Are You Making The Switch From The Dirty Dozen

Most people know that its best to eat organic food because of the benefits, you included right. But there is a myriad of information out there, and a minefield of supermarket labelling to get through when we select our ‘food’

- ‘Real’ food

- ‘Organic’

- ‘Fresh’ and ‘healthy’

Don’t get me started on packaged foods in supermarkets, I mean really, if food companies have to put the words ‘real, fresh, healthy and no additives’ on the label, it’s probably so far removed from the ‘Mother Nature’ food sources. Keep it simple, buy the actual food and make your own e.g. apples and make your own apple pie. At least that way you KNOW what’s exactly in it.

Hmm food for thought … excuse the pun.

Which gets me to the ‘Dirty Dozen’ and ‘Clean 15′, which you might be aware of.

The Environmental Working Group, a US health and environmental research organisation, created a couple of lists outlining the “clean” and “dirty” fruit and veg.

Fruit and veg were deemed ‘dirty’ if their production typically involved using pesticides. The ‘Clean 15′ is a list of fruit and veg which require a limited amount of intervention in order to grow.

Research has shown that by using these lists as a guideline, people could potentially reduce pesticide exposure by almost 90 per cent.

The ‘Dirty Dozen’ list contains :- apples, capsicum, blueberries, celery, grapes, cucumber, lettuce, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, strawberries and spinach.

The ‘Clean 15′ list contains :- asparagus, avocado, cabbage, rockmelon, kiwifruit, eggplant, mushroom, grapefruit,   onion, mango, peas, watermelon, sweet potato, corn and pineapple. 

To download your list click here - The ‘Dirty Dozen’ and ‘Clean 15’

So next time you select a fruit of vegetable from the ‘Dirty Dozen’ list aim to buy organic ones. A cheaper way to buy fresh, in season, organic produce is to buy at a local farmers market.

Happy Shopping.

Gold Coast Marathon Wk4 – A Reality Check

Oh lordie, I’ll be honest with you after easing back on the kms last week, today’s long run of 20kms felt TOUGH.

Yep the mind chatter was there early today with the constant “I’m tired, I know I shouldn’t have had that curry last night, what sorted of prep was that…… just another 5km then I’ll walk for a bit”

However I’ve learnt not to pay attention to ‘this voice’ and keep on running, enjoying the scenery, listening to my music, and just grateful that I’m able to go for a run.

Yes there were a couple of walking breaks today, more toilet stops though, and I know in time I will be able to run for 30kms+ again, without stopping. But now I’m in the build up phase and listening to my body more this time, so it doesn’t breakdown and is able to stay the course, getting me across the finish line of the Gold Coast Marathon this July.

The thing is with me once I get past 10-12km, I kick into another gear, find my groove and I’m off, clocking up the kms, completely in the zone, my happy place :)

My reality check today is that I’ve omitted strength training from my weekly routine for months now. To be honest I have a love hate relationship with weights, although I know the awesome benefits to my body and running when I do them. That’s why I reckon it was tough today, as the speed was down and limited power in the legs, although I still managed to complete 20kms including a mother of a hill.

So I’m committed to getting back to the squats and the lunges to build the power back in my legs, as well as other strength exercises of course.

What Will You Do With That Time?

I saw an impactful video clip on You Tube today that lead me to question where I spend my time, how much I have left, and how I’m going to maximise it by doing what I love.

What do you think?

Out of every 24 hours in every day, how do you spend it and are you happy with who you’re being, what you’re doing and the result you’re creating?

If you could do one thing differently what would you do?

Gold Coast Marathon Wk3 – Only 2 Small Ones This Week

So Wk3 of my training and I had an extremely ‘light’ training week. As I said at the start of this training, I would ‘balance’ my running this time with my other commitments and how my body is doing week by week.

This week, I just needed to ‘recharge my batteries’ so I listened, as a result of broken sleep and a 3 day business conference.

So I squeezed 2 small 3 km runs in and walked the rest of the time.

Short and sweet.

Gold Coast Marathon Wk2 – If You Want The Outcome You Have To Put In The Work

This week was a mix of 2 small runs and one insane long run :)

It was also a week of birthday celebrations for my husband. Now I’m not a big drinker by any stretch of the imagination. Although now and then I do like a ‘social’ drink.

What I’ve noticed recently though, the cleaner I eat, that when I do drink alcohol, how crap it actually makes my body feel.

Then on top of that running the next day….. oh man… pain, on so many levels.

So this week was another interesting journey on how certain food and drink affects me – physically and emotionally. And again I came to realise that the ’5 minute pleasure’ it might ‘pretend’ to give, is not worth the pain that’s left in my body for up to 48 hours afterwards.

