Monthly Archives: December 2011

5K birthday extragavanza

I am happy, I am weary. This morning I ran 5K in 37.04.

It was a gorgeous morning. My boy woke up a little early so I got up, got him up and had a small breakfast with him. I was dressed in my running gear and made sure I had some water. And then I had some more water. After my man got up, I started getting things together; my watch, my headband, my phone. And then before I could procrastinate too much I headed out.

The temp was 15’C and the skies were blue and clear. A beutiful day for a run.

I got really excited heading out. It was my birthday and I was running!!! This time last year I was not able to run. This time last year I was about to start on my healthy journey and was excited but also nervous about the future. And today I was running!

My warm up is about 1 km and I started out walking with huge arm swings and windmills. At about 500m I started running. I stopped for stretches and wriggled my toes about and then off I went.

The first km I was focussed on going at a slow steady pace. I knew if I wanted to finish strong I had to start slowly. The first part takes me down a path and one of the houses has extended their vegie patch outside the fence and I always want to check out what is growing. This morning the zucchini flowers were out. A little further, a fig tree hangs over the fence. There are so many figs on it now and I don’t know how ripe they are because I couldn’t stop.

The second km is on a path between two suburbs, it is wide and just slightly sloping down hill. I get a view out to the mountains to the south (the Brindabella Ranges). It is my favourite part of the run because I feel the best in terms of action, breathing and strength. The third km takes me along some roads. It is my least favourite part of the route but it is also has my halfway point which means that every step is now closer to the end.

The fourth km takes me to the end of a big loop and then I start heading back home. I go past the fig tree again and I try not to look. I go past the vegie patch. An elderly man was out watering and made some positive comment about me running. I said ‘only 1 more km’ and he cheered me on. I have seen him in the last few months on my runs and to have him recognise me and cheer me on was very cool.

I was shuffling in the 5th km. I refused to walk but I was going slowly. It was the last km and I kept going. I was determined to run the full distance. I came over the bridge and round the corner and saw my usual end point. And I swore because today I was ending 100m further up the path. It seemed a good idea at the time, my man and boy were at the playground to see my finish. But to go past the house and up the (very) slight incline at the end of a hard run just seemed… a very bad idea. But I got there, I threw my arms up into the air in victory!

Total distance was 6.45km, total time was 54 minutes. 5K time was 37.04 minutes. Not my fastest time, not my slowest time. Somewhere very nicely in the middle. And now, 4 hours later, I am tired and weary but not shattered like I was after my first 5K. I may not be speedier but I am recovering faster.

I have run 5K four times since the start of November. I am amazed at what my body can do. My legs are strong! My lungs and heart are strong! I am so proud of what I have achieved. I am looking forward to what happens next.

Running 5K today is my birthday gift to me.

The lull between christmas and new year

I did ok for Christmas food wise. I went running on christmas eve and on boxing day. I went walking on the 27th as well. Today is a rest day as I plan to do a 5K tomorrow morning. Tomorrow is my birthday and I want to celebrate my birthday, my increased health and fitness and my future by running. My training has been ok, my eating has been not ideal but my race plan is to take the first km slowly and then have a steady pace.

I have been thinking about food plans and overall commitment and motivation for next year. My plan will have three components: exercise, healthy eating and building self acceptance. My plan will have monthly check-in points rather than being a long focus like last year. I will blog more on the healthy eating, the self acceptance and the monthly check-ins a bit later. The plan is taking shape but it needs a name; I need to work on a name for the 2012 plan.

My gear is out and ready for tomorrow. I am going to have some water and head to bed.

I am a runner

I went running again at lunch today and today was better. My legs did not feel heavy or feel like they were on the verge of cramping. And I ran the whole second leg of the workout without modifying! I was so thrilled when I got to the end! I had to push myself and it was hard and I was so happy that I did! The two guys doing stretches at the same place I stopped smiled with me and made some good comment about my run – I can’t even remember what it was. But I was beaming with pride and I was breathing hard and they shared my success with me.

Today’s times 53 minutes, first interval: 2.1km in 13.52 minutes (6.36 min/km); 5 minute breather, second interval: 2,1 km in 15.01 minutes (7.09 min/km).

