A wonderful day for a run

The only reason I took my phone with me today was to take some photos to share. I didn’t take my GPS watch or wear my heart rate monitor.

Today I wanted to run free of expectations, goals, and self judgement.

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I threw in my luna sandals and drove to my usual start point to tackle the steep section first. There’s a few access points but this is the steepest and I like to start with this one. It’s also at one end of the hill so I can go up, along the top, and back down then along the access road to make a loop. I walked up this part and felt great so I didn’t need to pause halfway up for a breather.

The sun was getting pretty low by this point so I was greeted with it the moment I reached the top of this section.

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There was a branch over the path. This is pretty common, particularly in summer. Eucalyptus trees are well known for dropping branches when they are short on water or are otherwise stressed – don’t ever put your tent directly under one when camping! It was a pretty simple obstacle to get over though.

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I ran along the top, planning a quick half hour loop. But when I got to the next track down, I figured if just run a little more. Then when I got there, I thought that a little more wouldn’t hurt.

I stopped for a photo at an opportune spot, as I wanted to be all arty-farty and get a photo of the view and my shoes.

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by the way, that red band on my ankle is my Road ID. I don’t run or cycle or kayak or whatever without it. I’m kind of scared of finding myself a Jane Doe in hospital while Gary frantically searches for me.

Then I found I didn’t want to get up. I wasn’t tired – it’s just with the quiet, and the evening sun on my back it was perfect and just plain right to sit for a while and think of nothing.

So I did for a few minutes… Until my feet decided they wanted to run again. So I ran.

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I kept thinking “just a little further then I’ll head back. But I kept running. Then the sun started to set so I decided that was my cue to head back down.

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My planned half hour run became an hour and a half of running, hiking, and a little bit of scrambling.

It was fantastic.

P.S. I also saw some kangaroos but they were too far off to get a photo.

Struggling to run..

I wanted to write a very quick post to explain why I haven’t been posting about running much lately.

1) my fitness has fallen, having taken a break to allow my ankle stress fracture to heal fully. This has led to gaining back some (but definitely not all!) of the weight I loss through running. This weight gain was in spite of cycling and swimming. Apparently running is the more effective form of exercise for me. This means that I’m back to slogging through 5km runs at the moment. I’m also still wearing an ankle brace for extra support.

2) it’s been ridiculously hot here. We’ve had 2 week long stints over 40
degrees C in the past three weeks. We are due for some more 42 days soon as well. I struggle in the heat, and resorted to paying $12.50 just to use the treadmill for half an hour at the gym at one point. I don’t want to make excuses however my body doesn’t function well in the heat and I sweat heaps so it’s easy to get dehydrated and nauseas/dizzy. Give me cold and rain and fog anyway.

3) shoes are an issue for me right now. I prefer my vibram bikilas but they make my feet unbearably hot in this weather. And my nike frees aren’t quite as bad… But they aren’t the same as running in my vibrams either. I know this probably seems a bit like “first world problems” but being uncomfortable is stopping me from wanting to run or enjoying it while I run. I’ve got some Luna running sandals coming which should solve the overheating problem. Running totally barefoot isn’t an option because the footpath is usually too hot and drunken idiots regularly smash glass along the main road to my house.

So really, my runs at the moment can be summed up as: hot, uncomfortable, very sweaty, and difficult. So not really worth writing about. I do know things will improve as the month goes on though.

Looking forwards, and Challenge Accepted week 1.

I guess now is the time to set my goals for the year ahead.

I’m not calling them resolutions as such, more goals and plans for the year ahead.

– I want to try and blog weekly,so it’s more regular.

– I want to run some more races – at all three distances of 5km, 10km, and a half.

– compete in the local triathlon either as a team with my sisters, or individual (or if possible, both as a team and an individual)

– remain injury free and get my ankle back to 100% again.

– cross train better. Get more cycling/weights in to supplement the yoga and running.

– get my blood tests done 6 months or less to check my levels of everything and assess if I’m managing vegan nutrition well

– donate blood again. I used to donate plasma regularly but it dropped off.

– complete my Challenge Accepted weekly challenges.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED week 1:

Remember how I am aiming to set a challenge for every week of the year?

the first weekly challenge I am setting myself is to practice Yoga daily. This challenge is one I picked for myself.

I feel better when I practice – even 10 minutes makes me feel more centered and ready for the day. Even if I don’t do any difficult poses, the focus on breathing is a kind of meditation and that’s always beneficial.

So I’m not setting a time limit, just a task of practicing every day this week. I’ll report next week with how I went with the challenge, and let you know what next weeks task is.

If there’s any suggestions for challenges, feel free to comment in this post and let me know!

Running, random stir fry, and other things.

Q) what does Nicole do if she’s got a day off and it’s raining?

A) takes the dog for a run.

I love running in the rain. It’s refreshing, there’s puddles to splash in and there’s not too many other people out and about on foot (which also means no other dogs to distract my dog).

Plus, all the people driving their cars about think “why is this crazy person running in the rain?” .

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pic source, and tips for running in the rain

I think I’ve always enjoyed rain. I love the sound of it. I love puddles. Actually, I think it’s the fact that it’s water. I love water. I love being in it, on it, or under it.

