Running: The Physio Way

So I’ve got to be honest and say that last week was a bit hit and miss. I went back to work for a couple of days on Tuesday and on those 2 days I did really well in terms of food. Not much exercise though (none in fact!). Then Thursday we went away for a couple of days and I hadn’t really prepared like I did last time so it turned into a 3 day junkfest. On the plus side I did heaps of walking – 17,000+ steps on Thursday. This week I’m back at work all week so it should be easier to stay on track food wise. My focus for this week is going to be on exercise and getting back into a routine. Once I’m in a routine things just flow along nicely – it’s getting back into the routine that is the hard part!

Last Wednesday I had a followup physio appointment. I’d started wogging back in November, but was still having quite a bit of pain so just before Christmas I made an appointment to see a new physio. Kellie was great, but she wasn’t sure what else she could do for me. So I made an appointment to see a different physio who specialises in musculoskeletal injuries. She took a look at my scans and explained things a little bit clearer than the surgeon had. She then had me lie on the bed and did some of the usual tests as well as having me go outside and do some running. The good news – my range of motion in the hip is good. The bad news – my glutes are really really really weak. And I have bad running form. So she initially gave me some glute strengthening exercises and asked me not to run for 4 weeks.

Last week was my follow up appointment and I had to confess I hadn’t been doing my exercises as regularly as I should have been. In the lead up to Christmas I did the Leap Summer Blitz so I was doing circuit 2x week, PT 1x week and boxing 1-2x per week as well. Then … well, it was Christmas, I was on holiday, and I was lazy. So I’d only been doing my exercises for a week really. I explained how I was still having pain when walking any more than 2-3km and how the 4km Summer Blitz sent me back to the codeine (which I haven’t needed for about 6 months). We talked a bit more and her advice was to take the surgeon up on his offer of a cortisone injection as it would allow me to build up stength with the pain and inflammation. (I rang to book it in, but he’s away until the end of the month so I gotta wait).

Then she had me go back outside and do some more running. I wasn’t limping this time so we worked a little bit on technique. I’m an overstrider. Which I knew, but had never really made any effort to do anything about it. But apparently I need to change the way I run. She had me change my posture and then told me to run with smaller steps – like a prancing pony. So I tried it.But then I was running too much on my toes. So I tried again. But now I was too loud and heavy. I needed to try and run silently …. like a ninja. Now THIS was something I could get on board with! I’d much rather run like a ninja than a prancing pony.

So I tried again, and apparently that was much better so she had me do it a couple more times. Then she had me run ‘my normal/old’ way to see the difference. After doing that it took me a couple more goes to get back to the new style. So my new physio plan now includes wogging! 1 min jog/run + 3min walk  x4. And I got some new exercises to do.

So here’s my exercise plan for the next couple of weeks:

Mon: Wogging + circuit
Tues: Cycle + physio exercises
Weds: wogging + circuit
Thurs: Cycle + physio exercises
Fri: Wogging + circuit
Sat: Walk or bike + physio exercises
Sun: Rest


2016 Action Plan


It’s time to re-invigorate this blog. 2015 was not a good year for me mentally. I struggled with the length of time it was taking to recover from my injury and subsequent surgery and because I’d set myself the goal of running again I just dwelled on the fact that I couldn’t run and let that negatively impact on everything else in terms of my health and fitness. Thinking back on 2015 though I gained a lot:

  • I rediscovered my passion for photography
  • I found a new passion in harness racing
  • I gained more balance in my life – it no longer revolved around running/my training schedule
  • I made many new friends
  • I found new ways to exercise

So for 2016 I’m resetting my mindset. My focus for the year is going to be on experiences, activities and learning as opposed to set regimes and weight loss goals. There are still some numbers involved but they’re more general. Instead of saying I will cook 1 new recipe per week I’ve set a goal to cook 50 new recipes for the year – some weeks I might not do any and others I might do 2 or 3.

So my ‘goals’ for the year are:

  • 50 new recipes
  • 10,000 minutes of exercise
  • 3,000,000 (yes that’s million!) steps
  • 52 (creative) photos processed and posted on instagram
  • 35 monthly themed photos taken (and processed)
  • 52 blog posts published
  • 3 new activities tried/skills learned

I’ve deliberately not written this on the 1st of Jan, or a Monday because then it’s too much like New Year’s resolutions. I’ve been working on my plan and thinking about what I want to achieve since just before Christmas, but I wanted to enjoy my holidays with no stress about what I ‘should’ be doing and I didn’t want it to be a new year/new me type thing.

I’m still fleshing out some of the nitty gritty details but I feel like I’m ready to start finding my new normal now. I’m doing the 20 week challenge again and this year Broni is including an early start option/category which I’m also doing. At my final PT session for the year just before Christmas Cate ambushed me with her iPhone set to record video and asked me WHY am I doing the early start challenge. My answer was “Because I feel like crap”. Since then I’ve sat down and made the following lists:

  1. Why I feel like crap
  2. What makes me feel good
  3. What makes me happy/what do I love doing

Maybe one day I’ll share these lists with you, but my focus for this year is doing more of what is on lists 2 and 3 so all the things on list 1 go away. These things come under a few broad categories:


I need to go back on the low FODMAP diet that I was put on a couple of years ago. The difference it made to my general sense of wellbeing and my digestive health in particular was amazing and since being injured I’ve falled off the wagon more and more, and all of the bad things (everything from stomach pains to eczema) have come back. So my food focus for this year is low FODMAP.


