Here is the sign.  Might just get it framed

In all of my teenage and adult life, I have only had a family member come to watch me participate in a sporting activity once before.  My mum came to watch me play a football final when I was 22 and I had to ask her.  It hasn’t worried me at all because I play sport for me, no one else.  However, as I was running up the front path of the zoo I looked over and saw my 3 boys standing there cheering me on with a huge sign they had made for me, with my wife snapping photos.  This was amazing for me.  The look of joy on their faces when they saw their dad running past had me beaming on the inside (don’t think at that point I was capable of smiling outwardly) and certainly gave me a lift when I entered the zoo.  I manage to see them twice more on the run and made sure I went over and gave the little ones a high 5 on my second lap.  This was exactly what I needed to push up those hills inside the zoo.  What a great feeling!!!  Now that is why they must be called fun runs, because after that the pain in my legs, lungs and head was gone.  Yeah it wasn’t easy, but knowing that they were there cheering for me and proud of their dad spurred me on.  I managed to finish the run in 48:01 and finish 77th in the 40-49 age group.  Nothing flash but something to start with.  I consider myself a flat track bully, only running on flat ground near home, but this had hills and wasn’t easy, so I am proud of that.  I did enjoy it, but mentioned afterwards that I still prefer my bike.

Oh yeah, my wife decided to sign me up for the next one last night on march 6th at Princes Park and her and the boys will be doing the 4km walk.  Add to the fun running this week, I managed to drop another 2.1kgs so currently sitting on 6.5kgs for this round and a loss of 5.5% body weight.  I want a big round this time, so there might be a bit more not so fun running involved and a few trips up Anderson St hill to burn some calories.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Dream, Believe, Achieve

This morning saw me surpass another milestone, which 9 months ago I would have thought simply impossible.  I am constantly amazed at how things have evolved and goals have tumbled since I started this 12WBT program.  When I first started I could not even run the full kilometre for my time trial.  My time was 7 minutes and 14 seconds.  Some of you will no doubt look at that and wish you were doing that now, but never mind, stick at it and you will surpass that.  What is important is that you never stop trying and never stop setting yourself goals.

When I started this program on the 4th June 2012 I hated running.  Always had as a matter of fact even when I was super fit as a young adult playing football.  Probably because I was forced to do so in order to stay fit.  When I started the 12WBT I decided I wanted to learn to run again and started Michelle’s LTR program.  Don’t ask me why, maybe it was because Michelle said it was the best way to burn calories.  I like to find the easy way to do things apparently.  Little did I know that it might be the easiest way to burn calories but that is where the easy stops and the hurt begins.
Over the course of the last 9 months I have managed to gradually improve my running, in both time and distance.  I have been setting myself goals along the way, slowly working towards them.  Sometimes I would take a few steps backwards whether it be due to injury or confidence, but still work towards my goals.  I was very fortunate that I met up with a couple of awesome ladies in our local training group that were also runners and they have helped me stick with the constant weekly running, keeping me honest, accountable and running with me.  This has made it a lot more enjoyable as well as we can and do go out together when we can.  I am happy to say that my distances have increase gradually to the point where we ran around the lake near my house a few weeks back for our week 12 milestone which is 7.2kms.  This was our longest run to date.  What a sense of achievement we felt after doing that.
This morning saw me rise at 5:45am, yes I know what the HELL was I thinking, to head off to meet my running buddy Dayna at the Tan Track in Melbourne.  I had only done this once before and it is 3.8km long with one mother of a hill.  Anderson St hill is 500m with an incline of nearly 30 degrees and we were going to do this twice.  Another what the hell was I thinking moment.  Well we managed to get up both times without stopping or even get close to stopping and we even decided we would continue running at the end of our 2 laps until we managed to click over to 8kms for the run.

OMG, what a massive achievement and massive win for both of us.  It was not only the longest run we had both done, but the longest time of continuous running for us in 59 mins and 35 seconds.  There is no way I would have dreamt it possible 9 months ago that I could run for 1 hour without stopping and still feel good about it.
So with this all done and dusted and me thinking of my next goal, I want to highlight a couple of key points here that I have learnt from the 12WBT.  It is important to set goals.  Don’t shoot for the stars straight off, but have goals you have to work towards.  These will keep you focused.  They also don’t have to be scales related as this can just bog you down.  I start with small goals, like to run 1km non-stop.  I then worked up to 3km and finally 5km.  You also need to think about how you are going to achieve these goals and remain positive that you are heading in the right direction and can/will get there.  Once you start to tick off these goals you will have so much confidence and you will be wondering what you can do next.  This is exactly where I find myself now and I have been wondering if I should be putting a half marathon down on the bucket list.  Why not I say, it can’t hurt and my ultimate goal is to work towards a half ironman triathlon, which contains a half marathon, so I might as well start working towards it now.

