Monster Blog

My blog is always in the back of my mind. Unfortunately, despite being a classic DINK (double income no kids), I still find it difficult to find time to write, which is a shame because A LOT has happened this year worthy of blogging about! So I’m going to do a mighty big ‘Monster’ post to cover ALL of it so I’m up to date and can get back into blogging without having all the things I haven’t written about weighing on my mind!

The Triathlon

I competed in my very first triathlon in March. Now, let’s not get carried away, it was not a 12 hour iron man by any stretch. It was an enticer length women’s triathlon designed to, well, entice the ladies into trying a triathlon. It worked. I was so intimidated by the idea of a triathlon, especially the swim and the transitions (i.e. going from swim to bike and bike to run) that I wouldn’t have gotten up the nerve for anything bigger. To be honest, the idea of mixed gender triathlon intimidates me, which is super lame…in any case it was the perfect mix of circumstance to get me out there.

I was number 1 because of my last name. Not because I was super keen or seeded. Just to let to 20 people who asked/assumed that know...

I was number 1 because of my last name. Not because I was super keen or seeded. Just to let the 20 people who asked/assumed that know…

For anyone considering doing a tri, here are my top tips

–         Do it with a friend! I was so nervous at the start, getting my stuff set up and trying not to feel completely out of place but my good friend Tania helped me keep calm. We also had great fun training together and shared tips we’d found online (including using bright towels to find where our bikes were ‘racked’).

–         Practice your transitions (no brainer)…more than once. I thought I had my transitions sorted, had practiced a swim to ride and a ride to run. But my transition times were terrible on the day. I underestimated the importance of transitions for my time which was out by about 5 minutes on what I had wanted to do. I know it was my transitions which let me down. My husband who was there watching said I dawdled on the bike to run and stopped to do up my shoelace. I guess I used the transitions as a rest to recover from the leg before, but really they should be done briskly and running just as hard as you would in the run leg.

–         Don’t be scared of the swim! I was and it was unfounded. If you are worried about the swim just hang back a bit on your first one to start and do at least twice as long as the length in practice sessions (depends how far you are going! Ours was only 300 m but our training swims were 1 km). I jumped straight in with everyone despite fear of being hit in the face by an errant foot and didn’t get hit once. My strangest experience was coming up for a breath, facing the right, looking straight at someone less than six inches away who was coming up for a breath facing left! Awkward .

–         Pace yourself on the swim. I went out HARD (nervous energy no doubt) and the leg to the first buoy was super easy, to the second felt like I was dying and the final two were strong. So maybe don’t go out too hard for the swim. Don’t panic about being the last, I did and felt really self-conscious and like I would be the last out of the water. As long as you have done some swim training beforehand, you won’t be last in an enticer (I recommend doing an enticer!) and if you need to catch your breath for a second or around the buoys, just do breaststroke! It’s not the end of the world!

–         Think through what you are wearing and the order you will need to change. I wore leggings for the ride/run which – after the swim – were very difficult to get on in a hurry. That was a mistake – nothing tight!!

–         Get a support team! Every time I passed my cheer squad I got a huge boost and they always made me smile yelling funny things out or just cheering.

All in all, I felt like it was a real accomplishment. Yes, it was only a tiny portion of the full Olympic distance tri (which I watched my brother-in-law compete in the next day, very inspiring!) but the challenge, fear and exhaustion all combined with adrenaline, strength and sense of achievement for us both to decide that next year, we’re going to do the next one up. Like big girls 🙂

To the Snow Fields – In Summer…

Well, not quite summer, but in early Autumn (March) hubby and I decided to load up the mountain bikes for a road trip…to the snow fields! During summer, they open up Thredbo – one of our favourite slopes in the winter, for riding.

On the way, we stopped in Canberra, which is a mountain bike mecca. So many places to choose from for riding! We decided on Stromlo which is a mountain bike park which makes Glenrock (my local) look pretty average (and it is not, Glenrock is massively sweet as bro). It was well maintained, the trails are well thought out and overall just sooooo much fun! I even tried a see-saw for the first time (and did it successfully once).

Our second ride at Stromlo was on the morning we had to get to Thredbo by the afternoon for our mountain bike induction. We chose a loop we thought would be doable in the time we had but ended up slightly stressed out as it took a bit longer than expected! Probably because of the truly monstrous climb which was involved – I almost died and had to have several breaks. In the end the trail was super fun and we were sad to leave but excited to get to Thredbo and do some full on downhill riding.

