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I’m having some people to dinner tonight so today is going to be a busy day! On the main menu are:

  • Sweet chilli & coriander chicken and vegetable kebabs
  • Tandoori chicken and vegetable kebabs
  • Vegetable cous-cous
  • Vegetable stir fry (lots of Asian style vegetables, thin rice noodles, and a mix of chilli, soy and hoisin sauce)

Some of the guests (there are 5 people coming, 3 are bringing food and 2 wine) are bringing a green salad, bread and dips for beforehand, and a fruit salad to go with dessert.

The dessert menu is:

  • Mini chocolate tarts, with strawberries and blueberries
  • Plain (low fat, although it will end up very high fat!) vanilla icecream with mini marshmallows, crushed up choc-honeycomb and choc-wafer pieces, and chocolate sauce mixed through

Hopefully it will all go according to plan and I’ll have some nice photos to upload later ๐Ÿ™‚

My Saturday yesterday was pretty low-key; I had thought to get a start on the cooking but somehow didn’t quite get to it. I did do all the necessary grocery shopping, plus picked up some photo frames and other household things I’d been meaning to get, and went for a long run. I missed this last weekend with being away, and it was great ๐Ÿ™‚ I did 60 minutes and about 10km…not the best pace, but it felt good nonetheless.

I’m off for a quick gym workout now and will then rev myself up for cooking and cleaning (I’ve learnt from experience that it’s best to wash my kitchen floor after I do lots of cooking…otherwise I just have to do it twice. lol.)

xx Kari

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I am back home at my place and very glad it is the weekend ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m also starting to get very excited about a holiday my sister and I are taking at the end of next week – we’re flying to Queensland on Thursday for 4 nights/ 5 days. I am really looking foward to it!

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Half ironman awe

There was a half ironman held last weekend in Western Australia and I finally got around to checking the website to see the results today. It is so inspiring! The race consisted of a 1.9km swim, 90.1km ride, and 21.1km run (I guess these are standard half ironman distances?). I would frankly be very happy to be able to run 21km without swimming and cycling for hours first, but to do all of them really amazes me.

The fastest female did the whole course in a bit under 4.5 hours! Her running time averaged just over 4 minutes per kilometre – or over 14km (8.7 miles) per hour. She looks pretty happy at the finish line which isn’t too surprising:

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Here is a picture of the course (not great detail at this scale)

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I would love to do something like this one day. I guess an initial step might be doing a half marathon seeing as I currently do no swimming and my cycling is very low key (and my running is pretty low key for that matter!) but one advantage of running/ triathlons is that you don’t have to do them at a young age. I mean, for some sports and activities, if you’re not good by the time you hit adulthood, you’re pretty much never going to be good. I suspect I’ll never be great at running regardless (lol), but plenty of people run super long distances well into middle age. So I figure at 25 there’s still time for me yet!

On that note (or a related one anyway), I tried out the “random” setting on the treadmill today. Would you believe I’ve only ever used the manual and interval options before? When I started out I liked being able to control my speed and time myself. Having started doing longer outdoor runs on the weekends though, I find I get bored on the treadmill after 10 or 15 minutes. So I thought I’d mix it up, and am I glad I did!

I put it on level 10 not really knowing what this would equate to – and what it equated to was inclines! The speed stayed at about 7km/hr (I think I need to keep playing with the settings so this will change too), but I changed that myself because I wanted to run rather than walk. The programme gave me inclines that ranged from 5.5% to 8.5%, and I ran at between 10km/hr and 11km/hr (mostly 10!)ย  when the incline was 7% or less. All I can say is wow. Lol…it was seriously hard. My heart rate got up to nearly 170bpm, which is higher than it reached after 70 minutes of running on the weekend. I felt great afterwards. I was only on the treadmill for 15 minutes in total (I did other gym work first) but I will definitely be trying this workout again!

xx Kari

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I never did work out what went wrong with my internet yesterday, but I did determine that it was an internet explorer thing rather than an internet thing per se. I’m now using firefox and that seems to be working fine!

After I was able to map my run, I determined that yesterdays workout was:

Time: 70 minutes

Distance: 12 km

Average speed: 10.29 km/hr

I am quite pleased about the distance ๐Ÿ™‚

I also took my polar monitor to the gym this morning, which provded to be a bit of a dispiriting experience…firstly, I should point out that my target heart rate zone for moderate exercise is about 135 (70% of maximum hr) to 165 (85% of maximum hr). So on my run yesterday, I sat towards the upper end of that range pretty consistently. If I drop the range to ‘light to moderate’ intensity then my target zone would be about 117 to 135.

