Do you walk when you run..?

A quick question. It is asked all the time for various validation purposes.
If you walk during a running race does the distance still count?
If you want to complete a certain distance then you have to run the whole thing?
I’m not doing a marathon until I can run the whole distance.

Yes, No and if that’s what rows your boat.

Does it really matter if you take a short walk break?
Does it make you any less of a runner?

NO and NO

I put these questions out there after a conversation I had the other day with some other runners and also reading about those who worry about whether they are real runners or not.
If you are out there running, slow or fast, then you are a runner.
If you want to take a short breather then go for it. It’s your body, you know how it feels and performs.

Kudos to you if you can run a distance without stopping – no matter how long or short it is. That’s called dedication and major stamina. I certainly don’t think any less of you of you walk sometimes, or can’t do a half or full marathon without the odd walk break.
Hell, my last flat half I walked each of the water stations and still got myself a decent pb. And don’t try telling me I am not a runner.

As for the comment about not wanting to do a marathon until you can run the whole distance – well, that’s entirely up to you. I find it’s putting too much of an expectation on yourself, and feeling the need to push too far. This is for the layman runner – the elites, well they run marathons in their sleep. I only mention about the expectations because you never know what can happen on race day. All your training might go super well and on the day it falls apart. You are then majorly disappointed in yourself instead of saying ‘I did it! I ran a marathon!’
I ran a marathon, even though the last 5kms were more of a walk-shuffle, I still did it. I never expected to run the whole way, I followed my body. I never once thought ‘I have to run the whole way’.

My thoughts on it. If you run then you are a runner.
Fast or slow, you are a runner.
5k or 100k, you are a runner.
Take walk beaks occasionally, you are a runner.

So, run or walk and have fun, as you are all lapping everyone on the couch.

Jennifer

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City 2 Casino 11k (7k)

It was all going well until it wasn’t.
Sometimes it works.
Sometimes it all falls in a heap.
And sometimes it gets all muddled up.
Which is what happened for my last race.
I was all over the training, and then I was over the training.
Life and general busyness got in the way and my training fell somewhat by the wayside.
The plan was written up, the first two weeks went well and then I just got sick of it. I spose it got to feeling too much like hard work. My aim for any race these days is to have fun and finish the distance.
Now I know I can do a 10K distance, I’m not overly fussed about getting too much faster – because I am having fun at this speed – I want to just run.

I keep up with running several times a week and incorporating several stretch or gym sessions as well, and feel reasonably confident heading into Sunday’s run.
Then it happened.
Sunday morning started like any other race day, a few nerves, several trips to the loo and then settling in to the inevitable of what would happen.
We got to town and I randomly checked my phone only to have a message pop up from a friend.
Our race was cancelled.
A burst water main had exploded all over the highway where we were to be running.
……What was this… A bad dream, a sick joke…
I quickly got onto Facebook and… No, the same news was all over my feed.
11k cancelled and we are to do the 7k instead.
Holy Moses.
I wasn’t prepared for 7km.
Now you might think that being a shorter race meant it would be easier and all that. But I find it’s a whole ‘nother mind set. Seven is a squidge past 5 so I am more likely to run it faster. Ten is a long run and I work on the first 2-3k to get into a rhythm and settle into pace.  Now I had to push it quick and with an uphill start.
I told my friends – when questioned on my thoughts of time – I don’t really train this distance so I’d try around the 6min pace mark and go from there. Just play it by ear.

This was a tough one for me, I think I let the mental get a hold of my head and it put me off. Well, I put me off really.  I decided to ‘run to feel’ which worked for most of the way. I still pushed harder than I would on a ‘run to feel’ and I’m glad I did. I felt really good after finishing and was so proud of my consistent pace. I suppose it helps that I enjoy the 10k and it’s a comfortable distance. You need to train but not too much, and it’s over relatively quickly.

All in all it’s a good result and it now means I can wait another year or two before I do the 7 for real. While properly training for it.

Keep the training going, be strong.  Jen

2km to go. Getting tired.
Oh my, the last 50m is in sight, time to smile and actually look like I’m enjoying this.. I did, really.

