The return

Some extraordinary things have been happening to me of late.  I mentioned before about the mind shift resulting from my “attitude of gratitude” daily goals.  I do have renewed perspectives.  I am looking at the world in a positive light and I am focused on what I want to achieve.

And I am achieving.  It is all coming along slowly, but it is happening.  We are 25 days into the new year and I have exercised every single day.  That’s 25 days straight of exercise in some form or other.  I am seeking opportunities to be more active.  I am being sensible.  I’m following specialist orders so that I don’t reinjure my knee and so that it does fully rehabilitate (which of course still means no Trek Training for awhile longer yet, unfortunately).  25th day of the year also means 25 days without anything but water, milk or almond milk to drink – mainly water.  25 days of eating ‘right’.  Not one piece of refined sugar or processed food (other than food from a can that is whole food, eg diced tomatoes are just diced tomatoes, if you buy the right can) has passed these lips in 25 days.

But truthfully, the best thing has been the removal of Facebook.  I still use twitter and instagram (my #photoaday and #attitutdeofgratitude challenges are playing out on instagram), but no other social media.  The reason is, you don’t actually have to interact with anyone on either twitter or instagram.  Yes, they too are problematic for many people (we all know the trolls), but at this point they are something I can disconnect easily from.  I can walk away from it and not think of it again.  Facebook was different for me and problematic for me, like it is for many people.  Taking the advice of a psychologist, I walked away.  Did the world collapse?  No.  Did I die?  No.  Did the earth shift off its axis? No.  Did people notice?  Some.  Some actually have.  Most have not, but some have.  How do I know?  Because people who I haven’t connected with in a very long time other than through Facebook have picked up their phone and called for a chat, for a coffee, for a visit.   Connections became real.  They may not have noticed that I wasn’t on Facebook, but they noticed the disconnect and they reconnected that thread.  And that is something worth clinging on to.

My neighbour and I have both disconnected.  The result? We spend time together each day running, walking, doing kettle bells and, most importantly, laughing.  There is something wrong with the world when two people living side by side only communicate via technology.

Finally, I came upon this blog ‘How I got my attention back’.  It leaves me with a resounding YES.  He is more eloquent than I am and he says everything that I want to say.  I totally get what he is saying.  I got sucked into the game too and I have resurfaced.  I’m putting this blogger down as a person I am grateful for.

End result? I am more attentive.  I am a fitter person.  I am a healthier person.  I am a happier person, and those things make me a better mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend.

Today I am grateful for the friends who noticed my absence.  You make the world a better place.

Back on Track

I have adopted a few new philosophies or ideas on living and I actually feel, for the first time in a very long time, that I am back on track.

Firstly, as I’ve said before, I’m doing the photo a day challenge.  It seems simple enough and arguably has no point to it, except for one thing.  It forces me out of the house every single day into nature.  My eyes are open.  I am searching for that one thing that grabs and holds my attention that day and makes me wonder on the beauty of our natural world.  My worries, my stresses, my concerns are all gone for that time that I am out running, walking or riding, and am opening up to the healing properties of nature.

I have adopted the ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ philosophy.  Deeply founded in Buddhism and Christianity (and most likely in other religions too), it is about finding those things each day to be truly grateful for.  This has been surprisingly hard.  At first it was easy, but 14 days into the new year and now I really have to think hard about finding a new thing to be grateful for each day.  I am searching my soul and each day I am giving thanks.  It means that I have to think and ponder each day on all the positives that have been going on in my life.  As a result, I no longer have time to think about the negatives.

It sounds very zen like but each day I’m now outside in nature, looking at the wonders of our world and thinking about all the good people in it and how they make this world a better place.  The mind shift is phenomenal.  It reminds me of my wedding day when the priest told us that, no matter what, we must find the joy in each day, no matter how hard the days are.  There truly is joy in every day and an attitude of gratitude helps discover this.

