A week of food

What could be better than anticipating lunch time at work. Not for the break, but for the food. Most of the time I am just happy to get off my feet and rest properly, but this week it was all about the food.

My menu plan worked a treat and each day I enjoyed a scrumptious feast that kept me feeling full for most of the afternoon.  A 2.30/3pm coffee always works a treat.

I had one day where my subscribed lunch was below par, but I had over compensated that day so still had plenty to eat.  Laugh if you will, but sardines are really fishy, and not good in a salad. I will stick to my tuna or salmon in the future.

Most of my meals were meat free which was a lovely change even though I had meat galore in the fridge to use. I may keep this up, 3 or 4 of the five days to be meat free, but then again it may depend on what I have available and what needs using.

Not one for eating breakfast at 6am I usually take it to work – which would be a cheese sandwich for toasting or more likely yoghurt with muesli and fruit – otherwise once the first busy hour* is over I am hungry again and end up eating too much.

My menu this week consisted of two bruschetta, a ryvitta, fatoush and the failed fish dish. Next week I’ll do a ryvitta for sure, chicken salad, bruschetta and maybe a tinned tuna salad. I’ve never really been one for ryvitta but im now a convert (my boys have always loved corn thins and cruskits, devouring them like crazy).

It’s such a relaxant knowing that I can get up late (hello Friday, oops 🤭) run through the shower, and make a coffee (for take away 😕 prefer to sit at home), then grab my lunch and run out the door. No stressy  ‘what’s for lunch.??’ moments.

Clockwise from top left: fatoush with toasted ciabatta, ciabatta with ricotta, peas, rocket and dressed with lemon juice and chilli sauce, ciabatta with cream cheese, Roma tomatoes and rocket, ryvitta with egg and avo.bf70a129-4761-42a2-a6cf-dcec80bd5cc8

*we are busy anywhere from 6.45 to 9am before it calms down.

How are your lunch times working out, are you getting on the meal prepping bandwagon…?

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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.

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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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.

GCAM 17, part 3, post race 🏁

Crossing the finish line was the greatest moment of my day. I was exhausted but happy, I had finished a tough race, and in what I thought was a good time. Walking through the finish area I was unsure what to do for a brief moment, but following the other runners I saw the signs for t-shirts and medal collection. Ah, the moment I have been waiting for. Bling! One reason we love to do races. Thanking the girl I walked into the tent and collected my shirt, oh my it’s beautiful. I had seen others wearing their and they looked fantastic.
I took off my pack and lay on the grass for a few minutes, soaking in the sun, and having more drinks. After 5 minutes I wandered off outside the main area to do some stretches in the peace and quiet. And then it hit me. I got up and almost immediately sat on the ground, head between my legs, then I had to lay down, head spinning, my gut churning. Wait a few minutes and try another stretch. Message my husband. Walk a few metres and have to sit down again. Oh shit, I need the toilet, where is it, oh no, head is spinning…Somehow I found my way back to the baggage tent where, with head spinning and body all hot and cold, I collapsed on the ground and curled up in the foetal position. I could feel that fainting feeling, my head was about to blow off, my body couldn’t decide if it was hot or cold, and my gut wanted to burst out of my bladder (the problem I thought lay in not going to the toilet before the start of the race).
A few minutes went past and the ladies inside the tent came over and asked if I needed help. I think I nodded and mumbled a yes I did want help. The next half hour or so went in a blur, of jackets lain over me, tin foil wrap, the medic taking my blood pressure and sugar levels, sipping water, shivering like no tomorrow despite blankets,and my head not knowing if it was spinning or not.
The decision was made to get me into a wheel chair and head over to the main medical tent. We went via the porta loo where I managed to do nothing at all bar a small wee. Disappointed to the max. And my gut still hurt. The ‘best’ part of the trip was having to cross the highway – marathon runners and cheering crowds to boot – in a wheelchair wrapped in tin foil, skin white a ghost. That could have been embarrassing but you know what, I was feeling like shit and with that many people it was bound to happen to some. I very elegantly (not) laid on a stretcher and was surrounded by eager medics.
In the eigtheen months I have been running the only time I have come close to feeling like this, is after my very first half marathon where I knew nothing of recovery, race hydration and the like. Boy have I learnt a lot since then. It makes all the difference to your performance for the whole day.
I’m starting to feel better after two bananas and a bottle of water. I call my husband and have a chat then ask I feel I can head off. I’ve walked around, my head is not spinning any more and I’m not running hot and cold. Given I was there on my own I was advised to take it slowly so I didn’t keel over while driving.
My husband and I had agreed that I had major anxiety over the being late issue and after letting me run the race my body had gone into shock once I’d finished. It did take the fun out the afternoon for me, but I was happy that I had survived and done this amazing thing.
I wandered slowly back along to cross the road, and finally being able to use the loo was interrupted by the phone ringing. Not now, really…. the lady in the stall next door chuckles and has to listen to my phone til gives up. Talk about bad timing. I have a quick chat to my eldest son and message the other one as I cross the road back again and go looking for the car.
This is where things went bad again.
Away from the waterfront the heat was stifling, it was just past 12 and there was no breeze. I’m wandering along the street looking for the car and cannot see it anywhere. Now I know I was in a panic when I parked but I also know I was only one block back from the course. I was in the right street, just not far enough across. I say down on some steps to think, and hope like hell I didnt have to ring my friends and say I’d lost their car. No, I hadn’t lost the car, just gained them a parking fine for stopping in a loading zone. Shit. Not as bad as I had thought it would be.
Hoping to find a maccas or something on the way home was not to be and I certaintly wasn’t going to tempt fate and make a detour. I made it back up the mountain to my friend’s house without any further directional difficulties. Noting that one was home and feeling glad for a minute, I stripped off, climbed into bed and promptly fell asleep. An hour later I wake feeling somewhat better, and stumble into the shower. Omg. That is fantastic, hot, good pressure and soapy. I stand there for what feels like an eternity before drying off and cooking up Vegemite toast. Just what I needed. By then I was starving, although with a slight headache still. I head upstairs where I’m asked, after the how’d the race go, if I wanted to head out for a drink. No alcohol for me but a bowl of sweet potato fries filled the spot. Back home and I head back to bed before dinner.
After dinner I have a long soak in a radox bath before packing my bags and catching yet another early night ready for my trip home. I wake at 4.45 for a 5.15 trip to the train station and notice that for the third time the pillow has a lovely wet patch on it. You know the kind of deep sleep where you wake having drooled on the pillow – yep, that was me three times in 24hrs after my race. I had been exhausted in more ways than just the physical and I must admit I woke on that Monday morning feeling of refreshed and ready to go.

