Food prepping for better lunches

I wrote a short post on Facebook about food prep and how it is changing my mornings (and evenings) for the better, as well as my whole week. When you are organised in one aspect you can concentrate on others, and slowly you are organised in enough areas that the rest just falls into place. I’m staring with my food prep and the balancing act of getting all the essentials in place.

I am usually pretty organised, but that lazy after dinner time, and the rush first thing in the morning often means the important things are left to chance or the wallet. And that’s before you even think about adding little people in, (which in my case is null and void as they are all big) and you are left with most likely bad choices and/or the same same every day. Not good for you or your wallet – depending where you work and what the options are.  I’m usually up and showered by 5.45 and making my coffee. I don’t want to be rushing through emails and social media because I have to organise lunch and cutting up salads or boiling eggs. Or vice versa. I like that little time to myself to enjoy my coffee, before I head out the door.

I decided two weeks ago to give food prepping a go and see how it fared. It went ok, there were a few things I changed for the second week, mostly that my salads were a little boring and predictable, and one I have to revamp of get rid of completely. I discovered a couple of rules that I want to follow for my own peace of mind, wellbeing, enjoyment of lunches.

First up, one fish meal and two vegetarian. I don’t eat as much fish as I should so if I can get one a week at lunch then I’ll be happy.  A meat free day or two is not going to hurt either. We eat red or white meat pretty well every night, so meat free with eggs as my protein will not pose a problem. I’m not a legume person so beans won’t be in the equation, or lentils. Couscous and quinoa will be occasionally.

The second rule is to have things that I can eat over a longer period – my half hour lunch break sometimes takes an hour to finish depending on how busy we are and if I get interrupted. Hot foods will not always survive the break., and they usually end up being the overly filling sort of meal that I prefer to not have at lunch time – now that I’ve written it, they may be better then, than at night, but I like to feed my body well at night and do more grazing during the day, feeding when I can. Work can get busy so healthy snack are also needed. Grapes, blueberries, mandarin segments.

I’ve already decided my original tuna salad isn’t going to cut it so have to find something else – plenty of ideas are out there, and I don’t have to use tuna – mackerel, sardines, salmon.. The easy option is tuna rice which will get a tasting this week.

My other small problem is by the end of the week, the lettuce has browned a little and some things are a bit soggy and ick. The point is to have easy healthy meals, not a salad that will make me sick.
Note to self: more little containers for wet ingredients and not chop my cherry tomatoes til I go to eat.

Preparing my meals ahead of time has been fantastic, I can’t believe it’s taken this long to realise how good it is. The night before is one thing, but not having to worry at all each day is even better. My other issue, which is pretty small in the big scheme, is that I get bored easily, so I want to have at least 10 options available to choose from. No, I’m not making 10 lunches, just choosing from the short list. Each week becomes a multitude of choices, essentially I’ll never have to eat the same week twice.

My go to’s will definitely be my version of Fatoush with either chicken or bacon if I want meat and a basic pasta salad I found the other day – bacon, peas and onion (with long or broad beans if I fancy) and I added balsamic and garlic olive oil  dressing.  I use Praise dressings for all my salads as I find them tasty and you don’t need much to get a good coating without drowning the ingredients.

This week coming I will be testing out a few Bruschetta variations as well as Ryvita options.

Edit: After researching my options (I didn’t want the same boring salad every day) and making a short list of tasty, easy choices, I spent around two hours on Sunday afternoon making them up.

What do you do for work lunches?
Do you lunch prep, or keep putting it off?
What are your go to lunches for healthy eating.

Healthy eating and good training = strong body.

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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?

Run the Bridge, Feb 18

The usual pre race nerves set in a few days before hand. The weather, my bib, clothes, food and hydration, getting there on time.

My training had gone well and I was feeling good, ready to start and finish the race – enjoying it all the way.

We arrived at the start with plenty of time and I did some stretches and chatted with hubby before he had to leave – making sure he got to the finish line in time.

I headed to my usual mid pack starting position and loosely jiggled on my toes.
The 4 minutes between the elites and us starting were painfully long.
The start of this race is always tough because the route turns the first km into a bottleneck where you have to jump and weave to not be tripped or trip anyone else.

I decided right on the start that I would not check my watch at each km notification, I would listen to my body and go with the flow. The km markers were pretty spot on as my watch buzzed almost exactly at each one.

