What’s your exercise?

And why do you do it?

I got thinking about this at work today after a customer came in – Not wearing her active wear like she usually does – and we commented about the 3 sets of clothes we have. Work wear, gym wear and dressing up.

My colleague asked what gym she uses and so it started. She goes to a F45 class. My colleague has started gym work as physio recovery and fitness after cancer treatment. I run.

I’m not sure why our customer does the gym, but I’m pretty sure with her job as a nurse it would help her with the strength required for certain duties at work. As a larger girl, she may not look fit but I could almost guarantee her strength would knock me out the water.

My college does it purely so surgery scars don’t hurt, and she can move the way she used to, or as close to as possible. From experience seeing other people with similar surgeries not doing their physio and how they are faring now, she is doing absolutely the right thing. She is pretty fit from all the running around and lifting we do at work, but her reasons for gym work are for something completely different.

Me. I run. My strength training is purely to help my running. Keep things strong. All the benefits of that are definitely a bonus and appreciated. While I know that to get a firmer midsection, or leaner arms I have to work certain exercises and do more of them, I am not in it purely for the aesthetics. That would take up too much of my time, which I don’t have.

Why do I run? For fitness and physical well-being. Because I like to eat. For my own future, and staving off the injuries I may get. Oh, and because I love to eat.

When a family member has had knee reconstructions, and other physical ailments like that, you want to help keep you body a healthy as possible.
I love running and it’s good for me. I love the pain I feel in the moment. I love the relief when I’m finished. I love the rush of endorphins, and how I feel afterwards.

What is your exercise?  Why do you do it?

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My Journey – the first 2 years…

In the two years I’ve been running ‘seriously’ – as in training and running events, not just running for the love of it – I’ve had one hell of a fun time.

There have been amazing highs and heart breaking lows.
I’ve had fantastic races and great times.
I’ve had bad runs, horridly slow runs and runs that felt like I was wading through quick sand.
There have been jumping for joy and feeling strong as an ox runs.
There were injuries that broke my soul, and jerked me backwards.
Many a finish with mile wide smiles and one that was an ambulance ride with my first DNF.
My first year was full of learning – testing all the races, running whatever and whenever I could. Burnt myself out.
My second year was frought with injury and near misses – Lessons on strength and how to look after my body.
Time to look at my third year…take all those lessons, all those races and make it bigger and better. Make it the best I can achieve. Be the best version of me.
All my races are #earnednotgiven.
Through hard work and determination comes success and results.
What they will be determined…faster, stronger, longer.

 

If you’d told me five or six years ago I would be on this road and wishing it never stop, I would have laughed you out of the room. Ridiculous.  This was a dream I had long given up on achieving, so when I started again it was purely for fun and exercise. Now the dream is well and truly alive and kicking.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of those 18 amazing races.

5 Km x 3 – PB 28.38
10km x 6 – PB 59.14
21.1 km x 5 – PB 2.16.58
42.2 x 1 – PB 5.08.38
DNF – 1 25.4/42.2 kms

Most enjoyable race – Ross half 2017
Hardest race – Ross Marathon 2016
Easiest race – Crank-E 5km 2017
Most punishing race – Point to Pinnacle 2017
Best all-rounder – City to Casino
The race to crack – Cadbury Marathon
Toughest race ‘personally’ – GCAM 2017
Distance I’d like to better my PB in – Marathon

I have one more race to end the year – I started this year on New Years Day and I finish it on New Years Eve with the same race. Not sure if I’ll get a pb, but it will be fun as hubby is running it with me this time. edit: no pb (3mins off my earlier time and hubster beat me which I am so happy about!)

I’ve learnt from the last two years and am looking forward to the new year and what amazing experiences it brings with it.

Going forward this evening, my word for the new year is Stronger.

Running scared – no excuses

I’ve been lazy with my workouts.

Its been busy at work – I’ve been lazy.

Physically I am tired – I’ve been lazy.

My body has ached and is sore – I’ve been lazy.

I really want to run – I’ve been lazy.

I really want to run – I’ve been scared.

I’m scared it’s going to hurt.

I’m scared it will cause more damage.

I now have to admit this to the Physio on Tuesday.

I’ve been lazy and scared of doing my workouts.

There are no excuses.

There are no reasons why I cannot and should not do them.

Mind over matter – I Can do this. I Will do this.

Being lazy will not get me running again.

Being lazy will not get me to GCAM.

Being lazy will not get me stronger.

Being scared will do me no favours.

Being scared will get me nowhere but stuck in a rut.

