Icy mornings, bung knees and strokes. Lots of strokes.

Running

I once heard someone say “as long as you actually get moving, it doesn’t matter what you wear. Exercise, and all its benefits, can be achieved as long as you just go and do it”.

Well kids, that person was a big ol’ liar. For the last two weeks (since arriving in the UK) I’ve been trying (important word that, trying) to get back to my previous fitness level. With another half marathon to work towards, I’ve been strapping on trainers and heading out into the FREEZING London streets as many mornings as I can muster the courage (not many).

I’m pretty sure it’s the eight weeks of doing very little and the sharp change in temperature from my normal training that’s contributing to my… well.. diabolical running ability. But I also think that it’s because I’m in all the wrong gear.

You’ve heard me harp on about my love affair with Skechers. The GoRun is just a perfect match for me (and probably you too – seriously, give it a go). You can read my in-depth reviews/love letters here and here (I’m smitten). Unfortunately, with the boy watching over (aka lording over) my packing for our South East Asian adventures, they didn’t make the cut. A 10 year old, overused and muddy pair of Nikes did. With the convincing reasoning behind the boy removing my fave trainers from my pack being that “I wouldn’t mind if the others got lost/dirty”. All through our intrepid journey, the boy was right. But now I am here, and my runners aren’t, I’m in huge distress.

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Two weeks of shockingly mediocre runs with bad shoes (featuring none of the right support), and my knee has actually given in, I’ve strained my ITB (google it, its far too boring for me to explain here) and I am now BED RIDDEN*.

Luckily, my one true loves are slowly making their way to me via a shipping container full of other stuff that we deemed important enough to send to the other side of the world. I imagine (upon arrival) I will probably look at the painstakingly selected items in disgust, questioning why on earth I chose to spend actual money, time and energy sending it… all except my beautiful Skechers. I will caress them. Cuddle them. Love them. And yes, I will prob even give them a little stroke. (Stop judging me).

I’m pretty sure, once reunited with my GoRuns, I will be able to whiz through my training. Right? Yeah. Its definitely the shoes and not my lazy butt. For sure.

Gulp.

*Okay, so I’m not ACTUALLY bed ridden. But walking is tough, going up stairs is tougher and if I want to get any sympathy (and maybe breakfast in bed) from the boy I have to say things like “bed ridden”. Ok? Cool. Glad we’re on the same page.

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Mondayitis

MONDAYRUNDAY

So, it’s Monday (again, really?) and even though it is only the end of January (ok, ok, not even really half way through), my motivation is disappearing quicker than a bank balance at Boxing Day sales.

Yesterday I went for my first run in, like, forever. Since my half marathon efforts in November, you could count the number of times (and the number of kilometres) I’ve run on one hand. 

But, having put it off for a couple of weeks, I though it was high time I hit the pavement again and re-discovered my love for jogging. 

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At first it was bloody brilliant. I strutted along; my brain fog of packing lists, Asia trips and British bank accounts evaporated, and it left me with a somewhat clear head. I remembered how much running had, in the past, helped me to de stress, unwind and pump some awesome ego boosting endorphins around my stupidly short frame.

And then it hit me. 

The wall.

And, the worst bit is, it really didn’t take long. 5ks in and I needed a walk break. After another 2ks I had a stitch. By the time I hit the 10k mark I was ready to throw my trainers at passing cars and scream “my loins are burning hotter than a Mills & Boon protagonist, FOR F*** SAKE, SAVE ME”.

It’s a funny thing really. I kind of expected my body to just remain in the exact state I left it. Like when you put your cute new neon sandals by the door after work, and they are there waiting for you in the morning. Unfortunately my bodies “amazing runner” state has been left out a while. And with few layers of Christmas pudding and glasses of champagne on top of it and its freaking difficult to dig out. 

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This Monday, I don’t want stuff (ok, that’s a lie). What I really want is to dig out those damn 2 hour 20ks and my confidence. I want to be able to get myself back to that blissful feeling of real achievement, and take advantage of the views from my regular Mission Bay route in my final weeks in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

But that means I actually have to get off the couch and move doesn’t it?

