Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Finding my way

Yarra Bend park has been on my 'want to run there' list for a while now. But I've been putting it off, for one major reason, I am majorly directionally challenged. I was scared of getting lost.

And that's exactly what I did. I took wrong turns and found dead ends and did not take the path I actually wanted to take, but this run was nothing short of awesome. After a freezing cold morning, it was a glorious afternoon. T-shirt weather even! The battery in the Garmin lasted about a kilometre before switching itself off so I ran and stopped to admire the view and ran and stopped to admire the view. You get the picture/s.

Run: Approx 38:00 | 6km | 6:20/km.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The week that was

Last week I set out to double my strength totals of last month. I hit that.

I discovered a breakfast of an egg scrambled with 40g of cottage cheese + chives + an english muffin = satisfying, tasty and comes in at a reasonable 245 cals.

We looked after the parentals dogs - they certainly encourage a healthy lifestyle. We ditched the car in favour of walking.

The last couple of days have been a disaster in terms of clean eating. I did drop half a kilo, but certainly not the two I wanted before next weekend. Back on track this week with plenty of water added in and some good sleeping habits (consistent bed & rising times). I tend to sleep poorly on low activity days.

Sun; ride: 1:01:58 | 25.21km | 24.41km/hr. The headwind on the way home was hard work.

Ride: 58:30 | 25.21km | 25.86 km/hr. Same ride as yesterday without the wind. My back was a little achy. Need to focus on engaging my glutes.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Nothing new on race day

The last long training run saw me try out the Chomps I'd picked up earlier in the week. Compared to the Cran-Razz Shot Bloks the packaging was slightly easy to open, had a slightly firmer texture (less teeth stickage) and weren't quite as sweet. I plan on relying on gels for the majority of my fueling come race day, but I tend to find the longer I'm out there the faster I seem to burn through the energy, whether it's true or not, who knows, but it certainly feels that way. I plan to "top up" with these. I definitely prefer these to the Power shots, which I think work better on the bike.

Run: 1:30 | 14.3km | 6:17/km. I considered putting this off until tomorrow. I just didn't have the best night's sleep. But the blues skies were enticing I knew it would be worthwhile to not have this hanging over me. And now it's done. The Garmin played up a little and kept measuring my kms short which I found off putting. Due to tiredness I really had to focus on midfoot rather than heel striking, so it's something I'll need to remember for race day.

Friday, June 24, 2011


It's an old habit, not necessarily a bad one at that. I keep my shoes attached to my bike to practice getting my bike shoes on while riding. It's pretty much second nature now and put me in good stead over the summer when I made my racing comeback.

I'm trying to slowly increase the cycling, because I'm not sure how much recovery will be required after next weekend's (!) marathon and I'd like to stay active. I do want to run, but I'm very aware that I may well need a rest from it. So I'm keeping my options open.

Ride: 1:00:19 | 25.19km | 25 km/hr. Beautiful morning for a spin on the bike. Past the time ball at Williamstown. It took a trip to Scotland's Edinburgh castle to learn there was one in Victoria!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How not to run

I headed to Albert Park Lake for a change of scenery (it seems there were casualties from the epic wind the other night), the flatness and a soft surface. For some reason I took off at a blistering pace (well, for me) and when it came time to run my 6 intervals into the wind, well I was well and truly done.

Note to self: don't do this on race day! And hope like hell there's no wind.

Run: 36:07 | 6.13km | 5:53/km.
Bike trainer: 25 min. Hoping to build on this.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On the trail

The marathon hasn't even been run yet, I've no idea how my body will respond (guaranteed I won't be able to walk properly until three days later) but I'm already looking at a possible next event. I have my eyes on the Salomon Trail Running Series. Race 1 coincides with the marathon, but I'll be good to go for either Race 2 or 3. Maybe both?

My trail running experience is limited to the 2010 The Mountain High Fun run at Mt Buller. But I'm up for new a challenge. Trail running kinda scares me, because it seems hard. Wait that Buller run was hard! Or maybe because it seems a little more hardcore. Or perhaps it's all in my head. Whatever, I'm hoping to have a crack.

