And so the Journey Begins

Time for a new beginning.
A new way forward.
A new year.
Time for things to change up.
To get with the program.
New opportunities.
New discoveries.

a measurement of fitness

For the first time in around 8 weeks I went our for a run last night.
Oh. My.God.
It wasn’t just hard, it hurt.
Yeah it was warm, but not excessively so to cause a problem, yet I struggled like it was 40C. I felt like a fat slug trying to run through quick sand. It wasn’t that I wanted to go fast, I just wanted to go out. I honestly didn’t think it would be so hard.
I had to push through the mental pain, the inner struggle at how much I had lost. The idea that I had lost so much fitness hurt, that I was back at the beginning.
I struggled to get to 3.5kms, pulling the pin at that point and I learnt right then, that I have so much further to go.

When it gets hard I just have to tell myself I’ve done harder.

I’ve run a marathon.

I’ve done P2P on the hottest day.

I. Can. Do. This.


Even when I first started running it wasn’t this hard.
It was hard when my knee played up.
It was hard when my ITB played up.
It is hard now my hammy is healing.
My cycling is keeping me feeling fit, yet last night I felt the un-fittest I have ever.


I have put on over 7kg, and am struggling with the added weight gain and the difficulty in shifting it.
I am struggling with the feeling that I am starting from scratch again..
What I am happy with though is that I know how to move forward. I know what exercises I have to. I know what to do with my diet.
I am positive that I can get this back on track. I know I can make this work for me in a way I am happy with.
I don’t have to be skinny, the fastest, the strongest…I just have to be the best I can be at any given time, embrace the strength my body has, what I have achieved already. Knowing it is nothing short of amazing.
I. Can. Do. This.

In just over a week I have a 5k race. Once upon a time, and even as late as October last year, my goal was to get a pb, finish strong and have fun. Now, my goal is simply to finish, no matter my time, even if I have to walk part of it. Which I will be. I’m not going to be cocky, I’m being honest with myself. I have to be if I am going to get stronger, and get back to running properly.
I have done 3 of the four race distances* at this location and be buggered if I am not going to finish this one.


Onwards and upwards.
To be stronger than I was yesterday.
To keep fit and healthy.


*while I started the marathon, I didn’t finish it due to injury. I did receive a medal with iTab insert stating what happened. So I have all medals so far.

onwards we adventure

The year that was.
Time to reflect.
Think about the future.
Discuss what we want to do.

Yeah, these are all things we do at the end of one year as the clock ticks over to midnight and 365 days are sitting there in front of us. Just waiting to be filled with our good intention.
And there are always lots of them.
Even for me, when I say I don’t want to make those kinds of plans, think those good intentions. We all fall into the trap in some way. It’s time to get moving and do better things for ourselves.

I am only planning a few things.
They are small but simple things.
I want to be more consistent with everything I do.
Be more consistent with my strength exercises.
Be more consistent with my running training.
Learn more with my cycling.
I’m not sure if this means I have to do a roster, or planning calendar. It has to be something to make sure I do my strength. I know it is good for me, but sometimes most times, I feel I would rather be out doing the actual activity. This is where I need to kick my own butt, and say, “..look what happened last year when you disregarded the workouts…do you want to repeat that..?” Well, no I don’t. I started the yer, just like this, saying I have to do something about it, and I did. A bit hit and miss but I did stuff. Then I did my hammy.
I just decided. Right then as I was typing. Go back to basics. Back to where I started with push ups, sit ups and squats. Then add in the rest bit by bit.

I wrote a post a while back about Fit not skinny.
That’s what I want to work on. Sure I do need to lose a few kilos, there’s being healthy and fit and there’s being over weight. No matter by how much.
Since seeing this new physio I have learnt a whole lot more about what I need to do to keep the injury at bay.
My fitness is important so I can keep going for years to come, whether by running or cycling. I have to decide on whether I join the gym and do pilates/yoga amongst other things.
I know what the problem is with my diet and I have to get super strict with it again. I tell people I like to eat and want to enjoy this life. There is a line between enjoying life and being a glutton and going too far.
A version of portion size and low carb is what I am aiming for. Not the low carb I was doing before, but more of a carbs for 1-2 of 3 meals a day.

I look back at what I have just written, and have a little laugh to myself. It is all well and good to write these things, but then think and say, well am I actually going to do them. You know, good intentions and all that. It takes 21 days to make a habit. Can I do that? Well that becomes my choice.
I have only 4 races this year so far, and I’m leaving it at that. Not worrying too much about other ones unless I choose to at the time. Taking this year off almost. At least from real life races. There are always plenty of virtual races to do.

Be the best version of you, and work hard at what you love.
Jen

Bike days..

Until I get more confident on the road I will really only heading out when my husband is with me –  which means weekends only.

