An easy run & some new recipes for my cookbook

The 20 Week Challenge is a beautiful thing – when you blog about a good day or a bad day there is always someone who builds you up or who you have been able to help by just sharing your experiences – even people that you haven’t met. SO COOL!

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I started to blog purely so that I had to do something health wise worth writing about and it’s really nice to see how that can help me as well as readers!

Sticking to the plan I went for a run Tuesday night – the first decent one in quite a while! My issue at the moment is because it’s getting so dark early now I really dislike running on my own. Luckily Liam said that he would run with me during the week (most of the time) and Emily is also out around the same time and has offered to join. That’s really cool because my next planned raced is one she is doing as well, even though she may be faster than me we are looking to do similar training in general. It’s definitely nice to have a running buddy who’s a similar speed to you, but having someone there who’s not can also have its good points. Plus the way I see it: Sometimes all you need is someone to meet up with to make you get out there and do it – not necessarily sticking with them for the whole distance 🙂

It wasn’t quite as cold as I thought it would be, but it definitely got dark fast. Liam and I decided to do an easy run around the outside of North Hagley, only ended up doing 5km but it was a good starter. I tried out some new gear I purchased in the weekend because I am feeling the cold SO much more this year and not getting as hot out running as I used to! I bought some Cold Gear from Under Armour: Long tights and a top with nice long arms you can hide your hands in. The only thing I dislike so far is the fact they only had black – winter is dreary enough without black workout gear but I will stop complaining because it did keep me warm!

I’m very focused on getting my eating back in check this week, needless to say I might have put on a kg over the past couple of weeks and it’s time to get that reversed as part of my clean slate (especially seeing as it is one of my Week 10 Goals!). I tend to get in a rut with the same meals every day/week. Even though they may be good choices I have them too often and then end up disliking them for a while (e.g. not a fan of green based salads at the moment – it’s a good thing it’s winter!). Over the long weekend I took the time to find some new and yummy sounding dinners to test out.

I went back to one of my favourites Tuesday night – Zucchini ‘Pasta’ with avocado sauce. Then I made a recipe one of the Pumped ladies shared with us last night: Thai Peanut Superfood Slaw – it was YUMMO! Luckily I made enough for lunches today 😀

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Tonight was another new recipe: Carrot & Lentil Soup (picture is from the recipe – I ate it too quickly!). My amazing step sister came around for dinner and she’s a vegetarian so it was a good excuse to try a new meatless recipe!

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I’ve moved tonights run to tomorrow due to forgetting I had Loki booked in at the Vet tonight…

 

The 4BY4 Challenge

This month we have a challenge to try 4 new foods and 4 new activities. I think the first part will be the easiest part… But I do enjoy trying new things (even if I am apprehensive before it happens!). I will be doing a little bit of research and planning for this in the next couple of days – more info to come soon 🙂

 

 

Do you have a favourite healthy meal?

Are you a lone runner or do you prefer buddies?

A New Day = A New Beginning

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You might have noticed it’s been around 3 weeks since I last posted… It’s a tough few weeks in a number of ways. Up until yesterday I hadn’t run since St Clair and I was struggling mentally with any type of workout in my schedule. I say was because I think I’ve finally got it all sorted PHEWF!

Maybe it was a mixture of stressful work, post race blues, thinking that this year’s challenge would be the same as last year (even though my life is considerably different now) and who knows what else…

Broni put a post up last week about how some people may be beating themselves up already if they are not managing to stick with some things but to find what works for each of us individually. What I have noticed is that what worked for me last year hasn’t worked this year and this was very unexpected.

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So what am I doing about this?? I’m cleaning the slate for the final 15 weeks of the challenge. I have reassessed my goals and set some new goals for week 10 that I’m looking forward too (plus I’m really looking forward to my reward WHEN I achieve them!!)

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My goals for the next five weeks are simple but considering how much I was loathing (seriously it was weird…) exercise I think this is just what I need to bring the joy back:

# Run three times a week
# Run up Rapaki (from the bottom of Rapaki Rd) in under 38mins
# Donate 3kg

 

This week’s goals:
# Circuit  & Beach Walk- Today
# Run – Tuesday, Thursday & Sunday
# Spin – Thursday
# 20 Week Challenge Pumped Group session – Saturday

I went down to the beach for the first time in months this afternoon – It was a sunny to start with but got cold very quickly…

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Change of topic (kind of) Writing a blog is now A LOT harder with a kitten in the house…. He either wants to assist with typing…

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 OR he wants to use my hand as a pillow as I’m trying to type…Image

Meet Loki the little mischief cutie

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He likes to investigate everything – I now have to shut him out of the gym (yes he meows) when I’m on the bike as he gets WAY to close to the pedals.

 

I have six weeks until Cooks Landing so I really have to get my A into G and build up my long runs quickly again! More on that later!