One funny thing today was that as I was doing my stretches after warmup I noticed a girl go past. She was thin and beautiful and dressed in good looking sports gear (I was in some more ordinary gear today). My mind mused – she is a runner; one day I will look like that – and then I thought about my running plan for today and was distracted as she walked away. I started off running. At about the 5 min mark I noticed her up ahead. She was still walking. She was a long way off but slowly, I caught up. She wasn’t running; today, she was not a runner. And I thought – I am a runner and I look like a runner because I am running; I should really just be me – and then I overtook her. And I kept running. I reached my end point for that interval and I stood and breathed and cooled down in the breeze and enjoyed the sensation of my body slowing. My body is strong and amazing and it helps me run. And then I started running again.

This is my journey. I should worry a whole lot less about what other people think and concentrate on my own plan.

Having put some thought into training plans for next year I am now thinking about how to record my training. I need to be able to do it easily but I also want to be able to look at the last month and say that I have run/walked so many kms or that I have met my goals with strength training. I think a spreadsheet might work. I can use conditional formatting to help organise the different workouts, I can keep a week or a fortnight in google docs but have the master spreadsheet on my computer so that I can do the stats. The reason for having a smaller version is so that I can access it and update it on my phone rather than keeping a paper version or keeping notes to update the version on the computer at home. I have not been consistent with recording my workouts in the last couple of months and I am short changing myself on the motivation that comes from having it all there. So, I will find a way to keep track. Another little project to work on 🙂

Training Plans

I went out running today at lunch time rather than first thing this morning. My plan this morning was to get the early bus to work so I could get the early bus home. Leaving early meant putting off my run till lunch time. This worked well because it was raining this morning. I made it in time for the early bus this morning… I have since discovered that the express bus I wanted to get home does not have an earlier option for my home trip!

Lunch time running was hard today. It had been a couple of weeks since I had gone running at lunchtime. I had been running at other times but *For Reasons* there had been no lunchtime running. Today I got out and got going. The rain had stopped, it was getting muggy as the day warmed up but it was nice to be out. I did my warm up and stretches. I started running. One thing I am trying to do with my longer runs is pace myself a little better so that I am starting slower and am able to finish more strongly. Not that today was a longer run (it is my usual lunchtime route with 750 m warm up, stretch, 2.1km run, 3 min breather, 2.1km run, 750 m cooldown). The first few minutes are always hard but I got through that. I made it to my halfway mark with a time of 13.52 which was a little faster than I was hoping for. My calf muscles were tight so I did some more stretching and headed back. I really struggled on the way back. I started checking my watch from about 3 mins and making deals with myself just to get to that spot or go another minute. My legs felt heavy and things were just not feeling right. At 7 minutes, which I knew would be more than 1km, I dropped back to a walk. I walked for 1 min and then ran again. After another 3 mins I walked again. The second 2.1km stretch took me 16 minutes 40. The entire workout was 53 minutes.

I am really happy that I modified my workout rather than just stopping. Last week I struggled on the monday and I dropped back to a walk and did not run again. Today I tried to work out what was wrong and modified. It was a really positive approach to a workout not going as expected.

Walking back I thought about how I want to structure my exercise next year. I want to keep my running going three times a week. I want to commit to exercise 5 days a week. I want to do strength training. I need it to be sustainable, I need it to fit into my life. I want a plan.

The running course was excellent because I committed to the workouts three times a week. I wrote my running times each week on the whiteboard on the fridge. Having the times there as evidence was a wonderful reminder and motivator. I used a simple stop watch and had the workout written on a piece of sticky paper. It was easy and low key. When I tried to go high tech after the couse I got frustrated when the tracking wouldn’t work properly, I did not write my times on the fridge, I did not have the same commitment to the plan. These are some of the reasons I mentioned above. Next year, from the 2nd of Jan, I am commiting to the Up and Running Bridge to 10K plans. Monday, Wednesday and Saturday have worked well for running so far, I will keep it on those days next year. The next three running workouts, I am going to repeat Week 8 of the 5K Up and Running Course and then do a 5K run.

