Early morning runs and goal setting

This past weekend I had to go on my longest training run yet, and I did it at 4: 40am on a Saturday morning. Yes, I know it seems crazy to get up that early to run 33kms, running 33km is crazy in itself. For those of you who have trained for distance races you will know that to get in the kms sometimes you have to sacrifice sleeping in on the weekends to get it done. Luckily you can catch some amazing views!

time

So, what’s the reason behind my early wake up? I had to work at 9am AND after that I had a wedding to attend. Sunday was no better to run because I had to work at 10am and I knew the wedding was going to cause a late night. Ah, the life of a busy bee! So my choice was… wake up and run at 4:40am or don’t go, the latter was not really an option for me, hence me rolling out of bed and pounding the pavement for 33 long kms. I was lucky enough to have a friend run with me for a few kms when I really needed it and when we parted ways I only had a few more to get done solo.

                 sun                 beach

I always seem to get the question, what do you do when you run for that long? Ummmm… I run! But I know what they mean. What do I do to keep myself entertained when I run?

  1. I think
  2. I think some more
  3. I think some more and set goals

So yea, I do a lot of thinking and honestly, I love it! I have anywhere from 1 to 3 hours to be completely with myself. I get to think about how I want my day to go, what I’m going to eat after my run (this is a popular one), what I’m going to do for the rest of the day and I really get thinking about my own goals. When you have 3 hours to goal set and really think about what it is you want to accomplish that day, that week, that month or that year, you can start to determine what is important to you. Being by yourself doesn’t need to be scary or quiet or boring, it can be peaceful and energizing to be disconnected from everything. I enjoy taking my running time just for me. I can be selfish and think about MY wants and needs. So, with that said, get out there and take time for yourself, because you deserve it!

stairs

Happy running 🙂

Check out my challenge of the week # 3 under the workout tab !

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City to Surf and Aussie slang

This weekend I have been given a bib for the City to Surf 14 km running race in Sydney. I have come to realize that even when you have forgotten to sign up for a race there is always a way of finding someone who is looking to part with his or her race entry. In the last week before a race, people sometimes get cold feet and scare themselves into believing that they haven’t trained enough, or they realize that they have injured themselves and that running will hurt their body further. Enter… moi!

bib

Watch out for #25181

This isn’t my first time running a race under someone else’s name. Some might say you shouldn’t do it or that it isn’t fair but honestly, it’s a waste of a race if no one runs it!

I love running races I haven’t planned to run. They are exciting, and totally fly by the seat of your pants. The best part about running a race you haven’t planned or trained for is that the pressure is totally off. You haven’t spent any time truly training and meticulously planning your race. You haven’t set a goal time for yourself 3 months in advance, so whatever happens on the day is great, and you get another medal to hang on your wall :).

So, with this being my first official race in Australia with a group of people who I’m assuming will mostly be Australian, I thought I better brush up on the Aussie slang I have learned to date, you know… just in case.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  1. Ta – Thank you.
  2. Arvo – Afternoon
  3. The bubbler – The water fountain
  4. Catch ya – See you later
  5. Fair dinkum (one of my favourites) – No way! Really?
  6. When something is “dear” or “dearer” – When something is expensive
  7. A dag – A goof or a nerd
  8. Lollies – Candy
  9. Old mate – Some guy
  10. Darl (pronounced like Roald Dahl) – Darling or sweetie

short hair

Now it’s time for me to eat some food, have a good stretch and enjoy my time running City to Surf down in Sydney. Oh yea, and with my shorter hair I should be running a lot faster!

Catch ya and happy running! 🙂

The truth about chafing

The truth about chafing is that…well, everyone gets it! Girls, guys, old, young, even celebrities, yes everyone. This means that we are all after the same answer to one simple question. How do you stop the chafing? Well the answer is really quite simple, lubrication. No, not that KY lube you find under a 20 something year olds bed, I’m talking good old fashioned Vaseline.

vaseline

I am the type of person who will wear crops running, but I know that nothing feels better than wearing shorts and feeling the fresh air swishing past your legs on a run. I have been wearing shorts on most of my training runs, but a couple of weeks ago while doing my 20+ km run I started to feel a little scratch on my inner thighs. It was the all too familiar feeling of the beginnings of chafing. I remember the feeling from my first marathon when I experienced the same thing at about the 35km mark. I had to walk for a week with my feet a meter apart just so my thighs wouldn’t touch! Anyway, at the end of my long run I examined my inner thighs and sure enough, I had slightly pink patches of tender skin. The shower I had been so looking forward to turned from a warm, relaxing treat into a miserable, stinging feat.

blog vaseline

I decided that I wasn’t going to stop running in shorts on my long runs just because of a little chafing. I want to run my marathon in shorts, and I am determined to find a way to stop the chafing. For a week I tended to my thighs with coconut oil, which helped heal my wounds quickly. Yes, coconut oil is a miracle worker, you can buy it in any grocery store and use it as moisturizer, as a healing agent, on your hair or even for oil pulling, oh the list goes on! But let’s leave that for another post. Last week, before my long run, I slathered both of my inner thighs with some Vaseline. The Vaseline on my thighs worked wonders. I detected zero chafing and didn’t even think twice about it on my run. I should have known this would work because as an athlete I would put Vaseline in the heels of my new cleats to stop the friction. It was only when I got home that I stopped and realized how far I had run without any chafage.

