Weekly Recap: 19-25th of May

What a week! I’ve had my ups and downs, but there’s a wind of change *whistles* approaching and I can feel that my body is starting to adjust to my new lifestyle. My legs are getting stronger and my endurance has increased so much that I even surprised myself and went for a run for 20 minutes without stopping.  The support from my family, friends and everyone reading my blog has been overwhelming. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

As I start to approach my goal of running a total of 5 km, I feel this calls for a weekly occurring recap in order to keep record of my progress.

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Monday: Yoga

Tuesday: 4.11 km – 42m 35 s (5 min warmup walk. Run 8 min; Walk 5 min; Run 8 min + cooldown) + Yoga

Wednesday: Yoga

Thursday: 3.97 km – 36m 57s (5 min warmup walk. Run 20 min + cooldown) 

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Yoga + pilates

Sunday:  4.44 km – 42m 7s  (5 min warmup walk. Run 5 min; Walk 3 min; Run 8 min; Walk 3 min; Run 5 min + cooldown) + Yoga

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“I’m learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me” – Trace Ellis Ross

 

She believed she could so she did

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I did it! Yesterday I managed to run for 20 minutes without stopping. I’m still in a state of shock and disbelief. Well perhaps not disbelief, somewhere deep down I knew I could do it, I was just extremely nervous of giving up too soon. But, I’m not one of those who gives up to easily! I really wanted to finish that run and I did.

The entire run/walk (still unsure what to call these C25K sessions) was rather smooth, despite of it being a rather warm day. Here’s a short run-down of how it went:

  • 5 min warm-up – How refreshing to get out today after a long day at work. Pleasantly warm and sunny! Feel light as a feather.
  • 2 min into the run – Still a bit stiff in my legs, but I’m sure I’ll manage.
  • 3 min – This stiffness isn’t going away and my stomach is starting to ache…great.
  • 4 min – If it’s going to continue like this I might not even be able to run for 10 minutes. How frustrating!
  • 4½ min –  The very least I could do was to focus on my breathing and drink some water. After all it was a rather warm day.
  • 5 min – My stiffness was starting to lift! Thank goodness!
  • 6-10 min – Well this isn’t too bad!
  • 10-15 min – Starting to get a bit tired, time to put in the heavy artillery and listen to Muse (Survival/Madness) and 30 Seconds to Mars(This is War). Badass mode is on!
  • 15-20 min – Phew! Almost there, but it’s getting incredibly tough to run in the sun so I’m trying my best to find high hedges or trees that cast some shadow over me. I have absolutely no idea what was going through my head at this point…it was blank! I do actually remember I had some weird idea on what it would be like to run next to horse (Scissor Sisters’ “Only The Horses” was playing at that moment). Went back to reality after hearing that I had only 1 minute left! OMG I could run a marathon (who was I kidding?). A smile started to spread across my face. “Begin your cool-down”. WHAT?! That’s it? I’m done? Ladies and gentlemen, I can officially say that I’ve run for 20 minutes without stopping! I was ecstatic and so proud of myself for not giving up.

At this point my face was scarlet red and flushed from the heat (I’ll spare you from a photo), but I didn’t care…I had completed the most feared day of all the weeks. 5K seems not too far away from now. I’m feeling more motivated than ever. I can’t wait for my next run. Did I just say that? Times are changing…

P.S. It might still require some work, but I’ve just updated the “about me” page section at the very top.

 

Review: Nathan Speed 2

Whether I’m at home, work, travelling or out and about, staying hydrated has always been a top priority for me. Staying hydrated enhances your performance and speeds recovery. You’ll always find a bottle or glass of water next to me. Needless to say, when I took up running I started to look around for a good hydration solution and I knew that a regular water bottle just wouldn’t cut it. What I needed was something that would ensure that my water would be easily accessible, close at hand, and never in the way. At first I had my eyes on the Nathan QuickDraw and QuickShot bottles. I wanted to try them on in order to know what it felt like wearing my bottle in my hand, but I was unable to find them in any of the stores near me (why do stores advertise a product when they don’t even have it in stock?!). To my utter disappointment, I had to rule out the option of wearing a handheld-bottle.

