Archive for Fitness

 

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Running With Friends

13 August 2014

Run 10k
I’ve joined a running group!

It’s not really a group group. It’s not formal. We’re just a bunch of friends (girls and guys) who are all running freaks! We all know each other through our children’s school and we all live and run in the same area, which makes our “group runs” infinitely easier to organise.

Thinking about it, I never thought I’d join a fitness group. Because, I usually like to exercise by myself. I like the peace and solitude. I like to meditate, arrange my thoughts and focus on the mesmerising beat of my feet hitting the pavement. It’s quite important for me to have that quiet space for myself.

Exercising in a large classes – in a room full of strangers – is also very solitary. Which I like. I feel no obligation to interact with anyone. And I just get lost in my own little bubble.

But what do you know, I discovered that exercising with friends is so much fun.

It adds so many new levels to my exercise routine – motivation, inspiration, sharing knowledge and a social aspect. I’m loving it!

Following people’s (ie. stranger’s) exercise updates and fitness inspiration on instagram and facebook does not compare.

Anyway, I tried out a new running route this weekend. The weather was just gorgeous. It was the first time I tackled so many hills.  I ran 10kms and felt amazing. I might try to work on my time/speed next time. I’m feeling inspired!


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Right, left, right, left… Do you love Body Combat too?

14 July 2014

I’ve been going to a few Body Combat classes lately.

It’s kind of fun. A bunch of ladies punching at the air, while a fitness instructor shouts at us over the roaring music. It feels a bit silly.

But after the class, my biceps, triceps and muscles on my shoulders and back GLOW with a pain that promises my arms to look like Michelle Bridges, so that makes it worth looking silly, right?

The last time I tried Body Combat was 10 years ago. I was horrifically unfit and halfway into the class, I wanted to curl over and puke. But this time I am much fitter, so I manage to keep up pretty well.

I go at it pretty hard. There’s no point in doing weak pathetic punches, so I try to give my punches some power.

My coordination is so bad though!

Geez I’m terrible at the steps, the fancy foot work and trying to remember the routines.

I managed to PUNCH MYSELF IN THE FACE during the class! Who does that?!

Right jab, left jab, right jab, left hook, right hook, left upper-cut, right upper-cut… TRICKY RIGHT?

I got my right upper-cut mixed up with a right hook, so I klonked myself in the cheek.

I stood there for a moment, imaging cartoon stars coming out of my left ear.

I’m sure the instructor saw me.

Then I spent the rest of the class trying not to laugh.. at MYSELF!

I guess I need to practice my WAX ON and WAX OFF technique :P


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Cross Country Running

15 June 2014

Cross Country Run

I had a beautiful morning run with my big boys this weekend.

We’re exploring our own cross country running route!


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Netball Diaries

18 March 2014

Netball

Last November (four months ago) I started playing NETBALL for the first time in FOREVER.

I used to play in primary school, and I was pretty good. That is, until everyone else hit puberty first and started to GROW TALLER – then I had no chance. In a matter of months I was dropped from the Division A Team (The cream of the crop! All the cool girls!) and plonked in the Division C Team (with all the book nerds…). Sigh, there went my dreams for a top class netball career. Haha just kidding.

So a couple of months ago a bunch of girlfriends asked me if I’d like to play netball with them. They were all beginner level players and just wanted to get together for fitness and fun. I had just spent nine months of cycling training towards a “Cycling 100km for Charity” event, which, I have to be honest, is a very male dominated sport… so I thought WHY THE HELL NOT, I need some SPORTY GIRL TIME.

So that’s how I found myself standing on a netball court, totally clueless and totally petrified on my first netball game in a gazillion years.

I haven’t mentioned anything about my netball adventures on my blog prior to this, because the only thing I had to say back then was:

“I’m short. I’m crap. I have no ball skills. I don’t know how to play in a team. I can’t remember the rules. My arms are weak. I can’t throw. I have no sense of balance or personal space. I have to play against someone? I’m not very good at being aggressive. I don’t like aggressive players. Why are they standing so close to me? I have to jump and throw at the same time? Oh god the coordination requirements are beyond me! OMG I have to cut my fingernails before I play?!?!”

But you know what? I really enjoyed it. My brain loved it.

Even though I was sooo crap at playing netball…. each week, my brain felt like it was growing bigger. It was making new connections and new pathways. The game was so fast paced that literally every 10 seconds, there was a brand new situation in front of me that I had to solve and make my body respond accordingly. It was SO different to cycling, running, weight training and pump classes. It was awesome.

Now?

It’s four months later and I LOOOOVE my weekly netball games.

It’s such a great workout, such a fun thing to do with my group of girlfriends, and it makes me feel awesome. Yay for team sports.

OH and one week I was actually chosen (by the umpires) as the Best Player on the Court!! I was so so so proud of myself!! I zoomed home and squealed at my husband and kids! They thought I was a bit crazy, but they were happy for me because I was beaming!

I have improved a lot over the months. I’m a bit obsessed about it now. I’ve been watching Olympic netball videos, training videos and reading coaching tips online. I’m very motivated to run more during the week, to work on my core and upper body strength… just so I can play better netball hehe.

I even train in the house at night, standing in front of the TV, by jumping up to see if I can touch the ceiling… and I can now! A bit distracting for hubby though.

So here’s to learning something new, working at it bit by bit and totally smashing it!!

Hope you all have a fantastic week!


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Running on Empty

25 January 2014

Over the Christmas and New Year break, I fell off the exercise wagon. Again!

I had sporadic bursts of exercise here and there, driven by all my pigging-out and over-eating, but I didn’t have a routine. So finally, I’m now very keen to hit my new year running and exercise targets.

I’ve been waking up around 6am to get a run in before the rest of my family gets up, and to avoid the heat of the day. Usually I eat a small breakfast of fruit and muesli, brush my teeth, put on suncream, drink a glass of water and have half a cup of tea before my run. My runs only ever take me 30-40 minutes. But I’ve found it to be a bit problematic, because I feel sluggish in my tummy, and I have a heaviness in my bladder and a that irritating feeling of possibly needing to pee soon.

6km run - 5:30am

TODAY I decided to do something different.

I literally stumbled out of bed at 5:30am… put on my running clothes, drank half a glass of water, ate one sugar lolly and ran out the door. THAT’S IT!

I felt really stiff, I had a few pangs in my joints and I was so irritated that I hadn’t brushed my teeth and that my breath smelt bad, ugh.

But after I ran about 3kms, I suddenly felt brilliant.

I felt magically fluid and oiled and full of energy and power.

I ran 6km with ease. It was the longest distance I’ve ever run (without resting). I wasn’t hungry or thirsty. I felt sooooo goood. I was really surprised. I think I could have kept going but I needed to get home and get ready for my day.

I’m aiming for 10kms!

Follow me on instagram if you’d like to keep tabs on my exercise adventures – @karenlycheng


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Ride to Conquer Cancer 2013 – Two Days of Sweat and Tears

10 November 2013

A few weeks ago, I took part in an amazing charity event, The Ride to Conquer Cancer. We cycled 220kms over two days and raised funds for cancer research.

1336 riders took part in the event, and in total we raised an incredible $5.2 million dollars!!

For my own fundraising efforts, I raised $8,350 with the help of friends, family, my community and my wonderful blog readers – thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2013

So this is me at the start line. I woke up at 4am and was all geared up and ready to go by 6:30am.

I was feeling relieved that the day had finally arrived. I was happy and excited to be part of such a significant event. I was proud of myself for doing something so worthwhile. And I was emotional and humbled by the touching speeches. The organisers pushed a rider-less bike through the crowd to symbolise all those lost to cancer… and seeing that empty bike being wheeled towards the start line made tears well up in my eyes.

We set off at 7am.

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2013

About an hour in, my riding buddy had a flat tyre! She rode over some broken glass and we had to pull over on the side of the road.

Oh man, I felt so bad for her. If that were me, I would have been in a fumbling mess… and would have lost all my confidence in riding the rest of the way. But instead, I joked around to calm her/our nerves.

Thankfully, a volunteer bike technician arrived in 3 minutes. He fixed the tyre, pumped it up and we were off again in less than 10 minutes! Amazing!

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2013

THEN. The weather hit us.

Look at the storms clouds rolling towards us! The wind was strong. The rain poured. It was cold. It was a pretty miserable day to be riding.

Riding INTO the wind was difficult. It was bloody hard work! I struggled. I was in pain. It honestly felt like 5 hours of agony.

