It’s the final countdown….!

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We are on the cusp of a new month, which is important because that month is the final month before the 6 pack abs challenge finishes. That’s right, June is the reckoning!

I am not really too worried about it though, for several reasons.

  • I am doing a reasonable amount of work on developing the core muscles. I can certainly feel the difference when I go running and I can see the benefits in my run times. My slow runs are at the speed that I used to do for my fast runs, and my fast runs are way faster than I ever thought I could do.
  • I am doing a reasonable job of controlling my food, in terms of quantity and quality. This is not to say that I don’t eat any chocolate (that way madness lies), but I am keeping it under control. I eat LOTS of veg every day, and quite often just have fruit (maybe with shredded coconut on top) when I need something sweet.
  • I am making good progress on all my other goals. For example, I just submitted a chapter to the supervisors last week. Hopefully, that was the last difficult chapter to write, so that I can get on with the difficult business of editing soon. Also, just this morning I achieved one of my other mini-fitness goals! 2K on the rowing machine in under 10 minutes (9:49 to be exact).
  • My partner and I signed up for a 14K race in mid June, which means that he will be motivated to train more, which makes it easier for me to train more too. For example, he suggested we go for an 8K run yesterday, when if it had been me alone I might have only done 5.

So there you have it. Here you also have the most recent belly shot, although this one is a week old. New one tomorrow!
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Run, run, run, run, run, run awaaaay!

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I went out for a long(ish) run yesterday, which was in many ways a bit disheartening. I have lost so much pace! I completely forgot how to get to the zen of running and had a bit of a panic attack instead.
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And I noticed that I was not using good form or foot strike. Le sigh. Well, it is all back to square one I suppose.

Also, the partner and I decided that we would like to sign up for some local 10K races to keep us motivated, and probably a half marathon in April. I just had a look and there are 2 tens in March super close by to ours. Score!
There is also a half in April that we could do. It is not terribly close, which is ok. More importantly, it is not flat. We have been training on the super flat for about… oh… 4 years now? A hilly race will be quite a change. Still, why not try something new, eh? Core muscles will need a hell of a lot of work if we are going to manage that.

In other news, the shop was out of almond milk (really?!?) so I got rice milk instead, in regular and chocolate flavours. I tell you what, chocolate rice milk in your porridge gives you a weird choco-crispy sensation from the oats.

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As promised last week, I want to talk about sports bras. They are not typically considered sexy, especially not the ones that really work. The ones that cover a lot of space, have wide straps, flatten the girls down to prevent as much wobbling as possible. Not really the commonly portrayed image of feminine beauty that society force feeds us, is it?

But when I was running I felt sexy. I felt strong, and powerful, and capable. I felt like I could do whatever I wanted and then make a getaway before anyone noticed that I wasn’t supposed to be doing that.

What does this say about beauty and attraction and sexiness? That to be beautiful is to be incapable? Sexy demands being hobbled by absurdly high heels? Ravishing only applies to those on the verge of asphyxiating due to a whole body spanx?

Personally, I like the natural look most of the time. I spend a lot of time taking care of my skin so that it looks healthy and beautiful, but I don’t wear a lot of make-up. I like bright coloured clothes, sparkly belts, fun scarves, etc. , but I refuse to wear something that is uncomfortable, which is why I only own one pair of heels (and often go barefoot). I actually wear sports bras often, even on days when I am not necessarily planning to work out, because I feel really sexy when I feel comfortable and confident. And on its own, not too many sports bras count as sexy, but when part of a life-size, kick-ass, women package, they are a tool of power.

I just wish it were easier to get them in my size.

On the road again…

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Tuesdays coooooome agaaaaaaiiiiin.

I hope you are singing the song in your head now, and that you will get that song as an earworm for the rest of the day. Also I hope you get the original version. Metallica did a nice cover, but I say original all the way.

Being Tuesday, here is my belly!

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I am working from home today, so when my Work Rave sheep told me to take a break I went for a wee jog. So my picture shows my  running tights, heart rate monitor belt and a snazzy sports bra. Mmmm. Elasticated lack of motion…

While we are on the topic of heart rate monitors, why in all hell is the belt so fecking huge? I mean, who is this thing designed for? Sure, there are very large people out there, and they might represent the largest (ha ha, a pun or play on words) client group who is keenly interested in the details of their heart rate while exercising, but I doubt it. I see a hell of a lot of very central tendency sized people at running events with heart rate monitors, so the largest group of customers is probably average sized people with sporting hobbies.  So what about the small people who are also keen on knowing exactly what their heart is doing right now? People like… oh, I don know… women athletes?!?   You might think they are rarer than hens teeth, what with all women ever obeying outdated stereotypes and all, but trust me, they do exist. I know that I am on the small side of average for the female of the species, but not by much. So why can I not get a heart rate monitor belt that fits off the shelf? I do not expect to have to jigger the belt of a pretty pricey piece of equipment just to get the bastard not to fall down on me mid-run. I learned the hard way, after it fell down on me mid-run. Safety pins were all that was needed to get it smaller, but they tend to leave a little red mark so are less than totally ideal as a solution for the really long runs.

Snort. But if you want to follow the running portion of my new training plan, see here. I have created a new running plan on myasics. It seems to say that I have a half marathon scheduled for April, but I do not. I just thought a half marathon in under 2 hours would be a reasonable goal for me at this point.

After running, I came home, snapped a photo, sat down to blog and ate some excellent chickpeas (or garbanzo bean) and turnip green curry with wild rice. Delicious.

And since I am working from home today, I also taught myself how to fold fitted sheets, put on a duvet cover using the magic burrito method, and did two loads of laundry on the work rave induced breaks. Ace!

