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My Blog has moved

My blog has had a much anticipated and very exciting makeover, so it has  now moved to my new website http://nextphaseinfitness.com.au

I will be migrating everyone’s subscriptions along to the new website.  Email subscribers will continue to receive notifications via email as before.  If you are not subscribed but are following my blog, and would like to receive updates, please subscribe by entering your email address on the sidebar of my new website, under the heading “Subscribe to My Blog via email”.

This update is in readiness for my 1000k Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage walk in Spain. I would love you to follow me on my journey.

Early Morning

As usual today the alarm went off at 4am. The past few mornings have been quite chilly, and a reminder that it won’t be too long until the dreaded winter mornings are back. But today it was beautiful out there, even though cold enough for a jumper.

On Wednesdays I work from home, so usually try to get in a much longer walk early in the morning. Today’s walk was 20k and quite varied.  I parked in town and walked the hills of the CBD, followed by the inclines and stairs  in Rosalind Park, which is beautiful in the early morning glow. There was hardly anyone around, probably because it was a bit cooler, and I couldn’t help feeling sorry for anyone who missed out on this early part of the day. The best part of the day in my opinion.

I then drove home and collected the dogs and we went out into an area of National Park near my house. I’ve not long moved to this part of town and only recently found this area. Until now I’ve been complaining that there is no bushy area close to home to walk my dogs. I was even starting to regret my decision to move. But was surprised to find last week that there is quite a large area of National Park within 1k of my house. Will definitely be doing more exploring there – on foot and on the mountain bike.

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Micro Loans through Kiva

I thought it was about time that I did a blog post about Kiva, considering I am so passionate about this form of donation. My history blog Tracking Down The Family  is where I usually blog Kiva. Click  here to see the last post I wrote about it

I decided to become involved with Kiva a couple of years ago, as I love the fact that the money went directly to the borrower. Kiva involves  small micro loans being made to small business people, often in developing countries,  to support them in their business. These are people who don’t have access to traditional banking loans.  The loans cost $25, so back then I decided to put up $100 and make 4 loans to women in developing countries who needed the money to run their small business.

I really didn’t expect them to be paid back, but wasn’t concerned, as $100 was quite affordable and I It was sort of a test case for me. I was very interested to see what the result would be. If the money was paid back, I would go on and continue my support, but if not, well it really didn’t matter too much to my bank balance.  To my delight the $100 was paid back very quickly and I re-loaned it to other lenders. So far I have made 13 loans to borrowers in 10 countries. That initial $100 has now made loans to the value of $350.00

I joined with a Kiva lending team named  ‘Genealogists for Families’ as I knew some of the team members, and given my interest in Genealogy it seemed perfect for me to become involved. We had just a few members then, but now we have 279 members from all over the world and have made 3372 loans totalling $88,850. I’m very proud when I read those statistics.

Today I was advised that I had $115 available that had been paid back so I have now made four more loans. All this for the inital outlay of $100. I have never yet had a loan default and this is now my third round of loaning the initial $100.

The loans made today were to  Lorena from El Salvador;   Sanaa from Jordan;   Bertha Alis from El Salvador;  and Delia Cristina from Honduras.

I Quit Sugar Program

I have decided to take part in  Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar Program.  This program runs for 8 weeks, and hopefully by the end, my sugar intake will be down to almost zero.  Actually, by the end of the 8 weeks, I’m hoping to be feeling so great that I will be happy to make this a life long choice.

The reason I have decided to give this a go, is that I’ve been having some stomach trouble for quite some time now which don’t seem to want to go away. In the late 1990s, I had bariatric stapling to my stomach, and  the surgeon told me that my stomach will have trouble processing sugar. It didn’t bother me at all at the time, as I was then having almost no sugar at all. Now, I seem to have fallen back into some old habits and am eating far too much sugar. I have a feeling that this is the cause of the issues I’m having now. I have an appointment to see a surgeon in April, but am hoping by then that quitting sugar will greatly improve things.

I tried to follow this program, from Sarah’s book last year with not much success. Looking at what went wrong, I can see that I made so many changes to the program, that it was really my program and not Sarah’s that I was doing. I’m sure the official program is based in much more science and fact than I could come up with. So this time I’ve decided to experiment. I will do the I Quit Sugar Program, as it is presented to me with no changes and see how it turns out. This new online version of I Quit Sugar has menu plans, shopping lists, and regular emails with information and advice. There are also forums for support which I’m sure will be helpful.

