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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Sweat, Disney Princesses, oh and more sweat.

SweatyLady

I went for a run the other day and despite being outside for a mere 30 minutes (of complete hell) I got insanely dehydrated, sunstroke and some pretty unattractive tan lines where my vaccination plasters were*.

Thats right, the weather was so freaking sweltering that what should have been an enjoyable casual run turned into a round of Bikram sprint training (or at least it felt like it).

So, when the world has decided to channel its inner sauna, but you still want to keep up with those fitness goals, what should you wear?

My hot picks would have to be the following…

When you’re feeling brave, I would definitely opt for shorts. I know some people kid themselves that they “don’t look good in shorts”, but com’n people, if you are running, and you are hot, you’ve earn the damn right to wear shorts – no matter what they look like on you! (Plus, they look good anyway. You go girl. Believe me, not one single person is looking at you and thinking you shouldn’t be wearing them.) These Stella for Adidas pair are my go-to (in my head, because I don’t actually own them, but if I did, I would go-to them heaps).

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If that fails and you are too self conscious to actually wear less clothing, I always follow the rule that if you look good, you feel good. (But I would, because I work in fashion and if I don’t tell you that then a small part of Karl Largerfeld dies.) So, opting for stylish pieces will actually make you feel better about your run, like these monochromatic print (that are oh-so on trend). Try going for some leggings with mesh details to add air flow, and singlets that are looser to avoid that gross fabric-sticking-to-me-because-i’m-way-too-sweaty feeling.

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More importantly than any of that though, is water. Drink water. All the water.

Oh, and take off your plasters.

What I was in fact wearing was a pair of full length leggings (I don’t know what I was thinking) and a ratty old company T-shirt. However, if I had been wearing any of the above I probably would have run harder, faster and enjoyed it way more.

No, you’re right, I probably wouldn’t have. But at least I would have been a bit cooler (both meanings of the world apply here).

*The really embarrassing thing is, that isn’t even the first time I’ve had plaster-tan. Nope. The evil Disney Princess plaster (they were cheap ok) I was wearing a few months back left me with a huge white mark right on my knew all through the gorgeous summer beach weather – fail!

Not-so-fun runs and runners code.

Skechers

On the weekend I ran Auckland’s sculpt 6k fun run.

I find the notion of a fun run so hilarious. It’s like someone decided to chuck a nice word at a nasty word and hope people wouldn’t notice. Like tasty cockroach, thought provoking Adam Sandler movie or honest politician. People aren’t just going to stop after the first word and think “that’s sounds grand, sign me up”. Or do they?

I suppose I did.

I know what you’re all thinking, “how can she be bagging running when she does it so often? If she’s a runner, she should love it. Right?” Wrong.

I’m going to break runners code right here, right now. The worst bit about running is actually getting out there and doing it. For those 60 minutes before a race (any race, 6k, 8k or a bloody half marathon), you kind of want to punch yourself for entering. (Hell, 60 minutes before just general non-race related running you don’t really want to get out there.)

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Even when you first cross that start line it sucks at first. Until you get into your grove, and you’ve got your fave song going (and the opportunity to pack it in has passed) it is crap. And then you have this wave over you, you kind of sit back (whilst running- don’t ask me to explain that) and realise that you ARE doing it. You are actually doing it. And no matter what your brain tells you about going faster, or harder or even winning, it can’t possibly fault you for trying. Because you’re there, and you are doing it. That is the moment that makes it all worthwhile.

That and, of course, when you cross the damn finish line! Bliss.

So, for all you newbies, (or maybe some experienced runners trying to get back in the game), stick with it through that lying in evil first word…. Fun it won’t be. Stick it out till you get to that second bit. The run. When you get there it will hurt and it will be hard, but it is so rewarding that you don’t need the fun.

Helping me get across that line on Sunday was my brand-spanking-new Skechers GOrun 2’s.

I’ve talked before about how much I love my Skechers runners, they are the shoe that eased me from novice pavement pounder to seasoned(ish) racer. Their vast range of performance shoes is bound to have a style (and a colour combo) to suit, so check them all out here. (Or, if you live in Auckland, go to the new Skechers store in Westfield St Lukes – opening this Friday!)

Now, after all that complaining about un-fun fun runs, I must say, I loved my sculpt experience. I may have starting way down the back of the pack (and it did take me 5 entire minutes to cross the start line), but was quickly in my stride and even smashed a personal best finishing up in 34 minutes.

Not bad for pre 9am Sunday activity.

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HealthySelf ladies and Sam from Move Eat Play, image from Move Eat Play’s Instagram.

I’m doing away with monogamy.

You regular readers may know that I’ve got a rather long-standing love affair with my Sketchers GOruns. They are (to me) the most perfect of all the nifty running shoes on the market, and they have guided me from my starting 2k to my now 16k runs. Which is why I was very hesitant when some rather gorgeous, but not Sketchers GOruns, arrived for me try.

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Reluctantly I caved to the idea of ditching my trusty (and a little worn) trainers for a go with the aptly named Adidas Boosts.

I’m a little like a child (or maybe a fish), bright and shiny things attract me. They catch my eye. Make me lose my concentration. If I’m out, and spy some bright and blingy things, I WILL walk straight into the nearest lamppost. (And yes, when I do so my friends pretend they don’t know me). So these Adidas Boosts were off to a good start. I fantasized that the bold pink finish on these babies may even distract me from the hard bits of running, “damn a hill…oh pink…argh it’s rainin…ooohh pink”.

Yes, my mind works like that. Don’t pretend yours doesn’t. We are all fish/children at heart.

Anyway, back to the shoes!

