12 in 2 progress

I have til 19th Feb 2015 to meet my 12 goals for two years.  Given I turn 30 on the 30th Jan, it’s a nice way to leave my 20s.

How am I going?

The eating out? Done like a dinner (boom tish!)

1. Dinner at Quay – done in January for my birthday.  They have the menu online so you can all ooo and ahhh

2. Dinner at Aria – next birthday seems like a good idea!

3. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb – the darling BF gifted a voucher for this on my 29th birthday.  I’ve waited til winter, when the cooler weather is usually ‘clearer’ (with those harsh winter winds… which blew in yesterday!).  Alas, I’m booked for THIS Friday, my day off a month 😀

Source: http://www.bridgeclimb.com/

4. Go jet skiing

5. Go Zorbing – this is no longer offered in Australia.  And the locations aren’t exactly ‘nearby’.

6. Visit Lexi in NZ – Lexi stopped living in NZ, silly billy.  She got into Medicine in Sydney, so it wasn’t for naught, however, it makes going to NZ less of a driver.  The BF was recently asked if he’d like to work there, so that’s something.  Perhaps I should endeavour to get  to Coffs Harbour to see another friend before my time is up.

7. Do a knife skills course – for cooking of course

8. Learn to surf.  Regular readers might remember I planned to do this when we got back from the Cairns holiday?  Instead, we got back on a plane, and went to visit the BF’s family in Adelaide.  Then it got cold (I got wimpy?).  There’s time this summer though!

9. Read the new testament – thought I’d down grade from ‘whole bible’.  Alas, I’ve gone ‘whole bible’ and let me assure you, the old testament can be dull at times!  I’m on track to have this whipped by October, so time to spare if I get ‘behind’.  The train rides to work are dedicated bible reading time.

10. Go on a silent retreat – I relegated this to after the next goal, as many won’t let you do any exercise whilst you’re there.  I’m terrified to do a 10 day course (and that IS a lot of time).  But then all the propaganda says three days isn’t the ‘real deal’.  Your thoughts?

11. Run a half marathon –  (Update 1) My, my! My personal best, two weeks out, is 12.5kms.  The physio is not sure my body will make it! So I’m a little scared.  I aim to finish, ideally around 2hrs 20mins, which is on par with my usual speed or pace.

12. Plan and prepay my funeral – I have the cash, but I’m unsure.  I want something that’s ‘easy’ in it’s release in my death, which funeral insurance isn’t.  That’s just a con, and you’re forever paying premiums.  I could get a funeral bond, but again, I don’t think it’ll be liberated in time for a funeral.  I wonder if a will is a document that could outline all my wishes.  Then there’s the question of a ‘family’ funeral home, or a chain?  No matter, a pre bought funeral is held in trust, so I don’t have to worry about the money sinking with a business specifically.

So to sum up, I have to

  • turn up at 12.15pm on this Friday to meet goal 3.
  • get my backside across the finish line on Sunday 6th April to meet goal 11.
  • keep read, read, reading (mindful that two weeks in Japan won’t come with much bible-age) to meet 9
  • make bookings for 6, 8, 10 and 12
  • settle for 11 goals, and one beyond my reach

Right, to the calendar to start planning dates!

Dinner at Aria – 12 in 2 list

Aria is one of the top shelf restaurants in Sydney – on Sydney harbour at Circular Quay.  It serves ‘modern Australian’ and has breathtaking views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. About a year ago, I added in to my ’12 in 2′ goals list, hoping to visit for dinner in the next two years.

As was customary with past birthdays, I met with some close friends and enjoyed the degustation this past Friday. Aria offers a 7 course menu with matching wines for a breath taking sum of $260.

Here’s what it looked like, til I’d drunk too much 😉  These are phone photos, so don’t expect breathtaking compositions!

Salmon: Confir fillet of king salmon with avocado, vanilla and orange
Salmon: Confir fillet of king salmon with avocado, vanilla and orange

I’ve never had crunchy avocado 🙁

Wagyu: lightly smoked wagyu beef with soused onions, Dijon mustard and rye
Wagyu: lightly smoked wagyu beef with soused onions, Dijon mustard and rye

Tasty!

