Fitness Journey, Health & Fitness

Fitness Diary – First race of the season…DONE!

I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for weeks as I’ve had really itchy feet to do an event (and get some bling) and this weekend it was final time for the first one of the year, the 10k at the Milton Keynes Festival of Running.

We got there nice and early, there were 4 distances in total on the day starting with the 20 mile which a few friends from club were running so once we cheered them off it was time to get focussed.  This event was by far the biggest one I have done so far and the 10k seemed to be the most popular distance.  It was an odd feeling being surrounded by so many people – all shapes, sizes, and abilities but all with the same goal.

MK festival of running

 

 

 

 

 

 

As this was my first official 10k, my aim for the day was to just run my own race, listen to my body and push when I felt like I could.  Aside from one encounter with a very rude runner hurling abuse at some 5kers who were struggling a little, the atmosphere on the way round was really good.  Lots of people cheering you on, especially in the second half which I was surprised actually does really help!  Pace wise I was surprising myself at the speed I was running – 9:20 miles which is very fast for me for that distance and I was feeling strong, until I saw ‘it’ in the distance.

A lot of people had been talking about ‘the hill’ in the last mile, something I thought was odd as anyone who has been to Milton Keynes knows, its pretty flat certainly in the centre where we were.  I didn’t know the course route so as we hit a steady incline at the start of mile 6 I thought OK, this isn’t so bad.  I can do this after all.  That was until I turned a corner and there in the distance I saw it.  At that point I had been pushing pretty hard and knew there was no chance I had enough left in me for that hill.  So the strategy was, push right up to the hill, speed walk up, and then sprint the rest of the way.  It wasn’t ideal as I was determined to get round without stopping but this way it meant  had enough left in me for a little sprint finish and finish in style 🙂 As I stumbled across the finish line and collapsed on the grass, I was gutted when I realised I forgot to stop my watch!  Waiting anxiously for results to go up online I knew I was really close to a PB and the goal for the year, a sub 1hr 10k.

MK festival of running medal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even with the little uphill walk I managed 1:00:37, over a minute off my PB and so close to the end goal!  I was so pleased with that and has made that goal feel so close!  My next event is a 10k on 22nd March, course wise, I don’t envisage it being a PB as it is reasonably hilly so the tactics for this one is to get round with out stopping and not let those hills defeat me!

hills

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 mileage to date: 159.96

Miles to go to hit target: 540.04

Happy running

D x

 

 

 

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Fitness Journey, Health & Fitness, Uncategorized

Fitness Diary: Two months to go and counting!

never easy

I’ve now just come to the end of my third week of training and so far, all seems to be going well.  I haven’t missed a training session yet despite work being really busy and trying to fit in some social events around the 4 runs a week which I’m very proud of 🙂  I even did 4 miles before meeting friends for dinner and drinks on Friday evening!

I had a really good speed work session on Thursday and have been feeling really strong this week. Today I did my furthest distance so far, 8 miles, which finally takes me over the half way mark distance wise.  Apart from a strong headwind during the first uphill climb, the rest of the run went pretty well. The last mile I did feel my energy drop significantly so I decided to post online and discuss with my fellow club runners about refuelling.  It’s not something I had considered for a half marathon distance but following the mixed feedback I might experiment with a few things on some of my longer training runs.

I have my first race of the year next Sunday!  I’ve been dying to get out and do an event so very excited to be doing the 10k at MK festival of running, even if the did completely mess up on the numbers (can you spot the error?).

IMG_5893

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m also looking forward to getting my first bling of 2015! Wish me luck!

2015 mileage to date: 145.31

Miles to go to hit target: 554.69

Happy running

D x

Fitness Journey, Health & Fitness

Fitness Diary: First week training progress

week 1

 

I’ve been super excited to start my training plan and one week in all seems to be going well.  I managed to stick to the plan pretty well aside from a few extra miles here and there 😉

This week’s plan was three runs totalling 16.5 miles plus a hill training session,  not too big an increase in mileage from what I have done previously.  Generally, all the runs went pretty well, the best one being today’s 7.5 miles.  I had planned to do an early run with some other members of the club this morning but a bought of insomnia and around four hours sleep meant I decided to get a few extra z’s and head out by myself this afternoon.

