Trying new stuff – Aerial Yoga

So this weekend, I did something ‘cool’ that I didn’t even know existed, so it couldn’t even be on a bucket list!  It was sky yoga:

S\itting around
Sitting around

It’s a small studio in the centre of the grungiest part of Sydney, near Central station. To get to the ‘Sky Lab’ you go past a graffiti wall – more like a whole artistic commune!!

Upside down
I did upside down in the class too – nearly killed me!

 

I went with a friend after our usual “Pilates in the Park” was cancelled. A school friend recently started it (another implant from the state of Queensland) but she was in NZ for the weekend, so we forked out our pennies to try sky yoga! I have the best and smartest friend, who’ll try any quirky challenge. And take silly photos ENDLESSLY!

Who's a silly billy?
Who’s a silly billy?

I’m pretty sore today – two days later. The back of my thighs… and some soreness in my back. Still the quirky factor of fitness has me hooked.

There are so many professional photos, they’ve taken, so check out the website for some ethereal photos… I can’t help but want more!

2014 goals review

Reviewing my 2014 goals:

Fun – 12 in 2 list

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 -didn’t happen, but I did research options to do something in San Fran whilst on Holidays
  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, thanks to the BF!)
  4. Learn to surf: 2015 thanks to a generous gift from my BF!
  5. Dinner at Aria: planned for early February
  6. Read the new testament bible Done in September
  7. Run a half marathon
  8. Plan and prepay my funeral – cough cough, not so fun, didn’t happen, but the cash is there?
  9. Zorbing (a weekend away at the Gold Coast)  The place went out of business…

The other 3?  Well my friend stopped living in NZ, so that was scraped.  One was a dinner at a fancy restaurant, which I did for my birthday in 2013. The third was a knife skills course which I did in 2013

Health – monthly challenges

These were a wash! I started out strong, but then it all went bust!

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 fail
May: Morning stretching/yoga fail – though some attempts made
Jun: Planking challenge fail
Jul: Mental health: daily act of kindness fail
Aug: Mental health: daily gratitude journal fail – though attempts made
Sept: 1 internet free day per week fail
Oct: Ocsober fail
Nov: Coffee free challenge fail
Dec: +1 walking fail

Interestingly, I did have a week or two when I woke to do yoga before work? So that was something.  But generally my coffee intake increased.

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 Septmber, met this, and by the end of the year exceeded it by $8k!

2. Save $200 a week in for holidays yep, it’s all automated, but now bundled into goal 1 so it’s all in one place

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! But kept separate from the pot in goal 1. $20 automatically goes to Church, from this $100.

 

Social

Plan a dinner party or similar once a quarter. Passed

1. Started with a pizza night for water polo girls in Jan 🙂 Easy and fun.

2. Excess cheese? Informal wine and cheese Sunday arvo.

3. Another polo dinner of Nachoes.  

4. Halloween party hosted at a friends home but catered by both of us.

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) so so – not 100% success rate on the stated frequency, but we stayed in contact.

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.  Then for Christmas, I made another gingerbread house (and a trifle, but that’s less crafty!).  I also made bunting and decorated jars for my upcoming 30th and did another baby’s blanket!

Overall, I think I did well on most of my goals.  I really let myself down in the health department, despite doing a three month healthy eating and exercising plan which I paid for.  I lost and gained roughly the same amount of weight, which puts me back where I was.  Again, I’m trying to be healthier since Christmas day, and have cut out almost all sugar.  That being said, I’ve still had juice and soft drink and the occasional taste of sweet things.  But I have tried to eat less than I was in the later months of 2014.

How’d you go with your 2014 goals? Feel free to link to your posts!

Half marathon – 12 in 2 list

Hot on the heels of my harbour bridge climb last Friday, yesterday, Sunday 6th July, I did the Gold Coast Half Marathon.

Talk about a busy month – between the BF cashing in his skydive, to me climbing the bridge (and having a fancy dinner), then the half marathon, and in less than a week, leaving for Osaka, Japan, I hardly have time for chores 😮

My running pal!
My running pal (still asleep?)!

