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.

Advertisements

What does a runner look like..?

Over the last 3 years I’ve discovered a lot about myself, what a runner looks like and what a runner actually is.
In a nut shell, a runner is someone who runs. Fast or slow, smooth, elegant or like a baby giraffe. Large or small, it doesn’t matter. So long as they are moving forward in a running type gait, then they are a runner. You are a runner whether you do 5k in 15 mins, 30 or over 60. If you do it regularly, then you are a runner.

This is prompted by a conversation I had a work last week. A lady came in who does a lot of sports and is pretty fit, she coaches a netball team, all her kids are into sports and every year she tackles the infamous Point to Pinnacle half marathon in November.
My friend and work colleague had thought she was a runner we often see up and down the street early in the morning and I scoffed and said ‘no way’. I was right but what she said to us when I asked ‘are you a runner?’ blew me away.
She says she can do 10k but is not a runner.
You say what..?
I insisted that if she could do that then is most definitely a runner.
Her explanation for why not was because she is too heavy in the midsection – hello me, and so many other women – and that she goes so slowly.
I replied that no matter what she is still moving forward so a runner she is.
Then came the cruncher. The part that really got up my goat.
The part that screams why so many young (and not so young) women don’t start up the sport for health or fitness, or from lack of self-esteem.
“my dad was a marathon runner and said if I ever wanted to run them then I had to lose like 20kgs..” 
I couldn’t believe my ears. This is a woman is tall but not by any stretch of the imagination to be over weight or unfit enough to run a marathon.  
This one sentence perpetuates the myth that a runner has to look a certain way and run at a certain speed.
She may as well have said “..
that to be a runner, is to perform at the elite level. Anything less and you’re not serious enough…”
I couldn’t believe my ears.
There is only a tiny percentage of people in the world who are at that level, and an equally tiny percentage (I do believe it’s the 1-percenters) that have run a marathon.
How do we get across to people – including the donkey who scoffed at my hope of getting under 5hrs for a marathon one day – that a runner comes in all shapes, sizes and speeds.
Given that most of the general public couldn’t run 2 kms let alone 5, the woman above is most definitely a runner. Big hips or not.
I have had customers ask ‘was it you I saw jogging last night?’ or similar, and while the term jogging irks me, at least they are complimentary on the fact I am out there being active. Especially as one person put it ‘…after you run around in here so busy all day and then go and do that..’ My after work running is just like their trip to the pub. A routine that makes us feel good. Others have said, ‘good work out there’ and ‘you do a lot of running, I see you every time I go out’.  It’s interesting how differently people see the act of running compared to a team sport. Team sports are fun. Running is boring.  I see it simply as everyone is out there running around (after balls, with sticks or bats) and having fun, keeping fit.
We need to teach our kids that running (and all other sports really) is good for the soul, and body. Talk to any group of women and they will tell you that running is their therapy, it clears their heads, helps them be better wives and parents. I know that no matter how achy I feel the next day, running makes my day job easier and my head is clearer.
The important thing here is that while size is not and should not be a deterrent to exercising, the less weight you carry around makes things a whole lot easier. I know I feel the difference between now and when I started 4 years ago, nearly 10k heavier. I have more control over my body and can manoeuvre it in ways I never used to be able to.
So, no matter your size or fitness, get out there and give it a go.
If you say you’ll get fit before you go to the gym or start running then you have missed the point. How do you think those fit people at the gym started??
Getting out there are starting is the hardest part but also the easiest. Keeping on going when you want to stop is what sets us apart from everyone else.
Be fit, be strong, be You.
img_4345

Carbs are back

I’m not sure exactly what it was.
I’m not sure whether it’s all in my mind.
I’m not sure if I was just having a bad week or two.
What I am sure about though is that the small intake of carbs between Thursday and Sunday certainly contributed to my increased performance over the weekend.

My last post described how I was feeling all at a loss about whether the low carb was right or not, and my thoughts on adding in small amounts of carbohydrates.

For those that may not have seen my latest Instagram posts, on the weekend I smashed my runs, without even trying. Actually I was trying harder to not go all out.  Not be too fast. Even on the downhills which are my favourite.
After a horridly hard treadmill run on Friday night – a piddly 3.5kms – I whipped arse on 7.5km Saturday, and 12.2 on Sunday. What’s even better, I did the 12k in record time, fairly easily, with a few stops. I’m feeling it now for sure, but to me that’s the sign of an awesome run, ran hard.

My thoughts now.  Low carb to the point of Keto or similar is not for me.  I will be low car, not next-to-no carb as I was.

