Fun fun fun on the Mud Run

When I started this Blog I set myself some goals and 1 of them was to complete the Mud Run. Now at the time it all seemed like a whole lot of “as if that is really gonna happen”. Just over a month ago the alarm went off in my Outlook Calendar to tell me that it was time to registered to get the slightly cheaper rate, nothing like saving $5-10 to stop you from “NEVER EVER” doing it.

I must say that this last month went Super fast and the last week, like a rocket. Before I knew it today was the day. Now it was a bit of a weird day because normally with an event you are out the door early ready for a 9am start. Today was different because our start time was 2pm, so fluffing around the (air-conditioned) house waiting to leave was a weird feeling and I may have been in La La Land and not really comprehending what was ahead of me.

So I rounded up the troops, picked up a few gal pals and hit the road. We ended up with a team of 8 and were called Southern Commercial “Mud” Divers due to a bit of sponsorship from my wonderful employer who is also my MIL and FIL.  They provided our fantastic singlets for the event.

The team showing off our Shirts.

We arrived in the 40 degree heat (Celsius) at the Mud Run venue and headed straight to the registration tents and grabbed our number bib, pitched ourselves a sun shade and I tried to chill out and relax before our time slot.

It was not long before it was time to head down to the starting line. With a 2pm starting time they were letting groups go at 5 minute intervals, we were out of the blocks at 2.05pm.

The mob ready for the 2pm start time.

Of course you have barrels of energy at the starting line and we powered off over the first obstacle which was hay bale steps and then up and over a brick wall. Then it just seemed like an endless mirage of hills with not a drink station in sight. I think the first run/walk and hurdling over a few obstacles to the first drink station was the hardest, it was sooo hot and dry. I am not going to sugar coat this for you it was hard and hot and I must say I walked ¾ of the course. I was the slowest in our team and really felt like I was holding everyone back.

The team ready to start the event.

I’m going to head off on a tangent at this point and give you some background info on what has happened this week. Monday morning I woke up and my world was spinning, literally. My head had not even come off the pillow and I felt dizzy. When I tried to walk I was bouncing off the walls like a pinball in a pinball machine. I have had this problem before and it was diagnosed as low blood pressure and mild ear infection (among other things). Before I lifted my head off the pillow I got on the phone to my Medical Centre to hook up an appointment ASAP. So the doc checked me over and my ears and blood pressure were fine, she sent me for blood and urine tests and after some other testing suggested that it could be Vertigo. She also said that my neck and head were very tense and that I should see an Osteopath, usually when I feel this tight I see a Chiropractor, she said Chiro was not a good idea. Long story short, I managed to get myself a late appointment on Monday to see Osteo and by Wed I was starting to feel slightly better, Thursday I got my blood results and nothing was out of the ordinary, I also managed a cardio workout and by Friday I almost felt normal.

So back to Mud Run I was a little reluctant to push myself tooooo hard and took it easier than I might have, if I hadn’t had the medical issues of earlier in the week.

My goal for the Mud Run was to finish, have fun and have a go at each obstacle.

I lost count of how many obstacles were on the course but some of the memorable one’s were; the first water/mud pit where my friend Colleen jumped in with a giant splash; the big pipes called Birds Nest which had wasp and other critters nested all over them.

My friend “Claustraphobia” and I could not start nor complete an obstacle which was a water filled trench with black plastic over the top where you could not see daylight at the other end, my issues with this was if it was a black tunnel with no water I may have considered, but the combination of water and enclosed space was not on my fun list. The only other obstacle I did not attempt was a balance beam which was barely 2 inches wide and if you fell off it was into a dry pit which looked like a 6ft drop. I didn’t think it was a good idea after having dizzy spells earlier in the week.

Some of my accomplishments were the cargo net, wobbly as hell, higher than I thought but once I was on the downward side I was relieved and satisfied that I completed it. My favourite was the Commando crawl through a watery mud pit which had low flying bunting hanging over it, second fave was the giant Slip ‘n’ slide, there are some benefits to being heavier, you get way more speed on the slide and I managed a graceful or disgraceful tuck ‘n’ roll at the end as I was still travelling at a great speed when the slide ended. I also enjoyed the giant inflated pillows near the end, bouncing over and the horrible last obstacle that was a wooden ramp with a rope to pull yourself up and over. My upper arm strength was just not good enough to get me over it, so after splattering and sliding back down the ramp I walked around. I didn’t want to bruise and batter myself on the last obstacle.

