Favourite run vs favourite medal

What makes a race your favourite?
The crowd support? Your perfect weather conditions? Having a good mindset the whole way through? Getting a PB?
Each race has its own story which almost makes them all memorable – for different reasons. Sometimes it can be hard to make a choice and if i tried to do this last year it would have been hard. Not so much this year.  There is a definite winner for each for this year.

Favourite race this 6 months: It has to be my last one. Launceston 10 – pb, great atmosphere, well organised, not too crowded at any point from start to finish, I ran it strong and comfortably, my mind was good to me (not crazy negative talk)

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Nearly there.

Does your favourite race come with your favourite medal?
Unfortunately mine doesn’t. I’m going to pick 2 medals – 1 virtual race and 1 actual race.
My virtual races are usually done over a week or more and are what I would consider a training run for any other purpose. Actual races, are…well, actual races with lots of people which changes everything when you normally run on your own.

Favourite medal this 6 months:
Virtual – Run like the Wind. My windmill for organ donors, turning obstacles into opportunities.  This medal has become the key feature for my next tattoo, I love the shape, and design. Simple but detailed. More on that another day.

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Actual – Cadbury. It’s my third medal of the  four Cadbury runs and while different from the last two years is just perfect – purple with a map of Tassie.

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Post run smiles with my bling and bag of chocolate

 

What is your favourite medal and race?
What is it that makes them a favourite?

Keep training, running and being active, Jennifer

 

 

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What does a runner look like..?

Over the last 3 years I’ve discovered a lot about myself, what a runner looks like and what a runner actually is.
In a nut shell, a runner is someone who runs. Fast or slow, smooth, elegant or like a baby giraffe. Large or small, it doesn’t matter. So long as they are moving forward in a running type gait, then they are a runner. You are a runner whether you do 5k in 15 mins, 30 or over 60. If you do it regularly, then you are a runner.

This is prompted by a conversation I had a work last week. A lady came in who does a lot of sports and is pretty fit, she coaches a netball team, all her kids are into sports and every year she tackles the infamous Point to Pinnacle half marathon in November.
My friend and work colleague had thought she was a runner we often see up and down the street early in the morning and I scoffed and said ‘no way’. I was right but what she said to us when I asked ‘are you a runner?’ blew me away.
She says she can do 10k but is not a runner.
You say what..?
I insisted that if she could do that then is most definitely a runner.
Her explanation for why not was because she is too heavy in the midsection – hello me, and so many other women – and that she goes so slowly.
I replied that no matter what she is still moving forward so a runner she is.
Then came the cruncher. The part that really got up my goat.
The part that screams why so many young (and not so young) women don’t start up the sport for health or fitness, or from lack of self-esteem.
“my dad was a marathon runner and said if I ever wanted to run them then I had to lose like 20kgs..” 
I couldn’t believe my ears. This is a woman is tall but not by any stretch of the imagination to be over weight or unfit enough to run a marathon.  
This one sentence perpetuates the myth that a runner has to look a certain way and run at a certain speed.
She may as well have said “..
that to be a runner, is to perform at the elite level. Anything less and you’re not serious enough…”
I couldn’t believe my ears.
There is only a tiny percentage of people in the world who are at that level, and an equally tiny percentage (I do believe it’s the 1-percenters) that have run a marathon.
How do we get across to people – including the donkey who scoffed at my hope of getting under 5hrs for a marathon one day – that a runner comes in all shapes, sizes and speeds.
Given that most of the general public couldn’t run 2 kms let alone 5, the woman above is most definitely a runner. Big hips or not.
I have had customers ask ‘was it you I saw jogging last night?’ or similar, and while the term jogging irks me, at least they are complimentary on the fact I am out there being active. Especially as one person put it ‘…after you run around in here so busy all day and then go and do that..’ My after work running is just like their trip to the pub. A routine that makes us feel good. Others have said, ‘good work out there’ and ‘you do a lot of running, I see you every time I go out’.  It’s interesting how differently people see the act of running compared to a team sport. Team sports are fun. Running is boring.  I see it simply as everyone is out there running around (after balls, with sticks or bats) and having fun, keeping fit.
We need to teach our kids that running (and all other sports really) is good for the soul, and body. Talk to any group of women and they will tell you that running is their therapy, it clears their heads, helps them be better wives and parents. I know that no matter how achy I feel the next day, running makes my day job easier and my head is clearer.
The important thing here is that while size is not and should not be a deterrent to exercising, the less weight you carry around makes things a whole lot easier. I know I feel the difference between now and when I started 4 years ago, nearly 10k heavier. I have more control over my body and can manoeuvre it in ways I never used to be able to.
So, no matter your size or fitness, get out there and give it a go.
If you say you’ll get fit before you go to the gym or start running then you have missed the point. How do you think those fit people at the gym started??
Getting out there are starting is the hardest part but also the easiest. Keeping on going when you want to stop is what sets us apart from everyone else.
Be fit, be strong, be You.
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Launceston 10 – 3/6/18

There’s the point in each race, at the starting corrals where you think “what did I sign up for”
There’s the point in each race just after the gun goes off where you think “what am I doing”
There’s the point in each race near the half way mark where you think “I can do this”
There’s a point in each race near the end where you think “are we there yet?”
There’s the point in each race where you turn that last corner and think “I can see the finish, make it strong”
Then there’s the point in the race where you realise you’re not just going to get a PB, you’re going to smash the last one.

