An easy run & some new recipes for my cookbook

The 20 Week Challenge is a beautiful thing – when you blog about a good day or a bad day there is always someone who builds you up or who you have been able to help by just sharing your experiences – even people that you haven’t met. SO COOL!

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I started to blog purely so that I had to do something health wise worth writing about and it’s really nice to see how that can help me as well as readers!

Sticking to the plan I went for a run Tuesday night – the first decent one in quite a while! My issue at the moment is because it’s getting so dark early now I really dislike running on my own. Luckily Liam said that he would run with me during the week (most of the time) and Emily is also out around the same time and has offered to join. That’s really cool because my next planned raced is one she is doing as well, even though she may be faster than me we are looking to do similar training in general. It’s definitely nice to have a running buddy who’s a similar speed to you, but having someone there who’s not can also have its good points. Plus the way I see it: Sometimes all you need is someone to meet up with to make you get out there and do it – not necessarily sticking with them for the whole distance 🙂

It wasn’t quite as cold as I thought it would be, but it definitely got dark fast. Liam and I decided to do an easy run around the outside of North Hagley, only ended up doing 5km but it was a good starter. I tried out some new gear I purchased in the weekend because I am feeling the cold SO much more this year and not getting as hot out running as I used to! I bought some Cold Gear from Under Armour: Long tights and a top with nice long arms you can hide your hands in. The only thing I dislike so far is the fact they only had black – winter is dreary enough without black workout gear but I will stop complaining because it did keep me warm!

I’m very focused on getting my eating back in check this week, needless to say I might have put on a kg over the past couple of weeks and it’s time to get that reversed as part of my clean slate (especially seeing as it is one of my Week 10 Goals!). I tend to get in a rut with the same meals every day/week. Even though they may be good choices I have them too often and then end up disliking them for a while (e.g. not a fan of green based salads at the moment – it’s a good thing it’s winter!). Over the long weekend I took the time to find some new and yummy sounding dinners to test out.

I went back to one of my favourites Tuesday night – Zucchini ‘Pasta’ with avocado sauce. Then I made a recipe one of the Pumped ladies shared with us last night: Thai Peanut Superfood Slaw – it was YUMMO! Luckily I made enough for lunches today 😀

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Tonight was another new recipe: Carrot & Lentil Soup (picture is from the recipe – I ate it too quickly!). My amazing step sister came around for dinner and she’s a vegetarian so it was a good excuse to try a new meatless recipe!

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I’ve moved tonights run to tomorrow due to forgetting I had Loki booked in at the Vet tonight…

 

The 4BY4 Challenge

This month we have a challenge to try 4 new foods and 4 new activities. I think the first part will be the easiest part… But I do enjoy trying new things (even if I am apprehensive before it happens!). I will be doing a little bit of research and planning for this in the next couple of days – more info to come soon 🙂

 

 

Do you have a favourite healthy meal?

Are you a lone runner or do you prefer buddies?

A New Day = A New Beginning

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You might have noticed it’s been around 3 weeks since I last posted… It’s a tough few weeks in a number of ways. Up until yesterday I hadn’t run since St Clair and I was struggling mentally with any type of workout in my schedule. I say was because I think I’ve finally got it all sorted PHEWF!

Maybe it was a mixture of stressful work, post race blues, thinking that this year’s challenge would be the same as last year (even though my life is considerably different now) and who knows what else…

Broni put a post up last week about how some people may be beating themselves up already if they are not managing to stick with some things but to find what works for each of us individually. What I have noticed is that what worked for me last year hasn’t worked this year and this was very unexpected.

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So what am I doing about this?? I’m cleaning the slate for the final 15 weeks of the challenge. I have reassessed my goals and set some new goals for week 10 that I’m looking forward too (plus I’m really looking forward to my reward WHEN I achieve them!!)