Last week we headed out and decided to do my first ever road ride. We picked a quiet road and that was the only quiet thing about it. Few cars. Everything else came at us. Hills. Wind. Rain. Hail. And missing gears or feet not clipping in. 
We got to 8km and halfway up a killer hill before I called out to hubby ‘…STOOOOP…’ I have to stop, I cannot go any further, I have to stop here..’ I’m all dizzy, feeling like I’m going to vomit. I was enjoying it, it was just too much right there. Now, I’m not usually one to pike out that easily or give up, I am, however, at the point where I know my limits and with an injury on the mend I do not want to make it worse.  We headed back – down the uphills, and up the downhills. Neither were quite as bad as they were the first time. Funny that.

The Learning Curve
While we were resting at the halfway point, hubby remarked that cycling must be way different to running, as he can ride all day, yet barely run 5km. I can run and am pretty fit, yet cycling makes me feel so un-fit. It is a completely different set of muscles in your legs that you use. 
I have to learn how to cycle again. Or in the first place. Cycle properly being the words.
My first few rides were all of about 16-17 kms total, which is the most I have ever ridden in my life. I may have had bikes, but 5k was about it when I went out.
Hubby has been riding bikes his whole life and long distance. He also rides motorbikes, so the whole thing is natural to him. I like to have a little more control over my legs and body. A little, I’m learning how to relinquish that.
I am happy to push it and go fast on the straights and small undulating bumps, but hills – both up and down –  and cornering are things I have to practice and master.
Uphill riding. There is the standing up to pedal uphills, while I was happy to do this on my old bikes, the way you hold the handle bars it’s a whole different stance, or maybe that’s just because the gears are better. Either way it’s something I have to learn. 
Braking, or steady downhills. I watched a couple of you-tube clips and one of them said to focus on the front brake more. Now these guys are pretty good riders, so it would make sense they know what they are talking about. However, after hubby saying I should focus on the rear and feather the front brakes –  which works for me, I’m slightly confused.  Initially I was riding the front brakes heavily which as ok, but not ideal.  
Cornering.  I am nervous about this as I’m still not sure what I or the bike am capable of when it comes to rounding corners. Especially downhills and in the wet. I remember I used to fly around corners when I was 12 and 13, but I’m way more cautious now and the whole things scares the bejeezers out of me. How fast is too fast, and how low into a corner can I go?
Stopping. I’m getting better at stopping, or pulling up at lights. Still a little clunky, but overall, a lot smoother than the first time, which is to be expected.
Skills to learn. New actions to get used to. It’s only been a few weeks.

I’m doing alright.
Well, at least that’s what hubby says.  He is so proud of how I am doing, I’m getting gradually faster, steadier and more comfortable looking. He says I look really good on the bike and it works.  We had a chat on the return of our last ride and he said ‘..this is the longest ride you’ve done, like ever, in your life..’ and at that point, yes it was. Around the 20km mark. I still felt so good, and was ready to push it. I was a little nervous getting back on the highway (the start and finish of this last ride was mainly bike track with a little main road in the mix) but the cars were pretty polite with only one or two that were close enough to touch. 
We finished the day with 36kms and I feel fantastic! 
I’m not sure why I waited so long to get back onto a bike. Actually I do, I remarked that I was ‘scared of the super skinny tires’, don’t know why now. they’re pretty stable.
I can see this is something that will last me a long time to come. I’ll have to keep my shirts at all sorts of lengths as I’m already getting another weird sports tan. 

Fit not skinny

The ‘Why’
When we start a new fitness or exercise routine what is our aim? To get fit, to lose weight, to look better in a bikini..? 
To look like what ‘society’ says we should. 
Unfortunately for many people this is the why they start something of this vein, when the only reason should be to be happy with themselves. To be fitter, healthier and Happy.  Most of us take a few goes at the new regime to get our priorities sorted, and to be doing it solely for ourselves. 
I’m in the third year of my running and as my regular readers know, the last few months have been soul searching for my Why.  The why am I doing this, Why. 
Today while out on the bike I had this weird epiphany, it’s not that I only just realised it, it was the title of this post. Part of my why is to be fit not skinny. The weight and toning will sort itself out as I get fitter, and keep active. I don’t want to be working out like this to get skinny. I want to be fit and strong. 

Weight vs strength
How does weight have an impact on your strength? To be honest I don’t know, but from what I’ve seen, you don’t have to be skinny to be strong. Some of my customers, and social media friends, go to weights classes and could dead-lift me out the gym. None of them are skinny. Fit and healthy looking, absolutely. 
This doesn’t mean I wont still be wanting to lose that 8k+ I’m carrying, it’s more a matter that it will sort itself out when I get my routine back into action. Despite my best intentions (that have gone awry at times) not being able to run means that there is a rogue kilo or two that has decided to call me home. Knowing I can get out on the bike gives me another outlet, I just have to push myself and not want to eat all the food after a short ride*. My weight will become less of an issue once I am back to 100% active.  It’s about being stronger than I was before and being able to ride or run the hills easier, finish a run with more left in the tank, and generally have it feel more comfortable. Like it was 6-8  months ago.
Weight is only a number right?
*This is something I have to work on. I know when I run 15+kms what I can eat, but riding 15k is such an easy thing to do, the distance to eat ratio is completely different, and i have to make the appropriate changes.

