Saturday, 20 September 2014

Moving to self-hosted!

I just wanted to let you all know I'm moving to a self-hosted blog! I'm working on getting Bloglovin up and running, but for now you can just take a look here at!

Friday, 12 September 2014

What I Ate ... Friday?

I even had all of these pictures taken on Tuesday and ready to go. This week and next week are insanely busy for me, but I still am amazed at how difficult I apparently found it just to stick the pictures into a blog post for What I Ate Wednesday. Next week will be better! Anyway, here are last Tuesday's eats.

Breakfast was my first ever green smoothie! Frozen mango, kiwi, banana, frozen spinach and natural yoghurt. And it tasted surprisingly good, too!

After breakfast I headed out for a run, and when I got back I made this awesome lunch...

 Scrambled eggs on half a bagel - trust me when I tell you using a bagel is so much better than regular bread! And a bowl of raspberry yoghurt and blueberries on the side. 

Midway through an afternoon of work (ugh) I had a little snack...

Tea and one of these Apple Pie flavour Nakd bars. By far the best flavour of Nakd bar known to man. Always, always get these ones.

For dinner I had this glorious heap of broccoli and carrots, along with some delicious yellowfin sole in a lemon crumb. These are divine and you can get them in Aldi for fairly cheap, and the best part is they cook from frozen. All the things I love most. <3

And my bedtime snack was an apple, which I ate on a late night walk and so it was too dark to photograph it. But still, I'm sure you know what apples look like :P


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Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Choose Happy: Making Choices

Something I found when I tried to start dealing with my depression was that everything seemed so huge. Tasks seemed gigantic - eating healthy every day, working out regularly, always going to bed before eleven, getting up and out of bed each morning. Who wants to start something that's going to happen every single day from then on? It sounds huge and scary and difficult.

We hear about this a lot - that mentality of 'always starting your diet on Monday'? The reason we don't start right now is because we don't want to do the now and for the rest of time thing. Making a decision to start something that basically never ends is intimidating, and overwhelming, and makes us nervous. So we delay. And delay. And delay. 

So here's something I've been doing. Instead of making a sweeping statement - I'm going to get out of bed before seven every single day, I'm always going to be in bed by eleven, I'm going to eat healthy food all the time, I'm going to work out five times a week - start small. Just make one good choice. That's it.

Sometimes the choice I have to make is: will I get out of bed today? Or: will I order a huge pizza or go downstairs and make some healthy eggs and veggies instead? And it's a lot easier when you only have to summon enough common-sense and willpower for that one moment. Make that one choice, that's it. Choose a healthy home-cooked dinner over a pizza delivery, choose to exercise instead of pressing snooze, choose to shower and dress instead of spending the day in your PJs. Just one little decision. 

It's not always easy to choose the thing that will make you happier in the long run, but it's usually worth it. And this way, you don't have to choose to make a huge life change. Just make one little choice. One. And next time you have a decision to make, make another good choice. That's it. One choice at a time. Easier, right? :)

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Monday, 8 September 2014

Weekly Workout Recap: 1 - 7 September

 I've been working this week on getting the blog self-hosted - we are mere days away, my friends - and so I've been a total moron and forgotten to take any pictures. Hopefully my ridiculous annotations will be acceptable instead!

Monday: 5km + 1km, weights, core
(I did the five on my way to the gym, then ran half of the distance back just for a bit of extra mileage in my week.)

Tuesday: 6km easy, core
(This was absolutely killer. Major fueling mistakes, as in I'd barely eaten anything for about twelve hours. It was slower than slow but at least it got done!)

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: 5km fast, Keiser resistance
(This was a beautiful treadmill day - I've been loving the treadmill recently for some reason. I alternated two minutes at 9km/h and one at 11km/h and loved it, this is a fantastic interval length for me - definitely going to incorporate this more!)

Friday: 15 min cross-trainer, 15 min recumbent bike, weights
(I love cross-training day so much. These were serious sweat sessions, not gentle slack-off time, let me tell you! I did intervals for both and fairly cranked the energy. So nice.)

Saturday: 11km long run
(I screwed up my timing majorly and so this got done on the treadmill. It was actually gorgeous - I threw in a bunch of different intervals and speed settings to make it interesting and spent it listening to every song I've liked for the past few months. Awesome. And surprisingly, not horrifically difficult either!)

Sunday: rest

So that's my week! Next week's recap will hopefully be  on a self hosted site! And will include my longest run ever, 12km. Scaryyyy....

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Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Hello September!

September has arrived! I'm so excited for autumn to finally get here. I want cool crisp days and early evening sunsets and warm spicy scents and evenings by the fire and bundling up in jumpers and boots and thick tights. Winter is my favourite season but autumn comes a close second, especially since they often blur together around here. Oh, and here's a fun fact for you - traditionally Ireland counts autumn from 1st August and winter from 1st November. So it's not as far away as you might think! 

