Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Annual Health Check at Work

Croi, the Heart Disease & Stroke Charity for the West of Ireland, were in work today doing staff health screenings. They were here last year too - I still have the summary sheets shoved in the back of my drawer. Last year my BMI was over 41. Today is was 24.9. 

24.9 officially puts me for the first time in my adult life into the Healthy Weight range. Not only am I no longer obese, I am now no longer overweight... I'm at a healthy weight! 

BMI Chart

I posted about BMI before ('Bye Bye Obesity' here) and I have spent some time researching into how relevant the BMI chart is in the 21st century. A few stone ago when I was looking at where I needed to go in terms of 'goal weight', I started obsessing and then panicking about what the BMI chart classed as 'healthy'. We lead very different lives now to when the BMI chart was first established. Most of the food we eat is processed and our lives are mainly sedentary. Well I know that to be true for myself.

Working a desk job doesn't give you much room to stay 'fit and healthy' on the regular 9-5. Before I started on Weight Watchers my typical day would be to drive into work, sit at my desk for 9 hours (excluding the 1 hour lunch break where I would usually you grab something quick from the local Spar), drive home and lounge on the couch watching TV.

Today my typical work day goes as follows: I drive into work, sit at my desk for 9 hours (excluding the 1 hour lunch break), drive home, do 30-60 minutes exercise and then lounge on the couch watching TV. Excluding the exercise - my day still follows the same general blueprint. 

From what I can gather (bearing in mind that I'm not a doctor), being classed as overweight should be determined based on three different factors:

  1. BMI
  2. Waist circumference - a measurement of abdominal fat
  3. Risk factors for diseases associated with obesity, such as high blood pressure, high LDL ("bad") cholesterol, low HDL ("good") cholesterol, high blood sugar, and smoking.

I got my results today at the Health Check for my Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, Glucose etc... and every single one of my readings were below the recommended 'Target' levels. Comparing these values with last year is kind of scary. My cholesterol values last year was in the 'Borderline High' range clocking in at 6.1 mmol/L. Today's value: 4.01 mmol/L.

Bearing in mind there are a lot of things we can't change - such as our family history, gender, age etc which will always persist regardless of what we do, there is a lot of things we can change. And I am proof of that. Looking at the values suggested here for LDL, HDL and Triglycerides - every one of my values fall into the Ideal range. My Blood Pressure is normal and my waist circumference is 'ideal' according to the lady from Croi.

Ten months since I started on my journey and 6st 8lbs lighter - the one thing I learned more than anything else is to never doubt what you are capable of. I would never have believed anyone if this time last year they had shown me a photo of me today. I continue to surprise myself. I now know the importance of being healthy and making healthy choices over being just a number on a scale or chart.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Clare 10K

I went to Ennis after work yesterday evening to get my race pack before today's Clare 10K race. I queued up in the Clare People Newspaper office to collect my chip, bib and get my t-shirt which was available to the first 1000 people who registered. They only had small t-shirts left. I'm optimistic and everything but not THAT optimistic. I still took one anyway.

On your Marks...

After I collected my race pack, I went for dinner with my parents and sister and even witnessed a Guinness World Record attempt of 'Most Tin-Whistlers in the playing the same song'. 500 tin-whistles going off at the same time has probably resulted in me never being able to hear anything over 15,000 Hz again but it was kinda cool to see it.

Anyway, I got home and chilled out for a bit before hitting bed around 11.30pm to get my rest in before the race. The alarm clock going off at 7am nearly caused the dog to shit himself but it was hilarious at the same time. I had my porridge and tea while chatting with my Mom & Nana while the rain belted down outside. At 9.30am, Mam dropped me up to Lee's Rd - where the race was starting at 10am.

Get Set...

I had half an hour to get in some stretches but I always feel like a pleb beside seasoned runners who are doing all these odd looking lunges and ankle rotations while I'm there touching my toes. We all gathered behind the start-line at about 9.55am when they announced the race would be starting shortly. The one thing I learned from the Galway 5K Series is the importance of where you are placed at the start of a race. 

I'd never given it much consideration before I started running but I do think having pacers is great as it gives people a space to position themselves with at the start of the race as opposed to having everyone in one big mix. I took my place about half-way along the start line as thats mentally where I have placed myself. I do admit I am quite envious of the runners right up the front who are poised and ready to go - one hand on their watch ready to hit Start.


