About Me

I had 15 minutes of fame from my “before/after” photo from my first year of running.

A Year of Running

10 October 2015 to 22 September 2016

It was featured in a story about me in the parkrun Australia newsletter.

The photo garnered an article in The Telegraph, UK.

It had 1,400+ likes on Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Group One Year of Running.

My Imgur photo made “Viral” status and had nearly 200,000 views

It was posted on Reddit and had 10,000 points and 381 comments.

I lost 36 kg (80 lb) between April 2015 and April 2016 by eating whatever I felt like (in moderation) within my calorie limit, using the free My Fitness Pal app.

I had started feeling better and better after quitting smoking cigarettes cold turkey in May 2014 and have just kept going. In 2015 I started walking a bit more every day.

On 22 September 2015 I suddenly felt the urge to run for the first time in 30 years.  2 weeks later, I started doing parkrun on Saturdays when it started in my town and I have only missed parkrun 3 times since then. #loveparkrun

I ran 50 km in 6 hours on 10 June 2018.
Along the way, these are the goals I’ve made and completed:

Raise money for cerebral palsy and walk 10,000 steps a day for Steptember 2015.
Run 5 km. 5 December 2015.
Run 10 km. 6 March 2016.
Run 15 km by end of June 2016. 27 March 2016.
Run 5 km in under 30 minutes. 9 April 2016.
30 Day Planking Challenge. May 2016.
Run a half marathon. 26 June 2016.
Run 100 miles in August 2016. Done by 22 August 2016.
Run 1,000 km in 2016. Done by 27 August 2016.
Walk 35 km on 23 October 2016.
Run 100 miles in October 2016.
Run 10 km in under 55 minutes. 8 Jan 2017.
Run 30 km. Done 24 March 2017.
Walk 50 km on 6 May 2017.
Hike 80 km in 2 days. 10-11 June 2017.
Run my first marathon in my year of turning 50. Sunday 27 August 2017.
Run my 100th parkrun. 17 February 2018.
Run a half marathon run (or further) every month for a year. July 2017 to June 2018.
Run a 50 km run in 2018. Sunday 10 June 2018.
Hold a handstand for 10 seconds. 17 June 2018.
Draw every day for Inktober 2018.
No-Spend November, 2018.
Get onto the parkrun Australia Most Events List by running a parkrun at 20 different locations without driving or ever having gone for my licence. December 2018.

See how far I could walk on Boxing Day 2018. 51km!
Ran 2019 km in 2019.
1 year alcohol-free January 31, 2019.
Ran at least one 21.1 km run (or longer) every month for 2 years. 28 June 2019.

Writing all this is a reminder to myself that goals are achieved by making a little effort every day.

Don’t wait around for motivation. Just do it.

Challenge your thoughts.

Don’t believe everything you think.

Zenmode.org was started 20 June 2018.

“About Me” updated 15 September 2019.

 

Addition for a more complete picture:

  • I was founder, owner, and administrator of The Australasian Skeptics Forum.
  • I’ve studied at The University of Melbourne, and Deakin University.
  • I studied painting and drawing under Howard Arkley and Christine Johnston.
  • I’ve worked for local, state, and federal government in Arts, Environment, and Law.
  • I’ve managed bookshops and currently work in finance.
  • Zenmode post “Less Alcohol” was featured in an Australian Department of Health newsletter in April 2019.
Darning tights. Boro stitch. Japanese slow stitching. Contrasting darning. Rainbow embroidery thread. Slow fashion. Fashion Rebellion. Circular Economy

My Extinction Rebellion Personal Manifesto to Support Sustainable and Ethical Industry

1. Be a relentlessly optimistic and logical realist.

2. Be curious. Learn, practice, share, teach; Learn, practice, share, teach; Circular Economy.

3. Email/communicate with local, state, national government workers and with politicians. Suggest ways to present sustainable policies to their colleagues and voters in a way that makes the people they represent like the ideas and understand how the voters will benefit.

