Posts in Category: Keeping Active

Peek & Place – You’ve Got This

When you come back from a significant trip, it’s easy to talk about where you went, who you were with, what you ate, anything you might have bought.

But the truth is, I came away with a whole lot more than just memories of good food and couple selfies. The real souvenir was a mindset.

Vancouver is an amazing place. I have never seen a more socially aware or responsible society – Recycling is a big thing that everyone does and is conscious of and everyone is incredibly genuine and considerate. I have never seen people more concerned about clearing up after themselves and taking the time to give way or say thank you’s. I have never seen a place more engaged with the great outdoors.  And we were only too lucky to discover it through the eyes of two great friends, Grace & Joe, who are living like the locals, biking to their hearts content and just taking in life.

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Aside from spending a whole week in Whistler hammering down the bike park, we also had the good fortune of spending some time riding the North Shore with them – and met some of their friends & colleagues at Endless Biking.

Endless is a bike rental and tour company – They provide the gear and the guidance to ensure you get the most of your riding at all the different trail networks around North Vancouver. As soon as we arrived, we spent some time with Darren and Eli who gave us a clinic on cornering, and Ryan who took us through a drops session. Joe then spent most of our rides secretly progressing me by taking me to trails that he thought would challenge me to become a better rider.

And boy, did he challenge me!

IMG_3704takeaway 1: big rocks are your friends, not your foes

Every time we headed out, I’d have this feeling of dread inside me. Oh dear, I’m not familiar with where we’re going. What if I can’t do it? What if I hold everyone back?

Joe was really good and super patient. He’d take time out to explain trail sections, re-affirm techniques I had learnt and reassure me sections were do-able. Grace would sometimes ride ahead of me to show me how very elementary it could indeed be. So I always felt completely safe and confident in my abilities – this meant I always did something new skill-wise whenever we went out and pushed myself to a new level each time. I really loved that! It just felt so gratifying to always improve. And both Grace & Joe would be super supportive as well, letting out great big woops and verbal pats on the back whenever I accomplished something. It made me feel so happy and fuzzy inside.

IMG_3639takeaway 2: when nothing hairy’s in sight, get out of the ready position and give your back a break!

IMG_3676takeaway 3: skinnys are fine if you just look ahead

IMG_3605no takeaway here, just that i love riding with my friends :)

IMG_3950bobsled morning with kelli & the guys

On one particular early morning, their lady boss friend Kelli Sherbinin came and rode Mt Fromme with us. I was all nervous since Kelli’s got really hardcore bike cred but just like Joe, she was incredibly supportive and patient in trying to get me to progress. Both Joe, Kelli & Grace – and Andrew too – literally waited ages for me to pluck up the courage to attempt what’s probably a very small rock feature to most at the start of Bobsled. And when I did… Well, I just felt I had to go do it again… and again… and again… and again… So I could get over the fear and know what I was capable of.


(you can hear Kelli whooping at me in the distance!)

Have you ever been so mentally caught up in your head that when you finally get through something, you burst into tears? That’s literally how I felt whenever I cleared something like that, whether it was a skinny bit of woodwork or a technical section. I’d quickly turn away from my friends so they didn’t see how choked up I was – They’d be cheering at me for doing it and I’d be a mix of happy and seriously overwhelmed… and scared! But I loved progressing. It was doing a lot more for me mentally than I could imagine.

One of the phrases they kept using was “Just peek and place, Janice. Trust yourself and commit. You’ve got this.”

It took a lot to do it, but whenever I did I realised how much I could accomplish if I truly set my mind to the task.

A week later, I found myself at a business workshop in Dubai doubting some of my abilities. And guess what the little voice in my head was saying?

“Come on, you’ve got this. Just peek and place, trust the rest.”

You take a whole lot away from the trail each time you ride. I think that’s why I love biking so much.

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For a bit of Mummy inspiration, read: Mother Puckers on PinkBike.com

The Great BC – Before Children? No – British Columbia.

