Friday, November 16, 2012

Fitness Fridays return, and a Liebster Award

It has been a long time since I did a Fortnightly Fitness Friday post. I managed seven between starting them off in April and then getting distracted in August, and I think I am going to drop the 'fortnightly' part from now on. We will just see how often they appear.

Today, I am kicking off the return to these formal fitness posts with some news that is rather exciting to me. Some of you may remember that way back in January, I spoke about the possibility of running a half marathon this year. That didn't happen (I did a 14km race instead) but I have now set my sights on the Bunbury Three Waters Half Marathon next April. Bunbury is a few hours south of Perth and I have already convinced Mr Bite that we can turn the race into a weekend away.

I figure that six months is plenty of time to increase my mileage and get ready, and I am really quite excited about doing so. I also think that if Lisa can run a half marathon seven months after having a baby, there is no excuse for me not doing it without a baby in the mix!

In line with this goal, I finally replaced my running shoes last night, about a month after intended. I have been using the same shoe fitting shop for 5 years now (Sports Fever in Subiaco, for those of you in WA) and it makes the process a lot easier when you can put trust in someone who knows what they are talking about. When I'm running up and down the store and have someone to monitor my stride, it allows me to feel much more confident in what I end up purchasing - which is a good thing, given the price of running shoes in Australia.

I had fully intended to swap from Brooks back to Mizuno, but ended up purchasing the Brooks Adrenaline model. For the last year, I have been in Brooks Ariel, which are their high-control shoe. I liked them, but preferred the Mizuno Wave Renegade style I ran in from 2009 to 2011 just a little more. Sadly, Mizuno has discontinued the Renegade and the Wave Alchemy, their high-support replacement, just didn't feel right when I tried it.

The Brooks Adrenaline are actually a step down in support, which I never expected. However, the Ariel is a wide shoe and I do not have wide feet - so I actually get more arch support from the Adrenaline and they are still in the 'support' category. Indeed, they were the Runner's World Editor's Choice as a "classic stability shoe" in the December 2012 issue.

Brooks Adrelaine (left) and Ariel (right)

As the picture above shows, my new shoes are also a lot lighter and smaller than my previous ones, which feels pretty wonderful when I run. I am hoping they'll keep me injury free in the lead up to April and I'm looking forward to trying them out on their first 'proper' run tomorrow!

Today's other focus is the Liebster Award that Meg of Scrambled Megs nominated me for last week. The nomination came as a delightful surprise, made even lovelier by my relatively recent discovery of Meg's blog. She is a fellow Australian and has some great recipes on her site, particularly of the baking variety (or perhaps I'm just biased to the baking variety...).

The Liebster Award is one I've seen around the place on a few occasions, and it supposedly stems from the German word for Liebster, which is dearest. It has 5 parts:
  1. Write 11 random facts about yourself.
  2. Answer the 11 interview questions you’ve been given by the person who nominated you.
  3. Create 11 new questions.
  4. Nominate 11 bloggers and mention them in your post.
  5. Go and tell the person who nominated you, along with the people you’ve nominated about your post.

To take them in turn...

11 random facts

1. I love being at work early.
The 7.30am-8.30am window is probably my favourite time of the day (it all goes downhill from there!). I like clearing phone messages and any urgent tasks first thing, and then making a coffee in the early morning light with a near empty building. If I get in to work at 8.15am I feel late. I only do a 7.30am start two days per week, but it makes a big difference to my window of 'usable' time.

2. I actually can't remember the last time I got my hair cut. 
It was this year, but a very long time ago. As a result, my hair is very long. It's now at the point where my usual 'up' hair styles are getting challenging, because I have too much hair to manage.

3. I’ve been monitoring my sleep the last two weeks, after finding it to be increasingly interrupted and often unsatisfying (even leaving aside the issue of not getting enough). 
The recommendation is that you leave a pile of small coins on your bedside table and move one every time you wake up, to get an accurate sense of how often you are waking. My results? Up until the last half hour before I’m due to get up, I wake two to four times (and mostly two). In that final half hour, I wake lots and lots. I’m still working out what to do about this.

4. I come from a family of worriers. 
When I have my own worry at bay, it amuses me how we all worry differently (you generally don't know when my Dad is worried, whereas my brother tends to get headaches, my sister is noisily worried and my Mum runs through ‘worst case’ scenarios). When I don’t have my own anxiety at bay, I am less amused. 

It is possible that points (3) and (4) are related.

5. As a child and adolescent, people told me I would regret giving up music (piano) and a second language (French).
I dropped them anyway, swept up in my focus on core academic subjects, and I do regret it. I particularly wish that I had continued with French, because it could have been included in my Year 12 subject list and would have been far more useful to me in the long-term than physics!