Run: 52:17 | 8.55km | 6:07/km. Ran from Essendon to and beyond the Afton Street Conservation park. There's some hills out the back there and the thought of running flat today wasn't doing it for me. Plus it is quite nice to run on a slightly softer surface. The hills were tough, but I felt really strong out there today. May have had something to do with the epic tailwind! I sailed back.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Not long now

It's a little daunting to open up the training calendar to see only seven sessions before I'll be running the marathon. This will be my third marathon, my second stand alone marathon. I know I'm in a much better place mentally than this time two years ago. This will be my second attempt at Gold Coast. In 2009 I was seriously considering downgrading to the half, but the Man told me to suck it up. I'd struggled training over that winter and missed a whole lot of sessions. I ended up running it in 5:06:15 at a 7:16/km pace, almost half an hour better than my Ironman marathon. And had such a good day out there that I ended up not giving up on running as I swore I would!

This year I've followed the plan to the best of my ability and trained consistently. There's even been the addition of speed sessions. Unheard of! I'm excited to run this marathon, to have a good day out there. I guess the thing that's playing on my mind is that I've only run 28km in training, rather than the 32km I did last time. There's not much I can do about it now. I have to believe in my training, come up with some positive self talk for when times get tough during the run and focus on nutrition. I am a bandit for putting weight on come taper time!

Run: 36:21 | 5.9km | 6:10/km. Again given the forecast for tomorrow I bought this run forward. Speed session. Main set 15x 30s efforts, 30s jogging recovery. Set the Garmin for Intervals and went for it. Such a good tool.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Strength hacks

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I don't love strength training. Perhaps because I never see results - because I never stick with it long enough, an ongoing cycle, I'm the first to admit it. Running, cycling, swimming all give feedback - speed. Speed is so easy to see and track. It's instant gratification. Strength training requires more patience. Patience I don't have? Uh, yeah.

That said, one of my goals this month was to double last month's strength efforts. I'm an hour away and my goal this week is to reach the target. Being able to tick one thing off my list is what motivates me.

I get the sessions done one of two ways:
1. Tune into NovaNation (hello! trashy dance), set my timer for 25 mins and do all my favourite exercises. And even some of my least fave, like the plank. I rest briefly between sets and count 20 mins towards my strength total.

2. Use the Nike Training Club app - currently free, and follow the workouts. Yay no decision making, just do. The added bonus being that there are videos to show you how to do the exercises properly, which is good for someone as uncordinated as myself.

Any sticking with strength tips? Or reasons why you like it? I'm all ears.

Run: 31:53 | 5.49kms | 5:48/km. Speed session. Met B at the Tan and ran down the hill to the Swan St bridge. I then did my 15 min effort on the yarra flat loop and ran back up the hill to meet her. There I am busting my gut to run at 5:30/km and people are cruising past me! Oh to run that fast.

Sat; cycle: 44:30 | 17.46km | 23.54km/hr. Quick & easy spin to Williamstown. I used to be so comfortable on the bike. That isn't the case currently. I plan on rectifying that.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mixed bag

A good week this one. We had our final bench top installed yesterday. Woo hoo, no more chipboard as a prepping surface! This one can be wiped down properly. The blue protective covering will stay on until we get the floors sanded, but I tell you it's an improvement. Think brown cupboards and a cream laminate surface. We'll be looking for stools to go under the bench and deciding on a splashback to cover that brown brick this weekend. Down to the fun stuff!

During the week I cooked trout like this and I tell you what, it's a winner. You could do away with the sugar, the mirin is sweet enough and it takes about 3 mins to cook. You could marinate it in the morning and then bang, you're done. Served with a side of blanched snowpeas and coleslaw. Delicious.

Finally I have adored my newly cropped hair this week. I had it cut last Friday. I knew I wanted short but in all honesty I was afraid of the Man's possible negative reaction. I wish I hadn't waited so long. He likes it and I love it. Plus it holds up after running and cycling. Just ruffle and I'm good to go. My longer hair would have just been limp. Oh and those nails? Shellac. I had them done last Thursday. Yes over a week ago and they're still going strong. Not a chip in sight. Awesomeness I tells you. Awesomeness!

Run: 2:00:25 | 18.66 km | 6:27/km. Long run done! The forecast for this weekend isn't great and I didn't want this hanging over me. I waited for a clear break in the weather and went for it. Windy though. I don't run well in it and didn't feel as though I ran well today. Three days in a row of running and I'm looking forward to tomorrow as a rest day or some active recovery.

