18km practice run for St Clair & a shiny new watch!

Due to a couple of extra events Liam has on this weekend we did our long run on Friday morning (Public Holiday here in NZ due to ANZAC Day). This run was our longest training run before the half in two weeks, as well as being the longest either of us has ever done in one go. The majority of our runs so far have been at Hagley Park in the city, which is mainly concrete paths and flat. I knew St Clair was a bit more off road than I’m used to so I suggested we try a run through Bottle Lake Forest. The running track is a little over 9km so it worked perfectly with our scheduled 18km run. Little did I know it was a little more undulating than I expected… The elevation was only 0-30m but the little hills were short and sharp – which made it a slight challenge for someone who has only done running on the flat – luckily I like challenges!!

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Because it loops at the entrance into the forest we picked a side to start on. I didn’t realise that there was some undulating spots with quite dry sand – this made for an interesting start and I felt a little more tired than I should have been 2km into the run… We got into the forest and the terrain became more like what I had expected. 45mins in and I was starting to worry that I would really struggle with a second lap, I even said to Liam that if I was feeling worse closer to the end of this lap maybe we should run on the road for the second 9km. Meanwhile it came time to experiment with GU. The last couple of weeks running fuel hadn’t worked well at all for me so I had fingers crossed that GU would work for me. Instead of having a whole packet every 45mins we decided to share one every 20-30mins (which also meant we each got to try 4 different flavours). I find my stomach can very temperamental on a run so I didn’t want to overload it in one go with too much. I can’t believe how much it helped me, I was struggling in those first 3-4km but by the time the first lot of GU kicked in I knew I had it I me to do another lap of the track, in fact the second lap was slightly faster!

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Because we didn’t stop during the run I only got one picture at the end – it doesn’t do some of the track justice!

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I was also surprised at how I went for the rest of the day. Lately I’ve been shattered after spending a decent amount of time exercising, enough to need a nap afterwards. This time around I still felt a little tired but not nearly as bad. I tried out my new compression socks during the afternoon which I think helped as well because I wasn’t sore when I woke up the next morning SCORE!

 

I spent a bit of time Saturday getting a few things ready for diving into the 20 Week Challenge on Monday. Because we’d had a temporarily flat mate staying (he moved out two weeks ago) the gym room was cluttered with lots of things that normally belong elsewhere in the house. I need this space clear again as one of my goals is to complete a total of 1500 reps every week (250 of each)
Burpees
Press ups
Dips
Squat jumps
Lunges
ABS

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As I mentioned in my last post my reward for completing my 5 weeks goals is a GPS watch. I went shopping this weekend 🙂 Now I’m excited but sad I won’t get to use it just yet. However it gives me the motivation I need to achieve my goals because if I don’t achieve them Kate gets to keep it :/ Yes I know that might sound crazy (and maybe I was crazy to agree with the idea) but scary consequences work well for my motivation as I found out last year during the challenge.

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All of the Pumped AWESOME people entered into the 20 Week Challenge are meeting a bit later this afternoon – I’m really excited because this was such amazing moment last year. Being new to Pumped last year I didn’t know many people at all, it was really inspiring to meet some of the entrants and hear about what they are striving to achieve. We also got our contracts, a cool diary, a calendar and some other bits and heard about some successes from the previous year.

BRING ON THE 20 WEEK CHALLENGE!!!

 

How do you reward yourself for achieving big goals?

Do you tend to run the same route or do you like to find new places?

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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?