Running/injury update!

Began my day with a 10k run (sadly no negative splits today) started out way too fast but managed to finish without issues. Then headed over to my favourite Yoga for Runner’s class at Luke’s Locker.
After I stopped off to check out the shoes as advised by the Doctor and lo and behold… I hadn’t even been running in the right kind of shoes. (My oldies had actually been causing the pain and problems). Doh! The guy (John) was super patient and helpful and talked me through the various types of shoes, listened to me moan and then told me exactly what I needed to run pain free!
I now proudly own 2 pairs of runners – pair A – Saucony Guide 8 and pair B – Nike Zoom Structure 18 QS. I wasn’t too sure about the appearance of the Nike’s but they fit so well that I stuck with them. Both shoes have the stability to keep my foot from over pronating. I donated my old pair to their charity pile – hopefully somebody will get better use out of them!
I’ve also bought some new socks as the magic sock monster ate my old ones. Oh and runners glide! (Yeh… These longer runs in shorts rather than 3/4 or tights are causing some unpleasant chafing (which I’m sure I’ll start to experience under the arms too at some point).

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LA Marathon Update.

Some of you that have been following from the start may have known that I’d been toying with the idea of the LA marathon to go run an event with one of my best friends (who now lives in LA). She has been a fantastic source of inspiration and motivation over the last 3.5 years.

I had decided to wait until I had more news from the Doctor about my left leg before signing up for anything. Sadly; my very dear friend is even more injured than I am. She’s got some severe stress fractures which if not rested would basically split the bone in half and require metal pins and surgery to fix. So crutches and rest for quite some time. 😦 We are going to call her LA from here on in. LA is super fit and so dedicated to her fitness and health that this is devastating news for her.

She has inspired me so much since meeting her that I am determined to run the LA marathon sort of as a hats off respect sign to her. I’ve decided to go for it and I’m going to create a fundraising page because ‘normal’ people don’t like the thought of major sports events ‘just because’ – if it’s for charity then it’s justifiable. So I’m going to throw it out there and raise money for Leukemia and Lymphoma as it’s also a personal charity for LA.

https://www.justgiving.com/journeytoironwoman is the link if you would like to donate against cancer. Many thanks in advance.

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(Also.. any advice about training/nutrition etc. is welcomed and appreciated!)

Big Dreams? Start Small!

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would have a blog, let alone one that I actually kept track of and was passionate about. That said, it is making my dreams come true and my journey a hundred times more exciting and colourful. Since starting to write this I have noticed how much more positive I have become in my outlook on life and how I’m trying more and more to share that energy with others. It’s making my personal life better, it’s making my job better; win, win!
On my journey so far I have encountered some people (virtually and in real life) who have changed me or shaped me, changed my direction or inspired me and I just wanted to throw a huge thanks to them all (and all y’all for reading). I came across the post I’m reblogging about a week or two ago from this fantastic gentleman who wrote about dreams. The post really struck a chord with me and I asked if he would mind if I shared it on; his passion is clear in his writing and I definitely feel like it spoke to me. It really helped me maintain my focus and get my mojo back for this HIM prep!
I highly recommend that you check out the post – let me know what you think; what is your dream? How are you going to go about achieving it? (Please let the wonderful author know that you checked out his post too!)

Moving on to today; I’d been making more of an effort to tweet about my workouts etc and this other fab blogger got in touch! A “new to triathlon” blogger who, get this, has signed up for a 140.6 FULL distance Ironman this year! How AWESOME is that!!?! (I don’t mean any disrespect with my quotation marks – I feel like that piece of information needed to be included in there!). (In case you’re wondering and want to check this fab lady out, she’s Running Thriver; both on Twitter and her blog).
Anyway, another person who has totally inspired me and made me think WOW! I would never have come across these people (just 2 examples) if I hadn’t started on this journey or begun writing this blog.

What is my main point here? Get out of your comfort zone, do something you thought you could never do. Sign up for that be all and end all race that you just didn’t think would be possible. Start writing that blog, or running that business – whatever it is that makes you tick! And then… enjoy the journey, look out for the gems along the way and the treasures of meeting these people who will enhance your adventure and give you gifts of insight, advice, experience or maybe just a funny anecdote. Whatever it is, it contributes and makes it better for you! Just remember to enjoy it!