4. Act Global. Online, share, encourage, and communicate information and technological and ideological developments. Be curious! Be part of sharing the circular economies in learning, open source policies, strategies, ideas, data, technology. Connect with innovators and activists.

5. Tell brands I’ve liked what they can do to be even better and transparent and make me recommend them even more.

6. Don’t subscribe to shop email newsletters because they tempt us to buy because something is “cheaper”.

7. Subscribe to alerts on circular economy, open source information, and sustainability in materials, technology, energy, recycling, transport, fashion, architecture, education.

8. Keep my finance spreadsheet updated including my list of any material things I need and only buy once I’ve researched the best product for my needs and situation.

9. Tell friends important things I’ve learned and make their lives easier and more fulfilling by giving them simple ways to be ethical and sustainable.

10. Re-use, repair, retain, redesign, upcycle clothes and goods. Only buy good quality, and ethically or second-hand. Vote with my note. Spend less so I can spend wisely on a few sustainable and ethical things that may cost as much as lots of fast fashion.

11. Act Local. Keep working with my local War on Waste group. Attend the nearby sustainable fashion festival and clothing swap; get ideas for a swap meet of our own. Keep sharing information about Repair Cafés. Learn about mending workshops, and gather interest and ideas to hold one, and hopefully more.

12. Keep walking for enjoyment and health and necessity (never ever had a driving licence since being old enough to get one in the 1980s and seeing my father devastated at hearing David Suzuki for the first time speak about climate change).

13. Activate for more public transport use and better footpaths and lighting in my area.

14. Activate for a running track in my town.

15. Activate for fair wages and unemployment benefits and universal basic income.

16. Absorb information from Ellen MacArthur, Greta Thunberg, Jeremy Rifkin, Rutger Bregman, Fashion Revolution, Slow Fashion Season, #CircularEconomy, The United Nations, The World Health Organisation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

17. Be prudent.

18. Embrace the Zen.

19. #loveparkrun

20.Run sustainably.

21. Draw daily.

22. Practice sustainable and ethical investment.

23. Call out injustice and illogic.

24. “Now is the time for civil disobedience” – Greta Thunberg.

25. Speak the unspoken.

26. Be awesome!

Sustainability in eating, running, living

I lost 35 kg and have kept it off 3 years 3 months so far. This is what I’m loving doing currently.

I did a 2 day 60 km bushwalking event (with about 5 km of running at the end) a few weeks ago, rested A LOT, and last Friday I ran a half marathon. That means I’ve now run at least one half marathon distance run (21.1 km or longer) every month for 2 years. Longest run was 50 km. Happy! Practicing not running too much or too hard so I can keep running without injury.

I’m currently busy being a coach/run leader for our Running Club (I’m also Secretary), one of our parkrun Run Directors (my third year doing that), and happy being involved as an artist & volunteer at a gallery for local artists. And working in a financial planning office 4 days a week.

Writing regularly about running, weight loss, logic, self-care, the joys of freedom from alcohol, and more on zenmode.org

I’m obsessed with sustainability, and doing a 3-month “Slow Fashion Challenge” and not buying any new clothes, and involved in groups and arranging a mending/swap event.

Studying a course on The Fashion Revolution & the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 2030, and devouring information on The Circular Economy, and on recycling in Australia/globally. Sharing what I’m discovering in our local War on Waste group and page, and pretty much everywhere.

I created a spreadsheet/pic of all the types of recycling and their collection points in town that’s being shared around.

Sustainability in eating, running, living. Perhaps obsessiveness about moderation, hahaha.

If you’ve read this far, I appreciate your interest. Hope you’re thriving and loving life too.

Current interests helping me thrive

“Whole of Life” list of cool things I’m enjoying doing and exploring.

1. Circular economy.

2. Recycling industry boom.

3. Local recycling collection points.

4. Did a CPR course.

5. 2 Day hiking event in the mountains last weekend. Superlatives are lacking.

