Monday, 30 June 2014

Weekly Workout Recap: 23 - 29 June

Monday: 5km hill run

Tuesday: 2km run, weights

Wednesday: 7km run, core
Thursday: rest
Friday: rest

Saturday: 5km run
Sunday: Funlavin 10k!

 This was the week I really worked out that I need two rest days. I ended up taking them in a row I got so desperate for them. But I've worked out a training plan now that should take me up to Dun Laoghaire, and it's got a nice rest days schedule, so hopefully this works better!

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Pre-race Prep

Today is the Funlavin 10k! I'm up bright and early because a) I'm always up bright and early cos I'm one of those super-morning-people that irritates everyone and b) I wanted to jump-start my hydration for what looks like being a fairly hot day.

I woke up to this beautiful morning at 6.30am...

(Yep, my window is tiny. I have an attic room and this one is on the wall just below the slanted roof so there's not much space.)

This cutie spent last night on my bed.

So I thought I'd share my Race Morning Prep with you guys. This is generally what I do on race morning - not too complicated since I usually don't need to travel for races, I'm either at my house in the city or at my parents' house, which makes it much easier.

  1. Up early and start hydrating - I try to drink at least half a litre of water between waking up and an hour before the race.
  2. Eat a carby, very simple breakfast (today will be a wholemeal bagel with a little bit of cream cheese) about 90 minutes before. I'm pretty strict on time - I've got no qualms about wrapping my bagel/toast in some tinfoil and eating it on the bus / in the car / while walking down the street.
  3. Put on my race kit, which usually consists of Nike tempo shorts, Penneys sports bra (they fit me really nicely), some sort of loose cotton t-shirt, socks, Mizuno Wave Inspire 9s, iPod armband and my Garmin. Tie up my hair into something resembling a neat ponytail.
  4. Prep my race day bag - usually contains the water bottle I'll run with, a recovery drink for afterwards (today I'm bringing some flavoured coconut water), post-race snack, a hoodie in case I get chilly afterwards, blister plasters, regular plasters, hayfever meds just in case, purse, phone, and any registration stuff I need.
When I get to the race I usually don't do a big warmup, I'll just jog on the spot a little bit to get warm and then do a couple of stretches. Then hit the bathrooms and we're good to go!

That's the plan for today too. Hopefully everything goes well and I have good things to report!

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Friday Five - on Saturday....


Yeah, so it's Saturday morning now, not Friday. My bad! I came home last night to spend the weekend at home with my parents, and between rushing out of work at 5.30, making dinner, packing (of course I left it until half an hour before leaving), washing dishes, getting two buses and finally making it home, I had no time for my Friday Five. Boo :(

But better late than never, right? :P So here are five of the things I've loved / liked / frequented / obsessed over this week!

1. Strawberries

My god do I love strawberries. And I'm lucky - my parents grow them, so they've been sending up tubs of them for me to eat. Plain, with yoghurt, with all kinds of other fruit - any way you eat them, strawberries are awesome. I'm hoping to try them in salad soon too!

2. Rest days

I know this is a bit of an odd one, but I've come to really appreciate my rest days. I used to be one of those people who'd do anything to avoid an actual rest day - bike instead of running, do a really short run, run at an easier pace... but my body just can't handle that. I've learned that I need a two-rest-day-a-week training plan. And it's lovely - the five other days I feel so strong and capable. I really do work better this day.
3. Countryside runs (and walks, and drives...)

Being home for the weekend means lots of big blue skies and green fields. I think this every time I come home, but you don't realise how much you miss the countryside until you get back to it. I love it here.

4. Fish

I've always loved fish, but recently I've been obsessed. I'll have fish for dinner more often than not now, and this week I discovered the "lightly dusted" frozen yellowfin sole in Aldi and was sold. They have two variations - garlic and herb crumb or lemon crumb - and although I haven't tried the lemon yet, the garlic and herb one is gorgeous.