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It seems like a lifetime ago that Hubba and I were in Vancouver on our first adventure together in 4 years.

In reality, we’ve only been back for about 2 weeks and I suppose this blog post is long overdue.

A month ago, we took the brave step of going on a two week holiday sans kids. The kids were with their beloved Grandparents and having a holiday of their own and almost every few days we’d get on FaceTime wherever we could to catch up. Prior to our departure, my head was in a complete mess. It had probably been a long time since I took a mental break and checked out of everything – and even right up till us getting on the flight, I was worrying about absolutely everything there was to worry about - Was everything at work sorted? Had I forgotten to pack anything for the kids? Was everyone in school informed that the grandparents were in charge?  Had I assigned all home help chores clearly and fairly? Had I prepped both kids well enough so they’d mentally understand why we were not going to be around? Needless to say, I had a lot on my mind. So much so that I dare say I completely neglected Andrew – and of course, myself – over the two months prior to leaving.

And whilst Andrew was really looking forward to the trip – We were going to Whistler, after all. Mountain Biking bucket list and all that! And we were about to go see two really great friends too! – Until we landed in Tokyo for transit, I just wasn’t in the right head space and I just wasn’t that excited.

Look, I’m not going to complain and say I have a bad life and that it made me so stressed I couldn’t think straight.

The reality is I’ve got a good enough gig – The support we have from grandparents is just phenomenal and when we announced we wanted to take a couple’s holiday away, everyone was more than supportive. I wanted to cry when my Dad messaged me the day I left saying he felt I really deserved my holiday and to have a great time. In fact, I think I did cry. Sheez, I was probably crying at almost everything. What can I say… I think I just felt I needed to check out.

And check out, I did. I became a complete numbskull the moment the plane left Singapore. Hubba actually laughed at how dimwitted I was being about everything. It was almost like my mind decided I didn’t want to make a single decision, or think of anything at all.

Anyway, once we got to Canada we hopped right onto bicycles. The first morning of our trip we rode a few bits of trail, attended a bike festival, took a couple of bike clinics together and then attended the world premier of a biking movie. There was no such thing as ‘getting over jetlag’ – we just maxed ourselves out right away. And the next day, we were off to Whistler for a week’s worth of downhilling.

I rode 8 out of 14 days of the trip. And you know what?

It was fantastic.

I loved every minute of it. After the kids came, I spent all this time being afraid of the trail but I fell in love with mountain biking all over again. And most importantly, I fell in love with Andrew all over again. Everyone’s told me about how important it is to take the time to be the best you can before you can be the best mum that you can be. This trip really taught me what that meant – And I’m feeling really alive and in love with life again.

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This couldn’t be just the one post as I learnt so much from this trip…. More posts to come. Watch this space :)

Biking – Saturday, 18 January

A morning in pictures.

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My Horse named “Ginger” and the Salomon hydration pack

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When I was little, I’d cycle around my neighbourhood each day at 6pm. I had a white bicycle that my parents got me from Toys ‘R Us – my second bicycle after I outgrew my first yellow BMX – and I used to pretend it was a horse that would take me to faraway places. The furthest-away place would usually be the grocery shop at our neighbouring condo, where I’d usually take my pennies to for a ‘rosicle’ ice-lolly. I called my ‘horse’, Ginger. In my head, it was brown with a ginger main when in real life it was white with pink bits.

Fast forward many decades later and my horse is a bit of a black beauty.

This badass baby is… well, not that badass. It is made of scandium and I named it ‘Goat’ a long time ago because of its ability to make me feel like I can climb really well on it. I am glad to report that I am back on Goat and enjoying my rides. The #newyearsresolution was to ride once a fortnight. Let’s hope I can stick to this. It really is great being back out there!