The race started and off we went! The road out from Lee's Road is quite windy and it took me the first kilometre to find my pace and space in the crowd as we headed towards the Lahinch Rd. My pacing was good and I found my rhythm early on. The race continued past the Tech School and up to the Club Bridge.

I have read online numerous times that the #1 rule for all runners is: Nothing new on Race Day. So what did I do... Something new! I read online during the week about this 3/2 breathing technique which basically is to breathe in for 3 strides, out for 2. The reason apparently is to ensure you alternate feet for the start of each in-breath. I have to say, I found it really really amazing. It would calm me right back down if I felt my heart was going too fast. It's definitely something I'll be doing again. It also helps keep your mind on counting rather than the road.

I passed the 4KM and 5KM markers in what felt like no time - and I was looking forward to the 6KM mark as I knew it was right outside my parents house. Sure enough as I passed, there was my Nana standing at the door waving across at me :) Nothing like a bit of family encouragement to put a pep-in-your-step. 

The 7KM marker felt like it would never come soon enough as we ran down the back roads from Ballyalla to Drumcliff. It's a narrow country road with cows and brambles either side of you. The smell was... country-ish to say the least. I hit the 8KM marker at 38 minutes and I knew my Sub-50m goal was achievable. I didn't want to count my chickens before that point but once the little man living in my Nike App told me of my time, I gathered speed.

There was a bit of a hill just before the 9KM mark but I managed it pretty well. As I passed the 9KM sign, that was when I saw him... 'Him' being the randomer in front of me I picked as my marker to pass. I was running side-by-side with him as we passed the 500m to go sign and that was when I took off. Whatever energy I had in me I pushed it all out and upped my pace. Upon seeing the finishing clock, I couldn't believe it as it approached 47 minutes. I nearly bust my gut but crossed the line just before it turned into the 47th minute.


Across the line, I got my medal and a rehydration pack with water, a banana and a chunky kit-kat! (nyom!). Just now as I finish typing this blog post I got my official time via text...

46 minutes 41 seconds!

I've just knocked 5 whole minutes off my Personal Best for a 10K!

Friday, 21 June 2013

New Shoes, Week 2 of the June Series and the Clare 10K

What a week it's been... As you can tell from my last blog post, I was up 2lbs at Weight Watchers this week but that hasn't stopped me in any way. As I said before, I'm being extremely optimistic about last weeks blip and am putting it down to the fact there will be bumps in the road - they are guaranteed, but what matters is not the bump itself, rather how you deal with the consequences.

On Tuesday, I got the following tweet which brought a massive smile to my face:

New Shoes & Rock and Roll Entry

I have already signed up to the Rock & Roll Half Marathon in August so I was delighted to be able to give my entry to Clair who is going to run it with myself and Brad :) Clair was meant to run the Clare Burren Half with me back in May, in fact, Clair paid for my entry as a gift so I was delighted to be able to re-pay the favour (even if it cost me nothing). I also get a new pair of shoes! Exciting! I'll soon have more running shoes than I have actual shoes :)

On Tuesday evening (just after my weigh in), myself Brad Clair Yvonne and Sinead gathered in Claregalway for the second week of our June 10K Series... This week was in Claregalway as Brad was hosting. Brad had gone to great effort to plan out a 10K route for us, only for me to turn up and suggest another route I had mapped.

Myself Clair and Brad took off on the 11K route I had mapped and I have to say, the run was fab. We stayed together and had a good chat as we ran the back roads around Claregalway and Carnmore. On a side note - how scary are horses? We passed three people out horse-riding and I was thinking "Imagine getting kicked by a horse?". Sometimes when I am running my mind goes to weird places, like "What would happen if I snapped my ankle?" or "Why do birds sit on telephone wires?"... Suppose it keeps my mind engaged and off the thoughts of the road ahead.

After the run finished, I dashed off and headed home to Ennis as it was my Mam's birthday and I wanted to see her :) I took Wednesday evening off from running but went for a lovely walk with my other half and the dog as it was a lovely evening and I just wanted to do something in the fresh air after a day in the office freezing my ass off under the air-con. 


