Friday, 24 April 2015

Phew ... Time for an Update

Hello All!

It's been about two weeks since I did a post!  How did that happen???

Firstly, I just want to give a big shout of congratulations to all the bloggers who ran Boston!  Although I haven't been blogging myself, I have been doing my best to keep up with what is going on in the blogging world.  I'm in awe of you all :)

Honestly, my life has just been crazy busy for the last couple of weeks.  I got a bad cold / flu right at the time work went a bit nuts, and I was just in survival mode.  Dragging myself out of bed, getting through my day at work, and falling into bed again at the end of the day was all I could manage for about a week there.

I'm much better health-wise, but work is still hectic this week, and so I haven't gotten back into my running / gym routine again yet.  My plan is to go for a run tomorrow morning, and see where I am at.

Although I would have loved to have been able to keep on top of everything, my blog time was hit the hardest, and I had to let other things be a priority in my life for a little while there.  On the the other hand, without running, gymming, or any interesting eating, I didn't really have to much to share with you.

When I reflect on the last few weeks, I've had a few realisations that may not be life changing for you, but were important reminders for me.

1. Life happens

When I started writing this blog six months ago, it was during a 'normal' time at work, and blogging six days a week was great, and has been great up until recently.  These next three months are my peak busy period for work and I have to be realistic - I don't think I'm going to be keeping up my blogging schedule.  I haven't even been able to keep up my exercise schedule to blog about in the first place!

So my plan is to accept that life happens, and although I want to keep up my blog posting schedule, I may not be able to be as consistent as I have been - at least for the next few months.  But my blog is still an important part of my life, and I both am proud of it, and I enjoy it, so I'll be sticking around for awhile yet!

2. A plan is just a proposed order of events

I am a planner.  I like to have an understanding of what my day / week / month is going to look like, and then I am constantly making up schedules and orders in my head to make the best use of my time.

Sometimes, I can get a bit too stuck on following the plan.  In some cases, that is a good thing!  I think it helps me create good habits and generally make choices that are part of a bigger set of life goals - ie. living a healthy life, making time to relax, and spending time with friends and family.

But other times, sticking rigidly to the plan is not helping me - it is actually making things in my life harder.  By thinking that I have to fit in work, family time, exercise time, alone time, cleaning, cooking, and all the other things that happen day to day, I lose sight of the fact that I might have to just focus on some key priorities for a period of time, and that may mean some other things have to give.

And my biggest revelation ... THAT IS OK!!

3. Something is better than nothing

My goal for the last year or so has been to exercise six days a week.  For much of the past 12 months or so, that's been achievable and enjoyable. I've realised though, that I've made that my choice, but I can change my choice, and the only person I have to answer to is me.

I like exercising.  I like having a part of my day that is just for me, that makes me feel good and strong and healthy, and that is a great way for me to lose any stress or make some decisions about things that have been bothering me.

But I don't HAVE to exercise to any particular schedule, other than to achieve my personal goals.  I'm realising that since my wedding last year, I haven't had a real exercise related goal that I feel passionate about.  I've realised that is ok too!  I can either choose to make an exercise goal that I want to work towards, or just make exercise a manageable part of my life.  Which means doing the type of exercise that works for me, and exercising with a frequency and intensity that also works for me.

Knowing what I have in store for the next few months at work is just making me think about how I want exercise to fit into my life during that time.  It will be part of my life, I just haven't figured out what kind of part.  Until I do, I want to do the workouts that I feel like, but try to get back into making exercise a regular part of my life after my two week break.

So that's where I am in a nutshell!  I hope that you can stick around and see how the next few months pan out for me :)

What have you been up to in the last two weeks?  Anything you want to share?  Have you had any big life revelations recently?

Friday, 10 April 2015

Free Classes, a Fitness Expo, an Upcoming Race, and Our Wedding Anniversary

Hi Everyone!

So things are starting to get crazy at work, which has thrown my blogging schedule out the window.  Over the weekend I'm going to have a think about what I can commit to, what I want to be sharing with you all, and come up with a new plan of attack.  You might have gathered by now that I like to have plans and goals to manage things in my life, and it's time to reassess.  Rest assured my little blog is an important part of my life!  But many of you will also know blogging does take up time, and I want to be posting interesting stuff - for you and for me!