This run was better than the last couple I have done. I ran a couple of short runs after the half marathon, but my ankle started hurting again. I think I need to work more on strengthening it because today I ran with the brace back on my ankle and it seems to be ok.

Zephyr seemed pretty happy about it too, until about halfway through. I think she was fully soaked through by that point and wanted to go home.

Last night I made this:

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I couldn’t decide what to make for dinner, so I threw some quinoa in the rice cooker and then raided the fridge and garden. I ended up with what appeared to be good candidates for a stir fry (carrot, celery, zucchini, sweet potato, mushrooms, kale, basil). I tossed it all together and added some veggie balls (kind of like fish balls but vegan – from the Global Groceries place nearby) and cashews. Gary got some sprouts for me and they went in at the last minute.

There was also onion and some pickled garlic – just for something different – thrown in.

The sauce was a bit of soy sauce, Kekap manis, and chili sauce.

I threw the quinoa in once cooked and it was delicious!

I also went Christmas shopping yesterday. I made the dangerous move of going into a bookstore and while I did find some presents I also found this beast of a book:

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An 800 page hardcover collection entitled “Dangerous Women”, focussing on strong female characters and including some of my favorite authors? Yes please. There is a real possibility I may spend my entire time on leave reading and re-reading this book.

I also found this:

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I’m going to use it as a training planner and log for next year. Garmin connect logs my runs, but I want to have everything in a book so it’s all there – runs, cycling, swimming, yoga, hockey, whatever. I couldn’t pass up such a beautiful diary!

(And yes, I did actually buy things for other people!)

Now that I’m cooling down from my run I’m going to do some stretching, have some breakfast, and get on with the day.

Verdict: I’m not broken. Also spinach pesto is delicious.

I’m sore.

Very sore.

But my legs work. I started a new one week challenge this week. I drove to work on Monday and left my car there (I have use of a fleet car) and walked -slowly- home. I rode to work this morning, knowing that firstly, it would be painful, and secondly, active recovery is always a good option.

My challenge for the week is a no-car challenge. I’m using my car at work only and biking or walking everywhere. This really isn’t difficult since I’m only a few kms from shops and friends, but I figure a bit of light exercise won’t hurt me this week since I’ll be resting and recovering from the weekend.

My thighs hurt the most. It’s the front of my thighs in particular, and not my ankle or my calves. My backs a little sore too but nothing drastic.

I’m trying to feed my body good food at the moment, with the exception of today’s lunch chips because I ran out of time and couldn’t decide what to eat.

Last night was spinach and basil pesto on wholemeal spaghetti.

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not the greatest photo

I didn’t measure, but I threw some fresh garlic, fresh picked basil (mmmm!), baby spinach, cashews, salt and olive oil together in the food processor and added bits and pieces until it tasted good. Because of the spinach it had a milder flavour than my normal basil pesto, but it was pretty good. I also threw in some hemp seeds, for the lovely omega 3s!

To serve, I cooked the pasta, drained it and then tossed the pesto through. I topped it with some olives and sun dried tomatoes as well as “super sprinkles”. Super sprinkles are a Parmesan replacement, but Gary didn’t want to call it “fake Parmesan” so super sprinkles it is! I make it from roughly equal parts pine nuts and nutritional yeast, with a twist or two of the salt grinder, and then whizz it in the food processor. Some recipes say to put it in the oven to dry it out but I don’t worry about it.

This is what it looked like in the end (again I was a little slack on the presentation/photographing!):

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Now, before I get murdered by pesto purists, I know this isn’t a traditional pesto. My favorite pesto is actually a fully traditional basil pesto smashed in my mortar and pestle because nothing has ever compared to that flavour. However, this is a delicious and highly nutritious way to get some greens into you!

As a side note, I made sure to have an orange afterwards because the vitamin C aids absorption of the iron from the spinach.

Tonight I’m planning BBQ tempeh and some grilled veggies with a spinach based side salad. Can’t seem to get enough spinach lately!

Mmmmmmmmmmm

Color Run and the Veggie bar

Seems like all I’ve done lately is post about food! That’s because I haven’t been running.

By the way, I ended up having a bone scan and a stress fracture has been confirmed. I’m seeing the physio again tomorrow morning to discuss a return to running plan.

Anyhow, I hadn’t run. But as you can guess from my title, I did run a bit yesterday.

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waiting for the tram

Way back in June I signed myself, Gary, and my sisters up for the Melbourne color run.

We drove to Melbourne on Saturday and picked up our race packets from the stalls in Southbank. The weather was drizzly and we had to walk from the parking spot to the stalls in the rain but I didn’t mind – sisters weren’t too happy though! Once we grabbed our gear we did a little shopping (I visited Lush and brought a few needs) and then headed to our hotel to check in and change.

We then headed out to veggie bar in Fitzroy. Oh my gosh. It was exciting to go to a restaurant that only makes vegetarian or vegan food. Having so much choice was great. Lisa took a little encouragement to try something but she was a good sport and ordered the mee goreng under the promise that we would eat her tofu if she didn’t want it.

