A Weekend of Races and Weather Extremes…

The races I entered this weekend were a mixture of charity and fun runs. I wasn’t planning on having really good time/pace for either, I was focused more on getting out and enjoying myself.

A Run to Remember
Saturday’s run was a 12km trail/road course that began uphill through the Harry Ell track. This track is very narrow and people hadn’t lined up very well at all so there were a huge amount of walkers in front of some of the runners to start with. This meant for the first 2km uphill we ended up walking at quite a casual pace. Once we got to Summit Rd we were able to run the rest of the way at a fairly slow pace. I have only done one hill run before so for me it was about a slow and steady pace, my goal was simply to not stop running on the hilly parts. I remember looking at the weather an hour before we started and it was almost 26⁰C already, by the time we finished it was around 30⁰C – it was HOT! I ran with two lovely ladies Lisa & Lisa. These two ladies are inspirational; Lisa H is the one that is helping her friend’s daughter with the charity for Ava that I have mentioned previously. Lisa P is one of these people who will go out of her way to help you, she will enter a race last minute just to run with you if you are feeling a little apprehensive and stick with you the whole way around – even if it means she’s not going at her normal pace. Considering she has enough to worry about in her own personal life she gives of her time considerably to anyone else in need, even if it’s just a smile and a quick hello.

Saturday was a big day for me, I was a little worried when the race start was delayed as I had a small amount of breathing room to get home and get ready for a wedding out in the country. I made it in good time and was very lucky enough to have some shade during the outside ceremony considering I had spent a few hours in the full sun over the morning. My lesson learned: I WILL be sore the next day if I’ve run for over an hour and then decided to wear decent sized heels for the rest of the day/night when I don’t tend to wear heels very often!

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I really enjoy standing up here – you can’t see it overly well but it shows after the devastation of the earthquakes we do indeed still have a city – even though a good portion of it got demolished.Image

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The Color Run
I woke up late on Sunday as my alarm didn’t go off. It was set for 6:30 and I woke up around 6:55 so not too bad but it meant I had to rush around and leave pretty quickly. The warm up before the race was at 8:10am and I had to drive to Kathryn’s place and then head with her out to the race to pick up my pack so that I was ready to go before the warm up started. We got there in good time but as we headed in to pick up my pack the wind was feeling quite icy. I hadn’t checked the weather since the morning before and had no idea it was going to be considerably colder than the insanely hot day we had on Saturday. When I got back to the car to change into the T-Shirt I’d been given all of a sudden it started pouring down…

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We had 15mins before the warm up was due to start so we sat in the car like a lot of others – no point in being out in that longer than we had too! It was time to head back it – it was COLD. I jogged past everyone to get to the warm up area and spent the next 50mins trying to keep moving before we could start the race. It got a bit warmer once we are all huddled in the start chute but by this time it was steadily pouring down and had basically turned into a wet T-shirt competition! Finally the countdown began and we started on our way, slowly the rain and the cold became bearable. The run in general was fun, we embraced the weather and set out on a steady run, Kathryn has just in the last week or two got up to running 5km without stopping so I was quite glad to have an easy paced run, stopping to walk through each color station. It got freezing again a few minutes after we crossed the finish line so we didn’t stay very long and I must say changing into dry clothes and sipping on a coffee was the best feeling ever! I was too scared to get my phone out in that weather so I’m waiting for the pictures from the event to be posted online!!

In some ways this race was worse than Mud, Sweat & Tears which is held over here in winter. Sure you get wet and muddy and cold, but the times I’ve done it was ‘fine weather’ and you expected what was coming up during the course. Yesterday morning we weren’t expecting rain and for it to be that cold, and we had already been soaked through well before we even began the race. Looking back though I’m still glad I did it and didn’t chicken out like a few other competitors were doing.

In the evening a group of Pumped ladies met with another PT who Kate met recently called Anita. She focuses more on running than Kate has been and agreed to have a chat about ways we can improve our running techniques. I had read a lot of the information she was sharing on some running websites before but it was good to get reminders and some new information. I’m quite interested in seeing what her half marathon training plans are like in comparison with the one I’ve been following and she will be putting on some sessions for us during the weeks to come.