Damn.

Maybe next week.

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Weightlifting, ass class and hundred dollar bills.

CrossFit

I thought that I didn’t quite have enough fitness fads going on in my life. You know, paleo, bikram, running, gyming and sugar free. I felt like my health plate was looking a little empty (yes, yes, I’m a crazy woman), so I signed up for a month of CrossFit.

Yup. CrossFit. That fitness buzz that has been labelled a ‘cult’. The one with daunting pictures of people lifting weights bigger than themselves. Well, I thought I would give it a go.

They don’t really let you join a CrossFit gym without doing an intro course. It makes complete sense, because a lot of CrossFit workouts involve heavy lifting, and you need to be doing it right or you will get hurt. So, don’t skip out these and think you will sale on through. You will probably die*.

I am just over two weeks through my four-week intro (at CrossFitNZ) and I must admit, I’m kind of addicted. I wish I could give a full CrossFit class a go, just to get a proper gauge of the intensity. What I am doing right now is a lot of learning, recapping and then short bursts of the most intense exercise I’ve ever done.

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I’ve never been into motivational quotes. Especially the kind you are meant to say in your head when running up a particularly difficult hill. In fact I usually take the piss out of them, and the people who use them. But, at my last CrossFit session, the workout was so difficult; I found one slipping out (well out into my brain – I didn’t actually say it out loud, that would’ve been a new level of workout geek that I am so not ready for).

What was my mantra I hear you cry? To help me get through my last 400 metre sprint I was saying “you will only let yourself down” in my head. Sounds a bit negative for a motivational quote doesn’t it? Strange that. What I was refer to was my deep desire to skip half the run. You see, no one was watching me. The run was like a lap outside the actual gym and I was a sufficient time behind the guy in front, and ahead of the guy behind me, that I could have cut a corner (or three). And my entire sore and exhausted body was begging me to do it.

I must admit, I suffer from this thought a lot. Like when I’m my regular ‘Rear Attitude’ gym class (or as I like to call it, ass class), and they say do 100 squats… its not unusual for me to just skip 10. I am competitive and I like being first, being fast, beating the rest, and as horrid a characteristic as it is, I am wiling to cheat to get there. (Now before I get a million complaints or fist waggling complainers, when I say cheat, I mean in a very superficial, picking up an extra $100 when I pass go on Monopoly, kind of way. Not like writing the answers to exams on my arm sort of way.)

Well, last week I wasn’t willing to cheat and I did run every single INCH I was meant to. Because you know what? My CrossFit trainer doesn’t care. It doesn’t change his life if I fudge a few metres on my run. It’s me, and my body, we are the ONLY people who loose out if I don’t do the full workout.

So, although I wish I could be pushed harder, faster and improve quicker in these four weeks, I think the lessons starting to come out are invaluable. Because the truth is, if I don’t do the work, I won’t see the results I want, and thats all on me.

In conclusion, good people of blogosphere, learn from my mistakes and don’t skive off on your workouts. It doesn’t matter if you finish last, first or not at all, just push your absolute hardest and next time it will be a little easier and you will be a little better.

Also, don’t judge me on the cheating thing ok? I admitted that shit on the internet man, that takes balls. And, as well as admitting it, I promise to not do it again! Except for with Monopoly. I will win at Monopoly always, and if it looks like I won’t, I will wait till you aren’t watching and flip that board so fast you won’t know what hit you.

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*Or for those of you who are not complete drama queens, you run the risk of hurting yourself. Or at the very least, embarrassing yourself in front of the cool kids in a naked-nightmare-in-the-school-cafeteria way. Except with clothes on. Hopefully.

Nail art, burning thighs and Ryan (Gosling, of course).

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I am in no way an athlete, in fact just typing that made me spray my peppermint tea everywhere (in a laughing, coming out my nose kind of way). But what I am is someone who is currently running around four times a week, and one of those weekly sprints (by sprint I mean as slow as you can get without actually walking) is often around the 20k mark. So, I say I have a small (or teeny tiny) authority on the question of how exactly to best handle running a decent distance.

