Gold Coast Marathon Wk8 – Step Outside Your Comfort Zone!

Another big week on the kms, especially Sunday’s long run. This week turned into one of the weeks of really starting to ramp things up, stepping outside my comfort zone as well as still listening to my body with rest and recovery being critical.

One thing for sure I knew more than anything this week, was I NEEDED TO PUT IN MORE KMS no matter what.

Tuesday morning was back to the hills, this time 3 reps up a massive hill, and again pleased that I pushed through and increasing a rep more than last week. I was definitely in the zone, pumping my arms for momentum, saying my positive running affirmations.

Bliss - Out running in the country!!

Bliss – Out running in the country!!

Rod and I went away for a couple of nights, and I had scheduled a run the morning after a night out with amazing food and wine. It was a total indulgent dinner and I paid for it on the next day’s run, feeling very lethargic.

However the scenery was stunning and it was perfect to run somewhere new. I’m an explorer at heart, so I love checking out new places by foot whenever I travel to new places.

I read about Rebekah Gregory‘s  journey this week, crossing the Boston Marathon after having her leg amputated last November, a year and a half after the Boston Marathon bombings. A truly inspiring story of what’s possible and to keep following your dreams no matter what.

It certainly helped me clock up 30km on this Sunday’s long run. Yes there were toilet stops and walk breaks along the way. Although I loved it, happy and glad I’ve got my first 30km under my belt, 10 weeks out from the Gold Coast marathon.

Now to rest and recover :)

How Functional Training Can Improve Your Running Performance

I really look differently at running and performance these days.

It’s not just about the runs – sprints, hills, tempo and long runs. It’s really a case of holistically getting in touch with your body-mind-spirit, and working in sync in perfect harmony with each other.

So that said this week, I started back up with Adam, my personal trainer, in his new studio. It was actually great fun to be back doing circuit training of functional exercises again, strengthening my running muscles, as well as having a full body conditioning workout too.

Functional exercises are great for women as we tend to live very busy lives and are more prone to muscle strains and injuries than men. That said functional exercises help you develop and stabilise your body, especially your core giving you better balance, stability and posture.

The exercises focus on a number of muscle groups ensuring that they all work together, as opposed to just focusing on one muscle in isolation of the rest of the body. So they are perfect for runners.

Check out the videos below, to see Adam put me through my paces, with a bit of fun and laughter thrown in. You’ll be able to incorporate them into your weekly program too.

Let me know how you go :)

Gold Coast Marathon Wk7 – Rainbows And Hailstones

This week was great to mix it up again. Hills session on Tuesday and Friday I combined my tempo run with a ‘functional training’ session, back with Adam, my PT, in his new studio.

I had a lot of fun and it was great to be back doing strength training again. Even though I was sore the next day, especially gluts and hamstrings, I know that over the coming weeks as I’m increasing the kms, my legs will appreciate it, as they will be stronger.

You can check out some of the videos we shot of the various exercises, here.

As my legs were still sore and in shock 48 hrs after my strength training session, I decided against a long run on Sunday, and opted for a 10km run to flush out the lactic acid.

I can't feel my fingers!!!!

Home at last & I can’t feel my fingers!!!!

I thought I timed it perfectly setting off from home, in between showers. Although I was blessed with an amazing full rainbow at 2km, the heavens soon opened after that sighting. The horizontal rain was relentless and I wondered why on earth I’d left home without a rain jacket.

Just another 5km and I’ll be home for a hot shower, I thought. Knowing that every step I took now, I was closer to home. I only saw a couple of other early morning ‘crazy’ runners like me running in the rain, I think the rest of the town were still snuggled up in bed.

I smiled to myself, knowing that I’d made the effort today, that I got up and ran no matter what.

I smiled again, when the heavens opened, this time – HAIL STONES.

I’ve never run in hail before, it seemed a bit of an adventure, talk about 4 season in one day. I was already soaked to the skin, and cold to the bone, with my runners full of water. I thought, bring it on I can’t get any wetter now, sheltering for a while till the storm past before I kept on running.

Gold Coast Marathon Wk6 – Smashing Up The Hills!!!!!

This week was all about hill training for me.

So my ‘sprint session’ was replaced with a circuit of 2 repeats running up a steep hill close to home. Glad I got out of bed for this one on a cold morning, even if it took a lot of mental strength to keep going up the 2nd hill repeat. I was chuffed that I did it, and before the ‘rest of the world was even out of bed’

Sunday’s long run was a hilly 19km which I’m still feeling the effects of as I write this. I know that hills make me stronger and faster, that’s why I do it, but it’s a love-hate relationship though.

This week, I attended the Fitness and Health Expo in Melbourne, and Amy Giannotti, top Aussie triathlete, talk on nutrition was a bit of an eye opener. She mentioned that men’s daily iron requirement is 8 mg, women’s is 18mg and if you’re a female long distance runner it’s 23 mg a day.