Fit endurance not fit muscly
I know a few people who attend the gym simply to get lean and be muscly and look good. While there is no problem with that, people can do what they like, especially as it doesn’t affect my life.  I however, want to do more with my gym workouts. I want it to supplement my cardio. I want to have that endurance (you never know when you’ll need to outrun someone/thing or zombies..). I want to know I can go a distance, and look good. I don’t mind if I have a few lumpy bits, if I know I am strong then that’s all that matters. Being a lean machine is not as important as being a strong one.

Fit not skinny.
Your ‘why’ is your business. Mine is to be strong and fit, to keep active well into my old age. Not to end up with knee/hip replacements or being injured form doing sports because I am unfit. 
I want to be fit and strong. The skinny will come, or not, with how I workout and what I eat. 
I have to watch my diet, and not watch as in watch it go down my gullet.

This next part of my journey is about the fit not skinny, the diet and workout, the physio and running. The bike.

Runalicious

I’m a shopper. Love my clothes. I’m not a fashion victim – on trend is not important to me.
Because of this infliction my running wardrobe is quite…extensive. I started a  spread sheet so I know what I have. 
I’ve been looking at these two tops for several months now. They are super cool and a little bit fun.
I eventually gave in and got out the credit card. Today they arrived after sitting in customs for way too long.
I’ll need to wear a second top or a crop under the tank top – don’t want to be showing side boob.
The jumper is cozy and oh so comfortable.

Do you have too many running/gym/cycling clothes? 
Is there a top or pants you kept looking at and just had to have…?

New name, new ideas.

The beginning..
As many of you know, I have been a bit all over the place this last few months. Running has hit an all time low after an amazing year. Injury, unsure of where I’m going and what I want to achieve.
I’ve had such an amazing run (pun totally intended) over the last three years and while it doesn’t need to stop I have needed to re-asses the activities I am partaking in.  Genetics plays such an important part of how we do things, and while my running has slowed down several things I know that the things in my jeans genes will inevitably cause me to slow down that particular action.
I have always known (just been too lazy to really do anything about it) that I should be doing more than just running – more stretches, other sports etc – and after everything I have read, those that do several different sports or gym classes are less prone to injury. Yes, this is a very sweeping statement, but they start from some truth somewhere.

 

Cycling
According to my husband I have taken to this cycling thing like a duck to water (my words, his thoughts), he is crazy proud of how well I’m doing, and enjoying it.  I always had a bike growing up, loved riding it, rode it everywhere. Insert the usual story of kids and moving around and I lost fitness, thoughts of doing much of anything and cycling never really came into the equation.
Somewhere in the last ten or so years we picked up another bike for me and I rode it ocassionally, but my knees screamed at me, like seriously hurt, so I just stopped riding. The pain was too much, even a gentle slope was agony.  I used to joke I can run but not ride bikes. My knees hurt.  I then did a session with a PT and she showed me how I should be riding a bike…ahh, it all made sense. I still didn’t get on my bike.
Fast forward a few more years and we are here where I am today. Proud owner of a super cool bike and itching each day to get out and ride.  Like I said to my co-worker who questioned my ‘you always said you hated riding and wouldn’t do it’ notion – when you get a correct fit and the right size bike, it all falls into place. It becomes a dream to ride.  Cycling will also help my legs, which follows through to my running, become stronger. And that can only be a good thing, right?

Running & other stuff
So, you think that now I’m cycling I’m not going to run anymore..ahh, not on your life. I still want to run, there is a certain freedom to just getting out there and going for it. Also, I can still indulge my new found enjoyment of trail type runs which I cannot cycle with a fang dangy road bike.
The immediate future is me working on running again (thank you mr Physio) with two races straight up in Jan and Feb of 2019.
My next visit I will be asking the Physio if I can start again as I don’t want to miss my first race (the fourth race of four years for the Cadbury series* – my term there).
After several discussions with hubby I will be taking it easy next year, doing races as I feel like it, if there are spaces available when the time comes and not having it all planned out. Ride my bike, work on general fitness – pilates class and hopefully boxing – and seriously do my strength work. 
Having seen the results from the leg test at the Physio  has made me realise how much can be gained from just one simple exercise.
My big race next year is a 25k trail run in April – one that I definitely want to achieve. 
It will be a big year but we will ride it out together, have a great run…

The name
I love to eat. Simple. After exercise is a good time to do it. After all isn’t what we do these things for. So we can eat All The Food.
I have changed my Instagram gram to reflect this also. 
I run. I ride. I eat. I love a good food shot, I love plating up a sexy meal – and yes food can be incredibly sexy. 
I want to add in the food aspect of my running and riding, more that just food in general. While I do love a good bag of chips, I am pretty healthy otherwise, so this will not become about what you should or shouldn’t eat (we all know the rules), but more about my journey with food and how it works with my body**.

**I have noticed a huge difference already with my non running than to when I am getting out and running consistently.
*Cadbury series – four races over 4 years. 5k 10k, Half and Full marathon. Next year is the final for me in the 5k run. Although I never actually finished the marathon, I got more than half way and they allowed me a medal.