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.

City 2 Casino 2017

It’s race recap time again and while I didn’t pb as I had wanted to I had a great time. I joined hubby on this run – it was his idea after all, and am so very proud of him and how he went.

This is how it went down:
– the day was bright, sunny and warm.
– it was a fast field and I felt terribly slow.
– my knee played up and slowed me down more.
– my foot was so far asleep for half the race I’m surprised I was able to stay upright.
– hubby was right on my rail the whole way – unknown to me until the last second.
– we finished with on 21 seconds between us.
– I was happy and jumpy afterwards – hubby was sweaty, tired sore and I hope very proud of himself.
– post run coffee turned into a delightful egg and bacon brunch
– our race photos show us both looking strong and determined
– I love the bling and it looks great.
– hubby has said this hasn’t made him want to do it again

I will always treasure May 21st and what my husband achieved!

Keep training and do your best, Jennifer

The plan

I love the plan.

This is my second time using the plan.

The plan works for me.

I feel more in control when using the plan.

I don’t feel guilty on rest days when using the plan.

The plan gives me more freedom.

The plan works.

Trust the plan.

Trust the training.

You will finish and the plan will have paid off.

I love the plan.

I hate the plan.

 

Run to your plan and stay strong.

 

Off to the physio I go…

After my last post and the resulting abysmal runs I went off to the physio to see what she could help me with.

Not only did I get really good information and help, with instructions on exercises to do, I felt embarrassed by and ashamed of my lack of form. This appeared to be my the main problem – lack of form.

She poked and prodded, I bent, twisted and showed her my squats. Did wall sits, and quad stretches. While we talked and discussed these movements, I got a lovely massage that eased my leg.

I went home with a list of exercises and strength movements to work on, and feeling positive after getting permission to run again.  The catch…don’t wait til my knee is killing me to stop, but when I feel a niggle, I should stop and do a few stretches. Reset it so the speak.

There is something in this that puts me at ease. I could do this myself. Say stop and rest, stop and stretch, but I’m stubborn and could not bring myself to actually do it. The flip side of this, having someone who is helping to fix me, who then give me permission makes it all ok. I don’t quite know how or what, but I am more comfortable about doing it.

The rest of the week passed in a blur of half-hearted exercises as I felt worn out physically for some reason (and not an excuse, work was ridiculous and very day).

I’ve made myself a pact today that I need to keep up my normal strength exercises, concentrating on the ones she gave me, skipping one she doesn’t recommend. Loads of stretching, and also foam rolling – she said she can’t see why I shouldn’t. Yippee, I am feeling really good  from doing this on each leg.

And running. Every second day. Doing a version of the Jeff Galloway run/walk method.  I really need to get my strength back up, and right now the only way to do this is to do what she says and practice.

Run strong my friends, Jennifer

Point 2 Pinnacle

It’s been a week month, and I’m still on a high from this race. We didn’t make it to the top and it rained the whole way. It was bloody hard work and I was soaked to the bone. I didn’t care, I had a blast and in many ways it was my best race to date. Definitely one of the most enjoyable.

All the usual suspects for a race were lined up – I had done the training, I had a rough plan in place, I was organised for pre and post race and not even the rain was going to dampen my spirits for this one.

I had initially thought of this race as a one-off, a ‘conquer the mountain’ and be done with it. Well that went out the window with the crazy weather conditions and I just have to come back next year to give it another shot. Which in itself is not a bad thing.

I was disappointed that we were told the course was altered but along with every other race I’ve done it gave me a chance to learn something. With this one… I found out just how steep an incline the mountain really is. It is hard work. I know where I need to improve my hill workouts for the future. I know how much I need to dig deep and push through the pain. I know that this time next year I will conquer the mountain!

Why would all of this make it my best race of the year? Because I switched off all notions of a PB, of timing and pace,  and just did it. As usual my photos don’t show it, but I enjoyed every minute of it, up and back. I just ran. It was really getting back to running. I had my volume down on the phone so wasn’t hearing anything.