Vaseline is so easy to find, I can almost guarantee that there is some floating around in the back of your medicine cabinet at home, but if not you can easily pick it up at your closest drug store. You can also try body glide, which is normally sold in sports and running stores. I used it during my second marathon and it seemed to work, but I feel that Vaseline is cheaper, lasts longer and has so many uses, not as many as coconut oil.

So for all those people out there who are having trouble with chafing, be it in their thighs, on their chest, in their armpits or in their knee and elbow creases, just try a little Vaseline!

Happy running 🙂

Staying marathon focused

This time around I have to say, training has been a real challenge. Usually I don’t have a problem pulling myself out of bed to run the necessary distances to stay on track for marathon training; but, I have to say it’s been a real struggle this week. With moving, working 6 days a week and marathon training, I have been feeling exhausted!

excited

Everyone has those days where you wake up and think, “No way am I getting out of bed right now!” You reset your alarm for an hour later, pull the covers back over your head and never fully get back to sleep. I have been feeling that way each time this week that my alarm has gone off at 6 am, I can tell it’s still dark outside. However, I have persevered and thrown the covers off myself to feel the cold air rush over my body and wake me up, there’s no point in staying in bed once you have done that because everyone knows you won’t really get back to sleep.

Staying focused is hard but so important especially when you are training for a run. It takes energy and dedication to wake up at 6 am on a Saturday to pound the pavement for 20kms +. It takes time to psych yourself up and make your run playlist. It takes effort to fuel your body for optimum performance. But in the end it’s worth it.

Here are 3 things I do to stay marathon focused :

write it

1. Write/think about it. Each night I take the time to write or think about what I did to keep myself on track that day. I’ll write down the one meal that made me feel great, or the workout I did that made me sweaty, tired and happy!

bed

2. Get into bed early. Nothing is worse than waking up to an alarm that you feel like you JUST set. Getting a good night’s sleep is so important for recharging your batteries. Start small and make a deal with yourself to get into bed 10 minutes earlier than normal. Plan on reading before you turn out the lights so your eyes are tired and you are ready for bed.

morning treat

Dollop of nutella on my porridge for a morning treat!

3. Treat yourself. I know that fuelling your body is important for optimal results, but let’s face it you’re burning a lot of calories each week so don’t be afraid to give into a few cravings, I know I do. Go on, you deserve it!

Happy running!

Pizza to fuel your run

instagram shit

Yay! It’s almost the weekend, which means that it’s time to let your hair down and live a little, unless of course you have a 22km long run to complete on Saturday or Sunday. Not only do I have my long run, but I also have to move which as everyone who has moved before knows is both exciting and also a pain in the butt. So, running, moving and finally working which means I have one day to pack everything up and figure out how to move a fridge without it leaking everywhere. With all of these things going on it’s sometimes hard to find the time to make something to eat, but I’m hell bent on taking some time out to get in the kitchen and make something I love. PIZZA!!! Everyone thinks pizza has to be unhealthy with tons of cheese and meat, but I like to add tons of veggie to my pizza and make the dough myself so I know exactly what I am eating.

Here is my recipe for the perfect pizza dough that you don’t need to let rise!

pizza dough

Ingredients

– 1 package dry yeast (2-3 tsp)

– 1 tsp sugar

– 1 cup of warm water

– 2 1/2 cups self raising flour

– 3 tablespoons olive oil

– 2 tsp rock salt

finished pizza

Method

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Boil water in a kettle and allow to sit until warm.  Put yeast and sugar in a bowl and pour in warm water. Allow the mixture to stand for 5-10 minutes. Add flour 1/2 a cup at a time until all the flour is mixed in. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to dough mixture, use the rest of the oil to grease the pizza pan. Mix everything together and form dough into a ball. Roll dough out on a floured surface and place in pizza pan. Add sauce, toppings and cheese. Bake for 15 -20 minutes, rotating the pizza halfway through, then turn the oven on grill for 2 minutes. Serve with a side salad and enjoy!

baked pizza

Happy running!