So all in all, out of the 20 or so obstackes, I didn’t attempt 2 and was unable to complete 1. Everyone on the team had fun, I was the slowest of our team but didn’t care too much because of the week I had and the heat I wanted to finish, not collapse. I consider this type of event a “Fun Run” and loved getting down and dirty in the mud. I will be booking into doing something similar again soon.

PS: I hope to get some action shots on here when the Event Photographer’s release them.

I finished, still smiling but a little bit tired.

Here we are crossing the finish line. This picture certify’s that it actually happened.

Running – Couch to 5k

So recently I had a lovely catch up with Miss 3’s Mothers Group (yes she had a birthday). It was a bit chaotic in my back yard with 6x 3 year olds, a 2x 1 year olds and 2 under 3 months. So after some cake, coffee, dip and carrots the conversation got onto the topic of fitness, Triathlon, tough mudder and running and some of the girls were asking how I did it, so I thought it appropriate to write this post I have been thinking about for a while.

Now I know there are many websites and blogs out there that have a training program for “Couch to 5k” and being fairly time poor and time limited (after Facebook and Pinterest) to troll the internet for a proper program (that you don’t have to pay for), I just had a crack at it myself.

I never thought I could actually do it.

So around January 2012 my trainer started me running during our weekly session completely out of the blue, as his main focus up until now was Indoor Rowing.

Initially I could not run a full lap around his block which was about 300m (I found out later), I could make about 200-250m non-stop. So over the course of the hour I was with him, I would do some rowing and then head out for a lap around the block and then repeat this 3 or 4 times. It is hard to remember the exact amount of time but it was probably about 2-3 weeks of doing this before I could complete a full lap around the block. I was also trying to do a bit of run/walking myself pushing Miss 3 in the jogger pram maybe 1 other time a week.

At the time of doing my laps I never knew how far it was, to me I guessed it was about 1k, when one day I calculated it to be approx. 400m (actually 300m) I was devastated, I thought I was going further. This was getting too hard.

Alas, I pressed on, we began to deviate from running the block and ventured to the local bike track. To get from my trainers house to the track was 700m, this at the time, felt like enough for me because I always kept thinking the further away I get the further I have to get back. Negativity was constantly creeping in.

Then we began using the run “to the” bike track as a warm up, have a stretch and a run along the path, so each week I would try to run further than the week before, 1st time clump of trees, next the bridge, next time 2 telegraph poles past the bridge and so on. I was also doing this other times myself without my trainer.

One thing I figured out early on was I had to WANT to be a runner and despite what people may say they probably want to as well. I used to say “oh I have no desire to run”, because it always seemed too unachievable. I had to keep getting out and testing my mind more than my body. Some days I felt better than others and some days my mind made me stop before my body wanted to.

So to give you an idea of timeframe I started running around late Jan 2012 and by beginning of March (about 6 weeks after I started) I was running 2k non-stop, then about 2 weeks later I was running over 3k non-stop, and by mid April I had cracked 4k. By the beginning of May I had cracked the elusive 5k and did it a second time a few days later to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. So basically those first 2k seemed to take forever but the progress after that I seemed to be able to go further distances a lot quicker, do don’t despair in those early days when you may feel that you are getting nowhere, just try to go a bit further than the last time and then keep up run walk and each time try to reduce the distance of the walk and increase the run intervals. So achieving MY first 5k took just over 3 months.

After successfully conquering the 5k a couple of times, I would go out wanting to do it again and not be able to, there were days when it just didn’t happen. I tried not to let it get me down and would just think “well I didn’t make 5k this time but hey I did 4k and look how far I have come”. Also a lot of my initial running was on really flat ground and when I added hills I would get disappointed with my distance.

Over these months something that I hadn’t felt before had clicked in my head and I had found some determination. I went on a few holidays: a week with the girls to Bali, booze, food, laughs, shopping and just a general good time, but I still managed to go out and run a couple of times; a scrapbooking weekend, where normally I would sit on my rear end for 2 nights and 2 days and only get up to eat and sleep, I managed to take an hour out of my day to go for a run; a family trip to Dubbo Zoo I got up before the crack of dawn and in the bitter cold and managed a 3k run (it was sooo hard to warm up, my body wouldn’t go any further). Now it seems first thing I pack is my runners.

I very rarely run with anyone else, I run with my music, I have a great playlist on my Ipod and Smartphone and certain songs really get me going, I think that I will share an entire post about my Workout Music soon. I also love Runkeeper app and website to keep track of distance, time and speed, although I don’t know if it is completely accurate it is a good guide.