I suppose I’m lucky that I have developed this much body-mind awareness, and what works for me. And I know that everyone is on a different journey right, and some people might not be sensitive to certain food types or drink, which is great.

So consequently feeling crap after eating a curry 2 nights early left me feeling BLAH before I was due to set off for my long run. So originally I planned to run 20-22km, so how did I pull 25km out of the bag ?

Read more on how I was able to do that here. 

So even though I felt BLAH, I focussed on my outcome (Gold Coast Marathon) and put in the work anyway – 25km.

Happy dance for sure :)

Feeling BLAH, Suck It Up And Go For A Run

Have you ever had a morning, day or heaven forbid a whole week that you just felt BLAH.

Feeling crap for whatever reason…… lack of sleep/sleepless night, worried about work, finances, fight with your partner and /or kids, something you ate last night, or a curry that’s still repeating on you over a day later.

And you know you need to to exercise, go for a run, but really are you kidding to peel yourself out of bed for a morning run in the dark when you are having a ‘BLAH’ attack.

You’ve been there too, I thought you had.

Well this was definitely me this morning before I set out for my long run – Crap night’s sleep and still dodgy guts from a curry I had 2 nights ago. I could have quite easily whinged and moaned my way back into bed, rolling over, wishing myself to get back to sleep.

BUT really how would I have felt at the end of the day, when I looked back at my day, before I drifted off to sleep if I had chosen to do that. Hmm pretty bad on myself. And on the flip side, I’d know how good I’d feel once I got started.

So if that’s you and you have a ‘BLAH’ attack, just suck it up, lace up your runners, and get running. Trust me you will feel so much better.

Case in point, today’s run, was only going to be 20-22km, and I thought I’d be cutting that short, as the walking breaks started earlier from 5km.

REALLY, I thought, how’s this going to work. Well I could run for another 5km and then walk for a bit, and I could come back early, that would be OK, I was telling myself.

Oh man, the little voice in our heads, and how it can distract us from the bigger picture.

You see here’s the thing.

If you want the outcome, you have to put in the work.

My outcome is to run the Gold Coast Marathon in July, so putting in the kms for my long runs is just a given, it’s pretty much non negotiable. So yes, I too had to suck it up today.

And boy am I glad I did, cos today’s outcome was a 25km run. Yes I played the mind games of :-

- Just another 5km

- ‘You’re 1/2 way there, keep going’

- ‘I’m a lean, mean running machine’

- ‘I’m fit and strong’

- And a few walk breaks

But the feeling when it’s done, is 2nd to none.

So I challenge you that if you’re feeling BLAH, suck it up and go for a run anyway.

And remember

Wish It … Dream It … Do It!

Sue xo




Happy International Women’s Day

Wherever you are in the world reading this – Happy International Women’s Day – March 8th. A day set aside since 1911 to mark the achievements of women around the world while calling for greater equality.

So let’s shine the spotlight on some amazing women who have been trailblazers in the running world.

Dr Julia Chase-Brand

Julia’s 1st race was the 1960 New England championship, 880 yard run which she won. However, she had to list her hometown as being in Rhode Island because women from Connecticut were not allowed to compete. Hard to believe now, but 55 years ago, women were banned from running the Manchester Road Race in Connecticut. Julia was told that if she entered she would be banned from racing for life. She lobbied to be allowed to race for a year, but without success.

In 1961 she ran the race, without permission, but then racing’s governing body vowed to ban her from all competition unless she agreed to stay out of “men’s” road races. She agreed to stay out, although ran anyway. Julia finished in 33 minutes 40 seconds, which would have given her 128th place, ahead of 10 men, if her time was officially counted. 

It took another 11 years before gender discrimination in distance races ended.

Roberta Louise “Bobbi” Gibb

Roberta is the first woman to have run the entire Boston Marathon in 1966. The longest Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)-sanctioned race for women was one and a half miles. Until 1972, when the first women’s division marathon opened, the Boston Marathon was a men’s division race, so all the pioneer women who ran before 1972 were, under the AAU rules, were unsanctioned runners.

After she submitted her entry, she was informed race director, that women were not physiologically capable of running marathon distances and that under the rules that governed amateur sports set out by the AAU, women were not allowed to run more than a mile and a half competitively.

She realized that it was more important than ever to run and that her run would have a social significance far beyond just her own personal challenge.

Wearing her brother’s shorts and sweatshirt, she hid in the bushes near the start, waiting for half the pack to pass her before she joined the race. The men soon realised she was a woman,showing support and encouragement.  She removed her sweatshirt, and the crowds also cheered when they saw a woman running.

She finished in 3:21:40, ahead of two-thirds of the pack.