6. I was reading children’s novels by the time I was five, which did great things for my enjoyment of books and reading, but means that my ability to pronounce words correctly is sometimes questionable. 
After developing my own, internal pronunciation for words, and reading them that way for years, it was difficult to change when I discovered that my pronunciation was not generally accepted. Even now, I sometimes discover words that I say differently to other people.

Notable words I didn't re-learn until adulthood are ‘prevalence’ (I used to say prevaylence, instead of a short ‘a’) and ‘courtesy’ (I think it makes sense to say the first part like you’d say ‘court’, rather than the more common ‘curt’). 

7. I also have a tendency to make words up without realizing that I have done so. 
One of the ones I’m refusing to drop is ‘pronunciate’, which sums up my difficulties with pronouncing and enunciating words in one neat package. Although in saying that - I just Googled it and The Urban Dictionary seems to feel the same way! I'm definitely not giving up on it now.

8. I can not stand the feel of corduroy or velvet. 
It makes me shudder just thinking about it. It’s like nails on a blackboard, but much, much worse.

9. I don't have pierced ears.
I wanted to, in my late childhood, but my parents said I needed to wait until I was 13. At 13, it didn't seem so important. I did briefly want two sets of earrings in my mid-teen years, but never got around to that and these days I am glad that I never got them done. When you pause to think about it, sticking a needle through your ear to fit in with a definition of beauty seems like a questionable practice (although I grant they can look nice).

10. I did gymnastics for four years as a child and had the dream of doing a full back flip by my 13th birthday.
I stopped gym when I was 12 and never did master a back flip. I think it's safe to say that I'm unlikely to get there now, but part of me still hopes that one day I might magically be able to do one!

11. Up until five years ago, I didn't think I liked nuts.
I still don't like peanuts or cashews unless they're disguised in nut butter form.

Meg's questions

1. What are you most excited about lately?
Every day things. The fact that Christmas is coming. Some ideas for movies we want to see (we pretty much never go to the movies). A possible trip to Fremantle this weekend. Some baking ideas.

Also, my new running shoes and that half marathon I mentioned above :-)

2. What are you currently reading?
I just finished The Light Between The Oceans by M. L. Stedman. It is our next book club book and is based off the south-west coast of Western Australia. It was heartbreakingly sad, but beautifully written.

Before starting my next ‘new’ book, I am re-reading parts of Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, his tale of traversing the Appalachian Trail. I do that quite often - revisit old favourites in part or in full as a brief lull in my reading.

After I'm done with that, I have The Queen's Fool, one of Phillipa Gregory's Tudor Court books, waiting for me. I have fallen in love with historical fiction this year, and the Tudor years are particularly eventful.

3. Your favourite cookbook, and why?
I tend to make most of my recipes from online sources, or my imagination, but my most used ‘real’ cookbook is The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I also love many of my mother’s cookbooks, as we saw when we house sat last year.

4. If someone was being overtly racist in a social situation, how would you handle it?
I have experienced this before and I am never very sure how to handle it. I try to distance myself from the person and the conversation as much as possible. If it’s someone I know well I might engage in the discussion and try to present a different view, but if it isn’t, I tend to avoid conflict rather than try and convince them to change their views. I'm not sure that's the right approach, but my personality doesn't lend itself to confrontation.

5. What was the last thing you ate?
At the time of writing this, tofu stir fry with cauliflower rice (Tuesday’s lunch; I have been writing this in stages!).

6. Name one thing you like about yourself, and why?
I’m rather enamoured with my new wedding ring, and the feeling of being a Mrs that goes with it.

7. Do you floss your teeth every day?
Yes. But sometimes not every single one of my teeth...

8. How do you deal with the daily stresses of life?
Exercise, tea, coffee, reading, structure / organisation.

9. If you knew you wouldn’t be judged, what would you be doing differently?
If I’d been asked this five years ago, I would have had a long list of answers. These days, I am less focused on others’ judgements so the list is a bit shorter. Possibly, I would wear glasses instead of contact lenses. Definitely, I would be more prepared to say no to social invitations when I don’t want to go, but I’m not sure that would be a good thing. Those of us with hermit-like tendencies need to focus on keeping them at bay! I  also think I'd like ball sports more, and team sports in general more.

10. What is your happiest childhood memory?
One that certainly ranks highly is an afternoon on the first weekend of the summer holidays, one December when I was about 10. It was not only the first weekend of the holidays but the first time we had used our swimming pool for the year. I had spent the whole afternoon in the pool and my Dad came out to tell me we were having Chinese takeaway for dinner. We got takeaway perhaps four times a year back then, so this was a huge treat.

The combination of holiday freedom, the time in the pool, and the upcoming dinner culminated in such happiness that it is a vivid memory even now.