I’m not a downhill rider, luckily in the last season Thredbo put in what was referred to as a ‘flow-trail’ which was challenging but not out of the ream for an intermediate rider – probably not for full on beginners though. In order to get our passes, we had to do a mountain bike induction which basically involved some instruction on getting on the chair-lift with our bikes (which was surprisingly easy). We also had to do a quick test with our guide to show we had basic MTB skills, just going down a hill with a few turns which we passed easily. He said it was surprising how many people with zero bike skills wanted to try the trail and without some skills, its just plain dangerous. He then showed us down the flow trail to shows us the features and also point out where it crosses with the DH trail for hubby.

Thredbo on bikes!

Thredbo on bikes!

It was super fun but also a real challenge and kind of scary in places. We did the induction in the afternoon and were all set to go for a full day the next day. It was a good idea as the induction takes up a couple of hours and you still have to pay for a full-day pass afterwards if you want to keep going. I ended up doing the trail seven times and it took about 20 minutes each time. By the 4th or 5th, I was feeling it. In fact it HURT and not where you might expect. Of course my hands hurt from gripping the brakes just to stay in control (in fact when we took my bike to be serviced, they said I’d worn out my brake pads! Yep, that’s embarrassing). My forearms hurt the worst and every bump felt like torture. The first half was the worst, very bumpy, but the second half was smooth and super fun and by the bottom I thought ‘that wasn’t so bad, I could do another!’.

It was weird being at ‘the snow’, as well call it, when there was no snow. It was a ghost town. MTB riding on actual mountains has not really picked up in Australia to the same extent as in Canada (i.e Whistler). I think though that they need more trails before that will happen. Yes it was fun, but the same run over and over starts to lose its excitement and if we wanted to stay more than a day or two there needs to be more variety. All in all I think I enjoyed Stromlo the most, although I learnt a lot from my downhill riding. There is a downhill flow track on Stromlo we did once on the way to the snow and once on the way back. On the way back, I beat my first time by about 2 minutes, which I attribute to the confidence boost I got in Thredbo.

The Colo(u)r Run

A friend of mine asked me way back in February if I wanted to join her on the Color Run. I was hesitant. Firstly, in Australia we spell it with a u, i.e. Colour. Secondly, it is a purely for profit event with ‘runners’ able to contribute to charity at their will but no donations from the organisers. Thirdly, it is a total gimmick where people run in tutus and the majority do not even run it with people stopping to dance around in coloured powders like idiots. I mean, come on I am a runner, not some half-arsed walk/runner who needs a gimmick to want to run…

Um.

Yes, I own two tutus...

Yes, I own two tutus…

Yeah it was awesome. Soooo much fun with some great friends who were totally into it and we basically had fun dodging around people, not caring about getting dirty, or looking like idiots in our tutus, smoothing coloured powder on ourselves and each other and leaping around/pretending to be horses (it was around a race track) when we should have been running. Yes, a lot of people just sauntered the whole thing. Yes, we stopped to dance around like ‘smurfs (blue)’ or ‘oompa loompas (orange)’ at each of the colour stations. No, charity did not benefit. But do you know what? Even though I like to run for a cause, sometimes I just want to have some fun and am prepared to pay money to someone else to sort out the details.

And they damn well sorted it.

It was so well organized, no crowding or too much waiting which, for an event where over 10,000 people joined in (pretty much all of Newcastle was there it seemed), is saying something. The after party was good fun with music and hyped up DJs and everyone going nuts with their little finishing packets of powder, exploding everywhere.

It has actually gotten me excited about running again, I enjoyed it so much. I did parkrun the day before in preparation, knowing I wasn’t going to push on the event day, and did NOT enjoy my run. But after doing the colour run… I really wanted to go back and do a parkrun! Weird eh? I’m actually pretty keen to sign up for another event soon to keep my current running motivation going. I was reading through my old City2Surf posts and thinking about how defeated I felt afterwards compared to how I felt after the Color run…no contest really. After City2Surf I wanted to vomit. After the Colour run I wanted to party.

So let’s party, feet, let’s party.

 In Summary…

I actually have about 2 or 3 other things to talk about (commuting to work by bike, loving on MTB riding a bit more, swimming during winter, RAW challenge) but this is more monster than I had intended and I have some other shit to do. So I will leave you with some Mantras I’ve been using lately:

No-one is thinking about you. They’re thinking about themselves…just like you

Why should they overtake you? You are strong, fast and ride all the time. You ARE the fastest

I LIKE going to the gym. It isn’t a chore, it’s a privilege!