5. Pizza

Because who doesn't love pizza?!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Weekly Workout Recap: 16 - 22 June

Monday: 5km shakeout run
Tuesday: 2km + 2km, weights
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 7km run, core

Friday: 5km tempo treadmill run, weights
(bet you missed my awkward super-sweaty changing room selfies!)

Saturday: rest - with a 45 min walk

Sunday: 10km run, core

So much for doing more squats... I think my strength-training sessions were the only times I did any squats last week. Oh well. At least I got better at taking pictures!

I took two rest days this week, for possibly the first time since Paris? I'm always one for feeling guilty about multiple weekly rest days, but this week they were sorely needed. My calves were so tight they felt like snapping, and even walking down hills on my way home from work was pulling them too much, so I gave them a bit of an easy week. 

Saturday I went to visit my aunt, who's just had an operation at the Sports Surgery Clinic in Santry, and got to walk through Northwood. I used to live in Northwood ages ago, back in my first year of college, and it's so awkward for the city centre but it's so beautiful. It's a huge gated community with loads of apartment blocks, student apartments, a gym, shops, cafes, a hotel and a McDonald's. All those pictures are from inside the gates, that's how lovely it is. And such a gorgeous day for it too!

Food this week has involved healthy fats (mainly in peanut or peanut butter form), lots of strawberries (my parents grow them and keep sending me some!) and my first ever positive experience with coconut water. I got this orange Vita Coco in my Flora goody bag but took so long to drink it because I tried plain coconut water before and hated it. But this one's pretty good! Especially if you keep it in the fridge, and especially if you drink it right after a 10km run that you did way too late in the morning, when the sun was way too high.

Excited for more running this week - and also possibly a big announcement about my future racing! Keep your eyes peeled ;) And I'll leave you with the glorious gift my dad gave me on Sunday when he came to visit.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Friday Five!

Welcome to the end of the week - can you hear my sighs of happiness through your screen? - and the time for a brand new Friday Five. Five things I've liked, loved, frequented or found interesting this week. 

1. Peanut Butter

Can you believe I've never tried peanut butter until this week? In my defence, nut butter isn't really a big thing here, but still, it's becoming fairly widely available and every health blogger seems to rave about it. So I figured I better pick up a jar and try some, and I am hooked! So far I've had it on toast and these multigrain crackers, which are awesome and my new bedtime snack of choice, but I want to try it on bananas next.

2. Bed Early, Up Early

It's no secret to anyone that I'm a morning person. With my working schedule, it's easier to work out in the mornings before work anyway, and I'm very happily settling into an up-at-6am, bed-at-10pm schedule that I love. It makes me so happy and energised and just generally great and I love it.

3. This amazing burger from The Counter

The Counter is a custom burger bar on Suffolk Street (and a ton of international locations!) and we went there for dinner tonight. I always like burger bars that let you get a salad instead of a bun, and this was the best salad ever because they let you 'build' it yourself - you tick off your ingredients on a little form. This was the best meal I have eaten in a very, very long time, or possibly ever - yep, it's that good! My 'burger bowl' had a 1/3 lb turkey burger, mixed baby greens, cucumber, carrots, coleslaw, dried cranberries (!), feta cheese and Thai sweet chilli dressing. SO GOOD. (That epic plate of fries was our sharing plate!) Also this was waaaay bigger than it looks in the photo...

4. Cereal

No pictures, because I ate it all. But Coco Pops are the greatest food ever invented. Chemical, sugary, made of a million artificial additives, super-processed? Yep, but they are also yummy. Like, insanely yummy. 

5. Being back at the gym

Since starting work, I've found it difficult to find time to actually go to the gym properly, not just running there and back to do some strength training. This morning I figured out a way to go before work, and I missed it! You'll hear more about my tempo treadmill run soon, probably, but I did 5km with 3 of them at my goal pace for Dun Laoghaire (my next 10k PR attempt race, in August). It was actually surprisingly really nice to run on a treadmill again!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Spontaneous Race Signup!

