Fat Runner: inside the mind of an athlete. Not really.

Crew. Something’s happened to my brain. Remember the packhorse week? When I carried what felt like a human corpse and ran 800m? In hindsight that was a turning point. Then running the 5k in 30 minutes last week compounded it. It culminated in Saturday’s workout being awesome. Amazeballs. Remarkable. It was also bring-a-friend week so I dragged my Tough Mudder buddy Bronwyn along. She was thrilled, if by thrilled you mean giving me the stink-eye from when I pull-up at her place at 5:40am to when I drop her home again two hours later.


CrossFit cooldown


Something’s clicked in my brain. I rowed 1km  at the speed our coach said we should be at (I’m always a good 5-10 seconds slower). I did FOUR x 7m lengths of monkey bars. I did 4×10 proper push-ups and walking lunges and FIFTY THREE wall balls (a deep squat then throwing a weighted ball above a line on a wall – what? I never said it was rocket science.)

I did 3 1km runs this week, one carrying the 10kg (I checked) sandbag that almost killed me two weeks ago without any of the ‘holy fuck I’m going to die’ internal monologue. OH sure, it was all hard and painful and arduous but not once, in my head, did I think to myself, ‘I can’t do this’. It wasn’t that I was thinking I could, it just wasn’t even part of the conversation.

I call that The Breakthrough.

I was on an absolute high at the end of it, completely incapable of NOT babbling incessantly to Bronwyn the whole way home. Eventually she looked at me and said, ‘you’re on some sort of sick post-exercise adrenalin high, just shut up.’ As she got out of the car she flipped me the bird. I’m so hoping she comes every week.

This week we’re doing The Spit to Manly run. I can not WAIT!








Fat Runner: comfortable discomfort my arse

This week’s training was sold to us as a “surprise”. I’m not sure about you but when someone promises me a surprise I’m hoping it involves air travel, ideally a fancy hotel, jewellery and eating enough food and drinking so much champagne my head falls off.

A “surprise” at 6am on Queenscliff beach was, I begrudgingly acknowledged, not going to involve any of those things.

Instead we got to do a 3.5 or 5km run, as many push-ups as you could do without stopping, 8x1minute sessions of sit-ups and, AND a 3.5 or 5km run AGAIN!

They didn’t tell us about the second run part until the second run part.

I decided to give it a red hot go and do the 5km run, after all  that’s what I do at home and this was flat and I DIDN’T KNOW THEY WERE GOING TO ASK ME TO DO IT AGAIN.

I ran the 5km from Queenscliff to Shelley Beach and back .

Queenscliff to Manly run
Death march

in bang on 30 minutes.

I did the rest.

And then  the last run? I did 1.5km. In hindsight I know I could have done the 3.5km and am annoyed I didn’t but hey, there’s always this week.




Fat Runner does Tough Mudder update

 CrossFit WOD

Happy Saturday!

Saturday had us doing four circuits for eight minutes a piece. In those circuits you had to AMRAP – as many repetitions as possible. I’ve come to see that phrase AMRAP and heave internally. AMRAP is hard.

There was rowing and burpees – hands down on the ground, legs jump back, chest and hips down to the ground, push up, jump feet back to hands, trying to keep them flat, jump up then jump up in the air. DIE DIE DIE A THOUSAND DEATHS. Burpees are exercise hell and nirvana all rolled into one. A huge whole body fitness trip in one exercise while being an absolute hell ‘maybe I should just vomit now’ experience.

There was a kilometre run and kettle bell thrusts which sound sexy but involve lifting a weight (12kgs in my case but there are people in the room lifting 24kg ones) I liken to the ball from a ball and chain up and over your head then back down and back up and so on. There were box jumps, which are as ridiculous as they sound – a big box you are meant to JUMP UP ONTO. I step up because, quite frankly, falling arse over tit OVER a box is just too much even for me.

There was more running with pushups – as many sets of 200 metre runs and 10 pushups you could do in 8 minutes (4 sets + 150m for me) – but the absolute kicker? A 800 metre run carrying a sandbag on your back. I have no idea how much the sandbag weighed, probably 12 or 15kgs, but my GOD carrying it on my back? In the last circuit? After three other circuits? It might as well have been a chopped up corpse of a grown man such was what it felt like.

CrossFit WOD eg
Fun fun fun


I started out OK but then, somewhere around 200 metres, I hit the wall. My whole body turned to lead. I let out a cry and came to a stop only to have this gruff panting voice bark at me from behind, ‘come on, you can do it. Don’t stop.’ One of the blokes was actually behind me. I put this down to the fact his sandbag was even heavier than mine and he’d been outstripping my effort on every other workout.

But then I was stuck. My body was screaming for me to stop but Brook behind me wouldn’t let that happen. So run I must and run I did. The whole way. Without stopping.

When I run I have to force the ‘well this is just fucking ridiculous’ thoughts out and replace them with idiotic lines like ‘my legs are like feathers! Light! Dancing on the wind!’ and ‘light of foot, light of foot’. I know. What an idiot. Needless to say my brain was following more ‘legs like feathers fuck off light as a feather you are a fucking moron light of foot light of foot this is fucking ridiculous what are you doing you idiot’ and less ‘ fast as a cheetah, light as a feather’.

By the time I ran back UP.THE.RAMP. to the gym and to its doors I was comfortable in the knowledge I was going to either vomit or pass out or perhaps both.

And then I realised something. There was still almost 2 mintues left for that circuit. I had run 800 metres with a sandbag on my back – after all the rest – in six minutes. SIX MINUTES.

