Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Year eats

I really enjoyed New Years Eve this year. Normally it doesn't excite me, but this year it was chilled out and just nice! And we spent it with some of our favourite people.

The day started with Parkrun, then we went up the coast to see J's auntie and uncle. They're always really happy to see us! We were put to work when we got there, making wontons. They'd already made the filling so it was up to us to wrap them and then steam them. They even made fresh sweet chilli sauce to go with it and it was way better than bottled stuff! That's definitely something we'll be making in the future.

Main course was prawn salad. J's aunt was disappointed in it because the ginger was a bit overpowering but it was still nice. We then had pavlova shells with fruit for dessert.

After a lazy afternoon at their house watching Mt Coolum come and go in the distance (there was a bit of rain around so he disappeared from view at times) it was time to head home.

We were a little bit dubious about dinner. A friend of ours decided to create a roast, that was chicken wrapped in lamb then wrapped in pork. It cooked for about 6 hours, and actually turned out perfectly! They seasoned each layer and had a few different sauces to go with it. plus delicious salty crackling.

It was up to everyone else to bring salad so we had a potato salad, pasta salad (made with lasagne sheets) and green salad. They were all delicious!

It was a struggle to make it to midnight, but we finally got there. Let's say I over-indulged just a little bit in the meantime!

I hope everyone else had a fab new years, and spent it with people who are important in your lives!

Really racing

Sometimes, it all just falls in place.

I ran Parkrun yesterday morning, and while I didn't run a ground-breaking time I'm really happy with the race.

Parkrun is still quite new in Australia, and about 65 people ran yesterday. I ran 6.5km there as a warmup, and wasn't sure how good I was feeling. I went out too hard (like usual) but still at a controlled pace. After about 1km a girl caught up to me and we paced off each other for the next 3km. I could tell she was working hard, and I was making a big effort to control my breathing so that I wouldn't give away that I was working hard myself!

With one km to go I decided to push the pace and see if she'd go with me, and I managed to drop her. I ended up beating her by about 30 sec! I don't often run tactical races so it was good to get the experience.

This week is another 70km week, with 2 big speed sessions and a race. I'm getting stronger!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Last night's motel dinner

This is what happens when I travel a lot! I get sick of eating out so I end up buying whatever takes my fancy at the supermarket. It was a bit small last night but still satisfying.

My run yesterday afternoon was brilliant. I ran a 5km hilly warm up, the 30 min of 1 min on 2 min off, then another hilly 5km at the end. The weather was perfect, it was on a country road and a small storm passed through. I love running in light rain, and the clouds made for an epic sunset! I'm sore now but it was very worthwhile.

Happy New Year for tomorrow night!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas really crept up on me this year. I found it really hard to get in the spirit during the build up, and normally I love Christmas! We had a great time, very chilled out. All my present shopping was done online, which meant I ended up buying a few new things for myself as well! I also didn't spend as much on everyone as I normally do, because I couldn't justify it with our huge mortgage. We had my family over for dinner on Christmas eve. I made a pineapple-rum glazed baked ham, a bean and tomato salad, a beetroot salad, and an avocado and mango salad. Plus homemade icecream! It all turned out really well, which is a good thing seeing that I spent about 6 hours in the kitchen! I guess that's to be expected though when I was making all dressings and sauces from scratch. J had to work Christmas morning, but luckily he finished pretty quickly. There was just enough time for me to sleep a bit longer, and then go on an easy 10km run! His family is away so we spent the rest of the day at mum's house. We got a lot of new gardening tools so the plan is to get our veggie patch started. Now to decide what to plant.

