Nothing but blue skies

 

blue skies.jpg

When you tell people you are moving to Australia, the reactions you normally get are, “You’ll love it!” “You’ll have sun all year ‘round!” and “Oh my gosh you’re so lucky!” Well I can tell you from experience it didn’t start out that way. Yes, moving away is a great experience and it has taught me a lot about myself. For example, sometimes you have to be your own best friend. You can take yourself on a mani/pedi date, you can ask yourself out for a run or you can even go out for a meal by yourself *gasp*.

sun kissed

“You’ll love it” – When we arrived in Newcastle we stayed out of town in the “burbs” which taught me two things: 1) Thank goodness for parents, they will always take you in 2) I am very resourceful! On the days I wasn’t working, I didn’t allow myself to just sit around. I got out and walked, or ran, or just went. I wanted to explore and find out new things and that I did. Four months ago we moved right into town. Now we are close to cafes, shops and most importantly the beach! I’m finding out new things about this place everyday and I’m excited to see what the summer here has to offer!

beach.jpg

“You’ll have sun all year ‘round!” – Newcastle is a small beach town just north of Sydney and we arrived at the beginning of Fall. Not only did we arrive in Fall but it just so happened to be only a week before an enormous storm rolled in causing damage, power outages and flooding to houses and businesses all down the coast. So my first impression was,“ I left rainy Vancouver for this !?” But, now that the temperatures are rising and the sun is staying out longer, I’m seeing what Newcastle is all about. The beaches are amazing and I am loving being able to jump into the clear blue water at Bar Beach after a long run or at 5pm when I’m done work.

beachy

“Oh my gosh you’re so lucky!” – That I am. I cannot say that I am not one lucky girl. I’m treating my body well with good food and enough exercise. I’m taking time out for myself to journal, take pictures and relax. I’ve even made some new friends (score for me!). Most importantly, I’ve come to a beautiful country with a special guy and I can’t wait to explore and adventure some more!

breakfast

Happy running 🙂

Running fast and running slow

I have come to a grinding halt since my marathon! Well not completely, but things have definitely slowed down. Funnily enough I thought that I would get faster since I chopped off my hair but, apparently that isn’t enough to get you a PB.

after the beach

What I’ve realized since my marathon is that although training can be fun and rewarding, it is a lot of work and takes its toll on you mentally. You are constantly looking at your watch to check you time, your distance, your time per kilometer, your heart rate etc. and you keep thinking about that next milestone. Getting out of that mindset has been a challenge for me and after each race it always takes a while to get back into running just for pleasure and not for race training.

anzac

So, what have I done to get myself back into running for the love of it? Well a few things:

  1. I’m running slower
  2. I said goodbye to my watch
  3. I’m listening to really good music

When you are training for a race, you normally are training with the intention of running fast, or at least faster than your last race. So, during your training runs you track you time, you practice interval training and you push yourself to your max. I’ve begun to do the opposite; I’ve been making an effort to actually run slower. I want to go out and enjoy myself and not feel pressured to push myself to my maximum. Slowing down has allowed me to stop and take in the view, take a picture, or walk a little bit if I want.

go Canucks

Running sans watch is extremely freeing. So many runners count on their watches to keep them on track, so I felt the need to take the leap and put my relationship with my watch on hold. My Garmin is such a helpful tool but, I feel so liberated and less concerned with how fast I’m going. Now, I can take in all the things around me instead of constantly looking down at my wrist.

views

Music is what gets me going and I’m always looking for new artists and new songs. I have been using my spotify app to lead me down the path of new music and I absolutely love it!

So, if you are feeling like your runs are getting a bit boring, or you need a new reason to run, try going slow, ditching your watch or listening to music you wouldn’t normally try, it might just make you love running even more!

Happy running 🙂 !