So my running mojo and action improved drastically. How about my other feelings?  They are on a high also. I’m feeling much more comfortable with my decision after seeing for myself how my body reacts.  I had gotten to the point where I wasn’t believing that I would finish my next race.

Keep you posted, train well, and be safe.

8 weeks – time to re-assess

Its been 8 weeks and I’ve discovered I need to change where I’m going with lchf. It might seem a bit ‘oh I love this, its fantastic’ one minute and the next ‘ugh, feel like shit, it’s not working’, I see that. I am in both of those camps right now. I figure eight weeks is enough time to settle into a new routine and suss out what and where it’s doing and how to change it, if needed.
I do feel fantastic. There are little things that are so good. There are also things that I feel I am doing wrong.
I do feel ugh. So very tired (and I’m not any more tired from work that I was when I began this).
My running was great initially. I felt light and fit. Now I feel like my legs are giving way, no matter how much I have stretched or relaxed they just don’t want to move – which then drags my body down. I know it is all mind over matter. The body will do what the mind tells it. But can the body tell the mind what to do?? I need to push through, to say, “it’s all good, I can do this, get moving”.  Sometimes though it’s just not that easy. You have to listen to your body.
By listening to what it says, it’s all about the fuel you put in to what you can get out of it.
I was so happy with this new way of eating that I went all in, I embraced the change, loved reading labels to say ‘no more of this, that and the other’.  I realised a couple of days ago, that part of my physical feelings is the lack of certain foods.
I don’t think I’m eating enough fats. I’m definitely not eating enough of the good veges, and I may have gone too low on the carbs for what my body requires. I know I haven’t been drinking enough water lately, which may be a contributing factor.
After a small crazy couple of days where I ended up with diarrhea due to some licorice, I was hesitant to eat some pasta and potatoes fearing the worst. When I did have small portions they tasted delicious, and thankfully, nothing happened.

My assessment this week is about making my own mash up of two eating lifestyles. I’m hesitant to use the word diet because of the connotations that come with it. Which is funny, because everyone has a diet, just some are better than others. I am changing my diet, I am not going on a diet.  I do want to lose a bit of weight. I do want to feel full and content with my food. I do want my running to feel pleasurable and constructive, not such hard work and awkward. I do want to feel better all over, inside and out.
My solution is going to be a mix of the goodness that is Weight Watchers and the current LCHF.
Weight watchers, because I know it works, just the last time I used it (a mere 6 months ago) I found it too restrictive with counting points.  LCHF, because it has been good for me to learn more about different types of food and carbohydrates – what is and isn’t acceptable for regular or binge eating.
Initially I will be strictish so I can get back into controlling myself again. The basis for my new regime will be more fruit and vegetables (which I all but got rid of unfortunately), have complex carbs (bread, rice, spuds, pasta) for one meal a day (will work on lunch time so I can ‘work it off’) and if I feel the need, then bread or a toastie for breakfast. I will still make my low carb cloud bread as it feels good like carbs without being too much.
There will still be lots of the high fat content, and eggs as I am doing now, because I really like the creamy coffee. Things like biscuits, cakes and lollies will be all but cut out. I have no real problem with doing this as I was never really a sweet tooth – give me a cheese platter any day. Even now, with working in a shop with lots of chocolate and licorice I can easily say no to them.
I will go back to doing my weekly menu plan and lunch prep – making my work day lunches heartier than just a salad, and making smaller portions at dinner time.

On another note with this new slash old diet, I did lose weight, and my shape changed.  There were not so many lumps and creases and looking back on pictures I took in September last I have definitely changed physically.  There was even a scales picture (I know we are more than just a number) and I liked that I was disciplined enough to get to that point.  There is a lot of work to do, but I  know that this time I will find it more approachable and easier to get into it.  I am not altogether unhappy with it, just my lack of energy is disappointing.
Where has my discipline gone. What have a lacked. Why am I so out of it.
The long hours and work load, or the diet. Or maybe both. Either way I know that this change-up will be a good thing.
I have just looked at all this and thought, why am I writing about diets, and body shapes, and the like. I wasn’t brought up like this, I prided myself on not giving  damn, so why now. Probably because with age comes a certain wisdom about ourselves and what we are and can be.  My goal now is going to be like my new goal for running. Show up, do the distance and finish. No pressure, no stress. If I get a pb then all good, if not then at least finish without an injury. For the food – the same theory applies. Eat healthy, enjoy all things in moderation (and some things very very rarely) and exercise regularly. Do it to prolong my life, to be young and fit and have energy. If I lose weight, even a modicum of it, then all is good.

Bring on the next stage, and the next race. In 2 weeks.
Keep healthy, and train strong,  Jennifer

What’s your exercise?