Regular exercise makes me feel good. what I’ve come to realise is that it doesn’t really matter what type of exercise, as long as I enjoy it. Before Christmas Cate ran a 3 week blitz so I was doing circuit 2x week, PT 1x week and boxing 1x week. I had more energy in those 3 weeks than I had all year – and that was with all the end of work year, pre Christmas stress. and you know what – no running. My rough plan is 30mins 5x week but I’ve just said 10,000 minutes because sometimes I will do more and sometimes I will do less and there is no pressure to do a workout because I have to exercise 5x per week even if I’m feeling sore, or just too busy.


I loved rediscovering a camera last year, but by the end of the year I was so busy with everything else I was pretty much only doing my harness racing photos. I’m going to continue that because the page I set up to share my photos with owners, trainers and drivers has really grown in the past couple of months. But I want to get back to the more creative stuff as well. And learning. So I’m going to post a photo on my photography instagram account at least once a week (this could be an old photo I’ve taken and reprocessed). I’m also going to take (and process) 3 themed photos each month:

  • the monthly digital challenge competition at my photography club
  • the challenge I do with my dad each month based on the monthly competition on the Australian Photography magazine site
  • the monthly competition in NZ Photographer magazine

Aside from my photography club’s monthly challenge I’m not necessarily going to enter the competition, but I will take and process a photo for that month’s theme.

Last year I also purchased some online courses so I’m going to complete those and I’m also going to do a Photoshop course on

And surrounding all of these things are people. Whether it be going out to brunch with friends, meeting new people at boxing/circuit, walking on the beach with friends, meeting new people through harness racing and sharing my photos, or at camera club, trying new activities with other Leap stars – my life will be full of people 🙂


What’s your 2016 Action plan?



I know it’s been aaaaggggeeesssss since I posted. To be honest, I just wasn’t feeling it. It’s been a frustrating few months. In spite of the positive vibe in my last few months I was stressing out. While I was happy to be exercising semi-regularly again, and kept having fleeting moments of finding my motivation the pain was getting to me. I was really worried that either (a) I’d done something bad to my hip and would need more surgery or (b) that this is just the way it is and I’d be in pain and unable to run forever.

There was very much a sense of de ja vu happening. My physio said there wasn’t really much more she could do. My GP wasn’t much help at all. An x-ray and ultrasound both came back clear so I went back to my surgeon. He didn’t feel like there was anything bad happening and that it was likely just a really bad flare up, but ordered an MRI anyway as it had been going on for so long. After a 3 week wait for the MRI and then another month before I could get back into the surgeon the result was clear. The verdict seems to be that it was just a bad flare up and as it is improving on it’s own he’s not going to do anything for now. If it’s still bugging me in 2-3 months I can go back and he’ll give me a cortisone injection.

In a way, the test were just what I needed. There’s no doubt, in hindsight, that I definitely overdid it in May/June. I was rushing my recovery and I suffered the consequences. As a result of the pain and the feeling that I was pretty much screwed and would never run again I wasn’t really putting any effort into anything. I’ve been doing boxing twice a week and PT once a week, which I love and is definitely a good workout. But that’s it. Some half-assed rehab/stretching every now and again, and let’s not even mention my eating (I won’t call it nutrition!).

Getting that clear MRI results shifted something in my brain so I decided to try the return to running program from my surgeon. It starts off slowly with the first session doing 500m of jogging over 2km. I decided to start off on the treadmill so I can control everything and make sure I’m not going too fast too soon. I started with 4oom of warm up walking at around 4.6km/hr. Then I did 5 intervals of 300m walk @ 6km/hr and 100m jog @ 8km/hr. Even though it was slow and short it felt AWESOME!!!

Unfortunately that was the day after I started my new job and things got a bit hectic trying to find my new routine and I didn’t run again for a couple of weeks. But because that went so well, I signed up for Saint Clair next year. I’ll be doing the hybrid and having a fun day rather than aiming to run it, but it feels good to have a goal to work towards that I’m excited about (I just couldn’t find the motivation for cycling and Grape Ride). This is my 4th week at my new job and I’m starting to get into the swing of things and find a routine.

I worked out my wogging (a combination of walking and jogging = wogging) days are Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. I’m now into my 2nd week of the program and today I did a total of 1km jogging (200m walk/200m jog intervals). I’m feeling really positive about my recovery now.


On the food side of things, I’ve only really started healthy eating again this week. I wanted to focus on my exercise routine first because I find that if I’m exercising regularly and feeling good about that I eat a lot healthier naturally. So far things are progressing well, but I’ve got a long way to go.

Sunday I’m doing the Summer Starter 4km walk with the Leap Tribe. My first official event in 18 months! I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

The hidden dangers of goals …. and some humble pie

So it turns out that when you are a type A perfectionist, goals may not be such a good idea! The old Emily has been running around in my head the past few weeks wreaking havoc. The 20 week challenge finished yesterday and as the end got closer I got more and more down in the dumps about it. Normally as you approach the end of the 20 week challenge you make sure you’re putting in 100% effort, but as the end got closer I seemed to be going the other way – especially with my nutrition.