Goals for 2012

I normally don't do New Year's resolutions, but I thought this year I'd try putting my goals out in public and see what happens! Number 1: break 20 min for the 5km. My current PB is 21:06 so I need to knock about 10sec/km off, and I really think it's possible! Number 2: race some track 800m/1500m. Partly to have fun and partly because I think they'll hurt a lot, and therefor make the 5km more comfortable. I have absolutely no clue how I'll go! Number 3: mix things up a bit more. I want to do hot yoga once a week, and maybe gymnastics. Plus swimming and cycling (once I've bought a new bike). I also have a non-running goal: to spend more time in Brisbane so I can see my husband more. It's been really hard being away so frequently over the past few months.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Big weeks

Guess what I'm sick of? Being away from home! Since we've moved I have been in Brisbane for one week, plus weekends! At least the money's good.

My running's going fairly well. I had my biggest week ever about 2 weeks ago - I ran 70km. This included some speed work, and a parkrun 5km. I was first female home in 22 minutes. It's a great concept and I've been wanting to do it since they launched in Brisbane but this was my first chance. I ran 6km there and back, and my shoelace came untied about half way through so I'm happy with the time. It was 1 min slower than my pb but right where I thought I'd be!

My diet has only been ok. It's hard to be healthy in a motel room, but I've been making an effort to eat things like raw veggies, tins of tuna etc. Essential travel items for me are these: a light my fire traveling set (bowl, plate, cutting board, spork) and my leatherman knife. Very handy!

This week my legs have felt very heavy and I'm lacking motivation to run. I guess I've been pushing myself a bit with trying to improve my endurance, I just hope it's not going to negatively affect my speed! At least I'm getting better at doing speed work by myself, I really miss my running group right now though!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

New shoes!

I bought some new running shoes today. They're the first pair I've bought in ages! I have a slight addiction when I comes to running shoes, and with buying a house I've been trying to make do with what I've got! I just threw out an old pair of kinvaras, as well as nike frees, so I thought I could justify these ones.

The shoes I'm wearing at the moment are Nike zoom streak xc (2 pairs), adidas adizero pro, puma faas 300, and new balance wt101. The new ones are Nike lunarspider LT, they're a little bit more cushioned but still lightweight. I'll post a pic when I get home, I can't wait to run in them!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Almost injured

I thought I'd recovered well from last week's race. I didn't run on Monday, then I had speed on Tuesday. We did our warmup, then some strides and then bam! My right quad decided it didn't like me any more. I guess it was a cramp, I was worried I'd torn something initially. I stopped running immediately, went home and by Thursday it was ok.

I've been pretty lucky with running. I guess I back off straight away if I think something's going to become a problem so I normally avoid major drama.

The rest of the week was pretty ordinary. I ran 9km on Thursday, then speed on Friday (3km reps) plus a big cool down. I then went for an easy run Friday afternoon, then a long run yesterday. I'm now in the northern territory again so it'll be an easy week.

I like traveling, but I don't like how it affects my running!

Monday, 24 October 2011


I'm at the airport. Again. I don't mind flying but I really dislike airports. Especially driving to/from airports - they always make it so complicated!

I've been in Melbourne for a conference this weekend. Typical Melbourne, we had one day of incredible weather, with the 2 other days being miserable!

I did the 4.2 km spring into shape yesterday, and ran 18:03. I'm really happy with my time, but not so happy with how I ran the race. I got there early enough and did a good warm up. I managed to start in about the position I though suited my speed, and I noticed a girl with a nsw ccc top on so she looked like a semi serious runner. I ran the first km just behind her which was great because it was just under 4min pace. The second km was down to 4:44, which serves me right for not trusting my own pacing! I was thinking it felt easy but I didn't realize it was quite that easy! After this I overtook the girl (and a fair few other females that went out too hard), and ended up 5th. My other frustration is with my finish. I'd checked out the course before the race and I knew there was a timing mat at 4km, and then a sharp left bend about 50m before the finish. I left my kick until then, and went over the line less than a second behind another girl (who I think won a prize!). So lesson number 2: start pushing further out from the line.

All racing is still good experience, and I'm happy with my level of fitness now so overall it was a good race!

I'm definitely going to keep up the swimming and core/strengthening, because it looks like it's making a difference!