Happy travels!

Back in the Saddle

Sometimes you just need to bite the bullet and do what you are putting off or dreading. Fear is an interesting thing and I always think about an experiment involving spiders which I came across a few years back. Basically, people scared of spiders experience a spike of fear and adrenaline when they first see a spider. This initial feeling of fear is the most intense and does not increase past this point the longer they are looking at the spider.

Running was my spider until this morning. You see, I haven’t been running this year since I have been focused on the thrilling sport of mountain bike riding (and let’s face it, I just didn’t feel like running). Although I want to keep up my riding, it is also time to get back in the running saddle (the horse analogy would really be more appropriate to bike riding I suppose…). I have been putting it off and making excuses since my last parkrun 8 weeks ago!

My time was not the best. In fact it is my third slowest ever (for parkrun). But you know what, I ran the whole thing. I went. I ran 5 km. I set my alarm, got up and went out for a run. I almost bailed several times: when I set my alarm the night before, when my alarm went off (the first, second AND third time), after I got dressed and once I was in the car were ALL breaking points where I asked myself how much I really wanted to go (the answer was an unconvincing: “lots?”).

But I am so, so happy I went. Now I KNOW I can still run 5 km and it isn’t horrible. I didn’t die, in fact I felt pretty good after which means I could have gone faster. My initial fear has spiked. I faced it and now I can move on to enjoying running again. This first time is the hardest it is going to be; it all gets easier from here. Which is just as well because….

I’m doing a TRIATHLON! That’s right, a friend and I have signed up for a triathlon! Impressive, no? Um, no not really. It is an enticer tri-athlon for women to encourage involvement in the sport (brilliant idea) – and it worked on us! The distances are as follows:

SWIM = 300 m (cake. My friend Tania and I swim that easy in our weekly sessions)

RIDE = 10 km (too easy. I ride 10 km routinely and often through the bush, so on the flat it will be a cinch)

RUN = 3 km (puh, not even a parkrun!)

However…put them all together and I don’t know how it will all work out. Especially since it is in less than a month and I have only just started running again… I have no idea how long it will take, I don’t know how I will feel after each leg or where I will sit in the scheme of the other entrants. But I am going to do it and I will be training as hard as I can over the next few weeks in a last ditch attempt to not completely embarrass myself!

To get motivated, I dug through my old Womens Health mags and did some creative (for me) cutting and pasting. I called the book my ‘find your motivation’ picture book. I think it worked. I definitely feel like going for a run when I look at the running page and I am always keen to go riding so that one works a little too well (screw work lets got for a MTB ride!!).

Cutting and pasting is not just for kindergarten...

Cutting and pasting is not just for kindergarten…

I found it useful anyway. Weight loss is such a small part of why I ride, run and sign up for events like triathlons – but it can easily become the focus. So why am I running? Because I like to run, I like how I feel while running and after a run. I like how it makes me feel physically – strong and powerful. I like the effect fitness has on my daily life, enjoying the natural world and the city I live in.

YOLO right?

Queen of the Mountain

I LOVE Mountain bike riding. Since investing in my kick-ass bike in September (a Specialized Camber Comp 29er, dubbed ‘The Saint’) I have been tearing it up (kind of) in any and every MTB park I can find. I have been LOVING. Every. Sweet. Second.

My Camber, also named 'The Saint' (it is the St Kilda football team colours, you're welcome dad)

My Camber, also named ‘The Saint’ (it is the St Kilda football team colours, you’re welcome dad)

MTB riding and Snowboarding

How to explain the thrill of MTB riding? If you snowboard, it is very similar, I think, to boarding in several ways.

  • Being a beginner is HARD – there is a steep learning curve with both
  • Some runs are better than others
  • You finish each run on a high
  • You have to pick your line carefully when going down a trail, some lines are better than others and some are easier than others
  • Doing jumps starts off as something scary and accidental and ends up being a thrilling part you try to incorporate into every run.
  • You often fall off, or ‘bail’ as I like to say. Risk of major injuries is high and you are likely to come away – even on a good day – with a few scrapes and bruises.
  • ADRENALINE. Hello friend.

The similarities end on the ascent which, in snowboarding, is a relaxing glide to the summit. In MTB riding…it requires somewhat more effort.