In other news, yesterday was our first wedding anniversary (awwww ...).  My first thought is how FAST the year has flown by!  I can't believe it's been a full 12 months since I was marrying my amazing husband on an Hawaiian island.

My second thought is that if the first year of marriage is supposed to be the most difficult, our first year has been pretty great, and so we are sure to have an amazing life together.  Bring it on :)

I also have a couple of things I've found out about that you might want to look into if you're in Melbourne.

Mother's Day Classic

The Mother's Day Classic is a fun run that is held at all kinds of places around Australia on Sunday 10 May.  In Melbourne, you run around the Botannical Gardens, and can do either one lap or two of the 4km course, and choose to either run or walk.  I'll be heading home to visit my Mum in Ballarat, and so I've signed up for the 12km run around Lake Wendouree.  As I've mentioned, the Mother's Day Classic raises funds for breast cancer research, which is a cause close to my Mum's heart.  Even though I'll miss out on spending an hour with my Mum on her day, I like to think it's part of the present I'm giving her.

Premier's Active April

In it's seventh year, the Premier’s Active April is part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to promote healthy and active lifestyles and get Victorians to join in the fun of increased physical activity.  Any kind of initiative that gets people out and about, and introduces exercise into their lives, is a winner in my book!  As a participant, you can log your daily activity with the Active April app and chart your progress throughout the month.  By registering you receive ten free passes to a participating YMCA or local government facility, as well as other discounts and prize draws.  Why don't you give it a try!

Fitness & Health Expo

This weekend, the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre will be hosting the Fitness & Health Expo - the largest fitness event in the Southern Hemisphere.  Enjoy world class events, stimulating fitness demos and stock up on the latest fitness equipment, apparel, sports nutrition and supplements from over 200 exhibitors offering great show only specials.  There are arenas for Martial Arts, strength sports and Les Mills fitness classes, as well as a celebrity and expert training zone with sessions throughout the weekend.  It might be a great place to find some fitness inspiration!

Have you been to a health / fitness expo?  Would you recommend them to others?

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Weekly Workout Recaps

Last week actually felt more like a normal workout week for me.  I did most of the sessions I planned, and I even got in a few morning sessions.  I'd say I'm about 70% back to where I want to be.  My big lesson of this whole experience: working out is a habit, and it's easier to maintain a habit, then to try to break in a new one again after falling off the wagon.

Here are the details.

Last Week (1 April to 7 April)


7km easy treadmill run in 42min.  I'm kind of really enjoying these easy runs.  I just set the treadmill at 10kph, then check out some tv for awhile.  I know they won't last for long, so I'll take them while I can under my new program.


Rest Day.    AKA Sleep in day.


NROLFW Stage 7 Workout 2.  Getting back into strength training has been tough!  I feel like I've gotten out of condition pretty quickly.  This workout has a first alternating set of incline barbell press and seated row (done twice), and then a second alternating set of dumbbell squats with heels raised, dumbbell shoulder press, step ups and underhand lat pulldowns (repeated four times).  Steps ups kill me.  Every.  Time.


7.5km build up treadmill run in 43min.  I enjoyed getting into a slightly faster run!  The goal was to build up between 6:02 - 5:22 pace.  I did 2.5km moving up from 10kph, to 10.5 and then 11 to finish.  Considering this was close to my final race pace a few weeks ago, it felt good to turn my legs over a bit faster again.


Rest Day.  Our international visitors arrived!  We did lots of walking around Melbourne CBD.


NROLFW Stage 7 Workout 3.  This workout had lots of deadlifts!  Two sets of standard deadlifts to start, then an alternating set of static lunges with rear foot elevated, push ups (half), Romanian deadlifts, and bent over rows, repeated four times.  After my last round of deadlifts, my back was hurting a bit, so I've decided to drop the weights on my deadlifts going forward - I'd rather just go a bit easy, and avoid injury, thanks very much.