Why, you may ask? Well, at the beginning of the challenge I set myself 2 goals. My trainer Cate would tell you that was not the case, but in my head I had 2 goals. The first was to run 5km and the 2nd was to lose 10kg. Neither of those things happened, or came close to happening, and so old Emily was in my head telling me I’d failed. I even posted on the 20 week challenge Facebook page that I felt like I was in the failure group this year. Boy, did that get me in trouble with Cate at my testing session this afternoon.

You remember when you were a teenager and you did something stupid and your parents (usually your mother) found out and you thought “uh oh I’m in big trouble now”, but then when she sat you down to talk to you she pulled out the “I’m not mad, I’m disappointed” …. that was the kind of conversation I had with Cate today.

So after some tears, a good heart to heart, a pep talk from Riwai and a hug from Missy the cat we finally did some testing. We weren’t going to do weights or measurements because the categories I’m in don’t require it, but Cate did my waist so she could update my height to waist ratio. After doing that one she decided to do the others, just because. Turns out I’ve lost a couple of centimeters from pretty much everywhere. First lesson of the day: the scales really do lie because according to my scales I have gained a couple of kilos during this challenge. So no weigh-in today, and no more weighing for me.

Then we got onto the “fitness” tests. Turns out I improved on my 1km row time, number of pushups, weighted squats (went from 11 to 58), and my mini circuit time (which I think I almost halved). Then to top it all off we did some balance tests. We didn’t do them at the beginning of the challenge because at that point I couldn’t stand on one leg without overcompensating or being in pain. Today I aced every single one of them – including standing on one leg on a BOSU!

fitness testing

So the moral of the story is that, just like your mother, your trainer is always right.

I started this morning dreading final testing because the old Emily in my head was telling me I was a failure. But I’ve now finished the day thinking that actually this challenge has been my most successful one yet. I didn’t enter physical categories this year because I knew I’d put too much pressure on myself to achieve them no matter what. I knew this challenge for me would mostly be a mental one. I needed to get rid of the old Emily that obsessed about food and exercise and had no social life. The one that got injured. I had so many physical issues when I started this challenge, that needed correcting. Not just my hip, issues with my shoulder from an old injury, issues with my knees, bad posture and hyperextension in my joints. Slowly over the past few months we’ve been working on all of these. And you know what, it didn’t feel like I was doing the 20 week challenge. I was just working with Cate, getting back into routine and trying to correct all of my bio-mechanical problems. And it’s working. Part of what Cate and I did today was make a list of milestones, and I’ve added to the list in the past few hours. I’m not going to list all of them, but here are some of the key ones:

  • I can now do pushups with my elbows facing inwards (when I started my elbows would face out like this – I actually had no idea that was not normal!)
  • For the first time in years I’m now boxing twice a week without any shoulder issues
  • I kayaked 2 km with no shoulder problems
  • I biked 20km in spite of not being on a bike in almost 2 years
  • I meditated regularly (something I’ve always been incapable of)
  • I tried taro, yams and kohlrabi
  • I saw an NLP counsellor

I’d previously decided I wasn’t going to go to the awards night because I didn’t want to be surrounded by all the successful people and run into people that I’d trained with 2 years ago who have all managed to maintain or improve upon their previous results when I’ve gone so far backwards (old Emily talking!). But today when I got home I booked my ticket for the awards night. Because this has been my most successful challenge ever. It doesn’t matter what other people have achieved – those people are not me. I’ve had a lot of mental hurdles to overcome. I’ve had to silence the voices in my head. I’ve had to learn to live in a way that is healthy and sustainable, not diet and exercise myself into exhaustion and injury for 20 weeks in order to win an award. I’ve had to ignore the obsessive, perfectionist side of me. What I’ve done in the last 20 weeks has been live my life the way I want to live it. Yes, my eating and nutrition could be better and I’m going to work on that next. But what I’ve found during this 20 week body and lifestyle challenge is a sustainable lifestyle. The reason I felt like I’d failed is because I was just doing what I do. I wasn’t doing anything special really. I wasn’t going out and smashing goals, records or PBs. I wasn’t obsessing over calories and macronutrients. I was doing exercise that I love, with people I like being around and eating food thaat I enjoy. And that’s why this is my most successful 20 week challenge yet. I didn’t just complete a 20 week competition. I found a lifestyle that I love and can sustain forever, while overcoming a number of physical issues and making a bunch of new friends 🙂

Cate, your humble pie is served. You were right – I am awesome, as are we all 🙂

A new goal

goal without a plan

Yes, I know went offline for another month – but I swear I’ve been busy!

I’ve been continuing with my NLP practitioner working through a few things. She’s been running weekend workshops recently and I’ve attended 3 of them. The first 2 were on values and goals, and for those I chose to focus on my career goals as I’ve been feeling a bit restless lately and I wanted to work out if I was truly unhappy with my job or just going through a phase due to stress. Turns out my career values are not really being met in my current goal so I sat down and worked out what it is I really want from my career, which will take a bit of change in direction to go back to what I was doing 4 or 5 years ago. It’s not really a backward step, more of a sideways step but I think long term it will be what makes me happy, and when you’re happy is when you do your best work. The criteria I’ve put around what I want from a job means that there are limited opportunities for me though so it’s a matter of waiting for the right thing to come along rather than just going out and applying for jobs.