To be honest I’ve been quite wary of hydration belts and heard that many of them tend to bounce around, ride up or simply fall to the ground. I’ve always disliked buckles due to to my irrational fear of loosing my entire finger when closing and opening  it. But, there it was…calling out my name in the distance –  Nathan Speed 2

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The Nathan Speed 2 hydration belt is constructed of a limited-stretch elasticized waistbelt for the best comfort and a bounce-free ride. Fear not fellow buckle-fearer (ehh is that even a word?), this belt is fastened with VELCRO for an easy adjustment on the move for a perfect fit.  The hydration belt is available in 4 sizes: S 26-32″/65-80cm, M 32-36″/80-90 cm, L 36-42″/90-105cm, XL 42-48″/105-122cm.

Two dishwasher-safe 10 oz./300 ml flasks are suited at the back, and are completely free of BPA. The belt is provided with silicone grips inside holsters, which prevents the bottles from popping out when you’re out for a run.

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The back also consists of a “Power Stretch Mesh” pocket with an interior flat pocket, key holder and an incorporated waterproof ID and medical emergency card. In addition, the back has an airmesh moisture-wicking panel with cushions that prevents chafing.

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A small water-resistant pill pocket is situated at the front for quick access to salt tablets, pain relievers or other tiny objects that may be of use.

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I’ve been trying on the hydration belt for a few weeks now in order to form an honest and truthful opinion. During my runs I’ve worn the belt on different layers of clothing and I’ve tried to determine which position would fit me the best. After some trial and error,  I would recommend wearing the belt low on your hips in order to prevent interference with breathing (and constantly having the need to visit a toilet). Having a low belt placement will also aid in bottle removal and replacement. I was able to wear the belt over my thin jacket (as seen above) without any issues, but I would have to say it’s definitely more comfortable to wear it underneath or a bit lower on my hips now that I’m just wearing a top.

The construction of the belt is incredibly solid and molds to your body once you’ve found the right fit. Never once did I feel discomfort or the urge to take off the belt when out for a run. At first I was worried that it would annoy me, but after a while it just felt like it’s an integrated part of my body. I must say Nathan did a great job with the bounce-free fit!

The water bottles are easy to fill and clean. They are even dishwasher safe, just be sure to put them on the top rack. The silicone grips holds the bottles in place and I haven’t had any bottle falling out, nor did I have any issues removing them. Having two bottles that are BPA-free, makes my environmentally friendly heart flutter. I try to stay away from harmful substances as much as possible, which is why these bottles get an extra plus.

The back pocket is extremely useful when you don’t want to jam your front pockets with items or leave them at home. It’s not the largest pocket out there, but it’s rather stretchy so it would hold your phone, jels, keys or medicine (perhaps not everything at once). I have my inhaler (should my mild Asthma suddenly catch me by surprise) in the pocket and it takes up a lot of space, so I’m unable to fit my iPhone in there as well. However, I’ve read that Nathan offers extra accessories/pockets for the belt, so that could be a solution if you want to bulk up.

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Plus:

  • Bounce-free fit
  • Easy access to water
  • Versatile – Great for warm days, longer runs or hiking
  • BPA-free
  • Velcro-strap

Minus:

  • Make sure to screw on the lid properly (which can be a bit tricky) or the bottle might end up leaking
  • Not the largest pocket

 

How do you drink when you’re out for a run? Do you have a favourite bottle?

 

 

Oh my gosh, week 5 is here…

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If I’m going to rock week 5, I might as well do it in a Guns N’ Roses shirt

What’s so awful about week 5 I hear you ask? Thing is that it’s dreaded by almost everyone! Before even having started with the C25K running program, I had read several posts on the Facebook page where people were concerned about week 5. As usual week 5 consists of 3 days, but it’s the massive leap that makes the third day so daunting. I’ve already completed day 1 and 2 of week 5, and I was pleasantly surprised that it was a lot easier from the previous week. Could it be that my body is to starting to adapt to the increase of time/distance that I’m running? Today I alternated between a 5 min walk and a 8 min run. I was so focused on the running for the first part that I didn’t even hear the app telling me to switch to walking, well until I started to wonder why it was taking so long. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t face any real problems. I just decided to focus on my breathing (which went into autopilot after a while) and listen to some epic music.

