Archive | June, 2013

Inspiration…

30 Jun

I’ve been thinking a lot about inspiration lately. No, not the “drawing in of breath” kind – although that is critically important… I’ve been thinking more about the other definition of inspiration – “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something” (Oxford Dictionary). Why? Well, it’s a word I’ve heard thrown around in relation to me. I’ve seen it written on running photos or as a comment to a status update on facebook, and I have to say the thought of it is a little disconcerting. There’s a lot of pressure associated with being “inspirational” – I’ve lost weight, and I’ve changed the way I do life in the physical sense – I exercise more and I eat better (most of the time), but being inspirational makes me feel that I can’t let my guard down, or let my determination slip just in case I negatively influence someone. That’s possibly quite a good thing – nothing like everyone to keep you accountable…

But this isn’t the main reason being inspirational has been on my mind. The main reason is it has had me questioning whether I want to be known for being inspirational in the physical aspects of life. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with being an inspiration for physical achievements, but I’ve got to admit I want to be considered an inspiration for other reasons.

When I’m running the longer distances, and I don’t think I have anything else left in the tank to keep on going, know what I do? I start to pray. Might seem like a strange thing to do to some of you, but it is part of who I am, it’s what I do. I will no doubt have been praying on and off the entire run, but when push comes to shove and I find myself failing prayer will move me from rock bottom and keeps me going. For some reason I believe we are wired that way – how many times do you hear people who don’t believe in God ask for prayer when the going gets tough? I hear it all the time. There is something about calling out to someone bigger than us for help when we need it. Taking the focus off ourselves and putting it elsewhere. So while I wish I could say that I run 14km and do it easy, it’s not the case. Yes, the gradual training to build up to this point contributes to my being able to keep running, but the determination to keep going often only comes when I start to pray. So, I’m not really all that inspirational because I’m not doing it in my own strength – I’m tapping into the master source and getting extra strength from my creator.

While I’m confident that anyone who knows just a little bit about me knows that I go to church, I don’t regularly preach my beliefs at work, or university or around the home, and honestly, I don’t feel that I’m meant to (so forgive me for doing it just this once…). However, I would like to think that my actions were a sign of the beliefs I hold. I’m pondering whether the way I live my life would inspire others to live it the same way… I want to live a life that is characterised by attributes such as joy, peace, love, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.  I know that I don’t always display these attributes, some days are harder than others, some people seem to bring out the worst in me, and some days when I’m tired I don’t feel joyful or patient. But I want to challenge myself to start afresh. Just like I do with my food intake – if I have a bad day I wipe the slate clean and start again the next day, rather than throwing my hands in the air and thinking, that’s it, it’s all over, I’ve blown it again. I want my life to be a witness to the security I’ve found in knowing that the creator of the universe loves me, an imperfect person who slips up more often than I can count. How awesome is that? Why wouldn’t I want others to be stimulated to know that truth? So I’m starting afresh again today.  I’m wiping the slate clean, and striving to consistently display all the aforementioned qualities.  I want to inspire others to experience the same love, freedom and security that can only be found in a relationship with God. Because, when it comes down to it, that’s the kind of inspiration I want to be.  

 

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This is what I want to be true for my life!

 

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Put your name in where mine is now – it belongs there just as much as mine does!

 

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Finding my health again

18 Jun

“I’m sorry, I can’t do anything else for you unless you lose weight”…Boom…crash…was that my world? Pretty much the last thing you want to hear a specialist say to you is the aforementioned statement – take it from me. I’m sorry, what did you say? Now I get that I have a decent medical history (when I think about it – supraventricular tachycardia requiring a cardiac ablation, ovarian cysts that require surgical removal, endometriosis again surgical removal, deep vein thrombosis (yep a decent one – ankle to mid-thigh…) shall I go on?) but really my weight didn’t affect me all that much. I mean, I walked 10km a day at work and have a reasonably physical job, I could generally get clothes I wanted when I wanted them (sure not always in a size that sounded good, but I could get them…), I was an active participant in life. Was my weight really holding me back? When Iooked in the mirror I didn’t see a fat person – really, you’re telling me that’s it unless I lose weight?