 

Start of a new week:
My legs are still quite sore today so I have been focusing more on stretching than exercise tonight as well as setting some goals for the week:

GOALS
# – Run a total of 25km
# – Complete the homework circuit twice
# – Do one stairs/hill session
# – Plan out my meals/snacks for the week

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Hot running weather and way too many burpees…

Sleep wasn’t my friend Monday night and so I was slightly dreading an early morning workout with The Boss knowing I was already a little sore from her ‘burpee’ circuit yesterday. We started with the monthly challenge. Normally it’s something fitness related but this month we have a time limit to throw little hoops and see how many we get on the holder. Last week I got a big fat zero but I managed to get two this time around – one being my first throw! Next was a warm-up, well I say warm up but it took quite a long time… We normally do some boxing to warm up but this time I did a mixture of boxing and reps. 100 left right punches, 10 burpees then 90 hooks, 20 press ups. You get the idea? We went from 100 to 10 (with the reps getting higher as the punches got lower). Finished off the session with some strength work which felt harder than normal but I did get through all my reps J

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve had a mare on the food front over the last couple of weeks so I had a chat with Kate yesterday morning about being held accountable daily for few weeks while I get myself back into a healthy food routine.  She is going to randomly check my online diary/calorie intake and if it’s not up to date or I have gone over my calorie goal for the day I lose money. I don’t always follow a calorie diary but I do find that’s a very helpful way to get back on track if I’ve gone off the rails a little.

After that workout I was feeling my body I still had a run later in the day. We missed our long run on Sunday due to sports games: Liam thought the NRL Nines would finish around 6pm like it had the day before but it ended up finishing just after 8pm and I fell asleep (very unlike me).

Tuesday night’s run was hard but I actually enjoyed it at the same time?! Is that a thing?! It was one of the hottest days we’ve had here this summer, come 5pm it was still around 31⁰C. Normally I would hold off until it cooled before going out but I had a hair appointment. This run was my 3rd 10km run ever but I felt like I could have easily kept going (if I didn’t have other places to be) and I started to feel confident that I can actually do this half marathon in a good time. The first 4-5kms my legs were pretty stiff, it was flippin’ hot but I noticed I wasn’t having to coach myself on as much as I normally do to keep going, especially in the last half which is normally where I struggle the most.

Fuelling for longer runs: I’ve done a little research on this over the past couple of weeks and I think I need to start trying out little amounts on my weekend runs. I really dislike having to carry things whilst running though. Last night was the first time I’d carried a drink bottle with me because it was so hot and I didn’t want to have to stop for a drinking fountain but I was cursing it the whole way around. I do have a hydration pack at home that I will probably start using for my weekend running, that way I can carry some magical energy goodness with me and still keep my hands free (and look hard core at the same time because I’m wearing the pack in the first place…). I haven’t had much luck with any sort of gel, my stomach can only handle a tiny amount at a time and with most gels having a rip of top you can’t really save some for later without getting it everywhere. I quite like the sports beans though as I can take one or two (while the body gets used to it) and put the rest away for later and it actually feels like I’m eating something. Problem is most places only stock the lemon/lime or orange flavours when I know there are more delicious sounding ones around… I ordered some online yesterday, along with some Em’s Power Bites to test out too – looking forward to that package turning up 😉

Wednesday morning was dark, I wasn’t impressed! I met up with Dee for a circuit at the netball courts in Hagley: round two of the homework. She was running a little late and we did a pretty decent warm up so only got through half of each circuit in the end. Darkness is creeping in which is the one thing I dislike about the colder months: exercising in the dark! Circuit tonight consisted of WAY to many squats and burpees for my liking, legs hadn’t recovered from doing them over the last two days.

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My time trial run yesterday (Thursday) was tough. I may have started out way too fast; I was panting, struggling to get my breath and felt like I wouldn’t be able to keep going.  I slowed considerably during the last half of the km and got a time of 6:03. I managed negative splits for the entire run (last km finishing 5:30) but missed my PB by 8 seconds.