Before the end of the week, I need to get the pantry cleaned up, and the sugar gone, so that I’m all set to go on Saturday.

Thoughts of a Drama Queen on a hot day

Who’s the drama queen you are probably asking.  In the past I would vehemently deny any accusation of being a Drama Queen. But, I have to admit it. Drama Queen? Yes that would be me!

Usually I take no notice of all at the weather when planning my exercise sessions. 4.30 am in winter – no problem. 3pm in a summer heat wave – no problem. Rain – it’s only water, and once you’re wet, you’re wet.  My mindset is to do what I have to do at the time that suits me. Usually that’s early early morning before work or after work. Yesterday, as I set off walking, my mind was focusing for the first time ever that this was the day that exercising could actually cause my death. I seem to spend my whole life justifying to others why I exercise. And particularly why it’s such a big part of my life. The simple answer is that I love it, I need it, I would be lost without it. And couldn’t function properly without it and yes, it will always be part of my life. Probably even when I’m on a walking frame. So for these reasons, until today, I’ve never been inconvenienced by weather conditions.

But yesterday Miss Drama Queen was on my shoulder when I went for my  Camino de Santiago de Compostela Pilgrimage training walk. First of all, I have to say that I had worked all day for 7 hours. On my feet all day. In a hot kitchen. Busy, busy. Happy. Chirpy. I knew that to keep to my Camino training plan, I would have to walk 20k. On a day when the temperature was 40 degrees here in sunny old Bendigo! Also I needed to carry a weighted back pack.

So at the hottest part of the day, off I set, lugging the training backpack on my back, containing 5k gym weights. Already, hot, bothered, and tired, I can’t really say that excitement was what I was feeling. The feeling was more along the lines of – lets get this done and quickly.

In no time at all, I was dripping sweat along the walking path, heaving, and feeling like I might die. My thoughts went to a young friend who died about 15 years ago, while out jogging. She was super, super fit, a fitness freak, experienced jogger, and only 30 years old. But she chose to jog on an extremely hot day. And it killed her! Firstly I told myself I’m not superfit and I was walking not  jogging. But it was extremely hot! . My heart rate was sitting on 160 bpm and didnt want to drop. Being of “older years”, 160 is my maximum heart rate. I know that it isn’t a good idea to sit on your maximum for an extended period of time. Its ok to spike it but generally it is safest to exercise at 60-75% of your maximum heart rate.

I finished the 20k in a slow, slow time of 4 hours. I cannot tell you how happy I was when I turned into my street and saw my house! Staggered inside, wrapped wet towels around my neck, drank what seemed like litres of water and waited. Waited to die right there and then. After having a little Drama Queen moment, I realised that my heart rate was falling very quickly and only took a few minutes to come down to normal. This tells me that whatever Im doing, it must be right, as the fitter a person is the quicker their heart rate will drop back. That thought calmed me down, and actually pleased me.

047In summary -  I walked 20k. It was hot! I was TIRED. I didn’t want to do it all. But I survived.and the calories burnt were 1935.

Not bad for an old girl – soon to be a senior citizen

**Please note: I should also say please don’t do what I did. Ít wasn’t clever of me and I felt dreadful while out there in the sun. It’s definitely not the best idea to exercise in the heat & I won’t be going out again in extreme heat like this to train.’Next time I will organise my training times a little better.