Fitspo

MTB riding gets you FIT. Depending on the type of trails you ride, the fitness involved can vary but is always at a high level because the focus changes. Cross Country is fast and flowing, all mountain has fast and slow bits (ascents normally are slow) but also should flow on a good run. Downhill is another kettle of fish and one I have not had any inclination to try. This is the type where you need a full face helmet, body armour and people tend to cracks bones with astonishing ease. My husband has a downhill bike and all the gear and I always worry about him. He showed me the downhill track when we did some all mountain riding at Ourimbah and it scared the bejeezus out of me.

You won't see this little fat duck on that berm track...

You won’t see this little fat duck on that berm track…

For a beginner, fitness is something I struggled and still struggle with. It is very different to running fitness and uses different muscles with pressure in many different places over the body. Sometimes, the climb is so hard it can make the descent not seem worth the slog. Certainly gets the heart rate up. Mostly I think though that effort is fairly even across the ride. You can catch your breath on a downhill section, but muscles still need to be braced and can even end in cramps on descents. On a particularly steep descent I tend to grip the handle-bars a wee bit too hard and end up with sore hands and wrists. Generally my thighs ache by the bottom from being braced in ‘attack’ position and using my body as suspension – depending on the length of the segment.

Nature and its Charms

The beauty of the Australian bush is hard to describe. One of the places I ride (Glenrock) is particularly stunning as it also has ocean views and wild, ‘untamed’ bush vistas. Sometimes you will be riding through close bush and then sweep down into a gully across a creek and over a small bridge, or through a path strewn with old and beautifully patterned rocks.

Part way through a track I have dubbed 'Fern Gully' in Jesmond

Part way through a track I have dubbed ‘Fern Gully’ in Jesmond

The trail head at Awaba

The trail head at Awaba

Glenrock after a fire went through.

Glenrock after a fire went through.

Most MTB parks are situated in state forests and, although you do tend to make quite a bit of noise, the wild life is still there. I have seen a goanna, frilled neck lizard and a wallaby on my rides. My husband has seen an echidna and even stopped once to shoo one off the trail.

Nature also has somewhat of a downside – I often shudder as I shoot through a spider web or have an adrenaline spike when I see a snake-like stick on the trail…I have started to carry pressure bandages and often GPS track my ride in the case of a snake bite – but fear is not going to stop me from riding.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go

There are a myriad of MTB parks in the vicinity of the Newcastle area, the best of which is Glenrock as it is close by and very beautiful. The trails there are All Mountain, meaning a blend of up and down hill as well as some cross-country type trails thrown in. In organized and well maintained parks, generally the trails are named, just like in snowboarding (another similarity). I like the name of the track Seuss land – but it is a horrible up hill climb. Another soul destroying ascent is called ‘Snakes and Ladders’ while the randomly named ‘Kenny’s’ and ‘BJ’s’ are two of my favourite. Other excellent MTB parks less than 2 hours’ drive away include Taree, Ourimbah and Awabah – all of which I have had a crack at.

Another area to ride is Jesmond, it is not a state forest so Melvin can come along for the ride. The down side is that the tracks aren’t maintained and can be covered in sticks or washed out from the rain – it’s a bit touch and go. Jesmond is also pretty much a one hill pony, big climb up followed by a descent and repeat. So I find it to be more exhausting than Glenrock or other MTB parks which have a bit more cross country riding (which tends to be flatter to encourage speed).

I also like the idea of a MTB holiday, similar to a snow trip but instead of loading up the boards we load up the bikes. I would love to ride in Canada, the Rockies would be spectacular and Tasmania also has amazing MTB riding. It really opens up a whole new world of exploration and is a special way to see the world and appreciate its beauty I think.

Boys and Their Toys

Those of you who know me may also know I get a bit of a thrill from doing things generally considered to be more the dominion of men. Engineering and snowboarding are two prime examples. MTB riding is also very much in this category. If fact you only need to look at stats on Strava (the App) to see where the majority lies (although this could also suggest Strava is mostly used by men, but I don’t think that is the case). When you ‘Strava’ a ride, your progress is tracked via GPS. When you complete a pre-determined segment, your time taken to complete this segment is logged and compared with other riders. Anyone can create a segment and a single loop can be made up of several overlapping segments. When you are first in a segment, you are named ‘King or Queen of the Mountain’. I am Queen of the Mountain in a few tracks no other women have Strava’d (winner!) which is awesome, but also sad that more women aren’t getting out there. Here is an example of a ride I Stava’d.

Unfortunately men do tend to dominate in this arena, their times are considerably and consistently faster than women on Strava. I’m not sure why, although I have heard it said that men and women assess risks differently, which is why guys tend to proliferate in extreme sports. I suppose in general that may be true, but I don’t see why it would make men better MTB riders since the best riders are always in control and risk plays a role only when there is the chance to lose control…I would think.