Scenic shot of the Wagyu with the noisy neighbouring table in shot with the bridge
Scenic shot of the Wagyu with the noisy neighbouring table in shot with the bridge
Barramundi: crispy skinned fillet with steamed mussels, cos lettuce and samphire
Barramundi: crispy skinned fillet with steamed mussels, cos lettuce and samphire

The fish disliking BF ate this, though I did end up with extra mussels. Oh and they cooked the lettuce?!

Truffle: kipfler potatoes poached in butter milk with shaved truffles, brioche, parmesan and roasted onions
Truffle: kipfler potatoes poached in butter milk with shaved truffles, brioche, parmesan and roasted onions

By FAR the table’s favourite dinner! It was like high end mac and cheese! There were suggestions that my 30th might be in a hardware store, serving mac and cheese… It could happen! Or the venue could be Ikea?

Peking Duck Consomme: with duck dumplings, shaved abalone and mushrooms
Peking Duck Consomme: with duck dumplings, shaved abalone and mushrooms

The signature dish of Aria – and we loved it. Though, in a lot of ways, didn’t match the other dishes..

Lamb: roasted loin and neck with sugar loaf cabbage, sweetbreads, sorrel and salt bush
Lamb: roasted loin and neck with sugar loaf cabbage, sweetbreads, sorrel and salt bush

Also yummy, and my first taste of salt bush, it was tempured.  It was lovely, and you can get lamb that’s fed on salt bush!?

And then the matched wines got me – I missed the Berries tart of summer berries with strawberry sorbet and short bread.  And there were petit fours, and I had a affrogato with a shot of something… come on, it was my birthday!  I did fail to mention I had a strawberry Pimms cocktail to start too.

The hangover on Saturday morning was HORRENDOUS, so we were late to the wine and cheese, and there was no more wine for me.  I even scoffed a packet of McDonald’s French Fries.  I wouldn’t have thought to go to McDonald’s but the BF wanted his favourite burger of all time, so I let him 😉

Would I recommend Aria? No.  There’s some personal reasons which I won’t share, about our particular event and the staff not being particularly sensitive.  At the cost of meal being so high, you do set your standards of service incredibly high, and they totally missed the ball park in so many ways.  There was wonderful company, a great view, and a pretty tasty menu.  I really can’t complain!  And another 12 in 2 list item demolished!

What’s the memorable (good or bad) meal you’ve had in your life?  Was it the food that shone, the service, or the company?

Things I achieved in 2013

NYC, always high on my list!
NYC, always high on my list!

So I didn’t touch on my 2013 goals post in any sort of summary way, so now I’m just going to quickly sum up the good memories and achievements that marked 2013:

Surfers Paradise
What a way to start a Monday? (Surfer’s Paradise, QLD, Australia)
My apartment's 'show' photos
My apartment’s ‘show’ photos
Bridge Run
Bridge Run
Sunrise in Melbourne
Sunrise in Melbourne
Light in our eyes for the neon run
Light in our eyes for the neon run
This family of four stopped to look at the Halloween costumes at the restaurant we were leaving, and so I asked to take their photo! They were more than happy to be in my tourist snap!
Vietnam’s family transport
Beautifully set tables
Beautifully set tables at Diner en Blanc
Pool under Sydney Harbour Bridge
Real life – North Sydney pool
Busselton jetty
Busselton Jetty, Western Australia

It’s hard for me to pick a favourite memory or achievement from my year.  For my regular readers, was there a favourite memory of your year (or mine)?

Jet Skiing – 12 in 2 list

As regular readers would know, I wrote a list of 12 goals I wanted to complete in two years in 2013.  It’s sort of like a mini bucket list, so that you get into action achieving those things you’ve always wanted to do.  And this blog is all about lists, and achieving my hopes, goals and dreams.  One of those things listed was to try jet skiing.