I slowed for a drink at the first station then paced myself up the first hill. It’s a sharp incline that is worse than the main event (the height of the bridge), and I didn’t want to walk too much. A short couple of walks and I was at the top and getting into cruise mode again.

Coming up towards the bridge and there was a huge crowd – 5k walkers and runners and cheer squads – the place was pumping. People cheered us as we passed them making our way up to the crest. Just past the top and the next race started. They surged past us, sprinting down the bridge. It was most off-putting, after settling into a rhythm and then having it all go out of whack – I lost the runner I was following and felt a bit lost and slow in all the speedsters around me.

It was at the 7km mark that I saw the 60 min pacer and knew I was reasonably on target – I will admit, I had checked my watch one around the 5k mark.  Losing them while I grabbed another drink was no great drama and I continued on my way. I was  happy knowing I may or may not make the sub 60.

The next two kms were tough, the end is so close yet so far away. The last km is though a mass of support and cheers, and really keeps you going.  Five hundred meters away from the crown to mini incline and turnaround and then it’s the race to the finish.  Most of the time anyway. As I headed back down to the corner and finishing, I gave myself a talking to. “Slow down, don’t rush it, smile, relax, finish strong, finish smiling”. I loosened my shoulders and off I went. Smiling the whole way down the chute, no weird sprint and angst face, just smiling and feeling good.

There is 1 good picture – the other 2 I have my eyes shut. Go figure, I don’t even know where the photographer is and I still have my eyes shut.

Crossing the line I save my tomtom, only to discover is says 9.98kms – but the time, 57.57 is all I’m worried about. Woohoo, pb time, for both the distance and race.

The official time was 57.54. I’m very happy and rest a few days before getting back into training for the next race. I think it shows what the plan can do, I was consistent and adding in the strength and interval workouts really helped.


Back to it. Happy training and finish strong.

Alum Cliffs Track 7k

I wanted to get a run in, but have some fun at the same time so when the opportunity presented itself on Monday I took it.  I’m sure there will lots more opportunities where this mini trail run is concerned. I’ve driven past it many times, seen the sign, heard about it and yet have never made the effort with hubster to go ad do it.

Alum cliffs track. A relatively short and easy walking track that winds along the coastline with a couple of dips into valleys, through beautiful Aussie bushland. That is the easy part, the last 750m there abouts is Brutal, with a capital B. It’s straight down a gravel track – with hand rails and stairs if you need it, then straight up the other side (in two parts). It’s steep and tough on the quads, but when you make the return, you’ll find those quirky little valleys you didn’t like on the way out, to be nothing more than bumps in the road. I know I certainly found the return quicker and easier.
The track is suitable for dogs but not bicycles, although they would have a ball if allowed to use it, and time forecast is 2.5hrs return.  You could easily take that long by the time you stop to admire the view and take pictures.

My journey on this track was simple. Run where I could, walk where I had to, take snaps, enjoy it, no stress, no speed/time.
I went nice and early – as the sun was rising and had very little company. Given the time I thought there would be more people out in the sunrise, but thankfully, no, I only saw a lady at one end and a dog walker as I reached the finish. Beautiful.

If you get the chance, it’s a must do for both recreational and sports wise.

There’s no such thing as a bad run…

Really…?
What makes up a bad run. Slow speed or pace. Niggly old or new injuries. Mental or emotional worries and stress?
We may certainly use these as a reason for a bad run, but I think it comes down to something a lot more simple. You had a plan or expectation in mind which didn’t meet the end result. So it may have been from being stressed about work or family, or an old injury seems to be coming back but these are also things that others have channelled and gotten themselves further or faster than previous runs.
When we put expectations on ourselves it can be our downfall. Not always, but I’d say it becomes a factor if it all ‘falls in a heap’.
My 10k plan had me doing a fast run recently and I thought, I don’t want to do my usual route for the distance, I feel like something more scenic and maybe doing a longer distance, not fast but at a good pace.
Talk about fall in a heap. The weather had been warm but wasn’t overly hot, the breeze was good and there was very little traffic. So why did my run not work out how I wanted.
I can say all the things I want, when in reality, I haven’t stretched or gotten as much effective rest as I should have. Those are why my foot twinged, my limbs felt heavy and I just had trouble moving.