By the time the workshop on motivation came around I decided I needed to focus back on my health and fitness. Even though I told myself (and you guys) that I’d accepted I may not run again there was still a little voice in the back of my head that was focused on running, and making it to Saint Clair next year. This meant that even though I was back to exercising 4 days a week I was still feeling a bit directionless and not really putting all my effort into it.

Cate had said to me a few weeks back when my hip first flared up “focus on what you CAN do, not what you can’t”. In theory this is what I was doing. I’m absolutely loving boxing, which I’m now doing twice a week. I also do a PT session once a week with Cate and I’ve been going for a bike ride on the weekend with Debbie. But those niggly little running thoughts were still there. And in reality they were holding me back.

At the motivation workshop we worked through what it is that we want. This fits in with the goal setting workshop we’d done the week before, where I’d focused on career stuff. But I know what it is I want – which is to be fit and healthy again. Robyn talked about how there are 2 types of motivation – away motivation and towards motivation. Away from motivation is the “I don’t want …” stuff and towards motivation is more focused on what it is that you do want. Away from motivation works well as the “kick in the pants” that you need to get started but it isn’t sustainable long term. What happens with away from motivation is that as you move further away from the thing you don’t want your motivations also decreases. As an example, let’s say your motivation is “I don’t want to be fat anymore”. Initially your motivation is quite high and you lose weight. But as you lose weight and get “less fat” the key driver disappears. Eventually you get to a point where you’re not fat any more and then your motivation to eat healthy and work out disappears because hey, you’re not fat any more. And then your weight starts creeping back up until you reach that “I don’t want to be fat any more” point – classic yo yo dieting.

On the other hand if your motivation is to be fit and healthy, have more energy etc then this is the long term sustainable stuff. Towards motivation is focused on the positive and because it’s focused on your end state not your starting state it’s more motivating long term because once you reach that “fit and healthy” state you want to stay there.

So for the workshop we had to do an exercise called motivation stacking.  Once you’ve worked out what it is you want to be motivated about (career, health and fitness, relationships etc) and make sure you don’t have any (potentially hidden) objections to your goal, you visualise 3 circles on the ground. One is your ‘Now’ Circle, one is your ‘away from’ circle and the other is your ‘towards’ circle. First step into your ‘now’ circle and rate your current motivation level. Mine was about a 3. Next step into your ‘away from’ circle. I call this the bad place. Everything in this circle is negative and in reality it’s not a very nice or motivating place to be – you can’t wait to get out of this circle. Once you’ve identified all of your ‘away from’ motivations, you step into your ‘towards’ circle. I call this one the ‘happy place’. This is your ideal – it’s everything you want. For me I visualise myself at my ultimate goal – what I look like, feel like, what I’m doing etc. Once you’ve identified all of your ‘towards’ motivations you step back into your now circle and ask yourself 2 questions.

  1. What will I miss out on if I DON’T act today?
  2. What will I gain if I DO act today?

Once you’ve worked through these 2 questions you rate your motivation level again (mine jumped up to an 8). Finally, you have to identify one small action you can do within the next 24 hours to start on the journey and cement your motivation.

What I got out of this session was the reminder that when I try to lose weight for the sake of losing weight and being ‘skinny’ I’m never ever successful. When I have a goal to work towards that is about health and fitness and the weight loss is secondary, that is when I’m successful. Thinking back to when I was happiest within myself it wasn’t because I was skinny, it was because I was fit and healthy. I had energy, was sleeping well, catching up with friends to run or workout and always striving to do something better. My motivation and end goal was the same – to be fit and healthy – but the goal posts were always moving. I always had something to work towards rather than something to get away from. It went something like this:

  1. Run 5k
  2. Run 10k
  3. Run a half marathon
  4. Run 5k in less than 30 minutes
  5. Run 10k in less than an hour
  6. Run 5k in less than 25 minutes
  7. Run 10k in less than 55 minutes
  8. Run a half marathon in less than 2 hours

And so on …. weight loss was only a small part of my goal and motivation. And it ultimately became about losing weight to run faster rather than to ‘be skinny’.

And that is what I’ve been lacking. I haven’t had those improvement goals. I’ve only been focused on getting back to my pre-surgery weight, but without the mechanisms to get there (hence why my enter the fashion parade on Cup Day wasn’t being terribly successful at motivating me).

Obviously I can’t have running goals at the moment, so I’ve decided to pick up on my cycling and actually commit to becoming a better cyclist rather than using it as a stand-in for running. I’ve decided to sign up for the Grape Ride next year. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll do the 42km taster or the full 101km Grape Ride because I need to see how my hip will cope. I’ve signed up with Complete Performance for some technique coaching and once I’ve had a couple of sessions with my coach we can hopefully decide on the distance and work out a training plan. It feels good to have something concrete to work towards again.