The Big Chop

I’ve done it! I’ve made a big decision and gone ahead with the big chop. I’ve been struggling with the idea of chopping my hair off for quite some time. Since moving to Australia, I have been thinking about how to maintain my half straight and half curly hair. Do I A. Spend $400 to try and get it straightened again? Or B. Do I get a perm and hope that my hair doesn’t fall out because of all the chemicals I’ve treated it with? Nope, I choose none of the above. So, I made an option C. Go ahead with the big chop.

                      hair                       short hair

Recently I’ve been watching a lot of “Scandal”, a show on Netflix starring Kerry Washington, a black American actress, who wears her hair straight in each episode. I have to say, she looks amazing and I know the feeling of having that beautiful straight hair that you can do anything with. But, sometimes, you see her with her hair au naturel; it’s curly, it’s shoulder length and it’s beautiful.

I’ve always been a little self-conscious of my curly hair and for the past 5 years I have been straightening it. I have played around with curling my hair, growing it long and even cutting it up to my shoulders. I’ve never known what to do with it, what product to put in it, how to style it, what haircut to get, nothing ever worked. But, nowadays you can easily find hair tutorials on pinterest, youtube or just by looking on google images.

                  no makeup                                short

I am thankful to the women out there who have cut their hair short, worn their hair au naturel  and totally rocked it. Thank you! I am so happy to have taken the plunge and I’m ready to embrace my natural hair. Curly hair is cool, it’s fun and it’s mine!

Happy running 🙂

5 travel essentials for runners

everything

Just as the kids get back to school in Australia, I’m off for my own vacation! One of the perks of being a casual teacher is you get to decide when you want to take your holidays, but the downside is that you also do not get paid for that time you decide to take off. Anyway, I’m more than happy to take a break, see my family and explore London once again.

I’ve been to London a few times and each time I go back I fall in love with the city even more. Seeing Big Ben, walking under the London Eye and trolling the many markets in search of knick-knacks gives me so much joy! There is no ocean, there are no mountains to look at and the weather is… well let’s say if it gets above 15 degrees it’s an amazing day in London. But for some reason I just love it.

I’m also excited to finally be reunited with my running partner aka my big sis 🙂 Yes, it has only been 6 months but when you move to a new country like I did, it’s hard to find someone who challenges you in running as much as your former running pal. I have JUST started packing, but I have made sure to pack my 5 travel essentials that I think every runner should have when heading overseas.

shoes

#1 My running shoes. I wouldn’t go anywhere without them, because let’s face it, all you need to be a runner is a good pair of running shoes!

up close

#2 My running jacket. We all know that the weather in Europe can vary at this time of year, but a little rain won’t keep this girl from running!

up close

#3 My running watch. Of course I’ll need to track my kilometers. I’m hoping to get in 5kms a day, so my trusty Garmin is coming with me.

lululemon

#4 My Lululemons. I don’t go anywhere without them. I am a true Vancouverite and I’m not ashamed to say that I won’t just be running in them, they will be my everyday pants 🙂

mags

#5 My running mags. Now that I have finished my marathon I am excited to start mixing up my workouts, my runs and my meals. There are so many great ideas in these magazines; I can’t wait to dive into them on the plane for some light reading.

everything 2

Happy running ! 🙂

Marathon miles

medal

It’s done, finito, over! I’ve completed my third marathon and it feels so good. I finished a little later than I had hoped for, I was going for 3hrs 45 mins, but I’m happy just to have finished, 3hrs 58min 52secs ain’t so bad!

blowing kisses

Blowing kisses to my cheer station !

I started strong and I was feeling pretty positive as I passed Rod at kilometer 5. We had perfect weather for the first half of the race and I was happy to take in everything around me, it’s not everyday you get to run a marathon in Sydney! I was on track for 3:45 but, by kilometer 30 the rain had started, my legs felt like lead and my energy was at an all time low, but I kept going. I kept repeating this mantra while I was running, “Just put one foot in front of the other.” All I could do in those last 12 kilometers was hold on and visualize the finish line. I passed Rod for the third time at kilometer 41 and he started running alongside me snapping pictures. I looked awful, I was tired as heck and I kinda wanted to yell at Rod to stop taking pictures but, to be honest, seeing him also gave me that last push that I needed to cross the finish line. I did it! I felt sore, sick and so proud of myself for not stopping and getting through one of the most mentally challenging events I have taken on.