6. Not getting distracted by other subjects when I go to look up something online.

7. Prudence.
Classics, minimalist, style, linen, bargain, Prudence, white shirt,

Linen shirts from Target marked down after summer. $10 and $5. Amazing what classics you can pick up if you walk around a lot patiently and see so many things you can choose the best bargains for a style you’re after. Plus, I used $10 worth of flybuys points!

8. Been making and bringing my lunches to work for months like I’m a proper grown-up.

9. Running regularly for joy not kudos.

10. Researching before buying things.

11. Tax planning.

12. Using Scholl Eulactol balm twice daily which has fixed my heels after they became dry and cracked from wearing Birkenstocks all summer.

13. Not replying in anger when someone makes an extremist comment.

14. Not checking the news outlets as often to avoid joining angry mobs or giving extremist clickbait articles any ad revenue.

15. Duolingo Greek lesson daily for 263 days so far.

16. Drawing daily for 10 months now.

17. Sewing pockets on things.

Also, some thoughts I haven’t had time to put into a separate blog post:

A. Fear of guilt or regret as a driver for action can help with:

B. Caterpillars in the stomach that people get when faced with doing something new.

C. People’s cognitive dissonance between:

Guilt about being unfit and overweight; and

Wanting to feel fit and healthy.

D. A can help us by being able to recognise when we’re doing B and C.

What’s got you thinking lately?

zenmode running self-care anxiety sober quit alcohol marathon training work volunteering administration health medication

Self-care victory

Had two terrible nights sleep earlier in the week and was struggling a lot at work. Felt like people were demanding every minute of my time and I had too many responsibilities outside of work.

 

At 5:30 am I went for an angry, 80-minute run and thought of logical kick-arse ways to reduce a lot of time spent on administration, and implemented them when I got back.

 

This helped not just me but also others to have a limit set now on what we feel we can do.

 

I made it through the day without needing any sort of medication or self-medication, and only realised this when it was all over and it hadn’t even occurred to me to use any. Nearly 400 days alcohol-free. Not even any caffeine for over 4 months.

 

Instead of freaking out with anxiety I’d been proactive.

 

Proud of myself for not pulling out of any volunteer responsibilities completely, since I’m proud of what I’m involved in.

 

Thursday 28 February I realised I’d rather use the money I’ve saved for flights and accommodation (to do a marathon in April) on a faster computer for myself.

 

This will improve my quality of life immensely and reduce a lot of frustrations.

 

I also decided to build a stronger 30 km run base rather than max out my resources for 2 months yet again on a marathon that would mean my glute/piriformis pain would worsen just when it’s been a lot better.

 

This will mean regular, consistent running to look forward to and enjoy.

 

Feeling like I’ve actually won a marathon now!

Noosa National Park running walking trail view palm tree beach

Euphoric scenic run in Noosa Queensland on day 377 alcohol-free

Set out for my run at 5:10 am and it was 24C / 75F in the pre-dawn half-light. I was running gently to take in the scenery and so I didn’t trash myself in the “Feels like 31C” (89F) heat and 88% humidity which had made me quite unwell running 13 km quite hard 4 days earlier.

Four years ago when we were in Noosa, I was 35 kg overweight and barely walking a few thousand steps a day. But that was also when I was slowly trying to increase my activity.

A year ago I had aimed to run 4 km to Noosa then explore the National Park headland trail. But both times I ran there, only I got about 1 km into the park before having The Fear that if I didn’t start running back I’d need a toilet before I had found one.

This run was a victory venturing into the unknown (where there were loads of other people)!

I’d found a map showing toilets a few hundred metres past where I’d got before. I also brought my Camelbak containing chilled water, and was much more Zenned-out and calm, and able to enjoy every moment.

When I stopped drinking about a year ago, I started to lose my anxiety. That, and no fear of a toilet emergency were some of the reasons I enjoyed this.

On top of all this, the scenery was incredible, and I started to feel quite euphoric!

I paused a lot to take photos, and I’m happy with these ones.