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Today is ‘rest day’ but I set a goal at the beginning of the week that I would complete a minimum of 20mins exercise each day. We went to the first Crusaders game tonight so I told Liam we will be parking further away and walking in, a 15min brisk walk to the stadium.

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I’m looking forward to the weekend it’s going to be busy though! I’m doing two events: 
Saturday – A Run to Remember (12km trail/road course) 
Sunday – The Color Run

 

 Are you entered in any races this weekend?

How do you feel when you just miss out on a PB?

Honest review & back to basic goal setting

I almost fell off the face of the ‘healthy lifestyle’ earth last week. I did some good workouts but I failed miserably with my eating choices. It’s been creeping up on me the last few weeks, I need to cut out the processed foods and start drinking lots of water again!!

February for Pumped is about being ‘Fat Free’ and there is a competition going on for people to try and donate the most weight (based on personal % of total body weight) and it seems I’m going taking other peoples donations on rather than donating myself. Tonight for me became about preparing good food choices for the week and kicking my butt into gear with our homework circuit.

I wrote the below out before I’d even tried it and it looks nasty… UPDATE: I’ve now completed it and it WAS pretty nasty! Good news is The Boss offered a coffee voucher to people who completed both circuits this week, I’m on day one and I’ve already done this 🙂

10 burpees – 1 squat
9 burpees – 2 squats
8 burpees – 3 squats
7 burpees – 4 squats
6 burpees – 5 squats
5 burpees – 6 squats
4 burpees – 7 squats
3 burpees – 8 squats
2 burpees – 9 squats
1 burpee – 10 squats
1min plank
Repeat in opposite direction

10 press ups – 1 min aeroplane abs
9 press ups – 1min squat hold
8 press ups – 1min plank
7 press ups – 1min high knees
6 press ups – 1min cycles
5 press ups – 1min dips
4 press ups – 1min dead ants
3 press ups – 1min squats
2 press ups – 1min walking lunges
1 press ups – 1min top plank
Repeat in opposite direction

I managed to do both tonight and timed myself for each half. I did the second round of the first one faster, but by the second circuit I did the last round slightly slower than the first.

 

GOALS

My goals this week are going back to the basics:
#1 – Drink 2.5L water per day (normally this is not a problem for me but for some reason I’ve been struggling with this lately)
#2 – Exercise for a minimum of 20mins a day
#3 – Make all my lunches/snacks for the working week

I’m now officially entered this year’s 20 Week Body & Lifestyle Competition. I’m not sure if I will stick to the two categories I’ve selected, it’s been a very hard choice to make this year so at this stage I’ve entered Upper Body & Strength.

A quick forecast of my week to come and it looks busy: I didn’t get my long run in yesterday so we are aiming for a longer than usual run tomorrow, plus I have PT first thing in the morning. Wednesday I am meeting a couple of girls for a morning circuit (take two of the homework circuit) and I have Circuit class in the afternoon. Thursday is time trial run. Friday I’ll have to do a small morning circuit to meet my goal of exercise each day as we have tickets to the first home game of our AWESOME rugby team the Crusaders in the evening! Saturday I’m weighing up whether to do a race in the morning as I have a wedding early in the afternoon. Sunday I’ve entered into The Color Run which is only a 5km fun run but I have a 12km run on my training schedule for Sunday as well…

The race on Saturday is called A Run to Remember and I missed out on it last year so I was really keen to do it this time round. It’s special to our city as it a charity run to honor the people who lost their lives in the earthquakes that struck our city almost three years ago. It’s a beautiful course showing off views of the city. If I do go I’ll have to miss the prize giving and memorial service which is a bit disappointing but I’ll be cutting my time fine to get back home and head out to a wedding in the country!

All in all I’m feeling more positive than I was this morning/last week and rearing to go for a great week!

Morning routines, smashing PB’s and a Labrador wanting to help with my reps…

 I finally got into some early morning workouts this week. Dee, one of the lovely Pumped ladies had asked for some motivation to do a workout Wednesday mornings and I jumped at the chance as I was also needing a bit of a accountability with my mornings. This week we decided to meet at Hagley Park and do Kate’s homework circuit:

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I must admit we only got through half of it by the time we had to pack up and head to work (think we were chatting too much…) but it was still a good start to the morning.