The Clare 10K is tomorrow morning at 10am so I am heading off to Ennis this evening for an early night in my parents house. Anyone from or who knows Ennis, the route is pretty sound. Starting on Lee's Road, we run to the Lahinch Rd, passed the Tech School and up to the Club Bridge before turning right past the Fair Green and the Hospital. I love that this route takes in the Gort Road as I'll be passing my parents house again before turning left out past Drumcliff graveyard and back to Lee's Road.

Route Map for the Clare 10K

I would absolutely love to beat my 10K Personal Best (of 51m 55s). I'll be over the moon if I clock under 50 minutes. Roll on tomorrow!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

You can't out-run a bad diet...

The last few weeks have been a series of up's and down's in terms of weigh-ins, but this week's brings me dangerously close to my red line. The red line is my projected target weight and as long as the blue line (actual weight) has been below that line, I've been happy. This week I'm half a pound off crossing that line which would be the first time since I started Weight Watchers nearly 10 months ago.

My Weight Chart

I got my 13th Silver 7 at Weight Watchers last week and that came as a shock to me. I really wasn't expecting it last week, but with a 4lb loss last week, it pushed me even closer to my goal weight (8lbs off goal). This week I was up 2lbs bringing me back to 10lbs away from goal. Looking back at my week, I had been for a number of runs covering just under 40KM in the week.

I think I've been hit with that over-confident/lack of self-restraint bug which comes along once in a while. I think because I was still on Cloud 9 from my 13th Silver 7 along with the feelings of 'I've worked out I deserve it', I let my guard down and slipped up a little on the food front. I didn't make wise choices and it showed this week on the scale.

Just so you know, I'm totally ok with the fact I was up this week, and I am not being negative or down on myself because of it... I just want to learn from this experience to continue to improve. Having off/down weeks is absolutely fine - the kick in the teeth comes when you think you've done well and you haven't. Thinking back on my week now, I see I fell victim to probably the biggest weight-loss/fitness trap going - this one:

On Friday evening we had friends over and with that we had a big roast chicken dinner with the works. Stuffing, Potatoes, Roast Potatoes, Maple Roasted Veg served with mounds of Gravy. For dessert of course we had to have cupcakes (which were delicious).

After Dinner Cupcakes

It was my grandfather's birthday on Saturday and I knew I'd be around a load of temptation - so by going for a 10K run earlier in the day, I felt I had earned my party entry come Saturday evening. The party was great but I overgrazed on everything from cake to pringles, jellies to marshmallows. I stayed nibbling on the jellies and marshmallows as they "aren't as bad as chocolate". Likewise the cake was Lemon Curd so wasn't "as bad" as something chocolate-y.

Sunday was Fathers Day so of course I had the big fry-up at home my mum had made - Beans, Rashers, Sausages, Toast. Again the works. When I got back home, I was still tired from the party the night before so went to bed in the afternoon. When I woke I was hungry and went straight for the press where instead of making myself something proper to eat, I continually grazed for the evening - grabbing things that I knew weren't good for me but would curb the craving for half an hour.

I knew this week's weigh-in wasn't going to be pretty - and I know I have slipped up before and been up. But seeing the gain that I had put on over the weekend despite a pretty active week on the exercise front just proved to me something I had read online before but never really paid much attention to:

You can't out-run a bad diet

This brings me back to other quotes I have seen which I know to be true but am posting them here so I can remind myself from time to time if I ever need to look back:

  • Abs are made in the kitchen
  • 30% Exercise 70% Diet

These quotes make so much more sense to me now than they ever have before. Running and exercise is great, but if the mindset isn't on the same level - you can run as much as you like, you won't counteract a bad diet. As I said at the beginning of this post, this isn't a self pity or woe is me post, more so I'm just transcribing what I am thinking right now. A friend recently said to me (in jest) "Is it true... Does nothing taste as good as skinny feels?" to which I replied "No, Everything 'bad for you' still tastes flippin amazing".

I had a great week last week celebrating my grandfathers 80th with my family, having friends over for dinner and doing various other bits and pieces but I made a series of poor choices. If I could change anything - would I? No. I can only move on from last week looking forward. I've even gained little bit of knowledge about myself after this week - You can't outrun a bad diet. I've said it before and I still stand by it - I thank my weigh-loss success on the changes I made to diet & eating habits. The running came later and sure it is fantastic, without getting the foundations correct, I'd never have been in the position I am in now to be able to run & enjoy it.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

At the June Half Way Point

30 days have September, April June and November. Yesterday was the 15th of June so I figure now is a good time to dip in and see how I'm getting on towards my goals for this month as I know I have been seriously neglecting one of them - Goal 1.