 

How do you cope with set backs?
What helps you get back your motivation?

Active Recovery Week

Because of the 20WC I don’t have a lot of spare time however I did decide to take it slightly easier for a couple of days after the race to get my head space sorted for the next goal.

I got some more photos of the race – still waiting for the video though!

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Monday I had the day off work; it was a BEAUTIFUL day so I decided to take a walk up the Harry Ell Track. I really enjoy being out in nature, it’s stunning and there is a relaxing and refreshing vibe about it.

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As well as getting my head space sorted for my next goals this week is also about playing catch up for last week so I don’t fall behind in my reps/kilometers. Due to some very sore calves earlier last week I didn’t get as much ticked off my list as planned… I HAVE to get my GPS watch back!!

Yesterday was a slightly sad day. I had a good think about my schedule and my 20WC goals and I decided I really need my Wednesday night to tick of extra distance. This means I have decided to put circuit class on hold throughout most of the challenge so last night was my last circuit for a few months. We do have an extra session on a Saturday morning specifically for the Pumped 20 Week entrants so I will be looking forward to that every week as a way of catching up with some of the amazing Pumped people!

Circuit was split this week: first half was 60 second rounds on the stations but afterwards we got into pairs and had to race against each other. Each round comprised of some different reps (eg high knees/squat jumps, running kicks, sit up claps) and then there were punishments ‘prizes’ for the teams depending on how long it took you to finish them.

For example the ‘prize’ for one round was:
1st – 20 press ups
2nd – 40 press ups
3rd – 60 press ups

Needless to say I got quite a few reps ticked off last night and I’m not complaining about that!

 

Today’s lunch

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I always forget about rice paper rolls even though they are one of my favourite foods! Something about the fresh flavours and crispiness makes them super tasty. My brain probably forgets about them because they require a fair amount of preparation. I cooked up the chicken and chopped all the veges last night so all I had to do this morning was put them together – even the assembling of them takes quite a bit of time in itself! Especially when Liam knows what I’m doing and then expects me to make enough for him too…

Tonight I’ll be out for my first run of the week (it sounds weird to say that on a Thursday!) but I’m actually really looking forward to it. Then next week it will be back into speed work on a Tuesday as well.

 

How do you reset after a big race build up?

Half Marathon Race Recap – I DID IT!!

I’m still in slight disbelief that I’ve now completed a half marathon – it’s an odd feeling but lets start from Friday!

THE TRIP UP:
Friday midday the group of us who were travelling together met at the Pumped Studio. We got given our new singlet’s! We headed off in groups with around 3 hours to make it to Kaikoura. On our way we had a scavenger hunt and had to tick as many missions off as we could…

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This was an entertaining afternoon – one of the funniest moments was our group rocking up to a big team of construction workers (who were having a meeting at the time) and asking for a photo with their hats and hi-vis.

Overall most people were willing to help us out, unfortunately the people at the dairy we asked about the free ice-cream ended up being a bit rude and walking out the back of the shop. This was soon forgotten about when we found some lovely people at a café who gave us a free coffee which I was the recipient of 😀

By the time we got to Kaikoura I was feeling some travel sickness – thankfully it started to go away closer to Blenheim. Quick trip to pick up our race packs and it was back to the lodge for the first meal as a group with MASSES of yummy dishes that everyone had brought along.

 

RACE DAY
We had to be up, fed and ready to go for the 7:30am trip to St Clair Vineyard. My breakfast of choice was a bagel with cream cheese. This seemed to work on my last long run so I thought I’d stick with it!

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With Summer behind us the morning was cool but the sun helped keep us from shivering too much before the start. It was a long line and it took Liam and I a couple of minutes to get to the start line once the countdown had happened but then we were off!

My goal? Finish under 2 ½ hours. 

I lost Liam around about the 2km mark – we had quite a bit of running down through vineyards so it was harder to pass people so he got a little in front and the gap kept getting bigger. I knew at that point I was the one who had to keep myself going if I hit the wall. My music was pumping and because I decided to run with my hydration pack I didn’t need to stop at any water stations so I knew I had it sorted! Overall the ground was a little more uneven than I had trained on but nothing I couldn’t handle.

At one point I heard someone calling my name, which I wasn’t expecting. Virginia & Michael were our support crew and they managed to make it to a couple of spots during the race to get some photos and cheer us on. It was a good feeling seeing someone out there every so often who knew you, there were a lot of people out watching around the course who would clap and say motivational things as you went past but it’s so much more effective when it comes from someone you recognise!

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Look at that scenery!!!

 

I had some GU on me for fueling which I took over a long period of time rather than having a whole one every 35-45mins. This was the main reason I wanted to carry my hydration pack because it meant that I needed to sip water more often than there was a water station.