Sunrise Noosa Parade bridge Weyba Creek running Queensland AustraliaNoosa Queensland Australia tropical plantsSunrise Noosa Parade bridge Sofitel Hastings Street running Queensland AustraliaNoosa Heads beach Queensland Australia running surfingBoardwalk Noosa National Park running walking trail view Queensland Australia trees beach oceanBoiling Pot Noosa National Park running walking trail view Queensland Australia trees beach oceanNoosa National Park running walking trail view Queensland Australia trees beach ocean tropical plantsNoosa National Park running walking trail view palm tree beachBeautiful Trail Noosa National Park running walking trail view Queensland Australia trees beach ocean sunriseNoosa National Park running walking trail view Queensland Australia trees beach oceanNoosa National Park running walking trail view Queensland Australia trees beach oceanDolphin Point Sunrise Noosa National Park running walking trail view Queensland Australia trees beach oceanNoosa National Park walking trail view running

I’d made a connection in the morning that each fairly typical glass of wine I used to drink had the same number of calories as two slices of bread.

Three glasses of wine a day (or a beer and two wines) plus the usual meals and snacks and no purposeful exercise for 5 years meant the weight steadily crept up and up, till I discovered how to count calories easily for free and started to move more.

Last year’s holiday began during my first month without drinking and I had been so proud to stick to not drinking during it, and happily surprised I found it so enjoyable.

This year, the distances walked and run seemed much shorter and I felt very light-hearted.

goals, happiness, running, marathon, ultramarathon, learning, work. self-care, handstands, drawing, splits, yoga

Not my New Year Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions are for people who aren’t already awesome.

In 2018 I made goals that continued my “relentless forward progress” which started when I was 48 in early 2015.

 

My 2018 fitness goal: To run a 50 km run. Any other running achievements will be cherries on top.

 

Done! Ran 50 km on June 10, 2018!

 

 
My 2018 learning goal: To complete iPhone Photo Academy, a photography course I’ve started recently. This will help me with my recent achievement of being accepted to sell my photography at a local gallery.

 

Done! Sold photos, digital drawings, and cards.  Plus I did 5 other courses (below).

 
My 2018 personal goal: To stay as happy as I am.

 

Done, and happier – I seem to have quit alcohol and gone 11 months alcohol-free. So much more productive and creative!

 

Do more cartwheels. 

 

Lots done! And lots of handstands, which I’d wanted to improve since I was a teenager!

 

 

In addition to these goals I also did the following things in 2018 that made me happy:

 

  • Helped found our town’s Running Club.
  • 5 minutes handstands/stretching/balance/core daily since June.
  • 5 minutes learning Greek every day. 103 days so far.
  • Drawing every day since late September.
  • Created a blog and have published 26 posts about health, running, decluttering, quitting addictions, weight loss, and transformation.
  • Continued to love my job.

 

In 2018 I did the following FutureLearn courses:

 

  • The Science of Endurance Training and Performance (University of Kent) 6 week course.
  • The Science of Nutrition (The Open University) 4 week course.
  • Brain and Behaviour: Regulating Body Weight (Purdue University) 3 week course.
  • The Musculoskeletal System: The Science of Staying Active into Old Age (University of Sheffield) 3 week course.
  • Digital Skills: Social Media (Accenture) 2 hours.

 

2018 Running Events:

 

  • 10/06/2018 50.1 km 6:04:21 (Ran this on my own at home, but it was my feature run for 2018.)
  • 26/08/2018 35.0 km run The Bloody Long Walk 3:59:41
  • 16/09/2018 21.2 km Connor’s Run and a Bit 2:22:28
  • 14/10/2018 43.2 km Melbourne Marathon 5:28:36
  • 04/11/2018 21.1 km Portland 3 Bays Half Marathon (HM) 2:09:45
  • 11/11/2018 21.1 km Hamilton Fun Run HM 2:12:06
  • 25/11/2018 21.1 km Run with the Wind HM 2:35:38
  • 02/12/2018 21.1 km Carman’s Women’s HM 2:08:08

 

I ran 2,118.7 km in 2018.