I have to admit that it took me approximately 8 months to work through the disappointment, sadness and anger at myself and at him (I never wanted to see this specialist again in my life – and I literally ducked down a corridor if I saw him at work), and finally I reached the point of acceptance. Well okay, maybe I am bigger than I should be, maybe I will try and actively lose weight. So, next step was to the GP for another opinion. She put me on a GP management plan that involved seeing a dietician and exercise physiologist – wow, okay, maybe the specialist was right… But I still wasn’t really in the right head space. I lost a few kilo’s with the help of the dietician (she was lovely) but the exercise physiologist wanted me to incorporate an hour’s exercise into my already 12/13 hour days… I just didn’t think I could do that… So what do I do? Do I try another program…I’ve done weight watchers, I’ve done Tony Ferguson, I’ve done CSIRO, I’ve done… the list goes on. Clearly all have been short term solutions because ultimately, the weight came back on – and generally, more than before. Another couple of months pass and I’m still trying to get into the right head space. I realise that what I really need is a change of lifestyle. That’s when Kelli mentioned to me she was doing the 12WBT – Michelle Bridges program. I’d heard about it, but had been reluctant to do it, thinking that the menu was inflexible and I would have to eat things I didn’t like, and on top of that how was I going to fit in exercise… by this stage however I decided I’d give it a go. Dave wasn’t too keen – he’s been supportive through all the other programs and thought this was just going to be another one to add to the list, but in the end, he could see that I wanted to do it, and threw his support behind me.

Well, if you’ve read any of my other ramblings, you’d know that I’ve had a very successful experience with the 12WBT program. I have changed my lifestyle. It’s been about 7 months now since I started. The weight has been coming off (a little slower in the last few weeks – but 20kg has gone) but the benefit for me really is in how I feel. I now like running (well this morning’s run was jolly hard work, but generally speaking, I like running). I just did the 14km City2South (see another rambling post for that achievement), and I’m blessed to be injury free when running. I’ve had a few niggles but with some good stretching, and careful movement, I’ve managed to keep all injuries at bay to date. I’ve been able to incorporate exercise into my massive days, and do you know what, it actually makes them easier to get through – not harder!

So I guess this takes me back to the start. I think the Doctor was right. At the time I didn’t think my weight was holding me back. But now I know I’ve got energy again. My pain levels have dropped away significantly (don’t ask me about the physiology/pathophysiology behind that – but symptomatically I feel much better). I also now know that I can walk 10km at work during the day, but hey, why don’t I start it with a 5-10km run first – that will wake me up, make me feel alive and alert and I’ll be ready for whatever the day throws at me… and when I get home, I wont have to sit on the couch and not want to move – I can still do a few things around the house. When I do sleep, I’ll sleep well. I’ll know that my body has had good fuel during the day, has worked hard physically, mentally I’ve been alert (most of the time) and I’ll be ready to do it all again tomorrow. So, while I didn’t think my health was suffering because of my weight, hindsight is a wonderful thing. I was wrong. Maybe one day I’ll go back to the specialist and thank him…

Brisbane City2South 14km

16 Jun

Well today meant time to set out and try and tick another goal off the bucket list. The inaugural Brisbane City2South – 14km along Brisbane River. I wish I could say I was confident heading into the fun run, but the reality is something different. In the lead up to the event I had a couple of weeks feeling sub-optimal and my training had been less than brilliant. In the two weeks leading up to it when my training plan suggested I should be doing two 12km long runs, the best I could manage was an 8km and a 12km (with a good 10km and a terribly slow final 2 km – in fact I did my 14km today in the time I did the 12km the other day…). The thought of getting out there and trying to run a 14km run was a little daunting, actually make that a LOT daunting!!

As usual though I was getting pretty excited in the lead up to race day – even if I wasn’t sure if I could do it… I sat my final uni exam yesterday and could truly make today a celebration – just getting out and running and knowing I didn’t have to do anything for the rest of the day was a huge bonus (so if I fell in a heap at the end of it, that was okay).