Friday, 21 October 2011


I'm flying out to Melbourne tonight for a work conference. It's only a 3 night trip, and it's going to be super busy! I think I need to skip out on a couple lectures, just so I can get some 'me' time in! I have managed to enter a fun run on sunday (Spring into Shape) and then a visit to my grandma on the monday.

I spent last week in the NT, which was great. The road we were supposed to be leaving on is impassable after rain - so guess what? We had massive storms on the thursday night, before we were supposed to be leaving on the friday! We ended up going a different way (which was a pretty epic drive), but we needed to wait until saturday so that we could travel with a second car. If you get stuck out there no one will find you for days. We have a sat phone, but it was still nice to follow someone who knew the road!

My biggest concern was having to extend my running break! I can't run in communities - too many dogs, plus issues with being a girl and not being able to travel around by myself. Occasionally I will use an airstrip, but normally I just allow for a rest week. I did a lot of strengthening exercises so I didn't go completely nuts from no exercise!

There's definitely been no rest since I got back! The week so far:

Tues (am): easy 7km
Tues (pm): 1km reps with about 30 sec recovery (we were doing them on 4:30 cycles)
Wed: swim 1km (I've only just started swimming again, I'm pretty unfit! It's amazing how much better my legs felt afterwards though) and walking to/from the pool
Thur: 14km trail run
Fri (today): Speed session (500m, 1000m, 1500m then repeat) + 5km extra at the end + swim + walk home

The plan for the weekend is an easy run tomorrow morning, maybe use the hotel gym tomorrow night, then the fun run on sunday. It will be great to see where my fitness is at!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Where's summer?

Ok, I know it's only just officially spring, but normally in Brisbane that should mean that it feels like summer already. Qld has 2 seasons: a short (very mild) winter, and a long humid summer that lasts for about 8 months. Last year was a bit strange, with all the extra rain that we had - and then the floods. I hope this year's not the same. Today (and the past few days) has been rainy, and colder than average. It makes for good running weather at least!

As I had planned, I spent 2 weeks doing easy aerobic runs and started getting back in the habit of the weekend long run. I didn't do massive kms but it was more about consistency. The most significant day was last thur - I ran 11km in the morning, then went to the gym in the afternoon and spent 1hr 15min on the bike (just easy pedalling), plus a short swim. My long run was just 17km, hopefully this week I'll do 20km.

I'm making more of an effort with cross training at the moment. I've started doing BodyRock, which is HIIT and intense. I generally modify the workouts a little bit so far, because they freak me out but I'm building up to it and I think that the variety is really good for me. I like that each day is slightly different!

I've been back in Brisbane this week, which meant a reintroduction to speed. Most of my squad is running in Melbourne this weekend, so tuesday was about short, sharp workouts. We did 200m and 400m, both with 200m recovery. I knew it would be a lighter session, so I decided to run there and home which made it up to around 17km total. I've never added extra kms to a speed session before, it was a great idea! I was buggered by the time I got home but the sets weren't compromised at all by the extra long warmup. My times averaged between 41 and 43 sec for the 200m (we did 6), I went out way to hard in the 400m so it started with 1:27 for the first couple, then blew out to 1:39, then finished off with a few at 1:34 (which is the pace I should've started with...)

Today's speed session wasn't really speed. There were 3 of us there, and the 2 others are running the marathon on sunday. They wanted to do an easy run, which was more of a comfortable (but not easy!) pace for me. They're both a fair bit faster than me and it was good to have a chance to run together for once. Normally we do intervals and just pass each other going in the opposite directions!

We've bought a house! Super exciting. It will go unconditional on monday. When we move into the house it's the perfect opportunity for me to buy a bike. I hate the thought of riding on roads, but our new house has a bike path at the end of the street and is really close to other bike friendly routes. Massive win! I also plan on getting a wind trainer so that I can exercise at home after dark.

I'm away again next week, and I'll be in the middle of nowhere. I won't be able to run much, luckily I've got bodyrock as an option now!