I don’t normally run with music, usually because I’m chatting or I like to be able to hear the traffic or anyone creeping up behind me (!), plus I find cables really annoying, but as today was a bit of a longer run I thought I’d try out the wireless headphones I got a while ago. To try and distract me from the running, I created a playlist of random songs that I love to sing along to and it seemed to work really well!  I ran with a smile on my face for a big portion of the run, I didn’t look at my Garmin and just enjoyed the music.  The 7.5 miles went pretty quickly and I managed to maintain a pretty good pace.

As I mentioned last week, along with the training plan, the other thing I’ve been trialling this week is Headspace, a mindfulness app, kind of like a guided meditation.  There are some good theories on how you can apply the process of mindfulness to running that I found really interesting (there’s a good article on The Huffington Post).  I must admit, with the increase running, I have found it difficult to find the time to do it.  I know that it’s possible but I think this last week I was so focussed on the training plan and got a little distracted.  I will make more of an effort to do it this week as it’s something I’m really interested in.

Whilst it hasn’t effected my running as such, I have suffered this week with very sore, tight calves.  I tried some yoga which actually seemed to aggravate them more than loosen them.  So I posted in my favourite running group on facebook, Running the World to ask for some tips and advice from other runners and got lots of good tips to try, one being a foam roller.  Today I ordered this beast and will look forward to torturing myself with it when it arrives.

And after much deliberation, I decided this week to take the opportunity to raise some money for charity this year by deciding to run my first half marathon in May for The British Heart Foundation.  I set up my Just Giving page on Friday and within a couple of hours, I’d had 9 sponsors getting me to 15% of my £500 target!  I really was overwhelmed by the support 🙂  If you want to check it out and donate to this very worthy charity, you can find my page at https://www.justgiving.com/Debbie-Roff.

2015 mileage to date: 102.96

Miles to go to hit target: 597.04

Happy running

D x

 

Fitness Journey, Food & Drink, Health & Fitness

Healthy lifestyle vs fad diets? What’s your view?

 

diet

As we all know, the news is full of the latest ‘death trap’ food that we mustn’t eat but what do we really think the definition is of healthy eating?

We live in a society which is obsessed with food.  I’m constantly hearing conversations about why sugar is the root of all evil, why carbs are a no-no or why we should liquify our food in a juicer because it’s good for us. Funnily enough these conversations are often had by the same people who binge drink every weekend and smoke 20 a day. But does any of it all really make a difference?

I would by no means class myself as a healthy eater.  I like chocolate a little too much,  I only eat about 3 portions of fruit/veg a day and I have been known to have the odd Macca’s here and there.  However, I always eat a healthy dinner, you can count the number of times I order chinese/pizza/indian/whatever takeaway a year on one hand and I drink a lot less than the average person my age.  Thankfully, I never have to go to the doctors (I actually avoid it at all costs) and aside from the odd cold I’m rarely ill.

I run 15-20 miles a week so don’t need to diet to stay in shape so why shouldn’t I eat a little bit of everything I like?  Yes, I probably should make an effort to eat a bit more fruit or veg but I have a healthy emotional relationship with food.  So easily people become so obsessed with what they should and shouldn’t eat, personally I find it exhausting!

So I guess my question is, is it best to live an active lifestyle with a little bit of everything you enjoy or should we be questioning every little thing that passes our lips?

D x

 

Fitness Journey, Health & Fitness

Fitness diary: And so it begins!

quoteforblog

 

This week sees an important milestone in my running journey.  I will be embarking on my first proper training plan since completing couch to 5k last year.  The goal of the training plan is to get me to half marathon distance in 12 weeks time with a target time of under 2 hours 15 mins.

I’ve been feeling everything from excitement to self doubt in the lead up to it.  Touch wood, I’ve been injury free since September but I am nervous about increasing the miles and pushing myself, but I am super curious about what I can push my body to achieve.