I had wanted to run along the coast line, fairly flat and easy. Thinking along the lines of 12-15 instead of 10. Not a problem. Usually.
I just made it to 5k slowly (40 mins) before deciding to head home. Walking if I had to. The only problem is to get home I would have to do a 30km run, call for help or walk up a huge steep hill. Well there was no way I was doing 30k.
The message was sent out and I got 6km over the hill and down the side before a lift arrived.
Was this a bad run? Maybe. It was also me getting out there and doing 10 kms even if it wasn’t fast or terribly easy. So while disappointed I am still happy with my efforts.
There are no bad runs, there are only easy or hard runs. Any run you do is good. It is better than sitting on the couch at home.

Do you believe in bad runs or just runs that don’t quite work the way you hoped..?

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The 10km plan

You’ve run a marathon, you’ve run more halves than you can count (training runs included) and now you decided you want to have a training plan for 10km runs.

Whaaat???

The answer is pretty simple.
To help me get enjoyment out of running again.
Less pressure on performance, and more on fun.

At Ross last year when I had finished my half I made the decision. At least I think it it was at this point. It really doesn’t matter where or when I decided, I am just to very happy that I did.
I’ve taken all the pressure off me for this year.
2018 is about the 10km Run. One of my runs are longer than 10 (ok, city to casino is 11, but it’s so close, it really doesn’t count as more, does it?) with a few fivers thrown in for good measure. This means training is short and sweet, no long days with me recovering from a 25+ km run. Just me and basic runs, having fun.
Part of the decision was because I wanted to run each race that both Cadbury and Ross have (10, 21 and 42 + 5 for Cadbury) and have the full collection of medals.

So why do a plan for a distance I can almost run it in my sleep?  After Point to Pinnacle,  (which took more out of me than expected), add in the Christmas rush I have with work that starts about the same time, and my work partner needing medical time off, I was stuffed before I started and never really got a proper reprieve. (No wonder I got a cold the day we broke up for xmas).

Mojo – gone. Running oomph – gone. Enjoyment – kinda gone.

Dont get me wrong, I still itched to get out and do something I just couldn’t seem to make it happen, call it laziness, I just had no will to move.

The plan with the plan, was to help me get moving, I’m good at following rules if you will, so having something to be accountable with makes it easier to just get out and do it.

I’ve done up my years worth of races, hubby is happy with them, there is one weekend trip and a few long days coming up – he’s an awesome support to me driving 3 to 4 hours and then hang around while I run about with hundreds of others and then drive me home.
So it’s now time to get moving, and see what I can achieve with a year full of 10k training. Intervals, speed work and regular rest days. Aiming for consistent sub 60 mins, although finishing each race means I’ve still achieved what I wanted.

Check my race page for this years events and happy training.

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Cadbury 10k – 14/1/18

After a month or more off and doing pretty well nothing since Point to Pinnacle I was sorely under trained for this race.
I made an effort to get a few runs in and mediocre strength training, at least so my joints would be able to manage to movement.
Each run was tough and wore me out, but I knew I had to get back into it somewhere – and the first race of the year is the best place to test the waters. Well, kind of.
I certainly wasn’t worried bout a pb, if it happened then I’d be happy, otherwise, finish the race was the important thing.
Start the race, finish the race. Smile and have fun.

We arrived in plenty of time to do the usual toilet line up and leave me with the RMA’s for a photo.
I positioned myself in my regular spot – middle of the pack – and once we started I kept my eyes out for the 60 min pacer. While the time wasn’t overly important I like to have an idea of where I’m travelling. I was ahead of him until just past the 7k mark then he left me in his wake. Each kilometre was hard, and I felt like I was wading through mud. Cumbersome and un co-ordinated.
Catching up again at 9k he paced me up the hill and was waiting to push us through the finishing chute.

The race as whole was tough, but I managed a smile as I passed the photographer – resulting in one of my best race pictures to date.
The rest of them…yeah, I really have to work on my Kenyan/finishing face. Better yet, figure out how to get rid of it, replacing it with a huge smile.

I’m super happy with result of sub-60, narrowly missing my pb by 23 seconds. That’s not an issue, really it isn’t. I ran, I had fun for the most part, and I finished. My bonus, finishing under the hour and still upright. Smiling and happy.

My word for this year is Stronger, my hashtag #believebefinishstronger and that is exactly what I plan to do. I have started well, and I want to continue on this way.

Run strong

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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.

