Ups & Downs –

Oops, am I in trouble again?
Not this time.
It’s one of my new workouts.

I have been writing up my own workouts for a few weeks now, taking ones I see online and tweaking them for my home gym, or using a workout from instagram as an idea base to make my own from.
In all of these, I’ve included my physio’s exercises and making sure I have a variety of cardio, weights and a combination to keep me happy.

What is this ‘ups and downs’ you talk about?
After writing up two as a test, not knowing if they will actually work, I have used them several times a week and find them very good.
I’m not sure if they are a thing elsewhere, but I like them.
They get my heart rate up, and the challenge is put out there.
I have one for arms/shoulders and one for core/butt.
I tweak them a little each time I use them, and put my run distance on the sheet (every little bit counts for Run Down Under).

Ok, the idea behind them is that there are two portions to the workout.
Cardio and strength.
Five rounds with both time and reps for each.
The run part starts at 5 mins – time goes down, speed goes up and the strength portion starts low on reps and go up with each round.
So as an example, it would be 5 mins/8.5 speed; 4 mins/9 speed; 3 mins/10 speed; 2 mins/sprint/ 12 speed.
The reps start at 10 and work up to 25 with 4-5 exercises to do.
I then finish on round 5 with a 3 min sprint on L2 before cool down stretches/physio exercises.
This takes around 45 mins and makes me sweat like crazy.
Boy do I feel good afterwards though. It hurts, and I grunt like a stuck pig or ‘someone dying’ as my son put it (that’s what a 2 min plank will do for you).
I add weights to whatever I can to up the ante – it’s gotta do me good right…?

Where to from here…
From here I will up the weights, add an incline to the runs and practice those burpees and push ups.

Sometimes I wish I had started this two years ago when I first thought of it. Sometimes in life we have to learn things the hard way to get a better understanding of the ‘why’ behind it.
I run when I can (park run and longer if I have the opportunity) and know that when I do run these exercises are doing me good, making me stronger.
And that is what I am happy about.

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Inadvertent Trail Run

Saturday just past the plans for our respective days went somewhat pear shaped and my Parkrun 5k turned into an awesome trail run. Hubby had a more stressful change yet still managed to get a motorbike ride in.

So what actually happened?

It started like any other Saturday really. I was at our eldest’s ready to Tourist Parkrun while hubby was taking mr 15 to Maydena for a skills lesson and some runs on the MTB downhill track.
We had spoken earlier and I was doing a warm up jog when the phone rang again and a voice told me there was a problem. The ute (with two bikes on board) had simply died on the side of the highway, he had been thinking (and swearing no doubt) and there was only one way to fix it straight up.
I take mr 15 to Maydena and he waits for the tow truck and sorts out the vehicle.
Parkrun can wait, so I rang my appointment for later and cancelled, filled the car with petrol and headed north to be the rescue car.
We were going to be late but if I could make up some time I was going to do it.
I pushed it the whole way and we got there as on time as we could – hubby had rung and sorted out the costs and timing.
I got mr 15 under way on the bike and I settled in by the fire pit to have my first, and most delicious, coffee of the day.

It’s time to run and time to explore.

I finish my coffee and pump one of the guys for info on where I can go running, aside from up and down the highway.
I head off and find the road easily enough, an undulating gravel road that winds for a few kilometres before coming to a stop and the rain-forest path with cave entrance signage awaits me.
As I head up here, ducking under logs and minding my step on the greasy path, I am in wonder of the amazing scenery we have and how it changes so dramatically in a matter of metres really…step off the road and there are new things to be found.
I am creeped out by the cave entrance and head back towards the road. I am 8-9 kms in so decide to see if I can get to 15. I’m feeling like a challenge. The rail track heads east and I figure it crosses the highway at numerous points, I’ll follow for say 3 km and then head back along the road to where I started.

You know what they say about ‘All good plans…’

Turns out the train track winds further inland and for longer before it crosses the highway. I do a run walk along the tracks, some parts are not runnable and slippery – this is trail running after all. While I don’t want to rush I did have a basic time restriction. About 2 hours, so am constantly checking my watch to gauge where I am at. I’m around 11 kms so am conscious of the need to head back. I also have to go to the toilet. And not a wee.
I notice a track and head off the rail lines. Google is my friend and I see that I am pretty close. If I follow this road I will get back to where I am going. By the looks of it, it’s a track in the bush as compared to a gravel road or train lines.

Note to self: I need to bring wet wipes in my shorts pockets next time.

Lucky for me the tracks heads up hill towards the highway and I am at the main road. Bitumen. Easy to run back to my destination.
I google again and notice I have less than 3 kms to go. Woohoo. So happy. I head off and as I get to the car realise I just have to even the distance so keep going for another couple of hundred metres.

And that is how I accidently ran a 15km trail run.
And got back right on time.

Hubby finished sorting out the mess, did a few chores, then went ‘&*#* it’ and surprises us both by taking Mr 20’s motorbike and coming to see us.

The joy on Mr 15’s face was a wonderful thing to see.