Thurs; run: 54:08 | 8.38 km | 6:28/km. Strength session. I procrastinated big time on this one. I knew it was going to hurt. And yes it did. I ran 4.5km of hill repeats and was shattered.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Double the fun

Two posts in one day and two training sessions. Virtually unheard of around here. Punched out a run this morning, then got to spend a glorious bit of the afternoon on the bike (first time in a long time) with my Mum, stopping for the obligatory coffee. Then when it finally came time to shower I had a stunning view of the large moon and pink sky (thanks volcano ash) as the sun set.

Run: 1:21:04 | 12.75km | 6:21m/km. Meh. Did not feel awesome. Felt like an effort when it probably shouldn't have. Under-fueled from yesterdays efforts, dehydrated, who knows?

Bike: 1:05 | 23.13km | 21.35km/hr. We hit up a couple of laps of Albert Park and then took in the smallest sniff of Beach Rd. After this morning's run and the fact I haven't been on Pearl forever I didn't want to push it.


If I'm to be honest, I want to run the Gold Coast marathon 2 kilos lighter than where I'm currently sitting at. It's a bit scary to put it out there. However it's entirely doable given there's just under three weeks to go.

This was yesterday's food, bought to you by the tomato. While it was a rest day and I totally slothed it, catching up on Downton Abbey, Masterchef and Offspring, 1320 cals is still feels too low. Not so much on the day, but definitely the next.

It still doesn't feel restrictive by any means and I am more mindful about my food choices and what goes into my mouth. It encourages me to eat a wider variety of foods, source wholefoods (excluding marshmallows) and really put some effort into meal planning. And at this stage it doesn't feel obsessive, which is a huge bonus. Because I've been known to get that way.

I can totally do this. I can race lighter!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wok it

So the plan last week was to get cooking. Due to unforseen circumstances, which one has to readily accept while renovating, I was without a kitchen sink, stove and dishwasher for the start of the week. I did manage to crack out the camping stove to cook. Dish of choice was Spicy Prawn Fried rice with just a few changes I omitted the one egg white, because I can't stand waste and had no desire to freeze one yolk, I added 1/2 - 3/4 cup chopped celery to increase the vegetable content and I used fresh garlic and some fresh ginger to marinate the prawns.

In the end the Man didn't realise it was 'diet' food. A major plus in my books!

The plan this week is to cook a whole lot more now that everything's back in.

: 2:31:59 | 23.39 km | 6:30/km. Let's be honest I was a little worried about this run given my epic hangover and less than stellar fueling yesterday, however I managed perfect pacing and didn't feel too bad throughout! I'm not sure I can keep 6:30 up for 42km, but today spot on. Nutrition was all good too. I think I'm just going to rely on gels rather than the power shots. They don't work for me quite as well.

Fri; run
: 38:24 | 6.24km | 6:09/km. The day totally got away from me. Sometimes you just have to do what you can. This was it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I'm a convert

Who knew overnight oats were so delicious. Not me. I am not porridge's biggest fan. Every winter I try, really I do, to love porridge. But the texture gets me every time. I thought overnight oats would be much the same, turns out they're not.

This is a texture I can get my tongue around! Creamy from the yogurt and softened by the soaking I'm liking these for breakfast. Perfect for a pre-run breakfast.

How I make mine?
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup greek yogurt (full fat)
1/2-1 tsp vanilla paste - just adds a hint of sweetness
(Approx 177 cals before add ins)

Run: 1:21:08 | 12.66km | 6:25m/km. My head cold is still kicking around a little and not feeling 100% awesome on the running front just yet. So glad to have knocked this one out amongst the rain.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's been a long time

...since I've run with earphones. When I first started running I used to always listen to music. In fact if my iPod was out of battery I'd use it as an excuse not to run. Eventually I weaned myself off the music. Part of running is about being mentally strong and I wholly believe running without music builds the mental toughness. There's no crutch, it's just you and your thoughts and how you deal with them.

An additional advantage I've found is that there's more interaction with other runners during training and racing when you're sans music. Plus I'm pretty sure it's against the rules to race with an iPod in triathlon here in Australia which is why I went music free.

