Back on track…

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So, my fitness plans have been pretty well derailed by a lot of stuff, only some of which is no bueno. For example, I have been laid low by the dreaded hay fever, which is triggering my asthma something terrible. Then, I travelled to Austria to see some friends get married, which means I ended up eating a hell of a lot of really rich food and drinking several metric ass-tons of alcohol that I would not normally have consumed. However, I had a great time and kept active while there with some swimming, biking, and hiking. Finally, I finished writing the final content chapter of my thesis (the crowd goes wild!) but had to put in some serious hours to get that done and dusted on time, which left little time or energy for the fitness plans.

 

But all of that is now behind me. I signed up here to receive a workout of the day in an email from Spartan races. They do those obstacle course type things, which I would love to try someday but there are none near me. I also signed up to do their 30 day challenge, which this month is about core and abs. So today’s combined workout was a 2 minute dynamic warmup, 10 minutes running, 1 minute burpees, 5 minutes running, 2 minutes burpees, 5 minutes running, 30 butterfly situps, 30 pushups, and 20 pullups with 20 kilos weight offset. I imagine that I will be feeling that soon enough.

 

Irritatingly, my sports bra managed to malfunction again, fortunately near the end of the running portion of the workout. One of the hooks on the back (and there are many, many hooks) came undone. It didn’t seem to affect my chestal stability too much, but meant I wasn’t totally relaxed for all of the running. Boo.

 

I think the six-pack abs challenge I have going with my colleague will have to end at the end of June rather than at the beginning because I am not prepared. By which I mean, I do not have six pack abs right now.

 

 

 

On another note, I also signed up to do a night time 10K race this weekend. I have never done one of those before, but it could be good fun. It is a Nike sponsored race, which means it costs a bit of money but tends to include a nice t-shirt and to have good facilities. Nike used to do one of my favourite races when I lived in Barcelona, so I am expecting good things.

Then there is the 14K race the week after. I don’t think I will have trouble running the distance, but it will be interesting to see what my time will be.

 

Right. Belly shot tomorrow, and I shall keep you posted on the daily workouts.

 

Oof. So much to do.

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Do you ever get those times in your life, where you feel all the things on your to-do list, all those casual suggestions or offhand promises (“Yeah, we should get together for lunch some time. It’d be great.”), and all of your deadlines come due at once?

This is one of those times for me. I am finishing up the last content chapter on the thesis, so that’s a big deal. Then the six-pack abs challenge is coming to and end sometime in June (I have to find out whether it ends at the beginning of the month or the end…), so that is preying on my mind. Then there is a trip to plan to see some friends get married at the top of a lonely mountain in Austria (What?!? A week away? When did that… but… Eh?) which is a distraction to say the least.  Also, I applied for unemployment benefit, which means I need to start sending out job applications and writing cover letters, which requires non-trivial amounts of time and mental energy.

 

So. Lots on. Here are two somewhat belated belly pics, one which looks a bit spooky because decent bathroom lighting is not apparently worth designing.

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Not terrible. But I think I need three or four solid weeks of serious discipline if I am going to win this six-pack abs challenge. On the plus side, I did your planks yesterday… each of which lasted ONE MINUTE AND FIFTEEN SECONDS! Holy belly button, Batman! I did not think I could plank for so long back when I started this challenge.

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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Feed the Tree

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Today I bring you the classic belly shot, but this time with a totally unnecessary filter.

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I am starting to get vertical lines showing on either side, probably because I do a fair bit of core work on the sides. Russian twists with a medicine ball at the gym, side planks, etc. I am still waiting to develop a vertical line down the middle, but that will probably be clearest when I have not just been over-eating for a week.

 

It occurred to me that my cycle might not be the only cause of my appetite increase… I have been doing much more running in the past couple of weeks than I had been doing for the preceding two months or so. When I was training for the marathon (over a year ago!) I was hungry all the time too, especially on the day after my long runs. Nothing was safe! So I will have to keep an eye on that and be prepared with easy snack options.

 

I also want to share a different belly pic, this time showing how my jeans are fitting. IMAG0890-1-1

Seriously! So why don’t I buy smaller jeans? Well, 2 reasons.

  • These are an Amerian size 2, which is almost the smallest size for adults. It is often the smallest size you can get in the shop itself, although a size 0 could be available online. I could order online, or buy kid’s jeans, except for…
  • Whoever sizes clothes sucks ass. I got these size jeans because they were the smallest size that fit my legs. I have reasonably long legs, so kids jeans are right out. I also have athletic legs, which means my thighs and calves are muscular. Too muscular for size 0 jeans, which are apparently not meant for people who stay slim through exercise.

Consequently, I only own 2 pairs of jeans and mostly wear skirts and dresses, which do not present me with the problem of being too tight around my muscly legs. I still have the problem of them being too short if I get the size that fits my waist, but I am willing to deal with that.

Other news? Today is a plank day. So far I have only had one RSI break, so have done one minute and five second forward plank, one minute and five second side plank and also a one minute and five second superman (where I lay on my belly and raise my arms and legs off the ground). More will come later in the day.

Plans change

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So, the old myasics.nl plan wasn’t working, partly because I am just way too busy right now to be setting aside the time it takes to run 16 kilometres. I have started a new plan for a 10K, but with four days running per week instead of three so each running event is short.

I got a bit bummed out and nonchalant about all of this, and took at least a week off of running. I did some ab workouts, especially at the office during my RSI prevention breaks. Mostly I am just wigging out. I have a guest lecture to give on short notice this week, and two more damn chapters to write.

Then I have more work to do after that. Bugger.

But, on the plus side, I feel pretty good with my diet. Being totally in charge of cooking and eating meant I was damn near vegetarian the whole time my partner was away. I also avoided all unnecessary desserts, from the birthday cakes brought into the office to the random munchies in the evenings. When I needed something sweet I had fresh fruit and yogurt, or a banana, almond milk and unsweetened cocoa powder smoothie. I also had some dark chocolate stashed in my drawer at work, but seriously. I bar of chocolate lasted me for weeks, so it is all good.

 

Results? I am starting to get visible vertical lines on my abs! Woo hoo! I can definitely feel strong, hard muscles underneath, and it seems (at least to me) that the layer of fat is getting smaller. I have asked to borrow the callipers again to check my body fat percentage. For now, enjoy this belly shot!

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Awww, thanks.

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Thanks to me that is! I bought myself a few new items of workout wear. Two new pairs of sport socks, two new lightweight sports bra/crop top thingies, and a pair of shorts. All have blindingly bright colours and (excluding the socks, which are just socks) they also have feminine details and sexy backs (the crop tops have lace on the back). It is too cold to be wearing any of this outside yet, but I will give it a debut in the gym over the weekend.

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I have been making a lot of progress on my thesis, have been keeping up with my training calendar, have been eating super healthy (if you ignore the chocolate bars… hormones again, damnit!) and have been keeping the house remarkably tidy. I also finished a couple of little, personal projects and have generally been a very good self. So I decided to reward my self.

But, since I am not keen on owning two much stuff, I also put something into the give-to-charity-shop box at least one item for each of the new things I got. One in, one out. Keeps it under control.

On another note, I wore my heart rate monitor on my walk to work today. It took me 25 minutes, 45 seconds, and I had an average heart rate of 137. According to my monitor, that is 89% of my max heart rate, putting the majority of the walk in my 3rd sport zone and burning 189 kCals… but that sounds totally bonkers to me since I was just strolling at a regular pace.

Anyway, I shall run later today, when I hope to do the majority of the run in my 4th sport zone. We’ll see how that goes.

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.