Another thing I need to say is I am not fast at all, actually there was a time (in the early days) when an elderly lady power walking overtook me wearing sandles, plenty of people walking their dogs have overtaken me especially up hills, but I just keep LMFAO in my head 

Try Tried TRIATHLON

I did it I did it, I completed my first Triathlon, here is my story.

The 2 nights leading up to my Triathlon I had great difficulty sleeping. If I woke up in the middle of the night, either of my own accord or by Miss “Almost 3”, I would have great trouble getting back to sleep. I had so much doubt in my mind. Would I be able to do it? What if something went wrong? Will my ankle hold up? Will I look fat in Lycra? Well I know the answer to that last 1 is “yes” but I had to ask the question.

The picture I was reluctant to publish, but this is me wearing Lycra. The suit was really good for the event, just not good for hiding the lumps and bumps.

To de-stress a little I arranged for Miss “Almost 3” to go to my Brother’s on Friday night for a sleep over with her 3 cousins, whilst hubby and I got a hotel room right where the triathlon was being held, walking distance. We had a very rare relaxing grown-up meal and I was alcohol free and in bed early.I got organised early and headed off to the marshalling area, as I was walking over I saw the start of the kids (under 10yrs) Fun Run 1k event, I was so inspired by the kids, 1 little girl was either exhausted or scared running towards the crowd and the Event Marshalls got her moving and helped her and it brought a tear to my eye and a giant cheer from the crowd.

All set up for transitions before the event.

It was a bit daunting not knowing what to expect with my first Triathlon; however once in the arena the organisers were very helpful and guided me to where I had to go. There were over 700 competitors in the Long Course event which involved 300m swim, 9k cycle and 3k run. What amazed me was that there were all shapes and sizes ages and abilities and to be honest there were some quite large ladies. Before the event I asked Hubby what he was going to yell out to cheer me on and he said “Run Fatty” which I thought was amusing, however once I saw the variety of competitors we both agreed this may not go down well.

With my Facebook friend Christine who I only met IRL a few months ago because of our like-minded goal of doing a Triathlons.

I was very pleased to run into a friend of mine who I met IRL a few months ago from a Facebook Group so we stuck together and headed to the briefing poolside. The swim was in an Olympic pool, zig zagging around buoys to complete 300m, at the start you could dive off the side of the pool, it was staggered at 2 second intervals however once in the pool everyone seemed to bunch up, the water was really choppy. Before I got in I noticed that plenty of people were doing breast stroke, back stroke and doggy paddle and some even stopped at each end to catch their breath. I don’t propose to be a great swimmer however I managed to mostly keep my head down and did freestyle the entire way, even though I was very slow, I was happy with my result when I got out.

Pounding out the swim.

I had no real plan of attack, however once I got out of the pool everyone was walking to the transition area, I decided there would be no harm in running a bit, so I got moving and ran what felt like an eternity to get on my bike. The bike leg is my favourite, I feel like it is more of a cruise, with more of a muscle burn than a lung burn. The first lap of the circuit my legs felt like concrete stumps struggling to get moving after the swim but the final 2 laps of the course I felt better. The weather was a bit drizzly so I was really really careful on the corners not to wipe-out. I really enjoyed the cycle.

Exiting the bike leg to hit the run.
Oh look I’m winning ………….. oh no I’m not, but I am still smiling.

I jogged my bike back off the road and parked it ready for my nemesis “running” leg. Because of my sprained ankle I had not run for 4 weeks until 3 days before the event so my running fitness was not as good as it should have been. I took the extra second to put on my Lorna Jane sweatband “Never Give Up”; it is funny how looking at that can truly inspire you. The first part of the run leg was horrendous, straight up a long gradual hill, legs still getting the hang of running after the cycling. I wanted to quit almost straight away, I just thought to myself, don’t keep up with everyone else and I shuffled along at my own pace. I had to tell myself I could do this, the first 1.5k just felt so long, but when I hit the turn-around I was a relieved to know it was half over and managed to find a spring in my step for the last half. I ran most of the way, only a few walk steps after the water table to have a quick drink and about 20 steps up a hill near the end, I picked up the pace again to run up the long gradual hill which was just before running back into the Athletic Centre where the finish line was, it felt like I was finishing a marathon, running down the straight of the athletics track towards the finish line, once I shuffled into the arena I had my trainers voice in my head which said, “leave nothing in the tank” I sprinted the last 150m to the finish line, even overtook some people.

Sprinting down the home straight.

