Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Review of My March Goals - Grade: C+

I can't believe it's the end of March already!  I did my first race of the year a couple of weeks ago, which has kind of got me back into the mindset of wanting to focus more on my health and fitness.  The next three months are going to be my busiest of the year at work, so it might be a bit difficult, but I believe a little planning goes a long way!

Here is a quick review of my March goals, and some thoughts on what I want to change for April.


1. My Workout Plan



Pass! My workout plan was prepared before I signed up for the Run for the Kids race, so what I actually did ended up being a combination of finishing Stage 6 of New Rules of Lifting For Women, and the usual pre and post race running - a bit of tapering, and recovery.

I was happy with my March workouts!  In some ways, I feel like I had an easy month.  The week before my race, I cut back on my runs and strength workouts, as well as the week after.  I finished Stage 6 of NROLFW, and started Stage 7.  It's been pretty nice to have some easy workouts, and I'm feeling much more motivated to get into it again.

2. My goal race time - 1:25



Pass! I did Run for the Kids (15.5km) in 1:23:58 - right on schedule!  I was happy with my run, and I was even more happy that I felt strong!  It also made me want to do another race, so I'll be signing up for another one soon :)


3. Limit carbs from lunch onwards



Fail.  I'm going to be honest, and say I didn't really make much progress in this area.  I didn't eat more carbs at night, but I didn't cut back either.  I was really enjoying corn on the cob.  In itself, it's not such a big problem (at least it's real whole food!), but I like butter and pepper on my corn, so there was more of that in my diet.  I'm going to give this one a fail.


4. Try some new recipes - 1 per week



Pass!  I think I did do a new recipe each week!  I tried a couple of new ones (like my Brussel Sprout and Asparagus Salad, and Lemon Tart), and enjoyed some old favourites (like my Home Made Vanilla Ice Cream).  I'd like to keep going with this goal!


5. Be more organised and take my meals to work



Fail.  Looking back, I took the easy way out much more often than not.  I ate good food, but it was bought food, which is not good for my wallet.  I really want to try to do better at this goal next month.


So three passes and two fails isn't a great month.  In the next few days, I'll let you know what my April goals are.  Spoiler alert: I want to get in shape for my next big race - a half marathon!


If you work away from home, do you take your lunches, or do you buy them?  What about breakfast?


Monday, 30 March 2015

Another Week of Eats

So another week, more food.  But at least this time, I did a bit of travelling!  I was a bit lax about taking photos of all my food this week, sorry!  But here are the meals I did take some pics of, and a description of the ones I didn't.

As always, I won't describe every single thing I ate every day - just the meals and any highlights.


Eats


Monday



  • Breakfast:  Multigrain toast with butter and vegemite.  Smoothie of banana, coconut, dates, chia and pineapple.  Large skinny cappuccino.
  • Lunch:  Tuna salad with sugar snap peas, celery, corn, tomatoes, chickpeas, chives and tuna.
  • Dinner:  Lemon salmon with corn on the cob, and steamed vegies including capsicum, onion, zucchini and carrot.

Tuesday



  • Breakfast:  Large skinny cappuccino.  Scrambled eggs on multigrain with avocado.
  • Lunch:  Two rice paper rolls - tofu and chicken.
  • Dinner:  Three kangaroo sausages with corn on the cob, and steamed vegies including zucchini, carrot, onion and asparagus.

Wednesday



  • Breakfast:  Large skinny cappuccino.  Multigrain toast with butter and honey. Smoothie of beetroot, banana, pomegranate, coconut and chia.
  • Lunch:  Sundried tomato, basil and mozzarella omelette, with large skinny cappuccino.
  • Dinner:  Three kangaroo sausages with corn on the cob, and steamed vegies including zucchini, carrot, onion and asparagus.

Thursday



  • Breakfast:  Yoghurt and fresh roll with butter and vegemite.  Coffee with milk.
  • Lunch:  Mixed sushi.  Large skinny cappuccino.
  • Dinner:  Satay chicken skewers.  Mixed Asian greens, Barossa chargrilled chicken and rice.  
  • Snack:  Pear and rhubarb, fig and custard ice cream.

Friday



  • Breakfast:  Spinach and egg wrap.  Large skinny cappuccino.
  • Lunch:  Mixed sushi, with spicy tuna roll.
  • Snack:  Mixed salads - Asian greens, and pumpkin and beetroot with feta.
  • Dinner:  Spaghetti bolognese.  Lindt ball.

Saturday


  • Breakfast:  Ham, cheese and tomato flat bread. Large skinny cappuccino.
  • Snack:  Strawberry smoothie, with coconut milk and chia.
  • Dinner: Three slices of pizza - salami, pineapple, olives, capsicum, onion and mozzarella.
  • Snack: Caramel and macadamia Connoisseur ice cream.

Sunday


  • Breakfast:  Poached eggs on English muffin with short macchiato.
  • Lunch:  Katsu chicken sushi rolls, with apple and mixed berry juice.
  • Dinner:  Chicken burger with avocado, tomato, spinach, cheese, mayonnaise and mixed grain roll.