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My goals for the next five weeks are simple but considering how much I was loathing (seriously it was weird…) exercise I think this is just what I need to bring the joy back:

# Run three times a week
# Run up Rapaki (from the bottom of Rapaki Rd) in under 38mins
# Donate 3kg

 

This week’s goals:
# Circuit  & Beach Walk- Today
# Run – Tuesday, Thursday & Sunday
# Spin – Thursday
# 20 Week Challenge Pumped Group session – Saturday

I went down to the beach for the first time in months this afternoon – It was a sunny to start with but got cold very quickly…

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Change of topic (kind of) Writing a blog is now A LOT harder with a kitten in the house…. He either wants to assist with typing…

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 OR he wants to use my hand as a pillow as I’m trying to type…Image

Meet Loki the little mischief cutie

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He likes to investigate everything – I now have to shut him out of the gym (yes he meows) when I’m on the bike as he gets WAY to close to the pedals.

 

I have six weeks until Cooks Landing so I really have to get my A into G and build up my long runs quickly again! More on that later!

 

How do you cope with set backs?
What helps you get back your motivation?

Active Recovery Week

Because of the 20WC I don’t have a lot of spare time however I did decide to take it slightly easier for a couple of days after the race to get my head space sorted for the next goal.

I got some more photos of the race – still waiting for the video though!

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Monday I had the day off work; it was a BEAUTIFUL day so I decided to take a walk up the Harry Ell Track. I really enjoy being out in nature, it’s stunning and there is a relaxing and refreshing vibe about it.

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As well as getting my head space sorted for my next goals this week is also about playing catch up for last week so I don’t fall behind in my reps/kilometers. Due to some very sore calves earlier last week I didn’t get as much ticked off my list as planned… I HAVE to get my GPS watch back!!

Yesterday was a slightly sad day. I had a good think about my schedule and my 20WC goals and I decided I really need my Wednesday night to tick of extra distance. This means I have decided to put circuit class on hold throughout most of the challenge so last night was my last circuit for a few months. We do have an extra session on a Saturday morning specifically for the Pumped 20 Week entrants so I will be looking forward to that every week as a way of catching up with some of the amazing Pumped people!

Circuit was split this week: first half was 60 second rounds on the stations but afterwards we got into pairs and had to race against each other. Each round comprised of some different reps (eg high knees/squat jumps, running kicks, sit up claps) and then there were punishments ‘prizes’ for the teams depending on how long it took you to finish them.

For example the ‘prize’ for one round was:
1st – 20 press ups
2nd – 40 press ups
3rd – 60 press ups

Needless to say I got quite a few reps ticked off last night and I’m not complaining about that!

 

Today’s lunch

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I always forget about rice paper rolls even though they are one of my favourite foods! Something about the fresh flavours and crispiness makes them super tasty. My brain probably forgets about them because they require a fair amount of preparation. I cooked up the chicken and chopped all the veges last night so all I had to do this morning was put them together – even the assembling of them takes quite a bit of time in itself! Especially when Liam knows what I’m doing and then expects me to make enough for him too…

Tonight I’ll be out for my first run of the week (it sounds weird to say that on a Thursday!) but I’m actually really looking forward to it. Then next week it will be back into speed work on a Tuesday as well.

 

How do you reset after a big race build up?

Half Marathon Race Recap – I DID IT!!

I’m still in slight disbelief that I’ve now completed a half marathon – it’s an odd feeling but lets start from Friday!

THE TRIP UP:
Friday midday the group of us who were travelling together met at the Pumped Studio. We got given our new singlet’s! We headed off in groups with around 3 hours to make it to Kaikoura. On our way we had a scavenger hunt and had to tick as many missions off as we could…

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This was an entertaining afternoon – one of the funniest moments was our group rocking up to a big team of construction workers (who were having a meeting at the time) and asking for a photo with their hats and hi-vis.

Overall most people were willing to help us out, unfortunately the people at the dairy we asked about the free ice-cream ended up being a bit rude and walking out the back of the shop. This was soon forgotten about when we found some lovely people at a café who gave us a free coffee which I was the recipient of 😀

By the time we got to Kaikoura I was feeling some travel sickness – thankfully it started to go away closer to Blenheim. Quick trip to pick up our race packs and it was back to the lodge for the first meal as a group with MASSES of yummy dishes that everyone had brought along.

 

RACE DAY
We had to be up, fed and ready to go for the 7:30am trip to St Clair Vineyard. My breakfast of choice was a bagel with cream cheese. This seemed to work on my last long run so I thought I’d stick with it!