My doctor sent me for blood tests.  He is currently away and I’m seeing him when he gets back in two weeks.  I’ve had insulin resistance since high school so I have blood tests every 2 years to monitor it.  In my 20s I was all over it and had it under control.  It was when I weighed 52 kilos, was super fit, would bring the rock climbing gym to a hushed silence when my I threw my body onto overhangs (and dropped the F-bomb like a regular potty mouth as I gave everything to not fall).  Then it all slipped away.  I had children, I had an injury that resulted in no more climbing (yes, I do have a tendency to get injured a lot), work promotions, changes in careers and the slipping morphed into falling.  I was losing control.  Then the doctor phones and says “I’m on holidays, I do need to see you about your blood tests, it’s not urgent.  It can wait til I get back.  But from this moment you are back on your diet, you are losing 25 kilos and you are not breaking it.”  Chat goes on, ending with him saying “You know what to do”.  Yes, I do, and I have not shifted from it since that phone call.  And I won’t.   I have had a mind shift.  My mind is thinking the way it did when I was in my 20s.

Finally, I have adopted a hybrid form of the “minimalist” philosophy to living.  Now, I’m not going the whole way with this as the reality is we live in the western world and our culture and economy are based on consumerism and quite frankly if every single person was to adopt this philosophy in its entirety that would be the end of our economy, jobs would disappear, etc.  But there are aspects of it that I really like.  Cutting back on spending so that we only spend what we have.  Cut back on waste, particularly when it comes to clothing so we are not filling our tips with billions of tonnes of clothes, dyes in the waterways, and paying people in third world countries less than minimal wage to produce these garments that don’t last and therefore cannot be donated.  I suppose the reality is no, we are not taking the minimalist path, but we are stopping and considering the impact of every purchase.  The impact on our wallets, our future, our environment.  We are moving away from the ‘I want’ and asking ‘Do I really need this?’ and ‘what purpose does it serve?’.

In the meantime, I am not closer to getting back to Trek Training, but I am feeling fitter and I am feeling more focused.

Today I am grateful for every person that I have met in my life’s journey who have provided me with experiences and perspectives, whether they be negative or positive, because I am the sum of my experiences.  Each person played a role in making me who I am today.

I sprained my arse

Yep, you read it right.  I sprained my arse.

What was supposed to be a building up to return to trek training, ended up being a set back.

Now, you may be asking “how on earth did you do that?” or your mind may be jumping to certain thoughts, that unfortunately hadn’t happened.  What you need to know first is this isn’t the first time I’ve down this injury.  It happens to be a chronic injury.  The first time I did it, was 20 years ago, canyoning in the Blue Mountains in NSW.  I had completed the abseil and the swim and we were doing the rock scramble out of the canyon when I slipped and fell.  It hurt but I was able to keep moving and manage the big climb out to the car.  We got in the car and drove home.  I couldn’t get out of the car.  I couldn’t move.  I couldn’t walk.  I was on a walking stick for over 6 weeks.  That was the start of it.

My hip/arse has played up ever since.  It locks up, it hurts and I have limited movement in that side of my hips.  I managed to do it again when training for Coastrek.  I did it again slightly when training for Oxfam.  It prevents me from buying a motor bike because I can’t move my leg enough to get on.  It makes rock scrambling and bush stairs that are uneven very difficult due to the limited movement that I have.  But I push on and I try.  It is the reason for my knee injury.  Between an unstable hip and significantly damaged ankle courtesy of netball as a kid, my right leg is not very stable.  Hence the knee eventually being injured too.

But jump forward to now.  Slowly building up strength and exercising again and getting ready to return to full training and boom, there it is.  I was doing lunges.  I had only done 10 when something ‘twinged’.  I kept going but it felt weird.  The next morning I woke and it was like the Blue Mountains all over again.  I couldn’t move. I couldn’t walk.  I stretched and stretched.  I iced and iced.  I spent hours rolling around in pain using my massage ball and foam roller.  Eventually, I visited the wonderful chiro and he confirmed it “bloody hell, you’ve actually managed to sprain your arse again, who does that?”