My best runs are, in all honesty, when I forget I am running. I don’t continuously check my GPS watch, or have empowering quotes filtering through my brain, nope, when I completely ignore everything around me and go into a world of my own imagination, that is when I do my best times. It’s also when I enjoy myself the most.

Got a party coming up? Sort it out on your run. Going traveling? Plan it all while you are pounding that pavement. Can’t find time to work out your weekly meals (a la my previous post)? Do it while you jog. Seriously.

Now, I know there will be people out there crying “I have NOTHING going on to plan”, well, why don’t you picture what would happen to make the next day perfect. Like blissfully perfect. I’m not talking about, “wake up, marry Ryan Gosling, live happily ever after”, I’m talking every small detail. What are you wearing when The Gos first clamps eyes on you? Does your nail polish match your lippy or do you have some cool quirky nail art going on? Are you wearing Dior, Gucci or Topshop? Plan every inch (you know, to be prepared for when the day actually arrives). Hopefully, if you are like me, you will get so lost in those details (like the cool hipster picture that will be printed on Ryan’s t-shirt) that you will literally forget that your thighs are burning and your feet would quite like to pack it in.

You will also probably run into a few lampposts and trip over some small people, but everything has a downside, right?

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All images from Pinterest

Bel vs Mazda.

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Last week I ran 13k. Fuck yeah. But about half way through I came face to face with a group of teenage girls, and being teenage girls, they were walking arm in arm. The closer I got, the less they cared. When I was almost nose-to-nose with them, I figured that they were in fact not going to move for me, so I had to run around them (on to the road). As the sleeve of my 7 kilometre sweated top brushed against one of them, she leapt back and looked at me like I had licked her eyeballs. It took every piece of me to not scream at them. What did they expect me to do? Face the oncoming Mazda or cartwheel over their five people strong pavement wall?

I am not sure if it just me, but do other runners have a set of road (or rather pavement) rules in their heads and then get irrationally angry when other people don’t follow them? Well I do.

One of my rules is, if the person coming towards you is exerting more energy that you, you move. It sounds weird, I know. But you wouldn’t believe the number of people who just stare aimlessly at me, and just walk (at a glacial pace) towards me as I run. It’s infuriating. Other runners however, are falling over themselves to get out of the way of anything and everything in their path. I am pretty sure the number of times that I dodge people on my regular weekend runs would add at least a kilometre to my over all distance. It is frankly just rude. The only exceptions I have to this rule are small children and animals. Tiny tots (I am talking under ten) are sweetly oblivious to their surroundings and quite frankly, how can you get mad at something so adorbs? Same goes for pets. To be frank, I’m so swayed by cute things that the same would probably apply if Zac Efron wouldn’t move out of my way.

So, if you see me out and about in my lycra this weekend, please realise that (unless you too are running), it will probably take a lot less energy for you to move a little to avoid being either bowled over (not that I am much of a force to be reckoned with) or touched by my gross, vomit educing sweaty sleeve.

And don’t expect cartwheels, although my eight-year-old self was DAMN good at them.

I ran in the rain.

rundate

Just a quick update (if you didn’t get that from the friendly feline above).

This morning I went for a run. It was my longest so far (12k) and although I did it, it was slow and bloody tough. I’m pretty sure mother nature reads my blog (hey there) because she made my last running post come true, and I ran in the rain. It was drizzling at first and I thought “hell yeah I can do this” (I’m such a tough guy – right? Wrong). Then, at almost exactly half way, the clouds opened up and torrential rain hit. Rain and super cold wind that happened to be gusting right into my face. Not pleasant. Not encouraging. But I did it. So, I not only ran my longest distance, I ran it in the worst weather conditions I ever have. It doesn’t really feel like a win (it just feels cold and damp), but now I have done that, maybe the next run won’t be so tough. Fingers crossed.

Gosh do I hope I never live in a really cold country (I might actually have to stop being a total baby). I’m lucky to live in the pretty damn toasty Auckland, New Zealand. If I ever find myself in Oymyakon (Russia), I think I will have to take up a new sport. Like competitive vodka drinking.

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