MULGA BILL’S BICYCLE by A.B. “Banjo” Paterson

‘Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze; He turned away the good old horse that served him many days; He dressed himself in cycling clothes, resplendent to be seen; He hurried off to town and bought a shining new machine; And as he wheeled it through the door, with air of lordly pride, The grinning shop assistant said, “Excuse me, can you ride?” “See here, young man,” said Mulga Bill, “from Walgett to the sea, From Conroy’s Gap to Castlereagh, there’s none can ride like me. I’m good all round at everything as everybody knows, Although I’m not the one to talk – I hate a man that blows. But riding is my special gift, my chiefest, sole delight; Just ask a wild duck can it swim, a wildcat can it fight. There’s nothing clothed in hair or hide, or built of flesh or steel, There’s nothing walks or jumps, or runs, on axle, hoof, or wheel, But what I’ll sit, while hide will hold and girths and straps are tight: I’ll ride this here two-wheeled concern right straight away at sight.” ‘Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that sought his own abode, That perched above Dead Man’s Creek, beside the mountain road. He turned the cycle down the hill and mounted for the fray, But ‘ere he’d gone a dozen yards it bolted clean away. It left the track, and through the trees, just like a silver steak, It whistled down the awful slope towards the Dead Man’s Creek. It shaved a stump by half an inch, it dodged a big white-box: The very wallaroos in fright went scrambling up the rocks, The wombats hiding in their caves dug deeper underground, As Mulga Bill, as white as chalk, sat tight to every bound. It struck a stone and gave a spring that cleared a fallen tree, It raced beside a precipice as close as close could be; And then as Mulga Bill let out one last despairing shriek It made a leap of twenty feet into the Dean Man’s Creek. ‘Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that slowly swam ashore: He said, “I’ve had some narrer shaves and lively rides before; I’ve rode a wild bull round a yard to win a five-pound bet, But this was the most awful ride that I’ve encountered yet. I’ll give that two-wheeled outlaw best; it’s shaken all my nerve To feel it whistle through the air and plunge and buck and swerve. It’s safe at rest in Dead Man’s Creek, we’ll leave it lying still; A horse’s back is good enough henceforth for Mulga Bill.” The Sydney Mail, 25 July 1896.  Return to the A.B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson page.  Return to the Children’s Treasury page.  Return to the Banjo Paterson’s Australians page.

Australia Day Reflection

This is not at all fitness related but Australia Day always makes me reflect on my two favourite poems by A.B. Banjo Paterson

MULGA BILL’S BICYCLE by A.B. “Banjo” Paterson

‘Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze;
He turned away the good old horse that served him many days;
He dressed himself in cycling clothes, resplendent to be seen;
He hurried off to town and bought a shining new machine;

And as he wheeled it through the door, with air of lordly pride,
The grinning shop assistant said, “Excuse me, can you ride?”
“See here, young man,” said Mulga Bill, “from Walgett to the sea,
From Conroy’s Gap to Castlereagh, there’s none can ride like me.

I’m good all round at everything as everybody knows,
Although I’m not the one to talk – I hate a man that blows.
But riding is my special gift, my chiefest, sole delight;
Just ask a wild duck can it swim, a wildcat can it fight.

There’s nothing clothed in hair or hide, or built of flesh or steel,
There’s nothing walks or jumps, or runs, on axle, hoof, or wheel,
But what I’ll sit, while hide will hold and girths and straps are tight:
I’ll ride this here two-wheeled concern right straight away at sight.”

‘Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that sought his own abode,
That perched above Dead Man’s Creek, beside the mountain road.
He turned the cycle down the hill and mounted for the fray,
But ‘ere he’d gone a dozen yards it bolted clean away.

It left the track, and through the trees, just like a silver steak, I
t whistled down the awful slope towards the Dead Man’s Creek.
It shaved a stump by half an inch, it dodged a big white-box:
The very wallaroos in fright went scrambling up the rocks,

The wombats hiding in their caves dug deeper underground,
As Mulga Bill, as white as chalk, sat tight to every bound.
It struck a stone and gave a spring that cleared a fallen tree,
It raced beside a precipice as close as close could be;

And then as Mulga Bill let out one last despairing shriek
It made a leap of twenty feet into the Dean Man’s Creek.
‘Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that slowly swam ashore:
He said, “I’ve had some narrer shaves and lively rides before;

I’ve rode a wild bull round a yard to win a five-pound bet,
But this was the most awful ride that I’ve encountered yet.
I’ll give that two-wheeled outlaw best; it’s shaken all my nerve
To feel it whistle through the air and plunge and buck and swerve.

It’s safe at rest in Dead Man’s Creek, we’ll leave it lying still;
A horse’s back is good enough henceforth for Mulga Bill.”

Clancy of The Overflow by A.B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson

I had written him a letter which I had, for want of betterKnowledge,
sent to where I met him down the Lachlan, years ago,
He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
Just ‘on spec’, addressed as follows, ‘Clancy, of The Overflow’.

