April 21: A lovely surprise

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Thank you, Karie!

Don’t you just love surprises?!

Karie, who lives in Singapore, sent me a postcard which arrived today! It’s put an extra spring in my step – so much so that I’ve decided to walk home from the city this afternoon. It takes about three hours, I think, and I’ll stop at an animal shelter directly on the path to see if I can register as a volunteer.

Yesterday, on my fasting day, I had a coconut water, fresh strawberry and raspberry smoothie. It was so delicious, I made another one today with quinoa rice milk, banana, strawberries and raspberries, and some vanilla protein powder. Loving these smoothie breakfasts!

The yellow tulip from the end of yesterday’s post is in full bloom today. I hope it lasts in the wind! Thinking of everyone in coastal New South Wales and Sydney who’ve been battered by that crazy weather, which has killed three people, cut power, brought down trees and eroded the beaches. Mother nature at her worst. Such a shock.

I’ll write more this afternoon when I’m home from the walk.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

March 3: 30 minutes of Yoga Cross Training

A few days ago, I did Sadie Nardini’s yoga cross training for arms, and this evening, after Leo banished me to the lounge room to prepare something secret upstairs, I thought I’d try her yoga cross training routine for legs.

I really like her style – she’s sassy, fun and a rock chick at heart. She also happens to be incredibly flexible! When she bends her leg out to the side it’s totally in line with her body. I look like a dog weeing on a tree – half cocked. But I just can’t get my leg any higher. Something to aim for (pardon the pun) for sure. It was an enjoyable workout and hopefully I’ll feel it tomorrow.

Leo needed more time to make or wrap whatever he was working on (it’s my birthday in two days and on Friday we’re driving three hours north to Strasbourg in France for a long weekend, yahoo!) so I figured why not sweat a bit more by doing Sadie’s core workout as well? She filmed all three videos (arms, legs, core) at the same time, so you could effectively combine them for a tough 50-55 minute full-body workout. For me, doing the two videos back to back was a great 30-minute diversion from trying to guess what Leo’s up to.

Yesterday, my sister called with the good news that she and mum will visit us in October for four days. It’s a long way to come from Brisbane for such a short time, but they have to be in Athens on October 31 to catch a cruise ship to Singapore! What a trip! I wonder … if I can be as flexible as Sadie in seven months, could I stowaway in a suitcase? Now that’s something to aim for!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

Becoming a runner by Karie Parker

This is the second guest post in a new series designed to show the pleasant impact that feeling fit, in all its forms, can have on your life. In the past few years, Karie Parker has become an avid runner. When we met over 10 years ago, we loved a social catch-up after work. Now she loves a social catch-up on the fly. Take it away Karie!

Becoming a runner by Karie Parker (mother of three, living in Singapore, and lover of shoes)

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A proud moment for Karie, winning her division!

I don’t know where to start. When Ange asked me to be a guest blogger, I thought it would be a piece of cake. I was wrong. My running career has become so important to me, there is no way I can sum it up in a few paragraphs but I’ve tried.

If you had asked me four years ago what I do to keep fit, I would have said I go to the gym, do Pilates, boot camps and a bit of boxing. Today, I would say I RUN! I still do other things but running is number one on my agenda. I started about four years ago and haven’t looked back. It has seriously changed my life – I am stronger, faster, fitter and happier than I’ve been in a very long time, maybe ever.

It all started with a few short runs on a treadmill and now I’m running marathons. I’m the first to admit that I hated running. I had all the excuses in the world why I shouldn’t run but when I look back, they were just that … excuses. I know lots of you are rolling your eyes and saying “running is bad for your knees” or “people die running marathons”. I’ll say the same thing I say to everyone – “Just try it!” You don’t have to run fast or far – just walk out the door and have a go.

Since I’ve started, I have learned so much about myself. I used to eat because I’m Italian and I love food! Now, I (mostly) eat to fuel myself. I used to count calories and weigh myself daily. I haven’t been on a scale for over a year and I’ve had to buy all new clothes to replace the ones that are now too big. I used to be someone who exercised and kept fit. I now think of myself as an athlete – not a great athlete but a pretty good one.

If getting fitter and stronger wasn’t enough, making new friends was motivation to keep me running week in and week out. The friendships I have developed with my running mates is beyond anything I can describe. I started as a Nike run leader in Sydney about two years ago and the people I have met through that have been unreal. We support each other through our training, we help each other reach new goals and we have become way more than running friends.

Through our marathon training last year, we had to do quite a few long, slow, runs on the weekends. This was the time we really bonded. It’s amazing how well you get to know somebody after three hours of running – and that didn’t include the big breakfasts afterwards! These guys are my inspiration and cheer squad for my running events and my dearest friends when I need personal support and encouragement.

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After her first marathon, in 2014

I recently moved overseas and thought I was going to die without seeing them two or three times a week to train, but we still manage to support each other through Facebook and daily chats. I feel like they are still with me on my long runs. I’ve been here for eight months now and I’ve had the pleasure of running my second marathon with two of my best buds from Sydney and just recently another friend joined me on a Nike run in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We have big plans for the upcoming 2015 racing season too.

Finally, I couldn’t finish this blog without a very special mention to my number one fan and supporter, my husband. He started off as my personal chauffeur, getting me to and from run clubs, races and the like. He follows me around during races to give me cold drinks and cheers along the way and once we get home, he’s online looking for my times and photos. I’m a very lucky girl.

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Karie has embraced her new way of life