I wanted to cry and give up. My shoes were filled with water, my arms were shaking from the cold, my muscles were screaming in pain… and there was a moment where I thought to myself – WHY THE HELL AM I DOING THIS??!

But then… I’d see a rider pass me, with a yellow flag tied to his bike, indicating that he was a cancer survivor. Yup he was here on his bike too, struggling with the wind and rain, just like I was. Then another yellow flag would pass me. And another.

And yep, it put my own struggles into perspective.

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2013

This is me, with my new attitude. Just cheer the hell up and enjoy the ride Karen!

There was so much rain and wind, that it was almost comical.

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2013

I managed to finish the first day’s ride with a smile on my face. I rode 103km.

Man that was hard. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done in my life.

I wasn’t very talkative that evening. I just wanted to have a hot shower, get changed into some dry clothes, put on some dry socks, eat some hot food, then go to bed.

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2013

I was a little worried that other people’s snoring would keep me awake.

But there was so much rain throughout the night, that the sound of rain drowned out all the snoring. I slept very well!

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2013

The next morning, the sun was shining! HOORAY!

But it was cold – I think it was 6°C or something.

I went to collect my bike from the bike racks and I felt – surprisingly – excited!

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2013

Me again. All rugged up and ready to go!

The weather warmed up and the day turned out to be sunny and spectacular. It was perfect riding weather.

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2013

My poor riding buddy had ANOTHER flat!

Same tyre.

On the last 20kms of the ride, I took it easy and enjoyed the ride to the finish line.

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2013

WOOHOO I DID IT!!!

No words can describe the feeling when you choose to do something really difficult and you conquer it.

I know that I did this charity ride last year. But this time around, it was definitely much harder for me, because I was not as fit as I was last year. I had a few tears in my eyes the moment I crossed that finish line. It was hard work and I did it.

And just like when you watch a movie a second time around, I was much more aware of the little details… the people, the stories and the purpose… it really brought the whole experience to life. And I was so much more thankful for that.

I really want to thank the organisers, the volunteers, the riders, my team, and everyone who donated to this wonderful cause.

Thank to you, my readers, for following and supporting me on this journey!

xxx


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The Biggest Rainbow Vomit Ever…

3 November 2013

The Color Prun Perth 2013

I attended The Color Run with a bunch of girlfriends this weekend!

If you haven’t heard about it, it’s a 5km run… where you just have a fun time getting covered in colour. It’s not a race and it’s not actually about running.

There were THOUSANDS of people at the event, children of all ages, scooters, prams, even wheelchairs… so there wasn’t much running happening. It was more of a walk :)

Along the 5km course, there are different colour stations, where coloured powder-dust is thrown at you. The event volunteers (who are throwing the colour) try to aim at your white clothes, but the dust just goes everywhere – your face, hair, ears, arms, legs, shoes.

Everyone was very keen to get completely covered in colour, so by the end, some people were rolling on the ground and sliding around in the coloured dust. It was crazy and fun!

The Color Prun Perth 2013

I took these photos approaching the end of the event: coming up to the finish line and at the concert – where the organisers got everyone to throw their packets of colour into the air. It looked awesome!

I stood back to take these photos, because I didn’t want my phone camera to get stained or clogged with the colour dust.

The Color Prun Perth 2013

This was me, covered in colour and dancing away in front of the stage :)

Yes I had a great time!

After I took this photo, someone nearby threw a packet of dark green dust in the air. So I had dark green colour on my face, which outlined my sunglasses, so I looked like I had green eye bags, nice! I had also wiped under my nose and gave myself a purple moustache! And I had orange hair!

By the end of it, I had an old-lady moment, where I looked at myself, completely covered with dusty colour… and I felt really irritated and precious, “Ugh, what am I doing here?! I don’t actually like getting dirty! I’m disgusting! Now I have to go clean myself!” Haha.

Anyway… overall, the whole event had a really fun and happy vibe. It was great for kids too.

Would I recommend the event? Yes. But get a big bunch of friends, get dressed up in some silly outfits (crazy coloured socks and tu-tus) and really get into the colour craziness and dancing – while raising money for charity.

xxx


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Ready. Set. Go!!!

18 October 2013

Ride to Conquer Cancer
TOMORROW is my big 200km fundraising ride everyone!

Eeeek I’m super-duper excited!

I’ll be heading to bed early tonight, to wake up at 4am, to be at the starting line at 5am.

Please follow me on Instagram @karenlycheng and I’ll be posting my pics throughout the weekend.

Please head over here to donate towards my cause, if you haven’t already *wink wink nudge nudge*

See you on the other side of the weekend!!

xxx


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This is Why

14 October 2013

This is the hand print of my youngest son.

Handprint

On the weekend, I went out for my final training ride… before my 200km Ride To Conquer Cancer fundraiser.

I returned home in the afternoon and found my husband and my three boys in the backyard, happily doing odd jobs in the garden, and generally messing around in the cool, spring sunshine.

The youngest of my children is Liam, who is 4.5 years old. He was making a huge mess with crunched up blue chalk and a puddle of water, and he proudly showed me how he was making hand prints all over the paving in the backyard.

I was very struck by his hand print.  Because on my long, quiet ride, I was thinking about WHY I am raising funds for cancer research.

His hand print said, “I am here! I am alive!”

My son  and I, and my whole family, are so FULL of life.

We are doing stuff. Loving, eating, arguing, questioning, explaining, playing, laughing, growing older and wiser. And we can do all of this because we have such good health. This is what life is about. Being. Being together, and having a new opportunity to have more BEING each new day.

My husband has almost died of cancer twice, and survived each time only because of the research that had been done into cancer treatments. He and my family are BEING each day because of that research.

So… This is WHY I am riding.

This is my hand print on the world. I am saying to the universe… ” I am alive, and thank you for that!”

And I know that the money that you and I have raised is going to help some mum, dad, son or daughter, keep on BEING somewhere, sometime in the future.

My ride is this weekend (5 more days!)!

You can still make your own gift to the cause here.

Thanks so much!


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Getting Lost. On Purpose.

1 October 2013

A few weeks ago, I joined a cycling group to do a 50km training ride along the beach!

Beach Ride, Cottesloe

This is me looking all fresh and energetic at 6:30am!

We started at Port Beach (North Fremantle), made our way up the coast, past Cottesloe Beach to Scarbourough Beach, and then back down again.

We didn’t ride ON the beach. Just along the paths… sort of.

See, I thought we would be doing more “path riding” beside the beach. I thought we’d be able to look out to where the big blue ocean meets the big blue sky and smell the salt and sand.

But instead, we just rode on the roads. Bleh.

I did not enjoy riding along the large highway. Yes, there was a dedicated bike path next to the car lanes.

But there were just SO MANY trucks and cars zooming by at 60-70km/hr. And they were like 1m away from me? Sometimes less?! Yes I know this is normal road riding. But I was really, really frazzled. I was grinding my teeth with stress the whole way. I wasn’t used to it. I couldn’t think straight. I was bound to do something stupid and get hurt. I didn’t like it.

Beach Ride, Cottesloe

So… I was riding with a friend and she and I decided to TOSS OUR MAP – to hell with the planned cycling route!

We decided to “get lost” and take the scenic route home haha.

Yep, we rode along the glorious view of the ocean and followed the path back to the finish line.

We even stopped to take a selfie at Cottesloe Beach!

Unfortunately, the path was FULL of pedestrians, runners, walkers, dogs, kids on bikes, parents pushing prams… so we had to ride reeeeeeaaallly slow to dodge them all.

We thought that we would be the LAST ones to arrive at the finish line! Thankfully we weren’t.

In fact, we felt a little embarrassed, because the whole cycling group seemed to have a lot of “serious cyclists”… and here WE were having a Sunday toodle on our bikes! Tsk tsk.

Beach Ride, Cottesloe

And to add further embarrassment, the organisers of the ride put on an incredible hot buffet breakfast for everyone’s hard work! Omg!

My friend and I are used to riding 85-100km each weekend… and it turned out that we only rode 35km in total (because we “got lost” right?) and we didn’t even feel tired, or sore, or that we had any kind of significant workout, OR that we even deserved all the free calories!

HAHA!

We were the joke of the table but we thoroughly enjoyed the cycling banter :)

Anyway, this ride was in preparation for my big 200km fundraising ride!

It’s in TWO weeks, and I was wondering if you’d like to support my ride?