Katherine Switzer

Katherine was officially the 1st woman to enter and run the Boston Marathon in 1967, when it was still considered a men’s only race. Her entry revolutionised the sports world when she was physically attacked by the race director for wearing official bib numbers in the race. She entered as K. Switzer, race number 261.

Switzer finished that race and campaigned to make women official in the Boston Marathon in 1972 and later that year was one of the creators of the first women’s road race.

“When I go to the Boston Marathon now, I have wet shoulders—women fall into my arms crying. They’re weeping for joy because running has changed their lives. They feel they can do anything.” Katherine Switzer 

So wherever you are on your running journey, whatever your running distance and race you’re working towards, congratulate yourself for where you are and the women trailblazers who made it all possible.


Gold Coast Marathon Wk1 – Hilly 16km

Ok so we’re back, and out training again for another race. Although this one’s going to be different.

As I said in my last post this one I’m doing it MY way, yes there’s a training plan, and for me this time it’s all about listening to that body-mind-spirit connection and listening to what it needs and doing it in unison.

So 2 small 3km runs to kick off week one training for the 2015 Gold Coast Marathon. Then this morning it was time for a familiar circuit around town.

I forgot how hilly it was, (10 hills), as I’d been training on pretty much flat courses until now. 3 km in I was wishing for a break, keep going to 5km I said to myself.

Kitten 5kmThen I was blessed with the perfect break, a black and white kitten on a fence at 5km perfect. I’m a sucker for cats, so it would have been rude not to stop wouldn’t it. Many pats and purrs later, we walked down the road together, until the kitten hit that ‘invisible boundary crossing’ and then sat down.

It was a lovely diversion, although getting going again by running straight up another hill wasn’t much fun. At least I had the happy thoughts of the kitten to get me to the top of that hill.

The good thing about running up hills, although they might be painful at the time, it’s the sure fire quickest way I know to build strength and stamina. When I finally reached the flat sections, although it felt like I was running slowly I had actually picked up some pace in my legs.

I was glad to stop at 16km. In the last few weeks I had built up to 20km on the flat, so I was glad to intersperse with a slightly shorter hilly run.

I knew it wouldn’t be long before I bolted more kms onto the end of this hilly course in the coming weeks, like I had done before. :)

Onwards and Upwards.

The Day That EVERYTHING Changed

You know those days and events in your life, when something happens, and EVERYTHING is turned on its head.

Yep everyone has them right. The thing that matters, is how you ‘deal with and react’ to those events.

So here’s the thing, for those of you who have been following my blog for a while, would know that last year I was training for my 1st marathon – Melbourne Marathon in October.

All was going well, I was on track, I was following my training plan, eating well, recovering from each long run, getting regular massages, doing strength work. Yes there were ups and downs along that journey, but looking back at it I was moving forward, and I was on track to getting to the starting line in one piece, having trained well, prepared for the race and ready to go when that gun was fired. Until…….

The wheels truly feel off, and in a BIG way, that I couldn’t have predicted at all.

2 weeks out from the marathon, I had a massive migraine and in writhing pain for 5 hrs, that resulted in numbness in my right foot, pins and needles sensation down my right side of my body, hot sensation on my back and my left hand I found difficult to control when I wrote, resulting in my writing being scrawly, like a granny.

I was scared, desolate, vulnerable and panic stricken. Was it a stroke or worse. What was going on with my body, I just wanted to understand, be better and run again. But my body had other plans……

Many blood tests and scans later, resulted in no concrete news. But I needed answers fast, I had my 1st marathon to run in a fortnight, I’d trained for it God damn it. And as you’re reading this, as a runner, you get that, right.

Luckily my GP who’s also a runner, he got it, he knew the importance of it for me and in the same breath I had symptoms that no-one had answers for, even the neurologist registrar advised me not to run as I was showing ‘an undiagnosed neurological condition’. What the F does that mean?

Call me stubborn but a few days later I did run, only 10km, just to see how my body was, if it was ‘better’ but I still couldn’t feel my right foot. It STILL felt numb as if it was wrapped up in cotton wool, jerking my whole right leg forward as I kicked for power and wondering every time if my right foot would actually hit the ground or would I crumble in a heap. If I could pull this off I thought, maybe just maybe I’d be able to run the marathon…… nope not today honey.

So the marathon came and went, and I wasn’t on the starting line. I did go as a spectator to cheer the runners on, tears of joy for the runners for keeping going and achieving their dreams, and tears of sadness for me for not making it, although I knew in my gut I’d be back, that one day I’d run that race…. I just had to figure this all out 1st.