I freakin’ finished, I was still in disbelief that I had done it. I was a little teary after the finish until I found hubby and gave him a big cuddle (he gives great hugs).

To be honest when I got the idea in my head earlier this year to try to do a Triathlon I had so much doubt I never really thought I would do it and I seemed to have a stack of obstacles thrown at me in the last few months, with a never-ending cough, full on sickness, 2 funerals with friends and family, hubby away for a few weeks and a badly sprained ankle, I think these things were sent to test my dedication.  Once I registered for the event I was not going to let myself down.

I am pretty pleased and surprised with myself for finishing and now I know I could probably push myself a bit harder next time.

Finished and pretty proud of myself.

 Update 9 Oct 2012 – So the results are in for the Triathlon Pink I came 681 position out of 774 competitors in the Long Course with a time of 1:09.57, pretty happy with that, I achieved my goal of not coming last, woohoo.

The Week That Was # 1

So my first week of this part of my journey has gone pretty well exercise wise.

Monday Morning I went for an early(ish) morning swim, I don’t do 5am like these Olympians but I was able to drop Miss 2.75 off at Daycare at 7.15am and be at the pool by 7.30. I have managed to find myself a swim coach, he hasn’t asked for payment (yet) so I have been lucky. He just gives me some drills to do and leaves me to my own devices and I see him about once month and then practice my drills once (or twice if I can make it) a week. Otherwise I would just plod out 1k get out and go to work. So my warm up was 300m which I did in 8.10, this is the distance I have to do for the Triathlon in Oct so my goal is to get this a bit quicker.

Monday Night at 7pm I saw my personal trainer Ian at Pioneer Fitness and I asked if I could do some Benchmarks that I saw on Shannan Ponton’s 8 week Challenge.*

Pic with Shannan Ponton from The Biggest Loser Australia, so devestated the only shot I got was blurry.

*Sidenote I am a huge fan of The Biggest Loser Australia trainers, Shannan Ponton, Michelle Bridges and The Commando and follow all of them on Facebook.

I started with a 10 minute warm up on the rower and then did a slight variation of the benchmark drills which consisted of:

1klm run                                                                             7min 13 sec
Sit ups in 60 sec (full wrist to knee, not crunches)             25
Push ups in 60 seconds (knees)                                        28
Burpees in 60 seconds                                                      11 (these things are hell)
Concept 2 Rowing Machine 2 minutes                              526m (previous best for this time was 505m)

My aim is to do these again in 8 weeks’ time and see my improvement.

Tuesday Evening I attended my first Contours Woonona class, I joined Contours a week ago because they are going through a revamp and will be re-opening in 1.5 weeks as EnVie Fitness. With the revamp comes childcare and a lot more classes, something that appealed to me more than the current Contours format. With the studio being closed for the revamp classes are currently being run outdoors and in School Halls and Surf Clubs. I went to a Tabata class, as a newbie I wanted to know what I was getting myself into, so I asked the question on Contours Facebook Page, what is Tabata, the reply Tabata is high-intensity interval training session using alternating periods of short intense exercise with less-intense recovery periods. It’s a short intense workout – lots of fun! Alex :)”

Thanks Alex, but “Tabata” and “Fun” are two words that should not be used in the same sentence. You do 8 consecutive sets of the same exercise 20 seconds of exercise followed by 10 second rest, so by the time you get to the last couple of sets your muscles are exhausted. It was about 15 mins of fun (ie the first 3 sets of each exercise) and then 30 minutes of hell. Exercises consisted of squats, lunges, push-ups both normal and biceps, crunches etc etc, most of these whilst holding weights above your heads or doing arm weights in conjunction with the other exercises. Will I go back, of course, from all the Googling I did to research this post Tabata it is a great calorie burner in a short space of time.

Wednesday morning, with aching muscles from previous night’s class, I rested. I did head back to my personal trainer in the evening for session of Indoor rowing, spin bike, weights, running and then a Rowing relay with my 3 training buddies. A rowing relay is a 2000m race with each person rowing 500m and then changing over as fast as possible.

Thursday Afternoon I headed to a Contours Boxing class, another 45 minutes of hell. The girls in this class who have been coming for a long time were boxing at a blistering pace, putting my speed to shame, arms were so tired after this so I guess it was “Mission Accomplished”.

Friday had a full day of rest. Well as much rest as you can have with a toddler and a full working day. For those who don’t know me or I haven’t caught up with lately, I am currently working Mon, Wed and Friday.

