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?

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?

It’s Almost Road Trip Time!

This half marathon I’ve been dreaming about for years is one sleep away… ONE SLEEP Eeeek!

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My legs are feeling MUCH better after a massage – I swear Rachel (massage therapist) must have magical powers or something! Between Kate & Rachel my worries about St Clair melted away and I’m looking forward to seeing what I achieve tomorrow! Holy hell it’s tomorrow??

I have spent a lot of time getting everything ready yesterday & today. I made some of these suckers this morning to take away

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We also are having a Pot-luck dinner and will be using the leftovers for the following night – everyone has to make a dish to contribute. Liam + me = 2 dishes I had to make last night.

I feel like I have so much stuff I need to take away with me… It’s only two nights how much stuff do I actually need? 

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All in all I’m not exactly sure what to expect on the drive up but it’s going to be fun! Liam is driving up after work so he’ll be meeting us there later in the evening.

RACE EXPECTATIONS:
My main goal is to simply finish it, however if I can do so in under 2:30 I’ll be pretty happy!

Bring on the finishers medal I say (it’s a bottle of wine!!)

 

Are you racing this weekend?

Hill Sessions followed by Tender Calves :(

Attempting Rapaki Friday night:
Liam wasn’t feeling well in the afternoon so I headed up to Rapaki by myself. The start was the hardest. I figure this was due to beginning on a hill with just a small warm up of stretching. It was a slow trip up but felt good overall. I stopped a total of three times but they were mainly due to the ends of a cold and not feeling like I had enough breath in me. Unfortunately I didn’t quite make it to the top because it got very dark very quickly. I pushed it to half way up the final slope thinking it’s so close… but in reality I was already struggling to see and I had to get back down as well.

On the way up…

ImageAnnnnnd this is about 10mins later… Stupid winter nights…

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In a nutshell I learnt:
# It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be
# If I’m going up after work make sure I have a buddy & a head torch so we can go all the way without worrying about safety
# I don’t like being in the middle of nowhere in the dark on my own

 

Saturday was an early morning. The Boss had organised some extra testing for those who were in the cardio categories (as well as any others who wanted to come along). This started with the Beep Test at the studio. I’ve only ever done this twice before, once at intermediate school (I managed to get out of it every other time at school) and at the beginning of the 100 Day Challenge last year. I think I doubled the time I got last year, I remember stopping at Level 3 and Saturday I got to Level 6. I struggled with the amount of people around me though, there was a bit of bunching which meant you had to push through people to get to the cones – or run past them because people were behind you – however I do like me a challenge! Next we headed to a 400m track in Hansen’s Park to do a 12min run and see how far we could get. I managed bang on 2km, not my fastest but I haven’t been working much on speed lately. Finally we headed to St Martins Stairs for a 12min stair test. This basically meant go up and down as many times as you could. From memory I was headed down on my 5th set when the time ran out. Once we finished that we had a shortened ‘normal’ stairs session which is stairs/reps at the top/stairs/reps etc. A nice warm down run around to road to the coffee shop to finish.

The bottom of the stairs…

ImageThe lovely view at the top of the stairs!

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I was feeling good at this point, had a nice coffee and went home to do my reps followed by a 10km ride on the exercycle to tick off some extra km’s. Later on it was off to Dad’s house for Rugby, ‘sushi night’ and a spa (argh I forgot to take a picture!).

Saturday night I kept waking up due to horrible mozzie bites and sore calves. Come Sunday morning I was hobbling around, not impressed. In the end I cancelled my run and was only able to get through some of my reps (burpees/lunges and squats were postponed). I spent a bit of time during the day stretching and wearing my compression socks but I wasn’t able to be much more active than that. I’ve had partially torn calves before – in fact that is what stopped me last year running a half. The feeling I had wasn’t quite as bad as I remember however it was close so I knew I had to rest if I wanted any chance of still running St Clair. It annoyed me because now I’m behind with my km’s and reps and I know I may not get many in during the beginning of this week… But my focus is now on being able to run St Clair on Saturday because if I am unable to do this one I will cry, seriously.

Meanwhile at work today I was sporting a new look; business pants that hid my bright orange compression socks (unless I was sitting!) and some ‘comfy’ shoes that do NOT go with office attire… Apparently I was making a ‘non fashion statement’ HAHA. All in the name of running eh??

 

Do you run outdoors in the dark?

Have you ever had to pull out of a race due to injury?

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?

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?