That’s the point when you realise that the hard work was worth it, the strength workouts, the consistency in your training. It’s all down to this last two hundred metres.
You smile and keep pushing along, not rushing, following your new ‘no-pressure’ plan. You cross the line with a grin a mile wide and fist pump yourself, knowing you did it. Knowing it was quick even though there were points where your legs felt like lead. Where you thought your lungs would pop.
When you pushed through the stitch from gulping too much water.
When you pushed up that last hill on tired legs, willing yourself to not stop and walk. Where you round that corner and saw the finish line ahead.
Kept the pace even and steady.
Smiled the whole way,  not having that ugly ‘I’m about to poop I’m working so hard’ look captured for eternity by the photographers.
Crossed the line and hugged your husband and kid, giddy with the knowledge of a fast run.  Medal around your neck you get the obligitory picture and head back to your hotel.
You then struggle out of sweaty clothes for a shower, snooze several times in the car on the way home, then get that need to #eatallthefood. All the sweet food.

I had such an amazing time on this run, there was a quiet confidence about my pace, and how I felt.  I was striding out well, I was running so comfortably and strong.  I didn’t feel too tired at any particular point. There are definite tired points in any race, but my training is working out the way I want – giving me more in the tank once I’m finished, and helping me feel stronger for the duration of the race.  The next 3 months are going to be full of hard work before my next race. I am hoping for good things. I want to get stronger and more consistent.
I have only ever bought the complete package of my race photos once, and that was for my only to date interstate run at GCAM. I’ve done it again though. All the pictures were so good. No ugly faces, a little bit of struggle picture, a wry smile as I head to the finish line, that big grin as I’ve crossed the line. I like them all.

Keep chasing that PB, it’s worth all the hard work.

 

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Rounding the last corner – the end is in sight!
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Nearly there.
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Yes!! OMG I did it. So glad to finish. Gun time on left, net time on right. Massive PB acheived.

 

 

 

Couples goals

Hmm, you say what..?

I keep seeing the hashtag attached to perky pictures of couple at races or the gym.
I hear within other conversations that said couple does everything together (or most things fitness orientated).
I roll my eyes at these things.
I have this weird feeling about the term #couplesgoals.
Look, I am not against couples going out and getting fit together, or enjoying a mutual activity.
It’s about the giving it a name. As though that makes it all the more exciting, or it’s something we all need to strive for.
Poo bah.
For me, and I say this regularly to my husband whenever it comes up – my only couples goal is that we are happy together.
We love being with each other, we love going out and doing things. It’s what couples do. Why should I give it a name.
He supports my running no end – gets up early, drives me to races, hangs around up to two hours longer than said race and drives me back home. All with a smile and no grumbles, loads of hugs and beautiful words.
Because that’s what couples do.
I get up at stupid o’clock and drive him to work when he has to work away (single car family) with no grumbles, and small smiles (due to said stupid o’clock). Because that’s what couple do.
If he wants to go out with the boys on the motorbikes, or with mates for whatever reason – I am booting him out the door.
Because that’s what couples do – they are independent people who love each other but can equally survive without needing to do all things together.

That’s my thoughts on this whole #couplesgoals thing.
What are your thoughts – Yes or No.

Carbs are back

I’m not sure exactly what it was.
I’m not sure whether it’s all in my mind.
I’m not sure if I was just having a bad week or two.
What I am sure about though is that the small intake of carbs between Thursday and Sunday certainly contributed to my increased performance over the weekend.

My last post described how I was feeling all at a loss about whether the low carb was right or not, and my thoughts on adding in small amounts of carbohydrates.

For those that may not have seen my latest Instagram posts, on the weekend I smashed my runs, without even trying. Actually I was trying harder to not go all out.  Not be too fast. Even on the downhills which are my favourite.
After a horridly hard treadmill run on Friday night – a piddly 3.5kms – I whipped arse on 7.5km Saturday, and 12.2 on Sunday. What’s even better, I did the 12k in record time, fairly easily, with a few stops. I’m feeling it now for sure, but to me that’s the sign of an awesome run, ran hard.