The next month involved more blood tests, more MRI full spinal and brain scans, then the day came…… November 20th when I was told……

‘You have 8 lesions (inflammation spots) on your brain, 6 old ones and 2 new ones, and because of the number of lesions you have, the diagnosis is MS. It’s a condition where your own nerve cells attack its own immune system.’

NOOOOOOOOO this really can’t be happening, I’ve been healthy all my life, exercised, ate well, training for my 1st marathon, in the best shape ever, how could this be happening to me. The shock set in, and the rest of that meeting with the neurologist was a blur through tears, not knowing what to say, think, do, be, whatever…..maybe it was just one of my crazy Steven Spielberg style mash up dreams, that I’d just wake up from in a cold sweat.

Nope not this time, THIS was actually happening, this was REAL.

Why me, feeling like I’d just been given the cross between a death sentence and life in a wheelchair. I’m sorry but at the time, that was my limited knowledge of what MS meant…. Loose the ability to walk, then wheelchair bound and die.

Not for me. I had so much to learn and research, I’m CHOOSING another reality. 

To say I entered a dark hole after that meeting would be an understatement, literally a day by day, kind of thing, experiencing all the emotions, sometimes all in a day. How I held it together at work during that time I don’t know, I just did what I had to do and then crashed in a heap on the floor sobbing most nights. Some people knew, some didn’t. To be honest I think I was still in denial, that anything had changed, I wanted to be the same, act the same, have my life back…. and oh my God to run again, please say I can still run….

So now 3 months on, I know there is light at the end of the tunnel. Yes I still have ‘symptoms’ susceptible to temperature changes, all of a sudden without warning – icy cold arms, burning back or legs … poss the nerve endings not firing up, who knows.

Some of the lessons I’ve clearly got in all of this is to ‘let go’, to surrender, let others help me, stop being so damn independent and want to do it all yourself, STOP, rest and relax.

Also the research into how diet can play a MASSIVE part in healing your body has been a huge eye opener for me. I’ve revised my diet completely and now eat gluten, diary and sugar free, and man has that had a massive impact on my energy, ability to stabilise my weight and mood swings. No longer walking around in this ‘brain fog’ I’m now clear and focussed. And when I do introduce something from those food groups, my body negatively reacts, so for me its just not worth the ’5 minute pleasure’ I might get from eating those foods.

And to be honest, I was living a lie before when I thought I was eating ‘healthy foods’ that were still laced with sugar, or pizza, and ‘carbing up’ on pasta the night before a long run and wondering why I felt bloated, stodgy and unable to digest it.

Now I keep it real simple, listen to my body, and eat what it needs, seeing FOOD as FUEL to provide me with energy for the day and my running.

Then there’s the mind and body connection. I’ve always been fascinated with this, and how we create our own reality through our thoughts. I know on some level I created this, and now I intend to create a healthier reality for myself, healing from the inside out, feeding my cells what they need. My kinesiologist, Amanda, is teaching me this on a deeper level.

And what about the running, well yes, I’m happy to say I am running again, and back up to 20km runs. Yes the pace is slower than what I used to run at, and I intersperse it with walk breaks, when my body needs a rest. And man I’m proud of where I’ve come in 3 mths, to go from not being able to feel my foot when I run, taking 1 month off and building back up from scratch again. To be able to run at all is just, wow, a true blessing for me.  

Direction we are moving in (1)So yes the plan is another marathon, set for 5th July – Gold Coast marathon, the 18 week training starts here baby.

Some people I know think I’m daft, after all I’ve been through, and so soon after the diagnosis etc etc.

Why run Sue?!?

Why, because I can and I will.

I’ve no idea how the next 18 weeks will pan out. But one thing for sure, this time, I’m doing it MY way, yes the week to week program is there, but more importantly it’s NOT the push of split times for my sprints, and completing all the runs each week and everything in between, it’s

- the YIN and the YANG

- it’s listening to my body

- having more of a mind – body – spirit connection to my running and life

- to take more breaks, REST when I need to

- watch my diet, my thoughts and my environment

- to give it my best shot, putting a ‘smile on my dial’ whenever I’m out running, cos I’m doing it and I can

And most of all BE ME on a daily basis, be grateful for my life, everyday live it fully TODAY, not live in the past, or the ‘one day do it in the future’.

I don’t know what the future has in store for me or how my body will react to training for another marathon, I can plant ‘thought seeds’ of where I’m heading, sure and then live in the now.

Cos after all that’s all we have, is the NOW. So live it now, your way.

Your time is now and you’re ready for the next step.

So I share my journey and where I’m at cos my wish for you, is no matter where you are in your life, whatever challenges you’ve faced/are facing, whatever your running journey is, whatever your dreams and your aspirations are that you remember….

You have this!!

Wish It … Dream It … Do It!

Sue xo