In the time between my first and second nap I browsed Facebook and saw the times had already been posted on their website…ooh, how exciting, lets check out what I achieved….I must say I was plesaently surprised. After what I thought was an ok time turned out to be an awesome time. My chip time was only a few minutes over my previous PB. So to say I was happy is an understatement. I was excited. It wasn’t as bad as all that. The pain of the post run struggle was worth it. It may not have been a new pb (I knew it wouldn’t be by the half way point) but it was well within reach of my other times. 2.27.50!


The time above is the gun time, which I’m still pretty happy with, and the other time is what comes on my itab, and whati am saying it did it in. After all, it took that 9minutes to get from my start to the actual start.

It’s been a good week and a half since my trip to GCAM but already feels like a life time past. In that time I have moved house and continued my usual 9-10hr a day job. So much happens each day that I feel like it is old news already.
The things I learn t along the way on this race are many and varied.
– be more prepared and check out the timing of travel (airport transfers to start with)
– get there earlier to make sure I know where I am going on race day.
– stay closer to the race precinct.
– take my husband with me.
– all of the above.
– relax and breathe more during a race.
– drink more during a race – despite not feeling so bad, it was a lot hotter than what I have been used to so was mildly dehydrated at the end.

Stay safe, run with fun and enjoy your races, jennifer

Night running – be organised and be safe

My running backyard is all windy roads with very little curbing or footpath. It’s all mainly coastal country roads or gravel roads on steep hills with no where to go when cars come past. I’ve learnt over the last twelve months how to manoeuvre these roads and be as safe as possible until the last two weeks.

My midweek runs are slow 5k and fast 10.5k. There is one particular route I like to do my 10k on as it’s about 11k by the time I get back home and it’s so easy to run. Hubby drives me to the top of a hill and I run the long way home. Unfortunately this means a windy narrow road for 5kms. At this time of year, I n the growing darkness.

And now to the part of being organised and safe.
This week it was not me.

– I just knew after I had started it would be dark before I finished, yet I didn’t grab my headlamp.
I had moved from gravel road to bitumen main road with more cars (it’s after 5 and people are doing home) and the darkness is creeping in.
– I’ve done more than half my run, with just under 5kms to go. I keep my ears and eyes open for vehicles and move off the road, stopping completely for them as they pass.
– With headlights on I duck my head so as not to be ‘a deer in the headlights’
– At 2kms to go I see a car coming and push ahead to get onto a wider part of the edging.
– They were going faster than I figured and before I could make it, they were upon me, and I was momentarily blinded.
– My right foot slipped out from under me, my left foot falls awkwardly and I’m down on my side, then rolling onto to my stomach, hands in the gravel.
– Scary thoughts go through my head – how far down the bank could I go if i slipped further? Will I be able to walk? Do I have to ring hubby! Why the fuck didn’t they stop? I’m pretty sure the car saw me.

I take responsibility for not having my headlamp and that being out there was dangerous, even with my light fluro jacket. Doesn’t mean people can’t show small courtesies and slow down, dim their lights or think of others.

I stand up and dust off, testing my foot. It hurts a little but I can still move. Gingerly I move off and manage to run the last few kms til I am able to jog up the street to home. It is ok that evening, with me doing lots of stretching. The next morning – ouch! It was so sore to walk on, so after a shower I decided to wear a compression sock to work (being on my feet all day I figured it would help) which worked a treat.
Today it felt fine but hubby suggested not to go pounding the pavement but rather take a long walk. So long walk it was, 7kms and I stopped and took some pictures, enjoyed my hour long time out.
Tomorrow we are looking at a hike (as warm up says hubby) then I can do my long run.

The lesson here for next time.. take my lamp just in case. I am not getting into that situation again. It was scary. Also make sure you have some kind of easily accessible ID in case something does happen.

Keep training and be safe out there, jennifer

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