If you've read my last weekly workout recap, you'll know I'm feeling really good about training at the moment. Lots of decent quality distance has really brought me up and made me happy with my running progress. This is just the time I'd want to have a race coming up soon - a bit of wiggle room for some more improvements, but a really solid baseline that wouldn't have much time to diminish. So... I decided to sign up for one on Sunday week!

I'll be running the Funlavin 10k on Sunday 29th. Dunlavin is sort of middle-of-nowhere, a decent drive both from the city and from my parents' house, but it looks like a lovely race (super flat!) and I'm so much in the mood for a 10k. I'm racing the weekend after but only five miles, and my next planned 10k wasn't until August - way too far for summer racing season! :P

I've spent the week shuffling my rest days around, as usual. Struggling with tension in my calves - this is always the area my body gets a bit tight if I throw a ton of extra miles at it - and I'm working on stretching/foam-rolling them but I figured taking Wednesday for my rest day couldn't hurt. Of course this leaves me with the difficult question of when to take rest days next week - I want to take one Friday, but I don't know if I can make it that far with only that one rest day. We'll see...

Monday, 16 June 2014

Weekly Workout Recap: 9 - 15 June

Monday: 5km run, core
Tuesday: 2km + 2km run, weights
Wednesday: 7km run, core

Thursday: rest
Friday: 5km run 

Saturday: 5km + 2km run, weights
Sunday: 10km long run

It's been a goooooood running week! Higher distance than I've done in a long time, clocking in at 38 kilometres for the week. I've been hitting really good times on my shorter runs lately - I can keep every kilometre of a 5k under 7 minutes these days, which is a long way from my previous times! I feel great. This is just what I needed after my Flora disaster - lots of decent distance. I was right about needing to just put in more miles. 

Running to the gym has been lovely, and it makes a huge difference getting back out on the road after doing some strength training. Basically, this week has been amazing, and I really hope I can keep it up next week! I want to do a bit more core work, start including some more runner-specific strength training (more squats!) and also get up on a treadmill for some decent treadmill speedwork. Fingers crossed it all goes okay!

Friday, 13 June 2014

Friday Five for Friday the 13th!

So completely out of the blue about ten minutes ago, I decided to start doing posts I'm going to call "Friday Fives", every Friday. I know lots of people have variations on this, from five random facts from their week to five workouts they did to 'Fitness Friday' recaps, but mine will (so far, anyway! if it works out) be five fitness-health-food-life-y things I've been loving or doing a lot during the week. Be prepared for anything, you guys! 

1. Early morning runs in the sunshine.

The Irish weather has been so warm recently, but it tends to be hot and overcast later in the day. My full-time work schedule (so intense! how did I do this in retail last year?!) means it's more convenient for me to work out at 6.30am anyway, and I've loved beating the late heat and catching the sun before it vanishes behind clouds for the evening. Plus nothing beats being able to come home from work and justifiably sit around reading Game of Thrones all evening. 

2. Nakd bars

I've always been one for more chewy, oat-y bars, and it's so nice to find something yummy (and chewy!) that's also really good for you. I've tried out a bunch of the chocolate ones and some are pretty good, but I actually think I like the fruity ones better. 

3. Running to the gym

Since moving a lot closer to my gym a couple weeks ago, I've discovered the joy in beating out a few kilometres running to it, doing strength training, and then taking the direct route (2 kilometres) home again. Running again after standing about for a bit is challenging in the best way, plus it's lovely to get to use the gym equipment and still be able to use my own shower. 

4. Bananas

All runners love bananas. Fact. I've been eating them for years, but I never really loved them - I liked them, sure, but would always have preferred an apple or some strawberries. But for some reason I've recently become obsessed with them! I've had three already today, no joke. I've been loving half a bagel with cream cheese and a banana for breakfast post-run, and eating them as an after-work-walk-home snack to tide me over until dinnertime. Bananas everywhere!

5. Ice cream

Because it's summer and it's hot and ice cream is my favourite treat anyway. I've usually got a box of some kind of ice cream bars (the nicest kind of ice cream, no?) stashed in my freezer. This week I had a couple of Mars ice cream bars, and a couple of Polar Bars - basically the Aldi knockoff version of Icebergers. (Not as good as the original, but at €2.50 for six I'll take it!)    