Dream, Believe, Achieve.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Power of Positive Thinking

Positive thinking 
1. an optimistic attitude  “the benefits of positive thinking”
2. a technique for changing your attitude and fostering optimism 

This is one of the key things in my opinion that determines how we all go with our mindset and in our weight loss journey.  I have had instances where I have been super positive and surprised myself and then other times where I have had doubts about what I am able to achieve and this has hindered me in my efforts to reach goals.  Right now I am in a great place and shooting for the stars.

One of my favourite quotes

Amazingly enough this post is not entirely about me, but a change in mindset that I have witnessed of late, which was highlight more so today.  One of our Western Warriors training partners, Bridie Krull, has been learning to run, as she calls it, for the last round or so and coming along nicely.  She has joined us on a couple of our early Saturday morning runs, but told us to go ahead as she wouldn’t be able to keep up and would do her own thing.  We don’t make anybody do anything they are not comfortable with in our training sessions so the runs are the same.  One day we went for a 3.5km run prior to our normal garage session and as we turned around I noticed that she wasn’t that far behind us.  When we finally got back to our house I had a brief chat to her.

Turns out, in my opinion she just lacked confidence in her own ability. I told her that from what I had witnessed she needed to have more faith in her own ability and just be prepared to back herself and push herself a little bit more.  I thought she might be surprised with what she could achieve.  I also thought that she didn’t really believe me, why should she.  My belief here comes from a personal experience where I managed to shut out the inner demons and push myself in round 1 through some barriers to run my PB of 6.1kms after not having run for 20 odd years.  I remember something Michelle said in one of her mindset videos that the body can do amazing things, you just need to shut out the mind.  If only we could always do that.

This morning we headed off for a short run, which was to be 3km.  My running partner Karen and I headed off with Bridie and another training buddy Nicole coming along behind at their own pace.  At the turnaround they weren’t far behind. We got to the end of our run and turned back to catch up with them but they were nowhere to be seen.  As we were setting up for our session, 35-40 minutes later Bridie stumbled in looking like she was about to fall down.  We asked where she had been and she turned to us and said “We just did the lake.”  Now this run is 7.2kms from my house for the full round trip.  This was Nicole’s week 4 milestone run and something that was a goal for Bridie.  We were all ecstatic for both of them to achieve this.  Obviously both of them were over the moon as well.  I had only done this 3 weeks earlier, so I knew how good it felt to set this distance as a new PB.  After training I was fortunate enough to receive a notification on Facebook, which Bridie had posted to let everyone know she had achieved her goal (as she should) but thanking me for helping her realize she could actually run.  It is quite touching, but all I did was tell her to her have more confidence in herself.  It was her own positive thinking and will to succeed that got her through this not me.  I didn’t move her legs.

I suppose this just goes to show that the little bit of mush between our ears plays games with everything we do and we need to master this in so many ways to succeed on this journey.

All I need now is to maintain this frame of mind and achieve some of these goals for myself.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Take it Whilst you Can……

It has been an interesting week for me to say the least.  Heaps of red flags and moments of CBF and it is not even the end of week 1.  Well, I am happy to say that it did not beat me and I have decided that this round has to be it.  I was determined to smash it this round, but watching the finale presentations on Saturday night confirmed it for me.  I want this more than anything.  What do I want you might ask?  I want the weight gone!  I want to be fit and healthy! I want to be able to wear clothes off the rack! But most importantly I want to be happy and know that I have given 100% for this round.  If I do that I might just be near my goal weight.

So this round started and I had the horrible task of getting up before 5am and catching a flight to Sydney for the day.  I took some snacks with me but was not able to prepare for lunch as I was on the road visiting customers.  I had a fruit salad at the airport which was horrible, along with a couple of cups of black tea.  Sushi followed for lunch and some salad at the airport in the QANTAS lounge with approx. 4 bottles of water during the day.  All going well so far it seems.  I ended up getting home after 7am and felt horrible.  I was tired, it had been a long day but two flights in one day is tiring in itself.  I had not exercised for the day and thought that my round was going to start with a crap first day.  I came home and changed and decided stuff it.  I went for a run.  It wasn’t far, it was only 2.5kms but it was a training session and proves that if you want to really do something, robot mode and JFDI really can work.