I also worked out that exercise is my key driver. Once I get back into a regular exercise routine, with a goal and a plan, my healthy eating tends to fall into place. Focusing on food alone never works for me so I’m just going to go with the flow for a couple of weeks and once I’m back into my routine and training plan I’ll put a bit more focus on my eating.

I’m off to the surgeon this afternoon to see if he can work out why my hip is still giving me so much grief. I’ve been through the physio and my GP, and had and x-ray and an ultrasound which have both come back clear so at this point no one can tell me what is going on. I’ll let you know the outcome and keep you updated on what is happening with my training plan 🙂

The Only Way Now is Up


I know I’ve been MIA again for almost a month. It’s been a tough few weeks mentally, and I would say I hit rock bottom about 3 weeks ago. My hip flared up quite badly and I could no longer do the things that I’d built up to being able to do. Whereas I could comfortably walk 5-6km before, all of a sudden I was in pain walking the 500m from the car park to the office. I went to the physio and she suggested it might be tendonitis so she changed up my physio programme to be more isometric holds.

It wasn’t getting much better so I went to see my GP because the physio said that the only way to be sure was to have an ultrasound. My GP agreed that the joint itself seems fine and it’s most likely a soft tissue issue … so he sent me for an x-ray :-s. He also prescribed me anti-inflammatories. Two weeks later not much had improved so I rang him to find out what next. He offered to send me back to the surgeon, but I managed to talk him in to doing an ultrasound first (still waiting on official results, but it looked clear).

While all this was going on my mental state was getting worse and worse. I had no motivation to do anything. I was hiding away in a meeting room at work and being generally unproductive. My eating was getting worse with regular chocolate and cookie binges which in turn made me feel even worse. There were many times I cried, and many more times I felt like crying. So, I finally did something about it and made an appointment to see an NLP practitioner. In theory I went to see her to work out why I couldn’t control my eating and do all the things I know I need to do to get my weight back under control. But we’ve ended up working through a few beliefs I have/had about myself, my weight, weight loss/exercise and surprisingly (or not) my injury.

In my 2nd session we did an exercise to map out where I am now vs my ideal state in terms of thoughts, feelings, images and self-talk. It surprised me at the time, but in hindsight it shouldn’t have, that the words that kept coming up in my ‘now’ state were anger and frustration. I think that it was something I hadn’t dealt with fully. My surgery was supposed to fix everything and get me running again. And (in my head) when I could run again, my eating would improve and everything would miraculously just be like it was. However, my recovery is dragging out and taking way longer than I expected and I hadn’t really dealt with it.

Now that I’ve had time to reflect on things I can see that what I was going through was a lot like the 7 stages of grief. First there was denial. To me, the surgery was no big deal. It was just a means to an end. I know for a lot of people surgery is a big scary thing, but this was my 8th surgery (in my life, not for my hip!) and so it was just routine. I was just going to have surgery, do my rehab and then things would go back to normal. Then came anger. Surgery was supposed to fix everything, not make it worse. I’m not sure that it is worse than it was before surgery, but there are certainly times it feels like it. On top of that I felt like my health professionals weren’t listening to me. My surgeon has just kept telling me that everything is normal from day 1. My GP wouldn’t send me for an ultrasound. My physio said there wasn’t much more she could do for me – I just had to go right back to the beginning and start from scratch at my phase 1 physio exercises and build back up.

Somewhere in amongst the anger was depression and a sense of hopelessness. The other phrase that’s been a large and recurring part of my vocabulary lately is “what’s the point?”. What’s the point of eating healthy when I can’t exercise? What’s the point of making plans? What’s the point of doing any exercise when it’s not doing what I want?

Usually when I go through things like that I’d turn to running. Running was my meditation and therapy. If I was running with a friend I could have a good vent and get it all out there. If I was running by myself … well, if you’ve ever seen a lady running around Hagley Park muttering to herself – that was probably me! So not only was I frustrated at losing my main form of exercise and dealing with a constant nagging pain, but I’d lost my outlet. Cycling, boxing and weights just aren’t the same – you need to concentrate too much to be able to zone out. No wonder I went a little crazy!

Over the past few days I’ve had a few epiphanies that have led me towards acceptance and a new outlook on things and I seem to have found my mojo again.

Health vs Weight Loss

Driving home a few days ago I was having a few “what’s the point” thoughts – mostly along the lines of what’s the point NOT buying chocolate when I won’t be able to lose weight without running anyway. Slowly my brain worked around to what Cate and Robyn and others have been telling me for awhile … it’s not about weight loss, it’s about being healthy. Before I was injured I didn’t feel so awesome because I was skinny (although I’m sure that played a part). I felt awesome because I was healthy. Over the past few weeks/months I’ve noticed things come back that had gone away before. My skin is horrible – dry, acne, eczema patches. My hair is horrible – lank, oily, dandruff. I have no energy and am tired all the time. That’s not because I’m not running. It’s because I’m sticking crap food in my mouth. Eating good, healthy food shouldn’t be about losing weight – doing it with that attitude I’m doomed to failure. The reason I was so successful before was because I wasn’t doing it just to lose weight. My focus was on being a better runner rather than being a skinnier person. What I want to get back is that feeling of being healthy – having energy, having good skin and hair, not feeling bloated and crap – not a number on a scale.