My gym stats looked like this:

Starting point on cross-trainer: About 85

5 minutes in on cross-trainer: 115

15 minutes in on cross-trainer: 120

Between 15 and 25 minutes (finishing point) on cross-trainer: 120 – 125, except towards the end when I upped the level from 10 to 12 and briefly got to 130.

I think of the cross-trainer as my most challenging non-running exercise, so these values were (to me) surprisingly low!

I then moved to the rower.

Starting point on rower: 100 (this was only about 30 seconds after I finished on the cross-trainer, but my hr dropped quickly; I guess another indicator that I wasn’t working hard!)

5 minutes in on rower: 110

10 minutes in (finishing point) on rower: 115

I then moved to the bike.

Starting point on bike: 100 (starting to see a pattern…)

5 minutes in on bike: 115

10 minutes in (finishing point) on bike: 120

I didn’t make it in to my moderate intensity zone once!! I had suspected my gym workouts, or the once that don’t incorporate treadmill running at any rate, weren’t really challenging me very much, but these numbers really highlight how much that is true. I am going to think seriously about how to up the intensity and challenge my fitness more!

This was a very numbers-focused post, but I think it’s just the recency of my polar monitor (and associated excitement) coming through…I’ll try to keep it under control next time ๐Ÿ˜›

I’m going to the movies with my sister later today so am off to run some errands and do household jobs now. I’m just about to have a post-gym snack of blueberries first though:

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Still frozen – I prefer them that way ๐Ÿ™‚

xx Kari

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I am having a LOT of problems with my internet today, so this will be quick ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I tried my polar monitor out this morning and that went great! I think I’m going to love being able to monitor my heart rate. I’m quite tempted to just keep it on all the time and see what it does over the day! I have noticed that it jumps around a lot when I’m not exercising (55 – 65 when sitting, up to 75 – 80 if I stand up, 75 – 85 when walking around) but it was pretty consistent on my run:

85 when I started (after walking for a couple of minutes to my start point)
130-ish at the 5 minute mark
150-ish at the 15 minute mark
Between 150 and 156 for pretty much the entire rest of the run – most of the time it sat between 154 and 156.
I finished by running up a hill and it shot up to 164 ๐Ÿ˜›
Five minutes after I’d stopped it was down to about 115.

I have no idea what these values actually mean at this stage – I need some more examples to compare my stats over time – but it’s fun to know. I also ran for 70 minutes today which is the longest yet. I have no idea of the distance though…mapmyrun.com won’t load for me at the moment, which is super frustrating as I really want to know the kilometres!!

Breakfast this morning was a plum with a serve of weetbix bites in oat and barley flavour and a splash of skim milk…the weetbix bites are basically weetbix mini sized:

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I hadn’t had the oat and barley ones before but I really liked them.

I have also just finished tuna sushi for lunch…I haven’t had sushi for the longest time, and this was exactly what I felt like today.

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I’m going to see if I can sort out what’s wrong with my internet…I think I’ve toggled my settings somehow so I can only see some sites/pictures and I can only see the ‘html’ version on this page. No idea how I managed that so hopefully I can figure out how to undo it…

xx Kari

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I have to say, 6 months ago I would never have predicted that I might one day run longer than I intended. Yesterday morning I planned to do 2 laps of a 3.5km circuit near my house…a bit shorter than my last two ‘long’ runs, but it was a completely flat route and I thought it would be a good chance to practice moderating my pace without hills to make me do so. Plus, as I wrote about here, my last 2 runs resulted in serious swollen-ness the next day. I’m not planning to stop/ cut back on running because of this, but I kind of didn’t feel like dealing with it this weekend. So, 7km was the plan. Problem is, the two laps took 38 minutes. I am someone who likes even or ‘neat’ numbers, so running for 38 minutes didn’t really appeal to me.

I was still feeling ok, so I thought I’d go to 40mins to even it out. Then I stretched it out to 45mins. And then I was a quarter of the way round the circuit so I figured I’d just run it another time ๐Ÿ™‚ So I ended up running 10.5km after all – but of course my time still wasn’t even that way, as the extra lap took me to 57 minutes. I found myself thinking ‘maybe I’ll just go on to make it an hour’, but I made myself stop…I might still be running yet otherwise. lol.