Thankfully, by sharing them online, my wonderful BF knows just what to get a girl for Christmas!  So whilst we spent a week in the Western most state of Australia (imaginatively called… Western Australia), he organised for me to go jet skiing!!!  Here’s a map to get everyone orientated:

Christmas Road trip
Christmas Road trip

Whilst we were in Western Australia, we drove from Perth to to Busselton for a night away, thank to the BF’s parents generous Christmas gift to us both.  We swam in the most Western of beaches (and it was beautifully deserted and untouched compared to Sydney beaches) near Dunsborough.  Sadly my phone was low on battery, and there’s no delightful photos to share with you.

I’m not sure what came first, the chicken (the trip South) or the egg (Jet skiing), but I sure am pleased to have had the chance to jet ski around Mandurah.  The company (Stag water sports) was fantastic, seeming like little more than a pop up tent on the shoreline, but they ran a great 1hr tour, escorting us around the estuary, in search of DOLPHINS! (Yes, the yelling is totally necessary!)

Not us, but betcha those dolphins are the same!
Not us, but betcha those dolphins are the same!
source: http://www.stagwatersports.com.au/

How’d I find it? Oh my gosh, if it wasn’t for the BF sharing my jet ski, I might never have exceeded 10km/h!  He got right on and gunned it after our guide, whilst I screamed, and shouted, and hung on for dear life!  Despite the warnings that sunglasses might get lost if we were to fall off, I couldn’t bare the glare without them. Sure enough, with a few strong turns left and right, the BF threw us both off, and all I was worried about was my $7.50 sunnies I’d only just bought! (remember the last pair ended up in my Waste Wednesday just before Christmas?).  Thankfully, I rescued my glasses and we got back on.

Eventually, I gave in to excessive reassurances and encouragement, and took the driving position.  Oh my, I am one serious looking jet ski driver! I had all the concentration in the world, and the strongest grip that I could hardly turn!  Plus, speed was scary.  But it was just lovely to see more of WA and be on the water.  

The best bit was on our route back to shore, we slowed down to a crawl, because our guide found a pod of dolphins.  In real life, dolphins are a lot less like Sea World.  There were no flips, and no riding on them.  They weren’t even a perfect blue, more a darker grey tint.  And there fins weren’t perfect either, these dolphins had grown up in the estuary of hard knocks, with evidence of them coming off second best to something! 

I was SO excited to see dolphins, I started waving at them.  I’m not entirely sure why.  I suppose I’m not a squealer, but it was equivalent.  It just *made* my trip, I tell you!  Eventually they headed deeper and we could no longer see them, so we did a little tour of a man made set of canals, and the huge houses and boats, before returning to shore.

It was a GREAT Christmas gift/experience that I’m sure not to forget.  Have you been jet skiing?  Have you seen dolphins – in the wild or otherwise?  Did you find them just magical

2014 Goals

This is a ‘live’ post where I update my goals, changes, and plans.  I hope you enjoy the links I add!

Last year, I set goals in a number of different categories of life, and tracked them almost every month with another post.  I think I’ll continue with this idea in the coming year too, but naturally, the goal posts will adjust to suit the things I learnt!

Hold onto your hats everyone, there’s a lot in this post.  I find monthly tracking helps me to achieve things, so that’s why there’s so much laid out here, ambitious as it may seems.

Fun – 12 in 2 list

I’ll start with the ‘nice’ stuff – which I’ve posted about previously, as my 12 in 2 goals – 12 things I want to do in 2 years, and most of them are ‘bucket list’ style items.