As a side note, I am feeling so very lucky and grateful. The strength workouts I am doing are really helping my running. While my hammy still hurts, the DOMS, and general soreness the next day was next to nothing. Like it used to be when I would eat that distance for breakfast.

convicts & wenches, 25k trail

I was under prepared.
I had a basic plan.
A vague hope for finish times.
Get out there..have fun..finish.

I did it.
I finished and fell into hubby’s arms, sobbing tears of both exhaustion and the joy of it being over.
The last few kms were of utter pain and ‘where is the end?’ coupled with an inner joy of having done it. The tears threatened to flow. I stopped and walked, then jogged and repeat…anything to keep moving and not keel over completely. My legs felt like lead, like the end of my marathon where I didn’t think they would take me another metre. My husbands words ran through my mind..’remember that tattoo on your ankle..mind over matter’ That thought would carry me the last 5 kms where I was so tired I nearly fell several times through exhaustion.

This race started like all the others. Getting there early for bib pick up, photos, and more than one loo stop. Catching up with other running friends eased my nerves, and I was relaxed, even though my arms were heavy from the day before’s activities.

Some of the RMA ladies before we started. 25 & 12 km runners.


This race is cut into 4 sections – 3kms beach, 6kms trail, 10kms beach then replay the 6km trail.
Getting onto the trail was a bottle neck with the 12k’ers but it soon spread out and we moved easily along the route. It felt like it would never end, but that was before I saw The Beach.
The Very. Long. Beach.
Scrambling over rocks was almost the easy part.
You know when you’re driving a flat road and the horizon kept moving, never seeming to get any closer. That’s how it felt. With both a head and side wind, wet feet and the roaring waves to our right, I began to wonder if I was in some sort of weird recurring dream. I ran walked this section to preserve my energy, trying not to feel too deflated, yet still amazingly happy that here I was, actually doing this bucket list run!
Onto the road for 200m to the shelter where they ticked you off the list (making sure everyone was accounted for). I oggled the chips and bananas, scruffed a handful of lollies and headed back out. Tried sending hubby a video to say I was on the return, but it didn’t work so he got weird selfies instead.
I was slightly quicker along the beach with a tailwind, although somewhere around the 16-17k mark my ITB decided to play up. Dammit. And I was going so well too.
My plan was to run as much as I could and walk where I needed. I couldn’t help it, so had to work by its rules.
Over the rocks, grabbed more lollies from the stand and headed up the hill at 19kms. I had to walk as my hammy wasn’t letting up either.
Sent the last message to say I was heading bush again and would see him soon.
Checking my watch it was 2h:30 and I was hoping for the last 6k in around 40 mins, even in my head knowing how fast I would have to be to do that.

I was the only one on the trail for the most part during my return, with very few people around, meaning I almost took a wrong turn on several occasions.
The last 3 kms were the hardest with me nearly coming a cropper after tripping on my own feet. I had visions of the next person along finding a body sprawled face down on the ground. It wasn’t a pretty thought.
I pushed through and counted down the last km.
I can see the beach.
I can see the flags.
I’m at the flags…
Hitting the board and seeing that finish line.
Fist pumped the air as I came to the end and then saw hubby and mr 15 waiting.
Nearly missed my medal.


I was under prepared.
I’m not as fit as I thought I was.
I am also not as un-fit as I thought I was.

For my very first trail run I am absolutely stoked with my achievement.
They say to add half again on your regular distance time when doing trails, so to have finished my first in the time I did, makes me even happier.

This is also the first race where I am happy with all my photos.
Official time: 25kms – 3.25.35.
I Owned Today.

Bling and tank top.

Ross, 5k, 14/4/19

Nothing says awesome run by actually being prepared. Funny that.
I had put in the work, done my training and worked on my strength routine.
On the day, the nerves were still there, (as they should be) and it all came together nicely.
I did my usual and went out too fast, yet by the 3k mark I was feeling ok and knew i could do a sub 30 if I pushed along and simply did it. No thinking, no over thinking, just run and walk at the drink station that was…just…down..there.
At 4k my hammy was starting to ache a little, but I gave it ‘what for’ and kept going, knowing at that point I was good for a sub 30.
I know I slowed down, my downfall in going out too fast, but I also knew I had some leeway.

Pushing through the last couple hundred metres there was a choke at the finish but I came through smiling and happy.
My hammy had given up and was feeling good. Thank god for that.

At the finish, photo taken courtesy of a lovely lady I met before hand, who finished shortly after me.

I did all the post run things – stretch, drink, eat, selfie and then took a picture of all my medals.
Once I was done with that I went back to cheer on some friends doing the half marathon.
I paced one friend to a pb – she was on track, I was just there to help her keep going and not lose sight so close to the end, cause if you’re going to, that’s where it happens.
I ran the last 2 kms then let her take the finish.
I did the same with the friend who drove me there, pushing her to jog more than she walked on the last km.
Hollered and whooped at the others still finishing, it was hot by the time I started at 10.30 and without the usual Ross wind, it was a scorcher, and the extra oomph near the finish is always appreciated.

Happy day had by all, and so proud I could get out there and do it again – ate all the food on the way home.
I’ve been working hard to get my fitness back, I love running and Ross was just enough to show me how good it is for me.
I’ve another post to write about this subject, on something I did a few days before hand. Which makes my sub 30 at Ross even better.

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

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.