Focus on what you can do not what you can’t

Cate has been saying to me for a few weeks now, “Focus on what you CAN do, not what you can’t”. But feeling as low as I was I couldn’t get past it. All I could see was the things that I couldn’t do because it seemed like that list was a lot longer than the can do list. But last Thursday night at boxing we had an uneven number so we took turns boxing with Riwai. And it was awesome. I was able to really let go (it helped that I was still pretty pissed off at my doctor and my injury at that point) and it was great. I was sweating (first time in a long time), I was out of breath and I was shattered at the end of the session. This got me to thinking that it is possible to get a decent workout in even with my hip playing up. So I’ve now booked in a weekly 1:1 boxing session with Riwai.

Sunday I went for a bike ride with Debbie, and I’ve always said that biking isn’t the same as running. And it’s not. But that doesn’t make it bad. I wasn’t really in the mood for a ride on Sunday as I had 50 million things to do and I kept thinking how I don’t really enjoy it. But as I was riding along I remembered how much I hated running when I started because it was so hard. With running my problem was that I couldn’t breathe. with cycling it’s more my legs feel like they don’t have enough power and I’m slow – especially on hills. But, just like running I will get better and I will start to enjoy it.


Talking to Debbie after our bike ride, I realised that I had finally reached acceptance. It’s taken a long time but I’ve finally realised that I may never run again, and even if I can it’s probably still months away. And I’m ok with it. A few weeks ago I wouldn’t have been. Or I wasn’t. I think I’d already realised that running was potentially a “never again” and likely a “not for a long time” but because I was so focused on the negatives of that and linking all of my previous success to running that was just adding to my misery. Mostly I was afraid that I’d never run again and that that would mean that I was doomed to be fat, unfit and unhealthy.

With the help of Cate (my trainer), Robyn (NLP practitioner), Riwai and my friends – as well as a bit of common sense – I’ve realised that I can still be healthy, fit and active. I still have a long road ahead in terms of rehab, but it doesn’t mean I can’t eat healthy and find other enjoyable ways to exercise that won’t cause me pain.


So here’s my new plan.

1. I went out and bought new exercise gear at the weekend. My old clothes were tight and I felt very self-conscious in them (yes still some mental stuff to work on!)

2. I have a new exercise plan where I exercise 5x week and I’m going to just f*$#^& do it!

3. I’ve started using the TwoGrand app again. No more MyFitness Pal or calorie counting – That’s a recipe for disaster that I’ll tell you about another day

4. I’m going to continue to meditate daily, use the You-App and recite this to myself every morning:

“Today, I will try to feed myself when I am hungry.
Today, I will try to be attentive to how foods taste and make me feel.
Today, I will try to choose foods that I like and that make me feel good.
Today, I will try to honor my body’s signals of fullness.
Today, I will try to find an enjoyable way to move my body.
Today, I will try to look kindly at my body and to treat it with love and respect.”

Excerpt from Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth
About Your Weight © 2010 by Linda Bacon

5. I’m going to stop beating myself up and be kinder to myself. There will be good days and bad days and both are ok.

Music Monday: John Williamson

As you can probably tell from the title this post is a bit late, but I got sick Monday night and ended up in bed at 8PM!

As I mentioned in my last post, music was a big part of my childhood and still is a big part of my life. Music usually gets me through a workout and keeps me going on a run. I listen to music when I’m happy and when I’m sad. And I just can’t do housework without music blaring. When I started thinking about music of my childhood I was just bombarded with memories of so many different kinds of music.

For those of you who didn’t grow up in Australia, John Williamson is an incredibly versatile Australian john_williamson_posterimagesinger/songwriter. I guess if you had to put him into a genre it would be country music, but he’s done everything from ballads, to kids/novelty songs to protest songs and tribute songs.

When I first sat down to write this I’d intended to write about True Blue. It’s a song that every Australian would know whether they are John Williamson fans or not. It’s often played at football grand finals, Australia Day celebrations and was also played at Steve Irwin’s memorial service. It’s a song that gives me goosebumps every time I hear it, especially now that I no longer live in Australia.

When I went searching for a video for True Blue I got lost in the tangled web that is YouTube because I kept finding other John Williamson songs that I remembered. As a child one of my absolute favourites was Rip Rip Woodchip. John is a staunch environmentalists and has written a number of what could be referred to as protest songs, and Rip Rip Woodchip is the first one that I remember. Other songs in that vein that I grew up with are Koala Koala (actually a charity song to raise money for Koala protection), Goodbye Blinky Bill and Bill the Cat (I love this song! It sounds funny, but is actually about the damage that feral cats do to native birds). Home among the Gum Trees is another one that probably every Australian knows.

Off the top of my head I’ve counted 5 John Williamson albums that our family had when I was growing up. My parents had Mallee Boy, Boomerang Café and Waratah Street. I remember getting Waragul for Christmas one year. My mother absolutely loved The Boomerang Café and I can remember my parents dancing around the lounge room to it, as well as Boogie with M’Baby.

Road trips were usually accompanied by John Willamson. For a very long time I swear the only tape that got played in the car was JW’s Family Album. Our family especially loved My Dad Snores, most because my dad does snore very loudly but would vehemently deny it! I think we played every single song on that album so many times that we wore the tape out! Especially Camel Train to Yamba (again so much like my dad!) and Crocodile Roll (my mum loved this song too).