BUT (yes that big but is needed!) on my next run I will have to run for 20 minutes! SAY WHAT?!  Yup, I thought that was a mistake when I read that for the first time…but apparently it’s not. *heavy breathing*It’s a rather strange feeling knowing that I have reached week 5, when it felt like years from now not so long ago. Yet, here I am! As many concerns there are, I’ve also read that one shouldn’t really pay notice to the time and that it is possible to run for 20 min at this stage. The key is to settle into a pace that you are comfortable with (turtle-slow in my case) and set your mind on “I’m going to finish”.

I’ve planned to take the bull by the horns tomorrow and just do it! I’m sure I’m going to be really nervous before I head out, but then again who knows I might even surprise myself. Wish me the best of luck! Certainly going to need it… *gulp*

8 good reasons to run with music

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I’m not sure what I would have done without music during my runs. I would have probably given up a thousand times by now if it wasn’t for my running playlist. I tend to update my running playlist from time to time so that I won’t grow tired of certain songs. Then there are those epic songs I’ll never get tired of and they will probably stay on repeat forever.

During this past week I’ve needed an extra boost and encouragement when running. The level of difficulty seemed  a bit too high for me. But then I came to the conclusion that it was all in my head. I wasn’t going to die if I ran a few more seconds. There were moments where it would have been so easy to just give up and go back home. Truth be told I did stop twice, but at the very second I stopped I felt the guilt and disappointment wash all over me and I decided to run a few extra meters by the end of my run in order to make up for it. I definitely needed something that would bring my motivation and spirit up for my next run. My solution? 70s music! Did it help? Why yes it did.  Thank you Sister Sledge and Abba!

Music just seems to soothe one’s soul and there are several other benefits when listening to music, even when  it comes to running.

Here are 8 good reasons to plug in your headphones and listen to some music when out for a run (I’m sure that there are many more):

1. Gets you motivated on your longer runs

At the Brunel University in England, researchers have investigated which music will motivate you the most during longer workouts. Music with an average tempo wins over a mixture of a fast and slow paced music, and over solely fast music.

2. Improves you reaction speed

The faster your music’s tempo is, the quicker your reactivity is.

3. Train harder without getting tired

Studies have shown that your workout-strains will feel approximately 10% less if you run to music that suits your pace, tempo and heart rate. In other words,  with music you will be able to perform 10% longer or with 10% higher intensity, without it feeling more difficult.

4. Maximizes your workout flow

If you combine your running with music it’s a lot easier to get into a “flow” – a state where your body and mind more or less hits into an autopilot mode and you don’t pay notice to what you are doing, but where you simply run. Being “in the zone” can resemble a lighter hypnotic state where you forget about time and space and where you are simply present in the now.  If you are able to achieve that flow you will experience a very pleasant run, the so called “runner’s high”. Music will make your run much more than just a workout and your head will be cleansed of thoughts, your stress will vanish and time will fly.

5. Reduces nervousness and stress

If you’re nervous before a race or competition, music can decrease your nervosity and help to to perform better. Slow and familiar music is good if you want to keep your nerves in check, while upbeat music can increase your performance. Whether you’re training for a race or not, nervousness, stress and heartache can worsen your results and even make you abandon your running altogether.

6. Saves oxygen

If you running pace/tempo is synced with your music, you can decrease the amount of oxygen you  use up by 7%.

7. Interval training gets easier 

Music can be your best friend if you’ve decided to do interval training/running. In order to keep your tempo, you can you the rhythm of the music to control when you place your foot on the ground.