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With Summer behind us the morning was cool but the sun helped keep us from shivering too much before the start. It was a long line and it took Liam and I a couple of minutes to get to the start line once the countdown had happened but then we were off!

My goal? Finish under 2 ½ hours. 

I lost Liam around about the 2km mark – we had quite a bit of running down through vineyards so it was harder to pass people so he got a little in front and the gap kept getting bigger. I knew at that point I was the one who had to keep myself going if I hit the wall. My music was pumping and because I decided to run with my hydration pack I didn’t need to stop at any water stations so I knew I had it sorted! Overall the ground was a little more uneven than I had trained on but nothing I couldn’t handle.

At one point I heard someone calling my name, which I wasn’t expecting. Virginia & Michael were our support crew and they managed to make it to a couple of spots during the race to get some photos and cheer us on. It was a good feeling seeing someone out there every so often who knew you, there were a lot of people out watching around the course who would clap and say motivational things as you went past but it’s so much more effective when it comes from someone you recognise!

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Look at that scenery!!!

 

I had some GU on me for fueling which I took over a long period of time rather than having a whole one every 35-45mins. This was the main reason I wanted to carry my hydration pack because it meant that I needed to sip water more often than there was a water station.

My legs started to feel tired around about the 18km mark. I knew I just had to keep putting one foot in front of the other because if I stopped for a moment it would be so much harder to start again. I spied Brogan in front of me and we ended up running together for a couple of kilometers – it helped us both equally to keep going at this point.

I heard my app click over 20km and I knew I was close to my time goal but I wanted to pick up my pace a bit. The last few vineyards that we ran through were softer than the others and they also had big tractor tire tracks – this made it harder to run on. The last km seemed to take forever to get through; I’d get to a corner or the end of some vineyards and think ok it must be this corner! No… Ok keep running. By the time I actually came around the last corner it took a few seconds to register that it was indeed the last corner. It wasn’t until I heard Kate yelling “SPRINT DEBBIE” that I picked up my legs and booted it to the finish line.

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Bonus?? Finishers medal was this nice bottle of wine 😀

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TIME GOAL
My goal was 2:30 or less. I came in at 2:24:26! 5mins under what I set myself so I was pretty happy with that.

I’m really proud I crossed the finish line in good time but for some reason it never quite hit me that yes I just ran 21.1 freaking kilometers. I think it was such a long time coming and previously I had to pull out of few half marathons due to injury. Maybe I didn’t want to build the excitement up incase I ended up getting injured again. I also think completing a half became the ‘norm’ in my mind so it wasn’t until later that night when Kate said you might have been surrounded by almost 3,000 people today who all completed a half marathon but if you think of how many people in Christchurch have actually done one it’s probably only 1% or less of the population. This helped put it into perspective for me.

Our night finished with lots of laughs and some very bright clothing – it was a fantastic weekend all around.

Now remember when I said I lost Liam at around 2km? He kept going and ended up completing it in 2:01:18 SO PROUD!!

 

Did you race in the weekend?

Goals for the first 1/4 of the 20 Week Challenge

And we are off!!

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Sunday night ‘Team Pumped’ had our meet and greet. Kate made us some cool diaries to keep track of all the information we need.

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 I thought a really awesome idea she added in this year was making us write down all our goals every week – keeping them fresh in our minds will only help us smash them!!

It was really fantastic to see a whole heap of people who are new to the 20 Week Challenge, there are a few I hadn’t met before and that means lots of people to get to know during the challenge!

I have a full on 20 weeks ahead of me… My 5 week goals are as follows:
# Complete 500km distance (walking/running/cycling)
# Complete 1250 of each exercise (press ups/burpees/dips/lunges/squat jumps/ABS)
# Complete 50mins of planking
# Complete my first half marathon
# Lose 4.3kg (we like to call this donating – when you ‘lose’ your keys you want to find them, you don’t want to find lost weight!!)
# Daily: Post to my Facebook page & list two things I’m grateful in my diary

Holy moly that list looks scary. Let’s say I like to jump into things??