For 2014, I’ll do the following (some of which I did earmark to do in 2013, but it didn’t happen):

  1. Silent retreat – some time after the half marathon in July (cause you can’t run at these 10 day retreats)
  2. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb I got a voucher as a birthday gift in January 2014!!!
  3. Go jet skiing (done over the Christmas holidays)
  4. Learn to surf
  5. Dinner at Aria: planned for early February
  6. Read the new testament bible Done in September
  7. Run a half marathon could do it at the Gold Coast in July (it’s a super flat course), already booked the flights
  8. Plan and prepay my funeral – cough cough, not so fun
  9. Zorbing (a weekend away at the Gold Coast)  The place went out of business…

Health – monthly challenges

Why the water challenge and the coffee challenge are in different months! source: http://www.someecards.com/usercards/viewcard/MjAxMy1kNjdmZWUyN2QxYzMxNjAw
Why the water challenge and the coffee challenge are in different months!
source: http://www.someecards.com/usercards/viewcard/MjAxMy1kNjdmZWUyN2QxYzMxNjAw

As I mentioned in late November, I will look at creating ‘get healthy’ monthly challenges of better healthier habits.  I started earlier than the new year cause I felt the need to lose some weight, and the Christmas season is as good a time to start as any.

Each month I’ll dedicate one post to introducing the challenge (and encouraging others to join in), a post or two on my progress and a post to wrap up the challenge and the success or failure.  Here’s my rough plan, subject to change:

Jan: Stair challenge start, progress, end
Feb: Drink 3L water per day: start
Mar: Squats and abandoned 🙁
Apr: Push up challenge – increase the number everyday
May: Morning stretching/yoga
Jun: Planking challenge
Jul: Mental health: daily act of kindness
Aug: Mental health: daily gratitude journal
Sept: 1 internet free day per week
Oct: Ocsober
Nov: Coffee free challenge
Dec: +1 walking

I’ve been slowly trying to start Jan & Feb’s goals in December, but each month I will commit to doing it every day!

Financial goals

I prefer my fingernails bare, but this is amazing, and just like Aussie money source: http://www.morenailpolish.com/2013/01/aussie-nails-show-me-money.html
I prefer my fingernails bare, but this is amazing, and just like Aussie money
source: http://www.morenailpolish.com/2013/01/aussie-nails-show-me-money.html

This is one category I always kick a** at!  So, for 2014, I will:

1. Save $20,000 in my mortgage offset account (in addition to the starting balance) as of mid Sepetmber, met this, and aimed higher (hopefully anotehr $15k by year end)

2. Save $200 a week in for holidays yep, it’s all automated

3. Save $10 $20 a week for my ‘one day’ dream of a first class holiday to Paris and NYC (First class flights and accommodation).  I plan to spend 20 years saving slowly for this one. $20 per week, cause why not!

4. Save $100 a week for ‘charity’ which I will also withdraw from when I do support fundraising etc. automated too my friend!

This is in addition to savings plans that already tick over weekly for bills and health insurance, and a weekly contribution to the church.

Social

Plan a dinner party or similar once a quarter. Started with a pizza night for polo girl in Jan 🙂 Easy and fun. Excess cheese? Informal wine and cheese Sunday arvo. 2 down, 3 to go! 3 down, 1 to go – another polo dinner of Nachoes.  Tempted to do something for Halloween..n

Inspiration for the zen I'll try to create source: www.sheknows.com
Inspiration for the zen I’ll try to create
source: www.sheknows.com

Email my brother at least weekly whilst he’s in South America (until Sept 2014)

Career

Ekk, seeing I didn’t submit my 16 x 700 words long episode reports in 2013, this goal will role over.

I will also start to think more (again) about the next step in my career. Whilst I wasn’t thinking about it, someone was, and I’ve been acting in a promotion of a role for a few months.  And I’ll apply for the position when it’s advertised

Keeping it Creative

I’ve realised that I like to create things, like my gingerbread house, or the candy cane wreath.  I really enjoy mending clothes, or sewing.  I even made a map of the world with stamps!  So I’m going to try and do more of these sorts of things.  One crafty thing per month.  Pinterest and blogs will guide me, I hope.

I’ve covered my router with a hard cover book; made earphone holders out of old plastic cards; cross stitched a baby’s blanket…

Gingerbread House!

On some list, somewhere, I knew I wanted to make a gingerbread house this Christmastime.  I kept putting it off on weekends past, to snuggle on the sofa and read blogs and watch TV shows.  But this past weekend, a friend wanted to catch up, and so I decided we could build our first ever gingerbread house.  Come on, two engineers, what could be better? (Answer: two civil or structural engineers! Electrical engineers aren’t ideal).