I thought I'd make two little lists for September, to kick off the month (and back-to-college!) right. Three September goals, and three things I'm really excited about. Here we go...

Three Goals for September

  1. Move the blog to self-hosted. I'm beyond excited about this! You might already know that professionally I'm a web designer/developer, and so having a Blogger blog irks me no end. I didn't want to spend money initially before making sure I'd keep up the blog, but now that I know it's sticking around I definitely want a real domain name and a real design and layout exactly how I like it. I'll keep you posted!
  2. Make smoothies. I've wanted to start making green smoothies for breakfast for ages, but kept on putting off buying a blender. This week I got sick of waiting, so in my groceries this week I bought heaps of (perishable!) smoothie ingredients, to force myself to get a blender before they expire. I'm planning on getting one this afternoon, and hopefully making a smoothie in the morning.  
  3. Stay organised. A big ask, no? With college starting back, I have a lot of things to keep on track with. On top of my actual college work, I do PR for three student societies, plus a bit of web development spec work - and I have half marathon training. I know a lot more about saying no than I used to, so I know that as long as I keep relatively organised I can get everything done. I'm usually super good at this, since I'm a bit obsessive about keeping a planner - the promised post about that is coming! - but I want to make sure to stay on top of things so I can continue doing everything I love.

Three Exciting Things

  1. Freshers Week. The first week of college isn't actually a week of classes, but an orientation week for new students. I'm far from a new student at this stage, but student societies use the week to attract new members by doing tons of promotion and running events. Since I'm heavily involved with not one but three societies, my Freshers Week will be insanely busy, but really fun!
  2. Camping with my boyfriend. We wanted to go camping all summer, but time just got away from us. So we decided to do it this weekend, with a twist - we're camping in my parents' back garden. It's big enough to not feel like we're just beside the house (and there's a big hedge separating the house from most of the garden) but if it's freezing or it lashes rain we have the option to go inside for tea/blankets/fireplace. Win-win!
  3. Upping my long run mileage. I keep mentioning how scary this is, but it's also going to be fun! I love love love doing long slow distance runs, so I'm really excited to start properly upping my mileage. Hopefully it goes well!

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My Half Marathon Training Plan

Hey there!

So today was meant to be What I Ate Wednesday. But of course, I managed to schedule breakfast and lunch out with friends today, and forgot to take pictures any other day, so it looks like we'll be skipping this one. Next week, honestly!

Instead, I thought I'd share the training plan I'm using for my upcoming half marathon - I'm running the Clonakilty Waterfront Half on the 6th of December. This is my first half, so I wanted to stick fairly closely with a well-established training plan, so I'm using a slightly modified version of the Hal Higdon Novice 2 half marathon plan. Why did I modify, you may ask?

  • I hate taking Monday as a rest day - it feels like I spend the rest of the week playing catch-up.
  • I wanted one of my rest days to fall at the weekend so I could plan for literally laying in bed all day if necessary. If they happened during the week, I'd still be up and about going to college and things, so if I was actually completely wrecked at some point I still wouldn't be able to take a full day of properly totally resting. 
  • I wanted a couple of weeks where my long run distance was the same as the previous week, so I could feel stable and secure at that distance.
  • I know that mentally I need to have run the whole distance in training, or I just won't feel like it's possible.

So without further ado, here is my plan:

I hope you guys can read it properly! Those two 10k races are the Dublin Night Run in Park West and the Lifestyle Sports Run in the Dark, two city night races. (Seriously, if you ever wanted a good touristy race, Run in the Dark is it. Up and down the river at night in November. It's going to be stunning.)

Overall so far I'm really happy with how things are going. Keeping my rest days on Wednesday and Sunday, like they've been all summer, is working out really well - I do give myself the leeway to switch Wednesday with Tuesday/Thursday or swap the weekend days if I feel like I need my rest at a different time or have other things to do. I've loved the return to cross-training, and I'm also getting a good bit of strength in. This week the mileage starts to build on my long runs though, so we'll see how it goes from here - fingers crossed!

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Monday, 1 September 2014

Weekly Workout Recap: 25 - 31 August

Week two of my half marathon training plan done and dusted. Apart from switching my rest day from Wednesday to Tuesday, which is something my plan allows anyway (I can wiggle my rest days a bit if I need to as long as all the runs still get done), I've checked every run off the plan this week too, and I'm delighted! This is my last easy week before my long run distance starts kicking it up a level though - next week will be 11km, almost my longest ever run. (My longest ever was 11.5km sometime last year, just for fun.) 

Monday: 5km speedwork
 (I did this in the gym and managed to sneak a quick picture in the gym mirrors - look how cute my tank top was!)

 Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 5km easy

 Thursday: 5km easy, core

Friday: 20 min cross-trainer, 10 min stair climber, weights
(look at the creepily empty changing room! I was the only one in my room)

Saturday: 10km long run
Sunday: rest

Next week I've got an 11km long run. I'm also thinking about bumping up my midweek mileage a teeny bit - I have a midweek 6km run that I might extend to 7km if it feels good on the day. We'll see! I just feel weird running such short midweek runs when my weekends are so long.

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Saturday, 30 August 2014

Choose Happy: An Introduction

I mentioned a little while ago that I was going to start into a series called Choose Happy. If you were wondering where it was or what it was going to be about, well, here you go! This is my first post of hopefully lots and lots, and we're going to kick off with a bit of an introduction.

I suffer from clinical depression. When I was first diagnosed, I knew I didn't want to start on medication - antidepressants are wonderful things and some people genuinely need them, but I knew I could manage without and I prefer not to put unnecessary chemicals into my body. I have a therapist that I see regularly, but mainly I manage my illness with exercise, healthy eating, good sleep, wonderful friends and family, and a heap of little things I like to do to improve my life and make me feel better. 

Even if you don't suffer from depression, everyone gets sad sometimes, or has off days, or even just sometimes takes a look at their life and realises they've just been on autopilot instead of really enjoying themselves. I want to start talking about little, everyday ways to get some of your happiness back. The biggest contributor to happiness is your own mental attitude and the choices you make, so I want to talk about how to choose happy.

I want to keep it simple for my first post, so I wanted to start with something I call my 'Happy List'. I have a special notebook I use for writing this stuff, and the first few pages are dedicated to a sort of master list of things that make me feel better. They're not quite instant pick-me-ups (although I have a couple lists of those too!), they're more like bigger tasks that I like to keep in the back of my mind every day, and they help me make better choices. I add to my list all the time, but here it is at the moment - and yes, I do write them as if I'm telling another person to do things! The other person being myself. What can I say? I'm weird :P

  • Always exercise in the morning. No excuses, you'll feel more tired if you sleep in!
  • Get outdoors within half an hour of waking up as often as possible.
  • Keep your spaces neat, clean and organised.
  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Focus on vegetables as your most important food group.
  • Sleep enough and early.
  • Working feels better than procrastinating.
  • Get it out of your brain and onto paper. Keep notebooks and keep them organised.
  • Take pride in your appearance. Nice clothes, hair, makeup, nails, jewellery, shoes, bag, skincare, everything. The more you can do, the better you'll feel.
  • Focus on getting less screen time and more world time.
  • Sit at your desk, not on your bed.
  • Keep moving.
  • Light candles, burn incense, use essential oils - make your space smell good.
  • Clean something noticeable. Hoovering is a great option!
  • Dance to a song you love.
  • Look up and try out new music. Remember why it makes you happy.
  • Run if you want to run. Training plans forgive more miles easier than less. Or cross-train after your run, or before, or both. More is okay.
  • Don't be scared to say no, or not yet, or not today.
  • Take a shower at bedtime.
This is a very personal collection of things that work for me, so don't worry if you can't relate to half of them! It can be really useful to make your own 'Happy List', so if you want, I'd encourage you to try it out and see for yourself!

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Friday, 29 August 2014

Weekly Workout Recap: 18 - 24 August

Cue the excuses. I know, I know, I suck at blogging! I have a bunch of reasons I could blab on about - my last week of work, having a bunch of work projects to finish off before leaving, starting to get caught up in going back to college, plus some medical issues - but realistically I'm just not making blogging a high enough priority. Well, that stops today! I love this blog and I want it to be interesting and engaging to read, and that's not going to happen unless I make time. So this is the last time I'll promise this, cos it will stick this time - I will post more from here on out! Anyway, on to my recap...

This week was my first week on my half marathon training plan, and surprisingly, it went really well! I managed to get everything done and on the right days, despite feeling crappy for a couple of days and wondering whether I'd be able to keep to the plan (one of my runs was literally done at 11pm. I got it on the right day with a mere 20 minutes to spare).

Monday: 5km easy

Tuesday: 5km speedwork, weights

(such an awkward pose... I was trying to show you guys my shorts!)

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: 5km easy, core

 (this is my new running belt, which arrived the other day. Handy for sticking my keys or phone in - hopefully this means more on-the-run photos since I can bring my phone now!)

Friday: 20 min cross-trainer, 10 min bike, weights
Saturday: 10km long run

Sunday: rest (with a little bit of strength & core)

Here's hoping next week is as good! I've got one week left of the 10km long runs, then the distance starts increasing... scary!

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Friday, 22 August 2014

WIAW #1: My First Ever What I Ate Wednesday!

