Saturday, 10 May 2014

My first race! (for life).

I ran my first race! It was the Race for Life, a 5k. I guess it was more of a fun run than a race, as there is no chip timing, and lots of walkers and fancy dress. However, its for a great cause, and I really enjoyed myself. I've a cheek saying I ran the race anyway, as it was a combo of running and walking.

I am still very pleased with myself though, especially seen as I went straight from a 12hr night shift to the race. My Mum came to meet me at work, and then we went for a McDonalds breakfast, probably not ideal pre-race food, but I needed something. We then met up with my friend and her sister, and headed to the start, which was at Glasgow green. We tried to get near to the front, but didn't manage that too well. There was a bit of waiting around, so plenty of time for a pre race selfie-

Now as this was my first race, I wasn't too sure what to wear. I decided on a long sleeved pink nike miler top, full length nike epic run tights, shock absorber run bra, and nike head band. However, on the day I panicked as it was a bit cold and threatening to rain, so wore my nike jacket too. As I had the jacket on, I took off my bum bag thingy, and just put my iPhone in my jacket pocket. These would later prove to be bad choices!

Slowly we got the the start line, and I started my garmin as we crossed the line. (Yeah, I got a garmin, and I love it). We started trying to weave around all the walkers, and straight away I had a bit of a panic, feeling like I needed to pee (I had just been), and that my trousers were falling down. Now I knew I wasn't going to be able to keep up with my friends, so told them to go ahead. I then slowed down, sorted out my trousers (tied them tight), and put my music on. That all made me feel much better, and I was able to run on for a good while. Before I knew it I was at the 1k marker. The markers were good, each one had a bagpiper standing under them, so you knew when you were approaching. (There had been lots of pipers at the start too).

One of the things I liked about the race was that there hadn't been an exact route map on the website, so I didn't know the whole route off by heart. This meant that each turn was a bit of a surprise, and gave me something to look at. My usual runs are on a couple of quite boring routes, so this was a nice change. I also really liked the race experience, with everyone else in the same boat. Now usually I don't like running in busy places, as I feel self conscious, and don't like people looking at me. I worried i'd hate the race, but actually I just felt proud, and enjoyed seeing all the other runners. I couldn't manage to run the whole race, but did a consistent run/walk, with only a minute of walking between running.

The route was a good one, starting off at Glasgow green, then alongside George Square, and then down Buchanan Street, one of the big shopping streets. It felt strange to run somewhere than I am usually shopping! It was then right along Argyle street, another shopping street, and another right onto the river side.  At this point I was roasting, and regretting wearing the jacket. I decided to take it off, and tie it round my waist. This was fine, but the phone in the pocket was weighing it down, which meant annoying flapping about. It was then along the river side for a bit, across a bridge to the other side, and a good straight run along the south side of the river. Another bridge, back across the river to Glasgow Green, which was the home straight, There was a section with flags and a foam blower type thing, then a loop back round the the finish area. I didn't see my Mum at all along the route, but my friends were there cheering me as I finished. (It turned out the parents were waiting on the first bridge, but we'd passed that point long before).

I managed to rally myself and run all along the finish area, stopping after I crossed the line. I then stopped my Garmin, which I am now annoyed about, as it was reading a bit under, at 4.8K. It must have been the corners or something which made it read under. I know its stupid, but I wish that i'd left it running to 5k, so that my fastest ever 5k was recorded and put in the record section. Anyway, I know I did my fastest, which I am happy with, especially straight after night shift.

Red faced and happy!

At the end I got my medal, a pink bottle of water, and a chocolate brioche. I was so happy to have run my first race, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I have learnt my lesson with the jacket though, as I had to hold the side with my phone in up over the last part, which was annoying. I'll definitely just use my bum bag next time. I am still looking for the ideal phone holder for running, so would appreciate any recommendations.

Overall, it was a great experience, and I raised £250 for Cancer Research UK!

Have you ever done Race for Life?

How do you carry your phone when running?

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Getting myself back on track.

That slump I talked about over 6 weeks ago? Yeah, it continued, until now. I have piled on weight over the winter, and not been active at all. The time for excuses is over, I know I can do better, and feel happier as a result. Last weekend I bit the bullet and signed up for the 10K at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival, which is on the 24th of May. When I first started running last year I vaguely chose this as a goal, but then all but gave up on it as I hit my slump. I decided to sign up for it anyway, with the sole goal of finishing the race. The website states that the sweeper bus comes along at 1hr 45 mins, so as long as I can do it faster than that, i'm all good! Already the promise of shiny medals in pulling me in like a magpie, and I am thinking of doing a 5k and 10K in Glasgow in May as well! The 5k is the race for life, which is for a good cause and should be fun as well. The 10K is the women's 10K, which I think a lot of women walk, so it will be a no pressure run, and hopefully will show me that I can do it!