So now I’m sitting in a motel room in Cowra, still trying to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise, travelling in a car that I can’t get comfortable in because, yep, I sprained my arse.

So Trek Training return is put on hold, but I can still get other exercise in, so long as I keep getting out of the car regularly on this road trip (it was supposed to be a hiking trip around the Warrumbungles, but hey, I kinda stuffed up those plans didn’t I).  But I am laughing at this one and I know I’ll get over it fast.  It’s just that hills, stairs and now lunges are prevented for sometime yet.

In the meantime I received a call from my doctor … but that can wait for another time.

Today I’m grateful for all the volunteers around Australia and the world, who give up their time generously to assist people from all walks of life, or to run events, or to do charity, or even help as kindy readers in schools.  You make the world a better place.

Change of perspective

I have started the photo a day challenge; one photo a day of nature for the whole of 2017.  So far I haven’t missed a day, but then it’s only day 4.

It is an interesting thing, though.  My goal is to take the shot whilst out exercising in nature. I want to ensure that I am not just walking into the backyard and taking a photo of the chickens eating my lime tree.  I want to go out and feel the sun’s rays on my face, feel the endorphin rush and the stress release that only nature can give.

This means that when I’m doing my ride or my run (or even my swim), I need to be looking out for the beauty that nature presents us with.  It means, if I’m sticking to the roads, I have to be looking that bit harder.  It also means that I concentrate less on the run, ride, walk, etc, but on what is going on around me, the beauty that surrounds me.  It has changed my perspective on exercise.

Today I came across this flower in a neighbour’s garden.  I have gone past this spot every single day for 16 years and today is the first time I saw the flower.  I’m sure we can find a metaphor in there somewhere about life’s journey and transformation.

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Today I am grateful for my neighbour Sue, who passed away recently.  Whenever I was late home from work, she would get my boys from the bus stop, take them to her house and make them a fresh batch of choc chip biscuits with a glass of milk and listen to them talk about their day.  She is greatly missed.

Finally, last night the secret plan was unleashed.  Another neighbour, who I love to bits, has a full gym in her garage.  Last night was the first night of our goal to smash our bodies two nights a week, focusing on strength and core.  We want to see just what we can do on our own sans personal trainer or gym fees but with friendship to motivate us.  If last night was anything to go by this is surely going to be a great year.

 

 

 

 

I need training wheels

Coach Jo has been enjoying a lovely vacation down in Thredbo. The photos she has shared are gorgeous, particularly her riding photos.   The scenery alone is motivation enough to get out on the bike, but her legs, her legs!  Wowzers.

Now I already had the plan to start riding again long before Coach Jo posted her photos, but her photos did add a bit of incentive.  I rode last week with my family, but today was my first training ride.

If it wasn’t for the fact that I couldn’t get air into my lungs, I would have laughed out loud the whole way.  I was hopeless.  I need training wheels.  Just one more of those many things that if you don’t use it, you lose it.  It’s that moment when in your head you remember when it was nothing to push out a quick 30 km with a few climbs, a few days a week, but now you can’t actually remember how to start the bike.  Where do the keys go?  Where’s the motor?

My grand plans were cut short excessively by an everest of a mountain (let’s ignore the fact that Strava didn’t even recognise it as a bump in the road), some serious lactic acid, and an extreme shortness of breath.  I have just over 2 months until I’m riding in Thredbo.  I have a bit of work to do 😉  This meme says it all.

Image result for what i think i look like riding what i actually look like

Today I am grateful for all the Scout, Cub and Joey leaders who give up their time away from their families, so that kids all around the world can get their wild on.  Enjoy NSW Cuboree 2017.

Good morning 2017

Hello 2017, it is very good to see you.

This is it.  This is the moment.  The big reveal of the goals that are set for 2017.