Day 1:
My freshly cleared gym area was awesome this morning; I got through 50 of each of the above exercises. (Also helped my tick off today’s Pumped homework)
The weather is misbehaving so I wasn’t able to do a walk at lunchtime 😦 I like running in the rain HOWEVER walking in office attire and then sitting in damp clothes for the afternoon is not my idea of fun…
After work I had my first spin class of the challenge, it was also the first one I’ve been to without a buddy – sometimes that in itself is a big thing for me. The instructor mentioned there were quite a few new people and part way through the class he made comments about how all the newbies had to be there for all his classes for at least 4 weeks. I had a laugh when he said he takes Monday evenings and Thursday mornings because those are the two classes I will be attending every week. It’s a sign from Broni I’m sure of it!
I tried coconut water in my smoothie for the first time and it was tasty 🙂

Day 2:
It was one of those mornings for me where you wake up and have this slight feeling you may get sick (Not at the start of the challenge ARGH!). So I popped some cold be gone immunity vitamins and got ready for pre-testing with Kate. Having that feeling in the back of my mind made me struggle a bit with pre-testing but I still did run my fastest 1km to date so pretty happy with that!
I had a massage booked after work to sort any niggles out in time for St Clair – it was awesome! Finished the evening up with some more reps so I can tick them off my weekly amount BAM!

 

The cool thing about last year’s testing was I didn’t actually see the before & after pictures until awards night. When you see yourself daily in a mirror sometimes it’s harder to see how far you have actually come during the 20 weeks. Those photos last year proved to me how far I had come because for awhile I was feeling like I hadn’t changed, I knew the size of my clothes had gone down and people kept commenting on how good I was looking but part of me still saw the ‘old me’ every time I looked in the mirror. Taking photos today reminded me about this and it make me super excited to see what changes I can make during this year’s challenge!

 

How do you feel when you first notice a difference in how you look?

For fellow 20 Weeker’s – how did you find your first couple of days?

16 Days to go until St Clair! Plus… What on earth have I got myself into?!?!

The long weekend was a mixture of some very nice relaxing days and some not so relaxing days…

Sunday I had my long run, I ended up cutting it short at 14km because I wasn’t feeling too flash and ended up slightly hyperventilating. I didn’t do very well with the choice of fuel I used. I found some Horley’s Replace gels I must have bought last year before I had to pull out of my first planned half marathon but unfortunately I really didn’t enjoy the flavour of them on top of my body not being very use to fuelling yet. A few ladies I know have been raving about some of the GU flavours so I ordered a few online to try this weekend, I’m hoping if I like the flavour it might be a bit easier to work on getting this fuelling business sorted…

They turned up last night!

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My android running app also stuffed up again which annoyed me, up until two weeks ago it’s been really accurate – I’m wondering if the last update might have screwed with the GPS or something. Luckily I’ve been lapping Hagley Park lately so I know what distance I’m doing (But it puts my year’s km total out which also annoys me…). I’m hoping it will get sorted soon but I’m going to purchase a running watch but as part of my 20 Week Challenge this year (which I will talk about more later in the week) my reward for meeting my 5 Week Goals will be the running watch which means I have 5 and a bit weeks to wait ARGH!!!

The good part? I’ve definitely noticed that my mind games have changed with running. I struggle the most in the first 3-4km now but once I get through that the head space is a lot more positive which I think I prefer over struggling with my head space later in on a run. Another purchase that turned up yesterday is a pair of recovery compression socks, I usually feel my calves after a long run so I wanted to see if they would make any difference to my recovery – a little excited to test them this weekend!

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Monday I went along to a stairs session Emily had organised at St Martins Stairs. I find it funny how every time I get there I seem to forget how steep it was the last time I went… There is a little bit of a walk until you reach the beginning of the stairs and look up you’re already puffing HAHA. Enough complaining!

For a warm up we walked up to the top and left our jackets/water bottles etc. on some rocks. Our session usually consists of around 5 laps of the stairs with some reps in between each one. We had 5 exercises to do in between each lot of stairs: first round 25 of each, second 20… right down to 5. Then each time we did the stairs we went up a slightly different way:
1 # walk (warm up)
2 # single leg jumps (I was shocking at these so I ended up doing 2 feet jumps and still almost falling on my face on every second step)
3 # sprint 30 steps, walk 30
4 # 2 feet jumps (for me this one turned into sprint 30, walk 30 as the balance was still in the dangerous level)
5 # we had to go ALL the way down to the very bottom, do 100 walking lunges back up then run up the stairs.