Chicken Liver Cabbage & Silverbeet

Holy cow, as I’m borderline anaemic anyway, I better keep my iron levels topped up.

So today’s lunch was Chicken Liver on a bed of cabbage and silverbeet. Now I have bad childhood memories of my Mum serving up fried liver and bacon, however knowing that I’m naturally low in iron, and last year having an ‘iron booster’ injection, I certainly didn’t want to deplete my reserves, as I love my running so much.

Top tip, disguise the liver with onion, garlic, paprika and parsley…. and you have one hell of a yummy satisfying protein/iron packed meal. Click here for the recipe.

Enjoy :)

Studies Find Sugar Is More Addictive Than Cocaine

Now I know that’s a pretty strong and bold statement, and you might want to disagree and hold onto the fight and protect your beloved chocolate, or favourite dessert.

I know I certainly was in this camp. Friends joked that I was a ‘chocaholic’. Absolutely not a shadow of a doubt there, I could quite easily polish off a family sized bar of chocolate with a friend, multiple Easter eggs, or a whole packet of chocolate hob-nobs dunked in tea of course.

Yes I knew all about the lack of ‘nutritional value’ in what I was eating. BUT I still did it, why

- Because I felt I could

- That it ‘met’ a need or an escapism

- I’ve had a crap day

- A good day

- I’ve worked hard in the gym

- whatever the reason was at the time.

I didn’t for one second realise that it had a ‘hold on me’, that it was effecting my moods greatly, that I was being brainwashed and believing what the big food companies said with their marketing slogans ‘A chocolate bar you can eat between meals without ruining your appetite’ OR ‘Makes you work, rest and play’

I don’t know if you can relate to any of this at all!!

Sugar v Cocaine brainscan

However let’s look at the study - ”Several studies really do suggest that highly-palatable, highly-processed foods can produce behaviours and changes in the brain that one would use to diagnose an addiction, like drugs and alcohol,” Dr. Nicole Avena of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, says.

Cardiologist Dr. James O’Keefe said sugar contributes to cardiovascular disease, as well as liver disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease.

“When we eat wheat flour and sugar in processed foods, spikes our sugar, then insulin. Those are the hormonal disturbances that make you store belly fat, and then you are hungry for more sweets and starchy junk food,” O’Keefe said

“When you kick the sugar addiction, blood pressure comes down, diabetes goes away, obesity goes away, complexion clears up, mood clears up, sleep improves. It is really, really striking,” O’Keefe

And this is what happened to me too. Some of you might know that in November last year, I had a huge health ‘wake up’ call, when I was diagnosed with MS. On doing my own research, I realised how much food can have an impact on our health for better or for worse. I’ve now, completely cleaned up my diet to a gluten, diary and sugar free diet 90% of the time.

Yes I still have a few ‘MS symptoms’ mainly temperature changes in my body, although I can truly say that changes in my diet has started to heal me on the inside out.

It has also balanced my moods, enabled me to sleep better, stabilised my weight, reduced PMS, eliminated a bloated stomach, no longer have mid morning or afternoon ‘sugar’ cravings, improved concentration and focus, no more ‘brain fog’ for me.

Now I know that a gluten, diary and sugar free diet isn’t for everyone, as everyone is unique and individual.

What I would suggest though is to become aware and be really honest with yourself about :-

- WHAT YOU EAT

- WHY YOU EAT IT

- HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL

Gold Coast Marathon Wk 5 – Thank Heavens For Google Maps!

This week saw a couple of short runs again, although one involved hill bashing. Good to get back into that, as it’s such a great feeling conquering a ‘mother of a hill’ in one go :)

My weekend long runs are getting longer so mixing it up with new routes was the order of the day today. Easy I thought, I’ll do an out and back 12.5km each way. Sounds easy, quick check on google maps the night before to plot out a route, adding a bit on to my usual Barwon River run.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it, until when you’re out running and you’re looping around on streets in a suburb you’re unfamilar with in a delirious state of running checking out the scenery, miss your turning and end up heading for a railway crossing. Nope this doesn’t look familiar. Arrrgh not what …….

Thank heavens for my trusty I Phone and Google maps to locate where I was and put me back on track to find my way home – Phew!!!

Last week I said I’d be squeezing in more strength work. Well to do ‘the perfect squat’ imagine you’re sitting down on a chair, and getting back up again.

So based on that I’ve devised the perfect ‘loo workout’ LOL. As a break from work, when you visit the loo mid morning and mid afternoon, do a minimum of 5 squats (just touching the loo seat, then back up. Awesome, not only will it get the heart pumping you’re guaranteed to get the blood flowing to the legs too. A great way to sneak in an extra 70 squats a week.

My thought of the day on this morning’s run, is running is split into 4 foundations – Strength, Stamina, Flexibility and Mind Power. Think of them like legs of a table, you need them all for the table to be straight, solid and to function at it’s best. It’s a good idea to incorporate all of those into your training on a weekly basis.