I had a raw pad Thai and it was amazing!

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A great big plate of rice noodles, zucchini “noodles”, carrot, snow peas, a bazillion sprouts, cashews, spring onion, mint, coriander, with a bit of lime-y sauce. The sauce wasn’t quite what I expected (pretty much nothing like the cooked version that I make with tamarind paste) but it was delicious, fresh, and I felt amazing after having it.

I also had kombucha with it – I’ve never had kombucha before but I liked it. Fizzy, with a bit of tang, and definitely not what if call sweet. It was great.

Then came dessert. Oh my. Lisa and I split two desserts so we could both try them. I forgot to take photos until after we split and started eating them.

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vegan strawberry and mango cheesecake

And…

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vegan chocolate royale

They were both so amazing. I can’t even describe. The chocolate cake was so rich and moist, and the cheesecake was smooth, with a coconut flake base.

Mmmmmm…

After dinner we all conked out early due to the long day of driving and wandering about Melbourne. Then it was up early Sunday to get ready and leave the motel at 7:30. Luckily they let me leave my car there so we were taking the free public transport offer that came with our entry to the color run.

We have trams in Melbourne, and I quite enjoy them. They’re easy to navigate and I find then pleasant to ride in.

So we turn up, collecting more and more people along the route till there’s no room left in the tram. Turns out there’s 22000 people at this years colour run, and there was a strong encouragement to take public transport. All in all I think it worked out well.

So we rock up, have a wander about then join the 30 minute queue for the toilets (not even joking).

Then we join the people in the starting chute and make our way up to the start.

We all began jogging slowly when we could as it was crowded. All in all we probably ran about half of the 5km distance. I had planned to walk it anyway with my non-running sister but we managed to encourage her to run small sections, walk for rest, then run again. I was also pretty aware of my ankle so took it easy.

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looking back to the orange station

They had a few new features this year. The first station was actually blue liquid, being thrown from cups and shot out of water pistols.

There was also a bubble section.

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you can’t see the bubbles well but they are there!

My sisters and I wore white capes for the run. I stopped for a “heroic pose” moment after the blue station and a few randoms photo bombed me. I think it turned out great!

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Kate, Lisa and I linked arms and skipped over the finish line. Gary couldn’t help himself and sprinted ahead of us at about the halfway point – but hey, the Color run is all about fun and sprinting around flemington racetrack is his kind of fun.

He also took his shoes off pretty quickly and ran most of it barefoot.

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All in all it was fun, and messy. When we went into the finish festival area and got our colour packets, we made it even messier.

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The thing I love about the color run is that it’s not about competing. You can run it. You can walk it. You can dance, crawl, or wheelchair it. Elderly people and 3 year olds do it. For everyone, it’s just a fun time. And it’s a good excuse to make your sisters entire face purple.

There’s been a local run announced for next year (no date confirmed yet) and I really hope I can drum up a good few people from work to do it because it’s probably the most fun big event I’ve been to.

If you ever get the opportunity to do one, get onto it!

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before

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after

Betrayed. Also, brownies.

I am so annoyed. I haven’t been able to run since last Wednesday, which means I missed out on our 10km run Friday. I’m predicting I may be ok to run this Wednesday, but not on the trail we planned.

My ankle had betrayed me. You know how I said it was a little iffy? Well it felt ok. And I ran 8kms on Wednesday – not an unusual distance for me. It didn’t hurt at all while running but once I stopped I could barely walk. I drove round and dipped my foot in the cold cold Murray River waters before heading home and icing it a little. I’ve been hobbling around since then with it all strapped up in a brace.

The most frustrating thing is that I haven’t really increased the frequency or distance of my runs. Maybe the intensity is up a little, because lotta runs slightly faster than me and I keep up rather than slowing in the last kms or so. I think what initially did it was running down the concreted path of monument hill – there’s some steps too. Maybe I’ve jarred it? I haven’t rolled my ankle, and the pain is just above the knobby bit on the outside. Given it hurts less the more I move around I’m assuming I haven’t fractured anything.

I intend to see a physio Monday about it. I really don’t want to miss too much training because, well, I need training. I’ve already told myself I’m ok with it if I need to walk/run the race. I’ll be finishing the race even if I have to hobble 21.1 kms. But the more I train the more I will be able to run.

Anyway, depending on the level of pain I have I will run Wednesday with a brace on my ankle and in my frees. I’m thinking I might have to temporarily retire my vibrams just to reduce the pressure on my (apparently delicate) ankle.

Anyhow, whining aside, I made something delicious last night:

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Peanut butter chocolate brownies, using a little of the okara left over from making tofu last week, and I also subbed in about 1/4 cup coconut flour, just because. I used this recipe.

So good! I had to bake it about 5 mins longer, and I didn’t have a suitable square pan so I made it in a round cake tin.

Also, this happened yesterday:

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We’ve had a bird nesting on top of one of the pots on our potting shelves. Yesterday one of them hatched.

I went out this morning and saw this:

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Three little baby blackbirds. I know blackbirds are a pest, but it’s so cool to have a bird nesting in our pots where we can watch the whole thing.

Garden babies!