My Journey 2 Scratch

think-big-start-small-byob-post1-300x200We all have a big dream…a major goal or idea that we would like to accomplish in our lives. Maybe it is starting your own business, getting out of debt, writing a novel or running a marathon.

I believe strongly in the idea of pursuing your dreams in life, but that road to accomplishing big dreams is a long one and it’s not smoothly paved.

It’s important to have a bigger picture in the back of your mind when progressing toward a big goal, but if you focus solely on that bigger picture, there is an inevitable point where frustration will arise and your mind will tell you it’s too hard, not worth it and to give up.  This is where the importance of consistency and focusing on smaller tasks is essential.  If you put the energy into the smaller things, you will reap the big rewards. 

Take the…

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Westchase Local Farmers Market.

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I was dying to write about this last night but had to go visit a friend who has been unwell and by the time I got home it was late.

The Westchase Farmers Market has been running about a year; it is located on Rogerdale and Westheimer in the corner car park of the church (Just past BW8) every Thursday from 3-6pm in the winter and 3-7pm the rest of the year.

There are about 23 stalls that show up each week now with a whole variety of products to sell – from food products to bath salts and even gifts.
I bought my first bunch of multi coloured carrots (the kind they show on the front of “Oh She Glows” cookbook. I was so excited!! I also bought a whole bunch of other homegrown veggies from a farm from Spring (Local, fresh and organic!!! It doesn’t get better than this!)

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(Update: My boyfriend ate some of the carrots from the fridge and declared they were the most delicious things he has ever tried! WINNING!)

I also bought some super snazzy bathsalts all home made and smelling gorgeous! Very friendly people at the market and a very relaxed atmosphere! I also bought homemade German cookies and cakes (to die for!) sold by the lovely and super kind Julie. (I had originally written in a story of human kindness but now I’ve had to delete it for various reasons; just know that there are still some awesome people in society). I was so touched by her caring attitude – her good heart and now the yumminess of her baked goods have won me over. If you are in the area, stop by to see her. And regardless of where you are, do one kind, selfless thing today please and help make the world a better place.

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Exercising in the Winter! Hints and tips to keep you on track.

 

BRRR!!!! (Photo credit: Zoomarun.com)

Living in the South I am usually blessed with warm (and often yukky, sticky humidity) weather. Over the last few years Houston’s climate has really begun to change.. we have had snow, ice, heatwaves, tornadoes, hurricanes etc etc. (You see my point).

In the summer it is usually blazing hot and people can’t hack the heat until later in the evening; where in normal parts of the country it would cool off – not in Houston! But we suck it up anyway and off we trot for a couple of loops at Memorial or Rice, or even THP if you’re further out like me.

So Houstonians and us wannabes (imports) have adjusted to this and embraced the sticky horrible heat and worked out regardless. What we are not accustomed to at all is the cold! It hits anything below 70 here and we start wearing scarves and boots, coats make their way out of the closet or storage (I’m not even kidding!).

So my friends (and I, yes, I too am guilty), moan about the weather “Oh it’s too cold to run”, “I can’t get out of bed because it’s freezing”, “There’s no way I can bike in this weather” and the like.

BUT…. YES, we can! The North of the Country, (Mason Dixon line if you want to be super specific/Yankee country if you’re a Texan) manage it! Some of the States for about 5/6 months a year. And let’s face it, they are so hardcore up there that even giant snow drifts and ice storms don’t phase them! Hats off to these heroes!

One of those heroes! (Photo credit: 4.bp.blogspot.com)

I am embracing the cold (obviously not at 4:15am when that pesky alarm goes off and I have to tiptoe across the tiled (who even invented tiled flooring!?!) FREEZING floor to slip on my running shoes or grab my kit bag and head out for that oh so important work out). I love that I can now work out for an extended amount of time without feeling like I’m going to burn in hell or spontaneously combust from heat exposure. Yes, it is unpleasant and downright miserable when you stop and that wind hits you, but take some layers for when you stop, and grab a towel to dry off and you will be golden.

I read a fantastic article on Runner’s World this morning about 10 hints and tips for running in the cold so I would definitely recommend that you read it too! (Particularly the part about how many layers to wear depending on the temperature! This is something we have NO idea about down here!).