7.5km build up treadmill run in 43min.    I did a repeat of my Saturday run, although it felt a little more difficult.  That might have been because of the couple of wines the night before.  But I got through it, and got my endorphin rush, so I call it a win.

Favourite Workout?

Probably my first build up run on Saturday.  It was good to turn my legs over a bit faster, and I felt pretty strong.  Not fast ... but hopefully one day I'll start making some progress in that area.

Next Week

I'm just hoping to next week keep up my routine of three strength and three running workouts.  Hopefully with daylight saving ending, and mornings being a bit lighter, I will be able to get out of bed to get my workout done early.

I'll also be trying to start pushing a bit harder in my strength workouts, now that I've had a week to ease back into it.  Go hard, or go home, right?

I will say that from now on, work is going to get more demanding for the next three months, so I REALLY have to get back into the routine of early morning workouts, if I'm going to keep them up. They are also a great way to manage stress when the going gets tough at work.  A bit of workout motivation!

What was your favourite workout this week? Why?

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

A Technology Detox Easter

Hello everyone!  Long time, no chat :)

Although I didn't intend to, I ended up having a relatively technology free Easter weekend.  As much as I like talking to you all, it was kind of heavenly!  This even including photo taking, reading other blogs, and not even opening my computer once.  Sometimes, you just have to switch off.

I'll give you a super quick update, and hopefully I'll get back to normal scheduling from tomorrow.

Oh, and Happy Easter to you all!  I hope you had a wonderful time with friends / family / pets, indulged a little (but not so much you regret it), and generally got in a bit of R&R.

In the spirit of the quickest weekend recap in history:

Friday ...

I spent Friday cleaning the house, and it was actually quite cathartic!  Gareth was at work, so Angus and I cranked up my iPod speakers, pulled out the cleaning cloths, vacuum cleaning, mop and multi-purpose spray, and went to town.  Very satisfying!

Friday night we watched Nightcrawler - a Jake Gyllanhaal movie.  It was very eerie and skin crawling, but also one of the better thrillers I've seen lately.  And Jake was awesome, if not a bit skinny for my liking.

Oh, and I got a NROLFW weights workout in first thing in the morning.  Win!

Saturday ...

Saturday was a day of little chores.  I hit the gym for a 7.5km build up run early, and then Gareth and I walked Angus.  We then hit the shops and got some Hot Cross Buns (essential!), a new rug for our lounge area (not essential, but timely), has some brunch at Corinthians, and stopped by JB Hifi (I got a few CDs, like Beyonce, Lady Antebellum, Guy Sebastian and Meghan Trainor).

Saturday night was Indian takeaway - it was a cool night!  Oh, and we cracked the challenge of delayed delivery .... we ordered really early, but requested a delivery time of 7:30pm.  They were exactly on time!  Then we watched Exodus: Gods and Kings.  It was pretty interesting, to see the interpretation of Moses' story, and I like looking at Christian Bale.  I also like seeing Aussie stars, and Joel Edgerton did a great job.

Sunday ....

Sunday morning saw the arrival of Gareth's cousin and her husband from Ireland - yay!  I don't how Emma and Willie managed to keep going all day, but they were troopers, and we spent the day in the Melbourne CBD, walking around South Wharf, having lunch (at the Boatbuilder's Yard) and strolling around the city.  Amazing!

After we all had afternoon naps, we had pizza delivered, and enjoyed catching up over good food, and the odd drink.

Monday ...

Monday was supposed to be rainy and cold, so, after a quick NROLFW weights session for me, we went to our local shopping centre for a look around.  We had lunch at Grill'd (Garden Goodness vegie burger for me - yum!), and watched Fast & Furious 7 in iMax.  It was a bit bittersweet, being Paul Walker's last movie, and they certainly wanted to honour his memory.  Considering I'm not really into the series, I enjoyed it!

We gave them a good old fashion Aussie barbie, with chorizo sausages, pork, lamb, grilled corn and asparagus, and garden salad.  It's the Aussie way!

I'm back at work, and Emma and Willie are off to their next stop in Oz (it was great to see you guys - enjoy your trip!), and so now it's all about getting back to normal.