Donate on my fundraising page here

Donate any amount you feel you can – $20, $50, $100, $500, $1000! You can leave a public message, or a personal message to me, or just do it anonymously. And you get a receipt, so you can claim this against your tax.

And if you’re interested, you can read the rest of my Fundraising Cycling Stories here.

Thanks so much!

xxx


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Training Up For 200kms of Cycling

15 September 2013

With FIVE more weeks until my big 200km fundraising ride… I thought I should get back on my bike and start covering some serious distances!

So I met up with my cycling group and we rode 85kms in one morning.

Sounds really impressive, but I was SOOOOOOOO SLOW.

It was really embarrassing. It was not an impressive effort at all.

See, I was trying to pace myself. I haven’t been on my bike for a couple of weeks, I didn’t want any muscle injuries and I wanted to do the whole “Slow and Steady Wins The Race” thing. You know, like a tortoise?

Having said that… this particular day was really, REALLY WINDY. Perth has been experiencing weeks of rain, stormy conditions and winds between 30-50km/h.

I rode painfully and shockingly slow for 43kms… heading into a strong wind.

At some points I was riding 10km per hour! *Cringe*

Each down stroke of my pedal was really hard work, making my leg muscles burn. Imagine doing that for 2 hours straight :P

But once we turned around… the wind was behind us, pushing us along… and I was *flying* on my bike. It was awesome!

I was cruising along, with hardly any effort at all at 38km/hr… it was fuuuuuun :)

It kind of made all the hard work worth it.

Bike Path on a Windy Day

This is the lovely bike path that leads straight from Murdoch Train Station to Paganoni Road (slightly north of Mandurah). 43kms of flat, straight paths. Effortless right?

Oh and I did something really stupid!

The night before my ride, I adjusted my seat – just down a little tiny bit. I have a bottle carrier mounted on the base of my seat, and so I adjusted that too.

And I did these adjustments IN THE DARK. Which yes, is just genius.

So at the start of my ride, I felt that I was going really slow. Unusually slow. I was pushing and pushing my pedals with so much effort. I thought the resistance was from the strong winds and that my legs were out of practice.

It turned out that the bottom of my bottle was pressed against my tires… and acting like a brake!

My tires were wearing out the bottom of my water bottle!

It was only until one of my team mates noticed my leaking water bottle – that I realised what was happening.

Leaking Bottle

Look at that!

The bottom of the bottle was worn through in three places, because I shifted it around two or three times while riding.

Geez, I felt so stupid :P

OK that aside, I was wondering if you’d like to support my ride?

Donate on my fundraising page here

Donate any amount you feel you can – $20, $50, $100, $500, $1000! You can leave a public message, or a personal message to me, or just do it anonymously. And you get a receipt, so you can claim this against your tax.

And if you’re interested, you can read the rest of my Fundraising Cycling Stories here.

Thanks so much!

xxx


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My First 5km Run

3 September 2013

My First 5km Run!

Wooot on the weekend I FINALLY ran my first 5kms!!

5kms of constant running! I’m so insanely happy!

I had been stuck on 3km distances for the longest time. And I was kind of thinking that maybe I wasn’t made for running? That maybe I should just give up and stick to cycling?

Anyway, it was really cool to discover that I could do it.

And apparently my time was pretty good too. Yay!

Here’s to setting small goals and taking baby-steps :)

Now to try 8kms!


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Oh I How I Love Pain in the Rain

29 July 2013

The week I was away on holiday, I ate with absolutely no restraints.

I couldn’t help myself. It was Singapore. The food was so good. And it was everywhere.

I threw my healthy eating regime out the window and just enjoyed myself. That’s what holidays are for right?

Chicken curry and roti prata for BREAKFAST? Yes please.

Char kway teow with cockles, Hainanese chicken rice, prawn noodles, chicken porridge with yu char kway – all before dinner? Hell why not.

But after 5 days of it, I started to feel edgy.

I was dreaming of steamed broccoli and green beans!!

I was itching to jump back onto my bike and feel a bit of pain.

Freeway Ride

So yesterday morning, I rode 85 kms.

It hurt like hell. My legs were burning. My bottom was hurting. My whole body was aching and throbbing.

The last 20kms were the hardest. It started to rain. The wind picked up. I needed to pee. I rode slower and slower. Every down stroke of each pedal was agonising.

And I was so far behind my group (as you can tell from the photo).

All I wanted to do was to STOP AND LIE DOWN IN THE SAND!

But I just sucked it up… and cursed and swore until I reached the end… the cafe and toilets.

On hindsight, it wasn’t that bad.

The rain was nice. And the pain was better.


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Back at it

11 July 2013

Oh man, it’s been weeks since I’ve gone for a bike ride.

My running programme has pretty much stopped. And I’ve been to the gym ONCE in 2 weeks.

No I haven’t been sick.

I’ve just been really busy with work… blog projects, proposals, emails, invoicing, backend coding, meetings, photography, editing. It’s 24/7 and it’s the reality of running a small business.

Oh and the weather has been so cold! I walk around wearing 3 layers… stressed, cold, busy, distracted, with a zillion things to do, with chipped nail polish, mountains of laundry to fold, kids fighting and bored on the school holidays… and I’ve totally lost ALL my motivation to exercise.

Even my eating has gone haywire!

And let me tell you, when I eat badly I get hell cranky and shitty.

I hit an emotional wall last week, and I slowly emerged from my train wreck… resolved that I couldn’t change the world before the weekend, by myself.

I accepted that I should stop hating myself and just take a few baby steps in the right direction. Towards the place where I want to be.

I asked my husband for a bit of help. He came home from work early. He took over the home duties, while I dusted the cobwebs off my bike.

Perth City Ride 30km

I rode to the city and around the river. Slow and gentle. The clear winter skies were beautiful. The air was so crisp and cool.

I pushed myself until my distance ticked over 30kms. My legs didn’t hurt. At all. Suddenly I felt good. My body remembered how to do this.

Poached Eggs

Once home, I had a hot shower and made myself a snack.

I made poached eggs on a pile of steamed spinach and lettuce. Just like what I used eat.

I took the time to poach the eggs. Slowly. Just like how I used to do it.

As I carefully sliced open my eggs and watched the perfect yolk ooze out onto the deep green vegetables, I smiled and found my happy place again. In the simple details of life.

I remembered just how different life can feel… by slowing down.

To Stop. And smell the egg yolks, in my case.


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YEEHAA I’m Cycling and Fundraising Again!

3 July 2013

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2012

That’s right – I’m going to ride 200km over 2 days to raise money to find a cure for cancer.

Again!

Last year, with the amazing love and generosity from my incredible supporters, we raised a total of $17,160 and I was ranked 12th highest individual fund raiser and given the title of Silver Ambassador! Truly an honour for such an important cause.

So why am I doing this again?

1) It was such a fantastic experience – that I want to do it again.

2) It is a worthy cause. I know there are thousands of charities out there… but I feel a deep resonance towards the West Australian Institute of Medical Research. They are an established and large team of scientists in my home town, doing internationally recognised cancer research… and all the money raised will go directly towards their actual research and projects, which will help everyone around the world.

3) I love cycling. I enjoy keeping fit, staying healthy and having a big fitness goal!

4) I want to make a difference. I want to do something significant. I want to use my voice and my blog to get behind something bigger than me. My husband is alive, and my children have their father, because of cancer research that was done decades ago, and now there is so much more work to be done to find more cures and improve treatments.

So… I would love for you to dig deep and support my ride!

Pretty Please?!

(It’s my birthday tomorrow!!)

Donate on my fundraising page here

Donate any amount you feel you can – $20, $50, $100, $500, $1000! You can leave a public message, or a personal message to me, or just do it anonymously. And you get a receipt, so you can claim this against your tax.

And if you’re interested, you can read the rest of my Fundraising Cycling Stories here.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

xxx


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Off-Road Running

4 June 2013

Hi there! I’m back!

We went away for the weekend and we stayed in Dunsborough with 7 other families. It was so much fun, very relaxing and just lovely to get away from our routine for a bit.

Off Road Running

One morning, a friend of mine took us running on some off-road tracks – and I enjoyed it soooo much!

Until now, I’ve only ever run on roads, paths, grass and beaches, which are all very open and spacious. I can see for miles ahead and all around me.

But these bush tracks were mostly surrounded and enclosed by trees. And it was like a 1 metre wide tunnel, winding through a thick bush. Like a 3D maze. The trees and shrubs soaked up all the noises around me. The sounds of the world were all hushed and quiet. My footsteps on the ground were muffled. It was quite magical.