My hints and tips are as follows:

1. Don’t over layer during the workout but take plenty for post run/workout! Change out of your damp clothing – you will only get colder otherwise.

2. Don’t linger outside post workout longer than is absolutely necessary! You don’t want to get sick.

3. Keep a towel to hand in your car to “dry off” afterwards – you will still sweat on these workouts.

4. Set your alarm across the room if it’s a morning workout. Once you’re up, you’re less likely to curl back up.

5. If it’s a morning workout have everything ready to go and some people have suggested even wearing workout kit to bed so you don’t have to freeze in the morning getting ready.

6. Safety is key! I’m an independent female who is still going to work out on my own but there’s a limit to where and when! I will happily got to the gym near my work at 5am, running at the park at the same time; not so much! Think about where you are; who is around at that time etc.

7. Wear fluorescent clothing or bands and take a flashlight/head torch. See and be seen!

8. Pack yourself a treat of hot coffee/chocolate or tea for the end! It’s great to focus on that to get you to the end of the workout.

9. Find some indoor classes you would be interested in taking if it’s “just too cold” outside

10. If you’re a gadget/gear geek or guru struggling to get out there get yourself a jar or money tin and put a set amount of money in each time you work out so that you can buy yourself something fabulous and shiny at the end of the winter and it will feel that much better because you earned it with those difficult get ups, cold slogs in the wind and the rain.

And if you’re struggling with motivation in the cold find alternatives, set yourself some personal challenges, sign up for a Spring event, get some friends on board for a competition, imagine yourself crossing the finish line of an event you were particularly pleased with; how did it feel? Rekindle that feeling! And if you’re still struggling reading my previous post about Motivation.

 

Please, make sure you warm up adequately pre and post workout! We don’t want any injuries!

What are your hints and tips for Winter Workouts?

Reply here or tweet @jrnytoironwoman.

Be safe out there!

Say what? Tri terminology.

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(Photo credit: Guy Mayer, Flickr)
As Gary Coleman famously said; “What you talkin’ ’bout Willis?”
That’s pretty much how it feels when you’re a newbie to anything and people throw some jargon into the conversation or a post and you are left wondering what on earth they are going on about!
So I thought I’d throw some of that jargon out there today and go through the meanings so next time you hear any of the acronyms or “speak” you don’t feel like a total newbie or so clueless (it happens to us all). This hasn’t been exhausted yet but I need rest so I am going to call it a night for now! Let me know what I’ve missed!

Triathlon.
This is for all us crazies out there that didn’t think it was hard enough to do one sport! It is a swim followed by a bike followed by a run. There are varying distances – Sprint (short swim 300-500 metres, 10-16 mile bike, 3.1 mile run), Olympic (1000-1500 metre swim, 24-28 mile bike, 6.2 mile run), ITU Long (3000 metre swim, 50 ish mile bike ride, 12.4 mile run), Half Ironman/70.3 (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 run) and the FULL (140.6 – 2.4 mile swim, 112 bike followed by a 26.2 run).

Triathlete.
The crazy person who undertakes the above style race!

PB/PR.
I read an article somewhere else that joked about Peanut Butter with this one. I know that switching from PB to PR threw me for 6! We use PB in the UK and PR is pretty common here in Houston! It means Personal Best or Personal Record. It can also be used as a verb (yes, who knew!?) “I PR’d today” meaning I beat my own best time. You can PR in a skill/discipline or overall in a race or training time.

Bonk/Bonking.
This one REALLY has another meaning in the UK. If you’re a 10 year old (ok, maybe older, probably like 15) this means to have sex! So imagine my surprise when I hear it being used so casually by these athletes around me on the numerous bike rides. It wasn’t until I watched this, that I suddenly got it! (Totally recommend watching that video – it’s hilarious!).
This one means “to crash” in energy terms. It usually happens after a hard effort and definitely when you haven’t fueled your body adequately pre or during a race. It’s that horrible weak/ill feeling you get and your legs go all heavy. It happened to me once or twice when I first got into road cycling and I felt so sick that I had to stop the first time to shove my face with food (what a beautiful image). The second time I recognised what was happening and artfully stuffed a gu and a cereal bar down my throat immediately and managed to salvage it! Don’t do it to yourself, have a decent brekky ahead of your race and have plenty of your preferred fuel and carbs to hand for the race!