Diet's been average. I've definitely made a positive change with breakfast, and I'm thinking more about what I'm having for lunch. I think I need to be a bit more proactive with it all, but it's so much easier to let J do all the cooking. One big change has been planning what I'm going eat throughout the day. I used to wait until lunchtime to decide what I felt like, but now I've been deciding way before that point so I'm less tempted to sneak in a chocolate bar, or to eat other junk.

Until next time :)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Crazy weeks

Wow, have I had a hectic weekend, and week leading up to it!

House hunting and car hunting is going well now, I think it'll all be finalised in a few weeks. Hooray for making adult decisions!

Running's going well too. I stuck to my plan last week of improving my consistency, and I did my first long run in quite a while. It was only 16km, so not super long. It felt good! I then spent the rest of the day walking around looking at houses and cars. This week will continue on the same theme, then properly back into speed work (with the added volume)

Eating has been only ok. We had a couple parties to go to on the weekend so I ate waaay too much food. Most of it was good stuff so I'm not too concerned. This week I'm away the whole week which will make healthy eating even harder!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Running Mojo

It's back!

I always find getting into a routine when I get back from holidays difficult. For one thing, running hurts more than normal!

I've probably had 6 weeks of reduced activity, and I feel like this week is the one that I'm finally ready to get a bit more serious again. I also haven't been in the right frame of mind, because we're house shopping and car shopping at the moment and it's a major pain. I think I've worked out what car to buy, and I'm just about ready to tell J that he can buy whatever house he wants! We both want the same ideal house, but the way in that we're willing to compromise is different. I'm feeling less stressed about it than I have been now though, so it's no longer an excuse to not run!

I'm away for work at the moment (in a small country town) so I'm using this as a chance to build up a better endurance base, with less speed work than normal. I'll do the same next week. The past couple weeks I've been neglecting endurance because I love speed sessions but I had a crap race on the weekend which was the kick in the butt that I needed.

I ran a 5km in 22:15, which I think is my slowest time all year. It was a difficult course - kinda hilly and with lots of turns, but it was a glorious morning and I enjoyed myself even if I ran poorly!

I'll be doing the 5km parkrun on sat morning this week but I'm not counting it as a race. I need to plan when I'll be able to do some track races soon!

Food wise has been pretty unexciting. Breakfast has been variations on a (delicious) theme, lunch has been leftovers mainly, and dinner has been out/at parents houses. The one mention was friday night - I made a delicious pumpkin spinach and bacon quiche with a greek salad to go with it. I loaded the salad up with parsley which gave it a really fresh taste.

Country town eating is always hard. I didn't feel like eating out last night so I just got a savoury rice salad from the deli, and made a salmon/mayo/greenbean/chickpea/tomato salad as well. It was very satisfying! I'm going to have Red Rooster tonight though - I've eaten super healthy for the past couple days so I can afford a little blowout!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Sunny mondays

Yesterday was a very cruisy day. I only worked 6 hours, and it was a rest day from running as well. All very low stress!

Breakfast: breakkie cookie (made with a sachet of berry instant oats that I found in the pantry, with almond butter and chia seeds)

Lunch: can of tuna and 3 beans mix, plus some blueberries and pistachios. I also had some pineapple lumps as a treat

Dinner: homemade burgers. J's mum had made a fresh batch of tomato relish, J made some aoli from scratch and we put mince meat, parsley, carrots, capsicum and onions into the patties. We didn't use a binding agent but they didn't fall apart too much

Official results for the B2B came out, I ran 21:07 and came 24th out of the females (6th in my age group). I'm really happy!

Running today was the same as last tues but at a different location. I'm feeling strong!

Fast 5km

I was very tempted to stay in bed yesterday morning. The day before had been cold, windy and generally yuck so I wasn't looking forward to running into a headwind the whole way!

Luckily the weather turned it on for us and it was sunshiny and delightful! My plan for the race was to run the first 3km hard, then to survive the hill on the ICB, and finally hold on until home. I ran 21:07, which is very close to my PB (and I didn't think I was in PB shape!). That included a 5min km up the hill - maybe I didn't need to take it quite that easy...