However yesterday I had a three hour run on the cards. I tried to do it Sunday, but had to call it a day after 50 mins, I just wasn't feeling right. And so I was feeling a little broken. Like I needed some sort of pick me up, the promise of coconut water this week just wasn't enough.

So checked out the fitness podcasts available on iTunes and opted for Jillian Michael's. Not a bad way to pass three hours. I found it entertaining, without having concentrate intently. She covers different health topics, takes calls from listeners and encourages positive change. I'd definitely listen again and in truth the time passed pretty quickly.

Sun; run: 52:18 | 8kms | 6:32/km. Tried to do my long run, but when my body screams like it did I stop and listen. There's pain and then there's no energy and dead legs. I have time one my side and will try again tomorrow.

Mon; run: 3:02:02 | 28kms | 6:30/km. This is pretty much the pace I want to run the marathon at. That said I could go no further today. I had to walk the last 4kms home. I was done. I had absolutely nothing left. My nutrition was off today, I didn't have enough calories at all.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Weekend experiment*

On Friday night as I was waiting for the Man to come to bed I picked up one of the Women's Health magazines sitting on my bedside table. I was looking for some strength exercise inspiration. I did find some, but I also found a suggested eating plan for a day. When I worked it out it came to a total of just under 1400 calories. Significantly less than what I would usually eat.

In fact when I totaled my average for a weeks worth of food logged over at FitDay I averaged 1850 cals a day. Which according to the National Health and Medical Research Council's Nutrient Reference Values for Dietary energy is on track given my height, weight and day to day activities. My BMI puts me in the healthy weight category, but at the higher end. I'd like to be closer to the middle. At this stage I'm maintaining my weight, but I could definitely stand to lose 4kgs.

So on Saturday I decided to cap my calories at 1400. The above is what 1342 calories looks like. I started with a small cup of coffee with low fat milk, raisin bread done as french toast with berries, yoghurt and cinnamon sugar. Lunch was Prawn gyoza, dipping sauce and green tea. Afternoon snack was a smoothie with mango puree, coconut water, berrries & protein powder, I met a friend for a glass of Rose (not a pot of mustard!) prior to the football and dinner was carrots, celery & a quarter of a cup of homemade hummus and a muesli bar. I was going for portability given we were at a game. Plus several cups of peppermint tea from the thermos to keep me warm.

Could I have made better food choices? Yes of course. My eating habits are far from perfect. While processed foods save time, they certainly add dietary energy. It's a constant balance. The suggested plan included almost no processed foods. I need to take a leaf out of that book!

Did I have any energy? I did a 20 minute strength session in the morning. The day was spent pottering around the house until the Man decided to go for a run and I accompanied him on the bike. Hardly strenuous. Add to that a 50 minute walk. I had more energy than I thought I would.

Was I hungry? When I crawled into bed at 11:00pm I was, half an hour earlier and I would have been fine. Breakfast and lunch were satisfying, my danger zone is from 4pm until dinner time. The smoothie did the trick. Would I be happy to have carrots, celery and hummus for dinner every night? Hell no, but the muesli bar did pack a calorie punch for something so small.

Would I do it again? I'm keen to reduce my food intake on rest/low activity days. However I think 1500 calories would be a better fit. I need to look at reducing my fat intake while increasing carbohydrates and proteins. Again, reducing processed foods and adding in more vegetables & fruits should help with this. Planning and forethought is required, but I definitely think it's worth it.

* Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, registered dietitian or nutritionist, just a girl trying to work out what's best for her body.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The fog is lifting

Maybe it was post race blues, but something wasn't sitting well with me this week. I kind of lost my mojo for exercise and eating well.

I hardly cooked, I ate waaay to many marshmallows and every run session has been preceded by massive bouts of procrastination. I did something I promised I wouldn't do and moved today's planned long run to Sunday (the weather wasn't awesome this morning). Basically the complete opposite to last week.

It's odd, because it's been a good week. I have ticked many many things off a long to do list which makes my virgo heart sing with joy, including having my cracked iPhone replace for free. For free! The speed sessions have boosted my running confidence (sub 6min kms!). And I'm keeping up with the strength sessions.