Let’s start with making the pieces, from this template:

Cutting out the walls
Cutting out the walls

I didn’t use the recipe attached to the above template, instead using this, but adding all spice and nutmeg that other recipes mentioned.  I also decided against the window, as I didn’t have boiled lollies on hand for the cooking.

While they cooled, we headed to the shops for decorations:

What a haul - about $26 worth!  We didn't use them all and my friend took a lot of them home with her
What a haul – about $26 worth! We didn’t use them all and my friend took a lot of them home with her

From directions elsewhere, we decorated before constructing. I think if kids were decorating, you’d want to build it first, cause construction is slow.
DSC_1377

DSC_1378

Here’s the start of construction:
DSC_1379

We were worried it wouldn’t hold together when we put the first roof panel on, so we did some temporary bracing (in Christmas colours!)

Longchamp ribbon for the win
Longchamp ribbon for the win

One of the roof panels was a little thick and not cooked to a crisp (which I prefer). So we decided on some structural reinforcements!

Bamboo skewers use 45
Bamboo skewers use 45
DSC_1384
Fully constructed

After a date night to the movies, I put the last roof panel on, to dry overnight:

Sadly, the first roof panel we put on slipped a bit, and stuck lower than intended. Or we wanted a row of light to enter the house, and did this intentionally, you decide?
DSC_1385

All this, right off the bat from making a candy cane wreath on Thursday night, remember?

Crafty Thursday
Crafty Thursday

I’m so chuffed with our house! I’m not sure what to do with it now though! I am thinking of taking it to show at Sunday School’s Christmas party, but as to who gets to finally deconstruct it and eat it… I don’t know… Any winning thoughts?

Aria for lunch

I mentioned in my post on Friday that I half achieved my plans to go Aria restaurant here in Sydney.  I thought I’d share some photos of our lunch during Good Food Month.

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper hosts Good Food month, and part of the initiative sees high end restaurants offer a lunch time deal at a relatively affordable price ($38).  This usually includes a glass of wine, and tea or coffee. My father has taken me and my mother previously – this year he lucked out, having two lunches with his two lovely ladies seperately, and another lunch with my two brothers at a non-Good Food event.

The view, the menu, the company
The view, the menu, the company
Left to righ, Main of barramundi, amuse bouche of venison terraine, and petit fours
Left to righ, Main of barramundi, amuse bouche of venison terraine, and petit fours
The petit fours - I can't remember all the different items, but you'll see a marshmallow, a mint choc truffle, some 'twills' and a lolly pop salted with olive
The petit fours – I can’t remember all the different items, but you’ll see a marshmallow, a mint choc truffle, some ’twills’ and a lolly pop salted with olive

This was all planned for my rostered day off Friday, and happily coincided with the night we flew to Vietnam. What a wonderful start to a holiday! I think I will return to Aria for my birthday and sample a degustation menu, which is sometimes up to 10 courses! I enjoy these nights immensely, sharing veryhigh end food and wine with close friends, and coming away with great memories as presents!

Dear readers – I am homeward bound, I’ll be reading all your comments in a few short hours! How I’ve missed you all!

Goals update or not!

So every month I like to check in with my progress on my new year’s goals.  But interestingly, I’ve added some goals along the way throughout the year, and they haven’t been added to my monthly review (see the last one here).  I latched onto doing this little side project of 12 things I want to achieve in two years (ideally 2013 & 2014, though I did start a little into 2013) .  It’s like a condensed bucket list. Sadly, I only check in with my blog readers when I’m on my road to achieving some of those.  So I thought I’d write a post about what I’m NOT achieving, and perhaps kick me into action (with the added accountability!)

