You Gotta Love This City

I’ve taken many photos of Sydney Harbour before. It’s so picturesque regardless of weather. It’s such a privilege to live here surrounded by this man made and natural beauty.

Sydney at Christmas/New Year is always a good time of year. Everyone is festive and relaxed. So today’s post is some of the photos I took last night from the cruise my work took for our end of year Christmas party. Yesterday was 43 degrees Celsius (which I worked out is 105 degrees Fahrenheit or something ridiculous). Anyway, we were melting but I still insisted on wearing the outfit I had chosen (last picture on the post).

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The storm was rolling in while we were sweltering in a 43 degrees Celsius day

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The colours in this one were just beautiful, but I’ve emphasised them with an Instagram filter

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By far my most favourite photo of the evening. No Instagram filter here! A spectacular lightening storm was overhead for most of the night and I was trying to get a photo of the lights from Luna Park reflecting on the water and just as a took the photo, this happened with the lightening. So much purple!

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The lights of the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and the CBD. Seeing it like this you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a sleepy city.

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Black and White Instagram filtered Opera House.

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Black and White Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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And little old me.

I hope you’re having a great weekend and the Christmas rush isn’t getting away from you.

Xx Clair

PS- I’d love for you to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (my IG is set to private because of spammers, so just request me & I’ll add you). I follow back 🙂


I remember hearing this song played over the loud speaker (the whole album actually) during the Sydney Olympics in 2000. That time was such a wonderful time to be in Sydney.

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Post Fun Run Photo Spamfest

I did another 10km fun run today.

I’m sore, but not as bad as last time. No PB today, however even with my dodgy sciatica and sore ankle, I still managed to be only 59 seconds slower than the 10km PB I set two Sundays ago at the Run Sydney fun run in Sydney Olympic Park. Today was all hills. So many hills. Such a hard course.

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Protip: park near the finish line so you have less to walk after the race finishes

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My gorgeous Asics GT 1000 trainers (not a sponsored post but if anyone from Asics is reading… I love your shoes!)

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Obligatory pre-race photo

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The tough course was all hills! Two 5 kilometre laps

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Post run meal fit for a caveman. I was starving!

That was my last run for 2013. Now it’ll get far too hot over summer for competitive running. I think it all starts up again in April/May 2014. Either way, I’ll be there. Running has changed my life. Next years times will be better. I’ll be fitter, stronger and faster.

I hope you’re having a great Sunday xx

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Personal Best

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog in the last couple of weeks, nothing really to say, so rather than blog about nothing, I chose not to blog.

On Sunday, I participated in another fun run, Run Sydney 2013. This one was a 10km (6.3mi) course at the Olympic Stadium in Sydney. A flat course, no amazing scenery (such as the Harbour or Bondi Beach) however I did finish the run by running across the finish line in the main football stadium that’s there.

I felt like a real athlete! And as a friend said “you ARE a real athlete”. So yeah, I don’t have the physical attributes of someone who has been in peak physical fitness for years and I’ll never be an Olympian, but here I am, running fun runs like an athlete, because I am one.

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Over the last few weeks, there have been bushfires burning in the greater west of Sydney and the Blue Mountains and the smoke has made it particularly difficult to spend any time outside. So I stupidly did no training for this run. I could have gotten onto my treadmill, but honestly the machine that faces the window which overlooks a fence in suburbia, is the most boring thing to look at for a 5km training session. I did manage however, to set two new PB times! Breathing was very difficult, I felt like I was smoking cigarettes, when I got back in the car to drive home, I was coughing so much, but in the end it was worth it to push through.

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They’re mediocre times when you consider the woman who won, did 10km in 33 minutes, however, I’m looking at the bigger picture and seeing my achievements personally

Those of you who have been regular readers of this blog will know that the reason I started running, was because I got diagnosed with PTSD and PND in October 2012. A good friend of mine who is also very familiar (unfortunately) with The Black Dog also started running in an attempt to combat depression. I have used her as my constant inspiration and example. I look to her now and see an incredible woman who has overcome so much and is now loving life. Setting goals to achieve, smashing her own personal records and most importantly, keeping that Black Dog away. So even though I still have bad days (particularly from the PTSD) I know that getting outside (often the hardest thing to do when all I want to do is go to bed and cry) will help, even a little.

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At this stage my right hip was screaming at me, I was really struggling, but I still had 1km to go, so I had to keep pushing through.

I’m still sore today, but nowhere near as sore as yesterday. So today I’m going to get outside with Missy in her pram & go for a walk. I have another fun run in two weeks, so I need to train for it. Hopefully the fires will burn out and the smoke will clear and I can get back to evening runs.

I hope you’re having a great day and that if you’re reading this because you typed ‘depression’ into the search bar, you take away that it’s not going to be bad forever, you can be happy again. It’s not an immediate recovery, but it is possible xx

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Looking For Inspiration

The last month or so has been a total non-event in terms of training for me. And I’ve felt guilty. I have really wanted to just go for a run however there have quite literally been road blocks in the way every which way I’ve turned. Last weekend, my husband, Miss and I headed up to Katoomba to hike and get some fresh air and sunshine, but by the time we got there, it was pouring with rain. So instead, we had laksa for lunch at the RSL, then got stuck in epic holiday traffic trying to get back into Sydney.