11. If you could open your own business, what would you be doing? If you do have your own business, what do you do?
I would love to run a vegan-friendly book café. I hold it dear as a maybe one day dream.

My new questions
  1. If you had to limit yourself to 10 foods for one week, what would they be?
  2. If you came into a large amount of money, would you keep working? If not, what would you do?
  3. What is one experience or event (big or small) that you would like to do in your lifetime?
  4. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  5. If you had to move from your current town / city, where would be your first choice to move to?
  6. What was your favourite year at school, and why?
  7. If you could meet anyone alive today, who would you meet?
  8. If you were given a full day to yourself, no work and no commitments, how would you spend it?
  9. What is the best book you've read this year?
  10. If you were given a plane ticket to anywhere in the world, where would it be to?
  11. (Given my running shoe focus) - What was the last pair of shoes you bought?

My nominations

I always find it difficult nominating people for these sorts of things. I have tried to nominate people that Meg didn't nominate, who I haven't nominated for something before, who I think might be pleased to receive this, and whose blogs I value and answers to the above questions I would like to hear. As always, if I have any of that wrong, please feel free to ignore the nomination...

Wayfaring Chocolate

Thank you again to Meg for my own nomination.

So, a big question: Pronunciate. A word or not?
Also, if you're into such things - what running shoes do you wear?


  1. Thank you for the nomination, I will be sure to respond with my answers!

    The last pair of shoes I bought were black stilettos. You may think you can't run in stilettos but I can. I once ran about 500m in gold sling back stilettos to make it to a Kylie concert in time. Several gay men came up to tell me how impressive it was when we were in the lineup to get in.

    1. That is hilarious - and most definitely impressive. I can barely walk in stilettos, if truth be told :)

      I'll look forward to your answers in due course!

  2. Great post!! I also come from a family of of the great traits I inherited. ;)
    I would say pronunciate is a word! But I tend to make up words myself too. ha!

    1. Aren't genetics great sometimes? ;)

      I say making up words is entirely wonderful!

  3. Thanks for the nomination Kari ! May take me a while to get around to this as have baby due any day! Loved reading this post ... Can totally relate to number 6 re pronunciation. My friends always make fun of me for this :)

    1. Oh gosh, I timed that well with your impending new arrival!! Take all of the time you need - and I hope everything goes well :-)

  4. Love your answers, Kari! I'm a warrior too! I mean worrier, whoops :)Thanks for taking the time to participate x

    1. Thanks Meg! And I like the switch from worrier to warrior ;)

  5. Hi! Thanks! This is a lovely post - a lot to it, so my comment is going to be loooong...

    1) My shoe-updating slackness trumps yours. I bought the Couch-to-5k app in April 2011. I did two runs, got sore knees, decided I would start again when I got new shoes. I finally got new shoes, 2 months ago. Sure, it took me 18 months. But now I'm up to week 6 of the 8 week program and running 10 minutes without a break, which is a big accomplishment for me!

    2) As always, these random facts posts reveal many similarities between us. I *love* getting to work early, have been there by 7.15 most mornings this semester. I get most of my work done before 9.30, and spend the rest of the day socialising (I exaggerate, but just a little). I nearly had a similar experience to #5, but I decided at the last minute to enrol in Adirondack Literature rather than Physics in Year 12, and it was one of the better decisions I've ever ever made. I'm also so non-confrontational (the public racism question), so try to engage with people on facts... I can do the whole "expert" opinion on whether or not Aboriginal people get more "government handouts" than white people (hint: they don't), the fact that there are more teetotallers amongst the Aboriginal population than among white people, and all of those things. It is the only way that I can engage in those conversations, and even then I get so frustrated that I tend to clam up...

    Sorry for that novel-length comment!

    1. I love novel-length comments :)

      1) I'm impressed you made it back to the program as after 18 months it would have been easy to forget about it altogether! Week 6 of 8 is really impressive - and hopefully enjoyable to now you're up to the 10 minutes of running?

      2) I love your stance on presenting facts to people who have biased and stereotypical opinions. That is definitely the best way to have those conversations, and hopefully stops a few people in their tracks! I love the similarities between us too - and 7.15am is brilliant :)

  6. This meme was lots of fun - thanks for posting it. I like the new shoes.

  7. good luck with your marathon prep - I think I appreciate others doing it these days more than I did when younger and the idea was just was so alien - perhaps because I never knew anyone who did marathons.

    loved your liebster award! Passing them on it always the hardest - though perhaps because I often share your hermit crab tendencies. I gave up piano at the age of 15 or 16 and wish I could still play but there was the recent research I heard about saying that people who learnt music learnt to listen in a way that they could hear lots of nuances (I think this is right - it made me feel good about having played piano). I also don't have pierced ears - have never really had the urge and was shocked to hear someone say that was their 4 year old's birthday present.