Being scared and lazy will only damage me in the long-term.

Time to pull on my big girl panties and get the job done.

 

Be safe out there, and keep your strength up, Jennifer

From strength to strength

I’ve  always known I should do more strength training and this weekend just gone reinforced that fact. I’ll go into detail on the weekends shenanigans in another post, but first let me talk about my strength training or lack thereof.
Knowing you should do something and actually doing it are two completely different things. I’m sure there are things in all our lives where this rears its head occasionally. If it’s more often than that then you probably should do something about it. Like figure out how you are going to fit it in and make it a habit.
I’ve resisted doing extra training on top of my running because of where I work, 45+ hours and a reasonable amount of lifting is involved, and squats, or squat type movements anyway, and because I can be incredibly lazy. Can’t be bothered. It’s too hard. All excuses, not reasons why I can’t do it.  And then came my latest big race. My second marathon. It was not good (another post about this, remember). I was reminded of what I had said I would do, and realised what happened would not have, or may not have been so harsh if I had been dong more.

This years goal was to get more definition in my limbs, strengthen my core, and get my glutes working. All this will help my running, making me stronger, more fluid.
Now I know what I am like when starting a new regime (aside from running), I tend to go gung-ho, flat-out, bull at a gate…you get the drift….wearing myself out after only a few days.  Now this is not the any to do it, if you’re going to make anything a habit, to keep doing it without even thinking, it takes approximately two weeks. And that is exactly what I want to happen. For it to become such a part of my day that I spend 20 mins like I would get changed, make a drink. Second nature.

My regime is going to be easy and not really taxing, in that I won’t be doing an hour workout each day.  The benefit in this, while not exerting myself, means I will feel comfortable, I am more likely to keep it going and over time the body will change.  I will do a pretty similar routine for two weeks, and then when I’m used to that and my body says ‘oh, I know what we’re doing here’ I’ll change it. Either add something in or do something completely different.

My routine will have certain aspects to them. The bits I want to work on. Now I know that just working on those areas will not make it all toned and lean on its own, (ie: to tone the tummy, you have to do more than just crunches) so by making it part of a whole I am tricking the body as such. My goal areas to start with are butt and thighs (good for running and strengthening the knees), core/ab work and my triceps. Not a fan of my tuckshop arms, and my biceps have more definition, so a little evening up with be nice.

I’ve done three days and am feeling ok about it, only time will tell.

Keep moving, keep motivated and have a great day.

 

Race week preparation

I remember back in January, or close to it, when I decided I would spend this year doing races, thinking that my marathon in September was so far away and I would be all prepared and it would be an experience not to forget. Well all of a sudden it is upon me and while I am a bit nervous (I like to have my race bib before race day) I actually feel that I can do this. I will run a marathon. All 42.2kms of it.

I have done my training. I got an app especially for the training. I’ve eaten well.  Not always good or healthy, but well. I have learnt lots about myself and my body.

I am also really tired. I am struggling to get out of bed in the mornings.  My head is good, almost more alive than usual, tired yes, but more alert at the same time. Physically. I am knackered.

So what am I doing this week in preparation for the big day.  Planning what goes in my travel bag (a 3 hour drive to race location means I cannot leave anything to chance) and doing the physical and mental exercises to relax and rewind.

I’ve made a list, because I am a list person, and also because this is one race where I need to be uber organised.  On that list..? Even the most obvious things like what I am going to wear, right down to shoes and underwear.

Next is what goes into my camelbak.  Earphones, lollies, phone, tailwind (about 1-1 1/2 litres).

My lunch bag for post run drinks and nibblies before I get to the #eatallthefood stage – chocolate shake, diluted tailwind in water bottle, banana, peanut butter sandwiches.

Recovery change of clothes. Track pants and jacket, new shirt, deodorant, spare cap, ugg boots & peppermint cream for soothing sore feet.

For the other things, lots of stretches to keep my joints limber, two short runs (5 & 10k) and lots of water. Today and tomorrow will be a small amount of tailwind.

My husband and kids are coming with me – this is one race I really wanted them to be at. It’s a big thing for me, my first marathon, and they have supported me all year. Hubby and I will be packing a picnic for them to enjoy while chilling out for the 4.5+ hours they will be waiting watching.

To top it all off, it will be a 3am get up so I have been getting as much sleep as I can. Even though Saturday night I probably won’t get a lot (this is a common thing), the more rest you get in the days prior the better.

