A blog about my life and travels...

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Colour Run Review- June 28- Kempton Park

Hope everyone has been soaking in the sun these past couple of days! I wanted to give a quick write up on the Color Obstacle Rush I did on Sunday at Kempton Park.

Registration: There seemed to be confusion with where to go (as some people got goody bags and some didn't) but once the correct queue was figured out the wait was not too bad.
Loos: Ugh. Being a girl sucks sometimes. Pretty long queue regardless of when I went. Guys didn't even have a line. Such sadness.
Course: Flat but interesting enough. There was a nice lake on the course and of lets not forget the obstacles and color stops.
Obstacles: Pretty fun but apparently quite dangerous. We had to wait a long(er) time to start as someone fell right after the first obstacle (an incline with a drop, I imagine she didn't realise this and twisted an ankle). I also know someone who injured themselves on the last obstacle as the mat was pushed away and she landed on the ground.
Spectators:  They probably felt a bit bored after watching their runners take off... had to wait another 25 minutes or so for them to turn up at the last obstacle. Although they were close to the music and can always people watch others. I thought it would be cool for them to set up wireless cameras at various obstacles and then feed them through monitors, just so they could get a feel for the other obstacles around the track and potentially spy a friend/coworker/loved one.
Music: Pretty kickin music, although once you got past the beginning it wasn't music at every location.
Transportation: We had some people take cars and others (like me) on mass transport. Parking seemed OK but reports state the traffic around the area was quite bad. Not sure if this was due to event or road works, but I suppose its always to be expected. Trains out from Waterloo was fine, however getting back required a 28 minute wait for the next train. Lesson Learned: ALWAYS check CityMapper when finishing a race so you know how much time you have until the next train!

Overall: Pretty fun run, would never hit a PB on it, but its not meant to be like that. The loo thing has become par for the course unfortunately. See below for a video I made of it.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Branching Out from the Gym

I am giving up my Virgin Active gym membership, and its a bittersweet decision. I decided I was not going enough to justify the cost. Plus with summer now (hopefully) in full swing, the only things I really go to the gym for are swimming (which is more stress than relaxing due to the size) and spinning (and there are gyms specifically for that).

That being said, I am looking for other gyms/options. Luckily being in the City for work, I am very spoilt for choice. However there are a few more 'unique' gyms I would be interested to try:

  • Project Fit:  So this place claims burning 1000 calories in an hour, a pretty bold claim. They have a variety of classes and each class costs X credits to do. One credit equals 1 GBP. Of course buying in bulk makes it cheaper.
    • 1 Hour Class: All seeing, all body workout 20 credits/15 credits off-peak
    • Express Class (35 minutes): Like the one-hour class, just shortened 12 credits
    • Core: Just the legs and core (35 minutes) 12 credits
    • Run Class: 55 minutes of varied running + 5 minute cool-down 20 credits
  • 1Rebel UK: This seems like the same concept as Project Fit, although I am sure someone will tell me its very different! One session starts at 20 GBP-- same cost as Project Fit. 
    • Ride: Spinning class. It somehow incorporates hand weights? (30 or 45 minutes)
    • Reshape: Running with all around body strengthening (45 minutes)
  • Cyclebeat: This does exactly what it says on the tin. Spin classes in 30, 45 and 60 minute chunks. One class is 16 GBP, and like all others offers discounts when buying in bulk.
All three have intro offers so I will be trying all three, starting with the Project Fit on Wednesday! We will see how it goes. After my 10 day trial offer (thanks TimeOut!) I will report back on the classes, locker rooms, craziness of instructors, etc. If people know of any other ones round The City do let me know!

30 day fitness challenge almost fell apart after my 13 mile run on Sunday-- however I persevered. I found it much more tolerable breaking it down into sets of ten each until I was finished. 

Speaking of my long run-- my last blog post I encouraged people to get out there and find somewhere else to run. With this run I did just that. I recently purchased "Runners Guide to London" and I am taking a lot of inspiration from it. One of the routes is the Regent's Canal route, and they also offer going west via the Grand Union Canal. Sure it seems a bit of a faff to go on the tube/train but trust me, its well worth it!