But I have been tired, not drinking water, not eating well, feel like I've put on weight (hello marshmallows) and have developed a runny nose. Which are probably all contributing to the meh-ness.

So I sat down this morning and meal planned. I shopped this afternoon and I can't wait to try out some new (to me) healthy and tasty meals next week while getting back on the Fitday bandwagon. And after my long run on Sunday I'm totally treating myself to a coconut water. I'll run three hours for coconut water. Whatever gets me out there, right?

Run: 41:15 | 7km | 5:53/km. Speed session. Main set 10x 30s efforts with 30s jogging.

Thur; ride: 40m | 10km | 15km/hr. Commute on the slow bike to an appointment in Williamstown. Windy! Spent a lot of time with hand holding my skirt down.

Wed; run: 50:06 | 8.22km | 6:05km. Comfortable run.

Tues; run: 1:00:25 | 9.95km : 6:04/km. 3 km time trial with warm up and super long cool down because the immobiliser failed to work and wouldn't open the car door, so I had to run home and get another beeper. 16:28 for the 3km, a 20s improvement.

Mon; run: 30:14 | 4.66km | 6:29/km. Recovery run/making up time after yesterdays run given three hours was on the schedule and only two and a bit hours were run. Felt tired.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sri Chinmoy Running and Fitness Festival.

On Sunday I ran a half marathon. In short a PB. For the long, read on.

Pre-race: Had the most restless night of sleep. I think I saw every hour. So did Mr T and our house guests. I heard their alarm at 6:30am and so I too got up.

Had a glass of juice and prepped a honey sandwich for an hour prior to my run. Had to be there early so my friends could register. This gave me plenty of time to wait in the toilet queue and have a chat with a first time half marathoner - it feels like forever ago! 15min prior to racing I had a gu.

Event warm up
: My take on this is that 21.1km is plenty of time to warm up. So I just did some leg swings.

Run: 2:11:02 | 21.1 kms | 6:13/km. So the gun goes off and a plenty of people pass me. I am taking it easy, trying to run my own race and it feels slow. About 3km in people seem to have found their rhythm and it appears I'm the only person running 6 min kms. No one else around! It's like this until 7km in and only then do I start to pick people off. I find if I focus on my form I can put on a little burst and pass people easier. <- I can't believe I wrote that. Passing people! Unheard of!

At about 9km I started taking the powerbar lemon gel shots. I was determined to finish them, but it took me 9kms to do so. I definitely wasn't hungry.

I knew it was worth holding off early because I was going to struggle at 17km and onwards. That I did. It's not my favourite part of the course and then you have to run past the finish line to do another mini loop so it becomes more of a mental challenge. I just know as soon as I lost focus I slowed down. And it took a lot of effort to keep concentrating.

What would you do differently?
Attempt to enjoy my next race, I appear to be in a world of unhappiness in that top photo! It's going to be non stop smiling on the Gold Coast I tells you.

However, I ran the race I wanted to, and ran a PB!!! I'm happy enough.
I was aiming for an easy first half and consistent pacing and I didn't do too badly. I didn't drop off at the end at all.

According to my Garmin the course measured long a little long (~200m), my friend's was the same. Up until about the 8km mark it was spot on, then the kms just got further and further out which played on my thoughts a little. That said, perfect conditions for running, no wind at all, which is unusual for this course.

Warm down: I was cheered over the line by the Man and friends, then it was all about the Apple crumble! Oh my, the apple crumble. There's something about racing that leaves me feeling a little nauseous at the end, had it not been the case, I would have gone back for seconds for sure!

Event comments: The more I run the more I like these events. They are small and friendly in comparison to some of the other runs around. There seems to be a higher calibre of runners that attended these events, which is initially intimidating but in the end makes for some great racing.

Monthly totals: May 2011

Back into the monthly totals. It's been a while, March and April were missing in action due to gallivanting overseas.

Cycling: 1h 25m | 24km
Running: 20h 18m 56s | 189.44km
Strength: 1h 16m
Walking: 2h 50m
Yoga: 6h

Comments: Big running month, building for the Gold Coast marathon. Feeling much better about the event and even on track to run a pb!

I did almost as much strength this month as I did for all of 2010. My goal for the month of June is to double May's efforts.