As it turns out I did make a PB and was slightly (10mins) ahead of my halfway time plan. When I heard the time as I approached the turn around I knew then that I could have made it to the top.  The way back down the hill was certainly a lot easier. I didn’t push for speed, I just moved along, knowing I would finish easily within the time frame. I could have gone harder, I was enjoying it as it was.

As I said it rained all the way up and back, and it wasn’t until I replaced my beanie after towelling my hair that I realised how cold I was, and my head. I took off and found a shopping centre with event public toilets – you don’t think how small the cubicles are til you want to get changed, and dry off at the same time.  To say it was awkward is an understatement, especially as everything was tight and sticking to me. I spent the rest of the afternoon in 3 layers done up past my chin, compression sleeves and a beanie. The cold was that bad.

 

I am so proud of what I have achieved this year, this was my best race for many reasons. Bring on next year – 2 marathons, numerous 10ks and I’ll have to find at least one half in there somewhere.

Keep running, be fit and have a great new year.

jennifer

 

 

Out with the old…

I had read about this thing but having not done a lot of running before never experienced it for myself. The retirement of old running shoes. Generally around 800-1000km mark you are meant to swap over your shoes for maximum comfort and running…what’s the word…you know, gait, style, stride..so you don’t injure yourself.

Two months ago I went and put a couple of pairs on layby knowing that I would be ready by the time I paid for them. More ASICS, my favourite brand. And the shop I buy them from know their stuff – they watch you walk to gauge your hair, they find out what surface you run on, how often you run…all the important hugs to make sure you get just the right shoe. And I try on about 6 pairs before making my final decision.

This morning I laced up the first pair and off I went. Of course I had forgotten what new shoes are like after 11 months and 895kms and that was my down fall.

At 5kms my toes were numb. Loosen and re-lace shoes. At 10kms it was worse. Remove feet from shoes, adjust and re-lace. By 13kms I was having trouble moving, my shoes felt like there were lumps in them, I couldn’t feel my feet properly and was struggling to run in any semblance of a straight line.

My distance was also way off track. What I thought was 20kms was more like 30 so I had to re think my route. Accepting I would have to do another hill climb I trudged along the road to the intersection. And stopped. And made a phone call.

It was 8kms up over the hill and I just knew I would not make it. By this time, 15.5kms I couldn’t feel my feet at all and knew it would be dangerous to keep going.

I was disappointed at having to do this, falling 2kms short of today’s training plan. Happy that I had gone that far and felt pretty good.

I do remember all of his happening with the last pair I bought. I was only doing 5kms at a time back then, so didn’t think anything of it.  I’ll have to remember this for next time. Let the shoe gently wear in and soften up, don’t push it.

The lesson has been learnt and I know the first run with the other pair is a simple 5k.

The beautiful road I was on.

New shoes and compression sleeves. Thank you and good bye old shoes.

After I got home. Feeling better though feet are still aching.


Today’s long run, hoping for 20 but oh well.
Happy running, P2P recap soon.

From zero to Ultra

If someone had said to me three years ago I would be considering running an ultra I would have laughed at them. Not only because I had no idea what an ultra actually was but because I wasn’t even running. Nothing. Maybe walking occasionally but running, no way.

Fast forward to today and it is a high possibility that I will do this.* After starting the year with this race on my long list (and solo at that), I had come to the conclusion that it wasn’t something I had in me. During all my training sessions, especially for my marathon,  the realisation hit me that the extra distance was not something I wanted to do. I’m sure I am capable of it, it was more of an acceptance of ones limitations and desires. Some people don’t ever go past ten kilometres and there is nothing wrong with that. I’m happy with marathon distance as my big one.

So why am I thinking of doing this race now?
I’m still a little surprised at what I have completed over the last 18 months, I have gone from barely running five kms to being able to run a marathon! I am so happy with how much I am enjoying running and where it’s taken me. This year so far I have run and finished 7 races with 2 to go.
I am also incredibly proud of myself and what I have achieved. I have changed so much since I first began, learning a hell of a lot about myself and I can’t wait to keep going and see where I can fly to.