Thoughts


This week was pretty normal for me, even with the travel to Sydney.  I was a bit tired with the travel, so I had a couple of extra snacks.  I'll admit it was just eating in place of sleep.  But I'm not too cut up about it.

I will say that on Thursday night I went to a little place called Thai Nesia on Oxford St, Surry Hills.  It was amazing!  Thanks for taking me Tobes.  It was the best Thai food I've had in a really long time.  And the ice cream from Mesina topped off an excellent meal.


Next Week


My main goal this week is actually to cut back on how much I spend on food!  I'm basically eating my money - it is so expensive to buy breakfast and lunch each day.  Sure, it's easier, and gives me a reason to get away from my desk for an hour, but seriously, enough is enough.

As I think this through a bit more, as well as a couple of other things, you'll see what I come up with in my April goals.  I think food will be a bit of a focus for me this month.



How do you go with food and travelling?  Do you relax and go with the flow?  Or do you try to stick to your normal food?



Sunday, 29 March 2015

My Weekend in a Word: Quiet!

Hi there!  After spending a couple of days travelling for work, it was really nice to come home on Friday night to my family.  But my husband had to work all weekend, so although I would have liked to spend more time with him, it was kinda perfect to have a weekend to potter around the house, and not do anything too strenuous.  Here is a quick look at what I got up to.

Friday ...


I flew home from Sydney on Friday night, so I had a quick salad at the airport before my flight.


I flew with Qantas, which means they also provide meals!  I had some spaghetti bolognese and a Lindt ball en route.  But the best part was getting home, kissing my boys and falling into bed.


Saturday ....


I got to sleep in a little, and hit up the gym for my first run since last weekend.  I was really looking forward to it!  And I had some new running shoes to try - I was happy!  I did a comfortable 7km on the treadmill.


When I got back from the gym, Angus had to check out my new kicks too.


Then he and I headed out for a stroll around the neighbourhood.  It was a beautiful morning in Melbourne.  When I got back, I jumped in the shower, then headed out to a local cafe for brunch - a ham, tomato and cheese flat wrap and coffee.


After running a few errands, I headed home for a domestic afternoon of washing and other chores.  For an afternoon snack I made a strawberry smoothie - a punnet of strawberries, with a little coconut milk, some chia and ice.  Delish!


When Gareth got home, I made pizza - salami and pineapple for me, mushroom and chicken for husband.  Not my best batch, but still yummy!


We watched Let's Be Cops.  It lived up to it's average reputation, but gave us a few laughs, which went well with wine and ice cream :)



Sunday ...


Sunday I let myself be lazy again and sleep in, and then Angus I went for a walk.  He decided to roll in the dirt next to a dead fish - charming.  Lucky I managed to avoid him actually rolling on the dead fish.


When I got home, I had some eggs on an English muffin - simple, but perfect.


After cleaning the shower, then cleaning me, I headed out again to get some supplies for an afternoon pre-Easter project.  More to come later!


I had some late sushi and juice for lunch ...


And then, I played with blogs until my man came home.  So now I'm off to spend time with him :)



What do you like to do when you have a day to yourself?

Friday, 27 March 2015

What's On This Weekend in Melbourne, and a Weekend Running Quote

Hello All!  I'll be on my way home from working in Sydney for a couple of days when you see this.  At first, I was totally disoriented in the Sydney CBD - I had no concept of direction, and got lost walking the two blocks from the train station to my work offices.  But after a day, I got my bearings, and I've enjoyed it here!  I had a blast staying with an old Uni friend and catching up for the night.  Thanks for the space on your floor Tobes! :)

Can you believe this is the weekend before Easter??  I really should think about Easter egg shopping.  For other people, I mean. But if you're not on a chocolate hunt, there are a couple of things around that you could be doing in my home town :)


Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show



From 25 to 29 March, the historic and magnificent Royal Exhibition Building and surrounding gardens are transformed as exhibitors from around the world and around Australia come to present the newest in the world of flowers, gardens, horticulture, landscaping and all thing related, at the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show, the biggest of its kind in Southern Hemisphere. There are lots of kid friendly activities, and the adults aren't forgotten either, with workshops, exhibitions and world class floral displays.  Feel like a stroll in a garden this weekend?  Here is your garden!

2015 Royal Walk and Fun Run



The 2015 Royal Walk and Fun Run is a local event being held in Princes Park, Carlton, to fundraise for the Royal Melbourne Hospital.  You can take part in 4.5km or 9km events, and choose to either walk or run either distance.  The fun run starts at 10am on Sunday 29 March, and you can register from 8am.  Everyone gets a t-shirt, and you can take your dog!  Sounds like a great way to start a Sunday morning to me :)

Earth Hour


This isn't an event to go to per se, but it is happening all over the world, so you can do it wherever you are!  Earth Hour is a worldwide grassroots movement uniting people to protect the planet, and is organised by WWF. Engaging a massive mainstream community on a broad range of environmental issues, Earth Hour was famously started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then it has grown to engage more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide, and the one-hour event continues to remain the key driver of the now larger movement.  Basically, from 8:30pm on Saturday 28 March, we ask that you turn off all lights in your house for an hour. In 2015, Earth Hour's focus is on highlighting the impact of global warming on Aussie food and farmers.  Will you do your part, and switch off the lights?