Journey to the pinnacle

Taking on the mountain and succeeding was my goal.
One of my bucket list races.
It all started last year when I did it for the first time. In the pouring rain.  I was hooked, I knew I had going to do it again.
I would register each year until I conquered that 1252mt incline for 21.1kms.
Small problem: I don’t mix very well with hills or heat. Hill training has always been an issue for me. I struggle with activity when it’s too hot. Two of the tougher challenges I face.

My training and running throughout this year was hit and miss meaning I didn’t do as much as I’d liked to have. It wasn’t ideal, but sometimes that’s how life goes.
In the weeks leading up to race day I was conflicted on clothes and hydration, waiting until the last minute to make the final decision.
In 2016 it was all but snowing and we were soaked before we started.  This year, the threat of heat stroke was very real.
It was to be the second hottest day (30C) in the history of the race and this was another factor in my lack of running a good portion of the race.

One of the many things I have learnt a whole through this year’s running is pretty simple – Finish my race and have fun while doing it.
Finishing can mean limping across the line in tears of pain to sprinting the finishing chute with a grin spread wide across my face. But I digress slightly, this post is about the Point to Pinnacle.
Knowing that my training was off and the weather was likely to be pretty hot, my goal was easy – Get to the top and have fun along the way. It is also my last big race for the year and I wanted to make sure it went off with a bang!
I had my race kit set out with everything I’d need for what the day would throw at me.
Sunscreen for the morning before the start. Short arms and legs, calf sleeves to alleviate cramps, a light jacket in case the pinnacle was cool, cream for chaffing, tissue for loo emergencies (hopefully not), lollies and my double barrel hydration pack. This pack is the bomb, it looks a like a little rocket pack and I love it. It was perfect for the race.

Shortly after we started, around the third kilometre mark, I realised I wasn’t going to be running (or shuffling) much of the mountain. My body was heavy and ached, and the heat hit me, even at that early point.  But I was still going to have fun. At 6 kms in I thought I was out for the count. Feeling a little laggy I popped a lolly in and slowly chewed it. The feedback was instant, the sugar rush smacked me square in the head and made me feel nauseous. I had a sudden thought that this was it, I was going to be finishing the race right there. Like hell that was happening. I had come too far to pull out now.  More water and some of my tailwind and I pushed through. No more lollies for me.

The races here in Hobart are always really well organised, with plenty of volunteers, well stocked water stations and loads of support along the course – and this one didn’t disappoint. There was no pushing for drinks and I took drinks at each one along the way, trying out a Gatorade at the 14km mark, it was way too sweet for my liking so tossed it and grabbed another water.
Two places along the way had water hoses out and they were spraying participants as they passed – ahh bliss. Perfect refreshment for the body.
My hydration pack was set up so I had tailwind on one side and water on the other. That way I could douse myself with water to cool the body, refilling from stations as needed and still have my salty goodness to drink.

I had a fantastic time, smiling one way or another, at others or at the view for most of the run.
Two thirds of the way up I stopped to get a selfie and another runner offered to do it for me. I agreed and we had to laugh as the police on their bikes stopped so they weren’t photo bombing..
This was only the second time I stopped walking.
Power walking was my thing – woman on a mission was definitely what I was up to. The incline never let up. Sometimes it was seriously steep, other times just continuing ever upwards with no end in sight. Rising 1252 metres without any kind of plateaus is a relentless pain.
At 3kms to go I was so ready to stop, you could see the top, hear the voices from above and yet it seemed like it was so far away. The buses were already heading back down to the Casino start point with the early finishers, which made me more determined to get there.
Seeing the finishing line was one of the happiest moments of the race and I pushed forward. Finally I was crossing the line – not even bothering to attempt a jog or run, just grinning like a Cheshire. Tired but accomplished. Hot and sweaty and so so happy. I had made it.
The heat was extreme, the incline just kept on going I had never given up.
I had made it to the Pinnacle.
I may not have run it like I wanted, but by damn I was not going to take a leisurely stroll – I was going to work for it!
The catch phrase for the race is ‘how are you going to feel when you reach the top’ – bloody fantastic.
I’ve done it and I don’t need to do it again. I had a ball and my photos show it – both smiles and determination.
I was not injured or heat stroked.
I could do it again – and try to beat my time. A 3hr P2P run would be good. As would a sub 5hr marathon. And there is time for both of them to be achieved in the future.