Sometimes the tracks would open up towards the beach… and I found myself running along a top of a hill, looking down onto the ocean.

Other times the trees were so high, that I felt like I was running through a forest.

Off Road Running

Most of the track was compacted flat, but there were still a lot of uneven ground and rocks everywhere. Very often the track just turned into a rocky mess (pictured here)… and I had to soften my steps and kind of “dance” across the rocky ground… without twisting my ankle and hurting my knees, of course.

I found it so interesting. With all the inclines, declines, uneven ground, loose rocks, the always changing scenery, the gorgeous sounds of the bush – it was really challenging and such awesome fun.

I’m so inspired by the experience, that I might even try mountain biking now :)

All up – I ran slowly (with a bit of walking and no stops) for about 4kms.


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Mixing Fitness With Motherhood

17 May 2013

I have not been cycling for a few weeks now. It’s driving me a bit crazy, but with my mummy duties and my work piling up, lots of family and social activities on the weekend, my children’s sporting commitments… it’s been tricky for me to find 3-4 hours for myself. I’m not complaining though, because…

I’ve dived head first into running!

It’s just so easy to put my kids on bikes and go to the park.

I run while they ride. They think it’s a game. Or a race.

Sometimes they like to run WITH me. Which is a bit humiliating for me, because both my 10 and 8 year old can run faster than me.

Liam May 2013

My 4 year old also likes to scoot alongside me, shouting “RUN FASTER MUUUM!!!”. On the downhill paths, he purposely scoots faster and ahead of me, lifting up one leg like a ballerina and gives me the cheekiest smiles. It’s so cute. Like I have my own cheerleader who keeps up with me. Who happens to be 4 year old.

Right now I can go the distance of 2km, running only, with no stops. Not very much, but hey, it was better than when I started at 200m!

I like to keep my older kids updated on how far and long I can run before I “crash and burn”… and each time it’s a little bit further and longer. On one hand I do this to show off (I have to tell somebody ok!) and on the other hand, I want them to understand that if they want to see results, all they have to do is practice a little bit, day by day.

I think they get it. They are very sweet and kind towards me and give me lots of encouragement.

I also tell them that one day we’ll ALL run a marathon together, and they like that idea a lot.

But not as much as I do :)


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Road Testing Dove Pure Deodorant – By Sweating Like A Pig!

5 April 2013

I have definitely been bitten by a fitness bug :)

I cycle once a week and I go to the gym twice a week (for an hour). I’ve been in this routine for about a year now.

And this month I’ve started to RUN – for the first time in a looooong time. I’m trying to schedule in 3 to 4 short runs in a week.

I am also climbing stairs! Lots of them! It’s fun. And a bit painful.

But I love it. And I love how I feel after a good workout!

Exhausted after my run

This is me, completely pooped after an embarrassingly short run around the block.

I’m sitting on my kitchen floor, sweating like crazy, my legs are jelly and my shoulders are aching.

Ok yes I’m glowing with endorphins.

But I’m dying for a shower (because I smell so baaad) and I wish someone would cook me an omelette, make me a cup of coffee and massage my shoulders :P

Anyway, I found it such a delight that I have been asked to test out a brand new deodorant by Dove.

I mean, HOW DO THEY KNOW THAT I SMELL SO BAD?!

Dove Pure Deodorant

Dove has recently launched a new deodorant, called Dove Pure.

It has no parabens, no colourants, no ethyl alcohol and ZERO fragrance.

No smell whatsoever? That’s a new concept for me.

It strives to be a simple, yet effective deodorant containing only the essential ingredients, leaving out the unnecessary stuff that might cause irritation and itchiness.

It also claims to have long lasting sweat protection (so you feel dry all day) and it has a touch of moisturiser in it, to keep your skin healthy.

It sounds great so far, but I’ll be testing it out for a week – throughout my cycling, running and stair climbing, as well as general walking around and just being stinky old me.

I’ll let you know how I go!

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

(This post is sponsored by Nuffnang)


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Stepping Up For A Bum Of Steel

31 March 2013

I’ve been cycling regularly for a few years now and it’s my main form of cardio and aerobic exercise.

However, I suspected that my muscles were getting a little lazy and programed to just work in one way…. so I’ve thrown something a little different into my mix: RUNNING.

On my first running attempt, I walked out of my house and ran down the footpath headed towards my local park. It was only 200m, I was running at a good pace, and it took me less than 2 minutes (I think) to get to the park, but I was sooooo exhausted! My brains were about to explode, my legs were jelly, my ankles felt swollen, and I was literally about to collapse! I was stopped by the side of the road, bent over, holding my knees, red-faced, huffing and puffing… and LAUGHING!

I thought to myself – OMG this is soooo hard! I cycled 70kms a few days ago! I’m supposed to be quite fit?! How can I not be able to run?! This is absurd!

So everyday now, when my husband comes home from work in the evening, I steal 30 minutes away for a quick run. Er, it’s actually more like a “walk around the park”, with a bit of running here and there.

But you know what? I love pushing myself. And then discovering (very quickly the next day!) that I can run for longer distances and for longer amounts of time. And it doesn’t hurt so much anymore.

It’s been 5 days, and I can now run the 200m without any pain in my legs or any exhaustion whatsoever. In fact, I don’t think my heart rate goes up very much now.

Baby steps towards my first 5km run!

Speaking of steps… my girlfriend and I met up to give Jacob’s Ladder a go :)

Jacob's Ladder Perth

Jacob’s Ladder is set of steps at Kings Park – famous in Perth to runners, trainers and general fit people.

There are 242 steps, literally on the side of the 45m cliff. They were first built in the early 1900s as wooden steps, and they were replaced by concrete steps in the 1960s.

On the weekends, it’s a really popular spot for people wanting a kick ass workout.

Jacob's Ladder Perth

The view at the top of Jacob’s Ladder (Cliff Street) is pretty amazing too. You can stand at the top and look out over the Swan River and Perth city.

Kings Park is one of my favourite places to exercise – mainly because of the sweeping views, the lovely parks, the smooth road (with few cars) and the hills (for cycling).

Bike and Pink Shoes

I decided to cycle into Kings Park.

Cycle then climb some steps! Hey I was up for a challenge!

I wore my cycling shorts, with a running top and running shoes. I felt really dorky on my bike. I felt completely mismatched.

Not to mention, I was wearing my cycling pants (which are heavily padded!), while climbing the stairs, so I was feeling really, really dorky! Like a waddling duck with a big puffy bum!

My girlfriend and I were both Jacob’s Ladder virgins. We’ve never done it before. We were a bit scared. But we gave it a good go.

First round: We walked down and up Jacob’s Ladder really slowly.

Second round: Ran all the way down and up. I got stuck behind some people who were walking it… which was a good thing, because I was getting a bit sore.

Third time: I ran down and up again. This time faster, and I dodged the walking people. I was really sore, my legs were burning and I was out of breath at the end.

However, after I walked around a bit, I felt fine. I cycled around the Kings Park hills a few times, before heading home.

All up, I cycled 40kms and did 3 rounds of the ladder. Yay!

Next time no more puffy bum pants! Look out for my bum of steel!


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Riding my bike on the FREEWAY!

24 March 2013

This morning I woke up at 4am to participate in the RAC Freeway Bike Hike for Asthma :)

It was a huge cycling event where the South-bound freeway was closed off and 10,000 cyclists rode distances of 10km, 30kms and 70kms.

I rode the 70kms distance, starting at Mandurah and riding all the way into the city. It was my first time doing this event and I was super keen to do this ride – particularly because I’ve always wanted to ride on the FREEWAY!

RAC Freeway Bike Hike 2013

As I said, I woke up at 4am… then I had a hot shower (because I’m precious ok?). I gathered my things and made my way to a Southern train station to catch the 5:45am train to Mandurah.

RAC Freeway Bike Hike 2013

Unfortunately there were a few hold ups. The trains were running a bit late because of the sheer number of cyclists.

We stood on the crowded platform for 1 hour. It was soooo cold (14°C I think). Everyone else seemed so big, buff and stoic in their skin tight, short-sleeve lycra tops and little cycle shorts. But my teeth were chattering and my hands were shaking. I had to walk around to stop my body from shaking.

Eventually the train arrived. Everyone seemed to know HOW to fit hundreds of cyclists into a 4 car train carriage. I just went with the flow.

RAC Freeway Bike Hike 2013

Everyone lifted their bikes to a vertical position, and wheeled them in slowly, while shuffling along clumsily, as if they were negotiating a baby pet giraffe.