I did 7,041,449 steps – a total of 6,237 km – averaging 19,291.6 steps a day.

 

 In 2019, after 4 years of relentless forward progress, I want to consolidate and maintain what’s made me thrive in 2018, and enjoy the Zen.

 

Things that will make me happy in 2019:

 

  • A marathon in a major city interstate.
  • 48 km on my 48th month running anniversary in September.
  • Run 2019 km in 2019.
  • Average 18,000 steps daily, unless I keep swimming more regularly as I did in December.
  • 12 months alcohol free – Feb 1 2019 anniversary.
  • Keep maintaining my goal weight range for another year (It will be 3 years in April 2019.)
  • 5 minutes handstands/stretching/balance/core daily.
  • 5 minutes learning Greek on Duolingo every day.
  • Draw every day.
  • 2 blog posts every month.
  • Paint the kitchen.
  • Invite someone new to parkrun & walk/run with them.

 

These will mean I get outdoors, travel, keep running, keep strong, be creative, and keep my flexibility, strength, and balance, and stay happy.

walking, decluttering, cleaning, minimalism, work, changes, fibonacci, transformation, weight loss, health, happiness, sustainability

An Adaptive Spiral

Turning small efforts into daily habits results in beautiful things.

 

NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) is the term for activity other than purposeful exercise. E.g. Walking, cleaning, trips to the fridge, playing with your kids, etc.

 

NEAT accounts for a higher percentage of your daily energy expenditure than intentional exercise even if you work out 5-6 hours a week.

 

Increasing your NEAT can make a huge difference to your health and environment.

 

  • Wear comfortable shoes: You’re not in pain or grumpy; better relationships; better posture; you can walk around without hindrance; more NEAT.
  • Bring your lunch to work: Saves money eating out, and you can spend the rest of your lunch hour walking / doing errands.
  • Wear a backpack rather than carry a shoulder bag: You’re more inclined to go for a walk; you walk more easily and quickly; you don’t hunch one shoulder to keep a bag on it (my physiotherapist pointed this out and now I see people with lopsided shoulders everywhere).
  • Bringing lunch and drinks to work means more trips to the office kitchen: Saves money; more NEAT.
  • Put dishes away one at a time: NEAT; and it also doesn’t increase power bills.
  • Put laundry away one item at a time: NEAT!
  • Walk your office mail to admin on another floor instead of putting it in your floor’s mail-out tray: Saves admin staff having to carry it or forget it, and I get more floors climbed.
  • Walk to the shops when you need something (rather than waiting till you have a long list then drive).

 

One of my realisations was to just stop whining to others to do tasks and just get off my butt and do them myself. No arguments; better relationships!

 

More NEAT meant decluttering, and more space!

 

All this NEAT led to feeling better, doing more purposeful exercise, eating according to my calorie limit, losing weight, running, feeling better, round and round…

 

An adaptive spiral.

 

Today I was thinking that NEAT is sort of like doing the “right” thing:

 

 

  • You walk to the bin instead of leaving rubbish on the table – more calories burned; tidy house.
  • I just walked two sides of a triangle along the path instead of taking the short cut across a carpark – safer; more calories burned.
  • I walk the long way to & from work – less carbon emissions; save money; more calories burned.

 

 

Doing the “right” thing has so many benefits!

Losing 80 lb / 35 kg using My Fitness Pal (easy calorie-counting app), running, and participating in community discussions led me to not having drunk alcohol since January 31 2018.

Not drinking meant not needing as much time in bed trying to sleep. Now I sleep more soundly and don’t wake as often, which means I have more time to do nice things.

On Thursday after my run, study, and drawing, I still had lots of time to spare before my last day of work for the year:

  • I put away some things I’d left in the hall after doing some rearranging around the house.
  • I walked to the hardware shop and bought some picture hooks and hung prints of my son’s artwork properly in my yoga room (his room when he comes home).
  • I tidied my room and wiped down all the surfaces free of dust.