This was both spectacular and fucking unlucky as I then had to see out to the eight minutes doing as many sit-ups as I could.

I admit I did just lie on the floor for some time trying to get some oxygen back into my body but I did it. 20 sit-ups.


What then unfolded was the realisation that me, lying on my stomach trying to roll a tennis ball around my shoulder joint is laughable when faced with Patti and Selma. Those girls mean that I need more basketball than tennis ball. There was much body-heaving laughter at this with the girls I’ve become friends with.

And you know what? Laughter after an excruciating work-out is as glorious as laughter through tears.



Fat Runner Tough Mudder update.

So after the hilarity of my radio stardom last week Saturday morning heralded the return to the hard yards. It was my eighth week of my CrossFit Tough Mudder Bootcamp.

  • In that eight weeks I have gone from being unable to sleep on Friday night because of how anxious I was about going and the ‘what if I can’t do it’ mentality, to it being the absolute highlight of my week.
  • In that eight weeks I have come to truly appreciate that by the simple truth of me turning up, giving it a go and not quitting even when my legs are screaming, my arms are burning and my heart is about to stop it is pumping so hard that I can do it. I.CAN.DO.IT.
  • In that eight weeks I have, in one session, run six five-minute soft sand runs AND on three of those been able to push a little harder on the last minute.
  • In that eight weeks I have gone from being able to do three rungs on the monkey bars to going the entire distance – about two metres. Sure, that two metres (which I did FOUR times last Saturday) was using the outside of the bars not the rungs, but dudes, HANGING on, holding up my own body weight and FINDING MOMENTUM? So freakin’ proud of myself.
I can do this.
  • In that eight weeks I once stood, facing a wall, a weighted ball in my hands that I was meant to be throwing high above a line on the wall while doing squats and cried hot tears. Talking insulting words to myself about not being good enough and of being a total fraud for even thinking I should be there or could do it.  I know that voice. It’s been with me as far back as I can remember. I don’t know where it came from or why it’s there. I know that doing this and doing Tough Mudder is a very big part of me kicking that voice to the curb. I know it will raise its head as sure as the son will rise but I also know I’m getting better at ignoring it.
  • In fact, in that eight weeks I’ve cried twice – the second time was last week but that was because it was, for me, a brutal training session coupled with being ‘one of those weeks’ where my body just felt like lead. That I can even recognise this is a grand achievement in my book.
  • In that eight weeks I have, with one other CrossFitter, lifted a tractor tire and flipped it. Many times. Fuck that was hard.
  • In that eight weeks I have remembered that doing this, while hard and painful, is fun and makes me feel so good both inside and out.
  • In that eight weeks I have not lost a pound. I am hoping now the thyroid issue has been identified and meds put in place that goal – to lose the 15 kilos putting me at risk of heart disease and diabetes and a life in loose fitting garments – will come into view.





Fat Runner brings world domination one step closer

So, earlier in the week I rang the afternoon program on our local ABC radio station, 702 Sydney. The host, James Valentine is a muso from way back as well as being quite funny. He also reminds me daily of a friend of ours who we don’t see nearly often enough. It’s comforting.

Anyway, he was running a segment about what age you can be when it becomes basically inappropriate for you to be playing the sport or engaged in the activity you have been quite partial to. You know, riding a Razer scooter over the age of 8, skateboarding when your more than 32, touch footy at 55 and so on.

I rang in to bring it to the attention of James that there was a whole cohort in the population flying in the face of common decency and indeed, this very notion that when you reach a certain age you have to walk away with dignity from certain activities. For the good of yourself and those around you.

This renegade group are called MAMILs – Middle Aged Men In Lycra. Men on bikes. I’m not talking about your hipster riding his fixy:

Less hipster more cliche

I’m also saying that the model showcasing this is not what you cop an eyeful of as you try to drink a coffee in peace on a Saturday morning in your local cafe:

He doesn't. That's the point.

These men spit in the face of human decency, pouring their tackle and guts into lycra and then putting it on bike for our viewing displeasure. If that wasn’t enough they then descend on your favourite cafe offending your eyes and olfactory system.

Sometimes you have to witness this:

just try to stop looking

Something has to be done.

I pointed out to James that for me, as a Fat Runner, I see all the fancy brand name gear (as I discussed here) and want in, but they don’t make FR (Fat Runner) sizes and that perhaps that is less a conspiracy on their part and more a community service obligation to save everyone’s eyes from seeing me squeezed into the fancy stuff and thereby resembling a running sausage. A kransky on legs if you will.

It was a delightful conversation full of self-depreciating mirth and good fun.

Fast forward to this afternoon. I’m driving along, listening to James when I hear my voice! He’s replaying our chat. I’m cracking up at myself because CLEARLY I am HILARIOUS.

It turns out I made such an impact I was up for the inaugural Legend of the Call – a segment in which he selects his five favourite callers of the week and then listeners text in their favourite.





What a weird week of peaks and troughs it’s been – The Voice, The Hashimoto’s, The Oscar Dentist Experience, The LEGEND OF THE CALL VICTORY.

James and I had another lovely chat in which he asked if I was training for anything in particular (I filled him in on Tough Mudder) and I mentioned how if you ran into my while I was running it’d be like hitting a wombat.

Good times.

So I win an ugly (their words) hat and a DVD AND am going to check in with James as I progress towards September and Tough Mudder and then talk to him after the event.

I can’t tell you people, fun. That’s what it is, bloody good fun.


Here is the audio of it