Remnants of the Canal's Past... 
Along the Canal near Maida Vale 

Dinner of the Week: Parmesan Pesto Potatoes + Speedy Spinach Pesto + Chicken
BONUS: If you double the pesto recipe (easy to do with spinach) you have enough pesto for  sandwiches or another pasta dish dinner
Dessert of the Week: Lemon Blueberry Bread
Lunches for the Week: Mushroom Pilaf with Brown Rice

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Finding Inspiration

Sometimes between races I get a lull-- where I don't feel like running and the morning workouts get abandoned more easily than they should. We all have them, its all part of the running cycle :)

I really enjoy running in different places. Don't get me wrong, London is lovely, but sometimes a change of scenery is what is needed. Last weekend I was up in Cheltenham, so I decided to take a run in the Cotswolds - half road half trail.

The Cotswolds are a lovely part of England, so wonderful in fact, it is considered an AONB. Heck they even have a long distance walk that covers most of it. I was hoping to do a 10 mile run but could feel some blisters forming so wanted to get back. It didn't help I got a bit lost (thank goodness for Smart phones and friendly people on the path!) but the views were fantastic.

So I highly recommend if you are feeling in a rut-- take a train somewhere and go for a run, you will be surprised what you find!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Day 3 Update: Food, Glucose, and Digestives

Good Morning everyone! With the weekend looming I figured I would post today some things done this week:

Working in the City, I find it very difficult to resist the urge to head to <insertChainRestaurant> and pick up something to eat when all I have is a droll sandwich. These two recipes I found super delicious and easy to make ahead.

Chicken Soba Noodles with Spinach
Spicy Chicken & Avocado Wrap: Obviously some assembly required when you are in the office, but the chicken is very versatile and can be thrown in many different combinations of wraps or sandwiches. Running out of avocado, I substituted a salsa/sour cream blend and it tasted fantastic. Throw some spinach in there-- boom.

Chicken Soba Noodles:Definitely make this in large portions, it is delicious. Serve nice and chilled, it's lovely for eating outside on those days you sneak out of the office to grab some rays on your lunch break. I added spinach to bulk mine out a bit, and I had to substitute some thai noodles as soba was no where near to be found at Tescos (yet they have 4 different types of chili sauce... makes no sense)

I got a pack of these in my Bedgebury Trail Half race kit (one of the nicest race bags in a while) and I decided to give them a go. For some reason I imagined them more like gummies, but sadly this was not the case. In talking with the UKRunChat crew, its a great way to get instant energy before a race, but not so good mid-race. I can see this, trying to chew this chalky pill could be dangerous without copies amounts of water, which, when running, can be difficult to obtain.

So I had a morning run scheduled and instead of banana I had a glucotab with some water. The flavour (juicy raspberry) was not unpleasant, albeit a bit chalky.  I could see me using this on morning runs when I can't be asked to wake up earlier or overslept (like that has EVER happened!). It could also be good for mid-work day jogs if you are one of those people have to be pried away from the desk to get out there and run. Normally though, I would be happier with actual food.

I also assume the number you have depends on the distance you are going. I went only 5.5miles, maybe even one was overkill? The website seems to infer it to be used to fight fatigue, but I cannot see this trumping coffee any time soon.

I love McVitties Milk Chocolate Digestive biscuits. It's not even funny the love I have for them. I made the mistake of buying a whole pack and having them in my office. Now I can hear them during they day, constantly torturing me. This was a bad move on my part. So I will need to bring the package home and only bring in one or two into the office each day. Willpower is diminished in the office, so this will curb my binges. This does not solve the issue when I am at home, however I find it easier to say no at home... which is a bit strange. Does anyone else experience this?

Well thats it people, have a lovely weekend. This is my first weekend on the 30 Day Fitness Challenge, we shall see how we fare!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Road to... Where?

I currently have no race to train for, as my next Half Marathon is not until August. It is kind of a relief, but anyone who trains knows the awkward, empty,  feeling of not having  plan typically makes one quickly scan the racing calendar for upcoming events. While I do have a few smaller runs in the agenda, I am trying to curb the urge.

Instead I am trying to focus on strength for a few weeks with runs built-in to mix it up (and keep me at my current levels). With this, I hope to accomplish a better core and overall fitness to help improve my running-- maybe with the added benefit of some more toned arms and tummy! :)

I have a HIIT workout I will use (will attempt to find the video to share) as well as starting the 30 Day Ab & Squat Challenge by 30dayfitnesschallenges.com. As I am a member of Virgin Active, I should probably look there for some classes as well. If any has any good recommendations please let me know!

Speaking of the gym, I hope to incorporate once a week swimming and/or spinning. Well, seeing as I have a bike, I wouldn't mind the real thing, but it's getting out to a place where its not stop-n-go traffic which makes it a bit more difficult.