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For this afternoon, I decided to make strawberry cupcakes and brownies with a twist. Uniced cupcakes:

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These are just a basic vanilla cupcake recipe with tinned strawberries added to the batter. I find that fresh strawberries don’t bake so well, and I’m not a huge fan of frozen strawberries. They just don’t seem to take to freezing like other sorts of berries do.

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When I bake, I always end up with one cupcake/cookie/item that isย a bit…demented. I usually refer to it as my ‘practice’ item. For this batch, the demented cupcake is in the top left of the above picture…I had a bit of trouble getting it out of the tin and one side kind of collapsed.

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The brownies with a twist:

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I’ve made these once before, after being inspired by Angela’s chocolate beetroot cake. Yes, that’s where the twist comes in ๐Ÿ™‚ I remember my mum making a chocolate beetroot cake when I was younger, and I dug out the recipe for that. In her version though, there’s still lots of butter and the recipe doesn’t look too healthy. I took Angela’s list of ingredients, threw things together in a way that I thought might work, and hoped for the best ๐Ÿ™‚ It did work out, but in my version you can almost tell there is beetroot in there. If you were looking for it, you definitely could. I don’t mind this too much as the flavour is hidden by cocoa and I personally like the taste, but I think perhaps I haven’t got the ingredients/balance quite right yet.

In my version there is (approximately):

  • 1.75 cups plain flour
  • 1.25 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar (I didn’t have regular so I mixed 1/2 cup brown with 1/2 cup icing…not sure I’d recommend this usually!)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 (425g) tin beetroot drained and blended
  • 1 tsp almond extract.

I’m undecided about whether to ice this batch, so we’ll see what I decide on later today ๐Ÿ™‚

xx Kari

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Running=weight gain?

I have noticed the last few times I’ve run longer distances than usual (45-60mins) I have felt somehow bigger the next day. Now I am quite capable of imagining that I’m bigger even when I’m not, so this hasn’t been something I’ve really focused on that much. Yesterday, however, I really felt like I was swollen…my jeans were tighter, and the muscles in my legs felt bigger. Before I am written off as delusional, I actually found an answer to this experience and it seems it is not all in my head!

I have managed to lose the site I found this on (I didn’t bookmark it, which was kind of silly seeing as it took me about an hour of googling and searching faq pages on various running sites!) but apparently your muscles need 4 molecules of water to store one molecule of glycogen. This really doesn’t mean much to me, but what it apparently means is that when you increase the amount of exercise you usually do,ย your body is liable to react by storing extra water in preparation for the next round of hard exercise. The site I read said that this can result in up to 4lbs (a bit under 2kg) of weight gain on the scales the day after hard exercise! Wow. The good news is that within 4 or so weeks the body adjusts to the next level of exercise and weight/ fluid shifts go back to usual; if calories burnt have been higher than usual, weight would also start to go down at that point.

I am relieved to know I wasn’t imagining things ๐Ÿ™‚ And, I am pleased to say,ย this isn’t even close to putting me off running; I figure I can live with a month of swollen days every now and then, especially knowing that it’s temporary.

On to other things…exercise yesterday was cycling outside (perfect weather; 27’C) and today it was gym work minus running. I thought I’d give my swollen muscles a day to calm down. hehe.ย Usually when I’m at the gym I do about 50mins of cardio spread over different machines; today it was the cross-trainer, rower, and walking on an incline on the treadmill (7.2km/hr, incline between 4.5 and 6.5%).

I don’t have many pictures of my food today…but I did snap my dinner just before. I tried a new flavour of tinned salmon which I thought looked exciting:

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But…it was a bit disappointing. It was fine, just nothing special. I couldn’t really taste the mango or the chilli (although it tasted of something other than plain salmon).

I had it with some cooked leek, carrot and red pepper, and a microwaved potato:

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I also had half a grapefruit on the side.

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I was keeping it fairly light on purpose, because I’m saving myself for some of this afterwards…

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I really love carob and the fact that this brand makes sugar free stuff (without artificial sweeteners instead) makes me happy. I have to say though, the phrase along the top, “goodness in every bite”, kind of cracks me up. Nutritionally speaking, it’s not all that different from chocolate (minus trans fatty acids, which I admit isย a huge plus), but as with most so-called “health foods” it is automatically labelled “healthy”, even if it’s really not ๐Ÿ™‚ But I still like this stuff, so clearly I’m not complaining too much; I’ll still enjoy my carob later on!

xx Kari

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