For strength training, I am thinking about using my free weights at home and whole body moves. I want to do two sessions a week. Looking at my weekly logistics, I can do this on Tuesday and Thursday mornings – I have 40 minutes both mornings so I need to think about what I can fit into that time.

I like getting out at lunchtimes. I have a 4km route that I will walk on Tuesday and Thursday as well as the strength training in the morning. That leaves Friday and Sunday as rest days.

My legs are tired now. I did the right thing in modifying my workout when I was out.

This is the first draft of my training plan for next year; it may be adjusted between now and January but I have a basic plan. I will trial my training plan in January for four weeks to see how it does fit into my life. If it doesn’t work out, I will make changes for February.

Christmas day meal planning

I am thinking about Christmas day food. I want it to be special, I want to have the traditional things that are important to us for Christmas. I want it to be healthy and I don’t want to eat too much.

I discovered a few years ago that one important Christmas food for me is mince pies. I discovered that the year we didn’t have any. I may or may not be making them. One pro for buying them is that I will only buy 6 and once they are gone they are gone. If I make them, we might end up with 12 or 18…. I think it is safer to have fewer in the house.

Talking with my man, he has identified prawns as an important festive food; prawns in lemon and piri piri cooked over the BBQ. This is going to be the centre of our Christmas day lunch. I am going to pair it with a light salad and some bread.

For dinner, we are going to a friends place. There will be roast meats and vegetables. I have offered to bring a mixed steamed green salad that we can have either warm or cold. It will be asparagus, snowpeas, beans, sugar snap peas, broccoli scattered with a zesty garlic (gluten free) breadcrumb topping. It will be fresh and light and the breadcrumbs will make it special. I am also bringing a dessert option… well two dessert options. I am making small meringues with nuts and chocolate and a chocolate hedgehog roll we can cut in thin slices. By bringing small desserts, I can have a little and stop. That is the plan, anyway.

And for special breakfast, we will have a supreme fried sandwich. This is a little bit of a joke in our house. A fried sandwich with ham, cheese and mustard is called a Mr Fried Sandwich. We use small pieces of bread, lite cheese and lean ham and no butter – it is fried in a dry pran. One version is with a fried egg, another version has relish instead of mustard, one version has blue cheese. This is an easy breakfast I can account for with my kJ. For Christmas we are going for a fried sandwich with special Christmas ham, Jarlsberg cheese, fresh eggs, herbed mustard and special bread. It will be the Majestic Fried Sandwich! And, it will keep me going till lunch!

All meals with have protein. Lunch will be low kJ and lite. Dinner I will avoid the carbs and stick with green veg and roast meat. At some point there will be mince pies.

I also want to go walking. I might need to get up early for it but I need to fit it in next Sunday. And for Boxing day.

For our family, Christmas is about joining together with the people we love. Some of that happens over a meal and so there are special foods. This year, I want to make it special but remember the concept ‘healthy for life’ and build that into the day. I can do both; they are not mutually exclusive.

Wednesday running :)

I woke up and almost didn’t get up. But the thought – exercise is not negotiable- came into my head. I got up.

Today I ran 5km. I did a 1km warm up walk/run, some stretches and then 5km. Time 36.40. Very happy with running the whole way and with the time.

Running 5k was a surprise this year. I am so proud of that achievement. And being able to run 5K today after a bad couple of weeks is very grounding.

Am here, it’s monday…

No weigh in today.

But I went running this morning. I went up the hill on the walk that I started going up at the beginning of the year. It was my hard walk. Today I walked up the hill to the track that runs around the crown of the hill. Then I ran about 3/4 of that back to my starting point and I walked back down. It was cool, the sun was rising. And it was very good.

Especially very good as the small one woke when I got up and was really awake – none of this snoozing nonsense! My man got up to look after him so that I could go out. I am very grateful.

As I was coming back I remembered a couple of things. I know who I am. I like who I am. I don’t always manage everything, some things are harder to process than others. Some things I deal with pretty badly. But there are lots of things I am good at, there are lots of things about me that I like. I know who I am. I like who I am. That doesn’t change because of some issues that were very much front of head for the last couple of weeks. I got through the last couple of week. And today I got up and I did some exercise. And I agreed to make healthy choices for the rest of the day.