I'm doing my very first What I Ate Wednesday, courtesy of Jenn at the Peas & Crayons blog!

Okay, so a teeny bit of a fail - these are pictures of what I ate on Wednesday, but because I sort of forgot I eat until the end of the day, it never crossed my head I should probably do a day other than the actual day of WIAW to actually take pictures. But no. And the irony is I forgot to take the final picture of the day anyway, so I could have put this up after dinner, but nevermind. And of course I missed actually getting into the linkup on the blog too.

You live and learn, right?! So next week will be better. Anyway, onto the food!


 I actually have breakfast with my dad a lot on Wednesdays - it's my only rest day during the week, so I'm not working out in the morning, and he works weekdays in the city so we have breakfast. Insomnia is probably my favourite 'big chain' coffee shop - their tea is divine and they make really good food too. So I had two of these big cups of tea, along with some amazing banana bread. (Can you spot my dad's scone lurking in the back?)


 A turkey and cream cheese multigrain roll, a banana and some berries. I love fruit and often try to get a different kind to test out each week - this week I got some amazing blackberries and they were divine.

Afternoon snacks

 I'm still obsessed with the Nakd apple pie bars, they're incredible and actually inspired me to buy some cinnamon this week. No idea what I'll do with it yet but these bars have reminded me how much I love it - and how well it goes with raisins and apple, too. Might have to make some kind of fancy dessert concoction! I also had an apple on my walk home - forgot to take a picture but I'm sure you know what apples look like :P


 Some yellowfin sole - this one is in a lemon crumb and tastes awesome - and mixed veg for dinner today. These veggies are actually cooked from frozen, in my all time favourite frozen mix - carrots, broccoli and cauliflower are my three favourite vegetables so I love that they make a big mixed bag of just those three frozen, it's great. I had some strawberries and yoghurt for dessert - I was nearly out of strawberries so it's kind of hard to see them in there but they exist, promise!

Evening snack

Completely and totally forgot to photograph this but I had half a wholemeal bagel with peanut butter. Sooooo good. 
Today was a rest day for me, so I don't eat quite as much as I would on workout days, but I had a lovely day of good food that made me and my body happy. I'm trying to work on adding more vegetables to my day and not relying on bread so much - bagels will always feature in my breakfasts and bedtime snacks but I'd rather change up my lunch to include less bread, maybe with some pasta or something instead. I'm hoping once college is back it will be easier to change up my meals a bit more during the week!

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Monday, 18 August 2014

Weekly Workout Recap: 11 - 17 August & an Update!

 Before I start my recap, I want to say I'm really sorry for missing my Friday Five! I'm clearly awful at writing them. I've made some blogging decisions recently that will hopefully make up for it though, so you can take a look at the end of the recap for what I hope is exciting news!

Monday: 2km + 2km, weights

Tuesday: 5km run
Wednesday: rest

Thursday: 5km

Friday: rest
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 7km, weights
(and a lot of walking around Powerscourt! I went to a vintage car rally there with my boyfriend and his family - the cars were cool but the scenery was better!)

There's a reason for the extra rest and shorter distance this week - I wanted to be ready for this week, because today, Monday, marks the start of my half marathon training! I'm thrilled - I've been wanting to run longer distances for so long and am really excited to get that push to do it. (For anyone who missed my announcement a while back, I'm running the Clonakilty Waterfront Half Marathon on 6th December.) I can't wait to do some lovely long slow distances, and the plan I use lets me keep a couple days of speedwork in the mix too, so I'm very happy.

Now for a blog-related announcement! You guys have probably noticed that I suck at getting my Friday Five posts up on time. Whatever it is about Fridays, something always seems to go wrong and they don't go up when they should, and when they do they're often thrown together at the last minute, so they aren't as good as they could be. Along with that, I've got a couple of other things I'd like to start blogging about, so here's what's going to happen from here on out:
  • I'll be doing Friday Five but not every week, just weeks when I feel like I have something good to share.
  • I want to start doing more posts about all around health, not just fitness, so I'm going to start writing some posts called 'Choosing Happy'. I'll explain my story in the first one, but to make a long story short, it's hit me hard recently that I need to make it a priority to choose happiness in as many ways as I can every day. It's good for my mental and emotional health as well as physical! There won't be regular scheduling on these but I'm really excited to do them, so expect them maybe weekly.
  • I'm also going to join in with What I Ate Wednesday! I'd love to show you guys a full day of my eats once a week (although I hope it's not repetitive...) I'll get the posts up on Wednesdays but they might show a different day's food, just for the sake of convenience and keeping it interesting!
I'm excited for new things to come, and I hope you are too! Also sometime soon I'll hopefully be moving over to self-hosting my blog, so that's another landmark to keep an eye out for. Here's to good things!
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