Next time, I hope to have an update on the running, tales from the overcrowded-in-January-gym, and a discussion of sports bras, perhaps the true origin of boob loaf.

Watch what you eat

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So, for all my curious readers (cricket sounds…) I thought I would share a bit about what I eat on a normal day. Today, in fact, and only what I have eaten so far. Not sure what will be for tea later.

Today’s foodosity began with… Drum roll, please… Porridge! You guessed it. Oatmeal again. On the other hand, I did experiment with the liquid. I used almond milk instead of water. It tasted quite nice, and seemed to be less adherent, which made it easier to wash up. However, since I use a small non-stick pan and a rubber spatula, stickiness is not really an issue.

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Is that an entirely unreasonable amount of alcohol in the background (I hear you cry out en masse)? Yes it is. It has been there since a pre-holiday party. Not sure where to put it because we don’t really have suitable place for a liquor collection. I am working on it though. Post cooking, porridge looked like this.

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It was plenty sweet enough from the almond milk, but I will probably go half water/half almond milk in the future. This shot also shows the background hooch a little better. For example, you can see that none are particularly empty. That is the kind of party I rock these days.

But today is a work day, so I packed myself a lunch and set out, and here it is!

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As you can see, irritatingly healthy. In list form, this is what I had:

  • Wholewheat roll, with marmite on the top, grainy mustard on the bottom and a vegetarian sandwich “meat”, cucumber slices and ruccola… arrugula… rocket. Whatever.
  • A lengthwise cut carrot.
  • About a third of a red bell pepper, cut into slices.
  • About and inch and a half of cucumber, cut into slices.
  • A small handful of sugar snap peas.
  • A small handful of broccoli florets.
  • A celery stick, cut into three short sticks, and a small pot of light peanut butter with some dried cranberries mixed in. Celery is used to scoop out some of the peanut buttery cranberrified goodness before being crunched with delight.
  • A small selection of dried fruit.
  • A small banana.
  • Two mandarins.

Oh yes, so tasty, with the added benefit of being easy to keep next to my keyboard for all day, guilt free snacking. I ate everything but the mandarins, which are a little bit sticky and so not great for eating while typing, and some of the dried fruit, mainly two prunes. With this much fibre, I don’t really needed the… uh… notorious effects of prunes.

Now, go out and be fruitful!

Hor-moaning.

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What else can throw a spanner in the works like a serious case of the PMS? Damn. The cravings were hitting me hard yesterday. Salty things. Oh yes. Chocolate. Hell yes.

 

Did I give in? Yes, I did. But I also drank a litre of water, had a banana and tried to keep active. I can’t expect my entire life to suddenly go swimmingly and hiccough free just because I have set myself a challenge.

But here we are! Week three. Another belly shot.
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Not great lighting, I agree. But it is still dark out in the mornings when I need to take these shots, so deal with it. I can’t say the muscles are showing at all yet, but I have noticed that things are starting to fit me a little differently. My jeans, which have never been the easiest to fit, are now a bit looser and saggier. Time for a belt, methinks. I have also noticed that my core is feeling stronger, that my posture is better, and that I am feeling generally good around the midsection.

All of this means that with only a few weeks of little changes, I am starting to get results! Now if I can keep my shit together and not get totally overwhelmed by tins of Celebrations at Xmas, I should be seeing some actual muscles soon enough!

The porridge for breakfast continues, today with a couple of drops of vanilla extract and some cut up dried pear chucked in. The stair climbing has also continued, and the ab workouts during my regular 8 minute RSI breaks has not been totally consistent, but has happened most days. I need to research some more little differences to make because I want to keep up the pace of progress. I am thinking I might stand on one foot while I brush my teeth. Balance requires good core muscles and all… Any other suggestions welcome!

Peanut butter and belly sandwiches.

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So, a week has passed and not much change is visible. In fact, I may even be a little less muscular than I was last week? Weird.

But it doesn’t really matter too much. This is a long term thing and I am still getting used to making little changes that should (eventually) all add up.

What is in store for me this week? Well, the porridge for breakfast continues. Today’s edition contained cut up dried apple and too much cinnamon. I didn’t realize that the cap wasn’t on the spice canister properly, so a HUGE whack of cinnamon came out, almost causing a cinnamon challenge moment. Nevertheless, I persevered. I also packed myself a healthy and sensible lunch of some Hairy Dieter’s skinny lasagne, two mandarins, a banana and a handful of sugar snap peas for snacking. I love sugar snap peas. I love them so much. 
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Also on the cards is more ab workouts during the day. I have WorkRave on my computer to help prevent RSI and unbearable pain, which encourages me to take an eight minute break about every 55 minutes. I have been using these breaks to do some stretching, some press ups and crunches, etc. But the industrial grade carpet in my office is not so nice. I brought in a foam pad to make it easier for me to do those mid-day mini-workouts. Planking will certainly be less painful on my elbow skin, if not any less painful on my core muscles.

One of my previous challenges was the 100 press up challenge, which involves training yourself up to the point that you can do 100 press ups in a single go. I only made it to about 45, but I certainly felt better about myself with those 45 than I did with the pitiful 2 that I could do when I started. I am contemplating another go on that challenge, but right now I have a bit much going on. Holiday season always takes up a lot of time, for travel, shopping, cooking, gift wrap, etc. I am also mere months away from finishing my PhD. And I just started a new batch of sourdough starter (I have named it Barnaby Plankton). It looks like the press ups is going to have to sit on the back burner at least until the new year, if not until after I finish this blasted degree. But I am kind of looking forward to taking it up again. I like press ups. They feel good. And they are probably a good way to prevent RSI, so 10 or 20 a day (most days) seems like a good idea all around.