After work I had circuit class with Kate which was a little different than the usual inside circuit. We’ve been lucky with the weather lately and being able to do outdoor classes but it wasn’t too flash this particular evening. Usually we would do something along the lines of one round of the circuit, do a few different exercises and sprints to break it up followed by another shorter round to finish. This time we did 45 sec on a station, a few reps or sprints and then 30 sec on the same station before moving on. Made it a little more like interval training which was a nice change – I like my variety 🙂

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve found I’m able to push myself more than I could over the last few months. I’ve had a couple of injuries that would be niggly off and on and I’ve had to be careful with sprinting and jumping type exercises because that was what was setting it off – I REALLY didn’t want to go backwards again with it! Currently it’s looking good, I’ve been doing all these things with no niggles or pain and bonus – I feel like I’ve got more out of my workouts 🙂

Thursday = time trial day. I had looked up my PB from a couple of weeks ago and mentioned to Liam that I really wanted to beat it this time. As we started off I actually felt like I was going well, 1km mark came along and my app told me I’d been running for 6:03 (includes a few seconds from the 2nd km). By this time Liam was a few steps in front of me, I was pretty happy and said “Woah babe, 6mins!” (secretly hoping I hadn’t started out too fast and could keep it up). 2nd km I was faster still and when the 3rd km mark came around the voice told me my average was sitting at 5:34 – Woah, I couldn’t believe it! I had been worried because I felt like I had slowed up yet it was my fastest km. I did slow a little towards the end of the run but managed to keep every km under 6mins and finished in 29:05. I took a total of 2mins 14sec off my PB (31:19) WOOHOO!!!

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Needless to say I was feeling pretty proud! I have noticed though that I am really bad with inconsistent lap times. My splits usually differ considerably and I struggle to know how I’m going only knowing my time at each km because sometimes if I’ve slowed sometimes I don’t have enough time left to bring it back as much as I would like too. For this reason I’m looking into what GPS watches are around, not that I will look at it the whole run but I think it will help me get a feel for my pace and know when I need to step it up, especially for time trials!

This morning was an odd feeling for me: a few of the Pumped girls ran Buller Marathon/Half today which was supposed to be my first Half Marathon. Unfortunately I had to pull out late last year due to the above mentioned injuries. I was really excited for them (especially Hayley as she completed her first marathon!) but was a little sad I wasn’t joining them. On the bright side though, I’m in a better position right now for St Clair than I was for Buller so here’s hoping nothing major comes my way in the next couple of months… 

To keep on track I decided to incorporate the homework circuit into a stairs session this morning and Dee offered to join me. Besides getting eaten alive by mosquitoes it was a good workout, I even found a buddy who wanted to help with my press ups! I didn’t catch a picture of him but a gorgeous chocolate labrador was playing on the stairs and followed us around for a while. As people went past we asked if they knew where he lived but it wasn’t until the end of our workout we found out where his home was. Every time I got down to do reps he would come over and try to play – it kept the workout fun haha!

Instead of the step ups/2 feet jumps in between the sets of 20, 15, 10 & 5 reps mentioned from Wednesday we would run down & back up the stairs (all 219 of them). There is a nice flat area at the top of the stairs to do reps and it’s away from the nasty mosquitoes which was a big bonus!

 

Would you recommend/not recommend any particular brand of GPS watch?

How do you feel when you smash a previous personal best?

Hill Runs, Birthday shoes and Spikey Balls

Circuit Wednesday night seemed to be more of a killer than normal. Maybe it was because I was already suffering a hint of DOMs – I don’t know! It did seem like we had more sprinting than normal and for a change from the standard circuit class we spent the whole hour outside doing interval training. Most sets that we completed were 20sec high intensity followed by 10sec rest: repeat 4x per exercise.