By the way, in case you're wondering why I'm such a crappy blogger recently - still no internet in my house. Hopefully getting it fixed this coming week! Til next time.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Weekly Workout Recap: 2 - 8 June

Monday: Flora 10k Mini Marathon race!

Tuesday: 5km shakeout run
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 5km + 2km runs, weights
Friday: 7km run

Saturday: 5km run, weights, core 
Sunday: 5km run 

Okay, so this is a little bit late. Last late post I swear!

This week was a bit weird workout-wise for me since I started working full time. Getting settled in to a new house and new job meant I didn't really have a structure sorted yet, so I was working out at every time of the day... hopefully I've sorted that out a bit now!

Food-wise it's been yummy, but I've been a bad blogger and taken barely any pictures. This week is my comeback week, I swear!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Weekly Workout Recap: 26 May - 1 June

Monday: 10k long run
Tuesday: 4km hill training (in Paris!)
Wednesday: 4km hill training (in Paris!)
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday....... rest days

Yeah, I sort of sucked later in the week! I was going so well with running in Paris, but on Thursday we spent literally the entire day in Disneyland so I needed all my energy for walking round it, Friday was flying home, and then at the weekend I had such bad blisters from wearing ballet flats all through Paris (BIG mistake) that I didn't want to risk hurting my feet too badly to run Flora. So... yeah. But I did get some dumb photos of my Paris runs! 

Lookin' sweaty in our hotel room after my first 4km hill day - anyone who's ever been to Montmartre will know it's insanely hilly! Oh and that's my boyfriend's hand creeping in from the side there - he wouldn't get properly in the picture but insisted on waving in the back of it! 

This is the area I got to run in - I felt so lucky. These photos probably do it no justice at all but it was just getting dark, lights were starting to come on, and it was so beautiful. Also that's the Montmartre carousel in the first picture, if you look closely! (Sorry these were blurry, I refused to stop running to take steady photos...)

Aaaaaand this is the health food stash I had in our hotel room after we hit up a Monoprix. The NA bars were great! The GerblĂ© biscuits at the back are 'Choco Magnesium', apparently, and were really tasty but I'm not sure quite how healthy. The almond bars were definitely an energy bar thing but they were kind of gross :/ Oh well. I did the best I could given I speak literally zero French and none of the boxes had much in the way of English descriptions (although I recognised 'Nutrition & Sport' on the front of the almond bars box). 

A proper Paris recap - with a million photos of me in Disneyland - is coming up soon!

I'M BACK! Where have I been?!


I disappeared off the face of the earth this blog for almost two weeks... *sob*. So where did I go?!

I told you guys I was off to Paris for four days... but somehow I failed to mention that the day after coming back I was moving house. Yep, that's right - less than twelve hours after getting off the plane, myself and my parents were boxing up my whole apartment to bring everything to my new HOUSE! Talk about stressful... it was possibly the most wrecked I've ever been, it was so difficult.

I'll be sharing a teeny two-bed house with my old flatmate for the next year. It's going to be our college house, but I'll be living here all summer too, since I'm doing an internship in the city (which started on Tuesday - talk about a busy week!) so I've pretty much got the place to myself for a while. You see why I've been a bit absent? Oh, and we also don't have any internet here yet! I'm using the hotspot on my phone for emergency blogging/Twitter. 

Last Monday was the Flora mini marathon (10k), my second year running it and my first race of the summer. And unfortunately, to say it went badly would be an understatement. I'll have a proper recap up this week, but suffice it to say that instead of moving up a corral next year, I've barely scraped my way back into this year's. Oh well... bad runs are just lessons in how to do better next time! 

I don't want to overwhelm you guys with news, so over the next week or so I'll be posting my regular everyday posts, but intermittently you can also expect both a Paris recap and a Flora 10k recap. Oh, and tonight keep an eye out for last week's workout summary, since I'd better get it up ahead of this week's recap tomorrow! 

Glad to be back, and here's to some exciting posts in future!