  1. The doc and I will be running Blackmore’s Sydney marathon together.  Yep, I’m going from knee injury causing no exercise to running a marathon in 9 months.
  2. Lose 25 kilos.  It’s time to stop doing half-hearted attempts.
  3. Start a gratitude journal and have an attitude of gratitude.  This blog will actually be my gratitude journal.  Brace yourself for many thank yous.
  4. A photo a day of nature.  This will force me to go outside every single day, into nature.  These aren’t garden shots.  These are go into the bush and find something that makes me fill to the brim with joy and get a shot.
  5. Accept what has happened with others, accept that I can’t change it, be resilient and move on and forward.

There are physical goals, but more importantly, there are spiritual and mental goals.  Possibly harder goals to reach, but reach I shall.  As my Yoda-quoting son always tells me, “do or do not, there is no try”.

2017 is my year of do.  You’ll notice a change in the name of the blog. Same address, new name, prompted by a friend who felt the original name prevented some of the do.

Today, I am grateful for my husband.  A man who sees all my faults and weaknesses and loves me anyway.  There is no greater love.

Goodbye 2016

2016 is leaving us and I’m kinda happy about that.  It has been an odd year for me.   There are two ways I can look at it.  I can look at it through the depression lens and see that yeah, that’s a good reason to not exist.  Like so:

  1. Too many people around me died.  Too, too many.  Friends’ parents, friends’ kids, my neighbour who always enjoyed pop in visits to eat all the cookie visits from my kids (she has gone to join her daughter who died all too soon at just 17 yo – on an aside it was a devastating moment on Christmas Eve when the little fella was telling me what to write on the gift tag and cut himself off when she said her name and with dropped shoulders uttered “she’s not there anymore”), and my sister in law, gone way too soon.  Too many deaths, too many funerals and too many “Fuck you cancer” moments.
  2. I failed all my goals.  I had set physical goals to achieve and didn’t achieve any and went backwards.
  3. I lost a friendship group.  Well actually, I think I lost them a long time ago, but I really lost them now – can’t find them anywhere.
  4. I lost my faith.  Yeah that one was a downer.
  5. I got injured and it ruined everything.  Everything.
  6. I spent a lot of time crying and pondering about the razor blades and whether or not I should cease to exist.

That’s it.  In a nutshell.  It was a sucky year.  But I can look at it through the “I’m fabulous and you better not fuck with me because I’m wild and I have wild friends too” lens.  Let’s see:

  1. Unlike the majority of graduate teachers in NSW, I got a permanent position in a great school that is only 10 minutes drive (yeah OK, it’s also walking distance, but not when you have to walk 3 kids to school on the way and arrive at work in good time without the need for another shower).
  2. I got injured whilst training for a super cool event, and although I didn’t finish the event, I had the balls to start it and that’s something.
  3. I did Coastrek for the 2nd year in a row.
  4. I hiked up Kosciusko.
  5. I have some friends who said “Fuck you cancer” and won.
  6. I found my faith (look there it is).
  7. I produced a school play that landed one of my young actors a movie role (I don’t care that it is his career, I’m claiming it as my own).
  8.  My dream team teacher (the students call us the dream team because we are pretty damn awesome) and I got the best HSC results for our faculty in 6 years.  Yeah, we kicked arse and made a difference in those kids’ lives.

So 2016, you had some really sucky moments.  But you know what? You had some secret treasure moments too and for that I thank you.

Now we look to 2017 and say “I’m ready for you biatch”.  My husband has enrolled into uni to do psychology (feels he needs to support me even more – now that is unconditional love right there people), I have set physical goals that are a little bit more achievable, I’m reconnecting with the past and forging a new future.  2017 is looking good.

See ya later 2016, it’s been real.

Time to ride

My husband bought me a new bike for Christmas.  Yep, a new bike.  Since I can’t walk hills or stairs and therefore can’t hike or do trek training, I’m going to ride.  I like to swim too (but not every day).  So I’m going to ride.