Goal 1 was to work on strength and speed-work while running and add some cross-training into the mix. I can tell you now that I have done... ONE 20 minute Jillian Michael's workout. ONE! That's it. I can't imagine that is going to make much of a difference. The reason I added this goal as a priority was following my injury last month where the physio had told me I need to work on my strength to get a stronger glute!

I need to start working on my strength to get myself in a proper shape if I am going to take running seriously. My knee hasn't been at me as much but from time to time I do still feel it niggling - so I reckon I'm 90% better but that remaining 10% is still hanging around like a bad smell. Instead of just throwing the towel in and saying 'Well I feiced that one up', I'm going to put my time into the next three weeks before holidays to start working on my strength.

I had thought about joining a Kettlebells or Spinning Class for the month of June but reckoned "Ah no, I'll keep them until Autumn/Winter when the weather is getting worse" but that didn't really help me. I think I need the structure of a class that I need to attend in order to get myself out there otherwise I'll let it slip.

I plan on attending at least ONE Spin Class a week as I have found a local class being run near home at 7pm in the evenings (so stay tuned for my first Spin Class post). I would also really like to do Kettlebells but again I think it'll have to wait until after I come back from holidays as most of these classes operate on a month-by-month basis so it's difficult to just find one to drop in to when you aren't a member of a gym offering these classes.

In terms of running and Goal 2, I am well on track to hit my 100K target. I have already clocked up 61K so far this month and its funny looking at my chart below how 10K now seems to be my standard run length. I think since I started clocking 10K in less than a hour, I find it easier to think to myself 'I'll head out now and be back within the hour' and it feels like I have had a proper workout when I get home. Nothing is more satisfying than a post-run shower.

My plan for this week is to attend my first Spinning class, run in the 2nd of our June 10K's and I have the Clare 10K this coming Saturday in Ennis where I would LOVE to come in under 50 minutes *fingers crossed*

Oh ya - and in other news I got my 13th Silver 7 in Weight Watchers this week... 6 and a half stone!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Now that the Galway 5K Series is over...

I imagine yesterday evening saw around 700 people in the Galway region looking for something to do seen as for the past 6 Tuesdays we have gathered at different parts of Galway for the 5K Series. Well, you know the saying 'When one door closes...', we decided to open a new one. We came up with a plan to continue on with our own June Series of 10K runs to bring us up to the Summer Holidays.

The advantage of organising our own runs were that we can start pretty much straight after work so we can be back home & on the couch by 8pm. We also decided to increase the distance to 10K... so with that in mind, we made up our own 10K Series - Look at the fancy expensive logo I made for it and everything:

(Disclaimer: I made this in PowerPoint in about 10 seconds - Don't judge me!)

So... Why Oranmore, Annaghdown, Claregalway & Togher? Well... we all live in these places so we can gather/park/change at each others houses before heading off for our run. Each host has to have a 10K route in their area we can all run. The series has been affectionately nicknamed TOCA by Brad so for that reason, Toca's Miracle has become our Theme Tune:

Yesterday evening, despite the rain - 7 of us (Clair, Yvonne, Gordon, Sinead, Brad, Cathal and myself) headed off out the door in the rain for our run around Renville Park. I had mapped out 5K, 6K, 8K and a 10K route so people could go at their own pace. Unfortunately the event itself wasn't chipped - nor will we get fancy t-shirts at the end of it... but there is a lot to be said for the act of going out for a run with friends.

1: You can't not turn up and hope you aren't missed. Friends know when you cancel on them.
2: It keeps us active during the working week
3: We are already in the swing of heading out on a Tuesday evening
4: We are motivating each other

Despite the run not being timed, my Nike+ app informed me on completion of my 10K that it was my fastest to date! DELIGHTED! I also have the Clare 10K coming up next weekend in Ennis and my goal is to beat my previous 10K Personal Best time for 52 minutes... I'd love to come in under 50 minutes :)

Friday, 7 June 2013

My Fitness Bucket List

I've made a list for myself of goals/things I want to do that are fitness related. Its like my Top 10. I'm sure it'll change over time, but for right now, these are the things I want to work towards:

One: Own a Gold Weight Watchers Card (with my name on it!)
In other words - don't steal/borrow/find one. I have to earn it. I know what my Goal Weight is and I know what I have left to lose to get it. Don't worry, I'm not considering gnawing off an arm or anything to get it!