I’ll only talk about the ones I’m not consistently achieving in the new year’s goal, so let’s have a look:

New Year’s Goals

  1. Not eating sugar: I get on this bandwagon and off as soon as I justify the occasion, and then it’s a slippery slope from ‘just this once’ to ‘yes please’ at every single offer!  Moderation is not something I do well with cakes, sweets, biscuits, brownies, chocolate… need I continue?  It’s not enough to rest on ideas like ‘at least I don’t drink soft drinks (soda, pop)’
  2. Training for water polo: well I took a season off, so that might be ok.  But I didn’t really swap it for something else.  Even committing to exercising twice a week (as I would with polo) would have been good for me.  Some weeks I was on fire, running every second day.  Other weeks, I’d call a walk to get an ice cream exercise!

12 in 2 goals

I'd even go to Miami, if I had to you understand source: miamibeachsightseeing.com
I’d even go to Miami, if I had to you understand
source: miamibeachsightseeing.com

In summary I had the following (check the old post for links about what I’m on about!):

  1. Dinner at Quay: Done for my birthday in 2013
  2. Dinner at Aria: Will do it for my birthday in 2014. BUT… as part of Good Food Month, my father took me there for lunch exactly a week ago!  What a treat, and a semi ‘achieved’ for this goal.
  3. Sydney Harbour Bridge climb: cough cough, this is simply putting down a few hundred dollars, praying for a beautiful day, and doing it!  I should just book it in with the colleague who was interested.  We’ve pencilled in 22nd November
  4. Go jet skiing: The BF thinks I can do it at Christmas, as he knows a place in Perth (where his family are, and we’re headed for Christmas)
  5. Go zorbing: Would you believe it, when I was in the area they did it, they were closed!!  UNBELIEVABLE! I even drafted a post to report on it… I was that sure I’d do it!
  6. Visit Lexi in NZ: Well, that’d be fine, if Lexi hadn’t moved back to Sydney when she was surprisingly accepted to Medicine!!
  7. Do a knife skills course: Did it, and reported to you all here.
  8. Learn to surf: Oh yeah, that! Summer is the time to do it, I should speak to my friend about that.  I did email him, but it’s been more than a week, and no news 🙁
  9. Read the new testament: See I set an *achievable* goal, and then went and started reading the whole darn thing.  I reported in with a book review when I got to the 1/4 mark (13 weeks in), then promptly moved house and didn’t resume reading.  It’s tough going at times.  I get a few days behind, and it’s a mountain to get up to date.  I really need to etch out ‘bible time’ and get back to this.  I want to do this, no one is making me!  And I do enjoy it some of the time!
  10. Go on a silent retreat: I found one, and then it became the same weekend a friend from out of town was visiting, so I didn’t book in.  I should look into them again
  11. Run a half marathon: I’m not there yet, but I did compete in a 9km run, and I did the 5km Neon Run, just the 5km fun color run to do in Feb.  Other than that, I have no real training plan or goals.  I need to plan to get further!
  12. Plan and prepay my funeral: Hahah, no.  It’s expensive, but I also think I need a will first.  So I need to hassle the solicitor today about what I need to do!
This could be me one day source: andrewmichaelroberts.blogspot.com
This could be me one day
source: andrewmichaelroberts.blogspot.com

How do you kick yourself into gear, and ensure you do the fun things, not just the mundane things?

Not long now til I’m back to normal programming – please comment as freely as usual, and I’ll read and reply to everything once we touch down (if not sooner).

Goals Update – September

To be honest, usually I spend the month editting and drafting my monthly goal update post.  Not this month! So, there’ll be no list of my meals.  And everything feels a bit sketchy!

For new readers, every month, I like to check in with the ‘New years goals‘ I set.  It’s a regular reminder of what I’d like to be doing!

Financial

Save $20k $26k cash by 22 Dec (for when I get a mortgage offset account): stalled
August: $21,140.13
September: $21,020.20 (-$120)

Such a nice looking number, but sadly not on target for my stretch $26k goal.  Thanks to… booking a holiday to Vietnam with the BF!

12 in 2 Adventures savings fund: hahaha what? nope
July: $749.93 (how’d that go down?)
August: $1.72 (-$748,21)
September: $1.73 (+$0.01) Oh for interest!