What a great weekend!  I hope you enjoyed yours too.

What was the best part of your Easter?

Friday, 3 April 2015

What's On This Easter Weekend Around Melbourne (and Beyond!)

Happy Easter to you all!  I'm pretty excited, because we have some of Gareth's relatives arriving from overseas for a visit.  This also made me spend the day cleaning the house, so I'm feeling very productive!

There are a bunch of things going on around Melbourne this weekend, many of them Easter related.  Here are a few - in Melbourne, but also a couple out of town - that you might want to check out.

If you just want to know a bit about what is open and when, you can check out this City of Melbourne web page - super useful!

Bendigo Easter Festival

If you are interested in taking a trip out of town, you could head to Bendigo for the annual Easter Festival, being held all weekend.  Bendigo is about an hour and a half from Melbourne, and makes for a great day trip.  On Sunday, the Gala Parade, including the Sun Loong, the world's longest Imperial Chinese Dragon, weaves his way through the historic streetscapes of Bendigo.  If you head to Rosalind Park any day over the long weekend, you will find family activities, market stalls, entertainment and food.  You can't go wrong!

Melbourne International Comedy Festival

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival runs for about three weeks, and Easter is a great time to check out some of the acts.  There are shows being held in various locations around the city, including the Melbourne Town Hall, Federation Square, and The Comedy Theatre, to name a few, but many local clubs and pubs are also likely to have events on.  You can find a mix of international and local acts, like Arj Barker, Dave Hughes, Jimeoin, and Adam Hill.  Check out the website to find something near you over the weekend.  And have a great laugh!

AFL Season kicks off

So even if you wanted to, you can't avoid Aussie Rules Football in Melbourne.  This weekend is the first round of the 2015 AFL season, and you'll be able to check out a couple of games at the MCG this weekend: Melbourne v the Gold Coast Suns on Saturday arvo, and Hawthorn v Geelong Cats on Monday.  The footy is a nice way to spend a family afternoon, especially on a long weekend.  Get into it!

Stawell Gift

If you want to get some running kicks, you could make your way to Stawell (about 2.5 hours from Melbourne) for the annual Stawell Gift.  The Gift has been held in all but four years since 1878, and is one of the world’s most famous and prestigious foot races. Run on grass, athletes are handicapped according to form and ability, and start off varying marks accordingly. Runners race for glory and prize money over distances from 60 to 3200 metres, with many more dollars working their way through the bookies ring. The main race is the Woolworths Stawell Gift which is run over 120m up a slight gradient, and the final is traditionally held on Easter Monday.  See some of our up and coming talent, and enjoy a day out!

Docklands Easter Market

For a bit of family fun closer to home on Sunday, you could head to Docklands for the Easter Market.   The Easter bunny will be there for the little and big kids, and there will be raffles and lots of prizes to local restaurants on offer!  The market is filled with a mass variety of stalls carrying anything from crystal jewellery, to Bonsai trees and bone carvings. Alongside the stalls with new wares, there'll also be pre-loved goods to rummage through to find your treasure.  What a lovely way to spend a Sunday arvo on the waterfront.

What are you up to this Easter?  Do you have any Easter traditions?

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Signing Up For My Next Race, New Shoes, and My New Running Plan

Happy Easter weekend!  Although I love a long weekend, I always find that the short work weeks before and after make for some crazy times.  It's been a big week for me!  But I'm glad that it's over, and I'm going to pretend that this weekend is going to last forever.  Work schmork. (I actually like my job ... mostly).

My Next Race: Run Melbourne

To start the celebrations, I thought I'd share the details of the next big race that I've registered for: Run Melbourne Half Marathon!

The race is on Sunday July 26, and is here around Melbourne.  This was the only half marathon I ran last year, before I hurt my knee.  Here is the course map:

It's an area of Melbourne I know really well, and I have run many times in the past.  On the edge of the Botanical Gardens (around the 17km marker on the map) is a big hill, but luckily you run down it, rather than up.

I'm getting excited!