I was asked today, a bit tongue in cheek, if I as going to win. My response..”I’ll win my race. And get a PB because it’s the first time I’ve done it..” They replied that that was a beautifully positive way to look at it. And I have to agree. My race. My time. With my family there fore me.

Happy running, Jennifer.

May Races

May is turning into a busy running month.
– 1st – Harcourts Signature Round the River 10km
– 8th – Mother’s Day Classic 8km
– 15th – City to Casino 11km

The organisers of the first race have high expectations or are some serious runners. There are two categories. Race and Social. Now because I run a slower than (25 min 5km and) 55 min 10km I have to attend the social run.
That being said, which is totally fine, I would like to bust out a sub 60 min 10km. Just once, to know I can do it.

Now to find something for the last Sunday that month. Or maybe I just work on my long run. I would like to finally hit the 25km mark.
This gives me April and the next two weeks to be more organised and get back into the gym for more strength training. My nemesis. I love running, just not the other bits that actually help make me a better runner.

And to finish up a little collage I played around with. This will change as I do more races over the course of the year. I will keep this as it is to remind me of my event beginnings.

RTB 10k and Cadbury Half 2016
RTB 10k and Cadbury Half 2016

Times, goals and running underwear

:We’ll leave the underwear for a minute, it’s nothing raunchy or visual. Just a few thoughts and what I wear, having come about after reading a few articles out there.

I was looking through my phone notebook the other day and came across a note from back in August last year (2014). I had done lots of 5k walks and after feeling it was too slow, started running it. Compared to now that first time was pretty slow, but I was super happy with it. I then stated my next goal – how fast I wanted to go. I have since beaten that time a lot in less than 12 months.
My goal back then for the 5.8 and 3.4 were pretty lofty. I thought they were almost unattainable. Ha, if only I had known how much I would come to love and rely on running to keep me feeling good, along with the head clearing effect it has I would have reached higher. That is the good thing about hindsight, or growing stronger. I can now change those goals, knowing where I have come from and not just what I can do but where I have come from.  No pressure on where I can go if I can look back on not just my times, but my body and see where I have been.
The time for that first run…39:59. I thought it was super fast and my goal was to hit the 35 min mark. Seems a long time ago when I’m now running it in 30 at home and have got down to 28mins at my local Park Run.
I also do a bit of a tiny run, 3.4k. The first timed run there was 23:05. Not bad. My goal was 20mins, and while I have been oh so close to breaking it I am not so worried about that now as I want to pursue the distance factor. So 3.4 is like a warm-up almost now.

Distance has become my thing, and I want to be running not much less than 5k at any time I go out. I’m aiming to get consistent times in the 10 and pushing onwards to the 15 and 20.  I’m laughing at myself here as I am now eager to build up and do a marathon.  How things change. I remember in the not so distance past I told a friend that running a half or more was not my thing and takes a lot of dedication, motivation and strength. Total commitment.  See, laughing here, as I so want to do it. Five kilometres.. pfft, takes nothing to do. Pushing myself to do more, be more.  Friends are awesome!
My first 10k was a healthy time of 1:11. I wasn’t too fussed about the time, it was more of a test to see that I could do it, and what sort of time to aim for. To say I was happy with that is an understatement. I have done 4 in total and my quickest time was 1:03. I am not wanting to go much quicker really, if I can keep up a good pace and keep an average of 10K/hour I will be happy.
I was told that if I can do 5k in less than 30 then I can easily do 10 in an hour. Sure, but you have to remember one is distance, the other can be almost a sprint for some. The double distance changes how you run and how you pace. I’ve noticed that with my long runs. It is a completely different way of running. If I can do ten I know I can do 15 and 20. I have to up the distance steadily. Doing a half marathon in 2:30 is my goal, and I know when and where I will be doing it.

Goals are dreams and if we don’t have them, we wont change and grow and improve. And who wants to be stuck in the one place all the time. Not me.

 

Underwear… hmm.  I’m not large chested but I tell you, if I run in a normal bra then the girls hurt like you wouldn’t believe.  If you are large breasted then you know this pain from general activities.  Aside from good runners the biggest investment a woman can make for running is her bra. A sports bra designed for the activity you’re doing and costs both your boobs will be the best thing you buy.  Make sure you get properly fitted (like you should for any bra!) When I bought mine, I was asked what sort of activity I would be doing. Net and basket-ballers need something different again due to the stop start movements they do. Mine cost around $70 and I will definitely be getting at least one more. Super comfortable and keep the girls looking good outside of running.  Even though it feels like I’m pancaked, pictures show otherwise. Either way, I don’t care if I look flat chested, if my boobs don’t hurt then I am happy.