Bikes have changed a lot since the last one he bought me (20 years ago come April).  They actually make frames to suit body size.  Finally, a bike that is meant for short people like me 🙂

In the meantime, a visit to my doctor has resulted in me being told “lose weight now!”.  Change that to “lose a lot of weight now!”.

Here we go again.  The journey of the yo yo body :/

 

 

My beautiful person

I’ve been chatting a lot with my beautiful person, the doc, the past few days.  The question is, how did the doc become my beautiful person and how did we get to where we are right now?

About 18 months ago, maybe more, we were doing a WWOT Trek Training out at the sand dunes at the back of Cronulla.  It was dark, we were hidden, it had been raining, and Coach Jo says “we are going to learn to trust each other.  Pair up”.  The doc and I gravitated towards each other (we had been doing that a bit in the past) and then Jo says “I am going to blindfold one of you”.  We closed the gap quick fast knowing that we were not doing this exercise with anyone else.  So that dark, rainy night, Jo got us all to take turns in our pairs to be blindfolded whilst the other team member directed, encouraged and guided (without touching) their blindfolded companion through the scrub and over the sand dunes.  The doc has been my person ever since that night.  Neither of us let the other stumble, get hurt or even so much as scratched.  We kept each other safe.

After that night, we’ve always paired up at Trek Training and pushed each other.  There was one night that we were doing hill sprints with packs on and I wanted to vomit. The doc said “it’s ok, nothing wrong with you, just vomit off the trail so we don’t have to step in it, and keep going”.  Needless to say, I laughed so much that I no longer needed to vomit and I chased her to the top of the hill for a few more repeats.

Jump forward in time to Oxfam.  As you know, my knee was gone and I was out by the 30km mark.  Just after the 70km mark, in the wee hours of the morning we got a call. Something was wrong with the doc.  It’s not my story to share, I can’t share it, but a few hours later when she was out of the St John’s Ambulance tent (and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for keeping her alive), we were huddled in the back of the support van for the other team (the other team brought a heater, I love them for it), wrapped in blankets, sleeping bags, sipping hot chocolate, my knee swollen and stiff, and the doc looking tiny, frail and shivering like you wouldn’t believe, slowly coming back to life, we devised our plan.  We accepted that we hadn’t finished, we acknowledge that the doc had given absolutely everything and could give no more this time around, we accepted that I was going to be out for quite a while recovering, but we also accepted that we weren’t broken.  So we nutted out our plans.  Whilst the rest of our team and the other team slogged their way through the bushes of Sydney in the dark and showing themselves as the awesome women that they are, we sat in the warmth plotting a cunning plan.

In the past few days we have solidified it.  We’ve picked our outfits (priorities, right?), we’ve set the date, I saw the wonderful chiro today and he has given it his stamp of approval, and we have started.  I have done my first cycle today, I’m off for what will be the first of a multitude of massages, later today, the stretching and strengthening exercises have begun.  Hopefully, within the next 2 months I’ll be back at Trek Training, and, in the meantime, Day 1 of 38 weeks of training (or 9 months) has started.

Goal 1 is set for 9 months’ time.  Goal 2 is 20 months away.  I’m doing both with my beautiful person, the doc.  I’m doing both conservatively without further injury.  I’m using the Galloway method from now on.  I no longer care about the people who say I’m not a runner because I take planned walk breaks.  I’m more concerned with the fact that I’m doing it, no matter how I do it, I’m doing it.  I’m meeting a whole lot of wonderful people, just like the doc, along the way.  I wear my WWOT shirt with pride.  I have fears, I am conservative, but I am wild at heart, and I’m doing it (and so is the doc).