We all sat there, crammed together, shoulder-to-fricking-shoulder, holding our vertical bikes between our legs. We were so close and tightly packed, that I wondered what would happen if the bikes fell like dominoes.

My handlebars were bumping into my head. My bike saddle was pushing into my chest. And my water bottle was dripping onto my shoe. It was a really strange moment.

However I thought that the bikes made a beautiful pattern, like a woven wheel herringbone.

We arrived at our destination.

Word got around that the start time was going to be a little later than planned, because of the train delays. So I zipped off for a quick toilet stop. Unfortunately, about 50 people had the same idea.

I joined the queue to the women’s toilets… and I noticed – for the first time EVER – that the queue for the MEN’S TOILETS was longer than the queue for the women’s toilets.

RAC Freeway Bike Hike 2013

The ride went off smoothly. And I had an AMAZING RIDE. It was just bloody brilliant :)

Flat, flat, FLAT, super smooth roads for 70kms straight!! The weather ended up to be perfect (29°C), and there was a light breeze coming up behind us, pushing us along. It was one of the nicest rides I’ve had, to date.

I didn’t ride in a group this time. I wanted to cruise along at my own speed, as I hadn’t really trained up for doing 70kms in one go, and I wasn’t sure how fast or hard I wanted to push myself. Besides, I enjoy riding by myself. And I did join some strangers and chatted to a few people during the ride, so it was a lovely balance.

At one point I rode 15-20kms cruising at 28-32kms/hour… which is the longest I’ve ridden at that speed. So I was pretty happy.

I cycled 60kms straight without stopping once (have never done that before). I stopped for 2 minutes to get a water bottle refilled and to adjust my bike computer. And finished the last 10kms with ease.

RAC Freeway Bike Hike 2013

As I approached the finish line, I felt so pleased!

I rested up, ate some food, enjoyed the sunshine, then instead of riding home, I caught the train again haha.

I wanted to do it all over again next week :)  Unfortunately, the government only makes the freeway available ONCE a year.

So, I’ll definitely be doing it next year, maybe with a group.

The event raised an estimated $150,000 for the Asthma Foundation WA – very cool!


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Cycling Like a Normal Person

27 December 2012

Cycling like a normal person

This morning I woke up early in the morning and took my 3yo out for a little bike ride to the river.

I rode on my old, rusty, 20kg mountain bike, with a 13kg kid sitting in the child seat. I wore my old Converse Chucks, dirty black skinny jeans and I carried a backpack full of preschooler snacks and bottled water.

I looked like a normal person on a bike, with a kid.

But 20 minutes of THIS KIND OF CYCLING – holy crap I almost freaking DIED FROM PAIN!!!

The bike was so heavy, my muscles were screaming in pain, my heart rate was off the charts, and I almost fainted from dizziness!

To think that (only 12 weeks ago!) I used to cycle 100km distances in ONE MORNING!! And still have enough energy for the rest of the day to go for a short run, maybe a swim at the beach, do some gardening, manage the children, and then cook and host an entire dinner party!

Sheesh.

I hope to be back on my bike in the new year and start getting fitter again!

(Oh and there’s a lot to be said for carbon frame road bikes people.)


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Keeping Fit, This Is How I Roll (And Win a $100 Athlete’s Foot Gift Card)

26 November 2012

Last week, I wrote about how I went to have my feet professionally fitted for proper running shoes at The Athlete’s Foot.

I walked out with a pair of shoes and spent the week testing them out.

This week, I’m sharing a bit about my new fitness adventures and I’m also giving away a $100 Athlete’s Foot Gift Voucher to one of my readers! Scroll down for details.

Asics Pink Shoes

Here they are! My pair of bright pink ASICS Gel-Nimbus 14.

So – with my new shoes – this has been my exercise regime for the last week.

• Every day, after I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is put on my work-out clothes and my sneakers. I think it is a fantastic habit for me, because it puts me in the mood to be active and energetic for the rest of the day.

• If I’m organised enough, I will go for a quick run in the morning.

But I usually have to wrangle my three children in the mornings – get them breakfast, make their school lunches, make sure the kids are packed to go to school, and then organise myself for my own day.

So usually, I am not organized enough for a morning run.

• If I didn’t get out for an early morning run, I’ll walk my big children to school, while my little boy sits in a jogger pram.

Then I’ll run home while pushing the pram. My boy loves it and shouts “GO FASTER MUM!”.

• If I wasn’t organised enough for either a morning run or a walk to school, I would go to the gym in the mid-morning, while my little boy is in the crèche.

At the gym, I love my “Pump” and “Combat” classes.

And I have been totally addicted to all the pin-loaded strength machines (not sure what they all are actually called).

• In the afternoon, I try to walk/run to pick up my children from school.

• After school, I usually hang out with my kids in the park or in the street. I’ll go for a short run with them, play tennis on the street with them, or kick a soccer ball around.

• (Oh I also cycle about 50km each weekend to keep myself fit. But I don’t wear my running shoes while I cycle, in case I get them dirty from all the oil and grease from the bike chain).

Basically, I have practically lived in my new shoes for the last week!

The shoes are comfortable, lightweight, extremely breathable and supportive. I’m also confident that I’m not damaging my feet, knees, or back when I run.

I wanted to take a photo of myself wearing my shoes at the gym after a work out (for this blog post). So after a huge cardio and strength session, I noticed that the gym was really quiet. I tried to take a photo on my mobile phone in the gym mirror. But omg it was such a bad photo – the mirror had sweaty palm prints on it, yuck!

Instead I went home, powdered my face and voila – here’s me showing off my shoes, my arms and abs in progress and if you look closely enough, my stretch marks haha.

Asics Pink Shoes

And so, now to the giveaway!

WIN A $100 ATHLETE’S FOOT GIFT VOUCHER

-This competition is now closed! -

Send an email to me at athletesfoot@karencheng.com.au

Include these 4 things:
1) Title/ Subject your email “Show me the shoes!”
2) Full name
3) Email address
4) Tell me (in no more than 100 words) – What do you do to keep fit?

Who can enter:
Unfortunately, the competition is only open to Australian residents over the age of 14. Sorry to everyone else.

Competition Ends:
Competition runs for 15 days and closes: Monday 10 December 2012, 5pm AEST

See the full Terms and Conditions here.

Good luck everyone! Work hard, tone up and stay lean!

xxx


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Recharging On The Fly

16 November 2012

These last few weeks have been awesome.

I think have hit a fantastic balance of being busy, productive and professionally challenged… while juggling my mummy duties, my wifey duties, and lots of personal projects and appointments (dentist, gardening, gym sessions and hanging out with my mum).

But what I find most amusing is that even my “Relax Time” is crammed into my schedule.

But hey, it works for me.

30 minutes of Relax Time starts now!

Cycle, Coffee, Fashion

And when it’s the weekend, this is how I relax.

A 50km cycle, a cup of damn fine coffee and a touch of fashion.

Makes for a happy Karen :)


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Dear Anonymous…

5 November 2012

Ride South Perth

…thank you so much for your donation! In fact there were 82 of you who donated anonymously towards my fundraising Ride to Conquer Cancer.

And also I want to thank these people… Adeline, Ai Ling, Alice, Alice E, Alice L, Amelia, Andrea, Andrew, Angel, Angela, Angelia, Anna, Anna L, Anna N, Annie, Anthony, April, Benjamin, Beverly, Brendon + Christine, Carmen, Catherine, Cecilia, Charmaine, Cher, Cherie, Cheryl, Chien Teng, Chin Chin, Chloe, Choy, CM, Cook Family, Corrine, Cynthia, David C, David S, Debbie, Denise T, Denise W, Diana, Diane, Don, Doris, Elaine, Elena, Eley Family, Eng, Evelyn, Felicia L, Felicia T, Felix + Loreen, Fifi, Fitri, Florence, Frances, Heather, Helen + Barry + Abby, Ho, Honey M, Honey T, Hong Xi, Howard, Hui Jee, Ian, Jaclyn, Jacqueline, James T, James W, Jamie, Janice, Jasmine, Jason, Jeffrey, Jen, Jenny, Joelle, John, Julian, Julie, JZ, Karen C, Karen L, Karen T, Karen W, Katherine, Kevin, Kim, Kimbra, Kinisimere, Kong Wen, Lada, Lawrence, Leong, Li, Li Mei, Lina, Lingzie, Lisa, Livia, Louise, Lynett, Lynn, M + M, Magdalene, Maggie, Marie E, Marie Y, Marna, Matthew, Mely, Michelle, Mindy, Ming Fen, Monica, Narelle, Nicolas + Diana, Nikki, Nurshida, Patricia, Patrick C, Patrick H, Pei Siong, Pei Xian, Peter H, Peter L, Phang, Phil + Aimee, Phillip, Polly, Preeta, Rachel, Rachel L, Rajinder, Randall, Rick, Rob, Roz, Ruth, S, Sandra, Sapphira, Sarah, Serene, Sharon, Shealyn, Sherry, Shio Peng, Sho Mae, Shujun, Siew Hui, Simone E, Soo Mei, Stacey B, Stacey N, Steven, Sue Cing, Suk Yen, Susan, Susanne, Tanith, T H, Urika, Vanessa, Veronika, Victoria, Wean Sin, Wei Li, Wen Keng, Wendy, Xin Li, Yang Ping, Yen, Ze, Zhi Lin… and a few others, including family and company names I can’t mention here for privacy reasons.