I had also not weighed myself so jumped onto the scales to a huge shock.  I had put on 4kgs over the weekend it seemed.  I know I had my own little party at home whilst Julie was away at finale, but really????  Julie then reminded me that being in the plane will have retained some fluid and it will soon drop away.  But what was I to do about the weigh in.  Oh well I guess I record that figure.  Rest of the week has been very good, I have eaten clean, trained hard and kept the water up, so when I jumped on the scales on Wednesday morning and it showed me a 4.4kg loss I nearly started laughing.  I was hesitant to post it in the forums and facebook groups, but what can I do about it.  When I did I was told to just accept it and make the most of it.  I know it won’t always be like that but I am happy to say that the last 2 days the scales have kept showing a downward spiral.  I know people say you shouldn’t weigh yourself every day, but I do a couple of times a day.  I like it, it keeps me on track and it shows me how different things can impact your weight loss.

I also completed my fitness test which I haven't really bothered with the last 2 rounds but I know if I am completing everything including the weekly challenges it means I am focused.  Managed a 5:22 km time trial which I was a little disappointed in to be honest, but I know I can improve.  4:15min for the wall sit, which I am happy with but not near my best and a 1:21min plank, which I will be working on.  I want to be like Heidi (aka tioughmudder) and smash out a huge plank. Maybe not like her 11 mins in Brisbane but I want to be able to do 5-6 which she has always done.

So it is almost 1 week down, I am glad I am back in the swing of things and need to keep this focus to ensure it happens for the full 12 weeks.  We are off the grog this round, even when we go to Sydney for our anniversary, so I know if I can maintain that focus there is no reason why I can’t replicate what I did in Round 2 last year and that meant a 24.5kg loss.  I need that this round, so look out, here comes the shrinking man.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

12WBT – What it Means to Me.

Sitting here looking at Facebook watching all the amazing updates and photos come through from the fitness challenge and workout at the finale weekend in Brisbane is not an easy thing strangely.  Why would I be feeling weird about not being there?  I was more than happy to stay home and allow my wife to go for the weekend with her girlfriends. She never gets time away from the kids like that and we really couldn’t afford a third finale in a row for 2 of us to go.

It dawned on me why I am jealous and envious of all these people and I am extremely proud of admitting it.  This program is now part of me, part of my life and the way I do things on a daily basis. It is part of my wife’s life, it is part of my families new way of doing things.  I have made some awesome friends in the 9 months we have been doing this and I see them more than most of my life long buddies and even my family.  We train together, we talk about our plans and our insecurities and where we may be failing and give each other ideas and support to get back on track or improve how things are going.  Add to this the amazing support you get from all your buddies on the Facebook groups and 12WBT forums as well as the Support Crew Michelle has working for you and who wouldn’t be proud of it all.

The Guru this morning

Now finale weekend has been for us a huge party each of the times we have been.  It has meant a couple of days away for just the 2 of us, which is rare, but it has also allowed us to meet up with all our other 12 WBT friends that we have made.  These people have been amazing for support and friendship in the last 9 months and it is so nice to meet those we haven’t before and give a big hug to the ladies we have met before (Sarah McGee, Carol Gilmour and Kate Beck to name a few).  

Julie with the lovely Kate Beck

It is also such an amazing feeling to be in the same place as so many likeminded people all shooting for the same goal, to be healthier and happier in their own skins.  There is no pretentiousness; no one cares what others look like, are wearing, their fitness levels or anything that we may have worried about in the past. This is a group of people that have travelled from across the country all joining up together to celebrate the journey they have decided to take and be in the presence of the GURU.  

The Amazing 30+ Crew

Everyone wants to get a photo taken with her before and afdter the workout and possibly at the finale, some are lucky enough to do so, like Julie did this morning, but either way we are all a little star struck when she is around and only want to thank her for what she has done for us.  As she said to me in a tweet a few weeks ago, “It is us that have made the changes, she has just been along for the ride.”

Julie & the GURU

So tonight I will sit at home after putting my kids to bed knowing that 2000kms away there will be over 1500 people having an amazing night, meeting new friends, catching up with old ones also but most importantly celebrating what the last 12 weeks at least has done to them and how it has changed their lives.  I will be envious, I wish I was there but I know that even though it will be another 12 weeks until the next finale, I will catch up with these people and also some new friends at the next finale in Melbourne. This my friends will be a HUGE one. Watch this space......

Thank you Michelle Bridges for giving us this new lease of life, new friends which will be around for the rest of my life (yes you Dayna Manser and Rebecca Green, my running buddies) and thank you for giving me the tools to change my life for the betterment of myself, my wife and my family.

Why wouldn’t I be proud of that and want to be in Brisvegas?