Two: Complete a Big Walk 
Something like the Camino de Santiago. I would love to head off for a week and push myself to walk 120K or something like that. I think this will be one of my challenges for 2014.

Three: Learn to Swim Properly
I can kind-of swim. As in, I remember getting my 50m badge when I was in primary school for my Swimming Togs. Once you had the 50m badge, you were allowed in to the deep end of the pool. Funnily enough, I also remember nearly drowning on a school tour before. We went to the Shannon Shamrock in Bunratty (exciting I know) and I jumped in at the wrong end of the pool - Sometimes I do wonder how I'm still alive!. Anyway, the tour ended with me being pulled out of the pool by a lifeguard. I'm not afraid of water, just never learned to master it. In fact, I couldn't tell you the last time I was in a pool in Ireland. 

Four: Go to Yoga Classes
It's healthy, increases strength, flexibility and balance. 

Five: Do Zumba
I love a bit of synchronized dancing - but I must have the worst hand-eye-leg-toe co-ordination in the world. Sometimes I even wonder how I manage to drive. I would like to do a round of Zumba or something just to get in something different into my life. I've done a few of the work out DVDs before like Tae Bo and stuff but I'd love to attend classes with booming music.

Six: Make a Custom T-Shirt
I don't know what it would say but I've seen people in races with cool custom made t-shirts. I would love to get one done up and wear it in a race. I have an idea in mind but I'll save it for a later post!

Seven: Learn the full Judas routine
I love Lady Gaga, I love Judas. It is one of her finest songs and sometimes I have to struggle with the inner conflict of thinking it may actually be better than Bad Romance - then I slap myself and acknowledge the amazingness of Bad Romance and agree that Judas is in fact Lady Gaga's second best song of all time (and in my own Top 5 Best Song of All Time Ever List!)

Eight: Revist a Demon
Demons come in all different shapes and sizes. I don't know what my demon is just yet, but when I find it, I will smash through it. Last Summer Croagh Patrick got the better of me and there was no better feeling in the world than reaching the top of it on December 30th - just before the end of the year. It was tough, it was cold and it was a challenge - but I did it! I want to fight another demon now.

Nine: Run 5K in 20 minutes and 10K in 45 minutes
Yep... I want to run harder better faster stronger. Considering I've knocked my 5K time down from over 37 minutes back in January to 23 minutes in May - surely I can continue working at my strength and fitness to push myself to do a 20 minute 5K. Likewise, my 10K time is around the 52 minute mark at the moment - down from 65 minutes in March. I would love to be able to run 10K in 45 minutes.

Ten: Run a Marathon
I don't know if I will run one this year, but I would love to run a marathon. The thought of it scares me right now, but then again the thoughts of the 10K scared me a few months ago. A Marathon takes a huge amount of training and work but I think I'll be up for the challenge.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

*New Find* Muller Light Desserts - Propointed

I was strolling around my local Tesco and saw these new Muller Light Desserts so picked them up! I love them. So delicious - The Fudge is my favourite which is surprising as I usually gravitate towards the most point-y variety. They come in three different flavours:

  • White Chocolate - 3 PPs
  • Fudge - 2 PPs
  • Milk Chocolate - 3 PPs

While on the topic of Yogurts & Muller Light, here are some other points you might find useful:
  • Muller Light Vanilla (and most others) 175g Pot - 2 PP
  • Muller Light (Banana & Custard) 175g Pot - 3 PP
  • Muller Light Vanilla & Chocolate - 165g Pot (in 6pk) - 2 PP
  • Muller Light Vanilla, Dark Chocolate & Black Cherry (in 6pk) - 165g Pot - 3 PP
  • Muller Light New York Style Cheesecake (in 6pk) - 165g Pot - 2 PP

  • Muller Light Greek Style Coconut Yogurt - 120g Pot - 2PP

Don't get caught out though with the Muller Rice's - Despite being labelled 'Low Fat', one 190g Pot will cost 5 PPs.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Race 6 - Tuam [Galway 5K Series]

Yesterday was Race 6 of 6 in the Galway 5K Series so there was a huge sense of achievement in the air as we arrived in Tuam for the last race of the 2013 Series. The sun had been shining all day so I was really looking forward to getting out of work and out to Tuam to get started. I met with Clair, Brad & Sinead in Claregalway and we drove out to the Ard Ri Hotel in Tuam to the starting line where we met up with Yvonne and Gordon.