Finish it all off with a casual run back down the road and a nice iced drink to cool down.

 

Tuesday I got up in a grouchy mood. I was sore, tired and I think I slept funny on my neck. Instead of bailing on PT with Kate I still turned up. I honestly wasn’t in a very good frame of mind for PT and I felt ‘weak’ which I was trying not to think about because sometimes that is enough to make you believe you are weak…. I ‘swore’ 3 times which I’m normally really good at avoiding so I had a 30 press up punishment reward. I left feeling glad I turned up; even though Kate knew I was grouchy and less motivated than normal.

I was in a much better mood the rest of the day for it so thank you Kate! In fact maybe I was in too much of a good mood…  I MAY have done something a tad insane later in the day. Emily has been giving me some ‘healthy’ peer pressure since Mt Cook to enter a trail run through part of Queen Charlotte Sound. I got a wee reminder from her…

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She shared that, tagged me and said you know you want to… I really did want too….

I wanted to tramp Queen Charlotte Sound this year so maybe this is a good taster of how beautiful it will be. So I’ve signed myself up for a 26km trail run in July (12 weeks away). AM I CRAZY?!

Website for anyone curious!

I may have just jumped into the deep end… I’ve had a look at last year’s results and a few people were out there for around 5 hours – I figure I can beat that… don’t want to be the last person crossing the finish line :/

I’m a little excited now though; I’m going to have to get kitted out soon so I can train carrying the gear I need. You know what that means? SHOPPING!

 

How do you get yourself motivated to exercise when you really don’t feel like it?

Have you ever entered a crazy sounding trail run?

Motivation comes from the strangest places sometimes…

 

 

Motivation: It comes in many forms and more often that you like it sometimes seems to disappear right when you need it…

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I was talking to a girl at work over our lunch break on Friday. She’s one of these tiny girls who eats everything (I mean everything! I like to call her ‘hobbit’ because she’ll have TWO breakfasts or dinners quite frequently), never exercises and stays tiny. We quite often chat and lately she’s actually been talking about getting on the fitness bandwagon as she jokes about how she expects her fast metabolism won’t last her whole life and she would like to get into good habits before it stops and she balloons.

She made a comment to me about how she is struggling to get into new habits and being motivated to do something when she seems to stay a healthy size without it already. She looked at me and said “it must be good for you being in the habit of lots of exercise never having to worry about needing motivation”

I WISH!! On one hand I felt quite awesome that she (being a nice healthy weight, thin girl) was thinking that I (struggling to quite literally work my butt off for years and still not quite yet in ‘healthy weight range’) could be this amazing, always motivated fitness god. I guess she didn’t quite go THAT far in her explanation but in my eyes someone who is ALWAYS motivated MUST be a god…

She doesn’t know it yet but my motivation for the weekend came from this conversation. I was exhausted Wednesday for some reason so I ended up skipping circuit after work and getting a very early night. Thursday I woke up feeling like I hadn’t slept and was even told I look like crap when I got to work… Always a good conversation to start the day: NOT. Liam and I had been invited out for tea that night and I basically had enough time to make a salad and leave so I had planned to swap my run to Friday evening. I was saying that it’s ok because Friday is my rest day so I would just swap the two. While this in theory is ok, it postpones my exercise and makes it more likely to not happen, come Friday my scumbag brain would start to say: ‘I’ve already put it off a day so why not more’ and herein begin the doom cycle of laziness. So Friday was spent determined to follow through and not being the doom cycle of laziness.

I was feeling a bit slack having two days rest in a row so I really pushed myself during my 5km time trial and it paid off. I knocked 40sec off my PB! I had a laugh at the end because I had been telling Liam that I felt like I was going really well in the first km, but had felt like I was slower on the rest. As you can see below my first km was actually the slowest…

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On our walk back to the car after the run we came across a horse being walked, not very normal at all for us to see this in Hagley Park!