Work. Ah work. Marking assignments has just about made me give up the will to live. Marking until 2am, lesson plans, cross-marking, uploading attendance, answering emails, blah blah blah. Ugh. Seriously, ugh. I have loved teaching so much, but the stress has really gotten to me. I’ve been so drained at the end of the day, going for a jog has been the furthest thing on my mind (behind getting work finished, parenting my daughter etc).

How on earth can the students make such silly mistakes?! So frustrating. Today I cross marked one where they didn’t even staple the pages in the chronological order they stipulated on their page numbers! Blown away. Yep, I agreed they were a fail grade too.

So today after the meeting, I got home and loaded Missy into the pram and we headed out for the first time in weeks. We did 5.3km and felt every metre. It felt so nice to be out in the sunshine. The winter sun is desperately trying to warm us up, but the mountain winds manage to keep everything quite cool.

So anyway, because of marking, I have not had any inspiration to exercise. Also because my sister in law’s wedding has been and gone, I no longer had a goal to meet. I have surpassed my weight loss goal that I set in January and I plateaued in my head. I think that’s worse than plateauing in a physical sense because that little voice at the back of my brain gets louder and louder.

“Do it tomorrow”
“Just get pizza for dinner”
“Fuck it, I’m too tired”

Etcetera.

So last week, I skipped weigh in (sorry Mish) and I’ll probably skip tomorrow too, simply because I don’t think it’s worthwhile to weigh in when I haven’t been doing the programme. I did weigh myself today though and it was after I’d eaten breakfast and lunch and even though I had myself convinced I’d gained heaps of weight, I’m only a kilogram up on what I was three weeks ago. So that in itself I’m ok with. It actually helped spur me on to get outside for a walk/jog because now I’m working toward getting down under what I was three weeks ago.

All in all, my whole attitude has changed. I’m living as healthy as I can, not restricting myself, just making much better choices. Maintaining my lifestyle now, finding balance. It’s like I had an epiphany. After a month of feeling totally over it and completely disinterested, I’ve finally switched on and things are falling into place.

I look at myself in the mirror and I’m not happy with what I see. I still see 82kg me, not 69kg me. I’m not sure if I will ever see the real me. My self esteem took an absolute bollocking and I’m still recovering from that. Also possibly what’s helping is I’ve had just about no flashbacks, nothing decent anyway, in well over a week now. So I’m either recovering really well and I’m ok now, or I’m going to crash completely and end up back where I was. Mental illness is awesome.

What is also spurring me along is this:

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My City to Surf bib! It’s getting really real now.

Anyway, I’m off. It’s nearly midnight and I’m working in the morning. Have a great day/night, wherever you are.

Xx

Star Wars Day and a Wedding

On this coming Saturday, Star Wars Day, I’m a bridesmaid for my lovely sister in law.

We are wearing navy one shoulder gowns and silver accessories. The ceremony is at a golf course overlooking a beach in northern Sydney and the reception will be at the golf club.

Tonight we had our final fitting for our dresses and I’m so proud to say that I look stunning. Okay, I’m tooting my own trumpet there, but I’m a whole twelve kilograms smaller than when we ordered the dress. It does look really good. Best of all, I feel really good in it. It’s flattering and stunning in its simplicity.

So anyway, my dear friend Pippityroo tried her wedding dress on the other day to see if it still fit (and it was too big! So wow!) so I thought I’d try mine on too and it’s just too tight. I think in about three kilograms it will fit comfortably.

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Please ignore my currently half renovated kitchen in the background. My new kitchen, complete with photos will be a new blogpost in the future.

So I’m nearly ready for Saturday. My nails are done and so is my hair. I have some wonderful medications to assist in the recovery from my hangover on Sunday morning. Comfortable shoes to wear once the ceremony and photos are finished. My husband is charging the camera to make sure it is ready to go. I’m also trying to think of a plan of attack to keep Missy the Flowergirl, happy.

I just have to pack an overnight bag for us all. Ugh. I hate packing. I always end up with too much crap.

Anyway, follow me on twitter @Clairzilla because I’ll be sure to be tweeting on Saturday (in between desperately seeking a powerpoint to keep my iFail battery charged).

Have a great weekend! And May the Fourth be with you.

Xx

Ten

Double digits. Milestone. Decade. X. Awesome Pearl Jam album.

I made it. Ten kilograms. Ten! (Ok so I’m 100gm off the big ten, but I’m going to call it even). I started my lifestyle change on 5 January this year and today, 3 April, I’m down ten kilograms.

I still have a ways to go, I’m still driven to work hard and succeed. I joined my local gym yesterday and I also registered for The Color Run on 25 August this year, in Sydney.