Some of you donated $5. Others donated $3000.

From the bottom of my heart, I really want to thank you all for your support.

By all giving whatever you gave, how ever much it was, you gave $16,910 under my name, and that was part of $4.6 million from the Perth Ride, and over $21 MILLION Australia wide, which goes to do cancer research that will make a difference GLOBALLY in years to come.

You should be so proud of yourself!


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The Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer – Perth 2012

29 October 2012

Last weekend, I rode 200km in two days.

As you might know, I have been preparing and training for this fundraising cycling event for the last 11 months and to have the moment FINALLY ARRIVE was both mind blowing and terrifying!

I spent the few days leading up to the event being very excited, nervous and unable to sleep. I even had cycling dreams! You know you’re a serious cyclist when you have cycling dreams haha.

The night before the event, I packed my bag, my sleeping bag, my tent mat, my bike and all my gear… I put everything into my car and I was all ready to go.

After that, I felt very calm and I was REALLY looking forward to the next day. A bit like Christmas really. Or like I was getting married next morning. THAT’S how excited I was. I went to bed at 8:30 pm.

The Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer - Perth 2012

The next morning, I woke up at 4am. I leapt out of bed in complete darkness, and went about getting ready.

I met my team mates at McCallum Park, just south of Perth City. The sun was rising over the river and there were hundreds of people with their bikes. There was pumping music, breakfast was being served, and there was an incredible buzz in the air.

I strolled through the crowd with a huge grin on my face – knowing we all were about to do something pretty damn cool.

The Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer - Perth 2012

At 6:30am it was time to shuffle into position for the opening ceremony.

It was announced that there were 1219 riders in total, raising an amazing $4.6 million! Holy cow!

There were a few inspirational speeches where one young lady shared her cancer story… which was so heart-wrenching and moving that I had tears streaming down my face. I looked around and saw that everyone else was sniffing and crying too.

It was such a powerful – yet unusual moment – because here I was, sitting on my bike, looking up at the rising sun, squished together with thousands of other people on their bikes, everyone was dressed up in yellow lycra, helmets and sunglasses, everyone was crying… and it was as if I could feel everyone’s heartbeat sharing this one resolve – we’re doing this to conquer cancer.

Phew. It was a heavy moment.

The Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer - Perth 2012

And off we went.

It was a slow start, because there were so many riders on the road.

We practically scooted our bikes over the start line… then for the first 3kms we were riding very slowly at 10km/hr. Everyone was finding their own pace and everyone was being courteous, careful and trying not to crash into each other.

After that the pace picked up and ahhh the ride was fantastic! There were so many people lined up along the roads cheering us on and waving flags and banners.

My group of 12 was split up because of all the traffic lights. But I stayed with a few people from my group and we rode leisurely at 25 – 28km/hr.

The Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer - Perth 2012

At the first 25km pit stop, the queue for the toilets was so loooooong.

However we were well looked after with free fruit, muesli bars, biscuits, water and electrolytes.

Our team gathered together again for a quick chat and soon we were back on our bikes.

There were a lot of instances when I was separated from my team mates again and I was riding with complete strangers. But that was fine, all the strangers seemed like friends, and we all just chatted merrily and enjoyed the ride.

I was actually really surprised by how many “non-serious” bike riders were participating. There was lots of people on hybrid bikes, mountain bikes, fixies (single gear bikes), and even cute, stylish bikes with baskets. Lots of people I chatted to, said they had never ridden further than 50kms in one go.

But hey – they were here, riding for a cause. And really, this was a ride not a RACE.

The Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer - Perth 2012

After another 25km, we stopped at the next pit stop for lunch. Chicken wraps never tasted so good!

We stopped for 40 minutes and on hind sight, I think we “rested” for too long.

Usually on our group training rides, we don’t stop for lunch. We don’t eat heavy foods, nor do we stop for such a long period of time.

So by now – sitting on the soft grass, in the warm sunshine for half an hour – my body was moving into sleepy, shut-down mode… and I needed a coffee pronto!

The Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer - Perth 2012

The weather was just brilliant.

Beautiful, big, bright, blue skies, warm sunshine, a gentle breeze.

And the road was just long, straight and flat!

The Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer - Perth 2012

This is Cheryl and I, riding along with big smiles!

I was wearing arm warmers (and these are the summer versions, called, sun sleeves) which are just like socks for your arms. They are SPF40+ and you’re supposed to wear them to protect your arms from the sun… but um, I was really hot, so I pushed them down and felt a bit like a rock star.

Also my husband drove himself and the kids down to meet me along the way. They stopped by the side of the road to wave, cheer, hoot and take photos of me as I rode past! Such sweeties!

The Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer - Perth 2012

I arrived at the camp grounds (actually the football oval in the town of Pinjarra) and it looked awesome!

A HUGE thanks to all the volunteers and crew members whole gave up their time to make the whole event run smoothly. For example, all the tents were set up by kids from the local primary school – over 600 two man tents!  The sleeping gear of every rider had been trucked down before we arrived, and there were volunteers unpacking it, and helping weary riders carry it to their tents. And guess what? The people unpacking the trucks (in the hot sun) were all volunteers… and some of them were scientists who work at the Research Institute.

Day One’s ride was a total of 97kms and it took me 4.5 hours of riding, with 2.5 hours of rest. Total time to complete was 7 hours.

Of my all my group mates, I arrived last because…… I stopped several times to take photos so I could upload them to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram :P

The Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer - Perth 2012

There were a LOT of bikes. From super expensive bikes, to a funny, old kids ‘chopper’ bike with small wheels. They looked like insects, nesting for the night.

The Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer - Perth 2012

Speaking of resting insects, I found my tent and lay down to take an afternoon nap.

I was only looking up at the sky for a few seconds before I became unconscious.

The Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer - Perth 2012

As evening fell, everyone had showers, a massage, joined in the yoga tents, and slowly gathered in the main tent, for a beer and to eat dinner. In the picture above, notice someone is having a nap at the dinner table, after having a nap in their tent.

Later there were some speeches and a band played. It was such a fabulous atmosphere. It was like a fun cross between camping, being at a really quiet rock concert, and having joined an army with a yellow uniform and excellent food.

During the speeches, someone shared how cancer had touched his life…how he slowly watched cancer defeat his best friend.

I sat in the crowd and looked around. I looked at people’s faces. Faces of total strangers. There were so many. In that moment, it made me appreciate that everyone had a story. Everyone around me, at some point in their life, cried heavy, silent tears for someone they loved and lost.

If there was one part of the Ride that I will remember forever, it would be that one.  I knew that my tears are not alone.

Phew, another heavy moment.

I went to bed at 8:30pm and fell asleep promptly! But I woke up at 2AM with a really sore back and I couldn’t get back to sleep because – there was an orchestral chorus of SNORING going on in several of the tents around me. So in that way, it was just like being at home :)

The Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer - Perth 2012

By 4AM I decided to “wake up” which was a good decision because I was first in line for the toilets, bathroom, coffee (they were damn fine coffees!) and the hot breakfast.

I don’t usually eat such a hearty meal before a long ride, but I was soooo hungry, and who can resist the smell of bacon? The breakfast spread was amazing.

I was quite worried about my ride for Day Two… because of my poor sleep, my sore back, my sore bum, having just eaten too much food before my ride… and the fact that I HAD NEVER RIDEN 100KMS BACK TO BACK BEFORE.

But hey, for Day Two, I think I had my best ride ever!!