Goals and goals and goals

Injuries are a funny thing.  They stop you in your tracks.  They consume you.  They hurt.  But they are a funny thing.  My father said it the other day, we are pulled up short and debilitated by the things such as injuries and head colds, but someone on the train with us, or passing us in the shops, going about their day has cancer, is dying and feels fine, but we moan and groan about our small thing.

He raises a very good point.  I’ve wallowed in my injury.  It hurts, it really hurts, but I’m not dying and my quality of life isn’t impinged much at all. Sure, I can’t exercise and walking up and down the stairs at work to get to class really hurts, but I can still go to work.  I can still earn a living.  I’m not dying.  In the past 12 months I’ve buried too many people, friends and family, all gone too soon, too young.  This week I’ll be visiting a friend who is fighting for her life to be there for as long as possible for her girls.  A few months ago we thought she was being told she was in remission, but no, they said it was time to fight a secondary cancer.   Yet here I am wallowing about an injury that hurts all day but doesn’t stop me from being wife, mother, sister, daughter and worker.  Nothing screams STOP! more than another friend being diagnosed with cancer.  So here, right now, I stop.

I saw the surgeon on Thursday.  Yes, there is all sorts of crazy going on with my knee but it turns out to be the hip and ITB that’s causing it.  Yes, he said the ITBFS is more significant than he usually sees but it is treatable.  He is certain the tumour in my knee is benign and he is only going to monitor it through scans.  In fact, the said ‘tumour’ is the wrong word for it, even though that is what it is called.  He has given me the start of an action plan and I’m to see the wonderful chiro tomorrow to finalise the plan.  In the meantime, I’ve contacted my beautiful person, the doc, and we have started setting goals.

One thing I’ve learned from my time with WWOT is that goals are the most important thing to have.  I discovered all this, including WWOT, by having a goal; the first time we did Coastrek.  March 2017 marks 2 years from that date.  It’s been 2 years since I started training with Coach Jo and the southern WWOT girls.  I’ve completed Coastrek twice since then, I’ve run 2 half-marathons and numerous smaller races, I’ve walked the 7Bridges, I’ve attempted Oxfam Trailwalker, I’ve walked over 6,000 km and I reached a point that a 10km walk didn’t seem like exercise, and I met some new wonderful, adventurous friends. When I look at things this way, I really have achieved a lot.

Now I look forward to 2017 and my beautiful person, the doc, and I have set our goal for 9 months time.  I’m not allowed to start walking on flats for at least another month, so we need that longer time frame for our goal, but we have a goal.  I’m keeping it quiet just now.  She and I know it, but no-one else does.  So sssshhhhh, don’t tell anyone.

In the meantime, the gorgeous surgeon and the wonderful chiro are trying to work out how to get my hip and ITB stretched when my leg can’t actually get into the positions of the stretch (yep, they are so tight that when I sit cross-legged my knees are up around my knee, and when I try get onto the floor to get into pigeon pose, I just fall over and it takes 2 adults to get me back up, forget about pigeon pose, then there are the attempts at the foam roller and the fact I can’t get my leg into the position to roll it).  Apparently, once I can actually do the stretches the knee cap should lower back into it’s proper position.   The guys in the bike shop are trying to come up with a solution to get me onto a bike when I can’t lift my leg (they are quite ingenious and have a few ideas; by the time their sale starts next week I’m convinced they’ll have a solution to the problem).  I’ve dug out all my emails from Kathleen Rothwell to take control of my eating and the plan is struck.  9 months to strengthen my legs and core, 9 months to increase flexibility (I might actually reach my toes by then), 9 months to get fit, 9 months to lose weight, 9 months to reach my goal (but not to have a baby 😉 ).

It feels good to be back.   Next time I’ll tell you why the doc is my beautiful person.

PS saw a bike today, on sale $5,000, but it only weighed 9kgs and I could almost get on it, almost … dreaming 😉   At least I’m giving the surgeon, the chiro and the guys in the bike shop a good laugh – really, I look ridiculous flapping around like a beached whale trying to get my leg into a position it just can’t go into.