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On the left, I was 180lbs, on the right, I’m currently 158lbs

To my husband, without his love and support, I wouldn’t have achieved this goal so far. To my family for actually listening to me and not giving me Easter eggs this year. To my dearest friends for supporting me through the worst of everything and then encouraging me to fight back…

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And finally, thank you! Without you reading my words, without your messages of support, without your encouragement, I would not have achieved this much so far.

Xx

Afterglow

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had a real love for music. I can usually relate a situation to a song or an album, kind of like a soundtrack to a movie, but in this instance, my life. My pregnancy was heavily influenced by Fleetwood Mac’s album Rumors. A holiday to Byron Bay in 2004 was peppered by Powderfinger’s Vulture Street. My New Zealand honeymoon in 2008 is fondly recalled through Vampire Weekend’s self-titled masterpiece.

So it’s really no surprise that I’ve been to so many concerts in my time, I can’t keep track of them all. I’ve also got so many records, CDs and cassettes, a conservative estimate would be around 500. A mix of heavy metal (Rammstein, anyone?) to classical (Split Enz and the NZ symphony orchestra). I love it all.

Not being musically talented myself (I did learn the recorder as a 4th grader and spent the next few years torturing my parents and the neighbours), I can however hold a tune, I just lack the esteem or desire to do it publicly, I have spent a lifetime appreciating the craft of many talented musicians.

My favourite being New Zealand’s own (and Australia’s very much adopted) Neil Finn.

I’ve been to a Neil Finn concert (whether it be solo, or in a band) no fewer than seven times (it’s more than likely more than that) and every single time I walk away more in love with the music than before. I’ve also met the great man himself, getting my laser etched limited edition copy of True Colours autographed by the line up of Split Enz who recorded the album way back in 1979.

This week’s concert has been no different.

Regular readers will know that I haven’t had the best time of it lately. Also as any new parent would know, getting away from the baby to go to a concert isn’t always achievable either. I did manage to see Elton John in November 2012, but I did miss out on Stevie Nicks at the end of 2011 and I’m pretty sure there was someone else tucked away in there, but I’m not talking about the bands I haven’t seen in this post!

Back to Neil.

Holy moley, what an artist.

Monday night really did mean so much. I was out in the city with a dear friend. One, who our love of Crowded House actually forged our friendship as teenagers, outcasted by our school friends because Crowded House were ‘daggy’. We have both had babies in the last two years and haven’t seen much of each other. Lamenting that the last time we did see one another was in June 2012. It was a wonderful feeling of freedom to sit by the water at Sydney Harbour, sipping wine under the setting sun, just chatting like the old days. Excitedly awaiting the concert to start.

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When the time finally came for us to go into the Sydney Opera House, we were so excited, like giddy school girls. Then the lights went down and he started singing Four Seasons In One Day and I bawled my eyes out. Strange reaction maybe, considering it’s usually Message To My Girl and Distant Sun which are my tear jerkers, however here I was blubbering like a little baby hearing the words through my soul as he sang with such passion and conviction. I closed my eyes and for the first time saw black. Not surgical equipment.

Even when you’re feeling warm

The temperature could drop away

Like four seasons in one day

Seriously.

I’ve heard those lyrics a thousand times. Yet never really listened to them.

The rest of the concert continued on and was over far too quickly (even though Finn and Paul Kelly played for almost three hours). I sat in stunned silence at the beauty of Fall At Your Feet and clapped and cheered like in a mosh pit crowd at the conclusion of I Got You. My iPhone battery was flat and the memory full well before the end of the concert as I had been taking so many photos, trying to savour absolutely every moment possible.

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I went to bed that night for the first time in the longest time, actually happy. My soul felt alive and nothing could have brought me down from that high.

As I sit here today typing this out, reminiscing on the night that was, tears are welling up in my eyes again. Not for happiness, but sadness. PND and PTSD robbed me of seeing beauty in the world for the longest time. My sight was clouded by the visions of the past. Hearing the melodies again, reminded me of the Clair that once was. The one who lived for live music. The one who would get lost in an album and not resurface for weeks. The one who could see the beauty in life. Not just the bad things that happen.

I’m back to the psychologist tomorrow. A new one, not my Sarah. Fingers crossed I don’t need many more visits, however I will gladly go if they think it’s necessary. They’re the brain experts, not me. Some days I definitely feel stronger than others. My diet and exercise programme is doing really well as well, which I know is helping. It’s weigh in day today and I’m down to 73.5kg (162lbs) which I haven’t been in the longest time. I started in January at 81.8kg (180lbs). It was well before I fell pregnant even, the last time I was this light. I stared at the scales in disbelief this morning as I saw those digits pop up on the screen. I’m definitely on track to being 69kg (152lbs) by my sister in law’s wedding on 4 May. I now have to be careful not to lose too much before the wedding as my dress can only be taken two sizes in!

I hope you are having a wonderful day. I want to share some beauty with you now, thanks to YouTube

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From the 2009 Sound Relief concert in Melbourne. Feel free to swoon. I just about die of love every time I hear this beautiful melody.

xx