Saturday vs Sunday long runs

sat and sun

Is there a difference if I do my long runs on Saturday or Sunday? This has been discussed many times by a variety of runners and I have asked the question to Google and my running friends each time I start a new training program. I have read comments in many different run forums, asked my friends, asked veteran runners, asked beginner runners and honestly everyone has a different answer. The answer is… well its complicated, so let’s delve a little deeper shall we?

sunrise

Why it’s better to run on Saturday

Saturday is the first day of the weekend and people often feel like they can wake up and get things done right away. Since lots of people are coming off a “normal” work week of working Monday-Friday, it may be easier to continue with the early wake up and bounce out of bed on Saturday for their run. For some, Saturday is a day of chores, laundry, shopping, long run. Check, check check. People also feel like by completing their long run on Saturday they will have more time to relax on Sunday. They can sleep in the next morning and not worry about having to pull on their shoes to get out on the road. Saturday may also be the day after a tempo run or a faster run completed on Friday. This may give some people the benefit of feeling a bit more tired in the last few kilometers of their long run on Saturday, thus mimicking the feel of the real marathon.

Why it’s better to run on Sunday

Sunday is the second day of the weekend and a great day to get out on the road early while everyone is still in bed sleeping, or while everyone is beginning to slowly nurse their hangovers. Have you ever gotten up early on a Sunday, been driving down the road and thought, “Wow, the streets are so quiet and empty!” Yes my friends, this is the bonus of the Sunday run, no one else is up at the crack of dawn, except other crazy runners, so you get everything to yourself!  It is also true that many races are held on Sundays, so the more you train on Sundays the more you are allowing your body to adjust to race day events. You also have the luxury of finishing your run and having the rest of your day to relax, so even though you may have woken up early to get in your run you can always have a cat nap in the afternoon to freshen up.

long run

Yes, there are benefits of completing your long runs on either Saturday or Sunday. Some people, me included don’t always have a weekend because of shift work, or because their weekends fall on days that aren’t Saturday and Sunday. You will have to choose the best option for you and the conclusion that I have come to is… do what works for you. If you only have a chunk of time to devote to running on Wednesday evenings, just change your program around to suit your schedule. Be consistent with your long run days and build a bit of a rhythm so your body can adjust and become stronger.  My belief is that you won’t suffer during your marathon because you didn’t do your long run on a Saturday or Sunday, but you will suffer if you didn’t do a long run at all.

Happy running!

I love food!

 cocnut rice

I know this seems like a weird title for a post, but it’s true. I think all my friends and family members can attest to my love of food. I believe that food is fuel and I make the effort to make good food choices when I have my meals. But, I will be honest, I’m a pub food junky. I am the queen of nacho, burger and pizza making. I bake some tasty yam fries and can whip up a mean batch of spicy wings. I also love to bake, my specialty are chocolate chip cookies which are always a hit ( you’ll see the recipe up on the blog shortly I’m sure). I’m also one of those people who will never throw food away; expired yogurt, chicken in the fridge for a few days, leftover meals from the weekend, I’ll eat it and yes I have an iron stomach.

A few years ago the “paleo” diet hit the headlines, and the only thing I could think about was, “But what about the carbs?!” Not only do I like pub food, but carbs were a staple in my diet! As a runner I was a strong believer that pasta and carb loading before long runs and races were the only way to get lasting energy. I thought about changing my diet radically and trying out the whole paleo lifestyle, last year I even tried the whole 30 to see how my body would react. After the 30 days of eating clean I felt good, I had lots of energy, I slept like a baby, and I didn’t have any cravings! I thought I could continue it forever, but alas, I came to the conclusion that life is too short and you should eat what makes you feel good, what makes you move fast and most importantly what makes you feel happy! Chocolate, chocolate makes me really really happy 🙂

coconuts

I am always looking for new recipes to make and I love coming up with my own concoctions in the kitchen. I have adopted a few new paleo/primal recipes into my repertoire that are amazing and that I look forward to making each week, including this delicious coconut cauliflower rice inspired by the recipe from the PaleOMG website, I added a bit more coconut milk and the chilis for some kick. This recipe is sure to keep everyone coming back for more!

http://paleomg.com/pan-seared-mahi-mahi-over-sticky-coconut-rice-with-mango-salsa/

Ingredients

– 3 tablespoons coconut oil

– 1 head of cauliflower

– 1 cup coconut milk ( I think this adds more coconut flavour)

– salt and pepper to taste

– pinch of chili flakes to add heat

– 1/4 cup chopped roasted almonds

Method

Break cauliflower into pieces and pulse in blender or food processor until fine. Melt coconut oil in pot and add cauliflower then add coconut milk. Stir for about 5 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat off and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Roast almonds on medium heat until brown. Remove from heat and chop once they are cool. Add chilis to cauliflower and mix. Serve and top with chopped almonds. Enjoy!