I can say however that I don’t think the men of MTB riding are DOMINANT necessarily; in fact every single person (man or woman) I have come across in the bush has been incredibly friendly and even supportive. I had a somewhat embarrassing moment of making it to the top of a particularly steep incline and shouting out ‘Wohoo! I did it!!’ to Hubby, who was in front of me, when a guy rode past a said ‘Great Work!.’ Perhaps the support stops once you pass the beginner/intermediate level since right now I am not challenging anyone (literally no one) with my speed. In any case, it is nothing like surfing from what I have seen. The culture is much more inclusive and less territorial – where I have been riding.

The Lone Wolf

One of the things I love about MTB riding is how in the moment it makes you feel. You can’t be distracted or thinking about anything else, only the trail and the response of your body. It is incredibly cathartic to go out for a ride by myself. Sometimes I don’t even see anyone (depends when I go). It can make men feel like, even though I know I’m in the middle of suburbia, I am out in the wilderness.

The Lone Saint

The Lone Saint

I also love going riding with my husband. I used to feel guilty for making him come with me as I am far, far slower (he has been riding since he was a kid). Luckily, recently he told me he likes to go with me for the breaks he gets (needless to say, I basically don’t get breaks when we go together)! I also like taking my dog, Melvin along for the ride. I can’t take him to Glenrock (it is a state forest, no dogs allowed) but he can come to Jesmond with me and he LOVES it, possibly even more than I do. He races ahead, tongue lolling and gets really excited when he sees me putting my bike in the car.

I have done one ride with a group and enjoyed it as well, but it can be difficult to find people to ride with at your level. It’s all very well going out for a ride with my husband and slowing him down, but going out for a ride with someone else who wants to go faster…might be uncomfortable. I am pushing myself though and improving, maybe one day soon I’ll be ready for a faster group ride.

You can expect many more posts on this topic, it really is an amazing sport and I am slowly but surely being consumed by it entirely. I am trying not to forgo runs in place of rides all the time, but it is certainly happening more frequently. What can I say other than….they see me rollin’. They hatin’.

Struck down in my prime

By a little ole cold. Damn it! I’ve been saying all winter that I (touch wood) haven’t had my yearly cold yet. You know the one, it strikes when you aren’t expecting, early or late in the season. When it starts off you just feel a little tired, then achy, then yep – nose starts running like a tap and head feels full of cotton wool.  Mouth feels dry and no amount of water helps. I had something similar at the start of winter but I babied it and it went away. So, right when I want to be getting back into training (for what….nothing YET…), and adding in some new activities and getting pumped up for spring and summer, here comes this little bruiser.

I had last week off after you-know-what (I’m not going to talk about it anymore, I promise!) and went for my first run since (you know) on Saturday morning. Back to parkrun for a lovely morning with friends and family. I even got a little cheer squad when I finished up with my sister, niece, bff and her hubby and little girl and another good friend who does park run waiting for me at the finish. I was happy with my time of 31 minutes since I got there late and had to make my way through the crowd to get any sort of pace going.

Being cheered on at the finish line of my weekly parkrun

Being cheered on at the finish line of my weekly parkrun

But the rest of the day I felt blerk and realised pretty quick it wasn’t from the run, it was a cold. Since I am heading to the Snowy Mountains this weekend (yep, again – I luuurve snowboarding!) I CANNOT afford to be sick! This cold is going to fade into nothing if I have anything to do with (and actually I’m pretty sure I don’t really). What I can do, I will be doing. This includes:

  • Drinking copious amounts of fluids
  • Taking vitamins every day
  • NO STRENUOUS EXERTION
  • No walking in the early morning chill (sorry Melvin)
  • Healthy, nutritious eating with lots of fruits and veggies as well as dairy (I know, blerk with a cold but have read that yogurt especially is excellent for colds).