I stayed with the faster riders of my group. We rode fast, we worked as a team, it was really exciting. Like REALLY EXCITING. And fun!

Then later on I lost my team because of a pit stop and bad communication (I didn’t shout out loud enough!).

So I rode with some strangers, and lead them peleton-style passed other riders, collecting a train of riders on our tail. Yes I was leading! Ok it wasn’t very fast (about 28-30km/hr). But still, talk about a RUSH!!

The Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer - Perth 2012

By lunch time we had rode 60km all in one go and I was quite pooped.

I saw all these bikes lying like sleepy cattle on the grass and it was exactly like how I felt.

So I decided to take it easy for the rest of the ride. You know, try to enjoy the last of the experience rather than ride hard and fast and give myself a heart attack.

The Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer - Perth 2012

The last 40kms was quite challenging and fun. We rode along main streets, on roads with lots of traffic and traffic lights.

There were quite a few hills that went up and down… I’m proud to say that I was fit enough. I did fine on the ascents and loved zipping down the descents. But I completely lost my group.

And finally for the last 10kms, we rode along my favourite part of the river in South Perth, with spectacular city views and crazy perfect weather!

(Yes I had 3kms left to the finish line and can you believe I stopped to take a tourist photo of the Perth City skyline?!)

The Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer - Perth 2012

With the crowd cheering, I passed the finish line with a huge grin on my face. What an accomplishment! Definitely one of my proudest moments!

Day Two’s ride was 113kms, and I finished it in 6.5 hours (4.5 hours of riding with 2 hours of rest). So I rode a total of 210km over 2 days.

Pardon for the confusing photo above. I didn’t actually come second place (SILVER)! After I put my bike away, I wandered back to the finish line and noticed that the media on the big screen was playing a kind of honour roll for people who have raised the most money for the event. I saw my name pop up, got a bit of a shock, then I stood there till my name rolled past again and I took a snap!

Thanks to all my incredible supporters, I was ranked 12th highest individual fund raiser ($16,910) and given the honourary title of Silver Ambassador!

The Perth event raised a total of $4.6 million and was the largest cycling fundraiser in Western Australia’s history. The money raised will help fund life-saving cancer research at Western Australian Institute for Medical Research.

(And if you’re interested, the Brisbane event raise $5.2 million, Sydney raised $5.7 million and Melbourne raised $6.2 million – that’s over $21 million for cancer research… AMAZING!)

It was such a remarkable experience and event. To be part of something so huge was just EPIC! I completely recommend it!

………………….

If you’d like to read about my whole cycling journey, you can follow me as I first rode an agonising 10km distance, to getting my first road bike, to discussing the anti-fashion of lycra, butt creams and having sore lady bits…

Or if you’d like to sign up for next year’s ride in 2013, head on over to the The Ride to Conquer Cancer website and choose your city.

Anyone want to join me next year? :)


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4 More Sleeps To Go!

16 October 2012

Road Bike

Eeeeep!!

My fundraising cycle for The Ride to Conquer Cancer is in 4 DAYS!

I can’t believe how quickly it has come about.

It felt like it was just last week when I was telling everyone that there were 10 weeks left. Now it’s happening THIS WEEKEND!

I’ve been doing lots and LOTS of training and I’m really, really excited about finally doing the 200km ride!

But I’m also very nervous. Apart from childbirth, this is the biggest physical challenge I’ve ever undertaken.

I’m packing my one little bag allowance of luggage, and wondering what it will be like to sleep in a two person tent with a complete stranger, on a sports field with about 2000 other people.

I’m currently up to $13,034. I would LOVE to hit my goal of $15,000!!

So if you were going to donate towards this cause, but haven’t done it yet, THIS is the time to go on over to my fundraising page and click on the big green button!

Yay thanks :)

I’ll be updating my adventures live on instagram, Facebook and Twitter – do follow me!


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Yellow Bike, Yellow Bloom

10 September 2012

Cycle to Mandurah

On the weekend, I rode 100km for my training ride. It was a fantastic ride!

I’ve been doing that distance with my training group every week, for the last few weeks.

It took us about 4.5 hours and we ride it all in one go, with small stops for drink and food.

The photo above is of me in Mandurah. Ok yes, we stopped to have a coffee at the Marina before we headed back.

Along Freeway South of Perth

This is somewhere south of Perth. We rode down along the freeway. The cycle paths are brand new, flat, wide… hardly any other cyclists or pedestrians about. I rode side by side with my team mates and I think I chatted the whole way down.

I cruise comfortably at around 28km/hr, the fastest I ever ride is 36km/hr, and all up I average around 23km/hr – which isn’t very fast, but I have to make the whole distance of 100kms without passing out at the end.

Overall, my fitness has skyrocketed… I feeling amazing and I love it!!

But I’ve now realised that if I want to keep this level of fitness and keep feeling this good, I have to look after my body really carefully.

Now I *have* to get 7-8 hours sleep. I have to eat well. I have to stop eating crap. I have to get extra exercise during the week.

Or else… I just crash.

If I don’t sleep, eat and exercise well… I get really tired and lethargic. I have low energy and I start to lack motivation and focus. My brain is not as sharp as usual. And I just feel blurry and slow and simple things seem really difficult. I crave instant energy food like sugar, chocolate and caffeine that only give me a spike of energy, then I crash again.

It’s a careful and sensitive balance that I’m trying to manage and get used to.

I don’t know if it’s just me, my age, my size, my BMI, or the fact I have 3 kids, a husband and a blog to look after when I get home. I don’t seem to know anyone else who is so sensitive in this way. Any fitness freaks out there who have gone through the same thing? Any tips on how to stay on top of it?

Bike in the Dirt

My friend had a flat tire while we were in the middle of no where. So while I was waiting for him to change his tube, I parked my bike in the dirt and did a few stretches. I don’t usually like to put my beautiful bike in the sand, but it doesn’t have a bike stand on it, and there was nothing nearby to lean it against.

Then I was struck by how cool it looked – vibrant yellow against the yellow dirt.

Much like the yellow wattle in bloom.

Yellow Wattle

It was a crazy perfect day for cycling!

Hey, you can donate to help me raise money to find the cure for cancer. Only 40 days to go before my ride!


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Hello $10,000

30 August 2012

I have some AMAZING NEWS!!

Fundraising for my Ride to Conquer Cancer Event has gone extraordinarily well. I have currently raised $9,944!! Which means I need something like $56 to get me to my goal of $10,000! YEEEHA!

I’m so excited and thrilled… I feel an explosive combination being overjoyed from the bottom of my heart and being totally crazy scared!

It’s an incredible feeling to have a dream, set a goal, and now be so so so close to reaching it. I’m grateful, humbled, relieved and still very driven and focused to make a big difference.

I have decided to raise my goal to $15,000 now, because I feel that I can still do even more fundraising work. There is so much work to be done to defeat cancer, I just can’t sit back now and say “I’m done”.

Anyway, to celebrate, I thought I would share this picture.

Cycling 100km

I rode my first 100kms (all in one go) the other day!

Yes, I rode my bike until it was 99.98km and walked for 20m until my clock ticked over to the big 100. Woooot!

To put this into perspective, my cycling event in October is 200km over 2 days, so I’m halfway there, kind of! (Riding 100 km for two days back to back is bound to be much more difficult!)

Thank you to all the kind, wonderful, generous people who have made a donation to this worthy cause so far. Your support means so much to me, thank you.

If you are interested in supporting my ride, you can go to my donations page and make any donation amount you wish – $20, $50, $100, $500! You can leave a public message, or a personal message to me, or just do it anonymously. And you get a receipt, so you can claim this against your tax.

The money goes immediately and directly to cancer research.

Thank you for your support.

And if you’re interested, you can read the rest of my Fundraising Ride Stories here.


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Cycling Update – Bikes and Girly Bits

3 August 2012

Here’s an update of my cycling adventures as I train towards my Fundraising Ride to Conquer Cancer – 200km in 2 days!

1) My New Bike!!

New Bike

Yes I got a bike for my birthday!! Ain’t she hot?!

Brand new road bikes are pretty expensive, so I spent a bit of time looking in the second-hand market. It took me ages to find a bike in my size. But yay, I finally found one that was super light, super small, bright yellow and fit me PERFECTLY. She is 7 years old, and I’m so happy with her!!

The bike is a 2005 Giant TCR 1 Aero, with Shimano 105 groupset, a Selle Italia Nova seat and other cool bits which I won’t bore you with.

Haven’t got a name for her yet. Any ideas?