I am quite hard on myself, I take bad runs badly so a big part of getting through the next 12 weeks will be dealing with the psychological challenges as well as the physical ones.  With that in mind, I recently downloaded the Headspace app.  It was recommended to me by a work colleague after a conversation we had as I had been reading lots about mindfulness and its benefits.  There was also a great letter in Running Fitness magazine last month about how you can apply the theories of mindfulness to race days by mentally accepting things that may not be going quite to plan (such as pain) and how to train the mind to deal with it.

So here goes 🙂  I have all the tools I need to do this so nothing is stopping me!  I’m sure it’s going to be a bumpy journey along the way but here’s hoping I come out the other side with a huge sense of achievement, a few lessons learnt and some nice shiny bling 🙂

Races booked so far this year (target is 12): MK festival of running 10k, Leighton Buzzard 10k, Flitwick 10k, MK Half Marathon, BUPA London 10k, Whipsnade Stampede & Royal Parks Half Marathon.

2015 mileage to date: 80.63

Miles to go to hit target: 619.37

Happy running

D x

 

Fitness Journey, Health & Fitness

Fitness diary: Has anyone seen my mojo?

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Running quote

Following all the excitement of the last few weeks of trail runs and group outings, this week I’ve found it really hard to keep motivated.  Maybe it’s a sign of being back at work and the stresses that brings teamed with having less free time, but I definitely had to force myself out this week.

Whilst it has felt like I had lost my mojo, when I sit here and review how things have gone, I’ve actually done pretty well!  Tuesday club night was an out and back this week.  I actually really like out and backs, for those who don’t know, these are routes where everyone runs the same route for 25 mins then turns round and runs the same route back.  The idea being that the faster, stronger runners will run further but everyone should finish around the same time. This week, it was a struggle but I managed 5 miles which I was pretty pleased with.

I shied off speed and stamina this week – again because of lack of motivation but did make up for it with a 10k on Friday, my fastest so far!

Regina fastest 10k

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I set an ambitious target pace of 10:30 so was over the moon at 10:36 🙂

I guess what I have taken away from this week is, don’t be so hard on yourself.  Never loose site of the end goal, I run because I get a massive sense of achievement after every mile and it gives me so much joy.

This week is a jam packed running week with our clubs couch to 5k starting again this Monday which I’ll go down to help with and on Tuesday it is my one year running Birthday 🙂  I’m hoping to pull something amazing out of the bag to celebrate!

2015 mileage to date: 65.01

Miles to go to hit target: 634.99

Happy running

D x

Food & Drink, Home & Lifestyle

Thai style chicken soup

The classic flavours of ginger, chilli and spring onions synonymous with Thai cuisine are some of my favourites so I love experimenting in the kitchen with them. During these winter months, I’m always looking for something warming and cosy so this Thai style chicken soup is perfect on a frosty day.

Ingredients:

  • One chicken breast per person
  • Chicken stock (I used two tubs of Tesco finest stock 300g each)
  • Spring onions
  • 4 Kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 red chilli
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Lemongrass
  • Soy sauce
  • Lime
  • Rice noodles
  • Pak choi

Regina Thai chicken soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Finely chop 2-3 cloves of garlic and a good chunk of ginger. Place in a large saucepan with the chicken stock and top the liquid up with the same amount of water as stock.  Slice the lemongrass and add to the pan with the kaffir lime leaves, try to keep it fairly large so it is easier to remove later.  Add the chicken breasts and place over a medium heat and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 20 mins.

Regina thai chicken soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Remove the chicken from the pan and using two forks, shred the chicken.  Also remove the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves and discard.

IMG_5677 IMG_5678 Regina thai chicken soup

 

 

 

 

 

3. Return the chicken to the pan with the chopped spring onions, sliced chilli, the juice of half a lime and a good splash of soy sauce. Simmer for 5 mins and then add the noodles and pak choi.  Stir well and simmer for a further 5 mins.

regina chicken soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Ladle the soup into bowls with a little extra soy sauce to taste.

Regina chicken soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy

D x