My training program heading towards the half marathon was sporadic.  I had periods of very regular short runs, and I moved from a non runner to 5kms in a period of 12 weeks.  After that, things sort of feel apart, and my running routine was more ‘resistance to running’.  I managed two or three ‘runs home’ which varied from 6-7kms to 13kms, but that’s probably as far as I ran prior to the half.  So I always knew it would be TOUGH!

Usually, I run first thing in the morning, or after work.  Neither times, is it just after a meal.  Despite this, I decided I’d have porridge before the half marathon.  Perhaps a rookie error!  I’m pretty sure all that liquid was the cause of some serious cramping, or stitches I felt in my side.  I just walked them out, but it got to the stage that returning to running was a sure way to shake another stitch into forming!!

Derange 'why am I doing this' face - and we're in C starting group - ie not the slowest!
Derange ‘why am I doing this’ face – and we’re in C starting group – ie not the slowest!

I also run with a heart rate monitor.  This started when I started the Michelle Bridges 12 Week running program, as a way to ensure I wasn’t overexerting myself, and in the early days, I realised I was running at too high a heart rate.  I was shocked to repeatedly see my heart rate at 180 during the half marathon.  I usually want it to be under 172, and in training runs, once it gets to 177-178 I usually walk til I can bring it down.  In the race, I ended up employing the same strategy.

Those speedy gonzalas in front... at the start line
Those speedy gonzalas in front… at the start line

I hoped to run to my usual pace, which is about 9km/hr (5.6mph).  This would have been ambitious, but part of goal setting it to aim high!  This would have had me with a finish time of 2hrs 20mins. Thankfully, the very well organised Gold Coast Half Marathon has pace runners, the ‘slowest’ of whom ran at a target completion time of 2:20.  Sadly, I let them get ahead of me, and never caught up with them somewhere in the middle single digits of the run.

Proud father and daughter duo!
Proud father and daughter duo!

I was lucky enough to run the race with my father, who I ran with for the first few kilometers.  My father has run a number of ‘halves’ before, including this particular race when I was young.  It came as no surprise that he beat me, quite substantially!  He is slow and steady, but he NEVER walks!!  So my father finished with a time around 2hr10!  I however… came in at about 2hrs33 (by my timing – official timing below).

My stats
My stats

To be honest, I’m pleased I made it across the line unaided!  Was it a run?  Mostly not!  I walked a WHOLE heap, and I wish the pain I felt from the stitches, and later my heart, could have made it possible to run more of the race, but no.  That being said, I don’t for a minute diminish the achievement that is finishing a 21.1km course!

Dad's more impressive stats!
Dad’s more impressive stats!

A day on, I’m sore in my hips, the right arm (from the ‘strain’ of holding my phone… I prefer that to an arm strap).  Even my shoulders are achy.  And I spent the whole day after the run sore and tired! Tired beyond belief!

Views to die for!
Views to die for!

The only photo I wish I had to share with you is of my T Shirt – duly handed out once you FINISH the 21.1kms!! I did take this freebie (but not the medal) cause I am gosh darn proud, and feel I need proof I made it! I will wear it on (much shorter) runs in the future, to shock & awe!

Groceries for DINKS

(DINKS: double income, no kids).

So, after a few weeks of a check mate between the BF and myself on the grocery shopping, we broke through.  We tried online ordering and delivery!  For nerds like us (who spend the better part of our leisure times on laptops), it was a breeze to order things.

We tried Coles (one of the two major grocery chains in Australia).  We tend to shop at Coles usually, so we know the products and sizes well.  We set up our shopping list on Saturday, and the only possible times were a pick up on Monday afternoon, or delivery from Monday afternoon.  Alternatively, there was ‘free’ delivery on a Wednesday.  Nonetheless, as it was our first order so we were enticed by free shipping if we spent over $100 no matter the time slot or day, provided it was available.

The overall haul
The overall haul

We usually spend more than $100 in store, but we got stuck at about $70 when we had asked for ingredients for three planned bulk meals, as well as replenishing the Vegemite, some deodorant and a lip balm (I finally used one up before losing it to a family member!).  Anyhow, we just got over $100.  On Sunday, I realised we didn’t have any tinned tomatoes on hands, so I updated the order.  We had til 1am on Monday for a delivery time between 5.30-7.30pm.