Saturday had a lazy morning in PJ’s playing with Miss 2.75 and then felt a tiny urge to go for a jalk (jog/walk); I could have sooooo easily stayed on the lounge. But I dragged myself out and it was a glorious winter day and had a distance in my head of 6k. So after a little walk to warm up I hit the button on my Runkeeper and hit the pavement.  I made the 3k fairly easily at 4k I wanted to stop, 5k really really wanted to stop, but I made the 6k at a very slow pace, but jogged the whole way. (Definitely would not have called it a run).

Sunday (today) – a very well deserved day of rest from exercise, although we did have a hectic day of family Birthdays. My nephew’s 9th Birthday for lunch and then in the opposite direction with The Outlaws (aka an affectionate name for hubby’s family) birthday celebrations with a really nice family dinner and a very rare occasion that everyone managed to attend. I ate waaaay too much food today.

So to wrap up the week I think my exercise was pretty good and I will try to do a similar amount next week, but my food has let me down. Next weeks’ challenge is to log all my food in My Fitness Pal, I know when I do this it makes me accountable and stop mindless eating and for all my friends on My Fitness Pal, yes I am going to open up my privacy settings on my food diary so you can see how good (I hope) I am going to be, haha. If you want to follow along my user name is mrzcracker.

Growing Up

During childhood, School Sports Carnivals etc, RUNNING has been my nemesis, I don’t recall ever being able to run any more than the 100m sprint at the Sports Carnivals, I was used to being added as the 4thperson for the Relay, and “Cross Country” day was my worst nightmare. I never trained, nor desired to for running. As I could handle short distances I enjoyed playing Softball.As a family we used to walk around the block when Ma n Pa were on a health kick, do aerobics at the school hall when they were in the mood, but our main form of exercise as a family was Horse riding.

Aged about 15 weighing around 70 kilos (154lb)

Because Horse riding was fun it never ever felt like exercise, but looking back the amount of time I spent in the saddle it up was some serious exercise. 15 years of leisure and competitive horse riding in a variety of disciplines were the best years of my childhood. But all that riding didn’t make me fit in any other sports.

I was also a competent swimmer but never trained for that either, just playing around in our backyard pool, so I had no stamina for swimming or any other exercise.

I was always 1 of the fatter kids at school but looking back I was not that fat at all. (I wish I was that fat now)

Who am I?

I am Rachael a 39.5 year old wife and mother of Miss 2.75.

So here I start 6 months before my 40th Birthday, debating whether I am going through a mid-life crisis and freaking out by focusing on exercise and trying, trying, trying to eat better.

I have a wonderful husband, family and friends who support me in everything I do, we have a daughter “Miss 2.75” who is adorable, cheeky, a little bit naughty, super cute and super super smart.

This is a recent photo weighing in at 108kgs. Taken at Cadbury Chocolate Factory in Tasmania, Australia

Fat to Fit and Fabulous by Forty is a blog about my current journey of weight-loss and fitness, my personal challenges, food addiction, insecurities and everything that goes along with being “Double Extra Gorgeous” and just wanting to be “Mildly Extra Gorgeous”, not to mention how the hell I got here in the first place. I am a fun, “CAN DO” kind of person, I will have a go an anything once, and if I love it will do it again and again, I think that is where my addictive personality comes out. I see myself as the “Funny Fat” girl. I have been overweight all of my life, always being the biggest at school (or so I though) and blossoming in my 20’s, excessively blossoming in my 30’s and hitting my biggest after our Honeymoon and then exploding during pregnancy. To give you some idea I am 168cm tall and on my Wedding Day I weighed 124kgs, after the Honeymoon (6-8 weeks later) weighed 132kgs and on the day I gave birth was 146kgs and was 146cm around the middle (coincidence) who knows.

About 8 months after I having our daughter, hubby and I both decided to have “Lap Band Surgery”, we had debated it prior to our wedding but thought we could do it (lose weight) on our own. We were of the opinion 1 in all in (ie both of us should do it or not at all) and he decided against it, so I chickened out as well. But it is amazing what bringing a small person into your life will do, the desire to live longer, be healthier and not inflict your poor food choices onto your “Offspring” becomes a major priority. My parents helped us out financially with the “Gap” costs of the surgery and we were very much supported by both our families.

So here I am about 25kgs down from prior to the Surgery and weighing in at 107.7kgs, I have plateaued for about 12 months going up and down by a couple of kgs over that time.

I invite you to follow my journey for the next 6 months to see if I can achieve my weight loss and fitness goals.

Rachael