I was talking to my dad on Skype last night and he said I had to mention Flower on the Water which was a tribute song John wrote after the Bali Bombing.

Honestly I could talk about John Williamson songs all day – I just love all of them and they all bring back very happy childhoold memories. But I’ll leave you with this gem that always used to crack my brother and I up but we could never manage to sing!



As we head into week 10 of the 20 week challenge, I’m not where I thought I would be. Part of it is my rehab not progressing as fast as I had hoped (my fault for overdoing it!) and the other part is that I’ve been too busy doing too many other things. For 6 of the last 9 weeks I was doing a photography course on Tuesday nights and boxing on Thursday nights. With photography club on Wednesday nights and racing most Friday nights it meant I was out 4 nights a week. Weekends haven’t been much better with racing in Oamaru, Ashburton and Rangiora and photography field trips plus exercising.

What this has all added up to is very little time for me to focus on anything other than rehab and just being busy (and tired). I also haven’t been doing my planning. I’m a planner. I like having my food and exercise planned out with checklists, but I’ve not been doing that since about week 3 and I’ve been winging it which means I haven’t been exercising as much or eating as well as I should have.

This weekend was the 2015 Leap retreat where 12 fabulous Leapstars (including myself!) spent the weekend in Hanmer Springs. I’ll tell you more about the adventures we had in a post later this week, but tonight I want to focus on what I took away from the weekend.

Part of the aim for the weekend was to refresh, recharge and refocus. To think about the last 9 weeks and what’s worked for us and what we might want to change. For me, this weekend was a timeout. Timeout from responsibilities at home. Timeout from work. Timeout from being busy. Timeout from normal. Even, to a certain extent, timeout from social media.

What I didn’t take timeout from though was thinking. One of our (optional) activities this weekend was colouring in. I love colouring in, but it’s something I never do any more. So this weekend I coloured-in 3 pictures. And while being very mindful about staying within the lines, I did some thinking. This 20 week challenge – like all the others I’ve done – I’ve been focused on the physical. Rehabbing my hip, getting back to running, getting back to my pre-injury weight etc. What I’ve ignored, as I pretty much nearly always do, is the mental side of me. I’m entered into the lifestyle category, and one of my goals right at the beginning was to improve my sleep, but I haven’t really taken any active steps to achieve this goal.

I’m not a person who’s good with the ‘fluffy’ side of life. I’m hopeless with compliments – both giving and receiving. I’m not very good with gratitude, showing or getting affection and I suck at asking for help. A lot of my friends, and other people I know who have done or are doing the 20 week challenge have done gratitude challenges where they write down things they are grateful for each day. I’ve never done that and I usually skip over reading the ones that appear in my social media feed. It’s not that I don’t feel gratitude – it’s just that I’m not very good at expressing it – or anything really!

The theme for this weekend’s retreat was through the decades. Before the weekend we were asked for a song that reminded us of our childhoods and the book that most influenced us before we were 20. Amazingly, between the 12 of us, we managed to span 5 decades of births. We had someone who was born in every decade from 1940s through to the 1990s. One of my favourite parts of the weekend was listening to everyone reminiscing about their childhoods through music and books.

The other part of the weekend that was interesting was that on Friday night Cate and Lilly pulled out 10 uncommon vegetables and we all had to see if we knew what they were. Between us we managed to get 8 of them fairly easily and the last 2 with some hints from our hosts. The vegetables were parsnip, fennel, yams, taro, kohlrabi, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, butternut pumpkin and I can’t remember the last 2, but we cooked (and ate) all of them except the Jerusalem artichoke over the weekend. New vegetables for me that I haven’t eaten (or have refused to eat before) were yams, taro, kohlrabi and butternut pumpkin (yes mum I tried pumpkin soup – still don’t like it!).

So as a result of the recharge and refocus weekend I’ve come up with some new things to focus on for the next 11 weeks that are more to do with the lifestyle and appreciation aspect of the challenge.

  1. no technology for 30 minutes before bed – this includes cell phone, TV, iPad, computer etc (the exception for this will be using my iPod or iPad for meditation)
  2. 10 minutes of guided meditation each day. I’m going to start with Andy Puddicombe’s Take 10 series using the Headspace app. Going to try doing it at night before I go to bed, but might also try doing it before work in the morning
  3. Set aside time every weekend to plan my week and do a grocery shop
  4. I’m going to continue with trying 1 new food or recipe each week
  5. I’ve downloaded Jamie Oliver’s You App so I’m going to do the daily tasks set in that
  6. Find 1 song or artist that reminds me of my childhood and listen to it
  7. Write 1 gratitude post each week (blog, facebook or instagram)
A sunset photo I took in Hanmer springs this weekend

A sunset photo I took in Hanmer springs this weekend

A tender tendon

I mentioned in my last post that my hip was playing up a bit lately. At my PT session on Monday I couldn’t do v-sits due to the pain in my hip (they’ve always made my hip niggly but this was bad) so after strict orders gentle, loving advice from Cate I made an appointment to see my physio ASAP.

