Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Bad habits and my marathon countdown goals...

I was reading this post by Runner's World today about 10 bad habits of runners and found that I was guilty of a few too many, and here they are (plus a couple that I am actually good at)...
I think this is quite true and relative to running (source)

Ignoring your core: 
I have been rather terrible at strength training this time around, particularly my core. It is really important for runners to have strong cores, and this should especially be an area of focus after having a baby. I have never had the strongest core before a baby and now, even 7 months later, there is still way too much weakness and jiggle going on around my mid section. It's not pretty!

Starting a race too fast:
This was one of my mistakes from last weekend's race. I get all ambitious and excited at the start and instead of trying to set my own pace, I just follow the crowd. Oops! GPS watches are great for helping if you tend to have this problem too - another reason I need one NOW! 
Being your own doctor:
Totally guilty!! Doctor Google and Doctor Rachel are frequent collaborators in running injuries (as well as other things!).
"Runners tend to be hyperaware of their bodies, self-medicating with ice or ibuprofen to treat aches and pains. But minor injuries could turn into serious ones. Instead, see a doctor sooner rather than later. If the pain has lingered for three days, schedule an appointment."

Fixing it all: 
"There's plenty of advice on how to become a better runner, but try to focus on what's manageable." I really need to remember this one! I often can become guilty of trying to fix everything in my running instead of focussing on one thing at a time, thus the reason for the below goals.

Habits I actually am not that bad at:
Skipping stretching:
Thankfully I am quite good at stretching now... Most of the time. This is a really important thing that you want to make a GOOD habit.

Not getting enough zzzz's.  
Well this is pretty much just par for the course when you have a new baby but thankfully we have an awesome sleeper so if it does become a problem for me, it's either my own fault or just a wee phase Fletch is going through. I definitely need lots of sleep though so tend to feel it if I haven't had enough.

So because there are only 5.5 weeks (38 days to be exact!) until my marathon I thought I should set some goals for these last few weeks. It's never too late right??


1. Work on my core - It's not like I don't know that I need to do this, or how to do it, it's just that I am lazy... Time to stop and time to get my abs working. Aaargh! Goodbye Mummy tummy!

2. Keep stretching - You can never stretch too much... Can you? 

3. Be wise with fuelling and resting - Make sure I have a good balance of carbs and protein to reful after runs, as well as gels during long runs. Rest, well you don't need to remind me twice about that one!

That's about all I can think of for now, so now it's time for me to go and work my core! Yikes!

Which of these are your bad habits? Which are your good ones?

Are you good at working your core? 

What's your favourite post race fuel?
Mine is a green smoothie - a good mix of carbs and protein.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Whangarei Half Marathon Race Recap...

Going into this half marathon I didn't really have a goal, I wanted to use it as a run to gauge where I was at for my marathon training. However, in saying I didn't have a goal I did still want to run my best and do as well as I could. During the run I decided that I really wanted to finish in under two hours and I thought I could.

On Saturday night there was one of the biggest, craziest and scariest thunder storms I think I have ever seen/heard/felt in my entire life! It was crazy! At about midnight we were woken up by the biggest blast of thunder imaginable. It was crazy! I got such a fright that I was shaking. The lightening was the most amazing sight but the thunder was scarily loud - it even shook our windows!!

So all while this was going on and it was absolutely bucketing down with rain I was lying there thinking that this half marathon would be cancelled.. There is no way we can run in weather like this, I thought.

Also, I could not believe that my baby slept the WHOLE way through the WHOLE storm, which lasted over an hour (I think). I actually had to check he was ok! 
Apparently so!
Alas, the next morning when I woke at around 6ish the birds were chirping away and the sun was making its way up into the sky for the day. It was the most beautiful day we had had in a long time. In fact, it was a typically beautiful and warm sunny Spring's day. Wow! I was so happy that the run would not be cancelled and that I wouldn't be running in the pouring rain. But this beautiful day also meant another thing... It was CRAY CRAY hot for the run! 

It was mandatory for the stripes on our hats to match our shirts
After picking up my running buddy we got to the start with plenty of time, always a bonus. At the start line they had some fitness instructors to take us through a booty shakin' warm up which was really fun. Then we were off! I find that in events like this you tend to start a bit faster than you like as you are all in a big pack with the fast runners at the front who tend to set the pace. My first three kms were done much faster than they should have been, at just over 5mins/km, but then I finally settled into my own pace about 4kms in.