My New Running Shoes: Asics Kayanos

In preparation, I realised it was time to buy some new running shoes.  A couple of years ago I went for a running shoe fitting, and it was advised that the best running shoes for me are the Asics Kayanos.  Which just happen to be pretty much the most expensive running shoes you can buy (in normal sports retail stores).  And you can't import Asics from overseas (ie. no online buying!).  I'm constantly on the hunt for shoe bargains.

I found these Asics Kayano 20 runners on eBay a few weeks ago, at a store that sells pre-owned running shoes - Apparel Save.

At first, I wasn't sure about buying pre-owned, but when I got my pair, they were in great condition, only a little discolouration on the white sections, and at less than half the price (including postage from the US), I was sold!  I'll be keeping an eye out for this eBay seller in the future.

My Asics Running Plan

And lastly, I'm going to use the My Asics website training plan for my half marathon preparation.  You enter some details about yourself (age, gender, recent race results, goal race), and it provides you with a race plan, divided into different stages - Pre-Conditioning, Getting Faster, Going Further, Race Simulation.  There is also an app you can download to your smart phone, that syncs to the website.

You can also set your goal race time, and the number and intensity of the training sessions you want to do each week.  I've opted for three, high intensity sessions - so I can keep up my strength training too.  Then, as you complete each run, you track it on the website/your app.  There are graphs about how you are going compared to the plan.  You will even get an alert if they recommend you to reassess your goal pace (ie. you've missed a bunch of runs, or you're not hitting the paces you need at that stage of the plan).

I've started this week, and I'll see how it goes!  And, of course, I'll let you know how I'm going along the way.

What is your next big race?  Which are your go to running shoes?

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Weekly Workout Recaps: Starting to Feel Motivated Again

My last week of training was affected my my work travel (long days), but the second half of the week saw me getting back into the swing of my normal routine.  I think I've also managed to get back a little workout motivation that has been lacking!  I'm still blaming the impending time change (we will change back from daylight saving over Easter) on my inability to get up early in the morning and workout ... but that excuse won't last much longer.

Here's a look at my workout week!

Last Week (25 March to 31 March)


Rest Day.  Still happy having a week off after my race.


Rest Day.    Although I probably would have exercised, I was travelling for work.  A 4am wake up call to catch a plane isn't conducive to fitting in a workout.


Rest day.  Hmmm, this must be getting a little repetitive for you.  Still travelling for work.  I ended up getting home at about 9:30pm.


7km easy treadmill run.  I just wanted to go for a little run.  It was actually really nice to get out after a week of not exercising.  Although I walked Angus after my run, and that was actually the most fun workout I did!


Rest Day.  I still walked Angus - probably about a 50 minute walk, which was lovely.


7km easy treadmill run. I've actually started a new running program (more details later), and I'm kind of loving the shorter, easy runs.  It is much easier to make myself hit the gym when I know it's going to be a relatively easy session!


NROLFW Stage 7 Workout 1.    I finally got back into my strength training, and it was tough!  I decided to start Stage 7 again, because I've had such a long break in the middle.  This session focuses on squats, lunges with rear foot elevated, push ups, Romanian deadlifts, and standing rows.  In summary - I'm sore!  So that has to mean it was a good workout.

Favourite Workout?

My 7km treadmill runs.  They were both easy, but exactly what I felt like doing.  Sometimes it's great to ease up on the pressure, and remember why you enjoy running - because you can run!

Next Week

As I mentioned above, I've started a new running program that will go for the next few months.  I'll provide more details, but it starts pretty easy, and works up to some tougher sessions.  At the moment, easy is good for me, because I feel like I need a bit of a breather from trying to achieve something out of each and every workout.  Sometimes, I just want to run, and to be able to run the pace I feel is comfortable.  For now, that is good.

I am really trying to get back on track to finish my final NROLFW Stage - Stage 7.  I had a couple of weeks break, and boy, can I feel it!  But I'm so close to the end, that I just need to get on with it.  That's not to say I'm not enjoying the workouts, but running has become a bit more of a focus again.

In summary, next week I want to complete my planned workouts!  It sounds pretty easy, really :P

What type of training are you enjoying most at the moment - running / strength / other?