It will give me time, I suppose, to decide on a new work-out plan. I haven’t been to the gym much lately since I’ve been so focused on running but I miss my weights sessions and mixed cardio/spin. I also have plans. Big plans. I need to keep this fitness caper interesting or I am going to pack it in. My plans mainly revolve around:

  • Swimming! Yes I will be getting my hair wet (sigh. Maybe I should just chop it all off…) and doing some lap swimming at my gym, local pool and probably even in the ocean baths (when it gets warmer that is…). When I was younger i LOVED swimming laps but haven’t done it for many years. Should be fun?!
  • MTB Riding. As part of my ‘no hot chips’ reward system (it has now been over 8 months since a SINGLE hot chip has passed my lips) I can now choose myself a spiffo new mountain bike! I want to get back into riding and figure out if it will actually be worthwhile first… but am looking forward to getting the adrenaline pumping. Hubby is way faster than me and I need to build up some skills. We are going to map out a circuit for me to do and to work on by myself improving my time before I decide which (if any) new bike I would like.
  • Cross-Fit. I now have access to a gym who do cross fit sessions and want to take advantage of it. Although I am pretty well petrified of doing it, I am planning on going along with a friend to try it out. People become hooked on it and it seems like a fun group thing to do so I want to give that a shot. That one is definitely waiting until I’m a bit fitter…
  • Surfing? I used to surf (well, I tried it out for one summer) and never got any good at it or gained any confidence. I think it didn’t help that I was overweight and unfit at the time so felt judged and whale-like whenever I paddled out. I still have my board (nick-named ‘Shark-Bait’, not very well omened I suppose considering the Great White Shark nursery located off Newcastle) and maybe once I get a bit of fitness swimming it will be a better fit for me. We live in a beach-side town after all and I do love snowboarding, similar surely??
  • Barefoot running. I am starting to build up my barefoot running distances (I swear I will be doing a post on this, just want to log a few more kms first) and am aiming to run parkrun in my five-fingers by the end of the year. Yep, we’ll see how that goes!
  • Training for a half-marathon AND/OR ‘enticer’ length triathlon. Haven’t decided 100% yet if I will do both. But if I love swimming like I used to then the tri is a must and there are lots of great events in Newcastle I can do to give it a go. Not totally set on the half-marathon but if I can find a FLAT course I might do it…
  • Yoga. Still. I like being a yogi and stretching out my muscles, imagining them getting long and lean (I said imagine, I realise that’s not how it works…). I would like to increase my flexibility and mindfulness.

I have the luxury of time at the moment with nothing booked in (except the snow, again lol), but once I’m better I am going to come out guns blazing! No more one-trick pony for me, my fitness is going to be DIVERSE and FUN! Yay, looking forward to warmer weather and making the most out of long days of sunshine.

Someone has to be first….

My first post! Apologies in advance, this will be entirely uninspiring…

I am currently working on my blog to get all the pages set up before I begin blogging in earnest. I mainly wanted to make it pretty first before trying my hand at some writing (Procrastination? Possibly. Not a good start I suppose…) but I am mostly happy with it now, although I expect it will change as I frequently change my mind.

Here are some goals and motivators I am currently working on:

THIS WEEK: Eat 5 serves of vegetables a day

Oh so much harder than it seems, plus I am still relatively clueless as to what constitutes a serve. I’ve been cutting up cucumber and carrot at lunch and having beetroot juice (on first sip I’m like ‘blerk’ but after that it really grows on me). We also go out to dinner more than is possibly wise (in terms of money and healthy eating) but I am aiming to order only salads or fish meals since I don’t eat enough of either and that also increases veggie uptake.

THIS MONTH (May): Increase bike fitness

I very recently took up trail riding and love it…but my fitness is nowhere near where it needs to be for what I would like to be doing. This month I will be focusing on riding as much as I can, on the road, in the gym, spin cycling, on bike paths as well as some trail riding. I don’t have a very good bike though at the moment and feel it is holding me back in terms of trail riding (it changes gears without warning right at the worse moments, i.e. struggling up an incline  or trying to pick up speed before a drop) and is possibly downright dangerous…so will save my trail riding goals for a time of better fitness. I did a spin class on Monday and almost died, burnt 590 calories in 50 minutes which is a record for me. So thats gotta be good right?

THIS YEAR: No hot chips

Last year I gave up McDonalds which was a lot easier than I thought considering we live very close to one and often used to use it as a last-minute meal choice. This year, I am upping the ante, I can have McDonalds now (but don’t want to) but I won’t have hot chips. Not fish and chips, not restaurant meals that come with chips, any sort of takeaway or deep fried chip is now literally off the table. 4 months in and I’m going strong, it makes it easier to choose salads when I can’t go for the chip option. It is a little demotivating that giving up hot chips hasn’t lead to sudden and dramatic weightloss (I guess I didn’t actually eat that much of it) but I think in the long term it will help me automatically choose healthier options when eating out. I intend to do what I did with the Maccas thing, i.e. give it up completely for the year and up the ante next year. One step at a time.