opera house                   running slowly

I am ready to start training for the next race and can’t wait to sign up for marathon #4, fingers crossed for London in April 2016! I do have a few things I would suggest to my future training self and here they are:

  1. Start slow ! (Thanks Big sis Meg for this one!) I went out faster than I should have and it caught up to me later in the race.
  2. Start fuelling earlier than you think! I only started to eat my apricots around kilometer 18 and I should have had them earlier than that to keep my energy up.
  3. Do more interval training! I think this would have helped me especially at the end of my race when I was feeling completely gassed.

Good luck to everyone still in training and happy running! 🙂

Fuelling up

So everyone knows that to get good results you have to eat the right foods. Training for a marathon can definitely make that tricky because as much as you want to eat well, you also feel like you deserve to stuff your face with burgers, ice cream and chocolate after those long weekend runs… or is that just me?:)

This week I have been snapping pictures of my meals and making a concentrated effort to make healthy choices that I feel will nourish my body for my Sunday run. I don’t count calories, or macros etc. I just eat what makes me feel good and I am learning to stop when I’m feeling full. Keeping a visual food journal for a few days has allowed me take a more in depth look at what I am consuming. Here are my Wednesday, Thursday and Friday meals!

If you like seeing what I eat please feel free to leave a thumbs up or short comment. I always find it interesting so see what others are eating and how they workout and I’m more than happy to share.

Wednesday food for real

Wednesday

Breakfast- Two pieces of toast with pb and honey and half a glass of milk

Snack- a banana

Lunch – Big Taco salad (with chips not pictured)

Snack – ½ mint and chocolate quest bar

Dinner – Seafood pasta and a piece of sourdough bread

THursday food

Thursday

Breakfast – Porridge with blueberries and a hot chocolate sweetened with honey

Snack – 1 toast with avocado and egg and ½ mint and chocolate quest bar

Lunch – Cauliflower soup and tortilla chips with guacamole

Dinner – Broccoli/green beans and 3 small lamb sausages

Dessert – Greek yogurt with cashew, cocoa powder, dried apricots

Friday food

Friday

Breakfast – ¼ avocado and 2 fried eggs and green mango smoothie

Lunch – Broccoli/green beans and 2.5 lamb sausages and a green apple

Snack – 1 banana and a small spinach salad

Dinner – Pizza party!

Happy running 🙂

The final countdown

peace

That song is literally playing in my head as I write this post. Although I don’t know all of the lyrics, I know the most important line… “It’s the final countdooowwwnnn…” Thank you Europe for making a song that everyone can relate to!

It’s been a stressful and emotional couple of weeks but, with Spring kicking off this month, the temperatures rising and the excitement of my race building, I have been feeling a lot better!

There has been a lot on my mind, but sometimes you wake up and realize that there are things just not worth worrying about. So, I’ve been focusing on a few calming things to ease my mind and keep myself on track for this marathon.

colouring

  1. I bought a calming colouring book. I’m not going to lie, when I first saw it I thought, “I could print off some colouring sheets and make that myself!” but now that I have it I’m so happy I made the purchase.

stretch

  1. I have started doing 15 minutes of stretching a few times a week. Now 15 minutes doesn’t sound like a lot, but for a runner who hardly ever takes time to stretch this is working wonders on my body!

ingredients    muffins2    mixture

  1. I’m baking, and cooking and experimenting! I love to be in the kitchen and when I was growing up my parents were always making tasty dinners and delicious treats for us. My dad especially loved to experiment, and this week I took a page out of his book and threw some ingredients together to make these yummy gluten free banana muffins 🙂

Ingredients:

2 bananas

4 eggs

1/3 cup coconut flour

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

1 tsp baking soda

dark chocolate chips ( as many as you like)

Mix all ingredients together and pour evenly into greased muffin tins. Bake at 400 for 15 -20 minutes (check them after 15 minutes because mine got burned a little on top at 20!)

Enjoy and Happy running! 🙂