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As much as I kind of wanted them to be terrible, so my one true love running shoe could be back in prime spot, the Adidas Boosts were really good. They quite literally boosted my run. The first time I tried them my best 5k time of 29 minutes 59 seconds was slashed to 27 minutes 39 seconds!! That is a serious cut (especially for a slow coach runner like me).

The downside? The sizing on these shoes is a little funny and I think (despite actually getting my usually size) they were a bit big. Oddly this hasn’t seemed to have effected my run badly at all, so maybe the slightly flipper-ish length of the shoes was intentional. In an odd way I felt like I bounced a long.

All in all I’m going to keep both my new shiny pink and my old favourite runner on board and mix them up between short and long runs. I can’t seem to distinguish which is better, they both have their ups and down.

Until I can pick a clear winner I’m doing away with my monogamous runs, and I am keeping them both on hand. For a good pound (of the pavement).

The month that was.

August

As well as my amazing birthday, August was filled with 90’s parties, cats and the start of some beautiful weather. Follow me on Instagram here to get up to the minute foodstagrams, fashion finds and maybe even a feline or two!

The “what’s in my bag” smelly edit.

I love looking at the posts of fabulous fashionistas who take incredible photos of what’s inside their handbag. They usually have sophisticated purses with a perfect pile of the latest apple products, a single Dior lipstick and a COMME des GARCON coin purse in brilliant red. As much as I would love to do a look into my handbag (not that it would look a thing like that), I thought it might be more useful or perhaps more interesting to look into my gym bag(s). Lucky for you they are yet to invent smellavision.

I have three main types of workouts I do each week (sprinkled with a few random ones to keep the manically ‘spur of the moment’ boy happy), running, bikram and the gym. Here are my top picks to make sure you have all you need packed and ready for any of these.

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The most important tool in running (apart from your legs) are your shoes, make sure you are wearing the right ones for your feet. For me, those are Skechers GOruns. I love them. If I could I would buy them flowers and take them out to dinner. The boy might get jealous though.

If I want to date my shoes, then my Garmin Forerunner is probably my secret mistress. My running changed the second I got a GPS watch, and I have since not stopped tracking my distance/time/splits etc etc. I still don’t know if obsessively watching my stats helps my running or not, but it’s great for the competitive streak in me. Every run I try to time beat my last.

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I seriously love that my Country Road gym bag is big enough for a change of clothes, my hot yoga stuff, two towels, all my post yoga essentials and the mat! It makes it so easy. So I would recommend, spending a bit of time to find something that you can literally shove EVERYTHING you need in.

The only other note I would give about bikram is go for as teeny tiny an outfit you feel comfortable with. Believe me there will be someone there in less and when you are head down, bum up in the middle of the triangle pose in a room heated at 45 degrees, you won’t want any extra clothes. That and drink water. As much as you can pre and post.

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Runners and gym shoes should be different. If you will be doing any sort of weight training, lifting, squatting or lunging (which covers large amounts of gym activities) you need shoes that ground you at the heel. Other than that, wear what you want (I would strongly recommend against denim).

So, no designer lipsticks here, just the streamlined packing of a seasoned fitness freak.

I can hear all my past travel companions lol-ing (yes literally lol-ing) at the idea that anything packing I have every done could be “streamlined”. But this is (pretty much) exactly what you will find in my gym bags (give or take a few extra kilos of unidentified bits of paper, extra towels and the endless supply of extra undies*).

*I have a serious phobia of finding myself without undies (seriously). I don’t know how I convince myself that in the process of my day I will manage to loose the pair I am wearing, BUT IF I DO, I am always very prepared. You don’t even want to know how many I pack when I go on an actual holiday.

Shoes, Vizslas and sanitary products.

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Today I tested out the latest in snazzy walking footwear, Skechers GOwalk walking shoes. According to Skechers it “elevates the natural walking experience, allowing you to interact with and respond to practically any surface, while offering the additional benefit of real world protection”. Sounds great, but to be honest, I didn’t really know what a specific shoe for walking could give me that would be different from just my standard trainers.

But off I went, with a rather gorgeous Hungarian Vizsla (Ruby) and a great friend for many catch ups to be had along the way. We did a short but brisk walk up Mount Hobson (my legs were still killing me after my morning run).

What did I notice? When they (they being Skechers) say these babies are “radically lightweight”, boy do they mean it. It felt like I was simultaneously walking bare foot and on soft baby feather cushions. No jokes. They were pretty much seamless and designed to be worn barefoot (with some sort of inner odder eater). I felt like I just bounced along the whole way.

Did it improve my walk? I am really not sure. Between dodging a weaving dog, ignoring my burning thighs and being engrossed in conversations about food (of course) the weight (or lack there of it) and the squishy soles is all that made an impact on me. Other than that I didn’t notice them.

Which I suppose is the biggest complement of all. If you forget your wearing something because they so seamlessly mould to whatever you are doing, well that’s the point right?

Or am I confusing shoes with tampons?

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The science of shoes.

Runready

I went to Shoe Science last weekend, it turns out the boy has done himself an injury with all our running and needs to sort himself some proper (and slightly orthopedic looking) trainers. I thought I would head a long for the ride and get my running style checked out too. So, I nervously ran in front of the camera (not a good angle for anyone) and low and behold I was told I have the perfect run! It turns out that I have infact mastered the technique of running on the balls of my feet and effectively bouncing along. Also my shoes are great too (and they are seriously cute, unlike the boys new fluro green number). I run in Sketchers Go Run (but they have just released the Go Run 2 which I am sure is better, faster. stronger etc).

I’ve found that by having a style of running I wanted to achieve , when a run gets tough its what I focus on. If I focus on getting each step as perfect as I can, the run stops seeming so bad.

Maybe I’m becoming a bit of a runner.

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