8. Keep your spirit up!

Even with the best intentions it can sometimes prove to be difficult to stay at your desired intensity/pace during a longer and demanding run, music helps. Turning up your favourite song can boost your spirit and you will kick some ass! Or you might just end up looking rather silly running around singing to yourself…but who cares. 😉

 

Music makes you run!

Halfway and Ready for a Change

 

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How surreal this almost seems. Not too long ago I had almost given up running after barely getting started, and now I’m almost halfway through my C25K scheme. For the majority part of my life I’ve despised running, I could barely run for 1 minute without getting short of breath and every muscle in my body begged me to stop. Some days have been incredibly tough and I’ve asked myself why I’m actually doing this. Then there are those days where the clouds part, the sun comes out and everything seems possible. Like the optimist that I am, I try to focus on those positive days and change my way of thinking. I can’t change the past, but I certainly can change and improve my present and future…all it requires is some discipline and dedication.

Just because I’m getting closer towards my goal doesn’t mean I’ll stop there. My journey has only  just begun and there are many more extraordinary adventures to come. With that said, I believe I’m ready for a change. A change that I will take you all with me.

Behold, my new blog haven that goes by its new name:

This Veggie Runs

I’ve felt for quite some time that my blog name didn’t really portray what I was blogging about, and truth be told it was actually meant to act as a temporary option.  This time I need a clearer message. Something that will describe the overall topic of this blog and me as a person, yet stay simple and easy to remember.  So in short, I’m a vegetarian who runs!

I’m still uncertain how all of this will work out with changing a blog name, but hopefully all my posts and all you lovely followers will follow with it.*fingers crossed*

P.S. You may still see my old blog banner. I need to find some time to sit down and design a new one. Please, bare with me! Hopefully this change won’t be too traumatic for all of you. 😉

 

Liebster Award

101 followers! Wow, I’m amazed and so thankful for all of you out there who take your time to read and even comment on my endeavours to improve my life and health.

A few days ago I received the Liebster Award. I would like to thank the lovely Cia at Little Yellow Butterflies for nominating me. Be sure to visit her blog. It’s filled with insightful and thought provoking discussions, reviews and colourful flowers. Thank you once again. You are awesome! 🙂

The rules:

  • Make a post about the reward
  • Answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you
  • Nominate bloggers with with less than 200 followers and make 11 questions for them to answer (they are at the very bottom)

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1. Favourite dessert?

My favourite dessert changes depending on the season.  This winter it was all about vegan Oreo cupcakes. At this very moment I have a huge craving for ice cream. It’s a tie between vanilla and chocolate soft serve ice cream or lemoncurd and meringue ice cream.

2. Is there anything going on in the news at the moment that you’ve got a particular opinion on?

Let me put it like this, every nerve in my body is electrified by disgust and frustration when I read about the abduction of 276 girls in Nigeria. Not only is dreadful news, but the debate it has stirred is both fascinating as well as horrific. Some people seem to draw the reason behind this abduction straight to Islam. It’s not religion itself that is the reason behind this act. It’s the misguided, damaged interpretation of religion by a minority of people. Don’t condemn the people who have faith and live their life in peace and love by shaming them with the worst action of intolerance and cruelty towards humans. My heart goes out to the families of these girls.

3. What’s your best way to unwind after a bad day?

First of all, I give myself some “me” time and a moment to breathe and recharge my batteries. I take a warm shower, and there are times where all the feelings I’ve had bundled up are released and tears stream down my face. Sometimes it just gets too much for one’s heart to bare. But that’s ok. There’s nothing wrong with crying .

Afterwards I curl up under a blanket with a hot drink (look at Q 5) and for a moment escape into a different time, life and place in a book or movie/TV-series. I can find comfort in a book or a movie. Getting lost in things as marvellous as the written word. For a moment a book or a movie can make me forget about my own troubles.

Now that I’ve started running and as time goes by as I improve, I might go out for a run to clear my mind.