During the warm up
I hit the 12km mark at just over an hour where I saw Tim, my Dad and my friend's hubby. It's always great to see supporters along the course.
Running along the waterfront just before the 12km mark
At around 14kms we had two hills - one quite long and the other quite steep. By then the heat was really getting up there and it had gotten to me so the steep hill killed me! The 2 hour pacer caught up to me just after this hill and I was gutted! I thought I was well ahead of him. So from 15kms to about 18kms I managed to stay with him. Then I stopped at a drink station for water, which I desperately needed, and he got a bit ahead of me. I thought he was running quite fast because according to my watch I may still make sub 2 hours, just. I caught up to him a bit more and then the last 1.1kms I was on my own. I just couldn't hold his pace. He finished about 50-100m ahead of me but I was really happy to see my time when I crossed the finish line being 1:59:16... YAY! I had made the sub 2. I knew that pacer was going fast! But now I think it was a good thing as it kept me on my toes and going just a bit faster than I may have otherwise.
I love free snacks and drinks at the end of a run! P.S. Red face much?
Tim didn't quite make it in time to get a photo of me crossing the finish line as the traffic was being stopped for the runners, but he got there soon after. Fletch was asleep at my parents for most of the time I was running so we got some photos together when we arrived back there.
The sweet life for a baby - still in his PJs
Overall, it was a great race and I am stoked to have gotten a sub 2 halfy only 7 months after having a baby. Yay! Now only 6 weeks til my marathon... YIKES!!

Did you race this weekend or have a long run? 

Do you love or hate thunderstorms? 

Which do you prefer running in - cold weather or hot?

Saturday, 21 September 2013

I had a birthday and tomorrow I am racing...

This week has been such a great week. Yes, it was my birthday, and also because my hubby had 3 days off... Bonus! I love me some time with my fave boys! These two:

My birthday was on Wednesday, I turned 27 (yes, I still accept gifts if you didn't manage to get it to me on my birthday - there is no cut off date for these). I started the day with a run with my running buddy which was a treat in itself. Lately my mid week runs have been on the tready, but since Tim was home to look after Fletch I got to get out and run on the road like a normal person. My training plan called for a 16km run (10miles) but since I am racing tomorrow and did 30kms last weekend my legs were a bit heavy so just ended up doing 13.5kms easy pace. It was lovely.

I am one of those people that NEVER looks good during or after a run... Or before come to think of it :)
Following my run we went out for brunch. I had been dreaming of french toast with the works for a while and when I got it it was everything I had been dreaming of and more... I think I consumed double the calories in that one meal that I had burned on my run but it was sooo worth it. Plus it was my birthday so I was allowed to right?! I was also too starving to remember to take a pic of it but you can imagine it in your mind, I'm sure.

Then I had a nice relaxing afternoon with my boys and a visit from my parents (who came bearing cake!) and then Tim cooked dinner for me and some friends that evening! What a great birthday, I felt so spoiled and special, not to mention all of the lovely messages from my friends and readers! Thanks!

Then on Thursday Tim had Fletch while I went to work. This is what happens when the boys have a day together...

Fletch swimming in his puffer vest at the hardware store... From a baby to a man!

This week has been a great week of training with 3 runs and one weights session in there and today is a rest day before I race my half marathon tomorrow.

That brings me to my race tomorrow...

I am rather nervous about it, to be honest. It is a half marathon and although I have been doing much longer distances in my training, I am nervous about how I will go in this since I am using it as a race to gauge my progress for the marathon in 6 weeks time. It is my first half marathon since having my baby 7 months ago and I want it to be a good one.

If you have been following my running journey for a while now, you will know that I am NOT a fast runner. But FYI people:

I can go the distance but it takes me a while. I am not really aiming for a PB tomorrow but I don't want to end up with a PW (personal worst) either. I think I am still a better runner now than I was when I first started out. Tomorrow will tell I suppose.

So keep your eyes peeled early next week for a race recap from tomorrow's race. Oh, and well done to the two people that one their tickets to the event through the competition I had going through my blog and fb page!

Anyone else racing this weekend? What event and what distance?

Any other September babies out there?

Favourite way to celebrate your birthday?

Monday, 16 September 2013

How to get through 16 weeks of marathon training...

I have been a terrible blogger lately... Please forgive me!!

Usually when I slack off from blogging it's because my running is getting slack. i am pleased to announce that this is not the case now, I have just been super busy.

This weekend just gone I ran my longest run yet of 30kms. I am getting up there with my mileage now but still have 7 weeks until my marathon and a few more miles to clock up. 16 weeks is a looooooooong time! That is the length of my current training program for my upcoming marathon in November. It is more than half of my son's life - a bit cray cray when you put it that way! I'm not going to lie to you, it's not always easy training for a marathon either. In fact, it never is easy!

Took a pit stop during my long run last weekend, thought you might like a photo of it... Ha!
Training for a marathon, or any distance really, takes up a lot of time and energy. It requires thought, planning, dedication and commitment, from you and your family. So here are some tips to help you get through your training:
  • Find a plan that suits you that you know you will be able to stick to - one that is realistic and works with your lifestyle. I use this one from this book:
    16 week program

    From the Run Less Run Faster book - my running Bible

  • Allow yourself treats or rewards. When you have completed a long or challenging run it is nice to know you can have a treat at the end. This may be food, or it may be allowing yourself to lie on the couch all afternoon in your comfy pants watching movies, getting a massage or something else. Whatever it is, make it worth it. My favourite reward is finishing my run at a cafe and having a delicious brunch (I don't actually do this often but LOVE it) like this one I had once:
    Love me a bagel and coffee after a run
  • Change up the routes you run and throw in some nice scenic runs. I have a few different routes that I go on that have some trails in them which makes a nice change from the road. I also love running along the waterfront too.
    Some of the track from Saturday's 30k-er
    Perhaps not the best idea to run trails on a wet day??
  • Having a runny buddy can help to get you out the door on that run that you think you just cannot face. I love my running buddy, she is a huge motivation and encouragement for me. We do most of our LSD (long slow distances) together. It's great to have someone to chat to while running too so I am not just thinking about how far I still have to go or how I think my legs might fall off.
    They totes are!