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Saturday was spent running errands mostly, including buying some new running gear (YES!) so being a girl I had to test some of it out ASAP! I took a friend of mine up Rapaki Track (8km in total) who doesn’t do many hill workouts so it ended up being a longer time than usual but it was still nice to get out there and help to motivate each other. 

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Sunday was a 7km run which I think I did quite well in. I averaged around 6:30 per km and wasn’t complaining as much as I had in the last few (apparently according to Liam). It was drizzly at the time so it got quite humid but unlike a few runs lately there wasn’t much wind (very pleased!).

Today was PT again (best part of my day!) It was a pretty hard session as per usual, really felt that leg press today :/ There was an uneven number for boxing class so I ended up staying for that as well. Arms are pretty dead now but it was worth it and it’s always nice to see some of the other Pumped ladies.

Kate also started a competition today called Fat Free February, partly to assist one of our Pumped members with her fundraising efforts for a friends daughter (https://www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/HelpMissAva) as well a slight monetary incentive for us as well. We pay an entry fee which goes into the bucket of winnings for the three with the highest weight loss (Based on body percentage so it’s a bit more fair all round), then each week when we weigh in if we gain weight we have to donate $5 to Ava’s Adventures. If we loose weight we can decide to keep the money or donate it anyway. Sounds like a good challenge to me!

Note to self: PT then Boxing = Sleepy me

Yesterday’s run was the hardest one I’ve come across in a long time… I seriously got to the 1km mark and lost all motivation. Luckily Liam was with me, he told me to keep going and reminded me of my goal to run 5km again by yesterday AND my ugly consequence of 200 burpees if I didn’t achieve it on time. So all I did while I was hating myself for still running was think about my consequence, my mind was replaying over and over “200 burpees, 200 burpees, you got this! Or you have to do 200 burpees”. It took almost the next 3km to get my thinking back on the right track and I was then able to pick up my pace and really enjoyed the last km.

The bonus of finishing my run yesterday was realising that I’d also achieved my time goal of a 5km in under 32.5mins. About half way around because I was struggling I had decided to focus on finishing rather than doing the fastest time I’ve ever done so to get both – I was pretty amazing!

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I was also able to tick off a 2min plank again – next goal is 4mins 🙂

Today was PT with Kate, it was the first time in ages that I’d done a session after work rather than first thing in the morning so my routine was put out a wee bit but it was still a fantastic workout nevertheless! Similar session to last week but I only did Leg Press & Lat Pull (no Bench Press). She decided it would be ‘fun’ to do reps in sets of 100 today, at least to start with – phewf!

After my PT session Kate has a group boxing class – she wasn’t quite sure who was actually turning up so she asked me to be her back up boxer if she had an uneven number. I must have agreed to this at the start of my last PT rather than at the end when my arms were already dead… It was an uneven number so I had 10mins to rest & hydrate before an hour of boxing.

I actually felt pretty good through most of the boxing class and meet a couple of new people which is always nice. Two hours later however I’m pretty tired and ready for an early night…

Goal Setting & Preperation

My partner Liam and I set up our spare room as a gym the other night, mostly old equipment in there currently but we’re hoping to add a bench and some weights shortly. I have written down my goals for the next few months (up to running my first Half Marathon) and have placed them on my motivation board along with some new motivational quotes. Having my goals and positive words up on a wall that I see every day is something that really helped me through the 20 Week Challenge I did last year and to be honest I haven’t been using it very much lately – got to get back into it!

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Kate (my PT) gave all her clients some Christmas homework to try to complete over these couple of weeks, after todays home gym circuit I’m pleased to say I only have a couple left (a hill track & a circuit) which I will be doing tomorrow, the circuit will be with a group of awesome ladies from Pumped.

For me this week, my biggest challenge has been getting out the door and back into routines I had sorted a few months ago. Moving in with Liam a couple of months ago was a big change for me and I found I easily started to get out of my early morning routine. I’d then think too much about my afternoon exercise during the day and it was harder and harder to get things done. This makes me think back to a quote I had to come up with during the 100 Day Challenge which is basically bit from a couple of my favorite quote merged together.

“Don’t think, just put your damn gear on and go for it”

A part of today was spent preparing for the new working year, I made up some more muesli and did some work in my new vege garden (I was pretty excited to plant my spinach seeds – my favorite leafy green!)

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