4. If you could go exploring anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?

The Louvre. Not only would I  love to explore the displayed collections (I’ve seen some of them, but not all of they as time slipped away when I was there years ago), but the “hidden” collection would be at the top of my list. The “hidden” collection is inaccessible to the public and consist of 200,000 artefacts, including paintings and tens of thousands of sculptures and other objects from antiquity. I would never be bored!

5. Best hot drink?

Tea! Oh, my precious tea! It’s like a hug in a cup. It comforts you when your cold or feeling down, gives you inspiration and energy, and most importantly tea offers an opportunity for contemplation and slowing down. In short, tea is a tasty magical potion.

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6. Has becoming a blogger led to anything surprising or unexpected for you?

It has provided me with that much needed extra boost when I almost gave up running after just two weeks. I didn’t want to leave you all hanging there in mid air and most importantly I didn’t want to disappoint myself. Who knew a blog could do that. The support here is amazing!

7. If you had to live in one place forever, where would it be?

Pembereley! Oh bummer, it’s fictional estate owned by Mr Darcy…

As an Anglophile I would have to say somewhere in England. I’ve previously lived in Brighton for a year and enjoyed it immensely. It almost feels like a second home to me. Living by the sea and being surrounded by green hills as far as the eye can see has always appealed to me.  I do however have a huge crush on London and I always get this warm and fuzzy feeling whenever London is mentioned. It’s a beautiful city filled with historical architecture, large parks, cultural events, possibilities…well my list could go on and on. I would probably live in a beautiful Regency/Victorian terraced house situated by a park.

8. Show us your favourite blog post that you’ve made so far?

That must be my previous post. At that very moment I felt and still feel like I’m moving forward, I have a sense of purpose and I’m starting to believe that I might actually be able to complete my C25K running program.

9. What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?

Oh,  that’s a tough one! The world is filled with beautiful places, things, people and unselfish acts. However, one place that came to by mind and simply dazzled me was the Navagio “Shipwreck” Beach at Zakynthos. That place is so beautiful it’s almost surreal. The blue water is crystal clear, and the sheer limestone cliffs and white sandy beach will almost blind you.

10. Do you like to cook, and if so, what’d your fave recipe?

I love to cook! It a nice way to let the creativity flow and discover new flavours.

I don’t tend to strictly follow recipes, unless it’s for baking. Usually I just remove or replace some ingredients in order to create my own personalized dish. However, there was one recipe where I found a great way to prepare a good crispy tofu. Before frying it, squeeze out the excess water between a piece of paper towel, sprinkle the tofu with cornstarch (just not too much or everything will stick together), heat a skillet with oil and your ready to go! Why not add some fresh chili and ginger! Once the tofu is golden you can add it to any dish or sauce to your liking. A fast and easy way to get a delicious glaze/sauce is to add some freshly squeeze lemon or orange juice and a few spoons of mango chutney to the fried tofu and stir for a minute or two. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy this mind-blowing delicious sweet and savoury tofu with noodles or rice. Yum!

11. Who are your heroes?

Anyone who has never given up and persevered despite of cynics, bullies, and a harsh life.

Being subjected to bullying or injustice can break you down and push you on the verge of destruction, but it requires a certain strength to not be suppressed and held back by someone else’s insecurities and jealousy. Never ever give up! Don’t ever let anyone  break you down and tell you/make you believe that you can’t do it!  Who are they to tell you that you can’t? If they don’t have faith in you or treat you in an unjust manner…be bold and brave in your heart.

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day, saying: I will try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

I nominate:

The Au Pair Diaries

You Are Not My Crutch

 Type ONEderful

Hey Hil

The Improbable Runner

My questions:

1. What would you do/Where would you go if you had a time machine?

2. What makes you laugh out loud?

3. What is the hardest thing you have ever done, or the biggest obstacle you have faced in your life?

4. If you could star in a movie, which one would it be and who would be your co-star?

5. What’s one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

6. Why did you start blogging?

7. Favourite season?

8. If you had a super power what would it be?

9. If you could meet anyone in the world who would it be? What would you say to them?

10. What’s the story behind your blog name?

11. Who inspires you?