Race 6 - Tuam

It was so great to have all 6 of us back together for the last race following the two weeks of injuries between us. I think each of us should be really proud of what we have accomplished over the past 6 weeks. I think the benefit of running chipped over 6 weeks has stood to all of us. Our times (good bad or indifferent) are a great thing to have as while any of us can go out and run a 5K in the evening as part of training, there is something a little extra about running in a race. You push yourself that little bit harder than you would on your own so the benefits of running in a race are larger than running solo.

The race started bang on 8pm with a crowd that seemed larger than any of the previous weeks. I took off at speed semi conscious of my knee which actually didn't act up at all so I was grateful for that. The course itself was nice, a few ups and downs but nothing too hectic like some of the other races. 

And they're off (Pic taken from George Reid's Facebook)

I don't know whether it was the heat, my base layer or the my overall energy level, but as we turned the corner at the 4K mark and headed back uphill towards the Ard Ri Hotel, I started to feel a bit light headed. I knew by my times I was pushing myself and my brain was telling me to chill the hell out and take and easy. I did struggle with the last kilometre worse than I have with any of the other races. My body was tired - possibly due to the fact this was my 3rd day running in a row (Blame the Bank Holiday) or perhaps since my knee hasn't been at me, I've been out on the road a bit more in the past few days.

Something that annoys me is the signs indicating how close you are to the finish line. I don't want to know. I prefer running in ignorance as to how far I have to the finish line. Seeing the 500m sign really put me off. In my head the finish line is always just around the corner once you hit the last K, so seeing that spraypainted on the ground really threw me off.

As I turned the corner at the Ard Ri Hotel I was expecting to see the finish line right there at the entrance to the hotel... Oh how wrong was I. It was about 250m further past the hotel down into an estate. What was different about this race is the whole course and especially the finish line had a load of spectators (probably brought out by the good weather), so seeing the finish line with a crowd of people around it really pushed me on the last few meters and over the finish line in what I knew was a good time (despite not seeing out to break any PBs yesterday).

Crossing the Finish Line (Pic from the Maree AC FB Page)

My Official Chip Time: 23m 13s - knocking 9s off my previous Personal Best in Craughwell two weeks ago. I'm absolutely thrilled. Not to be a Pessimistic Paula about it but I kind of wish I had had that extra little bit of oomph in my yesterday to get me across the line in under 23 minutes. That being said, what better way to finish the 5K Series than on a Personal Best. I also clocked up my fastest ever kilometre of 4m 14s. Even I'm impressed with myself for that one.

After the race finished, we all headed up to the hotel to collect our coveted Galway 5K Series T-Shirts which they give out to people who complete in 4 of the 6 races. The hotel had tea, coffee, biscuits and hot finger food for everyone - it was actually a lovely way to finish the Series off. Thank you Tuam, Galway, Craughwell, Loughrea, Claregalway & Athenry. You have made me experience a massive flavour of running in different conditions (rain, sun etc), with different courses (hills, flats etc) over the past few weeks. It's been fun!

Myself, Clair, Sinead, Gordon, Brad and Yvonne

Monday, 3 June 2013

Strength Exercises for Runners

Part of this months goal involves adding strength exercises. As I learned last week from the physio and my online research - Strength exercises are the single most important thing a runner can do. Following the Clare Burren Half Marathon last weekend, my knee was properly goosed. It was so going up/down stairs and if I put any pressure on it at all. That forced me to pick up the phone and make my first ever physio appointment.

Thankfully I haven't damaged/torn anything which is the good news - but I was told I have really tight ITB (Ililotibial Band). She (the physio) said the pain and discomfort in my knee was caused by this tendon which runs from the hip/backside down the side of the leg to the knee. If it is tight, the knee can't move as freely as it wants to, hence the pain as it's being held in place by that tight band.