So how’d it go?  Well the guy came at 6.30pm, with three crates.  Everything we ordered was in stock, except one container of stock (I only bought three as Lucinda’s recipe called for the liquid stock, and there was a promo for three for a cheaper price).  They just did a substitution for another stock container/size, all good.

However, the zero waste home attempts were twarted – the next photos show what came in one bag:

Suppose deodorant and Blistex are in the same aisle.
Suppose deodorant and Blistex are in the same aisle.
Mint tea with mints... maybe like flavours with like?
Mint tea with mints… maybe like flavours with like?

And the bags?

:(
🙁

Overall – a breeze! I liked that it came to me, with minimal effort.  Nothing was broken (yes, I ordered eggs).  Everything seems fresh.  Sure, I got two cut bits of pumpkin :s  And two 270g packets of bacon – there’s definitely room for improvement… like a less wasteful bagging policy too.

Have you tried online grocery shopping?  Do you like it?  Why would you or wouldn’t you use it?

The minimum spend wouldn’t really affect us going forward, as we’ll plan to ‘need’ our stuff to come on free delivery Wednesday.

Weight loss update

It’s week six of the program (I spoke about here), but I didn’t share my end of month 1 results.  I think I was less than happy with the weight loss at week 4, so I held off.  But I’ve met one of my goals this Wednesday, so I’m keen to share!

Here’s my stats

31/12/13 weight: ~78 kg (BMI: 25)
2/2/14 weight: 76.5 kg <—————pre week 1
12/2/14 weight: 74.4 kg (BMI:24)
26/2/14 weight: 73.3kg
13/3/14 weight: 72.0kg !!!

Week 1 – fitness
Time trial to run 1 km: 5 min 27 seconds
Knee push ups: 16
Ab strength (planks) 80 seconds
Wall sit: 1 min 15 sec
Sit and reach: 7 cm

Week 4 – fitness
Improvements on all measures!
Time trial to run 1 km: 5 min 12 seconds (15 seconds faster!)
Knee push ups: 33 (17 more)
Ab strength (planks) 131 seconds (51 seconds more)
Wall sit: 2 min 10 sec (55 seconds more)
Sit and reach: 11 (4cm more)

Week 1 – measurements

Weight: 76.5 kg
Waist measurement: 95 cm (I remember it was 1m late last year)
Chest measurement: 94.5 cm
Widest (waist): 104
Right thigh: 54 cm
Right arm: 30.5 cm

Week 4 – measurements

Weight: 73.3kg (3.2kg lighter!)
Waist measurement: 92 cm (3cm reduction)
Chest measurement: 96 cm (there’s no way my breasts are any bigger?!)
Widest (waist): 102 (2cm better)
Right thigh: 55 cm (1cm bigger – we’ll call that muscle right?)
Right arm: 28 cm (2.5cm smaller)

Definitely more work to be done, but some healthy improvements.  The sculpted abs of the early weeks have hidden back under some warmer, flabbier skin, but hopefully they’ll reappear.  Halfway there!

How are you attempts going to get healthy and maybe lose some weight?

February Challenge: Water Guzzle

Sorry all – weekends spent withering in heat, I failed to get this post out on Saturday 1 February.  And to be honest, didn’t do well in the first two days of my self imposed challenge.

Every month, I’ve set myself a health challenge (see more here).  For February?  I want to drink at least 2L water every day, and getting up around 3L (12 glasses!) since I heard it does wonders for bags under eyes and cellulite.  I look forward to all the incidental exercise to the bathroom on the other side of the work building too!

Oh here’s how we used to roll in Cohab Central:

Line up!
Line up!

But I’m pleased to report (without photographic evidence), that we’ve fully transitioned to stainless steel bottles.  I have one, the BF has two (one for work, one for home).  We also have two glass bottles in the fridge.

So who’d like to join me in trying to drink more of that tasteless clear fluid?  For readers in the southern regions, water drinking will probably come easier, now in the summer.  In the north, I’ll let you (and me) count herbal teas to the water intake.  Who’s joining me?