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5k/10k/25k/13.1/26.2
Yes, I know, you’re looking at these numbers and scoffing but there are people out there who do not know what they refer to/mean! I had a friend point to the sticker on my car and ask about it!
5k = 3.11 miles
10k = 6.21 miles
25k = 15.5 miles
13.1 = half marathon distance
26.2 = full marathon distance

Pace.
This one can be used in a variety of contexts. It might be your running training e.g. 5k pace would be the speed at which you would run a 5k, 10k pace would be how fast/slow you run the 6.21 miles and so on. As you increase the distance it is normal for your pace to decrease. This can also be used in “Pacer” – someone who sets the pace, usually for a distance running race – you would run behind that person to maintain that speed or finish in a particular time. It can also be used in “Pace Line” usually for cyclists who ride in a long line and maintain a particular speed. Take care, there’s a particular etiquette which you should definitely read up about if you’re looking into joining any pace line! Always polite to ask to join and make sure you take your turn as the buffer at the front!

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Splits.
Not the strawberry kind, or the banana, or even the painful gymnastics kind! These are when you run longer races and they break the distance down into shorter sections, usually a mile, and these miles are referred to splits. You want to run “negative splits” (or splutz according to my running coach); this means the second half of your race is faster than the first half. If you run an even split this means you are evenly paced throughout the race.

Fartlek Training.
Excuse me? No, not that! It’s definitely giggle worthy (Oh come on, who doesn’t laugh when a word involves “that” word. This is like interval training/intervals for runners – mixture of speeds over different distances combined in one workout. It comes from Swedish meaning “Speed Play”. You might do an easy run and break it up with some short sprints. You call the shots on how far, how fast and how hard you push yourself.

Intervals/Interval Training.
When you set up a workout in stages. e.g Warm up, run 2 minutes at hard pace follow by 3 minutes of easy pace etc. Some people measure pace with numbers/miles per minutes too.

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DOMS.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness – ya know, that day after a brutal workout feeling or when you haven’t trained enough for a race and then you try bending down to pick up something or even worse, walking down the stairs… yup… that!

Transition.
The area of the race where you set up your kit upon arrival. It closes before the race and you will not be allowed back in until after the race or this will either incur a time penalty or a DQ (See below).

T1.
When you finish the swim you run into transition to switch to the bike portion. The amount of time your spend in transition at this point is “T1”.

T2.
This is when you switch from the bike to the run in transition.

Stripper.
Not some crazy night out with a girl named Cinnamon or Jasmine (no offence if your name is Jasmine). These are the helpful volunteers at the end of the swim who help you take your wetsuit off.

Volunteer.
Those lovely people who help out before, during and after races. Smile at them, thank them, be one of them! It’s always great to “pay back” into the community – help out at a race you’re not taking part in.

DQ.
No, sadly not (or perhaps happily) not Dairy Queen. It’s Disqualification – hang your head in shame and learn from your mistake.

BQ.
Boston Qualifying (nothing like DQ). (Again a different meaning in the UK – this is a Hardware store, like Lowe’s or Home Depot. The person who gets BQ is an amazing athlete – an extreme challenge and an amazing achievement! This means they competed in a particular race that would give them a chance at a slot for the Boston Marathon. There are specific races which are Boston Qualifiers. You have to make it in a certain time to qualify.

DNF.
What you want to avoid by training sufficiently! This is a “Did Not Finish”. (DNS is Did Not Start). The Open Water Swim (see below) is often the part that finishes people off so give yourself ample opportunity to practice!

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Open Water Swim.
This is the first section of the triathlon; there are different types of swim. OWS as it is often called online, can be in a lake or the sea/ocean. Whichever one it is, you want to get practice in pre race! Don’t wait until the day to find out if you can make the swim!

Pool Swim.
This is the other type of swim in a triathlon – in a swimming pool – usually athletes have to report a particular distance time for this one and you will start based on your time so you’re alongside people of a similar speed.

Wetsuit Legal.
This means the water is cold enough for you to wear a wetsuit (and you’d be crazy NOT to wear one!). Recommendation would be to go for a sleeveless one – personal preference obviously comes into play here but the effort of a full sleeve will take its toll on you (again practice!!)