According to Dr. Jordan Metzl from Runner's World - A Strong Butt is the key to a happy life! (Hey, who knew?!) In order to build up my butt strength *snigger*, I need to do 6 sets of 15 of Plyometric Jump Squats with 20s rest in between. The video below shows how to do them better than I can so if you are interested, hit play on the video from Runner's World below:

My plan for when I am going to do this will be during my Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred program which I am starting back up this month. I stopped doing the 30 Day Shred when I started at Bootcamp about 2 months ago. I stopped as I felt I was getting my strength from the bootcamp but seen as it's over now, I'll go back to Jillian.

My plan is to do Jillian twice a week, and just before she goes into the Cool Down, I'll hit pause and put in my Plyometric Jump Squats before cooling down as Jillian describes. I have been so fortunate so far to not have had an injury as my friends around me seem to be dropping like flies with sore ankles, knees and hamstrings. 

This (Running) is something that I really want to keep up. I am really enjoying it and I think I'm good (not brilliant or anything at it). I saw this on a site somewhere that made me smile as I think it's true. I'll never win a marathon or break a record for running the fastest mile (which is 3m 43s) but for as long as I can, I plan on being out there hitting the road covering some milage.

During the week I saw that Aldi are doing Camping Head-lights this week, and when I said to my other half that I wanted to get one, he was like 'Random... Why?' - I replied 'For running in the winter months'. That's the first time I've ever future projected myself and what I am doing now in relation to running and my fitness. It must be sticking :)

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Review of May & Goals for June

I had set myself two goals for May:

Goal 1:
  • Complete my first Half Marathon in 2 hours (give or take a few minutes)

Goal 2:
  • Top April's figures:
    • Run for 10 hours
    • Run 100K
    • Obtain a better average pace (5m 32s/km) 

So... I ran the Burren Half Marathon on May 25th (Blog Post Here) in 2 hours 1 minute. That is pretty bang on my goal. Still raging about that minute at the end but do you know what - it's motivated me so much that I've already signed up for my next Half Marathon - The Rock n Roll in Dublin on the August Bank Holiday weekend. I'm really looking forward to it actually.

My 2nd Goal was to Top Aprils Figures
  • Run for 10 hours - I ran for 10 hours 47 minutes
  • Run 100K - I ran 121KM
  • Obtain a better average pace (5m 32s/km) - Average Pace: 5m 20s/km


May also saw me get my fastest 5K time (23m 22s) and fastest 10K time (51m 50s). I am also 8lbs lighter going into June. I'm delighted!

My reward for May was going to be a new pair of running shoes - but seen as I have two pairs already I have decided my money would be better spent elsewhere as a reward. So I have booked flights to London to see Viva Forever in the West End before the show closes at the end of June. I'm so excited. It's such a treat but I can't wait! Feic it - I deserve it :)

June is going to be a funny month as I have nothing really planned for this month unlike last month. Bootcamp has finished and I didn't sign up again for the next round of it. The 5K Series is nearly over and I have yet to sign up for a race so I'm finding it quite difficult to pin down goals for the month. I was at the Physio during the week thanks to my sore knee following the half marathon and get gave me a load of tips and advice. With that in mind, my first goal for this month will be:

Goal 1:
  • Improve my Strength
    • Do Strength Exercises twice a week ("Strength training is one of the single most important non-running aspects of training that can help you become a better runner.")
    • Do one Speed-Work Training Session per week
    • Do one Cross-Training Workout per week

My second goal is more to keep me in check - I plan on matching what I have done in May. While matching my previous months work is not really pushing myself, I feel it is a high enough bar to aim for. Excluding the Half Marathon, I ran 100K - the first time I've managed to do that in a month despite it being a goal since April.

When you add in the Cross-Training session (not running), I think it is a sufficient enough challenge to keep me focused throughout June before I head off on holidays in July and then have the Half at the beginning of August.

Goal 2:
  • Match May's figures:
    • Run for 11 hours
    • Run 120K
    • Obtain a better average pace (5m 20s/km) 

Using my SMARTER rules from the previous month, everything will stay the same except for my reward which will be something holiday related. New clothes perhaps? 

  • Specific - Match May's Figures with a better pace. Add Strength, Speed-work and Cross-Training to my weekly routine
  • Measurable - Use the Nike Running App & Excel Plan to schedule additional training
  • Attainable - Of course it is :) 
  • Realistic - Assuming my knee remains in check, it is. I've done it already - I can do it again!
  • Time-sensitive - 30 days (June)
  • Evaluation - Aim for 25k / week (2 hrs 30 mins commitment a week)
  • Reward - Something Summery!