January Challenge summary: Take the stairs

In January, I set myself the healthy challenge of always taking the stairs, particularly up and down to my 3rd floor apartment.  Mid month, I checked in with an update on how I was going (here).  Today is the last day of the month, so I thought I’d do a quick summary, before introducing my new healthy challenge tomorrow, for the month of February.

Stairs of pain and gain!
Stairs of pain and gain!

All up, I went down them 75 times, and up them 70 times!  I took the lift when it was grocery day, one morning with a precarious load (brownies, an open bowl in my lunch bag AND it was my birthday :p) and up and down with the laden picnic basket.  The most time up and down the stairs were two Mondays, where I went up and down 4 times.  Oh and I went up 4 times on the birthday, the last time because of this:

Working off the birthday treat... yes mine was the larger one!
Working off the birthday treat… yes mine was the larger one!

For those who like numbers, I counted the stairs (once, so I could be out), and there are 62 stairs, which means by the end of today, I will have climbed 8990 stairs in a month!

Do I have buns of steel?  I wouldn’t say so, but they are certainly getting easier.  It’s a habit now, even as my early morning walks have worn off, I think this month’s habit can endure much longer.  It’s quicker, but it’s also healthier.

How did you go with taking the stairs, those who regularly encounter them? Moonwaves?

Take the Stairs Challenge Update

Those who read regularly know I’ve set a different health challenge for each month of 2014.  January’s challenge is to take the stairs at home for every trip up and down the three floors.  I wrote about my plan in this post.

source: www.easy-ways-to-loseweight.com
source: www.easy-ways-to-loseweight.com

Today is about half way through January, so I thought I would check in with my progress report:

1/1/14: 3 down, 3 up
2/1/14: did not track (at least 1 up, 1 down)
3/1/14: 3 down, 2 up (had a heavy picnic basket into house)
4/1/14: 1 down, 2 up (picnic basket out of house)
5/1/14: 2 down, 2 up
6/1/14: 3 down, 2 up (groceries)
7/1/14: 2 down, 1 up (not sure why)
8/1/14: 3 down, 3 up
9/1/14: 2 down, 2 up
10/1/14: 1 down, 1 up
11/1/14: 3 down, 3 up
12/1/14: 2 down, 1 up (groceries)
13/1/14: 4 down, 4 up

Overall, it’s become a habit.  With the heat we’ve been having, I’ve certainly eyed off the lift a little, but I knew I’d be reporting back to you. I’ve limited it to when I have groceries or that pesky picnic basket for my brother’s anniversary picnic (I had to store it overnight, then pick him up from The Ashes Cricket and take him to the Botanical Gardens).

They aren’t any easier, and I still lose my breath a little on the upwards climb, but I often beat the BF in the lift 🙂  I find it weird that I haven’t counted the number of steps yet – I start counting, but never as I start, only halfway through?!  Stay tuned, I’ll update you at the end of the month.

In related news, I weighed myself this morning, and I think I might be down a kilogram on last week. I have rickety old dial scales, so I can’t be sure, but I need a win so I’m calling it!

As to the other challenges?  I’m still walking about 4-5 times a week, for about 30 minutes each time.  I’m trying to add more jogging in. I’m drinking at leats 2L of water most week days, but weekends are a struggle. I’ve also started on planks and push ups, as I received push up handles from the BF.  Every second day, he helps me improve my plank form and how long I can do it, in addition to working to getting more and more push ups done.

Any others out there taking the stairs? How are you health goals or new years resolutions keeping?

Get healthy – monthly challenges

I plan to start a series of one month challenges, focused around improving my health.  I know that my one month challenge not to eat out in July impacted our habits, and saw us plan better and eat at home more.  It probably saved us a ton of money too! Sure, our grocery spend went up but our eating out bill went down by even more!

So here’s what’s on my rough plan for the new year (though I’m tempted to start in December, seeing I’m already feeling lethagic!  Plus, I think I’m heavier than I’ve ever been *gasp*).

