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.

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.

Launceston 10 – 3/6/18

There’s the point in each race, at the starting corrals where you think “what did I sign up for”
There’s the point in each race just after the gun goes off where you think “what am I doing”
There’s the point in each race near the half way mark where you think “I can do this”
There’s a point in each race near the end where you think “are we there yet?”
There’s the point in each race where you turn that last corner and think “I can see the finish, make it strong”
Then there’s the point in the race where you realise you’re not just going to get a PB, you’re going to smash the last one.

That’s the point when you realise that the hard work was worth it, the strength workouts, the consistency in your training. It’s all down to this last two hundred metres.
You smile and keep pushing along, not rushing, following your new ‘no-pressure’ plan. You cross the line with a grin a mile wide and fist pump yourself, knowing you did it. Knowing it was quick even though there were points where your legs felt like lead. Where you thought your lungs would pop.
When you pushed through the stitch from gulping too much water.
When you pushed up that last hill on tired legs, willing yourself to not stop and walk. Where you round that corner and saw the finish line ahead.
Kept the pace even and steady.
Smiled the whole way,  not having that ugly ‘I’m about to poop I’m working so hard’ look captured for eternity by the photographers.
Crossed the line and hugged your husband and kid, giddy with the knowledge of a fast run.  Medal around your neck you get the obligitory picture and head back to your hotel.
You then struggle out of sweaty clothes for a shower, snooze several times in the car on the way home, then get that need to #eatallthefood. All the sweet food.

I had such an amazing time on this run, there was a quiet confidence about my pace, and how I felt.  I was striding out well, I was running so comfortably and strong.  I didn’t feel too tired at any particular point. There are definite tired points in any race, but my training is working out the way I want – giving me more in the tank once I’m finished, and helping me feel stronger for the duration of the race.  The next 3 months are going to be full of hard work before my next race. I am hoping for good things. I want to get stronger and more consistent.
I have only ever bought the complete package of my race photos once, and that was for my only to date interstate run at GCAM. I’ve done it again though. All the pictures were so good. No ugly faces, a little bit of struggle picture, a wry smile as I head to the finish line, that big grin as I’ve crossed the line. I like them all.

Keep chasing that PB, it’s worth all the hard work.

 

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Rounding the last corner – the end is in sight!

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Nearly there.

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Yes!! OMG I did it. So glad to finish. Gun time on left, net time on right. Massive PB acheived.

 

 

 

A new routine

I wrote a little while a go about my strength workouts.

They are working a treat. If I miss more than one day (I try to get a short run in every second day) I actually miss it. For anyone who knows me, this is a big thing. I’ve never been that into gym workouts. Even just at home.

Over the last month I have worked through different styles and figured out what works and what I am gaining out of it.

From this I have a base workout and then I add in something for arms, core, legs and back. This is what I will be doing for a while to come. It’s part of my day now, stretching at least anyway.

I have a sort attention span for these things so my pan of making it a short workout has been working really well. I am sticking at it, (starting to see small results👍) and it feels good. So I want to continue. And that was the point.

I may not be spending an hour or more a day on this but I’m making the effort,  and not just slobbing on the couch, so I’m winning already.

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Keep moving, and keep healthy, Jen