Knickers…wedgie material. And there’s nothing easy about pulling out a wedgie when you run. And like most women, our knickers are meant to look good when standing still not running, or walking or hell, even sitting. They ride up are arse and get quite uncomfortable. Running is no different. Grandma undies included. Even when you’re wearing skin-tight pants knickers move. I read some article about this and one woman stated she wore a G-string, or thong.  It would keep most of the sweat at bay, and meant there was no need for fidgeting with her skins. The first time I tried this it felt a little weird, then it become a kind of freedom. Your bum is going to jiggle when you run no matter your undies, so wearing none makes no difference really.  I just have to find the most comfortable wide waited g-string I can now. Wide waisted?? Yes, I had a pair of Elle McPherson ones years ago with a great waist band and they were the most comfy thong thing I had ever worn.  My fancy ones don’t quite cut it really.

Socks are whatever rows your boat. I wear bonds ankle sports socks from Big W. Cheap, comfy and not too hot.

This will go to publish and I shall change and head off on another 10k. After yesterday’s, not sure how I’ll go, doing a different route so shouldn’t be too bad.

Happy running, Jen

Diet is everything

Twelve months ago I was running all the time. Loads of 3.4 – 5.8k. Every day almost I was running. I was fit. I was strong. And when I went on holiday, I was confident I could do anything because I had trained my body, I had changed how it functioned. I felt awesome. I felt sexy.

And then I looked at the photos. I hadn’t lost any weight. I was still roundish. Large thighs, super wobbly belly..happy enough, though not really happy with how I looked to how I felt.

Is this where the problem lies with a lot of our body issues.  That is a conversation for another place and another time.

February thinks year I decide to return to weight watchers, as has been mentioned here before, to kick-start my diet. Get me back on track.

Fifteen weeks later I look amazing. I feel amazing. And having seen some of those old pictures, feel that the body and my mind finally are on the same page. I’ve always felt more confident and comfortable in my skin when I’m about the size I am now.

I am so close to my goal weight, within a couple of kilograms, and with only more strength and weight type training need to firm up the wobbly bits. Namely the belly 😦
Diet is the all encompassing difference. You can do all the exercise you want, if you don’t change your diet then nothing much will change.  I know now I was eating the calories I ran off. I wasn’t really changing how I ate. And kept all the junky foods on the leash as well.
It’s about the portion control as much as anything. Smaller portions, more of the good stuff and limiting the other shit. And loads of exercise. Sport. Whatever rows your boat.
Exercise had to be taken regularly not seriously.
Yes and no. I think we get the idea behind that line though.

Before and after pictures I said I would share. I am feeling so good right now  and proud of myself.

Early October 2014. Fit and strong yes, but carrying extra weight.  I do miss my boobs. I also know where I would rather be.
Early October 2014. Fit and strong yes, but carrying extra weight.
I do miss my boobs. I also know where I would rather be.
Mid May 2015. 14 weeks after starting weight watchers and getting running again.
Mid May 2015. 14 weeks after starting weight watchers and getting running again.

All this exercise and diet. It’s all about becoming the best person you can be. Being the most awesome person. Being comfortable and confident within in yourself. No matter your size. We all know where we want to be, and where we are capable of getting to.

I look forward to seeing where I am in another 15 weeks. Toned, fitter and stronger though still around the same size I am now.

Exercise sticks

Day 3 with my funky exercise sticks and all is going well. I don’t want to say it’s been easy, the combinations have been workable, with nothing too strenuous. That being said I will now have several days of hard work ahead of me.

I have found it easy to actually get in and do it. For 4 days this week I’ll be doing 12 hr days then travelling, so I shall ask hubby to get my sticks out each day. Then next week I am travelling interstate for 3 days – not sure whether I’ll get to a gym, a park or anything for a good cardio workout – so will be taking some sticks to do the very minimum.
It’s all about getting in a routine!

For a quick test, I’m going to take a few measurements and see how I fare after the first fortnight.

Exercise sticks at the ready

I’ve finally got around to getting these funky little things organised. An itty bitty bin of coloured paddle pop sticks at the ready. There are about 12 of each colour so I have nearly a fortnight worth of fun in each category.
What I’m going to like is that every day will be different. I won’t get bored by doing the same things all the time. And when I start the tub over, it will be different again. EVERY workout will be different. My body won’t know what has hit it. It will work doubly hard. Not knowing what will come next.
I’m getting excited about this.

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I have sticks for arms, legs, butt, abs, shoulder and back.

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