My legs started to feel tired around about the 18km mark. I knew I just had to keep putting one foot in front of the other because if I stopped for a moment it would be so much harder to start again. I spied Brogan in front of me and we ended up running together for a couple of kilometers – it helped us both equally to keep going at this point.

I heard my app click over 20km and I knew I was close to my time goal but I wanted to pick up my pace a bit. The last few vineyards that we ran through were softer than the others and they also had big tractor tire tracks – this made it harder to run on. The last km seemed to take forever to get through; I’d get to a corner or the end of some vineyards and think ok it must be this corner! No… Ok keep running. By the time I actually came around the last corner it took a few seconds to register that it was indeed the last corner. It wasn’t until I heard Kate yelling “SPRINT DEBBIE” that I picked up my legs and booted it to the finish line.

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Bonus?? Finishers medal was this nice bottle of wine 😀

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TIME GOAL
My goal was 2:30 or less. I came in at 2:24:26! 5mins under what I set myself so I was pretty happy with that.

I’m really proud I crossed the finish line in good time but for some reason it never quite hit me that yes I just ran 21.1 freaking kilometers. I think it was such a long time coming and previously I had to pull out of few half marathons due to injury. Maybe I didn’t want to build the excitement up incase I ended up getting injured again. I also think completing a half became the ‘norm’ in my mind so it wasn’t until later that night when Kate said you might have been surrounded by almost 3,000 people today who all completed a half marathon but if you think of how many people in Christchurch have actually done one it’s probably only 1% or less of the population. This helped put it into perspective for me.

Our night finished with lots of laughs and some very bright clothing – it was a fantastic weekend all around.

Now remember when I said I lost Liam at around 2km? He kept going and ended up completing it in 2:01:18 SO PROUD!!

 

Did you race in the weekend?

It’s Almost Road Trip Time!

This half marathon I’ve been dreaming about for years is one sleep away… ONE SLEEP Eeeek!

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My legs are feeling MUCH better after a massage – I swear Rachel (massage therapist) must have magical powers or something! Between Kate & Rachel my worries about St Clair melted away and I’m looking forward to seeing what I achieve tomorrow! Holy hell it’s tomorrow??

I have spent a lot of time getting everything ready yesterday & today. I made some of these suckers this morning to take away

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We also are having a Pot-luck dinner and will be using the leftovers for the following night – everyone has to make a dish to contribute. Liam + me = 2 dishes I had to make last night.

I feel like I have so much stuff I need to take away with me… It’s only two nights how much stuff do I actually need? 

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All in all I’m not exactly sure what to expect on the drive up but it’s going to be fun! Liam is driving up after work so he’ll be meeting us there later in the evening.

RACE EXPECTATIONS:
My main goal is to simply finish it, however if I can do so in under 2:30 I’ll be pretty happy!

Bring on the finishers medal I say (it’s a bottle of wine!!)

 

Are you racing this weekend?

Hill Sessions followed by Tender Calves :(

Attempting Rapaki Friday night:
Liam wasn’t feeling well in the afternoon so I headed up to Rapaki by myself. The start was the hardest. I figure this was due to beginning on a hill with just a small warm up of stretching. It was a slow trip up but felt good overall. I stopped a total of three times but they were mainly due to the ends of a cold and not feeling like I had enough breath in me. Unfortunately I didn’t quite make it to the top because it got very dark very quickly. I pushed it to half way up the final slope thinking it’s so close… but in reality I was already struggling to see and I had to get back down as well.

On the way up…

ImageAnnnnnd this is about 10mins later… Stupid winter nights…

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In a nutshell I learnt:
# It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be
# If I’m going up after work make sure I have a buddy & a head torch so we can go all the way without worrying about safety
# I don’t like being in the middle of nowhere in the dark on my own

 

Saturday was an early morning. The Boss had organised some extra testing for those who were in the cardio categories (as well as any others who wanted to come along). This started with the Beep Test at the studio. I’ve only ever done this twice before, once at intermediate school (I managed to get out of it every other time at school) and at the beginning of the 100 Day Challenge last year. I think I doubled the time I got last year, I remember stopping at Level 3 and Saturday I got to Level 6. I struggled with the amount of people around me though, there was a bit of bunching which meant you had to push through people to get to the cones – or run past them because people were behind you – however I do like me a challenge! Next we headed to a 400m track in Hansen’s Park to do a 12min run and see how far we could get. I managed bang on 2km, not my fastest but I haven’t been working much on speed lately. Finally we headed to St Martins Stairs for a 12min stair test. This basically meant go up and down as many times as you could. From memory I was headed down on my 5th set when the time ran out. Once we finished that we had a shortened ‘normal’ stairs session which is stairs/reps at the top/stairs/reps etc. A nice warm down run around to road to the coffee shop to finish.