So, my first day of uni holidays meant a 0530hrs start. It was still dark outside (of course – it is winter after all) and it was a chilly 9 degrees. I put on my tank top (yeah, it was the middle of winter, but I hate running with sleeves…) and my skins – hoping they would keep me warm. Once organised, Dave and I headed out the door. Dave had agreed to run the race as well, when my running buddy from work had to pull out injured at late notice (missed you Arna!!). We drove into work, parked and joined the thousands of others (literally) heading to the start line. It was a really well organised event – volunteers and signs everywhere made finding where we needed to start a breeze.

It was a slow start out of the blocks, pretty congested as always, but it was slower than some I’ve done – where everyone seems to go flat out from the gates – maybe everyone realised how long the run really was and decided to pace themselves from the start – that was my plan anyway. It was a beautiful run – the course was lovely – running along the river, crossing over the river (three times) and seeing a few of Brisbane’s sights – and taking the time to enjoy them as I ran slowly past.

As people started to flag around me, I kept on going, telling myself that I could do it (and thanks to Bron and Sherelyn who said “of course you can do it” – this was helpful to me as I was running up heartbreak hill, I mean… Highgate Hill). I found the journey along Coronation Drive a really nice run – a good mix of slight undulations – so slight up hills followed by cruisy (but not too steep) downhills. Making it to the University of Queensland was my first big aim – I knew that it was about 9km in and once I was there I was really on the home straight (funny what you can tell yourself) – however I also knew that from there was the big hill – but didn’t really know if it was a short steep hill, or a long slow climb (I’d refused to look earlier in case I scared myself off completely). For the record, even though most people around me started walking I kept running – my pace dropped completely away but I still ran it all. And for the record – it was pretty short and steep really – maybe the worst of it done in 1km.

Made it to the top of the hill and liked seeing the Nova guys with signs that said “It’s all downhill from here!” – Downhill running truly is almost harder than uphill – it’s awful on the knees. And for the record Nova guys – there was a slight uphill – not too far from the finish line… As I was coming in to the finish line I could hear the guy telling everyone to raise their arms as they came across the line – I have to say, that’s not actually easy to do when you’re completely stuffed! Still, I complied (and Dave managed to get a photo of me at just that time – because he did finish about 7 minutes ahead of me).

So, what was the verdict? Did I manage to do the full 14km? YES!!! I ran the full 14km, without stopping. My time was 1:32:21 (Dave’s 1:25:40) – so my average was about 9km per hour, or 6min 30 per kilometre. If I had the energy I would have jumped up and down saying I DID IT, I DID IT, I DID IT!!! Instead the only energy I had left was really to smile – and you couldn’t wipe it from my face.

6 months ago it took me 8 minutes to complete a 1km time trial. I couldn’t run the full kilometre – it was too hard. Today I ran 14 kilometres and my average time was 6:30 (Thanks 12WBT). My worst pace was a bit over 7 minute kilometres going up Highgate Hill – still faster than my initial time trial 6 months ago. I’ve managed it by ongoing commitment and getting out there and giving it a go. Being 20kg lighter helps too I’m sure. I’ve been blessed to be free of significant injury in the last 6 months, so I know that also makes a significant difference – a few niggles have thankfully resolved, and I’m feeling healthy again. So next stop – well, might have to give a half marathon a go… if I can do 14km, 21.1km really isn’t that much further….right?

Here’s the photo gallery from today….

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I’m ready

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My running buddy warms up

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Crossing the finish line – arms in the air (or as high in the air as I could get them…)

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FINISHED – and smiling!

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We’ve made it – over a half marathon – between us…

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The stats, including splits, for those who are interested in that kind of thing

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This is the workout analysis – you can see the route, and at the bottom the gain and my pace – the red line is the hill, and you will notice the blue line (my pace) drop significantly away when the hill started….

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Woo Hoo!! I got a medal – and for running – who would have ever thought that possible!