I have learnt something from every race I have entered.
I have learnt to what extent I can push my body, how far it will go til it breaks down, or not.
I have learnt about the mental struggle that occurs when you run insane distances, in one hit, and over the course of a week.
I have learnt about the challenges that pop up when you think you can’t do it anymore and some how you just go out and do it, realising it wasn’t that hard after all.
I have learnt about the challenges you push through when your head tells you to stop, when everything hurts and you want to curl up in a ball. When the recovery is all out of whack and you feel like you’re dying.
I have learnt from that, how your body reacts to the torture you put it through.
I have learnt about how freaking awesome my body is, and how it works. From the good, the bad and the downright ugly – toilet stops and bodily function, black toenails, aches in places you never knew you had – to the best bits – feeling fit, healthy and able to conquer anything that is put in your path.
I have learnt that the pain is all worth it in the end when you feel like a million dollars.
I have learnt about the change in mind-set, from comparing yourself to everyone else, to comparing how you were yesterday instead.
I have learnt about the obsession with times and whether they are worthy or not, changing it instead to finish lines not finish times.
I have learnt about accomplishment of training and starting the race to the joy and feeling of pride when you cross the finish line – no matter what position you are in.
I have learnt about getting out there and that starting something is the first and the most important step to take, hard as it may be sometimes.

So now, if anyone mentions the idea of running a certain race I can laugh at them. And it comes from a place at says ‘I can do it, even if I won’t register. I can do it ’cause I’ve done it before. I can do because I love to run, I love to compete – even if it’s just against myself’

* Hubby and are looking at competing together in our own team of two.
The challenge has been set. If we don’t take it up there is no shame in that. If we do, then we will blitz it.
Either way, it’s our decision and no one can judge us for it.
image

Journey to the Pinnacle

It’s four and a half weeks til my next big race. The worlds toughest half marathon. And I can believe it. 21kms of incline. To a total height of over 1270 meters above sea level. That’s pretty high. And a lot of hard work. Lots of hill to climb. Like a mountains worth, literally.


My training has been slightly hit and miss as it should have been all about strength and hills.  I haven’t done as much strength training as I’d hoped I would, yet my hills are moving along quite nicely. Both of these workouts are definitely not my strength so it’s been a double whammy on the challenge. The challenge of getting to the top. The challenge of training hills (my knees hate me most of the time with any kind of incline) and strength (while I know I should do it I make excuses to not go there).

I’m almost enjoying the hills. I can feel it’s making my usual runs stronger and faster. The hills while challenging, are good for me, for my mental strength as well as my physical. Thinking that no matter what happens on race day, this training can only be good for me.

On my run this evening I ‘officially’ passed 700kms for the year.  I think I have done nearly 800 as I started the challenge a good few weeks after the start date.  So my run was hard initially, what felt like an actual vertical climb before levelling out and heading back down hill, I got to thinking about the race. And how I was going to tackle it time wise. Normally wouldn’t be too worried about a time but this one has a strict cut off period to allow for as little traffic disruption as possible (and is capped at 3000 people combined for the walk and run). And in my very basic math head I began working out how fast I would need to go to finish within the time. And it’s not too bad.

What I figured out.  Time frame minus say 20 minutes. Times by 60. Divide by 4. This would give me an idea of how long to allow for each five km plus plenty of time to finish that last kilometre, and rest up/stretch before catching the bus back to the start line. Number crunching done, it works out like this.

3.40 total time.  Minus twenty minutes. Times 60. Time is now 200 minutes. Divide by 4 = 50 minutes per 5km + time up my sleeve for the last and final dash to the finish line.

Now as I usually do my 5k in roughly 30 mins I’m working on an extra twenty making this more than doable. And in my head that works. It doesn’t mean I’m going to slack off and run slower. It’s only going to make me want to work harder so I’m stronger and more capable of doing it. And doing it stronger.

This is one race where the adage of “Finish lines not finish times” is all I’m thinking about. I just want to make it to the top. Because with such an iconic race (founded in 1995) participating – and reaching the Pinnacle! – is so much a part of the end result.

A preview of some of the hills I’ve been working on lately.