I need to not weigh in for a little while. I need to remove that ongoing challange with the scale and focus on making healthy choices consistently. I need to think of how I want to go forward next year. Having a plan this year was brilliant. But next year I need a different kind of plan and some different goals. This will be my focus for the next couple of weeks – that and getting through each day.

Roast Banana Ice Cream

Fall down, wallow on the ground for a little while, try to pick self up again. That is what I am doing at the moment… picking myself up. Why and so on and so forth is another story and I am not yet up enough to elaborate. But I wanted to say that falling down happens, it is not all easy and happy. If I don’t write when I am there then it will never get posted…

So. Not doing great but doing ok. I have decided that chocolate won’t actually help me feel better. I remembered before I started. That is not to say I won’t start later. But I am looking for other things to amuse me till bed time which are uplifting and affirming.

Cooking is one of those things for me. I get captured in the idea of the recipe. I want to know how it tastes and smells. How it looks. I want to see if the method works well or if there are ways I think I can make it better. I want to think about the next time I make it and how I will change the recipe. Cooking takes me from where I am into a world that is fun; where I can play. It is not about the eating (although that does come into it at some point).

I came across a recipe in the week that I had wanted to try some time ago. I had once clipped it, stored it and then promptly forgot about it. And then I found it again. Roast Banana Ice Cream. I think frozen bananas are great. They have a creamy texture and are smooth and sweet. Roast Banana Ice Cream should have the same creaminess but also that caramel depth that comes from the roasting. As the bananas were roasting I could smell the flavours develop and it made me smile.

The original recipe was simple enough, take your bananas, cut them up, add some brown sugar and butter and roast till soft. Blend with some milk, vanilla, a pinch of salt. Chill then churn in an ice cream maker. You don’t want too much milk or you lose the creaminess of the banana. But if I used yoghurt instead that might work. Or what about coconut milk? But I don’t want the fat. I could use light evap milk flavoured with coconut essence… and so on. I think the first time round I will keep it simple and I can extrapolate next time. I have summer ahead of me… if it works, it might become an easy and healthy dessert option for hot summer days.

Roast Banana Ice Cream
3 ripe bananas
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs butter or margarine (I used margarine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs lemon juice
pinch salt
2 cups reduced fat milk

Cut the bananas into 2 cm chunks, place in a oven proof dish with the sugar and margarine and bake for 30 minutes at 400’F, mixing once half way through (our oven has the temps in F which is a bit frustrating since the rest of the country is in C…).

Scrape the banana and sticky mess into a blender (or a bowl if you are using a stick blender). Add the remaining ingredients and blend till smooth. Chill in the fridge 8 hours or overnight and then churn in an icecream maker (or throw into a shallow container in the freezer for two hours, whisk through, back in the freezer for 2 hours, whisk again and then freeze. It won’t be as smooth but it will still be tasty.)

Total kJ 2976 which is just under 500kJ if you divide it into 6 serves. I don’t know yet how many serves we will get out of it… At least 4 for sure which is 744 kJ.

I haven’t finished yet so I can’t tell you what it is like. The mixture is currently in the fridge, chilling. I used to make custard based ice creams once and I like that this banana/milk mixture has an almost custard like consistency- I was a little worried that it might be too thin but I don’t think it is. The mixture tastes like banana and lemon and sugar. It is nice and gentle. And it made me smile again.

I will edit this post tomorrow night after I churn the ice cream and have some for dessert. But given the taste and texture right now, I am hopeful.

And I feel better. Which was the point.

Edit: Amazing flavour but churning failure. I was a little too enthusiastic and tried to churn the icecream this morning. The bowl was not cold enough and it did not work so I put the whole lot in the freezer thinking it would freeze quickly. I discovered tonight that my freezer is not cold enough… There were huge ice crystals in the mix. We had some for dessert anyway and my boy loved it 🙂 I will try again but really aim for a smooth creamy texture… But it was delicious. Well worth trying again.