The two hardest exercises we did? 
#1 – Lunge hops. We did 4 sets per leg, by set 4 of each it was definitely burning!
#2 – Unsure of the correct name, but something like ‘press up crab walks’. Basically we would do a press up and then take one ‘step’ sideways on our hands/feet and repeat down the driveway. Now we only did 4 sets of this; first time was 20 press ups, get up and sprint down the rest of the driveway, jog back and start again (Next three 15, 10 & 5 Press ups). My arms were already sore today so this one pretty much wrote me off, I actually struggled to mash potatoes afterwards HAHA!

Thursday was a bit a busy day with work and I had a dinner out with my family in the evening. I knew I was going to do a run on Friday so I swapped the two days in my training schedule.

Friday was my birthday and I’d actually remembered to take the day off work. I did what any crazy fitness person would do: I started my day with a hill run! I’d been psyching myself up all week to run up Harry Ell Track. It’s only a total of 6km out and back with a gradual elevation of around 120m. I think the steepest part is at the very beginning so once that bit was over it was quite a nice trail. It was a bit of a slow journey up but my goal was to keep going without stopping or walking which I was able to do. HAPPY FACE TIME!

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I’ve been feeling a few niggles with my running shoes over the last few weeks and had decided that would be one of my rewards for hitting my January goals with Kate. I achieved all of these before I headed out for my run so it ended up being a quick trip back home  and then it was off to Shoe Clinic I went!

I had a feeling it was going to be a bit of an expensive trip… Previously I’ve only had shoes that were specifically for road running but I’ve been doing a lot more off-road work lately. I went in thinking the last couple of years I’ve had to have the most boringly coloured (mainly light grey with a little pink) shoes in the store because I was rolling inward considerably and needed the stability. I was also aware that these shoes have been discontinued so if that was still my only option I’d have to purchase them again before they ran out and I wasn’t too happy about this. However when I arrive I talked to the salesperson and he decided to fit me from the start again because I was going to try some trail shoes as well. Shoe Clinic have you run barefoot on the treadmill to start off with to determine what type of shoe would suit you best. We noticed at this point I was definitely not rolling in as much as I used to (apparently like with wearing glasses your body can start to fix itself). He got me to try a couple of pairs that were the next step down stability wise, as well as the pair I currently have. I noticed instantly wearing a new pair of my current shoes I could feel the stability in the heel was too much and it was almost over correcting my stride. The pair I tried on that I liked the best was mainly white (not too pleased with this). He remembered I didn’t like the colour of my old ones so he went away and got the new season version of the shoes – blue & yellow. I put them on and instantly said yes I don’t mind paying an extra $40 for the bright colours! So that was road shoes sorted, I went through the same process with some trail shoes – long story short I ended up purchasing TWO pairs of shoes.

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Really really happy that I could get nice coloured shoes this time BUT most of my running clothes are currently purple/pink (Such a girl dilemma!) I think this gives me a good excuse to go out soon and purchase some clothing that matches my new shoes 😉

I haven’t tested out my trail shoes yet but I did do an 8km run yesterday in my new road shoes (yes… I know you are supposed to break them in slowly…). I went well overall, kept my average of around 6:30min per km. They feel much lighter than my previously brick shoes so I’m happy!

Today = massage day! Since I moved house it’s now on the other side of town from me but the drive is well worth it. Rachel does such a good job working out any niggles you might have and ensures that any prior issues are still staying away. I got a new toy from her tonight – a spikey ball. I’d never used one of these before but already I can see it will be an essential item at home.

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I made a favorite dinner of mine tonight. Let me state that I love pasta. There is something about the carbs that is so tasty but trying to ‘donate weight’ as my PT likes to call it, is not the easiest when you love pasta. I had heard about replacing the pasta with vegetable substitutes, not going to lie – this sounded weird. Anyway i decided to search for some recipes and give it ago. I stumbled upon this one on a Paleo website Zucchini Noodles with Avocado sauce. It was AMAZING! I added fresh chilies to the sauce and the veggie loving, one pot wonder in me stir fried the zucchini along with other vegetables and mixed together with the sauce. I honestly don’t notice the pasta is missing which is a BIG bonus for a pasta lovin’ girl 🙂