There's another 5km this Saturday, and with another week of training (I think I should be able to cope with a full training load now) I might be able to go under 21? We just need to wait and see! It's a small run too, which means I might get top 10 in the females? I'm giving my good friend Clare a lift, who came 2nd in the B2B 10km yesterday so that'll push me back a place!

Yesterday was a great day food-wise as well. I had my breakkie cookie prerun, then some watermelon, a smoothie and some honey after the race. I then ran 9km home and had some Gatorade, then an afternoon snack of carrot sticks with ranch dressing. We went to mum's for homemade shepherds pie for dinner. I should've eaten lunch, but I wasn't feeling overly hungry.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Happy legs

My legs are happy!

I went for a nice walk yesterday afternoon after the rain stopped, and then a super easy run this morning (it was probably 4km max) and my legs are feeling fine! They didn't get super sore from speed, so I'm very happy. It will be good to do a 5km race tomorrow and see how I go.

Breakfast yesterday was the breakfast cookie, lunch was left over root vegetable soup and dinner was a burrito salad from Zambreros (rice, beans, lettuce, jalapenos, corn and tomato salsa, cheese, and chipotle sauce) plus some corn chips - I didn't eat many because they didn't taste fresh :(

I was a bit naughty for breakfast today, I had a cupcake from the bakery near work and an Icebreak. I'm only working a couple hours and then it'll be off to get my legs waxed! I'm actually really looking forward to this - it's been longer than normal and I'm sick of hairy legs! I'm not sure what I'll eat for the rest of the day, probably a light lunch and something simple for dinner. J is working overnights at the moment, which means I don't really want to be home during the day because he needs his sleep...

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Where'd that rain come from?

Driving to work this morning, the weather report said it was supposed to be sunny today. Looking at the overcast sky I thought otherwise, and now a few hours later it's pouring!

Lucky we managed to get an awesome speed session in nice and early! The group that I run with on a friday is great. I'm the slowest out of them, but it's good motivation for me! I usually end up slightly modifying my sets so that everyone doesn't need to wait for me for too long at the end, but I feel like I need to start stepping up a bit and completing the full session.

This morning we planned to do 4x 1km with 1 min recovery, followed by 4x 500m with 30 sec recovery. I dropped it back to 3x 1km, followed by 5x 500m. My speed still isn't quite where I want it, but it's improving quickly! Plus I didn't slow down. The last 500m that I did was after a slightly longer rest, and it was quicker and easier than the rest.

I think there's a very fine line between optimal training and injury as a runner. I always err on the side of caution, but I think I need to start pushing through a little bit more? I've realised that my sore calf wasn't an injury, and it's now settled down again, but did I need to take the extra rest days?

I've been on a program until recently, and now I'm trying to work out what actually suits me best. I think I need to increase my crosstraining (from zero to occasional!) and build up the weekly kilometers again. I was averaging 60km per week before holidays, and I'd like to be up to 80km by the end of the year.

I think my regular week will look something like this:

Monday: rest/crosstrain
Tuesday: speed
Wednesday: med/long run (around 12-15km depending how I'm feeling, and preferably on trails))
Thursday: rest/crosstrain
Friday: speed
Saturday: parkrun 5km (as a tempo, not a race)
Sunday: long run (initially 20km, building up to 25km)

That adds up to around 67km, so to get to 80 I'll most likely need to add in another run, and maybe extend my warmups/warmdowns.

This is a slightly boring, long post. Oops! At least is gives me some accountability for my plans! Weeks that I race will need to be different but at least if there's a basic plan I can adjust as necessary.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Fartlek Fun

It's taking me a while to get back into running. We went away on holidays for 3 weeks recently, and I don't run on holidays. I think it's a good time to give my body a rest, seeing that I normally run a lot (and race most weekends).

3 weeks is just enough time off. I don't think my endurance suffered much, but my legs have been grumbly since starting back - especially my left calf.