And why do you do it?

I got thinking about this at work today after a customer came in – Not wearing her active wear like she usually does – and we commented about the 3 sets of clothes we have. Work wear, gym wear and dressing up.

My colleague asked what gym she uses and so it started. She goes to a F45 class. My colleague has started gym work as physio recovery and fitness after cancer treatment. I run.

I’m not sure why our customer does the gym, but I’m pretty sure with her job as a nurse it would help her with the strength required for certain duties at work. As a larger girl, she may not look fit but I could almost guarantee her strength would knock me out the water.

My college does it purely so surgery scars don’t hurt, and she can move the way she used to, or as close to as possible. From experience seeing other people with similar surgeries not doing their physio and how they are faring now, she is doing absolutely the right thing. She is pretty fit from all the running around and lifting we do at work, but her reasons for gym work are for something completely different.

Me. I run. My strength training is purely to help my running. Keep things strong. All the benefits of that are definitely a bonus and appreciated. While I know that to get a firmer midsection, or leaner arms I have to work certain exercises and do more of them, I am not in it purely for the aesthetics. That would take up too much of my time, which I don’t have.

Why do I run? For fitness and physical well-being. Because I like to eat. For my own future, and staving off the injuries I may get. Oh, and because I love to eat.

When a family member has had knee reconstructions, and other physical ailments like that, you want to help keep you body a healthy as possible.
I love running and it’s good for me. I love the pain I feel in the moment. I love the relief when I’m finished. I love the rush of endorphins, and how I feel afterwards.

What is your exercise?  Why do you do it?

My Journey – the first 2 years…

In the two years I’ve been running ‘seriously’ – as in training and running events, not just running for the love of it – I’ve had one hell of a fun time.

There have been amazing highs and heart breaking lows.
I’ve had fantastic races and great times.
I’ve had bad runs, horridly slow runs and runs that felt like I was wading through quick sand.
There have been jumping for joy and feeling strong as an ox runs.
There were injuries that broke my soul, and jerked me backwards.
Many a finish with mile wide smiles and one that was an ambulance ride with my first DNF.
My first year was full of learning – testing all the races, running whatever and whenever I could. Burnt myself out.
My second year was frought with injury and near misses – Lessons on strength and how to look after my body.
Time to look at my third year…take all those lessons, all those races and make it bigger and better. Make it the best I can achieve. Be the best version of me.
All my races are #earnednotgiven.
Through hard work and determination comes success and results.
What they will be determined…faster, stronger, longer.

 

If you’d told me five or six years ago I would be on this road and wishing it never stop, I would have laughed you out of the room. Ridiculous.  This was a dream I had long given up on achieving, so when I started again it was purely for fun and exercise. Now the dream is well and truly alive and kicking.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of those 18 amazing races.

5 Km x 3 – PB 28.38
10km x 6 – PB 59.14
21.1 km x 5 – PB 2.16.58
42.2 x 1 – PB 5.08.38
DNF – 1 25.4/42.2 kms

Most enjoyable race – Ross half 2017
Hardest race – Ross Marathon 2016
Easiest race – Crank-E 5km 2017
Most punishing race – Point to Pinnacle 2017
Best all-rounder – City to Casino
The race to crack – Cadbury Marathon
Toughest race ‘personally’ – GCAM 2017
Distance I’d like to better my PB in – Marathon

I have one more race to end the year – I started this year on New Years Day and I finish it on New Years Eve with the same race. Not sure if I’ll get a pb, but it will be fun as hubby is running it with me this time. edit: no pb (3mins off my earlier time and hubster beat me which I am so happy about!)

I’ve learnt from the last two years and am looking forward to the new year and what amazing experiences it brings with it.

Going forward this evening, my word for the new year is Stronger.

Running scared – no excuses

I’ve been lazy with my workouts.

Its been busy at work – I’ve been lazy.

Physically I am tired – I’ve been lazy.

My body has ached and is sore – I’ve been lazy.

I really want to run – I’ve been lazy.

I really want to run – I’ve been scared.

I’m scared it’s going to hurt.

I’m scared it will cause more damage.

I now have to admit this to the Physio on Tuesday.

I’ve been lazy and scared of doing my workouts.

There are no excuses.

There are no reasons why I cannot and should not do them.

Mind over matter – I Can do this. I Will do this.

Being lazy will not get me running again.

Being lazy will not get me to GCAM.

Being lazy will not get me stronger.

Being scared will do me no favours.

Being scared will get me nowhere but stuck in a rut.

Being scared and lazy will only damage me in the long-term.

Time to pull on my big girl panties and get the job done.

 

Be safe out there, and keep your strength up, Jennifer