And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected,
(And I think the same was written with a thumb-nail dipped in tar)
Twas his shearing mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it:
‘Clancy’s gone to Queensland droving, and we don’t know where he are.’

n my wild erratic fancy visions come to me of Clancy
Gone a-droving ‘down the Cooper’ where the Western drovers go;
As the stock are slowly stringing, Clancy rides behind them singing,
For the drover’s life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know.

And the bush hath friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him
In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended,
And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars.

am sitting in my dingy little office, where a stingyRay of sunlight
struggles feebly down between the houses tall,
And the foetid air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city
Through the open window floating, spreads its foulness over all.

And in place of lowing cattle, I can hear the fiendish rattle
Of the tramways and the ‘buses making hurry down the street,
And the language uninviting of the gutter children fighting,
Comes fitfully and faintly through the ceaseless tramp of feet.

And the hurrying people daunt me, and their pallid faces haunt me
As they shoulder one another in their rush and nervous haste,
With their eager eyes and greedy, and their stunted forms and weedy,
For townsfolk have no time to grow, they have no time to waste.

And I somehow rather fancy that I’d like to change with Clancy,
Like to take a turn at droving where the seasons come and go,
While he faced the round eternal of the cash-book and the journal —
But I doubt he’d suit the office, Clancy, of The Overflow

Run for Kids 2014

I’ve just put my entry in for Run For Kids in Melbourne on Sunday April 13. This is one of my favourite events, that I can see myself doing until I can no long go the distance. Two of my friends, Nadine and Tina  will be competing in the 15k event with me. There are sure to be other friends, the usual likely suspects, who will register as the event gets closer.

There are a couple of things I love about this event. On the day the Westgate Bridge is closed and I just love being able to cross this bridge without traffic,and take time to look at the beautiful Melbourne skyline. I also love the cause. This event raises much needed funds for the Melbourne Childrens Hospital and adds to the Good Friday Appeal. Who could possibly resist supporting this cause? I also love that the event is a permanent fixture for my friends and me, and is always a great day.

So are you up for it?  There’s still plenty of time to train.

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Sugar Free Recipe for Chocoholics like me

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I have  had Sarah Wilson’s book,  I Quit Sugar   for a while now and have read it thoroughly and for a few weeks followed her no sugar program. Without a great deal of success, mainly because I’m a bit of a chocoholic.

Today I made her Raspberry Ripple slice and it turns out to be a surprise of chocolate/raspberry yumminess. Sarah says this recipe is one of the most popular that she has created.  For anyone who is trying to live sugar free, or who, like me, is trying to reduce their chocolate intake, this recipe is definitely worth a try.

Actually it’s worth a try just for it’s yumminess alone!

067RASPBERRY RIPPLE

1/3 cup frozen raspberries – 1/3 cup shredded coconut ( or coconut flakes) – 1/3 cup coconut oil – 80g salted butter – 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder or cocoa – 2-3 tablespoons rice malt syrup

Line a dinner plate of baking tray with baking paper.

Scatter the berries and coconut on the plate or baking tray.

Melt the oil and butter in a saucepan or in the microwave, then stir in the cacao powder and syrup.

Pour over the berries and pop into the freezer for 30 minutes until firm. To serve either break into shards or cut into wedges.

Burke and Wills Trek

I love the idea of the Burke and Wills Trek that is being held for the first time in August of this year. It’s a trek of 330k over 12 days for participants in teams of four. The trek travels through south western Qld and South Australia to Birdsville, tracing the steps of the Burke and Wills Trek that ended in tragedy 154 years ago. The trek even starts on  the same date as Burke and Wills began their expedition.

There are also shorter trek options for those who don’t have time for the enter length of the trek, and is a fundraiser for the  Born 2 Run  foundation which is raising funds in the hope of finding a cure for type 1 Diabetes

This event ticks many boxes for me. Of course the challenge of a fitness and team  event is the main calling. But as a keen historian, particularly Australian History, for years I have read everything I can get my hands on about Burke and Wills and their expedition.

Due to my commitment to the Camino de Santiago this year, I am unable to be participate this year. However I will be watching closely and if it is on again next year, as they expect, I will be there with bells on.

So if you’re my friend, watch out. I will be looking for team members.

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