Tuesday's run was the fourth speed session I've had since starting back (I do 2 per week), and it's the first one that felt normal. It was a hard session as well! We ran a pyramid of intervals - 5 min, 4 min, 3 min, 2 min, 1 min, then back to 2 min, 3 min, 4 min, 5 min. All of them had a 1 min recovery, and then I ran an extra one and a half minute to get back to our starting spot (we were doing laps around a park). The hardest one was the first one, by the last couple felt really good. My calf is finally readapting as well, major win!

Yesterday was a horrible day food wise! McDonalds for lunch, then pizza for dinner. We were helping friends move, which is a terrible excuse! Tonight we'll have the left over soup from tuesday. It turned out quite well, the tomato was a bit overpowering so I squeezed some lemon in as well. It needs some protein in it and then it would be the perfect meal

Lunch today was a pita wrap with banana, avo, lettuce, sunflower seeds, tahini and sultanas. I didn't make it myself, but it sure was delicious.

I don't think I'll run today, we're a one car family right now and J is finishing work earlier than planned so I'll be picking him up. I might do a double tomorrow - speed in the morning, and then an easy run in the arvo. I'm staying down the coast tomorrow night so a run at the beach will be the order for the afternoon!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Chunky roots

I'm cooking dinner tonight, something I don't do that often. I'm lucky enough to have an amazing husband who is a great cook, but I want to start contributing more. That's part of the reason for this blog - if I don't cook, I won't have as much to write about! One of my favourite types of food is soup, so guess what we're eating tonight?

Chunky Root Vegetable Soup.

I browned chopped onion and garlic in a saucepan, then added a tin of crushed tomatoes, chopped carrots, potato, parsnips, turnip and chilli. I also used some Vegeta stock powder (that's pretty much just MSG - delicious and dubious at the same time), plus pepper and water to cover it all.

It's cooking away on the stove now, I'll remove about half the veggies before blending and add them back in to serve. It will just need to be reheated when J gets home from work and I get back from running!

As well as running, my other favourite pastime is finding new running clothes. I picked up my number for the B2B this morning, which meant that I could chose my outfit for the day! It's very important that the number needs to match my clothes...

I'm going with a Lululemon skirt and Adidas jog bra. I'll probably choose my bright green Nike Zoom Streak XC racing flats for shoes.

This is my first race back after holidays. We were only away for 3 weeks, and we did a lot of hiking in that time but my body's not that happy to be back running just yet. It's not a PB course in any case, so I'm thinking of it more like a tempo run than a race. My focus over summer is going to be some middle distance track races, I've never done them before but I think they'll suit me! It will be interesting to see what the speed does for my other times as well.

Where I'm at

I've decided to write a blog to document my attempts to reduce the amount of processed food in my life, and also as a place to talk about my favourite pastime - running.

We tend to eat quite healthily, but my favourite meals are the ones that we make from scratch, and this is something that I want to do more often! J and I both work full time, but we've got the advantage of visiting our respective parents a couple times during the week, which cuts required dinners to 5 per week (less if we go out on the weekend). We also currently waste a bit of food, so making left overs more appealing will be part of the challenge.

This week I have started making my own breakfasts instead of eating pre-made cereal. I've been using this breakfast cookie recipe as a start:

My version (to be prepared the night before):

1/4 cup oats (I'm using quick cooking at the moment because that's what was in the pantry - no waste!)
A sprinkle of chia seeds
Large spoonful of natural peanut butter
Generous squeeze of honey

I mix it all together, making sure the PB is all spread out. Then I add milk (I use regular low fat) - just enough to make sure it's all wet. I've also tried it with almond butter and blackstrap molasses, which would be healthier but just doesn't seem quite so tasty!

I really like the fact that there are only 5 ingredients, and I know what's in all of them. Regular cereal can be such a big unknown, with extra salt and sugar, and who knows what else.

I'm not changing my diet to lose weight, just to be healthier. I also think that food is something that's so enjoyable when it's done right!