2) Cycling Buddies!

I’ve recently joined a cycling group to help me train for my ride. Our team leader is awesome – he’s a seasoned cyclist with tonnes of experience, he is attentive, supportive, patient, and gives me lots of great advice and tips while I’m riding.

And now I’ve been cycling 70km every Sunday morning! Amazing!

My fitness and energy levels are up, as is my confidence and spirit. I’m feeling so damn fine, and I’m so thankful for my husband for making it possible (ie. looking after the kids all day)! Definitely couldn’t do it without him, or all my supporters. Thank yoooou!!

OK, back to my cycling group…

It seems that I’m the only female in the group. There are supposed to be a few other women, but they have been sick, or nursing an injury, or they forgot to set an alarm – so I’ve never actually met my female group members yet.

I hope they turn up soon. You see, the guys don’t seem to do much talking WHILE cycling. And I like a bit of a chat. I want some Sunday gossip. I want to know what was the last thing they bought, what they think about different brands of energy drinks  and what they are cooking for dinner tonight blah blah blah.

But more important than that, I want to talk about…

3) Vaginas.

That’s right. After a long ride, male cyclists talk about being “Saddle Sore”…

But for us women, we’re talking about our lady bits.

4 hours on a bike seat? VERY SORE VJAY.

See? That’s why I need some women in my cycling group!! Can you imagine me cycling along on the path, next to my male team mates, chatting about the Olympics, the Tour de France, the weather… and my sore vagina? Neither can I.

When I first started this crazy adventure, a few women told me that it was very common to have a sore nether region after a long bike ride. I guess having three kids – au naturale – made me somewhat confident that my magic flower could cope with anything. Hoo boy was I wrong.

I bought padded cycling pants, which I wrote about a few weeks ago.

At the time, I was told that you have to wear the padded pants with NO UNDERWEAR, to avoid chaffing. No undies? I simply couldn’t imagine it. But when I started riding longer distances and spent 2-3 hours on the bike… I got very sore. Eventually, on one ride, I was in so much pain and so desperate for relief… that I stopped to take my underwear off!!

I can’t remember the last time I walked out of a public toilet with my panties scrunched up in my pocket. Ahem.

Amazingly, it worked. I felt free, wild and a lot less chaffed!

But alas, as my riding distance increased (3-4 hours on the bike now), the pain has returned.

So I did a bit of research. I found a blog by a female cyclist who talked very honestly about her saddle-stressed labia (not as bad you as think). And on her recommendation, I bought a tube of Women’s Chamois Cream – designed specifically for friction and chaffing. Meaning, it will prevents your delicate region from being rubbed raw. Oh joy.

dznutsbliss

It’s called DZ Nuts Bliss and it’s not exactly the most classiest looking product. On the packaging, there are a bunch of pink, penis-shaped bike seats arranged in flowers. Eew. It looks naughty. Like lube. Which it is. But not that kind of lube.

Verdict. It is DISGUSTING with a capital D. It’s a totally and utterly GROSS. It’s like walking around with what feels like 3 tablespoons of cold mayonnaise squishing around in your knickers. BLEEERRRGH. But it WORKS. Good lord, it works a treat.

Moving right along now.

3) C-C-COLD

It is winter where I am right now, and it has been soooo cold lately. I’ve had to stop riding very early in the mornings, because the temperature drops down to 2C… and my toes, fingers, nose, ears get so numb and sore – it’s just not worth it for a 1 hour ride.

Cold Weather Cycling
This is me all rugged up for cycling in the cold weather!

You’re actually not supposed to rug yourself up too much, because you get too hot from all the cycling. But I’m a wimp. When I leave the house at 6am in the morning, I have 3 (sometimes 4) layers on my body, beanie, gloves, 2 pairs of socks… and while I ride, I shed them layer by layer and toss them into my backpack. It’s such as hassle!

4) 10 WEEKS LEFT!

I have 10 weeks left until the big ride! So far I have raised $4,159.08!! But my target is $10,000.

I’d love it if you could help and support my ride by donating $20, $50 or whatever you can to fund research to find the cure for cancer.

Please head over to my donations page and make a donation!!

The money goes immediately and directly to cancer research.

Thanks for all your support!


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Cycling Clothes: Erotic AND Practical

19 July 2012

Cycling is changing me in more ways than I could have imagined.

As a fashion person… I have never liked the *look* of cycling lycra.

The tops and pants are mismatched in garish bright colours, they are always plastered with corporate logos, and everyone looks like they have been shrink-wrapped in a flag. It’s just multi-coloured bleerrrgh to me.

Cyclist Colour
(image by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

So when I first started cycling, I swore that I wouldn’t be caught dead in lycra. There was no way that I was going to put on that crap.

Instead I wore my luxe yoga pants and a plain tee whilst cycling. I thought I looked sporty, like I was going to the gym for a gentle stretch… and then out for coffee (and a big fat slice of chocolate cake) with a friend.

But alas, I was naive. Cycling is VERY different to doing pump classes, pilates, or zumba.

For one thing, cycling is REALLY hard work and you sweat like a pig. And if you sweat while you are wearing a backpack, you end up with a disgustingly wet back. I tried to ride without a backpack, but I couldn’t carry all my stuff – like my phone, money, and snacks.

I tried to solve this problem by stuffing a twenty dollar note and my iPhone into the front of my pants while I cycled. I may or may not have put a banana down there too. Ahem.

Of course, the heavy, smooth iPhone slipped downwards into the V where my thighs met… which was quite tolerable when cycling… until my husband called to see how I was going. With a vibrating phone, money, a bike seat, and possibly a banana… it got way too busy down there to concentrate on cycling.

Suffice to say, I caved in and bought myself a cycling jersey.

Cycling Clothes

And what do you know. As boring as it is… the jersey is such a functional piece of clothing.

They are made from soft, breathable material, with zips that don’t poke at your chin when you’re in a “cycling position”, reflector bits, a bit of silicone along the bottom hem so they don’t ride up.

Cycling Clothes

Cycling jerseys also have 3 massive pockets at the back where you can store stuff. A phone! A banana! A muesli bar! Sunglasses! Money! Why hasn’t regular fashion caught up with this??

Now I get annoyed at my normal clothes with small, pitiful pockets… which don’t let me carry bananas around!

But the most entertaining thing about cycling jerseys… is that they have a easy zip tag so you can single-handedly zip down your top while you are riding along, to allow air flow over your chest to cool yourself down.

So on really REALLY hot days, it’s very common to see lots of lean cyclist men, fully unzipped and bare chested, zoom by on the cycle paths. Skin, sweaty muscles and washboard abs – hello distraction!

(Although, there are also plenty of men riding around out there who have hairy chests and bellies like they are ten months pregnant.)

You can see guys on sweltering days, parked beside the road for an emergency cool down, throwing their heads back, squirting water from over their heads, faces and chests, the water cascading in slow motion down their bare pecs in the glistening sun! It’s very entertaining.

However, I’ll admit that I have tried this myself a couple of times. It’s not as sexy as it looks. Weirdly erotic perhaps? It’s actually quite disgusting with all the sweat, sun screen and sun-warmed water oozing down my cleavage, belly, down to where I used to keep my iPhone, with all the cars and bikes zooming by. It just feels like I had an accident and wet my pants… but hey it does cool me down!

ANYWAY, getting back to cycling clothes.

Cycling Clothes

As the weather has cooled down, I have bought a long sleeved jersey. I’m so in love with it!

It has brushed fleece, reflective piping, full length zipper, silicone gripper, nine panels of insulation techno fabric for maximum ventilation, fit and comfort.

I am *embarrassingly* excited by how practical it is.

Cycling Clothes

THEN I needed a jacket that also kept the rain and wind out for really cold morning rides… and so I bought this very sexy jacket.

Do you love the colour? It totally matches my sports bra, my shoes AND my banana.

The arms ZIP OFF so I can wear it as a vest. There are zillions of pockets inside and out. There are ventilation panels. Reflective bits. It is so so practical. Omg the functionality is such a turn on!!

How will I *ever* look at fashion – and all it’s unfunctional-ness – the same again?

………………………………………………………………………..

I’m having a lot of fun getting ready to ride 200 km in two days, but it is for a deadly serious cause. I’d love it if you could donate $20, $50 or whatever you can to fund research to find the cure for cancer. I’m trying to raise $10,000.

You can go to my donations page and make any donation amount you wish.

The money goes immediately and directly to cancer research.

I want to make a difference!

Please help me!