I explained to her that my hip just wasn’t playing ball, but that it felt more like the tendon rather than the hip joint itself. She asked me a few questions to make sure it was different pain to what I was having before my surgery (it is) and then she did some tests. First she got me to bend over and touch my toes and then stand on one leg (both sides) and then lean backwards and sideways. Then she had me repeat those exercises while she was poking and prodding at me.

After that it was lying on the bed and repeating some of the movement exercises she’d done when I first went and saw her. Mostly it involved dangling my legs off the end of the bed and trying to lift them both by myself and while she was pushing against it. Then I had to do the same thing lying further up the bed and again while sitting. After that she poked and prodded at me for awhile.

The upshot (or downside) is that I have tendonitis – which apparently is now called tendonopathy and not tendonitis. Basically the tendon at the front of my hip is tight, weak and tender. She said I probably overloaded it at some point a couple of weeks ago – most likely because my right glutes are still fairly weak and so the front of my hip/leg is taking most of the load which it’s not designed to do. And tendons don’t adapt to load like muscles do. Basically it’s a failed healing response. Instead of adapting and getting stronger like muscles do tendons freak out and go a bit haywire when they get overloaded.

We’re going to try a conservative approach to start with which involves some a single very simple isometric exercise – holding my leg off the ground for 10 seconds and building up to 30 seconds. The progression is to then to it from a sitting position, and then standing and finally adding some resistance bands. I also have to do a lot more stretching and get the torture device known as the spiky massage ball into it.

I don’t know if you’ve ever used one of these things but it’s amazing how much pain a spiky ball can deliver. Get it in the right spot and its like a foam roller on steroids! But I need to get it in there to break up some of the rogue scar tissue.

In terms of other exercise I can do whatever doesn’t hurt. Apparently tendons don’t respond to complete rest (they’re quite strange little things!) so I can still exercise. I’m going to back off on the walking for a bit because that seems to be what set it off. I’ll go back a few steps and start going for shorter walks slowly building up time and distance. I also plan on doing a lot more on the bike – both the exercise bike and my mountain/road bikes but will try and avoid hills as much as possible. And finally I have to do a lot more work to build up my glutes (and probably my core as well) but I’ll let Cate decide what I do there. Kellie said I can keep doing my dynamic physio exercises if they don’t hurt, but I might give them a rest for a week or 2 and go back to some of my more basic ones (she’s ok with that) before building back up again.

So once again, my return to running has been delayed. Guess I’ll be doing a lot of upper body stuff for the next little while!

Found: My Motivation

I’ve really been struggling the past few weeks. A couple of weeks ago I felt awesome and like I was really starting to get back into the swing of exercise. But it would seem I overdid it and my hip flared up and has been quite sore for the past couple of weeks. This has put me into a bit of a funk. It feels like my hip is never going to get better and I’ll never be able to run or exercise the way I want to again. I’m sure this isn’t true, but 6 months post surgery it certainly feels like it. As a result my eating has also suffered. There’s been way too much chocolate and other crap in my diet lately. I weight myself yesterday and surprisingly I haven’t actually gained any weight in the last 2-3 weeks – but I haven’t lost any either.

Last week I got a new computer and so I was moving, sorting and cataloguing all of my photos and I came across my before and after shots from the 2013 20 week challenge.Emily Before and After 20 week challenge It was depressing to realise I’m now back to my ‘before’ and the more I looked at it the more disappointed in myself I got. But then I looked at the after photos and the more I looked at them the more I remembered how awesome I felt at the time and the more motivated I became to get back there.

My focus for the past few months has been on rehab and I’ve put all my weight loss goals to the back of my mind a bit. But I’ve come to realise that in spite of my hard work my rehab isn’t really something I can control. As long as I keep doing my physio and listening to my body it will tell me when it’s ready to go again. That may be in a month or it may be another 6 months. If I keep dwelling on the fact that I can’t run I lose sight of all the other things I can do. So I’ve decided to switch things around a bit (don’t yell at me Cate!) and focus on something I can control for awhile which is my weight. I’m still going to keep up with my rehab and make it a priority, but I feel like I need a different focus for awhile to take my mind off everything I can’t do and instead worry about the things I can do.

  • I can control what I put in my mouth
  • I can ride my bike
  • I can do my physio exercises
  • I can do upper body and core workouts
  • I can do short walks

WP_20130823_14_43_10_SmartShootI’d like to spend the next few weeks finding positives in my life to help me get back to the happy person in these photos. I mentioned a couple of weeks back that I had an idea of something to help me get back on track but I wasn’t game enough to share it in case I chickened out. But it’s time to man up and stop being a chicken. I’ve decided that in order to help keep me motivated and on track I’m going to enter the Style Stakes fashion competition on Cup Day (20 weeks, 6 days away). Eek! The only conditions under which I can withdraw from this competition would be if it is going to cost me too much money or if we have a horse racing and being in the competition is going to clash with my horse racing. I’m not allowed to withdraw because I haven’t lost the weight I want to lose and/or I’m too embarrassed. This is really going to get me out of my comfort zone – regardless of whether or not I’ve lost weight. My palms are sweaty just thinking about it. But now I’ve put it out there someone (Cate, probably!) is sure to hold me to it.