Grocery spend: improved from August’s HUGE spend

I’m loathed to share figures, as Australia’s costs vs other countries and readers might be misinterpreted.  Let’s just say, it’s a little more than double my ‘usual’ spend when I lived alone.  I’m happy with that.  22% is on meat, 13% on dairy (we eat so much cheese!).  I’m pleased that fruit and vege % spend are up on last month.  I’ve got a piece of fruit a day as a snack (banana or apple), plus frozen berries on my porridge.  Vegies aren’t so simply integrated, yet.

Volunteering hours: alright (poorly remembered though!)

Sat 13th: 4hrs doing church flowers

Health

Cook at home twice a weekAchieved! 

The BF and I have a great ‘menu’ for every week, which helps the ‘I don’t know, what do you want’ conversations.  I’ll get a few more photos together, and then I’ll share it with you.

Sugar: Totally not on my radar

Although, after our housewarming this weekend (I’ll bake a number of treats), I’m pledged to try and join Lucinda Sans in her first mention of the Droptober challenge to eat less sweets.  Here’s the rules she published.

Train for polo – Training to run a half marathon:  inconsistent, but some running

Actually, the summer water polo season is starting, so far I’ve not been to training, due to a cold, then my lift/carpool hurting her toe, and the next week being out of town.

However, on the running front, I did a 9km organised run, and I’ve signed up for the Neon run in October (5km) and the Color Run in February (5km).  This past week, which is technically October, I’ve run twice, though quite short distances, and once the week before.

Cultural

2 films a month: wow, another month with no cinema visits

2 books a monthachieved

I read World War Z (remember I saw the film earlier this year?)  The book was totally different, as commenters warned me.  I enjoyed the book, but it took me a while to get through it.

Then I read Plastic Free, by Beth Terry which I reviewed earlier this week.  I really enjoyed it!

I’m in the middle of Mr Know-it-all by A.J. Jacobs.  I read his book about reading the bible and living it literally, and was reminded of this book of his thanks to Lucinda’s review.

Social

Call/connect with an out of town friend: Did wonderfully

I had a friend from Orange come to town, and we met for a hot chocolate.  Another friend stayed two nights in our guest room when she came to Sydney for a wedding (I’d seen her a few weeks ago in Melbourne!).  A very dear friend in Brisbane has been great at encouraging me via Facebook, so I feel closer there, and another friend who used to live in Sydney and moved to Alice Springs, and then to the UK, we had a great chat on Facebook the other evening.  We couldn’t believe it was three years almost to the day, that I’d visited her in Alice!

Career

Certification: last edits needed, then submit them in October

All my episode reports are written, and long enough.  My external mentor has reviewed them all, and now I need to make some improvements and submit them!  I hope to have them submitted by the end of October.

Sorry there wasn’t any photos… How are your new year’s resolutions progressing?

Running – 12 in 2 list progress

In February this year, I set 12 goals I wanted to achieve in two years, called 12 in 2.  Number 11 was to run a half marathon, which is 21kms.  Naturally, as a non runner, this is a huge stretch of a goal but something I put on the list to as the ultimate challenge.  When I say non-runner, I mean I devised ways to get out of high school cross country, despite being otherwise a capable and fit athlete!  Warm up jogs at boot camp or school sport had me whinging (and panting) the loudest.  However, this past Sunday, I completed the 9km Bridge Run over the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, as a stepping stone to the half marathon.

Million dollar real estate with a view to our start!
Million dollar real estate with a view to our start!

The 9km bridge run (5.6 miles) was the last race of the day, starting after the marathon, half marathon and family fun run (4kms) for the Blackmore’s Sydney Running Festival.  So it was a sunny warm day for the 9am start at Milson’s Point.  I was in group C, which run third/last of the groups, due to us having expected run times of 1hr or over.  The cutout off it 90 minutes <- I was pretty confident I wouldn’t get cut off, but your never know!