My thoughts now.  Low carb to the point of Keto or similar is not for me.  I will be low car, not next-to-no carb as I was.

So my running mojo and action improved drastically. How about my other feelings?  They are on a high also. I’m feeling much more comfortable with my decision after seeing for myself how my body reacts.  I had gotten to the point where I wasn’t believing that I would finish my next race.

Keep you posted, train well, and be safe.

8 weeks – time to re-assess

Its been 8 weeks and I’ve discovered I need to change where I’m going with lchf. It might seem a bit ‘oh I love this, its fantastic’ one minute and the next ‘ugh, feel like shit, it’s not working’, I see that. I am in both of those camps right now. I figure eight weeks is enough time to settle into a new routine and suss out what and where it’s doing and how to change it, if needed.
I do feel fantastic. There are little things that are so good. There are also things that I feel I am doing wrong.
I do feel ugh. So very tired (and I’m not any more tired from work that I was when I began this).
My running was great initially. I felt light and fit. Now I feel like my legs are giving way, no matter how much I have stretched or relaxed they just don’t want to move – which then drags my body down. I know it is all mind over matter. The body will do what the mind tells it. But can the body tell the mind what to do?? I need to push through, to say, “it’s all good, I can do this, get moving”.  Sometimes though it’s just not that easy. You have to listen to your body.
By listening to what it says, it’s all about the fuel you put in to what you can get out of it.
I was so happy with this new way of eating that I went all in, I embraced the change, loved reading labels to say ‘no more of this, that and the other’.  I realised a couple of days ago, that part of my physical feelings is the lack of certain foods.
I don’t think I’m eating enough fats. I’m definitely not eating enough of the good veges, and I may have gone too low on the carbs for what my body requires. I know I haven’t been drinking enough water lately, which may be a contributing factor.
After a small crazy couple of days where I ended up with diarrhea due to some licorice, I was hesitant to eat some pasta and potatoes fearing the worst. When I did have small portions they tasted delicious, and thankfully, nothing happened.

My assessment this week is about making my own mash up of two eating lifestyles. I’m hesitant to use the word diet because of the connotations that come with it. Which is funny, because everyone has a diet, just some are better than others. I am changing my diet, I am not going on a diet.  I do want to lose a bit of weight. I do want to feel full and content with my food. I do want my running to feel pleasurable and constructive, not such hard work and awkward. I do want to feel better all over, inside and out.
My solution is going to be a mix of the goodness that is Weight Watchers and the current LCHF.
Weight watchers, because I know it works, just the last time I used it (a mere 6 months ago) I found it too restrictive with counting points.  LCHF, because it has been good for me to learn more about different types of food and carbohydrates – what is and isn’t acceptable for regular or binge eating.
Initially I will be strictish so I can get back into controlling myself again. The basis for my new regime will be more fruit and vegetables (which I all but got rid of unfortunately), have complex carbs (bread, rice, spuds, pasta) for one meal a day (will work on lunch time so I can ‘work it off’) and if I feel the need, then bread or a toastie for breakfast. I will still make my low carb cloud bread as it feels good like carbs without being too much.
There will still be lots of the high fat content, and eggs as I am doing now, because I really like the creamy coffee. Things like biscuits, cakes and lollies will be all but cut out. I have no real problem with doing this as I was never really a sweet tooth – give me a cheese platter any day. Even now, with working in a shop with lots of chocolate and licorice I can easily say no to them.
I will go back to doing my weekly menu plan and lunch prep – making my work day lunches heartier than just a salad, and making smaller portions at dinner time.

On another note with this new slash old diet, I did lose weight, and my shape changed.  There were not so many lumps and creases and looking back on pictures I took in September last I have definitely changed physically.  There was even a scales picture (I know we are more than just a number) and I liked that I was disciplined enough to get to that point.  There is a lot of work to do, but I  know that this time I will find it more approachable and easier to get into it.  I am not altogether unhappy with it, just my lack of energy is disappointing.
Where has my discipline gone. What have a lacked. Why am I so out of it.
The long hours and work load, or the diet. Or maybe both. Either way I know that this change-up will be a good thing.
I have just looked at all this and thought, why am I writing about diets, and body shapes, and the like. I wasn’t brought up like this, I prided myself on not giving  damn, so why now. Probably because with age comes a certain wisdom about ourselves and what we are and can be.  My goal now is going to be like my new goal for running. Show up, do the distance and finish. No pressure, no stress. If I get a pb then all good, if not then at least finish without an injury. For the food – the same theory applies. Eat healthy, enjoy all things in moderation (and some things very very rarely) and exercise regularly. Do it to prolong my life, to be young and fit and have energy. If I lose weight, even a modicum of it, then all is good.

Bring on the next stage, and the next race. In 2 weeks.
Keep healthy, and train strong,  Jennifer

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.

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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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.