And when I came home, it all looked lovely and I was facing 12 days holiday!

 

As each day passes, we can make appropriate and sustainable growth, change, and habits that beautify the overall picture. 

 

An adaptive spiral.

 

IMG_0604

How do you remember your Personal Bests stats?

I got frustrated with not being able to remember my Personal Bests in running, and having to look them up on Strava and/or the race website each time.

Instead of writing them down then inevitably losing the list, I decided to make a display.

I found photos from them, and cropped them all the same dimensions.

Then I added the stats, then printed them.

I half-thought I’d pin them to a pinboard, but that wasn’t very original.

I hadn’t decided how to display them until an idea hit me to peg them to a banner.

I found a nice white banner to match my room, and this is the result.

Melbourne Marathon 2018

My first marathon (Aug 2017) and my 50 km run (June 2018) both went without a hitch. Melbourne Marathon Sunday 14 October 2018 was a bit more humbling.

The bad:

  1. At 25 km, it was hot and my throat felt like it was closing, and I had trouble getting enough oxygen. I had chest pains for a minute, with a heartrate spike of 195. I had to do walk/run/walk/run to finish the marathon, and couldn’t talk without the throat constriction happening.
  2. I had to walk in an event and I’ve always prided myself on never needing to walk.
  3. I wanted to prove in an official, big marathon, I was better than average, but I finished 1552 of 1826 women. 114 of 145 in my Age Group.

 

The good:

  1. Digestion was fine beforehand, and then only needed the loo at 20 km.
  2. Fuelling and hydration were great. Also tipped water on my head every 3 km drinks station.
  3. I knew when to walk when necessary.
  4. I took a nice photo of my club friends, Caroline and Carolyn.IMG_8084
  5. I got to run the F1 Albert Park circuit and take a selfie in pit straight.
  6. A man with a below-knee prosthesis passed me after that and I thought it was so cool l quickly took a picture.IMG_8068
  7. I had an awesome weekend away in the city on my own with only a couple of anxiety pains, when a few years ago I’d never dreamed I’d do anything like this.
  8. I was a 29-year smoker and 35 kg overweight 4.5 years ago, and have come a long way.
  9. Met up with lots of running friends I’ve made since starting running & parkrun 3 years ago.
  10. Ambrosia-like handful of jelly beans from a spectator at 26 km that kept me amused for 4 km.
  11. There were all ages, genders, and sizes around me near the back of the pack.
  12. 13% didn’t finish at all! I feel sorry for them, but that makes me feel luckier.
  13. Talked with a Spartan at 36 km (he’d run MelbMara 10 times) and he was saying we were doing well in the heat.
  14. At 32 km, a spectator offered me Minties. The motto is “At moments like these, you need Minties”. Of course I said yes. And I enjoyed that Mintie till I finished it just before the end.
  15. I didn’t need First Aid!
  16. I f*&%ing finished my third marathon!

 

IMG_0578

The doctor I saw about my marathon “episode” said she didn’t think it was exercise-induced asthma / bronchioconstriction. Probably just one of those things in marathons when you push your body to its limits. Long run, high heart rate spike, needing lots of oxygen, hot conditions, no shade. She said to just see if it happens again on a 30ish km run in the cool, and if so, she’d refer me to a sports clinic.

But a once-off like this sounded like my body’s fairly normal reaction to tough conditions at the time. If it was asthma, I wouldn’t have breathed easier after walking a minute or two.

 

I learned a lot this time. Looking forward to doing a Winter marathon next time!

 

The final words go to mention that through all of this, I knew I was kicking off a 24 hour relay “Run For Dennis (aka KeepRunningFatboy)” with My Fitness Pal friends and needed to run for about 5 hours to fill my slot. Dennis Ley ran over 25 marathons in his inspiring life that was cut short in August.

 

I had to keep running.

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