I can’t help myself, and took heaps of photos before the start, to share with you:

The view in front of me
The view in front of me
The view to the left
The view to the left
The view behind me - yes, the lady in blue and I talked... I can't help myself!
The view behind me – yes, the lady in blue and I talked… I can’t help myself!

How’d I go?

I set myself a target pace of 9kms per hour, hoping to finish in an hour of starting (I actually started at about 9.23am).  I had Runkeeper going, along with some music.  When I usually ‘run’ I actually do jogs interspersed with walking, and still achieve this 9kmh so I was happy to pace myself to this.

The first kilometer was hard, and I always find the start of a run the worst!  There was also a gentle but continuous incline to get onto the bridge as well.  It was exciting to be on the bridge though! I drive on it twice a day to get to and from work, and here I was, running on it when it was completely devoid of cars.  There was definitely a smug smile through the running pain! I remember I didn’t make the first kilometer without a walking stretch.  Still, Runkeeper kept me up to date every 5 minutes with my pacing, and I think only one interval over the whole run was I behind!

Our course had us do all sorts of strange things to someone accustomed to Sydney roads – we went the ‘wrong way’ down a spiral ramp onto the Cahill expressway, which took us running over the train line at Circular Quay.  If I’d been more about blogging than running, I might have photographed the sparkling harbour, and iconic bridge and Opera House, but by this stage, I was in the thick of the ‘running’ and not so worried about a play by play for my readers!

Where Runkeeper saw me run!
Where Runkeeper saw me run!

Prior to this run, I’d only done a training run at 6km. That run was more than two weeks prior to the Bridge Run, and in the meantime, I’d been through a cold. So, part of me wasn’t entirely confident in how I’d run! I used positive self talk to help – instead of ‘you’ve never run more than 6kms’, I’d say ‘wow, you’ve got 3kms to go, you can easily do that’. It made a big difference!

Oh so bright!
Oh so bright!

According to Runkeeper (I love their stats), I was above 9kms per hour for the first 4kms, which probably helped me stay ahead in pacing for the second ‘half’ of the race. Interestingly, the peaks in the coure are around the 4.5-5km mark and again in the last km! As far as speed, at my fastest I was doing 12.32kmph (I must check where it thinks I ran that fast!), and at the slowest, in my last km, was at 7.77kmph. Overall, I ran at 8.79kmph, for a total distance of 9.63kms (They say the course is ‘about’ 9km). This took me 1 hr and 5 minutes. This puts me right on pace, even though I didn’t meet my 1hr ambitious finish goal. Overall, I’m happy I made it to the end without an injury (even my shin splint like pain was silent), though I did have tight hamstrings before and after.

I never took this photo (photos were banned to keep the flow on the bridge - I actually was running when I snapped this!)
I never took this photo (photos were banned to keep the flow on the bridge – I actually was running when I snapped this!)

At the end of the race, I made my own way home. There was just swarms of people at the finish, so I can’t imagine if the BF had made it in, even trying to find him! Then getting to the train was a little bit of a logistical challenge – I ended up crossing the marathon runners path twice! Thankfully, Sydney smartly provides free public transport for all run participants, so being lazy, I got the train, then a bus (cause just a train involved more walking to get home!). The bf was at home after spending the last 24 hours on a yacht race, and we headed out for burgers. I then thought I was entitled to anything I wanted, being that I burned 710 calories! Alas, I still coped some cheek when a block or two of chocolate ended up in the shopping trolley! (For the record, I’ve not yet had any!)

So, in a rousing finale: anything is possible when you set your mind to it!  Practice makes the world of difference, and having people overtake you is often enough to stumble from walking to jogging again.  Now for a training plan to get me to a half marathon! (My brother’s time was 2hr02minutes for his half – impressive!)

Gratitude (for Sunday)

  • I finished the race, without an injury!
  • A beautiful warm day
  • The BF’s patience in traffic, during run road closures
  • The Newsroom finale (and finding out it’s signed for a new season!)
  • Mac and cheese made by the BF
  • For being somewhat relaxed with the state of the less than perfect house

What ambitious goals have you set yourself?  Have you surprised yourself in what you can achieve?