Take the stairs – I live on the third floor, and the stairs are markedly quicker than waiting for the lift.  I’ve already started taking them occasionally.  I think I might allow myself free passes when I have the overflowing recycling bin, or a plate of food, but ‘usually’ I will take them.  I already use the stairs at work.  In other situations, I will favour the stairs to the escalators.

Drink 2L of water a day – I’m not sure how good this *truly* is, but it can’t be bad for you right?  Sure your body reaches an equilibrium and expels what it doesn’t need, but there’s no harm in diluting all the coffee that I drink… which brings me to:

Oh no! NO coffee? source:  rundangerously.blogspot.com
Oh no! NO coffee?
source:
rundangerously.blogspot.com

No coffee – I was going to say no caffeine, but I think the occasional Earl Grey tea or chocolate, or even an energy drink might be needed.  But coffee is becoming habitual, and apart from the $4 a day habit, it can’t be good for me! I think a nice summery month would be best suited to trying to be coffee free!

 

Let me tell you, I waded through some very suspect photos, to get what I was trying to demonstrate! source: Charlotte Anderson, www.shape.com
Let me tell you, I waded through some very suspect photos to get what I was trying to demonstrate.  Apron not essential!
source: Charlotte Anderson, www.shape.com

Squats – I have this weird idea – what if every time I sat on the toilet, I did ten squats?  It’s only my body weight as resistance, but there’s no harm in toning up my legs by just repeating the movement a few more times.  Strange, yes?  Possible – definitely!

Walking – I already wake at 5.45am to get to work by 7am.  Although I keep getting to work about ten minutes early.  What if I woke up just 5 minutes earlier, and walked for 15 minutes before showering and preparing for work?  Maybe every day, I could add a minute, so by the end of the month I was walking for 45 minutes?  That’d give me a cumulative walking time of 15 and a half hours for the month!

So, as you can see, I have five challenges, and there’s 12 months in a year!  What else do you think I could add to improve my health and well being? Would you be interested in joining me in some of the challenges, so we can help cheer each other along?

Neon Run

To keep with my 12 in 2 goal to run a half marathon sometime by the end of 2014, I signed up for the Sydney 5km Neon Run this past Saturday with my water polo coach and some of her friends.  The run was in the evening around the Domain and Mrs Macquaries Chair – iconic parkland around Sydney Harbour.

Here’s the foursome:

Light in our eyes for the neon run
Light in our eyes for the neon run

The glasses were $10 (!!) each – seems a lot for plasticy goodness with LEDs.  I wasn’t going to buy any (partly because I didn’t bring any money, and partly – well regular Wednesday readers would know why).  But the team bought me a pair, and were smart enough to know they just HAD to be blue!

I'm blue, if I was green I would die
I’m blue, if I was green I would die
Blue glasses for the blue eyed girl
Blue glasses for the blue eyed girl

There were other merchandising options, like these:

Other merchandise - fluro dreadlocks on head bands.  There were also mowhawks.
Other merchandise – fluro dreadlocks on head bands. There were also mowhawks.

Here’s the crowd, it was a small event, relatively speaking. That being said, we entered in a walking group, but did want to jog a bit. Sadly, there were too many people underfoot at the start, and of course after our first burst of running, we weren’t as interested anymore! There were four different music and dance stations, as well as fantastic harbour views! We did run the last 750m plus to the finish, which was nice.

The crowd and the starting arches
The crowd and the starting arches

My phone ran out of battery not that much later, so there’s no ‘night’ photos, which is when the run started. It was pretty amazing to see all the costumes, and we vowed to amp it up next year. I’d love me a bright tutu, though I’m not sure how comfortable it would be to run in! There was one guy just in fluro jocks – and painted on suspenders! And it was cold at the start line… So he was very daring.

Events like this a great – legitimately FUN run (or walk). I’m pleased to report that they used paper cups (unlike last time) AND they had lots of recycling bins for the cups too! Sadly, the glasses were plastic wrapped, as were our ice lollies filled with rehydration fluid, handed out at the finish.
For more fun photos, see the Neon Run site.

What’s the most fun you’ve had exercising? (Or is that an oxymoron to you?)