Friday, July 29, 2011


Sometimes, I think I just can't win, no matter what I do.

From Drop Box

Heels aren't supposed to look like that, only apparently my body has decided mine does. This is part and parcel of my arthritis, as I wrote about in my previous post. There's no rhyme or reason to what happens in the course of the disease, or when, and at the moment I'm in a flare, which has put paid to my running for however long it takes for things to settle. I can cope with a few swollen joints and keep running, but being in a flare is the physiological equivalent of feeling being hit by a truck, and given I'm hobbling more than walking at the moment, running would not be entirely sensible!!!

Frustrating as it is, I have to keep focusing on being otherwise healthy and active, because it's all too easy to fall into the cloud of pain and darkness that chronic pain can bring. It's National Pain Week this week, presented by Chronic Pain Australia. Pain is a often misunderstood fact of life, particularly chronic pain, and a topic I'm very interested in, both personally and professionally. The aim of National Pain Week is to 'create awareness and shine a spotlight on the dilemma of people living with pain, and work towards creating a hopeful message about living with pain', and Chronic Pain Australia 'are dedicated to reducing the social and other barriers to living with chronic pain'.

As part of learning to live with chronic pain, I am becoming more and more aware of the importance of what I eat, and am aiming to have a diet that consists mainly of whole foods and to greatly reduce the amount of junk I eat. Working full-time has certainly impacted on the quality of the meals I cook for the kids and I, I often joke that scrambled eggs on toast is a gourmet meal in our house!! So we have a new 'family member' to help :-) Meet Thermie!!!

Thermomix, the world's smallest, smartest kitchen.

The Thermomix is an amazing appliance that does nearly everything except bake, roast and fry. It mills, grinds, pulverises, grates, kneads, minces, chops, stirs, cooks, whips, beats, crushes, steams and so much more!! Since Thermie was delivered over a week ago, I have cooked more dishes more regularly than I have for months, and *everything* has been from scratch. The funny thing is, the time I've spent cooking has been greatly reduced, including the washing up :-) So far, I've cooked (and we've all loved!!):

20th July
- chocolate mousse
- coleslaw
- custard
- mayonnaise

21st July
- chicken and mushroom pasta
- foccaccia
- dukkah

22nd July
- wholemeal bread
- almond cake (gluten free)
- chocolate devil's food cupcakes

23rd July (my first demo!!)
- fruit sorbet
- bread
- hommus
- beetroot salad
- mushroom risotto
- custard

24th July
- porridge
- bread
- pumpkin soup

25th July
- porridge
- hommus
- bolognese sauce

26th July
- porridge
- veggie concentrate stock
- chicken cacciatore risotto

27th July
- foccaccia

28th July
- steamed couscous
- hot chocolate

All soooooo good!!! I love the Thermomix so much that I've decided to be come a consultant, and am really looking forward to demonstrating this fabulous 'pair of helping hands' in in people's kitchens :-) I'm loving finding new recipes to try, and have come across a plethora of Thermomix and healthy living blogs, I'll be sharing recipes and links as our Thermomixing adventure continues!!

The only problem now is making sure I don't put back on all the weight I've lost, especially while I'm not running!! If you've got some great links and recipes, please post them in the comments :-)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Well, that didn't exactly go as planned....

Four months between posts wasn't in the plan, but neither was a couple of month's hiatus from The Program due to getting sick again. 'Getting sick' for me is when my arthritis flares, as I'd posted back in March. My foot and my knee flared, making walking somewhat of an everyday challenge, let alone running. Once my knee settled after a couple of months, I got back running again. Then, I got gastro and was out of action for a couple of weeks. Following that, I dropped a piece of firewood on my left foot (just under my little toe), and it's still bruised three weeks or so later.

When it comes to running, my feet are my great asset and my biggest liability. My feet take me from A to B easily when I'm well, but when they don't 'work' properly, every step is painful and takes energy and effort. I'm used to pain now, and managing it has become a part of my daily life, but funnily enough, it's when I'm running that I don't notice it. Maybe it's the ultimate distraction therapy, be it at the gym on the treadmill or out on the road, for whatever reason, I'm too focused on something else to notice the pain that's always there. That in itself is a good reason to stick to The Program. However, when I've finished a run, I'm hobbled for while, but it's worth it for what I've achieved :-)

I'm 'in training' for the City to Bay 12K fun run in Adelaide on Sept 18th. For me, having a defined goal has really shifted my mindset in this whole running gig. I've got a training plan to follow, and each session I finish is another step closer to my goal, and another step along my path to becoming a runner. I've been reading Hot (Sweaty) Mamas and Mile Markers, and in one of those books I read that it takes the human body about 3 months to become 'exercise conditioned' (or something like that), meaning that after 3 months of regular exercise, this becomes the 'norm' for your body, and you start to miss it if you don't do it. I want to be like that. I want to *want* to run, to walk, to do resistance training.

I went on my awesome run today because of what I read in Hot (Sweaty) Mamas last night, about excuses. That chapter could have been written about me, and it was still in my head today as I was contemplating if I was going to run, and if so, where (outside or gym). It was about 10degC, windy, and raining, and I laced up and headed off. And it was glorious - I've never run in the rain, or into a headwind, and I couldn't believe I actually liked it. If I'd listened to myself, I would have missed out on that experience, and now I know I have no excuse not to run, as cold and wet as it can be. I ran (and walked, baby steps) for nearly 5K, the longest in ages, and even now, 9 hours later, it still feels good, even if I am still hobbling :-)

So The Program starts again. Week 3 of training, and this week I'll introduce some resistance training as well. But it's not just about 'starting a program' this time. As I've posted before, it's about a lifestyle change, about changing my mind set and habits, and fighting those excuses that come all-too-easily. Changes I plan to make 'stick', for the times, they are a-changing :-)