The bottom of the stairs…

ImageThe lovely view at the top of the stairs!

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I was feeling good at this point, had a nice coffee and went home to do my reps followed by a 10km ride on the exercycle to tick off some extra km’s. Later on it was off to Dad’s house for Rugby, ‘sushi night’ and a spa (argh I forgot to take a picture!).

Saturday night I kept waking up due to horrible mozzie bites and sore calves. Come Sunday morning I was hobbling around, not impressed. In the end I cancelled my run and was only able to get through some of my reps (burpees/lunges and squats were postponed). I spent a bit of time during the day stretching and wearing my compression socks but I wasn’t able to be much more active than that. I’ve had partially torn calves before – in fact that is what stopped me last year running a half. The feeling I had wasn’t quite as bad as I remember however it was close so I knew I had to rest if I wanted any chance of still running St Clair. It annoyed me because now I’m behind with my km’s and reps and I know I may not get many in during the beginning of this week… But my focus is now on being able to run St Clair on Saturday because if I am unable to do this one I will cry, seriously.

Meanwhile at work today I was sporting a new look; business pants that hid my bright orange compression socks (unless I was sitting!) and some ‘comfy’ shoes that do NOT go with office attire… Apparently I was making a ‘non fashion statement’ HAHA. All in the name of running eh??

 

Do you run outdoors in the dark?

Have you ever had to pull out of a race due to injury?

Impending Hill Run & a Fun Trip (not)

This week seems to be experiment with smoothie ingredients week. FYI I’m a creature of habit; normally my smoothie is banana, blueberries, chia seeds & trim milk. Sometimes I go crazy and add a scoop of whey or hide some spinach in there WOAH!

After Monday’s test with using coconut water instead of dairy I tried a watermelon smoothie on Wednesday: banana, watermelon, spinach, chia seeds and coconut water. I was surprised at how sweet the water melon made it and the bonus was that when whizzed up it was green (green = super healthy doesn’t it??). It was tasty so I used up the rest of the ingredients in another one yesterday morning 🙂

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It’s sunny! After Tuesday’s AWFUL rain and flooding it was really nice to be able to get out of the office at lunchtime for a walk on Wednesday, even if it did involve a trip and a giggling lady… Yes, someone random did watch me tripping over my own feet and the three munted steps with matching flailing arms that followed to attempt to keep my face away from the footpath… Then towards the end of my walk I passed a lovely smiley lady. We smiled at each other and said hello but she then followed with an onslaught of giggling. I’m sure she didn’t see me trip so I’m not sure why she was laughing, but it made me laugh and laughing is good 😀

I decided to head straight from work to circuit in the hopes I’d have enough time to do a brisk walk around the block a few times. Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling very good at all by the time I turned up, in fact after a few minutes I decided it would be wiser to just head home. Little gutted I missed circuit but sometimes you need to listen to the body!

Thankfully it disappeared by the time Thursday morning rolled around. I got up earlier than normal because I had a spin class to get to at 6am (my alarm usually goes off about that time!). I did find it a little harder than Monday’s class – possibly because my body was still part asleep…

Thursday’s lesson: After not having done spin in ages two spin classes in one week followed by walking up the stairs at work in heels is a little harder than usual…

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Friday has been a long time coming this week after a few short working weeks…

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It started the best way possible – monthly Pumped breakfast to catch up with awesome ladies and hear people’s successes for the month. The food was tasty, the coffee was good, the company was motivational – what more can you ask for?!

I walked down to the mall at lunchtime to get lunch from Tank, Tasty Moroccan Chicken Salad

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Psyching myself up currently for my first attempt at running up Rapaki tonight, I know it’s going to be tough but I figure it will get easier so I just have to start… I remember the first time I ever walked up Rapaki. It was one of the first weeks of last year’s 20 Week Challenge AND it was pouring with rain. A group of Pumped entrants met at the bottom of Rapaki Rd and went up from there, some ran and the rest of us walked. I was struggling… I was the one lagging behind everyone and we hadn’t even gone that far up at that stage! Some of us didn’t quite make it to the top that morning due to some unforeseen reasons; we managed to stop just before the last hill – which if you haven’t been up Rapaki is a devil of a thing. By this stage we met up with some others who were ahead and I jogged down with Julie. We had a really good chat about things we wanted to achieve and I didn’t even notice myself struggling to run (I was probably only at 2-3km running at that point).

I am specifically timing the uphill stretch separately to the downhill – the reason being you can easily run faster down plus for me it’s about getting the strength and endurance to make up it Rapaki without stopping (I expect I will be stopping a couple of times tonight). Once I’ve made it up without stopping it will be about getting up there faster.

WISH ME LUCK!!

 

Have you ever tripped spectacularly in front of strangers?

What do you put in your favourite smoothie?