Drafting.
Don’t be *that* guy or girl. Drafting means you duck behind another athlete to catch on their pace but without battling the elements. It’s extremely rude and if you are caught you will get a penalty (see below). This is considered “illegal” in race terms.

Penalty.
Time penalties given for “illegal” activities in a race, such as drafting, cheating, using forbidden items or trying to gain some unfair advantage over other athletes. (Not cool).

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Carbon Fiber Frame.
A beautifully light frame on a bike, usually equalling big bucks on the price tag and a less than happy bank account.

Aerobars.
Specific triathlon equipment for a bike to allow the athlete to really streamline themselves on the bike section – flatten yourself out and become aerodynamic. It can add a mile or 2 to your overall speed.

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Brick (workout).
This is when you double up on a workout in one go. You bike and then run. Good for building stamina and strength.

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(Photo credit: ramtri.com)

Chip.
Those yummy things made from potato, oh wait, no.. not those. I got sidetracked. This is the strap you wear around your left ankle in a race with a timing chip on it (make sure you have it on properly)

Gait.
Sequence and manner in which you move your legs when you run.

Cadence.
The speed at which you pedal when cycling – measure of revolutions of the wheel (RPM – revolutions per minute). This can also be used to measure pace in running and if you read this post from a whole back; the magic number of foot turnovers is 180 per minute.

Corral.
Another running term. This is where you are grouped at the start line of a big race (usually 13.1/26.2 see above) with other athletes who are of a similar pace (see above again) to you and expect to finish around the same time.

Stash.
Your “gear”, your kit that you acquire or have made. The shirts you acquire from races or team partipation. This is also sometimes referring to medals that you get at the end of the race (these are also called “Bling”).

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Podium.
Where the winners stand, yo. The top 3 in each age group are usually awarded a prize as well as overall winners, Masters, Grand Masters, Clydesdales and Athenas (see below). Can also be used as a verb “I podiumed at my race today”.

Masters.
Racers over the age of 40. (Often the most competitive age bracket)

Grand Masters.
More power to these guys and gals! Racers over the age of 50.

Clydesdales.
Male racers who weigh more than 220lb. You have to register yourself to race in this category.

Athenas.
Female racers who must weigh more than 165lbs. You have to register yourself to race in this category.

Gu/shots/bloks.
Form of fuel (brand names) that athletes use whilst racing. Gu/shots are usually in individual sachets and Bloks are the gummy chews you can pop about 3 of at a time. Usually one serving per hour that you’re racing. Follow with water to avoid unpleasant stomach pains or problems.

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Runner’s tummy.
The curse of racing and training intensively can sometimes cause stomach issues and a mad dash to the bathroom.

Many thanks to my beautiful friends and co-athletes (YH, DG and SS) whom I quizzed about words that confused them to start with and to my beloved DG who gave me this gem “I started biking before running, in biking you measure your speed. The higher the number, the better. When I started running, it threw me off that I was looking to make my number smaller since you measure your pace, not the average speed. But that was just me! :-)” Here, here D! You are awesome!!

Are there any words/terms that tricked or confused you?

Are there any other words you think should be added to the list? Leave a comment or drop me a line and I can add to the list!

Back in the saddle!

Excuses aside I pulled it out of the bag and kicked myself back into action today. I ran the warm up with our cross country team but could feel my achilles and my knee grumbling so I stopped after a mile and headed to the gym to swim. Once I got there I checked the class schedule and decided to hang about for the spin class at 5:30 and did that. An intense workout which my leg muscles aren’t overly excited about right now! (That’s a lie, my right leg is happy, it’s just my injured leg which is hurting).
Anyway we have a freeze warning here in TX for the next couple of days – YAYYYY!!! 29 degrees in November – what is going on!?
So although I was planning to go swim at 5:30am, I may just stick with the training session I’ve booked after work and swim after that (in the warm).
This weekend there’s an organised long ride on Sunday morning which I’m hoping to do if the weather holds out (currently storms on the forecast).
Just got to throw myself back in and hope the leg holds out and the motivation kicks back in.
The workout today definitely made me feel a hundred times better after a rubbish day at work!

How do you turn a bad day around?