Running Quote for the Weekend


So I love quotes.  I love taking a moment each day to get a little inspiration about my life.  I have one of those daily quote calendars on my work desk, and I really enjoy ripping off a new page each morning to see what the new day's quote is all about.

This morning I walked from my friend's house into my office into the Sydney CBD, through Hyde Park.  The world was just waking up - it was fresh and bright, the skies were clear, and the birds were chirping and the trees were dewey.  My first thought was how much I'd like to go for a run this morning!

If you need a little morning running inspiration to get out this weekend, this quote might help:



Happy running, and have a great weekend!


What are your exercise plans this weekend?  Anything unusual?

Thursday, 26 March 2015

My Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

So just to be up front with you, this is NOT a healthy recipe.  There are some things that I believe are best made the traditional way - ice cream is one of them.  This is also really really simple - there are only four ingredients.  But my husband says this is his favourite ice cream ever, and although he might be biased, I'm willing to share the ice cream love with you all.




Ingredients


  • 600ml full fat thickened cream
  • 1.5 cups milk (any milk is fine, but more fat content will add creaminess)
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar, plus a couple of extra tablespoons
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence or a vanilla bean pod

Method


Pour the thickened cream into a bowl, and add 1-2 tablespoons of caster sugar, and one teaspoon of vanilla essence (or half a vanilla bean pod, scraped).  Whip the cream on a high speed until it is thick and forms peaks.  I use a hand held mixer.


Pour the milk into another bowl, add the 1/4 cup of caster sugar, and the other teaspoon of vanilla essence (or half a vanilla bean pod, scraped).  Whip at a low speed until the sugar is dissolved, and the milk is light and frothy.

Combine the cream and milk.  I gently fold the mixture together with a spatula, to try to avoid looking the air.  Pour into an ice cream maker, and let it churn away for 20-25 minutes, until it looks a bit like soft serve.


Spoon into freezable containers, and store in your freezer until ready to serve.  You might like to let the ice cream sit out for 5-10 minutes before serving to let it soften.



I have used this base for a heap of variations, such as:

  • add a mix of chocolate chips for the last couple of minutes in the ice cream maker (Gareth's favourite is a mix of milk, white and dark chocolate)
  • adding some peppermint essence for mint ice cream
  • Making a really quick berry coulis (heating berries and sugar in a saucepan until it becomes a sauce), and either stirring through the ice cream before freezing, or just using as a topping when the ice cream is served
  • Adding caramel or chocolate sauce, and sprinkling with crumbed walnuts or slivered almonds


Use your imagination!


What is your favourite flavoured ice cream?


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Weekly Workout Recap: A Race Week

This week was a little abnormal, being immediately before and after a race.  There were lots of rest days, but this was planned, and well, needed!  It was worth it for my race, and it was also kind of nice to have a slow week.  I'm hoping that means I'll be raring to go next week!


Last Week (18 March to 24 March)


Wednesday 

Rest Day.  And my birthday.  No guilt.



Thursday

7km treadmill run in 39 minutes with long intervals.    I wanted to get in some long tempos to hold my proposed race pace.  I did 1km intervals, at paces from 10kph, increasing by 0.5kph, holding the pace at 11kph for 3 km in the middle.  It was good to really get set in my race pace, and to hold it. Happy with this workout in preparation for Sunday.

Friday

Rest day!  I like two rest days before a race, so this was also a day to sleep in.  Nice!




Saturday

Rest Day!  Pre-race rest day.  Mandatory. But I did go with my boys on an hour long walk around the neighbourhood, which was a great way to stretch my legs.



Sunday

Run for the Kids! 15.5km  run in 1:23:58  This race had quite a few hills, and I wasn't sure if I was ready for it, considering all my treadmill work.  But, I was pleasantly surprised that I came through the race well!  I want to get faster, but I'm confident with the distance.  I pulled up a little sore (mostly my groin and quads), but nothing too terrible.


Monday

Rest day! Post race recovery day.  I did go for a nice walk during my lunch break, and it felt good to stretch my legs.


Tuesday

Rest day! Post race recovery day number 2. I did another long walk in the middle of the day, and my legs are starting to feel almost back to normal.



Favourite Workout?


My race on Sunday!  I had a really good run, even though I was nervous because it's been about 10 months since my last race!  I felt strong on the hills, and I'm confident about the distance.  Now, I'm all about  increasing the speed.


Next Week


I'm going to be in Sydney for a couple of days, which probably won't allow for a workout.  I'm not too worried, as a post-race recovery week is fine by me.  I'll get back into both running and weights on the weekend and into next week.  I'm actually really looking forward to it!  It's amazing what a little rest can do for your attitude :)



What do your workouts generally look pre and post race?