Finally, I hope to return to my calorie logging with MyFitnessPal. With less running, I assume I will need to monitor my intake a bit more. Although if I keep my goals up, I am not sure if my needs will change too much! It you want to see my progress or add me as a friend on MyFitnessPal (camaraderie in battle is always appreciated!) check me out here.

Throughout the time, I will be posting updates on new workouts, new gear (yay!), and tasty recipes, with the potential complaint along the way.  The blog will hopefully be my motivation to keep going, and hopefully inspire a few others to keep going as well.

So Day 1 of #30DFC is done, healthy breakfast has been consumed, and my packed lunch is ready to go... let's begin! :D

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Thames Bridges Bike Ride 2013

Some days you just can't wake up. You hit the snooze button a few times but just can't bear the thought of getting out of bed. Today was not one of those days. I had been waking up hourly since about 4am waiting for my alarm to go off. It was a mixture of excitement and nervousness, like applying for a new job. Today was my first long distance bike ride, the Thames Bridges Bike Ride.

To top it off, I do not have joy joy feelings of cycling in London. It seems weekly a cyclist is getting injured, and although I have had some practice out on the roads, I still was not too confident.

The day however, was perfect. Blue skies and a dabbling of happy clouds, it was hard to feel nervous on such a beautiful day. I showed up to Southwark Park and started off, grateful the ride was on a Sunday and not many cars were out and about.

After remembering to turn on my Garmin (*face palm*), I went over Tower Bridge, where my fiancee was snapping photos a la paparazzi of me. I smiled and continued on... hopefully I would see him soon at the finish line!

It really angers me when cyclists do not follow the rules of the road. To be fair motorists do it too, generally as a result of experience and thinking 'whats the harm?' so that is probably the same mentality of cyclists; but considering how many accidents occur in London I was surprised to see as many road violations as I did by cyclists. I am sure I broke one or two too... a few times I felt like I was "just pulling in front of" cars due to not knowing which lane to be in. However, turning left on a red? Come on!

Once we got out of London proper was when I felt I was really able to speed up. It was wonderful to see all the activity along the Thames, with a lovely breeze and the sun still blazing away. I enjoyed watching the rowers in formation, and all the dogs playing merrily on the banks.

Richmond Park had the toughest hill on the course, but was not nearly as bad as the hills in the New Forest. However, by then I was in the mid-upper 20 mile range by then, and my legs were not in a happy place. Thanks goodness for my Camelback.. and then going downhill!

The last few miles were gloriously traffic free, giving me time to look around and more or less amble to the finish right across Hampton Court Bridge, where Tom was ready to take more photos of me getting my finishing medal.

In all, it was an amazing route. I feel much more confident now on roads, although I still feel avoiding the central bits of London during rush hours still to be a good idea! Will I do the Palace to Palace up in Warwick next Sunday? Sheesh I just finished this one-- give me a break! :)

You can still donate to the Stroke Association at my JustGiving page... thanks to everyone who donated, you have helped countless others with your generosity! 

Friday, May 10, 2013

My First Cycle Ride in London

Food is truly a wonderful motivator. Nice weather helps too. I finally convinced myself to go for a quick cycle ride during lunch today. I felt stupid having my socks over my right pant leg, but kept telling myself its better than getting jeans stuck in gears on a busy road. This being my first time on my new bike on the road, I decided to not clip in.

View I had for lunch... perfect!
In short: I did not die, AND I got a tasty lunch at the Mayflower, a cosy pub along the Thames with nice outdoor seating! I even whipped out the laptop to do some work over since the day was shaping up to be so nice (and here I thought it was supposed to rain, but to be fair its expected in London). It was actually quite hard to find a place to stick the bike, but I found a good spot eventually, and worried about the bike being nicked most of lunch.

My pride of the ride was successfully navigating a roundabout-- with no one honking or a bus veering down on me. I was even able to cycle up (down? I guess its a perspective thing) Tooley Street to drop by Evans Cycles to figure out my gear issue (hint: it was a user error). That street, is -TIGHT-. Not in a good way. And the pedestrians just waking into the street without caring that they are not supposed to go (rote mann!kein grĂ¼ne mann!) I shudder when I think about Trafalgar  Square or anywhere near Covent Garden... maybe with time! Ha.

This ride was not about distance, it was about getting out there on the London roads with the bike to get comfortable with the gears and handling. Getting some sun and exercise was just a happy side affect :) 5.84 miles down.

View Cycling in London - Die Erste Zeit! in a larger map