With that goal in mind, I have dragged myself out of the slump, and got moving. I had planned to run yesterday, but was aching from 2 busy 12hr shifts at work. So, I rested, and then got straight into it today. I am quite pleased with myself today, I've exercised, ate healthy foods, and not napped. My sleep pattern has been terrible recently, not sleeping well at night, then napping, and so on. I started today with a driving lesson, which went ok actually. I then came in, and had a protein shake, as it was only 11, too early for lunch, and I didn't have much other food in.
Loving my pink blender bottle!

At this point it was absolutely pouring with rain, so I really wasn't up for going for a run as I had planned. I figured there was no point going out and being miserable. I decided to wait it out and see if the weather picked up. For lunch I had a yummy salad-

It had spinach, cherry tomatoes, yellow pepper, avocado, olives and feta. I have decided to start getting spinach instead of lettuce, as its tastier, and I think better for you. I am going to try sautéing it next.

After lunch I did some laundry, then battled in my head wether to walk into town and go to the gym, or go for the run I had planned. As the weather was a bit better, I wrapped up in my thermals and hit the pavement.

Thats me on the riverside, where it was really really windy. I think I would have been better doing my circular route the other way, as I wouldn't have been running into the wind. I did a mix of running and walking, nothing amazing, but a start.

I was pleased with the result, 480 cals burnt!

I feel much better with myself for getting out there, and doing something to change the way I look and feel. Now I just need to keep it up!

What healthy foods do you enjoy?

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Stuck in a Winter slump

I am here to confess. I've been very lazy. I've hardly done any exercise, not blogged at all, not done much really. I don't know if its the time of year (a touch of SAD maybe?), or related to the fact I changed jobs yet again. I am settling into my new job now though, and am much happier. The shifts are long, 12 hrs, which doesn't leave much time for exercise or anything else once I get in. However, the benefit of the shifts is that I get more days off in which to do things. The added complication of the new job is that it is in Glasgow, and I live in Dundee. So, I stay at my parents when working. My gym membership is in Dundee, along with my bike and other fitness equipment. I have taken running things to Glasgow, so in theory I can run when I have days off there.

The only thing I am missing is motivation! I really need a boot up the bum, some get up and go, a bit of oomph! If anybody has some spare, send it my way. I hope by writing this post I can shame myself into doing something, as I can feel myself putting on weight, and generally feeling meh.

How do you get over a lack of motivation?

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Mini Ice Lollies, huge treat!

Whilst perusing the freezers in the supermarket the other day, I spotted some tiny wee lollies. Now I am a sucker for anything mini, so picked them up.

Mini fab!! Just as yummy as the full size and only 47 calories.

Mini twister! This one is 45 calories.

You get a few different flavours of each in the boxes. I think these are great if you are trying to eat healthier, as you get a lovely treat without the amount of calories in a full sized lolly. I got some mini milks too, but they are not as fun as they have always been mini!

What do you have for a little treat?

Monday, 9 September 2013

Getting back out there and my Lidl compression socks

I talked before about the knee pain I got when I started running. I think I didn't have enough rest and that made it worse. So, I had a word with myself, and properly rested. This seems to have done the trick, as I have managed runs and gym sessions since with no pain. Once that hurdle was dealt with, of course I came down with a horrible cold. I didn't do any exercise when it was at it's worst, but the eased back in with a gym session. I managed the bike, cross trainer, and did intervals on the treadmill. The ones in my gym have a handy feature where you can set a slow speed and a fast speed, and change between them at the touch of a button. This is great as no panicking when you start to tire out and want to slow down. I managed 15 mins of alternate walking and running. I find I can run for longer continuos periods on the treadmill than I can outside. Does anyone else find this?

Today I went out for a run, trying to get back into my Zombies 5k training plan. I did week 3 run 2, and was pretty knackered. I still enjoyed it though. I think the knee injury has made me appreciate running, and only fuelled my desire to run.

When shopping for bargains in Lidl the other day (£3 rump steak, yum), I spotted these-

Compression socks for £2.99! Since getting into running I have read lots about compression socks but wasn't sure if I really needed them. They are supposed to help with muscle pain during and after running. I don't think i'll be wearing these bad boys out though! I have them on just now, and they do feel nice, like a little leg hug. I spose time will tell if they actually help.  My favourite thing about them though? This-

Just in case you forget what you are doing, or have been doing. Good old Lidl. Also, they look super cool-

Do you use compression socks?
Where did you get yours?

Friday, 30 August 2013

Keeping hydrated with Camelbak bottles

Its very important to keep hydrated in order to stay healthy. Being dehydrated can lead to all sorts of complications, such as headaches, and at its most extreme, kidney problems. I know myself that I struggle to drink enough, especially at work. I developed a bad habit of mostly drinking coke zero, which is not great for you, and expensive. I did balance this out with bottled water, which can also mount up in price, and all the plastic bottles are not good for the environment. So, I looked for a better solution. I wanted to take some kind of juice, and water to work.