    Yes, we are total major dorks, but that's why we're awesome!
  • Plan out your runs at the start of each week so you know what days and times you will do them. This one is especially important for me now with having a bubba to think about. I am grateful to have this sweet setup in my garage (Mum's tready) for when I can't get out on the road. It works perfectly to run on the tready when Fletch is sleeping:
Yip, I watch TV ondemand while running - totally helps!
  • Fuel right and keep hydrated! When you are not fuelling well and staying hydrated you get exhausted and run down which then leads to missing runs and feeling really terrible all round. Make sure you have a good mix of carbs and protein after you finish a run, and in all of your daily meals. Lots of water and even electrolyte drinks are key to keeping up energy too. My latest favourite snack is apple and almond butter... Soooo good!!

That's almond butter on the side, not something else!

  • Last but not least: Just focus on each week as it comes. It can be a bit daunting when you are just one week one of a training plan to look at week 12 and see that you need to be running 30+km (20+miles). Don't do that, just take it one week at a time and by the time you get to those really long runs, you'll be well prepared and ready.
Anyone got any other tips to add?

Anyone currently following a training plan for an upcoming race?

What is your favourite post run snack? 
Mine is currently my green smoothies and apple with almond butter... YUM!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Updates on marathon training and life lately...

The last couple of weeks have not been the best for my training, unfortunately. However, I am on the up now as GUESS WHAT IS IN MY GARAGE......

A treadmill... Can you believe it? I had always been the person that really did not like running on a tready and didn't understand why people didn't just run on the road... Until I had a baby and realised that actually getting out on the road for a run wasn't always that easy.

I have mentioned in past posts that I have been going to Mum's place to do some runs on her tready and now she has so kindly lent it to me for the next two months. I will be able to use it for my training until my marathon. I am SOOO EXCITED! Is that a really lame thing to be excited about?

It is great for my speed runs as I don't have a track to use and I can run while Fletch is sleeping, or playing next to me. I'll still try and get out on the road and run when I can but it will be so great having it right there for when I can't. My Saturday long runs have been the best so far and I have been really loving them. Last weekend I ran 21kms and on Saturday I ran 25kms.

We stopped here during our run on Sat for some sightseeing and photo ops
My friend taking the photo said "look energetic"... Unfortunately I translated that to "look dorky" but I totally nailed the dorky look!
Slightly more normal

I have been doing my long runs with a friend who is also training for the Auckland marathon and I have really loved running with her. We run at a really easy pace where we can chat the whole way and it is really nice sharing it with someone. As this is her first marathon she has been upping her distances a little slower than me and yesterday she ran 23kms, her furthest run ever... Sooo awesome! You all know that feeling when you run your furthest distance ever and what an achievement that is. Celebration city! I was super proud of her as she hasn't had the smoothest training run so far with a few injuries and things, but she just keeps on going. Trooper!

Here are some other things that I have been up to lately, with some bullets, because everyone loves a good bullet point...
  • This guy turned 6 months and is a real fun little character
I'm sure he gets cuter everyday :)
  • This guy had his first Father's Day and thought it would be cool to celebrate the occasion by wearing matching Father and son outfits:
Two best looking boys around x
  • This guy has started learning how to swim and totally loves the pool:
  • Me and my little swimming buddy
    • He also loves the swing:
      As do I

  • I have been back teaching one day a week for the last few weeks and I am really enjoying it. It was really hard at first to leave Fletch but each week gets easier and he is such a cruiser so I don't have to worry about him at all. I have a friend who looks after him for the day and it's nice to know he is in good hands :)
  • Sunday officially marked the first day of Spring which is super exciting. Although we have had one of the best winters I can remember in a very LONG time, I am still stoked to have some nice weather heading our way. I think this summer I just want to set up a tent at the beach and live in it for 3 months with my boys. So today we tried out our sun shelter on the front lawn... Fletch relaxed and I weeded the garden...
Worked a treat!
So far this week I have done a speed session on the tready and today I did a bootcamp session which included some hill sprints... Yeow! Tomorrow I have a 9.5km tempo run. I haven't been doing as many hill runs as I used to so on my long run this weekend I am going to do one of my old favourite hilly routes. It'll kill me but I need it!

How has your running been going? 

Do you like swings? 

Do you like running hills or do you avoid where at all possible? 
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