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Which leads me to the Salomon hydration pack which I just got from World of Sports. I’ve owned a couple of hydration packs in my lifetime but they’ve not surprisingly died on me. This was a very timely gift! I definitely need something that could carry my water but also something I could carry my equipment in.

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As you can probably tell from the high quality pictures, I was riding with my Sony Nex C3 which was safely tucked in a pocket at the front of the pack so it was accessible to me at all times.

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Usually, most sports bags don’t quite fit my tiny frame but these straps are just like life jacket straps. All I had to do was yank on them to give the bag a snug fit. Easy peasy.

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And of course, the most important feature…. Water. The bag carries enough water for me on a 3-hour trail ride and provides easy access so I can focus on the trail. With past hydration packs, I’ve found that the bladder easily leaked into the bag but this one does not. It also has a clearly separated section to the rest of the bag so there was no chance of my other bits and bobs getting wet. Oh, and I need to try it out but I think if I put ice into the bladder, there’s probably a thermal thingamajig that keeps the water cold too!

Watch this space. Very chuffed with fab bag.

But even more chuffed that I’ve been out already this year! Not too shabby for a first month :)

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As long as I can, I will.

Guess who’s back?

mamaonwheelsA very rare shot of Mama on wheels – It’s good to be back!

The 100 Day Challenge

100 Days. 

This is what I’ve committed myself to.

When I first received the final call email for Selective Fitness‘ 100 Day Challenge, I was a little apprehensive. Let’s face it – I’ve only just gotten myself back to work 2 months ago – I am only just starting to get used to the pace at work again, and basically getting used to the whole ‘working mum, and now of two’ mindset. But then this is what the email said….

  1. This is not a diet program. The only good diet is one that you can stick to. We don’t do crash diets either and our focus is on building habits to eat fresh and whole.
  2. There is no pressure to exercise every single day. Instead, we work on implementing exercises that fit into your schedule. It is the quality of the workout and exercise that matters not the quantity.
  3. We don’t deprive you of your favorite foods but we do look at managing what goes into your stomach so that you can enjoy your favourite foods without the guilt.
  4. I won’t have a life for 100 Days. On the contrary, the program is designed to kick start lifelong habits and not to restrict or to deny you fun or happiness or make you a stranger with your friends. Better habits allow for better choices that would need to long term improvements in health and fitness.

I’m not out to lose weight – well, not drastically anyway. I’m sure it’ll go down if I only got off my arse and started exercising. Problem is, a coffee trumps water these days and Gin & Tonic beckons in the evening when I should really get myself out to run. I needed to get myself out of my own rut.

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Enter my new coach – Chris.

I am told Chris keeps well on top of you. And while he is a good friend of mine, I’ve also gotten plenty of reassurance from his members that he does ‘nag’ you in a healthy way.

My first two goals for 20 days are simple and achievable:

  • Drink 8 cups of water a day

I’ve been so busy with the kids in the morning that by the time I get to work, all I can think of is coffee. And before I know it, it’s noon and I’ve done a whole half day (and full night) without water. How unhealthy??

  • Skip twice a week for 10 minutes each time

My other problem is having too many excuses not to exercise. I’m too busy. I’ve got meetings all day. I’d much rather see my friends. I need a drink. I’m too tired. Rubbish. 10 minutes isn’t going to take up much time. I just want to incorporate exercise into my life again. No more excuses.

And the community Chris has put together for the 100 day challenge really keeps you in check. Everyday, these 16 people WhatsApp what’s on their plate for the day, what sort of exercise they’re doing and the like… And even though I never planned to work on my nutrition and my diet, it’s inspired me to look at what I’m eating. While I’m not cutting anything, I’m trying to up the level of protein in the food I consume. And I have had a few ultra healthy meals which have made me go WOAH. 

A far cry from what I was stuffing down my gob when pregnant.

Here are a few examples of healthy things I’ve been eating whilst at my desk at work… Not bad at all huh?

#100daychallenge #selectivefitnessfood100