    And when you open your vegan bookstore cafe I'd love to be a regular customer (though please open late as I love being at places - including work - late rather than early)

    1. Thank you! I had heard that research about piano / music too and hope my playing did enough to give me the benefits (I stopped about 15 too so you'd think it would be long enough). And I agree that pierced ears on children are quite sad, I have seen some toddlers with them and it makes me cringe.

      If I ever get that cafe I will definitely stay open late for you :-)

  8. Thanks for nominating me! I will have to work on answering your questions over the weekend. :-)
    I like your new running shoes too. Brooks is a good choice. I can't wear anything else.

    1. Thanks Tasha - that is good endorsement for the brand then :) And I'll look forward to your answers!

  9. Well done on setting a goal to do a half marathon and I think that will be a really rewarding weekend away. It's good to see you have good jogging shoes because that's so important - I need new joggers too. I'm so impressed that you were reading more than picture books by age 5! I was also told if I gave up piano and a second language I would regret it. I'm not sure I do regret it as I have no gift for languages (actually I was good at Japanese - hopeless at French and German) but I have no regrets about the piano - not a shred of talent. But I would love a house big enough to have a piano and I would invite the gifted over to play for me! xx

    1. You have actually reminded me of the very good reasons I had for giving those things up, which is that I had no real natural talent either! It's funny how time allows you to forget those sorts of things ;)

  10. Thank you darling! I'll definitely keep this in mind and try to get around to at least your questions (I've told so much of my life on my blog that the "random facts" thing seems a bit useless in my case :P ) Fingers crossed you find something that helps you sleep. I've simply accepted the fact that I suck at sleeping and will never really make it through the night. Been this way since a period of insomnia in Year Nine. Yawning is cute, right? ;)

    1. Super cute ;) That is tough though, I didn't realise your difficulties sleeping were so persistent.

      The more random facts the better, I say! But you know there's no obligation to do it if it doesn't fit :)

  11. What a great idea! I love reading random facts about other people who i don't even know!!!! lol
    I was never allowed to get my ears pierced as a child ever but on my 16th birthday my mother finally let me - i had asked since i was 5! lol
    I think I loved having my ears pierced because i did want it for so long so i truly love it!!! lol :-)

    1. Thanks Sandy! I imagine after waiting for 11 years you were pretty ready for those earrings :-)

  12. I love finding out new things about people! I can relate to a few of them, especially #4. If I don't have anything to worry about I get worried! I think it's part of the reason why I love working out! (stress reliever)
    I love your shoes Kari! Second time I have seen Brooks running shoes on a blog this morning...I wonder what this means??!! :)

    1. Working out is definitely the best stress reliever :) It is very rare that it fails me!

      It seems Brooks are doing well in the blog world!

  13. I'm happy to see a copy of A Walk in the Woods. I've frequently picked them one up again as well, as it really is snort out loud funny.
    The music... you can go back to it any time you want Kari. I stopped playing violin when I was 14 and then started lessons again when I was 33. Yes I had to go back to square one, but went from the beginning to pretty much where I was at within a few months when I first stopped- not the years it took the first time (and trust me there was certainly no talent.) The seed was in there though, I just had to nurture it again. Alas, the poor thing has been neglected...again, now though. Time!

    Thanks for the award too Kari :-)

    1. That is reassuring to know - I have pondered re-learning French and also trying harder to use my parent's piano, but time has interfered with both for me too. The piano in particular I should make more of an effort with, because it is there for use. I also suspect my piano playing will come back more easily than the French!

  14. I'm definitely in need of some new running shoes- you are reminding me! thanks! :)

  15. Thank you!!! I'll get onto answering them next I've just got to think of some interesting facts.

    1. I'll look forward to them when you do your post!

  16. Oh yay! Thank you - these questions are great - I'm excited to answer them :)

  17. Congrats on the award, I loved reading all of your facts and finding about more about you!

    I'm the same with my hair, I rarely cut it and when the ends are starting to split the man does a quick trim for me. 13 was the age when I was allowed to have my ears pierced too although I was never into jewellery and my ears used to get infected occasionally so I left them close up in my early 20's. I didn't eat nuts until recently as they were never present in my house when I was growing up due to my mum and sister's allergies.

    1. Thanks Mel - and it seems we have even more in common :-) I am impressed with your man's ability to cut hair, I wonder if Mr B could develop the same skill (I have doubts!) - much simpler than a hairdresser.

  18. Kari,

    Thank you SO much for this! What an honor! I love this idea and will totally pass it on. It's been such a pleasure to "meet" you through our blogs! : )

    1. You're very welcome Raechel! And I am also really thrilled to have met you and discovered your blog :-)


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