So in comes the camelbak bottles! I got the bigger one first, the eddy. I use this for no added sugar diluting juice, and it holds 750ml. At the same time as I got this I got a Bobble for water, but I don't find that easy to drink from. So I ended up getting the water filtering camelbak, the Groove Tritan, which is 600ml.

The camelbaks are so easy to drink from. This is due to the bite valve, which is a rubbery valve which you simply bite on to drink from. The valve doesn't leak as there is no flow when it is not bitten. It is quite like drinking from a straw, and is easy to drink quite a big volume quickly. I find this really improves my fluid intake, as I can easy drink the whole 750ml bottle in my 30min break. I then sip on the water bottle for the rest of my shift, and can easily refill when needed. The filter means that the normally icky water at work tastes good.

The bite valve then folds down out the way when not needed.  The bottles are very watertight, I carry them to work in my bag and have had no problems with leaking. The bottles are made of very sturdy plastic, which can be dropped and survive. They are a little heavy so not ideal for using when running or at the gym, but thats fine! The water filter in the Groove Tritan needs to be replaced every 3 months or 180 litres of water.  The only slight problem with the design is cleaning it properly. However, all the parts come apart, which makes this a bit easier. There is a custom made cleaning kit available, which is a bit like those wee test tube cleaners you used at school. 

I bought my bottles from Amazon, as I found that the cheapest. They are available in a range of colours, but I obviously went for the pink. The Eddy was £12.95 and the Groove Tritan was £17.99. Replacement filters for the Tritan are around £30 for 6. I think thats a pretty good deal considering the money saved by not buying bottled juice and water, and the health benefits of increased hydration!

How do you re-hydrate?

Monday, 26 August 2013

My favourite fitness apps

Now I don't know about you, but I love an app. I have apps for all sorts of things, and health and fitness is no exception. I thought I would give a quick run through of the apps I use and then give my favourites more in-depth blog posts of their own. I have an iphone, but alot of these apps are available for android phones as well.

Nike apps-I haven't actually used these apps much. The first one is used with the nike + sensor that I have in my shoes, and the second just uses the gps in your phone. These apps track runs, giving times, calories and all sorts of other things. I do like the look of the these, so will give them a proper go once I have finished my 5K training app. The nike + website is pretty good as well, as other people have uploaded run routes. More info here. Price- Free

Absolute Abs- Another one downloaded with good intentions not really followed through. This app looks really good though. It has different work out options (abs, fat burning and ultimate), and then easy to follow pictures of the moves. You play the workout, and the move is read out, with timings for the reps. I really should try this! Find it here. Price- Free (paid version available)

BMITracker- This is a simple wee app from the NHS which works out your BMI. Its easy to use as you can use metric or imperial measurements. I measure my weight loss in metric, I think because I use metric at work (I'm a nurse). With this app it immediately tells you which zone your BMI is in (It was a happy day when I got into healthy!) and you can also view a graph of your progress. You can also use this app to do quick calculate, and I use this at work when I can't find a chart and need to work out a patient's BMI. Find it here. Price-Free

MyFitnessPal- A well known one, and one I used alot in the past and need to get back into to give me a boot up the bum! Its an online calorie and activity tracker, and is great.  The app is very handy, but you can use this online without a smart phone. I'll do a more in depth review of this. Find it here. Price- Free (paid services available)

Fitbit- I LOVE this. Its the app to go with my Fitbit one, which is an amazing little pedometer and sleep meter. I got mine for Christmas last year, and haven't looked back. This will be my next post. Find out more here. Price varies depending on fitbit device, mine was £79.99.

MapMyFitness- Another well known good 'un. Its a GPS sports tracker, which you can use for running, walking, cycling, amongst others. I use this for walks and cycling, as I am interested in distances. The website is good for planning routes in advance to work out distances, as well as searching for routes others in your area have done. Find it herePrice-Free (paid services available)

Zombies 5K- Another one I LOVE. Its the beginner version of Zombies run, and is a 5K training app. Its all based on a story, with voiceovers and run/walk drills designed to train you for a 5K. I've been using this for my running and will do a full review of this as well. Find it here. Price- £1.49

Tracker Lite- This is a really simple app, basically a calendar which you can track something on. You can set a goal and tick every time you do something. I tick when I exercise, and have set a goal to exercise 20 times, then I can treat myself to some new exercise clothes. Yes, I need to bribe myself. In the free version you can only track one thing, but can track multiple things in the paid version. I may splash out in future. Find it here. Price- Free (Paid version available)

LFconnect is an app for the machines at the gym which I haven't got working yet. Price- Free

Nike Training- Is another on the 'to do' pile. It has loads of work outs for free, and looks really good.  I have this on my ipad too, as it will be easier to watch the video's on that when working out. Find it here. Price- Free

Wow, that took a while! I hope it has been of some help to you, and please come back for the more in depth reviews.

What are your favourite health and fitness apps?